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for The Throw Aways

2/27/2012 c3 7Deepsouth
Just curious and a character thought: wouldn't Rease, like most street boys I knew, be 'proud' of his street skills - and would be 'proud' to show them off?

Here's how'd I'd feel:

Proud of what I "know" - but secretly ashamed of my life. Would want to 'impress' - to offset the dreary drab poverty and hardscrabble lifestyle - SHE has everything, I have nothing type of thinking - but not wanting HER to be aware of this all too obvious fact - so I'd show off to the best of my extent everything I had (and knew) in every way I knew it - hoping to 'impress this girl' - but at the same time would be very leery of being caught with her: she's outta my league, gonna leave me behind: just gonna use me and be done; she'll dump ME after she's done using me: there's be suspicion and probably some pretty dark things regarding her running through my mind. Just a thought, an opinion sort of thing.

The writing is very formal. You may want to work on 'trimming the fat'. This will help speed things up (which makes it more exciting) and make it more casual. Trying to change to present tense may help, too, e.g. more "ing" suffixes, fewer "ed" suffixes.


"He slumped to the ground and hugged his legs close to him, arms around his knees, and closed his eyes"

"Slumping to the ground and hugging his legs close, he shut his eyes." (a drastic pruning)

Here's the thing: when you say 'hugging his legs close' readers envision him using his arms. By changing "slumped" to "slumping" we're able to throw out "He" AND change it to present tense (action) instead of 'past' (and therefore passive). I changed "closed his eyes" to 'shut his eyes' because A) it provided a bit of alliteration to the sentence, and B) "close" had been used a few words before ("hugged his legs close"). That was a personal preference, and also because alliteration can be used to help a sentence run smoother.

Try reading your work aloud to yourself as well. If it sounds clumsy or doesn't roll of your tongue easily - take another look at the sentence. We read our own book aloud - twice. It is hard, takes a loonngg time - but is well worth it in terms of finished product in the end.

This is all a matter of style, and therefore should be taken merely as an opinion. Every writer has their own style. Edgar Rice Burroughs was a technical writer; he used a formal style. So there's nothing wrong with that. However - this formal style is more of an 80's thing - as in 1880's. Unfortunately, the written word is more informal now. Young readers hear that style, so that's the style they are comfortable reading. Just an opinion again: you talk to kids more than I do. (LOL, you talk to 'them' every day!) So you be the judge.

A good start, excellently written.
2/27/2012 c2 Deepsouth
:) Good chapter. Technically "perfect" (punctuation, spelling, use of language). Congratulations: that makes it read much smoother.

Legal advise: As a rule, never use a trade name in your story (e.g. "Panado" or "Halls") due to copyright infringement issues. While some companies are 'proud' to have their product featured in a story, others may complain and can potentially sue. It will become an issue if you ever go to get this story published; permission will need to be asked of the companies about use of their trade names. Some 'names' are okay (e.g. 'Velcro', or "Coke", but not "Coca-cola") but as a rule avoid them whenever possible. Better safe than sorry (and a lot of late-night edits redoing things).

Character development is good, as well as the comparison in life styles. Rease 'feels' more developed; but that is 'me' (able to identify easier with him than the 'rich girl'). Chp 1 yielded a bit of 'mystery' (what is happening to the girl); at this point I am guessing boy rescues girl; girl rescues boy - they fall in love and end up together. (wry smile: we like guessing the ending and see how it compares).

A bit choppy on the skipping from one to another character, but not bad. It's a matter of style. I personally would try to devote 4 or 5 paragraphs to each before switching viewpoints (except during interaction/dialogue - bound to be coming up soon!). I understand you are trying to track the 'timeline' closely from each character's POV, so "it works" the way you have written it. And the writing, again, is very good.

Young adult: I'm glad to hear your young adults read so well. Here in the South US the language would be 'above' them; they would struggle a bit to read ('long words', formally structured sentences) - however, I am a bit of a philosopher on this sort of thing: this kind of story can teach them to read better. Not sure if you have a program which rates the 'reading level' you've written at - I know Microsoft Word used to have that tool in it so you could target an audience (useful in writing military manuals where we could not exceed a 7th grade reading and comprehension level due to the troops education).

If I was grading I'd give it an "A+" thus far. Very good. :)

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