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Old 05-08-2015, 08:14 AM   #1
partwolf
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Rookie looking for more meaningful feedback

Hi all,
I started posting my story in Nonhuman a while back, as I've added chapters I've become more comfortable with writing and I think it is improving, but the feedback comments don't help so much. My latest chapter is at
https://www.literotica.com/s/behind-...were-war-ch-06

but the whole story from the beginning runs about 15 Literotica pages so it isn't that long.

This is my first effort at creative writing in 30 years; I would appreciate any substantive feedback on my work.

Thanks all
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:01 AM   #2
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Just a few suggestions (and only a small sample) to get rid of some dead wood, 'then's and 'that's and 'and's and 'begun's and 'started's; tighten up some run-ons and hopefully speed the pace. You may not agree, certainly you are pretty good already, but if I were to make changes:


The she-wolf loped along the river, her black paws gripping the meadow grass, the sun warm on her white fur. It was a glorious morning to be a were; the smells of the forest surrounded her; she had the long denied freedom to move through open fields and woods without fear. Her long strides ate up the miles (with no effort,) as she moved upstream (to where the field gave way) toward a rocky canyon. Picking her way to the top, she continued parallel to the river flowing through rapids below her.

The wind carried his smell. He was near. Her right ear, the black one, twitched; she scented the air, desperate to find him. She (followed the wind) upstream, her pace quickened, her heart beat faster (rate increased), the smell of her arousal followed behind her.(to follow his scent, she would be going INTO the wind)

(Rounding the next bend,) Suddenly she saw him: magnificent; young, rippling with power. She froze, (as she) staring at him. (while he just) He stood (there on) atop (of) a rock on the other side of the river, gazing over the landscape with the confidence and bearing of an apex predator. His wavy brown coat (seemed to) glowed in the bright sunlight. His head (slowly) turned, his eyes of deep green flecked with brown, burned their way into her soul, forcing her to submit (without thinking). She lowered her eyes, turned to present her swollen sex to him, looking back to see (that) his erection (was) swelling to impressive size. It remained (that size) swollen when he shifted to human form. His gaze (still) fixed on her as he (began to) lazily stroked himself. She shape-shifted to match him. Her curly black hair framed her face and shoulders, her nipples achingly erect as she stared at him across the canyon. One hand (immediately went) fell to her sopping (one or the other, not both) wet sex, (and she) inserted) two fingers (and began to) stroking in time with him. Evidence of her arousal was flowed down her thighs as she sawed her fingers in and out, driving herself higher and higher. Her face radiated pleasure as she watched him build to his release. His muscular body, his bedroom face, his long cock with the scar at the end that tickled her cunt when (every time) it (would) drove in; all (that was going) whirled(?) through her mind as she built toward (a huge) orgasm. He knew she was close. He walked towards her, his dick pointing right at her. As suddenly as he had morphed, he faded away.
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:37 AM   #3
LadyVer
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It was a glorious morning to be a wolf would make more sense. I read an occasional were story, but prefer some romance to it, a slow build up of plot and characters. I'd say more but work calls and I'm on my tablet. Good luck!
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:20 PM   #4
slyc_willie
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Starting with a poem (even from a Garth Brooks song) is a nice touch, and sets the stage for a romance. After that, however, the story falls flat on a number of levels.

For one, "it was a glorious morning to be a were." The etymology of the term "werewolf" has were meaning "man." Maybe it's just a nitpick, but you're telling the reader "it was a glorious morning for [Renee] to be a [man/human]."

On the other hand, at least you didn't use "lycan." I could never stand that term.

For another, there's really not that much going on. You're giving us a few jilted sex scenes, some kind of nightmare, a little bit of character development . . . but I feel like I'm reading a field report on werewolves. There's no action. There's nothing that pulled me in.

Your story includes immense amounts of block text. Break them up a little. Try to keep paragraphs to smaller numbers of lines (say, 5 to 8 lines at the most). Big blocks of text are difficult to follow.

You switch locations in your story a lot, which is fine, but indicating the change of locale could be handled better. Here's what you wrote:

Quote:
. . . fired upon as it tried to land. Stan didn't want to risk any other men on a plan that wasn't working. He needed help. He called in to headquarters and explained what he wanted.

Former Den Caves, West of Cheyenne

Linda Remington emerged from her tent energized for another day. Her access to Derek's pack had been a boon to her career, and she was taking advantage of it. She had arrived the previous evening along with her technician Len and cameraman Tony. They had been invited by Alpha Derek to observe and report on their recovery effort.
Consider the following change:

Quote:
. . . fired upon as it tried to land. Stan didn't want to risk any other men on a plan that wasn't working. He needed help. He called in to headquarters and explained what he wanted.

* * * *

Former Den Caves, West of Cheyenne

Linda Remington emerged from her tent energized for another day. Her access to Derek's pack had been a boon to her career, and she was taking advantage of it. She had arrived the previous evening along with her technician Len and cameraman Tony. They had been invited by Alpha Derek to observe and report on their recovery effort.
Using "* * * *" is widely accepted as a scene break, and there are numerous variations. They tell the reader that the focus of the story has shifted to someone or somewhere else. Placing the name of the new location in bold separates it from the text.

In some places, you have two characters speaking in the same paragraph. Split that up. You should only have one person's dialogue per paragraph.

The story needs some hooks, some drama. I can tell you put a lot of effort into building the background and establishing motives and situations; it would be a shame to see all that lost because the story was flat.
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Old 05-13-2015, 02:26 AM   #5
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What's the point of asking for criticism, if the author doesn't return to acknowledge it?

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Old 05-13-2015, 03:37 AM   #6
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Maybe he's waiting for more feedback?
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Old 05-13-2015, 01:35 PM   #7
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I suppose . . . .
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:43 AM   #8
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Sorry I got tied up in work and home stuff

and haven't been writing or reviewing the board in a week or so.

I do appreciate the feedback, both on the writing aspect and the plot lines. I'm working on the next chapter now, I'll try to expand the action and the romance part so the sex scenes have more context. I was a little surprised at the "tighten this up" comment, normally I tend to write in a compact style so I have to force myself to expand on ideas and scenes.

Next chapter is a while off, so I have time to think more about the comments and make it better.
Thanks
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by partwolf View Post
and haven't been writing or reviewing the board in a week or so.

I do appreciate the feedback, both on the writing aspect and the plot lines. I'm working on the next chapter now, I'll try to expand the action and the romance part so the sex scenes have more context. I was a little surprised at the "tighten this up" comment, normally I tend to write in a compact style so I have to force myself to expand on ideas and scenes.

Next chapter is a while off, so I have time to think more about the comments and make it better.
Thanks
Just remember that feedback is only one person's opinion; there's no obligation to take any of it to heart.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyc_willie View Post
The etymology of the term "werewolf" has were meaning "man." Maybe it's just a nitpick, but you're telling the reader "it was a glorious morning for [Renee] to be a [man/human]."

On the other hand, at least you didn't use "lycan." I could never stand that term.

This drives me nuts too. I don't see why everyone feels like inventing terminology for such things. We already have the word "werewolf," and it's a perfectly good word. Let's just stick with that? I realize it's too late to go and change a little thing like the title of the entire serial now, but still.

You asked for feedback on chapter 6 but I decided to go back to the beginning instead because...well, surely that's the natural inclination of any new reader? Perhaps this is less timely and therefore less helpful than you'd like, but I'm only doing what almost anyone approaching the material for the first time would do.

Let's take a look:


Quote:
He didn't really need the paper, he had felt through his Alpha bond each of the twelve deaths as they occurred
...then why in the world did anyone bother to write a report about it? In fact, shouldn't he be reporting this to everyone else? He knew first.


Quote:
Now the Pack numbered barely a hundred, most of those children and widows.
Wait, really? He's lost more than 80 percent of his entire population and presumably almost all of his ready, combat soldiers, but he's still ordering direct attacks like this airstrip raid? Well, no wonder he's losing. Shouldn't everyone be hiding out and trying to convince the world they're all already dead rather than throwing more lives away? I mean, think about it, 80 percent in five years: war's over, you're done. I'm not a military mind, but this is just common sense.

But let's play devil's advocate here and point out that the raid, if successful, might have saved the lives of the small number he has left. But really, then what? The airstrikes stop...except, no, they really don't. These are drones, they can launch from halfway around the world. There are other airbases around. But anyway, let's ignore that and pretend it would really make a difference. Then what? You can't really go on the offense. You can't replenish your numbers. They're going to keep attacking in other ways that might be less effective but are still going to whittle you down. What was the plan here? It seems the only reason this attack is happening is because a story called "Were War" probably demands that the werewolves make war, even if it doesn't make any sense.


Quote:
It was a far cry from the wealth and stature of the manor that used to house the main Pack. The manor had been a massive structure of lodgepole pine and glass...
This is the beginning of a HUGE infodump which is particularly problematic for a couple of reasons: One, it's redundant, because we already heard that his family was killed in the bombing just a few paragraphs ago, and now we're hearing the exact same thing again, but longer. Two, if it's so needful for the reader to know all this backstory, then why is it not just the main story? Surely that would be an exciting narrative: Their cover is blown, the war is on (how did the Pentagon know to attack this one family, by the way?), this young, untried leader has lost everything and he's immediately flung into a dangerous situation that he likely won't survive himself but he has a responsibility to lead.

Hearing about this all in the past tense is A) awkward and B) spoils the natural tension of these events, because it's all ancient history and foregone conclusions rather than an immediate story with stakes and the potential for drama. Also, these flashbacks are redundant, since you'll notice that if the story were set in the 2016 years instead of 2021 we would still read about the exact same sequence of significant events as we do now. Only the order would change. Why is it conveyed in this way at all? Simply put: Because amateur fantasy writers are fond of "backstory" and tend to associate "backstory" with drama and gravitas. (This is a bad habit we've learned from a great many professional fantasy writers, of course.)

As long as I'm at it, does anyone else think this just doesn't "feel" like a werewolf story? Guerrilla war, air strikes, secret societies, terrorism, what does all this have to do with werewolves? Notice that you could just turn the werewolves into terrorists and the basic outline of the plot would be unchanged. The only really significant contribution the werewolf theme makes to the main plot is a few magical powers...which in this case don't feel terribly werewolfy to me either. Empathic bonds and such aren't things we generally associate with werewolf myths or movies or so on. I mean, if you want to do that kind of thing, fine. People who preach about "rules" for monsters can go fuck themselves. But all told, the werewolf element doesn't leave a very big thumbprint on this story at all, and is mostly only reflected in the brief school attack scene. Speaking of which...


Quote:
The video was a national sensation. The school had an advanced security system that had caught not only the attack, but the seven werewolves already in the school as they shifted into wolf form and back. There were dozens of witnesses. In a few minutes, the secrecy that Weres had used to protect their existence was shattered.
Wow. Joe was an incredible moron, wasn't he? There must have been any number of better times and places for a revenge brawl, but this is the one he picked? Now, we may say he was insane with grief and rage and acted without thinking, and that's fair. ...but in that case, how did anyone manage to keep the secret this long anyway? Surely this was not the first werewolf to fly off the handle? How do we account for just this one guy blowing it right now instead of someone else equally as angry (you can't tell me this is the first time something like that has happened to a werewolf to make him sufficiently provoked) fifty or a hundred years earlier? Even without the video cameras, a bunch of werewolf schoolkids would blow the whole thing in any century.

Also: FOUR feet tall? Jesus, think about how huge of a dog that is. People notice that kind of thing. How in the world was this ever a secret if we have four-foot-tall wolves scrambling around?


Quote:
Weres who entered the military tended to gravitate towards Special Forces, Scout Snipers, SEALs and Rangers.
Oddly enough, the many medical examinations even a standard, enlisted soldier undergoes before and during just basic training failed to detect anything physiologically strange about these people, even though we've just been told that werewolfery is caused by "a virus" and that medical examination of their bodies is one of the things that caused the present crisis.


Quote:
If it had been a helicopter or jet, they could have manned the Technicals hidden in the area- pickup trucks they had modified with welded machine gun mounts, even the Stinger missile they had recovered from a truck that was ambushed last year.
Again, does anyone feel like this just doesn't read like a werewolf story? Werewolves firing stinger missiles--what's the point of them even being werewolves? They could just as well be separatist terrorists or "Red Dawn"-style guerrillas or something and the plot wouldn't change at all. In fact, aren't they already?

Here's my point: All of this feels very poorly thought out. Seems like the writer went with werewolves because it's a marketable theme, a war because it's a very easy, very obvious way to generate conflict, and an insurgency because it's topical. None of these elements really complement each other and none of them are presented in any way that doesn't feel derivative and amateurish.

We're introduced to a metric ton of plot but learn next to nothing about the characters. Why should I care that these werewolves are dying? What's sympathetic about them? What's interesting about them as people that makes me want to get on their side? I know that Derek has a lot of grief and he's under a lot of pressure, but that's all I know. About the others we learn basically nothing. I suppose this story does very effectively encapsulate the notion that the werewolves have very close, very powerful emotional bonds between all of them, even non-family, and that makes the conflict particularly tragic and the stakes particularly pronounced. That's potentially very valuable. But again, why do I care? Just because they're the protagonists? That's almost an arbitrary distinction. There are five more chapters that perhaps invest us a bit more in these folks. But this is the beginning: If I'm not sold from page one, what are the odds I'm going to bother finding out more?
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Old Yesterday, 09:39 PM   #11
partwolf
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Thanks

Those comments gave me a lot to think about. Part of it is that I had a story arc, but I'm not well practiced as a story teller. I've been parceling this story out as each chapter was developed, and thus I focused too much on the linear, adding the backstory to explain the arc I was on.

What I really wanted to do (and apparently failed at) was to attack the common theme that large numbers could live hidden among humans for all this time and control if and when they were revealed.

I need to be more patient, spend more time developing characters, and sketch out the whole thing and get it all written before posting. That sucks because I don't have that patience. The whole thing is up to 75 pages now (all chapters), I never wrote any fiction longer than a couple pages before. I think the later chapters are better, but you're right, if you don't keep reading it doesn't matter.

This stuff isn't easy. I do enjoy it though, maybe that will be enough to get better.
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Old Yesterday, 09:55 PM   #12
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It may be an issue of finding a revision process that works for you. You've got talent, so keep writing.

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