What Stace had to say on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
Scene Crit 2

Okay, folks. Here’s our second scene. Just a note on this one–technically it’s not a sex scene, it’s a kissing scene, but as the writer of this piece has indicated it’s a YA project, and as kissing still counts as sexual interaction, we’re going to go for it.

Again, remember that an actual person submitted this piece, okay?

All names have been changed.

Her heart started to beat faster as he brushed his lips against her neck then her lips. Slowly he pressed his lips against hers gently kissing her. When she responded with a slight “mmm” he parted her lips, brushing his tongue against her teeth until they also opened. Pulling her body tighter against his, he explored her mouth. Calloused hands pushed under her T-shirt trailing up her spine, feeling as though little arcs of electricity emitted from his fingertips. Angling his body against hers he pushed himself against her. Jill pulled tightly at his shoulders as she felt the length of him hard against her stomach. She wanted him, so bad it she felt as if she was on fire. From the tips of her toes all the way to her mouth her body felt as if it would consume itself.

Jack knew this was dangerous but in the moment he didn’t care, whatever the consequences they would be dealt with in time. This girl was so fragile she needed him and his protection. At least that what he would tell himself. Slipping his hand inside the cup of her bra, he lifted it up to expose hard nipples. Rubbing his thumb over them made Jill feel like she was going to fall, legs becoming jelly.

When Jack started to pull Jill’s shirt up over her shoulders, an explosive bang came from the entryway.

Jack jumped from Jill with so much speed she lost her balance falling backwards on to the hardwood floor.

She turned to see Bob in the hallway with a mix of anger and fear on his face. Slowly shaking his head as if he was afraid for own safety he whispered” no hot water”.

He took a step forward and breathed into the air “master you must not.”

Turning from Bob to Jack she saw utter confusion on his face, his eyes were dilated to reveal huge black pupils.

“I am so sorry, please excuse me,” he said not looking at her as he disappeared down the hallway, Bob close behind. The bathroom door slammed with such force Jill was sure he would tear it from his hinges. She sat on the floor replaying what just happened when she heard someone approaching. Awkwardly she straightened her clothes as she stood up, turning to see Bob standing in the entryway.

“Come I will take you to the guest room” he said with absolutely no emotion his voice or friendly demeanor. He walked stiffly down the hall sneaking a peak at the bathroom as if it would explode any moment. She couldn’t figure out why he was angry so she quietly followed behind him. As a means of reassuring herself she rubbed the garnet ring on her left finger. It made her relax, the ring lulling her into a false sense of security.

Bob scowled at her as he looked down towards the ring. “Don’t,” he pleaded. She hid her hands behind her back as she entered the guest room. Rich woods and bright colors filled the room. Jill wondered if she was still in the same home as it felt like she suddenly she had been transported to a completely different location. The closing of the door jarred her back to reality, what the hell had just happened?

4 comments to “Scene Crit 2”

  1. BernardL
    Comment
    1
    · September 9th, 2008 at 7:02 am · Link

    The repetitious brush/brushed/brushing jumped out at me right away in the first paragraph, probably because I’m guilty of doing the same thing. Also, the pronouns consume the paragraph, and the final two lines are very awkward.

    ‘Was’ distracted me from the scene in the second paragraph. Although only used three times, it stalled the action and immediacy of the moment.



  2. Charles Gramlich
    Comment
    2
    · September 9th, 2008 at 7:51 am · Link

    I am reading these, but am so swamped with work these days that I haven’t had time to do any critiquing comments.



  3. Seeley deBorn
    Comment
    3
    · September 9th, 2008 at 9:44 am · Link

    Hm, there are a lot of adverbs in this, and the narrative needs to be tightened.

    “Her heart started to beat faster {if it starts to beat faster here, it has to either stop or come to completion somewhere else} as he brushed his lips against her neck then her lips. {lips twice in the same sentence, one could be mouth instead} Slowly he pressed his lips {lips again} against hers gently kissing her.”

    “Pulling her body tighter against his, he explored her mouth. Calloused hands pushed under her T-shirt trailing up her spine, feeling as though {participle issue: the hands aren’t feeling, she is; the hands could be creating a sensation though} little arcs of electricity emitted from his fingertips. Angling his body against hers he pushed himself against her. Jill pulled tightly at his shoulders as she felt the length of him hard against her stomach. She wanted him, so bad it she felt as if she was on fire. From the tips of her toes all the way to her mouth her body felt as if it would consume itself.”
    Lots of action here, but little reaction, and no emotion at all.

    “Jack knew {POV Switch. Is it really necessary to move into his POV for one paragraph?} this was dangerous but in the moment he didn’t care, whatever the consequences they would be dealt with in time. … Rubbing his thumb over them made Jill feel {you’re back in her POV here} like she was going to fall, legs becoming jelly.”

    “When Jack started to pull Jill’s shirt up over her shoulders, an explosive bang came from the entryway. Jack jumped from Jill with so much speed she lost her balance falling backwards on to the hardwood floor.”
    This isn’t really in anyone’s POV…it feels kind of like author intrusion. If there is an explosive bang, we should hear it from someone’s POV in order to get a physical (landing on hardwood, ouch!) and emotional reaction to it.

    “She turned to see Bob in the hallway with a mix of anger and fear on his face. Slowly shaking his head as if he was afraid for own safety he whispered” no hot water. Turning from Bob to Jack she saw utter confusion on his face, his eyes were dilated to reveal huge black pupils.”
    Way too many words, lots of turning. Tighten this down to 2 or 3 senences… Bob stood in the hallway, anger and fear twisting his features. “No hot water,” he whispered. Jack looked as confused as she felt. JMO. :)

    “She couldn’t figure out why he was angry so she quietly followed behind him. As a means of reassuring herself she rubbed the garnet ring on her left finger. It made her relax, the ring lulling her into a false sense of security.”
    This part is very telling of action, but offers no reaction or emotion to what happened. And again it could be tightened. “She followed after Bob, absently rubbing the garnet on her ring. The motion relaxed her, but didn’t stop her from wondering what had made him so angry.” The “false sense of security” feels like author intrusion again. Or you have to explain why she’d do it even if she knows it’s false.

    Not a bad first draft. And in this one the first person POV didn’t feel as distancing, which is a good thing for me.



  4. kirsten saell
    Comment
    4
    · September 9th, 2008 at 10:09 am · Link

    Please keep in mind that what follows is #1) my opinion, and #2) meant to help you, not to make you feel discouraged. There were things about this piece that really intrigued me, but that said, there are a lot of issues with this that need to be cleaned up.

    Repetitive word issues:

    his lips against her neck then her lips. Slowly he pressed his lips against hers gently kissing her. When she responded with a slight “mmm” he parted her lips

    POV issues:

    Jack knew this was dangerous but in the moment he didn’t care, whatever the consequences they would be dealt with in time. This girl was so fragile she needed him and his protection. At least that what he would tell himself. Slipping his hand inside the cup of her bra, he lifted it up to expose hard nipples. Rubbing his thumb over them made Jill feel like she was going to fall, legs becoming jelly.

    The POV switches without warning in this paragraph–in the middle of the last sentence, almost. It’s okay to switch POVs in a scene–once, maybe twice if it’s a long scene. But you have to make it obvious–give the new POV its own paragraph at least.

    It made her relax, the ring lulling her into a false sense of security.

    How does she know it’s false? Is she clairvoyant?

    Structure issues:

    When Jack started to pull Jill’s shirt up over her shoulders, an explosive bang came from the entryway.

    “When” sentences lack urgency–for me at least. I would give the bang of the door its own paragraph, or its own sentence.

    Brevity issues:

    As a means of reassuring herself she…

    could so easily become To reassure herself, she…

    Punctuation issues:

    I added a comma above. There are multiple spots in this piece that need them.

    Grammar issues:

    Calloused hands pushed under her T-shirt trailing up her spine, feeling as though little arcs of electricity emitted from his fingertips.

    In this sentence “feeling” actually refers to “calloused hands”, not her spine–or any part of her. Even if you want him to feel his hands are emitting sparks, this paragraph starts in her POV, so when I read that sentence it just reads wrong.

    If this piece in is third person omniscient, it only reinforces my discomfort with that POV.

    (also, I think it’s spelled callused–although I could be wrong.)

    Clarity issues:

    Bob’s appearance and Jack’s departure were really confusing for me–made worse by the lack of punctuation and capitalization in the dialogue. It took me two read-throughs to figure out who was actually talking.

    Proofing issues:

    At least that[‘s] what he would tell himself.

    Slowly shaking his head as if he was afraid for [his] own safety…

    Overall, there’s also a pervasive feeling of distance in this. For example, when Jill walks into the guest room, the sentence structure make me feel as if we are in a very distant third person POV, when a closer POV would–I think–serve this piece better. That can be corrected by simply changing some of your sentences to make them stronger.

    So although there are things in this to like (especially the “[M]aster[,] you must not,” which really intrigued me), it needs some hard work to make it shine.

    Good news is, it’s all fixable. If you’ve got the guts to put your work out there for others to critique (something I’m way too big a coward to do), I’m sure you’ve got the dedication to rework this scene so that it shines.



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