Which version is better

#1
Hi so I just started a new story idea and I finished the first chapter. After writing it I had my wife read it and she loved it. I then went to this one writing site that offers critiques from others. After using the critiques I received on my first chapter I went back and edited to what I thought was the final version. After having my wife reread both she felt like she liked the first draft better. I need others' viewpoints to see if it's just her or if others agree. The first link will be to the first draft of the first chapter and the second link will the revised chapter.


First Draft

First Chapter Revised

All I am looking for is which you all prefer. If you want to offer any constructive critiquing then that is fine too. I am always open to how I can improve my writing. 

Thank you in advance. 

Re: Which version is better

#2
 On reading your question. I thought you may have changed the story between the two. 

The revised chapter is the same scenario - but fleshed out and easier to read and follow. You have done a good job in your revision and in creating a smooth flow for the reader to follow. Your description hugs the reader like a glove and brings the scene to life.

I think I may need to visit that writing site myself ;)

peoEsmile

Re: Which version is better

#3
ClaireJayne Wrote: On reading your question. I thought you may have changed the story between the two. 

The revised chapter is the same scenario - but fleshed out and easier to read and follow. You have done a good job in your revision and in creating a smooth flow for the reader to follow. Your description hugs the reader like a glove and brings the scene to life.

I think I may need to visit that writing site myself ;)

peoEsmile
Thanks for the feedback I am glad you enjoyed it. The site is called Now Novel by the way. 

Re: Which version is better

#4
Oscblade Wrote: All I am looking for is which you all prefer. If you want to offer any constructive critiquing then that is fine too. I am always open to how I can improve my writing.

I prefer the 2nd, but there is something lost between the two. The first reads like a train of thought - the author's - which I find easier to visualize. The second is much more polished and easier to read, but loses some of the feel of the first. Actually, I feel strongly enough to say that the revised version is objectively better writing, even in terms of storyline. 

Two things for critical feedback;

1) The revision still has filler words. It seems minor but I think it'll help. It's often only one or two words.  ie:

The group would adventured throughout the city every chance they got, from the main streets to the seaport and even to the slums.

Unfortunately, the elixir was not strong enough to fully heal his wounds. Still, its pain sedative made up for its lack of healing potency.

2) You tend to prefer using commas to join your sentences (both simple and complex). For example, the 2nd paragraph (starting with: Krell moved further into the city's...), every sentence is compounded with a comma. I didn't count precisely but there are 130 commas and 152 periods. That's a very high ratio. It'd be preferable to have longer/compounded/complex sentences in the paragraphs where the action is slower, and then use simple/compounded with a conjunction (and, if, but) for the higher action areas.

The last piece of advice is to justify some of the actions in place. For example, 3rd paragraph (starting with: With nothing else to do...), the character stops to inspect his wounds, while being chased, only to itemize some pretty serious stuff... while he has a potion to help heal? That reads weirdly. But it's easily fixed if he is checking his wounds to make sure that the potion can work (eg: cannot heal certain wounds, or if something is still stuck in him, or can't do organs). Otherwise he isn't going to check his wounds, he's going to drink the potion as soon as he has a second! The first version flowed through this as it should (quickly). Revising can cause this kind of wordiness/disjointedness/pacing issue. If I had to hazard a guess, this is probably what makes the 1st read better for your wife - she's comparing it to her memory rather than reading it fresh, and will be particularly sensitive to this.


Good work! Revising is hard work.


Re: Which version is better

#5
I'll be entirely honest. The first one lost me around paragraph three. The rewrite hooked me from beginning to end. I liked the action, description was dead on and sucked me into the setting, and getting inside the MC's head and feeling what he was feeling was easy.

Kudos! This is one of the best rewrites I think I've seen.


Do have a few things I caught reading through (being a BETA reader has its curses, catching typos anywhere and everywhere being one of those).


"Where is that bastard!" roared the commander before storming just inches before the scared and startled marshal.

Noticed this just a bit because it is something I am still working on. Dialogue tags are my worst nightmare. 

So if using a direct tag, for example, he said, she yelled, he asked, etc, then it is still technically part of the same sentence, so there is no capitalization. Examples:

"Where to?" he asked, looking back at the girl. (No cap)
She sent him a dazzling smile. "Anywhere with you." (Notice here it is a separate sentence since I am not using direct tags but description.)
He tripped, his mind glitching.
"It seems you've found the sand," she laughed, prodding the soft, glistening white sand with her shoe. (Comma instead of period and no cap.)
"I blame it on the angel," he replied, trying not to blush. "The moonlight only heightens your beauty."
She laughed, then replied, "It's a good thing I like cheese." She plopped down beside him, making a sand angel.
"Why--" He paused to prop himself up on an elbow. "--would it be a good thing for you to like cheese?" (Since he paused to say something here, put the em-dashes inside the quotation marks)
"Because"--she gave him a look--"that was cheesy, but I liked it." She ran a hand over the sand, then glanced up shyly. "Just like I like you," she whispered. (Since she gave hime a look while talking, put this outside the quotation marks.)
His grin was only dimmed by the ice cold wave washing over the both of them on the sandy shore.

I think that covers the main ones. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask or I have a website I often reference when I have a question and I don't know the exact best thing LOL I'm still far from perfect on this, but someone told me this a long time ago and I will be forever grateful to them and like to pass it on when I can.

 He wanted nothing more than to shove his sword through the smoke-infested mouth and shut it for good.



Anyway, otherwise I really liked it and would continue reading. Super good hook at the end.

~Rhea

Re: Which version is better

#6
Without spending a lot of time reading through them, I can tell you I wish you spaced the revised one out more.  The first one had new paragraphs every couple of sentences which I liked, but the new one just looks hard to read.  I don't like the bigger paragraphs because it's easy to lose track.  

The second one seems like it's focused more on the plot.  You cut out a lot of the flowery language to just advance the story more.  So it makes sense to me that your wife liked the first one over the other.  I still remember reading the first few pages of "The Name of the Wind" and wondering how the hell this is a best selling published novel.  I remember one of the first descriptive lines he'd used was something like "the tavern was filled with three great silences that day"...  Your wife probably eats the flowery writing right up.  I think girls in general like descriptions more.  

This is one of those few times where I believe it's a matter of opinion.  Depends on where you plan on releasing your novel. 

Re: Which version is better

#7
Rhea Wrote: I'll be entirely honest. The first one lost me around paragraph three. The rewrite hooked me from beginning to end. I liked the action, description was dead on and sucked me into the setting, and getting inside the MC's head and feeling what he was feeling was easy.

Kudos! This is one of the best rewrites I think I've seen.


Do have a few things I caught reading through (being a BETA reader has its curses, catching typos anywhere and everywhere being one of those).


"Where is that bastard!" roared the commander before storming just inches before the scared and startled marshal.

Noticed this just a bit because it is something I am still working on. Dialogue tags are my worst nightmare. 

So if using a direct tag, for example, he said, she yelled, he asked, etc, then it is still technically part of the same sentence, so there is no capitalization. Examples:

"Where to?" he asked, looking back at the girl. (No cap)
She sent him a dazzling smile. "Anywhere with you." (Notice here it is a separate sentence since I am not using direct tags but description.)
He tripped, his mind glitching.
"It seems you've found the sand," she laughed, prodding the soft, glistening white sand with her shoe. (Comma instead of period and no cap.)
"I blame it on the angel," he replied, trying not to blush. "The moonlight only heightens your beauty."
She laughed, then replied, "It's a good thing I like cheese." She plopped down beside him, making a sand angel.
"Why--" He paused to prop himself up on an elbow. "--would it be a good thing for you to like cheese?" (Since he paused to say something here, put the em-dashes inside the quotation marks)
"Because"--she gave him a look--"that was cheesy, but I liked it." She ran a hand over the sand, then glanced up shyly. "Just like I like you," she whispered. (Since she gave hime a look while talking, put this outside the quotation marks.)
His grin was only dimmed by the ice cold wave washing over the both of them on the sandy shore.

I think that covers the main ones. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask or I have a website I often reference when I have a question and I don't know the exact best thing LOL I'm still far from perfect on this, but someone told me this a long time ago and I will be forever grateful to them and like to pass it on when I can.

 He wanted nothing more than to shove his sword through the smoke-infested mouth and shut it for good.



Anyway, otherwise I really liked it and would continue reading. Super good hook at the end.

~Rhea
Thank you! I still have so much to learn, and dialogue is one of my weak spots. I will take this to heart and ask questions if any arise. I am glad you enjoyed the second. Even if it hurts a little that the first was not enjoyable, it makes me feel great that I was able to improve it. 

Re: Which version is better

#8
Oscblade Wrote: Thank you! I still have so much to learn, and dialogue is one of my weak spots. I will take this to heart and ask questions if any arise. I am glad you enjoyed the second. Even if it hurts a little that the first was not enjoyable, it makes me feel great that I was able to improve it

Aww, I hate that. I really don’t want to discourage you at all because your writing is really good. I personally have A LOT more to learn and grow in. And this was me being super critical as I didn’t give it all that much of a chance (I had very little time to read thru).

But yes, your second one hooked me and now I want more. So well done there!

And absolutely. I love to help. 

Happy writing trails <3

~Rhea

Re: Which version is better

#9
Rhea Wrote:
Oscblade Wrote: Thank you! I still have so much to learn, and dialogue is one of my weak spots. I will take this to heart and ask questions if any arise. I am glad you enjoyed the second. Even if it hurts a little that the first was not enjoyable, it makes me feel great that I was able to improve it

Aww, I hate that. I really don’t want to discourage you at all because your writing is really good. I personally have A LOT more to learn and grow in. And this was me being super critical as I didn’t give it all that much of a chance (I had very little time to read thru).

But yes, your second one hooked me and now I want more. So well done there!

And absolutely. I love to help. 

Happy writing trails <3

~Rhea
It's all good I am just happy to hear the second hooked you. I also already took your advice and the other's advice and made some more corrections to the chapter. Now I am working on the second chapter.