Critiquing Fiction

Three and half years ago my neighbor, Linda Apple http://www.lindacapple.com/ , invited me to attend a meeting of the NWA Writers Workshop http://www.nwawriters.org/index.php. I had been writing poetry and songs for most of my life, but had only written two or three short stories and had no earthly idea what I was doing. Boy, was my life about to change.
These folks welcomed me into the group like I was a long lost cousin from their favorite aunt’s side of the family. They must have the patience of Job to tolerate someone as backwoods and ignorant as me. Not only are they willing to share their vast knowledge and expertise, they even invited me attend writers conferences with them.
Today, in an effort to pay forward, I’m going to share some important information that will make you a better writer. You will recognize the story below, but the names have been changed due to the witness protection program.
RICO and JANET
Go, Rico, go!
See Rico go.
Can Janet go? Yes, see Janet go.
          Plenty of action in this scene, but a lot of repetitive words. Also, it’s lacking a sense of place. Where are we—a football game, the beach, on a treadmill? Who’s telling the story (point of view, or POV in writer talk)?
See Fido run.
Fido bit Fluffy.
“Bad Fido, bad,” said Janet.
          Finally some dialogue. How did Fluffy feel? Add some internalization here. Invoke the five senses—has Fido rolled in something dead? What does Fluffy’s fur taste like?
In this example, I’ve only point out some of the most obvious flaws in this story. It’s not bad writing, it just needs a little help.
What suggestions would you give this author to improve the story?
Advertisements

6 Comments on “Critiquing Fiction

  1. Why is Fido on the run? Discovered something in the trash? needs to get to that buried bone?Back story. Needs backstory and context.Aloha,Doug

    Like

  2. Thanks for commenting Mahjira and ironwoodwind. Maybe we can Rico and Janet straightened out, and learn a little more about Fido and Fluffy. I hope they've had all their shots!

    Like

  3. Not so sure internalization is a good idea with Fluffy. Her thoughts would have to get bleeped at our group 😉

    Like

  4. My instinct would be to add the how and where (details)…nibbled, pierced, shredded, severedthe hoof, the wing, the nape, the fleecy rump

    Like

  5. Hi, Russell. You are a funny guy. Your writing is humorous, too.Is this the one where Fido is pulling a little red wagon with a six pack of RC colas in it. Or is that a different story?

    Like

I'd love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mandie Hines Author

Horror, Psychological Thrillers, Flash Fiction, and Poetry

The Phantom Rem

Stories From Within

Lorna's Voice

Finding ways to make words sparkle

The Incoherent Ramblings Of A Moose

This is the blog of a woman who is seriously on the edge and I mean right ON the edge…no, not there… just a little bit further… further than that…no, further still…just a tiny bit more… just move slightly to the right a little…no, that’s too much…just move a tad to the left…that’s right, just there…now you’ve moved too far to the left… Damn, what part of the ‘on the edge’ do you not understand? Oh, and her matricidal boy genius, come devil spawn.

Sharing sarcasm, snark, and satire with the world...

Or the three people I guilted into reading this blog, whatever.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple

Growing older is inevitable. Growing up is optional.

Problems With Infinity

Confessions of a Delusional Maniac

ParkInkSpot

I may make you feel, but I can't make you think.

TheDustSeason

All the Blogging That's Fit To Print

www.immodiumabuser.com

AS I TOLD THE GIRL THAT I LOST MY VIRGINITY TO, THANKS FOR LAUGHING AT ME HERE TODAY.

Dimitris Melicertes

I don't write, I touch without touching.

Lame Adventures

A Humor Blog

Linda Vernon Humor

Stylistically Abusing Language for the Betterment of Mankind

TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!

Lori Ericson, Author

An author's perspective of mystery and more.

The Best Things in Life

And the worst things. And all that weird stuff in between.

%d bloggers like this: