I am attempting to write a novel. I would love some honest feedback on my style of writing
febmum2b · 22/11/2017 21:44
Here are the first 2 paragraphs. I would invite any constructive criticism - please be gentle! I don't want to give anymore away as jumps into action fairly quickly.
‘A fine line separates deep sadness from the absurd’. Those had been his parting words. In truth, they had been his only words, yet they carried the weight of the world and an infinite possibility of conversations within it. I didn’t respond. My eyes closed and a small tear rolled gently down each cheek towards my mouth. “So this is how sadness tastes” I said softly. A damp, bitter, salty pill. No sweet resolve.
My eyes opened tentatively with the arrival of dawn. I lay there, still. Allowing the thoughts, dreams and the somewhere in-betweens wash over me like a surge of cool air. Rushing in from the tips of my toes to the crest of my skull. Sick to my double knotted stomach as for all the things I couldn’t explain I was certain of this, a storm was coming. Change was imminent and the sense of foreboding would remain a while longer yet.
Trailedanderror · 22/11/2017 21:49
I wanted to keep reading and find out what has happened- and what will happen. I suspect that people with more expertise would suggest that it needs fewer descriptive words and phrases. But I'd keep on, and then maybe tone down the style when it's finished rather than as you go, because it's the narrators voice nd you don't want to limit it at this early stage.
starsorwater · 22/11/2017 21:55
Read it aloud, not once, but several times. See how many words you can do without and still convey the same meaning. Try and have a strong first line, not one that is a bit of a puzzle. Don't assume your reader knows what you are talking about. It's not the reader's job to hang on a minute and they will, it's your job to hold them from the start.
(I have worked in mainstream publishing for 25 years.)
febmum2b · 22/11/2017 21:56
oh thank you so much. I feel like I have an interesting story to tell although trying to put it words and a particular order is harder than I had imagined.
starsorwater · 22/11/2017 22:03
Plan first. Write, as if you were writing a note of information to a fairly dim person, all the facts you need to convey in chronological order.
Work out who is going to convey these facts and how and at what point during the narrative key points will be revealed.
Get to know your characters. Draw them. Write a postcard from them. Describe to yourself a few key moments from their childhood. Make them speak to each other by having an eg "do you remember?" conversation so they tell the story retrospectively. Learn their voices, so you do not have to wonder who said what.
Think of it as planning a journey. You know the beginning and the end, the turning points, the landscape, the weather, the travellers. You'll find out as you travel what will happen on the way.
Read everything aloud, over and over and over. That's the key. And be tough with yourself, because I promise you, editors and readers will be tougher!
NineFortySixPM · 22/11/2017 22:15
I think you have some pretty good parts there, but it reads a bit as though you’ve thrown the kitchen sink at it - too verbose, too many frilly sentences in each paragraph. Which makes reading it a bit of a plod.
So I’d suggest you edit it and pepper the more flowery and ott descriptions through some more toned down sentences that get to the point a bit quicker - readers don’t always want 10 fancy clever words when the meaning could be better described in 5 simple ones iykwim?
Good luck though!
nobutreally · 22/11/2017 22:22
Hey, I like that! As others have said it's a bit too rich at the mo - you can calm it down a lot and simplify, and it will feel less 'try hard', but I wanted to read on, which is a great sign.
For example, looking at the first para, I think your first line is a bit of cliche and maybe not the best place to start, and I'd also cut the 'So this is how sadness tastes' line which felt less creative than some of your other ideas. I also don't know if you need the 'weight of the world' clause - again, felt like a cliche.
Good luck, though - I usually read these things on mn and sigh and don't comment, but this one certainly got my attention!
CrumbsThatsQuick · 22/11/2017 22:27
Specifically feedback on writing style.....
I was confused by the use of grammar / language a few times....
e.g. 'they' carried the weight of the word within 'it'
'a small tear'.... but it ran down both cheeks, so actually two tears?
What time of day is it? You were talking to yourself and then asleep (start of second para?) and then woke up?
"Allowing...." and "Rushing...." don't make sense as sentences and the next sentence needs a comma or something to make sense.
This all sound nit picky (I enjoyed reading it!) But it was tricky to read (as well as the flowery language) so I was trying to work out why.... I think it needs a bit of editing.
Witchend · 22/11/2017 22:33
I like the first paragraph.
The second one feels a bit trying too hard. I think if you condensed it, then it would sound better to me.
Phoenix76 · 22/11/2017 22:54
I really enjoyed this! I get what pp are saying about maybe being too rich, but, it wasn't too much that I didn't want to continue reading. I also wanted to continue reading this and I speak as someone who doesn't bother reading nowadays, two very young children, working, normally collapse into bed and asleep within minutes but with your writing I would certainly have made the effort to read before bed. I get what pp said about the tears but can see you meant it as one tear per eye. I would definitely encourage you to continue as you are as your undertone makes any density worth persisting for (makes sense in my head!) Good luck (and let us know when we can have access to the full story please!)
Viviennemary · 22/11/2017 23:00
Well I think it's very good indeed. You should certainly keep going. I agree with the poster who preferred the first paragraph. Maybe the second could be pruned just a very little touch.
febmum2b · 23/11/2017 06:59
Thank you all so much. On reflection I totally agree that the language needs to be simplified. Some of the words just aren't necessary. I really appreciate this feedback. I've always been confident with poetry but I realised I've been walking around telling a story in my head most days. Maybe I should have a go at writing but didn't know where to start. Thank you all again x
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