[FFML] [Fanfic][R1/2] Family Secrets - Chapter 3
eta.bootis at gmail.com
Sun Sep 18 16:05:30 PDT 2011
> Without wasting a second, she got up quietly trying not to wake her
> husband, threw on the kimono that she had worn the previous day and
> left the room, shutting the door behind her.
I suggest a comma after "quietly". The sentence is otherwise a bit
structurally weird. I'd end the sentence at "husband" and begin another
as "She threw on her kimono from the previous day", gaining the benefit
of cutting a few words, particularly "that".
> The corridor was only dimly lit by the light coming in from the
> street. In spite of this, Nodoka had little trouble negotiating the
> gloom right to its very end. Once there, she caught a glimpse of the
> small bathroom situated next to the stairs; which, in the early hours
> of the morning, was just a dark empty hole.
"dimly lit by the light" is awkward. I'd suggest "dimly lit by the
street-lamps outside" or something similar.
> Fearing that Ranma could have run away, his mother stumbled down the
> stairs while anxiety gnawed at her heart. No sooner had she reached
> the ground floor than a light from the kitchen caught her attention.
> She headed there with renewed hope, only to find silence. The light
> came from the small window in the door on the other side of the room.
> With her heart pounding in her chest, Nodoka opened the door and went
> out into the garden.
This may go into territory of stylistic opinion. The first sentence is
grammatically correct but feels a little flat to me. If you like,
consider "...stairs, anxiety gnawing..." which cuts that "while".
> The Dojo with all its lights on lay in front of her. Through the
> closed door, she could see a figure's shadow moving smoothly inside.
> The woman laid her right hand on her chest and with great relief, let
> out her anxiety with a sigh. Without further ado, she made her way to
> the Dojo, opened its doors and entered. Just as she had supposed,
> Ranma was right in its centre performing a complex series of katas.
> The sweat, which drenched his hair and clothes, showed that he had
> been doing this for a long time. Although she might have gone back to
> her futon with the tranquillity of knowing where her son was, Nodoka
> stood beside the door. Ranma, for his part, didn't seem to have
> noticed her arrival and continued his practice without stopping. After
> a few minutes and without any sign to indicate that he would finish
> soon, his mother decided to interrupt him.
Consider "could see" -> "spotted" or some other single verb. I'd also
think about "right hand on her chest, and" (adding a comma to set off
the following phrase). The last two sentences read very flat to me:
people "continue" and "notice" and depends on "signs"--these are all
very vague. While the implication is clear--that Nodoka interrupts not
knowing when Ranma will finish--not spelling it out makes the contrast
between her actions (waiting initially then deciding to act) somewhat
jarring. I'd suggest something like...
"Ranma, for his part, seemed to have missed her arrival and continued
his practice without pause. After a few minutes of admiring his
technique, Nodoka realized the end of his routine might be further off
than she thought. She decided to interrupt.''
> "Ranma, what are you doing?"
> "Training." the boy replied, without even losing a beat at the
> question's suddenness.
I think "at the question's suddenness" can be cut with no loss.
> "At this hour?" his mother asked, surprised.
What bothers me about this is that Nodoka's surprise probably came and
went minutes ago.
> This answer wasn't a relief, since Ranma didn't usually have any
> trouble sleeping, quite the opposite in fact.
> Nodoka hadn't any doubt that yesterday's events were the reason for
> her son's insomnia, but she felt lost whenever she attempted to get
> him to open his heart and tell her his problems.
These two paragraphs can probably be joined. Consider showing us how
she's felt lost before instead of merely telling us so--that is, give an
example from canon that's from her viewpoint of how she's tried to help
and been puzzled as to how to do so.
> "How long have you been here?" she asked in an attempt to continue the
That it's an attempt to continue is clear. End this line at "she
> The words came out without thinking and it expressed a fear that
> Nodoka rarely allowed herself to enunciate with words. As a mother and
> wife of martial artists, she knew that a continuous effort was needed
> to remain at the highest level, but the fear of the consequences of
> such effort was also there.
I feel like there should be more reaction here. If this feeling is one
she's not been aware of on a conscious level, she should puzzle over it
and try to reason it out. If instead this is one she knows she feels
but consciously hides, she should chide herself for letting it slip when
she didn't want to...or perhaps instead feel some relief that she's let
it out, however unintentionally.
> "It's true that I'm not your biological mother, only your adoptive
> mother," she said, emphasizing both adjectives. "But, even so, I am
> still your mother and I love you."
I don't know if this is something you're generally opposed to, but
perhaps emphasis (e.g. through italics) could be put on the words,
rather than simply telling us where she emphasizes the words.
> "Bullshit!" he screamed again. "No one can love me!"
I don't know if Ranma should really be "screaming" as opposed to
shouting. I guess that's a matter of taste.
> If it hadn't been for the mistaken perception of manhood that Genma
> had taught to Ranma, he would have already burst into tears. At that
> moment, all that contained his tears was the false belief that men
> don't cry.
You're telling us he wants to burst into tears without really showing
it. This sort of response has several physical reactions associated
with it. Let him feel the tears welling up. Show us how he tries to
hold them back. "Real men don't cry", right? That's something he could
cling to, like a mantra. As written, it seems like there's no
struggle. That the tears are held back just happens.
> The expression on Ranma's face, eager for information, was painfully
> intense but understandable. He had the right to know what had happened
> that night, and a short summary would not be enough to dispel his
> confusion and doubts. His interlocutor not only recognized this right
> of the adolescent, but knew that the only one who could satisfy it was
> herself. With that in mind, she went on talking.
"Interlocutor" is a bit...much, I think. "Nodoka" would do fine. Also,
consider "she went on" (minus "talking").
> "I'll tell you what we are going to do. Go take a bath and change your
> clothes, while I make a cup of tea. When you finish, come here and I
> will tell you everything while we drink a relaxing cup of tea."
That comma before "while" is improper. In fact, the while phrase is a
bit awkward anyway.
> Ranma nodded and ran out of the Dojo. His desire to know what had
> happened were so great that, despite his fatigue, he would have
> climbed Mount Fuji if anybody had assured him that the answers lay in
> the crater.
He should be calmer at this point; running out somewhat belies that.
> Bored, Nodoka was watching the television, when a yawn surprised her.
> Deciding it was a good time to go to bed; she got up slowly and turned
> off the TV. After a quick glance into the room to check that
> everything was more or less in order, she wrapped herself in her
> kimono and set about turning off the lights.
Was Nodoka poor at this point? She's definitely a bit poor now.
Watching TV seems a bit dull also. Give her a chore--dinner to make?
Clothes to wash? Or, to emphasize it's late, she's already getting
ready for bed.
> New stronger knocks shook her back to reality. She advanced cautiously
> towards the door and, once there, asked with a trembling voice:
"New, stronger knocks" is what I'd suggest.
> At the other side, silhouetted against the lights of the street, there
> was an attractive young woman with long black hair, dressed in an
> elegant Western-style suit. Her resemblance to Nodoka was so obvious
> that wearing glasses or stylistic choices couldn't hide it.
The resemblance may be obvious, but I think there's ample room to be
figurative here. Say it's like Nodoka's looking in a mirror or
> "Emu! Long time no see!"
This seems very informal. I get the feeling you're translating a set
phrase this way, but it seems too informal for the deference a
younger sister should show.
> Nodoka's greeting caused her visitor to turn her head quickly to check
> if there was anybody on the street; as if she was afraid that someone
> would hear it, but the hostess didn't notice such a strange reaction.
> She was caught up in the excitement of seeing her sister again.
I think you can show the reaction without going so far as "the greeting
> "Do you want a drink? I can prepare a pot of tea, if you want."
> "No, thanks."
Again, informality. I'd suggest "All right."
> "What's strange about my visiting my sister?"
Obviously an extra "my" has snuck in.
> "Nothing, just that I didn't expect you after all these years."
This "after all these years" is substantially similar to the line two
paragraphs before and weakens both of them.
> "Part of the blame is yours," Emu reproached her gently. "It wouldn't
> have been so hard to find you, if you hadn't changed your surname."
> "What else could I do?" Nodoka replied irritated. "Don't you remember
> that Dad expelled me from the family, because I wanted marry Genma?"
When phrased like this--"don't you remember..."--it's like she's telling
Emu something she should already know. The effect of the statement is
preserved without phrasing it as a question to which the answer is
> Emu hesitated before answering.
> Of all the questions that Nodoka could ask, Emu feared this one the
> most. But her sister had the right to know the truth.
I'd suggest joining these lines too.
> "He died just two months after you left."
> The answer came as a surprise to Nodoka, who always had assumed that
> the stubborn old man would bury all of them.
Why did she assume this? Give some impression of the old man's strength
> Despite all the years passed, she could still remember his face
> contorted with anger, when she told him that she wanted to marry Genma
> and during the subsequent discussion. That was the last time she had
> talked to him. That night she ran away from home and eloped with her
> boyfriend away from the parental impositions. Now, his death had
> carried away any possibility of reconciliation... Whom was she trying
> to fool? It was impossible that they would have been able to reconcile
> in life! Both were too stubborn to let their arm be twisted. Nodoka
> was honest enough with herself to admit that, probably, she wouldn't
> have gone to the funeral even if she had been notified. Two months had
> not been enough to cool down her resentment enough to take advantage
> of the last opportunity to see him. But she needed to know the reason
> that she hadn't been told at that time.
"their arm" -> "their arms" On a non-stylistic note, it seems a bit
hyperbolic that Nodoka wouldn't reconsider going to a funeral if she
*had* known her father died.
> "You must know that I had a child less than a week ..."
Less than a week...ago?
> "I know that we're a lot alike. But, don't you think that he'll notice
> it?" Nodoka quipped.
This doesn't make a lot of sense. As long as she calls herself his
mother, he's not going to remember his real mother by this point, not
enough to say "hey, the woman raising me looks kind of like this other
woman I thought was Mother".
> "That I adopt him? Your son?" Nodoka said unable to hide her surprise.
How does she show her surprise?
> "Oh my God! " she said visibly upset. "Have you had any problems with
> the father of your son? Did he threaten you?"
The ways she asks the first question doesn't really fit. If she's going
to accuse her brother-in-law of threatening Emu, Nodoka should just jump
to the conclusion rather than ask a question that's innocently phrased.
> "All right! I'll take care of your baby."
> "Thanks." Emu said simply.
She believes it immediately? She should make sure.
> The suggestion caught Nodoka by surprise.
> "Now? You mean right now?"
> "Oh, uh, well, I guess."
"I guess" -> "If you like" or "if you must" or something like that. "I
guess" is too informal here.
> Though taller than the average man, he was clearly Japanese. His hair,
> dark brown, was slightly long but well groomed. He wore a dark suit
> similar to the one worn by Nodoka's sister. But what most impressed
> her were his features. Despite the shadows of the night, she could say
> without any doubt that the stranger was one of the most handsome men
> that she had ever seen. If there was anything that surprised her, it
> wasn't that her sister had fallen in love with this man, but that he
> had fallen in love with Emu. However the sculptor, who had produced a
> face so beautiful, hadn't put a lot of effort into his expression,
> which had been frozen in polite seriousness.
You're suddenly talking about a sculptor in a figurative sense; that
sentence could use a little more time to develop the metaphor.
> "Yes," replied her sister distractedly, while placed the briefcase on
> the table.
You probably want "while she placed" but I'd suggest -> "placing the
> At the end of the story, the tears flowed freely down Ranma´s cheeks.
> Although this time, sadness wasn't the reason.
Consider joining these sentences: "...Ranma's cheeks, but this time..."
> "Well, I can understand why Nodoka did what she did. She couldn't
> allow your wedding, when she wasn't sure that the two of you aren't
> siblings. Although ..."
Should he be referring to Nodoka by her first name?
> "Exactly!" Akane cut off. "That's why I... We need proof to convince
Cut him off?
> "Are you joking? Our director is so paranoid with punctuality, that he
> won't let me in, and if he does, I will be holding buckets the rest of
> the day."
The teacher is "paranoid with punctuality," I think you mean. I'm not
sure if paranoid is the best word either. Obsessed?
> Quite rightly. Her conversation with Dr. Tofu had cleared the clouds
> that hovered over her future. Once the doctor confirmed it, a simple
> test would clear all the obstacles and convince Nodoka that they
> weren't siblings. The rest wouldn't be a problem. She knew exactly
> what Ranma had said in the Phoenix Mountain, but the pig-head didn't
> want to admit it.
You use "clear" twice in various ways here.
> Her eyes were fixed on her sister, whose only response was an
> enigmatic smile.
Just where did Nabiki get a hundred million yen? I guess we'll find
Overall, one thing I want to emphasize is that the strength of the
storytelling here is in dealing with emotions and reactions. Ranma, to
work out his feelings, goes to to dojo to train and focus. Nodoka is
pained to see her (adoptive) son like this. Akane, determined to prove
Nodoka wrong, seeks any way to show she and Ranma aren't related. These
responses to what's going on around the characters make the story work.
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