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First Impressions Critique: Love and Death - By morningMist · 6:58am Aug 16th, 2014

First Impression Critique: Love and Death - by morningMist
Link to Story: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/206756/love-and-death
Link to Fimfiction's Writing Guide: http://www.fimfiction.net/writing-guide
Link to Grammar Tips: http://grammartips.homestead.com/caps.html
Date Created: August 16, 2014

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- First Impression -

As anyone would know, bad grammar and punctuation is a quick way to lead someone away from a written piece of work. love and death, or what it is now called Love and Death due to changes made by the author, is one of those written pieces of work in which errors filled through the description and title, that is, until the author fixed them. It's always nice to see an author go back and fix the errors they have made, as it's a pretty good sign that the author actually takes writing seriously.

Anyways, the story, now known as Love and Death, has been tagged under 'Dark', 'Sad', and 'Romantic'. Keeping it simple enough, there's nothing really much to say about the tags, unless to make sure that they are going to be used correctly.

With the "Dark" tag, the only thing really needed to be told for the story is to make sure that there is a good identification for the readers to understand where the darkness in the story is coming from. Don't simply draw a character as a completely hardened version of themselves, and really show darkness as a progression through the stages. It could be done other ways, but when you're doing it, just make sure that you know what you're doing.

With the "Sad" tag, make sure that you give enough time for the readers to get attached with the characters. The pacing -- something that will be gone through a lot in this critique -- would need to be just right in order to get a good feeling and good reaction, if that's what you're trying to receive, and making a reader react to a story -- other than "omg this story is bad" -- will make the story as a whole better throughout. Give something the majority of people can relate to, and that would be an easy way to get through writing a sad fic.

The "Romance" tag is pretty straightforward, as the pacing will need to be just right in order for the reader to understand the character's relations between other characters. Growing into a relationship is a pretty good and straightforward way for a reader to understand a relationship, and skipping this entirely won't really get that many reactions when an event occurs between the characters in a relationship.

Moving on with the description, the description does a pretty poor attempt at building suspense with itself. One major thing I have noticed that a lot of fiction authors would do is to create questions inside the description to build extremely cheap suspense for their story. As stated before in a previous critique, it is as cheap of a way to build suspense as ellipses. It's not good for any description, and if you are attempting to build suspense within the story's description, there are plenty of routes that could be taken to do so, other than the extremely cheap question asking to the reader.

The description could also add a bit more information on what the story is about. There really isn't much told about the story through the description, other than that the main character is Akira, a gryphon writer who has strange dreams and a struggle for understanding love. There could be plenty of information added into the description, like the information leading up to the first chapter, or introduction, of the story. Or maybe the description could detail the events up to the rising climax of the story, or maybe even the climax itself. There can be a lot done in many different ways, though, so it's up to the writer.

Going back to the author, I can highly respect that he took the time and went back to fix the title and description -- to some degree at least -- and fixed some of the bothering errors that lingered. The description could still use some work, but it's always fantastic to see an author go back and fix the tiniest errors that could be pointed out.

- Grammar/Punctuation/Style -

The first thing that people see when they click on the story, like I said before, is the grammar and style of the story inside the description and title. Although the story's title and description can be easily fixed to meet the author's wishes, the story, on the other hand, is a lot harder to maintain control through the giant walls of text.

The first error seen, other than in the description, is the title of the chapters themselves. Capitalizing the words in the title can be a little tricky at first, understandably, but simply looking it up on how to do it is a quick solution to learning how to do it. Clicking here will show how to put correct capitalizations in the title. The first chapter could be fixed to be "Love Broke, and Brokenness was Loved", as well as the second chapter fixed to be "Love Breaks Again", and so on and so on.

Said tags are pretty easy to understand as well, as when a character says something, you put a tag beside their dialogue to show that they said it, whether it be a normal tag, or an action tag. This story has a pretty good grasp on how to do those mostly, but there are still a couple of errors. Between a conversation of two people, there should still be said tags. Although in some situations, no said tags could be alright, if there's one or two lines of dialogue, to speed things along for the reader, between a long conversation of two characters there should still be said tags in order for no one to become confused, in which I can't blame them.

Then there are lines in which a simple comma mistake can ruin the entire sentence grammatically. That sentence being: “Ah yes, there you are” she reaches into her bag and pulls out a scroll “this is for you.” Fixing it though would result in a nice clean sentence such as: "Ah yes, there you are," she reaches into her bag and pulls out a scroll, "this is for you." Or it could even be changed to "Ah, yes, there you are," she reaches into her bag and pulls out a scroll. "This message is for you." Though, it's really your choice.

Moving away from that, this story doesn't really do well in the department of showing versus telling. The entire story is written in telling alone, and any parts that were written in showing were purely accidental.
If you don't know what it's meant between showing and telling, showing would be to give a descriptive format of objects and people, as well as give a descriptive explanation to the environment, feelings, memories, senses, what happens in the story, and et cetera. Telling would be more to give a quick, straightforward, and direct telling without much description on what happened through the story.

Though, a better example to show and tell in a story would be to give examples of it, rather than to explain it. This example, though, came from one of my previous critiques.

Tell: Walking down the hallway of the hospital, I checked the room numbers passed by until I made it to room 405.

Show: Slightly cringing from the foul smell of old people entering my nostrils, I continued walking down the hallway. Constantly checking each room number I passed, I glanced toward the room number '405', knowing I had arrived.

Tell: The door opened by a white male inside the house. Greeting us, he let me inside.

Show: The door swiftly opened as a white male stood on the other side of the doorframe. He extended his forearm, firmly shaking my hand with a wide smile. After greeting himself, he let me inside.

Showing can be used to expand the length of your story, and can generate loads of interest for the reader as they're going along your story. Showing should be used to some degree in a story like this, so then readers will at least get a basic understanding of the characters as themselves, and to get a feel for the tone put into the story as well as the mood of each scene.

Showing can also be used so then the reader can get a better understanding of the romance between the two characters, as well as understanding where the sadness and darkness would be coming from, as they were used as tags for the story.

As stated before in the First Impression, the pacing would require to be at a good level of standing, for the romance, emotion, and dark to settle in and make it benefit the story in the ways that it should. There are plenty of ways to slow down the pacing of the story, and a common way of doing such would be to use show versus tell, what was just described above.

As the story mostly utilizes telling, and also said before, any parts that were written in showing were purely accidental, the pacing of the story as a whole is completely destroyed. What could be a long and heart-filling story about the romance between a gryphon and a pony is sped through like a treadmill on full speed. Really, it feels as if the story is attempting to go through it as fast as possible, only to get to the next chapter, not focusing on the storytelling that could really be taking place.

Another thing noticed within the story -- probably only I noticed it, but I'll address it anyways -- is that the story feels as if it's attempting to feel like a poem itself, but stay true to it's story-like feel. As the story itself is centered around the usage of writing and reading poetry, it is understandable to feel as such, and it could create astounding writing if used correctly.

The only problem though when it comes to poetry and stories, is that stories tend to be more slower paced, and a lot more detailed. Unless you're a phenomenal writer in poetry, there could be a lot of problems that could easily be hit for the story when it comes to it. The pacing of the story is proof as a problem between it, and if should be used, it should be used with great caution for the story.

Other than those major problems that lurk the story, there are a quite number of fewer problems that are about in the story, or at least, the first chapter of the story. Things such as double periods, double spaces, double enter spaces, wrong punctuation (" used instead of '), lowercase letters that should be capitalized, and no periods could be easily fixed if looked for at all while writing or editing the story. The story as a whole has a pretty good grasp on grammar and punctuation though, so there's nothing really needed to worry on those two of the three.

- Story -

The story revolves around the main protagonist, Akira, a female gryphon who is having trouble finding love. After meeting Corin, a stallion pegasus, Akira gets it down with Corin, but not in that way, in a very poetic way.
Getting on the story though, the main story thus far is pretty straightforward and basic. Akira wants someone to love, and here comes Corin, pop from where ever he came from. Akira gets a few weird dreams here and there, but that's nothing really major, unless it is in the future of the story.

Nothing really major happens in the first chapter, as that's the likely thing to be, coming from a romance fic. The characters are introduced, they fall in love, get married, and then are invited to a royal wedding at the end of chapter one. The only major problem though, as stated plenty of times before, would be the pacing in which the story is going for.

Yeah Yeah, the pacing was off, you might say. I'll just fix it when I have the chance. Although the pacing of the story could be fixed with time, it would take a long time in order to understand which type of pacing you would want to take, and it would take even a longer time to edit everything in a newer format in order to meet the requirements for that type of speed for the pacing.

First you would have to go through the pacing in order to give the dark a good spotlight in the story, so then readers have a clear understanding why it is affecting the characters, story, and tone as a whole. Doing that in later chapters would need some clear describing, something that the story as of right now doesn't really do that much.

Then you would have to get the right type of pacing for the sadness in the story, as well as developing other emotions for the readers. This, all in all, will cover the clear and precise reactions and emotions of the characters, as well as finding a way for the reader to understand why those feelings are being felt for the character. Not much of that is done in the story, as the story flies by weeks of in-story time to speed forward to Corin's proposal.

Then the same for romance, but to also show the other things that those two have in common. Nothing really much is shown to be in common between the two, other than that they love poetry, as well as writing it. A lot could be done with their romance to get a believable romance going on between them.

The same would have to be done for the first person perspective of the story, as Akira doesn't really do that much describing when she goes about utilizing things and seeing them. A lot of work could be done in the showing in general to fully utilize Akira's five senses altogether though, so that would only add onto the pile of things that would be needed to be done.

The tone and mood could also benefit from the pacing of the story being slowed down a bunch. Then, the reader will be easily able to identify the tone put into each scene between the characters, their interactions, and the setting in which they are in. Slowing down the pacing will also give a greater sense in the mood for when things become dark or sad, as well as it being obviously great for the romantic parts as well.

Other than the pacing rant, the story as of the first chapter is on a good track. Going back and editing some things so then the pacing of the story so on will be alright is pretty encouraged, and it might even serve you good in the future as it comes around to help you.

- Conclusion -

Breaking the sort of third-person aspect of the critique, I've been debating for a while whether or not to recommend it. I haven't had a recommendable story once since starting these critiques, and I didn't really expect to come across a story in which I would need to do a critique on and recommend, as the main focus of these critiques is to help new and old writers with making a story look appealing for the first impression of most readers -- thus being, First Impressions Critiques.

I'm going to say hell to my previous thoughts, and I'm going to go ahead and recommend this story. Although the description may not be up to par to the best stories out there, it's a pretty basic and quick read at the current state. I would love to see some further improvement on the story as a whole in later updates though, like fixing the multiple grammar and punctuation mistakes pointed out in the critique as a starter.

As I've said before, every story has the potential to become a great story, and if the author is capable of recognizing it's potential and uses it correctly, then I can expect very great things for them in the future.

A quick solution to the multiple grammar and punctuation issues would to be use Google Docs or Microsoft Word, as they're pretty simple on the outside. If you can't do either of those, then hire an editor and transfer the file over to them for editing before you release the chapter or story up on the site. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of people willing to accept the development of your story, as long as you're willing to work with them when they need it. Just ask, and I'm pretty sure you will find a bunch hiding somewhere.

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Comments ( 2 )

Thanks so much for doing this! :pinkiehappy:
and yah, i suck at grammar. and pacing. and story descriptions.:twilightblush:
but hay, i have a good excuse (its actually a horrible excuse). i was entering it into a contest so i needed to get it done fast, so i kinda just botched everything. so it doesn't have much chance of doing well now.
also, i think ill take out the dark tag from the story. it dose have a hint of of it in the story, but i think it will be better without it.

I think in general, i published it too early, but as i said i was entering it in the contest so yah. but I will definitely keep trying to improve it.

Well said. 2374935 And it happens to fit my opinion of the story, I'm sorry to say. If it makes you feel any better, I think I fell into that same trap with my entry as well.

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