Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Frequent Contributor
ISHON
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-20-2007
0 Kudos

Writing Sample

Hi, I've been trying to write this story about Amanda McNeil and Jackson Slater but i keep going in all different directions with it.




As Amanda marched down the dusty street towards the jail where her daddy the judge was holding trial she was thinking about how darned disgusted she was with that weak willed Ryan when she suddenly runs smack dab into a wall. “Watch where you’re going” she shouted to the offensive wall. Then she looked up into the deadliest set of gray eyes she ever seen.
“Maybe it should be you who should be watching where she’s going, little girl” he said to her with an annoying grin that didn’t reach his eyes.
She gave him a narrow look and she tried to step around him. She felt his big hand on her shoulder stopping her in place.
“What’s your name, little one?” he asked with a hard look.
“Release my arm this second or you’ll lose it” she.
“Have it your way then” and then he released her. He turned and disappeared inside the general store, spurs chinking.
“Not if I can help it” she muttered to herself.”
Just then two men on horseback rode into town, nearly running her down as she was about to cross the street. Amanda quickly stepped out of the way. She quickly took cover behind the side of a building. Growing up in the west she knew trouble when she saw it and those cowboys looked like trouble. The horses stomped uneasily and dust rose in the air.
One of the men shouted toward the general store where she'd seen the stranger disappear into “Slater get out here and face me”
The stranger shouted back from inside the store “I don’t want any trouble with you kid just ride on back out of town”
“I heard that you were the fastest gun in the west but I didn’t hear that you were a coward”
“I don’t draw on men who don’t deserve it kid” the stranger named Slater reply.
Frequent Contributor
dixielandgrl
Posts: 285
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

That's a good direction. Getting caught in a shoot out, huh? Good spin.

There was a lot of active dislike there with the two of them. How were you going to throw them together?
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
Frequent Contributor
ISHON
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

Hi Dixelandgrl,
thanks for reading :smileyhappy:
I thought that the story would start with the hero seeking revenge at first so he kidnaps her and they fall in love on the run. Or maybe he needs her to clear his name because he is accused of something he didn't do?
Those are some of the ideas i had.
Contributor
Mystik_Rose
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

This is a good sample, though I did see a few things that could use improvement. First, the spacing is pretty tight, I had to re-read some of it to get the full meaning (or at least what I thought was the meaning). Also “Maybe it should be you who should be watching" the two should's that close together is a little awkward in my opinion. You might want to try "Maybe it's you who should be watching".

“Release my arm this second or you’ll lose it” she. Said? Spat might be a good one, to convey the animosity.

With the clearing his name of something he didn't do idea, I have some suggestions. Because she is the judge's daughter, he might want to seek out her help in clearing his name - if he convinces her, she can convince her father. But maybe she doesn't believe him at first, and he has to coax her into it by proving his innocence. This would draw them together, and show her that this is a guy she wants to be with.

If you want to run with the kidnapping thing, you'd have to come up with an idea as to why she's being kidnapped, as opposed to anyone else. Her father gave him a sentence to jail, and when he got out/escaped, he wanted revenge. But revenge doesn't always do well with kidnapping, unless he's planning on killing her. Usually kidnapping is reserved for getting money out of the family/loved ones whom one kidnaps.
"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." Stephan Mallarme
Frequent Contributor
lavenderlass
Posts: 270
Registered: ‎01-02-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

I really liked this excerpt but I wasn't too sure at first who was talking, looking up into a pair of gray eyes didn't on it's own tell me they belonged to a person, I thought this could be a fantasy novel and it was a talking wall!

I thought your dialogue and speech tags were really good.

There's lots of different ways this story would be great aren't there? I liked the idea that someone was after her because she's a judges daughter.

Lynne.
Frequent Contributor
dixielandgrl
Posts: 285
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

I had an idea I wanted to share with you. To get them together, he's a gunslinger right?

Okay, her daddy has a member of a local gang up for murder. To get him out, the gang has threatened to kill the daughter. Daddy the judge, hires the meanest gun he can find to protect his little girl till the hanging. The trial will take a few days so he hides out with her, maybe at his own ranch with some hands to help in the inevitable shoot out. Feel free to guffaw and ignore me.

I just love brainstorming.
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
Frequent Contributor
lavenderlass
Posts: 270
Registered: ‎01-02-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

That would work fine. Would you have it that she knew dad had hired this chap? That could drive her nuts, most youngsters hate having parents that interfere with their life and their liberty and that could give him a good reason to keep quiet on that point.

Lynne.
Frequent Contributor
dixielandgrl
Posts: 285
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

I think she'd have to know. A gunslinger would by no means be courting a judge's daughter.Nor would he be considered fit company socially. No these two wouldn't meet in church. He's the hired help.

Consequently, that's a possible conflict. She disapproves and treats him like the hired help. He doesn't tolerate it.

He's bossy and overbearing and sick of her whining, until he realizes she's just scared.
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
Frequent Contributor
ISHON
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

Hi,
Thanks for the suggestions. They are all really good.
I had written more of this story.
The gunslinger finds out that she is the Judge's daughter and he thinks that she can help him clear his name. he is accused of bank robbery and murder, and he is on the run. He thinks that her father the judge who convicted him was on someone's payroll, so he takes her to scare her father into talking. The bad guy is someone who is wealthy and powerfull.The bad guy threatens the judge and his daughter so the judge does as the bad guy says. In the end Amanda believes Jackson is innocent and good so she puts herself in danger to help the him and they fall in love.
Frequent Contributor
lavenderlass
Posts: 270
Registered: ‎01-02-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

That's another good way Ishon. Or the good guy could shoot the bad guy thereby proving himself to be a good guy, and they could fall in love.
Lynne.
Frequent Contributor
ISHON
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

Thank you all for your responses.
I was nervous about posting my work :smileyhappy:
I just took a paragraph out from the book, thanks for being kind to me :smileyhappy:
I know that i have a long way to go before i can even think about submitting it to be published.
Frequent Contributor
lavenderlass
Posts: 270
Registered: ‎01-02-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

We're all in the same boat Ishon, writing is just the same as anything, if you want to dance, or ride or play chess well enough to be paid for it, it takes hours of practice. Just keep going, you made a good start,
Lynne.
Frequent Contributor
ChristineM
Posts: 260
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

Ok, first, I'm sorry for being a total moron and not commenting on this earlier. The senility is just setting in so early. Most of the good stuff has already bee covered, but what the heck.



ISHON wrote:
As Amanda marched down the dusty street towards the jail where her daddy the judge was holding trial she was thinking about how darned disgusted she was with that weak willed Ryan when she suddenly runs smack dab into a wall. “Watch where you’re going” she shouted to the offensive wall. Then she looked up into the deadliest set of gray eyes she ever seen.


The wall thing threw me too. You could stick with it, but I'd recommend having Amanda notice that the wall appears to be wearing a chambray shirt or something so that the reader is cued into the fact that the wall isn't really a wall. I also am not sure about the name Ryan. Did they use the name Ryan back then? I thought it was a 60's invention. You're also missing a period between trial and she.

“Maybe it should be you who should be watching where she’s going, little girl” he said to her with an annoying grin that didn’t reach his eyes.


His speech pattern didn't sound like a gunslinger to me. It's a bit ornate and educated, unless you're trying to say something about his character that's against type, you might want to make it a little more straightforward.

She gave him a narrow look and she tried to step around him. She felt his big hand on her shoulder stopping her in place.
“What’s your name, little one?” he asked with a hard look.
“Release my arm this second or you’ll lose it” she.


The action here is good, but I thought stopping was a bit weak. Pinning her in place or cementing her in place or something a little stronger. When I think stop I think of a stop sign that I'm going to look both ways and continue on my way.

“Have it your way then” and then he released her. He turned and disappeared inside the general store, spurs chinking.
“Not if I can help it” she muttered to herself.”


I was puzzled by this. Is there a reason that she won't get her own way if she can help it or is it a typo? I love the fact that you included a sound description. It really helps to bring the scene alive.

Just then two men on horseback rode into town, nearly running her down as she was about to cross the street. Amanda quickly stepped out of the way. She quickly took cover behind the side of a building. Growing up in the west she knew trouble when she saw it and those cowboys looked like trouble. The horses stomped uneasily and dust rose in the air.


There was an awkward jump here for me. First, she was standing in front of the general store and then suddenly she was crossing the street. I could use a little more description about what she's doing.

One of the men shouted toward the general store where she'd seen the stranger disappear into “Slater get out here and face me”
The stranger shouted back from inside the store “I don’t want any trouble with you kid just ride on back out of town”
“I heard that you were the fastest gun in the west but I didn’t hear that you were a coward”
“I don’t draw on men who don’t deserve it kid” the stranger named Slater reply.




Is kid this person's name or is Slater trying to be derogatory as in "Go away boy, you bother me"? If it's a name you can just capitalize it. I think if he's trying to be derogatory you might want to go with boy because kid could be interpreted as complimentary. Either way, you going to want to put a comma before it. You also might want to have Amanda see him come out because otherwise, he's shouting from inside the store. Personally, I would have him say that he didn't draw on men he didn't intend to kill too. It would make him seem a lot more dangerous.

I was intrigued by the Ryan angle too. Is Ryan her intended? Is he going to get in the way? You also have a strong voice that is very different from most of the things I have read. I can't comment on the other aspects of the plot because I ended up getting really confused as I read through the thread. I know, if I kept up with things like I was supposed to it wouldn't be a problem. Thirty lashes with a wet noodle for me. It's a good effort Amanda is a very distinct character and your gunslinger is also interesting. I look forward to seeing more.
Frequent Contributor
dixielandgrl
Posts: 285
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

Christine wrote: You also might want to have Amanda see him come out because otherwise, he's shouting from inside the store.

This one is a tactical move, ISHON, it depends on how well he knows the irritated fellow. He would most likely take cover behind the door or a solid object inside the store if he wasn't looking for a fight. Perhaps, she should see the barrel of his weapon glinting from the doorway or have a view of him from her hiding spot.
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
Frequent Contributor
ISHON
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

ChristineM, thanks for reading and for the critique.
I appreciate the advise. And i can already see where i'll make changes.
Ryan was Amanda's former beau, she had seen him in the company of a saloon girl.
Frequent Contributor
ISHON
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

Dixielandgrl,
Jackson stayed in the store because he knew they were not a threat to him. I wanted Jackson's arrogance to show.
Frequent Contributor
ChristineM
Posts: 260
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

You might want to have Amanda notice that Slater doesn't come out becase I wasn't clear on where he was.
Frequent Contributor
cariann92
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

ISHON,
I am going to comment on it as I read through it again. I added commas and periods on your dialogue, hope that is ok.
The teacher in me comes out at times.
Cariann

As Amanda marched down the dusty street towards the jail where her daddy the judge was holding trial she was thinking about how darned disgusted she was with that weak willed Ryan when she suddenly runs smack dab into a wall. “Watch where you’re going” she shouted to the offensive wall. Then she looked up into the deadliest set of gray eyes she ever seen.

Do you want the eyes to be deadliest? The first sentence is rather long with no commas or other punctuation. I was breathless at the end of it. Could you divide it up a little. The trial was in the jail or the courthouse. I liked the wall and understood what you meant.
Your dialogue is good, but you need some commas and periods. "Watch where you're going," she shouted to the offensive wall.


“Maybe it should be you who should be watching where she’s going, little girl” he said to her with an annoying grin that didn’t reach his eyes.

Oh those eyes are deadly. Dialogue needs a comma. '...little girl,' he said to her...


She gave him a narrow look and she tried to step around him. She felt his big hand on her shoulder stopping her in place.
“What’s your name, little one?” he asked with a hard look.
“Release my arm this second or you’ll lose it” she.


"Release my arm this second or you'll lose it," she said, screamed, yelled, what?

“Have it your way then” and then he released her.
You need a period after then. Start a new sentence. There is no dialogue tag, he just released her.

He turned and disappeared inside the general store, spurs chinking.
“Not if I can help it[comma]” she muttered to herself.”
Just then two men on horseback rode into town, nearly running her down as she was about to cross the street. Amanda quickly stepped out of the way. She quickly took cover behind [next to] the side of a building. Growing up in the west she knew trouble when she saw it and those cowboys looked like trouble. The horses stomped uneasily and dust rose in the air.
One of the men shouted toward the general store where she'd seen the stranger disappear into[period] “Slater get out here and face me[period]”
The stranger shouted back from inside the store[comma] “I don’t want any trouble with you[comma] kid[period][Just] just ride on back out of town[period] ”
“I heard that you were the fastest gun in the west but I didn’t hear that you were a coward[period]”
“I don’t draw on men who don’t deserve it kid[comma]” the stranger named Slater reply[replied].

Frequent Contributor
ISHON
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Writing Sample

Hi, Thanks for all the corrections. It helps a lot. Will definitely edit.
Frequent Contributor
LeighMichaels
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Ishon's Writing Sample

[ Edited ]
I like the feisty heroine, here, and the fact that she can take care of herself. One thing you might find helpful is the rules and examples of writing dialogue which you'll find on my Classroom on the Web site.

That's at http://home.mchsi.com~webclass

-- but I can't make the hotlink thing work this morning so you may have to copy and paste the link into your browser.

Happy writing,
Leigh

Message Edited by LeighMichaels on 02-10-200710:12 AM

Message Edited by LeighMichaels on 02-10-200710:12 AM

Message Edited by LeighMichaels on 02-10-200710:13 AM

Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online: 11 members 468 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: