1. #1

    [Books] aspiring author

    Afternoon folks, I made this thread to get a bit of feedback and criticism really, you see I've always wanted to write fantasy books that everyone will read and everyone will love but we all have to start somewhere. For as long as I can remember I've always been creative, I just wasn't sure how to channel that creativity. I went through high school and college taking art and graphic courses, I've looked into game design and I've even spent 2 years employed in web design but none of that felt quite right. Then I started to think, I really enjoyed my English classes in school, just studying how the language works and the beauty and depth of grammar and structure so I opened Word one day and I began to write. Before I knew it I had written four pages worth of ideas filled with magic and epic landscapes and mystical creatures. So I would simply like to ask if you would be so kind as to read a small section of rough work and tell me how it makes you feel. Are you engaged? Does it read fluently? Is it something you would carry on reading? I chose to post within this particular forum because I feel at home hear with other like-minded geeks who I share common interests with so im hoping I've hit the right target audience. So without further ado, enjoy.

    "Fire!" The greying man bellowed to the row or archers atop the wall. The echoing sound of bow strings twanging sung through the air as hundreds of arrows were let loose. He shifted his shoulders under the weight of the steel plated armor, it wasn't designed for him so it didn't even fit and it was far from comfortable but it would keep him alive. Two boys that could have been no older than fifteen darted by him carrying a stretcher upon which was an elderly man who wailed and clutched at his leg. Everyone did their part here. A gust of icy wind cast his dark hair over his eyes, though his stance and expression remained unaffected as if water smashing upon rocks.
    "How are you enjoying command, Daltren?"
    Swinging round on his heels Daltren's eyebrows quickly dropped from curiosity into a scowl as he matched the voice to the man bounding towards him with a bucket of water in each hand. His shoulder length, straw-like hair was soaked with sweat. Either that or the fool had thrown himself into the well. His blonde beard was trimmed to perfection and his emerald green eyes shon like those of a cat. Unlike most he did not wear armor, he was clothed in a vibrant green coat lined with golden thread and silver buttons up the middle. Emond, Lord and ruler of the town.
    "Try not to get your pretty dress wet, Lord Emond and... just do your job!" Daltren snapped as the lord jogged by him with a grin. Sighing he turned back to observe the situation. The gate was holding strong for now. Reports assured that his archers had control of the enemy infantry from the walls and that there had yet to be any casualties from this sector of town. His nose burnt and he almost coughed at the stink of burning wood and water reeds as several thatched rooves around him had been set alight by stray arrows coming over the wall. The makeshift infirmary that had been set up on the town green pierced his ears with shrieks and wails but he did his best to ignore them. Everyone was relying on him to tell them what to do. as if he knew what to do. They weren't so eager to listen to him when he was just a simple farmer but now, captain of the guard, nothing happened without his say so. He didn't want this power but wishing so would not change anything.
    Last edited by Mr Spock; 2012-05-20 at 01:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Surprisingly... it's actually pretty good. You're able to describe the situation rather well, and much to my liking, rather quickly. Nothing bores me more than three pages dedicated to describing the how the sun sets.

    I noticed a few typo's and there's probably one or two points that might benefit from a slight change in grammar (order of wording or a pause, for example), but other than that, it's rather good. Definitely something I'd continue reading.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercat View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by krethos View Post
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  3. #3
    'The echoing sound of bow strings twanging sung through the air'

    Seems like it should be 'the sound of bow strings twanging, echoing through the air'.

    It's an opinionated suggestion of change at best, but you have echoing, twanging, and sung - three descriptive words describing one thing happening. Go for one or two at best. There's a golden rule to writing that says don't write anything you don't need to. Can't remember who said it or were I got it so take from it what you will, but aside from that it was pretty good :>

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowbane View Post
    'The echoing sound of bow strings twanging sung through the air'

    Seems like it should be 'the sound of bow strings twanging, echoing through the air'.

    It's an opinionated suggestion of change at best, but you have echoing, twanging, and sung - three descriptive words describing one thing happening. Go for one or two at best. There's a golden rule to writing that says don't write anything you don't need to. Can't remember who said it or were I got it so take from it what you will, but aside from that it was pretty good :>
    Stephen King has said it on many occasions; on topic, this is excellent! Love reading stuff like this

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowbane View Post
    'The echoing sound of bow strings twanging sung through the air'
    "The twang of bow strings echoed through the air" would probably work best.
    "sound" and "sung" are largely irrelevant words, as echo/twang are recognised as sounds anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercat View Post
    Don't use facts, they unsettle peoples' prejudices, and once that happens the flames start.
    Quote Originally Posted by krethos View Post
    Its Science, just ask Albert Einstien, he invented Space

  6. #6
    He shifted his shoulders under the weight of the steel plated armor, it wasn't designed for him so it didn't even fit and it was far from comfortable but it would keep him alive.
    This sentence is pretty ugly. You should fix that, and look for other ugly ones. Read your sentences out loud after you write them, two-three times each.

    Swinging round on his heels Daltren's eyebrows quickly dropped from curiosity into a scowl as he matched the voice to the man bounding towards him with a bucket of water in each hand.
    Another ugly one.

    Remove irrelevant words, don't make readers tired from sounding out weightless words. To give you one example, here:

    Two boys that could have been no older than fifteen darted by him carrying a stretcher upon which was an elderly man who wailed and clutched at his leg.
    38 syllables, 29 words.

    Two boys - no older than fifteen - darted by, carrying a stretcher where laid a wailing old man clutching his torn leg.
    29 syllables, 21 words. The information is congested but it's all still there. The pointless sounds have been removed; it's much more fluid.

    It's a small difference, but a whole book full of tiny, tiny differences makes a great change. It's the difference between fanfic writers and published writers.
    Last edited by vizzle; 2012-05-20 at 06:33 PM.
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  7. #7
    Some very useful tips here, especially from you Vizzle. Thank you, I really appreciate it!

  8. #8
    I'd follow all the advice so far in this thread, particularly Vizzle's - one of the key differences between an alright and a good book is generally how flowing the writing is. I enjoy writing and planning fantasy novels in my spare time simply for my own enjoyment, so I will give you some of my advice.

    One thing I'd look out for with the action-orientated novel openings is not to put the main characters into any near-death situations at the start of the novel, sure, you can have action but just remember the reader currently has next to no connection with the characters introduced, meaning that if you try and pull off any situations like mentioned it will only invoke little or no reaction from the reader and will feel cliched.

    A good structure to have in books that start with action is to have all the action occur in the first chapter, introducing the main characters with vague descriptions of both setting and character, hinting at the different relationships shared between your characters. In the second chapter you can start to add depth to the main characters by the use of flashbacks and how they think, describe the setting (I'll talk about this in the next paragraph), as well as exploring the relationships between different characters.

    Just one thing you need to be careful about at the start of the novel is that you don't go over-the-top with the description. Avoid writing description in big chunks, unless you are introducing the setting for the first time or the setting is particularly unique or interesting. Strong Imagery is the key I find to writing good descriptions, as well as telling it through other creative ways, like through the mouths of your characters (e.g. a character could say, "I don't want to marry him! Have you seen the amount of spots on his face, not to mention his horrible greasy, black hair - I bet he's never washed it! He never smiles and mother always says she wouldn't be surprised if he's killed a child!"). Try not to describe every detail in depth, it is good to leave the reader some things to imagine as that is often the difference between reading a book and feeling as if you're a part of the book. Just remember that with a mix of strong imagery, creative ways of adding description and leaving certain details to the reader's imagination is the key to adding good descriptions.

    I don't know if any of this information would be useful to you as you seem to have done quite a good job with the introduction and I don't know how the next pages play out, but if you take the advice mentioned by the other people in this thread, you should produce a fairly decent novel.

  9. #9
    Field Marshal
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    You've had good advice thus far, especially regarding redundancy. I emphasize: don't use more words than you need.

    Also, a couple of tips:

    * Vary your sentence structure: go from short sentences, to long ones (but not very long), to short, etc.
    * Write to be read by one person, not by masses (I have no idea what that means either, but it somehow makes sense).

  10. #10
    Dreadlord Brightamethyst's Avatar
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    Some of the sentences sound a bit clunky and some of the punctuation was off, but overall it's not bad.

  11. #11
    Pretty good, but yea Vizzle's advice is just what you need. If you have more give a link or just a PM, would love to read more =D

  12. #12
    The Lightbringer Kerath's Avatar
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    I echo Vizzle's sentiments. It's a pretty solid start (better than a lot of amateur fiction), but you need to work on the flow of your words. If a sentence sounds ugly in your head, chances are it's just as unpleasant on paper. Skrai also makes excellent points.
    Good luck!
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