View Full Version : The first few paragraphs of my urban fantasy

November 8th, 2010, 06:53 PM
I don't want to give away too much about my characters and whatnot, i'm rather reserved with my ideas, but I do want a critique on my writing style. As to how well I write: Am I descriptive enough? Do I catch your attention? Is my grammar good? Do I use the right sort of verbology? I really try to put a lot of effort into my writing so here goes... This is just the first few paragraphs, so I hope I don't leave you hanging too much.
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty..." I squeaked in that sing-songy voice one often seems to find themselves using when talking to animals. Well, animals that find themselves in the predicament of being cute and fluffy, anyway. This particular cute and fluffy American shorthair, a gray colored variety with black stripes, began backing its front legs up even though its butt was pressed against the tree behind it.
I very cautiously began to extend my right hand, palm up so as to make it think I had something to feed it... and failed miserably. The cat jumped upwards as soon as it saw the slight movement of my hand, and after a midair twirl, dug its claws in the bark and began to scurry up the tree. I responded by raising my hands in the air, frustrated.
I cursed the bad economy for making me sink this low. Private investigators are supposed to investigate missing people, cheating husbands, and help out on police cases. They should not, under any circumstance, be chasing cats all across Long Island. This was not how I wanted to spend my Halloween. I just wanted to go home and take my daughter trick-or-treating. Yet a man's got to make a living. I took a deep breath, composing myself, and rubbed my palms together, readying myself to climb the tree.
There were no low hanging branches on the old maple tree. Me, in my non-ladder having state, would have to do this the hard way. I reached both arms around the trunk of the tree and tried to use the sides of my sneakers as a grip against that which should not be gripped. I surprised myself, and maybe even amazed myself, at how far up I got. I had shimmied maybe six or seven times before I found myself eye-level with the cat. "Hey Buster," I sung, using the cat's name in the hope of earning its trust. I failed in that, too, and the bastard cat yowled and scratched at my face. Needless to say, I didn't exactly hold on to the tree as I was flailing at the cat's claws in terror. Granted, six feet is not a very far drop, but that doesn't mean I wasn't allowed to scream. After yelling innumerable curses at the cat I had spent all night tracking, I finally calmed down and caught my breath once more.
This would be a lot easier if you'd just let me take over Richie, said the female voice within my head. Yeah, that's right, inside my head. Not only am I a PI, but I'm understandably, certifiably, one-hundred percent crazy.

--cutting it off there, didn't exactly know where to stop it this is good enough, so... what does everyone think? This was right before the 'fantasy' part started, it's an Urban Fantasy series, its starts off rather normal-ish at first tho

November 8th, 2010, 11:56 PM
Pffft.... well it's not bad. Not novel material but better then average and there's potential as you definitely understand the basics of writing.

Does it grab interest? No. It's a guy chasing a cat. Anyone who claims to find this small section of a story interesting is lying.

Descriptive enough? Yes and no. I know what's going on but it's not proper immersion but then it's an opening and I might not expect it to be immersive. Lacks imagery I would say. The description is very matter-of-fact as opposed to 'deep'.

Technically it's fine... ish. I think some of the grammar is funny but it cba getting my highlighter out.

Overall it's competent but a little flat; one-dimensional; slightly dull. But it's short so it's a little hard to tell.

Hope I helped.

November 9th, 2010, 12:23 AM
The good stuff comes right after where I stopped but thanks, I saw you rip apart some people on this site nineteen, so you saying it's better than average makes me \\:D/

November 9th, 2010, 12:32 AM
Just focus on images not such matter-of-fact description. It's important to know that the reader can visualise the scene. But "better than average" means better then the average person; I've read a lot of short stories from here and other places. Most people don't grasp writing so solidly and the ramble and they bore me.

November 9th, 2010, 04:40 PM
Hiya Raz,

Depending on where you're going with this, I reckon it's a good little idea. It could stretch to a short story length or novella at a push depending on what happens next, really.

Your conversational style is good, if not a little too conversational. Maybe try trimming a little?

And let the subtext work for you. Some things don't need to be explicit. Overtly, stating that your character is crazy kind of kills any suspense for your reader. They should be wondering what's going on, and then finding out for themselves. Maybe let the voice in your characters head simply be a voice and leave the audience to wonder about the sanity?

But the difference between showing and telling is a subtle one and it takes bloody ages to get it right! I read back across my stuff fairly often and think 'oh, no, that's terrible!' and then do it again :D

Alternatively, ignore me, becasue every opinon is subjective and I could be talking utter tripe hahaha :-#


November 9th, 2010, 07:08 PM
Is that what you call that style of writing? Conversational? I was having a friendly argument with a buddy of mine about that. He was (I thought wrongly) saying I should write it in present tense, but every other writer that I saw using first person wrote in a similar style to this.

As for the 'idea' trust me, my idea is five novel lengths long right now with four chapters of it actually written on paper. I only gave the first few paragraphs for a review on my style. Internal monologue is going to be a big part of the story because the main character has Dissociative Identity Disorder a.k.a. MPD(Multiple Personality Disorder). I want to post an example of that sometime too, when I find a good example that doesn't spoil too much of my story. I'm very reserved about how much I give to those who aren't my close friends.

The rest of the chapter goes on to introduce the two people living inside his head. They can take over like MPD, but they can also talk to him, like a schizophrenic.

November 9th, 2010, 08:15 PM
General consensus so far seems to be that people don't know where i'm going with it, so I'll be nice and post the next half and two paragraphs. I kinda cut it off mid paragraph.
This would be a lot easier if you'd just let me take over Richie, said the female voice within my head. Yeah, that's right, inside my head. Not only am I a PI, but I'm understandably, certifiably, one-hundred percent crazy. My psychologist says I have dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder. Bullshit . Having MPD implies that one's own personality is fragmented, and that those separate personalities that form can take over at any time, causing confusion in the prime personality. That's not what happens with me. Oh sure, my 'personalities' can take over, but only if I let them, but I remain conscious the entire time, watching my own actions through my own eyes while my 'alternate personality', per se, drives. But no one, absolutely no one, I know with MPD can do this.
I closed my eyes and thought, Fine. You have my permission to take over, Jennie, but just for this task. As soon as the cat is in our hands and our feet are on the ground, you are to relinquish control back to me. I heard a girlish giggle reverberate through my skull and before I knew it, I was the voice inside her head. Jennie craned my neck to the left and then to the right, making it crack both times. I hate the noise of cracking bones, and would have cringed had I control of my facial muscles. She raised both my hands in front of her and interlocked them. After cracking my hands, I swear just to annoy me, she started chanting.
"Aequitaras ler meleano ad peator. Velos da ler malacho. Zenvris!" she said, shouting the last word, lord only knows what it meant, but as she did, she shot out my hands in a beckoning gesture. Small slivers of green mist flowed out of my fingertips and toward the tree. As the emerald tendrils began to snake around the tree, it actually began to bend. As if the tree was a woman, and the cat was a child, the branches lifted the cat from its perch and gently lowered it to the ground.
"Fear not child of Gaia, I shall get you home," Jennie spoke softly, using my voice.

-------- there--- now hopefully we get a better picture of where the story is going as WELL as my writing style ^_^

November 9th, 2010, 09:59 PM
Yeah, I can see why you cut off where you did. It'd give the game away otherwise. Still, make sure you dont explain too much. You dot want it reading like a psychology text book so early on. A prime technique is to leak information throughout rather than delivering it in a block. Let the audience wait for it, they'll thank you later :wink:


November 9th, 2010, 10:07 PM
Yeah... my thought process with that was a bit skewed... I was thinking that a lot of people confuse MPD and schizophrenia, but the thing is, this guy has both. Tis true though that I probably shouldn't go that in depth with it.

November 10th, 2010, 10:25 AM
Yeah, I think we assume that people dont understand about things like this when really there's a great deal of general knowledge in the readership. Even if they dont know every little thing, they know the general gist of it and you can add the details through the narrative. I used to write great blocks of explanation before I found a better way.