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New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby glorybee » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:00 pm

Mike Newman wrote:Long live the dash!

Talk of the dash reminded me of a question I have about its briefer cousin, the hyphen. If this is too far off topic, feel free to tell me to post this elsewhere.

I tend to use a fair number of hyphenated adjectives and am wondering if that is distracting to the reader. Let's assume that the adjectives are good ones and worthy of not being cut, should I avoid multiple hyphenated ones (I don't mean multiple ones describing the same noun)? I was editing my entry for this week and saw three in one paragraph.

I think your answer is going to be that it is distracting, but I would love to hear your opinion.


Thank you all for the great discussion going on,
Mike


I'm fairly fond of the much-maligned hyphenated adjective.

But you're right--too many of them can clutter up a paragraph.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby glorybee » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:13 pm

lish1936 wrote: Perhaps because I'm a "title" person, I first took account of the title and found it on the weak side as it related to the story. I noticed the title - whether good or not so good - was not mentioned as part of the critique. Do the judges consider titles?


The title is not judged. However, a good title does make for a good first impression, and may have some slight influence on the judge's overall opinion of a piece (as a bad title also might). Graham's title, in my opinion, was on the weak side. I advise writers to stay away from titles that are recognized phrases or cliches.

lish1936 wrote: I also had some questions about sentence structure/awkward phrasing (for which I could be wrong, and probably am). For ex:

"took sick and couldn't get there herself." Is "herself" necessary? Or this one:

"I think we had better all pray." Is "all" okay as is, or "I think we all had better pray."

Or this: "Stop them fighting." Should it not read, "Stop them from fighting."


All of the phrases were within dialogue, and I didn't have any problem with them. People tend to speak in a much more relaxed fashion than they write. In fact, one of the main problems that I find in dialogue is overly-proper writing.

lish1936 wrote: I also found what I considered to be cliched phrases: Ex. "fighting for the Lord."


I missed that. If it's within dialogue, it doesn't bother me. Again, that's how people speak. If it's part of the narrative, it may be a bit of "Christian-ese," and perhaps should be rephrased with fresher words.



lish1936 wrote:I was also surprised by the high ratings on some of the categories, especially in categories 3 and 4.

So let me know where I've gone wrong. :thankssign

Lillian


Not "wrong" at all, Lillian! As I've said, a critique is a subjective thing. Your opinion is certainly valid; if there was just one correct way to evaluate a piece, someone could invent a computer program to dissect every phrase and assign a number value. Keep up the critical thinking!
Jan Ackerson

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby glorybee » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:00 pm

Come forth wrote:DASH IT ALL

I'm still not comfortable with --. I looked at some of those stories Jan and the only dashes I saw were what I would call a hyphen and were used how I would use them. Something like, this man is guardian-protector, to connect two words into one; or to separate a word for some reason like emphasis "John, you are go-ing!"



Graham, here are a few sentences from some of Helen's works that use dashes in the way that we've been discussing:


The pale woman was holding out two of the floppy things - one blue, one yellow.

...Said they were like white-washed tombs – full of filth on the inside.

But there was a really funny bit – he said they’d ushered in the new golden age only it was pink.


Helen actually uses en dashes here, rather than em dashes. I'll have to do some research to find out if that's a UK/US difference. But they are definitely dashes, used to show a change of direction in a sentence.

I'll be having a lesson about dashes, semicolons, and other punctuation in a week or so.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby Come forth » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:46 pm

Good on ya, Jan. I really look forward to and obviously need that lesson.

Actually I dug a little deeper into both my memory and the subject and guess what? when I read about en and em dashes the flickering embers of yesterday stirred and I do sort of remember them - being taught but not what was taught.

I've pondered this critique long and hard. I've considered your input and the input of others on this forum and I think I can honestly say this has been my biggest and most valuable learning experience, as a writer, yet.

So thank you all. Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby swfdoc1 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:42 pm

Come forth wrote:Steve's comments about the ending theological conclusions leave me shaking my head a little (Mainly just confused like; did I really imply that? is that what I really left them thinking?)


Graham, I realized I forgot to tell you where I was coming from on this. It was based on this:

Come forth wrote:Demons 're real and you can either fight 'em off with prayer or spend eternity conversin' with 'em later.


Reminds me of Matt. 25:41, and it seems Hell is the place your characters would have to be to spend eternity conversing with the demons.
Steve
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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby amilli » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:13 pm

Congratulation on writing a great piece Graham! Your short story grabbed my attention & held it all the way to the end. Discovering Granny's death brought chills down my spine, very good in deed.

My only addition would be that I think the other angel deserve a name. He is not such an insignificant character, after all, Eli's conversation would be meaningless without his replies. There is a lot of dialogue but only Eli's name was mentioned. Lastly, am I the only one who thinks using some exclamation signs would depict more emotions & bring a little more color for lack of a better description. Such as in Granny May's excited edge response during prayer or when one of the church members cried out "Granny!".....am just saying.
Amelia

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby glorybee » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:28 pm

Amilli, I'm going to differ with you on the exclamation points (although your opinion is every bit as valid as mine, as writing is far more art than science). I'm firmly of the belief that 'less is more' when it comes to exclamation points. I advise people to use them very little--if at all--in narrative, or in any kind of prose writing. They may be used in dialogue, but again, I think they should occur only sparingly. It's far preferable to have the character's words express their emotions than the writers' punctuation. In Graham's story, there are a few times where he used exclamation points. In the section that you pointed out, he wrote it like this:

"Granny," cried one young lady, "you shouldn't be up and about."

"Granny May," called a man from the front, "let me get someone to take you home."


There, the words 'cried' and 'called' indicate the speakers' emotions, in addition to the actual words that they say. In my opinion, he did this exactly right.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby amilli » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:56 pm

Yes, the description tell us what is going on with the emotions...but I think punctuation like the exclamation sign makes better writing.

It's just my personal opinion all the same...am very animated when it comes to writing stories so I tend to go all-out with my exclamation signs, question marks (Sometimes even 3 to prove a point), quotations, all caps, and these "...." I love them! I find it hard to write without doing it. And I know it doesn't apply, but if I could write stories with these emotions sitting on the right of my screen, then I would! :superhappy
Amelia

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby Come forth » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:01 pm

Love your enthusiasm, but the other side of the coin is that three ? or !, or using them too much simply drains their power and when one is needed it is powerless and taken for granted.

An emotion that is shown in the writing, actually coming from the speaker in their words or character development, will develop relationship between that character and the reader far more than the simple addition of !.

The when you need to shout, "Watch out!" the warning is evident.

Just thought I'd share my thoughts.

Blessings; Graham.
Last edited by Come forth on Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby lish1936 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:52 pm

Don't mean to pile on in agreement with Jan and Graham, amilli, but this fledgling fiction writer finds reliance on exclamation points an undesirable crutch for me and prevents me, as Jan has said, from searching for words to express my character's emotions. Believe me, I knew VERY little about fiction writing when I started with Faithwriter's three years ago; and I'm still learning. But by reading other great fiction writers in the Challenge, I no longer avoid trying to write fiction, and sometimes, though rarely, it has paid off. :-)

In my opinion, it's easy to use the exclamation point as a short-cut, but it doesn't always do the job of conveying the true emotions of my characters.


Blessings,

Lilian
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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby amilli » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:12 pm

I appreciate the feedback guys but a point of correction...I don't rely on them, I just love using them. I don't use them as a short cut, in fact I spend great time word-searching to find the best words that fit! I just thought they complement the words. Are they all I use? No. Just voicing my likes.

But I was taught that an exclamation sign is used to convey extreme emotion or high volume, so I know it has it's place in writing....but I guess am gonna have to re-learn some technique when it comes to writing fictions & dialogues.

While I enjoying writing stories, I am just a beginner too & is just getting familiar with really using dialogues. Yesterday I submitted my very 1st entry in the Writing Challenge & in my piece I actually stepped out of my comfort zone with what am used to writing; so that's a start!
Amelia

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby lish1936 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:03 am

Amelia wrote:Yesterday I submitted my very 1st entry in the Writing Challenge & in my piece I actually stepped out of my comfort zone with what am used to writing; so that's a start!


Yeah, Amelia! You ARE off to a start - a great start. Don't forget to throw a brick, I'd love to read it.

Blessings,

Lillian
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Fortunate 500


I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby Come forth » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:02 pm

Congratulations on the big plunge, Amelia. If your desire is to become a better writer then you just took a really good step forward.

Just to clarify my thoughts on !. I wasn't suggesting you may rely on them, in fact forget for a moment about us the writers and focus on the readers. It is the reader who sees the ! as an emotive mark and it is the reader who becomes too used to them and de-powers them.

Rather like the boy crying wolf too often, nobody ends up taking any notice.

You are 100% right, they are a fantastic tool for showing high emotion and I don't believe any of us are suggesting don't use them; but be wise when.

Looking forward to your entry.

Blessings; Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: New Writing Lessons--WHAT A CRITIQUE LOOKS LIKE

Postby amilli » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:11 pm

Thanks guys, I'll be sure to look out for that brick. I appreciate constructive criticism.
Amelia

My writing is a passion, not a hobby!

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