?

Which extract is better?

Poll closed Mar 19, 2009.
  1. The FIRST extract

    6 vote(s)
    46.2%
  2. The SECOND extract

    7 vote(s)
    53.8%
  1. Reach229
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    Reach229 New Member

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    describing towns and cities. Opinions wanted!

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Reach229, Mar 12, 2009.

    Hi all, im new to this forum so im not entirely sure what im doing, but if someone could help me that'd be really great.
    I just wanted to know, out of the following two paragraphs, which do people think is the best description of a town? They're extracts from two of my books, and are about different towns that are just passed through in the story, so are by no means important. I have my suspicions, but would really like some confirmation, so please, if you have a few minutes on your hands please give them a read and let me know which you think is best!

    First Extract:
    Soon enough, the group had met like usual outside the hotel where the contrast with the town of Terra became apparent. The town itself, was a beautiful and charming Mediterranean village of stone and whitewashed walls. And it was indeed surrounded by the system of trenches and bridges which prevented the town expanding so each building was packed tightly together making the streets narrow and overshadowed. Because of this there were street lamps scattered in the streets making vehicle travel impossible. However in the middle of this beautiful town the giant casino hotel lay. The building was metal and glass and the architecture was all wrong. It stood out like a sore thumb and the group had a sneaking suspicion the locals felt the same way. But it wasn’t their problem, they didn’t plan to be here too long.

    Second Extract:
    By that evening, the group could see from the top of a hill the town known as Fhlinas, it was a grey, country town with many small houses and structures scattered around a valley floor, through the centre ran a river that headed west to the ocean and over this, only two bridges joined the two halves of the town. The town lay peaceful and serene with very few people roaming the streets in brightly coloured, middle class type clothing. As the six entered they aimed to locate an inn or hotel and did so with relative ease. The pub Inn, called the ‘Haymaker’ was the biggest building in the town, save for the church-type building at the northern edge of the town, thanks to its steeple. The pub was of a thick grey stone and the streets around were lined with cobbles.

    thanks for your time!
     
  2. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    It was a hard decision. Both painted an image for me, the first perhaps slightly better than the second, but both could use work.

    In the first extract.
    Analogies are good, but "stood out like a sore thumb" is a cliche.
    I'd go for an original analogy. Not a big deal, but you used "beautiful" twice. I like to vary my adjectives.

    I'm also not crazy about "the architecture was all wrong." I'd replace it, perhaps with "seemed out of place."

    Whose point of view is this from? It should be from a character's point of view, I think, and not "the group," although that would depend on surrounding context.

    In the second extract.
    A grey country town? The town was the color grey?

    I'd like to see some more details.

    In both extracts:

    Rather than vague adjectives like "beautiful," "peaceful and serene," I'd like more visual details. What was beautiful, peaceful and serene about it? There seemed more visual details in the first extract (the whitewashed walls) which is why I picked it.

    More significantly, I'd also like to see utilization of other senses than sight. Make the reader smell the town, feel the dry heat (or the cold dampness?), hear the sounds (the few people in the street... do their footsteps echo in the silence? is there a cawing of a bird in the distance, the sounds of far-away trucks, or is it silent?), even taste the air. Although you don't necessarily need to fully describe all five senses, mixing the sounds and the smells and other senses helps the reader feel like they're there, walking along with your characters!

    I hope I haven't been too harsh, and I hope I've helped!

    Best of luck!

    Charlie
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this is in the wrong section... this section is for suggestions related to the site itself... you should ask a mod to move it...
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Besides, you're supposed to give reviews before you ask for any comments on your own writing.
     
  5. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    The way you portrayed the town in the first extract is much more appealing to me, but the second extract was written much cleaner. If you rewrote the first one using the same style, then it would work. I think the problem with the first passage is the punctuation. Ask somebody to give you some advice on that because punctuation isn't my strong point.
     
  6. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    The Second is better written and the first has a lot of imagery but is poorly written. Both could Use better writing but the second is noticibly cleaner. I think My spelling is horrible here stupid one hand typing
     
  7. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    I like the second better. The first contains a lot of information that I don't, frankly, care at all about. And it's really unnecessary in a town that the group is just passing through. It makes it hard to read and easy to glaze over. The second is much cleaner and easy to read. The first tries to diagram the city, the second paints a picture.
     
  8. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    In my opinion you have far more problems with the quality of writing than the town descriuptions as such. Do some reviewing of other work on here until you "qualify" for a review on your own work and you will get some constructive criticism.
     
  9. Benska
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    Benska Member

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    I agree with most who say that the first has better imagery, whereas the second is much better/cleaner written.

    I'm not going to nitpick, but one thing is that you described it from the group's point of view in both examples; each individual character would see the town a different way, notice different things. For example, a more apathetic, or pesamistic character might only see the blandness of the whitewashed walls, the narrow streets which are preventing a relatively comfortable drive through the city, or the lacklustre shine of the streetlights. Howerver possibly a more cultured character may appreciate the historic value of the buildings etc. Anyway, you see my point... hopefully. But, as CharlieVer mentioned, it depends on the surrounding context.

    Hopefully I helped.
     
  10. Reach229
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    Reach229 New Member

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    Wow thanks for all the comments, I'm taking them all into account and am glad to see that most people feel the same way about the work as I do. But I think I should probably explain a few things, as I think i've 'peed' a few people off here.

    As I said, Im totally new to this forum so didn't really know about the whole 'review and be reviewed' thing, but it seems completely fair so I'll definately go along with that. And I'm sorry for posting this in the wrong forum, I just saw the word 'feedback' and jumped ahead of myself!

    The stories each extract came from are both narrated in third person, and 'the group' (who I didn't see need to mention in more detail) each have varying personalities, so for instance, Benska, you can see how it would be difficult for me to consider the town from one persons view.

    Aeroflot and twin panther, your ideas were just what I had been thinking myself, when I found these parts I thought that the first one (incidentally, a much older piece of work) painted a better picture, but was written far worse than the second (a less old piece). Indeed, if I were to rewrite the first one, I would change a lot in terms of punctuation, grammar and layout.

    And Charlie, I wouldn't call your words harsh... In fact it's just that kind of 'kick up the rear' talk I need to hear sometimes. I totally agree with all your comments, especially the cliche 'sore thumb' nonsense (hey... We were all young once =D).

    Once again, I really am sorry if I've annoyed anyone, And thanks again for all the comments,
    Reach,
     
  11. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps you'll take this as a lesson to learn the rules when you go somewhere new, on line or else where. You would have known this if you had read the rules of introduced yourself.
     
  12. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    The way you presented the images in the first one flowed really nicely. What I didn't like about the second was the feeling like the story stopped all of a sudden to explain how the city looked. It reminds me of 19th century literature. Not that that is bad, but that's not what is interesting anymore.


    :rolleyes:
     
  13. Benska
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    Benska Member

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    Ah, I see. That's kind of what I meant by "surrounding context," I couldn't tell that it was being told from an omniscient POV (atleast I think that's what you mean...) Then again, that could just be my sleepyness :p.

    Well then, consider my post irrelavant. :)
     
  14. Reach229
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    Reach229 New Member

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    not at all! All insight is appreciated, even if it's not strictly relevent to the current question, the ideas are still very good!

    by the way benska, I just love your avatar! lol
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to return the 'favor' you did me in the german title thread, 'elsewhere' is 1 word, not 2... and there's something seriously amiss with, 'if you had read the rules of introduced'... ;-)

    friendly-bantering hugs, m
     
  16. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    *smacks forehead* I can't type. I meant "or" but the F is right under the R.
     
  17. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    Your sentences sound a bit tangled is the best way I can phrase it. You might want to straighten them out a bit. Like maybe rearrange the wording so it flows better.

    As an example, I would rephrase the first sentence as:

    "Soon enough, the group met, as they usually did, outside the hotel; here the contrast with the town of Terra was apparent."

    Do you see what I'm saying?
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    still badly tangled... and a mix of tense/time... best course would be to divide up what is too much crammed into one over-wordy sentence and make it make better sense... such as:

    'soon enough' is vague, doesn't seem to relate to anything, so if timing is important, 'before long' is more definite...

    all those entangled phrases are straightened out, placed in better order that makes better sense...

    and that poorly tacked-on totally new thought is given a sentence of its own, with the more proper 'there' since this is not being told in present tense...

    still doesn't say to whom the contrast became apparent, but that can be dealt with elsewhere...
     
  19. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Agree. Technically the second is better, but I did get a stronger visual with the first, and although the "evil" vibe the casino gave was perhaps overdone, it still proved to be more effective than the second.
     
  20. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    I liked the picture painted by the first extract better, so I voted for it. But I feel that you'd get a better result if you combine the two, so I sort of did one as an example(hope you don't mind):



    By that evening, when the group met, as usual, outside the hotel, the contrast from the town of Terra became obvious. This town, known as Fhlinhas, was a Mediterranean village of stone and whitewashed walls based around a river that headed west to the ocean. Two bridges criss-crossed over the river and linked the separate parts of the town together. It was a quaint little town, sorrounded by a system of trenches and bridges that prevented it from expanding, so the buildings were built close to each other and the streets were narrow and overshadowed. Travelling by vehicles was impossible in these streets due the presence of scattered street lamps and the streets had very few people, all dressed in a bright colorful and a typically middle class fashion. However, what flawed the beauty of the place was the giant casino hotel that lay right at the heart of the town. The building was a screaming architecture of metal and glass and scarred infrastructure. It stood out like a sore thumb, and the group had a sneaking suspicion that the locals felt the same way. But it wasn't their problem. They did not plan to be here too long.

    Forgive me for any grammer mistakes, my grammer's not all that great.
     

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