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Old 06-06-2008, 01:00 PM   #1
DarthJebus05
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I need some constructive criticism please

Before I begin, I've no idea if I'm in the right board for this kind of thing, as the other one is for fan fiction.

I have just started writing my first ever book, that I would like to publish in a few years. I am aware there are a few spelling errors, thats because I'm not using Microsoft Word and it doesn't tell me if the words are wrong or not. I've asked other people, but not much constructive criticism. Don't be scared to be harsh, I need the criticism, ill or not.

----------------------------

He was a half hour from his destination, when James Dennen approached a roadblock setup and guarded by the military on the highway, in his pitch black four wheel drive. As James got closer, he slowed down and stopped while one of the guards came around the sandbags and approached James, both hands on the AK-47 that was strapped around his neck. It was only four in the afternoon, however the sun was already retreating behind the mountains. It always got dark this early in winter around this part of Australia and James was having a hard time focusing on the lone soldier approaching him. When he reached James' car, he beckoned James to wind down the window so he could talk freely with him.

“Are you aware this is a restricted area, sir?” the soldier asked in a demanding tone. James was confused, as he was listening to the radio the whole way back from Brisbane and wasn't aware of any road blocks getting put up.

“I'm afraid not, I was just on my way home, and came across this road block” James replied, his eyes glazing over the other soldiers back at the sandbags. There was a gun attached to one of them, though he did not know the model or the make.

“You will need to pass an eye examination if you would like to pass through” he said. “All citizens must submit themselves to this”. James nodded to show the soldier he understood.

“May I ask what is going on” he asked, unbuckling his seatbelt and getting out of the car. “And what is this eye test for?”.

“Are you serious? You haven't heard?” he said in amazement. “It's been all over the news, theres a virus going around, and those immune must return to their homes at once”.

“I'm sorry, I was only listening to the music stations on the radio” James replied. As they reached the sandbags, one of the other soldiers came out from around them with what looked like a small PDA. It was actually a eye scanner, he saw when he got closer. “And what if I'm not immune, what then?”.

The guard with the eye scanner put it up against James' eyes and pulled a small trigger that was attached to it. For a few seconds, it didn't do anything, then made a few beeps and a flash of green light was seen on the guards uniform.

“Hes clear” he said, putting away the eye scanner. “Sorry to have troubled you sir, please return to your vehicle and drive around the sandbags”. At that, both soldiers tipped their heads to James, and returned to their original positions. James then returned to his car, started it, and drove off, giving the soldiers a small wave as he passed by.

He would continue down the highway for another five minutes or so, then turn off onto a dirt road and follow that for another twenty give, and then he will have arrived at his house, which was located on a ten acre piece of land, protected by a small wire fence. At first sight, you would think James was a farmer, even though he was only seventeen years of age, but he wasn't. The house he lived in was quite big, filled with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, lounge room, dining room and a room dedicated to his two cats. He also had three dogs, two of them cattle dogs, male and female, and also a male gold retriever. The house was directly in the middle of the property, as the land was just a huge square.

As James approached the gate, he saw his father mending the fence right next to the gate. The fence he accidentally hit one night coming home. Once his father opened the gate, he drove up to him and wound down his window.


--------------------------------------

:EDIT: Just remember, I'm only 14, my writing skills need a lot of improvement.

Last edited by Jae Onasi; 06-06-2008 at 01:40 PM. Reason: removed quote tag from around to improve ease of reading
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:28 PM   #2
Boba Rhett
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- Curtail the comma use. Many seemed to be out of place and tripped up the reading for me.

- Some of the words you used seemed somewhat out of place with the set tone of the sentence they were in. An example being your use of, "beckoned"

- I like that you're trying to be descriptive of the environment around James but those descriptions need to be more colorful and interesting. Otherwise it just comes off to me as someone reading a laundry list of little details.

- "As James got closer, he slowed down and stopped while one of the guards came around the sandbags and approached James..." Mentioning his name twice in one sentence is redundant and makes me feel like I've read something wrong/skipped a line somewhere.

- Try to keep your writing smooth and flowing. You don't want your reader hitting pot holes where the reading difficulty suddenly fluctuates wildly mid sentence.

- I would advise you to read through everything aloud. Hearing what you've written goes a long way in feeling out if it's conveying the message you want in the manner you want.


I look forward to seeing what adventure James is headed on.
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:34 PM   #3
Jae Onasi
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Moved to CEC.

You can always use a dictionary, including an online one like dictionary.com. Don't rely on Word to catch your mistakes for you--it won't catch the homonyms used incorrectly like to/too/two or they're/their/there. If you're not sure how to spell something, look it up. That's one of the fastest ways to learn how to spell it corectly, too.


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Old 06-07-2008, 02:41 AM   #4
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Eye scanner thing+ virus-> I Am Legend:P

Well, not too bad. If there really was a panic about a virus epidemic, bear in mind that these things take time to build up momentum. The virus would have an incubation period, and then the infected people would have to show up at hospitals and in great enough numbers with similar presentations. That in itself suggests that it is improbable that he would not have heard of such a thing, unless the soldiers were faking it. In the event of an emergency, I'm fairly certain that the radio stations wouldn't keep bothering with music, but instead broadcast warnings about the epidemic and requests to cooperate, don't panic etc.

I'm not really sure that the house needs such a thorough description, especially since it is written in the tone of an advertisement selling it (three bedroom two bathroom etc). Try to add personal touches here and there, such as him smiling at the thought of his dogs, and his worry about his father.

Hope this was helpful!



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Old 06-07-2008, 03:55 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far.

@Bee

Radio = good point, I'll change that.

This takes place in the country, so there isn't much chaos at the moment on the highways.
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Old 06-08-2008, 12:48 AM   #6
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May I ask what type of story you're going for here? It would be helpful to know exactly what you're trying to do, because, while it has a strong zombie-horror feel to it, for all we know you could be trying to write a romance novel (the kind Jae reads, not that sissy PG-13 stuff ) and that would make any criticism on the style more than a bit useless.


Let's kill ourselves.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:37 AM   #7
DarthJebus05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallucination View Post
May I ask what type of story you're going for here? It would be helpful to know exactly what you're trying to do, because, while it has a strong zombie-horror feel to it, for all we know you could be trying to write a romance novel (the kind Jae reads, not that sissy PG-13 stuff ) and that would make any criticism on the style more than a bit useless.
If you've seen the Dawn of the Dead movie, there are zombies that run at the non-infect instead of moaning and walking slowly. Thats the kind of zombies in this story.

It takes place in the country, a group of teenagers are forced to live for one year stuck inside James' house. When the power goes off, and the water tank is empty because it hasn't rained, they are forced to move into a big city, where they find more than they bargained for.

(I always thought the word: "bargain" was spelled "bargin"
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:12 AM   #8
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Hey I read a lot but I'm not much of a writer so I'll offer some thoughts but bear in mind that this is a bit of backseat advice

First this awesome writing, especially if you're only 14. Nice job!

The only thing I would offer is don't feel you have to describe to much right away. And remember to let the reader use their imagination when describing situations. 'Black' will probably suffice as opposed to 'pitch black', etc.

IMO also try not to punctuate the dialogue too much.
Like: “Are you aware this is a restricted area, sir?” the soldier asked in a demanding tone
The reader will proabably understand that this question is asked in a demanding tone, given the situation you've already described. Good dialougue should read like your actually eavesdropping on someones conversation
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:47 PM   #9
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try looking on cnet and download open office.


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