800 words

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  1. #1
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    800 words

    Beginning piece to a paranormal fantasy novel I'm working on.




    Pulling my jacket tighter around myself, I looked around. The rain had begun to lighten up, but the wind was picking up more. My teeth chattered. I still couldn’t make myself go inside. I wanted to, I wanted to finally see Dean. He’d called over the past few months to check in, but every time he asked to meet, I came up with some reason to not be able to make it. It’s not that I didn’t want to see him, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to face him. Besides having a crush on him, he was Ben’s best friend. The thought of seeing him after his last visit was more than a bit nerve racking.
    The past few months had been some of the hardest in my life. Most nights I picked up the phone and dialed Ben’s number, hanging up after the first ring. There were so many things I wanted to share with him. So many times I needed his advice, or wanted to hear him tell me about his most recent trip.
    His room at our townhouse had been cleaned out just days after we’d received the news. My parents insisted on coming over right away to ‘help’ me clean it. Like I really needed the help. Ben hardly kept anything at home. I never thought living with my brother and best friend would be so great, but it was easy to live with them. Whether Ben was there or not, we had a routine.
    I hated walking past his room. Zoe and I kept the door closed for a while, but with all of his stuff gone, that seemed silly. Eventually we turned it into a guest room and office. I’d needed a home office for my job, and it was nice to stretch out a bit instead of working from the cramped desk in my room.
    I knew I couldn’t stand outside in the rain all night. Forcing my feet to move, I made my way to the front door. I could hear Dean’s voice from the other side, and it wasn’t a pleasant tone. I sighed, praying to whoever would listen that this didn’t turn into another scene like the last time.
    “He’s dead, don’t you understand that?” Dean screamed from the kitchen, as I quietly shut the door behind me. I shook off my wet jacket hanging it with the others in the front foyer closet. Wiping my feet on the mat I listened to my dad and Dean go at it again, just as they had months prior.
    “We don’t give a damn what you think about what killed him, we are not interested in going after it!” my father yelled back. The tone in his voice forced me to come to a halt in the middle of the hallway. I’d known Dean was coming by this evening which was the only reason I’d rushed over to my parents house.
    “I just can’t understand why you two don’t want to find the monster that killed him.” Dean’s voice cracked in disbelief.
    “How do you even know this was a monster? Maybe it was a human,” my mother’s voice suggested. I could tell by her tone that she was already tired.
    Dean laughed. “Ben was smart, he wouldn’t have let a human get to him. You have no idea the kind of fighter he was.”
    I took this opportunity to leave the foyer and walk into the kitchen, hoping that my presence would cool their tempers. Dean turned his head and looked at me, and my breath caught. In that moment I regretted every time I’d denied seeing him. His eyes were sad, but I could feel excitement from him.
    “Don’t you dare tell us that we didn’t know our son!” dad screamed. He lunged for Dean but he was quicker and dodged out of my dad’s path.
    “Stop! The two of you have been arguing since the day Dean showed up here to tell us Ben had been killed! Enough’s Enough!”
    I looked to my mother who just sat there staring into her cup of tea as if my father and Dean weren’t even there.. Like she was frozen in place.
    “So tell me exactly why neither of you care to find out who killed your son?” I crossed my arms over my chest and stood in the doorway. I didn’t need to be an empath to know what Dean was feeling. His face gave everything away. Almost as if he was being tortured.
    Sometimes being an empath felt more like a curse than a gift, but other times, it really helped me understand others better. I wasn’t so quick to judge some people. Growing up I never understood why I had many different emotions until later in my years I then realized what it truly was.

    "The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday."

    Current WIP: Enlisted, & Broken Souls.
    Editing: Cursed Legacy, A Warrior's Soul.
    Writer, travel agent, Gishwheshean, and eight time NaNo winner.

  2. #2
    Enjoyed the read. I am not really a fan of paranormal and fantasy except I have seen good anime, that comes to mind on it. There wasn't much subcontext. Wish I could write with more subcontext but I end up confusing people. So I write "on the nose" much of the time. To help people and guide them through the narrative. I hope to change that in revisions before I post something new.

    I like the ending when you reveal her abilities, but I wonder what this will bring to the plot. You are trying this in fantasy. That's interesting. It is new in fantasy. But I feel that these sort of people are tricky to write to their fullest potential. I need to think the empath has certain rules to fulfill like in fantasy to trigger his emotions. Maybe that could be a good way to trigger plot. It's off to a good start in the premise. Subcontext, and what will happen next needs work maybe to get the reader's attention. For example what problem could she have now? Besides the internal conflict. Still has tons of potential.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; May 13th, 2018 at 02:37 PM.
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  3. #3
    Tigerlily, this piece has promises and you make it personal to the MC, which makes it a good opening already. I'd suggest you try to be more direct, focusing on the encounter with Dean and give us less proper names. In 800 words we read Dean (active), Zoe, Ben and there is mention to father (active) and mother (passive). There are too many characters at the opening. You won't cut Dean and Ben, so I'd suggest cutting mentions to Zoe, father and mother.

    Make it even more personal, more direct. This scene is about the MC and Dean, make it stand like that. Show us her emotions flaring as she sees him. After they encounter, you can throw father's presence to blow up the chemicals, making the scene very intense.

    Overall, good piece. I read it all, I want to know what happens next and I'm glad you shared.

  4. #4
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    Thank you both for the feedback! The piece is heading to editing in the next week, so I wanted to get some feedback before sending it off.
    "The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday."

    Current WIP: Enlisted, & Broken Souls.
    Editing: Cursed Legacy, A Warrior's Soul.
    Writer, travel agent, Gishwheshean, and eight time NaNo winner.

  5. #5
    Hi Tigerlily:

    I enjoyed your words. Thanks for sharing. You have a nice start to a good story. I only have one suggestion:

    You begin with
    Pulling my jacket tighter around myself, I looked around.
    Your use of around runs almost elbow to elbow. Since a few lines later you showed us it was cold out,
    My teeth chattered.
    you might try something like

    Pulling my jacket tighter to ward off the chill, I looked around.
    Just an idea. Nice work though.

  6. #6
    Global Moderator H.Brown's Avatar
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    Hi Tigerlily, this piece of fiction has merit. The plot line is intriguing but needs more, the character's are interesting to me and I wish to know more about them and their lives. I want to know what happened to Ben. However the formating needs some work in this extract. As each paragraph runs onto the next making it hard to establish a reading pace.

    I think that with another edit you could make this extract stronger, make the reader want to come along on this journey with your characters.
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  7. #7
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Your writing is pretty decent; just a couple of editorial spots that others mentioned. For me - and I freely admit I am not a big paranormal fantasy reader - it would be good to get a sense of mood and an idea of the setting they're in. You can use external things like weather (though that's a bit cliched) to set mood as well as enrich the prose; eg your narrator-I may fiddle with an object to betray a sense of worry (for instance). The bulk of the text here is dialogue plus exposition. I know how the characters are feeling and what they are saying, so you might want to just work in alongside that some immediate goings on and interactions with the outside world to help make it come alive. Hope this helps Good luck




    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

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    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
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    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
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  8. #8
    Hi there,

    I just read your piece. I would recommend making this the opening of the story:

    I knew I couldn’t stand outside in the rain all night. Forcing my feet to move, I made my way to the front door. I could hear Dean’s voice from the other side, and it wasn’t a pleasant tone. I sighed, praying to whoever would listen that this didn’t turn into another scene like the last time.

    It's a bit more engaging.

    I hope that is helpful.

  9. #9
    I was a bit unsure about if it had only been a few months, why would they have already have changed her brothers room into a study? If it was a brother, i would struggle to do that so quickly? I also agree with the comment above - shortening the beginning makes this more concise.
    Good start though, I am intrigued with what these monsters are....

  10. #10
    I did like this, got a fair bit of potential.

    The thing that stood out was your overuse of Dean. When in some cases using Him would have sufficed.

    But other than that it was good.

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