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  1. #11
    d. Leroy

    Re: I can't resist, Sail....

    I didn't think it was bad either. I think you've received some great advice above and it should give you some ideas for your next round of revisions.

    This will sound strange, but for me, reading this piece was very jerky, like taking little breaths and unable to get the lung full that I desire. Clear it up and make it less choppy, get to the point you're trying to make.

    Good luck,

  2. #12
    nom de plume

    back to okay, i'll try

    I, too, see a lot of promise in this. It needs much more work but it shows your ability to write (not a small compliment in my book).

    Being a lover of coffee, i appreciated the paragraph about coffee. It rang true!

    That's all the more reason to be confused (and disappointed) by the Anne Boleyn reference.

    At some point, you'll need to make up your mind in what time period you'll anchor this writing. Or at least, learn to hop more smoothly between them. And you'll also have to determine what point you're trying to make and ensure it comes across. Readers will lose interest in a collection of nice but unconnected thoughts (i stopped reading this halfway through but admit the formatting at WN gives me a headache soon).

    Go for it, David Lidz!

  3. #13
    david lidz

    Re: back to okay, i'll try

    WOW - this is great. I really want to thank all of you who took the time to read and critique. Very helpful, and kind of fun (in a painful sort of way, but, in a good life, pain is growth, right?)

    Okay, I'd like to respond generally about what this piece I supposed is supposed to be and also to a few of your comments specifically.

    On a more general note: Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea for me to present as my first offering this particular piece or chapter. It IS meant to be a sort of dreamy sequence, but you're absolutely right, Gregory, I couldn't write nor am I sure I could take reading a whole book in this sort of prose. I just know that when I wrote it, the prose style came about very naturally, organically, for the mood and character (at this point in time of the story) I was exploring.

    The other chapters I have written so far are in a first person present tense narrative, from another character, Levi's, point of view.

    I am not even really sure how this third person POV of one morning in the life of Pearly would fit into the rest of the novel. Maybe a little prologue. Levi and Pearly are the two protagonists in my budding attempt at a novel, characters, perhaps destined lovers who can never quite get there because of various foibles and addictions.

    SO, ANYWAY, maybe I should have offered one of the Levi chapters, which I wrote in a much more conventional prose.

    (I will offer one of those up when we are done here.)

    Having said that, I'd like to follow up on your specific comments.

    CUR -

    ~~"She washes herself. (Does your reader care that the washing included face, hair and armpits?)" Well, the picture I was trying to paint is that she washes ONLY these parts of her body, because she is sponging herself down out of a bucket with ice cold water, which, to me, is a pretty important brush stroke to include in the portrait of where this woman is right now.

    ~~ "'A hot shower sounds wonderful.' (Is that a little more active than 'rolls around in her mind?')" I definitely am not happy with the phrase "rolls around in her mind," but I am trying to convey more than the longing for a hot shower. It's a longing that she only allows herself to sort of vaguely explore, because it's been so long since she's enjoyed one, and because it's not so likely she'll get one soon, at least without it costing her a whole lot of pain and drama.

    ~~ "Feel free to ignore." I appreciate your constructive critique, and of course I will not ignore...THANKS!

    DAVE S -

    ~~ "It seems like you are trying very hard to find a voice here, and in doing so, you’re writing in a weird style." While I have certainly before struggled and "tried very hard" to find my voice with the result that whatever piece I was writing felt to me like synthetic garbage when I was done, I didn't feel that way with this one. Although, now that you (and others) have mentioned it, yes, finding my own particular voice and style, in as an organic way as any human can, is VERY important to me, as I am sure it is to you and everyone else here.

    ~~ "The overuse of commas is not clever, it’s just plain bad writing." Again, I wasn't trying to be clever, so I am glad it's not, although, not so glad that to you it appears that's what I was after. Again, I was just trying to type out a mood - as Rain figured out, my approach was somewhat stream-of-consciousness.

    ~~ "It sounds like this story might be set in the 16th century or thereabouts, and then a Jeep Grand Cherokee and an SUV show up." Okay, the character was in an out of a dream about Anne Boleyn, but she lives, when she is awake, in a 21st century reality. Either my prose really IS, as you phrased it, "plain bad writing," or one might have to wonder about your interpretive skills or the amount of attention you actually gave the piece if that wasn't apparent to you.

    ~~ "I’m curious, what sort of stuff do you read that would influence you to write this way?" Well, I THINK when I wrote this, I was actually reading "A Million Little Pieces,” which I picked up more because of an interest in the subject matter than to borrow from Frey’s style, which I wasn’t that crazy about. I read everything. My favorite author is Somerset Maugham, and I have this summer been returning to his material – Theatre, The Painted Veil, various short stories. I so admire his powers of observation, and his ability to describe so poignantly and succinctly the tiniest of human traits or gestures that tell so much about a character. I admire it but would never pretend to emulate it. Right now I am reading Hemingway. My favorite book for its all around strength in story telling, characters, description, spiritual depth and prose might be “Cold Mountain.” Again, that guy’s got more skill than I’d ever pretend to put down on paper.

    SAIL – Thanks!! Of course that’s how I feel about my work. Wink wink nudge nudge…

    LINDEN –

    ~~“First things first, learn about writing, and watch what kind of advice you take. Listen to those who are published…” How do I know who in here has been published?

    ~~ “you are addicted to commas and describing something to death” The latter criticism (and “wordiness”) is not a new criticism for me. It is taking me a lifetime to get that under control. As for the addiction to commas, again, maybe this wasn’t the best piece because of my attempt at portraying a dream-like, then a morning-foggy-minded state to put up first. I’ll submit another chapter and we’ll see about the addiction to commas.


    ~~”not that original, sail, seen it done before and done extremely well.” Agreed, but that said, well, your point seems to counter others in here who seem to be telling me to always stick to conventional (Hemingway-like??) prose. Isn’t there some value to aspiring toward perfecting less mainstream prosaic styles?

    ELENA – “but you wander too often. I would take a look at all of your long sentences and see what you're trying to say. Evaluate whether you need to say it … Just for practice, re-write all of your sentences with an eye for making them as short as they can be. This should give you a better idea of what you really want to say.” This is great advice, very specific and constructive. THANK YOU! I will use it.

    d. LEROY-

    ~~”This will sound strange, but for me, reading this piece was very jerky, like taking little breaths and unable to get the lung full that I desire. Clear it up and make it less choppy, get to the point you're trying to make.” This is important for me to hear, because this ABSOLUTELY SO NOT the feel I imagined I was creating. Point I was making? Does it make it a bad exercise in writing if I can’t tell you that I HAD a point I was trying to make? I mean, not in the conventional sense of the word. I was just trying to describe a morning of the life of a beautiful, intelligent, deep, soulful woman, who finds herself living in an abandominium…

    NOM –

    ~~ “Being a lover of coffee, i appreciated the paragraph about coffee. It rang true!” Thank you!! THAT’s what I was after!! And, again – Anne Boleyn, it was just a dream…

    AGAIN, thanks, thanks, THANKS (yikes, always with the commas and the repetitions!) to ALL of you. I am really grateful, and glad I finally got the balls to do something like this!


  4. #14
    Keith .

    Re: back to okay, i'll try

    You sound like a good guy, David. Hope you post a Levi chap when you have the time.

  5. #15
    nom de plume

    Re: back to okay, i'll try

    Actually, i didn't pick up on the dream elements but found the overall writing had a psychedelic quality. Hey, i appreciated it in Rimbaud and the later work of the Beatles, etc... So, don't feel offended.

    Again i like to mention that i see real promise in your writing. Stay the course.

  6. #16
    The Midnight Writer

    Re: back to okay, i'll try

    I say don't stick to conventional if you can pull off alternative well. You've got loads of potential in this voice and style, and it can be done wonderfully. So go for it. Do take the others advice on clarity, punctuation, etc, though. Or else your creative approach gets lost in translation. good luck.

  7. #17
    Linden Holidae

    davie baby... hehe

    Ya, that's true, you aren't going to know whose published, until you get to know the people in this forum... also, i have dived right into learning about writing, studying everything i can about writing and publishing, and all that...

    over time, you get to notice things about writers, by the things they say, what kind of experience they have, and even those that aren't published, but are very good at writing, you can tell that about them...

    So ya, i shouldn't say Published writers, i should say, experienced writers....

    anyhow... learn, read, learn, write, write, read, learn, sleep a bit, and do it all over again... -LH

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