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Opinions on my writing style
22

teddyandmo · 21/09/2018 13:35

Hi everyone. I have an idea for a novel and have quite a detailed story but would like an honest review of my writing style. Please excuse any grammatical errors - It's mainly the style / language I would appreciate feed back on at the moment:

Dali Bird had been known as many things. A nobody, a somebody, a has been, a has not, a wished he was, a wished he wasn’t, a go-getter, jet setter, self-starter and borderline drunk. All of these afflictions were experienced in moderation you understand and in most parts peppered with ambition and a quiet confidence. He was the hopes, dreams and everything in-betweens for a thousand men from different worlds. He spent a lifetime reaching for the stars before finishing up with the moon on a stick. His most gratified role (by his own admission) was becoming a father – my father as luck or chance or whatever you believe in would have it. It feels fitting my story is started with him, as was I. My name is Cissie Bird and I am the water poet’s daughter.

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li1972 · 21/09/2018 13:40

I can't really comment on writing style, but I love that pacey intro which grabbed me and left me wanting more. Good start!

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li1972 · 21/09/2018 13:42

Oh and I love the language; I can almost hear a South Welsh accent reading that out. Don't know why - that's just how I read it! Lol x

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ClashCityRocker · 21/09/2018 14:24

There's parts of it I really like, and parts of it I think is too much.

I think the middle chunk could be lost without hurting anything.... From 'all of these afflictions' down to 'the most gratifying role'.

If he's a main character, you're going to be showing his characteristics throughout the novel so no point describing them all in the first para.

And if he's not a main character, do the readers need to know?

You're a good writer so far as I can tell but you're in danger of letting the writing get in the way of the story I think.

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ClashCityRocker · 21/09/2018 14:25

(having said that, it worked for Dickens so what do I know...)

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ChardonnaysPrettySister · 21/09/2018 14:27

I like where it’s going buy I think the writing is too big in some places, if that make sense.

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splishsplashshow · 21/09/2018 14:45

I agree with @ClashCityRocker. Cut the section they suggested ('All these afflictions . . . moon on a stick').

If he's a main character, far better to show these things peppered through the story via his actions than to tell it all in the beginning before the reader has a chance to care about him.

If he's not a main character, it's just extraneous fluff that risks bogging the reader down for no reason.

The second sentence already says everything that the subsequent three sentences say.

Make it easy for your reader to keep reading. There are millions more books out there, all available at the click of a button. Don't give them a single reason to close your book or stop reading your story, especially at the start before they're emotionally invested in the characters.

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splishsplashshow · 21/09/2018 19:23

This, though:

'A nobody, a somebody, a has been, a has not, a wished he was, a wished he wasn’t, a go-getter, jet setter, self-starter and borderline drunk.'

I like the way that reads. There's a nice rhythm to it.

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JustHavinABreak · 21/09/2018 19:29

I think you have a beautiful rhythmic style, very reminiscent of John Irving in your introduction. I don't agree with the pp who say that you've given too much detail.
You have, after all, only given us a few sentences which is nothing in the context of a novel. You didn't lose me as a reader. I'm left waiting for me. I'd love to
read the rest! Very willing reader here 🤗

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teddyandmo · 21/09/2018 19:54

Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I have no experience with writing but this story is bubbling up inside me. I'm not bothered about trying to get it published really I just would love to leave something for my children - a lot of it is based on things that have happened to me.
Again, thank you so much for your feedback : ) [justhavinabreak] I may bore you with more!!

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JustHavinABreak · 24/09/2018 23:13

Oh please do! I just popped back in here to see if you'd left some more 😀

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teddyandmo · 25/09/2018 12:28

Oh thanks JustHavinABreak . I have written a little more this morning and will include a snippet below. Grateful for anyones feedback if you are still here : )

My father had always been keen on the arts. A lover of poetry, paintings and flowers. The black sheep of the Birds, whose boys were renowned for boxing and bloodshed. The youngest of three brothers he was slight in frame and fairly ordinary in appearance. A crop of pale mousey hair that he swept to the side, light olive skin and a soft ruffled brow. At a glance he could be mistaken for any other boy in the village but on closer inspection there was a striking difference that set him apart. Among a family of darker features he had been born with one bright blue eye, ‘Hetorochomia’, or “an eye for detail” as Grandma enthused. Dali was different and Grandma Noni recognised this from an early age. She indulged the curiosities that set him apart from his siblings and peers, taking him to museums and small antique fairs when chance permitted. She encouraged him to go against the grain, against his father and against the norm that society had placed on boys of that era. He was picked on at school and baited to fight on the reputation of his brothers but to no avail. None of this interested him and with Nonis encouragement he stuck out the slander and embraced the name ‘Sissy’.

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JustHavinABreak · 25/09/2018 22:43

I love this. Your style of prose is right up my street. It's the kind of thing I could imagine slipping away into for long periods of time. This must surely be the result of many years of experience. Have you found yourself an agent?

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teddyandmo · 26/09/2018 06:43

Thank you I really didn’t expect that, I’ve never written a thing before. My father died last year when I was heavily pregnant and ever since then it’s like I needed to get something written down - quite an odd feeling. I have elaborated the story slightly and I can’t go through the day without adding to it / thinking about the characters. Last week was the first time I tried to put it down in words and it feels so therapeutic it’s just flowing out of me. Thank you for your comments. If anyone else wants to critique it please fire away ...

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Nuffaluff · 27/09/2018 09:31

Your most recent piece that you wrote is a list of things about the character which would be much improved by fleshing bits out to tell a story.
For example, don’t just tell me that his grandma took him to museums. That could be about any number if people. Make it more specific. Start a new paragraph and tell me a story about what happened one particular time that his grandma took him to a museum. A miniature story within a story, if you like. Perhaps a paragraph or two long, possibly with a little dialogue. Show me something unique and interesting about your character by what they say and do.

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GenericHamster · 01/10/2018 10:21

What you've shown us so far is fantastic scene-setting but I'm interested to see how you handle the actual plot/story/stuff happening.

Keep writing!

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teddyandmo · 01/10/2018 21:22

Thank you so much for the feedback. I am child free for a few hours tomorrow so hoping to write a little more!

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brokenharbour · 01/10/2018 21:38

I like it. Do you mean gratifying rather than gratified though?

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undeecided · 02/10/2018 23:48

No gratified is much better here - it's echoing the father's voice '(by his own admission)' and really stands out as authentic. Clearly it's ungrammatical but 'gratifying' would dilute the effect. Clever and powerful writing OP!

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NamedyChangedy · 03/10/2018 00:08

I also struggled with 'gratified' rather than 'gratifying'. But at this stage I wouldn't worry too much about editing OP, just get the story out and you can agonise over word choice (and apostrophes - Noni's) afterwards. Or perhaps an editor / pedantic MNetter can!

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Gettingsomewhere · 03/10/2018 11:43

I'm intrigued already. Would definitely like to find out more about Dali Bird's life, it sounds fascinating

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Finnyhaddock · 05/10/2018 07:04

I really liked it. The writing flows really well but you need to get into the story fairly quickly now and not get bogged down in descriptions.
Keep going. I want MORE!

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teddyandmo · 11/10/2018 23:07

Hello all. I have written a little more today, what I think may actually be the beginning of the story - been thinking of starting in the middle now Hmm . Is anyone up for offering thoughts / advice ? Thank you all so much for above feedback x

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