Author Topic: First Draft - Chapter 1: 'Everything That Follows' #1  (Read 333 times)

Offline jemma1999

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First Draft - Chapter 1: 'Everything That Follows' #1
« on: March 18, 2020, 10:52:01 AM »
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 01:57:31 PM by jemma1999 »

Offline LeXeed

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Re: First Draft - Chapter 1: 'Everything That Follows' #1
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2020, 02:14:30 PM »
Hi jemma. I'd forgotten I was a member and it's been over 8 years since I was last here. Since my rediscovery, I figured I'd jump right back in and yours was the first story I saw. I have some observations:

Just my opinion, but I think "Jack could feel empathetic...he had never seen before." followed by the speech would have been a more orienting beginning. We, the readers, would immediately know who's speaking and have at least a hint of the situation.
Which leads me to the next observation: you seem to have a propensity for the use of "could." Specifically, "could verb." You also use versions of "feel" a lot rather than the dreaded showing.
Jack could feel (Jack felt). Still filtering, but at least more direct.
He looked up and could feel the warmth...
...the world felt...
he could hear   And it goes on...

"Eris was not one for funerals or societal conformity of any kind..." (There seemed to be some POV jumps; I take it that was on purpose?)
If I'm being honest, I began skimming after this point, looking for stronger story elements. I understand that you may have wanted to show some situations about the family and his relationship with his brother, but it seemed to go on too long without much happening at a story level. Maybe this is meant to be literary, and I don't read that genre very often. So just take that with a grain if so. But please understand that by "story" I don't necessarily mean a bunch of senseless action, I mean something that grabs me enough to warrant further reading, something that raises questions. Nothing did (for me). I got more a sense of melodrama and bailed (perhaps) too early.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2020, 02:26:33 PM by LeXeed »

Offline PIJ1951

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Re: First Draft - Chapter 1: 'Everything That Follows' #1
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2020, 04:34:34 PM »
Openings are important. The reader often makes a value judgement on whether or not it's worth continuing to read or not based on what you give us on page 1. Often all we need is paragraph 1. If we're hooked we will continue reading. If not, we'll set it aside and skim forward for something more interesting further along. If there's still nothing, we'll place the book back on the shelf and read/buy a different title.

Your opening paragraph sets the scene. We're in a funeral gathering. The dialogue is presumably spoken by Jack - but the melodrama is laid on too thickly in my opinion.
The second paragraph repeats what we already know from the dialogue so it's superfluous. I'm also not sure how eyes can look at him from 'their seats'.
The focus then blurs. You add an artificial sweetener to the scene by allowing Jack's attention to wander, introducing visions of nature and a weather update before we get to hear more dialogue. But by now I've already lost interest. I don't care about Jack's mum. Why would I? I've not been given enough time or a valid reason to get to know her or indeed jack - and because of that, his over-sentimentality is impossible to take seriously. The poem was the final nail in the coffin (excuse the pun).
I skimmed ahead to discover if something was happening and when I saw the phrase 'wooden boxes' and 13 pall bearers I pictured a mass burial. But it seems maybe I was wrong. The fact that Jack was able to single-handedly carry his mother's coffin, while 'barely conscious' no less, made me lose trust in you as an author who knows what they are writing about. The image makes no sense. Then you wander off again into the blissful past shared by the two brothers followed by a rather tedious conversation about the Cause and the etiquette of funerals.

I'm sorry, but there's nothing here to grab my attention. And I don't believe it's because this is literary (as suggested by a previous poster) because the level of writing is not outstanding. It's simply because the story the way it's introduced to us here is not particularly interesting. My advice, for what it's worth, start your story somewhere else.