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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Critique on my story

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    Junior Kha Aranai's Avatar
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    Critique on my story

    I have uploaded a story just a day or two ago and I would love to hear critique on it. I made a story that involves adventure, romance within the world of Oclioalzan, which over the series, I plan to have some cataclysmic events for each 'book.' I don't plan on publishing, unless it gets really popular for some reason.

    My story.
    Last edited by Kha Aranai; 11-02-2014 at 04:18 PM.

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    Didn't try, Succeeded Fay V's Avatar



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    What sort of critique were you looking for?

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    Junior Kha Aranai's Avatar
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    I am looking for a general overall critique but I would love to mostly get pointers out on the plot itself, rather than grammar and syntax.

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    Didn't try, Succeeded Fay V's Avatar



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    I won't really go into grammar and such, to be honest it's a concern and much of the issues can be caught by just a normal read through.

    The idea looks interesting, I think the setting could be really cool, but your pacing and approach is a bit awkward. You describe things far too much. It's more describing for the sake of space and describing rather than actually informing the audience what we need to know. A lot of important things are lost in the wordage or worse it just makes it dull to read.

    The biggest problem is the way you've chosen this first person perspective is it's hard to get that "show don't tell" thing going. You just state a lot of information, so it quickly becomes kind of bland (particularly with over description) and you have the habit of just dropping comments that kind of clash. Elves, strange world name, etc. Uou could do more to show the kind of world this is meant to be and more naturally drop in elements that would seem to clash (elves and modern setting) introducing it slowly so it's less of a jarring clash.

    Like I said it's interesting, you're starting with some cool elements, but you really seem to be a bit awkward in terms of bringing it all together. I'd take some time to rewrite parts after a bit of time to see if you find a better approach from the story you want to tell. Get away from RPG style writing and more to combine a fluid story.

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    Junior Kha Aranai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fay V View Post
    I won't really go into grammar and such, to be honest it's a concern and much of the issues can be caught by just a normal read through.

    The idea looks interesting, I think the setting could be really cool, but your pacing and approach is a bit awkward. You describe things far too much. It's more describing for the sake of space and describing rather than actually informing the audience what we need to know. A lot of important things are lost in the wordage or worse it just makes it dull to read.
    I thought that I paid attention to the conversion of detail but looking through, Chekhov would at best, slap me. I tried not to use purple prose, but I guess I hadn't improved as I thought I had.

    The biggest problem is the way you've chosen this first person perspective is it's hard to get that "show don't tell" thing going. You just state a lot of information, so it quickly becomes kind of bland (particularly with over description) and you have the habit of just dropping comments that kind of clash. Elves, strange world name, etc. Uou could do more to show the kind of world this is meant to be and more naturally drop in elements that would seem to clash (elves and modern setting) introducing it slowly so it's less of a jarring clash.
    I honestly did feel as if I were going too fast. I mean, I'm not really experienced, as I've only written like some old fanfiction (which I hate now) and I guess, what you're saying is that I was too heavy-handed with introducing the more fantastic facets of the story?

    Like I said it's interesting, you're starting with some cool elements, but you really seem to be a bit awkward in terms of bringing it all together. I'd take some time to rewrite parts after a bit of time to see if you find a better approach from the story you want to tell. Get away from RPG style writing and more to combine a fluid story.
    Admittedly, I did sort of get inspired by the plot of Dragon Age: Origins at the time of the writing. But really, from your RPG style writing comment, I figure I could be too used to making settings (which I enjoy and thought I should branch out into actual story telling) in tabletop games like D&D or GURPS.

    Thanks for looking however, I am glad that my idea is at least interesting. I wonder, if you're okay with my themes in the story (as evidenced by the tags), would you do Beta reading?
    Last edited by Kha Aranai; 11-02-2014 at 08:37 PM.

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    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Read through it, a little quickly, but I noticed quite a few things you might consider just from a cursory look. I'm just going to list them all here and elaborate on them, so don't be too intimidated by the length of this post. I actually really like the story concept here (I'm a fan of mixing sci-fi and fantasy in this way, and haven't seen too many examples of said mixture in a sort of 'surviving the apocalypse' type setting, so this is neat). So this is all mostly technical writing type stuff, and not so much plot or concept related. Anyway... here are the problems I noticed.

    Try to avoid repeating words and phrases. I noticed at least three instances where you do this, and there might have been a few more. Near the beginning, for example, is 'father father father father etc.'. Later on we get 'he looked at me' around four times within the span of roughly a paragraph. This kind of thing happens naturally all the time if you're not thinking about it (I still do it, even though I think about it all the time), so I suggest on any edits you do to this thing, to bear that in mind and try to remove those instances.

    On a similar note, try to avoid changes in tense. You waver between past and present a few times in your verbs, and it gets a little confusing.


    Your dialogue is also incredibly explain-y right now.... What I mean by that is, you seem to have a habit of writing the dialogue like so (exaggerated greatly for comic effect):

    "Well, son. It certainly is too bad that us two, who are both half-human half-animal hybrids, are right now trying to survive in the forest by ourselves because the apocalypse happened."

    In other words, things that two people would never say to each other unless they happened to know that there was an audience listening that needed these details in order to understand the story. I'll not mince words here and just say, don't ever do that. Always bear in mind that if you want any hint of realism in things like dialogue, you have to write it from the perspective that these are two people who have a long history with each other. Think about how you talk with your friends, and write it that way.


    I'll also agree with Fay on the description issue (that the descriptions tend to be dumps that halt the narrative flow), and I'll add that you might consider trying to avoid the 'noun + to be' construction (he was, I was, they were, the car was, the living room was, etc.). A good chunk of your description is currently written that way, and I think that's a big part of what's dragging it down. It's very repetitive and boring, and that construction almost inevitably will lead to a halting of the narrative, because it's a passive way of describing things. It's just, oh by the way, here's what this thing looks like, and now let's move on with the story. Also, it's okay to leave some things to the reader's imagination; just give the important details, enough to sketch out the whole picture, and leave it at that. Bite-sized chunks that you can smoothly integrate into the things that are happening as they're happening. A good exercise is to take a walk somewhere, just like you would always do it, and think about what kinds of things you're noticing as you take that walk. Chances are, you aren't looking around and specifically examining every detail around you. You just pick up a few things here and there, the occasional general thing (presence of trees, height of buildings), a few more specific things that might catch your eye or that might serve as a landmark (a blue mailbox, an inflatable snowman in someone's yard), etc. Write your descriptions more like that.

    I'll also add that flow of actions in the fight scenes falls into the same trap, where it ends up being very list-like. First, I punched him. Then, I kicked him in the stomach. Then he got back up and I kicked him again. And so on. Again, leave stuff to the reader's imagination, vary up your sentence structure, and consider it from the perspective of the guy who's doing the fighting. With all that adrenaline, he's not going to be quite so mathematical about the whole thing, I imagine.


    So that's about it. I realize these are very general comments, but hopefully you find some of that helpful.
    Last edited by Frank LeRenard; 11-21-2014 at 10:22 PM.

 

 

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