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Old 11-11-2015, 10:33 AM View Post #1 (Link) Night Journey
sofiathewriter (Offline)
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I wrote this for a writing workshop last weekend and wanted to know if there was anything I could do to improve it. All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Spoiler:
The wind awoke Lisa, howling in her ears like a wolf from her open bedroom window. She sat up groggily and rubbed her eyes. There was no use trying to go back to sleep; she was never one to fall asleep easily after waking up. Perhaps her dreams were the reason for her insomnia. Every night, it seemed, she woke up in a cold sweat.

A tap at her window made Lisa jump. Bewildered as to who—or what—could be up so early, she trudged sleepily over to her window and gasped when she saw . . . a dragon. He was slathered in emerald-green scales and had a fang-bearing grin plastered on his face. His tail came to a prim tip, colored a bright orange in sharp contrast with the rest of him.

“Are you ready?” he asked. Lisa wasn’t surprised that he could talk.

“For what?”

“C’mon! Hop on my back, and be my companion on this fine night.”

Always one for adventure and excitement, Lisa decided to accept his offer. She removed the protective screen from her window and jumped onto the dragon’s back, clinging to his neck for dear life. He flapped his wings, which were as wide as those of planes; before she knew it, they were riding off into the night. The only illumination were the twinkling stars and the streetlights below, though they were not as bright as the stars.

Lisa never imagined herself to be sitting on a dragon, let alone high enough above ground to touch the clouds, but now that she was, she closely observed the experience. He didn’t knock her off of his back with his speed, but he didn’t exactly lull her to sleep either. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she looked down, marveling at the tiny speckles of luminosity that were the streetlights.

“I forgot to introduce myself,” the dragon said. “Call me the Night Dragon. I’m what you call nocturnal: I sleep during the day and am awake during the night, like an owl.”

Lisa turned her gaze downward again. They were flying just above the trees, her bare feet brushing against their tops. A tingling sensation floated about her insides.

“Why me?” she asked. “There are a million other kids my age in this town, and yet you choose me to accompany you on this expedition. I have no talents.”

The Night Dragon turned his humongous head to face her. “It might make you fall asleep easier,” he replied, winking.

They glided in silence for a while, the only sound being the rushing water in the lake below. As the Night Dragon made an about face and began carefully retracing her path, Lisa sorrowfully realized that her night journey would soon come to an end.

When they arrived back at her window, she bid the dragon a solemn adieu and he flew away like the majestic creature he was. Despite her sadness at the Night Dragon’s departure, she welcomed her window with open arms. Even though she had been gone for perhaps an hour at most, it seemed as if her journey were for days.

Needless to say, the rest of the night her sleeping manner was that of a log’s.

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Old 11-20-2015, 07:41 PM View Post #2 (Link) Critique
2sh4r (Offline)
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Hey here's your critique.

Originally Posted by sofiathewriter View Post
I wrote this for a writing workshop last weekend and wanted to know if there was anything I could do to improve it. All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Spoiler:
The wind awoke woke Lisa, howling in her ears like a wolf from her open bedroom window. This sounds a bit weird, like there's a wold in her open bedroom window. She sat up groggily and rubbed her eyes. There was no use trying to go back to sleep; she was never one to fall asleep easily after waking up. Perhaps her dreams were the reason for her insomnia. Every night, it seemed, she woke up in a cold sweat.

A tap at her window made Lisa jump. Bewildered as to who—or what—could be up so early, she trudged sleepily over to her window and gasped when she saw . . . a dragon. Haha He was slathered in emerald-green scales and had a fang-bearing grin plastered on his face. His tail came to a prim tip, colored a bright orange in sharp contrast with the rest of him.

“Are you ready?” he asked. Lisa wasn’t surprised that he could talk.

“For what?”

“C’mon! Hop on my back, and be my companion on this fine night.”

Always one for adventure and excitement, Lisa decided to accept his offer. She removed the protective screen from her window and jumped onto the dragon’s back, clinging to his neck for dear life. He flapped his wings, which were as wide as those of planes; before she knew it, they were riding off into the night. The only illumination were the twinkling stars and the streetlights below, though they were not as bright as the stars I like this last detail..

Lisa never imagined herself to be sitting on a dragon, let alone high enough above ground to touch the clouds, but now that she was, she closely observed the experience. He didn’t knock her off of his back with his speed, but he didn’t exactly lull her to sleep either. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she looked down, marveling at the tiny speckles of luminosity that were the streetlights. Why the intense focus on the streetlights?

“I forgot to introduce myself,” the dragon said. “Call me the Night Dragon. I’m what you call nocturnal: I sleep during the day and am awake during the night, like an owl.”

Lisa turned her gaze downward again. They were flying just above the trees, her bare feet brushing against their tops. A tingling sensation floated about her insides.

“Why me?” she asked. “There are a million other kids my age in this town, and yet you choose me to accompany you on this expedition. I have no talents.” This response feels odd and unnatural.

The Night Dragon turned his humongous head to face her. “It might make you fall asleep easier,” he replied, winking.

They glided in silence for a while, the only sound being the rushing water in the lake below. As the Night Dragon made an about face and began carefully retracing her path, Lisa sorrowfully realized that her night journey would soon come to an end.

When they arrived back at her window, she bid the dragon a solemn adieu and he flew away like the majestic creature he was. Despite her sadness at the Night Dragon’s departure, she welcomed her window with open arms. Even though she had been gone for perhaps an hour at most, it seemed as if her journey were for days.

Needless to say, the rest of the night her sleeping manner was that of a log’s.

That was really short. The story's interesting because it has to do with dreams, I think, or maybe I'm reading too much into it, and it's just meant to be a cute, little children's story. Either way, I liked it.

I think there's a lot of room for expansion. For example, the dialogue between the dragon and the girl seemed a bit unnatural and rushed, especially when Lisa responded (I noted this above).

Like I noted in the very beginning, the description about the open window seemed a bit awkward and rushed, like you were trying to fit a lot of details into one sentence. Then again, it's not good to start with a lengthy description about the setting so its good that you only have one sentence. Consider rephrasing. Also, the image that was brought to my mind from that intro was a window with shutters ajar. Maybe the banging of the shutters wakes Lisa up? That's just a suggestion though.

On another level, I like the idea that you have here with Lisa and sleep. She has this one character flaw (that she's unable to fall asleep), and via a seemingly unrelated dragon flight, she overcomes it. I think this aspect can be developed a bit though. Perhaps worth considering: why is Lisa unable to go to sleep? For example, once she's woken up in the middle of the night, she might be unable to fall asleep because she's afraid of darkness and the night. Then, this dragon shows up out of nowhere and shows her that nighttime can be really amazing, so now, she's able to fall asleep. You don't have to do that route though, and you don't necessarily have to expand on this a lot at all. You can leave it non-descript, and the story would be just as interesting (though perhaps not as satisfying - because well-developed character changes can be very satisfying). This is just food for thought.

What you do well is that you have this weird, fantastical situation, and that's pretty good for a children's story I think. All in all, its a cute little story. It's a very very short story though.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:55 PM View Post #3 (Link)
Reader.of.Dreams (Offline)
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I fairly enjoyed reading your story; the plot was clear and simple, yet very imaginative. There are a few small discrepancies I will go over, but first I want to point out what I liked about it. A girl who can't sleep, only to be taken on a magical nighttime voyage on a dragon's back is easily something I would love to do as a child (even now, it sounds awesome). There is plenty of room to grow the story, many options that can bring more out of the story. However, it all ties together perfectly just the way it is presented. The dialogue between the girl and the dragon was perfect for the story, just long enough to propel the plot and bring about the meaning within it, while also not being to much to weigh it down. It is quiet, dreamy, fun, and whimsical in its premise.

Now, for the what I would suggest on improving are certain areas where I feel the words do not really mesh well with the story. The first instance is where the girl describes the dragon, written as, "He was slathered in emerald-green scales..." For me, the word doesn't really work well with the sentence, perhaps the word "coated" would be better? The second line is "it seemed as if her journey were for days." I think the word "were" should be replaced "went on". The last line, towards the end of the story, could be changed from "Needless to say, the rest of the night..." to "Needless to say, for the rest of the night..."

I was wondering about the description concerning the window, toward the beginning of the story. In the story's opening line, the wind is said to be howling through the window, which is obviously open. However, in the line when the dragon appears at the window, its claw makes a tapping noise on the window, signifying that it was closed. I just thought that was a bit odd, since it doesn't mention the girl getting up to close the window.

All these areas of change, as pointed out above, are only my opinion and based on my own literary expertise, which is not the best by any means. So take it for what you wish.

All in all, very good children's story you have written here! Hope you find this critique useful, and I hope to read more from you in the future.
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:18 AM View Post #4 (Link)
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I'm pretty much in agreement with the first two comments; good bones, plenty of room for expansion. Also going into what her dreams were, why they have her waking up in the middle of the night, and things like giving the dragon a name instead of 'Night Dragon' can go a long way.

I hope to see more of this in the future!
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:53 AM View Post #5 (Link) This post contains more of my work
sofiathewriter (Offline)
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Here is an updated version. Do you think it's better and more detailed?


The wind woke Lisa, howling in her ears like a wolf from her open bedroom window. Thwack! went the trees as they slammed against the siding. She sat up groggily and rubbed her eyes. Yet another night where sleep had just escaped her grasp. When this frustrating sleeplessness first started, she’d been four years old and, like all four year olds, was afraid of monsters under her bed and eerie shadows in the night. Apparently things didn’t always fade away with age.

A tap at her windowpane made Lisa jump. Bewildered as to who—or what—could be up so early, she trudged sleepily over to her window and gasped when she saw . . . a dragon. He was slathered in emerald-green scales and had a fang-bearing grin plastered on his face. His tail came to a prim tip, colored a bright orange in sharp contrast with the rest of him.

“Are you ready?” he asked. Lisa wasn’t surprised that he could talk.

“For what?”

“C’mon! Hop on my back, and be my companion on this fine night.”

Always one for adventure and excitement, Lisa decided to accept his offer. She removed the protective screen from her window and jumped onto the dragon’s back, clinging to his neck for dear life. He flapped his wings, which were as wide as those of planes; before she knew it, they were riding off into the night. The only illumination were the twinkling stars and the streetlights below, though they were not as bright as the stars.

Lisa never imagined herself to be sitting on a dragon, let alone high enough above ground to touch the clouds, but now that she was, she closely observed the experience. He didn’t knock her off of his back with his speed, but he didn’t exactly lull her to sleep either. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she looked down, marveling at the tiny speckles of luminosity that were the streetlights. Like stars on poles.

“I forgot to introduce myself,” the dragon said. “Call me Knox, the Night Dragon. I’m what you call nocturnal: I sleep during the day and am awake during the night, like an owl.”

Lisa turned her gaze downward again. They were flying just above the trees, her bare feet brushing against their tops. A tingling sensation floated about her insides. For the first time in her life, she truly was flying.

“Why me?” she asked. “I just find it funny how, out of the million other kids my age in this town, I’m the one who is riding on your back.”

Knox turned his humongous head to face her. His piercing-green eyes, flecked with gold, could be light sources themselves in all their brilliance. “It might make you fall asleep easier,” he replied, winking. “And I like the company.”

They glided in silence for a while, the only sound being the rushing water in the lake below. As the Knox made an about-face and began carefully retracing her path, Lisa sorrowfully realized that her night journey would soon come to an end.

When they arrived back at her window, she bid the dragon a solemn adieu and he flew away like the majestic creature he was. Despite her sadness at the Knox’s departure, she welcomed her window with open arms. Even though she had been gone for perhaps an hour at most, it seemed as if her journey were for days.

Needless to say, the rest of the night she slept like a log.
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Old 11-28-2015, 09:15 PM View Post #6 (Link)
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Yes, that version is much more engaging. The only thing that bothered me was, if imagined monsters kept her awake at night, he might be a little wary of a dragon outside her window, lol. Otherwise, love it.
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:57 AM View Post #7 (Link)
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For what it is. I suppose it's okay. Pretty lacking in substance, everything just seeming direct and straightforward. Girl can't sleep, girl finds magical beast that flies her around the town, girl then finally falls asleep. I think it could have gone for at least a little more variation, a little more conflict. I by no means am saying that there should be insanely high stakes and/or peril, but at least something. Right now it just feels like the written version of a sleeping medication commercial. Overall it just felt pretty blazé and uninspired.
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Old 12-02-2015, 01:01 AM View Post #8 (Link)
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Oh. I do apologize, I just realized you also posted an edited version of this. I guess I'm just used to reading only the top post, since I always try my best to avoid reading other critiques to make mine as genuine and uninfluenced as possible. I will look into doing another one tomorrow for an updated critique.
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:53 AM View Post #9 (Link) This post is a reply - don't critique it
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Originally Posted by The_Nerdicast View Post
Oh. I do apologize, I just realized you also posted an edited version of this. I guess I'm just used to reading only the top post, since I always try my best to avoid reading other critiques to make mine as genuine and uninfluenced as possible. I will look into doing another one tomorrow for an updated critique.
That's okay!
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Old 01-30-2016, 06:36 PM View Post #10 (Link)
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I really enjoyed your story and I have a few comments. First of all, it seems a little weird to me that Lisa isn't afraid of dragons under her window, or at least surprised that they exist. Secondly, I think you should add more to the story because there is lots of room for more dialogue and because I'm pretty interested about this dragon. (Where it comes from, what's it doing there, things like that.) I also think you should add an explanation or a hint why Lisa doesn't sleep well, or tell about the trigger event that caused her to start seeing all those monsters, and I felt it was a bit too short. But it was really fun to read and flowed easily and it felt magical, so good job!
(I really hope I did this right, this was my first time doing this.)
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