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Imperishable prose

Bondi Beach

From a draft I'm working on: "The slim cop stood silently. Her eyes made a slow circuit of the room."

I wonder if the eyes stopped to rest on the couch for a while? Or waved at the cop from the other side of the room?

Normally, I'd say you can't make this stuff up. But in this case, I did.

bb

Replies:   Daydreamz  red61544
Crumbly Writer

The 'slow circuit' doesn't bother me--most of us can picture that occurring--however, I questions the 'slim cop'. I'm not sure it adds anything to the sentence. Who really cares how slim she is? She's a damn cop, which is more important than her figure. If her being slim is essential to the plot, then introduce it later on, in context.

By the way, rather than wondering whether her eyes stopped to rest on the couch, I wonder how much they had to drink while wandering around the room? 'D

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

. If her being slim is essential to the plot, then introduce it later on, in context.


Not really. I tried that with the pastor in my novel. Many chapters into it, I described his eyebrows as bushy. I ended up moving that tidbit much earlier.

Why? I didn't want the reader to visualize him one way and then spring that on them.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

Slim cop? Is she allergic to donuts? Either that or she is very new to the force. Is there going to be a defective on the police farce?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

defective on the police farce


Only if the story is set in Tampa, Florida where I have the police defective already located in Odd Man in College.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Not really. I tried that with the pastor in my novel. Many chapters into it, I described his eyebrows as bushy. I ended up moving that tidbit much earlier.

Why? I didn't want the reader to visualize him one way and then spring that on them.

I'm not saying that you can't introduce it early, but I wouldn't include it in the first sentence, which is focused on her 'surveying a room', potentially looking for suspects. In that context, it simply doesn't belong. However, when she interviews a potential suspect, then it's entirely proper to describe her looks, since the suspect would respond to how she looked. It's all a matter of keeping the information where it belongs, rather than dumping it in the first line.

But, it's only one word. It won't kill a story to use it there. It just struck me as an odd sentence construct.

Daydreamz

@Bondi Beach

circuit

Yeah I don't know if I'd trip over this or not, in context. It's atmospheric. She'd have to turn her head to make a full circuit, on top of the mobile eye issue. Sweep? Inquisition? Survey?

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Daydreamz

Yeah I don't know if I'd trip over this or not, in context.


On third or fourth thought, I'm inclined to agree with you. I may change it, may not.

bb

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


The 'slow circuit' doesn't bother me--most of us can picture that occurring--however, I questions the 'slim cop'. I'm not sure it adds anything to the sentence. Who really cares how slim she is?


Thanks. I chopped the sentence to its essence in posting it to illustrate the issue, but this is the opening scene of the novel and all we know about the two cops (there are two) is one is slim (her) and one is tall (him). We'll learn more about them later. The original sentence has more information

Thanks, all, for your comments. Donuts-not going there.

bb

There are no suspects in the room. There are two murder victims.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

I chopped the sentence to its essence in posting it to illustrate the issue, but this is the opening scene of the novel and all we know about the two cops (there are two) is one is slim (her) and one is tall (him).

Again, it's about relevant information and first impressions. What's more essential, that one's slim and the other is tall (duh, guess which is which?), or that one's male and one female? I don't mind the identifying characteristics, but I think comments about attractiveness belong where someone is reacting to them, as opposed to identifying who they are initially. What would be more important is who's in charge, or who's on the ball (careful, crafty, suspicious).

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

I wonder how much they had to drink while wandering around the room? 'D


Her eyes probably drank in everything they saw. :D

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Again, it's about relevant information and first impressions. What's more essential, that one's slim and the other is tall (duh, guess which is which?), or that one's male and one female?


CW-

I appreciate your comments, but in the rest of the scene there's enough additional detail in the appearance and behavior of the cops (especially behavior) to give the reader a pretty good idea of who they are.

I'm not prepared to share any more of my deathly prose from the chapter, so you'll have to wait until it's posted or published to decide whether it succeeded, or whether it merits laughter. (Always a plus, of course.)

Cheers,

bb

EDIT: It's not just the opening scene-"slim" and "tall" appear in the very first mention of the cops, in the second and third sentences, in fact. At that point we don't need to know any more. Then the scene develops and we learn more.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

I'm not prepared to share any more of my deathly prose from the chapter, so you'll have to wait until it's posted or published to decide whether it succeeded, or whether it merits laughter. (Always a plus, of course.)

Understood. I always hate to post unedited text in the forum, because everyone jumps all over any mistakes, but it was just something that jumped out at me. Sounds like you've covered it (and it was a minor point to begin with).

Replies:   Bondi Beach
red61544

@Bondi Beach

I wonder if the eyes stopped to rest on the couch for a while? Or waved at the cop from the other side of the room?


I thought this was the sentence you were asking about! Did her eyes wave at the cop from the other side of the room? If so, I'd like to see that!

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Understood. I always hate to post unedited text


Heh. Such as writing "deathly prose" instead of "deathless prose," perhaps? On second thought, either one will do.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Bondi Beach

but this is the opening scene of the novel and all we know about the two cops (there are two) is one is slim (her) and one is tall (him).

Not having read the story the inclusion of the word "slim" could be important - it says WHICH of the cops examined what was in the room at that juncture and suggests at this stage that the tall one has not entered the room. It is the later text which will show whether distinguishing between the cops at this stage is important

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Such as writing "deathly prose" instead of "deathless prose," perhaps? On second thought, either one will do.

Nowadays, that would be either "Undead Prose" or simply "Zombie Prose".

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Not having read the story the inclusion of the word "slim" could be important - it says WHICH of the cops examined what was in the room at that juncture and suggests at this stage that the tall one has not entered the room. It is the later text which will show whether distinguishing between the cops at this stage is important

That's why I suggested specifying "she" or "the female cop" would be a more significant identifier. "Tall" and "slim" are not contrasting descriptions, many people are both tall and slim, including women. "Slim" would normally be specified if the other cop was overweight. But ... not having read the story, I'm not going to second guess your choices. As I said, it's an incredibly minor point and I only specified it so you could consider potential alternatives.

richardshagrin

Slim backward is Mils. We beat that to death in other topics/forums. (I keep wanting to say fora, but only someone with a Latin language background would know what I mean.) The same one we beat Milspec to death.

My paragraph may have too much violence. Or not enough sex? Cue the orchestra to play sax and violins.

Unless her nickname is going to be "Slim" lets not worry about how she is described. Maybe just use the tag, small breasts.

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