PDA

View Full Version : Chapter 1 Extract - Electric Gold



HKayG
June 14th, 2012, 03:29 PM
So, This is how i am planning to start (please bare with the roughness!) I'm basically looking for criticism and a yes/no answer as to whether you'd read on and why!

*EDIT* WARNING there is some minor bad language in the following extract, i completely forgot to warn you all!

*EDITEDIT* Thank you to every one that has had a look at this (negative or not). I have really taken in all the feed-back and will be re-vamping this chapter asap. Please feel free to critique this further but i'd like to know if i should post this again when edited in a new thread or post it on this thread? Thanks again everyone!

Also, i am going to comlpletely revamp the following chapter as it has been pointed out to me how very beginniner-ish it is!

The young woman would never be the most average character you’d ever chance upon. By all means she was intelligent, fair and had a heart of gold, but with a temper as quickly flared as that of a tiger and a sense of humour more sarcastic than the school ground bully, it was a special sort of person that became friends with Eva Gold. But it was a friendship never to be regretted.
Although she was not one to believe in conspiracy theories, violence and strange goings on that could not be explained, she was about to be mixed up in all three. And she had no say in the matter. If there could only be one thing that Eva Gold hated, it would be lack of control.

I took a deep breath and looked down at the long drop between the, what I estimated as, six foot gap in front of me. This was a whole foot further than I had cleared previously. The cool night’s breeze whispered over the nape of my neck and tussled with my ponytail. I exhaled, my shoulders falling with the breath and slowly spun on my heel to walk the carefully calculated steps away from the ledge. Once in position I again turned to face the potentially fatal drop. Again I sucked in a breath of icy air and shook my hands to rid the last of my nerves. My eyes focused on a point beyond the gap on the next roof. I had to believe I’d get there for this to work. I had calculated in the fact that the next rooftop had a slight lip making the jump an uphill affair, wrenching the difficulty factor up a notch or two. I shook my head smiling to myself and pushed a leg back slightly bending at the waist to stand a statue kind of still. I slowly became aware of every tightly coiled muscle in my body creaking in anticipation, every pump of my heart pushing blood around my body, every breath into my lungs delivering oxygen to my eagerly awaiting muscles. Without any warning I pushed off on my bent leg exploding into a sprint. Within a matter of steps I had gathered the necessary speed, the edge was rapidly approaching and it was too late to turn back. My heart had quadrupled its output, my muscles were screaming at the limit of their capability, my feet pounded on the roof top as I mentally calculated the jump. Three meters to go, two metres, one… I pushed off from the very edge of the rooftop with all the power and energy I had built up launching myself into the air. Anyone looking up between the buildings at this moment would see a girl leaping from one rooftop to another over a seemingly impossible distance, but this is what I did it for, this feeling I craved when I jumped. The three pure seconds of the sensation of flight. An indescribable feeling of power. Time somehow sped up and slowed down all at once. I could feel the adrenalin pumping through my body as I calculated my landing, twisting my legs to be able to roll off the jump. Making the jump wasn’t even a thought, I knew the moment my legs had left that rooftop behind it had been a perfect jump. Inches away from the lip I couldn’t help smiling with the accomplishment of it all. And that’s when the sinking feeling in my stomach struck me. With no warning a pain swept through my body starting at my feet and ending beyond my neck. The pain was intense, what I would later describe as thousands of little lightning strikes under my skin sending my muscles into spasm and swearing that it made my heart stop. All in all it lasted no longer than half a second, but that was all it took for the form of the jump to be lost. Although I had no problem soaring over the lip I had completely lost any kind of structured landing. Through sheer determination I recovered what form I could and managed to scrape the lip of the building putting as much force into my foot as possible, propelling myself straight onto the roof top. I landed like a ton of bricks on my side. The landing was awkward with one arm under my body taking the majority of the hit along with my ribs, legs clattering down after. The pain was immediate, shooting through my body as I bounced and tumbled over and over until momentum was lost and I was carried no further.
“Shit!” I screamed into the empty night around me. The pain from the electric cramp had disappeared only to be replaced by searing pain all down my left side where I had landed. Straight away I knew I had badly bruised my ribs, possibly lightly cracked one or two, but it was my hand I was most concerned with. Slowly managing to push myself up to a sitting position, I tasted the faint metallic taste of blood in my mouth. I pressed my hand to my face to feel an almost instant swelling forming on my brow bone. Taking a closer look at my left hand I was not surprised to see my ring and little fingers were already black and would need strapping but miraculously my wrist had escaped any major injury. Slowly I got to my feet silently thanking God that I had not injured my legs, ankles or feet, although I knew that if I had not managed to take some of the energy off that land when I did on the lip of a building it would have been potentially a lot worse. The bitch was my ribs, that injury was definitely going to inhibit my movement. I sighed as I thought however much it hurt now; it would hurt twice as much in the morning. But right now all I could think about was getting off the damned rooftop.
I had already forgotten about the strange pain that had got me into this situation in the first place.

Jeko
June 14th, 2012, 04:01 PM
Hi HKayG,

Un) I'd put in a language discliamer. Some people don't prefer to read expletives... including me.

Deux) I don't feel your first paragraph sells me your work: You define your character, more than set the scene, and it feels a bit abrupt. I mean, I would have wanted such a character to be conveyed through their style, words, action etc. Doing it this way robs value from the piece.

Trois) I'm not french... why am I counting in french?

Four)


The cool night’s breeze whispered over the nape of my neck and tussled with my ponytail.

Loved this line - much better than the abrupt start to things. It has an air of beauty to it, of artistry and care.

Five) The drop is long, but is it fatal? It's then potentially fatal, which doesn't speak of danger much. He might be okay, he might not. Let's take a chance!

I think the scene would benefit from it being definite.

Six) You really need more paragraphs. The whole chunk of text feels very convoluted.

Seven) I didn't think that you were referring to Eva Gold when you switched to the first person... again, it's an abrupt change, that.

I'll leave it there for now - the start is a bit shaky, and it puts me off a bit. Honestly, I would not read on, because I haven't been hooked by any concept or style - in fact, by the first paragraph, I feel like I already know too much about this character.

HKayG
June 14th, 2012, 07:58 PM
Thanks, that's all brilliant for me. I'm definetely going to restructure the whole thing.
I am so sorry about the swearing! I completely forgot about it! Gosh, i feel so rude! ^^;

Thank you for pointing out that sentance, i love whimsical writing but i'm always trying to steer away from it because it's to flowery. Maybe i've gone to far the other way?

wyf
June 16th, 2012, 01:27 AM
I would be tempted to get rid of the first two paragraphs, and put them somewhere else, and start the story with

I took a deep breath and looked down at the long drop between the, what I estimated as, six foot gap in front of me.

Dave Watson
June 16th, 2012, 10:49 AM
Inches away from the lip I couldn’t help smiling with the accomplishment of it all. And that’s when the sinking feeling in my stomach struck me.


Just a structural thought, but I'd maybe start the second sentance here in a new paragraph as I think you lose some of the tension the way it runs together just now. I'd also watch out for cliches such as "I landed like a ton of bricks". Personally I like when writers give new slants to established phrases, so you could maybe change it to something like "I hit the opposite rooftop like a particularly clumsy and graceless ton of bricks."

I'd definitely read on, as I'd like to know what motivates this crazy broad. :)

Oasis Writer
June 16th, 2012, 07:34 PM
A lot of the above can be related to my post in the last chapter. Just focus that grammar and you can easily adapt it into this work. Also, as it was noted above, be careful with obscenities. Personally, I have a tongue like a sailor and I work in a prison where I hear much worse, but I don't believe that it is an affective avenue in literature. I don't think it brings more to a story. Yes, sometimes there is a time and place, but I wouldn't make it a common occurance. It's a turn-off to good writing, in my opinion. Otherwise, not a bad start. The shift in focus from the last chapter to this one was well done and I like where this was going more.

HKayG
June 17th, 2012, 07:16 PM
but I don't believe that it is an affective avenue in literature. I don't think it brings more to a story. Yes, sometimes there is a time and place, but I wouldn't make it a common occurance. It's a turn-off to good writing, in my opinion.

Thank you for your words, but i would just like to defend writers such as myself, for example one of the best selling books of all time "The girl with the dragon tattoo" which witout the bad language would not have been the same book it is. I believe sometimes it's about defining character and I hate to see writing that often doesn't use words when in real life they definetely would have. But as you say, it is not everyones cup of tea.

Oasis Writer
June 17th, 2012, 07:57 PM
The above statement doesn't need defense. I didn't claim your story was too heavily obscene. :) I merely stated that it is something to be careful about. For instance, you wrote, "damned rooftop." in one of the concluding paragraphs. Damn isn't necessarily a bad word-I wouldn't chaste a person for the use-but it isn't an improvement on the scene. Dialogue and obscenities are different. If used sparingly and correctly, they can define a character, an age set, and help build momentum for something more. If using too much or out of context, it can start to hinder the overall affect of the story. I merely stated that it was something to think about. :)

Violet-Blue
June 19th, 2012, 03:38 AM
I would definitely put the first two third person POV paragraphs somewhere else as they don't mesh with your first person narrative. I would stick to one tense so as to not confuse your reader.



I took a deep breath and looked down at the long drop between {the}, what I estimated as, [a] six foot gap in front of me.


I shook my head smiling to myself and pushed a leg back slightly bending at the waist to stand a statue kind of still. This sentence needs something towards the end to clarify the meaning a bit. So you could write it as: "...waist to stand to a statue kind of still." OR "...waist to stand a statue-kind-of-still." Does that make sense?


Making the jump wasn’t even a thought, I knew the moment my legs had left that rooftop behind[,] it had been a perfect jump. Needs a comma there to separate the ideas and make the sentence flow smoothly.


Although I had no problem soaring over the lip[,] I had completely lost any kind of structured landing. Another comma needed.

Watch the lack of commas, I know it's hard when it's your own writing, you tend to read right through it, not seeing where they might be needed! The leading paragraphs should give some insight into the character: name, sex, appearance, location and initial motivating factors...otherwise we have no reason to CARE about what you are writing, right?

Don't be discouraged by critiques...this is the only way we become better writers. Whoever said writing was easy, was a moron...lol don't give up!

I would like to read on, providing I know WHO I'm reading about, and WHAT exactly she is doing on that rooftop. You don't necessarily have to spell it out, but a hint, to tantalize the reader to continue reading...

As far as profanity is concerned...I seriously doubt this piece will be for "literature" as in vying for a Pulitzer type of nonfiction, so profanity is completely acceptable. I think it also depends on the tone you're going for. There are times I read a piece and wonder why the writer didn't put in a 2953 there... bottom line is: you're never going to please everyone who crits your work or who reads your published work. Write for yourself and no one else. Work on a piece until you're happy with it. Take the crits in stride and consideration...but NEVER change something in your work that doesn't feel right or organic to you, the writer. Make sense?

Good luck, and keep writing!

Cefor
June 19th, 2012, 07:22 AM
I didn't read much past the first two paragraphs. Here's why:

That initial paragraph of the narrator... old-fashioned and it put me off almost straight away. Switching to first person after third person, without some kind of chapter break (which even then I'd be very wary of), is not something that many writers would recommend.

A six foot fall will not kill you, unless you're very unlucky and you land on your neck or some kind of protruding object. People are six foot tall, sometimes. You want something more fatal? Try twenty or more. This was a major no-no for me, a kind of pet-peeve I suppose. Using yards would have been better (3 feet making a yard).

The ",what I estimated as," was totally unnecessary... in first person, the reader knows that everything except direct speech is the words of the character. So, when someone says, 'I looked at the six foot drop', you take it for granted that they're either guessing, or already know, which either way doesn't matter to the story much.

You're repeating words a lot. 'Again', 'calculated', 'breath'. Re-think your sentences and read them out loud to see how it sounds.

Sorry for the negative critique, but you asked if we'd read on or not and lying would do more harm than good.

Keep writing.
Cefor

HKayG
June 19th, 2012, 10:17 AM
you're never going to please everyone who crits your work or who reads your published work. Write for yourself and no one else. Work on a piece until you're happy with it. Take the crits in stride and consideration...but NEVER change something in your work that doesn't feel right or organic to you, the writer. Make sense?

Practically crying... haha. Thanks so much! I'll definetely be going over this chapter and re-posting it soon!!

solidgoldbrass
June 19th, 2012, 10:16 PM
I'm another one who has a problem with the sudden switch from third to first person: is Eva Gold the narrator? Is she talking about herself? Or is Eva Gold someone else that she likes/admires/hates/competes with?

Also, please brace yourself a little because this may sound harsh but read the whole of what I say...

Stylistically, this is absolutely horrible BUT you have that extra something that means I, at least, want to know what happens next. Who is this girl and why is she jumping around town like this? JK Rowling is not the most literary of writers, but she has a knack of making you want to keep reading, and I think you have a touch of that too.

badboi scene
June 21st, 2012, 02:18 PM
I agree with Cadence about the first paragraph being inessential, and I believe would benefit the story to be written throughout, more fittingly.

I began reading, but I am sad to say, found myself becoming disinterested the more I progressed. As some have stated, you do have a tendency to repeat words, and this, for example, was the piece that caused me to discontinue:


I could feel the adrenalin pumping through my body as I calculated my landing, twisting my legs to be able to roll off the jump. Making the jump wasn’t even a thought, I knew the moment my legs had left that rooftop behind it had been a perfect jump.

You mentioned the word jump three times within two sentences, making it irksome.

On a good note, because I know only, too well, how discouraged people can feel with a bad appraisal, I was fond of your adrenaline-junky heroine, and as I previously specified about your opening paragraph being needless, your descriptions of Eva Gold were expressive, and proficient.

Someone once said, ‘One man’s junk is another mans treasure.’, and as Violet-Blue above-mentioned, no ones work can satisfy everyone’s thirst. Just because a few were not fanatics of this, does not mean that there are not admirers of this particular style out there.

Kat Molina
June 21st, 2012, 06:08 PM
ok forget the grammarand structure and lets look at the story it's self here…you have a lot ofpotential. It’s clear that you have thebase for a much bigger picture and this is just a glimpse to start it off. I’malso a big believer of write it how you’d say it. If the emotion of a scenecalls for an expletive then by god use it. And yes warn the potential readerbut also know that we are all adults so unless this is a young adult or Childersstory then let it ride.