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Old Jan 17 2007, 03:18 AM   #1
Bowerbird
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Default My book five

Okay - as I have said before, for some reason or other I have been bit and bit bad with the writing bug. I find myself with a compulsion to write the fifth book in the Freedom series.

Anyway here is an exerpt. I know it does not feature Zainal and Kris as lead roles but there is a reason for this. I would like some feedback about whether this scene is too trite in an evil overlordish way.

Quote:
Paxel and Nilista struggled between the two guards as they dragged them before the Eosi Mentat Ar. The mentat looked down on them, clicking it's nails against the arm of the chair.

"So this is one of the rebels........? You have brought me a rebel and an escapee. My gratitude Perizec"

"I ask only that whatever you do to him is sufficient. Sufficient to make the others fear and return to the true path of serving the Eosi "

"Do you now? But it is your line that produced the worst of all rebels, Zainal" Ar spat the last word "In fact he was your son! Raised by you to serve us! Instead he killed over one hundred Eosi! And you come here today asking forgiveness and offering this, this nothing! Zainal still exists!! Zainal has risen to prominence! He has taken from us our means for regeneration - the lines of Catteni we had bred for our needs! And now all you offer is this!"
For the first time Perizec noted the tremor in the hands of the Mentat and the aging skin. An idea came to him.

"There is a way you could learn the innermost secrets of the rebels and at the same time get a strong new body. I know he has had the widest of experiences working with the humans he would be an ideal candidate!!"

The Mentat eyed the tall young Catteni before him. He bore marks of a nerve whip and other damage. Yes to subsume this one would give him access to all of it's memories and with it access to the rebels. However in bringing it before him there had been damage done to it. It bore marks of the nerve whip Even if he were to undertake subsumation today, impossible since it took days to prepare, he would be forced to endure the lingering pain of the nerve whip. The mentat looked from Paxel to Nilista. He noticed how they looked at each other. So there was an emotional connection between the two. Delicious! If he subsumed the male he could then take pleasure with the female. Anticipation was such joy!

"Yes, it might serve a purpose.... as might you. I wonder if this Zainal would come if he knew we had his father in less than comfortable conditions. Take them all away"
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Old Jan 17 2007, 05:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: My book five

First, the scene is decently written, though a scene is only 1/100th a book.

Second, you need to work a bit on grammar type stuff...like remembering to capitolize all titles and be sure the dialogue is labelled so that we know who is speaking and such.

Third, if you feel yourself capable of continuing another author's work, you should feel far more than capable of developing your own. There's nothing I dislike more than fan-fic based on a continuation of already existing characters and situations (such as something I recently read about Ruth flying a silver dragon ).

A creative mind is wasted on other peoples' work.
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Old Jan 17 2007, 07:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: My book five

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowerbird View Post
Okay - as I have said before, for some reason or other I have been bit and bit bad with the writing bug. I find myself with a compulsion to write the fifth book in the Freedom series.

Anyway here is an exerpt. I know it does not feature Zainal and Kris as lead roles but there is a reason for this. I would like some feedback about whether this scene is too trite in an evil overlordish way.
Paxel and Nilista struggled between the two guards as they dragged them before the Eosi Mentat Ar. The mentat looked down on them, clicking it's nails against the arm of the chair.

The "they" is grammatically ambiguous. Make sure you understand the difference between its/it's, and also its close cousins they're/there/their and your/you're.


"So this is one of the rebels........? You have brought me a rebel and an escapee. My gratitude Perizec"

Far too many periods. Don't use any more than is correct, and consider if you need any at all. If you're going to have him end the sentence with a long, considering pause, you may wish to USE that opportunity to show what's going on with a bit of description/characterisation. You're also failing to punctuate spoken text correctly.

"I ask only that whatever you do to him is sufficient. Sufficient to make the others fear and return to the true path of serving the Eosi "

"Do you now? But it is your line that produced the worst of all rebels, Zainal" Ar spat the last word "In fact he was your son! Raised by you to serve us! Instead he killed over one hundred Eosi! And you come here today asking forgiveness and offering this, this nothing! Zainal still exists!! Zainal has risen to prominence! He has taken from us our means for regeneration - the lines of Catteni we had bred for our needs! And now all you offer is this!"

Okay, it's fairly clear from context that Ar and Perizec are the only speakers right now. That's not too bad. But the only punctuation you're using is exclamation marks, and you're using them to excess. SHOW us what's happening - that Ar's beginning to raise his voice, and becoming increasingly irate... or that he's staying cold, steady and quiet, but his face is flushing with supressed rage... or whatever, really. Also, this whole dialogue smacks of "As you know, Bob," infodumping.

For the first time Perizec noted the tremor in the hands of the Mentat and the aging skin. An idea came to him.

"There is a way you could learn the innermost secrets of the rebels and at the same time get a strong new body. I know he has had the widest of experiences working with the humans he would be an ideal candidate!!"

Again, the identity of the speaker is perfectly clear, but the grammar is very shoddy. Too many "!", not enough of anything else. I'm half expecting to see the odd !!11eleventy!1! in there... Also, who is "he"? Zainal, who has just been discussed, or one of the two prisoners present? Yes, it clarifies itself somewhat in the next paragraph, but that's not good enough.

The Mentat eyed the tall young Catteni before him.

Which one?

He bore marks of a nerve whip and other damage. Yes to subsume this one would give him access to all of it's memories and with it access to the rebels.

Grammar, punctuation... You've also switched POVs a lot so far - Prisoners, Perizac, now Ar. So, you're dealing with an omniscient POV - keep a close eye on that. If you don't give the clues for a shift in focus, the reader will struggle to place everything in its rightful place.

However in bringing it before him there had been damage done to it. It bore marks of the nerve whip Even if he were to undertake subsumation today, impossible since it took days to prepare, he would be forced to endure the lingering pain of the nerve whip. The mentat looked from Paxel to Nilista. He noticed how they looked at each other. So there was an emotional connection between the two. Delicious! If he subsumed the male he could then take pleasure with the female. Anticipation was such joy!

"Yes, it might serve a purpose.... as might you. I wonder if this Zainal would come if he knew we had his father in less than comfortable conditions. Take them all away"

Who is he addressing now? Not Perizac, surely - he's not going to take himself into custody, is he?



Anyway. Overall, I don't think you need to worry about whether or not it's trite yet. We've barely seen a thing happen in this scene, there's no characterisation, the grammar and punctuation is sloppy... but at least you seem to have a plot in mind. Keep writing, and bear in mind that practise makes perfect (or at least leads to minor improvement). You don't need to label your dialogue much more than it already is, in terms of identifying the speaker - you generally do this reasonably well. But you do need to work on the clarity of what is actually said, and you REALLY need to think about adding a few "stage directions", some more descriptive passages, and some level of emotional depth. As it stands, your prose is far too sparse, and technically weak.

I don't think you should be in any rush to dump fanfic in favour of writing in other worlds - why do you need to? Fanfic is a good field in which to develop one's skills as a writer, and I doubt any of us here are perfect yet. And besides - some fanfic can stick to canon and fill in the gaps before/between/after books without raising the ire of the canon-nazis. Keep going with this, if this is the story you want to explore right now.
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Old Jan 17 2007, 07:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: My book five

keep going. I agree with what Kath says. I struggle with grammar as I was not taught much (read any) grammar after I left Primary School.
I have found that the best thing to do is read and practice. If this is a really important project for you I advise writing it, reading it, re-writing anything you don't like, read and repeat as neccessary!
Also I advise reading a lot and not just the Freedom Series, read a variety of styles and even stuff that you don't like. If you do that you can work out where other people have gone wrong and try to avoid the same mistakes.
Also make sure you KNOW your characters! Especially if they're established ones! I am entering a competition which is sort of fan-fictiony and for the short story I wrote I spent hours studying the characters, it gets irritating- believe me! But it's worth it to get everything perfect! The competition website had some examples of stories from previous anthologies and one was almost impossible to read as the characters felt wrong!

right... sorry about that! Makenzie- what have you got against fan-fiction there is a lot of good cannonical stuff about! Kath's Dragondays is a good example of that and there are lots in the Exhibit hall. I don't tend to write much fanfic- mainly because it doesn't fit in with my way of writing. The one thing I did write I'm quite proud of as it was a what if and as it contained no established characters I was quite safe!
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Old Jan 17 2007, 08:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: My book five

Apologies - I usually read my stories more carefully than this but I guess I got excited with a new idea and direction and wished to share.

Won't make that mistake again I am sorry.
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Old Jan 17 2007, 09:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: My book five

The mistakes we pointed out, or the mistake of sharing? Because the latter certainly isn't a mistake.

There's an old writing saying... in fact, I'm just going to quote a whole swathe of this page, because it pretty much covers what I'm thinking of:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Someone on the website I linked to
Writing is a skill, and like all skills it must be practiced to improve. There's only so far exercises can take you, so one day you're going to have to sit down and write that first novel, or short story, or article. It will be crap to some degree.

As your skill grows and your writing matures and you develop your own style, your writing will improve. If you've been writing for a while, just look at something you wrote this month and something you wrote a year or more ago. I'll bet you've improved in that time.

There's a saying among some writers that states that every writer has an infinite supply of "good words" inside them, blocked by 100,000 "bad words" which must all be written out before the "good words" start flowing. Depending on who you talk to, the number of "bad words" can vary from 10,000 to 500,000, but the sentiment is the same. This is not, however, free license to write badly.

To "clear the queue" of these bad words you have to write the best you can, try to improve, study your own writing mercilessly to identify problems (this is best done some months after you last looked at the piece, ideally after you've improved your writing a bit) and be prepared to abandon the whole thing when necessary. You should take care to not throw it out in a moment of low spirits, though - wait until you're feeling better to decide. There may be salvageable parts that you can't see at the time.

Despite all this advice, the first novel is still very intimidating. There's the lure of the "famous first novel" table - see above. There's the desire to get it just right - see above. There's the feeling that this novel is your life's work - it isn't. There's the fear that you won't be able to think of any ideas for other novels - you will.

If you are a writer, you will write. Your life's work will be everything you write, not your first attempts at writing. Ideas come to those willing to see them.

So write, try to improve, and don't let your inevitable imperfections give you ulcers. Abandoning your first novel is allowed. I've done it twice to novels and I don't know how many times to short stories. I cringe to think of anybody finding my early work.
Keep writing, and keep sharing. Each new thing you write will be better than the last.
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Old Jan 19 2007, 04:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: My book five

Bowerbird, keep it up. This has mostly been constructive criticism. Which will help you.

I would put a lot more together before you post again, so that we can see where it's going... And then post it in the Exhibit Hall!
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Old Jan 20 2007, 04:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: My book five

Thanks but no thanks I doubt I will post any of the book here again. The first two posts I think said it all, I was wasting my time and I got a visit from the Grammar police.

And that after being almost ignored with other ideas I have tried to sound out here.

No thanks
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Old Jan 20 2007, 07:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: My book five

Hey! Don't worry about stuff like that. Grammar police have their uses. I learnt about putting

"Very well," said Bob rather than "Very well." Said Bob

from Anareth as she explained what my Mum merely crossed out!

Oh and about !!!!!screamers!!!!!

If someone makes a comment here it's meant to be consructive or they'll get lynched (only joking)

People here are always trying to help, it's one of the best things about this site. They don't pull you to pieces, swea at you and leave you, they explain things. It might be irritating- I know I find it so, but it's worth it in the end!

No one's saying that your story is rubbish, they're just suggesting how to tighten it up!

Ignored? This might sound stupid (I'm not that observant atm) but where?

Look if you don't want to post any more of your story, don't! If you do, don't worry about criticism, if you worry that much I'd suggest switching your computer off and hiding your head under the duvet!
Now I'm being critical!
Criticism is blomming useful! It might hurt but it's a brilliant tool. Just don't e too critical-reach out and write your story, it might be totally rubbish- but I doubt it, there's a good idea in there, it just needs polishing!
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Old Jan 20 2007, 02:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: My book five

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowerbird View Post
The first two posts I think said it all, I was wasting my time and I got a visit from the Grammar police.

You say you've been "bit by the writing bug". That kind of suggests that you're wanting to be serious about writing. If so, nothing you write will be a waste of time, because all of it is further developing your skills as a writer and story-teller.

Believe me, I'm always harsh with my criticism, and I don't pull my punches for anyone. I certainly don't stick to just telling them what they want to hear. If I see something that could be improved on, I WILL point it out. And if I see you doing things right, as you are, I may point those out too - which I did in your case, 'cos I was in an expansive mood that day.

What I DON'T do is tell people they're wasting their time. Constructive criticism is designed to do exactly the opposite. Please try to ignore makenzie71's comments on whether fanfic is a worthy use of one's time. As far as I can tell, every other comment in this thread has disagreed with that line, with varying degrees of forcefulness.

What WOULD be a waste of time is ignoring con-crit in a fit of pique, or letting one single post speak for the entire community. I do hope you won't be doing that.
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Old Jan 20 2007, 03:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: My book five

go and have a good read and a good laugh (at my stuff- ) at the fanfiction in the Exhibit Hall if you want to disprove Makenzie's comment!

or read Dragonchoice- which is enormous- in fact its two illustrated novels! Most stuff is Pern so a Freedom fic would be a nice change.

ps don't get offended at my post from earlier today- I just re-read it and you can tell I was in a screaming mood (I did! Dratted soundproofing means sound ges in not out though!)!
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Old Jan 20 2007, 06:27 PM   #12
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Default Re: My book five

I just read makenzie71's comments about fanfic, and I couldn't believe it! Fanfic can be very worthwhile if it's done true to the previous plot lines, which you were obviously making great efforts to do with yours. I personally love reading fanfic, and I think it to be very worthwhile!!
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Old Jan 21 2007, 11:44 AM   #13
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Default Re: My book five

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowerbird View Post
Thanks but no thanks I doubt I will post any of the book here again. The first two posts I think said it all, I was wasting my time and I got a visit from the Grammar police.

And that after being almost ignored with other ideas I have tried to sound out here.

No thanks
And you have been a member for almost a week...

Sorry Bowerbird but we do NOT have a grammer police here (there's another Anne fan forum for that ) But you do need to be able to take criticism, yes - even if it would be unjust, most of it was not however. Such is life *shrug*
Having said that there's lots of people posting here, some will always be nice, some will generally be nice and there'll also be those that will be blunt, easily angered, stupid or even unfair. But hey... like in life you get all kinds
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Old Jan 21 2007, 03:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Sorry Bowerbird but we do NOT have a grammer police here
*cough*



Your Friendly Neighboourhood Grammar Policewoman.

[Hans doesn't mind me teasing him, right?]
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Old Jan 21 2007, 04:14 PM   #15
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That's a nasty *cough* you have there, Kath

No Hans doesn't mind


your typo in neighboourhood is deliberate I suppose
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Old Jan 21 2007, 05:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: My book five

From dictionary.com:

Main Entry: constructive criticism
Part of Speech: n
Definition: criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions

Don't go off in a huff! We're trying to support your fanfic efforts!
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Old Jan 21 2007, 05:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
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That's a nasty *cough* you have there, Kath

No Hans doesn't mind


your typo in neighboourhood is deliberate I suppose


Oops! It wasn't at all!


Last edited by Kath; Jan 21 2007 at 05:57 PM. Reason: didn't realise that word would get censored... :blush: again
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