Author Topic: Any feedback would be welcome  (Read 1616 times)

Offline University Girl

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 83
Any feedback would be welcome
« on: July 13, 2006, 12:48:48 PM »
Hi

It took me ages to pluck up the courage to post this as I'm not sure it's any good but hell, what's the point of writing it if I'm not going to do something with it.  Any feedback or ideas, good or bad, would be great and try not to be too cruel!!

Thanks



Joseph remembered when he had only been allowed into the back room with his Dad, well Dad was gone now which meant that the long walk down the cramped hallway was one he was now taking alone.  As his fingers hovered above the security pad the words his Dad had repeated to him time and time again reverberated in his head.  "Always remember", his Dad used to say, "Brunellus has how many hands? One third of this will give you one.  Two can be found in the sides of the internal well and three and four are the middle of the year of the Lateran Council".  Until he discovered this code he would not be allowed entry on his own and it had taken him a total of three years to discover the code hidden withen the pages of one of his Mum's favourite books.

Mum had been the one to introduce him to books and once begun the obsession grew and grew until, at the age of seven, he was reading books that his teachers had said were too old for him but his mum had encouraged him every step of the way.  He had spent many a long afternoon in dusty bookshops in quiet, dark backstreets; she had introduced him to the magic within the words, and now she was gone too and he was alone.  The family lawyer had told him that the house and the bookshop were now his and although he hadn't been aware that they had been rich his parents had left more than enough money to last a lifetime.  There was one problem, at fourteen years old he was too young to be on his own and would be appointed a guardian to look after him until he came of age at eighteen.  His guardian would be arriving soon and this was his last chance to get into the back room without an adult present, clutching his copy of "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco he flicked throught the pages glancing at the notations he had made in the margins until he came across the information he needed.  Looking up he slowly pressed the keys 5821, in his head he pictured himself telling Dad that he'd figured it out - Brunellus, the Abbot's favourite Horse was fifteen hands and one third of this is five.  The internal well is Octagonal, eight sides.  Three and Four, The Lateran Council of 1215.

The door clicked and slid open a few inches, Joseph peered through the gap and could just make out the rows upon rows of books that were stacked against the walls.  As he pushed the door open the glow from the gas lamp shone from the back wall and everything looked just the same as it had last week when his Dad had brought him down to show him the new book.  Joseph entered slowly and as he looked around the memories flooded his senses, so many happy years all destroyed in one afternoon and his resolve crumbled.  Joseph sank to the floor and wept, he wept for his mum and dad and he wept for all the years taken from them, as the tears flowed he thought back to that afternoon, coming in from school to find them both, two feet apart as if they had tried to be joined even in death and hadn't quite made it, well they had forever now and as this thought entered his mind the tears stopped and the anger flooded his soul.  It just wasn't bloody fair, he was supposed to go back to school next week as if nothing had happened and he couldn't bear the thought of all those people staring but not talking because what do you say to a child who has lost his parents, all of those people at the wake saying stupid things like 'I know how you feel' and 'your dad would be proud of you', well, it's a lie, they didn't know how he felt and sure, dad would be proud but did they think that would make up for him being dead instead of here with him.

Joseph wiped his face and sat up.  He stared up at the rows of books and noticed some of his favourites, a small smile lit his face as he remembered reading these with his parents on a sunday afternoon and realised it would never again be a family affair but that his parents wouldn't want him to wallow and wouldn't want him to spend his life grieving.  There were things to be done, orders to be filled and life had to continue.   

Lin

  • Guest
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2006, 01:12:19 PM »
Hi UG

Have you done any reviews for anyone else? - we are trying to encourage the members to critique on other posts as well.   At the moment there seems to be more people wanting feedback on their own work than giving it, so please do find a story to comment upon

Many thanks

Lin

Offline Writers Block

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 671
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2006, 03:08:44 AM »
I don't do cruel; harsh but fair is what I hope people find from my critiques. :)

Very nice indeed.

Quote
The door clicked and slid open a few inches, Joseph peered through the gap and could just make out the rows upon rows of books that were stacked against the walls.  As he pushed the door open the glow from the gas lamp shone from the back wall and everything looked just the same as it had last week when his Dad had brought him down to show him the new book.  Joseph entered slowly and as he looked around the memories flooded his senses, so many happy years all destroyed in one afternoon and his resolve crumbled.  Joseph sank to the floor and wept, he wept for his mum and dad and he wept for all the years taken from them, as the tears flowed he thought back to that afternoon, coming in from school to find them both, two feet apart as if they had tried to be joined even in death and hadn't quite made it, well they had forever now and as this thought entered his mind the tears stopped and the anger flooded his soul.  It just wasn't bloody fair, he was supposed to go back to school next week as if nothing had happened and he couldn't bear the thought of all those people staring but not talking because what do you say to a child who has lost his parents, all of those people at the wake saying stupid things like 'I know how you feel' and 'your dad would be proud of you', well, it's a lie, they didn't know how he felt and sure, dad would be proud but did they think that would make up for him being dead instead of here with him.

- brought tears to my eyes.  The emotion is very powerful.
- it is very well written.
Quote
Joseph entered slowly and as he looked around the memories flooded his senses, so many happy years all destroyed in one afternoon and his resolve crumbled.  Joseph sank to the floor and wept, he...
- great piece of prose, well put together, portrays a traumatic time extremely well. I really felt for Joseph.  If empathy is what you are looking for from the reader, then you managed it with me.


However, I do have a few issues ;D :

Quote
Joseph remembered when he had only been allowed into the back room with his Dad, well Dad was gone now which meant that the long walk down the cramped hallway was one he was now taking alone.  As his fingers hovered above the security pad the words his Dad had repeated to him time and time again reverberated in his head.  "Always remember", his Dad used to say, "Brunellus has how many hands? One third of this will give you one.  Two can be found in the sides of the internal well and three and four are the middle of the year of the Lateran Council".  Until he discovered this code he would not be allowed entry on his own and it had taken him a total of three years to discover the code hidden withen the pages of one of his Mum's favourite books.
- great writing, presuming this is the start of you book, I'd find something a little more abrupt/attention grabbing to open.

I would actually use the first paragraph I quote in my reply, then have him remember his breaking of the code - have:

The Door
clicked , slid silently open a few inches and paused, waiting.

Joseph peered through the gap and could just make out the row upon row of books that were stacked against the walls.


- capitalise door(I have also italicised 'The Door' and 'waiting' as I am using personification here - to give life to the door), to indicate it's importance, almost as though it is a living thing. I'd start a new sentence with 'Joseph', my preference would be to start a new paragraph/line with Joeseph.  I presume the room plays a central part to the story, as such, the door is the room's guardian. ;)
- changed rows to row, as seems to flow better.


One thing I have noticed, is that your paragraphs seem very long, try splitting them at their more natural breaks.

Quote
Mum had been the one to introduce him to books and once begun the obsession grew and grew until, at the age of seven, he was reading books that his teachers had said were too old for him but his mum had encouraged him every step of the way.  He had spent many a long afternoon in dusty bookshops in quiet, dark backstreets; she had introduced him to the magic within the words, and now she was gone too and he was alone.  The family lawyer had told him that the house and the bookshop were now his and although he hadn't been aware that they had been rich his parents had left more than enough money to last a lifetime.  There was one problem, at fourteen years old he was too young to be on his own and would be appointed a guardian to look after him until he came of age at eighteen.  His guardian would be arriving soon and this was his last chance to get into the back room without an adult present, clutching his copy of "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco he flicked throught the pages glancing at the notations he had made in the margins until he came across the information he needed.  Looking up he slowly pressed the keys 5821, in his head he pictured himself telling Dad that he'd figured it out - Brunellus, the Abbot's favourite Horse was fifteen hands and one third of this is five.  The internal well is Octagonal, eight sides.  Three and Four, The Lateran Council of 1215.


Mum had been the one to introduce him to books.  Once begun the obsession grew and grew until, at the age of seven, he was reading books that his teachers had said were too old for him but his mum had encouraged him every step of the way.  He had spent many a long afternoon in dusty bookshops in quiet, dark backstreets; she had introduced him to the magic within the words, and now she was gone too and he was alone.

The family lawyer had told him that the house and the bookshop were now his and although he hadn't been aware that they had been rich his parents had left more than enough money to last a lifetime.

There was one problem.

At fourteen years old he was too young to be on his own and would be appointed a guardian to look after him until he came of age at eighteen.  His guardian would be arriving soon and this was his last chance to get into the back room without an adult present.

Clutching his copy of "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco he flicked throught the pages glancing at the notations he had made in the margins until he came across the information he needed.  Looking up he slowly pressed the keys 5821, in his head he pictured himself telling Dad that he'd figured it out - Brunellus, the Abbot's favourite Horse was fifteen hands and one third of this is five.  The internal well is Octagonal, eight sides.  Three and Four, The Lateran Council of 1215.


'There was one problem.' - even if the guardian doesn't turn out to be a problem, having lost his parents, and suddenly finding himself provoded with a guardian, it seems reasonable at this stage that he will think so. They can become friends later.

'Mum had been the one to introduce him to books and once begun' - i removed the and, reads better imo, and gives due importance to what his Mum did, introduce him to books.


Quote
wouldn't want him to wallow and wouldn't want him to spend his life grieving.  There were things to be done, orders to be filled and life had to continue.
- I personally try to avoid conjoined words (wouldn't, didn't etc) in my writing outside of dialogue.  Some slip through which has me considering if I change them or not.  I would certainly change the above as you have two together, they stand out - although it may just be me.  Changing one to 'would not' would probably emphasise what you are saying.
- I also find the sentence a bit long to read.


Joseph wiped his face and sat up, he stared up at the rows of books and noticed some of his favourites.  A small smile lit his face as he remembered reading these with his parents on a sunday afternoon and realised, 'it would never again be a family affair'.  But, his parents wouldn't want him to wallow and would not want him to spend his life grieving.  There were things to be done, orders to be filled and life had to continue.   


- I changed a couple of words, and placed single quotes around 'it would never again be a family affair' - it just seems to fit.  ;D
- I realise my changes have changed the meaning ever so slightly, but I feel it flows better, yet still has the same overall effect.


Quote
It just wasn't bloody fair, he was supposed to go back to school next week as if nothing had happened and he couldn't bear the thought of all those people staring but not talking because what do you say to a child who has lost his parents, all of those people at the wake saying stupid things like 'I know how you feel' and 'your dad would be proud of you', well, it's a lie, they didn't know how he felt and sure, dad would be proud but did they think that would make up for him being dead instead of here with him.
- i'd place this in a seperate paragraph.  If you have the rest of the paragraph its from as the start (of your book), then it really needs to follow.

Very impressive writing, hope you find my comments helpful and fair.

I tend to critique in a harsh manner. Please remember it is not personal, but how I prefer anyone critiqueing me to be. It is far more useful IMO.

WB

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Offline Lightbulb

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2006, 09:13:22 AM »
This is very intelligent writing. I am sometimes jealous when I see everybody else getting visited by the inspiration fairy and I am stuck without my visit. Maybe I smell... hmm... ;) But anyway, it is very good and I can tell it has the making of a very intelligent book. The story seems far from over here, I want to meet the kid's guardian and I want to know what the problem and resolution are. It seems to me that you've built some psychological work in here, with Joseph losing his parents. Were they murdered for the secret or something? Because you've also some sort of quest story having to do with the secret vault... It's all very interesting, and I would love to read more.

I gotta disagree with WB on the conjunctions though... To me, sometimes when there is exposition, when nobody is talking, sometimes the expostion is more of a persons thoughts then just "...the trees were green with spring time, and the birds were chirping and building their nests." I think that passage that WB was talking about wasn't setting a scene, but more of Jospeh's internal thought process, and I think it's okay if he would say wouldn't instead of would not, even if he is a very intelligent fourteen year old. I know I say wouldn't. But you get what I'm saying about it, right?

Offline Writers Block

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 671
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2006, 09:33:28 AM »
I gotta disagree with WB on the conjunctions though... To me, sometimes when there is exposition, when nobody is talking, sometimes the expostion is more of a persons thoughts then just "...the trees were green with spring time, and the birds were chirping and building their nests." I think that passage that WB was talking about wasn't setting a scene, but more of Jospeh's internal thought process, and I think it's okay if he would say wouldn't instead of would not, even if he is a very intelligent fourteen year old. I know I say wouldn't. But you get what I'm saying about it, right?

Good argument well presented, It's still worth using wouldn't and would not one seems to carry more emphasis, if that is what you want of course.
I tend to critique in a harsh manner. Please remember it is not personal, but how I prefer anyone critiqueing me to be. It is far more useful IMO.

WB

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Offline Lightbulb

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2006, 09:50:19 AM »
We seem to disagree on quite a bit don't we WB? ;) Oh well... everyone has a different opinion I suppose and we both gave UG the best advice we had. It's up to her to decide what she wants to do.

Offline University Girl

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 83
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2006, 04:40:21 PM »
Hi WB and Lightbulb

Firstly I would like to thank you both for all your advice, I'm absolutely blown away by your comments and can't thank you both enough for your comments.

WB, I really wanted people to connect with Joseph's grief at losing his parents and I'm really glad that you think this has worked.  You're right that I need to have a more attention grabbing start and you're right that I have no idea about the correct way to paragraph.  The way you have re-written this

Mum had been the one to introduce him to books.  Once begun the obsession grew and grew until, at the age of seven, he was reading books that his teachers had said were too old for him but his mum had encouraged him every step of the way.  He had spent many a long afternoon in dusty bookshops in quiet, dark backstreets; she had introduced him to the magic within the words, and now she was gone too and he was alone.

The family lawyer had told him that the house and the bookshop were now his and although he hadn't been aware that they had been rich his parents had left more than enough money to last a lifetime.

There was one problem.

At fourteen years old he was too young to be on his own and would be appointed a guardian to look after him until he came of age at eighteen.  His guardian would be arriving soon and this was his last chance to get into the back room without an adult present.

Clutching his copy of "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco he flicked throught the pages glancing at the notations he had made in the margins until he came across the information he needed.  Looking up he slowly pressed the keys 5821, in his head he pictured himself telling Dad that he'd figured it out - Brunellus, the Abbot's favourite Horse was fifteen hands and one third of this is five.  The internal well is Octagonal, eight sides.  Three and Four, The Lateran Council of 1215.

is fabulous and I will certainly be taking on all your suggestions.  When I re-post will you comment?

Lightbulb, thank you for your comments.  You're absolutely right that I want Joseph to be an intelligent boy but he is still a child and I had intended this to be an insight into his thoughts so maybe I can get away with a double 'wouldn't' at this point but will have to watch out that I don't repeat later.  Can I please read something of yours?

Again, thank you both.  I've had a really crappy week at work and I opened your reviews this evening and they really cheered me up so thanks for the help and thanks for the support. (I'm going to stop gushing now!!!) ;D ;D

Offline jordanofengland

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2006, 05:00:37 PM »
Howdy,

I liked this. Thoughtful, entertaining and inspiring. The main character seems realistic and you convey his thoughts well. I'm not as technical as the other guys, probably because I don't know an awful lot about writing, but i read a bit and I would read this if i picked it up in a bookstore, which is what we all want at the end of the day.

So to conclude, ha ha, this has really been a useless bit of criticism because I haven't given you any helpful advice or sage words of wisdom, but I have managed to spell everything in my criticism correctly i think, so top marks for me, score!

I like it, write more. No pressure or anything though....

Jordy
I bought some powdered water, but I don't know 
what to add to it. - Sums up life quite nicely.

Offline Writers Block

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 671
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2006, 05:06:23 PM »
@Lightbuld

for sure, but discussion is good.  I accept the point that a teenager, indeed many people, myself included use abreviations and conjoined words(think i using the right word).

When it's thoughts using is fine, when not, it's( ;D) personal preference.

I was just highlighting having two together, they stand out, detract from the writing for me, changing one to seperate words says the same thing, but for the one with seperate words added emphasis.  To me at least. ;)

@jordanofengland

Don't feel bad about what you wrote, or what you didn't do.  You gave your feelings, always very important.  It is always nice to see someone reply to a post that is not there's. ;)

@UG

Glad you liked 'em.

Sure, I will look at your alterations.  I like to check out others work, commenting helps my writing, I spend an hour or so a day doing it.  ;D

And your writing is so good, that it is no hardship to read it for it's own sake.  ;)

I tend to critique in a harsh manner. Please remember it is not personal, but how I prefer anyone critiqueing me to be. It is far more useful IMO.

WB

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Offline University Girl

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 83
Re: Any feedback would be welcome
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2006, 05:57:23 PM »
Hi Jordy

Not useless at all, thank you for reading this and for your encouragement.  I love books and probably buy more than I should but could you imagine the buzz of having your own words in print, so thanks for saying that you would buy and read this, it means alot.

Lucy ;D