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MABKing
September 11th, 2015, 08:43 PM
This is just a small excerpt from a novel I am working on. It's part two in a series. I am very nervous posting this. I usually don't show my work until it's done. I know it needs a lot of work, I am just getting a feel for having people read parts of it.




“Kaylin! Come on, you can’t just sit in the house all the time.” Justine Newman yelled walking toward the door at the end of the short hall.
“Justine, I don’t understand why I have to go to this party of all parties. What if I skip this one, and go to the next one?”
“No, are you insane? Look, it will but fun, I promise.” She stood in the doorway in a black skirt, pink top and her hair and make-up perfectly done.
Kaylin groaned and walked out of her bathroom. She had on a pair of black jeans and a dark green thin strap tank top. Her hair was down and flowing over her shoulders. “Fine, but I’m not staying all night. I have to be at work in the morning, and you know how Joe can be sometimes.”
“Yay! Can I at least do something with your hair?”
“Nope. Let’s go. I’ll drive. This way if I get bored, I can just leave you there, or drag you out.”
They both shuffled out of the tiny townhouse and got into Kaylin car. It was a short drive to Josh’s house. He lived just on the outside of town in a house that sat back in the woods away from everyone. It reminded Kaylin of Chuck’s house and of her life before she moved here just seven months prior. She parked next to one of the many cars that sat outside. The music was loud, and people were outside drinking.
“This is so exciting!” Justine squealed.
Kaylin shook her head, she checked her back pocket for her dagger that she carried around. It wasn’t much, but it would help her if she needed it in a fight. They pushed their way into the house and to the kitchen.
“Girls, I’m glad you made it!” Josh said with open arms. He seemed a bit drunk.
“And miss this party? Never.” Justine answered grabbing a beer from the bucket on the counter.
“Drink?” Josh offered Kaylin.
“No thanks, I’m driving.” Before Justine could protest Kaylin pulled her phone out of her pocket. Dean appeared on the screen. “I, um, I have to take this. I’ll be right back.” Kaylin walked out back to where there was a bit less noise.
“Hello.” She breathed into the phone. There was silence on the other end. “Hello?” She asked louder.
“Kaylin…” Dean managed to say into the phone.
“Hi Dean. Long time.”
“Yeah, listen, I wouldn’t have called, but I ran out of other options. I know you left for a reason, and I know you left this life behind you, but I need your help.”
Kaylin chuckled into the phone. “You need MY help?”
“Yes, I know it’s hard to believe I need help from anyone at all, but it’s true.”
“No.”
Dean was a bit taken back by her blunt answer. “What..?”
“No Dean, I won’t and can’t help you. I did leave that life behind me. I’m happy now.”
“Kaylin, I need Dylan. I only really need you for a short time. There is a threat coming and it’s going to be bad. We need witches on our side, or else we will be wiped from the earth.”
Kaylin sighed, she glanced inside to Justine and Josh, they were talking but both kept glancing back at Kaylin with worried looks.
“So what do you need me to do? You know I don’t talk to Dylan anymore.”
“I know, but he will listen to you. He won’t even meet with us. Something about blaming us for losing you.”
“One day. That’s all you get.”
“How about two or three? It’s a ten hour drive to his place from yours.” Dean explained.
“Three days, no more. When will you be here?”
“In about five minutes.”
“Five minutes? How the…” she paused. “You been tracking my phone?” she asked in an angry tone.
“I had to know where you were and if you were safe. You can’t be mad that I care about you.”
“I’ll meet you out front then. No need to go back to my place, I have a supplies.”
Dean’s interest peaked. “Oh? Hunter side in you keeping you on your toes?” He hoped.
“Something like that.” She hung up and walked back into the house.
“Everything okay?” Justine asked concerned.
“No…well yes. I have to take a rain check on the rest of the party, sorry.” She explained walking out the front door toward her car.
“Why?” Justine and even Josh followed her out the door.
“I just got a call from a friend. There is a bit of an emergency and I need to go help out. Won’t take more than just a few days.”
“Whoa, Kay, slow down, you can’t just up and leave.” Justine said in a panicked voice.
Kaylin was pulling two duffle bags out of her trunk. “I have to J. I can’t just back out and…” she didn’t finish because the loud muscle car and loud rock music. “And that would be my ride. Just don’t worry, I’ll be back in a few days and everything will go back to how it was.” She smiled, shutting her trunk. “Take my car home, here’s the keys.” Kaylin handed her keys to Justine and waited for Dean to stop the car.
Dean got out of the car and he looked just as sexy and amazing as he always had. “Is this it?” He asked pointing to her bags.
Kaylin nodded unable to form words. She turned back to Justine and mouthed Don’t worry before getting into the car with Dean.
“Who are your friends?” Dean asked as they pulled away.
“Justine is my roommate and Josh is just a friend from work. Jealous?”
“Me? No. Just curious as to why they were staring us down like we were aliens.”
“Oh. Yeah no Justine is just worried, I don’t take many vacations so to speak.”
“Meaning you never leave this city.”
“Well why would I? It’s nice here.”
“No you just think it’s nice here because you aren’t paying attention. There have been numerous deaths here since you moved here; most seem to be supernatural related.”
“So? I don’t do that anymore.”
“You can never just stop being a hunter Kaylin. Why did you have a duffle bag full of clothes and a bag full of weapons in your car? Because it’s in you.”
“It’s not in me. I did it for a few months and that was it. It’s not like I was born into it.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, and I do, you were actually good at it.”
“I was far from good at it.”
“Not entirely.”

Khalid M
September 13th, 2015, 04:33 PM
Hey, I've just finished reading this. Not bad. In the 8th line, you should add an s to "Kaylin car".
I like the fast pacing, but that's more a personal preference than an objective statement... I suspect other readers will find it "too" fast.
Also, maybe there are too many dialogues? Personally I don't mind, but I imagine people may be annoyed by this. Either way, your dialogues have the merits of sounding natural and moving the story forward.
The dagger suddenly being mentioned in a seemingly totally mundane setting was quite surprising. And then you introduce "witches" and "supernatural"? It's too sudden, unless you did introduce those concepts before this excerpt.
Lastly, instead of outright saying that Dean is sexy and amazing, why don't you show what makes him so hot? A short physical description would be much better.

Bard_Daniel
September 16th, 2015, 02:32 AM
Hey MAB (is it okay if I call you MAB?)

I don't think you should be overly nervous about posting this. It's not bad at all. There's a lot of dialogue mind you and maybe some more description would be needed but this part has an interesting enough hook to draw the reader forward. Now, I'm not an expert at this genre but I think that your writing shows enough potential to do the job. Your dialogue, although there is a lot of it, is good. It's snappy, to-the-point and doesn't dither. There's a purpose behind those words and they draw the plot forward. That's good.

Now, if you could add a little more description to all the details that would make the piece stronger in my opinion. Describe the party, the characters, the atmosphere more. Those are the details that can turn a good piece into something great.

Just my two cents. I'd gladly look at some other parts of it if you're willing. The hook got me wondering. :P

MABKing
September 16th, 2015, 08:13 PM
Yes that's fine to call me, or Michelle, either one works. :) Thank you. I was hoping that the beginning of this one would draw readers in enough to want to read the entire series. I do see what you mean about adding more description. I noticed it had a lot of dialogue when I was posting it.

I will probably post more of this at some point in the near future.

popsprocket
September 17th, 2015, 02:28 AM
Corrections in red
Comments in blue
Additions in orange

As ever, my alterations are just suggestions.


“Kaylin! Come on, you can’t just sit in the house all the time.” Justine Newman yelled, [this needs a comma as 'yelled' and 'walking toward the door' are separate actions] walking toward the door at the end of the short hall.

“Justine, I don’t understand why I have to go to this party of all parties [stressing the words that I've bolded adds clarity to the statement Kaylin is making and it also helps to better convey Kaylin's annoyance at being dragged out - in your novel you would italicise these rather than bold them]. What if I skip this one, and go to the next one?”

“No, are you insane? Look - it will but fun, I promise.” She stood in the doorway in a black skirt, pink top and with her hair and makeup perfectly done done perfectly.

Kaylin groaned and walked out of her bathroom. She had on a pair of black jeans and a dark green, ['dark green' and 'thin strap' are two items in a list; they need a comma between then] thin strap tank top. Her hair was down and flowing over her shoulders. “Fine, but I’m not staying all night. I have to be at work in the morning, and you know how Joe can be sometimes.”

“Yay! Can I at least do something with your hair?”

“Nope. Let’s go. I’ll drive. This way if I get bored, I can just leave you there, or drag you out.”

They both shuffled out of the tiny townhouse and got into Kaylin's car. It was a short drive to Josh’s house. He lived just on the outside of town in a house that sat back in the woods away from everyone. It reminded Kaylin of Chuck’s house and of her life before she had [past tense] moved here just seven months prior [small gripe - this is a bit of a hamfisted way to deliver this piece of information. See below for my explanation]. She parked next to one of the many cars that sat outside. The music was loud, and people were outside drinking.

“This is so exciting!” Justine squealed.

Kaylin shook her head, she checked her back pocket for her dagger knife [daggers nominally have fairly long blades and wouldn't fit in a back pocket... especially not the kind of pocket that girls' jeans have] that she carried around. It wasn’t much, but it would help her if she needed it in a fight [also a hamfisted delivery, you just dumped an obviously important piece of information into the text]. They pushed their way into the house and to the kitchen.

“Girls, I’m glad you made it!” Josh said with open arms. He seemed a bit drunk [you could show his drunkenness rather than simply stating it].

“And miss this party? Never.” Justine answered, grabbing a beer from the bucket on the counter.

“Drink?” Josh offered, looking at Kaylin. ['Josh offered Kaylin' suggests that he is offering Kaylin to someone else, this sentence really needs a few extra words to make sense]

“No thanks, I’m driving.” Before Justine could protest, Kaylin pulled her phone out of her pocket. Dean appeared on the screen. “I, um, I have to take this. I’ll be right back.” Kaylin walked out back to where there was a bit less noise.

“Hello.” She breathed into the phone. There was silence on the other end. “Hello?” She asked louder.

“Kaylin…” Dean managed to say into the phone.

“Hi Dean. Long time.”

“Yeah, listen, I wouldn’t have called, but I ran out of other options. I know you left for a reason, and I know you left this life behind you, but I need your help.”

Kaylin chuckled into the phone. “You need my help?” [save the capslock, use italics instead, I'm only using bold here because I'm quoting this post and the italics wouldn't be distinguished from the other text]

“Yes, I know it’s hard to believe I need help from anyone at all, but it’s true.”

“No.”

Dean was a bit taken back by her blunt answer, “What..?”

“No Dean, I won’t and can’t help you. I did leave that life behind me. I’m happy now.”

“Kaylin, I need Dylan. I only really need you for a short time. There is a threat coming and it’s going to be bad. We need witches on our side, or else we will be wiped from the earth.”

Kaylin sighed, she glanced inside to Justine and Josh, they were talking but both kept glancing back at Kaylin with worried looks. [seems a little odd - she answered a phone call, no particular need for them to be worrying about her]

“So what do you need me to do? You know I don’t talk to Dylan anymore.”

“I know, but he will listen to you. He won’t even meet with us. Something about blaming us for losing you.”

“One day. That’s all you get.”

“How about two or three? It’s a ten hour drive to his place from yours.” Dean explained.

“Three days, no more. When will you be here?”

“In about five minutes.”

“Five minutes? How the…” She paused, “You've been tracking my phone?” She asked in an angry tone. [again - show, don't tell - show the reader that Kaylin is angry]

“I had to know where you were and if you were safe. You can’t be mad that I care about you.”

“I’ll meet you out front then. No need to go back to my place, I have a supplies.”

Dean’s interest peaked piqued. “Oh? Hunter side in you keeping you on your toes?” He hoped sounded hopeful.

“Something like that.” She hung up and walked back into the house.

“Everything okay?” Justine asked, concerned.

“No… well yes. I have to take a rain check on the rest of the party, sorry.” She explained, walking out the front door toward her car.

“Why?” Justine, and even Josh, followed her out the door.

“I just got a call from a friend. There is a bit of an emergency and I need to go help out. Won’t take more than just a few days.”

“Whoa, Kay, slow down, you can’t just up and leave.” Justine said in a panicked voice.

Kaylin was pulling two duffle bags out of her trunk [which she just always carries around and no one finds this weird at all?]. “I have to J. I can’t just back out and…” She didn’t finish her sentence because of the loud muscle car and playing loud rock music which pulled up [loud is a really boring word, especially to use twice in one sentence - try some other adjectives like 'blaring' or 'roaring']. “And that would be my ride. Just don’t worry, I’ll be back in a few days and everything will go back to how it was.” She smiled, shutting her trunk. “Take my car home, here’s the keys.” Kaylin handed her keys to Justine and waited for Dean to stop the car.

Dean got out of the car and he looked just as sexy and amazing as he always had. “Is this it?” He asked pointing to her bags.

Kaylin nodded, unable to form words. She turned back to Justine and mouthed Don’t worry before getting into the car with Dean. [worst friend ever? "excuse me while I ditch you with no explanation to get in a car with someone you've never even heard me speak about, but don't worry because this is nothing out of the ordinary"]

“Who are your friends?” Dean asked as they pulled away.

“Justine is my roommate and Josh is just a friend from work. Jealous?”

“Me? No. Just curious as to why they were staring us down like we were aliens.”

“Oh. Yeah no Justine is just worried, I don’t take many vacations, so to speak [but if Kaylin has only been there for seven months then how does Justine know that she doesn't take many vacations?].” [be careful about how close to real life you make your dialogue sound - phrases like "Yeah no" don't really translate to the page]

“Meaning you never leave this city.”

“Well why would I? It’s nice here.”

“No you just think it’s nice here because you aren’t paying attention. There have been numerous deaths here since you moved here; most seem to be supernatural related related to the supernatural.”

“So? I don’t do that anymore.”

“You can never just stop being a Hunter [I've capitalised 'Hunter' because you're using it like a proper noun and it needs to be distinguished from a 'hunter', someone who hunts animals for sport or food] Kaylin. Why did you have a duffle bag full of clothes and a bag full of weapons in your car? Because it’s in you.”

“It’s not in me. I did it for a few months and that was it. It’s not like I was born into it.”

“As much as I hate to admit it, and I do, you were actually good at it.”

“I was far from good at it.”

“Not entirely.”

Hi Michelle. I agree with most of what has already been said.

I've done a line edit for you because at this point in your writing career you'll probably benefit from it greatly - mostly I added commas around the place. They're a really easy way to add clarity to a sentence where more than one thing is happening. I've also added line breaks where they would show up in a published book - both to make it easier for me to read as I was going through it and to illustrate just how much dialogue there is compared to exposition. Now, given how far the characters move between the start and the end of the excerpt, I wouldn't say it was "too much" dialogue, it's actually not enough action going on.

Adding action in between dialogue - particularly in a situation like this where you've blended two or maybe three scenes into a single breath - is a great way to alter the pace of your writing. As it stands this excerpt moves at a million miles an hour. With nothing much in the way of scenery to entertain and a headlong rush to get Kaylin in a car with Dean, I'm left wondering what the point of the scene in the townhouse and going to a party is. Why show those two places at all if they have nothing to do with the story? Kaylin could get a phone call from Dean anywhere and save you the trouble of inventing backdrops that don't have much relevance to the story.

Now, I'm not that big on the whole supernatural genre, but if I could make some suggestions they would be this:
- spend a hundred words developing Kaylin's initial character, at the moment we don't know anything about her and since there's nothing in the way of narration explaining her thought process we really don't know anything about her
- don't just call Dean sexy, the reader needs to know how he's sexy; a big part of supernatural books tends to be the romance aspect, right? So make it an actual romance and not just "meet Kaylin, meet Dean, they are attracted to each other because that's how the story goes". You've got a picture of the characters in your head and the trick of being a writer is to help the readers form a picture of their own. You don't need to describe Dean in amazing detail or anything, give him a few desirable features that help guide the reader; instead of simply being sexy he's blonde and tall and moves with an unusual sort of grace, or you know, however he looks in your mind
- don't just drop in bits like "we're going to be wiped off the face of the Earth" right at the start of a story. In a more conventional plot structure, this is the sort of information that tends to be withheld from the main character until they either figure out what the threat level is on their own (usually by getting their ass kicked in a fight) or they absolutely need to be told by another character because they seem to think that they can just walk all over the bad guys like every other time. I can understand that you're eager to get to the meat of the story but you're sending mixed signals by attempting to set the scene and then just tossing it out the window to get into a muscle car and go be a witch.

ETA

Forgot to add my explanation of the two pieces here I marked as 'hamfisted'. What I mean is that you're spoonfeeding this information to the reader by simply outright stating it. This is basically the same argument that goes on about 'showing' vs 'telling'. In both spots that I marked there are far better ways that those pieces of information could be delivered. Instead of having Kaylin think about how the party reminds her about before she moved there seven months prior, you can slip it in there with much more nuance:

"The parties here were just the same as the ones she had been to back home."

We don't desperately need to know that Kaylin has been in town for exactly seven months, so I've cut it back to provide a different sort of emotion. In a single sentence we get the idea that Kaylin isn't a native to the town, and we also get to see that she is, perhaps, still quite attached to the place she's come from.

The same goes for the bit of information about her carrying a knife. Saying that she likes to carry a knife and that it would be sufficient if she got into a fight is a huge piece of information in terms of exactly what it tells us about her character - she is someone who gets into fights (presumably frequently), knows how to use knives, could make do with a knife in a fight, and seems to always be expecting a fight. The first time I read through this excerpt I read that line and I instantly knew where the story was going. Until that point it could have been about anything but as soon as she's carrying a knife around, I know that it's a supernatural story. Whether or not you count that as a good or bad thing is up to the individual, personally I'd say it's a bad thing. It's the same as focusing a spotlight on the story and giving away Kaylin's secret life immediately after starting the story.

MABKing
September 17th, 2015, 02:20 PM
I probably should have given a little more detail. This excerpt is from the beginning of part two in a series I'm working on. Part one is done, but I'm currently making major changes to it. I actually started part two (this one), before I even did part one. Now of course, I don't plan to publish them both at the same time. I plan to get part one out there and then finish/fix part two and get that out there.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I hope that the reader who reads this would have already read the first novel and already knows Kaylin and Dean's past, they already know about the Supernatural aspects and why it's important. I have considered putting memories in throughout the novel in case they didn't want to read the first one which is more like prequel.

I am very thankful of all the suggestions and I'll be revising it this week and working on changing things.

popsprocket
September 18th, 2015, 01:22 AM
Actually, this being a second book probably doesn't invalidate most of what I said. You should account for the fact that people might not be reading the books back-to-back for whatever reason.

If we already know the characters then you don't need to go into detail but you should still reintroduce them briefly. This helps to get the reader back into the headspace of your world and conjure up the images that they still retain from the first book. Kind of like how in a TV show each episode starts with a Previously On...​ segment.