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Feedback request please

This is my first time writing a novel and I'm currently just drafting ideas and working on an opening chapter. It is aimed at a young adult audience I would appreciate some feedback on whether or not it is worth continuing. I am aware it is full of errors.  Thanks


It was just past twilight, the last remnants of the sun setting on the horizon and a quiet calm in the air. Tonight rose sat in her favourite spot blanketed by the large canopy under the willow tree partially hidden from view. It was here she felt safest as though she could truly relax away from the anxiety that plagued her mind. Today was rose's 18th birthday and she had never felt truly comfortable in her own skin. She was fair skinned, mousy blond and very petite at just 5ft. Her eyes were dark blue and she longed to be different, special just special in someone else's eyes. Rose believed in the beauty of books and the power they gave you, how a story can give you a new perspective and move you to a different time and place, give you strength and allow you to be who really are. At least for a while. She longed for adventure but rose was shy and thought it safer to keep your nose in a book then seek out adventure in life. She took a deep breath and steeled herself for the evening ahead. She picked up her book and parted the curtain of willow leaves shielding her from view. As she stepped back onto the path she locked eyes with someone unexpected. He was tall, handsome with dark blonde hair, a strong jaw and the most beautiful eyes, unique. They were steel blue almost grey with a ring of yellow around the pupil. Stunning . 
As he walked past her rose was overcome with the strangest feeling, dizzy as though she had surfaced from a dream or as though a great pressure was lifted from her shoulders. Suddenly overwhelmed with emotion she stopped, closed her eyes and took a calming breath. Surely it was just coincidence. She turned to look for the handsome stranger but in the blink of an eye he was gone.

After her unexpected encounter rose was late. It was her birthday and she was expected to have dinner with her parents and her sister. She turned up at the restaurant and sat down still in a daze . Her sister Amelia gave her a knowing look, she knew something was up. Amelia was 18 months younger than herself and was as different to rose as night and day. Yet they couldn't be closer . She was tall, blonde with pale blue eyes but it wasn't her physical appearance that was their biggest difference but her personality. Amelia was confident, she exudes presence and was friendly, outgoing easy to be around. Always looked perfect with her hair and makeup despite being naturally beautiful and rose envied the ease in which she spoke to people. If only. Amelia looked at rose not fooled when she said everything was fine, and she knew in that moment she couldn't hide what happened even if on the outside nothing happened, not really. Then why did she have feeling that everything was about change. Rose couldn't explain it not even to herself she just knew somehow it had everything to do with that beautiful stranger. If only she could see him again maybe everything would make sense.

Later that night as rose laid in bed willing herself to fall into a blissful sleep, she felt a presence. It was a beautiful night, the air balmy but not stifling a light breeze rustling the leaves outside her window, it should have been peaceful. She climbed out of bed opened her window and looked outside. She blinked her first thought, am I dreaming? For surely it was a dream. 
The night looked different to rose, frightening, the leaves swaying in the breeze slowed to a point and the air felt so thick as though the life was being sucked out from around her .Shadows creeping up making her skin crawl bleeding into her vision until she was overwhelmed with fear and panic, in desperation she screamed but no one heard her cries.

The next morning Rose was tired, exhausted was more accurate so she decided to make her way to her favourite coffee house, it never failed to make her feel better. Standing in line watching the people surrounding her someone caught her eye. It was him . The handsome stranger she locked eyes with the day before. Rose didn't know why but she felt drawn to him, it wasn't his looks despite being outrageously handsome but his aura. Rose willed herself to be brave, so she picked herself a caramel macchiato to go and approached him praying it wasn't a fools hope. He was sat in the corner of the coffee house furthest table away from anyone else almost shielded from view. He was wearing a grey sweater, black skinny jeans and combat boots, hair tousled and looking gorgeous. He was sketching, lips pouted in concentration, as she approached she caught a glance of his drawing. A shiver creeped up her spine, on the page he had drawn her nightmare from her perspective capturing it as a moment in time. The way the leaves had stopped and the night became still and the colour bled from the night bleaching everything of colour of substance with shadows approaching. Rose couldn't breathe, before she knew it a load crash brought her back to herself she had dropped her coffee on the floor, she turned to flee she couldn't do this, not here not now.










Comments

  • First off, if you have a story to tell, do it. It is always worth working on it, even if it's just a hobby.

    Regarding the content you posted, I feel strongly that you need to focus on showing versus telling. What you have reads as a fair outline for a scene, but at no time do I feel "in" the moment.

    Don't take that as harsh criticism, I believe a great many skilled and novice writers suffer from telling with their early drafts. Now that you've got the ideas down, go back into the story and really bring it to life.

    Best of luck!
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Sorry Paul, I don't understand the meaning of showing and not telling. These are words, not images. Words are Telling. Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall one writing 'guru' coming up with the showing notion, and some seem to have latched on to it. But it makes no sense, and people I have asked about its meaning cannot explain it.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    There's a lot of text there, which would take a long time to read, so I will just try some of it.

    It was just past twilight, the last remnants of the sun setting on the horizon and a quiet calm

    Don't both quiet and calm mean more or less the same thing?

     in the air. Tonight rose

    Rose sounds to be a person, so it should be Rose, not rose.

     sat in her favourite spot blanketed by the large canopy under the willow tree partially hidden from view.

    She is hidden from view? Or is the tree? Or is the canopy? But I am trying to picture that and having problems.

     It was here she felt safest as though she could truly relax away from the anxiety that plagued her mind. Today was rose's 18th birthday

    It's often customary to write numbers as letters. 

     and she had never felt truly comfortable in her own skin. She was fair skinned, mousy blond

    That's an unusual term. Mousy usually means light brown, not blond.

     and very petite at just 5ft. Her eyes were dark blue

    So what colour are they now?

     and she longed to be different, special just special in someone else's eyes. Rose believed in the beauty of books and the power they gave you, how a story can give you a new perspective and move you to a different time and place, give you strength and allow you to be who really are. At least for a while. She longed for adventure but rose was shy and thought it safer to keep your nose in a book then seek out adventure in life. She took a deep breath and steeled herself for the evening ahead. She picked up her book and parted the curtain of willow leaves shielding her from view.

    So the tree is creating the canopy? There's not a canopy under the tree?

     As she stepped back onto the path she locked eyes with someone unexpected. He was tall, handsome with dark blonde hair, a strong jaw and the most beautiful eyes, unique.

    Hardly. :)

     They were steel blue almost grey with a ring of yellow around the pupil. Stunning . 

    OK, I assume it's Chicklit? It's very stereotypical of such, but that never stops them selling by the bucket load, but a touch of originality would be nice.

    A thing to consider is that what you think you are putting across may not read the same to others as it does to you, hence some of my comments.

    There's a lot to be desired in the formatting of your work, but seeing as it's a draft, that's forgivable, but it can help to get in to the habit of formatting as you go along. Now what should never happen is not using a capital at the start of a person's name. That should be automatic.


  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    Sorry Paul, I don't understand the meaning of showing and not telling. These are words, not images. Words are Telling. Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall one writing 'guru' coming up with the showing notion, and some seem to have latched on to it. But it makes no sense, and people I have asked about its meaning cannot explain it.
    Kevin, that you do not understand the metaphor does not make it a bad metaphor. It merely means that you, personally, don't understand it. For the rest of us, it is a useful way to convey a certain bit of information. It's too bad that you feel left out, but you needn't remark on feeling left out every time the metaphor is used.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Kevin, that you do not understand the metaphor does not make it a bad metaphor. It merely means that you, personally, don't understand it. For the rest of us, it is a useful way to convey a certain bit of information. It's too bad that you feel left out, but you needn't remark on feeling left out every time the metaphor is used.

    A metaphor normally makes sense, and you are one of the ones who cannot explain its meaning :) Words are telling. Images are showing. Simple.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Anyway, would you like to comment on the OP's posting?
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    Right off the bat: well done on writing a proper start to what sounds like a good story. Your spelling is excellent, and with a few issues (described below) your grammar is at least passable. Believe it or not, that by itself puts you ahead of the curve.

    Rose sounds like a lovely girl, though this fellow sounds like trouble. So, well done thus far, but let's talk about how it can be better.

    Today was rose's 18th birthday and she had never felt truly comfortable in her own skin. She was fair skinned, mousy blond and very petite at just 5ft. Her eyes were dark blue and she longed to be different, special just special in someone else's eyes. Rose believed in the beauty of books and the power they gave you, how a story can give you a new perspective and move you to a different time and place, give you strength and allow you to be who really are. At least for a while. She longed for adventure but rose was shy and thought it safer to keep your nose in a book then seek out adventure in life. She took a deep breath and steeled herself for the evening ahead. She picked up her book and parted the curtain of willow leaves shielding her from view.

    I agree with Paul: There are the elements of a good story, but there is a lot of work to do. Rose should never be rose, for example. Blond should be blonde (it is one of the very few English gendered adjectives).

    5ft. should be "5 feet" or better still, "five feet tall." "longed to be different, special just special in someone else's eyes" should be "longed to be different; special -- just special -- in someone else's eyes" -- semicolons can be used as conjunctions; commas cannot. The dashes, to make a "2 EM line" around "just special" will give it a standoff and an emphasis that ti truly needs. Alternatively, use commas to distinguish the clause.

    Well, not to pick it apart, but there are many basic grammatical points to address, like those. That can be done in the editing phase, if you prefer, but it will need to be done.

    Now, as to the show and tell metaphor that Paul used... Suppose that instead of "She was fair skinned, mousy blond and very petite at just 5ft. Her eyes were dark blue and she longed to be different, special just special in someone else's eyes. Rose believed in the beauty of books and the power they gave you, " you had written something more like this:

    She raised her beautiful blue eyes, dark like deep waters, from the book in her left hand. She tossed her mousy-blonde hair and sighed. She ached to be special, truly special, in the eyes of someone else, like the characters in the books that transported her so deeply. Drawing herself to her full five-foot stature, she turned from the quiet glade and ...

    Okay, we're still "telling" a story here, but instead of making each detail a statement, we've worked them into the story. We don't have to say that she has deep blue eyes; we've just described them while giving her an action: Raising them from her book. We don't have to say that she finds books to be magical; we've already shown her bookishness by saying that they "transport" her.

    To be more clear, you could say: "She held up a book. It was heavy." This would be what we call "telling" because you are merely stating facts. Or, you could say, "She lifted the heavy book in her aching arms, hugging it to her." Now we've put the facts into a framework... We're "showing" because the details -- the facts -- are integrated into the actions. That is what we mean by "show, don't tell." 

    Or, to pick up on another thing Paul said: A story that is "told" doesn't draw the reader in. The reader doesn't feel that he or she can imagine the world that the writer is describing. But when you "show" -- that is, integrate the details and the feelings into the actions and the events -- the reader understands the scene, and his or her mind slides easily into the narrative stream. And that is what you want, a reader hooked into the story.

    Well, I hope that helps. Please post more of the story if you'd like more comments and more help.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    A thing to consider is that what you think you are putting across may not read the same to others as it does to you
    I had to call out this phrase because it seems to be exuding a red-oxide ore; something strangely metallic and magnetic... *cough,cough*
  • Thank you for your feedback I appreciate it. I am aware there is a lot wrong with it at the moment, I only started writing it 2 days ago. The tips you have given are helpful and I definitely understand your views on it, I'm sure it will help me continue on with it. Also thanks for not being absolutely brutal, I was concerned I would be discouraged to continue.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    It's a good start, and sometimes getting the idea out on paper is enough to start the muse into motion.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Just keep going over and over it, twiddling and tweaking.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    BTW. 'Showing' is still an image, such as a photo or painting. But as they say, a picture paints a thousand words, so if the picture is not available, then use those words instead. Such as in 'Telling a Story.'

    As to descriptions of people. I use both methods. Almost instant description, or incidentally spread throughout the story. I can think of at least one famous prolific writer who uses the instant description method for everyone in his stories, even ones who only appear for one paragraph. I guess it adds 'colour.' It definitely 'paints a picture.'

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    A thing to consider is that what you think you are putting across may not read the same to others as it does to you
    I had to call out this phrase because it seems to be exuding a red-oxide ore; something strangely metallic and magnetic... *cough,cough*

    You need to explain what you mean there. Tell me. :)

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    The metal which is most often associated with a red oxide is Iron, thus the phrase in bold (above) seems to be Irony (a pun, since iron != irony). Irony is a literary device in which a writer says one thing but means another, often the exact opposite. For example, when Jonathan Swift suggested cannibalism as a means of Irish prosperity, he was really saying, "Wake up, people! The English are eating us alive (economically)!" [ _A Modest Proposal_] . That essay is widely regarded as one of the most subtle bits of irony ever written.

    In the instant case (That means the bold phrase at the top of this post) you are telling someone else that what THEY think that they are putting across may not read the same to others (i.e. YOU ) but in fact what YOU think YOU are putting across may not read the same to OTHERS, i.e. US. This is known as irony, and in this case accidental irony, since I doubt you meant it quite that way.

    So, to make a long story short, "Physician, Heal Thyself."
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    A thing to consider is that what you think you are putting across may not read the same to others as it does to you.

    So what did that mean to you then?

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