Monday, 25 July 2011

GUTGAA Week 4 Novel Critique/Contest

Alas, all good things must come to an end. This blogfest has been a fun thing for me to do and I sincerely loved meeting all the lovely folks who participated.

For our last "hoorah!" we have to post the first 200 words of our novels. Three years ago this was difficult for me to do, because my first chapter wasn't quite "there' yet, but now I have a bit more confidence to share what I have been working on all this time. For me, I like to experiment with various openings and I concocted about six over the years. The opening of a novel is paramount to its success, and while I enjoy backstory in the beginning of a book (with nice writing and voice, of course) for my audience, reluctant boy readers, I chose one that gets right to it--no dilly dally; though, I do have some expository openings  that are equally as tasty.

T.D. McFrost

Bane Hollow and the Apocalypse of Judgment

Middle Grade Fantasy/Mystery

Valeous Rex strolled down Westminster Avenue on the most ordinary night he had ever seen. The sky was black and as it should be: a silver moon and many stars; busy folks bustled along on their merry way; the cool June air swishing their cloaks.

Nothing could possibly go wrong.

He turned into a crowded street and pushed a tinted glass door. A jumble of honks and pitter-patter rushed into the sound-proofed room. He released the door and walked on, as it closed a coin-sized fire ball whizzed past.

He surveyed the white linen tables scattered about and found one in the corner near the wall. Before he could loosen the last button on his black tux, a leggy waiter stepped beside him, took out a pad and asked what he would like to have...

"The usual," he replied.

“Very Well.” And the man left.

Valeous pulled the wooden chair and sat. He picked up a copy of the Daily Express near a tray of napkins, unfolded it and skimmed the headlines: London's Ailing Economy...Prince Harry Is A Bum…Almighty Hero Slays Boogeyman...

He blinked and read it again.

Almighty Hero Slays Boogeyman

Mr. Arthur Read is a psychologist and father of four. Despite his noble profession, he claims a Superhero saved him from the Boggeyman. What's more, Mr. Arthur says the Superhero was a boy.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by during the course of this blogfest (both old and new), you have no idea how much I value your company.

Now it's off to read some openings and make some new superhuman friends. ^_^


Alleged Author said...

This is great so far! I would definitely read more. :)

One comment I will make is that you *might* want to consider varying your sentence beginnings (i.e. quite a few begin with "he_____").

Anonymous said...

I was confused by the coin-sized fire ball . . . did he not notice it? Also, I was thrown off by him unbuttoning his jacket and the waiter coming--didn't realize he'd sat down already. Maybe show more progression of action there. You've done a nice job of setting the scene, but I don't care about your MC yet so sprinkle in some emphathy here.

amy kennedy said...

I would read on simply to find out about this world. I'm thinking the coin-sized fire ball has something to do with this a club for uper heroes? Am I completely off base? Some things confused me a little, but, I figured that was part of this world and I would definately like to read more.

Angie Cothran said...

I LOVE the name Valeous Rex. How cool is he? Cool!

Something about this grabbed me. I think it was the seamless way you dropped me into the world. Not a lot of explanation--just fact. I liked it.

I would read on. Great job.

amber said...

You're not going to like what I have to say -- and for that I'm really sorry. But, I'm trying to help.

-It's too much and not enough at the same time. I think you could shorten this all up into less than 100 words without losing a single thing.
-You're trying too hard to be literary. When he walked into the bar, I was lost for a second wondering why the sound was suddenly different -- because for a seoncd you were telling the story from the BAR's perspective, not the MC.
-If the night is all normal, then what are you bothering to describe it? You've got an agent's eyes for so short a time, why are you wasting it?
-The leggy waiter was a man? That's a really weird description that doesn't sit right.
-The line 'Nothing could possibly go wrong' is such blatant foreshadowing it's cliched.

My advice: Open a fresh word doc and start again. Don't focus on the prettiness of the words, focus on the story. Start where the story starts -- not while the guy is walking on the street.

Michelle Fayard said...

You have a lot of voice, Frost Lord. I was a little confused about who the MC is and the problems he is facing, but like Amy I figured it must be part of this world and would learn more as I read on. Amber's advice could help me get to that state of understanding sooner, though. :)

P.S. I'm a new follower!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I was thrown off by the fire ball as well. To me, the voice sounded more YA than MG, the character sounded too mature and polished for MG.

Christina Mercer said...

Love his name! Swishing cloaks, honks, and cool June air grounded me in the setting, and the sound-proofed room added intrigue. I was curious about the fire ball, and wanted just a bit more to clarify/expound on it. If he orders the same thing every time, I'd think the waiter wouldn't need to pull out his pad, he'd simply ask, "The usual, Mr. Rex?"

Good luck with the contest, and you have such a cool blog!!

Donna Perugini said...

Your graphic on the blog is awesome and intimidating!

I also had questions about the coin-sized fireball. Who shot at him or did everyone who entered get the same greeting?

T.D. McFrost said...

Thanks guys for the comments, but I forgot to mention this is an old opening and the one I'm currently using is not done. I tried to get it ready for the contest but, for the life of me, I couldn't come up with a good opening sentence. In a last ditch effort I decided to use this one.

Amber - LOL If I were the sort of writer who got mad from critiques you'd know. Trust me!

I, however, don't quite understand what "trying to be literary" means. Forgive me, but as is it is pure conjecture and I really can't use that to improve the piece or my writing.

The other stuff were spot on, though! You have an amazing eye. ^_^

Thanks again for the comments everyone, and I'll probably post the REAL opening soon so I can get some help on it. :D

K.V. Briar said...

I LOVE the genre that you write, its one of my favorite to read and write!

I really like how you've started this but there are parts that are quite confusing. I think you've gotten a lot of good, constructive critism above so I don't have much to add. Just tighten somethings up, I think you have a great idea to work with.

~K.V. Briar

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wow. This is quite a contrast between the very cool, calm character and all the stuff going on around him. It was a little confusing to be honest.

But I would read more.

amber said...

Oh PHEW! :) I was worried I'd made an enemy ... but I'm so glad I didn't!

Thanks for the compliment -- I'm an editor IRL ... though it doesn't at all help with my own writing.

Sure, I can explain what I mean by 'literary': I think sometimes that writers get so caught up in the romance of writing that they try to use big, beautiful words and descriptions -- or, they try to sound extra smart and extra talented, and do so by injecting complicated words or flowery phrases.

Professors do this A LOT; so do marketing people and pretty much anyone standing in front of an audience to give a speech.

All I'm saying is to take it down a notch. Show us you're good with the writing, not the words. Does that make more sense?

Josh Hoyt said...

The world that you have described is intriguing and I want to know more about it. Good job.

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