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Thread: The Beach

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    The Beach

    Hey peeps,

    I submit the following for your judgement and would love to hear your honest opinion. You will notice that it contains absolutely no dialogue. That's because I suck at descriptive writing and I want to practice it. Dialogue I do get, but descriptions have always been very hard for me. The piece is not a part of anything in particular (not part of a larger chapter or story), just a simple writing exercise that I did to train those muscles that dictate literary painting. Please tell me what I can improve on.

    The Beach:

    Light drifts over the sea, kind of like gravy floating across mash potatoes. When the sun comes in at a certain angle, it makes an upside down V in the water, getting smaller the further out into the tides you look. Then it gets to an angle where you can’t really see the sun at all you get the gravy effect that I spoke of earlier. The sky itself is a splash of orange mixed in with yellow, like a mango and banana marbled ice cream. Scant white clouds add a dash of vanilla to the mix.

    Coming in from the sea, there is the sand. Rather ordinary object in itself. Next to the water, sand is the most unremarkable thing that nature could have invented. It’s sticky and yucky and gets in your eyes. Yet chance came upon this odd paring to put the sand with the water and create the wonderful experience that is the beach. Here the sand actually does have a purpose. For women, it is their tanning lotion. For children, it is their Lego block. For men, it is the light house from which they are to stay away as they continue their need to stand atop a tiny flat plank balanced precariously over the big walls of water known as waves.

    A little white bird with an orange beak and orange legs comes flying past this strange activity. The bird has no sense of humour and does not even know that it is a good opportunity to have a good laugh when one of the humans in the water below, falls off the plank that he is standing on and is now swimming the other way, to wait for the next wave. The bird’s eyes are keenly focussed on white bags. Because white bags, it knows, will bring it food. The bird does not always find the same kind of food in every bag. He’s not even sure if half the stuff he has in the past picked out from the bags is actually edible. But the stuff in the bags do satisfy its nose and its stomach. And that’s all that the little bird cares about.

    Analysis:

    I know it's very childish but please bear with me. I want to try to make my writing more sophisticated but it's hard.



  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: The Beach

    I like it. Really. It is descriptive, yet does not have too many analogies or adjectives. Although not intended (I think) there is almost a touch of humor overlaying the whole description. Yes - I like it.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    7

    Re: The Beach

    i like the bit about the sand in particular, and i would suggest THE STUFF IN THE BAGS (DOES) SATISFY ITS NOSE AND STOMACH, rather than do satisfy.

  4. #4
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: The Beach

    Goooood, morning, Vietnam! You are a poet, so we will have less of the innocence.

    The first paragraph is blistering (good)

  5. #5
    Amy Lou
    Guest

    Re: The Beach

    good morning Wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    > Hey peeps,
    >
    > I submit the following for your judgement and
    > would love to hear your honest opinion. You will
    > notice that it contains absolutely no dialogue.
    > That's because I suck at descriptive writing and I
    > want to practice it. Dialogue I do get, but
    > descriptions have always been very hard for me.
    > The piece is not a part of anything in particular
    > (not part of a larger chapter or story), just a
    > simple writing exercise that I did to train those
    > muscles that dictate literary painting. Please
    > tell me what I can improve on.
    >
    > The Beach:
    >
    > Light drifts over the sea, kind of like gravy
    > floating across mash potatoes(nice, I like gravy!). When the sun comes
    > in at a certain angle, it makes an upside down V
    > in(on the water, like on top?) the water, getting smaller the further out into
    > the tides you look. Then it gets to an angle where
    > you can’t really see the sun at all you get the
    > gravy effect that I spoke of earlier. The sky
    > itself is a splash of orange mixed in with yellow,
    > like a mango and banana marbled ice cream Just thinking that describing the sky as just mango and banana ice cream would be beautiful, without the description of orange mixed with yellow. The reader gets the idea of the color by your already yummy description). Scant
    > white clouds add a dash of vanilla to the mix. (I'm getting hungry
    >
    > Coming in from the sea, there is the sand. Rather
    > ordinary object in itself. Next to the water, sand
    > is the most unremarkable thing that nature could
    > have invented. It’s sticky and yucky and gets in
    > your eyes. Funny, because I think sand is amazing, if you really think about the time it took for the waves to create it.)Yet chance came upon this odd paring to
    > put the sand with the water and create the
    > wonderful experience that is the beach. Here the
    > sand actually does have a purpose. For women, it
    > is their tanning lotion. For children, it is their
    > Lego block. For men, it is the light house from
    > which they are to stay away as they continue their
    > need to stand atop a tiny flat plank balanced
    > precariously over the big walls of water known as
    > waves.
    >
    > A little white bird with an orange beak and orange
    > legs comes flying past this strange activity. The
    > bird has no sense of humour and does not even know
    > that it is a good opportunity to have a good laugh
    > when one of the humans in the water below, falls
    > off the plank that he is standing on and is now
    > swimming the other way, to wait for the next wave.This is a really long sentence)
    > The bird’s eyes are keenly focussed on white
    > bags. Because white bags, it knows, will bring it
    > food. The bird does not always find the same kind
    > of food in every bag. He’s not even sure if half
    > the stuff he has in the past picked out from the
    > bags is actually edible. But the stuff in the bags
    > do satisfy its nose and its stomach. And that’s
    > all that the little bird cares about.
    >
    > Analysis:
    >
    > I know it's very childish but please bear with me.
    > I want to try to make my writing more
    > sophisticated but it's hard.

    I agree, it's so hard, but this is nice and I love the beach, so I really enjoyed reading this. Keep going, working on tightening things up.

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Re: The Beach

    I guess I’ll be the lone voice of dissent. I thought it was pretty awful.

    Light doesn’t “drift over the sea”, unless of course you’re talking about the sun. I have no clue how light on the sea is like “gravy floating across mashed potatoes”, particularly since gravy doesn’t float, but flows. Your description of the “gravy effect” is positively unintelligible. I’ve lived close to 50 years, and I have yet to see a sunset with orange and yellows as you describe with WHITE clouds. In a sunset like that, the clouds are also colored to the best of my knowledge. I don’t know…you really think sand is like tanning lotion to women? Odd that I’ve never seen them smearing it on their bodies. The whole piece is off like that.

    The one good and valid metaphor you use is when you say of sand, “For children, it is their Lego block.” Good, strong metaphor there. All the rest of it stinks on ice though, and has no discernible purpose that I can see. I think if you want to practice description, you should have a good purpose to guide you. Without a purpose, you're just stringing pretty sounding words together without much meaning.

    Here's what I would suggest. First, think of a person, real or fictional, who has a strong well-defined personality. Maybe they're extremely shallow and vain and concerned about money, or perhaps, spartan and spiritual and concerned about discipline. Got the person? Now describe that person's bedroom in a way that reveals those traits. After reading your description of the bedroom, and reader should have some definite ideas about the character and interests of the person who occupies it.

    Good writers don't typically describe things simply to describe them. They describe them for a purpose

  7. #7
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    Re: The Beach

    "Light drifts over the sea, kind of like gravy floating across mash potatoes."

    The comparison doesn't work, but if you're determined to use it, make it mashed potatoes, not mash.

  8. #8
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    Re: The Beach

    Don't know your intent, but to me the piece is comical and doesn't read like a narrator's voice, writing for a reader. It reads like a goofy guy is talking to a few very tolerant old pals. The description is so oddball that it's distracting and calls attention to itself [or to the narrator]. But the voice is immediate and direct, distinct--so you might have inadvertantly created a goofball character here.

  9. #9
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    Re: The Beach

    I won't go into detail but it reads like a really bad acid trip, perhaps a first experience with shrooms. To visualize gravy floating on salt-water makes me a little nauseous. I will say the images are vivid, if twisted.

  10. #10
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    Re: The Beach

    I'm glad you said that Al, it’s exactly what I thought.

    I had visions of one-too-many 60's/70's movies, mixed with wishing to re-live/had attended Woodstock.

    I didn't like any of it.
    OK that's not true. There was a line or two here and there that I thought was good but as a whole, the bad SO out numbered the good, leaving me with the feeling of - as Al say's, nauseousness.

    It felt like bad acting or bad over-writing in an attempt to Hemmingway/Shakespeare the peace. I cannot honestly believe this is someone’s true voice. (and this is coming from someone who is notorious for verbal diarrhea!)
    if the wine is sour – throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

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