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    Default Selected Excerpts from my Novel - The Need

    I'm over halfway through my re-write and, essentially, I want to post some excerpts in here of passages I'm either happy with to see how they read to others, or passages that have frustated me to no end with their inevitable clunkiness or passages that I write to incite certains things, such as sadness or fear or repulsion and want to be sure they are effective and figure out how they can be more effective.

    It'd be nice if a mod/administrator could put a note at the top of the main forum page to give me a hand with this over the next week or so then you can take it down. Lots of readers here and the more input I can get over my syntactically structuring and general readability would be fantastic. Thanks to all who read them!

    Excerpt one: Character is on LSD, so, he is hallucinating.

    From Chapter Twelve
    It was beginning to make sense. It wasn't him. It was not him at all. It had stolen his face. But it did not need his face anymore. No, it had no reason left to wear it. The streets were covered in masks that floated in the blood that ran along the gutters in torrid currents before draining into the stomach of Ashton. The pain in his chest was back. He grappled with it but the pain had never been this severe and it easily won. He dropped to his knees sobbing and each concussive sob exacerbated the pain, but he couldn't stop, he wouldn't stop, and when the pain became unbearable he ripped the toilet seat off and whipped it at the wall. He screamed but only bloodied saliva came out. He tried to swallow it into himself but he couldn't. It hurt to swallow. It hurt to breathe. His now faceless reflection looked down upon him from the mirror, and it smiled.


    Excerpt 2: Character Flashback

    From Chapter Seven

    In the months following his parent's death he found little peace. He only found peace when he was alone and he never felt alone at home as he always expected his parents to be in the next room, forgetting they were all now empty. These moments turned solitude into torture. Andy had to flee home to be at home; the cracked streets were his home and its riff raff were his newfound kin. Nine months had passed since their accident. It is true that it gets a little easier each day but, in certain terms, it only gets worse. This morning he'd put on coffee and without realizing it, he'd filled his mother's yellow, ceramic mug; it was the only mug she ever used and he'd drank the entire cup before he realized what he'd done. Andy didn't cry, he never cries, but this was as close as he'd come since the funeral. Andy lived in a charnel house. Personality had been attributed to faceless objects. Life existed where none should be. Sitting inside those walls he was convinced he was the least human thing inside them. It drove him mad.

    Excerpt Three: An old homeless man in a bar after being shamed

    From Chapter Three
    For sometime Herb sat alone in the booth, despondent. He discovered his sadness was unquenchable after drinking himself broke: pity was his only currency. He was a useless old fool, he'd long been convinced of it. Karma was tricky; he felt like this because he didn't thank the lad for the twenty dollars. Shame churned his stomach. If only he had the money to buy drink after drink, surrounded by beautiful debutantes, not just living, but loving life: but Herb was worth the same as an empty tumbler."[/quote]

    Excerpt Four: No background needed, it's the first we see of this character.

    From Chapter Four
    Amy looked like a whore. She continued to paste cover up and blunsh on her swollen cheek; the blackness of the bruise was determined to show through even a mountain of cosmetics. She let loose her pony tail and ruffled her hair but the bangs weren't long enough to guise half of her face. Fortunately the bar was dim and she didn't think anyone had noticed, though her perspiration wasn't helping matters. When she was a little girl she never imagined herself to be right here, right now, but alas, here she is. Amy asked herself many questions. How did I get here? Why do I make such silly mistakes? Why am I such a fuck up? What makes me worthless? Her stomach grumbled. She had not eaten since the night before. Being that she only had a half hour break she accepted her face was as good as it could get. The last thing she wanted was sympathy from anyone for she'd gotten herself into this predicament, now she was getting out of it. She flushed the toilet to the imply she had, in fact, used the employee bathroom. Amy took one last look in the mirror and touched a finger to her cheek and winced at the hot pain: a token of her latent courage. Amy conceded it better to look whorish than battered.


    Excerpt Five: Musings about death and heroin. Lloyd is his roomate, Darren his best friend. It's three paragraphs but they kind all need to be read together, I think.

    From Chapter Twelve
    Andy stepped inside his apartment. There was no way he could go back to sleep. For reasons unknown to him, Andy was wired. He didn't sleep much and when he does sleep, he rarely finds his way into a dream and sleep thus became a blank existence of hibernation; his body recovered a tremendous amount of energy after a meager few hours. If I am up, I may as well fix, he thought to himself. He sat at his desk, in his corner. He opened his lockbox and extracted his paraphernalia. Swiftly and skillfully he readied his fix. At the end of his ritual he places the syringe before him. Andy kept his hands folded on his lap. Andy licked his lips. His breath quickened. Sweat dripped down his brow. His nostrils dialated and so did his pupils. The anticipation of the drug was a drug in and of itself. Andy waited for that voice to grow anxious and desperate; he meant to tease it until it scratches his throat and annunciates, take it, take it now, he will not take it: when the voice reached the point of perforation, Andy gave in. He pushed the plunger down and a moment later he treaded the swells of euphoria.

    Half an hour later Andy was slumped in his chair, face on the mahogany desk. There is a metronome inside his chest. Andy had no thoughts and that was the chief benefit of heroin: it plucked him from his seat and plopped him somewhere ineffably superior, where everything made sense because nothing existed. Day to day he donned a mask of complacency but beneath that mask was a boy, just a lonely, vulnerable boy daunted by the world's complexities. Andy employed his means towards simplicity and what offers more simplicity than heroin? Heroin distills life into an ineffaceable, singular form. Heroin provides a realm of safety, even from the reapers hooked hands, and in this realm, nothing can touch him unless he let's it in.

    In the afterglow of the drug he wondered why he'd let Lloyd into his life. Andy had successfully, aside from Darren, severed all plutonic ties and yet he invited Lloyd in, even after all that work shutting everyone out. Could it be, he mused, that life without company, without someone to say 'I see you, you exist', is closer to death than I'd like? Death lingered around Andy. It spared nothing yet it didn't want Andy, not yet: death instead marinated him in contrition. He didn't want to think of himself as cursed but perhaps he was. Death went from concept to scatching reality too fast for Andy. When he was eight and the cat died, his father told him the cat had gone to heaven; his mother cried and his father held her and Andy stood alone, convinced the notion of heaven was silly. Andy's disbelief in heaven has not diminished, to him it is an invention of man simply to idealize death, a puerile fantasy employed to ease the suffering of the bitter reminder: everything ends. To him, a life is not grieved for the dead but for the living; what is really mourned is that which is ripped from the lives of those still alive. Andy cannot view death in that way. Andy can only see death from the perspective of the deceased; he will imagine himself on Utah Beach, rushing the hills, rifle in hand, comrades at his sides, the splatter of of mud and blood against his skin, the force of an explosion in his ear, smoke swimming through his nostrils, the whiz of a bullet, the plopping of bodies, the screams of agony and of fear, and he stops, pits his rifle to his shoulder, readies his-----stop. A day does not expire without the faces of his parents freezing in his mind. A day does not expire without knowing he is rising like a balloon, bobbing in the wind, carrying with him the debilitating knowledge that at any second he might burst. What will it be like? He thought, to stand on the gallows with a thick, coarse rope around my neck? How excruciating would those final moments be, knowing it is inevitable to hope? Would those final seconds strech on forever or would they be as swift as a guillotine's chop? Andy put his head back down. His thoughts still and he returned to his respite from life and death.
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    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    Re: The Need

    Mattrick, to begin with, please edit your post the way your excerpts are not quoted - reading big pieces of text in italics is impossible for many (me including), and is sure to ruin the impression.
    Last edited by Odetta; 01-23-2014 at 11:54 AM.

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    Re: The Need

    Immediately I notice that the sentences are pretty much all the same length.

    It was beginning to make sense. It wasn't him. It was not him at all. It had stolen his face. But it did not need his face anymore. No, it had no reason left to wear it.

    That, to me, reads sort of choppy and repetetive.
    Last edited by Odetta; 01-23-2014 at 11:54 AM.
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    Re: The Need

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfan24 View Post
    Immediately I notice that the sentences are pretty much all the same length.

    It was beginning to make sense. It wasn't him. It was not him at all. It had stolen his face. But it did not need his face anymore. No, it had no reason left to wear it.

    That, to me, reads sort of choppy and repetetive.
    Sentence length really varies depending on the syntactic structure I'm using. The short sentences are periodic, more often than not for description and emphasis. When the cumulative form works better I use a longer sentence, like in the last excerpt I have a 79 word behemoth in there lol
    Last edited by Odetta; 01-23-2014 at 11:55 AM.
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    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    Re: The Need

    it is not within my power to put up a marquee (I think that's what you mean?), but you can contact Jerome directly

    I am reading the passages now, but I don't think I can say anything outside the context. It is all intriguing and makes me want for more, but I can hardly say anything specific basing only on this, other than that I agree with Kingfan about the first passage; it reads like a sack race and I am not sure it was intended.

    Another thing: the Amy passage is mainly a [quasi] inner monologue, made entirely from her POV, so the sentence it begins with (Amy looked like a whore) seems coming from the outside and sounds like a general statement about what she actually looked like. I think the proper noun (Amy) should be introduced in a different way, certainly not as the first word of her introduction.

    What did you mean by "plutonic" in the last passage?
    Last edited by Odetta; 01-23-2014 at 11:55 AM.

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

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  6. #6
    Going Slap Happy Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick's Avatar

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    Re: The Need

    That's a good point Jean, funny that I never noticed that. I've been very careful of my pronouns especially if it should be a form of reveal. I'm writing a chapter like that where, due to a characters circumstances, we're not quite sure who 'he' is, until I reveal it: it's the sort of thing that could not work in film as the audience could see but in a novel I can withold that information, it's fun lol.

    I meant platonic, slipped by my sensors lol

    Basically the only context I'm looking for input on is on how it reads, how the sentences are constructed. Not going to post anything that requires plot or character knowledgr to be understood.
    Last edited by Odetta; 01-23-2014 at 11:55 AM.
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    So I'm almost 200 pages into my re-write and I've re-written the entire book from scratch, using the first draft only as a guide getting rid of the useless description and expostion. It's looking that first draft of 296 will finish up now between 240-250. Not going to post entire chapters but just a few paragraphs if you guys feel like offering some imput, it would be much appreciated.


    1:

    Junkies live as if crossing a tightrope where every step is a struggle towards survival and throttling winds make every step that much harder; a junkie must maintain balance between need and responsibility if they mean to reach the other end. It's easy to assume a junkie lives a dawdling and erratic life but the truth is rather the opposite, for junkies lead distilled and austere lives free from the trappings of society and they are passionately dedicated to their common goal: to fix. Junkies do not abide by tradition time and can live a dozen days within a single calender day because each score unleases a new dawn of chance. The success of a junkie is wholly determined by how deftly they prepare, an inept junkie is prone to fall victim to the easiness of crime, while an apt junkie can function in society donning their addiction as a mask worn only in privacy. But no matter the junkie and no matter their circumstance, each of them share the exultation each conquest brings. Today, Andy took his first step on this tightrope. Initially his progress was fine, great even, but in the middle of the rope, where the slack is greatest, he panicked and is still panicking. Andy never truly had to make a conquest and before today a fix was no harder to obtain than a bag of milk. But everything changed today. He changed today. There can be no more deliberate steps. No more plotting or biding time or placations or distractions or anything of the sort. It is just Andy and his tightrope and his need to cross it as fast as possible.


    2:

    He turned the key but the engine didn't start because the battery was dead, the cruisers were idling for hours with the lights going. "Figures," he sighed and lit a cigarette. Though one of the other cruisers could start he doubted it. Lloyd needed a moment to process everything. Was this really reality? - he thought. Lloyd had no love loss for the police in Ashton but a lawless city is a terrifying reality. Would any consequences fall amongst the murders and rapists of today? If this is really the world then only God has the power to reprimand anyone who commits attrocities and to Lloyd that just isn't enough. A teenage boy ran along the front of the cruiser and a bloodied woman pursued him. Today is a day where sins will be commited - he thought - but if sin is necessary for survival, are they really sins? Despite his faith Lloyd hasn't seen eye to eye with God for years, feeling like a lowlier Job in the eyes of the almight; but now, in his time of need, he put his hands together on the steering wheel and prayed. "I ask of you God to hold me accountable for every sin until this day. I deserved to be punished for those sins. But if I have to kill to not be killed or to kill to protect those I care about, I ask that you won't hold it against me. Look, I'm sure you know I don't give a shit if I you send my ass to hell, I really don't, but if the paper work says 'prick' instead of 'murdering prick', Satan might go a little easier on me. I have to believe there is a reason I am still here and you need something from me, but I'm afraid I'll only disappoint you. Will you punish me if I fail? Will you punish me if I give my life trying? And if I do fail leave my kids out of it. I don't want none of that sins of the father bullshit, okay? Amen."

    3:

    It seemed no matter the direction people were everywhere. Ahead one of them stopped, stood and siffened, his limbs convulsed and his features twitched as a thick stream of saliva poured from swollen and shorn lips. Not far away a young man jounced against the pavement with enough forced to smudge his characteristics. A woman gouged at her own face with purple prosthetic nails but she's not screaming, she's groaning in prurient pleasure. An old man fell before Andy, his muscles were pulled so tight that his elastic skin had nothing to cling to and Andy heard the rapid pops as the old man's joints began dislocating. I'm not going to end up like them, I'm not, I'm going to, I won't - he repeated to himself.

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    Along the Path of the Beam Claude Clay will become famous soon enough Claude Clay's Avatar

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    From Chapter 7:

    Little peace was had by (Jim) in the months following his parents death. And on such occasions there came a sense of duality; the house still held tangable memories of their presence. Such was the pressure of conflict which drove him from his former house of peace to the wild of the streets. His yet another face unknown to others sharing the vagueness of the cracked and cruel streets where he was lost in front of his own home shivering all the deep inside rewinding the 9 months since their demise.

    pick up from there. i am rather hit or miss, hope it helps
    make a fire for a man and you warm him for the nite
    light him on fire and you warm him for the rest of his life

  9. #9
    Going Slap Happy Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick's Avatar

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    After re-writing again it's amazing how wooden all this is lol Like this:

    "Junkies live as if crossing a tightrope where every step is a struggle towards survival and throttling winds make every step that much harder; a junkie must maintain balance between need and responsibility if they mean to reach the other end. It's easy to assume a junkie lives a dawdling and erratic life but the truth is rather the opposite, for junkies lead distilled and austere lives free from the trappings of society and they are passionately dedicated to their common goal: to fix. Junkies do not abide by tradition time and can live a dozen days within a single calender day because each score unleases a new dawn of chance. The success of a junkie is wholly determined by how deftly they prepare, an inept junkie is prone to fall victim to the easiness of crime, while an apt junkie can function in society donning their addiction as a mask worn only in privacy. But no matter the junkie and no matter their circumstance, each of them share the exultation each conquest brings. Today, Andy took his first step on this tightrope. Initially his progress was fine, great even, but in the middle of the rope, where the slack is greatest, he panicked and is still panicking. Andy never truly had to make a conquest and before today a fix was no harder to obtain than a bag of milk. But everything changed today. He changed today. There can be no more deliberate steps. No more plotting or biding time or placations or distractions or anything of the sort. It is just Andy and his tightrope and his need to cross it as fast as possible."


    Has been re-written to this:


    "Junkies live their lives on a tightrope, their every step a struggle towards survival and each step is made more difficult by the throttling winds of law and order and propriety; the junkie must maintain balance between need and responsibility if they mean to reach the other side, where their fix awaits. It is easy to assume a junkie lives an erratic, meandering life but the truth is that junkies lead distilled and austere lives free from the trappings of society and they are passionately dedicated to their common ecumenical goal: to fix. Junkies live outside traditional time and live a dozen days inside a single day because each score unleashes a new dawn of chance. A junkie’s success is wholly determined by the deftness of their preparation: an inept junkie is prone to fall victim to the easiness of crime, while an apt junkie can function in society, and take off their mask of normalcy to indulge in their vices in privacy. But no matter the junkie and no matter their circumstance, every junkie shares in the exultation that each conquest brings. Today, Andy takes his first steps on his tightrope. Andy has never truly made a conquest because before today a fix for him was no harder to obtain than a bag of milk. But everything changed today. He changed today. There can be no more deliberate steps, no more plotting or biding time or placations or distractions or anything of the sort. Now, it is just Andy and his tightrope and his need to get across it as quick as possible."

    And even this there are plenty of chances to tighten it up and get it to flow better.
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