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When my eyes start going wonky and I can't see well enough to paint, I like to indulge this ludicrous notion that I can write. I use a dark gray background with slightly less dark gray text magnified somewhere between 230% and 290%. This doesn't strain my eyes too much so long as I take frequent breaks and keep some ice cubes or cold water handy. I would rather not spend all day lying in bed like a speed bump while so much potentially useful time goes zipping past at the speed of life. I'm already 33yo. This shitshow is probably about half over and I don't want to waste the time I have left.

I love writing but the truth is, I'm not great at it. I think I could maybe, perhaps, perchance, possibly, probably have been good at it if I'd put my 10K hours into that instead of art. But I didn't and here we are. However, with my eyes wonking out on me every other day, I feel I have an opportunity to put some hours towards not sucking at writing.

During this latest attack, I decided to pick up an old writing project I started some time ago. It was AWFUL! I was so embarrassed about how bad it was that I cringed myself into a singularity at one point. *shudders* It was prolix, meandering, and crammed full of prose so purple I couldn't read it without a blacklight. I'm pretty sure I briefly strayed into x-ray territory with a literal ENTIRE PAGE worth of description. I wonder if any other writers out there have ever been irradiated by their own purple prose. I mean, I could weaponize this shit and sell it to the military for fuck's sake. If we're ever visited by hostile aliens, just sit me in front of a laptop and I'll write at them. Hopefully, the resultant gamma ray burst doesn't incinerate the entire hemisphere.

I'M EVEN DOING IT RIGHT NOW! Probably 95% of the people who see this are going to "TL;DR" and fuck off because they don't want to get irradiated by my bullshit. I have this tendency to want to paint with words in the same way I paint with, well, paint and by that I mean ALL OF THE DETAILS. ALL OF THEM. EVERY SINGLE ONE. DDDEEETTTAAAIIILLLLLSSS. Details. By my reckoning, writing and painting have a surprising number of things in common but they also have a few differences that are vastly, enormously, giganto-fuckingly huge, among which is the way viewers absorb detail. In paintings, detail can be imbibed quickly and easily with minimal effort. In reading, the viewer has to FUCK. I'm doing it again! AAAHHHH.

Anyway, to the damn point (Jesus Christ, Bobbie Jean). I decided to try and fix my old project. I was enthusiastic at first but the longer I worked on it, the more I began to fear it was irreparable. Frustrated, I decided to start a new story. It was great! It hooks you immediately. Gets you asking questions. Makes you want to know what happens next. I didn't frontload all my description. Prose was descriptive yet minimalist. And I hit a wall because I couldn't stop thinking about my other project. I can't quite bring myself to let it go.

And I'm doing it AGAIN. Jesus. Alright, let me get to the damn cheese here before the remaining 5% of you decide to fuck off too, assuming you haven't already been purple prosed into nonexistence.

The only way I'm going to improve is if I receive input and critique from varying sources. Most of my friends and family think everything I do is goldplated perfection manifest. I can show them literal garbage and they will be like "oh my god you're so amazing and perfect! You're a goddess of creation!" That's great for the ego but it doesn't really help me improve. Everyone else I know either doesn't read, isn't interested in the kinds of things I write, or has no useful input beyond shit like "it's okay" or "not bad."

So, without further irradiation ado, here is that old story I tried to fix: Word docs: Temporary post

For those capable of wading through not very good writing and ultraviolet prose that may occasionally stray into x-ray territory, I'd appreciate some feedback. If you don't have the time or the inclination, I won't hold that against you. If you do somehow manage to get through some of it or, gods have mercy on your soul, all of it, I'd appreciate a little feedback. I suggest reading it on a tablet if you can. It's about 8K words.

Concerns I have:

-Premise is odd
-Main character is odd
-Hook isn't compelling enough
-Drags about the middle
-Ending isn't compelling enough
-Purple prose and overlong descriptions
-Not enough action
-Trying to un-frontload description may have created some confusing bits
-Sentences are occasionally a bit overlong

Things I am not concerned about:

-Anything that can be easily fixed by an editor (grammar, syntax, etc)
-Having my feelings hurt. I can take blunt honesty and in fact, I prefer that, but there's no call to be an arse either. A polite but honest approach is preferred.

Questions:

What is your overall impression? Good? Bad? Has potential? Light it on fire and never speak of it again?

What, if anything, did I do well?

What can I improve on?

Any other thoughts?
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:iconjonathonn4:
jonathonn4 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2017
Well, I just noticed this. I'll read it during one of my drier classes and see if my critiquing skills are up to par with a creator's dissonance for the idea of the creation and it's actuality. 
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, though, just FYI, I will be incorporating other people's critiques so it may change a bit between now and whenever you get to it.
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:iconanotalenthack:
anotalenthack Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2017
The difference between thinking like an artist and thinking like a writer is that as a writer you have to spend more effort deciding what to leave up to the reader's imagination.

Before the movies came out, how many different versions of Frodo Baggins existed in the minds of every dingbat who ever read the books? (Hint: at least as many as there were different cover artists)
If that bothers you, then you're not a writer; you're a desinger, an artist, and even a storyteller, but not a writer.
If you WANT to be more of a writer, then be prepared to leave minimalist descriptions and hope for the best. Improving your powers of descriptions is one of the tougher parts of writing. The best I can say is to recommend the old adage: "A wise person talks less and says more." No, that doesn't really help. But like I said, this is one of the hard parts.

The there's revision. My favorite author once said that revision is the heart and soul of good writing: "re-read your work and pretend you're someone who doesn't like you." Was a quote that got me giggling. I wouldn't recommend doing exactly that, but the premise is sound.

As for your bullet points:

-Premise is odd.
Duh, it's fiction. It's SUPPOSED to be.

-Mian character is odd.
Define "odd/compelling". You have a magical school comprised of equal parts Harry Potter, M.C. Escher, and a Disney acid trip, and the chubby nerd with an overactive imagination is the "odd" one?
WTF woman?!

-Hook isn't compelling enough
See above.

-Drags in the middle.
That's a common problem in any story. I find that it's also one of the first and strongest components of writer's block. Having scenes written out and planned ahead of time helps some people overcome this; instead of thinking of how to bring a story along, you only have to think of how to properly match two scenes together.  There's no rote answer for this problem sadly. How you face and overcome it is what will define you as a writer.

-Ending isn't compelling enough.
WHAT ending?! You left with a cliffhanger. How do you even define "compelling"? Don't try to be "compelling". Just try to tell the story as you want it told. It will be compelling on its own.

-Purple prose and overlong descriptions.
See first paragraph

-Not enough action
You don't need Bruce Willis slamming through a window every other paragraph. "Action" is an overrated and obtuse concept. There wasn't much "action" in Gone with the Wind, Great Expectations, or the Catcher in the Rye, (unless getting shot down by the opposite sex counts as action-- in my experience, it doesn't) but look how many people still sing their praises.

Don't worry about keeping things active; worry about telling a story. Worry about having a story TO tell.

-Trying to un-frontload description may have created some confusing bits.
That's called Composition, and it's a tricky thing. Fortunately, good revision can fix this one. Read and re-read your own work often. Put yourself in the reader's shoes; does what you're saying make sense?
Many good books have had entire concepts and plot hooks go unnoticed because the author never bothered to really describe them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that needs to be carefully monitored.
And the rare instance where a reader "gets it" without any exposition will really tickle you pink. Just make sure it's not TOO rare an occurrence.

-Sentences are occasionally a bit overlong.
Ugh, EVERYONE struggles with this one early one. This and an excessive use of commas. Only practice and revisions can fix this one. That and a LOT of reading. Good news is, this one is just a matter of practice and application.

Good grief, woman, grow some confidence! No one in their right mind would think your work is so bad it should be burnt and forgotten. Are YOU in your right mind?
Even the work we're not proud of has merit, if only because it was a stepping stone on our way. Be proud of your failures-- they can teach you well. That said, pretty much EVERY author has some older pieces that could easily be used as blackmail material against them--not for a lack of merit, but because the author fears them.
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Haha. XD You can be brutal sometimes but you make some good, solid points. I appreciate the feedback. I'll try to keep some of these in mind as I move forward.
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:iconrunewuff:
runewuff Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
OK! Thought it over!

First reaction - this should be good because you ALREADY know how to write. These journals. Those conversations with Satan. Describing your descriptions as prose so purple it's an X-Ray weapon. You could be the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy of Fantasy Novels, easy! You need more of that and less of... whatever this is, in your story.

Returning to an old story. My advice is: DON'T work directly with the source material! Imagine one of your arts from 10 or 20 years ago, going to touch-up that. Writing can lure you in to the reworking trap as it's a digital medium, as in, the information is in bits instead of splashes of color, so it seems like, if you just tweak this or that... but in reality, it might just be plain bad. I recently took-up a 10-year old story idea - how many words of the original did I incorporate into the new version - NONE! I even changed the main char's name into something easier to pronounce (by English speakers.) How many IDEAS and SCENES did I keep? - All of em! What you remember about the old story is memorable, what you forgot was forgettable. Tell us what about THIS story is cool, in your own words, using your new and improved writing skills. Make THAT the new version.

...what do you mean the hook's not compelling? Are you freaking kidding me??
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Heh. Thanks for the thoughts. :) I do appreciate it.
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:iconxxmossfacexx:
xxMossfacexx Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I AM ON IT I WILL DO THIS THING! I love reading your stuff personally lol. Perhaps I will be biased because your world interests me so greatly. BUT WHO KNOWS? 

I suffer with a lot of the same feelings when I right like "WOW DID I JUST SPEND AN HOUR DESCRIBING THIS PLATE?" or "Does anyone even have a reason to care about her stupid father?" or things like "Well I really enjoy this character but that's because I made it, what reason does anyone else have for giving a single fuck?" XD I only have a few stories i very much enjoyed and even now, going back over them... I still cringe a little bit. Finding phrases that aren't so clear or have no impact or paragraphs that seem purely comprised of goddamn how white a thing is or some shit. Lol. I do think I have improved a lot though, I spend most of my free time punishing myself over writing and it seems to work out. I am proud to say everything I have ever written creatively for classes at least (or in free time too), regardless of what level, gets an A++++++ and my teachers and peers just gush about it so I have that going for me. CONFIDENCE +1! But just 1. XD 

A few things I have learned are one, that it's almost never as bad as you think it is. Two, peer review is good not just for fixing things but for confidence. Three, that going back over a thing you haven't finished in order to change details will DESTROY YOU from the inside out... And four, that stopping when you begin to get upset about something is 100% necessary. If a story is really frustrating you, just save, close, and move on to something else instead. Writing about something you are currently upset with will make it completely unsavory later on. 
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
You make some excellent points. :) Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it it.

I always find myself having to rein back those descriptions. It's like a reflex. X3 MUST DESCRIBE ALL THE THINGS.
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:iconxxmossfacexx:
xxMossfacexx Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are most welcome. :D

I have to fight the same reflex and sometimes it really just drives me up the wall haha. I have deleted or re-written entire stories because I get so lost in details that I also lose the feeling of what I was trying to write. 
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:iconshen-fn-woo:
Shen-fn-Woo Featured By Owner Edited Jan 27, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Well, I'm interested in seeing what you got for us.  I'll give it a read at and tell you what I think.

But seriously, stop thinking you're over doing things with the details so far.  I've read your journal (fucked off around 8/10ths of it because I was pretty sure I knew where it was going, not because I was offput by it), and really, I don't get any sense of overexplanation.  You want to know something that pissed me off with over explanation of needless details that were completely unnecessary?  Switching from watching Re: Zero to READING IT.  It's a complete fucking disaster of meaningless characterization.  While on one hand it seems completely necessary because it's supposed to make you feel endeared towards the characters, on the other hand, it's moe indulgent bullshit that serves as nothing more than a distraction away from the main story, and if I were to trim like 70% of the shit, I would STILL be intrigued with what's going on in it's world.  I'm just so fucking sick about reading about the minor details that the writer in that series tends to focus on, mainly because he keeps drawing attention to the same fucking areas all the fucking time:

"She put a single finger to her lips in complete bewilderment"
"Her lips curled in frustration"
"Carressing her lips with her fingers, her face then perked up"
"Pushing her lips together with her finger"
"Her lips became blue with...."
"her lips"
"....with her lips"
"...off her lips"
"On her lips"
"She pulled her lips off and set them on fire because that's how fucking tired I am of hearing about her lips in less than 3 fucking paragraphs"

...One more FUCK for the road.  XD

Trust me, Re Zero made best anime of 2016, and for a damned good reason, but reading the web novel is a horrible FN chore.  One that I doubt you come anywhere close to mimicking.

Relax, and hit me with your arsenal.  I doubt you leave a scratch =P
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
>Switching from watching Re: Zero to READING IT.  It's a complete fucking disaster of meaningless characterization.

OMG I KNOW RIGHT!? I thought that was just me. XD But that's exactly what I'm afraid of in my own writing. I want to avoid THAT like the plague.

>Relax, and hit me with your arsenal.  I doubt you leave a scratch

Haha, yeah, we'll see about that. ;) Link is in the description. I fully expect most people will have fucked off 1/4 of the way through, if they even make it that far. X3
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:iconshen-fn-woo:
Shen-fn-Woo Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Can't believe I missed that.  Gotta learn to slow down.

Read a few paragraphs, and you come off nowhere near like Re Zero.  The only thing that could possibly come off as a problem is the use of in-world terms, and honestly, there's no way around that (I have the exact same problem).  The audience just has to get used to it, and learn to immediately identify them.

I can't read it all right now (work looming), but I'm off tomorow.  Will give you a full impressions list when I'm finished.
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
>is the use of in-world terms,

Yeah. :\ That's a tricky one. You can frontload it and overwhelm your reader or try to subtly weave it into the narrative and hope they're able to get it. If I don't end up lighting it on fire, that's something I might have to finagle.

>I can't read it all right now (work looming), but I'm off tomorow.  Will give you a full impressions list when I'm finished.

No prob. No rush. I appreciate any feedback you can give.
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:iconban-sidhe:
Ban-Sidhe Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmmmmmm
I do editing for, and brainstorming with, a few fellow authors. I would love to have a look but the timing sucks (traveling back and forth to visit my mom, who is loosing her battle). If you don't need it right away, I will pin the link and have a look when I have a free moment to breathe. Your third paragraph had me rolling BTW - I'd LOVE to share it with my writing group. They would appreciate it!
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
:) It is not imperative at all and I greatly appreciate the offer. I'd say maybe, if/when you can, give it a once over and if it isn't catastrophically horrendously, Jesus holy Christingly please burn your computer and never touch another word processing program again-ingly bad, then feel free to share it with your writing group. ^___^;
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:iconban-sidhe:
Ban-Sidhe Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Good 'cause I would like to read it. I am finally back home (mom passed) but I have some stuff to catch up on. I am making myself a To-Do list (I have a love/hate relationship with them) and you are on it!
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Whoops! I took it down forgetting there might still be people reading it and now, it's so heavily under construction it's basically unreadable. I do, however, have something that is much shorter and, IMO, much better a read, though, it is also heavily under construction. It is also completely off the wall ridiculous. XD
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:iconban-sidhe:
Ban-Sidhe Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Darn - well then, I'll just have to read the shorter one ;) Do you have a link?
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:iconbjpentecost:
BJPentecost Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
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