Work Eval please

ba
bayamo
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:45 am Post

Wanted to post this and get feedback/ criticism/ comments.. any and all are welcome.. thanks..


Patricia sat on a porch which was vaguely familiar. She tried to remember why it was so familiar but she could not place it at the moment. She somehow knew she was still in Brazil. It was early morning and the clouds and rain cast a grey hue. She found this strange because she remembered it was summer and found it cold for this time of year. Off in the distance she saw a figure approaching on a horse. Close to her a pig started to squeal. The noise became louder and louder and Patricia thought the pig was calling her name. The pig moved closer and closer until the sound was clear.
“Pati, I’m talking to you,” the pig said. “Pay attention, here it comes. It’s me and the horse, you got that, me and the horse. Pati? Pati you got that? Are you listening? Hey Pati, I’m talking to you. Are you awake yet? Look at the horse, it’s Jefferson.” Pati looked off into the distance and saw a young boy riding up on the horse. She immediately recognized her son 10 years younger than what he was now. She looked towards the pig, who let out a loud squeal that awoke her from her sleep.

“WAKE UP!!!,” his mother said. “Jefferson!!! Wake up sleepy head. I had another dream.”
Mainha … I just went to bed, I’m beat,” he said. Jefferson looked at his watch and saw the time, 8:15 AM. “What’s wrong?”.
“I had a dream,” his mother said. “I dreamt with animals again, you know what that means. You need to play the numbers later today.”
Mainha … we’re not in Pernambuco anymore, it’s not that easy,” Jefferson said.
“Don’t be lazy, you know where you can go to play the numbers.”
Mainha, I just got home, I just went to bed, please Mainha, let me sleep.”
“No sleepyhead, it was a dream, you know that dreams are important, this means something.”
“You haven’t dreamt the right numbers, EVER,” he said to his mother. Jefferson pulled the covers over his head and hoped his mother would let him be.
“Jefferson, listen to me. I dreamt I was back home and I was sitting in front of our house. I was waiting for you to come home. I saw you ride up on a horse. A beautiful, large brown horse. There was a pig talking to me. You need to play those numbers. The numbers for the pig and the horse.”
Mainha, we are home. This is home. We live here now. Forget Pernambuco, forget the past, this is home now. O Jogo do Bicho is not on every street corner, and we never won much anyways. You told me about a thousand dreams, and you were only right in 2 or 3, PLEASE let me sleep.”
“NO. Stop talking like that,” Patricia said. “We may be here now, but you know, one day we will return. We are here for now. That was always the deal: We work for a few years and then we go back home.”
Patricia had settled in nicely to her new life, but she always longed to return to the city where she was born and raised in, the city where her son was born. She knew life was better where her and her son and constructed a new life, but she missed the nice easy life in the interior of the Northeast state of Pernambuco. “Today is our day. We can’t lose hope. If you don’t play the numbers, they will come out. And if those numbers come out, I’m going to hit you with my sandal so hard you won’t sit for a week.”
“PLEASE, mainha, I’m so tired, I just got home, I just went to bed.”
“Yes, and you didn’t even take a shower. How many times have I told you, take a shower as soon as you get home, before going to bed. I worked long and hard to buy those sheets and then I spend my days off washing them. I don’t want you stinking them up.”
“Please mãe, just let me sleep.” Jefferson knew it was no use to argue. When his mother was on a roll, it was like a force of nature, you just needed to hold tight and wait for the storm to roll through. Still, he hoped for the best. All he had to do was resist for a bit more, and maybe she’d give up.
“All right, my little prince. Sleep for a little bit. But remember, I dreamt about a horse and a pig. Cabeça, on the horse and the pig, play the numbers for both of them, don’t forget,” his mother said mussing up his hair. “Did you hear me?”
“Ok, Ok just please, let me sleep. I promise I won’t forget. Horse and pig. Pig and horse. I’ll play the numbers on my way in to work. The horse, the pig, I know, I know, just … please, let me go to sleep.”
“Thank you, querido, I love you, more than you will ever know,” Patricia said, nuzzling her son’s neck. Jefferson pulled the covers back over his head and went back to sleep.

ma
mary
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Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:48 pm Post

Nice! Because the situation is intriguing and the characters come across as people. I'd read more. (Though I have to say, the first part was quite disorienting until I found it was a dream).

ba
bayamo
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Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:26 am Post

thanks Mary. I try to drop a hint when she tries to recall the location and why it looks familiar, and i figure, as soon as the pig starts talking, the reader can figure something is up. After that it is pretty straight forward. I will have more hopefully next week. Thanks again

dr
druid
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Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:38 am Post

Tudo bem! 8)

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Floss
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Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:18 am Post

the single most scratchable thing that leaps off the page is repetition

consider this at a word-by-word level, for example...

bayamo wrote:Patricia sat on a porch which was vaguely familiar. She tried to remember why it was so familiar but she could not place it at the moment.


the second familiar makes the second sentance feel clunky.

Also consider at a perspective or section level. This bit:

bayamo wrote:Patricia sat on a porch which was vaguely familiar. She tried to remember why it was so familiar but she could not place it at the moment. She somehow knew she was still in Brazil. It was early morning and the clouds and rain cast a grey hue. She found this strange because she remembered it was summer and found it cold for this time of year. Off in the distance she saw a figure approaching on a horse. Close to her a pig started to squeal. The noise became louder and louder and Patricia thought the pig was calling her name. The pig moved closer and closer until the sound was clear.
“Pati, I’m talking to you,” the pig said. “Pay attention, here it comes. It’s me and the horse, you got that, me and the horse. Pati? Pati you got that? Are you listening? Hey Pati, I’m talking to you. Are you awake yet? Look at the horse, it’s Jefferson.” Pati looked off into the distance and saw a young boy riding up on the horse. She immediately recognized her son 10 years younger than what he was now. She looked towards the pig, who let out a loud squeal that awoke her from her sleep.


Can be deleted without losing any information, as it is effectively conveyed later in:

patricia / jefferson's mother wrote:“Jefferson, listen to me. I dreamt I was back home and I was sitting in front of our house. I was waiting for you to come home. I saw you ride up on a horse. A beautiful, large brown horse. There was a pig talking to me. You need to play those numbers. The numbers for the pig and the horse.”


I,d also say that as someone for who english is my only language, the splattering of foreign language words completely pass over me and make me feel a bit left out. If this is supposedly a translation for English readers of a dialogue that is taking place in a different language, why not translate all of it?
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.

ba
bayamo
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Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:16 am Post

Thanks for the time.
1. I did not notice the two uses of familiar, so thank you.
2. It is not a translation. The words I did use, one is a "proper name", the name of the illegal but highly popular lottery (this is like numbers, in New York, etc), another is the "name" of type the bet whereby you play the animal, and if any of its numbers hit, you win, and the others are versions of "mommie". I will explain the game later on, but it is too "text book" to start off the book. I was considering a short note, similar to what Graham Greene uses a the beginning of Brighton Rock.

I write a bit (and maybe this is my error) and then I work it out and revise until it is close to what I want, I guess you call it edit as you go. So what is here has already changed, but not much. I will go over your points and get back.
Thanks!

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simes
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Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:36 am Post

Just an observation, but the use of the authorial voice to describe someone's dream seems a little odd to me. I wonder if it would be better to start:

"The porch seemed oddly familiar, but where had she seen it before? Brazil, perhaps. The early morning sky was full of clouds and rain, making it strangely cold for summer. A figure on horseback rode out of the grey distance..."

Etc. Sorry, it's not the best example rewrite to illustrate a different voice to convey the dream, but hopefully it gets the point across.

Also, I don't know if anyone else has pointed this out, but it takes a second or more to realise the "mother" from the second paragraph is the "Patricia" from the first paragraph.

Regards

Simon