Critiques of Trailer of the Temptress by Zoetrope workshop members
Zoetrope online writers workshop is a defunct site that was run by Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope All-Story.
Greg T. -- i liked the story, but i believe there are some aspects of it you could change to make it more affective. dialogue was the main problem. you need more dialogue between you and the first two characters. without it, they weren`t believable. you observed a lot about them (physical traits, enviroment, etc.), but i found it hard believing they were real people. put life into them. that`s your job as a writer. it could be my opinion, but descriptions don`t make characters affective. actions do. i enjoyed the incorporataton of fairy tales into the encounters with the characters. it put a refreshing twist on the story. sometimes i felt it was a little vague. incorporation, like the kind you did in your story, is hard. to make it affective, is twice as hard. my suggestion to you would be to work on clarity and fluidity. your puncuation was pretty good overall, but watch how you use those commas. one problem i saw was with placement in between adjectives describing a noun. if the adjective describes the noun separately use a comma. if it doesn`t there`s no need. spelling was also a problem in a few places too. i have the same problem. work on it. the best advice i can give you is read, read, read! great books are never hard to find. learn from the masters. good luck! p.s. don`t take what i say too seriously. i don`t. Victor Z -- Very interesting and entertaining story. I specially enjoyed how you mingled the magical characters in our more mundane world. Just a couple of observations. There are a few sentences that you begin with "and", cardinal sin. There is also once sentence that I`ve reprinted below that needs to be reworked. You`ve linked to many things together with too many "ands". And the shelves were covered with German cuckoo clocks and kissing Dutch tots and glass kittens cleaning themselves and ceramic figurines of anorexic faeries holding flowers and golden angels blowing trumpets and purple plastic Happy Meal gorillas and three issues of Popular Mechanics and a broken remote control for a TV that`s been gone 15 years and more ceramic figurines and glass hearts and fake orange flowers and wooden clothespins. You`ve got an imaginative and entertaining style, good luck with your story. Betty A -- I like it! However, I do find many "ly" ending words and suggest they be removed or find a method to use vivid verbs to replace them. Also, I noticed many tense shifts as "pull" should have been pulled. Overall a delightful story. David E -- Rob, the writing is definitely of professional standard. The idea is terrific. But the criterion that matters in any fantasy is the reader is able to suspend disbelief during the course of the story. Too much weirdness, too quickly, spoils the taste. Somebody clever once told authors that they should be content with "one big lie" in each story. I was sucked in totally by the troll, but had lost the plot by the time I got to the temptress. I genuinely think you`re on to a terrific idea. But I also think that any one of your favourite weirdos would make a better story than the whole lot put together. Incidentally, I think your last line is very, very good. Michael F -- I enjoyed this story because of its satisfactory blending of the mundane and the fantastic (meals on wheels being delivered to goblins, etc.). I often find the everyday world feels fantastic and supernatural when you really look at it in a certain way, so there was something pleasing about the way the author mixed the two. I also appreciated the author`s basic prose skills. Northrup is obviously a very experienced writer or a very talented beginner, because the prose flowed smoothly and never felt over or under-written. There were no howlers, groaners or reaching for effect. It takes either a lot of practice or a tremendous amout of raw talent to write prose that seems so effortless. What I found wanting in the story was -- to put it simply -- a story. Once the author set the scene I waited for something to happen that would engage me or make me care what was going to happen next. I know that many writers are mood or language oriented and disdain plot, but I find that the best mood pieces have some kind of dramatic tension underpinning them, and I felt the lack of that here. Despite the good writing and engaging, imaginative locale described, I found my mind wandering about 3/4 of the way through, because there was no realy story to engage me. However, I do appreciate the talent and skill that went into this work, and the piece worked for me 75% even without a story, which is saying something. Larry S -- Things of note: >this wide flowering shrub A mention of type of shrub perhaps ... this seems kind of flat (I do it often myself). >And the shelves were covered ... This is one whopper of a sentence. I could have read it better had it been broken up a bit. >Strong girl if you carry goats for me I guess I hadn`t guessed the narrator was a girl up to now. Was that intentional? >The trailers near the front of Sunshine Court This paragraph contained what I thought was well done description. General Impression: You have some passages that give very good description. I think you help engage sparks of imagination in all of us. I believe the story may have began better if the troll`s existence was dropped on the reader almost immediately. He/she would then have known right away that this story held something unusual. I didn`t see enough dialog to comment much. The characters could have been described more. I was well into the story before I had any vision of the main character, and only received scant details of most other characters. Thanks for the excursion into the land of imagination. gina F B -- I thought this was a great story. Very imaginative with the right abmount of reality mixed in to make it totally believable. I thought the voice of the narrator was great, the language used was perfect. I really liked all the imagery and dialogue. The part where you used the run-on sentance to describe the trolls nik-naks was perfect, really gave the impression of a crowded junk shop. In my opinion the section with the 150 year old woman and the troll were the best. For some reason I didn`t think the middle shut-in was as developed as it could have been. I liked your ending, thought it fit really well.