Author Topic: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's  (Read 4404 times)

hillwalker3000

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2012, 11:40:15 AM »
Ok - it's your story. But I'd certainly be interested in finding out in the following sentence WHY he flipped the coin rather than be told HOW.
Presumably most readers will be conversant with the mechanics already so dressing it up this way isn't going to hold my attention.

H3K

Offline Laura H

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2012, 12:16:56 PM »
I strongly disagree, H3K. No offense to Laura H, but I don't think the simple statement "Edison Addison flipped a coin" would grab a reader's interest.

No offense taken, DeeTwo.  We all have our (hopefully) unique writing styles, and any suggestions I make on the review boards are my opinion based on what works for me as a reader and a writer.

Keep writing ;)

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Offline DeeTwo

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2012, 02:31:11 PM »
Ok - it's your story. But I'd certainly be interested in finding out in the following sentence WHY he flipped the coin rather than be told HOW.
Presumably most readers will be conversant with the mechanics already so dressing it up this way isn't going to hold my attention.
No offense taken, DeeTwo.  We all have our (hopefully) unique writing styles, and any suggestions I make on the review boards are my opinion based on what works for me as a reader and a writer.
The WHY comes in the second paragraph, H3K.

It's definitely a challenge trying to provide just the right amount of detail in the first paragraph, and it's impossible to know which details each reader wants to see. (Does "Call me Ishmael" really provide enough detail?) That's one of the great factors in this workshop - even if I might disagree with, or not quite understand, someone's comments, all of them force me to reread and rethink what I've written.

Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Dee Two's Short Story
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2012, 04:31:39 PM »
DeeTwo, the most important thing is to hook the reader from the off. This usually means to open with some action rather than narration (so yes, save Edison's self-analysis for a later chapter. I don't think it's strong enough as a hook).

Two of the most important 'rules' for writing are: 'omit needless words' and 'write clearly and simply'. Bare that in mind as we look at your opening.

Edison Addison balanced a quarter across his thumb and index finger, and held his breath as he flicked his destiny toward the steamy gray sky.

You use a lot of words to say 'Edison Addison flipped a coin.' Why do you need to describe the mechanics? Everyone knows how a flipped coin works. Write simply and clearly. Omit needless words. 'He held his breath.' Fine. Simple and to the point - the coin toss means something. Then you tell us the coin is his destiny. Don't tell us - show us. Give us some of his thoughts, maybe - why does the coin toss mean so much? Don't save it for another pararaph - that is your hook!

Edison Addison flipped the coin. He held his breath. It's all on this, Ed, he thought.

Not great off the cuff, but hopefully you'll agree that it reads better. Cut through the fluff!
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Offline DeeTwo

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Re: Dee Two's Short Story
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2012, 05:05:13 PM »
DeeTwo, the most important thing is to hook the reader from the off. This usually means to open with some action rather than narration (so yes, save Edison's self-analysis for a later chapter. I don't think it's strong enough as a hook).

Two of the most important 'rules' for writing are: 'omit needless words' and 'write clearly and simply'. Bare that in mind as we look at your opening.

Thanks, Matt. I appreciate your comments and everyone else's, but I have to say that I've rarely seen a novel whose writing is clear and simple, or whose first line or two tear right into the action. If I deleted all the fluff (to use your word) from most novels, they'd read more like newspaper reports.

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2012, 05:12:14 PM »
Edison Addison balanced a quarter across his thumb and index finger, and held his breath as he flicked his destiny toward the steamy gray sky.

It's 25 words -- quite lengthy. Perhaps consider a short opening with the coin flick and then a longer sentence with him watching it, wondering which way it would fall and what the decision would be.

Destiny, to be decided on the flick of a coin. Edison Addison held his breath as he flicked the quarter toward the steamy gray sky.  :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[

hillwalker3000

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2012, 05:27:56 PM »
You may be right that a lot of novels don't cut through the fluff.
But if you're pitching this at a publisher they need to see that you can express yourself
clearly and concisely - and tell a convincing story.
Most who invite submissions only request the first 30 pages or so.
But the reality is that they only read the first paragraph.
If it's full of fluff they reject it - simple as that.

Once you have a couple of novels under your belt and
an established audience then you can drag out a 200-page
story over 500 pages the way Stephen King does.
And I'm not being disrespectful - he's a great story-teller,
but he does tend to go on and on and on...

But if you're at the early stage of looking to get published
trust your readers and your friends on here.
Take the most direct route possible.

H3K

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Dee Two's Short Story
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2012, 05:34:09 PM »
Thanks, Matt. I appreciate your comments and everyone else's, but I have to say that I've rarely seen a novel whose writing is clear and simple, or whose first line or two tear right into the action. If I deleted all the fluff (to use your word) from most novels, they'd read more like newspaper reports.

Dee, I don't believe anyone is suggesting you get rid of all adjectives and adverbs; just make sure the ones you use are really needed and do/show what your work needs.

May I suggest you visit a book store and pick a few books in your genre from the shelf - then take a good look at the first paragraph and first page.

This is a great way to see what publisher's are looking for today's market.
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Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2012, 06:09:20 AM »
It can be tricky to know when to follow advice and when to stick to your guns. In 'On Writing' by Stephen King he suggests the following: If someone recommends something (I didn't like the imagery) and someone else says the exact opposite (I loved the imagery!) then it's probably fine as it is. However, if everyone is saying the same thing (this needs simplifying), then they probably have a point. I believe the opinion is unanimous on this piece - it would be better simplified.

Remember, you are telling a story, not showing how many great words you can fit in a sentence.

Once you have a couple of novels under your belt and
an established audience then you can drag out a 200-page
story over 500 pages the way Stephen King does.
And I'm not being disrespectful - he's a great story-teller,
but he does tend to go on and on and on...

King's novels are usually about twice the length they need to be, but that is a problem with the plotting IMO. He writes a lot of scenes that could easily be cut. I don't think it's a problem with his writing; I've read most of King's stuff and his writing is usually very tight.

Of course, there are famous authors who are routinely panned for their prose (and rightly so) - Stephanie Meyer, Dan Brown, James Patterson - and if you have an absolutely amazing story you may get away with substandard prose. But I honestly don't think an agent/publisher would read on after that first sentence. It is harder to get published than ever before, and editors actively look for reasons to reject. Sad but true! I would try and rewrite - you may agree with us in the end.  :)
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Offline DeeTwo

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2012, 06:07:30 AM »
Thanks to everyone for your input. I've been tweaking my story for what seems like forever, but that's just part of the process. And when I finally get it published, I'll send each of you a complimentary copy  :D

Offline Laura H

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Re: Edison Addison - Short Story by Dee Two's
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2012, 08:45:01 AM »
Autographed, please  :)
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty