Hi everyone! I have posted some first 13's from this writing previously a short called From The Darkness. I really enjoyed writing it and when it got to the end it felt more like a beginning than a complete short. So I added another chapter and rounded out a "beginning". I've just this week finished a plot that will carry it to novel length, but first let's get some feedback on the beginning first to see if it is an adequate foundation for a story.
So, this is where you can help! I'm not looking for a full crit, just a read and answer a few questions. Have a read, (13k) and answer a few question on story and tone, so I can make a decision on where this goes next, or if I shelf it for later. I'll post some first 13 soon, and email me if you want to join in!
It is important to know that it is not final works by any means, a draft at best. Ignore the bumps an quirks, I'll strain them when the body of text is in place and I can then do a more comprehensive edit.
[This message has been edited by simoncake (edited January 23, 2010).]
This was how Caden’s day had begun as he found himself sitting alone in some nameless inn on some nameless road. Caden was looking forward to the day. He was already four pints of the way to ignoring the faces in his dreams and things were looking up. But like so many times before this day wouldn’t finish up at all where he had planned.
Caden had raised his head from the empty glasses as he waited for his next drink. The tapping had come from the windowsill above the door to the inn. It was a delicate stained glass panel depicting what Caden thought was a weeping widow; that was what he saw anyway. He would have to ask the barkeep if he wanted a better answer. But against the glass a silhouette of a
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 23, 2010).]
I'm no expert but I am an avid reader and this is what I felt about your first few lines.
You mentioned Caden was looking forward to the day - but I assume it's night time since, from what I can gather, he's drinking so he won't dream about faces. If it is night time then maybe you could say 'the day tomorrow' - if it's morning, then does he work night shift? Has he been walking all night?
If you're going to reveal what the weeping widow really is later on, then I feel that perhaps leaving out 'that was what he saw anyway' would help it to read a little clearer. You've already said that Caden thought that 'was' what it is, not that it 'is' what it is. So the reader has already deduced that there's a chance that the weeping widow is not a weeping widow.
It's left me curious to know what Caden is avoiding in his dreams, you've said 'faces' but it leaves me wanting to know more.
Also, I'd like to know a bit about how Caden is feeling, why has he stopped at the inn? Why isn't he aware of the inn's name and location? Is he sleep walking? Is he dreaming? Is he having some sort of psychotic breakdown and is just wandering aimlessly? I can gather he is tormented in some way, otherwise he wouldn't be drinking early morning, hearing tapping noises and not paying attention to street names or inn names :-)
That's what I got from it. Hope I've helped in some way.
I like starting with the "tap, tap, tap." It gives us something to wonder about right off the bat. But saying "this was how Caden's day had begun" confuses me. It make me thing that he was having a "tap, tap, tap" kind of day, and I don't know what that is.
Since Caden's looking forward to the day, I assume it's morning. Was he maybe trying to "forget" the faces in his dreams by drinking? That might be a better word than "ignore."
Not a biggy, but you might give us a hint about what Caden was planning for the day since you say it won't work out that way.
I find I use a lot of participles like your "had begun," "had come," and "had raised" on my first cut. When I review them, I usually change them to a simple past (e.g., "began," "came," "raised"). Simpler is usually better, as long as it works.
I like the technique of starting with the tapping, going to Caden's state of mind, and then his turning his attention back to the tapping. I wonder how he can tell the woman in the panel is a widow, but you'll probably make that apparent.
This is my second post on the first 13 for this chapter, and it still a little bit lacking. The next two chapters really bite, I keep hitting my head against the wall with this one. I think I am over thinking it, I'll sit down tonight and rework it to 'pop' a little more. It is grabbing attention, asking questions etc, however it almost as if it's not asking them very clearly... would you agree?
As a writer I feel like you have all got the right questions, ie: why is he drinking, what are the faces, whats the stained glass mean, etc. but its almost as if how you arrived at them was wrong. I have almost lead you astray. And this is the first 13 only
It seems like this part of the writing is the oldest, and the later parts have matured a little better. Its a classic "rewrite" phase I think.
The familiar noise quietly echoed in the empty common room. Caden emptied his glass and placed if forcefully down on the bar. To him it wasn’t quiet at all. It had been like a thundering boom, warning him that it was time to return to his grisly work.
It was a shame, he had already been four pints of the way to ignoring the faces in his dreams and things had been looking up. But now that he was called it was time to move on.
There were times before when he had tried to ignore the call; He had the scars to prove it. As he stood Caden thought it peculiar how the memory of pain was such a good motivator to get one’s body moving.
[This message has been edited by simoncake (edited January 25, 2010).]
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 25, 2010).]
I like the sentence about the familiar noise echoing in the empty common room. It gives us a lot of information, as well as the imagery.
Would it be too strong a word to say that he slammed the glass on the bar rather than that he placed it down forcefully? And is the thundering boom from his glass? The tapping was quiet, and I don't know what else it could be, but it seems a little odd that he'd be warning himself.
One of your earlier versions mentioned that the tapping came from a windowsill above the door. Without that information, I'm concluding that it's a knocking at the door. Maybe you'll address that in the next few lines, or maybe it doesn't matter.
Is the tapping the call that he's tried to ignore before? The tapping and call definitely make me curious about what's happening.