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  1. RWK

    RWK Member

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    Is this too cheesy?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by RWK, Jun 16, 2017.

    Excerpt:
    Two shillings, Romero discovered, went a lot further than he had be expected as he escorted Oracle around Riverwatch’s sights.


    He also discovered that Oracle was very pleasant to be with under these circumstances. Her white hair set off her steely gray-blue eyes and brought out the smattering of nutmeg freckles across her nose and cheekbones, and while she did not smile often her smiles lifted his spirits. He had always liked her, long before she was Oracle, but wandering the streets of a real town with her on his arm after two months of trials, uncertainty, violence, and the pressures of being a Crew Boss brought her into focus in a way that he could not explain. He was seeing past the girl of his past and the quirky role she had made for herself in the Ark to the woman she had become, and that that woman was intelligent, strong, and fascinating in her own right.

    /End

    Romance is very, very far outside my realm, but it is unavoidable in this project.

    Is this too cheesy, or will it work? I intend most of the romance to occur 'off camera' as is my custom, but I have to make some note of its progress.
     
  2. Earp

    Earp Copy That Contributor

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    Not cheesy to my eye. A little purpley, maybe, but that's a personal preference, and I'd have to see the rest of the story.
     
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  3. RWK

    RWK Member

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    Thanks. At this point I'm looking to avoid cheesy. Romero is a guy who would go a bit purple, I believe, although as you note, context is important.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    Naw, not too cheesy. The only thing I wasn't crazy about were the four colors referenced and the repetition of "smile" in this sentence:

    This repetition too:

    Easy fix with "beyond" instead of the first past if you choose to.
     
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  5. RWK

    RWK Member

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    'Beyond' it shall be. I'm not happy of the double 'smile', but at present I have not gotten a work-around.

    Oracle is a very solemn/serious person, so a better wording has escaped me. But it is all rough draft, so there is time for inspiration to step up.
     
  6. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    No, I don't think it's cheesy. Maybe a little cluttered here and there, but I find the narrator's attraction is conveyed in a compelling way.
     
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  7. Teresa Mendes

    Teresa Mendes Member

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    For me it's not cheesy, just a bit too long for my taste. But the feeling and attraction are well conveyed and it looks honest.
     
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  8. Bea Best

    Bea Best Member

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    I like this. I see the woman and I want to know more about both of them.
     
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  9. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I think the description is great. I was wondering though, would all of her attractive points have to be in that paragraph?
    Maybe the smile could come later, or remembering a certain characteristic in the next para.
     
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  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Banned Contributor

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    I would have to agree on the purple prose end. Just a wee bit over board.
    It is longer than a short, so you have time to play the cards out.
     
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  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    Yeah, that one's a bit tougher. You could swap in a "grin" but that would probably read worse. Maybe:

    Her white hair set off her steely gray-blue eyes and brought out the smattering of nutmeg freckles across her nose and cheekbones, and while she tended to be stoic her occasional smile always lifted his spirits.

    Stoic might not be how you would describe her though. Tough to tell without context.
     
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  12. RWK

    RWK Member

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    Interesting. Not exactly what I need, but close enough to lead me to it. Thanks!
     
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  13. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    It's pretty darn good, but I feel like it could be tightened up a little bit here and there. My edits would be as follows:

    He also discovered that Oracle was very pleasant to be with under these circumstances. Her white hair set off her gray-blue eyes and brought out the smattering of freckles across her nose and cheekbones. While she did not smile often, when she did it lifted Romero's spirits. He had always liked her long before she was Oracle, but wandering the streets of a real town with her on his arm after two months of trials, uncertainty, violence, and the pressure of being a Crew Boss had him refocusing on her in a way he could not explain. The girl of his past and the quirky role she had made for herself in the Ark had been replaced with the intelligent, strong, and fascinating woman she had become.
     
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  14. jazzabel

    jazzabel Agent Provocateur Contributor

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    I think the cheesy feel is more to do with the way this is written than any descriptions. In fact, if you can tidy up your flow and sentence focus and lose the cliches and narrative distance, the fancy descriptions will communicate the affection quite well on their own. I'll try to explain my reasoning to a suggested re-write that retains most of what you said, but sounds (to me, at least) less cheesy.

    "Two shillings, Romero discovered, went a lot further than he had be expected."
    This is a promising start, I really like it, but it's made nonsensical by the placement of "as he escorted Oracle around Riverwatch’s sights." It implies that he expected these shillings to not go far the entire time he was escorting the Oracle, which makes it sound clunky.

    To me the first part is so strong, if you made it clear in the paragraph before that Romero was escorting the Oracle around Riverwatch's sights, you could just say "Two shillings, Romero discovered, went a lot further than he had expected."
    However, this would need to be followed up, so if you want to move onto his feelings for Oracle straight away, repeating the word "discovered" works well, so you could say "Two shillings, Romero discovered as he escorted Oracle around Riverwatch’s sights, went a lot further than he had expected."

    "He also discovered that Oracle was very pleasant to be with under these circumstances."
    This uses cliche phrases "pleasent to be with" and "under these circumstances" which don't really mean anything but add to cheesiness/unsophistication of the paragraph. I would leave this sentence out and proceed with characterisation and description.

    "He had always liked her, long before she was Oracle, but wandering the streets of a real town with her on his arm, after two months of trials, uncertainty, violence, and the pressures of being a Crew Boss, brought her into focus in a way that he could not explain."

    I think it flows better to state his affection for her before launching into description. This works, although I added a couple of commas.

    "Her white hair set off her steely gray-blue eyes and brought out the smattering of nutmeg freckles across her nose and cheekbones, and while she did not smile often her smiles lifted his spirits."

    This works ok, although he just explained something he "could not explain" a sentence ago. Also "steely gray-blue" is repeating, try either "steely blue eyes" or "grey-blue eyes". You could convert this into an internal monologue, which is by nature evolving, such as:

    "It wasn't just the way her white hair set off her steely blue eyes and brought out the smattering of nutmeg freckles across her nose and cheekbones, or the fact that while she did not smile often, her smiles always lifted his spirits. He was seeing past the girl of his past, and the quirky role she had made for herself in the Ark, to the woman she had become. And that woman was intelligent, strong, and fascinating in her own right.


    To me, white hair symbolises a grown if not older woman, not a girl. But I don't know how old she is now, so if she is indeed a young woman with white hair, than word "girl" works. Repetition of word "past" doesn't. I also removed "in her own right" because it's an unnecessery cliche that infantilises the supposedly strong woman. It's something a father would say of a daughter whom he cared for since she was a child, not a man admiring a woman (not in this century, at least). Ask yourself, if you were describing a strong, powerful and attractive man, would you need to qualify his attributes with "in his own right"? I also slightly changed the wording to the first sentence.

    So I think this reads less cheesy:

    "Two shillings, Romero discovered as he escorted Oracle around Riverwatch’s sights, went a lot further than he had expected. He also discovered that even though he had liked her long before she was Oracle, wandering the streets of a real town with her on his arm, after two months of trials, uncertainty, violence, and the pressures of being a Crew Boss, brought her into focus in a way that he could not explain.

    It wasn't just the way her white hair set off her steely blue eyes and brought out the smattering of nutmeg freckles across her nose and cheekbones, or the fact that while she did not smile often, her smiles always lifted his spirits. He was seeing beyond the girl of his past, and the quirky role she had made for herself in the Ark, to the intelligent, strong and fascinating woman she had become.
     
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