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  1. #1
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    My writing samples

    This from a sci-fi I'm working on now. Thanks.

    [He's on his back, and has a pain in his neck. He's in a canyon]

    I rolled on my back to face the sky, the stiff pain in my neck reemerged for a moment then vanished in the wake of yet another ineffable sight; a white light rippling two hundred feet up and a mile across the stars, hovering inside the bowled canyon. It pulsed and vanished like the flicker of a dying light, and correspondingly blasted a sphere of dust and debris into the canyon walls. I shielded my eyes and in between the flickers was a spacecraft (the only possible thing it could be)— magnificent technological perfection.
    Last edited by 06Casuality; 12-09-2013 at 07:08 AM.



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    First I'd say it should be "and then vanished" and then it should be a full colon instead of a semicolon. I'd delete the stuff in the parentheses too. "Magnificent technological perfection" doesn't really say anything about what the spaceship looks like.

    Quote Originally Posted by 06Casuality View Post
    This from a sci-fi I'm working on now. Thanks.

    [He's on his back, and has a pain in his neck. He's in a canyon]

    I rolled on my back to face the sky, the stiff pain in my neck reemerged for a moment then vanished in the wake of yet another ineffable sight; a white light rippling two hundred feet up and a mile across the stars, hovering inside the bowled canyon. It pulsed and vanished like the flicker of a dying light, and correspondingly blasted a sphere of dust and debris into the canyon walls. I shielded my eyes and in between the flickers was a spacecraft (the only possible thing it could be)— magnificent technological perfection.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    You should probably delete "correspondingly" as well.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    So yeah...something like this:

    I rolled onto my back to face the sky. The pain in my neck stabbed for a moment, then vanished in the wake of another fantastic sight - a white light rippling two hundred feet up and a mile across the stars, floating inside the bowl canyon. It pulsed like the flicker of a dying light, and blasted a sphere of dust and debris into the canyon walls. I shielded my eyes, and in between the flickers hovered a spacecraft.

    Even with it cleaned up, I still don't quite understand the description. How is this white light shaped? You say it's about 200 feet off the ground and a mile across...a mile across what? Is it a mile-long, rippling circle, straight line, cube, cloud, or what? And it "blasted a sphere of dust and debris into the canyon walls"...what the heck does that mean? It shot a sphere like torpedo into the walls, or a giant sphere blasted into the walls with the weird light as its center, or what? Needs some precision.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, everyone. I rewrote it for a 2nd draft.

    I rolled on my back to face the sky, the stiff pain in my neck reemerged for a moment and then vanished in the wake of yet another ineffable sight: a white blanket of light flashed across the sky, and covered every star above until it went out, and flashed again like the flicker of a dying light. I shielded my eyes and in between the flickers was a spacecraft, or whatever it was, it had to be what the man was talking about on the radio.


    Another sample:

    [An alien just spoke to him]

    If it made an attempt to calm or reassure me, it didn’t work. My privacy was stripped from me. I didn’t know what to think, anymore. I didn’t know how to think. An intrusion in the mind is unlike any experience in the world. You see yourself through the eyes of the intruder, desensitizing and devaluing everything you knew about yourself to be unique and definitive, witnessing your predictability playing over and over again in its telepathic headlights.

    Gun shots fired at the crash site fifty meters away, and three grenades exploded one after another. Gun powder, and Chief’s rotting corpse soared the air. There was something else, a gnawing, ripping and snarling noise that came from where I last had seen the Chief.. The pulses made me dizzy and did nothing to help the navigation…. Lightning would be more useful. I followed the sounds and they lead me to Chief’s grave. The ghoul was on top of the mangled body, picking it apart and eating the parts that remained. When it rose on its knees, and watched me, I saw a bullet wound in its big, grizzly dome and another in its shoulder. The creature was dying.
    Last edited by 06Casuality; 12-10-2013 at 09:49 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Alrighty...technically, you can "face the sky" standing, sitting, or lying. You can roll on your back and not remain on your back, like a somersault. You want to roll "onto" your back, if you want to face the sky lying down.

    As far as I know pain does not submerge, emerge, submerge, then reemerge. Things like submarines, scuba divers, and dolphins do that. Pain either exists or not; it is not something that exists without your awareness until it "reemerges", unless you're using highly metaphorical language, which is definitely not the case here. Pain does things like "emanate", "prick", "stab", "pervade", "crush", "distract", "dominate", "intensify", "lessen", "throb", "thump", "pound", "ease", and yes, even "vanish". Change the verb.

    "Ineffable", to the best of my memory, means something like "indescribable" or "undefinable" - something really marvelous or awesome, maybe even beyond our senses to comprehend. Typically, it's applied in the emotional or spiritual arena. What you describe is essentially lightning on a clear night and a spaceship. Unusual, yep. Ineffable, nope. Change the adjective.

    You added a mass of empty verbs to the end. Just put a period after "spacecraft", then "It had to be what I heard about on the radio."

  7. #7
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Your second sample didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and I got the feeling that even you don’t really know what you’re trying to say. Let’s look at the first paragraph.

    First, get rid of the second person present. This is a first person past narrative – keep it that way.

    Second, I gather the alien spoke to the man telepathically, which unnerved the man. Fine. Why does the man “desensitize and devalue” everything he knew about himself to be unique and definitive? How does he do that? I don’t even know exactly what it means to tell you the truth. How does this man’s predictability play over and over? He’s not doing anything, is he? Against what standard does he judge himself to be predictable? I really have no clue what you’re trying to say.

    On to the second paragraph. There are some kind of guns and grenades pounding some kind of crash site. Don't know who's shooting or why, but the resulting explosion causes gun powder and Chiefs rotting corpse to soar. To my mind, an explosion like that would cause gun powder to ignite, not soar. No idea who Chief is, could be a dog or a man, but whatever he is, he’s been dead for a considerable time if he’s rotting. There’s some snarling and gnawing. No idea what “pulses” are or why they would make a person dizzy or why it’s important to know they do nothing to help navigation. I suppose the man is in some kind of ship – no idea if it’s a boat or a plane. No idea how or why lightning would be useful. No idea what any of it has to do with the snarling and gnawing. He follows the sound, presumably in his ship, and apparently, Chief’s soaring body was ejected from a grave at the crash site. There is some kind of creature eating Chief’s corpse. It has bullet wounds to its head and shoulder and is dying.

    Sorry…makes next to no sense to me. Maybe if you post a bigger sample, but something tells me that won't help much.

  8. #8
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    2016 update - novel excerpt

    Corey watched as the hospital’s landing pad shrunk below his feet. The helicopter ascended, cutting through the winds with an inexorable force nearly misguided by its flexuous controls. Normally, he didn’t imagine the thing capsizing in the air with the blades face down toward the earth instead of the sky. This imagined (hopefully not foreshadowed) doom reminded him of how a fearful boy would act on his first airplane ride. It was unlike him. This innocent vulnerability, the misplaced lack of control over his own life, the feeling that made impossible nightmares seem plausible and forthcoming only came during situations in *his life that he had deemed acceptable for such fears.* A helicopter ride shouldn’t be one of them. Maybe it was the lack of a parachute or harness, or the fact he was wearing sweatpants instead of combat fatigues, or the fact that the pilot (and all the other passengers) were strangers to him made him feel distrustful and cowardly towards the whole experience. He remembered when the mission, and the safety of his brothers-at-arms was the only thing on his mind before leaping out the chopper and sliding down the rope. It was a healthy fear, a healthy concern for others that didn’t include hesitation, second-guessing and picturing the worst like a terrified little boy. So, he relished in that memory, trying to understand how he’d been so strong before. And with that reminiscence, that attempt to make himself strong again, came the unbidden, automatic action to step out of the helicopter. He caught himself on the hand rail just before he leaped. His head rocked. He lost sight of his feet, only the horrifying thousand-foot drop remained and the wind beating against his body. The hospital, now no bigger than a thumbnail, continued to shrink, and at the moment Corey was fine with that. He’d rather watch it shrink away than grow in size, realizing that his attempt to alleviate his newly discovered anxiety had nearly thrown him out the helicopter and plunged him to his death.


    ---Taken from Chapter 5 of my sci-fi novel in progress. Edit, I am aware I comma splice.

    *I am not a special forces soldier. This part: *....his life that he had deemed acceptable for such fears,* is just a placeholder until I can get more information on their mission experience so I can create this man's own unique history which has not been entirely roughed out yet. Thank you.
    Last edited by 06Casuality; 05-11-2016 at 01:01 PM.

  9. #9
    Rogue Mutt
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    I never understand why someone would post a sample from chapter 5 when no one has read the other 4 chapters. Not that there's much here to go on except that you're really trying to cram in some big words like "flexuous." The Firefox spellcheck doesn't even recognize that as a word, though dictionary.com did. Strange.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Mutt View Post
    I never understand why someone would post a sample from chapter 5 when no one has read the other 4 chapters. Not that there's much here to go on except that you're really trying to cram in some big words like "flexuous." The Firefox spellcheck doesn't even recognize that as a word, though dictionary.com did. Strange.
    I never understood why someone would expect me to post the previous chapters of a thread titled "My writing samples."

    I needed another word for 'wavy.' Maybe flexuous is not the best word.

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