Author Topic: 1st chapter opening for sci-fi novel: 183 words  (Read 161 times)

Offline Kit

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1st chapter opening for sci-fi novel: 183 words
« on: April 03, 2018, 05:29:30 PM »
Hi all,

If you are interested in reading this, thank you and please let me know if it is interesting.  Is the writing good or is it just horrible?  I'm sitting down, so thanks!

It was a very comfortable chair.  It was made from the softest humanoid skin and put through the oiling process several times more than usual.  As she sat, she smiled remembering the easy pickings on that planet.  Their will was as soft as their skin.  She ran her four-digit hand along the chair apron –perhaps this section belonged to that man who stumbled from his home, believing he would find his family, only to come face to face with her.  She didn’t always do the work herself, indeed she rarely came along on these operations, but she enjoyed killing that one, watching the shock and fear on his face slowly morph into a face unoccupied.

She sat in the soft, muted chambers of her spacecraft.  Behind her, two attendants adhered to the wall where they had crawled with ant-like jointed limbs.  They hung there, waiting patiently for any command.  For the moment, she sat quietly, mulling over the operation just completed.  The vessel was stockpiled with cadavers and with alive stock too.  Now, eager to get home, they travelled at top sub-light speed.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 10:28:24 AM by Kit »

Offline LRSuda

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Re: 1st chapter opening for dark fantasy novel: 183 words
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 05:55:55 PM »
It's not horrible. The writing itself isn't that bad. It does need work, though. But then, that's why you're here.  ;)

So, to start, characters come first. The world you write revolves around your characters. The chair and the everything else here should come second to "she."  Who is she? What is her name? Why is the chair significant to her? This is what the reader whats to know. You want your character to strike an emotional chord in the reader. That's what keeps them reading. Give her a name and get it out there as soon as possible. Personally, I'm opposed to starting the opening paragraph with the main character's (MC's) name. It's overdone and boring, in my opinion. But try to get it out there in the first paragraph. Also, don't waste too much time before giving the reader a hint of your premise, or the main idea of your character's story.  This, too, keeps them reading and, in the very least, helps them determine if it's a story they'd find interesting.

Something I always address when I see them are adverbs. They have their place but are too often used as description. Weak description. For example: she sat quietly. I suggest a tiny bit of description that conveys quietness. Done right, such description makes the work pop by giving an actual image of the character. And you're good with imagery so give it a shot.

Not much else to say. Just don't go nuts with description because I said you do it well. LOL

Lisa   

Offline AssetMB

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Re: 1st chapter opening for dark fantasy novel: 183 words
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 06:59:19 PM »
I'm not sure if you're looking for a generic response towards the question of it being interesting or if you actually want more in-depth critique, so I'll just point out the things that stick out to me the most.

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It was a very comfortable chair.  It was made from the softest humanoid 'humanoid' really sticks out to me here. Because of the start, I'm assuming it is human skin, so it sounds weird. Reading on, I see it might not be, but I can't tell if you're trying to hint it is human (from an alien perspective?) or if it belongs to some other alien type with a humanoid shape.skin and put through the oiling process several times more than usual.  As she sat, she smiled remembering the easy pickings on that planet.  Their will was as soft as their skin.  She ran her four-digit hand along the chair apron –perhaps this section belonged to that man who stumbled from his home, believing he would find his family, only to come face to face with her.  She didn’t always do the work herself, indeed she rarely came along on these operations, but she enjoyed killing that one, watching the shock and fear on his face slowly morph into a face unoccupied. Strange way to describe what I think is a face slack in death?

She sat You already said she was sitting in the soft, muted chambers of her spacecraft What do you mean by soft? Because if I think a room is soft, I think of pastels and generally nicer things than flesh chairs.  Behind her, two attendants adhered to the wall where they had crawled with ant-like jointed limbs.  They hung there, waiting patiently for any command. For the moment, she sat sat again?quietly, mulling over the operation just completed.  The vessel was stockpiled with cadavers and with alive stock too.  Now, eager to get home, they traveled at top sub-light speed.

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My biggest question is why this is labelled a dark fantasy when this straight sounds sci-fi? Although, I just realized these creatures could be demons or something as opposed to aliens... but they're in a ship. In space. And visit other planets. Maybe there's magic or something further in, but this does not sound fantasy.

Anyway, I found it definitely interesting. It's too short to judge much on. If you could make the words themselves flow just a bit better, I'd think it's a good start.

Offline Kit

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Re: 1st chapter opening for sci-fi novel: 183 words
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 11:21:52 AM »
Thank you both for taking time to read my chapter opening.  Your comments were both helpful and encouraging.

Right off, I’ve changed the subject from “fantasy” to “sci-fi” because AssetMB is correct.

Lisa, I was hoping to create a little mystery in the first couple of paragraphs by not mentioning her name until someone calls her by it in the fourth paragraph or so.  And also the premise becomes clearer around that time.  But as AssetMB pointed out, this was a short offering.  Including those later paragraphs would have helped with your review.  Lesson learned for me.

Adverbs.  Why are we against them again?  Does it weaken the visual image which ultimately serves to disconnect from the reader?  I’m speaking as a non-professional writer and I think this is what happens.  But all that time I spent in grammar school learning verb modifiers…

Humanoid skin should become clearer as the story progresses.  But I don’t want to use the word if it is jarring instead of feeling more like a teaser.

“morph into a face unoccupied” – no, “not slack in death”, exactly (I like that!) but capturing the visual that someone was in there and now they are not in there.  I was on the fence about that particular phrase, I have to think about it more.

Lol, I did go overboard using the verb “to sit”.  Even in my intro to the piece, I said I was sitting.  :)  Thanks for noticing and I’ll have to be sure to keep these characters on their feet!

Again, thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Best,

Kit
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 11:25:52 AM by Kit »