[Critique Game] Post The First Three Sentences of your Short Story

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dpaterso

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Things I did not know! Pardon my ignorance.

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ap123

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Things I did not know! Pardon my ignorance.

-Derek

IMO it's one of the advantages to AW. I know there was something in one of my mss I assumed was universal turned out to be regional, I was glad to learn before subbing. :)
 

Rainy Day Boo

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Does "even after he left" mean, after he died? A gentler way of saying it? I'm not grabbed by this opening but of course I'd have kept reading anyway to see what's going on. There is the question of how did your narrator get up onto the scaffolding if he never climbed a ladder again because his dad fell off a ladder and died (assuming I've read things right). And, little edit to the 1st sentence, I'd have said but no one sees you.

Thanks for thinking on this, Derek. In my mind's eye, the MC has something like a scruffy version of this scaffold bench that he takes to his jobs. Agree about "even after he left" and actually I've clarified that and jumbled up the whole opening now after thinking about the feedback.

Yes, ap123, that's how I see it. MC sets up scaffold bench and clambers over it rather than ladders.
 

Rainy Day Boo

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IMO it's one of the advantages to AW. I know there was something in one of my mss I assumed was universal turned out to be regional, I was glad to learn before subbing. :)

so true. Sometimes the images that are so clear in our heads appear very differently in others'. Swhy betas and readers are invaluable.

Speaking of which, the ShareYourWork bit of AW seems to be little used, or am I looking in the wrong place?
 

milotry

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Elspeth stared out through the tall French windows of her sitting room. The cul-de-sac was almost fully visible from her intentionally placed rocking chair, sat in stark opposition to the rest of the furniture that faced the centre of the room; her seat alone faced the window. As deliberate as the chair, she had a stool by her side which played host to a dainty teacup on a coaster that aligned just right with the edge of the makeshift side-table, and an old landline phone, duck egg blue to match the room’s curtains.

Any and all crit welcome!
 

Bing Z

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In the first sentence, Elspeth stares out of the windows, so I was expecting things to happen in the cul-de-sac, or someone come from there. Instead, the camera panned inward to show a static setup. It was a mild disappointment. If the furniture setup is so important, why not start with someone there with Elspeth and so how the chair faces is more relevant?
 

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Elspeth stared out through the tall French windows of her sitting room. The cul-de-sac was almost fully visible from her intentionally placed rocking chair, sat in stark opposition to the rest of the furniture that faced the centre of the room; her seat alone faced the window. As deliberate as the chair, she had a stool by her side which played host to a dainty teacup on a coaster that aligned just right with the edge of the makeshift side-table, and an old landline phone, duck egg blue to match the room’s curtains.

Any and all crit welcome!

The first sentence is unneeded--try reading from the second; the info in the first (minus the name) is implied.

There's more setting detail than I personally am looking for, but that's a matter of opinion so trust your instincts.

I'd personally like an internal detail by the third sentence. As one quick-and-poorly-written example: if we don't need the color of the curtains and phone, try swapping in her emotional state instead, and make it do double duty. Her mind lay as empty as the home/street/journal that sat in her lap.
 

dpaterso

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Elspeth stared out through the tall French windows of her sitting room. The cul-de-sac was almost fully visible from her intentionally placed rocking chair, sat in stark opposition to the rest of the furniture that faced the centre of the room; her seat alone faced the window. As deliberate as the chair, she had a stool by her side which played host to a dainty teacup on a coaster that aligned just right with the edge of the makeshift side-table, and an old landline phone, duck egg blue to match the room’s curtains.
I'd keep reading to see where this is going -- whether something's going to happen that Elsbeth witnesses. Feels like a lot of words for what it delivers, though. I think maybe you're going for an old-fashioned style to suit the old-fashioned character, assuming Elspeth is an older lady surrounded by stuff from her youth. I could be wrong, you know what they say about assuming.

-Derek
 

Gatteau

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I like that I have an immediate impression of this woman, neat and tidy, everything in her life has a purpose, waiting for something/someone...?

The "intentionally placed" bit seems like it's in the wrong place, ironically. I'd go with:
The cul-de-sac was almost fully visible from her rocking chair, intentionally placed in stark opposition to the rest of the furniture that faced the centre of the room; her seat alone faced the window.
 

Gatteau

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My turn:

The new apartment was very old.
That is, it was new for John Bird, but in a very old building -- 1896, he thought the landlord had said. One of those aristocratic downtown mansions recently remodeled and divided up
into individual units.
 

milotry

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All this feedback is great, thanks everyone! I'll do some reworking - like Gatteau says, the idea behind all the detail is to give a strong first impression of the character, and everything (the dainty teacup, her seat facing the window, the emphasis on her furniture being colour-coordinated) does have a purpose, but I might be able to restructure it so there's something more gripping to start things off than just description, and maybe make it slightly less wordy. Thanks again! :)
 

ap123

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My turn:

The new apartment was very old.
That is, it was new for John Bird, but in a very old building -- 1896, he thought the landlord had said. One of those aristocratic downtown mansions recently remodeled and divided up
into individual units.

I would keep reading. The first sentence stands nicely, inviting me in and offering possibilities. I'd probably try to tighten the second sentence, though. Maybe: That is, it was new for John Bird-- but built in 1896, he thought the landlord'd said. One of those downtown mansions recently carved up into several (boxy? luxurious? still spacious? units.
 

dpaterso

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The new apartment was very old.
That is, it was new for John Bird, but in a very old building -- 1896, he thought the landlord had said. One of those aristocratic downtown mansions recently remodeled and divided up
into individual units.
I'm fine with this, I'd read on to see what the story might be about. I would presume the building's age proves significant, like in a haunted house way.

-Derek
 

Gatteau

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I'd probably try to tighten the second sentence, though. Maybe: That is, it was new for John Bird-- but built in 1896, he thought the landlord'd said. One of those downtown mansions recently carved up into several (boxy? luxurious? still spacious? units.

I agree, it does go on a bit wordily. And carved - much better word, thanks!

dpaterso: Bingo! There will be a ghost, and that is the hint I was hoping would come across. ;)
 

The Eighteenth Letter

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From a short story called The Prophet of the Red Sea (hope this thread's heart still beats)

"The caravan, like a necklace hued preciously, stretched from zenith to horizon, four hundred camels long, rode a King’s depth in gold. From the crown to his kin, courtesans to merchants, all who shared the King’s wonder, or the rule of tongue, marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer. Like a snake, at the head rode the king along his harem, women untouched for months end, supplanted by an inquisitive wonder in his heart."
 

llyralen

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From a short story called The Prophet of the Red Sea (hope this thread's heart still beats)

"The caravan, like a necklace hued preciously, stretched from zenith to horizon, four hundred camels long, rode a King’s depth in gold. From the crown to his kin, courtesans to merchants, all who shared the King’s wonder, or the rule of tongue, marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer. Like a snake, at the head rode the king along his harem, women untouched for months end, supplanted by an inquisitive wonder in his heart."
How can a necklace be hued preciously? As if “hued” is an action word and “preciously” is an adverb?

What does it mean to ride a King’s depth in gold? Is “King’s depth” something to ride? Or it it explaining that they are riding the height in a king down in gold?Through gold? So we don’t know if the gold is covering the “King’s depth” or somehow surrounding or sticking to the camels or are they are riding through gold or what?

I don’t understand the rest either. I could discuss the confusion created by each sentence if you would like me to. Try to state what is happening plainly for us. Pretty language has to be intelligible.
 
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The Eighteenth Letter

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How can a necklace be hued preciously? As if “hued” is an action word and “preciously” is an adverb?

What does it mean to ride a King’s depth in gold? Is “King’s depth” something to ride? Or it it explaining that they are riding the height in a king down in gold?Through gold? So we don’t know if the gold is covering the “King’s depth” or somehow surrounding or sticking to the camels or are they are riding through gold or what?

I don’t understand the rest either. I could discuss the confusion created by each sentence if you would like me to. Try to state what is happening plainly for us. Pretty language has to be intelligible.


Hi Ilyralen

Yes, more than happy to go over your points.

1. Necklace hued preciously: yes you're right. The word 'hued' is used as a verb in its past tense. 'To hue' means the same as to colour.

2. King's depth in cold: Used a bit more figuratively here. A kings depth in gold is a 11th century reference (if I'm not mistaken) where they would describe the wealth of a king by saying it was his depth in gold.

What else seems to turn you away from the story?
 
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Lakey

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From a short story called The Prophet of the Red Sea (hope this thread's heart still beats)

"The caravan, like a necklace hued preciously, stretched from zenith to horizon, four hundred camels long, rode [which is the main verb here, stretched or rode? the sentence's basic structure is not clear] a King’s depth in gold. From the crown to his kin, courtesans to merchants, all who shared the King’s wonder, or the rule of tongue, marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer. Like a snake, at the head rode the king [why not capitalized here?] along [alongside? along with?] his harem, women untouched for months end [months on end?], supplanted by an inquisitive wonder in his heart."
I have to agree with llyralen here that your diction is getting in the way of comprehension. I was also pulled up by "necklace hued preciously" -- I thought maybe it was a typo for "hewed," until you confirmed that you meant it as a participle of "hue". It's pretty unusual to use "hue" used as a transitive verb, so it's not immediately clear that's what you intended here.

Also puzzling: Much of the second sentence. It's clear that a lot of people are present in this caravan, but I don't know what "all who shared the King's wonder, or the rule of tongue" means -- at all. I also don't know what "from the star and crescent's prayer" means.

Finally, "Like a snake" is perhaps a dangling modifier -- I would guess you are comparing the entire caravan to a snake, but the way the sentence is constructed it modifies "the king".

Long and short, I'm afraid I would not read on, because it's just too convoluted, too much complexity for its own sake--lots of effort at writerly style and filigree, not enough on clarity. I wonder if you might benefit from stripping down to the bare ideas you are trying to convey in each sentence, making sure the sentences are clear and grammatical, and then adding the shading with a more delicate touch.

:e2coffee:
 
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llyralen

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Hi Ilyralen

Yes, more than happy to go over your points.

1. Necklace hued preciously: yes you're right. The word 'hued' is used as a verb in its past tense. 'To hue' means the same as to colour.

2. King's depth in cold: Used a bit more figuratively here. A kings depth in gold is a 11th century reference (if I'm not mistaken) where they would describe the wealth of a king by saying it was his depth in gold.

What else seems to turn you away from the story?
Are you saying that necklace actually got colored preciously? To someone like me who is a visual person then it forces me to think that someone colored those gems— colored them preciously. Was he saying “My precious!” over them? It is distracting to me to to try to make that work. It is possible to write beautiful expressive language and have it not detract from the meaning you’re working towards.

I love word play and references but the word play HAS to actually work visually— has to work as a reality. References require your audience to have a certain culture and framework of thought or else they aren’t going to be understood either.

It’s going to take me a while to go through each sentence, but I will try later since you seem very sincere and I am also sincere about hoping to help explain my point of view. Until I get back to you— because the next sentences seemed even more problematic to me and will take me more time to show you what is wrong— then see if you can think visually about what you’re saying.

I get that there is a caravan traveling, but what do you mean by “The King’s wonder” the “rule of tongue”? Did they march from the star and crescent prayer to the Mount or is the Mount from the star and crescent prayer? It can’t just sound good. It has to make sense. I don’t know what percent of the population would find these sentences confusing, but I think probably a chunk.

I will see if I can help more later.
 
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The Eighteenth Letter

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I have to agree with llyralen here that your diction is getting in the way of comprehension. I was also pulled up by "necklace hued preciously" -- I thought maybe it was a typo for "hewed," until you confirmed that you meant it as a participle of "hue". It's pretty unusual to use "hue" used as a transitive verb, so it's not immediately clear that's what you intended here.

Also puzzling: Much of the second sentence. It's clear that a lot of people are present in this caravan, but I don't know what "all who shared the King's wonder, or the rule of tongue" means -- at all. I also don't know what "from the star and crescent's prayer" means.

Finally, "Like a snake" is perhaps a dangling modifier -- I would guess you are comparing the entire caravan to a snake, but the way the sentence is constructed it modifies "the king".

Long and short, I'm afraid I would not read on, because it's just too convoluted, too much complexity for its own sake--lots of effort at writerly style and filigree, not enough on clarity. I wonder if you might benefit from stripping down to the bare ideas you are trying to convey in each sentence, making sure the sentences are clear and grammatical, and then adding the shading with a more delicate touch.

:e2coffee:


Hi Lakey

Thanks for taking the time to write and let me just touch upon the few things you mentioned.


1. 'Hued' is used as the simple past here, but you have a valid point in that it would be the same as the participle.

2. 'Like a snake', yes it does refer to the entire caravan.

3. 'all who share the King's wonder' correlates, so to speak, the wonder the King has about a subject of the story (of whom we learn in the next paragraph), and everyone who is with him who shares the same wonder on the same subject. '...or the rule of tongue.' references all those who are with him but did not choose to come, those who follow his orders as king, are slaves, merchants; basically, the unwilling.

4. I will capitalize the noun 'King' where you have pointed it out.

I appreciate your comment and maybe the issue lies in the fact that these are the first three lines of a flash fiction story, barely 886 words, and if one reads on a lot of the questions that are coming up could be resolved for the reader.
 
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The Eighteenth Letter

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Are you saying that necklace actually got colored preciously? To someone like me who is a visual person then it forces me to think that someone colored those gems— colored them preciously. Was he saying “My precious!” over them? It is distracting to me to to try to make that work. It is possible to write beautiful expressive language and have it not detract from the meaning you’re working towards.

I love word play and references but the word play HAS to actually work visually— has to work as a reality. References require your audience to have a certain culture and framework of thought or else they aren’t going to be understood either.

It’s going to take me a while to go through each sentence, but I will try later since you seem very sincere and I am also sincere about hoping to help explain my point of view. Until I get back to you— because the next sentences seemed even more problematic to me and will take me more time to show you what is wrong— then see if you can think visually about what you’re saying.

I get that there is a caravan traveling, but what do you mean by “The King’s wonder” the “rule of tongue”? Did they march from the star and crescent prayer to the Mount or is the Mount from the star and crescent prayer? It can’t just sound good. It has to make sense. I don’t know what percent of the population would find these sentences confusing, but I think probably a chunk.

I will see if I can help more later.

Hi Ilyralen

Yes sure, I am looking forward to your break down. AS for the few points I'll answer in the following.

1. 'all who share the King's wonder' correlates, so to speak, the wonder the King has about a subject of the story (of whom we learn in the next paragraph), and everyone who is with him who shares the same wonder on the same subject. '...or the rule of tongue.' references all those who are with him but did not choose to come, those who follow his orders as king, are slaves, merchants; basically, the unwilling.


2. 'marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer' yes, the caravan is moving/marching towards the sacred mount (which later we find our is Mt Sinai), and the second part is a reference to the land known as the Fertile Crescent in the middle east, the land of early civilizations, i.e. Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylonia etc., and the Islamic symbol of the Star and Crescent.


Like I mentioned with Lakey, it is a flash fiction piece of 886 words, and a lot of nuances of the story become clearer once one reads on. Maybe that would help understanding and give it context.
 

llyralen

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Hi Ilyralen

Yes sure, I am looking forward to your break down. AS for the few points I'll answer in the following.

1. 'all who share the King's wonder' correlates, so to speak, the wonder the King has about a subject of the story (of whom we learn in the next paragraph), and everyone who is with him who shares the same wonder on the same subject. '...or the rule of tongue.' references all those who are with him but did not choose to come, those who follow his orders as king, are slaves, merchants; basically, the unwilling.


2. 'marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer' yes, the caravan is moving/marching towards the sacred mount (which later we find our is Mt Sinai), and the second part is a reference to the land known as the Fertile Crescent in the middle east, the land of early civilizations, i.e. Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylonia etc., and the Islamic symbol of the Star and Crescent.


Like I mentioned with Lakey, it is a flash fiction piece of 886 words, and a lot of nuances of the story become clearer once one reads on. Maybe that would help understanding and give it context.
I would have been too bewildered to read on. I’m afraid each sentence has problems. I’m sorry to tell you this, and I think you should keep writing because you have the sound of writing down and obviously love language, but you need to work on your audience actually understanding what you are saying in the moment of them reading it. Readers will stop reading if they feel no comprehension. I do wonder if it would help you to try to visualize what you are saying, but I don’t think that will be enough without understanding how modifiers work. One reoccurring problem is that your modifiers are attached to the wrong thing, so you can’t tell what is going on. You can’t tell what is describing what.

The other problem is that your readers will not appreciate you referring to things that they expect to understand at the moment and that you aren’t explaining. A little mystery of alluding to something is tolerated, if it is important. If done right it will be intriguing to the reader, but if there is a constant blast of references they can’t possibly understand with sentences they are already working hard to understand then it just comes across as gibberish. People won’t read gibberish. Because I really want you to keep writing but because I really want you to understand the importance of making things clear to your reader, I will tell you my first reaction to your first lines. I wondered if it was a joke to see how we would react to gibberish. I wondered about your sincerity. I don’t doubt your sincerity now, so I’m sorry to hurt you with that criticism, but in order for a reader to keep reading they want to feel they understand what they are reading.

Hopefully a breakdown will follow, at least a partial one before I have to get ready for work:
 

llyralen

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From a short story called The Prophet of the Red Sea (hope this thread's heart still beats)

"The caravan, like a necklace hued preciously, stretched from zenith to horizon, four hundred camels long, rode a King’s depth in gold. From the crown to his kin, courtesans to merchants, all who shared the King’s wonder, or the rule of tongue, marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer. Like a snake, at the head rode the king along his harem, women untouched for months end, supplanted by an inquisitive wonder in his heart."
1. Precious is not easily turned into an adverb. I have no idea how anyone would act if they were acting “preciously”. Especially “hueing” something preciously. And that something is the caravan. I could scratch my head over this one, getting annoyed and agitated for way too long. At this point in my reading journey, your writing is a curiosity, but one that kind of makes me wonder if I’m getting played as a fool. I’m almost angry and want to see what else you’re trying to anger me with.

2. if you take out the modifiers then your sentence would say: “The caravan rode a King’s depth in gold.” In this sentence the “King’s depth” describes “rode”. It doesn’t sound like “King’s depth” describes the riches of the caravan. Also it is an obscure reference. I would be unable to realize that you meant to say the caravan was very expensive-looking. Like I showed you, I was trying to figure out what depths the caravan rode in. I wondered if you were comparing the desert sand to gold and maybe riding in a trench or something. It just makes no sense. At this point, I decide to read a few more sentences but my anger is over, I am clearly reading gibberish and it was either translated by Google translate or someone is playing a trick on me. My interest is now “Is this author sincere about this writing?”

3. “From the crown to his kin, courtesans to merchants” —I take this to mean basically every type of person is in this caravan. Then there is a limitation “Everyone who shared the King’s wonder, or the rule of tongue”. I took this as basically just trying to be mysterious, that people chose to be on this journey with the King if they were also interested in what the King was interested in, but then the Wonder was also this “rule of tongue” so just mystery, but it doesn’t really explain anything or tell me anything about this group, so it might as well not even have been brought up. A lot of pomp and no circumstance. And then the next part of the sentence is confusing “marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer”. It is not certain if they marched to the mount that comes from the star and crescent’s prayer (I would capitalize, by the way, I would also capitalize Rule of Tongue) or if they marched to the Mount and the caravan had started off from The Star and Crescent’s Prayer as a point of origin.

4. The king is like a snake riding along his harem. This visual doesn’t work well. Also it sounds like you’re saying “at the head” is like a snake. But a head cannot be like an entire snake, it is confusing and makes you think it should be “Like a snakes’s head, the king rode at the front of the caravan” but that’s not what is happening. Then the women in his harem haven’t been touched for months— has he kept his hands off of them for months? Is he celibate at this time for some reason? And finally, what was supplanted? There is nothing giving its place up in the King’s heart to be supplanted by an inquisitive wonder. Plus “wonder” would almost seem to refer to what was said before about the “King’s wonder” which is also the rule of tongue. Which is all not understood.

Remember you can’t be there sitting next to your reader explaining things or assuring them that they will understand (hopefully) if they continue to sit and read in bafflement. The most interesting thing is how this piece sounds well in my mind but makes no sense visually/mechanically. You seem to explain just fine (although you need to take clarity to heart and realize you need to change these 3 sentences to be understood) when you are not writing about a king’s caravan. I’m still interested in you, actually, and why visually/mechanically these sentences don’t work, but I won’t ask. We are here to discuss writing.

Try again? Please? I really would like to see what you do after we discussed this. Like I said the sentences SOUND good, so you’ve got that love of language part down. See what you can do with it. Take your time if you need to and keep writing.
 
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The Eighteenth Letter

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1. Precious is not easily turned into an adverb. I have no idea how anyone would act if they were acting “preciously”. Especially “hueing” something preciously. And that something is the caravan. I could scratch my head over this one, getting annoyed and agitated for way too long. At this point in my reading journey, your writing is a curiosity, but one that kind of makes me wonder if I’m getting played as a fool. I’m almost angry and want to see what else you’re trying to anger me with.

2. if you take out the modifiers then your sentence would say: “The caravan rode a King’s depth in gold.” In this sentence the “King’s depth” describes “rode”. It doesn’t sound like “King’s depth” describes the riches of the caravan. Also it is an obscure reference I would be unable to realize that you meant to say the caravan was very expensive-looking. Like I showed you, I was trying to figure out what depths the caravan rode in. I wondered if you were comparing the desert sand to gold and maybe riding in a trench or something. It just makes no sense. At this point, I decide to read a few more sentences but my anger is over, Jm clearly reading gibberish and it was either translated by Google translate or someone is playing a trick on me. My interest is now “Is this author sincere about this writing?”

3. “From the crown to his kin, courtesans to merchants” —I take this to mean basically every type of person is in this caravan. Then there is a limitation “Everyone who shared the King’s wonder, or the rule of tongue”. I took this as basically just trying to be mysterious, that people chose to be on this journey with the King if they were also interested in what the King was interested in, but then the Wonder was also this “rule of tongue” so just mystery, but it doesn’t really explain anything or tell me anything NF about this group, so it might as well not even have been brought up. A lot of pomp and no circumstance. And then the next part of the sentence is confusing “marched to the sacred mount from the star and crescent’s prayer”. It is not certain if they marched to the mount that comes from the star and crescent’s prayer (I would capitalize, by the way” or if they marched to the Mount and they started off from The Star and Crescent’s Prayer as a point of origin.

4. The king is like a snake riding along his harem. This visual doesn’t work well. Also it sounds like you’re saying “at the head” is like a snake. But a head cannot be like an entire snake, it is confusing and makes you think it should be “Like a snakes’s head, the king rode at the front of the caravan” but that’s not what is happening. Then the women in his harem haven’t been touched for months— has he kept his hands off of them for months? Is he celibate at this time or some reason? And finally, what was supplanted? There is nothing giving its place up in the King’s heart to be supplanted by an inquisitive wonder. Plus it makes would almost seem to refer to what was said before about the King’s wonder which is also the rule of tongue. Which is all not understood.

Remember you can’t be there sitting next to your reader explaining things or assuring them that they will understand (hopefully) if they continue to sit and read in bafflement. The most interesting thing is how this piece sounds well in my mind but makes no sense visually/mechanically. You seem to explain just fine (although you need to take clarity to heart and realize you need to change these 3 sentences to be understood) when you are not writing about a king’s caravan. I’m still interested in you, actually, and why visually/mechanically these sentences don’t work, but I won’t ask. We are here to discuss writing.

Try again? Please? I really would like to see what you do after we discussed this. Like I said the sentences SOUND good, so you’ve got that part down. The love of language. See what you can do with it. Take your time if you need to and keep writing.


Ilyralen

Thanks for your input and patience in writing what you did. I understand the hiccups caused by this type of writing, but surprised to hear it read like it was writen insincerely. Like I mentioned to Lakey, maybe things are clearer if the whole story is read, because every word relies heavily on the context of the story.

Will keep your points in mind.

Thank you to you both.
 
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surprised to hear it read like it was writen insincerely.
For me it didn't seem 'insincere' but rather 'over-use of thesaurus'. Many of the words seemed just that little bit off -- and I've seen this many times when an author takes a plain, normal word, wants to make the prose more flowery, uses the thesaurus, and chooses a synonym that looks flash but comes across as not-quite-right to the reader. This, combined with your long sentences and the use of nonstandard grammar/sentence structure, makes the reader struggle to parse each phrase. And then when they have figured out what the sentence says, they're struggling to picture how four hundred camels could stretch from 'zenith to horizon'. Four hundred camels would take up less than a kilometer, surely, even if they're in single file?

If the reader has to work at understanding what each sentence is saying, then reading becomes work rather than entertainment.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away