EXERCISE Cutting the Shit

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Asmodeus, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. People who write too much are cock-gobblers. They give the reader no credit. They sabotage their own momentum. Fuck them in the ear.


    This is a post by a former member (so she can't get mad at me)

    First draft (open)
    Her frame was adorned by that of a lengthy ballgown, the lengthy maroon toned embroidery stroked against the stone surface of the pavement. The dark night sky with it's radiance reflecting off of the moon and onto her skin which was immaculately free of any odd pigmentation. Her lengthy red hair was tied up in a golden ring which formed it's way around her head with a gem on the front in the center of her brow. Raising her green eyes to the open gates of the castle grounds, she teetered over towards the doors. Picking up the pace, all she could think about is that she was late. It was unusual for her to be wearing such attire and this wasn't exactly her comfort zone. However, she had been invited to this celebration and of course she had to be there to protect the king and his unborn. Beneath her puffy ballgown was her garter strapped and aligned with different acidic poisons. She had taken part in a session of alchemy before leaving her home, and got into a hectic situation when the spillage occurred, causing her to be late.

    Her black golden whip lay neatly under the corset which was tightly pulling in her waist to reveal her particularly feminine figure. It wasn't often that she was out of her armor, although this wasn't a first, those would possibly still be unable to recognise her. She was quite beautiful to say that she passed off for a man for the majority of her elongated life. Those around her didn't seem to associate their selves with her, they possibly thought that she was just another civilian. Her face usually being hidden isn't exactly one to be recognised by the others at this point. Not to mention she wasn't one of these who like to show off, she just did her duty and what was right in her morals. None of this 'namby-pamby-I'd-like-attention-please' nonsense.

    In rotating her head back, the liquid bubbles in her neck cracked down her spine and she flexed her hands causing a repetition of the sound in her knuckles. The kitten heels hidden under the rather flamboyant dress mimicked the clicking sound as she walked up the pavement on the hill leading to the doors. Her pace picking up a little more in her walk, some would think that she would be running. The doors opened as she came closer to them, and she was greeted by the vast sound of conversation and laughter from those in the area. Spending no time to take in the wide and regal space around her she made her way straight to a servant and took a beaker of some disgusting alcoholic beverage, and quietly made her way to a quieter corner of the room, farthest from the music, to admire the artwork upon the walls. Every so often swirling the drink in her hand, giving the impression that she was content in her surroundings.



    This is what she DIDN'T need to say:

    Second draft (open)
    Her frame was adorned by that of a lengthy ballgown, the lengthy maroon toned embroidery stroked against the stone surface of the pavement [She's wearing a maroon ballgown. We know it's long. We know that pavements are made of stone]. The dark night sky with it's radiance reflecting off of the moon and onto her skin which was immaculately free of any odd pigmentation [Night skies are generally dark. And "free of any odd pigmentation" means "immaculate". And if there's a moon, we can assume it's night.]. Her lengthy red hair was tied up in a golden ring which formed it's way around her head with a gem on the front in the center of her brow [It's the middle ages. Women had long hair, unless they were pretending to be men. Also, if there's a gem at the front of your ring of hair, we can assume it's in the centre.]. Raising her green eyes to the open gates of the castle grounds, she teetered over towards the doors [Why "teeter towards" when you can just "approach"?]. Picking up the pace, all she could think about is that she was late. It was unusual for her to be wearing such attire and this wasn't exactly her comfort zone [If it's "unusual" then it goes without saying that it's "not in her comfort zone"]. However, she had been invited to this celebration and of course she had to be there to protect the king and his unborn [So clearly she IS thinking about more than just the fact that she is late]. Beneath her puffy ballgown was her garter strapped and aligned with different acidic poisons [Which one is it? Acid or poison? And what does "aligned" mean when it comes to garters?]. She had taken part in a session of alchemy before leaving her home, and got into a hectic situation when the spillage occurred, causing her to be late.

    Her black golden whip lay neatly under the corset which was tightly pulling in her waist to reveal her particularly feminine figure [Is the whip black or golden? And how can it be UNDER the corset? And corsets are SUPPOSED to pull in your waist. And WHAT is a particularly feminine figure?]. It wasn't often that she was out of her armor, although this wasn't a first, those would possibly still be unable to recognise her [If something is "not often", then it goes without saying that it's "not a first", since "not often" implies "occasionally".]. She was quite beautiful to say that she passed off for a man for the majority of her elongated life [I don't even understand this sentence. And don't TELL US that she's beautiful. That's arrogant storytelling.]. Those around her didn't seem to associate their selves with her, they possibly thought that she was just another civilian [She clearly does not look like a servant or entertainer, therefore the only "civilian" at a Medieval party would be a noble. Therefore, why does no one talk to her?]. Her face usually being hidden isn't exactly one to be recognised by the others at this point [Either your face is recognisable, or it isn't.]. Not to mention she wasn't one of these who like to show off, she just did her duty and what was right in her morals [If you think something is right, then that presumes it's in your morals]. None of this 'namby-pamby-I'd-like-attention-please' nonsense.

    In rotating her head back, the liquid bubbles in her neck cracked down her spine and she flexed her hands causing a repetition of the sound in her knuckles. The kitten heels hidden under the rather flamboyant dress mimicked the clicking sound as she walked up the pavement on the hill leading to the doors [We already have a mental picture of the dress. We don't need reminding that it's flamboyment]. Her pace picking up a little more in her walk, some would think that she would be running [She already picked up her pace earlier, and if you are walking quickly then it goes without saying that you're almost running]. The doors opened as she came closer to them, and she was greeted by the vast sound of conversation and laughter from those in the area [It would be rather odd if the sound WASN'T from those in the area. And we already know that she's "come closer to the doors".]. Spending no time to take in the wide and regal space around her she made her way straight to a servant and took a beaker of some disgusting alcoholic beverage, and quietly made her way to a quieter corner of the room, farthest from the music, to admire the artwork upon the walls. Every so often swirling the drink in her hand, giving the impression that she was content in her surroundings. [We know it's a big space, and we know it's around her]



    Here's what she DID need to say:

    Third draft (open)
    She wore a ballgown, maroon embroidery that stroked the pavement. The moon reflected on her immaculate skin. Her red hair was tied up in a ring around her head with a gem at her brow. Raising her green eyes to the open gates of the castle grounds, she approached the doors, picking up the pace. It was unusual for her to be wearing such attire. However, she had been invited to this celebration and of course she had to be there to protect the king and his unborn. Beneath her ballgown was her garter strapped with different poisons. She had taken part in a session of alchemy before leaving home, and got into a hectic situation when the spillage occurred, causing her to be late.

    Her whip was wrapped neatly around her corset. It wasn't often that she was out of her armor. Those around her didn't seem to associate their selves with her. Her face usually being hidden isn't recognisable. Not to mention she wasn't one of these who like to show off, she just did her duty and what was right. None of this 'namby-pamby-I'd-like-attention-please' nonsense.

    She cracked her spine and knuckles. Her kitten heels mimicked the clicking sound as she walked. The doors opened and she was greeted by the vast sound of conversation and laughter. Spending no time to take in the space she made her way straight to a servant and took a beaker of some disgusting alcoholic beverage, and quietly made her way to a quieter corner of the room, farthest from the music, to admire the artwork upon the walls. Every so often swirling the drink in her hand, giving the impression that she was content in her surroundings.



    I've cut 209 words, and made her introduction slightly less agonising. The reader has exactly the same imagery as before, and if anything that imagery is clearer thanks to the absence of distractions, over-writing and time-expense.


    Now you can try the same technique, with the following post:

    First draft (open)
    The place was hectic. The poor, the rich, and those in between stood and walked in every direction, the crowd tightly together. It felt almost claustrophobic. But of course, it was mainly due to the Firefox. A ship that was about to sail to legendary Lost City of Moonwings, doxa's destination. Oh, the riches she will enjoy if the 'paradise' was truly real. For once in her life, she would live the life of a luxurious woman a thought that tempted her and broght dreams of gold,jewelry, fancy clothes each night. The poor life was not meant for Doxa, it was clearly she had high ambitions. Looking back at the ocean of people was enough to let Doxa begin her walk to the famous Firefox. Her grip was firm on her messenger bag as it carried her tinkering belt along with her tools. Right now, her googles rested at the crown of her head in case she might need it at any sudden moment. As Doxa tried to walk toward the awaiting ship, people carried boxes, ropes, and other objects she couldn't make out due to the moving crowd. It seemed that she would have to push past some and bump into a few."Hey watch it!" someone yelled from behind her as she accidentally stomped on his feet "Sorry, you were in my way!" she yelled back absently, her mouth spreading into a grin. But too soon it faded as someone else came from her side and bumped into her hard. Somehow, she had manage to get her feet tangled together and as unstably as she was, Doxa fell to the floor. Luckily, the impact wasn't strong enough to have hurt her but still, the scene was pretty embarrassing. The people that had been around her at the time gave her accusatory looks "What are you looking at morons!? Keep walking!" she barked furiously.
     
    #1 Asmodeus, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  2. As an addict to going wax poetic I definitely find this a challenge, but one that I shall accept nonetheless.

    Revised Post:

    People of all classes rushed by, leaving no space untouched. Claustrophobic air marked the Firefox’s presence, set to sail for the legendary Moonwings. Revering imagined riches, Doxa’s eyes sang of gold, jewelry, and fancy clothes. Her poverty betrayed her dreams. Gazing at the crowd, she began her walk to the ship. In her grip was her bag and on her head goggles, ready for any occurrence. The movement of objects among the crowd blurred away as she attempted to walk. She would have to force herself through.

    "Hey watch it!" someone yelled, her foot on his.

    "Sorry, you were in my way!" Her mouth spread into a grin.

    Then she collided with another. Tangled, her instability made her collapse. Though embarassed, she was unharmed. Bystanders glared.

    "What are you looking at morons!? Keep walking!" she snarled.

    Word Count: 136
    Original Word Count: 314
    Got rid of: 178 words
     
  3. I am probably guilty of this from time to time without noticing. A good thing to look out for.
     
  4. ... Dear god how many times I encountered this on Gaiaonline.com. Thank you Asmo!
     
  5. Nnnn, I'd have to say that the post itself is fundamentally flawed. Not that it's bad, but by editing so heavily the sentences are disjoint, there is no smooth transition between them, and the flow of consciousness is lost. It should just be completely rewritten with the original ideas carried over.

    What are the main ideas?

    - Unusually well dressed
    - In a hurry due to some prior holdup
    - Is more there as a self-implied bodyguard
    - Is armed inconspicuously
    - Quite pretty despite being a tomboy
    - Appears to want to fight more than celebrate, as she quickly segregates herself into a corner
    - Does not jive with nobles at all
     
  6. Oh, I've encountered this soooo many times! I have been guilty of being too descriptive, sure, but that was just too repetitive!
     
  7. It's good to have some description, but I agree when it goes on for that long it gets a bit boring. We're not writing novels, and even in novels a single moment like that isn't described so much. Thanks for this, I will now feel less bad when I write shorter to people who have written masses.

    Exercise:
    The place was hectic. People of every class walked around, the crowd packed tight. The chaos was mainly due to the Firefox: a ship that was about to sail to a legendary destination. The riches she would enjoy if the 'paradise' was truly real- a thought that tempted her endlessly. The poor life was not meant for Doxa, she had high ambitions. Looking back was enough to let Doxa begin her walk to the Firefox. Her grip was firm on her messenger bag, as it carried her tools. Her goggles rested on the top of head. As Doxa tried to walk towards the ship, people carrying various objects got in her way. "Hey watch it!" someone yelled from behind her, as she accidentally stomped on his feet. "Sorry, you were in my way!" she yelled back, forming a grin. But soon it faded as someone else came, and bumped into her hard. Somehow she had managed to get her feet tangled together, causing her to Doxa fall to the floor. Luckily, the impact didn't harm her, yet the scene was embarrassing. The people around her gave her accusatory looks ."What are you looking at morons!? Keep walking!" she barked.

    Words originally: 314
    Words now: 199
    Words cut down: 115
    I didn't want to get rid of too much, as to not lose the effect.
     
  8. People from different classes stood and walked everywhere, making the place tight. It was Almost Claustrophobic. It was all due to “Firefox” A ship about to sail to the legendary city “Moonwings, doxa’s.” Her eyes were full of luxury, what she has always dreamed of, She was born to be rich and famous. She began her way to the ship and her way through the crowd, her grip firm on her bag and her googles in her head, just in case she needed them. Because of the people and her belongings she forced her way in bumping into people.
    “Hey Watch it!” Yelled someone. “Sorry, you were in my way!” Yelled back as she started to grin, but soon fading into embarrassment as she bumped into someone else making her fall and catching the attention of the people around her, “What are you looking at morons!? Keep Walking!” Barked furiously


    Originally words: 314
    Words Cut Down: 168
    Words now: 147
     
  9. I find the first edited paragraph to be more of an example in redundancy than anything else. Here is how I would edit it, let me know your thoughts.

    Her frame was adorned by that of a lengthy <maroon> ballgown ["that of" is unnecessary, and the adjective maroon belongs between lengthy and ballgown, I also don't like "her frame" and would prefer simply saying "She was..." or "Her body was..." because these are more sensuous while frame is very rigid and just does not fit the tone][comma to semicolon, I think]; the lengthy maroon toned embroidery <the train of which> stroked against [redundant] the stone surface of the <cobblestone> pavement. [I disagree that pavement is usually stone, but as it is used here the description of the pavement as being stone acomplishes nothing.] The dark <azure> night sky with it's radiance [I have less of a problem with it being redundant to say dark night sky, and more of one to call something dark AND radiant...] reflecting-ed off of the moon and onto her <immaculate> skin which was immaculately free of any odd pigmentation [immaculate is a really odd way to describe skin IMO, but this seems to be the idea the author wanted to get at so I am keeping it]. Her lengthy <cherry> [Try not to use the same word over and over, use a thesaurus or find a metaphor or simile to avoid this.] red hair was tied up in a golden ring [golden? Either she is wearing a golden circlet or her hair just changed colors on us] which formed it's way around her head with a gem on the front in the center of her brow <suspended a single jewel on her forehead>. Raising her green <emerald> eyes ["her" is unnecessary and green is a boring color after all the other fluff, emerald is overused and I'd go with vert or veridian but they sound funny to me] to the open gates of the castle grounds, she teetered over towards the doors. Picking up the pace, all she could think about is <was> [pay attention to verb tense] that <how late> she was late <going to be>. It was unusual for her to be wearing such attire and this wasn't exactly her comfort zone. [This entire sentense, while not bad in and of itself, is a great example of why we use the rule "Show, Don't Tell". Use the descriptions in the paragraph to communicate this idea without ever having to say it overtly. I am personally very bad at this though, haha.] <It had taken her far too long to don this get up, spilling acid on it did not help, and she wondered how other women managed to move around without falling every three feet.> However, she had been invited to this celebration and of course she had to be there to protect the king and his unborn<child, so she would grin and bear it>. Beneath her puffy [no need to further describe the ballgown at this point, just extra words] ballgown was her <she wore a> garter strapped and aligned <lined> with different <various vials of> acidic-s <and> poisons. [I just really did not like the wording of that sentence, and the alliteration of various vials was too amusing to pass up] She had taken part in a session of alchemy before leaving her home, and got into a hectic situation when the spillage occurred, causing her to be late. [First of all, never use the word spillage. It just sounds silly. I won't even go into taking part in a session of alchemy... what, is that like aerobics? This sentence needs to be cut down to the bare minimum as it only adds the bare minimum to the scene.] <It was in preparing these that she had been delayed.>

    Thus, the final product would read something like this...

    Her frame was adorned by a lengthy maroon ballgown; the train of which stroked the cobblestone pavement. The azure night sky reflected off the moon and onto her immaculate skin. Her cherry red hair was tied up in a ring which suspended a single jewel on her forehead. Raising emerald eyes to the open gates of the castle, she teetered over towards the doors. Picking up the pace, all she could think about was how late she was going to be. It had taken her far too long to don this get up, spilling acid on it did not help, and she wondered how other women managed to move around without falling every three feet. However, she had been invited to this celebration to protect the king and his unborn child, so she would grin and bear it. Beneath her ballgown she wore a garter lined with various vials of acids and poisons. It was in preparing these that she had been delayed.

    Please feel free to tear apart my revision, just give constructive feedback if you do so. :)
     
  10. Ah, yes, this. Back at the guild, length and "eloquency" belonged in advanced, and anything as breif as a paragraph or less was put in free. Sadly, it was thought that if you were to play well, your posts had to be long, and therefore everyone tried their best to do the advanced buisness. I liked getting to th point, but apparently that was frowned upon sometimes. As a gm, I was plagued with rpers who got to the point, but at the same time, were very vague, and had ridiculously short posts when I gmmed in free. Casual was, thankfully, more balanced. I'm glad to see other people who think like I do here.
     
  11. Guilty of this as well. Though mine is more on emotions, visions, thoughts than it is on describing the character.

    Another thing I'd like to add, aside from cutting the shit, is to add more paragraphs, and make them shorter. Sure, while it may look good and professional to write in long paragraphs, but boy do my eyes hurt reading long long paragraphs on a computer screen. The glare. It kills.

    Unless I'm the only one who has this problem. In which case, ignore what I just said and go on with your lives.
     
  12. This is the kind of bullshit that ruined MCF.

    Damn. Come in flaunting their 'eloquency' and stepping on everybody who doesn't write 5000 words per post.

    Not entirely sure if this allowed, but: http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/1803086-the-roleplayers-writers-workshop/
    Its not advertising, so I think it is. That is a stickied topic one of them made about how to Roleplay. Only got stickied because the only moderator for that area is part of their group o.o.

    If that links not allowed I'll take it off. I posted that link because i couldn't find the infamous Opera Post.
    Feared, dreaded, slightly admired.
     
    #12 guygombaa, Jan 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2014
  13. "With a few easy changes, we just turned a four word sentence into a simple 60 word paragraph. "

    As a gm, I would have taken that he had built the house, as long as the poster had something else to say other than that. A one liner is unacceptable, but at the same time...

    "Drenched in his own sweat, Jim-Bob labored tirelessly as he constructed the cottage. Care went into each hammer fall as he drove the finishing nails into the structure. It's tall, pink frame was dotted with a multitude of four-paned windows. Cheerful shutters flanked each window and gave it a classical feel. An adorable red brick chimney rose from it's side."

    This monstrosity is completely unnecessary. Furthermore, I as a gm would see it as my player trying to one-up the others. I'd ask if they have anything else other than him building the house, and to tone it down.

    while this has nothing to do with removing unnecessary things, I'd like to point out that 3rd and 1st tense is cool, as long as it fits, and you remain consistent.
     
    #13 Flame, Jan 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  14. Imagine eight or so snobby hipster assholes who are all like that, and whenever somebody makes a shit roleplay, (something that happened a lot unfourtuantly) they didn't just tell them so. They made joke apps and antagonised everybody.

    And that is half the reason why MCF's roleplaying section is no longer worth it.
     
  15. These guys are the reason I wanted to leave a year ago, but we stayed like fools, now we are here and loving it. You forgot about the fact that they didn't ban *Person* that Fucking bastard because he was friends with them. *person* was the guy who would come into peoples rps just to make everyone mad and then get us in trouble with moderators. I am glad to be out of that shithole

    (sorry about the rant)

    Here is the DREADED OPERA POST mentioned by Guygombaa
    http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic...-history-1977-rp/page__st__2260#entry18892204

    Note the OTHER posts are equally as bad in overdetail
     
    #15 Krazaz, Jan 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  16. Hey guys, just a word: Please keep the discussion on topic and don't badmouth other forums/people by name like this. While I totally understand this kind of frustration, we don't like to foster an environment where badmouthing anyone in public is cool. And if someone from MCF (maybe even the people you're mentioning) were to come along and see this, you could be pulling internet drama onto Iwaku. :[ So in the future, please be respectful and don't namedrop while ranting in public areas of the site.
     
  17. yes, I am sorry, but the link is the important part of the post, I will remove the name
     
  18. If everyone would edit their posts to remove specific names of people, that would be appreciated. :] Thank you!
     
  19. A lot of my experience in RP in the same vein as forum RP has been on a small MMO where wall of text emotes are difficult to manage. I think, if anything, I may need to keep an eye on my posts to make sure they don't get too short - and I will certainly do so. One thing I find interesting about overly long posts, like that monstrosity Krazaz and Guygombaa mentioned, is that it seems like the people just want to write their own short stories. That's fine, but RP is supposed to be a group exercise. If you write something too short, yeah you're going to make it hard for other people to react. If you write something too long, you're inherently making the experience less interactive and outright depriving them of the ability to react to things they might want to react to.

    Doxa looked on as people of all types milled about the pier in a dense throng. She gripped her tool-filled messenger bag and prepared to leave the life of a poor girl behind. Her gaze scanned the dock before resting on the now-famous Firefox bound for Moonwings, the lost city of legend. Doxa paused as images of dazzling jewelry, fabulous clothes, and the vibrant parties that would accompany them danced elegantly in her mind. With her goggles at the ready atop her head, Doxa stepped purposefully into the crowd of boxes, ropes, and other objects that buzzed busily through the harbor in the arms of random people. As she pushed her way through she heard a sharp yelp of “Hey! Watch it!” from behind her as she trampled feet in her haste. “Sorry! You were in my way!” She called back, more out of reflex than genuine concern. The widening grin on her face quickly faded as another passerby knocked her to the ground. Unharmed but embarrassed, Doxa barked at the gawkers casting accusatory looks “What are you looking at morons! Keep walking!”
     
    #19 Shokkou, Jan 29, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2014
  20. I think I tend to do this from time to time, but you shouldn't shame people for it. Like the site says, theres no OFFICIAL way to roleplay, if they want to do it, you really have no power over em. Not saying I support them, but I'm not saying I don't either. Everyone has their own approaches on things.
     

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