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RipTide posted 08 March 2006 in Member Written WorksRipTide by Dawnstorm, Candidate

Hi, I'll do detailed comments. For the sake of gathering my thoughts, and also for speech economy, I'll speak with more authority than I really feel inside. Don't let my tone persuade you to make changes where you don't feel them.

Quote: "Cu Roi":17f5fa5w
He stopped himself from trying to breathe. It would just drown him.[/quote:17f5fa5w]

"It would just drown him."

1. Vividness could be improved by replacing "drowning"-reference, with a setting reference (e.g. an image of water flooding lungs, etc.) The word "Drown" is a giveaway. [But remember that this change would shift characterisation; "drown" implies reciting things he's learned. The more vivid approach indicates a familiarity with the setting. Since you're talking about a life-guard, I think the latter wouldn't be inappropriate, but you know best.]

2. "It would just": Your up close: these words evoke nothing and take too long to read, compared to the essence of the thought. (It ought to be more immediate; you seem to be going for a "focussed language", to emulate the necessity of "focussed thought" in this situation.)

Heart racing.

He stopped.

The participle indicates duration. I'm tempted to read this as:

"Heart racing, he stopped."

Is this the effect you were going for? [I assume you mean, he stopped fighting.]

Also: "He stopped": I'd replace that with a movement-indicator (again to improve vividness of scene).

Which way was up?

"was" is ballast.

He couldn't tell...No way to tell.

This seems to be a rationalisation (I can't tell, so there is no way to tell), which seems slightly off in his situation. (When you're drowning the difference between "couldn't tell" and "no way to tell" simply isn't relevant.)

If, for some reason, you want the repetition (e.g. panic) I'd just repeat "couldn't tell".

[On the other hand, the rationalisation could be an indicator of him calming down. In that case, I'd get rid of the ellipsis, which counters that effect; I'd probably break this up into two simple sentences and two lines.]

Was someone else there?

Had someone been next to him?

The relation between these two sentences isn't clear. Is he concerned about others? Does he hope to be saved?

Also the first of these sentences should be re-written (too many non-evocative words in a row).

He let out a little air when it became to much.

Could be more vivid. He's submerged. Letting out air creates bubbles and lets some water into the mouth before you can close it. Such things, anything.


Should the "!" be a "?"?

How far out was he by now?

"was he" is ballast.

The burning in his lungs!

His skull...It crackled with fire!

Burning lungs are okay. It's a cliché metaphor, and thus invisible. But once you introduce "fire" (in the skull) you're making this a conceit (extended metaphor). I'm not sure the fire-conceit works in a water setting. (It could work, if the contrast had some special effect - which it hasn't on me.)


Um... he's under water. I daresay what he wants to do is leave... (It's more like "stay in the world", I know/suspect, but it does potentially have a comic side-effect.)

You could go for a bit more melodrama, here, and just say: "LIVE!" or something.

He couldn't stand it any longer.

Stand what? The thoughts? His situation? Not a fan of words like "it" in such situations...

Pulling against the grasp of the wine dark sea.

From Homer to Bakker to you... Dark, I get. But do you really want a wine-reference, here? If so, why?

Calm came over him.

"Calm overcame him." has a better rhythm, but changes the emphasis on "victimisation" a bit.

Was there light?

"Was there" is ballast.

Someone grabbed him.

She was there.

Improve the cohesion between the two sentences. (By implying that she grabbed him. Something like: Someone grabbed him./She did.)

Green palms waved aboved,

typo: above

Emerald mountains beyond rose to the sun.

"beyond" what? Either cut the word or find a better one.

He could move. So he did.

I think you got the sequence wrong, here. (This is his point of view, right?) He moved, so he knew he could. (You don't just magically know you can move, you have to try.)

Eyes flashing at him. He loved those eyes.

Again, more vividness. Describe eyes with evaluative modifyier (and perhaps an article to hint at familiarity). Example:

Eyes flashing at him. Those lovely green eyes! (You get the idea)

She giggled from the throat in that way she did...

Something here doesn't quite work (not sure what). Perhaps if you add some punctuation for emphasis?

...throat, in that....

....throat. In that...


When he pulled himself from the water, through the sand and fell on his towel he looked back.

That's quite a complicated sentence structure. I'd re-arrange the punctuation, seperating the two most important clauses only:

"When he pulled himself from the water through the sand and fell on his towel, he looked back."

(Also: don't you mean: "After he had pulled himself from the water through the sand and fallen on his towel, he looked back.")

Her deep sigh drew his attention back to her.

I'd say, "A deep sigh..." (It's only "her sigh" once his attention is back on her, not before.)

She handed him something cold to drink from the cooler.

1. "something": specify (either name the liquid, or if he's to groggy to recognise it, perhaps name the container.)

2. "cold... cooler": same info twice, with no beneficial effect from repetition.

"Where is everybody?", he asked.

No comma: "...y?" he asked.

"They're coming.", she replied

"...g," she replied. (note the missing full-stop at the end)

"Where is She?", he asked alarmed.

"...e?" he...

It was a warm fire. Very little smoke and pleasant.

"Very little smoke and pleasant." sounds odd for various reasons.

First your mixing two different types of info (sensual, evaluation); and second, the lack of a comma suggests "very little smoke and [very little] pleasant". I'd recast this:

It was a warm fire. Very little smoke. Pleasant.


It was a pleasant fire: warm, very little smoke.

He thought he could hear whispers, but no one had come yet. It sounded like they were talking about her and him. Crying too. Why?

*Ooh, that's effective... <!-- s:cry: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cry.gif" alt=":cry:" title="Crying or Very sad" /><!-- s:cry: --> *

One thing, though:

"they" will make the reader wonder: "who?" Better say "people" or something general, and invisible.

"I must still be shaken from the wipeout...or that beer hit me harder than...", he thought.

No comma: "...than..." he thought.

His thoughts didn't get too much farther.

Rephrase that.

1. "...throught. His thoughts..." = careless repetition.

2. "too much farther": they didn't get any farther, or you wouldn't (shouldn't) have interrupted them.

Wait! Idea:

"I must still be shaken from the wipeout," he thought. "Or that beer hit me harder than..."

She stirred from her sleep.

(You don't need that sentence at all, then; the reader is interrupted real-time with the character. The "he saw" is implied, as we're in his point of view anyway.)

She yawned, and looked at him.

If the second main clause shares the subject with the first, no comma is allowed (unless you have a special reason).

She laughed, twisted and was her feet in an instant.

on her feet


Good concept. Your story should have a strong effect on those it's meant for.

Feel free to ask, if I've been unclear. Feel free to ignore, when I've sproutet nonsense.

And keep your head up; it must be hard to lose friends like that... view post


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