My Writing Style: critiques?

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Khadrian
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My Writing Style: critiques?

#1 Post by Khadrian » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:37 am

I thought I would post a bit of the project I'm currently working on. This was written mainly to test character reactions in a certain situation, and was written before any major work on the plot so I may end up changing it when it gets rewritten. Anyway any tips or comments on the style/story would be appreciated.

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"Sometimes it's nice to have a quiet night like this."
"It really has been a while since I've had the house to myself."
"It's always been me and Ashley ever since our parents died last year."
"Back then I had just started college, and Ashley was about to enter middle school."
"I remember that after the incident happened, Ashley wouldn't leave her room for weeks."
"I ended up quitting school to take care of her, and eventually she started to get better."
"After a couple of months she started going outside again, and then in September she started to attend school again."
"Little by little thigs started to return to normal, and now Ashley is spending the weekend with a friend."
"It would be nice if things could continue to go so smoothly... It would be nice if days would continue going by so peacefully."
"..."
"(BZZZH)"
"My peaceful daydreams are interupted by a loud sound."

m"Huh?"

"I look around for the source of the noise."
"In the middle of my room I see some sort of light implode in on itself."
"As the light grows smalled, a darkness expands from the lights origin."
"The darkness continues to expand out until my entire room is encased in shadow."
"The shadows begin to fade from my room as a girl appears in the center of all this."
"She's lying down, her eyes closed, and her clothes torn and scorched."
"The girl begins to open her eyes, and I'm unsure what I should do."
"I just watch."
"The girl stands up and examines her surroundings."
"She finally seems to notice me."
"The first thing to cross my mind is that she is an assassin sent from the future to kill me so that I can't lead a rebel army against her."
"The next thing I think is that her torn up clothing is incredibly revealing."
"And finally I think to say something, but only manage to get out a single word."

m"Hello...?"

"The girl seems to respond to my voice, she smiles slightly and then tries to speak."
"She seems to remember something before she speaks and stops, deciding not to say anything."
"She begins walking towards me, quietl, her eyes never leaving mine."
"She continues approaching me until we are standing face to face, and then..."
"The girl reaches up and presses her finger against my forehead."
"As she does this my vision begins to fade... my room disappears... the girl disappears."
"Everything has become black."
"Suddenly light comes flooding back into view, and I hear the soft ambience of birds and soft wind."
"After a few seconds I realize where I am."
"This is the cabin my family used to go to for vacation in the summer."
"The girl appears again, and she looks around the area in awe."

e"It's beautiful here."
e"Now I understand why this is your favorite place."

"The girl finally starts speaking."

e"I thought this would be the best place to talk with you."
e"My name is Eris."

m"How did we get here?"

"The girl looks around again, and then looks at me to respond."

e"We didn't go anywhere, you're asleep, and these are your memories."

"I'm not sure I understand what she's trying to say, but I pretend that it makes perfect sense."

e"I have a request of you."

"I was waiting for her to better explain what was going on, so she had my full attention."

e"I can't go home."

"It wasn't what I was expecting to hear, but somehow she seemed distraught so I continued to listen in silence."

e"I will need to stay with you for a while, is that ok?"

"Her eyes were begging more than her words, I didn't know how I should react."
"How could I react?"
"I found myself just staring into her eyes, eyes that you couldn't help but simpothize with."

m"(...)"

"I can't help but feel sorry for her, even though I don't know her situation."
"I answer her question without thinking about it, I couldnd't help it though, her eyes are just..."

m"Yeah, you can stay."

"Her smile at my response somehow cheers me up, even though I don't think I was feeling down in the first place."
"Suddenly the world starts to grow dark again, and my surroundings begin to fade away."
"The girl smiles as she disappears, the world has become black again."
TRANSITION

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"I wake up to the smell of burning food..."
"As my eyes open I instantly recognize my bedroom."

m"(Have I been in bed the whole time?)"

"My mind drifts to Eris, and the dream I think I remember having."

m"(That's right, it was just a dream.)"

"I think to myself, even though I kind of doubt my own words."
"When I get out of bed I realize that there shouldn't be anyone here to be cooking."
"Ashley is away at a friends house, not that she would cook anything even if she were here..."
"It's just us that live here, so there definitely should not be anyone cooking."
"I'm overcome with curriousity and decide to check out the kitchen."

m"(Did Ashley come home early? Now that I think about it, her cooking isn't as surprising as her staying with a friend.)"
m"(Or maybe it's...)"

"The girl from my dream suddenly returns to mind, but I refuse to consider it."

m"That's impossible."

"Those are the words that exit my mouth as I reach my kitchen, only to be completely surprised by what I see."
"The girl who I thought I had just drempt about was now in my kitchen, and that isn't even the most surprising fact."
"With just one glance I can recognize the clothes she's wearing... they're mine."
"Further still, it's just a shirt... and boxers..."
"Why no pants? Does she have something against pants??"
"She seems to notice me approach, and turns around."

e"You're awake!"

"She seems unnaturally happy about something."

e"AH! I made breakfast!"

"She turns around to grab a plate containing some sort of blackened matter."
"It's impossible to even guess what is supposed to be on that plate, but that isn't what I'm worried about."

m"Wh--"

e"Pancakes!"

"She interupts me with a smile like that of a child looking for the acknowlegement of their accomplishments."
"That wasn't what I was going to ask, but I guess that's one mystery solved."
"I decide to try again."

m"Wh--"

"She interupts me again..."

e"I thought it would be good to make you breakfast as a thank you for letting me stay here."

m"I did?"

"Did I say something like that?"
"Now that I think about it, that might have actually happened..."
"...in that dream."

e"You... you said..."

"She looks like she's starting to get depressed for some reason."
"Where did all her energy go... that happiness?"
"Did I just take it from her?"
"Am I that kind of person?"
"I try to fix the situation..."

m"Oh, I did say something like that, didn't I?"
m"In a dream..."

"Now that I think about it, why is she here?"
"I've heard about dreams coming true, but this is a little much isn't it..."

m"Speaking of dreams... you where there right? In my dream."

"I search for confirmation."

e"I was there."

"What? Instantly... there was no thought, she just answered."
"But that's not normal right? To be in someone elses dream."

m"But you're here now right? How is something like that possible?"

"She looks at me, and seems to understand the cause of my confusion."

e"I thought it would be easier to talk to you in a place you were most comfortable."
e"Most of your good memories were there, so i thought it was a good place."
e"Was I wrong?"

"It's true that the place where my family was able to spend time together is a place that I have fond memories of..."

m"No, you're right about that, but is something like that even possible?"

e"Of course, because I'm a demon, My name's Eris."

"Wait... did I just hear something crazy?"
"Did she just say something completely ridiculous as if it were a matter of fact?"
m"I'm sorry, could you repeat that? What you just said."

e"My name is Eris."

"..."

m"Right... and before that?"

"I'm sure she said demon..."

e"I'm a demon?"

"There it is..."

m"Yes, that. When you say demon... How is it that you're a demon?"

"I'm sure our definitions of demon are just different."
"That's right, that's got to be it."

e"How...?"

"She looks confused as she ponders on a way to answer."

m"(It was definitely a figure of speach, she couldn't possibly--)"

e"Well because I'm from Hell..."

"..."

"How can she say something like that with such a cute smile..."
"Is she teasing me?"
"Wait, logically speaking--"
"No! There's no logic here!"
"But..."
"...the way she showed up... and my dream..."

e"Thank you though, for letting me stay."

"She interupts my thoughts with a thanks and a smile."
"Her smile is like a punch in the face..."
"A soft teddie bear punch filled with cotton candy..."
"...but still, I can't compete with that."
"That smile... it's cheating... she's cheating."

m"It's no problem."

"I find myself accepting my utter defeat."
[note] sorry for the length...

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Applegate
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Re: My Writing Style: critiques?

#2 Post by Applegate » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:26 am

Note that the following are my personal ideas about writing: they aren't professional any more than your own.

The first paragraph, until "I look around..." is dry. It is a simple summation of events, in the vein of, "Hello. My name is John, and I am twelve years old. I go to school at Arlington Middle School, and I enjoy a fancy walk in the Spring." It is a dull introduction which, the narrator not actually addressing the reader, should be omitted and replaced by sections that show the facts he's just summed up. You could, for example, attempt the following instead:
  • Whew. It really is nice to have a quiet evening every once in a while. It must've been last year since I've had my last quiet evening, and boy... that evening didn't end quietly in the least.
    Now. Ashley's off to her friend's place for the night, so I've the house to myself, and there's nothing I need to do. Or can do.
You can apply the information about the parents and everything at a later point: you don't want your story to be an info dump that starts with information and then rattles everything off. Let people learn more about your protagonist as time goes on.

The passages after that stop being the narrator experiencing things: they are the narrator describing things that are happening as a disinterested third party. "A girl appears". "I just stand by and watch". "Her clothes are torn". "I'm unsure what I should do". "The first thing to cross my mind is that she's an Assassin". "The next thing I think is that her clothing's revealing".

The primary objective for a narrator is to narrate. However, the difference between an omniscient storyteller narrator and a first-person narrator is this:
  • The boy looked about himself. Here he was, in a room which, he was sure, was not his bedroom. He wasn't even sure it was a room: the surroundings were blacker than the darkest night, and aside from his own body, strangely illuminated, he couldn't see a thing.
    "Hello?" he called out. "Is there anybody there?"
  • ... Huh? Where... am I? I'm pretty much an expert when it comes to my own bedroom, and I can say with some certainty that this is not the bedroom I was looking for. No doubt my door, which had previously been just a bedroom door, has finally transformed itself into that magic portal to adventure I had always wanted... ten years ago.
    Ten years, heaven. Ten years. And all you have to give me is this pitch-black room?!
    In fact, is this even a room? I mean, what's with this pitch-black darkness, and why the hell am I giving off light?! I'm pretty sure whoever wrote the laws of physics and all would be rolling around in his grave if he'd see me here.
    "Hello?" No response. "Anyone out there?"
To be precise, the first person narration gives the reader the unique opportunity to be party to the narrator's thoughts, rather than just a dry description of the narrator's actions. You have to ask yourself: who is the narrator addressing? Is he relating a story what happened to him in the past to his best mate at the pub, over a glass of whiskey?
  • I was just sitting at home, you know. Ashley'd just gone off to that mate of hers. You know how she'd been right after pops and ma bought the farm, right? ... No, you dunce, I mean they died. Gosh, you're such an idiot.
    Anyway, I was just sitting at home, drifting off in dreams a bit when suddenly SHAZAM! There was this brilliant light pouring into the room like... like... well, there's not quite anything like it in this world.
    Ah, moment, lemme get a refill...
    Where was I? Right, the brilliant light. I was staring at it all slack-faced, you can imagine, when out popped this girl. Not just any girl, but then, what girl does appear in a blinding flash of light? She had torn clothes all over and, well, I'd seen Terminator just a few days ago. For one wild instant I imagined she was some future assassin, out to prevent me from raising a rebel army. Hah!
Having a narrator begs the question, "To who is he narrating?" If he's experiencing things as they happen and the reader is to experience those things together with him, you must let the reader experience all the wonder and awe your narrator is experiencing. It simply does not do for your narrator to stand there slack-jawed and in wild amazement, while dryly telling the reader, "I watch a girl appear from the light". Catch my drift?

You do this later on, but it's definitely possible to do it right from the start. Additionally, lines as these:
"She seems to remember something before she speaks and stops, deciding not to say anything."
This makes me wonder: how does someone look when they remember something, try to speak, then stop in a decision not to say anything? It's a rather precise assessment of someone's character and actions, which at the time should be turbulent and vague; not to mention, a girl with torn clothes just appeared out of nowhere. You might be more surprised than to just describe it. Try it this way:
  • She looks at me.
    "Ah. I... uh... mmm..."
    She falls quiet, tilting her head left and right a few times, like a child struggling to decide whether she'll have a chocolate bar or a slice of cake.
Really, the second part, post "transition" is really good, and I'd advise revising the first part to be conform to that. I started writing as I began reading, and by the time I realised you knew all this but didn't use it for the start, I felt I had written too much to just discard. :lol:

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