I would like critiscism on the manuscript for my short story

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I would like critiscism on the manuscript for my short story

Postby V3ra » January 15th, 2018, 7:35 pm

My short story is called Horns. It's about a young boy called Ken Cooper who has slowly started to sprout horns. It would be nice if I could get some Comments and Criticism on my work. It's a really old short story I made four or five years ago, but I took it out again and thought I could make it better.

I would really like to work on comedy in my writing. I want my jokes to come off as funny, not cringey lol. I also want to work on Dialougue. I want the characters to sound like different people, not like carbon copies of each other.

Here's the link to my short story.
I can't think of anything witty to put here.
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Re: I would like critiscism on the manuscript for my short s

Postby The Santeri » January 17th, 2018, 4:41 pm

The only thing I would say about your outline/manuscript is to reorganize the sentence structure and capitalization, make use of a thesaurus for more detailed wording, and possible rework the world. A demon journey in the United States sounds a bit...off. Not bad mind you, just a little...weird. Possibly changing the world to that of fantasy or changing the location to one with more of a religious environment could help. To bring out more personality of the side characters, you need to think of them as more than just 2-dimensional things, but actually people. Place yourself in their mind and create their personalities based on their history as well as their ideals. Since it's been awhile since you've made that outline, I suggest taking the best parts of it that you like and start fresh with those ideas in mind.
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Re: I would like critiscism on the manuscript for my short s

Postby eishiya » January 17th, 2018, 8:52 pm

I haven't read your story past the first page, but to me the idea of a typically "fantasy" story with demons set in the US sounds great, so please don't feel discouraged from doing it! However, make sure you actually use your setting. Make sure your US isn't the US in name only, make the mundane setting have a real impact on your story, and have your story have impact on the mundane setting.
How familiar are you with the South, and how specific is the setting? The South a huge and quite varied area! Even within "just" the Bible Belt, there's a lot of regional cultural variance, with different views on Satan, demons, sin, etc.

Also, "Alice Cooper" as a name for a character just seems very unfortunate to me. I'm not even a fan of the band, but that's all I can think of when I see it.
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Re: I would like critiscism on the manuscript for my short s

Postby V3ra » January 18th, 2018, 5:09 pm

eishiya wrote:I haven't read your story past the first page, but to me the idea of a typically "fantasy" story with demons set in the US sounds great, so please don't feel discouraged from doing it! However, make sure you actually use your setting. Make sure your US isn't the US in name only, make the mundane setting have a real impact on your story, and have your story have impact on the mundane setting.
How familiar are you with the South, and how specific is the setting? The South a huge and quite varied area! Even within "just" the Bible Belt, there's a lot of regional cultural variance, with different views on Satan, demons, sin, etc.

Also, "Alice Cooper" as a name for a character just seems very unfortunate to me. I'm not even a fan of the band, but that's all I can think of when I see it.


I live in the South and decided to write what I know. I chose the South because of the amount of religous people in it. Imagine a kid with horns is discovered in a town where 90% of the people believe in angels and demons. That wouldn't go over well with anybody. Also, I have never heard of the band Alice Cooper. Her name was chosen because I thought Alice was a pretty name. I am sorry you didn't find even the first page interesting, but it is a sign that I should make my intro much more interesting.
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Re: I would like critiscism on the manuscript for my short s

Postby V3ra » January 18th, 2018, 5:13 pm

The Santeri wrote:The only thing I would say about your outline/manuscript is to reorganize the sentence structure and capitalization, make use of a thesaurus for more detailed wording, and possible rework the world. A demon journey in the United States sounds a bit...off. Not bad mind you, just a little...weird. Possibly changing the world to that of fantasy or changing the location to one with more of a religious environment could help. To bring out more personality of the side characters, you need to think of them as more than just 2-dimensional things, but actually people. Place yourself in their mind and create their personalities based on their history as well as their ideals. Since it's been awhile since you've made that outline, I suggest taking the best parts of it that you like and start fresh with those ideas in mind.

Yeah, I should have definetly fixed the grammar before I posted it online. I may know what certain parts mean, but not everyone else. Your advice about the side characters is very helpful. I'm going to update my manuscript and do more fleshing out tonight :)
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Re: I would like critiscism on the manuscript for my short s

Postby Bad Luck » January 25th, 2018, 10:03 pm

the flashback in the beginning to when he woke up with horns is a bit awkwardly placed. i feel like you should either start the story at that part, have the flashback later, or just cut the flashback out entirely (and explain it later if necessary). as the audience we could see his horns when his hat falls off, and maybe it'll give people more of a curiosity of "why does he have these horns? has he always had them, or is this a new thing?" and then the answer would become clear later.
it'd be nice if there was more conflict, it seems like getting the first book was as simple as talking to the right person and then getting ray to do the fighting. if you had more tension and it was more difficult for them to get it, i think it would be a lot more interesting. that's sort of the problem with other aspects of the story, too, the main character is worried about what would happen if people found out about his horns but it doesn't really feel like that big of a deal, the main character has nightmares but we don't seem to see them or how they affect him outside of just one conversation, these things that should be important feel like they have no weight, and part of that is due to the fact that it's just a manuscript but i have the feeling that even if it were written out properly it would still feel this way. maybe you could have a part where someone at school DOES find out about his horns, and they're constantly trying to get proof of it so that others will believe them. maybe he gets more snappy and easily angered because of the combination of becoming a demon and not getting sleep because of his nightmares, to the point where the others get concerned for him. just try to think of how you can make the stakes higher, try to get the characters into situations that are hard to work their way out of, things that really pose a threat to them.
as for characters, i like the idea of ray being kind of uncooperative and unhelpful most of the time. i think making a contract with a demon would be annoying and inconvenient, so it makes sense. his friends and family, on the other hand, should probably have at least a little more concern for him. when no one cares about his wellbeing except himself, it's hard to feel like anyone is really on his side, which doesn't really seem to be what you're going for. having people joke and poke fun at him in a friendly way during less serious moments is fine, but when he's genuinely worried about his situation and the others don't even pay attention to it, it's just mean. unless you want to go that route and have him snap at the others for not caring later, you should try to have a few parts where the others get more serious about helping him.
but yea, overall it's an interesting premise and i think with some editing it can get a lot better. and if you make a second draft and still don't like it, don't be afraid to make a third and a fourth, don't be afraid to cut out or add characters or events, don't be afraid to make huge changes if you think it will make the story flow better. no one's first draft is ever perfect, there's often going to be a lot of stuff that will get cut out and changed. that's all the advice i have, i hope it helps and wish you luck with your story
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