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Thread: The Moment when Time stood still, part 2

  1. #1
    Registered User Dr. Love's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Augusta, GA

    The Moment when Time stood still, part 2

    Sorry for this being so late, I've been busy with school and wrestling lately and haven't had much time to do this sort of thing. Hopfully the next part will be up soon. This part is short, but here you go:

    This went on for as long as I can remember until I finally asked him about it in December of 1986. He was reading a book on the living room couch when I entered; he didn’t seem to notice me. I squatted down near the couch and addressed him: “Grampa?”
    He put his book down, looked at me, and replied: “Yes, Danielle?”
    “Why do you always carry around that old pocket-watch?”
    He laughed softly and said: “For the same reason anyone has a watch, to keep track of time.”
    “Yeah, I know but…” That wasn’t what I meant to say. I meant to ask him why he did what he did at 4:56 of every afternoon. So with no other way to word it, I was as blunt as possible:
    “Why do you make that sad face whenever your watch hits 4:56p.m.?”
    His eye widened. He didn’t know that I had been watching him long enough to figure out his quirks. But he wasn’t disturbed; he gave a gentle smile and said:
    “Well, aren’t you an intelligent young lady. I had no idea that you’d been observing me like this.”
    I laughed nervously: “Yeah, I guess I was just curious”
    I suppose I didn’t want to seem nosy, but when he phrased it like that I couldn’t help but feel that way.
    “Don’t worry. I know that after all this time you must eager to learn why I do that”
    He shifted himself to where he was leaning back on the couch in a relaxed position: “Since you’re old enough now, I can finally tell you the story of why”
    I stopped squatting and sat down in preparation for his tale.
    “It all happened on the 21st of July, 1951”

  2. #2
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    Apr 2010
    It’s good you’ve picked this up again. You say it’s short but I feel it’s still a little too long.

    There’s some unnecessary internalised dialogue (you mention the question of 4:56 twice in adjacent sentences – why?) and the conversation itself is a little long-winded. Most speech is fragmented. The grandfather’s dialogue seems over-formal considering he is just chatting to Danielle.

    Also your opening line doesn’t make much sense when you analyse it – one assumes you can remember what happened last week so are you saying this went on until last week? Obviously not. And was the grandfather on the couch? Or was the book on the couch? The entire paragraph needs a rewrite (you also use ‘couch’ twice in the space of 16 words). All very nit-picky, but that’s what editing is about. Get rid of anything that draws attention away from the actual story.

    Don’t keep us waiting too long for the explanation.


  3. #3
    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    This little tidbit works, well it works for me. The whole 4:56 thing is what makes it work. The reader wants to know why, so the reader will keep reading.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
    My poetry & other stuff on Amazon: Larsen

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