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>>>>peals of laughter turn suddenly into shrieks of terror, which attenuated as he fell
>>>>Attenuated? It's a fine verb, but it's too "technical" for the context. It distracted my attention from the action -- I spent several seconds wondering just how the sound of his shrieks changed. Did they become weaker as the distance grew? Thinner? Did the pitch change as his velocity increased?

Wil: I wasn't trying to use big words for the sake of using big words, but "faded away" just seemed too weak. Attenuated fit perfectly, but I suppose if someone doesn't understand the meaning of the word it loses its effect. (Of course, that's true of any word, big or small. One of my pet peeves is when people use foreign phrases when plain English would do, forcing me to either try to look up the phrase or guess at the meaning. For example, “The perfect cake is the sine qua non of the carefully planned modern wedding.” Not everyone takes latin in school. If you don't know what the phrase means, the sentence is meaningless. Why not just say “The perfect cake is essential for the carefully planned modern wedding.”?)

>>>>Cap and Tom and Sparks and I stared at one another

The four are standing in a line at the edge of the platform, right? But "stared at one another" sounds rather like they are gathered round in a circle. If they are in a line and Cap and Tom and Sparks are staring at "I," then Cap would not be able to see Tom or Sparks' faces.

Good catch. How about "Cap and Tom and Sparks and I backed away from the edge and stared at one another"?

>>>>Tears ran down [Sparks'] face, unnoticed. ... I looked over at Cap and thought I saw a moist glint in his eyes as well.
>>>>The "as well" suggests that the tears on Sparks face were noticed after all. (If it was Sparks who didn't notice, how does the narrator know this? The "voice" here is "I," not 3rd person omniscient so that we know what is going on in Sparks' mind.)

As I mentioned in an earlier note, it should have said "unheeded". He didn't try to brush the tears away, or turn so the others couldn't see him crying. (Surely I don't have to explain *who* isn't heeding the tears....)

>>>>sat down heavily, like a marionette whose strings had suddenly been cut
>>>>Cliche alert! If the way that he sat is important, describe it in visual terms instead of relying on a metaphor.

It may be borderline cliche, but it paints a vivid picture of someone flopping down on the floor.

>>>>Again, I don't intend my comments as criticism.

As I said earlier, I have nothing against criticism as long as it's constructive and not simply cruel.

Thanks for your feedback!

Mark.
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