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Author Topic: Alpha (Dark Fantasy/Urban Fantasy) 7k
InarticulateBabbler
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It's been a while since I've posted.

You can tear this apart, stomp on it, wipe your bottoms or do whatever you like to it. All feedback is good. But, my main interest is to see who would read on.

Thanks in advance.

Alpha:

quote:

I smelled it even before the elevator came to a stop. Not the fear emanating from the hunched, hundred-year-old lady next to me, whose heart pounded in my ears like a ticking boiler, but the stomach-churning scent of body fluids and sweat coming from halfway down the hall of the next floor.

The old lady clutched a large bag to her chest, which was as dingy as the time-dulled wallpaper and scarred wainscoting surrounding us. She shuffled a step closer to the doors and looked over her shoulder at me with aquarium-thick glasses.

I swallowed a growl, and flashed the old lady a smile. She turned her face to the brushed metal doors. Oh well. Can't say I didn't try.



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LDWriter2
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Don't have time to say much but I would read on even though I think it could use some tweaking.


But I wouldn't use it to wipe my bottom... way too gross of an idea and on top of it it's unnecessary. It's not that bad.


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axeminister
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IB, get ready for Axeminister's opinion laden nit post.

I would read on, but not because I'm hooked by knowing what's going on or what may be coming. I'm hooked by the interesting juxtaposition of characters. I don't know if the old lady is important to the rest of the story, but I can make that assumption based on her presence in the 13. However, since she's simply waiting in front of an elevator, maybe not?

Now the opinions, comin at ya like a tidal wave. (No rewriting, promise, just suggestions.)

-I smelled it- Since I have no idea what "it" is I'm already either lost or disinterested. Don't tease me this early in the story. Tell me what it is. That will hook me more than "it" does. Your descriptions here are great, hit me.

Hunched, hundred and heart felt alliterous to me. How about -ancient- instead of hundred year old. This also helps POV, and creates character through opinion, instead of merely stating a fact. (possibly incorrectly)

The second sentence takes so long to complete that I forgot what he/she was referring to. Seriously. But if you take my first suggestion, that will eliminate the long sentence problem. If not, maybe lead with what he does smell, or wants to smell, or what it means to him.

Stomach-churning scent. Is he headed toward it? Is that why he's waiting for the elevator? Need motivation instead of facts. Or at least in context in relation to the character. You mentioned the scent and described it this way for a reason. Why?

2nd paragraph. -the old lady- Since you've used the term "old lady" already, this is an echo. How about the word crone. It's one word instead of two and again gives us his opinion of the old bag.

aquarium-thick. Good stuff. This is also part of why I will keep reading. Part humor, part great description.

-I swallowed a growl- literally? Is this person a were wolf? I will read on to find out.

You say old lady a third time here. Hag is a good word too. Then again, he may like old ladies and my semi-negative word choices above may be way off, but the use of one word descriptors goes a lot further than two word facts.

Axe


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pdblake
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I'd read on. You've set a mysterious mood. I get the impression of a 1920s detective mystery, with a twist perhaps.

The only thing that caught me was "..., which was as dingy as..... " I thing the "which was" is probably redundant here. Apart from that the description drew me into the characters pretty well.


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tchernabyelo
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Why be coy about "body fluids" when you explicitly mention sweat (which is a body fluid itself).

There are two other body fluids that immediately spring to mind so why not let us know whether the MC smells blood, urine, or both?

Other than that... I'm not particularly hooked, yet, but I'll probably at least read on until the lift doors open. Not convinced that this opening is a "moment of change" yet.


Oh, and the title may need amendment, gievn the new series on SyFy.


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InarticulateBabbler
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1st off, thanks for the quick responses.

Tchern, you're missing a major odorous body fluid. As for the title: as usual, a paying editor can change that if he or she wants--no problem.

pdblake, it is not a hard-boiled detective story, but I wanted that voice. I do believe there is a twist or two, though.

Axe, MOST of your questions are answered within the next page or two. Maybe even more than what you asked.

LDW, Thanks.

I'd love to hear what any of you think once you've read the entirety. Any takers?

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited July 14, 2011).]


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pdblake
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Send me a copy. I'll take a look over the weekend if you like.
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History
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Hi, fellow Mid-Coast Mainer.
Glad you're back.
I have nothing to add to Axe's excellent critique.
I also love the excellent concise and vivid description of the scene and characters in these mere 13 lines. I'd read on.

I will only say I would hope the MC is not a werewolf or vampire (or zombie) simply because I am a bit numb by the saturation of the market with these particular beasties.
But this a merely a personal pet peeve.
There still seems to be a demand fo such tales.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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InarticulateBabbler
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Thanks, pdblake. It's been sent.

Dr. Bob, I understand your feelings about the flood of werewolf and vampire stories. This is a werewolf story, BUT hopefully it is different enough on the plot level and with the couple of twists that it's not cliche. I promise no sparkles or shirtless teen models.


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LDWriter2
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I thought this was a werewolf, it seemed like day time and just his reactions said, "wolf" to me.


There are a lot of such stories but at the same time I don't usually read them. So I think I would still give this one a try... it could be different as evidently it is.



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InarticulateBabbler
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Sent. Thanks.
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pdblake
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Read and sent back
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WakefieldMahon
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I'm quite interested in reading on. I agree about the both the nits and the positive highlights although I don't mind alliterative phrases. Send a copy my way and I would be glad to offer a more in depth critique.
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InarticulateBabbler
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Sent. Much appreciated.
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WakefieldMahon
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Great story! Edits/Comments sent.
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Crystal Stevens
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Sorry I'm getting in late on this one.

I really liked what I read but not sure if I'm perceiving what I think I am from what I read. Are we inside or outside the elevator? Maybe I missed something, but it reads like it could be either. I definitely feel the POV is canine. My first thought was a dog then a wolf. If this is so, would a dog/wolf have a perception of time? Mainly the "100 year old woman" part. Seems to me that "ancient" or "aged" would work better.

I'll tell ya what, IB. I'll read yours if you'll read mine? Whaddaya think?


Okay, I went back and reread it. They're waiting outside the elevator, right?

[This message has been edited by Crystal Stevens (edited July 20, 2011).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Sure, I'll trade. I have one outstanding critique ahead of you, so there's a condition that there's no rush.
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LDWriter2
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BTW, I've read your whole story... not quite what I thought from that opening but that's okay. I'll get you a full crit by Monday. Sorry, it's taking me so long. But doing other crits also.
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