I am practicing writing in story form. The first time I wrote in story form was a hub that was a co-authored series, The Sinner and the Showboat (this series was followed well), then I began a series Emily's Little Life (not followed so well - not sure the hubs is the place to write a children's series or if my story writing ability is lacking.) A few days ago I wrote Melinda's Addiction with the intention of turning it into a series.
I really am not sure if the story form of writing is my forte. It takes much longer for me to convey a message in story form. I need some honest feedback from writers. Do you think that my ability to write stories is good or do I need help?
I will appreciate any and all comments. Thank YOU!
You have the very good begin of a story but it didn't flow smoothly. I would recommend sticking with one point of view. If the story is about her try her point of view and what is going on in her world. Some background may be needed but not to much. You need detail, which you have, but not too much. People tend to respond best to stories that make them think and let them use their imagination. Too much detail can bog down a story, anything that doesn't move the story forward can and should be cut out. I know from experience that it can be very hard to do but it make the story better.
You can also try starting with an outline so you have an idea of how the story is going to progress and how it is going to end. If you don't know how it is going to end you can end up running off on tangents and not getting anywhere. An outline isn't set in stone either, it's just a guideline. It can also help you figure out which characters are important and which can be left out.
Another thing to consider is action. Without action, this can include dialogue, the story doesn't move forward and that forward action is what keeps people hooked and wanting to know what happens next. Without action you have no story, just words that people may not finish reading because it doesn't grab them.
In regards to your story so far, is it absolutely necessary to go into what her parents thought and felt if this is her story? Probably not. You could add it in as part of a dialogue. The one thing that I have had pounded into me is "Show don't tell" and reading some of the bestsellers, no matter the genre, they all follow this rule. One good way to see this is look at your favorite novel. How do they show you what is going on? Is it through description or dialogue or both? What words do they use that reach out and grab you.
Don't worry though, all writing has a learning curve. The more you do it and the more you critique similar published works the better you get. You have a good start it just needs a little tweaking.
jacope, thank you for your very honest review of this hub. As I was reading your post, some of the instruction I received in college (creative writing course) came back to me. You brought it back, thank you.
As I wrote the first chapter, I was thinking that it was an introduction to the rest of the story. My plan was for the second chapter to go back to the night she took the drugs. As the story progressed we would see the pain the parents felt when they learned. The panic and fear that pushed them forward turning every stone they knew of for help. It would show how this behavior upset the whole household. I do know that if you cannot grab the attention of the reader in the first chapter then the book will not be read.
The outline is what stood out to me. I remember that is how I learned to organize writing. I've been writing off the cuff and need to apply an outline .. I see that. Thank You!
You mentioned the need for Action. The two accounts of action were of her parents kicking Melinda out and then Melinda getting kicked out of Tara's place ... not enough?
I will go through it again and look for ways I can show, not tell. The biggest purpose of this hub is to 'get inside Melinda's head.' I hope to reveal how dysfunctional and useless a victims mentality and sense of entitlement is.
I truly appreciate the time you took to read and then give me feedback. Thank you SO much! If you have anything to add - please do.
I don't know if I would say those two things were enough action or not, but I would say that it would read better if you showed them happening, maybe through the dialogue as it happened, rather than just telling about it. Action could also be what it felt like for her to be doing the drugs. What does the addiction feel like to her? How did she feel getting a high? You could show how her view of things changes through her interaction with her family, friends, etc. Then you could still show what that mentality does to the people involved without having to worry about coming across as preachy. If your goal is to get inside her head I would recommend trying 1st person, so that the reader can see inside her mind and emotions and look through her eyes.
Hope this helps,
jacope, I have been working on the hub. I've had a very busy weekend and hope to finish it up tonight. I have revised most of it now and applied more action and dialogue as it happened. You have been so very helpful.
I am hoping it reads better now and catches the attention of the reader. Any further input will be greatly appreciated.
You're very welcome. I read it again and the first part of the story is much better. In the 3rd subsection in paragraph 5 it looks like you missed the beginning of the sentence. it is also after that paragraph that you start to tell again rather than show. I would also recommend putting your second subsection after the 3rd on so it flows more chronologically as she is remembering what has happened to the present moment.
Is the last subsection meant to be a recap of the story & explanation of what a victim's mentality is? After reading the beginning of the story it kinda falls flat there because it's no longer reads as part of a story. If you want to keep that part you might want to change it so it shows what a victim's mentality is rather than explaining it. The fact that you are explaining it like the reader has no clue what a victim's mentality is I think is was makes it fall flat there.
Also have you considered changing the subtitles to flow a little better with the story? They aren't bad as they are but if you changed them to be more like a chapter title it might read better.
Oh jacope, you have given me such excellent counsel. It all rings true. Going over it again. Thank you so much!
It's much better, good job. Have you thought about having her tell the story, maybe from her point of view as an older adult the finally kicked her addiction. Like someone talking about a memory? Or maybe like diary entries? I know that there are quiet a few teen books out there that are written it that manner that are very popular. Have you read any of Ellen Hopkins' books? I think they are similar to what you are writing about. There is also one call "Go Ask Alice", the author is Anonymous but it is a popular book.
I use the story format more than any other form of writing. This may sound to simplistic but....I've learned to write as if I were telling the story aloud. My mother and grandmother were authors and they always told me "write like ya talk". Seems to work.
Thank you tobey! When I write about my own life I do that. I'll have to think of how to apply that to this story. Appreciate it so much!
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