I am having trouble with this one. I am not sure if I am just starting off bad or what. So I would like to hear your thoughts on the first 13. Let me know what you think of it, but also what you might think the story is about.
The hardest part was watching everyone I know die while knowing full well I would survive. Many people who may have survived killed themselves. Some didnít want to suffer and thought they would die anyway. Others worried about how they would survive once so many people were dead. But most couldnít bear the thought of life without their loved ones. I wasnít worried. I had no reason to be. There was no big secret to surviving the illness. There was no luck to it. I am hardly a lucky guy. I do not have special DNA that saved me. I just avoided antibiotics. Well, until I really needed them.
Let me see if I have this correctly. There is a plague of some kind (very nebulous about this) and heavy antibiotic use is what kills people. I don't know who the main character is (male/female, name, anything). I think I have a set-up, but I don't have a conflict. We already know the key to surviving so the plague is back story. The character isn't doing anything either. He (or she) is sitting around watching people die and (s)he's not worried.
This feels pretty fragmented. Not like a tale. More like fact dissemination. Like a voice-over at the beginning of a movie, but then you see something which gives the words meaning.
Plus, he seemed cocky to me in light of everyone dying. Also, people killed themselves because they couldn't bear the thought of life without their loved ones? Seems cliche. And, did he interview them first? Is this his vast experience from outliving people? I ask because that alone could be a 10k story. You've glossed over it in a few sentences.
Others worried about how they would survive once so many people were dead. - Again, here's another complete story. Does society break down? No more TV, supermarkets... Check out Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. She has several BOOKS about your sentence.
With such broad strokes, it's hard to get a feel for what's going to happen next. (and why I should care.) Or even where he is, what's going on. You could throw in some broad strokes later on, but it's best to zoom in and try to stay as zoomed in as you can.
Look at the first 10 or so lines from The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
quote:When he woke in the woods in the dark and cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond dark-ness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none.
This could be your character. Right? I'd rather you start here. Don't factoid your world, breathe in it.
I don't know what it's about other than plague like Legend. Only you've decided to let us live through the decline. Albeit briefly (so far). The MC is special somehow, even tho he says he's not. He's special because he's confident, but I found Will Smith's character VERY interesting because he was special, didn't know why, and was trying very hard to cure the world. (forget why, we don't know right away.)
First thought, the word "survive" in various forms pops up a lot. Might try to find some synonyms or other phraseologies to express the idea.
quote:Many people who may have survived killed themselves.
The "may have" is a possibility, the "killed themselves" is a definite and thus creates a dissonance. I'd just say that many who survived killed themselves.
My assumption would be it has something to do with a plague brought about by our overuse of antibiotics, but I'm not a big one for trying to figure stories out by the begining.
I basically like it. It has a good voice overall, save for the distracting reccurence of "survive" especially in the first paragraph, and stories of the type this seems to be do seem pretty "in" just now.
The very first sentence served as a good hook for me. But, because it establishes the readerís attention on the POV character, the other four sentences in the opening paragraph come across as disruptive and counterproductive because their insistency of discussing the reasonings of others are attempting to establish the exact opposite. Iím not suggesting you ditch these sentences altogether, but perhaps relocate them to later in the first scene, to a point AFTER youíve established more of the conflict and why the POV character is in this situation.
I like your character. He's confident, I have some sense about him. He's the kind of guy who could end up with a cult following.
The lines read like a "preview" more than like the beginning of a novel. Is this a prologue or a snippet from later on that you put at the beginning, or is it really the beginning?
The first paragraph could be worded a little better, but I like what you're trying to do with the parallel structure. It makes your character seem epic. I'm wondering if this might be your problem? That is to say, sometimes it's easy to get attached to how pretty something sounds or could sound instead of focusing on telling the story. So that's my biggest piece of advice. These are an interesting 13 lines, but they don't seem like the start of a novel.
Lastly, love the idea of this!!!! I've always thought that the misuse of antibiotics was going to kill us
Edit: Is this a story or a novel? You said 100k but it's in the short works section. I'm new to these forums, so sorry if I've missed something!
[This message has been edited by MarinaLee (edited August 19, 2011).]
Yea, it is 1000 words so far. I am really not happy with most of it. And the crits here are exactly why. This story started with me feeling a little sick and then thinking about our current over use of antibiotics. And the idea that more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics as a result of this over use. So I started to think, what if there was a bacteria in all of us that was normally dormant and non-harful but over generation it is learning to adapt to our medications and then becomes harmful.
Well then the first line popped in my head. Usually that leads to a good start for me, but this one stalled out. I think I will have to rework it for it to come out right. Or maybe even scrap it and start over.
I actually have another WIP that stalled that was of a similar nature. I think I will read that one, maybe a merger is in order. Thanks for all your impute.
Changing "everyone I know" to a person's name will do wonders and make it more individual and personal.
The next sentences of the 1st paragraph felt like A+B=C abd C-B=A (wordy conjecture). I would cut it here, but keep them in mind. "Many people who may have survived killed themselves." could be brought out that the illness is too painful or disfiguring disease - meaning a reason why potential survivors may want to kill themselves.
Axeminister brought some of the points I was going to say, but he said it first with quotes. Basically, breath life into your dying world with personalization.
[This message has been edited by telflonmail (edited August 21, 2011).]