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The Loft of Doom! (1 Viewer)

Jamie

Senior Member
Hi everyone,

I've actually completed the first two chapters of my first novel now (aimed at ages 10+), but obviously they're not 'finished' as such, they'll need editing over and over again.

Anyway, I thought I'd put up the very first few paragraphs of chapter one - The Loft of Doom! - here just to get some feedback on how it flows, etc. and some fresh eyes. It's not much, but I don't like sticking too much on here anyway.

Let me know what you think.

Cheers.

PS - It never looks as good on here as it does in Word, all nicely laid out and indented, but there you go.


--------------------------------------------

Chapter One - The Loft Of Doom!


Felix stood on the landing, as still as a statue, staring at the door to the loft, trying hard not to panic. His blue eyes were fixed on the handle, as if he were about to somehow turn it using his mind alone. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest, and if the rain outside wasn’t pounding on the roof quite so hard he was sure he’d be able to actually hear it, too. A cold bead of sweat trickled down between his shoulder blades, causing him to fidget for the first time in the last few minutes.

He’d prepared himself as best he could; a cycling helmet, a large pair of protective plastic goggles he’d found in the garage, a pair of thick leather gloves, and his Dad’s tennis racquet, still in its cover. He’d also tucked his jeans in to his socks and his jumper in to his jeans. He realised this made him look a bit silly, but that didn’t matter right now. He was ready.

It was the summer holidays. Not that you’d know it from looking out of the window - it was pouring down. In a few days his family would be moving to a new house - not too far away, about twenty minutes in the car - and there was plenty of work to be done before the move. His brother, Dillon, had already helped pack away lots of things from downstairs, sealing them up in large cardboard boxes and putting them in to the back of the removal van. Being four years older than Felix meant he was much bigger and stronger and able to lift anything heavy; something that Felix, being quite small and skinny, would most certainly have struggled with. Nevertheless, he couldn’t help feeling that Dillon had it easy compared to him. Packing boxes wasn’t hard, even if the lifting part was, especially when you get to watch television or something at the same time. Instead, his job would be to help move some of the other boxes out of the dreaded loft. The ones which had been small enough to be pushed in to the corners, under the angle of the roof. The ones full of old junk that his Mum and Dad no longer really needed, but for some reason held on to, and were now making him fetch.

He was the only person in the family small enough to get in to the corners without banging their head all the time. When they were moving in, his Dad had banged his so many times that it had to be covered in bandages. After that, he’d sworn that if he ever had to go in there again he’d get little Felix to crawl in to the smaller areas instead. And now, unfortunately for Felix, that day had arrived. He’d been dreading it for weeks. Not because he was lazy or didn’t want to help, but because going in to the small corners of the loft meant one thing was absolutely guaranteed:

Spiders.

Felix hated spiders. He absolutely hated them. He didn’t like woodlice either, but they were nothing compared to spiders. He hated spiders. He knew they’d be in there, waiting for him, their eight eyes peering over the top of the boxes. One or two might even decide to run at him again, just like they did last time. They’d be bigger now, too. All the tiny bugs they’d eaten over the last couple of years would have made them twice the size they were before. Twice as terrifying. He shuddered at the thought of it. His Mum had always said that they were more afraid of him than he was of them, but he knew that was rubbish. If it was true then they had a funny way of showing it; crawling in to his trainers in the winter, coming up the plug hole when he wanted a bath. One even dropped in to his scruffy mop of black hair once while he was sat in bed drawing, frightening the life out of him and sending him running outside to the safety of the landing.

Oh yes, very scared of him.

He was usually pretty brave, too. Well, as brave as any eleven year old could be anyway. Once he even stood up to a couple of fourth year kids who were picking on his best friend, Benny Parker. He’d been rewarded with a fat lip and a bloody nose for his trouble, but he’d gained the admiration of his classmates for saving ‘Pencil Case Parker’ from the bullies. Benny had earned himself this rather unfortunate nickname having once tried to pick his nose with a pencil in art class, only for his chair to slip suddenly - flipping Benny forward and the pencil upward as his head collided with the desk. It got jammed up there so tight it took the doctors and nurses at the hospital two days to get it out. By the time Benny had come back to school his story had spread to each and every class. There wasn’t a single person who hadn’t heard about it, and the race to find the best possible nickname was already under way. Even Felix had to admit, as far as nicknames go, the winning entry was a pretty good one.

Given the choice right now, he’d prefer to open the door to the loft and find those two fourth year kids stood there, snarling at him, rather than the hundred dusty cobwebs and hairy, eight-legged monsters that surely awaited him instead. He’d take another punch on the nose over an afternoon with some spiders any day. The tennis racquet would make a good swatter though, he thought; he’d use that to bat them out of the way if he had to. The cycling helmet was essential, too; no more spiders dropping in the hair. He wasn’t sure what the goggles would be useful for, but he felt safer wearing them than not. His Dad wore them to protect his eyes whenever he was doing some welding in the garage. They were far too big for Felix though, he had to keep pushing them back up his nose every time they slipped down.

He made one last check that his jeans were sufficiently tucked in, tightened his grip on the racquet handle, and took his first step towards the door.
 

Nevermore

Senior Member
The style is very nice, and I like your overall writing very much. You portray Felix very well. However, some things, like,

Felix stood on the landing, as still as a statue, staring at the door to the loft, trying hard not to panic.

Are oddly phrased, with the excess use of comas instead of actual transition words. The manner of writing could be tied together better to help it flow more easily.
 

Jamie

Senior Member
Thank you.

I know there will be a few things like that which can be tightened up in an edit. I'll probably change it to:

Felix stood on the landing, as still as a statue, staring at the door to the loft. He was trying his very best not to panic.

...or something similar.
 

FrameOfDust

Senior Member
I really enjoyed this. The conern that I would like to address is a touch of wordiness (something I do as well) A couple examples are:

The ones full of old junk that his Mum and Dad no longer really needed, but for some reason held on to, and were now making him fetch

I would consider shaving it down but cutting out the last part, making it look like:

The ones full of old junk that his Mum and Dad no longer really needed, but for some reason held on to.

There were another couple of instance where some shaving could be done, but all it all it was very enjoyable. Lines such as:

He wasn’t sure what the goggles would be useful for, but he felt safer wearing them than not.

made me smile. I have a great mental picture of this 11 year old boy, dressed absurdly, heading into the jaws of hell itself (at least for him) who has no idea why he is doing the things he is doing. It's good stuff.
 

VagabondSam

Senior Member
Fine, well paced prose from my reading, but I would also warn against tautologies.

Also, the general wordiness which has been touched on

He could feel his heart thumping in his chest, and if the rain outside wasn’t pounding on the roof quite so hard he was sure he’d be able to actually hear it, too.

The phrase just is a bit overly complicated. Particularly the double negative that he can't hear his heart but might if it wasn't raining.

I would be a simpler sentence if the two main factors here, the thumping heart and pounding rain, weren't linked so directly. I think the use of the words Thumping and Pounding, both relate to the heart as well as loud rain make a subtle link quite well without haveing to spell it out.

not to mention that the more wordy a sentence is, the harder it might be for your intended demograph.

On a personal note I dislike describing things based on situation that are not occuring. Since it's raining, it doesn't matter if he could hear his heart beat on a quiet night. best to stick to describing what is happening.

It's funny that I think I did all that in a too wordy fasion myself :p

it's hard to be concise.
 

Duncan21

Senior Member
Living in America I had to translate a few words, but it was fun to read. What is the overall theme of this story? I highly doubt the spiders are the main enemy throughout...unless they kidnap him and take him to the spider kingdom to await trial for murder.
 

SamanthaMarie

Senior Member
I loved this story. It brought me back to my childhood, standing in front of the door that lead to an unfinished and very scary basement. Spiders were my big thing too. The description of what he was wearing to protect himself and how he was feeling were definitely spot on to what someone (uhum) might do. LOL
 

Cefor

WF Veterans
Haha, this was great - I didn't see anything that made me look twice. It flows quite well, and the story is perfectly dramatic enough for your target audience.

I also hate spiders, so the theme resonates wildly within me. If this is only the first part of the first chapter; as Duncan asked too, what is the main plot to your whole novel?

I think your style is quite similar to mine. The issue Nevermore suggested, with the commas, is something that I trip up on a lot - so I sympathise with you there... but as I said, it's great so far.

Post more!

Good luck with the rest of it too, keep writing!
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Hi Jamie,
just wandering in the area and I came across your offering. Liked it a lot.

I'd use a full colon rather than a semi when starting a list. Other than that I'd say you are better at spag than I am by a mile.
I liked the character and his 'voice.' The little scene was great to read.:salut:
 

J.Scarlett

Senior Member
the charactor is well written out. I'm liking this so far so I await the next chapter with anticapation.:rapture:
 

Jamie

Senior Member
Hi everyone,

Thank you all so much for the feedback and kind words. I've got so much more written but I don't want to put too much on here, and I also can't really give away too much of the plot. I've actually been so busy over the last few weeks that I've not had time to write any more of it and I am itching to get back to it as soon as I can.

It's great leaving it alone for a while though, as when you DO come back to it you notice so many things which could be better, and as soon as I get the chance I'll edit quite a bit of it.

I'm really pleased with the way it's going though, and the dialogue of one or two characters especially is great fun to write. I'll continue to post bits of different chapters here and there as soon as I can.

Thanks again.
 

dark_harou

Senior Member
I really enjoyed this, I think it flows quite well, and would probably appeal fairly well to the target audience. I'm looking forward to reading a little more of it in the future.
 

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