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FOTSGreg
06-04-2009, 03:27 AM
Inspired by Uncle Jim's thread in the Novels forum, I thought we could have some fun with this here as well mainly because I don't have enough to do or enough time to read everything some of you might have.

The rules (Mods, feel free to chime in here),

You can post the first page (ie the first half-page, double-spaced, or 100 words - from any published work or your own published/unpublished work of horror or cross-genre horror fiction (per Haggis' instructions below).

You can respond by saying "Yes" or "No" and by stating, in a polite manner, why (again, as per Haggis' instructions below). You may not insult the personal integrity or style of the author in any fashion although you may be frank about why you would not turn the page.

No Stephanie Meyers stuff! Period. End of story.

If you are the author of the piece you may respond, in a polite fashion, and invite discussion (here or elsewhere) on how the first page might be improved.

Don't tell us right away where the piece is from or who it's by. You must, however, let us know later.

I'll post a piece of mine tomorrow as I don't have the right file with me right now, but let's play.

Or you can just tell me to go soak my head...

FOTSGreg
06-04-2009, 01:06 PM
Okay, rather than starting off with something of mine, here's the first page of a published novel,

-----
"The dead scrabbled for an entrance to his grave. His wife was among them, as ravenous for Jim in death as she'd been in life. Their faint, soulless cries drifted down through ten feet of soil and rock.

The kerosene lamp cast flickering shadows on the cinder block walls, and the air in the shelter was stale and earthy. His grip on the Ruger tightened. Above him, Carrie shrieked and clawed at the earth.

She'd been dead for a week.

Jim sighed, breathing in the dank air. He lifted the metal coffeepot from where it sat on the heater and poured himself a cup."
-----
104 words

Do you turn the page?

Calla Lily
06-04-2009, 05:05 PM
Argh, I've read this! The name completely escapes me at the moment. IIRC, I turned the page.

rsmccoy
06-04-2009, 05:55 PM
There are issues with posting copyrighted material without permission. I think it would be better to use people's unpublished work or at least work people own the rights to.

Inarticulate Babbler
06-04-2009, 07:11 PM
10% of all copyrighted material can be "sampled" without permission. As long as credit is given where due, and you don't try and claim you wrote it, there shouldn't be a problem. (Well, I guess flash fiction and micro fiction would be out.)

FOTSGreg
06-04-2009, 07:14 PM
rsmccoy, I believe this constitutes what might be called "fair use" in that it is clearly stated that it is not for intention of copyright violation, it's an extremely small section (a couple of hundred words), and it's in the nature of a game or blurb for "review" purposes. In addition, we will give attribution once people have commented, stating whose work the piece is from.

Haggis, DL Hegel, what say the Mods?

DeeCaudill
06-04-2009, 08:59 PM
I did turn the page...

Establishes the situation without hesitation, then gets a little bit infodumpy. I don't mind since it explains why Jim has a bunker in the first place.

The fact that it's his wife above ups the dread factor.

A few pages later, when we get to see her I thought it was campy and funny. I'm still not sure if it was the author's intent.

Calla Lily
06-04-2009, 09:24 PM
Pretty please, what's the book????

Haggis
06-04-2009, 09:32 PM
Haggis, DL Hegel, what say the Mods?

AW has a standard for fair use. I'm pretty sure it's not to exceed 50 words, but I'll check. Of course, you can always use a link, but I suppose that would kill the purpose of the exercise. I'll get back on this.

FOTSGreg
06-04-2009, 10:16 PM
Thanks, Haggis. If it's not to exceed 50 words, we'll stick to that until you get back to us.

Callalilly, The book is "The Rising" by Brian Keene.

Haggis
06-04-2009, 10:30 PM
I got some advice from Medievalist on this one, and I think I'm going to use it--at least until I hear different from Mac. So, here it is:

Limit your quotation to 100 words, and make sure you quote the source once the guessing is done;

Make sure you surround the text with Quotes (or the AW quote function).

All "yes" or "no" replies need some reasoning behind them, even if it's simply "it didn't work for me;"

No use of other AW member's stories. Your own is fair game.

Scott is right to be concerned. It's a tricky situation, and what constitutes "fair use" is not always all that clear. But if we use this thread the way it's intended--as an exercise, and if we always site the source, it should be okay.

FOTSGreg
06-04-2009, 11:54 PM
Haggis, Fair enough. Can we go over slightly to complete the sentence (as in the 104 above)?

Calla Lily
06-04-2009, 11:58 PM
Thanks, Haggis. If it's not to exceed 50 words, we'll stick to that until you get back to us.

Callalilly, The book is "The Rising" by Brian Keene.

Thank you! I lurves Keene's writing. Knew I knew this book. It's been a couple of years, tho.

Haggis
06-05-2009, 12:27 AM
Haggis, Fair enough. Can we go over slightly to complete the sentence (as in the 104 above)?

I see no problem with that.

FOTSGreg
06-05-2009, 01:34 AM
All Hail our Evil Jackbooted Thug Overlord!

Haggis
06-05-2009, 01:53 AM
Yes. All hail our...

Huh?

:D

FOTSGreg
06-05-2009, 02:08 AM
Okay, here's another one. I'll tell you up-front that this one was translated into a decent horror movie, but it's most famous for being SF.

-----
"The place stank. A queer, mingled stench that only the ice-buried cabins of an Antarctic camp know, compounded of reeking human sweat, and the heavy, fish-oil stench of melted seal blubber. An overtone of liniment combated the musty smell of sweat-and-snow-drenched furs. The acrid odor of burnt cooking fat, and the animal, not-unpleasant smell of dogs, diluted by time, hung in the air.

Lingering odors of machine oil contrasted sharply with the taint of harness dressing and leather. Yet somehow, through all that reek of human beings and their associates - dogs, machines and cooking - came another taint."
-----

Do you turn the page?

jodiodi
06-06-2009, 09:43 AM
Sure, I would.

Is that "Who Goes There?" (can't remember movie name)

Kerr
06-06-2009, 10:17 AM
The Thing? Yes I'd definitely turn the page. I actually don't mind starting things with a bit of description. This is strong, says what it needs to say and within two paragraphs points us in the direction it intends to go. Good writing MO

FOTSGreg
06-06-2009, 07:08 PM
Yup, it's the opening for John W. Campbell's novella "Who Goes There" which was made into the movie "The Thing From Another World" in the 1950s and, of course, John Carpenter's classic horror version "The Thing" in 1982.

I think Carpenter's version more faithfiully follows the story, but there is a lot in this opening that sets the entire scene and tone for the story, just as Carpenter strove to do in his opening scenes.

Notice how much Campbell relies on smells to set his scene. Smell is one of the most emotionally powerful senses in humans, but I think it's often overlooked in our writing.

Doodlebug
06-07-2009, 02:55 AM
Okay, here's another one. I'll tell you up-front that this one was translated into a decent horror movie, but it's most famous for being SF.

-----
"The place stank. A queer, mingled stench that only the ice-buried cabins of an Antarctic camp know, compounded of reeking human sweat, and the heavy, fish-oil stench of melted seal blubber. An overtone of liniment combated the musty smell of sweat-and-snow-drenched furs. The acrid odor of burnt cooking fat, and the animal, not-unpleasant smell of dogs, diluted by time, hung in the air.

Lingering odors of machine oil contrasted sharply with the taint of harness dressing and leather. Yet somehow, through all that reek of human beings and their associates - dogs, machines and cooking - came another taint."
-----

Do you turn the page?

Definitely. Love the book; love the movie.

And just to add...why would I read on? (1) it takes place in Antarctica (which, for me, is a fascinating setting) and (2) it's a short, interesting description that implies there is action going on (cooking, sweaty furs, dogs). The cliffhanger at the end is great, too.

Haggis
06-07-2009, 03:21 AM
I almost always turn the other page, regardless. But "...came another taint" was the hook that nailed it for me.

Kerr
06-09-2009, 11:05 PM
Next?

dgrintalis
06-10-2009, 12:09 AM
Here is another one. 81 words. The next sentence would have pushed it to 118 words, which I thought was a little too far over the 100 limit:

"More than twenty years ago, an underrated Arizona schoolboy named Tom Flanagan was asked by another boy to spend the Christmas vacation with him at the house of his uncle. Tom Flanagan’s father was dying of cancer, though no one at the school knew of this, and the uncle’s house was far away, such a distance that return would have been difficult. Tom refused. At the end of the year his friend repeated the invitation, and this time Tom Flanagan accepted."

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 12:21 AM
Totally stumped, dgrin.

FOTSGreg
06-10-2009, 02:48 AM
Yup, I'd turn the page though I know not the work. Basically, the reason Tom accepted the invitation is the reason and I want to know more.

In addition, the writing style is clean, simple, and not overloaded with a lot of miscellaneous description. I like clean and simple styles (wish I could always keep my own stuff clean and simple).

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 03:22 AM
*whimper* Someone rep me with the answer?

Kerr
06-10-2009, 04:08 AM
Um, uh...Boy's Town? Or was that the movie name? Yep, it puts you right in, but I hope it starts to do something more, quickly. These kinds put me to sleep real fast if they don't get very interesting.

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 04:28 AM
By Robert McCammon? I loved his Swan Song.

dgrintalis
06-10-2009, 04:55 AM
Hmmm...is it time for me to reveal it yet? Or should I wait for a few more replies?

EFCollins
06-10-2009, 05:29 AM
I'd say no, I don't turn the page, but it doesn't sound like my type of book. Depending on the back cover description, though. First para impression? Nah.... give, what is it?

dgrintalis
06-10-2009, 05:47 AM
Drum roll please.

It's Shadowland by Peter Straub. One of my favorite books! :)

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 05:54 AM
Oh. No wonder I didn't recognize it. LOL, dgrin, Straub is on my "don't read again" list. I really dislike the way he starts a chapter by telling what's going to be in the chapter. Personal preference thing.

EFCollins
06-10-2009, 06:07 AM
Yeah, not a Straub fan myself. Don't like his style.

dgrintalis
06-10-2009, 06:12 AM
Gotcha. Some of his stuff is just okay, but Shadowland? Fantastic.

Doodlebug
06-10-2009, 06:18 AM
Shadowland is a good book. But if I had to go by just those few words, I probably wouldn't turn the page.

But that's the trouble, isn't it? I mean, does every single book have to begin with beating hearts being torn out of chests? Is taking the time to build a story really so passe?

No, I don't like books that take a hundred pages to 'get to the good part'. But, yikes!, can't a writer have a little space.

IMHO, good writing is like good sex. The buildup is part of the fun. Hit the climax in ten seconds (or eighty words), and then what?

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 06:20 AM
My turn!


Right away in the west of Ireland lies a tiny hamlet called Kraighten. It is situated, alone, at the base of a low hill. Far around there spreads a waste of bleak and totally inhospitable country; where, here and there at great intervals, one may come uponthe ruins of some long desolate cottage--unthatched and stark. The whole land is bare and unpeopled, the very earth scarcely covering the rock that lies beneath it, and with which the country abounds, in places rising out of the spil in wave-shaped ridges.

Yet, in spite of its desolation, my friend Tonninson and I had elected to spend our vacation there.


This is 108 words. I wanted to give y'all something besides the description. Another non-grabbing opening, yes? Yet I've reread this book at least 10 times.

EFCollins
06-10-2009, 06:27 AM
Now see, I would definitely keep going with this one, Lily.

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 06:33 AM
Yep, Effy. One of the many (many!) reasons I :heart: Lovecraft is the way he sets the scene with an opening paragraph of just-creepy-enough description.

The above is not form one of HP's works, BTW. I know y'all know of my HP-worship.

EFCollins
06-10-2009, 06:35 AM
You've mentioned it a time or two. ;)

But I'm to bed. Can't wait to see what it's from. I've never read it, btw... not that I remember. Night y'all.

dgrintalis
06-10-2009, 06:46 AM
I would definitely read more. I don't believe it's from a book I've read before.

dgrintalis
06-10-2009, 06:50 AM
Shadowland is a good book. But if I had to go by just those few words, I probably wouldn't turn the page.

But that's the trouble, isn't it? I mean, does every single book have to begin with beating hearts being torn out of chests? Is taking the time to build a story really so passe?

No, I don't like books that take a hundred pages to 'get to the good part'. But, yikes!, can't a writer have a little space.

IMHO, good writing is like good sex. The buildup is part of the fun. Hit the climax in ten seconds (or eighty words), and then what?

I don't think we're looking for climax. Just good beginnings that draw you in. No torn chests or dripping hearts necessary.

Simply the flavor of language.

Kerr
06-10-2009, 08:09 AM
This sounds very familiar but no clue. Yes, yes I'd keep reading. Gotta know. (HOly crap a green 1&1/2 inch caterpillar that looks like a tomato worm just appeared on my desk!! I don't even have the door open and not even any mosquitoes in here tonight.)

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 08:25 AM
It's a gift from your muse, Kerr. :) Need something icky and bug-like to mess with one of your characters?

I'll reveal the book tomorrow morning--shutting down for the night.

DeeCaudill
06-10-2009, 07:05 PM
I'd turn the page--the description instantly conjured an image for me. It's interesting to observe that strong description of an environment can work as a hook.

Feidb
06-10-2009, 07:12 PM
Here's one for you:


Messing with demons isn’t the smartest idea, but that never bothered Jeff Wilder. He added his voice to a droning chant that resonated through the walls of the dank basement. Incense added a thick unnatural haze to the air. Ten black-robed individuals surrounded him as he stood centered in a pentagram painted on the floor. A circle connected the five points of the star, one point facing south. As he held his arms in the air, his coven stood within the rim and joined hands to form a closed circle.

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 07:24 PM
Mine was The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson.

Feidb, I have no clue what yours is. Gah. Thought I knew this genre!

Feidb
06-10-2009, 09:03 PM
callalily61,

The thing is, would you turn the page?

Calla Lily
06-10-2009, 09:17 PM
callalily61,

The thing is, would you turn the page?

Actually, no. It reads like every demon-worship cliche I've ever read. Unless it's comedy, and he summons a demon with self-esteem issues, a yen for Starbucks, and an unfinished novel even Hell won't publish, I've read all this before. This section doesn't give me that hope, so I'd close the book and move on.

dgrintalis
06-11-2009, 12:05 AM
Lily, I've not read that book. I think I'll have to check it out. And Feidb, I'm with Lily. I would not turn the page after that last excerpt either.

EFCollins
06-11-2009, 12:09 AM
Neither would I. I notice that I'm not liking many of these snippets...

ETA: I might have one, if no one minds.

Calla Lily
06-11-2009, 12:16 AM
What'cha got, Effy?

EFCollins
06-11-2009, 12:22 AM
Gimme a sec. Got to type.

EFCollins
06-11-2009, 12:27 AM
In Crybbe, night did not fall.

Night rose.

It welled out of the bitter brown earth caged in brambles in the neglected wood beyond the churchyard, swarming up the trees until they turned black and began to absorb the sky.

Collecting the shadows of graves, the night seeped out of the churchyard and across the vicarage lawn, where Murray Beech stood, knowing he was the wrong vicar for this parish but not knowing there couldn’t be a right one.

Murray, with a certain distaste, was wondering how you went about an exorcism.


92 words. Do you turn the page?

Calla Lily
06-11-2009, 12:29 AM
92 words. Do you turn the page?

Not sure. It's way too purple for my usual tastes, but the last line had a slightly humorous tone to it. That might make me turn the page.

EFCollins
06-11-2009, 12:32 AM
Lily: Yeah, I thought so too the first time I picked it up. Very purplish right here. I won't say more until others chime in.

dgrintalis
06-11-2009, 12:35 AM
Yes, I think I would read on. At least for a little bit.

EFCollins
06-11-2009, 12:54 AM
Y'all want the title and author? Or should I wait a bit?

Calla Lily
06-11-2009, 12:59 AM
I do! I want Feidb's too!

Impatient? Me? *bats eyes*

Kerr
06-11-2009, 12:59 AM
Different. I'd read on a bit to see more. It's starting off more like a fantasy.

EFCollins
06-11-2009, 01:01 AM
It's a book to remember, let me say.

Lily, don't you know patience is a virtue? :D

Kerr
06-11-2009, 01:30 AM
Feidb, no. My 2 cents is running parallel to the others. From that para it sounds too typical. But to be fair, I always give them a couple of pages to either bring me in or put me into a trance.

FOTSGreg
06-11-2009, 02:50 AM
Feidb, I'm not certain. The section left me snoozing, pretty much, so I probably would not turn the page. There just wasn't enough "meat" for me to get a picture of what might be going to happen and the scene was rather cliched I thought.

Effy, on the other hand, yes, I'd turn the page. The only part that threw me out was the initial mention of Murray Beech. The first time I read it I was thinking of trees for some reason. The words evoke a certain scenery and pattern of tone that leaves me wondering why Murray needs an exorcism.

EFCollins
06-11-2009, 02:58 AM
Hehe... It's a good book.

"Curfew" by Phil Rickman. Circa 1993 or there abouts.

Excellent, excellent book. It has purple spots, but for the most part, they aren't too bad. I think it's one of the best horror novels I've read that wasn't by a well known author. As for Murray needing an exorcism, I'm making you read the book to find out. ;) Aren't I sweet? :D

Feidb
06-11-2009, 04:55 AM
Hot damn! Me thinks I might have to take my real photos off the signature block so people won't recognize me!

That excerpt is the first paragraph of the prologue of "The Greenhouse," by yours truly. It is a tongue-and-cheek icky bug about a demon posessed plant that eats Altus, Oklahoma.

Now that I've been put in my place, I just want to say I enjoyed getting the honest feedback, considering the universal revulsion of my first paragraph! Of the 50+ people that have either read the entire MS, or heard me read it at the writer's group, this is the very first time I've ever heard comments like yours about the first paragraph.

As for me, I've read all of the first snippets, and as starters, none of them impressed me or hooked me. But the thing is that I never judge a book by the opening sentence or paragraph. Most of the time, I can't even remember the first paragraph. I'm not trying to defend my own writing, but I'm just saying. Instead, I look at the cover, the title, the back blurb and then the text to see if it's in third person. I also look for lots of empty space on each page. I'm usually pretty happy after that, unless it has a bummer ending.

As for it being boring and cliched, well... I have no defense for that as I don't know of any icky bug out there that couldn't be construed that way. After all, how many ways are there to create an icky bug in the first place? So far, I've used a Satanic ritual gone wrong, a Gypsy curse, and a military lab experiment gone bad for the creation of my icky bugs. I haven't used a contaminated meteorite yet but...

Anyway, I certainly appreciate the totally honest opinions as they gave me another aspect nobody has ever noticed before. Doesn't mean I'll change anything, but it's something to keep in mind.

You guys rock!

Kerr
06-12-2009, 01:30 AM
Sorry Fiedb. You are braver than me to post for those unvarnished opinions. Just remember, it's only the first few sentences we're considering here. No one stops on just that bit. We're just trying to analyze what makes the better ones stand out.

FOTSGreg
06-12-2009, 03:01 AM
At least we weren't nasty about it Feidb. It's the demonic ceremony thing that really got to me, maybe particularly because it reminded me so much of several really bad zombie demon-possession, devil worship "novels" that I've read (they had these terrible black covers and the writing was just awful throughout - not that yours was...

Okay, before I dig my own hole any deeper I'd better throw away this shovel.

Honestly, it takes a lot of guts to put something of your own up for discussion/examination like this and I respect you for it.

Feidb
06-12-2009, 03:38 AM
I'm cool with it all. I've been through some pretty rough criticizm, mean and all too.

I have never read a book that starts with a Satanic ritual, at least that I can remember.

Then again, I hardly ever read zombie stories either so maybe it is an overused premise in that genre. I like the movies but have not read many books on it. Right now I'm reading Cemetary Dance by Preston and Child. It is full of Zombiis.

I liked The Stink Of Flesh by Robert Vardeman too.

Infected is also kind of zombieish.

Normally, I'm reading Bentley Little, Scott Nicholson, and Dean Koontz, though Koontz tends to get sappy and now for some reason, he's started writing in first person, wich I can't stand.

Anyway, enough rambling. Time to press on.

FOTSGreg
06-12-2009, 04:04 AM
Okay, just to show I'm a nice guy and believe in fair play, here's the lead-in for one of mine - 81 words...

-----
A shotgun blast boomed across the field breaking the early morning quiet. James Carter’s head came up sharply at the sound echoing from the southwest corner of his small farm.

What the hell? That’s near town, he thought.

The sun was coming up over the horizon, the early morning mist cloaking the Kentucky fields in its cool, wet blanket. The rooftops of nearby Caliope's buildings were peeking through the low-lying fog as Jim stepped out of his barn to look around.
-----

This is from the latest draft (and the final one before I start sending it out).

However, once we're beyond this, let's try to focus on "published" works if we can, okay?

So, do you turn the page?

Kerr
06-12-2009, 03:00 PM
Hmm...to be honest, it feels a bit mundane. Where as Feidb's did manage to set itself up as some sort of horror, this gives no idea except that something unusual has happened. I would go on a bit to learn what and why, the writing is clean and clear and as he steps forward I am getting the impression that I will shortly learn what's going on. So far though, I am still not committed to pressing on to finish. What's good about this is that I already have a fair idea of the man I'm following.

Feidb
06-13-2009, 01:59 AM
First off, I thought the rules said published, or unpublished, unless I read them wrong. Either way, I've been bitch slapped, so I'll refrain from original stuff!

Seriously, FOTSGreg, I had no problem with your little snippet. It didn't tell me a thing about the story, but as I said before, I never judge an opening sentence or paragraph by that anyway.

On the other hand, despite noticing a bit of passive phrasing, I would keep on reading. Then again, I'm easy, so I'm kind of curious to see what everyone else thinks.

I don't think the first chunk needs to tell the whole story, or even give a clue to what is going on. It can set the mood, be the setup for a scene that DOES tell what the story is going to be about. It can also just be the beginning, plain and simple. It, of course, has to have a purpose for being there, but outside of that...

The actual snippet could mean anything. Is someone shooting at a zombie? Is someone trespassing on his property? Is it kids taking pot shots at bottles? We have no idea. However, it is the start, and it would not make me stop reading, even if it is some kind of cliche I've never heard of yet!

My two cents.

FOTSGreg
06-13-2009, 02:09 AM
Feidb & Kerr, Thanks for the comments. First off, I'm happy that both of you would continue to read on. I can tell you that this opening has been worked over and over many times and I'm still working to get rid of the passivity. It's been a real pain in my derriere' trying to get it just right.

Feidb, the "rules" did say published or unpublished so there's nothing wrong with you posting something of yours or Kerr or anybody else doing the same. Please don;t feel like anyone here's "bitchslapped" you as that's not my intent and I seriously doubt it was anybody else's. If we did that, please forgive us.

Naturally, we might prefer to have more published material to examine, but I see nothing wrong with someone trying to improve their own openings by getting some feedback. That's part of the purpose for our little "game", so go for it if you want to.

We'll sic Haggis on anyone who "bitchslaps" anyone. That'll teach 'em to behave (nothing like having the Undead Evil Jackbooted Thug Doggie gnawing at your backside or other tender spots).

:-)

Feidb
06-13-2009, 02:39 AM
Of course, I was being facetious about being bitch slapped!

This weekend I'll try to dig out some of my favorite horror novels and plug in some beginning paragraps. You never know, I just might slip in another original too. In either case, don't hold back!

By the way FOTSgreg, I lived in Tipton, near Altus from 92-99. Liked the people but not that area. Too many severe storms. I assume you have a tornader' cellar.

FOTSGreg
06-13-2009, 02:51 AM
Nope, no cellar. We do have a little room under the stairs, but it's full of junk.

After 29 years in the Bay Area of northern California, a little real weather is an actual pleasure (I was upstairs with my window open watching the storm while working on a client's taxes this morning when a fairly heavy storm rolled through).

I like thunder & lightning (it scares the bejeezus out of one of our dogs though).

Feidb
06-15-2009, 07:39 AM
The noise was deafening, at least to Tommy Kruvener’s ears. All around him were the roar of machinery and the ungodly hiss of molten metal. It seemed to him that the only light came from the furnaces, spewing out rivers of white-hot steel. Steelworkers were everywhere, naked to the waist, their bodies lit in sharp outline by glowing metal. The air was unbearably hot, breathing was hard, and all he wanted was to get out.

75 words, but within the ballpark. Okay, would you read on?

FOTSGreg
06-15-2009, 07:47 AM
I think I would, yes. The imagery is very vivid and I'd like to at least get a glimpse of what the story's going to be about.

Calla Lily
06-16-2009, 12:26 AM
No. Not my style.

Kerr
06-16-2009, 03:16 AM
Yes vivid and no not going where I like going, but it's holding me so far.

jodiodi
06-18-2009, 12:24 AM
I'd have to know what the story was about before deciding to read on. The opening doesn't tell me much. However, it's well-written., imo.

Feidb
06-18-2009, 01:39 AM
Actually, this was from an author I've never read before, so the cover, the subject matter, the back blurb, and the tense of the story sold me on it. However, that first paragraph annoyed me because the last sentence has three "was"s in it. Still, it didn't stop me from going on. And no, it doesn't tell you much about what is going on. It just sets the scene.

Feidb
06-18-2009, 01:47 AM
In the meantime, here's another one to chew on...

August 3, 1935
Gary, Indiana

The hot summer evening air reeked of coal fumes, steel dust, and cigarette smoke as Bruno Krakowski stumbled down the alley behind The Corner bar. At his side, his kid brother, Oren hopped along, carrying a look of hero worship that stroked Bruno’s ego. At least someone didn’t hate him.
“We goin’ home?”
Bruno stopped in his tracks, looked down at Oren and sneered. “Night’s young. I need to find some tail.”
Oren frowned. “Tail of what?”

Would you read on?

jodiodi
06-18-2009, 02:07 AM
Sorry, I don't think I would. From what I've read, it doesn't seem to be the kind of story I'd want to read. Unless I know what the book's about, I never know if I want to read it or not. Based on blind reading, though, I wouldn't go on. Not my type of story (so far). I can forgive weak openings if the book is something that interests me. But that's just imho.

FOTSGreg
06-18-2009, 02:47 AM
Feidb, What was that last one (not the latest post, but the one before it)?

As to the latest, I'm up in the air about it, very "iffy". The tone set in this section does something that I dislike for some reason (maybe because the Bruno character is somewhat distasteful).

Feidb
06-18-2009, 03:07 AM
The previous one was Steel Ghosts by Michael Paine.

dgrintalis
06-18-2009, 03:32 AM
I would not read on. Bruno comes across as a jerk and an unlikeable one, at that. Although, if I knew something horrible and bloody waited around the corner for him, I might.

EFCollins
06-18-2009, 03:45 AM
Gettin tail? In 1935? No thanks. Couldn't read on from that. Even less than savory folks didn't call it "tail" in the thirties. I know this for a fact. My grandmother grew up in the thirties and she'd shit a brick if some man called sexual encounters with a woman "gettin some tail". Nope. No go for me on this one too.

FOTSGreg
06-18-2009, 05:07 AM
Effie, That's an excellent point and maybe that was what was causing my vague sense of discomfort. The author gives us a date, but then he's having his characters speaking modern language and using modern idioms. Even the little brother feels wrong.

Somebody didn't do their research...?

I also don;t like this sentence much,

Oren hopped along, carrying a look of hero worship that stroked Bruno’s ego.

First off, kids skip, they don't exactly hop unless they're trying to imitate rabbits on Easter Sunday. Second, the character's "carrying a look"? EXCUSE ME? How the hell does one carry a look except by having someone else's face in their hands (or a bucket or other container - which might actually have some potential)? The sentence shows a lack, to me, of constructive editorial flogging of the manuscript.

EFCollins
06-18-2009, 05:15 AM
Well Greg... this is horror, so he could carry a look, in theory, but not in this practice.

Yeah, this excerpt doesn't come anywhere near realistic.

Kerr
06-18-2009, 07:59 AM
Oo, I love this game. And I love it to be someone unknown.

That said, no, I wouldn't continue. Not sure I'd have nailed down exactly why but you did Effie. Nice job!

Feidb
06-23-2009, 06:30 PM
I was hoping to get a bit more loathing and disgust for that last bit I posted, but it seems interest in this thread has waned. However, before I kiss this discussion off, I need to set the record straight, though now I'm not even sure if anyone is paying attention!

First off, the last post is mine. Yup, you can blame me for that horrible and vile piece of drivel. It is the opening of my latest icky bug, The Factory. In fact, I got such a negative reaction from you all, I've decieded to keep it almost as is. Makes sense, in a punk sort of way.

As for setting the record straight. I've been indirectly accused of not doing my research. "Fraidy not." As a matter of fact, I DID do my research. They never said "get some tail" in 1935? Uh... the first time I ever heard the term was from my grandpa. He and his buddies had a phrase that went something line "Get some tail, before we sail." He was in the navy just prior to WW1. That's World War 1 with an "O." He served between 1906 and 1910. I think that is a bit before 1935.

Now, lets come to the inspiration for that opening scene. It came from a relative that shall remain nameless. The actual incident, which, by the way, included the phrase "get some tail" happened in Long Beach, CA at a shipyard in 1932, a good three years before 1935. If course I changed the location to Gary, Indiana and to a steel worker instead of a shipyard worker, but I can assume that if they said that in one place, it was probably said in the other. Did they say that around women? Of course not, and in this scene, there is no woman present, yet.

Second, to answer another of you, yes, Bruno is a horrible person, an attempted rapist in this case, and dies a horrible death. He is also a terrible influence on Oren but because of their homelife, he drags Oren along for an ego boost.

Oren hops, he doesn't skip, like most boys. Much later, there is a flashback scene where Oren recalls how Bruno used to get pissed at him for hopping like a... "a fuckin' rabbit." Funny how you caught that.

Now as for carrying a look, I'll admit it's a term I don't usually use, but I've been around a lot of literary writers, and they like to use terms like that so I guess it unconsiously rubbed off on me. Yeah, literally (ha ha) it doesn't make sense, but it is still valid. I may tweak that a bit, since I'm not really into literary prose.

Once again, none of my other readers had that reaction to this passage, so it was interesting to get unvarnished criticism from y'all.

So, there you have it. You can blame me for it.

I was going to post more snippets, some published and some not, but it looks like you all have lost interest in the thread. Guess it's time to move on.

Calla Lily
06-23-2009, 06:42 PM
[ascends soapbox, sips water, clears throat]

Just my $.02: I stopped posting here because I'm guilty of not reading the OP carefully enough. I thought we were only going to post pubbed works (reinforced by Haggis' clarification of how much we could legally put here). When Greg (I think) outed one opening as his own, I quit.

I crit in SYW all the time, and put my own stuff out there to be critted too. SYW is a (rough) lifesaver. But I want to know that I'm critting someone's WIP, not be surprised by it. I choose my words carefully in SYW--nothing is a dream killer faster than a thoughtless comment. Thus, I was freer here when I assumed we were making judgement calls on stuff already in print.

I'm more than happy to head to SYW to crit--because then I know ahead of time it's a fellow Horror Hound's WIP.

[descends soapbox and scrubs off vague air of pedantry]

Sorry, guys. I know that sounded anal and tightly wound. Um.. because I am anal and tightly wound. :rolleyes:

Feidb
06-23-2009, 08:34 PM
callalily61 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=138)

Thanks for the input. I was beginning to think nobody was paying attention anymore.

I hate to sound uniformed, but what is SYW? Is it on the Water Cooler? I may be missing something here.

I did post a query letter in Query Letter Hell, on this site, but it didn't do much good. I got plenty of critiques, but they all contradicted each other and in the end, I just tweaked a bit of grammar and left the letter as is. I'm afraid that is what would happen with so many hands in the pot.

Calla Lily
06-23-2009, 08:41 PM
Feidb, why did you link to my profile? Anyone can get to it if they just click on my name.

SYW is the Share Your Work forum--you've already been there, in the QLH section. I saw your query, but I didn't have anything useful to add, so I didn't comment.

If you don't want several people commenting, then you can always ask for a beta in the Beta forum here.

EFCollins
06-23-2009, 08:57 PM
SYW is share your work. And It may be that "some" folk did say gettin' tail in the thirties... but it surely wasn't a common phrase and among soldiers, that's a different story. Military is a hard place to be. I have two brother-in-laws in the army, so i do know how the military is. In fact, my father and all of his brothers, my brother, and my father's father were military, Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines. Among the Navy men, especially sailors, it was an expression used. COMMON folk, civilians, did not use it. It would have been improper. And when the sailors did use the expression, I was under the impression that they referred to hookers, not respectable ladies. In that time, when my Grandmother was a girl, a lady crossed her ankles and held her hands folded in her lap. No man would call a sexual encounter with a respectable woman that.

Greg has already asked once that we stick to published works, after the last unpublished piece you posted Feidb. With that, I have to say, I'll not be back either. Share your work is in a forum several forums down. I'd be fine reading it there. I'm with Lily. I dislike being tricked into critting. I put my work in syw because I want opinions, not in a game where we all think this is a published work. The only thing I disagree with Lily about is that you were the one to post your unpublished work first, Feidb... Greg only did so for a sense of fairness for you. He stated that in his post with his piece. Greg, though, does have published works to put in, and if that was one of them, I don't mind.

I'll see y'all elsewhere.

Peace.

Calla Lily
06-23-2009, 08:59 PM
Oops. Thanks for the correction, Effie. I was in the middle of typing that post and just didn't remember.

Feidb
06-23-2009, 09:36 PM
Hmm,

I must have read his original post wrong too, because I could have sworn he said either. Oh well, wasn't trying to trick anyone, as I completely misinterpreted the game, so to speak. Still, it was interesting to get such unvarnished opinions.

EFCollins
06-23-2009, 09:40 PM
Okay, just to show I'm a nice guy and believe in fair play, here's the lead-in for one of mine - 81 words...

-----
A shotgun blast boomed across the field breaking the early morning quiet. James Carter’s head came up sharply at the sound echoing from the southwest corner of his small farm.

What the hell? That’s near town, he thought.

The sun was coming up over the horizon, the early morning mist cloaking the Kentucky fields in its cool, wet blanket. The rooftops of nearby Caliope's buildings were peeking through the low-lying fog as Jim stepped out of his barn to look around.
-----

This is from the latest draft (and the final one before I start sending it out).

However, once we're beyond this, let's try to focus on "published" works if we can, okay?

So, do you turn the page?

Bolding Mine.

FOTSGreg
06-23-2009, 09:54 PM
Sorry, folks, I've been busy the last few days and my interest strayed to other threads.

Okay, let's get back on the wagon.

-----
Running...

A stitch in his side had started to throb, and the chill night air burned when Shea sucked it into his lungs. He'd been half walking, half running, ever since he'd left Macy's. He'd suspected he was being followed when he got off at the Embarcadero station, the first stop that BART made in San Francisco. He'd even sensed it the moment he stepped onto the train in Berkeley, but that was ridiculous, and the few times he'd suddenly turned around, he hadn't seen anyone else at his end of the platform.

-----
92 words.

Do you turn the page?

Feidb
06-23-2009, 10:21 PM
Followed? A nice paranoid start. It could set the mood for what is to come.

However, that last sentence needs work. Or, if we're playing by already published works rules only, the editor sluffed off. It is way too long and needs to be broken up a bit. Not enough to turn me off though.

Outside of that, I'd keep reading. It's in third person, past tense, so I'm happy.

FOTSGreg
06-23-2009, 10:52 PM
Okay...back from getting my mother & aunt's car towed home.

Feidb, it is a published work (not one of mine, obviously since the author actually got paid for his) and a very interesting one at that.

jodiodi
06-23-2009, 11:25 PM
I might, depending on what the book is about. Spy thrillers do nothing for me. Now if ghosts are after him, that's a different story.

FOTSGreg
06-24-2009, 12:49 AM
Jodiodi, It's not a spy thriller. It's definitely in the thriller genre, published by Tor. I'd call it horror/suspense.

jodiodi
06-24-2009, 07:54 AM
Then I'd likely go on. I love scarey books and would give it a shot.

Inarticulate Babbler
06-24-2009, 08:31 PM
My offering:

The night closed in like something alive, its warm dampness imbuing the house with an oppressive atmosphere that seemed somehow threatening to the child who sat in the small front parlor. There was something in the air she could almost touch, and as she sat waiting, she began to feel her skin crawl with the peculiar itching that always came over her in the summer. She squirmed on the mohair sofa, but it did no good--her cotton dress still clung to her like wet cellophane.

Outside the wind began to rise, and for a moment the girl felt relief.

100 words, on the dot. The next sentence would completely set the scene, but it would take the word count to 149.

Feidb
06-24-2009, 08:43 PM
Nice opening, sets if not a creepy scene, at least an uncomfortable one.

Once again, my grammar alarm is going off. "began to" and "felt" could be done much better.

Outside of that, I would read on.

Inarticulate Babbler
06-29-2009, 09:22 PM
That was the opening of John Saul's bestselling Nathaniel. I love the words he uses to invoke the genre by resonance. Here's a classic example:

Darkness wrapped around Amelie Coulton like a funeral shroud, and only the sound of her own heartbeat told her that she was still alive.

She shouldn't have come here--she knew that now, knew it with a certainty that filled her soul with dread. She should have stayed home, stayed alone in the tiny shack that crouched only a few feet above the dark waters of the swamp. There, at least, she would have been safe.

She would have been safe, and so would the baby that now stirred restlessly within her body, his feet kicking her so hard she winced with pain.


(103 words.)

FOTSGreg
06-29-2009, 09:40 PM
My offering above was Waiting by Frank M. Robinson.

The back cover blurb from the Chicago Tribune pretty much tells much of the tale,

"Suppose another species of human beings has been in hiding on the planet for 35,000 years, waiting to take over."

Robinson really captures the "feel" of much of the San Francisco Bay Area in the book and the sense of mystery permeates throughout.

Feidb
06-30-2009, 02:02 AM
John Saul can paint dramatic word pictures, but I have found his novels, overall, unsatisfying. They're okay, but for every one I've read, there was just something missing. Maybe the endings were not that great, or the characters did not come out like I liked. I haven't read him for a long time. When I did, I think I read five or six of his books. Maybe I considered him an alternative Dean Koontz, but without the bang.

That book, Waiting sounds cool, maybe even a bit familiar. However, don't think I've read it.

Oh, and I promise not to submit any more original work. I think I might have alienated a few people! Oh well, wouldn't be the first time.

By the way, Inarticulate, that snippet you just posted paints a pretty disturbing image. I didn't even find any grammar problems to bug me!

Inarticulate Babbler
06-30-2009, 02:21 AM
That was John Saul, too. It's from Darkness.

Nathaniel is in my top ten books of all time--not as high as Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon or Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice, but up there just the same.

Feidb
06-30-2009, 02:59 AM
I think I remember Nathaniel as one of the best of his books that I read. Can't remember the plot though, or how Nathaniel turned out in the end.

David McAfee
07-02-2009, 01:41 AM
Deleted - misread the OP. :)

Kerr
07-05-2009, 08:17 PM
I think I remember Nathaniel as one of the best of his books that I read. Can't remember the plot though, or how Nathaniel turned out in the end.

That's funny. I found Nathaniel this morning in the pile of might-reads on top of the dresser. I started in and was immediately drawn into the story and characters. Thing is it felt familiar from the start. Still does the further I get in. It's just that I can't remember reading it before, or anything about the story. That's strange because even if I forget what I am talking about right in the middle of talking, or what I did five minutes before, stories generally stay with me forever. I'm starting to think that at this point I'm so saturated with horror that it's all melting into one big black gob and it's more the literary works that are still standing alone, stories that have more to offer the reader than the quick thrill ride.

Feidb
07-07-2009, 10:39 PM
Funny you mentioned "literary" as I read one literary horror book and never will again! It was Last Things by David Searcy. The only worse icky bug I've ever read was The Ruins. It wasn't as literary as Last Things, but sucked in so many other ways...

I'm just not a literary type.

Once in a while, I read something something that sounds familiar, but then again, what doesn't? In your case, you may have read it years ago but can't remember because of all the other horror you've read. Then again, it may be a well-worn plot line. I guess it would be a good idea to find another genre for a while, to read, anyway.

I read thrillers and horror, for the most part. Once in a while a mystery, but they all have to move and be plot driven. In my case, I'm bound to come across familiar things. After all, as I like to say, how many ways are there to kill someone in a murder mystery? It's all in the telling (oops, maybe I should say "showing").

Inarticulate Babbler
07-08-2009, 01:47 AM
That's funny. I found Nathaniel this morning in the pile of might-reads on top of the dresser. I started in and was immediately drawn into the story and characters. Thing is it felt familiar from the start. Still does the further I get in. It's just that I can't remember reading it before, or anything about the story. That's strange because even if I forget what I am talking about right in the middle of talking, or what I did five minutes before, stories generally stay with me forever. I'm starting to think that at this point I'm so saturated with horror that it's all melting into one big black gob and it's more the literary works that are still standing alone, stories that have more to offer the reader than the quick thrill ride.

That was the key to putting Nathaniel so far up on my list: its familiarity. I felt that I was in the milieu all through the story--almost as if he were describing a town I'd lived in. And John Saul's best horror is about town secrets. Nathaniel is certainly the prime example of this.

Feidb
07-08-2009, 02:42 AM
I'll have to check him out again and see if I feel the same way as I used to.

Kerr
07-08-2009, 06:42 AM
I liked it. I wouldn't put it at the top of my list, but I liked it. And guess what, at the end there were blurbs from a bunch of his books and oddly enough, Nathaniel was one of them. It got me thinking that maybe that was why it felt so familiar, that I'd read the first few chapters at the end of another book somewhere along. Saul does always use familiar small town USA. And children. It's always children. Nathaniel I thought had some excellent spots, but overall, not particularly terrifying. It was more the mystery that kept me reading, wanting to know the secrets in the town. So, I'm curious, did the childbirth thing raise this on the list for any of the guys?

Inarticulate Babbler
07-08-2009, 10:26 AM
Not for me. I loved the milieu and the dark secrets. That's Saul's version of psychological horror--outsiders discovering the secret the hard way.

Feidb
07-08-2009, 07:07 PM
Been too long ago to remember details. It sounds like he doesn't use icky bugs, so maybe that is why he wasn't ultimately satisfying.

Kerr
07-08-2009, 08:49 PM
Okay Feidb, a bit of icky bug, second in series and one of my favorites, plot and character driven, a wild ride. Who dun it? Do you keep reading?
~~

Snow tested his regulator, checked both air valves, ran his hands along the slick neoprene of the suit. Everything was in order, just as it had been when he last checked it, sixty seconds before.

"Another five minutes, " the Dive Sergeant said, cutting the launch to half speeed.

"Great," came the sarcastic voice of Fernandez over the sound of the big diesel. "Just great."

Nobody else spoke. Already, Snow had noticed that small talk seemed to die away when the team neared a site.

Feidb
07-08-2009, 10:28 PM
First off, I love the premise of diving, so I would read on anyway. I also didn't notice any aggregious grammatical errors, though there is an extra e in speed, which I assume was a transcription error.

Second, it shows a sense of tension as they approach the dive site.

This has the potential to be a great icky bug.

Oops. Thought I'd sent this, but just found it still sitting here.

Kerr
07-09-2009, 12:55 AM
LOL, those slippery little bugger e's. That was Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Reliquary. I figured Relic would be too easy. Both of them great reads with the same exciting pace.

FOTSGreg
07-09-2009, 02:44 AM
Kerr, I knew I recognized that name and style from someplace. You're right. I thoroughly enjoy Preston & Child's books.

Kerr
07-09-2009, 08:13 AM
Did you read Brimstone, Greg? The whole first chapter had me sold, then it was downhill all the way. It's one I'm sure gave those pubs a hell of a time classifying. It starts out horror, turns mystery and then they slapped on a kind-of sci-fi ending. I think it would have been a success if they stayed with the horror.

Feidb
07-11-2009, 12:02 AM
I loved Reliquery! However, I don't even remember the first few lines which says a lot about how I remember good books.

It's the story as a whole.

As for Brimstone, yeah, I know what you mean. I still enjoyed it, but that Agatha Christie thing shouldn't be pursued by these guys. In fact, I'm writing Doug in a few days to tell him that he and Link should go back to icky bugs again like in Relic and this one, Reliquery. Now they were good icky bug creature features! I yearn for the good old days, I guess.

Kerr
07-11-2009, 07:49 PM
Good job Feidb. Sounds like you're on a first-name basis. I hope they'll listen up. I would also love another icky bug of their standard. And be sure to spell it Reliquary. I'm sure, the book's right in front of me.

Feidb
07-13-2009, 07:38 AM
Reliquery... Reliquary oops!

Kerr
07-14-2009, 01:13 AM
:D Next, the pubbed kind.

FOTSGreg
07-14-2009, 03:33 AM
I haven't read Brimstone, no. In fact, I kinda' fell away from Preston & Childs after being unable to finish The Cabinet of Curiosities.

I think when they began to focus on Pendergast as their main character they kinda' lost something.

Kerr
07-14-2009, 03:37 AM
That's what it was Fots, a little too Sherlocky.

Tburger
07-14-2009, 02:48 PM
OK - this looks like fun so here's one:

Yevhen had lost his unit outside Lviv. Now he found himself in the street, where a trickle of water ran through the dust and where he smelled urine, a stale odor that mixed with gunpowder and the dead as he collapsed onto a step.

They marched past. Exhausted, Yevhen raised his eyes only far enough to watch the lines of boots as they clomped down the narrow road, a few of them dragging, but most moving with purpose. He imagined the expressions on their faces, ones that reflected a confidence that everything had gone well and would continue that way. Forever.

Inarticulate Babbler
07-14-2009, 09:58 PM
Is this about Chornobyl?

FOTSGreg
07-14-2009, 10:22 PM
There's definitely a very Russian feel to this, perhaps even a feel from World War 2. I found myself thinking of Stalingrad and the War of the Rats.

It's interesting imagery and I'd most likely turn the page just to see where and when I was being led.

Tburger
07-15-2009, 03:46 AM
That was the first two paragraphs of my WIP, a horror story that takes place during the German invasion of Ukraine. I've been having a heck of a time writing it, and getting a reaction helps - so thanks!!!

Greg: you got it - WWII.

Feidb
07-15-2009, 08:44 PM
Though I think I've pissed off some people on this thread by posting my own work, I'm still here.

Here's an actual published work for you to peruse. 82 words.

A blaze of light made Barry squint as he peered out the windshield and tried to distinguish the road from the oncoming headlights. “Turn your brights off, asshole!” His voice echoed in the empty car. He looked at the radio. The only rock station in the area played Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Boston, and the Eagles to the point of Chinese water torture. The station seemed to have only four CD’s with four songs from each band. “Think I prefer the silence.”

dgrintalis
07-16-2009, 02:44 AM
Yes, it grabbed me. I would read on, despite the ' in CDs. I know, I know, everyone uses it, but it bugs me. The apostrophe denotes possession, not plural.

Tburger
07-16-2009, 03:15 AM
Though I think I've pissed off some people on this thread by posting my own work, I'm still here.

Here's an actual published work for you to peruse. 82 words.

A blaze of light made Barry squint as he peered out the windshield and tried to distinguish the road from the oncoming headlights. “Turn your brights off, asshole!” His voice echoed in the empty car. He looked at the radio. The only rock station in the area played Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Boston, and the Eagles to the point of Chinese water torture. The station seemed to have only four CD’s with four songs from each band. “Think I prefer the silence.”

First: I would turn the page for sure. Second: I read the opening bits of this thread and it said it was OK to post the first 100 words of one's WIP; if not, sorry about that everyone.

Kerr
07-19-2009, 06:33 PM
I don't know. It seems that waking up and driving somewhere in a car on a dark or stormy night are two of the most overused openings in horror. But the MC is already showing his personality in this, not exactly pleasant, and his opinions that are leading to what he'll do in the next para. I'd read on to see what he focuses on next.

So who is it Feidb?

FOTSGreg
07-19-2009, 07:03 PM
Feidb, You didn't piss me off nor Haggis and he's the one that really counts.

The rules just state you can't use some other AW member's WIP. Your own or any published work is fair game. Remember to only use 100 words, to put the entry in quotes, and to cite the source once the comments are over.

Feidb
07-20-2009, 02:01 AM
FOTSgreg,

That's what I thought you said originally, but some on here took it a different way. Too bad.

Anyway, this work is published and is the intro to my short suspense story, The Walk Home. It was published in Writer's Bloc I in 2006.

As for his personality, it isn't unpleasant at all. He just says was many of us would say, or at least think, when someome coming at you doesn't turn off their brights.

By the way, it wasn't a dark stormy night, either. It was a dark and snowy night, and he was driving home from work (LOL).

The Walk Home takes place in West Virginia and is based on a real incident that happened to me in 1976. The only significant details that were different were of course, the names, and the serial killer. Oh, and that dig at commercial radio. I had to modernize the story a bit to sneak that in. Back then, I could barely get the radio with that crappy Vega I was driving, let alone worry about the music. However, I do remember Undercover Angel, which sounded like "Hello Carburetor" to me. Thought it was a song about cars.

By the way, T-Burger, I would read on. I don't normally read war stories but since you say it is icky bug, I don't care where the setting is. Plus you write in 3rd person which is all I'll read, by choice, so I'm there dude!

Kerr
07-23-2009, 07:27 AM
Okay, get crackin' Houndies. This is a well known published author. I hope we will all keep it outside these limits so we can continue to comment on what we think works and doesn't work without worrying about unknowingly offending a fellow writer. If we can all agree to that, then maybe we can change the wording back on the first page so everyone will know walking in. this could be an excellent tool for all of us to study what works, and why it does.
~~

The summer I was sixteen, the blah-de-blah Show came to town.

I heard about it first from my two best friends, Rusty and Slim.

Rusty's real name was Russell, which he pretty much hated.

Slim's real name was Frances. She had to put up with it from her parents and teachers, but not from other kids. She'd tell them, "Frances is a talking mule." Asked what she wanted to be called, her answer pretty much depended on what book she happened to be reading. She'd say, "Nancy" or "Holmes" or "Scout" or "Zock" or "Phoebe."

Inarticulate Babbler
07-23-2009, 08:40 AM
Don't you love how he puts the title in the opening sentence. (And that was part of the hook, too!)

Feidb
07-23-2009, 06:02 PM
I wouldn't read on because it's first person.

However, looking at it without my personal preference in there, it tells me nothing about the book. Maybe that blah-de-blah thing would, but the rest of it is just kind of humorous, which is a big plus. Wish it weren't first person.

Kerr
07-24-2009, 02:45 AM
I do love 3rd person POV, but 1st in horror can be so much more up close and personal when done well. Richard Laymon knows his stuff. Babbler had it. This story began much like King's It, bringing us into a circle of friends. I liked the majority of this story better than the end, but it was fast, frightening and humorous throughout.

Feidb
07-28-2009, 01:26 AM
I hate bummer endings (The Ruins cough cough cough). I can take almost any ending unless it is glaringly obvious the author just had to end it and did it sloppily. No prime examples come to mind, but I've seen it numerous times.

I can't really put into words why I can't stand first person, but I don't like it. It's funny because I do a lot of editing for people in my writer's group and a lot of them do nothing but first person. I can put aside my prejudices and give them a fair reading, but sometimes it is tough, especially if they use first person present tense. Now that POV, to me, is unreadable. I will never be fooled again into buying a book like that. Patricia Cornwell comes to mind. However in her latest, Scarpetta, she reverts to third person past tense and I loved it.

Just me.

I read one Richard Laymon but though he has like 30 books out despite being deceased, I was just not overwhelmed by the one I read. In fact, I can't even remember what it was. It was okay, but just not my thing. I keep wanting to try him again though. I've also never read Robert McGammon. I've seen Boy's Life and that other big one of his around for years, just never got around to trying it. Maybe he writes in first person? Don't know.

That's it for now.

Kerr
07-28-2009, 07:55 AM
I've got my favorites too Feidb. After talking about Reliquary, I picked it up again and started reading again. It's been so long I'm enjoying it like it was the first time. And this time, instead of just being captivated by the story, I'm paying much more attention to how those two set up their chapters, introducing the MC each time and the setting right at the beginning. It's kind of nice that way. Get it over and done with and out of the way of what's about to happen, then start bringing in the guns. Very neat and efficient.

I'm not sure why you hated The Ruins so much though. I raved about that one to a friend who loves omni POV. Normally, that's the one I'm not crazy about. But I thought it was handled well, and I couldn't believe I got the creeps from a bunch of flowers. I kind of got the feeling reading it that it was written on a dare. LOL They definitely could have saved their money though when they did the movie.

Feidb
07-28-2009, 06:18 PM
My big beef with The Ruins covered several things. First off, I HATE bummer endings. Nothing upsets me more than to have all the heroes die in the end, just like almost every movie made in the 70's (only a little sarcasm there).

Second, right in the first chapter, the author slams us with so many passive phrases and "was's" that I had trouble getting through it.

Third, they could have cut out half the book by not having so many pages of the characters whining about their problems, either internally or externally. The author could have made the point in about 200 pages less. I guess that is one reason I never liked Stephen King all that well (and probably why he added his blurb to it). I like the story to move and get to the point.

That's just me. I know a lot of people loved it, but if I remember right, the mix on Amazon was about 50/50 (that was a while back).

The movie differed from the book, of course, but kept true enough to it that I hated it for the same big reason, BUMMER ENDING.

Maybe I'm just getting to particular with my old age, but I know what I like and what I don't, and The Ruins is definitely a "don't" for me.

I'm sure I'll be in the minority here, but that's okay.

I'm glad you brought this up.

How does everyone else feel about this subject?