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historybuff234
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

Thanks AP, I thought I corrected the dialogue thing. I'm aware of grammar things like their and there. It's just a tiny error, and I proofread this one tiwce. Oh well, no nones perfect. But then I view it as a little mistake not like how you view it (as you said about how you like grammar and punctuation to be perfect). Things that drive me mad are things that are historicly inncorrect, people say the wrong things about weapons, and misportrayel of things that hapened in history. Basicly, I like thngs to be correct with history and, and I like grammar and punctuation too. But not as much as you, but grammar gets me more than punctuation. I like that there is another younger personon here that seems like will post here quite a bit like I do. There have been younger people, but they never seemed to stay long.

Being good at decribing is a task for me, I have to sit and think for a while. But after a while it should come more easily for me, at least I think.

I'kll talk to you all later, I have Tae Kwon Do soon. Happy writing! And may all your works be published!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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historybuff234
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

[ Edited ]
Hey AP, refresh my memory of the proper use of semicolon, I always forget them. I should use them more.

Message Edited by historybuff234 on 07-24-2007 07:48 PM
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

Sorry for my grammar rants. I'll try not to do it in future. It's just something that's always bothered me, I guess because I'm passionate about language and the way everything fits together in a language.
Anyway, description is tough. You do have to think about it a lot, and once you've come up with something that makes you happy, it's a million times more enjoyable because you put so much time into creating that description. As to whether it gets easier with time, I don't really know. I've found that my descriptions have become more natural, but you still have to put a lot of thought into them.
The semicolon: one of my favorite punctuation marks!! I'm a grammar nerd, as you know, so I'm going to quote a grammar book. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss has a whole lovely chapter dedicated to the colon and semicolon. She says, "...[T]he main place for putting a semicolon...is between two related sentences where there is no conjuncion such as 'and' or 'but', and where a comma would be ungrammatical: 'I loved Opal Fruits; they are now called Starburst, of course.'" Semicolons should also be used in a long list in which there would be several commas and in which there would be a great deal of confusion: "Fares were offered to Corfu, the Greek island; Morocco; Elba, in the Mediterranean; and Paris." Words such as "however", "nevertheless", and "consequently" require semicolons. If you want to learn more, you should read the book; it's actually quite entertaining. But I think that semicolons can do a lot stylistically, if you learn how to use them, but not use them obsessively. I've gotten a better handle on the semicolon by reading a lot and noting how punctuation is used. Lynne Truss says this about the semicolon (and colon), which I love: "But the thermals that benignly waft our sentences to new altitudes -- that allow us to coast on air, and loop-the-loop, suspending the laws of gravity -- well, they are the colons and semicolons." It's important not to use them too much, though, because they get exhausting after a bit. Therefore, it is effective to use them in moderation.
Hope this helps, historybuff! Keep writing; I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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skipster56
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

This is for "historybuff234"

Very good work, and I would like to point out a few things.
1. The story has a very compelling body that would make a reader want to read more.
2. It's a story that builds suspense in a reader's mind.
3. I think, and this is only my opinion, you could add the following to enhance it.
4. I the first sentence, you speak of yourself, the guide, his assistant and we. When writing, take on one of the characters and write the story. Also define your characters a little, so the reader can visualize them, while reading. Here is what I would recommend, in the first chapter.

At 37, and in the best shape of my life, I found myself in the expedition I had only dreamed of. To Africa, to visit the famous site of Killimanjaro. Accompanied by my guide, who had guided me on many of my expeditions, and his short, but muscular assistant, we found ourselves drenched in the sweat from the humid cliomate. Being downwind was not something I had even thought of, and now it was the flavor of the day. Almost enough to make me dawn a gas mask. Our clothes, soaked to the skin from the sweat, was in the far back region of our mind, as we had only one thought engulfing us. Seeing Killimanjaro for the very first time.

You should really do an outline and try to make this a full novel. I think it has the making of a great read. I would love it!. Skip
View the new web page for Dangerous Love at www.skipstover.com
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historybuff234
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism



skipster56 wrote:
This is for "historybuff234"

Very good work, and I would like to point out a few things.
1. The story has a very compelling body that would make a reader want to read more.
2. It's a story that builds suspense in a reader's mind.
3. I think, and this is only my opinion, you could add the following to enhance it.
4. I the first sentence, you speak of yourself, the guide, his assistant and we. When writing, take on one of the characters and write the story. Also define your characters a little, so the reader can visualize them, while reading. Here is what I would recommend, in the first chapter.

At 37, and in the best shape of my life, I found myself in the expedition I had only dreamed of. To Africa, to visit the famous site of Killimanjaro. Accompanied by my guide, who had guided me on many of my expeditions, and his short, but muscular assistant, we found ourselves drenched in the sweat from the humid cliomate. Being downwind was not something I had even thought of, and now it was the flavor of the day. Almost enough to make me dawn a gas mask. Our clothes, soaked to the skin from the sweat, was in the far back region of our mind, as we had only one thought engulfing us. Seeing Killimanjaro for the very first time.

You should really do an outline and try to make this a full novel. I think it has the making of a great read. I would love it!. Skip




Thanks a lot skip, I agree about things like that. It would make a great novel, thanks evev more! I'll work on an outline for it this afternoon and post it here. I also have another outline for a book that I'll post here.

This is the idea, it takes place in Africa, the main character is a 13 year-old guy. His mother and father and older sister are missionaries to a nameless Central African country with a countryside much like Kenya. He lives in a neighborhood much like one in the US, the country is doing well and the country's biggest religious problems is the rapid spread of atheism (nothing wrong with atheism, it's just the reason why the protagonist's family goes there) and there is a rebel geeral gathering his forces across the border in a war torn country to attack this country. He is playing baseball with some of the children and thinking in his mind about atheism being true. Then an artillery bombardment hits the town. It the rebel general's forces attacking the country. His mother and father stay and he is put in the Land Rover with a native friend to take him to the airport in the capitol to put him on a plane bound for the US. He leaves reluctantly and is tolf that he will live with his wealthy aunt in Minnesota (my home state). His sister for some reason stays with his parents (and he never fins out why). He safely reachs the capitol and gets on the plane with mostly Americans fleeing the country. He goes and lives with his aunt in MN and finds out that the coutnry has been taken over by the rebel dictator. From that point in his life he vows to avenge his parents death. He makes many friends in the US that help him, later his best friend becomes president and give him a force of troops to invade the country. From that point on he leaves a bloody trail of revenge for his family. The he find the commander that gave the order to kill his family and is about to shoot him, then he suddenly stops. After shooting and killing so many men who were the rebels he sees that he has avenged his family properly. As he jumps into the hummvee to go to capitol he hears a shot which was one of his soldeirs executing him. The last scene is him at the same airport where he was during the rebellion. He is decidng whether to board the plane to Minneapolis to live a quiet life of writing, the plane to Nairobi to help the US and her allies wage war on terror and dictaros, the plane to London to take a trip around the world, or to somewhere else I have not thought of yet. This outline is not completely for sure, I might make changes, but what does everyoe here think of it? I will of course add more details later.
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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historybuff234
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

Hey everyone, here is another short story that I just got done with. I hope you all enjoy, and please give me some constructive criticism. Enjoy! And always remember that there is always more on the way from historybuff!








Amateur Psychology


It was a another day in our small town. Who am I? I am the sheriff's deputy, Barney Flute. Our crime rate in our small town was lower than low. The most common offense was parking in the wrong place and another most common was speeding (and that was very rare). Our town was very small and even in this modern day and age crime was very rare in our fair city. It is an odd thing, but our city was very like the perfect Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. It sounds very unlikely but there is always one of those towns someplace. No matter where you go there is always one of these towns and it is always a small town.

But one thing that we all tried to help with was Homer. Homer was a man who had known nothing but crime as a way of life. He was a pickpocket, thief, and other things. He was a big man, but he was not mean. In fact he was one of the kindest men we all knew. The very odd thing was that he had a good job, he owned the grocery store in town, but crime was his hobby. He had been a criminal as when he was young. But then he got a hold of himself, put himself through college, got a good job, and then moved out here. But he always got an urge to steal something. But one thing was that he always gave back what he took the next day when he felt guilty about it. He just couldn't break the urge. I and the sheriff never arrested him because we knew that he really was addicted to it and that he always gave back what he took. We all in town banded together in helping him and encouraged him to stop it and always forgave him when he did it.

But then it came to me, I had had an interest in psychology the last few months and had been reading a lot on the subject. I thought that I could try using psychology on him.

So one day I got him into the station and began to use many forms of psychology on him. None of them seemed to work very well until I told him that he should kind an alternative "hobby" to crime. He seemed attracted to that idea, so I began naming things from the book that said as some of the most common hobbies taken by people who used this technique. They were things like chess, art, writing, history, literature, music, and many other things. He said that he would need a hobby that was just as "fun" as crime. I had a feeling of pride and of accomplishment that one feels as one helps a friend and fellow man. I slept easy that night knowing that Homer would not be breaking into people's homes and businesses because he was hooked on it.
I had a feeling that night as I lay awake in bed that Homer would take up shooting. Why? Because I knew that Homer had a large amount of firearms in his house that were part of his collection. He always enjoyed going out to the firing range and shooting them for a large portion of Saturday afternoon. He owned everything from every time period, matchlock and flintlock muskets, old breechloaders from the 1880's, bolt action rifles like Lee Enfields from Britain, Mosin Nagants from Russia, Mausers from Germany, Carcanos from Italy, he owned many more weapons too from WWII, he owned many up to date versions too, he had every modern one like M-16, all variations of he M-16 family AK-47, AK-74, all the variations of Kalishnikov's AK family, MP-5, many different kinds of shotguns, the assault rifle that they use in the UK, and the list goes on and on. There were even rumors that he had an uzzi in his collection somewhere. He was considered the best shot and the best with any weapon in the county and perhaps the the state.

That morning I awoke, had my normal breakfast, and I took a walk on that bright and sunny Saturday morning to Homer's house. I walked to the front door and knocked, a happy Homer answered. I had observed that when Homer answered he was sweating very much, he had blood shot eyes, he seemed very tired, and most of all seemed very distressed. He seemed distressed like a scared animal. I told him that I had come to check how he was doing, and he replied to me, "Oh yes Barney I'm doing very good. I have found a hobby." I then replied to him, "Oh what is it?" He never told me, but kept saying that it's something that suits him very much.

I then continued my walk down to the library when I saw the sheriff run up to me and informed me, "Barney, I'm going over to Mr. Jenkins's house to talk to him about his crop and if I can help him. Do you want to come with?"

I accepted his offer and we drove down the dusty road to the quaint 1950's house that was where Jenkins lived his quite life of agriculture.

It is odd when we parked the car and walked up to the house and knocked no one answered. The sheriff knocked and rang time after time, finally he looked in the window and saw Jenkins laying on the floor. He rammed down the door to find blood all over the living room and saw Jenkins laying on the floor in his overalls with multiple bullet holes in his chest. We found that he was dead and was shot by an MP-5 submachine gun. We also found the bloodstained footprints of the murderer inside and could track him outside as well. He was a big man, as we could tell from his footprints, he was am experienced shot every round hit it's mark. We searched the house and no one was there. Jenkins was a bachelor and he lived by himself, he liked it like that. Then we tracked the footprints outside to where tire tracks were. We just couldn't figure out why someone would murder Jenkins, he liked almost everyone in town and was liked by almost everyone in town. The only person that he didn't like and didn't like him was Homer. Homer had broken into Jenkins's house once and after that they both hated each other. But Homer never disliked Jenkins as much as Jenkins hated him. Homer never hated anyone, he just disliked Jenkins. When we thought about it it was the near perfect murder, the old farmer lived out in the country and had no neighbors that were close. The only problem with murder (if you can take the guilt and there are other problems) is the disposing of the body. The sheriff called for backup and told me to go back into town to spread the word.

As I got into town I saw a man on the sidewalk laying bleeding and someone screamed, "Barney! Shoot him!" I was puzzled by the body and bloodcurdling scream. Then a burst of fire from an AK-74 rang out and pierced the windows of the bookstore. I drove very fast to the police station to arm myself. It was a weird thing that everything was being hit and shot but me, I couldn't figure it out.

I ran into the station and quickly pulled down my MP-5 from the wall. I ran out to find the shooter. In the bushes I saw Homer laying down and said to me in a cheery voice, "Hi Barney! How are you doing? I found my hobby!"

Then he pulled out an assault rifle and began to fire again. I ran over and grabbed him and disarmed him. And he resisted and some how got away from me and ran off. I shouted, "Okay Homer so that's the way that your going to do it!" I began firing and downed poor Homer with a burst. I ran over to him and he would die. I knew that he would, I began crying and I asked him, "Why Homer? Why murder?"

He replied to me, "I don't know why. I'm sorry. I didn't think enough. Art would have been better, I was all right at watercolor. See you Barney, say bye to the sheriff for me."

Then Homer closed his eyes for the last time and sunk into death. Then the sheriff called me one my cell phone and asked, "How's everything there? It's good right?"

I replied, "No, it's not all right."

And so my dear readers let this be a lesson to you all, never try amateur psychology.
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

First of all, I want to say that every story you post seems to be better than the one before it. You're definitely improving!! Congrats!!
This has probably been my favorite story of yours so far. The only thing I'm going to suggest is that you kick it up a notch in terms of detail. Similes and metaphors can be your best friend. And show rather than tell. Other than that, great job!
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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historybuff234
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism



APenForYourThoughts wrote:
First of all, I want to say that every story you post seems to be better than the one before it. You're definitely improving!! Congrats!!
This has probably been my favorite story of yours so far. The only thing I'm going to suggest is that you kick it up a notch in terms of detail. Similes and metaphors can be your best friend. And show rather than tell. Other than that, great job!




Thanks a lot AP, what you said about details is something that I should really work on. I'm glad that you liked it, and I agree that they get better every time! When are you posting some of your stories? I'd like to read them. Stupid question, but what is a simile? Isn't it like a metaphor?
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

A simile is a comparison using "like" or "as", such as in the expression "as cute as a button". A metaphor is a comparison without using "like" or "as". You might say, "The child's smile was a ray of sunshine", and that would be a metaphor.
You'll be happy to know that I am seriously considering posting a story on here. It will probably be up either tonight or tomorrow, so keep an eye out for it! I want to know what you have to say about it!
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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historybuff234
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

Thanks AP, now if I ever have any questions concerning grammar/the English Language now I know who to ask!:smileyhappy:

I'd love to read your writing! Which one are you going to post, that one about the mushrooms? I've been reading some short stories by the master of it, Poe, Anton Chekhov, I'm going to read some of Joseph Conrad's short stories, and O. Henry. His name really wasn't O. Henry, did you know that? He was put in prison for emmbezlement, no ones if he really did it or was innocent. But when he was in he wrote short stories and after he got, I think, he continued to write. His best year was 1907. He wrote 300 stories through his lifetime. I bought a book full of his short stories, I haven't gotten to read many of them yet. I enjoy Chekhov too, he likes to portray Russian life it seems! I enjoy him although some people don't like him because he didn't describe things very well. But I think that he does. He was a playwright, and he wrote short stories too!

Oh well, back writing!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

Yes, it's the one about the mushrooms. I kind of took some inspiration from Shirley Jackson in writing it. Have you read anything by Jackson? The Lottery and One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts are excellent stories! You should read them if you ever get around to it.
I love Poe's stories, though. I haven't read all of them, but I think my favorite was The Red Masque of Death. I love his poetry as well. I was visiting colleges this summer and went to the University of Virginia, and Poe was a student there for a semester. They have his room on display; I got a picture of it. Oddly, his was room number 13.
I've only read one O. Henry story (the one about Jimmy and a police officer or something like that; I hardly remember because I read it about four years ago in school). But my brother bought a collection of his stories, so I may have to borrow them from him.
I want to read some of Jorge Luis Borges' stories as well. They're supposed to be fantastic.
I have far too much to read. I've started making a list, and I have 53 books on there so far, plus I have a long list of short story writers and another list of poets.
Have you read any Shakespeare yet? I didn't read my first Shakespeare play until my freshman year of high school, but I've read three in total (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and The Tempest) and I bought a collection yesterday at Barnes and Noble that has all his plays and poems. I plan on reading them all someday, but I'm probably going to go with King Lear or A Midsummer Night's Dream or Much Ado About Nothing next. I started a post on the Shakespeare board asking people which I should read next, and the cashier yesterday at B & N was recommending plays to me, and those have been the most recommended so far.
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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historybuff234
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Re: A short story would, would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism

You know what? I should make a list of books I want to read. I'll add them up and compare them to your's. I'd love to read Shakespearre!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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Choisya
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Re: The Fog Index.

Pen: I love that you are quoting Lynne Truss! However, you need to make more paragraphs in your writing and sometimes your sentences need to be shorter. Have you heard of a 'fog index' in relation to writing? It means that if words are too 'dense' on the page, they become 'foggy' to the reader and difficult to read. A rule of thumb is no more than 20 words per sentence and 10-12 sentences per paragraph. It applies more to technical writing and journalism than to creative writing but it is still a useful guide.

http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/fog-index.html
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: The Fog Index.

I've never heard of the fog index before, so thanks for the link! I can see where you're coming from as far as sentence length and the need for more paragraphs. I get a little carried away with my sentences sometimes, so I guess that's something I need to work on. I'm going to do a huge revision on that story as soon as everyone is done commenting, so then I can get a good view of what I need to do to particular parts of the story as well as to the story as a whole. I'm hoping that by writing a story, posting it for feedback, and really working on improving it based on people's comments, my writing will gradually become better. Thanks again for commenting! It means a lot to me. :smileyhappy:
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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historybuff234
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Re: The Fog Index.

Hey AP, I'll be posting a short story soon, perhaps this afternoon. I haven't been writing my short stories much because I've been working a lot on my book. I've found that revision is one of my favorite parts of writing. It's a lot more fun than I thought.

How is your writing going? Have you written or have already wrote a novel? Or have you not even tried it yet? If you have you should tell me about it, if you have any ideas just tell me and I'll tell you what I think.

Happy reading!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: The Fog Index.

Oh, dear Lord, no!!!! I have definitely not even attempted to write a novel. You're far more confident and courageous than I am, historybuff! I'm kind of sticking to short stories for the time being, because I'm hoping to get the art of storytelling and description down really well in shorter pieces so writing a longer work will be a bit more manageable. I'm just now getting back into writing, because I took about a year-long hiatus from it after losing all confidence in any hopes of writing ability. I think I've captured it for good now, because I've never felt this excited and enthusiastic about writing before. I definitely see myself writing a novel down the road, though. It's what I want to do. I just think I need a few more life experiences and a bit more practice before tackling it. Great job for being so ambitious, historybuff!
I'm having problems coming up with ideas. I don't know what it is, but I can't come up with good material. That's why I posted that question about originality in terms of style and content, but you are the only one who's replied so far. I've always had a problem in that I come up with individual sentences or really good metaphors but can't figure out what to put in the middle of all of them to make a story rather than a poem or an unintelligible jumble.
I think I may try to write some personal essays and see if I can get any ideas to stem from those. I'll definitely be sitting down this evening with a pen and paper and will not get up until I have something written, or at least started!
I love revision. It's frustrating sometimes, especially when you can tell something is wrong with a particular portion of the story but can't quite figure out what it is. However, there's something exhilarating about having finished a piece and even more exhilarating about knowing you're about to improve it. I love marking up a story with a red pen. I understand why some of my teachers enjoy grading essays so much. :smileyhappy:
Anyhow, happy writing! I'll post something if I can come up with anything, and then I have to revise the mushroom story...
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka