Young Hands
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hanbot_abroad: nicoleci btw once BingoBoingo has his qntra contribution guide up, d'you wanna test it out for him and see if you can submit a piece for his consideration?
BingoBoingo: hanbot_abroad: Thank you for soliciting help. I'm about 1 to 3 hours from publishing it.
hanbot_abroad: also, see if you can fit adding a "recent articles" and "recent comments" widget on your blog's sidebar to your schedule this week. it makes navigating your site a lot easier for your regular readers, since remembering the name of one-before-last etc gets hard, fast.
nicoleci: yeahh, sure id be happy to try it out.
nicoleci: alrighty, ill keep you updated as im sure ill run into some trouble
hanbot_abroad: on the widgets? sure, feel free to ask. dun let it daunt you though, it's a minor coupla changes.
hanbot_abroad: to get back to the gin-gin flex article: let's reload from
ossabot: Logged on 2020-01-10 12:47:03 hanbot: the first hit is right at the beginning: rather than giving us a thorough exposition, you drop right into the story. this "hit the ground running" thing is fine and good and an example of what i mean by departure from your usual form
hanbot_abroad: if you read this conversation with your new exposition-ary goggles, i suspect you'll find the reason i asked you if you knew what exposition meant was precisely that i'd said you omitted it, and your summation of my point was that you'd done rather too much of it ("can't set the stage over and over again"). yes?
nicoleci: yes, i follow what youre saying so far
hanbot_abroad: okay. so typically you'd have an exposition as the first part of your piece. where you are, why you're there, who else is there, and so on, so the reader understands the action that's going to take place. you have a few hints of these mostly in footnote form or at any rate not exactly up front.
hanbot_abroad: now you *don't necessarily have to* have an exposition! you can just describe the action and make your reader figure things out, or offer clues, as a style.
hanbot_abroad: but if you're going to do that, you've got to zero in on the action and the action's got to be interesting in itself.
hanbot_abroad: instead what you've got is a sort of mish-mash of both: bits and pieces of pseudo-exposition oddly placed between chunks of very ponderous, slow action.
hanbot_abroad: does that make sense?
nicoleci: lol, yeah it does especially after working with the definition.
nicoleci: i think my intention was to create some suspense but i can now see how what i wrote is just confusing
hanbot_abroad: cool. even if you don't revise the piece in full, maybe try reworking the opening to see if you can achieve suspense by choosing one or the other approach, rather than this mix.
nicoleci: yeah ill definitely do that.
hanbot_abroad: let's see, what else is in these stale ol' notes...
nicoleci: awe poor notes
hanbot_abroad: ah yeah, the first footnote is unclear; i personally know what you mean (i think) from direct experience, but i doubt it carries outside of that --why's it hard to wait for the clerk to notice you? why not say something? there are a lot of problems at those counters, and "there's no little red machines guys" isn't the only one, but it's the only actual culprit you've identified
hanbot_abroad: if you're going to spend a while focusing on the frustration and tension, it'd be a good idea to clearly describe what's building it --it just can't be solely due to a lack of a numberspitter.
nicoleci: yeah rereading it now, i can see what you mean.
nicoleci: its like my sole audience was people who've been to that exact store
hanbot_abroad: you might also consider re-reading to scan for descriptive details to see what can be trimmed. i think there's a fair amount of detail in here that's too mundane to serve the sort of tension you're working to evoke. take the "olives haven't been in stock before xmas" bit. that's very specific. why's it interesting?
hanbot_abroad: i suspect you wanted to illustrate the "grocery store" concept from several sentences up, but the connection isn't nearly strong enough if that's the case. so either the detail doesn't belong, or it needs a much better anchor to make it interesting.
nicoleci: yeah i did
hanbot_abroad: "Maybe we'll have to battle it out for the remaining olives - plenty of large cheese wheels to hit her in the head with if it comes to it. " << this is something of a missed opportunity to create mood. you've got the snark right, and it starts out well, maybe we'll have to duke it out...but then you drop it into a vague, implied image that the reader is asked to supply, themselves. why not imagine the actual fight? yo
hanbot_abroad: u dive for the masdaam, she struggles to keep her grip on a very soft wheel of danish blue, it falls from her hands and explodes on your new shoes, stoking your rage even more as you bring the mighty swiss down with a thundering whack on the back of her skull, etc etc?
hanbot_abroad: i don't mean you should write specifically that, or even that it has to be in that vein, but merely that the action would help in the absence of exposition, and in the creation of your mental state.
hanbot_abroad: certainly, at any rate, as opposed to keeping it vague.
hanbot_abroad: i thought the transition approach that starts in paragraph four was interesting, and a good example of the structural changes i'd said i'd noticed you were trying out.
nicoleci: lol, tell me john cleese is breaking up the fight?!
nicoleci: yeah i can see it what you mean re action, this is something interesting to explore.
hanbot_abroad: tense starts getting a little messy around that point though: you transition into the past, we were reminiscing, but you trade (present tense) your passport, but did (past again) you find it in time? etc. usually a good idea to scan for tense agreement when you're working with transitions like these in a single bit.
hanbot_abroad: lol john cleese'd open a can of cheez whiz whoop ass on her :D
nicoleci: lmao damn what a missed opportunity indeed. john cheese lives!
nicoleci: i do have a problem with tense, ill have to pay better attention when editing
hanbot_abroad: you know...i'd say john cleese DOES live (he's 80), but i'm afraid you'll insist he's bleedin' demised
hanbot_abroad: there's an apparently random mix of frankness and sarcasm that doesn't do much favor. consider the very frank "This city is especially ugly..." followed by "It's especially charming with the construction". sarcasm has its place and all, but when you switch back and forth without a clear reason it muddies up the voice of your text for no real benefit.
hanbot_abroad: oh yeah, and i was going to get on your case for going into how one of the good things about romania is zacusca, and then not describing what it is!!1
hanbot_abroad: i guess you could lord it over the poor zacuscaless masses, but then taunt 'em with gusto, neh?
nicoleci: thats a shame, i was hoping it would translate. should the two (sarcasm/frankness) not be mixed at all?
nicoleci: lol, good point
hanbot_abroad: nicoleci they can certainly be mixed, just with a *cause*. if you switch randomly (and thinking it "sounds good" or some such is pretty much randomly here) it'l read...randomly, lol
hanbot_abroad: a common trick, by no means the only or "best" one, is to separate the narrator's voice from the character's with one being sarcastic (usually the character),and the other straight. "the road was bleak and devoid of light, making the correct path all but invisible. 'fucking great,' mary sue thought, 'i can't wait to try my luck on this deathdrap.' "
nicoleci: ahh, ty ill keep that in mind on my path to not abuse sarcasm
hanbot_abroad: as long as you think about how to work it in rather than just plop it in liberally wherever you subjectively feel like it might sound good, you'll be fine, really.
hanbot_abroad: ah, i was going to ask why you're looking at the deli clerk with "pleading eyes" if "you know you both know she can't do that".
nicoleci: i wanted to illustrate the sadness in my eyes. i can see pleading wasn't the right choice
hanbot_abroad: yeah. puppy eyes, huge eyes, hopeless...lotsa ways to convey this that don't conflict.
nicoleci: yeah ty
hanbot_abroad: other than that, there's a handful of technical errors, such as "big guy in line whom", "no we wont get it for you", and so on. i'd suggest you do a further 1-2 editing checks before publishing as you seem to get stuck with more of these than you'd like in your finished products.
hanbot_abroad: so then! i hope what ended up being a very protracted exploration of this piece helped put some new items in your toolset. i'm very glad you stuck it out so we could arrive here.
hanbot_abroad: are there any lingering questions/issues, d'you think?
nicoleci: yeah ill do that. do you have any recommendations on how to become better at editing?
nicoleci: ive been looking forward to this review and it has been incredibly helpful. its nice to have some clarification on whats wrong and why. a lot of it seems to be connected as well
nicoleci: thank you for your help!
hanbot_abroad: my very good pleasure :)
hanbot_abroad: as for editing, other than reading a great deal (and so seeing errors "stick out" more readily), i'd say coming back with the proverbial fresh eyes to editing drafts is important. if you're still mentally tucked into the piece, your own interest is likely to pull you in and the same error you've overlooked on the first passes will probably go unnoticed again.
hanbot_abroad: it's also a good idea to fix errors as soon as you spot them --if you leave them until later, there's potential to gloss over it, "that's the thing i'm fixing later", even if that later is now,
hanbot_abroad: if all else fails, read it out loud, and the disconnection between what you're saying and what you're reading may jolt your alarmbox.
nicoleci: ah okay i will keep all of this in mind as well as timing my writing :)
hanbot_abroad: is four articles your monthly record btw?
nicoleci: yeah i believe so!
hanbot_abroad: sweet.
nicoleci: yeah it feels great. its one of those things i never thought would come
hanbot_abroad: comes if you make it!
nicoleci: true.
BingoBoingo: And I present:
BingoBoingo: Historically most errors on Qntra have been the result of a rush to hit the publish button before freshening the eyes. My eyes are awful at catching errors that my fingers just tapped into the keyboard. Even a little bit of time away from the keyboard drastically reduces the number of errors that make it through.
ossabot: Logged on 2020-01-26 17:19:24 hanbot_abroad: as for editing, other than reading a great deal (and so seeing errors "stick out" more readily), i'd say coming back with the proverbial fresh eyes to editing drafts is important. if you're still mentally tucked into the piece, your own interest is likely to pull you in and the same error you've overlooked on the first passes will probably go unnoticed again.

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