Excertp from nameless novel.

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Crystal
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Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by Crystal » December 23rd, 2009, 11:31 am

I figured since BransfordGroupie was brave enough to post part of her story on here I would too.

Here's to hoping you all like it. Do or don't please be honest with your comments, sugar coating isn't necessary. I put on my big girl panties this morning. :) I can handle it.

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The snow covered streets are practically deserted. Waves of white fell through the night creating a thick blanket on the ground below. I’ve been watching it pile up for hours unable to sleep. The nightmares are haunting and every time I close my eyes there are visions of blood, revenge, and hate accompanied by the feeling of him coming at me once again. It’s been a long stay in the hospital but I’m not looking forward to going home. It’s just my cat Oliver and I and the thought of being there alone in that house turns my stomach. I may have to get a dog, a big one. I just hope Oliver doesn’t mind.

“Angelina, you get to go home today.” The excited voice of a nurse interrupts my thoughts. “The doctor says you’re doing well.” I have been here for three months, Camilla has been my nurse much of that time and we have become good friends.

“Thank you Cam,” My voice is still weak but I manage to get the words out loud enough for her to hear. “Gregg is coming to drive me home. Though, I’m really not looking forward to being out in all that snow.” It steadily got colder as the days of my stay here progressed. I completely missed the beautiful colors of fall. The leaves were showing their first signs of change when it happened. The branches were bare by the time I was finally able to look out the window of my room and I was faced with the undeniable look of winter. Now, the plow trucks below are working hard to make the roads passable for the commuters who will soon be on their way to work. The pretty layers of white are moved into large piles topped off with a dark layer of mud.

“I think he likes you” A smile sneaks across her pretty face. I wonder if she is right. Gregg has been my neighbor for the last few years and a daily visitor, I’ve been told, during my hospital stay. He is renting the other half of the duplex I live in and has been very helpful taking care of things around the property when he is in town. But it seems that every time I let myself think he might like me, he pulls away and disappears for awhile.

“I don’t know why he would like me when he could have perfection like you.” I say with laugh. Cam is tall and slender with long dark hair and stunning green eyes. Her creamy olive complexion is smooth and flawless and her silhouette is gorgeous. Even in her nursing scrubs she looks like a super-model. I am the complete opposite of her. I have been told I am petite, but I think I’m just plain short. My dark eyes and auburn hair contrast sharply with my pale skin that seems to match the freshly fallen snow.

“You are such a beautiful woman. I wish you could see that.” She says.

“I do too.” Gregg is standing at the door smiling at me. A rush of blood fills my checks and I shyly smile back. Handsome is hardly a word to describe Gregg. A carpenter by trade he is muscular and tanned. His blond wavy hair just begs to be touched and at six-feet four inches he towers over my small frame. “Are you ready to go home?”

I nod my head yes, not wanting him to know how terrified I really am. Sadly though, I know I can’t stay in the hospital forever and even with the extra room I am not sure I could trust anyone enough to get a roommate. I’m going to have to get that dog.

“I brought you a gift.” He says holding up a large gift bag topped off with tissue paper.

“I’ll go get your paperwork ready.” Camilla winks, shrugs her shoulders and smiles as she heads out the door towards the nurses station. As beautiful as she is there is something very child like about her. Always happy and sometimes overly giddy, she definitely has a certain zest for life.
“You really shouldn’t have. I’m just glad to be getting out of this place.” That part is true. I am tired of being in this small room and eating the hospitals excellent cuisine. It’s just the home part I am not looking forward to.

“I know, but I figured you needed something decent to wear.” Handsome and clever, he was right I don’t have much of anything to wear. Months in the hospital have made me painfully unaware of my fashions. Lately I have only worn the sweats and tee-shirts that Cam has brought in for me.

“Here, open it.”

In the bag are familiar items, old faded jeans, a tank top and a zip up sweater, all from my closet at home. At the bottom sits my winter coat, scarf, hat and boots.

“I hope you don’t mind that I went into you closet to get that stuff. I figured you would like your own clothes.”

“It’s very thoughtful of you. I couldn’t possibly be mad about it.”

In the bathroom I am haunted by what I see in the mirror. The deep brown eyes looking back at me are cold and full of fear. The scar on my head is now covered by hair, but it will be months before it is back to the shoulder length it was. I run my fingers across the scar on my shoulder, noting how the raised bump feels against the smooth skin around it. My eyes follow as my hand moves down to my stomach and the multiple scars that now cover it. A six inch pink line starts under my rib cage and stops just above my navel. This one is from the doctors who saved my life. But even though these scars are so visible they are nothing compared to the emotional scars I carry. I’ll never be the same person I was and the scars just serve as permanent reminders of what happened that horrible night three months ago.

I finally turn away from the mirror and slip into the clothes, now all at least a size too big, and slowly exit the bathroom. Camilla has returned with the discharge papers and is giving Gregg instructions on my medications, therapy times, and who to call if an emergency should arise.

“I guess it’s a good thing you live so close huh?” Our eyes meet and I know he is thinking the same thing. I feel bad, needing so much help, but he is all I really have. My mother died when I was a little girl and my father is a recovering alcoholic who lives across town with his girlfriend and her two kids.

“You know I’m just a phone call away right?” Cam pipes in.

“Yes, but there are other patients here and they need you now.” Cam has been a great nurse, always doing her best to keep me comfortable. “Why don’t you come to my place for lunch today? It’ll do me good to get back in the kitchen.” I look to Gregg and ask if he would mind stopping at the grocery store. I have doubts that there’s any edible food in my house at the moment.

“No stops necessary. I filled your fridge yesterday when the doctor said you would be heading home. Gregg let me in and helped me put it all away.”

“Well that confirms that I owe both of you lunch. I won’t take no for an answer. You two have been way too good to me. I can never thank you enough for all you’ve done.”

Another nurse walks in with a wheelchair and I am official to leave. I slip into my coat as Gregg grabs the few personal items I have here. As long as I have been confined to this room you’d think I’d have more stuff to take home with me. With the exception of the flowers Gregg gave me when I first started to walk again, everything fits in the gift bag my clothes arrived in.

“I’m gonna get the car. I’ll meet you at the front door.” As he turns to leave he looks back at me, “Zip up, it’s cold out there.”
Working my very first attempt at a mystery novel. 1st draft

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sjp
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Re: Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by sjp » December 23rd, 2009, 12:24 pm

First off, it was very brave of you to post your work.
Second, I almost never comment on works in progress (like, say, in 'Absolute Write'), so the fact that I'm commenting means--from my perspective--you already have a certain (perhaps even necessary) degree of integrity and technical acumen.
Third, keep to your own guns. No matter what anyone says (me included), you are the creator...OWN that power, commit to that passion, stay true to yourself and your work.
Finally, what I think...
"...the thought of being there alone in that house turns my stomach." To my mind, "visions of blood, revenge, and hate" don't create a 'stomach turning' feeling. They can of course, but from the excerpt, I see something more horrific.

"It steadily got colder as the days of my stay here progressed. I completely missed the beautiful colors of fall. The leaves were showing their first signs of change when it happened." To my mind, this is unnecessarily clunky. There's an opportunity for a poetic (potentially horrific) turn of the phrase here. (Actually for the entire paragraph). Seasonal weather--like music--can inspire some unique and interesting feelings...feelings that tend to be more poetic than prosaic. But of course, I'm just looking at an excerpt...I wouldn't want to ruin the 'voice' of the entire work for a nifty 'phrase-turning' paragraph.

"Her creamy olive complexion is smooth and flawless and her silhouette is gorgeous." Be careful about specific descriptions re: 'beautiful'/interesting looking characters...less is almost always more.

"Always happy and sometimes overly giddy, she definitely has a certain zest for life." Sometimes 'telling' is necessary, sometimes not. I love the way you
'show' the scar...perhaps you could show both the scar and the zest by combining them in some twisted, co-mingled horrific image/metaphor...or not. Just sayin'.

"...he is all I really have. My mother died when I was a little girl and my father is a recovering alcoholic who lives across town with his girlfriend and her two kids." That second line is a bit clunky. To my mind, it needs to be set up with a feeling or an image, such as: "A loss can cut through us, drawing out something vital, something necessary. My mother died when I was a little girl and my father is a recovering alcoholic who lives across town with his girlfriend and her two kids...etc." (Of course, you may want to re-use the scar metaphor here. But don't overuse it).

Finally, have fun...this could be interesting!

Good luck!

Ermo
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Re: Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by Ermo » December 23rd, 2009, 12:37 pm

I'll give you my two cents - and it's probably not worth much more than that. My first question is - where are we in this novel? I assume it's very early and that the terrible incident has not been described. If that's the case, then I do like the suspense you've built in here. If anything, you may have referenced it too many times. It's fine to list her injuries, etc., but I would refrain from actually talking about the incident more than once. Also, my guess is that in three months time, she's looked at and/or felt those scars a million times. I would rewrite that to show a sense of familiarity with those wounds, rather than a newness to them.

I always have a hard time with novels that have a character that goes through a traumatic experience like that and then literally has nobody to be there for them. Really? Not a friend? Not an aunt? It almost begs explanation for me why she's such a loner. You started going down that path but I would need more.

I do think you have a nice grasp of the language. In fact, I think you should trust it more. Instead of telling us in months how long she's been there, stick to the description of the scene outside her window as proof of how long she's been there. That was well written and tells us the same thing in a much more interesting and creative way.

saskia
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Re: Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by saskia » December 23rd, 2009, 1:56 pm

Crystal,

As I am reading this I am wondering is this the first chapter? are we supposed to know what has happened to Angelina already? It is hard to comment not knowing what point in the book I am looking at and what else has been written. If it is the first chapter I wonder why you didn't start with the injury, but it could also work not starting there - it just depends on the rest of the book and how you write it.

I think you stated that you have written 5 chapters of this new work - I could be wrong about that - if so I think this is fine for a first draft and you just need to keep going and write the whole thing. Then go back and evaluate the changes you want to work on. Nothing stands out here to me as being on the wrong track for a first draft. I can't comment on the whole concept because I don't know it.

good luck, keep working.
-S

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Crystal
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Re: Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by Crystal » December 23rd, 2009, 2:37 pm

sjp, first off thank you for your comments. I appreciate them. Now, several of the things you mentioned are highlighted in yellow on my word doc. They are things I wasn't quite happy with but haven't figured out how to fix them yet. Seeing that you found them "not quite right" too tells me I was on the right track and do need to put more thought into improving them.

Ermo, Thank you for your comments as well. This is the opening scene of the book. The incident that has put her in the hospital is being revealed slowly through out the novel. As for the scars, you are so right there. I am sure she has seen/felt them before that moment. Thanks for pointing that out to me.
There is definitely more to come explaining her lack of support. Again it is revealed a little later in the story.

saskia, Thank you. As in the above comment, yes this is the very beginning of the book. I finished chapter 5 last night and am now plowing my way through 6.
Working my very first attempt at a mystery novel. 1st draft

ErinGayle
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Re: Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by ErinGayle » December 24th, 2009, 11:39 pm

saskia wrote:Crystal,

As I am reading this I am wondering is this the first chapter? are we supposed to know what has happened to Angelina already? It is hard to comment not knowing what point in the book I am looking at and what else has been written. If it is the first chapter I wonder why you didn't start with the injury, but it could also work not starting there - it just depends on the rest of the book and how you write it.

I think you stated that you have written 5 chapters of this new work - I could be wrong about that - if so I think this is fine for a first draft and you just need to keep going and write the whole thing. Then go back and evaluate the changes you want to work on. Nothing stands out here to me as being on the wrong track for a first draft. I can't comment on the whole concept because I don't know it.

good luck, keep working.
-S
One thing I'll always remember from a discussion with Robert Ludlam was: NEVER spoon-feed your reader. If the main character is in hospital, traumatised, injured, etc.etc., then to TELL the reader all the details in your first chapter leaves little to her imagination - no 'why?', 'was it rape?', ' burglary, maybe. Were others involved and injured, dead?' I've got to read on! I've got to know! Don't TELL me!
Crystal, you made me want to read on because you didn't spoon-feed me. I've got lots of questions, and that's how it should be.

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Crystal
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Re: Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by Crystal » December 25th, 2009, 1:05 am

Erin that is the best compliment you could have given me. In my story the mystery isn't only who did this to her but what happened. Just knowing that I have peaked your interest and you want to read on and find the answers is exactly what I was going for in this opening scene.

Thanks.

Merry Christmas
Working my very first attempt at a mystery novel. 1st draft

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BransfordGroupie
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Re: Excertp from nameless novel.

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 25th, 2009, 8:50 am

Hey Crystal,

Just thought I would let you know I am with EG on this one. I also think that her scars would still be newish to her after only 3 months (especially if she has been unconscious and incoherent for much of that time). Maybe (and lonly maybe) you could clarify this part, but it is only just a thought.

So keep writing and Merry Christmas!!
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REVELATION: The Book of Angel - First draft complete :-)
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