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  1. #1
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    Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it here!

    I am a creative writing major in my second year at university and am looking to improve my writing/critiquing skills. I've found that one of the best ways to improve yourself as a writer is to examine others' works and learn from them, both good and bad. So that's why I'm creating this thread; I want to offer the knowledge that I have learned as a writer to you guys, and, in return, I want to read and examine your works and hopefully learn from them.

    Before I get into this, though, please know a few things:
    1. I am NOT an expert. I have spent a couple years learning and participating in workshops geared towards advancing my skill as a writer, but I am not perfect. I will give you my educated opinion on your pieces, but I obviously am not always going to be right; there are times when I'll be way off-base, probably. As it is with all art, writing is, at its roots, just a means of expression. If I tell you something is wrong, but you don't want to change it, DON'T. Chances are, you're not going to be submitting a piece like that to be published anyway.
    2. I'm going to be honest. I'll try my best not to be harsh, but don't EVER be offended by anything that I say; it will never be a personal attack on you. My only desire with this idea is to see both parties improve in the field.

    And that's it! Feel free to post your stuff here, and I'll critque it the best that I can.

  2. #2
    Japanologist Wilio's Avatar

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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    Wrote this 5 years ago or so

    A foot crushing the accelerator to the edge and the hands gripping firmly on the steering wheels, Bill felt a rush of adrenaline flowing into his veins. The sport car was travelling at a terrific speed in the arid desert of California. Disregarding the signs representing the speed limit, Bill James had one expression in mind, and that was the good old feeling of freedom. Recently left Las Vegas in his customized Porch, he was now escaping reality in what seems to be the infinite road of Highway 63. A taste of music invaded his thought, he turned on the radio. Tuning the radio with the tips of his fingers, he was searching for the perfect song, a song reflecting his particular moment of euphoria. The search ended at this hit of Pat Benatar, “hit me with your best shot”. Joyfully singing along with the song as if he knew the lyrics, a distracted light disturbed him. It was a police car’s emergency light.

    He knew he had to move aside. Bill had always respected the authority and this was no exception. Glaring at his left mirror, the middle-aged man waited with emphasis for the cop. Slowly, he could focus on the sound that the officer’s footsteps was emitting, pressing the red sand. At last, the police officer was noticeable. It was a stereotypical looking cop you would expect to see in deserted areas, cowboy hat, sun glasses and light brown uniform.

    “Nice day isn’t it officer?,” mumbled Bill hoping to keep a good relation.

    “The usual”, replied the officer, “Did you know that you were speeding Mister...”

    “James, call me James.”He took a breath of fresh and continued, “is this really a problem?”

    The police man glanced at Bill as if he was ignoring a fact.

    “No, of course not, I usually don’t, or should I say most of the time, don’t arrest individuals for speeding”

    “Then what is the problem,” asked Bill.

    The officer withdrew is glasses and suspired. He looked at James and pointed at that backseat, showing the evidence.

    “It’s your passenger Mr. James, she’s dead.”

    I won't take your critics seriously, but it will be fun to know what you have to say.

  3. #3
    Fanatic Enthusiast Vices's Avatar

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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    Old stuff
    [spoiler:1vzmks4k]
    Nothingness. All that was around me, I couldn't even see my hands, never mind the stars. I couldn't feel myself, my hair, my faded jacket, nothing. But one thing lurked near, a dawning feeling, like something was watching me in this perpetual dark, not something like the Bogeyman, something big, no, not just big. Titanic, as if some leviathan was rearing at me, its multi-eyed form piercing my being.
    My name is Michael. Michael Hall, for as long as I remember I've been in the depths of space. I've walked the chasms of Mars with my sister, scaled the craters of the moon and been relentlessly hunted across the Black Edge galaxy, the netherworld were everything that is nothing lurks, those creatures that haunt your dreams.
    In a more apt term. The Tommyknocker man is knocking at my door.

    I drifted there, a dull humming in the back my skull, gooseflesh raising itself on my arms, feeling was resurfacing. Light surfaced at a distance, red, it ran across me, detecting me, finding me.
    Knowing me.
    I saw this thing from a warped distance, like looking through the back end of a pair of binoculars. A dozen more domes of red wrapped themselves around the surface, revealing a riveted, skin like texture, the colour of olives, like some kind of fucked-up squid. It opened.
    Remember when I said I was hunted along the Dark Edge? It wasn't for no reason,during the first outing to the stars I remember, I was caught up in an attack by some strange, angry aliens.
    Turns out they were serious about finding me. I felt sensation creeping around me, chills up my spine, a near-bursting pressure behind my eyes, I shut them tight, tears were trapped, no way to escape in this decimating vacuum, my eyes felt swollen, as if air was being pushed into my tear ducts. I opened them, the lights were bigger, the front of the machine, creature, thing was opening, a mouth of around 5 or 6 tendrils revolved around. I closed my eyes.
    Again I opened them, they felt bloodshot, everything I could see, which was really only this monstrosity and a vague hint of my hands was tinted red. Each blink I felt my eyes getting heavier, this last time I closed them, I never opened again. In the same place.
    This started 5 years ago, in 2014, the first time Faster than Light Travel was found on Earth. Coincidently, it was also found on every other planet in the universe, at the exact same time.
    Anyway, during the fifth or sixth outing to Mars, I stowed away in a cargo ship. I left the ship without a helmet, anxiety and excitement were pulling me out the door, I stood in the midst of the Red Planet, helmet-less, breathing without a problem, aside from some vague faraway nausea.
    On Mars at the time, my sister, Miranda was stationed in a research facility, Catalyn, that's the main reason why I chose the Mars expedition as my first travel into the dark, knowing I had someone close to me, someone I knew, my only family.
    As usual, a calamity overtook, a hostile alien race attacked from the chasm, Lace Scar, they ascended from the icy depth, decimated the colony in minutes. My sister and I escaped. No-one else did.
    They have no identity, these prolicidal beasts, known as the Deities in some planets, revered on some, feared on others. Usually hailed as a bed-time tale to coax the kids to bed, they were widely considered a myth.
    They were real.
    Too real.
    And here we are, after points I care not to talk about, the death of my home being one.
    We turned our backs on Earth, left our friends, our families, our people to die at the hands of these creatures, the world descended to ash, now as the final strike will take place, their vanguard rises, more of them leading attacks. We need help. No, we need salvation.
    A voice erupted from the back of my skull. 'HALL/WE'VE FOUND YOU./'
    This was bad.
    Very. Very bad.
    Two things stood on top of me, a red rimmed portal directly behind them, high pitched webs of sound were wrapping themselves around me, they seemed to vibrate in the pit of my stomach, the acid in there burning, acid indigestion? Try having it boil and erupt upwards. The creatures warbled about me, their mechanical bodies heaving a hissing as they tried to decide whether to lift me or to kill me on the spot.
    [/spoiler:1vzmks4k]


  4. #4
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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilio
    I won't take your critics seriously, but it will be fun to know what you have to say.
    Fine by me. Anyway,

    The first word that came to my mind when I read this was "youth". Just guessing, I'd say you were pretty young when you wrote this. It seems to have a heavy focus on being correct in areas such as grammar and sentence structure, but that isn't really what you need to focus on as as aspiring writer (if you are one).

    Instead, start first with what you're writing. The story/subject matter that you've chosen is, for lack of any other way to say it, very, very cliched. The concept of any given man speeding down a highway in a fast car can be seen in any low-budget Hollywood B-movie, and that isn't at all what you want. Instead of exhausting your mind with the notion of created intricate and detailed compound or compound-complex sentences, focus on SHOCKING the reader with what you've come to say; bring something new to the table. Or, at the very least, bring something old in a new way. With this piece, you never really did either.

    A few other things I noticed that were pretty glaring were in the way that the small bit of narrative progressed and the dialogue; the narrative seemed forced, almost painfully so, and the dialogue somehow seemed to avoid any bit of naturality at all.

    Additionally, the images and scenery itself is very wordy. Not only are some subjects of the narrative very cliche, but some of the specific images are as well. As I said before, when you decide to use something like that, try to approach it in a new way. To give you a short, short example, I'll pull a line from your piece and try to rewrite it. Here's the one I'll use:

    "Tuning the radio with the tips of his fingers, he was searching for the perfect song, a song reflecting his particular moment of euphoria."

    When you write this, try to picture it actally HAPPENING, and then try to think of a creative way to express that image. Here's a 30-second blurb from my brain describing the same sequence of events:

    "With his fingers he fondled the frequencies of his radio until the soundwaves drew pitch-perfect with the music in his head."

    It portrays the exact same image, but in a more creative and interesting way.

    ANNNDDDD.... I think that's enough for now. Let me know if you have more question or if I didn't explain something well enough. Hope it helps, if you decide to take it seriously.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Maestro's Avatar
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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    The cruel and devastatingly hot afternoon sun of the azizia desert penetrated the earth’s atmosphere with ease, striking upon the sand and turning the air into pools of water to tempt the man with. The blow of the heat was also felt by the man, who angered at it for it’s ability to evoke the water from his body and dissipate it into the air, like a master thief snitching a wallet from an oblivious tourist’s pocket. His plane lay crashed behind him, in a sand dune and out of his vision. That crime could also be claimed by the sun, it’s high temperatures caused the engines to overheat, and they failed. Luckily the man ejected in the nick of time, and parachuted down to safety.
    Of course, it wasn’t really safety. The man knew he only had the slimmest of slim chances of survival, but he also knew that people had done it before, and thus could be done by him. He trudged on, his shirt ripped in half and tied to his bare feet to protect them against the blistering heat of the sand. But he was relentless. If he could just make it to Tripoli, he would be saved. And so he walked, clambering up a dune, and sliding back down the other side. In this way he made his way towards his salvation, following his compass to the north. The sweat trickled down his brow and cascaded off his chin. He gazed hatefully at the pools of fake water floating just beyond his reach, and rubbed his sun burnt back.
    And then he saw it. As he crested the sixty-seventh dune, (he’d been counting), he caught a glimpse of Tripoli, a shimmering haze in the distance.

    not nearly finished, and not one of my better ones either....
    I walk with a limp like an oldschool pimp.

  6. #6
    Devoted Veteran Crono's Avatar


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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    Saw a sweet young girl who looked quite feeble.
    Seemed timid -- had a constant fear of people
    'cause when she gets home her drunk man's gonna beat 'er.

    Black eye, busted lip, poor girl's lookin' like shit
    after he had a chat with Jack Daniels, one hit
    to her face and all those harsh words he tends to spit.

    Man, this girl needs a man who ain't a little rascal
    'cause she can't take no more, she's become too fragile
    for this problem that's more than a fuckin' hassle.

    Pride in my pocket -- I approach this person
    to tell her it ain't worth it, that it's gonna worsen
    so long as she carries the beast and the burden.


    Rap/poem thing that I just wrote in about 20-25 minutes or so. Gogogog
    [center:1o6efzo1]
    «« forum rulesstaff teamforum search »»[/center:1o6efzo1]

  7. #7
    Global Champyon Stickid's Avatar



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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    Quote Originally Posted by Crono
    'cause when she gets home her drunk man's gonna beat 'er.
    I feel like this is a bit too straightforward. Domestic abuse is usually very subtle but tainted with dark hints and clues if you look hard enough. If you slowly lead the reader to the conclusion you are trying to draw, they will find the story much more engaging.

    That being said it's obviously not a full story and you only spent 20 minutes on it. I'm not the critic here, I just wanted to throw in my two cents. Anyways, it was REALLY good though, I absolutely loved it.

  8. #8
    Veteran Enthusiast Liam's Avatar

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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    might as well

    [spoiler:1omj9vzl]
    Our story begins, eyes closed waiting for tomorrow to come,
    He knows that what he sees right now could look different to some.
    Eyelids now open, he takes a step forth, not knowing what to expect
    or what to look for. So he walks, and he walks some more,
    Eyes fixed on the horizon, overhead he sees a bird soar.
    It's on a quest, like him all alone, to find the missing piece of a puzzle
    and find a new home. A screech, then the bird swoops down,
    flying past the boy and through the ghost town.
    It changes directions now towards the beach,
    and out to the ocean beyond the boy's reach.
    Gentle waves roll up to then fall back to the sea,
    The world goes by, it's all lost around me.

    We roam all over the planet looking for answers,
    Filled with a sense to explore, gotta fill this atlas.
    On we march along with our feet exploring the world that shapes this beat,
    Connect the dots, x marks the spot, theres always somewhere new to be.

    Look up, sky looms overhead, thunderclouds storm in to drown what I said.
    So instead of biting the bullet, I'll conform and take the lead.
    Lay down, no sound, except my mouth gettin ready to spit and release the hounds,
    And tell the crowd, what I found, if I fell down now I'd be headin' hellbound.
    So I stop, not thinking I'll turn around,
    and head back towards the ghost town,
    Chin doesn't seem so heavy when I'm not solitary,
    So I'll head back, find some new troubles to bury.
    [/spoiler:1omj9vzl]
    [center:1h4aebo3]
    You want to know the difference.. between a weak burger, and a burger that has STRENGTH?
    [/center:1h4aebo3]

  9. #9
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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    Quote Originally Posted by Psym
    Old stuff
    [spoiler:2y5z695e]
    Nothingness. All that was around me, I couldn't even see my hands, never mind the stars. I couldn't feel myself, my hair, my faded jacket, nothing. But one thing lurked near, a dawning feeling, like something was watching me in this perpetual dark, not something like the Bogeyman, something big, no, not just big. Titanic, as if some leviathan was rearing at me, its multi-eyed form piercing my being.
    My name is Michael. Michael Hall, for as long as I remember I've been in the depths of space. I've walked the chasms of Mars with my sister, scaled the craters of the moon and been relentlessly hunted across the Black Edge galaxy, the netherworld were everything that is nothing lurks, those creatures that haunt your dreams.
    In a more apt term. The Tommyknocker man is knocking at my door.

    I drifted there, a dull humming in the back my skull, gooseflesh raising itself on my arms, feeling was resurfacing. Light surfaced at a distance, red, it ran across me, detecting me, finding me.
    Knowing me.
    I saw this thing from a warped distance, like looking through the back end of a pair of binoculars. A dozen more domes of red wrapped themselves around the surface, revealing a riveted, skin like texture, the colour of olives, like some kind of fucked-up squid. It opened.
    Remember when I said I was hunted along the Dark Edge? It wasn't for no reason,during the first outing to the stars I remember, I was caught up in an attack by some strange, angry aliens.
    Turns out they were serious about finding me. I felt sensation creeping around me, chills up my spine, a near-bursting pressure behind my eyes, I shut them tight, tears were trapped, no way to escape in this decimating vacuum, my eyes felt swollen, as if air was being pushed into my tear ducts. I opened them, the lights were bigger, the front of the machine, creature, thing was opening, a mouth of around 5 or 6 tendrils revolved around. I closed my eyes.
    Again I opened them, they felt bloodshot, everything I could see, which was really only this monstrosity and a vague hint of my hands was tinted red. Each blink I felt my eyes getting heavier, this last time I closed them, I never opened again. In the same place.
    This started 5 years ago, in 2014, the first time Faster than Light Travel was found on Earth. Coincidently, it was also found on every other planet in the universe, at the exact same time.
    Anyway, during the fifth or sixth outing to Mars, I stowed away in a cargo ship. I left the ship without a helmet, anxiety and excitement were pulling me out the door, I stood in the midst of the Red Planet, helmet-less, breathing without a problem, aside from some vague faraway nausea.
    On Mars at the time, my sister, Miranda was stationed in a research facility, Catalyn, that's the main reason why I chose the Mars expedition as my first travel into the dark, knowing I had someone close to me, someone I knew, my only family.
    As usual, a calamity overtook, a hostile alien race attacked from the chasm, Lace Scar, they ascended from the icy depth, decimated the colony in minutes. My sister and I escaped. No-one else did.
    They have no identity, these prolicidal beasts, known as the Deities in some planets, revered on some, feared on others. Usually hailed as a bed-time tale to coax the kids to bed, they were widely considered a myth.
    They were real.
    Too real.
    And here we are, after points I care not to talk about, the death of my home being one.
    We turned our backs on Earth, left our friends, our families, our people to die at the hands of these creatures, the world descended to ash, now as the final strike will take place, their vanguard rises, more of them leading attacks. We need help. No, we need salvation.
    A voice erupted from the back of my skull. 'HALL/WE'VE FOUND YOU./'
    This was bad.
    Very. Very bad.
    Two things stood on top of me, a red rimmed portal directly behind them, high pitched webs of sound were wrapping themselves around me, they seemed to vibrate in the pit of my stomach, the acid in there burning, acid indigestion? Try having it boil and erupt upwards. The creatures warbled about me, their mechanical bodies heaving a hissing as they tried to decide whether to lift me or to kill me on the spot.
    [/spoiler:2y5z695e]
    Honestly, most of what I said to the first poster in this topic can be applied to your piece, to a lesser degree. This piece has a number of cliches/predictable ideas and sentences that have been throttled into oblivion long before you or I started writing, and it would be doing everyone a favor to let them die. Your subject matter is normal for a middle-school portfolio piece; if you want to break from that, you have to dig deeper. Try speaking in images, like I said before. PICTURE something happening, and don't just describe it. Picture the words that describe it. What do you see in your mind when you hear the color red? Not what do you feel, but what do you SEE? You might be quick to say "anger, hate, sin, etc," but those are not visuals. How do you picture anger? Is it by imagining the guy next to you in class being physically assault by a student, textbook-into-the-trachea style? What about hate? What do you picture? Use those images in a way that describes the emotion you are trying to convey. Don't just tell us someone is angry, or sad, or happy. Tell us what you think of when you think of those things. It'll help your writing drastically, and it'll make your descriptions so beautiful.

  10. #10
    Bad Ass Statham Statham's Avatar

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    Re: Post your short stories/poetry and I will criticize it h

    "The Bearing Sea"

    Beneath the sea of roaring waves,
    Bubbles burst in cloud of debris.
    With all hopes to breathe,
    We are left to become free.

    Suction rips past our suits,
    Chocking us into the black sea.
    We dare not pay the damn fee,
    For it isn't our time.

    Hands battle into the space,
    Overcoming the weak.
    Death raging through our eyes,
    Fraying our ties with the ship.

    Do you feel it?
    That sense of air?
    Your body fighting a fit
    Dipping your head side to side,
    Just to stay a float.

    The sound of cries echo,
    As smoke engulfs each.
    You must smile,
    It's the only way.

    Stay a float, stay alive.
    It's the only way
    You must live,
    you shall remain.
    A fit at sea.

    *You must be prepared for harsh critique. What I offer is in sight on what you should of done and you may get a offended, but you must understand if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen of art.


 
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