View Full Version : So help Me God (Serial Killer Novel)

August 5th, 2015, 04:49 PM
So, I feel like I'm dumping a rather large chunk of text here (Especially for my first post containing my own work), Enjoy!

People sucked. Always getting into fights over the smallest of things. All those university psychologists can go on as long as they liked about the complexity of human nature but for JonOverton humans were extremely, quite very, simple. All human actions could be traced to a simple and primitive root. Greed, fear, desperation- all things Police Detective JonOverton of Fresco Police Department dealt with every day.

Police Detective JonOverton was a young man of twenty-four last May with a slight build, an average height of five-seven, and a slightly vacant expression in his light blue eyes. He was the last person you would think to be the top Detective in the Department yet somehow he had managed it.
He sat at his neatly organised desk. In papers on the left, out papers on the right, pens and pencils neatly arranged to the left of his computer which was exactly centred on his desk (He had used a measuring tape for it). The pencils were arranged in height order and by lead type and the pens were arranged by colour, brand, and the amount of ink in the cartridge. Everything was orderly, neat, and efficient. His coffee mug always sat on the right hand side of his desk with the handle at an exact forty-five degree angle to his line of sight.

Jon was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder since a young age but he had managed to live with it and use it to his advantage in his field of work. Along with being obsessed with neatness, he was also severely germaphobic. When stressed he had a tendency to count by twos or tens since those numbers divided evenly and he always checked the door and stove at home four times to make sure they were respectively locked and shut off.
His actions were considered strange and humorous by some of his fellow officers and Jon did his best to hide his symptoms. He had come to terms with the idea that he would always have OCD but he resolved to ensure it would never devolve further than it already had. Jon was lucky in this sense - he only had relatively mild case.

Speaking of cases, the Fresco Police Department had recently closed a case that had made it into international news. Up until a week ago the fastest growing town in the United States had been plagued by a serial killer. Jon shuddered upon remembering the first crime scene he'd investigated in the case. The killer's MO was to kill entire families by shooting each victim once in the chest. His preferred victims seemed to be white, religious, middle class families. Before leaving the crime scene the killer left his calling card- a rosary clasped in each of the victim's hands. He left no survivors. Well, that's not exactly true. Five years ago he had kidnapped a girl, Evelyn White, from one of the families he'd killed. No body or trace of her was found. Not until they had finally busted the guy and found Evelyn in the basement, thin and scared.

Tomorrow, that would be the day. The day they finally put Donald Grey behind bars for good, or if lucky, on death row. Six years of terror was far too long and DFW residents were rallying for the death penalty. Jon had heard that the defence was trying to portray Grey as "Insane", that he didn't know right from wrong. It was a losing battle.

Finding Evelyn White pretty much bagged the case for the prosecution. Hours after being taken to the hospital for malnutrition and other maladies, Evelyn had agreed to testify against Grey. Jon had been there. There had been a chilling determination in the girl's eyes.
The news of her rescue and willingness to testify made her an instant celebrity. The hospital was surrounded by reporters each wanting to ask about her experience with Grey, and a mountain of letters and packages arrived from well-wishers around the globe. Evelyn had refused the reporters and they vied to get clandestine pictures of her to put on their publication's front pages. The Police Department had to put a guard around her room to deter any overzealous photographers.

Evelyn pointedly refused any interviews for the first few days in the hospital. Jon had gone to the hospital to check up on the guards. After making sure no overenthusiastic reporter had hurt either of the guards, he'd made to leave when he heard her voice, so quiet he almost missed it. He'd turned to see her standing in the doorway. She had looked him over with her intensely scrutinizing gaze and then asked if he was a police detective to which he had responded - yes, indeed he was. She then commented that he looked too young to be one. He had shrugged his shoulders not sure what to say.
Evelyn had looked down at her watch and commented that it was four in the evening. Jon had agreed and made to leave again but she stopped him and asked him if he would stay for tea. Jon had been just about to make an excuse, but she looked so lonely. She had been through so much. He decided to stay after all. Evelyn had some hot water brought up and used a tea set given by a well-wisher from England.

While the tea steeped in the tea pot, they had made some small talk. Jon was surprised by her deductive ability, it seemed to rival that of the legendary Sherlock Holmes. She had guessed that he was a detective, that he had OCD, and that The police chief was his father- all within five minutes of meeting him and him saying not a word.

She seemed quite content to make small talk, and they had talked as old friends often do after long stretches of separation. Well, it was more he talked and she listened. Evelyn asking the occasional question or intelligent remark. He tried her a few questions about Grey but she answered with only murmured vagaries and changed the subject. Jon asked her what she planned to do once she got out of the hospital. She seemed to relax more at that and launched into an animated conversation about going to the local community college to get her four-year degree and maybe she would study law.

Jon found Evelyn to be quite nice. Despite her dark past she had a sort of innocence that made you want to believe her. Perhaps a bit too much.

August 5th, 2015, 05:20 PM
I like the beginning of your story, but think it's told more like a passed on account (if you will) than as immersing storytelling. Maybe a distinction that's hard to grasp.

My thinking is that if you got into the story, compelling the reader to continue as it were, and trickled in the characterization as needed, it would be better.

Sorry, got to run, but I'll be back if you want any more clarification.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - update - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Back now for a few moments.

What I'm getting at is you're "presenting" your story in logical blocks as one would formulate a story. Paragraph one is a wide angel view of what you're getting into. Having mentioned Jon Overton therein, paragraphs two and three zoom in some with an extended characterization. Then in paragraphs four through the beginning of seven, you zoom in more to relate how all this pertains to your story.

Very logical thinking, but a sizable info-dump relative to storytelling. To me the idea is to draw the reader into the story, and to keep them reading to see where you're going. The only part of what you've posted that draws me in, making me wonder where you're going, is your last three sentences. Would I have gotten that far if I were simply glancing at stories to find one that might be interesting to read?

The beginning of the story is the most important in immersing the reader. Info-dumps don't work well for such ;-)

I hope this helps in some small way.

August 6th, 2015, 04:49 AM
I agree with Lee, quite the info dump. The one thing I will add is about the interaction between between Jon and Evelyn. Let them have their conversation, instead of telling us what they said. It will breathe more life into the characters. Saying all that, I like the premise, keep working at it!

November 2nd, 2015, 09:02 AM
a young man of twenty-four last May

I am not sure if this is needed. It seems awkward and takes away from the flow. It does have voice, but I'd cut it.

fastest growing town in the United States

Again, I think this should go. It does not really contribute to the story, but rather distracts and is awkward.

He had shrugged his shoulders not sure what to say.
Evelyn had looked down at her watch and commented that it was four in the evening. Jon had agreed and made to leave again but she stopped him and asked him if he would stay for tea. Jon had been just about to make an excuse, but she looked so lonely. She had been through so much. He decided to stay after all. Evelyn had some hot water brought up and used a tea set given by a well-wisher from England.

This comes off as a bitch hokey and sentimental to me.

Overall, the last two poster nailed it. Give more action. Show more. I like the concept though.

November 16th, 2015, 08:35 PM
My main criticism would be that it seems like a lot of information to take in all at once. I think I would really like reading your story throughout but exposition needs to be told gradually and I think you could build a very atmospheric and dark world if you just slowly let us piece together what is going on. Other than that, I'd be interested in reading it and I look forward to more of your work. :rabbit:

The Idiot
February 17th, 2016, 08:25 PM
Well done. I deduct by your writing that you're quite young (no comparisons to Sherlock are necessary.) I pretty much agree with the readers above, in most of their critique. Good work guys. Allow yourself to describe, to paint a picture of the setting, the expressions, sounds and smells. Offer glimpses, to be reviled later, present information in a flow, which can be held back, or poured on, as the situation requires.
sorry I'm so late in posting this, I've just joined the forum and am looking around.
good luck.

February 17th, 2016, 09:24 PM
This is definitely some of my crappier and older writing. I actually forgot this was here. Thanks!