View Full Version : Beginning of novel

January 17th, 2011, 02:02 AM
I really need a bit of critique for the beginning of a novel I'm working on. This is about half of the first chapter, but as I now wrote it I don't know how it reads. Anything and everything would be appreciated, even if you don't like it.

The world outside the window told of a wet, grey day. Raindrops splashed with high frequency against the panes of glass, exploding on contact before coalescing and running down the vertical surface in rivulets. The weatherman had forecasted more of the same into the night as well, and by the appearance of the blackness hovering in the sky, he was probably right for a change.

Dr. Mohon was oblivious to all of this, preferring instead to focus on the stack of handwritten notes in front of him. He pushed his black-rimmed glasses up onto his forehead and for the first time was aware that it was, in fact, raining heavily. Sighing loudly, he leaned back in his chair and swiveled around to face the lone window in his office.

His eyes hurt from reading so much. He had been analyzing the files from several of his patients for hours, and it was taking a toll on him. He needed to relax a bit. Not everything in life revolved around his patients.

But then again, everything should.

He stood up, painfully ignoring the protests from his bad knee. Back when he was a young doctor, a patient had attacked him and in the ensuing melee, his knee had twisted badly enough to leave him with permanent pain. For the most part it did not affect him too much. But on days like this, when the weather was cold and he was not moving the joint as often as he should, the pain was annoying at the very least.

His faint reflection stared back at him as he stood in front of it. Running a hand through his thinning grey hair, he thought back to a time when he had the best hairstyles around and the girls went crazy for him. That thought brought a smile to his face and he spent several moments reminiscing of those days long since gone by.

The ringing of his phone startled him out of the past and back into the dull, cluttered office. He turned and glanced at the number on the caller ID. It was his receptionist. Well, not his personal receptionist, but today he was the only one around, so she might as well be that. He leaned over and pulled the receiver to his face.

“Hello, Dianne,” he said in his thick Indian accent. Years of living in the United States did nothing to hide his true roots.

“Dr. Mohon, there’s someone here who insists on seeing you,” she said, her tiny voice always sounding further away on the phone.

“I have no time for visitors. I’m doing very important work here. Unless it’s an emergency, let them make an appointment for a later date,” he replied.

“I don’t think this guy will take no for an answer, Doc. He’s…well, he doesn’t seem to be a very patient person. He won’t react kindly to the whole appointment suggestion.”

“Fine,” the doctor admitted defeat, “Send him in. This had better be important.”

He heard a click on the other side and hung up himself. Shaking his head, he tried to clear some of the many items that made the desk look particularly untidy, even for someone who is not very organized. He opened a drawer and pushed the files he had been looking at inside. Confidential information, after all.

Heavy steps thudded closer outside his door. He could almost tell how far away this person was by the way they walked. A few feet away now…and then the thudding ceased. The person outside knocked sharply on the metal door, the sound echoing throughout the otherwise empty hallway outside.

“Come in,” Dr. Mohon called.

The handle turned and the door swung open with a soft creak.

January 17th, 2011, 04:02 AM
I like it, and thought the build up was good. It was informative without being too telly, which is good, and felt like a natural introduction to a story. You ended this at a good point and I am interested in what happens next, so good job there.

I'm not as good with punctuation as others here, but I thought that you needed a comma after painfully.

He stood up, painfully, ignoring the protests from his bad knee.

January 17th, 2011, 04:55 AM
The knee pain is intriguing. I want more of that story, but later, and I want that explanation about the melee to be a teaser instead. I would be HOOKED. It's good!

January 17th, 2011, 05:16 AM
It's good, but it's not great.

Shaking his head, he tried to clear some of the many items that made the desk look particularly untidy, even for someone who is not very organized.

That piece of text feels awkward. You should probably replace 'some' with 'a few' and reword the last clause.

Also, I don't get why the visitor would bother to knock if he is such an impatient man? It's a minor quibble, but still.

Olly Buckle
January 18th, 2011, 10:14 AM
I liked the way the over the top description of the weather becomes 'raining heavily ' in the second paragraph, it might seem trite without the separation of the third person/the doctor's view, but it is very well done.

Gumby is right about that bit of punctuation giving the wrong message "ignoring the painful protests" maybe.

'the files from several of his patients' this caught my attention, 'patient files' maybe? Keep the unimportant stuff minimal. Like here,
'he thought back to a time when he had the best hairstyles around and the girls went crazy for him' try
'he thought back to when he had great hair and girls went crazy for him',
The other problem with 'he had the best hairstyles around' is he could only have one at a time, and most people keep their style, but I am nit picking, very good.

January 18th, 2011, 02:37 PM
Interesting start. I would read more. Thanks for sharing!!

March 9th, 2011, 04:36 AM
Slightly verbose in some places, in my humble opinion. I also have the attention span of a child, so I occasionally faded out.
I however did enjoy the build-up and suspense, and how nature correlated with the events that were happening.
Overall, an enjoyable read, I would further pursue this piece.
Try not to use "five dollar words" when a nickel word can be used.
My opinion is not professional and more that of a general audience however.