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Author Topic: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___  (Read 150127 times)

Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1830 on: May 05, 2018, 01:18:26 pm »

That was awesome! It's really interesting to see how one idea can germinate into others, and of course, each person will have their own perspective on the original! What a mad world we live in.

Spoiler: My Thoughts on Gawain (click to show/hide)

P.S: In regards to what you were saying about the last piece, Aylo, I think these two stories perfectly show how important proper buildup is, as well as consistent story logic. I would say one lacks a lot of buildup, which subsequently makes its logic hard to grasp, while the other has trouble with its own logic which it sometimes breaks.

It would be great to hear what anyone else thinks about the pieces, and also about our critiques! I personally think it's important to never tell someone how to write, but instead suggest ways they might improve it.

P.S.S: I do have a problem with the words 'tabulation' and 'sibilant.' They seem a little too fancy for me when compared with the rest of the piece. I myself stick rigidly to the language I know. I didn't study literature at a top university, I'm not a serious academic, and the words I use in my stories reflect that. Of course, word choice is totally up to you.

He hated that sun. Vaguely, so vaguely that it seemed like a memory made of mist... Recently, I read something fantastically obvious that I had never really thought about before. It was in a book on writing by Ursula Le. Guin called Steering the Craft, and in it she says something along the lines of: the purpose of each sentence is to lead onto the other. This was like a light-bulb for me, and I would recommend you think on it, with this sentence as your subject. What are the subjects of these sentences, and how quickly do you switch between them? This is vital for maintaining coherence with your reader. It also relates to paragraph construction, which is how you build the blocks of your story.

In regards to my own writing, I am currently cramming in a whole load of research to try and get a practice chapter posted on here. I have recently decided to switch from writing purely second world fantasy, to basically writing whatever the fuck I want. It's been liberating. The story I'm currently working on is about the daughter of a Danish noble in Anglo-Saxon England, who as part of a blood-feud between families ends up seeing a whole load of shit she shouldn't. After this trauma, she discovers a strange chapel/grove/shrine/I haven't quite decided yet, and within is a strange new world the likes of which is inspired by mythology and the atmosphere of the Souls series. What she finds in this second world, and her choices within it, will have massive ramifications for the primary world. Hopefully I'll have something on here soon.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 03:00:50 pm by Levity »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1831 on: May 06, 2018, 03:14:52 am »

That was awesome! It's really interesting to see how one idea can germinate into others, and of course, each person will have their own perspective on the original! What a mad world we live in.

The interpersonal dance of ideas is a fine one indeed. How exciting it is to see budding ideas grow, shift, bend, and blossom into a hundred colors.

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However, I think here it becomes pretty convoluted: [. . .]

I read that paragraph quite a few times before I understood that Gawain was not petrifying himself in order to guard the ruins with the assistance of the sorcerer, who I imagined had done it as a panicked last measure, and patching up the decaying spell with his own words. I originally thought “He strained against the spell that poured from his own lips” meant that the repeated use of the spell was nearly too much for Gawain. I vaguely was under the impression that the sorcerer was trapped in a limbo, and that if he did not pass on but was disturbed he would become some corpse-puppet of a dark force—perhaps that he was evading the price of magic.

Often, I have noticed, writing becomes confusing as a result of minimizing space without thoroughly considering if a reader who does not already understand the meaning can find it without ordeal.

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I personally think it's important to never tell someone how to write, but instead suggest ways they might improve it.

There are situations where you should tell someone how not to write, but certainly freedom is critical. Two people will hold different positions on how an idea should develop. Telling someone to limit the flirting between two characters is good in order to explore the setting, but it is detrimental if the work is meant to be a romance and the setting is only in support of it.

It is essential to follow your fancy, if only occasionally, because even if you recognize it to be extremely stupid, it is an opportunity to experiment, learn, examine the idea, and put it out of your head to focus on other work better. You can figure out what about it captured your interest and use that later on—even in the middle of a less experimental work you can always try new things and cut out the silly stuff. It also is wise to affirm that you are doing your writing out of choice, not because you forced yourself on some obligation.

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'tabulation' and 'sibilant.'

When I read sibilant, I got the impression of a metal snake striking out from its den.
Tabulation seemed overly sophisticated for someone frozen in place counting droplets for decades. Gawain must really have built his skills over his time as a statue. If he cannot find work as a street performer, he can become a ready mathematician!

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the purpose of each sentence is to lead onto the other.

I figured this out based on painstakingly examining and reexamining my older writing (as a challenge) and several comments on films roughly amounting to “What is the point of this scene? What is it supposed to convey?” Anything that did not establish the characters, further the plot, explain the setting, or change the situation felt like a meaningless diversion after the fourth time it happened, no matter if it was good. The point being that information should be given when relevant, and if you want to give it at a time when it is not, devise a way to make it logical. You have the ability to control your fiction universe to benefit you as the author, so use it.

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In regards to my own writing, [. . .]

Excellent. I assume you do not have someone breathing down your neck about writing pure second-world fantasy, thus it is good to pursue any and all ideas you might have. A wide range of practice and skill serves only to improve future writing.
With a pitch like that and your displayed ability, truly it is hoped by me and doubtlessly others that your writing is finished (in due time, of course) and may be read.


(As an aside about writing a story as you go along, I have gathered from experience that it takes at least 2000 words before it starts to become coherent.)
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Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1832 on: May 06, 2018, 06:13:01 pm »

Gawain could be a street performer, I’m just not sure many of his spectators would survive the ordeal. ‘Step across the runic bounday and place a coin...’

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Often, I have noticed, writing becomes confusing as a result of minimizing space without thoroughly considering if a reader who does not already understand the meaning can find it without ordeal.

This is a huge thing, the idea of space within the text and how story information is doled out. It relates to every aspect of storytelling, in my opinion. My early writings were like bullet trains: every paragraph was a plot point; every conversation my ‘characters’ engaged with was momentous. When you write like that, you end up looking back at the couple thousand words and it all seems vacuous. The characters aren’t really people, they’re just mouthpieces. The story isn’t that lovely multi-layered flowing thing that great stories are, it’s like someone tapping a nail restlessly into a wooden plank.

I still struggle with this. I really think proper research, direction, thought, and of course practice, comes into getting past it. Or, you can just write like that. I think some successful published authors do, whereas I always found it too thin, too simple, and I’m working hard to get past it.

Ultimately, stories are a very human thing, and apart from experimental stuff, which will rarely draw a wide readership; the stories need to feel human. Hell, I once read a sci-fi that was about a man transcending his earthly body and becoming a multi-dimensional, omni-present energy; and still what I remember best about the book is his earthly musings, as he observes millions upon millions of years and dozens upon dozens of planets. Though an ascended energy, the main character was still very much human, and there was space between the various ideas in the story and interplay between them. It wasn’t just the bang, bang, bang of these super simple stories. The ones most of my writings have turned out to be.
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Th4DwArfY1

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1833 on: May 06, 2018, 09:06:58 pm »

However, I think here it becomes pretty convoluted: "When Gawain spoke, though, his voice creaked like an old man's. They were not even his words, though they would not know that. A sorcerer, long dead, speaking in a forbidden language. Speaking again the spell which would bind Gawain, root him to the earth like a common statue. He would not have long. If any got past to the City Centre, the sorcerer would become.... less dead. He remembered long-gone spoken oaths and recited them where the sorcerer's incantation lulled."
   - I would say there's too much information being dumped at once, and for me this section is indicative of a problem I have with the piece as a whole. I would mirror what Aylokat says, in that the perspective whips about far too quickly, like a wasp trapped in a room with many windows. We begin intensely introspective; then we're observing something far away, which grows closer and more detailed; followed by dialogue of multiple persons involving a lot of information and a lot of different perspectives. For me at least, it was a fairly confusing read the first time round.

I also think there's some confusion with Gawain's acuity. Just how much can he remember? The drips work well for me, they convey a strange middle ground whereby Gawain is held in place by his curse, mentally dulled, yet strangely awake. Then we have a mist-like recollection of a woman, all nicely done and accordant with before. But then we have the Rim Mountains and the ruins of Tol Daren (so he knows their names?) and we have his perfect recollection of why he was cursed in the first place, and precisely what will happen if any make it past him. Overall I found Gawain to exist in a wavering state between total understanding of the situation and a dulled, accursed existence. I think we all know which better fits the piece!
Totally agree, on a reread.
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P.S.S: I do have a problem with the words 'tabulation' and 'sibilant.' They seem a little too fancy for me when compared with the rest of the piece. I myself stick rigidly to the language I know. I didn't study literature at a top university, I'm not a serious academic, and the words I use in my stories reflect that. Of course, word choice is totally up to you.
Can see where you're coming from, but don't quite agree. I am studying literature at a fairly respected (probably top?) university, so there's that.
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He hated that sun. Vaguely, so vaguely that it seemed like a memory made of mist... Recently, I read something fantastically obvious that I had never really thought about before. It was in a book on writing by Ursula Le. Guin called Steering the Craft, and in it she says something along the lines of: the purpose of each sentence is to lead onto the other. This was like a light-bulb for me, and I would recommend you think on it, with this sentence as your subject. What are the subjects of these sentences, and how quickly do you switch between them? This is vital for maintaining coherence with your reader. It also relates to paragraph construction, which is how you build the blocks of your story.
Good advice, thanks! I recommend in return you watch Brandon Sanderson's story writing videos on Youtube. They are pure gold, though I've only seen a few so far.
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In regards to my own writing, I am currently cramming in a whole load of research to try and get a practice chapter posted on here. I have recently decided to switch from writing purely second world fantasy, to basically writing whatever the fuck I want. It's been liberating. The story I'm currently working on is about the daughter of a Danish noble in Anglo-Saxon England, who as part of a blood-feud between families ends up seeing a whole load of shit she shouldn't. After this trauma, she discovers a strange chapel/grove/shrine/I haven't quite decided yet, and within is a strange new world the likes of which is inspired by mythology and the atmosphere of the Souls series. What she finds in this second world, and her choices within it, will have massive ramifications for the primary world. Hopefully I'll have something on here soon.
A note on this. Possibly already known by you, but as Anglo-Saxon times are an interest of mine I'll say it anyway. A feud in Anglo-Saxon times was primarily between men (obviously). In the Old Norse tales, a woman would provoke the pursuit of vengeance. In one tale, the woman roused the men by shaming them (a tactic women would often use to drive men to vengeance) and then tried to follow them on a horse to participate in the vengeance. Her saddle girth was cut so she fell out of the saddle - the message being clear. Women could instigate vengeance, and indeed it was their role, but they were not to participate in it. In Anglo-Saxon times, their role revolved mainly around that of the "Peaceweaver." Political glue to hold families together by marriage, but also a political tool in themselves. See Wealtheoh from Beowulf (Hrothgar's Queen) to see what I mean. She attempts to defuse tensions. Offers the cup. Makes statements on future unity, and tries to ensure her sons are properly taken care of. By Arthurian times, keep in mind that the literary figure of a Queen such as Guinevere had become one of decoration primarily. She was in "an adorned dias set" if I recall correctly, and therefore taken primarily as an ornament while battling went around her.

If you want a figure who breaks these norms, see Grendel's mother as a monstrous example. She comes to avenge her son. This is part of her monstrosity - keep in mind that your Anglo Saxon men will find any feuding women you have as at least nerve-wracking, at most terrifying.

The saintly version is St. Judith, a Biblical tale altered by an Anglo-Saxon poet. In this, Holofernes is killed by Judith to save her people from the Assyrians - her role is that of the Hero, the ender of feud. Keep in mind that she was heavily associated with the power of God, and only this stopped her manly action from being monstrous. She was also protecting her virtue, another important point. If you want a woman character to be sympathised with by the Anglo Saxon men, have her either on a mission from God or protecting her virtue.

Also, see the Law Codes of King Alfred. They give the laws on pursuing vengeance - how much money should be paid in Wergild (money paid as a way to end feud) instead of blood. One I remember in particular is that if you besiege a man in his house, he is allowed thirty days to negotiate with you before you kill him. I believe there are also laws on the treatment of women and slaves. How often these laws were actually followed is of course up for debate.

As for the shrine/grove/whatever, possibly one to Thor? They were fairly common and lasted for a long time in the British Isles. Also, on Geography: if your man is a powerful Danish noble, he'd probably be located in the Danelaw, and then in Northumbria around York, which was the seat of Viking power. Get your time right, as well. It's Anglo Saxon, but the Danes are there, so mid-to-late Anglo Saxon. There are a few types of power depending on time - shared between the Angles and the Vikings, in the hands of the Vikings (i.e. Canute, who ruled over England, Denmark, Norway, and possibly Sweden though not sure on that last), or in the hands of the Angles, notably King Alfred of Wessex who reclaims England, introduces much learning, and focuses on the vernacular. His laws, for instance, reflect this latter age - he wanted to limit blood shed and forge a more unified England.

Just a few things I've noted on reading Anglo Saxon works, in case any of it is helpful. To sum, really: Women are meant to be peaceweavers, not vengeful. They can incite the men to vengeance but not participate.

Also, I must agree with most of Aylokat's observations. I will add though that I am fond of capitalising words which are not proper nouns for the sake of emphasis, but also realise this is a bad habit to feed.

Oh, also, on the Knight-gets-passionate trope: have a Garland.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 09:13:26 pm by Th4DwArfY1 »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1834 on: May 07, 2018, 03:20:05 am »

Gawain could be a street performer, I’m just not sure many of his spectators would survive the ordeal. ‘Step across the runic bounday and place a coin...’

“Step right up, step right up! Watch me juggle not ONE, not TWO, not THREE, but EIGHT of the audience members’ heads! Hold onto your hats and pin your feet down, or this enchanting sight will blow you away and send your head spinning it is so good! ’Tis but a halfpence, heading to nearly highway robbery of me, but rattle your swords, I say, and I shall stand and deliver, you dashing rogues.”

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This is a huge thing, the idea of space within the text and how story information is doled out. [. . .]

Interesting. My early writing was the reverse: little plot, lot of character, somehow (I recall being just as bewildered when I had first written the story) multi-layered, probably on account of the many random plot lines coming from people to inanimate objects—there was at least one about horse-racer turned fashion designer catering only to horses. There was also a sub-plot about different ways of cooking ham, I recall, as a sort of ideological schism, ending with the untimely death of the proponent of flash-fried honey glaze.

My writing still has elements of the comedic timing “delaying sections” and meandering dialog, but pleasantly so (to me, that is, and as opposed the earlier writing) where it is not a spilled cup of milk but a brook down the hillside. Not quite an outright tragedy. Unfortunately, I have become so accustomed to the comedic tone that it never disappears from my writing, only growing darker and more morbid like an executioner working overtime. Though I find it remarkable how a scene can be funny even if no character is having fun, just by unusual circumstance.

The art of making your story flow smoothly is a difficult one, harder still to also have it flow toward something. The best advice I can think to give is to consider the natural responses to an action and its effects. It feels stilted if a character says something and the other addresses only the part pertaining to the plot, so rather follow a fork in the interaction that rejoins the main path after a few notable sights, it fleshes out the setting and the characters as well.
Though, of course, meandering can be a bad thing depending on the situation and sometimes you will want to construct the scene so as to justify the quick, important slashes of dialog. One way to do so is to make it the style, reducing complex feelings to a set of distinctive, character-defining actions, but this sort of style demands no failure, as every piece is a pillar holding up the arch.


Oh, also, on the Knight-gets-passionate trope: have a Garland.

Oh, thank you kindly, I will have a Garland:

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Th4DwArfY1

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1835 on: May 07, 2018, 07:44:43 am »

There are no jarring gaps in the narrative, nor confusing paragraphs except the second, where it is unclear how Garland is holding his sword over the man's chest, if they are both standing, or who the man is. Even now I am not sure whether the Chair was on his knees or lying on the ground.
Surely this is mainly irrelevant?

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For a moment, Garland comes across as murdering brigand as he is looking for a different weapon to kill his victim with. Had I not read “Oh, also, on the Knight-gets-passionate trope: have a Garland” I would have assumed that he was a brigand and then I would have had a sudden stop to wonder if a “Parliamentarian Knight” was equivalent to a vigilante or a rebel.

The exposition of who the Chair is slowed the story in a way the exposition about the Parliamentarian Knights did not, which was relevant as Garland was delaying his actions to consider the conundrum he was in as a Knight. It is better placed elsewhere, either at the beginning, the blade he held over the Parliamentarian Chair's chest, or ahead when he calls him Sir Chair.
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“the Chair cut off, and Garland opened his eyes” seems odd to me. I think it is meant to say that the Chair stopped because Garland looked at him, but the the is not capitalized and it makes “cut off” a dialog tag like said, so it reads like the Chair speaks and afterward Garland opens his eyes.
The Chair spoke. Then trailed off, fear sort of being implied. Then Garland opened his eyes, his contemplation interrupted.

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The Chair might have moved his hand quickly, but why did he have the chance speak a few sentences? Did Garland stop lunging? The Chair seems overconfident that he will be safe despite enough time passing for Garland to just kill him.
I wouldn't have thought this was problematic. The Chair has crushed the crystal, so knows the Constables are coming. Garland has seen the crushed crystal, so there's no point in him continuing to lunge towards him. By lunge I don't mean with his sword - more a quick attempt at grabbing. Probably should have made that more apparent.

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“Garland suspected that this had something to do with the boot he had driven into the man’s plump, vulnerable belly” is a strange tone shift. It is indirect and a hindrance to the building action.
Good point.

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“The casual nature of the throw” The Constables seem to take the Chair being held at sword-point quite well, waiting to act until they are all in place, to the point of throwing an incendiary over the Chair while there other Constables opposite the thrower who could be hit if Garland ducked.
Oh, that definitely needs addressed. To be fair, the Chair is behind Garland, and I sort of envisioned the Constables hugging the left, right, and front walls, but that's by no means clear.

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I still am not certain to what degree the fragmentary sentences are stylistic, but it reads awkwardly at times with constructions like “Garland flicked back his silver hair. Coldly considered” where the period is better replaced with a semicolon, or a dash if it is meant to be abrupt
Definitely stylistic.

Thanks very much for the critique!
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1836 on: May 07, 2018, 11:00:10 am »

Surely this is mainly irrelevant?

The implication is different. I first imagined the Chair to be lying on his back, with Garland holding him down with a boot so he could cleanly cut the Chair, whom he did not want to scramble away to a weapon. In such a scenario they had already fought (as much as the Chair could fight) and Garland won, which I had thought was why the Chair had spit on his chin, as opposed to ignobly slobbering at Garland in terror. If the Chair was on his knees, then he started begging for mercy without bothering to struggle, knowing that Garland’s unnoticed entry into his chambers left him no other viable choice. This makes the Chair look like a massive coward, contrary to a power-hungry madman who tried to fight a Knight.

(Hmm. I just now considered that Garland was holding his blade to the Chair’s neck, rather than vaguely above him in preparation for a swing.) There is a difference between decapitating a guy on his knees and just stabbing him on the floor. Not much of one; practicality outweighs decorum, especially after breaking into a high-security building. But the idea Garland of killing the Chair with an “organized” execution seems more formal than a simple finishing strike, perhaps fitting a Knight better.

The lack of knowledge about who Chair is means the situation has to be accepted by the reader without fully understanding the importance, and the situation is not as powerful as it could be if the reader immediately knew the danger Garland was in by threatening the Chair in his own chambers, with guards a few moments away. If this was known, then the Chair crushing his crystal would cause dread in anticipating the soldiers.

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[Aylokat quote]
[Another Aylokat quote]

If this second point is meant to refute two statements of mine with one another, it is too clever for me, heh. (Oof, do my posts actually read like impenetrable blocks, or is this the text equivalent of listening to your own voice? Pfft, hehehe.)

A minor thing I have noticed, reading the story again, is “You are not wanted any more.” Is the intention of the Chair to say that no additional aid is needed from the Knights (any more to mean any further), or, what I had imagined from Garland’s anger, that the world has moved on and that the Knights are outmoded by Constables and lost their value (anymore to mean any longer)? The first option seems too polite. Then again, you would be polite with a sword looming over you.

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The Chair spoke. Then trailed off, fear sort of being implied. Then Garland opened his eyes, his contemplation interrupted.

To me, cut off implies haste, and the Chair halting his pleading and Garland opening his eyes being in the same sentence, while Garland breathing out is not, made me draw the conclusion that one caused the other.

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I wouldn't have thought this was problematic. The Chair has crushed the crystal, so knows the Constables are coming. Garland has seen the crushed crystal, so there's no point in him continuing to lunge towards him. By lunge I don't mean with his sword - more a quick attempt at grabbing. Probably should have made that more apparent.

I did not think Garland was lunging with his sword, that was clear enough as it is Garland that is said to be lunging and not his sword. I did think he was awkwardly stooping over the prone Chair, being unable to stop him with a kick for some reason. What bothered me was that only after two paragraphs it is revealed that the crystal summoned guards. Before that point it seemed that with the Chair’s sudden confident speech about Garland being obsolete, he had struck Garland with a magical weapon. I thought “too late” meant he was too late for his lunge to connect with the Chair at all due to changing circumstances, not that he was too late to stop the Chair’s action.

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Definitely stylistic.

Thank you. Your writing is easier for me to understand now that I properly know the boundaries of its style.

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Thanks very much for the critique!

I enjoy reading your writing, talking about it also (all the better if I manage to grasp it afterward!), so I am happy to go on doing so. I almost feel like I should be thanking you—again. It is how I honestly feel, so I might as well: Thank you, Dwarfy, for continuing to write and posting it for wider appreciation.
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Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1837 on: May 07, 2018, 11:07:37 am »

Thanks for providing some extra research for me, Dwarfy! I will be noting all of that down with the rest. I'm just gonna do a short critique here about some inconsistencies in sentence construction and perspective, which I think are pretty major problems:

Garland flicked back his silver hair. Coldly considered the blade he held above the man’s chest, then slowly withdrew it. This is actually incorrect use of English, and looks like it may have been some slip of the finger or auto-correct issue. It can't really be claimed as a stylistic choice. It should be:

Garland flicked back his silver hair, coldly considered the blade he held above the man’s chest, then slowly withdrew it. This is a far better opening sentence, and in the first example we have a subordinate clause as the second sentence, which is a big no-no.

Coldly considered the blade he held above the man’s chest, then slowly withdrew it. This only makes sense as a standalone sentence if Coldly is the name of your character. As it is, you have a subordinate clause with no subject, which doesn't make sense and will confuse any reader. Of course, keep this style if you wish, but I think you are going to confuse a lot of readers if you do.

Secondly we have some problems with perspective. We are nicely settled into the POV of Garland, through sentences like: There was no doubt; the world still had its share of fools.

And paragraphs such as: Yet what a prosperous world it was! Garland should know. A Parliamentarian Knight saw all the undesirable sides of reality in his pursuit of justice. It was not an enviable job, but how desperate he had been to join, back when his heart had held hopes of blood and vengeance and passion! It had taken some time to achieve those ambitions, but afterwards the world had become… peaceful.

Okay, cool. We are inside Garland's head, in a limited third-person perspective, which is how we see all his thoughts and reflections on the past. As a reader, I'm now comfortable. But then we come to: Relief cloaked in suspicion filled the Chair’s eyes...

Wha-what? What does that even mean? This is so jarring to the narrative and so unrealistic that I have to make a point of it. What does relief cloaked in suspicion actually look like? And how would Garland be able to recognise it from the way the Chair's eyes move? Perspective is something that has to be consistent throughout the story, otherwise it breaks the experience for the reader. In a third-person limited view, which is strongly established at the beginning of the story, there is no way Garland can know about these little mind games the Chair is making, all from how his eyes look as Garland stands over him. Not unless Garland is psychic, which has not been established anywhere in the story.

Aside from that I think Garland is a solid character with a lot of agency, and his characterisation is strong. For me, however, it is just another Brandon-esque Epic Fantasy Hero - namely, an unrealistically competent fighter who inflicts whole heaps of bloodshed against the bad guys. I actually studied all of Sanderson's writing lectures a year or so back, and found them hugely useful. Since then, I have read widely within the fantasy genre and without, and I have to say, his writing is hardly anything special and is actually pretty juvenile. I've had a grand time reading his books, but they are just entertainment, really.

I don't think of Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber as the pinnacle of their genres, much the same as Sanderson isn't the pinnacle of his, just because he's sold a fuckload of books. I think he actually reinforces a lot of problems within the fantasy genre that stop it from being taken seriously. I also think that if you want to stand out as a writer, there has to come a point where you say 'fuck it,' and just make your own path. As Neil Gaiman says, nobody can write the story you write. If you constantly try to ape another's style, you are limiting yourself, and you will only ever produce paler imitations of whatever style it is you are imitating.

I will reiterate: Sanderson's writing lectures are fantastic for beginner writers. Past that, those same writers need to grasp what a story is, then throw everything they've been taught to the backs of their minds and just let it flow. That's the only way to write a great, original story.

EDIT:  Perspective doesn't have to be consistent throughout the story. You can shift and change and do as many weird things as you want. Yet, it does have to be clear for the reader. Otherwise you'll lose them, and they won't enjoy the story.

EDIT2: I've just realised that perhaps relief cloaked in suspicion means something like relief mingled with suspicion - in which case it isn't so perspective-shattering. I would still say it's a lot of precise detail communicated simply through a character's eyes. Imagine looking someone in the eye and being able to tell their precise emotional state. That's what Garland does in this story. Seems odd when you think about it, no?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 12:04:10 pm by Levity »
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Imic

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Imic's tale.
« Reply #1838 on: May 07, 2018, 11:21:29 am »

A lone figure walks alone. Around her, all the world is dark. Slowly, up a long, winding path, she trudges ever forward, never stopping or looking around her. Finally, she reaches the end of her path. It's a small valley, the centre taken over by a large lake. Two sides have tall hills, one side drops down into the darkness, and the last goes up, into a tall peak. At it's bottom is a dark rectangle, almost invisible in the gloom. She walks around the lake, the path getting rougher with each passing step. Occasinally, old bones, weapons, tools, and vehicles of war poke out of the soil.
       Finally, she reaches the base of the peak. In the darkness from afar, it could not be made out, but now, it is as clear as can be: There is a tall door here, made from solid rock, and fastened with metal bands. At it's centre is a large, four pointed star.
       She walks up to it, towards a small pile of stones at it's base. The ground around it is littered with skeletons, rusted armour, firearms, and broken tanks. She takes off her hood, revealing a lined, scarred face, and long braided hair, dark with streaks of grey. Slowly, she takes a pack off her bag, and takes out the skull of some demonic beast, with long broken teeth, and four eye sockets. She turns around, and throws it into the lake. Slowly, she takes a loose stone from the beach, and carefully adds it to the pile. She stamds motionless for some time, before walking away, and starting a small fire. After some time, she gets out a bedroll, and goes to sleep.
In the morning, she is dead.       

GiglameshDespair

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Re: Imic's tale.
« Reply #1839 on: May 07, 2018, 12:02:44 pm »

A lone figure walks alone. (Unnecessary repetition. We know a lone figure must walk, by definition, alone.) Around her, all the world is dark. Slowly, up a long, winding path, she trudges ever forward, never stopping or looking around her. Finally, she reaches the end of her path. It's a small valley, the centre taken over by a large lake. Two sides have tall hills, one side drops down into the darkness, and the last goes up, into a tall peak. At its bottom is a dark rectangle, (of the lake?)almost invisible in the gloom. She walks around the lake, the path getting rougher with each passing step. Occasionally, old bones, weapons, tools, and vehicles of war poke out of the soil.
       Finally, she reaches the base of the peak. In the darkness from afar, it could not be made out, but now, it is as clear as can be: There is a tall door here, made from solid rock, and fastened with metal bands. At its centre is a large, four pointed star.
       She walks up to it, towards a small pile of stones at its base. The ground around it is littered with skeletons, rusted armour, firearms, and broken tanks. She takes off her hood, revealing a lined, scarred face, and long braided hair, dark with streaks of grey. Slowly, she takes a pack off her bag, and takes out the skull of some demonic beast, with long broken teeth, and four eye sockets. She turns around, and throws it into the lake. Slowly, she takes a loose stone from the beach, and carefully adds it to the pile. She stands motionless for some time, before walking away, and starting a small fire. After some time, she gets out a bedroll, and goes to sleep.
In the morning, she is dead.   (Why?) 

More sentences than the ones I've put comments for could do with reworking - some of them are rather clunky.

The's not really a connection between her death and the rest - the connection between a bunch of skeletons at the door and her dying is weakened by the mention of armour, firearms and tanks, which suggests it's a old battlefield (or battlefields).
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Imic

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1840 on: May 07, 2018, 12:16:05 pm »

I did notice most of the spelling mistakes, but I didn't want to edit it after I had it posted.
Having too many sentances in too little space is something I've had trouble with for a long while.
Thanks for the feedback.

Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1841 on: May 07, 2018, 12:41:27 pm »

Also, Dwarfy, if you have any more information regarding Anglo-Saxon Britain I'd love to hear it. It seems you really know your stuff. Useful topics for me are: food and health, gender (which you've already helped a ton with), crafts etc.

In regards to my critique, I'm sorry if I come across as harsh! These are all issues I've had with my own writing, and you are of course free to accept my pointers or disregard them. It's all up to you! :D
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Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1842 on: May 07, 2018, 02:26:09 pm »

Seeing as I've been dispensing my opinion on other people's writing so liberally, I thought I'd post an old chapter of mine on here:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

For me it has the usual problems: generic character archetypes and roles; oversimple writing; too-quick pacing; cliche cliche CLLIIICHHEE!
I'm okay with the technical side of the writing. There's a few bits and bobs I'd change. It's just too simple, no depth, not enough poetry. Though, my style has developed since this piece, which was written in January.
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Imic

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1843 on: May 07, 2018, 02:51:37 pm »

One's greatest critic can often be themselves.

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1844 on: May 08, 2018, 03:56:35 am »

Of course, keep this style if you wish, but I think you are going to confuse a lot of readers if you do.

A heavier emphasize on the style is warranted, if it is to be used. The clipped sentences could not be confused for occasional mistakes if they were consistent and visible.
For example: Garland flicked back his hair—silver. Considered coldly the blade he held above the man’s chest. Slowly withdrew it. A hopeful exclamation from his victim, proving Garland’s suspicion. There was no doubt. The world still had its fools.

The lengthy sentences put next to the short make it seem strange to the reader, as do the subsequent commas when there is not one at first need. The semicolon near the end also makes the reader wonder why that was not used for the first sentence.

Quote
As Neil Gaiman says, nobody can write the story you write. If you constantly try to ape another's style, you are limiting yourself, and you will only ever produce paler imitations of whatever style it is you are imitating.

I agree. It should be easier to write rather than follow the form of someone else. It will be discernible from its kin, a real Hey, this is familiar. Do I know this author? I have seen it at least once before in this thread, and with my earlier writing, that feeling of it being done before, but better. I remember someone outright saying about that work years ago, “This reads like Terry Pratchett!” and I had thought to myself, “It does, but that is not good. That only reminds me of something better. I wish I was reading Terry Pratchett instead.” It had been meant as a compliment, and the author took it as such, but I could not help but see it as an observation of imitation—the mark of amateurish writing.




One's greatest critic can often be themselves oneself.

Though not in this case, heh. I should fashion a little cardboard crown for myself to go with that title.
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