Layanna Rewrite 1

Lafayette

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#1
I'm trying to follow some of the advice given here. Please, let me know if this is better (or worse).

“I’m Layanna Wand, I wish to speak to Healer Harold,” said the soft voice of the slender woman in green.

The man at the door appeared numb groping for words, “That won’t be possible …”

The woman’s coffee-brown eyes frowned, “Why not? He’s expecting me. I’m a healer sent from Emerald Valley to help stave off the contagion.”

“Because, because, because he’s dead,” replied the old man. “He died an hour ago … from the contagion.” Then he added, “I’m sorry.”

Layanna sucked in her mouth and then gave a rueful grin, “Don’t be. It’s been one of those days or rather one of those weeks. May we please see his body?” As an after-thought she answered the man’s unspoken question, “This is my new traveling companion, Reeshard René Beaugasson.”

The man nodded.

The bedroom was void of mourners. Fogging the room was a haze of blue smoke. The smoke was coming from incense sticks emitting an odor of garlic and blue pepper.

“Phew,” said Reeshard. “Why the incense?”

“It’s to keep the stinger ants away,” answered Layanna.

As the smoke swirled in the dark chamber so did the thoughts of Layanna as she studied the dead shell of Harold.

“Are ya day dreamin’ again?” asked a cheerful baritone. The baritone was John Planter an orchard grower.

Layanna turned from the window, “I was again admiring the many greens of Emerald Valley. This time I counted twenty-four. I especially love the way the dew makes the grass and leaves sparkle. They’re like jewels they’re like like …”

“Like emeralds,” laughed the short burly man as he sat a wooden box of fruit on the kitchen floor.

“Yes, like emeralds,” answered Layanna. “That’s why it’s called Emerald Valley.” Then she paused, “I wonder if there are any places that sparkle like sapphires or diamonds?

“Why do ya wonder that?”

“How is your uncle with his gout?” she asks softly.

“He’s fine. Ya should know that. And so are the babies ya delivered to Mrs. Swan last week. You’re the best healer we’ve had in Emerald Valley in a long moon. We’re blest ta have ya.”

“Thanks, John for the compliment, but any healer can easily do what I do.”

“There ya go agin belittlin’ yerself, Layanna,” replied John in a miff. “I wish ya quit that. Ya don’t deserve that. I wish ta god I knew what’s gnawin’ at ya.”

Layanna smiled, I know what’s gnawing at me: I’m stuck here, but you wouldn’t understand for you are more in love with Emerald Valley than I am.

“Lady Wand,” interrupted the old man, “The High Captain of the Guard needs to speak to you.

Without a word Layanna and Reeshard follow the old man out the door.
 

Brian G Turner

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#2
You're still having problems with POV use here - if Lyanna is the POV character, we'll see the world through her experiences. Also, we get almost nothing of the character experience or inner drives - this is mostly just dialogue.

If you haven't completed this story then press on, because you'll probably end up rewriting what you have at the start anyway. I also get the feeling that you don't yet understand Lyanna, as at the moment she's more a device for traveling through the story, than a well-defined character in her own right.

As ever, I recommend reading Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer for the technicalities of writing, and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder for character development.
 

tinkerdan

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#3
You may have something here that would interest me in continuing with the story; however I get confused easily and I hope you can forgive.

We start with Layanna and her companion Reeshard; the companion isn't mentioned at first and almost seems like a sudden wedged in--oh yea here's my companion.

The man in the scene is unnamed. which is okay but adds to confusion later.

They end up in the bedroom of Harold who is dead. Smoke swirls and she studies the dead shell of Harold.

Then someone asks her if she is daydreaming and this person is identified and she is now looking out of a window--mind you she was just look at the dead shell of Harold.

They are in a kitchen and not the bedroom so something tells me that this might be a change of scene; however its not clear and even though Reeshard is not mentioned, as we've learned, it doesn't mean the companion is not there. The resulting conversation is totally off in left field from where we came from and now I'm really confused and nothing really has happened yet beyond that confusion.

It might just be me. But there might be something to consider in all this. I think that in this case, more would be helpful in completing this piece.
 

Lafayette

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#4
You're still having problems with POV use here - if Lyanna is the POV character, we'll see the world through her experiences. Also, we get almost nothing of the character experience or inner drives - this is mostly just dialogue.

I'm not asking the following questions to be argumentative, but because I thought I was addressing these issues.

Doesn't the fact that Layanna is counting shades of green hint that she may be bored? Or that she wonders if there are places that resemble diamonds and sapphires indicate a longing to be somewhere else besides Emerald Valley? When Layanna changes the subject doesn't this show she is having problems she doesn't want to talk about? When Layanna replies, "Thanks, John for the compliment, but any healer can easily do what I do.” Doesn't this answer show she isn't happy with her status?

If you haven't completed this story then press on, because you'll probably end up rewriting what you have at the start anyway.

If the start of this story is bad why should I press on?

As ever, I recommend reading Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer for the technicalities of writing, I have this book, but it is no help to me because the print is too small for my poor eyesight. and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder for character development.
I will try to get this book later.
 

Lafayette

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#5
You may have something here that would interest me in continuing with the story; however I get confused easily and I hope you can forgive.

We start with Layanna and her companion Reeshard; the companion isn't mentioned at first and almost seems like a sudden wedged in--oh yea here's my companion.

I was trying not to be my long-winded self by ignoring Reeshard and getting to the point. I will change this.

The man in the scene is unnamed. which is okay but adds to confusion later. Why does it or he add confusion?

They end up in the bedroom of Harold who is dead. Smoke swirls and she studies the dead shell of Harold.

Then someone asks her if she is daydreaming and this person is identified and she is now looking out of a window--mind you she was just look at the dead shell of Harold. Yes, but her thoughts were swirling away from the scene with the smoke. I was trying to be subtle.

They are in a kitchen and not the bedroom so something tells me that this might be a change of scene; however its not clear and even though Reeshard is not mentioned, as we've learned, it doesn't mean the companion is not there. The resulting conversation is totally off in left field from where we came from and now I'm really confused and nothing really has happened yet beyond that confusion.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to confuse you or anyone else.

I think that in this case, more would be helpful in completing this piece.

Why?
 
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#7
Although I agree with a good amount of what else has been said, I'd also like to mention that there are a few times-- especially when a character stutters or hesitates-- when I think you could do with some more extensive punctuation. Right now the story reads very fast-- as in, the little narrator voice in my head is going through the words, hardly stopping for rhythm or flow. For example, when Layanna first hears that Harold is dead, you write:

Layanna sucked in her mouth and then gave a rueful grin, “Don’t be. It’s been one of those days or rather one of those weeks. May we please see his body?” As an after-thought she answered the man’s unspoken question, “This is my new traveling companion, Reeshard René Beaugasson.”
I really like this sentence. We learn about Layanna-- both in personality and who she's with. We also get a little bit about the man she's speaking to-- he's surprised, or at the very least noting, Reeshard's presence. However the rhythm of what Layanna is saying feels... Off.

“Don’t be. It’s been one of those days or rather one of those weeks. May we please see his body?”
She makes three comments here-- one in each sentence. We learn three things:

A) He doesn't need to apologize.
B) It's been one of those days (weeks).
C) She wants to see the body.

However, there are actually four statements she makes. Those are:

A) He doesn't need to apologize.
B) It's been one of those days.
C) Actually, as a correction, it's been one of those weeks.
D) She wants to see the body.

Dividing it like you have is fine, but those middle two statements sort of run on top of each other. This makes sense, right? They're a single sentence. However, breaking them up into two grammatical units might help the rhythm of this piece a bit. Even something as simple as:

“Don’t be. It’s been one of those days-- or, rather, one of those weeks. May we please see his body?”
Totally changes the way the reader "hears" the sentence in their head. I think that kind of work might improve a couple of places in this piece. Another example is this paragraph:

Layanna turned from the window, “I was again admiring the many greens of Emerald Valley. This time I counted twenty-four. I especially love the way the dew makes the grass and leaves sparkle. They’re like jewels they’re like like …”
But I'll let you handle that.

I know this might sound like a crazily specific thing to think about when editing a piece-- and it may not even be the right point in the revision process for you to do line edits like this, I don't know how you feel about the piece narratively right now-- but I think it's really important. After all, awkward or jumbled prose can cling to the legacy of even the most famous and well-plotted authors.
 

Lafayette

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#8
Although I agree with a good amount of what else has been said, I'd also like to mention that there are a few times-- especially when a character stutters or hesitates-- when I think you could do with some more extensive punctuation. Right now the story reads very fast-- as in, the little narrator voice in my head is going through the words, hardly stopping for rhythm or flow. For example, when Layanna first hears that Harold is dead, you write:



I really like this sentence. We learn about Layanna-- both in personality and who she's with. We also get a little bit about the man she's speaking to-- he's surprised, or at the very least noting, Reeshard's presence. However the rhythm of what Layanna is saying feels... Off.



She makes three comments here-- one in each sentence. We learn three things:

A) He doesn't need to apologize.
B) It's been one of those days (weeks).
C) She wants to see the body.

However, there are actually four statements she makes. Those are:

A) He doesn't need to apologize.
B) It's been one of those days.
C) Actually, as a correction, it's been one of those weeks.
D) She wants to see the body.

Dividing it like you have is fine, but those middle two statements sort of run on top of each other. This makes sense, right? They're a single sentence. However, breaking them up into two grammatical units might help the rhythm of this piece a bit. Even something as simple as:



Totally changes the way the reader "hears" the sentence in their head. I think that kind of work might improve a couple of places in this piece. Another example is this paragraph:



But I'll let you handle that.

I know this might sound like a crazily specific thing to think about when editing a piece-- and it may not even be the right point in the revision process for you to do line edits like this, I don't know how you feel about the piece narratively right now-- but I think it's really important. After all, awkward or jumbled prose can cling to the legacy of even the most famous and well-plotted authors.
I really appreciate your critique and I will study it.

I have been having a real hard time with this piece in trying to implement the other critiques. I think I understand what they're saying, but don't how to put it together. I've been getting the feeling I'm doing it all wrong.
 
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#9
I think I understand what they're saying, but don't how to put it together. I've been getting the feeling I'm doing it all wrong.
This is a super common thing to feel and please, please don't think that you're missing out on some special secret sauce that other writers and creators have managed to find. Revision is a frustrating process for everyone-- much more frustrating, in my opinion, than writing something in the first place.
 

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