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Author Topic: the new era
from_left_to_write
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The crisp fresh autumn was starting to show its colors. The leaves where changing, the cool breeze was blowing. People in town had begun to start wearing warmer clothing; sweaters, scarves here and there, anything to keep warm as they knew that winter was fast approaching. The world as we knew it had seized to exist. And all that remained of yesterday’s modern world was a half destroyed sky scraper that when looked at an angle, can still scraped the sky.

It was around sunset that Mitchell started to realize how immense the world had been and how it has succumbed to nothing now. He sat at the highest floor possible of the sky scraper. No one ever bothered to go near the building. It had too much meaning for them. For the human race, after having reached a pinnacle had now been faced to start over.

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besimirch
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Hi, I think it might be useful if you say how long this piece is, whether it is finished and what genre it is--I think that will help people out when giving feedback.

quote:
The crisp fresh autumn was starting to show its colors. The leaves where changing, the cool breeze was blowing. People in town had begun to start wearing warmer clothing; sweaters, scarves here and there, anything to keep warm as they knew that winter was fast approaching.
I think you start in a good place, but a lot of this is telling rather than showing the reader. If you show, it pulls the reader right into the story from the start. Try and make the reader feel as though they are there. 'Where' should be were.

quote:
The world as we knew it had seized to exist.
Might be a good place to give a hint as to what has happened to cause this state of affairs. 'seized' should be ceased.

quote:
And all that remained of yesterday’s modern world was a half destroyed sky scraper that when looked at an angle, can still scraped the sky.
The part after the comma I found hard to understand and needs rewording. Also, I found it difficult to believe that this was all that remained of the modern world. Skyscrapers are usually built close to each other, why is this the only one left? Why is it only half destroyed? What else is there around it? And again, this is telling here when you need to be working hard at painting the scene for the reader.

quote:
It was around sunset that Mitchell started to realize how immense the world had been and how it has succumbed to nothing now.
Why, if everything but the skyscraper has gone, does it take til now for Mitchell to realize that the world has gone to hell? 'has' should be had.

quote:
He sat at the highest floor possible of the sky scraper. No one ever bothered to go near the building. It had too much meaning for them. For the human race, after having reached a pinnacle had now been faced to start over.
Again, I'm not really feeling this. What is it like in the skyscraper? Are there animals there? Plant life? Is it dangerous? Are the floors crumbling and pitching? Are the windows broken and empty and full of cobwebs? 'faced' maybe should be forced?

I like these kind of stories and think you start in a good place, I just think you might need to focus on the old 'show rather than tell'.

Good luck with it.

[ August 05, 2014, 08:57 AM: Message edited by: besimirch ]

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from_left_to_write
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Thanks! I wasn't completely sure how one is supposed to go about beginning a 13 liner. Also, the "show rather than tell" is a good point I didn't really consider.
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by from_left_to_write:
The crisp fresh autumn was starting [past participle] to show its colors. The leaves where [were] changing [past participle], the cool breeze was blowing [past participle]. People in town had begun [past perfect] to start wearing [past participle] warmer clothing [gerund];[:] sweaters, scarves here and there, anything [gerund] to keep warm[;] as they knew that winter was fast approaching [past participle]. The world as we knew it had seized [ceased] to exist. And all that remained of yesterday’s modern world was a half[-]destroyed sky scraper that[,] when looked at [from] an angle, can*- still scraped the sky.

It was around sunset that Mitchell started to realize [infintive verb] how immense the world had been and how it has succumbed [awkward diction] to nothing [gerund] now. He sat at the highest floor possible*- of the sky scraper. No one ever bothered to go near the building [gerund]. It had too much meaning [gerund] for them. For the human race, after having reached [past partciple] a pinnacle[,] had now been faced [awkward diction] to start over.

The marks above note clumsy grammar.

Prose, for example, generally demands robust, dynamic, and definite verbs; simple past tense verbs meet those criteria. Participle verbs are nondefinite. Gerunds on top of participle verbs create an -ing ring rhyme, an annoyance to the "reader" ear that accumulates. Infinitive verbs also are nondefinite.

A few word choice faults: "where," "seized," "succumbed," and "faced."

A few punctuation faults: a colon precedes a serial list set apart from a main clause, not a semicolon. "[:] sweaters" An em dash may also be used. A hyphen connects terms used as an adjective. "half[-]destroyed skyscraper" Interior conjunction clauses that are nonessential to a main clause's meaning are bracketed with commas. "that[,] when looked at [from] an angle," and "race, after having reached a pinnacle[,]" Two independent clauses joined by a conjunction take a semicolon. "[;] as", especially since the list takes a colon or dash. One possible revision artifact, stray word "can".

Once I overlooked the grammar faults, I read for curiosity arousal. A damaged skyscraper of the modern world remains. Setting somewhat developed. Event-wise, nothing happens. Character-wise, a plural first person narrator narrates from atop a damaged skyscraper; Mitchell by himself, he looks out upon a, what, blasted landscape? I don't have an idea what's going on.

Emotional equilibrium is somewhat upset: a ruined city disturbs a sense of settled and secure, safe civilization. No idea what Mitchell wants going forward--he's already climbed the skyscraper; a problem of a post-apocalypse (possible dystopia) setting and milieu arouses a mite of curiosity. What purpose (want to satisfy) does Mitchell have atop the skyscraper? His curiosity? A reason for him to be there is warranted.

A more vivid setting description would describe the skyscraper's damages, perhaps as the narrator climbs the skyscraper toward an objective, say to map a path through rubble on the ground or an item that's on the skyscraper's pinnacle. Events are a critical feature of prose narrative, along with settings and characters. Events develop settings and characters.

Events engage readers more effectively than settings or characters, though events take place in settings and happen to characters. A viewpoint agonist, narrator or central character, reacts to visual and other sensory stimuli, emotionally reacts. This opening has a touch of emotional attitude toward the meaning of the damaged skyscraper, though what that meaning (emotional) is is on the vague side. Fear? Apathy? Antipathy? Pity? Regret? Etc.?

As this opening is, besides the grammar issues, this is a kind of Dischism: writer's environment or state of mind intrudes into the narrative. In this case, a lofty place from which to look down upon prose writing's infinite and daunting challenges.

Openings are for introductions. The most essential prose introduction feature is a dramatic complication: antagonizing wants and problems wanting satisfaction. Events introduce a dramatic complication, and settings and characters. Consider what Mitchell wants and problems complicates. Thirteen lines is very sparse real estate to complete a dramatic complication's introduction.

However, a routine beforehand; meanwhile, is pending interruption, introduces the basics of wants and problems. For example, Mitchell climbs the last steps to the skycraper's rooftop hoping he can see a shorter path through ground rubble to, say, a waterway or such. Or he wants to topple the radio tower atop the building for its metals and wires. Some goal, some want, some desire with an intent and purpose.

[ August 05, 2014, 04:50 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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from_left_to_write
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Just a quick point: I have no idea when I wrote this. To be honest it must have been years since I wrote it. What I've been doing is finding my old stories and going through them.
What I've written on this one is probably over 5 pages. Perhaps a short story? A sort of futuristic world. As I the story progresses am old man becomes the protagonist. He basically has flashbacks. I will revise and repost. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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pidream
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The crisp (,) fresh autumn was starting to show its colors. The leaves were changing, (and) the cool breeze was blowing.
1. I think you could use a coma after crisp, and a conjunction after changing.
People in town had (delete begun to) start(ed) wearing warmer clothing; (delete sweaters, scarves here and there,) anything to keep warm as they knew (delete that) winter was fast approaching.
2. The sentence is a little wordy, for me. Consider the above.
The world as we knew it had seized to exist. (delete And) all that remained of (delete yesterday’s modern) (the) world was (delete a half destroyed) (ruined skyscraper(‘s) that when looked at an angle, (delete can) still scraped the sky.
3. The sentence is a little wordy, for me. Consider the above. Skyscraper is one word. I like the imagery you are going for here.
It was around sunset that Mitchell started to realize how immense the world had been and how it has succumbed to nothing now.
4. Again, for me at least, this is a wordy sentence. I think there are two separate thoughts here. I mean, did Mitchell just then at that moment, realize for first time how immense the world had been? The second clause, to me anyway, felt like an incomplete thought. I really do not understand what you meant to say. But maybe I am dense.
He sat at the highest floor possible of the skyscraper. No one ever bothered to go near the building.
It had too much meaning for them. For the human race, after having reached a pinnacle (, and ) had (delete now been faced) to start over.
5. Again a little wordy. I am not sure how to express this, but to say there is vagueness in the writing. I am not saying it’s bad, but for me it could be more direct.
Based on what I read, I might read on, but that is mostly because I enjoy aftermath stories; which I am assuming at this point this is. My biggest suggestion is to tighten up your sentences. Long awkward sentences slow the pace and rob your story of the mystery or suspense you are trying to build.
The best of luck.

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