Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Outfoxxed (739 words)


I know there are things wrong, or inaccurate especially involving the Native American stuff. I wanted to write this story since I was researching my own heritage (which includes Shawnee heritage).

I look forward to seeing what you all throw at me, and I also turned on editing and commenting for the document.

Can’t help you with fact-checking the cultural stuff. Some thoughts are below. If they sound too critical, that doesn’t mean I disliked your work, only that I’m looking for things to improve!

“reading the books they just bought”: I stopped to question this. “They” is becoming acceptable as a generic singular pronoun as in “If someone calls, have them leave a message”, but in this case it’s a specific person, not a hypothetical one. So say “she” or “he” here.

“moving in a happy manner”: wagging?

“Green Hill’s streets home”: A bit confusing. I’d say “…as he started walking home through Green Hill”.

“Having been home for two hours, Liam made”: It’s evening now, right? So why not “That evening”? Or cut the sentence and say he was eating dinner at the computer, which tells us he’s eating and it’s late.

“causing his calendar app to open”: Not necessary.

“that soon gave way to a sunny day”: The sentence started off talking about noise, but it sounds like the noise of snoring turned into a sunny day, which doesn’t make sense. It also seems like a POV shift because Liam wouldn’t hear his own snoring, nor be aware of the big picture “it’s a sunny day”. Try describing more closely from Liam’s POV in the dream, eg.: “He brushed leaves aside from his face and winced in the sudden daylight”.

“until he comes to a clearing”: Sudden tense change.

“The bags around her eyes showed her age and her wisdom”: Sounds cliche that any old person is automatically wise.

“you seat on this council now”: sit?

“the sad song of his people”: Hm… Several times lately I’ve encountered a meme where someone is insulted by being asked to perform “the song/dance of your people”, as though there one performance that everybody in some culture knows.

“ad saw”: and.

“not by much, Thankfully”: Looks like there should be a sentence break here.

“even further, black socks”: This is also a new sentence.

“Fox-man”: Since “wolf” is not capitalized, I wouldn’t capitalize “fox” either.

“wolfpaw’s pendant”: Capitalized? And was this his father? Were these items there before, ignored, or did they just appear?

"moving in a happy manner": wagging?

Feline tails don’t wag and i didn’t want to imply a species to draw the reader in more.

"The bags around her eyes showed her age and her wisdom": Sounds cliche that any old person is automatically wise.

it may be cliche, but that’s how it is in many cultures. Further, cliches aren’t bad.

"even further, black socks": This is also a new sentence.

actually, it’s not. it’s exactly as I wrote it. unless you’re saying to break it up in which case that makes sense.

"wolfpaw's pendant": Capitalized? And was this his father? Were these items there before, ignored, or did they just appear?

As you pointed out above, it’s not capitalized. and grandmother? no, she’s the creator in the Shawnee myths. as for the ending, that was to be implied and decided by each individual reader.

I did change it to ‘wolfpaw pendant’ because spellcheck kept telling me that ‘wolfpaw’s’ was wrong.

I applied your changes, Kris, as best as I could.

Added some comments. I hope they help!

I think this is going to be another piece I just put up on FA for free. or i just give up posting things here for critique.

I get one person that says “take x out, it’s unnecessary” then another says “i would assume that something happened but it’s unclear” because X was taken out.

it’s becoming…overwhelming and confusing and it’s my own fault.

This is why I usually only have one beta reader, though most people advise having several so you cover all bases.

I think that’s what I’m going to do from now. Instead of just posting my stuff up on the board, i’ll ask for one or two beta readers…hmm… I’m going to PM you, Husky.

It’s not your fault. That’s something that gets easier as you have more experience, both with writing and with critique. The rule some writers use is that if just one person points something out, it may or may not be a problem, but if more than one person does, then that’s probably an area that needs some work.

In the end, though, remember that you don’t have to take everyone’s suggestions. You know what kind of story you’re trying to tell and what feedback meshes with that and helps you get closer to it, and what takes you farther away from it – and again, time and experience (especially critiquing other people’s work) will help you learn to weed through feedback and find what’s useful to you and what isn’t. I would say to just keep in mind during this process that every single thing that someone points out isn’t a problem that has to be fixed, and by the same token, there’s no need to reply to every suggestion you get with a yes or no. It’s okay to just say “thanks for the crit” or whatever and not have to go into why you will or won’t address each point that came up in the crit. Just gather it all in and consider all the feedback as a whole, and try things with the story to see what works and what doesn’t.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

Don’t rush to make changes. Digest them.

Note the misconceptions your “mistakes” generates… at a certain level you may be able to use to mistakes to your advantage.

We all have different points of view. And in the real world, you need three perspectives to find a transmission site. In writing, you may not need three. I prefer one other, but only after I decide they get it. If they don’t get it, I’ll accept it as a copy edit.

I’ll use an example.

I had, in part of the story about a notification being on the computer, the character clicking on it, and a calendar app opening.

one reader said it wasn’t needed.

one said it was confusing after it was removed.

and one didn’t give anything either way.

My reasoning on that point, for what it’s worth, is that readers will be familiar with how a computer works. We’d never write today: “Bob tugged at the automobile’s door handle, causing the door to unlatch. He sat down, pulled a long strap diagonally across his body, and plugged it into the safety catch that formed the vehicle’s emergency restraint system…” So instead I’d say something more like “he opened his calendar file”. It’s a matter of taste and you shouldn’t expect every reader to react the same way, as the other commenters say, so don’t feel pressured to abide by all of my comments.

Please note that I haven’t read the other replies-- some of this may therefore be duplicated.

Twofold is one word.

Note that you repeated the word “day” at least three times in the first paragraph. This is usually considered a Bad Thing, and doubly so in the first paragraph. Rephrasing would probably allow you to find more interesting ways to say the same thing.

Otherwise, I think it reads pretty well. =:)

Thank you, Rabbit. I’ll have a revised version up on Google doc’s once I can figure out how to combine huskyteer and mog’s changes and suggestions.