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Old 12-20-2004, 12:52   #1
RWBlue
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Critique this

It was a long unfruitful day of hunting, I had been out in the morning attempting to call in a raccoon or a coyote, or if I was lucky maybe a fox. Then spend the main part of the day hiking through the woods looking for signs of the animals. I had found tracks in pockets of snow and in the frozen mud some of the tracks were recognizable. There were little human like paw prints from the raccoons, rabbit tracks and hoof prints from the deer. There were also many tracks that were unrecognizable to me. The area had been well traveled by many animals and many of the tracks had been tracked over by other animals. I finally settled on better spot to setup for the evening calling attempts which proved fruitless.

After it was good and dark, I decided to call it a day. It was too dark to take a shot even if presented with an opportunity. This was a country dark, the kind of dark that you can only see in the country. I looked up into the night sky through the tree cover. I could see millions of stars in the sky. There were no clouds in sight. It had been a cold day. I donít think the temperature ever got above 32 degrees. The lack of cloud cover meant it would be an even colder night. It was time for me to head for home, to get a nice warm meal in my belly. Just the thought of a warm meal made me warm inside. I could almost smell the food cooking on the stove.

With my first steps back toward home, I notice the ground crunched with every step I made. Crunch; crunch, crunch, crunch, I was not going to sneak up on anything that night. There was a ground cover of frozen oak and maple leaves with occasional patch of frozen brown grass or thorny green vine. My only light was a little double A battery flashlight. It did not shine a brilliant white light any more. The batteries were like me, cold and tired. So the light was more of a yellow/orange hue that reached out to six or seven feet.

I crunched my way to the first fence I needed to cross. I unloaded my shotgun dropping the high brass shells into the outside pocket of my orange vest, then slid under the fence. I then proceeded to crunch my way toward the second fence line. My feet were getting heavier and heavier as I crossed the through the tree line and into the middle of the open field.

This field didnít feel right. I thought to myself this is not a good night to get lost. A person could freeze to death on a night like this. In the darkness, I had become slightly disoriented so I had to stop just for a second to reorient myself.

The crunch, crunch, crunch sound didnít stop when I stopped moving. Something was crunching along behind me following my trail and catching up quickly. The crunch, crunch, crunch didnít sound like two feet moving across the frozen earth, but more like several four footed animals. I shined my little light in the direction of the noise. I see several sets of glowing eyes without bodies. With the speed of an olympic athlete I quickly turn and sprinted across the frozen field of brown grass fueled by fear and adrenaline. As I clear the ridge, I shined my little flashlight ahead of me into the darkness as and see several more sets of eyes without form or bodies glaring back at me. Surrounded and out of breath, I stopped dead in my tracks. The noise and the eyes were getting closer. There were several dozen eyes set approximately 8 inches apart all coming toward me with the crunch, crunch, crunch of the earth under their feet. I thought to myself, I donít know what these things are, but they are going to be on me really quick. I fumbled around trying to load my shotgun as fast as I can. Then I proceeded to raise my shotgun with my little light in left hand while my right hand holds the sloping wood semi-pistol grip stock. The crunch, crunch, crunch was all around me. I put the front site in between what I think are one set of glowing eyes. Then I push the safety thinking that this is a miserable ending to a long cold day. I slowly put my finger on the trigger when I hear MOO. MOO? Cows go Moo? My uncle has cows. My uncle has Black Angus cows. THESE ARE COWS! I quickly realize that I was in the wrong field. My uncle would kill me if I shoot one of his cows.

I lowered my shotgun and headed in a slightly different direction across the field back toward home where I could get a warm meal and some well needed rest.

Last edited by RWBlue; 12-30-2004 at 07:54..
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Old 12-20-2004, 15:19   #2
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You need to learn punctuation, paragraphing,

for starters. You have lots of pointless verbiage, saying the same thing that you've already said, etc.
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Old 12-20-2004, 17:23   #3
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Looks like iffy is Gunkid. Here again! That's the same fake that keeps thinking he is John Davis. Comes up with handles like hardin, tobe, kiddo blue, whatever... Same internet troll. Same flake. A real head case.

And gunkid, your idea if spelling is "U r 2 lazy and stupid if...". Remember? That's your posting on other boards.

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Old 12-22-2004, 09:46   #4
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Hey GK.

RWBlue, you are certainly off to a good start and good writing, especially the descriptive stuff, doesn't simply happen overnight. I'm at work right now but took a little time to rewrite some of what you rewrote... it's just the tip of the iceberg, for I am no writer... hopefully others will comment... in parentheses are places where I feel you could expand a little. The questions I ask might also be in the minds of other readers.

BTW, the only reason I saw this thread is because GK posted here, otherwise I wouldn't have found it.

Good luck with your work RW!

Cheers,
Erik (below is what I tweaked a bit, on the fly)
----------------

It was a long and fruitless day of hunting. I set out when the sun first began to timidly peek through the woods blanketed by snow. Using a (whatever people use) I attempted to call in a (adjective Ė wary? Sleepy?) raccoon or a (adjective clever?) coyote; if I was lucky maybe a (adjective red?) fox. (What was happening when you tried to call them? What did you observe? How did you feel?)

Afterwards, I spent (how many hours, how far?) hiking through the woods looking for signs of the animals. I found a multitude of (deep? Shallow? Distinct?) tracks in pockets of (adjective Ė billowy? Cottony? Packed?) snow and in the frozen mud. Some of the tracks were recognizable. There were little humanlike paw prints from the raccoons, rabbit tracks and hoof prints from the deer (did all the tracks look the same? If not, distinguish between the differencesÖ how do rabbits move vs. deer?). There were also many tracks that were unrecognizable to me (why? Were they blurred or from animals you didnít know about? Did this stir mystery in you or were you apprehensive?). A virtual highway bustling with wildlife, the area had evidently been well traveled by many animals and many of the tracks had been tracked over others yet again. (at this point were you hopeful to find an animal? Did you sit and wait?) I finally settled on better spot (why was it better) to setup (what does setting up involved?) for the evening (describe how the area became darker, did your senses grow sharper because of this or did they grow duller because you were bored/tired?) after repeated calling attempts proved futile.
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Old 12-27-2004, 21:27   #5
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GK,

I rewrote part of your story (I didn't have time to write much), rearranging sentences and adding a few words. You are off to a great start, but I hope I have more clearly expressed some of the ideas in your writing.


Yours,

~gunguru1


It had been a long and unsuccessful day of hunting. In the morning, I attempted to call a raccoon or coyote, and if I was lucky maybe a fox would answer my calls. I planned to spend the main part of the day hiking through the woods and looking for signs of the animals. In the frozen snow and mud I had found some recognizable tracks. There were little human-like paw prints left by raccoons, as well as rabbit and deer tracks. There were also many tracks which were unrecognizable to me.
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Old 12-29-2004, 10:52   #6
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I have a VERY HARD TIME reading ANY post that is this long, and so few paragraphs.

If you re-format it for easier reading, I'd be happy to read.
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Old 01-02-2005, 15:03   #7
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Get rid of the word it. Completely.

Dark... Crunch... Dark... Crunch... Dark... Crunch...

Warm... warm.

Don't repeat words too often.

Commas are our friends. Except of course, when we use them, in the, "wrong," place!

Take a writing course at the local college or university.

You might consider kicking a story off with:

"Slowly I turned, and step by step..."

or, another fav of maine"

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

Paragraphs can't hurt.
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Old 01-02-2005, 16:27   #8
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It was a long unfruitful day of hunting, I had been out in the morning attempting to call in a raccoon or a coyote, or if I was lucky maybe a fox. Then spend the main part of the day hiking through the woods looking for signs of the animals. I had found tracks in pockets of snow and in the frozen mud some of the tracks were recognizable. There were little human like paw prints from the raccoons, rabbit tracks and hoof prints from the deer. There were also many tracks that were unrecognizable to me. The area had been well traveled by many animals and many of the tracks had been tracked over by other animals. I finally settled on better spot to setup for the evening calling attempts which proved fruitless.

-----------------------------------------------------------

To be HONEST......which I am...........

There are many punctuation problems, grammar problems, nad "flat sounding" sentences IN THE 1ST PARAGRAPH....That's as far as I read.

I would strongly suggest you do take some english courses.....

....but only if you are really serious about writing for fun & profit.

NOTHING ANYWHERE says you can't imporve greatly, with a little help .

If you are serious, I DO HOPE you will follow through...it really can be FUN!
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:21   #9
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Others have critiqued your first paragraph, but I would go even further with it than they have. Change any passive sentences to active to make the story move better. Try to cut every possible word you've used that does not contribute to creating images in the mind of the reader.

I worked on your second paragraph, cutting the word count in half while esentially saying the same thing you said and, at the same time, trying to say it in a way to leave a vivid picture in the reader's mind.

THE PARAGRAPH AS YOU HAVE IT:
After it was good and dark, I decided to call it a day. It was too dark to take a shot even if presented with an opportunity. This was a country dark, the kind of dark that you can only see in the country. I looked up into the night sky through the tree cover. I could see millions of stars in the sky. There were no clouds in sight. It had been a cold day. I donít think the temperature ever got above 32 degrees. The lack of cloud cover meant it would be an even colder night. It was time for me to head for home, to get a nice warm meal in my belly. Just the thought of a warm meal made me warm inside. I could almost smell the food cooking on the stove.


Here's my suggested changes to your second parargaph. Hope this helps.

Daytime temperatures below freezing had foretold a frigid night. Through breaks in the maze of limbs and tall pines overhead, the cloudless sky twinkled, ablaze with the light of a million stars. Then cold blackness descended, penetrating my bones and making a clean shot unlikely, even if sudden game appeared. The thought of a blazing fire in the woodstove and a warm meal bubbling on the range called me home.
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Old 01-03-2005, 11:10   #10
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I'd like to make a honest, realistic statement........

I just went through this with the writers group (very famous group..which will go un-named at this time)......that I belong to.

There are ALOT of members who really have no intention of following through with their attempt to "get published".

It is more of a "social group" than anything else.


Those of us who ARE PUBLISHED meet outside the group, or share through e-mail.....

You can sit here on GT and re-write someone elses work, or critique someone elses work, but that does not help YOUR CAREER IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN PUBLISHING SOMETHING.

If the writers forum was a place to share ideas, leads, etc, I would be involved. I THINK that was Eric's intention....

But it seems to be a place for "wana' be" Writers.

If you are serious, join a writers group close to your home (they are numerous) and learn who the "players" are.........

If you learn something, share it here.....
.....NOT SOMETHING about writing, but about BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL WRITER...

QUALIFYING STATEMENT; I really don't mean to sound like a jerk, but I want to share some REAL advice to anyone who is REALLY serious about this.......

OR.......you can worry about adjectives and adverbs.

If I offended anyone, just wait until you submit something for publishing...better have a thick skin.......


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Old 01-03-2005, 15:12   #11
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Manonmars, I donít think you are going to get what you are looking for here. You are in the horrible position of being one of the best writers in this forum. You have seen and done more. Unless you find enjoyment in helping to build others, I donít anticipate you hanging around this forum.

Anyway, thanks for ripping the doc. One of these days I will feel in the mood to write again, and I will rewrite it using some of the suggestions.

To those who may be interested, I donít ever expect to get published. I hope to get better.

To those who said I should take an English class. I have. I have taken several going through college. I always passed. I guess that says something about the school system.

I am surprised that MS Word didnít catch the grammatical errors that people say are in the doc. Makes me wonder about the grammatical mistakes I am getting away with every day at work. Do you think that most of the geeks I work with ever notice?
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Old 01-03-2005, 15:54   #12
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RW, you received the BEST advice you could from everyone EXCEPT those who sugar coated it............

I was not "easy" with you....but perhaps I mis-understood your intentions...

MY OPINION is that everyone who writes would like to be published some day.....am I really wrong???

I do strongly encourage you to join a writers group if you can.

I was not an English Major in College, but did take and enjoy many English/Writing courses.

I wrote newspaper/magazine articles for 15 years before I published a book....

If you read the 1st 10 articles I wrote, and compared them to the last 10 I wrote, you'd wonder how I ever got published in the beginning.

Moral; YOU DO GET BETTER WITH TIME!!

I WAS REJECTED 10 TIMES...MANY AUTHORS ARE REJECTED 150 TIMES!

I know some of the responses were a "slap in the face", but pick yourself up, learn from them, and WRITE IT AGAIN!

SHOW US WIMPS THAT WE ARE WRONG!!!!!
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Old 01-03-2005, 16:26   #13
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Manonmars, we are having a miscommunication. I take no issue or offence about the comments and having the document ripped. That is why I submitted it here. Thinking back I probably should have sat on it a day and re-read and correct a few mistakes. But I posted it and swore I would not look at the comments until I have at least 3 replies.

To answer your question, yes you are mistaken. I donít anticipate or really want to getting published. I probably will not write enough non-technical information to get published.

I want to improve my writing abilities for several reasons. The most important is the technical correspondence and documentation. My normal writing is more quick notes lists, and or instructions. Anything else I write is for my own amusement or to stretch my mind in a different direction.

BTW, I am sure glad someone enjoyed English class in college. For me it was torture. I was required to write to on topics that I didnít find interesting or have any personal knowledge. I had to write usually on a very strict time line, because of other obligations. In addition, my instructors did not appear to want to build better writers. They wanted to hand and grade assignments. And finally writers have to put themselves out there a little. I was unable to do this in college. With the anonymity of the internet, I have a little more freedom to write. ;f

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Old 01-04-2005, 22:40   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by RWBlue
Manonmars, I don?t think you are going to get what you are looking for here. You are in the horrible position of being one of the best writers in this forum. You have seen and done more. Unless you find enjoyment in helping to build others, I don?t anticipate you hanging around this forum.

Anyway, thanks for ripping the doc. One of these days I will feel in the mood to write again, and I will rewrite it using some of the suggestions.

To those who may be interested, I don?t ever expect to get published. I hope to get better.

To those who said I should take an English class. I have. I have taken several going through college. I always passed. I guess that says something about the school system.

I am surprised that MS Word didn?t catch the grammatical errors that people say are in the doc. Makes me wonder about the grammatical mistakes I am getting away with every day at work. Do you think that most of the geeks I work with ever notice?
Don't let Man on Mars get you down. Remember not everybody needs to like your work. He is only one person...out of how many?

Not everybody writes with the intention of getting published. Some people write to preserve thier family history before it is lost. Others write for pleasure. Some people write to relax. What you write for is your own business and you don't have to explain to anybody.

Don't put all your faith in Bill Gate's grammer check. Don't get me wrong, it is a great thing but he marks "mistakes" that are not wrong while he lets real mistakes through

I don't think you need an English class. You just need some time to polish what you have.
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:01   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by misskitty5077
Don't let Man on Mars get you down. Remember not everybody needs to like your work. He is only one person...out of how many?

Not everybody writes with the intention of getting published. Some people write to preserve thier family history before it is lost. Others write for pleasure. Some people write to relax. What you write for is your own business and you don't have to explain to anybody.

Don't put all your faith in Bill Gate's grammer check. Don't get me wrong, it is a great thing but he marks "mistakes" that are not wrong while he lets real mistakes through

I don't think you need an English class. You just need some time to polish what you have.
I agree with MissKitty. Some English classes are so confining that they leave no room for creativity and freedom to tell the story. Story writing is about breaking at least some of the rules.

I also think that it is easier to blast a person's work than it is to offer constructive criticism to help them improve.

As to an earlier post concerning letters from publishers and editors and the way they attack a person's work, I've received several letters from publishers, including rejections, and most have been written in a most encouraging way. When they haven't taken time to encourage, they've made a polite refusal. Some have suggested other places to submit to.

I've had quite a few articles and short stories published in the last few years, and never yet have I had an editor try to destory my hopes as a writer. True, they've suggested changes, but it's been done in a decent, helpful way. Most offer encouragement along with rejection.

RWBlue, the kind of writing you've done shows real promise as far as I'm concerned. You've had the freedom of thought to get your ideas down and that gives you something of real worth to work with. This first stage is the place where a lot of people have the most trouble. True, the writing sounds like a rough draft, but that is exactly what I took it to be. All writing starts at this point. Your story line is in place, and it's in good order. It just needs a few more edits to tighten it up and bring it out. Writing is like a jewel. It achieves it's sparkle in the polishing of rewrites.

You've used this forum as you should have, as the way a beginning creative writer would use a writing group. You've presented your work to get feedback before going on to the next draft. Don't let anyone make you feel bad because you did. In writing groups I've been in, some will read at the stage you have, while others do several rewrites first. There is no real right time. It's all in the writers own perspective as to when he needs the feedback. Most writers who have worked in writing groups would recognize this.

Also, different writing styles are done in different ways and for different reasons. I've never written any technical articles or books, but I would imagine they would follow a different pattern to completion than creative writing does. A person would be limited to the facts of the field he is working in. Or maybe he would be limited to the points of view of his publisher.

Creative writing is different. In your story, you only have to get the story down to please yourself. If it's for your own benefit, fine and good. If it's fun and pleasureable, that's even better. If you can get a few benefits from its publication one day, great! So don't give up on that before you give it a chance.

In various writing groups I've attended, people have suggested I cut, tighten up, and change writing. Until I actually see an example of what they are talking about, usually I cannot comprehend what they are saying I need to do. That is why I rewrote your second paragraph--to give you an idea of how it could be done--not to antagonize other posters, to show off or do it for you.

When you do get criticism or suggestions, it's to take or leave as you see fit. Not all will be good, and not all will even be given with your best interests at heart; but it all will give you a chance to think and to see your story in a broader view. I've found that the best thing to do is to learn from it when I can and to let to let it go if not.

Others have taken the time to help me in my writing (including some who've published nationally), and if I can return the favor by pointing another in a right direction that is what I want to do.
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Old 01-05-2005, 13:19   #16
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Both the "Miss"'s are correct.

I am a jerk.

I will go away now.

I apologize.

Bad hair days....................
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Old 01-17-2005, 23:50   #17
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Actually, without the puctuation (who cares) it sounds alot like Hemingway. Hell, he thought puncuation was for sissies. Keep it up. And don't shoot yourself in the legs trying to shoot sharks with a tommygun while high on on absinthe like he did. That's always good advice...
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Old 02-06-2005, 15:30   #18
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GíDay All:

Sheez! Iíve been gone a long time; looky here, GT has an honest to goodness gosh-dang forum dedicated to reading and writing. Now whodathunkit? Iím impressed.

Itís been a while since anyone posted on this topic. Hmmm ... folks might not ever read what I wrote here; oh, well; cíest la vie; carpe diem.

I have spent far more time editing for publications than writing for them; consequently, more often than not when I read other folksí stuff I do so from that discipline. Most of my writing for the past twenty or so years, however, has been limited to esoteric, confidential in-house purposes, and about as exciting as an Excel spreadsheet.

RWBlue:

You have gotten some sound advice, constructive criticism if you will, primarily from Miss Maggy, Miss Kitty, and ManOnMars. Now, let me take a shot or two.

Looking at your first four paragraphs, the primary area of concern, as noted earlier by Maggy, is your passive writing style. There is no ongoing action that is more likely to capture a readerís attention. As a friend is prone to saying, better than average writers consistently write so thereís sizzle on the steak; itís mouth watering and occasionally outright seductive.

You pick up the pace in the next two graphs but when the piece comes to an end Iím left wondering Ė who is this guy? What about this person makes me want to care about him one way or the other? Admittedly, this was a very short piece you posted; nevertheless, a major area in need of development in virtually every aspiring writer is character development.

Sound advice for any aspiring writer Ė whether or not you ever plan on getting published Ė is to read, read, and read some more. If you have a favorite author, read everything they have written. In my case that writer is Ross Thomas. He wrote relatively short novels before his death ten or so years ago, but his stories are quick paced and his character development and dialogue are superb. My favorite books he wrote feature Arty Wu, Durant and Other Guy.

I never took a creative writing class in college, but I came close many more years ago than I care to admit. The university I attended had an exceptional novelist on their teaching staff, Harry Crews. Crews is a master of his genre. Unfortunately, I had it from unofficial, yet highly reliable sources, that he was an extremely harsh master in the classroom. The folks I know who took his class learned a great deal, though each of them said it was a hairy-scary ride.

More sound advice? Never turn in the first draft Ė no matter how good it looks (NOTE: Exception: Breaking news Ė write it; submit it; let the copy editor figure it out). Let it sit; go back to it hours later, or better yet the next day. Take out everything that doesnít need to be there and clarify any ambiguities you may have left in the first draft (NOTE: Exceptions: mystery novels and/or short stories) and let it sit again. Focus on character development and ambiance the third go-around.

Another suggestion, which may or may not be so obvious, is to write every day. Even on those days when you might not be working on a specific assignment spend time keeping a log or a journal. Refrain from shorthand (i.e. LOL, BTW, FWIW, YMMV, etc.) in the body of your text as a general rule, even in emails and website postings. Take every opportunity that comes your way to improve your skills.

Many folks who believe that itís as easy to write what they mean as it is to say what they mean find out otherwise when they attempt to commit their thoughts to paper. Good writing, not unlike sight alignment and trigger control, comes with lots of practice.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-09-2005, 00:55   #19
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I liked it. I enjoyed the matter of fact, down to earth style. At first I thought he might be being followed, then surrounded by some danger. When it was revealed to be cows there was humor. This sudden switch from fear to humor was good writing. A lot of posts on this forum are overly fancy to the point that they're unreadable. That's bad writing. I don't want to be shown how clever the writer is. I want to hear a story.
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Old 02-14-2005, 14:51   #20
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RWBlue. You are making your point alright, I mean your imagery is strong, but you MAY be trying to work it just a little bit too hard. It reads a lot easier if you can kind of close your eyes, so to speak, while you are writing, visualize the images and let them flow out,instead of you pulling them out.

Hope I'm clear on this. You have the basics and I'm thinking that with a little experience you will be where you want to be. Keep at it and let's see see what you can do.
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Old 02-14-2005, 15:19   #21
RWBlue
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jack23
RWBlue. You are making your point alright, I mean your imagery is strong, but you MAY be trying to work it just a little bit too hard. It reads a lot easier if you can kind of close your eyes, so to speak, while you are writing, visualize the images and let them flow out,instead of you pulling them out.
Tell me more. How do you make it flow?
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Old 02-14-2005, 16:30   #22
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I was afraid you were going to ask me that. LOL! It helps to be full of BS like me. But seriously I meant that when I'm writing imagery (Granted we all have different ways of doing it) I try to feel/see in in my minds eye as I write. Sunsets, air plane crashes, or a puppy licking a little boys face. Makes no difference. I gues I just try to get into the scene and let it flow through me into the keyboard. Gimme a few minutes and I'll look around in my files and see if I can find something to use as an example.

Be right back.
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Old 02-14-2005, 16:46   #23
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Alright RWB, not that this is any great shakes but this is a brief excerpt from a project I'm currently working on. I THINK it illustrates what I'm trying to say, at least I hope it does.

About an hour after dawn a squadron of brown pelicans dropped down from just below cloud-level, in a V formation. They maintained perfect spacing and position with each other as they gracefully skimmed the tops of the waves, their keen eyes alert for the fish that would make up their breakfast. Toby watched in total rapture as they glided gracefully just above the waves for a long distance and then, just as gracefully, and in perfect formation, began to rise once more to the skies above the slowly rolling waves. A sigh unconsciously escaped Toby as the magnificent creatures soared higher and farther away until they were completely out of sight. My God, he thought, That was beautiful. He had to laugh at the fact that a bird so gangly and awkward and, well, downright ugly, when on land, could be so completely transformed into the graceful and beautiful creatures heíd just witnessed as they glided through the sky as one. So unmindful and so unaware of the tremendous pleasure that some earth-bound members of the animal kingdom derived from the simple act of watching them go about their morning search for food.
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