Edited by TuragaNuva, Oct 13 2011 - 07:43 PM.
Posted Oct 13 2011 - 07:42 PM
Posted Aug 17 2012 - 03:02 PM
ECC Charity ReviewTuragaNuva,When I read a story like Ora Nui: Tale of the Matoran, it makes me happy for two different reasons. First, you have the raw potential of a storyteller - that special spark that lets you think up imaginative stories and fascinate other people with your yarns. Second, I'm happy that it's my job to help you take that raw talent and refine it into a gift. No one can be a really good storyteller without that spark of Takua-type imagination, but it's not enough to just have the raw ability. A story that is thoughtful, creative and intriguing will always be ignored if the writing form is not up to par.Don't get me wrong; your writing is not bad. I found only one spelling mistake in all three chapters, the dialogue is mostly natural and well-thought out, and the characters themselves are each unique. But you do seem to have a problem with your narration and descriptions. Read a part of your dialogue aloud to yourself, then read a piece of your description of scenery or people. Hear the difference? The dialogue sounds like how you might actually talk. The description sounds like a character talking, instead of being narrated.Try to remember that the third person narrator is not a character in the story, and as such cannot add anything to the story that is not absolute fact. It's almost the same thing as a camera lens for a movie - I'll explain more about this later. And no matter what I or anyone else ever says about your stories, you'll always do better if you try to be your own toughest critic. Alright, on to the quoting!From Chapter 1-
Okay, two points to cover here. First, never, ever, ever - unless the sky is falling - use parentheses in third person narration. The omniscient third person narrator should not have to amend their thoughts inside brackets - that's something you should only place in a conversation. I noticed several places throughout the story where the parenthetical narration recurs. Try saying something like "... walking over to the tower to double-check that the current crystals' cords were firmly attached, which they were."Second, the last word of this quote should be "differently", not "different".From Chapter 1-
I wonder if the others ever think about it, she wondered, walking over to the tower to double-check that the current crystals’ cords were firmly attached (they were). If things hadn’t gone wrong –so wrong, at the end –the team might have wound up different.
Corrected-"Well, okay," Rila replied. "But be back soo--" She stopped in mid-sentence, seeing that Hiko was already out the door.From Chapter 1-
“Well, okay,” Rila replied, “But be back soo-” but Hiko was already out the door, off to visit an old friend.
In this case, your quest for unique descriptions has backfired - these sentences are more confusing than imaginative. Since this sort of description happens multiple times, this is an ideal place to stop and look at it in detail. Let's take it one sentence at a time."Silent."It simply isn't a complete sentence. A sentence needs two things:a noun - a person, a thing or even an idea that is the subject of the sentencea verb - an action that is performed by, on, near or remembered by the noun.You could try saying "Silence reigned supreme" or "Silence was unescapable". Even "All was silent" works. The point is that in third person narration, every sentence must be a complete thought. The narrator is the all-knowing, all-seeing "Great Being" of your story - they do not have opinions or feelings."That’s what it was like in De-Wohe: complete and utter silence."The word "like" is so tricky in modern writing. It used to be that it was only used for comparisons - "This tree is a like a green giant", which is an opinion, not a fact. But since so many people use it as a filler word - something to put in a sentence because they are still processing their thoughts - it's now perfectly natural to use it in dialogue. Some dialogue even sounds odd without fillers. But in narration? It's the camera lens of the story, and cameras can't have opinions. It again brings up the point that third person narration is not a stand-in for one more person talking. Try "De-Wohe was constantly engulfed in complete and utter silence" or "Complete and utter silence hung over the whole of De-Wohe"."Occasionally, there were whispers, but these usually resulted in so much more whispering and murmuring that they were generally avoided."This is very convoluted. All you meant to convey to the reader is that De-matoran don't like to talk very much, but you end up leaving me wondering if whispers are creatures to be avoided. Try "Talking was avoided as much as possible" or "Talking was frowned upon by so many that it was rarely heard". You could even combine this with the next sentence and say "Noise being painful to the ears, talking was avoided in this region"."Noise was painful. No De-Matoran liked noise."These sentences are technically correct, since you have a noun and a verb, but it might sound better to make them one sentence with a semi-colon in between.From Chapter 1-
Silent. That’s what it was like in De-Wohe: complete and utter silence. Occasionally, there were whispers, but these usually resulted in so much more whispering and murmuring that they were generally avoided. Noise was painful.
Nothing wrong with the writing here - you just forgot to italicize her thoughts in this part.From Chapter 1-
She hadn’t gotten out her old grappling hook in a long time, but recently, she’d felt inclined to take it out of its dusty box in the corner. I’ve gotten a little rusty, she thought as she fell out of a tree for the fourth time that day. Then again, it’s certainly been a while since the days when I used to use it.
Ah, my old enemy: the run-on sentence. Let me show you an easy trick my mom taught me when I was 11 to help me with this problem.First, what do you need this sentence to tell the reader? Answer: the contents of Kape's hut. Let's list them.- a hammock- a lightcrystal that is the only source of light for the room- a reinforced southern wall- a water tank fed by a gutter- a gutter that encircles the roofOkay, now which of these items pair well together in a sentence? The hammock and lightcrystal are hung near each other, so they go together in one sentence. The southern wall is not exactly necessary, but it can fit with the gutter in a second sentence. That leaves the rain barrel for last, and it should either go with the second sentence or in it's own.Example: "On the left hung her hammock with the room's single lightstone just above it. To the right, the gutter that encircled the roof came through the wall just above the water tank that stored the fallen rain."From Chapter 1-
On the left was her hammock, with a lightcrystal hanging above it that served the purpose of lighting the whole hutch; on the right, attached to the reinforced southern wall, was a water tank, which was fed by a gutter which encircled the roof outside of the house: a simple, efficient design, in almost every way the same as the huts used by Matoran across the island.
Again, just forgot the italics for Kape's thoughts. Although, looking at your notes, you already know that, so I won't point those out unless there's something else wrong with the sentence. Just be sure to fix their thoughts at some point! From Chapter 1-
Oh my, she thought, turning her face away from the old mask. I wasn’t expecting to have to remember that when I got out this old thing.
Corrected-Shutting the box quickly and stowing the weapon on her back, she walked to the doorway, bent on identifying the noise. Pressing her ear to the door, it seemed to be metal hitting metal. Is that... fighting? Who could be fighting around here these days? she thought as she pulled the window curtain open. A moment later, she gasped in shock.Side note: does a grappling hook really count as a weapon?From Chapter 2-
Shutting the box quickly, and stowing the weapon on her back, she walked to the doorway, intent on identifying the noise, almost like metal on metal. Is that… fighting? Who could be fighting around here these days? She thought, as she pulled aside the curtain and gasped.
Corrected-Before long, Paru came to a rainforest where the air was heavy with moisture. Using his long, thin staff, he pushed the occasional vine bush or branch aside, sometimes pausing to wipe perspiration off his Hau.Again, the narrator should not need to add to or fix their descriptions. As to the "condensed water", I think you meant "condensation", but that only takes place with cold objects.From Chapter 2-
Before long, Paru came to a forest- a rainforest, really, with so much moisture. Using his long, thin staff, he pushed the occasional vine, bush, or branch aside, wiping condensed water off of his Hau with his free hand.
Missing italics and "forestation" means the planting of trees; try "forest", "greenery", "jungle", "woodland", "woods" or "copse".From Chapter 2-
I remember these trees well, he thought, though not as well as I’d like. After a while walking through the crowded, humid forestation...
Corrected-Resuming his walk towards Kape's hut, he began to ask Pata, "So, just where was the --" Ahi stopped, shocked by the scene before him.From Chapter 2-
Resuming his walk toward Kape’s hut, he turned toward Pata, asking “So, just where was the –” when, suddenly, he stopped, shocked by what he saw before him.
emphasis addedFirst misspelling I've found. Considering the rest of the sentence, try "Mita asked in a friendly manner".From Chapter 3-
“What are you doing here, Hiko?” Mita asked friendlily.
Missing italics, and the last sentence is incomplete. The years he spent fighting.... What? Changed him? Helped him? Kept him in shape?From Chapter 3-
As such, he decided to go ahead and end the battle quickly: Ahi’s not a bad fighter, but he’s lost his touch over the years, the Onu-Matoran thought as he knocked the burning staff from Ahi’s hand. The years that I’ve spent fighting.
Missing italics, and change "He'd thought" to "he had thought", then begin a new sentence. As a general rule, you don't want the third person narrator to use contractions - that's something characters do.From Chapter 3-
What is he doing back here? And what is he doing, of all places, outside Kape’s place? He’d thought, and, without taking a moment to consider, he’d leapt in front of Paru...
Maintain the narrator's camera-cool tone; not characterizing, just describing. "With one thing leading to another...."From Chapter 3-
Then, well, one thing led to another...
Missing italics for Ahi's thoughts, and cut "When" from the beginning of the fourth sentence.From Chapter 3-
Well, this is it, he’d thought. I’m done. And I didn’t even get to say goodbye to Kape… When, out of the blue, three things happened very quickly: first, he saw a glint of blue and silver metal out of the corner of his eye, which hit Paru’s arm.
What do you know; I guess a grappling hook is a weapon! From Chapter 3-
Second, Paru’s staff-holding arm was yanked aside by a chain and hook, pulling his staff out of Ahi’s face. And, third, he saw just what was at the other end of the chain.
Corrected-Ahi was about to launch into another outburst when Kape shot him a look that pleaded for him to trust her and just wait.From Chapter 3-
Ahi was about to launch into another outburst when Kape gave him a look. Not a harsh glare, but more of a plea: as if to say ‘Let’s just follow this through.'
Corrected-Mita was moderately pleased with his new method of stopping the boat, although he felt he could have done better, given more time. It was really a very simple solution, he thought.From Chapter 3-
Mita was pleased with his quickly-thought of method of stopping the boat, though not extremely pleased. It was really a rather simple solution, he thought.
Ahi's pleasure can't be both apparent and hidden. He could be trying unsuccessfully to hide it, which is what I think you meant to say.From Chapter 3-
“I feel the same,” Kape said, placing her hand in the pile, to Ahi’s apparent, if slightly hidden, pleasure. “This island has been without heroes for too long.”
"Dove" is incorrect in this sentence. You can use either "Mita had dived" or "Mita dove". Considering that this part of the story is being told in the past tense, I'd go for the former.From Chapter 3-
Using his notoriously impressive agility, Mita had dove out of the way at the last second...
Paru can't be both calm and angry; I think you meant that he was cold and angry.One last note of criticism: your scenes change with no formatting indication whatsoever. It jumps without pause from Ga-Wohe to Po-Wohe to who-knows-Wohe without any asterisks to show a change or even just an extra line break. The reader needs some clear indication that the scene is changing. Personally, I prefer using
"I advise you be quiet about things you don’t know, Pakohe,” Paru said, in a calm but slightly angry tone.
* * *to break up my frames, but there's a ton of cool marks to choose from.Now for the fun part: characters!Using the Year 1 tactic of creating six subplots and weaving them together later, while not original, gives us a great opportunity to meet the matoran stars. As such, even though only three chapters have been posted, I already have a pretty good idea of what everyone is like. The matoran have depth and room for growth; just be careful not to reveal everything in their backstory too fast. Pakohe is my favorite so far, with his quips and nicknames for everyone else. So, in summation, you have solid characters, realistic dialogue, an interesting plot, a unique location, some sentence structure issues and a narrator who needs a bit of touching up. Keep on going!-HH
My Library: The Esoteric Athenaeum
Member of the Epic Critics' Club
Posted Aug 27 2012 - 05:42 PM
"All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." -C.S. Lewis
The Selected BZPower.com Literary Works of X-Ray
Posted Apr 24 2016 - 07:16 PM
Hi, everyone! So, when I first posted Ora Nui on the old BZP forums, it had proper formatting on everything: italics, multiple paragraphs, etc. When I wanted to re-post it on the new forums, I didn't yet understand the new post editor, and ended up just giving up and pasting everything in as plain text.
But, since I'm about to post some new chapters to the story, I've finally gone back and re-formatted all the old chapters so they don't look like garbage!
I'd love it if people could take a look at the old chapters with the proper formatting, and all the new chapters I'm beginning to post! I'll be trying to improve based on the feedback I've received.
Thanks for reading!
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