August Noticeboard

August 31, 2009

My apologies for my sudden absence from the writing world. I’ve been suddenly overcome by exams and assignments, so I’ve been hard at study.

Poseidon’s Trident:
Current Chapter in First Draft (Typed) Stage:
11/42
Current Chapter in Edit Stage: None

Daniel Fox:
Current Story in Rough Draft Stage:
To Kill A Killer
Current Story in Edit Stage: None

Goals for August:

  • Write the equivalent of 100 words/day, aka 3100 words – Most certainly not.
  • Keep editing TF – No
  • Keep working on TKAK – No

Goals for September:

  • Try to write at least every second day
  • Edit TF

August was a terrible month for writing. I’m still trying to get back into the groove of writing, and should be blogging(/tweeting) regularly again soon.

That’s all from me.


The Outsider

August 16, 2009

In my opinion, most novels (and films) needs an Outsider. When I say Outsider, I mean a character who is an outsider to the world the adventure takes place in. For example, Harry Potter is an Outsider to the Wizarding world, and Elizabeth Swann (Pirates  of the Caribbean) is a Outsider in the pirate world.

Why are Outsiders important? Because the reader is an Outsider as well. The reader doesn’t know all the things in the world they’re visiting. The reader doesn’t know what certain things, what certain terms are. Except, the reader can’t ask. They can’t ask the other character in the book what  things means, what things are. That’s where the Outsider comes in. The Outsider is the representative for the reader inside the story. The Outsider character has the ability to ask the other characters what things are, what the terms mean.

Take Harry Potter for example. Harry doesn’t know much about the Wizarding world, other than what he’s been told. As readers, we don’t know a lot about the world either. Harry has the power to ask the other character all the things he doesn’t know about magic, which is what we don’t know either.
Another example is Bella Swan from Twilight. She doesn’t know about Vampires. The nomads. We, the readers don’t either.

You might be thinking that Outsiders are only needed in books that don’t take place here, on Earth. I disagree. There can be many different world here, on Earth. The world of law, the world of hospitals. There must be many more. These worlds are all on Earth, but they’re different. And if you’re not a lawyer, or a doctor, you don’t belong to the world, and you don’t know all the rules and terminology, then you’re an Outsider.

The book I’m reading at the moment is called ‘Plea of Insanity’, by Jilliane Hoffman. It takes place in the world of law. All the characters are lawyers. The problem I have with this book, is that there isn’t any Outsiders. No one to ask about terms, or procedures. Which means that the only way for the author to bring readers into her world, is by putting in long paragraphs, which explains what the terms/procedures mean, and are for. I don’t like that, because it takes me from the story.

So, Outsiders are very important to the stories we write. And if we don’t include those characters into our work, then the character feels left out, unincluded, and may eventually stop reading. Do you have an Outsider?

PS. It’s not to late to Guest Blog. Click here for details!


Guest Bloggers Wanted

August 11, 2009

How would you like to do guest posts right here on this blog?
I thought it would be fun to have some posts, maybe once or twice a month, written by some guest bloggers (ie you). Your post could be about anything to do with writing or books. Maybe some tricks to the trade, a book review, or maybe a writing prompt/activity you like. Anything.

If your interested, email me: littlescribbler(at)hotmail(dot)com, with your name and a bit about yourself, and of course, your guest post. Please send the post in the email, no attachments please. Send in as many as you like, the more the merrier! Ask any questions in the comment section.


Critique Feedback

August 4, 2009

If you didn’t already know, Beth down at Writing It Out recently hosted a critique session, and I was lucky enough to have been critiqued.

I learnt several things from the comments. The bad news is that the readers weren’t hooked (crap!), but the good(ish) news is, their complaints were all the same, and they’re all pretty simple.

Things Done Well:

  • The beginning. They loved it. I don’t think there was a single person who didn’t comment on the earthquake.
  • Writing style

Things To Improve:

  • Mentioning the time and the Richter Scale. Seemed to modern.
  • To many details in the opening.
  • Atlas, the MC, doesn’t seem 3D

There were other things, but they were the main ones. And it’s a shame, because I really like the opening I already had, but, I have to do what needs to be done.

Other Things To Change:

  • Change ‘Domesticated Animals’ to ‘Farm Animals’
  • Introduce Atlas earlier. Perhaps with roof falling on him.
  • Remove repetition in one paragraph. I used same term a couple of times.
  • Play around with the opening, two people commented I should start a bit later in the tale.
  • Combine the first two paragraphs by cutting down on the details.

So, as you can see, there is a bit to do. I think some of the confusion came from me excluding the time, date and location that appears in the top corner.
And so, after all the fixing up, I came up with three possible openings. I still think the original is the best, but no one seems to agree.  I’ve posted the three possible openings below, to where they ended on the original. Feel free to have a look at them if you like, and if you do, let me know what you think.

Possible Opening #1:
June 12, 1420BC
Island in the Mediterranean Sea

The earthquake hit a few minutes past midnight. It was one of a kind – so powerful, nothing of the same force had ever been felt on the earth. However, the majority of the catastrophic force sent by the quake was absorbed by a single, oblong island, positioned in the Mediterranean Sea.
The effect was immediate on the island. In the islands sole city, flimsy timber houses were flattened instantly, the occupants either killed or running from the rubble screaming in terror, many falling due to the violence of the shaking earth. Wooden walls toppled over, and farm animals – pigs, goats and horses – scurried off away from the city, seeking non existent shelter. Entire forests were unearthed, and large faults opened up, displacing large amounts of rocks and dirt.
Then, it was all over.
Only one resident of the city was awake at the time of the quake. Atlas, one of the islands greatest warriors, had been sitting on the sandy beach at the time of the earthquake, musing at his failed attack on Athens. When the brutal rumble had ceased, Atlas picked himself up off the sand. Almost immediately, he knew something was wrong. Water lapped at his toes, and he frowned. The water was eating the beach. Then he heard the screams.
Atlas raced back towards the city, and his home. Arriving at what was left of his house, he let out a horrified roar of emotional pain. Tears swelled in his eyes, as he desperately dug at the rubble. He found a hand, who he identified to be his wife’s, and he pulled at it, but it was no use. She was dead. Tears poured freely, and he tried to find his teenage son. Atlas dug desperately for a few minutes, when through the silence of the night, he heard sobbing. A faint glimmer of hope surged, and he dug furiously. He found a foot belonging to his son, and he dug around it, uncovering his son, miraculously alive.
“Minos!” Atlas shouted in happiness, grabbing his son, and holding him tight. “Are you injured?”
“No, father.” Minos sobbed.
In the distance, Atlas could hear a crowd wailing in distress.
“Come, Minos. We must join the others. We must make sure we save who we can.”
“What of mother?” Minos asked.
“She is… I was too late.”
Atlas walked in silence with his shocked son, quickly arriving in what was left of the city centre. Of the original 10 000 inhabitants of the city, fewer than 300 were left alive. When he arrived, the crowd gathered around him, begging him to take charge and help. Standing on a pile of rubble, he bellowed:
“People of this city! The Gods have sent a curse to us, for failing the capture of Athens. Our King and Queen are dead, and our houses destroyed. Many of us have been killed, and I have seen the curse from Poseidon!”

Possible Opening #2:
June 12, 1420BC
Island in the Mediterranean Sea

Atlas was jolted awake by a violent shuddering of his wooden house,  and the screams of terror from his wife. Around him, the walls shook brutally, and sections of the roof were falling in. Looking outside the window, Atlas noticed the trees being unearthed, as if by an invisible giant shaking them out of the ground. A terrible creaking sound was heard, and Atlas looked up at the roof, the source of the noise. It gave once last creak, and fell in on the hut.
Adrenaline pumping, Atlas rolled off the small hay bed, and onto the floor. His wife shrieked, and attempted to move out of the way, but to no prevail. The heavy timber ceiling slammed down on her distraught body, crushing her instantly.
Then it was over.
Atlas swallowed, terror and grief welling up inside him. Suddenly, the wall behind him groaned, and fell in. It crushed down on Atlas’s tall and muscular body, slamming him to the ground.
Head throbbing from a wooden plank to the head, Atlas heaved the wall off of him. His once golden beard was stained red by a cut. A  similar cut sat on his forehead. As he sat amidst the rubble, he heard a tiny sob. Immediately, his ears pricked up. “Minos! Minos, where are you?” He called.
“Father! Father!” His teenage son called out. A faint glimmer of hope surged, and he dug furiously through the ruins. He found a foot belonging to his son, and he dug around it, uncovering his son, miraculously alive.
“Minos!” Atlas shouted in happiness, grabbing his son, and holding him tight. “Are you injured?”
“No, father.” Minos sobbed.
In the distance, Atlas could hear a crowd wailing in distress.
“Come, Minos. We must join the others. We must make sure we save who we can.”
“What of mother?” Minos asked.
“She is… I was too late.”
Atlas left the wreckage, his son trailing silently behind him. He glanced at the beach, which was nearby, and gasped. He sprinted towards the ocean, stopping at the beginning of the sand. Water licked his toes, where there should have been a large sandy beach.
Atlas stared at the sight, dumbfounded, when the wailing returned. The great warrior took one last look, and moved away, heading towards the wailing. He walked in silence with his shocked son, quickly arriving in what was left of the city centre. Of the original 10 000 inhabitants of the city, fewer than 300 were left alive. When he arrived, the crowd gathered around him, begging him to take charge and help. Standing on a pile of rubble, he bellowed:
“People of this city! The Gods have sent a curse to us, for failing the capture of Athens. Our King and Queen are dead, and our houses destroyed. Many of us have been killed, and I have seen the curse from Poseidon!”

Possible Opening #3:
June 12, 1420BC
Island in the Mediterranean Sea

Amidst the carnage and the stench of death of what was once a great and powerful city, the islands greatest warrior, Atlas walked in silence, dumbfounded at what he had witnessed inn the previous five minutes. He headed towards what was once the city centre, his teenage son, Minos, trailing silently behind.
Emerging at the centre, he was met by his close friend, Brisan, who was closely followed by a large crowd of wailing citizens, all mourning the loss of their houses and loved ones.
“Atlas!” Brisan said. “You must take charge. The people, they need a leader.”
“Aye,” Atlas replied. “I have scouted the area, and I have bad news.” Atlas stood up upon a large pile of rubble, with the few survivors, less than 300 of the original 10 000 occupants, crowding around him.
“People of this city! The Gods have sent a curse to us, for failing the capture of Athens. Our King and Queen are dead, and our houses destroyed. Many of us have been killed, and I have seen the curse from Poseidon!”