edit 2: I included an excerpt of the working draft of the problem conversation. The characters are bug people. They have a mix of human and bug-like features. I'm sorry I am struggling with the format issues. There should be paragraph breaks but it didn't paste over.
The soldiers remained where I last saw them. Not much had changed. Benly sat a little higher with his head propped on his elbow. His crooked antennae poking at the same tray of food from lunch time.
I stared at Benly. His abdomen carried a huge dent in the center segment. His body glistened under the overhead lamps. His left antenna bent downward making it droop lower than his right.
Frisly lifted his antennae and lightly poked Benly's upper right shoulder with the flat side of his fork. “You should eat. Or at least try. I'll get some fresh food. Something warm?”
Benly flinched and rubbed his shoulder. In the process he covered a faded dark green vine shaped tattoo. “Don't bother. Please,” he said.
Frisly stood up and turned towards the line of soldiers near the buffet table. “You need to eat. I don't want you to starve. Not after all we went through. We can't lose you. Not again.”
“Listen Frisly, I don't give a damn about my life!” Benly slammed his fist against the table.
Frisly sat down and stared at Benly.
Benly lowered his antennae and looked down at his tray of food. “The only way I could convince them to take on the last mission was to promise if they were to die in battle, I-I was to die with them.”
“Benly, What is going on?” asked Frisly.
“Couldn't this strange miracle have happened to anyone else?”
“Why do you wonder this?”
Benly looked up and stared off into space.
Frisly leaned forward and stared into Benly's eyes. Benly slumped his head on the table. Frisly poked Benly's head with his antennae.
Benly lifted his head and stared at an empty water glass. Frisly poked Benly harder.
“Dear friend, please tell me, what is going on inside your mind? I'm concerned.”
Benly sighed. “You're always concerned about me. How about you? How are things going on in your life?”
Frisly folded his arms. “No Benly you're not changing the subject. I want to know how you're doing? I get that you're upset about–”
“I wanted to die.” Benly took a deep breath. He reached out an arm and held the empty water glass. “You would hate me dear friend if I told you, I...”
Would it help if I pasted an excerpt of the dialogue from story in question?
I'm new here, so I am unsure if I am asking the right questions, but this is burning me up at the moment. A possible weakness: I'm constantly going over my rough drafts as I write them. I kind of stall myself in the process of editing as I write. I'm kind of participating in the November writing challenge, though I haven't officially signed up. I'm more so using it as a motivator to keep me focused on finishing a story.
"The plot is great but your writing style needs improvement" "It is better than the previous book you showed me, but it is still not near being publishable."
This is the feedback I am getting from a close friend who is reviewing a book I am rewriting in a series I am working on. He says I don't need to change much. He really likes the plot, finds it interesting and well developed but not how I am saying it. I'm a bit confused. My logical mindset tends to freeze up and wonder where the problem is, but I am stuck in a rut. The suggestion is rather vague and chalks up to saying "you lack experience and it shows." and a bit of "I wish you'd read more fiction." (my reading choice leans towards towards non fiction and scientific articles.)
One criticism he had was there needed to be less external dialogue and more internal dialogue. How is a good way to portray internal dialogue on a main character who is not the POV character? (He will be a POV character but isn't the POV character in the scene I am portraying.)
I am trying to set up a scene introducing a soldier character who is feeling suicidal (and plotting a suicide plan) after losing all of his troops in battle. Their side won their war. He is talking with his best friend/ mentor figure who is trying to talk him out of it. Neither characters in the conversation are the POV character. The POV character is a 5 year old child who happens to be watching/overhearing the scene. The story's POV is divided up between the protagonist's current adult perspective his past tense child's perspective. Present Situation: he's making an attempt to change the past and save his world, and is seeing memories linked to key characters from the past. He experiences outside POV's but isn't fully in their mind.
First draft: I had the soldier character talking about how upset he was losing his troops, feeling he lost his friends. Friend pointed out: There needs to be more to it to jump from losing his soldiers to feeling the need to commit suicide.
2nd draft: I explored a bit more his motives, etc. Following a reckless/ ruthless commander and having to justify such orders and feeling tired of following along, feeling like he could have done better, etc.
Friend: That's great, but having him say it makes it sound less genuine.
Me: ??? How to convey this information, enough to concern the child POV and have the adult narrator both reflecting over this scene.
Things the reader really liked: The 1st person narrator and the switching between 1st person and the 3rd person. He liked the idea of seeing the adult narrator and his child self. Things he didn't like: Felt plot points are mentioned in a way too heavy handed or clunky in how they are portrayed. Times I am too direct.