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  1. #1
    Keith Bouchard
    Guest

    First page of manuscript

    Hey, this is the first page of my manuscript. It is 107,000 words long, and is a fantasy. Hopefully the reaction is positive.

    Chapter I
    The Mystifying Murder

    Dascend's Avenue was swallowed by evening for several hours, and rain continued to swim over the cobblestone streets. A gray sky looked down upon a man who walked along the overgrown sidewalk. He watched as the panorama around him became one of the most dismal nights the neighborhood had seen in years. The houses nearest him were turning off their lights window by window in a rhythmic pattern, blackening out for the remainder of the night. Even though his surroundings were normally elegant, the thick, grimy weather degraded the houses like muddy jewelry. Dogs and cats were loyally making their way home, returning to their owners.

    It was a relatively ordinary neighborhood. The children within it always found their way safely to the playground at the far end of the road. Each of them knew, however, never to stray near the Stone's Mansion. Not that there was any reason to be afraid, because the only frightening aspect of it was its appearance. It had an antique prestige with vines strangling its brick walls. To them, it was more than a frightening manor at the end of the street it was the setting for all of their adventures that played out in the thick brush growing in the yard. The owner, Cabren, was a young, friendly man who lived there with his younger sister.

    As he made his way home that night, the stars brightened the gravestones of the mansion's past owners. Cabren read them as he made his way to his front door, tapping the tops of them as he passed: his grandfather, Leo Stone; his great grandfather, Dario Stone; and the eldest man with the Stone name, Maximo Stone. Their wives and children were buried accordingly nearby the tall monuments. Walking through the yard, Cabren usually found it depressing, feeling as though each tombstone had a set of eyes belonging to their dead owners.

    He looked up to see the leaves from the trees twirling to the ground, resting there to be crunched beneath his feet. Ironic, he thought dead people were beneath him, dead plants decorated the ground above them, and then dead trees shadowed everything else. It was a death-filled yard.



  2. #2
    Stacy Copping
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    I like it. Dark

    It's difficult to reduce a novel to a single paragraph. I still keep revising my query letter.

    Stacy

  3. #3
    Keith Bouchard
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    Thanks, :].

  4. #4
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    Hey, Keith

    I'm kinda-sorta torn.

    On one hand, the setting is there. I mean, I feel the creepiness about to wrap itself about me (remember this phrase , but then it feels staged.

    What I mean by that is that it feels almost too written, as if you've stretched out the description to match those long-ago authors. I believe you could tone down some of the language and still capture what it is you want to capture. Because it is good.

    All of that being said, I'm not a huge fan of fantasy (in the sense of what I believe you're looking to write); or, rather, I'm not a consumer of "fantasy-driven" material. Though, thinking about it, I guess all things fiction are fantasy, right? Now I'm getting confused. But, hopefully, you get what I'm saying (and that it makes some sense).


  5. #5
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    You should watch out for those passive sentences like that first one. "Evening swallowed Dascend's Avenue for several hours," would be active. Most every sentence in the first paragraph uses "was" or "were" in it, so watch for that.

    And I'm not sure about rain "swimming."

  6. #6
    Jackie Lynch
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    "...swallowed by evening for several hours.." maybe add now after hours.

    "...overgrown sidewalk." sidewalk, overgrown with crabgrass, dandelions, weeds, etc.

    "Even though his surroundings were normally elegant, the thick, grimy weather degraded the houses like muddy jewelry." I reall don't get the comparison. And if his surroundings were normally elegant, why is the sidewalk overgrown with weeds?

    "...ordinary neighborhood.." with a mansion with a cemetary in it?

    "...feeling as though each tombstone had a set of eyes belonging to their dead owners." you are referring to the tombstones individually, so "their owners" must be changed to its owner.

    You use "Ironic" in the last paragraph. There is no irony there.

  7. #7
    Keith Bouchard
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    When I pictured rain 'swimming', I meant it like how it slides down the side of roads in big, flowing puddles. I didn't mean it swam through the air, if that's what you thought.

    'Evening swallowed Dascend's Avenue for several hours'... does that sound like it was only night time for a few hours? Hm. I don't know.

    And Patrick. When you say it feels staged, do you mean the parts that say 'As he made his way home that night,'? I'll probably remove those little sentence starts then.

  8. #8
    Keith .
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    I'm short of time but will pick a few examples. I don't want to hammer you because you've obviously worked hard to paint a descriptive scene.

    Is Dascend a character? Your first word shows possession. Can a house turn off its own lights? Lots of was, were, became etc. You paint a dark, gloomy night yet stars brightened the gravestones?

    each tombstone had a set of eyes belonging to their
    Stay with the singular.

    He looked up to see the leaves from the trees twirling to the ground, resting there to be crunched beneath his feet. Crunch on a rainy night?

    I feel you've used a redwood where a twig was required. Very overwritten.

    Your beginning needs to move as well as establish, and all I'm getting is an info dump. You need action to move the story. You don't need bombs exploding but I don't feel anything happening to draw me in.

    One agent is famous for requesting the 1st 16 lines of ms as a partial. That's the 1st page. If it doesn't grab him, he passes.

    As far as a query? Assistants read 50-100 queries a day. A day! They read looking for excuses to exclude, rather than searching for a reason to request. Make something happen to hook the reader. Again, doesn't need to be earth-shaking. But it has to be interesting. Luck.
    km

  9. #9
    Keith Bouchard
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    Really? I thought it was ironic that everything in the yard was 'dead' in its own way. Is there a different word that is right, like 'coincidental', or something?

  10. #10
    Keith Bouchard
    Guest

    Re: First page of manuscript

    Well, I do see what you mean, Keith, about the first page being an info dump. In fact, the first TWO pages are an info dump, but second page's information is very interesting and the reader needs to know it. However, the 16 page chapter is 80% action (not bombs blowing up, but it's exciting). But you ARE right - I can shorten the establishment of the book upa bit.

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