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View Full Version : Chapter 1 To My Novel, WARNING: Adult themes + language.



sparks81292
July 26th, 2014, 06:36 PM
It's my first time... be gentle.
Chapter 1:
“drown"
drɑʊn. Verb
1. to die by being under water and unable to breathe, or to kill someone by causing this to happen
2. to have or experience too much of something. “
-Cambridge American-English dictionary.

John looked again at his watch, reassuring himself that his wife would indeed not be back in the next 10 minutes. He double checked his pockets for hand sanitizer and gum and then pulled out the forbidden cigarette. Overexcited, he took too big of a drag, and coughed a bit. He laughed and walked towards the lake in front of his condo. This was Irvine, Southern California, of course the lake was man-made but that didn’t bother him, in fact he didn’t even think it made the lake any less pristine or calming. Just different. A few minutes passed and suddenly there was a loud splash that made John jump.
He turned and saw a disturbance in the water about 30 meters to his left. This lake is pretty nasty, he thought, whatever if a couple teenagers want to get weird bacterial infections that is fine by me. He resumed consuming his delicious little cigarette and let his mind wander as he paced. About a minute went by, and John noticed that he hadn’t heard any further splashing and grew uneasy. He decided to investigate and started walking towards the spot where the noise had come from.
There was definitely something in the water, it looked like a garbage bag but as John got closer he realized it was a person. He froze.
“Hello?” he called.
“HELLO?”
Holy fuck holy fuck someone dumped a fucking body. Instinctively he ashed his cigarette on the sole of his left sneaker as he removed it, then he tore off the right one. He threw his phone and wallet next to the shoes and waded out towards the body. It was facedown, and male. He grabbed it by the collar and began to pull. The water was up to John’s navel and dragging the corpse out of the lake was about the hardest thing he’d done physically in years. He reached the shore and collapsed in his exhaustion.
When he finally caught his breath he reached for his phone to call the cops. Then he heard something that made his skin crawl. It was a wheeze, almost like a slurp. He’s fucking alive. John panicked and froze momentarily. He dialed 911 and waited. His voice shook as he gave the address and described what had happened.
“Are you guys coming soon?” he asked.
“An ambulance is en route.”
“Are they close? For Christ’s sake he’s barely breathing!”
“Sir-“
“He’s fucking dying!”
“Sir please calm down for a minute”
“He’s fucking dying you calm the fuck down, what should I do?”
“Do you have an medical training whatsoever?”
“What? Uh yeah, I took a first responder class in college, but it was so long ago.”
“What is the patient’s pulse like?”
John put his fingers on the man’s neck, it was icy cold and John got the chills as soon as his fingers landed. He felt a faint surge of pressure against his index finger and said, “Uh, yeah, yes he has a pulse, but its er- weak, like I barely feel it.”
“That’s good sir I’m going to have you perform rescue breaths while we wait for our team to arrive.”
“Okay, okay I can do that”
“It’s going to work best if you wait for him to exhale and then blow a full breath into his mouth, tilt his head back slightly before you do this and repeat it every other breath.”
John hung up and tilted the man’s head back. He waited for the gurgle and pressed his lips against the man’s. They were like ice. He repeated this several times. Between breaths he stared at the man’s face.
He was young, late 20’s maybe, with strong Germanic features that made him actually quite handsome, well he would have been handsome if his face wasn’t blue. John gave another breath. The man gave a muffled cough after and John paused, the man vomited and John quickly put him on his side so he didn’t choke on it. John almost puked himself when he saw the concoction of lake water, and what appeared to be tacos. Amidst the half-digested carne asada he also noticed two white pills had come out too.
The man was breathing a little easier now but still was completely unconscious and sickly looking, but at least his face didn’t look like a blueberry anymore. John heard sirens, thank Christ. He saw that his hands were shaking and decided to feel his own pulse, it was racing. He waved down the paramedics when he saw the ambulance, and watched as they hurried down the little grass slope that led from the street to the lake.
The paramedics worked like madmen, in a matter of minutes they had him on high concentration oxygen and attached to a backboard. As they worked they received a full account of what had happened from John, who gave such a jumbled account that the paramedics almost started to worry about him. Before they left one quickly gave John a card, with both the number of the ambulance company and the number of a complimentary grief and trauma counselor. John stared at the card as the siren blared off. He was in a daze. He slowly collected his shoes, phone and wallet and trudged, soaking wet, back to his house.
He walked in and saw Katy who must have just gotten home.
“John where were- what the hell why are you soaking wet?” she asked.
John gave her a long, confused look before saying, “I think I just saved a man from drowning.”
“What? Just now? In the lake? John are you being serious right now?”
“Yeah the paramedics came and ambulance was blaring and I had to give him mouth to mouth and-“
“John sit down,” she said.
She helped him out of his shirt and put a blanket around him then gave him a big kiss on the mouth.
“John what the fuck have you been smoking?” she asked.
God damn I forgot the damn gum.



Author's note: I have several more completed chapters this is just the only one I have edited MC is not John but rather the person he found.

qwertyportne
July 27th, 2014, 09:13 PM
Your first chapter got my attention and kept it. Thanks. But I urge you to give us a working title. Even here in this Writing Forum people must want to read your story before they can offer criticism. A good title, working or otherwise, will leverage our curiosity into the story.

The profanity and cursing (they're different) remind me of the thread titled "My First Cuss Word." [or something like that] I urge you to check it out.

Please indent your paragraphs so they stand out from each other. And take another look at how much you include in each paragraph. You may not have as many sentences in each paragraph as I think you do, but it's difficult to tell because you have not indented them.

If the story is about the guy who John saved, you might consider rewriting this first chapter, and perhaps the others as well, in his voice and from his perspective, not Johns.

Giving the chapter a title is a great idea. I like that a lot and do it in my own stories. But it looked odd to begin the story with a definition of the word drown. Is that your plan? My preference is to have a short quote under the title. That's not always appropriate, of course, but something like the quote below might be of interest to you. This one is by John Lennon, but a Google search will bring up hundreds you might like better:

"When you're drowning, you don't say you hope somebody notices. You just scream."

Look forward to your revision and the next chapter. I'm intrigued!

Ride the Pen
July 28th, 2014, 12:03 AM
It reads like you are pretty new to writing, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's a good start!

What I like: You are starting your novel off with a bang, that's great! I was interested in seeing what would happen next. I also like that you start off focusing on a minor character and then will shift to concentrate on your main character (but this has to be done carefully). That aspect makes your novel (POV) more dynamic.

Next, your language doesn't pretend to be something it isn't. It's very simple language, and that's absolutely ok.

Now how could you improve this?

First, you could alternate the rhythm of your declarative sentences more. I just posted a critique in this same section of the forum in a thread with the title "Cyan's Revenge: Moonlit Shadow". Take a look at it, what I write about rhythm there is also true for your text. Rhythm is about variation in length and in phrase structure as well as in punctuation characters.

Next, you could improve your characterization. I realize that John isn't the important character and maybe even disappears after this scene, but you could still give him some basic traits. Show what he is like in his thoughts (you are taking his POV there, even though the narrator is neutral) as well as is his actions (the way he smokes, or whatever) and in his dialogue.

Lastly, you could definitely improve the dialogue a lot. If you know who your characters are, you can take the dialogue from them and not from yourself, if that makes sense. Be more precise about who they are and what exactly they are feeling/thinking in that particular moment. Oh, and people don't always talk in a linear way (question-answer to question; remark-counterremark exactly fitting to first remark). People talking, their psychology is more chaotic then that. The 911 conversation doesn't sound too realistic to me, I feel like the 911 guy would ask more questions, but I'm not an expert on that.

With some practice, I'm sure you will improve in all of those aspects.

Oh, and I love your avatar, that enthusiastic pingu on holidays.

Hope this helps, carry on and I wish you nothing but excellent writing!

brarca
August 13th, 2014, 02:29 AM
Kind of choppy, but I like the overall concept. Try and get some good transitions going?

Laughing Duck 137z
August 21st, 2014, 07:54 PM
I like.

wainscottbl
February 26th, 2015, 07:03 AM
Much better than Chapter 2. But a few things


This was Irvine, Southern California, of course the lake was man-made but that didn’t bother him, in fact he didn’t even think it made the lake any less pristine or calming.

This lake seems to just be randomly brought up. Try to work it in to the flow or get rid of it completely.


whatever if a couple teenagers want to get weird bacterial infections that is fine by me.

I would get rid of this thought altogether. The first part before this is sufficient. Would anyone really says this?



his delicious little cigarette

Cigarettes may be very tasty, but delicious is not the best word IMO. Try one of these words

http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/delicious%20?s=t

But always crosscheck a dictionary to make sure the word is proper context. Delicious just does not work for me here. But it's not the worst thing I suppose. Upon the whole, I doubt an editor would notice much if the rest of the writing is high quality.


About a minute went by, and John noticed that he hadn’t heard any further splashing and grew uneasy.

I am not sure why he necessarily would grow uneasy like he does. I think you need to have him see the person get in, then look out and not see them there or se them in distress. In short, he needs to be seeing the person jump in or fall in to start with.


There was definitely something in the water, it looked like a garbage bag but as John got closer he realized it was a person.

Run-on sentence. You seem to have a little problem with these based on my reading of Chapter 2. You live in Argentina. May I ask if English is your second language? Let me show you a better way to write this:

There was definitely something in the water. It looked like a garbage bag. But as John got closer he realized it was a person. He froze.

Anyway, check this out. I think it is worth your reading

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/598/02/


Instinctively he ashed his cigarette on the sole of his left sneaker as he removed it, then he tore off the right one.

Same thing. Also avoid saying "then" too much. Just say "he tore off the right one". That is the clause where you go into a run on sentence. I think this one does have a little more leeway, but I think strictly speaking it is run-on. Even if it is not, it is good to break it up and make the last clause its own sentence, minus the "then" of course.


It was facedown, and male.

I hate having to point out so much, good sir/madame, but this is awkward. Try to find a better way to write this, like

It was facedown, and looked to be male.

It rings better. It's hard for me to say exactly why. Sometimes these things are just instinct. You can do it differently than I suggested, I just think it comes of awkward.

I do not think it is going to help pointing out everything to correct because I think what has been said above is right. This is better than the second chapter, but it still needs work. Mostly as said above giving your declarative sentences some fluctuation from one to the other. But good start. Keep writing! I think, as said about, you may be new. And maybe English is your second language. It certainly, if so, would be interesting to see your write in Spanish or Italian, whichever is your native.