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  1. #1
    Jay Elwood Seymour
    Guest

    AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    Here is the first part (re-written) of the first chapter of THE ANGELIC HERITAGE: THE FOUR CROWN PRINCES.

    I like it a lot more than what I had posted before. I knew there was something not quite so fantastic about my chapter one compared to the rest of the book, but I seemed to have a lot of trouble getting out my backstory without simply listing it. I hope you all find this re-write better than the original.

    Thanks to anybody who takes their time to give it a read.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    THE ANGELIC HERITAGE: THE FOUR CROWN PRINCES
    Chapter One - The Twins


    Crossing though his neighbor’s year, Elijah felt the cold stare as the old lady next door stuck her rubbery neck out her upstairs window. As she was just about to yell at him for trudging through her begonias, Elijah’s grandmother, Beatrice shouted, “Come and help me with the groceries!” He grabbed two bags and shut the back door of her car, which Elijah was sure was decades older than he was.

    Performing a balancing act between the groceries and his heavy book bag, Elijah slipped off his trainers. “Put them away from me, Eli,” requested Beatrice. “Your uncle is taking me out tonight to some terrible restaurant I won’t enjoy.” Elijah grimaced as his grandmother pulled him in for a terribly embarrassing kiss on the cheek. “And for the love of God, make sure your brother doesn’t burn down the house.”

    Elijah’s trousers were swiftly thrown off and into the laundry hamper as he flew up the stairs, down the hall, and into his bedroom. Suddenly, heavy bass shook the windows of the house. His brother was home.

    The bass faded just as Elijah heard the front door opening. Quickly buttoning his clean trousers, he returned to the kitchen to see Emerson riffling through the bags of groceries. “Did Meric leave you all alone tonight?” taunted Elijah. “Is poor ickle Emerson gonna have to be all alone while his looser brother plays video games with is looser best mate, Christian?” Emerson ignored Elijah’s attitude as he plopped his bag onto the table next to his twin brother’s. It was the same bag that their father had given them for Christmas with gold clasps matching the embossed nameplate reading Emerson Matthew Egan. Elijah was far too comfortable with the same book bag he had used for the last three years, especially as he had just recently patched it up.

    “Dad phoned and he is taking the two of us out to dinner tonight. He wants to start up the ol’ weekly ritual again. So you will have to postpone your little play date until later,” replied Emerson with a sneering hint of sarcasm.

    “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me,” moaned Elijah. “Christian’s dad just bought him the new Tom Clancy.” Emerson made overdramatic baby noises just before Elijah smacked him in the head with a loaf of bread.

    “I dunno when he’s gonna be here,” added Emerson. “But I hope this doesn’t last long. I’m supposed to meet Meric downtown tonight.” It was slightly comforting to Elijah to know that his brother would be hurrying the evening as much as he was. He wasn’t about to give up his Friday evening to his overly judgmental father.

    After Emerson had combed and re-combed his messy brown hair for about twenty minutes, the boys waited in the living room for their father’s posh two-door to pull up. Marquis was far taller than his sons and considerably more muscular. His chest was set high and his eyes were set deep. The ride was unbearably awkward until Emerson accused Elijah of wearing a shirt that he had nicked out of his brother’s closet. At this point Marquis complimented Emerson on dressing appropriately for dinner, and criticized Elijah for looking poor in his t-shirt, blue jeans, and zip-up hooded sweatshirt.

    The conversation at dinner consisted mostly of Emerson and Marquis talking of football and rugby all evening. If Elijah had not spent the majority of dinner with his eyes firmly planted on the rear end of their attractive brunette waitress, he would have surely died of boredom. The event would not be complete without Marquis pulling out his wallet that was so large Elijah could swear he heard a heartbeat emanating from inside. They were each given a one-hundred pound note, but with a little time and talent, Emerson soon would have wriggled another fifty pounds out of his father as well.

    Marquis clearly believed that money was the fastest way to win his sons’ affections, and to make up for giving custody of his sons to his late ex-wife’s mother. When the twins were only two years old, their parents Marquis and Maegan Boleyn separated and later got a divorce. Unable to mentally or financially support her and her twin sons, Maegan moved in with her mother, Beatrice, and eventually changed their surnames from Boleyn to Egan, to show her distaste for her ex-husband’s family. Within the month, Maegan was given the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and just three years later she succumbed to the effects, dying with her sons and mother by her side. She had made it very clear that she wanted the twins to be raised by her mother and not her ex-husband. Without a fight, Marquis accepted his ex-wife’s dying wish.

    The twins seemed content with being raised by their grandmother. She cared for them like they were her own, and showered them with the same love, support, and guidance their mother would have shown them. Beatrice often told Elijah that she would occasionally see him of out of the corner of her eye and think it was his mother. She told him that he was his mother’s son from body to soul.

    Elijah had only pecked at his plate, and as dinner came to a close, Emerson turned to his father and asked, “Is it alright if you drop me off downtown. I’ve got some friends to meet up with tonight.” Elijah couldn’t be happier to go home alone because it would mean that he could still invite Christian over to enjoy what was left of the night. He would at least be able to reap the few hours away from his annoying other half until tomorrow.

    “I don’t see why not,” replied Marquis. “And where do you need dropping off, Elijah?”

    “Home, Christian is coming over,” mumbled Elijah.

    “Oh, well alright,” Marquis grunted with disappointment. “Still hanging onto that friendship, are you?”

    “Yes…”

    “What is that the boy’s father does?” probed Marquis. It was always important for him to know with exactly what types of people his sons were rubbing elbows.

    Emerson answered for his brother, “He’s a builder.”

    “He’s not a builder,” snapped Elijah. “He’s a manager at some company.”

    “Oh, pardon me,” moaned Emerson, his hands flailing in the air. “He’s a manager of builders.”

    Breaking up his son’s argument, Marquis interjected, “Well perhaps you’ll meet some more respectable individuals when you start at the sixth form college who aren’t so…” Marquis paused, choosing delicately the right words not to offend Elijah. “…public school.”

    Elijah had no intention of breaking off his lifelong friendship with Christian. What made Elijah feel warm inside was the reminder that in just a few short months he and his brother would soon be attending different colleges. Elijah would be attending Eric Pattinson College which was the type of place that required scholarly grades to get into. Emerson however, would be attending Shrewshire Academic College, the type of school that cared more about money than grades. Obviously Marquis was more than willing to flip the bill for Emerson if it meant he would be getting cozy with the right sort of people.

    Marquis dropped the boys off at their respective locations and told them that he would see them next Friday for dinner again. Elijah unenthusiastically mumbled “great” under his breathe and ran into the house as fast as possible.

    Beatrice was sitting in her favorite chair, sipping on tea and watching a game show on television. Elijah told her about his day and complained about his father as he sifted through the local delivery menus. Having only nibbled on his food at the restaurant, he had a hankering for something greasy and cheesy. Not to mention, he now had a hundred and fifty pounds burning a hole in his trousers pockets. After inviting Christian over and ordering pizza, Elijah listened to his grandmother as she told an over exaggerated story of her life as schoolteacher.

    Christian showed up, along with the brand new video game he had just purchased. The two ran up the stairs and down the hall so quickly that Elijah nearly lost his pizza when turning into his bedroom. “Don’t be up late,” shouted Beatrice up the stairs. “You’re coming with me to the car boot sale. We’ve got to get up early so we can get the early bird specials before all the good stuff has been snatched up.” This didn’t really mean much as Elijah tended to stay up late every night against any lack of sleep. Beatrice often cited this as reasoning for Elijah’s stick figure like appearance. Even though he would be turning sixteen in a few weeks time, he still looked as though he had barely hit puberty.

    Just as Elijah and Christian began really having a good time, Elijah’s mobile phone rang. Seeing that it was Emerson, Elijah ignored it and set it to silent. It was no doubt Emerson and Meric calling to harass or prank him, and he had much more pressing things to do, like getting to the next level. Around one in the morning Christian noticed the time and remembered that he had promised his father he wouldn’t be out late.

    After Christian left, Elijah brushed his teeth, removed his shirt, and pulled on his pajama pants to get ready for bed. He went to turn off his mobile for the night and noticed that Emerson had persistently called several times but though nothing of it. Crashing into his bed, Elijah fell asleep the instant his head hit the pillow as heavy rain pummeled the roof of their small three-bedroom home.



  2. #2
    The Midnight Writer
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    "crossing through his neighbor's year"?

    year?

  3. #3
    Paul Harris
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    This is just one man's opinion so take it for whatever that is worth. I don't think that rewrites are something that you race through so that you can quickly repost. I stopped reading at this sentence that seems to defy the laws of physics.

    Elijah’s trousers were swiftly thrown off and into the laundry hamper as he flew up the stairs, down the hall, and into his bedroom.

  4. #4
    The Midnight Writer
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    ok, this piece is riddled with spelling errors. proofread first, please. For instance, "loser" not "looser." i would hate to think that one of the twins is looser than the other...

    i quit reading after that. the preceding paragraphs still need some work, but in general, are much better than your first post. keep going along these lines, but proofread first for simple errors.

  5. #5
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    There's a lot of excess writing in that you tend to lay out every detail of everyone's actions and motives. I'm sure that's the way you see it in your mind's eye, but a reader doesn't need to be burdened with that level of minutiae. While it's not necessarily bad writing, it seems so superfluous. Trim your narrative down to the essential beats of your story, the muscle and bone. Get rid of the fat.

    A thing or two about dialog: Each time you change speaker, start a new paragraph. Also, be sparing in your use of dialog tags. "Said" is the best, because it tends to dissolve into the background. Verbs such as snapped, moaned, interjected, probed become tiresome very quickly.

    You are writing in omniscient point-of-view. That's not against the law, but it can easily confuse the reader. For example, your first sentence is Elijah's pov; the second sentence is the neighbor's pov; and the third is back to Elijah. Bouncing around like this dilutes the readers attention and makes it difficult to identify with a character.

    Last comment: there's no sense of conflict here, no story questions raised. You're painting a picture of the twins and their home life, but if I weren't reading to critique it, I'd have put it aside. This is not the reaction you want from an agent.

    I strongly suggest that you get a copy of Sol Stein's "On Writing". It's an excellent reference for the problems that I see in your writing.

    If I thought you lacked talent, I wouldn't be this critical--I'd simply ignore your post. Keep working at it, and good luck.

  6. #6
    Jay Elwood Seymour
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    Last comment: there's no sense of conflict here, no story questions raised.

    I have trouble putting conflict in the first four pages. I mean, there is obviously conflict in chapter, but I can't seem to comprehend how to make conflict when I haven't even met the characters. Several other books i've ready don't have any conflict until their third or fourth chapters.

    A thing or two about dialog: Each time you change speaker, start a new paragraph.

    If I made this mistake, it was just a mistake. I know to do this.

    If I thought you lacked talent, I wouldn't be this critical--I'd simply ignore your post. Keep working at it, and good luck.

    Thank you. I have been told on many occasions that I have a lot of talent. If I hadn't been told that before, I probably would have never got into writing. But as I'm sure you'll agree, talent is only the first step. The steps following are the hard ones.

  7. #7
    Jay Elwood Seymour
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    Elijah’s trousers were swiftly thrown off and into the laundry hamper as he flew up the stairs, down the hall, and into his bedroom.

    This line was criticized as defying the laws of physics. I can understand it might not be the greatest line on earth, but I thought it conveyed what was going on without saying "He took off his pants. He put them in the hamper. He walked up the stairs. He went down the hall. He walked into his room."

    ok, this piece is riddled with spelling errors. proofread first, please.

    You are quite correct that I didn't give it the greatest amount of attention (i did proofread it at least once). However, I didn't really fly through writing it in the attempt to repost it. I don't have a job and I don't go back to university for another month so I have plenty of time to play around with words at the moment.

  8. #8
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    Jay:

    I have trouble putting conflict in the first four pages.

    We're having thunderstorms here and the power's flickering, so I'll be brief: If you can't establish conflict in the first four pages--or any four pages, for that matter--you may be a better word smith than you are story teller.

    Read the first five pages of as many novels as you can in a week's time. Study how the author establishes character, place, and conflict. Then try again.

    Sorry, gotta get the candles out.

    Luck.

  9. #9
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    Feel free to ignore these comments.

    The critique you've received above is good. It's accurate. But you seem to be looking for ways to defend yourself instead of taking to heart the comments people have taken time to provide.

    This reader doesn't think your writing is close to publishable. Don't get mad or defensive. The simple errors alone are death. Not to mention that you haven't shown us the conflict, haven't done the things to make the reader say, "Hot damn, I wanna read more of this."

    The sentence about laws of physics is a good example. How did were the trousers thrown off and into the hamper while Eli was dashing up the stairs? The devil's in the details.

    In a broader way, much of the writing is clunky. For instance---"Elijah was far too comfortable with the same book bag he had used for the last three years..." What do you mean when you say "far too comfortable?" Would "comfortable" serve as well or better. Far too comfortable has implications I don't think you intend.

    Again, feel free to ignore. Keep on keeping on. Read a lot. After that, read. Then read some more. Try to find a critique group, beta readers. Take some creative writing classes. Don't get discouraged. You're starting at the right age.

    Cur

  10. #10
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: AH:FCP - Chapter 1 (pt.1) Your thoughts welcomed.

    Hmmmph!

    "How did were" was intended to be "How were"

    The devil truly is in the details.

    My bad.

    Cur

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