Pages

Monday, September 24, 2012

Excerpt Workshop! Please Leave Criticism


With a lack of anything else to post, I decided a little bit of work-shopping would be fun. So here's an excerpt from a fanfiction I'm working on, which I would like to turn into an original piece. This particular segment is one of my favourites, but I think it could be much improved on. While there is a lot I would like to add after doing a bit of world-building and turning the whole thing into my own story, I wanted to hear what people out there thought. So tell me, what do you like, what don't you like, what should I keep, scrap and maybe even add? Tear it apart! Go! 

They walked back to the school and around the perimeter of the grounds. The rain had let up and sunlight was starting to break through the clouds. Between the tall buildings and carefully planted trees, the walls surrounding the city peeked at them; a constant reminder of the too-structured society keeping them safe from the dangers of the outside world; dangers that his father was causing, and dangers that her father was fighting against. 
Have you guys got a particular passage from your current WIP that you love, but you would like to see made better? Feel free to share it in the comments below (keep it short-ish) and I'll happily read and give criticism in return. Inviting all bloggers to take part in criticizing my excerpt and the excerpts of others who post in the comments! Or if you'd like to do something like this in your own blogpost, just let me know and I'll pop over and take a look.

- Bonnee.

17 comments:

  1. My edited version below (although as you can tell, my editing is hard to do as I prefer a very different style):

    They trudged back to the school, making their way around the border of its grounds. Light from the sun was finally breaking through the clouds and bouncing off puddles made around the skirts of the cement path and glass walls of the buildings all around them. (Here you have two choices, because your meaning is unclear)
    Option 1: What could have been a beautiful sight was instead a painful reminder of the structured society that was supposed to keep them safe from danger; the danger his father was causing, the danger her father was fighting.
    Option 2: The buildings watched over them like powerful guardians, keeping them safe from the danger of the outside world; the danger his father was causing, the danger her father was fighting.

    I guess for me the descriptiveness was quite basic and "too-structured" sounded like a negative connotation but I was unsure if the "danger" was therefore sarcastic or sincere. Note also the removal of the words "and" "against" to improve the rhythm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, a very different style for sure! Nonetheless, there are some things I'd like to take from your suggestions. Descriptions could be a little less basic and "too-structured" IS supposed to be a negative connotation. While the "danger" is sincere, the city is like an over-protective and controlling parent. Getting rid of "and" and "against".

      Thank you for the input!

      Delete
  2. I like the overall feel of the piece, particularly the ending. I think there are a couple of things to look at: Your first two sentences have a rhythm that I think is too similar--'perimeter of the grounds', 'starting to break through the clouds'. I'd say lengthen one or the other, just to break up that up a little bit.

    Next is the use of the word 'peeked'. I'm not sure I like it, as 'peek' and 'peeked' always makes me think of something more light-hearted, and these walls are ominous, I think. On the other hand, it juxtaposes well with the rest of the passage, which I really like. I do suggest using a colon instead of a semi after 'peeked at them'. I think you want more of the stop in that spot that a colon implies. Nice work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that you point out the similar rhythms, I see the problem. Yuck. First sentence has been shortened and second has been lengthened. I must not rhyme!

      While the juxtaposition of 'peeked' against the rest of the passage is effective, I'm uncertain if I want to change it to 'stared' or not. Colon in use.

      Thank you so much for your input!

      Delete
  3. My writing is simpler, so I find both your segment and the one by Poetic too complex for YA fiction (assuming you write for YA). I try to follow the simple writing style of THE HUNGER GAMES. But every author writes differently.
    Your segement have three sentences, and the third one is too long, being almost 4 lines. You have to break it to shorter sentences. I am rewriting following your writing, not aiming to change it completely.
    "They walked back to school, hoping to find (or meet) ... (explain why they walk to school). The rain had let up and rays of sunlight broke throught the clouds. They walked through the tall building and carefully planted trees. They felt the walls surrounding the city looking at them, watching their steps. (now dialouge)
    "These walls keep us safe from the dangers of th eoutside world," he said.
    "Yes, the dangers that your father was causing. The dangers that my father is fighting to prevent," she said.
    (now continue the dialouge between them about their fathers).
    Again, every author will do it differently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still haven't read The Hunger Games, I should probably do that at some point. I see that your writing style is very different to mine: too simplistic for me. And 5 sentences in a row beginning with a word that starts with 'T' starts to sound a little choppy.

      Out of context, I guess it's pretty hard to judge what needs to be put in. What came before this passage explains why they walk to the school. They've already spoken about their feelings about the set-up of the city and their fathers.

      I'll have to see what I can do about that last sentence. What with the semi-colons and commas, I'd forgotten to consider just how long it was. Thanks for your input!

      Delete
    2. That's the one thing I dislike about the various online blog contests (first line, first page, seventh line on page 77): there's a lack of context. So, in this case, we don't know why they're walking back to school, but we would have, had we been reading 'normally.' The sentence length is a matter of taste and flow. I like a good long sentence, and often write them (I've never reached James Joyce standards, but I have occasionally challenged James Fenimore Cooper).

      Ah, the fun world of conflicting critique!

      Delete
    3. Well I try at look at it as getting as many different opinions as I can. I'm not trying to please everybody in the blogosphere by any means, but the more input I get to better this, the better I can fix it myself, taking what i like best from everyone's criticism. :) Unfortunately, that lack of context does come in to play...

      Delete
  4. That sounds great! Can you put in some dialogue or a sense of action - maybe make it come alive? I love the description, but it's often more interesting when it's layered in among dialogue and/or action.

    Well done, though! Good luck with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering it's only a short snippet, I'll assure you that it is in among some dialogue and other actions, though I'll see if there's anything else I can do to enhance it. Thank you for your encouragement. :)

      Delete
  5. hey i liked it! good combo of visual language with deeper meaningful symbolisms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'm glad you think so :)

      Delete
  6. Hi Bonnee- loved it! Only suggestion I would make is "...breaking through the clouds..." and that's such a small tweak. You do great work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that, Rick :) Thanks for the encouragement too!

      Delete
  7. woooooooooooooooooh that is so good!!! still sure you're going to be on the bestseller's list :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) Haha I'm flattered...

      Delete
    2. hahaha im good at flattery cx

      Delete

Have your say.

Google+ Followers

Follow by Email