1. Photojunkie852

    Photojunkie852 New Member

    Mar 12, 2009
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    my problems.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Photojunkie852, Mar 12, 2009.

    I wrote a short story, a year ago. i've been editing it on and off for a year, i thought i had it spot on. so i post it off to a magazine asking for submissions and asked for their opinions.
    I got an email in response telling me my story lacked structure, was hard to follow and that the twist in the end was not satisfying to the audience making them feel misled.

    The main criticism was about my punctuation, and grammar.
    i looked at the story several times and i cannot see my mistakes. I think i'm blind to it. if i can't see where i'm going wrong how will i ever be able to practice good grammar and punctuation.

    My technical writing isn't good, which makes my story suck.
    I've just started working on a novel and this i must admit as knocked my enthusiasm and belief in myself. If i can't get the grammar and punctuation correct in a story 700 words long how can i do it in a story of 50,000+ words.
    I would post it for you'r opinions but i feel a little torn to shreds already today.
    I feel so disheartened at the moment.
  2. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    you're right in that if you don't have the basics honed to at least acceptable minimums, you'll be wasting much more time on writing a novel that also won't be marketable due to major 'spag' problems...

    however, you're fortunate to have had your story reach a kind-hearted editor who took the time and trouble to let you know why your work isn't fit for publishing... that's extremely rare, so you owe that person a big 'thank you!'...

    instead of giving yourself a pity party, why don't you enroll in a remedial grammar course at your nearby adult ed venue, or get to work with some good books on same, while reading lots of the best works of the best writers, to 'absorb' how good grammar looks and reads?... and consider taking a good creative writing class either in the flesh or online...

    if you want, i'll be happy to take a look at the first page of your story and give you detailed notes on what's wrong and how to fix it...

    love and hugs, maia

    ps: welcome to the forums!
  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA

    Mammamaia gave you some good advice.

    Here's an article I wrote sometime back for someone in your situation that will expand a bit more on what was said: Never Learned Grammar?.

    Beyond that, read other short stories, but not for enjoyment. Study their structure and those with plot twists at the end. O Henry was known for his short fiction with twists. They are a bit on the old side, but simple and direct in their structure and twist. Try this link for starters: O Henry Biography and Short Stories.

    I'd suggest for starters:
    "The Gift of the Magi"
    "Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen"
    "The Last Leaf"

    Good luck.

  4. architectus

    architectus Banned

    Aug 19, 2008
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    Grammar has been the hardest thing for me to learn. I'm still pressing forward, and all the hard work is paying off.

    If I showed you something I had written two years ago, and something I wrote recently, I doubt you would believe the same person wrote it. So start learning because it's worth the hard work.

    Also, pick up a few good books on creative writing. It sounds like what might have happened in your short story is that you sprung a surprise ending without foreshadowing it.

    That means that you need to hint at the ending, so that when the reader finishes the story, they say, "Oh, I should have saw that coming." Think about the movie The Sixth Sense. Would the surprise ending have been impactful if it was not foreshadowed?

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