Critique please

Le
Lestat
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Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:52 pm Post

I would really appreciate some critiquing of my work so far. I have only got a little bit and this is my first attempt at writing a book so go easy on me. this is just a little intro and part of an opening scene.



It has been said to me that the most entertaining stories are those of tragedy. However, I suppose you don’t want to be bored with a sad story. Well too bad. This is what you’ll have to settle for. Now that I have your attention, I’d like to ask you a question: can you imagine what it’s like to be conscious of the fact that you are not right? Do you know how it feels to be intelligent, yet have the social part of your brain be cross wired and messed up? If you do, I suggest you keep reading. If you don’t know, this is still a story you want to tune in to.

I have a pretty strange story to tell the truth. As someone with a neurological disorder known as Tourette Syndrome, I know how it feels to experience the things that I mentioned above. I in fact, am still wrestling with this as you read this, and as I write this. I guess this is why I am writing this in the first place. Our minds are like a prison. Your mental state causes you to have problems with many aspects of life, and there is no place to escape to. You cannot recede into your own insanity because you’d only drive yourself further insane. You are then forced to confront all problems that arise. This leads to further conflict. It really is a vicious cycle. Speaking of vicious cycles: trying to find the good in people. You try to think optimistically but people ultimately let you down. Everyone has on their superficial smiles, but, who are they fooling? Certainly not me. They seem to fool too many people. Maybe it’s because they’re using the same ruse. On top of all of this, I’ve been dumped into an unfamiliar setting in the form of boarding school. When all the pillars of your life have suddenly been yanked from underneath you, the only option you have is to fall. Unless of course you can fly which is not something most humans are capable of. It’s only a matter of time before your body hit’s the cold and unforgiving ground. Then what? Pick yourself up and ignore the pain? The pain representing the incessant voice inside your head telling you to stay down.

In any case, one must drag themselves through the mud and back up to the point from which they fell, only to climb higher if your limits shall allow it. However sane you might think you are, you cannot quite claim that without evidence. Is it even possible to be perfectly sane? If you asked me, the word sane should be eliminated from the dictionary. I say this because if everyone is insane then that would become the new sane. Now look what I’m doing, I’m conversing with my insanity. It’s amazing what five minutes of free time will get you thinking about.
“Hey Cole!” said my roommate Jake.
“Is anybody home?” again with the interjections.
“Hi. What’s up?” I responded.
“Nothing is up. My backpack is pulling me down though. I’ve got so much homework and so many textbooks to carry that I don’t think I will finish it in one night.”
“At some point, sleep becomes more valuable than homework. I don't care about the homework. I make up for it on tests.”
This leaves me more time for my own split personalities to converse and for me to ponder.
“I wish I could do that. I swear to God Cole, you are a tough nut to crack.”
He got that right, I am a nut.
“I’m going to sleep. I’ll see you in the morning. I’ll wake you up if you fall asleep at the desk again.”
“Thanks Cole. ‘Night.”

I’m impressed with myself. I can put on a decent guise of an OK state. Even if he’s one of my few friends. Instead of learning the social cues, I’ve learned to use a ruse of sanity. It’s amazing what the human mind is capable of under certain circumstances. It’s also amazing how many deficiencies it has. When the neurons in your brain just can’t receive the signal there’s nothing you can do except cover it up. Be as superficial as possible and hope nobody notices. Yet, in a lot of ways, that’s much more difficult than being openly messed up. More stress equals more insanity. It is true that the greatest sorrows are the ones we inflict upon ourselves. That may be true for some, but I’m just cursed. What if I were on the inside? Realistically that would be a terrible thing. Then I would not only be worried about pleasing myself, but pleasing everyone else, at every moment. This of course is an impossible task. I suppose that would, again, make me go crazy. To be on the inside I’d have to have much better coping skills.
"Blood tears they cry, as they com bust in flames." Richard Sjunnesson

"On and on I travelled lonesome roads, in the savage garden of our world." Richard Sjunnesson

PJ
PJS
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:14 pm Post

I don’t know the subject well enough to critique your material, but I’ll offer a couple suggestions about structure.

Consider starting half-way through the first paragraph: “Can you imagine what it’s like....” Challenge the reader right away.

Narrow the focus: your subjects and objects vary among first, second, and third persons, singular and plural. Talk to one reader at a time.

ps
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

Le
Lestat
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:35 pm
Platform: Linux

Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:31 pm Post

Thanks. I really appreciate it. I like the idea of the immediate challenge and I'll implement that.
"Blood tears they cry, as they com bust in flames." Richard Sjunnesson

"On and on I travelled lonesome roads, in the savage garden of our world." Richard Sjunnesson

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Floss
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Location: london, england

Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:49 am Post

as requested...

1, tourettes is a pretty well understood disorder now. you don't need the long opening, you can just do it by inserting gratuitious swearing into the dialogue.
2, tourettes isn't something you control. probably worth doing a bit more research to come up with something more suited to your needs if you want something that would make someone feel ,broken, inside but capable of being outwardly normal. read ,darkly dreaming dexter, by jeff lindsay for this done exceptionally well.
3, the writing style is very drawn out. very stream of consciousness. you can lose almost all of the description here and not lose the meaning. try writing the same opening with a briefer style. you don't need to lose the converstional, dare i say almost dear diary style, voice, but i would think about getting to the action earlier... the thing about internal reflection and the journey of finding yourself is that unless someone dies in the process it,s pretty much only of interest to the person doing the finding.
4, i,d also avoid admitting upfront that your story is of the kind that normally bores.


since it appears that you are a fan of anne rice's creation... or have parents who are and who named you in his honour... have a look at the strucutre of ,interview with the vampire,... the story might seem to start with an agnst ridden youth at odds with the world and longing for death, but it...
a, actually starts with the clear statement that this is a vampire giving an interview
b, gets past louis' moping to getting attacked by the undead lestat pretty damn quick.
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.

Le
Lestat
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:35 pm
Platform: Linux

Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:28 pm Post

I have tourette syndrome and I don't swear gratuitously! Don't make assumptions about me or the disorder I deal with! I have been thinking about starting with something different than a huge intro. Btw my real name isn't Lestat lol.
"Blood tears they cry, as they com bust in flames." Richard Sjunnesson

"On and on I travelled lonesome roads, in the savage garden of our world." Richard Sjunnesson

User avatar
Floss
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 8:25 am
Platform: Windows
Location: london, england

Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:05 pm Post

you are correct, of course. it was very catty of me to make such assumptions.
tourettes is a broad syndrome, as i understand it, ranging from the popular conception of uncontrolled swearing through to more minor symptoms of motor affections with lesser vocal ,tics,. my flippant remark under point 1 was unwarranted and i apologise unreservedly.

it does highlight one thing - the dear diary voice. in which case you may find yourself too close to the character you are writing on occasion and find things that are rightly of incredible interest to you and those closest to you are less gripping to a wider audience. make sure you have action to drive the character development, and make sure you work hard to maintain objectivity on the lead character.
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.