An Aspiring Writer's Blog Site

Metamorphosis of a Story- Part 4

Its time for this thing to get its ass kicked.

At this point, The Swann Lady is at a first draft stage, which means I’ve done everything I can to it and need people to tell me what they think. I’m posting it here if any of my writer friends wants to critique it, but I’m also sending it to my online critique group, Critters.

Its funny, I haven’t worked on this for two weeks. I thought there would be more to change. I think I edited for about an hour maybe?

So, let me throw a few guesses out there what might be the biggest issues with my readers.

  1. The mother’s dialogue at the beginning is confusing. Well, the protagonist found it confusing too, so I’m not sure if that’s an issue or not. We’ll see.
  2. Aunt Aideen’s dialogue is not Irish enough. I’ve covered this point here last week. For this story, I went with no phonetic spellings, just to see if it works. As this is my first foray into Irish dialogue, I’m open to suggestions.
  3. I need to show the back story in a scene. Well . . . I don’t know. We’ll see.

Now its time to get the rhino hide on. Critiques can sting. I’m usually pretty good about taking it, but it can still suck at times. It’s the only way to get better, though. At the same time, I’m curious as to what people think.

How about you guys? How do you prepare yourself and handle criticism of your stories?

Note: Artwork is called “Children of Lir” by Tyrantx and can be found at tyrantx.­deviantart.­com

 

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11 responses

  1. geminye

    Dan, I gotta say, I wasn’t expectinga story that was so well polished. There would be very little I could find if I were doing a line edit.

    I love urban fantasy. I’m a big fan of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, as well as Neil Gaiman and Charles De Lint, and I could easily see this story fitting in with them. It was very much in De Lint’s style of recreating an old tale of the swans and bringing it into the modern era. Well done.

    I will say the prose lacked that touch of poetry I often look for in a short story, but De Lint didn’t have that either.

    The only place where I was unsatisfied was this exchange:

    She fiddled with her rosary. I knew she had heard my questions. She was avoiding me.
    “Please. I will not laugh.”
    She looked at me with her sad eyes, still red and brimmed with tears. “They locked me away.”
    “Locked you away? Who locked you away?”
    “Men. When I told them about the swans. They locked me away, they did.”
    She had to be speaking of the mental institution.
    “I will not harm you. You can tell me.”

    Katie’s speech became very stilted. Everywhere else, she used contractions, but stopped doing so in this section.

    Other than than, I really enjoyed the story, though a little dash of additional artistry couldn’t hurt. I would give this story a 6/10 (keeping in mind I never give 10/10 unless the story is sheer perfection.) Do I think it could be improved? Yes, but only to the degree that your style will allow. This has to do with my preference of the writer’s voice, not any defect in your writing.

    Great job.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    • Cool, thanks for the comments, geminye. Hm, I hadn’t noticed that lack of contraction, but you are right. I’ll fix that line of dialogue. Pays to have others look at your work!

      Glad you read the story. It means a lot to me and thanks for the compliments. That’s some good company you lumped me in with there. 🙂

      September 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm

  2. Okay, buddy. You’re in luck, I’ve been looking for something to read. I promise, I’ll be honest 🙂

    September 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm

  3. Great story. On the irish dialogue, I thought how you handled it was fine. Not over done, not under done. You used words in a different order, basically how an irish person would, which gives, in my opinion, the imagination enough to work with. Which is the whole point, anyway. I was more shocked to find out that the main character was female. I do not generally read from that perspective, and it wasn’t clear at first who’s head I was supposed to be inside of. Overall, the writing was natural, and a particular thing that stands out in my head are the old woman’s hands. worlds like “spotted, arthritic” and “crumbled” really drive it home.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    • Thanks, Drew. Your words mean a lot when it comes from an old salt like yourself. 😉 That wasn’t so bad. Boy, I thought you were really gonna let me have it.

      I had a feeling the girl as the first person character might throw some people. Is it because I’m a guy, by chance? Thanks for reading!

      September 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      • Not exactly. Perhaps because I’m a guy reading it, and at the onset you don’t know it’s a girl. my thoughts, when I see a man write from a first person perspective of a woman, is to think “he’s writing who he is internally”, but I won’t go there 😀 There are other writers who have done so, Joe Konrath, Aaron Patterson, and James Patterson, to name a few. Of course if I were reading a novel, I would have known before I bought it what perspective it was in, so that wouldn’t have thrown me off. 🙂

        September 12, 2012 at 8:42 pm

  4. I’m hardly old 😀 I just wanted to add that as far as first person goes, I like it better in some ways than third. my current series, of which I’ve completed the first manuscript for, is in first person.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm

  5. catherinelumb

    Hey Dan,
    I’m nominating you for the One Lovely Blog Award.
    If you want to accept the nomination, go to my blog to find the rules: http://nowrittenwords.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/one-lovely-blog-award/
    Keep up the great blogging !
    Take Care,
    Cat
    PS – love your story, very nice rendering of the myth

    September 16, 2012 at 7:49 am

    • oh, cool. Thanks Cat! On both accounts!

      September 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

  6. catherinelumb

    I’m tagging you in my post tomorrow (Mon 24th) to take up the WIP Challenge, as I’d like to find out what you’re working on now…Check it out when it goes live and pass it on.
    http://nowrittenwords.wordpress.com
    Cat

    September 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

    • ok. I’ll keep an eye on it. Sounds interesting.

      September 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

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