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Review My Work / Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Last post by Inky on Yesterday at 03:15:44 AM »
Hi Lanettespc,

Firstly, thank you for sharing your work with us. I commend you for putting your work out there at such a young age. I'm only a beginner on this forum and I normally engage with the social realism genre so fantasy feels a bit foreign to me. Nevertheless, I'll try my best to give helpful comments. I'm not going to give sentence-/word-level advice, since other members have already done so. Instead, I'll try to give some 'big picture'/ structural comments.

I think you should start closer to the action. At this point, readers don't have a sense of who Mela is, what her role is, her goals etc and thus we don't feel invested in this character. You need to make us interested in her, perhaps by giving some insight into what her goals are, what she is unwillingly part of - whatever larger structure she is part of. It would be good to start with the fact that this is 'aquatic society' (e.g., the fact Mela has scales and a tail, that peguins dominate the bird population), since doing so fulfils two purposes: it is strange and thus attention-grabbing while also giving readers insight into the world.

I did laugh at the idea of the Bird duplicating the sender's voice.

When you introduce Lualhati, the same problem of making readers invested in her arises. Just as I've started to get comfortable with Mela's perspective, you let Lualhati's profile take over for about two paragraphs. Also, it doesn't make much sense at this point why she needs to make the pots at all if they're just going to be shattered. Why does her magic work this way? As the author, you don't need to explain everything, but readers may become frustrated if there are too many illogical mysteries.

I like your characterisation of the Philosopher as wise but a bit cloudy. The exam  reminds me a bit of an Alice In Wonderland scene actually (the one with the caterpillar in it?). I think you could draw out this exam-taking section to fully illustrate Mela's tension, surprise and milk some humour out of this scene because there's lots of it waiting to come out!

This is a piece with much potential and humour inside it.

Well done
Review My Poetry / total apocalyse
« Last post by dlp on Yesterday at 03:14:26 AM »

Quivering thighs rescue the belching god-dammit of the iron donkey.
Purpose intervenes in the convention of sea sponges.

Why am I victimized in the attack of the thought purple?

Didn't the pebble grinder get his fair share of words?
Did the queen turkey bite the shine of the cop-insect's buckle?

Or was it just the dawning of a new apocalypse?
Welcome Board - START HERE! / Re: Hello Fellow Writers!!
« Last post by Adsixnine on Yesterday at 12:27:32 AM »
hi nice to meet you.
The Coffee Shop / Re: The MWC Bar/Red Barren Bar
« Last post by Noizchild on October 21, 2018, 08:57:36 PM »
So you just doing scripts here?
All the Write Questions / Re: Can you start a story with desription?
« Last post by Gyppo on October 21, 2018, 07:42:32 PM »
You can do anything as long as it works.  But it has to work for the reader, not just you.  You won't please all the readers all the time, but if you please most of them, most of the time, you're probably doing it right.

You may one of those technical type writers who plans every chapter, every scene, and sometimes even every sentence meticulously before you start.  If this approach works for you then it's the right thing.

But many of us do our thinking on the page, and we discover our characters' personality and foibles, and especially their interactions, as we go along.  Which means by the time we reach the end of the story, even if we've stuck closely to our original plot, they will have surprised us along the way.  If they surprise and fascinate us they will also surprise and fascinate the readers.

A consequence of this is that often the first chapter, which we initially thought so important to 'set the scene', may well be totally redundant.  At best it will feel a little 'thin' compared the the later ones where the characters have come into their own, where you have started to see the world through their eyes rather than your own.  You'll probably realise you need to rewrite the beginning, or start the story further in.

It may hurt to throw away those hard won words, but once you realise you don't need them, that they were just a storytellers warm up exercises, it can be surprisingly liberating and your story will be far better.

But don't agonise over this whilst you are still creating, otherwise you'll never get into your true storytelling stride.

Review My Work / Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Last post by Gyppo on October 21, 2018, 05:06:47 PM »
A couple of other points if I may?  I doubt if Lisa would be aware of his hands being sweaty, all she'd  feel would be the crushing constriction around her throat, or his thumbs pressing into her windpipe if he was a more skilled strangler.  On a skinny female neck the stranglers' thumbs might well overlap and be further around to the sides, whereas on a thicker male neck they fall instinctively on the windpipe.

Robert on the other hand would be well aware of his fingers slipping.

I have never strangled a woman except theatrically, where the emphasis is on not accidentally injuring them.  Or as part of teaching them to escape strangleholds.  But I have been on the receiving end of a couple of serious attempts, and come careless acting as well.

Which brings me to my second point.  I think her gasps would be more guttural than whining.

Review My Work / Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Last post by Gyppo on October 21, 2018, 04:50:39 PM »
Hilly makes many good points.  I also had problems with the two sleeping cats.  Animals tend to be sensitive to atmosphere and they probably have slunk away when the strangling started, rather than sleeping through it until he tripped over them.

One other thing which puzzled me, and I've seen the word used this way in some online books .

'Robert hollowed, raising from his position on the floor.'

Hollered, surely.  But as I say I've seen it elsewhere, so is this regional variation?.

People can be hollow-eyed, or you can hollow out a log to make a canoe, but it looks wrong to me in this context.

I attribute a lot of modern errors to voice recognition software, but if this is the case the 'teller' needs to be extra vigilant when reading what it has produced.


With regard to the poster who queried Lisa checking her wedding dress, a female friend who worked at a battered wives' shelter told me many of them hang onto something from the good times before it all went wrong.  Almost as if it were a magical talisman which could put things right.  Whereas a decent dose of anger and a kitchen knife would have been far more effective at getting them out of the house and out of the situation.

Review My Work / Re: Promise Kept [504 words] draft
« Last post by hillwalker3000 on October 21, 2018, 04:07:34 PM »

Would this make a good start for a story?

Personally I feel it's too predictable to grab many potential readers.
'darkness closing in', 'sweaty hands', 'tighter and tighter' etc. You give us a set of clichés without displaying much in the way of originality.

For some reason you also keep switching the way you identify your characters
- 'the intoxicated man', 'Robert', 'the man who had just tried to kill her'
- 'Liza', 'the terrified woman'
it reads off because I kept expecting to come across a third or fourth person.

There are also several typos that need sorting - too many to point out.

But the biggest prolem is that you're writing about a sensitive issue, domestic abuse, but the way your two stereotypical characters behave does you no favours. There's nothing here we've not seen before in dozens of B movies or TV soaps.

Then we have

“I’ll be back Liza! And you’d better be here!” Robert snapped,   staggering, nearly tripping over the two sleeping cats, lying just inside the door.

I'm not sure if that's meant to add an element of humour but it had me grinning for all the wrong reasons.

Your closing sentence suggests you have an intriguing plot in mind, but I'd advise you to read as much as you can before taking the ambitious step of trying to write a full-length story.

Review My Work / Re: Chapter 1 : The Missing Taylor (818 words) Mystery Novel
« Last post by hillwalker3000 on October 21, 2018, 03:34:57 PM »
“Ready? Go!”
These were the last words my tactical leader pronounced before a terrible explosion abruptly severed his carotid artery. I knelt alongside his twitching body, forgetting the mission. My hand on the side of his neck felt the flow of warm blood between my trembling fingers, impossible to stop. And so, my colleague died almost instantly. I lost a close person for the first time.

This reads rushed, I'm afraid.
The lack of drama when you describe the death of the tactical leader is problematical. 66 words that fail to deliver, especially as the entire event seems to have been forgotten by the following paragraph. It's as if you pressed a doorbell to get someone's attention then ran away.

A week ago, in the FBI situation room, a planning session was underway...

Much of what follows is 100% tell. It reads like a witness statement, lifeless and heavy on facts - recording events that will presumably lead up to your story. Unfortunately, by the time I reached that 'crucial day' I had already lost interest.

And the dialogue is difficult to take seriously:

“Jason Tanner, don’t you dare do this again, you understand me?” she said, her voice trembling. The love of my life discovered in high school was by my side. Laura's teaching profession is safer than an FBI agent, still, with little warning, she left our world before me.

My advice, spend 9 hours reading for every hour spent writing. Watch how the professionals handle tension and action without making it read like a rather flat summary of events.

Review My Work / Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Last post by hillwalker3000 on October 21, 2018, 03:17:47 PM »
I'll comment as I read through, if I may.

First impressions - you write well. But you over-complicate matters at times. Write to express not to impress - that should be every wannabe writer's mission statement. When the reader is distracted from the actual story by fancy words and phrases, there's something not quite right. The author should always remain invisible to the reader. it's all about the story.

Seventeen-year-old Mela languidly crammed down a frugal breakfast of microworms.

Isn't there a better way to record this? The adverb and the verb seem to contradict each other. I want to watch as she places each microworm between her lips, and get to see her expression. 'languidly' simply doesn't work. Are they yummy? Crunchy? Does she dribble? We have no idea - so this hook which has potential is wasted.

The sound of webbed toes pounding on the ingress of her castle jolted her into a more responsive state.

Another awkward sentence. 'the ingress of her castle' - what does that mean? Is there a driveway, a cobbled street, a draw-bridge? And I'm not convinced webbed toes make a pounding noise. If you intend drawing us a picture, the detail has to be clear and concise. Keep it simple.

The Bird opened its beak to say, “Hello! My name is Amaranta!” Mela’s eyes widened in stupefaction —not because the Bird was talking, but rather the fact that it was flying.

Is it flying right now while it talks? And if it's flying, how did its webbed toes make a pounding sound at the same time? Whatever you write has to make complete sense to the reader. If we have to backtrack because the first reading is ambiguous, you're in danger of losing the reader's attention. And there's no need to tell the reader why her eyes grew wider. We can fill in the blanks, and by doing this for ourselves we participate actively in the reading exercise. That's important.

She crafted beautiful pottery. Yet at exactly 9:27 AM each forenoon, aren't AM and forenoon the same thing? she methodically shattered her own sculptures and set off to mainland on her boat, ceramic fragments in tow. When she returned, she smelled of steam, and she’d exchanged her shards for mysterious gems. These gems invigorated the hibiscus that had somehow grown in water encircling her islet, from a gushing cove awkward - do you mean the hibiscus grew in the gushing cove encircling her islet?. Inside the cove lived the Philosopher.

“I’m here! I’m here!” She panted. Her tail splashing skittishly behind her, Mela felt both nervous due to her delay and thrilled by the promise of news.
Another misplaced adverb that adds nothing useful.
Upon learning of this crucial arrangement, it was 9:27 AM. Odd explanation. How she wished the Philosopher had notified her sooner! She dashed off to the cove without the opportunity to have changed her outfit, unfashionably late: Her blouse was a gaudy lime green colour that clashed with her ruby scales.
The Philosopher’s eyes were shut. Her face and wizardly robes alike had wrinkles; she was very old, although she preferred the term “centenarian” in reference to herself. She was also technically amphibious; but the wizard community was in a long-running dispute with frogs over the allocation of starfish, so she preferred to be seen as simply a wizard with some investments in underwater real estate. She was also asleep when Mela came in, and so didn’t answer.
Try to figure out what the reader needs to know to drive the plot forwards and forget about the rest. There are various parts where the narrative flow is less smooth because you cram in too many disconnected or seemingly random facts.

A very promising start, keep at it.
My advice, read Stephen King's 'On Writing'.

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