gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
gfx gfx
gfxgfx
 
Anybody interested in joining a behind the scenes critique group, please PM Ed smiley
 
gfx gfx
gfx
55850 Posts in 6180 Topics by 556 Members - Latest Member: wallynicholson666 December 17, 2017, 06:18:11 PM
*
gfx* HomeForumHelpLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: Genesis.exe Chapter 1 (working title)  (Read 6454 times)
Sephiroth
Grave Digger
**

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 89


« on: November 03, 2006, 07:58:50 PM »

Here is the first chapter of a novel I'm writing;  I'm seriously thinking about scrapping the first three chapters, or seriously rewriting a huge majority of it.  But before I did, I figured I'd post it here and see what everyone thought (even tho it looks like the last time someone posted here was back in June).  It's about a twentysomething who has a demon contact him through his computer as he slowly transforms into a human/machine hybrid.

Here goes


“Damn!”  Jacob yelled.  “You have to be kidding me!”

The words bounced and echoed off the white walls of CompCorp, making the already small room seem even more clustered.  Papers lined the desks inside the tightly packed cubicles, spilling onto the floor in uneven bunches.  The heads of the other two employees were barely visible when Jacob stood up over the cubicle walls, and he could dimly see the lit screens reflecting on the thier  foreheads.  CompCorp was not a large company;  in all, it only had five employees, and even one of them was the Company’s owner.  Everyone in the office pretty much had to work  right on top of one another, and everyone could easily hear Jake’s angry voice.

Jacob rolled back in his chair from his workdesk, his jet black hair clumped with sweat; hands balling into fists of rage.  His white collared shirt was unbuttoned at the top, yet the tie was still in place.  His blue-green eyes half-closed, his eyebrows knit themselves into a V of rage; all of this was barely visible through the glare on his black-rimmed glasses.  “Now it freezes?  Now?”  His voice quivered with anger.

“Dude, what’re you moaning about?”  called a voice from the next cubicle over.  A blond-haired, twenty-something young man rolled into view;  his hair was short and spikey, and his shirt was opened two buttons at the collar.  “You throwing a hissy-fit again, Jake?  You keep this up and I’m gonna have to start bringin’ in my girlfriend’s Midol for you every month.”

Jacob wheeled towards the young man, his eyes glowing fiercely.  It was obvious that this was no little matter to him;  he was seriously enraged.  “Carl, I swear to Christ, I’m going to kick the shit outta you if you say one more  word.  Just one word.”  Jacob’s face was reddening;  beads of sweat were breaking out on his forehead.  He clenched his teeth together.   “Keep your fucking comments to yourself!”

Carl wheeled so that he was facing  Jacob, who had now taken a step towards him.  “Whoa man… dude, what’s the problem,” he said, raising his hands to his shoulders.  “Dude, man, I’m just messin’ with ya. C’mon man, I was just kidding.”  His mouth twisted into a frown.

Jacob stood quivering, hovering between bitter rage and breaking into tears.  His bottom lip began to tremble.  He started, “Do you know… all those orders… I filled today?”  Some of the rage seemed to ebb now, and his eyes began to well up.  “All of that work… all of it… is fucking gone.”

Carl shook his head.  “What do you mean?  What’d your computer lock up?”

“Of course this piece of shit locked up!” Jacob screamed.   “What the hell always happens to me?  It always locks up!  Here we are, selling computer parts, and our goddamn cheap-ass boss won’t even front the money to upgrade his machines!  What the hell kind of company is this!”  His knuckles remained white as he hulked over his small, white desktop computer.  He was starting at the machine, taking angry half-steps towards it;  it almost looked as if he was going to hit it.

“Awwwwww shit!”   Carl sighed loudly.  “Again?  Dude, you have the worst luck of anyone I’ve ever met with all that.   God  damn, that sucks.  I mean,”  his words trailed off as he sat there, staring at the screen.  “Wow.  I don’t know what to say. Sorry, dude.”

“Yeah man, sorry.  That really does suck.”   A dark-skinned man in his early thirties peeked his head to the right of Jacob.  His hair was neatly combed, and his face was round and chubby;  he wore an off-white, button-up collared shirt.  “I don’t know what to tell you.  Well… besides to tell Erik that he’s a moron for not buying better machines.”

Some of the tension in Jacob’s body seemed to evaporate, but his fists were still clenched.  “God Damn,” he said.  “Another whole friggin’ day’s work gone down the drain.”  He threw his hands over his head, resigned to his fate.   “And wanna know what the kicker is?  This asshole is gonna blame me for his stupid machines screwing up.  It’s 2007 and we’re running Pentium II’s.”  He let out a groan of discontent.

Carl stood up from his wheeled seat. “Bah, who cares, man!  It’s Friday!  Worry about that crap on Monday, dude! There’s too much boozin’ to be done tonight, right Chico?”  He smiled wryly, exposing his crooked bottom teeth.

“Nah,” replied the round-faced man.  “It’s the wife’s weekend out.  I gotta watch the kid.”  His eyes saddened at these words, as if he had just informed the two that he had been sentenced to life in prison.  “I’d join you if I could, but this is a bad weekend, which sucks.”    Both men went silent, waiting to see what reaction would come next from their now semi-enraged co-worker.

Jacob inhaled deeply, held it, and let it out in a large, exaggerated breath.  He collapsed back into his chair, and let out another grunt of disapproval.   His eyebrows turned upwards, and several lines crossed his forehead.  “Man, I’m gonna need to booze it up tonite.  Every time.  Every… friggin… time   Why does this crap always happen to me?”   The others could detect that the crisis had passed now;  Jake wasn’t going to actually smash the computer. 

Carl retained his optimism.  “Yeah, dude, it sucks.  But look on the bright side:  It’s 4:45.”

“Actually, it’s 4:38.”  Chimed Chico.

“Whatever, then.  4:38.” Carl shot a half-annoyed glare at Chico, “we’re outta here in a few minutes, dude.  The night has just begun!”  He stood up and put his arm around Jacob’s shoulders, fanning his other arm out in front of his face.  His look became tranquil, yet humorous,  his eyes relaxed and distant.   “In a  few short hours - yet many beers from now – this will all be a distant memory.  As we down drink after drink and play round after round of pool, we’ll forget all about CompCorp, Fat Erik, and order-eating computers.”  His mouth cracked a thin smile, and his head rocked gently back and forth, as if he was singing a lullaby to an audience.  “We will be in a state of boozeful bliss, dude… on a river of beer… calmly taking us wherever it may decide to go. Who are we, to deny this wonderful beer its right to take us on it’s righteous path?”

Jacob rolled his eyes and smiled, brushing Carl’s arm from his shoulder, as Chico let out a quiet laugh.  Jacob hated it when guys touched him, although Carl’s whole beer dream schtick was actually pretty funny.  For a stoner, he really wasn’t that unbearable.  “Yeah, yeah, I know,” he said,  “it’s just that it sucks when you work for seven hours and at the end of the night have nothing to show for it.  You know?”

Carl threw a knowing wink and a slow nod.  “Hey man, it’s not like we all haven’t been there before.  These computers are the biggest turds I’ve ever seen.  Seriously, I’m surprised this place even does the business that it does.”

Jacob nodded.  He was beginning to calm even more now, as the redness in his face began to ebb.  “Hey man, I’m sorry I came after you like that,” he said to Carl. “It’s just that… it’s not just work… this whole month has been kind of rough.  And to have something like this happen at the end of the day, it just amplifies all the other crap I’ve had to deal with over the last few weeks.”  His eyebrows turned up, and he shrugged.  “Sorry man.”

“Dude, no problem.”    Although it is going to cost you a round at the bar tonight if you hope to win back my friendship.”

Jacob nodded.  “I think I can swing that.”

Carl’s eyes lit up.  “Then the bar it is!”  he shouted.  “And will the ball and chain be accompanying you this fine evening, or is this the one night she’s letting you out of prison for your required hour of exercise each year?”

“Well, I was gonna fly solo,” Jacob laughed, “but the prison warden requested tighter security after I shanked a wise-ass computer salesman.”

Carl laughed.  “That’s cool, I totally dig Elizabeth.  For a chick, she’s like… not like a chick.  I’ve never heard a girl use the ‘C’ word so much.”  Carl squinted his eyes, nodding slowly.   “You’ve gotta respect a girl like that, you know?” 

“If I’ve gotta, I’ve gotta,” Jacob replied.  “Well anyways, I’m not starting up work again after seven hours of spreadsheets and files getting lost.”  He peered at his computer screen, and locked on the white order form on the display;  a bit of anger creeped back into his face, then faded.  He grabbed his keys and jacket from the small hanger at the entrance to his cubicle.  “Screw this, I’m going home.  I’ll see ya at Mc Martin’s at what… nine?”

“Probably more like ten,” Carl replied, “I’ve gotta pick up a bag for the weekend, and I don’t think the kid I’m buying from is even gonna be in Jersey until, like, eight.  So count on ten.”

“Yeah, ten is always a good time,” chimed in Chico, who both had forgotten was there.  He remained unseen, confined to his cubicle.  “Ten is a good, even number.”

“Ten, ten thirty then,” Jacob said, half nodding and half shrugging.  “That’s cool.”  Jacob threw his jacket on and pulled his keys from the pocket with his right hand, swinging them around his finger by the keyring.  He glared one more time at his frozen computer screen before angrily holding in the button on the tower until the monitor gave in and died.  The PC made a slight hiss as the power was shut down, and the screen crackled for a few moments with static electricity.

“Man,” Jacob sighed as he wheeled and began to head towards the door, “I still can’t believe I lost all that shit today.  Damn.”

“Don’t know what to tell you, my friend,” called Carl, “except that the computer gods do not smile upon you this day.”
Logged
DragonMom
Coffin Maker
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 108



« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2006, 04:47:22 PM »

I liked it.  Good opening scene - you've got real potential with these characters.  And the premise is intriguing - I'd love to see more, see how it turns out!  afro
Logged

"When Mister Safety Catch is not on, Mister Crossbow is No Longer your Friend."  - Terry Pratchett

http://www.pretty-scary.net
Sephiroth
Grave Digger
**

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 89


« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2006, 08:41:00 PM »

Really?  thanks DM!


I've gotta put this one on the shelf for a little while longer, tho... I have a ton of work I've been putting off for the last few weeks while I've been writing shorts, and things are getting pretty crazy with the holidays coming up.   I'm just about ready to tear my hair out with all the things I have on my plate right now.


But I saw you posted a chapter to your book, so I'm gonna have to make time next weekend to check it out. smiley 



TD
Logged
Geoff_N
Critter
***

Karma: +3/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 2732



WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2006, 02:32:33 PM »

You have plenty of conflict in your opening and that's good and necessary for any story. The subject matter seems rather familiar - ie human and computer interaction and the former becoming absorbed, etc, but no doubt you'll have a unique twist to grab the reader's pique.

As it stands there are several writing style and typo corrections rquired. It's best to read work out loud to discover these minor errors before posting your work on website crit groups. Having said that none of us are immune to blunders - especially me! However, in case you wonder what I'm on about I copy your first page and a few editing notes:
___________________

“Damn!”  Jacob yelled.  “You have to be kidding me!”

The words bounced and echoed (tautology – choose one) off the white walls of CompCorp, making the already small room seem even more clustered (do you really mean this, and not cluttered? I’m not what clusters of a total of 5 people would look like!).  Papers lined the desks inside the tightly packed cubicles, spilling onto the floor in uneven bunches.  The heads of the other two employees were barely visible when Jacob stood up over the cubicle walls (I presume you mean when he looked over the walls – or does he have extraordinarily long legs?), and he could dimly see the lit screens reflecting on the thier (typos) foreheads.  CompCorp was not a large company;  in all, it only had five employees, and even (‘even’ is one of the modern literary curses – everyone says it – along with ‘just’, ‘actually’ and other stutter words that means nothing and adds nothing to the story. Publishers see ‘amateur here’ when they see more than one ‘even’ per page) one of them was the Company’s owner.  Everyone in the office pretty much had to work  right on top of one another (you’ve already said this), and everyone could easily hear Jake’s angry voice.

Jacob rolled back in his chair (You don’t mean his body rolled do you?) from his workdesk, his jet black hair clumped with sweat; hands balling into fists of rage.  His white collared shirt was unbuttoned at the top, yet the tie was still in place.  His blue-green eyes half-closed, his eyebrows knit themselves into a V of rage; all of this was barely visible through the glare on his black-rimmed glasses.  “Now it freezes?  Now?”  His voice quivered with anger.

“Dude, what’re you moaning about?”  called a voice from the next cubicle over (is ‘over’ needed?).  A blond-haired, twenty-something young man rolled into view;  his hair was short and spikey, and his shirt was opened two buttons at the collar.  “You throwing a hissy-fit again, Jake?  You keep this up and I’m gonna have to start bringin’ in my girlfriend’s Midol for you every month.”

Jacob wheeled towards the young man, his eyes glowing fiercely.  It was obvious that this was no little matter to him;  he was seriously enraged.  “Carl, I swear to Christ, I’m going to kick the shit outta you if you say one more  word.  Just one word.”  Jacob’s face was reddening;  beads of sweat were breaking out on his forehead.  He clenched his teeth together (together isn’t needed).   “Keep your fucking comments to yourself!”
____________

I hope this helps

Geoff
Logged

DragonMom
Coffin Maker
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 108



« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2006, 06:13:41 PM »

Really?  thanks DM!


I've gotta put this one on the shelf for a little while longer, tho... I have a ton of work I've been putting off for the last few weeks while I've been writing shorts, and things are getting pretty crazy with the holidays coming up.   I'm just about ready to tear my hair out with all the things I have on my plate right now.


But I saw you posted a chapter to your book, so I'm gonna have to make time next weekend to check it out. smiley 



TD

No problem - this is a busy time for everybody, but any reviews are appreciated.  grin
Logged

"When Mister Safety Catch is not on, Mister Crossbow is No Longer your Friend."  - Terry Pratchett

http://www.pretty-scary.net
Sephiroth
Grave Digger
**

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 89


« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2006, 03:11:55 PM »

Thanks, Geoff.  smiley


So you two are saying... it IS worth keeping, then?
Logged
DragonMom
Coffin Maker
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 108



« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2006, 04:47:44 PM »

Yes, definitely, write more & post it! I wanna see it!  cheers
Logged

"When Mister Safety Catch is not on, Mister Crossbow is No Longer your Friend."  - Terry Pratchett

http://www.pretty-scary.net
Robert M. Blevins
Coffin Maker
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2007, 04:32:37 PM »

I thought I would copy/paste over the excerpt and insert comments here and there. A general view of the manuscript so far: Unnecessary speech tags need to be dropped and a lot of deadwood ('pleonasms') needs to be cut from the work.

EXCERPT WITH COMMENTS INSERTED:

“Damn!”  Jacob yelled.  “You have to be kidding me!” (drop speech tag 'yelled.' The exclamation points already tell the reader he is yelling. Believe it or not, 'said' will work here)
The words bounced and echoed (PICK ONE ADJECTIVE AND CUT THE OTHER) off the white walls of CompCorp, making the already small room seem even more clustered.(THIS IS CONFUSING. DON'T PLANT INFORMATION. 'COMPCORP' HERE IS PLANTED INFORMATION AND THE READER WILL SEE RIGHT THROUGH IT)  Papers lined ('WERE STACKED' IS BETTER. 'LINED' SOUNDS LIKE THE EMPLOYEES GLUED PAPER TO THEIR DESKS EVERYWHERE) the desks inside the tightly packed (DROP ONE ADJECTIVE) cubicles, spilling onto the floor in uneven bunches. (CUT UNEVEN BUNCHES. NOT NEEDED.) The heads of the other two employees were barely visible when Jacob stood up over the cubicle walls, and he could dimly see the lit screens reflecting on the thier  foreheads. (TOO MUCH DESCRIPTION PREVIOUS SENTENCE. IT'S AWKWARD. CUT SOME OF IT.) CompCorp was not a large company;  in all, it only had five employees, and even one of them was the Company’s owner. (BETTER TO DESCRIBE THE COMPANY FIRST, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY)   Everyone in the office pretty much(CUT  'PRETTY MUCH') had to work  right(CUT 'RIGHT') on top of one another, and everyone could easily (CUT 'EASILY')hear Jake’s angry voice.

Jacob ('JAKE' OR 'JACOB?' PICK ONE NAME AND STICK TO IT.) rolled back in his chair from his workdesk, his jet black hair clumped with sweat; hands balling into fists of rage.  His white collared shirt was unbuttoned at the top, yet the tie was still in place.  His blue-green eyes half-closed, his eyebrows knit themselves into a V of rage; all of this was barely visible through the glare on his black-rimmed glasses. (NOT TOO BAD, BUT IT'S 'AUTHOR INTRUSION' ALL THE WAY. TRY TO CUT THESE DESCRIPTIONS DOWN A BIT.) “Now it freezes?  Now?”(DON'T REPEAT WORD UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.)  His voice quivered with('IN') anger.

“Dude, what’re you moaning about?”  called a voice from the next cubicle over.(CUT 'OVER')   A blond-haired, twenty-something young man rolled into view;  his hair was short and spikey, and his shirt was opened two buttons at the collar. (AGAIN WITH THE OPEN SHIRT COLLAR...TOO MUCH. CUT IT.) “You throwing a hissy-fit again, Jake?  You keep this up and I’m gonna have to start bringin’ in my girlfriend’s Midol for you every month.”('EVERY MONTH' I WOULD CUT. JAKE IS A GUY, AND EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT MIDOL IS FOR.)

Jacob wheeled towards the young man, his eyes glowing fiercely.  It was obvious that this was no little matter to him;  he was seriously enraged. (CUT LAST SENTENCE. EVEREYONE KNOWS JAKE IS PISSED OFF ALREADY.) “Carl, I swear to Christ, I’m going to kick the shit outta you if you say one more  word.  Just one word.”  Jacob’s face was reddening;  beads of sweat were breaking out on his forehead.  He clenched his teeth together.   “Keep your fucking comments to yourself!”(LOTS OF DESCRIPTION ON ANGER...LOTS....YET NO REASON WHY, SO FAR. GET TO THE POINT QUICKER.)
Carl wheeled so that he was facing  Jacob, who had now taken a step towards him.  (TOO MUCH DESCRIPTION. CUT THE SENTENCE AND JUST GO WITH THE DIALOGUE.)“Whoa man… dude, what’s the problem,” he said, raising his hands to his shoulders.(POOR FORM TO KEEP LENGTHENING SPEECH TAGS. CHANGE TO: 'HE SAID.' THEN, NEXT SENTENCE TO: 'HE RAISED HIS HANDS TO HIS SHOULDERS.')  “Dude, man, I’m just messin’ with ya. C’mon man, I was just kidding.”  His mouth twisted into a frown.

Jacob stood quivering, hovering between bitter rage and breaking into tears.  His bottom lip began to tremble.  He started, (I WOULD CUT THE LAST TWO SENTENCES. YOU ARE BEING REDUNDANT...TOO MUCH DESCRIPTION OF JAKE'S ANGER. READER IS WELL AWARE BY NOW HE IS PISSED OFF.) “Do you know… all those orders… I filled today?”  Some of the rage seemed to ebb now, and his eyes began to well up.(CUT PREVIOUS SENTENCE.)   “All of that work… all of it… is fucking gone.”

Carl shook his head. (CUT 'CARL SHOOK HIS HEAD'. AVOID THESE PLEONASMS. GO WITH THE STRAIGHT DIALOGUE HERE AND CUT TO THE CHASE.) “What do you mean?  What’d your computer lock up?”

“Of course this piece of shit locked up!” Jacob screamed.(CHANGE TO 'SAID')    “What the hell always happens to me?  It always locks up!  Here we are, selling computer parts,('SELLING COMPUTER PARTS' IS AN OBVIOUS ATTEMPT TO PLANT INFORMATION AND LOOKS BAD.)  and our goddamn cheap-ass boss won’t even front the money to upgrade his machines!  What the hell kind of company is this!”  His knuckles remained white as he hulked over his small, white (CUT 'SMALL, WHITE') desktop computer.  He was starting at the machine, taking angry half-steps towards it;  it almost looked as if he was going to hit it.

“Awwwwww shit!”   Carl sighed loudly.  “Again?  Dude, you have the worst luck of anyone I’ve ever met with all that.   God  damn, that sucks.  I mean,”  his words trailed off as he sat there, staring at the screen.  “Wow.  I don’t know what to say. (CUT LAST SENTENCE. IF HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY, THEN SAY NOTHING.)Sorry, dude.”

“Yeah man, sorry.  That really does suck.”   A dark-skinned man in his early thirties peeked his head to the right of Jacob. (TOO MUCH DESCRIPTION. SOUNDS LIKE A TV SCRIPT. 'YOUR MARK IS HERE'...ETC. LESSON: IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO RECORD EVERY SINGLE MOVE A CHARACTER MAKES.) His hair was neatly combed, and his face was round and chubby;  he wore an off-white, button-up collared shirt.  “I don’t know what to tell you.  Well… besides to tell Erik that he’s a moron for not buying better machines.”

Some of the tension in Jacob’s body seemed to evaporate, but his fists were still clenched.  “God Damn,” he said.  “Another whole friggin’ day’s work gone down the drain.”  He threw his hands over his head, resigned to his fate. (CUT 'RESIGNED TO HIS FATE')  “And wanna know what the kicker is? (CHANGE TO: 'THE KICKER IS THIS ASSHOLE IS GONNA....') This asshole is gonna blame me for his stupid machines screwing up.  It’s 2007 and we’re running Pentium II’s.”  He let out a groan of discontent. (CUT DISCONTENT)

Carl stood up from his wheeled seat. “Bah, who cares, man!  It’s Friday!  Worry about that crap on Monday, dude! There’s too much boozin’ to be done tonight, right Chico?”  He smiled wryly, exposing his crooked bottom teeth.

“Nah,” replied ('SAID') the round-faced man.  “It’s the wife’s weekend out.  I gotta watch the kid.”  His eyes saddened at these words, as if he had just informed the two that he had been sentenced to life in prison. (SHORTEN PREVIOUS SENTENCE SOMEHOW.) “I’d join you if I could, but this is a bad weekend, which sucks.”    Both men went silent, waiting to see what reaction would come next from their now semi-enraged co-worker. (OOPS...YOU CHANGED POINT-OF-VIEW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCENE THERE...A NO-NO.)
Jacob inhaled deeply, held it, and let it out in a large, exaggerated breath.  He collapsed back into his chair, and let out another grunt of disapproval. (THESE LOOOOOONG DESCRIPTIONS NEED TO BE CUT DOWN A BIT. YOU ARE DRAGGING THE READER ALONG AT A SNAIL'S PACE)  His eyebrows turned upwards, and several lines crossed his forehead. (SEE LAST COMMENT)   “Man, I’m gonna need to booze it up tonite.  Every time.  Every… friggin… time (DON'T REPEAT THE SAME PHRASE. READER DOESN'T NEED IT.)  Why does this crap always happen to me?” (ASKED AND ANSWERED PREVIOUSLY, SAME SCENE)  The others could detect that the crisis had passed now;  Jake wasn’t going to actually smash the computer. (POV CHANGE AGAIN...)

Carl retained his optimism. (POV PROBLEM AGAIN...REMEMBER...JAKE HAD THE ORGINAL POV)  “Yeah, dude, it sucks.  But look on the bright side:  It’s 4:45.”

“Actually, it’s 4:38.”  Chimed Chico. (CHICO IS NOT A CLOCK. REPLACE 'CHIMED' WITH 'SAID')

“Whatever, then.  4:38.” Carl shot a half-annoyed (CUT TO ANNOYED. EITHER HE'S ANNOYED, OR HE ISN'T. THERE IS NO HALF.) glare at Chico, “we’re outta here in a few minutes, dude.  The night has just begun!”  He stood up and put his arm around Jacob’s shoulders, fanning his other arm out in front of his face.  His look became tranquil, yet humorous,  his eyes relaxed and distant.   “In a  few short hours - yet many beers from now – this will all be a distant memory.(DIALOGUE IS UNNATURAL SOUNDING THIS SECTION.)  As we down drink after drink and play round after round of pool, we’ll forget all about CompCorp, Fat Erik, and order-eating computers.”  His mouth cracked a thin smile, and his head rocked gently back and forth, as if he was singing a lullaby to an audience.  “We will be in a state of boozeful bliss, dude… on a river of beer… calmly taking us wherever it may decide to go. Who are we, to deny this wonderful beer its right to take us on it’s righteous path?” (REWRITE THIS PREVIOUS SECTION OF DIALOGUE...ALL OF IT. SORRY, BUT IT'S AWFUL.)

Jacob rolled his eyes and smiled,('ROLLING EYES AND SMILING' MAKE YOUR CHARACTER LOOK LIKE A BRAINLESS IDIOT. THIS IS IN THE CLASS NAMED 'NOVEL WRITING 101'. CUT IT.)  brushing Carl’s arm from his shoulder, as Chico let out a quiet laugh. ('LAUGHED QUIETLY' IS BETTER) Jacob hated it when guys touched him,(CHANGED POV AGAIN HERE) although Carl’s whole beer dream schtick was actually pretty funny.  For a stoner, he really wasn’t that unbearable. “Yeah, yeah, I know,” he said,  “it’s just that it sucks when you work for seven hours and at the end of the night have nothing to show for it.  You know?”

Carl threw a knowing wink and a slow nod.(CUT THE KNOWING WINK AND SLOW NOD. WE ARE REALLY GOING TO HAVE TO TALK...LOL)  “Hey man, it’s not like we all haven’t been there before.  These computers are the biggest turds I’ve ever seen.  Seriously, I’m surprised this place even does the business that it does.”

Jacob nodded.  He was beginning to calm even more now, as the redness in his face began to ebb.  “Hey man, I’m sorry I came after you like that,” he said to Carl. “It’s just that… it’s not just work… this whole month has been kind of rough.  And to have something like this happen at the end of the day, it just amplifies all the other crap I’ve had to deal with over the last few weeks.”  His eyebrows turned up, and he shrugged.  “Sorry man.”

“Dude, no problem.”    Although it is going to cost you a round at the bar tonight if you hope to win back my friendship.”

Jacob nodded.  “I think I can swing that.”

Carl’s eyes lit up.  “Then the bar it is!”  he shouted.  “And will the ball and chain be accompanying you this fine evening, or is this the one night she’s letting you out of prison for your required hour of exercise each year?”

“Well, I was gonna fly solo,” Jacob laughed, “but the prison warden requested tighter security after I shanked a wise-ass computer salesman.”

Carl laughed.  “That’s cool, I totally dig Elizabeth.  For a chick, she’s like… not like a chick.  I’ve never heard a girl use the ‘C’ word so much.” ('C' WORD? COULD BE 'CANCER' COULD BE ? CUT IT.) Carl squinted his eyes, nodding slowly. (AGAIN WITH THE SQUINTING AND NODDING...YOU MUST ESCAPE FROM THIS TYPE OF WRITING.)  “You’ve gotta respect a girl like that, you know?” 

“If I’ve gotta, I’ve gotta,” Jacob replied. (TOO MANY 'GOTTAS' CUT TWO OF THEM) “Well anyways, I’m not starting up work again after seven hours of spreadsheets and files getting lost.”  He peered at his computer screen, and locked on the white order form on the display;  a bit of anger creeped back into his face, then faded.  He grabbed his keys and jacket from the small hanger at the entrance to his cubicle.  “Screw this, I’m going home.  I’ll see ya at Mc Martin’s at what… nine?”

“Probably more like ten,” Carl replied, “I’ve gotta pick up a bag for the weekend, and I don’t think the kid I’m buying from is even gonna be in Jersey until, like, eight.  So count on ten.”

“Yeah, ten is always a good time,” chimed(CUT CHIMED) in Chico, who both had forgotten was there.  He remained unseen, confined to his cubicle.  “Ten is a good, even number.”

“Ten, ten thirty then,” Jacob said, half nodding and half shrugging.  “That’s cool.”  Jacob threw his jacket on and pulled his keys from the pocket with his right hand, swinging them around his finger by the keyring.  He glared one more time at his frozen computer screen before angrily holding in the button on the tower until the monitor gave in and died.  The PC made a slight hiss as the power was shut down, and the screen crackled for a few moments with static electricity. (CUT THIS LAST SENTENCE. NOT NEEDED.)
“Man,” Jacob sighed (SIGHING AGAIN...CUT IT CUT IT CUT IT) as he wheeled and began to head(NO 'BEGAN TO HEAD' CHANGE TO 'HEADED') towards the door, “I still can’t believe I lost all that shit today.  Damn.”

“Don’t know what to tell you, my friend,” called Carl, “except that the computer gods do not smile upon you this day.”

ROBERT'S NOTES: AND THE WRITING GODS ARE NOT SMILING FAVORABLY ON THIS WORK SO FAR...Half of the words in this section could be easily cut. It needs to be severely edited. Don't plant information. You wrote this large piece of work, and all that you really told the reader was this: The guy works at computer company. The computer froze up. He was pissed about it. They are going out after work...I want you to visit a video I made at Adventure Books on this very subject:

'How To Cut The Deadwood From a Novel' or 'Hunting Down the Pleonasms.'
www.adventurebooksofseattle.com/abvideos 
Logged

'Don't give up reaching for the stars...
just build yourself a bigger ladder.'
Ed
The Mastah, muahahaaaa....
Administrator
***

Karma: +6/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 11069


Don't look behind you!!!!!


« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2007, 05:29:39 PM »

Yep, there are a couple of places where I don't quite agree with Robert's suggestions, but he's absolutely right about his final comment.  Look at this scene and ask yourself what the reader learns by reading it and it doesn't amount to much for the word count.  What we, as writers, have to do is condense information so that we give the reader enough of a setting to picture where they are, along with enough story to keep them interested.  The trick is to know what is important to the story and what is not.

Novel openings are particularly difficult to get right, because they are perhaps the most important words you will write - they are the ones that hook or repel editors/agent/readers, but that's not to say you should pain over them at the expense of getting on with the rest of your novel.  Some authors apparently leave the writing of the opening chapter until they have finished the novel.  Seems like a good idea to me.  By then you know exactly what the story is about, which I think makes it easier to know where to start it. smiley
Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Robert M. Blevins
Coffin Maker
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2007, 07:02:37 PM »

Yeah, that was a quick review. I could have done better with it. Shorter excerpts are easier to critique.

I saw some classic writing errors in there, though. A pro editor would have cut that excerpt down to three or four paragraphs in a heartbeat. The scenes are s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out so much it begins to hurt... azn
Logged

'Don't give up reaching for the stars...
just build yourself a bigger ladder.'
Ed
The Mastah, muahahaaaa....
Administrator
***

Karma: +6/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 11069


Don't look behind you!!!!!


« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2007, 07:23:16 PM »

I saw some classic writing errors in there, though. A pro editor would have cut that excerpt down to three or four paragraphs in a heartbeat. The scenes are s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out so much it begins to hurt... azn

Yeah - I think when people first start writing fiction, they picture a scene in their head and describe every aspect of it, paining over details, like raising eyebrows, banter between colleagues, the layout of a building, stuff like that.  Stuff that isn't really worth mentioning a lot of the time.  I did the same, and I think maybe it's a result of us watching fiction played out by actors on TV and in movies, at the expense of reading novels.

Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Dan
Mortician
****

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 401



« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2007, 07:57:55 AM »

I agree with at least 75% of Robert's suggestions, and the overall comment to tighten.

I think much of it has to do with control and presenting a manuscipt professionally.

If you are narrating a character from a 1st person, or close 3rd, then you need to consider narrative pace when describing, ie would the character take time from the events around him to describe every facial expression of the person he's chatting to, or to describe the process of turning off his PC?

However, if the person that's doing the describing is, say, a nervous sort, or one who dithers over crossing the tracks as the train's hurtling in, then such use of descriptions would be more appropriate, and would even contribute to characterisation, voice, etc.

Whatever, it's nice of Robert to go into it in such detail.
Logged

www.HellInside.com - welcome to Hell!
Ed
The Mastah, muahahaaaa....
Administrator
***

Karma: +6/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 11069


Don't look behind you!!!!!


« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2007, 03:58:27 PM »

Good point, Dan smiley
Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Robert M. Blevins
Coffin Maker
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 150



WWW
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2007, 10:21:14 PM »

There is a video over at Adventure Books called 'Cutting the Deadwood From a Novel.' We received permission to convert Edinburgh author/editor Allan Guthrie's 'white paper' to a narrated video. His original notes are called 'Hunting Down The Pleonasm.'  A 'pleonasm' is a word or phrase that can be cut from a sentence without changing its meaning.
I suggested to people that they print Hunting Down the Pleonasm and THEN check out the video. Well worth it...the guy is ruthless and smart about tightening up a book. He has GREAT suggestions.
Guthrie writes crime novels. He's also an editor for Point Blank Press.

Even if you don't check our video, at least get your hot hands on Allan's writing rules. They make sense.

Hunting Down the Pleonasm link, for printing:  http://www.hardluckstories.com/fall2004/Hardluck%20Stories/Hunting1.htm

Link to Actual Video (paper in hand recommended, the one shown above)
www.adventurebooksofseattle.com/abvideos.htm

I hope I didn't post this elsewhere already... rolleyes
« Last Edit: February 06, 2007, 10:23:44 PM by Robert M. Blevins » Logged

'Don't give up reaching for the stars...
just build yourself a bigger ladder.'
Sephiroth
Grave Digger
**

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 89


« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2007, 06:21:54 PM »

Hey, thanks to everyone for the crits and comments.  Those were some good links too, Robert... I didn't get to watch the video yet, but I'm sure I will shortly.


Since this was the first thing I EVER wrote, I'm glad that: 1.  I only wrote three chapters before I found a decent crit group to rip it apart, and 2.  I'm getting the chance to work some of the bugs out of my writing with all the shorts I've done recently.


Thanks again.
Logged
gfx
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Page created in 0.155 seconds with 30 queries.
Helios /
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!