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  1. #1
    Laura McCarthy

    Crit of First Draft... Ch. 1 only

    Looking for flow, grammatical errors, any fragmented sentences. Where could I tighten it up, explain a bit more. I'll take every crit under advisement and hope I can use what you tell me.

    Here goes.

    Chapter One

    The queue to get into the hottest club, Lipstick, straggled along the sidewalk for a block and a half. I walked right up to the purple velvet rope and smiled at the thick, burly, and extremely-tall bouncer.

    “Hey, Nola,” he said. His eyes invisible through his dark sunglasses.

    “Hey, Apollo,” I smiled up at him. He opened up the purple velvet rope to let me in as a surge of protests greeted my admittance. I hate when the line is long and people are waiting.

    “Techno-Trance music tonight and a full house,” Apollo mentioned as I slipped by him. “Oh, the big guy is looking for you, too,” he added as an afterthought. I sighed and pulled my hair behind my ears. I was here to see Piv and not spend yet another night alone at the apartment where I would invariably eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and flick through the TV finding nothing on but infomercials for pilates or acne cream.

    I headed over to the station where Piv worked. The crowd ran three deep and I tried to snake my way to the bar. Piv started laughing as he noticed the crowd staring at me. I definitely wasn’t what you’d call ordinary. I’d hit nearly six feet tall by my thirteenth birthday and my pale white hair made me look like half albino. If it wasn’t for the nearly purplish color eyes, I probably would pass myself off as albino. Kids in grade school would call me a Viking or Amazon woman who came down to steal the souls from everyone. They’d all considered me a freak. Piv didn’t. He stood up for me when the teasing got real bad. We’ve been best friends ever since. I gave Piv a reluctant smile as he looked me over. He never did care for my choice of outfits. We didn’t speak, and I turned my back to him watching the bumping and grinding on the dance floor. I felt dim and dull and wanted to dance. The energy licked teasingly, calling to me. Just as I started toward the dance floor, an icy coldness caressed my back.

    “Hey!” I whipped around to see Piv holding a glass filled with clear liquid.

    He laughed and spoke up over the music. “I thought you’d want a drink?”

    I took the glass and rolled it in my hands. A drip still rolling down my back.

    “What is it?” I asked. Knowing Piv, I’m his guinea pig for any new concoctions.

    “Just sip it and tell me what you think?” his face blank, so I hesitated at first. I took a sniff and didn’t smell anything off. In fact, I didn’t think I smelled anything alcoholic at all. I took a sip. The corners of my lips turned down into a frown and he started laughing at me again.

    “Water, Piv?”

    “Why are you here and why are you dressed like that?” I looked down at my halter top and short shorts. I didn’t find anything wrong with them and they matched. Perhaps it was the stiletto boots he didn’t like with the ensemble?

    “Bored and decided a dance could invigorate me,” I replied easily. He shook his head negatively. The crease between his eyes registering that he didn’t find this idea okay.

    “That’s not a good idea tonight, Nola. Too many unstable things going on, and you’ll just disrupt the balance.” He warned.

    I sighed. I knew he was right, but my energy level was drained. I needed a lift.

    “And he wants to see you. It’s better if you stay away tonight.”

    “Not tonight, Piv. I’m spent. He’ll understand, I won’t take too much.” I pushed my forefinger and my thumb together. “Just a tiny bit?”

    Piv gave me another warning glance, but shrugged his shoulders. “I warned you.”

    I danced out to the floor already engrossed in the deep bass and booming bursts of the music. I whipped around to the sound of the music, dancing with no one and enjoying myself even more.

    This music filled the space of loneliness and boredom. That dim and dull feeling started to melt away. The crowd whipped up into a frenzy and I felt my body tingle with the excitement. I moved my body in rhythm to the music and the crowd. Yes! I thought as I could feel the heavy energy meld its way into my body.

    I worked my way into a whirl of movement watching everything blur right past me. One moment I danced alone, and the next, strong male hands placed on my hips as he whipped me around to face me. A complete stranger playing a game of give and take. I would give and he would take if offered. He pressed me closer to him, letting me know that he could make me feel real good if I continued to stay with him throughout the night. His pelvis ground into mine and I lifted my long leg up against his hip.
    His glazed eyes seeing nothing. I couldn’t suck the energy from him, but the close proximity and the sensual heat did help me shine. I finally shimmered. I turned my dance partner around and provided him a pretty girl of his own who danced by herself. He went willingly, glad he would not remember me. I whipped around to the music, using more energy than originally told. Without losing a beat of the music, other strong hands grabbed me off the dance floor and roughly pulled me up a small set of stairs. I tried to focus on the stairs, they blurred around me. I knew where I was.

    The unknown assailant pushed me roughly into a chair across from a massive wooden desk looking at least four hundred years old. His back was to me and I couldn’t see his face. I bit my lip in silence expecting fury to engulf me.

    “Miss Lhuillier,” he said as he turned his chair toward me. His face softened. “Nola.”

    Gabriel Martine sat in front of me, hands clasped with two fingers on his chin studying me. I sat very still. Normally, I’d be attracted to someone of Gabriel’s caliber. He was good looking, extremely good looking, with shocking black hair, grayed at the temples. His skin a deep olive that gave him a Mediterranean look. He spoke without an accent, yet his manner of speech led me to believe he was older than his early forties façade.
    Gabriel continued staring at me, tilting his head in different directions trying to find something about me. I looked around the room wondering why he studied me.

    He looked up at his goon. “You can leave us now.” I barely heard the door shut to realize that we were now alone. I didn’t acknowledge Gabriel; he tried hard to maintain his temper.

    “You’re shining,” he mentioned casually. “It took no time tonight,” he murmured.

    “Yes,” I breathed silently.

    I could see the frown lines form as he spoke. “You knew I wished to speak to you?”

    I nodded my head. He made me feel like a child who’d been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. He continued to stare at me. Mesmerizing me.

    “I’m disappointed, Nola,” he said casually. “I request your presence and you ignore me. Not a very nice thing to do?”

    My head shook as if by compulsion. I tried to fight, and failed. He finally pulled his eyes away from me and I was able to suck huge gulps of air. Gabriel’s using of compulsion on me, made him a very dangerous enemy. I knew not to cross paths with him should I ever be on the other side.

    I watched as Gabriel picked up a folder and tapped it on the desk. He looked to the folder and back to me several times. I squirmed in my chair. His eyes shone with lust as they raked over my body. Gabriel thought of me as a quest. One that he should have in his bed or on his arm. A place I never wanted to be.

    “I have a job for you, Nola,” he said suddenly, surprising me. My eyes grew wide, not understanding what he had in store for me.

    “I’m not sure, Gabriel.” I said hesitantly

    “I would be willing to negotiate with you.” His eyes brightened.

    “I don’t think so,” I countered.

    “Oh, I think this negotiation would be something that you’ll agree to. But you have nothing to worry about in regards to me and my bed,” he’d guessed correctly. It was exactly what I thought. “That is not part of the negotiation.” So he didn’t want to own me after I did this job. I knew I shouldn’t be indebted to him should I want my freedom, I knew he would call in any favors either owed or needed.

    I studied him carefully. His beautiful face gave nothing away in regards to what he was willing to negotiate. I fidgeted in my chair.

    He put the folder down again and held his arms wide. “This. You bring me what I want and I’ll give you this club.” His smile impressed me. All those shiny white teeth. All I could think: “All the better to eat you with!”

    My mouth fell open. Did I just hear him correctly? He would give me the club? There had to be an addendum to this. Absolutely.

    “That’s quite a generous gift, Gabriel. How do I know there are no strings attached?”

    He raised his hands. “I give you my word.” I couldn’t trust his word. However, it was a very tempting offer.
    He picked up the folder again and dropped the contents on the desk. I saw a couple of pictures and what curiously looked like a menu.

    “There is an establishment across town,” he said gauging my reactions. I remained quiet. He sighed. “I need you to bring someone to me.”

    I tapped my fingers on the arm of the chair. “Who is this person?”

    “Let’s say he’s an acquaintance.” Gabriel said stiffly.

    “Nola, this is not to be taken lightly. He can be very dangerous and will not come with you easily. But I think with your…” he stopped suddenly, I leaned forward as if on cue. “Abilities, I think you’re the best person for this job.”

    “Why wouldn’t he come to meet with you?” I asked innocently.

    “That would not concern you, my dear.”

    He pushed the menu towards me. The name of the restaurant was “Pyr”

    “Pire?” I asked.

    “No, they pronounce it “per”,” he corrected me.

    He looked at me as I took another picture of the inside of the bar. The clientele catered to the fanged group. I hated vampires.

    “Oh, hell, no! I don’t deal with vampires. No way.”

    “Nola, this is what you get,” again his arms were spread out wide.

    I shot a murderous look at Gabriel. I knew that vampires existed in fact, there were probably a bunch of them here at Lipstick, but there was no way I would find myself in a bar that teemed with them.

    “Most of their clients are human, Nola. Your showing up will be as normal as your coming here.”

    I looked at the second picture. The quarry.

    “Who’s he?” I asked as I studied his face. I noticed a sadness in his face the camera captured. His eyes were dull almost lifeless. I bit the inside of my lip wondering about the sadness.

    “He will be Kellen James. We have unfinished business.”

    “And you won’t tell me that unfinished business?” I asked.

    “No.” he said simply.

    I closed my eyes and thought about this. I rubbed my temples with my fingers feeling the energy I gained earlier slowly evaporating. I let out a long breath, then opened my eyes.

    He was staring at me in that way that he could have me undressed and on the floor in two seconds flat, but he had too much control for that. Or he had too much respect for me to do that as well. I twitched my lips watching his pursed lips. His eyes burned through mine gently pleading with me.

    “Fine, I’ll do it.” I surrendered

    He didn’t crack a smile, didn’t thank me.

    I knew then that I had been excused.

  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: Crit of First Draft... Ch. 1 only

    at the thick, burly, and extremely-tall bouncer.

    You should eliminate at least one or maybe just find a better way to describe this guy.

    I kept waiting to see a vampire pop out somewhere. I don't know why.

  3. #3
    Misty Mann

    Re: Crit of First Draft... Ch. 1 only

    In the first sentence, I would like it better if "straggled" became "straggle"..converting the verb usage into a noun.
    so the sentence would read:

    "The queue to get into the hottest club, Lipstick, was a straggle along the sidewalk for a block and a half."
    This way the importance of the club is enhanced by mentioning the queue (i.e. waiting line) which in turn is emphasized by the fact that it's not actually a line but a scattered, out-of-order group (straggle). Just a thought.

    I would cut out the description of the bouncer. I've yet to come across a bouncer who isn't burly or somehow big. So just say she smiled at the bouncer.

    "His eyes invisible through his dark sunglasses" seems oddly put together. try "His eyes were not visible behind his sunglasses." everyone knows the purpose of sunglasses is to block the light..so they are obviously going to be dark..no need to say it. Make the sentences simple. your wording of the sentence is actually a fragment..if you want to keep the sentence without a verb, then use a comma after the word "said".

    At the "hey apollo" line..you used the word "up" too close together. I would eliminate the 2nd "up" and it flows just nicely, I think.

    " surge of protests greeted my admittance"..this isn't what you meant to say. I think you are trying too hard. Be simple. Say instead, "A surge of yells(or another noun) protested my admittance"...or "my admittance was protested with a surge of yells from the crowd"...something like that. see?

    I would omit the "I hate when the line is long" sentence. It is out of place.

    I'm not sure I like the use of "flick" in reference to channel surfing..word choice?

    I would say, "I headed over to Piv's work station." because when I see the word station I wonder if we've suddenly transported to a train station.

    I like the use of snake in making a path to the bar...but perhaps use different variations of the same idea using the word serpentine, etc. Ex: "She serpentines her way through the crowd."

    I would omit "like" in the line about looking albino.

    I like the line about energy licking teasingly..good one.

    You left out something in the line "his face blank"..you need to add "he asked" prior to that phrase inserting a comma in between or you need to say "His face was blank".

    "He shook his head negatively" is redundant and obvious. When people shake their heads, it is always negative. If you meant something positive you would use the word "nodded". So, extract negatively and simply use "shook".

    "The crease between his eyes" line is a fragment...either use a comma at the beginning of the sentence or make it into a completely new sentence using a verb. In my opinion, I would leave out that sentence entirely...he already shook his head..so we know he doesn't approve of something and then Piv goes on to say he doesnt think it s a good idea...so yeah take out the sentence.

    Put a comma after the word "balance" in Piv's dialogue and make the letter "H" in the word "he" lowercase.
    Ex: "You'll disrupt the balance," he warned. This is the proper assembling of the tags and the dialogue.

    I would use Italics on the word "yes!" when you described her thoughts as she dances. And it would be presented as "Yes, I thought. I could feel the heavy..."

    You really need to check your sentence fragments...and use commas or make new sentences..I can't continue to find every one. I'd be here all day.

    The line" gabriel using his compulsion on me" doesn't need the comma you've used. take it out.

    use a period after "should I want me freedom".

    put a comma after "his eyes were dull"

    "No," he said. is all you need...don't put "he said simply". and don't forget to use a comma after the dialogue when using "he said", etc.

    as far as the story as a whole...it seems, um, somewhat immature and it's a cliche genre work. I'm sorry, but references to clubs only conjure up images or mafia or young adults who haven't grown up yet.. I wasn't intrigued in the least. I like vampire books and movies, though. If I had to read this for my creative writing class, I would set it back down and take an F for not critiquing it. I'm sorry. Perhaps work on your technique and style. I do like that the character is tall and pale, similar to an albino...that makes her interesting.

  4. #4
    Laura McCarthy

    Re: Crit of First Draft... Ch. 1 only

    Thanks, and I really wouldn't want you to take F for your class if you had to.

    The first chapter is so rough and setting up of everything else. I knew I'd need to do major surgery on the first chapter, but your help is exactly what I needed.

    Thank you!

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