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Tips on my writing (1 Viewer)

allyson17white

Senior Member
This is a ruff draft of the beginning to one of my stories. So I haven't even gone over most of it I just want to know what some pointers would be for me to become a better writer. Like what do I need to work on most and stuff like that. I'm a budding writer so I'm in no way good at writing yet but I would like to be and I need to know what I need to work on most. Thanks.

People have heard of my story in glimpses and fairy tales. Little stories that parents tell to their children to make them feel better. It's a story with many parts and pieces but it is only told in short bits. Older kids tease the smaller boys saying that Cameron could beat you any day. They all say they could beat the great worrier. Then get into their own little fights. The girls share stories about Cameron's great love story. Then chat about how they wish for such a love. None of them know the full story. Even my name has changed over the years and the story has become stories and those stories have become tales. So yes my name is Cameron. Cameron Mason and no I'm not a boy. Many make that mistake. In fact it is that mistake that got me in this situation anyway. Lets see where to start… Well how about here.



I was fifteen at the time. Doing my daily chores I was out in the woods near my home, a small hut in my village, collecting firewood. Oh my restless soul was one to see. I was supposed to be collecting firewood. It was needed for cooking our one meal but instead being the reckless child I was I smacked the trees with a stick back and forth spinning in circles fending off my motionless enemies. How I yearned for adventure. Bark flew from the base of the trees. Wood cracked on wood as I slammed my branch into my opponents. Had anyone been near enough to hear I would have frozen mid swing, but no one was so I fought freely and bravely against the helpless trees. Another swing then a spin and swing again. I turn once again and, whack, half of my branch goes flying away into the nearby brush. I stop and look around. No one. So, seeing as my sword was broken I picked up what was left threw it on my little pile and carried the wood back to our small hut. My father was waiting for me at the door.
"Where have you been?" He asked as I walked past him and into the main room. "It is late and your brother is hungry."
I dropped my load on the ground and gave him a shrug. "Much of the wood was used close by. I had to walk much further to find any good firewood." I told him sitting down to load the fireplace with kindling.
"Well we best hurry in the cooking. All we have is left over rabbit meat from last night. I will get the pot for a broth."
"Water?" I asked reaching for the fire starter.
"Your brother fetched it long ago." Father said. He did not approve of me taking to long to do anything. Though who could blame him. After mother died he has needed much help around the house. I struck flint on steel and watched a skillful stroke grant me a spark which I then blew to light the kindling. After that I quickly got the fire large enough to hang the pot over. Father did this while I ran outside to drag in the large buckets of water that my brother had filled. We had just filled the pot and threw in what was left of the rabbit when Alec ran in.
"Is it ready yet." He asked, his high voice was so hopeful I could hardly deny him the food he had waited so long for.
"Not yet. But it will be soon." I told him, stirring the already boiling broth.
"Good." He said smiling at me. "I'm hungry."
"Your always hungry." I laughed. "How about you get the bowls and I'll fill it up soon." I told him. Alec nodded and ran off to find the bowls outside. When he came back the broth had been boiling for long enough to eat and I filled the bowls for myself and Alec. Father filled his own bowl. That night I went to sleep on the floor of our small home laying on some piled up leaves using my arm as a pillow.
 
Last edited:

Caragula

Senior Member
If this is a rough draft presumably you feel there are things you'd change with it? If so, you should make those changes and when you think you have something that is pretty much as far as you can take it, you should then post it here, where the critiques will point out things you can't already see for yourself. My first bit of advice in that respect is work on editing.

The first paragraph is good generally though the third sentence didn't make sense.
Did you mean to say 'worrier' or 'warrior', because I prefer 'worrier' :)

The sentence beginning 'Doing my daily chores' reads awkwardly, grammar aside. Perhaps just drop the 'Daily chores' bit and go with 'I was out...'. The subsequent sentence has at least one comma missing so it's hard to make sense of. There are other grammatical issues throughout the next few sentences, missing commas, incorrect capitalisation. If this is the feedback you want I could go through that of course, but I don't know if you missed it yourself because you 'haven't even gone over most of it'.

Taking the prose more generally, in terms of its thrust and the picture it's painting, nothing's really happening; it's a very detailed account of someone gathering firewood and preparing a meal then eating it and going to sleep. You've taken some opportunity to introduce the other characters and their situation but I think you could consider making the prose work harder. You could add a sentence or so regarding the village that might strengthen Cameron's impatience with it, describe some pettiness in its state or its citizens that shows he wants out more. It could be that he is pretending to hit some enemies of the village, perhaps a rival clan or he's enacting some great battle his father was in and he is dreaming of fighting alongside him as he strikes the trees. This would give you the chance to illuminate a little more of Cameron's background and his relationship with his father. You could describe the remains of yesterday's rabbit, just a line, to ram home how pitiful it is, and thus show the reader how desperate and hungry they are, as the image of a scrawny rabbit will do this quite satisfactorily I imagine.

I know in this post (and probably others), I'm coming across as blunt, but I think it is a courtesy to would-be reviewers, many here with a great deal more patience, diligence and warmth than me, to ensure you have gone over it at least once before posting for feedback. Patience to hold a piece of writing back for a few days in order to look at it freshly, and the skill of trying to see the writing as though you were a stranger to it, are lessons that took me way way too long to learn. I'm forty three now and it's only in the last year or so I really started following this advice!!
 

allyson17white

Senior Member
I agree with the bit about how that one sentence doesn't read well, and I might have caught a little bit of the grammar errors but I'm bad at that and even looking over it, I would have missed a lot. I'm plaining on adding some more detail in the state of the village but not much happens there in the whole of the story so I haven't put that in yet.
 

BryanJ62

Senior Member
You have a good story. It's raw. It's needs some editing. Words need to be taken out or rewritten and some areas of it need to be expanded but most important you have a very good base. You've kept the reader guessing and curious. That's the goal. Go back and edit and add to it and share some more with us.
 

allyson17white

Senior Member
Here, my sad attempt at editing it. :disturbed:

People have heard of my story in glimpses and fairy tales. Little stories that parents tell to their children to make them feel better. It's a story with many parts and pieces, but it is only told in short bits. Older kids tease the smaller boys saying that "Cameron" could beat them any day. They all say they could beat the "great warrior". Then they go on to get into their own little fights. The girls share stories about Cameron's "great love story". Then chat about how they wish for such a love. None of them know the full story. Even my name has changed over the years and the story has become stories, and those stories have become tales. So yes, my name is Cameron, Cameron Mason, and no I'm not a boy. Many make that mistake. In fact it is that mistake that got me in this situation anyway. Lets see where to start… well how about here.



I was fifteen at the time. I was out in the woods near my home, a small hut in my village, collecting firewood. Oh my restless soul was one to see. I was supposed to be collecting firewood. It was needed for cooking our one meal but instead, being the reckless child I was, I was smacking the trees with a stick pretending it was a sword. I swung my weapon back and forth spinning in circles fending off my motionless enemies. How I yearned for adventure. Bark flew from the base of the trees. Wood cracked on wood as I slammed my branch into my opponents. Had anyone been near enough to hear I would have frozen mid swing, but no one was so I fought freely and bravely against the helpless trees. Another swing then a spin and swing again. I turn once again and, whack, half of my branch goes flying away into the nearby brush. I stopped to look around. No one. So, seeing as my sword was broken I picked up what was left, threw it on my little pile, and carried the wood back to our small hut. My father was waiting for me at the door.
"Where have you been?" He asked as I walked past him and into the main room. "It is late and your brother is hungry."
I dropped my load on the ground and gave him a shrug. "Much of the wood was used close by. I had to walk much further to find any good firewood." I told him sitting down to load the fireplace with kindling.
"Well we best hurry in the cooking. All we have is left over rabbit meat from last night. I will get the pot for a broth." I looked over at the bear bones of a rabbit which was laying on a plate near the fireplace.
"Water?" I asked reaching for the fire starter.
"Your brother fetched it long ago." Father said. He did not approve of me taking to long to do anything. Though who could blame him. After mother died he has needed much help around the house. I struck flint on steel and watched a skillful stroke grant me a spark which I then blew to light the kindling. After that, I quickly got the fire large enough to hang the pot over. Father did this while I ran outside to drag in the large buckets of water that my brother had filled. We had just filled the pot and threw in what was left of the rabbit when Alec ran in.
"Is it ready yet." He asked, his high voice was so hopeful I could hardly deny him the food he had waited so long for. And along with his mud smeared face and unbrushed hair of the same muddy brown, he was a pitiful sight.
"Not yet. But it will be soon." I told him, stirring the already boiling broth.
"Good." He said smiling at me. "I'm hungry."
"Your always hungry." I laughed. And it showed to, his shirt hung loosely over his shoulders and I knew all to well that under that his skin pressed against his bones waiting for food. "How about you get the bowls and I'll fill it up soon." I told him. Alec nodded and ran off to find the bowls outside. When he came back the broth had been boiling for long enough to eat and I filled the bowls for myself and Alec. Father filled his own bowl. We ate in silence, listening to the crickets chirp outside. That night I went to sleep on the floor of our small home laying on some piled up leaves using my arm as a pillow.
 

allyson17white

Senior Member
Here we go, the next part of my story.

Some days after that I was in the house cleaning some fish for dinner. It was then that I heard crying coming from outside. At first I thought nothing of it but soon the whole small village seemed to be yelling and shouting. I left the fish in a bucket and went to see what was going on. Mothers were crying and holding their sons and husbands for comfort. Then I saw the horses. Three men sat high on their grey colored mounts. One, somewhat short, I thought, was holding a stack of papers and reading something to a family. Another, the tallest of the men, continued through the village pulling out his own papers. "Steven Timbers." He shouted from the papers. That was the name of an older boy in the village, three years above me. "Damien Young." He shouted. Damien was just a year older than me. I watched on the muddy road as his mother clung to his arm. He gently brushed her off and kissed her on the cheek. I had never seen this before. I listened to the man continue to call out names of boys I knew.

"Cameron." It was my father. He had Alec behind him in the hut. "Come here." He hissed.
"What's going on?" I asked walking over to him.
"They are being drafted." He told me. "Now you stay in here." I nodded and watched this event from the doorway. The horse paced closer and closer and soon stopped at our home. I swallowed deep, there was only one man who could be drafted here and I couldn't take care of Alec on my own. Well not anymore then I already was. That's when he said it.
"Cameron Mason." My jaw dropped. Father went into an immediate rage. He began yelling all sorts of things that no one could understand.
"I." The man boomed stopping my father mid speech. "Can not, here another complaint on how he's to young or to old or anything else. I have the paperwork here that Cameron Mason will report to the Sodi army. You will have the night to pack up a few belongings and then we march to the solider training camp." I was stunned stiff. My dad however, was the complete opposite. He went into a mad rage trying to tell him that the paperwork was mistaken but the man wouldn't hear it and he simply led the horse to the next house ignoring father's curses. He was about to chase after the man when I stopped him.
"Father." I said holding his shoulders so he would look at me and not the soldier. "Father." I said again. Tears were streaming down his face, but he just stood their trying to look back at the man again. "Father!" I shook him hard. "I will be fine." I tried to smile.
"But…" He protested.
"If they don't take me they will take you and that would leave Alec without a father or a mother. No you need to be here for him. I will go."
"They will kill you." He cried.
"We can only hope not." I said tried to make a joke. But I knew the cruel reality of it. Once they figured out their mistake they would kill me. Women didn't fight. They were thought to be weak.
 

BryanJ62

Senior Member
Good. Now read it again and look for words that don't belong. Remember: You don't want the reader to stumble. The story has to flow. One word to many is a stumbling block.
 

Skodt

WF Veteran
WF Veterans
Here, my sad attempt at editing it. :disturbed:

People have heard of my story in glimpses(? whats does this add that fairy tales doesn't cover?) and fairy tales. Little stories that parents tell to their children to make them feel better.(These are still fairy tales correct?) It's a story with many parts and pieces, but it is only told in short bits(lose this it's not needed. You already inform us of the parts and pieces.). Older kids tease the smaller boys saying that "Cameron" could beat them any day.(Reads odd to me.) They all say they could beat the "great warrior"(What does this mean?) Then they go on to get into their own little fights. The girls share stories about Cameron's "great love story". Then chat about how they wish for such a love. None of them know the full story. Even my name has changed over the years and the story has become stories, and those stories have become tales. So yes, my name is Cameron, Cameron Mason, and no I'm not a boy. Many make that mistake. In fact it is that mistake that got me in this situation anyway. Lets see where to start… well how about here.

(With a re-write of words this could make a very good opening. Though I feel like it is two wordy. What I mean is, too many words don't need to be there.)

I was fifteen at the time. I was out in the woods near my home, a small hut in my village, collecting firewood. Oh my restless soul was one to see. I was supposed to be collecting firewood.(which was it? Was he doing it, or supposed to be doing it?) It was needed for cooking our one meal but instead, being the reckless child I was, I was smacking the trees with a stick pretending it was a sword.(These are the wordy sentences I would look over.) I swung my weapon back and forth spinning in circles fending off my motionless enemies. How I yearned for adventure.(This speaks more to me. It is short and preciously what you need to grab my attention. No frilly over the top stuff.) Bark flew from the base of the trees. Wood cracked on wood as I slammed my branch into my opponents. Had anyone been near enough to hear I would have frozen mid swing, but no one was so I fought freely and bravely against the helpless trees. Another swing then a spin and swing again. I turn once again and, whack, half of my branch goes flying away into the nearby brush. I stopped to look around.(Stop to look around, or stopped and Looked around. Tenses don't match) No one. So, seeing(I saw) as(Don't need. If your doing first person use it the whole time.) my sword was broken I picked up what was left, threw it on my little pile, and carried the wood back to our small hut. My father was waiting for me at the door.
"Where have you been?"(use breaks in paragraph here. I understand this may have been the board messing things up.) He asked as I walked past him and into the main room. "It is late and your brother is hungry." (Should go on another line.)
I dropped my load on the ground and gave him a shrug. "Much of the wood was used close by. I had to walk much further to find any good firewood." I told him sitting down to load the fireplace with kindling. (new line)
"Well we best hurry in the cooking. All we have is left over rabbit meat from last night(Don't need.reader should grasp the meaning of left overs.) I will get the pot for a broth." I looked over at the bear bones of a rabbit which was laying on a plate near the fireplace.
"Water?" I asked reaching for the fire starter.
"Your brother fetched it long ago." Father said. He did not approve of me taking to long to do anything. Though who could blame him. After mother died he has needed much help around the house. I struck flint on steel and watched a skillful stroke grant me a spark which I then blew to light the kindling. After that, I quickly got the fire large enough to hang the pot over. Father did this while I ran outside to drag in the large buckets of water that my brother had filled. We had just filled the pot and threw in what was left of the rabbit when Alec ran in.
"Is it ready yet." He asked, his high voice was so hopeful I could hardly deny him the food he had waited so long for. And along with his mud smeared face and unbrushed hair of the same muddy brown, he was a pitiful sight.
"Not yet. But it will be soon." I told him, stirring the already boiling broth.
"Good." He said smiling at me. "I'm hungry."
"Your always hungry." I laughed. And it showed to, his shirt hung loosely over his shoulders and I knew all to well that under that his skin pressed against his bones waiting for food. "How about you get the bowls and I'll fill it up soon." I told him. Alec nodded and ran off to find the bowls outside. When he came back the broth had been boiling for long enough to eat and I filled the bowls for myself and Alec. Father filled his own bowl. We ate in silence, listening to the crickets chirp outside. That night I went to sleep on the floor of our small home laying on some piled up leaves using my arm as a pillow.

Your wordy. That isn't a bad thing. You just need to learn to tighten up your sentences. A lot of words go on to describe what you already described, and that leaves the reader feeling over stressed. You want to assume your reader is not dumb, and so do not feed him everything. This little scene took awhile to read, and with as small as it was that isn't a good sign. Speed up your sentences by chopping them up. You say more when you say less in this type of story. Also, watch your tenses. If you start in past tense use it, if you are telling the story in present tense then use it the whole way. Same about switching from first to third person, if you start as the character then stay that way; do not switch in mid-paragraph/sentence.

Overall could be a intriguing little tale. I encourage you to go over it with a fine tooth comb, and ask yourself does it sound like other books? Does it flow? Can you read it, and feel that you don't stumble on any words? Know that if you stumble, get confused, or feel bored then your reader has already stopped reading probably. Good Luck with your writing, and keep working to get better. No-one is ever done learning.
 

BryanJ62

Senior Member
Combining past and present tense is an easy mistake to make, at least for me. I was proof reading a rough draft of a story I am working on and in one paragraph I had one sentence past and one present. It was brutal.
 

Skodt

WF Veteran
WF Veterans
It happens. Especially in a rough draft. That is why we don't parade rough drafts to the public. We go over the best we can, and then we parade to find help. If you post tense confusion on the board then I assume you don't know about it. Nothing against original poster, but finding help only works if you do your best before putting it out there.
 

Staff Deployment

WF Veterans
This is a ruff draft of the beginning to one of my stories. So I haven't even gone over most of it I just want to know what some pointers would be for me to become a better writer. Like what do I need to work on most and stuff like that. I'm a budding writer so I'm in no way good at writing yet but I would like to be and I need to know what I need to work on most. Thanks.

Revision:

"This is a rough draft. Because I'm a budding writer, I'm seeking pointers to help me improve. Thank you."

+ 2¢ added!
 

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