WatchNon-threaded

Forums » Writing Workshop » Read Message

Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

NOTE: This is the starting page to my new storygame, just a nice little description of the crash site. Hit me with all you have, be brutally honest, insult me and my writing, IDC. I'll take all the responses into account, thanks!

 

The frost covered peak of an unknown mountain

Pain. Unbelievable pain coursing through you. A splitting headache, churning insides, and lights briefly flashing by your eyes. Every inch of your body, every fiber and strand of your being is being plunged into hell itself. Heat comparable to the hottest of lava burned, turned, and churned within you. You hear ringing by your ear, the sound of flames crackling and sizzling. You feel on your face the heat of fire.

Am I really in hell, dead?

 

No. 

This can't be

You have children, parents, and friends, waiting on the other side of the ocean, you cannot just die yet.

Your teeth clenched, and with a half-grunt, half-moan, you sit up. 

Great coughs racked your body as you struggle to breath in the dust filled air. You try to ignore the piercing pain in your head, and instead stared into the distance, concealed by the snowy winds. Your red and swollen eyes peered intensely, as if you wanted to see past the veil, to the outside. 

Another bout of coughing return you to your senses, and you stand, a feat more difficult than the Twelve Herculean Labors, achieved by sheer will.

Your legs threaten to give out, as you scanned the surroundings.

That's when it hit you,

Screams of terror and agony. Creaks and rumbles. The crash, the explosion. You, sitting behind a heavy suitcase, had survived the crash and the explosion afterward. 

You grimaced at a sudden jolt in your leg, then looked down. By your foot, a corpse, badly mutilated, laid there, its hands splayed out as if grasping to something, its one good eye open, staring to your left. 

A child, swaddled in blankets, laid there, whether it's alive or not was unknown. 

You slumped to your knees, legs no longer supporting you. You crawled over, and gingerly unwrapped the blanket wih your trembling fingers. The child lives, with quick breaths coming in and out. You picked up the child in your arms, and searched around for more survivors. None. Most had perished in the crash, and the few that were left were hit with the explosion.

The child had survived thanks to his mother, protecting him with her own body, then throwing him with the last ounce of her strength, as to perhaps escape the flames. 

You are not going to last long here, nobody is. The high altitude combined with the bone piercing chills don't descriminate, you could almost hear the footsteps of death himself, coming to claim both you and the baby's life.

You have never believed in destiny. It was not your destiny to die here. You take what is remaining in the crash, a bag with a crushed lunch, a metal pipe to support yourself, and a box of broken matches.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago
Okay, well the big obvious thing here is that you're mixing past and present tense together, a lot. Sometimes in the same sentence: Your legs threaten to give out, as you scanned the surroundings.

That should either be, 'Your legs threatened to give out as you scanned the surroundings.' or 'Your legs threaten to give out as you scan the surroundings.' Can't have both.

It looks like most of this is written in past tense actually. These CYOA style stories are traditionally written in present tense (you sit up, rather than you sat up) but that's not a requirement, as long as you're consistent in whatever you do pick.

There's a few smaller technical issues (it should be 'returns you to your senses' and 'that's when it hits you') but this tense thing is what you need to figure out first. It would be difficult to read even the most amazingly written story without that being an annoying distraction.

As for the actual plot set up, I think it's got promise. I like wilderness survival stuff, and now with a young and probably injured kid involved that's going to add to the difficulty and the stakes

The first paragraph spends a lot of time telling you how much pain you're in, but it's left unclear how severe your actual injuries are once you're up and moving around.

'You hear ringing by your ear, the sound of flames crackling and sizzling. You feel on your face the heat of fire.' -- Just a small thing I wanted to bring up. If there's a ringing sound, you're obviously hearing it. Likewise if there's heat against your face, you're feeling it. It's not overused in this example, but I've seen it happen and it can really make for clunky sentences and drag down the pacing of what are supposed to be tense scenes to be constantly informed the character's eyes see things or their ears hear sounds or that they grab with their hands.

'You have never believed in destiny. It was not your destiny to die here.' These lines contradict each other.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

Ah silly me, I was never relly good with tense, as english is my second language. 

I'll add things and change according to your comments!

Look over this, please!

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 11/16/2020 8:10:06 AM

This actually shows a lot of potential. You avoided the mistake of starting with a mile-long exposition and get the reader directly into the scene. Excellent. Also it talks to all the senses. Very good. The inner monologue already starts to convey insights into the POV character. Nice. Overall it is a very promising first draft, with some details to iron out.

Mizal makes a lot of good points and I would like to add some more. Before I get to details, let me point out a general theme. From your writing it is clear that you write very instinctively. Correct me if I am wrong, but I guess when you wrote this you were fully immersed in the scene and fragments of sentences just flowed to the page. This is a great way of writing to achieve deep immersion and an excellent skill that is hard for many people to master. The problem with this sort of writing is that the flow can lead to inconsistencies that can be hard to spot yourself, as the words deeply resonate with your brain. This is likely the source of your problems with tenses, and also some inconsistencies between adjacent phrases or sentences. The only way to fix this is careful revision. You want to do this some days after writing to get the right sort of distance to your own work. Sometimes it also helps reading the piece in reverse sequence, starting with the last sentence and finishing with the first.

A subtle point concerns sentence length. You construct well readable long sentences and you are not afraid to write short ones either. Again this shows great promise. However, you use short and long sentences indiscriminately and it is sending mixed messages. Long sentences create a slow dreamy gliding. If used consciously this is a powerful device. For example the final chapter of James Joyce Ulysses contains only two sentences. One of them is >3500 words long but still intuitively readable. By contrast, short sharp sentences create rapid fast-paced action. Jim Butcher's Dresden File novels are an excellent example. Based on the content I would expect that your intro starts slow as the character regains consciousness, then becomes fast as he/she recognizes the immediate need for action, checks on the child, etc. Then we slow down a bit as we take in the wider environment. At the moment the sentence length conflicts with this impression. Try using longer sentences in the start. Then short sharp ones for the action, then gradually longer ones as the scope widens and we take stock of the surroundings more calmly.

For a bit of added flair consider the difference between words with Romantic and Germanic roots. In English language Germanic words carry a connotation of primal grittiness; They are blunt matter-of-factly, and down to earth. By contrast Romantic-rooted words are more intellectual, poetic, but also pretentious and deceptive. For example consider the Germanic-rooted word 'gut' and its Romantic-rooted equivalent 'intestine'. Some other examples are slaugtherhouse/abattoir, battle/confrontation, last/ultimate. If you are aware of this, you can use it to dial the mood between airy and gritty. For example Zoe Gilbert's book 'Folk' almost entirely avoids Romantic-rooted words. In your penultimate paragraph you use 'discriminate' and 'altitude', but since you want to make a primal, matter-of-life-and-death (not survival!) statement, an equivalent Germanic statement would work for you harder (“The peak does not care. The cold does not care—it seeks no kindness and of gives none.” is a fully Germanic-rooted.)

As a very small matter, you play a lot with typeface variants. This worked to catch my interest in the second paragraph, but I nearly overlooked the first one because the italics make it to weak. In the third paragraph the italics work, but single quotes would have done the trick as well. After that the boldface became a nuisance that distracted from the content.

So, in summary, this is really promising. I would not write such a long reply if it, wasn't. I hope you can finish the story. I am really looking forward to play it. Perhaps post updates in this thread if you want further feedback.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

Wow! Thanks for all the feedback, I think that you made some really good points. 

I will keep you updated, as I progress and flesh out this story more :)

Thanks again, 

PerforatedPenguin

 

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

Again, thank you for writing usch a thoughtful and helpful reply!

I revised it a bit, 

The frost covered peak of an unknown mountain...

Pain. Unbelievable pain coursing through you. A splitting headache, churning insides, and lights briefly flashing by your eyes. Every inch of your body, every fiber and strand of your being, plunged into hell itself. Heat comparable to the hottest of lava burned, turned, and churned within you. The ringing in your ears drowns out all sound except the flames crackling and sizzling. The heat of fire singed your face, like the tongue of the devil, flicking to and fro.

Am I really in hell, dead?

 

No. 

This can't be. 

You have children, parents, and friends, waiting on the other side of the ocean, you cannot just die yet.

You clench your teeth, and with a half-grunt, half-moan, you sit up. 

Great coughs rack your body as you struggle to breath in the dust filled air. You try to ignore the piercing pain in your head, and instead stare into the distance, concealed by the snowy winds. Your red and swollen eyes glows with an intense light, as if you want to see past the veil, to the outside, as if your very will can bring you out, safe. 

Another bout of coughing returns you to your senses, and you stand, a feat more difficult than the Twelve Herculean Labors, achieved by the sheer desire to survive. You attempt to raise your left arm to wipe of the dry, crusted blood by your lips, but almost fall over from the excruciating pain. It was broken. You let it hang by your side, limp, and checks your condition. A light press to your chest brings waves of pain and dizziness that made your legs buckle. There were probably some minor damage to your internal organs, and several broken ribs. 

Your legs threaten to give out, as you scan the surroundings.

That's when it hit you,

Screams of terror and agony. Creaks and rumbles. The crash, the explosion. You, sitting behind a heavy suitcase, had survived the crash and the explosion afterward. 

You grimace at a sudden jolt in your leg, then looks down. By your foot, a corpse, badly mutilated, lay there, its hands splayed out as if grasping to something, its one good eye open, staring to your left. 

The corpse was looking at a child, swaddled in blankets, whether it's alive or not was unknown. 

You slump to your knees, legs no longer supporting you, crawling over. Your trembling fingers gingerly unwraps the tatters blanket The child lives, with quick breaths coming in and out. You pick him up, and lay him in your arms, searching around for more survivors. None. Most had perished in the crash, and the few that were left were hit with the explosion.

The child had survived thanks to his mother, protecting him with her own body, then throwing him with the last ounce of her strength, as to perhaps escape the flames. 

You are not going to last long here, nobody is. The peak along with its bone piercing cold don't care, it seeks no kindness and gives none. You could almost hear the footsteps of death himself, coming to claim both you and the baby's life.

You've never believed in destiny. It is not destiny that decides whether you die here, its your own willpower and actions. You take what is remaining in the crash, a bag with a crushed lunch, a metal pipe to support yourself, and a box of broken matches.

Almost to hidden by jagged rocks, there is slope down, perhaps you can survive this way.

 

Ps. I was going to post my ending, but I want it to be a little surprise.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago
Bruh if you have broken ribs and crushed organs you're going to die no matter where you are, unless it's the inside of an ambulance.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

Don't worry... 

the ending's got you covered :D

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

And... I'm pretty sure I mentioned that only a few was broken, and organs were only slightly damaged. Crushed, and damaged are 2 words that could mean heaven or hell...

dont worry about it, as I said in the previous comment, the ending's gotchu covered...

 

P.S. Ambulances are not portable hospitals, they don't have equipment to fix "crushed organs". Also, assuming that the organs were "crushed", your heart would go along with it too...

Look over this, please!

4 months ago
Is the twist that you die and the game is any the kid bring raised by yetis?

Several broken ribs is not a few, and even one would prevent most physical activity. I'm not sure how you're carrying a kid plus this stuff you collected plus using a pipe as a crutch with a broken arm. So I think you're downplaying this stuff to a degree that would be very noticeable and affect the believability for most readers, but I'll wait and see what you have in mind for this twist.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

okay, 

I think I was thinking that "Maybe you added too many broken things" a while before, when I realized one arm ain't gonna do much, the ending should cover up most inconsistencies, but I will try to make it as realistic as possible.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

When people break one rib its usually the lowest one. You can go on with that one for a few hours before the pain really kicks in. More than one broken rib make breathing difficult and very painful. You wouldn't be doing much. With organs it depends a lot on which and how.

More importantly, regarding the writing: If an accident happened to me I would not thinking about it in these terms. In fact I don't think I would actually be thinking very much at all apart from "Need to get up", "Need to walk" etc. So seeing the character think about this rationally is a bit of an immersion breaker.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

Hmm, I guess that makes sense,

I mean, the writing is coming from a person who's never broken a bone, or been in an accident of sorts... I'm inexperienced with these sort of things...

Thanks for the suggestions!

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

I like helping with these! I'm going to point it a few mistakes and try to cover some things not previously mentioned (if I can).

First of all, "That's when it hits you," is incorrect. You seem to just end a paragraph with a comma. I get that you are introducing a flashback, but that sentence (and paragraph?) can't end with a comma. I recommend a colon (this guy ":"). I also would take away the line break. "That's when it hit you: rest of paragraph that is the flashback."

Secondly, you begin a lot of paragraphs with some variation of the word "you." It's noticeable and repetitive. This is easy to fix by changing your sentence structure for the first sentences in each paragraph. Here, I'll do one for you:

"You grimace at a sudden jolt in your leg, then look down." (I fixed this you had 'looks' originally which is just awkward)

vs

"A sudden jolt in your leg causes you to grimace, then you look down."

or

"Grimacing as your leg jolts, you look down."

This last one removed the unnecessary words while keeping the same meaning. Often less words for the same meaning is better. Also, good strong verbs like "jolt" do not need adverbs like "suddenly." Seriously, can you jolt in a non sudden way? If your leg "suddenly moved" you would need the adverb because the verb is weak. Basically, you are writing really well then gunking your good writing up with repetitive details and sentence structure. Trust your writing and mix it up a bit.

These are the big things I noticed that were not mentioned before (I think). They are more deeper level writing things and less "proofreading." I hope they help though!

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

Oh, thanks!

I just can't seem to see these errors until someone points them out :P

Look over this, please!

4 months ago
Northwind made most of my points already, so I'll keep this short.

If you want to write the Pain Olympics, be my guest, but I won't envy you. Pain has a way to devour everything until the only things you can focus on are either the pain itself or your goal; both make for a repetitive story that'd require a lot of subtlety to keep interesting. Think about how boring large sections of the Revenant would be without its visual appeal and if you were stuck in Leonardo's head.

Now in the moments after a trauma, disassociation, shock, and hormones (e.g., adrenaline) can numb and allow you to move. Case in point, videos of people trying to walk on their recently conceived stomps then fail without realising why in a trauma situation. However, by that point, the chance of survival without serious medical intervention is zero.

"There were probably some minor damage to your internal organs, and several broken ribs."

While the broken ribs are fine, the protagonist being so lucid means no arteries or lung puncture has happened, I wouldn't name the minor damage of your internal organs. It's sharp/nagging/blunt/rising/diffuse/concentrated pain near the stomach/navel/flank.

But if you do, as I said earlier, the ribs will play up with every breath, every exertion, every twist, and every bend, possibly even luxate when you start carrying heavy stuff. Remember there are no painkillers or distractions here. If you want to play up the wounded hero, a quick rule would be to go for the limbs, they're just much safer. A fractured ankle and broken/dislocated arm would be a much more localized problem that wouldn't devour the rest of your story.

Eh, wasn't so short after all.

Look over this, please!

4 months ago

Alright, I think I see it...

Gonna touch up this page a bit more.