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Author Topic: End Path (first 13)
NicerSimon
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Here is the first part of a novel I am writing. Only have about 2 pages typed, still working on the world it takes place in. I am not sure if the punctuation is all right, so I ask your pardon in advance. I am really looking for help with the idea and wording. Is it a good hook? Grammar help is also greatly appreciated. I am horrible with commas and compound sentences. So here goes.

Simon sat on his front porch watching the sunrise, a cup of hot coffee in his hands. Simon had lived in this same house his entire life, watching the sunrises and drinking his coffee for as long as he could remember. He had never thought of moving, he had never wanted to. His house sat on the edge of the world. His sunrises came up over the black mists of the void that existed beyond, the days first light playing across the dark expanse in spectacular fashion every morning for him, and for him alone. No one else lived near the edge, no one wanted to and rightly so, but Simon enjoyed the solitude and he would never find better views or better sunrises any where. Besides he had a job to do. An important job, he reminded himself, as he heard footsteps coming up the path to his house.

I really appreciate criticism so don't hold back. I can take it (I think)


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Bent Tree
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Overall this is pretty good.

quote:
Simon sat on his front porch watching the sunrise, a cup of hot coffee in his hands

Be concise.

Simon sat on his front porch, sipping hot coffee, and watching the sunrise.

quote:
watching the sunrises and drinking his coffee for as long as he could remember

Repetitive.

quote:
He had never thought of moving, he had never wanted to

This could be said simply, The thought of moving never occured to him.

Just working on making each idea concise here would help this shine.


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NicerSimon
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Thank you! How's this:

Simon sat on his front porch, drinking coffee and watching the sunrise. Simon had lived in this same house his entire life, drinking coffee as the sun rose every morning for as long as he could remember; but he had never once thought of moving. Why would he? His house sat on the edge of the world. His sunrises came up over the black mists of the void that existed beyond, the days first light playing across the dark expanse in spectacular fashion every morning for him, and for him alone. No one else lived near the edge, no one wanted to and rightly so, but Simon enjoyed the solitude and he would never find better views or better sunrises any where. Besides he had a job to do. An important job, he reminded himself, as he heard footsteps coming up the path to his house.


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Rhaythe
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quote:
His sunrises came up over the black mists of the void that existed beyond, the days first light playing across the dark expanse in spectacular fashion every morning for him, and for him alone.

I see where this sentance is going, but I had to read it twice to catch it. Might want to break them apart at the first comma.

quote:
No one else lived near the edge, no one wanted to and rightly so, but Simon enjoyed the solitude and he would never find better views or better sunrises any where.

Same here. The comma is not a toy. Maybe instead, No one else lived near the edge; no one wanted to, and rightly so. Still, Simon enjoyed the solitude...

quote:
Besides he had a job to do.

I wouldn't start a sentance with "besides", but that's personal preference. There are better words to use. "Besides" and "because" to me sounds like you're defending yourself in an argument. Just a thought, and as I said, personal preference.

A nice intro to a clearly-defined scene. Keep going!


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NicerSimon
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Thanks. Yeah, I have problems with commas. They have problems with me. I am actually happy that you picked up on the argument part. That's kind of the feel I am going for. Part of the "mystery" as OSC terms it, is that Simon isn't really convinced that he should still be there doing what he is doing. The intro is sort of a pep talk he has to go through every morning to convince himself he should stay. The story is about him having this tenious belief brought into serious doubt and his need to discover the real reasons why he does what he does. This is all made more apparent within the first page of the book.

I am really liking the help with this. Lets try:

Simon sat on his front porch, drinking coffee and watching the sunrise. Simon had lived in this same house his entire life, drinking coffee as the sun rose every morning for as long as he could remember; but he had never once thought of moving. Why would he? His house sat on the edge of the world. His sunrises came up over the black mists of the void that existed beyond. Each morning the days first light played across the dark expanse in spectacular fashion for him, and for him alone. No one else lived near the edge, no one wanted to and rightly so. Still, Simon enjoyed the solitude and he would never find better views or better sunrises any where. Besides, he had a job to do. An important job, he reminded himself, as he heard footsteps coming up the path to his house.


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Bent Tree
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The second post has a much better feel. The repetitions seem to add to the characterization of the POV character now. I feel his quarkiness and no longer feel the style is clumsy.
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KoDe Nichols
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______________________________________________________________
Simon sat on his front porch, drinking coffee and watching the sunrise.
Simon had lived in this same house his entire life, drinking coffee as the sun rose every morning for as long as he could remember;
_______________________________________________________________
I think this could be chopped down considerably to make a more precise, single sentence.
Also I find that sometimes the more definitive the adjectives the better, ie the coffee,

The sun rose and Simon watched, sipping his black Arabica coffee, as he had done every morning from the same porch for as long as he could remember.

You say "Simon isn't really convinced that he should still be there doing what he is doing"
Then why has he never thought of moving? I think that if he has that argument every morning then he would have to think of moving. If its a false universal from his perspective then perhaps put it as a future thing, instead of saying he had never once thought of moving say "He would never move. Why would he?"

I also think you should remove the "still" the previous arguments are in the "pro" category, the word "still" is like a "but". It doesnt fit. maybe if you where to reword the being alone parts as more of a negative thing, or indicate that sometimes he longed for more human company, a neighbour to borrow sugar from, then the "still" indicate a positive spin that he puts on the loneliness to convince himself to stay.

I think the job he has to do is a hook, it got my interest. What could this job be?
But I think that the line about hearing footsteps just is not enough information to keep interest. I read it and even when I read about the footsteps I'm still thinking of the job. End off with either a little more info on the job, or a neutral statement/action. like putting his coffee down, or stretching or something that won't detract or distract from the hook you've established.


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NicerSimon
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Thanks! I am really enjoying this. Every one has been so helpful. So here goes:

Simon sat on his front porch, coffee in hand, and watched as the sun rose over the horizon. Simon had lived in this house his entire life, following this same morning routine for as long as he could remember. He had considered moving, but never seriously. Why should he? His house sat on the edge of the world. His sunrises came up over the black void that existed beyond it's edge. Each morning the suns first light played across the dark expanse in spectacular fashion for him and him alone. No one else would dare live near the edge. Simon didnít always enjoy the solitude his isolated home brought but he knew he would never find better sunrises anywhere. Besides, he had a job to do. An important job. Simon took another sip of hot coffee and waited for the first visitor of the day.

Thanks again everyone for all of your help. I feel like I am getting a really good opening paragraph from all of this.

[This message has been edited by NicerSimon (edited April 08, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by NicerSimon (edited April 08, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by NicerSimon (edited April 08, 2008).]


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Bent Tree
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I'll have to part with the last poster. I felt the second post was better.

The repetition of sipping coffee, watching sunrises, seems to show us about the simple but interesting character here.


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Doctor
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That's pretty good. Real smooth prose, I like it. My only tweak, were I the author, would be to change "...in spectacular fashion every morning for him, and for him alone" to "...in spectacular fashion for him and him alone." I think the additional "for" feels redundant.
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NicerSimon
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Okay so I think I will make this my last rewrite for the day. Thanks everyone for all of your help this has been awesome.

Simon sat on his front porch, coffee in hand, and watched as the sun rose over the horizon. Simon had lived in this house his entire life, following the same morning routine for as long as he could remember. He had considered moving, but never seriously. Why should he? His house sat on the edge of the world. His sunrises came up over the black void that existed beyond its edge. Each morning the suns first light played across the dark expanse in spectacular fashion for him and him alone. No one else would dare live so close to the edge. Simon didnít always enjoy the solitude his isolated home brought but he knew he would never find better sunrises anywhere. Besides, he had a job to do; an important job. Simon took another sip of hot coffee and waited for the first visitor of the day.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Now, get going on the rest of the chapter and finish it, so you can send the whole chapter to some of these nice people, and they can give you feed back on it.

We don't have the 13 line thing here so you can spend all of your time just on the beginning.


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NicerSimon
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Way ahead of you, thanks Kathleen! Once I have it done I will let anyone who is interested know, hope someone wants to read it.

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bandgeek9723
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I'll be glad to take a look at it when you're ready.
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smncameron
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Hello other Simon, who is, I'm sure, much nicer then me.


Simon sat on his front porch watching the sunrise, a cup of hot coffee in his hands.

I disagree with Bent Tree. It's better to be concise then convoluted, but the objective is not to jam information down the reader's throat as fast as possible. Your sentence had a nice rythem that you lost when you shortened it. I'd keep it this way.


Simon had lived in this same house his entire life, watching the sunrises and drinking his coffee for as long as he could remember. He had never thought of moving, he had never wanted to. His house sat on the edge of the world. His sunrises came up over the black mists of the void that existed beyond, the days first light playing across the dark expanse in spectacular fashion every morning for him, and for him alone. No one else lived near the edge, no one wanted to and rightly so, but Simon enjoyed the solitude and he would never find better views or better sunrises any where. Besides he had a job to do. An important job, he reminded himself, as he heard footsteps coming up the path to his house.


I really like this version. The rythem reinforces the scene I'm imagining. It's not hurried but it's deliberate. I'd keep it just the way it is. If you want to send it along I'd be happy to read it, and not just because the character's name is Simon.


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NicerSimon
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Thank you to both Bandgeek and the other Simon. For clarification the nickname refers to being nicer than a very famous Simon of a very famous singing competition to whom I am very often compared.

I am almost done rewriting the first chapter and hope to have something for you guys in the next few days.

Thank you so much for your interest!


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I happen to appreciate Simon Cowell and those like him to try to help people by being honest with them.

By the way, an earlier definition of the word "nice" was more along the lines of "discriminating" and had the connotation of "picky" and "hard to please." (How's that for irony?)


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Merlion-Emrys
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The others have pretty much already pointed out anything I would have said, but I would just like to chime in and say that I like the piece very much. The idea and the style.

Also, I'd like to reinforce what smncameron said. I think a lot of the strength of this is in rythem and style...I would be sure not to sacrifice that.


For me, the style of it, and the bit about the end/edge of the world would be more than enough to keep me reading...but then, I like that sort of thing.


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SimonSays
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Hi Nicersimon,
I happened upon your post a bit late, but, being a Simon myself, I couldn't resist replying to it. (I too frequently experience punctuation problems--She,it happens) (pun problems too)
Like the afore mentioned Simon, I don't usually sugarcoat my responses. (although I do qualify them) On the plus side (I feel) you get an honest detailed response to both your story and your writing. (I hope you find this helpful,and not too painful)
O.K., are you ready? You asked for it. (Tighten up your stomach muscles, I won't be pulling any punches here)

1.) The Title: End Path

Good title. (Short and to the point)
However, I have no clue as to what genre this is. If it is not included in the front of your post, then I need to guess it from the title and/or the story itself. Is this fantasy? Science fiction? Horror? If the latter, I would prefer a bit more tension/suspense in the title and the story.

2.) The Tag: Simon

Good tag. (right up front-- 1st word) (short and easy to remember-- even if my name wasn't the same)
I could do with fewer Simon tags though. He, like said, tends to be invisible,and an easier/faster read. One, or perhaps two Simons at the begining, would probably be enough.

3.) The P.O.V.:

Distant, writerly, as O.S.C. might say.(I don't see a
distinct interesting character here)
Sunrise is generic. (unspecific) Sunrises even more so. I want to see this spectacular sunrise of his in full color. I want to feel the morning cold, taste the coffee, and hear the footsteps... all through Simon's p.o.v., not the author's.

4.) The Story:

I like where you started your story. (Simon relaxing on the edge) (Nice contrast)
I don't like that I don't know what kind of story you're promissing here. Are there monsters? Aliens? magical things?
Even if you don't show any fantastical elements yet, you can foreshadow them.

5.) The Tone:

Weak, slow, repetitive... a bit boring. (for me)
I felt little to no tension/suspense. While I liked the hook (the void /edge of the world) , I felt no great urge to bite.
(maybe it's just me?)

6.) The Writing:

This sounded (to me) a lot like the first draft of a prologue; the level of description is pretty low, and a lot of facts appear listed. (infodump?) For example; "His house... ","His Sunrises... ",Simon(this),Simon(that).
I know this is the beginning of a novel (and can start slower than a short story) ,but I think this could be condensed a lot. For example; at least some of the hook could be incorporated into the first (or second) sentence. (I.e.,Simon watching the sun rise over the void/edge)
The front porch? The front of his house faces the void? Who builds a house facing the edge of a cliff? Or is the void somehow eating away at the land? Where is the path the visitors approach by,if the front faces the edge? How can he hear them? Is the path Grass? Dirt? Stone? (details,details) (images are made of them)
Sipping seems a better word choice (to me) than drinking; it's more specific,reinforces the feeling of the coffee being hot,and implies duration/repetition. (something I think you were shooting for in this opening)
" ...that existed... " seems unnecessary. (redundant) (unless you're implying that the void is somehow alive)

Christopher Moore,one of my favorite light horror authors,starts off with a sunset in his novel; Bloodsucking Fiends: a love story.

Here's his take:

Sundown painted purple across the great pyramid while the Emperor enjoyed a steaming whiz against the dumpster in the alley below.

Here's a take on yours: (genre: fantasy/horror}

Dead End

Simon sat on his back porch, reclining in his favorite wooden chair. His shotgun rested across his legs, while he sipped a steaming hot coffee, and watched the glorious sun rise crimson-orange over the dead black mists of the void beyond.
I love living on the edge. I never felt fully alive until I came here-- just one step away from death.
Others fear living here-- on the edge of the world... "Chicken****s."
Someone needs to keep watch. Might as well be someone with a stomach for it. The sunrises are reward enough. That... and the silence and solitude.
Footsteps sounded off the gravel path beside the house. Simon slowly set his coffee down, but held on to the shotgun... "Visitors."

Nicersimon, I hope you found this useful.
[note: The above (edit/rewrite) is there solely as an example to help clarify the points I made, that's all.]
Nicersimon, I wouldn't mind reading more. If you want to, send what you've got my way.

quote:
Writing is like playing poker; minimizing one's tells makes for a great show.

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 06, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 06, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 06, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 06, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 06, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 06, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 13, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited June 01, 2008).]


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Dmfitzgerald
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It seems too wordy....but then it is a first draft. I like the information on the "edge of the world."

It seems like your waiting for somthing. I would like to see it move a bit further along.


David


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SimonSays
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Hi Nicersimon,
Its been over three weeks and not a peeps... so I decided to crit your last entry;

quote:
Simon didnít always enjoy the solitude ... his isolated... and waited for the first visitor of the day.

These contradict each other. "... first visitor of the day" implies that he gets more than one vistor daily. That does not speak of isolation and solitude to me.
I still don't know the genre for this story.
Craig, If you're not interested in me critting more of your stuff, please let me know. Thanks.
Steve

[This message has been edited by SimonSays (edited May 31, 2008).]


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