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The Patriot's Warning


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#1 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 07:54 PM

Wondering if the processor comes off as nasty as I'd hoped.

Thanks

 

 

 

“Next!” the processing clerk barked. She tugged at her surgical mask and winced.

The mandatory mask did little to hide her snarl as she snapped at the thin woman who stood before her. “Your form is for two adults and two children. Where's the other adult?”

Her answer was faint and meek. “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He broke his leg and had to have surgery. He, he's home now, but he's bedridden.”

The woman behind the desk scowled and furiously scribbled through the man's information. “Listen, lady. My face is raw from this damn mask, and I ran out of patience a long time ago! I'm sick of you people not following the rules!” She thrust an ID at the young mother approved for one adult and two children.

“No! No! This isn't fair!” The frail woman swooned, steadied herself on the table, and pled between ragged gasps of breath. “Please, ma'am, we won't have enough food! And my husband — he needs medicine. He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!”

The processor leaned in, rested her palms on the corners of the table, and pursed her lips into a pout. Then she tilted her shoulders from side to side and whined as she mocked the pleading tone of the desperate woman. “Then get a letter from the doctor and come back.” She rolled her eyes and ignored the woman's pleas. “Next!” 



#2 Springfield

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 10:29 PM

Wondering if the processor comes off as nasty as I'd hoped.

Thanks

 

 

 

“Next!” the processing clerk barked. She tugged at her surgical mask and winced.

The mandatory mask did little to hide her snarl as she snapped at the thin woman who stood before her. “Your form is for two adults and two children. Where's the other adult?”

Her answer was faint and meek. “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He broke his leg and had to have surgery. He, he's home now, but he's bedridden.”

The woman behind the desk Keep to one descriptor -- I assume none of these people ever appear again? scowled and furiously scribbled through the man's information. “Listen, lady. My face is raw from this damn mask, and I ran out of patience a long time ago! I'm sick of you people not following the rules!” She thrust an ID at the young mother approved for one adult and two children.

“No! No! This isn't fair!” The frail woman swooned, steadied herself on the table, and pled between ragged gasps of breath. What's wrong with her?  “Please, ma'am, we won't have enough food! And my husband — he needs medicine. He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!” Do you explain what the whole setup is previously? Otherwise I don't get why what seemed to be a ration thing covers meds

The processor leaned in, rested her palms on the corners of the table, and pursed her lips into a pout. Then she tilted her shoulders from side to side and whined as she mocked the pleading tone of the desperate woman. “Then get a letter from the doctor and come back.” She rolled her eyes and ignored the woman's pleas. “Next!” 

 

Hi -- you're overwriting. You've got stage directions all over the place, overexplaining, kind of endless movements, expressions, sounds, it's too much. A well-placed thing like that can inform the reader about a character. Doing it just all over, for everyone, makes it meaningless and tiring to read. It's like cursing -- a well-placed curse has impact. If someone curses every third word, doesn't matter what they're on about, it's not impactful.



#3 Michi MacMichael

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 02:02 AM

“Next!” the processing clerk barked. She tugged at her surgical mask and winced.

 

The mandatory mask did little to hide her snarl as she snapped at the thin woman who stood before her. “Your form is for two adults and two children. Where's the other adult?” (You don't need a dialog tag and a character beat at the same time.  You also should focus on one action and very occasionally two.  Combine the first two paragraphs, remove the dialog tag and reduce to one beat.)

 

Her answer was faint and meek. (Weak.  Change this to something that shows her timidity.  Save the "thin woman" description for here is one possibility.  The dialog can be used to show her nervousness as well.) “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He broke his leg and had to have surgery. He, he's home now, but he's bedridden.” ("He, he's ..." is a stuttered response I assume.  This would be better as "He--he's ...")

 

The woman behind the desk ("The clerk"  Stick to one method of reference within a scene.) scowled and furiously ("scribbled" is enough to show the clerk's anger) scribbled through the man's information. “Listen, lady. My face is raw from this damn mask, and I ran out of patience a long time ago! I'm sick of you people not following the rules!” She thrust an ID at the young mother ("thin woman") approved for one adult and two children. (or have her thrust the ID and say, "This is approved for you and your kids."  Clipped and derogatory to match her mood)

 

No! No! This isn't fair!” The frail woman swooned, steadied herself on the table, and pled between ragged gasps of breath. (Swoon means to faint.  You don't need a beat or dialog tag at all)Please, ma'am, we won't have enough food! And my husband — he needs medicine. He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!”  (Too long of a speech for someone who is distraught.)

 

The processor leaned in, rested her palms on the corners of the table, and pursed her lips into a pout. Then she tilted her shoulders from side to side and whined as she mocked the pleading tone of the desperate woman. (Way too long.  A simple "She glared at the woman and with a patronizing tone said,") “then get a letter from the doctor and come back.” She rolled her eyes and ignored the woman's pleas. (Explanatory)

 

“Next!”



#4 jaustail

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 02:42 AM

“Next!” the processing clerk barked. She tugged at her surgical mask and winced. The mandatory mask did little to hide her snarl as she snapped at the thin woman who stood before her. “Your form is for two adults and two children. Where's the other adult?”

 

Her(The thin woman's) answer was faint and meek. “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He broke his leg and had to have surgery. He,(maybe... instead of comma) he's home now, but he's bedridden.”

 

The woman behind the desk scowled and furiously scribbled through the man's information. “Listen, lady. My face is raw(i didnt understand this. what does raw face mean?) from this damn mask, and I ran out of patience a long time ago! I'm sick of you people(i hate this nurse already. good characterization. but if she's so blunt then maybe in first paragraph dont make her try to hide her snarl) not following the rules!” She thrust an ID at the young mother approved for one adult and two children.

 

“No! No! This isn't fair!” The frail woman swooned(swooned is more like swooning from sex. maybe use some other dialogue tag), steadied herself on the table, and pled between ragged gasps of breath. “Please, ma'am, we won't have enough food! And my husband — he needs medicine. He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!”

 

The processor leaned in, rested her palms on the corners of the table, and pursed her lips into a pout. Then she tilted her shoulders from side to side(i couldnt visualize. tilt shoulders from side to side? maybe shrugged) and whined as she mocked the pleading tone of the desperate woman. “Then get a letter from the doctor and come back.” She rolled her eyes and ignored the woman's pleas(maybe show her ignoring the woman. like: and looked over the woman). “Next!”



#5 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 04:36 AM

Thanks for all the input.

It's much appreciated.



#6 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 04:54 AM

Hi -- you're overwriting. You've got stage directions all over the place, overexplaining, kind of endless movements, expressions, sounds, it's too much. A well-placed thing like that can inform the reader about a character. Doing it just all over, for everyone, makes it meaningless and tiring to read. It's like cursing -- a well-placed curse has impact. If someone curses every third word, doesn't matter what they're on about, it's not impactful.

 

Okay, however, you suggest erasing a LOT of info that's necessary to the story. This is from a scene in chapter one - one year after it began. Words like "mandatory" are necessary. Food isn't being rationed. They're being forced into quarantine because of an epidemic, and the ID is their lifeline to food and medicine. Not to mention they've already been through a year of hell, and there's widespread fear and panic. This is one scene I felt deserved overwriting.



#7 Springfield

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 05:50 PM

Okay, however, you suggest erasing a LOT of info that's necessary to the story. This is from a scene in chapter one - one year after it began. Words like "mandatory" are necessary. Food isn't being rationed. They're being forced into quarantine because of an epidemic, and the ID is their lifeline to food and medicine. Not to mention they've already been through a year of hell, and there's widespread fear and panic. This is one scene I felt deserved overwriting.

 

No scenes deserve overwriting, heh. That's like saying 'well, I put an infodump because...' infodumbs bad. The way you've got it is clunky. There are ways to insert stuff. I presumed the things you're saying were already discussed, because it's not clear from this scene what's going on. It seems like food is being rationed with the cards. So if that's not the case, and isn't explained earlier... 

 

Also, what does it matter if the mask is mandatory, exactly? 



#8 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 06:09 AM

Guess I should clarify. This is a snippet from a scene. The entire thing is in my MC's POV. She's witnessing this.

 

 

“Next!” the processing clerk barked. She tugged at her surgical mask and w.inced.

The mask did little to hide the snarl as she snapped at the thin woman who stood before her. “Your form is for two adults and two children. Where's the other adult?”

The woman’s answer was faint. “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He broke his leg and had to have surgery. He — he's bedridden.”

The woman behind the desk scowled and furiously scribbled through the man's information. “Listen, lady. This mask has rubbed my face raw, and I ran out of patience a long time ago! I'm sick of you people not following the rules!” She thrust an ID at the woman.

“No! No! This isn't fair!” The frail woman swooned, steadied herself on the table, and pled between choked gasps of breath. “Please, ma'am, we won't have enough food if you don’t include my husband.”

The processor leaned toward the woman, rested her palms on the corners of the table, and pursed her lips into a pout.

“He needs medicine,” the woman begged. “He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!”

The processor shrugged her shoulders and mocked the desperate woman. “Then get a letter from the doctor and come back.” She rolled her eyes and looked past her. “Next!”

“Wait!” the woman shrieked and labored to breathe. “Please! Me and the kids, we've been in line since yesterday!” Tears dripped from her mask, and she trembled as shouts from the angry people behind her grew louder.



#9 Michi MacMichael

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:34 PM

I see you've taken a few of the recommendations, but the passage is still clunky. It is over-written. In my opinion that isn't as bad as some make it out. Why? Because a passage can be under-written meaning there are key details left out. Better to be a little over-written than under-written.

I still stand by my original comments but I won't bother to restate them. Instead I'll offer some edits and give the passage with all of them made at the end.

The most important thing I see is that this reads more like narrative than a scene. I can't identify the point of view (POV) character. Given your desire to see the nastiness of the clerk, I suspect the thin woman should have POV even if this is the only scene she is in. Giving her the POV will allow you to offer the clerk's nastiness from her eyes.

A minor issue with the very beginning is the lack of the thin woman approaching the desk with her request. That's a good place to get into her POV and establish her character.
 

The thin woman waited by the Remain Here Until Called sign with a crumpled form clenched in both hands.

“Next!” the processing clerk barked. She tugged at her surgical mask and winced.

She flinched and met the glare of the clerk who tugged at her surgical mask. The thin woman shuffled forward and offered her form. The clerk snatched it out of her hands and darted her eyes to key entries on the page.

The mask did little to hide the snarl as she snapped at the thin woman who stood before her. “Your form is for two adults and two children," the clerk said. "Where's the other adult?”

"My husband." The thin woman cleared her throat into her fist. The woman’s answer was faint. “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He broke his leg and had to have surgery. He—he's bedridden.”

The clerk shook her head woman behind the desk scowled and furiously scribbled through the man's information. “Listen, lady. This mask has rubbed my face raw, and I ran out of patience a long time ago! I'm sick of you people not following the rules.” She scribbled through the man's information, stapled a voucher to the form and thrust it across the desk an ID at the woman.

"Next!"

The frail woman lifted the form and scanned the items. Her knees tried to give out as realization struck.


No! No! This isn't fair!” The frail woman swooned, steadied herself on the table, and pled between choked gasps of breath. “Please, ma'am, We won't have enough food if you don’t include my husband.

The processor leaned toward the woman, rested her palms on the corners of the table, and pursed her lips into a pout.

Please, he needs medicine,” the woman begged. “ He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!”

The processor clerk flicked her hand in dismissal shrugged her shoulders and mocked the desperate woman. “Then get a letter from the doctor and come back.” She rolled her eyes and looked past her. “Next!”

“Wait!” the thin woman shrieked and labored to breathe. “Please! Me and the kids, We've been in line since yesterday.”

"Not my problem. Next!"

Tears dripped from her mask., and She trembled as shouts from the angry people behind her grew louder.

 

The thin woman waited by the Remain Here Until Called sign with a crumpled form clenched in both hands.

“Next!”

She flinched and met the glare of the clerk who tugged at her surgical mask. The thin woman shuffled forward and offered her form. The clerk snatched it out of her hands and darted her eyes to key entries on the page.

“Your form is for two adults and two children," the clerk said. "Where's the other adult?”

"My husband." The thin woman cleared her throat into her fist. “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He—he's bedridden.”

The clerk shook her head. "I'm sick of you people not following the rules.” She scribbled through the man's information, stapled a voucher to the form and thrust it across the desk.

"Next!"

The frail woman lifted the form and scanned the items. Her knees tried to give out as realization struck.

“This isn't fair! We won't have enough food if you don’t include my husband. Please, he needs medicine. He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!”

The clerk flicked her hand in dismissal. “Then get a letter from the doctor and come back. Next!”

“Wait!” the thin woman shrieked. “Please! We've been in line since yesterday.”

"Not my problem. Next!"

Tears dripped from her mask. She trembled as shouts from the angry people behind her grew louder.



#10 C. C. Carroll

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 06:50 PM

I see you've taken a few of the recommendations, but the passage is still clunky. It is over-written. In my opinion that isn't as bad as some make it out. Why? Because a passage can be under-written meaning there are key details left out. Better to be a little over-written than under-written.

I still stand by my original comments but I won't bother to restate them. Instead I'll offer some edits and give the passage with all of them made at the end.

The most important thing I see is that this reads more like narrative than a scene. I can't identify the point of view (POV) character. Given your desire to see the nastiness of the clerk, I suspect the thin woman should have POV even if this is the only scene she is in. Giving her the POV will allow you to offer the clerk's nastiness from her eyes.

A minor issue with the very beginning is the lack of the thin woman approaching the desk with her request. That's a good place to get into her POV and establish her character.
 

 

The thin woman waited by the Remain Here Until Called sign with a crumpled form clenched in both hands.

“Next!”

She flinched and met the glare of the clerk who tugged at her surgical mask. The thin woman shuffled forward and offered her form. The clerk snatched it out of her hands and darted her eyes to key entries on the page.

“Your form is for two adults and two children," the clerk said. "Where's the other adult?”

"My husband." The thin woman cleared her throat into her fist. “My husband couldn't come. We were at the hospital when they delivered the forms. He—he's bedridden.”

The clerk shook her head. "I'm sick of you people not following the rules.” She scribbled through the man's information, stapled a voucher to the form and thrust it across the desk.

"Next!"

The frail woman lifted the form and scanned the items. Her knees tried to give out as realization struck.

“This isn't fair! We won't have enough food if you don’t include my husband. Please, he needs medicine. He's in terrible pain! An infection will kill him!”

The clerk flicked her hand in dismissal. “Then get a letter from the doctor and come back. Next!”

“Wait!” the thin woman shrieked. “Please! We've been in line since yesterday.”

"Not my problem. Next!"

Tears dripped from her mask. She trembled as shouts from the angry people behind her grew louder.

Thanks, Michi. Not sure when I last updated. According to my editor (she's read the whole scene, this is only a snippet) the entire thing is in 3rd person Deep POV. It's all in my MC's POV.






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