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Rira
August 12th, 2004, 05:10 PM
anyone care to critique this? its a little piece from a story ive been playing with, mainly introduces the character. its got no foreshadowing or anything, indeed, it's hard to belive there is any story attached to it, but please humor me. im just curious, what do you think?


The air pressed in on Jennifer, dowsing her with sweat from the heat of the late afternoon sun. Thick air, and stagnant, that no breeze stirred. Pale, thin hair stuck to her neck and forehead, and she could see her nose, beaded with sweat, in her peripheral vision. In the back of her mind, she imagined swimming, but she neither stirred, nor acknowledged the thought. Instead, she stared with hollow, gray eyes over the field of scrub grasses and brush.
"Jennifer? Jennifer? Iím talking to you."
"I donít think she heard you." Robin muttered.
"Yeah, she's been out of it," Tara agreed.
Jennifer smiled in the back of her mind, but her face remained stone. They were idiots.
James put a hand on her shoulder. "Listen, Jennifer, were going to go to Brittany's house, and maybe go sailing a bit. Are you coming?"
She couldnít answer, even if she had wanted to. She felt unreal and dead. She knew they'd be insulted, but she didnít care. She wouldnít care if she never saw them again, or if they remained on her apartment porch forever.
After a few moments, James sighed, and tried to kiss her, but she was unresponsive, having barely even felt him. He swallowed. "Okay." he whispered. He turned and she heard the scraping of wrought iron chairs on the wooden floor and clunking footsteps of her friends in their clumsy, heeled sandals. The slider opened and shut again, cutting off a cool blast of air. At the edge of her hearing, the hum of traffic on the highway, people moving inside the apartments.
Staring over the field, she slowly swirled the remains of her drink in her hand. She looked down, surprise echoed in her mind, but did not show on her face. The glass was so cool and wet, and the remains of the ice cubes clinked against the sides. Her throat was so thick and sticky, and the water was, she was sure, very refreshing.
She peered through the twisted, black iron rails of the balcony, and down at the ground, four stories below. Holding the glass loosely, she held it out and poured the contents slowly into space. The liquid slipped out, forming thick bulbous drops, twisting and morphing as they fell, then spattering on the hot dirt. Slowly the ice cubes slid out and followed, bouncing onto the dirt, raising little pats of dust. She dropped the glass after it, and the thick air seemed to slow its decent. It fell, spinning lazily, until finally making impact, and breaking on the stony dust. She stared at the glittering remains of the glass littering the ground, as the afternoon waned and the blistering heat began to dwindle with the suns descent.

Jamza1986
August 12th, 2004, 05:50 PM
Its a good piece of writing, with very few problems. U could go over the description a bit, to check whether all those adjectives are necessary. Genrally fine though, nice introduction.

(Im back from holiday everyone btw:)

choppy
August 12th, 2004, 07:06 PM
There isn't much story yet, so it's hard to make a comment on where this is going. I think this is a good introduction to the character - although I think you have a lot of room to dig a little deeper (hard to tell much because this is only a small sample.) Jennifer seems like she's in a state of "heightened awarness." (There's other words for it - most of which are associated with illegal activity.) And I think you do a good job with the description. Your writing really drew me into the moment.

Keep going!

Chrystyna
August 12th, 2004, 07:33 PM
That was good i would like to see where you go from here, what you have so far sound promising.

Keep up the good work

Rira
August 13th, 2004, 05:23 PM
thank you very much. im not too sure where it is going. but ive written a few chapters developing her. ... its all going downhill.....
lol, she's not on drugs or anything....but i dont really have a name for it. depression, i guess, a sense of unreality...where your not really there and everything else just doesnt seem relevant to the big picture... anyway, that was about as well as i could show it, and it seems to fit into the whole story im working on.

Chrystyna
August 13th, 2004, 11:47 PM
where are you thinking of heading in your story if you are thinking different realms then you could put her dissinterestness in that her mind is being pulled though to this new realm but her body hasnt as of yet for example it could work in many different ways. hope that might help you a bit ;) :D

daiquiri_ice
August 14th, 2004, 11:42 PM
The air pressed in on Jennifer, dowsing her with sweat from the heat of the late afternoon sun.

This is a nice visual but it is a little illogical. The air was hot from the afternoon sun and it caused her to perspire but the air didn't contain buckets of sweat that were used to dowse a fire. You might consider using "drenched clothing" or "beads of perspiration" as a result of the heat from the late afternoon sun.


Thick air, and stagnant, that no breeze stirred.

The "thick air" in this sentence seems redundant to the first sentence. "The air pressed" implies thickness or heaviness. Consider omitting this or moving it to the first sentence. This is a very fragmented sentence and you might consider combining it with the first sentence and moving this to the beginning. It feels like a wonderful stage setting for the scene.


Pale, thin hair stuck to her neck and forehead, and she could see her nose, beaded with sweat, in her peripheral vision. In the back of her mind, she imagined swimming, but she neither stirred, nor acknowledged the thought. Instead, she stared with hollow, gray eyes over the field of scrub grasses and brush.

You do a very good job creating a visual here - she has thin blond hair, she's lost in thought and it's damn hot! :D There seems to be too many commas. Consider omitting some of them. I think it is normal to insert commas where we pause in our minds as we write but they are not all necessary and can distract the reader.


"Jennifer? Jennifer? Iím talking to you."

Who is this speaking? I think it is James but only after reading forward and deducing this - but maybe I'm wrong?


Jennifer smiled in the back of her mind, but her face remained stone. They were idiots.


She couldnít answer, even if she had wanted to. She felt unreal and dead.

The two quotes above seem contradictory. If she can conclude (active) that they are idiots it doesn't make sense that she can't answer (passive) even if she wanted to. Are you trying to convey that she has no control over her state of mind or is she choosing her state of mind? If she has no control (passive) then the aggressive nature of the thought that her friends were idiots doesn't fit. However, not being able to answer (also passive) even if she wanted to does fit. Make sense?


After a few moments, James sighed, and tried to kiss her, but she was unresponsive, having barely even felt him. He swallowed. "Okay." he whispered. He turned and she heard the scraping of wrought iron chairs on the wooden floor and clunking footsteps of her friends in their clumsy, heeled sandals. The slider opened and shut again, cutting off a cool blast of air. At the edge of her hearing, the hum of traffic on the highway, people moving inside the apartments.

Again, somewhat illogical but this may be because of the short sample. If she barely felt him kiss her and therefore was unresponsive why would he leave her? Doesn't he think something is wrong with this? Also, if she barely felt him how could she hear such details as wrought iron chairs scraping and clumsy, clunking sandals? Consider how to more clearly convey whether she has no control over her state of mind or if she is choosing to shut herself off from the world. The last sentence is choppy and though sometimes choppy sentences can communicate a feeling or a rhythm it seems out of place in this paragraph.


Staring over the field, she slowly swirled the remains of her drink in her hand. She looked down, surprise echoed in her mind, but did not show on her face. The glass was so cool and wet, and the remains of the ice cubes clinked against the sides. Her throat was so thick and sticky, and the water was, she was sure, very refreshing. She peered through the twisted, black iron rails of the balcony, and down at the ground, four stories below. Holding the glass loosely, she held it out and poured the contents slowly into space. The liquid slipped out, forming thick bulbous drops, twisting and morphing as they fell, then spattering on the hot dirt. Slowly the ice cubes slid out and followed, bouncing onto the dirt, raising little pats of dust. She dropped the glass after it, and the thick air seemed to slow its decent. It fell, spinning lazily, until finally making impact, and breaking on the stony dust. She stared at the glittering remains of the glass littering the ground, as the afternoon waned and the blistering heat began to dwindle with the suns descent.

This is quite good! It felt like a slow motion scene. Consider having Jennifer interact her thoughts with her actions. The liquid twisting and morphing must remind her of something or someone. The pats of dust must make her react with some emotion. The sentence describing her holding the glass uses multiple forms of the word "hold". Consider revising this. Consider changing "dropped the glass after it" to something more rhythmic to the action in the scene. "Dropped" implies a sudden or accidental occurrence. What about "let it slide from her fingers" or "felt the cool glass sliding from her grasp" - consider something more slow or deliberate. The very last sentence has two extremes that are too polar to be logical. "Blistering heat" doesn't "dwindle". Consider omitting "blistering". Comma use seemed less than in previous paragraphs but still too many.

Overall, a very intriguing scene. I was curious about Jennifer and what was behind her state of mind. Keep writing!

Rira
August 16th, 2004, 06:56 PM
where are you thinking of heading in your story if you are thinking different realms then you could put her dissinterestness in that her mind is being pulled though to this new realm but her body hasnt as of yet for example it could work in many different ways. hope that might help you a bit ;) :D

wow, that's brilliant! may i use it? i mean...well, ive got a different idea....but its based on the one youve told me.
wow, now ive a million ideas! thank you!

and daiquiri_ice,
thank you, that was a terrific critique...or what ever you want to call it. you really broke things down, and it helped alot. i'll be doing some editing tonight, and maybe draw out a good story plan.

Chrystyna
August 16th, 2004, 08:52 PM
Rira go for it i have no problems what so ever, the story im writing is in a totally different direction, if you need anymore ideas dont hesitate to leave me a message and i will do all i can to help you.

Rira
August 17th, 2004, 02:37 PM
thanks! i dont like to take direct ideas, because they arnt mine....but from what you said, it gave me an idea im playing with, and its based on yours....thank you a ton.