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Thread: My writing got really bad at one time, I would like to know if this is any better.

  1. #1
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    My writing got really bad at one time, I would like to know if this is any better.

    Survival Instincts - Synopsis.

    Half way through the semester at Itico High, a new student arrives. Raqua Rannaca seems very innocent, with long brown hair and bambi brown eyes. She doesn't talk much though and remains a mystery to everyone, although not many of the rumours that start circling around her are the truth. A bullying ring is evident at the prestigous school with the school ruled over by two gangs, after discovering one such bullying incident taking place in the hallway of the school during lunch, the school finds that Raqua is cute and innocent. And cold and heartless. But most of all, Raqua is protective.

    Survival Instincts - Prolouge.

    "What, do you mean like multiple personality disorder?" Raqua laughed at Zakynthros, crossing her arms over her chest as she leaned against the classroom wall, staring out the window and the manicured gardens.
    "No, I don't. With multiple personality disorder you normally are two people, with two names, and you have no memory of either one when you change between them. I have two personalities, one name, one identity. Tell me, Zak, what kind of girl are most guys attracted to?" Zakynthros leant back in his chair, studying his mysterious classmate intently. This was the longest conversation he had ever had with her. He thought the longest conversation anyone in his class had, had with her.
    "Cute, I guess. Fun, energetic, funny. Much like you are, most of the time." Suddenly it dawned on Zakynthros what she was talking about. Raqua was cute and happy most of the time, an easy smiler with a contagious laugh. But Zakynthros was observant and he had noticed… changes… in Raqua at certain times. He had made a note to question her about it and that was what had started this conversation.
    "Your second personality..."
    "Yup, I realised a few years ago that I seemed to attract a lot of guys. At first I liked the attention but then... Around where I lived a serial rapist started targeting young women, with much the same physique as me. When they caught him I realised I had seen him, on a regular basis. He was a man who always walked his dog at the park across the road from our house. It woke me up. Made me terrified. Suddenly I realised I was in real danger of being targeted by some sicko. I started watching girls, mostly on TV like Ziva from NCIS and Xena: Warrior Princess. I took little notes in my head, stored away information and slowly began to construct another personality. Hard, brave, strong, my other personality comes out when my survival instincts are triggered.” Raqua took a deep breath and let it out heavily as Zakynthros rocked on his chair, taking it all in.
    “The first time I noticed your change between your two personalities it was when that gang guy got up in your face at the school disco. You went from looking all happy and carefree to all closed-up. Cold. And like you were going to floor him, like you were perfectly capable of doing it-“ Raqua laughed, her normal, life filled laugh that made Zakynthros smile.
    “I am Zak. I am perfectly capable of flooring him. It isn’t just how you act that makes your personality but the way you act and the things you do. I realised this when I first starting to construct my other personality. So I began learning martial arts, as it turned out I was talented at it. If I became my other self. I made all of this to protect myself, so I didn’t get hurt as easily. I don’t notice the transition anymore, some people make me change with out doing anything to me. I guess I got like that after my parents died in that car accident and I started going through foster home after foster home. When I go to a new school I keep that other personality up as a mask until I start to get comfortable with others. Of course, by the time everyone has figured out who I really am, I have already made friends. Normally the freaks or the outsiders. In my experience, they are the ones most likely to stick with you through anything, good or bad.” Zakynthros just sat there, listening to her. That last part was true when Raqua had turned up they had all expected her to do exactly what every other new kid did, which was sit as close to the most popular girl in school as they could get. There had been a moment of hesitation from Raqua, almost like she was scrutinising the class. Then she walked up to the empty desk beside the freak of the class, a skinny girl who always had her nose in a book, with a ragged hair cut and no fashion sense. She’d plonked herself down and everyone in the class disregarded her as nothing. But after a few days the two girls were laughing like they’d always been friends, arguing over what book was better and sharing each other lunches. It wasn’t hard to notice the change in the freak as Raqua mouthed off at the bullies and constantly turned to her for ideas and decisions. It was like Raqua had brought her to life.
    “Why are you suddenly telling me all this?” Zakynthros asked, sitting straighter in his chair. Raqua smiled, a little sadly actually.
    “I’m being moved again. To another foster home. Every family I go to they say the same. I go to a house that’s had the same kids there since forever and after a month or so, the family decides we’re all healed and sends us off again.” Zakynthros understood why this happened, he’d watched it happen. The process was slow, you wouldn’t notice it unless you fast forwarded it in your mind. Something about Raqua made even the most solid walls that you’d built around yourself crumble.
    “When do you leave?”
    “Tomorrow.”
    “Can I ask you something? Whats something that both your personalities have in common? Raqua shrugged, a thoughtful expression crinkling her forehead.
    "Both of them are... protective. I am protective. I made my fake personality to protect myself. And now I protect most people with it, although one is more verbal and one more physical than the other." Zakynthros nodded as he finally began to understand who Raqua was. She wasn't some strange alien thing but a girl. A scared girl. A protective girl. A girl who saw the good things in people, the dead people or the not-yet-hatched people and she brought them to life. Suddenly, a bell sounded. The bell signalling the end of school.
    "I guess this is bye." Raqua muttered as she swiped her bag off the ground and rested it on her shoulder in one fluid motion. Zakynthros just watched as she headed towards the door, when she paused and turned to look over her shoulder at him.
    "Zak.... protect her for me?" It could've been a statement but Zakynthros knew it was a question. Almost immediately he nodded and Raqua exited the classroom. He knew he'd never see her again and he felt sad. He knew he would miss her. He knew, now, that most people in the class would to. She was one very unique girl.

  2. #2
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    Was the synopsis written for a book cover, or for some prospective publisher or agent to read? since normally a synopsis serves no other purpose (unless you think it might whet the readerís appetite Ė but it doesnít really do that).
    A synopsis is meant to be a very brief outline of the story (generally no more than 25 words long) Ė so you donít need to tell us when the new girl arrived at the school, or describe her physical appearance or explain in detail how bullying was discovered at the school for example. That should all come out in the story itself.

    Similarly I can never see the point of inserting a prologue at the start of a story. If you canít set the scene within the story itself then itís either irrelevant to the plot or you havenít paid enough attention to plot structure. The story should be allowed to tell it all. What you have called a Prologue is actually Chapter 1 because it makes a great opening chapter to a story.

    Having said that, the first sentence is a bit too long. Crossing her arms, leaning against the wall, staring through the window Ė itís all rather much to take in. Do we need to know she did all three things?

    Then we are expected to follow so much dialogue. The conversational flow didnít sound very natural to me Ė no one speaks like this normally. Youíve got your characters spouting lengthy paragraphs of uninterrupted speech that look as if they were included to give the reader as much background information as possible. Not a great idea.

    The story only begins to get interesting when you tell us how Raqua looked and behaved when she first arrived at the school. Suddenly she appears more like a real person Ė an interesting character even.

    So this could do with a structural makeover Ė begin by breaking up the dialogue into more manageable sections. Give the pair time to draw breath and take over the story-telling yourself now and again. Varying the style makes the piece much more enjoyable to read. The plot is intriguing enough so you can tease the reader a little by withholding certain bits of information. You need to make the reader curious to learn more about how Raqua uses her martial skills to protect others. And Iím guessing teenage romance is also in the air so again you can have a little fun with your characters.

    I wouldnít say this writing is really bad Ė but you do need to trim it down quite a bit. A lot of what you say can be said in less words. Keep it simple and increase the pace a little by using short, punchy sentences, because it does drag at the start. Donít be tempted to include irrelevant detailÖ if it doesnít drive the plot forwards leave it out.

    And that phrase Ďvery unique girlí right at the end. She is either unique or not unique Ė there are no grades of uniqueness.

    Good effort - and your writing's not that bad, honestly. Lots of luck with the rest of this.

    H

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    Having said that, the first sentence is a bit too long. Crossing her arms, leaning against the wall, staring through the window – it’s all rather much to take in. Do we need to know she did all three things?

    I wrote that while thinking she was already at Itico and I wanted to set the scene. As I kept writing I decided not to jump right in at Itico.

    The conversational flow didn’t sound very natural to me – no one speaks like this normally. You’ve got your characters spouting lengthy paragraphs of uninterrupted speech that look as if they were included to give the reader as much background information as possible. Not a great idea.

    All that dialogue was actually to set out the background. At least, it was to explain about Raquas very sudden moodswings. I have her completely constructed in my head but I have trouble putting this conciousness on paper I guess. Because in a sense she is two personalities but one person. I wasn't sure how to tell the readers that.

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    Feeding background information (exposition) through dialogue is frowned upon in story writing. Good writers never use that technique.

    It's a bit like having someone say:
    "Hi Mary. How is your husband Mike today, the doctor who works at the city hospital?"
    Such a conversation would never take place because Mary must already know her husband's name, what work he does and where he is employed, so the dialogue has only been inserted to inform the reader.

    You say you're not sure how to tell the readers she has a split personality.
    Why not show us instead - having Zak ask her why she behaved so strangely last week for example. Then describing what she actually did and drawing out the conversation from that point. Or you can focus purely on Raqua - describe an incident where her second personality takes over, make it as sinister as you like, then have her wondering to herself what is happening to her. It doesn't always do to spell out everything clearly right at the start of the story.

    H

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    Raqua conciously created her second personality so she wouldn't be wondering about what was happening to her. She just automatically makes the transition now. And ok thats a good point, thank you I will see if I can revise it. Thank you very much Hillwalker

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillwalker View Post

    Similarly I can never see the point of inserting a prologue at the start of a story. If you canít set the scene within the story itself then itís either irrelevant to the plot or you havenít paid enough attention to plot structure. The story should be allowed to tell it all. What you have called a Prologue is actually Chapter 1 because it makes a great opening chapter to a story.

    H

    Thank you! I have become so frustrated with Prologues.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    I'm good at prologues. It's finishing the story that I am bad at haha.

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    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeranikaSloane View Post
    I'm good at prologues. It's finishing the story that I am bad at haha.
    I thinks it's great that you post, get reviewed and all without a single box of tissues by your side! So keep up the great work!
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

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    I have no idea what you mean by that but yay?

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