1. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    In the begining...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Skralo, May 10, 2008.

    Right I have made a start (for the fith time on my story) and would like some ideas about what I have written.

    It was the middle of the night when Skralo woke. He had woken because of a nightmare that he had been repeatedly been having. He lay in the silence of the dark for several minutes before deciding to get up for some water. As he reached his bedroom door he switched on his bedroom light and stood for a moment waiting for his eyes to adjust to the new light. He looked towards his wardrobe and caught sight of himself in the mirror on the door. He moved towards the mirror forgetting about the water that he had got up for. He stared at his reflection taking in every inch of the image that was staring back. What he saw was a blond haired teenaged boy with blue eyes. He was a bit tall and skinny for his age, but no one ever really took much notice. After more minutes ticked by Skralo eventually tore his eyes from the mirror and looked at the luminous alarm clock that resided on his bed side table. According to the glowing numbers on its face it was almost three thirteen. Skralo looked towards his window and then remembered the glass of water. He walked towards the bedroom door again and opened it. He stepped over the threshold onto the landing. He walked towards the stairs carefully trying to make no noise as he might wake his brother.


    This is only the first paragraph because I don't want to give too much of my story out. Sooo... Comments, ideas, likes or dislikes. They're all wanted and very welcome... ;)
     
  2. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    1. Do not describe your character by having them look into a mirror. There are several reasons for this, the main two being that it's unlikely (do you look in a mirror and notice 'hey, I've got blue eyes!') and that it's cliche (because everyone tries it sometime).

    2. Quite a few of your sentences start with 'He'. Not a big problem, but you might want to shake up the sentence structure a bit.

    3. I can't comment on the story because I can't see any. Maybe give us some details of the nightmare? But otherwise, this could begin any story of any genre in the world.
     
  3. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    have you any ideas on how and where I could describe my paragraphs? Also the nightmare when Skralo talks about doesn't come untill later on in the story.
     
  4. Titania
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    Titania Contributing Member

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    My biggest advice would be to be more concise. Removing the mirror scene (which, as MumblingSage said, is... well... bad - sorry, but it's one of those things that people don't realistically do, and a very lazy way to let us know what the main character looks like) and other extraneous pausing etc, this entire paragraph could be summed up as: Skralo woke in the middle of his nightmare once again. He got up from bed, groaning as he saw that the clock read three thirteen. He walked towards the stairs, trying to be quiet so he wouldn't wake his brother.

    I agree with everything MS said.

    Logistically, a couple things:
    Watch for sentences like this -
    you need a comma before 'waiting'. This also applies to other instances in this paragraph where you have 'Skralo did this, ____ing ....' - you need that comma there.

    How does a presumably digital alarm clock (since it is described as having glowing numbers and being luminous, which is a bit more description than I care for of an alarm clock, by the way) show that it is almost three thirteen? And why 3:13? I could understand saying it was almost three thirty or something, but 3:13 is such an arbitrary time that it seems silly and I don't know who would look at a clock that said 3:11 (for instance) and think to themselves 'oh, it's almost three thirteen!'

    Heavens. That sounds mean. Apologies. Just opinion of course. That bit just seemed silly to me. Basically, shorten this and tighten it up, and good luck :)
     
  5. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Thanks for the advice for the grammar. (I'm not the best at English.) As for the clock 3:13 is when I wrote the paragraph, I was sitting in bed on my laptop writting this paragraph and I looked at the clock and just used what I saw.

    No need for apologies all advice and oppinions are welcome and are wanted.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Please remember that this forum is to discuss how to develop a plot.

    This was a writing sample posted for review. In the future, such pieces MUST be posted in the Review Room instead, or they will be deleted.
     
  7. Daniel W
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    Daniel W Member

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    Firstly, i think you should quickly edit the 'that he had been repeatedly been'. If you had copied and pasted that from your actual story, you don't want it published or printed with that error there.

    I agree with MumblingSage. Don't describe him by looking at himself in the mirror. I like to slowly give out details of the main character, so i am constantly building up the picture of the character in the readers mind. Perhaps have people commenting on what he looks like, or having someone/something interacting with him.
    For example:

    "Skralo, this boy in this magazine has the same blue eyes as you."

    or

    Then i walked into the kitchen.
    "Good morning Skralo," Mum said to me as she russled my blonde hair.

    Those aren't the best examples, but it's something.
    oh, and one more thing. If he's living in the house with other people, he would probably be making a good effort to be as quiet as possible so that he doesn't disturb anyone else sleeping.
     
  8. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Good advice and thanks for the heads up ;)
     
  9. MJB66
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    MJB66 Member

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    I agree with the other reviewers - it's not a bad effort, but I think that this needs trimming to the bone and reconstructing to make it more presentable to / interesting for the reader. Perhaps something along the lines of:

    At three-thirteen a.m., Skralo was sitting bolt upright in bed, his mind still clinging to the dregs of the recurring nightmare...I] And so on...

    Something like this approach, I think, instantly adds some dynamics to the narrative and will impact on the reader more, and hopefully entice them to continue reading (as sloppy and/or dull writing can be a big turn-off, no matter how gripping the plot).

    It is a well-worn cliché, but in writing, economy and quality always produce the best results - i.e. write less, but say more with this...

    Keep going and keep refining...writing is like everything else: practice, practice, practice...

    Best of luck. :)
     
  10. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Great thanks ;)
     
  11. Krisser
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    Krisser Member

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    I agree with the others about omitting the mirror bit and trimming it up a bit, but if it were me I wouldn't start the story with the MC waking up, it's too trite and overused. I tend to go more for throwing a character in a situation with a problem. It doesn't have to be the biggest problem known to mankind, but for that character, at that place and time, it's a problem. Usually it indicates a point of change. I like to get a character "in there" rather than worry about describing the world or the setting, so that way the reader an experience the setting through the character rather than from a narrator's perspective. And otherwise your readers will be scrambling for something better to read.
     
  12. Darkthought
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    Darkthought Active Member

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    You might want to consider revising these two sentences. Sentences that start with "There" or "It" can benefit from some revision. Consider something like; "Every night had been the same, the nightmares tormenting Skralo until they forced him into the realm of the waking."
    I noticed that many of your sentences could probably be either shortened or absorbed into other sentences. Reading it as is, it comes off as halting and choppy, like someone slamming on the brakes every four feet when driving a car.

    There is an awful lot of things like this in your sample. You might want to consider varying the you being some of your sentences. A couple of things like this is fine, but after the first few it becomes tiring for the reader.

    You should check up on your comma usage as well. There are numerous instances in which you used a comma where it was not needed or didn't use one where it was needed.

    Hope this helps :D
     
  13. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Yeah, thanks for the help guys ;)
     
  14. Daniel W
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    Daniel W Member

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    Heh, in my story, my character wakes up right at the start.

    And a small tip which i'm sure you know, Skralo. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine your surroundings. Do what you think the character would do, then write it down. As i said in an earlier post, if it were that late/early, you would be tip-toeing, and perhaps if you had your door open, and someone else in the house had their door open near your room, you would close your door before turning the light on so the light doesn't go into their room.
    If you can imagine it, the reader can imagine it.
     
  15. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Thanks ;) By the way just an insight, Skralo lives with his brother and no one else.
     
  16. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Hi,

    I've taken into account what everyone has said and this is my revision of my first paragraph.

    It was 3:00am and Skralo found himself lying in his bed staring at the ceiling, he had awoken from a recurring nightmare that he had been having for some time now. He lay in the silence of the dark for several minutes before deciding to get up for a glass of water. As he reached his bedroom door he switched on the bedroom light and stood for a moment waiting for his eyes to adjust to the new light. After his eyes had adjusted he glimpsed his reflection in the wardrobe mirror. He moved towards the wardrobe forgetting about the glass of water that he had got up for. He stared at his reflection taking in every inch of the image that was staring back. Skralo eventually tore his eyes from the mirror and looked at the picture of his parents that was standing on his bedside table. Skralo then looked towards his window; the blackness of the night was slowly giving way to the dark purple of the morning. He walked towards the bedroom door having remembered the glass of water the he had got up for. He reached the door and opened it; he stepped out onto the landing. He tiptoed towards the stairs carefully trying to make no noise because of his brother sleeping in the room next door.

    Ok... So its time for more comments if you please...
     
  17. Daniel W
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    Daniel W Member

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    I can see a great improvement there. It's obvious that you have taken our tips, but there are still a few minor errors in there.
    This bit doesn't sound right, how it says he waits for his eyes to adjust, and then suddenly they have adjusted. Maybe you could say "As he reached his bedroom door he flicked the switch and his eyes snapped shut from the sudden light that penetrated them. He slowly opened his eyes as they began to adjust and then caught his own reflection in the corner of his eye on the wardrobe mirror".

    One more thing. In 3 consecutive sentences he looks around at three different things. The mirror, the picture, then the window. I think these sentences should be spread out a bit more.

    That's all i can say about it now. Hope it helps. Once again, a great improvement from the first, and good luck with continuing to write more in this story.
     
  18. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Thanks Daniel W,
    I am hopeful that my story will be complete by next summer. Note hopeful. :) Thanks for all the advice.

    Skralo,
     
  19. Rebekkamaria
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    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

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    Actually, it's "gotten" only in American English. :) In Brit English you say "got".

    Shouldn't this be in the reviewing forums?
     
  20. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    Probably, my fault. Lol, I'm sort of new... Well I posted this thread when I was new.
     

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