Author Topic: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)  (Read 2540 times)

Offline Mark T

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Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2018, 04:08:46 PM »
In general, I think the goal is to be as vivid as possible while staying concise.

Have you tried writing poetry much? ^^  ::) It's good cross-training for prose writers.

That's a well-considered and well-written comment, Ben. Thank you for your contribution.

Offline BenSolo

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Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2018, 05:15:57 PM »
I've never tried poetry, at least not since elementary school, but maybe I will consider it  :)

Offline lanettespc

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Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2018, 04:46:48 PM »
Overall, I think you have a pretty good base in terms of worldbuilding. I'm interested to know about this underwater society. However, while I won't go too deep on this because I think it has been covered well in other responses to your post, I think an important thing to remember is that complex language should be used for precision. There are certain situations where a big, uncommon word is the best, most concise way to convey an idea. If you have a certain person, place, thing, idea, or action that can be most vividly described by a big, uncommon word, by all means, use it. However, if a big word is used needlessly, it can be confusing and make your writing come off as ostentatious. I think you have that problem to some degree throughout this excerpt, but the use of the words "languidly" and "cram" in the first part are good examples. Languid suggests your protagonist is relaxed, enjoying her meal. Cram suggests she has somewhere to be and is wolfing down her breakfast as fast as possible. In this situation, those two words contradict each other, and I think it would be best to choose one or the other. In general, I think the goal is to be as vivid as possible while staying concise. At least, that's the goal I shoot for in my writing, whether I achieve it or not.

Hi! Thank you, Ben! (Thank you, everyone!) I'm reworking this, as I have mentioned before. I really hope it doesn't sound as though I'm resisting the opportunity to improve my writing, but I feel like it would be fair to explain two points of criticism that I feel I can explain (which doesn't necessarily mean they'll be left untouched, of course).

1) As far as I have learned, "languid" means disinclined to exert effort or weak; on the other hand, "languorous" means relaxed and enjoying oneself. I did, however, learn much of my vocabulary from dictionaries, so this may just be technically true and sound weird to most people who speak English as their first language. I understand that.
2) I do understand that people think using big words often is ostentatious. I've tried my best to tone the extract down, actually. To reiterate, I will definitely try much harder! I am not resisting change or the opportunity to grow as a writer, nor am I trying to devalue your wonderful critiques. But I feel like this is a bit of a dilemma, i.e. either way, I'm going to have problems. I've noticed, perusing reviews for various books, that people find lots of words that I consider to be intermediate or even rudimentary in complexity to be a "big word," rendering the text flowery in their opinions. On the other hand, some books that I've thought to be objectively hyper-detailed are described as "spare" or simple in prose. I do not want to write plain prose, but I am consciously trying not to be flowery. Again, however, I do feel like I can't please everybody with this. I will adjust my writing and compromise, but I don't think I would sacrifice all of my voice for the sake of accessibility or people not thinking it's pretentious, because the metric for both differs for every reader.

Offline nosuchmember

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Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2018, 05:15:21 PM »
Hi! Thank you, Ben! (Thank you, everyone!) I'm reworking this, as I have mentioned before. I really hope it doesn't sound as though I'm resisting the opportunity to improve my writing, but I feel like it would be fair to explain two points of criticism that I feel I can explain (which doesn't necessarily mean they'll be left untouched, of course).

1) As far as I have learned, "languid" means disinclined to exert effort or weak; on the other hand, "languorous" means relaxed and enjoying oneself. I did, however, learn much of my vocabulary from dictionaries, so this may just be technically true and sound weird to most people who speak English as their first language. I understand that.
2) I do understand that people think using big words often is ostentatious. I've tried my best to tone the extract down, actually. To reiterate, I will definitely try much harder! I am not resisting change or the opportunity to grow as a writer, nor am I trying to devalue your wonderful critiques. But I feel like this is a bit of a dilemma, i.e. either way, I'm going to have problems. I've noticed, perusing reviews for various books, that people find lots of words that I consider to be intermediate or even rudimentary in complexity to be a "big word," rendering the text flowery in their opinions. On the other hand, some books that I've thought to be objectively hyper-detailed are described as "spare" or simple in prose. I do not want to write plain prose, but I am consciously trying not to be flowery. Again, however, I do feel like I can't please everybody with this. I will adjust my writing and compromise, but I don't think I would sacrifice all of my voice for the sake of accessibility or people not thinking it's pretentious, because the metric for both differs for every reader.

MWC is not about pleasing everyone. It's about members choosing to share their work (or not to share it). Its about taking advice that is helpful, and ignoring the rest. You don't have to compromise- you are a very gifted writer. Believe it or not there are things we can, as writers and human beings, learn from each other. As far as the English language---I'm an American and don't speak what many consider "proper English"  very good.

 lanettespc   Thank you for sharing your work.              jt


Offline Tak

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Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2018, 05:56:45 PM »
Quote
I do not want to write plain prose

Thank you. Too many do.

There is a lot of things to like about this piece. I thought you have a handle on show and tell. I think most get too caught up in a defined difference between the two, when it is more about how they work together for the story. I wish that statement 'Show vs Tell' would be stricken from the written language. But that's just me. :)

Those expressive words. I didn't see them used incorrectly. I think any hesitation is caused by not being used to seeing them. After a few they didn't stop me at all.

I think the balance of when to use them and when not to, depends again on your story. Does the use of that word exceed the flow of that moment. The use of stupendous for example. Were her eyes widening enough to get the point across, or did the moment require more? I believe the focus was too much on her eyes and what they did, and so therefore lost focus on where and what they were staring at.

So choice of wording, like any thing in a story, has its moment. As a writer you need to choose what's better for what.

As I mentioned, I thought this was worth a read. I liked the descriptions and characters and even the touch of background setting.

Thanks for the post

Tak
« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 05:59:13 PM by Tak »

hillwalker3000

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Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2018, 07:00:27 PM »
Quote
As far as I have learned, "languid" means disinclined to exert effort (or weak).
and "cram" means to stuff or push something into a confined space - which presumably takes a degree of effort.
That's why your choice of words seemed contradictory.

As for choosing to write a particular way. . . no one on here is trying to force you to dumb down. We're not advocating you write 'plain prose'. But word usage is important. To quote Mark Twain - “Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.” By that, he means it's unwise to constantly select words that showcase the quality of the writing or the writer's ability. The writer should always remain invisible.

H3K

Offline lanettespc

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Re: Fantasy/Mixed-Genre Excerpt (682 words)
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2018, 05:52:33 AM »
and "cram" means to stuff or push something into a confined space - which presumably takes a degree of effort.
That's why your choice of words seemed contradictory.

As for choosing to write a particular way. . . no one on here is trying to force you to dumb down. We're not advocating you write 'plain prose'. But word usage is important. To quote Mark Twain - “Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.” By that, he means it's unwise to constantly select words that showcase the quality of the writing or the writer's ability. The writer should always remain invisible.

H3K
Yeah. What I meant to convey is that she's having trouble getting into eating breakfast, because she is very tired and groggy from sleep. :) I hope I don't accidentally start any arguments. I didn't say anyone was trying to dumb me down. I was just declaring my intentions, that in the final product I'll have to disregard some pieces of advice (but again, not all -- I am steadfastly applying much of the advice I've been given on this forum, receiving which was the purpose of posting in the first place) because I know my own thought process and there are just some aspects of it that I feel wouldn't work for me if I took them out. For example, you say "the writer should always remain invisible." I understand everyone's critiques and am keeping them in mind, but I just don't agree with all of it. I think that's my right. Lemony Snicket, for example, is most certainly not a writer who acts as an invisible, impartial narrator; it is part of the Unfortunate Events books' charm, the personality and colour of him as the narrator.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 05:54:36 AM by lanettespc »