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Short story workshop swap anyone?

Discussion in 'Writing Groups' started by Incanus, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    I've got a few short stories in more or less readable form, and was hoping to get some eyes on one (or possibly more, but one thing at a time). I very much enjoy reading other aspiring writer's work as well, so I'd be more than happy to read anything anyone cares to share.

    I suppose I could look at a chapter or two of a novel WIP as well, but I've been in full-bore short story and novella mode for months now--so I might be a bit rusty with that.

    What say you? Anyone?
     
  2. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    I have one, the only short story I've actually finished to date. It's fiction, though not fantasy. If that's fine by you, then I'm game. (2.4k words)

    Edit: I actually have two, the second one is 3.4k words. I warn you though: they're not happy fun stuff, both are pretty heavy. I've given them a quick, cursory read and I'd say they're horror
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  3. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    It's greatly appreciated. I'm game, but I suppose a little more general info might be helpful--

    First, I read plenty of non-fantasy, usually classics and a few other odds and ends, so no problem there. Horror sounds just fine to me.

    I had been gearing up for an epic fantasy, did a bunch of world-building and preparing. But it still isn't ready, and I was dying to get writing, so I started coming up with some smaller bits, but I have set most of them in my world. In any event, the shorts tend to be sort of like more modern versions of 'Weird Tales' type stories from the 30's. More plot driven than character driven (maybe somewhere in the realm of R. E. Howard, Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith). Also, I'm trying to cultivate a lush, rich, spicy writing style that not everyone is going to like. The story I have in mind to share is actually somewhere in the dark fantasy, horror style, so that should be cool. Not at all 'happy, fun stuff' either.

    As far as my insights into other's works, I seem to have more opinions about things like narration, style, structure, pacing, presentation, though I'll have something to say about anything that 'strikes' me concerning character and theme and whatnot. But I want to be crystal clear that I would address anything that you specifically wanted me to focus on, to the best of my ability.

    So what do you think? Still game?
     
  4. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    Yup, no problem. As I said, I don't usually write short stories. But I actually like these two. Tell me what comes up, give me your opinion as both a writer and a reader. Be harsh, go wild.

    In return, I want to be honest as well. I've never critiqued someone else's honest work before. So if you could give me some guiding questions, that would be greatly appreciated.

    I'll just mail them through your profile. Hope you enjoy. If the lay-out sucks, I can send the original .doc files.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  5. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    I've sent you my critique

    PS: the fog index for your first 635 words is 13.37, which is above 12
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  6. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Just wanted to quickly let you know I received and looked over your notes and comments. I thank you for the time and energy you put into this, as well as your unflinching honesty; all are appreciated. Overall, I'd say you've done a good job pointing out the things that strike you. I'll respond to a few specific items you brought up a bit later. Unfortunately, a few things came up in the last day or two, that's keeping me from getting to your stories--stay tuned. At a guess, though, I'd say we probably aren't seeing eye to eye concerning our tastes in fiction. But we can't know such things until we try, right? Thanks again, and take care.
     
  7. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    If you want a better idea of my taste in fantasy, check this post:

    Those two short stories were based on ideas that sprang up on me
     
  8. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    OK. Review of 'Notable Last Words' has been sent to your e-mail.

    The reason I said we probably don't see eye to eye about fiction seems pretty straight forward to me: Ultimately, you didn't like my story, or the style in which it was told. There's nothing wrong with that at all--I'm well aware that most folks aren't going to like my writings. And while it is far from perfect, and needs revision, I still like the story. I would never have worked on it if I didn't. My style is non-negotiable, however. I couldn't give a fig about the Fog Index and will make no adjustments based on it. If anything, I'd prefer my stories to rate higher than a 12 anyway. If bland prose was the only way to write, I'd be doing something else entirely.

    It's a bit odd that you mention Stephen Donaldson (well, you actually said Donald Stephenson, but I knew who you meant). His vocabulary and ornate style would likely break the Fog Index into tiny digital shards! Error, error! Where the hell did all these bizarre words come from?

    I gleaned from your comments that you dislike elaborate, flowery, ornate prose. SRD's is far more elaborate than mine. Granting that he is much, much better at it than I am, I'm trying to understand this apparent contradiction (your screen name is thusly apt). Is all colorful prose inately bad to you, or is it simply that I'm not pulling it off very well (which would be a perfectly valid point)?

    In any event, I thank you for the exchange. I hope you found it as useful as I did.
     
  9. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    It's been a while since I read the unbeliever, but now that you mention it, I loved it because of the characters and not the style. It gets tiresome and I start skimming. If we're honest, the story is a very generic quest. But the struggle Covenant goes through, tha's brilliant stuff.

    He can't carry it all the through his books though, after dozens of laments and bits that have that feel to them, it gets stale. BUt still, the Unbeliever books are some of my favorite books to date.

    If I were to choose something that's more my aim I'd say the Black Company, the book of Malazan, the Thorns trilogy and I guess game of Thrones, although much of Game of Thrones lost my interest. I kept hoping that the next chapter would be about Arya. Stories with 'modern' dialogue, utilizing images that don't require too many words.

    So to go back to Donaldson and what my conclusion about him can mean for you: you can make your work more widely accepted if you have a kick ass character in there, something unique like Covenant. Write that and they will come.
     
  10. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    So we're agreed: We don't see eye to eye.
     
  11. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    Yes, agreed.
     
  12. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. I have a question for you. You highlighted parts of the text of my story and added a comment about them. I understood all of them except for one. About three or four times, you marked the text and simply stated "don't". I can't figure out what you mean by that. Elsewhere you said, "Superfluous", or had a strike-through. I assume you mean something different than these things when you say "don't". I'd like to know what you mean so I can decide whether I agree with the comment or not. I would normally assume that you meant 'cut it out', but since you used strike-throughs elsewhere, I take it that some distinction is being made. Could you please elaborate? I'd very much like to understand.

    Also, I thought you should know that you asked about four or five very good questions about the story that I will most certainly be addressing when I revise it. If you have any questions about my comments on your story, please feel free to ask.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  13. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    the first don't is because it feels off for both the character and the situation. But wait, there's more! It feels a little like an advertising line. There's no need to sell the characters on the story the captain is telling, they're involved now.

    The second don't is for something similar, it felt weird to read something like that.

    The third was for 'she looked squarely at Scorlio, her steely eyes unblinking'. How do you look squarely? And her steely eyes unblinking is a preference thing.
     
  14. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

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    By the way, if you have something that you want to have critiqued, don't hesitate in sending it. I think it might be easier to find out how you do things by reading the work of someone who does things differently. For you it will also mean that you get a more objective (or at least more honest) critique.
     
  15. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    If you had looked up the definition for squarely, you might have better understood.

    OED 'squarely' definition 2: Honestly, fairly, in a straightforward manner.

    Fits perfectly what I was trying to say. I see no problem.

    The distinctive description of her eyes serves a relevant purpose in the story, seeing as what happens by the end.

    Don't fight and struggle with words, understand them and make them your friend and companion as you go forward writing. I make mistakes and do odd things, but I choose most of my words with great care. I enjoy them, I just can't help myself. I'm using words boldly sometimes, and so I goof up from time to time, but I think I'm getting better.
     
  16. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Hello Scribes.

    Please keep actual critique and crit discussion in private communication or within the Showcase Forum. The Writing Groups forum is intended as a place to form groups, not operate one.

    Thank you.

    TAS
     
  17. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Oops. Thanks TAS. Distinction understood--I'll act accordingly.
     
    T.Allen.Smith likes this.
  18. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I'd like to trade short stories. What kind of word counts are your stories? I have about 40 short stories, ranging from flash to about 7k, so if you want to trade, I'm down. Send me a PM so I know what you like to read and what style you like to write.
     
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