Work in progress...(846). - Page 2


Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 21

Thread: Work in progress...(846).

  1. #11
    WF Veteran H.Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Northan England, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3,559
    Blog Entries
    66
    N
    Quote Originally Posted by lvcabbie View Post
    It was late spring when my Dad pulled me out of school. The weather was pleasant; the sun shining down as I walked the short distance to our house watching the pavement. Neither me or the school receptionist had been surprised that he had not come to pick me up with us living only five minutes I was expected once again to walk alone. The street was empty at two in the afternoon; kids were at school and the adult’s were at work. I could feel the nerves take over my stomach, filling it with butterflies as I tried to puzzle out why I wasn’t in school.

    I have a problem with this paragraph. Too many "was". Far too passive. Example:

    My Dad pulled me out of school, his mood seeming ..... to me. The sun shone warm upon my shoulders as we walked home as I stared down at the pavement .....(because?) At two in the afternoon; kids were at school and the adult’s were at work so the streets were empty. The nerves ... in my stomach as I puzzled why he had taken me out of school. (You might describe your father's mood by showing how he'd acted at school and during the walk.)
    I could however the characters dad does not pick her up, he rings the school and expects her to walk home alone. Thank you for your advice I will look into what you have said.
    Fancy joining a photgraphy group? The check out the Hidden Content group.

    Visit My Blog to get to know me better.Hidden Content Hidden Content A fun group of like minded new writers.
    Hidden Content Hidden Content A place for young writers to talk and chill.

    Why not check out the Hidden Content and join in the latest challenge discussions.

  2. #12
    It was late spring when my Dad pulled me out of school.

    No, it was a particular day, ‘It was a late spring afternoon/day when my Dad pulled me out of school.’


    The weather was pleasant; the sun shining down as I walked the short distance to our house watching the pavement.

    You can usually distinguish a subordinate clause, which takes commas around it, because if you take it out the sentence still makes sense.
    The weather was pleasant, the sun shining down, as I walked the short distance to our...

    Neither me or the school receptionist had been surprised that he had not come to pick me up with us living only five minutes I was expected once again to walk alone.
    Does this seem slightly awkward to you? ‘neither ... nor’ struck me, then you missed ‘away’, and punctuation changes things.
    Neither me or the school receptionist had been surprised that he had not come to pick me up, with us living only five minutes away I was expected, once again, to walk alone.
    or
    Neither me or the school receptionist had been surprised that he had not come to pick me up with us living only five minutes away. I was expected, once again, to walk alone.
    I started to look at the order the things were presented, two people, no surprise, not picking you up, the distance, walking alone, quite a lot of things, plus the enigmatic ‘once again’
    Try playing with the order.
    “Dad had not come to pick me up, which didn’t surprise either me or the receptionist, living only five minutes away I was expected to walk home alone, once again.”
    “I was walking home alone again, as we lived only five minutes away neither I, nor the receptionist, was surprised Dad did not come to pick me up.”
    See how the position changes the emphasis, as well as indicating what relates to what, usually the most important comes first, and something relates to what came just before it.

    Jay can be a bit too pedantic for me sometimes, but he is right about losing unnecessary words, less can be more emphatic. You have to decide what alters the meaning and what is needed for the ‘feel’, but look,

    It was late spring when my Dad pulled me out of school. The weather was pleasant; the sun shining down as I walked the short distance to our house watching the pavement. Neither me or the school receptionist had been surprised that he had not come to pick (ed) me up with us living only five minutes I was expected once again to walk alone. The street was empty at two in the afternoon; kids were at school and the adult’s were at work. I could feel the nerves take over my stomach, filling it with butterflies as I tried to puzzle out why I wasn’t in school.
    Okay, I did nothing about the punctuation and stuff, but if you lose the words in bold they make very little difference to the meaning, you establish the short distance later. You could go further, 'to our house' = 'home', is the receptionist significant? 'That' is very often an extra, unnecessary, word, watch out for it.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  3. #13
    I'm not going to go into the wordy stuff too much because a) it has been tackleld quite well with the other comments and b) I suck at it!

    All these comments were made as I read through the piece so they are the thoughts as of then even if the issue was resolved later on in the piece.


    Pulling her out of school makes it sound like she isn't going back to that school. But she has a month to kill before she leaves if that is the case. Is the Dad pulling her out for one day? If so, then I think that needs to be made slightly clearer. My impression is that she wasn't going to go back to the school at all, which would be cruel as she wouldn't get to say goodbye to her friends. If it isn't then surely he couldn't pull her out with just a simple phone call?

    'I'd stared at the house then too' - You sort of already say that so I would scratch it.
    Her feelings seem like they contradict themselves slightly. She says that she felt the same as when her mum's car crashed. But then afterwards says 'However now looking at the dark windows and the closed front door I had no such feelings, I was confused and wondering; what was wrong this time?' It's not entirely clear how she is feeling during that passage.

    I like the mention of the path designing with Mum, those small details are the sort that people would remember.

    'Through the door' and 'pushed the door open' come after each other very quickly. Perhaps change the later to 'entered the living room' to avoid repetition and avoid any confusion on where he is in the house.

    I'd describe the flashback for longer. It's an interesting part and gives us, the reader of more idea of what the protagonist has ahead of her as she moves there. More details on the father-grandfather argument and what they are like as characters. Perhaps as they are leaving the house we get a view of the house and land around it. Saves loading all the description on for later.

    'It had been years' - yet 2 years later he is mentioned again. Seems a little too soon for me. Perhaps make it so his name crops up once every coyple of years, always in the same manner with the mum and dad having arguments/debates about him. This brings me to a point about the Dad. a) we know very little about him. I find that adding a line of small description every new time he speaks is good. For example, "Hey poppet, we have to move", he says, running his hand through his damp black hair. I hadn't even noticed it was raining.
    That line just adds a tiny bit of detail to the character without you having to describe him in a paragraph of words later on. b) He's an intriguing character and that is good. His motives are unclear since he clearly has issues with his Dad yet is prepared to spend the time and move his family to help him. It's good.

    The sudden jump to being in the car is rather abrupt. It's probably just because you've merged the prologue and Chapter 1 together but a smoother transition would help the story a lot and should be fairly simple to do.

    Not sure about the lines talking about her blue eyes but the rest about describing herself in the reflection of the car works very nicely with the story.

    Rosetta must be a place near to Filey where they are living but its sudden mention with no context means that it jumps out of the page and is a big stumble. I can understand living close to a relative but still in another town nearby but for the story I'm not sure that its needed really.

    Overall summary;

    This opening really interesting because I find the Dad a mysterious figure. He seems rather secretive about everything, particularly about his own father. Also we don't really know where the story is heading as of yet. It could go anywhere and for the reader this is exciting. The big house coudl hold many a secret and become a horror or thriller book. Or possibly it is a coming of age book where the protagonist learns to live in the new town. Or she could find a treasure map and get chased by pirates to find the treasure! Making it a fun adventure book.

    I would like to know more about the narrator's life. In the car she is reflective so perhaps seeing some of her fondest memories from her old home/school/friends. Also, although I assume that more will be revealed as the story progresses, we know little about the mum and her apparent death. It's not confirmed that she is dead so it may be an interesting twist.

    Write on H, I look forward to reading more!

    Jam

    Interested in how Mars-127's story continues?
    I am looking for Beta Readers to guide me along the way. Send me a PM if interested - Jam Hidden Content


    Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living - Jonathan Safran Foer

  4. #14
    Basically, the second version is, approach-wise, identical with the first. Someone not on the scene is explaining what happened, in the style of a report: "This happened...some general data on the setting is...and here's a bit of general background data to set the scene...then, I..."

    The problem is that while the narrator is supposed to be the person who lived the story, they're not the same person, because their "now" isn't the now of the one experiencing the events—which means they can only talk about what happened, after the fact. So the only difference between them as a narrator and an unidentified third person narrator is the personal pronouns used. It's still not happening as we read. But that's what readers want. They don't care what once happened. That's history and there's no suspense in history, just facts. So the reader is in the position of being asked to cheer for the player after the game has been played, while reading about what they would have witnessed were they there when it was played. Hearing about the events second-hand, from someone whose voice they can't hear, without pictures that show the characters and their behavior, is not all that interesting. To illustrate, read a few pages from this graphic novel. The right hand single arrow above the picture advances the page. Unfortunately, you have to keep hitting the expand button at the bottom to see the full page.

    The writing, like what you posted, is factual, a list of the events in an emotion-free tone. But the expression and character's bahavior, the background ambiance, and all the nuance of the art supplies the necessary emotion.

    Read a few pages, then go back to page one and ask yourself if you would have known even a fraction of the emotional part of the story had you not had the artwork to present that.

    And that's my point. To have impact on our reader of the kind film, stories told in graphic style, and even live storytelling has, we need to provide that emotion, and involve, not just inform our reader. They have to become our avatar, the protagonist. And how to do that wasn't a part of what we learned in our school days, where we were being trained in a set of general skills that would make us useful to our future employers.

    Add a few of the tricks of doing that and the shape of the story will change. It's a lot easier, for example, to write a scene if we know the elements that make it up, and why. You can choose not to use any tool. You can misuse or improve a tool to fit your needs. But you cannot make use of the tool you're not aware exists.

    That's why I so often suggest digging around in the library's fiction writing section, where you'll find ideas like this one.

  5. #15
    WF Veteran H.Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Northan England, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3,559
    Blog Entries
    66
    Thank you for your feedback Jay that is really helpful for me to know, I will see if I can make I more immersive, as this is the first draft I am sure it can and will be improves by more editing.

    Jam thank you for taking the time to give a critique. I will look at the issues you have raised and see what can be done about it. I like that you picked up on the sense of mystery as that is partly what I am going for. ��
    Fancy joining a photgraphy group? The check out the Hidden Content group.

    Visit My Blog to get to know me better.Hidden Content Hidden Content A fun group of like minded new writers.
    Hidden Content Hidden Content A place for young writers to talk and chill.

    Why not check out the Hidden Content and join in the latest challenge discussions.

  6. #16
    I feel like in places there is still too much unnecessary detail that interrupts the flow. I also find some of it a bit cliche...a bit obvious. I think you've simplified the feelings of the protagonist and not allowed me, as a reader to work out what is going on in her head. For example:

    I knew that something was wrong from the moment that I saw his face when he pushed the door open. His expression forced me to sit back down, hitting the chair with a bump; he had that look on his face, the same one he’d worn when I was eleven and he’d had to tell me that Mum had been in a car crash and was in the hospital.

    Just a suggestion, but I would have found it more interesting if it read something like this:

    I could tell by the way he entered and the look on his face that something was wrong. I stood up to greet him and realised I'd seen that look before; sullen...defeated. I felt my knees weaken and decided to sit back down. He reminded me of the man that I saw standing at Mum's bedside at the hospital.

    "Dad?"

    My voice was shaking.


    I appreciate the sentence isn't the most gripping...but I just wanted to try and explain how it's nice to come to some conclusions by yourself, instead of being told them. I feel like when you come to the conclusion yourself, you almost live the moment more than if you're just told, matter of factly.

    I enjoy the premise of the story, and am sure it will be great when you've taken on board all of the critique!

  7. #17
    Hi. This post might be out-of-date by now, but as you have such a strong story (and there isn't an opening chapter in the world that can't be improved), I thought I'd mention a few points.

    Firstly, you've set up a classic YA opening, of getting your MC to a strange place, with no friends, and a creepy house by the sea. I really love this way of beginning a tale. I would get to it as soon as possible.

    Easy to say. At the moment, the first scene is rather tangled, full of small issues, as pointed out by others. You could dump all those problems, by starting with the train journey. This is when your MC came alive to me. Go crazy. Reduce the whole opening to a few breezy paragraphs, explaining they're moving house because of a sick grandparent. As a reader, I didn't need to be shown this. It's something that happens to most families. What I hoped she'd give us during the train journey were vivid details about the life she's leaving behind. A friend she hoped to get a flat with. A job that was about to lead to more. A first date with a boy she'd always liked. Specific, urgent things that would cause real agony.

    Secondly, I'd push the parents into the background. Sorry if it seems harsh, but I don't feel they're where the excitement lies. Your MC is great. I want her all the time. Many YA novels have parents who have been removed from the equation in some way, as this allows (forces) the young person to take on an active role in the story.

    You've already given yourself the perfect set-up for this, by having your MC's parents absorbed by the grandfather's illness. Why not take this to its extreme; have the parents barely appear in the story. When they speak, their words are distracted and impatient ("Don't worry." "Leave this to us." and so on.) This will make the MC even more alone and frustrated, and exciting for the reader to observe.

    The exception is the dead mother, who has piqued my interest. Definitely keep a brief mention of her on the opening page. Then relax, and let her backstory unfold naturally, as your scary-house story progresses.

    In other words, you now have a sub-plot (which delves ever deeper into the past), which you can run alongside your main plot, set in the mysterious, thrilling present.

    Hope this is helpful, rather than annoying. I really feel you have something here. I absolutely wanted to know what was going to happen next.

  8. #18
    WF Veteran H.Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Northan England, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3,559
    Blog Entries
    66
    Hello guys,

    Thank you for your comments first of all and I have rewritten this par of my novel again and probably will rewrite it once more as I am just getting to the end of my first complete draft of the whole novel. Secondly Sebald the protagonist is travelling in a car not a train, what made you think it was a train?

    Also there are two more extracts from this same novel posted up in the prose writers workshop, secure thread if you wanted to read more and tell me what you think I would be very grateful.

    H.

    Fancy joining a photgraphy group? The check out the Hidden Content group.

    Visit My Blog to get to know me better.Hidden Content Hidden Content A fun group of like minded new writers.
    Hidden Content Hidden Content A place for young writers to talk and chill.

    Why not check out the Hidden Content and join in the latest challenge discussions.

  9. #19
    Hi, H. Brown. I read your piece to the end easily enough, didn't feel like stopping before that. I now know what your main character looks like, thanks to your neat method of having her view herself in the car window.

    I agree with Jack of all Trades about your calling the first part a prologue. It is not really a prologue and belongs at the beginning of Chapter One. I too had to go back to check that your mother had died prior to the drive to Filey.

    "My father's voice bellowed" I would have just written "My father bellowed" or "My father shouted".

    Does your narrator's use of the word "scowl" imply that she and her stepmother do not enjoy good relations?

    Sentence structure and punctuation need work but there are plenty of guides here and on other websites for that purpose.

    Keep it up, you're well on the way to becoming a writer.

    topcol

  10. #20
    WF Veteran H.Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Northan England, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3,559
    Blog Entries
    66
    Quote Originally Posted by topcol View Post
    Hi, H. Brown. I read your piece to the end easily enough, didn't feel like stopping before that. I now know what your main character looks like, thanks to your neat method of having her view herself in the car window.

    I agree with Jack of all Trades about your calling the first part a prologue. It is not really a prologue and belongs at the beginning of Chapter One. I too had to go back to check that your mother had died prior to the drive to Filey.

    "My father's voice bellowed" I would have just written "My father bellowed" or "My father shouted".

    Does your narrator's use of the word "scowl" imply that she and her stepmother do not enjoy good relations?

    Sentence structure and punctuation need work but there are plenty of guides here and on other websites for that purpose.

    Keep it up, you're well on the way to becoming a writer.

    topcol

    Thank you for your words on my chapter Topcol. This story has changed in many ways since I posted this version. There are updated versions and different parts of the same novel posted in the prose writers workshop and I think I have some on my blog, if you wanted to check them out.

    H.
    Fancy joining a photgraphy group? The check out the Hidden Content group.

    Visit My Blog to get to know me better.Hidden Content Hidden Content A fun group of like minded new writers.
    Hidden Content Hidden Content A place for young writers to talk and chill.

    Why not check out the Hidden Content and join in the latest challenge discussions.

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.