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Does this Excerpt Make Sense?
Old 12-15-2014, 08:39 AM   #1
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Does this Excerpt Make Sense?

Scenes that make sense to me, don't always make sense to others, so I have to check.

Below is an excerpt from my book. In this scene an eighty-one-year-old woman (Marie) has been forced to take over as sheriff of a small town. Marie is unusually short. She's enlisted the help of her teenage great-grandson, who is 6' 5" and a football star (Mike).

In the scene she's had to do something to prevent an explosion at a hydro-electric plant. She fails. This is what happens:

Quote:
A beautiful purple flame shot out of the top of the low-head cabinets. “No, no, no. Mike, run!”

He charged out into the yard, picked up his diminutive great-grandmother and carried her like a football, racing down the hill. Marie bounced as if draped over a raging bull.
Man, this, oof, kid, oof, is strong.Oof. Oof.

They were fifty yards from the Algashie River power generation facility when they heard the boom. They looked back to see an orange fireball engulf the yard.
My questions:

1. Is it reasonable that he could pick her up and carry her like a football?

2. Is it clear what the oofs refer to?

Thanks,
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:40 AM   #2
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1. No. Unless "unusually short" means "little person" (f/k/a "dwarf"). Particularly given the later wording of "draped over a raging bull," which connotes a shoulder carry. If she isn't 2' 5," maybe instead of "carried like a football," go with "like a tacking dummy," or "shouldered her as if she were an opposing ball carrier" or the like?

2. The "oofs" struck me as coming from Marie as the shock of kid's footfalls transmitted to her diaphragm as she was on his shoulder.

*** Query on timing of the fireball. From this excerpt, seems awfully slow in developing, much like in the movies. :-)
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:43 AM   #3
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Not a sport kinda person, but do footie players normally carry the ball "as if (it were) draped over a raging bull"? Is the football Dali-clock like and deflated? Perhaps cut the football analogy. The oofs are clear.

Is granny over his shoulder and bouncing along or tucked under his arm (an awkward carry I'd think)?
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:57 AM   #4
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That part I understood, but had not a clue what a 'low head cabinet' was or is.
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:10 AM   #5
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Do raging bulls bounce?

The oofs are distracting for me and redundant as you have already told the reader she is bouncing (assuming oof = bounce).
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:13 AM   #6
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I don't think it is reasonable that even a very strong football player can pick someone over 3 ft up and carry her like a football. Maybe I'm reading more into this, but my thoughts wonder if the 81 year old lady gets hurt.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:06 AM   #7
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I think if he carried her like a bag of fertilizer over his shoulder it would make more sense than how a football player carries a football.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:14 AM   #8
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I would think he would carry her under his arm. Certainly not like a football. Oofs are fine.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:22 AM   #9
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Okay, I'm glad I asked.

What I'm picturing is the two bodies at right angles. The woman's stomach is against the side of the boy, and he has his arm around her waist.

If I could convey that, do you think it would be feasible?

Quote:
Mike charged out into the yard, scooped up his diminutive great-grandmother, and carried her with her stomach against his side. She bounced with each step as if draped over a rodeo bull. Man, this, oof, kid is, oof, strong. I'm too old for this.
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:12 AM   #10
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How about a fireman's carry? Wouldn't that be a more realistic way to grab your diminutive grandmother? Also, that way her face can take the brunt of the fireball and add some more drama to the story. I don't like the "oofs."
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
How about a fireman's carry? Wouldn't that be a more realistic way to grab your diminutive grandmother?
Absolutely. This is the only way that makes sense to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I don't like the "oofs."
I do.
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:43 AM   #12
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Fireman's carry. Yeah, maybe. My way seems funnier to me. I'd try it out if I were stronger and Lena were more diminutive.

Fireman's carry is probably 85% as funny, and readers will be able to picture it immediately.
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:37 AM   #13
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What I'm picturing is the two bodies at right angles. The woman's stomach is against the side of the boy, and he has his arm around her waist.

I guess I'm in the minority. That is exactly how I pictured it. The "oof"s were a nice touch and clearly were, to me anyway, the shock of his running feet transferring to the Marie's abdomen.
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:15 PM   #14
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From my understanding, old people typically become more delicate and fragile with age. To me it doesn't sound as though carrying GGMa under his arm is a very kind or considerate manner in which to transport her. So, unless he's hauling other things that make it impossible for a 'kinder, gentler' method of carrying her, I'd nix the "like a football" carrying style.

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Old 12-16-2014, 01:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
From my understanding, old people typically become more delicate and fragile with age. To me it doesn't sound as though carrying GGMa under his arm is a very kind or considerate manner in which to transport her. So, unless he's hauling other things that make it impossible for a 'kinder, gentler' method of carrying her, I'd nix the "like a football" carrying style.

omni
I agree. Mike, however, isn't real smart:

Mike was a high school senior. He was about as sharp as a bowling ball, but had a good disposition, was popular, and did what he was told. Marie called him because he was into bodybuilding, and it showed. He was also six-foot-five, and the star of the football team. What he lacked in intelligence, he made up for in grace under pressure. Two years ago he saved the life of a child who had fallen through the ice. He’d acted fast while others hesitated. He dove in, found her under the ice, and pulled her out. Of course, he almost killed himself in the process.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:34 PM   #16
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I'm not that small (5'4"), but the older I get, the more sensitive I am to bumps and knocks. If he carried her against his side and bounced her like that, I would expect her to have some cracked ribs. It sounds painful. An over the shoulder carry sounds much more humane to me. Otherwise, sounds great!
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Old 12-16-2014, 03:39 PM   #17
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I have to agree that an over the shoulder carry sounds better. In the context of the story they're running for their lives so the possibility of a few broken ribs doesn't matter.

And the "oof"'s are fine.
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