Used to write short stories, etc....
Criticism is a part of life, and is a part of the forum - you must learn to take it on the chin. That being said, all criticism posted throughout the forum should be of a constructive nature - don't just bash someone elses work - instead, give a civilised reply about what is wrong with the piece, and offer help and advice on how the piece could be improved.
Imagine working for hours on a piece. Now imagine posting it. Now, imagine nobody replying to your topic - no feedback whatsoever. It isn't nice to have all of your work go unnoticed, is it? The moral of this little story is - be an active member of the writing community! If you see a piece someone has worked on, read it, and reply. Leave your opinion, discuss the piece - don't leave it to other people to give feedback. Get involved!
Write properly! Sure, scripts may be easy to write and skim through, but nobody wants to read a bunch of pointless dialogue. Unless you truly are writing a screenplay, don't write your story out in dialogue - structure it correctly and use good description throughout the narrative.
Think your story through. Does it have a plot? Is it actually going somewhere? Sure, you can ramble on for 50 chapters about random things, but to entertain the reader you must develop a plot that is interesting to follow. Make the reader WANT to be reading on, and finding out what happens next.
I. Paragraph Form
Paragraph form is the most attractive style of writing, and will definitely leave a good first impression. Script style writing is overused and will not leave a good first impression. If you DO use script style, you should have a lot of good description.
You have any extra bullets? Fred asked another soldier, and gulped, trying to steady his breath. He looked across the whole field that soldiers littered, whether running, dying, or dead.
The soldier Fred addressed replied to his question with regret, Sorry, bud, I only have a few bullets myself. Fred cursed vilely under his breath. Alright, listen, the soldier had the superiority in the group, well all spread out and close in the best we can. This will be the last time, so bring as many with you. Anyone volunteer to be the decoy?
No one spoke a word or did an advancing movement. Everyone sat quietly, sweating, dirty, watching the sergeant. He sighed helplessly. Private Sousa, you will be the decoy. Come around and run as fast as you can in front of that MG. Run like the devil himself is chasing you, got it?
Sousa was silent for a moment. He finally spoke in a mumble, you got it, sarge. A trembling, dirty hand reached for his chest and grasped a gold picture holder. He opened it and kissed the picture inside: a beautiful woman.
Fred - You have any extra bullets?
Soldier - Sorry, bud, I only have a few bullets myself. Alright listen, well all spread out and close in the best we can. This will be the last time, so bring as many with you. Anyone volunteer to be the decoy?
Nobody spoke; they only sat, watching him. He sighs.
Soldier - Private Sousa, you will be the decoy. Come around and run as fast as you can in front of that MG. Run like the devil himself is chasing you, got it?
Sousa was quiet. He spoke again.
Sousa - You got it, sarge.
He grabbed a pendant on his neck and kissed the beautiful woman inside.
Not only did the second one lack detail, but it left you confused and unaware of the tone of which the person spoke. In the first, you can determine that Sousa is reluctant, but in the second, you cannot decipher whether he is determined, reluctant, afraid, or happy. All you know is what he said.
Nothing will soil a story worse than no description. If a man is isolated in a room, describe it! Is it clean or dirty, colorful or colorless, eerie or joyful?
A bitter chill hovered in the air; the invisible mist of death, breathing softly. The room was a dim box. A lone lamp sat upon a rotting table in the corner, its power strong enough only to display the passing dust particles floating within its ray of vision. They danced like glowing orbs in the lights beam.
A bed sat next to the table; its sheet drooped slightly off the side. It was softly coiled around a pale body, slumped on the bed; her left arm protruding over the edge limply. Her eyes remained open, as did her mouth: an eternal expression of ultimate fear and surprise. Her features were pallid and wax-like a lonely corpse gasping for air.
It didnt take him long. She didnt see it coming. She had satisfied her purpose, and after returning from a short journey to the bathroom, his hands grasped her neck firmly. Her struggles came to no avail; it was too late. Life escaped her.
A flash lit up the room. Outside, a car rolled to a slow halt. Its headlights pierced through the blinds, ghostly silhouettes spawning on the walls. Marcus awoke from his trance. The engine hissed loudly outside, the mechanism spitting noise out demonically. The sound vanished. The lights went out.
A body occupied a bed, eyes and mouth open, she looked scared. He killed her quickly, by the element of surprise. She struggled, he was strangling her. Soon after, she went limp and stopped struggling, dead. Car lights hit the room, waking Marcus up. The car stopped.
The first is very detailed and paints a very vivid image in the reader's mind. The second one, not so much.
I cannot stress enough how horrifying a story with improper grammar can be to read. Have Microsoft Word? Use it! Have Mozilla Firefox? Use it! Basically, find spell check. If it is impossible to do so, send it to me or Eminence, and we will help you out, by fixing grammatical errors. That is how much I despise grammatical errors.
- read other pieces
- be original
- write properly i.e. use narrative not just dialogue
- develop a plot