Author Topic: Chapter 2 of my controversial novel(!) Approx 1600 words. Nothing to repulse!  (Read 3018 times)

Offline Timbo2

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
    Hi again to all of you who read, or started to read(!) my controversial prologue. This has been edited as you may have seen.

I hope that by posting this, (which is now Chapter Two because the prologue is now Chapter One!) you may see why I thought a prologue or introduction was needed.
In the first chapter I was introducing you to a really nasty person; arrogant, selfish, evil.
Here I want to introduce the protagonist, the hero of the story: Major Jon Nash. He has had a weeks holiday with his sister and a friend on an island near Athens. She has returned home to France and been brutally murdred. Jon is so far unaware of this tragic turn of events. He is enjoying an annual event on another Greek Island with his four closest friends.
Please give me any thoughts you have on this chapter, and any comments on the writing style would be greatly appreciated.
And a little side note; there is nothing here to repulse anybody. . .



         September 17th 1999:  Karpathos Island, Greece.  4:05pm
 

         ‘Hey, Louis! Four more of those icy cold beers, when you’ve got a minute,’ asked Major Jonothan Nash, as Louis Peronis hurried past with a tray of empties. ‘No, make that five,’ he called after him. ‘Mike’ll definitely turn up if there’s a pint waiting for him.’
 
         ‘Coming up,’ replied Louis over his shoulder, as he crossed the narrow one-way street from the terrace, and mounted the two low steps into the Acropolis Cafe-Bar. Moments later he reappeared with the five large beers, a fresh supply of mixed nuts and a clean ashtray, all precariously balanced on his small round wooden tray. As he approached their table he almost collided with two mangy looking stray dogs. ‘Get lost!’ he hissed at them, but they took no notice, their noses frantically sniffing the ground in search of discarded scraps, their tongues lolling out of unfed mouths.

         ‘That was quick,’ said Jack Robinson, as he placed his empty glass onto the already soiled beige tablecloth. ‘Are you telepathic?’

         Louis grinned. ‘Yeah, Jack, come on. Sometimes I think we know you guys too well. Sandy begins to pour them when she sees you’re down to the last couple of inches. Works every time.’ He set down the peanuts, then the ashtray, passed the drinks around in their frosted glasses, and sank into the chair reserved for Mike Hardwood, the empty tray resting on his knees. ‘God, it’s a hot day,’ he said as he picked up the spare Warsteiner, looking up and down the street as he did so. ‘No point letting this warm up. Yamas!’ With that, more than half the lager disappeared in well under three seconds. As he put the glass back down on the table, he looked up at them somewhat sheepishly. ‘Well, it must be about thirty-plus degrees. . .’ he added, as if that somehow explained everything.
 
         ‘Yamas!’ chorused the others, smiling. Louis had always been partial to the odd drink or two, whatever the excuse.

         ‘I wonder what’s keeping him,’ mused Rick Maitland as he glanced at his Breitling. ‘It’s four-eleven already. He’s an hour and six minutes late.’ Rick owned an exclusive London Boutique Hotel, just off Knightsbridge, and always insisted on strict punctuality with his staff. With his friends he tended to play on it for fun. He liked trying to wind them up a bit, keep them on their toes.

         ‘Relax,’ Louis grunted. ‘You’re on holiday. The Dutch plane only came in fifty-odd minutes ago. He’ll be here shortly.’ He looked around. ‘My new waiter’s late again. Eric. He’s from Thessalonica.’

         ‘Sack him,’ Rick said, sitting back with his arms folded. A lock of long damp hair fell over his left eye and hung within tantalising reach of his pursed lips. He flicked it back with a quick toss of his head. It immediately fell down again. Par for the course. ‘Send the bugger home,’ he barked. ‘No respect for his boss.’ He paused for dramatic effect. ‘That’s you, Louis.’ He took the offending hair with one hand and smoothed it onto his head, patting it down for good measure. ‘Never let the staff walk over you. Give him his final warning.’

          ‘I havn’t given him his first warning yet,’ protested Louis.

          ‘Whenever you take someone on, give it to them then and there: “You have the job; but this is your first and final warning.” It works. Seriously, my friend. It really makes them sit up and take notice.’

          The others tried not to laugh, but failed miserably. Jon quietly polished his sunglasses on the hem of his white t-shirt, while Jack coughed into his beer and somehow itched the side of his nose at the same time. Chris Hunt threw a handful of nuts down his throat as he leant back and peered up at the totally cloudless sky; the only thing of note being a long sharp white slash in the blue canvas above, slowly cutting it’s way steadily westwards.

          ‘Why don’t you all just sit back and drown in your layman’s puerile ignorance,’ Rick barked, while a smile tried to force itself past his stern facade. He had to concentrate to keep his frown up to par.

          A young couple sat down nearby, and picked up a menu. Louis swiftly downed the rest of Mike’s drink, and gathered up the empty glasses.

          ‘No rest for the wicked,’ he sighed as he got to his feet and, with a satisfying belch, he picked up his tray and went back to work.

          ‘Hey, Rick,’ Jack began. ‘Why do you always talk funny, like?’

          Jon smiled as he reached over to a pack of Marlboro’s on the table. He plucked one out, lit it, and inhaled deeply. Jack followed suit, giving Rick a friendly kick under the table.

         The dogs were unimpressed with this particular terrace, only able to find discarded peanuts; so they moved on down the street, panting hard, their tails swinging slowly from side to side, almost as if in defeat. They were in search of more favourable scraps; maybe an unwanted piece of club-sandwich could be found, or even part of a souvlaki stick.
 
         ‘Speak of the devil,’ laughed Chris, as an old yellow Mercedes pulled up beside them a few moments later, Mike Hardwood clearly visible in the back. ‘You were right, Jon. Order him a beer and he suddenly appears.’

        ‘Shame Louis drank it.’

        ‘Hi guys. Sorry I’m late,’ gasped Mike, as he stumbled out of the taxi, sweat pouring from him. ‘There was a security alert at Schipol and the whole place ground to a halt, and then. . .’

        ‘3500 drachmas, parakalo,’ interrupted the driver, who had unceremoniously dumped a small brown suitcase next to their table.

        ‘Jesus,’ grumbled Mike. ‘Anyone got any spare drachs? There was nowhere at the airport to change any guilders, and I didn’t notice any cash-point . . .’

        ‘Here,’ Rick said as he peeled off a 5000dr note and waved it in Mike’s direction. The taxi driver, who was young and unknown to them, intercepted it and stuffed it into his ready and welcoming shirt pocket, jumped into his idling ‘taxi,’ and was off like a shot, tyres screeching in a plume of exhaust fumes, straight past a cash-point eight meters away.

        ‘The little bastard!’ Mike exclaimed. ‘What a nerve! He drove here like a friggin’ lunatic with a death-wish! No air-conditioning, the windows didn’t work, the tyres screeched like hell, the fake leather smelt like shit. . . It was like zooming along in a bloody coffin! I’ll fu . . .’

        ‘Calm down, you daft bugger,’ interrupted Jon quickly. ‘Sit down, grab a beer, and relax. You’re here in one piece.’

        ‘Just,’ he grumbled indignantly. ‘I’ve lost at least a kilo from sweat, fear, and whatever. One full kilo! But don’t you happy lot worry about it!’ With that he sat down, reached for the nearest glass, and downed what was left in it.

        ‘Cheers, mate,’ joked Rick. ‘Some things never change.’

        ‘Yeah, you’re right,’ Mike retorted whilst pulling a face. ‘The beer’s warm and flat, and some kid rip’s you off!’

        ‘Here we go,’ muttered Chris into his glass.

        ‘I heard that, you pious twit! It’s not, “here-we-go,” it’s, “off-he-went!”’

        Jack grinned. ‘A holiday with you guys is always a bundle of fun. Mike’s only been here two minutes, and causing trouble already.’

        ‘Oh shut up, you delinquent northern ape!’ said Mike, unable to hide his smile any longer as he leant forward and shook hands with each of them in turn.

        At that, they all burst out laughing and settled back in their chairs, just as Louis appeared with five fresh beers and a clean ashtray, picking up the empties in one swift practised movement.

        ‘Hi Mike! Great to see you again. Did you have a good trip?’

        ‘Well, to begin with. . .’

        ‘Oh, for God’s sake, have one of these,’ cut in Jack, throwing Mike the packet. ‘Yeah, Louis, he had a great trip, he’s here safe and sound, we only have a week, and we’re going to thoroughly enjoy ourselves, and have a bloody good time!’

         Mike didn’t bother saying anything. He lit a cigarette and tried to relax.

         Louis just shook his head and grinned.

         ‘I’m sure you all will,’ he laughed. Just then Nina, the Norwegian rep, arrived on the terrace with her twelve new arrivals, all girls for a change. ‘Mike, bring your case into the bar and put it with the others, out of the way. Then you can relax and enjoy!’

         Great idea, thought Mike as he hauled himself to his feet. He picked up his small brown suitcase, and followed Louis across the road into the Acropolis.

         ‘Sandy, look who’s just cared to join us!’ Louis exclaimed to his more-than-pretty wife, who was busily preparing some exotic-looking concoctions behind the long oval-shaped mahogany bar.

         ‘Mike! What took you so long?’ she cried with a wide grin on her face as she looked up, flicking her long shiny auburn hair back over her right shoulder.

         ‘A problem at Schipol,’ he began as he smiled back. ‘Let’s leave it at that. See you in a minute, I’m dying for the loo!’ He strode to the far end of the bar, put his case on top of the others, and stubbed his cigarette out in a big black glass ashtray leaving a glowing reminder. He then disappeared down the spiral staircase to the washrooms, the smile on his face widening with every step.

 

Tim.  :)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 02:02:21 PM by Timbo2 »

Offline thatollie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1443
I have two questions, just for my own curiosity.

Is there any particular reason why it's set before 2001?
What makes it controversial?

Quote
‘Well, it must be about thirty-plus degrees. . .’ he added, as if that somehow explained everything.
You don’t need to say that it’s hot again.

Quote
 ‘Relax,’ Louis grunted. ‘You’re on holiday. The Dutch plane only came in fifty-odd minutes ago. He’ll be here shortly.’ He looked around. ‘My new waiter’s late again. Eric. He’s from Thessalonica.’
He really knows those guys, do they come to his place that often?

Quote
A lock of long damp hair fell over his left eye and hung within tantalising reach of his pursed lips. He flicked it back with a quick toss of his head. It immediately fell down again. Par for the course.
and
Quote
He took the offending hair with one hand and smoothed it onto his head, patting it down for good measure.
This is too much description for an entire head of hair and just gratuitous for one lock.

Quote
The dogs were unimpressed with this particular terrace, only able to find discarded peanuts; so they moved on down the street, panting hard, their tails swinging slowly from side to side, almost as if in defeat. They were in search of more favourable scraps; maybe an unwanted piece of club-sandwich could be found, or even part of a souvlaki stick.
Does a paragraph from the POV of two dogs fit the tone of your book?

Right, I haven’t really gone through this with a fine tooth comb but I hope this may help. Overall, it’s smooth and quite engaging. I wish you the best of luck with it.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline Hugh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1693
Ollie has covered the over-describing, so I’ll just add a couple of points.

First thing that struck me was the “as” clauses:

Para 1:  . . . asked Major Jonothan Nash, as Louis Peronis hurried past with a tray of empties. 

Para 2: . . . replied Louis over his shoulder, as he crossed the narrow one-way street

Para 3: . . . said Jack Robinson, as he placed his empty glass onto the already soiled beige tablecloth.

Some re-writing would make it all more active, and easier to read.

The other was the over use of alternatives to “said” in (perhaps unnecessary) speech tags.

what’s keeping him,’ mused Rick

‘Relax,’ Louis grunted.

 ‘I havn’t (haven’t) given him his first warning yet,’ protested Louis.

layman’s puerile ignorance,’ Rick barked,

‘Speak of the devil,’ laughed Chris,

Sorry I’m late,’ gasped Mike,

‘Jesus,’ grumbled Mike.


The dialogue itself should show whether the speaker is laughing, grumbling, barking, or whatever. That little word “said”, if it’s needed at all, is almost invisible, whereas trying to find an alternative would make an editor think “beginner”, I’m afraid.

Again, some re-writing to make it all tighter could solve both problems.

I know this sounds harsh, but you did ask for comments on the writing style, and I’m only trying to help.

Hugh


Offline Butterfly21

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
  • Dreaming big isn't a waste of time.
The full names delivered to me within the first tiny section was like way too much. Having the three full names, Major Jonothan Nash, Louis Peronis, and Jack Robinson makes it seem like they're all very important to the story. Yet, I feel like I need one main character to follow, to get to know. Not sure if your doing this in omniscient POV, but I think you need to settle on one Main character, Major Jonothan Nash, and keep the other two just first or last names.

Also, all your speech tags, well not sure about all, but most of the tags I read were all really long.
You say the character said something, then did a long action.
Sometimes you don't even need to say they said it, just put an action tag after the dialogue, and we know the person who spoke, also did that action.

Also, not sure how the intro to the evil dude in the beginning chapter was necessary. If your doing this from both the protagonist and antagonists points of view, then I'd find it necessary then. But, if your doing it in one POV, then having a prologue/first in the view point of the murderer just doesn't interest me. I'd rather learn all about the evil guy through the point of view of the protagonist.

I don't know, maybe I'm confused at how you're approaching this story.  :D
Disregard whatever I said if it doesn't make sense, or you don't deem it valid.  ;)

Offline Kowboy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1669
Timbo 2:

So some friends got together for drinks. Several paragraphs to tell us that? I have no reason to care.


Offline Timbo2

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
Firstly, I must apologise for not replying to your crits earlier. (I have sadly had a funeral to organise, a real one.)

Many thanks to the people who took time to read my stuff, and of course a special thanks to those of you who left a comment.

Ollie - In reply to one of your questions: These five guys go to this same Greek Island every year, and have done now for 14 years. So yes, they know just about everyone
         rather well!
         The reference to the dogs is just to paint a picture of what is going on around them. Maybe not relevant as such, but this is a story, after all !

Hugh - All point taken well onboard and duly noted with respect and thanks.

Butterfly - There are more than one person/character in any novel. I am merely introducing you to the main character (the protagonist) in the form of Jon Nash. The other
               four characters are very important as the story unfolds. The antagonist at the beginning is totally necessary and is vital throughout the story. The story comes
               from BOTH their points of view. Without the dead sister at the beginning, there is no start or reason for the story at all.

Kowboy - I'm pleased you read what you did and sorry that it bored you . . .
              So some friends got together for drinks. Several paragraphs to tell us that? I have no reason to care.

              If you feel that way, why did you bother writing this nice message? Hmmm. . .

That about wraps that up!  ;) ;) ;)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 04:57:43 PM by Timbo2 »

Offline Butterfly21

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
  • Dreaming big isn't a waste of time.
i get that they're all important, but thats all the more reason we don't need to know all their full names at the very start. we're going to have time to get to know them.
also, i think what kowboy was trying to say 'correct me if i'm wrong, kowboy', is that this chapter is pretty long  for them to only get together for drinks.

i think it could possibly be a better start if you were to havve them talking about the murder, the murderer etc, maybe not over drinks, unless that setting is important somehow.
i dont want to comment on how you should set out your story, because that is based on individual style, yet so far we've met the murderer in chapter one, then chapter two is just friends having drinks.

you need to keep the tension you opened with going.
otherwise its kind like opening with a plane crash, people in trouble, then next its when the survivors are safe at home, the tension gone.

once again, just my opinion, timbo. disregard it  you want. and please excuse the horrible grammar, writing this on a phone.  :D

Offline Kowboy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1669
             Kowboy - I'm pleased you read what you did and sorry that it bored you . . .
              So some friends got together for drinks. Several paragraphs to tell us that? I have no reason to care.

              If you feel that way, why did you bother writing this nice message? Hmmm. . .

Timbo2:

I wrote because the purpose of posting work in this section is to get constructive criticism. Should I have lied and told you it was fine? How will you know how readers perceive your work if you don't get honest feedback?

Post in the gallery if you're too thin skinned; no criticism there.

Kowboy

Offline Butterfly21

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
  • Dreaming big isn't a waste of time.
Timbo2:

I wrote because the purpose of posting work in this section is to get constructive criticism. Should I have lied and told you it was fine? How will you know how readers perceive your work if you don't get honest feedback?

Post in the gallery if you're too thin skinned; no criticism there.

Kowboy

I agree. If you want us to just say its all great the way it is, what is the purpose of posting it on this board in the first place? It's a review my work board. Those who comment are giving you constructive criticism.

Offline Timbo2

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
 I would like to try and mend the fences here, so to speak, and I mean this from my heart.

 Butterfly - You are correct on all counts, and I'm not just saying it, I mean it.
                I shall sort it all out when the whole lot is finished, maybe in October. So far I have done nearly 70,000 words, but this is the first draft. When I in effect start
                the re-write, everything you have kindly suggested will be taken on board and duly implemented.
              
 Kowboy -  What can I say except I'm desperately sorry to have written what I did. So totally wrong of me and very rude. Please accept my apologies if it's not too late.
                I swear I'm not making up excuses about my feelings at the time, because there can be no excuses. But getting ready to bury a second family member in three
                months seems to be taking a toll on my character. I swear that it shall not happen again, and if possible please believe me when I say this apology is genuine.
                I can take crits like most people as this is why we're all here. This has been totally out of character for me.


 Kind regards,
 
 Tim :-[

Lin

  • Guest
I popped in here and read this.  I personally want to thank those of you who apologised, this is indeed a rare occasion on MWC.  Keep up the good work Timbo and I appreciate this is your first draft, believe me there will be many more to come yet.  When you reach 47 drafts (like me) then you'll be able to consider yourself dedicated. I agree about the character references being OTT, but can see through all this that you got what it takes - you only need more experience.  I was there once.

Good luck

Lin x

Offline Butterfly21

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
  • Dreaming big isn't a waste of time.
When you reach 47 drafts (like me) then you'll be able to consider yourself dedicated. I agree about the character references being OTT, but can see through all this that you got what it takes - you only need more experience.  I was there once.


Wow, Lin. 47 Drafts, you are dedicated.  :D  ;D

Offline Matt Walker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2762
I rarely see someone with the strength of character to apologise for something they wrote, so well done Timbo. Kowboy, in my opinion what you wrote was correct but a little too blunt.
Represented by Sarah Manning of The Agency Group/United Talent Agency

www.walkerproductions.co.uk

Silt

  • Guest
Hello

You could trim this considerably. The dialogue tags appear to be placed for no other reason than to direct who was speaking when they should be to help the story be defined better instead. Watch your personal pronouns, remember - write/read/edit,
before posting.

Things like -      '......he hissed at them.'     

The 'at them' does little and is understood by the conversation around. It is not so much who he is hissing at, but rather the sound.

Remember to use your 5 senses in a story if possible, give the reader more than sounds and sight.

**

silt



Offline Timbo2

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51

Hello,

Lin - Thankyou so much for your comments. My first draft feels so 'beginner'ish' compared to 47!
       
Matt - Many thanks for taking the time to post your kind thoughts. But I must say, I was certainly the one at fault originally, Kowboy was simply being honest.

Silt - Thanks to you also for your good advice, which makes perfect sense.

And obviously a big thankyou to everyone else who took the time to read my two posts. I have a long way to go and a lot to learn.

Tim :)