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View Full Version : Brutal Critiques Welcome "Seconfhand God" excerpt.Adult Language



Colin Martin
December 4th, 2010, 05:17 PM
This is an excerpt from my first novel "Secondhand God." While some scenes have been pretty easy to conceptualize, some like this one I'm submitting seems to be lacking, especially when it's a pivotal part of the plot. I welcome your input and thank you for your time!
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He reached in the car and cleared off the dashboard, handing Regan the roses as she built her personal pile up against her chest. The aroma of fresh cut roses drifted out of the car and into the street. Victor climbed into the back seat and handed her rose after rose... every few seconds just a hand and rose could be seen emerging from their car. The street was unusually quite with no one around to witness... the snow was starting to fall heavier. As soon as Victor had emptied all of the roses into Regan's arms he pulled his camera from his coat and snapped a picture.

“Ok, smile baby.” The yellowish glow of the streetlamps against the falling snow made such a beautifully ambient image and he walked over to show her.

“It's beautiful. You're beautiful. This entire night is magical.” Regan said as she carefully placed the gathered roses in to the backseat, but keep one out to hold in her hands as they prepared to drive away. Victor pulled the car away from the curb and proceeded home. She keep looking back to see all of the roses bunched together on the seat. This was one of her most peaceful moments.

“ I really love you.” she beamed. “This has to be the most special anniversary ever.”

“I hoped you would like it. Amazing after 18 years we still have it. We still have the relationship we have always dreamed of. Most of our friends have divorced, but we still keep sticking it out.” Victor said, looking at her out of the corner of his eye.

“Well, we've had our moments like any other couple, but I couldn't imagine being with anyone else. We are very lucky, aren't we? Two beautiful daughters, great friends.... great sex!”

“Hmmm.... yea...” Victor was having a hard time seeing the road from the quickly falling snow. It seemed extra dark that evening. He leaned towards the window, squinting to try and see the road better. Victor crept up to the traffic light at the corner of Wisconsin and Padre St. and came to a stop. They waited for the signal to turn.... there was no other car at the intersection.

“Are you sure you can see, Vic? You want me to drive?”

“Funny.... you're about buzzed out of your mind. You want to get us killed?” he said with a laugh.

Regan held the rose up to her nose and and drew a deep sniff. “.... I'm not going to kill anyone... I'm fine.” She looked at a tiny bar on the corner that she had seen dozens of other times as she passed this way to the city. The light turned green and Victor moved the car ahead slowly.

“I've always wanted to go in that place.” She thought about surprising Victor on his birthday booking a small party for him there. “It looks so cute with the stained glass....”

Victor saw just a flash of white out of the corner of his eye like a ghost in the darkness. He knew what was about to happen. “Watch out!!” he tried to grab Regan, but he couldn't reach for her in time. A white van with no headlamps on smashed into the passenger's side of the car. Regan never saw it coming.

The impact threw the couple's car violently into a spin on the icy road. “FUCK!” Victor cried as he held onto steering wheel with a death grip. He tried to turn the wheel but the car was spinning around, out of control. “HOLD ON!”

The car slammed up against the curb of the street and came to a halt. All was quiet except for the hissing of the wind coming through the now wide open gap on the passenger door frame. Smoke was rising up from their car. Victor was dazed but unhurt. He grabbed at Regan. “Are you alright, baby?” Maybe the impact hadn't been that bad... his first thought was of her safety.

“Baby?”

Regan sat there... still looking straight ahead.... unfocused upon the windshield... looking past it into the darkness. She was still holding her rose.

“Baby, are you ok?” Victor grabbed her shoulder gently. “Regan?”

The rose fell from Regan's hand and gently landed near her feet. She leaned quietly over, very slowly... towards Victor. Her eyes were still looking ahead. She very gently slumped into his waiting arms. With horror he saw a wound on her head. It was a gash that ran from her temple to he cheek that was gushing blood and starting to swell.

“Oh no! Baby! Oh my God!” He lept from the car's driver side and frantically threw is coat off, then ripped his shirt off his body. He got back in a placed his shirt on the side of her head to try and stop the bleeding. “Help! Help me!” he cried into the snowy night. But there were no cars yet passing the scene. He looked through the rear glass to see the other vehicle. It was smoking violently... stopped dead in the middle of the intersection with it's front end smashed in. Radiator water was pouring from the bottom turning the snow green with steam... no one emerged from the vehicle. “SHIT!” Victor's voice broke into a wimpering panic.

He climbed out of his car to get his coat, which lay on the snowy ground just outside his driver door where he left it. He panicked and fumbled with the coat to desperately find his cell phone. “Fuck....fuck....” He started to cry with a panic. “Please.... please....”
He pulled the cell from his coat and dialed 911.

A car slowly pulled up to the scene. An elderly couple parked on the side of the intersection and hopped out. “Are you alright, buddy? Anyone hurt?”

“My wife.... my wife is hurt bad. Please help me! Please!”

“We called 911. There will be someone here to help in a minute. Just hold on. .. let me see her.” The stranger pulled Regan from her slumped position into a sitting one and gently removed Victor's blood stained shirt from her head. The gash had swollen to the size of a potato, but the bleeding had slowed down. “Oh boy....” he said a bit under his breath. “Ok, help will be here in just a minute. Hang in there, buddy. Hold this shirt against her head.”

Victor took the shirt and gently held it to his wife's face. The stranger and his wife headed to the van to see if someone there needed help. “Hold on, mister. I have to check out this other vehicle to see if anyone's hurt. I'll be right back.”

“Don't go... help me please! Hey don't....” Victor started to sob. “Oh my God, please...” he could hear the sirens of the emergency vehicles coming closer to the scene. After what seemed like forever, the first paramedics arrived to help.

len_ryuka
December 4th, 2010, 08:47 PM
Well, I see what happened here. I'm not drawn into the story at all here because you tell too much. I'll just point out some minor mistakes first:

"As soon as Victor had emptied all of the roses into Regan's arms he " Emptying out from where? You never gave me this information, so far I think he's stealing it from some store or something like that.

"but keep one out" should be "kept" that's just grammar stuff. I think you made the same mistake a couple more times.

Conceptual wise... My opinion will really differ if this is at the beginning or middle of the novel. But since it seems to be incepting the background story of the couple(like how their marriage is good and all), I'm assuming it's at the beginning. Well, let me just say your story just doesn't work. I don't feel for the character, I'm introduced to them way too fast(and I nearly know none about the personality of these two characters at all), then bam! tragedy!

well it's a tragedy for them, but not for the reader, because I don't care a single bit about these characters. It's like I'm reading the news, I hardly give less of a thought about some murder in China or Japan. I don't know a thing about them.

And the dialogue is somewhat too over-standardized.
“Don't go... help me please! Hey don't....” Victor started to sob. “Oh my God, please...”

I hear that sort of line every day in movies and stories, it's just boring.

Colin Martin
December 5th, 2010, 05:14 AM
Thanks len. I'll keep revising it. I did pull it from the middle with no introduction to the characters.

Val Yazon
December 5th, 2010, 06:16 AM
Hello! The first paragraph is a bit jumbled in that I don't quite know what the characters are doing.

He reached in the car and cleared off the dashboard(Why would he have to clear off the dash? Unless the roses are on the dash and you were clearing the dash of roses), handing Regan the roses as she[ built her personal pile up against her chest (this needs to be re-written. The words are a bit harsh for the situation; e.g. "pile" "up against" maybe as she lay each rose on her lap, slowly and carefully building a bouquet].

"Victor climbed into the back seat and handed her rose after rose... every few seconds just a hand and rose could be seen emerging from their car. (If he was in the back seat, why would there be hands and roses emerging from the car?)

"Victor pulled the car away from the curb and proceeded home. She keep looking back to see all of the roses bunched together on the seat." (What curb? Where were they from? Did they eat somewhere?)

I agree w/ len_ryuka in that the characters' dialogues are a tad standardized.

“It's beautiful. You're beautiful. This entire night is magical.” (It doesn't seem believable to me. It may be a personal preference, but I don't quite see gals calling guys beautiful. )

“Well, we've had our moments like any other couple (such as? Put a little spice into the characters, "remember that time when..."), but I couldn't imagine being with anyone else. [We are very lucky, aren't we? Two beautiful daughters, great friends.... great sex!(sounds a bit generic.)]”

Also w/ the strangers coming in, I don't see why the wife couldn't stay with Victor. Why did both of them have to go check out the other car and leave the bleeding lady in the snow? They seem to be a bit too calm and composed for the situation.

The excerpt was a bit predictable and I'll admit I saw the crash coming big time (things were a tad too cheesy in the beginning to last). The story wasn't uninteresting though, you built a nice plot and back story. I'd like to know more about their relationship and if there were any conflicts in their past or how they'd gotten to be so happy. Though, their actions borderline a bit too formal (a couple together 18 years can afford to be more colloquial to each other).

Definitely put in more characterization and background to the characters.

Colin Martin
December 5th, 2010, 05:21 PM
Thank you Val! That helped a lot. It makes me excitied to get back and rewrite.