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Selene LuPaine
08-06-2005, 05:59 AM
I desperately need some help with the beginning of the first chapter of my novel. It slow to action so I would appreciate your opinion. I was thinking that maybe start them out at the dock right in the beginning cuz afterwards I have a few things happening that will spark some interest. I want to capture the readers interest early so that it wouldn't be turned away.


Thank you in advance!


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Waves crashed upon the sides of the boat, rocking the men working on the deck. The night was unusually quiet and rather dark. The sky was dotted with thousands of stars and not a cloud in the sky to shield the moon nearing its fullest. The rays from the mysterious ball shone down upon the boat and reflected upon the dark waves of the sea and on the pale joyless face gazing upon the water leaning on the rail of the deck. Her golden yellow eyes watched the waves with an absence of fascination, her mind elsewhere. She stood alone, no one else dared to come to close to her after the brawl the night before. One of the women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had the courage to slap her. If it wasn’t the ruthless glare that frightened the women and the men gathered around the dinner table, then it was the inhumane growl that formed from the seething darkness within her and made itself known to those gathered.

She did not seem to mind the peace that was given to her. The space allowed her the time to think about events she would rather forget, but sadly knew she would never have that luxury. Sometimes the haunting images spurred her anger, and brought her close to breaking through the calm shield she carefully placed around herself, but what friends she did have would not allow it.

From a distance she looked almost like a fading apparition, her torso seemed to be covered in drying blood while she stood motionless at the back of the ship. Her clothing both fancy and mysterious seemed but a shadow licking the deck in the movements of the cool breeze that washed over her pale skin and caressed her loose white hair. She tilted her head upwards and deep in the darkness the wolf rose and sniffed the salty air. An image of a harbor formed in her mind as she tasted the air with her nose. Her nose picked up the smell of human flesh, cacked in layers of sweat and dirt from a hard days work, and the sounds of waves colliding upon rocks reached her ears. Only a few moments later she heard one of the sailors shout.

“Land ho!” The voice was loud and throaty, coming from a larger man who dinned too often, and worked too little. His announcement was accompanied by the sound of cheers and bells to awaken the passengers to begin packing. Most of the passengers would have been fully awake. Only a few still required sleep, and would find the sudden outburst of sound disturbing.

She turned slightly to the ramp that led down into the bowels of the ship. She could hear a snort and a scraping of hooves and recognized it as Artex. She was impatient, and rather
uncomfortable traveling over water in a cramped stall. She was also a magnificent ebony black horse compound with muscle. Her breed was called a Friesian, though she was a bit more special than the rest. A friesian was proportioned between a strong working horse, and a smaller riding horse to fit several needs. In the end they had a smooth elegant gait and were calm and compassionate. Not Artex however, she had a bitter temper, and was eager to bite any hand that did not belong to Selene.

Selene's ears picked up the sound of a click and then the sound of wood sliding as her horse’s stall was opened. Moments later two men walked up the ramp giving each other space as they led the horses. Others emerged from the depths of the ship as well carrying luggage, and sometimes dragging a stubborn mule behind them. She did not care for the others, but only the two men coming towards her.

Artex reached out to nip the hauntingly handsome man on the hand that held his reins. Angry at the horse’s actions, he yanked the reins hard in which would have pulled quite painfully on her teeth. Artex stomped her feet and half reared up, her eyes beginning to flare.

The other man known as Keston stopped a few feet away chuckling to himself. He held the reins to a large draft horse that he somehow mamaged to ride. It was white with large sploches of black with a good easy temperment. his hand racked through his red hair while Lazar spoke, still holding Artex's reins and his own dapple mare. “Take your horse Selene before she sets the entire boat on fire.” His eyes were black with a hint of sadness deeply hidden away by his anger and hatred.

Selene raised a hand to Artex’s soft velvet nose to soothe her flaming spirit. Almost immediately Artex settled down while Lazar gave her the reins and adjusted the saddlebags on the horse. She took the reins and turned back to the sea and studied the shore several miles away. “Are you sure that is the harbor of Seragoh, and not some other distant Region?” Selene asked, her question directed to Keston with the red wavy hair. His own outfit was a dark blue with a long red velvet coat.

He leaned over the rail and peered at the shoreline with the faint hint of lights from far away buildings. She could hear him sniff as he tasted the air and then looked back at her. “The captain says it is Seragoh and that they had found the right course after getting trapped in Slothan Point.” He said, his voice smooth and strong. Slothan point was a ship captain’s fears. Three high pillars stuck out of the water with several runes in scripted down the sides. Waves collided upon the rocks and could easily destroy boats with one hard blow to the stern. In a storm it was nearly impossible to maneuver, and was known to be the graveyard of many legendary ships.

“In a few hours we will dock at the harbor and can rid ourselves of these humans.” Lazar hissed as he stepped closer to Selene, his opaque eyes studied the shoreline as well, but with dull interest. His hair was white and short, reaching his shoulders contrasting against his black tunic. The tunic was sleeveless and tight fitting to reveal his strong muscular form.

Vomaxx
08-06-2005, 07:00 AM
The first paragraph is utterly confusing to me. I literally have no idea if we are on a boat or in a house (at the dinner table). Is "the mysterious ball" the moon? I thought it must be some supernatural object hovering over the water, distinct from the moon. The "her" in line 5 has nothing previous to refer to except the "pale joyless face"--if that is who it means. In line 4, the entity that is "leaning on the rail of the deck" is, grammatically, "the water," not the pale face. What does the woman do when she is slapped? Apparently nothing, which seems odd.

A starting paragraph like this may entice some readers to go on, in order to find out what the heck is happening, but it is more likely, I think, to cause people to stop (as it did me). You must try to write more simply and directly, being very sure that readers can orient themselves to this new world you are dropping them into.

-------------------

("Shun", in line 3, should be either "shone" or "shined". No comma after alone (line 5): that's a run-on sentence as is. Use a period or a semicolon. "Inhumane", line 8, should be "inhuman" . Itself is one word, not two.)

azbikergirl
08-06-2005, 07:23 AM
I can't tell who's telling this story. Who's on deck watching the waves slap against the boat? That same narrator then appears (below deck??) at the dinner table all of a sudden. It's confusing and can frustrate impatient readers. I suggest picking a character to tell the story and making sure that every sight, sound, smell, feeling, taste or thought is filtered through that person. It's easier to write this way, and easier for readers to follow along.

Selene LuPaine
08-06-2005, 05:41 PM
Waves crashed upon the sides of the boat, rocking the men working on the deck. The night was unusually quiet and rather dark. The sky was dotted with thousands of stars and not a cloud in the sky to shield the moon nearing its fullest. The rays from the mysterious ball shone down upon the boat and reflected upon the dark waves of the sea and on the pale joyless face gazing upon the water leaning on the rail of the deck. Her golden yellow eyes watched the waves with an absence of fascination, her mind elsewhere. She stood alone, no one else dared to come to close to her after the brawl the night before. One of the women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had the courage to slap her. If it wasn’t the ruthless glare that frightened the women and the men gathered around the dinner table, then it was the inhumane growl that formed from the seething darkness within her and made itself known to those gathered.



Vomax,

I don't understand how you are having any problems, and some of what you said should not be taken so literally. The point of this paragraph is to create imagery in a way that it is like painting. You read and wait for the picture to develope as the artist paints it.

This style of writing is not only found here, but from three famous writers we all know and love. Robert Jordan, 'The Wheel of Time Series'. Stephen King 'The Talisman' and Tolkien, 'The Lord of the Rings'. Though each one has incorperated their own unique way of writing, they do not by any means write in simple terms. They paint their pictures and you either get it, or you don't.


Waves crashed upon the sides of the boat, rocking the men working on the deck.

This here tells you that there are waves crashing upon the sides of a boat, which obviously means that they are on some sort of sea AND on a boat, a vessel that travels oversea. It also lets you know that there are sailors working on the deck!


The night was unusually quiet and rather dark. The sky was dotted with thousands of stars and not a cloud in the sky to shield the moon nearing its fullest.

Now this here basically tells us what type of weather they are having. You know that it is night time, its quiet and its obviously dark. There are stars and no clouds to hide the moon. I mentioned the moon, star, clouds, and waves, therefore they are outside on a boat. There is a reason why I wrote 'boat' in the first place!



The rays from the mysterious ball shone down upon the boat and reflected upon the dark waves of the sea and on the pale joyless face gazing upon the water leaning on the rail of the deck.


This is one of those times where you can pretty annoying where you repeat the word 'eye' t many times because you can't find another word for it. The moon in this novel is important and will be mentioned several times. I've never had problems in any of my Rps that no one was not able to understand the meaning 'mysterious ball'. Not only does 'mysterious ball' create color and diversity but it establishes right away in the story that the moon is somehow important. The rays of the mysterious ball is simply light from the moon, again I have had no problem using that phrase, but then again I Rp with the experts. 'Dark Waves' is pretty simple, now the 'pale joyless face' this is a simple introduction of the main character. It right away lets you know that it is a sad character and is gazing upon the water leaning on the rail on the deck. So she is on the deck leaning against the rail. Again this part should not be taken so literally or you will get no where in books like Robert Jordan.




Her golden yellow eyes watched the waves with an absence of fascination, her mind elsewhere. She stood alone, no one else dared to come to close to her after the brawl the night before.


Alright this is quite simple really. I have only introduced one character, therefore I am speaking about that one character. So now you know it is a woman and she had golden yellow eyes. You also get a bit of a feel for this character by reading that she had "watched the waves with an 'absence of fascination'" You begin to see her state of mind which again doesn't seem bright and cheery. This also creates a few questions in the reader's head as to why she is so sad which will be answered throughout the story. I introduced a bit of conflict. She is sad, why is she sad? How did it happen? Again that will be answered later, but that creates interest. In the second sentence you can see that she is standing alone and that no one dares to come close to her. Again questions are going to form in the reader's head and they will want to know why no one will come close to her. I mention a brawl 'the night before' which does not mean today! It is a transitional phrase that shows that for a few moments were are going to go back in time and give a taste of past events.




One of the women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had the courage to slap her. If it wasn’t the ruthless glare that frightened the women and the men gathered around the dinner table, then it was the inhumane growl that formed from the seething darkness within her and made itself known to those gathered.


Again this is a good piece of the paragraph. I am answering key points of what is required in a first paragraph of a novel. I am answereing where they were before this novel which reaches into the past. I mention other characters in the first sentence that are 'traveling from Calpurnia' So we know she is not completely alone on the boat, and I've introduced a place in which they are coming from. Again there are questions that can form in a reader's head. Where is Calpurnia? What is in Calpurnia? Why are they leaving Calpurnia? And where are they headed? If someone wants to know those answers, you obviously have to continue reading on past the first paragraph.

Also in the sentence above I mention more about the brawl. The brawl had to do with another woman who had courage to slap the main character. We know that by saying 'courage' that it required such. Again, more questions will form in the reader's head if they read so 'deep' and they will ask themselves why does it require courage? And so this will lead to more curiousity about the main character. Who exactly is she? And what is there to be afraid of? I also give a bit of the setting of the brawl the night before. The brawl took place around a dinner table which would be below deck. This also means that they had been traveling for more than just a night. We learn that the main character has a feared glare, and an angery disposition as well towards others. We also know that the people around the dinner table were afraid of her, so that means there is something to fear. In this sentence she growls. What human growls? I also said it does not sound human at all, but inhumane, which is indeed how it is to be spelt in this sentence for it means lacking pity kindness, not human, is cruel, savage, barbarous etc.

In this paragraph I have given the key points required in the beginning of a story. What, where when! How and why is not answered, but in the first chapter(which this is only a small portion of) those questions will also be answered as well as more on the brawl. Everything that has the reader pondering will be answered accordingly as the story moves which is exactly how it should be.

If I have the ability to take each individual sentence and come up with a lot of information like I did, then truly it is a very good beginning paragraph not for the novice reader.


Thank you though for the grammatical help. I am well known to change my thoughts half way through writing which then creates a mess up of words that I don't always notice.


Azbikergirl,

I can see your point that you made. It is a bit confusing and I shall try to fix that. The style however is derived from Robert Jordan who writes third person omnicient and who always goes back in time and strays a bit in each paragraph to give information on surroundings and all the like where I cannot begin to put into words. He focuses on one person mostly but will jump from one character to the other in a paragraph where he sees fit. He is an amazing writer, definately for advanced readers only. I am still yet learning this technique and to perform it properly. Thank you so much for your help and I will try to keep an eye on that a bit more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I would prefer the next person who decides to give me feedback on this short piece to not only tell me what you think utterly sucks, but what is "good" which is a proper critique that is expected of everyone in AW!

azbikergirl
08-06-2005, 06:26 PM
A suggestion regarding requesting critiques: reply by smiling (or gritting your teeth) and saying thank you. Don't get defensive and argue. People won't tend to want to critique you if you snap back. You asked for opinions. You got them. If you disagree, that's fine. Just ignore the parts you didn't find helpful. Two people found it hard to get into because of the first paragraph. Is that not helpful information?
:Shrug:
Also, consider asking for critiques in the Share Your Work forum. This forum is for discussing SF/F in general.

Julie Worth
08-06-2005, 06:48 PM
These are my impressions of the first paragraph, for what they’re worth...
Waves crashed upon the sides of the boat, rocking the men working on the deck. The night was unusually quiet...
How can it be quiet while waves are crashing? This creates a dissonant image.
...and rather dark. The sky was dotted with thousands of stars and not a cloud in the sky to shield the moon nearing its fullest.
More dissonance. It’s rather dark but there’s a full moon? And doesn’t the full moon tend to wash out the stars?
The rays from the mysterious ball...
Is this mysterious ball a spaceship?
shone down upon the boat and reflected upon the dark waves of the sea and on the pale joyless face gazing upon the water leaning on the rail of the deck.
Overly long description. Also, there were men before, and now there’s just this pale joyless face, who is now not working, but loafing.
Her golden yellow eyes...
Okay, a woman with jaundice (or a cat woman), and not one of the working men.
...watched the waves with an absence of fascination, her mind elsewhere.
Why would she be fascinated with the waves, anyway?
She stood alone, no one else dared to come to [too] close to her after the brawl the night before.
Gosh, an Amazon!
One of the women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had [had had] the courage [or maybe audacity?] to slap her. If it wasn’t the ruthless glare that frightened the women and the men gathered around the dinner table, then it was the inhumane growl that formed from the seething darkness within her and made itself known to those gathered.
No, not an Amazon. Back to cat woman!

Perks
08-06-2005, 06:51 PM
One thing that was immensely helpful to me was to realize that I wouldn't get a chance to exlpain my story in any forum outside the work itself. If I had to justify anything to a competent beta-reader, then I hadn't done my job. This is especially true if you hear the same issue raised more than once. In this case, I also did not get that the 'mysterious ball' was the moon and I found waves crashing against the sides of the boat to be incongruous with an unusually quiet night.

If your beta-readers are afraid of your reaction, they're going to hold back on pointing out things that need to be reworked and then they are useless to you. I'm still new at this myself, but I can tell you that the lashes of a willing an able critic are to be prized, not resented.

On a positive note, there is a pretty rhythm to the words you choose, certainly. You'll be able to strike a balance between clarity and poetry, it's just going to take work.

Lazar Darkshadow
08-06-2005, 07:42 PM
I really dont get how people are confused by the mysterious ball part. It is followed by the word "shone" and "rays" so it should be simple to associate the moon with the mysterious ball. Imagery people, Imagery. Learn to associate things respectively. In a proper story, the sentences in each paragraph all flow, and are related to the one before it. If you look and think, you can see that. Everything DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT be given right away. Some of the critiques seem to say "dont be descriptive, or mysterious, dont set the mood, say everything plain and bland."

Perhaps another word could be used instead of ball, but would this be better for you?

"The boat was on a sea, and there were waves. The moon was bright, and there were stars and no clouds. There was a sad woman. Everyone was scared of her."

Yeah, that sounds real great. From the first time i read it, i had no problem figuring everything out because i put the pieces together. In a good story, you dont take things so literally, look for the depth in it. You will get more enjoyment out of it.

Maybe if you people pointed out the good as well as the bad, then such a hostile response would not be given. You cannot just come out, and colourfully say a piece sucks, because that is detrimental. Learn to find the balance. Maybe try not to make the writer feel so horrible about her own work and also remember that the writer has feelings as well, and not just the critic, otherwise if you are so harsh to the writer, expect the same thing back!

Dont judge a book by its cover....you all focused only on the first paragraph, read deeper into the words, she may have made a few mistakes so point them out in a proper cival maner. I've known her to change her ideas half way through thoought and then not see the mistake it would have created. But at least she is still not dislexic and has come a long way through only 17 years.



As for my review I have to leave right now, so I will put it in later!

Julie Worth
08-06-2005, 07:52 PM
Lazar (who is also Selene, perhaps? Or her boyfriend?) This site is not for reviews al la Amazon. It's to help people. If Selene is happy with the writing, why did she post it here?

Perks
08-06-2005, 08:17 PM
I really dont get how people are confused by the mysterious ball part. It is followed by the word "shone" and "rays" so it should be simple to associate the moon with the mysterious ball. Imagery people, Imagery. Learn to associate things respectively. In a proper story, the sentences in each paragraph all flow, and are related to the one before it. If you look and think, you can see that. Everything DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT be given right away. Some of the critiques seem to say "dont be descriptive, or mysterious, dont set the mood, say everything plain and bland."

Actually, the fact that the "ball" is referred to right after the moon is referenced is part of where the confusion comes in for me. We've already talked about the moon, I thought you'd moved on to something else.

There wouldn't be much point to claiming stupidity just for the chance to kick you around. I said that I thought you had some very lyrical passages, but that there was a clarity issue. And I absolutely expect to get back what I've offered here. Otherwise I'll just go ask my mom what she thinks of my masterpiece.

ChunkyC
08-06-2005, 09:40 PM
I too found the first paragraphs awkward, for many of the reasons stated above, and as a result didn't finish the piece.

As far as receiving a crit goes, what azbikergirl says is bang on. Don't respond to a critique by getting annoyed if the reader doesn't 'get it.' The fact the reader is having trouble is valuable feedback. Think about it; are you going to be able to sit on the shoulder of every person who buys your book and explain what you meant to them? Hardly. So you have to work hard to make sure it comes through on the page, because that is the only way you can communicate with someone who buys your book.

When more than one person tells you the same thing is wrong with a passage, odds are there is indeed something wrong with the passage. If you don't agree, fair enough. You are the author. But it does not pay to get defensive just because they don't see it exactly the way you do.

Besides, if you think there's nothing wrong with it, then why ask for a crit?

With that said, I also think that this probably should be over in Share Your Work. We can wait for Pthom to drop by and move the thread if he sees fit.

PS -- one thing that helps me keep from getting too upset when readers tear my work apart is to think of it like bringing my car to a mechanic. I don't pay him $80 an hour to tell me what's working properly, I want him to find what's broken and fix it. You need to look at a crit that way as well. Every block of text that is not commented on, is text the reader thought was not in need of fixing.

Pthom
08-07-2005, 10:51 AM
Yeah, except the mechanic actually fixes something (usually), whereas a critic only finds the wrong stuff and then goes off to have a beer. You're left trying to figure out how to repair the damage. And that assumes the critic knows what he's talking about.

Of course, you don't pay critics $80.00 per hour (usually); you get their grief for free.

loquax
08-07-2005, 12:53 PM
I'm not published and everything so grain of salt and all that.

From what I've learnt here at AW, the first paragraph of the first chapter is the most important part of the whole book. Not for you, not for the story, but for your publisher, and eventually (hopefully) your reader. They won't publish/start to read the book if they don't like the first paragraph. It's unfair, sure, but it's also just the way things are.

What the critters have said so far is VERY helpful. The part about the moon and the dissonance in sounds was obviously not picked up by you, so you're lucky that they pointed it out. I put up one of my pieces for critting, and the first post pointed out a severe plot error that I corrected right away. It's a great way of getting professional input from someone who will study your work as both a reader and a writer.

Regarding imagery, it is not impossible to maintain that sense of wonder and keep it concise at the same time; thus eraditacting confusion. This is just the first few lines of your paragraph - minus a few words for clarity and plus a few words for my own input. I'm not saying it's better, and as I'm only 18 I can understand the whole "Trying to get along with the bigguns" aspect of writing, but it's what I would want to read the passage as if I were writing it myself.

Waves crashed against the hull of the boat, rocking the men who worked on deck. Thousands of stars dotted the sky, and the moon, that mysterious opal orb, neared its fullest; pouring silvery rays to the waves; to the boat; to the pale, joyless face that gazed into the night. Her golden eyes...

P.S. If this were moved to the share your work section you would get a lot more crits from a wider range of people, if that's what you're after. PM a mod and I'm sure they'll be happy to do it.

Julie Worth
08-07-2005, 01:55 PM
Waves crashed against the hull of the boat, rocking the men who worked on deck. Thousands of stars dotted the sky, and the moon, that mysterious opal orb, neared its fullest; pouring silvery rays to the waves; to the boat; to the pale, joyless face that gazed into the night. Her golden eyes...



I like it!

ChunkyC
08-07-2005, 06:18 PM
Good reworking of that part, Ben.

Pthom: yeah, a mechanic wasn't the best analogy. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

Selene LuPaine
08-07-2005, 09:31 PM
I know that what you all say may be helpful, but it is how some of what you critters have said that bothered me(not all of you). It wasn't done in a kind manner but more of a 'you suck go away' kind of manor and therefore I am not going to be the opposite and and be kind and sweet. I give back what is returned though I did not mean it to be hostile, but merely level with what I recieved. Yes I defended myself but that is a normal reaction from me from such harsh attitude that has been given, I've grown up with people's prejudice and the such and so it became second nature. I am grateful to those who not only told me what sucked, but informed me of what they like. Hell, maybe even the idea of it, or that there is potentia is what they like which shows consideration for the writer. Lazar mentioned that not only the critic has feelings, but so does the writer and that has to be respected. If you don't show kindness to someone, how do you expect it back? But either way what he said about that matter seemed to have been ignored.....only one has seemed to show the good and the bad, and for that I am truly grateful for. That is a proprer critic and that is what I want.



I'm not published and everything so grain of salt and all that.

From what I've learnt here at AW, the first paragraph of the first chapter is the most important part of the whole book. Not for you, not for the story, but for your publisher, and eventually (hopefully) your reader. They won't publish/start to read the book if they don't like the first paragraph. It's unfair, sure, but it's also just the way things are.

What the critters have said so far is VERY helpful. The part about the moon and the dissonance in sounds was obviously not picked up by you, so you're lucky that they pointed it out. I put up one of my pieces for critting, and the first post pointed out a severe plot error that I corrected right away. It's a great way of getting professional input from someone who will study your work as both a reader and a writer.

Regarding imagery, it is not impossible to maintain that sense of wonder and keep it concise at the same time; thus eraditacting confusion. This is just the first few lines of your paragraph - minus a few words for clarity and plus a few words for my own input. I'm not saying it's better, and as I'm only 18 I can understand the whole "Trying to get along with the bigguns" aspect of writing, but it's what I would want to read the passage as if I were writing it myself.

Waves crashed against the hull of the boat, rocking the men who worked on deck. Thousands of stars dotted the sky, and the moon, that mysterious opal orb, neared its fullest; pouring silvery rays to the waves; to the boat; to the pale, joyless face that gazed into the night. Her golden eyes...


P.S. If this were moved to the share your work section you would get a lot more crits from a wider range of people, if that's what you're after. PM a mod and I'm sure they'll be happy to do it.

Yes it was my fault that it was accidentally subitted in here than in the 'Share your work' section. At the time I was multi-tasking and so I mistoke(sp) Sc-fi/fan for 'Share your work' instead of 'Get with the genre' when i came back to the window. All cuz I am a goof :crazy: So yea I will try to find a mod and see if they will move this thread cuz I don't want to screw up your threads and make everything disorganized.

I do know how important the first paragraph is, how it is written determines if someone will read the book or not. What I like more though is your rewritten work on my apparently horrible peace. It sounds much better and flows more smoother as well. Thank you for your imput it greatly helped, and if it is ok with you I would like to use it.

Julie Worth,

No Lazar is my boyfriend, the one who made up the character Lazar and wanted to be a part of my story. I am at his house on weekends so we share the same computer at those times.

What I really wanted though before I contined the chapter was to know wether or not I should move it faster and start docked at the harbor or keep it where it is. I was mostly worried that if I don't have a suitable scene change I may lose interest. As well as starting a scene change too late.

I did not really wish to make it into such a grand fuss, and for that I'm sorry.

Julie Worth
08-07-2005, 09:54 PM
Selene,

Read maestrowork’s READ THIS FIRST in the Share Your Work thread, and you’ll see that there are several levels of critique (that's in paragraph 4). You get what you ask for, most of the time. If you want people to be gentle, ask for that. Some people want kid gloves, while some want the brutal treatment, because they have critiquing experience and aren’t bothered by it.


That I read your work and added comments indicates that I thought it was potentially good, but had areas that needed attention. If it had been awful, I wouldn’t have bothered. And it goes without saying that you may use any and all suggestions—that’s part of the deal here.

Selene LuPaine
08-07-2005, 10:05 PM
which that rule also refers back to rule number one to be kind and considerate to fellow writers! And that and a proper critique is all i ask!

Julie Worth
08-07-2005, 10:09 PM
You've no experience with critiques, have you?

Selene LuPaine
08-07-2005, 10:11 PM
actually yes i do infact. For a year I was subject to many many crtiques and I also gave many critiques in return. But as a rule I've always said what was good and what was bad and always in a good manor and the same was given back to me!

edit: and I always encouraged them to continue and even helped a couple more personally with their poetry/novels/rps! And being one of the guardians of an rp forum It was my job to help those who had poor rps and those who joined who did not do well!

loquax
08-07-2005, 10:12 PM
In my opinion, downright lying to make someone happy is less considerate than giving your honest opinion. There have been discussions like this before, and they all end with "If someone insults your work, they're not insulting you, although it sure as hell feels like it."

Regarding the question you wanted answered, I think the opening would be better at sea than in a dock. Just a nicer image.

Julie Worth
08-07-2005, 10:19 PM
Rps? Rock paper scissors?
And yes, I agree about the setting. Out to sea is more dramatic.

Selene LuPaine
08-07-2005, 10:20 PM
Even saying the setting is good on the sea for example is telling the writer what is good in his/her work which is not lying. No one should ever have to lie to make the writer feel good, but honestly there is good everywhere you look.

I don't find anyone insulted me persa, but the work I had done. However they get more personal when the critic directs their critiques to the writer and not the writter's work.


EDIT:

lol, Text role Playing games. You and a group of friends or other Rp'ers that you don't know play in a Rp created by me or someone else. You basically make up a character and play that chracter, interacting with everyone else's creating a story that can go anywhere but must follow the plot line set by the creator. If anyone interested in playing in such things then I can give you a link. It greatly helps with writting skills and it would be good to have more experienced writters in there.

azbikergirl
08-07-2005, 10:52 PM
I know that what you all say may be helpful, but it is how some of what you critters have said that bothered me(not all of you). It wasn't done in a kind manner but more of a 'you suck go away' kind of manor and therefore I am not going to be the opposite and and be kind and sweet.
I reread the first two responses to the original post and can't for the life of me see how anything that was said was unkind. Certainly not deserving of the hostile response you posted next.

Another suggestion regarding critiquing: read the crit, walk away from the computer and think on it for at least a few hours, then read it again before typing up a response. I am often surprised that the second reading is not as harsh as the first, even though the words haven't changed. Funny how that works.

loquax
08-07-2005, 10:57 PM
Assume that if you receive no criticisms on certain parts, those parts are good. Critting is the only area of AW where writers can tear into each other and still be buddies. Sometime's we'll praise a piece, but only if it's really good. And even then, the old green eyed monster can walk in and stop us.

Andrew Jameson
08-08-2005, 06:21 AM
...I was thinking that maybe start them out at the dock right in the beginning cuz afterwards I have a few things happening that will spark some interest. I want to capture the readers interest early so that it wouldn't be turned away.Well, personally, I'd start with the action at the dock and backfill the rest of the information later. However, let me point out, that's me, personally. *I* happen to like the action. For *you*, if you like it better, I don't think there's anything wrong with starting in a way that sets the mood, as long as you do it in a way that entices the reader. And I think you *could* entice the reader by making your main character intriguing -- introducing her as someone mysterious and/or interesting and/or puzzling. You've got most of it already -- Selene looks mysterious and frightens the other women. Why? Ah, *that's* intriguing. So, like I said, I see nothing wrong with starting like you have it, although you may wish to rewrite the beginning with the intention of beguiling and enticing the reader with the character of Selene.

OK. Now. First paragraph. You've gotten some feedback on this already, but I'm going to add some in. To be blunt: It *is* confusing. Let me show you why. Here's the paragraph, in full, for reference:

Waves crashed upon the sides of the boat, rocking the men working on the deck. The night was unusually quiet and rather dark. The sky was dotted with thousands of stars and not a cloud in the sky to shield the moon nearing its fullest. The rays from the mysterious ball shone down upon the boat and reflected upon the dark waves of the sea and on the pale joyless face gazing upon the water leaning on the rail of the deck. Her golden yellow eyes watched the waves with an absence of fascination, her mind elsewhere. She stood alone, no one else dared to come to close to her after the brawl the night before. One of the women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had the courage to slap her. If it wasn’t the ruthless glare that frightened the women and the men gathered around the dinner table, then it was the inhumane growl that formed from the seething darkness within her and made itself known to those gathered.
OK, first of all, you're starting from an omniscient POV, *and* you're not telling me the woman's name (in fact you don't until paragraph five). There's nothing inherently wrong with the omniscient POV, of course, but that, coupled with the lack of a name, signals to the reader that this woman is not an important character. She's just "the woman" that happens to be there. Now, let's go through line-by-line.


Waves crashed upon the sides of the boat, rocking the men working on the deck. The night was unusually quiet and rather dark. The sky was dotted with thousands of stars and not a cloud in the sky to shield the moon nearing its fullest.Good enough so far, other than the fact that you've got contradictory descriptions: If the moon is full, it can't be dark, and if the waves are crashing, it can't be silent.

The rays from the mysterious ball shone down upon the boat and reflected upon the dark waves of the sea and on the pale joyless face gazing upon the water leaning on the rail of the deck. Nope, still don't like the "mysterious ball." And here's why: You're writing a *fantasy*, and, moreover, it's the *beginning* of the fantasy. You haven't established the ground rules yet. As far as the reader is concerned, there's no reason there *couldn't* be some magical, mysterious ball hanging above the harbor. It's a fantasy. The reader *expects* to see fantastic things. I think you could probably get away with this particular bit of imagery later in the book, if you establish Selene as someone with poetic thoughts about the moon, but *not* here at the beginning. Also, as a side note, the sentence reads like the face is leaning on the rail.

Her golden yellow eyes watched the waves with an absence of fascination, her mind elsewhere. She stood alone, no one else dared to come to close to her after the brawl the night before.All right, I'm fine with that.

One of the women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had the courage to slap her. If it wasn’t the ruthless glare that frightened the women and the men gathered around the dinner table, then it was the inhumane growl that formed from the seething darkness within her and made itself known to those gathered.Here, it's not clear right away that the slapping occured the night before. You might consider a paragraph break to emphasize that a quick flashback is occuring, and you should *certainly* consider correcting the tense of at least the first sentence -- "One of the women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had had the courage to slap her." or perhaps "One of the more courageous women traveling from Calpurnia like the rest of them had slapped her."

Selene LuPaine
08-08-2005, 05:10 PM
Ahh thank you for that help and input it was much appreciated. I will be going through it and fixing it up today after lunch. I personally like the the revision work one of the other critters had done and I think I will be using that for the first paragraph as well. Yea I was kind of worried about not using her name right away. I did it cuz people normally figure out who someone is by verbal introduction. I was gonna do the same, but I can see where you come from and so that will be fixed as well. Thank you!

Andrew Jameson
08-09-2005, 12:08 AM
Yea I was kind of worried about not using her name right away. I did it cuz people normally figure out who someone is by verbal introduction. I was gonna do the same, but I can see where you come from and so that will be fixed as well.Since you start with an omniscient POV, I think you're fine giving Selene's name right off the bat. I, personally, would rewrite this introductory section to be from *Selene's* POV (not that you necessarily need to), and, of course, it would be natural for Selene to know her own name. I would worry about verbal introduction only when the character in question is not previously known to the POV character.

In any case, I think it's nearly always better to start off right away with your viewpoint character's name -- it gives the reader some kind of handle on the character, and starts building the character's identity. And, of course, the name serves to differentiate the character from the other "her"s and "she"s and "the woman"s hanging around in the story.