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Am I a good writer :D

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Read my story an let me know if its good or not, and as well point out some grammar mistakes that I can fix

http://www.wattpad.com/3605210-faceless-chapter-one-prologue-the-other-child

I want constructive criticism, not unintelligent flaming.
This is a short story, not a book/novel.

In case you don’t know what constructive criticism is read this before bothering to post http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-constructive-criticism.htm

 
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short story

First thing’s first, even an essay has a tendency to have chapters longer than a paragraph. If your individual chapters are about a paragraph each, there is no need to segregate them into chapters. If “chapter” is meant to chronicle what is to happen in that day, please pick a different means to present them as “chapters”, such as diary entries, blog posts, e-mails or the like. If each “chapter” happens an hour after the next, please just write them into a complete narrative.

I hate to say it, but your first line:

Cody was not your average child growing up

Turns me off instantly. Your first line needs to engage your reader. Why should I read this is encapsulated in the very first line of your writing. What makes this writing important enough for me to read? I don’t care if Cody is not the average child. Any character worth writing about, in general fiction, is not average. If Harry Potter was an average person of no significance, why would JK Rowling write about him? If Luke Skywalker was your typical average person, why would we have Star Wars.

I know I’m sounding harsh here, and that is exactly what I want you to realise. Don’t state the obvious in your very first line.

The rest of the story… Well, let’s put it this way. Answer this question implicitly in your writing: Why should I bother reading this?

I’m sorry, but no, you’re not a good writer yet. I personally wouldn’t call myself a good writer either, but nonetheless.

Another gripe of mine is with regards to direct speech (dialogue). Speech is written like this:

Jane said, “Hey, how are you?”
“Good, I guess,” John lamented with a heavy sigh.
“What’s on your mind?”
“His girlfriend dumped him for that hotshot across the street,” Joseph interrupted, slapping John on the back. “Cheer up mate! There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
“But we’ve been overfishing the oceans,” John retorted, sitting himself onto the cold stone steps of the porch.

Pay attention to the formatting. You need to get this right because speech embedded in a paragraph is really hard to read, which is exactly what you are doing. This irks me a lot because this is, to me, basic expository grammar. Also look at what’s happening in the writing above. We have an introduction of a sense of conflict: John says he is “good” but is "lamenting. We have flourishes in speech, such as Joseph’s use of slang (hotshot, mate). We get John’s cynical characterisation with his retort.

You should try some of these things in your writing to make it more interesting. Why should someone read this? You need to demonstrate why.

On the upside though, I commend you for trying. Writing well is definitely not an easy thing to do and most people don’t get past the first paragraph, much less complete something a few thousand words long (?). Keep practicing! Pick your favourite book and read it again, paying attention to how the characters and writing function. One good way to get better is to figure out why you like reading some of the books you like to read.

If you don’t read a lot, start! Numerous published books are good benchmarks and yardsticks for what constitutes passable writing. Not any of those random novels published for pure sake of market capitalisation, but legitimate writing, like CS Lewis’ Narnia series, or Stephen King, Tolkien, Douglas Adams, George R.R. Martin… Not “Vampire wars: Return of the Moon” or something like that.

Shelve your writing for three months and then look back at it then. It can teach you a lot about your own writing when you look at what simply didn’t work in the past. Reading some of the things I’ve written some 2-3 years back makes me cringe and wonder “was I really this bad?”.

 
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Wow thanks for the advice, best so far thanks a lot..

 
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I fixed the dialogue check it out now, let me know if its easier to read.
I also added more to the Prologue.
http://www.wattpad.com/3605210-faceless-chapter-one-prologue-the-other-child

 
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How to Write Dialogue
How to Write Dialogue in Fiction
University of Illinois Writing Handbook (by no means checked for accuracy, merely a link to such a tool)

In all honesty, I suggest you start from scratch on a different project with what I’ve said in mind. Only revising written work without moving on only encourages revising, not legitimate writing.

Also, please brush up on the grammar and formatting. No, dialogue doesn’t go “That’s what she said!”, whispered John. There’s no comma outside the quotation marks.

i’ll be back when I see legitimate and significant attention paid to some of the things I noted above.

 
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Ok, I’ve just read 2 chapters, and I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with Laxaria.

Firstly, the speech in chapter 2 (although they aren’t much of a chapter…) requires commas. I can see you missed lines though.

If I’m honest, I started half-skimming after a few lines of Chapter 1. It doesn’t really interest me. You need to really capture my attention. Giving me a story about some kid who suffers from depression doesn’t really excite me that much.

Here’s an example. Which is more captivating, this:
“The bomb was set to go at half past three.” (This is quoted from a book.)

Or:
“Bob never made friends easily, he was always different.” (And that’s made up off the top of my head.)

The first sentence instantly starts triggering your imagination. What bomb? Who’s the target? And so on. The second sentence? Meh, yeah, whatever. So what’s next?

Even if you write a paragraph of description for the beginning of the book, which you did, you have to write it carefully so you leave the reader some leeway. I’m not sure if it’s just my opinion, but I’ve always thought that you shouldn’t describe something so much, that you don’t even let the reader mix a bit of his own imagination into it, because you’ve already described everything there is to imagine.

I’m not trying to say your totally trash, you aren’t, you definitely have potential, but you have a lot to go before you can even start thinking about asking yourself,“Am I a good writer?”.

And yes, I know, terrible organisation from me, it makes it look like that was the end of my post…forgive me. I want to tell you something that will make you understand quite quickly why you are not the next “J.K.Rowling” right now. Go read your favourite book. Twilight? Narnia? Cherub? Now, compare a bit. Which do you feel more excited and sucked in by? Which are easy to read? You can answer this.

Ok, I might be woefully wrong, as I haven’t finished reading the whole thing, just 2 chapters, but based on the first 2 chapters, that’s my opinion.

Also, you spelt some stuff wrong and make a few mistakes, but those are pretty minor so I can understand the gist of what your saying. Your way better than some people in my class though ;). If you have time, you might want to look back and correct those errors though, because it really shows ineptitude.

One last thing. If your not 100% satisfied with a paragraph/chapter later on, don’t be afraid to do a rewrite. Famous writers always do them. It’s the reason why they’re books are so famous. Personally though, I think within a few months, you’ll start realising why your writing is bad and you’ll start a new story on a clean sheet, with new experiences and skills to bring to the table. Continuing a bad story is just doomed to failure really.

EDIT: Also, have you planned the story? You should do some rudimentary planning at the very least. Maybe for a one-two page story, you could probably get away without planning (although you still might want to.) but for a fully fledged novel? No way.

EDIT2: Just read a few more chapters. Turns out it was quite predictable. So there’s a Winter Dance? Your going out with whoever Pirscilla is. And if I’m guessing right, after another couple of chapters, then some dark secret will start being revealed, and that Pirscilla girl might have something suspicious, because if you ask me, the fact that everything is going so smoothly with Cody and her is really fishy. That NEVER happens. Also, I’ve also realised another error. The plot unravels wayyyyyyyyyy too quickly. After just 4 paragraphs, we’ve already past a month? Do you mind giving us a bit more description? So it’s a school. Is it painted with blue walls, or red? Maybe it’s a bit dark with a rather creepy basement? If you advance plot too quickly, then your reader can be confused, and not have much information about what on earth is going on, not to mention the fact that it might bite yourself back after you’ve done 50 “so-called” chapters. What happens when suddenly, with the plot advancing so fast, you contradict yourself, or make something really confusing happen that doesn’t make sense because of something that helped before? Another reason why you plan, and take the plot a bit slower and give a bit more description.

Oh, and I hope you aren’t angry with me and Laxaria’s rather critical criticism, just that you have a lot of room to improve.

 
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Originally posted by DragonArcherZ:

Ok, I’ve just read 2 chapters, and I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with Laxaria.

Firstly, the speech in chapter 2 (although they aren’t much of a chapter…) requires commas. I can see you missed lines though.

If I’m honest, I started half-skimming after a few lines of Chapter 1. It doesn’t really interest me. You need to really capture my attention. Giving me a story about some kid who suffers from depression doesn’t really excite me that much.

Here’s an example. Which is more captivating, this:
“The bomb was set to go at half past three.” (This is quoted from a book.)

Or:
“Bob never made friends easily, he was always different.” (And that’s made up off the top of my head.)

The first sentence instantly starts triggering your imagination. What bomb? Who’s the target? And so on. The second sentence? Meh, yeah, whatever. So what’s next?

Even if you write a paragraph of description for the beginning of the book, which you did, you have to write it carefully so you leave the reader some leeway. I’m not sure if it’s just my opinion, but I’ve always thought that you shouldn’t describe something so much, that you don’t even let the reader mix a bit of his own imagination into it, because you’ve already described everything there is to imagine.

I’m not trying to say your totally trash, you aren’t, you definitely have potential, but you have a lot to go before you can even start thinking about asking yourself,“Am I a good writer?”.

And yes, I know, terrible organisation from me, it makes it look like that was the end of my post…forgive me. I want to tell you something that will make you understand quite quickly why you are not the next “J.K.Rowling” right now. Go read your favourite book. Twilight? Narnia? Cherub? Now, compare a bit. Which do you feel more excited and sucked in by? Which are easy to read? You can answer this.

Ok, I might be woefully wrong, as I haven’t finished reading the whole thing, just 2 chapters, but based on the first 2 chapters, that’s my opinion.

Also, you spelt some stuff wrong and make a few mistakes, but those are pretty minor so I can understand the gist of what your saying. Your way better than some people in my class though ;). If you have time, you might want to look back and correct those errors though, because it really shows ineptitude.

One last thing. If your not 100% satisfied with a paragraph/chapter later on, don’t be afraid to do a rewrite. Famous writers always do them. It’s the reason why they’re books are so famous. Personally though, I think within a few months, you’ll start realising why your writing is bad and you’ll start a new story on a clean sheet, with new experiences and skills to bring to the table. Continuing a bad story is just doomed to failure really.

EDIT: Also, have you planned the story? You should do some rudimentary planning at the very least. Maybe for a one-two page story, you could probably get away without planning (although you still might want to.) but for a fully fledged novel? No way.

EDIT2: Just read a few more chapters. Turns out it was quite predictable. So there’s a Winter Dance? Your going out with whoever Pirscilla is. And if I’m guessing right, after another couple of chapters, then some dark secret will start being revealed, and that Pirscilla girl might have something suspicious, because if you ask me, the fact that everything is going so smoothly with Cody and her is really fishy. That NEVER happens. Also, I’ve also realised another error. The plot unravels wayyyyyyyyyy too quickly. After just 4 paragraphs, we’ve already past a month? Do you mind giving us a bit more description? So it’s a school. Is it painted with blue walls, or red? Maybe it’s a bit dark with a rather creepy basement? If you advance plot too quickly, then your reader can be confused, and not have much information about what on earth is going on, not to mention the fact that it might bite yourself back after you’ve done 50 “so-called” chapters. What happens when suddenly, with the plot advancing so fast, you contradict yourself, or make something really confusing happen that doesn’t make sense because of something that helped before? Another reason why you plan, and take the plot a bit slower and give a bit more description.

Oh, and I hope you aren’t angry with me and Laxaria’s rather critical criticism, just that you have a lot of room to improve.

Thanks for the help.

 
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(A tip for quoting, don’t quote the whole post or it’ll take up most of the page. Just replace it with SNIP or something like that.)

Before beginning the story, you should write a rough draft or plan it up first. This will help you create a longer story with chapters.

You should also have the time go by a bit slower. A couple paragraphs shouldn’t be able to take up one month.

In one of the short stories, there is a misspelling of “ignorance”. Before using words, always be sure to know the correct spelling before using it.

Try to put more force into the reader’s mind.

The loss of his parent put a hole through his heart.

That just doesn’t seem to grab me.

Even if it were only a bit more enthusiastic then I’d probably be more interested.

The detriment of his parents penetrated a hole through his heart.

Even though this wasn’t much of a change, this would grab my attention a bit more.


Sorry if I wasn’t that much help.

I don’t write too often.

 
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Comma splices are also another problem.

I tend to be guilty of this. Don’t comma splice as far as you can help it, but if you are using it for a stylistic effect, please be absolutely consistent about it. That’s my take on it, as far as I know, since a comma splice that seems grammatically incorrect could often be used for stylistic purposes, especially in particular forms of writing.

Not that it is acceptable, but not all comma splices are innately bad. Just pointing it out, but I do agree that most (all?) of the comma splices in the writing linked above should be changed.

 
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Okay, I’ve been busting my ass, But I’ve been fixing the grammar. So far I have Chapters 1-8 fixed up.

 
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Originally posted by freefire1234:

Okay, I’ve been busting my ass, But I’ve been fixing the grammar. So far I have Chapters 1-8 fixed up.

> In all honesty, I suggest you start from scratch on a different project with what I’ve said in mind. Only revising written work without moving on only encourages revising, not legitimate writing.

I suggest working on something new keeping in mind everything offered to you. An uninteresting story can’t be fixed by fixing the grammatical areas.

 
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Originally posted by Laxaria:

Comma splices are also another problem.

I tend to be guilty of this. Don’t comma splice as far as you can help it, but if you are using it for a stylistic effect, please be absolutely consistent about it. That’s my take on it, as far as I know, since a comma splice that seems grammatically incorrect could often be used for stylistic purposes, especially in particular forms of writing.

Not that it is acceptable, but not all comma splices are innately bad. Just pointing it out, but I do agree that most (all?) of the comma splices in the writing linked above should be changed.

Personally, I’m not a fan of comma splices for style, I find it hard to fit it in writing, while making it look “good”. In my opinion, it takes a lot of skill to pull them off and make other people call it “style”. Thus, I don’t really do them that much.

Yeah, freefire1234, I don’t care if you fix up every single spelling and grammar mistake you made. The plot just doesn’t capture me, and I don’t really want to read this. Start with something exciting, and you’ll get my attention.

 
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Also I know this isn’t your fault, but I really don’t like that website’s format of the text. The way it puts a line between every text is obnoxious to me – I mean, is it really necessary to skip a line after every line? It’s like what you do in primary or something.

Also, I’ve read the comments and some guy called emowriter is in love with this story? I don’t really see eye-to-eye with him, much less love the story….

 
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Originally posted by DragonArcherZ:

Also I know this isn’t your fault, but I really don’t like that website’s format of the text. The way it puts a line between every text is obnoxious to me – I mean, is it really necessary to skip a line after every line? It’s like what you do in primary or something.

Also, I’ve read the comments and some guy called emowriter is in love with this story? I don’t really see eye-to-eye with him, much less love the story….

One of the reasons I didn’t like WattPad was because they literally encourage people to post up writing and just have others read them. Same with deviantArt, but I like deviantArt a bit more as there is some sense of legitimacy behind posting something there, but WattPad never gained that type of legitimacy. You can tell when one of their most read stories is a vampire romance novel. I’m not bashing the writing, but working within conventional, popular genres and sticking to that does not necessarily make for an interesting read.

But, it is hard to find a place to host a large block of text anyway, purely because very few websites seem to offer a means to format it the way one may want it to be when presented on a website. Not even deviantArt has such tools, making formatting a pain for a poem that needs visual formatting to function.

 
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Yeah, I agree with that. One thing I don’t like about novels are plots that have been used a dozen time over. If your using a cliche plot, you have to really make it stand out from the rest.

Also, why isn’t freefire posting here anymore? He just posted a 13th chapter, and he has yet to respond to our massive walls of text fully, just saying a casual “thanks”. I get the feeling he isn’t putting 100% effort into fixing it.

Btw, I have yet to see much of this, but one thing you want to avoid is “useless” information. Every part, no matter how minor, tells the reader some description of the character or setting, and/or advances the plot. You should never ever start giving unnecessary information. The movie was on the edge of this, in my opinion. Do we really need to hear all about this “most gory movie of this year”? A bit more description and I would have said it was unnecessary, but you were around the borderline for this.

 
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Originally posted by DragonArcherZ:

Yeah, I agree with that. One thing I don’t like about novels are plots that have been used a dozen time over. If your using a cliche plot, you have to really make it stand out from the rest.

Also, why isn’t freefire posting here anymore? He just posted a 13th chapter, and he has yet to respond to our massive walls of text fully, just saying a casual “thanks”. I get the feeling he isn’t putting 100% effort into fixing it.

Btw, I have yet to see much of this, but one thing you want to avoid is “useless” information. Every part, no matter how minor, tells the reader some description of the character or setting, and/or advances the plot. You should never ever start giving unnecessary information. The movie was on the edge of this, in my opinion. Do we really need to hear all about this “most gory movie of this year”? A bit more description and I would have said it was unnecessary, but you were around the borderline for this.

Sorry I jsut haven’t been on much to cheak the forums

 
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You know, I don’t feel like Chapter 13 is much better than all your other chapters…you should really try to improve that. Giving you some good advice here – drop the story, or rewrite it with a new plot, and good planning.

One thing – how much do you check the forums, and how much spare time do you have? Your responses always seem to be brief and you write a paragraph of text in 3-4 days. You can do that within 30 minutes.

 
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Originally posted by DragonArcherZ:

You know, I don’t feel like Chapter 13 is much better than all your other chapters…you should really try to improve that. Giving you some good advice here – drop the story, or rewrite it with a new plot, and good planning.

One thing – how much do you check the forums, and how much spare time do you have? Your responses always seem to be brief and you write a paragraph of text in 3-4 days. You can do that within 30 minutes.

I’m not going to drop the story, But I have been planning a new one. Right now I have to intro written. You can read it to get an idea on what its about.
This is it
http://www.wattpad.com/3695165-to-good-for-hell-needs-over/intro

 
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> I’m not going to drop the story

Why you’ll never be a good writer if you hold onto all your writing as if it is the best thing in the world. I’ve dropped so many stories to remember either because I lost interest in it and couldn’t write it well anymore, or the idea was just too forced and nuanced for me to compose well.

 
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Originally posted by freefire1234:
Originally posted by DragonArcherZ:

You know, I don’t feel like Chapter 13 is much better than all your other chapters…you should really try to improve that. Giving you some good advice here – drop the story, or rewrite it with a new plot, and good planning.

One thing – how much do you check the forums, and how much spare time do you have? Your responses always seem to be brief and you write a paragraph of text in 3-4 days. You can do that within 30 minutes.

I’m not going to drop the story, But I have been planning a new one. Right now I have to intro written. You can read it to get an idea on what its about.
This is it
http://www.wattpad.com/3695165-to-good-for-hell-needs-over/intro

Your new story has many errors and isn’t interesting at all. :\

I also agree with Laxaria.

And it seems that whenever you post it takes a long time to create a paragraph of text.

 
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>Your new story has many errors and isn’t interesting at all. :\

I also agree with Laxaria.

And it seems that whenever you post it takes a long time to create a paragraph of text.
>

Okay Do you people have interest in anything? I wrote that in like 6 minutes. Besides I haven’t even Officially written the story yet so how do you know if it’s not interesting.
Also I have a life I’m not on the computer everyday and sometimes I don’t feel like written some days. So no it does not take me a long time to write I just don’t write every day.
Also you guy seem very unappreciated for my story so why bother bug me that I take to long to write It make no sense. I mean if you actually point out the good parts of it beside the flaws and praise me every once in awhile them I may understand. Until then don’t complain about the time till I write the next chapters. Now before you ask I’m not mad, I’m just simply making my point.

 
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Originally posted by freefire1234:

>Your new story has many errors and isn’t interesting at all. :\

I also agree with Laxaria.

And it seems that whenever you post it takes a long time to create a paragraph of text.
>

Okay Do you people have interest in anything? I wrote that in like 6 minutes. Besides I haven’t even Officially written the story yet so how do you know if it’s not interesting.
Also I have a life I’m not on the computer everyday and sometimes I don’t feel like written some days. So no it does not take me a long time to write I just don’t write every day.
Also you guy seem very unappreciated for my story so why bother bug me that I take to long to write It make no sense. I mean if you actually point out the good parts of it beside the flaws and praise me every once in awhile them I may understand. Until then don’t complain about the time till I write the next chapters. Now before you ask I’m not mad, I’m just simply making my point.

A good story has time put into it.

A good story can’t be made into 6 minutes without any thinking at all.

 
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I’m specifically urging you to write something different because the act of revising and rewriting existing ideas is not very beneficial in terms of practice or improvement. Yes, it is necessary to learn how to edit and write, but right now you should also concentrate on how to write well also.

What I want you to attempt to do is to write something different and share that with us. Once again, stop pushing existing work onto us, but just try to write something different and new. This is helpful because it frees you from using existing material, and it also distances yourself from existing writing. Starting from scratch lets you put what you’ve learnt and the feedback you’ve received to actual work instead of simply using that feedback to revise a piece of writing.

The bottom line is that, please, just write something different. I’m not saying to scrap this idea completely, but come back to it maybe a month or two down the line. Until then, just write something different.

 
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Originally posted by Laxaria:

I’m specifically urging you to write something different because the act of revising and rewriting existing ideas is not very beneficial in terms of practice or improvement. Yes, it is necessary to learn how to edit and write, but right now you should also concentrate on how to write well also.

What I want you to attempt to do is to write something different and share that with us. Once again, stop pushing existing work onto us, but just try to write something different and new. This is helpful because it frees you from using existing material, and it also distances yourself from existing writing. Starting from scratch lets you put what you’ve learnt and the feedback you’ve received to actual work instead of simply using that feedback to revise a piece of writing.

The bottom line is that, please, just write something different. I’m not saying to scrap this idea completely, but come back to it maybe a month or two down the line. Until then, just write something different.

I did write something new, yet it was unappreciated so why even try.

 
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Well how long did it take to write the “something new”? 6 minutes. Take some time to plan.

Also – “Please give constructive criticism”. We’re giving it right now.
Listen, I’m sorry if we’ve hurt your feelings, but you need to step down and let your pride drop a little. We’re trying to help you out, for real, but you can’t just give false praise, or you’ll never learn.

Listen. Try get some free time, and dedicate an hour one day when you have it. Start planning a simple story with a twist in the middle – a very basic narrative. Intro, Complication, Solution. It should only be a few pages long. Once you are done planning, start letting your creative juices out,but also concentrate on one or two points we have given (sometimes, I find learning everything at once is hard to keep track.). When you are done, you skim through it a few times, trying to find a mistake.

And you’ve just written a basic narrative with an hour or two’s work.

Now I think one of the things which is keeping you from being a “good writer” (So modest Laxaria!) is your attitude. Your taking our comments like it is criticism. It is constructive. Saying “Why bother.” will keep you struggling. Would an author just say “Why bother” when her/his editor tells her/him that the plot isn’t very well planned and she should start again? You need to have persistence.

Believe in yourself, and give it 100%, not 6 minutes of hurried, badly spelt writing, and you will get better.

EDIT: Just checked your Wattpad profile. Seems you contradict yourself, leaving me rather confused.

“I don’t wrote for perfection, I write because I like to, If you are not happy with what I write and you don’t have a valid criticism. which can help me improve my story, please don’t waste my time .”

You sure you don’t write for perfection? If you strive to improve, yeah, seems like your writing for “perfection”, not that I think there is perfect writing.

Also, I’ve come to terms that your attitude needs to be turned right around. Reading the whole thread again, I notice:

1) In the first post, the way you phrase it makes it look like you think you are superior to everyone else – defining what it means, assuming we flame.
2)After the first few “thanks”, especially near the end, you seem to start arguing with everything we say, instead of accepting it. Please, read over this constructive criticism , particularly what it says about it possibly being taken “the wrong way, or negatively.”
3) You don’t seem to dedicate yourself to your writing, almost like you don’t care about it that much, and don’t enjoy it either.

Now, I know you’ll probably get mad at me for saying this, but please, learn to accept the truth.