[mummydove] Mentoring Thread

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[mummydove] Mentoring Thread

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Ylanne on Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:32 pm

This thread is being posted to facilitate mentoring for mummydove at the user's request.

Mummydove, why don't we start with a sample of your recent writing so we can discuss the areas that you'd like to improve on in respect to an existing excerpt?

I'll post my response once you've posted an excerpt. If you don't have a recent excerpt of roleplay writing, you can share an excerpt of any fiction writing you've already done outside of roleplaying. If you have neither that you are willing to share, then please write a short fiction piece between 300 and 500 words in length.

Thanks!
​“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
― Arundhati Roy

Stunning letter from autistic survivor of electric shock torture in USA

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Ylanne
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Re: [mummydove] Mentoring Thread

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby mummydove on Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:37 pm

Jasper jumped in surprise when a nurse came outside and tapped him on the shoulder. His turned around to face her. "Yes?" he questioned a bit confused. 'Mael isn't hurt, why would a nurse be here?' he pondered.

"We need to check the wounds on your neck. Come on so we can change the bandages and everything, hope you weren't scratching," she told him sternly. Jasper looked away. His gaze landed on Mael.

"I have to go for a while, but I should be back sooner or later. Just please behave and wait for me here. If you want to go back to your room, just tell the guards. Be safe," he informed Mael. Jasper then left, he followed right behind the nurse. He locked the door behind him. 'Hopefully this doesn't take long,' he mused.


Nara was lying lazily on the web she made. The web was high in the air between two tall trees. She stayed hidden under thickly leafed branches. A few rays of sunlight were able to hit her snow pale and smooth skin. Nara was staying hidden from any potential prey. Nara only had one decent meal today out of the weeks she had been stuck here. It was some yummy raw fish. Her taste buds explode when she taken the first bite. Now her stomach growled at the thought of it. She needed more food before she was just skin and bones. Her muscular tone had already faded. Including, her slender form was starting to look unhealthy.

She was disturbed from resting when she heard the door open and close a few times. She opened her eyes slowly. Nara then rolled onto her stomach. She looked towards the door. Her eyes widen in surprise. The humans were able to catch the Black Widow Prince. That was going to cause some trouble in the future. Nara sat up slowly and carefully climbed down the tree. She wasn't use to trees much. Nara usually made her webs on water. Or she would just make her web between both water and low hanging branches and or trees.

Once her feet touched the ground, she walked over to the Prince, Mael. Her bright green eyes observed him carefully. She towered over him by an inch or two. Nara gave him a flash of her sharp pearly fangs.

"Well hello. How did they end up catching you? I swore your sister had you under lock and key," she said sarcastically. Nara glanced back at her web then at the bars that kept this area caged in. The squares the bars made would only allow a rabbit to fit through at most. She ran her slender fingers through her thick and dark chocolate curly locks of hair. Her hair reached down to her waist. Her gaze wandered back to the Prince when she remembered she asked him a question.

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Re: [mummydove] Mentoring Thread

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Ylanne on Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:27 pm

All right, you mentioned in your message that you were interested in grammar and improving description in your posts, if I remember right. In the first part of this, you did a great job with discussing actions, movements, and gestures of the characters, but you could add significantly more description of the location and environment. A good way to do this is to consider the five senses, and try to incorporate as many of them as possible into the description while avoiding walls of text describing the place. For example, is anything humming, buzzing, whirring, scraping, creaking, bubbling, or beeping in the background? Are there any scents or fragrances, either pleasant, unpleasant, or natural? What is the temperature like? Is the air humid or dry? And of course, the old standby -- what does the area look like, including the larger area as well as the specific location where the characters are? This is a hospital or some other medical facility or infirmary, so there ought to be a LOT of sensory detail to draw from this environment, which can give the characters are much richer environment. Pull these details, and sprinkle them throughout the segment; don't feel the need to glob them together in one paragraph alone.

About the second part, below the dividing line -- you had no way of knowing this, but I am extremely arachnophobic, and have a very hard time reading through that segment, never mind offering a decent critique. It should be that the same guidance I can offer in regard to the first segment and to any future segments could also be used to revisit this part.

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Re: [mummydove] Mentoring Thread

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby mummydove on Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:10 pm

(This is the best I could do with the 500 word limit. I hope this is okay ^-^)

At this moment, the Princess was thrashing around and screaming in her sleep. She was having another nightmare. Zara slumber had been tainted with nightmares as it drew closer to her eighteen brithday. Her body was slick with sweat. Zara let out another scream. This was when Jasper brusted into the room. He sighed softly. Jasper didn't like that the Princess was suffering from nightmares she couldn't remember. He walked up to her bed and sat at the edge of it.

He gripped her shoulders and began to shake her. "Zara! Wake up! It's just a nightmare!" he yelled. Jasper waking her up in the middle of the night was starting to become a ritual. Zara eyes flew open. She gasped for air. She whimpered until she realized Jasper was gripping onto her shoulders. His large, rough, and warm hands gave her a sense of security. He was her guard. She slowly began to relax, but she couldn't control the furious shaking of her body.

Jasper brows furrowed together in concern. Her skin was like hot coals. "Zara. I am going to get Zoe," he told in a reassuring tone. The fire's light from the torches in the hall decorated the room with wide stripes. The light shone on Zara's face. He could see pure fear in her piercing midnight blue eyes. Zara nodded slowly. She watched him leave in a hurry. She slowly sat up. Her slender fingers gripped the silk sheets while she continued to shake. Zara listened to Jasper's hard steps while he ran down the hall. One of her hands released the sheets and slowly went to her throat. She swallowed hard. Someone was choking her, they were trying to kill her before something awful happened. That was all. Zara remembered some of her dream. The rest was just a blank. Zara still had the sensation someone had their hands gripped around her throat. Zara then fainted. The stress of the nightmare was just too much for her tonight.

Honey, mint, and cinnamon. Those were the smells that evaded Zara's straight nose. I must be in the infirmity. That was the only thought Zara's mind was able to form. Her eyes fluttered opened. She looked around. The room was so bright. How could that be? The castle was only allowed to be lit by fireplaces, candles, and or torches. Zara looked around the room before her eyes widen. The curtains had been pulled away from the windows. Actually sunlight had fill the room. The view wasn't great. Only thing Zara could see was a stone wall. This still shocked her though. She was still taken aback. Zara jumped slightly when she heard the door open. She turned her head quickly away from the window to look at the door. Zoe had entered. Zoe was the castle's doctor. Zoe dipped a cloth in a bucket of icy cold water. She wiped Zara's face. Zara's cheeks were a fiery red. The red was a contrast from Zara's ivory skin.

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Re: [mummydove] Mentoring Thread

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Ylanne on Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:30 pm

Hi mummydove,

I was unfortunately swamped with several things this week and an obscenely uncontrollable schedule, but I'm here with a critique of this new piece. Please feel free to shoot me an email at ohnoitsdark (at) gmail.com if you're ever wondering where I went.

Here are some things I noticed about your piece --

1.) There are a few cliches in here that you may wish to consider revising or omitting. For example, the phrase "piercing midnight blue eyes" is a great example of cliched purple prose commonly used to refer to a character's eyes; it might be better to simply say "blue eyes." Other places where the phrases are cliched include "fiery red" and "starting to become a ritual." In other words, avoid cliches... like the plague. (Yes, that was an ironic joke.) Instead, in your descriptions, try to focus on the specific sensory aspects of the characters or the place rather than attempting to pin-hole them with overused phrases or shallow impressionistic adjectives. For example, "a dark red," or "a brick red," or "fire-engine red" are more specific and refer to specific colors. Fiery red, on the other hand, isn't particularly descriptive, and could mean anything.

2.) There are several places where you are writing about certain complex feelings or emotional or cognitive reactions of the characters where the writing comes across as stiff and over-expository -- that is, over-explaining information to the reader. You could improve upon this by describing specific physical actions, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc. rather than trying to explain a character's feelings. For example, you write, "His large, rough, and warm hands gave her a sense of security. He was her guard." It might be more effective and powerful to say that she was used to his presence, or to refer to his hands as "familiar," rather than to directly say "gave her a sense of security" and then explain with "he was her guard." Using the actual physical actions and reactions of the characters is an excellent way to do exposition without over-explaining to the reader. When you overexplain like so, the reader can feel as though he, she, or xe is being talked down to or babied through the story. When you present the characters and the setting without attempting to over-explain or narrate the emotions, the reader will feel as though he, she, or xe is being treated as an intelligent peer or companion to the writer by learning and observing about the characters and scenes along with the writer.

3.) When you are describing dialogue, it is good to avoid overly descriptive speech-verbs because they can become distracting and awkward in the narrative. You mention in the second paragraph that Jasper "yelled." While this is obviously true, the use of the verb yelled in this specific sentence reads awkwardly in the cadence. It is best to stick to the simple "said," "asked," "responded," and "replied" for the majority of speech-verbs, and only saving the more colorful ones (such as "pleaded," "begged," "shouted," "yelled," "screamed," "exclaimed," "declared," "threatened," etc.) for very specific occasions where the word adds significantly to the sentence. In most cases, these more descriptive verbs are unnecessary, and descriptions of the tone of voice or manner of speaking following the more simple verb suffice and can even be very effective. (ex. "He spoke to her in a soft tone, his voice almost murmuring" as opposed to "he murmured.") Moreover, using the more descriptive words sparingly increases their effectiveness when they are, in fact, necessary.

4.) On the other hand, I appreciated some of your sensory descriptions, particularly in the last paragraph when you were describing the smells and the lighting arrangement. I also thought you did a good job with describing the physical layout of the space, and painting a good visual imagery for the reader, though I would encourage you to draw on that more and really stretch that for an even richer description.

Can you repost a revision of this sometime in the next week or two?

Thanks!

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Re: [mummydove] Mentoring Thread

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby mummydove on Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:13 pm

Hey Ylanne,
Ah okay, I see. I can understand. I will shoot you an email if I am left wondering again lol. I though you abandoned me for a second.

I hope I improved it in someway, here is the rewrite:

The Princess violently moved and shrieked in her sleep. This has happened more often as it neared her birthday. She would turn eighteen soon. Her body was slick with sweat. Though, the room was cool from the winter air outside. Another shriek had just escaped her lips when Jasper, her guard, pushed the doors opened. His attentive eyes quickly went to the Princess. A sigh escaped his lips. Jasper walked towards the bed and sat on the edge. His green eyes looked down at her. He grabbed her shoulders and shook her. "Zara! Wake up, it is just another nightmare. It isn't real," he told her urgently. He had to do this every night now a days. Zara eyes flew open. She gasped and panted for air. Her heart thumped against her chest rapidly. A whimper left her lips. Then she realized Jasper had a grip on her. Her heart rate slowed and she now began to breathe more easily. His present was familiar and it calmed her. She would have been completely relaxed by him, but she couldn't control her body's furious shaking.

Jasper brows furrowed in concern. He placed his hand on her forehead. Her skin felt like burning coals. "Zara, I am going to get Zoe," he said gently. His tone was calm and reassuring. The light from the torches in the hall lit her room. Some of the light shone on Zara's face. Jasper saw fear in her violet eyes. Zara just nodded slowly. She seemed disconnected. Zara watched him run off. When her shaking began to calm, she cautiously sat up. Her slender fingers gripped the silk sheets. She listened to Jasper's hard steps as he ran down the hell. The sound of his steps disappeared after a minute or so.

Suddenly, a memory flashed across her mind. One of her hands released the sheets and quickly went to her throat. She swallowed, it felt as if she swallowed a rock. Zara had remembered a part of tonight's nightmare. Someone had been trying to choke her. She felt as if they needed to kill her before something awful happened. After that, everything else was a blank. Though, she still had the sensation someone was gripping her throat. She began to shake furiously again. A second later, she fainted. The memory of the nightmare was too stressful for her.

Honey, mint, and cinnamon. Those were the smells that evaded Zara's straight nose. She knew she was in the infirmity. Her eyes fluttered open. The room was so bright. How could it be this bright? The king only allowed torches, candles, and fireplaces to light the castle. She held herself up by her elbows. She looked around the room. She stared at the window. Zara's eyes widen. Did Zoe want to get executed? The charcoal curtains were pulled away from the large windows. Sunlight. Sunlight was filling the room. The view wasn't great. Only thing she could see was a stone wall. Though, she was still stunned. She jumped when she heard the wooden doors crack open. Her head turn quickly to see who entered the room. It was Zoe. She snapped the lock on the door shut. Zoe then confidently walked towards Zara with a mischievous grin.

Zoe took a cloth and dipped it into a bucket. The bucket was filled with icy water. Zoe wrung the cloth before wiping Zara's face with it. Zara's cheeks were blood red. The red was a contrast from her ivory skin. The wet cloth was a relief to her skin. It finally hit Zara, she didn't feel well at all. Her eyes wondered back to the window. Zara would have walked up to the window, but she felt drained of energy. Zara eyes wandered down to the marble floor. The floor sparkled where the sun hit it. Zara looked at the row of empty cots. No wonder Zoe had been bold enough to have sunlight fill the room.

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