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Author Topic: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___  (Read 198215 times)

SaintofWar

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1815 on: May 28, 2018, 02:01:28 am »

I've been having a bit of a writer's block lately. Though, not so much as a block, as more of a... shall we say... inconvenience. I've hated lore dumps since forever, but trying to fit a high fantasy story with elements of world-building in a short story scope is I am sure possible, but a very tricky path to tread. This is my attempt, and I appreciate any advice or critique on how to perfect it.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 02:10:42 am by SaintofWar »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1816 on: May 28, 2018, 08:28:57 am »

I've hated lore dumps since forever, but trying to fit a high fantasy story with elements of world-building in a short story scope is I am sure possible, but a very tricky path to tread.

It certainly is possible, though you might have to heavily rely on the reader to make inferences, who when given two pieces of information is expected to deduct a third, a fourth, or a fifth piece. To make it work in a short story, only the world-building essentials for the scene should be mentioned, which is advisable in text of any length, and that might make the reader interested to learn more, rather overwhelmed by information. It is easier for someone to understand the world-building if it is shown in practice, to eliminate any misinterpretation of semantics.

In this case, with the protagonist’s core beliefs under scrutiny, it would be quite reasonable for the two characters to argue about how the world works. It would make the background information a point of drama and heighten the premise of the conceptualizing event being a major deviation.

My critique:
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SaintofWar

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1817 on: May 28, 2018, 11:05:57 pm »

I think at some point I wanted the stuff between the dialog to be the protagonist's internal voice, rather than an IC explanation of the world. I also definitely wanted the story to be a debate between the two, but I suppose Rain got too easily convinced by Redemption's explanation about why the woman in question could do what she did. Either way, I still failed at what I tried to do, and even things I didn't think would be criticized. The sentence fragments and the inconsistent past and present when Redemption speaks was on purpose to give him character and to make him seem inferior to Rain. Perhaps that was a bad idea. I do agree however with everything you've said, and I am grateful for it.

I think I will try again, perhaps later today, to do the same scene or the next one, with less hand-holding and more personality. First time around I was so worried about things not making sense that I think I explained it to the point where it makes even less sense. But this was good practice for me.

Thank you.

Edit: Attempt #2:

Edit2: Posted as reply instead of edit.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 02:36:38 am by SaintofWar »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1818 on: May 29, 2018, 02:10:01 am »

Yes, as a writer finishing a scene you should be confident that you did all you reasonably could do in realizing your ideas and making your work intelligible. An unsuccessful attempt is just a step closer to success if you learn from it and gain greater ability.

I think it would be best to do the next scene, as it would build momentum and give new opportunities to detail the setting, and that making Redemption’s dialog purposefully odd would work if it was made clear to the reader that it was indeed deliberate, perhaps by a comment from Rain or a thought of his.
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SaintofWar

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1819 on: May 29, 2018, 02:38:36 am »

I'll try redoing the scene first to see if I managed to stay away from the pitfalls of the first attempt.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I liked the first version better. I think it had more mystery to it which could easily become 'weight' in subsequent chapters, or if the story was longer. But this one I feel like I better accomplished what I set out to do in the first place: To be heavy in lore, but not burdensome. But I also have two branches of storyline to go from here-- either whatever Redemption is doing, or Rain's report. The way this version is written, it is not clear who exactly is the protagonist of the story. There's reasonable precedent in the flavor of the characters, that the point of view could shift to either one of them, whereas in the first attempt, I think it was pretty clear that Rain is the protagonist and only point of view. I think that is a double edged sword, because it also suggests that Redemption is clearly a 'side character', implying perhaps, less 'character' to his character. I also think Rain's report would be far more boring than Redemption's 'setting the stage'. To summarize: I think this version is more interesting, but the previous had more impact or potential impact.

I eagerly anticipate further advice!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 02:48:45 am by SaintofWar »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1820 on: May 29, 2018, 08:52:06 am »



I agree that this streamlined version does not have quite the same appeal of the original with its detailing of the powers, but if Redemption is followed in his organization of education for mundanes, this world-building would become the plot.

I assume that anyone would think Rain is the protagonist still because it is written in the first person from his perspective. Not to say that that is a urgent reason to refrain Redemption from being in focus. The story could follow both characters, for any amount of time, short or long, perhaps with Rain's parts condensed to keep the pace up.
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Th4DwArfY1

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1821 on: May 29, 2018, 11:01:44 am »

Oh, sugar. I thought I had responded to Aylo's previous critique. With that in mind - thank you. At least the issues you picked up seemed to mainly be small grammatical things rather than greater narrarive issues.
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SaintofWar

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1822 on: May 29, 2018, 11:09:56 am »

A side effect of me writing this without proof-reading or even an idea of where it is going, other than having done the scene once already, is the excessive use (and misuse) of the dialog tags. It ends up being closer to my speaking style, which has quite a few pauses and emphasis, that I almost subconsciously attribute in some way through (improper) grammar. I will definitely try to pay more attention to the dialog tags.

I am a bit unclear on what you mean exactly by whether or not it should be But the Record?. It was my intent to portray the scene as there being a silence as Rain stops pacing. Maybe the tag at the end is misleading, as after the pause Rain asks about the status or condition of the Record, at which point Redemption replies. If I were to edit it now, I am sure I would be able to do it justice.

I also like your suggestion following suggestion to use a single hyphen with spaces instead of double hyphens. I think it's less distracting.

Quote
Some lines, like this one, will benefit from the accompanying clause from being a separate sentence, as it gives the clause more emphasis and force.
For example: “How is that possible?” I asked. It was impossible, I knew that well, but my conviction still faltered.

I did it the original way for haste and flow. I thought about using two sentences as well, but I thought the flow was better, and more rushed/tense, if I keep it to one. Obviously, in it's current state it's left wanting. Could've done it better.

I agree with all the other remarks.

Thanks a lot Aylokat. I think tomorrow or tonight, I'll try the next scene, and hopefully it will show progress. I feel like I learned quite a bit.

EDIT: As for why Rain does not refer to Redemption by name internally or in dialogue was a style choice. It was supposed to build on the mystery including later when his full 'name' is announced. I think it creates interest in the character, and in a way, I suppose, it also detaches the characters from the wishes of the reader. I think what I am trying to say is: I am on purpose trying to keep the familiarity with the characters low, not just between each other, but the reader and characters as well.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 11:14:16 am by SaintofWar »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1823 on: May 30, 2018, 01:47:13 am »

Writing without knowing where you are going is magical, is it not? You are discovering the story as you go along, much like the reader does. Quite exciting.

A useful thing to do when you are improvising like that is to consider precisely what a given sentence, paragraph, or scene is meant to convey or set up (though this is useful always). I find it helps you avoid sinking into a mire of unrelated diversions and rambling, and see ahead of where you are currently to where you are heading and what you need to do to get there—a series of steps through the mire.


I am a bit unclear on what you mean exactly by whether or not it should be But the Record?

“This is impossible” to me suggests an intent to stop the conversation out of disbelief, yet “And the Record? I added” and that Rain did not need to be convinced to listen further gives the impression that he was only voicing his emotions. With the dialog tag of added, the two sentences are explicitly connected despite their apparently contradictory meanings, and there is no point in between where Rain admits to himself that it might not be impossible.

But the Record? separates the two statements and implies that Rain continued regardless of his disbelief for some unrevealed reason, like curiosity or to indulge Redemption or wanting to be sure the Record was safe in any case.

Quote
I did it the original way for haste and flow. I thought about using two sentences as well, but I thought the flow was better, and more rushed/tense

I think the sentences become cumbersome by inappropriate use of the progressive tense, such as in “faltering”, where it does not seem like Rain’s conviction faltering is directly connected to him speaking, thus making that knowledge read misplaced. To preserve a sense of rushing, the sentence could be made shorter, like: I asked, my conviction . . . faltering, or it could discard the dialog tag together with the progressive tense in favor of description, like: As I said this my conviction faltered.

Quote
It was supposed to build on the mystery including later when his full 'name' is announced.

I suspected as much in the first version, but I had not in this second version. If mystery is what you seek, then describing a character by a visible trait instead of a name would do that well, for examples: the scarred man and the Chosen with black boots, or by some other trait like his profession or habits.


Oh, sugar. I thought I had responded to Aylo's previous critique. With that in mind - thank you. At least the issues you picked up seemed to mainly be small grammatical things rather than greater narrarive issues.

Do keep in mind that my critique on narrative is weak, as there is always a significant possibility that any problems I might have with the narrative are due to me being outside the target audience and I comment only if I can reasonably argue an error, for that is a more valuable use of the time of everyone involved than opinion poorly informed of the author’s intent, I imagine.

That opening line makes me think you are referring to me as sugar every time I see it, heh.
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SaintofWar

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1824 on: May 31, 2018, 03:59:07 am »

Once more, this is gonna be a first-try, no proof-reading, no clue as to how the story goes attempt. Hopefully, this will point out whether or not I've learned anything over the past two attempts. I know kicking habits is not that easy, but I am hoping I made some improvement at least. Mostly, I think this will be, in part, an attempt to also change my style, which is the main culprit behind the previous mistakes.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I gotta admit I am slowly becoming invested in this setting and story. It was a throwaway, but I feel like it could have some interesting potential. I am also slightly proud of this approach to 'lore dumps'. I think it's more natural this way, although I still dislike the idea. I think things like these should be taken slowly, especially because there is so much 'content'. However, maybe this is bias, I kind of like the way it was done there, though I don't think I could replicate it again. It was truly spur of the moment.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 04:10:51 am by SaintofWar »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1825 on: May 31, 2018, 09:55:02 am »

It occurred to me that what I said about considering what individual pieces of writing mean was vague. I meant that you should ask yourself the question What does this show? and make sure that the writing reveals something about the world, the characters, the plot—fundamental things in that vein. A description of a building only seen once that does not even set the tone would be one of the things you might remove or alter.




Quote
I think things like these should be taken slowly, especially because there is so much 'content'.

I agree, but was the point not to deliver relatively great amounts of information on the world in a short story? That was a success, and the advances here will translate to longer stories.

Quote
I kind of like the way it was done there

I am not sure where exactly you mean by “there.” Could you explain, please?
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SaintofWar

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1826 on: May 31, 2018, 11:49:07 am »

I did want to go back and edit out most of the mistakes that you pointed out, before your reply, but I decided against. Especially that 'whether' that has no business being there. I have a terrible habit with hyphens and too many commas, I knew this already, but it's a difficult habit to kick. I think that if I really tried writing something with a plan I could avoid most of those mistakes. It is how you said, I am trying to improve my raw writing ability. I want my natural style to be closer to proper writing.

The gaseous flame was my attempt at describing it as plasma. I had the intention of mentioning this somewhere in the text but apparently I forgot.

I think one of my major issues is misjudging exactly where I use the passive voice. I think that is something that would eventually sneak in no matter how careful I was at avoiding it. It feels 'right' to me, although I understand your criticism on it.

I was also referring to the dialogue, and the way the lore is presented to another character, instead of the reader. It never occurred to me before but this way almost feels like both the reader and the protagonist 'know things'. That's what I meant by 'I like the way it was done there'.

Maybe I'll try a part 3 at some point to see if any improvements had been made but I doubt I'll be able to make major improvements other than hopefully getting the dialog tags right.
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1827 on: June 01, 2018, 02:26:21 am »

You have the right idea, SaintofWar, advances on this subject will be slower so it is a good idea to move on to areas where major improvements could be made. There is a high chance that a breakthrough on a different front will do more for a particular skill than continuing on said skill for diminishing minor gains.

In my experience, editing is a crucial element in refining your writing ability by examining your own writing and considering how else you might have done it, say, by turning the sentences around in your head to see a new angle as you would when visualizing a physical object. But unless there is an idea you want to explore in a specific narrative framework, it would be wise to move on or write anew after a few passes to avoid exhausting yourself by endlessly making tiny changes.

I advise occasionally revisiting a work a few months after it was made and rewriting it in order to measure progress. Progress often is greater than what is immediately apparent, by way of small details or stylistic shifts, and you might find that difficult parts are no longer so.
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Hanslanda

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1828 on: June 08, 2018, 04:49:37 pm »

Well, I'd like some critiquing. Tell me what I do wrong.

Spoiler: A Dark Night (click to show/hide)


That's the end for now.
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1829 on: June 09, 2018, 08:41:59 am »

Well, I'd like some critiquing. Tell me what I do wrong.

Here is some critique:
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