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TataSweets44
June 17th, 2016, 03:59 AM
This was something I started years ago but I trapped myself in the prologue so had to abandon it for a while. I started it back up a few weeks ago and I like the direction it's headed in and I hope you all do to. Don't be afraid to tell me what you think. I can handle any criticisms you might have. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE-Freedom

She watched the sheer gold curtains move lazily from the breeze coming in from the open balcony doors. She tossed aside the sheet that caressed her body, allowing the silky movement of the wind to do it instead. Her brown skin, forever sparkling from the gold liquid that was the healing waters of Bandi, rippled with goose flesh from the immediate chill that touched it. Tacha, the only child to Bandi's fifth king, but born to an un-wed mother so could never claim the throan as her own. Not that she ever wanted to. She liked the freedom being a bastard brought her. As illegitimate as she might be, she was free to do as she pleased. Unlike her cousin who was next in line to be queen, so had to be groomed to be so, even though it would be many years before she could have a chance to claim that title.
Jaloo, sweet and petite, had a quiet demeaner. She always did as she was told and always had a smile on her caramel colored face. She walked around with books atop her head and was taught to talk loud and clear. If ever she was to mumble or drop a book she would be swatted by her teacher, a strict woman that has shown herself to be ugly beyond her incomprehensible beauty. But none of that was what made Tacha feel sorry for the obedient girl, who never flinched no matter how hard the swat, it was her eyes. Eyes, blue and trimmed in gold, that held spirit and joy, both always permitted to show, but behind all that was a sadness and a desperate plea to be more, see more than just this.
Tacha, from the very first moment of meeting Jaloo, recognized that deep seeded wanting immediately. It was the same look her mother had had beneath her depths before she fled from the Oasis forever. There was little she could do in the way of helping Jaloo escape that feeling but to be her friend. Sometimes Tacha would steal her away and they would go explore the city together or follow the royal stream all the way up to the peak of Banda Mountain. Those were the days her father would call her to his office of rooms, take off his crown and lecture her on the importance of keeping Jaloo safe. Those were also the only days she ever got see her father, him always putting King first. If she made a list, and mentally she did daily, she was number six of importance to the King.
King was first, obviously, then there was her step mother, Dondii. Who hated Tacha as much as she'd hated the girls mother, maybe more since the princess had stuck around longer than her mom had. Next on the list was Jaloo, which Tacha couldn't really envy because, well, you know. Then there was the people and their constant problems, stringing on, one after the next. After the people was the peace treaty they had with the High Landers (winged beings that fly from their world to nourish themselves in the powerful waters that could only be found in Bandi) and then there was her. Tacha, four above ten, yet still not important enough to see the King more than once a month without having to be in trouble first.

Tacha rose from the bed with a sigh and rolled her gold-brown eyes. She could hear the flapping of big feathered wings making their way toward the castle. They weren't far off, those flapping wings, and she knew exactly who they belonged to. He had been visiting her once a week every since they met at the First Moon Gathering they held on the first of every month around the Sacred pool of Gia. It was a celebration of new beginnings, which was kind ironic when she thought about it. They'd kissed, simple and sweet, but she'd had to put a stop to it when his hands decided they had a mind of their own. Every since that night the winged prince deamed her his and vowed to take her away to his home in the clouds, properly named High Nest. Little did he know, and still wouldn't get through his royal brain, Tacha didn't belong to anyone and never wanted to. She was hers and she liked it that way.

She sighed again, pulling on a thin silk robe patterned with red and blue flowers and swirls. She tied the rope at her waist quickly once she heard the thud that was Kon's bare feet hitting the stone floor of her balcony.
He walked in, handsome and arrogant, his stride one of reverence. He looked at her, standing there next to the bed and smiled. Tacha knew what he was thinking, with that cocky half grin of his, it was the same thing he always thought when seeing her; that's why he only visited her at night.
"You're ready for me I see. May I come to you?"
She shrugged half heartedly. "Since when do you ask?"
He walked to her, pink-ish nude colored wings dragging the floor with every step. "Well, every time I am demanding of you, you push me away. I thought if I was polite I'd get a pull-" he said, pulling her into his arms, "instead." he finished.
She braced herself against his bare chest, reveling in the feel of his cool flesh. Tacha wanted him, of that she had no doubt, but she couldn't allow herself to take it there. He wanted so much more than she was willing to give and that being after only one kiss! Just think what giving in to him would mean for her life, her freedom.
"Kon, I-" she began
He ripped his hands away from her then, as if she had burned him. "You're still pushing!" he yelled, walking angrily away from her. He turned and looked at her, he had a look of desperation on his handsome face. Then he whispered, "Why don't you get it? I want to marry you. I want you to be mine."
"Kon, that's just it! You ask so much of me without even knowing me, or what I want. I don't want to be yours because I don't want to belong to anyone."
He went to her then, stroking her face with his strong beautiful brown fingers. "But you don't want to be here, I see the longing you have in your eyes. That's what drew me to you, standing there, alone, under the blue of the First Moon. You think you like this freedom, no one to tell you where to belong but, my sweet, that's exactly what your heart needs. You need to feel a sense of belonging and once you realize this, in my arms you will find it." He pulled her into him, fitting her body into his like a piece to his puzzle, bent down and kissed her.
Gentle at first, was this kiss, but then it turned into something fierce. Something he needed as badly as breathing. She wrapped her arms around his neck, it seemed she was in need of it as well, though later she would deny it to herself when the warm nights would suddenly turn cold and she remembered how being in his arms felt so right.
Too soon, he tore himself away from her and flew out of her room without another word or another kiss nor touch, leaving her longing for something she thought she never wanted.

afk4life
June 17th, 2016, 05:45 AM
Okay, I'll be honest, please don't take this the wrong way but there are a fair amount of issues. I assume you want a real critique, so here goes.

You've got a lot of SPaG (spelling punctuation and grammar) issues here -- enough so I just tried to ignore them, but it's distracting from the story, and probably people that would otherwise critique this would not go further because of that. So I'd recommend spellcheck.

Your intro sentence "She watched the sheer gold curtains move lazily from the breeze coming in from the open balcony doors" stopped me cold because from/from twice in a row. It made me question the rest of the story.

The overall major issue is a lot of exposition -- you're doing a lot of telling, not showing, and when it goes into all the names there's just so many it's impossible to track -- along with a lack of emotion.


He walked in, handsome and arrogant, his stride one of reverence.

You're telling me his stride is reverent, handsome, and arrogant. How can you communicate that without saying it in so many words? How does he walk in handsome, and what does he do that makes his walk arrogant and reverent (I'm not entirely sure I understand how that works?)

You're rushing to introduce a lot of characters when I have no idea how to even relate to Tacha because all I know is she got out of bed -- there's a ton of info launched before I get a chance to. IMHO, there should be a way to establish all of what is info-dump without doing an info-dump. And you need to get us to invest in her as a person before anything else matters. You need to get us to care about her.

You're also using a fair amount of melodramatic terms. Think micro, not macro, it's the small details that will inform us of a lot of what you're trying to get across. You don't need to hit us over the head with big-picture stuff to get the big-picture stuff across, it's more effective if you go with smaller details to cue us into the big picture.

Hope that helps somewhat.

TataSweets44
June 17th, 2016, 11:01 AM
@afk4life Thank you for taking the time out to read my work. You've helped and I understand what you're saying about the Character introductions.
Now about his walk. I get the confusion now that you've pointed it out to me. Would a better sentence be something like: "He strode in like he was king of the castle, his handsome face tipped up as if he was expecting praise from anyone near."

(You're also using a fair amount of melodramatic terms.)
Can you give me an example of this? So I know precisely what you mean so I can make the proper changes.

Oh and as for the spelling punctuation and grammar, I did this all on my phone but if you know of any good sites I could go to, that would also be helpful. 😊

Thank you again, you've given me a lot to think about. I'll probably end up taking this one down and re-doing the whole thing over with your critique in mind. I must admit that this was a nice smack in the face but as I read over my work I know that it was a well needed one.

bdcharles
June 17th, 2016, 11:19 AM
Hi,

I would consider this a workable early draft, though there are some nice turns of phrase scattered throughout. There is some exposition - infodumping - which is ok in terms of containing valid data for you to use, but in terms of storytelling tends to get in the way so let's see if we can shuffle some of that about and make it work for you.




CHAPTER ONE-Freedom

She watched the sheer gold curtains move lazily from the breeze coming in from through the open balcony doors. She tossed aside the sheet that caressed her body, allowing the silky movement of the wind to do it instead. Her brown skin, forever sparkling from the gold liquid that was the healing waters of Bandi, rippled with goose flesh from the immediate chill that touched it. Tacha, the only child to Bandi's fifth king, but born to an un-wed mother [<- this is exposition - infodumping - telling us a load of history. If it is key, write a story about it. If not, just imply these things where you can] so could never claim the throan throne as her own. Not that she ever wanted to. She liked the freedom being a bastard brought her. As illegitimate as she might be, she was free to do as she pleased. Unlike her cousin who was next in line to be queen, so had to be groomed to be so, even though it would be many years before she could have a chance to claim that title.

As afk4life pointed out, there are some spelling errors here and a few repetitions (from, gold, free/freedom, plus a sort of overdescriptive style. I understand what you are going for - a writerly voice - but I would be inclined not to worry about that for just now; rather, focus on delivering your story via crafted prose. Let's try a rewrite of this para, paying attention to saying the most we can in fewer sentences:



The sheer gold curtains wafted lazily from the breeze coming in through the balcony doors, and Tacha tossed her silk sheet aside, allowing the movement of the wind to caress her brown skin as it sparkled with honey-coloured droplets from the healing waters of Bandi. Goose flesh rippled from the immediate chill.

She loved being free to do as she pleased, unlike her cousin, Jaloo, groomed to be next in line to the throne of [name of country], many years hence.

Then we can pretty much go into the next section about Jaloo and do some edits there. I'll leave that to you, but just to point a couple of typos and easily rectifiable errors and points to think about:




Jaloo, sweet and petite, had a quiet demeaner demeanour. She always did as she was told and always had a smile on her caramel colored face. She walked around with books atop her head and was taught to talk loud and clear. If ever she was to mumble or drop a book she would be swatted by her teacher, a strict woman that has shown herself to be ugly beyond her incomprehensible beauty. [<-- infodump]But none of that was what made Tacha feel sorry for the obedient girl, who never flinched no matter how hard the swat, it was her eyes. Eyes, blue and trimmed in gold, that held spirit and joy, both always permitted to show, but behind all that was a sadness and a desperate plea to be more, see more than just this. [<- show this fact as it unfolds, don't tell us that it "was the case at some point", if it is important or useful info. If not, cut it. Same applies elsewhere]


Anyway, hope this helps. Lemme know if you need anything clarified :)

TataSweets44
June 17th, 2016, 12:52 PM
@bdcharles Hi! Thank you for reading.
Whew! You guys have helped me a lot and now my mind is racing with ideas on how to change it without depleting my vision. I have to admit I have never been the best speller (probably not a good characteristic for a writer lol) so I fully expected that to come up in critiques.

I've read through my chapter (many times) and completely agree about the "infodumping"

As for the repetitions: Gold is used so much because that's how I see this world. But I'm sure I can find a different way to express this. Free/freedom, yes I see where that becomes repetitive, I'll be searching for synonyms shortly. Lol

(Tacha tossed her silk sheet aside, allowing the movement of the wind to caress her brown skin as it sparkled with honey-coloured droplets from the healing waters of Bandi.)

A bit of your revision here doesn't follow my vision. I'll explain: The healing waters kind of transfer its golden hue onto her skin so her flesh is actually sparkling that color (also the reason for their eyes being partly gold) it's the trait of their people. Should I find a better way to express this also?

(Tacha, the only daughter to Badni's fifth king, but born to an un-wed mother so could never take the throne as her own.)

Some of this particular "infodump" sets up something later in the story. How could I put this in without it seeming like an infodump?

bdcharles
June 17th, 2016, 03:31 PM
@bdcharles Hi! Thank you for reading.
Whew! You guys have helped me a lot and now my mind is racing with ideas on how to change it without depleting my vision. I have to admit I have never been the best speller (probably not a good characteristic for a writer lol) so I fully expected that to come up in critiques.


I bolded a bit there because as you know, it's the most important bit. How to do it without depleting your vision. I like that!




(Tacha tossed her silk sheet aside, allowing the movement of the wind to caress her brown skin as it sparkled with honey-coloured droplets from the healing waters of Bandi.)

A bit of your revision here doesn't follow my vision. I'll explain: The healing waters kind of transfer its golden hue onto her skin so her flesh is actually sparkling that color (also the reason for their eyes being partly gold) it's the trait of their people. Should I find a better way to express this also?



I think so - but in my mind it can be as simple as one word - we'll use yours, transferred. Oh, and maybe "amber" or something:

The sheer gold curtains wafted lazily from the breeze coming in through the balcony doors, and Tacha tossed her silk sheet aside, allowing the movement of the wind to caress her brown skin as it sparkled with honey-coloured droplets, transferred from the healing amber waters of Bandi. Goose flesh rippled from the immediate chill.






(Tacha, the only daughter to Badni's fifth king, but born to an un-wed mother so could never take the throne as her own.)

Some of this particular "infodump" sets up something later in the story. How could I put this in without it seeming like an infodump?

You could perhaps have a conversation between Tacha and her father, during which it becomes apparent that he is the king. Maybe she picks up his crown and puts it on her head for a joke or something. Then not only are you building out your world - the King, Tacha's role, some scenery elements - but also cementing their relationship and making readers that much more emotionally invested in their characters. You might be aware also, but it's worth mentioning the well-trodden "as you know, Bob" cliche/tropey thing (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AsYouKnow) around this that you can avoid or subvert or reinvent or indeed, use right out of the box; in which characters discuss things that would clearly be known to them and are so obviously cackhandedly there for the benefit of readers: "As you know, your father, the king" - I mean, in real life, people would just say "your dad" and you as a writer have to exposit that info some other inventive (though probably more time consuming, but not much more) way. So go to it! :)

afk4life
June 17th, 2016, 03:45 PM
You're welcome. Okay, point by point to your questions.


He strode in like he was king of the castle, his handsome face tipped up as if he was expecting praise from anyone near

That's still a little tell-not-show. Also, you're using adjectives and similes that imho don't pack a lot of punch. That's not saying simple words is bad, it's like a composition, it depends on how you use them. Maybe something more like (I'm not sure about the eyes thing, that's just an example, but eyes are very evocative if used well):


He strode into the room, and it immediately seemed to shrink in his presence. His eyes flashed gold. She knew what he wanted, but she wasn't ready to belong to anyone. His eyes softened a bit to sadness, hurt, even, because he could not understand the thing inside her that made her want to be alone.

On the melodramatic terms:



Can you give me an example of this? So I know precisely what you mean so I can make the proper changes.

Well, just one example.


She braced herself against his bare chest, reveling in the feel of his cool flesh.

Try reading things out loud (preferably in a safe space where no one will think you've gone insane) and see how they sound. That should give you an idea of how it sounds to the reader.


Oh and as for the spelling punctuation and grammar, I did this all on my phone but if you know of any good sites I could go to, that would also be helpful.

I just use Google for spelling if needed. But a good editor should spellcheck you as you go. As far as grammar, I'll go back to reading it aloud. If it sounds strange, there's probably a better to phrase it and/or there's grammar issues.

TataSweets44
June 18th, 2016, 07:26 PM
@bdcharles and @afk4life Thank you guys for all your help! I really appreciate it! I'll be back soon with a revision!

nathan sturley
June 18th, 2016, 09:13 PM
@bdcharles and @afk4life Thank you guys for all your help! I really appreciate it! I'll be back soon with a revision!
personally i find your writing brilliant. people may say your descriptions don't make sense but to me they do. i dont think you need to explain actions literally to make it good. "He walked in handsome" yes you are explaining how she see's it not explaining in literal facts how he walked as to me that would be boring, you are saying that to her he walked handsome as you are telling us how her mind perceives his manner. I enjoyed your writing so much. I only comment on stuff I like as I don't like to cause people to lose confidence in their storytelling and sharing it. also, i don't have the confidence to be critical of a way of writing that i can't do myself. I think you are very talented. I got what you are saying. You are coming at it with just the right angle i feel. you are narrating from the girls perception and his manner is told in terms of her as she loves him yet dsilikes how she loves him as it means she is not in control and been in control is where she always wants to be. I can relate to that very much. for many, been in love even if it is mutual can leave some feeling like they are giving up their freedom as they become emotionally tied to another person's whims and fancies and to these types they just can't lose that control and independence. I applaud you for narrating this so well. in literature we have the basic human condition such as been in or out of love, sexual attitudes and practices life expectations etc these things run through all storytelling the difference is the place and the time, that is what makes the story original. I feel like this man is a confident angel who knows he is beautiful and makes the most of it for his happiness. The girl is 100% in love with him and admires his easiness and cockiness yet in her inner world she is queen of all she surveys. I hope you feel i have in essence understood your story snippet. I enjoyed it a lot because you introduced ideas i have not thought of before. such as an arrogant angel who knows he has powers and makes the most of them (like a Muhammad Ali in his prime) knows he is great and superman and lets you know that he has and knows too!!!!
I never worry about grammar at all not one bit. Anyone can tidy that up not a problem at all to me. I liked the way your narration was through her eyes and how she percieves her postion in the world she lives in. Write some more as I think you have professional abilities and are enjoyable to read. I would pay to read your stories.

nathan sturley
June 18th, 2016, 09:36 PM
Okay, I'll be honest, please don't take this the wrong way but there are a fair amount of issues. I assume you want a real critique, so here goes.

You've got a lot of SPaG (spelling punctuation and grammar) issues here -- enough so I just tried to ignore them, but it's distracting from the story, and probably people that would otherwise critique this would not go further because of that. So I'd recommend spellcheck.

Your intro sentence "She watched the sheer gold curtains move lazily from the breeze coming in from the open balcony doors" stopped me cold because from/from twice in a row. It made me question the rest of the story.

The overall major issue is a lot of exposition -- you're doing a lot of telling, not showing, and when it goes into all the names there's just so many it's impossible to track -- along with a lack of emotion.



You're telling me his stride is reverent, handsome, and arrogant. How can you communicate that without saying it in so many words? How does he walk in handsome, and what does he do that makes his walk arrogant and reverent (I'm not entirely sure I understand how that works?)

You're rushing to introduce a lot of characters when I have no idea how to even relate to Tacha because all I know is she got out of bed -- there's a ton of info launched before I get a chance to. IMHO, there should be a way to establish all of what is info-dump without doing an info-dump. And you need to get us to invest in her as a person before anything else matters. You need to get us to care about her.

You're also using a fair amount of melodramatic terms. Think micro, not macro, it's the small details that will inform us of a lot of what you're trying to get across. You don't need to hit us over the head with big-picture stuff to get the big-picture stuff across, it's more effective if you go with smaller details to cue us into the big picture.

Hope that helps somewhat.
the thing is with your critique is you are expecting the whole full story when it is a snippet. It isn't the whole book. It would not be right for everything to be summed up and complete as it is a snippet within the whole book. The best way to take such snippets of work is to enjoy it and imagine whatever it means to you. It could mean something else to the next person. Great stories often leave the reader to gain whatever they perceive based on their own life experiences. remember it could be a snippet from page 32 and you would need to read the whole story to fully get it. that is why people shouldn't ask for it all to be there in one small segment of text. I personally love the concept of an angel who, far from being all goody goody and full of the magical kindness of God is actually a sexually hungry arrogant type. I don't think the reader should ask for it all to be crystal clear when it is only possibly part of a story. Why the name Oasis? What is the choice of title my friend? I wonder about that.

Sleepwriter
June 18th, 2016, 11:19 PM
Pretty cool read. A couple misspelled words, but nothing you wouldn't catch in an edit. As Bd brought up you, and you agreed, you have some info-dumping going on. If it's important, bring it out in dialogue.

For some reason the silky movement of the wind, just didn't feel right to me, wish I knew why.

All in all, interesting tale you got going here.

TataSweets44
June 19th, 2016, 04:52 AM
personally i find your writing brilliant. people may say your descriptions don't make sense but to me they do. i dont think you need to explain actions literally to make it good. "He walked in handsome" yes you are explaining how she see's it not explaining in literal facts how he walked as to me that would be boring, you are saying that to her he walked handsome as you are telling us how her mind perceives his manner. I enjoyed your writing so much. I only comment on stuff I like as I don't like to cause people to lose confidence in their storytelling and sharing it. also, i don't have the confidence to be critical of a way of writing that i can't do myself. I think you are very talented. I got what you are saying. You are coming at it with just the right angle i feel. you are narrating from the girls perception and his manner is told in terms of her as she loves him yet dsilikes how she loves him as it means she is not in control and been in control is where she always wants to be. I can relate to that very much. for many, been in love even if it is mutual can leave some feeling like they are giving up their freedom as they become emotionally tied to another person's whims and fancies and to these types they just can't lose that control and independence. I applaud you for narrating this so well. in literature we have the basic human condition such as been in or out of love, sexual attitudes and practices life expectations etc these things run through all storytelling the difference is the place and the time, that is what makes the story original. I feel like this man is a confident angel who knows he is beautiful and makes the most of it for his happiness. The girl is 100% in love with him and admires his easiness and cockiness yet in her inner world she is queen of all she surveys. I hope you feel i have in essence understood your story snippet. I enjoyed it a lot because you introduced ideas i have not thought of before. such as an arrogant angel who knows he has powers and makes the most of them (like a Muhammad Ali in his prime) knows he is great and superman and lets you know that he has and knows too!!!!
I never worry about grammar at all not one bit. Anyone can tidy that up not a problem at all to me. I liked the way your narration was through her eyes and how she percieves her postion in the world she lives in. Write some more as I think you have professional abilities and are enjoyable to read. I would pay to read your stories.

Oh wow...thank you so much for reading, and your comment! You've just taught me a valuable lesson, everyone's perception of art is not the same.
Your comment really surprised me because you got everything I was trying to portray in this chapter. I'm so glad you saw my vision as I did. I thought that I may have made it too confusing and hard to read. Though I agree with some of what bdcharles and afk4life said (mostly about the infodumping and repetitive words) your words make me think that a whole revision might not be necessary. Thanks again!

Oh and: "Why the name Oasis? What is the choice of title my friend? I wonder about that."

The name came from when I first began writing it. My first idea was to have this beautiful place in the desert that no human could find, unless maybe by accident, full of tropical trees and sparkling gold waters that everyone is trying to get to. But now that I've started over that certain vision has become a little distorted and now I'm molding it as I go.

TataSweets44
June 19th, 2016, 04:57 AM
Pretty cool read. A couple misspelled words, but nothing you wouldn't catch in an edit. As Bd brought up you, and you agreed, you have some info-dumping going on. If it's important, bring it out in dialogue.

For some reason the silky movement of the wind, just didn't feel right to me, wish I knew why.

All in all, interesting tale you got going here.

Hey! Thanks for stoping to read my chapter and thanks for your comment!

Yes, that infodumping is a killer, lol. I'll be sure to take all those out. Thanks again!

Jay Greenstein
June 19th, 2016, 06:46 AM
What hit me is that you're thinking cinematically, taking the role of the camera, and telling the reader what it sees, as you tell the reader about the situation. But you can't, because the medium won't support it. In film, as in life, everything is in parallel, so a single glance gives us the scene and everything in it. To give that much information to a reader, even as a static picture, takes the traditional thousand words a picture is worth. And most of what's described is composed of things she's ignoring. So no matter how hard you try, you cannot make the reader see what you visualize as the camera. And that's a limitation of the medium, so we must work within it and make the reader know what matters to her.

Next, you're telling the story you visualize happening, using the skills you would, were you telling the story to an audience. But that can't work, either (sorry, I know you weren't hoping for something like this). When telling the story in person, you need to compensate for the fact that you're alone on stage, and obviously can't take both sides of a conversation, by summing up, and doing a lot of explaining. But you make the telling interesting through your performance. In person, how we tell the story is what gives life to the words. We emote, and use all the tricks of that marvelous instrument called the human voice. Intensity, cadence, pauses for breath, whispers and shouts, all contribute. But on the page? Sound doesn't make it to the page.

When performing, our expression, eye movements, gestures, and body language are all important tools. They don't make it, to the page either. But we never notice, because when we read our own work, everything, including the gestures, is there, doing its part. And we cheat. We know the characters and the story, so we have context. The reader has only the meaning the words suggest to them, based on what has been said to any given point and their background.

So...bearing that in mind, look at the opening lines from that reader's viewpoint.
She watched the sheer gold curtains move lazily from the breeze coming in from the open balcony doors.It sounds pretty, but what does it mean? It sounds as if she's looking for something, or that the curtains are stimulating speculation, or memory. But she doesn't react to them, so the curtains don't have her attention, they have yours.

My point is that the curtains aren't important to her, or us. They don't tell us where we are in time or space, who we are, or what's going on. They don't move the plot or develop character. In fact, they promptly vanish from the story. So while the line is poetic, it's not story.
She tossed aside the sheet that caressed her body, allowing the silky movement of the wind to do it instead.Again, poetic. But in her world, and her viewpoint, the sheets aren't caressing, they're laying there, like ours do. And she didn't make a decision to have the breeze play on her body, she decided to get out of bed. So while you're talking about her, she is not the viewpoint character because we don't know what's motivating her to act, we're just hearing about the act from someone who is neither on the stage nor in the story.

The short version: You're explaining the situation—telling—and trying to dress up the telling with vivid imagery. In and of itself, that's good, but in this case it's not serving the needs of the story.

And there's the thing: Nothing I said has to do with good or bad writing, it's that you're using the skills you're familiar with because no one ever tells us that each medium, because of their nature, has its own unique set of strengths that must be taken into account, and which don't work in another medium.

In line with that, as the storyteller, you had her look at the curtain, then toss aside the sheets. And then, you left her laying there shivering while you talked about her, her history, her family, and lots of things. So we're with her for 38 words, two sentences. Then we're lectured for 696 words, more then two pages, of info-dump that has nothing at all with her waking or, in fact, doing anything—history, not story.

See the problem? We're not with her, we're with you. But you can tell the reader how she speaks, her expression, and her thoughts. So she can be real. But can you tell the reader how you read a line? No.

The solution is simple, but not easy: Get the hell off stage and into the prompter's booth. :-) It is her story, after all, so let her live it. Your reader is with you to be entertained, not informed. The past only matters to the reader when it matters to her—if we're in her viewpoint. And if you think about it, if she stops what she's doing while you talk, and politely waits till you finish‚ and then doesn't ask you who you are, and what in the hell you're doing ion her bedroom, can the scene seem even remotely real?

But if we make the reader know her world as-she-knows-it; if we move through time with her; if we focus on what has her attention and follow her decision making, what matters to her will matter to us. The idea is that, presented well, the reader will mirror her actions mentally (this article (https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/a-mirror-for-the-mind-the-grump-writing-coach/) may help clarify) and develop an empathetic bond with the protagonist. In short, if you make the reader care they turn pages. Present a report and they snooze.

And fixing the problem constitutes the simple but not easy part, because it does take time to acquire and perfect the specialized skills of the craft. But that's true of every profession, so it's no big deal. For an overview of one powerful way of placing the reader into the scene, try this (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php). It's based on a technique from my favorite book on writing.

So, I realize that this—all of what's been said in the thread—is a little bit like trying to take a sip from a fire-hose. And it can be disheartening (I know because I've been there). But it's something we all face, because in school they never tell us that they're teaching us skills to make us useful to employers, not write fiction. And once you "get it," you'll wonder why you didn't see it yourself.

So hang in there, and keep on writing.

TataSweets44
June 19th, 2016, 08:40 AM
What hit me is that you're thinking cinematically, taking the role of the camera, and telling the reader what it sees, as you tell the reader about the situation. But you can't, because the medium won't support it. In film, as in life, everything is in parallel, so a single glance gives us the scene and everything in it. To give that much information to a reader, even as a static picture, takes the traditional thousand words a picture is worth. And most of what's described is composed of things she's ignoring. So no matter how hard you try, you cannot make the reader see what you visualize as the camera. And that's a limitation of the medium, so we must work within it and make the reader know what matters to her.

Next, you're telling the story you visualize happening, using the skills you would, were you telling the story to an audience. But that can't work, either (sorry, I know you weren't hoping for something like this). When telling the story in person, you need to compensate for the fact that you're alone on stage, and obviously can't take both sides of a conversation, by summing up, and doing a lot of explaining. But you make the telling interesting through your performance. In person, how we tell the story is what gives life to the words. We emote, and use all the tricks of that marvelous instrument called the human voice. Intensity, cadence, pauses for breath, whispers and shouts, all contribute. But on the page? Sound doesn't make it to the page.

When performing, our expression, eye movements, gestures, and body language are all important tools. They don't make it, to the page either. But we never notice, because when we read our own work, everything, including the gestures, is there, doing its part. And we cheat. We know the characters and the story, so we have context. The reader has only the meaning the words suggest to them, based on what has been said to any given point and their background.

So...bearing that in mind, look at the opening lines from that reader's viewpoint.It sounds pretty, but what does it mean? It sounds as if she's looking for something, or that the curtains are stimulating speculation, or memory. But she doesn't react to them, so the curtains don't have her attention, they have yours.

My point is that the curtains aren't important to her, or us. They don't tell us where we are in time or space, who we are, or what's going on. They don't move the plot or develop character. In fact, they promptly vanish from the story. So while the line is poetic, it's not story.Again, poetic. But in her world, and her viewpoint, the sheets aren't caressing, they're laying there, like ours do. And she didn't make a decision to have the breeze play on her body, she decided to get out of bed. So while you're talking about her, she is not the viewpoint character because we don't know what's motivating her to act, we're just hearing about the act from someone who is neither on the stage nor in the story.

The short version: You're explaining the situation—telling—and trying to dress up the telling with vivid imagery. In and of itself, that's good, but in this case it's not serving the needs of the story.

And there's the thing: Nothing I said has to do with good or bad writing, it's that you're using the skills you're familiar with because no one ever tells us that each medium, because of their nature, has its own unique set of strengths that must be taken into account, and which don't work in another medium.

In line with that, as the storyteller, you had her look at the curtain, then toss aside the sheets. And then, you left her laying there shivering while you talked about her, her history, her family, and lots of things. So we're with her for 38 words, two sentences. Then we're lectured for 696 words, more then two pages, of info-dump that has nothing at all with her waking or, in fact, doing anything—history, not story.

See the problem? We're not with her, we're with you. But you can tell the reader how she speaks, her expression, and her thoughts. So she can be real. But can you tell the reader how you read a line? No.

The solution is simple, but not easy: Get the hell off stage and into the prompter's booth. :-) It is her story, after all, so let her live it. Your reader is with you to be entertained, not informed. The past only matters to the reader when it matters to her—if we're in her viewpoint. And if you think about it, if she stops what she's doing while you talk, and politely waits till you finish‚ and then doesn't ask you who you are, and what in the hell you're doing ion her bedroom, can the scene seem even remotely real?

But if we make the reader know her world as-she-knows-it; if we move through time with her; if we focus on what has her attention and follow her decision making, what matters to her will matter to us. The idea is that, presented well, the reader will mirror her actions mentally (this article (https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/a-mirror-for-the-mind-the-grump-writing-coach/) may help clarify) and develop an empathetic bond with the protagonist. In short, if you make the reader care they turn pages. Present a report and they snooze.

And fixing the problem constitutes the simple but not easy part, because it does take time to acquire and perfect the specialized skills of the craft. But that's true of every profession, so it's no big deal. For an overview of one powerful way of placing the reader into the scene, try this (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php). It's based on a technique from my favorite book on writing.

So, I realize that this—all of what's been said in the thread—is a little bit like trying to take a sip from a fire-hose. And it can be disheartening (I know because I've been there). But it's something we all face, because in school they never tell us that they're teaching us skills to make us useful to employers, not write fiction. And once you "get it," you'll wonder why you didn't see it yourself.

So hang in there, and keep on writing.

Hello Jay Greenstein! Thank you for reading and sharing your critique! I appreciate every bit of it.

(What hit me is that you're thinking cinematically, taking the role of the camera, and telling the reader what it sees, as you tell the reader about the situation.)

It's funny that you say this (not that you need or want to know my whole life story lol) because acting is something I've wanted to do for a long time and I just recently (recently being about a year and a half) discovered my passion for directing so I can see how this has come about because in my head it is playing out like a movie. But I totally get what your saying and I'll try to get, as you've put it, the hell off the stage. Lol. Thank you again for all your help!

nathan sturley
June 19th, 2016, 02:27 PM
Oh wow...thank you so much for reading, and your comment! You've just taught me a valuable lesson, everyone's perception of art is not the same.
Your comment really surprised me because you got everything I was trying to portray in this chapter. I'm so glad you saw my vision as I did. I thought that I may have made it too confusing and hard to read. Though I agree with some of what bdcharles and afk4life said (mostly about the infodumping and repetitive words) your words make me think that a whole revision might not be necessary. Thanks again!

Oh and: "Why the name Oasis? What is the choice of title my friend? I wonder about that."

The name came from when I first began writing it. My first idea was to have this beautiful place in the desert that no human could find, unless maybe by accident, full of tropical trees and sparkling gold waters that everyone is trying to get to. But now that I've started over that certain vision has become a little distorted and now I'm molding it as I go.
yes i understand. this forum to me is for throwing ideas together as we invent and create stories. not really for offering up a completely finished novel all done and dusted. As you feel an idea and you throw stuff together at first people here point out what they like and what may not work so well. But the forum to me is not even just to get views from others but also cathartic to ourself as we put out feelers for our ideas and it inspires us to write it down and actually make an effort. It seems most people have some idea of their novel like their lifes work but most never go further or write it down so here you get a start and hopefully we make the effort to finally commit our ideas to paper. Hence why often new members say they have had ideas for ages but have only now commited it to paper. Your idea's are interesting and rather then worry too much about structure at this stage think only about getting the ideas down. as you get much further in to it you can tidy up the bits that are info dumped or whatever. For now just let ideas flow. Hence why many well known writers have started with short stories before attempting a whole novel. Don't worry too much about structure just put down your ideas and characters and situation and later on you can think about the english language aspects. It is like the difference at school between studying english language gcse and english literature gsce. the first is about grammer and spelling etc but the latter is about ideas and creativity. The creativity at this stage is all that matters. Just let your inventive pen write small peices and worry about the rest later. look at the credits for a movie for example or any tv show. There is the original writer and his idea then there are people who develop the idea into a story, then there are editors and directors who take it and mould it. So consider at the the moment you are creating ideas. Let the scientific part of adaptation and flow etc to wait until you feel satisfied that your concept is fantastic. Like the man who invented the simpsons. He then had a team who developed his ideas with him. The hardest part is creating ideas from nothing the rest is much more collaborative.
hope this helps you to pursue your story or short stories further.

nathan sturley
June 19th, 2016, 02:57 PM
Can I just add, many authors even great great ones self published at first when they couldn't get a publishing house to back them. I have an idea that when i am happy with a selection of short stories and essays I will pay to publish the book simply so I can look at it on the bookshelf next to other books and I can show it to people when they visit. Like a proper book with a designed cover. I may even put it up for sale on Amazon myself.
I just like the idea of having a book I wrote on my bookshelf. !!!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-winkler/famous-writers-who-selfpu_b_4303994.html
here are examples of self published authors. It may suprise you.
Most start publishing essays then short stories then full novels with each building on the previous.
this is a very good book to read on how to write a novel.
https://www.google.co.uk/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=e6RmV_aeK4HW8Afzu4H4AQ#q=irving+wallace+the+wri ting+of+one+novel

check this old book out to help inspire you to carry on creating.
all the best with it.

lvcabbie
June 19th, 2016, 06:48 PM
Beautiful imagery. I just wish you had spaced between paragraphs and perhaps made them shorter.

TataSweets44
June 20th, 2016, 10:38 PM
yes i understand. this forum to me is for throwing ideas together as we invent and create stories. not really for offering up a completely finished novel all done and dusted. As you feel an idea and you throw stuff together at first people here point out what they like and what may not work so well. But the forum to me is not even just to get views from others but also cathartic to ourself as we put out feelers for our ideas and it inspires us to write it down and actually make an effort. It seems most people have some idea of their novel like their lifes work but most never go further or write it down so here you get a start and hopefully we make the effort to finally commit our ideas to paper. Hence why often new members say they have had ideas for ages but have only now commited it to paper. Your idea's are interesting and rather then worry too much about structure at this stage think only about getting the ideas down. as you get much further in to it you can tidy up the bits that are info dumped or whatever. For now just let ideas flow. Hence why many well known writers have started with short stories before attempting a whole novel. Don't worry too much about structure just put down your ideas and characters and situation and later on you can think about the english language aspects. It is like the difference at school between studying english language gcse and english literature gsce. the first is about grammer and spelling etc but the latter is about ideas and creativity. The creativity at this stage is all that matters. Just let your inventive pen write small peices and worry about the rest later. look at the credits for a movie for example or any tv show. There is the original writer and his idea then there are people who develop the idea into a story, then there are editors and directors who take it and mould it. So consider at the the moment you are creating ideas. Let the scientific part of adaptation and flow etc to wait until you feel satisfied that your concept is fantastic. Like the man who invented the simpsons. He then had a team who developed his ideas with him. The hardest part is creating ideas from nothing the rest is much more collaborative.
hope this helps you to pursue your story or short stories further.

Thank you for this Nathen Sturley this absolutely helped me though nothing in this world could stop me from writing lol. Just get my idea's down, clean it up later. I'll be sure to keep that with me. Thanks again!

TataSweets44
June 20th, 2016, 10:44 PM
Beautiful imagery. I just wish you had spaced between paragraphs and perhaps made them shorter.

Thank you, I'll take that note for next time!