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The Writers Circle / Re: Leaving MWC
« Last post by Laura H on January 11, 2018, 09:52:42 PM »
There's life after death, Em. Seek and ye shall find the Bestwritingforum for you.

Writing Games & Challenges / Re: the last person to post here wins
« Last post by Laura H on January 11, 2018, 09:46:03 PM »
Could be any sec now, so HERE I AM.
Writing Games & Challenges / Re: the last person to post here wins
« Last post by fire-fly on January 11, 2018, 09:34:13 PM »
I'm here for the win
Writing Games & Challenges / Re: the last person to post here wins
« Last post by Gyppo on January 11, 2018, 03:53:28 PM »
Would we be here if we didn't?
Review My Work / Re: Beginning of a spy thriller (Reworked, 418 words)
« Last post by Jscanlo4 on January 11, 2018, 03:32:24 PM »
Thank you for posting this.  It is a brave thing to post your writing so thousands can see it. There is some real great stuff in here, and there is some that needs a lot of work.  I hope you don't take anything I say as a personal attack.  (Although as writers, we take everything said about our writing is personal.)

Firstly, the good stuff.  I really enjoyed the scene.  It's a great hook for an opening scene.  If this was the opening to a book, I would've kept reading.  You've opened a lot of possibilities and questions with this scene.  Additionally, I really enjoyed the dialog.  It felt real and authentic.  The important thing to focus on is this scene hooked the reader and made them start asking questions.  Who is this guy?  Why was his wife killed?  What was his debt?  And, who is this mysterious man in his home?  All this is really important in the opening lines, and you hit them really well.

Secondly, the not so good stuff.  Honestly, I almost stopped after the first line.  Thankfully, I didn't.  However, an Editor, Agent, or someone else in the industry would've stopped.  You didn't show, you told.  Never use 'to be' verbs, such as 'were' (unless it is absolutely necessary).  It is far better to use action to describe the scene.  For example, shards of glass littered the sidewalk and crunched under his running footsteps.  (Or, something like that.) A sentence like this will create a more lasting image, and it speaks more to a reader.  "The windows were in shatters" is more bland.  The same could be said for the descriptions of the photos and living room.  Additionally, your first line wasn't a hook.  The hook and where you should start was "No, no, no. James thought to himself as he ran. This can't be happening…"  This sentence made me want to read more.  It made me interested.  The first line simply didn't do that.

Over all, this was a really interesting first scene.  However, it needs some work.  Trim down on the passive 'to be' verbs and start with a hook.  This will create a better and more interesting read.
The Writers Circle / Re: Leaving MWC
« Last post by Emery on January 11, 2018, 02:49:56 PM »
Well...I dropped back in today to get active again and then find this. I've been on a few other sites such as this but really liked the community here. Oh well, to all good things.

If anyone has recs, PM me the sites and I'll look into them.

I really appreciate all the MWC has done for me and I hope it will soon return to its former, glorious state.
Review My Work / Re: Beginning of a spy thriller (Reworked, 418 words)
« Last post by Emery on January 11, 2018, 12:33:38 PM »
I didn't read the originals so can't speak on the changes, but I'll give this a go.

Genre wise, you've got a major scene and are setting the stage, I'm presuming, for the James's motivation throughout, for a revenge thriller. The inciting incident of the novel. And yet, you only spent 410 words on it. Why? It all comes at me so quickly that I barely have time to digest.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I get the sense from this scene that you haven't taken the time to visualize it well. The first sentence is just generalities. The windows were in shatters and the doors broken? James walks up to his house and assesses in a millisecond this fact. Imagine yourself as James walking up on the home...did you park in the driveway? Walk from the subway? What kind of street is it? What kind of house? I'm not suggesting you tell the reader all of this, but in order for the action and descriptions to feel real, you've got to see this.

And then, for some inexplicable reason, he walks into the home and takes time to note the photos on the wall? And after seeing his dead wife/girlfriend he takes stock of his emotional state and hypothesizes that maybe he's a heartless bastard?

When you write a scene, you've got to live it. I don't think you've lived this scene. I think you needed it to start your novel and you're trying to dispense with it to get to the cool, spy stuff or whatever.
Review My Work / Re: Willed the Waste - Chapter 1 (1/2; 745 words)
« Last post by hillwalker3000 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.

Review My Work / Re: Willed the Waste - Chapter 1 (1/2; 745 words)
« Last post by c.e.abrams on January 11, 2018, 11:43:27 AM »
Thanks so much! You're awesome ;D And I'm actually really excited that you explained the right way to think about scenes. I knew about the scene/sequel and action/reaction thing--I've been using it in my outline--but for some reason I guess I never actually had a good understanding of the concepts until now.

This is very inspiring. Thank you again.
Review My Work / Re: Willed the Waste - Chapter 1 (1/2; 745 words)
« Last post by Emery on January 11, 2018, 11:26:11 AM »
No worries.

Scene and sequel would be bigger picture. A scene, as far as my understanding in this concept, is the action aspect. What you have written is the scene on the larger scale. The sequel would be Penel's response. A scene has a goal (what a character wants), a conflict (something interfering with goal), and a resolution or disaster (yes he gets the goal, but... or no, he doesn't, and...). The sequel would be the protagonists reaction to the scene (what does Penel's reaction when left at the scene after the strange home, she internalizes the event) and then a choice/dilemma (does she search for the magician and become involved at risk of her safety?) and the decision (yes). Which would organically lead into the next scene. A sequel, however, doesn't have to be another 'scene'. It can just be three sentences.

Smaller scale, MRUs are the answer (and I wish I could remember who on here turned me onto this to give some props). Motivation/reaction. The motivation is external. Let's looks at these few lines:

A man with neon-red hair in the audience raised his fist. “For magicians!” he shouted. The audience rumbled with complaints. (motivation)

Penel’s stomach turned. (reaction)

As the music began, a stage officer rushed into the crowd. He tackled the red-haired man, disappearing in the crowd. (motivation)

Clearly, the first line is external action. The dude with red hair shouts "For magicians!" (which, for the record, I'm still not sure what exactly was for magicians. The hand?).

The reaction is in parts: feelings or emotions, reflexive response, and rational response. The 'stomach turn' is an emotion. You've opted to show it rather than tell. The reflexive response would be an unconscious action. For example, Penel drops the microphone. And finally, the rational or conscious action. Penel jumps from the stage or says something, etc.

It seems painful when you look at it this way, but it mostly happens organically. I use the concept in revision and revision only! Don't sit down and formulaically think of it. When I revise and something doesn't feel right in pacing or make sense due to character motivation or whatever, I look to see if my motivations were clear and the reactions were also. When writing action scenes, it's real easy to dictate the action as if you're watching a movie and forget the protagonist.

As far as the characters, I've got no idea. I couldn't tell you enough about them because there isn't enough meat in the scene. I'm not suggesting you pad it with fluff, but if the opening scene of a larger piece is only 750 words, it's too fast. This is a key scene, a major part, in the novel. Now isn't the time to disperse with it in 3-4 pages. Major scenes should linger and take some time. I'd be aiming for 1500-2000 words.
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