Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » "Post Apocalyptic" Novel.

   
Author Topic: "Post Apocalyptic" Novel.
Gan
Member
Member # 8405

 - posted      Profile for Gan   Email Gan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey guys. I basically woke up writing this story in my head. Unable to sleep, I wrote it all down, and here we are with a hopefully decent beginning. Let me know what you think.

I'm looking for readers for the first chapter. It stands at ~1700 words. I don't need it done right away, as I still have some editing to do. If you think you might be interested, let me know. I've put a brief overview down below the first 13. But don't read it before reading the passage. I want to know any information you got was from the first 13, and not the summary.

quote:
V.2.
The city was dead. That much John knew.
He pressed the gas pedal harder; the black suburban tore over the freeway asphalt at well-past the speed limit. Rubbing his right hand to his forehead, he whispered a curse. I need to get out of here. The brights of the car shone over a figure on the road. John slammed on the brakes, and reached to the passenger's seat for his father's old revolver. He knew the ghouls stuck to the populated areas, moving from city to city like a plague. His muscles tensed. It didnít hurt to be cautious.


quote:
V.1.
The city was dead. That much John knew.
He pressed the gas pedal harder; the car, a black suburban, glided over the freeway asphalt at well-past the seventy mile-per-hour speed limit. Rubbing his right hand to his forehead, he whispered a curse. I need to get out of here. The brights of the car--thick blue halogen lights--shone over a figure on the road. John slammed on the brakes, and reached to the passenger's seat for his father's old revolver. His muscles tensed. He knew the ghouls stuck to the populated areas, moving from city to city like a plague. But it didnít hurt to be cautious.

Some basic information about the plot. This story takes place just a couple of years after the "apocalypse". (I hate saying its an apocalypse, because obviously if it really was an apocalypse, no one would be around)
John has been traveling the country, learning everything he can about the newly forming wastelands. There are societies established already, but John refuses to join one.
The main conflict here in the first chapter, is his run in with 'ghouls'. If you've ever played the fallout series, they're very similar to those ghouls.

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]


Posts: 260 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry, but I only had time for a very quick glance. Of that however, the only thing that really stuck out at me was , he thought which I think should be dropped. It seems redundant.

Otherwise, I have no immediate objections. I'd keep reading.


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gan
Member
Member # 8405

 - posted      Profile for Gan   Email Gan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks. I put it there, unsure if it would be needed for clarity or not. I'll see if others say the same, and then drop it.

No worries about not having much time. I know how it can be. Thanks for the time you did have. =)

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]


Posts: 260 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Patrick James
Member
Member # 7847

 - posted      Profile for Patrick James   Email Patrick James         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
[Qoute] I only had time for a very quick glance[/Qoute]
Ya slacker!

What, me? I only came in to call someone a slacker an' then I was gonna leave.

Alright then. 'the car, a black suburban,'. I don't see how the type of auto he has is important, then again some people just want a clearer picture of the setting. In which case I would omit 'the car'. Then it would just be 'his black suburban glided...'. The same goes for 'freeway asphalt'. omit asphalt. well over seventy mph? He's really bookin'. Not the impression I got from the word glided and the contemplative opening 'John knew.'.

'right hand to his forhead'. Frankly, I don't care which hand he used--right or left--but if you feel it brings the story more alive to be specific, by all means. But this is going to be a repeating theme, of people criting that a lot of data was unnecessary and recommending you drop it for smoother reading. Same for the brights of the car, I think it is unnecessary to tell us they were thick blue halogens. Just my 2c. Take um' leave, punt them into the ocean, donate them to the poor. Whatever.


Posts: 599 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Patrick James
Member
Member # 7847

 - posted      Profile for Patrick James   Email Patrick James         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
neh heh heh. Look at that moron. Can't even spell Quote.

Oh crap. Nobody saw nuthin'.


Posts: 599 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gan
Member
Member # 8405

 - posted      Profile for Gan   Email Gan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks Patrick. I agree with some of what you said, but I'll wait to see what others say.
Posts: 260 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
[Qoute] I only had time for a very quick glance[/Qoute]
Ya slacker!

Well, my lunchbreak was almost over, but I still kept my job... slack maybe, but also sensible :P

Regarding

quote:
I put it there, unsure if it would be needed for clarity or not.

[1]
"Rubbing his right hand to his forehead, he whispered a curse. I need to get out of here"

"he whispered a curse" -> is probably going to do the job of the "he thought", even though it's not actually "he thought". I'd expect italics to represent some form of inner dialogue (or telepathy, or similar), but if it was anyone other than the subject of the paragraph I'd expect it to follow general dialogue conventions, ie, start on a new paragraph.

[2]
"seventy mile-per-hour"
Some trivia. Living in a country in which mph is not used, I have a notion that 70mph is highway speed, but I really don't know, or care about, how realistic it is. Which is another way of saying I have no objection to you using this, because when reading I will probably ignore it because it's outside my area of expertise.

[3]
Which, on the other hand, is almost completely contradictory to my thoughts on this:
"the car, a black suburban, glided over the freeway"
I don't think I've seen a suburban in the flesh, but I somehow have the impression that it's an SUV from maybe TV or books I've read. If that's the case, then I wouldn't expect an SUV to 'glide', so much as 'tear' down the highway when moving at speed. After all, they're often big, ungainly, inefficient vehicles. The only time I'd expect them to glide would maybe be when coming to a gentle stop.

[4]
I would reconsider the motivation-reaction sequence here:
a) Motivation: "The brights of the car--thick blue halogen lights--shone over a figure on the road."
b) Reaction: "John slammed on the breaks, and reached to the passengers seat for his father's old revolver. His muscles tensed."
c) Motivation: "He knew the ghouls stuck to the populated areas, moving from city to city like a plague. But it didnít hurt to be cautious."

If you rearrange (b) and (c) something like this:

b) Reaction: "John slammed on the breaks, and reached to the passengers seat for his father's old revolver."
c) Motivation: "He knew the ghouls stuck to the populated areas, moving from city to city like a plague."
d) Reaction: "His muscles tensed."
e) Motivation: "It didnít hurt to be cautious."

It feels snappier and reads more like the 'action' scene it should be. It also leaves you on a Motivation ending the same as it did previously, so it should carry on into your next paragraph without further modification. It also doesn't give us quite so much time to wonder about who the figure is, which the longer 'motivation' arrangement did.

[5]
"slammed on the breaks", "to the passengers seat"
It's "brakes", "passenger's". I missed this the first time and don't mind the occasional typo but they do get old fast (which happens when re-reading the same text repeatedly)

[6]
"brights of the car--thick blue halogen lights--"
Two things bother me about this. "Thick" doesn't seem like an appropriate adjective in this case. And then there's bringing our attention away from the action onto which type of headlight is fitted to the car. If it's not incredibly important, then it probably should be dropped. And if it is incredibly important (like, pretend the figure in front of him is only visible in blue light) then I would only say "modified lights" in the opening paragraph of the novel, and explain the benefits of halogen later. Too much info too quickly and it does risk seeming disjointed.

In general though, I do like this opening. As a hook, it's got action, it asks a question (who is the figure?) that makes me want to keep reading, and it moves.


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gan
Member
Member # 8405

 - posted      Profile for Gan   Email Gan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for that Ben. I completely missed those typos. Happens, I suppose.

As far as the suburban 'gliding', I was thinking of my Fathers SUV when I wrote it. It most definitely glides, doesn't even feel like its driving really. However, I think I'll change the verb, not only for the reasons you mentioned, but to keep it the feel of an 'action' sequence. I think "tore" definitely fits the action feel better. Thanks for that.

I hadn't thought about rearranging things. Like you, I think it may read better that way. I'll take a look at it.

I probably don't need to add the MPH, as most people I'm sure know that freeways have high speed-limits. I'll take a look at this as well in a rewrite--I imagine I'll end up cutting it.

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited January 27, 2009).]


Posts: 260 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christian
Member
Member # 7825

 - posted      Profile for Christian   Email Christian         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey Gan,
V2 of your 13 is definitely much smoother and action oriented. Very James Patterson in it's pacing. I have to agree with you on SUVs being able to glide. Mine does, and anyone who's ever driven a BMW X5 know that those things definitely "glide" at high speeds. I would offer critique but so many others have come before me And your fist 13 seems fairly flawless now.

Posts: 135 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Joseph Forrest
Member
Member # 8460

 - posted      Profile for Joseph Forrest   Email Joseph Forrest         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Gan, I really like the second draft and pretty much anything I noticed was already pointed out by those smarter than me. That being said I'm a fan of the PA sub-genre and would more than likely keep reading.

The one thing that did kinda eat at me was the ghoul. I instantly think zombie for some reason. Now, that might or might not be the case. I'd have to keep reading to find out. I'd definitely like to see if you took it in a different direction than I was thinking.


Posts: 41 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gan
Member
Member # 8405

 - posted      Profile for Gan   Email Gan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks both of you!
Everyones advice really livened things up, I feel.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who knows SUV's can glide ;D.

Joseph, the ghouls could somewhat be considered zombies, I suppose. They're not completely interchangeable, but definitely have some similarities.

That said, there are different 'types' of ghouls, some of which aren't even, necessarily, bad.

Thanks for pointing this question out though. Now I know one of the things I can work on answering. I hadn't paid much attention to describing the ghouls yet

[This message has been edited by Gan (edited February 02, 2009).]


Posts: 260 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
drake the thall
Member
Member # 8042

 - posted      Profile for drake the thall   Email drake the thall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
if he's so desperate, why not just run the thing over?
not many people like reading stories about the end of the world, so you have to make this really good. i'm not some fancy english major, but i know the stories i like.

My first thought was "Oh !@#$, another apocolypse story," but i like undead peoples. Does he fight them? I would read for that!

Then again, i will read almost anything...


Posts: 35 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dreadlord
Member
Member # 2913

 - posted      Profile for dreadlord   Email dreadlord         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
dude, the point of a zombie book is probably to fight the zombies. just taking a shot in the dark there.


as for the actual story, everyone else pointed out the real stuff that needed critiquing, (hope Im spelling that right. d@^^ dyslexia), so my only thing would be on the plot. you said that there where different kinds of zombies. now, (big game freak stuff comin your way) are these "ghouls" like the ones on warcraft, were they are the results of human experimentation, the flood, were they are a sinister alien race, or on Resident Evil, were they are just freaks of nature?

aside from those questions, its good.


Posts: 240 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Codeô is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2