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Messages - Jscanlo4

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Review My Work / Re: Beginning of a spy thriller (Reworked, 418 words)
« on: January 11, 2018, 03:32:24 PM »
Thank you for posting this.  It is a brave thing to post your writing so thousands can see it. There is some real great stuff in here, and there is some that needs a lot of work.  I hope you don't take anything I say as a personal attack.  (Although as writers, we take everything said about our writing is personal.)

Firstly, the good stuff.  I really enjoyed the scene.  It's a great hook for an opening scene.  If this was the opening to a book, I would've kept reading.  You've opened a lot of possibilities and questions with this scene.  Additionally, I really enjoyed the dialog.  It felt real and authentic.  The important thing to focus on is this scene hooked the reader and made them start asking questions.  Who is this guy?  Why was his wife killed?  What was his debt?  And, who is this mysterious man in his home?  All this is really important in the opening lines, and you hit them really well.

Secondly, the not so good stuff.  Honestly, I almost stopped after the first line.  Thankfully, I didn't.  However, an Editor, Agent, or someone else in the industry would've stopped.  You didn't show, you told.  Never use 'to be' verbs, such as 'were' (unless it is absolutely necessary).  It is far better to use action to describe the scene.  For example, shards of glass littered the sidewalk and crunched under his running footsteps.  (Or, something like that.) A sentence like this will create a more lasting image, and it speaks more to a reader.  "The windows were in shatters" is more bland.  The same could be said for the descriptions of the photos and living room.  Additionally, your first line wasn't a hook.  The hook and where you should start was "No, no, no. James thought to himself as he ran. This can't be happening…"  This sentence made me want to read more.  It made me interested.  The first line simply didn't do that.

Over all, this was a really interesting first scene.  However, it needs some work.  Trim down on the passive 'to be' verbs and start with a hook.  This will create a better and more interesting read.

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