Forums » Creative Corner » Read Message

Share your short stories, poems, collaborative works, original artwork and more.


3 months ago

Hello, everybody! So, I'm making a storygame called "Head in the Clouds", a group of 4 animals. Howard the dull crow, Josephine the curious chipmunk, Julian the anxious chicken, and Sandy the aggressive ferret. Here's part of the first page, hope you enjoy! Feedback is always welcome.

The morning rays burst through the small house windows, waking Howard and Sandy. While Howard is stretching, Sandy is growling. Sandy hates waking up and likes sleeping in late. She yawns, her bright teeth shining. Josephine and Julian were still asleep, so Sandy wakes them up with a scratch.

"Ouch!" Julian yelps. "Sandy, what was that for?"
"It's morning time," Sandy hisses. 

Josephine starts opening her eyes, aimlessly looking at the walls around her. She motions Sandy to open the flap door. As Sandy opens it up, the rays shine into the small compartment. Birds chirp, dew is scrambled all over the ground, a wind breeze flows in. Sandy shivers. 

The 4 of them would always do a system for where they would get food. It's called "Spin the Bird", a contribution to the spinning chicken in their yard. To determine who would go, they put dirt on the north. Josephine would spin the chicken and it would land on one of them. The 4 of them run outside and position themselves at a point. Josephine gives it a good spin. The dirt is pointing at Howard. 


3 months ago
It sounds like some of these animals have emotional problems, sooo, I have to ask: Have you looked into employing a sensitivity reader? You could be walking into a real landmine here if a chicken with anxiety encounters your story and becomes offended. You need to find your own anxiety chickens and have them read through this and tell you what to change. Anything else is just dangerously irresponsible.


3 months ago


3 months ago

Use pronouns to avoid naming the same people in short succession. Instead of "while Howard is stretching, Sandy is growling. Sandy hates", write "while Howard is stretching, Sandy is growling. She hates".

"dew is scrambled all over the ground" sounds a bit odd. I would go for "scattered", "strewn", or a similar word. This is subjective.

"Birds chirp, dew is scrambled all over the ground, a wind breeze flows in" should be "Birds chirp, dew is scrambled all over the ground, and a wind breeze flows in".

"The 4 of them would always do a system for where they would get food." sounds a bit awkward. "For where" should just be "where". Doing a system is a little strange. You could instead say they devised a system. I'd also say it's a good habit to spell out small numbers. It just looks a little nicer (this is a subjective rule).

In "they put dirt on the north", North isn't an object you can put dirt on. It's better to say they make a pile of dirt to indicate North.

In "a contribution to the spinning chicken in their yard", contribution is not the correct word. It could be an allusion, or it could be owing to the spinning chicken in their yard. It could be a phrase made famous by the spinning chicken, too. I believe the word you were actually looking for is "tribute".

I can't follow the last paragraph cleanly because of the ambiguous use of pronouns.

"It would land on one of them." suggests that the chicken will land on a plural entity, and the last plural entity listed was all the other creatures. So it sounds like we're spinning a chicken that lands on one of the characters. This doesn't make sense, though, because the dirt would be irrelevant. The last sentence says "The dirt is pointing at Howard", which should either be written in reverse ("Howard is pointing at the dirt"), or otherwise made clear. Since I'm not sure what objects the spinning chicken fell on, this paragraph becomes difficult to read. 

If you're trying to go for the "sweet" style (as Gower, at least, calls it), then all the sentences that use commas followed by a sentence fragment need to switch to semi-colons. Someone can correct me on this because it's not even valid grammar to begin with, but whenever I've read a published book that does this, they use semi-colons instead of commas. Some examples:
"She yawns, her bright teeth shining."
"dew is scrambled all over the ground, a wind breeze flows in"
"It's called 'Spin the Bird', a contribution to the spinning chicken in their yard."

If you're not going for the "sweet" style, you need to use the FANBOYS rule. Read over Gower's writing advice articles and take them to heart.


3 months ago

I tend to use commas for stuff like "Gower smiled as he punched me, his pearly whites shining bright."

Dont think Ive ever used a semi colon.

Here, is some additional feedback, I hope it helps

3 months ago

To clarify, this is fine:

"She yawns, her bright teeth shining."   That is an independent clause plus a dependent clause, connected by a comma.  This is good.

This is also fine, because it is also an independent clause plus a dependent clause, connected by a comma.

"It's called 'Spin the Bird', a contribution to the spinning chicken in their yard."

But this one is not fine:

"dew is scrambled all over the ground, a wind breeze flows in"

Because that is two independent clauses connected by a comma.  That's not a thing.



3 months ago

Here's the part where Howard chooses where to eat.

"Let's go to...A Taste of Heaven!" Howard concludes.
"I don't care where we go, I just want to eat," Sandy says.
"Then, A Taste of Heaven it is!" Josephine cheers. "Julian, can you fly far?"
Julian shakes his head. "I can't fly far due to the mass of my body. My bodyweight is heavier than my wings. Why'd you ask?" 
"Well, I was running around a lot yesterday. My legs and arms felt tired so I thought I could get a ride, heh!" Josephine beams.
"No!" Julian exclaims. 
"It was worth a shot," Josephine sighs.

The 4 of them start running, Howard being their guide. 

"When do I fly up?" Howard asks.
"When we get to that hedge," Sandy instructs.

Howard nods. When they get close to the hedge, Howard brings out his wings, jumps up, and soars across the hedge. He looks around, trying to find A Taste of Heaven. Candy's Candy Shop. What a strange name. Radical Tunes. That's not it. Supermarket. Not it, either. A Taste of Heaven. That's it! Howard swoops down and does a large caw. Sandy, Julian, and Josephine scramble over the hedge and run to Howard.

"So, how are we going to get in?" Josephine asks.
"I have an idea." Sandy chimes. 

She runs to the dumpsters to find a paper clip. 

"A paper clip? How are we going to get into here with a paper clip?" Julian asks.
Sandy scoffs. "Amateur." 

She signals the 3 of them to follow her to the back of the restaurant. A big, metal door is presented upon them. She rapidly takes apart the paper clip and sticks it in the hole. It takes a while, but the door unlocks. Sandy stares at it and starts chuckling. Then, she starts laughing.

"It worked! My whole life, I-" 

The 3 of them shush her and walk inside. The kitchen smells like cinnamon rolls, bacon, eggs, pancakes, and toast, making Josephine's mouth water. Howard signals them to go grab what they need and try not to get caught.