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Just a milestone.

by TimmyJake


I wrote the first part of this a year ago, and have since written my book over. I just wanted to show people how far I have gone since then! I work on my book an hour a day and I think that, because of that, it has gotten much better since then. If not my grammar, then my writing style.

This page is an exerpt from Trako fighting a lifelong enemy of his, scrolvs. They are fickle stupid creatures possessing only one thing, strength. He seems to perfect and powerful in this page, unable to fall. The scrolvs seem like the monsters in toy story, fake and not scary like they are intended to be.

There were only two left now and they didn’t look very enthusiastic about fighting me. I flipped backward out of the bin onto the ground again. They followed slowly looking at each other nervously. I don’t think that they ever thought of the possibilities of if they just charged me, but charged me together this time and used their brains, [that is assuming they possessed one.]

But they decided to use part of it at least and started talking to each other nervously in their whistle tones. They nodded silently and after a moment of looking at all their dead and bowing to them snarled at me and sheathed their weapons. Then they nodded to each other and turned and smiled at me. They walked up to me and held out all eight hands to shake.

It seemed weird, one second they were my enemy the next my friend? But of course I did the dumb thing. I stuck my hand out to shake and was overwhelmed by them.

Each hand got a turn shaking mine, and after eight shakes by them I tell you my hand was not in very good condition. They smiled and handed my sword from the last of their dead comrades smiling at me.

I took it warily but they didn’t even pay any notice, just gurgled on and on whistling to me in their strange language assuming that I understood them. From behind me I heard a laugh and the tattooed dude stepped out of the shadows slowly, holding his head. His swords were in his hands, he wasn’t smiling.

And there is the end of that exerpt. I allow you to cringe. :)

This is a page from a different version, written a year after the first. I actually wrote this about two weeks ago. He has lost his power given to him from birth, taken by the person who gave it. The Scale Gift. He has just gotten knocked out by a "friend" that that another friend told him to go meet for answers. He threatened "Steilla". Trako tried to step in and stop "Orin" from hurting her and gets knocked out with a wine bottle in the process. Another friend of Trako's, a boy named Xuroe, does succeed in knocking out Orin. Trako has been asleep on a couch in Orin's living room all night due to being knocked out.

Captain Useless

Trako was starting to feel like Captain Useless. After playing with a parrot and talking with a drunkard who only cared about liquor, he was tempted to have a drink himself.

Then, when he tried to keep Orin from hurting Steilla, something that he thought Orin would have never done, he had been knocked out immediately.

What a show.

Of course Xuroe, with his scale gift intact, had no problems dealing with Orin. One punch knocked him out cold.

But Trako never got to see that. He was unconscious the whole time. In fact, when he finally did wake, Orin was already up and about, drinking again.

Trako pushed himself up from the couch slowly, his head spinning. He felt as though he hadn’t eaten in days. The transfer of the scale-gifts had taken a lot out of him. More than he realized, in fact. He was weak and it would be a long while before he regained his full physical strength.

His scale-gifts? Now that was a different matter entirely.

They were confiscated and he was in detention. He had the dunce cap on, sitting on the bench for the world to see. He was a half-breed, but he had no way to show it. When a scrolv attacked, he was defenseless against the brutal onslaught that always followed. He couldn’t even fight an old man without getting beat up!


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Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:51 pm
Kassiani wrote a review...



Hi again!

This is definitely a cool and unique story. Overall, I didn't find any major issues with these excerpts. Of course, they're not that long, so it's kind of hard to tear them apart.

The second one is better and my favorite, for sure. It is indeed much smoother than the first and flows better; just has a nicer rhythm to it, if that makes sense.

Still, I wouldn't say the first one was necessarily bad, either. Just needs some TLC. ;)

Okay, before I bore you with my ramblings any further, let me get the nitpicks out of the way:

but charged me together this time and used their brains, [that is assuming they possessed one.]


Should be:

'...but they charged at me together this, using their brains (assuming they possessed any).'

They smiled and handed my sword from the last of their dead comrades smiling at me.


"Smiled/smiling" is repetitive here.

Those were really the only glaring faults I could find. So even your first excerpt isn't ridden with awful mistakes. Yay! :)

I agree with EloquentDragon's advice, and don't really have much to add in the way of improvement. I will say that I think this is an intriguing idea—posting two excerpts, a year apart from each other, of the same story to show the improvements you've made. Very interesting, indeed. And fun to read and compare.

All in all, nice work! I'd say "keep writing," but obviously you already know that. ;)




timmyjake says...


Thanks!



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Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:50 am
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Archer wrote a review...



Big difference between the two excerpts! Your writing style is more refined in the second excerpt, and there are far fewer grammatical errors.

The second excerpt, though, feels like it takes place in two different locations. It starts off as if Trako is in a bar somewhere, but then moves to the scene where he is waking up after falling asleep on the couch.

I think the entire scene is supposed to take place around the couch with the opening paragraph being a recollection of last night's events. If so, I'd suggest just some simple rewording. For example, change:

After playing with a parrot and talking with a drunkard who only cared about liquor, he was tempted to have a drink himself.


To:

He was tempted to have a drink himself last night after playing with a parrot and talking with a drunkard who only cared about liquor.

That way, it's clearer that this is all stuff he's remembering.

Also, avoid the phrase "in fact." It can be a good phrase for essay writing, but it comes off as too pedantic in fiction writing. Plus, it's hardly ever necessary (here, you can safely remove both without substituting anything new in).

Anyways, really interesting to see the difference in writing styles over a year!




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Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:33 pm



Nice improvements, but I think you are being harsh on yourself in the first extract. It is not as bad as you make out.




timmyjake says...


Thanks! I HATE that first version myself.





I agree with TakeThat, although I read the first section as a comedy. xD



timmyjake says...


a comedy!!?



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Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:15 am
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EloquentDragon wrote a review...



I'll be your faithful reviewer for today.

First off, I have no idea what any of this is about. You should put the "this is to show people blah blah" in the description, not the title. The title should indicate that this is an excerpt. You should probably give us a summary of the stuff that's preceded this so we have an idea of what is happening. As is, it's hard to critique the writing itself when the confusing story events get in the was and distract us.

Now then...

There were only two left now and they didn’t look very enthusiastic about fighting me.


Commas seem to be your weak point. Try to pause every now and then. Reading out loud helps if you have a tricky sentence. "There were only two left now, and they didn't look very enthusiastic." It will help flow, will be easier to read, and impress readers when you use them correctly. Separate your thoughts, pull apart the phrases here and don't just stick them into one huge sentence.

I flipped backward out of the bin onto the ground again. They followed slowly looking at each other nervously. I don’t think that they ever thought of the possibilities of if they just charged me, but charged me together this time and used their brains, [that is assuming they possessed one.]


You need to clarify the action. I shouldn't have to read over this two or three times before I get what you are saying. Instant comprehension, especially, especially for action scenes. How do you achieve this? Separate thoughts that should be separate. As I've said before. Pause so the reader can breathe, and keep your singulars singular and your plurals plural.

REVISED:
"I flipped backwards, out of the bin, and landed back on the ground. They looked at each other nervously before following me slowly. Without considering any other possibilities, they charged me. Together this time. Using their brains, I assumed. (If they had any, I suppose.)

Commas help pacing, slow things down so we can process what is going on. Also, try to have things in a logical sequence of events. For example, they would hesitate and then charge him, as opposed to charging him and then looking at each other nervously.

But they decided to use part of it at least and started talking to each other nervously in their whistle tones. They nodded silently and after a moment of looking at all their dead and bowing to them snarled at me and sheathed their weapons. Then they nodded to each other and turned and smiled at me. They walked up to me and held out all eight hands to shake.


Same thing about the action here. It's confusing. Extricate the phrases here, they are all stuck together in a perplexing, muddy diction. One phrase per thought. Also, notice how you start each sentence with a subject, except for "then." This is very repetitive, and starts to wear down on the reader's (mine, anyway) patience.

But of course I did the dumb thing. I stuck my hand out to shake and was overwhelmed by them.


How would that be a "dumb" thing? Try to be more specific. In description and in word choice.

Trako was starting to feel like Captain Useless. After playing with a parrot and talking with a drunkard who only cared about liquor, he was tempted to have a drink himself.


Okay, this is first person POV. You can't do this here. How on earth does your MC know what Trako is feeling? Is he telepathic? Omniscient? What?

Trako pushed himself up from the couch slowly, his head spinning.


Why the sudden scene change? Is this your "revised part?" If so, you need to indicate this by a huge line or tell us or something. I was left scratching my head.

He had the dunce cap on, sitting on the bench for the world to see.


I don't really like this simile. It is buried in colloquialism and does not seem to fit in an other-world alien story.

When a scrolv attacked, he was defenseless against the brutal onslaught that always followed.


"IF a Scrovl attacked, he WOULD BE defenseless against the brutal onslaught that always followed."

So, overall, I can't really comment on the story since I don't know what's happening. But you do have an interesting premise, and I did find this funny. So be thee calmed by knowing those two things.

But I CAN give you some tips on pacing, which seems to be a trickier area for you.

1. Cut unneeded description. This one is huge. Scenery, characters, and minor character actions mostly.

2. Focus on shorter, simpler sentences.

3. Cut down on the adjectives and adverbs. This sort of goes into number one.

4. Stick to what is actually happening, right now, in the scene. Not what they did or what they are planning to do, what they're are doing in the present.

5. Cut narratorial intrusions. Those are the "I assumed" and "And that was all" and so forths.

6. Don't use more than three characters in a scene. General rule of thumb, but this is mostly just for action and fight scenes.

7. Don't have your POV character start monologueing. This can be in dialogue or, such as in your case, the prose itself.

8. Pull in close. Give us a sense of detail, and it will add tension. "His fingers whitened as the gripped the handle of the gun. He flinched and the bullet exploded out of the barrel" instead of "He grabbed the gun with his hand and shot it."

9. This shouldn't read like a stage play. Sure, give us an idea of where your characters are standing in relation to one another, what they are doing, etc. But SHOW, don't tell. Give us the general idea with suggestion and imagery, don't just state what they are doing, which creates a dull, plodding pace.

Now, the things I listed above might not be problems with this particular piece, but hopefully you can pull some helpful tips from it. That was my intention anyway.

Hope all this helped, keep writing!
~ED




timmyjake says...


I am sorry. Perhaps this should have been in a forum instead of this. These are exerpts from two different versions of my book. No wonder they don't make sense to you! I suppose I didn't make sense of it all. I was just trying to tell people to write, write and write. Because I liked my second page of that short story much more than I like the first. I wrote them a year apart, but are in totally different parts of the story. I will unpublish it because it doesn't make any sense. Sorry.





Well, maybe don't unpublish it, but do indicate what this is for and where the change in versions occur. I think you should leave it up though, sort of as a little milestone to yourself and others how you have come. That was your intention, afterall.



timmyjake says...


Alright. But even if I give everybody two or three pages explaining the first parts of the book, they will still not understand! Still think so?





Summary meaning, "Trako fights aliens, in this scene blah blah blah." Don't summarize the whole book, just the stuff that came right before this. You should also provide a little paragraph explaining what the purpose of this is.



timmyjake says...


I am working on it now. Thank you.



timmyjake says...


It is back up! Let me know if it is better!





Yep, much better!



timmyjake says...


Alright! Good!!




Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.
— Plato