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  1. #1

    Tell me what you think of a first page.

    Ok,I think i will stop my other work (dragon rider story) for a bit and instead work on this.Last night i was laying in bed thinking about other story ideas(A.D.D at work) and I came up with this,tho i'm not sure if it will go any where but i thought since i was on a roll i would get something down and see what you guys(girls) think of it.Now I know that this is but a small piece of a bigger pie(that i have yet to make) but I think it is good for a first go and no sleep.
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    He was walking quickly through the dimly lite muddy street. Fresh rain had just fallen upon his small village of Hamlock. His head hanged low as he made his way to a house on the far side of Hamlock. My herbs must not have been strong enough to stop the infection Devan thought as he stopped in front of the home. Stepping on to the porch Devan began to kick his boots to gather to get them clean of most of the mud.

    Raising his hand to the door Devan knocked loudly. Looking at the two worried faces that appeared as the door opened Devan asked “How bad?”.”Very.” Walking inside Devan pulled his cloak free and handed it to the wife as the husband rushed him into the back. Stepping into the small room Devan looked at the child as he layed in his bed.”Can you help him.” Devan nodded and thought I hope so. Sating his bag down Devan knelt next to the bed. Placing his hand on the boy's head Devan felt that he had a fever.”Did you give him the juice of the herbs I gave you?” The mother nodded “Yes,three times a day like you said.”. Frowning Devan looked back at the parents “Please step out so I can have a look at his wound.” The mother shook her head only for her husband to take her hand and lead her out.

    Pulling the covers back Devan shook his head at the smell. Looking at the bandages Devan could see that they were moving. “ I hate this part.” Devan whispered as he pulled back the wraps to see maggots in the large wound on the boy's right leg. He is going to die unless I do it. Devan thought as he looked back at the closed door. Rubbing his hands to gather Devan looked the boy over one last time. Placing his hands at the boy's head and chest Devan began to pour his energy into the boy. Live!Live!LIVE! Devan thought as his eyes glowed a bright gold and his hands shone like the a star in the night sky.

    The boy lat out a small gasp as his wound began to heal,maggots began to flee from the glowing wound as it to shone brightly. Pulling his hands away Devan fall back on to the floor his head making a thump as it hit the cool wood. Blinking Devan looked up at the husband and wife “Gorgo,Meilso, is he all right?” Gorgo nodded as he looked Devan over “What ever you did Healer he is sitting up and eating.”Devan nodded as he sat up right on the floor. Looking up at the boy eating and staring down at him Devan smiled.”So,what did you do or is it one of your tricks?” Gorgo ask. Devan nodded and stood up “Just some good old praying I'm afraid.”.Gorgo stared at Devan for a long second before nodding “Just praying huh? Maybe Meilso has a point about that stuff.” Devan knew Gorgo was a smart man and was not one for the Old Ones but he also knew he would not ask a question that he did not need to know.
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    Ok just tell me what you think and how much i need to work on it and if i need to edit some errors out.Be as hard as you want I can take it.

  2. #2
    Registered User JimF's Avatar
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    The first thing that jumped out at me were the passive voice, spelling and punctuation errors in the first sentence.

    He was walking quickly through the dimly lite muddy street.

    He walked quickly through the dimly lit, muddy street.


    That kind of set a bad tone. There were other punctuation errors, like putting a period outside of quotation marks after a question mark. and not starting a new paragraph when a new character speaks.

    Technical issues aside, It did leave me kind of intrigued. Why wait to use the healing magic? Is it forbidden? will this cause him trouble? Clean up the technical issues and you could have something.

    Jim

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JimF View Post
    The first thing that jumped out at me were the passive voice, spelling and punctuation errors in the first sentence.

    He was walking quickly through the dimly lite muddy street.

    He walked quickly through the dimly lit, muddy street.


    That kind of set a bad tone. There were other punctuation errors, like putting a period outside of quotation marks after a question mark. and not starting a new paragraph when a new character speaks.

    Technical issues aside, It did leave me kind of intrigued. Why wait to use the healing magic? Is it forbidden? will this cause him trouble? Clean up the technical issues and you could have something.

    Jim
    thanks and i will.

  4. #4
    sf-icionado / horr-orator Andrew Leon Hudson's Avatar
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    He was walking quickly through the dimly lite muddy street. Fresh rain had just fallen upon his small village of Hamlock. His head hung low as he made his way to a house on the far side of the village [awkward repeat of "Hamlock" here]. My herbs must not have been strong enough to stop the infection, Devan thought as he stopped in front of the home [I would still use "house" here, or better something more descriptive of its physicality; "home" has a conotation that you have not yet established]. Stepping onto the porch Devan began to kicked his boots together to get them clean of most of the mud.
    It strikes me as strange to start with "He" then move to identifying him by name only as he thinks. Not a massive problem, but from here on in you overuse "Devan" WAY too much; eight times in the next paragraph alone. You also need to break up this paragraph to render their conversation in a way readers won't run away from. Compare:
    Raising his hand to the door Devan knocked loudly. Looking at the two worried faces that appeared as the door opened Devan asked “How bad?”.”Very.” Walking inside Devan pulled his cloak free and handed it to the wife as the husband rushed him into the back. Stepping into the small room Devan looked at the child as he layed in his bed.”Can you help him.” Devan nodded and thought I hope so. Sating his bag down Devan knelt next to the bed. Placing his hand on the boy's head Devan felt that he had a fever.”Did you give him the juice of the herbs I gave you?” The mother nodded “Yes,three times a day like you said.”. Frowning Devan looked back at the parents “Please step out so I can have a look at his wound.” The mother shook her head only for her husband to take her hand and lead her out.
    Raising his hand to the door Devan knocked loudly. Looking at the two worried faces that appeared as the door opened Devan asked “How bad?”.

    ”Very.” Walking inside Devan pulled his cloak free and handed it to the wife as the husband rushed him into the back. Stepping into the small room Devan looked at the child as he layed in his bed. ”Can you help him.”

    Devan nodded and thought I hope so.

    Sating his bag down Devan knelt next to the bed. Placing his hand on the boy's head Devan felt that he had a fever.

    ”Did you give him the juice of the herbs I gave you?”

    The mother nodded “Yes,three times a day like you said.”.

    Frowning Devan looked back at the parents “Please step out so I can have a look at his wound.” The mother shook her head only for her husband to take her hand and lead her out.
    This could be done in slightly different ways, but now at least the different speakers are more easily distinguished.

    I will continue with the line-by-line, but when you re-read your writing, both this and other pieces, see how many times you use sentences similar to this one:
    Opening the door I walked down the street.
    I recently had it pointed out to me how often I use this structure, and apparently it is considered a huge warning sign to professional readers and editors. Have a look at the article here, in particular the section marked "Not simultaneous" in Part One: Words and Sentences. The whole article is very useful, I would recommend reading it in detail. I'm highlighting other instances below.
    Raising his hand to the door Devan knocked loudly [This is the problem - a person cannot (easily) be raising their hand AND knocking on a door with it at literally the same time]. Looking at the two worried faces that appeared as the door opened Devan asked “How bad?”.”Very.” Walking inside Devan pulled his cloak free and handed it to the wife as the husband rushed him into the back. Stepping into the small room Devan looked at the child as he layed in his bed.”Can you help him?” Devan nodded and thought I hope so.
    Not every example of this is physically contradictory, perhaps none of them, but avoiding this structure generally results in your text being easier to read. The next example, from the very next line, is:
    Sating Setting his bag down Devan knelt next to the bed.
    Instead:
    Devan set his bag down and knelt next to the bed.
    Clear, simple, easy to read. Simplicity may seem repetitive while we write, but your readers wil thank you for it.
    Placing his hand on the boy's head Devan felt that he had a fever.”Did you give him the juice of the herbs I gave you?” The mother nodded. “Yes,three times a day like you said.”. Frowning Devan looked back at the parents. “Please step out so I can have a look at his wound.” The mother shook her head, only for her husband to take her hand and lead her out.

    Pulling the covers back Devan shook his head at the smell [Is this an appropriate response? "Wrinkled his nose", perhaps?]. Looking at the bandages Devan could see that they were moving.

    “ I hate this part,Devan whispered as he pulled back the wraps to see maggots in the large wound on the boy's right leg. He is going to die unless I do it, Devan thought as he looked back at the closed door. Rubbing his hands together Devan looked the boy over one last time [This example is okay - once in a while is fine, but it should be underused if it is used at all]. Placing his hands at the boy's head and chest Devan began to pour his energy into the boy. Live!Live!LIVE! Devan thought as his eyes glowed a bright gold and his hands [plural] shone like the a star [singular] in the night sky.

    The boy lat out a small gasp as his wound began to heal,maggots began to fleeing from the glowing wound as it to shone brightly. Pulling his hands away Devan fell back onto the floor, his head making a thump as it hit thumping against [or something similar] the cool wood. Blinking Devan looked up at the husband and wife. [They had left the room - their return should be noted] “Gorgo,Meilso, is he all right?” [This is a very strange place to finally give us their names - on first appearance would be better] Gorgo nodded as he looked Devan over “Whatever you did, Healer, he is sitting up and eating.”Devan nodded as he sat upright on the floor. Looking up at the boy eating and staring down at him Devan smiled.”So,what did you do or is it one of your tricks?” Gorgo asked. Devan nodded [again] and stood up. “Just some good old praying I'm afraid.”.Gorgo stared at Devan for a long second before nodding “Just praying huh? Maybe Meilso has a point about that stuff.” Devan knew Gorgo was a smart man and was not one for the Old Ones but he also knew he would not ask a question that he did not need to know.
    Most disastrous line:
    Looking up at the boy eating and staring down at him Devan smiled.
    First, it uses that problematic structure; second, it could be read as Devan simultaneously looking up and staring down, which suggests Devan could really use a good pair of corrective spectacles.

    I didn't mention it in the lbl, but there must be a massive temporal jump immediately following Devan hitting his head. As you have it, he blinks and then the parents are magically in the room and the boy - who was dying moments earlier - is sitting up and eating. Has Devan been out for hours? Presumably, but you don't say so and as a result it reads poorly.

    Here is a second run at the last paragraph to improve formatting (with no other corrections):
    The boy lat out a small gasp as his wound began to heal,maggots began to flee from the glowing wound as it to shone brightly. Pulling his hands away Devan fall back on to the floor his head making a thump as it hit the cool wood.

    ***

    Blinking Devan looked up at the husband and wife

    “Gorgo,Meilso, is he all right?”

    Gorgo nodded as he looked Devan over “What ever you did Healer he is sitting up and eating.”

    Devan nodded as he sat up right on the floor. Looking up at the boy eating and staring down at him Devan smiled.

    ”So,what did you do or is it one of your tricks?” Gorgo ask.

    Devan nodded and stood up “Just some good old praying I'm afraid.”.

    Gorgo stared at Devan for a long second before nodding “Just praying huh? Maybe Meilso has a point about that stuff.”

    Devan knew Gorgo was a smart man and was not one for the Old Ones but he also knew he would not ask a question that he did not need to know.
    I think the themes of the story have potential. Unfortunately, I have to say that there are many noticeable errors of basic punctuation and word choice on display. I know from your earlier post that English isn't your first language (and believe me when I say that what you are producing is far beyond what I could achieve in Spanish, which is the closest I come to a second language), but I wonder if you might be posing too great a challenge for yourself at this stage. I'm an occasional TEFL teacher, and while you are showing admirable skill you should consider polishing your English as a maximum priority if you wish to succeed writing fiction with it.

    I realise that this observation must seem quite negative, and perhaps you feel you would have identified many or all of the basic slip-ups I've highlighted on re-reading - but this is the text you have provided for feedback, first draft or not, and I know from bitter personal experience that spotting my own basic errors is far from easy.

    Best of luck. Just out of interest, are you also writing fiction in your first language? And if so, how is it going?
    Last edited by Andrew Leon Hudson; September 2nd, 2012 at 09:55 AM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Noumenon View Post
    It strikes me as strange to start with "He" then move to identifying him by name only as he thinks. Not a massive problem, but from here on in you overuse "Devan" WAY too much; eight times in the next paragraph alone. You also need to break up this paragraph to render their conversation in a way readers won't run away from. Compare:


    This could be done in slightly different ways, but now at least the different speakers are more easily distinguished.

    I will continue with the line-by-line, but when you re-read your writing, both this and other pieces, see how many times you use sentences similar to this one:
    Opening the door I walked down the street.
    I recently had it pointed out to me how often I use this structure, and apparently it is considered a huge warning sign to professional readers and editors. Have a look at the article here, in particular the section marked "Not simultaneous" in Part One: Words and Sentences. The whole article is very useful, I would recommend reading it in detail. I'm highlighting other instances below.
    Not every example of this is physically contradictory, perhaps none of them, but avoiding this structure generally results in your text being easier to read. The next example, from the very next line, is:
    Instead:Clear, simple, easy to read. Simplicity may seem repetitive while we write, but your readers wil thank you for it.
    Most disastrous line:
    Looking up at the boy eating and staring down at him Devan smiled.
    First, it uses that problematic structure; second, it could be read as Devan simultaneously looking up and staring down, which suggests Devan could really use a good pair of corrective spectacles.

    I didn't mention it in the lbl, but there must be a massive temporal jump immediately following Devan hitting his head. As you have it, he blinks and then the parents are magically in the room and the boy - who was dying moments earlier - is sitting up and eating. Has Devan been out for hours? Presumably, but you don't say so and as a result it reads poorly.

    Here is a second run at the last paragraph to improve formatting (with no other corrections):
    I think the themes of the story have potential. Unfortunately, I have to say that there are many noticeable errors of basic punctuation and word choice on display. I know from your earlier post that English isn't your first language (and believe me when I say that what you are producing is far beyond what I could achieve in Spanish, which is the closest I come to a second language), but I wonder if you might be posing too great a challenge for yourself at this stage. I'm an occasional TEFL teacher, and while you are showing admirable skill you should consider polishing your English as a maximum priority if you wish to succeed writing fiction with it.

    I realise that this observation must seem quite negative, and perhaps you feel you would have identified many or all of the basic slip-ups I've highlighted on re-reading - but this is the text you have provided for feedback, first draft or not, and I know from bitter personal experience that spotting my own basic errors is far from easy.

    Best of luck. Just out of interest, are you also writing fiction in your first language? And if so, how is it going?
    thank you.No it was not that negative and thanks to you i have made the changes and it looks a lot better now.Yes i am and it is going so so.(bad English is my first language just so you know). My problem is that i did not do well in English in high school.I thought like so many of my friends "why do i need to learn this?I'm going to be having a blue collar job were i sweat and move things."Now that i look back and think about it i wished i had learned more.

  6. #6
    sf-icionado / horr-orator Andrew Leon Hudson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakai View Post
    Yes i am and it is going so so.(bad English is my first language just so you know).
    ...damn. Now I feel like I've been horribly patronising. I don't know where I got my wires crossed, but my apologies. Fortunately for me you've got a sense of humour!
    I thought like so many of my friends "why do i need to learn this?I'm going to be having a blue collar job were i sweat and move things."Now that i look back and think about it i wished i had learned more.
    Me too. I find science fascinating now, but I dropped it the minute I could at school. Thing is, of all the different jobs I've had in the last twenty years, the ones where I was moving things around and sweating are the ones I enjoyed the most.
    Last edited by Andrew Leon Hudson; September 3rd, 2012 at 12:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Wirt's Fourth Leg Cirias's Avatar
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    I can only echo what the folks above me have said, but I have one thing to add:

    I've done what you've done almost a hundred times over. Switching between stories/projects and jumping straight into stories that come into your head is a slippery slope. It works for some people; I'm not going to say what I think is wrong or right, because writing is different for everyone. I just think it needs some thought and a good plot around it, because it does feel like a short scene that's detached from a world or larger event. I think your writing is good, minus a few spelling mistakes, so keep at it and make sure to get everything fleshed out in your head before you dive into writing.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirias View Post
    I can only echo what the folks above me have said, but I have one thing to add:

    I've done what you've done almost a hundred times over. Switching between stories/projects and jumping straight into stories that come into your head is a slippery slope. It works for some people; I'm not going to say what I think is wrong or right, because writing is different for everyone. I just think it needs some thought and a good plot around it, because it does feel like a short scene that's detached from a world or larger event. I think your writing is good, minus a few spelling mistakes, so keep at it and make sure to get everything fleshed out in your head before you dive into writing.
    thanks and that is what i'll do.

    to Noumenon

    lol i was good at history.Don't worry about it you wasn't.

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