Right, I understand this is DestructiveReaders, and I understand what they stand for and what they are attempting to accomplish with this sub.
That's not a hook. That's detailed description that is left for the subsequent paragraphs. A hook is usually a sentence or maybe a paragraph. There are many ways to introduce a piece of writing, diving straight into the conflict and character descriptions would kill the pacing, you'd have this, after this, after this, after this. Conflict here, character description here, all in the hook? Pacing would be all over the place.
My point is the hook is muddy, unclear and I don’t buy the premise.
Yea, and that's fine, you're entitled to your opinions and your points, what I'm saying though is that the overall point falls flat when your examples and reasoning are below average.
I'll agree the prose is sloppy, it was a more dialogue driven piece than prose, hence sloppier prose in place for stronger more evocative dialogue. If you would have mentioned this, the yea, I would totally agree that the prose needs a tune up. The problem is, you are giving me blanket advice with no real backing.
The problem is, I don't think you read it all the way through. Because I did something you said I didn't "Describe their breathing", I gave two examples of it in the story. I also allowed inferring with their descriptions.
In terms of examples, I write these with some exaggeration to prove a point.
This is a vital lesson in critical thinking: Why would you use exaggeration to prove a point? What point does it serve, I mean you don't even back it up, you just say passive is passive, active is always better.
You'd have a point if the example given was completely foolish and a bastardization of active verb usage. Listen, it's a weak point, the examples were bad. Even if they are "doused" in exaggeration, the use of exaggeration isn't even needed at all. So, why did you use it instead of giving a simple, concise example that would immensely aid your point? But, no, it needs to be an exaggeration, for some reason.
This is only writing, my friend, I did not kill your dog. My advice is not intended to hurt, but rather to point out what I see as opportunities for improvement.
Did you seriously think I was getting angry? I was getting annoyed, and not because you were lambasting my writing with High School level "exaggerations", but because someone may see this example and take it literally. Your advice didn't hurt me, yes, I said I was insulted, but hey, I was just exaggerating to prove my point.
(See how weak that is?)
It's not hard hitting, you punched me in the stomach level criticism, if you added a few fucks in there and called me names, then yea, that'd be hurtful but truthful criticisms. This was more annoying seeing a person giving just (in a subjective opinion sort of way) bad advice.
I realize this is ‘just a conversation’ but readers like to know where it is, what people look like and, for example, what props are on-hand.
And I give ample props, like the pen, the glasses metaphor, the contract analogy, the desk, the papers, the door. Again, the point about me telling the readers about an unimportant "shiny" desk, is moot and weak because that's not how descriptions work. Every line needs to have a purpose in your story. Describing a damn desk doesn't add to the story like describing a situation does. A Desk won't advance my plot.
The point is that dialogue needs to be balanced with exposition and action or its ‘all tell’ and no ‘show’.
You know that dialogue plotting at it's core is all telling right? Anything in dialogue is you essentially speaking to the reader telling them what is going on. Again, this just baffles me, because action isn't always necessary in dialogue if the intent is implied through the dialogue. The only things that can be shown through dialogue is intent and inflection. Intent, like what they are probably doing, so if someone speaks nervously, or in a jittery matter, it is assumed that the reader is passively imagining that character shaking, because he is suttering, or hesitating. But you don't want me to do that.
You want me to say "H-How's it going M-Marsha?" Jake said, shaking at the sight of his crush. Instead of "H-How's is it going Marsha?" Jake stuttered?
Again, you are going against your own point here, by giving action after a dialogue tag, more often than not it is going to be telly. Again, it's the ouroboros of points here.
In order for readers to connect with your characters and enter your imaginary world, they need to be drawn into it, partly by identifying with the characters but also by imagining where they are, what they look like, and what they are wearing.
Sure, maybe in Fantasy or some high level fiction, but more often then not, they are drawn in by expectation, not what the characters are wearing, where they are, or what they look like. They want a hook that either foreshadows, raises a question in their minds, or start with an interesting characteristic that is independant of what is going on outside.
You'd never start a story with the description of the shirt a character was wearing, you'd start with a description of a trait a character has and said trait being used in a situation.
Again, I'm not scalded because of your critique, I just think of it as bad advice that for one, goes back on itself, gives subpar subjective examples, has no backing, also it feels like you didn't even read it all the way through.
Listen, call me out for breaking rule #1, by disagreeing with a critique, but don't enjoy when the critique focuses more on subjective suggestions rather than actual objective problems with the piece, (like the slamming as a clunky word, that was good. The one about the golden rod wasn't a good point or suggestion because the example you gave is equally as bad, and by not giving a solid and applicable example it makes your point completely moot because as a critiquer they are expected to give a viable example to back up their point.)