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Author Topic: [Oct 2014] - Abandoned places - Critique Thread  (Read 3816 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Oct 2014] - Abandoned places - Critique Thread
« on: December 01, 2014, 09:38:17 PM »
So here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in our Abandoned Places writing contest - and to give critique as well.

If everybody wants and gives critique, this thread will be pure chaos soon, while 2-3 critiques for as many stories shouldn't be a problem. We'll see how it goes and adapt if necessary. :)

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for his story posts in here.*
2. Everybody who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.

IF this thread is overrun fast, I'm splitting it so that every story has it's own one to avoid confusion. :)

* I know that critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via pm. They can post here that they sent a critique via pm so that others know about it.

At the moment I don't think it necessary that we create a system balancing given/received critiques. However, if it turns out to be unfair and some people are giving critiques without receiving some (or the other way round) we have to add one.

Basic rules for critiquing:

This is just a small guideline for those that haven't done critiques before, stolen from this forum's writing section.
Critiquing Other’s Work
1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.”  “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Jaeulk

Re: [Oct 2014] - Abandoned places - Critique Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2014, 11:31:45 PM »
Hi Xiagan

I'm happy to receive critique to help me improve, and if others would like the same would be ahppy to provide my thoughts on other's work :)


Offline Ancalagon

Re: [Oct 2014] - Abandoned places - Critique Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2014, 10:47:19 AM »
I would also appreciate some critique on my writing if anyone has time. I will try and give some critique to Jaeulk when I get some time.

Offline JMack

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Re: [Oct 2014] - Abandoned places - Critique Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2014, 11:26:18 AM »
Hello, Ancalagon.

I just re-read your story, and I do have a few thoughts.
Please take praise as a given and I'll get right to the meat.  ;)

> They arrive in a boat, but go to a pass.  I don't recall them climbing into the mountains.  There would need to be some sense of time, meals eaten, days passed, grooves worn in the cage bars as the demon gnaws at them.

> In such a short narrative, I found the switch to Jore's POV to be jarring.  I think you're better off sticking to Tasaile the whole way.  Or, have an omniscient narrator who is constantly describing what each of your characters is thinking, rather than one in each section with the switch to Jore.  As you'll read below, I suggest focusing on three people, and the narrator could be inside all their heads at once.

> The event bones of the story really work for me, but I think the character bones can be stronger.  What I mean is that I want each character to have some constant objective and personal style that carries through.  This can then lead to inter-personal conflict that can make everything work better.  (Just opinions, here, of course.)

So, I would:

> Focus on three characters: Tasaile (wants to succeed, to save, but also to shine in others' eyes; prickly of his place as leader, and a bit rigid in his faith); Jore (wants to impress, but is terribly afraid of the <thing>, causing him to doubt his courage, and making his constant jumping at shadows irritating to Tasaile); Ned (a realist, a worker, who thinks the monks are all a bit blasé about the <thing>, he's been to the gates before, knows the score, and is worried because this critter is much more powerful than any he's seen before; the darn monks are underestimating this one, and he constantly checks the strength of the bars and locks, trusts good iron much more than prayers; tends to agree with Jore, which really needles Tasaile).  Ditch Nye - he serves no purpose.  Three names, three motivations, everyone else is a NPC.

> This sets up conflict.  You have three scenes: arrival at the dock, journey to the gates, the disaster at the gates.  In each scene, what is each of your characters doing, what does each want, how do they get in each other's way, what happens to each?

Good luck with your writing and with this story.  I think it has the strength already to get even stronger.


A final idea occurred to me, which would be a complete change for Ned - could he be working for the beast, and does some little thing that allows it to send its will out and draw in those bodies?  Now there's some conflict for you!

« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 11:36:53 AM by Jmacyk »
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline Ancalagon

Re: [Oct 2014] - Abandoned places - Critique Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2014, 12:46:25 PM »
Thanks Jmacyk, those were some good suggestions and I will definitely take them into consideration for future stories.

Jaeulk, I finally got around to re-reading your story and I have a few suggestions for you.

Firstly, I didn't seem to get a clear sense of conflict for most of the story. In the opening paragraph the reader discovers that Aleks is tracking down a small group of beings, but I didn't seem to get a clear reason as to why. The story then switches focus on the environment (I did like your descriptions here by the way) and loses track of the group. I felt that the only reason that they were included were to give Aleks a reason to come in contact with the statue. The story would have benefited from having a stronger reason for Aleks to arrive at the statue.

Your last sentence also hints at an area you could improve. Aleks knows his story isn't finished and the reader does too. The first major part of the story seems to occur at the end and leaves the reader wanting the rest of the story. Obviously you can't add anything to your story or you'll exceed the limit but you could perhaps rework the beginning to include more conflict as well as a clearer motive for Aleks. Alternatively, the end of your story could become the beginning, creating a hook for the reader and opening up a mystery as to what the statue is and why it was there.

Ultimately I think you should focus in the future on adding more conflict into your story and letting the reader know why you main character is doing whatever it is he's doing.