Portion of what I written

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Ike Sapphire, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. So it hit me on Saturday that I wanted to write a small story or maybe even a book of this. Just as a small side project for me, to expand my imagination and possibly help me with grammar and punctuation as well (even though I've been taught this in school I do make mistakes). Anyway I was thinking about it and I decided to show you a portion of what I have written and maybe you can give me a little critique as well?

    Well without further delay here it is

    It is dark, it is never light out, the trees are dying slowly, and the grass has turned to dirt. Animals have been slowly dying off, we are unable to eat; this all began since those people came. Who are they? Well a simple answer is that they are death, nothing good came from them. They call them selves the Dark Council; they consist of twenty-seven members. These members rule over thirteen districts, two to each of them, except for the lord. The lord of the Council runs all of the districts, his name… I wish not to speak of it but his name is Ike. Ike is a tall man, with thick short brown hair. He has a beard that covers most of his face and a loud voice.
    It is in the Dark Councils headquarters, where they are going convict a man of no crime. This is where our story begins… It was late at, well no one really knows it was morning, or mid afternoon or even night. It was at the headquarters of the Dark Council that Ike summoned all of them for the hearing of a ‘felon’. Ike approached the podium and with his naturally amplified voice said, “The hearing is now in session! Everyone… Be seated please.” He stepped down and let his trusting judge behind him take over. She was a younger woman, at least one year younger than Ike was. She wore glasses and had a black robe on, on it had the judicial seal.
    The woman’s name was Kate, she was, well, a little bit insane. If someone would be convicted and sentenced to death, she would come up with the most sick, twisted, and vile way to kill a man or woman. A man by the name of John came up and handed her some papers and she studied the pages carefully. Finally, when she set the papers down the silence that settled in the court room was broken “So Mr. Krevan, you have been charged by the following. You have failed to listen to local guards, you have defiled statue of your two leading Council members, even the great lords’ no less and you have been trying to create a rebellious group against our Council. What have you to say for yourself?”
    The man was shivering uncontrollably, he gripped his left sleeve of his tattered shirt and merely said “Y-you don’t scare us; we will rise and destroy your group, if you would even call it that. Well you can’t stop us now, we will take you down.” He began to laugh unsettlingly as he knew his fate. “That is all, guards, take our subordinate to the cellars. We will discuss his penalty”. A smirk ran across her face and said nothing more than that. The guards, who were fully armed, took him back to his holding cell. As soon as they left, Ike took the podium again and scanned the room of all the twenty-six members. They all gave him full attention as he began to speak “You have heard it yourself, this man has been disobeying the law. Do we not have enough evidence to convict him?” Everyone raised their hand, said aye, and lowered them again.
  2. I'd be happy to help out with a critique!

    A couple of mechanical things I'd like to go over first:

    1. Dialogue always means a new paragraph. Sometimes this is ignored for stylistic purposes, but there should not be dialogue in the middle of a paragraph. If someone is about to start talking, or if someone new starts talking, it's time to indent!

    2. Proper punctuation is really important to make sure your reader follows along. You use a lot of commas, and that gets very confusing very quickly... especially when you omit conjunctions such as "and". Here's a brief overview of basic punctuation; I think it might help! Maybe this will be easier to remember than what you've had trouble with in school.

    The Period (.)

    The period is the literary equivalent of a stop sign. It tells your readers to make a FULL STOP at the line before they continue! Periods are used at the end of complete thoughts.

    The Comma (,)

    The comma is more like a yield sign. It tells your readers to pause and look before reading further and eases traffic jams of information. Commas are used to separate different parts of the same thought, or for the purpose of listing.

    The Semicolon (;)

    My English teacher once told me that the semicolon is "like a wonderbra; it lifts and separates". (Notice how that sentence actually USES a semicolon?) However, in the interest of continuing the driving metaphor, we'll call it the traffic light of punctuation. It breaks up traffic and signals your reader to pause for an intersecting vehicle, so that both can reach the same destination smoothly. In other words, semicolons are used to separate two distinct yet related thoughts.

    The Ellipses (...)

    Now we're talking about the four-way stop sign of punctuation. Your readers might be waiting a bit longer here, until they have right-of-way. Think about how an ellipses looks; it's simply three periods in a row, right? Therefore, it's easy to think of it as a pause that is three times longer. Generally this is used for dramatic effect, and may actually be used within a sentence.

    The Colon (:)

    Let's think of the colon as a turn lane. It directs your readers to a very specific point. Colons are used to denote the beginning of a list, or simply to clarify the preceding thought.

    Having a good grasp of punctuation is just as vital to writing for an audience as knowing roadsigns is to being a traffic director. If you give your readers the wrong signals, there's going to be a collision, or they'll get lost and confused. For example, following the analogy of commas as yield signs: Imagine driving down a road with yield sign after yield sign, with no evident purpose. Slowing down, and then barely getting back up to speed before another sign comes along. I bet you can imagine how disorienting that would be!

    Conjunctions (and, but, so, for, yet, or/nor) are important for that very same reason. Imagine that the lines separating lanes on the road weren't there. There would be pileups and crashes and going willy-nilly all over the place! Conjunctions provide connections between words that are necessary in order to present the correct context of a thought.

    I think you'll find that if you go back through and correct your punctuation, as well as fixing the previously mentioned issue with dialogue, your prose will be a lot more pleasing to the eye and much easier to read!

    Now, let's move on to your story itself!

    You've got a solid concept here: a man, accused of unjust charges, stands before a corrupt council. You obviously know what you want to tell us, which is great! However, I think this would really benefit from some fleshing out. I have all sorts of questions after reading this. While having questions is a good thing (you want to have plot hooks), when there are too many or when they are not important to the plot it is a sign that you're leaving things out. Slow down and read over it again. Here are some things that jumped out at me:

    You say the Dark Council "came". Where did they come from? Where is it that they've come to? A name isn't strictly necessary here, but all we know of "here" is that the plants and animals are suffering. Is it a country? An island? A city? Why did they have to "come"; were they not "here" to begin with?

    Metaphor is a wonderful device. I think you are using metaphor when you say that the Dark Council "are death". However, it's a little unclear. I'm not sure what precisely to suggest here, but you may want to elaborate on this.

    For a brief moment, you break the third person narrative to say, "I do not wish to speak of it". Is this you, the author, speaking? If so, I'd recommend changing this unless you plan to make these breaks often. This is known as "breaking the fourth wall", and it tends to jar readers out of their immersion in the story. However, if this is meant to be a first-person narrator, go for it! You just need to give him/her a stronger presence and more of a "voice" in the narrative. Who is this narrator? Why are they telling this story? What is their personality, and what do they think/feel about what is happening? (For instance, we can assume that the narrator has some kind of strong feelings one way or the other about Ike. That's a good example of a narrative presence.)

    I got confused reading through this about who was speaking, and it took me several read-throughs to catch that Ike and the felon were separate entities. (I was wondering why the lord of the council was defacing his own statue! Herp derp.) Breaking up the dialogue should help this, but it might also help if you described the council room and the characters in more detail. Painting a picture of the scene is very important to helping your reader visualize it; otherwise, all they have is blank people-shaped cardboard cutouts that they guesstimate the locations for.

    You tell us that Kate is insane and bloodthirsty. Has your English teacher ever told you that it's better to "show, not tell"? Coming right out and saying "she was insane" has much less impact than writing about "the mad glint in her eye" and "shiver of delight at the mention of a death sentence" or telling us that "she was already playing a game of He-Loves-Me-Not with methods of execution; she'd thus far ruled out drowning and the guillotine, and was swiftly plucking her way to a sentence of burning at the stake".

    In conclusion: Flow! Details! Show, not tell!
  3. I thank you for the feed back, Star. I will take what I have learned and alter my story. Usually my problem is that I type it up, I do re-read it, but I don't catch mistakes like the mistake in the narration. I noticed my habits in IM rp's like on skype, sometimes I would accidentally change from "I" to "him" and vise versa
  4. The light it never comes, wrong is being written in this world. Our world once flourished with animals and greenery, but ever since those people came it has turned for the worse. Those people that I refer to are known as the Dark Council. What brought them to our world? The Dark Council wanted a new world. One that was fresh, ripe for the picking. Their world had become dry and baron and they plan to suck the life from this one.
    When the Dark Council rooted into our land, they had begun by dividing the city into sectors. There are thirteen in total and two Council members ruled over each. Inside each sector were stationed guards as well, to make sure we did not cause too much trouble. In the center of the sectors was a statue of each leading member and the lord himself. The lord of the Council is a tall man and dresses in a black robe. His robe accented his maroon colored hair and blood red irises.
    The Council resides in a tower that was created when they came. Their lord by the name of Ike Sapphire had formed it, using the soil to form a tower and create ebony colored bricks. When it was finished and the tower had breached the skies, clouds moved around it making it look like a constant eye in the sky that watched over us.
    Above the clouds was nothing but darkness. The Dark Council blocked out the suns brilliant rays from hitting this once beautiful land. When I would stroll around the town, I would hear things like ‘soon we will be saved’ or ‘one day they will leave.’ It was heartbreaking to hear such words when most of us knew our fate.
    It was late one day when I was resting outside of an old playground when I hear the sound of a rock hitting metal reverberated through the air. The sound came from the center of town so I got up and headed out that way, along the way I could hear the sounds of the guard’s metal greaves hitting he ground and the sounds of their weapons hitting against their armor. The sounds made me worry and I sped up my pace a little to see what rose the guard’s attention. I knew I was getting closer when I could hear the sounds of the people speaking amongst each other. Once I made it there I could hear a man speaking out loudly.
    “We shouldn’t let the Dark Council rule us anymore! People, join me in creating a rebellion against the Council! We shouldn’t let them push us around anymore!” He was an older man, judging by how wrinkles began to form along him he was at least in his sixties. The guard’s did not take very long to push through the crowd. One of them took the hilt of their blade and hit him, knocking him out.
    “Learn your place fool!” this made the crowd stir and the guard spoke and his voice rose with a growl “People! Learn your place, you cannot best the Council!” he drew his blade “And let me remind you all what might happen when you go against the Councils laws!” the crowed backed up and submitted like a little puppy who had done something wrong. Two of the guards took the man by his arms and dragged him out of he city and towards the Councils tower. The rest stayed behind to disperse the crowd.

    (randomly stops at crowd because that's how far I got in Sixth and Seventh hour today :/ and I tried to find the indent on the bar you spoke of star, under advanced post, but I couldn't find it.)
  5. Here; I took a screencap for you. :]


    Now for critiquing!

    This is definitely an improvement on your last introduction. You do a lot more "showing" this time, giving us the scene in the town center to establish that there's disset among the populace. You also actually gave us a first-person narrator character, and I really do think it adds something. I want to know who this guy is, and I am interested in what he's seeing and doing.
    You've also paid a lot more attention to flow and punctuation, and this reads much more easily. We also get a full name for Ike, which I think is a good choice. A full name sounds much more official.

    Now, what you still have issues on and what could be improved:

    Although you've settled on point of view as first-person, your tenses are now getting mixed. You go from present to past tense back and forth quite a bit, and this is just as disruptive and confusing to the reader as changing from first-person to third. Generally speaking, past tense is the preferred tense for most fiction. That isn't to say you can't do present if you like, though!

    You've done very well about new paragraphs for dialogue, except for in the last paragraph, where you have several breaks between dialogue and narration. I would suggest moving the part about drawing his blade to just before the second half of his dialogue, and then moving the narration following his speech to a new paragraph.

    You've also done better with punctuation, but there are some places that aren't quite right. Your first sentence, for instance: "The light it never comes" is not grammatically sound. In this case, "light" and "it" are both the subject. Having them back to back is redundant and conflicting. You are also using a comma in this sentence as if it were a semicolon. Remember, commas are pauses within a single thought, such as "The light never comes" OR "wrong is being written in this world". Semicolons are used to separate and connect related thoughts, and since "The light never comes" and "wrong is being written" are related, a semicolon should be used here. Read through this again and identify where you've had missteps such as these.

    Also remember to capitalize the beginning of every sentence! Narration following dialogue should only begin with lowercase in the event that the dialogue is part of the thought being expressed. For example...

    "It's me, Sally," she said as she knocked on the door.

    "It's me, Sally." She knocked on the door.

    Dialogue that is within a sentence has a verb that denotes speaking within the narration. If nothing in the narration refers to someone talking, dialogue is not a part of the sentence and therefore the narration should begin as a new sentence.

    Also remember that dialogue that is part of a sentence will end in a comma where a period would normally serve. In the case that there is alternate punctuation such as an explanation point, however, it remains unchanged.

    One other thing that I would suggest, but which is a matter of stylistic preference, would be to leave an empty line between paragraphs. It's again easier on the eyes and prevents confusion in the case that your last line of your paragraph extends all the way to the margin.

    Definitely looking much better, though! Your description and dialogue is coming across much stronger.

    EDIT: Almost forgot! You used "baron", which means a type of land-owning official, when I believe that you meant "barren", as in the adjective used to describe something incapable of yielding new life. You also made a typo, putting "sue" instead of "sure". Make sure to double-check words like this, because a spellchecker won't catch this type of mistake!
  6. Thank you for the feed back and as soon as I posted that I re-read over things, I guess you were in there before the changes that were made. I also still cannot find that bar anywhere >< it doesn't show at the top of my box, if that is where it is at.

    EDIT: I found it, I had to go under general settings to change the text box to 'advanced'