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  1. #1
    zeplin 44
    Guest

    My chapter 1 murder mystery

    “Is that exactly how you found them?” said Jarvis.
    “Yeah.”
    “You didn’t touch anything?”
    “No. I started to check for a pulse, but you could tell there wasn’t any by just looking at them.”
    “Were you the first one on the scene Bobby?”
    “Yeah.”
    “How’d you happen to get here first?”
    “I was on my way to lunch. Stopped at the deli on sixth. Just as my Rueben and fries were ready, this kid comes running in shouting about dead bodies.”
    “What’d you do then?” Jarvis asked his young protege.
    “Calmed him down, got him in the car and made him show me where he saw the bodies. He led me here. Now I’m not hungary.”



  2. #2
    Finnley Wren
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    Hard to tell exactly what we've got here. If this is the opening of your story, I'd recommend setting the scene first. Might just be my own personal preference, but I find it difficult to leap into a story that begins with straight dialogue.

    but you could tell there wasn’t any by just looking at them

    I don't know if these are cops or detectives or superheroes, but always check for a pulse. Perhaps the protagonist should take his "young protege" to task for that.

    You misspelled "hungry." Minus five points for that alone.

    Aside from that, good use of tags. You seem to have just the right amount of "he said's" in there. Again, this might be serviceable dialogue in the middle of a story, but don't open up with it.

  3. #3
    zeplin 44
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    Thank you Finnley.

    I do not want to "set the scene first" because that's what all mystery novels do. I have read tons of them and they always seem to follow the same pattern, intro of main character, background of main character, intro on the location, etc, etc.

    I want to jump right into the scene of the crime and do the intro stuff later. My thought is that what has happened (a murder) is more important for the reader to know than who the main characters are.

    All other thoughts welcome.

    Thank you.

  4. #4
    Amber Scott
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    Ask yourself, though, why do all murder mysteries follow that pattern? (They don't *all* do it, incidentally).

    The reason is to give the reader a sense of being grounded in the world, a reason to care, or a reason to keep reading. Jumping right into the scene of the crime is great, but you've only given us the dialogue of the crime --- not a scene. And there's nothing very interesting about this crime just yet. Since we don't know the detectives, we aren't really interested in how they work, and all I know about the murder so far is that it happened, and there's more than one victim.

    Search for a reason for the reader to perk up in interest and think, "Wow, how did that happen?" or "What an awful thing, I wonder what the detectives are going to do now?"

    I agree with Finnley that your dialogue is crisp and not bogged down with tags -- well paced.

  5. #5
    Jay Weaver
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    I like the dialogue. Finnley and Amber are right about your minimal use of tags. It moves well, and has a nice pace.

    Unlike Finnley, I rather liked the comment "you could tell there wasn't any [pulse] by just looking at them." I understand what he means about checking for a pulse, but I think we need to know more about the situation before deciding that that the comment in inappropriate. Have the bodies been dismembered? Decapitated? Is there decomposition or other evidence that they'd been killed a long time earlier? Sometimes you really can tell that someone is dead just by looking at them.

    On the other hand, if your character made his comment simply because the people aren't moving, well, then, as Finnley said, you might consider exploring that issue further in the dialogue.

    Oh, and a couple of other trivial things:

    Should there be a comma in "Were you the first one on the scene, Bobby?"

    Should "Sixth" (as in Sixth Street" be capitalized as a proper noun?

    Nice work. I especially enjoyed the "now I'm not hungry" line.

  6. #6
    L. J. Kottke
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    I also think you need a lead in, something to get a reader grounded. When does this happen? One character mentions lunch, but what shift is he working? Are we in an affluent part of town or skid row? What? But I also liked the fast paced and sparse dialog.

    LJ

  7. #7
    Bill Wells
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    Ooh! I love dialogue pieces! I disagree that you need to open with non-dialogue. I do agree, however, that some tweaking is necessary to give the reader a sense of place. How about something like...

    “Is that exactly how you found them?" asked Jarvis.
    Bobby looked up. He had been about to retrieve the man's wallet. “Uh, yes," he replied.
    “You didn’t touch anything?”
    “No. I was going to check for a pulse, but I could tell there wasn’t any.”
    “Were you the first one on the scene?”
    Bobby glanced back at the bodies. “Yeah.”
    “How’d you happen to get here first?”
    “I was on my way to lunch, stopped at the deli on Sixth. Just as my
    rueben and fries came up, this kid came running in shouting about dead bodies.”
    Jarvis gave his young protege that So? What next? look.
    “Well, I calmed him down, got him in the car, and had him show me. He led me here."
    "Anything else?"
    "I’m not hungry anymore.”

  8. #8
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    Zeplin, you wrote, "I do not want to "set the scene first" because that's what all mystery novels do. I have read tons of them and they always seem to follow the same pattern, intro of main character, background of main character, intro on the location, etc, etc."

    For what it's worth, I disagree. Like you, I've read more mysteries than I can count. Most (my opinion) do not open with ungrounded dialogue.

    I thought the dialogue was okay, but without any sense of location, etc it didn't make me want to keep reading.

    Consider adding some setting of some kind.



    cur

  9. #9
    gulliver h
    Guest

    Re: My chapter 1 murder mystery

    sorry, generic.

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