Blade's Edge : Forum : C.M. Clark's "Run"

C.M. Clark's "Run"

13 Years Ago

First off, let me say that I dug the scenes, the tech, the future timeline... really good sci-fi foundation. It told me you have a love for sci-fi and you loved making the world in "Run". To me this is 85% of what it takes to write stuff that people will want to read and later reread.

The other 15%....

I'm going to toss out this recommendation to ANY writer who is serious, and I do mean serious, about being a published writer.

Get and read this book: "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman. My wife bought it for me for like $8 at Barnes and Noble. I know its a pain to read up on stuff, and whatnot... but there are things that all amateur writers do that absolutely limit the quality of their writing.

I'm reading this book now, and let me tell you, it IS a great way to knock off some of the most obvious habits that will get your manuscript rejected... and it will improve your writing. Read it, and take each chapter you are readinging and apply it to the first few pages of your book (like the author tells you to).

You will be amazed.

With that said, C.M., what I did was I just took your first scene and applied what I've learned from Lukeman's book to it.

Compare this to your posted version, and see what changes you like, and what you don't like. I did this as much for constructive feedback for you as I did for practice for me with what I've learned. This is NOT the end-all, its just another amateur writer's attempt to give feedback/advice. It also could be improved, I'm certain.

Here is the opening scene:


I stood still, watching absently as they readied my brother's body for burial. I couldn�t look away as the workers placed him in the bare metal casket that would carry him to Nakel Three, a burial planet. I�d never see his vibrant eyes again, or hear his sandy voice that always reminded me of our childhood, our safe years together. Memories flooded, so many I became lost in them. My confidant, my friend, lay silent, awaiting burial. The hiss from the casket sealing brought me back to the moment.

The workers had receded, the priest was closing the book. I hadn�t heard a single word he�d said! My brother�s funeral, and I had no idea what passage had been read! Or anything the priest had said! Dismay wracked my mind until I realized the love I�d felt during my recollections were the best tribute I could have paid him. Still, my eyes watered and I fought to prevent the flow of tears.

"Miss, do you want a minute alone?" the priest questioned.

While probably genuine, I couldn�t help feeling I�d been given a standard line. I could only nod. It was still too surreal, and I was in some kind of shock. It felt like if I didn�t face up to the reality right there in the temple, I might never fully recover. So I tried to put a perspective together and immediately the enormity of Solven�s death hit me; hot tears burst forth, though I stifled the cry.

With that I forced myself toward the casket. I placed my hand on the cool surface, thinking it both impersonal and protective at the same moment. I brought forward the red rose I�d gotten for him. Blood red, but with a strong green stem. Like Solven, complex and beautiful in his thoughts, but simple in his character: you always knew where you stood with him. I knew he�d want me to be strong, and happy, not devastated and suffering. It was enough to stem the flow of tears, and for me to dry my face.

I sighed heavily, and found a place in the casket�s fixture to loop the rose into place. I doubted any worker would dare remove it, and imagined its withered petals falling off just as he was laid to rest on Nakel. One last tear escaped as I began to consider the greater reality.

"I'll find out if he did this to you," I whispered and bit my lip. I couldn't lose it here, I wasn't going to break down. "I will find out. I promise you that." For long moments, I listened to my heart, wishing for one last touch from him, one more uplifting message, but it was only me. I was alone and it hurt. Hurt and that made me angry. That always helped, the anger� my focus shifted and I stepped back. �I love you Solven. See you on the other side.�

I wiped the last wetness from my face. Later, I could grieve later. I knew what I had to do next. who had killed him; I just had no idea why. What I needed was evidence that my father couldn't find a way around.


I turned and found the priest standing next to me again.

"Is anyone else coming to pay their respects? Perhaps your father?"

I suppressed the urge to ridicule the suggestion. Funny how public perception could be so vastly different than the private truth. "No, he was unable to make it�.

The priest frowned, as though I must be mistaken. I asked, "When will he get to Nakel Three?"

�He�ll be in preserve aboard the ship until departure, six days from now. The journey will take about a week."

I nodded and looked around, taking in the rest of the large hall. Dozens of other burial rites were going on at the same time, the proceedings a low hum in the air. Families gathered around in large groups. There weren�t any small parties, and certainly no one like me. I crossed my arms and hunched a little. I was the only person alone in the room.

I faced the priest. "Thank you for helping me. It means a lot."

He shifted and folded his arms into the long sleeves of his robe. "May your journey from grief be shortened by the light on the Path."

I couldn't hold it in this time. �My grief will be shortened by justice and the blood of the one who murdered my brother.� I turned to leave, my long coat swirling, fanning away any regret for voicing my truth. It was my first surge of strength since hearing of his death. Though the pain still stained my soul, I had work to do on my brother�s behalf.

It was time pay my father a visit. The questions were burning a hole in my heart.


[no subject]

13 Years Ago

interesting. I've never had anyone rewrite my own writing. What you wrote was good, but it just doesn't seem to be the MC at all. Plus this scene gives us the mystery of why their father would kill his son. and you have at the end that she is going to go meet her father, she doesn't end up doing that at all. Thanks for the differnet view though :) i think i'll stick with my verison.

[no subject]

13 Years Ago

It wasn't rewriting to change the story - that was unintentional and due to my haste, sorry! ::suprised::

It was rewriting to remove the repetitive uses of the same descriptors ("metal casket" twice in the first paragraph), to remove the conflicting sentence in the second paragraph ("The area I stood in was empty. I stood almost alone in this area now."), to correct the spelling errors (you used "since" instead of "sense"... "mater" instead of "matter"), to remove the awkward and distracting wording in the fourth paragraph ("My brother's death had happened so� there wasn't a word to describe how fast, sudden. There hadn't even been any kind of warning. None. How long did
shock last for?".... in a few paragraphs you contradict this by saying there was a warning from her brother), to remove the minute detail about the transfer of finances form a paragraph that should have been ALL about the rose, her grief, and the moment (save that kind of factual data for a scene in which it is relevant).

To be frank, I only got so far in your story before I realized the basic problems were present. I started addressing them before finishing it all. I'll finish it, though, if you aren't too turned off by my input.

I didn't mean to offend, believe me, and I hope you take some time to review what I've suggested as examples. You absolutely should not keep what I wrote, but rather use it to see what it cleans up in your original. Get the book I mentioned, and go for it. If you're just a hobbyist writer, then there's no need to force improvement: just write for fun.

If you are serious about becoming a writer, then you need to keep an open mind when you get criticism, and learn to recognize when someone has spent time in an effort to help you (that's me in this case! ::biggrin:: ). That's why I set up this group - to try to offer help, and to receive help from those more experienced and knowledgeable than me.

[no subject]

13 Years Ago

it's quite fine, i just work better with someone pointing out that i've repeated words etc. I know see that i have repeated myself a lot in this chapter (but i've also had people comment that it works well toward the MC's state of mind.) So its a toss up of how much to change an how much to leave :)
Thanks again for the comments,

[no subject]

13 Years Ago

Cool then... I think everyone starting out should grab the book I mentioned above. It has seriously helped me, and would help anyone who read it.

One of the harder but most effective things you can do to add depth to your characters is to imagine being them in that moment. Fill your mind and heart with it... then carefully back up and choose how much of that you'll convey ... not too many words, and not too few. Luckily there's a pretty good operating gap there to work in.

But without stressing too much on the form, I'll finish reading "Run" and post again. I'll say it again, having just read the first scene, I did dig it.. I liked the feel of the place you made. But there is room for improvement: like the reviewer Elle Pepper said, add some description, let us know what she was feeling, etc.

[no subject]

13 Years Ago

Thanks :)
I so need to do some editing, i seemed to decide to edit something, then i'm like, no write this idea :D

I think once i'm done writing current novel i'll start with editing. (i hope)

[no subject]

13 Years Ago

Alrighty... got to finish the rest of the entry for "Run". Setting aside the structured stuff and focusing on the story, I really like it. You did very well with her return to the house, painting the scene, adding intrigue in the form of the recorded message from her brother, and establishing tension by her being instructed to flee the planet and her father. Good start indeed.

Question though: her brother handed her the box, but in the box's (recorded?) message, he is shot? Or is he shooting someone? I felt it was showing him being shot, but then that would conflict with her revealing they didn't know how her brother died, so I'm a little lost.

I wanted to let you know that the concept of "raw writing" is what I should have considered when looking at this piece. Writing to get it all out, then going back to editing is one method I started doing at first. But since I received the books clearly showing the bad habits I had, I stopped, and resorted to editing, and practicing what I'd learned on my first chapter. You are raw writing and that is great. There is plenty of time to refine later, but you already know this, so I'll hush up now. ;)

[no subject]

13 Years Ago

Thanks for the comments. I've had a couple people comment on the message her brother sends her. I have an idea to make it work better, so we know how the message got to the box in her room :D
i really do plan on getting back to editing. Now it's just picking what i should editing!!

Thanks again!