Author Topic: Jan 5th - Untitled  (Read 1781 times)

Hayley

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Jan 5th - Untitled
« on: January 05, 2009, 03:27:21 AM »
Hi all,

As stated in the email, this does not have a title as of yet... erm... and where there's a ________ I'm still on the way to choosing a family name. Other than that, I think it's all there.

Apologies for sending it out on the 4th for those of you who are in a different time zone, but here it's 2.26am... and I have a heap of uni work to do tomorrow. Hence it being sent out now.

Erm... anyway... tear it to shreds.

-Hayley-
"The rats on the street
They dance around my feet
They seem to say" Hayley "It's up to yooooou!"

Duel! All the cool kids are doing it!

Frog

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Re: Jan 5th - Untitled
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 09:48:49 AM »
Some things I noticed while reading:

First thing I notice is that the beginning starts out with a lot of telling details which isn't the best way to drawl in your audience. A lot of this detail is good, but if this is meant to be a novel, it should be shown over the course of a few scenes, rather than given to us all at once. Ex: Give me a scene that shows Chantelle acting the tom boy and her parents distress over it. A scene like that could be a lot of fun and hook your audience better.

Next, the dialogue. I love dialogue and yours seems good, but if you are going to tell me something in the dialogue, like that Chantelle wonders about the neighboring kingdom, do not waste both of our time by doing it in the narration.

Same with the introduction of Casey. Just by the story she tells with some very good dialogue, I can tell she is a trouble maker without any background information, so cut the narration down.

With Isla-May, you say it is a long and tedious meeting, but all we get is too quotes. Make it a long tedious meeting by adding more dialogue and interaction between characters. This way, you can give us a lot of info about the state of your world w/o it looking like an info dump.

Again with Laleh and Isla-May. Don't tell us what their relationship is. Show us though their dialogue and actions in the scene.

And a cliff hanger. Very good.

My over all impression:

Good characters, good world, good dialogue. Just try to cut down on the 'tellness' of your narration and show us all these good things through scenes with concrete details, action and dialogue. Tighten up your sentence structure and vary your word choice (except with dialogue tags like 'said' that you should use all the time). A lot of your sentences used 'was' as a verb, and that tends to make the writing weaker. Oh, and cut down the qualifiers. Words like 'seemed' and 'appeared to' or nothing phrases like 'needless to say' or 'after noticing this' fluff up your writing needlessly.

Ex:
Quote
“It’s too nice a day to sit inside, so we thought we’d take a wander around the fields,” he explained truthfully; yet worry was evident, marring the truth that was evident in his eyes.

vs

“It’s too nice a day to sit inside, so we thought we’d take a wander around the fields,” he said; though worry marred the truth shining through his eyes.
 
Good Luck and let me know if you have any questions. :)
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.

Hayley

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Re: Jan 5th - Untitled
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 01:17:29 PM »
Thanks for that, Frog :)

Telling is an awful habit I've fallen into with my writing, but trying to break myself out of it. Apparently not with much luck! Will focus on it even more on the second chapter, definitely.

Sometimes, just get worried that I'm putting in too much dialogue between the characters, and the reader isn't finding out enough about anything else other than what they are saying..
"The rats on the street
They dance around my feet
They seem to say" Hayley "It's up to yooooou!"

Duel! All the cool kids are doing it!

wcarter4

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Re: Jan 5th - Untitled
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 03:40:53 PM »
Well I must say I like the idea of modern feudalism for a setting as that seems to be what your going for at least. The one glaring problem I saw was in your sentence and paragraph structures. Your paragraphs are all too long, especially the first one. There are a couple of natural breaks in it you can take advantage of. Your sentences are also too identical. Shorten some and make a couple slightly longer to help the flow.
The next problem was repetition. You tend to use the same word or description multiple times in every paragraph starting with saying that Chantelle isn't what people think of as a lady. I don't think they all have to be changed, but the descriptive phrases could use substitution.
Finally, avoid the "show don't tell" trap.  You describe Chantelle too much without showing her actually doing anything.
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Frog

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Re: Jan 5th - Untitled
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 06:32:34 PM »
Thanks for that, Frog :)

Telling is an awful habit I've fallen into with my writing, but trying to break myself out of it. Apparently not with much luck! Will focus on it even more on the second chapter, definitely.

Sometimes, just get worried that I'm putting in too much dialogue between the characters, and the reader isn't finding out enough about anything else other than what they are saying..
Yes, I tend to be an awful teller to, but as long as you are clever about it (do it meaningfully and less frequently) it is as necessary as showing in a story, so don't worry too much about it, especially in an early draft where you have to establish all these details in your mind before you can go about showing them. But if you show something, don't tell it and visa versa.
I, as my writing an critiquing probably shows, am a sucker for good dialogue and think it really helps the story along but I suppose it is possible to go overboard, and maybe I have on occasion, but it isn't the only way to show things. A scene with three people standing on the hill doesn't lend itself to much showing outside of dialogue, but a scene with Chantelle playing the tom boy, Casey pulling a prank and Dillon coming back with mysterious injuries does, by action and concrete details.
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Necroben

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Re: Jan 5th - Untitled
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2009, 02:13:00 AM »
OK, here we go…

…causing it to momentarily rise and then fall again within seconds… 
Redundancy.  You could probably cut the within seconds.

Lately he had been wondering how many times his friend had heard those same words.  His long dark hair was pulled back, swaying slightly in the wind, identically dark eyes fixed on his friend in a worried manner.
If his friend is Chantelle then you could probably just use her name.  Or just say her.

...The two of them were inseparable and when they were together…
If they are inseparable, they are always together.

…hitting the see through physical barrier…
What is the See?

This war had definitely taken its toll on him more than any other Dilore had encountered.
I thought Dilore was a place.  How does a place encounter anyone?

…were the words she used in greeting…
Could probably be changed to, she greeted, or she said.

“So, what’s going on with your birthday ball?” she asked, bringing her legs up and wrapping her arms around them.
Who asked?  This jump here kinda confused me.

…one of the French windows…  ...The media could be very harsh…
OK, I haven’t heard any mention of France, so how could they be French.  The setting seems archaic, but they have The Media?  You might not need real world references, or if you do, give some kind of explanation as to why they would know of them.

The story is interesting, but I can’t quite see the setting.  They wear blue jeans, but carry swords?  Have Gas attacks, but carry swords?  I can’t wrap my head around it just yet.

I almost liked Dillon; but then you made him sound like a coward or that he was just incompetent.  Chantelle and Isla-May almost sound as if they are the same person.  (Cool names by the way!)  On the other hand, this could very well be your intention if you’re going to have them swap places or something later in the story.  So far, I like Laleh the best.

You have a true talent for showing and sharing the emotion of a character.  Great job and keep it up.
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M

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Re: Jan 5th - Untitled
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2009, 04:58:26 PM »
Good story so far.  It is a little slow for me but nothing I would be too worried about.  Ok, here are just a few suggestions I have:

Dorjan, Dillon, Dilore...You use "D" for all three and maybe more if I missed it.  The point is, this can be confusing.  You don't want your readers getting tripped up on who said what.

Your two girls on opposite sides seem VERY similar.  I don't have a problem with this, but if you are trying to swap their lives, then it is too obvious from the get go.  We already guessed it from chapter one.  If you are not trying to swap their lives, then I suggest making them more distinct from each other.

Just a small suggestion: 
Quote
soldiers used had vaporized the whole of the already gloomy countryside, leaving only small tufts of grass here
  I would probably say, "small tufts of grass here and there".

Another thing that is minor is that you have really long paragraphs.  This "can" be distressing for some readers...not all.  I would break the paragraphs up some.

Ok, overall opinion...I like it.  I like it because...well...(nothing against anyone here) it didn't reek of magic systems and superpowers.  I like those type of novels, but after reading one after another on this forum, yours was a breathe of fresh air. 

I think that you could speed it up a little.  The pacing is a little slow for me, but I am definitely interested in reading more.  Great job.




Reaves

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Re: Jan 5th - Untitled
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 03:29:56 AM »
I think you might want to make your sentences shorter and snappier. Also, try to cut out helping verbs like has, was, and were- they don't add anything and only serve to weaken the sentence.
I agree with other comments about the telliness; don't try to give us so much information right away. The entire first paragraph is basically listing the setting, the character, her family, her personality, and what people think of her. Instead, show us that you have an interesting setting by describing it. Let us discover that you have an interesting character by demonstrating that.

As a general rule of thumb, don't let the readers know something until they absolutely have to. We don't need to know about her parents and their royal connections until they become pertinent to the story.

Don't tell us Dillon was injured in Dilore; have her notice a scar or something.

I think your style has a lot of potential, just try to slim your sentences down a bit and give them more power.

Your world has really intrigued me. So far it seems like you've done a really good job of not telling us about it, just showing select details and keeping us interested.
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