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Prelude to fiction story (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Looking for critiques and input on the prelude to the story I am currently working on. Thanks :)



The sound of sirens was the lastthing the residents of Harbor Bay expected to hear just weeks into the summer. Like every year, the beach community had been preparing for another fun, eventful summer. Times were supposed to be happy and carefree; though no one felt that way; not at that instant.

Delilah couldn’t take her eyes off of the hysterical woman, whose arms reached past the grasp of the police officer who was holding her back. She was a mother; her young daughter had been missing for more than a week and cast off as a runaway. From the look inher eyes, even for that brief, heartbreaking moment, Delilah could see that the devoted parent hadn’t believed it for a second.

She must have been sitting up nights waiting for this day, Delilah thought to herself, dreading this day.

Mason’s arm rested snugly around her shoulders, as it always did. He, too, looked as if he was in shock. There was nothing any of them could do or say to profess their undying sadness and condolences to the stranger before them.

"I need to see her!” the woman shrieked. Her voice was shrill, and high-pitched and desperate. “Is that him?Is that the one who… who did this to her?”

Delilah’s eyes studied the ghastly scene. She knew she would never get the woman’s voice out of her mind. The incident at hand was something that had the ability to change a person. She felt it, and from the tight grip of Mason’s fingers around her shoulder, she knew he felt it too.

Police lights decorated the faces of everyone in the immediate area, though seemed to highlight hysterical mother and the perpetrator.
A chaotic mix of reds and blues danced menacingly across the middle-aged woman’s face. The lights seemed to highlight the nightmare that had come true for the hardworking mother of three. They were relentless and wouldn’t let her be.
The devil; that’s what passed through Delilah’s mind next as her eyes focused on the young man being pushed down by the top of his head into the police car. The tranquil nature of his face and certain look in his bloodshot eyes as the red lights crashed over his body made her want to squirm. The icing on the cake was his smirk; an expression so subtle that it was quite possible that no one else had picked upon it.

He thinks he’s going to walk
, Delilah thought, unable to keep herself from shaking her head. He thinks he has an alibi. He thinks his parents and all of their money will get him off the hook. He doesn’t even care.

She searched his face in the final second before the cruiser door slammed shut.
There was not even a trace ofhumility.


Senior Member
This is an interesting read. Effectively dark and heartbreaking.
The wording of a few parts could be revised. For example, the first couple of sentences I feel could be stronger.
Off the top of my head, something like, "Every year around May, the beach community of Harbour Bay prepared for another fun and eventful summer. The last thing anyone expected to hear were the sounds of police sirens."
In fact, I think the second paragraph might have made a better opening. Having it open with Delilah's view of the woman with outstretched arms sets the tone better, at least to me.

I was kind of confused at first about Mason - I wasn't sure if he was standing next to Delilah or the mother. It wasn't until she talks about his grip on her shoulder that I realized he was with Delilah. Perhaps you could make that more clear.
The sentence, "the incident at hand was something that had the ability to change a person" is unneeded in my opinion. I think that already goes without question.
Anyway, good luck on the story!


Senior Member
Thank you for your input... I'll use the suggestions to switch some things around! Thanks again


Senior Member
I would say to remove the first couple of sentences and start it with the "Delilah couldn't take her eyes..." sentence.


New Writers' Mentor
Senior Member
I think what Apex is trying to say makes a lot of sense, although, I usually include a few rules to allow for a prologue or prelude. In general, you only want to start your story with one of these things if part of the story is separated by an incredible distance or time that cannot otherwise be gapped by the story itself. A perfect example would be the little scene about Smeagol and Deagol at the beginning of The Return of the King, if you've ever seen that. Not only does it take place a long time ago, but it also takes place a long distance away. Drastic things have happened between that scene and the story, but it also helps to explain how the character came to be, so it is, in fact, essential to the plot of the story. This feels more like the beginning to a first chapter than it does a prelude because I assume that Mason and Delilah are your main characters and the story will be about the murder of this little girl, right?

In that sense, I don't know why you have the police saying she was a runaway or something. That bit confused me. Clearly, her body is inside the crime scene, and they've identified a victim, so why are they downplaying it? In general, rather than telling us these things, you would be better served showing them to us. I, personally, would love to see the exchange between the police officers and the woman written out as dialogue. I think that raw emotion would do wonders for your story. I'd also like to see the characterizations of Delilah and Mason played out in their body-language, maybe in the way they talk to each other. You could clear up a lot of the murkiness here if you just started with Delilah or Mason or the woman screaming about her missing daughter. Lead with action or dialogue because in the end, that's what the story's really about.

Of course, it's a great idea. Leading with something so emotional can really draw your reader in. I have no problem continuing on from here, which is the ultimate goal of a writer, isn't it?


Senior Member
I wouldn't have the skill to offer an in-depth critique now and I'd be lying if I said I knew all the terminology being thrown about but in my opinion the "hardworking mother of three" bit doesn't fit right.
If we're looking at this from Delilah's perspective the woman's name isn't being used so I'm guessing Delilah doesn't know it, I assume when someone is feeling sympathetic they're more apt to use someone's name instead of referring to them as "the woman".

So I would say either cut out the "hardworking mother of three" bit as though Delilah knows nothing of this woman personally or include the woman's name as though Delilah knows her in passing.

I enjoyed reading this "prelude" though and it would have me hooked at least!


Senior Member
I enjoyed reading it personally. The word prelude didn't for a second deter me from reading on, well done^^


Senior Member
It was a very well written. I was a little at a loss as to what was going on at the vary start but that could be due to me feeling half sleepy (I did notice somone else saying something about the start so maybe I'm on to something but they got is covered lol.) There was a dark tone throughout and it kept me wanting to know what will happen next. only thing i could see that need fixing was this bit: "Her voice was shrill, and high-pitched and desperate."
I say ditch the first "and" to make "Her voice was shrill, high-pitched and desperate" since correct me if I'm wrong the "," is used to help separate a sentence whilst at the same time string them together so in a silent way it is like saying and meaning you can keep from using "and" over and over in place of that until you get to the last part.

I'm not all good at grammar but i noticed that and i did not see anyone bring it up so maybe check with someone else first?

But again over all a smooth read.


Senior Member
Oh my gosh. I want to read this. Like, I need the rest of it. I want to know everything. Very, very good intro to a story. How's it going so far? Is this all you have written? Anyway. I don't. Really. Have anything bad to say, really? I just want to know more. I have lots of questions, but all that can easily be answered when you write on, so like. Very nice job.


Senior Member
I like this a lot! The inner thoughts of Delilah are very solid. However, the scene you are trying to paint needs more description. All I can see is a police barricade holding back a distraught mother, with one police cruiser, maybe two or three. You should work on painting the rest of the scene :).


Senior Member
Hey all! First off, I'm so pleasantly surprised at all the responses. Thank you so much!

To clarify the prelude, this immediately goes into chapter one, which goes back to a month earlier. Delilah is in class right near the end of the school year (college) and summer is about to begin. I go back to the prelude far later into the story. I haven't even written that part yet. I am about 160 pages into the story now.

The title is The Secret Lives of Posh Kids. I just felt the need to do the prelude because it sets up for a dramatic ending (or so I hope is a dramatic ending).

I will certainly try to show more rather than tell. That is something I've been told quite a bit in my writing critiques. I have that to absolutely work on. Thanks for bringing it to my attention again! I greatly appreciate it all!

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