His eyes skimmed the specs, and he began to talk to the system. At first it turned him away. He was reminded of many swift rebuttals from women he'd propositioned. But then, with persistence, it began to change for him, open to him. Authorization? It asked. And he gave it. It was dummy authorization. Why fight the authorization by hacking passwords like some amateur when you could make her show all those hidden files that contain the password programming algorithms? He changed the password and walked in like he'd been here fifty times before. The glass case unfolded like a flower, and he stood up, staring at it. “I knew you'd come to me,” he grinned, putting his hand on the device. It burned his hand.
His eyes skimmed the specs, and he began to talk to the system.
Why are those in the same sentence? I don't mean to be confrontational, rather I think "and" implies we know the connection between him skimming the specs and then talking to the system. And maybe we do if we've read everything up to this point. But think about whether he just talked "while/as" he skimmed the specs-- that is, simultaneous actions-- or if there was more of a causal relationship, which I'm getting from the current line, not sure why-- what he saw in the specs told him somehow that he should talk to the system.
At first it turned him away. He was reminded of many swift rebuttals from women he'd propositioned.
These two seem like they should be more connected, maybe in the same sentence. (Also "it" made me go back and re-read-- what's "it"?) Or maybe you need to say HOW the system turned him down? It didn't respond? The cursor blinked contemptuously? You're presenting the system actually in conversation with him, so show that.
Also, "rebuttal" usually means "refutation," not "refusal." And rebuttals aren't like to be swift, because you have to counter-argue the points. So go with "refusals" or "rejections" maybe?
But then, with persistence, it began to change for him, open to him.
You're summarizing here, and I think this is likely the very point where you should get detailed. Presumably this is an important scene, as he seems to be breaking in somewhere. And he's using talents, right? That contrasts nicely with his self-deprecation. So take it slower. Show him working . SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS. If you make it fun, it will work.
For example, you're setting up that he's kind of seducing the system. So play with that. Use seduction words to set up what he's doing-- "flirting" with the system, "complimenting" it, "admiring" it, etc. You probably only need a couple of those, but that will expand the theme you've set up and make this more fun.
Not in love with the "change for him, open for him". Double predicates sound like you can't actually make up your mind. At least they're a little different, and the "open for him" expands the seduction motif ("change for him" doesn't-- see if you can do that subtly-- trust him?). However, notice that you are jumping the gun here. You are stating the results before the action, I think. (The false authorization, I mean.) If you mean that the system asking for the authorization is the first sign of opening, say so somehow. Like After a few more totally sincere compliments, he got to first base. "Authorization?" she asked.
with persistence, it
Have to point out-- this is a dangling modifier. It isn't being persistent-- HE is.
with persistence, he made it change for him...
Authorization? It asked. And he gave it. It was dummy authorization. Why fight the authorization by hacking passwords like some amateur when you could make her show all those hidden files that contain the password programming algorithms?
You have the system as "her" here, and "it" before-- choose one. "Her" goes better with the flirtation motif.
Authorization? it asked.
Lower-case the "i"-- even with the question mark rather than a comma, the "it asked" is still a quote tag and must be connected to the quote, not in a separate sentence.
See, the whole dummy authorization thing is going to confuse most of us (well, at least me). If you take this slower, show what he's doing, explain it, the reader will understand-- as long as you make it fun. (Is he stroking the system with his lies? Fondling it? Flattering it with sweet-nothing authorizations?)
He changed the password and walked in like he'd been here fifty times before. The glass case unfolded like a flower, and he stood up, staring at it. “I knew you'd come to me,” he grinned, putting his hand on the device. It burned his hand.
Okay, here's the culmination. Again, take it slower. Enjoy it. She "surrendered" to him, maybe. I like the unfolding like a flower because that is, of course, a common metaphor for a woman's, um, succumbing to temptation. Good! But I didn't know before that there was a glass case. "She" presumably is not the glass case but the security system? I don't know-- probably you mention that he's standing before a glass case. See, if you took this slower, you could have him seeing his reflection in the glass, etc. Work with what you have, but have fun with it.
And what is "the device/it"? "It" has been the system.
The burning is nice, but you might end with something that connects to the whole seduction motif. Just an example-- "It burned his hand, just like he always knew love would." Or whatever.
You want to know what voice is? THIS is voice. This is finding the fun, the excitement, in a passage, and using your word choice and your approach and your scene design to explore. You want to give the reader the most interesting and entertaining experience of this passage. THAT is your voice-- your way of seeing and presenting the story. You have something clever here, something that shows your playfulness and your irreverent attitude. (VOICE!!!) Use it, but use it well. Explore that motif of seduction. Use it to shape the interaction here, to present your own understanding of what's going on here. Yeah, you might overdo, but you know what? You can always cut it back in revision. Have confidence in your own ability to know what's too much. But a little excess here will mean you'll have a better idea of what works and what's excessive.
And I have to say, the seduction motif is perfect for this situation and character. First, the character-- it's first-person, so you want the narrative to reflect what's unique about the narrator. And he's apparently a felon. So he might be a bit excessive anyway! He's not going to be really conventional and stiff, right? And he's enjoying himself, breaking this system. Give him time to have some fun.
Also the back-and-forth of the situation exactly replicates sex and seduction, doesn't it? You felt that analogy. It's right. Have fun with it. You already are, I can tell ("opened like a flower" :). So take it through the whole passage. Make it a whole passage. I'd even think about doing it more or less in real-time-- that is, if it took him 10 minutes, take 10 paragraphs. You can always cut back if you think you've gone too far.
Notice what you do well, and do it well. :) You are having fun here, and being a little naughty. Well, that'll be fun to the readers too. We can be seduced just like the security system!
And if you take your time, you can get in all the info, like "security system" and "touchpad" and "glass case" and .... The more you put in, the more we'll be able to visualize the scene.
And you can always cut back. Keep that in mind. (Don't forget that step!) Let yourself go at first, and then you can get all analytical after. Try-- oh, two-three pages here. Too much, but that will give you a lot of great lines to choose among.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
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oooh, I like this. I've written sci-fi and I can imagine using something like this for breaking into a ship.
Your voice is humorously seductive (is there such a thing?) and I'm wondering about the rest of the story....
Leona, humor is very seductive. Or else class clowns would never get laid. And personal ads would never call for "a sense of humor".
But humor is all about-- hey! this is like sex!-- taking time and paying attention and DWELLING on fun aspects. So comic scenes, even lightly humorous scenes, will take longer to develop, and that's good-- laughter is all about deferring the moment of completion.
Hey! It's like sex!
Everything is like sex, huh?
Alicia: Thank you so much for taking a look at this for me! I really appreciate your feedback. I'm always torn in a scene like this that's supposed to be kind of fast paced between being quick and dirty (heh) or explaining it all out, but doing it in a way that makes it seem fast. I think you're right--I can go a long way with the seduction motif, and I'm sure I can figure a way to make it seem a bit urgent or fast paced too. I love writing this character, so I will definitely have some fun with it.
Leona: Thank you! I'm glad you find it intriguing. Hopefully in a few years it'll be sitting on a shelf at Borders and you can pick it up. :3
Gwen, you can tell I loved the seduction motif. I remember a Ben Jonson sonnet that makes writing a poem a sexual act, and that taught me something-- come on, the pro-generative act just really does parallel other creative "in-out" actions!
Go with it. Let loose. And then revise-- but have fun first!!!!
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