Thursday, August 8, 2013

First 250 Words Smash! #29

Monster Author: Taylor || Bowtiesandriversongs @ tumblr
Tasty Little Morsel Editor: Victoria
Working Title: Discord of Ages Past

Smells of whiskey and wine fill the air; sounds of laughter and drunken chatter fill the space in-between. He’s sits at the bar, alone. His eyes dart around the room, searching for someone. Anyone.
Alistair swirls the contents of his glass. His glass is long and boxy. Winter mint green with a hint of syrupy caramel. It’s dark and fizzy, unlike the rest of the drinks that sit on the tables and in the patrons’ hands.
Bartenders mill around behind the bar, cleaning glasses and fixing drinks. As one of them passes by, Alistair holds up his glass.
 “Can I get a refill, please?” he asks.
The bartender, a young male, snatches the glass out of his hands. “What would you like?” he asks, his eyes roaming his body lazily.
 “Root beer, please.”
If the boy had any skepticism on why he was at a bar just drinking root beer, he didn’t voice them. “Want anything else in it? Rum, Jack Daniels….”
 “Just root beer,” he snaps, maybe a bit too sharply.
The filled glass slides down the bar a few moments later, but when he raises his lips to it, the blatant smell of Rum rises to his nostrils. Making a face, he sets the glass down. Damn bartenders. 

Strong Points -
There's some really strong characterization in these first paragraphs. How interesting that he's only there to drink root beer, and yet he's looking for 'anyone', which gives me the idea that he's looking to not be so alone.  But he's not exactly the nicest guy, and all these conflicting pieces put together make a character that I'm increasingly curious about. Good job there!

You also drop nice details about the setting in the first paragraph. The fact that he hears people having fun while he sits alone only emphasizes how empty the chair next to him is.

Some Tips -
You probably know by now that I advise everyone to cut down on dialogue tags. Some are fine. There's nothing wrong with having them here and there. But I find writing to be a bit stronger when those details are explored. You don't have to stay on it for much longer, just a few more words to express perhaps how annoyed Alistair feels, or maybe when he hears his voice and realizes he sounded sharper than he meant to. Those tell me even more about Alistair.

You've already done this elsewhere, replacing basic verbs for one that tells us more. A good example of what I mean is having the bartenders 'mill around'. You could have said they're walking around, but that verb is so basic. You used 'mill', and that gives me a much better picture, that gives me more description and even contributes to the atmosphere, all with just a different word. That's awesome.

The reason I didn't include this in your strong points is sometimes, the words you chose didn't quite match up with the rest of what you were describing. When the bartender snatches away the glass, I think it's a sharp move, almost hostile, but then he's giving Alistair the sexy one-over, and his dialogue doesn't implicate any ill-feelings or the like. Does that make sense???

Also, watch out for sentence fragments. I used to abuse the heck out of these, and I had to be taught that there is a place for them, especially in faster-moving scenes where you want shorter, clipped sentences. Here it's okay to indulge in a little extra padding for some description or the like. Example, I really liked the description that went into, "Winter mint green with a hint of syrupy caramel". But because it's just a floating fragment, I'm not sure if you're describing the glass, or the liquid within the glass, or the contrast of the glass and the root beer.

Would I keep reading?
Yes, I believe I would. I'm not 100% certain, but I really liked the characterization of Alistair, and I do want to know more about him and his situation and his root beer. For a more solid answer, I would love love love to see a revision! So don't hesitate to ask any questions for elaboration or to resubmit, because I hope to see more from you! <3 <3 <3

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