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  1. #1
    Clayton Lindemuth
    Guest

    First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    Of anyone reading these first few lines, I would like to ask, would you read the next?

    Of those who would, I would like to ask, Beta? Please?

    It is 2,000 words.

    ************************************************** ************


    “The day I stood before the judge for sentencing, they made me watch a video tape of Jeremy Rummans. He couldn’t be in court because I busted him up pretty good, so the judge agreed he could confront me by video just before sentencing.

    “Hey, the big dog always marks his turf, and if society had to lift its leg and piss on me to show me it was boss, so be it. I’m a simple guy.”

    The detective sitting across from me smiled at that. I always hated these cement block rooms with the mirrored wall. You knew there were people behind trying to find the lies. The detective lit up a smoke and passed it to me. I held my hand out toward the box. Like I was gonna take a cigarette he had his mouth on. I pulled his lucky smoke—the one he’d flipped in the center—and lit it.

    “Go on.” He said.



  2. #2
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    Get rid of the "they" in the first sentence.
    Society had or Society has?

    Mind you, i'm a law-abiding person so i am not familiar with the setting you described in this scene. This is what happened:
    First you put me before the judge. Fine with me; i'm thinking i'm in a courtroom.
    Then you make a remark and I wondered WHERE he was saying that remark and to whom (I was still before the judge).

    Then you clarified and sent me that gloomy cement block room.

    You know what i am saying? I had to travel so much that i was a bit tired when i finally made it to that nasty room.

  3. #3
    Sail Away
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    “The day I stood before the judge for sentencing, they made me watch a video tape of Jeremy Rummans. He couldn’t be in court because I busted him up pretty good, so the judge agreed he could confront me by video just before sentencing.

    Just my opinion, but I like it better without the last three words.

    “The day I stood before the judge for sentencing, they made me watch a video tape of Jeremy Rummans. He couldn’t be in court because I busted him up pretty good, so the judge agreed he could confront me by video just before sentencing.

    No comment except that I like the way this sentence builds his character.


    The detective sitting across from me smiled at that. I always hated these cement block rooms with the mirrored wall. You knew there were people behind trying to find the lies. The detective lit up a smoke and passed it to me. I held my hand out toward the box. Like I was gonna take a cigarette he had his mouth on. I pulled his lucky smoke—the one he’d flipped in the center—and lit it.

    I admit, this was a bit jarring, but only because I was not reading closely the first time. I like the way you tie it together in the first sentence with the detective reacting to his comment.

    I like the bit about the lucky smoke. I can "see" this guy, his body language, his cockiness, the little smirk that he probably has all the time.

    I found this engaging.

    --SA

  4. #4
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    The above post slipped away and there's no edit button at this site.
    Anyway, the first bit of the first sentence you meant to explain the Why but, inadvertently, you also created the Where. It confused me and instead of being drawn into the story i had to do some mental gymnastics to land in the interrogation cell.

    While you are at it, also get rid of "so" in the first sentence.

  5. #5
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    In spite of the things nom and Sail Away pointed out that could be fixed and smoothed, it's nevertheless interesting, visual, and has a good rhythm.

    I would read further. Unfortunately, I don't have the time right now for beta reading, I'm still struggling to get out from under a pile of freelance contracts, but I'm sure you'll get some takers.

    --- Mya Bell

  6. #6
    Clayton Lindemuth
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    Mya--

    You're a tough reader. I'm excited to death by what you said.

    If I contruct the story so that half of the text is delivered like the above, as a one-sided dialog delivered to the detective, should I split it into two scenes and drop the " " for almost every paragraph, or leave them there. Seems to read tough the way it is--a thousand words in quotes.

    Nom--

    I'm working on that. The quotes will work a little to communicate that the narrative is being addressed to someone in particular, but it does require reader gymnastics. I don't know if that can be good, like in A Cask of Amontillado, where Poe inserts "You who know so well the nature of my soul" without ever having hinted before the narrative had a singular audience (a priest, I think). Some of it can be interesting, some of it stupid.

    And you should break some laws. They were made for other people.


    Sail Away--

    Very much appreciate the comments. Do you think most readers can understand the sentence without the "sentencing" part?



    Clayton

  7. #7
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    The excerpt is indeed engaging (i forgot to say so in the earlier posts). I have no problem with the placement of the line of dialogue. My problem was that i was still in the courtroom. A short excerpt can be misleading.

    I am planning to rob a bank tonight. If i end up in a cement block room i'll tell the detective that you made me do it. I expect you to post bail for me

  8. #8
    mar quesa
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    Clayton,

    I think I know what you're trying to do here. The story seems interesting but you need to polish the writing a bit. There are some sentence structure, flow and characterization issues.

    For instance, something that stood out as inconsistent is the character's language.

    The following expression: "I busted him up pretty good' doesn't seem to go with "the judge agreed he could confront me by video just before sentencing."
    The latter sounds indirect.

    Make it snappy. Use the same kind of tone throughout, e.g. He wasn't in court cause I busted him up pretty good so the judge made me watch him on video...


    There's also some repetition, you use the word "sentencing" twice in just the first paragraph.

    The following sentence strikes me as awkward:

    “Hey, the big dog always marks his turf, and if society had to lift its leg and piss on me to show me it was boss, so be it. I’m a simple guy

    Also, I didn't get why the character was in court one minute and the interrogation room the next. It seems like two different parts of the story altogether. I thought you're going to continue from the sentencing bit. I was quite intrigued by it. However, the interrogation part is also interesting on its own.

    You can probably start from the interrogation room instead or develop the first part a bit more.

    Would I read more? As it is,no, but I think there's great potential here so I'd give it a go anyway.


    I hope this helps...

    Mar

  9. #9
    Clayton Lindemuth
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    Nom--

    Which bank?

  10. #10
    Harper
    Guest

    Re: First paragraphs of "Simplicity;" Beta request

    Seems interesting, but none of it holds together. The language is good, but I have no idea where I am, who's who, who's speaking, what the f-ing lucky smoke is, how he gets his hands on it (since the guard hands him a cigarette, not the pack), how he has a lighter, and what "go on" refers to. Hey, it's getting late, but it's not THAT late.

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