Author Learning Center / Sharing drafts on blog.

«1

Comments

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    I have no idea. Where is it? If you mean the Learning Centre that is.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • I think I spelled it correctly. There seems a lot of instructional videos on there but not much of a social aspect. I was looking for a forum, so decided to ask on here if anyone on here uses it.  

    Plainly speaking I'm shy and forgot to explain myself better. I realize I need help with my book and wanted to get someone here to friend me or tell me I posted an incorrect link. 
  • Author Learning Center is more of an information dump (I think they are paywalled too) for authors to get professional info and insight.

    If you're looking for writing advice or help, you're in the right place!
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Ah, right. There's 100s if not 1000s of resources for writers on line. But do beware of ones that attempt to lead you in to buying 'help' or even towards expensive publishing services. The latter you can get here for free. The actual publishing that is. But you can also get tons of free advice on Lulu and not only within the forums.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • As a general rule, we on this forum are quite helpful and seldom overly brutal. If you'd care to post a bit of a story, we will certainly comment, and some of the comments will be useful.
  • Okay, Here's an excerpt from my book. ""Latest" version.  Clicky.
  • If I may...

    Before I say anything else, it is a proper story with a proper progression of correct English sentences, and we don't always see that, so thank you very much. There is a lot that could work well in the tale as it sits, though I would suggest that you review a few points...

    The grass dances in the warm breeze in celebration, back lit by the waning light of an afternoon sun. 

    I found this opening somewhat dissonant. For the grass to be back lit, we must be looking towards the sun, presumably from a very low angle. Also, it is "afternoon" which to me, with no other information, would seem to be... Two? Three? Four? But a moment later, it's dusk. Okay, you did say "waning light" but to me that suggests darkening towards evening, even twilight. 

    Maybe I'm too OCD on this point, but it seems tough to get a time fix here.

    Today is special.

    After a long drought, the thirst is finally quenched with the blood of a dove.

    Quenching a thirst with the blood of a dove strongly suggests either some very dark evil, or else a sacrificial ritual of some sort. It's making the story much darker in tone than the prior sentences made it. It's early evening, and BAM! BLOOD SACRIFICE, DUDE!

    If it were me, I would lay a bit of groundwork before jumping into the blood of a dove. Perhaps either more description of the otherwise peaceful and bucolic scenery, for greater contrast, or else a sense of foreboding that leads into the ominous thirst-quenching, for foreshadowing. Something about the growing darkness, the lengthening of shadows, the slow fading of the light... And then, the ominous declaration: That this day, doves shall die.

    Two young boys walk at dusk. One is dressed in black with a black cape while the other is in white with a rainbow cape of many colors. The boy in black raises a hand to the air and points at something in the distance as it happens. Equally sharp-eyed, the boy in white sees it as well.

    It tends to bother me -- and perhaps this is just me -- when a story begins in the present tense. It does tell us the scene -- that two boys are walking by a field of tall grasses at dusk -- but it doesn't give us a place to engage in the story. We are too far removed, too distant, too remote.

    First two boys walk. Then we hear how they're dressed. Then one of them points. The other also sees it. This is not capturing the imagination of the reader. The final sentence of the paragraph actually grates on me a bit. I very much dislike sentences that begin with a dependent clause. What if you made that paragraph read more like this:

    The two boys walked along the narrow lane. One, dressed all in black, swaggered boldly, his black cape snapping to and fro in the slight breeze. The other, dressed in white, drew his multicolored cape closer around him, as if to block the falling night. The boy in black, with a sidelong glance at his little brother, pointed a narrow finger at the sky. The boy in white, equally sharp-eyed, had seen it also.

    I've covered roughly the same points of exposition, with only one more line of text, but this paragraph, in the past tense, tends to introduce the characters. Later, when we see them squabbling over their grandfather's reprimands, we will already have a foreknowledge of their personalities. In the last line, I've taken the dependent clause from the front of the sentence and parked it in the middle. This gives it better verbal balance.

    If you apply these sorts of principles throughout the story -- going to past tense, drawing the "camera" in a bit tighter, and introducing ideas slowly, with a gradual transition -- in my opinion, you'd have something better and more engaging.

    It is always a good idea to ask yourself, "What, in my story, will engage with the reader?"

    I realize that this is a rough draft, and miles to go before you sleep, and miles to go before you sleep*, but those are some points to consider...

    I hope that helps.

    _________________________
    * Allusion is made to Robert Frost, "On Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
  • Examples of things that need a more gradual and more natural introduction: The agling* grandfather centaur; the goddess wrapped in a snake; the interplay between the eagle, the dove, and the raven; the smaller boy's power to resurrect the dead...

    Also, you may wish to fact-check eagle behaviors. In my experience, when raptors are high in the air, lesser birds hide themselves away, lest they become lunch. I believe that the eagle's reaction to a dove or a raven, either one, would be to dive on them and snatch them in his talons before carrying them to a convenient place for an uninterrupted meal. I could be wrong, but it bears checking.

    _____________________
    * I found myself pronouncing this "Aggling" (rhyming with haggling) instead of, as I assume you intended, "Aige-ling," that is, one who is aged. I might instead call him an elder, a white-hair, El Viejo, Grandad, Pops, patriarch, pater, paterfamilias, begetter, ancestor, old man, snow-mane, aged one.

    Just a thought. Hope it helps.
  • Too brutal? Sorry...
  • Okay. Good then. Trying to be helpful.
  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    I tend to let my work sit for a while. Whenever I approach the work to edit later later I do so from the POV of 'What did the putz I was leave me this time?'
  • I think that the new sample is a big improvement. It is easier to connect to the story, though the opening could still use a bit of fleshing-in. In general, the story seems more as if it is happening in front of us, as opposed to being told to us.

    A big step forward, imho.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    "A curtain was lifted, revealing a mockup of a beach." -- the entire remainder of the story would be impossible on a stage of any kind. When the reader is locked into a what-the-heck moment -- are we on a stage or in the ocean? -- they will break out of the story, and probably put it down.

    "Bleach was embarrassed to see that she was completely naked." Okay, who the heck is Bleach? Is he the sailor? Or is he a member of the audience, watching the stage-show? Again, if the reader can't understand the ground-rules, he won't keep reading.

    Once it goes, it's a passable tale. It needs fleshing out and clarification -- lots of clarification. It's downright murky. I had to read it twice to understand that the sailor, despite being able to make love to a mermaid under water (itself logistically improbable) was most likely drowned.

    Why the mermen would be glad not to have shared his fate is unclear, since they presumably can breathe underwater. Color me baffled.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    I see. So that post was not spam but a link to further text to do with a posting from months ago. It's not something I would expect to see on a blog site. Oh well.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • facsmthfacsmth Author
    sorry, Kevin.

    What mermen, Skoob_ym? It was watched by sailors. 
    To clarify, yes this is from a blog where I'm sharing some material from fiction as it might not be read otherwise. 

    Here's an earlier scene introducing the circus barker. 
    https://mickiedoohickey.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/circus-barker/ 



  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    It would be read in this forum if you pasted some in this forum ...

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    It would be read in this forum if you pasted some in this forum ...

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    facsmth said:
    sorry, Kevin.

    What mermen, Skoob_ym? It was watched by sailors. 
    To clarify, yes this is from a blog where I'm sharing some material from fiction as it might not be read otherwise. 

    Here's an earlier scene introducing the circus barker. 
    https://mickiedoohickey.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/circus-barker/
    Mea Culpa:

    I misread "menfolk" as "merfolk."

    Nonetheless, lacking context, merfolk (i.e. mermen and merwomen) is as likely a reading as any other. What I'm getting at here is that the passage is very rough.
  • facsmthfacsmth Author
    edited May 21
    It would be read in this forum if you pasted some in this forum ...
    Okay. Didn't want to take up too much bandwidth & space with a bunch of paragraphs.

    Okay, Skoob. I was worried that many of my previous editing attempts were done on the beginning of the story rather than on much of the unchanged middle chapters. 

    Either that or I slashed out material completely & removed it without revision for whatever reasons... 
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    "The fat man was shouting/ laughing/ singing in a boastful voice that was loud enough to be heard but at the same time pleasant to listen to. He was having a dialogue with a rather large woman in red dress who held a baby wrapped in blue (that signified it was a boy) and was an old woman, presumably her mother."

    Huh? The first thing I thought was that the baby was an old woman who was the mother of the large woman.
  • facsmthfacsmth Author
    "The fat man was shouting/ laughing/ singing in a boastful voice that was loud enough to be heard but at the same time pleasant to listen to. He was having a dialogue with a rather large woman in red dress who held a baby wrapped in blue (that signified it was a boy) and was an old woman, presumably her mother."

    Huh? The first thing I thought was that the baby was an old woman who was the mother of the large woman.
    Amazing how omitting "with" from "was with" detracts from the story. 
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    "The fat man was shouting/ laughing/ singing

    Is this multiple choice? Is the reader expected to cross two out? Whatever choice is made will affect the meaning greatly. You need to expand on that sentence and be less lazy with it.

     in a boastful voice that was loud enough to be heard , but at the same time pleasant to listen to. He was having a dialogue

    Not as such because he was also laughing and singing.

     with a rather large woman in a red dress

    Was the man or the woman wearing the dress?

     who held a baby wrapped in blue (that signified it was a boy (not if it was in Victorian times where boys wore pink and girls blue :)).) and was an old woman, presumably her mother."

    Really, this all proves that just because something makes sense to the writer does not mean it makes sense, or the same thing, to the reader.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • facsmthfacsmth Author
    edited May 22
    Sorry again. I seem to be submitting the worst material for perusal while thinking I liked it.

    Let's try this! 593 words. What age do you think the girl should be? Adult content. Some nudity. I don't know if it's NSFW or not. 

    Amy's Miracle

    She loved him. She knew it was foolish, since he didn't truly love her. She had loved both of them for so long. They were different. Completely unlike any two people she'd ever met. And this was why she loved them.

     

    She herself is far too ordinary. Others may have commented on how her beauty, but they would call just about anything beautiful. To her, it was a hollow word. As a girl, she had once cavorted in a mound of fertilizer because she had believed that it would magically expedite her growth much like that of plants; for which a farmer relative of hers had named it "miraculous". It wasn't until afterward that she had realized that the word "fertilizer" was actually synonymous with "horse shit." From this day, Amy never trusted anything anyone ever said. If a pile of animal feces could be a called a "miracle," then the word "beautiful" can also be a euphemism for ugliness. 

    She had the misfortune of living in a city of lies. She had been born here and could see no means of her own to leave. Yet, they had been born elsewhere, in the outside world! Together they may conceive of a way to escape.

     She had failed in her attempt to "persuade" his brother to take her. Take her from here. She had approached him once, just after midnight. 

    She knew what others would only guess: he prowls at night. She could never remember seeing him during the day. She couldn’t quite say that if she had seen him, that she would have been capable of recognizing him because she never had the chance to see much of his face. 

    Yet, because of the fact that he was even out at all during the night was indication enough of who he was. She was also sure --- were it someone else --- then they would not have left their home without the aid of lantern.

     

    She had snuck out of her house wearing only a flimsy nightgown and had carried no light. Even though it was cold out, the nightgown was drenched in a sweat of anticipation so that it clung to her uncomfortably. 

    She decided to take it off and as she pulled it over her head, she smelled him even before she had heard the ghostly flap of that cape he wore. 

    At first, she had been afraid of that sound. It reminded her of window that had been left open at night; a window through which the wind might blow and rustle a curtain. A window through which something else far more sinister might crawl through... 

    Yet, she had not run because her first sign of his passage had not been that sound, it had been his smell. 

    It was the fact that he actually smelled, really. She was sure that he bathed; yet the smell which had wafted through her nostrils and electrified her brain with excitement had not been a smell which a body could naturally produce. 

    What she had smelled was most assuredly blood. She finally extricated herself from the sodden garment and had carelessly rolled it up into a ball and threw it behind her into the bushes where it would stay forever for all she cared. 

    When she was rid of it, her last shreds of modestly and the fear which it produced was gone. She at first held her arms across her breasts for a moment, and then let them fall seductively to her sides with her hands on her hips. She was ready.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Let's try this! 593 words. What age do you think the girl should be? Adult content. Some nudity.

    I did not read it. It's your story so you should decide what age she should be.

     I don't know if it's NSFW or not. 

    I have no idea what that is.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

«1
Sign In or Register to comment.