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WritersBlock
June 4th, 2007, 06:43 PM
(not a vampire story)


Even though it was an undead, it would of been terribly rude to leave the body unattended. After all, it was newly undead, an entirely different story. This one hadn’t woken since it had been bitten; the man had no way of knowing what he had become. It would have been disrespectful to just kill it. So, Vitaliy had to dispose of it, even if it he would have to make the deadly journey across town to sell it.

He had been to Annex River, mulling over some lost tale when he had noticed the body floating to shore. Being the cautious type, he immediately sent out various spells of protection and the like. He pulled out his flashlight to see if anyone else was in the vicinity, but then quickly berated himself, noting the uselessness of the device. Dim lamps flickered on and off on either side of the riverbank. But of course, there were more places to hide than in the shadows, so he put the flashlight away and sent out another spell.

He learned that he was the only one there, but he wasn’t surprised. When someone dumped a body they usually never stayed behind to see how it would fair. When he had knelt down to inspect the body, his head cocked to the side as a strange sound filled the air. He rose quickly and willed the sounds of the park to a low hum. The howling wind fumbled as if a cord of its haunting music had been plucked. It continued for a while and then stopped abruptly.

How strange. He shook his head and thought of it no more.

The man had been stripped bare, and his watery skin had been decorated in a multitude of ugly cuts and bruises. When Vitaliy turned the man over he saw the vacant look in his eyes, and knew instantly that the he was dead. He whistled at the ungodly sight as he closed the man’s eyes.

“What to do,” he whispered. He went to retrieve a blanket from his car to wrap the body in; he planned to take it to the morgue. As he opened the blanket to cover the body, he saw the man’s right hand twitch. “An undead!” His lips curved into a crooked grin.

And now, as he sat in his beat up old car, the same crooked grin was on his face and he couldn't help but think of the money that would be coming his way.

Dawnstorm
June 4th, 2007, 07:58 PM
Hi,

It's short, so I'll do it like this. Your text, my comments in blue. General comments afterwards.


Even though it was an undead, it would of have been terribly rude to leave the body unattended. After all, it was newly undead, (an entirely different story) adds nothing. This one hadn’t woken since it had been bitten; the man had no way of knowing what he it? (more below) had become. It would have been disrespectful to just kill it. So, Vitaliy had to dispose of it (killing is a way of disposing it; you probably mean he had to dispose of it in some other way?), even if (it) he would have to make the deadly journey across town to sell it.

He had been to Annex River, mulling over some lost tale when he had noticed the body floating to shore (suggestion: ashore). Being the cautious type, he immediately sent out various spells of protection and the like good enough for a first draft, but in the end be more specific. He pulled out his flashlight to see if anyone else was in the vicinity, but then quickly berated himself, noting the uselessness of the device. Dim lamps flickered on and off on either side of the riverbank. But of course, there were more places to hide than in the shadows, so he put the flashlight away and sent out another spell. I'm unsure about the intended tone of the sentences, mainly because of punctuation. Look at this, and tell me if I'm off: But of course! There were more places to hide than in the shadows. He put the...
He learned that he was the only one there, but he wasn’t surprised. When someone dumped a body they usually never stayed behind to see how it would fair. When he (had) past perfect unnecessary; you could say "after" instead of when to make it good grammar, but I wouldn't recomend it knelt down to inspect the body, his head cocked to the side as a strange sound filled the air. (When - As; doesn't quite work. You might have intended something like this:When he knelt... ...body, his head cocked to the side, a strange sound...) He rose quickly and willed the sounds of the park to a low hum. The howling wind fumbled fumbled? as if a cord chord of its haunting music had been plucked. (Not sure what this metaphor is about; fumbling seems to be about failure/clumsiness, but "plucking a chord" means playing it; I'm wondering if you meant "pluck from" in the sense of "take away", or a pun perhaps? I'm sorry, but I'm just confused, here.) It continued for a while and then stopped abruptly.

How strange. He shook his head and thought of it no more.

The man had been stripped bare, and his watery skin had been decorated in a multitude of ugly cuts and bruises. When Vitaliy turned the man over he saw the vacant look in his eyes, and knew instantly that the he the he? was dead. He whistled at the ungodly sight as he closed the man’s eyes.

“What to do,” he whispered. He went to retrieve a blanket from his car to wrap the body in; he planned to take it to the morgue. As he opened the blanket to cover the body, he saw the man’s right hand twitch. “An undead!” His lips curved into a crooked grin.

And now, as he sat in his beat up old car, the same crooked grin was on his face and he couldn't help but think of the money that would be coming his way.

Interesting premise. I wonder who buys undead. I wonder who the tellingly named "Vitality" is. Good job. 'tis a hook.

1. Pronouns: When it's undead it's an it, but when he's dead he's a he? Is that it? (I've corrected one "he" to an "it" above, but I'm unsure whether I got that right.)

2. Tense: I like the frame you established, beginning and ending being basically one scene while the middle is leading up to it. However, the transitions could be worked on. It's tricky. It would be awkward to have the bulk of your narration in past perfect. Would it work to place the last sentence in the past-in-the-past into a paragraph of its own and return into the past perfect? Possibly, but I'm not sure. Present tense for the frame? Possible, but this might clash with the larger concept. As I said, tense is tricky if you keep the frame (don't give up, though, I like the frame).

3. Some of the language could be tightened: "When someone dumped a body they usually never stayed behind to see how it would fair." I like the idea behind the sentence, and the conclusion is nice, but the beginning doesn't sound to good. "someone", "a", "usually never"... this makes it a bit indeterminate. How about: "When people dumped bodies they rarely stayed..." (something like this; see how you can get rid of as many "non-evocative" words as possible, i.e. words that have a grammatical function but no semantic meaning. Don't overdo it though; you need them in moderation. They do structure sentences, after all.)

Hopefully helpful,

Eddie

James Carmack
June 4th, 2007, 08:38 PM
DS caught a fair bit of the problems, so I won't repeat the points he's already brought up.

I will add that it's not "fair" but "fare". "How it would fare". And since you're speaking in hypotheticals, you can use the present tense. In other words, "when somebody dumps a body".

Next, what's with the watery skin? That would imply that its consistency is like water, and I know that's not what you mean. Is it simply wet or is it water-logged? (I advise the latter. Makes for a more vivid word picture. ^_^ )

You've got rough patches to clean up, but this little piece might just grow into something interesting.

Prunephoenix
June 4th, 2007, 08:53 PM
Interesting start, and it draws me in. I found a few parts distracting and/or confusing, and a tendency to be wordy in places. Your descriptions need work – they seem effective at setting a mood, but less so at giving the reader a picture of what is going on – both with particular events and the big picture.

Some suggestions

One thing that could be cleaned up is the way you refer to the corpse or whatever it is. You refer to it as 'undead', 'this one', 'the man', 'he' and 'it' within the first few sentences. This makes for hard reading, and it is unclear at points whether you are referring to the undead thing or the discoverer.

How about this -

"Even though it was an undead, it would of been terribly rude to leave the body unattended, and disrespectful just to kill it. After all, it was newly undead and hadn’t woken since it had been bitten. It had no way of knowing what it had become."

I also had difficulty with the last sentence of that first paragraph, because "dispose of" is a phrase that suggests he may have had a hand in creating the things situation (mobsters dispose of bodies, but passers-by usually don't) rather than trying to help rectify the situation. "Properly dispose of" might be better. But then you suggest that he is going to sell it, which isn't usually associated with proper disposal of a body, especially if it is a stranger doing the selling.

The second paragraph works pretty well, although the main work it seems to be doing is to let us know something about his character (he is cautious) and can casts spells, and to establish the setting. I would either tighten it up a bit (is the reason the flashlight doesn't work the dim lamps? If so, I would say so)

how about:

"He had been to Annex River, mulling over some lost tale when he had noticed the body floating to shore. Ever cautious, he sent out various spells of protection. He pulled out his flashlight, then quickly berated himself. The device cast no more light than the dim lamps flickering on and off from either side of the riverbank. There was more to worry over than shadows, so he put the flashlight away and sent out another spell."

I found the next paragraph confusing. How about this for the second sentence: “When someone dumps a body they never stay behind to see how it fares.” I'm not sure what to do with the paragraph after that – does he will the sounds of the park to a low hum so that he can better hear the strange sound? If not what is going on? If so, make that clearer. Why not describe the strange sound? The second to the last sentence I find very problematic. How does wind fumble? Harps have cords that can be plucked, but music has chords that can't. And if a cord of an instrument is plucked, it makes more sound, not less. It seems like you are choosing words for their connotations rather than for their meaning. You should consider both. As with the previous paragraph, the details are (potentially) effective at setting a mood, but less so in helping us understand what is happening. He kneels down, cocks his head, rises quickly. The wind continues for a while then stops. So what? Why not toss us a hint about the strange sound that will help us understand your world?

The next paragraph is: “How strange. He shook his head and thought of it no more.”

Alone, it works. But since I was lost in the previous paragraph, it doesn't help me understand what is going on. What exactly was strange, and what was thought of no more? The way the wind died? The strange noise? Was the wind the strange noise? Also, you might want to add a transition to return our attention to the corpse – “thought of it no more and returned his attention to the body” or something like that.

The next paragraph seems fine. One small point – “watery skin” doesn't seem quite right. Liquids can be watery but skin? I think you are gesturing toward the look of skin that has been in water for a while, unless you just mean 'wet'.

How about this for the next paragraph -

“What to do?,” he whispered. “Wrap it with a blanket from the car and take it to the morgue”, he thought. The man’s right hand twitched. “An undead!” His lips curved into a crooked grin.

Recap – interesting set up, makes me think there is an interesting story going to follow. Strong on mood and setting, the easy type of descriptions work (he kneeled) but don't give us much information. When things get more complicated it gets confusing. Some hint about why undead are valuable, or at least some sort of context to help us understand more about your world in this respect would be helpful.

Just my two cents.

EDIT: I didn't see the other posts while typing this up - it looks like we have touched on some of the same points.

WritersBlock
June 4th, 2007, 09:46 PM
Hi,

It's short, so I'll do it like this. Your text, my comments in blue. General comments afterwards.



Interesting premise. I wonder who buys undead. I wonder who the tellingly named "Vitality" is. Good job. 'tis a hook.

1. Pronouns: When it's undead it's an it, but when he's dead he's a he? Is that it? (I've corrected one "he" to an "it" above, but I'm unsure whether I got that right.)

2. Tense: I like the frame you established, beginning and ending being basically one scene while the middle is leading up to it. However, the transitions could be worked on. It's tricky. It would be awkward to have the bulk of your narration in past perfect. Would it work to place the last sentence in the past-in-the-past into a paragraph of its own and return into the past perfect? Possibly, but I'm not sure. Present tense for the frame? Possible, but this might clash with the larger concept. As I said, tense is tricky if you keep the frame (don't give up, though, I like the frame).

3. Some of the language could be tightened: "When someone dumped a body they usually never stayed behind to see how it would fair." I like the idea behind the sentence, and the conclusion is nice, but the beginning doesn't sound to good. "someone", "a", "usually never"... this makes it a bit indeterminate. How about: "When people dumped bodies they rarely stayed..." (something like this; see how you can get rid of as many "non-evocative" words as possible, i.e. words that have a grammatical function but no semantic meaning. Don't overdo it though; you need them in moderation. They do structure sentences, after all.)

Hopefully helpful,

Eddie

I was trying to compare the wind to a guitar, or cello. Some kind of musical instrument, lol.


Anyways thanks for the comments guys! Incredibly helpful!

choppy
June 5th, 2007, 05:05 PM
I will add that it's not "fair" but "fare". "How it would fare". And since you're speaking in hypotheticals, you can use the present tense. In other words, "when somebody dumps a body".

I just wanted to say thanks to James for this. I learned something new.



Writer's Block:
I found this intriguing, but confusing as it stands. Others have already made most of the comments I would have.

As it reads, you open by telling the reader that this body is undead. It seems to take Vitaliy (which I keep misreading as Vitality) until the end of the excerpt to notice. This is confusing because I'm not sure at what point I've entered this character's head. As a reader it helps to know what he knows.

I also found it really odd that his plan was to take the body to a morgue. Normal people, if they happen on a body, are generally obliged to call the police. Perhaps this isn't the case in your world, but as a reader, I want to know why. Perhaps you could use this as a further hook to string the reader along?

Cheers!

James Carmack
June 5th, 2007, 09:49 PM
Why not go ahead and take it to the chop shop? Brain gets wasted pretty quickly, but there's still a fair bit you can salvage if you don't dilly-dally. Put that bad boy on ice and get to steppin'. ^o^

WritersBlock
June 6th, 2007, 12:27 AM
Well I did fix it up and I wrote a longer piece, but I messed up the entire flow. So now I'm trying to go through what I've written and fix it up because I kind of like it, lol. It's so frustrating.

James Carmack
June 6th, 2007, 12:56 AM
Welcome to the wonderful world of writing.

WritersBlock
June 6th, 2007, 02:37 PM
This is another part I wrote. Could yo guys critique it?
http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2471p2.html