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Zea
 Posted: Sep 2 2015, 06:42 PM
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Hey everyone!

I started a REALLY, REALLY rough prologue of my new novel. But, I need some feedback on whether or not it's worth pursuing or not.

I enjoy constructive criticism~ so hit me hard.

Again, please don't nitpick at the spelling errors or whatnot.. it's just a really rough version due to the fact I'm at a library that has a time limit on the PC's.


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novemberist
 Posted: Sep 3 2015, 10:28 PM
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sometimes the don't read this meta opening is cool

it did not work for you, it feels like a way to add some punch to an intro that doesn't have any

it feels like you went halfway with the snooty meta-asshole narrator. that aspect of the character disappears for some of these brutal info-dumps you got going on (there must be a more subtle way to dramatize this information, there MUST be)

does the principal have a gift? would it be weird that someone with her (whatever) would go missing without a trace? your character feels the MYSTERY of this in a really bland tell-not-show way that I don't really feel as the reader.

figure that out, figure out the hook (it needs to be stronger than "who am i and why am i an asshole" because the character hasn't displayed any competence or appeal enough for me to even care that much) and go forward from there.

on a broader should i continue the story sense... eh, it's okay, i don't know enough yet to judge.
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abbey
 Posted: Sep 5 2015, 08:53 AM
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hey, just a heads up! i had to sign up to wattpad and/or connect my facebook to read your draft. copy/pasting is also disabled on wattpad, which makes it hard to quote your writing. you might get more feedback if you put it somewhere like pastebin. :]

onto the hard critique.

QUOTE (novemberist)
sometimes the don't read this meta opening is cool [...] it did not work for you

agreed! sometimes it's cool, but usually because the information is so dangerous and/or tragic and/or mind-warping that you'd be better off not reading it. that's immediately upping the stakes. the aim of the very first sentence, page, few thousand words you write -- be it a prologue or chapter one -- is to hook your reader.

you do that by telling them something exciting. in this case, your something exciting is a) someone has gone missing and b) the narrator, among others, has superpowers.

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Why did you even bother picking this book up? How could you possibly be interested in what my life holds? You know absolutely nothing about me and you've decided to open this and find out. What a waste. Put the book down now- do yourself a favor.

No? Okay.

Are you sure?

Fine. But don't say I didn't warn you.

if you're trying to get me to put your book down by the first page, congrats, this would do it. why are you disrespecting your reader? "oh, but i'm not, the narrator is!" is not an acceptable answer.

what is your intent here, as the writer?

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I guess I should start with the nationwide, famous disappearance of Principal Barbara K. Jane.

yes. as in, make this your first sentence and give it some gravity.

QUOTE
the house phone rang. My father, who was in the kitchen, picked it up and answered with his famous: "Warren Residence. This is Bartholomew."

that seems like a normal way to answer the phone. why is it unusual?

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Before I could head upstairs without him chewing me out for not wearing a helmet, I heard the sound of clanging metal. I rushed into the kitchen to see what had happened and I found my father gripping the receiver with a pale face.

pet peeve, but writers often forget to separate their omniscient knowledge of the impending story from the character's initial cluelessness. especially when writing in first person. if you knew your parent was in the kitchen and heard a vague 'metal clanging' sound (like pots and pans), you might be curious, but you probably wouldn't drop everything and rush into the kitchen.

small things like that can make your character feel real or unreal.

QUOTE
He had informed me of what the Academy council had told him: no one knew where she was. It seemed there was no signs of foul play or disturbance at her residence. There seemed to be no clues at the Academy either.

someone has gone missing and yet this is an unexciting way to write about it. lots of second-hand information, past tense, wishy washy words, "it seemed"...

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The government was no longer a threat to us.

why are you defusing all tension in your prologue?

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I guess I should explain. You might be rather slow and not understand the clear print of this book.

why is your narrator a dick? this is especially onerous given the infodump that follows.

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Every person finds out if they had been blessed with a gift typically around the age of puberty. With your body changing, you might notice hair everywhere, sweating becomes profuse, and- well, you can shoot electricity out of your eye balls. Cool.

this isn't what puberty was like for everyone? (i kid, i kid.)

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I hope you're keeping up here because I hate to keep spewing this out.

Are you good? You'll learn more on the way. Try rereading and not speed reading. It helps, trust me.

your narrator hates telling this story and now i hate reading it. we're a perfect match!

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Oh!

You might have a rather good question. Who am I? Why am I bothering to tell you this story? Why am I a sarcastic asshole?

Well.. step into my world for a moment. I'll let you know what's going on.

sorry, buddy, you've negged me too much.

even excepting your time limit in the library, you have more issues with story and sentence structure than spelling, which is pretty kosher. examine the structure of these sentences and see where they clunk:
QUOTE
I found my father gripping the receiver with a pale face.

QUOTE
I chewed on the inside of my cheek, flooding my father with questions, to which he responded with a shrug.

QUOTE
They were known to be rather common with rather common skills and gifts. It was the family of pure gifteds where power surged from them.


now for the most important question you asked!
QUOTE
I need some feedback on whether or not it's worth pursuing or not.

how do you feel about it? is it worth pursuing? ultimately no one can tell you whether or not to devote all of the hours, effort and brain space it takes to turn an idea into a full-fledged story. you either want to tell this story or you don't! you may decide you don't want to tell it in novel form, you want to write a short or a poem or a new wave song, whatever. but you have to want to give voice to it. that is more important than anything.

it doesn't matter if it's a unique idea (it isn't), if the way you are telling it is new and interesting. at the moment, it isn't much of anything. it's just a jerk reading off facts and being as bored as the reader.

i genuinely hope that helps.
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