Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:21 am Post
Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:44 am Post
Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:54 pm Post
He realized they had arrived at ...
... a rather shabby looking early nineteenth century style white inn.
Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:01 am Post
xiamenese wrote:Vanessa, hi and welcome to the forums.
I'm really not in a good position to give criticism here and don't usually post in this forum. What you're writing is not my genre at all and I don't know any conventions or what to expect. But, seeing your posts, thought I'd make a couple of brief comments:
1: First post on Monday, second next day. You've got to give it time ... even those who in the past have been highly active on the forum have periods of slowing down as the demands of life — and one would hope a productive period of writing — loom large. This is especially true of course, for those with children, or those who are teachers, as it's the beginning of the academic year for most, at least in the northern hemisphere.
2: As I read the first paragraph, I found myself asking, "Help! Where has all the punctuation gone, or rather the commas?" This may be the style you're aiming at, but to me it made it more effortful to read. Punctuation is like musical notation of how to read a sentence or a paragraph; commas — in British English, at least — indicate a breathing pause together with a rising intonation to show that the sentence is not finished. So without them, the reader is faced with an intonational "garden path" structure, in which they expect to pause but don't because it's not shown in the structure. So each sentence is presented like one single tone-group which goes on and on without any chance to pause or without any indication of the internal structure of the sentence and whether any clause or phrase of it is central to the main idea or is merely an explanatory or illustrative element that has been put in to make it richer-seeming. You see what I mean? I suppose it is one of the tricks of the trade that writers have to learn, to read their outpourings as if they, the writers, were someone else who didn't know where each sentence, each paragraph, was going.
3: So, as a corollary to that, as I read on, though the punctuation tone-marks did become somewhat more plentiful, I still found that there was a sameness of rhythm to each sentence.
As I say, I have never felt qualified to judge writing, particularly in specific genres such as this seems to be, but am only commenting from my perspective — fundamentally a theoretical linguist, but, in practice, working for the last 12 years as editor of translations from Chinese to English and lecturer. Your style maybe unique — in which case you need to evaluate the effectiveness of it vis-à-vis potential readers — or may be of the style expected in that genre — in which case, my comments are not so relevant. Whichever is the case, I wish you good luck, though I'm unlikely to read your book when it comes out.
Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:24 am Post
Floss wrote:dearest vanessa, welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your work.
before i comment, it,s only fair to introduce myself. i am floss, a cat that wondered into the forum one day and for one reason or another found it warm and cosy enough that i,ve not yet wandered on. i am not to be confused with my lighter coloured cousin who lives with a different human and is a much nicer and friendlier cat than me - in many ways the opposite of me.
this ,scrivenings, section of the forum is my scratching post where i sharpen my claws. as such i focus - at the expense of balance - almost exclusively on areas i find scratchworthy, which strangely enough some humans seem to appreciate and even seek out on occasion. as an aside, this goes some way to explaining not only the success of the ,fifty shades, books, but also why my human saw a ,fifty shades, magazine for ladies who want to bring a little of the ,character, from the books into their lives on a supermarket shelf last week.
in a supermarket. i kid you not.
anyway, back to the topic at hand. below are some thoughts i had when reading your work;
one,He realized they had arrived at ...
the ,he realized, is a bit off here. is there a reason why it doesn't just say ,they arrived at...,
are you suggesting there was a reason why it wouldn't be obvious that it was an inn
or that there is a reason why this person wouldn't be immediately clear... a rather shabby looking early nineteenth century style white inn.
that's a lot of words. i,m personally in favour of restricting myself to a single adjective per noun. extra info can be added in the next sentence if necessary. i appreciate that the world would be a dull place if everyone wrote in my style - especially as i don,t use any puntuation that requires a shift key - it hurts my paws to press two buttons at once - but consider the impact instead of...
they arrived at the inn just as the sun was starting to dip below the horizon. the building showed all the hallmarks of abandonment; the wooden beams showed signs of rot and the once white walls were scarred with dirt and decay...
also worthy of note in your first sentence is your choice to use the indefinite article instead of the definite article.
ie, you said they reached an inn
not that they reached the inn
given that this inn seems to be their destination, the definite article might be more appropriate for a story told by a third person narrator.
if you were writing in the first person perspective and the person narrating didn't know that this was a deliberate pit stop, the indefinite article might indeed be better suited.
slow it down a bit.
think about how the idea of a chosen one unfolds in the film ,the matrix,
that is to say, slowly. it,s the whole point of the film. we get to know keanu before we learn that there is anything wrong with the world, then we learn that there is a thing such as the prophecy, then we learn keanu might just fit the bill, then we learn he doesn,t, then we learn...
now i,m making a big assumption here about where your story is going...
if the idea is that this john fellow is going to be the chosen one and have a a ripping adventure, then you need to take it back a step. we don't know john well enough at this point to say that he shouldn,t be the oracle. i,m reading it and i,m all ,hey, cool, john,s the oracle,.
if the idea is that john isn,t actually the oracle and will die a tragic painful death in chapter two, but nicely setting up the idea of the prophecy for john mk2 to emerge in chapter 7, then carry on as you were...
i,m getting mixed messages about your world here. there are a couple of things you have included that jar with each other.
for example... you mention clint eastwood and dragons within a few short sentences of each other. mr eastwood is clearly establishing the narrative as in our world. the dragons and magic clearly say we aren't.
also, using imagery from our world - such as refering to a building as ,ninteenth century, - really jars in a fantasy environment.
this kind of goes back to my second point. one of the great treasures in fantasy stories is watching new worlds unfold. but you need to take the time to build that world first. for yourself and for us. this is especially true if you want to build the suspension of disbelief required to introduce fantastic elements into the ,real, world we live in.
consider the following opening lines from great works of fantasy and scifi;
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
- The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
I looked at my notes and I didn't like them. I'd spent three days at U.S. Robots and might as well have spent them at home with the Encyclopedia Tellurica.
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
- Neuromancer by William Gibson
Did you hear that? They've shut down the main reactor. We'll be destroyed for sure. This is madness!
- Star Wars by George Lucas
they all start by trying to build a picture of this new world.
Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:10 pm Post
Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:53 pm Post
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