Author Topic: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"  (Read 3624 times)

Offline Zombiemouse

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Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« on: January 14, 2009, 03:30:07 AM »
This is my 'first draft' to the opining of my book.  Please let me know if you loose interest and if so what sentence things trail off.   
Please comment!!!!!
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   Shadows from the chandelier dance across the quiet study room.  A man dressed in a custom tailored suit with silky red lining hunches over a writers bench deep in thought.  Down below his feet lay a gray wolf under a small blue blanket, taking a deep breath it closes it's eyes while exhaling.  The man pulls his quill from the inkwell and stares down at a blank sheet, slowly blinks, and begins to scribe;


“My name is Dennis Timothy Adon.  I am not a normal person.  I have the apparent age of my mid-forties, though I am far older.  I've been documenting everything that happens to me in detail ever since I realized my long-term memory stops short just shy of two hundred years.  Written here are my earliest recollections up to the current date: June 19th 1503. 

   So many years I obsessed with my origin, the insanity brought me to seeking the afterlife for answers, however I soon realized this was not an easy task.  Falling from great heights only causes my bones to painfully shatter- then miraculously regenerate moments later.  Attempting to incinerate my body was so horribly painful that recalling memories of the incident still haunt me like visions of hell.  It seemed like nothing less then an act of God when my head actually reattached itself after decapitation.  Looking back I find it terribly ironic how it took me thirty years of attempting suicide before I discovered a reason to live.

Chapter One:
My life in the early 1300's

My earliest memory is so vague and fantastical it could have been a dream and I wouldn't know.  It shall be documented here before I forget in case it holds some truth.  I remember escaping captivity from a large castle dungeon.  I was being imprisoned and interrogated by three unpleasant men that took turns torturing me with various mid-evil weaponry.  They were trying to get information regarding enchanted items they thought I knew about.  Ridiculous items such as magic flaming swords, invisibility cloaks, magic golden wristbands, and other strange items I can no longer recall.  I had escaped the dungeon, killed several people, and stole a brown bag full of gems and gold.  I ran for days or months.  Eventually I was treading through snow.  It became too cold and I became frozen solid curled up by a large tree in the woods.  I do not know how long I was frozen for, but my memories since I regained consciousness are much more vivid.  The next thing I remember,  I was wandering into the small village of Snowhaven. The bag I carried was full of glass beakers, needles, medical supplies, valuable gems, and gold nuggets.  I was merely dressed in rags- ripped, brown, possibly leather tunic, with a slashed up hood covering my white hair frozen solid from the cold.

    I stumbled into town in search of a warm place to relax and gather my thoughts (to the best of my knowledge.)  I cannot remember how many days I was traveling through the thick snow, but it would have killed a normal man.  There was a blizzard the night I arrived.  I began to pound on the innkeepers door in hopes he was not fast asleep. 

   “HELLO!?” I shouted my throat sore.  Having not seen a soul since my arrival I wondered if this was a ghost town.  The door unhitched revealing an overweight woman holding a silver beer stein.  “Well come in stranger!  Brush off your snow!”  The cozy interior glowed orange from the fireplace.  Sitting in a chair close to the heat, sat a fragile elderly man smoking a pipe.  The woman continued- “I've never seen you before, you live in town?”  “No, I just arrived.”  “Just arrived?”  She paused her sentence as she took my coat.  “Where's yer dogs then?”  “Dogs? I don't have any dogs.” “Well then how'd you get here?” realizing there would be consequences to what I was about to say, I blurted out “I walked.”   “Walked?!  You must be a madman to go about in these conditions!  You can't see two inches front of yer face!  Let alone the north star!”  I changed the subject.  “I'm very cold, is there some place I can wash my clothes and find a bed?”  The woman gave a strange look and made arrangements to get me booked.  I laid in the bed looking up at the ceiling with a sense of accomplishment and fear.  To this day I cannot remember what I was thinking about.




GondorianPrincess

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2009, 02:08:29 PM »
Interesting premise. Thirty years of attempted sucicide? wow. That is amazing.
I would say that you start a new paragraph for each dialoge line.

ex -

"Howdy," he waved at me.
"Howdy yourself!" I replied.

instead of -

"Howdy," he waved at me. "Howdy yourself," I replied.

The version above makes it hard to read whil the version that makes a new paragraph for each dialogue line is much easier to read. Most books now-a-days do this.

that's all I have. I don't comment on Spelling/grammatical errors because I stink at that and I find it better to do style/character/plot.

A nice read nonetheless. I am not to sure about the 'telling' as opposed to 'showing' but it works and that's fine by me.

Offline rewh2oman

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2009, 04:45:56 PM »
I like the imagery you've tried to create. At the outset, "Dennis" seems like an intriguing character. I also enjoyed your descriptions and the fat-lady you introduced at the Inn.

As previously mentioned, it was a little difficult to read due to the format. I did notice the overuse of the exclamation-point (which IMHO is not a good thing. I find doing so lessens its effect at the moment you need it). I also found it awkward that he wanted to "relax" in Snowhaven when he arrived from almost being frozen from a blizzard. Maybe "relax" isn't the best word to use. He can relax once he gets checked into his room.

Also, why not briefly "show" the torture scene and his escape?

Is this all of chapter one? If so, I need a twist or another reason in order for me to turn the page and continue reading.

I liked the line:
"I laid in the bed looking up at the ceiling with a sense of accomplishment and fear."
"laid", I believe, should be "lay" in this sentence.

But, the last line...
"To this day I cannot remember what I was thinking about."
...lost and confused me. I didn't "see" it flow with the previous sentence. Nor did I understand it's purpose.

All this is just my humble opinion.

...russ

Offline eric

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2009, 07:03:11 PM »
There is no phrase in English that I know of called "Time and Memmorial."  There is a phrase called "Time Immemorial."  There is no spelling of the word Memorial that I know of that uses two m's in the middle.  After a couple of attempts, I could not get past the first few lines because of the repeated spelling and grammar mistakes, sorry, that's just me.  The random tense changes and run-on sentence made me stumble.  Then there are usage problems like "It became too cold and I became frozen solid."  And earlier you have jumbled syntax like this:  "Attempting to incinerate my body was so horribly painful that recalling memories of the incident still haunt me like visions of hell."  To make that latter one a real sentence, you would want to remove the gerund "recalling."  Even then, the visions of hell would be a little much.

Also, an intro where the character is writing down everything is pretty much all tell and no show.  This also reduces the liveliness of the text.  The excessively old main character has been done a number of times, in comedy as well as fiction, for example Mel Brooks' 2000-year-old man.  It probably is trite now.  I like the last sentence, though, even though it is quite abstract.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 07:42:51 PM by eric »

Offline Zombiemouse

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2009, 01:24:44 AM »
Everyone's advice is so good I think I'm going to take all of it.  Thanks ppl!  Time Immemorial.  I knew I was on the wrong track with that one somehow lol.

What other spelling errors are there? I'm a horrible speller and I'm limited to microsoft words intellect.

And I am treading very carefully on the show and tell thing.  I'm going to have to make him a very poetic person.  and regarding the fact that he is 'just an old man'  ....this story is beyond unique so I'm not worried about cliché's whatsoever.   I'll give spoilers away if you want, but I'd rather not.

This site rox. 

Offline Zombiemouse

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2009, 01:37:50 AM »
Is this all of chapter one? If so, I need a twist or another reason in order for me to turn the page and continue reading.

No this is only the first page.  I want to perfect at least one page with [you guys] before I go off and write a full chapter.  This way I know what to expect when it comes to grammatical no-no's and writing basics.  (this is my first attempt to write an 'actual' book) 

Offline Zombiemouse

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2009, 01:43:58 AM »
To this day I cannot remember what I was thinking about."
...lost and confused me. I didn't "see" it flow with the previous sentence. Nor did I understand it's purpose.


I tacked on some extra transitions to the previous sentence here.  It's purpose was to remind the reader they are being told a partial story.  There are still 'loose ends' in the past.  Much more happened before all this.  The emotions of fear and accomplishment are supposed to make the reader wonder 'just what the hell was he thinking about?"

Offline fire-fly

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 01:50:16 AM »
Hi Zombie, I just whacked it through the spell check for you mate and there were maybe five or six there, nothing too drastic if it picked them all up. Posted below is your story spell checked, nice job by the way.

 Shadows from the chandelier dance across the quiet study room.  A man dressed in a custom tailored suit with silky red lining hunches over a writer’s bench deep in thought.  Down below his feet laid a gray wolf under a small blue blanket, taking a deep breath it closes its eyes while exhaling.  The man pulls his quill from the inkwell and stares down at a blank sheet, slowly blinks, and begins to scribe;

“My name is Dennis Timothy Adon.  I am not a normal person.  I have the apparent age of my mid-forties, though I am far older.  I've been documenting everything that happens to me in detail ever since I realized my long-term memory stops short just shy of two hundred years.  Written here are my earliest recollections up to the current date: June 19th 1503. 

   So many years I obsessed with my origin, the insanity brought me to seeking the afterlife for answers, however I soon realized this was not an easy task.  Falling from great heights only causes my bones to painfully shatter- then miraculously regenerate moments later.  Attempting to incinerate my body was so horribly painful that recalling memories of the incident still haunt me like visions of hell.  It seemed like nothing less then an act of God when my head actually reattached itself after decapitation.  Looking back I find it terribly ironic how it took me thirty years of attempting suicide before I discovered a reason to live.
Chapter One:
My life in the early 1300's

My earliest memory is so vague and fantastical it could have been a dream and I wouldn't know.  It shall be documented here before I forget in case it holds some truth.  I remember escaping captivity from a large castle dungeon.  I was being imprisoned and interrogated by three unpleasant men that took turns torturing me with various mid-evil weaponry.  They were trying to get information regarding enchanted items they thought I knew about.  Ridiculous items such as magic flaming swords, invisibility cloaks, magic golden wristbands, and other strange items I can no longer recall.  I had escaped the dungeon, killed several people, and stole a brown bag full of gems and gold.  I ran for days or months.  Eventually I was treading through snow.  It became too cold and I became frozen solid curled up by a large tree in the woods.  I do not know how long I was frozen for, but my memories since I regained consciousness are much more vivid.  The next thing I remember, I was wandering into the small village of Snowhaven. The bag I carried was full of glass beakers, needles, medical supplies, valuable gems, and gold nuggets.  I was merely dressed in rags- ripped, brown, possibly leather tunic, with a slashed up hood covering my white hair frozen solid from the cold.

    I stumbled into town in search of a warm place to relax and gather my thoughts (to the best of my knowledge.)  I cannot remember how many days I was travelling through the thick snow, but it would have killed a normal man.  There was a blizzard the night I arrived.  I began to pound on the innkeeper’s door in hopes he was not fast asleep. 

   “HELLO!?” I shouted my throat sore.  Having not seen a soul since my arrival I wondered if this was a ghost town.  The door unhitched revealing an overweight woman holding a silver beer stein.  “Well come in stranger!  Brush off your snow!”  The cosy interior glowed orange from the fireplace.  Sitting in a chair close to the heat, sat a fragile elderly man smoking a pipe.  The woman continued- “I've never seen you before, you live in town?”  “No, I just arrived.”  “Just arrived?”  She paused her sentence as she took my coat.  “Where's yer dogs then?”  “Dogs? I don't have any dogs.” “Well then how'd you get here?” realizing there would be consequences to what I was about to say, I blurted out “I walked.”   “Walked?!  You must be a madman to go about in these conditions!  You can't see two inches front of yer face!  Let alone the north star!”  I changed the subject.  “I'm very cold, is there some place I can wash my clothes and find a bed?”  The woman gave a strange look and made arrangements to get me booked.  I lay in the bed looking up at the ceiling with a sense of accomplishment and fear.  To this day I cannot remember what I was thinking about.

I'm A Binge Thinker: Do It A Lot Somedays, Then Not Much At All.

Don't take life too seriously, none of us get out of it alive. >:D


Laertes00

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2009, 07:49:13 PM »
May I suggest to not worry too much about the spelling and grammar for now? EVERYONE goes through a moment were ten to twenty words or sentences are screwed over keyboard inputs, so it is pretty expected to see some mistakes here and there. I include the title on this...

Speaking of which, it was awesome of you to post it here instead of on another site, because I am pretty sure you would be bashed on over "Memmorial" a couple dozen times.

As for what you are serving in the story, I actually do not have much to say. I would just be repeating what the others have posted thus far.
I would like to state a small praise: The writing thus far has the right amount of intensity. It dragged me along to keep reading, even though most of it was telling and not showing (I like stories that show a lot more). You have gotten some people's attention, which is a nice start. You are doing well.

GondorianPrincess

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2009, 09:34:37 PM »
funny, I thought that 'Time and Memorial' was a pretty good title.
Remember, as writer's we are allowed to 'break' some rules every-once-in-a-while *lol*

Offline Josef Litobarski

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2009, 09:55:06 AM »
Hi Zombiemouse

I think your story has a lot of potential! Please keep working on it, because I'd like to see how it turns out.

General Impression

The idea of fiction set in the past really interests me, although I'm not a big fan of the supernatural. These are my biases as a reader, and they won't apply to everyone  - so only listen to me if you think I'm the sort of reader you'd like to appeal to.

Okay - first up: the spelling, grammar and formatting were not terrible, but they weren't great either - and initially this was a bit off-putting. However, these things can be corrected in later drafts. When I got past them, and looked at the actual story underneath, it drew me in quickly.

The one thing I would say is that it wasn't clear to me (perhaps intentionally) if your story is supposed to be set in the real world or in a fantasy world. You mention a couple of specific dates (1503 and the early 1300s) which suggests a real, historical setting - but the actual locations and descriptions reminded me of a fantasy setting. I'll pick up on some specific examples below. I'll warn you in advance, my suggestions are mostly about historical accuracy - so please ignore everything I say if you don't think it applies.

Detailed Criticism

I mentioned in my general impression that some of the locations reminded me of a fantasy setting. The village of Snowhaven, for example, sounds like a traditional fantasy village. I don't know why this is - because actual Medieval villages like Rothenburg in Germany and Bormio in Italy have names that translate as things like "Red Town" and "Warm Springs." Based on what actual Medieval names mean, Snowhaven should be fine. Somehow it sounds fantasy, though. I think this might be because it uses modern English.
 
Quote
A man dressed in a custom tailored suit with silky red lining hunches over a writer’s bench deep in thought.

"Suit" might be slightly anachronistic. Wikipedia has a good page here on fashion during the 1500s, with plenty of pictures and external links.

Quote from: Wikipedia
The basic costume of men in this period consisted of a shirt, doublet, and hose, with some sort of overgown.

Okay, moving on...

Quote
The door unhitched revealing an overweight woman holding a silver beer stein.

A couple of stupid, minor points that are really me just being picky: in the early 1300s, the stein hadn't been invented yet - she is more likely to have been holding a mug or a tankard. Also, silver was a valuable metal, and so chances are it would have been made of pewter (which is silver-coloured, anyway).

Quote
Sitting in a chair close to the heat, sat a fragile elderly man smoking a pipe.

Another stupid point (I realise that none of this actually matters if your setting is fantasy, but I just want to point them out in case you want it to be historical) but chairs were not common in 1300. Much more common would be stools or benches. Tobacco was only introduced to Europe in the 16th Century - so the man would not have been smoking a pipe.

Quote
She paused her sentence as she took my coat.

I'm not sure about this, but the main character would probably not have an over-coat as we would think of them today. More likely he would have a cloak.

Quote
The woman gave a strange look and made arrangements to get me booked.

This phrase is probably anachronistic. There would not have been guest-books because paper was so expensive and hardly anybody could actually read. Could I suggest "and made arrangements for a place for me to sleep," or something along those lines?

If the village is small and the traveller is poor, then it might be more likely that he would sleep not in a bed, but maybe on straw or furs or something like that.

Okay, those are my suggestions. Hope they help!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2009, 11:04:44 AM by Josef Litobarski »

Offline Zombiemouse

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2009, 12:37:16 AM »
Josef Litobarski.....


How the hell do you know all this stuff!   :D

This is exactly the kind of information I'm seeking out.  I didn't want to have to wiki each and every noun that I type.  Are you a genus or did you go on a google frenzy?

Offline theAlphaProxy

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2009, 01:52:03 AM »
The premise is "somewhat" jaded.....

Read "Tuck Everlasting", or go to Hulu and watch episodes of "New Amsterdam" or the character Claire Bennett in "Heroes"

or....drumroll.....Connor Mccleod...."Highlander"

The title threw me, and even to the second line or so when "down below his feet"....when I sit to write, the only thing down below my feet are my socks, slippers, the floor etc....I pictured a very uncomfortable dog, what with your feet on him and all.....

I would rethink the "diary" aspect of the story.....for a few reasons

1) The character is writing his journal, so as readers we know from the first paragraph where he ends up!

2) Storyline heroes have to have one exceptional quality.....in this case he's exceptionally good at not dying....why?....aren't all main characters good at that?   james bond, harry potter, etc....they are all EXPERTS at not dying, even though you expect that they might.....your character could be an immortal plumber, an immortal gynecologist, an immortal podiatrist etc...throw away the diary and start right from the prison, let us watch this characters journey unfold..!

Good luck, and keep righting and stop wronging


"They profess to be curious in homicide; amateurs and dilettanti in the various modes of bloodshed; and, in short, Murder-Fanciers."


On Murder, Considered as One Of the Fine Arts
Thomas de Quincey 1827

Offline Zombiemouse

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2009, 04:44:44 AM »
The premise is "somewhat" jaded.....

Read "Tuck Everlasting", or go to Hulu and watch episodes of "New Amsterdam" or the character Claire Bennett in "Heroes"

or....drumroll.....Connor Mccleod...."Highlander"

The title threw me, and even to the second line or so when "down below his feet"....when I sit to write, the only thing down below my feet are my socks, slippers, the floor etc....I pictured a very uncomfortable dog, what with your feet on him and all.....

I would rethink the "diary" aspect of the story.....for a few reasons

1) The character is writing his journal, so as readers we know from the first paragraph where he ends up!

2) Storyline heroes have to have one exceptional quality.....in this case he's exceptionally good at not dying....why?....aren't all main characters good at that?   james bond, harry potter, etc....they are all EXPERTS at not dying, even though you expect that they might.....your character could be an immortal plumber, an immortal gynecologist, an immortal podiatrist etc...throw away the diary and start right from the prison, let us watch this characters journey unfold..!

Good luck, and keep righting and stop wronging




I'll move the wolf away from his stinky feet just for you.  :D

Do you think I could 'yank out' the first paragraph and be on my marry way?  The only problem I could see that way is the memory loss beforehand.  My character really would write a journal to document things lost in memory.    And later on when his 'unknown' past comes into the picture, how would I get the reader to understand the 200 year lapse concept?  :/   btw he's not just some immortal 'guy' SPOILER ALERT:  He's a Time Traveling Scientist who makes himself the first Vampire by 'accident'.  He's also the antagonist of the story.  I've had criticism for starting the first part of the book in the eyes of the antagonist, but I'm sticking to my guns on that one.  He's not a hollow 'bad guy' to be beaten.
The reason the reader is supposed to know 'where he ends up' is because in the second part of the story when the 'real' main character steps into the spotlight, the reader will recognize some surroundings and suddenly realize the two storys meet at a crossroad.  Such as him fighting his way to a study room and seeing some old guy writing a journal.  (more complex but you get the idea


« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 04:50:53 AM by Zombiemouse »

Offline Josef Litobarski

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Re: Beginning of my book "Time and Memmorial"
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2009, 06:41:16 AM »
How the hell do you know all this stuff!   :D

lol - I'm a history nerd!  ;D I love researching historical details - the only problem is that I often spend more time researching a story than writing it... and sometimes I don't bother with the whole "writing it" bit at all!

Quote from: theAlphaProxy
1) The character is writing his journal, so as readers we know from the first paragraph where he ends up!

I agree with this. But you don't need to get rid of the whole "flashback" beginning. When a character is narrating the story in flashback, the reader may know where that character will eventually end up, but the reader still doesn't know how that character got there. Sunset Boulevard begins with the main character floating dead in a swimming pool, and "narrating" events up to that point.

You could have Dennis being tied to a stake, about to be burned as a witch, and the Inquisitor gives him one last chance to recant his sins in front of a crowd of gathered townspeople. Dennis tells them that they can burn him, but they can't kill him - and then he tells his story explaining why. It's a bit cheesy - but if done well, it could draw the reader in.

But the device you use to justify the flashback could be anything - a strange situation (like the young Dennis bursting in on the older Dennis sat writing his memoirs), or a perilous situation, or a something tragic - or you could always just keep it as it is!

Regardless, I'm happy to help with the historical details, and wikipedia is a great resource (although it's important to take everything it says with a pinch of salt).
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 06:46:21 AM by Josef Litobarski »