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  #21  
Unread 01-19-2019, 11:19 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi Aaron,

I also found the middle second flatter and more prosey than the rest -- at least in places. It doesn't seem to be quite up to your usual high standard. There's less concision, concrete imagery and fresh phrasing than usual.

Some things you might look at:

to whom the fight was more than just a job.

"more than just a job" is a stock phrase. Is there a fresher a way of saying this?

had an affair among the balsam trees

"had an affair" is pretty flat and telly and another stock phrase. Can you give us an image to show us that they're having an affair maybe?

She, who had previously felt disgust
with life, disgust with flesh, disgust with men,
succumbed, this time, to real heart-and-soul
love. For a month they lived in bliss.


The repetition of "disgust with" strikes me as a rhetorical strategy out of place among what surrounds it. Why not just: "disgust with life, with flesh, with men"?

"real heart-and-soul love" ... "they lived in bliss"; again there might be ways to convey this with concrete imagery rather than abstract generalities, I think. That said, I get that you might want something cliche-like with "real heart-and-soul love" (though I find the enjambment odd - love landing on its own on the next line), because that's kind of the point here. But maybe there's something better/fresher than "they lived in bliss".

Next came the smoke. It was a roadside bomb.

Do you need "it was"? You could add modifier to the smoke, for example, to add to the image. (Given the cardamon field, I'm thinking it might be quite fragrant, but that's probably a bit too jokey). I don't know, maybe "Next came the death-black smoke. A roadside bomb.", but no doubt there's something better.

she later reconciled / herself to the idea of quitting killing also seems pretty prosey to me: "the idea of" seems unnecessary (and another stock construction).

She planned to make a normal sort of home
possibly in her mother’s native Rome
or with her British father in Sudan.

"possibly" is prosey here, I think, and for me pulls this down passage. Again, maybe you could substitute an image, "a villa in her mother's native Rome", say.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 01-19-2019 at 01:00 PM.
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  #22  
Unread 01-19-2019, 03:10 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Dear Matt and Andrew,

I have thoroughly revised the second section and shortened it from 37 to 34 lines.

Matt, I have either removed or revised the phrases which you felt lacked freshness.

What do we think? Is this better?
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  #23  
Unread 01-21-2019, 01:28 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Part 2 is tighter and leaner now. But I think the new phrase "nut-job" early on in the section undercuts the character background that follows. You need the rhyme there, so maybe change "the Merc nut-job" to "paid job to job"?
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  #24  
Unread 01-21-2019, 03:18 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Andrew, thank you. I have fixed, I think, line 3 of the second section:

Ten years ago in Africa, before
she lost an eye and got the robot one,
Sergeant Aquila Blair, crack shot, nutjob,
had fought on our side in the shadow-war
against the mujahideen of Al-Shabaab.
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  #25  
Unread 01-24-2019, 08:20 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post
Dear Matt and Andrew,
Matt, I have either removed or revised the phrases which you felt lacked freshness.

What do we think? Is this better?
Sorry to be slow to come back this. Short answer: "yes". For me, it reads a lot better.

best,

-Matt
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