Writing critique

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
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andrewngn13
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Writing critique

#1 Post by andrewngn13 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:56 am

I've recently started up a webnovel(maybe?) which details the life of a princess forced into a game in the demon world.

I would honestly like some critique on the writing thus far, since I feel like parts of it are awkward at the moment, but I can't pinpoint where.

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https://recastdev.wordpress.com/categor ... incess-is/
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No, like seriously, just send a pm and I'll respond what I think. I'm open to reading anything.

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Re: Writing critique

#2 Post by Poli » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:31 pm

I haven't read much, but all I have to say is there's something odd about this part.
I woke up in the morning and found myself still sprawled in my bed. As a matter of routine, I started to take stock of my ordinary room.

“Comfortable bed and lazy clothes, check”

“Various literary works purchased from the bookstores in the shopping district, check.”

“A bright morning and blue skies…”

“Ah. That’s a rather pink morning sky isn’t it?”

Judging by the changed scenery outside my room, it appears that I’m in the Demon World.



Did I just get kidnapped while I was asleep?
I find it odd that she knows what the demon world looks like? Correct me if I'm wrong, but a pink sky is too little to be able to tell that you're in a demon world? But that's what I think.

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Re: Writing critique

#3 Post by andrewngn13 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:34 pm

"Comfortable bed and lazy clothes, check"

"Various literary works purchased from the bookstores in the shopping district, check."

"A bright morning, blue skies..."

"Ah. Is that a blue star and green sunrise?"

...

Just what the heck happened while I was asleep?
Decided that shifting away from demon world and using a blue sun would work better for now.
"Feel feel to idea-bounce off me."
No, like seriously, just send a pm and I'll respond what I think. I'm open to reading anything.

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Re: Writing critique

#4 Post by Kuiper » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:41 am

Can I offer some writing advice?
My name is Miya Viyor, the second princess of the kingdom of Viyor. Although we’re not a particularly large country, our royal name has a considerable amount of prestige as a result of its age.
This is the kind of sentence that makes me want to stop reading something. If I picked up a book off the shelf at a book store and saw this on the first page, I would immediately put the book down.

This line is pure exposition. It gives me facts while accomplishing anything else. One of the most basic skills of a writer is figuring out how to convey facts while embedding it with something more interesting (and sometimes, even more informative). Before I care about a character's background and profession, I need to care about them as a person. Give me some aspect of their personality or voice or something that would let me identify this character without any information about what they look like or what their profession is.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here's how I would re-write that intro:
Being the first-born daughter of royalty is overrated. Second-born daughter, now that's a nice place to be. I get all of the comforts of royal life without the crushing responsibilities that come with being a future queen. And in the kingdom of Viyor, even "second princess" is a title that caries prestige, specifically the kind of prestige that follows a family name that has long history of sitting on the throne.
(I'd actually go one step further and say something like "200 year history of sitting on the throne" or "sat on the throne for however many number of generations," rather than saying something ambiguous like "We've had a long reign.") That's not the best example, and it probably deviates from the personality that you had in mind for the character, but hopefully it's enough to get the idea across. I don't intend to claim that my version of the line is particularly well-written, but at least it sounds somewhat like how a person might talk, and it conveys a bit of her attitude toward the situation she's describing, as opposed to a line that reads like a Wikipedia article with the phrase "my name is" inserted.

The next paragraph is a bit better, as it at least hints at what what one of the main conflicts will be (or at least, what one of the main dimensions of the "older sister" character will be). But still, telling me that our protagonist's older sister has been burdened with being queen feels very much like plot, not character.

Now, as for this part:
How she managed under those circumstances and still watch over our little sister and I is beyond my comprehension.
I like this. This line is actually the first point at which I feel like I'm seeing the story through our main character's eyes. I'm not just getting a list of facts about the situation; I'm now learning something about the main character's emotional state. We're learning that the main character's older sister kept watch over her all those years, but more importantly, we're learning the main character's reaction to this: she's astounded that her older sister has held up this well.
Always keeping a smile on her face as the two of us wandered around the castle bothering servants when we were little, she had a much greater maternal presence than our actual mother.
I also like this. It paints a picture of a scene: I'm now visualizing two little girls wandering around the castle, bothering the servants as the older one wears a smile on her face. That puts an image in my mind. Compare to the first paragraph I quoted, which reads more like a bullet-point list of facts.

Oh, and as a bit of an aside: it feels really weird that our main character has a name and her sister doesn't. Actually, if anyone is going to go nameless, I kind of think it makes more sense for the main character to be the nameless one, as there are plenty of first-person stories out there which have a bunch of named character and then a viewpoint character who only goes by "I." I'd just go with whatever feels natural, and to me, it feels really unnatural for the older sister to not have a name (almost like you're going out of your way to avoid naming her). Maybe there's a reason for that I'm just not aware of.
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Re: Writing critique

#5 Post by SundownKid » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:51 am

From reading chapter one, here are the main problems

There's almost no dialogue. If you want to grab someone into a story then we want to care about the character or have an interesting world. The world is not very interesting, being a generic fantasy world, at least as far as we know. Yet almost the entire first chapter is narration about the character's life.

A better way to show a spoiled princess would probably be showing them interacting with people in the castle through actions and dialogue. Not having them describe their life

For chapter two:

The princess seems way too calm about the situation. It feels like she is holding the idiot ball right now with regards to how she is not panicking and going to find other people. She is 100% passive and waiting for someone to rescue her?

The fact that she can check her own stats like a video game? Interesting but the way it's shown right now makes it feel like its some fanfiction of Sword Art Online. It needs... some kind of better explanation. If she is actually a video game character and that's why she's so carefree and passive, then maybe she have a mental conflict where half of her acts like she has free will (e.g. wants to escape) and the other half like a computer program (e.g. act like the princess trapped in an evil castle she is)

For chapter three:

She only waits for 10 minutes? What? Doesnt she have anyone like a knight from the castle she expects to rescue her besides the hero, or thinks its strange that she doesnt? She's a princess, FFS - she has a ton of retainers and servants and guards. And then her escape doesnt really feel like an escape because she has time to get prepared. An exciting story would suddenly have monsters knocking down her door and/or maybe someone attempting to rescue her that buys her time.

It's too weird that there seems to be no one else in the castle right now besides her. At the very least there should be signs of stuff happening in the castle.

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Re: Writing critique

#6 Post by andrewngn13 » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:44 pm

Updated the first chapter, haven't gotten to editing the others so itll make little sense if you read them.
https://recastdev.wordpress.com/2016/07 ... -is-bored/

Hopefully I've cleaned up the pure exposition bits, but if I haven't or even possibly made it worse, please tell me. Also tried adding in more dialogue.

Given some time to reflect, it does seem way too odd for her not to panic, so its something I'm keeping in mind while editing ch 2. I did want to explain the feature of [Interface] a bit more, but I felt that it might have gotten just way too longwinded from what it already is. The idea is much closer to it being a system essential to their lives.

*Chapter 3 right now is just poorly written since it seems I've conveyed the wrong idea. The idea that nothing is really happening in the castle would be true, there's hardly anyone at all in the castle right now.
"Feel feel to idea-bounce off me."
No, like seriously, just send a pm and I'll respond what I think. I'm open to reading anything.

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