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Second attempt

Hi. Some might remember I posted the first 3 chapters of my novel last week, and some of you were good enough to give us your thoughts. It’s been a bit of a struggle, but here goes. I’ve just started with the first page, just want to see if I’m on the right lines first. Not sure where my original post went, it’s gone! Cheers

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  • Hi Brendon I am no expert but I can give you my impressions as a reader. There are some great descriptions I especially liked 'he was cast aside... and his finger brushed..... 

    Looking at the first sentence I found it a little out of place and confusing. Maybe you should start from the second paragraph and thread the first in somewhere else. I think maybe you could cut some of the fillers e.g. He turned to his side, his eyes started to moisten as he his fingers brushed the surface of the photograph. 'Why mum?'

    I think there are other areas that are a bit wordy in description and could benefit from cutting.  overall it paints a good  picture of a man broken and depressed, but my attention would wander if there are too many adjectives as it would if there are too few. 

    Not sure if that's at all helpful but its my point of view. Others I'm sure will be able to give you fuller feedback. Happy writing!



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    • Thanks, I think you’re right about the first paragraph, as I can’t tie it into the next paragraph

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      • Hi Brendan, 

        You definitely cut things down, but I'm afraid to say that a lot of it still comes across as a list of stage directions. 

        The second paragraph is riddled with eyes direction (in bold):

        "Slouched on the bed, Frank stared at the ceiling, his eyelids flickering. He turned to his side, peering at a tatty photo, leaning against his sad, bedside lamp. Staring, he started to blink, as his eyes moistened. Reaching out, his hand wavered, before taking the picture."

        That eye movement 5 times in a three line paragraph.

        Another example:

        "Sitting up, he swung his legs to the edge of the bed, before throwing his arms forward, and pushing down on his knees."

        That's a line and an half, 4 stage direction in one sentence to say: he got off the bed. If I were an agent reading this, this would tell me that the manuscript is likely to have an inflated word count because of unnecessary and overwritten stage direction. As everything else in writing it's a balance of knowing when to describe for a vivid image and when to pull back. Pulling back doesn't mind that the reader won't be able to picture it. You have to trust your  reader and trust that they can paint a picture without you having to give them every single details.

        For example:

        He stood in front of the door. He gripped the handle before pushing down on it and pushing the door.

        You wouldn't write that because it's just an overwritten, blow by blow of "he opened the door". But by just saying he opened the door as a reader in my mind I see all the step of what opening the door entails.

        It's just a question of practise, practise and keep asking for feedback. Also it can be a good exercise to read critically. Read a paragraph from a book similar to your story, analyse how much or how little stage direction there is, where does the author pull back, etc...

        I hope this helps.

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        • Hi Brendan, 

          You definitely cut things down, but I'm afraid to say that a lot of it still comes across as a list of stage directions. 

          The second paragraph is riddled with eyes direction (in bold):

          "Slouched on the bed, Frank stared at the ceiling, his eyelids flickering. He turned to his side, peering at a tatty photo, leaning against his sad, bedside lamp. Staring, he started to blink, as his eyes moistened. Reaching out, his hand wavered, before taking the picture."

          That eye movement 5 times in a three line paragraph.

          Another example:

          "Sitting up, he swung his legs to the edge of the bed, before throwing his arms forward, and pushing down on his knees."

          That's a line and an half, 4 stage direction in one sentence to say: he got off the bed. If I were an agent reading this, this would tell me that the manuscript is likely to have an inflated word count because of unnecessary and overwritten stage direction. As everything else in writing it's a balance of knowing when to describe for a vivid image and when to pull back. Pulling back doesn't mind that the reader won't be able to picture it. You have to trust your  reader and trust that they can paint a picture without you having to give them every single details.

          For example:

          He stood in front of the door. He gripped the handle before pushing down on it and pushing the door.

          You wouldn't write that because it's just an overwritten, blow by blow of "he opened the door". But by just saying he opened the door as a reader in my mind I see all the step of what opening the door entails.

          It's just a question of practise, practise and keep asking for feedback. Also it can be a good exercise to read critically. Read a paragraph from a book similar to your story, analyse how much or how little stage direction there is, where does the author pull back, etc...

          I hope this helps.

          Thanks for your comments, looks like there is a lot of work to do.

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