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Author Topic: Untitled, WIP
jayazman
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It's been a while since I've been around the forum so I will post my 13 then ask a question.

Killing a man is never pleasant, no matter what the movies show. Thomas held the man against the wall using his forearm against the manís throat and his knifeís handle protruding from the manís chest to keep him upright. Thomas flinched as flecks of pink spittle hit him right in the face as the man gasped his few remaining breaths. Thomas wished he could use a rifle and just kill them from several hundred yards away. He wouldnít have to see the faces that haunted him years later or smell their stink of blood, urine and feces. But he couldnít kill anonymously like that. His employers paid him to hear those dying words. So once again he endured the indignity of death to hear the words his employers valued so highly.
The old feelings of shame and loathing welled up in him

This was completely inspired by alliedfive's (also) untilted fantasy. Is this too close and be considered a ripoff?
(No insult to alliedfive intended, I thought the second version was great!)


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snapper
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How did this one slip through the cracks.

I'm sorry, Jayzaman. No one deserves to be ignored like that. Let's see what I can do.

Killing a man is never pleasant,

I like this opening. Been done before but I never tire of it.

no matter what the movies show.

Consider cutting. I think the first part of the sentence stands better without it.

Thomas held the man against the wall using his forearm against the manís throat [and] cut and start next sentence his knifeís handle [protruding] try 'protruded' from the manís chest to keep him upright.

Not a bad visual.

Thomas flinched as flecks of pink spittle hit him [right] cut in the face as the man gasped his few remaining breaths.

Not bad, I like it.

Thomas wished he could use a rifle and just kill them from several hundred yards away. He wouldnít have to see the faces that haunted him years later or smell their stink of blood, urine and feces. But he couldnít kill anonymously like that.

Nice way to show us your character. Killers can be complicated after all.

His employers paid him to hear those dying words. So once again he endured the indignity of death to hear the words his employers valued so highly.

Here is your hook. It is effective,


The old feelings of shame and loathing welled up in him

new paragraph but it makes me concerned. This looks like your going to info-dump us. We hate info-dumps.
Other than that, your first paragraph does the job. Nice work.


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C L Lynn
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Ooo, a gruesome opening, but I love the hook as well as this assassin's inner conflict. And I totally sympathize with the "no matter what the movies show" phrase. I find myself hurting for the anonymous mothers crying over dead bodies that Hollywood conveniently forgets to show. For that reason, the sentence struck me deeply. If there's some connection to movies or other superficial entertainment later in the story, *then* the phrase would be worth keeping.
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JenniferHicks
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I like coming into the middle of the action, and I want to know know why it's so important that he hear the dying words. I would definitely keep reading. My one suggestion is to cut the first sentence, which strikes me as way too obvious a thing to say, and start with the second one. I notice, however, that other respondants have said they like that first sentence. Ah, well, everyone has their own opinion.

[This message has been edited by JenniferHicks (edited December 08, 2008).]


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akeenedesign
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VERY intriguing opening - the first sentence is kind of cliche, and I think you're accidentally using it as a crutch, relying on IT to tell me that killing is unpleasant, instead of letting the character show me. It doesn't seem like the thought is coming directly out of Thomas' mind - it sounds like YOUR statement, followed up by a scene with a guy who also believes it.

But the listening to the dying words - it's a new concept for me, even if it has been done before; it feels original and fresh, and is REALLY intriguing! I'd definitely read more if it was a full story.


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Khalan
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I think Snapper is right about the first sentence - you can cut "no matter what the movies show" and make it stronger. Where I differ from him is that I would move it a little further in. I always come away feeling a little disjointed when I read a thought like that and then hit the action.

You should drop "Thomas" for "he" a little sooner, since Thomas is our POV. Getting his name over and over in the first few sentences is distracting. Consider giving the man a name or other identifier to swap with the pronoun "he" or "the man" if you need to make pronouns work. As a hired assassin, Thomas should know who his victim is.

"Thomas held the man against the wall using his forearm against the manís throat", for cleaner verb choice, consider "Thomas pinned the man to the wall with a forearm across the throat".

"But he couldnít kill anonymously like that." I don't think "anonymously" is quite the right word here. I think this is close to the right feel: "But his employers didn't want cold, sterile kills. They wanted to hear the last words of the dying, through Thomas's own ears."

I confess I don't get the concept of hearing the last words of the dying. I would expect a lot of people to just scream or gurgle. If there's some mystical power involved, now would be the time to share it. Also, does Thomas think of them as his "employers", or are they "clients", or is it an organization he works for, in which case he thinks of them as "the iluminati" or "the black hand of macros", whatever.

"So once again he endured the indignity of death." I think this is a case of the wrong word again. You've gone from him wishing he could kill in a sterile manner from a distance to talking about death up close in a sterile way.

"The old feelings of shame and loathing welled up in him." So, you've expressed Thomas's displeasure with the work a number of times, but you haven't given him (or us) a compelling reason to continue doing it. Without that, I have trouble suspending disbelief and getting into his shoes given all his grousing.


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