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  1. #71
    John Oberon

    Re: Need a critique. First Chapter.

    "The occupied seat next to me whispers at me, wondering where I've been. I wonder why he cares."

    I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I read that, Conor.

  2. #72
    Cindy Kay

    Re: Need a critique. First Chapter.


    I didn't read the entire first chapter and read none of the second, but I read enough to form an opinion.

    You've got a great sense of imagery and pace and word flow. In my book, these are the writerly qualities that can't really be taught. So you're doing great. I think most of us work on our weaknesses slowly. You'll know when it's time to work on your grammer and punctuation. (Strunk & White's Elements of Style is the best.) But if we try to do everything right from the get go, we can end up sacraficing our strengths. I'm a terrible speller and always turn off the Word spelling thingy when doing a first draft. I find the constant reminders of my weakness distracting.

    Sounds like you're working on a first draft here. I would encourage you to focus in this initial phase on what you excell at. Let it rip. I wouldn't even worry too much about readers' responses or plot flow. Just get a draft out that drips with what you do well. (When I let a few friends read the first draft of my first novel, they all said something like, "Great setting, great voice, great characters, but do you think you might want to include a plot." Plots, another of my weaknesses.)

    I suspect, along with the grammer stuff, which I'd enourage you to not worry about too much even in the second draft, you'll find you want to use your rich imagery and penchant for overwriting with more precision. But that's something that will come in the next draft when you start getting a feel for how the whole story works on a reader. When it comes to plot and character development my favorite book is The Writer's Journey, which takes Joesph Campell's work on the hero's journey stuff and applies it to writing a novel. But wait on that until the first draft is done.

    As you approach later drafts, take control of the critique and editing process. Filter all critique and advice through a seive of reminding yourself that you are in control of what you change and that every piece of advice is yours to make of what you will. Rather than get defensive, which is allowing others to control your process, try to figure out how you can use each bit. Sometimes that will be deciding that you're just not going to please every reader; other times you may find a way to hone a sentence in unexpected ways. Stay open and in control.

    I like what you're doing with your writing. Keep it up. Gather your confidence with the first draft. When you've got enough confidence in what you do well, you'll find the critique/editing phases a pleasure. You won't be defensive. You'll be excited to master your weak areas and hone your strengths to perfection.

    Keeping going kid.

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