PDA

View Full Version : Oppinions please!


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pages : [1] 2

Felix
September 17th, 2004, 02:23 AM
i would appreciate general oppinions on the beggining of a story i have began writing...
i have asked my friends to have a look but i think they are biased...
So after asking several other people i was directed here by Mr Barclay (thanks James) who pointed out this would be a good place to get some help...
I have posted the prologue and first chapter here:
http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/23p0.html
This is a rough copy as it is still first draft and i have been informed it has many grammatical errors in it. (thanks Kater)

i would like general critisism in both style and writing. I.e. needs more descriptions, slower pace etc...

I would also appreciate it if you could point out the areas you enjoy, characters certain dialogue or descriptions, so that i can work to improve the general flow of the story and write to my stregnths... :)

nicba
September 17th, 2004, 02:57 PM
Hi Felix

I must admit that I did not read all your story, only the prologue and a little further. But here's what I think about the part I did read:

First, your gramar is really your major worry at this point. It really distracted me from the actual story and was the chief reason I stopped reading.

As to the style of the writing I'll use the first paragraph as an example:


It was a warm breezy autumn day, the sun rising quite high for this time of the year. The young prince rode into the forest on his white stallion, as he rode he looked around, appreciating the beauty of the surrounding land, his fathers land. The golden autumn leaves created a strange golden glow to the forest. Above him a canopy of yellow, gold and orange leaves, changed the sun, blocking away the beautiful blue sky and covering the ground it was a soft carpet. The great boles of the trees restricted the view all around him, though he knew where he was going he had hunted in these woods for years.

There's too much pure visual description for my personal taste. Especially, I think that there's too many colours, if that makes any kind of sense. White horse, golden leaves, golden glow, gold leaves (again), blue sky. All in a row. What about his other senses? Sounds? Smells? The breeze on his skin?

Also, there's something about the pace here that has me confused. In the first paragraph the prince is entering a forest and just a few sentences later he's appearantly out of it again, with the forest behind him and riding along some kind of mountain.

Yet the switch of point-of-view to the Orc was done well, at a good place in the story. It left the prince at an early cliff hanger which prompted me to read on to find out more.

At the onset the Orc seems to be a fairly typical angry sort of orc. But then he suddenly begin to analyze the social and technological state of his tribe:


The tribe he had joined was primitive in comparison, with no magic users, witch doctors or sha'man among their numbers they had a very rustic warrior based society, with very little technology to speak of. This made them wonderful hunters, great warriors and very hardy nomads, perfectly suited to war.

It just seemed out of character to me. More like a imperfectly disguised info-dump than something the orc could have thought up.

Again the switch of POV was done at a logical point in the story. But I think the dialogue of the elf is a bit artifical. "The time has come my friends for us to decide our fate"" sounds, to me, more as something one would proclaim from a stage than something someone would actually say in reality. But of course, if the elf was proclaiming it from some sort of podium, that would explain it.

The third switch, to the guardians, is done right to the pattern of the former two. Quite well on its own. But actually it [i]is[/s] starting to look a bit much like a pattern. Perhaps so many switches are a bit much for so short a text? The story of the elf seems, as of yet, relatively unconnected to the rest of the tale. Is it really necessary to introduce them already?

Anyway, the Guardians are easily the most interesting feature of your story, in my mind. The concept of someone actually standing watch over the gods and protecting the mortals of the world is really good. Hopefully, your story will tell more about them as it unfolds.

That was, however, just about as far as I got in the story. I just peeked a little ahead to see what happened to the prince (thanks to that pesky cliff hanger). Seems the guy he meets up with is a typical "mystic sage" withouth his typical flowing robe and pointy hat. He shouldn't, by any chance, be one of those guardians, or maybe a favored servant of one?

Expendable
September 17th, 2004, 05:56 PM
>.< Where to start....

Let's start with your Prologue. Its not a prologue, its really Chapter 1. What you're calling Chapter 1 is actually Chapter 2.

If there's some bit of background information we need to know that won't be coming up anytime soon in the story, you put it in the prologue. And not every story needs a prologue.

Secondly, you don't just need to slow down, you need to back up! Orcs are invading the kingdom and the only thing I know about the kingdom is it has a forest with wall at one end. Why should I care about this kingdom? You've told us almost nothing about it! Not even its name!

And despite all that massive info dump, we don't even know the prince's name! He does have one, right?

You've got the beginings of what looks like a very good story but you're jumping too far ahead. I'd suggest starting this story at least a few days before the Orcs make camp in the heart of the unnamed kingdom and taking the time to SHOW us this kingdom and the people in the palace.

SHOW, don't tell. Give us a reason to care.

Felix
September 18th, 2004, 01:22 AM
Just a few Things to respond to:

The 'Mystic sage' is a guardian and is mentioned briefly again in chapter 2

The princes name is mentioned i was trying to create a sense of mystery around him 'who is this guy?' kind of effect

the elves dont appear again till chapter 3 and neither do the guardians they feature more later on... <- hence prologue <- should really be introduction

the kingdom and its people are mentioned again in chapter 2 but there isn't much left, so i wasn't going to bore people with details of a kingdom that basically gets wiped out 'mysteriously'

The orcs invading is a little twist in the writing, they are starting a civil war not fighting the humans <- the afformentioned kingdom is destroyed by something the "sha'men" tribes have done <- very angry orcs even the mentioned orcs dont like them


And Thank you very much for you views... any suggestions for writing styles, any bits you particularily liked or disliked?

Chris G.
September 18th, 2004, 06:14 PM
Too much scene setting in the opening paragraph. You need a " hook." Something to get the reader into the story. Hooks can be out right dialogue strings that compel th reader to read more, or maybe a fundamental question which sets the scene that the reader wants to read further to find the answer to.

Felix
September 19th, 2004, 01:04 AM
Too much scene setting in the opening paragraph. You need a " hook." Something to get the reader into the story. Hooks can be out right dialogue strings that compel th reader to read more, or maybe a fundamental question which sets the scene that the reader wants to read further to find the answer to.

My attempt at a hook was the 'prologue' section i was trying to grasp peoples attentions by getting them to ask 'what happens next?' or 'why do the elves need to leave?' 'who is the man in black?' obviously didn't quite hit the spot! :eek:

Prunesquallor
September 19th, 2004, 10:24 AM
It is wordy

It was a warm breezy autumn day, the sun rising quite high for this time of the year.

Whayt does the second half of the description really add?

The young prince rode into the forest on his white stallion, as he rode he looked around, appreciating the beauty of the surrounding land, his fathers land.

I think the underlined bit isn't needed, and it is the second time use use 'rode' in the sentence. That he is looking around is implied by the fact he is riding.

The golden autumn leaves created a strange golden glow to the forest.

Golden is used twice in the same sentence. I would also ask myself if the "strange golden glow" part was really wanted. If so, I would try to describe the situation well enough that the strangeness is implied, rather than stated.

Above him a canopy of yellow, gold and orange leaves, changed the sun, blocking away the beautiful blue sky and covering the ground it was a soft carpet.

Gold is used again, and very similar colors are mentioned, this doesn't add that much to the description. I like the soft carpet metaphor, but it doesn't seem to work here, maybe because you are trying to get too much in one sentence. Why is the sky described when it cannot be seen?

The great boles of the trees restricted the view all around him, though he knew where he was going he had hunted in these woods for years.

I don't know what the heck a bole is. Looking it up I find it is a tree trunk. Why not just say his view was obscured by trees? (but again, I would ask if this was an important part of the description, and if it was ask myself if I could have already implied it in the early descriptive bits)
More importantly, in the begining of the paragraph, he is just entering the forest and you make a point of saying he is looking around. Now you say he can't see much. Seems contradictory, at the very least the description should be such that we feel we have moved deeper into the forest.

Your emphasis is on the description of the forest, and nothing really happens. it is as if he is only a passive recipient of a visual experience. I think you have an image of the rider going deeper into the forest, but that is not wll conveyed here. Making that clearer would help.

St. Rapier
September 20th, 2004, 05:26 PM
I agree with nicba. The main thing you need to do is clean up your grammar.
As for wordiness, personally I can't stand it, but all the classics I'm reading in school right now are horribly wordy so...

Chris G.
September 20th, 2004, 06:42 PM
Too much scene description. I got bored before I got to the part about the Elves because you lost me. As soon as you make a reader go "HUH?" thats it, you've lost them. Check out my post about my book synopsis. LOTS of people going "HUH?" Thats because I'm trying to condense a 163,000 word novel into a 4 page synopsis. Its like trying to fit a fat man into a pair of spandex!

Here is the "hook" in the prologue of my book and a little scene setting. Just enough to imply a lot of things with out hitting you in the face.

After tonight, what would be left for them all?
Chill wind blew up the cliff face carrying with it the sent of salt spray from the waves pounding far below. Beneath the light of a full moon, the dark expanse of the ocean seemed foreboding enough to swell up and swallow the five men whole as they stood huddled in their cloaks.

I open with a question, questions are compelling. I describe that there is a full moon and they are on a cliff above an ocean. They are "hudled in their cloks" so it implies that they are cold. I reinforce that later in the second paragraph when Garron "draws his cloak more tightly abut his shoulders."

Thets it, the scene is finished. Too much scene setting can get boring. Ever read Tom Clancy? he can go on for 5 paragraphs about the helicopter the Special Forces use! UGH!

Ever read Robert Jordan? He can go on for TEN paragraphs about the cuff on the sleeve of a MINOR character. ugh...UGH! :eek:

Felix
September 22nd, 2004, 01:56 AM
any suggestions on how to keep your attention?
how to reduce 'wordiness'?
i am trying to incorporate all suggestions into my work have started to revise from suggestions and i will repost it once i have finished the basic revision!