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Thread: Can Someone Help Me Edit My Short Story?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2016

    Can Someone Help Me Edit My Short Story?

    First and Foremost: This is my first post, so I'm sorry if I'm posting in the wrong space or I'm positing something irrelevant to the forums in general.

    Anyways...I've started writing a short story, and I would like to post snippets of it on this thread, overtime, as it is completed. I'm hoping someone would be able to point out any mistakes I make (i.e. ones concerning grammar) and provide feedback (i.e. on the overall quality) so I could understand what I have to do to produce a good product in time.

    So, without further adieu, here is the first paragraph:

    "At the time of 5:30 a.m., I was expected to be commencing the first of many preparations I had to undertake before heading to school. By the time of 5:45 a.m., I was still resting in my bed; listening to my mother repeatedly call out my name from the other room. This was a daily occurrence of mine, and I would always tell my mother that tomorrow would be different; but of course, it never was."

    I would appreciate it if someone could help me out, but it's understandable if you can't or don't want to. Thank you for those who choose to help me with this process ahead of time.
    Last edited by ThomasRS; 02-01-2016 at 11:05 AM.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2016
    Good work Tom, I feel, that you did a powerful job setting the mood and describing the surroundings, although I do believe that less is more, you should try harder to use powerful words, that reflect the character better, for example, if the person is a young adult (12-17) they should use language to represent the transitions of their adolescence.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2016
    Thanks for the suggestion Jason! Just wondering though, where do you (or anyone else for that matter) believe I should include more 'powerful' words within the paragraph?

  4. #4
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    Feb 2016
    Okay guys (and gals), here is the second paragraph to my short story:

    "By 5:53 a.m., I was still exhausted, but began to raise myself out of bed and onto the floor; being cautious to not step on the ever growing pile of ‘junk’ (as my mother called it) that laid there. As I reached the door to my bedroom, I looked back at this cluttered mess and observed how it gave the room an unsightly appearance. Already behind on my morning schedule, I chose to ignore this unappealing setting and make my way out into the hallway."

    Again, it would be greatly appreciated if I could receive feedback from the community on how to improve this paragraph and my writing in general. Thank you again for those that help.

  5. #5
    Registered User 108 fountains's Avatar
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    Apr 2013
    Falls Church, Virginia
    Hi ThomasRS,

    Please take my comments as they are meant - as constructive criticism. The main criticism that I have is that it just seems like you are trying too hard. This manifests itself in a couple of ways:

    First, you are expending a lot of effort and energy in creating a setting and a mood. It’s fine to do that, but try not to overdo it. We’ve got two paragraphs now, and I find myself wondering when is the story going to start?

    Second, while you should be aware of your diction/choice of words as you write, you should use judgment - JasonEB’s comment that less can be more is good advice. And remember too that the best, most powerful words are not always multi-syllable words. Your first paragraph came off sounding to me to be very artificial; the second paragraph was better. So far, in the story, you don’t have much going on. My advice would be to keep it simple. Save complex words and phrases for when you need them.

    Also, unless you have a specific reason for doing so, giving a minute-by-minute account of the act of getting out of bed also makes it seem like you are trying too hard and gives the account an artificial feeling. No need to be so specific about the time.

    Finally, since nothing much has happened yet and you are just setting the scene and the mood, try to give your main character some personality that will connect with the reader.

    Here is how I would re-write your paragraphs (and this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a better writer; I’m just trying to show how you could keep it simple):

    My alarm buzzed me awake at 5:30 a.m. As usual, instead of actually getting up, I just lay in bed thinking about how I ought to get up and get ready for school. For the next fifteen minutes, I listened as my mother called me repeatedly from the next room. It was like this every morning at our house.

    Still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I finally placed my feet on the floor and made my way across the room, being careful to avoid stepping on the piles of junk on the floor that seemed to appear there and grow of their own accord. I’ll clean my room tomorrow, I told myself; and I’ll start getting up on time, too. Ha! I laughed, knowing that would never happen.
    A just conception of life is too large a thing to grasp during the short interval of passing through it.
    Thomas Hardy

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