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Posted: December 23rd, 2011, 6:17 pm
REMOVED BY AUTHOR
Posted: December 24th, 2011, 3:10 pm
My thoughts in red:
Apartheid - noun. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South-Africa, involving political, legal and economic discrimination against non-whites.
Johan didn’t know if he had any right to think, never mind say this, but he was sick of
hether it was directly spoken of, insinuated or referred to, he heard about it everywhere. It was
twenty-first century! And then there were the
people his own
blamed all their problems on apartheid, when it
had already seen its ass before
they were born. Politics made him nauseous.
He looked at the clock from the caricature of Mr. Luow engraved
into his wooden desk. Five minutes til
mid-year exams were over. C
ertain people would use every second. Those who knew and didn’t know their work were always the first to finish.
Micyla, one seat ahead
, could do well if she wanted, but
her boyfriend, seated next to her
, failed everywhere but
on the rugby field. There, h
e was better than Johan liked to admit. Simon, Johan's
sitting by the window,
was a hybrid. He understood the content
but didn’t care enough to spend all night studying. Johan
couldn’t stand people like that.
Okay, I would finish this, but I've got to get ready for Christmas Mass. Overall, intriguing start, just tighten things up a bit and be careful with pronoun usage.
Posted: December 25th, 2011, 8:52 pm
The word should be "nauseated." When something is nauseous it makes people nauseated.
Posted: December 25th, 2011, 9:03 pm
^^But on merriamwebster.com, it lists "affected with nausea or disgust" as the second definition. I'm probably wrong, though; I was in a rush at the time
Posted: December 30th, 2011, 5:59 pm
My thoughts are below. I wrote them as I read. Hope they help!
An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South-Africa, involving political, legal and economic discrimination against non-whites.
Johan didn’t know if he had any right to think, never mind say this, but he was officially sick and tired of hearing about, reading about and studying about apartheid. The reading and studying happened only in school, but the hearing about, whether it was directly spoken of, insinuated or referred to, happened all over the place. He was sick of it. I like this opening. Strong. It draws me in to Johan and what he is feeling regarding apartheid. It also gets me thinking about the issue itself and how the past effects the future (good and bad) and what it means to truly move on.
They were living in the twenty-first century for heaven’s sake! What really got to him was when people his age (too rotten to take responsibility for themselves) blamed all of their problems on apartheid, when apartheid had already seen it’s ass by the time they were born. Love this sentence. I would drop the parenthesis, but the last line is great. It depicts Joahn's anger in a playful way. It was enough to make him sick. Politics made him sick! Being "sick of it" seem redundant given you've already established this at the end of the previous paragraph. Perhaps that is the voice of the character that you're trying to get through, as he repetitively thinks, "I'm sick of this." But if so, it doesn't feel natural (as in flow of thought) to me.
He looked up at the clock from the engravings which had been inked into his wooden desk. Curse words, and caricatures of his history teacher, Mr. Louw, featured prominently. A thought here: It seems that you first direct the reader from his desk to the clock, but then you go back to the desk. The flow feels off. There was still a few minutes remaining before his mid-year exams were officially over and he knew certain people would use every second. Those who knew and didn’t know their work were always the first to finish. It’s those who wanted to know or almost knew their work that took the whole of class. Like this.
Micyla, the girl sitting at the desk in front of him, could do well if she wanted to, he knew it. The guy sitting next to her, her boyfriend, couldn’t do well if he tried though Johan had to admit that Werner wasn’t too bad on the rugby field. He was better than Johan liked to admit. Simon, his best friend sitting across the classroom by the window was a hybrid. He almost knew his work but didn’t care enough, so as not to spend forever and a day on might and may be, and maybe could be. He couldn’t stand people like that. This feels like a tangent. Not necessarily because of the content, but because it feels very wordy.
Just as Johan started to add his own creative touches to the surface of the desk, he was interrupted by no other than the history teacher.
“Are you having fun, Mr. Steyn?” If there was one bad combination in this world, thought Johan, it was a history teacher with a voice like his. One was bad enough Seems like you can drop this first line and the 'but' and it would be just as effective, less wordy. , but history and Mr. Louw’s monotonous voice together had an almost anesthetizing (spelling) effect. I like this.
“I’m-- I’m just making sure I’m not forgotten over December vacation,” Johan said as he added his initials beneath his half-finished work of art.
“Thank you for that, Mr. Steyn. We’ll see how quickly you forget me if I have you come in next week to sand down the desks.”
“Old Louw made a joke everyone, let’s give him a round of applause,” Werner rang out as he leaned back in his chair. The portion of the class who didn’t have smoke coming (this image makes me think of anger but I'm not sure that is what you are depicting?) from their ears clapped.
“I assure you that was no joke, Mr. Coetzee. Perhaps you and the rest of the smart-asses in the class would like to join him.” The class quieted down immediately. Johan kicked one of the back legs of Werner’s chair just as Mr. Louw turned towards the blackboard. The portion of the class who didn’t fear or adore Werner, this included Johan, broke out in laughter when he ended up on the wooden floor.
“Bastard,” Werner hissed. Mr. Louw turned around and drew a deep, dramatic breath.
“I would have thought, Mr. Coetzee, that by the eleventh grade you would have learned to sit in a chair like a civilized human being.” He drew another dramatic breath. “Was I mistaken, Mr. Steyn, to think that by the eleventh grade you would have learned to keep your hands and feet to yourself? I suppose… as you were.” He turned back to the blackboard, which needed erasing.
“It’s you and me after school, Steyn,” Werner hissed. Johan saw Micyla put her hand on Werner’s thigh and whisper something in his ear. Johan wasn’t one for melodrama but a gesture as simple as that had hurt him more than any injury inflicted by Werner ever could.
Here are some thoughts. Just my thoughts and opinion... There is some good writing here. It's clear what you are communicating and there is a general flow. Steyn is an interesting character.
There are times when sentences get a bit wordy and I wonder if it can be said in a crisper, more flowing way. Also there are times when the voice (of the narrator) feels too passive. Example: "Johan kicked one of the back legs of Werner’s chair just as Mr. Louw turned towards the blackboard. The portion of the class who didn’t fear or adore Werner, this included Johan, broke out in laughter when he ended up on the wooden floor."The first sentence here is in the "active voice". It is strong. The second is in the passive voice. The passive voice has it's place in writing, but it slows down the flow of thought for the reader. When I first read this and came to the sentence where "...The portion of the class who didn't fear or adore Werener...", I had to shift gears a bit to follow the thought. If the sentence was somehow reversed (admittedly you would probably need to reword it a bit then), the flow of action would continue without slowing or the reader having to shift gears a bit. I hope that makes sense. Feel free to push back or ask clarifying questions if it doesn't or if you disagree.
I would also say that the original thought you began with regarding aparthedi feels long forgotten. But, I acknowledge that you are probably going to return there by the end of the chapter and therefore may eat my words if I read the rest.
All in all, I like the scene and am intrigued by the main character and even more by the questions raised regarding apartheid in the beginning. Keep writing!
(BTW, If you have a few minutes, I'd love your thoughts on my 500ish word opening for a scifi I'm doing. Posted in the Excerpts under steveyodascott. Thanks much!)
Joined: 23 Jul 2010, 18:04