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Author Topic: Chapter one  (Read 10422 times)
littlelaniec
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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2006, 11:37:23 PM »

Yes, Blunt, I do agree.

This woman, Joyce, who has critiqued your work, is she a professional writer/reviewer? She gave you advice without sounding overly critical of your work. It was very well done.

There are some people who THINK they're give you constructive criticism, when, in fact, it's DEstructive. I found some to be so petty and picky, trying to come off so professional, when they're advice, alone is written like crap with mispelling and grammatical errors up the wazoo! Do you know what I mean?

Lanie

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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2006, 04:04:26 AM »

Yes, I know what you mean - I just hope I'm not guilty of the same.

Joyce is a school teacher, so she knows her way around the English language, and she knows how to be supportive and encouraging, while still getting her point across, which is a skill in itself smiley

My writing has moved on a long way since this was first posted, so it's probably not an accurate representation of my ability now.  Something I've come to understand, though, that some writing site nazis seem to overlook, is that there are different levels of readership ability, so any advice given should take that into consideration (the target market the author is aiming for). afro
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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]
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2006, 07:25:46 PM »

You may have mentioned it, but my shriveled brain can't remember: is this your first novel? If it is, hats off to you, you have a natural talent for it.
I, for one, don't believe that writing can be taught, only guided. You have to have the gift to begin with.

You're right. A lot of people, reading the chapters, don't take into consideration the style and genre. If you're reading a book that isn't your preference, it's going to be harder to enjoy or understand.  I try and stay away from the genres that aren't my cup of tea (which is Earl Grey, by the way! smiley).

Keep at it, Blunt, you've got great potential!

Lanie

Lanie's Gothic Tales
http://laniesgothictales.wtcsites.com
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2006, 07:37:19 PM »

Thanks, Lanie - nice of you to say so.  It wasn't my first attempt, TBH.  My first one was a kind of post cold war specfic thing that I wrote by hand (before I could type at a half decent speed) at a rate of about 4 hours a night for God knows how long.  It was the first thing I'd ever tried to write and it showed, but it was a good learning experience.

There's another part of this one on the forum, here - it's a darker piece, in case you fancy it. smiley
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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]
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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2006, 08:13:09 PM »

I had a quick look around for it, but I couldn't find it, so I found it on my comp and I'm posting it here -

Milton was up in Bristol, making one of his late night weekly drug runs, looking to pick up two kilos of weed, a nine-bar of solid, maybe a few grams of coke for himself, and the twenty grams of brown that his brother would earn for selling the rest.  Parking up outside the George and Dragon, he took a wad of cash from the glove compartment and stuffed it into his pocket, then slapped Merv. 

“Get out of the car you dozy twat!”

“Alright, alright.”

Inside the pub, he was to meet Dengy; a white guy with dreads, who looked like a black and white negative of a Rastafarian.  Dengy moved around a lot, slipping between traveller’s camps and squats, never meeting anybody in the same place twice.  Nobody knew his real name, nobody knew anything much about him, other than the obvious, and nobody even really knew what he looked like underneath all that hair.

The music was loud Jamaican Dancehall as they pushed through the wood and stained-glass doors, the scent of marijuana hung in the smog and the place was packed out, lit only by the bar lights and those of the DJ. 
Milton was agitated, having snorted a few lines of powder earlier.

“Why the fuck are we meeting him here?  Can’t hear yourself fucking fink!”

“What?”

“Oh fuck off.”

They worked through the place, being jostled by revellers and having drinks spilled on them, searching for the table where Dengy would be waiting, probably in a corner; the guy hated sitting with his back to anyone.
The DJ dropped the volume of the music to announce a new track by one of his mates, and at about the same time, a skinny Jamaican bloke bumped into Merv, who lost his temper.

“Look out, you fuckin monkey!”

“What you say, bloodclaat?  You must be waan dumb motherfucker.”

“You heard me, you dozy fuckin nigger!”

Within a couple of seconds the music stopped, and so did any conversations that were going on.  Milt’s mouth dropped open as his eyes stared heavenward, in utter disbelief of what his brother had just got them into.  He groaned an almost silent sob in anticipation of the beating that was about to ensue. 

Back home, with everybody knowing his brother’s ‘small town psycho’ reputation, Merv would have probably got away with making the racist remark.  But here, in St Pauls, he was about to get his attitude adjusted.  Still feeling invincible, he threw the first punch, which landed square on the Jamaican’s nose. 
Autonomic sibling protection mode kicked-in, somewhere in Milt’s head, shortly before his head was being kicked-in by the majority of the pub’s occupants.  Beaten by a hail of punches and kicks, both brothers disappeared, buried in a mass of irate revellers, forming like living crop circles around the pair. 
Scrabbling around, hunched over, still being kicked and stamped on, and his body being assailed from all directions, Milton’s hand found an empty bottle.  He smashed it on the floor, then lunged and swung it at any flesh within striking distance. 
Some of the crowd backed off a little, blood slicked the floor and sprayed through the air, but the blows still came through between the mass of blood soaked heads.  Lashing out again, he caught a man in the throat, the jagged glass sliced through an artery.  Bright and fresh from the heart, the blood spurted high into the air, before the guy sank to the floor clutching his neck.  He glassed two or three more in the face, slashing the skin into ragged flaps as wails of horror rang through the pub, and women screamed. 

Grabbing a female hostage, Milt held the shattered glass to her throat and demanded car keys from her boyfriend, who quickly handed them over.

“Which car is it?  C’mon you fucking monkey, which car?”

“It’s the black BMW, you fucking arsehole.  And I’m telling you now man, I’m gonna fuckin kill you.  You is fuckin dead!”

“If anybody follows, I’ll cut her fucking throat.  Got it?”

Their resolve diminished by the hostage taking, the crowds backed away, leaving a channel for the two men and the girl to escape by.

Outside on the street, Milton, with his face and body thrashed to a throbbing mass of cuts and bruises, moved towards the car, holding the broken bottle up, taunting the mob to come and get him. Red from head to foot, he yelled at his brother to get the car started.  Merv, limping, unable to stand or walk straight, and with one eye swollen shut, shouted for Milt to give him the keys, then got the car going, wheel-spinning away as soon as his brother dropped into the back seat with the girl.  Fifty yards up the road, fed up with her hysterical wailing, Milt punched her unconscious.

They’d gone about a mile before he ordered his brother to stop the car.  They pulled down a quiet side street.  He swung open the back door, scrambled out and wrestled Merv from his seat and onto the pavement.  Holding him with one hand by his collar, and with every syllable backed up by punch to the head, Merv read his brother the riot act.

“What…the…fuck…were…you…thin…king…you…fuck…ing…arse…hole?”

“I’m sorry bruv,” he spat out a molar, red spittle drooling from his mouth, “please bruv, don’t hit me no more.”

“You fucking tosser!  We were the only fuckin white people in there, for fucksake!” Milt threw him against a house wall, “You know we’ve got to fucking go back there now, don’t ya?” he circled with fists clenched, drying blood caked in his hair and all over his face and hands.  “My fucking car’s down there, innit?  You dumb fuck!”

“We’ll get it tomorrow, it’ll be alright.”

Milton raised his arm, jabbing the air by Merv’s face, barely stopping himself from striking again.

“Give it ten minutes and the old bill will be swarming all over that fucking place, and they’ll find it.  And I ain’t about to let them fucking coons get away with that shit neither.  I’ll fuckin ave em.”

“Milt, for fucksake bruv, it ain’t fuckin worth it.”

“Get the fuckin boot open!  What’s in there?”

Merv got the keys, opened the boot and rummaged around inside.

“A car jack, petrol can, few tools, some clothes an stuff, nuffink.”

“Go up and down the road, see if you can find us an automatic, an fuckin urry up!”

He did as he was told, limping up the street, peering in car windows, until he found an old Ford Granada, its gold paintwork gouted out with rust holes, but it was an auto.  On his way back, about to give Milt the good news, he saw him wielding a claw hammer, lifting it up and thrashing it down onto something in the boot of the BMW, again and again, in a frenzy of rage.  Whatever it was, there wouldn’t be much left of it.

“Oh bruv,” Mervin burst into tears, “oh bruv, what’ve you done, what’ve you done?  Oh my fuckin god!” he vomited on the pavement.  Gasping for breath, he panted, “I don’t want nuffink to do wiv this, look what you’ve done.”  He bent double and puked again.

The girl’s head was gone, replaced by flaps of skin, hair and skull fragments.  Pieces of brain littered the floor of the boot, an eyeball stared from a shattered socket, and blood was spattered everywhere.  It stank too; a sweet and sickly stench.  He wretched and gagged, his stomach empty, but still he was reaching for the bile.

“Dry up, you fucking nonce.”  Milt’s voice was calmer now that he’d vented his anger, and he was swallowing hard, revolted by the sudden realisation of what he’d done.  As he’d rained down blows, his vision was blurred with movement and frenzy, but now that he’d stopped, he could see the full extent of the carnage.  Now he was afraid, just wanting to get away. 

A car sped past the road end, full of Rastas.  Baseball bats, and what could have been shotguns, stuck up in the air and out of the open windows. 
It didn’t look like they’d been spotted, but there was likely to be more out searching for them.  Milt quickly dowsed the car and the corpse with petrol, then lit a matchbook and tossed it in.  The car was immediately engulfed in flames, the heat and soot gradually wiping out any trace of fingerprints and DNA evidence.  Tucking the hammer handle and a long flat-bladed screwdriver down behind his belt, Milton grabbed his brother and rushed him along the pavement before they could be spotted by any householders coming out to investigate the fire.

“That’s the auto, bruv!” Merv shouted as they passed it.

“Forget about that now.”

The plan had been to get an automatic so that the throttle could be propped full on, then the shift knocked into ‘drive’ from outside the car; the idea being that it could have been aimed at the pub, with a hole in the fuel tank and a Molotov smashed on the boot as it sped away.  But he realised it was too late to be going back, and the murder he’d just committed meant they had to get as far away as possible, and quickly.  Besides, he’s even freaked himself out by what he’d done, and revenge for the beating they’d received wasn’t on his mind anymore.

They ran for a couple of streets, then Milt used the blood soaked hammer and the screwdriver to punch out the lock on an old Peugeot 205, once inside he opened the passenger door for his brother.

“Gimme a hand with this then!”

They both gripped the steering wheel and yanked it hard until they heard the steering lock snap.  He beat the screwdriver into the ignition, tugged it downwards until the alloy gave, then twisted the screwdriver in the slot of the plastic switch behind.  The car started.  In the distance they could hear police and ambulance sirens, and a blue light flashed briefly across the end of the road.

“Get in the back and lie down!”

They pulled away slowly and, keeping to the speed limits, Milt drove towards the a trading estate with the sun visors down and his right hand up to the side of his face, just in case any surveillance cameras lined the route. 
In a dark corner of a car park, tucked back in the shadows from the warehouses, Milt stopped the car and popped the bonnet open.  Carefully checking again for cameras, he got out and stripped off his bloodstained sweatshirt.  The T-shirt beneath wasn’t too bad at the back, but the front was pretty well drenched.  Finding a relatively clean patch on the sweatshirt, he tore it out, dunked it in the windscreen wiper bottle and set about washing the caked blood from his face, neck and hair.  With what water was left, he wiped down his chest, goosebumps sprung up all over his naked flesh as a bitterly cold wind swept between the buildings.  Wringing the pinky brown liquid out of the cloth every so often, he tried his best to dry himself.  Finally, he put his T-shirt on back to front, put the bonnet down and got back into the car, relieved to be out of the cold.  In the back foot well, his brother was still sobbing like a schoolchild. 

“Dry up Mervin, for fucksake!  It’s done now, and there’s no point crying about it, so just shut up, cos your pissing me off now.  Alright?”

Within ten minutes or so, Merv had fallen asleep, fatigued from the prolonged adrenaline rush and concussed from the beatings. 
It took about an hour and a half of incident-free driving to get home.  They put the 205 in one of Milt’s safe lockups, to cool off overnight.  Full of incriminating evidence, and stolen from a place very near to the scene of the murder, it wasn’t a smart thing to do, but Milt needed to rest.  Once in the house, they crashed out in the lounge and slept where they fell, the chinking of milk bottles outside signalling the hour.
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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]
littlelaniec
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« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2006, 11:16:38 PM »

While it's written well, I personally don't like so much foul language, but I understand it's part of who the characters are.

Sorry, I didn't enjoy it as much as the last one, but remember, that's just because it isn't my style, not because there are any flaws.

Lanie

Lanie's Gothic Tales
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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2006, 03:36:46 AM »

Yep - it's a first draft and the language will be toned down in the second.  It doesn't always pay to be too accurate in character details.  Thanks for reading smiley

(This was written a few years ago, too.  I think I'm writing much tighter now. afro )
« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 04:03:09 AM by blunt » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2006, 11:16:35 AM »

Hah, this is the first time I've looked through your novel first chaps, Ed. Exciting stuff - excellent characterisation. Joyce did a terrific job on ch 1, didn't she? To be frank, it would need tightening more after her edits if you intend to submit it to a hardnose publisher. One thing that struck me - and so most publishers' editors - is your first word. Most contemporary authors avoid 'modifiers' like they do cliches and yet you start your novel with one! Hilarious. Still, you have time to expunge your stills I suppose? My advice is to delete such modifiers or 'stutter words' as Neil Marr calls them, and see if it works better or worse without them. You had cliches too. I know people speak with many cliches, repetitions and lazily, but an author cannot have his/her characters being too realistic. Most conversations are reeeeeeaaally dull.

Second chap is mucho better. I bet if you wrote it today it would be tighter still. Eighteen months is very long time in the learning curve of writing. smiley

Geoff
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« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2006, 12:41:31 PM »

Glad to see you're still working on the novel, Blunt. You're right about Joyce, she's pretty handy with the english language. I hope she comes back sometime soon.
Speaking of chapters, for about the third time, this year alone, the links to NAY are dead. I can't find the forums and I've just had it. I've played catch-up with Debs for far too long and I'm done trying. I'm still writing the book-- chapter 14 now-- but I guess, as far as the challenge goes, it wasn't meant to be. I'll never understand why her sites open and close with such frequency. It's a little wierd. 
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« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2006, 02:30:57 PM »

 afro  Glad you got a laugh out of it, Geoff (even though it's not the desired effect grin ).  I'm of the school of thought that says use everything in moderation - adverbs and other modifiers included.  I suppose it's part of the way I speak and the way I write.  It's my 'voice'.  Not a good opening line, though, for sure.  Plenty of time for editing later, eh? smiley

Walker - yep, I've never understood why Debs opens and closes sites with such awesome regularity, and yet she still manages to fill the places with active users scratch  How?  Personally, I think she got bored with NAY and wanted people to drop out before the end.  Maybe she had trouble with her readers?  Who knows.  It is bizarre, though.

I hope Joyce comes back sometime, too - the place isn't quite the same without her around.  It's strange that both her and Gerald disappeared without a word.  Can't help wondering if something pissed them off scratch
« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 03:05:18 PM by blunt » 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]
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