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Week One: Wil posted 12 Jul 2004, 21:07 by Wil, Head Moderator

The small gravel path seemed to stretch on forever, as it always did. Norman Bales slowly trudged along this path, as he did every Sunday. He passed the small pond with the ducks and the old oak tree. He noticed that someone had carved something in the tree. He stopped and peered at it, apparently someone named Lisa was a whore. He sadly shook his head and continued on down the path. He soon came to the bench. He stopped and stared at it. He remembered sitting there with her, when they would come to visit her parents. They would sit and talk about stupid things. They seemed stupid at the time anyway. Now Norman wished he could remember just one of those conversations. He knew he had laughed; Claire had always been witty, even when visiting her parents. He sat down, trying as hard as he might to remember. He closed his eyes, and heard laughter. It seemed to be hers; a light jingle like a tiny bell. He remembered her smile, and how she always complained that her front teeth were too big. And her eyes, those marvelous green eyes, with the left slightly higher on her face then her right. He would tease her mercilessly about that. She would laugh and say at least her face didn’t look like the backside of a horse. Norman smiled to himself, remembering. He stood up and contained his journey. He came to the spot where they had laid in the grass and talked. He remembered those talks, how she had said that she was going to leave him; that she couldn’t stay with him. She didn’t know when I would be, but it made him cry every time. She had said it before they got married, that she would leave him someday. Like a fool, he had believed that he could keep her here, that she wouldn’t leave because of him. He was wrong. Falling to his knees in the grass, Norman wept. He put his forehead to the ground smelling the grass. The smell flooded him with memories, all of them memories of her. He fell to his side and closed his eyes, savouring the memories. Water on his face woke him. He opened his eyes to darkness and sprinklers. He had fallen asleep there on the grass, for about three hours it seemed. Norman stood up and began back down the path. The small gravel path seemed to end too soon, as it always did. At the gate, Norman turned and looked back up the path. Then he stepped out and resumed his life knowing he would be back next Sunday. view post


posted 12 Jul 2004, 22:07 by Replay, Auditor

Pretty good, and though it appeared short at first glance, I don't think the scene really needed anymore. Anyway, here's my critique which I'll try and break down into sections: Prose: Not bad. There were some very good bits such as the internal dialogue, but there where a few areas where you seemed to suffer from the same thing I often do, in that it becomes a bit dry and doesn't flow very well. I think it may be because there are too many short and sharp sentances. Would perhaps be better if they were mixed up a bit with longer ones. Also, there are a few repeats of words/phrases from one sentance to the next which may detract from the reading experience a little. The first paragraph is a good example of both of these: [quote:4ruy9udd]The small gravel path seemed to stretch on forever, as it always did. Norman Bales slowly trudged along this path, as he did every Sunday. He passed the small pond with the ducks and the old oak tree. He noticed that someone had carved something in the tree. He stopped and peered at it, apparently someone named Lisa was a whore. He sadly shook his head and continued on down the path. [/quote:4ruy9udd] This bit on the other hand is excellent: [quote:4ruy9udd]He closed his eyes, and heard laughter. It seemed to be hers; a light jingle like a tiny bell. He remembered her smile, and how she always complained that her front teeth were too big. And her eyes, those marvelous green eyes, with the left slightly higher on her face then her right. He would tease her mercilessly about that.[/quote:4ruy9udd] It has a much better rythm to it. Characterization: Even though it was pretty short, we got a fairly good idea of what the character is like. Just from those few paragraphs you could pretty much guess how he will respond to situations in the future. Description: A little light on this, but then I'm not sure if it was really needed for this scene. Perhaps just a couple more sentances on what he could see, smell, hear or feel would have drawn readers in a little better though. Overall scene construction: Good. Can picture the guy delaying himself from reaching the bench because he knows the pain it will open once again, and yet at the same time being drawn towards it. view post


posted 16 Jul 2004, 03:07 by Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Candidate

As I told Replay, I am trying to get a hang of this critique thing, so please let me know if something was unhelpful or you need more of something. I'll go through start to finish first with some comments on the prose and then add general comments...this seems like the way my brain wants to do it. [quote:39mrm7eb]The small gravel path seemed to stretch on forever, as it always did. Norman Bales slowly trudged along this path, as he did every Sunday.[/quote:39mrm7eb] I like this opener, it sets up the idea that this is an event in a series very well, that this man is in a process of mourning and remembering. I think it would do it's job even better, however, if you switched the order of the two sentences. "as it always did" kind of seems to imply "as it always did [i:39mrm7eb]when he (did something)[/i:39mrm7eb]". Switching the order adds the "something"...trudging along the path every Sunday. [quote:39mrm7eb]He stopped and peered at it, apparently someone named Lisa was a whore. [/quote:39mrm7eb] This is great, the second phrase really delivers the impression of diappointment and contempt he feels at seeing the low vandalism. [quote:39mrm7eb]He stopped and peered at it, apparently someone named Lisa was a whore. [/quote:39mrm7eb] I don't think shook needs an adverb here. When I read it without sadly it feels clearer to me. I think that's becuase his reactions is so clear from the previous sentence. [quote:39mrm7eb]He knew he had laughed; Claire had always been witty, even when visiting her parents.[/quote:39mrm7eb] I think the second clause here is too specific. Maybe "Claire had always been witty, even when the occasion was somber." Or something like that...maybe the mood being somber wasn't what you had in mind, but i think generalizing her sense of humor's persistence to a mood rather than a specific event would make the picture of her clearer. [quote:39mrm7eb]He sat down, trying as hard as he might to remember.[/quote:39mrm7eb] I think "could" is a better word than "might" here. Might kind of implies uncertain probability of effort. [quote:39mrm7eb]He closed his eyes, and heard laughter. It seemed to be hers; a light jingle like a tiny bell. He remembered her smile, and how she always complained that her front teeth were too big. And her eyes, those marvelous green eyes, with the left slightly higher on her face then her right. He would tease her mercilessly about that. She would laugh and say at least her face didn’t look like the backside of a horse.[/quote:39mrm7eb] I really liked this. Great imagery showing how he felt about her, and how they related to each other. An easy, comfortable familiarity comes across really well. [quote:39mrm7eb]Norman smiled to himself, remembering. He stood up and contained his journey. He came to the spot where they had laid in the grass and talked. He remembered those talks, how she had said that she was going to leave him; that she couldn’t stay with him. She didn’t know when I would be, but it made him cry every time. She had said it before they got married, that she would leave him someday. Like a fool, he had believed that he could keep her here, that she wouldn’t leave because of him. He was wrong. Falling to his knees in the grass, Norman wept. He put his forehead to the ground smelling the grass. The smell flooded him with memories, all of them memories of her. He fell to his side and closed his eyes, savouring the memories. [/quote:39mrm7eb] Great transition from the fond memories of their laughter and closeness, to a way that she hurt him, then using that to show his loss. I like that the memory of her saying that she would leave him, something that might be taken to be an offhand but hurtful speculation, seems like prophecy (he seems to realize this here). I'm rambling about my impressions so you can think about whether I got the message you wanted me to. I also like the sensory imagery here. one thing i would change, the use of the word "memories" several times in the second paragraph i quoted seems a bit forced. [quote:39mrm7eb]Norman stood up and began back down the path.[/quote:39mrm7eb] The second clause needs a verb, maybe "began to make his way back down..." [quote:39mrm7eb]The small gravel path seemed to end too soon, as it always did.[/quote:39mrm7eb] I like how this ties back and contrasts to the opening. I think this migth be the strongest place to end it. The two following sentences are less effective. Ok...I think i got all my thoughts out there. Good stuff! Gurgeh view post


posted 16 Jul 2004, 15:07 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

I don't think that it was too short quite a bit of emotion is put into the scene and the way in which the subject matter was portrayed is quite touching, personally I thought that sometimes less is more and with the way in which you handled the manipulation of it puts it into a context that all can connect with on a personal level, after all how many times have you gone through a grave yard and seen the results of vandals upon what many would see as someones last place of respect. Nicely done! view post


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