HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24

    first few pages of Eternall Yours a Gothic vampire novel set in 1927 Paris

    Partially concealed within the flickering gloom produced by a single candle sat a beautiful pale young woman on a bed of black satin. She stopped combing her cascade of red hair and stepped off the bed with graceful agility. She walked – almost glided - to the attic window embraced by bars. The shadows caressed her and begged her to feed. She was so hungry her white hands trembled with the blood craving. She turned with a snarl at a tall dark shadowy figure as it closed the door.
    ‘You really suck, Lucien,’ she declared with rage. ‘You will never be an Eternal.’
    ‘Don’t count on it!’Lucien replied from the hallway.
    She heard his childish giggling as the key locked the door from the outside. She heaved a sigh and sat back down on the bed, dressed in black satin sheets. She slipped under the covers and closed her eyes.
    ‘Don’t let the bed bugs bite.’ The woman drifted off to sleep, knowing full well the bugs always do bite – always filling her sleeping soul with lurid images of future events that might one day help her or not. These dreams had become ever more frequent as the Eternal day drew closer. Her hands clenched the black sheets as her nightly portent to things not yet seen gripped her tormented soul. Her nightmare took control of her fractured mind; becoming as real as her miserable life would dare.

    The red-haired woman staggered down a country lane like a pale wisp of swirling smoke, floating through the shroud of early morning mist created by a fine drizzle. Her bare feet, scratched and bloody, splashed through puddles dappled with the waning light of the moon. Leaves glistened with moisture, converting them into diamond-studded tiaras.
    She mumbled incoherently with a look of blank terror on her young, deathly-pale face. Her dark mascara ran in long black streaks down her chalk-white cheeks like tears of ink. Her face looked as though it had been through a thresher with criss-crossed scratches - the blood from which had joined the mascara to create a quite terrifying countenance. Her flaming red hair lay in a shambles about her shoulders, covered with a profusion of leaves and twigs, dripping with mud. The expensive-looking - but now ruined evening dress made of white gossamer chiffon - clung to her lithe body like a second skin.
    As she stumbled over a twig, she heard the deathly squeal of an animal in distress followed by a rustling in the bushes alongside the lane. She nervously looked to her left at the source of the noise. She stopped breathing and closed her eyes with grim anticipation of Lucien capturing her to uncork her veins until they were dry.
    ‘Eternal – eternal – eternal,’ the woman chanted as she staggered on down the lonely lane.
    ‘Am I Eternal?’ she asked herself, desperately trying to remember who she was, but it was no use – her fevered mind was filled with so much terror of being captured that all she could think of was to keep going at all costs. She could not even discern her whereabouts as the fear closed off her mind and fed on her internal struggle.
    She looked up to a see a waning, mist-shrouded moon; not yet full, but close, oh so tantalisingly close. Its ancient allure captured the young woman’s soul and seemed to nurture it. The moon was an important cycle but a cycle to what she could not remember. The vacuum of desperation quickened her blood with visions of dark hot liquid pouring from gaping wounds in her wrists. She stared at her hands.
    She gasped as a thorn from a red rose opened the vein in her palm. Her precious blood gushed forth in an unstoppable torrent. The trees moaned with a wet, creaking voice. Their darkly twisted bark transformed into angry wooden faces and the mangled branches became long bony arms that stretched over the lane. The wooden faces moaned lustfully as fine stick-like fingers dipped into the pools of her blood and sucked with unearthly pleasure. The early morning mist became pink with blood spray. The puddles she stepped in were pools of black congealing gore. Everywhere was blood – her blood – Eternal’s blood!
    She screamed in terror, putting her hands to her face. She shook her head to clear it of the dark visions, thinking that this cannot be happening – that she was not dead - not dead. Her body shivered uncontrollably as she splashed through the puddles of muddy water. A distant voice in her head whispered ever so sweetly – “I am Eternal.”



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684
    Mockingbird. I have the flu, so I'm only going to make a few observations. I'll come back later and give you a more in-depth critique -- if someone better doesn't do it first. I have a question though: how far in the story process are you? First draft? Second? Third?

    The observations are as follows. It's very hard to make a dream sequence work this early in a story; you might want to rethink that. Also, the first sentence is a whopper; if you really need to mention the black satin sheets there (considering that you mention them twice more in the opening paragraphs), consider rewording it. Also, the dialogue is unrealistic; I don't think people used that terminology in 1927.

    I'll be back later when I feel better. Good luck!!!

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Boise,Idaho
    Posts
    14
    My observation is there seems to be an "excessive" use of adjectives at times. As I read through this I felt the story getting bogged down because of it. Possibly because there are too many sentences that get the over emphasis with adjectives. Here is one example;

    The red-haired woman staggered down a country lane like a pale wisp of swirling smoke, floating through the shroud of early morning mist created by a fine drizzle.

    I myself struggle regularly trying to "paint" a picture in the readers mind, of a scene that I am envisioning. I know it in my head. But can't find the words without using my mental thesaurus. Good read though.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24
    thanks guys for that important input. The novel was completed a year ago. But as you've both discovered there's a problem with this opening sequence. My original had the amnesiac woman staggering down the lane, picked up by a farmer and taken to the asylum. My new version as above is a more linear explanation of how she arrived in her terrible state. The problem is I don't want the reader to know her name as she is shocked into amnesia. Hence the overuse of adjectives for her. But I will trim them down to a basic form. I think Tinman might be right, not to use dreams to explain future events. That way the shock arrival at the asylum will be more severe. Thanks again to Tinman and Brett. Will post a new version shortly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Sorry to say, Mockingbird, but I think this is pretty awful. It’s like you diligently searched for every possible cliché, then tried to express them in a style far above your abilities.

    And the incongruence, sometimes within the same sentence, produces humor I’m sure you don’t intend. I don’t know where to start. You’re an absolute prodigy for incongruence.

    Tell me how bars embrace a window. I know you’re trying to be figurative, but the last thing I think of for a metaphorical embrace is iron bars. And then we have a lovely woman calmly combing her beautiful red hair who gracefully glides to this window. Is it Juliet searching for her Romeo in her candlelit room, so beautiful, graceful, and calm? Nope. Surpise! It’s a snarling vampire half-crazed with blood lust.

    And then you have the temerity to have her say “You really suck, Lucien.” It doesn’t get much more campy. I almost expected her to add “And I oughta know.”

    Bed bugs filling her soul with lurid images…her face through a thresher…stumbling over a twig…a waning moon growing closer to full…a thorn opening a torrent of blood from a vein in her palm. Literally, it’s almost so ridiculous, that it’s good, lol.

    I’m sorry…I know that’s not the kind thing you’d like to hear, but I’d just start over if I were you. Here’s what I think you should do – it’s helped others:

    1. Write the scene as simply as you can, step by step, in short sentences. So yours would start something like this:
    a. A beautiful, red-haired, female vampire sits on a bed in an attic.
    b. She is ravenous for blood.
    c. Her captor, Lucien, enters the room, and they have a confrontation.
    d. Exhausted, she lays down to sleep and has a dream
    e. In the dream…etc.

    2. Start filling in details of the scene based on your outline. Now the point of this little exercise is to try to minimize your penchant for incongruence by bringing your brain and logic into the fray. If a female vampire is ravenous for blood, will she sit calmly combing her hair, or would she maybe pace and try to find a way out? Would she maybe use what little super-human strength she has left to try to bend those bars?

    3. Keep the style and wording simple. Avoid adjectives and adverbs.

    4. When you have a good, solid, bare-bones depiction of the scene, THEN look for places where adjectives, adverbs, and metaphors might improve it. Use them as carefully and sparingly as possible.

    5. Post it. I’d like to see if you do any better.

    That’s about it for me. By the way, put space between your paragraphs. Much easier to read that way.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    688
    Tell me how bars embrace a window. I know you’re trying to be figurative, but the last thing I think of for a metaphorical embrace is iron bars
    On that point John, I respectfully disagree. I was able to grasp the imagery upon first reading it. I don't think that line is as troubling as the amount of telling involved in this passage. Case in point:

    The expensive-looking - but now ruined evening dress made of white gossamer chiffon.

    She was so hungry her white hands trembled with the blood craving.
    I'm guessing, if it's a white gossamer chiffon dress, that her vampire father probably shed a few bloodrops over the price. Mockingbird, in addition to what's already been said, I think you should also work on combining details as well.

    The red-haired woman staggered down a country lane like a pale wisp of swirling smoke, floating through the shroud of early morning mist created by a fine drizzle.

    Could be rewritten as:

    Down a country lane, a red-headed girl staggered through an early morning mist.
    Last edited by Author Pendragin; 12-06-2012 at 11:45 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Alrighty, the window was embraced by the bars. That creates a good image in your mind. At best, it creates a contradictory one in my mind, seeing that the window surrounds the bars, "embracing" them more than the other way around. But OK, agree to disagree.

    Yeah, I didn't really get into the cumbersome wording. I'm just expecting it to improve if she follows my advice.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24
    thanks for the brutal critique, John. It's written this way to show the time and place - Paris 1927 Modernism, artistic license, Picasso, Chanel, Hemmingway - she is a vampire, not full-blooded - she has never tasted human blood and this makes her too weak to escape. We learn a little later on why she is held captive - Lucien intends to drain all her blood on the day of days - 6th June exactly to the same full moon of her birth. She has flashing images of what might be her future. She is keeping her precious blood for her true love as yet unknown to her. I have deliberatley injected humor and the suck word is important, because once Lucien does get a taste of her blood he becomes a Suck Up - a vampire eternally connected to her blood and addicted to it. Lucien hates this and thats why he wants all her blood so he can be Eternal and free of the addiction.

  9. #9
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Brutal? I'd go for blunt, but not brutal. Might be brutal if it were all critique and no explanation of how to fix it, but I told you how you might go about fixing it. I don't think you engage your brain too much when you write. I think you're concerned primarily with creating some sort of vague mood or emotion in the reader's mind and not too concerned with the actual meaning you convey. If you write nonsense, but you think it scares the reader, that's a success to you, I think. I guess I'm wanting you to shoot a little higher.

    The way it is written in no way indicates Paris 1927, not in the least. To my mind, the way to indicate setting is to include known buildings, people, and culture from the era. None of that appears in the post. In fact, I don't think they used the word "suck" in that way until sometime in the 60's or 70's in America. So I heartily disagree with you there.

    Listen, I didn't question your story. I'm sure it's a fine, interesting story. What I question and what I want you to question is how you tell it. A waxing moon grows more full, not a waning moon. There are no veins in the palm of your hand. Nobody stumbles over a twig. You need to fix those and the many other incongruencies. You write unnecessary detail, redundancies, odd metaphors and similes, all in an overblown style. Your writing is convoluted and difficult to read, clogged with adjectives and vague meaning. On the plus side, I think you use pretty good verbs, but they're buried under all those words. And you use plenty of empty verbs, which weaken the good ones further. My advice would help you clear out a lot of those problems, I think.

    But if you're happy with it, to each his own.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24
    I'm going to redo those few pages and resend, John. Tighten it up and explain the scenario better. Have to think of another phrase for newbie vampires as you say Suck Up is no good. Any thoughts as my brain kicks into gear. Afterthought, I know what you're saying about my brain, alas I had a major accident and was exposed to highly toxic dust. Ever since my thought patterns go haywire, I can't remmeber things I did an hour ago. I have fantastic scenes in my head when I wake up. By the time I get to my computer they're gone. Sometimes they pop back unexpectedly. This is what the story is all about. Psychiatric treatment.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts