Sorry about that lol
Originally Posted by katherineapplegate
Okay a quick glance over with red pen, fix some grammar/highlight some syntax things
1. You're trying too hard to get the BUT LITTLE DID SHE KNOW feeling across. Consider something simpler, ex. "Little did she know that the opportunity of a lifetime would shortly arise."Ashen, a particularly mellow and pleasant child, of the kind that doesn't really desire anything from anyone else, is about the age of six years old. She is sitting in her room, playing with a few of her dolls in a doll house hand-built by her father, the very carpet from the left over scraps [what] after her parents replaced her room's carpet with newer, thicker carpet that was softer and kinder to the feet. At this point, little does she know, but she is about to have the opportunity of a lifetime, [yuck;1] one that will change her and her
parent'sparents' lives by that playful yet cunning alien device. Ashen's parents are not home right now, each of them work, though her mother is trying to reduce the number of hours she works each week. Despite Ashen never complaining about her mother's absence, she still feels guilty about leaving Ashen alone for so long each day. For Ashen's mother, this was one of those lucky days, where she was able to come home early, and would be home soon.
As Ashen plays on her dolls, she hears a loud "BOOM" outside of her house. Running to lock the doors as her parents told her to do if she got scared, she runs to the front door, bolts it shut, grabs a cordless phone. Just a moment later, another "BOOM", this time coming from the back door. Running to lock that door too, she drops the phone and trips, the phone skidding along the floor with the battery and the back fallen apart. She was beginning to well up with tears when there was a soft yet firm number of taps at the front door she just locked. In horror and fright, she ran to grab another cordless phone in her parent's room. Her parent's room was one of those rooms where were you looking on the outside of the house, half would be in the side-front yard, and the other half in the side back-yard. Just as she got in the room she heard tapping on the small windows. Dashing for the phone as fast as her young feet could carry her, she made it to the phone, right as she picked it up, a wave of curiosity and questioning went over her. "Why am I scared?" she thought. "What caused those sounds?" "Why?" "Why do I need this phone?" "What makes a frog and toad different?" "
WhosWho's out there?" "Are they nice?" "Will they play dolls with me?" she thought, and thought. [Awkward, not in a good way] But the curiosity that seemed to power her most was "Will they come inside?" Not in the threatening, scared way, that would be expected of such a young girl at home. [eww;2]
Just as she dwelled on the overwhelming number of questions, [nope.avi;3] she heard a knock on the back door. Then, instantly she remembered, she remembered something that had no thought nor words to go through it, but she understood and knew there was nothing to fear, so much so she forgot it. Thus, going to the back door to where there was knocking, she opened the door. In front of her stood a metalic square with two wires for legs, and two wires for arms. "Hello, little girl" came a voice seemingly out of a box with no mouth. [Bland;4] "He-Hello" she replied, a slight amount of fear starting to creep back into her. "Can I come in?" it asked. She shook her head. Then, after a second of a few jerky movements, the box began to vibrate slightly. Then it began: "I am curi, my sibling (his name is mem) and I are looking for somewhere to stay and for a person to be with." [Sexual subtext? Consider rewording if not] Curiosity popping back into Ashen, asked Curi, [eh;5] "Why do you come to me? There are bigger people than me that you can stay with." Curi stood there for a second, froze, then started humming back to life again. The machine responded: "My brother and I, we are wish-granters. We grant wishes. And we think only kids will have good wishes to wish." Ashen, standing in the doorway then seemed to understand, Adults have boring wishes. All they want is money and other boring stuffs. she thought- I would have much better wishes than my mommy.
As if by magic, there appeared next to Curi, Mem, the exact same shape and heigth as Curi, but with a purple dot on his "body"- who added "I can only grant wishes if you want to make someone remember or forget something, and my brother, he can only grant wishes that make others want to do things. But don't worry. My other family is on the way, and they can grant more wishes than we can!"
2. More awkward phrasing. The qualification should be presented in a more parenthetical sense, ex. "Above all, she wondered, "Will they come inside?" She was not afraid, although she had an inkling that she ought to be; she was instead curious, almost actively wanting the door to open and reveal whatever secrets lay on the other side." (may have gotten a bit carried away there, but you get the idea)
3. Some word misuse here; "dwelling" implies time and careful consideration; "just as" indicates the opposite. Pick one; I'd prefer the latter, ex. "The stream of questions filling her head was broken by another knock, this time coming from the back door."
4. Needs more description. How big is the "square?" Is it a perfect square? Metallic is pretty general; what color? How shiny? Menacing? Comforting? Any adornments (lights, beeps, eyes, etc.)? What about the "wires?" Are they thin? Thick? Spindly? Straight? Long? What kind of voice? Is it like Stephen Fry, or is it like Sovereign from Mass Effect? I'll venture to guess that these guys are important; as such, you should have at least a paragraph devoted to describing them.
5. Just a nasty sentence. Find a better way to arrange it, ex. "Ashen, suddenly regaining her curiosity, asked the creature," and so on.
Those are far from the only things but they're the 5 things that stood out to me most.
Overall, this is something I'd expect from a freshman (mabye sophomore) in high school with a better than average sense of spelling and grammar. If that's your goal, great, but under the assumption that you want to improve...
The biggest problem syntactically is the writing style; it's quite bland and (pardon me) immature, for a number of reasons:
-There's little to no detail or description of the environments and characters. Remember that while you may be able to see something in your head, the readers are dependent entirely on what you put down in the text. I have no idea what Ashen looks like, I have only the slightest idea of what her house (I'm assuming it's a house) looks like, and, as mentioned above, the aliens are woefully nondescript. This detailing is an essential piece of creative prose, and its absence is one of the most notable and widespread flaws.
-The entire thing is written as if you're trying desperately to cling onto an arbitrary set of elementary school rules of proper writing; it's difficult to go into the precise details of what defines a mature and eloquent writing style (since every author has their own unique style), but what you have here is awkward and, again, bland. I can see parts where you're trying to throw in an adjective or two to spice things up, but each instance feels incredibly forced, and it often completely screws up the syntax and readability; most of the examples I dealt with above are excellent cases.
-There's no sense of pacing. It's a simple thing but it's a hard one to get right; the usual method is to shorten words and sentences as the tension increases, and vice versa. Try playing around with that.
-I'm detecting a clear vocabulary barrier, which amplifies all the problems listed above. There's no real cure for this other than to read a fuckton; word-of-the-day calendars don't do a thing. Learn by example; the more you read, the better grasp of language and syntax you'll have, and the better you'll be able to apply those conventions into your own work.
There's more I could say but I think this is plenty for now. Keep at it, though.
Yeah. I noted in the end of the artist's comments, it felt weird and blotchy as I was writing it. I've actually recently picked up Stephen King's "The Stand" to get a better hand on vocabulary- he uses a very large set.
I think, as I was reading it, that blotchyness I was feeling as I was writing it is from the vocabulary lock. Especially with how difficult it is to transition from 3rd person omniscient, where we know everyone's thoughts, to regular 3rd-person where we know only the main character's thoughts.
Perhaps it being sucky could be because my last <real> fiction was in my Sophomore year of HS?
I'm not going to try to re-write this even though that's what I probably should do- I'll go through and edit it so grammar and stuff is better.
Also- you mentioned that I should up on my descriptions, I actually left those out based on a thing that I had noticed in a lot of books I've read in the past- the lack of them, haha. Guess I'll try to put them back in with my next attempt.
Go through and read my other older (edit: fiction) stuff, I'd like a review on them as well!
Last edited by Dwood; January 26th, 2011 at 10:04 PM.
Originally Posted by katherineapplegate
I could go into detail but really I'm seeing the same problems across everything you're writing. Immature is the best way to describe it; not immature as in crass and juvenile, but immature as in not fully developed; hinting at potential but not displaying the more complex and refined traits seen in better works. This is perfectly fine and you shouldn't take it as an insult at all.
As I said before, the best way to fix this (and, really, the best way to learn just about anything) is example. One or two books aren't going to do the trick; if you really really want to start writing well, you'll have to not only read things like King for pleasure, but you'll have to explore older and/or more complex works (I'd recommend starting with Jane Austen once you feel comfortable; not too hard to understand and it's some funny shit), followed by something along the lines of Dickens, and, of course, Shakespeare when you're up for it.
One thing I would recommend is very, very carefully reading over anything you write, many, many times. This'll help you catch more conventional errors (i.e. speelin' and grammah), and it should help you notice when sentences and phrases start getting really awkward. If you have to go back and reread sentences, something's gone wrong.
But that's if you're really going hardcore, if you just write 'cause it feels good that's perfectly fine so long as you don't try to publish your stuff as a revolutionary short story collection or something
E: Oh, and just a quick thing about dialogue. Narration is easy because you can just write and write naturally. Speech is much harder to nail; you have to place limits on your vocabulary and syntax to better approximate what a person would naturally say. Stupid/young characters are some of the hardest characters to write. As you practice, try actually speaking dialogue aloud. If it sounds like it might be forced, it probably is.
Last edited by Ifafudafi; January 26th, 2011 at 10:38 PM.
Yeah, I figured you were trying to say that my writing and style was undeveloped. You provided the reaction to let me vent a little, I wasn't offended.
Also: I was considering increasing the age of my characters so an easier word-set could be used... perhaps just remove the age from the story so the reader can make it up in their head.
With that, I think a re-write is in order.
Edit: Thanks for the response!
Last edited by Dwood; January 26th, 2011 at 10:58 PM.
Originally Posted by katherineapplegate
Details man. Details kill me. I often reread my own leisurely writing and I always can find room to fill in gaps in my plot or details that are important. Makes sure you do this though because you'll never be satisfied until you've made sure you've gone back and filled in the blanks. Details are everything in writing once you get past the fundamentals; the more you can detail, the more the reader can understand what's going on.
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