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Thread: Please critique

  1. #1
    Stacy Copping
    Guest

    Please critique

    OK, I'm working on a novel and I'm ready for your comments. Your feedback is very helpful even when painful. I would like to know a few things. Do I need to start with more action? Is this too racist? I want to be accurate in my description, but don't want to offend anyone. This character is inspired by someone I met last year. I found her to be utterly fascinating.

    Ok, here it is:

    Chapter One

    Sitting erect in her five dollar, plastic chair from Dollar General, Pearl Beatrice White eased into her daily routine with a sizzling, morning song sung by a newly lit, marijuana cigarette. Her dilapidated, screen tent shielded her from the seething sun as she absorbed cool moments before the day fully awoke and the Georgia heat claimed its presence.

    She impatiently gazed down the street, tapping her ashes onto the ground. In a kinky haze, her black hair, streaked with gray strays, crowned her mocha toned face. Her faded terrycloth robe twitched over her large, sagging breasts against a subtle breeze.

    At fifty-four years of age, she felt in control of her life and her surroundings and took pride in her numerous accomplishments. She enlisted in the United States Army and served a full term, stationed in Virginia. There, she learned discipline, defense, and how to properly serve coffee to white, superior officers. Independent and free from her family, she remained in the state for another ten years, serving as a police officer. But, she (as she tells herself) succumbed to severe homesickness and gave up her position in law enforcement to move back to her roots in Bartow County, Georgia. She then began a career at the local carpet factory where she met and fell in love with Mr. White.

    Pearl worked near the end of the production line. Her assignment confined her to a small stool where she could scrutinize squares of carpet as they sailed past her. But, instead of scanning the product, she studied the man positioned at the end of the conveyor. She spent hours staring at his tall stature, broad shoulders, and sleek, muscular arms as he stacked heavy boxes onto wooden pallets. Despite the backbreaking task, he always perpetuated a positive attitude, igniting Pearl’s spirit with his smile.

    Pearl, had also cultivated a fit physique with a flat tummy, round bosoms, and a matching, apple shaped rump. Usually, she sustained a bold personality, void of uncertainty. But his presence did something to her. She watched, day after day, as her fellow, female employees blatantly flirted with him. Pearl didn’t do flirting. She waited for the moment when she could speak to him privately.

    After two months of patient restraint, low cut shirts, tight fitting jeans, and careful planning, she finally found him alone in the break room. He sat at one of the long tables next to the vending machines, sipping on a strong cup of coffee. She could smell the fragrant aroma as she approached him.

    She took a deep sigh of confidence, courageously slid next to him, and invited him to attend her upcoming wedding.

    “I didn’t know you were getting married,” he said.

    “Didn’t you?” she asked, “The ceremony is three months from now.”

    “That’s a little far off,” he replied, “But yeah, I’ll be there.”

    “Great!” she braved, “You’ll have to wear a tux. You’ll be the groom.”

    His big, brown eyes explored her serious expression and he chuckled.



  2. #2
    Stacy Copping
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    I can already see that I am suffering from a severe comma addiction.

  3. #3
    Jean Bonifacio
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    Okay, I'll bite. I read it a few times and I can't say it's racist. Am I missing something? More action? What kind of story is it? Because, if it's a mystery, then yeah it needs more action. I'm guessing it isn't though. I like it. You paint a good picture. Personally, I want to know where this is going but in Chapter 2, if you're still describing Pearl then you lost me.
    And as for comma addiction, I already started that club. It's called babblers anonymous.

  4. #4
    Stacy Copping
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    Thank you for your feedback. Can I be a member? I also speak fluent babble.

    This is only the first two pages of the first chapter. It goes on for several more pages. It's the story of two complete opposite characters and the collision of their lives. In the end, one of them dies. Chapter 2 introduces the second main character.

    Here's the next page. I don't know how much I should post.



    “Sure,” he uttered, “Why not?”

    To her dismay, he stood by her side three months later, placed a ring on her finger, and a promise in her heart.

    Due to corporate policies, the company promptly switched him to another shift. But not seeing him for a mere eight hours per day didn’t matter. Pearl had found her “happily ever after”.

    She gave birth to a baby girl in their first year of marriage and bid farewell to her firm breasts and round bottom. In their second year of wedded bliss, another daughter arrived, along with an extra forty pounds across her midsection and thighs. Obliviously content, she gleefully tended the children, cleaned the house, cooked the meals, and still maintained her job at the factory.

    Pearl didn’t realize she had passed it every morning, on the way to work, until the day she received the phone call. On that morning, she looked to the driveway, where her informant had said it would be, and saw her husband’s car. She wondered how many times she had driven past it before. Of course, he had been inside and with another man’s wife.

    Doctors attempted to heal her shattered heart by installing a device into her chest, promoting her to disability status. However, an attorney proved more helpful. Pearl never regretted the divorce.

  5. #5
    Jean Bonifacio
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    Okay, I am so genre stupid. I make up my own because of my stupidity. I belong to a couple book clubs. One of them picks fabulous books that I can really get into. The other picks books that make me feel empty in the end. (I've begun to snub them) Those books are usually about a character that I keep reading and in the end, don't give a rat's a$$ about. After reading your next post with more of the chapter, I think she sounds more interesting. I am intrigued.
    My one thing is take out the, "To her dismay" part. That confused me. Keep the dismay a surprise cause it comes out 4 paragraphs later that he was a scuzball.

  6. #6
    Stacy Copping
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    Thanks for the tip.

  7. #7
    Jean Bonifacio
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    See the babbling problem I have. The genre for my book clubs are: "Characters I can drink coffee with" and "Characters that took 3 days of my life away".

  8. #8
    Stacy Copping
    Guest

    Re: Please critique


    I changed "to her dismay" to "to her delight".

    I don't know which character she would be. This story is kind of weird. It's hard to make both my main characters likeable. The first is a hard woman due to her circumstances. The other is a naive, spoiled, rich, younger woman. When their worlds intertwine all hell breaks loose.

    I think I've met both, the "I can drink...with" and the "Character....away".

    Also, Jean shoot me an e mail so I can send this short video clip to you. It's not x rated, I promise.

  9. #9
    Stacy Copping
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    As to genre....help me out guys. Is this chic lit? Lit Fiction? I really don't know. Is there a tragedy choice?

  10. #10
    Keith .
    Guest

    Re: Please critique

    Keep in mind this is just one fool's opinion. It felt very sluggish to me and chock full of adjectives, adverbs and unnecessary clauses. I felt you were trying too hard. I stopped after the first paragraph.

    I referred back to your post while writing this and read the end starting with She took a deep sigh of confidence. Much more relaxed. I think you do better with dialogue and overwrite the description. Check out or buy Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. He's the best I've read on how to handle description and transition. I can send you my notes but if possible read the book. My opinion. Luck.
    km

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