Author Topic: First chapter of my book (1100 words)  (Read 1237 times)

Offline Zen

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First chapter of my book (1100 words)
« on: July 14, 2010, 01:03:06 PM »
Hi guys
This is the beginning of my book. I apologise as I know my punctuation is pretty poor.
Any help you guys could give would be great, Just wondering if I have any potential or is what is it really hack worthy.
 Don't be afraid to be honest, I really want to improve my writing.

A collection of sombre men and women gathered in the darkened observation room, their haunted faces appearing like ghosts in the glass of the one-way mirror. All eyes drawn as though by some irresistible force to the man strapped to the gurney on the other side. The Mirror more than just a way of watching without being seen, but a barrier; a thin veil that would protect them and absolve them in some way from responsibility.
  The light in the main chamber was so bright that the light-coloured tiles gleamed harshly and the equipment glinted. In contrast to the rest of the room the priest reflected nothing, not light or any emotion. Dressed in black with traditional collar the tall priest cast an imposing figure and stood so still that when he did move it broke the illusion that he was actually a statue.
   A young doctor entered the room and began nervously fussing with some instruments on one of the tables and casting anxious glances between the priest and the gurney, before releasing a gentle cough and establishing eye contact with the priest. Over and over in his head he repeated a line one of his favourite professors had drummed into him: Primum non nocere.
 ‘First do no harm, First do no harm’ and wondered how he would live with what he was about to do today.
 “Ready” he said to the priest and stood back eyes downcast.
The priest took a step forwards and gently laid a hand on the man strapped to the gurney.
“Are you ready Alex?”
Alex Hendricks looked up at the priest with cold eyes.
“Ready” he answered flatly.
   Some people would call a man like Alex Hendricks evil. The kind of man that you could meet and everything seems fine, everything he says is right, everything he does is right, he smiles when he should, he laughs at the appropriate places when someone tells a story and, he’s polite; But something isn’t right. Some small part of your brain, a distant voice from a time before we even stood up and spoke screams at you to run, to get as far away from this man as possible. But evolution and society have quieted this voice to barely a whisper, and you no longer listen to that hushed voice that gently whispers predator in your ear. A lot of people had made the same mistake and a lot of people died screaming in chorus with this voice.
  The doctor approached the gurney with deliberate and tentative steps, took out a sterile swap and cleaned a small section of Alex’s arm and inserted a line. Then in quick and practiced motions he took out a needle and punctured the top of a vial and slowly drew the clear substance up into the syringe. When he was done he set it down on the table so carefully it looked as though he was worried it would explode.
   The room took on an almost palatable taste of tension now, the doctors eyes anxiously swept the room, the priest seemed to stand even more still and the people in the observation room began to nervously shift in their seats and remove imaginary pieces of lint from their clothes, the way people do when they are trying to comfort themselves. The only person in the room that seemed calm was Alex Hendricks. His face remained unchanged, the machines he was hooked up to showed no sign of anxiety, a steady beep from the heart rate sensor showed a rate of 55 beats per minute and a slow and even respiration rate.
  The priest wondered if he even truly understood what was about to happen to him or, was he was just so devoid of feelings that he didn’t care. A consciousness without a conscience just left to roam and do as he pleases; a captain less ship.
“Lets get on with it shall we” said the priest looking at the doctor.
“Do you have any final words Alex, anything you’d like to say”?
Alex Hendricks turned to the priest and smiled.
“Yes I do. This wont work father, you can’t kill evil”
“We’ll see Alex, we’ll see”
The priest turned to the doctor, who looked like a terrified child and gently nodded.
  The doctor took a few nervous steps towards Alex Hendricks and then, remembering that the priest was watching, a few more purposeful strides, slipping back into that comfortable role of the medical professional. Picking up the syringe he injected it into the intravenous line already in place in Alex’s arm and moved over to the computer terminal and entered a few commands. A low hum emits from a machine in the corner of the room and a sequence of fluids is pumped into the tubes in Alex’s arm.
For a little while nothing happened and people began looking at each other as if to ask, is that it? Is it done, is it over? They are quickly answered by the sound of alarms screaming wildly from the computer as Alex Hendricks body began convulsing violently. The priest watched on impassively, like a child watching an ant burned under a magnifying glass, while the doctor’s face was a mask of pure panic. He wondered if the priest and Alex Hendricks are all that different. Being able to watch this happen to someone, even someone like Alex Hendricks and not be horrified, to not be moved seemed inhuman to him. Even the people in the observation room seemed disturbed by what they were seeing; a few looked away while others stared steely eyed at the gurney while gripping the armrest of their chairs so tight that their knuckles were as white as pearls.
   Finally the sound of the alarms subsided and the body of Alex Hendricks lay perfectly still on the gurney. The people in the observation room sat frozen in their seats as though moving would undo everything they had just witnessed. It was the doctor who moved first and placed his fingers on Alex’s neck to take a pulse, the violence of the seizure having broken loose the sensors from the heart rate monitor. He turned to the priest and gave a gentle nod.
The priest walked slowly to the window of the observation room and peered at the glass.
“It is done,” He said gently to his own reflection.
“I think it’s time you all went home”
A gentle chatter began in the room as people slowly began to filter out in to the hall. Even as they left everyone took one last look back at the gurney, a final mental snapshot that would stay with them forever and haunt a few dreams.
The doctor left the room looking deflated and began filling out the paperwork.
The priest gently brushed away a few hairs from Alex’s face as a father would with a child.
“We’ll see Alex. We’ll see.

This is the first draft.
How can I make it better.



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Offline John Yamrus

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Re: First chapter of my book (1100 words)
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2010, 06:23:03 PM »
for a first draft from an admitted beginner, this is surprisingly good.  as you go back to it for revisions (and you should), pay more attention to the tiny details of your lines.  a line like this:

The doctor approached the gurney with deliberate and tentative steps,

is not very good.  it's impossible to walk simultaneously with "deliberate and tentative" steps.  it's a contradiction in terms. 
     the work has a lot of little mistakes like this.  i say "a lot" because i'm looking at it with a more experienced eye.  for a novice such as yourself, this is admirable work.
     can you improve it?  you bet!  and, i firmly believe that you're up to the task.
john yamrus
Since 1970 John's published 2 novels, 18 books of poetry, and had more than 1,300 poems published in mags around the world.   His new book, (his 20TH) called CAN'T STOP NOW! is available here:

Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: First chapter of my book (1100 words)
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2010, 09:24:54 PM »
I liked this, it kept me interested. Some of your sentences are too long and a bit clumsy, and in a few spots you switch tenses. That's just practice though.

One other thing:

the first fluid that goes in is  a paralytic one, I thought. There shouldn't be ANY movement from the man, unless something went very wrong.
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Offline Zen

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Re: First chapter of my book (1100 words)
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2010, 01:08:31 AM »
Thanks guys

Thanks John ,I will take on what you've said and make the revisions, Now that iv'e gone back and looked over it again that does really jump out at you as wrong.

Thanks pretzelgirl , Changing tense is something I definitely need to work on as I have noticed that I do it, will sort that out by the second draft.
In the story it's not really an execution i'm just trying to make it look like one, but something has gone wrong.In the second draft I will try and make it more clear that something isn't quite right.

Thanks guys that was really,really helpful and encouraging

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Offline ma100

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Re: First chapter of my book (1100 words)
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2010, 08:51:01 AM »
Hi Zen,

You do have the start of what could be a good story, but I feel you need to set your pov in the first paragraph and stick to the one person. The priest I think, but only you know who your main character is.

We can only feel for a character if we see what he see's, feels, thinks etc. At the moment you have the priest and the doctor putting in their two penneth.

Who is the person who knows all that info about Alex?

What emotion is your main pov feeling. I hope I am making sense to you.

What is the preiest's name if he is the pov? etc.

Hope this helps

Ma ;)

Offline Zen

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Re: First chapter of my book (1100 words)
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2010, 02:21:54 PM »
Thanks Ma, all great stuff. Will take as much of this on board as I can.

I have an idea for a short story that I will write taking everything you guys have said, and see if I can come back at ya all new and improved. Im getting really excited about writing.

The odd thing I find, is that I read mostly crime fiction but the ideas I get tend to be horror or sci-fi as is the above story.
The short story idea is the first idea that has come to me that is crime fiction, hopefully it will be a bit better since I should have more experience of it.

Again many thanks my word ninjas, speak to you soon

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