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JoshK001
February 26th, 2007, 10:15 PM
i have been writing poetry for years, and i do not mean to boast but they are quite good.... yet i have just started to try my hand at some creative writing, could someone or everyone take a look at this and tell me why i am so dissatisfied with it, it is incomplete but i just feel stuck like i have nowhere to go with it no twists no real plot. it seems i get to this point everytime i start to write then i just give up so i just neeed some help, pointers and constructive criticism....

JoshK001
February 26th, 2007, 10:15 PM
She moves closer to me again, Melanie is talking idle chitchat and I know I should be asking her out and she knows I know this too. For some reason I have this anxiety, something to do with the initiation of a first date. I keep thinking about making a fool of myself, not knowing whether to or not pay for dinner/ movie tickets, im thinking this far ahead and my palms are sweating and all she is doing is standing next to me saying hello.

She is obviously someone I am supposed to spend an allocated amount of time with, who knows, she might be THE ONE. All I know is that when I see her or think about her face, her smile her beautiful long brown hair I cant help but fantasize about loving and hugging and holding her. I get scared and nervous around her but these signs are just the symptoms from the butterflies in my stomach I receive in her presence. She is a quiet, diligent worker, actually quite shy when first met but now we seem to indulge in meaningless conversation whenever possible. Though im always at war with myself accepting personal defeat towards the underlying fact that I am not good enough for her, that I would seem like a complete moron to ask her out, I see these as facts even though it is quite obvious she is patiently waiting for me to imply an extended personal invitation to spend some more time together.

So if you have not already guessed she is a co-worker of mine, me being an up and coming real estate agent at 23 years of age, she belongs to our reception department and I believe is 22. I am aware of the implications dating a co-worker can cause, mainly in the event of a bust up where there would be a break down in communication and harsh feelings towards others and basically an all round vibe in the office of rumors and secrets and talking behind one’s back.

But finally after a long weekend due to a public holiday I arrive back at work 8 am sharply dressed as always, sharp in mind also as I am not the type to use these public holidays as an excuse to drink heavily as so many do, that is my own choice I have no objectionable opinion either way. I walk up to Melanie and enquire about her weekend, she immediately elates with a super sized smile telling me she “went out with my family on a boat on the Saturday, went fishing for hours but caught not a thing, had a wonderful day though full of blue sky with not a cloud in sight. Then yesterday I had a barbeque with a few friends of mine whilst sharing a couple of bottles of wine, then in the evening I watched a documentary on animals from Africa”. “it was a great documentary wasn’t it, I saw it as well”. We went on for the next few minutes talking about our desire to visit the wildlife there and how beautiful it is, in this conversation though we disregard the probing issues of the poverty and disease stricken culture – it just didn’t seem like the right time to bring it up.

So as the day advanced I went in and out of the office showing clients houses, doing my job doing my best to keep my mind from wandering down Melanie lane. Finally I mustered the courage inside me and at lunch I asked Melanie if she would like to join me for a coffee at the café downstairs, suddenly her eyes lit up like I had released a heavy state of melancholy from her physical being she seemed like more of a free spirit now then when in the state she was already enduring which attracted me to her in the first place.

AgentRustyBones
February 27th, 2007, 12:50 PM
Josh,

I'm seeing lots and lots of run-on sentences that is making this piece difficult to read. I have the same problem with my first (and second or third) drafts.

If you want concrete examples of where I am seeing problems, let me know and I will break it down for you with specific examples. I would like to warn you, though, that there would be lots of 'red ink'.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones

JoshK001
February 27th, 2007, 06:53 PM
i really would be happy for you to tell me everything thats wrong with it, i know its not real good thats why i'm so unsatisfied with it, this is just an example of all the pieces ive written (so far maybe 3, thats all) i know i have a story to tell but i would appreciate you telling me why the way im telling it is so monotomous and boring...

AgentRustyBones
February 27th, 2007, 08:14 PM
Josh,

Here it goes.

First of all, you should decide what you are actually writing. Have a clear purpose on what you are intending to write. Is it a short story? A novella? A novel? Figuring this out before you really start the project is important because each of those forms has different requirements and conventions that you should either follow, or break intentionally as part of your art.

Then, you indicated that this a piece of creative writing. You are writing this from the first person perspective, so you will need to have a very strong idea of the character you are writing as. Writing from the first person can be very challenging. To do it successfully, you need to find the unique voice of the person that is telling the story.

Besides writing in the first person, you are also writing in the present tense, as if the character is telling the story right as it happens--if you are intending to do that, fine, but you'll have a dickens of a time making that work. I can't recall any serious writing done that way, so I would recommend using a form of the past tense--the main character should be telling the story the way it happened, as opposed to telling it as it happens.

Now onto the grammar. The best way for me to that is to take snippets of what you've written and to provide a sample of how I would write--bear in mind that each critic will vary somewhat. I will try to break the quotes down by paragraph.


She moves closer to me again, Melanie is talking idle chitchat and I know I should be asking her out and she knows I know this too. For some reason I have this anxiety, something to do with the initiation of a first date. I keep thinking about making a fool of myself, not knowing whether to or not pay for dinner/ movie tickets, im thinking this far ahead and my palms are sweating and all she is doing is standing next to me saying hello.

This whole paragraph is a mess. I would rewrite it significantly--something like this:

Melanie moved in close as we waited for the elevator down to the lobby. She was so close that I could smell the strawberry scent of her shampoo from her beautiful long, brown hair. My heart fluttered at being so close to her. I tried to say something cool and witty, but my tongue felt swollen and dry at the mere thought of asking her out on a date.
She smiled as she looked up at me. "Hi, Josh!"


She is obviously someone I am supposed to spend an allocated amount of time with, who knows, she might be THE ONE. All I know is that when I see her or think about her face, her smile her beautiful long brown hair I cant help but fantasize about loving and hugging and holding her. I get scared and nervous around her but these signs are just the symptoms from the butterflies in my stomach I receive in her presence. She is a quiet, diligent worker, actually quite shy when first met but now we seem to indulge in meaningless conversation whenever possible. Though im always at war with myself accepting personal defeat towards the underlying fact that I am not good enough for her, that I would seem like a complete moron to ask her out, I see these as facts even though it is quite obvious she is patiently waiting for me to imply an extended personal invitation to spend some more time together.

Most of the information in this paragraph and the paragraph below should come out in the course of your story, in little snippets. Move the story along with dialogue and actions that keeps the reader engaged with the story. Just having the narrator go over and over his own internal dialogue is not particularly interesting. So let me continue with how I would revise the writing in the second paragraph...

I couldn't get over the feeling that somehow, someway, we were meant to be togther. But how could I express that to her without causing her to freak? I wanted so badly to just reach out and hug her, to hold her close and never let her go.
Instead of doing something that might get me fired for sexual harassment, I put on my best smile and tried to be casual, despite how all those butterflies fluttering about in my gut.
"Hey Melanie, how did your day go?"
The ding of the elevator opening gave me an opportunity to show a little chivalry. I reached out my left hand to make sure the doors didn't close on her. I let her go in first.
She smiled again as I followed her in and pressed the button for the lobby. "It went pretty good, how about you?"
It was all I could do to keep smiling, trying not to look like the dork that I felt myself to be. My mouth was so dry, I didn't trust myself to speak more than a few words.
"Good. So what are you doing for the long weekend?"
She brushed a stray strand of hair from her forehead and readjusted her the bag on her shoulder. "I think we're going out on my dad's boat if the weather holds on Saturday and I'm hoping to get together with some friends on Sunday. What about you?"
"Hey that sounds like fun. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to be doing. I'm just looking forward to having some down time."
I didn't want to tell her that I'd be sitting at home pining away for her, I didn't want to scare her.


So if you have not already guessed she is a co-worker of mine, me being an up and coming real estate agent at 23 years of age, she belongs to our reception department and I believe is 22. I am aware of the implications dating a co-worker can cause, mainly in the event of a bust up where there would be a break down in communication and harsh feelings towards others and basically an all round vibe in the office of rumors and secrets and talking behind one’s back.

I was saved from further embarassment by the ding of the elevator as it opened into the bustling lobby. She gave me another smile and a quick wave as she headed towards the bus stop.
I turned towards the parking garage, shuffling as I replayed the whole scene in my head again. It didn't matter that I was a seen as somewhat of a rising star in our firm, I found myself tongue-tied with even the simplest of conversations with her.
Maybe it was because she was a receptionist, but she never seemed to have any nervousness when she spoke with people. Neither did I, except when it came to her.


But finally after a long weekend due to a public holiday I arrive back at work 8 am sharply dressed as always, sharp in mind also as I am not the type to use these public holidays as an excuse to drink heavily as so many do, that is my own choice I have no objectionable opinion either way. I walk up to Melanie and enquire about her weekend, she immediately elates with a super sized smile telling me she “went out with my family on a boat on the Saturday, went fishing for hours but caught not a thing, had a wonderful day though full of blue sky with not a cloud in sight. Then yesterday I had a barbeque with a few friends of mine whilst sharing a couple of bottles of wine, then in the evening I watched a documentary on animals from Africa”. “it was a great documentary wasn’t it, I saw it as well”. We went on for the next few minutes talking about our desire to visit the wildlife there and how beautiful it is, in this conversation though we disregard the probing issues of the poverty and disease stricken culture – it just didn’t seem like the right time to bring it up.

So as the day advanced I went in and out of the office showing clients houses, doing my job doing my best to keep my mind from wandering down Melanie lane. Finally I mustered the courage inside me and at lunch I asked Melanie if she would like to join me for a coffee at the café downstairs, suddenly her eyes lit up like I had released a heavy state of melancholy from her physical being she seemed like more of a free spirit now then when in the state she was already enduring which attracted me to her in the first place.

Josh, I'm not going to break down these last two paragraphs. I'm hoping that you can see with my samples above what i was trying to do.

Don't be afraid of short, powerful sentences. Break up the long thought streams with actions, dialogue and description.

Feel free to use anything I've written. It was based on your story and the character you seemed to be creating.

Good luck.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones

JoshK001
February 28th, 2007, 03:51 AM
OMG thank you so much for your help, i probably wont be finishing this piece as i start a new one nearly everyday, but armed now with your very powerful criticism i can see how a real writer would go about his work. hopefully i can take your wisdom with me into my next piece of writing, everything you said made sense and i did not in the slightest feel put down by it. that was exactly what i needed..

AgentRustyBones
February 28th, 2007, 12:26 PM
OMG thank you so much for your help, i probably wont be finishing this piece as i start a new one nearly everyday, but armed now with your very powerful criticism i can see how a real writer would go about his work. hopefully i can take your wisdom with me into my next piece of writing, everything you said made sense and i did not in the slightest feel put down by it. that was exactly what i needed..

Hey, you're welcome.

Just a couple of quick little, but important points that I forgot to mention last night:

1) If you are talking about the actions or words of one character in a paragraph, you should, in general, start a new paragraph when move on to the actions, words, or description of a different character. That helps the reader to know which character is taking the action or speaking the words. You can see smaples of this at my blog, which is listed in my profile.

2) You mentioned that you write poetry in your first post in this thread. Your story and the sentence structures within it certainly reminded me of someone who is used to writing poetry more than stories. It looked like you were used to breaking up lines of prose by commas and running multiple thoughts together into one sentence. It can't hurt to check out the work of writers that you like, and to practice writing paragraphs, dialogue and description like they do until you get the feel for how those authors do it. Then you'll have a better feel for doing it, and you can come up with your own style using your own stories. Practice might not make perfect, but it sure helps to improve.

One of the ways I practice every day, or nearly every day, is by keeping my own blog. You could do the same, posting your stories and poems on the web for people to read and to criticize...there are several blog services that are easy to use and free.

Anyone interested in learning more about how to start their own blogs can send me a private message through this site.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones