I've been away awhile but wanted to drop in to get some feedback on what I was currently working on.
I have right at 30,000 words, very rough words, procrastinating on doing my first polish...anyway here are the first 13.
I loved being a vampire, big L, big O, big V, big E, big D, LOVED. It was like someone took the world, dumped it into Photoshop and hit the sharpen filter about a dozen times. Even the edges had edges, things were sharp, clean, even the dirt. Of course if history teaches anything, I was a history minor in college, itís that sure as ****, as soon as someone starts enjoying themselves God steps in, singular not plural, big G not little g, and ****s things up. Since Adam and Eve he and his flunkies have been stepping in to play biblical buzzkill. It takes a true ****up to set up utopia and then put a big tree in the middle with a sign saying ďDo not eatĒ. I mean come on, Iím barely 40 and even I know the surest way to get a teenager to do something is to tell them not to.
I would like a setting before getting too far into the speech, so I can picture this being delivered in a cemetery, or at a school, or outside a factory at night, or wherever. Put a cigarette in his hand (or a toothpick in hers) and let me picture the person sharing these thoughts with the reader.
Also, I get the Photoshop simile because I use it every day at work. I think you'll lose most readers pretty quickly. And even if you don't, the filters in Photoshop change from year to year, so in ten years this paragraph will be obviously antiquated. So I say pick a different way to convey the same thing.
The following phrase...
quote:big G not little g
...s redundant after getting five big letters a couple lines up. I get what you're saying. I like the style. The last one borders on being repetitive, I think.
But as I said. I like it, I enjoyed it, and I would read on.
It's unfinished, I have 30,000 words spewed onto paper, and the other 70-90,000 plotted out.
It is for a very specific demographic, the True Blood, Dresden Files markets, though the initial chapter does come across as anti-god, the protag is a sort of vampiric Job, with a touch of doubting Thomas and a dab of Dexter thrown in for good measure.
The scene actually takes place in the hallway of a hospital leading up to the maternity ward where he is headed for a snack. I like the photoshop reference, but understand where you are coming from, there's been a sharpen filter in PS for as long as I can remember and it's always had similar function, so I figured it was ok.
There is a second POV that alternates, a young acolyte of a violent jihadist religious group of shapechangers. I think she might be the stronger POV, but her voice is weaker and I'm still trying to get it down.
I like the voice as well. The irreverence to God works for a vampire although you might want to tone down the swearing a little if you don't want to alienate potential religious readers. But then again I am pretty religious and I wasn't put off, so maybe not.
I am not a big fan of the photoshop reference. It doesn't seem to fit with the voice. I can't really picture a vampire playing around on a computer, especially this one. It's too mundane for someone who loves being a vampire. I guess it depends on how long he has been a vampire, so maybe he used photoshop when he was human.
One more thing, you started out with him saying he loved being a vampire, past tense. If at the end, he is still a vampire I am going to be annoyed.
[This message has been edited by MAP (edited October 01, 2009).]
Well by the end he doesn't love being a vampire anymore, does that count?
I really like the photoshop reference, so I'm a little defensive about it.
He was was turned at the age of 22, in 1992, so he is currently 40. He does use a computer extensively at times, my vampires are destroyed by sunlight, but do not "have" to sleep, many do for psychological reasons, but he doesn't sleep much, and being from my generation he does embrace the virtual world during the daytime hours. I comment on the surprising number of vampires playing World of Warcraft at one point, as a joke. So the photoshop reference definately fits the character.
Another aspect of my vampires, which differ slightly, is that I've always found it aggravating that simply changing someone food source causes them to become raving homicidal maniacs. My vampiric society is very careful about feeding and who they turn. My main character is an exception that slipped through (which is part of the plot). He was already a burgeoning high functioning sociopath and being turned nudged him into full blown sociopathy. Which leads to him being at odds with the rest of the vampiric society as the story progressives.
I could sub out the photoshop reference and use a high def comparison.
As to the language, again this is marketed to the urban fiction demo, which is generally looking for gritty and irreverant.
I'm a vampire nutter, so I had to check this out. As others have said, I like the voice, but damn man, I know it's a rough draft and all--punctuation.
As far as content, you might want to slow down on the cuss words, especially because this is supposed to be YA. 30,000 words is even a tad short for a YA novel. I would bump it to 40k-50k, but that's just me.
His view on God makes sense, and as I atheist, I have no issues with it, but some, if not many editors might. If you offend the editor, I doubt they will consider the novel.
House cleaning: I would consider altering the first line. I loved being a vampire, big L, O, V, E, D, LOVED. I'm not sure many will get the Photoshop references. I do, but if you do run the sharpen filter 12 times, yuck. " Of course if history teaches anything, I was a history minor in college, itís that sure as ****, as soon as someone starts enjoying themselves God steps in, singular not plural, big G not little g, and ****s things up."
This sentence is so confusing. I would really consider altering it a bit. Of course, if history taught anything, as soon as someone starts enjoying themselves, God steps in . . . You can find another place to mention that he was a college professor.
There should be a comma after Eve. I love the whole sign in the garden bit. If you want, you can comment on my new opening for YA fantasy with strange creatures.
The voice is good. The bad language would turn me off but I'm kind of that way. I am trying to imagine a main character who is a sociopath or borderline. I have know a couple of sociopaths and it's hard to find something sympathetic about them. You want to push them far, far away - and that's when they AREN'T vampires.
I took the reference to our mutual Lord differently, when you identified Him as in the singular, the big guy, I thought that wasn't a slap at God but recognition of him. So many novels today like to pretend having a pantheon of minor godlets and goddesses has the same punch and it just never washes. You keep waiting for the Big Guy to step in and mop up.
If he is the Big Guy in your book, you should use capitals with Him "He", "Him", "His" just to be consistent. If your sociopath recognizes Him in that role, your voice needs to also, I think. I might read a little further to see if the story is good. If the language kept up or there was too much glee in the gore or too many outrageous sexual references, I would have to put it down. Reading this first page in a bookstore, I would not buy but I might check it out at the library, you know?