Sunday, October 20, 2013

First 250 Words Smash! #38

Very Spooky Author: Alexander Paine @ Tumblr
Not so Spooky Editor: Victoria
Working Title: N/A

“Fuck! Hey! Watch where you’re going!”
As Travis crashed to the floor the tray he carried clattered on the ground. Glass shattered and flew in every direction away from him, while golden champagne pooled on the redwood deck. He winced as he picked himself up. His right knee, the first part of him to hit the ground, throbbed painfully. Travis looked down his pants leg and, seeing a scuff mark on the tuxedo leggings, became certain that he scraped himself in the fall. All around him the festivities on deck came to a halt, and every eye lay on him.
“Sorry, sir.” He stammered as the man he bumped into, through no fault of his own, turned to face him. The partygoer was dressed similarly to Travis, though, instead of a black tuxedo, his was all white and made of finer material that sheened in the soft, sensual light. Some of the champagne had collected on the surface of his shoes and splashed the hem of his pants. “Shit! I’m so sorry. This is my first time out here and I’m not entirely used to navigating out here yet.”
“How difficult can it be to just walk around someone?” The man sneered. “Idiot! Get back to your job and clean this glass up before someone cuts themselves.” He turned back to the card table and those around him followed suit. A moment later things on deck returned to normal, the incident forgotten.

Strong Points -
You have some good descriptors in here! And they're very good clues for telling us what kind of party Travis is at, and that he's not exactly an invited guest. But you never outright tell us that. That's awesome. You've trusted your readers to figure out the clues for themselves. You used dialogue for that purpose as well. The fact that Travis is so willing to use curse words when he is in a work environment, that also says a lot about Travis. He's definitely not at home in this atmosphere, and it shows in these little ways.

Some Tips -
As I said before, I really love the description that you've put into the beginning, because it gives us so much information. Now let's fine-tune it.

Some of this is awkwardly worded and unnecessarily long. For instance, describing the other man's white tuxedo. We don't need to know that he's wearing a tuxedo like Travis because we've already been told what Travis has on, and that was described only a few sentences ago. We haven't forgotten just yet. You can just get straight to the part where the sensual (I really liked this word) light shines a certain way on the fabric. Another word you've repeated is "redwood". Instead of reusing words, take this opportunity to give us a new word that adds another dimension to the surroundings.

Even the collision and the fall could have been a bit clearer. I didn't really understand that Travis had fallen until I kept reading. You wait until a few sentences later to tell me that he landed on his knee, when I think that should have been mentioned upon impact. That would hurt. That's not exactly a detail to be exposed in the aftermath, but the sort of thing that should be known when it happens. It brings us a little closer to Travis, because we all know what it's like fall on our knees and how much it hurts.

Also, I am personally not a fan of dialogue tags such as "stammered". I believe you can communicate this much better through the dialogue and actions, and you have. The fact that he calls the other man "sir" shows the hierarchy, and I think you can better show how nervous Travis is through actions or otherwise. Sarah gave an excellent example of this in the last Word Smash, which you can read here.

Over all, this lacks a certain voice. I think you still need to play with your style of writing, because this doesn't feel like it belongs to you. I want your voice, I want your way of writing, and this reads like your style is still in its infant stages. That's okay! We all start with little babies, and the best way to nurse them is to read. Read popular writers like J. K. Rowling and Stephen King and Neil Gaiman and see what it is about their voices that makes them sound like themselves. As writers, we take what we like from others and we mold it to fit ourselves. I even learned from reading fanfiction and RPing.

Would I keep reading?
Not yet. I just don't feel like I have enough about Travis to tie me to him, or have enough of his situation just yet.  I feel that this is purely setup for where the story really begins, and that I'm not really hooked anymore. So if you revise after taking a look at this, please resubmit! I'd love to see how you nurture your own style, and I can't wait! Thank you so much! <3 <3 <3

No comments:

Post a Comment