Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

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Callum
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Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by Callum » July 21st, 2010, 11:53 am

This is a first draft of one of the opening chapters in my first ever novel, Fallen Angel. It's an Urban Fantasy with a dose of Psychological Thriller. Any constructive criticism will be warmly accepted. Please be forewarned: STRONG LANGUAGE AHEAD.


Chapter 4 – Can you hear me, God? It’s me, Franklin Tracy. (1999)

If one thing could have been said about Rose Tracy, it’s that she was the flower in Franklin’s life. He watched her wither one beautiful petal at a time before she finally succumbed to the meningitis ravaging her body. She was... had been... five years of age and the most beautiful thing in his life or, in his opinion, in the universe. Over the last few weeks Franklin had found himself staring at the bottom of a whiskey bottle too many a time, occasionally glancing at the wooden cabinet over the other side of the room.

He had cocked his head in wonder, his mind racing. How would it feel if he just ended it? One gentle squeeze, one little life snuffed out.

Tempting, tempting.

It definitely was tempting to him, but at least he still had his wife. Franklin slouched further down the red velvet chair, staring at the brass clock in the corner.

Tick. Toc. Tick. Toc.

She had been gone for a while... three hours and twenty two minutes, to be exact; where could she be? Rose was a spitting image of her mother, Miranda. Franklin sighed audibly, looking down into the half full glass of whiskey under his chin. That was where Rose had gotten her beauty from. He was so lucky to have a wife like her – she was beautiful, kind and loving; a perfect wife, mother and woman.

The knock at the door startled him.

“Shit,” he groaned, pushing himself out of the chair and arching his back. “One moment!” He shouted over his shoulder, towards the door.

Being born into privilege was sometimes a pain in the ass. He had to walk through two grand rooms before getting to the marble corridor before even catching a glimpse of the giant double front doors. A giant pain in the ass, to be sure.

“Yes?” Franklin croaked before he could actually see who was at the door.

“Mr. Tracy?” A stern voice made him jump. Two police officers stood before him, hats tucked in tightly under their arms.

“Yes... how can I help you?” It was at this time, he noticed that he was in pyjama bottoms and a stained Disney t-shirt. He took another swig of whiskey before putting the empty glass on a nearby table. The sun hurt his bloodshot eyes.

“I am Sergeant Barry and this is P.C. Rogers,” the stern looking man announced. He paused for a while, surveying Franklin with a crease running along his brow. “May... we come in?”

“Oh... of course.” He fully opened the door for them and pointed to the nearest room. The three men walked into a massive full of game trophies, silverware and grand materials. “Would you like anything to drink?”

“No thank you,” Sergeant Barry replied, sitting down in the chair opposite to Franklin. “May I ask sir, when did you last see your wife?”

“I don’t know... three to four hours?” He knew full well when he had last seen her – he’d counted every second. “Why, what’s wrong?”

“And where have you been in the last three to four hours, Mr. Tracy?”

Just answer my question you fucking moron. “In the drawing room, three rooms down that way.” He pointed over his head towards another wooden door next to a stuffed pheasant.

“And can anyone confirm that?”

“Yes.” He poured himself another whiskey, not that he needed another. “My butler, Hugh.”

P.C. Rogers had been scribbling furiously the last few moments, probably noting down everything that was being said. Franklin had plenty of experience with the police service. Being the inherited owner of one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world, he had interviews every other week usually due to some drug addicts breaking into his warehouses in an attempt to score some free drugs. Shame his warehouses only stored antibiotics, antiviral drugs and equipment for mental health wards. Not much to get high on. There was a long pause before Rogers nodded at Barry and stopped writing.

“I’m afraid we have some terrible news, Mr. Tracy.” Sergeant Barry’s voice became softer, which was certainly un-nerving. “At eleven-sixteen this morning, the body of a blonde female was found in a ditch outside Greyfield,”

Franklyn took another swig of whiskey; he had an eerie, sickening feeling where this was about to end up.

“What happened to my wife, Sergeant?” Franklin interrupted the officer before drinking the entire contents of his glass. He was not a man who liked to ‘beat around the bush’, so to speak.

“Well... from preliminary examinations, she suffered a puncture wound to neck, and we suspect-”

“Murder,” Franklin mumbled, pouring another whiskey.

The next few minutes were an incoherent blur. Whether due to the alcohol or the sheer emotional weight of the news, it was unclear. The last anchor in Franklin’s life hand just been severed so why not just leave the harbour once and for all? Hugh was already escorting the police off of the premises.

What time was it? Six o’clock. What day? He chuckled softly. It didn’t really matter at all, really.
“Can you hear me God?” Franklin hissed, looking up at the ceiling. “I didn’t think so.” The alcoholic tingle in his peripheries had subsided considerably. “I’ve dedicated myself to saving the lives of others and you’ve done what? I’ll tell you.” He stood up and walked through to the drawing room. “You watch as others die in pain as if you revel in the suffering of us... the people, the flies, the sport,” Franklin spat each hateful syllable with undeniable disgust.
The wooden cabinet had caught his gaze once again but this time there was no cocking of the head, no wonder, just a will and soon to be a means. Franklin pulled on the brass knobs and gazed at the shining firearms within for a moment.
No, that would be too quick of a release and he wanted to show Him that He was guilty of making people suffer... just like Rose and Miranda.

Climbing rope.

If his memory served him correctly – and it always did – this piece of rope could hold twenty kilonewtons in force, which was over two thousand kilos and he had never used it.
Not until now.

This would do nicely, guaranteed to get the job done slowly. It then it hit him suddenly - the alcohol had left his system long ago and yet he was doing something that Dutch courage could not even get him close to. What kind of human mind thinks it is its last day on this planet? Not healthy, that was for damned sure. Moving, he thought. But he didn’t care at all. Not one bit. The only thing he cared about was if the beams were low and the chair high enough, which they were, so it made the task that much easier. Franklin pulled the chair directly under one of the hulking beams and began to tie the rope in an incoherent knot. Scouts didn’t really leave much of an impression in the end it seemed.

He slowly stood up onto the chair and fed his head through the loop and fastened it tightly around his neck. It was already difficult to breathe, but how much more difficult would it become? Would it hurt? Would it be slow and painful? Only time would tell, that was for sure. Franklin slowly inhaled before kicking the chair away from beneath his feet. It hurt more than he had expected, but that did not matter to him... it was slowly becoming easier, much less painful and much more euphoric as if a wave of release was ebbing over him. Despite the growing ease, he still thrashed violently.

Silly really, he thought. My body still wants to live...

Then suddenly, the rope snapped and he landed on the floor with a crunch. His nose snapped and his lower lip was half mangled with teeth.

“Why?!” He sobbed uncontrollably onto the wooden floor after a long pause. “Why won’t you just let me die?” The wooden floor splintered and cracked as he banged his fist against it with all his anger. Franklin cried for what seemed like days. His eyes were like sandpaper. The tears flowed off the tip of his long, hooked, and now bloody, nose. Black bags hung loosely under his dark hazel eyes.

“Of course I want justice,” he whispered to the voice in his head. Franklin stood up and untied the other part of the rope off the beam. “Of course, it shall not be a problem. Give me the names and I shall see that proper justice is done.”




Thank you to all who critique and/or read it!

-Callum
Last edited by Callum on July 28th, 2010, 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by AMSchilling » July 21st, 2010, 1:09 pm

To start with, I'm definitely intrigued by the story and am interested in how it's all going to unfold. I like urban fantasy as well as a good psychological thriller, and this sets up some major stressors right away to get us into everything.

As for my comments: I didn't focus on punctuation or grammar, but more on the random thoughts that popped into my head while reading. I figure there are people here that can help with the technical bits a lot better than I could. The only thing I will mention is that you've spelled the character's name two ways in this sample - Franklyn and Franklin.

EDIT: I should note that since this is chapter four, and I haven't seen the first three, I'm reading this as if it's the start of the story. If anything is cleared up in previous chapters that I mention, just ignore!

Since this is my first critique, everyone please let me know if I come across at all wrong. I enjoyed this and don't mean to sound harsh or overly-critical in the least. I'm just trying to share what went through my head as I read it.


Chapter 4 – Can you hear me, God? It’s me, Franklin Tracy. (1999)
This reminds me of a Judy Blume Book (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret). This might be intentional, but it's going to throw female readers. Trust me – you don't want them thinking this has anything to do w/ girls and puberty. Unless, of course, it does. :-)

If one thing could have been said about Rose Tracy, it’s that she was the flower in Franklin’s life. He watched her wither one beautiful petal at a time before she finally succumbed to the meningitis ravaging her body.
I don't usually associate fatal meningitis w/ withering away. It might be possible as a progression of the disease, but it's not common – when it goes bad it tends to go very bad very quickly from descriptions I've heard. Perhaps a different description of her decline (even though I do like the imagery a lot), or a different disease so that the description fits better.

Just answer my question you fucking moron. “In the drawing room, three rooms down that way.” He pointed over his head towards another wooden door next to a stuffed pheasant.
Would anyone explain that it was three rooms down? I've done this myself in my writing, trying to paint the picture for a reader, but realistically I don't think anyone would describe it that way.

“And can anyone confirm that?”

“Yes.” He poured himself another whiskey, not that he needed another. “My butler, Hugh.”
If he has a butler, who is around to verify his whereabouts, why did he have to answer the door?

Franklyn took another swig of whiskey; he had an eerie, sickening feeling where this was about to end up.

“What happened to my wife, Sergeant?” Franklin interrupted the officer before drinking the entire contents of his glass. He was not a man who liked to ‘beat around the bush’, so to speak.
In order to interrupt, the officer would still have to be speaking. Franklin had time to take a drink between when the office told him about the woman in the ditch and when he responded. Also check for continuity on the spelling of names.

The last anchor in Franklin’s life hand just been severed so why not just leave the harbour once and for all?
I like this sentence a lot.

What time was it? Six o’clock. What day? He chuckled softly. It didn’t really matter at all, really.

“Can you hear me God?” Franklin hissed, looking up at the ceiling. “I didn’t think so.”
I got the sense that this was a man floating in a numbed (and pickled) haze, but here he turns very angry very suddenly. Appropriate emotion given the events, but perhaps mention the transition so it doesn't leave us confused about whether we misread his previous state?

It then it hit him suddenly - the alcohol had left his system long ago and yet he was doing something that Dutch courage could not even get him close to.
With him swilling whiskey right before, and while talking to, the police, he's now sober? Did he have a mental fugue and more time passed than appeared? Sorry if it's just me not being clear on the timeline here.

“Why?!” He sobbed uncontrollably onto the wooden floor after a long pause. “Why won’t you just let me die?” The wooden floor splintered and cracked as he banged his fist against it with all his anger.
I've dropped a 300 lb treadmill on my wood floors and they didn't splinter. They dented. The amount of anger he'd need for this to actually happen would mean he had Superhero strength. Maybe he does, since you said it was urban fantasy, but if so we need a little hint of that before this or it just seems unrealistic.

“Of course I want justice,” he whispered to the voice in his head. Franklin stood up and untied the other part of the rope off the beam. “Of course, it shall not be a problem. Give me the names and I shall see that proper justice is done.”
This is creepy, which is good, and also leaves me wanting to read more. There's something just a little off about it for me, though. Maybe tell us he starts to hear a voice in his head, before he actually answers? I'm sorry I'm not sure what might be needed here to really bring it home. It's more a vague impression.

Overall I get the impression that I'd enjoy reading this book. You've got good tension and a hook at the very beginning. The protagonist is a mess, crappy things have happened and are still happening, and he's coming unhinged. I'd definitely pick it up at the bookstore after reading this far. I think most of the stuff I mentioned is all just first draft items, and something that will be smoothed out as you go through the editing process. Nice job making me want to read the whole thing!
-Amy

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Callum
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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by Callum » July 21st, 2010, 2:06 pm

Thank you for your input. You are correct with the Franklin and Franklyn mix up; it's a typo (and general ignorance). Oh God (see what I did there), I never thought about that Judy Blume book but I feel the chapter title fits rather nicely anyway.

The Meningitis dilemma - I see your point. I was toying with Leukaemia and may, after all use that instead (plus it also sounds much more tragic).
If he has a butler, who is around to verify his whereabouts, why did he have to answer the door?
Ahahaha, very good point. I will change that.
I got the sense that this was a man floating in a numbed (and pickled) haze, but here he turns very angry very suddenly. Appropriate emotion given the events, but perhaps mention the transition so it doesn't leave us confused about whether we misread his previous state?
Ah, but I gave the hint that Franklin had 'zoned out' so to speak, when I said:
What time was it? Six o’clock. What day? He chuckled softly. It didn’t really matter at all, really.
Therefore, he pulls himself together a day or so down the line and just sat in the chair.
I've dropped a 300 lb treadmill on my wood floors and they didn't splinter. They dented. The amount of anger he'd need for this to actually happen would mean he had Superhero strength. Maybe he does, since you said it was urban fantasy, but if so we need a little hint of that before this or it just seems unrealistic.
I am hinting that he now has superior strength, although he doesn't know it yet. So it's meant to be slightly subtle and strange, just like the 'divine intervention' when the rope broke.
The protagonist is a mess, crappy things have happened and are still happening, and he's coming unhinged. I'd definitely pick it up at the bookstore after reading this far.
This is very good to hear, I could hug you. I wanted people to think this so much you would never have believed me, but the thing is that Franklin is not the protagonist, he's the antagonist. Personally, I feel that the best villain is always the one you sympathize with a la Khan from Star Trek, Magneto from X-Men.

Thank you very much for your critique! It was very constructive and has helped me a lot. If you ever post something on here for critique I will certainly read it and give my input :)

Once again, many thanks.

-Callum.
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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by AMSchilling » July 21st, 2010, 7:43 pm

Glad it was helpful!

I didn't pick up that a day or so had passed with the "What time was it...what day?", but it would explain why he was suddenly sober as well. Maybe be a little less subtle about how much time has gone by? Then again, it might just have been me missing it. :-)

I actually like that he's the antagonist rather than the protagonist. I agree that villans don't need to be black and white people you can't have any empathy for. It makes them, and the story, much more interesting when they're not so cut and dry, IMO.
-Amy

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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by Callum » July 26th, 2010, 4:30 pm

Here's the first draft of the second chapter of my WIP of when the Angel falls to Earth.


Descent (1999).

Scattered Bibles from the recent midnight Christmas Eve mass littered the floor of the Church like cigarette butts on a high street. Father John Simmons hummed various hymns under his breath as he snuffed the candles and straightened the linen on the altar. The mass had gone well and he was surprised at how many of the village’s residents bothered to turn up.

“Merry Christmas.” He smiled to himself, glancing at his watch as the hands past midnight. A chuckle escaped his mouth as he picked up the first of many bibles off the floor.
A sudden flash of strong light coming towards the church blinded the Reverend. Father Simmons shielded his grey eyes from the intense light and with an almighty, deafening crash the light ceased to exist.

"What was that?" He asked to no one in particular, his voice squeaking in a higher octave than usual. Throwing the candlesnuffer down, he began to walk as quickly as he could towards the great wooden doors of his church. As he approached the doors they creaked and then shattered with deadly force, ricocheting off the marble and nearby masonry.
Father Simmons stopped in his tracks as smoke filled the church. The cogs in his mind whirred madly and his thoughts immediately went for the most reasonable explanation - arsonists.

He was wrong... so, so terribly wrong.

A haunting screech swam directly into his ears and so he recoiled, falling to the floor. He reached out, searching for his glasses among the debris on the floor. As soon as he grasped his glasses he threw them onto his face to be greeted by a silhouette stumbling through the smoke. Whatever it was, it was screaming in pain.

“Hello?” He called out, his voice trembling with unrelenting fear. A fear he thought he had long since forgotten.

The silhouette stumbled towards him like a newborn, finally clearing the smoke to reveal a naked man with areas of his skin burned to the bone. Father Simmons could now smell him and he gagged as the stench reminded him of cooked pork.

“Good Lord,” Father Simmons blasphemed as he rushed towards the man to help him. His hand began to burn as soon as he touched him. Father Simmons recoiled, cradling his right red, scolded hand.

The man’s incoherent screams echoed throughout the church. Little did Father Simmons know - this was the first time this individual had ever attempted to talk. After multiple attempts to communicate during the short pause between screams, the man stretched his right hand towards the altar and signalled for a drink.

Stunned, Father Simmons ran towards the altar and filled a nearby cup full of holy water. As he turned around, he noticed the man had fallen to the floor, his knee smashing into the floor. He rushed towards him, nearly tripping over the uneven surface and scattered debris. The closer he got, the more the feeling of unease swept across him. The feeling of unease was not unjustified for as Father Simmons reached the naked man he noticed two black, burnt stumps on his back.

“Here.” Father Simmons said handing the man the small cup.

He drank with difficulty and finally gasped as the last drop went down his throat. In an instant the wounds all over his body began to heal to the sickening sound of snapping, ripping and squelching. After a few moments, the man stood up, standing just over six feet tall, with straight golden hair falling over his pale ears. Father Simmons’ mouth fell open as two bright, white wings stretched themselves out of the man’s back spanning the length of the church’s interior.

There, standing three meters away from him was an Angel.

The Angel opened and closed his mouth slowly, only uttering incoherent sounds. "I'm sorry?" Father Simmons whispered. "I'll... I'll get you some clothes, follow me," He beckoned the Angel to follow him to a nearby doorway. "I must hide you as well... can't let the police find you,” Father Simmons said to himself as he rushed through the threshold.

Clothing the Angel was not an easy task; its cold, emotionless eyes pierced him as he fastened the last button on the blue shirt. It was strange how the wings did not even look like they existed under the shirt. Simmons signalled for him to stay in the room and not make a sound by pointing at a seat and pressing his index finger to his mouth, hissing ‘hush’. He returned after a painstakingly long hour.

"I'm very sorry," Father Simmons chimed. "But I had to call the police to report the door smashing... it's all covered up now with makeshift-" He looked at the Angel's vacant stare. "Of course, you can't understand me..." He chuckled. "It's Christmas and you better come to mine, I bet my wife will certainly be thankful to God for this gift."

Father Simmons ushered the Angel out of the church through the back door and hastily, with much effort, sat the Angel in his car. He swore as he attempted for the umpteenth time to pull the seat belt over the Angel before giving up. After mumbling something along the lines of 'you better be worth the hassle’ the Father crossed himself and began to drive to his cottage just south of the village Tompleton. Twenty minutes passed before Father Simmons stopped the car and helped the Angel out onto the grassy verge. "This way, please." He smiled, pointing towards the cottage.

“Yvonne?!” Simmons shouted as he opened the door to his cottage. “Yvonne?!” He repeated.

“John? What’s wrong with you?” Yvonne’s Irish accent rang much clearer than her husband’s. “What?” She stood motionless as she observed the young man staring at her intensely over John’s head. “Who’s this?” She asked almost aggressively.

“You may want to sit down.” John gestured at the dark oak dining table in the middle of the room. “It’s a long story.” He smiled kindly at Yvonne’s questioning expression.

The Angel walked into the next room, ignoring the Irish couple’s bickering. John’s library spanned two floors, and the light shone off the pristine, dark wood clad bookshelves and desks.

After the mass, I saw a bright light, did you see it?
No, John. I did not.
Well... there was... then, then there came a massive crash from doorway and it shattered...
Shattered?!
Yes, shattered. I-I reported to the police that it was a group of youngsters and suggested arson.


A barely audible gasp left the Angel’s lips as the two voices swam inside his head. Pounding. Thrashing. Unrelenting.

So who did it?
You saw him about twenty seconds ago, dear.
Well get him to pay for it then.


It was too much; the booming voices felt like an engine piston smashing against his temple. He began to start thrashing around manically, twitching every now and then before his wings ripped his shirt in to shreds. The thrashing became worse as the booming voices grew louder. The Angel smashed into one of John’s many oak desks, splitting it in half.

What was that?

The Irish couple ran into the study to find the Angel thrashing on the floor, mouth open making no sound. “Yvonne, get my bag!” John screamed to his wife. “Yvonne! My bag, now!”

Yvonne stood motionless and wide eyed, staring at the two massive white wings knocking into the chairs, books and lamps. “What... what?” She shook her head from side to side slowly, mesmerized. “What?!”

“My bag! I need a sedative!” John explained, putting his hands on the Angel’s shoulders in a vain attempt to hold him still. With minimal effort, the Angel broke John’s grasp and threw him into a chair before stumbling to the deck. “Quickly!”

Yvonne ran out of the room, turned right and ran up a flight of stairs before turning right again into another of John’s many studies. This one was much smaller than the large library downstairs but still donned the dark wood theme. Her attention was turned to the dark leather doctor bag in the left corner on a large filing cabinet. John Simmons, before returning to his pious ways, once served as a Doctor in Her Majesty’s Army. After rekindling his faith in God during the Falklands he left his violent past behind and pursued – what he called – the ‘proper way of life’.

Grabbing the bag, Yvonne darted towards the door and down the stairs to find John sitting beside the Angel, staring at it with curiosity and wonder. The Angel lied there motionless, eyes closed as his mouth opened and closed slowly.

“He stopped shortly after you left...” John said slowly, not looking at his wife.

“I don’t understand,” Yvonne shook her head as she sat next to her husband.

“He is an Angel of the Lord,” John said softly, smiling from ear to ear. “He was the one who destroyed the Church’s doorway,”

The Angel groaned softly as he moved his leg before staying motionless once again.

“He can’t talk... I don’t think he ever has before.” The Irishman’s mind began to wonder. “It’s as if he has just been born. Reborn,” he corrected himself. “He walks like a toddler, his eyes... they dilate and contract slower than your average male.”

“An Angel...” Yvonne rested her head on John’s shoulder.

“Merry Christmas, honey,” John chuckled. “Good job, too. I forgot to get you a present,” he jested with a merry laugh. “I think we’d better give him a blanket and some privacy.”

John awoke five hours later under his thick red duvet. It took him several minutes to summon the will to escape the warmth of his bed and to open the curtains. The morning light temporarily blinded John as he opened the curtains. As his sight re-adjusted to the harsh glaze of the sun, he laughed softly in surprise. Snow. Could this day get any better? The Irishman pulled on his favourite white dressing gown before setting off down the dark oak stairs to check on last night’s unexpected visitor. To John’s surprise, the duvet he gave the Angel was perfectly folded in the centre of the room and the Angel himself was sat at the main desk with a pile of books.

“I see you’ve found my books,” John announced as he walked past the duvet. “Latin?” He asked putting his hand on the back of the oak chair, peering over the Angel’s head.

“Indeed,” The Angel’s soft voice made John jump slightly. “I awoke and I find... no, I awoke and found these books,” He corrected himself. “I understand...”

“You understand Latin?”

“Indeed.”

“How?”

“I do not know,” the Angel answered simply. “I... know not many things.”

“For an Angel, your English is appalling,” John observed.

“I apologize; I only learnt about in two... hours is it? Your concept of time is...” The Angel opened and closed his mouth, struggling to find the correct word. “Different.”

“How so?” John pulled up a nearby chair and sat beside his guest.

“Time here is as if it were a smooth and unchanging current down a river... or a lake,” The Angel continued to scan the heavy hardback book. “Where I am from...” He winced. “It’s like a volatile storm, the current changes – the past, present and future... all as one, twisting and turning... all are the same.”

The Father decided not to press the issue further - he wasn’t even on his traditional Christmas ten o’clock Irish coffee, yet his head already hurt from the Angel’s monotonous explanations.

“So,” John’s confidence arose. “What’s your name?”

The Angel suddenly snapped the book shut and stood up, scraping the chair along the floor. “The answer to your question eludes me,” He closed his eyes. “It’s as if the answer hides in the shadows, yet I cannot catch it in time,”

“You... don’t know who you are?” A laugh escaped John’s mouth. “You really couldn’t make this up, could you?” He followed the Angel to the other side of the study and suddenly regretted his recent comment. “I may be able to help.”

The Angel observed him silently as he reached for a small, red leather-clad book. “Lucky for you, I have a friend who is a Professor of Theology at Oxford.” He opened the small book and scanned a few pages. “Maybe I could borrow a few books for you, hmm?” John peered over his glasses. “But, if my memory serves – aren’t there hundreds of Angels?”

“There are many more,” the Angel corrected him. The expression on his face gave the impression that he was as surprised as John at his last statement. He walked back to John’s dark oak desk and pulled a silver pen and paper out of a drawer. On it he wrote a number, his handwriting a beautiful calligraphy twisting and twirling across the piece of snow white paper with a beautiful dance of the pen.

266,613,336


“And all have their individual names,” the Angel added. “Most have names that you do not have the ears to hear or the mouth to speak.” It was a few seconds before a thought came to him – how did he learn to write? Had he done it before and if so, who taught him? Did he teach himself? How could he walk? How could he feel the soft paper – that was simple neurology... was his genetic makeup the same as the humans? Evidently not – the wings, the wings!

After a moment of uneasy silence, John spoke once more. “Would you like something to eat? I mean,” he back pedalled. “Do you eat?”

“I do not need to eat,” the Angel informed his host.

“How do you know if you have no memory?” John chuckled at the squinting Angel. “Good, I’ll make some pancakes.” John beamed as he trotted out of the study, leaving the Angel behind. “Oh, feel free to use all my books. But please put them back afterwards,”

The Angel stood still for a moment, contemplating everything that had transpired. Why didn’t he know who he was? He knew he was an Angel of the Lord – his appearance was proof enough to all that laid eyes on him. The wings, the wings! Instinct. Instinct told him that he was. Instinct - the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular behaviour, but was it natural to him? Something told him that his instinct was different.

John proceeded to crack eggs into a glass bowl, humming various and, somewhat tuneless, Irish folk songs under his breath.

Crack. Clunk. Crack. Clunk.

Such a menial task, yet this man gains pleasure and satisfaction from doing it. That was truly puzzling for the Angel... truly puzzling behaviour.

“So...” John began to pour milk into the glass bowl. “What do you remember, exactly?”

“Nothing,” The Angel replied quickly. “Except pain... terrible pain,” He frowned, his perfect face wrinkled with thought. “And anger... betrayal,” he hissed. “I felt pain, anger and betrayal.” The words were alien to him, even though he had forgotten his past life.

Past life. Just how long had he been alive? How old was he? Ugh, this was getting tedious. The Angel stood still, gazing out of the window and down the long hill towards the valley that lead to Tompleton. It took him what seemed like an age to put the questions out of his mind and re-focus on John.

“Back with us, I see?” John served up three pancakes onto a china plate. “I don’t know what you like... and I doubt neither do you,” he chuckled. “So I’ve gotten everything I have – chocolate, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, cream, lemon, sugar... the list goes on and on.” John pointed to the table. “Sit! And enjoy, please,” he added hastily.
The Angel sat down and stared at his food, perplexed. “How do I eat?” He asked simply, poking the pancakes with his right index finger.

“You use these.” John sat next to the Angel and picked up the knife and fork before him. “Cut the food with this, pick it up with the fork and then put it in your mouth. Then, it’s just chew and swallow,” He ate a piece of his pancake and sighed, blissfully. “Rinse and repeat,” John grinned.

The Irishman watched as the Angel ate strenuously. He grinned, almost laughing at the comedy of it all.

“John?” Yvonne called as she came down the stairs. “Where are you?”

“In the kitchen with our new guest my dear!” John shouted back and smiled as his wife as she entered the room. “I’ve made some pancakes, dear. Why don’t you join us?” He pointed to the chair next to the Angel.

Yvonne stood still, staring at her winged guest with a mixture of fear and distaste. She looked up at John to see him smiling and shaking his head, still pointing at the chair. The snow glistened past the window, still settling on the already thick blanket outside.

“Okay,” she obeyed, sitting down before demanding that John better had bought some syrup yesterday.

He did not.




********************
I struggled a lot here, please be gentle :P

-Callum.
My Blog. Please follow!
Knock, Knock. Who's there? Me. I kill you.

Emily J
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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by Emily J » July 29th, 2010, 9:48 am

Callum wrote:This is a first draft of one of the opening chapters in my first ever novel, Fallen Angel. It's an Urban Fantasy with a dose of Psychological Thriller. Any constructive criticism will be warmly accepted. Please be forewarned: STRONG LANGUAGE AHEAD.


Chapter 4 – Can you hear me, God? It’s me, Franklin Tracy. (1999)

If one thing could have been said about Rose Tracy, it’s that she was the flower in Franklin’s life. He watched her wither one beautiful petal at a time before she finally succumbed to the meningitis ravaging her body. i believe bacterial meningitis kills in a few days, very quickly, not sure about the other kinds but not what I think of as withering away She was... had been... five years of age and the most beautiful thing in his life or, in his opinion, in the universe. Over the last few weeks Franklin had found himself staring at the bottom of a whiskey bottle too many a time, occasionally glancing at the wooden cabinet over the other side of the room. this first paragraph starts at a distance, it might work better to start with Franklin contemplating suicide then reveal this rather than have a separate paragraph that is entirely exposition, I would start with the whiskey and the clock, but just a suggestion

He had cocked his head why are you using the past perfect here? the tense feels odd in wonder, his mind racing. How would it feel if he just ended it? One gentle squeeze, one little life snuffed out.

Tempting, tempting.

It definitely was tempting to him, this part is repeating unnecessarily but at least he still had his wife. Franklin slouched further down the red velvet chair, staring at the brass clock in the corner.

Tick. Toc. Tick. Toc.

She had been gone for a while... three hours and twenty two minutes, to be exact; where could she be? Rose was a spitting image of her mother, Miranda. Franklin sighed audibly, looking down into the half full glass of whiskey under his chin. That was where Rose had gotten her beauty from. from isn't really needed, plus you end in a preposition, plus with the sentence immediately preceding this one could infer Rose got her beauty from a glass of whiskey, plus the whole spitting image makes all this a bit redundant He was so lucky to have a wife like her – she was beautiful, kind and loving; this semi-colon should be a colon since what follows is not a complete sentence a perfect wife, mother and woman.

The knock at the door startled him.

“Shit,” he groaned, pushing himself out of the chair and arching his back. “One moment!” He shouted over his shoulder, towards the door.

Being born into privilege was sometimes a pain in the ass. He had to walk through two grand rooms before getting to the marble corridor before even catching a glimpse of the giant double front doors. A giant pain in the ass, to be sure. as a very perceptive commenter pointed out, why is he answering the door if he has a butler?

“Yes?” Franklin croaked before he could actually see who was at the door.

“Mr. Tracy?” A stern voice made him jump. Two police officers stood before him, hats tucked in tightly under their arms.

“Yes... how can I help you?” It was at this time, he noticed that he was in pyjama pajama? bottoms and a stained Disney t-shirt. He took another swig of whiskey before putting the empty glass on a nearby table. The sun hurt his bloodshot eyes.

“I am Sergeant Barry and this is P.C. Rogers,” the stern looking man announced. He paused for a while, surveying Franklin with a crease running along his brow. “May... we come in?”

“Oh... of course.” He fully opened the door for them and pointed to the nearest room. The three men walked into a massive word missing here full of game trophies, silverware serial comma and grand materials. “Would you like anything to drink?”

“No thank you,” Sergeant Barry replied, sitting down in the chair opposite to Franklin. “May I ask sir, when did you last see your wife?”

“I don’t know... three to four hours?” He knew full well when he had last seen her – dash not hyphen he’d counted every second. “Why, what’s wrong?”

“And where have you been in the last three to four hours, Mr. Tracy?”

Just answer my question you fucking moron. <- italicize his thoughts? “In the drawing room, three rooms down that way.” He pointed over his head towards another wooden aren't most doors (esp in houses) made of wood? door next to a stuffed pheasant.

“And can anyone confirm that?”

“Yes.” He poured himself another whiskey, not that he needed another. “My butler, Hugh.”

P.C. Rogers had been scribbling furiously the last few moments, probably noting down everything that was being said. Franklin had plenty of experience with the police service. Being the inherited owner of this is a bit awkward, why not just write "Having inherited one of... one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world, he had interviews with the police? my mind went to job interviews and I got confused for a moment every other week usually due to some drug addicts breaking into his warehouses in an attempt to score some free drugs. repeat the word drugShame his warehouses only stored antibiotics, antiviral drugs serial comma and equipment for mental health wards. Not much to get high on. There was a long pause before Rogers nodded at Barry and stopped writing.

“I’m afraid we have some terrible news, Mr. Tracy.” Sergeant Barry’s voice became softer, which was certainly un-nerving. “At eleven-sixteen this morning, the body of a blonde female was found in a ditch outside Greyfield,”

Franklyn Franklin took another swig of whiskey; he had an eerie, sickening feeling where this was about to end up.

“What happened to my wife, Sergeant?” Franklin interrupted yeah you can't really interrupt if the other person isn't talking the officer before drinking the entire contents of his glass. He was not a man who liked to ‘beat around the bush’, so to speak.

“Well... from preliminary examinations, she suffered a puncture wound to neck, and we suspect-”

“Murder,” Franklin mumbled, now that's interrupting! pouring another whiskey.

The next few minutes were an incoherent blur. Whether due to the alcohol or the sheer emotional weight of the news, it was unclear. The last anchor in Franklin’s life hand just been severed comma so why not just leave the harbour once and for all? Hugh was already escorting the police off of the premises.

What time was it? Six o’clock. What day? He chuckled softly. It didn’t really matter at all, really. repeat really and at all isn't needed
“Can you hear me God?” Franklin hissed, so you can't really hiss words that don't have s's looking up at the ceiling. “I didn’t think so.” The alcoholic tingle in his peripheries had subsided considerably. “I’ve dedicated myself to saving the lives of others and you’ve done what? I’ll tell you.” He stood up and walked through to the drawing room. “You watch as others die in pain as if you revel in the suffering of us... the people, the flies, the sport,” Franklin spat each hateful syllable with undeniable disgust. a bit over written, i would drop "undeniable"
The wooden cabinet had caught his gaze once again but this time there was no cocking of the head, no wonder, just a will and soon to be a means. Franklin pulled on the brass knobs and gazed at the shining firearms within for a moment.
No, that would be too quick of a release and he wanted to show Him that He was guilty of making people suffer... just like Rose and Miranda.

Climbing rope.

If his memory served him correctly – and it always did – this piece of rope could hold twenty kilonewtons in force, which was over two thousand kilos and he had never used it.
Not until now.

This would do nicely, guaranteed to get the job done slowly. It then it extra "it" here, also indefinite pronouns, be wary hit him suddenly - the alcohol had left his system long ago and yet he was doing something that Dutch courage could not even get him close to. What kind of human mind thinks it is its last day on this planet? a bit awkward here Not healthy, that was for damned sure. Moving, he thought. moving? what does this mean? But he didn’t care at all. Not one bit.drop "Not one bit" redundant to "he didn't care at all" The only thing he cared about was if the beams were low and the chair high enough, which they were, end sentence here so it made the task that much easier. Franklin pulled the chair directly under one of the hulking beams and began to tie the rope in an incoherent knot. Scouts didn’t really leave much of an impression in the end it seemed.

He slowly stood up onto the chair and fed his head through the loop and fastened it tightly around his neck. It was already difficult to breathe, but how much more difficult would it become? Would it hurt? Would it be slow and painful? wasn't that the point? Only time would tell, that was for sure. that was for sure could also be dropped Franklin slowly inhaled before kicking the chair away from beneath his feet. It hurt more than he had expected, but that did not matter to him... it was slowly becoming easier, much less painful and much more euphoric as if a wave of release was ebbing over him. Despite the growing ease, he still thrashed violently.

Silly really, he thought. My body still wants to live... again I would italicize his thoughts for clarity

Then suddenly, the rope snapped and he landed on the floor with a crunch. His nose snapped and his lower lip was half mangled with teeth. eww

“Why?!” He sobbed uncontrollably onto the wooden okay, you have officially over-used the adjective wooden, you're cut off! floor after a long pause. “Why won’t you just let me die?” The wooden hey! I said you were cut off! floor splintered and cracked as he banged his fist against it with all his anger. "with all his anger" sounds too much like "with all his might" comes off a bit hookey Franklin cried for what seemed like days. His eyes were like sandpaper. The tears flowed off the tip of his long, hooked, and now bloody, nose. nice details Black bags hung loosely under his dark hazel eyes.

“Of course I want justice,” he whispered to the voice in his head. hmmm, what voice? is he suddenly schizophrenic? Franklin stood up and untied the other part of the rope off the beam. “Of course, it shall not be a problem. Give me the names and I shall see that proper justice is done.”




Thank you to all who critique and/or read it!

-Callum
Dark, but intriguing. Please don't use the adjective wooden anymore though. Also, you have a tendency for driving points home, sometimes it comes across as overkill. More often than not you stated things clearly and definitively enough the first time that you don't need to repeat yourself.

When I get a chance I will try and review the second excerpt you posted!

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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by AMSchilling » July 29th, 2010, 11:10 am

Okay - here are my thoughts. Since it's a first draft I won't point out a lot of detail stuff on punctuation, etc. You'll pick that up on your own. Just some general impressions and observations.

Cool scene overall. I have two suggestions, though. One,the switching of POVs from the reverend to the angel and back again is a little rough right now. It happens with no warning, really, and it took me a second to get that I was seeing things from the angel's POV. Two (I made a couple comments below to illustrate) is that Simmons is a reverend who has an angel show up on Christmas Eve, and sometimes his thoughts and words don't seem to match up with that. As a reader, I expected him to be bowed over by the miracle, but sometimes he drifted off into more of a "oh, my goodness, this is getting tedious/boring/old" mentality. There may be a reason for this, and if so I think the scene would be strengthened by explaining it.

Good job overall for a first draft, though. You have a way of writing engaging scenes that keep our interest.
Callum wrote:

Descent (1999).

Scattered Bibles from the recent midnight Christmas Eve mass littered the floor of the Church like cigarette butts on a high street. <==I'm not really sure what "like cigarette butts on a high street" means. I think it could be a good metaphor, but be mindful of something so region-specific that a good percentage of your readers won't understand it.

...


Father Simmons ushered the Angel out of the church through the back door and hastily, with much effort, sat the Angel in his car. He swore as he attempted for the umpteenth time to pull the seat belt over the Angel before giving up. After mumbling something along the lines of 'you better be worth the hassle’ <==those are the thoughts of a reverend, who just witness a Christmas Eve miracle, essentially?

...

“For an Angel, your English is appalling,” John observed. <== that's rather rude to say to an angel, esp. is you're a reverend. I would think there'd be a little more reverence. I'm also not sure why he'd assume an angel should speak English. Are we going with a belief that angels would speak every language on the planet?

...

“Time here is as if it were a smooth and unchanging current down a river... or a lake,” The Angel continued to scan the heavy hardback book. “Where I am from...” He winced. “It’s like a volatile storm, the current changes – the past, present and future... all as one, twisting and turning... all are the same.” <==I like this description.

...

Past life. Just how long had he been alive? How old was he? Ugh, this was getting tedious. <== tedious? The man is a servant of God, had an angel come to him on Christmas day, and he thinks something about the whole experience is tedious? Not trying to be mean, but the man's behavior just doesn't seem to fit with the situation. If there's a reason he's not completely in awe and on his knees in wonder, tell us so that things like this make sense.
Hope this wasn't too rough. Just trying to point out my overall impressions, so you can tighten things up. Like thelast scene you posted, it has a lot of potential and keeps me wanting to read more. Just work out the kinks and it will be stronger.
-Amy

"Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open." - Stephen King

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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by Emily J » July 29th, 2010, 1:52 pm

Callum wrote:Here's the first draft of the second chapter of my WIP of when the Angel falls to Earth.


Descent (1999).

Scattered Bibles from the recent midnight Christmas Eve mass littered the floor of the Church like cigarette butts on a high street. great image Father John Simmons hummed various hymns under his breath as he snuffed the candles and straightened the linen on the altar. The mass had gone well and he was surprised at how many of the village’s residents bothered to turn up.

“Merry Christmas.” He smiled to himself, glancing at his watch as the hands past midnight. as the hands passed midnight? otherwise not sure what this means A chuckle escaped his mouth as he picked up the first of many bibles off the floor. in the previous paragraph you capitalized bibles, be consistent
A sudden flash flash implies sudden to me of strong light strong feels like an odd description for light coming towards the church blinded the Reverend. is he a Reverend or a Father? What denomination? Father Simmons shielded his grey grey? not gray? is there a reason for the British spelling? eyes from the intense light and with an almighty, haha, pun deafening crash the light ceased to exist.

"What was that?" He asked to no one in particular, his voice squeaking in a higher octave than usual. Throwing the candlesnuffer down, he began to walk as quickly as he could towards the great wooden wooden again? doors of his church. As he approached the doors they creaked and then shattered with deadly deadly? they don't kill anyone, seems more inexplicable than deadly force, ricocheting off the marble and nearby masonry.
Father Simmons stopped in his tracks as smoke filled the church. The cogs in his mind whirred madly and his thoughts immediately went for the most reasonable explanation - dash not hyphen arsonists.

He was wrong... so, so terribly wrong. i like this line

A haunting screech swam swan seems like a ponderous verb for haunting screech directly into his ears and so you don't need "so" he recoiled, falling to the floor. He reached out, searching for his glasses among the debris on the floor. As soon as he grasped his glasses he threw them onto his face i don't think of people throwing glasses onto their faces, odd word choice to be greeted by a silhouette hello, i'm a silhouette, again word choice is distracting stumbling through the smoke. Whatever it was, it was screaming in pain.

“Hello?” He called out, his voice trembling with unrelenting fear. A fear he thought he had long since forgotten.

The silhouette stumbled towards him like a newborn, finally clearing the smoke to reveal a naked man with areas of his skin burned to the bone. Father Simmons could now smell him and he gagged as the stench reminded him of cooked pork.

“Good Lord,” Father Simmons blasphemed nice touch as he rushed towards the man to help him. His hand began to burn as soon as he touched him. Father Simmons recoiled, cradling his right red, scolded hand. too many modifiers for hand, do we need to know it was his right? is it important here to establish right-handedness or something?

The man’s incoherent screams echoed throughout the church. Little did Father Simmons know - this was the first time this individual had ever attempted to talk. breaking from the action, overt narration not necessary, this is revealed later After multiple attempts to communicate during the short pause between screams, the man stretched his right hand towards the altar and signalled for a drink.

Stunned, Father Simmons ran towards the altar and filled a nearby cup full of holy water. As he turned around, he noticed the man had fallen to the floor, his knee smashing into the floor. repeat the word floor He rushed towards him, nearly tripping over the uneven surface and scattered debris. The closer he got, the more the feeling of unease swept across him. unease is not the right word, explosion, mutilated charred man, this is a complete understatement The feeling of unease was not unjustified for as Father Simmons reached the naked man he noticed two black, burnt stumps on his back. this sentence just does not work for me

“Here.” Father Simmons said handing the man the small cup.

He drank with difficulty and finally gasped as the last drop went down his throat. In an instant comma the wounds all over his body began to heal to the sickening sound of snapping, ripping serial comma and squelching. After a few moments, the man stood up, i might start a new sentence here standing just over six feet tall, with straight golden hair falling over his pale ears. Father Simmons’ mouth fell open as two bright, white wings stretched themselves out of the man’s back spanning the length of the church’s interior.

There, standing three meters away from him comma was an Angel.

The Angel opened and closed his mouth slowly, only uttering incoherent sounds. "I'm sorry?" Father Simmons whispered. "I'll... I'll get you some clothes, follow me," He beckoned the Angel to follow him to a nearby doorway. "I must hide you as well... can't let the police find you,” Father Simmons said to himself as he rushed through the threshold.

Clothing the Angel was not an easy task; its cold, emotionless eyes pierced him ouch as he fastened the last button on the blue shirt. It was strange how the wings did not even look like they existed under the shirt. Simmons signalled second use of this verb for him to stay in the room and not make a sound by pointing at a seat and pressing his index finger to his mouth, hissing ‘hush’. why is this period outside quotation marks? He returned after a painstakingly this adverb does not work for me long hour.

"I'm very sorry," Father Simmons chimed. chimed to me implies a levity not really felt here "But I had to call the police to report the door smashing... it's all covered up now with makeshift-" He looked at the Angel's vacant stare. "Of course, you can't understand me..." He chuckled. "It's Christmas and you better come to mine, I bet my wife will certainly be thankful to God for this gift." so he has a wife, again what denomination are we talking about?

Father Simmons ushered the Angel out of the church through the back door and hastily, with much effort, sat the Angel in his car. He swore as he attempted for the umpteenth time to pull the seat belt over the Angel before giving up. After mumbling something along the lines of 'you better be worth the hassle’ this does not seem an appropriate sentiment for a man of god confronted with an angel the Father crossed himself and began to drive to his cottage just south of the village Tompleton. Twenty minutes passed before Father Simmons stopped the car and helped the Angel out onto the grassy verge. "This way, please." He smiled, pointing towards the cottage.

“Yvonne?!” Simmons shouted as he opened the door to his cottage. “Yvonne?!” He repeated.

“John? What’s wrong with you?” Yvonne’s Irish accent rang much clearer than her husband’s. “What?” She stood motionless as she observed the young man staring at her intensely over John’s head. “Who’s this?” She asked almost aggressively. are we in Ireland? if so I am missing some Irishness

“You may want to sit down.” John gestured at the dark oak dining table in the middle of the room. “It’s a long story.” He smiled kindly at Yvonne’s questioning expression.

The Angel walked into the next room, ignoring the Irish couple’s bickering. John’s library spanned two floors, and the light shone off the pristine, dark wood clad bookshelves and desks. how are the bookshelves and desks clad in wood? are they metal underneath? don't understand this

After the mass, I saw a bright light, did you see it?
No, John. I did not.
Well... there was... then, then there came a massive crash from doorway and it shattered...
Shattered?!
Yes, shattered. I-I reported to the police that it was a group of youngsters and suggested arson.


A barely audible gasp left the Angel’s lips as the two voices swam inside his head. Pounding. Thrashing. Unrelenting. not sure i understand this part

So who did it?
You saw him about twenty seconds ago, dear.
Well get him to pay for it then.


It was too much; the booming voices felt like an engine piston smashing against his temple. He began to start thrashing around manically, twitching every now and then before his wings ripped his shirt in to shreds. The thrashing became worse as the booming voices grew louder. The Angel smashed into one of John’s many oak desks, splitting it in half.

What was that?

The Irish couple ran into the study to find the Angel thrashing on the floor, mouth open making no sound. “Yvonne, get my bag!” John screamed to his wife. “Yvonne! My bag, now!”

Yvonne stood motionless and wide eyed, staring at the two massive white wings knocking into the chairs, books and lamps. “What... what?” She shook her head from side to side slowly, mesmerized. “What?!”

“My bag! I need a sedative!” John explained, putting his hands on the Angel’s shoulders in a vain attempt to hold him still. With minimal effort, the Angel broke John’s grasp and threw him into a chair before stumbling to the deck. “Quickly!”

Yvonne ran out of the room, turned right drop this right, not necessary and you repeat right and ran up a flight of stairs before turning right again into another of John’s many studies. This one was much smaller than the large library downstairs but still donned the dark wood theme. donned seems an odd verb for a room Her attention was turned was turned? why the past perfect here, is there another agent acting? to the dark leather doctor bag in the left corner on a large filing cabinet. John Simmons, before returning to his pious ways, once served as a Doctor in Her Majesty’s Army. After rekindling his faith in God during the Falklands he left his violent past behind and pursued – what he called – the ‘proper way of life’.

Grabbing the bag, Yvonne darted towards the door and down the stairs to find John sitting beside the Angel, staring at it with curiosity and wonder. The Angel lied lay unless you mean the angel is telling untruths there motionless, eyes closed as his mouth opened and closed slowly.

“He stopped shortly after you left...” John said slowly, not looking at his wife.

“I don’t understand,” Yvonne shook her head as she sat next to her husband.

“He is an Angel of the Lord,” John said softly, smiling from ear to ear. “He was the one who destroyed the Church’s doorway,”

The Angel groaned softly as he moved his leg before staying motionless once again.

“He can’t talk... I don’t think he ever has before.” The Irishman’s mind began to wonder. “It’s as if he has just been born. Reborn,” he corrected himself. “He walks like a toddler, his eyes... they dilate and contract slower than your average male.”

“An Angel...” Yvonne rested her head on John’s shoulder.

“Merry Christmas, honey,” John chuckled. “Good job, too. I forgot to get you a present,” he jested with a merry laugh. “I think we’d better give him a blanket and some privacy.”

John awoke five hours later under his thick red duvet. It took him several minutes to summon the will to escape the warmth of his bed and to open the curtains. The morning light temporarily blinded John as he opened the curtains. As his sight re-adjusted to the harsh glaze of the sun, he laughed softly in surprise. Snow. Could this day get any better? The Irishman pulled on his favourite white dressing gown before setting off down the dark oak feels repetitive stairs to check on last night’s unexpected visitor. To John’s surprise, the duvet he gave the Angel was perfectly folded in the centre of the room and the Angel himself was sat was sat? at the main desk with a pile of books.

“I see you’ve found my books,” John announced as he walked past the duvet. “Latin?” He asked putting his hand on the back of the oak chair, peering over the Angel’s head.

“Indeed,” The Angel’s soft voice made John jump slightly. “I awoke and I find... no, I awoke and found these books,” He corrected himself. “I understand...”

“You understand Latin?” why are they talking about Latin if they are speaking English here?

“Indeed.”

“How?”

“I do not know,” the Angel answered simply. “I... know not many things.”

“For an Angel, your English is appalling,” John observed.

“I apologize; I only learnt about in two... hours is it? Your concept of time is...” The Angel opened and closed his mouth, struggling to find the correct word. “Different.”

“How so?” John pulled up a nearby chair and sat beside his guest.

“Time here is as if it were a smooth and unchanging current down a river... or a lake,” The Angel continued to scan the heavy hardback book. “Where I am from...” He winced. “It’s like a volatile storm, the current changes – the past, present and future... all as one, twisting and turning... all are the same.”

The Father decided not to press the issue further - he wasn’t even on his traditional Christmas ten o’clock Irish coffee, yet his head already hurt from the Angel’s monotonous explanations.

“So,” John’s confidence arose. “What’s your name?”

The Angel suddenly snapped the book shut and stood up, scraping the chair along the floor. “The answer to your question eludes me,” He closed his eyes. “It’s as if the answer hides in the shadows, yet I cannot catch it in time,”

“You... don’t know who you are?” A laugh escaped John’s mouth. “You really couldn’t make this up, could you?” He followed the Angel to the other side of the study and suddenly regretted his recent comment. “I may be able to help.”

The Angel observed him silently as he reached for a small, red leather-clad book. “Lucky for you, I have a friend who is a Professor of Theology at Oxford.” He who? you need to be clear when switiching between Simmons and the angel in the subject opened the small book and scanned a few pages. “Maybe I could borrow a few books for you, hmm?” John peered over his glasses. “But, if my memory serves – aren’t there hundreds of Angels?”

“There are many more,” the Angel corrected him. The expression on his face gave the impression that he was as surprised as John at his last statement. He walked back to John’s dark oak enough with the dark oak desk and pulled a silver pen and paper out of a drawer. On it he wrote a number, his handwriting a beautiful calligraphy twisting and twirling across the piece of snow white paper okay, this is over-written with a beautiful dance of the pen.

266,613,336 nice detail


“And all have their individual names,” the Angel added. “Most have names that you do not have the ears to hear or the mouth to speak.” It was a few seconds before a thought came to him who is him? i found this part very confusing – how did he learn to write? Had he done it before and if so, who taught him? Did he teach himself? How could he walk? How could he feel the soft paper – that was simple neurology... was his genetic makeup the same as the humans? Evidently not – the wings, the wings!

After a moment of uneasy silence, John spoke once more. “Would you like something to eat? I mean,” he back pedalled. “Do you eat?”

“I do not need to eat,” the Angel informed his host.

“How do you know if you have no memory?” John chuckled at the squinting the angel is squinting? Angel. “Good, I’ll make some pancakes.” John beamed as he trotted out of the study, leaving the Angel behind. “Oh, feel free to use all my books. But please put them back afterwards,”

The Angel stood still for a moment, contemplating everything that had transpired. Why didn’t he know who he was? He knew he was an Angel of the Lord – his appearance was proof enough to all that laid eyes on him. The wings, the wings! why is the angel repeating the same thought as Simmons? Instinct. Instinct told him that he was. Instinct - the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular behaviour, but was it natural to him? Something told him that his instinct was different. this voice is too similar to Simmons, also doesn't sound like someone who just learned english

John proceeded to crack eggs into a glass bowl, humming various and, somewhat tuneless, Irish folk songs which songs? Molly Malone? Ramblin Rover? again here you could amp up the Irishness, even better give us some lyrics under his breath.

Crack. Clunk. Crack. Clunk.

Such a menial task, yet this man gains pleasure and satisfaction from doing it. That was truly puzzling for the Angel... truly puzzling behaviour.

“So...” John began to pour milk into the glass bowl. “What do you remember, exactly?”

“Nothing,” The Angel replied quickly. “Except pain... terrible pain,” He frowned, his perfect face wrinkled with thought. “And anger... betrayal,” he hissed. again, you can't really hiss without s's “I felt pain, anger and betrayal.” The words were alien to him, even though he had forgotten his past life.

Past life. Just how long had he been alive? How old was he? Ugh, this was getting tedious. whose thoughts are these? The Angel stood still, gazing out of the window and down the long hill towards the valley that lead to Tompleton. It took him what seemed like an age to put the questions out of his mind and re-focus on John.

“Back with us, I see?” John served up three pancakes onto a china plate. “I don’t know what you like... and I doubt neither do you, either not neither i think” he chuckled. “So I’ve gotten everything I have – chocolate, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, cream, lemon, sugar... the list goes on and on.” John pointed to the table. “Sit! And enjoy, please,” he added hastily.
The Angel sat down and stared at his food, perplexed. “How do I eat?” He asked simply, poking the pancakes with his right index finger.

“You use these.” John sat next to the Angel and picked up the knife and fork before him. “Cut the food with this, pick it up with the fork and then put it in your mouth. Then, it’s just chew and swallow,” He ate a piece of his pancake and sighed, blissfully. “Rinse and repeat,” John grinned.

The Irishman watched as the Angel ate strenuously. He grinned, almost laughing at the comedy of it all.

“John?” Yvonne called as she came down the stairs. “Where are you?”

“In the kitchen with our new guest my dear!” John shouted back and smiled as his wife as she entered the room. “I’ve made some pancakes, dear. Why don’t you join us?” He pointed to the chair next to the Angel.

Yvonne stood still, staring at her winged guest with a mixture of fear and distaste. She looked up at John to see him smiling and shaking his head, still pointing at the chair. The snow glistened past the window, still settling on the already thick blanket outside.

“Okay,” she obeyed, sitting down before demanding that John better better have? had bought some syrup yesterday.

He did not. he had not, again some tense issues




********************
I struggled a lot here, please be gentle :P

-Callum.
I think the biggest thing to work on is separating the voice of the angel from that of Simmons. It is very difficult to differentiate between them, especially their thoughts. I think making the angel's thoughts less human, less conventional would help.

Callum
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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by Callum » July 30th, 2010, 8:34 am

Thank you very much for your feedback - it was very helpful. I've changed the two excerpts a lot since I've posted them here (I also have friends reading them for extra feedback).

Again, thanks!
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sldwyer
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Re: Fallen Angel Chapter Excerpt - First Draft

Post by sldwyer » August 24th, 2010, 12:03 pm

Let me startoff by saying I like the story so far and would like to read more. I am a bit confused since I am not reading from chapter one and do not have a feeling for the situation. That said, I only have a couple of things to go with the previous critique of which I agree to the comments made.

It appears he is talking one moment to the police and then they are no longer in the scene and he leaves the room to continue drinking and contemplating killing himself. Where did the police go and what was their reaction to his attitude of drinking and not asking more questions. Even though he is wealthy, he would still be man enough to want more answers and the police would at least say goodbye as they left - however they would react to this character (that I don't know yet).

I hope you post more.

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