The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Okay, So I have this story I'm writing about my steampunk character, Eliza Dane. I haven't gottenmany reviews on it and most of them are friends and family. I'm hoping to see if someone can give me some good criticism and most definitely some that is constructive. I would imagine it to be a young-adult audience considering I'm one myself =) Here is the link :Story of My Life I have about three chapters (3rd isn't completely finished). So, if you could take your time to read it and get back to me that would be awesome =)

Please and Thank You,

                  Eliza <3

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Miss Dane, I am sorry to say that the link you provided does not work or at least it is not working for me..

Just updated =) A fire? who would do such a thing? ;)

The link isn't working, but the one from Wally H is.
Greetings Eliza,
First, bravo on venturing to write an original work. If you want some constructive criticism, please allow me, if I may.
Forgive me but I did not have time to read much past the first chapter, but from that I already gleaned a decent sample of your writing style. Some things you will want to take a look at and perhaps change is the use of the word "I". I gathered that about 80% of your sentences begin with "I did... I am... I was"... ect. This is a difficult conundrum for beginner writers when writing in first person perspective. It's the easiest way to narrate, albeit the most boring. Try reconstructing your sentences a bit to read differently. For example, instead of saying "I went to the store to buy apples." you can try rewording it to say, "We were out of apples so I went to buy some at the store."
Second thing I noticed, was that your narrative reads a lot like a shopping list of her daily agenda. As if you were reading down a report of event to event to event without very little play on the passing of time in the story. If I may, here is a sample from one of your paragraphs. I will do my best to write it a little differently:

"I looked down and saw Charlie, looking up at me. I took one of the fresh apples, cut a piece off and handed it to him. He ate it and looked back up at me. He was so adorable and I couldn't imagine leaving him. I picked him up and I went back to my drawing pad. Lately I had just been drawing random flowers. No specific invention. I looked down at the picture I drew of me and my parents when I was two."

Here is how it might sound less plodding:
"When I glanced down, I saw Charlie staring at me. I took one of the fresh apples, cut off a piece, and handed it to him. He ate it and looked back up at me again. He was so adorable I couldn't imagine leaving him. I picked him up and went back to my drawing pad. Lately I had just been drawing random flowers; no specific invention. Looking down at the picture, I saw the picture I had drawn of my parents and I when I was two."

Subtle changes, but do you see the difference? I hope this helps. Good luck!

The Copper Lady
I agree with what the Copper Lady has said about 'I'. To add to this, one of the hardest things to do is draw people into your story, especially as we have so much information thrown at us. If in the first few minutes of reading you haven't caught your reader you've lost your reader. One of the best ways to 'capture' your audience is to pose a question in their minds so that they will want to follow your story. As an example: What happened to Joe wasn't very nice.....let me tell you a little bit about him if I was etc. Each sentence should carry your audience along until they can no longer leave your story. Questions help people to empathise with you and hopefully have had an experience similar to yours and want to see what solution you have come up with. (fiction or non- fiction). Grammar for some of your readers is extremely important, I have to get my partner to correct mine all the time - she is a writer! Usually the expression is 'broad imagination'. Keep it up though, it's how you perfect your art!

Hello Eliza,

First of all, massive credit to you for not only committing yourself to your story, but also for sharing it with us. If this is something you really enjoy and have a passion for, don't give it up. I've learned the hard way about not finding and pursuing one's dreams until later in life (though, I'm still young by several standards).

As a writer myself, I definitely wanted to share the love and give your story a full read. We can't ask for much more than that can we?

Anyway, I do mirror the observations of 'The Copper Lady' and 'Michael' in needing to expand and weave together the things that are happening around your character rather than just telling the reader. I get a strong sense that this world and the characters are really vivid to you, and you want us to be able to see all that you see in your head. The hard part is telling just enough to give the reader the image without losing them in description and having them disconnected from the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed your story thus far. There is definitely an interest there in what will become of Eliza in her adventure and to know what's happened to her family, and how the watch fits into all of it. No matter what, you definitely have a good start and most, if any, critiques for improvement would be technical. Story and plot seem fairly solid thus far.

If you'd like, I'd be happy to give it another read and provide more extensive feedback. I'm no editor or any sort of special/published author, but as a writer and husband to a natural born editor I've developed a pretty decent eye. In fact, as my writing has ramped up lately I find myself analyzing and studying author writing style rather than getting into the story itself. Either way, a good editor (not necessarily professional but someone who understands editing) is a good resource to have. Someone who will be honest, ask good questions, and provide constructive ways to improve.

No matter what though, keep writing! :)

I thank you all so much for just giving it a chance. I am aware of the one too many "I"s and I'm trying to work on it. Also, being a 15 year old girl and this being my first piece doesn't help haha. J.R., that would be very much appreciated if you did so =) Once again, thank you for giving the time to just read it


Will do. I'm planning on going to Clockwork Con here in Austin this weekend, so I probably won't have time then, but I will try to give it a look see today and work on it some after the weekend. Definitely keep it up though. I don't think many of us would've been that committed at 15 to write a story, much less share it with others. What's that, freshman year? Eesh, I can only imagine what sort of dark, sad story I would've come up with then.

Here's a tip: find a motif to focus on, preferably somthign descriptive that you can use a lot of imagery for, and use it throughout.  It can split up your writing really well and create easier to read chunks.  It also allows you to describe the area and the people. 

I'll take a look! I'm always eager to meet and help new writers :)

I think it's a really good start. You have lots of detail in there and lots of intriguing plot points. Your dialogue is good, too. Maybe three little points that I'd always give to anyone starting out.

1. Watch your adverbs. Quickly, softly etc. Try to work in HOW someone does something without being overt about it.

2. Read this article on Showing vs. Telling.'ttell.htm


Apart from that, great work, and I look forward to reading more! :)

I agree, Athanasia, and I think you'll see that I neither state that all adverbs should be murdered in their beds, or that "show vs. tell" (note the VS, rather than the word DONT) is an ultimate law. However, for someone just starting out in their writing career, they are very good guidelines to abide by.

After all, if we never learn the rules, how can we artfully break them when style, form and subject deem it fit?


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