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Author Topic: No title yet. 1st 13
Jed Anderson
Member # 9863

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My hands still shook. The blood, now dried and brown, flaked off as I rubbed my palms fiercely together. I needed to remove the reminder of what I had done. What I'd done had been necessary, though.

The sirens in the distance weren't for me. They weren't for anyone at this point.

A house burning could be smelled as the smoke was carried through the open windows. Who knows how or why that one was started. Someone probably set their home on fire for the same reason I planned on doing it to mine.

To hide what I'd done. To forget, to burn the memory away.

I looked towards the kitchen where the body of my wife lay. Somewhere down the street, our eight year old daughter, with

[ February 21, 2015, 10:25 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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It's a shame because probably the more compelling part of this opening will be cut because this is more than 13 lines. But before it is, I'd suggest to start here:

Somewhere down the street, our eight year old daughter, with three other children, covered in blood and chewing on the carcass of dog.
Overall, though, the writing feels melodramatic, and like it's trying too hard to be a hook. As I read the lines, I felt that I didn't care about any of what the narrator was going through because it feels unrealistic. A caricature of drama or tragedy.

I'm reminded somewhat of the Boston Bombers, in which one of the first texts the younger brother sent after the explosion was a party he was looking forward to going to. So I suggest trying to find a more realistic way of conveying whatever emotion your main narrator is going through after this terrible(?) deed he's done.

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A man reflects on a horrific event.

If this scene were a summary after a causal action event's portrayal, this fragment could be timely and work for me. Scene and summary or scene and sequela in sequence, a conventional organization method, portrays a causal event then a reflexive thought reaction for dramatic effect.

Jack M. Bickham's, notably, writer of The Apple Dumpling Gang, his aesthetics text, Scene and Structure, its topic is that above.

This start, to me, shuffles scene and summary together less than ideally appealingly. Another stronger and clearer method for consideration is merging the causal scene with in-the-moment reflection during the unfolding scene as it happens. The way the start is summarizes and explains a past event.

Adjective strings conventionally are hyphenated: //eight-year-old daughter//, etc.

This is an incomplete sentence and not a particularly artful sentence fragment: "Somewhere down the street, our eight year old daughter, with three other children, covered in blood and chewing on the carcass of dog."

Prose sentence fragments are conventionally brief interjections -- the grammatical part of speech interjection -- with strong emotional charge. The sentence fragment could benefit from a few adjustments so the main idea is emphasized and not left dangling at the end. The participle verb is a dangling participle, though, unusually, at the sentence end. For illustration:

//Somewhere down the street, our eight-year-old daughter and three other children, covered by blood, chewed on the carcass of a dog.//

One promising and intriguing motif of this start stands out to me; that is, another person, or others perhaps, implied, committed an act similar to this agonist's. The implication is an outside agency is at work and I'm deeply curious what that agency is. That is a masterful dramatic complication development for its implied nature, a mystery puzzle to be solved or satisfied, and perhaps the action that carries the story. For that reason, if the start and the sequencing organization were causally logically structured, the implication the action of the narrative, and accessible for the structured organization, I'd read on.

[ February 21, 2015, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Bent Tree
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I feel that this might be the wrong starting point. The first half worked. I liked the pace and voice and tension, but the exposition in the second half buried it for me.
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Grumpy old guy
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This works for me, sort of, and I would continue reading. My main issue is that the narrative distance feels like it is fluctuating; sometimes close and immediate, sometimes a little more distant.

I'd delete this sentence: To hide what I'd done. To forget, to burn the memory away.

Also, as extrinsic says, the sentence about chewing on a dog feels half-formed and incomplete.


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New Member
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I would move the part about necessary wife killing to after the wife being on the floor.
The part about the sirens comes off as unnecessary and how does he know that it's not for him?
He can't know about why the other fire started, unless he is a part of a husband-killing wife conspiracy.

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