When I found kboards (with the intention to promote my first Kindle) which is a wonderful forum with many excellent writers, I had the even more brilliant idea to ask their opinion about my writing style. I had many interesting answers in this thread. I understood that my English is not at the level it should be if I would decide to write fiction. I have a lot to learn.
I will remain in my nonfiction style; and I even like it better now. However, the lessons I had were so helpful that I decided to post the helpful guidance of one excellent writer: Pearson Moore. I felt that his valuable lessons were wasted because he analyzed my work for nothing in the end, since I won't write fiction.
Perhaps you want to write fiction, so his lessons can help you. “Chris, You are brave to request advice, and you do the right thing in seeking our help. We learn from our mistakes, and wannabe writers make more of these than apprentices in just about any other vocation. We all believe that because we learned readin', writin', and 'rithmetic back in grade school we are therefore fully equipped with every tool required of a bestselling author.
Would that it were true! I would not have had to spend six years giving and receiving critiques before publishing my first novel. It takes *years* to learn how to write something people will pay to read. My advice is to join a well-established critique group. The example below is riddled with errors that critters will jump all over.
But better that they do it than reviewers with their venomous one-star reviews. I will spend a few minutes on this. A critique is a gift. Read my take on critiques here:
https://www.goodreads.com/author_blo...story-critique A Brief, Incomplete Critique of Your Story Sample Okay, first of all, you said this was the first page of your novel so I will guess that the first words below are the very first words of the novel. The first 200 words or so are called the Hook, and the Hook must be your absolute best writing. It must be perfect. But more than that, it must draw the reader in.
It cannot, under any circumstances, alienate or push away the reader. It must contain at least one element the reader knows and understands, something to anchor her so that she can understand the rest of the story. Poetry is disorienting IMO, and therefore is not suitable as the basis for a Hook. The Hook below is weak. It needs to *engage* the reader, tell her in no uncertain terms that this is the book she must read.
The Hook below does not accomplish that objective. 'A shadow becomes visible before the sun in the hollow wall. It indicates someone’s presence, but there is no evidence at all. It can be an animal. It can be a false impression or an invention. No, it is a person. Yes! A person!' You will hear over and over again that adverbs weaken a statement.
Adjectives can be just as bad, and here they definitely detract. Your Hook must never be weak, therefore you need to eliminate adverbs and you need to take a hard look at adjectives. Why did I remove them? An adjective invites comparison, especially if it is itself comparative (such as 'quite').
'Strange' is not necessary because the shadow is new to the reader, therefore strange by definition. 'Quite' is not necessary, and is actually harmful here. The object is visible or it is not. To say 'quite visible' is exactly the same as saying 'kinda visible' or 'hardly visible'. Any such qualification of the word diminishes the word. If you wish to diminish the impact, then adding the qualifier is fine. Here you seek impact, and the qualification reduces the punch. Take out the word and 'visible' becomes solid. 'There is no evidence at all' doesn't make sense to me.
The shadow is evidence of a concrete object as yet unseen. The positioning of the statement at this point is confusing, takes the reader out of the story. It may be in some sense poetic, but poetry doesn't belong in the Hook. You need to grab the reader, never let her go, and convince her that this is the story she wants to read. This Hook tells the reader that you wish to play word games. That's not why most people read novels, though, and you will lose almost all your readers. There should be no instances of 'it' or 'something' or 'someone' in the Hook.
In general, concrete statements will grab the reader. Anything that is nebulous, indefinite, or undecided is going to turn them away. 'Brick red blood, still warm, oozed out of the hollow wall' is much more engaging because it is concrete and poses questions that probably will not be answered in the chapter--perhaps not until the end of the book. Your Hook poses a question but by the end of the paragraph the question is answered. Yikes!!! Don't do that. Pose questions. Don't give answers. Make your readers sweat.
Make them *want* to read more to figure out what's happening. Don't play word games. 'The old woman opens the door. Someone wearing elegant clothes with a pleasant fragrance gives her an invitation. She smiles, already agreeing with it.' Again, don't use the word 'someone' in your Hook. It's destructive, it's indefinite, it tells the reader you're more interested in playing games than in telling a story. Don't do that! Tell a story. Make it concrete. Give facts, but at this point only partial facts. Make the reader sweat, don't make her play games. 'She is invited to investigate her reality and become more intelligent.
It will be an exciting experience. She will find out what exists behind the apparent reality and learn how to be perfect at everything.' 'Apparent reality' is telling, not showing (expository, not demonstrative). You want to *show* your readers what's going on so she can figure things out on her own. By forcing her to solve the problem, you invite her into the story. If you tell, you push her away from the story. 'Apparent reality' is telling because it says there are two types or levels of reality and the woman knows it.
Rather than doing that, show us that the woman is digging for a *concrete* truth of some kind, some truth that is beyond or higher than the obvious truth evident to the reader. 'The old woman follows this route . She suddenly becomes stronger and younger. She paints the city with numerous colors. All buildings become blue, yellow, and pink. She draws many roses in the streets. She also draws cakes and sweets.' Try to write this without 'suddenly'. You could eliminate two problems at once by rephrasing: 'The old woman takes a step forward and her wrinkles disappear, two steps forward and her arthritic legs are strong, free of pain.' 'The dark side of her reality disappears. She smiles, abandoning the vast years of the past, when she was fat, futile, and false. Now she will finally change.
This is a new beginning. She will stop living under numerous fears. Her life will have a new meaning.' The last paragraph is destructive. All the old woman's problems are solved six sentences. Yikes!!! At this point the reader has absolutely no reason to read further. With all the problems solve, there's no rationale for reading any more of this story.
A novel is the statement of a problem and a description of the meandering steps taken toward a solution. The first chapter never, ever solves problems. The first chapter, and especially the Hook, must define the problem. The more difficult, the more insurmountable, the better. There are many more problems here. I will not take time to explain them. Now, I took this time, gave it as gift to you, because I see your potential. The best thing you can do with this gift?
Use it as a starting point. Realize you have much to learn. And go and improve your skills at a critiquing organization. I recommend Critique Circle Online Writing Workshop I wish you every success as you begin the adventure of learning how to write. It is not easy. But if you truly wish to write, you must plant your feet on this path and follow it for many years. Good luck to you! Feel free to message me. All the best, Pearson Moore”