Last week, I noticed what really was wrong with Hidden Horrors of Megyntia.
I knew something was wrong. People just didn't tell me that was wrong. then someone pointed at it and - oh gosh - that was so obvious.
My problem with fiction, now that I really see it, is that I have statements.
"Goblins," Gnedrnygr growled. "And not at all friendly ones either", he said as the green-skinned things swarmed to sight. There were about twenty of them.
And this is how I'd rewrite this crap today:
"Well, heck", Gnedrnygr said. "This is what we get for keeping one step ahead of the Luck Goddess." The wizard raised his staff, and readied for battle.
In the flickering torch light, they saw goblins rush out of the dark doorways to the sides. Facyr drew his sword, and looked around warily; about twenty of the foul-smelling, annoyingly screeching creatures confronted them. As the creatures closed on them, Facyr grimaced when the reeking creatures came forth and wondered, once again, that old question of his - what actually drove these creatures defend their homes so fiercely...
Okay, perhaps not exactly like that, but the points are clear:
- Putting adjectives and descriptors to the text as a list isn't good. Plain facts are boring. The facts need to justify their existence.
- Getting a little bit inside of the heads of the characters is good. Not too much, but describing things a little bit better than
- I heard the Good Idea that "Xxxx growled" is bad. "Xxxx said" is okay.
- sigh Gnedrnygr is stating the obvious, and that's not a characteristic I'd reserve for his character (even when he could conceivably do that).
The first point is the major lesson I learned, and so is the second.
Statements of facts are something I do well on boring nonfiction text. However, I realised that doesn't work at all on fiction. Stating facts is boring. Stating facts in a way that makes sense in that exact part of the story is much better.
Getting in the character's head is a bit fun too, because it's easier to convey that way how the character really is like.
Um, I have a bit of a headache. Time to write more of this stuff later!