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Old 06-26-2018, 08:54 PM View Post #1 (Link) Evil?
Livvy (Offline)
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This is the start of a longer story I’ve been working on. What could I improve on?

Ember walked up to the destruction whilst slowly looking from side to side, pleased with herself for creating such a beauty. As she continued towards the town some survivors in rags, hobbling away gave her curious looks. ‘Have you ever felt what it’s like to have a red hot grain of sand embedded in you that doesn’t burn its way out until your beard touches the floor?’ She asks, the corners of her mouth turning up slightly when she sees the horror on their faces. As she drew closer she heard someone shouting ‘Get your hands off me! I ent done nofing wrong!’ The path opened out into what had been a town square but was now a few piles of rubble. The source of the shouting was Rhys wriggling in the hands of muscles (no one knows his real name.) Ember stood there trying not to laugh at the scene. Eventually Rhys looked up and his face contorted into one of pure fear. It made Ember so happy to see how her mere presence could create that much terror.

‘You!’

‘Yes, me.’

‘You did this?’

‘Yes. Because you ran off like a coward.’

‘Because I ent done nofing wrong!’

‘Why did you run away then?’

He stayed silent

‘What should I do with him?’ Asked muscles.

‘Take him to the ship.’ She paused slighty ‘We can talk later.’

Without another word he began shoving the Rhys out of town she revelled in the sound of him struggling. Ember paused to watch a young boy digging through a pile of rock crying ‘Mummy? Daddy?’ Someone coughed next to her. ‘What do you want?’ She snapped.

‘Well I was just coming to ask if.’ He began hesitantly.

‘If what?’ She was becoming tired of him.

‘If there was anything else you would like us to do.’

‘Yes, I would like you to bring all the bodies to the square and set fire to them.’

‘Really? Why?’

‘Are you questioning me?’

‘No-no of course not.’ He scuttled off.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:44 AM View Post #2 (Link)
Rose (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Livvy View Post
This is the start of a longer story I’ve been working on. What could I improve on?

Ember Before reading this selection in its entirety, the name makes me assume that it's some sort of fantasy/fiction story, because of the name. I think we all used to want to choose the most unique and uncommon names for our characters, assuming it would automatically give them a sense of, well, uniqueness. I was one to do that amongst many. But some time later, I realized that it kinda makes the character a bit unrelatable, and some may even go as far as eyerolling at it. But that's just an opinion that you are free to consider. walked up to the destruction whilst slowly looking from side to side, pleased with herself for creating such a beauty. So, was she committing all this act of destruction from a distance, then when she was done, she approached the site? Also, it seems a bit awkward to me "walked up to the destruction". The word destruction, particularly, seems odd to be placed here. Or maybe that's just me. As she continued towards the town[comma] some survivors in rags,[no comma] hobbling away[comma] gave her curious looks. ‘Have you ever felt what it’s like to have a red hot grain of sand embedded in you that doesn’t burn its way out until your beard touches the floor?’ She I think it's better to move the dialogue to a new line here. Also, since you briefly introduced new characters, "the survivors in the rags, it's better to drop the "she" pronoun here, and replace it with "Ember" so as to avoid unnecessary confusion. asks "asked"? I would assume you're writing the story in past tense, so be careful to stick to it., the corners of her mouth turning up "curled upwards" may sound good too if you're not sure about "turning up". slightly when she sees the horror on their faces. As she drew closer she heard someone shouting ‘Get your hands off me! I ent done nofing wrong!’ The path opened out into what had been a town square but was now a few piles of rubble. The source of the shouting was Rhys wriggling in the hands of muscles (no one knows his real name.) period outside of paranthesis. Also, forgive me but this sentence is confusing me so much. What do you mean by "hands of muscles"? And later on, I would very much appreciate if you justify how they know Rhys. Ember stood there trying not to laugh at the scene. Be careful not to fall too much into narrating and telling rather than showing. Eventually Rhys looked up and his face contorted into one of pure fear. Again, you're just "telling" rather than showing. Instead of saying that he was fearful, why not tap into a bit of imagery? How his lips may have quivered, maybe sweat trickled down his forhead, his complexion was flushed, stuff like that, you know? It made Ember so happy Same as my previous remark. to see how her mere presence could create that much terror.

‘You!’

‘Yes, me.’

‘You did this?’

‘Yes. Because you ran off like a coward.’

‘Because I ent done nofing wrong!’

‘Why did you run away then?’

He stayed silent

‘What should I do with him?’ small letter "a"Asked muscles.

‘Take him to the ship.’ She paused slighty maybe take the chance to give a little more about her character or her looks. Random example: "she dusted her cape". Maybe that was a bad example, but I hope you know what I mean. ‘We can talk later.’

Without another word he began shoving the Rhys Wait, so Rhys isn't one person? I googled Rhys and the results showed me that it's a common male welsh name, but "the" confused me here. out of town she revelled in the sound of him struggling. I get that Ember is a sadistic character who loves to spread terror and eternal doom, but this repetition of her taking joy in other people's torture, though phrased differently each time, doesn't really do much as it is stating things bluntly rather than subtly dropping these character traits throughout the story. Also, I would like to see a bit more creative character development, not just focusing on one aspect of a character because that just makes her fall flat for me personally. Ember paused to watch a young boy digging through a pile of rock crying ‘Mummy? Daddy?’ Someone coughed next to her. ‘What do you want?’ She snapped.

‘Well I was just coming to ask if.. . . / or: --’ He began hesitantly.

‘If what?’ She was becoming tired of him. "she scuffed"

‘If there was anything else you would like us to do.’

‘Yes, I would like you to bring all the bodies to the square and set fire to them.’

‘Really? Why?’ I don't think this makes sense here. He approached her waiting for orders, whatever they may be. Clearly this person works for her or is forced to work for her, whatever. But he must know her by now. After seeing what she's done, it wouldn't really make sense for him to ask that kind of question.

‘Are you questioning me?’

‘No-no of course not.’ He scuttled off.
Overall, I understand that this is only part of an ongoing story, and that I can't possibly expect all character development to be crammed into this piece of writing, but it gave me an idea of how you're approaching the characters. So, as I mentioned multiple times before, you need to work on the aspect of "showing" rather than "telling".

I- Description and Imagery: You have the bones now. You need the flesh, which is the descritption. Throw in some more description here and there.

Lack of description is a bit confusing. I would like more description of the overall scene. I know you are keeping a few things for later, but I'm talking about desribing the setting, the atmosphere, the feelings (I will be talking about that later). Your story, at many points, becomes a mere list of action. “Ember walked up to the destruction. Then Ember looked around and saw the people in rags. Then he walked back and saw more people in despair.” It’s just bones to me. I need some more flesh and meat.

Moving on to imagery, which involves all of the senses. I want to know what it sounds like, what it smells like, what it looks like, what it tastes like, what it feels like. As we all know, sight is the easiest sense to use for description, but the more you appeal to the senses, the better the picture you create, and the more the reader actually understands what you’re on about. Just be creative. Let your imagination run wild. The great thing is, you’ve now got the skeleton of your story. Be creative. And your setting (time and place) definitely needs creativity.

There are so many different possibilities, and honestly, I think that description is really a very crucial part of the whole writing process. It gives you a chance to create something original and colorful (or just red, in your story's case, which is still fine!), and share it with readers. So do, please, describe. Then, describe more.

II- Show Not Tell: You must SHOW your readers what is happening rather than just stating that “She likes when people suffer”. Telling is a much more uninteresting way of presenting things. However, as this does basically come under description, I won’t go on about it much more. Just, don’t state, in that dull, blunt, “in-your-face” kind of way. It’s not good. We like subtle. It's much more fun.

II- Emotions: Again, I know you're keeping things for later, and there may be things preceeding this part of the story, but I want to sympathize with the characters, not just Ember, but the others too. Feelings, emotions, reactions towards certain situations are what build up a character and makes the readers relate to them. I know Ember is supposed to look like the anti-hero, so to speak, but I think a contrast in what she appears to be and maybe her vulnerabilities would do the story good. Or maybe what happened for her to become this way. Maybe present them in forms of flashbacks. I don't know, these are just suggestions.

Don't feel overwhelmed by the size of this critique (although I consider it as a pretty short one compared to the ones I usually give). I think you have something good going on here in general, and please don't be discouraged. This may be a harsh critique compared to what's being posted on the site nowadays, but this was the kind of critique that was standard on this forum a few years back, and it's what really made us improve. Believe me, I received A LOT of harsh critiques, but I was close friends with those who would critique my work, and eventually I became much much better. And I hope this helps you!

That's what I have to say for now. I'd like to see where you're gonna go with this.

If you have any questions, or if you'd like me to further explain a certain point, or just want to leave me a hate comment :p, drop me a visitor message or a private message anytime.

Also, if you post a new chapter and would like me to have a look at it, also message me and I'll do my best to cater to it.

Good luck, and hope to see more of your work (:
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