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death cab
April 21st, 2013, 12:43 AM
(Tentatively titled The Human Protocol.)

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.

These are the facts I must face at 8:24 A.M. My first thought of the day, before I've had even a cup of coffee or taken my rudimentary morning leak. I drag myself off of this worn-out bed, ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life. A spring pops through the mattress.

"Times are hard," Rich had said before giving me the bed. "I can't let my favorite drinking buddy move into a new place without him having a place to rest his head." Yeah Richie, times are hard. But not harder than this Goddamned mattress. Asshole.

The fact is Rich is an asshole, and he's not even much of a friend. He's just the owner of a local tavern who had let me stay above the bar for a few weeks with all the beer and liquor I could drink after hours. It didn't hurt him any that I paid more than my fair share during hours. After my stay in rehab he saw no benefit of keeping me up there, and he tossed me out on the street. He just gave me the bed and adios. There was no need for me once I kicked the habit.

Which was good for me, because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous. A prolonged stay at Rich's Tavern would've sent me into relapse for sure. Even now, looking into the mirror in my new 4 x 6 bathroom, I can see the yellowish tinge of ten plus years of alcohol abuse. Too many nights spent with a bottle of Jack and reality television.

(I intended to show you more, but something's come up and I have to stop it short here. I'll probably show you guys more later if you have interest. I'm just looking for comments on my style and my use of first person narrative. There's no plot here clearly, but basically it's a psychological thriller where the main character has his mind controlled. Sounds lame saying it like that but I don't have time to write a coherent synopsis right now. Any feedback is appreciated!)

carastone
April 21st, 2013, 04:47 AM
I like it. This guy has attitude, and he isn't one of those poster-children for the protagonist. I mean, even though Rich let him stay upstairs for a few weeks, and gave him alcohol for free after hours, and even handed over the bed, Darren doesn't appreciate him. In other words, this good guy has a twist. That's what makes me want to read on.

Thanks for the glimpse,

Cara Stone
sites.google.com/site/carastonenovels/

qwertyman
April 21st, 2013, 07:25 AM
You haven't given us much to go on, I would have read on if there was more to read. My only comment is you should keep an eye on over-use of 'me'.


(Tentatively titled The Human Protocol.)
. After my stay in rehab he saw no benefit of keeping me up there, and he tossed me out on the street. He just gave me the bed and adios. There was no need for me once I kicked the habit.

Which was good for me, because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous. A prolonged stay at Rich's Tavern would've sent me into relapse for sure.

Unconsoled
April 23rd, 2013, 07:03 AM
I'm just looking for comments on my style and my use of first person narrative.

I'm going to comment on just that. Yes, this is neat. I felt you wanted to give a "damn-care" kinda' voice. Which worked most of the times. But there aren't much going, as you said yourself, that helps us decipher more clearly how you want to showcase your narrator.However, I get he's this guy out of rehab talking like he's Holden Caulfield and is frank in everything and all. I think you've got a pretty head start. I'd love to see the rest.

Sharyar,
Sorry I couldn't be much help.

Bakslashjack
April 23rd, 2013, 04:35 PM
I don’t really feel one way or the other about this, and I guess that might be a good thing. Or perhaps there just isn’t enough to make any judgment.
I like psychological thrillers. However they are tough to get off the ground. I’m of the opinion that some patterns might be helpful for you. Couple 2-3 sentences with the same subject when attempting to be descriptive. EG. A spring pops through the mattress. Follow this with something. Or precede it with a sentence with a relevant action or subject. But don’t just drop this in there and move right into dialogue.

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.
This reads goofy for me. How about this.
I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced and dishonorably discharged from the United States Navy.
Or add one more thing to this sentence to make it a proper list. I would add time. Newly divorced X years after my dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Yeah, yeah its fragmented, but I think you get the idea. Hope this helps

Jeko
April 24th, 2013, 08:41 AM
Hell of an opening line. Reads like a little like King, but thankfully not like King. Sounds unique, original. The fragments you use work well to convey a punchy, authoritative and matter-of-fact tone. You have a believable character and he's hardly done anything yet.

I wouldn't worry about any of your lexis (inc the 'me's - they're fine, IMO. The reader goes over them).

The lattermost paragraph is the weakest for me. It doesn't use the punch of the opening well enough, and lets the tone fall down a bit.

Trilby
April 24th, 2013, 12:59 PM
I do not do many critiques. I am too apprehensive of imposing my voice over the author's when suggesting changes, however I like this piece and will tread carefully and hopefully not be too obtrusive.


(Tentatively titled The Human Protocol.)

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced and dishonorable discharged from the United States Navy(.), these are the facts I must face. I have took the liberty to move the first part of your sentence to here. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.
The facts have to faced most of the time, not just at 8:24 A.M. - that is why I split this sentence

(These are the facts I must face )moved at 8:24 A.M. My (At 8:24 A.M. my...) first thought of the day, before I've had (even) unnecessary word a cup of coffee or taken my rudimentary morning leak. I drag myself off of this worn-out bed, ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life. A spring pops through the mattress.

"Times are hard," Rich had said before giving me the bed. "I can't let my favorite drinking buddy move into a new place without him having a place to rest his head." Yeah Richie, times are hard. But not harder than this Goddamned mattress. Asshole.

The fact is Rich (is) why the italics? an asshole, and he's not even much of a friend. He's just the owner of a local tavern who had let me stay above the bar for a few weeks with all the beer and liquor I could drink after hours. It didn't hurt him any that I paid more than my fair share during hours. After my stay in rehab he saw no benefit of keeping me up there, and he tossed me out on the street. He just gave me the bed and adios. There was no need for me once I kicked the habit.

Which was good for me, because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous. A prolonged stay at Rich's Tavern would've sent me into relapse for sure. Even now, looking into the mirror in my new 4 x 6 bathroom, I can see the yellowish tinge of ten plus years of alcohol abuse. Too many nights spent with a bottle of Jack and reality television.

(I intended to show you more, but something's come up and I have to stop it short here. I'll probably show you guys more later if you have interest. I'm just looking for comments on my style and my use of first person narrative. There's no plot here clearly, but basically it's a psychological thriller where the main character has his mind controlled. Sounds lame saying it like that but I don't have time to write a coherent synopsis right now. Any feedback is appreciated!)

Okay, so I've just gone over the first few sentences, but overall I believe this has the potential to be a good read. I like the way the first person voice is; sort of casual and in a matter of fact way is somehow disconnected from the reality of the situation. The narrator does not come across as feeling sorry for himself nor does he give off a tough guy (kick ass) persona and yet he does have a chip on his shoulder. Let's see more and Good Luck!

lowprofile300
April 29th, 2013, 03:48 PM
(Tentatively titled The Human Protocol.)

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.
This fist line, sounds like the beginning of an autobiography. It is kickass, loved it.



These are the facts I must face at 8:24 A.M. My first thought of the day, before I've had even a cup of coffee or taken my rudimentary morning leak. I drag myself off of this worn-out bed, ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life. A spring pops through the mattress.
'off the worn-out bed' has a better flow than 'off this worn out bed' 'this' gives the impression that there is more than one bed.



Yeah Richie, times are hard. But not harder than this Goddamned mattress. Asshole.
I am assuming these are the narrator's thoughts, so I suggest you put them in italics.



(I intended to show you more, but something's come up and I have to stop it short here. I'll probably show you guys more later if you have interest. I'm just looking for comments on my style and my use of first person narrative. There's no plot here clearly, but basically it's a psychological thriller where the main character has his mind controlled. Sounds lame saying it like that but I don't have time to write a coherent synopsis right now. Any feedback is appreciated!)

In terms of your use of first person narrative, I think you are fine. Your style? your style is kickass! loved it. Cheers

alcarty
May 11th, 2013, 11:47 PM
The voice of the narrator is in-your-face and frank. It sounds like the beginning of an old detective yarn (Hammett, Chandler) and I felt if that was your intention I would read on. I like the half-corny pulp characters, and I think your narrator would fit right in, except for the dishonorable-discharge. After a guy has the yellow document I don't think there is much to redeem him. If you kept on with that in Shepard's history I would not continue reading.

crowdogs
May 20th, 2013, 11:40 PM
I like it. It flows nicely. I wanted to read more. I stumbled on the free beer and liquor part. Iím not sure it matters, but would someone really do that?

Nissim
July 25th, 2013, 11:50 PM
(Tentatively titled The Human Protocol.)

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.

These are the facts I must face at 8:24 A.M. My first thought of the day, before I've had even a cup of coffee or taken my rudimentary morning leak. I drag myself off of this worn-out bed, ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life. A spring pops through the mattress.

"Times are hard," Rich had said before giving me the bed. "I can't let my favorite drinking buddy move into a new place without him having a place to rest his head." Yeah Richie, times are hard. But not harder than this Goddamned mattress. Asshole.

The fact is Rich is an asshole, and he's not even much of a friend. He's just the owner of a local tavern who had let me stay above the bar for a few weeks with all the beer and liquor I could drink after hours. It didn't hurt him any that I paid more than my fair share during hours. After my stay in rehab he saw no benefit of keeping me up there, and he tossed me out on the street. He just gave me the bed and adios. There was no need for me once I kicked the habit.

Which was good for me, because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous. A prolonged stay at Rich's Tavern would've sent me into relapse for sure. Even now, looking into the mirror in my new 4 x 6 bathroom, I can see the yellowish tinge of ten plus years of alcohol abuse. Too many nights spent with a bottle of Jack and reality television.

(I intended to show you more, but something's come up and I have to stop it short here. I'll probably show you guys more later if you have interest. I'm just looking for comments on my style and my use of first person narrative. There's no plot here clearly, but basically it's a psychological thriller where the main character has his mind controlled. Sounds lame saying it like that but I don't have time to write a coherent synopsis right now. Any feedback is appreciated!) I am drawn into the story. I would like to know more about Darren so that's a good thing. You have me hooked. The first two sentences have grammatical mistakes. Here is my version: I am Darren Gordon Shepard. I am newly divorced and dishonorably discharged from the United States Navy. That's a hell of a thing to tell potential employers. Also, when you talk about your rudimentary leak, that's an odd word choice. I prefer to say that he takes the obligatory morning leak. What is a rudimentary leak? Are there complex versus simple leaks? When you talk about the yellowish tinge I am not sure which part of the body the tinge is on. Is it all over his skin or maybe just the whites of his eyes? Please be more descriptive.

Nissim
July 25th, 2013, 11:53 PM
Why would you not keep reading? Should novels only be about upstanding, angelic people? Your comment baffles me.

wtblexturn
July 26th, 2013, 02:25 AM
The first sentence was great, talk about a hook? Addiction is always an interesting subject, so this has the potential to be a good read.

Jeko
July 26th, 2013, 10:47 AM
except for the dishonorable-discharge. After a guy has the yellow document I don't think there is much to redeem him. If you kept on with that in Shepard's history I would not continue reading.

It makes me want to read on like crazy. This guy has a past. What if it comes back to haunt him? The tension has been laid down expertly in the opening line, and later elements of the character's introduction enforce and expand on his reader-grabbing history.

agraymatter
July 30th, 2013, 09:02 PM
So I'd be interested in reading more before I say too much, but I am going to make an attempt at conveying how I feel about this passage. Though, I can't quite place exactly what I find interesting and simultaneously frustrating. I think it has something to do with the rhythm or pattern of this narrative.

I mean, one one hand, it's candid and I like that! On the other hand, I feel that it's too methodic. If this were a song, I'd hear the same riff repeating over and over.

You have long, descriptive sentences followed by short and forthright statements:

"I drag myself off of this worn-out bed, ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life. A spring pops through the mattress."

Or just take a look at the format of these two paragraphs:


"The fact is Rich is an asshole, and he's not even much of a friend. He's just the owner of a local tavern who had let me stay above the bar for a few weeks with all the beer and liquor I could drink after hours. It didn't hurt him any that I paid more than my fair share during hours. After my stay in rehab he saw no benefit of keeping me up there, and he tossed me out on the street. He just gave me the bed and adios. There was no need for me once I kicked the habit.

Which was good for me, because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous. A prolonged stay at Rich's Tavern would've sent me into relapse for sure. Even now, looking into the mirror in my new 4 x 6 bathroom, I can see the yellowish tinge of ten plus years of alcohol abuse. Too many nights spent with a bottle of Jack and reality television."

Do you see how those two paragraphs follow the same rhythm: Long descriptions; the last sentence - short and to the point.

Perhaps I'm not making any sense at all... (most likely). But I feel as though the voice is too structured for me to stay focused. However, I do find the story intriguing and would be interested in reading more.

Kelson
July 31st, 2013, 02:07 AM
Hey Death Cab,

(Great handle & avatar. I have a pair of those sun glasses.) I will throw out there equivalent to what you have thrown out. I like it. I don't even like first person narratives. I always write in third. Still, I like it. I would keep reading. But that is about all I can say because there isn't really enough to go on. One tidbit I can offer is "because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous" is unwieldy. I personally would consolidate it.

Keep in touch & I'll keep reading it. Check me out by web searching Kelson Hargis or Kelson's Challenge. I am still too new here to have anything posted.

Sincerely,
~Kelson

CCRazorback22
August 8th, 2013, 06:09 AM
I like your style for a rough character. I think his personality sort of seeps into your style which i think is cool. It was really interesting and I wanted to read more.

CCRazorback22

bezidentita
September 2nd, 2013, 04:51 AM
I like the conversational style you've managed to pull off. It's a little minimalistic, which is good. I can automatically use my imagination and fill in the blanks, like what the room looks like, the kind of life this character might be living---even if I don't know all the specifics yet. There's more to this character, and it makes me want to read more. Where is it going? A murder mystery? How will it play out? Good stuff.

distorter
September 2nd, 2013, 02:50 PM
I've got no problem with this piece at all. I liked it. Keep up the good work.

godofwine
September 16th, 2013, 07:22 PM
It left me thinking where he was going to go with it. Nassim had, "I am Darren Gordon Shepard. I am newly divorced and dishonorably discharged from the United States Navy. That's a hell of a thing to tell potential employers." but I was thinking I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced and dishonorably discharged from the United States Navy. That's a hell of a thing to tell potential employers.

It sounded like you have a rough and tumble down on his luck American story here. With you working on a first person story it is difficult to work out the "me's" and find other ways to say the same thing.

From: Which was good for me, because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous. A prolonged stay at Rich's Tavern would've sent me into relapse for sure.

To: Which was good, because I had walked into rehab a walking advertisement for Alcoholic's Anonymous. A prolonged stay at Rich's Tavern would have no doubt ended in relapse

Talking your way past some of the pronouns works, others you just have to switch it up a bit. It's a good start. Good luck.

john123
October 14th, 2013, 01:33 AM
interesting character, dark and gritty. It really shows the darker less clean version of the world

Mohican
October 31st, 2013, 03:54 PM
I donít really feel one way or the other about this, and I guess that might be a good thing. Or perhaps there just isnít enough to make any judgment.
I like psychological thrillers. However they are tough to get off the ground. Iím of the opinion that some patterns might be helpful for you. Couple 2-3 sentences with the same subject when attempting to be descriptive. EG. A spring pops through the mattress. Follow this with something. Or precede it with a sentence with a relevant action or subject. But donít just drop this in there and move right into dialogue.

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.
This reads goofy for me. How about this.
I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced and dishonorably discharged from the United States Navy.
Or add one more thing to this sentence to make it a proper list. I would add time. Newly divorced X years after my dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Yeah, yeah its fragmented, but I think you get the idea. Hope this helps

These suggestions make sense.

As a premise? I don't know. It seem like there has been an overabundance of effed up ex military characters in fiction, especially since the Bush II started the second round of War Games, Big Sand Box edition. Perhaps being navy, and not the "burnt out soldier coming back from Iraq or 'Stan will be enough, but alcoholic ex military main characters are a dime a dozen.

MattHanisch
November 10th, 2013, 07:48 PM
I like how this character is highly flawed yet there are signs of him trying to redeem himself. With him going to rehab I feel it gives the reader hope that he will grow and perhaps even turn his life around. I think it will also give us something to root for when the characters starts going through issues in later parts of the story.

htins
November 10th, 2013, 11:11 PM
this is the exact kind of thing that i would be interested in reading, character development is a great thing, i find it makes the characters all the more easy to relate too i would love to read more :)

FinishStoryStop
November 10th, 2013, 11:58 PM
Yeah, your first sentence made me sit up and take notice as well. Punchy. To me, your writing style feels like you are talking to the reader. I like it actually. Reminds me of Desmond Bagley.

midnightzgale
December 10th, 2013, 01:47 PM
The start is great, and he's not your typical protagonist starring in his own mellow drama. He has character and spunk. As a character, I won't lie--heis well-liked. However, I am more interested to find out what this story is about rather than knowing more about the character.

tabasco5
December 10th, 2013, 06:03 PM
(Tentatively titled The Human Protocol.)

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, newly divorced dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.



Since there has been some talk on how to word this better I will give my take.

I am Darren Gordon Shepard, a newly divorced dishonorable discharge from the United States Navy. Hell of a thing to tell potential employers.


I would personally use discharge as a descriptive noun, it makes the character sound much like a defective reject of the USN system. The next sentence is fine. Looking forward to reading more, good work so far.

Elvenswordsman
December 10th, 2013, 08:47 PM
Good piece. I'll say I feel like I've read it before, although it's only the first couple paragraphs. The story is old, tried, and could certainly use a re-do. Perhaps you're the one to take it to new levels?

tatygirl90
December 20th, 2013, 03:27 AM
Your opening is really good and it hooks you right away. Like someone before me said it could flow better but otherwise I feel like it gets the job done.

spirithawk41723
December 20th, 2013, 06:29 AM
I like your style and it seems to fit with what you're writing about. I don't know how you might improve it because I am new to giving constructive criticism and new here in general . I think being more clear and straight forward would help, it just seems to leave me with more questions than answers. How does mind control play into it? Mind control seems to me to be an out of place complication and loses me.

eswriter
December 26th, 2013, 05:14 PM
Some suggestions:
1) First sentence is quite a grabber, but anyone with slight knowledge of Human Resources will notice that you don't need to tell an employer whether you are recently divorced, or divorced period, for that matter. They just ask for single/married in the application. The inaccuracy (for me) halts an otherwise great hook.
2) "rudimentary morning leak" -- the word rudimentary seems out of place unless he goes #1 in a log outhouse out in the wilderness, but even then, "rudimentary" isn't quite as much the correct word as perhaps "rugged" would be. I would just strike it, or perhaps swap it with "obligatory" or "inescapable" or something like that.
3) "Rich said" (dropped the "had") -- the bit about Rich seems a tad jolting, and though it may work, I prefer more of a transition, maybe tied to the spring... "The spring broke through the mattress and with it the memory of Rich giving me this bed. <Insert expletive here>. 'Times are hard,' Rich said when he gave me this bed. ... etc.
Overall I think you're off to a great start, with a strong hook and an evocative voice that pulls on the line to bring the reader in. Keep it up!

thepancreas11
January 3rd, 2014, 02:19 AM
An anti-hero is a great read. I find him intriguing. I'm assuming the dishonorable discharge has something to do with the mind control, which fits and sets up a grim, reluctant protagonist. These are always the most interesting to read about. I might try to give him an accent as he speaks, but that's a personal choice of yours.

Be careful not to overdo it. You don't want him to sound whiny. You want us, the readers, to be on his side. It doesn't seem that way here, I'm just suggesting that as you reread your story, you make sure that his anger is justified.

Also, as far as psychologial thrillers go, you'll want to introduce the premise as quickly and as subtly as you can. The dishonorable discharge is good, but keep it coming. Give us details to think that there's maybe something wrong with him that we can't put our finger on.

All in all, a good read that is definitely going somewhere. Include more chapters when you have the time, and we can help you nail it down.