Author Topic: The Myna  (Read 2696 times)

Offline rcallicotte

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The Myna
« on: July 25, 2007, 11:05:33 PM »
mavcat wanted to see something I've written.  Here is the first page of a seven page short story I've written and am sending to magazine publishers.

It's called The Myna.

After paying what baht he could scrounge from his jeans pocket, Mike Dreighton popped out of the protected Thai cab. He felt sudden chaos, shoved by arms and jostled by street hustle from suffocating crowds. He pushed through the harried people, most shorter than he, and bristled at the last minute assignment that kept him from doing something he’d rather. While rejecting his first gut reaction of disgust at the foreign tang of sweaty Thailand bodies mingled with the pungent overripe vendors’ fare, he argued to himself that his business here meant committed concentration. Besides, this is what he loved, right? With ashrug of realization that this one-sided arbitration would be just that, he set his path through the melding sea of indifferent faces to move slowly to the entrance of the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park only a block away.

Finally reaching the gates and passing into the park, Mike found welcome relief from the noisy crowds. After he checked a paper in his pocket for his next destination, he headed directly up the path to the park headquarters. Moments from now, he would be meeting someone there and he prepared for the usual etiquette with a stranger who might be just treacherous enough to kill him.

As he walked, marking key points along the perimeter of the main building, feelings of apathy swept over drained emotions. Even pushing his sunglasses back up his sweaty nose, slippery from thick humidity, seemed to draw strength from his jet lagged body. For whatever reason, he was selected for some diplomatic thing. This task force. He huffed out loud. Probably a quirky knee-jerk on Capitol Hill in an attempt to override the post-effects of the previous director’s attack matrix. Here his mind scurried past any formulaic reasoning why he was sent to the other side of the world without any clear explanation. Why waste time with the obvious? Mending relations with China? More trade options? “Big freaking deal,” he muttered under his breath. Even rumored interest by Britain’s SIS seemed tepid.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2007, 12:39:56 PM by calico »
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?

Offline ProjectX

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Re: The Myna
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2007, 04:19:29 PM »
I'm gonna nit-pick here, don't be offended, it's mostly minor stuff, I nit-pick anything when I read it (even stuff like Pratchett, and especially Dan Brown).

"He felt sudden chaos" sounds odd, could maybe do with the passive here (gasp!), try "he was engulfed in the chaos of Thai city life" or just "he was surrounded by the chaotic life of the big Thai city"

"that kept him from doing something he’d rather." sounds like it's missing something at the end of the sentence

"While rejecting his first gut reaction of disgust at the foreign tang of sweaty Thailand bodies mingled with the pungent overripe vendors’ fare, he argued to himself that his business here meant committed concentration" The word "first" is breaks the flow here, it would work better without it and the word "Thaliand" does not need to be repeated, unless you're setting some racism-related character-traits. Sweaty bodies occur everywhere. Overripe should be over-ripe. "his business here meant committed concentration" the last two words here need changing, perhaps the last three. Try "demanded constant vigilance" (wait, sounds too much like Mad-Eye Moody from Harry Potter, damn catch-phrases!) or "he needed to keep his eyes on the task at hand".

"With a shrug of realization that this one-sided arbitration would be just that" seems a bit too verbose really, too posh for the character that you seem to be building up here.

"he set his path through the melding sea of indifferent faces to move slowly to the entrance of the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park only a block away." "He set his path" is redundant writing here, cut it out entirely, leaving "He moved slowly through the melding sea of indifferent faces towards the entrance..." maybe replace moved with a more descriptive verb, like walked, glided (implying stealth), stalked (also implying stealth), strutted (probably too cocky for a protagonist), strolled (implies no need to rush) or some over word. "only a block away" seems like it's been tacked onto the end of the sentence, and could be easily cut, unless the distance matters to the story.

"Finally reaching the gates" is not needed, especially since they're only a block away. If you're trying to stress the sheer quantity of pedestrian traffic, try "Pushing through the crowds he made it to the gates and passed through into the park"

"Mike found welcome relief from the noisy crowds" would then become redundant too, but we can stress the crowds again by saying "Mike took a moment to appreciate the calm of the park, compared to the bustle of the city behind him"

"After he checked..." The word after isn't needed here, just put and before "headed directly up..."

"next destination" seems odd here, a change of words would improve the flow, but I can't think of anything better at the moment.

"Moments from now, he would be meeting someone there and he prepared for the usual etiquette with a stranger who might be just treacherous enough to kill him. " needs a complete restructuring, try: "As he walked he tuned his mind to the usual way of thinking when dealing with a stanger who couldn't be trusted not to just kill him"

"marking key points" try swapping that with "taking note of key points", it reads better

"swept over drained emotions" very poetic, but not suitable for prose in this instance, try "mingled among his drained emotions", or if you persist with "swept over" then swap "feelings of apathy" with "waves of apathy" to build a full metaphor.

"Even pushing his sunglasses back up his sweaty nose, slippery from thick humidity, seemed to draw strength from his jet lagged body" could do with a minor re-write, try: "Even the simple act of pushing his sunglasses back up his nose, made sweaty by the humid climat, seemed to weaken his jet-lagged body"

"For whatever reason, he was selected for some diplomatic thing" This is a bit fluffy really, the sentence could do with a re-write.

"an attempt to override the post-effects of the previous director’s attack matrix" this seems filled with unexplained jargon, and as such alienates the reader.

"Here his mind scurried past any formulaic reasoning why he was sent to the other side of the world without any clear explanation" this is far too verbose for what the sentence merits, could be shortened to something much simpler like: "He was too tired to put any great deal of effort into working out why he'd been given this assignent"

"seemed tepid" tepid is not a word often used by people who mainly huff and say "big freaking deal". Bonus points for calling it SIS as apposed to MI6 though.

The revised version would read:


After paying what baht he could scrounge from his jeans pocket, Mike Dreighton popped out of the protected Thai cab. He was engulfed in the chaos of Thai city life, shoved by arms and jostled by street hustle from suffocating crowds. He pushed through the harried people, most shorter than he, and bristled at the last minute assignment that had kept him from his trip, hunting and fishing in the Everglades. While rejecting his gut reaction of disgust at the tang of sweaty bodies mingled with the pungent over-ripe vendors’ fare, he tried to convince himself that business here meant he had to keep his eyes on the task at hand. Besides, this is what he loved, right? Hot, sticky and not really convinced, he gave a shrug and strolled slowly through the melding sea of indifferent faces towards the entrance of the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.

Pushing through the crowds he made it to the gates and passed through into the park. Mike took a moment to appreciate the calm emptiness of the park, compared to the crowded bustle of the city behind him. He checked a paper in his pocket for his destination and headed directly up the path to the park headquarters. As he walked he tuned his mind to the usual way of thinking when dealing with a stanger who couldn't be trusted not to just kill him there and then.

He took note of key points along the perimeter as he walked. Waves of apathy swept over his drained emotions. Even the simple act of pushing his sunglasses back up his nose, made sweaty by the humid climate, seemed to weaken his jet-lagged body. He had been selected for some diplomatic thing. This task force. He huffed out loud. Probably a quirky knee-jerk on Capitol Hill in an attempt to lessen the after-effects of the previous director’s attack matrix. He was too tired to put any great deal of thought into working out why he'd been given this assignent, why waste time with the obvious? Mending relations with China? More trade options? “Big freaking deal,” he muttered under his breath. Even rumored interest from Britain’s SIS seemed half-hearted.


Hope you don't take this the wrong way, it's a great beginning of a story and all the stuff I've noted is really minor. If you took it to a publisher, they'd probably do all this for you too.

Offline Mavcat

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Re: The Myna
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2007, 04:44:31 PM »
I like it :) Some words a bit too hard for my knowledge of english,but i like it :D

Offline rcallicotte

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Re: The Myna
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2007, 04:57:33 PM »
ProjectX, by all means I'll read what you've written, but try to keep in mind that I'm well past this stage.  Writing is so subjective and what works for one person won't work for the next.  Someday, I'll have an audience and that's what I'm doing by sending this out to publishers now.  Having written loads of works already and worked with professionals on my writing and carriage and even marketing, I take certain criticism with a grain of salt.  It goes with the territory.

But, I'll listen more closely when you tell me stuff about TG2, since I can see how much I have to gain by pay attention.



I'm gonna nit-pick here, don't be offended, it's mostly minor stuff, I nit-pick anything when I read it (even stuff like Pratchett, and especially Dan Brown).

"He felt sudden chaos" sounds odd, could maybe do with the passive here (gasp!), try "he was engulfed in the chaos of Thai city life" or just "he was surrounded by the chaotic life of the big Thai city"

"that kept him from doing something he’d rather." sounds like it's missing something at the end of the sentence

"While rejecting his first gut reaction of disgust at the foreign tang of sweaty Thailand bodies mingled with the pungent overripe vendors’ fare, he argued to himself that his business here meant committed concentration" The word "first" is breaks the flow here, it would work better without it and the word "Thaliand" does not need to be repeated, unless you're setting some racism-related character-traits. Sweaty bodies occur everywhere. Overripe should be over-ripe. "his business here meant committed concentration" the last two words here need changing, perhaps the last three. Try "demanded constant vigilance" (wait, sounds too much like Mad-Eye Moody from Harry Potter, damn catch-phrases!) or "he needed to keep his eyes on the task at hand".

"With a shrug of realization that this one-sided arbitration would be just that" seems a bit too verbose really, too posh for the character that you seem to be building up here.

"he set his path through the melding sea of indifferent faces to move slowly to the entrance of the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park only a block away." "He set his path" is redundant writing here, cut it out entirely, leaving "He moved slowly through the melding sea of indifferent faces towards the entrance..." maybe replace moved with a more descriptive verb, like walked, glided (implying stealth), stalked (also implying stealth), strutted (probably too cocky for a protagonist), strolled (implies no need to rush) or some over word. "only a block away" seems like it's been tacked onto the end of the sentence, and could be easily cut, unless the distance matters to the story.

"Finally reaching the gates" is not needed, especially since they're only a block away. If you're trying to stress the sheer quantity of pedestrian traffic, try "Pushing through the crowds he made it to the gates and passed through into the park"

"Mike found welcome relief from the noisy crowds" would then become redundant too, but we can stress the crowds again by saying "Mike took a moment to appreciate the calm of the park, compared to the bustle of the city behind him"

"After he checked..." The word after isn't needed here, just put and before "headed directly up..."

"next destination" seems odd here, a change of words would improve the flow, but I can't think of anything better at the moment.

"Moments from now, he would be meeting someone there and he prepared for the usual etiquette with a stranger who might be just treacherous enough to kill him. " needs a complete restructuring, try: "As he walked he tuned his mind to the usual way of thinking when dealing with a stanger who couldn't be trusted not to just kill him"

"marking key points" try swapping that with "taking note of key points", it reads better

"swept over drained emotions" very poetic, but not suitable for prose in this instance, try "mingled among his drained emotions", or if you persist with "swept over" then swap "feelings of apathy" with "waves of apathy" to build a full metaphor.

"Even pushing his sunglasses back up his sweaty nose, slippery from thick humidity, seemed to draw strength from his jet lagged body" could do with a minor re-write, try: "Even the simple act of pushing his sunglasses back up his nose, made sweaty by the humid climat, seemed to weaken his jet-lagged body"

"For whatever reason, he was selected for some diplomatic thing" This is a bit fluffy really, the sentence could do with a re-write.

"an attempt to override the post-effects of the previous director’s attack matrix" this seems filled with unexplained jargon, and as such alienates the reader.

"Here his mind scurried past any formulaic reasoning why he was sent to the other side of the world without any clear explanation" this is far too verbose for what the sentence merits, could be shortened to something much simpler like: "He was too tired to put any great deal of effort into working out why he'd been given this assignent"

"seemed tepid" tepid is not a word often used by people who mainly huff and say "big freaking deal". Bonus points for calling it SIS as apposed to MI6 though.

The revised version would read:


After paying what baht he could scrounge from his jeans pocket, Mike Dreighton popped out of the protected Thai cab. He was engulfed in the chaos of Thai city life, shoved by arms and jostled by street hustle from suffocating crowds. He pushed through the harried people, most shorter than he, and bristled at the last minute assignment that had kept him from his trip, hunting and fishing in the Everglades. While rejecting his gut reaction of disgust at the tang of sweaty bodies mingled with the pungent over-ripe vendors’ fare, he tried to convince himself that business here meant he had to keep his eyes on the task at hand. Besides, this is what he loved, right? Hot, sticky and not really convinced, he gave a shrug and strolled slowly through the melding sea of indifferent faces towards the entrance of the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.

Pushing through the crowds he made it to the gates and passed through into the park. Mike took a moment to appreciate the calm emptiness of the park, compared to the crowded bustle of the city behind him. He checked a paper in his pocket for his destination and headed directly up the path to the park headquarters. As he walked he tuned his mind to the usual way of thinking when dealing with a stanger who couldn't be trusted not to just kill him there and then.

He took note of key points along the perimeter as he walked. Waves of apathy swept over his drained emotions. Even the simple act of pushing his sunglasses back up his nose, made sweaty by the humid climate, seemed to weaken his jet-lagged body. He had been selected for some diplomatic thing. This task force. He huffed out loud. Probably a quirky knee-jerk on Capitol Hill in an attempt to lessen the after-effects of the previous director’s attack matrix. He was too tired to put any great deal of thought into working out why he'd been given this assignent, why waste time with the obvious? Mending relations with China? More trade options? “Big freaking deal,” he muttered under his breath. Even rumored interest from Britain’s SIS seemed half-hearted.


Hope you don't take this the wrong way, it's a great beginning of a story and all the stuff I've noted is really minor. If you took it to a publisher, they'd probably do all this for you too.
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?

Offline Will

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Re: The Myna
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2007, 01:02:22 AM »
neat, I agree with Project-x's comments keep it up mate.
The world is round... so you have to use spherical projection.

 

anything