ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

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Wandaduplooy
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ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 18th, 2010, 9:01 am

I need feedback - love it or hate it, please feel free to comment.


Daylight had long since given up its hold on the small town of Edwardsville, Illinois. With the sun’s departure, darkness crept into the town like black fog, shrouding buildings and trees in a hushed gloom.
Bright florescent lights illuminate the inside of a diner, flooding through huge windows in a feeble attempt to push the darkness back. Inside a solitary figure is hastily moving from table to table, nervously cleaning.
The sturdy middle-aged waitress stops to stare out the windows, trying to find in the gloomy night the cause of her unease. The feeling of being watched has been sending shivers up and down her spine all night.
She finishes quickly and rushes to the back door where her car is waiting, just outside. After locking up, she hastily starts to cross the few feet of black asphalt separating her from the safety of her car. Her earlier unease has escalated into sheer panic, driving her to quicken her pace. She stumbles a few times, never slowing down, as she searches for elusive car keys in a too big handbag. In desperation, she shakes the bag and sighs in relief as the soft jingle of keys betray its hiding place under a notebook.
Reaching her car, she pulls the keys free, and while fidgeting with them in the lock she absent-mindedly stares at the streetlights dimly flickering in the distance. Giggling softly under her breath, she scolds herself for getting all worked up for nothing.
Those are some of the last thoughts Mavis will ever have…before dying.
Miles away a young man jerks awake. Sleep seems a distant dream as he lies in bed trying to figure out what woke him.
I didn’t have a bad dream. I don’t remember dreaming at all, and I cannot remember a noise… With a scowl on his face, eyes closed, he tries to listen for any sound from in- or outside the house that could have woken him. The quiet night offers him no explanation.
Well, I better try to get back to sleep…

CoachMT
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by CoachMT » February 18th, 2010, 11:24 am

To be quite honest, this piece appears to be suffering from "First Chapter Syndrome". I've seen that term or something like it in many places around here. We want the agent/publisher/reader to be shocked and awed by our writing skills, so we go over the top with our first pages.
Daylight had long since given up its hold on the small town of Edwardsville, Illinois. With the sun’s departure, darkness crept into the town like black fog, shrouding buildings and trees in a hushed gloom.
It was dark. Oversimplification obviously, but those three words say basically the same thing.
Bright florescent lights illuminate the inside of a diner, flooding through huge windows in a feeble attempt to push back the darkness. Inside a solitary figure hastily moves from table to table, nervously cleaning.
The sturdy middle-aged waitress stops to stare out the windows, trying to find the cause of her unease in the gloomy night.
Just wondering, why the change of tense from the first paragraph?
After locking up, she hastily starts to cross the few feet of black asphalt separating her from the safety of her car.
I do this all the time and have to slap my fingers constantly for typing stuff like this. "She hastily crossed the few feet…" Look for things like this in your writing and your word count will decrease. Believe me, I know from experience. = )
Those are some of the last thoughts Mavis will ever have…before dying.
This is really awkward. I can't decide if it's the tense or the ending. You don't really need "before dying."

A few things but hopefully they help.

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Remus Shepherd
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Remus Shepherd » February 18th, 2010, 11:56 am

The language is a bit too flowery. But more important than that, you don't introduce any characters until the third paragraph -- and she isn't named for another three.

My advice is to begin this story with action from a main character.

"Mavis stops to stare out the windows, trying to find the cause of her unease."

That's a fine opening line. We could wrap a little more into it. A sense of setting is probably what it needs the most.

"Mavis stops to stare out the windows of the diner, pausing in her nervous cleaning of the tables to find the cause of the shivers running down her spine."

Better. It's just a suggestion, though. Whatever you decide upon for an opening line and paragraph, it's a good idea for it to have a character, a setting, and a mood. Your original opening had only mood, and that can only take you so far.

Best of luck with it!

Lunetta22
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Lunetta22 » February 18th, 2010, 1:10 pm

Wandaduplooy wrote:I need feedback - love it or hate it, please feel free to comment.


Daylight had long since given up its hold on the small town of Edwardsville, Illinois. With the sun’s departure, darkness crept into the town like black fog, shrouding buildings and trees in a hushed gloom.
Bright florescent lights illuminate the inside of a diner, flooding through huge windows in a feeble attempt to push the darkness back. This is past tense, the rest is present. Inside a solitary figure is hastily moving from table to table, nervously cleaning.
The sturdy middle-aged waitress stops to stare out the windows, trying to find in the gloomy night the cause of her unease. The feeling of being watched has been sending shivers up and down her spine all night. This is an awkward sentence. I would reccomend saying something along the lines of: A cold shiver ran down her spine. She felt llike she was being watched all night.
She finishes quickly and rushes to the back door where her car is waiting, just outside. After locking up, she hastily starts to cross the few feet of black asphalt separating her from the safety of her car. Her earlier unease has escalated into sheer panic, driving her to quicken her pace. She stumbles a few times, never slowing down, as she searches for elusive car keys in a too big handbag. In desperation, she shakes the bag and sighs in relief as the soft jingle of keys betray its hiding place under a notebook.
Reaching her car, she pulls the keys free, and while fidgeting with them in the lock she absent-mindedly stares at the streetlights dimly flickering in the distance. Giggling softly under her breath, she scolds herself for getting all worked up for nothing.
Those are some of the last thoughts Mavis will ever have…before dying. This is an awkward sentence. You could probably just cut it entirely and switch to the kid.
Miles away a young man jerks awake. Sleep seems a distant dream as he lies in bed trying to figure out what woke him.
I didn’t have a bad dream. I don’t remember dreaming at all, and I cannot remember a noise… With a scowl on his face, eyes closed, he tries to listen for any sound from in- or outside the house that could have woken him. The quiet night offers him no explanation.
Well, I better try to get back to sleep…
I would name the young man. Especially if he is your main character and important to the plot.

I would definitely name Marvis up front as Remus suggested. Choose whether to write in past or present tense. (Most novels are in past.) Also it's a bit wordy. I wonder if this is the best place to start your book.

Wandaduplooy
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 18th, 2010, 10:50 pm

Thank you for all your feedback. The first sentence is in past tence because I want to try and convey time passing - the slow onset of darkness. It is dark will not convey that the evening is more sinister, more dark and that something bad is about to happen.

I also like to write in present tence. I do not want to have a story telling novel but a "It is happening now and you are part of it" feeling to my novel.

Mavis is not so important as a person, only her dying is important to my hero. I also added the dying bit because my beta readers wondered if she died or was kidnapped.

I will take all you say into consideration and will read the first page again with a diffent perspecive!!!

Wandaduplooy
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 20th, 2010, 12:19 am

As with my query letter, I believe I have been given as much help as I can hope for... Thank you to all who has given a opinion. I respect all but will only take use what I really believe to be relevant to me! What is the use changing to please others? We must stay true to oneself. If it can be improved I will, but changing it to make others happy... No! If you compromise...you should not be a novelist!

Wandaduplooy
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 23rd, 2010, 6:59 am

I am having a "Are you good enough" moment . Please, even if you just write total rubish or good but need work. A Brilliant here and there would also help, but I do want honesty! I know 2 rejections are nothing but I need to know. My beta readers love my novel, but they know me! I want a opinion of someone who do not know me!

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Holly
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Holly » February 23rd, 2010, 10:36 am

Wandaduplooy wrote:I am having a "Are you good enough" moment . Please, even if you just write total rubish or good but need work. A Brilliant here and there would also help, but I do want honesty! I know 2 rejections are nothing but I need to know. My beta readers love my novel, but they know me! I want a opinion of someone who do not know me!
You need work with the basics -- spelling, grammar, and sentence construction. It's great to have passion and imagination, but you are competing with professionals.

Take some writing classes. Get up to speed with the basics before submitting to an agent. Your local community college is a good place to start. Community colleges often offer low-cost classes with no admission requirements.

The best to you.

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Ryan
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Ryan » February 23rd, 2010, 12:49 pm

I think it's a little "fluffy" but not crazy over the top as mentioned. I mean hell, The Road was 300+ pages describing gray, death and gloom over and over again so getting a little creative with "it's getting dark" is totally acceptable. The last bit was confusing but I was pulled into the story. I could see the lady cleaning and finishing her shift. Sure, this page needs work but no need to despair. Head up!!

Cheers

Ryan
My love of fly fishing and surfing connects me to rivers and the ocean. Time with water reminds me to pursue those silly little streams of thought that run rampant in my head.
http://www.withoutrain.com/

ljkuhnley
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by ljkuhnley » February 23rd, 2010, 4:00 pm

Wandaduploov,

I think your first page provides a very intriguing start to your novel. You’ve written some vivid imagery and conveyed a sense that something ominous lurks in the shadows waiting to claim its first victim.

Like Ryan, I found the young man waking to be a bit awkward. You might try summarizing his thoughts rather than writing them out. I’m not sure what else to suggest without seeing what proceeds it. I also agree that if he is your protagonist it would be good to state his name.

I have one other suggestions. You could add a few touches to Mavis’s character to give us a sense of who she is. While she’s a minor character who does not survive the first page, a well-placed detail might create a greater impact for her death.

Overall I’d say this is a good start. Good luck with this!
Last edited by ljkuhnley on February 6th, 2012, 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wandaduplooy
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Re: ECHTRA : BLOOD MAGICK - FIRST PAGE

Post by Wandaduplooy » February 24th, 2010, 12:27 am

Thank you for all the feedback. Knowing the notes will not make you a singer but all singers must know the notes—so I agree that I do need to tighten up my grammer etc.

Ryan, my aim is not to write a literary masterpiece. I want people to live inside my novels, to forget about the world and everything outside and if you are drawn into my story then I am happy!

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