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Feedback request please

Hi I am looking for some feedback about my writing. I have only recently started writing and am looking for an honest opinion. Constructive critism would be helpful, but please don't be mean for the sake of it. Thanks 

CABIN/ LAKE SCENE
 
Waking up each morning meant another day of tedious monotony, loneliness and dread. Rose awoke to the icy morning air seeping into her skin, the thin blanket she covered herself in not thick enough to keep away the chill. She wrapped the blanket tighter around her frail shoulders and tip-toed her way to the metal rail holding her clothing, needed something warmer to envelop herself in. These four walls and the small adjoining bathroom were her own personal prison glaring at her mockingly. She rarely got to leave her room, confined for her own safety and that of others. At least that’s what they told her. The only item that meant something to her here was her easel. When a nightmare hit she could draw it, paint it until the last remnants were scraped from her mind. Having it glare at her from the paper was easier than bearing the fear inside, her thoughts trapping her. The doctor explained that if they could see it, maybe it would aid them in helping her. She didn’t believe them.
 
Rose gasped awake, drenched in freezing cold sweat from her nightmare. Tears filled her eyes as she blinked rapidly trying to dispel them before they could fall. Becoming conscious of her surroundings, she had forgotten in the terror, that she was in the cabin with Cam. She was safe. Rose didn’t remember falling asleep on the sofa last night as she looked down upon herself Cam had covered her in a thick patchwork throw blanket and had tucked a pillow in behind her head. She lay back down snuggling into the warmth of the blanket and let her mind wonder, thoughts of warm grey eyes and a kind smile occupying her.
 
As dawn loomed Rose made her way outside determined to go back to the lake. This was something she needed to do alone. As impossible as it seemed that magic lives within her she needed to know, to see it and feel it for herself. Quickly she scribbled a note for Cam and left it on the dining table, grabbing only her backpack and setting off as the sun rose. The path was easy to follow deeply engraved from years of use, only the uneven ground to contend with. In hindsight walking through the forest alone in semi darkness probably isn’t the best idea, but nonetheless made it in good time with no major injury. To her intense relief. Arriving at the lake she went to the waters edge, sitting down amongst the pebbles to catch her breath. The sun now fully risen in the sky, the early morning rays sparkled off the surface of the lake. Illuminating the intensely coloured pebbles and creating a diamond shine shimmering across the water, throwing multi-coloured rays through the scattered mist atop of the lake.

Comments

  • oncewasoncewas Librarian

    The way I see it, writing is a conversation between the author and his or her readers. No conversation is ever as stilted as prose is. No one emotes to the nth degree in real life and every glance doesn't have meaning.

    I think the best skill a writer can learn is to employ a light and natural touch. Too many of the posts I see in the forum come across like a high school composition exercise. There is nothing wrong with what you have written - it is better than a lot of what I have seen posted here - but it comes across as too formulaic and I wouldn't want to read a book that was written this way. I want to read a book in which I can immediately identify an author's voice and note his or her quirks and foibles. I don't read to have every last detail described to me; the skilled author knows when to soar, and when to glide.

    As you say, you have only just begun your journey. If you keep in mind the importance of developing your own voice you won't go wrong.


  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    OK, a bit at a time.

    needed something warmer to envelop herself in

    should that not be - needing?

    Well, in actual fact, it all looks quite good to me. But never let that stop you always attempting to make it even better.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    oncewas Librarian

    The way I see it, writing is a conversation between the author and his or her readers.

    Only if that it the way it is written.

     No conversation is ever as stilted as prose is.

    That's true. Hence why prose is called prose.

     No one emotes to the nth degree in real life

    They do, even if they do not know it.

     and every glance doesn't have meaning.

    Yes it does, or the action would not happen.

    I think the best skill a writer can learn is to employ a light and natural touch.

    Even in 'heavy' subjects?

     Too many of the posts I see in the forum come across like a high school composition exercise.

    But you only criticise and never yourself make suggestions.

     There is nothing wrong with what you have written - it is better than a lot of what I have seen posted here -

    I cannot disagree with that, but I bet some will ...

     but it comes across as too formulaic and I wouldn't want to read a book that was written this way.

    It is very stereotypical, but when has that ever stopped book sales? With some top selling prolific writers it's as if they have come up with computer software that cab churn out books in their 'style.' And I will not even bother going on about Mills & Boons.

    I want to read a book in which I can immediately identify an author's voice and note his or her quirks and foibles.

    Erm, only read autobiographies then? Granted many writers have styles, but they should not project their own personality in to their works. If they do, then it all becomes the same.

     I don't read to have every last detail described to me;

    Just what is relevant. What sets a scene or even a mood. But to some readers, some things are all relevant. Possibly because they have no imagination.

     the skilled author knows when to soar, and when to glide.

    Meaning what?

    As you say, you have only just begun your journey. If you keep in mind the importance of developing your own voice you won't go wrong.

    And try to avoid writing stories that sound over-used already.

  • I think that OnceWas has presented a good point. The voice with which the author speaks needs a bit of work. If we think of this as a scene in a movie, the first paragraph is a bit choppy: The camera is in her mind, on what she's doing, in her mind, on what she's doing. It's good, but it needs to be smoothed out and made into a consistent voice.

    I am also a bit confused by what appear to be three separate starts at the same story.

    Did she snap away from paragraph 1 into paragraph 2? Is Paragraph 3 a continuation of paragraph 2, or a distinct timeline?

    Again, good writing, but there's a need for some sanding and polishing. Also, some semicolons would go well in places.
  • Waking up each morning meant another day of tedious monotony, loneliness and dread. Rose awoke to the icy morning air seeping into her skin[;]the thin blanket she covered herself in [was] not thick enough to keep away the chill. She wrapped [pulled?] the blanket tighter around her frail shoulders and tip-toed her way to the metal rail. [It held her clothing.] holding her clothing, [She] needed something warmer to envelop herself in. [paragraph?] These four walls and the small adjoining bathroom were her own personal prison, glaring at her mockingly. She rarely got to leave her room[. She was ]confined for her own safety and that of others. At least that’s what they told her. The only item that meant something to her here was her easel. When a nightmare hit she could draw it[;] paint it until the last remnants were scraped from her mind. Having it glare at her from the paper was easier than bearing the fear inside[;] her thoughts trapping her. The doctor explained that if they could see it, maybe it would aid them in helping her. She didn’t believe them.

    Right. So, these are a few changes that I might make -- more style than anything else. For the most part the spelling and grammar are pretty good. This is not a question of right or wrong, and style editors have been known to draw knives over questions of an Oxford comma. Still, a few things:

    Waking is enough to imply waking up; another day implies each morning. We will not think that she is waking to boredom just this one morning. Loneliness was redundant with monotony, imho. One or the other had to go. It's kind of fifty-fifty if "tedious" should be there.

    Now, a style point: There follow several run-on sentences pasted together by a comma. Some of these can be fixed with an upgrade to a semi-colon -- it is permissible to join sentences with a semicolon, but not with a comma. In a few others, we need to come to a full stop, breathe, and then continue. A long continuous sentence is great in its place, but that place so rarely comes along that long sentences should generally be avoided. We all make this mistake.

    A point of clarity: A rail cannot hold her clothing. A railing, or better still, a fence, or perhaps a grillwork barricade, might hold her back from her clothing. Or might separate her from her clothing. But it must necessarily be part of an enclosure. Otherwise, the reader stops to try to imagine how this works... Can she reach through the grillwork and grab a coat?

    Then there's the phrase to envelop herself in. [My emphasis]. Grammar alarms go off when sentences end in prepositions. Technically, this should be "In which to envelop herself" though, yes, it does sound very stilted, doesn't it? But what are the choices?

    * To envelop herself
    * To wrap herself
    * To wrap around herself
    * To snuggle into
    etc.,

    Any of which might be the right stylistic choice, based on the writer's voice and the character's normal speech patterns.

    Again, generally quite good, above the par, but definitely needs fine-tuning and adjustment.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I think that OnceWas has presented a good point. The voice with which the author speaks needs a bit of work. If we think of this as a scene in a movie, the first paragraph is a bit choppy: The camera is in her mind, on what she's doing, in her mind, on what she's doing. It's good, but it needs to be smoothed out and made into a consistent voice.

    I would say that using the camera example, it's not in the character's mind, if that's what you meant, but in the reader's.

    I am also a bit confused by what appear to be three separate starts at the same story.

    I read it as three different days.

    Did she snap away from paragraph 1 into paragraph 2? Is Paragraph 3 a continuation of paragraph 2, or a distinct timeline?

    It does need making clearer, if you do not know what it describes, then others wont either. 

    Again, good writing, but there's a need for some sanding and polishing. Also, some semicolons would go well in places.

    If that is a first draft for a new writer, it shows promise. A shame it is not a unique concept.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Waking up each morning meant another day of tedious monotony,

    To me that means it happens every day, 'Each morning.'

    loneliness and dread.

    Why get rid of loneliness? It's saying what the girl is experiencing.

     Rose awoke to the icy morning air seeping into her skin[;]

    why not just a ,  ?     ; is used for lists.

    the thin blanket she covered herself in [was]

    It's fine without it. (Although there is a mix of tenses.)

     not thick enough to keep away the chill. She wrapped [pulled?]

    No, wrapped. She is stood up, although it does not mention her getting out of bed!

     the blanket tighter around her frail shoulders and tip-toed her way to the metal rail. [It held her clothing.] holding her clothing,

    I see no reason to change that, although it could say metal clothes rail.

     [She] needed something warmer to envelop herself in.

    To wear sounds more suitable instead.

    [paragraph?] These four walls and the small adjoining bathroom

    Hrmm, interesting. She just lives in her bedroom? Or is it a bedsit? What?

     were her own personal prison

    Personal may mean it's of her own choice.

    glaring at her mockingly.

    How do walls, and/or rooms do that then?

     She rarely got to leave her room[. She was ]confined for her own safety and that of others.

    The shortening of sentences in such a way can make a statement seem more abrupt. I see no harm I it.

    At least that’s what they told her. The only item that meant something to her here was her easel. When a nightmare hit she could draw it[;]

    Perhaps the use of and?

     paint it until the last remnants were scraped from her mind. Having it glare at her from the paper was easier than bearing the fear inside[;] her thoughts trapping her.

    I don't see how that would work.

     The doctor explained that if they could see it, maybe it would aid them in helping her. She didn’t believe them.

    Right. So, these are a few changes that I might make -- more style than anything else. For the most part the spelling and grammar are pretty good. This is not a question of right or wrong, and style editors have been known to draw knives over questions of an Oxford comma. Still, a few things:

    Indeed  :)

    Waking is enough to imply waking up; another day implies each morning. We will not think that she is waking to boredom just this one morning. Loneliness was redundant with monotony, imho.

    Why? People can be bored amongst people.

     One or the other had to go. It's kind of fifty-fifty if "tedious" should be there.

    Now, a style point: There follow several run-on sentences pasted together by a comma. Some of these can be fixed with an upgrade to a semi-colon -- it is permissible to join sentences with a semicolon, but not with a comma.

    And yet it is so common to do so. A comma is a short pause, A full stop a long one, or the end. a semi-colon is used when things are in a list thought to be too long to use commas > and (end.) Are you mixing it up with :  ?

     In a few others, we need to come to a full stop, breathe, and then continue. A long continuous sentence is great in its place, but that place so rarely comes along that long sentences should generally be avoided. We all make this mistake.

    It can denote a rush, as in a breathless rush of words.

    A point of clarity: A rail cannot hold her clothing. A railing, or better still, a fence, or perhaps a grillwork barricade, might hold her back from her clothing. Or might separate her from her clothing. But it must necessarily be part of an enclosure. Otherwise, the reader stops to try to imagine how this works... Can she reach through the grillwork and grab a coat?

    Then there's the phrase to envelop herself in. [My emphasis]. Grammar alarms go off when sentences end in prepositions.

    They do? But it's another thing in common usage in words in books, etc.

     Technically, this should be "In which to envelop herself" though, yes, it does sound very stilted, doesn't it? But what are the choices?

    * To envelop herself
    * To wrap herself
    * To wrap around herself
    * To snuggle into
    etc.,

    Well, the use of envelope sounds peculiar anyway!

    Any of which might be the right stylistic choice, based on the writer's voice and the character's normal speech patterns.

    Again, generally quite good, above the par, but definitely needs fine-tuning and adjustment.

    Indeed. The simple fact that when people are reading words, they may put a totally different idea in to heads. As if the words are saying something else in their minds.

    Also, some people dislike 'details,' but is that girl in her own bedroom in her house? I thought so at first. But then it says she is locked up. Again, is she in her own bedroom in her home? But then it sounds as if she is in a private secure room in  a hospital (doctors.) Granted I have not read the rest, but which is it?

    Oh, and I am still not sure how walls glare.

  • Somehow, I doubt that your walls do.

    Apparently (from the three paragraphs viewed as a continuous tale), the girl has nightmares of being in a hospital or penal institution (or both) where she is involuntarily confined with minimal clothing. She is really, however, in a cabin with someone named Cam. They are quite happy and she is quite safe, which prompts her to go outside, where she will be less happy and less safe. But she left a note for Cam.

    Any more questions?
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Somehow, I doubt that your walls do.

    The walls don't, the mirrors may.

    Apparently (from the three paragraphs viewed as a continuous tale), the girl has nightmares of being in a hospital or penal institution (or both) where she is involuntarily confined with minimal clothing.

    As I said, I only read what I commented on. I think at first you only read and comment on the first sections also. So, like I suggested? It covered three mornings?

     She is really, however, in a cabin with someone named Cam. They are quite happy and she is quite safe, which prompts her to go outside, where she will be less happy and less safe. But she left a note for Cam.

    But is she really? Which is the nightmare and which is reality?

    Any more questions?

    I don't recall asking you any, thanks, but should it not be the writer who answers any that are asked and the points made?

  • Hence my leading adverb, apparently.
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