Author Topic: i have never attempted creative writing in my life so please be gentle with your  (Read 1501 times)

Offline Cdougz88

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CHAPTER ONE FIRST DRAFT
  Blue lights filled the night sky; the sounds of sirens disturbed the silence of a sleepy Lanark. Fraser Whitelaw and his colleague Eddie Ramsay made their way towards the disturbance after both being called out of bed after a body was discovered in the middle of a street in the small town.
  “Do we think it’s?” Eddie asked caught short with Fraser raising a hand
  “Now Eddie were not jumping to conclusions but let’s just hope for all our sakes it is”
  On arriving at the scene they were greeted with a street of commotion, an ambulance, three police cars and two unmarked cars all parked awkwardly on both sides of the road. Residents from the street had made their way out, some still in their pjs standing as close as the police would let them, others could be seen peering from their windows hoping to catch a glimpse of what was happening.
  “Inspector Whitelaw, Ramsay this way please” Superintendent Johnston yelled from the small white tent the forensic team had pitched over the body.
  “Alright super, what’s the score do you know if it’s young Thomson?” asked a reluctant Eddie
  The case of Steven Thomson had had both Fraser and Eddie’s head in a spin for the past three months, a young sixteen year old who vanished without a trace. Out with some friends at an empty (a house party when ones parents are away) and never returned.
  “Well Mr Ramsay you two may finally put this one to bed as first signs say that it is,”
  “First signs?” Fraser’s face screwed “how bad is it?”
  “See for yourself”
  The walk over to the tent which was only ten or so yards away felt like a mile as they prepared them for the worst. After fifteen years on the service you’d think the sights of dead bodies in whatever condition would be next to nothing for the experienced coppers but for Fraser this was the worst part of the job, never had he gotten used to the sights. He reckoned he has seen twenty maybe thirty dead bodies in his time. From old age, heart attacks, stabbings, shootings and suicides but still had not been able to stomach it. He was never physically sick but his stomach would ache and bubble as if ready to vomit, the vision of the body would last for weeks when his eyes shut, they would haunt his dreams. A week or two of heavy drinking is what it took to rid him of those nightmares.

  This was it, three months in the making and their case of young Steven had finally took a turn in their favour. Now they knew he’d been killed. Who by? And where had he been the past three months leading to this moment. Fraser stood outside and watched his partner enter along with Johnston, he turned white and his stomach began playing up. He swallowed hard then entered the tent. On entering claustrophobia set in immediately the small tent barely held three men never mind three with a dead body sprawled over the ground.
  The body was face down in a pool of blood, it was clear to see the victim’s entrails either side of the body. They hadn’t been decapitated but might as well have as there was not much left of the head and face, totally unrecognisable.
  “So where’s the signs that it’s our guy,” Eddie asked crouching down by the victim
  “You’re the detective, you tell me,” was the cheeky answer Johnston gave “why don’t you look at the lad’s left wrist and tell me what you find”
  “The tattoo,” Fraser said before Eddie could raise the arm “small wings on the left wrist representing his grandmother, her angel wings so to speak”
  Eddie lift up the wrist and there it was just as Fraser said, the small wings delicately done unlike most tattoos you would see on young guys. Usually tribal or Chinese writing but according to Stevens parent he wasn’t into tattoos but wished to get one to remind him of his grandmother. The body was partly naked, the bottom half was exposed and only a T-shirt which was torn and ripped covered the top half. Both Eddie and Fraser came to the verdict that the victim had been raped at some point or an attempt to rape.
  “What’s that around the neck,” Fraser asked pointing out the thin black rope like material
 “Murder weapon possibly,” Eddie stated “May I?” he asked Johnston reaching to remove the rope, to which Johnston nodded in approval.
 He untied the object which turned out to be a necklace. The necklace was around two feet in length with a dog tag like pendant, in the middle of the pendent the medical red star with what looked like a snake wrapped round a shaft. Eddie thought nothing of it but Fraser knew exactly what it was and how important it would be for them
 “We have a problem Edd,” Fraser worryingly said knowing how hard his colleague was going to take the news  “this isn’t young Johnston”

Offline ddettra

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Hey, don't be ashamed, for just starting out this is really good. Also, don't worry about what people say for a couple reasons. One, people on this site are good about being friendly with their suggestions and they just want to help you get better. Two, who cares, at the end of the day you are doing it because you enjoy it and want to improve.

You have some of the same problems I had starting out, but much more creativity lol. Its easy to be wordy, its hard to be brief. You don't have to explain everything that happens, or everything that is thought or said. Trust in the readers intelligence in those areas, and leave a little for the readers to figure out on their own, or to mentally change to fit their own preferences. I try to write my first draft then remove 10% because normally I've added that much BS that just slows the story down. For people to be interested in our modern times, the story or plot line has to be constantly moving forward, and if the words aren't pushing the plot forward, setting up scene or preparing for an upcoming event, more often than not they aren't needed.

Like I said though, this is really good for starting out and you'll be amazed how quickly small changes become natural. Keep trying, don't give up and you'll keep getting better. Read as many books as possible too, that how it becomes second nature.

Very good though, don't be embarrassed, I've seen much worse on here by people who weren't just starting or who weren't nearly as nervous as you were. lol

hillwalker3000

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I don't do 'gentle'  :o - but well done for posting your first piece on here. Let's see how you did.

Immediately we realise we're at a crime scene (presumably). Purely for the sake of style I might have reworded the opening sentence because as it stands you give us two separate statements that should be linked.
Blue lights filled the night sky; the sounds of sirens disturbed disturbing the silence of a sleepy Lanark.
A very minor change but can you see any difference? It keeps the flow going forwards rather than causing us to pause midway through your opening sentence.

Next sentence is fine, but again I'd consider removing the last 15 words. The reader can be told that a body has been discovered in a more subtle way than this as the plot unfolds - and we don't need to know the size of the town ('sleepy Lanark' allows us to draw a picture in our minds of the likely location).

I'm not sure what question Eddie was asking before getting cut short. Does the dialogue add anything relevant at this point in the story? or drive the plot forward? I'd say not because we have no idea what the question might have been - so it's a delaying tactic that doesn't work particularly well.

Similarly, the description of the scene awaiting them gets rather clogged with detail. A vehicle count adds nothing to the drama. 'a street of commotion' is a little awkward and you repeat the word 'street' in the next line. But don't worry, all this will change when you get round to editing it. First drafts are always messy.

At this point in the story it's important you keep the wheels turning so the reader gets immersed in the plot and is desperate to find out more. You can feed in details later once we've got to grips with what the story's about.

'asked a reluctant Eddie' - I'd be tempted to stick with 'asked Eddie' for now because we've no reason to understand why he's reluctant.

Again here The walk over to the tent which was only ten or so yards away felt like a mile as they prepared themselves? for the worst. the underlined bit adds nothing. Sometimes you need to leave blanks the readers can fill in for themselves so they engage with the plot and feel they're interacting with the author. Let your readers use their own imagination whenever possible.

As for that paragraph telling us how Fraser dislikes seeing dead bodies - it's long-winded I'm afraid and manages to slow the momentum of the plot to a standstill. It's the weakest bit of writing so far and I'd advise cutting.

Not sure how they knew the lad had 'been killed' rather than perhaps died accidentally just from a cursory look. Also surmising later that he had been raped is normally something the medical examiner or pathologist would decide rather than the police at the scene.

More to trim: And where had he been the past three months leading to this moment?

And continuing to go on about Fraser's unease - we want to know about the body not his dodgy stomach.

The body was face down in a pool of blood, it was clear to see the victim’s entrails either side of the body. - you've already used the word 'body' earlier in the same sentence.

They hadn’t been decapitated Who's they? The entrails? You lost me here but might as well have as there was not much left of the head and face, totally unrecognisable Also a bit clumsily expressed.

A decent enough first effort and I like the way it finishes - leaving the reader with a 'wtf' moment. It's just a case of developing a sharper technique (vital in this genre) and finding your own own voice (which will come after half a dozen or chapters).

Hope this wasn't too harsh.

H3K

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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If you will notice, Hillwalker left spaces between his paragraphs even in his critique.

Doing so makes it easier to read online rather than having a big block of text.

You can go to your post, click Modify in the upper right hand corner and make corrections to the text. Be sure to click Save after you are finished.
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Offline junel

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Hello Cdougz,

not bad at all, doesn't read like a first effort.

you have a great way of meshing 'showing' and 'telling' together to keep the momentum of the scene going, many beginning writers don't know the difference, so kudos to you.

the weakest part for me was the dialogue, the placement is great, but the way in what's being said isn't so great, just doesn't sound realistic enough. I'd suggest more clipped dialogue and remember they are hardened detectives, so have them talk as so, also, you mention they've been dragged out of bed at night, how about their dialogue reflects this? at the moment their talking as though their full of brunch beans. you could have one detective annoyed at being called out and the other more professional, but still fatigued; would set up a nice contrast.

just a few more points ...

not sure the details on Fraser and his experience with corpses is relevant, feels like side-tracking. also when you mentioned his drink problem my cliche senses tingled. if you really must have an alcoholic detective, perhaps don't reveal it until later, or hint at it in the most subtlest of ways. also it seems irrelevant at this stage anyway.

the writing needs work of course, Hillwalker has started you off on that, and you will pick up the finer techniques as you go on. a great way to start would be to critique other people's work, there's plenty of threads available.  ;)

Junel.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 05:40:38 PM by junel »

Offline Cdougz88

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thank you all for taking the time to give me your thoughts. ddettra you your comment has inspired me to stick at this as i usually give up on things to quick.


hillwalker i know i said geentle but you have lead me down the right path inow know what yo look for when developing my skills.

thank you all again and hope in the future you will offer your thoughts and views on the rest of my project


Offline Loretta Green

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for a first time effort, this was very good.  You got the feel right. I do hope you intend to write more of this piece and more in general.  If you like mystery, crime, and detection I recommend reading a few issues of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Mag along with Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.  They are both good reads.  And they show you how to write short stories, which in my opinion is harder than longer works.(although the plotting of longer works may seem harder)
     I agree with Hillwalker's comments about the one paragraph about how much he hates seeing dead bodies.  It is long winded, as my comment is becoming so I will sign off now, but good job.  Just remember to read! read! read!  and try writing what you love to read!

Loretta Green

Offline gilbert_nathaniel

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This is your first effort? I have to say, I'm a little envious.

The biggest problem, for me, was the punctuation. Seeing as this is a first draft, it is not uncommon in the least.

Also, as a fellow crime fiction enthusiast, I appreciate the wordy, macabre, poetry of a good crime scene set up. Some people will tell you to get straight to the point, but, I think that if you feel it adds to the character or mood or so on... go for it.

That's not to say that you should go adjective crazy. (Which I do sometimes)

Offline 510bhan

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 :) :) :) :)

This was it, three months in the making and their case of young Steven had finally took a turn in their favour. Now they knew he’d been killed. Who by? And where had he been the past three months leading to this moment. Fraser stood outside and watched his partner enter along with Johnston, he turned white and his stomach began playing up. [As you don't tell us about the tent until after this sentence, at the mo' it could be badly misconstrued . . . watching his partner enter -- along with Johnson -- well, what are these men doing?] :o He swallowed hard then entered the tent. On entering,[ comma needed here -- otherwise he is entering claustrophobia] claustrophobia set in immediately. The small tent barely held three men never mind three with a dead body sprawled over the ground.
  The body was face down in a pool of blood, it was clear to see the victim’s entrails either side of the body. They hadn’t been decapitated but might as well have as there was not much left of the head and face, totally unrecognisable.

Words in bold = repeats too close together


The body was partly naked, the bottom half was exposed and only a T-shirt which was torn and ripped covered the top half. Both Eddie and Fraser came to the verdict that the victim had been raped at some point or an attempt to rape.  [what the victim attempted to rape someone? Or do you mean an attempt at rape had been made/ had made an attempt at rape/ or it had been attempted]