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Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

I was just wondering if those of you who are experienced writers and editors could read through this and help me edit this text.  Thanks!

Here it is:

 

    For the past twenty-four years, silence was an excellent companion for Vern Moore, being able to rely both on the peace and incertitude in ways that seemed to fulfill his way of living; yet now, he would give anything to be apart from his old friend.

    The once lively-streets were now abandoned and dead, all life seemingly a memory in the old man’s head.  Buildings formerly filled with grandeur, symbolisms of human innovation and progression now reflected destruction and neglection, though was that any different from all of the other things he had previously possessed in his life?

    His voice called out.  Vern hoped for anyone--anything to answer.  Maybe a shout from his daughter, Alice, who used to work just down the street at the family bookstore, saying ‘everything’s okay, papa,” in that sweet voice of hers.  Or someone saying to him ‘good day, is it not?’  At this point, even a ‘shut up, old man!’ would suffice.  But instead, he was met with the mimicking echoes of his own frail voice, just another reminder of his own weakness.

    Only a few cars sat in the road, sloppily stopped, as if the drivers only had enough time to shift into parking before miraculously disappearing into the heavens.  Vern shuddered at the thought.

    He wandered down Carlin Street, dragging along his bag of books, growing heavier with each step.  He was vaguely aware of the wind’s whispers through the trees, the leaves shivering, as one by one, they all found their spots at the base of the trunk.

    Coming back to the city after months of being away seemed to be just as he thought it would be--it brought back memories from his past days, filled with the stress of feeling as though he would never accomplish much.  After all, that was the reason why he had handed the business over to Alice and walked off into the forest to start his new life as--what had she called it…?  A hermit?

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

It sounds good to me. The beginning was a good hook, and I would love for this to be continued.

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

Sweet!  Thanks!

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

@mizal @StrykerL @Steve24833

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

Seeing as the other two people you tagged have commented, I suppose I actually need to come here to tell you to fuck off.

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 2/14/2017 1:33:35 AM
The indented paragraphs are unneeded. They get distracting when reading on a screen, you're fine with just line breaks between paragraphs.

You're using very formal, sort of distancing language. Some of it works, some is a little awkward. 'silence had been an excellent companion' would be better, but the 'being able to rely on the peace and incertitude' part, along with 'fulfill his way of living' reads strangely. Something like, 'For the past twenty-four years, silence had been an excellent companion for Vern Moore. He'd relied both on the peace and incertitude in ways that seemed to fulfill him; yet now, he would give anything to be apart from his old friend.' IMO flows much better. (Though I'm not sure if incertitude means what you think it means, and, it's just 'neglect', not neglection.)

And even with those edits, still lots of passive language in the the first few paragraphs, but possibly I'm hypersensitive to that. As a general rule you want to limit your use of -ly adverbs as well.

Having someone 'shudder at a thought' is a really overused phrase. Also, it's a thing that actual people pretty much never do.

I'm not sure if everyone having mysteriously disappeared and the city being abandoned and lifeless really fits with the description of it being 'just as he thought it would be'.

Anyway, there's some excellent writing on display here. (It's always nice when a writer has the basics down pat so I have an opportunity to get into the more in depth stuff.) Not a bad hook at all, though of course it all depends on where you go with it, and whether you can keep the plot on track once things get rolling.

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

Haha.  Thank you!  Yeah, I need to brush up on my style of writing, and it's great for you to help me out.  And I'll be sure to keep your advice in mind as I edit and continue writing.  I also meant to add more at 'just as he thought it would be,' but I forgot.  Thank you for reminding me!

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 2/14/2017 1:33:40 AM

There's promise in this write-up, but with a few caveats. Specific feedback follows.

Your story looks post-apocalyptical. Correct me if I'm misunderstanding the premise (as of this writeup): Hermit (atleast in his 40s) who has experienced personal loss in his time returns to a ruined city (in the Western world) after months, carrying a bag of books, searching for his daughter. Technologically the world has cars and bookstores. The premise reminds me of the game 'Everybody's gone to the Rapture,' check that out if you haven't already - it's a first person walking simulator in a British city where all the inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared suddenly. The carrying books reminds me of 'The Book of Eli' and a bit of the end of 'Fahrenheit 451.'

Describe the city more, you've mentioned grandeur and symbols, what were the great buildings, what were the symbols? Go world-building, readers tend to enjoy well crafted (but not throwaway) details about the world they're in, it grounds and guides their imagination. If the cars were abandoned, (and sloppily is a bad adjective here, it refers to a careless decision, not a panicked/urgent one), is there moss growing on them? Were there any crashes visible? Put yourself in the world and think of what you would experience. Write that.

The bag of books isn't literally growing heavier, mention that it felt heavier to carry with each step as he walked.

Mechanically, take care to avoid run on sentences, pay attention to your spelling, your hyphen usage and the use of the -ion form. 

Now, for the big question - where's this going? The unique challenge with post-apocalyptic stories is that it's fairly easy to set up a good, disconcerting beginning (the apocalypse carries the reader's interest in the first few pages, everyone wants to know Apocalypse How). The challenge comes in writing what happens next, who are the survivors, what was the cause of the apocalypse, how did the protagonist survive, what's the point of living in the world? 

These are not easy topics to address cohesively without prior planning, so I'd strongly recommend you map out WHAT you're trying to achieve with this story. Are you trying to tell a story that the way of modern life is bad (it caused the apocalypse)? That hope is good (it kept the hermit alive)? That family is important (it seem's to be the hermit's current priority)? That an outsider can be welcomed again (Say if the hermit finds a commune and joins it productively)? 

Figure out where you want to go with this, or your great start may stumble at a later point (something I really worry about in Attack on Titan Season 2).

You're probably conceptually ready to write a small story - you know what story you're trying to tell - but I'd strongly recommend spending time brushing up your grammar beforehand and/or getting a proofreader when you do start.

Cheers,

StrykerL

Also, while you're at it, go ahead and introduce yourself in Newbie Central

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

Thank you for your feedback!  That premise is not quite how I'm planning, though it is how it seems as of right now.  I'm glad you have given me this advice, because it's a bit easier to see my mistakes.  And I have somewhat outlined the direction I plan to go, with this story, but you're entirely correct--it'd be great to flesh out my plans a bit more.  

Do you have any advice with improving my grammar?

Experienced Writers/Editors

10 months ago

Regarding grammar: Read books, ask your teachers (past or present) for help, there may be a website or two that's a good resource (I believe mizal recommends the Grammarly Handbook).