Blood Red Rose


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Thread: Blood Red Rose

  1. #1

    Blood Red Rose

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    Last edited by captflash76; June 19th, 2017 at 04:14 PM. Reason: repair mistake - add word count

  2. #2
    Member lucario719's Avatar
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    hello, i'm Luke. these are the notes i took as i was reading your story.

    in the second sentence change the comma to a semicolon. do the same to the last comma in the last sentence of the first paragraph.

    cut "pale" or "anemic from the description of the sign.

    it seems like him going to the bar was unnecessary if he just shows up there to leave at the end of the first small section. what is the purpose of going there?

    if he's going to jail have him actually do something drunk and disorderly in the prose.

    is he dead in the last section? it seems like he in some sort of bizzare afterlife, but even if he is i think it should be made clearer.

    now for what i wrote upon finishing:
    i'm not sure if you are going for an out of order mystery or if the story is unfinished. if you are the former i suggest giving the audience more evidence as to what is going on. particularly in the last scene you bring up details like the candle and the stained glass, but unfortunately the meaning of these objects has no context because the audience has not seen them earlier in the story, nor does the character bother to say what they mean when he sees them.

    many of the sections feel unnecessary. particularly the first one, since there is not plot point in it. (which is sad beacuse it has the best writing). i think the key thing to focus on is portraying the consequences of actions to the audience. make sure that even in this seemingly out of order story, the audience can get it.

    thank you.

  3. #3
    Member Shemp's Avatar
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    I think it'd read better if you did some cutting. For example:

    Tom Rowley didnít have much time. The only way to protect his family was to run a game on his wife. He felt a pang of guilt, but it passed. He was dealing with serious shit here.

    Down the line, your descriptives are pretty good, but too numerous. If you removed 1/3 of them, the story would flow better IMO.

  4. #4
    Tom Rowley didn’t have much time. Events had a way of moving too fast, they always did.
    At this point, the reader doesn't know if Tom is ten or ninety. They don't know if he's a grade school student, an actor, a thief, or... They don't know where and when he lived. They don't know what kind of events you're talking about. So when you say that he didn't have much time, the reader's only possible response is, "For what? And while you might say to read on and it will become evident, readers won't. Confuse them for a line and they will seek reading elsewhere—or in the case of an agent, stop reading right there.

    That's not the response you wanted, so you and the reader begin to diverge on line one. You're going on with the story and they're seeking context for what was said. So they get:
    When this happened, he was left with a feeling of being short changed and without adequate cover.
    When what happened. You just said that he didn't have much time, and that events always happen fast. But-you-mentioned-no-event. So what are you talking about?

    One of the problems with talking to the reader about a story is that since you know whose skin the reader is wearing, where they are, and what's going on, you forget that the reader knows only what you say and imply. So you talk about him being worried about dying because of things only you're aware of. For the reader, someone they know nothing about is worried they might die in some unknown way and for unknown reasons. Given that they know so little, why should they care? I mention that because unless you make the reader care about the protagonist they won't turn the page. As Sol Stein said, “A novel is like a car—it won’t go anywhere until you turn on the engine. The “engine” of both fiction and nonfiction is the point at which the reader makes the decision not to put the book down. The engine should start in the first three pages, the closer to the top of page one the better.”

    And that "engine" he speaks of is the reader's interest in the situation, generated by the feeling of being part of the story—living it moment-by-moment. Two more quotes apply:

    “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
    ~ E. L. Doctorow

    “There are far too many would-be works of fiction in which plot and character are not revealed, but explained.”
    ~ Peter Miller

    And that brings me to the critical point, which is that at the moment, you're recording the words of a verbal storyteller. When you read them, because you know how you'd perform the story, you hear the emotion in the voice of the narrator. Knowing the situation as you do the image you held in your mind as you wrote appears to you and the story works. But can the reader hear that emotion? No. Can they tell how you would read the line? No. Remember, they don't know what it will say until after they read it. So as they read, they have only the punctuation to suggest how it should be read.

    Can they see the emotion on your face as you illustrate how the protagonist feels? No again. Nor can they know the hand gestures you visually punctuate with, or the body language that would say so much. But you can. See the problem? You're telling your story with methodology inappropriate to the medium, and you don't notice that because for the writer there's always context.

    It's not a matter of talent or potential. Nor is it a flaw in the story. It's a matter of having the specialized knowledge and tricks of the trade unique to, and necessitated by, our medium. It's easy enough to learn—though making it work for you requires lots of thought, study, and practice. I'm talking about the craft of our profession, the learned part. And that's easy to find online and in places like the local library system's fiction writing section. Things like the definition of what a scene is differ between mediums. And if we don't know what a publisher and reader view as a well written scene, how can we write one? My suggestion is to check the library system for books on writing by Dwight Swain, Jack Bickham, or Debra Dixon.

    Certainly, this wasn't what you were hoping to see, but I thought you'd want to know. And since we all need to add those techniques to our skill-set, acquiring the tools of the trader may take time and effort, but it's no different from learning any other profession, and so, not big deal.

    So hang in there, start digging, and keep on writing.

  5. #5
    My thanks to Lucario719, (Suggest a refresher course in grammar), Shemp and Jay Greenstein for your time and attention in critiquing this piece, your criticisms are valid. This is an example of writing in which the author has no idea what he's going to do with it and this comes across in glaring fashion. I've tried throwing this away more times than I can count, but for some reason, I refuse to perform the execution and bury it once and for all. Instead I scrabble around and try in vain to get a handle on what this cotton-pickin' story is about. I'm still a long way from resolving that issue and maybe in the end it's not worth it. Thank you so much for your input, each of you have been of a great deal of help.

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