Sample from Crisis of Conscience

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whizzkid001
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Sample from Crisis of Conscience

Post by whizzkid001 » July 12th, 2010, 3:53 pm

Grateful for any comments/crit on a few opening paragraphs of my wip. Thanks.

I lay prostrate and incapacitated. A concentrated beam of blinding light penetrates through me. My eyes squinched, I stare up at dark, vacant eyes that seem cold and indifferent. Every sinew in my taut body is tense. Gripped by a palpable terror, sweat runs profusely down my face and my heart thumps so loudly I fear it might burst forth from my chest at any moment. My breathing grows heavy as the excruciating grinding of bare metal scraping on exposed bone resumes. I teeter on the brink of unconsciousness...

"Mr Stevens, please——you must learn to relax! The cleaning and polishing are over now," says the dentist, handing me a tissue. "Please make your next appointment with my secretary in six months time".

I breath a huge sigh. The muscles in my stomach finally relax. Never one for the sounds, smells and sight of dentists and their implements, I am immensely relieved to survive another checkup. I slam the exit doors and smile broadly, my mouth agape for all the world to see. I make haste to my next appointment.

Though the early evening has bought a cool, gentle breeze with it, my face drips with sweat which I wipe with the back of my hand. Through my scope I detect movement. Framing the first target in my crosshairs, a short squat man, bald as a coot and carrying the leather briefcase, opens the front door, hesitates briefly while he gives his surroundings the once over and, sufficiently satisfied, walks outside.

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sbs_mjc1
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Re: Sample from Crisis of Conscience

Post by sbs_mjc1 » July 13th, 2010, 12:55 am

Is the dentist scene plot-relevant? Because if it isn't, I'd suggest cutting that out and starting with your narrator watching his victim (?) through the scope.
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whizzkid001
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Re: Sample from Crisis of Conscience

Post by whizzkid001 » July 13th, 2010, 2:24 am

The dentist plot is relevant insofar as wanting to draw an early comparison with some of his character traits ie his own abject fear of dentists and pain vs his fearlessness and ruthless streak as a hitman, with no compunction at all for inflicting pain on others.

EvelynEhrlich
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Re: Sample from Crisis of Conscience

Post by EvelynEhrlich » July 13th, 2010, 4:36 pm

whizzkid -
The opening paragraph is gripping, and then I feel cheated when I find out he's at the dentist. I think you'll have to be careful with that, because you might lose your reader's trust too quickly, which is too bad because they won't get further down the page to the exciting revelation that MC is a hitman. I understand where you're going with setting up the contrast between his own fear of pain and his cold, calculating attitude towards killing others, but the first page may not be the right place to show it.

Is MC aware of the irony of his own fears? If so, and you want to keep the dentist/assassination comparison in the opening, maybe you can flip the order, so that you start with the scope scene, then flashback to the dentist. Personally, though, I'd skip the dentist scene for now.

Hope that helps.

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