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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Legacy of the Eye: Chapter 3

Our third submission comes from Patricia from her SF novel The Legacy of the Eye: 

Chapter 3—Graduation

Catrine walked into the main auditorium through the door by the stage. [The room was larger than any other she had been in at the Academy. The ceiling was two stories high like the council meeting room, but the arched windows overlooking the Center Gardens spanned the entire height. Catrine looked towards the teal flowerbeds and a longing pulled at her chest. She had not seen the park for two weeks and she missed it.

Her attention turned to those attending the ceremony. As a group, the audience rivaled the flowers. Instructors also wore the same basic uniform of the Academy, but in vivid colors to represent their areas of expertise. Seeing the faculty and graduates arranged by department reminded Catrine of the rainbow pattern of the Center Gardens.]1

Most of the one hundred students graduating that day faced the stage and Catrine caught sight of David slouching in the front row next to Julian. Maryanne and Solana also were already there.

Catrine walked towards them and took the seat on David's left. “I’m assuming they want us in alphabetical order.”

He straightened in his chair. “All they told me was that governance students got front row. [You’re late, by the way.”]2

“I was rewriting the Tutor Program contract. Why didn’t you come get me?”

He looked towards the stage. “I thought you had already left. You, of all people, should have been the first one here.”

Catrine had been [speculating about her royal birth for the past two weeks.]3 Uncharacteristically, David had refused to give any opinion. His determination not to talk about the subject had dimmed its importance in her mind. Right now, all she wanted was to get through the ceremony.

Gerald and the council walked onto the stage. Silence filled the room as the Head of the Academy stepped forward. “Graduates, we have gathered here today to celebrate your accomplishments. We have invited your parents to participate in this event, and many are in attendance. Please do not judge those who could not make it. Travel around the Tetracoil Galaxy is not as easy as your instructors might have portrayed.”

Catrine felt like he looked at her, but then she remembered the debate techniques she had learned in class. He probably had made eye contact with everyone in the room.

The headmaster continued, “The Academic Council will call each graduate individually. Your birthplace will be mentioned, along with the names of your parents. Academic dowries will be discussed in private, so schedule an appointment with the council when you finalize your plans. Graduates and parents, please join us on stage when you hear your name. We will start with the Department of Languages and Dialects.”

Gerald moved to the left side of the stage and Walter stepped forward. He read from the tablet in his hand. “Cynthia of Demia, child of Ann of Demia and Carl of Demia.”

Not even a minute later, a girl wearing a red Academy uniform stepped onto the stage.

A graduation in chapter 3? Nice. Usually this would open or close the story. I like that it's not the main event.
  1. Nice description. 
  2. Late to her own graduation? Things must be happening. That's good.
  3. So her focus isn't really on this graduation. 
The main thing I noticed was an overuse of "had". Many of the "hads" in this could be deleted, and the sentences wouldn't lose anything.

What do you think?  

6 comments:

mshatch said...

"Catrine felt like he looked at her,"

Can you feel like someone looks at you? I think this needs to be re-worded into 'she thought he looked at her' or 'she remembered him looking at her' or even 'she'd felt his eyes on her.' Otherwise I agree with Liz :)

farawayeyes said...

Interesting piece. Nice interior and exterior descriptions. I 'hadn't' particularly noticed all the had's, but did learn a while back to use the 'select all' in word to highlight all of my had, have and then's, so, I could go back and eliminate all but the most necessary (usually about 100% get eliminated).

Patchi said...

Thanks everyone. I wrote this chapter after I "finished" the novel because someone told me the gap between chapters 2 and 3 was too jarring. This is the first time it has seen eyes not mine, so I'm glad it's reading well.

Here's a question before I gear up to go "had" hunting. Don't you need them to distinguish between "novel past" and "novel present"?

Patchi said...

Thanks for catching that Marcy!

Patchi said...

I've been hunting for "filter words" like:
see
hear
think
touch
look
seem
feel

I'll add those to the list.

Liz said...

The reason I noted the hads was because I read the sentences without them without changing meaning. It was clear to me when you were referring to current thoughts versus flashbacks.

But that's just my two cents. The reason to post these is to get as much feedback as possible, not just mine.