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Messages - Griffin

Pages: [1]
1
Zectas / Re: Feedback/Problems you have with the story, logic etc.
« on: April 06, 2015, 06:52:14 am »
Great.

Simply put, the difference between telling and showing is character action. If a narrator explains information, that's telling. If a narrator shows information, through character actions, that's showing.

I've had people ask for advice about editing and books and such (The poor fools). So I thought, why not offer an example of editing?


One of my old posts, in another BBoard, involves a short scene between ratkin and humans. It is ... awful. I mean horrible as a heart attack.

Some people might not understand why I say that. So, perhaps I can help aspiring authors by conducting a thorough edit of the small post. This will take them through the step by step process of what you should expect when a real EDITOR does a CONTENT edit.


First, the original text.

-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

FIRST DRAFT

Pastor Jorian was having a day of horrors.

He’d been in the middle of mass when a ratkin had attacked him! In his own church! The nerve of the creature! It had pounced from the rafters (Some villagers might say it had fallen).

For a few moments, the pastor had frozen in disbelief as he found himself winded and under the foul smelling vermin. He blamed his hesitation on the pink flower apron it wore like a cape. If not the apron, than the chamber pot on top of its head. The whole getup was bizarre!

The ratkin seemed disoriented, but Jorian’s duty was clear.

“Sacrilid…!”

The ratkin opened its snout and BUUURRRRP!

The overpowering stench of rotten meat, booze and gods knew what else hit Jorian like a sledgehammer. The congregation stared in utter stupefaction as the pastor fell on his butt, retching.

The ratkin rubbed its belly before its eyes opened wide in horror. No, it was not staring at the village folk, it was staring at the broken gourd and the spilled Holy Water on the flagstones.

“SQUEEEEK!” It shrieked. It fell on its knees and licked at the Holy Water off the floor before breaking into squeaky sobs.

“By the Nine, it looks drunk!” Someone said.

“NO,” Jorian said. “It’s not drunk. It’s part of a ritual. Beware the foul power of the Crone.”

Calls for guards were heard.

Kat blinked as he finally focused on the many … but many humans.

“What a horrible nightmare,” he muttered. It couldn’t be anything else. Maybe if he went to sleep in the dream he would wake up and everything would be better.

The villagers only heard, “Squeek … squeek … squeek … squeek.”

The ratkin scuttled over to the first bench. The villagers on it quickly departed. With a hiccup and a fart, Kat lay on the bench and was snoring even before its dirty snout hit the wood.

Gaba the Old couldn’t stifle a guffaw, “Dunno Pastor, it looks drunk as a skunk to me. Stinks like a drunk too.”

The Pastor stared at the snoring vermin, “Kill it already. It has violated the sanctity of this holy domicile.”

Gaba barked, “Oh shut it, Jorian. It’s no threat to anyone like that. We’ll lock it up and find out what it’s doing out here.”

“Then we kill it,” Jorian said with a snarl.

“Maybe,” Gaba replied with little inclination. Jorian had been rambling for over half a candlemark. At her age, the village elder could appreciate a timely interruption of the man’s overzealous dribble.

“Why is it wearing a flower apron?” a third asked.

“Beats me. What I want to know is how it kept the chamber pot from popping off its head when it hit the ground.” Gaba walked over to the front. She sniffed the flagstones with the broken gourd. “Jorian, why is the gourd full of -MY- brandy instead of Holy Water?”


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Apart from punctuation, these are the mistakes I noticed right off-the-bat.

1. POV errors – The point of view changes depending on the character. It jumps.
2. Passive constructs – In action, avoid passive constructs. It drags down pacing.
3. Weak verbs (was/were/had/’to be’) – Try to avoid these verbs as much as possible. They drag pacing, a lot. Keep in mind that these verbs are NOT necessarily bad. Don't overuse them.
4. Telling instead of showing. I TELL you details instead of SHOWING you details. Awful amateur writing.
5. Flag posting. When an author provides an unnecessary introduction/ lead-in sentence.
6. Action hidden behind words/wordy sentences.
7. Floating dialogue. - Dialogue with confusing identifiers. Who said what?
8. Name switching – Keep the name constant in a scene. If it’s Peter, keep it as Peter unless you have very indicative markers so that the reader knows who is who.


I’m not going to conduct a perfect edit, but let’s work on these basic errors. Let’s start MARKING the possible errors.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---==--==-=-=-=-


Marking the mistakes.


Pastor Jorian was having a day of horrors. (#3, #4, #5)

He’d been in the middle of mass when a ratkin had attacked him! (#4) In his own church! The nerve of the creature! It had pounced from the rafters (#4)(Some villagers might say it had fallen) (#1).

For a few moments, the pastor had frozen (#3, #6)in disbelief as he found himself winded and under the foul smelling vermin. He blamed his hesitation on the pink flower apron it wore like a cape. If not the apron, than the chamber pot on top of its head. The whole getup was bizarre! (#3)

The ratkin seemed disoriented, but Jorian’s duty was (#3) clear.

“Sacrilid…!” (- error here … should be a - )

The ratkin opened its snout and (error remove ‘and’ finish the sentence) BUUURRRRP!

The overpowering stench of rotten meat, booze and gods knew what else hit Jorian like a sledgehammer. The congregation stared in utter stupefaction as the pastor fell on his butt, retching. (This can use a tiny bit of trimming)

The ratkin rubbed its belly before its eyes opened wide in horror (#4). No, it was (#3) not staring at the village folk, it was staring (#3) at the broken gourd and the spilled Holy Water on the flagstones.

“SQUEEEEK!” It shrieked. It fell on its knees and licked at the Holy Water off the floor before breaking into squeaky sobs.

“By the Nine, it looks drunk!” Someone said.

“NO,” Jorian said. “It’s not drunk. It’s part of a ritual. Beware the foul power of the Crone.”

Calls for guards were heard. (#3, #2)

Kat blinked as he finally focused on the many … but many humans. (#1 Changed from Jorian to Kat POV)

“What a horrible nightmare,” he muttered. (#7 Who muttered? There are many ‘he’ available) It couldn’t be anything else. Maybe if he went to sleep in the dream he would wake up and everything would be (#3) better.

The villagers only heard, “Squeek … squeek … squeek … squeek.” (#1 Deity/narrator point of view?)

The ratkin scuttled over to the first bench. The villagers on it quickly departed. With a hiccup and a fart, Kat (#1 Ratkin point of view?) lay on the bench and was snoring(#3) even before its(#1 Does Kat thing of himself as It? Who is expressing this sentiment?) dirty snout hit the wood.

Gaba the Old couldn’t stifle a guffaw (#1, #4 How couldn’t she stifle a guffaw? Covered her mouth, what?), “Dunno Pastor, it looks drunk as a skunk to me. Stinks like a drunk too.”

The Pastor (#8) stared at the snoring vermin, “Kill it already. It has violated the sanctity of this holy domicile.”

Gaba barked, “Oh shut it, Jorian. It’s no threat to anyone like that. We’ll lock it up and find out what it’s doing out here.”

“Then we kill it,” Jorian said with a snarl. (Clunky. Jorian SNARLED, is better)

“Maybe,” Gaba replied with little inclination(#4. What does ‘little inclination mean? How does it manifest). Jorian had been rambling (#1 Gaba POV, #3, #4) for over half a candlemark. At her age, the village elder could appreciate a timely interruption of the man’s overzealous dribble.

“Why is it wearing a flower apron?” a third asked.

“Beats me. What I want to know is how it kept the chamber pot from popping off its head when it hit the ground.” Gaba walked over to the front. She sniffed the flagstones with the broken gourd. “Jorian, why is the gourd full of -MY- brandy instead of Holy Water?”



=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

As you can see, a small dialogue intensive post with over 20 to 30 rookie mistakes. We aren't even counting the spelling errors. So, let's REWRITE/EDIT this.


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-



Correcting the mistakes



A Holy Gourd shattered in front of Pastor Jorian. A prayer to the Nine froze on his lips. He looked up, eyes widening. A ratkin fell on him like a ton of bricks.

An attack!  Ratkin in the church!

He screamed, only to have the stench of the creature crawl down his throat like a nightmare.

Its ass! Its ass is on my mouth!

Jorian pushed the vermin off him with another scream. His heart pounded so rapidly it threatened to burst out of his chest. He scrambled back.

The ratkin tried to stand, but slipped to its knees. A large fat tail poked from under a pink flower apron. It scratched at a furry ear which poked from under a battered chamber pot.

Jorian cringed away from the apparition “Sacrilege! Burn the vermin-“

 The ratkin opened its snout. Buuuuurp!!!!

The overpowering stench of rotten meat, booze and gods knew what else hit Jorian like a sledgehammer. The congregation stared as the pastor fell on his butt, retching.

Oh merciful Nine. Its breath is worst than its ass stench!

The ratkin staggered away from Jorian, and hiccuped. It rubbed at its belly lazily. Its eyes fixated on the broken Holy Gourd.

“SQUEEEEK!” It shrieked. It fell on its knees, vigorously licking at the Holy Water. After about ten seconds, it simply stared at the broken relic and sobbed in squeaky misery.

“By the Nine, it’s drunk!” Someone yelled.

“NO,” Jorian raged. “It’s not drunk. It’s part of a ritual. Beware the foul power of the Crone! Guards! Get the guards!”

The ratkin regarded the humans. It tilted its head this way and that way, like it couldn’t quite believe what it saw. It crossed hairy arms, frowning. “Squeek squeek... squeek ... squeeek.” It nodded languidly, too drunk to move its head properly. It might have squeaked something else, but the ratkin scuttled over to the first bench. The villagers scrambled away, overturning benches in their haste. With another hiccup and a fart, the ratkin dropped onto the pew. Its eyes closed even before the dirty snout touched the varnished wood.

Five long quiet seconds passed. Pitched snores rattled the rafters.

Jorian simply couldn’t believe it. Blessed gods, this doesn't happen! Are the Nine testing my faith?

Gaba the Old, covered her mouth, guffawing into it. “Dunno Pastor Jorian, it looks drunk as a skunk to me.” She sniffed the air. “Stinks like a drunk too.”

Jorian gathered his dignity and stiffened his spine. “Kill it already. It violated the sanctity of this holy domicile!”

“Oh shut it, Jorian,” Gaba snapped. “It’s no threat to anyone. We’ll lock it up and find out what it’s doing out here.”

Stupid woman! The personification of the Old Crone, for sure! Allowing ratkin vermin to live! Heresy!

“Then we kill it,” Jorian snarled.

“Maybe,” Gaba replied, expression stony and unyielding. “I might actually thank it. At my age, I appreciate a little interruption to your overzealous dribble. Sometimes I think you’re two-thirds hot wind.”

Jorian flushed hotly.

“Why is it wearing a flower apron?” someone asked.

“Beats me,” Gaba replied before smirking. “ What I want to know is how it kept the chamber pot from popping off its head when it hit the ground.”

More laughter.

Gaba walked over to the dais. She sniffed the flagstones with the broken gourd. Her expression soured. “Jorian, why is the Holy Gourd full of my home brewed brandy instead of Holy Water?”


======================================


So, there you have it.

What I did revolved around maintaining Jorian's point of view. I tried to remove weak verbs, telling, and passive constructs by streamlining action, inserting dialogue and developing internal monologues. ALL internal monologues were Jorian's. His is the PoV and thus I stick to it.

Notice that all the narration revolved in describing events as they occurred around the characters. I DID NOT explain something outside of the scene. I didn't talk about Jorian's family, or his past, or if he liked coca-cola or pepsi. I did not talk about anyone's situation: if they had to pay extra gold to feed the family, or if they worked too hard, etc. All I did revolved around the actions surrounding the characters.

So how do you DO that? How do you insert information without doing heavy Info Dumps?

You do so through Dialogue and internal analysis.


Information through Dialogue, Example:

Deputy Pendleton came down the street and stopped in front of my lemonade stand.

The affable police officer tapped his hat, "Howdy, Marla. How 'bout a glass of some fine lemonade, little girl?"

"Coming ride up, Mr. Pendleton." I made sure not to call him deputy. Little girl, my foot! "I heard Roby Parks, got himself some trouble over at Pete's?"

Pendleton sighed grandly. "That boy don't got no lick'o sense between 'em ears. Can you believe that dumb son 'o **** took a wiss right on Pete's price roses? The ones ya mama liked? God rest her soul."



What are a few things that I am showing you YET informing you about?
1. Roby Parks is a trouble maker.
2. Marla's mom is dead.
3. Pendleton is condescending.
4. I provide a small town feel.
5. A place or person named "Pete" exists.
6. Pete's or Pete has priced roses.
7. Pendleton is a deputy.
8. Pendleton works UNDER someone else (AKA a sheriff)
9. Marla sells lemonade. That hints at a young age and/or a horrible financial situation.



As a rule of thumb, let Was(is)/were(are)/...to be/had/ relatively alone during dialogue. During narration and non-dialogue, get rid of them as best you can.

Most aspiring writers might want to focus on the list of mistakes. I KNOW you will find these mistakes somewhere in your writing. I'm going to re-post the mistakes and add a few more common ones.


1. POV errors – The point of view changes depending on the character, within the same scene. It jumps.
2. Passive constructs – In action, avoid passive constructs. It drags down pacing.
3. Weak verbs (was/were/had/’to be’) – Try to avoid these verbs as much as possible. They drag pacing, a lot.
4. Telling instead of showing. I TELL you details instead of SHOWING you details. Awful amateur writing.
5. Flag posting. When an author provides an unnecessary introduction/ lead-in sentence.
6. Action hidden behind words/wordy sentences.
7. Floating dialogue. - Dialogue without identifiers. Who said what? How did they say it?
8. Name switching – Keep the name constant in a scene. If it’s Peter, keep it as Peter unless you have very indicative markers so that the reader knows who is who.
9. Info dumps - When the narrator drops huge blocks of explanations in the middle of the story. Suuuuuuper pacing killers.
10. Homonyms - Similar words with different meanings (quiet/quit/quite), (to/too), (loose/lose).
11. Lack of character voice (This one is VERY tough to fix) - Protagonists should have their own 'voice'.
      Example of different voices involving the ownership of a knife:

Voice 1: "Tally ho, good sir. May I presume such a fabulous knife belongs to you?"
Voice 2: "I reckon that knife kin'da yours? Ain't that right?"
Voice 3: "Hey man, is that knife yours?"
Voice 4: "Oh, precious. We sees the shinny knife. Is it yours? Is it ours? Gollum! Gollum!"

NOTE on telling and info dumps: Sometimes an author WANTS an info dump or they want a paragraph describing actions taken, in an attempt to hurry the story along.  That's PERFECTLY legitimate. As an author YOU ultimately decide how your book is written.

Griffin

2
Zectas / Re: Feedback/Problems you have with the story, logic etc.
« on: April 05, 2015, 02:39:04 pm »
I'd be glad to hear any inputs or notes you have on the first pages of the story. I'm sure I'll learn a great deal from them. You can send them at johnnestuser@gmail.com

I will never be offended if its constructive criticism. Also, this is my first time writing a story and there are so many things that I still need to learn.

Ok. I replied to your previous mails (as I got a mailer error daemon on the gmail email).

I really REALLY hope those edits help you as a small guide.

Griffin

3
Zectas / Re: Feedback/Problems you have with the story, logic etc.
« on: April 05, 2015, 10:11:43 am »
Sent you an email, basically I was wondering if you wanted to be an editor for Zectas. I'm still learning the ropes on writing and I don't have the "show don't tell" concept written in stone yet...

Unfortunately I'm committed.

I am editing a 74,000 word manuscript.
I am scheduled to edit an 85,000 word manuscript. <--- This one is a mess so I can see a lot of work ahead.

What I offered entails what I may offer you at the moment: a one or two page edit that may help you in your writing development.

Griffin

4
Zectas / Re: Feedback/Problems you have with the story, logic etc.
« on: April 05, 2015, 09:02:21 am »
@Griffin, sent you a PM

I didn't receive it.

Griffin

5
Zectas / Re: Feedback/Problems you have with the story, logic etc.
« on: April 04, 2015, 11:05:54 pm »
I think a simple edit of the 1st page would help you see the critical problems with the book. You could use the edit map to guide you in smoothing the problems in the rest of the volume, if you so desire.

Question:

If I took the time to mark all the places (on the 1st page) I believe you could do a better job, would you feel offended?

I don't want to disrespect you. Thus, why I ask.


On the 1st page, I saw the following errors.

1. Tense slips.
2. 2nd person -3rd person point of view jumps.
3. Plurals vs singulars.
4.  Over use of passive verbs were/was/had/...to be
5. Wishy-washy PoV- From who's point of view is the scene? God? A character?
6. Telling vs showing - You TELL a lot of the story, instead of showing it.
7. Info dumping - Paragraphs and paragraphs of narration that kill the pacing.
8. Clunky sentences.
9. Action hidden behind other information.


Pretty sure a professional editor would find more problems. These I picked out on the first 5 paragraphs.

Anyways, let me know.

Griffin

6
Zectas / Re: Annoying Question Thread ^^
« on: March 30, 2015, 02:11:00 pm »


Zectas Volume I: around 110,000 words not including the newly created words that I made up.
Zectas Volume II: around 150,000 words not including the newly created words that I made up.

Great. Thanks. Suggest adding that information to your AMAZON/GOODREADS blurb :) Not everyone is as dedicated in finding out that information as I am!

Griffin

7
Zectas / Re: Annoying Question Thread ^^
« on: March 29, 2015, 01:29:34 pm »
Hi.

My annoying questions are this:

What is the Zectas Volume I word count?
What is the Zectas Volume II word count? 

Thanks for taking the time dudes and dudettes :)

Griffin

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