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  1. #1
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    My First Story :)

    Hi. My Friend has just finished writing a novel and it has inspired me to have a go myself. I have created a plan/plot for my sci-fi based story and written my first page. However my English/writing skills are not great so before I continue I just wanted to find out weather my writing is any good or not (See below). Any help with grammatical errors will be most appreciated.

    Thanks for any help!

    PS. I am new so if this is in the wrong place please could you move this to the create place in the forum thanks


    Chapter 1 – The Incident

    1st Page

    Rain thrashes down onto the hull of a cargo ship named Concordia. Stormy weather pushes her bow from side to side. On the bridge a nervous Captain Raymell stands, his hands tightly grasping the helm, and his eyes beaming into the dead of night.
    “Are we on course!” he says to an officer as a huge wave hits the bow and forces the ship to the left.
    “I can’t get a GPS fix on our position, the radar is down and all communications are dead sir. It must be the weather.” the officer replies as Captain Raymell battles with the helm to keep the ship on course.
    “Looks like where going to have to ride out the storm.” Raymell says as a sudden flash of blue light fills the bridge.
    “What’s that?” he continues squinting his eyes and looking out to sea. Another flash of blue light fills the sky.
    “It looks like there’s a lighting storm out there sir!” another officer replies.
    “That’s no storm.” Raymell says as a third this time steadier beam of light grows.

    Ahead of the Concordia Raymell could see ripples of blue light emanating from a large spinning sphere hovering above the sea. Battling with the helm yet again Raymell tries to force the ship to the right but the countless bombardment of waves forces the Concordia further to the left and ever closer to the sphere. A loud alarm sounds filling the bridge with an overwhelming screech.
    “The proximity alarm sir!” an officer shouts as the front of the ship entered the outlining blue ripples of the sphere. The Concordia begins to shake violently and objects start to fly through the air as continuous flashes of blue light penetrate the bridge. Captain Raymell begins to feel the ship jerk forward violently speeding up every second towards the spinning sphere. A sudden flash of this time white light fills the bridge and a loud whirring sound increasing in pitch deafens the bridge crew.
    Last edited by Freid001; February 27th, 2012 at 03:08 PM.

  2. #2
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Hi Freid,

    First, welcome to SFFWorld.com, and yes, you posted this in the right spot. You might not get very many responses, but that's just because folks are busy and critiquing anything takes time and effort.

    I'll have a go, but take everything I say in stride and know that I am very very impressed that English is your second language - it sure doesn't seem like it.

    Here we go:
    Chapter 1 – The Incident

    1st Page [don't need to tell us it's the first page, that would be more or less apparent]

    Rain thrashes down onto the hull of a cargo ship named Concordia. Stormy weather pushes her bow from side to side. On the bridge[comma] a nervous Captain Raymell stands, his hands tightly grasping the helm, and his eyes beaming [really? beaming? does he have the ability to shine light from his eyeballs?] into the dead of night.

    “Are we on course!” he says to an officer as a huge wave hits the bow and forces the ship to the left.

    “I can’t get a GPS fix on our position, the radar is down and all communications are dead[comma] sir. It must be the weather.” the officer replies as Captain Raymell battles with the helm to keep the ship on course.
    [GPS uses satelites. Do you mean the GPS can get a fix on the satellites AND the radar is down? Not sure how to make that clearer, and maybe it is just me, so ignore this comment if no one else mentions it.]

    “Looks like where [we're, for we are] going to have to ride out the storm.” Raymell says as a sudden flash of blue light fills the bridge.

    “What’s that?” he continues squinting his eyes and looking out to sea. [This text is not a dialogue tag. You are writing it as such (same with the above), but this is narration or prose that should be separate from the dialog. Treat only words like 'said' and 'asked' as dialog tags.]

    Another flash of blue light fills the sky.

    “It looks like there’s a lighting storm out there sir!” another officer replies.

    “That’s no storm.” Raymell says[comma] as a third this time steadier beam of light grows. [What? I'm not sure what you mean by 'third this time steadier'.]

    Ahead of the Concordia[comma] Raymell could see ripples of blue light emanating from a large spinning sphere hovering above the sea. Battling with the helm yet again[comma] Raymell tries to force the ship to the right but the countless bombardment of waves forces the Concordia further to the left and ever closer to the sphere. A loud alarm sounds[comma] filling the bridge with an overwhelming screech.

    “The proximity alarm sir!” an officer shouts as the front of the ship entered the outlining blue ripples of the sphere. The Concordia begins to shake violently and objects start to fly through the air as continuous flashes of blue light penetrate the bridge. Captain Raymell begins to feel the ship jerk forward[comma] violently speeding up every second towards the spinning sphere. A sudden flash of this time white light[what?] fills the bridge and a loud whirring sound increasing in pitch deafens the bridge crew.
    I liked that. Very immediate and right into the action and meat of the story. The ship is being drawing into something that is about to tear it apart. Very well done. There are some phrasing issues that I think, maybe, you are using the wrong word, but I'm not sure what you are trying to say, so I can't guess at the right words. Also, you rely to much on adverbs, but for your first pass, this is very good.

    Keep writing. And I suggest you read Strunk's Elements of Style.

  3. #3
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    Hey Fried. I'm new here, too.

    Something you might want to explore in future revisions and compositions is finding stronger verbs than some you're using. "Rain thrashing" is a pretty strong descriptor, but "stormy weather" detracts from it. I dance in a field of flowers during stormy weather, I'm afraid thrashing rain will sink my boat. Also, adjectives like "huge" or "colossal" used to describe large, impressive events can weaken a sentence by making it seem too 'dressy.' Treat them like verbs: find the very best one to use, and use it in the right place. Pick one of your sentences, write and rewrite it with different/stronger/weaker descriptors and verbs, and see the differences they create in tone and imagery.

    "Suddenly" is a word I'm not a fan of. As a reader, I see things 'suddenly' happen when they just happen. Show me the suddenness of the event with your prose, don't tell me with an unnecessary word.

    "Eyes beaming" is not an expression I would worry about invoking Superman imagery as much as I would worry about it having become cliche. Cliches are kryptonite to writers.

    Your pacing is done very well, and it fits with the scene: fast and descriptive. I would recommend varying your sentence lengths, from time to time. There are some stories with very well-written action/tension scenes written with sentences no longer than 7 words, and some with entire paragraphs that are single sentences. But each one maintains some level of variation. It keeps prose from becoming stagnant.

    If you're not hot on grammar, don't worry: there are other writers out there who have to rely on editors and proofers because one set of eyes isn't always enough to catch the little things. I echo finding yourself a copy of Strunk's Elements of Style , but any grammar book will do. Basic Grammar in Many Voices is the one I return to, time after time. Find one that you like, and have it next to you when you revise.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Guys Ill make a few changes and post another updated version of it

    PS. English is my first language lol. Its just i've never really be very good at it lol

    Thanks again

  5. #5
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    Ok i've made some changes this is what I have done so far:

    Chapter 1 – The Incident

    Rain thrashes down onto the hull of a new state of the art navel ship HMS Diligent. Gigantic waves pushes her bow from side to side. On the bridge, a nervous Captain Jeff Anderson stands, his hands tightly grasping the helm, and his eyes beaming into the dead of night.

    “Are we on course?” Jeff says to an officer as a huge wave hits across the bow and forces the ship to the left.

    “I can’t get the GPS online, the radar is down and all communications are dead, sir. It must be the weather.” the officer replies as Jeff battles with the helm trying to keep the ship on some sort of course.

    “Looks like we’re going to have to ride out the storm.” Jeff says as a flash of blue light fills the sky.

    “What’s that?” said Jeff squinting his eyes and looking out to sea as another flash of blue light fills the sky.

    “It looks like there’s a lighting storm out there sir!” another officer replies.

    “That’s no storm.” Jeff says, as a third this time steadier beam of light grows in the night sky.
    Ahead of the Diligent, Jeff could now see ripples of blue light emanating from a large spinning sphere hovering above the sea. Battling with the helm yet again, Jeff tries to force the ship to the right but the countless bombardment of waves forces the Diligent further to the left and ever closer to the sphere. A loud alarm sounds, filling the bridge with an overwhelming screech.

    “The proximity alarm sir!” an officer shouts as the front of the ship enters the outlining blue ripples of the sphere. The Diligent begins to shake violently and objects start to fly through the air as continuous flashes of blue light penetrate the bridge. Jeff begins to feel the ship jerk forward, violently speeding up towards the spinning sphere. Entering the sphere the bridge passes through a layer of rippling light and jerks forward even faster. Jeff is flung backwards. He hits the back wall of the bridge. Turning his head to the side Jeff sees streaks of blue, purple and white light flash passed the ship. A loud whirring sound fills his ears gradually getting loader and loader. Ahead of ship a mass of white light circles and in the blink of an eye the ship violently comes to a halt. Everyone in the bridge flies forward and the hull begins to buckle under the enormous amount of stress. Now flat on the ground Jeff feels an explosion below deck and a voice from over his shoulder shouts “Where are taking on water!”

    The ship begins to start keeling over to one side. Giving the order to abandon ship Jeff follows the rest of the crew to the escape boats. Several more explosions ripple through the ship. Jeff and the rest of the bridge crew manage to scrabble into an escape boat. Pulling on a leaver Jeff feels the boat drop beneath him. Water swells as the boat hits the water. The small outboard motor starts up with a whine and the boat gradually starts to move slowly away from the sinking ship. Screams of trapped people reverberate around the inside of the Diligent and further explosion blast parts of the hull into the air.
    Last edited by Freid001; February 27th, 2012 at 05:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    1. I'm still not sold on the 'eyes beaming' image. It's weak and overused at this point. You can find a better verb.

    2. You slip in and out of present and past tense. Make sure you stay consistent.

    3. Your dialogue formatting needs some minor improvement. One thing you want to keep an eye on is the use of speech tags and their position in the text. If you end every line of dialogue with a speech tag or action, it draws attention to itself.

    4. Officer is capitalized (at least for the military--check up on this) and the names of ships and aircraft are italicized (I'm sure of this).

    5. "Begins to start" ... I know you see the redundancy in this.

    6. I know I told you yesterday the pace was good, but now the pace is faster than the images form in my head--especially the last paragraph. Slow down, pick out specific images you are going to associate with the action, and make sure it flows smoothly. Even though a reader's brain is a fantastic organ, it needs to take a breath every now and again.

    7. I dig the tension better in this version. There's more action, more 'things' going on that suggest panic and excitement.

    Keep it up. The more you write, the better you'll get.

  7. #7
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    I don't suppose you could possible highly some of the areas where I have used pasted tense instead of present. Because half the time for some reason I can see it lol Also what verb would you use instead of beaming?

    Thanks for you help

  8. #8
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Sorry about thinking English was your second language. I don't know where I got that from.

    But, seeing as that is not the case, I'm gonna skewer you.

    Keep in mind that I am nobody and have no idea what I'm doing.

    Let's just look at the first paragraph.

    Rain thrashes down onto the hull of a new state of the art navel ship HMS Diligent. Gigantic waves pushes her bow from side to side. On the bridge, a nervous Captain Jeff Anderson stands, his hands tightly grasping the helm, and his eyes beaming into the dead of night.
    That first sentence as way too many ideas competing for the reader's attention. Rain, hull, new, state of the art, navel ship, HMS Diligent. Keep in simple.

    Rain thrashes down the hull of HMS Diligent. (The reader will figure out what it is in the very next sentence).

    Gigantic waves push the navel ship's bow from side to side.

    Now, the next sentence has a bit of telling (nervous). Just cut that word out and it reads much better:

    On the bridge, Captain Jeff Anderson stands with hands grasping the helm, eyes beaming into the dead of night.

    Do you really mean beaming? Would staring be more accurate or is light coming out of his eyes?

    I don't know if the sentences flow well now that I've changed them, but that's what I would do - right now. Tomorrow I may say something different, but there's my two cents worth.

    But again, don't worry about editing it right now. Write the story, then fix it.

  9. #9
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    Cool thanks for your help

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