New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

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BlancheKing
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New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by BlancheKing » April 10th, 2010, 5:20 am

I started my new book yesterday and got about 1/8th of the way through the rough draft (13,000 words so far; I've had the idea forever and I hope to finish by the end of April). It's a YA paranormal novel (not romance), and the protagonist twelve. It's a different writing style than my last book, so I'd appreciate any feedback you have, ranging from word choice to your impression of the protagonist.

edit: 33k words. about 1/2 way through. anyone have any ideas? ._.

---

Bones and Burning Ashes

Chapter 1

Chicken soup…

Friday began with the twelve of us huddled under a poorly lit roof, waiting for dinner while several nuns frowned in the background. Weather was terrible, and the playground was buried so deeply in white that going outside became the equivalent of hanging oneself from the rafters. Even the members of the clergy had given in and allowed us to eat inside the classrooms, which to them, it was the same as sneezing on the Mona Lisa.
When the food finally arrived, the last working chandelier flickered went out. Sister Mary Anthony brought candles so we could see our spoons, but before she finished setting up, a sack of sand-like substance fell through the rotted roof rafters and into my soup. Broth splattered all over on my blouse, and the table, and everywhere else except inside the tin bowl it was served in. But no one cared. What’d caught everyone’s attention was the bone floating in the creamy residue. That, and the layer of ashes that peppered the air.
The adults panicked. Never mind that broken glass and splintered wood scattered next to small children, most of the teachers were more concerned with running up and down the aisles, screaming about dead people. Nuns were weird that way; easily excitable, and always in a hurry to take unnecessary actions. Perhaps they were different when they were twelve.
When the chaos was over, I picked up a copy of the newspaper and went upstairs to the kitchen.
Front page:
ST. CLAIR CONSTRUCTION RELOCATES TO NEW OXFORD
I tore out a page to use as a coaster.
Headline:
MANSION PARK CEMETERY REACHES FULL CAPACITY
I made a mental note to move before I died.
At seven o’clock, my instant soup was ready. As I took the cup to my room, I caught a glimpse of a hand waving outside my window.
My fourth floor window.
The soup clattered to the ground as I sprinted down the hallway screaming. Doors flew open, revealing scared, curious and confused individuals, but all equally annoyed by the disturbance.
“What is this?” demanded Sister Mary Anthony. Her arms were full of candles.
When I finished explaining, two older girls and the Sister herself escorted me back to my room. We found no sign of the hand, just a puddle of broth on the floor.
I gave no more thought to the mystery and went to bed
Next morning, I woke to find myself hovering in Mansion Park. The school was gone.
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
Writing Process: http://blancheking.blogspot.com/

stardog911
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by stardog911 » April 10th, 2010, 8:58 pm

Hi Blanche, I'm not a pro or anything, my novel hasn't published yet, but I have read a lot. :) The premise sounds good but I found the story rather confusing. You need more details, it seemed rather rushed and there are a few grammar mistakes. (nothing stops the flow of a story for me like grammar mistakes!) :)
I look forward to reading the revisions!

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Quill
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by Quill » April 10th, 2010, 9:32 pm

BlancheKing wrote:I started my new book yesterday and got about 1/8th of the way through the rough draft (13,000 words so far; I've had the idea forever and I hope to finish by the end of April). It's a YA paranormal novel (not romance), and the protagonist twelve. It's a different writing style than my last book, so I'd appreciate any feedback you have, ranging from word choice to your impression of the protagonist.

edit: 33k words. about 1/2 way through. anyone have any ideas? ._.
Half way through a first draft in two days?? You GO, girl!

I say don't worry about getting feedback at this stage. Just write!

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charlotte49ers
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by charlotte49ers » April 10th, 2010, 9:52 pm

Quill wrote:
BlancheKing wrote:I started my new book yesterday and got about 1/8th of the way through the rough draft (13,000 words so far; I've had the idea forever and I hope to finish by the end of April). It's a YA paranormal novel (not romance), and the protagonist twelve. It's a different writing style than my last book, so I'd appreciate any feedback you have, ranging from word choice to your impression of the protagonist.

edit: 33k words. about 1/2 way through. anyone have any ideas? ._.
Half way through a first draft in two days?? You GO, girl!

I say don't worry about getting feedback at this stage. Just write!
This! I only wish I could write that quickly. :)

And did I understand that right? The protagonist is 12? I think that would make it more MG than YA.

BlancheKing
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by BlancheKing » April 10th, 2010, 10:01 pm

augh! can't write anymore today. I think it's the madness of waiting that's keeps me typing. I wanted some feed back on the style because I didn't want to have to go back and change the tone after it's finished. (Had to for certain pieces of the current manuscript; that really sucked.) I don't know what I want to do with it yet, but it alleviates the need to watch TV.

The protagonist is 12, but the concept of the book is too depressing to be middle-grade. I'm not sure if middle grade kids want to read about being forgotten and butchered people.
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
Writing Process: http://blancheking.blogspot.com/

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Robin
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by Robin » April 10th, 2010, 10:14 pm

"MANSION PARK CEMETERY REACHES FULL CAPACITY
I made a mental note to move before I died."

I like this. it is like a foretelling.

Questions: Does the MC have to be 12 yrs old? Your concept sounds like its for a more mature audience (YA).
"forgotten and butchered people"- hmmm... sounds dark. Is it supposed to be funny/dark (like Coraline) or dark and depressing? Where are you going with it?
Robin
"A glass slipper is only a shoe. Dreamers who only dream never have their dreams come true."

http://www.RobynLucas.com/

CoachMT
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by CoachMT » April 11th, 2010, 9:51 am

I agree with Stardog that this first section you've posted seems rushed. It was hard to get the scene established in my mind. I also agree with the others that you probably want an MC who is a little older if the tone of the story is dark like you say. Even 14 or 15 would probably be better. Just my two cents.

BlancheKing
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by BlancheKing » April 11th, 2010, 7:25 pm

I hear what you're saying Coach, and re-reading it, I think I can flesh it out a bit.

In regards to the age of the MC, it's intended to reflect a more innocent age. 14 and 15 year olds are too emotional and prone to gothic tendencies. It cheapens the effect.
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
Writing Process: http://blancheking.blogspot.com/

stardog911
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by stardog911 » April 12th, 2010, 9:35 am

Blanche, not all 14 and 15 year olds are such. my 14 year old son is actually quite innocent. I suppose we have tried to keep him rather protected from some of the harsher realities of the world.(he believed that you couldn't have children unless you were married until my daycare girl informed him otherwise. he was about 10 at the time.) :)
You could set up the MC's background as such that they haven't yet been jaded by harsh "realities". sequestered somehow maybe? Sheltered by parents until untimely death? or some such other thing.
innocence is what you make it for your MC. a 40 year old could be innocent, it's all in the background you imagine for them.
Good Luck!

Petronella
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by Petronella » April 13th, 2010, 1:42 pm

I like the over all story idea, and your MC, although like others here I think she could be a little older.

Some questions going through my mind. She went upstairs to the kitchen from the room where they were ready to eat and where all the excitement happened. If this room is below the kitchen, it must be below the roof. So how can there be rafters? I've always thought rafters were part of a roof - I could be wrong, of course.

Why was the bag with the bones and ashes in it up in the rafters? Why hadn't it fallen before considering the rafters were rotten?

To my way of thinking the nuns are too panicky. I think one or two might be, but not all.

I liked the hand waving outside the MC's fourth story window. That really made me want to read more of the story - that, and the bag with the bones and ashes.

Don't quite get the last bit with her floating in the air and the school being gone.

I know I'm not that much help, sorry about that.

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bigheadx
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by bigheadx » April 13th, 2010, 4:20 pm

Allow me to be the more clinical reader here and note some inconsistencies and outright head scratchers....
BlancheKing wrote:I started my new book yesterday and got about 1/8th of the way through the rough draft (13,000 words so far; I've had the idea forever and I hope to finish by the end of April). It's a YA paranormal novel (not romance), and the protagonist twelve. It's a different writing style than my last book, so I'd appreciate any feedback you have, ranging from word choice to your impression of the protagonist.

edit: 33k words. about 1/2 way through. anyone have any ideas? ._.
One suggestion, slow down? It's great when ideas and words spill forth, but remember that writing is a craft as well as an art. This snippet indicates you have a vivid imagination and have created an interesting character voice. The challenge will be sustaining the latter while directing the former.
---

Bones and Burning Ashes

Chapter 1

Chicken soup…

Friday began with the twelve of us huddled under a poorly lit roof [poorly lit roof? do you mean ceiling? or was it just a typo and you mean poorly lit room? Also, "Friday began?" Based upon what follows, it would seem that this is all takes place well after Friday began.], waiting for dinner while several nuns frowned in the background. Weather was terrible, and the playground was buried so deeply in white that going outside became the equivalent of hanging oneself from the rafters [Sorry, I do not understand this reference. Assuming the "white" refers to snow, how is freezing to death commensurate with a hanging?]. Even the members of the clergy had given in and allowed us to eat inside the classrooms, which to them, it was the same as sneezing on the Mona Lisa.
When the food finally arrived, the last working chandelier flickered wentout. Sister Mary Anthony brought candles so we could see our spoons, but before she finished setting up, a sack of sand-like substance fell through the rotted roof rafters and into my soup [Perhaps this reader is being too clinical here, but rafters are sloped beams that support a roof deck, so it is more likely whatever falls will fall through a rotten ceiling or a rotten roof.] . Broth splattered all over on my blouse, and the table, and everywhere else except inside the tin bowl it was served in. But no one cared. What’d caught everyone’s attention was the bone floating in the creamy residue [Bones float?] . That, and the layer of ashes that peppered the air. [This reader is trying to visualize a layer of ashes peppering the air and to understand the source of these ashes; cremation ashes? Wouldn't a "cloud of ashes" or an "ash fog" be a better visual?]
The adults panicked. Never mind that broken glass and splintered wood scattered next to small children, [Not sure if I understand this one; i.e., where did the broken glass come from? the splintered wood? from the hole in the ceiling/roof?] most of the teachers were more concerned with running up and down the aisles, screaming about dead people. Nuns were weird that way; easily excitable, and always in a hurry to take unnecessary actions. Perhaps they were different when they were twelve. [Nice!]
When the chaos was over, I picked up a copy of the newspaper and went upstairs to the kitchen.
Front page:The front page headline said:
ST. CLAIR CONSTRUCTION RELOCATES TO NEW OXFORD
I tore out a page to use as a coaster.
Headline:The headline beside that one said:
MANSION PARK CEMETERY REACHES FULL CAPACITY
I made a mental note to move before I died. [Nice!]
At seven o’clock, my instant soup was ready. As I took the cup to my room, I caught a glimpse of a hand waving outside my window. [Your character appears to be en route to their room, not in it, so how could they see a hand outside the room's window? How about "As I carried the steaming cup into my room..."? And, is the window frosted over with cold? Lashed by snow?]
My fourth floor window. [Nice!]
The soup clattered to the ground as I sprinted down the hallway screaming. Doors flew open, revealing scared, curious and confused individuals, ["individuals" is such a bland, colorless word. Are these all students? nuns? a combination of both? If so, why not indicate that?] but all equally annoyed by the disturbance.
“What is this?” demanded Sister Mary Anthony. Her arms were full of candles.
When I finished explaining, two older girls and the Sister herself escorted me back to my room. We found no sign of the hand, just a puddle of broth on the floor.
I gave no more thought to the mystery and went to bed [Why? Something that caused this character to race down a hallway screaming seems to be something that would cause them to give thought to its origins/meaning/portent.]
Next morning, I woke to find myself hovering in Mansion Park. The school was gone. [Nice "hook!"]
Hope these comments help a bit. Good luck!

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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by kenpochick » April 13th, 2010, 4:33 pm

It definitely seems rushed. There are several grammatical mistakes which stopped me reading to try to figure out what you were saying. The language also seems in conflict with the age of your main character. I know that it can be done properly like Orson Scott Card with Ender's Game but even there the MC was supposed to have the intellect and maturity of an adult rather than a kid his age.

I think it's great you are getting so much down but it's going to need a lot of fleshing out and I would make the MC older especially if you're aiming at young adult.

Good luck!

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wilderness
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by wilderness » April 13th, 2010, 4:54 pm

Wow! I wish I could write 13000 words in one day! I'm lucky to get 1300.

That said, you were asking about the style. I liked it. Of course it needs to be cleaned up and I would like to know right off the bat if the main character is female or male. But still, it has a nice voice, very deadpan. :)

JTB
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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by JTB » April 13th, 2010, 5:24 pm

I agree with what someone said about not worrying about feedback yet, wait till the dust settles, see what you got and then get some feedback

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Re: New Manuscript - What do you think of this style?

Post by LeeLKrecklow » April 13th, 2010, 11:33 pm

I, too, think you could slow this down significantly. Take the time to set the scene and build more tension before anything happens. Your words are sparse enough to cause a bit of confusion and apathy. You've clearly got the ambition and tools to put something good together, so I guess I'd suggest you invest more time and words in this sequence. I'm looking forward to more, and I thank you for sharing.

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