Sweat clung to her skin. She dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve as it rolled into them. They were stinging. The loose fitting clothing she chose to wear for this walk kept her from getting too hot, but the Florida humidity didn't allow the sweat to evaporate. She could feel it coating her body-- on her arms, her back, her chest.
"Soon, very soon", she thought, "it will all be over soon."
She approached the old building slowly. After walking almost four miles she was relieved to see the familiar blue and white structure. She swung the backpack from her back into her arms as she circled around the back of the building. There would be no one here at this time, but she was ready for anything. The back entrance was closed and locked tight. She had hoped that
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited April 30, 2011).]
Sweat clung to her [who?]skin. She dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve as it ['it' refers to 'her sleeve' but I believe you mean her sweat] rolled into them. They were stinging. The loose fitting clothing she [who?]chose to wear for this walk kept her from getting too hot, but the Florida humidity didn't allow the sweat to evaporate. She could feel it coating her body-- on her arms, her back, her chest. [repetitive. Perhaps omit the first three sentences and start with: 'The loose fitting clothing (Mandy) chose...'] "Soon, very soon", she thought, "it will all be over soon." [what will be over?]
She approached the old building [which old building?]slowly. After walking almost four miles she was relieved to see the familiar [why is it familiar?] blue and white structure. She swung the backpack from her back into her arms as she circled around the back [two 'backs' in this sentence with diffferent connotations. How about "rear of the building'?]of the building. There would be no one here at this time[why? What building is it? What time is it?], but she was ready for anything [How is she 'ready for anything?' mentally? Physically? Does her backpack contain special items?] . The back entrance was closed and locked tight. She had hoped that he [who?]would have left it open for her. Not that it mattered now.[why?]
She reached into the bag and searched around with her fingers until she felt the keys sitting at the bottom. He said these would work here too ['too?' What else did 'he' say? Or do the keys work at more than one place?]. Sure enough, as she slid the keys into the lock the door swung open without any effort. She was pretty certain she...
I suggest that you don't be so coy by with-holding so much information and description. I'm missing knowledge of the character(s), place, time, and conflict. Hook me with one (or all) of these to make me care enough to read further.
Respectfully, Dr. Bob
[This message has been edited by History (edited April 30, 2011).]
Hello DXW, this is my first post here so take any advice with a pinch of salt.
I agree with History that as a reader I like to be given a name early in the scene to help make me feel settled in the story.
In the second sentence the 'it' refers to sleeve when you actually want it to indicate the sweat of the previous sentence.
'They were stinging' doesn't need its own sentence and it isn't really strong enough to merit one I don't think.
'Swung the backpack from her back into her arms' sounds a little strange to me. Or maybe more awkward than strange.
One final point: at the beginning of a scene I'd try to be more descriptive to help the reader picture where they are. At the moment your descriptors are 'loose fitting clothing', 'old building', 'blue and white structure' and 'back entrance' All of which don't help the reader see what you are seeing here.
I probably should have said ealier that while this is an Urban Fantasy it is also a suspense novel. This is the prologue and I can't reveal who this character is, it would ruin the ending if the reader knew her identity.
Having said that, I do see the value in what you are all saying about making her easier to relate to. Is there anything you can further suggest to help me do so? I can't give her real name, but maybe I can find a way to give a false name? Something for my reader to grasp on to?
To be honest if you don't want to give the character's name away then I'd keep it as it is. As long as you're happy with the reason then go with it. And thinking about it some more I can think of a few books that open like that with nameless characters.
I'm a big fan of the "give us the name right away!" school of thought, but if you have a good reason, it can definitely be worked around . . . I might suggest calling her "the woman" or "the girl" just the first time, though. Not enough to make things annoying, but it just has a more solid feel than starting with "she."
The main thing I tripped on, personally, was trying to figure out the tone. The first sentence--"sweat clung to her skin"--instantly has me in suspense mode, but then I have to rethink my position when you say she chose loose clothing for this "walk." Okay, she's just exercising. No, wait, "it will all be over soon."--that's a loaded line. Back to anticipation. But by the end of what I've got here, she could be "prepared for" anything from a new job orientation to a meeting with supervillains . . . as has been said above, everything is just too vague. I'm not sure how keyed up I ought to be, and that just keys me right back down.
I'd probably read another paragraph or two, to see whether it goes anywhere . . . but as-is these first 13 don't actually "hook" me, they just furrow my brow.
[This message has been edited by Tryndakai (edited May 03, 2011).]
I kind of like it. The mood is tense. I feel like something significant is about to happen. And I am totally okay with not knowing the name for a while yet. That's fine. I'm a girl, so I can relate with just a "she" for a while. But then again, that's just my opinion.
My only complaint is that it makes me feel sticky and sweaty.
quote:I probably should have said ealier that while this is an Urban Fantasy it is also a suspense novel. This is the prologue and I can't reveal who this character is, it would ruin the ending if the reader knew her identity.
Creating suspense is not an easy thing. It seems easy to just not tell us something and there you go. But there is a lot more to this.
Is the prologue needed?
I personally have very mixed feeling on Prologues. I feel that is they are so important to the story, then it should be part of the story. But I have also read some great works with a Prologue that just had to be a Prologue. Just make sure you are not falling into a useless Prologue.
Is the character giving the Prologue, the MC and POV character of the novel? If so, do we go through the whole novel never knowing the MC name until the end?
If you answered both those as yes, you will have a tough challenge making a story your readers will connect to. If you have a different MC then the person starting the prologue then that is a different situation.