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MBNewman
March 21st, 2013, 08:40 AM
Hey if you gents and ladies would be kind enough to browse over this revision of the intro, I would be much obliged. It's serves as an explanation for why the story is being told, and I just want to make sure it works well enough as a hook.

The Brookrow Bastard:

Some would call me murderer, thief, criminal; to these accusations, I cannot object. I have earned each of them.

I am no saint, nor a man of honor. Though, I am not some wretched demon, conjured from the depths of the Infernal Abyss. In truth, I am only a veteran of the cruelty of man, and a survivor of the cold streets. Though my foes have been many, none have ever deterred me.

Town criers, the local press, and two-bit storytellers all offer different variations of my tale, though they gleam with exaggerated half-truths, diluted by word of mouth. The reality of it all, however, is far darker than the story of how the Brookrow Bastard became sealed in infamy.

I was not born a killer. No one is. We are products of our environment, molded by the decisions of others. I was told that the gods predetermined the paths that we take, that everything happens for a reason. My life, as I would learn at a very young age, was destined for suffering, and I saw no reason. I had the makings to become a productive, gods-fearing member of society. Alas, fate had weaved a different path for me.

I wonder sometimes, when I am alone with a bottle of brandy, why things had to end up this way. In my drunken stupor, my mind always wanders back to my childhood, and how it was torn from me.

My name is Killian Todd. I am the Brookrow Bastard.

Fressno
March 21st, 2013, 08:48 AM
Very good start. Nicely explain. I guess its in a 1600-1700 century setting. But i dont know, just a feeling :) very good. Im hooked. More please :)

MBNewman
March 21st, 2013, 09:03 AM
Very astute observation. It is actually set in a late 1700, to early 1800 in a pseudo-pre Victorian era. My own fantasy world, but definitely inspired by such a time period.

Fressno
March 21st, 2013, 10:15 AM
Ah, an alternate reality :) i can feel the van helsing (hugh jackman) atmosphere. Or the game thief. The dirty, dark background hero can never be filled enough. Keep it up.

bioclasm
March 22nd, 2013, 12:08 AM
"Some would call me a murderer, [] a thief, and a criminal[. T]o these accusations, I cannot object. I have earned each of them, after all. In my days I have seen things no man should see, and done things much, much worse."

I think starting with this sentence would be a very good first line. I think you can get away with not including everything prior. At the end where Killian introduces himself as the Brookrow Bastard we will already be wanting to know more.

You just told us your main character is a self confessed murderer and thief, so you're going to have to work hard to gain our sympathy for the character. You immediately humble the character, which is a start, but I would suggest quickly showing us something that will get us on Killian's side rather than just telling us he's had it rough.

Good job, I'm looking forward to more.

MBNewman
March 22nd, 2013, 01:27 AM
"Some would call me a murderer, [] a thief, and a criminal[. T]o these accusations, I cannot object. I have earned each of them, after all. In my days I have seen things no man should see, and done things much, much worse."

I think starting with this sentence would be a very good first line. I think you can get away with not including everything prior. At the end where Killian introduces himself as the Brookrow Bastard we will already be wanting to know more.

You just told us your main character is a self confessed murderer and thief, so you're going to have to work hard to gain our sympathy for the character. You immediately humble the character, which is a start, but I would suggest quickly showing us something that will get us on Killian's side rather than just telling us he's had it rough.

Good job, I'm looking forward to more.


Ah, the sympathy factor. While my newest rewrite of the first chapter is unfinished (as I've been doing a complete overhaul of the novel and story) I will be sure to post more as soon as possible. But because Killian is a criminal, many could find it hard to sympathize with him, so I wrote this story to tell exactly how he became capable of murder, what he went through, and what broke him and turned him into "the Brookrow Bastard". Hopefully, you'll find that the narrator is quite the contrast to the young innocent Killian you will be introduced to in the first chapter.

LamentableBard
March 22nd, 2013, 09:33 AM
I enjoyed reading some of the earlier drafts and chapters you posted but if I hadn't then this would've more than done its job by getting me interested in Killian's character. Looking forward to seeing where you'll take the character. I'm getting a very Patrick Rothfuss type of vibe from your writing style which is no bad thing. I certainly wouldn't mind reading more.

MBNewman
March 22nd, 2013, 09:54 AM
Rothfuss is an amazing writer, and while I've only read his books once through, I'm sure I've picked up some tips from him. Well, the overhauled first chapter is up, including this updated intro (making this specific thread near pointless heh). I'm glad you've enjoyed the reads, that's all I can ask for after all!

TBK
March 22nd, 2013, 11:35 AM
"Some would call me a murderer, [] a thief, and a criminal[. T]o these accusations, I cannot object. I have earned each of them, after all. In my days I have seen things no man should see, and done things much, much worse."

I think starting with this sentence would be a very good first line. I think you can get away with not including everything prior. At the end where Killian introduces himself as the Brookrow Bastard we will already be wanting to know more.

You just told us your main character is a self confessed murderer and thief, so you're going to have to work hard to gain our sympathy for the character. You immediately humble the character, which is a start, but I would suggest quickly showing us something that will get us on Killian's side rather than just telling us he's had it rough.

Good job, I'm looking forward to more.


I completely agree with this. While I was reading it over, I kept thinking that the ending line should be this sort of big introduction, but the beginning of this doesn't catch my mind or my heart. I kept trying to figure out what was catching me, and I'm glad you found it.

I'd delete everything above this line.

Also, to make a strong impact with that last line? I'd take out the 'and' and replace it with a nice, firm period.

'My name is Killian Todd. I am the Brookrow Bastard.'

Now you have two, five word sentences, like two bullets, shot at the audience.

If you leave the paragraphs above that line, I feel like the main character is obsessed with what people are saying about him, and that he's trying to correct everything, and that he's assuming I'm intrigued by him.

I'd also delete the sentence that begins, 'In my days...'

I want you to show me that the lead characters has done horrible things, and seen horrible things.

This is an amazing, strong beginning. It makes me want to read more. I think, though, that it isn't tight enough.

Ahki
March 22nd, 2013, 04:19 PM
This was indeed an interesting read, and one I really enjoyed. I did find myself getting distracted by how many commas there were within each sentence. You do a lot of listing, and the repetition was a little jarring. I think TBK pretty much hit the critique on the grammar portion of this though.

Ranji
March 25th, 2013, 06:30 AM
Extremely interesting. Pretty powerful. I think, that is what you were aiming for?
It completely hooks the reader and forces her/him to reach the end. That is what you want right?
The complex sentence structure and complicated vocabulary no doubt adds to the mystery and fear, but what is your target age?
Few teens may not like the complexity of your writing, but I for one LOVE IT. Do continue.
Another thing I would like to say- Use shorter sentences. They have deeper impact.

Dictarium
March 26th, 2013, 01:45 AM
I had the makings to become a productive, gods-fearing member of society, but that is not the path that had been laid for me.I feel like this could be reworded, especially the latter half after "but that". If you could find a way to phrase this with less words, I feel it could be a better sentence as a whole, because at the moment I feel the wording of it sort of detracts from it, especially because it's the sentence that sort of sets up a "good guy gone bad" complex for your character.

Other than that I feel this is a very effective introduction to a character as well as a story. While it doesn't establish much about the world it'll be taking place in, it doesn't have to considering this seems to be more of a character piece.

Folcro
April 6th, 2013, 11:58 PM
There are a few minor things I would omit, but nothing more that needs to be said--- you write with an interesting and effective voice. It will carry your readers far. This Killian seems to have many interesting stories to tell.

KRHolbrook
April 7th, 2013, 12:47 AM
Hullo.

Figured I'd drop in and give you a little of my opinion on this piece. I'm a little nit-picky, but if I don't like something, I'll usually explain my thoughts on it. Everything is in my opinion, so you don't have to take what I say and do something with it. If you like something how it is, don't touch it. I'm merely a reader. :]

I critique as I read, and I haven't read any of the former critiques. If I state something already said, apologies.


Not every question can be answered, and some are never meant to be. [The ending line is a bit confusing. It can read as not every question is meant to be, or not every question is meant to be answered.]

The first sentence is a nice hook, but could use a bit of tweaking. It makes the reader's mind work out their own questions that can't be answered while also wondering what questions this line could be pointing to. The reader will want to read more to figure out what this sentence leads to.

A old [Unless it's relevant, I don't think the reader needs to know if the friend was old, young, or middle-aged.] friend once told me this, a long time ago. I quote this to describe lifeómy life, to be exact. You've [Generally, you want to keep the voice of the narrator the same throughout. In this sentence, "you have" doesn't correspond with "I'm." It kind of jars the reader. Either they use contractions or they don't.] heard the tales of the Brookrow Bastard, Iím sure, though they gleam with exaggerated half-truths, diluted by word of mouth. If the truth is what you seek, then you are not here for such tall-tales. The reality, however, is far darker than the tales of how the Brookrow Bastard became sealed in infamy.

There are answers to your questions, and I will give them freely, but you must first ask yourself if they should be. [I'm confused by the underlined part. What do you mean "if they should be"? If the answer should be what they are, once we learn them, or if that they should be free?]

At this point, the story dwindles. We're listening to a character talk about questions and answers, but a person's curiosity can only be held on to for so long. My curiosity dwindled within the second paragraph, though I noticed you tried to spark it back to life with the idea that the actual truths are darker than the partially-true ones. I get how you're trying to draw the reader in, a little, a little more, and then a little bit more, but the effect was lost on me.

Some would call me a murderer, and a thief, and a criminal; [I get the repetition you're going for, but the flow of it doesn't really work for me.] to these accusations, I cannot object. I have earned each of them, after all. In my days, I have seen things no man should see, and done things much, much worse.

Here is a paragraph worth its grain of salt as the opening lines. This makes me want to continue reading, despite having been put off a bit by the narrator's touch-and-go drawl with the question and answer game in the previous paragraphs.

I am not a saint, nor a man of honor, though I am not some wretched demon, conjured from the depths of the Infernal Abyss. I am no scourge or blight on this world, as many would have you believe. I am just a veteran of the cruelty of man, a survivor of the cold streets, and I have waged war with the gods. Though my foes have been [Does he still have foes, or all of them dead or long gone? "Have been" makes it seem as if he has no more foes, that he's done gone through and neutralized them all. If that's not the case, you might think of changing it to "are."] many, none have deterred me.

I was not born a killer,. No one is. [I believe this would be stronger as a single sentence.] We are products of our environment, molded by the decisions of others. [Though I understand the reference to peer pressure (if that's what you're getting at), we're actually molded by our [I]own decisions. Nobody can make a decision for us, but they can bribe and entice us to think a certain way. It's our choice to go along with it or not.] I was told that the gods predetermined the paths that we take, that everything happens for a reason. My life, as I would learn at a young age, was destined for suffering, and I could seesaw no reason. I had the makings to become a productive, gods-fearing member of society, but that is not the path that had been laid for me.

I wonder sometimes, when I am alone with a bottle of brandy, why things had to end up this way. In my drunken stupor, my mind always wanders back to my childhood, and how it was torn from me.

My name is Killian Todd, and I am the Brookrow Bastard.

Well, things were a bit slow-going at the beginning, but became a lot more enticing of a read as it went on. I'd definitely go with changing your first sentence, then touching up things here and there to make the sentences a bit tighter. Other than that, it's got me wanting to read more.

ZayneJ
April 13th, 2013, 07:27 AM
Intro's are tricky. You can get away with the characters living in their own head as the story goes on, but intro's need to be there to grab your attention.

"Some would call me a murderer, and a thief, and a criminal; to these accusations, I cannot object. I have earned each of them, after all. In my days I have seen things no man should see, and done things much, much worse." This felt like a much more attention grabbing sentence than most of the intro. Building off of something like this can usually allow you to establish more of a mood.

MBNewman
April 15th, 2013, 04:26 AM
Hey thanks for the read and the opinions, everyone! I have made some changes with your suggestions in mind, hopefully its one more step closer to being solid.

Pelwrath
April 15th, 2013, 05:25 AM
This is a nice intro or maybe a preamble would be better. A declarative statement before a body of work, or a constitution, is presented. I began to think on what our protagonist might look like; his background be like.. then I thought of Frankenstein, from the monsters perspective. How would a 'monster' describe themselves? I would be very interested in reading more.

StevenW
April 16th, 2013, 12:45 AM
Really good. The only thing I'd change is the name- don't give it out yet. Others here liked that. Tease us. Let us suffer. Save it for a later chapter, or maybe split it up. Brookrow Bastard at the end of the prologue and the real name later.