Releasing your inner dragon

Live Edit: Focus on your story, cut pointless actions

February 08, 2024 Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake Season 4 Episode 4
Releasing your inner dragon
Live Edit: Focus on your story, cut pointless actions
Show Notes Transcript

Join Drake and Marie in a live critique where they tear apart a willing victim's work. 

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Drake looked at the jigon about to rip his face off like I don't want to look at Drake looking because that's boring so the subject is Drake and the action is looking I wanna I want the reader to see the jiren about or the Jurgen the jiggin the jiggin about to rip off Drake's face so I'm gonna I'm gonna make the jiggin the the subject so you know the jiggin ma opened as it began biting Drake's face off

welcome to releasing your inner dragon the podcast that intersects imagination and narrative I'm Marie meany your guide in the world of fantasy creation join us as we explore the magic of narrative and I'm Maxwell Alexander Drake and we're here to guide you through the craft of Storytelling bringing you insights and techniques from the vast and varied world of creative writing and unlock the secrets of the writer's craft all right so jumping into this we have somebody who sent us something for sacrifice I mean for editing and let's just start editing it so go ahead and share the screen and if you want to read we're read about 500 Words I think uh and then we'll we'll get into some details uh as always I have not even seen this I have no idea what we're [Laughter] reading okay so this is the first chapter and I'm going to read the first page of this uh novel Tarvin held still as the witch pressed the oiled stamp against his shoulder blade then muttered the incantation Tarvin shuddered as the mark dried instantly making his skin cold for a moment he hated subjecting himself to Magic but it was necessary to be regularly marked as the old ones faded there was a young girl next to him in line who had gotten her mark on her arm she tugged a sleeve down over it and asked him have you ever seen a jagan tavin nodded before he Shrugged back into his unic and tied his btic around his waist I don't think there's many left this side of the pun loock mostly closer to the Tyrant Triumph the girls eyes widened are they as big and scary as Mommy says I'd reckon Darvin said they can kill a person with one swipe of their paw and even the ones who can talk growl like angry dogs the girl whimpered and turned around to cling to the man's pant like the girl whimpered and turned around to cling to the man's pant leg he turned and gave Tarvin a sour look Tarvin felt his cheeks warm in embarrassment and ducked his head apologetically sorry she asked me about jagan the man nodded and acknowledgement and Nell to speak with a girl that's what the marks are for they'll protect us Tarvin walked away from them and thought about how it only worked against feral jigan an intelligent one might still kill a person if it was in a bad mood the marks just kept the victim from being eaten he then went to the barge that he was traveling with this year D daon the Navigator was brushing their mule Tarvin noticed that no one had brought out the harness yet so he headed for the bow when daon said go check the messages first Tarvin nodded and changed direction to go back to the Roadhouse he found the communication office and asked about messages for boat 741 the Clark retrieved a wax tablet from the shelf behind him and read daon river river of river or Tarvin from nowhere wayfinder namin wants Tarvin to come to West pun lock wayfinder house as soon as possible Darvin struggled to keep the scowl off his face as he gestured a thank you and murmured message delivered to the Clark as he walked away he kept part of his attention on making it look like nothing was wrong it had been years since the last time but a summon from a wayfinder had always been so that they could interrogate him he was tempted to send a message back that he wanted nothing to do with magecraft but that would probably just lead to him being dragged there by force daon was not happy when he heard the news but he refused to send a message that losing Tarvin was too much of a hardship DA's daughter had learned a lot over the summer but it would be a difficult trip and until they could find someone competent to serve as crew if they hadn't been Walling hauling crops it would have been better to take tarven towards pun loock in the hopes of finding someone along the way before turning back in the right direction okay I just want to say firstly before we dive into this anybody who wants to send us these critiques you are more than welcome also we are in the process of gathering first Pages for a re through and say when you would say no I'm not going to publish this like a publisher so if you're interested in getting published especially traditionally published send us your first page of your manuscript and we will read it and stop where we would rejected and explain why in one big session once we have 10 of those first Pages we'll be doing that now all right actually I want to add something to that because it kind of sounds like we're not looking to publish anybody what we're saying is we're act as Publishers and give you where we think they would stop and why um that's that's all it is so said it was like we're looking to publish books like no no no no no no no no no well yeah um so Drake do you want to go first I I've got a number but I I've just read so why don't you go ahead okay well let's let's just bounce around and we'll just bounce around until we run out of time um so what's the one that I want to okay so I mean let's just start with the big one uh scroll kind of down to the last

paragraph So Dyson was not happy when he heard the news we literally just POV shift like the whole thing is in taran's uh point of view until we get to hear like Dyson wasn't happy that we're in his head he refused to send the message like we're giving his motivations um and then it's also very omniscent whereas the above was more in limited because now we get Dyson's daughter had learned a lot but that's not in anyone's perspective that's in just a narrator's perspective and so on and so forth and and everything like that so this in my opinion is the most egregious moment of the story because of the fact that we're not holding R POV either we're goingon to write in you know taran's limited POV or we're not so I have often found that writers do this sometimes when they're fairly young in the craft so that they kind of haven't you know um written a lot a lot they often do this when it comes time to kind of time shift so you kind of summarizing um and and it's almost a tell's disease and I know we always say show don't tell but you can't show everything some things are actually better told and summarized right 100% And when writers do that shift from um from being showy and and you know you know showing the world and the interactions everything else then move into that summarizing telling they often make this exact mistake where they shift the POV and shift into an omniscient view because they're like I'm now telling the story yep yeah so we had a little extra time after the critique group last night in the writer's room and so I took the opportunity to give like about an hour class on just some things that I get asked a lot by the members of the writer room and one of the things was we really focused in on you know me and you talk about all the time uh World building and scene setting organically through the scene so that you're not just puking information you're you're doing all the jobs all kind of simultaneously and I kind of ended it because there is one person in the group that's struggling with this aspect and you know she was there so I was kind of focusing in on it of this exact thing where you where you slip from you know being the the character narrator to being the writer narrator and I said look writing in true limited or for inter discourse which is 95% true limited and 5% not um the two tricks are pretty simple and and and I actually includeed in uh past tense because she was worried like she was writing in past tense and she wrote um there was this line of uh it didn't depict how handsome I am she's in first person but she's writing in past tense and so we were like you tense shifted here and she did it a couple times and she said well if I write how handsome I was then the reader's going to think that the character isn't handsome now that they used to be handsome but they're no I'm like no no no no you're right in past tense No One's Gonna hit that as that like that's not how this works you're you're in pants t to the whole thing so the two things that I added we one staying in that character narration and also making past tense feel like it's happening right now and we went through that we went through some of my writing and it was like does any of this feel like it happened in the past or does it feel like it's happening right this very second and everyone's like oh no it's happening right this very second I'm like yeah but it's in past tense why like why is it that I'm writing something as if it's already happened but you don't feel it at all so the tricks the the two things that you really want to pay attention to are one and this is kind of the harder thing because this takes a little acting ability you are not writing the story you're not you're you're not telling the story you're not the narrator the character is the narrator so you have to kind of become the character you have to look at the world through their eyes you have to describe the world through their eyes you have to get their emotions into it if you're writing in limited or free resource which is the you know the big thing that almost everybody's writing in or at least trying to write in but the second thing is um you have to write it where the line that you're writing right now is the maximum of the character's knowledge they don't know anything past this line and that way if you write every line as if this is all I know I know this line and before this line and before this line and before then no matter who reads it when it could be 30 years from now every line that person reads is going to read as if I only know this and before I don't know anything after this that was another thing another person did was they wrote something like um um they went to do this um but unfortunately it didn't work out for them and then they actually did the thing and showed it not working out and it's like I hate that I hate know that I hate it yeah they don't know that like you can't like no that's author intrusion so it's it's what people people think that somehow it's that you know Western voice narrating over the book saying like it did not work out for them right no no just no which funny because in the chapter I'm writing I literally do that same thing but for some reason it didn't bother me matter fact I didn't it didn't bother me so much I didn't even realize that I did it until you just said what you said and then I was like wait a minute the chapter I'm literally writing right now I do that um we we all make mistakes and no I don't feel that this is a mistake okay so it's a it's after a scene break so we set up the scene that they're going to go into town we that scene in the first scene he's never been in town he's been in this town for two years and locked in a school he's never stepped outside the school grounds in two years and so it ends with him being excited that he's goingon to be able to go out into town for the first time and so the next scene starts with um you know milant being locked up in school for two years is was super excited to get out of town unfortunately his guy you know gentra is the character's name made it very disappointing so it's we already have the expectation we already know where we're going and so you know it just didn't bother me until like I said right now when I thought about it that is actually how I started that that scene and I will probably leave it um because it just doesn't it isn't egregious to me I I would have to see it but I do not like that kind of um auth no I agree that's that's what I said until we discuss this I didn't even realize that I had it in there um and so now I have to I'll have to look at it with fresh eyes it may end up getting changed um I I'll tell you I'll tell you what I found egregious here is there is a lot of overwriting I've got some other minor niggles but the overwriting is the first one I want to talk about okay um so here where if they hadn't been hauling crops overwrite it we're not going to be if I'm reading this right right if I'm reading this paragraph right we're not going to be following dorson or Dawson's daughter or how much she's learned or anything like this the plot hook that we've been hit with and it's good we got a plot hook on the first page it's great okay but the plot we've been head with is that um Tarvin needs to go see wayfinder na Nami which I would recommend changing that name because I can't figure out how to pronounce it but anyway Nami maybe um Nami that's how I'd read it namii namii okay so has to go see namii and um I and and all of this is extraneous details the writer doesn't need we're not going to be following these guys they're going to be going off in that direction we are going to West punt loock all of these details of what would would have been better irrelevant override see just just to go back to NAMI it's the other word I can't read like that just breaks my dyslexic brain there's too many consonant in it yeah that one doesn't bother me as much but I I I have languages that have more cons like you speak languages that have no

vowels um and there was another one overwriting uh which I noticed when I was going through it so for me I I'll add one to your thing while you're looking for that yeah um for me the overwriting was I'm going to leave the tattoo parlor I'm GNA go back to the ship for literally a millisecond and then I'm gonna go back and the ship's gonna be like no no no no no go do this other thing first like that was a waste of time for me I could just and this would actually fix your issue like if if Carvin leaves the shop and goes oh before I head back to work I've got to go do this thing and then he goes does this thing and gets this you know the thing that he's that he's being called to wayfinder namii and he's like wow crap my boss is gonna be pissed but nothing I can do about it like then that kind of solves all that problem because now we've we've well again I always go back to stop looking at what you wrote and ask yourself what are you trying to accomplish and to me and again I didn't write this so I don't know we're we're guessing we are not the writers of this we could absolutely be wrong yeah but to me I'm trying to show this guy has a normal life that's being interrupted and he's being taken out of his normal life into something else well then I don't need to go back to the ship I don't need to talk about you know I don't need to know about the daughter and her career path lessons and all of this other stuff I can literally just you know when I get called to when I go to the messenger place or whatever it is and have this thing happen I can be like well crap you know my life was supposed to be X but now it's going to be y um and if I really let's say you're incorrect that um that Dyson that daon and the daughter are important to the story because we don't know we haven't read it then that would organically be a great scene for I leave the clerk knowing that I have to go see this uh this magecraft I then go to my boss and I have a scene where you know we show we introduce those characters and we show that look I'm sorry like here's here's what I got I got to go yeah we have to have a reason for the scene um and since I don't know the story there's no way I can GNA come up with that on the fly but then it's more organic and we're flowing through it and it feels like more A Slice of Life more real you know this happened than this happened which caused this to happen and now we have to deal with this and we have to we have to close this conflict to go over here to to deal with this um so yeah yeah so I think those were like that that sections th those pieces were my most kind of the thing that I noticed most um besides the POV shift because I was like I don't need this right now and as somebody who is very careful very parsimonious with their World building um that's the kind of that the kind of thing that stands out to me is like giving information that is not required at the moment and that does doesn't seem to serve any particular purpose focus on the information the reader requires for the story right now I do want to say one of the things that I'm teaching that I've changed thanks to you in our discussions um you know I always used to say you have to start a scene with a conflict you have to lay in some type of conflict not the main conflict but something that makes that makes the reader want to continue a lot of people are confused by that term and I've never really liked this conflict does bring a lot of baggage with it just from the definition of the word so the way I'm doing it now is you want to make sure that somewhere in the first paragraph two three at the most you have dropped a question that needs to be answered and I will say that this writer has done a fabulous job of that I love where this story starts it hooks me right from the beginning um you know I'm right in the moment of I have no idea what this tattoo is I do learn like that it's for these things called jenin which I have no idea what they are but they eat us if we don't have this and some are intelligent and some are not and it's like oh this is all very very interesting and obviously now this better not be a check offs gun there better be you know actual jingan in this story and actually impact this story because if not I'm gonna be very very angry but I would assume that that's not gonna happen um yeah I will absolutely say that the The Upfront um conflict of getting a tattoo that he doesn't want to get because of this jingan that was fantastic the introduction of jingan was fantastic um the feral Jing that was all of this was great and organic it's here yeah that the that the in in the second half of the page where it gets weak and just to add into um this because not only is that moment of Dyson the Navigator was brushing their mule yeah um not only is that like why did we come here to have him just send us somewhere else so it gets his Herky jerkiness and you know a lot of writers might go well that's very realistic you know we do that all the time yes it is but we're writing a story and it needs to be streamlined we need to still flow through we don't want to Herky jerk our readers because there there needs to be reasons like he has to go back there let's say he's going to go back to the ship and then still be told you got to go get the messages great then there's got to be a reason why I'm at the ship there's got to be something interesting that makes me have V you and have gone back to the ship before I go to the message but since it's not then just go to the message um you know whatever the realism the realism thing like it is realistic that it takes years sometimes decades to build up to political events but you don't write like that you shorten the time because your readers are going to lose the attention span they're not looking to read a history book of the tiny incremental mistakes that gradually lead up to Revolution you know sorry revolutions on my mind because I've been um writing that chapter in another book so okay I was about to say I thought you were gonna say revolution of my mind because we're getting ready to revolt in Finland and we're gonna over wow I didn't hear anything about that no no we've just had our first round of presidential elections we're fine um no but the reason why I want to bring this up is the transition from the paragraph before like that is a very harsh we go from um talking to a little girl to this Dyson just appears out of nowhere and so there's you know if we're going to do something like that it's fine but you have to scene break like if we're going to end this scene and we're no longer going to be with the girl with the um you know the tattoo parlor and all this other stuff then we're going to have to scene break or transition better and transitioning is tough but you just have to think what is the line or two that I can add that will connected to and in this case it could be something as simple as um leaving the father with you know to attempt to stop her daughter from having nightmares for the next year he walked out of the Parlor and started for the the ship something as simple as that and then the next paragraph can be he found Dyson the Navigator brushing their like and again that's the other thing is starting with Dyson the Navigator was brushing their mule is why it feels like a POV shift as opposed to he found Dyson the Navigator but now we're still in that same character we're still in Harvin's POV see I I would probably not say he found because oh no no I wouldn't write it that way at all I'm just saying I'm showing you how to keep it in using what's written how to keep it in the same POV yeah I I I have from you I have learned a horror of faltering to the point where I I will go a mile out of my way to avoid faltering yeah yeah no I agree with that I'm just pointing out that we're not holding our POV and it feels like we're we're shifting uh into someone else's head because of the way it's written and it's there's another there's another abrupt appearance over here where the girl whimpers and turns to cling to a man's pant leg and I was like when I read that I was like where' this dude come from did he teleport into the shop like what's going and speaking of the shop it would be nice to know what the environment is like that he's getting the tattoo yeah like what does the shop look like it feels a little bit like a white room at the moment mean I'm assuming it's a room it could be we we have these during winter we have these like little mobile Caravans where you can go get your flute shot um that you just like walk up to like a little window and they jab you in the arm and you walk on it could be one of those you know but but that's interesting and I'd want to see that yeah yeah um I don't know why we got distracted but that's what I was gonna say because I never just do compliments when I was going to the compliment that's actually what I was going to say is even though this is all really good and I love the hook I don't see where I'm at I don't I don't feel grounded and as I always say there's there's two things you have to do well literally there's three things you have to do at the beginning of every scene you have to make sure the reader knows whose head they're in they need to be very very very grounded into the narrating character they also need to know where they're at and what's around them they need to be very very grounded in the location and so this is a great example of what I always talk about the head book versus the paper book I guarantee you in the writer's headb he sees this this shop he sees this parlor he he sees the old woman he sees the man standing there with the daughter he sees all this stuff in his head book but you can't like none of the head book gets to go with the paperbook so we don't get to see any of that because it's in your head book and not on the paperbook so that was the thing that it needs to happen is we still need to ground in the location and then uh and actually the funny thing is is twice because you stumbled over it and then reread it twice you read that is clinging to the man's pant leg which is even more a greges a man's pant leg is you know acceptable um but the only way we could do the man's pant leg is if we had described you know like up at the top instead of just

um there's a lot of wzes too which we can get into but instead of going there was a young girl next to him in line who had gotten her Mark uh her mark on her arm we could actually so first of all I talked about this a lot last night in how to organically um scene set it's about either having the environment interact with the POV narrator or having the narrator interact with the scene so instead of just saying there was a girl next to him you know you could write something like um uh as he pulled down his sleeve he looked over and winked at the girl the young girl standing next to him see now you're interacting and there is where I'd introduce her father um her father frowned putting a protective arm on her daughter's shoulders you know yeah and then you know I might even have Tarver because I love inner monologues that'd be an OP opportunity for me to go dude really I'm not hitting on your daughter or whatever just to bring in some personality or whatever it is um so organically threading in this stuff is more about and yes I have a my beard has

grown um it's more about just thinking of it that way either have the narrator interact with the world around them or have the world around them interact with the narrating character and then you avoid stuff like there was a girl standing next to him um you know she clung to a man because that's the environment interacting with the environment and that's not the same thing not that you can't do that every once in a while uh and that's the other thing I said last night we went through some of my writing and I was like notice right here I info dumped on this one line right here this line is Telly but it's the most advantageous way to get this information to the reader now why is it that I can go through this and point out you know every half a page I can point out something that I'm doing that I tell you guys not to do it's because the rest of the half a page is all you know organic and so when you have those one or two things that pop up like you said earlier in this sometimes you have to tell but when you're telling so rarely no one notices it they just they just consume the information and everything else is so immersive and so Dynamic that it doesn't even register that you've kind of told something or info dumped a little bit or done a little bit of World building or something like that because you're just doing it so organically everywhere else that it just all mixes together into this beautiful showy piece even though technically if you get a mic microscope out you can start you know taking apart some lines yeah like I um you know in in theory there are people who would say this little line here is an infodump where he says um tabin walked away and I'm going to get to that filtering and thought about how this only worked against feral jigon an intelligent one might still kill a person if was in a bad mood the marks just kept the victim from being eaten yep there are people who would say that this is a um a tell it's an infodump and so on and it is but it is small one line and it is relevant 100% it gives context that we've already seen so we know that there are Jing guns we know that they have magical tattoos that do something to Ward them off and we get a little bit more context and details here that is great it cements the World building in the reader's head and if it's surrounded no problem with and if it's surrounded by everything else being immersive showy you know interacting with the environment of the environment interacting with them no one even bats an eye at that one thing they just consume it it's awesome and they keep being immersed in everything so yeah 100% then I mean just on a you want to read your example you want to read your example that you wrote for the okay for the podcast listeners sure so the the example that we that we wrote um for the young girl is instead of um so the the paragraph would then go Tarvin hel Tarvin held still as the witch pressed the oil stamp against the shoulder blade then muttered the incantation Darin shuddered as the mark dried instantly making his skin cold for a moment he hated subjecting himself to Magic but it was necessary to be regularly marked as the old ones faded and then tvin winked at the young girl next to him who had the mark on her arm her father frowned and put an arm around her shoulder she stared up at Tarvin with bug eyes have you ever seen it Jon and then it would continue from there so that just makes it a more organic paragraph also with stronger verbs because the verbs in this piece are somewhat weak agreed um so you know try well that's where a lot of wases are being used as verbs you can't get a weaker verb than was absolutely so was and were you should obviously try and avoid but even um other ver uh other verbs

um she tugged her sleeve down over it is okay but this asked we don't actually need you know so and that's a speech tag you know but we don't we don't need it and so just yeah since that's really quick Le and it's the only real egre just one as I say all the time a speech tag is there to show the person Show Who's saying something if you have narration in the speech tag line then just lean on the narration to be the speech tag so in other words instead of she tugged her sleeve down over it and asked you just need she tugged her her sleeve down over it period have you ever seen but again the way you wrote it is obviously better um also the that I hate I hate the word asked I don't think it should ever be used as a speech tag because the dialogue has a question mark which shows that it's a question like why are you telling me that they're going to ask a question and then showing me actually asking a question so I'm going to caveat because if you use speech tags and you want to use a speech tag using asked is better than using said when you have a question mark in the dialogue if all you're going to write is Drake asked yes because now there's nothing in that paragraph to show you know if if it's just quote why are you're using speech tags question mark close quote no one knows who said that and if you're not going to add any narration to it then you need Drake asked 100% because you don't want to write Drake said because it was a question that wasn't a said 100% agree with that in every way yeah but if there's narration in it they're already asking a question 100% the only reason why you should use asked as a speech tag is if the dialogue is otherwise bold and it is not clear who is asking because sometimes even a bold piece of dialogue can still be clear who's asking yep you know or who's speaking but in this case it is very definitively you do not need it um because it is clear who is asking the question um and then I I do I do want to hit that filtering um so filtering for uh any new viewers filtering is when you insert unnecessary words between the action and the reader okay so you um can I can I expand that definition a little bit sure so to really understand filtering you you need to be able to diagram sentences and I know that always sends shivers down you know grown adults backs because filtering is so terrifying but you just need to know what the subject and the action is for the most part now in this one it's in the middle of the sentence so it's a little different but basically what you're doing is you're making the reader look at the narrating character instead of whatever it is that we're trying to show so when you say um Drake looked at the jigon about to rip his face off like I don't want to look at Drake looking because that's boring so the subject is Drake and the action is looking I wanna I want the reader to see the jiren about or the Jurgen the jiggin the jigan about to rip off Drake's face so I'm gonna I'm gonna make the jiggin the the subject so you know the jiggin ma opened as it began biting Drake's face off so that's what it is it's you're inserting the narrator between the character in the or the reader in the story and that's why it's called filter because you're filtering the story between the narrator are you're putting the narrator between the charact the reader and what is cool yeah so when you say Tarvin walked away from them and thought like now we're looking at Tarvin thinking as opposed to what he's thinking yeah now this is obviously a piece of internal monologue internal monologue can be done in multiple different ways depending on your style Drake likes the style that is currently very um very that is very widely used where you put inner monologue in italics you put it in first person present tense oh because it's dialogue all dialogue in third person is going to be first person present tense yeah but um I have a slightly different approach to internal monologue and it's also a fine way of doing it it is more orientated towards the free and indirect discourse um way of doing internal monologue where you just write it in third person past tense as you would any narration but you write it in the voice of the character so in this case in in my style I would do something like Darvin walked away shaking his head it would only work that it um the marks only worked against feral jagan an intelligent one might still kill a person if it was in a bad mood the marks would just keep the would just keep the victim from being eaten yeah and it's just there's no filtering there there's no need to identify to the reader because the reader knows they are in taran's head right every word of narration in torin's chapter is coming through taran's head and just to show you the other way I might and I wouldn't write it this way because I hate writing out of my mouth but just because I'm using the words that are here but it might be something like Tarvin walked away laughing to himself and then I would go in italicize the Mark only works against feral uh jiggin an intelligent one might still kill a person if it was in a bad mood um now I would that's too long for me I do keep my inner monologue shorter than that because I people don't usually think in complete sentences they're they they think more in ideas and so I do truncate my inter monologue um but I'm just using the words that are here and so I'm not saying that would be how I would do it I'm just saying that's an example of um how we could turn this into inner monologue but again as Marie said some people use inner monologue some people use it a lot like me although I don't know if anybody who uses as much as me because I really do love interner monologue um and some people hate it they hate it with a passion they will never put it in anything they don't like reading it they don't like anything yeah so it it depends like I don't have any moral objection to Inner monologue I use it in Skies of Destiny the book series we write together but um in sang wheel I I didn't use it and you know once you've started a series not using it then you should stick to not using it so sang wheel is written in that style where I don't use inner monologue explicitly like that I keep my inner monologue um at in the third person right yeah um and that's actually an interesting rabbit to chase um has nothing to do with anything we're talking about here but it only take a second me and Marie are co-writing a book series together and the biggest thing that I think destroys relationships like that is lack of communication so that's a great example of before we started writing we went hey so how are we going to handle this whole inner monologue thing because you do it one way I do it another way let's discuss it and come up with something we both agree on so you know that's neither here nor there like I said it has nothing do it here but if you are working with other writers communication is key it's all about sitting down and And discussing the things that you're different on um discussing what your strengths and weaknesses are um and making sure everybody leans into their strengths and the other person overcomes their weaknesses but it still comes down of communication anyway just a little rabbit Chase there it's a very important rabbit Chase um buy our book by the way magic fall links below um anyway so um the other filtering in here is tharin noticed which is a um a different kind of filtering so now instead of thought we've got the visual filter this this is the traditional one that I was talking about uh Tarvin is the subject and noticed is the action yeah so like why am I looking Harvest noticing something what where is that it's right here Tarvin noticed that no one had brought out the harness yet it's very easy you just say no one had brought out the harness yet so Tarvin headed for the bow yep um just cut the filtering it it's not even you don't have to do anything special a lot of times a lot of times not always sometimes you do have to like think about it a little bit like especially when it's mental filtering like it was over there but when it's phys IAL filtering like like he saw or he he heard or he smelled just cut the filtering yep yep why so like in as I always say why am I looking at Tardis Tarvin noticing something why don't you just let me notice it because that's the cool part the cool part is I mean not that this is an amazingly cool aspect I mean I don't I don't know what not bring out the harnesses even mean um but still I'd rather look at the harnesses not being brought out then tarvis noticing the harness is not being brought out exactly exactly and then man there is a like I know I know I know that there are humans out there who swear by minimalist writing I get it I I get that there are people who love minimalist scenes and descriptions and who are all like no I want to imagine give me the bare minimum mhm mhm but this feels very white room like okay so I should explain what white room means in writing concept White Room means the reader doesn't descri or the the writer doesn't describe the room it doesn't set the scene it's just basically like there are people and maybe a piece of furniture or two in a white room with no descriptions and the whole scene takes pleasure this piece feel white

room yeah yeah I mean and we've already discussed this there's just no real scene setting I mean I'm going down to a dock area but there's no dock area there's no there's no crowds there's no workmen there's no other boats coming and going or if this I don't even know if this a space station or not I don't know um I've been I've been to a fair few Harbors in my life living as I do on a Seaside town and being a scuba diver there is no smell to this place and you can smell a harbor you can smell a dog yeah and it's not good no it's not fun which is why you know that's the number one thing if anything I'm like I I often worry that my readers are like every time you go to a dock it stinks like you you make sure you describe it and I'm like yeah because it does like it just does it's just rotting fish and human FEC especially back then when you didn't have sewer systems like it's just horrible it's not a pleasant place any way yeah it's not it's you know and even when it's even in today's day and age like the Helsinki Harbor is probably the cleanest Harbor you've ever been in and it still smells like yeah it's just there's too much fish there's too much oil there's too much ships it's just yeah yeah Brine and everything else um but that is the other thing is there's no um this is a little bit more highbrow but there's no it's all visual there's a little bit of emotion but there's no tactil he doesn't touch anything feel anything even and he missed some opportunities for that uh and I'm saying he I'm just being generic I don't actually know if this author is male or female but like what did it feel like to get that like what did it do did it burn did it you know all of this other stuff it just she just pressed and you know there's a an example of what we were talking about about the weak verbs um you know tarvis held still um just kind of a weaker verb um muttered the incantation again it none of these are egregious by themselves it's just when every single one of them is you know not Dynamic then they all of them could be opportunities for uh changing yeah um another filter he hated subjecting himself um again we're we're filtering that through him um so what did he hated actually feel like how did it right how does it and and as I always say how do we turn a tell into a show we ask a question it just the questions going to be different this is an internal emotion so we ask what does it feel like to hate subjecting himself to Magic whatever your answer is and there's a million ways to answer that question whatever that answer is is a show always every time because if you can answer what does it feel like to hate subjecting myself to Magic you're you've got to show it you've got to show what that feels like so however you answer that question is always going to be your show yeah um you know but it was necessary I mean um and I I do want to I do want to emphasize here that bear in mind you don't have to necessarily show through writing another action you can show through a better verb like instead of saying Tarvin shuddered as the mark dried instantly making his skin cold for a moment you could say Tarvin sh Tarvin sh shuddered like a fly stung horse as the magical um stamp burned into his shoulder right because then with that extra description on the verb like like a fly stung horse you immediately call to mind how a horse shies away from getting stung by a fly and the emotion that that evokes another thing is to start with the actual um feeling so instead of saying Tarvin shuddered as we can write cold lace through his skin um as the mark instantly dried that's a it's an ly adverb so I would always go away from that but um but we can start with again it's about sentence structure what we want to think about with sentence structure is every sentence should be constructed in a way of what aspect of this sentence is what I really want to hit the reader in the face with do I want to hit them in the face with Tarvin shuttering or do I want to hit them in the face with how it feels to his skin and so you know for me and I I don't know this and I don't know this you know story I'm not writer of it but just knowing what I know if I was acting like I was the writer to me it would be more important to make the reader feel what it feels like to have this thing other than the reaction that Tarvin has to it um and that's where it comes down to stop looking at the words that you're writing and look at what the words accomplish so if we just break that down and take that mentality to this we're doing three things in this sentence which is probably a bit too much we could break this up but we're doing three things we have tarvis shuttering we have the mark drying instantly and we have the SK the skin going cold and so if we break that down and go okay so what what do I really want to show here I kind of want to show that the ma that the ink dries instantly because that's kind of a magical thing and blah blah blah blah so you know that is a piece of information I definitely want um but I also want the reader to feel what it feels like to get one of these tattoos and that would be the most if I looked at these three things and had ranked them the most important would be for the reader to experience the feeling of the tattoo so the skin going cold that's going to be my number one thing that I'm going to want to um point out and then you know his reaction and it's Telly uh you know tra uh Tarvin shuttered as the mark dried instantly you could write you know

um this the weird tingling that he gets or I hate writing out of my mouth you could write something about

how the fact or you could write something about the fact that the magic drying instantly is creepy yeah and so you could write something about cold lace through his skin as a cold lace lace through his shoulder as the as the skin puckered under the drying mock right U I was trying to break them up um that's why I was doing this differently so the first thing like I said that's why I would do the skin cold you know thing and the feeling of it just as a sentence by itself because to me that's powerful that's something I want the reader experience so the muscles the muscles under the mark fuckered as the ink dried yeah um or I was trying to go with more an emotional thing um

um what what is the word I'm a writer I should be able to come up with this

his skin crawled as it always did his skin crawled when the mark dried instantly he hated magic or you know that's when I would go in her monologue I hate magic um or something like that so I'm trying to get the instead of giving the physical reaction of Tarver shuddering over the fact that this magic is hit him I'm trying to give an emotional reaction of what he's feeling emotionally because he hates this magic and so that's why I'd break these two up I'd hit them with the physical side first um and it could even be uh you know hit with the skin um like cold radiated from where you know where the stamp rested on his skin uh causing him to shudder if we just want to do something like that it's fine and then go into the emotional side of that and that's basically what I'm trying to get at there's just this could be both it could be the physical and the emotional instead of just physical physical definitely um and it could definitely go into a more like what it smells like what it feels like what it like is there a sound as she presses the thing into his shoulder that kind of detail yeah is there a creepy boiling of Flesh yeah and and when he gets to the docks they can be sounds they can be smells they can be like a dock is a rich sensory Place put the reader in the moment let them experience want to push back on that a little bit y everything is a rich Environ I mean this this shop is a rich environment you're you're all right I'm not pushing back on the fact that you know docs are rich sensory environments but a jail cell is a rich sensory environment a b% if if you want to put sentence and so on in there but a a a doc really has diversity of sensory okay because there are multiple smells there are multiple sounds there's you know it's a lot you can take in a lot yeah what I always say is there's six senses that we're playing with there's the five physical senses um sight sound taste smell and touch and then there's internal emotions every single page that you write should have at least three of them on every every single page and there's just a lot of visualness here so and then technically I've been adding in um a fourth which is external body reaction so you know my skin going cold is not really an emotion uh you could say it's feeling if you wanted to but it's also um you know it's it's your body's reaction to Tarvin shuttering is not really an emotion to me so I've been trying to actually separate it to saying seven there's seven things that we're actually playing playing with um and in that case I would say you need four on every page if you want to break that up um and so it's just you you know when you're in editing mode you just go through and count you literally just focus in on and go okay there's a visual there's a you know a a sound but that's all I got or in this case there's a visual and there's a body reaction okay well that's only two of seven where can I organically put in some emotion where can I is there any place because I'm the two that I'm always looking for is taste and smell because they're the two hardest to work in so you know and that's the reason why I think you're focusing on the docks because smell is not hard to put in there now I think a weird you know tattoo magical tattoo parlor would also not be hard to put smells in um but your bedroom you may not notice I mean you don't know notice the smell of your own bedroom I noticed my the smell of my boy's bedroom when I walk into it because young boys are just filthy they're just nasty little creatures um but the rest of our house you know I don't notice the smell so much uh whereas if you walk into somebody else's house that has different smells to them you'll notice that those differences so yeah smell and taste are the two hardest and taste is definitely the hardest um which is why even though it's not really realistic there's a lot of tasting of smells you know like the harbor like you know the putrid Tang of rotting fish coated his tongue like I I I will say that if the smell is strong enough oh yeah I've certainly tasted it in my mouth because the the mouth and the nose are connected y I'm just saying it's you're taking a little bit of poetic license which is perfectly fine for us in in our in our especially especially in the fantasy genre you know like I do you know I do a lot of my critiquing on on critique Circle right now the thing is critique Circle costs a wide net yeah so you've got a lot of fantasy people but you also have whole bunches of just general writers and literary writers and so on and normally they all just stay in their own cues and kind of stay in their lanes and so on but the other day I had like a dude who writes General Mysteries hit one of my it's like a I think he hadit a magic fall chapter or something and he was like I I uh I and I was like look my my guy we don't write the same genre it's fine yeah my first lesson to that which is still I carry is when I was in a general writers group early early on and I was reading um basically it was the front of a town and and I described like the chain mail that they were wearing and all this other stuff and this one woman was like I don't understand why is everyone wearing chain mail that just sounds stupid and I was like um you know you know you know how cops wear bulletproof best yeah this is the this is the cops of that time and this the bulletproof Fest of that time she's like yeah it's still stupid yeah like you don't read fantasy and if you can't make that Conn I mean I literally just logically connected the two um then yeah I can't help you I'm sorry are readers who do not read fantasy and you should not if you're a fantasy writer you should not take their opin so let me let me put a caveat on that because you're right to an extent um because you're always if you're GNA be in a writer group you're the chance of you're being in an exclusive writers group of your genre is very difficult to to fall into that what you do want to do is you want to wait the advice so if it's paragraph structure sentence structure you know you've you've author intruded if it's if it's grammatical issues I don't care what genre you're writing in those are those work across the board it's when it gets specific to your genre I will always now I listen to them so if somebody is a murder mystery writer and they're they give me a comment on the the fantasy aspect maybe it is a valid thing maybe it is something that I'm like okay let me but I'm going to give them what if if they say x but a fantasy guy says why on the same topic I'm going to go with why because I'm just going to give the fantasy writer reader more weight to their suggestion as opposed to a murder mystery so I I think this guy like the the specific comment was was about like the magic system or whatever and he was like I have no idea how any of this magic stuff works and I was

like well first of all you missed book one yeah well you miss book but also like it's not that he missed book one it's that fantasy readers read fantasy with a view to figuring out the magic system with a view to figuring out the Fantastical elements it's part of what they read for yeah if you are a general reader who's reading a fantasy book and Magic happens and you you're not a fantasy reader it's not your genre it's not your jam you know it's like talking to you it's like me me if I suddenly developed the taste in country music heaven for fend and I talked and I spoke to you about the exact riffs that are used by do Parton in the song Jolene it's literally the only country music song I can name I don't know that one so you know that it would be like that like you have no idea what I'm talking about because it's not your thing and that's another reason why you know I teach in the writer room I teach a lot about um how to critique others and how to be critiqued by others because I don't think anyone ever talks about that stuff um in these right groups and so I spent a lot of time you know I've told people that like if you join the writers groom you can't even go to a critique group until you go through a certification class like you have to go through me teaching you how to be a both both sides of this but it's one of the reasons why because you know we're still new there's only what 50 people in the writer room right now or whatever and so we do get like a murder mystery person and a fantasy person and whatever and there was a piece uh in the last week or so that somebody was using very heavy it was a Sci-Fi piece and they were using a lot of anacronym but they were anacronym specific to this world like and this is chapter one so I have no idea what these anacronym mean I can guess through context of the sentence and the author did a fine job I don't think there was any problems with it but um the murder mystery writer was like yeah you threw me completely out of the story I don't understand any of this stuff and and this may I'm like okay you're not a science fiction reader this is actually pretty standard like any sci-fi reader is going to go I don't know exactly what the anacronym means uh cuz like there was a disease it said um this guy PE coughed up like this orange green flim and the other guy was like oh you've got you know whatever gqw I don't know what they they were um and the guy was like what is that like you got to tell me what that is I need to know like you need to tell like no you don't no you don't we get from Context that you know gqw is some weird alien disease from this planet that we're on because we're on an alien planet and it makes you cough up green orange slam like we get it we don't mean yeah fure always want you to tell them exactly what the term means exactly then yeah I I don't know why but they do like they hate having to wait and figure out from Context what the term means whereas for Fantasy readers fantasy readers love that they're like I'll figure it out like I file it away I read on I figure it out yep and it's because I think it's as simple as um the phone rang and Drake picked it up versus Drake picked up the sil wrist star and put it to his forehead like for the phone we it's just normal it's everybody does that nobody needs the explanation of what that is whereas a sar it's going to take a little time to to understand what this is but if I do it through context and I you know because if the character is using it has always used it and he's not going to think about you know where the history of it and where it came from and what it does and because he's used it a million times he's just going to use it just like we use a phone we're not going to say you know the phone rang phones are devices that are connected by via cables and satellites that allow you to communicate with anyone on the planet like no we're not going to do that because everybody knows what a phone is but sirar is the same in that world everyone knows what a Sil RAR is but you don't so I need to write it in a way that you'll get it from Context what it is but you're right people that are not used to this that are just used to the wait a minute I I know what a phone is so you don't have to explain that but I don't want to so R is you're going to tell me that right now I need it right now they're just not and that's why I said that's where you add weight to the critiquer you know if if you feel that you've done the job of my readers my fans you know my circle are going to be able to infer what this is you're not in my circle you're great at telling me when I screw up on punctuation or grammar or showing or author all that I want your advice you know so you just say you know Screw you you're just like okay you know and that's the other thing is I don't I try to tell criers to be completely fair to mystery readers they are really good at telling you when you share too much plot yep because they are really good at those kinds of Secrets yeah no they have their advantages and that's why I think you shouldn't just get in your um you know circle of fantasy people because then you're just in a bubble but just be be aware of like the elements of genre that do not work outside your genre yeah and just to put a cap on that um don't argue no one's going to know if you actually took their advice or not just go okay that's interesting thanks even in your mind you're like you're an idiot and I'm not taking that at all there's no reason writer rooms are not a place where you're trying to show that you're smarter than everybody you're trying to just get feedback and you're trying to give honest feedback that's it no one's in a competition and so that's you know again another thing that I really push in the writer room don't argue find something in the critique that you are willing to take on board and say thanks for this this was a really insightful comment and move on with your life yeah like that's it you don't need to convince this person you're a great writer they're not your audience yeah exactly so um we're basically out of time is there anything oh overall think that this this piece had a really good hook it had some really good World building it had a really good it had a really good opening hook it had a really good plot conflict hook with the the message arrival I think that the hook the World building and the plot took towards the end of the page was a little buried by overwriting and by that POV shift those are the two big egregious events everything else is kind of line editing I'll add one thing to that yeah the white room aspect um never felt grounded but it extends to even though the hook was really good because of the fact that there's no opport there was no opportunities taken to um show because remember I say this all the time and you say this all the time it's not about describing the world for the reader it's describing the world as Tarvin sees it and relates to it so the other part of the white room aspect that I wanted to do before in this is I also don't know who Tarvin is I don't know how he's I mean I know he hates sub himself to Magic because I'm told that I know he hates that he's leaving his ship you know underst staffed a little bit that's it I don't know how does he feel about jiggins like what do they do like he literally just dropped a bomb that they will eat you but I don't know how that makes him feel I don't know how you know there's just so many opportunities that were missed to to give me more personality from tarban so a part of the white room is not just the setting it's also understanding the inner workings of my narrating character yeah but other than that yeah everything it's it's not bad I mean that's the problem is it's always terrible to give something to us because we're going to focus on the problems we're not saying that it's just this horrible piece of garbage our job is to focus on the problems like you know you go see a doctor with a broken arm he doesn't go well let me look at all your your your good limbs first and make sure and tell you how awesome these limbs are like look at these two legs they're not broken at all they're great you're like yeah no the broken arm just just mess with the broken arm I don't care about my unbroken legs like stop wasting time there and so that's kind of the way it is so don't you know whoever wrote this don't be like oh you know they ripped us apart we did but it's because that's our job there's plenty good in there as well uh I mean the the best thing is first couple of paragraphs I'm like I want to read this story like that's awesome yeah like that's the number one thing you want to accomplish above everything else that's why I say it's got a good strong hook um you just need to unbury that hook give it a little bit more context and depth and not override don't distract us with other craps focus in on the story and I guess I'm I'm a little worried about that statement um what she means by override and correct me if I'm putting words in your mouth is giving information that we don't need right now she's not because I don't want you to go oh I don't need to overwrite so I can't do this stuff Drake's talking about I can't set the scene and I can't do you know give all because that would be more words we're not talking about more words we're talking about information that doesn't do anything for me at this moment correct but being able to see the room around me being able to smell it and test it and touch it and all of that knowing how the POV character is affected by the world around them that's not overriding that's detail that's going to immerse me deeper into the story so I just just want to kind of I don't want anyone to misunderstand what you're saying because I know what you're saying 100% And yeah 100% so by overwriting I mean don't give us information we don't need at this point focus on the story elements and the world elements we need to understand yep and I think that is a good place to end this episode if you want something edited releasing your inner dragon don't forget about

our and don't forget about our first page grit um so same address send those in and we will see you soon for another one by thank you for tuning in this is Marie meany your co-host on this literary Adventure our goal is to provide you with valuable insights and discussions on writing if you believe in our mission please like And subscribe our podcast sharing our episodes with your community not only helps us grow but also contributes to a richer more diverse conversation about storytelling we appreciate your support for a deeper understanding of the topics we've discussed head over to just in time worlds on YouTube it is a treasure Trove where fantasy meets history and science every Tuesday you'll find new videos that delve into the intricacies of World building drawing from our Rich real world history whether you're a WR a role player or just a fantasy Enthusiast just in time worlds offers unique insights that will enrich your perspective check it out and join the Journey of crafting incredible worlds if you are ready to take your writing to the next level and work with a group of highly motivated dedicated writers who are all working to not only improve their writing but improve your writing plus you get to work with me on a weekly basis then I'll encourage you to check out writers room. us this is a website that I have created that I really wish I had 30 years ago it's everything a writer needs to become a better writer not only do we do weekly critique sessions both from other members as well as me we have daily writing sessions I do monthly classes q&as we have activities I do uh all sorts of learning exercises such as I do a quarterly writing prompt contest and just tons and tons and tons of things so if you're ready to serious about your writing and you want to actually finish that novel and have a chance of it being published then I encourage you to head on over the writer room and join me there and as a special promotion for listeners of releasing your inner dragon I'll go one step more if you would like to get 50% off for three months reach out to me there's a million ways you can do that you can do it through staring Rider any of my social media such as LinkedIn Instagram Facebook X whatever reach out to me say that you would like to check out the writer room for 50% off and I will send you a link that will allow you to do just that so hopefully you're ready to start getting serious about writing and I'll see you in the writer's room

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