Workshop #6: Awards Excerpts - excerpt resource

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  1. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    This is one in the series of workshops devised by the lovely dianethx. Unlike the others, those, this workshop will concentrate on awards excerpts.

    What are excerpts?

    Each story that makes it through the nomination process for the annual fan fiction awards gets an 800-word excerpt posted in a thread for people to read. They have to have already been written; you?re not supposed to write 800 new words for the excerpts.

    Why are they important?

    A lot of really serious voters who don?t have a story they?ve read in a category often go through and read the excerpts and vote based off of them. A good excerpt can get you votes.

    What will I get out of this thread?

    Some advice from people who have sent in excerpts, tips on how to do excerpts, and practice making them.

    What are we doing?

    You?ll be choosing a story and writing some excerpts for it. You will also be helping others by reading other excerpts and critiquing them. Since others will be critiquing yours, make sure you?re polite to them, and expect polite concrit in return.

    Excerpt tips

    These tips have been given by many old awards pros who have sent in excerpts and won awards in the past.

    [ul][li]If your story gets nominated in more than one category, send in different excerpts for each. That way your story gets more exposure.[/li]

    [li]Have a reader or a friend help you pick them out. Friends often have a good outside perspective, and a second opinion is always helpful.[/li]

    [li]Double-check to make sure that, outside of links to your profile and the story, the excerpt is only 800 words, or it could be cut off mid-sentence.[/li]

    [li]Give an excerpt that goes well with the category. If you have an action nomination, send in a fight scene. If you have a character nomination, make sure that character is the main part of the excerpt.[/li]

    [li]Think of the excerpt as a movie trailer, something that will grab attention. You want people to look at your story and give it a read, then possibly a vote.[/li]

    [li] Remember that not everyone knows the entire context of a story so look for things that don't require a deep understanding of the plot. Choose an excerpt that gets to the heart of what your story is about. [/li]

    [li]Listen to your reader reviews when picking what to use. Parts of the story they loved will remind them of why they should vote for you. [/li]

    [li]Always make sure that you keep it organized and not just throw a bunch of scenes together.[/li]

    [li]Instead of using what you as a writer consider the best scene for that particular category, try to pick a scene that best illustrates your skill as a writer to those who aren't familiar with the scene's context. Vader's reveal to Luke in ESB might be the best scene of the movie, but only if you've watched everything up until that point and know who they are. Don't pick a section just because it shows off your luminescent prose. Pick a section that's at the heart of what your story is about. Consider what parts of your fic just wrote themselves. [/li]

    [li] Though it takes up a few words of the excerpt length, using a small summary at the beginning of an excerpt can really lead a reader into the story and help to flesh the story out. Make a good note if you need to. Don't phrase it like a reader reply.[/li]

    [li] A scene that is dramatic and vivid is best. If you are excerpting for a category such as best short story or best epic, often your first post is a good place to start. You've probably worked very hard on the opening, so that's some strong writing right there. Look for an excerpt that is not just well written but will tempt the reader into wanting to know more about your work.[/li]

    [li]Make sure that the grammar and spelling are correct. Bad grammar and spelling are turn-offs to a lot of people. You might want to have someone double-check before you send them in. Get a beta to look over your excerpt(s). After cutting a scene down to 800 words, you'd be amazed how many silly mistakes you might have add
  2. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002

    Exercise One

    I want you to pick an action or romance part of your story. Check out the tips again and think really hard about which part would be best.

    After you post your excerpt, read the one above yours. What do you like about it? What do you think could be improved? Please be very polite; this is constructive criticism.

    If you forget to read and critique the excerpt above yours, the person below you will skip yours and do the one you skipped. The person who posts first can pick an excerpt further down. You can critique more than just the one above you if you wish.

    Excerpts from past years

    The following excerpts were stories that won awards last year. Check them out to see what the authors did.

    From A Place to Call my Own by VaderLVR64 (Best Romance)

    She smiled at him and felt delighted laughter welling up inside her. She had been right ? he could teach her how to laugh.

    ?Are you real?? he asked with a grin, remaining where he was, not moving closer as if he did not wish to startle her.

    It was Lenora who moved, taking a step toward him. She caught a hint of his clean, masculine scent and thought how much nicer it was than all the costly fragrances that some men wore. ?I?m not sure,? she said solemnly. ?Sometimes I don?t feel as if I?m real,? she admitted with a tilt of her head. She was amazed at her own honesty. What prompted her to bare her soul to this man she had just met, when she knew so well how to dissemble and mislead when she wanted to?

    Amri-Lon reached out slowly, giving her plenty of time to back away, and brushed his knuckles across her cheek. ?You?re right,? he whispered. ?You?re too beautiful to be real.? He seemed embarrassed by the words, but he did not take them back. He shifted nervously on his feet.

    Lenora resisted the urge to nuzzle into that big palm, wondering at her uncharacteristic lack of restraint. ?I shouldn?t be out here?alone?with you,? she confessed in a husky whisper.

    ?No?you shouldn?t,? he agreed. ?I?m not the sort of man your parents would approve of,? he added with a regretful shake of his big, shaggy head.

    Smiling sadly, Lenora whispered, ?They don?t approve much of me either.?

    ?Then they?re fools,? he said firmly, and her heart warmed at his obvious and complete approval. His gaze seemed tender in the moonlit garden. ?Why are you here?? he asked.

    ?I have no idea,? she answered honestly. ?I just knew that if I didn?t get out of there I was going to scream.?

    ?Do you scream often?? he asked with a quirk of one dark brow.

    ?I don?t know,? she answered. ?I rather think I would if I was given the chance.? She sensed his amusement at her answer.

    ?What do you know then?? Again, there was just that tantalizing hint of laughter in his voice. She suddenly realized what his attraction was, Amri-Lon Jinn was a happy man. Lenora wondered if he knew how rare that gift was, but she thought that perhaps he did.

    ?I?? she swallowed hard. ?I know that I want to get to know you better.? Unable to help herself, her eyes went to those full, soft lips.

    ?We shouldn?t,? he said.

    ?Shouldn?t what?? she asked in a whisper.

    ?This, you, me, any of it,? he replied, his voice cracking. ?I?m no good for the likes of you.?

    ?Who are you good for then?? Lenora murmured, moving closer and watching with amusement as he took a step back.

    ?Girls of my own class, servants and country girls,? Amri replied, and now she saw his eyes were on her lips as well.

    ?Lucky girls,? Lenora teased. Then she cocked her head and gave him a smile that seemed to make him stop breathing for just a moment. ?So you?re going to hold my birth against me??

    ?I think I should,? he answered uncertainly.

    ?You think too much,? she said as she took another step closer. She was stopped by his huge hands closing gently around her arms. He shook his head at her.

    ?That?s enough of that, Lenora,? he warned. ?You?d better leave while I can still let you. Run back to your parents?
  3. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    Since I posted first, I'll critique someone after me. [face_blush]

    Romance. - For Betrayal.

    She would not let him back away and so she held him captive, her hand sliding down to settle over his heart. "And you hide behind your time and your farm and Anakin and try not to let anyone near you. Even me."

    "Especially you." His low rumble was half whispering in wonder.

    "Let me help you face your fears." He started to deny it, it could never be said that Qui-Gon was anything but stubborn, but he was also perceptive enough to realize that she might be right. "We can start slow - no commitments, no expectations. Just one moment at a time. Please, Qui-Gon, you need to do this. I need to do this. Let me help you."

    He said nothing for a moment, then took her hand in his and, lowering his head for just a moment, kissed her callused palm; she could feel his smile feathering her skin. Then he turned everything back into a worried frown. "You have the same bright spirit, the same fierce determination. Tahl would always make me face my failings and I was a better Jedi..." She scowled at him and he relented with a shrug. "A better man for it."

    He pulled her closer, large hand brushing at her bright tangled hair, his fingers playing lightly with the softness of her cheek. In a puzzled, amazed voice, he murmured, "You have become very... important to me, Le'orath, more than I want to admit, more than I think is wise. If I allow this and it goes wrong somehow, I'm not sure I could...."

    "Then we will make sure that it does not go wrong."

    He let out a brief huff of air, "You can't promise that."

    Smiling, she said, "No, but I can promise to try to make it go right."

    "You are a very stubborn woman, Le'orath Antilles."

    "Yes, I am."

    With that, he bent down and kissed her, softly, gently, a merest brush of lips against willing mouth. Her hands were trapped in the space between their bodies and she could not get free enough to begin to explore this new territory. But he was kissing her and it didn't matter. One strong arm was behind her back, pulling her closer and, with his free hand, callused and rough, he feathered touches across her cheek. Held tight, feeling his heartbeat beneath her captive hands, she tried to dive into him. She couldn't breath for the joy but she was still trapped and she wanted more. With a muffled protest, she moved slightly, trying to get a better angle. After all, he was a bit taller than she and it would have been better on the sofa and so she started to push him backwards.

    And the moment turned once more as suddenly a young voice pipped up.

    "Master, are you done yet? I need your help with the vid program you set up this morning."

    The adults sprang apart, as if the swarm of stingers had entered the room or perhaps one small curious boy.

    Qui-Gon was all business. Catching his breath, trying to cool his ardor before his charge noticed, with a gruff and very authoritarian voice, he said, "Anakin Skywalker, you are supposed to be asleep."

    But the child just shrugged, as all children do when they are tired but not yet sleepy. "Couldn't sleep with all the noise." He looked from Qui-Gon to Le'orath and back again, puzzled. It was clear to the boy that something was going on, "Ummmm, Master, are you marrying Le'orath now?"
  4. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Here's my entry:

    For action - False Sense of Feeling

    [blockquote]Summary: Mara Jade comes to Vader for advice but receives a lesson instead.

    The Emperor's Hand and the Dark Lord of the Sith stood before each other in silence with the hums of their sabers in anticipation.

    Mara interjected, "Just tell me when it-"

    The slash from Vader came instantly as he threw it wide at her midriff
    and she barely registered it in time to block it rather clumsily. She
    cursed herself at her own inattentiveness.

    Vader called her on it. "Proof that banter is not as important as focus."

    "I'll give you that one." She moved her feet around him in a defensive
    stance and watching his every move now. "The next time won't be as easy."

    "Don't be too sure," he boasted.

    They circled around each other for a few moments before Vader launched
    a series of swings and thrusts in quick succession. Mara greeted them
    with blocks and parries of her own. Vader kept this up for several
    moments and Mara met each of his blows with highly timed precision. He
    finally ceased the attacks and they went back to circling.

    Mara quipped, "If you plan to tire me out first I have to tell you I
    have a lot of energy."

    "I have no doubt, Jade. Although, that was not an exercise to test how
    fast you are fatigued."

    "What was it an exercise in?"

    Vader only answered with, "That is the point. You will not recognize
    every challenge given to you. The ability to trust your instinct will
    be tested."

    "No kidding? In that case, Vader, test this!" She quickly began her
    own series of low thrusts mixed with high swings that Vader countered.
    All through the moment Mara wore a confident grin as she continued to
    throw thrusts at Vader from unique points so as to catch him off
    guard. He countered those as well as if they were anticipated. As far
    as she could hear, his breathing mechanism stayed at the same pace as
    it would if he were standing still. She decided to try something

    She began a quarter spin move that usually threw off her opponents.
    She was too fast and agile for the few she had faced with lightsabers.
    This opponent, however, was not like any she had faced before. She
    found this out as she half completed her spin and was suddenly faced
    with a blood red blade. If she had not felt Vader's sudden excitement
    at that same moment, her body would have been severed at the
    shoulders. In a quick reaction, she ducked under the blade as if she
    were playing a game of limbo. Her spin's momentum combined with her
    sudden stop made her lower body slower to react and it sent her
    ungracefully to the floor. She could almost hear Vader's gloating
    under his mechanical thunderous voice.

    "Your acrobatics are impressive, young Jade...for a traveling
    sideshow. You do not need fancy moves that are wasted. I do not know
    of any move in swordplay that is effective when your back is to your

    "I'll remember that when your back it to me the next time." She sprang
    up to physically and mentally brush herself off. She reset herself
    into battle mode and said bitterly, "Let's try that again."

    "You cannot beat me, Jade. You will try, but you will fail. You do not
    yet know how to control your emotions. One can easily see your rage on
    the surface. Some may even be intimidated by it. Deep beneath you,
    Jade, is merely a scared little girl."

    She gritted her teeth and flew at him with her saber raised high.
    "I'll show you scared!" She attacked this time with fury in the form
    of high strikes which he quickly parried. She then tried the same
    thrusts from various points again but this time with a faster pace
    than before. Vader met each one with the same manner as he had when
    the duel started. And though she finally did hear his breathing
    quicken, she did not realize how close she was inside of his immediate
    range. She thought of it too late.

    All of a sudden, she felt as if a gigantic hook had grabbed a hold of
    her from behind and pulled hard. She was catapulted through the air
    and slammed onto the
  5. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005
    What a great idea for a workshop, Nat! :D I find that I usually have a lot of trouble finding excerpts for the awards and I spend a lot of time asking readers and friends for advice ? mostly because what I feel is the best example of whatever my fic has been nominated for doesn?t necessarily mean that it has the same effect on other people. I think I?m going to find this workshop really useful, since I never seem to know if I?m doing it right or not. :)

    Critique of the posts above me ?


    Awww, mushiness! :D I think you picked a really good excerpt, dianethx. I?ve never read Betrayal (though I really do need to do that sometime!), but this drew me in and was a great snapshot of whatever scene this was taken from. I loved the ending, too ? added humour! [face_laugh] I especially loved the last line. :D Great stuff! I really need to read Betrayal now, I guess!

    False Sense of Feeling

    I loved it ? your entry pulled me right in and I thought there was a good balance between description and dialogue. Mara and Vader?s characterizations are spot-on and I like how you ended it with Mara questioning how she can compete with Vader?s talents and strengths. Great lightsaber fight, madman007! =D=

    [b]Exercise One[/b]

    Now, my own entry:

    For Action ? [i]This Time Around[/i]

    [i]**Jaina Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi encounter a Sith Lord who controls the powers of time.[/i]

    Jaina could feel bile rising in her throat. She watched as the shadow solidified, turning into a tall man, hooded and cloaked. She could not see is face, but his presence in the Force was staggering.

    The Dark side was everywhere.

    Jaina raised her lightsaber and activated it.

    ?You,? she said, ?are a murderer.?

    She lunged towards him, the violet blade steady in her hand. The previous exhaustion she had felt had disappeared; she was full of new energy.

    Jaina was three feet away from her enemy when he raised a pale hand. The action was lazy, casual even. Suddenly, she felt herself being thrown across the cavern, flying high up in the air and tumbling down, down, down?


    She cried out, then gritted her teeth and reached out with the Force, trying to slow her velocity. The floor rose up to meet her and she landed, hard, on the stone. The wind was knocked from her lungs. She groaned and winced, trying to ignore the pain as she rose to her feet and began to limp towards her enemy, one hand clutching her side.

    Obi-Wan had watched her being hurled through the air. After seeing her rise, he turned his attention to the cloaked man. He approached him with caution, searching for weaknesses. Their opponent, however, dismissed this tactic with a sigh. He raised a hand; blue lightning crackled out from his fingertips, striking Obi-Wan in the chest and sending him flying half-way across the cavern.

    The cloaked man stood quite still, having hardly moved an inch since the battle had begun. He watched as Obi-Wan struggled to rise.

    ?Remember this lesson, Obi-Wan Kenobi,? he said. ?You are weak. The Jedi are weak. That is their downfall ? they cannot comprehend all aspects of the Force, and thus are powerless in the face of one who can. That is why the Sith have triumphed ? and will always triumph, for all eternity.?

    ?Never!? Jaina shouted, urging her legs to work as she forced herself to run forwards. She charged at her enemy, her lightsaber swinging towards her opponent?s head ?

    The blade stopped an inch from the cloaked man?s hooded face. Try as she might, Jaina couldn?t move her blade. It was stuck, trapped; something was holding it in place. She cried out and attempted to swing it, but lost her grip on the hilt. She fell to her knees and looked up; the blade was suspended in mid-air. Suddenly, it was flying across the room, propelled by the Force.

    She was left defenseless.

    ?Your attempts are useless, Jaina Solo,? the shadow hissed. ?You are not powerful enough. You do not have the strength to overcome my powers.? He raised his hand again and clenched >
  6. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    Thanks, Idrelle. I liked that scene myself. [face_blush] Is there anything I could have done to make it more noteworthy as an excerpt? Or as a trailer for my story? Either one would be fine.

    Critique for the two below me.

    A note: I like excerpts to have an ending point or a buildup to the last few lines. I think that makes them more interesting to the casual reader and hopefully gets them to read the story or vote for them in the awards.

    False sense of feeling by madmad007
    I think you did quite well building up the tension in the excerpt. I especially liked the last few lines since it made me want to know what happens next. The balance of dialogue to non-dialogue was very good.
    One thing I'd take note of - try not to use Earthisms (game of limbo) - unless it takes place on Earth. The turn of phrase surprised me.

    Other than that, good job.

    This time around by Idrelle_Miocovani

    Oops, relatives just showed up. I'll be back with yours, Idrelle. [face_peace]
  7. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005
    Hmm... at the moment, I really can't think of anything. :) I personally usually end up putting in a very brief author's note at the beginning of excerpts, but I don't think yours needs one.
  8. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Exercise 1:

    Okay, I finally found something that could be called romance in one of my stories and that could be fit into the guidelines. It's a scene from Lest Ye Be Judged:

    ?'Marry me today for tomorrow your father-in-law might be executed?'? Luke suggested. ?Don't you think that sounds a bit...?

    ?Unromantic?? Leia supplied.

    ?Blunt?? Mother suggested.

    ?Opportunistic?? he concluded.

    The two women exchanged helpless looks as if to mutually say ?you try talking sense into him.?

    ?I think,? Mother said delicately, ?that as long as you made it clear that it was not your primary reason for wanting to marry her, you should be fine.?

    He shoved a piece of nausage into his mouth so he wouldn't say something that he would regret later. Mother took that as a good sign and looked extremely pleased with herself. By the time he swallowed the nausage, he had finally calmed down enough to speak. Before he could pull that off, there was a knock at the door.

    ?That'll be Han and Chewie,? Luke guessed. ?Don't say anything to them about this.?

    ?Don't worry,? Leia sighed. ?I already had this conversation with Han.?

    It wasn't like him to be afraid of anyone, much less family, but he fled for the bedroom. He could hide there on the pretense of needing to iron his dress uniform at least until they changed the subject.

    Instead, he found Mara standing just inside the door, looking as if she were torn between being annoyed and amused. Her hair was unbound and dry and she was wrapped in a towel. She had probably come to find something in her bag and overheard...

    Oh, blast. What did she hear?

    ?I should probably get used to Leia treating everything as either a political matter or something in a court of law,? she said quietly. ?It still catches me off-guard.?

    ?Me too,? Luke admitted. ?She hates feeling uncomfortable and putting things in her arena is the easiest way for her to get past that.?

    ?We all do that.?

    Her hands were clasped in front of her, twisting nervously as if she had been caught in an inappropriate act. Desperate to correct that, he reached out and wrapped his left hand around hers. As if by a prearranged cue, she allowed him to pull her into a tight embrace and rested her cheek against his shoulder.

    It was the first time that she had been rendered speechless by something he had said. Most likely, it was the first time in a very long while that she had been speechless at all. The silence was indescribably awkward, but he was half-afraid of breaking it. Gradually, she relaxed against him and let her arm wrap around his waist.

    ?I should go...?

    ?Don't,? he said urgently. ?Just because you weren't invited to the conversation doesn't mean that you heard anything I didn't want to tell you.?

    Her chest heaved once in a laugh. ?Especially the part about 'marry me today because tomorrow...'?

    ?Well, maybe not that part,? Luke amended rather hastily.

    ?If you asked me to marry you before then, I wouldn't see it as opportunistic,? Mara promised.

    It was Luke's turn to laugh and he planted a kiss on top of her head. It was more a grateful gesture than anything, but she relaxed even more.

    ?And if I asked you now if you'd marry me, would you blame it on that conversation??

    The words were out of his mouth before he could muster the good sense not to say something like that. Immediately, her hands clenched in an almost involuntary spasm, but she did not pull away. For his part, Luke promptly forgot how to breathe. Finally, she pulled away and looked him straight in the eye. There was nothing accusing or suspicious in the expression, but she definitely was as apprehensive as him.

    ?It depends,? she informed him. ?Are you asking??

    ?I'm not telling you that until you answer my question,? he challenged.

    She backed up three feet to sit on the bed, hands still clasped in her lap and eyes closed in contemplation. After a long moment, she looked up to meet his gaze.

    ?You are your own man,? she observed. ?I've heard enough stor
  9. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    I'm back. My relatives have gone.

    Idrelle - thanks! Onto your excerpt. I really liked the way the shadow man held onto her saber and then flung it aside. Great visual there. Another good visual was the shadow man going into the void and how it collapsed.

    A couple of things - I would make sure that your grammar is correct. I think you meant "Your" not "You're". And I would have liked to have one more sentence from Jaina at the end, some piece of dialogue to keep the reader coming back and wondering what was going to happen next.

    Other than that, it was great!

    Ishtar - thanks.

    I liked the banter with Mara and Luke. It showed how comfortable they were with each other.

    Things you might want to think about - I think the first part was unclear. I'd have put a few more sentences of dialogue leading up to the first sentence so that you know why Luke is talking with his Mother and Leia. And I'd cut the excerpt off at "Will you marry me?" just because I'd want readers to come and find out if she said yes or not.

    Otherwise, good job!
  10. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005

    Stupid typos. They're all over the place. [face_blush]

    Thanks, diane! [:D]

    edit -- I went back and edited the original excerpt. I had to delete the opening monologue to fit in the extra bit at the end -- does it work better now, or worse?

    Ish -- I'm getting to yours in a sec. :D
  11. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    Yes, Idrelle, that's much better. I really liked how you started the excerpt, too, since it brings you into the story immediately.
  12. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Diane: I really like that. It's very sweet and emotional but has some kissing, which is perfect for romance. Plus, it's got a little humor with Anakin, and even in a non-humor excerpt, humor is good because most people like it and are drawn to it. The only thing I'd correct is a spacing thing you had with one line near the end.

    madman: That was a good action scene. It's nice that you broke it with dialogue rather than just describing the fight. The format isn't the usual with excerpts; it's very thin (I appreciated it because I have a freaking huge screen, but for submitting, you might just want to leave it as normal).

    Idri: This is the only story I've read ;) And this is the excerpt I would have chosen. It's a good action scene while at the same time giving a good indication of what the story is about (time travel, fight people who have that ability, etc.).

    Ish: Good romantic scene. It's sweet but also draws the reader in because of the first part, referring to Vader, which is (I think, without having read it) the main part of the story.
  13. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005

    I love it. Great romantic scene, with some humour added in for flavour. Wonderful balance between dialogue and description and I like the beginning -- it's an intriguing way to begin. The only suggestion I was going to make was already said by diane :p so I have nothing else to say except great excerpt. :p [:D]

    diane -- thanks! Glad that it's an improvement. :)

    Nat -- Your comment makes me feel better about the chosen action scene because there's an awful lot to choose from in TTA and I was slightly worried if I had chosen the right one. Thanks, hon! :D
  14. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Thanks for the feedback. That scene takes up 1964 words between the conversation at the beginning and the proposal (my first successful attempt at writing a half-naked marriage proposal. Not that I've tried many...) and picking an excerpt-length bit was hard.

    Plus my only other romance is my Palpatine love story and I didn't want people getting ill in here as well...
  15. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Now that I have time to write my critiques and replies...


    For Betrayal
    Nice start into the basis of what's going on. Good romantic dialogue without being overly mushy. Intriguing that you chose Qui Gon as the focus. The end sentence was more for comic effect with little Anakin reacting like a child does in seeing those situations. I guess the excerpt doesn't always have to end on a cliffhanger, yet it still pulls me in.


    This Time Around

    First off - just the fact that Jaina and Obi Wan are fighting together is worth reading right there. You also have good action mixed with dialogue. Though I agree with dianethx and the last sentence needs a hook to end it. Knowing Jaina (as a character; not personally) I would think she would say something sarcastic, a la her father.


    Lest Ye Be Judged
    Good place to begin the story, but I too was confused when it just said Mother. Not Padme? I had to assume this is an AU just for that fact and Luke's alternate proposal to Mara. You do have Luke and Mara's banter down, though I'd put more sarcasm into Mara. I agree with that fact that for an excerpt it does need to end abruptly to lead the reader back in.

    As far as my own:

    Idrelle_Miocovani - Thanks for enjoying it. I always try to balance dialogue and description.


    [blockquote] One thing I'd take note of - try not to use Earthisms (game of limbo) - unless it takes place on Earth.[/blockquote]

    I went back and forth on using this term, but for the action of her ducking under the blade I couldn't think of a better description. I figured there may be games of limbo in SW somewhere and if I gave it another name then the readers here on Earth wouldn't know what I'm talking about. Just a note; there are instances even in profic where Earth terms are used. It's just a Catch22 in creating new terms yet getting people here to understand them.

    Thanks for the remarks about the action scene. As far as the time frame, this particular one is within canon set a few months before ESB. I'm not so sure a date or time setting is needed in an excerpt unless it has to do with the subject itself. The fact that you don't know when this is should make you check it and find out.


    Thanks. As I said, I always like to balance dialogue with description, especially with fight sequences. The dialouge gives you a small break from the action.
  16. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Exercise Two

    It?s harder to practice style excerpts unless you?ve got one in a certain style, so instead, we?re going to take a quiz/survey in addition to writing one. There could be more than one right answer; a lot of these are based on your opinions. Try to do this on your own instead of looking at the ones above. Don?t only choose, defend your answers. After this exercise is over, I?m going to post a couple answers from old pros. Remember to critique the excerpt above you!

    What part of a story would you choose for Best Crossover? Would it have both Star Wars and other characters? Would it be their meeting or some time in the middle?

    If you were doing something from Best Series, what story would you take it from? Would it be the first, the last, the middle, or a mishmash?

    For Best Songfic, would you include lyrics for the song, or save your words and just include parts of the story?

    For Best Response to a Challenge, would you try to incorporate the parts that address the prompt directly, or the parts that would draw in readers and voters, or both?

    If you?re going for a pivotal moment in a story, what type of part would you use? Choose an excerpt (can be on anything).

  17. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Answers and Excerpts from Oldbies

    What part of a story would you choose for Best Crossover? Would it have both Star Wars and other characters? Would it be their meeting or some time in the middle?

    As far as crossovers go, they're a bit tricky. I've always felt it would be best to pick a portion introducing the new characters and then something that shows what part they have to play with the SW characters. ~LilyHobbitJedi

    I would make it a nice mix of characters if possible. An excerpt is meant to be a very small taste of the overall fic, so if you have a large amount of characters, it might be cumbersome. You CAN try too hard to make a good excerpt.

    I would probably try to have my excerpt show the best character aspects in the fic, not necessarily at any specific point, just the BEST point - check out the replies and when whichever post your readers were most excited about, I'd wager that would be a good place to take a chunk from. ~BrentusofGath

    Ah... the meeting, the talking. Seeing their differences and similarities. And especially seeing one side's weaknesses/foibles/idiosyncrasies through the other side's eyes. ~RK_Striker_JK_5

    I would definitely include a section that features both ?sets? of characters. It?s a crossover, so showing how you portray as many of the characters involved is important. Personally, I?d also make sure that my excerpt demonstrated how their ?verses are combined in my story. Most of all, I would want to send an excerpt that ?spoke? to me, something I liked myself. ~VaderLVR64

    If you were doing something from Best Series, what story would you take it from? Would it be the first, the last, the middle, or a mishmash?

    If I were doing something for best series I would pick something from each part. But when putting the excerpt together I would make it easy to see the progression of the story and not so random that it would confuse the readers. ~LilyHobbitJedi

    It depends on which stories were best received. I would try to take from stories that received the best feedback. If it's about even, then I might try to piece together bits from all the stories that go along with the main theme or idea of the entire series. Make it coherent - make it fit like pieces of a puzzle so the person who reads the excerpt can get an idea about the entire series, not just one or two of the stories. ~BrentusofGath

    It?s probably a good idea to include a bit from each story, unless there is a particularly powerful and moving section that you feel highlights the best of your story. Again, go with your gut. If someone likes what they read in the excerpt, they?re far more likely to follow up and read at least one of the stories in the series. ~VaderLVR64

    If you could find an excerpt from each story in the series that you could display to its best and that would perhaps give the reader a glimpse into the whole series, I would go with an excerpt from each story in the series. If not, just choose a single excerpt from your favorite story in the series. ~Gina

    For Best Songfic, would you include lyrics for the song, or save your words and just include parts of the story?

    For me personally when it comes to songfics I pick a song and work the story around it. What I would is use portions of the song, but enhance it with parts of the story that represents it. ~LilyHobbitJedi

    It depends. If the lyrics of the song were widely liked by the readers, I'd use them. Also, if the lyrics fit very well with part of your story, then I would include them. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't. ~BrentusofGath

    I think it works best to include at least a small section of the song, just to sort of give the ?flavor? of the song and how it influenced your writing. Including less than a hundred words of lyrics still gives you plenty of words to demonstrate your writing. I think it also helps the reader to connect with the work, especially if it?s a song they know! ~VaderLVR64

    For Best Response to a Challenge, would you try to incorporate the parts that ad
  18. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    What part of a story would you choose for Best Crossover? Would it have both Star Wars and other characters? Would it be their meeting or some time in the middle?

    For Best Crossover, I would find either a scene that illustrated the unique differences between the central characters or the utter similarity. For example, I had a fic where Superman and Anakin Skywalker were trying to one-up each other and the entire hilarity/appropriateness of it was that there were common flaws in both of them.

    If you were doing something from Best Series, what story would you take it from? Would it be the first, the last, the middle, or a mishmash?

    If I had to take a single scene, I would find something in the middle that depicted the general theme/tone of the series. This, for me, is where you decide what award the series itself would win if it were a single fic. Would you be angling for Best Drama? Best Romance? And then choose your scene based on that. If it were able to split between scenes, I would choose the same way, but show a progression.

    For Best Songfic, would you include lyrics for the song, or save your words and just include parts of the story?

    I think the entire charm of Songfic candidates is the fact that the words of Earth songs can explain or enhance an individual narrative. I would absolutely put in lyrics.

    For Best Response to a Challenge, would you try to incorporate the parts that address the prompt directly, or the parts that would draw in readers and voters, or both?

    Show what exactly your best response scene was for that challenge.
  19. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    What part of a story would you choose for Best Crossover? Would it have both Star Wars and other characters? Would it be their meeting or some time in the middle?

    I would choose one that best shows off the various characters, both from the crossover and Star Wars. I find crossovers really need to have the characters down pat if it's going to succeed as a story.

    If you were doing something from Best Series, what story would you take it from? Would it be the first, the last, the middle, or a mishmash?

    I would choose a scene that best shows off the storyline. A series has specific elements that tie them together, characters or situations that show up again and again. I don't think it needs to be from all of the stories but should incorporate the essense of them.

    For Best Songfic, would you include lyrics for the song, or save your words and just include parts of the story?

    I would have just a few lines of lyrics, nothing overwhelming. The story is using the lyrics, not showing them off. Keep it simple and highlight the story. That's what we are voting on.

    For Best Response to a Challenge, would you try to incorporate the parts that address the prompt directly, or the parts that would draw in readers and voters, or both?

    I think if you include an author's note about the challenge, that should be enough. The excerpt should capture the story, not the challenge. However, if the challenge was particularly note-worthy, those elements most intriguing could be included.

    If you?re going for a pivotal moment in a story, what type of part would you use? Choose an excerpt (can be on anything).
    In almost all cases, I would choose a cliffhanger. It has the added advantage of emotional impact plus the reader is left hanging, wanting more. A great way to get people to read the next post. With excerpts, it may get the voter to go read the story.

    Here's a cliffhanger excerpt from [i]For the Love of a son. [/i]

    "I found the records eventually. My years of study away from the Jedi paid off." Jacen straightened up, glancing at Luke for a moment, and then brushed at his sleeve, as though trying to rid himself of dust. From behind Luke, there was a far-off rumble but he could not tell what caused it, only that the air seemed to grow suddenly warmer, and more dangerous.

    His nephew ignored the sound. "I don't think Vader quite knew just how much it would cost him, to become Sith. It was easy enough to destroy the things that didn't matter to him. The Jedi, the Republic, people and things to which he had no loyalty or interest."

    His voice softened, and he began to walk toward Luke, his hands loose at his sides. "But for the Sith, in order to gain ultimate power, a sacrifice is demanded, a sacrifice of the ones he loves most." He looked around, eyes flicking back toward the hellscape and then stared, unseeing, at Luke. "It was here he lost everything that truly mattered to him - his wife, his best friend, his hopes for a family, everything."

    Blinking, Jacen suddenly came back to himself and smiled as he whispered, "His sacrifice to power."

    Taking another uneasy step backward, Luke tried to remember what pitfalls lay between him and the doorway. The floor's surface was uneven and gritty with ash; it crunched sharply as he moved. "But my father loved me and he refused to sacrifice me, even when faced with his own death. He died, trying to save me."

    Jacen just shook his head, almost regretfully. "Yes, in the end, he was no longer Sith. Compassion is a Jedi trait."

    "And one you can regain. Come back, Jacen. It isn't too late." One last try to turn his nephew from the path he seemed determined to follow.

    Jacen's eyes were full of red-streaked shadow, feverish with pity and resolve and decisions. Face hardening back into stone, he was adamant. "The Jedi... the Jedi have brought us nothing but chaos. When we needed strength, there was only weakness. When the people of the galaxy needed peace and security, there was only war."

    His ha>
  20. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Diane, that was a nicely intense and conflicted scene that needed no further context.

    I forgot to do mine, so here is 725 including the author's note.
    In the climax of Lest Ye Be Judged, General Rieekan is given the duty of reading the verdict against Darth Vader.

    No one had asked him to be placed in charge of the day?s proceedings. They were on a rotating schedule and it had turned out that Alderaanian member of the Tribunal was up for duty on the day that they had to read the verdict.

    No one had asked him to be in charge of that, but he wouldn?t have trusted that moment with anyone else. Even Ackbar would have done it with too much prejudice.

    Rieekan had been trained in diplomacy in spare moments and had learned patience on battlefields. He had never been trained in how to say the impossible, though. His first experience in it had been the day that he arrested Darth Vader.

    He had harbored no questions as to why he felt the need and the right to do so. Today, he was prepared to read a verdict of guilty or not and he had equal reasons for believing in his right to do so.

    He just could not look at Leia?s eyes just yet.

    Before the proceedings, he had delivered a note to her by courier, a hastily-written and carefully-worded missive of one sentence that was scribbled on a spare piece of flimsiplast.

    Remember that, whatever the outcome, your father is proud of what you have done to prepare for this day.

    He was proud of her, of both attorneys, for facing every aspect of the trial with dignity. Whatever the outcome, that had not been in vain. Still, he could not decide which verdict he hoped for. He simply knew what sentence he wished to pronounce instead.

    That had to wait for the formalities to be over. He turned stiffly in his chair, muscles protesting at his need for action.

    ?Mr. Foreman,? he began in a voice that was practiced and steady. ?Have you come to a decision in the matter of The People versus Anakin Skywalker??

    The foreman, the man who had only taken the job because there were too many other hotheads on the jury, stood calmly. His father had been an actor and maybe that was the only reason he appeared to be calm.

    ?We have, Your Honor.?

    The bailiff crossed to the stand and handed the datacard over, still warm from the foreman?s firm grip. He could not consider it yet, but he put it in its place nonetheless. He simply had a few things to clarify before ending this.

    ?Knight Skywalker.?

    It was a title that no one had used against Anakin Skywalker since the days of the Clone Wars, but he had earned it with his conduct here. Whatever the outcome of this trial, he had returned very powerfully to the way of the Jedi.

    ?You have heard the evidence brought against you and the defense in opposition. Do you believe that the court has heard all pertinent information in the case??

    He half-hoped that there would be some last-minute submission that would wrap things up in a neat package. Instead, there was only silence in the courtroom until Knight Skywalker spoke in a clear, resonant voice.

    ?I do,? he confessed.

    ?And do you trust this court to render a fair and just judgment in this matter??

    Do you trust me as much as Leia did? Does she still trust me?

    The only question that remained was a simple one. ?And do you agree to abide by the decision of this court??

    Anakin?s chin tilted slightly and the determined expression mirrored the one that Leia had been wearing since she entered the courtroom.

    ?I do.?

    His hands had lay clenched on the stand, but now they flattened and stopped trembling. With steady hands, he pulled up the lone file on the jury?s datacard and opened it. There was no reading ahead this time. He did not want to.

    ?In the matter of The People versus Anakin Skywalker,? he read in a tone that held reverence for what they had done here, ?we the jury find the defendant??

    His breath caught for just a moment, his body?s only clear signal that this was physically difficult
  21. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    Ish, I wouldn't change a thing on that excerpt. The tension buildup and the last line were just perfect. I do love cliffies and this one draws you in.
  22. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Thanks. That verdict scene is actually one of my favorites for this reason: It's told first from Han's POV and then Rieekan's, so it's victim who has close ties to the Skywalkers and judge who has close ties to Leia. So neither one of them is in a very good place.
  23. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Did I kill this thread? And will we be continuing now that this is really needed?
  24. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005
    Nat gets back from vacation pretty soon (Tuesday night, I believe), so I'm sure she'll get the next segment for this workshop up then. :) I'm working on my entry for Part II right now and will get to critiquing as soon as I can. :D

    edit -- Here's a question from me, though. How would you choose an excerpt for the "Best All Around" and "Best Ensemble Cast" categories?
  25. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    The year that I won Best Ensemble Cast, I chose the most insane scene character-wise possible. It was Chancellor Palpatine sitting in a speeder with Han, Leia and Bail talking about late Old Republic politics. It showed the large-scale dynamic of the story. I don't recommend insanity, but try and show something where there is a group of people in your fic and the juggling of the characterizations is done in an effective way.
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