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Old 24th March 2012, 05:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

An excerpt from my WIP, here. At the surface, it's a chase story. An army deserter and a pair of siblings, brother and sister, are fleeing from a man with nearly unlimited power and authority. Simon is the brother, about sixteen years old. He was separated from the others during a mishap on a river and forced to flee deep into the forest with nothing but a musket and one shot's worth of powder scavenged from a handful of soaked paper cartridges.

Mainly, I'm looking to see if this section conveys a proper sense of hopelessness, of desperation. Though of course, all critiques of any kind are welcome.

You can ignore the part about large echoing rooms and blue lightning, it's a reference to an earlier disturbing experience.


----------------------------------------------------------


He ran with abandon. Where there was no path, he made one, pushing and snapping his way through the underbrush. He splashed through shallow creeks and scrambled over fallen trees, tearing cloths and skin in the process. He had no thought for direction or safety, only that he must go always deeper, that he must run until he could run no more. The sun was red and low when he collapsed at last into the long shadow of a tall hickory. He curled up against the shaggy, plated bark of the trunk, sheltered by low-hanging branches and broad leaves. Sleep took him as the pink sky darkened to a cool and lonely night.


It was hunger that woke Simon as the early morning sun began filtering through the leaves. The hole in his middle had been growing steadily, and his flight of the day before had only made it worse. He uncurled himself and creaked to his feet, clothes and skin still stiff with dried sweat. He stood with eyes closed and breathed in the scent of the wood, a floral mix of green and living things with an underlying sweetness of rot and decay. Tension bled from cramped muscles and he was tempted to stay where he was, to laze away the day in the shade. But he knew that he was only delaying a decision that he didnít know how to make.



Fort Meyer had been the only place available to him, the only bastion of civilization in a sea of wilderness, and now that was closed to him. There was nowhere left to go, no one left to tell him what to do. He set off at an easy pace, deeper into the forest. He wasnít quite sure how far he had traveled from the river, and there was a chance that he could still be found. Merely running away was a poor substitute for a destination, but it would have to do for now. He had nothing else.


So he walked. He walked over small hills and between great ones. He walked through tight thickets of young saplings with brazen arms stretched wide, and through vast, cavernous rooms roofed by the towering old masters of the wood. When he grew tired, he rested. When it became too dark to see, he curled up in some hollow of the ground and slept until the sun came again. At streams and ponds he filled his stomach to bursting, blunting the bite of hunger for a while, but always he walked. Stopping would mean he had nowhere to go.


He talked as he traveled, mumbling his thoughts aloud in time to the rhythm of his feet as he dragged one in front of the other, over and over again. He talked to himself about catching fireflies with Elizabeth on warm summer nights. He talked about sneaking tastes of Mrs. Hillís cooking before dinner.
Fourteen years at my table and you ainít starved a one of Ďem. He almost started laughing at that, but choked it off short, unsure if he would have been able to stop. He thought about large, echoing rooms with dripping water and lightning that didnít flash and fade but froze in place, glowing blue in the dark. He didnít put those thoughts to words.

A few days passed, he didnít know how many, before he thought of killing himself. He didnít want to starve to death, to let the hollow pit in his middle grow until it consumed him, but he could feel himself weakening by the hour. Already he rested nearly as much as he walked. Whole hours of the day were lost in the blink of an eye. He would start a thought in the morning and finish it in the evening. He would spend hours walking, staring at his feet as he slogged through the brush, only to glance up and find himself not a hundred paces from where he had started. He began dreaming up ways to find death before it found him. There was still one shot loaded in his musket, if the powder was any good. He could jump from one of the high cliffs that loomed over him in silent observance. He could lay down in one of the cool creeks that ran between the hills, just close his eyes and let the water wash away what was left of him.
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Old 24th March 2012, 06:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

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Originally Posted by Esfires View Post


----------------------------------------------------------


He ran with abandon. Where there was no path, he made one, pushing and snapping his way through the underbrush. He splashed through shallow creeks and scrambled over fallen trees, tearing cloths and skin in the process. -Maybe some reaction to pain inserted here, or how he gritted his teeth and suffered through the pain?- He had no thought for direction or safety, only that he must go always deeper, that he must run until he could run no more. The sun was red and low when he collapsed at last into the long shadow of a tall hickory. -Somewhere in this paragraph, maybe here, you could mention breathlessness, since he has been running long and fast. He would be tired, exhausted- He curled up against the shaggy, plated bark of the trunk, sheltered by low-hanging branches and broad leaves. Sleep took him as the pink sky darkened to a cool and lonely night.


It was hunger that woke Simon as the early morning sun began filtering through the leaves. The hole in his middle had been growing steadily, and his flight of the day before had only made it worse. He uncurled himself and creaked to his feet, clothes and skin still stiff with dried sweat. -You mention cramped muscles in a bit, but here he doesn't seem to react to the pain he would feel when standing up- He stood with eyes closed and breathed in the scent of the wood, a floral mix of green and living things with an underlying sweetness of rot and decay. Tension bled from cramped muscles and he was tempted to stay where he was, to laze away the day in the shade. -Could do with a stronger reaction to feeling the need to continue on, internal thoughts or something, telling himself why he has to keep going- But he knew that he was only delaying a decision that he didnít know how to make.



Fort Meyer had been the only place available to him, the only bastion of civilization in a sea of wilderness, and now that was closed to him. There was nowhere left to go, no one left to tell him what to do. -I'm sure there would still be some pain and tension in his limbs, it wouldn't go away that easily. Mention how he feels as he starts to run again- He set off at an easy pace, deeper into the forest. He wasnít quite sure how far he had traveled from the river, and there was a chance that he could still be found. Merely running away was a poor substitute for a destination, but it would have to do for now. He had nothing else. -Could turn this last sentence into internal thoughts, to get us a bit closer to his mind and feel his desperation-


So he walked. He walked over small hills and between great ones. He walked through tight thickets of young saplings with brazen arms stretched wide, and through vast, cavernous rooms roofed by the towering old masters of the wood. When he grew tired, he rested. When it became too dark to see, he curled up in some hollow of the ground and slept until the sun came again. At streams and ponds he filled his stomach to bursting, blunting the bite of hunger for a while, but always he walked. Stopping would mean he had nowhere to go.


He talked as he traveled, mumbling his thoughts aloud in time to the rhythm of his feet as he dragged one in front of the other, over and over again. He talked to himself about catching fireflies with Elizabeth on warm summer nights. He talked about sneaking tastes of Mrs. Hillís cooking before dinner.
Fourteen years at my table and you ainít starved a one of Ďem. He almost started laughing at that, but choked it off short, unsure if he would have been able to stop. He thought about large, echoing rooms with dripping water and lightning that didnít flash and fade but froze in place, glowing blue in the dark. He didnít put those thoughts to words.

A few days passed, he didnít know how many, before he thought of killing himself. He didnít want to starve to death, to let the hollow pit in his middle grow until it consumed him, but he could feel himself weakening by the hour. Already he rested nearly as much as he walked. Whole hours of the day were lost in the blink of an eye. He would start a thought in the morning and finish it in the evening. He would spend hours walking, staring at his feet as he slogged through the brush, only to glance up and find himself not a hundred paces from where he had started. He began dreaming up ways to find death before it found him. There was still one shot loaded in his musket, if the powder was any good. He could jump from one of the high cliffs that loomed over him in silent observance. He could lay down in one of the cool creeks that ran between the hills, just close his eyes and let the water wash away what was left of him.

Hey Esfires. I thought this was really good. I got the desperate feeling you were after, especially in the last 3 paragraphs. There are a couple suggestions there on improvements. The main thing is a little bit of a distance between us and the PoV character, some internal thoughts at the slower parts could help, and describing more of how he physically feels in some places. Just so we can get a bit closer to the character.
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Old 24th March 2012, 09:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

Hi Esfires, welcome to the critiques. I think you told me about his sense of hopelessness and did so very well. I had a problem with the lack of food, and the fact he was still walking - I would have thought he was expending too much energy to keep going without something.

I also thought that I was being told how he felt, and that slowed things. So, for instance at the end, with the gun and the single bullet, if he'd have been looking at it, holding it, willing himself to use it, setting it down etc. I think I would have been more convinced.

Likewise the thought in the morning and then in the evening, if we can see this, so he sits down and the hot sun is on his face and then he drifts into a thought and then there's the oh no! moment, as he realises he's in shadow.

And I agree with WP, some internal thoughts would have brought him closer.

I'm hungry. The hole in his middle seemed to have....

Thanks for putting it up.
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Old 24th March 2012, 07:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

It's good, held my attention with no trouble for the duration, and the descriptive bits are well done, unusual. There may be a few more words than completely needed in one or two places, but that comes down to style, really.

There is one thing though which is that unless you've already told the reader more about Simon earlier, or unless you're going to do so pretty soon, he's still too vague by the end of the piece. I would like to know a bit about his age and appearance, what he's wearing, is he a soldier and why he's running, etc. Those questions can work as dramatic tension, but be careful the reader's concerned enough about the character to stay with you that far?

By the last para I'm starting to think: enough, already, who is this guy? But again, that may be intentional on your part?
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Old 24th March 2012, 08:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren_Paul View Post
Hey Esfires. I thought this was really good. I got the desperate feeling you were after, especially in the last 3 paragraphs. There are a couple suggestions there on improvements. The main thing is a little bit of a distance between us and the PoV character, some internal thoughts at the slower parts could help, and describing more of how he physically feels in some places. Just so we can get a bit closer to the character.

My writing tends to be a bit more distant, so that's definitely something that I need to work on, yeah.



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Originally Posted by springs1971 View Post
Hi Esfires, welcome to the critiques. I think you told me about his sense of hopelessness and did so very well. I had a problem with the lack of food, and the fact he was still walking - I would have thought he was expending too much energy to keep going without something.

I also thought that I was being told how he felt, and that slowed things. So, for instance at the end, with the gun and the single bullet, if he'd have been looking at it, holding it, willing himself to use it, setting it down etc. I think I would have been more convinced.

Likewise the thought in the morning and then in the evening, if we can see this, so he sits down and the hot sun is on his face and then he drifts into a thought and then there's the oh no! moment, as he realises he's in shadow.

And I agree with WP, some internal thoughts would have brought him closer.

I'm hungry. The hole in his middle seemed to have....

Thanks for putting it up.


Those very things crossed my mind as I was re-reading it in the process of posting it, particularly the time distortion segments. The gun part is something I'll probably change, too. The lack of energy is something I wanted to convey, I guess I'll just have to make it more clear.



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Originally Posted by RJM Corbet View Post
It's good, held my attention with no trouble for the duration, and the descriptive bits are well done, unusual. There may be a few more words than completely needed in one or two places, but that comes down to style, really.

There is one thing though which is that unless you've already told the reader more about Simon earlier, or unless you're going to do so pretty soon, he's still too vague by the end of the piece. I would like to know a bit about his age and appearance, what he's wearing, is he a soldier and why he's running, etc. Those questions can work as dramatic tension, but be careful the reader's concerned enough about the character to stay with you that far?

By the last para I'm starting to think: enough, already, who is this guy? But again, that may be intentional on your part?


This takes place about 75,000 words into the WIP, so the reader is well acquainted with Simon by this point.
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Old 24th March 2012, 08:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

Just thought I'd add that I thought that it was good. I really liked your use of description, and found that it kept me engaged throughout and more importantly left me wanting to read on. Good Job!

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Old 24th March 2012, 09:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

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... This takes place about 75,000 words into the WIP, so the reader is well acquainted with Simon by this point.
Then the piece works and I want to know more. Not desperately, but enough to keep reading, for now.

I wonder why you chose this particular section as you've already written a large part of your book?

Well, that's just another question ...
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Old 25th March 2012, 12:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

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Originally Posted by RJM Corbet View Post
Then the piece works and I want to know more. Not desperately, but enough to keep reading, for now.

I wonder why you chose this particular section as you've already written a large part of your book?

Well, that's just another question ...

Mainly because I was particularly concerned about whether this scene communicated isolation, desperation, the state of Simon's mind. Critiques of any kind are welcome, obviously, but that's what I was really looking for an outside opinion on.
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Old 25th March 2012, 12:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

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Originally Posted by Esfires View Post
Mainly because I was particularly concerned about whether this scene communicated isolation, desperation, the state of Simon's mind. Critiques of any kind are welcome, obviously, but that's what I was really looking for an outside opinion on.
Yes, it does those things, and its well written too, but its difficult to judge the emotional impact, without being able to know enough about him to care enough about him, from this short piece out of context. But I can definitely picture the whole scene. Its a well written piece Esfires
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Old 25th March 2012, 09:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

Well written! A little too well written descriptively, in one sense. You placed me firmly in the wood with its sights, colours, smells, and textures I almost felt "how could anyone feel desperate in this beautiful place?".

Until the last 2-3 paragraphs I actually found myself thinking something along the lines of "hope / new beginning for this character", but that's just me.

Final few paragraphs would, I'd suggest, convey the same emotion in about 10-20% less words. Doesn't need that much to do what you want to achieve, almost as if (and someone else has said this here) the point is a little laboured- but again, everyone has a different and unique writing style so if this is just observation, not criticism that you've written it "wrong".

On the whole? A beautiful, descriptive piece that drew me in right from the first sentence. Well done!
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Old 25th March 2012, 12:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esfires View Post
He ran with abandon. Where there was no path, he made one, pushing and snapping his way through the underbrush. He splashed through shallow creeks and scrambled over fallen trees, tearing cloths and skin in the process. He had no thought for direction or safety, only that he must go always deeper, that he must run until he could run no more.


You start with great flow. In fact, it's so fluid that a reader would feel pleased to go on with that pace, but when you come to the highlighted bit, you stop to wonder what went on in the author's head?

Before you read on, think for a moment why I highlighted the bit.

The first reason is that there is a repetition and the next is the infamous comma-splice but the last is telling. There are places where you tell instead show, but in this case you shouldn't be doing so. The reader gets from the prose what you're telling here and therefore this bit should be considered for rewriting or removing. I'll let you decide which in case you want to act on my advice.

Quote:
The sun was red and low when he collapsed at last into the long shadow of a tall hickory. He curled up against the shaggy, plated bark of the trunk, sheltered by low-hanging branches and broad leaves. Sleep took him as the pink sky darkened to a cool and lonely night.
From fluid movement to syrup stiffness on the dark blue velvet blanket. That might not mean anything to you but to me it says that the reader was feeling the rush through the jungle to be bit where you decided that was enough and you slowed down the pace by taking off tension.

Not a bad decision, but the execution could had been a slightly better. And there the highlighted description could had been much better, and I feel that you could rewrite this to show you strength.

Quote:
It was hunger that woke Simon as the early morning sun began filtering through the leaves. The hole in his middle had been growing steadily, and his flight of the day before had only made it worse.
Middle of what?

Quote:
He uncurled himself and creaked to his feet, clothes and skin still stiff with dried sweat. He stood with eyes closed and breathed in the scent of the wood, a floral mix of green and living things with an underlying sweetness of rot and decay. Tension bled from cramped muscles and he was tempted to stay where he was, to laze away the day in the shade. But he knew that he was only delaying a decision that he didnít know how to make.
Quote:


Fort Meyer had been the only place available to him, the only bastion of civilization in a sea of wilderness, and now that was closed to him. There was nowhere left to go, no one left to tell him what to do. He set off at an easy pace, deeper into the forest. He wasnít quite sure how far he had travelled from the river, and there was a chance that he could still be found. Merely running away was a poor substitute for a destination, but it would have to do for now. He had nothing else.


So he walked. He walked over small hills and between great ones. He walked through tight thickets of young saplings with brazen arms stretched wide, and through vast, cavernous rooms roofed by the towering old masters of the wood. When he grew tired, he rested. When it became too dark to see, he curled up in some hollow of the ground and slept until the sun came again. At streams and ponds he filled his stomach to bursting, blunting the bite of hunger for a while, but always he walked. Stopping would mean he had nowhere to go.


He talked as he travelled, mumbling his thoughts aloud in time to the rhythm of his feet as he dragged one in front of the other, over and over again. He talked to himself about catching fireflies with Elizabeth on warm summer nights. He talked about sneaking tastes of Mrs. Hillís cooking before dinner.
Fourteen years at my table and you ainít starved a one of Ďem. He almost started laughing at that, but choked it off short, unsure if he would have been able to stop.


Good. I'd have liked to see a bit more of his thoughts at this point. In fact I'd have gone a bit closer to show how loneliness affects his emotions. Probably I'd have considered dropping in one of the bigger flashbacks and then moved on to the next bit.

Quote:
He thought about large, echoing rooms with dripping water and lightning that didnít flash and fade but froze in place, glowing blue in the dark. He didnít put those thoughts to words.
Do we do that? Put thoughts in the words or do they pop in our minds as vague images - similar to ones you start with. Think about it.

Quote:
A few days passed, he didnít know how many, before he thought of killing himself. He didnít want to starve to death, to let the hollow pit in his middle grow until it consumed him, but he could feel himself weakening by the hour. Already he rested nearly as much as he walked.
Survivors has been known to take three days to make four miles in forested areas. So not a really bad idea to rest as much as you're walking. In reality I'd be worried about his fluid intake and in close second position his food and shelter. Therefore, if you're readers are survivalist, this is where you start losing them as you're not really showing how is he able to survive in the wilderness. But you only waffle about the his moral dropping down like cow's tail. What is that you're trying to convey to the readers?

Quote:
Whole hours of the day were lost in the blink of an eye. He would start a thought in the morning and finish it in the evening. He would spend hours walking, staring at his feet as he slogged through the brush, only to glance up and find himself not a hundred paces from where he had started. He began dreaming up ways to find death before it found him. There was still one shot loaded in his musket, if the powder was any good. He could jump from one of the high cliffs that loomed over him in silent observance. He could lay down in one of the cool creeks that ran between the hills, just close his eyes and let the water wash away what was left of him.
You're very descriptive and that is good.
In places I'd have liked you to slow down a bit more to reflect character past actions and convey them to future decision. And the emotion I get across this piece is fear, loneliness and hunger. Are those what you wanted to achieve?

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Old 25th March 2012, 09:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

he was tempted to stay where he was, to laze away the day in the shade.
The above takes some tension out of the posted section, more so as he is considering dying later.

His thoughts of death turn up in the last para - I would have liked more internal thoughts as well. A desperate failure in finding food - a fish that got away in a stream maybe. Lead us up to what looks to be a bad ending!

Minor considerations, all well written and held my attention well. A little over written in some sections but you have enough skill to hold me while you do your descriptions and lead me on, so I more than forgive you.

Welcome to Chrons mate.
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Old 25th March 2012, 09:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

I found it beautifully written, but I didn't feel the desperation you said you wanted. The first paragraph I found too languid to feel his flight; and later, the descriptions of the "old masters of the wood" and the memories of catching fireflies were too beautiful to communicate despair. It felt at times like a piece of nature writing.

All that adds up to me feeling slightly distanced from the character and his pain and hunger, but I'm not sure how much of a problem this is. It might depend on how close-in to his POV you get in the rest of the book.

Anyway, here are a few suggestions as to how you might make it closer to the character's experience.

Quote:
He ran with abandon. [abandon often used to mean happiness, so inappropriate connotations] Where there was no path, he made one, [forced one?] pushing and snapping his way through the underbrush. He splashed through shallow creeks and [possibly comma instead of "and"] scrambled over fallen trees, tearing cloths [clothes?] and skin in the process. [don't need "in the process"; it slows it and makes it feel too considered for a mad dash] He had no thought for ["He had no thought for" is automatically distanced from the character -- to get closer in, you need to show us what he is thinking, not what he isn't] direction or safety, only that he must go always deeper, that he must run until he could run no more. The sun was red and low when he collapsed at last into the long shadow of a tall hickory. He curled up against the shaggy, plated bark of the trunk, sheltered by low-hanging branches and broad leaves. [might be too idyllic unless you can get across his exhaustion better] Sleep took him [feels too peaceful and, again, idyllic] as the pink sky darkened to a cool and lonely night.
Quote:


It was hunger that woke Simon as the early morning sun began filtering through the leaves. [The trouble is, we forget the hunger straight away in the simple beauty of the image] The hole in his middle had been growing steadily, and his flight of the day before had only made it worse. [Think you need to strengthen this. "Hole in his middle" is just an emptiness, you need to fill it with hunger] He uncurled himself and creaked to his feet, clothes and skin still stiff with dried sweat. [Not sure about skin "stiff" with dried sweat. Sticky and horrible, certainly.] He stood with eyes closed and breathed in the scent of the wood, a floral mix of green and living things with an underlying sweetness of rot and decay. Tension bled from cramped muscles and he was tempted to stay where he was, to laze away the day in the shade. [So he seems to have forgotten his hunger too] But he knew that he was only delaying a decision that he didn’t know how to make.


Fort Meyer had been the only place available to him, the only bastion of civilization in a sea of wilderness, and now that was closed to him. There was nowhere left to go, no one left to tell him what to do. He set off at an easy pace, ["Easy pace" sounds like a country stroll. Is it a pace chosen to conserve energy? Does he want to go faster but doesn't feel able to?] deeper into the forest. He wasn’t quite sure how far he had traveled from the river, and there was a chance that he could still be found. Merely running away was a poor substitute for a destination, but it would have to do for now. He had nothing else.

So he walked. He walked over small hills and between great ones. He walked through tight thickets of young saplings with brazen arms stretched wide [his arms, or theirs? (I assume the trees', but it can easily be misread)], and through vast, cavernous rooms roofed by the towering old masters of the wood [idyllic nature writing, good but is it appropriate?]. When he grew tired, he rested. When it became too dark to see, he curled up in some hollow of the ground and slept until the sun came again. At streams and ponds he filled his stomach to bursting [I read "bursting" but I don't feel any pain], blunting the bite of hunger for a while, but always he walked. Stopping would mean he had nowhere to go.

He talked as he traveled ["traveled" feels too "pleasant" a verb. "Walked" you can't use because of the rhyme; you could shorten it to "He mumbled as he dragged each foot after the other"] , mumbling his thoughts aloud in time to the rhythm of his feet as [talking about rhythm again makes it too measured, too pleasant, not difficult enough. If you can keep a rhythm you're not suffering.] he dragged one in front of the other, over and over again. He talked to himself about catching fireflies with Elizabeth on warm summer nights. He talked about sneaking tastes of Mrs. Hill’s cooking before dinner. Fourteen years at my table and you ain’t starved a one of ‘em. He almost started laughing at that, but choked it off short, unsure if he would have been able to stop. He thought about large, echoing rooms with dripping water and lightning that didn’t flash and fade but froze in place, glowing blue in the dark. He didn’t put those thoughts to words.

A few days passed, he didn’t know how many, before he thought of killing himself. He didn’t want to [starve to death, to -- you could remove this]let the hollow pit in his middle grow until it consumed him, but [he could feel himself weakening -- or just "he weakened"] by the hour. Already he rested nearly as much as he walked. Whole hours of the day were lost in the blink of an eye. He would start a thought in the morning and finish it in the evening. He would spend hours walking, staring at his feet as he slogged through the brush, only to glance up and find himself not a hundred paces from where he had started. He began dreaming up ways to find death before it found him. There was still one shot loaded in his musket, if the powder was any good. He could jump from one of the high cliffs that loomed over him in silent observance. He could lay down in one of the cool creeks that ran between the hills, just close his eyes and let the water wash away what was left of him.
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Old 26th March 2012, 12:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

Sounds like I need to focus less on the environment and more on Simon and his state of mind. I appear to be getting bogged down a bit with descriptive injections when I should be maintaining the pace of the passage, at least in the early parts. And I'll definitely be rewriting the part where he contemplates suicide. More show and less tell there would make that image a lot more powerful.
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Old 26th March 2012, 07:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Does this convey the proper emotion? 750 words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esfires View Post
Sounds like I need to focus less on the environment and more on Simon and his state of mind. I appear to be getting bogged down a bit with descriptive injections when I should be maintaining the pace of the passage, at least in the early parts. And I'll definitely be rewriting the part where he contemplates suicide. More show and less tell there would make that image a lot more powerful.
Maybe focus on how the environment reflects or affects his state of mind, rather than "external" (i.e. yours rather than the character's) description of it.

How much you should change that suicide bit depends on how seriously he's contemplating it. You used the phrase "dreaming up", which doesn't suggest a very strong intention to go through with it, but more like something we've probably all done at some point. If he's more serious (which in his circumstance he might be) then you probably should strengthen it, and "dreaming up" should probably go.
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