#1 Edited by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

So it's my friends birthday this weekend, and I have to get him something. However due to an evil car, I currently find myself without a job. So I decided I'd write him a short story. The problem is I'm kind of out of practice, I haven't written anything since NaNoWriMo, and I don't think the story came out very well. I can't show it to my friends, because they can't keep a secret, and showing it to my family didn't help at all because they won't say anything bad about it. I was hoping some of you cool duders could help me out, it's about 5 pages, and any advice would be appreciated.

Here's the google doc: Link

#2 Posted by TruthTellah (8720 posts) -

Honestly, though I know you're a very legit commenter, I at first thought that this was a spam post. heh. I mean, a generic title along with a paragraph starting with discussion of buying something and ending with a random link at the end.

I thought "Not another of these..." and then "Woah, Hunter? Was he hacked?" Finally, I looked at it a bit more and realized that it really had substance. So, I hope you get some nice critiques of your short story! :D

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#3 Edited by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

I don't need to read it to be able to tell you the most important thing, which is that your friend will appreciate the effort regardless of quality. Writing a story for someone is a cool idea.

#4 Posted by TruthTellah (8720 posts) -

I don't need to read it to be able to tell you the most important thing, which is that your friend will appreciate the effort regardless of quality. Writing a story for someone is a cool idea.

I second this post. Having only read the first page, I know already that your friend will appreciate the fact that you took the time to write a story for him. Good show!

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#5 Edited by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

@truthtellah: Originally I just put the story in the post, but it was too long. I was actually afraid that this would qualify as spam since it is pretty much just a link.

@jjweatherman True, but wouldn't it be cool if the story was also good?

#6 Edited by Fattony12000 (7263 posts) -

Please please please use proper paragraphs.

But yes, it seems pretty good. If a little grimdark for someone's birthday, although I have no idea just how metal your friend rolls.

“You, The Condemned, have been charged with the attempted murder of The King of this land. For that you have been sentenced to die. Have you any final words, before you join the damned?” The king yells, his voice echoing throughout the city square as criers repeat his words to the crowd.

#7 Posted by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

@fattony12000: Actually, copying it into Google Docs messed with the formatting a bit which is why there aren't proper spaces. If you mean there are some places where I should use paragraph breaks and didn't I'll go back and look again. Also the story was designed after stuff he likes, so yeah, "grimdark" describes his taste pretty well.

#8 Posted by Sploder (917 posts) -

I really like it. That's the sort of tone I like, so if you had written me something like that for my birthday I'd be really pleased.

#9 Posted by 19811111 (10 posts) -

it's a good idea.i think if you write a story for your friend,he/she will be very happy.

#10 Posted by Damodar (1331 posts) -

I liked it! You communicated the setting in such a way that it was both easy to visualise it all, but it also did a good job of feeling like a well realised and lived-in universe even in so few words.

If I had to give a criticism, I would say that you sometimes sacrifice the flow of your sentences and ideas for the sake of adding some flourish like a simile or some such piece of descriptive language that feels a little bit over-worked and forced. It's a bit of a personal preference, but I think a less-is-more approach can definitely improve writing sometimes, especially in a first person narrative like this. I think it's very easy when trying to make some prose more ornate to end up with something that kind of distracts the reader. It puts you in mind of somebody writing a story and wrangling with language when you should be absorbed in the story.

I don't want this post to seem too negative though, I found the story quite engrossing. Nice work!

#11 Posted by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

@damodar: Yes I think I have this problem in all of my writing. Thanks, I'll definitely think about that during the rewrite.

#12 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3189 posts) -

Just read your story duder, sent you a PM with a link to some more specific edits and thoughts. You want some thoughts? YOU GOT EM

1. Reads like a response to some ideas we've seen recently in Game of T etc: honor & servitude: why do we serve who we serve? What are the conditions that will break our oathes? This is a great topic and you manage to explore it very well in a really short space. A very positive remark I have about the story is that I was curious to learn more from the little bits of history you dropped.

2. There are some cliches that I think you can kill pretty easy. Often we write these just cuz. The words just happen. For example: "I was the best swordsman alive!" "living in the father's shadow" & and "the king's eternal youth" (not your words just calling your attention to the passages). I'm not saying *not* to have these. But you could communicate these in a more subtle way I believe.

3. The descriptions are very strong. Good "feeling" in the story, good pacing, very visual, which I think is among the most important characteristics of good writing.

4. Make some decisions about word style: 1) do you want to capitalize King like we do God? Sometimes you do, sometimes not. 2) I'd be wary of words like Teenager, Handiwork, Analyze, Minute, Attempted Murder -> some of these are just too modern sounding for your tale.

5. Where's the bad ass title? "The King's Shield" "The Condemned" "Oathbreaker: How To Traitor"

6. I feel the character being old could use just a dash more description. I can't tell quite how old.. I assumed 40s, 50s, since he said he trained lots of dudes but of course in medieval societies we rarely have old old dudes - but yeah. You don't need to be literal, but, yeah. A few more hints?

7. I get the feeling you want to establish an emotional link between Karesh and the "hero", and you do, a little, with the memory of the kneeling ceremony, but this is a possible space of expansion as well. However, I wonder, since the hero is a hostage, if he doesn't feel some hatred towards Karesh. Was he a hostage who fell in love with his new home (and maybe resented that feeling)? Or is Karesh a beautiful place to him? Or maybe it just makes him think of home?

8. The king defending himself against a dude who spent his life training other dudes to kill.... I would protect this position a little stronger. Maybe the hero was already old when he faced the king? Maybe there is an implication the king was an incredible adept learner?

9. bada boom bada bing

#13 Posted by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

@geraltitude: Thanks a ton dude. Those edits were super helpful, and I agree with pretty much all of them. Exactly what I was looking for.

#14 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3189 posts) -