Want me to edit your first 200 words?
E-mail them to gaia.b.amman at gmail dot com with subject 200 words and keep an eye on the blog. I have a long waiting list, but I’m hoping to get to everyone! Let me know if you want your name or blog in the post, or if you wish your work to remain anonymous.Feel free to reblog and add your personal answer or any comments you might find useful for the authors who submit their first 200 words. Disagreeing with me is very reasonable and encouraged ^_^
This is the text as I received it:
>Brownish green water stirred, sharp rain agitating it's surface. I stared at it from the bridge, head poking out the opening in its side to feel the rain. To observe the water. To wait.
> The ripples are small, but they should be enough. the rain will bring it up. It can't resist the feel of cool, fresh water.
> The ripples started disappearing momentarily as the wake of something larger overtook them. Something under the water. I knew where it liked to go. Center of the river, a mile from either shore. Right in the shadow of the bridge. A spot few human beings have seen. I took a breath and shuffled my feet, waiting. A clang echoed from the floor; in my nervousness I had kicked the piece of metal that used to be where my head is now.
> The wake disappeared and the ripples overtook the water again. My breath caught in my throat. Did it dive? Did I scare it away? Or was it simply staying still, holding its breath just as I was?
> I noticed a splotch of red, just below the surface. It wasn't five feet away. The water parted around it as it rose and the hair on my arms rose with it.
- The great thing about this piece is that it starts on a great scene. Something mysterious and violent is happening and we don’t know what it is. There is great creativity at work here, but we need to address some issues in the writing. The most important characteristic in a writer are in fact creativity and the will to write. Everything else can be worked on :)
- Tense! You start in the past (stirred) move to present (the ripples are small) then go back to past. It’s a bit of a mess. You have to be consistent with tense. This is one big red flag. Here is a post to help you with tense choice and being consistent (Unless it was a thought? In which case italicize)
Descriptions. I am very confused about most of the sentences in this piece. In general, it is very difficult for us writers to convey to the readers what is in our head. Imagine you know nothing and read your piece again. What do you understand? Here is a post on mastering descriptions.
--“I stared at it from the bridge, head poking out the opening in its side to feel the rain. To observe the water. To wait.” I am guessing this is some sort of covered bridge? Because normally bridges are open and I could not understand if you meant he was under the bridge. (Why would he stick his head out? Opening on its side? Most bridges have railings)
--“The ripples are small, but they should be enough. the rain will bring it up.” Enough for what? The ripples caused by the rain or is there something else?
--“It can’t resist the feel of cool, fresh water.” Isn’t it in a fresh water, cool river?
--“The ripples started disappearing momentarily as the wake of something larger overtook them”. This could be poetic, but they don’t disappear they become bigger.
--“A spot few human beings have seen.” Yet, anyone could see it from the bridge (it’s right under its shadow).
--“I took a breath.” Was he not breathing before?
--“A clang echoed from the floor” Echo is sound returned by a surface. When the sound is generated it’s not an echo.
--“in my nervousness I had kicked the piece of metal that used to be where my head is now.” What? His head was a piece of metal? What?
--“It wasn't five feet away.” Then, where was it? I know what you mean, but it’s an unfortunate choice of words.
“I liked the sentence “holding its breath just like I was” but IT is under water, so it’s a bit of an unfortunate choice ;)
- You have a few fragment sentences. E.g. “To wait.” Or “Under the water.” This could be intentional and contribute to your “voice” but as it is I would discourage it, implementing it only in very specific scenes. To avoid fragments, keep in mind that each sentence in between periods needs a subject, verb, and often an object.
- Agitating it's its surface. “its” denotes property (of the water). Watch out! This is another mistake that will get you in the deleted pile.
- What’s with all the >? I guess it was forwarded, maybe? Edit your work. Love it. Always make it the best it can be <3
The brownish green water below me stirred, sharp rain agitating its surface. I stared at it from the bridge, waiting, getting soaked.
Suddenly, bigger ripples swallowed the regular pattern of the rain. I squinted and saw a shadow under the water. It’s here!
My hair stood on edge. I blinked and lost sight of it. The water went back to its murky rain pattern. Did I scare it away? Or is it staying still, biding its time just as I am?
A splotch of red bloomed just below the surface of the river, merely five feet away from me. The water parted around it as it rose. I jumped back and screamed.
I am Gaia B Amman, the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS), a YA series taking place in gorgeous Italy, and talking about everything I was told is impolite to talk about ;)
The last volume, book 4, comes out November 6th!!! YAY ^_^
The books are recommended for ages 13 and above, but most of my readers are adults.
Like my advice?
My Indie Author Guide, collecting all of my advice, is available on Amazon for $2.99, but Tumblr folks can get it for free here :)
From the guide a treat for you <3 (I am at the 4 weeks stage now, EXCITEMENT RISING! Book launch party 11/12/16!!!!)