View Full Version : A considerable request
July 20th, 2001, 05:03 AM
Yes I humbley request suggestions, ideas, or opinions on a new story. Unlike my dark, heavy adjective laden, last submission, I attempted to heed the advice I received here. This new story is more a light hearted mindless adventure. And because it is a bit longer then most submitted here I just sent in the first part 47 pages. So if any of you fine, scholarly, and generous purveyors of fine fantasy would humble me with your input I would truly be in your debt.
The story is "Dangerous Adventures (Part 1)" under the name Snookie McBinkerson.
Your humble servant
July 20th, 2001, 05:17 AM
Well, as always, I'll do my best, Enazwo, but it may take a while, I'm afraid. I have a regular job as well you know! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
Seriously though, I'll get through it as soon as I can...but no promises as to when.
Your tired-eyed moderator!
(well...it's 11.15pm where I am!)
July 25th, 2001, 05:41 PM
As promised, I'm reading through your 47 page epic. Having some interest in Ancient cultures myself, especially for the sequel I'm witing to the The Erebus Equilibrium trilogy, I eagerly read through your opening pages, which were a wonderful recap of historical events, some fact, some myth. It seems you had researched these opening passages well.
However, I'm a little confused with your references to a "Neanderthal threat" where your military have bronze weapons. To the best of my knowledge, the Neanderthal race prevailed from 100,000 to 30,000 years ago. The Bronze Age wasn't until about 4,000BCE, some 6,000 years ago. There seems to be a serious timeline disparity here! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
My other nagging thought is with the dialog itself; admittedly, this can be due to your "translation" of the fable, but I think it would have been more effective had the dialog been true to the time. Just a thought.
As I said, I'm still reading through and I shall post some more when I'm done. But, already, I'm finding that there's just a little too many sub plots and characters being introduced too soon, confusing the tale somewhat and making it read a little disjointedly.
More soon, but I hope this helps anyway...
[This message has been edited by erebus (edited July 25, 2001).]
July 25th, 2001, 07:30 PM
Thanks so much for taking on the onerous task of reading my story, and providing me with your wise insights.
Indeed there are several-excuse me, I mean many-anachronisms in my story. I cringe admitting this. My reasons for putting them in there are for purely commercial reasons.
The beginning I attempt to lay down enough of a premise that throws the world's accepted history into question in the readers mind so that they would be open to my plot suggestions. That way I could introduce a number of, what I consider, entertaining possiblities, that could never have happened according to our history.
There's recently been a rather successful movie released here, "A Knight's Tale". The movie is a historian's nightmare, as it is full of these blatant anachronims, everything from the songs, to the wardrobe, and including the dialogue. Amazingly, to me, I found that I got caught up in the spirit of the story. And for the most the American movie going public gobbled it up.
I think there is going to be a trend towards this sort of thing as another movie, "American Outlaws", scheduled for an august release, is also making liberal use of anachronisms. So I'm attempting to capitolize on a possible growing trend.
Also I did fret quite a bit about the dialogue. However I decided that I would take the creative librity to allow for certain coloful metaphors and emotional reactions that the average joe would find more accessible, more palatable. I realized also that purists would have problems with my creative license. I'm okay with popping my head up in that shooting gallery. One must suffer for his art. Right? I know you're thinking, "you call that art?"
However, your points about the introductions of too many characters too soon, is not something that I had not even considered.I'm going over that this very moment. Also I have completed most of (Part 2) and I should put it on hold until I get somemore of your wise input.
I truly value your input Erebus. I certainly do not think that my story will be a commercial success if the story starts disjointed with too many subplots.
I'm sure you'll notice I have a penchant for rather colorful names. Names that certainly would not have existed in a antidiluvian world. I want to write this story and capture the essence, the spirit of a swashbuckling, rollicking tale, with a couple of interesting twists, in a fantastic time, that "fantasy-lite" or "top-forty" readers would like. And for that matter people who like long-ass sentences. Kidding. I'm having a hard time of breaking that habit.
Once again Erebus, thank you so much for you time and insights. You are the first to give me any feed back. I haven't got anyone yet to pretend to be an editor or an objective sounding board.
You're gentleman and scholar
July 26th, 2001, 10:00 PM
Hello again, Enazwo.
Thanks for your kind comments.
Well, I have just finished the laborious task of reading your tale. It was certainly a lot of words to get through on a small screen!
I guess the biggest query I need to raise with you is that of direction. Both in the development of your characters and subplots, and for the overall story itself.
Without sufficient direction, the reader will almost certainly get lost and quickly lose interest in the tale. I found this to be the case for myself. While the subplot scenarios are interesting enough, I found that there were just too many of them, so much so that they detract from the original plot, which I'm guessing is the quest to rescue the princess? (Which we had to wait until page 13 to discover!)
Your characters seem to stumble through a series of somewhat repetative perils that are almost comic-book in their descriptions, and I guess this is where the other meaning of direction comes into play.
I think you need to decide if you're playing this just for laughs or whether you're striving for a more subtle, tongue-in-cheek satire. Reading some of the scenes on the vogage, I couldn't help but think the antics were a little like The Three Stooges meet Captain Pugwash, or something like that! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif Which is fine, if that's the direction you're planning to take.
I think this ripping-yarn-like tale could be greatly improved with a little more tightening and shortening of the text, especially with regard to sub plots. If you have a collection of tales as such, perhaps you would be better served to do them as a collection rather than trying to incorporate them all into one short (or long) story?
There's plenty of good ideas, but sadly, they're getting buried under way too much narrative and not enough story. I was told once that if something dramatic hasn't happened by page three, no editor will read any further, and this is something we all have to be conscious of!
Technically, I had a problem with the dialogue, as I mentioned before, but not just because of its use of modern day colloquialisms, but more so beacuse you had many characters all speaking in the same paragraph, rather than starting a fresh one for each. This can be very confusing to the reader. Your comma placement needs a little revision as well, as do some of your word usages, like your when you mean you're etc. All of this comes with many, many re-reads, some which you should do out loud; a great way of picking up errors, especially with dialogue.
I hope I'm not sounding overly critical? Others may see it completely different to me, but these were my thoughts, and in the interest of helping you to improve, which is what we're all here for really, I felt compelled to pass them on!
I guess like a band of talented musicians, who individually could be the best of their field, if they haven't rehearsed or played enough together the result will be appalling and far from tight. I think this is what is needed with Dangerous Adventures: a tightening up of the ideas and subplots, so that read as a whole the underlying story will flow much faster and have a little more direction. (I had to edit more than 10,000 words from my first book, Reflections, and while it feels like killing your offspring, sometimes it just has to be done!)
[This message has been edited by erebus (edited July 27, 2001).]
July 26th, 2001, 10:14 PM
I'm a beginning writer, but a voracious reader and a pretty sensitive person, for what I have to say is worth you'll have to decide for yourself...
I've just read only the first five pages, but I wanted to comment on them before I went on reading...
When you introduce all of those people in the bar and tell their backgrounds, it reminds me very much of the kind of knowledge that comes naturally in a small town. Why don't you make the characters gossip about each other and fill a traveler in on their histories? I get this impression because I'm from a small town - where it is common as someone would sit in a crowded bar or other public area that they would talk about the history of the other people who are there.
This would also break up the narrative and get some dialogue in there!
The part where I started to get overwhelmed with how many people there were was just after the white guys got introduced. Up until that point I could understand that someone was looking across the room surveying who was in it because of what kind of "threat" they might be.
hope that helps...I'll tell you more as I read along...
July 26th, 2001, 11:06 PM
OK, now I'm on p. 13...
Once people started talking, this bar-brawl scene where they find each other and hatch the plan is striking me as...funny. I mean, even camp. It's like you're taking the cliche'd form of the brawl and making fun of it at the same time - that's very amusing to read. I think you should go for the humor and even bring it out more.
I found it curious that the women don't seem to have a sense of humor, nor does the stranger. It makes sense that the stranger might not "get" some of the private jokes of the guys, but I can't imagine all the women being such wet blankets too.
I don't think it's confusing pre and during the fighting that there are all these different people. Lots of stories start out with many characters at once in the action and it's OK to just make me have to sort them out. You could have started with the "dialogue" part without any explanation of the characters (after your cool preface, but before the history of the characters) and interspersed some character history here and there.
You giving them different talking styles and sense of humor helped me to differenciate the characters.
I guess the problem is remembering which character is talking. Think about what makes you remember a person when you meet them - the use of the long-blonde mane is a good reminder of who you're discussing that you used over and over. Maybe do that with the others' outstanding feature as they start to talk? Anyway, that's how I remember someone naturally - I hook their name to an outstanding feature even if it's merely clothing.
At the end of this I suddenly remembered the menacing harbor storm/creature outside the bar and it was a creepy loose end..."I wonder ed what havoc has been going on while we've been inside the bar" was my thought.
I don't know if what I'm observing is useful at all to you, or not. I know I can go on and on when I don't have someone nodding their head that they got what I'm saying to make me stop...do you want more?
July 27th, 2001, 11:58 AM
A thousand thanks for your efforts. A daunting task for anyone,much less some as busy as you.
After reading your critique I felt like "Mayday, mayday I've taken a couple of good hits and I'm going down."
Seriously though, you certainly pointed out weaknesses that need to be addressed. Your candor gets to the point and I think that took some courage on your part. Thank you.
I'm a novice at this writing and have no formal education so I may sound like a dullard when I ask, "When there is a dialogue exchange, do you start a new paragraph for each person in the exchange?" Perhaps you can direct me to site that I research this.
A heart felt thanks for your efforts in reading my ramblings.
I sincerly appreciate you viewpoints and suggestions about how to introduce the characters.
I'm also glad that you were able interpet my brand of humor.
Once again many thanks
July 27th, 2001, 03:07 PM
You're right, I did anguish over the critique I posted above for fear of sending you into a tail spin! But, I've seen from the maturity shown in your previous posts that this would not be the case, so I ventured on.
Please remember that my opinions are just mine, and others may find something totally opposing to my views in your work. I can only call it how I see it. Nevertheless, there are many good points in your tale, as I mentioned, and you just need to polish off some of the unnecessary (IMO) narrative to make them shine.
Life experiences should be more than enough for most to be able to write honestly and from the heart. A degree, to my mind, is not a prerequisite to being a good writer. Sure, we can all learn long along the way, and I believe that life lessons, while perhaps a little harder to learn from, are far more effective than a lot of the stuff you'll ever learn sitting behind a desk or in a lecture room! If you can tell a story, you're half way there, especially if you can find someone to help with the more technical side of things. (Purist will probably shoot me down for these comments, but again, it's what I personally believe!) http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
As far as dialog goes, yes, it's always better, and certainly less confusing for the reader, if each character's starts on a new paragraph. Again, this will come from practice. Stephen King has a book entitled On Writing which you may find helpful. I'm not personally aware of any sites that actually provide detailed descriptions of story assembly and layout etc. I find that reading other books is the best way to learn the accepted techniques. There's on-line workshops, like Del Rey etc. where you critique other works in order to get enough credits to have your own reviewed etc, though I'm not sure how effective it is overall. If you're interested in signing up, this is the link:
Hopefully you'll gain enough insightful suggestions from the many who grace our forum as well, whom I'm sure will have a variety of opinions. My best advice, the one thing that was always drummed into me; re-read and edit, again and again, and again...
[This message has been edited by erebus (edited July 27, 2001).]
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