A Tale of Two Ditties (Say that carefully!)

Ok, what I am posting are not ditties, but I just loved the play on words. I have begun rewriting last November’s NaNoWriMo novel in earnest. After playing at editing and losing my place, I am working on it paragraph by paragraph now. I am posting two versions of the same part of the story. I would love some feedback: Which version is better…or how would you combine the two. I will put my original first page up first, and then the rewrite. Did I improve it? Did I not change it enough? Too much? I am open to criticism, so please don’t try to be kind. (You are welcome to be kind if the writing warrants it though. Please give me some feedback!

Seppe looked with disgust at the body lying in the dark alley. He couldn’t remember ever seeing anyone looking that bad. The stiff’s acquaintances, if he had known them, would have told Seppe that no one was surprised that he had been killed and that no one really cared; even after seeing the gruesome pictures of the remains. Seppe looked at his partner, Aiden, and shook his head. Aiden was a twenty-five cycle veteran of the Wesdanian Police Force and was looking at retirement before the disbanding process had started. Aiden, veteran that he was, was still almost sick to his stomach. Seppe wasn’t doing much better himself.

The stiff’s head had been severed from the body and had been thrown under the fire escape on the west side of the alley. The main body of the stiff was splayed against the trash cans belonging to the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill. Both legs were cut off at the knees: one foot was about thirty five feet south of the body; the other foot was next to the head as if it had just kicked the head. The left arm was partly severed and the body lay on top of it. His right arm was extended as if he had seen the attack coming at the last minute and had been surprised by his attacker. Blood was spattered everywhere.

Seppe sniffed the air surreptitiously making sure that Aiden hadn’t seen him. They’d been partners for about five cycles, but Seppe still wasn’t ready to tell Aiden his secret. His tendrils quivered at the scent. He inhaled a little more deeply and shook his head. The scent was familiar but he couldn’t quite place it. He knew Aiden wouldn’t be able to smell it at all, so he’d have to keep that to himself. He wasn’t ready to tell Aiden just yet.

“Something smells real bad about this,” Aiden growled. Seppe jumped a little inside. Had Aiden seen him?

Seppe laughed nervously, “You got a dismembered man here, of course it smells bad.”

Aiden rolled his eyes, “You always do take me too literally, don’t you Seppe.” He laughed in friendly mockery. “I just meant that as bad as things look, there’s more going on here than meets the eye.”

Seppe laughed back, “Brilliant deduction, Aiden. We have a dead guy in pieces scattered across the alley and you figured out that something was wrong. I thought you were getting ready to retire and now you look like you’re bucking for chief.”

Aiden snarled, “Very funny bright boy. Let me just ask you one question. Who did it?”

Seppe shook his head in amazement. “We just got on the case how would I know who did ….” His voice trailed off as suddenly the depth of that question hit him right in the gut. “That’s right. We don’t have anything to go on. We don’t have any snitches to work over.” He paused, and then continued, “Not unless you want to travel up there.” He jerked his thumb towards Dwarinda, the penal colony moon.

And now the rewrite to that same point…

Seppe’s nose wrinkled as he looked at the body lying in the dark alley. He couldn’t remember  seeing any other victim hacked up as bad as this one. It was gruesome and he recoiled a little in disgust. Seppe looked at his partner, Aiden, and shook his head. Aiden was a twenty-five cycle veteran of the Wesdanian Police Force and was looking at retirement before the disbanding process had started. Aiden, veteran that he was, was still very queasy. Seppe wasn’t doing much better himself and wondered how the crowd might react if he let his stomach take control. He silently fought back against the waves of nausea as they continued to survey the scene.

The stiff’s head had been severed from the body and had been thrown violently against the wall under the fire escape on the west side of the alley. The main part of the torso was splayed against the trash cans belonging to the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill. Both legs were cut off at the knees: one foot was about ten meters south of the body; the other foot was close to the fire escape as if it had been used to dropkick his own head. The left arm was partly severed and the body lay on top of it. His right arm was extended as if he had seen the attack coming at the last minute and had been surprised by his attacker. Blood was spattered everywhere.

Seppe sniffed the air surreptitiously making sure that Aiden hadn’t seen him. They’d been partners for about five cycles, but Seppe still wasn’t ready to tell Aiden his secret. His tendrils quivered at the scent. He inhaled a little more deeply and shook his head. The scent was familiar but he couldn’t quite place it. He knew Aiden wouldn’t be able to smell what he smelled, so subtle was the odor, so he’d have to keep that information to himself for now. Aiden might never have this information unless he was forced to reveal it.

“Something smells real bad about this,” Aiden growled. Seppe jumped a little inside. Had Aiden seen him reacting to the odor in the air?

Seppe laughed nervously, “You got a dismembered man here, of course it smells bad.”

Aiden rolled his eyes, “You always do take me too literally, don’t you Seppe. Why is that?” He laughed in friendly mockery. “I just meant that as bad as things look, there’s more going on here than meets the eye.”

Seppe laughed back, “Brilliant deduction, Aiden. We have a dead guy in pieces scattered across the alley and you figured out that something was wrong. I thought you were getting ready to retire and now you look like you’re bucking for chief.” Sometimes he took Aiden too literally because he was afraid that Aiden would find out his background.

Aiden snarled, “Very funny bright boy. Let me just ask you one question. Who did it?”

Seppe shook his head in amazement. “We just got on the case how would I know who did ….” His voice trailed off as suddenly the depth of that question hit him right in the gut. “That’s right. We don’t have anything to go on. We don’t have any snitches to work over.” He paused, and then continued, “Not unless you want to travel up there.” He jerked his thumb towards Dwarinda, the penal colony moon. Both men looked slowly into the night sky that was only partially lit up by Dwarinda. Then they shook their heads almost in unison as they realized that they needed to focus on the task at hand.

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3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Ditties (Say that carefully!)

  1. I think you’ve improved with rewrite section because you’re now focusing a bit more about the words you’re using. For example, “Seppe looked with disgust” to “Seppe’s nose wrinkled as he looked.” Personally for me, it’s hard to “show, not tell” in my stories. So you’ve done a good job on doing that.

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