View Full Version : Writing Workshop: Week 3

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

Pages : [1] 2

Nathan Carter
April 29th, 2002, 07:01 AM
Lay it on me!

April 29th, 2002, 10:22 AM
Well I just finished your story, and I must say you definitely captured my interest in the story.
I was not expecting a western setting and it sort of caught me off guard. I really think that you have a great grasp of western style setting and characterzations. I was really impressed.
You tell your story well and it leaves me wondering, how much do you have done on this? I sincerely would like to read more.

You have nice descriptions; the bourbon "like being caressed on the inside by a beautiful women" was great.

I'm afraid I'm not a very useful critic as I found my self reading your story for the sheer pleasure of it. And as it is the great side benefit of being in this workshop is getting to read how talented the other members are and being exposed to such diverging styles and ideas.
I'm sorry if this of not much help. Really small things like spelling and minor punctuation do not necessarily define talent. My feeling is you definitely have talent and if you have more of your story please send it.

April 29th, 2002, 01:22 PM
Like with Funk, I'm going to do my critique in a pros and cons format.


First of all, I dig the setting. I haven't read a great deal of western style literature, and I'm always up for something new, and for me, this was fairly new. Yeehaw.

Secondly, on a whole, I really like your writing style. I think you've got a good sense of flow . . . meaning that everything moved logically and smoothly. It hardly stumbled at all. Also, I think you do really well about giving the reader enough details without beating them over the head with it. Good balamce there.

You're dialogue was great. Reads naturally. Doesn't sound forced. Came off as believable.

The Black man with the white revolver is a very interesting character. He probably caught my eye more than any of the others. I want to read more about him. Well done there.

The scene where Virgil is judged and changed into a tree was probably my favorite little section. That was a stroke of genius. Bravo.

And, being the B-movie dork that I am (I loved evil dead, dead alive, dawn of the dead . . . pretty much anything with dead in the title), I enjoyed the zombie theme, and it really worked well with the western style, kind of like a new age Silverado (complete with the name "Hayden") directed by Sam Raimi. Good stuff.


In the Prologue, Zed was not believable for me. Because, for the most part, when people think that they are a badass, they are wholly convinced of it, right on down to lying to themselves to make sure they believe it. He was obviously, if from nothing more than the gang he was affiliated with, not a great person. He was probably used to robbing, raping, and beating just about everything and everyone. On top of that, he'd never been caught by the law. So I don't think he'd openly admit his fear. He might feel it, and I understand that the Judge would certainly instill some fear in him, but even so, I doubt he'd admit it. I thought it would have been more effective if Zed's fear was seen through the other people in the bar . . . but then again, this is just me.

There were also, as always, some grammatical booboo's, but there's no sense in pointing those out.

But really, that's probably about it. I found very little to complain about here. It was well written, well paced, and interesting in both it's setting and it's premise. You certainly have a lot of talent. Two thumbs up!

Nathan Carter
April 29th, 2002, 06:44 PM
Wow! I didn't expect such a kind reception... I certainly appreciate this kind of response to my efforts.

I figured enazwo would be partial to any alcohol related lines... and just the fact of you telling me you read it for pleasure is critique in its best form, it encourages me to continue and finish this warped rendition of American history.

Now, in response to Alucard:

I'm assuming you are referring to Hank, (Zed was actually the bartender) All I would say is, you're right! Hank was not the type of man to admit his fear, and did not, not until the White Revolver was pressed into his gut that is. That is sort of the magic behind the Black Man's gun... it makes the most remorseless criminal aware of just how wicked he is. I thought I had made that somewhat clear... I shall have to re-consider the way I play it out.

Aside from that, I must commend you on your taste in movies, The Evil Dead series is by all means my favorite line of movies, and Raimi is my second favorite director, (second to Tim Burton).

I was going for a Fistful of Dollars meets Night of the Living Dead theme... I'm glad it worked.

As a further side note, (I probably should have stated this originaly) Try to picture Haden as Clint Eastwood. A younger Eastwood, say... Dirty Harry. That was the reason for my inquery in the TV and Film section a few weeks back... I prepared for this novel by watching nothing but westerns for a month. Haden is pretty much based on "the man with no name" of course I give him a name, and go into detail about his background... but that's besides the point.

Thanks again!


April 29th, 2002, 09:11 PM
Yo, Nathan, where's my copy?

Send it to jfnacino@yahoo.com...

April 29th, 2002, 09:37 PM
Hank. Not Zed. Got that one mixed up there. But I'd say with Hank, not Zed, I'd like a little more denial of fear. This is just me though.

On a side note . . . yes, I do have good taste in movies. And apparently, so do you. Burton is one my all time favorites. Everything he has done, excluding planet of the apes, I loved. To this day, sleepy hollow is one of the most visually stunning films I've ever seen.

Just as a test on your tastes, what do you think of the usual suspects (a personal favorite of mine, on my top five films list)?

And, I actually did picture Haden as a somewhat younger clint eastwood, though a little beefier. So if that was your intention, it worked. Now, I'm not sure if you're already planning this, but with a setting that is both western and has zombies, there better be some damn good one-liners in there. With a setup like that, you really can't pass it up.

Nathan Carter
April 29th, 2002, 10:07 PM
The Usual Suspects, a superb film! Starring one of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey.

See the horror movie thread in the Horror forum for more choice movie picks.

One liners are essential to me... what did you think about

"ma'am before I rode into this town I thought I was an evil man... but you people have gone and opened up a gateway to hell itself"


I know it's not the Bruce Campbell comedy that you are most likely referring to, but I thought it was a good tight package of the atmosphere I'm trying to create... I hope I can come up with some more comedic entries to spice things up... though, it's hard to top lines like... "Good... bad... I'm the guy with the gun" or "Gimmie some sugar baby"
but I'll try

April 30th, 2002, 10:03 AM
BEfore I start writing down what little I can suggest, I'd like to say, I don't really enjoy horror books as a rule. Now saying that. That is brilliant!Dialogue is perfect, and I actually found myself wanting to read more of it. After reading all of it, I reckon you have some good ideas, a good setting, and even though the idea of zombies is a bit worn out, that was pretty damn good.
I found that the idea of the town not liking strangers, and the idea of the lone gunslinger a bit cheesy, but that's just western.How much have you got written?
Your characters are believable, good background, and i get the feeling through that this is a horror theme.
Good with the zombies munching up the children http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif I pretty much enjoyed all of it, and didn't find anything wrong with it. You keep this up!

April 30th, 2002, 10:29 AM
That line was very good. It was a great way to end the chapter. It was very clint eastwood. Brought a tear to my eye. I'm just saying there needs to be a number of those . . . and preferrably one while he's either kickin some zombie's, or person's, ass.

For example, though I know you can't use this, one of the best one-liners I've ever heard was from the film Heist. It was the part when Gene Hackmen is holding a shotgun at a guy's face who is on the ground bleeding from a number of bullet wounds. The guy looks up at hackman, smiles kind of dazily, and asks, "Aren't you going to let me say my last words?" And hackman says, "You just did," and pulls the trigger. It was a little lacking as a movie, but that line was brilliant. You need stuff like that. Your setting is perfect for it. But like I said, you've definitely got some in there, particularly the one you pointed out, and I'm not expecting those Bruce Cambell gems, I just thought I'd point it out. I think you could do it, and, if you can get some funny ones, that would be even better.

Ok. I get it. I'll shutup. Enough about the one-liners.

May 4th, 2002, 05:25 AM
Hah! Finally, I managed to read this piece before most of the reviews came in. So here's my two cents:


1. A bit purple prose. Actually, you have a good handle on the turn of the phrase, (one of 'em being the line enazwo mentioned) but others are kinda heavy-handed. Ease up on that and you'll be doing great.

2. Some dialogue problems. Some characters have the same speech patterns. For example, Virgil (that's the smarter guy, right? I don't have my copy at the moment) has a different speech pattern than say, Hank, but at certain moments, he lapses into Hank's patterns.

3. A bit of nitpicking, say 'Indian' rather 'injun' since it's part of the narration and not the dialogue. It kinda sticks out, reminds me of a Tom Sawyer story, which is not the idea you want to plant in the reader's brain!


First of all, pretty good story. I like the western-horror concept, reminds me of Joe Lansdale and 'Preacher' comic books. Was captivated in reading your story.

Actually, what's good also is that your writing is trodding on the cutting edge of speculative fiction, which is what I like. (To quote China Mielville: Speculative fiction= the intersection between fantasy, science-fiction, and horror.) I like to emphasize this fact because this might make the difference between the best and the rest of the fantasy/ science-fiction/ horror genres. Just look at the Vertigo lines of DC Comics.

Also like your last line:

"ma'am before I rode into this town I thought I was an evil man... but you people have gone and opened up a gateway to hell itself"

I like one-liners myself and this is really good. Like I said, you have a good handle on phrases/ words, just don't overdo it.

Hmmm, that's it for now. Brain not working anymore...

[This message has been edited by estranghero (edited May 04, 2002).]