Fifty yards away, a man wearing a white suit walked out into the middle of the road. “What the hell?” I asked, my glasses falling down my nose. I squinted, and leaned forward over the steering wheel. A glass bottle dangled from the guys hand. I tapped the brake. Then the man lifted the bottle and threw it at me. My eyes shot open. I swerved. “Oh my fu—” the bottle shattered the glass and passed by my face. The glass from the window cut through both cheeks, my forehead, and my bottom lip. Blood leaked from the cuts and trickled down my face. My mouth hung wide open. “Gaaaaa—” it stung so badly. I slammed the brake, my head flew forward and hit the wheel.
[This message has been edited by XD3V0NX (edited September 22, 2010).]
OK, first person POV. This means there are things that are restricted from view or else it feels wrong. Primarily, never describe something that you can't see - like your own face or around the corner or even a simple third party description of yourself. What you feel, fine, but not what is seen. (The caveat to that is seeing yourself in the mirror, but read OSC on that.)
The word glass was overused, glasses down the nose, glass bottle, shattered glass. Therefore you had to say "the glass from the window" in order to make it clear which glass. I suggest cut out all the ones earlier that this - the first two are unnecessary and the third one can be replaced by "window". Then you can simply state that the glass cut...
On the science involved, if the bottle didn't hit him, then the glass is unlikely to have much of an impact - it is safety glass in a car and shatters into small pieces that rarely have enough momentum to cut a small scratch, let alone cut through the skin. So this didn't sound right. Secondly, cuts rarely sting so quickly, especially in that situation. That is because your brain is concentrating on something else. After a couple of seconds, maybe, but not if you are in danger. Thirdly, your head can go forward when slamming on the brakes, but since you are in control, you also tense up enough to avoid hitting the wheel. People who hit the wheel do so because the car impacts something, taking the control out of their lap and therefore adding some reaction time prior to tensing. So, for me, these three things diffused a lot of the tension that had been created earlier (and well done for that original tension - it is the hook).
[This message has been edited by Brendan (edited September 22, 2010).]
Unless the man in the white suite is the Incredible Hulk with a pitching arm of a major league pitcher, he is not able to throw the bottle hard enough to punch through the windshield. So I have to figure that the man threw the bottle through the side window... except the man is in front of the car... I'm still trying to figure this one out.
Here are some nits: I don't think you need to specify the bottle in the mans hand is glass, unless that fact becomes important later. Plastic/ceramic/metal bottles all hurt when hit with them, and can be thrown through a (side) window. (Plastic might be more of a challenge) I see nothing to indicate why his glasses fell down his nose. My glasses stay where they are unless they are hit with something or I move my head violently (adverb, I know, I'm in a hurry). That whole paragraph just feels overdone with unneeded description. I don't want to rewrite your story for you, but I'm going to anyways. What the hell? I squinted and leaned forward trying to get a better view. That's when I noticed the bottle he carried.
I left out the quote marks on purpose and moved the dialog to the characters thought, which worked better for me.
The rest can be rewritten to address the issues noted above.
I don't know if it is important to the story that the bottle breaks the window, but could it be just as effective if the bottle shattered the windshield, making it impossible to see through? The character would still have to slam on the brakes or risk running into something since he wouldn't be able to see.
It's an interesting start, I do wonder why some guy is walking out into the road and throwing things at cars. My first thought is he is drunk, but I don't know.
I would read farther, just based on the opening, but the writing needs to be stronger or I would put it aside.
I disagree on the point that the glass couldn't cut him. And no, I don't think the guy woud have to be the Hulk to throw a bottle that could do some major damage. I watched an episode of Myth Busters a couple weeks ago where they tested the myth that a slushy thrown from the car window at 60 mph (a fairly common speed on a highway, even if it's a two lane highway in the middle of no where) would kill the driver. (A slushy won't, but something more substantial like a can of soda will, in case you are wondering.) Yes, it's safety glass, but it would still send pieces flying into the cab, and it could absolutely cut a person's face. I'd like to meet the person confident enough in safety glass that they are willing to sit in a moving vehicle and let me throw bottles at them. So...I don't think there is anything wrong with the science. Anyone that wants to see the epsiode can follow this link: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-soda-cup-killer/
Send the story to me Devon, I'd be happy to take a look.
I agree with you Brendon. I've had several car crashes that involved things crashing through my car's windshield and every time the window did shatter, but only tiny pieces hit me (mostly along my arms and forehead) but they were tiny scratches.
Nothing was able to penetrate the safety glass by more than a few inches, thank God. So I don't think a bottle would have enough oomph to make it through a windshield. Depending on the speed of the car, I can imagine a thin pipe or iron bar would be able to continue further but it would have to be hurled with a lot more strength than an arm.
No, I'm not a bad driver, just in the wrong places at the wrong times, thank you.
Just my two cents. PB
[This message has been edited by PB&Jenny (edited September 23, 2010).]
So, here is what I think: I thought about it, and I believe anything is possible. The car is going 60 miles per hour. Something heavy going toward the window (maybe the glass bottle isn't heavy enough) going about the same speed, maybe less, could deffinitely go through the window. Oh, and just so you all know, this is not just some ordinary guy walking down the road if you got the horror aspect (he isn't the incredible hulk, but I think a supernatural force WOULD be stronger). I usually include in my stories or books some sort of demon entity or supernatural force, so a demon with super strength, oh yea, you know it is going through the window. But.... I thought about something else recently. I might have it to where this guy throws a BRICK at the window instead. A brick could go through the window, especially if it is hurled with enough force, and, in the case that I have decided to write this story based on the Four Horseman of the Apocolpse--this guy being WAR--it would shatter the glass. In the four horseman of the apocolpse, I realize that WAR IS has a red horse, and in my next version I will end up changing his suit color to red, because in this version I realize that he is wearing a WHITE suit (I have a bit to change in this, though; I didn't realize I had a tie into something else until I finished, but yea). It would make sense, too, because in the bible, if I recall, it says something about WAR "casting the first stone", and if you get the hint, it's kind of like that when the brick is hurled at the window, and then out pops Famine, and then Pestalence, and finally Death.
Would you say that a brick could shatter the glass? How would the safety glass shatter, and would the pieces fly into the persons face fast enough to cut them? Oh, and I am pretty sure that if the small tiny pieces caught in someone's eyes, they would possibly go blind.
If you are dealing with a super-human entity, then of course you can have anything you want happen. If the guy is strong enough, then the car could be at a standstill and he could still through something through it, doesn't matter if it's a bottle or a brick.
I'm not sure if you were just using the car traveling at 60mph as an example in your post above, but I don't think that is a good speed to use. The car would be traveling 5280 feet per minute which is 88 feet per second. If the guy steps out onto the road 50 yards away (150 ft), the driver has 1.7 seconds to do everything you described in the scene. The man would also have to be in the act of throwing as he stepped into the street, unless he also is superhumanly fast.
Windshield safety glass is adhered with a laminate. So typically, when the glass shatters, the pieces don't go flying around, they stick to the laminate, and the whole thing stays together. Some pieces can break off if the impact is strong enough, but there wouldn't be very much.
The problem I had with this opening is that the man is not human, and there for doing things that no human could do. However, I (the reader) have no way of knowing this character is not human and therefor his actions are totally believable. I'm guessing that the main character also doesn't know that this character is not human, so it is reasonable that the reader doesn't know this also. So it's a dilemma. Since this is only the first 13, you could be making it clear in the next few lines that this character is doing things that normal humans would not be able to do, and this is fine. Like I said before, I would have kept reading.
And yes, if glass gets in a persons eye, it can tear up the cornea and leave permanent scarring, while not rendering the person blind, can leave them visually impaired.
You can send it to me after you're done with your revisions if you want.
That MythBusters video shows the soda cup and contents actually going through the windshield and plowing right into the crash-test dummy's chest with a killing force.
Edited to add: Of course, both cars are travelling 60 mph, so the result is a 120 mph impact, but if your superhuman could throw a bottle at 60 mph, the results would be the same if it hit anyone: probable death.
[This message has been edited by Corky (edited September 24, 2010).]