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This story is a rewrite and reposting of the orginial "SEEING" story posted earlier. All critiques given are welcomed wholeheartly regardless of any and all comments contained within these critiques. After all I am asking for opinions on "the words on the page", whatever kinds of comments they my generate.

CHAPTER__ (?)_________


Balanced on the narrow wall, Travis could not help thinking of the equation blooming in his mind, y = ax? + bx + c – the ramp below him was a perfect parabola. The reflective angle of the sun clearly showed its dull well worn surface highlighting a crosshatch of scratches and scuffmarks. A deep breath filled his lungs with the cool morning air of a bright spring day. Then he gave a quick kick and confident leap, and in less then a few breif moments, the wonders of a focused mind orchestrating an athletic, well-trained body took over. And then the ballet began: cool breeze against warm skin, eyes judging speed and distance, feet gripping tight as calves loosened then tightened finding the perfect balance, arms and hands reacting as gracefully as any dancer’s, inner ear playing gyroscope for the brain.

Travis Hendry couldn’t help marveling at the miracle of the human body – even his own. As he took the ramp, years of study and research wouldn’t allow him to ignore his profession. A neurobiologist, his work was not only his passion and obsession, but also the basis of his dream. And what a dream it was – one of biblical proportions – to make the lame walk. His vision was clear, his determination unwavering and in his mind he could see them rising off their beds and pallets, standing up from their wheelchairs and taking their first steps. Some of them had the faces of the Yaqui people from his own village – paralyzed with spinal injuries due to multiple sclerosis. It was a dream that dominated his thoughts. He’d managed to make some of the partially paralyzed rats in his lab walk again, and with more work and greater effort he just might… BANG! The fall was hard and fast and he winced when the dull pain hit him as his right hip made contact with the ramp. His flying skate board was quickly retrieved by one of the kids standing nearby who were watching his performance.

“Can’t be off in space when you take the ramp Nibbles,” Jason said, giving Travis a wicked grin before breaking into a laugh.

“You distracted me,” Travis half-heartedly protested, joining in the laughter, knowing none of them would buy his purposefully lame excuse.

“Maybe your turning into an old man Nibbles,” Jason added as he watched Travis pick himself up and walk off the ramp.

“I wouldn’t call 27 old, but next to you little boys...,” his grin widened as he reached to take the skateboard from Jason’s outstretched arm. And when the sixteen-year old suddenly pulled it back Travis knew he’d scored the reaction he was looking for.

“Little boy” I’ll show you what a little boy can do old man,” Jason shouted back at Travis, but the tone of his voice and growing smile on his face belied the comradely feelings and respect he had for Travis. “Now Nibbles, watch and learn,” his concluded tossing Travis board at him and taking the ramp himself.

“No time little dude,” Travis called back, “Gotta get to work. Can’t be late. Maybe tomorrow.”

“Wuss.” Jason chuckled, and was about to send another good natured insult Travis way, but seeing Travis back to him as he walked away he realized Travis wasn’t kidding. “Hey later Nibbles,” Jason called out before Travis got too much farther away.

“Later J,” Travis replied as he headed to his car in the nearby parking lot.

Having experienced his quota of skateboard falls for the day, Travis slips his skateboard under his arm hoping the small jog to the car won't intensify the pain suffered in his embarassing fall. Even at a slow jog Travis moved with a disheveled grace, and fluid athleticism – owing more to a black belt in tae kwon and his Yaqui Indian background than skateboard riding. The skateboarding was just for fun – something he’d recently taken up due to the influence of his best friend, Kevin Nicholas – nicknamed Jazz. Born and raised in D.C., near some of the finest skateboard facilities in the city, Jazz was a real skateboarder, and a brilliant Bioelectrical Engineer.

After a brief and uneventful commute from the skateboard park to the research facility, Travis took a quick cool shower and changed into his work attire. Entering his office, he carefully propped his skateboard against the wall behind his desk – a wall dominated by a large and brilliant portrait of the great artists of Jazz, “Jazz by Jazz” he’d cleverly named it because the crisp pen and ink drawing had been rendering by Kevin.

As he did every day, he stared for a few seconds at the portrait. The past five years had been a wild ride for him and his best friend as they explored the depths of stem cell research. Nibbles and Jazz, he smiled as the thought filled his mind. Who would have thought that the two of them would find themselves in the center of such a scientific, ethical, moral and religious storm? But a storm, that if successfully weathered, could bring them fame and fortune – not to mention a Noble Prize. His hard work and genius had already brought in almost half a billion dollars of research money – despite the right wing conservative times he often felt hostage to. And they were on the right track – the once paralyzed rat moving slowly in the cage on the table across the room was proof of that. Roman might be the next break through.

Roman Reed, a local college football hero, who became suddenly paralyzed, when one of his routine football plays went horribly wrong, had come to Travis lab. There Roman watched as Travis handed the formerly paralyzed rat to Roman’s father Donald. His eyes widened when Donald holding the squirming rat in front of his son explained to him that it had once been completely paralyzed. What made the demonstration even more important for Travis was the fact that Donald Reed was the owner of the Seeve-Arvine Research Center and his boss.

Within days of his arriving at the research facility, Nibbles had partnered with Sam Lowlane, a research colleague at the facility and immunologist studying multiple sclerosis’. Together they developed an antibody that, in animals, stopped the extensive inflammation and secondary damage caused after a new spinal injury. Sam is Roman Reed’s life long best friend and the person who tackled him in the college football game resulting in Roman’s paralysis. Sam’s life long goal is to restore his best friend’s life back to where it was before the accident. This is a goal that Sam shares with Donald Reed, Roman’s father. Shortly thereafter, Nibbles and Sam, along with Jazz, Nibble’s best friend, formed a private company, Roman Biomedical, to raise further funding to move their collective research efforts forward faster. Soon after forming their company, they sold the rights to the therapy to the biopharmaceutical giant Vedarex for more that US$8 million. The new therapy is now in human trials, thanks to the deep pockets and expertise of the research facility and Vedarex- a development that so excited Nibbles, he could not sleep for days afterwards.

Nibbles association with Vedarex first brought him into contact with Suzanne Sport, 44 who lives just down the freeway from the research facility and who work for Vedarex as a computer engineer researcher. Today in her studio apartment with its magnificent view if D.C., she’s painting a giant blue eye. She uses pens and brushes held in her mouth, after the use of her hands, arms and legs was stolen from her 24 years ago by a drunken driver. She has been watching the slow state of spinal cord research for more than half her life. She first met Nibbles when he became involved with Vedarex, she admires both Nibbles and Jazz for how they have taken the potential for stem cell therapy and applied it to real world cases such as hers to realize its full potential. She has enjoyed her work and a developing relationship with Nibbles in furthering the practical application of the therapy. This work has matched her enjoyment in working with Jazz, Nibble’s best friend, on a highly secretive project involving the application of special internet computer software she has developed for Vedarex being used to further the cause of the “Lobby”, of which she is an active member.

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Anyone reading the following, please realize that the original posting has been edited subsequent to my post seen hereunder.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a reader, not a writer, nor even an editor. I can often spot typos and other errors of that nature, but I'm NOT going to go into that fine a detail in this piece, since it would very likely be corrected by the editing process. On the other hand, probably just about everything I mention would be corrected by the editing process, so this is more an exercise in self aggrandizement than anything else. Be that as it may, what is fun for me may help you somewhat. Cheeers. Bart

"Balanced on the narrow wall, the equation" Oops. I'm sure the equation wasn't doing the balanceing on the narrow wall...

"angle of the sun reflecting" Oops. The angle wasn't really doing the reflecting either.

"and in less then a nanosecond," I believe I read somewhere that the nerve impulses within the body travel at a much slower speed, so a nanosecond may be a bit optimistic. speed

"He?s" His

"belayed the comradely and respect he had for Travis" Belied the comradely feelings and respect...

You have him jogging and trotting at the same time (they are not the same) when logically he'd ride his board as it's faster, takes less energy and he wouldn't have to carry it.

"contrary to the right wing conservative times he often felt hostage to" 'despite' instead of 'contrary to' might work better.

"Roman Reed, ex-college football star suddenly paralyzed when a routine play went horribly bad" It is not at all clear. Did he become the ex-college football star BECAUSE a play went bad, and is that a football play, or a theatre production that he was in as part of his arts courses?

The last two paragraphs, to me, are a hodge-podge statement of facts, relationships, flipped timelines, and they cause nothing but confusion, rather than the help I was hoping to get in understanding what is going on. Up till this point, the story was quite 'readable' but here it has derailed with a bang, the paragraphs in question being much like one of those runaway train devices on railways, popping it off the track to grind to a dramatic halt.

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Well done, Paul!

The first part is a good example of showing, rather than telling. You sprinkled the "telling" part in between activity, and it not only flows better, but it's easier for the reader to absorb the detail.

The last few paragraphs revert back to telling again. Given that you've got Sam Lowland and Roman Reed (as an aside, an obvious reference to Christopher Reed) mentioned, and they are relevant to what Travis is working on, you should be able to do the same thing as you did at the start -- have Travis interact with these characters, and drop in the detail during that interaction. You did it in the first part of this extract, and I think it worked well.



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Hey Bart;

All of your comments concerning grammar/sentence structure/ and wording are all well taken. I have simply taken them at their face value and incorporated them into the copy through the quick editing feature. Thank you for the feedback on these items.

Once again your comments on the last two paragraphs and your excellant readers perspective simply confirmed something I was already aware of...the chapter still gets derailed and crashes and burns in a horrid state of confusion. The "show rather than tell" boggyman paid me a midnight visit and my engery level was just to far spent to see the state in which he left my chapter ending before I reposted. Correcting these two paragraphs has occupied many of my waking hours since I reposted and I am working to do just that. Thank you for your clever way of bring this to my attention.

Keep using those remarkable "readers eyes" of yours they are making a difference.


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Hey Graeme;

Thanks for the pat on the back and the job well done, it is well appreciated and received. The rewrite of the first portion of this chapter was a bear to say the least and I am glad I am learning from this process.

You are right in your analysis of the last two paragraphs. I fell back into my old habit of telling instead of showing. I guess early developed bad habits are just as hard to break as old habits. That's my story and I am sticking to it. LOL Just kidding. Your suggestion to interact Sam and Roman with Travis to carry the chapter ending is very good. As you so nicely pointed out maybe I can recreate the same combination of activity and dialogue and factual information in the ending as I did in the start. I certainly am going to keep working on doing just that.

Thanks again for your comments. They are very encouraging.


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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll start by saying I like your dialogue. A lot of authors try to use better grammar than is normally used in the spoken word, but you seem to have about hit how people normally speak. Yours is believable and I think very well done.

There are a few things I think could be improved. I'll start with the opening two paragraphs. I like the fact you are describing a scene instead of the usual opening so many web writers use, the one that goes my name is, and I'm so tall, and, oh yes I'm gay. You get right to the action and that's good. I only have one problem with it and that is that I read the first paragraph twice trying to figure out what you were writing about. I finally read the second one and discovered you were writing about skateboarding. Now to me that is a turn-off. Where it might be very acceptable later in the story, if that was an opening I think you need to make it easer for the reader to get into the story right at the beginning. Now two paragraphs might not seem like taking long to make it understandable, but readers frequently get turned off by little things. There are lots and lots of stories where I never read past the first paragraph. Anyhow, the problem is easy to fix, that is if you agree it is a problem, by simple putting something like "Atop his skateboard," in front of your opening words "Balanced on the narrow wall." There are any number of other ways to inform the reader what you are writing about, but in the opening paragraphs of a story I think it important that the writer make everything clear as soon as possible. Had I known that the paragraph was about skateboarding it would not have produced the uncertainty that it did and I would not have read the first paragraph twice trying to figure out what you were writing about.

The second thing I think you need to pay attention to is tense. In the paragraph that starts, "Having experienced his quota of skateboard falls," you then follow with the word slips. Since the paragraph starts in past tense, the correct form would be slipped. Also the won't, which comes later in the paragraph, should be changed to wouldn't. I think all writers occasionally foul up tense somewhere in their writing. I know I certainly do, but we need to be aware of it so we do it as seldom as possible, and by thinking about it we can spot and correct those places where we did make a mistake.

Outside of those two things, the story strikes me as interesting and I would be willing to read more if I found it posted. As I said, the dialogue is excellent and the basic storyline seems like it might be entertaining. So my advice would be to keep working on it since I think it shows a lot of promise.

I hope you consider my comments helpful in some way. They certainly are not meant to discourage you, but rather to call your attention to a couple of areas I don't think you have thought about enough. Good luck and keep writing.

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Hey, BeatWrit,

Wow, Seeing is going to be an interesting story on an interesting topic. I can imagine all kinds of different ways it could go from here. Keep writing and post it post haste! :icon10:

Anyway, are you planning to change your life and dedicate it to finishing this story? I sure hope so!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey BW--

Wow! Such an improvement! I'm very impressed with the opening paragraphs...it's a lot more work than it looks like, isn't it? lol

Keep working on the latter paragraphs, and they too shall be conquered in time. Looking forward to seeing further editions.



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