PDA

View Full Version : Ch. 1 The Killer (849 words)



ArtBlinked
March 9th, 2017, 11:04 PM
Chapter one of a story I'm working on. Please help with the apostrophe's (I'm absolutely terrible with anything that's not a contraction) and anything else you find. I appreciate any and all feedback, thank you!

Warning: One of two characters here are somewhat...religious, even if he's not. You'll see what I mean.


---------------------------Chapter 1

"Do you believe in the absolute Mr. Whiles?"

It wasn't the question that brought fear into Whiles' eyes. It was the whisper in which it was spoken. Low and faint, like a dying man's last breath.

"Oh, what am I asking. Of course you don't. You're part of the herd. The flock. The gaggle. The brood. The utter death that is societies hive mind."

Harsh words so casually spoken twisted a dagger of adrenaline deep into Whiles' chest. It was a glimpse of the hurricane brewing inside the storm. He squirmed, looking for a way out with his remaining good eye.

"But do tell me. Is there anything even vaguely interesting about you? Even the slightest piece of politically incorrect genuine goodness will do."

Whiles swallowed a mouthfull of cotton and it sat like a bag of marbles in his stomach.

"I'm waiting..."

"I don't-" Whiles' voice cracked and he cleared it. "I don't know what you want from me."

A sigh.

The cocking of a gun sent a bullet bouncing on the cold, concrete floor. It rolled to rest at the leg of Whiles' chair, nearly touching his shoe.

He started to blubber, "Please let me go. I have nothing left to give you. I have a family!"

"I know. And they'll carefully cared to after you're gone. No need to worry. The monster loooves children."

The words sent shock followed by newfound terror through his body. Like a spirit had passed through him, ripping out his chest on its way. The broken bones, fractured ribs, even the stabbing on his shoulder faded into numbness.

"No! What do you want? Money? Power? Name it and it's yours! Just leave them out of this!"

The man shook his head. "You sided with the snake and didn't expect to be swallowed in the end? Now naive."

The tears wouldn't stop coming. They rolled down his face in streams. The suspicion they might all die at the end lurked deep in the back of his mind but he chose to instead cling to a hope. A hope that pushed past his better judgement, telling him he need only do the job well enough. A hope that would now be the death of him and all he loved.

"False hope is a nasty thing isn't it Mr. Whiles." His killer locked eyes with him in a dead rutted stare. "Pretty on the outside but inside lies only death."

Would his children turn out like the killer standing before him? Did they stand any chance at surviving the terror he now brought down upon them?

"Do you believe in the absolute Mr. Whiles?"

The question bounced around the walls of the room for a second time that night.

Anger rolled to the surface of Whiles' brain. He'd been lied to. "What do you mean absolute?" He spat.

"I mean the only absolute worth asking about!" The killer barked and leaned in, just inches from touching noses. His eyes reached into Whiles and as he did, the desperate struggle that lay deep inside them rose to the surface.

"God of course! The most debated, sought after, denied, hated, loved absolute in all of human history!"

Whiles blinked at the audacity. Were they really talking theology?

"Does it matter?" Whiles asked.

"Maybe. It could mean the world or nothing at all." He smiled, "You. Tell. Me."

"No. I don't believe."

"Ah, so I was right. There is nothing interesting about you. Goodbye."

The killer raised his pistol and Whiles shouted, "No! Stop!"

He paused.

"What if I said yes?"

"Yes?"

"When I was young...before college...I used to."

The killer tossed him a bored look. "So you used to believe in God but gave him up in university. How much society brainwashing did it take? One...two years? You're a textbook American. Incredibly boring."

Fresh tears swelled in Whiles' eyes. It made the killer pause, curious.

"Will you beg I wonder?" He asked.

Whiles' body shook with fear and dread. He nodded, "Please! Anything you want! I'll give you anything!"

"No, not to me you imbecile. Beg to your God. God knows he's the only one who can save you now."

Fresh tears brimmed his eyes, "Why are you doing this? Why not just kill me right now?"

"There's a million reasons! But namely...." the killer leaned in close. "I want to know if he listens to your cries. I want to see if you are one of them!"

"One of who?"

"His friends." The click of the hammer on his gun was deafening. "Although if I'm to guess it's quite unlikely. If you were creator of the universe would you bother yourself with a stranger who never calls, never visits, and probably, maybe, even hates your guts? God knows I wouldn't. But still..."

The killer stood before him wearing a black trench coat, and grey scarf. His curly, bronze hair stood out against a rather ordinary face. But keen, brown eyes that seemed to stare into your very soul foretold of a mind most unlike any other.

"Let's see. Shall we Mr. Whiles? Let's see."


-------------Ch. 1 END





So, interesting? Maybe? Eh? Eh? Was it incredibly confusing? Thought provoking? Do you feel an intense hatred for the killer or interest? Or maybe nothing at all? I never gave the killer's name so I wonder if that made the dialog incredibly confusing.

Anyways, thanks for reading everyone!

Smith
March 10th, 2017, 12:34 AM
As far as the apostrophe being used for contractions, and to demonstrate possessive (i.e. "Whiles' eyes") everything seems to be in order.

There are times where you forgot one though. Like "The utter death of societies hive mind". This is a weird one, I won't lie, so I'm going to offer you a different option. Instead of trying to figure out where the apostrophe would go, I'd just say "the societal hive mind" and avoid the problem altogether.

"Mouthfull" should be 'mouthful'.

I feel like "they'll be carefully cared to" should either be "carefully taken care of" or "carefully cared for".

There are also some other grammatical or spelling errors that can be fixed with some simple revision. Such as "Now naive." should be "How naive." Or, "He spat." is contextually different than "he spat."; the first means he literally spat, and the second means he figuratively spat the previous dialogue. Or, "The killer barked" is a lot different than "the killer barked"; the first implies he literally barked like a dog, and the second implies he barked the previous dialogue.

---

I did find the concept very interesting, and I would've kept reading. The dialogue was good, not confusing for me. The killer is intriguing, but I don't know if I have enough information to strongly dislike him yet, and his "doing things in the name of God" sort of introduces a weird conflict. That conflict being, "Does he just believe he's doing good? Or is he *actually* doing good, and killing bad people? Or is he just curious to see if God is real?"

If he only thinks he's doing good, then you need to contrast that with giving us more information in the following chapters. Does the killer supposedly hear "God" talking to him in his head? Showing us more about the victim(s) could also allow access to irony, and the fact that we know he's killing good people. Of course, you could show us he's killing bad people too. Or both.

There's a lot of different ways you can go about this in my opinion, and if one isn't cautious it can be easy to fall down an infinite rabbit hole. What exactly is "good"? What exactly is "evil"? How do you call somebody evil when they are *thoroughly convinced* they're doing something good? etc.

Anyway, I wonder what becomes of Mr. Whiles, and I wonder what kind of conclusion the story overall will come to in regards to God and bringing the killer to justice. But I'm not sure who the main character is yet, mainly because I don't know if Mr. Whiles is killed, and I don't know whether or not the rest of the story is going to be told from the POV of the killer.

Thank-you for the fun read! Hoping you post more. ^_^

-Kyle

ArtBlinked
March 10th, 2017, 01:31 AM
As far as the apostrophe being used for contractions, and to demonstrate possessive (i.e. "Whiles' eyes") everything seems to be in order.

There are times where you forgot one though. Like "The utter death of societies hive mind". This is a weird one, I won't lie, so I'm going to offer you a different option. Instead of trying to figure out where the apostrophe would go, I'd just say "the societal hive mind" and avoid the problem altogether.

"Mouthfull" should be 'mouthful'.

I feel like "they'll be carefully cared to" should either be "carefully taken care of" or "carefully cared for".

There are also some other grammatical or spelling errors that can be fixed with some simple revision. Such as "Now naive." should be "How naive." Or, "He spat." is contextually different than "he spat."; the first means he literally spat, and the second means he figuratively spat the previous dialogue. Or, "The killer barked" is a lot different than "the killer barked"; the first implies he literally barked like a dog, and the second implies he barked the previous dialogue.

---

I did find the concept very interesting, and I would've kept reading. The dialogue was good, not confusing for me. The killer is intriguing, but I don't know if I have enough information to strongly dislike him yet, and his "doing things in the name of God" sort of introduces a weird conflict. That conflict being, "Does he just believe he's doing good? Or is he *actually* doing good, and killing bad people? Or is he just curious to see if God is real?"

If he only thinks he's doing good, then you need to contrast that with giving us more information in the following chapters. Does the killer supposedly hear "God" talking to him in his head? Showing us more about the victim(s) could also allow access to irony, and the fact that we know he's killing good people. Of course, you could show us he's killing bad people too. Or both.

There's a lot of different ways you can go about this in my opinion, and if one isn't cautious it can be easy to fall down an infinite rabbit hole. What exactly is "good"? What exactly is "evil"? How do you call somebody evil when they are *thoroughly convinced* they're doing something good? etc.

Anyway, I wonder what becomes of Mr. Whiles, and I wonder what kind of conclusion the story overall will come to in regards to God and bringing the killer to justice. But I'm not sure who the main character is yet, mainly because I don't know if Mr. Whiles is killed, and I don't know whether or not the rest of the story is going to be told from the POV of the killer.

Thank-you for the fun read! Hoping you post more. ^_^

-Kyle

Thank you so much for your feedback, it's extremely helpful. I never knew about that distinction between the caps and lowercase verbs around dialogue (I'm glad you pointed that out!). Also I really like your idea of rewording around apostrophes when I'm in doubt.

I absolutely love your feedback regarding the killer; it's nice to get a glimpse of what the story looks like from someone who's not making it (me, haha). Reading your questions really helped me see what aspects of his character I should delve into more.

Trying not to throw out spoilers but the world the killer exists in is unique, it has many, many secrets. I have about 10 chapters (super short ones) so far and I go down a path that invites many more characters into the picture, each bringing in their own views on God.

And I wouldn't call it supernatural so much as theological. My biggest concern (aside from apostophes aha) is coming across too...strong? But I'm really trying to stay true to the characters and how they view the world.

So far the story doesn't focus on defining good and bad so much as looking at how each character got to be the way they are. You see how some are capable of change while others never are. And the reasons for why that is.

Bard_Daniel
March 10th, 2017, 04:19 AM
Interesting. Smith picked up on the SPaG I was going to mention. The killer seems to be very focused but, as mentioned, it is hard to feel one way or another about him because of the briefness of the excerpt. The dialogue was fairly clear-- I don't think you have to specifically name the character to make it work.

Thanks for the read!

ArtBlinked
March 10th, 2017, 04:55 AM
Interesting. Smith picked up on the SPaG I was going to mention. The killer seems to be very focused but, as mentioned, it is hard to feel one way or another about him because of the briefness of the excerpt. The dialogue was fairly clear-- I don't think you have to specifically name the character to make it work.

Thanks for the read!

Thank you! I go into his thoughts more in the next chapter which may help develop feelings toward him, one way or another.

Also it's good to hear the dialogue was clear! I might add more to this once I have more confidence in my voice. I try really hard to avoid unnecessary filler which leaves my chapters greatly under worded and probably a bit bland at times. I like to think my intrigue makes up for it.

But thinking on it now, I might be able to go into Whiles' family with some more detail. It would give more insight into the Killer.

Thanks for the feedback!

Smith
March 10th, 2017, 12:21 PM
Thank you so much for your feedback, it's extremely helpful. I never knew about that distinction between the caps and lowercase verbs around dialogue (I'm glad you pointed that out!). Also I really like your idea of rewording around apostrophes when I'm in doubt.

I absolutely love your feedback regarding the killer; it's nice to get a glimpse of what the story looks like from someone who's not making it (me, haha). Reading your questions really helped me see what aspects of his character I should delve into more.

Trying not to throw out spoilers but the world the killer exists in is unique, it has many, many secrets. I have about 10 chapters (super short ones) so far and I go down a path that invites many more characters into the picture, each bringing in their own views on God.

And I wouldn't call it supernatural so much as theological. My biggest concern (aside from apostophes aha) is coming across too...strong? But I'm really trying to stay true to the characters and how they view the world.

So far the story doesn't focus on defining good and bad so much as looking at how each character got to be the way they are. You see how some are capable of change while others never are. And the reasons for why that is.

Not a problem.

"So far the story doesn't focus on defining good and bad so much as looking at how each character got to be the way they are. You see how some are capable of change while others never are. And the reasons for why that is."

Awesome! It's good that you've got a discernible direction that you're taking it in. We called this "the angle" in journalism-jargon.

Don't worry about coming across too strong. I wrote something that had to be moved to the +18 Rated R section of the forum lol. Just in case, give Da Rules a skim. If you think it's necessary you can put some sort of disclaimer in the title.

Not sure if that's what you meant. Another suggestion might to be to make sure your characters have strong reasons and motivations for what they think and what they do.

Can't wait to read more about the characters and see how it all ties-together.

Shadow hide you,

-Kyle

The Fantastical
March 10th, 2017, 04:24 PM
This feels very.... Ben Hope, Nina Wilde, Da Vinci Code to me. So if I look at it as something like that... then it is great! Really good. Perfect bad guy and set up for that situation, genre, theme.

Jay Greenstein
March 10th, 2017, 10:57 PM
It wasn't the question that brought fear into Whiles' eyes. It was the whisper in which it was spoken. Low and faint, like a dying man's last breath.This is not the character feeling fear. It's you explaining how he feels, as an editorial intrusion.

This difference makes a huge difference in perception, because the reader is being told a story by someone whose voice thy can't hear—which means it's emotion free. And certainly, that wasn't your intent—nor is it how you "hear" the words when you read them.

The problem lies in that you know the characters and the situation. You know what motivated the character to speak, and what the protagonist's motivation was to feel fear. Were you to hear someone say what the unknown speaker did, even in a terrible tone, would you feel fear? Perhaps you would, depending on the situation. But in this, only you know the situation, so where does that leave the reader?
"Oh, what am I asking. Of course you don't. You're part of the herd. The flock. The gaggle. The brood. The utter death that is societies hive mind."Again, in your mind's eye, as you read these words, the characters live. A flick of the eye, a change in the position of a character's lip translates to emotion that speaks of internal conflicts and triumphs—motions which the actors in your film spent years perfecting. So when you read, each word calls up images, memories, and ideas stored in your mind.

But to a reader two people they know nothing about, in an unknown place, speak and react for unknown purpose. So for that reader, each word calls up images, memories, and ideas stored in your mind. And since you're not there to explain...

It's not a matter of good or bad writing. It's not a matter of talent, either. And your English teachers would praise the writing because you're doing exactly what you were taught to do, explain the action clearly and concisely—like a report. Informative, yes. But do we read fiction for information, or entertainment? They're not mutually exclusive goals, of course. But none the less, entertainment comes first. Were that not true, we'd read history books and fiction with equal gusto.

The problem you face is common because we leave our schooldays believing that writing is writing, and we know that part already, so all we need is practice, a knack for words, a good story idea, and luck.

If only.

So your writing isn't a problem, nor is the story. It's that you're missing the tricks of making the story seem to be happening, moment-by-moment, as we read. Tell the reader a story and like a history, it's immutable and there's no uncertainty, just the steady flow of detail. But suppose we place the reader into that tiny slice of time the protagonist calls now, and move that moment forward as a series of cause and effect pairs, where we're aware of what has the protagonist's attention and why, aware of how they view the situation, their options, and their decisions relating to it. Then, the future is unformed and unknowable, which means the reader will speculate on, and be interested in, what will happen next. And they will do that for emotional, not factional, reasons.

Another name for that process? A hook.

And once you master the tricks of the trade that present the writing in an emotion-based rather then fact based way, who knows how far you'll go? A great article on one of those tricks is here. (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php) It's one very powerful way of pulling the reader into the character's world. Take a look and chew on the article till it makes sense. It's based on the techniques in a book that I, like the man who wrote the article, think should be on every writer's bookshelf.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

ArtBlinked
March 11th, 2017, 01:04 AM
This feels very.... Ben Hope, Nina Wilde, Da Vinci Code to me. So if I look at it as something like that... then it is great! Really good. Perfect bad guy and set up for that situation, genre, theme.
Thank you! That's great to hear and encouraging. I aim for thrill, mystery and intrigue!

ArtBlinked
March 11th, 2017, 01:21 AM
This is not the character feeling fear. It's you explaining how he feels, as an editorial intrusion.

This difference makes a huge difference in perception, because the reader is being told a story by someone whose voice thy can't hear—which means it's emotion free. And certainly, that wasn't your intent—nor is it how you "hear" the words when you read them.

The problem lies in that you know the characters and the situation. You know what motivated the character to speak, and what the protagonist's motivation was to feel fear. Were you to hear someone say what the unknown speaker did, even in a terrible tone, would you feel fear? Perhaps you would, depending on the situation. But in this, only you know the situation, so where does that leave the reader?Again, in your mind's eye, as you read these words, the characters live. A flick of the eye, a change in the position of a character's lip translates to emotion that speaks of internal conflicts and triumphs—motions which the actors in your film spent years perfecting. So when you read, each word calls up images, memories, and ideas stored in your mind.

But to a reader two people they know nothing about, in an unknown place, speak and react for unknown purpose. So for that reader, each word calls up images, memories, and ideas stored in your mind. And since you're not there to explain...

It's not a matter of good or bad writing. It's not a matter of talent, either. And your English teachers would praise the writing because you're doing exactly what you were taught to do, explain the action clearly and concisely—like a report. Informative, yes. But do we read fiction for information, or entertainment? They're not mutually exclusive goals, of course. But none the less, entertainment comes first. Were that not true, we'd read history books and fiction with equal gusto.

The problem you face is common because we leave our schooldays believing that writing is writing, and we know that part already, so all we need is practice, a knack for words, a good story idea, and luck.

If only.

So your writing isn't a problem, nor is the story. It's that you're missing the tricks of making the story seem to be happening, moment-by-moment, as we read. Tell the reader a story and like a history, it's immutable and there's no uncertainty, just the steady flow of detail. But suppose we place the reader into that tiny slice of time the protagonist calls now, and move that moment forward as a series of cause and effect pairs, where we're aware of what has the protagonist's attention and why, aware of how they view the situation, their options, and their decisions relating to it. Then, the future is unformed and unknowable, which means the reader will speculate on, and be interested in, what will happen next. And they will do that for emotional, not factional, reasons.

Another name for that process? A hook.

And once you master the tricks of the trade that present the writing in an emotion-based rather then fact based way, who knows how far you'll go? A great article on one of those tricks is here. (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php) It's one very powerful way of pulling the reader into the character's world. Take a look and chew on the article till it makes sense. It's based on the techniques in a book that I, like the man who wrote the article, think should be on every writer's bookshelf.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

First off, I'd like to say thank you so much for the in depth review. This is exactly what I was hoping for. Writing in the current tense of the characters POV sounds like something that should be obvious but I never thought too much of it before.

There's a lot to sift through here and I only have a couple moments before evening plans take me away so I'll be brief and come back after I've had time to read through that link. I plan to re-write much of this to see if I can pull on the emotions of the reader and get the POV right for what I want.

I think I need to consider closer the perspective of the reader instead of throwing a scene at them and hoping it evokes something. I need to put myself in my readers shoes. And figure out how to do present tense, third person limited, non-intrusive (I think that's right?) POV.

Again, thank you for these huge insights and I'll be back!

Jay Greenstein
March 11th, 2017, 07:36 PM
I think I need to consider closer the perspective of the readerActually, that of the one living the scene. At the moment you're using the outside-in techniques we learn in school, fact-based, add author-centric. So we notice what the external observer feels necessary: primarily visual details. But when you mention what you visualize, will the words mean the same thing to the reader as to you? Probably not, and since every reader is different... See the problem?

But if you make every reader the protagonist, knowing, seeing, and sharing the same background, they'll be the protagonist, and all use the same criteria, and this live the same life—our hero's. Writing from the inside out, and why it matters is the subject of one of my articles, and may clarify. And it's why I so strongly recommend that article by Randy Ingermanson.

ArtBlinked
March 11th, 2017, 09:37 PM
Actually, that of the one living the scene. At the moment you're using the outside-in techniques we learn in school, fact-based, add author-centric. So we notice what the external observer feels necessary: primarily visual details. But when you mention what you visualize, will the words mean the same thing to the reader as to you? Probably not, and since every reader is different... See the problem?

But if you make every reader the protagonist, knowing, seeing, and sharing the same background, they'll be the protagonist, and all use the same criteria, and this live the same life—our hero's. Writing from the inside out, and why it matters is the subject of one of my articles, and may clarify. And it's why I so strongly recommend that article by Randy Ingermanson.

Could I have some links to your articles? I went back and read the one by Randy Ingermanson and found it incredibly helpful.

Also I realized what you said about writing from the characters POV after reading that article. I need to make the reader feel like they are in the character's shoes. Feeling, seeing, thinking what the character is as it's happening.

I really loved that bit about the tiger and Jack. It's made a world of difference in showing me how to write a scene from the character POV. I love examples. Motivation/trigger first, then the next paragraph is feeling, reflex, rational action/speech.

I've tried it out on the first part of this chapter. It's weird, I suddenly feel it's so much more graphic and I find myself pitying Whiles more than before.

--------re-write

"Do you believe in the absolute Mr. Whiles?"

The whisper slithered through the air into Whiles's ears and settled around his chest like the cold coils of a snake.

A stutter of dread escaped Whiles' lips and he sucked in a breath. Pushing past the pain, he struggled in futility against the duct tape.

"Oh, what am I asking. Of course you don't. You're part of the herd. The flock. The gaggle. The brood. The utter death of the societal hive mind." *

He glimpsed the hurricane brewing inside the storm and bowed his head. Dried blood crack along his neck with the movement. There was no escape, the end drew closer with every word the man uttered.

Desperation clung to him like sweat to a cotton shirt. His eye roved barren grey walls for escape but his new empty socket had long turned that side of his face numb with pain.

"But do tell me. Is there anything even vaguely interesting about you? Even the slightest piece of politically incorrect genuine goodness will do."*

Whiles swallowed a mouthfull of cotton and it sat like a bag of marbles in his stomach.*He opened his mouth.

"I'm waiting..."*

"I don't-" Whiles' voice cracked and he cleared it. "I don't know what you want from me."*

A sigh.*

The cocking of a gun sent a bullet bouncing on the cold, concrete floor. It rolled to rest at the leg of Whiles' chair, nearly touching his shoe.*

Fear frenzied his brain and he started to blubber, "Please let me go. I have nothing left to give you. I have a family!"

"I know. And they'll carefully cared for once you're gone. No need to worry. The monster loooves children."*

Shock followed by newfound terror shot through his body. Like a spirit had passed through him, ripping out his chest on its way.*

He strained toward his captor, shouting, pleading, "No! What do you want? Money? Power? Name it and it's yours! Just leave them out of this!"

The man shook his head. "You joined the snake and didn't expect to be swallowed in the end? How naive."

He choked back a sob. Tears sprouted in his eye and rolled down his face in streams.




-------

I wonder if it sounds like I'm trying too hard. The motivation pieces can get descriptive and I'm wondering if that's contributing to the slight cheesiness I'm feeling at times. The article did say to describe motivation like in a movie. But what to do if the only real motivation is dialog atm?

Jay Greenstein
March 12th, 2017, 05:16 AM
I'm not allowed to link to articles in the body of a post, per the rules of the site. But I can link to them as a whole below every post.
I need to make the reader feel like they are in the character's shoes.You've broken the code. =D>

If you found that article helpful, it's a condensation of one of many techniques in Dwight Swain's book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. I'd read several books on writing before I hit that one and thought I had a good feel for writing fiction. Then, I picked up that book and every few pages I smacked my forehead and said, "But that's so damn simple. Why didn't I see it myself?" In fact, most of the articles in my writing blog are the result of having read it, and thinking about the whys of it.
A stutter of dread escaped Whiles' lips and he sucked in a breath. Pushing past the pain, he struggled in futility against the duct tape.I'm impressed. Here, as part of setting the scene as he views it, we learn that he's bound, without you having to mention it as an extrernal observer.
"Oh, what am I asking. Of course you don't. You're part of the herd. The flock. The gaggle. The brood. The utter death of the societal hive mind."I think you're rushing it here. Something Randy's article didn't mention is the three questions a reader needs resolved quickly on entering a scene, so as to have context for what's happening: Where am I in time and space? What's going on? Whose skin am I wearing?

In your protagonist's viewpoint he's struggling against his bounds. But at the same time isn't he seeking something that he can turn to his advantage? Wouldn't he respond to the speaker in an attempt to exploit anything he perceives as potentially useful? Remember, just as the outside forces motivate him to act, his actions motivate others. So give the unknown person a reason to speak the line.

Not only that, the reader has had question raised, mostly about the three points I mentioned. And by addressing them as part of his analysis of his resources, the reader will be oriented. For example:

• Am I aware of why I'm there?
• What transpired to place me into the situation?
• What do I believe will happen in the near future? Will I die, be tortured, or placed into a compulsion?

It's not necessary to go into great detail, and slow the narrative. Instead, think with his mind. Were you him, with his resources, his needs and compulsions, what would matter most to you in the moment he calls now? That's your focus and thing that generates the motivation that will drive him to react.
He glimpsed the hurricane brewing inside the storm and bowed his head. Dried blood crack along his neck with the movement. There was no escape, the end drew closer with every word the man utteredThis is you, not him. You'll find it a bitch to make yourself stay in the protagonist's viewpoint because every writing reflex you own, honed to the point where they feel intuitive over the years, is going to howl in outrage and guide your fingers on the keyboard back into the nonfiction pathways You've been trained into.

That's why, until it becomes automatic, you need to look at each M/R unit to be certain that there is one motivation for each reaction. That will pick up lines like this. And after you use it for a while it will become automatic to be certain you're not intruding.

Hope this helps.

jackhess1014
March 12th, 2017, 05:25 AM
Beautiful work

ArtBlinked
March 13th, 2017, 12:29 AM
I'm not allowed to link to articles in the body of a post, per the rules of the site. But I can link to them as a whole below every post. I discovered something new about talkatap, it doesn't show hyperlinks in footers. But I have your site bookmarked on my laptop now, thank you!

Also it's just reiterating this new discovery for me but I liked how you said that we can't possibly write to everyone because everyone is different, so instead we make everyone the same. Turn them all into the protagonist. So simple but perfect.


It's not necessary to go into great detail, and slow the narrative. Instead, think with his mind. Were you him, with his resources, his needs and compulsions, what would matter most to you in the moment he calls now? That's your focus and thing that generates the motivation that will drive him to react.This is you, not him. You'll find it a bitch to make yourself stay in the protagonist's viewpoint because every writing reflex you own, honed to the point where they feel intuitive over the years, is going to howl in outrage and guide your fingers on the keyboard back into the nonfiction pathways You've been trained into.

I love the challenge but this is hard! Sometimes I still can't tell if I'm intruding even after I go back and look at something again for the fifth time.

I got to thinking about what Whiles, or myself, might be thinking/doing in the situation to turn it to his advantage. And I imagine he would try to steer the conversation by using what little he knows of the killer. I found that doing that it hinted at why they were both there, while still not directly answering it. I'm wondering if it's too vague or if I need to do something like try and describe the room, even if there's not much to describe.

I tried to go that route with Whiles using what he knows in the re-write leading up to the line about flock, brood, herd, etc.

Again, I want to say thanks for your guidance. I feel so excited trying out this new technique. It's exactly what I've been needing this whole time with my writing. You've been a world of help and I'm looking forward to reading your articles.

------------re-write (first part)

"Do you believe in the absolute Mr. Whiles?"

A stutter of dread escaped Whiles' lips and he sucked in a breath. Pushing past the pain, he struggled in futility against the duct tape.

Whiles swallowed a mouth full of cotton and it sat like a bag of marbles in his stomach. "I know-" Whiles' voice cracked and he cleared it. "I know who you are."

"You do?" Curiosity mixed with sarcasm in his tone.

His captor set aside his bloody blade and reached for the pistol placed neatly beside it.

Whiles' eye widened as a spike of fear knifed through his heart. He jerked his body back and forth in the chair, tearing the fresh wound in his shoulder open and setting that side of his body aflame.

His captor paused to watch, amusement tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Do I get to see the fox gnaw off its own paw to escape?"

Frustration sparked in his mind and Whiles stopped, panting from the pain. This wasn't working. He looked up. "You're one of those kids."

A smile. Then a bow. "A kid no longer but indeed. You're right!" He turned his back to Whiles, loading the gun and mumbled, "The monster found me long before it found you."

Hope flickered in the recesses of Whiles' mind. He leaned forward, "So you're a victim, just like me."

"Dear man." He turned to face Whiles, gun swinging wide. "I am no victim. I am a survivor." He eyed Whiles for a moment. "And you, evidently, are not."

The flicker snuffed out in an instant. Again, despair wrapped its cold arms around Whiles.

His captor crossed arms, "You're part of the herd. The flock. The gaggle. The brood. The utter death that is societies' hive mind." The scrutinizing stare burned like an iron to the chest. "You believe in no absolute, do you? You've never even stopped long enough to think on such a concept."

Jay Greenstein
March 13th, 2017, 07:03 AM
Comments
Deletions
Additions



"Do you believe in the absolute Mr. Whiles?"

A stutter of dread escaped Whiles' lips and he sucked in a breath. Here, we don't yet know why he feels dread, so mentioning it serves only to slow the narrative. Pushing past the pain, he Whiles struggled in futility The fact that he's struggling implies that he's not successful. against the duct tape.

Whiles He Take a look at the article, What's in a name and you'll see why you need to do this to most of where you use his name. swallowed a mouth full of cotton According to this, he literally swallowed cotton. But that's not what you mean. and it sat like a bag of marbles in his stomach. "I know-" Whiles' voice cracked and he cleared it. "I know who you are."

"You do?" Curiosity mixed with sarcasm in his tone. Based on the antecedent this is Whiles speaking. Better to use "the words."

His captor set aside his bloody blade We don't know why it's bloody, but should. Suppose you'd begun a moment earlier, with Whiles saying, "Please...please don't cut me again. Won't you at least tell me why you're doing this?" Look at how it changes the reAder's perception of the present first line. and reached for the pistol placed neatly beside it.

Whiles' eye widened as a spike of fear knifed through his heart. He jerked his body back and forth in the chair, tearing the fresh wound in his shoulder open and setting that side of his body aflame.

His captor paused to watch, amusement tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Do I get to see the fox gnaw off its own paw to escape?"

Frustration sparked in his mind and Whiles stopped, panting from the pain. This wasn't working. He looked up. First, this is a report, as presented. Next, we can see its not working, so why mention it. How about something like, The man was right, and his struggles only amused him. Then, he made a connection and said, "You're one of those kids."

A smile. Then a bow. "A kid no longer but indeed., You're right!" Drop the bang. He doesn't need to shout here. In general, if you use ten in a novel, that's a lot. He turned his back to Whiles, Who else is there to turn his back on? loading the gun and mumbled, as he said, "The monster found me long before it found you."

Hope flickered in the recesses of Whiles' mind. He leaned forward, "So…you're a victim, just like me." Minor point: What purpose does the word "just" serve? It's one of the words I search for as part of a final edit, because most of them are unnecessary.

"Dear man." He turned to face Whiles back, gun swinging wide. "I am Seems formal. If it's in his makeup not to use contractions it works. If not, a contraction would be natural here and in the next line no victim. I am a survivor." He eyed Whiles for a moment. "And you, evidently, are not."

The flicker snuffed out in an instant. Isn't that what the first part said? And in any case, does it matter if it was instant or took two seconds? Again, despair wrapped its cold arms around Whiles.

His captor crossed arms, "You're part of the herd. The flock. The gaggle. The brood. The utter death that is societies' hive mind." The scrutinizing stare burned like an iron to the chest. Hard to buy. The man is cut and beaten. So he's not focused on the glare and it's effect. Remember, he just gave up. So that's the reaction. Is the stare his next motivation? "You believe in no absolute, do you? You've never even stopped long enough to think on such a concept."

Getting better. My personal view: Pick up that Swain book. Not only will he answer your questions, he'll answer the ones you don't know you should be asking.

Hope this helps.

ArtBlinked
March 13th, 2017, 08:20 AM
Comments
Deletions
Additions



"Do you believe in the absolute Mr. Whiles?"

A stutter of dread escaped Whiles' lips and he sucked in a breath. Here, we don't yet know why he feels dread, so mentioning it serves only to slow the narrative. Pushing past the pain, he Whiles struggled in futility The fact that he's struggling implies that he's not successful. against the duct tape.

Whiles He Take a look at the article, What's in a name and you'll see why you need to do this to most of where you use his name. swallowed a mouth full of cotton According to this, he literally swallowed cotton. But that's not what you mean. and it sat like a bag of marbles in his stomach. "I know-" Whiles' voice cracked and he cleared it. "I know who you are."

"You do?" Curiosity mixed with sarcasm in his tone. Based on the antecedent this is Whiles speaking. Better to use "the words."

His captor set aside his bloody blade We don't know why it's bloody, but should. Suppose you'd begun a moment earlier, with Whiles saying, "Please...please don't cut me again. Won't you at least tell me why you're doing this?" Look at how it changes the reAder's perception of the present first line. and reached for the pistol placed neatly beside it.

Whiles' eye widened as a spike of fear knifed through his heart. He jerked his body back and forth in the chair, tearing the fresh wound in his shoulder open and setting that side of his body aflame.

His captor paused to watch, amusement tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Do I get to see the fox gnaw off its own paw to escape?"

Frustration sparked in his mind and Whiles stopped, panting from the pain. This wasn't working. He looked up. First, this is a report, as presented. Next, we can see its not working, so why mention it. How about something like, The man was right, and his struggles only amused him. Then, he made a connection and said, "You're one of those kids."

A smile. Then a bow. "A kid no longer but indeed., You're right!" Drop the bang. He doesn't need to shout here. In general, if you use ten in a novel, that's a lot. He turned his back to Whiles, Who else is there to turn his back on? loading the gun and mumbled, as he said, "The monster found me long before it found you."

Hope flickered in the recesses of Whiles' mind. He leaned forward, "So…you're a victim, just like me." Minor point: What purpose does the word "just" serve? It's one of the words I search for as part of a final edit, because most of them are unnecessary.

"Dear man." He turned to face Whiles back, gun swinging wide. "I am Seems formal. If it's in his makeup not to use contractions it works. If not, a contraction would be natural here and in the next line no victim. I am a survivor." He eyed Whiles for a moment. "And you, evidently, are not."

The flicker snuffed out in an instant. Isn't that what the first part said? And in any case, does it matter if it was instant or took two seconds? Again, despair wrapped its cold arms around Whiles.

His captor crossed arms, "You're part of the herd. The flock. The gaggle. The brood. The utter death that is societies' hive mind." The scrutinizing stare burned like an iron to the chest. Hard to buy. The man is cut and beaten. So he's not focused on the glare and it's effect. Remember, he just gave up. So that's the reaction. Is the stare his next motivation? "You believe in no absolute, do you? You've never even stopped long enough to think on such a concept."

Getting better. My personal view: Pick up that Swain book. Not only will he answer your questions, he'll answer the ones you don't know you should be asking.

Hope this helps.

I feel giddy because of this professional critique. I can't thank you enough. I've already started reading Techniques of the Selling Writer, Spring Break came just in time.

Something else this has helped me with, I feel better about critiquing others. I'm usually quite stumped because half the time I feel I'm making everything up as I go so what right do I have to say anything. But the points you brought up with exclamation points, 'just', unnecessary text, and always seeking out the reaction to motivations and vice versa. These are things I know I can look for in other's writing as well as my own.

Again, thank you so much!

Jay Greenstein
March 14th, 2017, 05:38 AM
One of the best ways to learn is to critique the work of others. You'll see the mistakes you make faster in someone else's work because you won't have access to background and motivational issues that "fill in the blanks" in your own work.

Here's another article (http://writeitsideways.com/are-these-filter-words-weakening-your-fiction/) I found helpful, on words that distance the reader and weaken viewpoint.

To that list, I've added quite a few, some idiosyncratic but many worth looking at during a final edit:

• “That” usage. In many places it's unnecessary, or part of something that can be condensed and say the same thing with more impact. “Are you telling me that Mrs. Jason Stone is a frigid woman?” can be reduced to, “So Mrs. Jason Stone is a frigid woman?”
And: “Any action on your part to lose them simply tells them that you are exactly what they think you are." Reduces to, “Try to lose them and they know you're exactly what they think you are.’
• Protagonist's name in place of he/she.
• Actually.
• Maybe.
• Some, many, and other indeterminate words, except in dialog.
• Other than.
• All.
• Contractions for: s/he had, would not, had not, was not. etc.
• Had. Example: “...the single room that Zoe had made no attempt to improve.” When a story is told in past tense, "had" is the past of past tense, which can confuse. The word can be dropped without loss: the single room that Zoe made no attempt to improve.
• It was, he was, they were, etc. This construct can only come from the narrator, and is a viewpoint break. For example: “Drew glanced at the clock. It was a few minutes after ten and his roommate’s bed was empty.” Dropping "it was" places it into Drew's viewpoint: Drew glanced at the clock. A few minutes after ten and his roommate’s bed was empty.

Something else to keep in mind: Read that book slowly, with plenty of time to practice each point as it's raised, so you don't forget it exists a week later. And read it again in about six months. You'll get as much the second time.

Hope this helps.

ArtBlinked
March 15th, 2017, 02:55 AM
One of the best ways to learn is to critique the work of others. You'll see the mistakes you make faster in someone else's work because you won't have access to background and motivational issues that "fill in the blanks" in your own work.

Here's another article (http://writeitsideways.com/are-these-filter-words-weakening-your-fiction/) I found helpful, on words that distance the reader and weaken viewpoint.

To that list, I've added quite a few, some idiosyncratic but many worth looking at during a final edit:

• “That” usage. In many places it's unnecessary, or part of something that can be condensed and say the same thing with more impact. “Are you telling me that Mrs. Jason Stone is a frigid woman?” can be reduced to, “So Mrs. Jason Stone is a frigid woman?”
And: “Any action on your part to lose them simply tells them that you are exactly what they think you are." Reduces to, “Try to lose them and they know you're exactly what they think you are.’
• Protagonist's name in place of he/she.
• Actually.
• Maybe.
• Some, many, and other indeterminate words, except in dialog.
• Other than.
• All.
• Contractions for: s/he had, would not, had not, was not. etc.
• Had. Example: “...the single room that Zoe had made no attempt to improve.” When a story is told in past tense, "had" is the past of past tense, which can confuse. The word can be dropped without loss: the single room that Zoe made no attempt to improve.
• It was, he was, they were, etc. This construct can only come from the narrator, and is a viewpoint break. For example: “Drew glanced at the clock. It was a few minutes after ten and his roommate’s bed was empty.” Dropping "it was" places it into Drew's viewpoint: Drew glanced at the clock. A few minutes after ten and his roommate’s bed was empty.

Something else to keep in mind: Read that book slowly, with plenty of time to practice each point as it's raised, so you don't forget it exists a week later. And read it again in about six months. You'll get as much the second time.

Hope this helps.

This is some great stuff. I rememeber years ago my sister critiqued a piece of my writing and she did mention words to avoid. I do believe 'that's and 'had's were included but it's been so long I completely forgot. Having a list is fantastic and so, so helpful.

Also there are a lot of these I've never heard of. Using 'and' to shorten things up, some many all, other than, are all new to me. I did hear about it was, he was, they were, before but it's been so long I forgot.

I will remember these during writing, also for critiques. You keep being so helpful, thank you again!