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Old 05-24-2017, 02:14 AM View Post #1 (Link) Moki Tree: Chapter One
corgilover123 (Offline)
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Join Date: May 2017
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Hello! This isn't my entire short story. It's just a segment of my first chapter, and I was hoping you could give me some feedback to improve my writing. Overall, the story is about a travel photographer who stumbles upon an indigenous tribe that has strange, sometimes dangerous customs. She learns that they are growing a tree that could potentially be the cure to cancer. They call it the Moki Tree. She calls it the Miracle Tree. Feel free to leave suggestions about how I could develop the plot later. Thank you so much.

Becca had only been exploring the mountains for ten minutes when a distinct, smoky odor made her freeze in her tracks. Clutching her camera pouch tightly, she began to prowl the area. Who was there? What was producing the terrible smell? There wasn’t much vegetation where she stood - a couple blades of yellow grass here and there, but that was about it. The landscape was mostly dirt. Becca usually preferred to take photos on the lively mountaintops because the trees provided a nice shade to photograph the variety of wildlife. How strange, Becca thought, to be in my comfort zone and still feel so alone!
She continued to advance slowly along the path, which didn’t seem to be worn out at all. Almost as if she was the only visitor the mountain had seen in a long time. The odor did not go away, even after a while, so Becca realized she must have been getting closer to the source. It was only then that Becca became aware of her pounding heart.
“Hello? Is anybody there?”
A quiet rustle of leaves in the distance startled Becca.There must be trees,she thought.There must be people. Still holding onto her camera pouch, she began to run. She didn’t know where, exactly, but she knew she had to find out where all the commotion was coming from.
Without warning, a naked man appeared in front of Becca and knocked her unconscious with a stone.
When Becca awakened, her head was still bleeding. She instinctively reached her hand up to feel, and noted the glistening blood on her fingers. She stifled a scream. Instincts warned her not to draw attention to herself. She needed to be cautious. Suddenly, the lights turned on and Becca saw that she was in a small, straw hut. There wasn’t much inside the hut-only a couple of cots, and she realized that this must be the home of the strange man. It was as if a bright light had been shined in Becca’s face.She instantly recalled the naked man, and her heart began to pound harder than ever.
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Old 05-25-2017, 06:08 AM View Post #2 (Link) Critique for "Moki Tree: Chapter One"
ac_writer (Offline)
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Join Date: Apr 2017
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I like the overall idea for your story. However, before having Becca travel across the mountains, you should give a little background on how she came to doing traveling photography. Does it run in the family, or is there another reason? Also, I just thought the story timeline went by a little to fast. Otherwise, great job!
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Old 05-26-2017, 09:42 AM View Post #3 (Link) My critique
Rebekah (Offline)
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Hi
I liked the idea of the story, with the mystery of what's happening and Becca the travelling photographer. However, I find the story was a bit confusing and thrown together at points. What you need to do, is keep reading it through and editing it whilst writing it. Also, I think you need to add a bit more detail in parts. Like why did her head bleed, why did she stop in her tracks when she smelt the smoke and why did her heart start pounding. Finally, I think that some parts are forced in, like the start is a bit vague.
In conclusion, with checking and editing, I believe this would be a great story.
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Have A Great Day!
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Old 05-27-2017, 06:09 AM View Post #4 (Link)
SerialLove (Offline)
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Becca had only been exploring the mountains for ten minutes when a distinct, smoky odor made her freeze in her tracks. So, I don't know if you have a prologue to this story, therefore I'm going to critique it like you don't. That said, I feel like this opening could be a bit stronger. Remember that you want to hook the readers and make them want to come back to your piece. Clutching her camera pouch tightly, she began to prowl the area. Who was there? What was producing the that terrible smell? Earlier you described the smell as smoky. To me a smoky smell isn't really terrible. Maybe that's just me but I feel like you should elaborate on the smell a little if you want to later describe it as terrible. There wasn’t much vegetation where she stood - a couple blades of yellow grass here and there, but that was about it. The landscape was mostly dirt. Hmm, this is interesting. Becca's on the mountain right? Typically mountains are covered in vegetation. Also when you a say "a couple blades" it makes it seem like there's literally two or three single blades of grass which would be pretty ridiculous. Becca usually preferred to take photos on the lively mountaintops because the trees provided a nice shade to photograph the variety of wildlife. How strange, Becca thought, to be in my comfort zone and still feel so alone! I wouldn't say that Becca was in her comfort zone. You even said so yourself by mentioning that she preferred a different kind of mountain top then what she was on.

She continued to advance slowly along the path, which didn’t seem to be worn out at all. Almost as if she was the only visitor the mountain had seen in a long time. The odor did not go away, even after a while, so Becca realized she must have been getting closer to the source. It doesn't make sense that Becca would think that she was getting closer to the source of the smell just because the odor hadn't gone away. Now if you said that the odor started to get stronger or something along those lines, then it would make a heck of a lot more sense when you say that Becca realized she was getting closer to the scent.It was only then that Becca became aware of her pounding heart. This line is super cliché.

“Hello? Is anybody there?”

A quiet rustle of leaves in the distance startled Becca. There must be trees, she thought. There must be people. So I see how she could come to the conclusion that there is probably people, however wouldn't she have seen the trees? I mean like you have to admit that if you heard a rustle of leaves you wouldn't be all "holy cow there's trees" because you most likely would have seen the trees farther off since trees aren't that easily hidden. It just seems kind of weird that she didn't notice them. Still holding onto her camera pouch, she began to run. She didn’t know where, You don't need a comma here. exactly, but she knew she had to find out where all the commotion was coming from. So I think you could find a different word rather then commotion because it doesn't make much sense to describe a rustling of leaves as a commotion, unless there were other noises that Becca could hear.

Without warning, a naked man appeared in front of Becca and knocked her unconscious with a stone.

When Becca awakened, her head was still bleeding. She instinctively reached her hand up to feel, and noted the glistening blood on her fingers. Two things, one I would combine these first two sentences. Two don't tell us that her head was still bleeding, we can come to the conclusion that her head is bleeding with the second sentence. She stifled a scream. Instincts warned her not to draw attention to herself. She needed to be cautious. I don't like these sentences. Maybe you could reword them a bit, make them a little stronger. Suddenly, the lights turned on and Becca saw that she was in a small, straw hut. There wasn’t much inside the hut-only a couple of cots, and she realized that this must be the home of the strange man. It was as if a bright light had been shined in Becca’s face. She instantly recalled the naked man, and her heart began to pound harder than ever. She's already "recalled the naked man" with tying him to the hut so this sentence is not only cliché but also unnecessary.
Ok, so that was a pretty rough start. I don't want to say much overall, but there are a few things I would like to touch up on. First, this is pretty short for an opening chapter, maybe you could use it as a prologue but if not I would suggest lengthening it a bit. Second you use a couple clichés. Just remember to watch what you write. Sometimes an idea might seem like the best thing and when you write it down it could seem like the world just lit up but often your just writing something that has been written before. You want to make this work original therefore you want to avoid as many clichés as you possibly can. Finally, this needs some work, the plot lacks [or it does in my opinion] and I do feel like it could be stronger. Anyway I think that covers it all. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Good luck with your story.
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