I got through the first six pages on my lunch break today, but didn't have a chance to write anything until now. My comments are only in regards to the first six pages.
Overall this isn't too bad. You have two solid characters and what seems to be an interesting premise. The "engine" the point that really drives the story occurs at about the end of the third page, where Johnny the enviroment in the bar changes. On the surface this seems like it has the potential for a cliche "and it turned out the place burned down five years ago" kind of story. But at the same time I think you keep enough options open that I'd be willing to read on.
You missed capitalizing Johnny Cash's last name a couple times. Also, I think the name of the pub should be capitalized, as well as "Chief" - as it's being used in the context of a name.
It's nice to see good old Edmonton making a cameo.
After Johnny we move on to Bruce. At three pages or so into this character, you've characterized him as a writer, but it doesn't seem like much is happening. It seems like a regular morning so far. I need more of a reason to care about what's going on. I haven't found this character's "engine" yet. It also took a while for that to happen with Johnny, but because it did come, as a reader, I'd be willing to read on a little more before I found it.
Let's look at your opening paragraph. I see a lot of potential with it.
Johnny laughed like a madman as he sped around the corner in his brand new BMW ZM4 roadster. Its silver paint job sparkled in the moon light while Johnny cracked open the last beer from the now completely consumed six packs that had been with him at the beginning of his journey. The brand was a good one: wizer's smooth. And that wasn't just any old beer. That was a boutique beer. The taste testified to its cost magnificently as did its effect. Johnny had never felt so tanked up in his life although in fairness not all of it was due to the beer. A few weeks ago Johnny had a little wind fall; three hundred million to be precise. He never thought in his wildest dreams that his weekly lottery tickets would ever amount to something but then who does? The first thing Johnny did when he found out was drink, that had been three weeks ago and he still hadn't stopped. As far as Johnny was concerned life was now his own personal party.
You open with Johnny laughing "like a mad man." First of all, this is a rather cliche simile - sure to leave a bad taste an any editor's mouth. Second, I get the impression he's been driving for a while - at least long enough to be almost out of gas. Has he been laughing the whole time? Or was it something about the turn that made him laugh?
There's a lot of information coming across in this paragraph:
- Johnny's driving drunk
- He's laughing
- He's won 300 million dollars
- Wizer's Smooth is a good beer
- Johnny played the lottery weekly
- He's been drinking since he won
- The BMW ZM4 looks great in the moonlight
Smushed together, those facts seem like a litter of puppies yipping for attention. In your next draft you might want to think about what of those points you really want to hit the reader with in the opening. Do you want to scare the reader with Johnny's reckless behaviour? Do you want to lull the reader into a "what would I do with 300 million" fantasy? Do you want to paint a picture of a BMW roadster racing across a prairie road?
Anyway, those are just a few thoughts.
Happy New Year!
December 30th, 2006, 08:52 AM
Happy new year back at ya!
Thanks for the comments choppy, they were very helpful. It's amazing how some one else can point out weak points with such insight.
January 1st, 2007, 08:10 PM
I'd edited a few pages and added a little more. Should have a lot more done soon hopefully. :D Hope someone is enjoying this other than myself. :p