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  1. #1
    Billie Jo Jewers
    Guest

    Prologue-- Critique pls--

    Prologue


    “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the Silkenmist, FLR4992!” George Thurman flinched as another close lightening bolt lit up the raging sea. He shouted hoarsely into the radio mike, as he desperately continued his distress call: “The Silkenmist FLR4992! Last known position 78 degrees west, 31 degrees north. Caught in tropical storm - engine blown!” The climbing ship crested a wave, and plunged down the far side. George, pitching forward with the motion of the ship, nearly knocked his nephew Will away from his struggle with the ships’ wheel. “Taking on too much water, becoming swamped, Mayday! For the love of god someone help us! Mayday!”
    Craig struggled back on deck, and was thoroughly saturated before gaining the wheelhouse. Raising his voice to a shout, he yelled, “Stevens’ leg is definitely broken! I did what I could for him – is there anything else I can do Uncle George?”
    George, only sparing him a brief glance, did a double take when he realized Craig wasn’t wearing his life jacket. Horrified, he screamed, straining to be heard over the pounding storm:
    “By God Craig! Where is your life jacket? Go back and get it and don’t you dare take it off again!” The panic in his voice was unmistakable. Terrified at his own thoughtlessness, Craig whirled to head back below just as the ship plunged once again into a deep trough. Losing his balance on the rain slicked deck Craig was flung sideways against the railing. His brother panicked and let go of the wheel to rush to his aid. The wheel, once freed from resistance, spun wildly causing the ship to keel completely over to port. Will was flung headlong into his brother, and the sickening thud as their heads collided was lost in the rage of the storm. The last thing George saw of his younger nephew was the look of utter surprise on his face as he fell overboard.
    Hitting the ice-cold water, Craig’s last thought was, that his swimming metals weren’t going to help him now. Then mercifully he lost consciousness as the heavy seas pulled him down into it’s cold dark vortex.



  2. #2
    Liz McGuire
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    The switch to Craig in paragraph two caused be to go back to the first paragraph and figure out where I missed him. Would it be possible to stay in the wheelhouse and start with the door slamming open, George looking up to see Craig and then Craig announcing the bad news?

    Alas, poor Craig!

    I think there's a bit too much description (adjectives / adverbs). For example, "as he desperately continued his distress call" - eventually George's words show his desperation - no need to tell us that, drop the word "desperatly". Another example - you could probably get rid of the entire sentence about George being horrified that Craig isn't wearing a life jacket - again, the dialog shows this well enough (and no need for the panic explanation afterwards). I guess I'm saying let the dialog and the action show the emotions / state of mind - some of the adjectives and adverbs are needed, just not so many.

    HTH,

    Liz

  3. #3
    Liz McGuire
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    The switch to Craig in paragraph two caused ME to go back...

    sorry.

    Liz

  4. #4
    Wayne G
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    It's not bad. I would take out - as he desperately continued his distress call: - since you then continue with the call.

    >tropical storm

    If they are in the tropics, then this seems redundant. The people they are calling would know it's a "tropical" storm. This sounds like exposition for the reader.

    Craig's introduction is abrupt. It might be better to start with him and have him hearing the distress call as he makes his way back in.

    >George, only sparing him a brief glance, did a double take when he realized Craig wasn’t wearing his life jacket. Horrified, he screamed, straining to be heard over the pounding storm: “By God Craig! Where is your life jacket? Go back and get it and don’t you dare take it off again!” The panic in his voice was unmistakable.

    I would lose all of this except the dialogue.

    >panicked - utter surprise

    I think it would be better to say how he panicked and give us a description of his face rather than the generic "utter surprise."

    > ice-cold water

    I'm just curious. Is this in the tropics, or is it a storm that's moved north? It seems to me that if it's a tropical storm that's moved north, people they Mayday would be generally aware of it. So previously it might be best to say, "We are caught in THE storm."

    >was, that his

    No comma.

    >Then mercifully he lost consciousness as the heavy seas pulled him down into it’s cold dark vortex.

    Are you saying it's merciful because he died quickly? Or did he just lose consciousness? Surely he drowns then if he goes underwater.

  5. #5
    Billie Jo Jewers
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    Thank you both for your time and thoughts. I see your point and will make the required changes.

    Wayne- Craig does become unconscious but does not die...

  6. #6
    Billie Jo Jewers
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    REVISION




    “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the Silkenmist, FLR4992!” George Thurman flinched as another close lightening bolt lit up the raging sea. He shouted hoarsely into the radio mike, “The Silkenmist FLR4992! Last known position 78 degrees west, 31 degrees north. Caught in storm - engine blown!” The climbing ship crested a wave, and plunged down the far side. George, pitching forward with the motion of the ship, nearly knocked his nephew Will away from his struggle with the ships’ wheel. “Taking on too much water, becoming swamped, Mayday! For the love of god someone help us! Mayday!” The door to the wheelhouse crashed open as Craig stumbled through it.
    Raising his voice to a shout, he yelled, “Stevens’ leg is definitely broken! I did what I could for him – is there anything else I can do Uncle George?”
    “By God Craig! Where is your life jacket? Go back and get it and don’t you dare take it off again!” The panic in his voice was unmistakable. Terrified at his own thoughtlessness, Craig whirled to head back below just as the ship plunged once again into a deep trough. Losing his balance on the rain slicked deck Craig was flung sideways against the railing. His brother panicked and let go of the wheel to rush to his aid. The wheel, once freed from resistance, spun wildly causing the ship to keel completely over to port. Will was flung headlong into his brother, and the sickening thud as their heads collided was lost in the rage of the storm. The last thing George saw of his younger nephew was the look of utter surprise on his face as he fell overboard.
    Hitting the ice-cold water, Craig’s last thought was that his swimming metals weren’t going to help him now. Then mercifully he lost consciousness as the heavy seas pulled him down into it’s cold dark vortex.

  7. #7
    Mary M
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    It's certainly an anxiety-driven piece!!!

    I say that with a complimentary tone.

    For my eyes, your description is vivid, but paragraphing would have made it easier to read.

    While I realize my criticism has nothing to do with your main concern, your plot and characters, I just felt the need to mention it.

    Good luck with this work!

  8. #8
    Karen Dionne
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    The writing group I manage is down this morning (the server crashed), so I've got a few minutes I can spare . . .

    This is a nice opening, Billie Jo, but it could be soooo much stronger if you'd pare it down and get rid of all the unnecessary redundancies. You're making a rather common new-writer mistake here, and that's telling the reader what you've already shown them quite well. Let your dialogue and the situation speak for themselves:

    “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the Silkenmist, FLR4992!” George Thurman flinched as another [strikeout]close[/strikeout] lightening bolt lit up the raging sea. [strikeout]He shouted hoarsely into the radio mike,[/strikeout] “The Silkenmist FLR4992! Last known position 78 degrees west, 31 degrees north. Caught in storm - engine blown!” [YOU SEE, WE KNOW HE'S SHOUTING - WHO WOULDN'T SHOUT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND WE ALSO KNOW HE'S SHOUTING INTO A RADIO - HE'S NOT JUST SCREAMING THIS INTO THE WIND, RIGHT?] The [strikeout]climbing[/strikeout][OBVIOUS BY YOUR SUBSEQUENT USE OF THE WORD 'CRESTED'] ship crested a wave, and plunged down the far side. George, pitching forward [strikeout]with the motion of the ship, [/strikeout][AGAIN, IT'S OBVIOUS WHY HE'S PITCHING FORWARD - YOU JUST SHOWED THE SHIP RIDING A HUGE WAVE]nearly knocked his [nephew Will][IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE KNOW AT THIS POINT THAT WILL IS HIS NEPHEW? SLIPPING THIS DETAIL INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION IS VERY DISTRACTING] away from his struggle with the ships’ wheel. “Taking on too much water, becoming swamped, Mayday! For the love of god someone help us! Mayday!” The door to the wheelhouse crashed open as Craig [IS THIS THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING OF YOUR STORY? IF IT IS, AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOUR INTRODUCING THESE CHARACTERS, THEN YOU CAN'T DO IT BY NAME ALONE - IT MEANS NOTHING TO THE READER. HOW ABOUT WRITING 'THE FIRST MATE' OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT INSTAED?]stumbled through it.
    [strikeout]Raising his voice to a shout,[/strikeout][AGAIN, THIS IS OBVIOUS AND REDUNDANT. OF COURSE HE'S SHOUTING - IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE READER WILL PRESUME THAT THEY ALL ARE, AND BESIDES, YOU GO ON TO TELL US THAT "HE YELLED."] he yelled, “Stevens’ ["STEVEN'S"]leg is [definitely][THIS IS AN ODD WORD CHOICE, IMPLYING THAT EARLIER THERE WAS SOME QUESTION AS TO WHETHER IT WAS BROKEN OR NOT. AGAIN, IF THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING OF YOUR STORY, I'D LEAVE THIS OUT] broken! [I did what I could for him][VAGUE, AND HENCE A RATHER USELESS THING TO SAY. EITHER GET SPECIFIC: "I'VE PUT HIM IN HIS BUNK AND GIVEN HIM A SHOT OF MORPHINE" - OKAY, BEING A LITTLE SILLY HERE, BUT YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN?] – is there anything else I can do Uncle George?”
    “By God [NEED COMMA HERE] Craig! [Where is]["WHERE'S" - MOST PEOPLE SPEAK W/CONTRACTIONS, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE PANICKED AND SHOUTING] your life jacket? Go back and get it and don’t you dare take it off again!” [strikeout]The panic in his voice was unmistakable. Terrified at his own thoughtlessness, [/strikeout][AGAIN, YOU'RE TELLING WHAT YOU'E ALREADY SHOWN. A BIG PART OF WRITING WELL IS TRUSTING THE READER TO 'GET IT.' KEEP TELLING THEM STUFF LIKE THIS, AND THEY BEGIN TO FEEL STUPID AND RESIST] Craig whirled to head back below just as the ship plunged once again into a deep trough. [strikeout]Losing his balance on the rain slicked deck [/strikeout]Craig was flung sideways against the railing. [His brother][THINK YOU SHOULD SAY 'WILL' HERE - I HAD TO STOP A MOMENT AND FIGURE OUT WHO HIS BROTHER WAS] [strikeout]panicked and let go of the wheel to [/strikeout]rush to his aid. The wheel, [strikeout]once freed from resistance, [/strikeout]spun wildly [strikeout]causing [/strikeout]the ship to keel completely over to port. Will [was flung][TRY AN ACTIVE VERB, RATHER THAN THIS PASSIVE COMBO] [strikeout]headlong [/strikeout]into his brother, and the sickening thud as their heads collided was lost in the rage of the storm. The last thing George saw of his younger nephew was the look of utter surprise on his face as he fell overboard.
    Hitting the ice-cold water, Craig’s last thought was that his swimming metals ["MEDALS"]weren’t going to help him now. Then mercifully he lost consciousness as the heavy seas pulled him down into it’s ["ITS"] cold dark vortex. [YOU'VE GOT SOME POINT OF VIEW ISSUES IN THESE LAST FEW SENTENCES. ARE YOU WRITING FROM AN OMNISCIENT VIEWPOINT? IF SO, YOU'RE OKAY, THOUGH MANY FEEL THAT OMNISCIENT IS HARD FOR A NEW AUTHOR TO HANDLE WELL. OTHERWISE, I'D RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHOSE ONE POV - I'D ASSUMED WHEN I STARTED READING THAT YOU WERE USING GEORGE - AND STICK WITH IT THROUGHOUT THE SCENE.]

    Hope some of this helps. This is a good scene and your writing shows promise.

    Karen

  9. #9
    Karen Dionne
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    Shoot - messed up my html. Trying again:

    This is a nice opening, but it could be soooo much stronger if you'd pare it down and get rid of unnecessary redundancies. You're making a rather common new-writer mistake here, and that's telling the reader what you've already shown them quite well. Let your dialogue and the situation speak for themselves:

    “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the Silkenmist, FLR4992!” George Thurman flinched as another [strikeout]close[/strike] lightening bolt lit up the raging sea. [strike]He shouted hoarsely into the radio mike,[/strike] “The Silkenmist FLR4992! Last known position 78 degrees west, 31 degrees north. Caught in storm - engine blown!” [YOU SEE, WE KNOW HE'S SHOUTING - WHO WOULDN'T SHOUT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND WE ALSO KNOW HE'S SHOUTING INTO A RADIO - HE'S NOT JUST SCREAMING THIS INTO THE WIND, RIGHT?] The [strike]climbing[/strike][OBVIOUS BY YOUR SUBSEQUENT USE OF THE WORD 'CRESTED'] ship crested a wave, and plunged down the far side. George, pitching forward [strike]with the motion of the ship, [/strike][AGAIN, IT'S OBVIOUS WHY HE'S PITCHING FORWARD - YOU JUST SHOWED THE SHIP RIDING A HUGE WAVE]nearly knocked his [nephew Will][IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE KNOW AT THIS POINT THAT WILL IS HIS NEPHEW? SLIPPING THIS DETAIL INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION IS VERY DISTRACTING] away from his struggle with the ships’ wheel. “Taking on too much water, becoming swamped, Mayday! For the love of god someone help us! Mayday!” The door to the wheelhouse crashed open as Craig [IS THIS THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING OF YOUR STORY? IF IT IS, AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOUR INTRODUCING THESE CHARACTERS, THEN YOU CAN'T DO IT BY NAME ALONE - IT MEANS NOTHING TO THE READER. HOW ABOUT WRITING 'THE FIRST MATE' OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT INSTAED?]stumbled through it.
    [strike]Raising his voice to a shout,[/strike][AGAIN, THIS IS OBVIOUS AND REDUNDANT. OF COURSE HE'S SHOUTING - IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE READER WILL PRESUME THAT THEY ALL ARE, AND BESIDES, YOU GO ON TO TELL US THAT "HE YELLED."] he yelled, “Stevens’ ["STEVEN'S"]leg is [definitely][THIS IS AN ODD WORD CHOICE, IMPLYING THAT EARLIER THERE WAS SOME QUESTION AS TO WHETHER IT WAS BROKEN OR NOT. AGAIN, IF THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING OF YOUR STORY, I'D LEAVE THIS OUT] broken! [I did what I could for him][VAGUE, AND HENCE A RATHER USELESS THING TO SAY. EITHER GET SPECIFIC: "I'VE PUT HIM IN HIS BUNK AND GIVEN HIM A SHOT OF MORPHINE" - OKAY, BEING A LITTLE SILLY HERE, BUT YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN?] – is there anything else I can do Uncle George?”
    “By God [NEED COMMA HERE] Craig! [Where is]["WHERE'S" - MOST PEOPLE SPEAK W/CONTRACTIONS, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE PANICKED AND SHOUTING] your life jacket? Go back and get it and don’t you dare take it off again!” [strike]The panic in his voice was unmistakable. Terrified at his own thoughtlessness, [/strike][AGAIN, YOU'RE TELLING WHAT YOU'E ALREADY SHOWN. A BIG PART OF WRITING WELL IS TRUSTING THE READER TO 'GET IT.' KEEP TELLING THEM STUFF LIKE THIS, AND THEY BEGIN TO FEEL STUPID AND RESIST] Craig whirled to head back below just as the ship plunged once again into a deep trough. [strike]Losing his balance on the rain slicked deck [/strike]Craig was flung sideways against the railing. [His brother][THINK YOU SHOULD SAY 'WILL' HERE - I HAD TO STOP A MOMENT AND FIGURE OUT WHO HIS BROTHER WAS] [strike]panicked and let go of the wheel to [/strike]rush to his aid. The wheel, [strikeout]once freed from resistance, [/strike]spun wildly [strikeout]causing [/strike]the ship to keel completely over to port. Will [was flung][TRY AN ACTIVE VERB, RATHER THAN THIS PASSIVE COMBO] [strike]headlong [/strike]into his brother, and the sickening thud as their heads collided was lost in the rage of the storm. The last thing George saw of his younger nephew was the look of utter surprise on his face as he fell overboard.
    Hitting the ice-cold water, Craig’s last thought was that his swimming metals ["MEDALS"]weren’t going to help him now. Then mercifully he lost consciousness as the heavy seas pulled him down into it’s ["ITS"] cold dark vortex. [YOU'VE GOT SOME POINT OF VIEW ISSUES IN THESE LAST FEW SENTENCES. ARE YOU WRITING FROM AN OMNISCIENT VIEWPOINT? IF SO, YOU'RE OKAY, THOUGH MANY FEEL THAT OMNISCIENT IS HARD FOR A NEW AUTHOR TO HANDLE WELL. OTHERWISE, I'D RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHOSE ONE POV - I'D ASSUMED WHEN I STARTED READING THAT YOU WERE USING GEORGE - AND STICK WITH IT THROUGHOUT THE SCENE.]

    Hope some of this helps. Your writing shows promise.

    Karen

  10. #10
    Karen Dionne
    Guest

    Re: Prologue-- Critique pls--

    Third time's the charm (or three strikes and you're out)

    This is a nice opening, but it could be soooo much stronger if you'd pare it down and get rid of unnecessary redundancies. You're making a rather common new-writer mistake here, and that's telling the reader what you've already shown them quite well. Let your dialogue and the situation speak for themselves:

    “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the Silkenmist, FLR4992!” George Thurman flinched as another <strike>close</strike> lightening bolt lit up the raging sea. <strike>He shouted hoarsely into the radio mike,</strike> “The Silkenmist FLR4992! Last known position 78 degrees west, 31 degrees north. Caught in storm - engine blown!” [YOU SEE, WE KNOW HE'S SHOUTING - WHO WOULDN'T SHOUT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND WE ALSO KNOW HE'S SHOUTING INTO A RADIO - HE'S NOT JUST SCREAMING THIS INTO THE WIND, RIGHT?] The <strike>climbing</strike>[OBVIOUS BY YOUR SUBSEQUENT USE OF THE WORD 'CRESTED'] ship crested a wave, and plunged down the far side. George, pitching forward <strike>with the motion of the ship, </strike>[AGAIN, IT'S OBVIOUS WHY HE'S PITCHING FORWARD - YOU JUST SHOWED THE SHIP RIDING A HUGE WAVE]nearly knocked his [nephew Will][IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE KNOW AT THIS POINT THAT WILL IS HIS NEPHEW? SLIPPING THIS DETAIL INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION IS VERY DISTRACTING] away from his struggle with the ships’ wheel. “Taking on too much water, becoming swamped, Mayday! For the love of god someone help us! Mayday!” The door to the wheelhouse crashed open as Craig [IS THIS THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING OF YOUR STORY? IF IT IS, AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOUR INTRODUCING THESE CHARACTERS, THEN YOU CAN'T DO IT BY NAME ALONE - IT MEANS NOTHING TO THE READER. HOW ABOUT WRITING 'THE FIRST MATE' OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT INSTAED?]stumbled through it.
    <strike>Raising his voice to a shout,</strike>[AGAIN, THIS IS OBVIOUS AND REDUNDANT. OF COURSE HE'S SHOUTING - IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE READER WILL PRESUME THAT THEY ALL ARE, AND BESIDES, YOU GO ON TO TELL US THAT "HE YELLED."] he yelled, “Stevens’ ["STEVEN'S"]leg is [definitely][THIS IS AN ODD WORD CHOICE, IMPLYING THAT EARLIER THERE WAS SOME QUESTION AS TO WHETHER IT WAS BROKEN OR NOT. AGAIN, IF THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING OF YOUR STORY, I'D LEAVE THIS OUT] broken! [I did what I could for him][VAGUE, AND HENCE A RATHER USELESS THING TO SAY. EITHER GET SPECIFIC: "I'VE PUT HIM IN HIS BUNK AND GIVEN HIM A SHOT OF MORPHINE" - OKAY, BEING A LITTLE SILLY HERE, BUT YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN?] – is there anything else I can do Uncle George?”
    “By God [NEED COMMA HERE] Craig! [Where is]["WHERE'S" - MOST PEOPLE SPEAK W/CONTRACTIONS, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE PANICKED AND SHOUTING] your life jacket? Go back and get it and don’t you dare take it off again!” <strike>The panic in his voice was unmistakable. Terrified at his own thoughtlessness, </strike>[AGAIN, YOU'RE TELLING WHAT YOU'E ALREADY SHOWN. A BIG PART OF WRITING WELL IS TRUSTING THE READER TO 'GET IT.' KEEP TELLING THEM STUFF LIKE THIS, AND THEY BEGIN TO FEEL STUPID AND RESIST] Craig whirled to head back below just as the ship plunged once again into a deep trough. <strike>Losing his balance on the rain slicked deck </strike>Craig was flung sideways against the railing. [His brother][THINK YOU SHOULD SAY 'WILL' HERE - I HAD TO STOP A MOMENT AND FIGURE OUT WHO HIS BROTHER WAS] <strike>panicked and let go of the wheel to </strike>rush to his aid. The wheel, <strike>once freed from resistance, </strike>spun wildly <strike>causing </strike>the ship to keel completely over to port. Will [was flung][TRY AN ACTIVE VERB, RATHER THAN THIS PASSIVE COMBO] <strike>headlong </strike>into his brother, and the sickening thud as their heads collided was lost in the rage of the storm. The last thing George saw of his younger nephew was the look of utter surprise on his face as he fell overboard.
    Hitting the ice-cold water, Craig’s last thought was that his swimming metals ["MEDALS"]weren’t going to help him now. Then mercifully he lost consciousness as the heavy seas pulled him down into it’s ["ITS"] cold dark vortex. [YOU'VE GOT SOME POINT OF VIEW ISSUES IN THESE LAST FEW SENTENCES. ARE YOU WRITING FROM AN OMNISCIENT VIEWPOINT? IF SO, YOU'RE OKAY, THOUGH MANY FEEL THAT OMNISCIENT IS HARD FOR A NEW AUTHOR TO HANDLE WELL. OTHERWISE, I'D RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHOSE ONE POV - I'D ASSUMED WHEN I STARTED READING THAT YOU WERE USING GEORGE - AND STICK WITH IT THROUGHOUT THE SCENE.]

    Hope some of this helps. Your writing shows promise.

    Karen

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