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Author Topic: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___  (Read 146178 times)

Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1860 on: May 11, 2018, 11:16:48 am »

In terms of wooden writing, this struck me as a bit stilted. Like a list, almost.

The way I read it, it struggles after the second sentence, and it thoroughly goes wrong with the separating period between the third and fourth. There are sentences missing between Kelly staring and Mr. Miller looking at his watch, and between Kelly looking away and her looking back. The lack of the feeling of time passing makes it seem like a list.
I get the dreadful feeling that I originally placed it to space out the conversation, then never considered that it existed as its own thing.

Quote
I'd prefer more description.

Recently I have shifted away from description and narration as a result of concentrating on world-building and character-building, leaving only dialog in its full form rather than a notation or summary. I should rectify that, to prevent the awkward delivery if nothing else. The narration will be hindered if it only has one subject, I suspect, but I can compensate by enlarging Kelly's part in the description and removing objectivity in favor of her perception. I have no idea how that will go, but I shall find out.

With such a heavy focus on characters as this rather than events or plot, the advantages and disadvantages of a single viewpoint are now clearer to me: Because the narration does not know what characters other than the protagonist know or feel dialog is necessitated for the other characters exist as anything more than incidental bystanders; it forces the narrative, and thereby the reader, to be as ignorant as the protagonist; and the narrative will thus be distorted to fit the protagonist.


Thank you, Dwarfy. This made me reach unexpectedly helpful conclusions and make changes to my method for the next attempt.
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roseheart

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1861 on: May 15, 2018, 02:40:28 am »

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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1862 on: May 15, 2018, 03:13:01 am »

After thinking about the criticism, I got an epiphany. I had never outright categorized my strengths and weaknesses, only thinking in broad writing ability. It has given me a new perspective and I can now see the problems mentioned for myself in my writing.

On that note, I decided to try to look at Assessment from an outside perspective to gain greater understanding. I hope my mistakes can be learned from by others as I did.

Spoiler: Aylokat - Assessment (click to show/hide)


In summary, I was looking at the dialog fragments I had lying around, and as I was organizing them to be coherent I noticed that the rudimentary notation was virtually identical to the lackluster narration in Assessment. The reason Assessment reads like a screenplay is because I had effectively written it as such, forgetting over the months, and then failed to see that it was written as such when I was working out the kinks to post it, only now figuring that out with quite the bit of help. After focusing on world-building since August, I had grown so accustomed with notation that I held narration to that low standard.

Thank you, Dwarfy, thank you, Levity. I am immensely grateful for the commentary. At minimum it would been months before I would have found this fundamental flaw with my writing had I not been helped.
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Parsely

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1863 on: May 15, 2018, 01:40:31 pm »

I had never outright categorized my strengths and weaknesses, only thinking in broad writing ability.
Huh. That's an interesting idea

Th4DwArfY1

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1864 on: May 15, 2018, 05:40:56 pm »

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1865 on: May 16, 2018, 06:55:15 am »

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SaintofWar

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1866 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 #1867 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 #1868 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 #1869 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 #1870 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 #1871 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 #1872 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 #1873 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 #1874 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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