Round 1…WRITE!

Share

Hey there, writers.

I have a quest for you, if you choose to take it.

questPost 100 (or fewer) words of your WIP (work in progress) in the comments below, and I will offer you editorial advice on it!

The advice I offer will be heavily grammatical and mechanical, but I will also give advice on word choice, pacing, character, clarity, etc. as appropriate.

Also, feel free to comment on your fellow writers’ work.

Now, show me what you’ve got!


~Melissa~

www.clickingkeys.com

www.melissamcarthur.net

Share

32 comments to Round 1…WRITE!

  • Tdancer2

    Here she is, the first two paragraphs from one of my current WIPs:

    I was squished, I was bruised, and I was upside down. At least this time I remembered to add packing foam before stuffing myself into the shipping crate. I’d skipped that step during my last heist and was shaken around so violently I needed to destroy the crate to avoid leaving skin and blood everywhere. This time I wasn’t jostled as badly, but the witless postman had driven the crate around town upside down, ignoring the HUGE signs that indicated which side was up.

    In a nice twist of karma, after contorting myself into impossible positions to return upright, the guards at the shipping and receiving dock of my destination had no problems reading the signs and flipped me over again. I think I ate some of the popcorns the second time around.

  • These 100 words are from the midpoint of the WIP, where a person from the past appears just when the MC’s new life seemed to be going well.

    “Lieutenant,” said the captain as she stepped outside, “Sergeant Januz has made some serious accusations. You heard the main one. He says he saw you at the rogue camp and that one of the other prisoners saw you kill his brother.”

    The sunset stained the sky red, as if someone’s blood poured out of multiple wounds to destroy the blue clarity of the day. I wanted to close my eyes, but that solved nothing. Too many bloodstained visions remained locked in my head. Too many secrets.

    “No one saw me kill his brother. I was not involved in the tortures.”

  • JReizes

    A sudden chill made my arm hair stand on end and a shiver run down my back. I spun, looking for the intruder. Both dogs were growling at something to my left.
    “You are already looking for me,” said a voice. “That was fast.” A shimmer of air coalesced into the man I’d seen in my vision. Before he was fully formed, I rose my hand in the air and with a whisper of will and thought, a nearby oak branch bent down, snagged him by his robe and lifted him high into the air.
    “It’s not good to surprise an Earth Witch,” I said.
    The warlock, swinging in the wind, nodded. “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. I get it. May I come down?”
    “I am not Mother Nature, but I do know her, and I represent one of her aspects, as all witches do. And, no, you really, really don’t want to mess with her. Why did you poison the Earth?”

  • I’m going to be working through these as quickly as I can, so bear with me! I’m going to use all caps in my comments, but please don’t think that I am shouting. It’s only for differentiating the comments from the text.

    Tdancer2, ready?

    I was squished, I was bruised, and I was upside down.
    I LIKE THE PARALLEL FORM IN THIS SENTENCE. JUST A GENERAL STATEMENT, BUT “WAS” IS VERB THAT DOESN’T GIVE A LOT OF IMPACT, SO BE CAREFUL USING IT TOO OFTEN.

    At least this time I remembered to add packing foam before stuffing myself into the shipping crate.
    YOU COULD PROBABLY TAKE “AT LEAST” OUT IN THIS SENTENCE. IT DOESN’T ADD MUCH TO THE WRITING.

    I’d skipped that step during my last heist and was shaken around so violently I needed to destroy the crate to avoid leaving skin and blood everywhere.
    “WAS SHAKEN AROUND SO VIOLENTLY” IS PASSIVE VOICE. TRY TO AVOID PV AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
    ALSO, WOULDN’T DESTROYING A CRATE LEAVE BLOOD AND SKIN IN THE PROCESS? I IMAGINE THE CHARACTER DOING A HULK SMASH KIND OF ACTION HERE, WHICH WOULD LIKELY LEAD TO SOME BLOODSHED.

    This time I wasn’t jostled as badly, but the witless postman had driven the crate around town upside down, ignoring the HUGE signs that indicated which side was up.
    HUGE DOESN’T REALLY NEED TO BE IN CAPS.
    YOU COULD TAKE OUT THE WORD “THAT” NEAR THE END OF THE SENTENCE AND JUST HAVE “…SIGNS INDICATING WHICH SIDE WAS UP.” THAT WOULD TAKE A LITTLE WORDINESS AWAY.

    In a nice twist of karma, after contorting myself into impossible positions to return upright, the guards at the shipping and receiving dock of my destination had no problems reading the signs and flipped me over again.
    IN THIS SENTENCE, YOU MAY WISH TO CONSIDER A WORD OTHER THAN “IMPOSSIBLE” BECAUSE IF IT WERE IMPOSSIBLE, SHE (HE?) WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO DO IT.

    I think I ate some of the popcorns the second time around.
    YOU MIGHT TAKE OUT “I THINK” BECAUSE ONE WOULD LIKELY KNOW IF THAT HAD HAPPENED.
    ALSO, WHAT POPCORNS? ACTUAL POPCORN OR PACKING MATERIAL?
    —–

    I believe I have heard this one at one of the slush readings, no? Always a good thing for it to be memorable. 🙂

  • sagablessed

    OK. I’m ready for the destruction, LOL. I hope it isn’t too long. My word count function is screwy today.

    I hadn’t been a cat in over a century and a half, and I was glad of it now. Cats don’t sweat, shake, or moan. Instead I calmly cleaned an immaculate paw as the entire Synod of Familiars surrounded my position, staring at me.
    Perched on limbs, seated on grass or whatever their bodies allowed, a dozen big wigs encircled the hollow. I almost cursed as I covertly scanned the assembled body. There were at least three Godsent I recognized. Continuing my examination, behind them were dozens more -even some wispy forms of familiars without bodies.
    This was going to be fierce.
    The glen, hidden from prying eyes, sat perfectly still: with not even a breeze to stir the trees. Silence more than anything set my heart pounding. I raised my other paw off the grass and began a thorough washing. I knew the consequences and was ready to face them. ‘Horse crap’ said my brain. I told it to shut up.

  • fA

    Somehow, Knell – this witty man, this intelligent spy, this faithful friend – he who I never dreamed would have fallen so far in my eyes… somehow, he had fallen. Once an equal, once a person; but now, no more. He was human.

    He was human.

    I lost the next few moments in a black haze. When I woke, it was to the sound of my screams, much louder than it really was even with my face pressed hard against Rev’s chest. The blood on my hands was red; deep, dark, red, the most telling mark of its source. I did not regret it. Would not, could not, and I did not.

  • Sneakybea

    Hi Melissa! I am new here but will jump right in with the following passage from my mermaid story:

    Neri never spoke to Twyla anymore.

    She saw her, but only in the literal sense. On the day of Twyla’s wedding, she staked out a large reef not far from Megakles’s mansion and hid herself from view. She listened for the joyous wedding procession, for the sounds of revelry as the happy couple made their way home. Nothing.

  • By amazing coincidence, today I wrote …99… words, somewhere in Book 7 of my never-ending Epic. Well then, I’ll play!

    Our Hero is in hiding on a backbeyond planet, and has just narrowly avoided becoming lunch for the pack-hunting dominant species (which may be ancestral to his own) by tripping over one of their offspring:

    =============
    One of the larger adults swayed toward him, curled a lip–

    Rikon bared his fangs — realised he’d done so when the infant bleated distress and the adult’s teeth abruptly went back behind its lips. It eased back to sit on its haunches; slowly, the other adults copied the first. One of the smaller las ducked its head apologetically, skittered away; returned a few moments later bearing the freshly-bleeding carcass of some creature like an overgrown cwa, which it laid at Rikon’s feet.

    “Apparently,” Rikon said into the breath-steamed air, “I am now the high prince of Laslor.”
    ===========

  • Sisi says:

    “No one saw me kill his brother. I was not involved in the tortures.”

    I notice the speaker doesn’t *deny* killing the brother…. 🙂

  • SiSi — here we go! (Note: caps don’t mean shouting, just differentiation)

    “Lieutenant,” said the captain as she stepped outside, “Sergeant Januz has made some serious accusations. You heard the main one. He says he saw you at the rogue camp and that one of the other prisoners saw you kill his brother.”
    IF HE HEARD THE MAIN ONE, DOES IT NEED TO BE REPEATED? YOU’RE PROBABLY DOING THIS TO CONVEY THE INFO TO THE READER, BUT ASKING SOMETHING MORE LIKE “IS IT TRUE? DID YOU…” WOULD WORK BETTER.
    ALSO, I AM NOT SURE HOW FORMAL THE DIALOGUE IS IN YOUR STORY, BUT THIS SEEMS A LITTLE STIFF, STILTED.
    I HAD SOME TROUBLE WITH THE HE SAW/SAYS/THEY SAW BIT. I HAD TO READ IT A COUPLE TIMES TO NOT STUMBLE OVER IT. YOU MIGHT REPHRASE IT LIKE “IS IT TRUE THAT YOU KILLED A MAN AT THE ROGUE CAMP? THE BROTHER OF A PRISONER?” OR SOMETHING SIMILAR.

    The sunset stained the sky red, as if someone’s blood poured out of multiple wounds to destroy the blue clarity of the day. I wanted to close my eyes, but that solved nothing. Too many bloodstained visions remained locked in my head. Too many secrets.
    THIS IS A NICE DESCRIPTION, BUT IT’S A BIT OUT OF PLACE HERE. I WANT TO KNOW IF THE LIEUTENANT KILLED SOMEONE, NOT ABOUT THE SUNSET. IT MIGHT FIT BETTER AFTER THE CONVERSATION, IN A MORE REFLECTIVE SCENE.

    “No one saw me kill his brother. I was not involved in the tortures.”
    THE FIRST LINE HERE SUGGESTS THAT HE DID KILL THE BROTHER, BUT NO ONE SAW IT. IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO CONVEY? IF NOT, THAT FIRST LINE MIGHT NEED TO BE REWORDED.
    ARE THE TORTURES MENTIONED BEFORE? THEY’RE NOT MENTIONED BY THE CAPTAIN IN THE EXCERPT YOU GAVE, SO DOES THE CAPTAIN KNOW ABOUT IT?

    Interesting story! What genre?

  • JReizes, here we go! Note: caps aren’t shouting, just differentiation.

    A sudden chill made my arm hair stand on end and a shiver run down my back.
    IN THIS, I WOULD REWORD TO MAKE STAND AND SHIVER THE MAIN VERBS IN THE SENTENCE INSTEAD OF MADE. IT GIVES IT MORE ACTION. YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO CONSIDER THE USE OF SUDDEN. IT’S A BIT CLICHE IN MOST USES, OR AT LEAST I THINK SO.

    I spun, looking for the intruder.
    IS THE INTRUSION ESTABLISHED BEFORE THIS PICKS UP?

    Both dogs were growling at something to my left.
    IF THE DOGS ARE GROWLING TO THE LEFT, WOULD THE CHARACTER SPIN AROUND? OR JUST TURN TO THE LEFT? IN A TENSE SITUATION, MORE RESERVED MOTIONS MIGHT BE MORE EFFECTIVE. IF I THOUGHT THERE WAS AN INTRUDER, I WOULD HUNCH DOWN AND LOOK OVER MY SHOULDER, TRYING TO BE AS STILL AND QUIET AS I COULD.

    “You are already looking for me,” said a voice. “That was fast.”
    YOU MAY CONSIDER TAKING OUT THE DIALOGUE TAG HERE. A PERSON SPEAKS, BUT A VOICE IS THE METHOD THROUGH WHICH THEY DO SO.

    A shimmer of air coalesced into the man I’d seen in my vision.
    AIR DOESN’T SHIMMER, REALLY. LIGHT REFLECTING OFF THE DUST MOTES IN THE AIR COULD. OR SPARKS OF LIGHT COULD SHIMMER TO BECOME A MAN.

    Before he was fully formed, I rose my hand in the air and with a whisper of will and thought, a nearby oak branch bent down, snagged him by his robe and lifted him high into the air.
    IN THE SENTENCE BEFORE YOU SUGGEST THAT HE DOES COMPLETION THAT FORMATION, SO KEEP THE ACTION GOING FORWARD RATHER THAN MOVING BACK AND SAYING BEFORE THAT HAPPENED.
    ROSE SHOULD BE RAISED
    DOES SHE ACTUALLY SPEAK? YOU USE THE WORD WHISPER, BUT DOES SHE ACTUALLY WHISPER? OR IS IT JUST THE POWER OF THE THOUGHT AND FORCE OF WILL?
    THIS SENTENCE HAS A LOT OF ACTION PACKED INTO IT. IF THE CHARACTER IS DOING THIS IN A SPLIT SECOND, WHICH IS LIKELY SINCE IT’S HAPPENING IN THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT WOULD TAKE FOR A CHARACTER TO APPEAR, SHORTER SENTENCES WOULD BE BETTER.
    IF HE’S NOT FULLY FORMED, WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO SNAG HIM BY THE ROBE? OR WOULD THE BRANCH PASS THROUGH?

    “It’s not good to surprise an Earth Witch,” I said.
    DID HE SURPRISE HER? OR JUST TRY TO? IT SEEMED LIKE SHE WAS EXPECTING HIM FROM THE VISION, THE DOGS, THE INTRUSION.

    The warlock, swinging in the wind, nodded.
    IT WOULD TAKE A LOT OF WIND TO MAKE A MAN SWING. A LOT.

    “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. I get it. May I come down?”
    “FOOL WITH” MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST PHRASE HERE. IS HE FAMILIAR WITH HER? IT SEEMS SO FROM THIS DIALOGUE EXCHANGE.

    “I am not Mother Nature, but I do know her, and I represent one of her aspects, as all witches do.
    THIS FEELS A BIT LIKE AN INFO DUMP. AND IT ANSWERS MY QUESTION ABOUT FAMILIARITY FROM THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE. WOULDN’T HE BE MORE AFRAID OF BEING STRUNG UP BY A TREE IF HE DIDN’T KNOW HER THAN HE IS?

    And, no, you really, really don’t want to mess with her. Why did you poison the Earth?”
    THE CHARACTER SEEMED AFRAID IN THE FIRST COUPLE SENTENCES, BUT NOW SHE SEEMS MORE IN CONTROL OF THE SITUATION, BUT THERE WASN’T REALLY A LOGICAL SWITCH FOR THAT.

    I like witch stories. 🙂

  • Sagablessed – ready? (Note: caps aren’t shouting, just differentiation)

    I hadn’t been a cat in over a century and a half, and I was glad of it now.
    THE PRONOUN “IT” IN THIS SENTENCE IS UNCLEAR. IS THE GLAD HE/SHE HADN’T BEEN A CAT IN A WHILE? THAT IS HOW IT SOUNDS, BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE WITH THE LATER WORDS.

    Cats don’t sweat, shake, or moan.
    WHY IS THIS SIGNIFICANT? WOULD HE/SHE BE SHAKING, SWEATING, OR MOANING IF HE/SHE WASN’T A CAT?

    Instead I calmly cleaned an immaculate paw as the entire Synod of Familiars surrounded my position, staring at me.
    WHY WOULD HE/SHE CLEAN AN ALREADY CLEAN PAW?
    “SURROUNDED MY POSITION” DOESN’T REALLY MAKE SENSE. PERHAPS SURROUNDED ME?

    Perched on limbs, seated on grass or whatever their bodies allowed, a dozen big wigs encircled the hollow.
    WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “WHATEVER THEIR BODIES ALLOWED”? DO YOU MEAN THAT THEY PERCHED WHERE THEY COULD BASED ON THEIR SIZE, ETC.?
    WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY BIG WIGS? I THINK YOU MEAN IMPORTANT PEOPLE (CATS?) BUT I’M NOT SURE.
    ALSO, THEY’RE CIRCLING THE HOLLOW…AND THE OTHER FAMILIARS ARE SURROUNDING THE MC, SO IS IT LIKE A CIRCLE WITHIN A CIRLE? I AM HAVING A HARD TIME IMAGINING THE LAYOUT OF THE ACTION.

    I almost cursed as I covertly scanned the assembled body.
    SLASH THE ADVERB.

    There were at least three Godsent I recognized.
    TRY TO AVOID STARTING WITH THERE WERE (AND OTHER SIMILAR CONSTRUCTIONS). YOU COULD PUT “I RECOGNIZED THREE GODSENT”

    Continuing my examination, behind them were dozens more -even some wispy forms of familiars without bodies.
    “CONTINUING MY EXAMINATION” IS A DANGLING MODIFIER.
    USE AN EM DASH AFTER MORE RATHER THAN A HYPHEN.

    This was going to be fierce.
    WHAT EXACTLY IS “THIS”? A FIGHT? A MEETING? A SPELL CASTING?

    The glen, hidden from prying eyes, sat perfectly still: with not even a breeze to stir the trees.
    TO ME, GLEN AND HOLLOW HAVE TWO VERY DIFFERENT CONNOTATIONS — ONE HAPPY, ONE SLIGHTLY MENACING.
    THE COLON AFTER STILL ISN’T NEEDED.

    Silence more than anything set my heart pounding.
    IS THE SILENCE NEW? IF NOT, WHY WASN’T HIS/HER HEART POUNDING BEFORE? THE CHARACTER WAS COOL AS A CUCUMBER LICKING HIS/HER PAW A FEW LINES BACK. WHAT CHANGED? WAS IT THE OTHER FAMILIARS APPEARING OR A SUDDEN SILENCE?

    I raised my other paw off the grass and began a thorough washing.
    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FIRST PAW? IS IT STILL IN THE AIR?

    I knew the consequences and was ready to face them.
    OF WHAT? ALSO IF HE/SHE IS READY TO FACE THEM, WHY THE NERVOUSNESS BEFORE?

    ‘Horse crap’ said my brain. I told it to shut up.
    “HORSE CRAP” SHOULD BE IN ITALICS IF IT’S INNER THOUGHT. THE BRAIN DOESN’T USUALLY SPEAK UNLESS IT’S SEPARATE FROM THE BODY IN SORT OF ODD SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT.

  • fA — here you go! Note: caps aren’t shouting, just differentiation.

    Somehow, Knell – this witty man, this intelligent spy, this faithful friend – he who I never dreamed would have fallen so far in my eyes… somehow, he had fallen.
    USE AN EM DASH INSTEAD OF AN EN DASH IN THIS SENTENCE.
    THIS IS A LITTLE WORDY. I REALLY WANTED IT TO GET TO THE POINT SOONER. I THINK THE “HE WHO I NEVER DREAMED WOULD HAVE FALLEN SO FAR IN MY EYES” COULD BE TAKEN OUT. AT THE VERY LEAST WORDED IN A WAY THAT YOU COULD USE A DIFFERENT VERB TENSE.
    THE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE “IN MY EYES” FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SAYING HE FELL IN MY EYES, MUCH LIKE ONE WOULD HAVE DUST FALL IN ONE’S EYE. I THINK IF YOU WROTE THIS AS TWO SENTENCES, IT WOULD BE MORE EFFECTIVE.

    Once an equal, once a person; but now, no more. He was human.
    THE FIRST PART OF THIS ISN’T A COMPLETE THOUGHT. SOME FRAGMENTS CAN BE USED STYLISTICALLY, BUT THIS REALLY NEEDS A VERB.
    THE SEMICOLON SHOULD BE A COMMA.
    AREN’T PERSON AND HUMAN THE SAME? SO HE USED TO BE A PERSON, BUT NOW HE’S NOT A PERSON, SO HE’S A HUMAN? IS THAT WHAT YOU MEAN?

    He was human.
    DID YOU INTEND TO HAVE THIS TWICE? ARE YOU USING THE SECOND ONE FOR EMPHASIS? IF SO, USE ITALICS.

    I lost the next few moments in a black haze.
    A HAZE CAN’T REALLY BE BLACK BECAUSE BLACKNESS IS ABSENCE OF LIGHT, BUT A HAZE IS A DISTORTION OF LIGHT.

    When I woke, it was to the sound of my screams, much louder than it really was even with my face pressed hard against Rev’s chest.
    WHEN DID THE PERSON WAKE? IS THE BLACK HAZE YOU MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY UNCONSCIOUSNESS? “WHEN I WOKE” SAYS TO ME THAT THE PERSON WAS ASLEEP FOR A WHILE.
    TRY TO AVOID STARTING SENTENCES (CLAUSES) WTIH “IT WAS” BECAUSE THE “TO BE” VERB IS VERY WEAK AND CAN BE OFTEN REPLACED BY A STRONGER VERB.
    I AM NOT SURE WHAT “IT” IS THAT WAS LOUD. THE SCREAMS?
    THIS IS THE IMAGE I AM GETTING. THE PERSON LOSES CONSCIOUSNESS, BEGINS SCREAMING, REGAINS CONSCIOUSNESS, REALIZES SHE (HE?) IS SCREAMING, AND IT’S LOUD EVEN THOUGH HER (HIS) FACE IS PRESSED INTO REV’S CHEST. IS THAT CORRECT?

    The blood on my hands was red; deep, dark, red, the most telling mark of its source.
    INSTEAD OF A SEMICOLON, I WOULD USE AN EM DASH.
    WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “THE MOST TELLING MARK OF ITS SOURCE”?

    I did not regret it. Would not, could not, and I did not.
    IF THERE’S NO REGRET, WHY IS SHE SCREAMING?

  • Sneakybea, welcome aboard! Thanks for posting!

    Here you go! (Note: caps aren’t shouting, just differentiation)

    Neri never spoke to Twyla anymore.
    RATHER THAN NEVER SPOKE, YOU MIGHT USE DIDN’T SPEAK.

    She saw her, but only in the literal sense.
    WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY LITERAL SENSE?
    DO YOU MEAN SHE ONLY SAW HER IN GENERAL BUT NEVER SAW HER AS IN INTERACTED WITH HER?

    On the day of Twyla’s wedding, she staked out a large reef not far from Megakles’s mansion and hid herself from view.
    WHO IS SHE IN THIS SENTENCE? NERI OR TWYLA?
    HAVE YOU ALREADY ESTABLISHED WHO MEGAKLES IS?

    She listened for the joyous wedding procession, for the sounds of revelry as the happy couple made their way home. Nothing.
    IS THIS AFTER THE WEDDING? OR DURING? IF IT’S AFTER, WOULD THERE BE A PROCESSION STILL? OR WOULD THERE BE QUIET MOMENTS BETWEEN THE NEWLYWEDS?

    What genre is your mermaid story?

  • Leann

    It wasn’t the pain Hamilton Green first noticed. It was the insane surreal-ness of a boar, a real live f*ing boar, attached to his arm. Or rather specifically it’s nasty, reeking, slobbering mouth with its Satan’s horns, tusks, whatever, pressed deep against his chest. He screamed as this was the only response his brain could come up with in response to this ludicrous situation. It was a high pitched scream that any damsel in distress could take deep pride in. This wasn’t particularly a good thing when, said damsel, was in fact a grown man.

  • Reziac — here you go! Note: caps are not shouting, just differentiation. 🙂

    One of the larger adults swayed toward him, curled a lip–
    WHO/WHAT IS CUTTING OFF THE ACTION HERE?
    SWAYED IS A MORE PASSIVE ACTION, BUT THE CURLING OF LIPS AND BARING OF FANGS ARE MORE AGGRESSIVE ACTIONS, SO THE VERB STRENGTH SHOULD MATCH.

    Rikon bared his fangs — realised he’d done so when the infant bleated distress and the adult’s teeth abruptly went back behind its lips.
    WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED? REALIZED IS THE AMERICAN AND CANADIAN SPELLING, BUT REALISED IS USED OUTSIDE OF NORTH AMERICA.
    DO YOU HAVE TWO ADULTS HERE? OR IS RIKON THE ONE WHO REALIZED HE WAS BARING HIS TEETH AT A BABY?
    DO WE KNOW THE GENDER OF THE ADULT? IF SO, YOU MAY WISH TO PUT HIS OR HER INSTEAD OF ITS.

    It eased back to sit on its haunches; slowly, the other adults copied the first.
    INSTEAD OF COPIED THE FIRST, YOU MIGHT CONDENSE THAT TO ONE WORD LIKE FOLLOWED.

    One of the smaller las ducked its head apologetically, skittered away; returned a few moments later bearing the freshly-bleeding carcass of some creature like an overgrown cwa, which it laid at Rikon’s feet.
    WHAT IS A LAS? IS THIS ALREADY ESTABLISHED?
    YOU MIGHT DO “SKITTERED AWAY AND RETURNED…” INSTEAD OF USING THE SEMICOLON.
    INSTEAD OF FRESHLY BLEEDING, YOU MIGHT USE FREELY BLEEDING OR FRESHLY MAULED OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
    I ASSUME CWA IS ALSO ALREADY ESTABLISHED?

    “Apparently,” Rikon said into the breath-steamed air, “I am now the high prince of Laslor.”
    HA! NICE… IT SORT OF MAKES ME THINK OF MADAGASCAR. 🙂

  • Leann – here we go! (Note: caps aren’t shouting, just differentiation)

    It wasn’t the pain Hamilton Green first noticed.
    BE CAREFUL ABOUT STARTING WITH “IT WAS” OR SIMILAR PHRASES. THE “TO BE” VERB IS VERY WEAK SO TRY TO AVOID IT WHEN YOU CAN. YOUR FIRST TWO SENTENCES START WITH “IT WAS”, SO JUST BE MINDFUL OF THAT.

    It was the insane surreal-ness of a boar, a real live f*ing boar, attached to his arm.
    YOU DON’T NEED TO HYPHENATE SURREALNESS.

    Or rather specifically it’s nasty, reeking, slobbering mouth with its Satan’s horns, tusks, whatever, pressed deep against his chest.
    IN THIS SENTENCE, BE SURE TO DIFFERENTIATE THAT THE MOUTH IS ATTACHED TO THE ARM AND THE HORNS ARE PRESSED AGAINST THE CHEST. YOU MIGHT CONSIDER BREAKING IT INTO TWO SENTENCES OR AT LEAST TWO CLAUSES.
    IT’S SHOULD BE ITS.
    YOU COULD ZAP THAT ADVERB (SPECIFICALLY).
    THE ADJECTIVE DEEP SUGGESTS THAT HE’S BEEN GORED BY THE ANIMAL RATHER THAN JUST PRESSED HARD, SO YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER A DIFFERENT WORD.

    He screamed as this was the only response his brain could come up with in response to this ludicrous situation.
    YOU HAVE THE WORD “RESPONSE” IN THIS SENTENCE TWICE.

    It was a high pitched scream that any damsel in distress could take deep pride in.
    YOU’RE STARTING WITH “IT WAS” AGAIN. YOU MIGHT REWORD THIS SENTENCE THIS WAY: ANY GOOD DAMSEL IN DISTRESS COULD TAKE DEEP PRIDE IN SUCH A HIGH PITCHED SCREAM.

    This wasn’t particularly a good thing when, said damsel, was in fact a grown man.
    YOU MIGHT CONSIDER MAKING A COMPOUND SENTENCE WITH THIS AND THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE. LIKE THIS: ANY GOOD DAMSEL IN DISTRESS COULD TAKE DEEP PRIDE IN SUCH A HIGH PITCHED SCREAM, BUT THIS WASN’T A…
    THE COMMAS SHOULD BE AROUND “IN FACT” INSTEAD OF “SAID DAMSEL”. SO, LIKE THIS: WHEN SAID DAMSEL WAS, IN FACT, A GROWN MAN.

  • adelard_brownlock

    I finally decided to de-lurk after visiting this site nearly everyday for three years. I’ve thinking about joining in for a while now and your offer gave me the push I needed. My WIP is an epic fantasy. This is the opening paragraphs.

    “Where’s the boy?” Kirren asked, his voice a soft rumble.

    The woman glanced nervously at the darkened room to her left. She was old by human standards. Well, older. The vivid red color of her hair was beginning to gray at the roots, and wrinkles marked the natural crevices of her face.

    “Sleeping. Isane’s watching him.” The woman offered Kirren a cup of hot tea. Her knuckles were slightly swollen, the blue veins and tendons clearly visible beneath the dappled skin. Her hands shook but not with age. She regarded her companion with the same nervousness as the darkened room.

  • Adelard — Welcome to the discussion! We’re all very glad to have you here.

    Here’s some feedback on your WIP. Note: caps aren’t shouting in this thread, just differentiation for lack of other options. 🙂

    “Where’s the boy?” Kirren asked, his voice a soft rumble.

    The woman glanced nervously at the darkened room to her left.
    CAN YOU CONVEY THE NERVOUSNESS WITHOUT TELLING THE READER SHE’S NERVOUS? THIS IS A “SHOW, DON’T TELL” SORT OF THING. AND IT WILL GET RID OF THAT ADVERB TOO.
    IS THE BOY IN THE ROOM? IF SO, YOU MIGHT WANT TO ADD THAT.

    She was old by human standards. Well, older.
    IS HER AGE SIGNIFICANT AT THIS POINT? THIS INFORMATION MAY BE CONVEYED IN A DIFFERENT WAY — SLIPPED IN LIKE A WHISPER IN THE DARK RATHER THAN A SHOUT IN THE DAYLIT STREET.

    The vivid red color of her hair was beginning to gray at the roots, and wrinkles marked the natural crevices of her face.
    IF SHE’S OLD, IS HER HAIR COLOR STILL VIVID? ESPECIALLY IF IT’S STARTING TO GRAY. YOU MAY CONSIDER TAKING OUT “AT THE ROOTS” BECAUSE THAT’S A LOGICAL PLACE FOR GRAY TO OCCUR SO IT DOESN’T REALLY NEED TO BE STATED.

    “Sleeping. Isane’s watching him.”
    SHE’S NOT ANSWERING HIS QUESTION OF WHERE HE IS. IS THAT INTENTIONAL?

    The woman offered Kirren a cup of hot tea.
    DID HE TAKE IT?

    Her knuckles were slightly swollen, the blue veins and tendons clearly visible beneath the dappled skin.
    WHY ARE THEY SWOLLEN?
    ARE THE TENDONS BLUE AS WELL?
    YOU HAVE TWO -LY ADVERBS IN THIS ONE SENTENCE. ZAP THOSE FELLAS OUT OF THERE.
    DAPPLED SKIN IS A GOOD WAY TO SUGGEST HER AGE — THAT’S THE KIND OF WHISPER I WAS TALKING ABOUT EARLIER.

    Her hands shook but not with age.
    CAN YOU SHOW THIS INSTEAD OF TELLING US? MAYBE HAVE THE TEACUP RATTLE ON THE SAUCER OR HAVE HER CLASP HER HANDS TO DISGUISE THE TREMOR.

    She regarded her companion with the same nervousness as the darkened room.
    I LIKE THIS SENTENCE.

  • Diana LaVaughn

    The moon hung red and pregnant as Sol, the Lord of Eugene paced the hallway outside the newly built delivery room. His wife kicked him out when he became more nervous than she.
    “You’ve fought how many battles and survived wounds that would kill a lesser man, and you can’t stand a little amniotic fluid? Out with you before you make the baby nervous!” his wife Selena had snapped at him as another contraction rushed through body. The scream she had let out cut into his core, that place where he would lay his life down to protect his child and the woman he loved more than anything.

  • Thanks, Melissa 🙂 This is in the middle of Book 7 in the series, and yes, the various species are already established. Rikon’s species (mesc; humanoid, but not human) was probably an evolutionary offshoot of the las, but las are still animals. Cwa fill roughly the same ecological niche as mice. Mesc and las evolved from a wolf-alike (well, it probably looked more like a hyena), not an ape-alike, and tho mesc could pass for human in dim light (at least, with their clothes on), they don’t react like humans.

    Rikon tends to regard all animals as “it” and does not acknowledge (or even notice) their gender; this habit is well-established.

    And yes, I use a lot of British spellings. We also have lifts and flats and boots rather than elevators and apartments and aircar trunks. But not on this planet. 🙂

  • Tdancer2

    Thanks for the feedback! And yes, this did show up in one of the slushes… two years ago. Good memory!

  • Wow, Melissa, thanks for the detailed feedback! My story is a mystery set in space–still not sure whether to call it mystery or SF whenever I get ready to send it out. The MC did in fact kill the brother in question (for good reasons), but she is trying to be honest so she answers the way she does deliberately. By this point in the story, the other characters and the readers will know all about the rogue camp and the tortures, and it’s entirely reasonable to suspect the main character of being there. The dialogue at the beginning wasn’t working for me either and I really appreciate your suggestions on how to make it better.

  • Sneakybea

    Thank you so much for the feedback, Melissa! I had some problems with pronouns and contextualizing this scene, so your input definitely helps. In answer to your question, this is a YA fantasy, a retelling of the Little Mermaid tied in with the legend of Atargatis and addressing the realities of political marriage.

  • kgordhamer

    I’ll give it a shot.

    ****

    Jesse rolled his eyes and tongued the toothpick in his mouth from left to right. “Sure, yeah, Andre headed straight for Cutter’s house. Like that was a tough call.” Jesse tapped the dashboard with his forefinger. “But what now? What, Andre’s gonna convince Cutter that the cops picked him up but he didn’t say nothin’?” He turned to look at me and god almighty, he actually looked like he cared. “Cutter’s gonna open him up quicker than a tax refund even if he doesn’t think he’s wearin’ a wire!” He turned back to watching the house where Andre was chatting with Cutter’s boys. After a moment Jesse said “And he will!”

    Think he’s wearing a wire, I finished for him, because of course I thought the same thing.

    ****

  • Ha! Was going to post when there were only two responses! It got popular.

    ***

    The dry dirt hills of Kyllyw baked in the sun. A foul smell rose up from the sludge lingering in the creek bed. The golden rattlesnake grasses rustled and chittered as the three children moved through them. The tall boy looked out with sharp eyes, raising a stick above his head and pointing. “Look!”

    The two girls looked. The elder squeezed her younger sister’s hand. “Do you see, Danyn? Do you see the traveler?”

    The figure toiling up the steep roads was occluded by the cloud of dust thrown up by her steps. But a hint of darkness weighted the center of the tawny cloud.

  • I’m catching up! Keep an eye out and I will try to get to all these today. 🙂

    Diana — here you go! (Note caps aren’t shouting, just differentiation)

    The moon hung red and pregnant as Sol, the Lord of Eugene paced the hallway outside the newly built delivery room.
    IN THIS SENTENCE, I THOUGHT THAT SOL WAS THE PREGNANT ONE, BUT THAT’S NOT QUITE POSSIBLE. 🙂
    WAS THE DELIVERY ROOM THE ONLY THING NEWLY BUILT? OR THE WHOLE AREA?

    His wife kicked him out when he became more nervous than she.
    THE VERB TENSE HERE SHOULD BE PAST PERFECT — HAD KICKED HIM OUT WHEN HE HAD BECOME — BECAUSE IT’S SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED FURTHER IN THE PAST THAN THE “PRESENT” ACTION

    “You’ve fought how many battles and survived wounds that would kill a lesser man, and you can’t stand a little amniotic fluid? Out with you before you make the baby nervous!” his wife Selena had snapped at him as another contraction rushed through body.
    THE SENTENCES YOU HAVE OF HER “SNAPPING” AT HIM ARE VERY DETAILED AND PROBABLY WOULDN’T FIT WITH A WOMAN HAVING A CONTRACTION – PERHAPS SHE COULD SAY THIS BETWEEN CONTRACTIONS?

    The scream she had let out cut into his core, that place where he would lay his life down to protect his child and the woman he loved more than anything.
    YOU MIGHT WANT TO PUT “THAT PLACE WHERE HE KNEW HE WOULD” — ADDING IN KNEW MAKES IT MORE OF AN EMOTIONAL PLACE THAN A PHYSICAL PLACE.


    She doesn’t die in childbirth, does she?

  • Diana LaVaughn

    Thanks Melissa! That was very helpful! No, she doesn’t die in childbirth!

  • Kgordhamer: here you go!

    Jesse rolled his eyes and tongued the toothpick in his mouth from left to right.
    CAN YOU SHOW THE ACTION OF MOVING THE TOOTHPICK INSTEAD OF TELLING? MAYBE THE OTHER CHARACTER COULD SEE HIS MOUTH MOVING AS HE SHIFTED IT AROUND. UNLESS HE’S STICKING OUT HIS TONGUE, THE POV CHARACTER WOULDN’T REALLY SEE THAT, RIGHT?

    “Sure, yeah, Andre headed straight for Cutter’s house. Like that was a tough call.”
    IS THAT LAST SENTENCE SUPPOSED TO BE SARCASM? IF SO, IT’S NOT COMING THROUGH AS CLEARLY AS IT SHOULD. CAN YOU ADD AN ACTION THAT SIGNALS THE SARCASM AFTER THE STATEMENT?

    Jesse tapped the dashboard with his forefinger. “But what now? What, Andre’s gonna convince Cutter that the cops picked him up but he didn’t say nothin’?”
    IN THE LAST SENTENCE, WHO IS THE SECOND HE REFERRING TO?

    He turned to look at me and god almighty, he actually looked like he cared. “Cutter’s gonna open him up quicker than a tax refund even if he doesn’t think he’s wearin’ a wire!”
    ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT SOMEONE THEY’RE WATCHING OR SOMETHING THAT’S ALREADY HAPPENED?

    He turned back to watching the house where Andre was chatting with Cutter’s boys.
    AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS, I THOUGHT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAD ALREADY HAPPENED. I AM A BIT CONFUSED HERE ABOUT THE ORDER OF THE EVENTS. IF THAT’S COVERED IN EARLIER STORY, THEN DISREGARD. 🙂

    After a moment Jesse said “And he will!”
    BE SURE TO PUT A COMMA AFTER SAID.
    YOU MAY WANT TO USE ELLIPSES INSTEAD OF A QUOTATION MARK, ESPECIALLY IF THE POV CHARACTER IS GOING TO FINISH WHAT HE LEAVES UNSAID.

    Think he’s wearing a wire, I finished for him, because of course I thought the same thing.
    YOU SHOULD PUT COMMAS AROUND “OF COURSE”


    Neat story. I want to know if he gets cut open and if that’s why the guy’s called Cutter!

  • Cara – here you go! (Side note: I am glad it has been popular! It’s sure fun, too.)

    The dry dirt hills of Kyllyw baked in the sun. A foul smell rose up from the sludge lingering in the creek bed. The golden rattlesnake grasses rustled and chittered as the three children moved through them. The tall boy looked out with sharp eyes, raising a stick above his head and pointing. “Look!”
    IS THIS THE OPENING? I LIKE THE DESCRIPTION.

    The two girls looked.
    WHERE DID THEY LOOK? TOWARD WHERE THE BOY WAS POINTING? DO THEY NEED TO SHIELD THEIR EYES FROM THE SUN OR ANYTHING?

    The elder squeezed her younger sister’s hand. “Do you see, Danyn? Do you see the traveler?”
    YOU PROBABLY DON’T NEED BOTH “ELDER” AND “YOUNGER” — THEY BOTH TELL THE READER THE SAME THING.

    The figure toiling up the steep roads was occluded by the cloud of dust thrown up by her steps. But a hint of darkness weighted the center of the tawny cloud.
    IN THE EARLIER DESCRIPTION, I IMAGINED MORE ROLLING, SMOOTH HILLS THAN STEEP ROADS. IS SHE WALKING? OR RIDING A HORSE? HOW MUCH DUST WOULD A SINGLE PERSON WALKING KICK UP? (I REALLY DON’T KNOW…)

    I really like this. Is this a weird western?

  • Wow, woman, you are ballsy! I’m shocked only this many have commented…I’m tempted to post this on Facebook…oh wait, I already did…Oopsy! 😉 xoxoxo

  • jasondrexler

    Here’s just less than 100 words from a YA novel I’m working on:

    A twig snapped and she spun towards the sound—it was those same two boys, peeking at her from the thin strip of woods between her and the next camp, and in an instant her whole body was coursing with anger. She glared at them, then turned and stormed towards her family’s camp.
    “Wait, wait, wait!” said the dark-haired boy. “We didn’t mean to startle you!”
    “No, of course not,” she said. “You were just spying on me.”
    “We weren’t spying on you!” She stopped and glared at him in disbelief. “I mean, not exactly.”