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Astral Prologue (2 Viewers)

demonangel667

Senior Member
This is the prologue to a novel I want to write and get published. This is a work in progress so constructive critiques are very much wanted and value. Thank you for clicking on this and enjoy.



She sat in the derelect building, the only light coming from the moon and the faraway city shining through the open windows, thinking about the response she had recieved just that morning. She reached into the inside pocket of her overcoat and re-read the short missive.

To: A friend
Meet me in the rundown building outside of town.
Don't tell anyone where you are going.
Come alone.
at the bottom of the note was a small blood stain, where a signature should have been.

At the time it had seemed like a harmless request, now....she didn't know what to think. Lost in her own thoughts, she nearly jumped out of her skin when the door creaked open. When she looked however, she saw no one coming. She was just about to sigh in relief when the windows started slamming shut one by one. Wham! Wham! Wham! Now, in total darkness she dared not breathe. Her eyes searched vainly for the source of the commotion, when she felt rather than saw a figure behind her.

"Open windows only invite watchers we don't want." A male voice whispered into her right ear. She wanted to scream, to run, and yet she only sat while a cold hand touched her shoulder. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to startle you, but you must know by now we work better in darkness." A match flickered into life behind her with the sharp smell of sulfur, followed by the cloying smoke of a cigar. "However, the light from a smoke shouldn't call too much attention."

"I thought all of you....hated fire." She could not bring herself to say the rumored name this man's militia had been given.

"You would hate fire too if I were to drop this in your hair." A mirthless laugh escaped his lips. "But no, as a general rule, fire does not hold much terror by us. " He stepped in front of her and stood, surveying her in the light cast by the smoldering ashes of the cigar. Using this same light she caught glimpses of his clothing, which looked almost as patched and frayed as the couch where she now sat. His movements were swift and easy as he walked away from her then and leaned against one of the walls.

After several tense minutes of silence he spoke again. "So you call an audience with the leader of the Vampires, and yet you have nothing to say? No questions?" She took a sharp intake of breath as he casually threw their name into the air.

"I hardly know where to begin."

"How about you ask me what my name is?" She could just see his near bloodless lips rise into a small smile.

"Everyone knows what your name is. You're...."

"Any name you could come up with would be a product of lies and rumors." He interrupted sounding annoyed. "My name given to me at birth was.... Malkrion." She caught the slight pause before his name and noted it with interest.

"Do you remember much of your childhood?"

"Not enough to be of any use to anyone. Before we begin down the brutal path that led to who I am today, may I know your name?" He asked now sounding like any normal human being.

"Lyra, my name is Lyra." The first came out as a timid whisper, the next a little stronger.

"There is no reason to be so frightened Lyra, I mean you no harm. I'm lucky to finally have someone that is willing to listen to my side of the story. By the way, why did you decide to contact me?"

"I was taught that everyone deserves to have their voice heard."

"Even Vampires?"

"That was my personal choice." Lyra lifted her head to look him in the eyes, determination for her cause giving her courage. The cigar hung between his lips, the end reflected in his eyes causing them to seem like they were filled with dancing flames. Seeing sadness there she stood and moved closer to him. He didn't move, only stiffened slightly at her approach. It got cooler with every step she took, she stopped when she was barely a foot from him. He inclined his head toward the sliver of light still coming from the nearest window. Lyra did not gasp or flinch at his appearance, however she moved no closer.

"You see now why we can not walk alongside those like you?" He placed a hand to the side of his face. "How we came to be like this is all part of the same sad story and like all tragedies it starts with love and war. Sit back down my dear and we shall begin." Lyra took her seat back on the dilapidated couch and motioned for him to continue. He took a deep breath to clear his thoughts, continueing his lonely sigil by the wall.

"It begins in a place not far from here. Back then it was a beautiful forest, with the tallest trees and the most fragrant flowers. This place is where I first met her....."
 

egpenny

Senior Member
The story line is interesting, I'd want to read more. Three thoughts for the first little bit. 1. You have derelict building and then below in the note it's refered to as rundown, seems redundant, maybe use empty for rundown. 2. Far-away city is used and then outside of town, doesn't seem reasonable, outside of town isn't generally far away from the city. Towns and cities are different sizes too, are you talking about the same place? If you leave the far away out it makes the comment about the light sound better, sharper. 3. Response she recieved. makes me want to know, reponse to what? might better say note she received.
The rest of it flows well. Keep writing! Penny
 

demonangel667

Senior Member
thanks

Thank you very much for reading it and for the wonderful feedback! I like what you had to say that does make sense. I will have to try and be a bit more clear about the note in the beginning for in the dialogue Malkrion said that Lyra had contacted him first, which is the reason for his response. That was very helpful, hopefully when I get that fixed I can get my first chapter up...well as soon as I finish it that is. Thank you again!
 
I like it, you kept my attention well. I wish I knew Lyra's name right from the start. It was kind of annoying only knowing her as "she". The suspense is done well at the beginning, I was truly concerned and afraid for what may happen to her when the windows slammed shut even though I didn't really know anything about her. Even the Whams worked well. It may help to tell a little bit more about her, give the reader more of a reason to care other than she's just a damsel in distress. I also wish I had known it was Vampire story right away, it was a little bit of a let down. I was all excited and then ''ugh, not another Vampire'' :)

After the intense suspense I was also a little let down that it didn't really go anywhere. Nothing happened that gave me a reason to feel scared for her in the first place. "Oh she's just having tea and a pleasant conversation now with a vampire''. Was she scared of something else happening other than what is? I don't know, and I should. Or is she terrified that she is going to be this vampire's dinner? Whatever it is I want to know way before the end of this prologue.

What is her name? Why should I care about her? What is she really afraid of? what is the suspense all about? That should all be answered and clear in the first few paragraphs. I didn't like being left in the dark. Withholding information to create suspense just makes me angry, but giving information to create suspense, which is best and you did very well at first, didn't make up for my disappointment. ''ok, so now what, some chick I don't care about yet talking to a vampire that doesn't seem to be anything to worry about''. I want to read more, but just to find out information that should have already been made clear by this point in the story.

Does Lyra know who the note is from? If she does, then we should. If she doesn't, then tell us that she doesn't. That's bad suspense. Alone in a dark rural house, doors creaking, all the windows slamming shut, that's very good descriptive suspense. I was genuinely anxious and a little freaked out. But omitting information that we should know to create suspense makes me grumpy. It works for a short time to create a little intrigue but the answer should be in the next sentence or following paragraph. The point is I don't want to be reading other stuff when all I'm thinking about is "who's the note from? why's is she really scared?" I might keep reading just to find out but it's annoying and I'll be distracted and confused and won't care about what's happening next until I find out. Better to let me know who the note is from right away and why I should care about them or why they are a threat. Mystery and suspense needs to be handled very carefully in fantasy/sci-fi.
 

josh.townley

Senior Member
I agree with Runemancer for the most part. I was a little disappointed when I found out it was a vampire story. I think on the whole it was well written, but I was a bit confused by the motivation of the characters. It's not really clear if she's scared of him, or if not, why not? Maybe she feels like she has no choice but to take this risk, but it didn't really come across to me.
A couple of other things that bothered me were:
"Do you remember much of your childhood?"
This struck me as a really bizarre question to ask under the circumstances. Sounds more like a first date question. What good would that information do her? I was hoping for a bit more urgency, rather than just a casual chat.

Also:
she stopped when she was barely a foot from him. He inclined his head toward the sliver of light still coming from the nearest window. Lyra did not gasp or flinch at his appearance, however she moved no closer.
That's way up in his personal space. Maybe they fall in love later on, but that's no fun if she's already completely comfortable with him.

Overall, though, I enjoyed it and would like to read more.
 

Red-James

Senior Member
writing was good, charaters were believable... thought i was disappointed to discover it was a vampire story... twilight has forever ruined vampires for me... but that is just ym own bias opinion. your writing is good and as long as you can keep this style and make the rest of the plot and story line good it will make a decent book for the audence you are going for.
 

QDOS

Senior Member
Hi
A good opening started to build some tension then Vampires with an end implying were about to get a history lesson. I hope it isn’t. If you gave a hint of what was to follow it could be more intriguing.

I know it is only a draft, I make similar mistakes, but a simple spell checker would be an asset even at this stage for those typo’s. As a simple guide try to keep long sentences to no more than 15 words.

The first few lines are all important. As an example here’s my take on your first paragraph.
Waiting in the derelict house the only illumination was the moonlight through an open window. The young woman sat thinking about the response received just that morning. Reaching into her overcoat pocket she pulled out the short missive.

No need to say she re-read it, as that’s implied by the fact you present its contents for the reader.

Meet me in the old disused Mansion outside of town. - More dramatic?[FONT=&Verdana]
[/FONT]
Lyra - was this a random choice, did you know it is a small constellation in the northern hemisphere near Cygnus and Draco.

QDOS 8)
 

Celestial-Ultimatum

Senior Member
Hey there!

I like where this story is going so far! Let me know when you upload more chapters... if you so desired ^^"

Here are some things I that I suggest:

1.
Wham! Wham! Wham!
I personally don't like creating noise through words via this method. Here's an alternative just to spark some ideas for you ^^

She was just about to sigh in relief when the windows started slamming shut one by one. Wham! Wham! Wham! Now, in total darkness she dared not breathe

She was just about to sigh in relief when the windows started to slam shut one by one. As the thunderous crashes of the windows died down, absolute darkness descended. She dare not breathe.

This is just a suggestion ^^!

2.
Her eyes searched vainly for the source of the commotion,

I think instead of using "commotion" try switching it to phenomenon or something like that!

3.
"Open windows only invite watchers we don't want." A male voice whispered into her right ear. She wanted to scream, to run, and yet she only sat while a cold hand touched her shoulder.

Sorry for being super picky >.<... buuuutttttttt here we go anyways!

"Open windows invite... unwanted spectators."

She wanted to scream. To run... yet she only sat while a cold hand touched her shoulder.

This just sounds a little better to me... but your the final decider!

4.
determination for her cause giving her courage

Redo this sentence. Possibly, "determination for her cause gave her courage."

5.
He took a deep breath to clear his thoughts, continueing his lonely sigil by the wall.

Also, do consider rewording this sentence as well ^^!

All in all, very solid prologue! I eagerly await more!
 

outoftheblue

Senior Member
Hi - I enjoyed this piece of writing. I haven't looked through all the different feedback, so I apologize if this has already been mentioned. But some of the punctuation for the dialogue is incorrect, but this can be easily changed. For example:

"Open windows only invite watchers we don't want." A male voice whispered into her right ear.

You don't need to end this dialogue with a full-stop, it needs to be a comma. I think you've done it once or twice, but it's a minor thing and easily edited.

The story, especially the context, reminded me very much of the beginning of Anne Rice's 'Interview with the Vampire'. That's not a bad thing, by the way. Just thought I'd add that thought.

Great work, and good luck with it all.:p
 

Notquitexena

Senior Member
Overall you built suspense really well, but I also felt let down when he announced he was a vampire. I was more scared when I thought he was the representative of some super-secret military or criminal assassination force. Perhaps if you had her thinking near the beginning something like: "Vampires were bad enough but Vampires working for the government?"
 

Nevermore

Senior Member
The description and setting of mood worked very well, especially how you ended the chapter, though it does seem a small bit abrupt.
 

Cody

Senior Member
I'm glad that vampires have come back into fashion. Once upon a time I loved to watch kindred and buffy and angel and all that jazz.

Now to get to comments:
> Lyra is the well known name of the well known main character in the well known series His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Really good series for YA, with elements to appeal to all ages.
>The catalyst needs to be refined.

To: A friend
Meet me in the rundown building outside of town.
Don't tell anyone where you are going.
Come alone.
at the bottom of the note was a small blood stain, where a signature should have been.

If a stranger gave me this note I would say," Errrrr....which rundown building exactly? I can't like Google map that even."
maybe your main character knew which he meant, because it was apart of some inside joke that they two had or something.

My second reaction is that anyone who would comply to the note has been subjected to poor parenting. If someone asked me to come to a rundown building and I was able to get it to come up on the gps I might have a sober second thought and then send a reply something to the effect of...

To: My ex friend
You weren't able to lure me into your big white van with candy. What makes you think that I would come to
a rundown building outside of town and NOT tell anyone where I was. If I was the type of girl who made those kinds of life choices
I'd be changing my babies diapers and studying for my G.E.D.

SIGNED with a scratch n sniff hellokitty sticker

P.S. the sticker smells like strawberries.

Your opening letter is something we would find in books for very young children, which is fine if this is intended for very young children, but I feel like vampire stories generally have 13+ type of content.

> I like the body of the piece. It has fun elements and suspense! You should power write it all out and then go back and edit.
 
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