View Full Version : Directed Writing Workshop Three - Criticism
7th Jul 06, 10:10 PM
Criticism and all that. You all know the drill by now. If not, check the last thread (http://forums.relicnews.com/showthread.php?t=96737) to see how it all works.
I'm busy as hell, so I'll be posting my crit later this weekend. I apologize. Real life happens :/
8th Jul 06, 5:49 AM
I'm away this weekend, but I'll post on Sunday evening.
been busy reading wrath of the gods the past days, had no time to write anything :D
maybe i'll rush something down, depends whether i got a spare minute in time.
8th Jul 06, 9:12 AM
Heh, 3 for 3. packing for vacation this whole week. Back next Sunday.
8th Jul 06, 9:33 AM
How about not posting in here unless you have a "maunual" to post or a critisism of it, rather than saying you will post one in so and so more time?
8th Jul 06, 9:55 AM
Same i have PM'd Starfisher already, as I am going to be away for roughly 3 and a half weeks.
See you all later :D.
8th Jul 06, 3:07 PM
First off, I believe I owe Loco a critique from last week, before Starfisher so inconsiderately closed the thread on time. Loco, I think your story could be slightly improved by phrasing the supporting material in the voice of the character it's describing. The story's about Joe the Brick, right? Joe don't think too good, see, and all these fancy words make his head hurt. That's alright though, 'cause Joe don't gotta think too much either. Boss says to him, 'Joe, mess this guy up,' and Joe does it. It's a good job, a lot better than working at the docks like his cousin. Only this time Boss said 'Joe, mess those guys up,' and Joe can't do it 'cause everything got all dark instead.
Now onto this week's vict-ah, er, Caesar! Three things.
A) Adjectives are your friends, yes. Specifically, they're poker buddies: great fun to have around on a regular basis, but let them run wild and they'll leave behind a hell of a mess. Consider the following-
Kasmitz kicked the last bloodied corpse into the shallow, muddy, snow covered ditch. Pick any one. Preferably "shallow," since we already know it's snow covered, we can guess it'll be muddy, and specifying a shallow grave imparts a more morbid atmosphere.
B) Be careful about viewpoint changes. Your story begins from the perspective of the standing soldiers considering their prisoner and switches without warning to the prisoner's viewpoint as he withdraws something "cold and metallic," two adjectives the other soldiers could not have known about. It's okay if you want to do that, but insert something before then to let us know the view is switching. "The broken man found the strength to move. Not much, but enough. He dug deep into his coat and grabbed..."
C) Sweet mamma-jamma, commas!
“Well, whatever we do, we’ve got to do it now. He’s not going to make it just laying out here,” Mandoff said flatly.
“What are you doing, huh?” Kasmitz sneered, and kicked the man onto his back.
“Oh shi-“ Kasmitz yelled just as the grenade went off, ripping the three of them to pieces.
There are a few other mistakes, mostly to do with spelling and phrasing. Those will come with practice.
9th Jul 06, 11:01 AM
Hmm, I was gonna do everyone but I think I'll go for these two in detail this time. If anyone gets left out, I may help you... :p
My first thought would be that the death for "heresy" is a bit abrupt. If I was into a cult or order that kidnapped to get its way, I definately wouldn't say "the whole thing is silly". For a start, something brought me this far, and as well as that- no one can be that stupid, right? ;) That bit feels a little forced to me, as if you're trying to convince us in a typical manner that these are nasty, ruthless people, but I merely get an impression that the first man is an idiot. There's also a viewpoint switch which I find somewhat disconcerting, as we jump immedietely from a generic overview of the room to the hostage's perspective.
The dialouge also seems a bit... passionless to me.
"Oh something amazing will happen tonight as He told us, and we will be the cause! It'll be magnificent brother; an entire nation shall question its morality this night. Shall we get going?"
I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I get the impression this supposed to be really passionate and forceful. Right now, though, it feels a bit wooden, with some weak phrases (bolded).
I think it's just a little vauge, maybe something like:
"It is exactly as he told us! A miracle shall occur tonight! An entire nation will question it's morality! And it starts here."
Looking at that, I guess I mean the senences should be a little shorter, as that conveys more exitement. And a bit more certainty to the phrasing as well. I dunno, just an impression. The idea's interesting and you definately did better than me about dragging something substantial out of the topic. Overall, pretty good!
I think you know what I'm going to say, my friend. Declamatory. ;)
Maybe it was – Asten couldn’t tell, and frankly, he wasn’t the sort to go asking questions when inquisitors brandishing more security authorization than most Army generals could boast of came knocking on the doors of his little institute; especially when the inquisitor’s superiors were the ones financing the whole thing; Asten knew it, the inquisitor knew it, but neither said a thing – it was a tacit arrangement, and they stuck to it.
We have two dashes and two semi-colons in one sentence, let alone the commas. I think that's a pretty good indication that this sentence is too long. I find the "security authorisation" section a little too verbose, myself, and "neither said a thing" surely makes "it was a tacit arrangement" redundant. Saying things twice seems a little unesecarry.
His voice was ice; there wasn’t any arguing with the barrel of a gun – and that was, effectively, what was being pointed at him. Even if the barrel wasn’t quite positioned before his eyes – yet. It was a hopeless situation; Asten felt like smashing the balls of his fists into the console before him – but that wouldn’t extend his perilously short-looking lifespan, only hasten his demise. So he restrained himself; not that it’d help, and with each second, the heavily-built inquisitor behind him was growing more impatient. With his clothes sticking to him, sweat running freely down his face, he stood and looked through the glass at the emergent psionic; at least, that was what he was supposed to be.
Again, a bit longwinded for me. I'd shorten it to this:
His voice was ice; there wasn’t any arguing with the barrel of a gun. With his clothes sticking to him, sweat running freely down his face, he stood and looked through the glass at the emergent psionic. At least, that was what he was supposed to be.
Perhaps I was a bit brutal there, but you get the idea. Generally a simple sentence can create as much effect as several lines of intense description, something I always have to work on as well.
My final point:
Better to be free and torn apart than shackled and alive.
This line feels a little unesecarry to me. Apart from being a point you can argue about (:p) it feels a bit preachy to me. We're here for the story.
You already know my viewpoints on the story being a little unexplained; I know the dreamworld and everything attendant but it the boy's powers and their origins might seem a bit metaphysical and unexplained to newcomers. I dunno, anyone else have a view on that?
Anyway, that's just my quick thoughts on some passages. It was pretty good overall, and you'd definately picked an interesting topic. Keep up the good work! :thumb:
10th Jul 06, 1:25 AM
Maybe it was just me, but I didn't notice that the protagonist was hearing two distinct sets of sounds until the very end, when I had to read it again. The first time through I was attributing these sounds to the people talking, and getting a bit confused. I didn't appreciate just how good this guy's hearing was - was there some clue I missed?
In general I think there was scope for more tension here. The piece could use something extra as well, as I didn't get any feel for the unnamed victim - he never revealed his thoughts or feelings, even though it seems he knew he was about to die.
I liked these lines a lot:-
Used to… just know, in any language. Used to be able to do a lot of things A subtle and effective way of conveying quite a lot of information at once.
My main concern is confusion. When you have to use just sound to convey a whole scene it is very difficult to describe two different narrative strands at once and distinguish between them effectively. Even now, after several readings, I am not sure which sounds belong to which narrative strand.
This was either good or really good, depending on whether he was really only listening to the ice-cubes rattle in his drink or not. So, which was it? :)
This was enjoyable, and the interchange between the two characters was well done. I would have liked to have seen names, though. Any reason why not?
The setting was well described and I liked the idea behind the ring. The ending was a bit of a let-down, however.
His stomach and most other organs dropped out of his body completely, and crawled off somewhere to sulk together This is quite a change of tone for the piece, like jumping from Terry Brooks to Terry Pratchett and back again in one sentence. While the ring's end result was suitably impressive, the actual effect was less so. Felt like you skimped on the effects' budget there ;)
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