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My Delirious Mind
A Raging Inferno of Delight, Perplexity, Love and Torment!
novel critique of the beginning 
3rd-Aug-2007 11:57 pm
Maria Hummel termed my novel beginning (first 15 pg sample) "ominous and electric." I love that. I know it's crap-ola, in as far as it's just a very rough start but I love that - ominous and electric. How cool. :D

She sort of imagined it was more ominous than it was but that's okay. It is ominous, very. But she thought my main character was lying once when he wasn't.

I still chuckle when I see tapati's bland facial expression (in my memory) when I read out loud one excerpt a week or so ago when she visited (the first excerpt, not the second which you liked more and frankly I liked writing it more). Honest feedback is good feedback. In that instance I learned that I was stretching it out too long and boring and needed to cut it into chunks and add an omnicient (that's not the exact word is it?) point of view.

Another friend of mine said listening to my novel was completely distracting - she couldn't concentrate on the point. I laughed and said, "Welcome to the inside of my head!" But seriously, I read another classmates work and she did a lot of that and I was frustrated. I saw exactly what my friend meant. These are all good learning experiences.

I've been reading a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine D'Engle for inspiration, since the characters in that book travel through a "Wrinkle" to get to an alternate reality or a planet in a far distant galaxy. This class has really helped me in so many ways because I'm learning how to critique works. I'm noticing things that I never did notice before about writing style, how to begin and end a chapter, metaphor, dialogue, etc.

I wish all I had to worry about was my Ph.D. upcoming in the fall and G.'s homework and things like that. The special ed/legal thing is going to be torment. I'm not looking forward to putting my novel down so I can pick up Wright's Law.
Comments 
4th-Aug-2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
I still chuckle when I see tapati's bland facial expression (in my memory) when I read out loud one excerpt a week or so ago when she visited (the first excerpt, not the second which you liked more and frankly I liked writing it more). Honest feedback is good feedback. In that instance I learned that I was stretching it out too long and boring and needed to cut it into chunks and add an omnicient (that's not the exact word is it?) point of view.

You read three different bits, and the only one I was actually bored by was the bit about the boy's ride to school, mainly because I didn't yet know who he was in the storyline, was there any significance to this route or was it just to show the character in his usual setting, perhaps before big stuff started happening to him? The description was fine, it's just disorienting to come into the middle of it with no context.

Fiction writing is quite a learning process because it flexes completely different writing muscles than essays. You should see some of my early fiction! :)

I found it helpful to take a short story writing class because I got a chance to tell different kinds of stories in different voices and use some of the fiction writing skills I would apply if I write something larger in the fiction realm. I'm still on the fence about whether I will take up fiction writing in a big way. I know one of my writing teachers really wanted me to.

I should also show you the 66 writing contest...all stories in 66 words. I have a book of short-short stories as well. I like to read/write short shorts because I am so wordy by nature, and it helps me learn to distill a scene or story down to its most basic elements. That can be useful.
5th-Aug-2007 05:49 am (UTC)
The ride to school is the first few pages though and it HAS to be exciting to the general reader. Otherwise, if the book was ever published, people would open it, read a few paragraphs, and put it back on the shelf. So those first pgs are important in terms of interest. If you didn't know about the boy, that's okay but I'd rather if you were interested. That isn't your job though; it's mine!! :)

Fiction writing is a learning process, you are so right. I'm really seeing that as I give it a go. I'd love to see some of your fiction.

See you soon, Sister!
5th-Aug-2007 08:04 am (UTC)
The dust jacket can cue the reader in to who this person is to the story to enough of a degree that they are curious to keep reading and get to know this character. So that gives a bit of set up to the boy and his morning. I was trying to assume that ok, this is probably going to be a major character, and is something important going to happen on his journey to school? Is he going to find something? Do something that later is important to the story? Those were the things going through my mind.

I just ran into some of my fiction, which is from several years ago now. I should dust some off and revise it. Plus I have a couple o' stories running through my head.

See you Monday at 8:30 (or just before)! Wednesday is fine too. The only thing I have to do is pick up my husband at 4:30 from work. Or I can drop him off in the am if you need me for Wed afternoon. (He only wants to walk one way since it's far for him.)

Trampoline! Fun!
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