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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2016
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    First eva chapter.

    So, I would like a few thoughts, as long as they are keeping in mind this is my first attempt. Of my first book. Ever. So, please try to be nice. I know where I want to go with this, but if you don't think it's worth it to continue please nicely tell me. Here goes!



    “I don’t wanna go! No! I’m staying!”
    “Yes, you are coming. Piper, let’s go.” MY parents were exasperated, I could feel it. Almost no patience left. I couldn't blame them. I was as stubborn as a mule when I felt like it, and I really felt like it now.
    “Remind me why we are leaving?” I asked, making sure to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. I knew protesting was hopeless, but a girl has to try.
    “It doesn’t matter. Let’s go,” they began to pack the last of our bags into the old hippie van in the driveway. I hated that thing, it was old, loud, and smelled like sour milk. Still loudly protesting, I got in. Suddenly there was a yell.
    “They’re coming!”
    A man, our neighbor John, stood on top of the hill. He repeated his call. “They’re here! Run for it!”
    Panic stricken, my parents and I launched ourselves into the van and tried to start it up.
    “Dang van, start up!” My father hit the van, fear evident in his face. I did not know what was happening. I could feel the small knot of fear in my stomach begin to grow. There was a large crash and the old clunker rattled to life. We all sighed, somewhat relieved. He put the pedal to the metal and we sped away. As we accelerated, I looked behind me - I saw John, and then I saw the infected. There were hundreds of them and they overtook my kind neighbor quickly. I watched in horror as they ferociously attacked him, tearing into his flesh like it was a juicy hamburger. I closed my eyes and turned away as he was killed and eaten.
    “Mom? Dad? What were those things?” I asked, stunned.
    “Honey, remember the story on the news the other day about the virus hallo?”
    “Yeah,” I closed my eyes. “That’s what is does then?”
    “Unfortunately, yes. They are turned into zombies of a sort. The infected hunt large groups of people, so we are going to your grandparents in Loghis where there is few people and we’ll be safe,” they answered. “I am sorry you had to see that.”
    I hung my head, scared of what was next. I thought about John, how he had lost his life to help us get away, and the infected. What would happen to us? Would Gran even take us, assuming she was still alive? I didn’t know enough. Watching the road go by, I leaned my head against the window and sighed. It was going to be a long trip, Loghis was several hundred miles away, and who knew how many infected were there. Gas was limited, and gas stations were few and far between. It was a tough situation. Eventually, I knew I would have to get out and walk. I sighed again. How could things have gone so wrong? My whole life was ahead of me… and then some dumb bimbos had to go and release the hallo. I shuddered. What a horrible word. My mother reached back and touched my shoulder.
    “Are you okay?” she asked.
    I stared into her eyes, noticing the fear as well as the intense love she showed for me. “Yah, I’m just scared.”
    “Now do you see why we had to leave?” she asked, looking directly at me. I nodded. I also realized if it was not for me dragging my feet John might have lived, not having to warn us, although I didn’t say it. It hurt to even think about it. I closed my eyes and leaned back again, thinking about the time my family had spent with his. Barbecues, picnics, movies - we had spent much time together, and it had been some of the most fun I have ever had.
    A little later, the van shuddered and I woke up. I did not remember falling asleep, and I sat up and rubbed my eyes.
    “Where are we?” I asked. According to my watch, it had been almost four hours.
    “Honey, we are about an hour away. I am glad you’re up, though. We are almost out of gas and will soon need to refill or get out and walk,” my mom said.
    “Okay…” I said. “What does that mean?”
    “It means we're in trouble,” my father answered. “Who knows what’s out there?”
    “Shush,” my mother said. “You’re scaring her.”
    He grumbled and was silent. I turned my head and watched the land flitting by. Currently, we were passing through a smaller town that looked as if it had already been ravished by the infected. Windows were broken and some houses were burned. I looked at my watch again. It had been another ten minutes, and we were still about fifty miles away. Without warning, the van began to cough. It shuddered and began to cruise to a stop.
    “Shoot. There is nothing near here,” my mother commented. She reached under the seat and brought out a pistol. My jaw dropped.
    “Mom? What the heck is that for?” I asked. She is usually very anti-weapon, I have never actually seen her handle a gun before.
    “Honey, we don’t know what’s out there. It’s for our own safety.” She turned and glanced at me. “And right now, that is the most important thing.”
    I was about to reply but decided against it. She, nor my father, was in the mood for sarcasm. I looked around, noting where my stuff was in case we had to get out and walk. Mother stepped out of the van, making sure to look for anyone around first. Her boots made a small cloud of dust on the ground.
    “Careful,” my father warned. “Remember, we don’t know what’s out there.”
    She rolled her eyes at him. “No, really? I thought we were out for a joy ride!” she said.
    He scowled at her, but let off. I stepped out after her. The air was hot and dry, with a slight breeze stirring the treetops. Glancing around, I noted the derelict condition of the houses and shops. It looked like we were near what might have been a touristy area. I groaned and stretched, leaning way over to touch my toes.
    “Are we gonna have to walk?” I asked.
    “Looks like it. We are not to far away, we should make it by noon tomorrow,” he answered.
    I groaned again. It was going to be a long day, as we were most likely going to have to carry everything. I reached into the van and grabbed my bag. Hiking it over my shoulder, I waited for Mom and Dad to grab theirs, and we set off, locking the van behind us.
    Right away I knew this was going to be even more miserable than I had imagined. We had limited water, no food, and it was hot. I lagged behind them, watching my feet, forcing myself not to grumble. I knew there was nothing any of us could do. I would just have to tough it out. When I thought about the irony of our situation, I snorted. Look at me. We are some of the most wealthy people in the area, yet here we are walking like pack mules. Even our ride out here was worthy of a homeless man, I thought.
    “Psst!” someone whispered. “Over here!”



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    First thing is that when you post to the forum always put an extra space between paragraphs so it doesn't run together. Makes it easier to read. Second, this is almost entirely dialogue. You need more of a balance. Think of it this way: When people are talking they aren't doing.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Mutt View Post
    First thing is that when you post to the forum always put an extra space between paragraphs so it doesn't run together. Makes it easier to read. Second, this is almost entirely dialogue. You need more of a balance. Think of it this way: When people are talking they aren't doing.
    Thank you! Anything on plot or speed of story? I am a little concerned I am moving to fast, or that I need more introduction, or description, or whatever. Does anyone like the idea of the story? Is it worth continuing?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    May 2015
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    Elkins Park PA
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    343
    Your feel for story is better than most, but you need to focus more in being the protagonist in her moment of now than explaining the events as the protagonist at an unknown later time. If you're in her viewpoint, and making the reader share it, you have to show what matters to her and so, can leave nothing she feels necessary out. But when telling a story while pretending to be the protagonist at some later time, you'll tend to miss things the reader needs to know because they seem obvious from your viewpoint.

    Some comments on the prose
    “I don’t wanna go! No! I’m staying!”
    It's usually as bad idea to start with dialog because while you know who's speaking when you read, from a reader's viewpoint, this could be any person, of any age and gender, in any situation, so it comes without context. But suppose you'd begun with, "Get in the damn car, Piper," my father said. "I don't have time to argue." Something like that tells us what's going on, where we are, and our protagonist's name. And it also establishes the father's mindset and character to some extent.
    MY parents were exasperated, I could feel it. Almost no patience left.
    This is data, a report. But why are they exasperated? If we don't know why it won't mean anything to the reader.

    Think about it. She knows why they're upset. You know why. Everyone standing by the car knows. But the one you wrote the story for has not a clue. See the problem? It's informative, but not entertaining. And isn't entertainment why you read? So everywhere you see yourself (or your alter-ego the narrator) explaining anything, you're explaining not entertaining. Sometimes it's necessary, for example passing over a necessary but boring time stretch. But as Sol Stein observed, “In sum, if you want to improve your chances of publication, keep your story visible on stage and yourself mum.”
    Suddenly there was a yell.
    “They’re coming!”
    First, what does "suddenly accomplish? Any shout begins suddenly. But that aside, here, you're placing effect, mentioning the yell, before cause, which is the actual shout. Why not show it as it actually happened to her:

    "They're coming," our neighbor, John, shouted from the top of the hill.

    That way she hears the words and then identifies the one shouting. That's her perception, in her moment of now. The original was someone not on the scene reporting it.
    “Unfortunately, yes. They are turned into zombies of a sort. The infected hunt large groups of people, so we are going to your grandparents in Loghis where there is few people and we’ll be safe,” they answered.
    Placing a tag that far from the line's opening is like appending "Lincoln said," to the Gettysburg address.

    If the tag is necessary, you could place it like: "Unfortunately, yes," my mother said. They are turned into..." In general, though, if the reader knows who's speaking, no tag is necessary. Using someone's name in a line of dialog, for example, makes us know who's speaking and who's going to respond, without need of a tag.

    And as a not so minor point, you need to be less formal. People talk in contractions. Not using them here makes the dialog seem stiff.
    He put the pedal to the metal
    An expression so overused it's trite. I also have a minor quibble. Agreed that the van isn't a race car, but it couldn't be slow enough to do more than watch the man be more than overwhelmed, not eaten.
    “Mom? What the heck is that for?” I asked. She is usually very anti-weapon,
    Wait... They watched someone be eaten alive. They're running away. The van just stranded them. And she asks what the pistol is for? Seriously?

    If you place yourself into the mind of the protagonist, instead of driving her around, she'll not agree to be dumb when you need dumb, and smart when the plot calls for smart. Be careful to write from the inside out, not the outside in.

    In general, though, I'm impressed with your feel for a scene. So definately geep at it. The story? Seems like just another virus caused zombie story, where the dead serve as the mindless villain. It would be a hard sell. But if you write it well enough to hook the reader on page one...

    Hang in there, and keep on writing.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    Your feel for story is better than most, but you need to focus more in being the protagonist in her moment of now than explaining the events as the protagonist at an unknown later time. If you're in her viewpoint, and making the reader share it, you have to show what matters to her and so, can leave nothing she feels necessary out. But when telling a story while pretending to be the protagonist at some later time, you'll tend to miss things the reader needs to know because they seem obvious from your viewpoint.

    Some comments on the proseIt's usually as bad idea to start with dialog because while you know who's speaking when you read, from a reader's viewpoint, this could be any person, of any age and gender, in any situation, so it comes without context. But suppose you'd begun with, "Get in the damn car, Piper," my father said. "I don't have time to argue." Something like that tells us what's going on, where we are, and our protagonist's name. And it also establishes the father's mindset and character to some extent.This is data, a report. But why are they exasperated? If we don't know why it won't mean anything to the reader.

    Think about it. She knows why they're upset. You know why. Everyone standing by the car knows. But the one you wrote the story for has not a clue. See the problem? It's informative, but not entertaining. And isn't entertainment why you read? So everywhere you see yourself (or your alter-ego the narrator) explaining anything, you're explaining not entertaining. Sometimes it's necessary, for example passing over a necessary but boring time stretch. But as Sol Stein observed, “In sum, if you want to improve your chances of publication, keep your story visible on stage and yourself mum.” First, what does "suddenly accomplish? Any shout begins suddenly. But that aside, here, you're placing effect, mentioning the yell, before cause, which is the actual shout. Why not show it as it actually happened to her:

    "They're coming," our neighbor, John, shouted from the top of the hill.

    That way she hears the words and then identifies the one shouting. That's her perception, in her moment of now. The original was someone not on the scene reporting it. Placing a tag that far from the line's opening is like appending "Lincoln said," to the Gettysburg address.

    If the tag is necessary, you could place it like: "Unfortunately, yes," my mother said. They are turned into..." In general, though, if the reader knows who's speaking, no tag is necessary. Using someone's name in a line of dialog, for example, makes us know who's speaking and who's going to respond, without need of a tag.

    And as a not so minor point, you need to be less formal. People talk in contractions. Not using them here makes the dialog seem stiff.An expression so overused it's trite. I also have a minor quibble. Agreed that the van isn't a race car, but it couldn't be slow enough to do more than watch the man be more than overwhelmed, not eaten.Wait... They watched someone be eaten alive. They're running away. The van just stranded them. And she asks what the pistol is for? Seriously?

    If you place yourself into the mind of the protagonist, instead of driving her around, she'll not agree to be dumb when you need dumb, and smart when the plot calls for smart. Be careful to write from the inside out, not the outside in.

    In general, though, I'm impressed with your feel for a scene. So definately geep at it. The story? Seems like just another virus caused zombie story, where the dead serve as the mindless villain. It would be a hard sell. But if you write it well enough to hook the reader on page one...

    Hang in there, and keep on writing.
    Awesome! Thank you! I know it seems a bit cliche, but I'm going somewhere new with it. While in the beginning it may seem as the dead are the villain, I plan to introduce the creator of them and the reason behind it, which should take it off of the cliche train and totally change the story. As long as the reader stays on past the first little bit, I want to take it farther away from what it originally seemed to be and make it something even bigger, better, and totally new.

    And all things said, this was more of a practice story than anything else. I like the story, but it doesn't appeal to me, I may just let it go and try something new and come back later. I find myself hitting writers block far to often, whereas with some of my other ideas have no end to flow of ides. (And yes, I am writing those down)

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