Re: I need someone to review my story and tell where I can improve

#2
Okay. There is a lot you can do but the best thing is to Show, Don't Tell. I know it is a common advice but your story does suffer a lot of telling instead of showing. For example:

Quote:Rikdah was awakened by the golden rays of the sun shining through the small window of the room rented by him. The dark elf still felt tired and sleepy after journeying yesterday. He put on his black cloak and went downstairs to get something to eat. The tavern’s main hall in broad daylight seemed different yet familiar. Rikdah was amongst the few to get up this early.

This whole paragraph is just telling things. It is not always bad to Tell, but you do need to Show to engage your readers, specially about stuff like emotion or a setting where you want your readers to experience them.

For example with the example paragraph above, instead of Telling us that Rikdah is awakened by the sunlight, Show him waking up. If he is an elf, Show to us that he is an elf. Instead of Telling us he felt tired and sleepy, Show us is tiredness and sleepiness. You can provide details to show this things. For example write something like:
[quote]Rikdah turned his head away from the light that spilled into his room. The day has started but he doesn't plan to move away from the bed as he would normally do. He would have remained and rested some more if his stomach isn't grumbling from lack of nutrition.[quote]
I tried to Show Rikdah waking up because of the sunlight but not rising from bed for some reason. I would then try to Show the reason why (he remained tired and sleepy from journeying) later.

Another problem, specifically with your first chapter, is that nothing happens. You started with your main character waking up. That is like one of the least interesting opening you can make if you didn't do something about it. There is literally nothing interesting about a character waking up. Why start your story with that? After than very mundane opening, the rest of the chapter have nothing. Well, characters meet, introduce themselves, then left. There was something about the Oni but it has nothing to do with the story or with the apparent main characters. Might as well not happen.

So, an opening without anything interesting or anything happening. Not really an opening that would make people want to read more.

Another issue I found is that your protagonist lacks any concrete or well defined motivation. His motivation is very vague. It is not bad to have such a protagonist but a story with a protagonist like that have things happened that creates the motivation. For example, in Toy Story, Woody doesn't really have a specific motivation since he is content with his life. That is, until the uncertainty of the birthday comes in and finally when Buzz arrived. Now motivated by jealousy, he wants his position as the favorite toy back.

That doesn't happen in your story. Rikdah just do things with no real motivation.

And the story's description needs work. It just doesn't sound enticing.

As for things good. Well, there is the setting. I love fantasy settings and I prefer fantasy stories. You just need to have something happening in this setting the story resides in. Show us the interesting things in this fantastical world.

~~~~~

Overall, you just doesn't have anything going on with your story. We are just reading about people moving around and talking to each other, on top of a rather unegaging storytelling. I know this is your first story but it is just have nothing to offer, at least at the start. You do need to offer us something in the first pages to motivate us to continue reading.

Re: I need someone to review my story and tell where I can improve

#3
Ral already hit the main things, but I'll try to add some more advice.

A good way to avoid "telling" is not to use stats and adjectives in your descriptions. For example, instead of telling us the innkeeper is "old", describe him. Talk about his gray hair and/or wrinkles. Maybe he's balding, hunched over, or overweight. (And if none of these apply, then how does your MC know he's over 60?) Assuming the innkeeper is a minor character, one or two details is enough to give readers a mental image. If he's important to the overall story, then take your time describing him.

The same goes for describing the other characters in meters. It's more natural for us to compare others to ourselves or the environment. For example: "Character A was a full head taller than Character B". Or: "He practically had to duck to get through the doorway."

Almost every writer starts out with too much showing, and it really just takes practice. For now, I would watch out for adjectives, adverbs, and stats in your writing. Whenever one comes up, ask yourself if you can push the writing further. When describing a scene, ask yourself if you're hitting all the main senses. What are the sights, sounds, and smells? These are the things that make a scene come to life.

Starting the story with your character in bed is another common beginner mistake. Thankfully, there's an easy solution to this one. Just skip ahead to where the action starts, and make that your new Chapter 1. :)

Re: I need someone to review my story and tell where I can improve

#4
I learn not to judge others off their work. Each piece is unique. Writing is Art. And Art can not be defined by anyone. No matter what everyone says. "I'd like that, I'd like this, that could have been better like so..." 90% is what others would like to see. But they're missing the point. The other ten is...well...is just people "thinking" they know better, when in fact they draw their power from people they are inspired from. But that's not a bad thing, not at all. It's good to be inspired by someone else. Just make sure you're not copy/pasting their style as yours.

Re: I need someone to review my story and tell where I can improve

#5
Wrote: I learn not to judge others off their work. Each piece is unique. Writing is Art. And Art can not be defined by anyone. No matter what everyone says. "I'd like that, I'd like this, that could have been better like so..." 90% is what others would like to see. But they're missing the point. The other ten is...well...is just people "thinking" they know better, when in fact they draw their power from people they are inspired from. But that's not a bad thing, not at all. It's good to be inspired by someone else. Just make sure you're not copy/pasting their style as yours.

The person is asking for ways to improve. You might think that you are helping people but this is only encouraging mediocrity and stagnancy.

You also show a terrible lack of understanding of what Art is. Essentially, you are thinking that Art can't be bad. Sure, Art is really subjective but subjective doesn't mean that you can not do wrong. What if an artist copies another work and present it as his/her own? Is that not bad Art? Can't you call the artist for it?

Another is that, no one defines Art. There is and that is you. One thing that makes art impossible to define is because Art is personal. What Art is to you is different for others. One can see an arrangement of rocks and call it Art, another could see the same thing and just see a bunch of rocks. And you know what? That is great. If Art is so easily defined, then it would not had been so diverse and free and creative.

And you also lack understanding about criticism. Sure people doesn't always give good criticism, but criticism provide one important thing: it provides another view or perspective of your work. It can help you take your work into a direction you haven't thought of or create ideas that wouldn't have occurred to you. And of course to see where you can improve.

And you might not know this, but art being a medium of expression has always been used for criticism. A lot of art movements are reactions and criticism of other art (and others, even life itself). Expressionism, for example, is a reaction against Impressionism which in turn is a reaction against Academic style of art. Art is used to criticize other Art and thus creating new Art. Amazing.

And now you have this criticism as an invitation to see things in another way. May you find it helpful.

Re: I need someone to review my story and tell where I can improve

#6
Ral Wrote: You also show a terrible lack of understanding of what Art is. Essentially, you are thinking that Art can't be bad. Sure, Art is really subjective but subjective doesn't mean that you can not do wrong. What if an artist copies another work and present it as his/her own? Is that not bad Art? Can't you call the artist for it?

Another is that, no one defines Art. There is and that is you. One thing that makes art impossible to define is because Art is personal. What Art is to you is different for others. One can see an arrangement of rocks and call it Art, another could see the same thing and just see a bunch of rocks. And you know what? That is great. If Art is so easily defined, then it would not had been so diverse and free and creative.

And you also lack understanding about criticism. Sure people doesn't always give good criticism, but criticism provide one important thing: it provides another view or perspective of your work. It can help you take your work into a direction you haven't thought of or create ideas that wouldn't have occurred to you. And of course to see where you can improve.

And you might not know this, but art being a medium of expression has always been used for criticism. A lot of art movements are reactions and criticism of other art (and others, even life itself). Expressionism, for example, is a reaction against Impressionism which in turn is a reaction against Academic style of art. Art is used to criticize other Art and thus creating new Art. Amazing.

And now you have this criticism as an invitation to see things in another way. May you find it helpful.



First off, thank you for replying to the comment, I hope you red it enough and gave some matter to the thought, to truly understand my meaning. So now let's start to reply to your statements one by one. And hopefully we can reach a common point on this. 

- Well, in my opinion, I do no such think as to encourage stagnancy or mediocrity. Although these are some very beautiful words, rarely used by anyone nowadays, I stand to them for the complete opposite. And it is exactly like I said. You think them "mediocre" because of what you "think" is Art. Not of what "is" Art. But like you and I both said, Art can not be defined. So how come you define it and even so easily?

- "A terrible lack of understanding" is your term, because of what you think Art is. Ask someone else, they'd say something else. So don't be so quick to judge. But I don't blame you. We are all humans after all and we tend to rush matters and make quick decisions about everything, basically. Those who truly understand, never judge.

- I never said something along the lines of "Art can't be bad". I said that Art can't be defined by anyone other than yourself. No matter how much they think they know. Because if they truly know, they'd applaud you for the effort of even starting to make "Art". But there are exceptions you see, as in all things. 

Yes, I've seen "bad art". Although I'm pretty damn sure that , in the eyes of him/her who made it, it's "good" Art. Basically, when I say "I've seen bad art" I mostly mean "I've seen people vandalising walls and property that they don't even own". WHATEVER YOU DO, if you don't have the clearance to do it, by the one who owns this property, either that be a house or something else, then it's not considered art. It's considered Vandalism. Yes there is a term for that. Anyway, back to my point. 

Art can't be bad, sure, but in order to create it you must know how to begin. And to be fair, how can you judge something like that? Guess how the first painting ever, or the first music piece EVER started. That's right. By a human. By an intelligent living being. By someone you didn't even know and you will never know. And so it began from there. Thus, you now have "Art" you say it's good because one man created it for himself. Everything has a beginning, my friend. Like you, like all things in life.

- Well, based on the fact that I'm a logical human being, if an artist steals and/or copies someone else's work, that's a crime. Either that "Art" is worth something on the market or not. If you need to bring that as an example, you offend me by saying I don't understand a thing. You are basically saying that I'm unintelligent. Yes you didn't say it directly, but indirectly. And once again, you are quick to "think". 

- So exactly what I said. "No one can REALLY define art". And yes, Art is personal. I agree. But make no mistake...Art is not "easily defined". Like your example, for an intelligent living being to just see a formation of rocks and call it art, he didn't just walk up in there and said "I name you Art" or "That is Art. The end". No. He observed. He listened. He saw. He opened his mind. There's a lot of things. If you just go there like you just don't care and name something "good" or "bad" or "Art" , then you have another thing coming and a lot of way to go, still.

- Again, "quick to judge". I don't lack "criticism" man, I just do not support it. What is criticism, really? To you it's "another perspective/view/opinion on the matter". And you know what? I COMPLETELY AGREE. But also, let's think about something for a moment, shall we? Say, you are a critic. About a painting for example. Now, my question is this. Since you and I both said "Art can not be defined" how can you, a mere human, a simple nothing like we all are in this vast universe, why not, multiverse...start to even think of defining what Art is based on your logic for someone else?  Who are you to tell someone else what "Art" is and more so in such tone? 

Truth is, man...Everyone can judge. Everyone can criticise. But like I said, if you truly know, you will never judge (or be so quick to judge, even) and you will never criticise someone else. But you know what ,also? You are. Yes, you are going to judge and criticise. Why? Because you simply don't like it. Because you've set some 'bases' about what is "good" and what is "bad" and you will blindly follow them towards the end of your life, until there's a God that will find you and re-define things to what they really are and not what you make them to be. 

Heck , I even do it right now as we speak. And I also do it to the various movies I see. Only because I didn't like it. "I" didn't "like" it. Because I defined what is good and what is bad. Just like you, just like everyone else. 

So I'm not going to reply any more to this. I will, however, see what you have to say to what I wrote. But I won't go any step further. Because I don't even gain anything from it. Mostly losing my time and trying to convince another person of what I "believe" is right. The same way you're going to do it after I post this reply.

Re: I need someone to review my story and tell where I can improve

#7
Wrote: First off, thank you for replying to the comment, I hope you red it enough and gave some matter to the thought, to truly understand my meaning. So now let's start to reply to your statements one by one. And hopefully we can reach a common point on this.


I do read what you wrote, several times, and I do get what you mean, and I don't agree with you.

Wrote: - Well, in my opinion, I do no such think as to encourage stagnancy or mediocrity. Although these are some very beautiful words, rarely used by anyone nowadays, I stand to them for the complete opposite. And it is exactly like I said. You think them "mediocre" because of what you "think" is Art. Not of what "is" Art. But like you and I both said, Art can not be defined. So how come you define it and even so easily?


You confusing "defining" with "criticizing" or "judging." I'm criticizing, that is, presenting my view of the work. I'm not defining Art by creating such criticism. In fact it is impossible to define anything by criticizing.

Wrote: - "A terrible lack of understanding" is your term, because of what you think Art is. Ask someone else, they'd say something else. So don't be so quick to judge. But I don't blame you. We are all humans after all and we tend to rush matters and make quick decisions about everything, basically. Those who truly understand, never judge.


But here is the thing, the author wants to be judged for the sake of improvement. Sure, unsolicited criticism should not be given, but the author asking hoping that he would find something that would help.

I'm not really quick to judge because I did analyze the situation. I didn't go with my first impression or guts. The author asked for it, and so I give it. It was not done through impulse or quick decisions like you believe I did. I did put effort in analyzing the story, give examples and offer advice in the hopes that the author could find usefulness in it and help him improve.

Wrote: - I never said something along the lines of "Art can't be bad". I said that Art can't be defined by anyone other than yourself. No matter how much they think they know. Because if they truly know, they'd applaud you for the effort of even starting to make "Art". But there are exceptions you see, as in all things. 

Yes, I've seen "bad art". Although I'm pretty damn sure that , in the eyes of him/her who made it, it's "good" Art. Basically, when I say "I've seen bad art" I mostly mean "I've seen people vandalising walls and property that they don't even own". WHATEVER YOU DO, if you don't have the clearance to do it, by the one who owns this property, either that be a house or something else, then it's not considered art. It's considered Vandalism. Yes there is a term for that. Anyway, back to my point.


Now you are defining what is and what is not considered Art.

Okay, let me tell you about what is called Street Art. An artist illicitly creates "artwork" on walls and trains and other public places. The Berlin Wall for example has been a popular target. While a lot has considered it a legitimate form of art, others like you consider it not art.

For me, I'll follow your advice. I'm not going to judged, especially when no one is asking my opinion about it.

Wrote: Art can't be bad, sure, but in order to create it you must know how to begin. And to be fair, how can you judge something like that? Guess how the first painting ever, or the first music piece EVER started. That's right. By a human. By an intelligent living being. By someone you didn't even know and you will never know. And so it began from there. Thus, you now have "Art" you say it's good because one man created it for himself. Everything has a beginning, my friend. Like you, like all things in life.


And as almost everyone know, our very first effort are almost always crap. That is why we practice. That is why we seek to learn.

And also, what about the journey? So you start, are you going anywhere with just that? Would any of the Art you seen now would exist if that very first Art is judged to be enough? That the very first Art is all we ever need? Could any artist really improve if they don't take journey, if they just start and stop there? If the first effort is all that they need?

If human had been like this, then we would still only be doing cave paintings (or earlier form than that. I don't know what the first form was).

Wrote: - Well, based on the fact that I'm a logical human being, if an artist steals and/or copies someone else's work, that's a crime. Either that "Art" is worth something on the market or not. If you need to bring that as an example, you offend me by saying I don't understand a thing. You are basically saying that I'm unintelligent. Yes you didn't say it directly, but indirectly. And once again, you are quick to "think".


And you think saying things like:
Quote:90% is what others would like to see. But they're missing the point. The other ten is...well...is just people "thinking" they know better,

is not offensive? Are you not doing the same thing?

Wrote: - So exactly what I said. "No one can REALLY define art". And yes, Art is personal. I agree. But make no mistake...Art is not "easily defined". Like your example, for an intelligent living being to just see a formation of rocks and call it art, he didn't just walk up in there and said "I name you Art" or "That is Art. The end". No. He observed. He listened. He saw. He opened his mind. There's a lot of things. If you just go there like you just don't care and name something "good" or "bad" or "Art" , then you have another thing coming and a lot of way to go, still.


Art might not be easy to define, in fact I think it is impossible, but criticizing it? That is rather easy to do. Even the artist would criticize their own work. Like literally destroy their work because they hate it.

And you know what? I'm not defining what is Art here. I'm bringing my view about his work. Where I think the problems are and where and how it could be improved. And I'm sure there would be someone there would read the same story and say that they find nothing wrong with it. And that is okay. After all criticism is your perspective. They even say that criticism tells more about the one who criticize than the work being criticized.

Wrote: - Again, "quick to judge". I don't lack "criticism" man, I just do not support it. What is criticism, really? To you it's "another perspective/view/opinion on the matter". And you know what? I COMPLETELY AGREE. But also, let's think about something for a moment, shall we? Say, you are a critic. About a painting for example. Now, my question is this. Since you and I both said "Art can not be defined" how can you, a mere human, a simple nothing like we all are in this vast universe, why not, multiverse...start to even think of defining what Art is based on your logic for someone else?  Who are you to tell someone else what "Art" is and more so in such tone?


But man, the author is asking for criticism. I mean, there are actually people called beta readers, people which the author ask or even pay to read their work and criticize it.

And again, you don't need to define Art to criticize art. Criticism is your perspective. If you look at an art, you'll have specific reaction to it that is unique to you, whether it be positive or negative or a combination of both. If you express this reaction you have, then you are essentially criticizing or reviewing.

Wrote: Truth is, man...Everyone can judge. Everyone can criticise. But like I said, if you truly know, you will never judge (or be so quick to judge, even) and you will never criticise someone else. But you know what ,also? You are. Yes, you are going to judge and criticise. Why? Because you simply don't like it. Because you've set some 'bases' about what is "good" and what is "bad" and you will blindly follow them towards the end of your life, until there's a God that will find you and re-define things to what they really are and not what you make them to be.

Heck , I even do it right now as we speak. And I also do it to the various movies I see. Only because I didn't like it. "I" didn't "like" it. Because I defined what is good and what is bad. Just like you, just like everyone else.

So I'm not going to reply any more to this. I will, however, see what you have to say to what I wrote. But I won't go any step further. Because I don't even gain anything from it. Mostly losing my time and trying to convince another person of what I "believe" is right. The same way you're going to do it after I post this reply.


Too bad. I did learned a lot from this discussion. I really understand you man. Criticizing Art is a seemingly pointless thing to do. What is bad, what is good, how to do it, how not to do it . . . it seems to just makes no point. But, that is the nature or Art. It elicit a reaction from you. It makes you create your own view and perspective of it.

Just imagine if Art doesn't do this. You look at a painting and you got nothing. You read a book and you got nothing. You watch a movie and you got nothing. You try to write a review and you are not able to say anything. Your reaction to Art is just the same as seeing a dusty pebble on the road, nothing. If Art is like this, then Art has the same value as that pebble on the road, nothing.

Yes. Judge Art! Do you like it or not? That gives Art its value, because Art makes us Human. To react at it like Human. To appreciate it like Human. Because when art become that dusty pebble on the road, when art stops eliciting anything from us, when art ceases to be, then we are not Human anymore.
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