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Messages - hillwalker3000

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Review My Work / Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« on: January 13, 2018, 06:27:20 PM »
Oh, dear.
Probably the purplest prose I"ve read in a long time. Rather dreadful,  I"m afraid.
And when you break this down, it tells us next to nothing, even though it sound wonderful no doubt.


Review My Work / Re: Willed the Waste - Chapter 1 (1/2; 745 words)
« on: January 11, 2018, 11:46:37 AM »
I'm not a fan of fantasy so probably not the best person to give feedback on the content - but as a reader I found this rather woolly in places.

You open with your MC performing in front of an audience. Unfortunately, we have no idea what she does. Is she a singer, dancer, juggler, wrestler, ventriloquist? It only becomes apparent later that she is a magician - but I'm picturing a stage magician like Tommy Cooper rather than a wizard like Gandalf or Merlin, because of the setting.

You also tell us her heart 'nearly' beat out of her chest. But it didn't, presumably, so the observation is irrelevant.

Soon after, we meet Tavin, who is presumably some kind of freedom fighter for magicians. The problem here is, in less than 500 words you use the term 'red-haired man' 10 times. It's extremely tiresome to read.

The action seemed rushed. Any conflict you hoped to create was dealt with too neatly. Similarly, there's an awkward injection of humour when Tavin drops the policeman's trousers, but it's slap-stick at best. The dialogue is also off. At times it reads more like a crime caper set in the streets of NYC than a made-up world of fantasy, and it doesn't really fit in with the general tone of the story. Again, any potential conflict is immediately dissipated.

Overall impression - the genre is imprecise because of the narrative style, and I didn't really get a feel for either character.


The Coffee Shop / Re: Goodbye Amazing Members
« on: January 06, 2018, 11:10:47 AM »
Not the best of starts to 2018 - but hope to see you around the new site. MWC RIP.


The Writers Circle / Re: Leaving MWC
« on: January 05, 2018, 05:14:07 AM »
They must have had a clear out. Last week, every single new post or reply was spam.


The Writers Circle / Re: Leaving MWC
« on: December 31, 2017, 04:07:32 AM »
Same here. Time to take it off my 'Favourites' taskbar. The spammers have been allowed to take over.


Review My Work / Re: Beggining of a fantasy epic -553 words
« on: December 30, 2017, 07:25:21 AM »
This first scene is supposed to be the hook and all that, but I am afraid it might come out as confusing and badly written.

A hook is intended to make the reader desperate to continue reading - to intrigue them enough to wonder what happens next. It usually opens with some kind of conflict and a character we are invited to engage with.

Your opening paragraphs consist of a weather update and a great deal of vague reflection about the moonlight - so I'm not especially intrigued so far. In the first paragraph you tell us the moon did not shine 'for his sake. . .' What's that supposed to mean? Ultimately, the statement makes no sense.

You're obsessed with mundane details like the weather and the moonlight and have written at great length about them. But it's done in such an over-sentimental way that I'd be more tempted to close the book than continue reading. What's your main character doing? Does he have a name? And when will the story begin?

Then we have three silences. It sounds as if they might be important to the plot, because you spend quite a bit of time describing each one. But beneath the surface it's all smoke and mirrors. They add nothing to the actual story, and I don't have the patience to stick around to wonder whether or not anything is going to happen next because it seems nothing ever will happen anytime soon.

The main problem here is that it looks like you're trying to appear 'writerly' rather than writing your story. It's fine to embellish the narrative here and there with metaphors and other literary devices, but on this evidence your writing is all style and no substance. I'm no wiser about where the plot is heading.

You presumably enjoy this lyrical style. But it comes across as far too precious. There's not enough happening in this scene to hook the average reader's attention, I'm afraid.


The world was ashen grey to his eyes, and it had been that way for as long as he could remember. The colors had long faded from his sight, and now even sound was becoming dull to his ears.

I'm not a huge fan of Prologues. Indeed, most would advise you open with Chapter 1 since prologues often get a bad press from publishers. As for your opening paragraph, it sounds very deep and intense - but it also reads to me as if you're trying to show the readers you're a 'writer' instead of simply telling us a story. It's overdone and a little overdramatic. Your hero is disillusioned with the world - that's all we need to know. By showing us the way he behaves and interacts, we'll probably see this more clearly as the tale develops.

   His hands were heavy, and he walked with the bitter determination of one who has learned too many things. I'm not sure how knowing too much affects the way you walk. They were soaked, for they held on, reluctantly, to his stomach. It was a futile attempt at stopping his blood from gushing out into the snow that laid around him.
So he's been gut shot and is trying to stem the blood. You take a very roundabout way to tell us this important fact.

   Not that it mattered much now. In reality the man did so out of instinct, for otherwise the pain would lend him unable to move. And he still needed his legs to pursue the last hope fate had left him.
   It was a vain hope, one that no sane man would ever hope to achieve, but he did so regardless. Promises had been made, and he would hold on to his word until the bitter end.
These two paragraphs add nothing of value. The plot has been driven off the track into a roadside ditch.

He felt the sun rays reaching to his eyes, WHAT? causing him to turn his gaze downwards to the cloud white snow. And before he could continue, his legs failed him. Blood no longer flowed in them, and so the man fell to his knees.
There's very little happening - and sadly, it's in slow-motion. How do expect anyone to remain interested enough to continue reading?

   The sun hung low in the sky, and he was unable to tell if it rose from the horizon or fell back to the boundaries of the earth. Nonsenical. He had spent so long locked away in that house of metal and stone that even the sky had become alien to him. But as he felt the sunlight gently caressing his face, he remembered how it felt to be beneath the light.
   The icy wind of winter fondled Really? How odd! his weary eyes, asking him kindly to let it be. A rather dreadful sentence To end the suffering, and fall back to the earth. But he did not.

That's where I stopped reading, and I suspect the same will apply to most readers. What have we learned so far? He's been shot. The rest is pretentious window-dressing that's no fun to read, I'm afraid.

You write well enough, but you seem to be writing for effect, hoping to impress everyone with your skills as a writer. That's not the best way to go about it.

Just one opinion - use or lose.


Review My Work / Re: Start of a spy book?
« on: December 28, 2017, 12:57:51 PM »
Ok so I am thinking of writing a spy book.

On the basis of this, you're not ready to write a book. Maybe begin with short stories, and can I suggest you spend 9 hours reading for every hour you spend writing. I gave up after the first paragraph.

the The Boss gazed at his new obsession. The green light on his computer screen blinked a few times before switching to a solid red which indicated the user was no longer online. This pattern happened every Monday evening for exactly 4 hours. What pattern? The green light blinking then turning red? Why would anyone watch this for 4 hours?
The profile picture showed nothing just black and yet everyone on the website knew the name trinity. How? And why should we care? This doesn't make a lot of sense so far.
From what his intelligence could gather, which was surprisingly little given his vast network an incomplete sentence. There were four people involved, previously five before one had presumably died as they weren't heard of again and there was a short week absence presumably a mourning period. A long, rambling sentence telling us nothing much. Other than that nothing, the Boss knew nothing and he rarely knew nothing. He was above all intrigued. I'm still not seeing why he's intrigued."Not now Tobias" He said as he heard heard the door open and his right hands familiar footsteps Uh?. "Sir..." Tobias said respectfully and the Boss turned round. There was was a man with him, tall and aging but with the figure of a man who was once very broad and muscular Makes no sense. When he spoke it was with a deep gravelly voice "I hear you're looking for Trinity."

So far, this comes across as manufactured 'cloak and dagger' without any explanation of why things are being treated so mysteriously. There's no hook apart from the stuff you're telling us that isn't backed up with any evidence. Stories, no matter how far-fetched, also have to possess some believability. This doesn't, and your wafer thin characters are too flat to interest even the most avid reader.
You also need to sort out your punctuation.


This is a reworked version of the same 'script opening' you posted in May - and it's no better. You're either unwilling to listen to our advice or are not prepared to address the most basic flaws. Can I suggest you check out the wealth of scripts available to read on-line for free. You'll hopefully then see where you're going wrong.


Self-Publishing Central / Re: Different Format
« on: December 19, 2017, 08:53:16 AM »
It takes me about 3 minutes to convert a standard Word doc to Createspace paperback format.

Open your Word document and
- Click on Page Layout
- then Size and select 13 x 20 cm (or 5 x 8 inches) which is the nearest Createspace allow for a standard paperback
- Then click on Page Layout again
- Then Margins and select Custom Margins
And change the following:
- Margins - Top - 1.9cm
- Bottom - 1.9cm
- Inside - 1.9cm
- Outside - 1.27cm
- Gutter - 0.33cm
- Portrait (obviously)
- Pages - Multiple Pages - choose Mirror Margins
- Apply to - choose Whole Document
- Click ok and your word doc is ready to upload to Createspace without the need to produce a pdf version. But make sure you select the correct trim size (again 5ins by 8ins)

Good luck


All the Write Questions / Re: Length
« on: December 15, 2017, 04:38:10 AM »
Pick 10 novels at random - any 10 - and see how long each opening chapter is. You'll probably find there's a huge variation. There is no such thing as a standard word-length per chapter, although I have heard of one particular German publishing house that specifies each should be between 3000 and 3500 words.


All the Write Questions / Re: Moral maze
« on: December 15, 2017, 04:27:15 AM »
I remember reading somewhere that 'Art' (which, of course, includes writing) should calm the disturbed and disturb the complacent. I'm sure this goes as much for the characters we create, and maybe glamourise, as for the stories.


All the Write Questions / Re: Moral maze
« on: December 14, 2017, 10:56:15 AM »
But you wouldn't want to live in a world run by charming thugs, even if that wasn't a contradiction in terms.

So that rules out most politicians in Westminster.


Review My Work / Re: Rye Hill - 1997 words
« on: December 14, 2017, 07:24:21 AM »
Is it grabbing me?

It reads like a cross between 'War of the Worlds' and 'Shaun of the Dead'.
The matter-of-fact beginning, seen through various POVs, works up to a point. But at times I felt you'd overdone the 'Normal day in Normsville' tone. The scene with the security guard at Tesco didn't work for me, nor did the backstory surrounding Alicia and Mrs Chopra. It felt as if you were trying to insert way too much local colour.
You also have Phil hearing Roger say 'It's crazy out there' - but when Roger reports the same conversation he uses different words? Was that intentional? And if so, why?
Personally I'd want a little more focus on the dramatic scenes out in the street and a little less on what the bus passengers are doing or thinking. It dragged after a while.
There were also one or two places where you repeat yourself and some of the sentences run on - but that's an editing issue.

Would I read on?
That depends on where this is heading. If it's strictly 'SOTD' territory, then no.

I found the use of present tense tiring after a time, but that's probably a personal preference.

Just one opinion - use or lose.


Review My Work / Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« on: December 10, 2017, 08:47:59 AM »
It all began as a means but with a most unfortunate end.
Gus Hannings’ wife couldn’t swim; water terrified her. At the age of twelve she had watched her sister drown in a boat at sea and never got over the tragedy.
Not sure about this opening line.

The opening line reads like a strapline to a newspaper article. . . but I have no idea what it means (presumably it's a play on the phrase 'means to an end').
The rest is backstory and it's not especially interesting. Why are you telling us this right now?

Would a publisher want to read more? I'd say 'probably not' because the story begins in the wrong place.


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