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Plot Update 10 March 2021

A year has passed since Fire Lord Zuko ascended the throne, and it seems like trouble is brewing between the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom once more. The Fire Lord and the Avatar began the Harmony Restoration Movement to restore the Fire Nation Colonies to their pre-war state by bringing any Fire Nation nationals back home, but for many of the citizens — of mixed Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom … Read more ›

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Feedback Request on Writing

Post by Ninavask on Nov 17, 2020 18:17:31 GMT -6

Ninavask Avatar
Hey all, 

I am finally starting to get back into real writing and to do that I figured I would start by re-writing an old work of mine I never finished. I would like if I could get some feedback on it by anyone willing. Primarily I am looking for feedback on whether it is really any good at all. Whether I drone on or make it boring at any point. A problem I have always heard in my past is I like to explain too many things and i've always gotten defensive because I felt I needed to explain things for people to care what they read. 

Please let me know your opinions if you do read it. I'd add a # roastme at this point if I thought it might help. 

This is from a piece originally titled "The Pegasus of the High Castle" but I have considered changing the title to "The Pegasus of the Gasini Kingdom"

It is around 2,100 words long and is the opening scene to the first chapter. 

The piece is High Fantasy. 

Enjoy: Chapter 1 - A Message Lost
This user is Out of Character

Post by Kami on Nov 22, 2020 15:00:10 GMT -6

Kami Avatar
Hey hey, thanks for sharing your work!

1. The premise itself seems good. I'm interested in what's happening, especially since I don't have a synopsis of the plot, so that's a point in your favour.

2. I definitely do see that you do over-explain things. I think that is a pretty common pitfall for more inexperienced long-form writers, especially if they're coming from an RP background where you have to get the circumstances / environment just so to make sure that your RP partner(s) understand the scene. The thing is though, you don't have to do that with long-form prose; it's often better to keep things more vague (unless the specific callouts have a purpose that will be relevant to the story at some point) so that the reader's imagination can be more creative.

To elaborate on that, I've got an example passage below:

The sun filtered down through the dense branches and gave the forest a somber and hushed hue of verdant greens and rich browns. The peaceful and eerie stillness of the wood broken by the sound of a young girl trampling over fallen leaves and clambering over felled trees. Lily scrambled over the bark of the long dead husk of an oak tree as she pushed onward into the woods. Her hurried bootsteps almost matched her breathless excitement as she pressed on.

You don't particularly need to describe the colours of a forest. Unless the forest had been burnt down or covered in snow (in which case, it would be worth mentioning), the default assumption of a reader would be that a forest has some assortment of greens and browns. It's an unnecessary detail except to establish that the sun is up, which you can put in later in a more 'active' voice by making the sun interact with the character. A couple things I would encourage you to watch out for are some wording mistakes as well — if something is 'eerie' its unlikely to be 'peaceful' as 'eerie' means strange and perhaps spooky, which is the opposite of peaceful. I would re-examine the words used and make sure they match. Is the wood supposed to be a bit spooky? If so, I would leave out 'peaceful' and keep 'eerie stillness'. If they're not, I would take out 'and eerie' to leave 'peaceful stillness'. Also, watch out for sentence fragments and repetition — if we take out the modifiers, the second sentence reads "The stillness of the wood broken by the sound of a young girl," which is only a partial sentence.

If this were me, I would probably do something like this instead:

The sharp sound of a branch cracking underfoot broke eerie stillness of the wood. Lily to squinted to shield her eyes from the sun filtering through the branches as she scrambled over the bark of a long-dead oak tree. Her hurried bootsteps matched her breathless excitement as she pressed on, pushing aside branches and underbrush as she made her way eagerly through the forest.

You'll notice that it's shorter, but also punchier. The opening is in active voice (the cracking broke, the girl trampled) as opposed to passive (the silence was broken). I took out some repetitive wording ("clambered over fallen trees" is somewhat repeated in "scrambled over the bark of a long-dead oak tree") and unnecessary descriptions (removed "husk", as that is already implied by "long-dead"). I also switched it up so that Lily's actions are more active (interacting with her environment by squinting into the sun, pushing aside foliage) rather than having the environment solely described adjacent to her.

It's really not bad, so don't feel discouraged; a lot of this will likely be caught by an editor / beta reader (so be sure to use one) or even the first couple of editing passes. Of course, your style is your own and no one can tell you what's right and wrong in that regard! But some general tips:

- If you want to keep the reader wrapped in the moment, use active voice
- If you want to be more flowery and passive, save it for moments that are more still, with less action / excitement
- Unless the description is particularly important, try to leave things to the imagination for the reader. Assume they're smart and know what generic things look like (woods, trees, pants, shirts) unless there is something special about that generic thing (eg: a door with a strange symbol should have the symbol described, but you don't need to go into the details of the door's construction).
- Use full sentences, and when you need to join up two ideas that aren't full sentences on their own but are somewhat related, the semi-colon is your friend
- Be aware of your words; use descriptors deliberately, with purpose. If you say "cold and frigid" is that adding anything extra than just saying "frigid"?

I hope this helps! And I hope you'll share more as you write :D

This user is TARP Staff
Last edit: Nov 22, 2020 15:02:13 GMT -6