Need Clarification

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slavandria
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Need Clarification

Post by slavandria » August 11th, 2011, 11:52 pm

Hi guys. I'd like your take on a comment I received from a publisher who is very interested in my novel, but wants me to make some changes regarding a passage I wrote. The passage is below and then their comments follow. I would really like some clarification as to what they mean by the scene being regimented and 'telling'. I would also like to see suggestions as to how to fix it. Thank you in advance for your help.

Scene:

David woke Monday morning to Dream On blaring from the radio. He shut off the alarm
and sat upright, pulling his knees to his chest. It was the day of truth, the day he’d waited for.
His stomach twisted into a knot. What do you say to parents you’ve never seen?

He got ready for his first day back at school and clomped down the servants’ stairs to the
kitchen, tossing his backpack on the counter. He grabbed a cinnamon bun and a glass of milk
and sat across from Lily. Her eyes were puffy and red like she’d been crying all night long.

Publisher comment:

All of this is very regimented, meaning it is just a telling overview of what happened. Give us the
scene and take us to the action.

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CharleeVale
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Re: Need Clarification

Post by CharleeVale » August 12th, 2011, 12:20 am

I think what they might mean is that that the second paragraph is basically summary. We don't feel the character at all because there's no emotion or sensory information coupled with it. It reads almost like a list (Which is maybe what they meant by regimented?)

As for the second comment, I think it may be asking why these particular details are important. Does the fact that he eats a cinnamon roll move the plot forward in any way?

CV

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Beethovenfan
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Re: Need Clarification

Post by Beethovenfan » August 12th, 2011, 12:35 am

slavandria wrote:Hi guys. I'd like your take on a comment I received from a publisher who is very interested in my novel, but wants me to make some changes regarding a passage I wrote. The passage is below and then their comments follow. I would really like some clarification as to what they mean by the scene being regimented and 'telling'. I would also like to see suggestions as to how to fix it. Thank you in advance for your help.

Scene:

David woke Monday morning to Dream On blaring from the radio. He shut off the alarm
and sat upright, pulling his knees to his chest. It was the day of truth, the day he’d waited for.
His stomach twisted into a knot. What do you say to parents you’ve never seen?

He got ready for his first day back at school and clomped down the servants’ stairs to the
kitchen, tossing his backpack on the counter. He grabbed a cinnamon bun and a glass of milk
and sat across from Lily. Her eyes were puffy and red like she’d been crying all night long.

Publisher comment:

All of this is very regimented, meaning it is just a telling overview of what happened. Give us the
scene and take us to the action.
Perhaps something like this?
David bolted upright as his alarm blared Dream On. He yawned and rubbed the sleep from his eyes then froze as realization came back to him that today was the day of truth, the day he'd waited for. He pulled his knees up to his chest as his stomach twisted into a knot. What do you say to parents you've never seen? What if they don't like me? What if I don't like them?

Forcing himself to face the day he pushed himself up off the bed and trudged to the bathroom. As he brushed his teeth he studied his own face and wondered if his blue eyes came from his mother or his father. He smiled at himself, toothpaste foaming on his lips, and wondered which one gave him the dimple on his left cheek. He threw on some clothes and clomped down the servants' stairs to the kitchen, worrying how he would ever get through school today. He tossed his backpack on the counter then grabbed a glass of milk and a cinnamon bun. As he chewed he eyed Lily, who sat silently across from him. Her eyes were puffy and red like she'd been crying all night.
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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polymath
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Re: Need Clarification

Post by polymath » August 12th, 2011, 12:51 am

CharleeVale has the gist of the comment's meaning. Tell or recital opens narrative distance. The excerpt is so open it steps outside of the immediate, direct report of the scene. It feels like a lecturer telling what the picture of the scene depicts. Show paints the scene and closes narrative distance through immediate, direct report of the emotional meaning of causal sensations.
Spread the love of written word.

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slavandria
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Re: Need Clarification

Post by slavandria » August 12th, 2011, 8:44 am

Beethovenfan and Polymath, thank you. Seeing both of your comments I understand now what they are looking for and I understand what I did wrong. I have also identified a couple of other spots in my novel where I did the same thing.

Beehovenfan, thank you so much for the re-written explanation. Sometimes it helps to 'see' a possible solution than to read about the technicalities of one. Thank you so much for your time and help. It is greatly appreciated.

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