View Full Version : Humanity's Hell

October 19th, 2016, 12:22 AM

Jay Greenstein
October 19th, 2016, 03:32 AM
You've worked hard on this, and put a lot of yourself into it, so I hate to do this. But what follows isn't about good or bad writing. Nor is it about talent or potential as a writer. It's about the learned part of the profession—the part our schooldays teachers never told us was necessary, because they had us writing reports and essays, to make us competent in nonfiction techniques.

But that's expected, given the fact that the job of the schools is to give us a set of general skills that employers find useful. They are not training us for the profession of fiction writer.

So because you're using the writing schools we all learn, you've written a chronicle of events, in the form, "This happened...then that happened...she said...he said...and after that..." but, while the reader is informed as to a series of mostly visual details, a list of events doesn't entertain. And that matters, because your readers are with you to be entertained. More specifically, they want to be entertained by being made to live the story in real time, not know the details in overview.

And the bad news is that it's not a matter of "Do this instead of that," to fix the problems. It's one of mastering a set of writing skills every bit as complex as the ones we learn in our school days—though if you were meant to be a writer the learning is fun.

At the moment you're telling the reader a story, as viewed by a dispassionate outside observer, whose voice cannot be heard, which eliminates the emotion you hear as you read your own words. What you need to do is focus on what matters to the protagonist, in the moment they call now, to place the reader into the character's viewpoint.

This article (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php), one I often suggest, defines one very powerful way of doing that. It's not at all like the way we were taught to write our reports and essays, because it's emotion, not fact-based. It's also character, not author-centric, as nonfiction is. It's worth mastering as a first step toward writing fiction that will grab the reader by the throat with action, rather than reporting.

Chew on it till it makes sense. And if it does, the book the article if generated from is well worth a read.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

October 19th, 2016, 03:48 AM
Jay basically spelled it out, it's a lot of telling but little showing. I feel as a reader I would be more "involved" in the story of maybe a visual representation of what's going on instead of having exposition being dumped on me. An example of telling not showing is the repeated "he hated the crunch and he hated ..." It's kind of bad to repeat the same words twice in a sentence when describing an action but beyond that, show us the hate! Don't tell us that he hates it, show a look of disgust, a shiver down his spine, a flinch, anything to give us a perception of how he feels about the crunch.

I do feel like the dialogue was pretty decent, some of it was kind of formal but it was overall a decent touch