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The Bar

by Willow


This is only the beginning of a story:

I stepped into the dingy little bar, looking around. Dirty sunlight filtered in through the half open door I’d just come through, throwing half shadows between the full ones. A fat man stood behind the counter, slowly cleaning out a glass. He looked up when I came in, an indifferent look on his face.

“We’re closed,” he said, his voice half flat and half rumbling. He was sweating slightly, and his face was dirty and streaked with dust.

“I’m looking for someone,” I said, striding up to the bar never the less. “I was wondering if you could help me.”

“We’re closed,” he repeated, rotating an old rag in the glass.

I sighed and put a hand in my pocket, extracting a few dollars and throwing them on the counter.

The barman stood up straight, put down the glass and the rag and pulled the cash toward him. “How may I help you sir?”

“As I said,” I began again, “I’m looking for a man. He’s name is Jonathan Dawson.”

The barman nodded, a sneer crossing his face. “Yeah I know Dawson, comes in here every night, then leaves just before closing time.”

“Do you mind telling me what Mr. Dawson does while he’s here?” I asked, taking a seat in front of the man.

“He sits in the corner of the bar every night, shuffling cards,” the barman explained, nodding to a table in the shady corner of the bar. “Ye know he wears a hat? A big Stetson one that keeps his eyes in the dark? But just coz’ you can’t see them, don’t mean they can’t see you. Man you feel them eyes go over ye.

“They rove over the customers,” he said, lifting his arms and wriggling his fingers, “Seeking out a specific face. One day that face will appear in my bar, and he will find the person he’s looking for.

“God forbid he’ll find him, and he’ll kill him.”

“Do you know this person he’s waiting for?” I asked, interested.

The barman shrugged and picked up the glass and rag again, “Who does. It’s just a story I heard from some of the other customers. He’s good business though. Knocks back a couple while he’s here.”

I sat back and thought about this. “I thank you for your help sir,” I said standing up and walking back to the door.

“My pleasure,” he said, and I could here the wrinkle of the dollars as he patted them in his pocket.


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Sun Nov 26, 2006 1:19 pm
Sureal wrote a review...



‘I said, striding up to the bar never the less.’

- never the less detracts from this sentence (as we already know the character is ignoring what the man said). I’d suggest you either remove it, or else replace it with something else.


After ever piece of speech, you either have ‘said’ (or a variation of it) or the character does an action. This isn’t needed - the speech can stand fine on it’s own. For example:

‘What d’you want?’ the man asked gruffly.
James yawned. ‘Nothing much.’
‘Then why you here?’
‘Got lost looking for the toilet.’


Once you’ve established who’s speaking, you can leave out the other stuff. Let their words speak for their emotions - you don’t need to tell us the character scowled, but rather have his dialogue indicate it. Also, by having just the dialogue (as in the last two lines in my example above) it flows betters.


On the up side, you seem to have a plot in mind, so that's certainly good :).


Keep on writing 8).




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Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:03 pm
Nikiller says...



the plot is developing nicely, however there is not much reference to the setting. i feel that developing these two together will solidify the story. also describe characters more instead of just explaining.




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Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:40 pm
Lycanstyle01 says...



Yes, establish the setting and more characterization.




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Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:31 pm
VampX13 wrote a review...



Well the plot seems like it's in an interesting one. It got my attention.

However I think you could establish the setting a bit more. Take some time to describe things before delving in, it should pull your reader in a bit more.

Also there is the nationality business. There use of the english language and accents jump around a bit. Try to stablize that.

Keep working on it. I'd be interested in hearing more.




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Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:57 pm
GibsonGirl wrote a review...



I agree, you should put more space between your paragraphs to make it easier on the eyes. The accent was a little weird, you could try to show it as soon as the barman starts to talk or just get rid of it entirely. Other than that I like it. You do have some present tense verbs, but they sound okay. Change it if you want. I hope to read the rest of this.




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Sat Sep 23, 2006 9:26 pm
Emerson wrote a review...



I stepped into the dingy little bar, looking around.
looking is a present tense, but you start out with past tense so to make it correct you could maybe say 'I stepped into the dingy little bar and looked around.'

Dirty sunlight filtered in through the half open door I’d just come through, throwing half shadows between the full ones.
IMO you could take the bold words out, it just seems unneeded to me. If you've just stepped in, obviously you came through the door.

He looked up when I came in, an indifferent look on his face.
I don't like the last part of this sentence, maybe you could use, 'He looked up when I came in, with a countenance of indifference.' or what ever you would like. Repeating the word 'look' though, just doesn't suit me.

He was sweating slightly, and his face was dirty and streaked with dust.
I'd suggest to never, ever use words like slightly, or almost, or barely. you either do, or you don't. Get what I mean? Also, you've used dirty twice within 2 paragraphs (I know, I'm picky!) Maybe you could find other words to describe the sunlight, or the man?

I said, striding up to the bar never the less.
I don't think you need that...it just sounds...strange

“We’re closed,” he repeated, rotating an old rag in the glass.
In the glass? Is it a special glass, different from all the others with more importance? I think you mean in 'a glass'

“As I said,” I began again, “I’m looking for a man. He’s name is Jonathan Dawson.”
I began again sounds funny, maybe you should take it out all together. You don't always need dialog tags. In fact if you can avoid them, do so. Also you have 'He's' instead of 'his'

The barman nodded, a sneer crossing his face.
I once read an article about not letting your character to strange things with their eyes, and even though this isn't his eyes I think you should still change it. 'crossing' just doesn't fit here, but I do see what you are going for.

the barman explained, nodding to a table in the shady corner of the bar.
Again, verb tense. Maybe make it 'the barman explained, then nodded to a table in...'
“Ye know he wears a hat? A big Stetson one that keeps his eyes in the dark? But just coz’ you can’t see them, don’t mean they can’t see you. Man you feel them eyes go over ye.
I find it really strange that at first the bar man has no noticeable accent and then out of no where, he sounds Irish. It feels real...surprising.

and I could here the wrinkle of the dollars as he patted them in his pocket.
Hear. And...you can here dollars wrinkle? I think you can hear them crinkle, but I'm not sure about wrinkle.

Overall, it was good. You have a nice voice, but there are some things you could fix. For one, it would be nice to know the speakers name, and gender. It helps the reader to know who's talking to them, otherwise why should we care what is happening to them? Also, its not real....catching. Why should we care who this bar-person is our character is looking for? Maybe drop some hints for us, or we'll never care to see what happens next.




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Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:42 pm
Swires wrote a review...



This was ok, I would recommend paragraphing, and also instead of explaining, describe. Ie.

"the fat man" Instead of this you could work it into the story a little more.

"The barman cleaned out a glass, his rolls of grotesque fat wobbled as he did so"




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Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:29 pm
Bazoo wrote a review...



First of all, I would like to say that I would like to see you split paragraphs more often. It seems a little squeezed in and sort of a strain on the eyes to read (and I think in grammar you're supposed to put two lines between it, anyway). It would be better to read it when it's more spaced out.

As I said,” I began again, “I’m looking for a man. He’s name is Jonathan Dawson.” The barman nodded, a sneer crossing his face. “Yeah I know Dawson, comes in here every night, then leaves just before closing time.”


Like here, I think you're supposed to split lines between the narrator's dialogue and the barman's dialogue.



As far as the writing goes, it's a little too short to fully guess. But it's alright, and the dialogue's alright. I think it's good to keep it simple at this point. :)





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