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Elle94
March 19th, 2014, 09:17 PM
So I have recently been hit right in the gut by inspiration and this time it seems to be lingering... to the point where I am now planning, plotting and drafting a story that I would like to stretch over three books. However, if I am going to do this properly then I thought I might as well try to tackle some of the harder scenes first, giving me plenty of time to edit and change them later on. But I'm just not sure if what I have written is good enough; I'm worried about the atmosphere being too bland and the personalities of the character not coming across very well. Any advice and/or criticism would be wonderful!

A quick bit of context before I post the extract: this is set in a dystopian society, quite a way through the story and the character of Stefan is suffering from insomnia and a kind of stress disorder. Whilst he and Rosa are not in a relationship per se, there is a little something there which I hope never to truly explore... don't want to overshadow the plot really.

PS: I'm sorry it's so long...

The room was already dark when Rosa entered, slipping her gloves off and throwing them to the bed.

“Veryan’s been called by her father to the main front,” she said, knowing that she often woke him after a nightshift, “I don’t think she’s happy about it but I suppose we all knew she was going to have to go at some point.”

Heading to the wardrobe, she undressed and hung up her clothes for the next day. She quickly changed into her bedclothes and pattered softly over to the bed where his body created a mountain beneath the covers.

“She won’t leave until the rota’s properly sorted though so you’ll be able to say goodbye… She’d never go without seeing you first anyway.”

Settling herself under the duvet, she lifted her hand to run it through his mass of dark hair, frowning at his lack of conversation. She wondered at the time and guessed that it must have been around six in the morning, the time he usually rose for a shower. But she daren’t wake him in case he had been able to snare a few hours’ sleep. She smiled at the idea, hoping desperately that it was so; the past week had been torture for him, she knew, his eyes were red raw and his movements had been sluggish and heavy.

Perhaps the tablets Doc had prescribed were finally starting to have an effect. She had told him all along that all they needed was some time to build up and they would work a treat. Of course, he never trusted anything the Doc said but maybe, because it had come from her, he had given them a chance this time.
Rosa considered how many pills must be left; she didn’t want him to run out before he had another set to start on.

Taking care not to stir him, she rose and went around to his side of the bed to check the side table where the little pot usually sat. But as she stepped closer, she felt it cave beneath her foot. Slowly kneeling to the floor, Rosa turned the container over in her hand. A few days ago the pot had rattled with pills, now it was empty. She froze, eyes widening with dread but her body otherwise still. Panic prevented her from moving, she felt sick all of a sudden and a cold sensation poured itself down her spine. She couldn’t will her eyes to look up to where she knew his head lay but at the same time she knew that swift action could save his life, if he had any left in him.

As though ripping a plaster from her arm, Rosa threw herself upwards and turned Stefan from his side onto his back. Ignoring his peaceful expression and the docility of his usually tense body, she thrust her hand to his neck, desperately feeling for a pulse. What felt like minutes crawled past before she found the faintest hum of blood at the cradle of his throat. As she swallowed the cry that threatened to burst from her tongue, Rosa launched herself off the bed and fumbled through the pockets of her hung up trousers for her phone.

Eyes fixed on Stefan’s still figure, she raised the device to her ear and begged for an immediate answer.

“Huxley, it’s gone six in the morning-“

Rosa’s sobs eventually broke through and halted Veryan mid-sentence.

“Come quick, he’s taken too many,” she choked out.

The line went dead, leaving Rosa to wait in silence.

He seemed so small, his imposing height was smothered by the bed sheets and the hands that were so often clenched into fists were soft and slack. She allowed herself now to see his face. He seemed calm; there was no frown between his brow nor a pained grimace on his lips. In fact, he almost seemed to smile at her, as though he was happy. She hated him. She wanted to shake him stupid, to throw her fists at him and scream like an animal but it wouldn’t help, it wouldn’t wake him up and it wouldn’t stop her heart from racing with fear. She crept closer to the bed.

What had he been thinking? Had it even been deliberate? She had seen him desperate, crying in anguish, begging for sleep. She had seen him fall apart some nights, rocking to and fro with his hands tugging at his hair. He listened to loud music in the earphones she had stolen for him, just to silence his thoughts. Some mornings she would come back from the shift and he would be reading the dictionary or an old telephone book, or lying on his back, counting the ceiling tiles over and over. And some days he could be angry. Always at himself.

The door shook with the force of the knocking, two pairs of fists hammering on the wood. Rosa wrenched it open and Veryan and Quentin fell in, heading straight for the bed.

“You found him like this?” Quentin demanded as he clambered up next to his motionless friend.

Rosa nodded, and whispered, “I thought he was asleep.”

Veryan stationed herself at Stefan’s head, peeling back the lids from his eyes and gazing into the pupils.

“Doc’s grabbing his stuff, says he’ll be here soon,” she said, grabbing the pill bottle from where Rosa had left it on the floor and reading the label on the back, “This is strong medication.”

Quentin paused with his hand on Stefan’s neck, slowly raising his eyes to Veryan.

“There’s no pulse,” he mouthed to her, aware that Rosa was watching intently.

The two stared at each other, Veryan catching her lip between her teeth.

“What is it?” Rosa ordered, coming close.

Quentin passed a hand over his face, “Ro… there’s no pulse.”

“There was, I felt it.” Her voice was distant, disconnected, numb.

Veryan shook her head, “No, Rosa-“

“There was a pulse!” Rosa shook, her tone close to fury.

The other two glanced to each other again and Quentin shrugged.

“Ok,” he breathed, “alright. If his heart was still beating as we arrived, we could get it back.”

He lay Stefan flat and placed his hands over his heart.

“Could you call Doc and ask him to bring a de-fib?” His voice was steady as he began the CPR, “Come on, Stefan, bring it back mate.”

Rosa watched the scene as though it was happening in slow motion before her. She did as Veryan instructed her, even taking over when the two of them grew tired, but she couldn’t connect to her body. Her hands felt weak and feeble over the great cavern of Stefan’s chest, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t help but think it futile. She wanted so desperately to go on forever, to beat his heart for him if she had to, but it wouldn’t wake him, he wouldn’t be living. She passed back over to Quentin when he noticed the sweat on her brow and stood aside to give them space.

At that moment, Doc arrived with a metal trolley carrying the ancient and often temperamental defibrillator. As he threw his bag to the side of the bed, he directed Veryan and Quentin to assist with his equipment, explaining that there was no time to get the monitor up and running; he would have to shock and then physically test for a pulse.

The group alternated between pumping his chest and shocking him with the paddles twice, checking Stefan’s throat each time, before Quentin leant back suddenly with an exhausted but relieved smile on his lips.

He nodded, “It’s faint but… we have a pulse.”

Apple Ice
March 19th, 2014, 10:07 PM
Hello Elle,

"she felt sick all of a sudden and a cold sensation poured itself down her spine" - I would get rid of "all of a sudden" it's unnecessary I think.

Also the line "This is strong medication" is not needed as it is obvious at that point. It's like you're trying to reiterate something that doesn't need to be.

Is there a reason it's in past tense as opposed to present? It's a personal preference I know but I prefer present as there's a better sense of urgency.

All that aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece and was surprised by how good it was. Very well done and I will be reading more if and when you post.

Equinox
March 19th, 2014, 10:29 PM
Wow, that was actually quite interesting! Very well written, too! Well done!

stormageddon
March 19th, 2014, 10:30 PM
You...are very good at writing. There were a couple of phrases that sounded a bit weird, for example "knowing that she often woke him after a nightshift" is oddly placed, as its placed in between dialogue that is unrelated. I second apple ice, except I prefer past tense to present by a long shot :p

And something about the sentence structure when she realizes he's taken the pills removed all the drama for that bit, I found. But besides that, if I took a book off the shelf and read this I would not be surprised, it is very well written :)

thepancreas11
March 20th, 2014, 05:30 PM
It certainly captivates. Sometimes, when someone's dying on the pages, it seems to drag on forever because writers love to drag out emotion, but this moves along at a pace you wish his pulse would go. I'm not sure about the character motivations because, as you said, it's partway through the book already, but I sense a connection between them, which is important. Often times authors connect characters with explanation, not tension or passion, and then leave them to the reader, something like, "Oh, they're in love; trust me on this," but you make that connection real and surprisingly understated with her actions towards him. It's the little things that really speak to attraction. That way you're not really vetting them for us, you're allowing us to discover the feelings. Also, that keeps the romance from ever over-shadowing the plot.

And yet, it feels raw. There's a lot of stuff in here that's not quite sophisticated, very unrefined. Don't pump the story full of ten-dollar words; I never advocate that. What you're missing is sensory data. You're stuck in sight, occasionally touch, and where the rest of the senses are concerned, you're more apt to just tell us what she's feeling than allowing the environment to do the work. For example, rather than saying, "her muscles were frozen by panic", say, "The container crunched under her feet. She knelt down, counting the emptiness, the lack of breathing sounds becoming more and more apparent with every pill she noticed missing. Hypnotized by the buzzing of the air conditioning unit, the only noise in the room, the heat rising in her chest, she was held prisoner by absence." Now, of course, it's your voice that needs to fit, so that line won't work for you, but see how their's no state of mind, not blatant writing of PANIC? There's also the bit about watching it all in slow motion. Try to come up with a more engaging description. Think outside the box to avoid cliches (I apologize for the pun).

Stormy and Apple are right that you've got a lot going for you. As far as jumping off points go, Elle, I wish this were mine, it's already that good. It needs some oomph behind it though, some artistic expression.

Elle94
March 21st, 2014, 08:56 PM
Thank you so much for your feedback everyone, I can't tell you how great it is to get criticism rather than just a few words of opinion!

Apple Ice I do agree that I have a tendency to include a few unnecessary statements when writing so thank you for picking up on that. As for the comment about writing in past tense, I think it's just the way I've always written, I find it more comfortable than present tense but do you think the writing would have more of an impact if I changed the tense?

Stormageddon, thank you for your comment. I agree that the flow is disrupted occasionally so I'll have a revised look at that.

thepancreas11, thank you so much for the positive feedback. I'm glad that the 'connection' between Rosa and Stefan isn't explicit and overpowering, I want it to be clear that they're living in a very difficult situation and so their relationship will never really be explored or allowed to develop much further. With regards to using the senses more, I will definitely try to incorporate that kind of language to describe rather than just tell. Also, I have been told before that sometimes my writing can be a bit OTT on adjectives and things so if this slows or disrupts the pace, I'll revise it :)

Thank you for all your help guys :)

Apple Ice
March 22nd, 2014, 02:29 PM
I do the same thing and feel the need to add more statements than are necessary. Just be conscious of it in the future I'd say, I mean you only have two in this piece so it's not like you need rehab for it or anything.

As for the tense, for me personally it would be more climactic if it was written in present tense because I'm conscious all this has already happened and ended, taking away from the suspense. Although, Storm has said she prefers past tense, so it's clearly just a personal preference. I would suggest present tense but obviously it's completely up to you.

A_Jones
March 22nd, 2014, 02:52 PM
If you think that is a lot then you should go check out my chapters ;)


I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Riveting! That poor girl to come home and have that happen. If she hadn't worried about the medicine and just gone to sleep.... terrible. I am very interested in this. Very well written. I enjoy pieces like this. They make me shake with excitement and fear for the characters.

No real critiques. Over all Good job!

Plasticweld
March 23rd, 2014, 01:59 AM
Elle Maybe it is a guy thing but it reads slow for me, The pace should have been quicker to add to the reality of the time frame. I was left with the impression that there is an immediate problem but seemed to spend to much time on detail that had little to do with what I wanted to find out. You are trying to pack into much descriptive narrative in a scene that is really a action scene.

Having first hand experience with doing CPR on someone who is dying. You leave out much of what is felt in the process. The look on their face, the feel of their skin. the feeling of their flesh in your hand, "clammy and cool" The smell of their body and the movement that takes place during the process. I have given CPR twice, both died. an older man and an girl in her twenties. To feel life leave someone. To still be able to make their heart pump and feel a pulse is all very real and things you never forget. All of your senses are quickened and heighten, all of these gritty feelings should be in there

"'What had he been thinking? Had it even been deliberate? She had seen him desperate, crying in anguish, begging for sleep. She had seen him fall apart some nights, rocking to and fro with his hands tugging at his hair. He listened to loud music in the earphones she had stolen for him, just to silence his thoughts. Some mornings she would come back from the shift and he would be reading the dictionary or an old telephone book, or lying on his back, counting the ceiling tiles over and over. And some days he could be angry. Always at himself."

I am not sure how you intended this to read but this seemed out of place in the middle of all that is going on

I am not the one to tell you how to speed up the pace here except to say use shorter sentences, use some of the graphic feelings that would be taking place, This is a good scene that has the potential to really grab you with emotion and concern, it should read that way

I did enjoy it. Bob

thepancreas11
March 24th, 2014, 09:12 PM
PS, for this being outside your comfort zone, I'd say, stay in this kind of zone, Elle. You've definitely already got the hang of it. You should give the next LM fiction competition a shot.

dvspec
March 26th, 2014, 05:14 AM
These are just my opinions. You are the writer, it is your world and you get the final say. Over all it was well handled, but you are to wordy. If I make it bold, delete it. You asked for advice and opinions and I may come across as brutal, but don't ask if you don't want it.

The room was already dark when Rosa entered, slipping her gloves off and throwing them to the bed. You stated it was six am later in the piece. If he is an insomniac the gloves are not going to help him sleep. You need to establish him in the scene here. I had to go 6 paragraphs in to figure out who she was talking to. What I would write: The room was dark when Rosa entered. She slipped her gloves off and laid them on the bed where ??? lay."

“Veryan’s been called by her father to the main front,” she said, knowing that she often woke him after a nightshift, “I don’t think she’s NOT happy about it but I suppose we all knew she was going to have to go at some point.” Iam an insomniac, if you came in my room when I hoped to be sleeping and started talking to me without checking to see if I was awake, I would choke you. Just sayin'. Otherwise good. Needs a period after nightshift.

Heading to the wardrobe, she undressed and hung up her clothes for the next day. She quickly changed into her bedclothes and pattered don't like the word, it's weird softly over to the bed where his body created a mountain Mountain out of a mole hill beneath the covers.

“She won’t leave until the rota’s Don't like this one either, but if you have established it earlier I can live with it. properly sorted though so you’ll be able to say goodbye… She’d never go without seeing you first anyway.”

Settling herself under the duvet, she lifted her hand to run it through his mass of dark hair, Again, I would choke you. Dead. frowning at his lack of conversation. We have no visual on the guy yet. Can she see him? She wondered at the time whole sentence reads funny and guessed that it must have been around six in the morning, the time he usually rose for a shower. But she daren’t wake him in case Why the concern now, honey? he had been able to snare a few hours’ sleep. She smiled at the idea, hoping desperately that it was so; the past week had been torture for him, she knew, his eyes were red raw and his movements had been sluggish and heavy.I have no idea what you are establishing here. Maybe try, naming the reason his eyes were red and such. True sleeplessness will also cause slowed mental process.

Perhaps the tablets Doc had prescribed were finally starting to have an effect. She who she? had told him all along that all they needed was some time to build up and they would work a treat. Of course, he never trusted anything the Doc said,but maybe, Move the comma because it had come from her, Who her? he had given them a chance this time.
Rosa considered how many pills must be left; she didn’t want him to run out before he had another set to start on. reads funny.

Taking care not to stir him, Oh so kind. Choke! she rose and went around to his side of the bed to check the side table where the little pot usually sat. Containing the pills But as she stepped closer, she felt it cave WTF caved? Why? Did the floor collapse? beneath her foot. Slowly Why? delete it. kneeling to the floor, Rosa turned the container over in her hand. It's dark how did she find it? A few days ago the pot had rattled with pills, two pills will rattle, need to establish a better idea of the number missing now. now it was empty. She froze, eyes widening with dread but her body otherwise still. Panic prevented her from moving, Redundant she felt sick all of a sudden and a cold sensation poured itself down her spine. She couldn’t will her eyes to look up to where she knew his head lay but at the same time she knew that swift action could save his life, if he had any left in him.
You have not established to my mind that he ODed.

As though ripping a plaster from her arm, Rosa threw herself upwards reads weird and turned Stefan Oh, that's who she has been talking to and waking up!from his side onto his back. Ignoring his peaceful expression and the docility of his usually tense body, this should strike fear, not be ignored. she thrust reads funny her hand to his neck, desperately feeling for a pulse. What felt likereads funny. Side note, do you know that most professionals can't find a pulse on a patient who is coding and when they do it is 1/3 of the time a false read? minutes crawled past before she found the faintest hum of blood at the cradle of his throat. As she swallowed the cry that threatened to burst from her tongue No, kinda cliché but tongues don't make noise, Rosa launched herself off the bed and fumbled through the pockets of her hung up trousers for her phone.

Eyes fixed on Stefan’s still figure, she raised the device to her ear and I would add "silently" begged for an immediate answer.

Need to establish who is talking first. “Huxley, it’s gone six in the morning-“ needs a . . . not a -

Rosa’s sobs eventually broke through and halted Veryan mid-sentence.

“Come quick, he’s taken too many,” she Rosachoked out.

The line went dead, leaving Rosa to wait in silence if they have cell phones why did it go silent can't the person take it with them.

He Who he? seemed so small, He was a mountain a couple paragraphs up. Not feeling this whole paragraph. his imposing height was smothered by the bed sheets and the hands that were so often clenched into fists were soft and slack. She allowed it's still dark in here. herself now to see his face. He seemed calm; of course he is calm, the dude us dead. there was no frown between his brow nor a pained grimace on his lips. In fact, he almost seemed to smile at her, as though he was happy. She hated him. She wanted to shake him stupid, to throw her fists at him and scream like an animal but it wouldn’t help, it wouldn’t wake him up and it wouldn’t stop her heart from racing with fear. She crept closer to the bed. Only sentence I might keep.

Not feeling this one either. What had he been thinking? Had it even been deliberate? She had seen him desperate, crying in anguish, begging for sleep. She had seen him fall apart some nights, rocking to and fro with his hands tugging at his hair. He listened to loud music in the earphones she had stolen for him, just to silence his thoughts. Some mornings she would come back from the shift and he would be reading the dictionary or an old telephone book, or lying on his back, counting the ceiling tiles over and over. And some days he could be angry. Always at himself.

The door shook with the force of the knocking, two pairs of fists hammering on the wood of the door. why didn't she open it already? Rosa wrenched it open and Veryan and Quentin fell in, burst in heading straight for the bed.

“You found him like this?” Quentin demanded as he clambered up What kind of bed is this? next to his motionless friend.

Rosa nodded, and whispered, “I thought he was asleep.” No, you found him on his side. By the way, was he warm? Did you check for breathing?

Veryan stationed herself at Stefan’s head, peeling back his eyelids the lids from his eyes and gazing into the pupils.
What did she do then? Oh, hold it, this should be one paragraph.
“Doc’s grabbing his stuff, says he’ll be here soon,” Doc' on his way. I though Doc was a woman to this point. she said, grabbing the pill bottle from where Rosa had left it on the floor and reading the label on the back, “This is strong medication.” Stuff.

Quentin paused with his hand on Stefan’s neck, slowly raising his eyes to Veryan. Sort of knows what he is doing, check breathing. you can have one without the other.

“There’s no pulse,” he mouthed to her, aware that Rosa was watching intently.

The two stared at each other, Veryan catching her lip between her teeth.
This is in first person, why did she not see him mouth it?

“What is it?” Rosa ordered, asked coming close.

Quentin passed a hand over his face, “Ro… there’s no pulse.”

“There was, I felt it.” Her voice was distant, disconnected, numb. reads distant, disconnected, numb.
Veryan shook her head, “No, Rosa . . ."

“There was a pulse!” Rosa shook, her tone close to fury. stated, insisted, yelled, desperately

The other two glanced to each other again and Quentin shrugged.

“Ok,” he breathed, “alright. If his heart was still beating as we arrived, we could get it back.”

He lay Stefan flat and placed his hands over his heart. Not with this guy helping, the dude is screwed. Patient needs to be on a hard flat surface for compressions to work. Placed his linked hands over what's his name's sternum. Watch a youtube video on CPR.

“Could you call Doc and ask him to bring a de-fib?” Doc should already be gone. There isn't one in the building? Send V after it. His voice was steady as he began the CPR, Dude's gonna die. “Come on, Stefan, bring it back mate.” FYI the pace for CPR is the same as the song "Staying Alive," or "Another One Bites the Dust." Though it is not recommended to sing either one out loud with the patient's family in the room.

Rosa watched the scene as though it was happening in slow motion before her. I don't like this paragraph. fast action requires short sentences. Long one's slow down the pace. She did as Veryan instructed her I didn't know V was telling her to do anything. The other guy would be in charge. He is the lead. even taking over when the two of them grew tired, Where is that damn Doc? they would be asking. you are up over five minutes now and no one has checked to see if he is breathing or given a breath. but she couldn’t connect to her body. Selfish, all about her her her. Her hands felt weak and feeble over the great cavern Oh, that's what caved, give it up babe, if his chest is a great cavern, he's gone! of Stefan’s chest, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t help but think it futile. It is! She wanted so desperately to go on forever, to beat his heart for him if she had to, but it wouldn’t wake him, he wouldn’t be living. She passed back over to Quentin when he noticed the sweat on her brow and stood aside to give them space. You have never seen this in action, it is traumatic for everyone involved from the people doing it to the people watching it. The patient catches the worst end though. I know, I watched them do it on my Mom when she died. You need to connect with the emotions in the scene. Frankly at this point, I don't really care if S lives or not. He's a non entity to me.

At that moment, Doc arrived with a metal trolley carrying the ancient When did this happen? Where? Your ancient machine would have probably had an eighty pound battery on it to power it. There are hand held models in a lot of communities and buildings now. and often temperamental defibrillator. If it is tempermental he would not use it. As he threw his bag to the side of the bed, he directed Veryan and Quentin to assist with his equipment, explaining that there was no time to get the monitor up and running; he would have to shock and then physically test for a pulse. Um, NO, just NO! Fire your doc. He is a quack! Doubt me? Where's his stethoscope?

The group alternated between pumping his chest and shocking him with the paddles twice, checking Stefan’s throat each time, before Quentin leant back suddenly with an exhausted but relieved smile on his lips. You shifted view points and totally disconnected.
He nodded, “It’s faint but… we have a pulse.” Dude is dead! No chance of revival. Plant him.


I hope I wasn't to brutal. I did just kill your dude.

dvspec
March 26th, 2014, 05:31 AM
Just in case you are feeling a little raw after that, if it was to bad, I wouldn't have bothered reading all of it. I most certainly would not have posted my obnoxious opinions all over it. Plus, reading over the post, I noticed I didn't always get the bolding and italics straight.

Apple Ice
March 26th, 2014, 12:21 PM
Elle, I wouldn't worry about all that too much. That's another person trying to write your book more than it is a critique.

Elle94
March 26th, 2014, 12:55 PM
Hi dvspec,

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read the post and for offering your critique. Whilst I must admit that I was taken aback at first, I can see your points on almost all aspects. I have often been told that I can be very wordy so it's time I kicked that habit, I will go through and edit properly in the future. Reading it through with your... guidance... in mind, I can also see that there are a few continuity errors so, again, I'll have a proper look at that and rework the scene a little. With regards to the insomnia, yeah if I was Stefan I'd have killed her too if I wasn't already partially dead, again I'll rework.

Quite a lot of the points you've raised do have a bit to do with context, obviously not a fault on your part because how do you know what's occurred earlier in the story, but that's something to bear (bare?) in mind maybe? The character of Doc, for example, has been established a long time before this and so that's why not much attention is paid to him here.

Also, I quite like to be ambiguous with scenes like this, I find it easier to write for one thing but I also like to think that it gives a more panicked effect on the reader if they are left a bit in the dark. If this doesn't work, tell me.

Now, with regards to the CPR and general life-saving thing that's going on, thank you both to you and Plasticweld. I am ignorant in this area and I suppose it was shoddy of me to attempt to convey it without having any experience (first- or second-hand). Both my parents are nurses so I'll ask them for more of an insight.

As for the general style and sentence structure etc of the piece, I really do think that this is just where personal preference comes into play. Whilst I do agree that there are some sentences which need taking out or reworking, I won't be editing it quite as much as you suggest but I'm sure you appreciate that :)

Thanks again for all the comments, I really do find them helpful so please keep them coming :)

Trygve
March 28th, 2014, 01:24 AM
Your writing is good and the story is captivating. I'd be willing to bet your writing would really sing if you set an arbitrary goal of rewriting the scene with fifty (or forty, or thirty) fewer words. Also, I think it would be stronger if you stuck strictly to Rosa's point of view. Contrary to most, I think it's good to write what you don't know. You can always fill in with a little research later. Better to get it down and then fix it up rather than never starting because you're lost in a rabbit hole of research. I'm sure you can find a all you need to know about CPR, CNS depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and antidotes for overdoses in just minutes on the internet.

Keep writing!

Trygve
March 28th, 2014, 03:00 AM
Not sure why my reply to this thread disappeared into the ether, while all my other replies have posted immediately. I guess I'll wait to see if it appears later. I'm sure I said something that would have set you on the path to fame and fortune...

Elle94
March 28th, 2014, 09:17 AM
Hi Trygve, I hope it comes up soon then because I could really do with some fame and fortune at the moment!

Trygve
March 28th, 2014, 05:00 PM
Well, what do you know? It did finally appear -- and it was my tenth post, so now I get my tiara and virtually unlimited power on this site. Well, I still can't upload an avatar, but having the power to "like" a post will make up for that. Hope you find your fortune soon, but I think fame might get old after a while....

dvspec
April 2nd, 2014, 07:49 AM
Good girl! Like I said, it is your story, you can take what we say or leave it.

When I get a critique, I take the meaning literally. I want honesty, not a pat on the head telling me it was good. That does not help me improve. We write the stories, but the reader has to translate it. I told you what I translated. I do think you have talent. I don't have a lot of time on here, so I have been very selective with what I read and even more so with what I critique.

Critique: a detailed analysis and assessment of something, esp. a literary, philosophical, or political theory.

Expect nothing less, give nothing less.

If I can ever figure out how to post my own writing, I hope you would take a look. Unfortunately, I have the attention span of a brain damaged goldfish and have not put in sufficient time to figure out how to do that yet.

Good luck.

W M Gardner
June 3rd, 2014, 06:04 AM
The best thing to use after a character speaks is "said" or "ask". Try to stay away from anything else. Also, you might want to rework this:
"Rosa’s sobs eventually broke through and halted Veryan mid-sentence."
It doesn't read right; sounds a little awkward.

DCG
June 21st, 2014, 12:34 AM
I really enjoyed reading this. There was very little I didn't like about it, but the lack of context leaves a bit to be desired. (By which, I mean I'd like to read more)


“Huxley, it’s gone six in the morning-“

I think I understand what Rosa is trying to communicate, but why is Stefan an 'it'?


He seemed so small, his imposing height was smothered by the bed sheetsand the hands that were so often clenched into fists were soft and slack. She allowed herself to see his face now. He seemed calm; there was no frown between his brow nor a pained grimace on his lips. In fact, he almost seemed to smile at her, as though he was happy. She hated him. She wanted to shake him stupid, to throw her fists at him and scream like an animal but it wouldn't help, it wouldn't wake him up and it wouldn't stop her heart from racing with fear. She crept closer to the bed.

What had he been thinking? Had it even been deliberate? She had seen him desperate, crying in anguish, begging for sleep. She had seen him fall apart some nights, rocking to and fro with his hands tugging at his hair. He listened to loud music in the earphones she had stolen for him, just to silence his thoughts. Some mornings she would come back from the shift and he would be reading the dictionary or an old telephone book, or lying on his back, counting the ceiling tiles over and over. Some days he would be angry, and it was always at himself.

I moved some words around, pushed a couple sentences together. I would also recommend deleting the comma and the word 'even' which I underlined. It just read kind of funny. I also wanted to call attention to the frequency in which you start your sentences with pronouns. As an exercise, I recommend writing a quick flash fiction without starting any sentences with a pronoun. It'll change your sentence structuring, and make your writing more zesty.

These two paragraphs told me more about the characters and their relationship more than pretty much anything else in the piece. I love the content. Well done.

--->Also, the line in bold leads me to believe this takes place in some form of dystopia? This is also why I imagine they refer to the medical professional on the scene as "Doc" and not "Doctor Hoitytoity". Am I on the right path there?

son_of_lockman
June 25th, 2014, 05:37 PM
So I have recently been hit right in the gut by inspiration and this time it seems to be lingering... to the point where I am now planning, plotting and drafting a story that I would like to stretch over three books. However, if I am going to do this properly then I thought I might as well try to tackle some of the harder scenes first, giving me plenty of time to edit and change them later on. But I'm just not sure if what I have written is good enough; I'm worried about the atmosphere being too bland and the personalities of the character not coming across very well. Any advice and/or criticism would be wonderful!




To worry about things you have no control about is folly as 99% of everything you worry about never happens. As to ''Is it good enough?''

You will never know until it is done.