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TheYellowMustang
May 25th, 2013, 10:14 AM
Basically what I want to ask is
1. How does this work as the first page of a novel to you? Do you want to continue reading?
2. This is a fantasy. Is it interesting that the narrator is the way he is (he's no Harry Potter, that's for sure), or do you just feel like he's misplaced? (PS: The fantasy-element is subtly introduced in the first chapter, so it's not too big of a surprise when the magic start interfering with his life)


CHAPTER 1: “Someplace where there isn’t any trouble” (first page only)

I was in denial. The alarm screeched somewhere next to my head, and I slapped it blindly until it stopped assaulting my ears. I wasn’t ready to acknowledge the morning and nuzzled my nose deeper into the pillow, but my body disagreed. There were physical needs more pressing than sleep, and the more I drifted from semi-consciousness and into awareness; I felt it – the god-awful hangover.

It had been a much too eventful weekend, as far as my health is concerned. The next thing my senses caught onto was the sound of the shower running in my adjoined bathroom.

Confused, I propped myself up on my elbows and squinted in the sharp light that peeked through the thick curtains. Whoever it was turned the shower knob, and I heard some shuffling about before she appeared. Oh that’s right. Long and pale legs, a towel wrapped around her body, tangled and wet red hair. She raised an eyebrow over one of her deep green eyes. Cassie… Callie… Something like that. Let’s call her what’s-her-face.

She’d graduated two years earlier, but she was still a frequent participant at the senior’s parties, pathetically clinging to her high-school life as the it-girl and afraid to explore the world outside of Black Forest Creek High. I’m much better with bios than names. She was also another notch on my belt, as of today.

“Morning, Sebastian,” she said. I felt a tired smile spread over my face as I appreciated the sight of her. Maybe if I played my cards right, she’d be up for some morning-fun. But was I up for that? Perhaps if I got her to do the heavy lifting…

Ariel
May 25th, 2013, 12:57 PM
I'm guessing she's not a natural red-head? Tans and red-heads don't mix. :)

Anyway, this does flow just fine and Sebastian's voice is very clear. I feel a little awkward reading this post-coital scene with the implication that Sebastian is a minor. I want to continue reading but only because I feel cut off mid-sentence. Sebastian seems like a bit of a jerk, which can be interesting.

TheYellowMustang
May 25th, 2013, 03:33 PM
Oh no no, he's 18, no worries! But the book certainly isn't for everyone. Crude language, descriptions of drug-use, alcohol in abundance, sex, objectification of humans etc..

Ariel
May 25th, 2013, 04:25 PM
He certainly does sound like a jerk. :)

I would have to read more to really decide on if I like it.

TheYellowMustang
May 25th, 2013, 04:31 PM
I'm guessing she's not a natural red-head? Tans and red-heads don't mix. :).

I corrected that one. I agree, it was a bit hard to imagine. Sometimes when I'm not really planning to edit and I just randomly read through something I've written, the little mistakes suddenly glare up at me. It's strange, because usually when I sit down TO EDIT I always miss them. It's when skim through it that I notice what words I stumble over.

Skodt
May 25th, 2013, 06:19 PM
A simple introduction. It seems to work. Wondering is this an adult wizard fantasy? Or just subtle elements of magic?

TheYellowMustang
May 25th, 2013, 08:08 PM
No main characters are magic, so magic is not a big part of the story in that sense. It's the two people in the background, the ones who turn out to be "the man behind the curtain" at the end, who are witches.

Skodt
May 25th, 2013, 09:59 PM
Have you happened to read The Magicians? It is kind of crude and different. More adult Harry Potter. It is a strong layer of magic though.

Pelwrath
May 25th, 2013, 10:22 PM
I liked it but was looking for the 'fantasy', didn't notice any yet that doesn't mean anything As for Sebastian, based on his description of her, I place him as a teacher at the high school. Keep up the work as this isn't a bad start.

Lucidian
May 30th, 2013, 09:51 PM
I enjoy a good anti-hero. You've set Sebastian up to be just exactly that. Hopefully he has some redeeming quality that the reader can hold onto. Just a little something that keeps us invested in him.

Folcro
June 2nd, 2013, 05:23 PM
Good fiction is people misbehaving. This has all the potential to qualify for good fiction from the opening line.

You changed the red-haired tan woman and made her pale... I would change it back. It showed, without coming out and saying it (my personal favorite type of showing), that this is a woman who goes out of her way to get a tan, or spends a lot of time outside (seeing as how gingers are usually of fair skin), or dyes her hair. This is befitting of Sebastian's describing her. Even if this doesn't turn out to be an important character (I'm guessing she won't), his thoughts on her, his treatment of her being in the situation she is in, will develop him.

It's a perfect opening, partly because it's short and to the point. It could be even shorter (not that it needs to be). Here is how I might have structured your opening lines...
--------------------
I was in denial.

The alarm screeched somewhere next to my head. I slapped it blindly. I wasn’t ready to acknowledge the morning. My body disagreed. There were needs more pressing than sleep, and the further I drifted into awareness, I felt it. The hangover.
--------------------

Notice how I didn't change as much as remove. We know why a guy turns off an alarm, so I took out the "screeching" explanation. If his body was disagreeing, he wouldn't be nuzzling the pillow, so I skipped that step. Most people (writers especially) know that a hangover is God-awful, so I skipped that as well.

Me, I like Sebastian. Rather, I like the idea of his being in this kind of story, the anticipation of his interactions with other characters. I would, instead of making this excerpt the opening chapter, make it the prologue with the same chapter title (which I also like). Great work so far. It is definitely alluring.

Pennywise
June 2nd, 2013, 05:39 PM
sounds very interesting and I am interested to know ..did sabastian get lucky!:pirate2:

bazz cargo
June 2nd, 2013, 09:24 PM
Hi TYM,
there is enough for me to read on.

Redheads can be a useful in subverting clichés. Playfully misdirecting readers is fun.

Is this an experiment or are you working on this for real?

TheYellowMustang
June 3rd, 2013, 12:49 AM
Hi TYM,
there is enough for me to read on.

Redheads can be a useful in subverting clichés. Playfully misdirecting readers is fun.

Is this an experiment or are you working on this for real?

Thank you! No it's for real, I've actually finished the first draft of the novel and right now I'm having a "it's not good enough and I don't know how to make it better" kind of crisis. So it's resting on my laptop while I bite my nails and try to think of an excellent and mind-blowing way to make it the greatest story ever written that no writer has ever thought of... I gotta say, it's quite a challenge.

Folcro
June 7th, 2013, 12:22 AM
Thank you! No it's for real, I've actually finished the first draft of the novel and right now I'm having a "it's not good enough and I don't know how to make it better" kind of crisis. So it's resting on my laptop while I bite my nails and try to think of an excellent and mind-blowing way to make it the greatest story ever written that no writer has ever thought of... I gotta say, it's quite a challenge.

Pure originality is so tragically overrated. Has been since people realized its virtual unattainably. Me, I prefer enjoyable. What you have so far is enjoyable. Keep doing what your'e doing. If that mind-blowing concept never comes to fill your story, your reader will not hold it against you. Failure to write is the only sin.

InkwellMachine
June 7th, 2013, 02:21 AM
Something I would caution against is writing a character for their novelty in the story. While it's true that awesomeness sometimes has to trump everything else, that's how a lot of characters end up feeling like they're made of cardboard. For example, if you've ever read Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's a great story, but you can pick out the characters and easily tell what roles they were built to fit. Thus, they feel like characters, which means the death of a 'person' in the reader's subconscious.

Admonitions aside, he doesn't feel cardboard in this section. He feels old, though. Older than eighteen. What you've done here is interesting though, because I do want to keep reading, but not because of any attachment to the characters or setting (because we're only 288 words in and it would be ridiculous to form either of those things yet). I want to keep reading because I know it's going to turn out to be a fantasy, but it doesn't feel like one so far. For that reason, I'm already curious.

As far as your main character goes, like I said, you shouldn't be worrying about whether he seems out of place. All things are in service to the story. If the main character is a drunk high-schooler who likes to get down and also happens to be a wizard with a snake for a penis, that's all fine, as long as it's an important part of the story. Otherwise, if your main character does happen to have a snake-penis but it never plays any significant role in the story, why mention it? I'm sure you get my point.

Also, rest assured knowing that I didn't get the impression that your main character has a snake for a penis. That was for demonstrative purposes alone.

bazz cargo
June 10th, 2013, 09:30 PM
Hello again,
just a thought, if you are working through your novel it would be worth putting any further posts inside the writer's workshop. That way you will keep first rights.

Good luck.
Bazz

IWrite..Kinda
June 14th, 2013, 06:29 AM
This is a great start. A big folly that writers tend to have is to throw everything at the reader all at once. This is a smooth, gradual intro that opens the novel for a sundry of possibilities. The "fantasy" isn't shown here but it doesn't need to be, its just an intro. Thanks for sharing

Yurika
June 14th, 2013, 08:40 AM
I like it, very interesting. Strong start to the story that immediately invites in your target audience.
A few errors here and there from an editing point of view (e.g. 'nuzzled my nose' instead of 'nuzzled the pillow'), and a bit too many adjectives, but overall quite strong. Well done!

brightlex
June 14th, 2013, 01:02 PM
Hi the yellow mustang, (love that name by the way, very cool) I agree with what someone else said, and that is red heads should be pale. I think this is one of their qualities that make them so appealing and different from tanned ladies. The old alarm clock start, (seen this loads of times in media entertainment) didn't really do it for me as a great opening paragraph. I think you need to really shock the reader in from the first sentence and this didn't do it for me.

The second paragragh makes a better opener for me and would hook me in from the start. You are a good writer with great descriptions and flow. I'm just giving my humble opinion. Cut the alarm clock please?
Neil

AlexJames
June 15th, 2013, 06:24 PM
Like it. Works perfectly well as an opening page.

The Jaded
June 17th, 2013, 08:18 AM
To answer the question in the OP, I think I would read on at least a bit further, because there is no plot hook yet, and I tend to go at least that far. This brief snapshot is still in the part where you're setting the stage for the plot hook, you haven't dropped it yet.

My main sticking point is that this sounds to me more like a wild college party aftermath than a high school one - generally, it's less awkward for graduates to hang around their college friends for a few years than it is for a high school grad to hang out with kids still in school. That might not be the case everywhere, but it's definitely the case in my experience. I was reading under the assumption of college-age until you specified otherwise, and that threw me for a loop.

A college party would also justify your narrator's apparent independent life - he has his own place? In no place I know of do any high school students have apartments.

My perspective is, of course, limited to the North American continent, so I could be laughably wrong if your story takes place in Europe. Though I imagine European high school students also live with their parents.