Review Request: The Grimmery

Good Evening.


Now, some have you may have seen me around here, if not shamelessly advertising on other various sites. Rest assured, even though I don't post all that regularly, I do usually come and check here most days, just to see what's happening. I'm something of a lurker, you see. But, as the old proverb goes, 'Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.'


Today, however, I come asking (well, more like on my knees begging, to be honest) for a review of my serial web novel 'The Grimmery'. It had just recently been listed on this lovely site, as I hadn't had three regular installments posted yet, but now that I have three chapters (and a prologue, all quite lengthy) I finally submitted it and it is finally listed.


For those of you (probably most of you) who don't know, 'The Grimmery' is a sort of urban fantasy, supernatural story following a group of people with missing memories, strange powers and the ability to see ghosts. I'll just post the blurb here:



But when his dead boss appears to him as a ghost and tells him to investigate some mysterious fires that have been happening recently, Anton realises there may be more to his missing month than he first suspects.



The listing can be found here: http://webfictionguide.com/listings/the-grimmery/


The link to the site is here: http://thegrimmerynovel.blogspot.com/


The direct link to the start (that is, the prologue) is here: http://thegrimmerynovel.blogspot.com/2009/12/here-is-first-installment-of-grimmery.html


There are only three chapters at the moment (not including the prologue), but, looking at past postings, I've found I usually get a chapter up once a month, so that may become my new aim.


If you do decide to write a review of 'The Grimmery', I will be eternally grateful. For infinity and forever. And I'll make sure to give you a big thank you when you do, regardless of whether or not you give me a tongue lashing and tell me to pack up or praise my humble work. Any publicity, any criticism, anything at all, would be nice right now.


Thank you so much,


Tamyrlin Ink.


Tamyrlin -- I took a look at the Prologue and I wanted to touch base. I won't be writing a review right now for two reasons. One, I took a look at the chart and I have twice as many reviews as anyone else in the last month, so I'm kind of unintentionally dominating the airspace. What can I say, I've had a lot of free time lately and I hadn't reviewed in a while so I felt bad. But I think I'll wait for some reviews of other stories by other people before I go being pushy.


Second, I'm sorry to say that the review wouldn't be very favourable. I think you have a lot of creativity and imagination, and there's some good description in the text. But the text is largely "told" and not "shown." I can go into that more if you need me to, but it's a common discussion point around here and on the web. The prologue alone contains enough ideas to start another novel, and you rush past all of them. I just wanted to touch base because I think you're imaginative and I think that's worth pursuing, but you don't need me being the first review.


if, however, you'd like more in-depth analysis, feel free to email me at [email protected] -- I'd be glad to help in any way I can.


Gavin,


I completely understand. I have been told by a friend that I do tell a lot where I should show, and, reading the prologue again last night, I realised some kind of glaring errors (for me, at least). I'll probably be reviewing it and changing parts here and there in the coming days/weeks/months/whenever I can find the time. But I suppose it's nice to hear that constructive criticism from someone else rather than someone I know, so thank you.


But, I guess I should say, as you pointed out I rushed past a lot of ideas, I suppose that was my intention. I wanted to show the very beginning, those that will become the myths and legends of the story as well as people to draw parallels with and reference in modern time of the story later, and then give a little hint at what the characters may be up against, so the reader will want to know what happened in between and what happens next. And, I suppose, those ideas I rushed past will come later. I did plan to have a number of flash back sequences, both to the lost memories and to the histories of the modern characters.


And also, if you only read the prologue, I have to say that it was written a far time ago, and I have been told that the prologue and chapters are so different they're almost like different stories, so I don't know how that affects things. Probably not a lot.


But thank you for your honesty. I think I will definitely be taking you up on that offer.


And to anyone else still willing to post a review, the offer for my gold, my soul, and my eternal gratitude are still up for grabs.


I wouldn't worry too much about the showing/telling mantra. "Show don't tell" is the most overused piece of rubbish advice given to writers. It should be: SHOW THE DRAMATIC, TELL THE MUNDANE. As the author it's up to you to know what you want to focus to be on - don't be afraid to tell!


"I wouldn't worry too much about the showing/telling mantra. "Show don't tell" is the most overused piece of rubbish advice given to writers."


It's more polite to tell a writer "Show, don't tell" rather than "You don't have enough cleverness to tell in a way that's entertaining, so stick with showing until you figure it out".


Not making a comment on your piece, btw, Tamyrlin--haven't read it. I can take a look if you'd like, but I've been told that I can be a little mean.


"Show don't tell" has its roots in the best writing advice, and it's simple. Everyone knows what it means, and if it doesn't there are lots of places to look. Showing the reader a scene creates an experience, and yes it is great for drama. Yes, telling has its place -- but if it's the dominant part of the narrative voice, that's some mundane writing.


Telling: "He was a nice guy."


Showing: "He woke up early and cooked breakfast for his wife, making her waffles and omelettes. He personally hated eggs, scrunching up his nose at the smell. He went to work early, but she found the table set with a fresh glass of orange juice and her favourite food." -- now, that was nice.


There's a world of difference between the two and I think it's better to go with showing, as much as possible.


One of my creative writing teachers pointed out that showing does two interesting things -- it makes the experience more visceral, as if it's happening and you can see it -- kind of like a movie. Second, it lets the reader interpret events for themselves without labels like "nice guy" -- you describe character through behaviour instead of applying character labels like "good" or "evil" -- they get to make up their own minds and are thus involved in the story and using their own judgement more.


Second, "telling" is like having an entire movie with voice-over narration, commenting on what you can see for yourself.


"Showing" instead of "telling" also pushes a writer to use the active voice instead of the passive.


I agree that it's thrown out there so frequently that it might as well be cliched, but for all that it's such common knowledge, it still is necessary advice for a lot of us (the other common one being: run the f'ing spell/grammar check before you post, please for the love of goodness). It's such a broad umbrella of a concept, that it pretty much always works as a good *start* to advising a writer and editing. However, I'd be rather annoyed if I asked for a specific critique and that's the sum total of the feedback I received!


@capriox -- that's why I offered my email. I wasn't going to do a point-by-point critique in an open forum when it's only the writer's business, and when I'm not writing a review right now. It's a vague way of saying there's stuff that needs work -- and the difference between active and passive voice is a very good point and totally applies in this situation too.


@tamyrlin -- on that note, I took the liberty of breaking down the prologue for good description, active voice and showing, versus telling areas, if you're interested you can email me. :) I just like being prepared so I did it during some free time today.


Furthermore, I was glancing through Chapter One which is much more immediate and showing -- I would start there and if necessary use the myths and legends you want to create later in the story when the protagonist would naturally encounter them. That way they're useful exposition and they can be entertaining if they're told well -- but as a prologue it seems totally unnecessary to jump into chapter one.


"Show don't tell" has its roots in the best writing advice, and it's simple. Everyone knows what it means, and if it doesn't there are lots of places to look."


Actually, no, everyone doesn't know what it means. I'd go so far as to say most people don't know what it means. That's why the internet is full of articles about what the advice means.


For the record the best explanation of the concept I've ever seen is the "Show and Tell" chapter in "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Second Edition" (and if you only read one writing book ever make it that one). It's the best because it's the only one I've seen to go into when to narrate events (tell) rather than write a scene (show).