Beta Chapter

So I actually am somewhat ahead in chapter posts. The one that's being posted tomorrow is done, apart for some editing. So, instead of lazing about, I decided to start work on the next chapter. So now I've just introduced a new character. Now I want this scene to both be horrifying and humourous. Horrifying because... well, you'll see. The humor is there to kind of let you know that May isn't really a bad person, she just comes off as completely terrifying because she's a friggin' medical genius with no filter. A version that is pretty much the same word-for-word is on my website: https://nowhereislanduniversity.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/beta-post-meeting-may/



I turned my head around. The first thing I noticed about her was her face. Blond hair with purple tips in some areas fell randomly around her face. Despite how baggy and bloodshot her eyes were (the right was brown, the left green,) they still shone with childish excitement, which matched her ecstatic grin. However, the thing that would draw your eye the most was the network of scars on her face.


The largest one ran down from about an inch above her eye down to her jaw. A spiderweb of scars went from her nose to her ear. Strangely, the only scar that was on her cheek was the main scar.







Oof. Content aside, because I like the scene overall, that's a hell of a paragraph at the end. It's really hard to read.


Yeah, I know it's kind of hard to follow. I kind of meant for it to be hard to follow because May is a huge motormouth, and people who talk way too fast can be hard to understand. I actually kind of like writing her.


No, no, not the way she speaks. That's fine. It's the presentation of the text that's throwing me. It's such a visually big paragraph that my eyes keeping getting lost and rereading the same sentence over and over. Especially where she stops to have an action of hers narrated, you might be better off (or the reader might be) by splitting it up.


Ok. That's actually pretty helpful.


How's this?



I turned my head around. The first thing I noticed about her was her face. Blond hair with purple tips in some areas fell randomly around her face. Despite how baggy and bloodshot her eyes were (the right was brown, the left green,) they still shone with childish excitement, which matched her ecstatic grin. However, the thing that would draw your eye the most was the network of scars on her face.

The largest one ran down from about an inch above her eye down to her jaw. A spiderweb of scars went from her nose to her ear. Strangely, the only scar that was on her cheek was the main scar.









Haha! Well, aside from losing all your paragraph breaks, yes, even that's easier to read. I'm not trying so hard to mentally break down the story, so I can understand it better.


Ok, that's nice to here. Hopefully you'll see it (as well as the rest of the chapter) on NIU next week.


A few notes on your writing style. Note: I'm notoriously blunt. Don't take it personally. :)





1) Always start a new paragraph when you switch speakers. As it is, I read "Oh good!" as something your narrator says, because it is told in their stream.


2) "Moaned" is ambiguous. It can be mean a sound made in pain or in sexual pleasure. As your character is in bed, it's a poor choice.


3) Cut "with somewhat of a contralto voice". The phrase even announces how irrelevant it is, with the use of the word "somewhat". Why do we need to know exactly the range of this woman's singing voice? Is it important to the story? Is there a sound-activated lock only someone in her register can open? Every word you write is a word we have to read. Pick ones that matter, or you'll bore us, and we'll go away.



Give it another pass. Decide what you are trying to accomplish with the passage (what feelings and thoughts you are trying to inspire in your reader) and then rewrite with that goal wholly in mind. If a word or phrase takes you closer to that goal, use it. If it doesn't, don't.


Chris


Solid advice.


Thank you, Chris. This actually is quite helpful. I will have an update of it soon. Also, at this stage in my writing career, blunt is what I need.


Here's update #3!


When next I opened my eyes, I was in lying in my bunk. Immediately, I realized several things. The first was that there was a bandage pressing this sea-green gel into the hand I think I broke. The second was that, while the green gel was doing wonders for me, my hand still hurt like hell. I groaned in pain.



The readability is really improving. Have you thought about taking it to Scribophile for a few peer critiques? You seem like you'd get some good use out of it.


Yep, that's cleaner, but how can she see the "sea-green" gel through the bandage? And, if she somehow can (in a way that is distinct from the colour of the bandage), does it matter that it's "sea-green"? As opposed to "swamp green" or "puke green" or just "green"? Because if it isn't important (it might be, if you were building mood and you were using the colour to reference or reinforce something; but you aren't), cut it. Simple is always better.


If someone asks what colour my eyes are, I say "hazel". Only if they ask for more detail or counter with "I thought they were brown" do I increase specificity to "swampy green, with yellow flecks". I never detail the number or angles of the striations, nor how the colour is altered if seen obliquely. Because that would be crazy. So it is with writing. ;)



http://www.quickmeme.com/img/c3/c35b05c69bbb58ca9a59cf8be28be7d28a328d6f364528aebdc2ac44b167f44b.jpg


"Despite how baggy and bloodshot her eyes were (the right was brown, the left green,) they still shone with childish excitement, which matched her ecstatic grin. However, the thing that would draw your eye the most was the network of scars on her face."


If it hasn't been suggested yet, I prefer "they still shone with childish excitement to match her ecstatic grin." to cut down on the commas. You've got enough in her speech without subjecting people to more if you can help it.


And, "However, the thing that drew my eye the most was the network of scars on her face." sounds better to me.


May: "You wanna know how I got these scars? I tried to do ballet in a moving vehicle."


How is it now?


When next I opened my eyes, I was in lying in my bunk. Immediately, I realized several things. The first was that there was a bandage pressing this gel-like substance into the hand I think I broke. The second was that, while the gel was doing wonders for me, my hand still hurt like hell. I groaned in pain.


I turned my head around. The first thing I noticed about her was her face. Blond hair with purple tips in some areas fell randomly around her face. Despite how baggy and bloodshot her eyes were (the right was brown, the left green,) they still shone with childish excitement to match her ecstatic grin. However, the thing drew my eye the most was the network of scars on her face.

The largest one ran down from about an inch above her eye down to her jaw. A spiderweb of scars went from her nose to her ear. Strangely, the only scar that was on her cheek was the main scar.









What is it you are trying to accomplish with the chapter?


What I'm trying to do is introduce a character and establish her as being completely bereft of social skills. Also, I'm trying to see if I can make the reader laugh at her weirdness or get creeped out by her or both.