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  1. #11
    d d
    Guest

    Re: Critiques Please ! Come one, come all!

    Thanks Chris........I think that John was right in implying that I had fallen into the trap of assuming everyone knows the setting as well as I do, and obviously that is not the case.



  2. #12
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Critiques Please ! Come one, come all!

    DD,

    It would not be bloated and wordy. You can be precise and accurate without wordiness. You write like James Fenimore Cooper. Read Mark Twain's critique of his writing and you'll find a critique of yours as well. Twain calls it "inaccurate observation", I call it a poor eye for details, but it amounts to the same thing. Your story contradicts reality.

    For example, you want me to believe that when Will strikes this man with an axe from behind, the axe lodges in his flesh as it would a piece of wood, so firmly that it yanks the axe from Will's firm grip as the man falls (I'm guessing this is what happened, you don't say it). That alone is enough to shatter my belief in your story, but you don't stop there. Since the axe is yanked from Will's hand, that implies the man fell forward away from Will, but you say he falls backward toward Will.

    Combine things like that with things like disappearing steps and axes and auto-decapitation and very quickly, you have a ridiculous story.

    Google "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses", and you'll read how a master says it far better than I.

  3. #13
    Chris Anderson
    Guest

    Re: Critiques Please ! Come one, come all!

    I think that John makes a good point, but your flaws of detail/observation are nowhere near as rampant as Fenimore The paragraph of Will's attack is definitely the most flawed in clarity. The axe wouldn't stick in a man enough to be pulled free unless it was in his gut (most likely) and certainly wouldn't stick if it went clean THROUGH his neck. He also would fall into the cabin, not into the dust. John's other remarks on that paragraph are more or less accurate, although I would argue that not all of it requires fixing. You could say "front wall" and Will sees the boots of the man standing guard on the first step. Then he leaps up the steps and in one swift motion....yada yada.

    I have cut wood AND played baseball and it's easy to make wood handles squeak.

    The throttled heartbeat is fine IMO.

    If he's gasping air pressed up against warm cedar I can believe that he would notice it's smell.

    Maybe mention a breeze blew in the dust. Not that big of deal if you ask me.

    Anyway, much of the rest has been covered in enough detail for me. Overall it's a good start. Very tense, lots of action, good setup if you ask me. Had me interested and I'd like to read more. That's the main point, right? There are definite Fenimore moments as John pointed out, but your offenses are not that severe. I also would suggest you read Twain's remarks on Fenimore, very good stuff.

  4. #14
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Critiques Please ! Come one, come all!

    Yeah, maybe not as bad as JFC, but the similarities are pretty glaring. And this kind of inaccuracy is not just in that one paragraph; it's throughout the piece.

    Sure, you can make wood handles squeak, but I challenge you to do it by simply tightening your grip as Will did. Not happening. The squeak occurs when your hands slide over the wood. And is Will going to do that when stealth is at a premium? No.

    "Throttle" connotes one of two meanings in my mind - increasing the power on some kind of mechanical device, or choking something. Sure, you can use it figuratively, but this scene doesn't strike me as the place for figurative language.

    I doubt he would notice the cedar smell if he built the cabin and has lived there for years. He might notice if it DIDN'T smell that way. DD could easily delete that part, IMO.

    When you say a "bank" of anything, it implies a significant accumulation of whatever it is, whether it's a dust bank, a cloud bank, or a snow bank. Who cares about dust, unless it obscures someone's vision at a critical moment? Delete, IMO.

  5. #15
    d d
    Guest

    Re: Critiques Please ! Come one, come all!

    I think I will title this novel - The Very Last of the Mohicans.

    Ouch.....Cooper! ........you're exactly right. I've got some editing to do.

    At least he was published, famous even, but his work was a little over the top.

  6. #16
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Critiques Please ! Come one, come all!

    Sure, JFC is one of many examples of a popular, successful, and BAD writer.

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