How many fiction writers do we have here?

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Floss
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Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:31 pm Post

bustinloose82 wrote:Beads of rain congregate around the tiny fissure inside the ruptured roof of room 316. It’s only a small crack, but enough for the parade of droplets to descend upon the wall. The white walls still glisten from the paint job, which must have been completed a few hours earlier. My hands tremble, and tired eyes glare as water and pastel mingle.


this one is quite difficult to judge without a bit more context - whether provided by the next couple of paragraphs or from more infomation about the genre, book title etc.

in any case, as it is it feels to me like quite a soft open. the environment being described is supposed to be quite harsh, but the description of it is quite relaxed and poetic, using words like glisten, tremble, and mingle.

i also think that the ordering of sentences / observations might need some thought. this is being told as a first person narratve, which means that we can reasonably expect the observations to be in the order the character notices them or attaches importance to them. in which case, the beads around a fissure would probably come after larger observations.

i'm also not sure that starting a book with a description of location is the best lead-in. better to start with some sort of action, or at least with the character's reaction to the location. eg,
my first thought was that this was a miserable place for someone to have to die.

all pretty presumptuous without more context / genre, i know.

better still, go with something that tells you up front what kind of story you are telling. eg, lee child,s excellent book ,gone tomorrow, begins...
Lee Child wrote:Suicide bombers are easy to spot. They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs. Mostly because they are nervous. By definition they're all first timers.

not much room for doubt about what you are in for there.
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.

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Floss
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Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:51 pm Post

Esmeralda wrote:That night, she dreamed about a toothy monster with claws for fingers, huge and scarier than the cute ones on Sesame Street. Kassy ran to Mommy and Daddy, but they weren’t in their room. The telenovelas were over and the gray haired man who told the news was frowning. When the TV was on mute at night, Mommy was helping Daddy close up the bodega on the first floor. Even if scared, Kassy was supposed to tiptoe so that the neighbors wouldn’t complain about her running up and down the stairs. The door from the hallway to the storeroom was unlocked. The ceiling lights buzzed and hissed. Kassy was about to call Mommy when she heard voices. She wasn’t supposed to interrupt Mommy and Daddy when they were helping customers. She waited behind a stack of boxes next to the metal shelves, but the voices were unfriendly. She peeked.


interesting open. i like the use of mommy and daddy to give the narrative as younger language... so that even though it,s being told in the third person we feel the narrator is a similar age to kassy and has similar fears.

there are a couple of aspects of the writing i,d consider for a second run and polish. i,ve listed a few below to give you an idea, but basically my advice is keep going and see where it takes you.

Esmeralda wrote:That night, she dreamed...

since this is the first line of the story and you,ve not established any setting yet, the lead in phrase of ,that night, doesn,t work here. we haven,t got any context of what ,that night, is.

Esmeralda wrote:...toothy monster with claws for fingers...

aren,t all claws like that

Esmeralda wrote:That night, she dreamed about a toothy monster with claws for fingers, huge and scarier than the cute ones on Sesame Street.

think about sentence structure and also cadence - this implies the fingers are huge and scarier rather than the monsters - or at least is ambiguous.

Esmeralda wrote:When the TV was on mute at night, Mommy was helping Daddy close up the bodega on the first floor.

make sure the tense of all the parts of the sentence are in agreement. also the second part of the sentence doesn't really follow from the first and should probably be seperate out.

Esmeralda wrote:...telenovelas... bodega...

i have a pretty good vocabulary - even for an educated cat - and i had to look up what these two were. i,d advise against using words that a good proportion of people wouldn,t know at the best of times as it breaks the fourth wall between the action and the reader, but this is especially true when you are deliberately writing in a younger and more innocent voice.
given the choice of words here i have to ask... is this a translation of something originally written in spanish
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.

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vic-k
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Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:48 pm Post

zubingarda wrote:He was the last man on Earth. Then he heard a knock at his door.
Zubi, Hiya,
When I skimmed this sentence, a while back, I went,'Ughhh! Creepy!" which, I should imagine, is the desired effect that you set out to achieve. However, having revisited your post, and reread it along with Floss's comments. I now see it in a different light.

Those schooled in the art of serious constructive critique of other's work, would, I suspect, want to know: on whose authority are we to believe that 'he' is, at the time of the knock on the door, the last human being on Earth, which is what I think you are implying. Or more accurately, he believes he is the last human being on Earth. Pedants would probably point out that only an omniscient narrator, would know if 'He" was the last human being. The man himself, could only reasonably be expected to suspect at the very best, that he could be the last. The fact that we the readers, as well as the narrator are in the privileged position of knowing yea or nay, doesn't extend to, "he". For the shock that the man would undoubtedly receive, from the knock on his door, to have the maximum impact upon the reader, I think you may have to sacrifice the brevity of the sentence, and redefine the nature of the man's isolation.

Still an eery quick skim, though! :shock:

Take care
Vic
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

Es
Esmeralda
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Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:31 pm Post

Merci beaucoup, querido gatito lindo Floss...

Thank you for your comments, it means a lot that you took the time to analyze my paragraph. Yes, this needs much polish, and yes, English is my second language. I use Spanish in my writing, a word here and there because I wish the reader to know that, while he or she is reading the text in English, the people in the story are thinking/speaking Spanish.

I'm in the very beginnings of this novel and this is how it starts in my process, but it's likely that this paragraph might not be in the first page. When crafting fiction I feel like an explorer, approaching a new shore, sailing as close as I can get to land, peering through my telescope and taking note of the one or two or three things that fill in the gaps of my ignorance. Eventually I find a place to land.

My regards to your human, the pirate.

Saludos,
Esmeralda

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vic-k
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Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:39 pm Post

Esmeralda, ¡feliz año nuevo!! :D
If my mouse-hound, Fuff (Floss' cousin) was posting this, she'd say, 'Yeah! Second language as in 'Fluent'." Then go on to say, "Decidedly superior to anything my human can come out with." What do cats know, anyway? :( pffrrrtt!!

As I am aware of your Latin/Spanish heritage, the words:..telenovelas... bodega...didn't actually penetrate the fourth..., but Floss does have a point, unless of course, your intended market was/is a burgeoning Hispanic market of English speaking youngsters, whose English, will, I should imagine, contain many words of Spanish influence/derivation. Just a thought. :wink:

Good Luck with the novel, Esmerelda. I'll look forward to its publication.
Take care
Vic
PS
Meant to say, that in my much younger days, I had a pint or two in: http://www.manchesterbeat.com/venues/ma ... bodega.php
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

Vi
Viking
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Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:57 am Post

Randomly reading forums I'm subscribed to beats doing work on a Friday afternoon...

Here goes with my attempt:

It isn't easy to explain or describe what happened to me. Nor is it easy to explain why I made my decision. It would be a trivial effort to say that I had little choice in the matter, but that is a lie. I freely chose, of my own accord.
On the outskirts of nowhere,
On the ring-road to somewhere,
On the verge of indecision,
I'll always take the roundabout way.

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Fluff
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Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:08 pm Post

Viking wrote:Randomly reading forums I'm subscribed to beats doing work...
Young Thor, the above^ :roll: only serves to illustrate the more than obvious fact that you don't know what you are talking about. Reading anything on the Scriv. fora is hard work...very...hard work. You're obviously a masochist.
Viking wrote:It isn't easy to explain or describe what happened to me. Nor is it easy to explain why I made my decision. It would be a trivial effort to say that I had little choice in the matter, but that is a lie. I freely chose, of my own accord.
You won't be forced to walk the plank if you regale us with a few more hundred words. They'll give the sharks, piranhas, and barracudas, something to get their teeth into.
Take care Odin,
Fluff
Sent from Pangur ban's Astral iPad

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Floss
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Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:07 pm Post

Viking wrote:
It isn't easy to explain or describe what happened to me. Nor is it easy to explain why I made my decision. It would be a trivial effort to say that I had little choice in the matter, but that is a lie. I freely chose, of my own accord.


as my good friend fluff says, more please so we can have a good go at it. but, based on what you have here so far...

as a reader, editor and general all round critic, i like to know i,m in for a good well written read. so in the same way that i hate to hear the apology ,sorry i,m not a great singer, just before someone launches into a song at an open mike night, an opening that suggests something might be an awkward or complex read - ,,it isn,t easy to explain or describe,, - sets some alarm bells ringing.

i do like the idea of launching off with the confession that - bizarre as it might sound - the character actually deliberately chose to get embroilled in whatever misadventures followed.

which brings us full circle back to... more please.
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.

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John Dodds
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Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:31 pm Post

Really interesting idea, Esmeralda. But my feeling is that you are cramming too much into one sentence. Plus you say she is a descendant of men (it would be one man, rather than men). Also, I don't know what the Ocean Sea is, though you may explain this later - is this a fantasy novel of some sort? And couldn't Ana be a descendent of Don Cristobal himself? That might make it more powerful.

Esmeralda wrote:Here’s mine:

Ana was the descendant of the first men to sail with the Grand Admiral of the Ocean Sea himself, don Cristóbal Colón.



Esmeralda

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Floss
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Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:28 pm Post

you can be a descendent of men: dad, granddad, granddaddad, etc...
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.

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John Dodds
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Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:23 pm Post

True, Floss, but she states specifically ones who sailed with the Great Admiral...would all of these generations have been with one Admiral?

Floss wrote:you can be a descendent of men: dad, granddad, granddaddad, etc...

Es
Esmeralda
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Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:08 am Post

Thank you, John Dodds and Floss for the comments and discussion. I changed the sentence under debate following the original posts. The book, Conquistadora, was published in July 2011 with a different chapter, different first sentence.

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John Dodds
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Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:36 am Post

Where is your book published, Esmeralda?

In terms of first sentences, and so on, I guess everyone could argue the fine points of any first sentence in a book. Yours was certainly very intriguing, and I wish you great success with Conquistatora..

Esmeralda wrote:Thank you, John Dodds and Floss for the comments and discussion. I changed the sentence under debate following the original posts. The book, Conquistadora, was published in July 2011 with a different chapter, different first sentence.

Es
Esmeralda
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Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:40 pm Post

Hi John,

Conquistadora was published in the US by Knopf, simultaneously by Alfaguara in Spanish in US and Latin America. It's been translated and published in Russian. It's being translated into Portuguese,Finnish and Swedish.

Esmeralda

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:14 pm Post

"He would have known that she came from money even if her name had not been entered on his appointment calendar, her body tall and erect, her gate telegraphing a no-nonsense style, moving with the accuracy of a rifle shot from the office door to the chair placed across from his desk, looking neither left or right but with eyes locked on his from the moment she entered the office, and without any hint of the hesitancy, awkwardness, uncertainty, fear, anger, or disgrace with which so many had entered through the door of his office, which even now was simply and discreetly lettered: Personal Investigations."