December 10, 2018, 01:23:20 PM

Author Topic: Small magics - Critique Thread  (Read 145 times)

Offline ryanmcgowan

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Small magics - Critique Thread
« on: December 04, 2018, 08:22:40 PM »
Here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in our writing contest - and to give critique as well.

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.
   
       
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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.”

« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 08:27:28 PM by ryanmcgowan »
It's the silence that scares me. It’s the blank page on which I can write my own fears.

Offline ryanmcgowan

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Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 08:25:08 PM »
Obviously i’m fishing for critique on my story this month, all opinions and feedback welcome
It's the silence that scares me. It’s the blank page on which I can write my own fears.

Online JMack

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Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 10:51:20 PM »
@ryanmcgowan:

I voted for your story, so I hope that makes me the most qualified to tear it to shreds provide some useful feedback.  8)


0. (yes, "0") I responded to the imagination underlying your story, the intensity of the situation, and the 'feel' of it. And though sometimes your prose is a bit dense, other times it's incredibly evocative, such as in:

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It is the mask we show the living when those we love are soon to be the dead.
Love that.

And this:
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A small package swaddled in frayed blankets, the soft nature of which belied the hard truth within.  A child lay dying here.  A child in pain within blanket folds, atop a small cot in one corner of the room.
Really involved me. So specific, and great rhythm in the final sentence.

You made me curious as hell about Sentinels and Wildlings. That Frey is an "it" and not a "he" or a "she".

And I think this is the stuff that sealed it for me:
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“Do not be afraid” I cautioned, “It is the sound the light makes as it touches the darkness.”
The boy crept towards me, suddenly emboldened “Where do you keep its heart?” He whispers.
“I keep it with my own-”
“It’s death magic.” Interrupts the father.
“Taking pain from a dying child is… Love magic if it is anything.” I counter.  Though so far as I have ever known, there is only one magic.

OK, enough with the praise.  ;)

1. Please, please, please separate all paragraphs with a carriage return.

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cottage, phantom pains raced through the wooden veins within the density of my prosthetic toes and the bitter taste of dampness suffused deep into my lungs.
(carriage return!)
There was a tension in the faces turned to greet me, I knew it too well even then.  It is the mask we show the living when those we love are soon to be the dead.  Yet I

2. Work on your punctuation. I've added the right marks below. I decided quickly while reading your story to ignore the errors, and I'm glad I did. But don't count on it from readers.

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A murder of crows rose from the thatch roof screaming their discontent.(period, not comma) T(capital)hey heralded our arrival as I collided with the door jamb,(comma) and a deep wooden thud foretold my presence.  As I limped into the dark cramped confines of the single-(dash)roomed serfs'(apostrophe, though you could argue need and placement) cottage, phantom pains raced through the wooden veins within the density of my prosthetic toes,(comma) and the bitter taste of dampness suffused deep into my lungs.

3. Proof read. Here is an example of tenses that don't agree. There are others. Pick present tense or past tense, and don't mix them.

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I cautioned
Quote
He whispers

Enough with the grammar, right?

4. It is really hard to pack so many characters and so much world-building into a 1,500 word story. But we all know that, don't we? Anyway, there are points where this story suffers for it. I was just searching for a good example, and didn't find one quickly enough (limited time to write), so chalk this up to overall impression.

5. I suspect some folks may feel there was some "big" magic going on, rather than small magic. I'm not overly excited about sticking to the monthly prompt all that closely, but I could see it being part of someone's voting. The hints of the huge world-building behind this lends that sense of "large" to the story, maybe.

6. Your prose (and I praised it earlier, remember) can veer to the dense. I offer this carefully, because everyone has their own style. Here is an example I feel needs sharpening and simplifying.

Quote
I had felt the old anger begin to rise with his words.  Deep inside, in a place long forgotten.  Reacting as it felt the touch of a kindred spirit, as in this boy child a similarly deep pool had sprung.
Maybe not actually the best example (because I quite like some of it), but again, time.

But here is a tentative tweak.
Quote
I felt the old anger rise with his words, deep inside, in a place long forgotten - reacting to the touch of a kindred spirit, a deep pool of anger answering from the boy.
(The "-" there is a personal choice to link the first sentence to the sentence fragment. You have a lot of sentence fragments throughout the story, mixed with run-ons. Both can work, but too many can be distracting.)

Anyway, I'm out of time for things at the moment.
I hope some of these comments are useful to you. Aside from the grammar, which is just what it is, the rest is personal style and choice. Take what helps and ignore the rest.

But overall, simplify, simplify, without losing your own cool style.


P.s., I just ran your story through my www.autocrit.com account. It sucks at sentence fragments, grammar, and punctuation, but is excellent at tense agreement, passive voice, filler words, and more. If you’d like me to pull some details out it’s analysis, send me a p.m.

« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 11:15:43 AM by JMack »
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Offline ryanmcgowan

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Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2018, 08:12:04 PM »
@JMack Wow thank you so much for taking the time, don’t think i’ve Felt so positive after My writings been torn to shreds hahaha.

But seriously this is some very helpful points which I will be actively trying to work on for this months entry.

I’ve some serious research to do on sentence fragments and run-on’s this week!

I’ll drop you a pm regards autocrit.

Again thank you.
It's the silence that scares me. It’s the blank page on which I can write my own fears.

Offline Slaykomimi

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Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2018, 11:11:01 PM »
Everybody in this forum, please feel free to write critique about my entry.
I am glad and open for any form of critique.

Thanks in advance.
Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lies within the heart of mankind.

-Edward d. Morrison

Offline ryanmcgowan

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Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 08:04:37 PM »
@Slaykomimi i’m Really just beginning writing myself, so please don’t take anything to heart as it’s only my opinion.

I liked your stories strong imagery, but it seemed that you had no defined POV.  Clearly Mui is your main character but the story jumps from head to head and then to the narrator, and as a reader I found it difficult to bond with her character.

Your story also has a lot of information dumping, i’m often guilty of this myself.  I try to remember the advice of ‘Show don’t tell’ maybe this could help you too.

Look forward to reading your next entry!
It's the silence that scares me. It’s the blank page on which I can write my own fears.