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 esr960's (Eugene's) Story

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Whigworld
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PostSubject: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:38 am

Use this thread to critique Eugene's story once posted on Box.net
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:23 am

Eugene,

Just finished "Pretty Was Her Face," and here are my two cents ...

I thought it was a really good story and a lot of fun. The twist with the witch stealing faces was very clever and unexpected. I guess my only comment overall would be that I feel it should be fleshed out a little more. There are spots when there's plenty of exposition, and spots where it zips right through a topic and moves on. I guess it would be hard to flesh out everything within the confines of a short story, so maybe just balance out the quick parts and the slow parts.

One question that I have: If the king opened up the contest to princes far and wide, how was the locksmith able to enter? He was a pauper.

Anyway, great story, and with some spit and polish I know it's going to be amazing!
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:46 pm

Thanks for the comments, Trib. I read a bunch of the Grimms Brothers' fairy tales to figure out how they structured their stories. Oddly, most of their storytelling is compressed, but there are moments where things are decompressed. For example, the backstory of Cinderellla zips by. Even the formal balls go by quickly. But then there are moments that go on for much longer, like the step-sisters cutting off parts of their feet. It's an odd balance. I tried playing with it, but as you've pointed out, the balancing act makes the story feel lopsided. I'll try to smooth things out.

About the locksmith entering the contest ... I'll write a scene or two that will explain how he cheats or sneaks in.

Thanks again, Trib.
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:21 pm

My critique:

This was certainly an interesting story! I loved it. It held my interest throughout, and I loved how you played with the language. Especially the first third, where you really kept to the language and tone of a fairy tale, that was great! I think you should rework some other parts, where you lose that tone and make it all feel the same. Most of it was flawless though.

I agree with Trib about the compression/decompression thing, and although the Grimms might have done the same, I think it would make your story better if you did flesh out certain parts. And then ending felt rushed. I loved the action scene at the end, and you kept me guessing, but it still seemed to roll along at a breakneck from the 2nd night when he saw the princess through to the end, and I think some sections could have used more of the character's emotions. While I agree that the Prince of Deering could have betrayed his friend for the girl, I wish their argument had been a little deeper emotionally.

The formatting of the dialogue was distracting, though, and needs some work. I prefer to put dialogue from different people on a new line so that the reader has no problem following the conversation. Yours all tends to stay in the same paragraph and might get merged together. I would address that.

This was a great ride. I think after a little bit of tweaking, this could be a perfect scary fairy tell. Very well done, my friend!
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:54 pm

Shranman wrote:
My critique:

This was certainly an interesting story! I loved it. It held my interest throughout, and I loved how you played with the language. Especially the first third, where you really kept to the language and tone of a fairy tale, that


Thanks for the notes, Shranny.

I definitely wanted to see what people thought of the dialogue formatting. The translations of the Grimms' fairy tales usually don't format the dialogue the way modern readers are used to. So I formatted the dialogue the way they did to give it more of a Grimms' feel. If it's too distracting then I'll change it. (What does everyone else think?)

Another thing I had trouble with was balancing exposition and emotion. The Grimm tales are so stripped down that emotions are left out in favor of story. The shift that Shranny points out where I lose the language and tone of a fairy tale, had a lot to do, I think, with my more frequent use of dialogue from then on to create emotional connections between the characters. That's something I could definitely use some help with. Do I make it more of a modern story with decompressed storytelling, stronger and longer emotional beats, and more dialogue? Or do I strip it down even more to make it more of a traditional Grimms' fairy tale? Any suggestions?
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:08 pm

I love you cheers I LOVED THIS TALE!! It was wonderful and yes, I did notice your use of a Grimm's like language and it was perfect. Don't lose that, as it sets the stage for the entire piece. Bravo! It was so colorful and has a beautiful bittersweet twist to the ending. An adult fairy tale for sure with a moral at the end.

Appearenaces and material wealth and gain are not what makes us happy in life. THE KEY to happiness is truth and love.

The only things I would embellish ( not change ) are these:

Page nine:

The fact that the locksmith returned, freed and married the beautiful Princess is all jammed into one paragraph. It is way too fast. You have left out so much there that the reader feels cheated.

It would be more full bodied if you described how the locksmith felt - perhaps fear, joy, aprihension - about finally freeing his true love from the dungeon, all the while looking over his shoulder for the evil witch, yet to his dismay or surprise, she never shows up. Something like that to set up the reader for the ending.

Then go on and continue to describe all the wonderful things bestowed upon him by the King like the clothes and the sword, etc.

The Ending:

Great ending. It pained my heart to read it too. Just what you want the reader to feel.

But I felt this needed more embelishment as well. Get into his head and tell us of his great sorrow, even though he seemed to have it all, he still never did have anything because of the great love he had to forfit.

...and for long loving hours he would gaze upon his lost love. The real joy of his entire existance. Treasured more than life itself, imprisoned forever more in it's icy cell. Her beauty more fair than all the royal jewels housed in all the vaults in the castle.

He remembered her love, warmer than a trillion brilliant suns, now imprisoned forever in the ice of forevermore.

Long hours spent weeping over the rememberance of his undying love for the innocent Princess. He wept over the sad knowledge of the futility in craving what is on the outside of the human heart. Riches, status and all the wealth the world has to offer are nothing compared the treasure of true love encased deep within the human heart.

He remembered her heart, he remembered her love, he remembered how pretty was her face.

I believe this story should be the grand finale to our book. Starting with Trib's and ending with Eugene's ! What wonderful bookends to a fantastic novel by G10!!

"He who binds himself to joy
Doth the winged life destroy...
But he who kisses the joy
As if flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise"

~~ William Blake ~~
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:22 pm

Great suggestions, TDC! I'll definitely embellish the emotions in the sections you pointed out.
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:11 pm

Eugene, great story and I was impressed by the Grimm-ness of it. I like the suggestions the others have above, but I'm not sure if I read a newer version (V2?) than they did. As cool as I think it is that you studied the Grimm's structure, you probably need to keep in mind that most people who read it aren't going to get that (or care, if they do). Great job!

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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:48 pm

You're completely right, Chris. I'm going to fix up the format a bit to make it more reader friendly and make it more of a modern short story in Grimms' clothing (instead of trying to force it to be a Grimms' fairy tale).
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:57 pm

mysterious king mysterious queen mysterious

Eugene! This is perfection!

I decided to read it out loud to my family. They were transfixed by your story and the way it read like a wonderful fairy tale! They loved the ending! It rolled off my tongue like honey and the way it reads is perfect.

Stunning work! I wouldn't change a thing. It is just right as far as tempo, and story line.

I might put a "key wingding" ( Tribble is in charge of that) between the end of the night the Locksmith spends with The Princess talking, and the dawn of the next evening when he returns and she tells him the tale of how her Father got himself into the mess with the Whitch. It helps break up the scenes for the reader.

My family says this is a beautiful and tragic adult fairy tale, modern yet the moral implications are fitting for even a gradeschooler to comprehend! In short: a read for the entire family!

YOU'VE OUTDONE YOURSELF! BRAVO!!

queen king cheers
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:38 am

eugene,

this is perfect. with the exception of final copy editing, i thing the nail has been hit on the head.

good work.
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:35 am

I know that those who've read my latest draft think it's almost there. But a friend of mine gave me a note that has been irking me for the past week. To implement his note would mean the next draft would be a significant rewrite. Just for giggles, I'm going to see how this rewrite will look. (But I might break my brain doing it).
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:56 am

affraid I think you should rely on outside remarks, but ultimately, isn't it the way your story "fits" with the theme and how we all feel it reads in the context of our mission and vision for the book?

If someone hasn't read the complete works and toiled over how they all fit together, than I wouldn't get too much off on a tangent!!

I love this story and wouldn't want you to re-write it and loose it's beauty and fairy-tale vibe!

My dose centavos! mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:56 am

Eugene, I'm not sure what Whig meant in his email about you King at the end, but I did't think the story needed anything more.

The only character flaw I see of the King is that he was a thief. But, I guess he got his punishment in a way at the end. But that connection is never put in print, so it's subjective. Not that a connection has to be made. The story stands well on it own.

The narrative reads like a fairy tale - Grimm or other. I've written a story that sounds similar, so it felt just right to me. I thought you picked up all the little nuances of a fairy tale-like telling so well that it made me grin at times. Very nice work.

I sent you a file with minor things you may have already picked up.

Eugene, you are such a wonderfully versitle writer. Love it!

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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:39 pm

Eugene, my first thought is that even though your friend is right, if none of us noticed it very few other readers probably will. Second, it seems to me that with the fairy tale style you've used, it allows you to have things go on that might not work in a modern narrative told in a straightforward way. In other words, I think you can get away with not explaining the king's actions without it bothering most people.

But if you really want to change it, my suggestion would be to play up the fact that he's under the control of the bracer when he does "bad" things, but that he still can't resist his daughter's wishes. Maybe just adding something about him seeing how happy his daughter is with the locksmith/"prince" that it overrides the control of the bracer.

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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:42 pm

Idea Exclamation Idea Exclamation Arrow Arrow I love you

You have my email, Eugene! I can't add more to anything anyone has said, especially Sally Jean here! She is absolutely dead on in her comments.

Your story is brilliant and one I loved reading aloud to my family! It dazzled 'em!!

HOW PRETTY WAS HER FACE is a stunner just as it is.

mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:21 pm

I've placed my latest version of "Pretty" in the 3rd draft folder to get final approval of the end before passing it over to Trib's Final Folder. The new stuff starts at the bottom of page 12 with a new reveal at the middle of page 14 (with a nod to Doc's great note).

Let me know if you think it works.
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PostSubject: Re: esr960's (Eugene's) Story   Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:45 am

IT WORKS...WONDERS!!
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