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H. Giggles
June 16th, 2013, 11:10 PM
Times change.
When we were kids, we didn’t even have a curfew. As long as it wasn’t a school night, it was no big deal if we walked to the park at ten or eleven o’clock for a game of flashlight tag. Our parents would wave as we headed out the door, before reminding us, almost as an afterthought, to look both ways before crossing the street. We lived in a nice neighborhood in a nice part of a nice town. There was no reason to be afraid of the dark.


The Vance Household, 7:23 pm Friday

Her voice echoed from the kitchen, down the hallway and into the bathroom. “Johnny! Your coffee’s ready!”
“I’ll be out in a sec!” Johnny Vance drew the razor slowly along his jawline. He took great pride in the modest goatee he’d managed to grow, and he took great care in maintaining it. Two more careful strokes and he put the razor back in its place on the counter. Tearing a paper towel from the roll, he wiped his face and took a cursory glance at his reflection in the mirror. Twenty-five years old, standing barely 5’7”and more wiry than muscular, with close-cropped brown hair and pale skin, Johnny didn’t look nearly as fearsome as he wanted to. Only his eyes stood out. Jet black eyes, like a shark’s eyes. If only looks could kill. He halfheartedly flexed his arms, watching the space needle tattoos shift on his less than impressive biceps before stepping out of the bathroom, snatching a gray t-shirt off the towel rack as he did. Johnny picked up his Bersa Thunder compact semiautomatic pistol from the living room table, locking the slide back and glancing in to verify that it was unloaded. He drew a 7-round magazine from the pocket of his worn Wranglers, and slid it home. Flicking the slide release, he sent the slide forward, chambering a .380 Hydrashok hollow point round. De-cocking the hammer with a flick of his thumb, Johnny slid the handgun into the leather holster on his right hip. Heading for the stairs, he wondered if he’d need it tonight.

escorial
June 17th, 2013, 12:05 AM
so much going on in a short piece..very dramatic.

Jeko
June 17th, 2013, 06:10 PM
This is incredibly well written, and very engaging until he looks in the mirror. I suppose it added to the drama for me, because I was like "No! Don't describe yourself now!"

I'd avoid cliches such as that, but that might be just my personal preference. I also don't think we need his exact height - I stopped reading for a second to think how tall that was.

The introduction in italics is stupendously good, IMO.

Wolf_Song
June 17th, 2013, 09:31 PM
I agree, the intro is really good. What is this excerpt from? A short story or a novel? I would like to read more of it. The beginning is the most important part of the book. It's what draws readers and makes them want to continue reading. If this was a book, I would definitely continue reading it by this.

H. Giggles
June 18th, 2013, 02:17 AM
Cadence- I guess I didn't really consider that too much description all at once could distract the reader. Thanks for the tip.

H. Giggles
June 18th, 2013, 02:20 AM
Wolf Song- It's the beginning of the book I just started writing. It started as just an idea I had, but I think I'm going to make it a full-length story.

Jolling Gypsy
June 21st, 2013, 11:28 AM
H. Giggles, personally speaking it does not distract the reader. And I find the height in this case is important too, a shortish wiry guy with a semi-automatic pistol... really good and gripping, I too will read it!!

Jeko
June 21st, 2013, 02:24 PM
H. Giggles, personally speaking it does not distract the reader.

When I read over 5'7'' I either try to work out how tall that is or ignore it or guesstimate - but all three make quantifying the impression we have of the character of little value. I also thought the height was important. I'd make the description of the height qualitative rather than quantitative to avoid any possible issues or confusion - it would be more effective that way overall.

PitbullBob1
June 27th, 2013, 09:07 AM
Great first chapter opening. Reminded me of James Patterson, whom I read almost constantly. The pistol details definitely create suspense, bravo on that. I'm intrigued as to why the gun was on the living room table. About Johnny's height, how about saying something like he's "no taller than his mother," without going into much detail numerically? One more thing about Johnny, when he's first shown with that razor drawing across his jawline, I thought he was in the process of committing suicide!

mukesh
July 11th, 2013, 08:48 PM
Your character sketching is awesome. I learned a lot about how to introduce a character from you..Keep it up!!!

Nissim
July 25th, 2013, 08:52 PM
Times change.
When we were kids, we didn’t even have a curfew. As long as it wasn’t a school night, it was no big deal if we walked to the park at ten or eleven o’clock for a game of flashlight tag. Our parents would wave as we headed out the door, before reminding us, almost as an afterthought, to look both ways before crossing the street. We lived in a nice neighborhood in a nice part of a nice town. There was no reason to be afraid of the dark.


The Vance Household, 7:23 pm Friday

Her voice echoed from the kitchen, down the hallway and into the bathroom. “Johnny! Your coffee’s ready!”
“I’ll be out in a sec!” Johnny Vance drew the razor slowly along his jawline. He took great pride in the modest goatee he’d managed to grow, and he took great care in maintaining it. Two more careful strokes and he put the razor back in its place on the counter. Tearing a paper towel from the roll, he wiped his face and took a cursory glance at his reflection in the mirror. Twenty-five years old, standing barely 5’7”and more wiry than muscular, with close-cropped brown hair and pale skin, Johnny didn’t look nearly as fearsome as he wanted to. Only his eyes stood out. Jet black eyes, like a shark’s eyes. If only looks could kill. He halfheartedly flexed his arms, watching the space needle tattoos shift on his less than impressive biceps before stepping out of the bathroom, snatching a gray t-shirt off the towel rack as he did. Johnny picked up his Bersa Thunder compact semiautomatic pistol from the living room table, locking the slide back and glancing in to verify that it was unloaded. He drew a 7-round magazine from the pocket of his worn Wranglers, and slid it home. Flicking the slide release, he sent the slide forward, chambering a .380 Hydrashok hollow point round. De-cocking the hammer with a flick of his thumb, Johnny slid the handgun into the leather holster on his right hip. Heading for the stairs, he wondered if he’d need it tonight.
I like it. This perfectly evokes the conflict he experiences between his persona and his underwhelming physicality. He clearly suffers from a Napoleonic complex that he tries to mitigate using his menacing lifestyle. Instead of mentioning that he is 5'7" just indicate that he is slightly below average in height. The numerical precision distracts.

Nissim
July 25th, 2013, 08:58 PM
Hi Bob. The razor should be drawn across the jugular when committing suicide.

Blade
July 25th, 2013, 09:57 PM
When I read over 5'7'' I either try to work out how tall that is or ignore it or guesstimate - but all three make quantifying the impression we have of the character of little value. I also thought the height was important. I'd make the description of the height qualitative rather than quantitative to avoid any possible issues or confusion - it would be more effective that way overall.

I think with a numerical height report there is also reference system issue. (i.e. do you say 5'7" or 170 cm., or both?) Tall, medium, short is just as descriptive and not as distracting, IMHO. Specific numerical values are only occasionally really useful.:sorrow:

wtblexturn
July 26th, 2013, 02:29 AM
Thought the intro was exceptional. A keeper. A little too descriptive at times though, which ruins the flow. Other than that, well written.

agraymatter
July 30th, 2013, 09:16 PM
It's a bit cliche, but nonetheless interesting. You've got all the right vocabulary, rhythm and descriptions, but do you need to place them all right there in the same moment? The mirror provides an ideal place for observing, looking, noting, and describing. So don't do it! Do something different.

Also, I couldn't... just could not separate your icon image from your description. Haha! This isn't something to fix, just a funny side-note. I read the part about the tattoo and looked over and saw the person in your icon has a tattoo and I was just like: "It's totally this person!" And then giggled a whole bunch. I dunno. Just sayin'.

bazz cargo
August 21st, 2013, 06:01 PM
HI H,
great kicking off point. The clever use of details as a style and a grounding. Interesting character and a lot of questions set up. If the plot measures up to the opening you have a winner on your hands.


When we were kids, we didn’t have a curfew. As long as it wasn’t a school night, it was no big deal if we walked to the park at ten or eleven o’clock for a game of flashlight tag. Our parents would wave as we headed out the door, before reminding us, almost as an afterthought, to look both ways before crossing the street. We lived in a nice neighborhood in a nice part of a nice town. There was no reason to be afraid of the dark.



The Vance Household, 7:23 pm Friday




Her voice echoed from the kitchen, down the hallway and into the bathroom. “Johnny! Your coffee’s ready!”

“I’ll be out in a sec!” Johnny Vance drew the razor slowly along his jawline. He took great pride in the modest goatee he’d managed to grow, and he took great care in maintaining it. Two more careful strokes and he put the razor back in its place on the counter. Tearing a paper towel from the roll, he wiped his face and took a cursory glance at his reflection in the mirror. Twenty-five years old, standing barely 5’7”and more wiry than muscular, with close-cropped brown hair and pale skin, Johnny didn’t look nearly as fearsome as he wanted to. Only his eyes stood out. Jet black eyes, like a shark’s eyes. If only looks could kill. He halfheartedly flexed his arms, watching the space needle tattoos shift on his less than impressive biceps before stepping out of the bathroom, snatching a gray t-shirt from the towel rack as passed by.

Johnny picked up his Bersa Thunder compact semiautomatic pistol from the living room table, locking the slide back and glancing in to verify that it was unloaded. He drew a 7-round magazine from the pocket of his worn Wranglers, and slid it home. Flicking the slide release, he sent the slide forward, chambering a .380 Hydrashok hollow point round. De-cocking the hammer with a flick of his thumb, Johnny slid the handgun into the leather holster on his right hip. Heading for the stairs, he wondered if he’d need it tonight.



Please forgive my humble fiddle with your work. I mean well.
Bazz

With intensity
August 23rd, 2013, 03:28 PM
Dear Mr. H,
I'm goin' out on a limb here with this question; Is Johnny Vance by any chance you?

The 2 sections of The Night Watch are so drastically different; it's like 2 totally different authors. the short italic intro is good stuff. The paper towel parts got to go. The ballistic part is used-up for me. I'm tired of guns. there not sexy anymore. Bang bang bang. If Johnny were to flick the slide release and get his finger stuck- that would grab me!

H. Giggles
September 1st, 2013, 02:18 PM
With intensity- Despite the fact that I was really drunk when I wrote this, I nonetheless should have realized that I was, in fact, basically describing myself. Part of that may have been due to my inspiration for the story: the rapidly increasing crime rate in my once-nice neighborhood, the efforts of myself and a few friends to track down the perpetrators, and also the fact that I've always had a bit of a "little man" complex (literally). I plan on changing that. Also, with regards to your remark about getting a finger stuck in the slide...well, poo. Mind if I use that?

H. Giggles
September 1st, 2013, 02:21 PM
agraymatter- Yeah, it's pretty much me. I was really drunk when I wrote it, and I got the idea for the story from recent events in my real life, so that just kinda happened, although I'm planning on changing it.

Klara
September 1st, 2013, 02:40 PM
You had me from the first sentence. I would love to read this. I wouldn't mention his height in numbers though. under average in height or not quite average in height. Or don't mention it at all just yet. Possibly wait until his first conflict then throw in there. But, not in numbers. MHO. You gripped me from the very beginning. I'm intrigued and would keep reading, even purchase the book. Well done!!

distorter
September 1st, 2013, 04:21 PM
As an impulse piece, this is really good! Everything is proper- vocabulary, rhythm, mechanics. It also leaves the reader wanting more.

Only one small detail: "...as fearsome as he wanted to. Only his eyes stood out."

....this may just be me, but sentences ending with prepositions always trip me up.

Also, in my opinion, it's not cliche and it doesn't matter your muse. Draw upon your own personal experiences all you want. I don't know any good writer that doesn't.

With intensity
September 10th, 2013, 08:58 AM
With intensity- Despite the fact that I was really drunk when I wrote this, I nonetheless should have realized that I was, in fact, basically describing myself. Part of that may have been due to my inspiration for the story: the rapidly increasing crime rate in my once-nice neighborhood, the efforts of myself and a few friends to track down the perpetrators, and also the fact that I've always had a bit of a "little man" complex (literally). I plan on changing that. Also, with regards to your remark about getting a finger stuck in the slide...well, poo. Mind if I use that?
Help your self!

godofwine
September 16th, 2013, 04:13 PM
I thought it was a good start, though I wonder how the italiced part mixes with the part about the Vance Household.

I agree with Bazz cargo's breakdown as far as paragraph structure. You want to try to make smaller paragraphs. Large paragraphs invoke something that they say on another forum I go to, Colin Powell or "I ain't reading all of that sh.."

Small paragraphs make it easy to read, and make the reader feel that they are making progress in the writing/story, where long paragraphs do the opposite.

john123
October 14th, 2013, 01:16 AM
its a good start, but we need more information on the plot before we can make a final judgement

LunarFuror
July 1st, 2014, 10:50 AM
This was fantastically written. I didn't feel it was over detailed, but I'm someone who enjoys a lot of details in things. Will look forward to more!

sparks81292
July 16th, 2014, 12:58 AM
I think more tun anything you just need to write more, your MC is already alive and functional (maybe not emotionally... but that adds to it :D). Would love to read more, some of the self deprecating description seemed slightly redundant maybe could cut it down to half as many lines of description.

Fei
July 26th, 2014, 10:58 PM
Don't mean to sound redundant but... it was VERY well written :D