Well I am trying to get some feedback on the beginning of my current work. It will likely end up falling the novel category, although it may be one of the thinner novels.
At any rate, the submissions page is down until further notice, so I figured I would upload it to my webspace and allow it for download.
Here it is: http://home.insightbb.com/~drewby/Macabre_-_Prologue.doc
I would like any kind of feedback you can give me. I am most worried that I am rushing the story, like maybe I need to slow down or do something to make it a little less concise. One of my buds who always reads my stuff says that I am a little too quick, so I would like some more opinions.
Please don't hold back on me! And I know you won't! :p
Thanks in advance!
June 16th, 2004, 10:57 PM
Who sent you! :mad:
Why are you here to tempt me!
No, no, I can't critique! I musn't! I have enough enemies!
Wards off the evil tempter with CJ Cherryh magic! (http://www.geocities.com/betareadg/cjcherryh.html)
June 17th, 2004, 05:49 PM
Its very passive. It might make sense if he's drugged but he's too lucid for that.
As he opened his eyes, he was temporarily blinded by a bright light. He waited a moment for his eyes to adjust. When the world transformed from a white blur to a colorful image, he blinked in confusion. But his vision was true; however, he still couldn't believe what he saw. White walls probably ten feet tall crowded him. They were decorated with padding as was the floor and the ceiling. Overhead lights were built into the padding at the center of the tall ceiling.
You need to make this more active and tighten this up.
Imagine that its you in there. Really you. Now think about how you'd react.
A bright light hits you in the face? The first thing you're going to do is squint and try to cover your eyes with your hands - then panic when you realize they're caught behind you. So you're going to blink and sit up, then realize you're staring at a padded wall.
That's when I'd start screaming my head off. But I'm not you or your character.
And explain to me how if you're in a white room with white padding you get a more colorful image? If some sadistic bastard's put a hundred-watt bulb in the light then I've got to go huddle with my head down in a corner because its too bright.
And the first place I hope they let me go is a bathroom, not some doctor's office.
June 17th, 2004, 05:54 PM
Great way of explaining it Expendable. I read some of the story, and that's very helpful to me even.
June 17th, 2004, 07:04 PM
Hehe, I guess there is no color in a white room. I was trying to show the the image was clearer.
I will go through it tonight and see if I can't get rid of some of the passive text. That is my downfall, passive writing and rushing the story. :p
Any other opinions?
June 17th, 2004, 07:20 PM
Also, does anyone have some feedback on the rest of it besides using to much passive writing? How about the basis premise itself?
June 17th, 2004, 08:05 PM
Ok, so we're a detective who escapes on his own from a mental hospital - a little cliche but ok. We've got amnesia but no bandages, no aches or pains. And instead of being in a bed with the other patients we're locked up tight in a strait jacket being treated like a violent raving psychotic.
You get woken up in the middle of the night by some sort of alarm but you're the only patient they tried to move and we never hear what the alarm was about. Was there a fire? Its the only reason I can think of for someone trying to move a patient from a mental ward. So where's the smoke? The firemen? What about that poor guy who was only doing his job to make sure you were safe? What about everyone else in the hospital?
Sean and Leah are very wooden, no personality.
Here you've escaped from a mental hospital and Sean's not even surprised to see you. Do this alot?
You couldn't remember your name or what happened to you before you woke up this morning in the mental hospital but suddenly you know that you're no longer a paranormal detective and that you've got a strained relationship with Leah and have to make it right, including taking the fault for your own kidnapping.
Here you've got a drawer full of files but nothing on a "Man of Shadows"? Was the file in your missing car or did it get stolen? Whose your client? Why aren't they sueing you for not doing your job?
And if I had a drawer full of strange files, I'd definitely be curious.
And you end the start of your story with a cliche clifthanger, your girl gets kidnapped by the bad guy instead of trying to find this "Man of Shadow" - who is probably the only one who knows what happened to you and why.
If I were you, I'd have a serious think about the people in your story and thinking the scenes through.
June 17th, 2004, 08:35 PM
Detectives are like writers - we're suppose to be observant. So where's the observations? The descriptions? The smells, the colors, the clutter on a man's desk? Pictures on the wall?
Do some research. Imagine this is a tv show - how are you going to dress this set so it looks right to the audience?
Who are your favorite detectives? What was the last detective book you read?
Your friend's right, you are rushing through the scene. Imagine you're getting paid by the word, and for every excess word you don't need to use you lose pay on two words.
June 17th, 2004, 08:47 PM
Good observations. :o
This is rough, rough draft, so I expected a rough time with it. I made the mistake of writing this rough draft in two days instead of making time to get it all out at once, and my style began to change (looking back on it now I notice this) over the course of the second day. The second day, the things that I wrote are less detailed and non-descript.
There are some reasons for the things that are unexplained, such as the Man of Shadows. Why there is no client, Sean's casual attitude, etc. that will come out as the story continues, but I am at fault here. If I don't have a good prologue, no one will read on to see what becomes of these things.
I also thought about this story today while I was mowing, I always seem to think clearer when I am doing something strenous. And mowing in the heat and sun of today, not to mention the size of my yard, I had plenty of time to think. I am going to start from scratch, copying and pasting the parts that are good, rewriting the parts that aren't and see if I can't come up with something better.
I agree, it is very cliche, and repairing the relationship with Leah came too quick and without speed bumps.
I wouldn't mind a few suggestions here on how to make it less cliche. I am going to change one thing for sure and that is the capture or Leah. Originally, that wasn't part of the story, I just put it in the other day and failed to read it all through again. I see now how this doesn't fit in. I am going to have him be a more curious man instead of needing a solid reason to do all of this stuff. He is going to want to repair the relationship with Leah, but he is going to pursue the Man of Shadows in order to get his memories back and in turn get Leah back. Sound reasonable?
June 17th, 2004, 09:19 PM
I looked back over it, and I have reworded and added some more realisim to it.
First, there are other patients leaving. Here is the part that tells of that (it was actually there before I edited):
He ran to an information desk and hid under it. For a few moments, he heard the shuffling of feet as the nurses, guards, and patients exited the area. When he was sure that they were gone, he got up
Also, it does hint that the alarms are fire alarms although it doesn't say it outright. I left it open for judgement as there aren't uniform fire alarms.
Sirens went off throughout the hospital.
Ethan jumped to his feet and walked as far as the chain approved. He leaned forward and peered out of the small window. Red and white flashes of light were raging through the halls. The screeching continued. From the sound and appearance, they were fire alarms.
Now, things I did change.
I took out the dream where Ethan saw the Man of Shadows. But I did add more to the journal entry that gives some more information and a clearer path to go on, although it is written as a riddle. From the lost riches of yesteryear, the fallen angel shall rise. The Man of Shadows is the road to the truth.
I took out the last scene there with Leah getting captured. Too cliche...
And then I took out the scene were he leaves the office. He is going to stay and investigate out of curiosity and a desire to learn of his past.
One other thing I thought was best to change. He is not a paranormal private eye, he is just a normal private detective who got caught up in this situation. I feel that this will add to the suspense later as he and his partner don't know how to handle the stuff they see.]
I am going to try and rewrap up this prologue tonight and I will upload the newer version. I will state the changes I made in my post so that you don't have to weed through it again.