There will be a moment of pain; just a moment, not even as sharp as a toe stubbed or an elbow rapped against a door-jamb. Barely the pinprick of a hypodermic just before you look away and wince. That’s all; a wince. And then there’ll be a sensation, like falling, only inside. Blood, rushing through my veins. I’ll be able to feel it. The heat; the sound of it, the pulse that is life, and life eternal.
And then I’ll grow numb, and there’ll be lassitude and langour. No pain, no concern; just a relaxing into it. Like drifting out to sea; but it’s so warm, so relaxing, you don’t mind that the shore is receding, further and further
I was in a bright and hopeful mood the day I set sail onboard the grand colony ship Hyperion, destined for the human settlement in orbit of Tau Ceti. Long centuries of earthbound existence, drinking the blood of innocents, led to a feeling of ennui that persisted for decades. Many of Earth’s brightest, most vibrant individuals had charted a new course, reaching out across the frigid interstellar expanse for a new mother earth to suckle from, letting their roots sink deep into alien soils, their children run in foreign fields. My tastes began to change in those last decades on Earth, becoming desensitized to the taste of dry politicos and boozy debutantes. I yearned for fresh blood and new life, the tangy flavor of creative spirits in full flight, and the sharp zest of the intrepid and enterprising.
The first time I encountered the aroma it acted as an opiate. It immersed me in a sensual elation, while baptizing me in my gradual addiction. It was the perfect blend of ecstasy and agony. The madness that followed was only an element of my anguish. My true torment manifested the next morning with the rising of the sun and the revelation of what I had become.
It all began in the fall of 1817. It was mid October, and I, Samuel Huntington Perkins, being a recent graduate of Yale, had acquired a position as tutor for the three daughters of Dr. Hugh Jones at Lake Landing Plantation in Hyde County, North Carolina. After a night’s rest in Norfolk, Virginia, I hired a horse and buggy and began my tumultuous journey south down the canal bank road, which slithered through the Great Dismal Swamp.
Only a couple years ago, he would have reacted differently. Alone with her flush face and elegant neck, a meeting at night with not even the patrols of the janitors to interrupt him. He shuddered at the memory of it all, at the feel of flesh yielding to his need, the flow of his victim’s life into his own. Those were happier times. He almost lost himself to the desire. It would be so easy to have her.
Then there was the smell of poison, carried on her scent. Even his lawyer participated in the genocide.
She smiled at him. No, she smirked, knowing that this hunter was powerless before his prey. He doubted she would give her position up, no matter how much of his wealth he offered. So, he was surprised when she spoke. “I think we have a case.”
Fifteen tiny caskets. Fifteen infants, waiting for the dusk to end, to wake. Sherai looked across the nursery, remembering each one, cherishing them all. She breathed in their scent, the aroma of a newborn, of the nights when she stole them. She recalled their helplessness, on her hip, learning about the world with fresh, innocent eyes. The constant sleeping, the comfort seeking when awake. And the feeding – oh, the feeding.
But as their minds grew, the innocence turned. To squabbling, to cursing, when ungainly steps ended in a brawl because someone tripped or pushed or bumped… Sherai regretted the first, now able to know what she had stolen. And yet her soulless heart still longed, still yearned, for another baby.
9-11 was a bad day for me. Yes, I know, it was a bad for everyone but a particularly awful one for me. They found me - burned, broken, and buried under rubble - 18 hours after flight 77 smashed into the Pentagon. It took them three days for them to discover that I shouldn’t have been in the building that morning. They moved me to Langley. They wanted to know about my fangs and how I was able to heal in a week. Finally I talked. “I would have stopped them, if I knew what they were up to.” “Is that why you were there?” asked the major. “To warn us?” “I had no intention of ever visiting the Pentagon, Major.” I paused and stared at him. “You ever wonder what it would be like if the plane you are in crashes into a building at 500 miles an hour? I can tell you first hand, Major. It hurts like hell.”
She sat with the easy confidence of a woman who had faced her own mortality and vanquished it. Her eyes, however, told of the price she had to pay. That haunted porcelain face, attractive but fading, looked upon me with the same gleam that old men give to young delicate things. At first I thought how it must feel to have the fount of youth and its pleasures slowly drain away. But then I sensed a deeper menace, something in her smile, the shininess of her teeth, that perfectly pearly whiteness and its animalistic curves that hinted at some dark function. Somehow I knew her youth had not been spent. It had been snatched. And well before any chance she had of using it. Now she seemed to be in a sickening hunger, eager for any little taste she could get. “I appreciate you calling on me so early in the morning, Doctor
She leaned towards me in the gloom of the alley and licked her lips. "So what did you want to do, honey?" "This..." I snapped her head to one side and lunged. My teeth tore through her outer layers in a frenzy; ripping at the protective alloys under her synthetic skin, exposing central power lines, optical fibres and lubricant tubing. I severed them with a single bite. The oils gushed; sweet, refined hydrocarbons filled my mouth and sated my hunger. My teeth crackled and sparked against her power cables as I drained her of every last amp, every last volt. I cast aside the android's corpse; her lifeless eyes now still. Then came the guilt--as my maker had programmed--shredding the joy of the kill, like a dog with a bone.
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The man was old and wrinkled and smelled like a homeless person. I was ignoring him, like I ignore most homeless people, and then he came at me. No provocation. No, "Hey, how's it going. Can I suck your blood now?" I just stood there, his fangs dry humping my neck. Ulgh. Gross. I put my hand around his throat and pulled him off. "Uh, yeah, that's not going to work." He looked me over. I could really smell the sulfur in his breath. I considered for a moment snapping the old coots neck, but really what was the point. "You're not a vampire." He said with a slight lisp. I bit my lip with my flat teeth. "What are..." He stopped talking and a look of oh shiz passed over his face. "You're that..."
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"What if the urge is too strong, what if it gets really bad?" I pull out a twenty-dollar bill and hand it to him.
Leroy grabs at his neck, rubbing at an itch until the area is red and puffy with thousands of tiny scratches from his broken fingernails.
"Well, I mean, you can always have a little, it ain't nothing to have a little. Nothing bad with that." Leroy looks at the twenty, his hands are shaking as he presses it into the front pocket of his mud spattered stone-washed jeans.
There is a muffled crack and Leroy crumples to the ground, a pool of dark red expanding from his forehead. I return the pistol and drop a cloth into the pool. When it is soaked through I gently place it into a plastic bag and return it to
Noice appeared in the middle of a motel room that a vamp had just used as a feeding site. Not very fastidiously, it seemed. Blood seemed to cover half of every surface. He muttered an ID spell, but already knew whatever vamp did this didn't bother to use the Authority's permit. This was for more than a feeding.
Snapping his fingers, Noice's cleaning kit appeared beside him. The Cleaner frowned as he continued to tidy up the room. Something felt dark and angry here.
Three vamps walk into the room. Malevolence was painted on each face.
"You the Cleaner." The middle vamp said it as a statement.
Noice nodded, as he gestured with his left hand behind his
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Human, he must be human. He looked just like her kind except for the pinkish face framed by blond curls and the warmth; even several feet away, Natasha could feel the warmth radiating from his body. But the smell was what convinced her, a tepid earthy smell, almost like pigs. Jerath was right after all; humans weren’t extinct, not yet.
Natasha approached the sleeping boy, half hidden in the fallen leaves. She crouched next to him and watched his chest rise and fall rhythmically. The sound of his beating heart pulsed in her ears and filled her mind awakening a deep insatiable thirst she had never felt before. She ran her tongue over her now protruding fangs. The urge to rip him open and lap up his blood was so intense it terrified her.
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Gwendydd's scream caused the guard posted at the entrance of her tomb to investigate. Her resurrection spell was designed to trigger upon the death of her son and here she was, alive again. Before the guard could speak Gwendydd was upon him, teeth bared. As she drank she realized the only person powerful enough to kill her son was her husband Myrddin, and he must have had help. The guard slumped lifeless to the floor and Gwendydd wiped her mouth with her fifteen hundred year old sleeve. The first step had been taken in creating the army of undead she'd need to get her revenge. The guard stirred. "Come, let's get you something to eat," Gwendydd said. "We have a long and difficult road ahead of us.
Competition is closed. Voting can begin. See main thread for guidance on voting. Try and vote before checking other's votes--stops you being influenced.
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1st - Entry 6 - Victims of Terror - This is the idea that I wish I'd had. But Snapper executed it much better than I would have.
2nd - Entry 1 - Developing - Creepy, hypnotic. Loved the tangled viewpoint (first and second person), which added to the sense of hypnotism.
3rd - Entry 4 - Class Action - This opening could be improved, but the idea was really strong, making me want to read on. And the hint of the poison of choice - would that be garlic by any chance?
Others I loved - The Taste of Something New, Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep, Bloodless.
Title: Becoming Human
For my votes, I put an emphasis on what would keep me reading, whether there was anything new or original, and, of course, I was looking for a vampire story, even if only hints.
The prose kept me reading on this one. It had something outstanding in the style, despite a lack of understanding where this was leading. I really loved the tangled viewpoint (first and second person), which I think some didn't quite get.
The Taste of Something New
I could imagine a shrike coming around the corner on this one, or perhaps the MC spouting poetry. I liked the idea of tastes for different people types, although vampires in space is not exactly new. I also didn't mind the voice of this.
This had a number of hints about vampirism, although we probably needed to have a stronger clue before we really understood it. The first paragraph was interesting, but the second, although seeming like it was true to the times, still felt a little too early for a large infodump.
This could be improved, but had great ideas - both the genocide by humans and the case. I thought that the emphasis on the the vampires desires detracted from the ideas that you were trying to portray. However, I thought that this had some scope for an interesting story.
Victims of Terror
This was a killer of an opening. Having him end up in the pentagon was fascinating, putting him on the defensive. You could understand the major's reasoning, which made the MC's reasoning and final line quite enticing.
My Disturbing Evening with Madame Vasculi
This is an introduction to the MC as well as to the antagonist. The problem is, we haven't yet established the nature of the MC, so we don't yet know whether to believe his sense of menace or the subtle vampiric clues. On first reading, they were too subtle for me.
Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep?
Interesting take, one I liked. However, it didn't have a real sense of menace because the victims were machines, and I didn't quite like the last simile. Close to getting votes.
Funny. Interesting ideas. Almost got some votes. Certainly would keep me reading. Had that Buffy feel to it.
I couldn't really see the vampirism in this one. Looks like a kill followed by an attempted cleanup.
The concept inherent in the title points to humor, however, I didn't really find it. I felt it needed to deliver more of both the story/dilemma and the humor by the end of the first 13.
Nice. I like it. However, it didn't really feel new, as there is a movie that is currently out over here with a similar premise.
Some good action, and it felt an ok start. But there was little that would differentiate this from other vampire stories, and less to make this a better story. A few lines (she realized the only person powerful enough... The first step had been taken...) were a bit too infodumpy, making it feel like a synopsis.
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Entry 1 My Vampire Story Repetitive but I found it oddly hypnotic. Story, story, blah, blah….
Real Entry 1 Developing
Beautifully written. Nice vivid detail. No problem at all of what the MC is describing. But it did feel as if the author went over the top with it. Main issue, if I didn’t know this was a contest about a vampire opening I might not have know it was a vampire’s bite that the author is describing
Entry 2 The Taste of Something New
This felt as if I was reading a Charles Dickens or some other old classical writer. Take out the starship and new star system and the MC could be standing on a sailing vessel looking out at the New World. Nice prose and strong effort. A bit slow and info-dumpish for my tastes.
Entry 3 Common Scents
Very good. I haven’t had a chance to read the novel adapted from the movie, but this reads how Interview of a Vampire might look. I liked it but based on this 13, I have no way of knowing this is a vampire story.
Entry 4 Class Action
Not bad. It took me to the last line before I knew what the story was about. Not knowing served as a hook for me. Same problem as the other ones. This 13 doesn’t suggested this is about vampires. Serial killer sure. Vampire? Not yet.
Entry 5 Soul Parent
Creepy. Nice opening for a murder mystery. The lady is clearly crazy. Is it clear that she is a vampire? Not at this point.
Entry 6 Victims of Terror
Are you kidding me? You call this a prose? I wonder why the writer even tries sometimes.
Entry 7 My Disturbing Evening with Madame Vasculi
Nicely written. Excellent writing. Loved the descriptive narration. If I read just these 13 could I tell it was about a vampire? Not quite.
Entry 8 Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep?
Unique title, unique take. Interesting that the author showed teeth biting into a machine. Is it about vampire? Hmmm, yep. Not the typical definition but it is a vampire.
Entry 9. Bloodless
Hil-larious! Loved the his fangs dry humping my neck. Ulgh. Gross. Well done sheena! Is it about a vampire? No vampire in the first 13 but it qualifies.
Entry 10 Honeymoon Bedbugs
Needs a bit of editing. Present tense is distracting. Clearly a murder happens. Vampire? Don’t see it.
Entry 11 The Vamp Cleaner
About vampires? Yes! The opening is too crammed, however. Vamps sound like mobsters. Makes this one different. The 13 could use some editing, IMO.
Entry 12 Becoming Human
Wow. This was good. No mistake here, this is a Vampire story. A clear opening as well. Love the conflict the MC is experiencing. Very nice work.
Entry 13 Gwendydd's Return
Clear enough. It’s a vampire story. Too sudden of start though.
There are a lot of outstanding entries here. I can clearly see why I receive so many rejections, The competition is just too good base on these samples. It is very difficult to pick the best out of this strong bunch, so I am going to refer to the rules to narrow my choices.
quote: the challenge is to write an opening (13 lines) that indicates (fairly clearly) that it about vampires, yet hints that it is a fresh take or certainly has something about it,
You can argue that these all fit this loose interpretation but I am adding extra weight to the entries that made sure this was obviously a vampire story. That means the best written entries will be over looked. Sorry, but it makes my choices easier.
#1 - Entry 5: Soul Parent #2 - Entry 12: Becoming Human #3 - Entry 6: Victims of Terror
Entry 1: Developing It's very well written. I get the imagery and the feeling very clearly. Unfortunately, I just don't get vampires. At this point in the first 13, it could be someone getting high, or perhaps a prisoner getting a lethal injection.
Entry 2: Taste of Something New Good intro. I get the character, I get his motivation, and I get what he's doing. Definitely a vampire. However, the new aspect doesn't seem necessary to the story. It could be a space ship or a sailing ship or a dimensional thingamajiggy or a train.
Entry 3: Common Scents Half of the first thirteen were interesting, while the other half were devoted to setting, which was largely conventional. I did not get that vampires were involved here. He's really just describing an addiction. More Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde than Nosferatu.
Entry 5: Soul Parent Clearly there's some vampirism at work here, and I like the unique aspect: this one goes after children, but turns them, not killing them. You then set up the little hell you've constructed for these unfortunate souls nicely, with their growing minds and needs but their frustratingly static bodies. I love it. Probably the most evil act presented in the whole group, and yet I'm not repulsed by the perpetrator.
Entry 6: Victims of Terror Will admit to being put-off by the 9/11 setting, but it's still a good twist. The dialog was a little off, as if the characters weren't actually responding to each other.
Entry 7: My Disturbing Evening with Madame Vasculi I loved the writing. The problem is, while there is a vampire, there isn't anything new in evidence.
Entry 8: Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep? There's a vampire, and a twist. There's some conflicting imagery (from "frenzy" to "single bite"), but once I reset midway through I get a clear picture. There are questions as to why this android was built that way, but I'm not sure if those actually compel me to read further, or (personal preference alert) dismiss as too outlandish.
Entry 9: Bloodless It's got a good, gritty voice. The MC is obviously both repulsed by and inured to the world he's in.
Entry 10: Honeymoon Bedbugs I'm a bit confused as to the motivation of hitting the guy here, but that's beside the point. I don't get any speculative vibe off this first thirteen at all.
Entry 11: The Vamp Cleaner Interesting set up, but it feels rushed. There's a lot of stuff going on, and I don't have a real good foothold to get into the story.
Entry 12: Becoming Human Seems like a Daybreakers-ish sort of world, but doesn't have the dark vibe. The vampire seems almost protective of the human, perhaps not even aware of her true nature until confronted, for the first time, with an opportunity to give into it.
Entry 13: Gwendydd's Return Vampire, yes, but nothing really new. At least, the new part seems over and done with the instant that she wakes.
This was really hard, lots of great entries.
Entry 1- Well-written and a very compelling voice although no new twists. Still, I would keep reading on voice alone.
Entry 2- Space traveling vampire is an interesting idea, but I didn't find the intro very compelling, too much telling.
Entry 3- Writing is good. The first part feels a little off, maybe too much telling me that it was like opiate and not enough showing me how that feels. I do like vampire period pieces, so that interests me.
Entry 4- I liked this one a lot. Interesting characters and dynamics between them.
Entry 5- This one was well-written with an original premise, but it is disturbing, too disturbing for me.
Entry 6- This is a great concept. Definitely interested in how the MC is going to get out of this. But I think you should make up a fictional plane crash rather than using 9-11. That was just too tragic of an event to be used in fiction IMO.
Entry 7- Another entry with a really compelling voice. I don't see a new twist, but I am drawn in by the characterization.
Entry 8- Interesting, nice hook in an android vampire. I wonder if this would work better in third person. This doesn't seem like an android voice to me.
Entry 9- Good humor, nice hook, but it reminds me too much of the novel Soulless.
Entry 10- I am confused. Who is the vampire? Why did the MC shoot the other guy?
Entry 11- The first part starts out interesting but there is no tension. I don't know how Noice feels when the vamps enter, and I think it would be better if I did.
Entry 13- Interesting idea, but something is off in the progression of the prose. Like the sentence explaining the resurrection spell breaking up the action of the guards entering and the MC killing them.
Okay, my picks.
First place: Entry 4
Second place: Entry 7
Third place: Entry 6
Best title: Entry 8 Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep?
Good job everyone, and thanks for doing this skadder.
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Entry 1 I don't mind this for what it's saying, but I don't think it makes a good opening. Also, there are some confusing tense shifts. before you look away - rushing through my veins. I'll grow numb - you don't mind... Also not clear it's about vampires. =(
Entry 2 If I were fixin to read a story about vampires, one taking place on another planet would be an interesting genre mix. That said you may want to reconsider the name of your ship, and see if you can bring in something difinitive about the aliens. Consider 8' tall blue aliens whose blood is thicker than anything imaginable. Sounds a bit Predatorish maybe, but could also be fun. Earth vampires hunt aliens on their world...
Entry 3 This one read like a fine traditional opening. I would keep reading. My only suggestion is too many names and places to start out.
Entry 4 Interesting. I'd recommend removing the four sentences after "janitors to interrupt him" and putting his retort beyond the first dialog. I want to know what the case is more than his desire. Of course it would then read vampless, which would need to be thrown back in...
Entry 5 Sick and twisted - I like it. I felt like there were two different times here. They were babies, then they were growing older. This would be fine except the first part was in present tense the moved to the future and more present tense. It was slightly off.
Entry 6 Doing anything 9-11 seems risky, but I was hooked and if you don't send me the rest of the story to read before it's published, then you better tell me where I can buy it afterward.
Entry 7 Love the title. It gives the feeling of the late 1800's wealth which words like "porcelain" back up. I imagine the white faces and poofy white hair of those times. I was a little confused by weather or not the doctor knows she's a vampire. I base this on the words "somehow" and "seemed". My suggestion is reword to be more difinitive.
Entry 8 Great crossing of genres. Fun opening. The title, while clever, is a high standard to maintain. What I mean is, if you're going to go there, you have to write there. Also, I didn't get the dog with a bone reference. Isn't a dog with a bone a happy dog?
Entry 9 Too funny. Maybe it's that ellipsis at the end, or the casual, conversational writing style, but I definitely want to keep reading. However, if you're headed for a "Blade" type unique vampire hunter thing the story could get cliche.
Entry 10 This is an excellent scene. I don't believe it's an excellent opening because I don't have any sense of place or what the story will be about.
Entry 11 Watch the Pulp Fiction connection on this one. You really have to do something new to separate yourself from that strong reference. Also, the name Noice is odd because I believe it's an expression. If someone does something cool they don't say "nice" they say "noice". Or at least I do...
Entry 12 Interesting premise. Always in vampire stories there are a few vampires and lots of humans to feed on. Now it seems there aren't many humans left which is of course the logical progression of what would happen should there really be vampires. Like zombies... Anyway what is a human, such as he is, rare, doing covered in leaves? I'm half intriqued, but also half confused.
Entry 13 My entry. I'm nearly finished writing book one in this story line. I appreciated this challenge because it gave me a chance to think of how to open the sequel. Because of this, I've gone back and made the vampire element of the first book a bit stronger. It was hanging around the fringes because the magic was the dominant element. We shall see how it goes. =)
Entry 1: I thought the prose was nice; I’d read on if I cam across the story because of the promise the prose brings with it…but it isn’t a winner. The vampire element is alluded to, but not clear…
Entry 2: Well written, interesting premise, but I felt removed from any action—a little static. I’d read on to get to the actual story, though…
Entry 3: Poetic…reminds me of interview with a vampire, and so doesn’t leap out as any new twist on a vampire story. Well written, but…
Entry 4: This confused me despite reading it a couple of times. What genocide? The POV feels a little loose (No, she smirked, knowing that this hunter was powerless before…) I know what your were doing but it weakens the POV you are establishing.
Entry 5: Nice entry: Interesting premise…
Entry 6: I liked this one. The beginning feels a little removed, but otherwise good.
Entry 7: I liked this, but it’s a little odd. The doctor essentially guesses exactly what she is in the description of her. He must be a very astute observer.
Entry 8: I don’t think this is a vampire story. Vampires drink human blood. It lacks any horror element to have them drinking oils. It is vampire-like, but not vampire.
Entry 9: The dialogue didn’t work for me. Especially the first line of dialogue. The idea was great, although the old coot is vampire, but what is the MC? Is the story about him/her…is it a vampire story?
Entry 10: This is a good entry—nothing really wrong with it---but it doesn’t stand out for me…
Entry 11: This is a good idea, but so problems with the execution. You call your MC Noice and ‘The Cleaner’ in only 13 lines. This is not a good ide—confusing. Also ‘malevolence painted..’ Describe how their faces looked—make them appear evil…bared teeth, etc.
Entry 12: So vampires are reverting to human form. I gather this from the title and the story added together…I may be wrong, but I liked it.
Entry 13: A little confusing. Too much going on.
1st Place: Entry 7
2nd Place: Entry 11
3rd Place: Entry 6
Best title: My Disturbing Evening with Madame Vasculi
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2010).]
Entry 1. I loved this one. Such a strong voice.
Entry 2. well written, but there is no immediacy, or passion. It seems like he is telling the story while drinking tea, or something. Not bad, just less hooky.
Entry 3. Works for me.
Entry 4. It's not clear where they are, or what exactly is going on other than one comment about a lawyer, and the title. I think it would work better if it had sentence about the location and the characters first before launching deep.
Entry 5. This one I loved. Loved, loved, loved. If you write the story send it to me to read. It feels like an original idea, and so heartbreaking.
Entry 6. I was a bit hesitant about the subject matter, but it was well done. I really like this one.
Entry 7. It bugs me that he knows that her youth had been snatched. I don't know. It seems too focused on her without being focused on the situation. Nothing interesting has happened, just a really really long description of a woman, and I'm still not clear what she looks like. How can he sense menace? I don't know. It didn't work for me.
Entry 8. I loved the idea on this one. A vampire robot. Dig it.
Entry 9.@MAP! Well caught. I wrote this one as a tribute to Soulless, the most recent( and awesome) vampire story I've read.
Entry 10. What? I don't get it.
Entry 11. I like the idea. I like it.
Entry 12. I've read it three times, and I like it. However on first reading, I was confused on the POV. I thought the He was the one speaking. I would suggest starting with Natasha before showing her thoughts. Like Natasha moved a branch and saw a human. He must be human...
Entry 13. This one needs to go slower. This feels like a synopsis for a scene rather than a first thirteen. I would suggest adding more detail, like; what does it feel like to resurrect, where is she in the tomb? What does the guards uniform look like? What does it feel like to drink her first blood since dying? What makes her realize her husband killed her son? What does a fifteen hundred year old sleeve look like, or even better smell like?
First place: Entry 5 Soul Parent Second: Entry 1 Developing Third: Entry 6 Victims of Terror
Nice job everyone. 11, 8 and 3 also deserve a place in the top three. ~Sheena
::Votes:: guidelines: "So the challenge is to write an opening (13 lines) that indicates (fairly clearly) that it about vampires, yet hints that it is a fresh take or certainly has something about it, so the editor WILL want to read on despite it being the millionth vampire story he's read that morning."
:First 13: #1 Entry 8 Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep? #2 Entry 9 Bloodless #3 Entry 12 Becoming Human
:Best Title: Bloodless
Entry 1 Developing: Can't say it's clearly about vampires, but it does hint. But also feel like i'm following the thoughts of a serial killer with melodramatic flair. Nice prose, but doesn't grab me yet.
Entry 2 The Taste of Something New: Didn't get any vampire vibe at all; If i was told it was about vampire, i would be intrigued that it has a sci-fi bent. I wasn't clear on some of the detail. The last few lines confused me on the history and social order of that universe. Were "innocents" the same as Earth's brighest, or part of the mix? And did the narrator really look upon them as innocent or as Innocent as a class of people? I probably would not read on, but not for the prose, which is okay, but that the story milieu (new worlds) itself doesn't interest currently.
Entry 3 Common Scents: By the 13 alone I cannot say i sensed a vampire story off the bat. The story does have a hook ("what i had become") and a good pace. Though it does read a bit like Bram Stoker's. I might read on to see how it develops differently or how it's new - but I dont sense "fresh take" in the first 13.
Entry 4 Class Action: I don't get a sense this a vampire story from the first 13. I actually thought it felt like following the thoughts of a serial rapist trying to change his ways. Even knowing it was a vampire story from the start it feels ordinary - like being a vampire was like the common psychopath. Which might have been the idea. it is a 'fresh' take, but with key words like 'class action' and 'case' I sense a court-room drama. Over all my reading ahead would depend on my mood for that kind of drama.
Entry 5 Soul Parent: Can't say this one has a clear vampire vibe, but it does have that dark edge where it could be about vampires. But i admit just from the 13 I got no sense of vampires. Instead it feels like the story of a lonely creature - and reading on to find out it was another vampire story might dissapoint some who expecting something different and new. The prose is very strong and feels fresh - though the story may end up feelin same ol' same ol'. But capturing the reader is what it's about so good job.
Entry 6 Victims of Terror: Definitely a fresh take, and fangs and heal, did make me think "vampire." The setting of 9-11 did balk at me though. Starting off with saying it was merely "a bad day" doesn't gain any sympathy with the MC - but somehow the reader might put that on the author also and not read the story out of spite. Teh second line doesn't help. Very chancy prose; the MC has to prove why his story should be read. The prose reads okay; the vampire's dialogue makes him seem amazingly arrogant and selfcentered - which might be the point. But somehow it feels unrealistic, not just for a vampire's words, but also how one would respond when in custody. Would I read on? based on this 13 the MC is already clear in my mind, and not likable, so I would want a very interesting plot development in the next few lines to make it worth following his story.
Entry 7 My Disturbing Evening with Madame Vasculi: There's no clear idea that she may be a vampire, even with the 'toothy' description. It might be the doctor has a thing for teeth. That's all could get. But there is that feeling of dark foreboding. If i knew it was a vampire story, i can't say it feel 'fresh'. it's very nice description, and the hook actually lie in the title, but would I read on? I'm on the fence.
Entry 8 Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep?: This 13 is definitely vampiric and definitely a fresh take for me. It captures the aura of the vampire story exquisitely but yet you know it will have it's own world that it promises something new. Great prose and I'd definitely read on.
Entry 9. Bloodless: This was very fun to read. You know it's a vampire story and mixing it up with valley-girl-ness (I distinctly got a flashback to Alicia Silverstone in Clueless...hmmm, wait a minute...Bloodless? ) definitely makes it feel fresh. (but I haven't see anything Buffy-related so I don't know if this resembles that in any way.) I think this will easily sell as a short or a novel if the story is done right. The last lines did confuse me a bit: why would a homeless guy attempt to bite a vampire? But even with that confusion I'd read on just for the hilarity.
Entry 10 Honeymoon Bedbugs: i couldn't say this felt like a vampire story at all nor if it was a fresh take. It read like prologue to a thriller - before the dead body is found by the cops. The prose is okay, it's unobtrusive and takes the reader forward. The hook is the soaking of the rags. I'd read on but not because i was expecting a vampire story.
Entry 11 The Vamp Cleaner: definitely a vampire story, and it feels fresh - something of a mixed of a wizard vampire world slash private investigator-noir. The prose can be imporved. it's the little things. Noice is too close to noise (which seems intentionaly chosen anyway); 'seemed' appears twice very close to each other. Thre vamps walk into the room made me laugh - felt like the start of a joke. Saying he said it as a statement felt redundant. "Malevolance painted..." and "sonething felt dark and angry..." - for reason they just didt work for me. Adding a stronger room description might help make it vivid. Still, the plot is strong enough to make wonder about the story. Id read a few lines further to see if the prose quality would have to pick up very quickly. Most, i think, would be interested in the story, but would want stronger prose.
Entry 12 Becoming Human: Definitely a vamp story; it probably is fresh, but doesn't feel fresh from reading it. I could already sense "oh, it's a story where a lady vampire probably acts as an unlikely mom and protector of a human boy who trusts her against the cruel world which wants nothing but to destroy him." The prose is very good but the first 13 alone isn't giving enough - but I sense the plots points will be coming soon. I kept asking what the conflict was about - "is the boy her chance of becoming human? "did she betray her own son by turning him into a vampire, and this boy was a chance at redeeming herself - thus reaging some humanity?" or "Did the boy somehow get under her skin and now she is inexplicably attached too him?" - these were all going thru my mind as possibilities. Frankly it made we want to read on just far enough to sense where it would be going - at that point I would have to decide if I wanted to pursue the story.
Entry 13 Gwendydd's Return: does feel lieka vampire story but I'm not sure how fresh. Everthing read fine except the last sentence which didn't seem to fit in - it made me feel i was in an 80's comedy movie, while the prose prior had a darker more serious feel. Would I read on? yeah, but I have a feeling I'd get tired unless the plot got really interesting or the prose got really funny.
[This message has been edited by billawaboy (edited March 18, 2010).]
[This message has been edited by billawaboy (edited March 18, 2010).]
Maybe I should get off my high horse & vote, huh?
1. I like the medical imagery in here. Definitely a vampire story, but maybe more modern. Still... the only draw present is the simple fact that this is a vampire story. No hints to plot or even much to character, except for the specific voice of the narrator. I don't know that this first page sells me on it yet.
2. Filth and tripe. Also smells amazingly like pungent fromage. Significant use of both punctuation and words. Seems to be organized in a series of word-groupings commonly called sentences, or phrases, to use the vernacular. If this was printed on toilet paper, I wouldn't honk my nose with it.
3. Paragraph one has a noticeably high count of adjectives. Everything is described so descriptively. Wow, what ass commentary. Anywho, paragraph one reads just a tad overwritten to me, and two sets a nice scene, but a bit detached and old-fashioned. Also, if we're specifically looking for a fresh take on the vampire genre, this doesn't seem to fit that bill.
4. I like this... lawyer vs. vampire, who sucks people drier? A fresh take, certainly, but not necessarily a fresh take on the character of a vampire. He desires blood, it's an overwhelming need, yadda yadda. What are his other motivations? What is the trial about? What does he think about it? Why would he contemplate killing the only lawyer (presumably) who is willing to help him? Stretch further for change.
5. Too much telling for my taste. And vampires killing babies? Distasteful, to me. Or are they even dead? Presuming that they don't age, the vampire babies are stuck forever in a too-small body but with a growing intellect and awareness? Interesting in a mental gymnastics way, but not necessarily presented in a way that could wrap up a coherent theme or message, to me.
6. 9/11? I'm not at a too soon stage, I'm at a can we give it a rest stage. However, I like the character of the vampire. Louis always held more attraction to me then Lestat - I like the idea of vampires working with us proles rather than simply harvesting us.
7. Again, nothing particularly new in this depiction of vampires. A little too explanatory to me too. Here's this woman, she's a vampire but she's sad about it, here's the physical descriptions that fit that particular mood or disposition. Maybe the plot was going somewhere interesting, but it took too long for me to get there. Chop half the description out and give me story!
8. Now HERE is a fresh take... robo-vampires! Supa-awesome! Seriously. Plus, the dichotomy of programming vs. driven need, the ability to actually meet your maker and discuss the programmatic dissonance. Writing slightly clunky, but enough to get me through to page two.
9. Humor present, interesting take, evident. Fresh idea somewhat in evidence, and I'd read more to discover exactly why Mr. MC is immune to fangs at his throat. My first guess - he's a robot of some sort. Otherwise the fangs would penetrate, right? Even if he couldn't be made into a vampire, or his blood was distasteful or poisonous, he could still be wounded, no? Writing clunky as well, but I'd still read on.
10. This seems like two different stories, and neither logically connects to the other from what I can tell. I like (read: REALLY liked) the idea of people prostituting their blood out to desperate vampires. Society trying to operate at some level of normalcy = awesome, when normal is no where near normal. Then there's a gunshot and apparently our vamp did it. Why pay Leroy $20 then, if you just wanted to shoot him? Seems a waste of time, effort, and word count.
11. I'm getting a disconnected feeling from this - not from the immediacy of the story, but like I'm separated from thew writing itself by a couple trips through Babelfish. Interested in designated feeding-sites for vampires (normalcy again) but then three stock vampire types come in and ruin my illusion.
12. Humans nearly extinct = weird train of thought. What are vampires eating, if not us? Rhinos? Opossums? Plus, I can't quite relate to the idea that this vampire's first thought upon finding a human child would be "Eat EAT EAT". If I saw a near-extinct chicken, I wouldn't immediately deep fry it with the Colonel's eleven herbs & spices. I'd breed the damn thing and raise it on a farm. Also, the boy is truly that warm that his body heat is radiating several feet? Pavement in the sunshine gets hotter than my body temperature does. Is this a nuclear-powered robot maybe?!?!?
Holy Jezebel there are a lot of these entries.
13. Scottish highlander vampires! Woooo! "Wallace, Wallace!" However, the writing is a little off-putting to me. Too many indefinite pronouns. Can't figure out who the narrator is, who Gwendydd is, or why she hasn't found something new to wear in 1,500 years. One would think that fashions would change somewhat over that span of time.
Man, I'm apparently a little tough to please today. Okay, voting:
Third: 6 - Victims of Terror Second: 4 - Class Action First: 8 - Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep?
Title - 8 - Do Androids Eat Electric Sheep?
[This message has been edited by Wolfe_boy (edited March 19, 2010).]
My thoughts were along the lines of "Give a vampire a human, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a vampire to grow humans and he'll eat only so long as he doesn't let the will-to-live and ineffable joie de vivre of his crops overcome him and his race in a generational battle between good and evil, dark and light, eat or be eaten."
Entry 1: I thought the premise was interesting, but I was really put off by the POV change (Blood, rushing through my veins) which persists for a bit and then the narrative goes back to describing the process. The vampire link in was a bit subtle if you read it cold.
Entry 2: This reads a bit more like a sketch for a story than an opening. The only action is the MC setting sail. I didn't think there was a sufficient hook.
Entry 3: I think this opening has some promise, but ultimately falls flat with too much description. The first sentence needs to show how he perceives the aroma as an opiate. I would presume it doesn't just happen.
Entry 4: I was taken by this as I read the opening. The aspect of genocide was nearly enough to be a hook, but the "I think we have a case" phrase came too much out of the blue without a proper setting that it jarred me right out of the MC's thoughts.
Entry 5: The opening presents a great premise: infant vampires. I think the opening is weakened by the presenting the infants as angry children, yet the caskets are still tiny and they are still described as infants. The baby longing is a nice twist. It humanizes the soulless vampire, but it deflates any thought of crisis and makes the opening more of a complete vignette, self-contained. No hook.
Entry 6: Other than a needed tag for the MC's first comment, I liked this opening. It links the vampire to a real event and manages to personalize him. His last comment wants you to move on and listen to more of what he has to say.
Entry 7: This was an interesting opening. I thought it a more traditional vampire story. I was jarred a bit by the title talking about evening and the woman thanking the Doctor for calling on her so early in the morning. If the Dr. did arrive in the evening, I think it needs to be in the body of the opening. Without knowing this is a vamp theme, I think the opening is a bit too subtle.
Entry 8: I liked everything about this… from the title to the end. I thought the bit about the programming defused the flow a bit and might be better placed outside the first 13 and a more hookish last sentence substituted, but that is a minor thing compared to the whole.
Entry 9. Good opening. Nice twist. Of course I thought the MC was the vampire, at first. For prefection's sake, I think the hook needs a bit of toning up… perhaps KDW cut it off.
Entry 10. Don't understand the title, but I liked the opening. I definitely wanted to read further.
Entry 12. The opening doesn't quite go far enough. However we do know human's are scarce and she is a vampire. It seems a bit traditional. The title would keep me going, however.
Entry 13: This has a nice frame to it. The vampire story seems to be set in a fantasy/medieval setting. The only criticism is to my way of thinking a 1,500 year old sleeve would disintegrate if used as an impromptu napkin.
OK, before I start, these are going to sound harsh, and here's why:
I hate vampires. I've never really read a vampire story I;ve liked (closest is probably GRRM's "Fevre Dream"). That's in twifty-thrump years of reading. So anything here that intrigues me is going to have to be very very very special indeed...
Entry 1 - Heh. Overwritten rubbish. Write a story, don't fall in love with your own prose.
Entry 2 - It's vampires in space - which is not new - and the opening is all backstory. Doesn't offer me anything.
Entry 3 - Pun title is not a good sign, and there is nothing here that seems to be original - our narrator has become a vampire and then immediately zips into the backstory.
Entry 4 - OK, the idea of humans poisoning their blood against vampires is good and logical, and then the legal action over that follows nicely. Sadly, the prose just doesn't live, for me. But marks for the idea.
Entry 5 - Baby vampires! Meh.
Entry 6 - Impossible to believe that this would be the first trigger of the existence of vampires. Shame, because the final dialogue line is a killer.
Entry 7 - I don't see anything in this I haven't seen before; indeed, with pseudo-Romanian names and a "doctor" we seem to be in serious retread territory.
Entry 8 - Robovamp! Nice conceit but the conceit, like the attack, is over in a moment, and I don't see anything yet beneath it.
Entry 9 - No idea what's really happening here, or what makes it a different treatment of vampires.
Entry 10 - See entry 9.
Entry 11 - You lost me at "three vamps walk into the room" because that line makes it sound like a set-up for a joke. Potentially interesting idea of the "vampcleaner" here,though, you just need to work on the execution.
Entry 12 - Once again, I don't see anything here that makes me think this is going to be different from so many other vampire stories.
Entry 13 - Packs a lot in; indeed, it reads like a synopsis. But I don't see the twist, the original idea.
My votes go to: #1 - Entry 6, for that killer line. #2 - Entry 8, for the conceit. #3 - Entry 4, for the double idea.
Apologies if anyone feels hard done by, but either I am missing a whole lot, or lots of people didn't see the contest the wy I did - to write something different. I only realised after posting mine that I fall into the same trap - this is an old story that was an experiment in future tense hyperfiction, it branches off into different lines. But the first thirteen barely shows even a hint of the future tense, let alone anything else.
Oh, and the "before you look away" is not second person or POV shift or anything. It's "you" in the conversation sense of "someone".
#1 - Good prose, but it could easily be a story about a heroine addict
#2 - Really info-dumpish to me, but it is about vampires
#3 - The first and second paragraph don't feel cohesive. Lots of info-dumping on the second paragraph. Not getting a vamp feeling.
#4 - I sort-of have a vampire vibe from this, but if it was outside of this challenge I'm not sure if I would have gotten "vampire" from it. It feels very passive and doesn't feel like it's moving in any direction yet.
#5 - When I first saw the reference to infants and feeding I immediately thought of breast feeding... hrm... even re-reading it I'm not sure if it is talking about breast feeding or not. Because we know this is supposed to be about vampires the second sentence in the first paragraph makes sense (Fifteen infants, waiting for the dusk to end, to wake.). I don't know if it would have made sense outside of this challenge. That line bothers me for some reason... it feels forced. But I think this is good.
#6 - Hurts like hell? Actually I'd imagine it wouldn't hurt at all. It'd be something like standing 20 feet away from a nuclear blast - complete and total incineration. I don't really care that it is 9-11, but I think it could easily be just a random hijacking where the plane was driven into the ocean or forest - the only reason I think this might be a good idea is that it gives you much more room to maneuver the story. Interesting start, but for some reason the dialog isn't working for me, there isn't anything really talking about where the person is, what is going on, a bit of info dump at the top and right into dialog.
#7 - Descriptive. Interesting. This is another example of the narrator not reacting but simply observing and then jumping right into dialog. It feels jarring to me.
#8 - I like it. Very good.
#9 - Very fun for a first 13... I'm not sure how well that pace would work after a few pages though.
#10 - meh
#11 - Could use some cleanup, right now it reads as plain descriptions - I'm not getting much of the narrators own voice. Some passive voice. "Blood seemed to cover half of" ... what does that mean really? Blood either did or did not cover half of the place.
#12 - Fun start, I like it, and it is for sure about vampires. With that new movie (Daybreak I think it is) I'm not sure if I'd consider this a new direction.
#13 - This really reminds me of stuff like Underworld and other vampire movies so I really don't get a "fresh start" of vampiredome from this. This feels like a very traditional vampire story.
First – Entry #8 Second – Entry #5 Third – Entry #12
Really great first 13s - I think it was hard to make it feel like a vampire story without outright saying it. I had to go by the criteria of the critique, but I thought most were pretty good drafts. A good many should be submitted upon rewrites.
For those interested - the 'new' thing about mine was having a female head vampire - she would be the original, before mr. transylvania even. In the movies it always some old dude who's the master vamp, so I thought I'd reverse it. Guess it ain't that new. Maybe I really should read some vampire stories...
Oh, about the doctor: he doesn't know, he is just observant (as doctors are trained to be), but also mesmerized by her, under her spell; and he does have a sense of strong premonition, foreboding, and danger - horror is like that I though... Yes, it's early morning - but the story continues into the evening and it gets progressively more disturbing as Vasculi reveals her dark natures.
And thanks Skadder for running this. I think it was a huge success. Maybe a werewolf one next? lol. Naw, I need a break from the supernatural, Maybe a random one next...anyone got ideas?
Here are my critiques: 1 – The writing was eloquent, but in the first paragraph the narrator moves from what the reader (presumably) will experience to what the speaker will experience. It read as though it was a sequence, but it threw me out of the narration. I suppose the thought was in following the blood. The “your” in the second paragraph seemed to be a different “you” than from the first.
2 – I actually liked this one, but it didn’t fall in my top three. Vampires in space kind of reminded me of Jason X or some other cheesy horror movie that ends up in space. BTW, Wolfe_boy, you had 24 adjectives in your first paragraph compared to my 6 (not including articles and possessive pronouns) – Thus said the kettle.
3 – Very traditional, but unoriginal.
4 – I liked the first paragraph. The second – “Then there was the smell of poison…” totally threw me out of the story. I read that sentence over a couple of times trying to understand it. The third paragraph also confused me – I wondered if these were two vampires at that point (or just a play off of lawyers often being referred to as vampires).
5 – I like this one a lot. The idea of a “maternal” instinct in a vampire intrigued me, although I believe there was a little of that in Interview…. Still, I thought it was a strong opening.
6 – I liked this one, but I had a couple of hang-ups: The flight happened during the day and I questioned whether a supernatural being would need to use an airplane for transport. Maybe you will explain these questions in the story you are now planning.
7 – I liked the writing – very "traditional", but I like traditional for vampire stories. I thought the last sentence was a nice hook – why would a vampire request a doctor?
8 – It was original (except for the title). The “This..”-line seemed kind of sudden. Obviously, the openings that had “This…”-lines with necks snapping did well for those needing proof of vampirism, but I prefer a more subtle approach. Anyhow, I did consider this for a place at #3, but eventually chose Madame Vasculi.
9 – This one had the most unique voice. It kind of like reminded me of a valley vampire story. I also liked the “You’re that…”-line. Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of “valley talk”, and that seemed to be the direction this was going.
10 – I wasn’t sure who all were talking here. I am assuming Leroy is a “Renfield” type of character. I believe he was shot in the head – not sure why or by who.
11 – The name “Noice” bothered me for some reason – it doesn’t really roll off the tongue. It read more like a screenplay. Strangely, I once started a screenplay about vampires who were a special order assigned to assassinate vampires that would go on killing sprees – I called the order “gleaners”.
12 – I really liked this one. Children of Men with vampires. Nice premise.
13 – This read a little too much like a more traditional fantasy story for my tastes. Nothing against fantasy stories , I just don’t think I’d like one mixed with vampires (It’s kind of like chocolate and steak – great side-by-side, but not mixed).
[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited March 20, 2010).]