editing critique, a story on nutrition and healing,Part Memoir/Part Self Help

A Story on Nutrition & Healing – Part Memoir/Part Self Help – Editing Critique

Here is a Story on Nutrition & Healing – Part Memoir/Part Self Help

Hi, as part of my editorial review I will offer grammatical, punctuation and spelling corrections, as well as, give my opinions throughout your work. My comments will always be in dark pink.

The body is the most impressive and mysterious machine ever built. It can make you do something close to impossible as long as your mind can picture you doing it. When I was a track and field athlete in high school, my body never failed to amaze me. Whenever I had a race to win I felt like the cells in every muscle in my legs worked double to pump the energy through my legs to keep me going. It’s an astounding thing to discover how much air your lungs can pump to help you survive and win a race. The human body is the most efficient, flexible and competent machine ever created. OK… I get the gist of what you’re saying in this paragraph but it’s written in an awkward fashion. The thing that sticks out for me, is the fact that you were an athlete in high school and astounded by your own body’s capacity to exert itself. Start with that. Remember that readers don’t want to be preached to. If someone reads your work they will probably be of like mind. They will either be in good health and already take care of themselves or they’re out of shape and looking to improve their health dramatically. So speak to them as a peer with a story to tell. They want to hear what you have to say. Stories teach us things without proselytizing. That’s why they can be so powerful. Concentrate on your story and you will have a winner.

On the flip side, the body is also such a mystery that sometimes it just shuts down or malfunctions without any warning bells to caution you. One moment I was running the race of my life and then with just a puff of air from my lungs, I was a physical and mental collapse. I was a walking visual representation of the signs and symptoms of fatigue, severe depression, insomnia, mental fog and physical meltdown. Really? Explain this to us. If you are a teen in high school playing sports and suddenly become fatigued with severe depression… this is big news! Not many people will have had such a dramatic shift, but could still relate to the exhaustion and depression. Give us more details. Tell us your story.

It felt like I was once a sturdy mansion, but now I am a dilapidated crumbling old house. That was my dark phase, but I soon found the motivation to get up on my feet and put my amazing machine back to work. I really like the analogy of the houses. It provides a great visual. However, you’re writing is a bit awkward. I understand what you’re saying, but it’s coming out in a hard-to-read way.  

I began eating healthy. Allowing only organic and healthy foods on my plate. After a few weeks of getting back on the healthy track, I instantly felt the difference. I discovered that proper nutrition is a huge help for maintaining a sound mind and body. Again, this is good in terms of telling us your story but it’s still awkward. You’re definitely going in the right direction though.

My mother was right when she told me to eat my veggies back when I was a kid. I now only eat organic foods fresh from the farm. I have realized that it was my fault that my body had just turned off. My high consumption of sugar pushed the cells in my body to their limit.

You are what you eat. Cliched but true… I have proven this with my battle to getting my healthy body back. If you eat all those fatty and processed foods, you are feeding yourself with toxins and chemicals that would result to your own degradation. But if you make eating healthy a part of your everyday life, you are prolonging your body’s capacity. Yes, again most of your writing is not incorrect… just difficult to read. It must flow for the reader. We read in our heads differently than how we speak. A writer’s work must reflect that. Start thinking about rhythm within your writing. You’ll start to choose words and structure sentences in a way that’ll be easier for the reader to process.

Nutrition is not just the only factor that helped me gain back my old self. Chiropractic played a large role in getting me back to my original physique. Chiropractic is a health profession which involves adjustments of the body’s framework to correct misplacement of bones, pains and also to restore the body’s healthy condition. Chiropractic focuses on the skeletal and muscular system, as well as, the nervous system. Chiropractic is common for stroke patients, athletes with injuries or people with degenerative diseases.

I’ve been broken physically, emotionally and mentally. However, excellent nutrition and chiropractic care helped me to gain not just my body back, but also my spirit.

Ok.. you’re definitely on the right path here. You’re starting to tell your story. We need more detail though.

It’s always a good idea to start any piece of writing in the middle of some type of action.

Why not start this with you as a teenager at the start of a race? Fill us in. We don’t know exactly what sport you’re playing though. You’ve only told us that you were a track and field athlete.

Fill us in on the details. You could tell us about coming around the corner in a 400 meter race… with the wind in your hair. The sound of the crowd; distant. The beating of your strong, young heart pounding in your head. The force of energy pumping through your legs like fuel, pushing you ahead as you fly around the bend.

Now, with less than 30 meters to go, just two runners threaten your win. You’re breathing fire at this point, but dip down and ask for more. Your body responds with a slight kick as it jolts you ahead of one your foes. Your body is aching and racked with pain, but still you find yourself in a jet stream of energy that carries you on. This energy, built through long hours of practice… has trained  you for this agonizing moment. In your peripheral vision you see your last obstacle waning as you rocket toward the finish line.

Determined to be the first, you focus on a point 20 meters past the finish line, allowing it to pull you to the end like a laser on a high powered rifle. You’re gonna snipe this win…

*

OK… the above is an example of how you can offer your story and then tell us how you found your way back. Intersperse your real life story with real life information. The “real life” stuff being the good nutrition and chiropractic care and so on.

I read through the other docs you sent and for now I would concentrate on improving your writing skills. I wouldn’t worry too much about an ebook right now unless you want someone to ghostwrite it for you. That however, could be very expensive.

If you want to start getting your writing out into the world then a blog is a good start. You can also peruse forums and give your opinions there and leave a link to your site. Start connecting with other bloggers and online magazines that you could write an article for. They could be very helpful in getting your story noticed.

OK… I hope that helps. All the best.

 


Wishing you much imagination…

Other posts you might like are:

Developmental Editing Example – “Bedtime Battle”

“Spike’s Planet” – A Difficult Edit For Metered Rhyming Verse For Kids

Love Old Fairytales? Me too… take a look at this Favorites List

Adelina’s Wings – Children’s story book edit


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editing critique, short childrens story, storytelling, writer better

‘Afternoons With Seeya’ – Developmental Editing Critique Example

This is another developmental editing critique on a short children’s story.

As you will soon see, the writer did not have a clear understanding of how to tell a story.

I eventually stopped working with new writers. Most public schools teach people how to read and write well. They don’t tell students how to tell a good story.

Some of us are natural storytellers. Most of us are not.

I personally like to work with people who are already quite proficient in their storytelling.

That way I can help them develop their style. Not tell them how to write a story.

You’ll see what I mean with the edit below…

Afternoons With Seeya

Thank you for ordering my manuscript critique. I will give you my impressions as a first time reader, as well as, offer comments for improvement and/or clarification. My words will always be in pink. Please note any deletions against the original. Let’s get started…

Anika is four years old.
Every day after Kindergarten, she visits her mother’s parents for the afternoon.
She calls her grandmother, Achi, and her grandfather, Seeya.
These are many things Anika likes doing at Achi and Seeya’s house.
Cooking dinner with Achi. Achi cooks mainly with rice. Anika cooks mainly with sand. Watching Tom and Jerry cartoons with Seeya. Anika and Seeya laugh and laugh.

OK… so far it’s a little like a laundry list of things they’re doing. We need descriptions. What do they look like? Where are they? What does the environment look like? We need action. We need to see some introduction to a plot or theme to the story already. This is waaaay to normal. Readers pick up a book to be taken on a journey or adventure of some type. There is nothing here so far that suggests that.

Helping Seeya walk with his walking stick.
“I’ll look after you”, she says, when they go for walks.

Playing doctors and patients with Achi. Achi is a real doctor, so doesn’t have to pretend much. Except when Anika is bandaging her.

One of Anika’s most favourite things to do at Achi and Seeya’s house, is listen to Seeya’s stories.

Stories of funny things. Surprising things. Exciting things. Stories of when Seeya was young.

Seeya tells Anika he learnt to swim in a lake on his family’s property in Sri Lanka. With a four foot water monitor, he thought was a crocodile.

“Was it?” asks Anika, jumping up and down.

“No,” Seeya replies, “Just a long lizard. But thinking it was a crocodile, made me swim faster.”

Seeya tells Anika when he was a teenager, he liked a girl. When he saw her at a village fair, he ran to her, said “Good night” and then ran away. He was so embarrassed he didn’t speak to the girl again.

Anika puts her head in her hands. “You are a nutmeg Seeya!”

Seeya tells Anika he went to University in England. To become an engineer, and travel the world. They look together at all the places he visited on a map.

“I’ve never been to so many places in my whole life”, says Anika. Spain where he ran with the Bulls in Pamplona.
“You can’t run Seeya”, Anika says looking at him suspiciously.
“I could then,” Seeya says. “Fast!”.

Italy where he met Enzo Ferrari, who showed him around his racing car factory, and where he saw the Olympics.

“I was in Kinder Olympics”, Anika says proudly. “You won a medal”, Seeya agrees.

What are the “Kinder Olympics?”

Germany where Seeya was as an exchange student, and saw the Oberammergau Passion Play.

What is the “Oberammergau Passion Play?”

“You saw people play in Orby-bow?” asks Anika screwing up her nose. “Almost,” says Seeya.

Russia where Seeya stepped behind the iron curtain. ??? What does this mean? 

“That’s so silly Seeya. Curtains aren’t made of iron,” Anika shakes her head. One day when he finished his stories, Anika sat deep in thought.

“You’ve had lots of adventures,” Anika asks. “Will I?” Well, she’s four… right? This doesn’t really sound like a question a four year old would ask?

“Of course!” says Seeya.
“How do you know?” asks Anika.
“Because you’re my grand-daughter!” Seeya says, smiling.
“I am!” Anika agrees, as she picks up some sand for her lasagna.

OK… I’m not sure about this. This seems more like an outline to a story than an actual story itself. I don’t want to sound harsh, it’s just that I see a lot of manuscripts like this. Too many people think it’s easy to write a kid’s book. It’s not that easy to keep a reading audience engaged either. Even and especially kids.

To do that you need to first have structure to the story… such as:

Introduction–> Rising Action–> Climax–> Falling Action–> Resolution

This outline is the basic outline ALL GOOD STORIES FOLLOW. From popular TV shows to movies to best-selling novels… they ALL start with that basic outline and work out from there. That is missing in this story. What is also missing are a lot of details. We don’t know what anyone looks like… (No pics don’t fill in the blanks or tell the story).

We don’t know what their surroundings look like and we don’t have an agenda/challenge for the lead character to over come. That’s the heart of any story is watching the protagonist get into trouble and how they get back out of it. That’s the transformation of a character or character arc that is so satisfying to a reader… yes even preschoolers. They may not be able to articulate it but they can tell when something isn’t right in a story.

Since there is no climax to the story we don’t really know what the story is about. It’s a nice little story that has no story arc to it. It’s not the kind of book that gets readers excited. You’ve done a nice job of keeping the sentences short and the language fairly simple for a young audience of 4-5.

I would suggest choosing some type of challenge for Anika or Seeya to overcome (It’s a little unclear who the main protagonist is in this story).

It doesn’t have to be huge… just something difficult she has to push herself to accomplish/overcome.

Perhaps her grandfather can help her to keep that interaction going as that is a very nice relationship they have.

Try to start the very first sentence of any book or even chapter with characters in the middle of action of some sort. Action helps to define a character.

Here is a good link for writing dialogue. Yours dialogue is pretty good though:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/keep-it-simple-keys-to- realistic-dialogue-part-i

I’ve also included a few “cheat sheets” to help you make this story stronger.

Thank you. Please contact me with any questions.

thewritersnexus@gmail.com