RodRaglin

A journalist, photographer and author of 6 novels and 2 plays.

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Opening needs an inciting incident

This sounds promising, Kiersten. Here are some suggestions you might want to consider.

A good story starts with an inciting incident. Something happens that upset the status quo of the protagonist. From the need to get back to normal evolves the protagonist's Goal - what she wants; Motivation - why she wants it; and, Conflict - what's preventing her from getting it. Present this to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter.
This helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time.

Backstory - your characters' history should not be dumped at the beginning of the story. Start with action, stay with action and subtly insert backstory where necessary keeping in mind it should be minimal and motivated (necessary to the story at that time).

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Imaginative writing but poorly structured

A good opening for a story starts with an inciting incident. Something that upsets the protagonist's life. From this incident and the desire to get life back on track evolves the Goal - what the protagonist wants; Motivation - why he wants it; and, Conflict - what's preventing him from getting it.

This needs to be presented to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter. It helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time.

Backstory - your characters' history should not be dumped at the beginning of the story. Start with action, stay with action and subtly insert backstory where necessary keeping in mind it should be minimal and motivated (necessary to the story at that time).

Try re-writing scenes inserting more dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work come alive and be more entertaining for the reader.

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Good, very good, but a little to introspective

Your writing is very good, Rachel, but remember you also have to entertain the reader and in that regard it's a bit sparse in action and dialogue.

Consider when revising...

When starting a new story always consider your protagonist's Goal - what they want; Motivation - why they want it; and, Conflict - what's preventing them from getting it. Present this to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter.
This helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time.
When the story gets out of control refer back to the GMC and it will help you refocus.

Try re-writing scenes inserting more dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work come alive and be more entertaining for the reader.

Backstory - your characters' history should not be dumped at the beginning of the story. Start with action, stay with action and subtly insert backstory where necessary keeping in mind it should be minimal and motivated (necessary to the story at that time).

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Goal, motivation and conflict need to be established

This story is intriguing, Al, but before you get to into it here's something you might want to consider.

When starting a new story always consider your protagonist's Goal - what they want; Motivation - why they want it; and, Conflict - what's preventing them from getting it.

Present this to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter.

This helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time.

When the story gets out of control refer back to the GMC and it will help you refocus.

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Slow beginning - consider starting with the "inciting incident"

Are you familiar with the term "the inciting incident"?

That's the incident that disrupts the life of your protagonist and presents the "story worthy problem", or goal. That goal is what our protagonist is trying to achieve and her attempts, successes and failures (mostly failures) are what drives the story.

Good stories begin with the inciting incident. They don't begin with backstory (the character's history), character description, or involved settings. All this can be inserted when necessary as the action unfolds.

Inciting incidents are action - scenes not summary.

In the case of your story, which is very well written, the beginning is slow because it starts with backstory and not the inciting incident which would be when Megan nearly gets hit by the car.

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Not very original I'm afraid

This is interesting, PR, but unfortunately dystopian stories about an furturistic, autocratic government eliminating free thinking dissenters are legion.

Here's some writing suggestions you might want to consider.

When starting a new story always consider your protagonist's Goal - what they want; Motivation - why they want it; and, Conflict - what's preventing them from getting it. Present this to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter. This helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time.

"Show don't tell."
You've probably heard this before and wondered what's the difference? Well, the difference is as a writer you're telling your reader what's happening rather than having them experience it (showing). Write so the reader is actually feels involved in the action. Use the present not the past tense.
Try re-writing scenes inserting more dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work

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Good start but needs more craft

This is an intriguing story, Catherine and a good start for some so young. Like most things in life, the more you do it, the better you get and that especially goes for writing. Here's some suggestions you might want to consider.

"Show don't tell."
You've probably heard this before and wondered what's the difference? Well, the difference is as a writer you're telling your reader what's happening rather than having them experience it (showing). Write so the reader is actually feels involved in the action. Use the present not the past tense.
Try re-writing scenes inserting more dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work come alive and be more entertaining for the reader.

When starting a new story always consider your protagonist's Goal - what they want; Motivation - why they want it; and, Conflict - what's preventing them from getting it. Present this to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter. This helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time.

When the story gets out of control refer back to the GMC and it will help you refocus.

Backstory - your characters' history should not be dumped at the beginning of the story. Start with action, stay with action and subtly insert backstory where necessary keeping in mind it should be minimal and motivated (necessary to the story at that time).

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Seriously need an opening hook

You write well, Emily, but this is quite indulgent and seriously needs an opening hook.

Are you familiar with the concept of in media res? It means start in the middle of the action - with the inciting incident.

This beginning is primarily all backstory. Your characters' history should not be dumped at the beginning of the story. Start with action, stay with action and subtly insert backstory where necessary keeping in mind it should be minimal and motivated (necessary to the story at that time).

Consider having the story start with Boston landing in Prague or better yet meeting Carter and then filter in her back story as the action unfolds.

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Interesting take on a very topical subject

This is an interesting approach to a very topical subject. I hope you go on to explore the reasons behind the increase in teen suicides as well as tell an entertaining story.

I like that you start with the inciting incident - the announcement of the suicide.

In revision you might want to consider the following:

When starting a new story always consider your protagonist's Goal - what they want; Motivation - why they want it; and, Conflict - what's preventing them from getting it. Present this to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter. This helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time. In this case the goal finding out why the victim committed suicide, the motivation would be why is the protagonist so interested in the suicide of a stranger, and the conflicts are perhaps the stigma about suicide.

When the story gets out of control refer back to the GMC and it will help you refocus.


"Show don't tell."
You've probably hear this before and wondered what's the difference? Well, the difference is as a writer you're telling your reader what's happening rather than having them experience it (showing). Write so the reader is actually feels involved in the action. Use the present not the past tense.

Try re-writing scenes inserting more dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work come alive and be more entertaining for the reader.

Whilst is archaic - old fashioned language that really jumps out at the reader. Why not just use "while"?

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Lots of potential but need to hone craft

Lots of potential here, Steve. Here's a few suggestions you might want to consider.

When starting a new story always consider your protagonist's Goal - what they want; Motivation - why they want it; and, Conflict - what's preventing them from getting it. Present this to the reader right at the beginning - ideally the first page, but for sure in the first chapter. This helps the reader understand what's at stake in the story and if they should invest the time. When the story gets out of control refer back to the GMC and it will help you refocus.

"Show don't tell."
You've probably hear this before and wondered what's the difference? Well, the difference is as a writer you're telling your reader what's happening rather than having them experience it (showing). Write so the reader is actually feels involved in the action. Use the present not the past tense.
Try re-writing scenes inserting more dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work come alive and be more entertaining for the reader.

Backstory - your characters' history should not be dumped at the beginning of the story. Start with action, stay with action and subtly insert backstory where necessary keeping in mind it should be minimal and motivated (necessary to the story at that time).

Read the story now
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Intriguing and challenging

This sounds intriguing and very challenging, John, with lots of characters and interwoven plot lines.

Consider...

"Show don't tell."
You've probably hear this before and wondered what's the difference? Well, the difference is as a writer you're telling your reader what's happening rather than having them experience it (showing). Write so the reader is actually feels involved in the action. Use the present not the past tense.
Try re-writing the opening scene inserting dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work come alive and be more entertaining for the reader.

Read the story now
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Issues with backstory and telling rather than showing

This sounds intriguing, Sylvie, with lots of interesting characters and conflict.

Here's some things you might want to consider.

Backstory - your characters' history should not be dumped at the beginning of the story. Start with action, stay with action and subtly insert backstory where necessary keeping in mind it should be minimal and motivated (necessary to the story at that time).

"Show don't tell."
You've probably hear this before and wondered what's the difference? Well, the difference is as a writer you're telling your reader what's happening rather than having them experience it (showing). Write so the reader actually feels involved in the action. Use the present not the past tense.
Try re-writing scenes inserting dialogue and action rather than summary. It really will make your work come alive and be more entertaining for the reader.

Read the story now
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Fame and consequences

I think you've got interesting story line here, Reese. There are lots of literary couples who've had volatile relationships, the stuff interesting novels are made of, including Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre, and Michael Ondaatjie and Linda Spalding.

I've only read the first chapter of Fame and Consequences but I'm a bit surprised that you have yet to introduce the Goal, Motivation and Conflict. These three elements are the basis of every (yes, every story) and are almost always introduced within the first chapter, often with the opening paragraph.
So the case of Fame and Consequences the reader wants to know what the Parker (the protagonist) wants - what's her goal; why does she want it (motivation); and what's preventing her from getting it (conflict).
A story usually presents this at the beginning and then increases the tension by adding more obstacles to the goal. Finally, a climax is reached and the protagonist either wins or loses. This is the traditional story arc and if you follow it a story will unfold naturally. If you don't, well...
In the first chapter it appears Parker has everything she wants - so why read on?

Your writing is natural but lacks imagination and power.

Here's a few suggestions you might consider to improve it:
- don't describe your dialogue with adverbs. Examples:
Elijah says calmly
says with authority
I say politely
I tell him my voice shaking.
Usually it's not necessary, you can leave the delivery up to the reader's imagination. If it does need to be described than it's weak and needs to be rewritten using a stronger verb

Try not to use so many adverbs - words usually ending in "ly". Again, they're usually unnecessary for the reasons stated above. Extra words suck the energy out of your writing.
smile warmly
clear my throat awkwardly -
cheers loudly - do crowds cheer quietly
obviously offended

Watch for contradictions:
Your description of Elijah seems incongruous - a total goofball who likes to think he's in control of his world? Aren't control freaks, well, controlled, uptight, OCD? I've never met one who was a goofball.

lean of my tiptoes ??? Shouldn't that be stand on my tiptoes?

First Parker is so nervous she's going to vomit and then suddenly she's reassuring Elijah? Quick recovery?

Try not to use cliches
- blows my mind
My Jane Hancock
off-handed conversation
Cliche´s are not original (that's why their called clichés) and a writer writing about a writer really should avoid them and go for original language.

Description should not be dumped like Parker's description of Elijah. It's best when it's motivated - have a reason to describe a person's appearance.

I would suggest the anecdote about Parker and Elijah meeting is miles too long. Anything that does not develop character or advance the plot should likely be deleted.

I know you love these characters but you have to be ruthless for the sake of good writing and an interesting story.

Good luck,
Rod

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Story structure lacking writing unprofessional

The vast majority of stories follow a simple structure. Why? Because if you adhere to the structure you're more likely to write something that's compelling and entertaining.

It's important very early in the story to present the following components:
Goal - what your protagonist wants?
Motivation - why she wants it?
Conflict - what's preventing her from achieving the goal?

I've just completed the prologue and Chapter 2(?) of These Lovely Forms and still have no idea what the Goal, Motivation or Conflict of either Jadin or Allie are. What is this story about?

The other critical ingredient is the Inciting Incident, which also should be very close to the beginning since it's what kick starts the story. It's the event or situation that upsets the status quo and propels your hero into action.

There's no inciting incident in the pages I read instead there is backstory which is the least effective way to begin.

In my opinion, the story should start at chapter three and the necessary backstory - who (or should that be what) Jadin is and what he does, along with Allie's boyfriend, parents and best friend filled in subtly and only when necessary as the action unfolds.

Though grammatically correct the writing presents several stylistic flaws that mark it as unprofessional.

Almost every instance of dialogue is accompanied by an action. These actions are usually insignificant and unnecessarily bog down the writing.

The delivery of dialogue is too frequently supported by adverbs. If you have to describe how a character is saying something it usually means that your dialogue is weak and should be rewritten - probably using a stronger verb.

There's good use of dialogue in this story which conveys an active voice, but some of it does little to develop character or advance the plot.

Speaking of plot, I haven't read enough to comment on pacing, glitches and story arc.

Since I don't read this genre it would be unfair of me to comment about supernatural beings having human emotions, but what's with the sprinkler system irrigating the grass when there's still no leaves on the trees and an "icy wind" is ruining Allie's good hair day?

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