SPIDER: Chapter 2

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Bartle001
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SPIDER: Chapter 2

Post by Bartle001 » September 27th, 2010, 4:27 am

Title: THE SON OF THE SPIDER, CH 2
Genre: YA
Word Count: 355

Sir Horace helped the MacAlastairs pack up their belongings and carry their suitcases to his car, a silver Rolls Royce Phantom. The grille on the car was reminiscent of a king’s mustache, and its blocky headlights were like steadfast eyes that refused all compromise. Its trunk swallowed up family’s sparse luggage as though the MacAlastair’s owned nothing at all. Due to the luxurious roominess of the car, no one would feel cramped during the long ride from Slum Lane in eastern Roxburghshire all the way to Murkendale Moor in northwest Sutherland.

“Calling it!” shouted Kalison. “Riding shotgun!”

“No,” said Calvin. “I always get shotgun. It comes with the privilege of being older.”

They began to argue, two red-haired, green-eyed, juvenile devils emboldened by their sudden turn of fortune.

Cemetery briefly considered breaking them up, but the last time he had tried that he had accidentally gotten his tail stepped on. Now, being both wiser and worse for the wear, he cynically sat down and watched the action. It was great entertainment, really, if you learned to see it that way.

“Children!” said Elsa. “You’re embarrassing us in front of our distinguished guest!”

Sir Horace was discreetly pretending not to notice their scuffle. It’s what a gentleman does in such situations. That is, he follows Chevalier de Mountpousse’s age-old Maxim of Polite Behavior: Do not embarrass other people. In this case, that meant not staring at Calvin and Kalison’s inappropriate display of youthful exuberance.

“Kalison, I happen to agree with Calvin on this issue. Riding shotgun is a privilege that comes with age—”

“Thank you, Gran!” said Calvin, a bit too soon.

“—which is why I’ll be riding shotgun,” Elsa autocratically announced.

Calvin and Kalison were both disappointed, but they knew better than to argue with Gran. While she could be wonderfully wild and fun, she also had a wicked temper and a caustic wit. At the advanced age of eighty-five, her health had been declining lately, though she still had the raw strength of personality to head a family of two energetic teenagers and a cat that was the fruit of poisoned science.
Last edited by Bartle001 on September 27th, 2010, 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mark17
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Re: SPIDER: Chapter 2

Post by Mark17 » September 27th, 2010, 12:10 pm

Hi Bartle, I was definitely intrigued by this passage. Very readable. I definitely wanted more. I loved the name Cemetery. The cat was the fruit of poisoned science? That is awesome. I can't wait to find out what that means. I also loved the use of the car Rolls Royce Phantom, the trunk swallowing luggage, a trip to a moor, the cat (or something) named after a cemetery, it all gave a very ominous tone that something unusual is going to happen on this journey. I can already tell the grandma is a great character. Her response to the fight is perfect and I love how the kids never see it coming.

I would leave that part in the final sentence about Gran being wonderfully wild and fun, with a wicked temper and caustic wit out. It's already kind of clear from her earlier response and this would likely be emphasized throughout the story. Let Gran show who she is on her own.

One thing that was confusing was the point of view. From this passage it seems Cemetery, Sir Horace, Elsa and then both kids all have the main POV at some point. It seems like this might be a sprawling story so that could definitely work, but it's confusing all within the same chapter, especially one this short.

I would definitely keep reading. Good luck.

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writeonsistah
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Re: SPIDER: Chapter 2

Post by writeonsistah » September 27th, 2010, 4:08 pm

I enjoyed it, though I agree with the previous poster's comment that the POV could be confusing at times. Love the name Kalison and I actually quite liked the characterization of Gran. I guess that whether or not it's necessary will depend on how much dialogue she has later in the story.
Check out the first two chapters of my debut novel, Jasmine Powers, Super Geek.
http://www.jasminepowers.blogspot.com

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Bartle001
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Re: SPIDER: Chapter 2

Post by Bartle001 » October 16th, 2010, 2:39 am

Bartle001 wrote:
“—which is why I’ll be riding shotgun,” Elsa autocratically announced.

Calvin and Kalison were both disappointed, but they knew better than to argue with Gran. While she could be wonderfully wild and fun, she also had a wicked temper and a caustic wit. At the advanced age of eighty-five, her health had been declining lately, though she still had the raw strength of personality to head a family of two energetic teenagers and a cat that was the fruit of poisoned science.
[REVISION]:

“—which is why I’ll be riding shotgun,” Elsa announced.

Kalison momentarily froze as if slapped. Calvin bristled for a comeback, but instead found that his mouth had grown dry.

It was Gran’s old self. It had been awhile since the family had seen her this animated, preempting those around her and taking obedience for granted. During the worst of family’s financial maelstrom, she had retreated into herself, as though their poverty had been not Montgomery’s fault but her own. Now, however, the spell had been broken. Though eighty-five years old, she still had the raw strength of personality to head a family of two energetic teenagers and a cat that was the fruit of poisoned science.

[END REVISION]


Thank you Mark17 and writeonsistah. Your advice was correct. One can scarecely go wrong with "show don't tell". Instead of telling that Kal and Cal are disdappointed, we see their reactions. Even the word "autocratically" is unnecessary. It's pretty clear from the Elsa's behavior, and the short descriptive passage, that she behaves like that.

I'm not too sure what to do about the POV issue. Most of the manuscript takes place from Calvin's POV, but here there is a collage. One rule says, don't do this. Another says, if you're going to do it, don't overdo it, and make sure you don't confuse your readers. I've tried to keep it clear. But the chapter wouldn't have the same punch if we didn't get to know a little more about Cemetery and Sir Horace.

I dunno. I'm still puzzling it out.

Bartle001

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