I'll be sending this out soon. Let me know if you would be interested in reading this, or a small partial... doesn't matter which. Also let me know if this opening hooks you, or what I can do to make it better, or anything else that comes to mind.
The snow served as a blanket over Martin’s naked feet as he crept through the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. He was reaching the cul-de-sac, and he’d already observed the see-through windows on a few houses, eyeing families enjoying hot cocoa, hugging, having a good time, and watching movies. He needed a place to stay this cold night, because he’d been fired two weeks ago from his temporary job, and he’d been kicked out of his apartment shortly after. It was then that he spotted a two story house at the dead end, black car in the driveway, and the curtains were parted enough to reveal a man in his fifties, sitting on a couch watching TV. The man had a mean sneer on his face. Looks like you’ll have to make do with what you got, eh, Martin? A voice in his head asked
From the start of the story, I thought the character was a young boy. I have no idea why, and it's probably contained to just me. But I was a bit jarred when I found out it wasn't. I really do think this is something specific to me, though, so certainly don't change it on my accord.
I'm a bit confused as to why Martin is making do with some lonely grumpy-looking man, when there are several happy families he could choose from. Obviously the character has a reason for this, but as of right now I'm not sure. I don't think this is a big deal, but I thought I'd mention it.
Another thing I'm not certain of is the back-story explanation in the first paragraph. While it's certainly good to know why Martin is looking for somewhere to stay, I almost wonder if I'd like it more if it were more of a mystery. Of course, this is another one of those personal things, so take it as you will!
I really don't have much to offer other than that. I apologize that all of my comments are fairly personal, and aren't very specific. Certainly don't change anything unless you also feel the same way.
If you want to send me a small piece of the story (I can't read it all right now, as it would be another way for me to avoid my own writing), feel free. I'd be more than happy to give you a critique on the first thousand words. (Though perhaps that wouldn't be very helpful).
For me, the "snow served as a blanket" image didn't work because he's walking - constantly lifting his feet out of the snow.
"See-through windows" seems redundant - if you can't see through it, it's not a window.
He has been fired, then kicked out of his apartment, just before Christmas... plausible. But why doesn't he have shoes? And is the fact it's Christmas Eve actually an integral part of the story, or is it simply done for extra pathos? I'm suspicious about such things.
Two storey house, not two story house.
The voice in his head - is he imagining this is the man speaking? - is the closest thing, really, to a hook here. The lack of hook plus the technical issues identified above mean I wouldn't read on.
I second everything tchern said except the "storey" part. According to my dictionary, story is how you spell it when referring to building levels.
So here we have a guy, homeless and shoeless on Christmas Eve, tromping through snow and peeping in windows ... strikes me as a bit cliche. That can work, but IMO, you need to set the scene very quickly and twist the cliche before you lose readers' interest. The voice in his head could work for the twist, but I think you should introduce it sooner.
Also, is it necessary to go into how he lost his job and his apartment in the first paragraph? That sentence slows things down, IMO. Your story is plenty long enough to go into the background later.
I went into this knowing a little bit more than other people did, so I knew from the get-go that Martin wasn't a child. I agree that you don't need the backstory so fast, but you can always put it in later! I like the visual of a guy walking around in the snow on Christmas Eve (but why do stories that take place around Christmas always have to be on my birthday?)
You know I'm happy to read this, so send it my way, but if this ends as sadly as Jealousy Kills ended, I'm going to make you mail me a box of Kleenex first. Lol.
You can tighten it up some. Don't need to know he lost his job.
quote:The snow served as a blanket over (? - a blanket keeps you warm - how about "The snow chilled ")Martin’s naked feet as he crept through the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. He was reaching the cul-de-sac, and he’d already observed the see-through windows on a few houses, eyeing families enjoying hot cocoa and watching movies. He needed a place to stay.
The only hook for me right now is I'm wondering if he's about to do something to the man with the mean sneer. I thought he was just looking for an empty house, but that last bit made Martin go from unfortunate victim to potential home invader / killer / kidnapper.
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I have to say that I didn't get a lot of hook here. I agree with the query as to why he wouldn't choose a happy, family-filled home. Also, why no shoes? And why isn't he at a homeless shelter where they coul help him?
Mentioning the windows as 'see-through' made me think he was an alien that was new to this world but then he knew about Christmas stuff so that didn't make sense.
Have you considered getting us in tighter. Tell us how his feet feel, what he's yearning/feeling etc. This is one of those cases where showing may garner more sympathy than telling. The desire to create sympathy here, as it is, feels forced.