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Author Topic: The Pyongyang Variant
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Member # 10168

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Hello, Folks:
These are the first 13 lines of a zombie apocalypse novel I've been working on. I've finished the first draft, ready to wade into the first revision.
The whole thing is about 95,000 words. I'd welcome any comments/critiques and critiquers.
Thanks for your time.

The last normal day was a Monday.
Figures, doesn't it?
There was nothing really to tell us it was the end of the world. No angels came down from the heavens with flaming swords to smite the evil ones or to save the just. No trumpets blared, and the skies didn't roil with foreboding.
The only hint something was wrong was the morning news reports of a new flu variant making itself known over in South Korea. It was the fifth or sixth outbreak in the last few years, and like every other one, it had a name.
The Pyongyang Variant.
The first time I even heard of it was that Monday morning on the all-news channel we always had the office TV tuned to. It wasn't even the first item on the hourly newcast.

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Member # 10041

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Reads well to me.

The only thing I tripped up on while reading was "The first time I even heard of it was that Monday morning...". You'd already established it was Monday, so it sounded a bit repetitive to me. That sentence in general feels lanky and could be cut.

And maybe you could add a short sentence elaborating on why the last normal day being a Monday would "figure".

Otherwise, I liked it. I'd read past these 13 lines if I didn't have an irrational fear of zombies and their ability to bring about zombie apocalypse.

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Member # 9905

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Thanks for posting your 13.

The language is clear, but there were some distractions for me.

Without knowing the POV from the first line, or it looking like 3P, the second line is jarring. It isn't until the last line that the POV is definitively established. So, trying to determine POV occupied the bulk of my thoughts while reading the excerpt.

The narrator describes how the news first broke twice.

I hope my comments are helpful.

[ November 08, 2013, 03:01 PM: Message edited by: kmsf ]

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Well, I just saw "World War Z", which your opening strongly reminds me of. And that's my main issue with this opening, that it seems like every other zombie apocalypse narrative currently in popular culture.

For me at the moment, I don't see an original idea in one line you posted, and that's not going to compel me to reader further.

Plus, it's a bit strange that the flu variant started in South Korea, but it's called the "Pyongyang Variant", which is in North Korea.

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Member # 10168

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Hi Folks:
Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated.
Taking your points in order:
Feferring twice to Monday -- duh, right. Thanks. That ties in with the comments from kmsf re: describing how the news first broke twice. Good catch. Sometimes you read right over something without noticing it. Thanks again.
On the POV, I figured in the first few paras would be soon enough. I couldn't see starting it off with "I". Of course, I could be wrong.
Denevius: I saw World War Z as well. I hope this will be different enough that, if it isn't necessarily totally unique, it will be different from other stuff written about the zombie apocalypse. I hope it will be, anyway.
As for Pyongyang, it's explained a bit further on that the first reports are from South Korea, but it was first recorded in an international village in the DMZ.
Again, thank you for your comments.

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Member # 1818

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Personally, I'm not really into zombie apocalypse stories, so this doesn't really grab me, but that's just a matter of personal preference on my part and not necessarily a failing on your part; I'm just not your audience.

"So why bother commenting?" I can hear you think. Because I wanted to mention a couple points of style. Your writing style reads smoothly, doesn't trip me up at any point. I think you do a good job of starting with some important big picture info and then quickly and smoothly narrowing in on the individual character.

I personally really like the first two lines. I think they establish a fun, sarcastic tone.

I won't share any negatives because, like I said, I'm not the audience for this story, so I don't think my criticisms are all that valid or helpful.

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