How many fiction writers do we have here?

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Floss
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Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:53 pm Post

hi jack, welcome to the forum.

i like the content, but - wow - that,s quite a long sentence to get away with as an opener.
:€

Vi
Viking
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Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:28 am Post

Fluff wrote:You won't be forced to walk the plank if you regale us with a few more hundred words. They'll give the sharks, piranhas, and barracudas, something to get their teeth into.

I would post something, maybe. I keep meaning to get stuck back into writing but life keeps on getting in the way. It's the predatory fish that I am uncertain about as well. I don't want to post up something I've been working on for years only to have it torn to pieces.

Floss wrote:as a reader, editor and general all round critic, i like to know i,m in for a good well written read. so in the same way that i hate to hear the apology ,sorry i,m not a great singer, just before someone launches into a song at an open mike night, an opening that suggests something might be an awkward or complex read - ,,it isn,t easy to explain or describe,, - sets some alarm bells ringing.

My writing style can be somewhat erratic and I think it's one of my biggest hurdles (apart from a multi-year long stretch of apathy and writer's block).

When I get some free time, I will post up the first chapter. I make no promises when that will be, though.
On the outskirts of nowhere,
On the ring-road to somewhere,
On the verge of indecision,
I'll always take the roundabout way.

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John Dodds
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Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:27 am Post

Unfortunately, this opening has been around for years beyond count. It was something I heard in secondary school....However, you could try to rework the idea in another form of words. Nothing essentially wrong with it, but too much to fast...some buildup first, I feel would be better.

vic-k wrote:
zubingarda wrote:He was the last man on Earth. Then he heard a knock at his door.
Zubi, Hiya,
When I skimmed this sentence, a while back, I went,'Ughhh! Creepy!" which, I should imagine, is the desired effect that you set out to achieve. However, having revisited your post, and reread it along with Floss's comments. I now see it in a different light.

Those schooled in the art of serious constructive critique of other's work, would, I suspect, want to know: on whose authority are we to believe that 'he' is, at the time of the knock on the door, the last human being on Earth, which is what I think you are implying. Or more accurately, he believes he is the last human being on Earth. Pedants would probably point out that only an omniscient narrator, would know if 'He" was the last human being. The man himself, could only reasonably be expected to suspect at the very best, that he could be the last. The fact that we the readers, as well as the narrator are in the privileged position of knowing yea or nay, doesn't extend to, "he". For the shock that the man would undoubtedly receive, from the knock on his door, to have the maximum impact upon the reader, I think you may have to sacrifice the brevity of the sentence, and redefine the nature of the man's isolation.

Still an eery quick skim, though! :shock:

Take care
Vic

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Floss
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Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:27 pm Post

Viking wrote:My writing style can be somewhat erratic and I think it's one of my biggest hurdles (apart from a multi-year long stretch of apathy and writer's block).

i suspect that the two might be linked. writing in fits and starts instead of steadily is bound to exaggerate the evolution of your style into noticeable jumps and changes. to some extent that,s something you can smooth out in the second draft, but for your own sanity i,d say it,s worth coming up with a style up front and stick with it for the whole book as much as you can.
remember, an erratic writing style will be a turn off to readers. it,s not refreshing, quirky, or an exciting new voice. it,s just erratic.

Viking wrote:When I get some free time, I will post up the first chapter. I make no promises when that will be, though.


please do. i don,t post myself - my writing being restricted to felix and whiskers fan fiction - but in my role as a professional editor i do like to think my comments are helpful even if they aren,t always what the author wishes to hear. feedback is how we grow.

now can we get back to talking about fishes?
:€

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Fluff
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Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:36 pm Post

Floss wrote:y writing being restricted to felix and whiskers fan fiction
Full of sex and violence...eh, cus? :oops:
Fluff
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Floss
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Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:39 pm Post

and long sections where the protagonist finds a warm sunbeam and has a good lie down for a while.
:€

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nom
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:23 am Post

Floss wrote:and long sections where the protagonist finds a warm sunbeam and has a good lie down for a while.


I didn't realise kitty fan-fic was so similar to dog-lit. Any chapters where the protagonist scares away hoards of invading school children, old trolley ladies or other dangerous threats to the back fence with some truly ferocious barking?
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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Fluff
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:03 am Post

nom wrote:some truly ferocious barking?
:lol: :lol: Haaagghhh!!!Haahhh!!
Canine cousin Scottie, give us a break! Y' mean irritating yapping...don't y'?
Cus Fluff
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nom
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:33 am Post

Fluff wrote:
nom wrote:some truly ferocious barking?
:lol: :lol: Haaagghhh!!!Haahhh!!
Canine cousin Scottie, give us a break! Y' mean irritating yapping...don't y'?
Cus Fluff

Oh, no, no, no - bless you you misguided kitty: you're thinking of a Maltese, or maybe a Bichon Frise. You gotta love 'em, they try so hard, but they're not Westies. No, they're very small dogs in a small dog's body. But Westies? We're big dogs in a little dog's body. We're known for our fierce barking that leaves one with the certain knowledge and cold appreciation of our lupine ancestry. My human, bless his soft heart, used to take me into the front yard to meet the children I'd terrified so they'd know that there wasn't a wolf in the "corner house". I was pleased to show them what a true Westie could do - to see their smiles at the "cute doggie" brought a wag to my tail. Then I'd fall asleep in the sun streaming through the front gate. :D
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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Br
Briar Kit
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:03 pm Post

SkyPilot wrote:"He would have known that she came from money even if her name had not been entered on his appointment calendar, her body tall and erect, her gate telegraphing a no-nonsense style, moving with the accuracy of a rifle shot from the office door to the chair placed across from his desk, looking neither left or right but with eyes locked on his from the moment she entered the office, and without any hint of the hesitancy, awkwardness, uncertainty, fear, anger, or disgrace with which so many had entered through the door of his office, which even now was simply and discreetly lettered: Personal Investigations."



Gate or gait? I'd break it up to make it easier to read and to add tension:

He didn't need to know her name to know she had money.

Her body, tall and erect. Her gait telegraphing her no-nonsense style. Her heels ricocheting as she walked to the chair in front of his desk.

She looked neither left nor right. Locked eyes with him the moment she entered the room.

No hint of hesitancy, awkwardness or uncertainty. No fear or anger. None of the shame that hung about most of his clients.

He eyed the discreet lettering on his office door—Jason Furgloe, Private Investigator.

Felt its dead weight seal the room as it swung closed behind her. Stale air. And silence.


The final line adds to the tension as it puts the two protagonists in a small shared space.
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Fluff
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:54 pm Post

Young Briar Kit,
Correct me if I'm wrong...no doubt you will, but, I was under the impression that an expression like, "... she came from money." implies that the lady in question comes from a wealthy family background, as opposed to, say, an ex-lap dancer, married to a millionaire, higher echelon member of the UKIP Party.
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Floss
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:44 pm Post

since this one has been brought back up, and i have a rare pocket with a little more time, i thought i,d expand on my earlier comment.

i really like the way you use the passage - which seems to be about the lady - to tell us things indirectly about the investigator - it,s his observations and ability to read her that speak to his experience and insight.

i do have a couple of notes you might find helpful.

He would have known that she came from money even if her name had not been entered on his appointment calendar.

a sentence like this demands a certain following structure. namely...
- why it,s obvious that she came from money, then
- her name and why that name screams money.

i,ll assume that the very next sentence after your passage says what her name is and the one after that explains why that name equals money, and focus here on the ,why it,s obvious, part that you,ve uploaded.

the ,which even now was simply and discreetly lettered: Personal Investigations., doesn,t quite work. firstly, it interupts the structure the first sentence demands. secondly, why ,even now,? thirdly, avoid using more than one adjective (simply and discreetly)

be careful with your description of the lady. anything you put here (before you get to her name) absolutely has to explain why it,s obvious - to an experienced private eye at least - that she has cash. unfortunately, that,s not always the case with what you,ve written. tall and erect? nope. moving with accuracy? goes to her focus and intent, but without some other explanation it doesn,t illustrate wealth. you need to either contextualise and contrast with how every other poor working stiff comes into the office, or explain something like she holds herself with the confidence that only comes from a long time spent in expensive schools. now i know you have put the contast in later, but given that that is 50 words after otherwise unconnected facts you,ve already got me disagreeing. given the hard-boiled style you,re going for that,s too long. consider switching it round to the contrast first and then why she differs.

also, the long list of qualities for the normal visitor doesn,t work for me. try painting the picture in a different way to make it sound less journalistic or technical. something like...
When a working man walks into a PI's office he looks broken. His shoulders stoop with whatever weight he's been carrying, and his eyes betray the tired desperation of a guy down to his last roll of the dice.
:€

Br
Briar Kit
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:19 pm Post

Think people can be described as coming from money: either old or new.

Maybe the lap dancer comes from old money and chooses to marry the UKIP millionaire.

Maybe the woman in the opening paragraph comes from new money.

I think "she came from money" is not a great expression. The word piano might come from Italian; stress might come from being out of control; Keith might come from Truro; or he might come from a family of philosophers; but no one really "comes from money" unless "money" is extrapolated out to mean something along the lines of "a wealthy family/background". In which case, I'd suggest "She came from a wealthy family—old money."

I mainly suggested a change in the first sentence (1) because it was so long, and (2) because simply having her name entered on a calendar doesn't mean anything in terms of him knowing who she is or whether she is wealthy. It is whether he knows / recognises her name that is important.

"He would have known that she came from old money even if hadn't already seen [recognised / read] her name on his calendar…"
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Br
Briar Kit
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:24 pm Post

Floss wrote:thirdly, avoid using more than one adjective (simply and discreetly)


*cough* Furball induced typo, Floss? Adverb…
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Floss
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:44 pm Post

i,d argue for an adjective here: despite the fact that the author has written the section using form that would suggest an adverb / verb relationship, the prose is intended to imply that it is the letters themselves that are simple and discrete, and not that the decorator snuck in at the dead of night to paint the letters while nobody was looking.

whatever side you fall on semantically, it,s a phrase that could do with some tighter construction.
:€