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  1. #1
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    The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    "One o'clock! One o'clock!"
    "Honey, calm down, she's sixteen she can make choices for herself."
    "She was supposed to be back by ten! What the hell was she doing for three hours? Three hours!"

    Another morning arguement concerning Phoebe. Drayden stared from the kitchen, quite entertained.

    "Dad I'm six-"
    "I know how old you are! What were you doing for three hours?"
    "It was only thr-"
    "Only three hours! Only three hours! We were so worried about you!"

    Drayden took another gulp of the soggy cold muesli. Each swallow like eating individual slugs. At least it was a change from turkey, for one and a half weeks all Drayden had eaten was turkey. Turkey sandwich, turkey stew, turkey milkshake, turkey and rice, turkey and potato, turkey, turkey, turkey. He could still smell the last morsels of it in the oven. Drayden deposited the muesli down the sink as he'd much rather starve to death than eat rabbit food. He elevated his gaze from his cereal bowl to watching the rest of arguement.

    "That's it! You were drunk!" bellowed Desmond, spit pouring out of his ajar mouth, his feet stomping on the red carpet. "That's why you were late! You were drunk!"
    "What! I'm not even allowed to drink! I'm only sixteen, remember!" Phoebe said. "Besides, I'm here now so what's the big deal."
    "What's the big deal! What's the big deal!" said Desmond his face now red, his mouth foaming with saliva "From now on you're banned from going out of this house! You need to concentrate on your school work!"
    "You can't ban- what's my school work got to do with any of this?"
    "Des, honey, it's not fair to ban her from going out," said Evalina "We were once teenagers too you know."



  2. #2
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    Chimere,
    It's good form to introduce yourself in the newbie forum, with a few words. This lets people know you're not one of those 'drive-bys' that eats shoots and leaves without contributing to the community.

    Stan

  3. #3
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    Hi There!

    I thought it had good pacing, and drew me into the story. Since we all learn by the critiques, here are a few observations:

    1. While it's clear that the parents are speaking in the first few lines, perhaps you could sneak their names in there so by the time we get to the last paragraphs, we know who Desmond and Evalina are. (I confess to being one of those readers who likes to be spoon fed information).

    2. You can omit the sentence about the turkey sandwiches etc. We got the message about turkey from the preceding sentence and the long complaint about all the turkey detracts from the story.

    3. Drayden is in the kitchen by himself - where is everyone else? If they are also in the kitchen, don't they notice he's dumping his breakfast?

    4. I thought "spit pouring out of his ajar mouth" was a bit overdone and seemed contrived.

    5. For those of us who really need to be spoon fed, the name Drayden is a bit too similar to Desmond (picky, I know)

    6. Maybe just a little exposition about Desmond and Evalina and Phoebe so it's not just their dialog.


    All in all, it was entertaining.

  4. #4
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    Turkey milkshake?

    I find your opening a bit confusing because you introduced to many characters to fast.

    It's a good idea to open with dialogue. But it is much more engaging to the reader for the dialogue to be between two characters and to get them established before introducing others. I count 5 characters in this very short intro.

    RW

  5. #5
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    Thanks for the help Julie


    1. Yes , I could probably put some names in there.

    2. I'm gonna delete the sentence about turkey, I was getting all carried away whilst trying imply that this was after christmas. Plus I was trying to impress the critics.

    3.I'm gonna insert that they are in the sitting room somewhere, and no they don't notice him dump his breakfast.

    4. I'll change that.

    5. I can't change Draydens name cos he's the protagonist but his family die early in the story so I'll change Desmonds name instead.

    6. I'll try to put some history about the arguement in but I don't wanna spoil the pace

  6. #6
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    Thanks Robert

    Yes, the turkey milkshake sentence was supposed to be humourous but clearly it's a bit weird and irrelevant.

    I definitely going to put some exposition to space out the characters a bit more, but he has a large family so I'll have to try to not put too much info and ruin the pace.

  7. #7
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    "One o'clock! One o'clock!" bellowed Desmond for the second time.
    "Honey, calm down, she's sixteen she can make choices for herself."
    "She was supposed to be back by ten! What the hell was she doing for three hours? Three hours!"

    Another morning arguement concerning Phoebe,Desmond and Evalina. This happened everyday, either Phoebe's late from a party or Phoebe's accidentally used Evalina's credit card. It was almost always Desmond doing the shouting even when others were on the recieving end. Drayden stared at the rest of his family from the kitchen, quite entertained.

    "Dad I'm sixte-"
    "I know how old you are! What were you doing for three hours?"
    "It was only thr-"
    "Only three hours! Only three hours! We were so worried about you!"

    Drayden took another gulp of the soggy, cold muesli. Each swallow like eating individual slugs. At least it was a change from turkey, for one and a half weeks all Drayden had eaten was turkey. He could still smell the last morsels of it in the oven. Drayden deposited the muesli down the sink as he'd much rather starve to death than eat more of that rabbit food. He elevated his gaze from his cereal bowl back to the sitting room to watch the rest of arguement.

    "That's it! You were drunk!" bellowed Desmond, spit pouring out of his mouth, his feet stomping on the red carpet. "That's why you were late! You were drunk!"
    "What! I'm not even allowed to drink! I'm only sixteen, remember!" Phoebe said. "Besides, I'm here now so what's the big deal."
    "What's the big deal! What's the big deal!" said Desmond his face now red, his mouth foaming with saliva "From now on you're banned from going out of this house! You need to concentrate on your school work!"
    "You can't ban- what's my school work got to do with any of this?" Phoebe now had both her hands on her waist."How is stopping me from visiting my friends going to improve my grades?"
    "Des, honey, it's not fair to ban her from going out," said Evalina "You were once a teenagers too. Phoebe has a point, stopping her from going out isn't going to improve her grades," Desmond was about to start howling again before Evalina quickly added "And Phoebe you must set an example for Josh, that's no way to speak to your father."
    "Puh-leese, don't give me the old "set an example" rant," said Phoebe crossing her arms."Josh knows what's wrong and what's right, I'm not gonna act it all out for him."

    On hearing his name Josh rose his glare from his mobile phone to look at the arguement. Clearly uninterested he return to his phone again. Josh frantically tapped the phone screen increasing the volume whilst shouting at Phoebe, Desmond and Evalina, telling them to shut up. Draydens younger sister ,Ellie, had eyes pinned to the television. The volume from the television was so loud that Drayden could feel the vibrations in his jawbone. In addition to that, the volume of the arguement had just escalated. His other younger sister and brother were upstairs walloping up and down in one of their games and small thuds could be heard all around the house.

  8. #8
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    Ok, I read through the second bit. This is what I got.

    Phoebe is a self-centred, bratty, thief of a child. If she's your MC, you've got a serious problem

    And I really have trouble believing that the parents would be worried if she was out for an extra three hours...especially since it's been established that she does this a lot.

    Why is this conversation taking place in the morning? If he's as sincerely upset as he claims, you'd think he'd have been waiting for her the second she walked in the door that night.

  9. #9
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    Yes phoebe is a bratty self-centered character but she is not the main character so I'll have to make it more clear that Drayden is the main character.

  10. #10
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    Re: The first few words of my opening scene, Please critique

    I've edited the opening scene again:

    "Nine hours! Nine hours!" bellowed Desmond for the second time.
    "Honey, calm down, she's sixteen she can make choices for herself."
    "She was supposed to be back by ten! What the hell was she doing for nine hours? nine hours!"

    Another morning arguement concerning Phoebe,Desmond and Evalina. This happened everyday, either Phoebe's not paying enough attention in school or Phoebe's had a detention and not picked. It was almost always Desmond doing the shouting even when others were on the recieving end.Today it was different, Phoebe had stayed and extra nine hours away from the house unreachable and had only just arrived.

    Drayden stared at the rest of his family from the kitchen, quite entertained. He kept his distance from his family, especially in the morning. Mornings were trouble, monday mornings were all the worse. He knew his parent always overprotective and todays arguement wasn't one to interfere in, both for his siblings and him.

    "Dad I'm sixte-"
    "I know how old you are! What were you doing for three hours?"
    "It was a few-"
    "A few hours! A few hours! We were so worried about you!"

    Drayden took another gulp of the soggy, cold muesli. Each swallow like eating individual slugs. At least it was a change from turkey, for one and a half weeks all Drayden had eaten was turkey. He could still smell the last morsels of it in the oven. Drayden deposited the muesli down the sink as he'd much rather starve to death than eat more of that rabbit food. He elevated his gaze from his cereal bowl back to the sitting room to watch the rest of arguement.

    "Phoebe, why didn't you pick up your phone?" Evalina asked, her voice now calmer with relief. "Why? You're always on your phone, why didn't you pick it up?"
    "Because-"
    "That's it! You were drunk!" bellowed Desmond, spit pouring out of his mouth, his feet stomping on the red carpet. "That's why you were late! You were drunk!"
    "What! I'm not even allowed to drink! I'm only sixteen, remember!" Phoebe said. "Besides, I'm here now so what's the big deal."
    "What's the big deal! What's the big deal!" said Desmond his face now red, his mouth foaming with saliva "From now on you're banned from going out of this house! You need to concentrate on your school work!"
    "You can't ban- what's my school work got to do with any of this?" Phoebe now had both her hands on her waist."How is stopping me from visiting my friends going to improve my grades?"
    "Des, honey, it's not fair to ban her from going out," said Evalina "You were once a teenagers too. Phoebe has a point, stopping her from going out isn't going to improve her grades," Desmond was about to start howling again before Evalina quickly added "And Phoebe you must set an example for Josh, that's no way to speak to your father."
    "Puh-leese, don't give me the old "set an example" rant," said Phoebe crossing her arms."Josh knows what's wrong and what's right, I'm not gonna act it all out for him."

    On hearing his name Josh rose his glare from his mobile phone to look at the arguement. Clearly uninterested he return to his phone again. Josh frantically tapped the phone screen increasing the volume whilst shouting at Phoebe, Desmond and Evalina, telling them to shut up. Draydens younger sister ,Ellie, had eyes pinned to the television. The volume from the television was so loud that Drayden could feel the vibrations in his jawbone. Baby Charles in the kitchen was crying as he splattered his meal all over his toys. Drayden thought Charlie must have liked the porridge as much as he liked the muesli. Drayden made his way to Charlies kitchen chair to clean the mess. Charlie immediately stopped crying and started giggling as Drayden tickled his stomach. He stretched his miniature hands to Drayden face then retracted it as if he touched a soldering iron. Draydens phone alarm rang, it was time for school. Drayden the quicker way through the back door but he wasn't particularly looking forward to the first day of school in the New year so so he took the long way through the sitting room. In addition to the commercial voices of the television, the volume of the arguement had just escalated.

    "Evalina, didn't you hear me say she was out for nine hours!" said Desmond
    "Yes! I think we've all established she was out for nine hours!" shreiked Evalina, her once calm voice now screechy. Shouting had taken it's toll on her because her eye were streaming with tears."We've already spent enough time worrying,just be happy she's safe!" Everyone in the sitting room went silent so only the TV could be heard.
    "I knew it," said Desmond calmly."Ever since we got to this house everyone has been acting up, I knew this would happen.Moving here was a mistake."
    "A mistake? A mistake! Desmond, we both made the decision-"
    "No! You made the desicion!"
    "What else was a mistake? Was our marriage a mistake? Was having kids a mistake? Was having Phoebe a mistake? Was it? Was it?" Evalina's eyes were blood-hound red, her mascara and foundation merged with tears. Phoebe's hand clasped around her mouth, her eyes also beginning to water.

    Drayden had stopped to listen to the disturbing comments his mother had made. He couldn't bare to see his mother crying so stared at the crimson carpet.

    "I,I...I'm...I'm sorry" said Desmond. "But what was I supposed to do? My daughter was missing for nine hours? What was I supposed to do? What would anyone do you? Drayden, what would you do if your sixteen year old daugther went missing?"

    Drayden was startled. He removed his gaze from the carpet, to his fathers stubbled face then to the cream walls. He stared at the buzzing lights while he thought of his answer. This was a "Whose side are you on?" type of question so for peacefulness sake Drayden answered:

    "I don't know. I don't know what it's like to have a sixteen year old daughter."

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