attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

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Recca Phoenix
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attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#1 Post by Recca Phoenix » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:31 am

Hullo all.
I have been attempting to write (in novel form) a story I thought of a while back, because it references a lot of music (in a Murakami Haruki sort of way) and is therefore invalid as a screenplay or stageplay. My artistic skills are not up to rendering it as a VN or manga either. I wouldn't want it in an anime style anyway.
I don't want this story on some internet fiction site because I am not working on it in order and from my experience you don't get a lot of good criticism on those sites.
I am considering having this published when I finish it, if it turns out well. If not, I am going to edit it until it reaches publishing quality most likely. So, I would like to know if any serious/professional writers here would like to read and give suggestions.
I am not excluding amateurs or non-writers entirely, though, as I'd like an amateur opinion on stuff like how interesting the story is, how believable, etc.
Now, to give you an idea of what the story is like (as I wouldn't want y'all reading something in a genre you're not interested in...). It's a sort of dystopian story, somewhere between Murakami's fiction, 1984, Bubblegum Crisis, Dr. Zhivago, A Clockwork Orange, and the Warriors. The protagonist is a female assassin named Ciel.
Let me know if you're interested and I'll post up the first few chapters.
The story makes ample reference to classic rock songs, which probably sounds pretty dumb, but it was the main reason I'm writing the story as fiction, because fiction can get away with allusion in a way that other media can't always do.

Oh, I can also AIM or MSN message the files to you directly if you're interested.
Last edited by Recca Phoenix on Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#2 Post by n9261andvari » Sun Aug 05, 2007 3:04 am

I don't mind helping you with that. I usually would check the spelling, grammar and such. I'll also be able to analyze whatever I can from your story to help you improve. Then again it's good to have multiple people for this just in case one person misses to check something that needs improvement.

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#3 Post by Recca Phoenix » Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:02 am

Okay, the first five chapters can be found here.
I couldn't upload the MS word file, so it's posted at that site. All my editing marks carried over, so you can see the passages I've marked for awkwardness, etc.
Enjoy!

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#4 Post by lordcloudx » Sun Aug 05, 2007 6:22 am

Very nice. I don't think I can give good criticism though since I've written something slightly similar.
How do you make your games? I see. Thank you for the prompt replies, but it is my considered opinion that you're doing it wrong inefficiently because I am a perfushenal professional. Do it my way this way and we can all ascend VN Nirvana together while allowing me to stroke my ego you will improve much faster. Also, please don't forget to thank me for this constructive critique or I will cry and bore you to death respond appropriately with a tl;dr rant discourse of epic adequately lengthy proportions. - Sarcasm Veiled in Euphemism: Secrets of Forum Civility by lordcloudx (Coming soon to an online ebook near you.)

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#5 Post by Radhreni » Sun Aug 05, 2007 6:58 pm

If you are seriously considering publication, and you haven't heard of Absolute Write yet, take a look.

There is a password-protected area for serious critique (called Share Your Work), not to mention the genre- and market-dedicated subfora, the Bewares and Background Check board, the Learn Writing with Uncle Jim thread, and a host of other good stuff. You have to join to access the SYW board, but you should be able to take a look at the other things without membership.

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#6 Post by n9261andvari » Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:38 pm

Cool. Give me a week to complete analyzing your story yeah? The semester has just begun so things are gonna be a bit hectic, lol. :mrgreen:

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#7 Post by n9261andvari » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:49 pm

Okay here's the analysis...
"I was entertaining this train of thought when the event, the encounter, entered my life as a stray ball stops at your feet and you look around wondering where and why to the empty space around you."
Somehow my train of thought broke when you suddenly switched from "I" to "you". I do get what you're trying to say and I think you should stick with the "I" instead of switching to the "you". Also, the part where you struck out can be used to help with describing the act that is currently happening for example:

"I was entertaining this train of thought when the event, the encounter, entered my life as a stray ball stops at my feet and I look around in wonder as to where the ball had come from and why it was here in the first place..."

Or something like that. Or if you wish to keep the switch from the "I" to "you" it would be something like:

"I was entertaining this train of thought when the event, the encounter, entered my life as a stray ball stops at your feet (the kind of event where you wonder 'Where did this ball come from?' and 'Why is it even here?').
I backed away, looking for an escape route, as the shadow came closer.
You don't really need that comma after the word "route". The pause there doesn't seem to function properly and it seems to delay the connecting idea of the character looking for an escape route because the shadow was coming closer. But it's your choice to omit it or not.
The attacker lunged to one direction, leaving me the other way to escape by.
It's kinda phonetically weird but still a plausible sentence. I would write it : "...leaving me to escape the other way." or "...giving me the opportunity to escape the other way."
...small age difference that never would have existed between and advisor and un-pledged guild member had we not been short on numbers.
Just a spelling mistake. You meant to write "an" didn't you? You could also add a "an" before "un-pledged" but it's not necessary.
...stepped into the chill breezes of the early Autumn night.
Did you mean to write "chilly" or "chilling"? Either one sounds better than just "chill" actually, but it can still be used.

Well overall your writing is pretty good. Your grammar and punctuation mistakes are kept to a minimal and the vocabulary you use fits fine with the genre you're using. Also it's good that you provide some footnotes about the acronyms or slang words that you use in the story because too much askance from the readers can put them off. I was confused though in the last two paragraphs but after reading a few more times I figured that you were using an allusion to explain what it was Ciel was going through. I noticed that most of your mistakes were only in the first few parts of your story so I guess as you wrote more and went further, your ideas start to become clearer, eh? :mrgreen:

Well that's all, I guess. I do not wish to analyze it into too great of a detail because it is your story after all and it would seem like I'm imposing too much changes on your script. I would also advise you to boost up on the character descriptions as somehow there's a vague image of the characters floating around in my head. And there is a sense of uncertainty about the character's design as well...or did you purposely do this to let us imagine for ourselves what your characters look like with the help of your guidelines?

It's quite interesting though and I have to say I'm starting to have interest in the character Rex. I have a character of the same name but let's just say he is quite different from your Rex. I hope this helps and sorry for the late analysis. Work's starting to pour in already even if it's just the start of the semester. Anyways I wish you the very best of luck in completing this story as it does seem interesting.

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#8 Post by Jake » Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:41 am

I apologise for not having gone through and offered more thorough suggestions on the whole piece, but I have a few other things I have to prioritise right now, not least things which I've previously agreed to do... but as it goes, a couple of comments on these comments:
n9261andvari wrote:
"I was entertaining this train of thought when the event, the encounter, entered my life as a stray ball stops at your feet and you look around wondering where and why to the empty space around you."
Somehow my train of thought broke when you suddenly switched from "I" to "you". I do get what you're trying to say and I think you should stick with the "I" instead of switching to the "you".
I think the problem here is just one of separating the hypothetical from the actual; the 'correct' option I believe is to use 'one' instead of 'you':

"...entered my life as a stray ball stops at one's feet and one looks around..."

...but realistically, that doesn't scan so well. I don't like parenthesis in first-person prose, though, unless the parenthesised clause is definitely a total aside. I'd probably write the sentence more like:

"I was entertaining this train of thought when the event - the encounter - entered my life, in the manner of a stray ball rolling to your feet, the empty space around you giving no clue as to where or it came from."
n9261andvari wrote:
I backed away, looking for an escape route, as the shadow came closer.
You don't really need that comma after the word "route". The pause there doesn't seem to function properly and it seems to delay the connecting idea of the character looking for an escape route because the shadow was coming closer. But it's your choice to omit it or not.
Actually, in this case the clause 'looking for an escape route' is parenthetical - that is, it's adding extra information to the sentence without being entirely necessary for the sentence to make sense, like this one - and it's perfectly acceptable to separate unambiguous parenthetical clauses with a comma at each end. Personally, I think it makes it scan better, not worse; a comma doesn't always indicate a pause in reading, just a separation between one item or clause and the next.
n9261andvari wrote:
The attacker lunged to one direction, leaving me the other way to escape by.
It's kinda phonetically weird but still a plausible sentence. I would write it : "...leaving me to escape the other way." or "...giving me the opportunity to escape the other way."
Personally, I'd just omit 'way'. The use of 'other' implies that a previous 'way' was mentioned, and to my mind the clumsiness of the sentence stems from the fact that 'direction' and 'way' mean different things. Remove the 'way' and it's implied that it's another 'direction', which doesn't conflict so much.
n9261andvari wrote:
...stepped into the chill breezes of the early Autumn night.
Did you mean to write "chilly" or "chilling"? Either one sounds better than just "chill" actually, but it can still be used.
"chill breeze" is a common enough term in English at least, I couldn't speak for AmEng. It's a little idiomatic, but it's more poetic than 'chilly' or 'chilling' to my ear. I wouldn't change this, myself.



I'm not sure how well the song titles work. In part, because not everyone will get them all, in part 'cause I'm not sure how they connect to the prose... which could also be because some of them are a little ambiguous. I read 'Barrel of a Gun' and thought of the Levellers' track, for example, but I think there several songs with the same name...
Server error: user 'Jake' not found

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#9 Post by Recca Phoenix » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:26 pm

Thanks for your valuable suggestions! I edited Ch. 1-5 and finally finished Ch. 6,
the exciting result of Ciel's battle with the horrible fever
and the first song reference of the novel.
So, you can find the edited version riiight here as usual.
Jake wrote:I'm not sure how well the song titles work. In part, because not everyone will get them all, in part 'cause I'm not sure how they connect to the prose... which could also be because some of them are a little ambiguous. I read 'Barrel of a Gun' and thought of the Levellers' track, for example, but I think there several songs with the same name...
And that is exactly why I took the song title-chapter titles out. I only kept them in the previous draft because I originally only had that to sort my chapters by. It was a silly gimmick that I thought of back when I first started writing it, but yeah, it's superfluous and the integrated song quotation works much better.
Yeah, there's a zillion songs called "Barrel of a Gun," but I had the Depeche Mode song in mind. I found it randomly on an old '90s rock CD one day (as I was working on the novel) and I was like "this works..." I don't think it'll turn up as a reference, though.
So the title-copyright issue..... I was originally going to call it "Blue Heaven," but one day I was on the bus and I saw a guy reading a book called "Blue Heaven." DAMN. >: ( The most prominent song in what I'd planned so far was "Houses of the Holy," so I decided on that. After all, Murakami wrote a whole novella based on "Norwegian Wood" by the Beatles. I didn't base the story around the song, but I was listening to it one day and its relevance to the blurry story idea in my head surprised me. I love love that song (*#1 most played on my iPod I believe*)! Anyway, the idea of Rex as
a big fan of old pop and rock music hit me. I guess you could say it resembles Alex's love of classical music in "A Clockwork Orange"
The idea refused to go away, and I couldn't bear to separate it from the story. This stubborn idea prevented me from writing it as a screenplay or a comic or a stageplay, so a novel it was. Besides, Led Zeppelin is notorious for not allowing their music in movies....we all saw how Jack Black had to beg them on video backed by thousands of screaming fans to use 45 seconds of "Immigrant Song" in School of Rock...
IF and only IF this ever gets published, I'll cross the copyright bridge when I come to it. And if I can't get permission? I guess I'll just distribute it as a free internet novel :P

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#10 Post by Recca Phoenix » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:35 pm

Here's another little addition, a doodle I did of Ciel and Rex one day, looking quite odd together ^^;; (**don't look if you haven't read up through chapter 6, it's not technically a spoiler but....***)
Predictably in one of the only styles I can pull off, the anime drawing style. I want this to be a realistic story -_-;;; But it was just an idea and reminder for myself in case I ever attempt to do any illustrations for fun or whatever.

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#11 Post by Mihel » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:29 pm

Incidentally, song titles (indeed, most titles in general) are not subject to normal copyright, lyrics and content are; a title is only protected by copyright if the author has it registered with the government as a trademark, a dickish move that almost no songwriters and few authors make.

So, as long as you don't reprint any of the lyrics of "Houses of the Holy", odds are a million to one that you're fine. Led Zeppelin might not like it, but they don't have much of a case unless they've registered the title as a trademark.

And, after a brief search of the Copyright office's online listings, it doesn't look like they have, and nowhere where the name appears - even on their own website - is it accompanied by the ® symbol. While that symbol is optional, I doubt that if the producers had registered the album name, they would allow it to appear without the symbol.

tl;dr - Titles aren't copyrighted unless they're trademarked. "Houses of the Holy" is a fine title.
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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#12 Post by Recca Phoenix » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:41 pm

Mihel wrote:So, as long as you don't reprint any of the lyrics of "Houses of the Holy", odds are a million to one that you're fine. Led Zeppelin might not like it, but they don't have much of a case unless they've registered the title as a trademark.
The title thing is good news. The lyrics thing isn't, because I quote some from various songs, although in the event of publishing I could easily take the quotes out. I can't find a book at the moment that does it, but books that quote songs have a little blip in the copyright notice that lists the artist and publisher. I'm not sure if one has to go about getting permission from the artist to do it or not.

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#13 Post by Mihel » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:37 am

Recca Phoenix wrote:I can't find a book at the moment that does it, but books that quote songs have a little blip in the copyright notice that lists the artist and publisher. I'm not sure if one has to go about getting permission from the artist to do it or not.
You do.

From what I gather, it's a pretty crazy job of finding the actual copyright holder (99% of the time this is the artist's producer or label, not the artist themselves), pinning down their lawyer, and working out a deal.

I would say leave it until you have an agent, a publisher (or one that's only waiting for the copyright to clear before they sign you), and a completed manuscript (not a draft, the final, edited, ready-to-publish manuscript). That way you can tell the record company's lawyer all the details, and you'll know exactly how many lines of exactly which songs you're quoting. If the quoting is very significant (or if they're greedy SOBs), they may even ask for a slice of your royalties. That's when your agent comes in.

Keep in mind that this is speculation based on what I've picked up from my father (who's a lawyer) and what I've heard from many different writers and writers' resources; of the books I'm writing/have written, none have found an agent, and none of them quote from any previously copyrighted material, so I have no actual experience to speak from...
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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#14 Post by Recca Phoenix » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:11 pm

Chapter 7 is up at the same website. I did some minor revisions to the previous chapters also.

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Re: attention SERIOUS/professional writers! (non-writers too!)

#15 Post by n9261andvari » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:24 am

Ooh me likey the doodles of Ciel and Rex. :mrgreen: A thought just came into my head...hee hee. Anyways, cool! Chapter 6 and 7 are already up. I'll check em out when I have the time, although this time I won't be analyzing though, unless you want me to. Anyways keep it up! Yeah! <--is a bit hyper today...

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