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of Smoke and Fire

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of Smoke and Fire

Postby tiriel » Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:37 am

dfdfd
Last edited by tiriel on Fri May 16, 2008 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.
— Oscar Wilde
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Postby tiriel » Fri Apr 22, 2005 10:54 am

dfdfd
Last edited by tiriel on Fri May 16, 2008 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.
— Oscar Wilde
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Postby omnituton » Sat Apr 23, 2005 7:08 am

Hello tirel,

just had a glance at your pieces and liked them a lot but before I offer my two cents I'd just like to say something. Seems like all I do here in this forum is read other writers work and give a little critique...its starting to look like maybe I'm just a serial critic. All I can add in my own defence is that I'm so busy with my dissertation at the moment I have not had the time to write or submit my own work. Secondly, since my aim by joining this group was to improve my own skills, I'm hoping that viewing the work of others and seeing how they ply their trade, that I can learn to lose some of my own bad habits. I'm hoping others feel much the same way.

Anyhow, not that I've gotton my apologia out of the way here are a few of my thoughts on what I've read.

-I'm certainly no one to talk on this score, I do it all the time myself, this sentence being a good example- I love compound sentences, intersperced with little asides and additional bits of information. It seems to me like a more natural way to write - like a conversation being put down on paper. BUT I've been frequently told myself that it can make for bad writing if over used. The simple fact is when it's down on paper many of the tones and gestures that give additional meaning in a spoken conversation just aren't present. Add to that the fact that prospective readers come from different cultural/social backgrounds where 'the flow' of conversation emphasises different structures, tones and presupposed gestures. Simply put, Try not to assume that all your readers share the same 'internal conversational voice' that you do. The difficulty cannot be avoided when writing from the first person perspective. In this case the reader simply has to put in the effort to imagine themselves in the thoughts of another. But all the same, try not to make them work too hard. It's a fine line, I know, but one worth taking note of. I consistantly fail on this score myself.

- Similarly, try to be aware of possible differences in interpretations of words. "the herd was freaked"..I know exactly what you mean. But I can't get it out of my head that this term doesn't quite fit in with the world setting you build (very successfully I might add). 'freaked' suggests to me a modern colloquialism most frequently used in the crazy,hazy,dizzy world of teen pop culture. "freak out!" or " I was, like, totally freaked!". It just doesn't seem to fit with the simple lives of herding folk. I know. It sounds like I'm being a linguistic facist. Thats not my intention. I only wish to point out parts in the text that (for me personally) seemed a little out of place.

Anyway, thats more than enough out of me. Ultimately, the only critique worth a damn is whether or not your reader likes, is interested in and wants to read more of what you've written. You have an affirmative on all three from me. Well done.
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Postby Anthentar » Sat Apr 23, 2005 11:54 am

I second that. Well done.

But I do certainly agree with the language bit as well. When talking of simple folk, it doesn't seem fitting to use very complex words and more modern dialect. These are people of a lesser time and place, so they would use a lesser language.

Nice usage of airships. It certainly adds a different element to the tale. A fantasy sort of story set in an industrial revolution. Interesting, but becoming more and more common by the year, I'm afraid to say.
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become one. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into you." - Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 146
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Postby Ariel » Sat Apr 23, 2005 3:22 pm

I love stories so wonderfully expressed through imagery.I love the style of your writing.it captures ones attention and holds it.
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omnituton's comment above.

Postby LightBrigade » Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:00 pm

This post is not critique or review on the two texts tiriel has published for critique. That will follow when the review is complete.

This entry is a remark on omnituton's comment here above, and regards the opening statement.

To start with, I feel this Site welcomes the practice that members help one another by offering their opinion on texts other members publish and in this way support writing and promote one of the purposes of the Site, as I have perceived it.

I find nothing wrong or objectionable with a member who reads other writers' work and offers critique.

Now, whether one is a serial critic or not, dear omnituton, is a matter nobody may ever possibly know.

For the simple reason that a member may appear as a critic, or a compulsive one, if you wish, while at the same time enjoy similar favour as a writer, yet under another nickname. Or under a real name. I think the first is true, if I remember well. I _know_ the second is true as well, here, in Speculativevision.

If this sounds as an absurdity to you, I am ready to explain further for solid proof but only on private communication.

But yes, I do indeed see what you mean. A responsible person would feel embarrassed or even shame if the others around him thought he were here to do only that, in display of pride, egopathy or whatever.

Nobody is obliged or expected to submit their work in order to acquire the good will to offer of their time to help other writers in their effort.

You are right to hope that by viewing the work of others and seeing how they ply their trade, one can learn to lose some of one's own bad habits.

And here is one more who feels like you, in general. And in particular *wink and smile*

I wish you do find the time to manage your writing work as you please, wish and hope to. Good luck!
- - - - - - - - -
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When people agree with me, I always feel that I must be wrong. -- Oscar Wilde --
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Postby tiriel » Sun Apr 24, 2005 4:11 am

Thanks people. I'm at a friend's house at the moment, and can't reply to the valuable criticisms that you've thrown my way, but definitely plan to in full when I have the time! :lol:
I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.
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Postby tiriel » Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:25 am

Which is now. Thanks for the compliments, people! In the end they're more useful to me than the crits. They keep me from giving up.

I haven't heard of the compound sentence advice before, omnituton, but now you've mentioned it, it seems very true. They are confusing, and sometimes reliant on an understanding of how I talk. Could you, or anyone really, please point out which ones are OK and which ones are not, because I'd love to be able to slip some in hahaha.

And I was hoping no one would notice "freaked." I couldn't think of any other word. I've since changed it to "the heard was on the move" on your advice.

And regarding yours and Light brigades discussion on serial critics, to be honest I wish there were more of you! There is certainly nothing wrong with critiquing on a site where writers post their work to be critiqued. On all the other sites I've been on similar to this they've had the opposite problem: lots of stories, but no one to critique them (or, at least, no one with sufficient knowledge to critique them). Luckily on this site there seems to be a surplus of both.

Myself, I have the opposite problem. I think I'm a serial story poster :s But i REALLY do try to critique as much as i post, and if i find any of your stories lurking around... Beware! I'll critique the hell outta them!! :lol:
I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.
— Oscar Wilde
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Postby omnituton » Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:00 am

...this is my fourth post of the day. Easy to tell I have a mountain of work to get through and am trying to put it off!!!

Anyhow, with regards my apologia I only intended to point out that I have no intention of becoming a full time critic and submitting none of my own stuff. When time allows (as opposed to me putting my real work on the long finger) I hope to submit and be well and truely blasted out of it by anyone who might care to do so.
This is my hope, as I'm a firm believer that one can only improve by interaction with others. I also feel it is my duty to repay this kindness by offering an honest critique of others - I just don't want to over do it is all.

And LightBrigade...maybe I misread, but it seems to me you think I'm someone you know from this site previously...but under another name. All I can say is your mistaken. You have to be. I joined this site as omnituton, for the first time a few weeks ago and had never been here before. Perhaps your "_I know_" refers to a short introductary story I posted in the old style forum at that time. It was under the name omnituton, I believe, and I think it only fair to point out that I have only one avatar in speculativevision land.

Anyhow, this thread is about Tirel's piece and I should try not to digress. Like before, I'd love to see more of it and would be more than happy to offer my opinions on it when I get a chance.

All the best

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Postby tiriel » Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:01 am

dfdfd
Last edited by tiriel on Fri May 16, 2008 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.
— Oscar Wilde
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Postby LightBrigade » Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:18 am

omnituton, I said

"Now, whether one is a serial critic or not, dear omnituton, is a matter nobody may ever possibly know.

For the simple reason that a member may appear as a critic, or a compulsive one, if you wish, while at the same time enjoy similar favour as a writer, yet under another nickname. Or under a real name. I think the first is true, if I remember well. I _know_ the second is true as well, here, in Speculativevision. "

I am afraid I did _not_ say that you, omnituton appear as a critic and at the same time enjoy favour as a writer. In fact, I had some other member in mind *smile*
When people agree with me, I always feel that I must be wrong. -- Oscar Wilde --
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Postby omnituton » Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:36 am

When the horn was sounded, and they knew it was time to go to the marquee to eat, Hyraks father didn't accompany them.


There is absolutely nothing technically wrong with this sentence, (apart from maybe being a little too passive - you could try "Hyraks father didn't accompany them when the horn was sounded and they knew it was time to go to the marquee to eat"). Even better just say 'his father' as we know who your talking about. However, as it stands and like I mentioned before, I can't help but think its compound nature disrupts the flow of your narrative.

It follows immediately after a similarly constructed sentence - "Hyrak, sitting in his mothers lap, watched his father's wide eyes trace the smoke trails as his mother picked sticks and dirt from his hair.". Consequently, The rythem of the piece can become a little repetitive (and I stress, this is the rythem - not the story). I know prose isn't poetry, but it does have rythem and yours seems to me to be consistently hamperd by the understandable urge to fit as much info into each line as possible. ( I do this all the time myself).

I try (but fail most of the time!!) to take the advice of George Orwell when I write - never say in two words what you can say in one and never use a complex word when you can use a simple one. The same advice applies even more so the sentences. All I can say is if a sentence really needs to be multifaceted and information packed - you'll know. That is really the only advice (as a reader) that I can suggest. Write simply and all else will follow. So, sentences like;

Hyrak felt momentarily faint as his senses took in the tent.


become

"Hyrak felt faint as he took in the tent"

On a similar vein, there is no reason why you have to keep repeating Hyrak's name - he and his will suffice , given that the piece is not clutterd with characters. This also helps to let one sentence flow into another so that it seems like a follow on from the previous sentence and not a whole new bundle of information. The opening paragraph is a good example of this I think.

[/quote]Hyrak was becoming impatient, and his patience granted him confidence

his impatience granted him confindence I presume. Still, as a general rule I try not to repeat the same word in any sentence and would have written this thus;

"Hyrak was becoming impatient and this emboldened him"

Anyhow, these are my thoughts on the structure of your piece. I hope I haven't overstepped my bounds in anyway. In the end my advice is always just 'my advice'...and may ammount to saying nothing more than....'this is how I write'. Nothing is set in stone as you well know.

Wish you (and Hyrak) all the best in the continuance of your story and hope to see more of it at some stage.

All the best

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