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  1. kelzey2
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    kelzey2 New Member

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    Why does my writing seem so forced?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kelzey2, Dec 24, 2009.

    No matter how much planning I do, or how well Ive thought about plot and characterization, my writing always seems very forced. When I write dialogue it doesn't seem as forced. This is a small piece from my latest story.

    Each step got harder, his pace beginning to slow down. Stumbling on the road, he sunk to his knees. His head ached excrutingly now, bringing him close to tears. He knew what was happening, and though he was powerless to stop it, he fought with everything he had left. He heard a car approach ahead of him. It slowed, and stopped directly infront of him, two doors slamming shut moments later. He heard footsteps approach him and managed to look up. The two men who stood above him grinned evily. He had been a while since Reuben had seen him, but he recognized him instantly. “Hello, Reuben.” said Cian. The dark energy finally overcame him, the last of his control finally succumbing to the force of the Darklands. Reluctantly, he let himself go, knowing there was nothing he could do to prevent was about to happen.

    Any suggestions on why it sounds forced and what I can do to adjust my writing style?
     
  2. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    Hate to bring bad news, but there's a good chance the mods will close your thread since you're asking for a review outside of the review room. After you write two constructive reviews, you are welcome to seek your own review there.

    In the meantime, I will just say that you appear to be using a lot of words to be saying very little. Steps getting harder, sinking to his knees, head aching, etc. You're micromanaging and overdetailing which is slowing down the pace.
     
  3. deltaquid
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    deltaquid Member

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    I don't think they'll close this. Reviewing is more like "Here's my work, what do you think?" rather than "It feels wrong, can any one help me out here?"

    But indeed. It seems like you're writing a lot, yet the story doesn't go very far. Also, it seems like you really like commas. Some of them aren't needed. "It slowed, and stopped directly infront of him, two doors slamming shut moments later." There shouldn't be one after slowed, for example.
     
  4. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    There is actually a reason for that particular comma--to indicate the car didn't both slow and stop "directly in front of him." But whether the OP reasoned it out the same way, I couldn't say.

    This is looking pretty rough, to be honest, and there's no quick fix. The best (and easiest) way to learn how to write well is to read good writing. Study what you read. Pay attention to the writing, not just the story, and take note of how it differs from yours.
     
  5. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I agree with Unsavory and Delta, too many words not saying much. Remember Less IS More when it comes to writing. If you took that same scene and condensed it down to only the essentials, cutting out at least half of the wordage, it probably wouldn't seem as forced to you, or wordy to us.

    You also have a touch of info-dumping going on. "He knew what was happening, and though he was powerless to stop it, he fought with everything he had left." This could be shown in this character's pov better.

    I would suggest going into the review room. Looking at some other pieces and their reviews. You don't always have to post a review or work to learn something there. You can see people who make the same mistakes you do, and see how the critiquers suggest to fix it. You could also start giving a few critiques and then post up your work if you want further help.
     
  6. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Another aspect of the sounding forced may be having almost indentical sentence structure through out. It can make the prose take on a sing-song feel.

    You seem to want to answer all the questions, when you should try to leave questions in the reader's mind -- give them a reason to read more.

    Just my tuppence,
    RR
     
  7. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    And more "in general" advice might be to not do so much thorough planning. I can only speak for myself, but whenever I plot out exactly what's going to happen, I automatically do everything in my power to make the story turn out exactly that way. And it shows. When that happens with me, the story reads less like a story and more like a construction project. Because that's essentially what I've done: drawn a blueprint and built upon it. Aside from all that, it's just not as fun for me writing something when I already know exactly what will happen.

    I don't know your situation. Maybe you find writing difficult without a lot of planning. But if something isn't working out and you don't know what it is, I doubt anyone else can be of much help identifying the problem. Start experimenting with changes in your routine. Cut back on the planning, or listen to some music, or even something as simple as writing in a new location. If you write on the computer, try writing on paper, or vice-versa. The smallest changes can have surprising results.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    To echo RomanticRose, there is no dynamism here in the sentence structure. It reads stilted because it is stilted.

    A little thing I do when I my work seems flat is to pull it out of paragraph form as I have just done for you here because it makes it much easier to see when the sentences are all 1, 2, 3, plah ~ 1, 2, 3, plah ~ 1, 2, 3....
     
  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I tend to agree with Wrey

    The exerpt you have shown us is stilted and hard to follow. To say it's dry is an understatement...give me a second and let me see if I can figure out a better way to show as an example...
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It's not perfect

    just something I threw together in a couple of minutes, but try this one for size:


    With each step harder to take, his pace began to slow. God, the pain won’t stop, he thought as he stumbled onto the road and fell to his knees. In the distance, the sound of an engine filled the air and headlights started to brighten the darkness.

    When it came to a stop, a familiar man stepped out of the car. Reuben. How long had it been since he had seen him? Five years? Ten maybe?

    The sight of Reuben was the last straw. Cian rolled onto his back and let the dark energy roll over him like a tidal wave. He sighed and let himself go, the knowledge that there wasn’t a choice in what would happen burning inside him.

    “Hello, Reuben,”
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The 'pair' structure immediately put me off:

    Each step got harder, + his pace beginning to slow down.

    Stumbling on the road, + he sunk to his knees.

    His head ached excrutingly now, + bringing him close to tears.

    The captain has done a good job of varying the structure to show the same information, which is much more interesting to read.
     
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