Author Topic: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)  (Read 1262 times)

Offline Yushu na baka

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Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« on: August 04, 2010, 09:55:42 AM »
Ello. I'm in a rather peculiar mood (perhaps due to the 3 Full Throttles and hours spent awake all night writing, but I won't speculate)
and I am finding myself at a crossroads as to how to start a chapter. I don't particularly like this but I can't really find myself going in
another direction with it either. So! Why not get some feedback ya know?
Anything helps. To give you a quick intro to this Sorl (character, who's name I really hate now so I need to change it) just got sedated and his head stuffed in a bag before blacking out.
All the best!

EDIT
Drowning. Drowning in himself; darkness was coming and peace was but a breath away.<br>
Hands groped threatening to pull him further away from being. He suffocated. The depth of the <br>
darkness pressed in. The needle slipped through, pressed to skin and sank.<br><br>

"Wake up." Sorl's eyes snapped open. He was sluggish and couldn't feel his body as he searched his surroundings. There <br>
was nothing, darkness covered every inch around where he was sat in a chair, all dark except a blindingly bright <br>
light shone in front of him. Am I dead? No, he was simply immobile. A shadow stepped towards him, featureless <br>
and imposing against the beam of light.<br><br>

"We don't take lightly to treason." The man's voice was familiar; hard and edged, but it's beauty drawing him to a<br>
mixture of intimidating comfort. He'd heard it before, but where he couldn't place. Treason? His brain was <br>
scrambling but thoughts evaded him. Everything danced outside his reach, maddeningly taunting his every sense. He focused.<br><br>

"You've been accessing documents beyond your clearance. Did you think we wouldn't notice? <br>
I can only imagine your excuses but they will serve you little sympathies."<br>
Say nothing, just focus. He searched his body, not tied down just drugged. Could he feel his fingers?<br>
Focus.His toes slowly curled in his shoes.<br>
The voice turned away, talking to someone else in the room. "Is he here yet? I need authorization to proceed <br>
with termination."<br><br>

Sorl's fingers moved the slightest bit, enough to know he had them . Focus, test everything, know what you can do before you <br>
speak. Indistinguishable voices answered the first. He knew himself.<br>
"What was my treason?" His voice was slurred but he controlled his tongue. By the end of his sentence it was normal<br>
as his speech had always been. The shadowed figure turned back towards him. "I must say I'm quite shocked you can<br>
move your jaw with the sedatives in you. How intriguing."

<br><br>
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 09:30:13 PM by Yushu na baka »
A writer is not a liar, they just take your truths and tell it back to you in a way you can understand.

Offline Kmarko

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2010, 10:46:19 AM »
I wanted to quote and edit, but I get this really annoying scrolling thing that happens when I try and do that, I have no idea why.  I hate technology.

Anyway, my thoughts:

--I like this—the captured man testing what he can do before he makes his move is a nice bit of suspense.

--Not sure the first line works, with the tides and waves….seems a bit mixed.  Also, tides don’t really rock back and forth, they’re really slow.

--I’m a little fuzzy on when “he’s gone” and then gets the needle, and then wakes up.  Does the shot wake him up?

--The “beautiful” voice seems odd, would take out unless it’s important somehow.

--I don’t like the name either.

--From “wake up” on, I was in the story and would like to know what happens next.  Nice job.

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2010, 12:30:45 PM »
Tides of dreams rocked back and forth as waves of faces crashed and ebbed away. Drowning.
Drowning in himself, darkness was coming and peace was but a breath away. Hands groped and pulled him further away from being and he suffocated. He was gone. The needle slipped through, pressed to skin and sank.

This paragraph failed to pull me in.

"Wake up." Sorl's eyes snapped open. He eyed his surroundings. There were none, just blinding light from in front of him and darkness everywhere else. Had he died? No, but he couldn't move. A shadow stepped through the blindness.

I'm definitely interested now. Maybe you could just ditch that first paragraph?

However: There were none (...)? I know it's technically correct, but it trips me up and pulls me out of your story, so I think it would be better to rewrite. Maybe: "There was nothing".


"We don't take lightly to treason, you know."

I'm not sure if this is grammatically correct. It sounds a bit off to me.  :-\


The voice was familiar,a man's; hard and edged and beautiful. He knew it, he'd heard it but from where.

You need a space between the comma and a (familiar, a man's). The hard edged and beautiful seem to contradict each other, so it might be a good idea to replace the and with yet or but.

You also need a comma between it and but, and a question mark after where.

Treason? His brain was scrambling but no thoughts jumped to him.
Everything danced outside his reach, maddeningly taunting every sense of his body. He focused.

The jumped seems a bit out of place in this context. Surely, thoughts won't jump at anyone that's in such a state, no matter how hard he tries to focus?


"You've been snooping around in documents beyond your clearance. Did you think we wouldn't know? How do you explain yourself?"
Say nothing, just focus. He searched his body, not tied down just drugged. Could he feel his fingers?
Focus. His toes slowly curled in his shoes.
The voice turned away, talking to someone else in the room. "Is he here yet? I need authorization to proceed with termination."

Again, your punctuation needs improvement.

Termination... good. That sounds ominous. I like that.  ;D

Sorl's fingers moved every so slightly at his sides.

Ever so slightly?

Focus, test everything, know what you can do before you even speak. Indistinguishable voices answered the first. He knew himself.
"What was my treason?" His voice was slurred but he controlled his tongue. By the end of his sentence it was normal as his speech had always been. The shadowed figure turned back towards him. "I must say I'm quite shocked you can move your jaw with the sedatives in you. How intriguing."

Nice. I like your shadowed figure. A lot.

Offline LRSuda

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 01:36:35 PM »
My guess as to why you don't particularly like this, Yushu, is that your instincts are telling you this is not yet written as well as it could be. It seems to me you began in the right place and time, created tension, and have whet the reader's appetite for more. Now it's time to go back and make it sound right.

Pay closer attention to the word choices, the rythms of the sentences, the rise and ebb of the pace. And, as the others have said, fix the punctuation; that, too, has much to do with the sound of a piece.

The opening paragraph, well, I'm not too crazy about it, either. But I do see why it's there. Maybe some reworking, make it a bit more ominous, something added at it's end to more clearly indicate there is missing time-- it just might work. It may also work to tack such a paragraph onto the end as a doorway to Sorl recalling what had happened as a lead in to the rest of the story. But, the possibilities are always limitless, which is part of the reason this writing thing isn't as easy as it looks.

Lisa

Offline ENH

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2010, 07:01:07 PM »
Yeah, that first paragraph is definitely "purple prose". It's trying to be too ... prose-ey. You want to show that he's disoriented, confused, and feels like a giant marshmallow because of the drugs. He's not lucid. The whole ocean analogy seems completely removed from the story of a man who's about to be executed for treason.

Why is the bad guy explaining anything? Why did he tell Sorl what he did wrong? If I thought a guy was a spy, I would not tell him why I knew that, not right away. Maybe what I know is just the tip of the iceberg. I'd want to give the spy a chance to divulge something I don't already know about. Also, the menacing voice puts a "ya know" at the end of a sentence? That seems out of place. I'd think this guy would be forceful and would rarely look for confirmation from somebody he was interrogating. 
"... hard and edged and beautiful."
The multiple "and's" bothered me. It made that line hard to read. Also, I just can't see where the "beautiful" part comes in.

 "A shadow stepped through the blindness."
Really? A shadow can step through blindness?

If the interrogator had no expectations that Sorl could answer because of the drugs, then why was he asking questions in the first place?

In my opinion, and this is just a single person's opinion, you'd be better off fighting to describe things clearly rather than trying to be so melodic with your words.
"Something moved and partially blocked the light. Sorl concentrated and tried to focus. The silhouette of a man took shape, black and menacing, with a halo of bright light surrounding him from behind."
Something like that but with your own talent for picking the right words. Spend more time with what Sorl is really feeling. He's got to be scared and confused. I'm sure he smells things, tell the reader about it. Is he naked? Can he feel needles in his arms? Is he hot or cold? Is he on a bed or something hard?

Anyway, my take on this is that you've hidden the story behind your own desire to sound like a writer. Don't try to sound like a writer. Try to be descriptive and create imagery that the reader can relate to. Nobody can relate to " A shadow stepped through the blindness". A reader will respond to a menacing person who has them completely helpless.

Anyway, keep at it. :)
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I'm not trying to be rude, just helpful.

Offline Yushu na baka

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2010, 09:11:28 PM »
lol wow I really didn't like this chapter beginning at 5 am and re-reading it now I kind of want to kill myself.

Thanks for the critique, I went ahead and edited some changes into the original post. Overall to respond
specifically to comments of the prose, I do this purposefully. The intent is that the rest of the book is very
descriptive and stylized and the particular changes I have going on in Sorl (still hate this name) I want to
portray in a more poetic fashion.

Overall my wording choices are atrocious in places. I was using the "beautiful" descriptive because it references
a previous description of that particular shadow man but I agree it doesn't work the way its worded currently.

Ugh, I really like the idea of the first paragraph but it doesn't come off well at all. Maybe I will cut it for now.
I'll have to mull that one over a bit.
A writer is not a liar, they just take your truths and tell it back to you in a way you can understand.

Offline Kmarko

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2010, 10:48:37 PM »
You've got to take out the beauty of the voice.  A guy who is bound, drugged, and about to be terminated won't hear another guy's voice and think it's beautiful.  Seriously.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 03:06:23 PM by Kmarko »

Offline LRSuda

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2010, 01:20:33 PM »
Well, I've read your revisions and, yeah... I, too, think that opening paragraph should go. But, don't kill yourself.  :D The more you write the more you'll find paragraphs and sentences you adore just don't fit.

I think Nelodra hit it when she suggested opening with the second paragraph; throw the reader right into the action. You may want to consider an exclamation point, instead of the period, to punctuate "Wake up," as well.

ENH and Kmarko's advice on the sound of the piece is very good, too. You've said that you purposefully go for a more poetic prose, which is all well and fine if it fits the character and the circumstances of the story. What you've described is something with which many, many writers struggle during their initial endeavors, myself included: impress 'em with how beautifully you can write. But, even when writing a third person narrative, the writing should sound like the Point Of View character. Allow Sorl to make the word choices and describe the scenes. I'm sure you'll be very happy with the end result, even if you do hate his name.  ;D

Lisa

Offline Marie Meyers

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Re: Chapter start. Short Read (Only 278 words)
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2010, 12:28:10 PM »
This is very interesting. Makes you wonder if he really did commit treason, ;) I like it. Uhm, is this suspense?
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