PDA

View Full Version : Revised Chapter 1 opening -Better? critique pls



auntiebebo22
11-03-2004, 01:05 AM
Hi all thanks for taking the time to take a look. For those of you that saw the other version i think i straightened out the POV ok, and made a few minor changes. For those of you who didn't the old version is down the thread line if you are interested.

Let me know what you think, thanks.

“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the Silkenmist, %%WORD46%I92!” George Thurman flinched as another lightning bolt lit up the raging sea. “Silkenmist %%WORD57%I92! Last known position 78 degrees west, 31 degrees north. Caught in storm - engine blown!” The ship crested a wave, and plunged down the far side. George pitched forward and nearly knocked his nephew Will away from his struggle with the ships’ wheel.

“Taking on too much water, becoming swamped, Mayday! For the love of god someone respond! Mayday!” George paused, willing a response to come through the crackling radio. Suddenly, the door to the wheelhouse crashed open and his youngest nephew, Craig stumbled through it.

“Steven’s leg is broken! I strapped him down and piled blankets on him – is there anything else I can do Uncle George?”

“By God, Craig! Where’s your life jacket? Go get it and don’t take it off again!” George watched as he whirled to head back below. The boat chose that moment to pitch suddenly, and Craig lost his balance and was flung up against the rail. Arms wind milling; Craig vainly tried to regain his balance.

George’s world seem to become a slow motion reel as he watched Will rush to his brother’s aid. The unattended wheel spun wildly, causing the ship to keel completely over to port. George struggled to keep his footing as Will careened into his brother knocking him overboard. The last thing George saw of his youngest nephew was the look of utter surprise on his face as he fell. Reality seemed to move into fast-forward as George barely caught Will before he flipped over the rail as well. He then had to grapple Will as he tried to jump after him.

“No! No! Craig!” Screamed Will as George desperately fought to keep his older nephew aboard ship.

Struggling with his grief-maddened nephew, George looked out over the rail in the vain hope of seeing his favorite nephew. All that greeted his frantic gaze was lashing rain and dark foaming waters. George allowed himself one last horror filled thought before dragging Will back to the ship’s wheel, ‘By god, if the rest of us make it out of here alive, how am I going to tell my sister I lost her baby?’

Cracking his head on the side of the ship as he went over, Craig never knew of his brother’s frantic attempts to save him. He was unconscious before he even hit the water. He then sank quietly into the dark vortex of the unforgiving sea, lost to those he cherished forever.
#
Craig regained consciousness in the pitch dark of the storm-ravaged sea as he was slammed up against a rock partially submerged by the raging tide. Astounded to be alive, he clung to his salvation. Another tidal surge washed over him nearly causing him to lose his grip on the slippery rock. Lifting his head he searched frantically for any sign of the ship.

The full moon showed briefly through the rolling storm clouds, to reveal a beach about 50 feet away. Encouraged, yet nearly at the limit of his endurance, Craig waited for the next surge, let go, and was hurled tumbling head over heels to be discarded like a broken seashell upon the beach. Choking and spluttering, he dragged himself up the beach as far away from the howling surf as he could before exhaustion claimed him.
#
As the cold glow of winter’s dawn filtered weakly through the remaining storm clouds, three young fishermen made their way down the shore track to town. Gorn, the oldest, was of average height and rake thin. Possessing a rather stern nature, he was often seen with a perpetual frown upon his face.

ChunkyC
11-03-2004, 04:47 AM
:thumbs You have the essentials there now, Billie. Just that one line: ‘By god, if the rest of us make it out of here alive, how am I going to tell my sister I lost her baby?’ shows us what Craig, and family, means to George.

One quibble: I would put the first # denoting a blank line right between where you change from George's POV to Craig's instead of where you have it a paragraph further along.

Good opening!

auntiebebo22
11-03-2004, 05:07 AM
Thanks Chunky I appreciate your time

Always working on it

Billie

Writing Again
11-03-2004, 09:08 AM
Ok, the POV changes are clear now. That is good.

This one sentence needs some work: it is not quite clear; at least I think it could be confusing to a reader:


Reality seemed to move into fast-forward as George barely caught Will before he flipped over the rail as well. He then had to grapple Will as he tried to jump after him.

The scene is a bit intense, as it the language used to describe it. There are people who might criticize this as being OTT (over the top.) I'm not going to make this criticism myself as I cannot supply you with any real suggestions on how to do it better. I'm just making sure you are aware this is a criticism that could be made.

Remember, every novel we write is a learning experience that makes the next novel a better work of art.

ChunkyC
11-03-2004, 10:45 PM
Good catch, WA. Perhaps changing the last word 'him' to 'Craig' in that exerpt would make it clearer, Billie.

auntiebebo22
11-04-2004, 01:49 AM
Thanks guys -it's the little things that count!

Always working on it

Billie

dpaterso
11-04-2004, 02:19 AM
For what it's worth, here are a couple of little widgets that caught my reading eye:

Suddenly, the door to the wheelhouse crashed open and his youngest nephew, Craig stumbled through it.

"crashed" is an immediate action verb -- it's hard to imagine anything crashing slowly -- which makes "Suddenly" redundant, if you see what I mean.

This is picky, but I mention it anyway -- "Suddenly" is also one of those funny adverbs that detracts from what it's trying to convey. Something's supposed to happen real fast, but wait! -- we've just wasted a second reading "Suddenly" so time appears to drag rather than go faster. I've seen many writers advising against overuse of adverbs, and avoidance of adverbs like "Suddenly," and at times like this their view makes sense. Told you it was picky...

Action is impeded further by loitering to tell us Craig is "his youngest nephew" -- which fact is more or less made redundant by Craig's calling him "Uncle George" in the next paragraph. There's a time to deliver character details but I suspect that crashing through a door in the middle of a storm isn't one of them. ;)

Shrug, my thoughts, feel free to ignore me.

-Derek

-----------------------My Web Page - naked women, bestial sex, and whopping big lies. (http://hometown.aol.co.uk/DPaterson57)

maestrowork
11-05-2004, 03:31 AM
Dp has many good points. Those can easily be fixed in rewrite, when you must cut out the fat. Words such as "suddenly" would be something to watch for.