Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rachel line edits

Rachel Lorber said... Thank you so much. This is a paragraph I've been having a lot of difficulty with.

Fog drenched the bridge in luminous light. The white mist rose from the choppy blue water below to float around the red steel of the Golden Gate Bridge, where it lingered to catch the lamplight. I stared out the window in awe, trying to see the city beyond the fog. I could only make out the dark outlines of skyscrapers and apartments, taller than anything I’d ever seen before, taller even then the Iron Tower.

We've had a run of first-persons. :) It's such an interesting viewpoint, isn't it?
Fog drenched the bridge in luminous light. The white mist rose from the choppy blue water below to float around the red steel of the Golden Gate Bridge, where it lingered to catch the lamplight.
Okay, you seem to be starting with the results-- the fog is drenching the bridge, and then you go back down to the water. See what I mean? It's a pretty image, but it's a little backwards. The fog starts up from the water, so think about moving that first line later.

I stared out the window in awe, trying to see the city beyond the fog.
Now wait. The narrator is inside? I'm sure you set that up in the paragraph before this, but I have to say, it jounced me. The first two lines are outside, and suddenly we're inside.
"in awe"-- that's one of those, um, gosh-golly-gee-whiz terms that kind of contrast with the rather discreet terminology before. Is there a less gushy term?

I could only make out the dark outlines of skyscrapers and apartments, taller than anything I’d ever seen before, taller even then the Iron Tower.
Well, as you know, "only" is a word that can be put anywhere in a sentence, and so you want to make sure it's placed right. It sounds good where it is, but actually, it belongs before "the dark"--
I could make out only the dark outlines
the dark outlines of skyscrapers and apartments,
Skyscrapers and apartments aren't in the same category. I'd get rid of "apartments," which aren't buildings, but parts of buildings.
taller even then the Iron Tower.
THAN the Iron Tower. Here's a great link, which helps you find homophones: Commonly Misused Words.

Again, get tough with yourself as you revise. Imagine every problem the reader might have.
Alicia

1 comment:

Jami G. said...

Hi Rachel,

I just had one suggestion to add to Alicia's comments. Instead of the word awe, maybe something like "disbelief" or "anticipation". In other words, as Alicia pointed out, awe is one of those words that is hard to make feel concrete to the reader unless it's very clear why the character is feeling that way. So maybe try to think of what other emotions the character might be experiencing at the same time.

Hope this helps!
Jami G.