Page critique 5/30/17

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Nathan Bransford
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Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
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Page critique 5/30/17

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 29th, 2017, 9:42 am

Want to see how your editing approach compares to mine?

Below is the page up for critique on the blog on Tuesday, May 30th. Feel free to chime in with comments, create your own redline (please note the "font colour" button above the posting box, which looks like a drop of ink), and otherwise offer feedback. When offering your feedback, please please remember to be polite and constructive. In order to leave a comment you will need to register an account in the Forums, which should be self-explanatory.

I'll be back on Tuesday with my own post on the blog and we'll literally be able to compare notes.

If you'd like to enter a page for a future Page Critique, please do so here.


Title: Undecided
Genre: YA Sci-fi


A light fog rolled off of the rising water, twisting around their ankles as the trio picked their way along the crescent-shaped shore of the bay. Malachite Ko stepped carefully, his eyes alert. He’d been shown pictures of the bodies that washed up on the shores of the beach after high tide nights like this: skin bloated and turned a sickly shade of grey, eyes eaten out by carrion fish or pecked away by birds. Adventure-seekers, Lieutenant Envoy called them, or suicides. Either way idiots hoping to ride the three-moon waves. Desperate to do anything for death, or adventure, or fame.
And somehow Malachite was supposed to stop them.
“Anyone there?” Malachite called, shining his flashlight into the top of one of the gnarled, five-foot-thick palms that covered the beach. The perfect hiding spot, if anyone actually was hiding. A cluster of small purple blossoms shriveled up under the light.
No one answered.
“New-Comer must be louder,” said Officer Borghild, her voice breathy and deep. She stood a few feet ahead, watching him from over her shoulder. Catlike pupils narrowed in her shining orange eyes and moonlight from the three converging moons reflected in her double rows of gleaming, pointed teeth. Otherwise, her grey skin and black clothes blended seamlessly into the darkness. “If you want to scare the unintelligent men from the trees, New-Comer must be louder.”
“Fine. Anyone there?” he said again, louder.

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Page critique 5/30/17

Post by J. T. SHEA » May 29th, 2017, 3:12 pm

An intriguing first page I cannot fault.

Multiple moons are a stock-in-trade of SF. My WIP has two. But I must admit the surfing possibilities never occurred to me!

Thanks for this, Hkate12 and Nathan.

gf_gustav
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Re: Page critique 5/30/17

Post by gf_gustav » May 31st, 2017, 7:47 pm

Hi Nathan and thanks for ramping up your blog and services to the writing community.

I thought the 5/30 page critique was very good. Some great work there. I've offered a number of suggestions below, not because they are "right or wrong" but simply to offer the author some additional ideas/possibilities. Attempting to edit with code insertions would take too much time, so here's a revised cut. The author can copy and paste into a Word doc and do a document compare on the section to see the changes highlighted in Word.

These ideas tend even more to the adult genre, but if I were to write a YA book, I'd write it with a lean toward the "adult" part of "young adult." (Not right or wrong. Just my personal preference.) This isn't an "edit." It's intended to be constructive brainstorming input. I really like this setup. Great job by the writer.

===
Revised "Idea" Version

A low fog rolled off the rising water, twisting around the trio’s ankles as they picked their way along the bay’s crescent shore. Malachite Ko stepped carefully in the moonlit gloom. He’d seen the photos. The bodies, gray and bloated, washed up on the sand after the triple-tide. The empty black sockets of their eyes, eaten out by sharp-toothed little fish or razor-beaked sea birds. Adventure-seekers, Lieutenant Envoy called them. Or suicides. Idiots determined to ride the three-moon waves. Desperate for the rush, or fame at any cost.

Malachite’s job was to stop them.

“Anyone there?” Malachite’s light pierced the gloom, illuminating one of the gnarled, five-foot-thick palms that rimmed the playa. A perfect hiding spot. Clusters of small purple blossoms shriveled under the light.

No one answered.

“New-Comer must be louder,” said Officer Borghild, her voice breathy and deep.

She stood not far ahead at the edge of the water-smoothed sand, tall, slender, her catlike pupils narrow, vertical slits in burnt-orange eyes gleaming iridescent in the the stray light of his beam. Double rows of dagger-like teeth strikingly white against her shadowed, gray skin. Dressed in black, she blended seamlessly into the night.

“If you want to scare the unintelligent men from the trees, New-Comer must be louder.”

“Fine. Anyone there?” Malachite said, raising his voice.


Question: If people are hiding here, waiting to get out into “triple moon waves,” wouldn’t there be at least some wave action in the bay? What would it sound like? Perhaps like the waves in Maui’s protected Maalaea Bay in the winter, when the big waves are pounding the north shore? They come into Kihei (KEE-hay) two feet high, long reefs that curl and break with a loud and echoing slap or a long, carving snarl. (Perhaps the word count precluded it, but it seems like it should be worked in early on, as part of the description. Just a line. Invoke all five senses, if possible. That would also explain why he would need to shout, or nearly so, to be heard. The ocean is a noisy place with a distinctive smell.)

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