recovering_cynic

Reading Excuses - Oct 3 - Recovering Cynic - Chapter 3

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Again, just looking for major critiques since there will be a lot of re-writing.

Chapter 1

Jimbo Casey is an ex-convict going in for drug testing, he fails the test and begins fleeing from the police. Kyle Endrasko is the sheriff and Jimbo's cousin. He pursues Jimbo who has driven into the back roads in rural Oklahoma. Akari is not human, but she works for an organization on earth that protects earth from outsiders. Akari and her squad of soldiers, who are human "replicants", detect an outsider about to break through from another realm. They get on a jet to intercept the breakthrough, but don't get there in time. Jimbo and Kyle's chase ends up at the breakthrough site. The monster that has broken through is killed by Akari and Co., but not before it tosses Jimbo through the breach into the realm it came from. Kyle confronts Akari and accidentally touches her unearthly sword, which renders him unconscious.

Chapter 2

Jimbo falls into a strange world and is captured and thrown into a giant prison wagon that is pulled by monstrous creatures and driven by human. The cage is full of human-sized moths.

Chapter 3

What you are reading now.

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I really liked this chapter. It was paced really well and it kept me interested.

The only thing that really stood out to me was the section where he meets the president. It felt a little heavy handed and depending on the way your story is intended to develop I was wondering if it is necessary for character motivation or are you trying to establish the power of the outsiders orgainzation. Does he speak with all american recruits? Is having him be the one to talk to the sheriff about the outsiders thier way of showing power. I guess it all depends on how subtle you want the outsiders influence to appear to your readers. Also if the main reason he is going along with it is to help his cousin it might be good to weave that in more in the chapter it would lend to his motivation. With that you could clue in that the organization was in charge but the visit with someone powerful might not be necessary.

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I just read this chapter and I have just a few things that I have to say.

There was a lot of "something like" or "looks like" when describing the different races. I feel that if you are trying to draw the reader in you want to describe these "people" through the eyes of your pov character. A way to do this, I believe, is to have the figures "remind" Kyle of something when looking at the creatures. I would also cut down a little on describing the amount of differences for each creature. It wasn't really progressing the story but more so giving me the understanding of the multitude of races that could be involved in between these "dimensions".

What I did like was the epigraph. The epigraph draws me in to getting to the next chapter to find out who that person is that was 'born' the same day as Kyle. It is a real good hook.

Edited by RedBeardRaven
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My first impressions is that there was a lot of telling going on throughout the chapter.

The chapter started well, with Kyle waking up in the "hospital". I might suggest establishing a mood or emotion for him then, beyond the initial disorientation. Something to anchor to and color the next portion, because things are about to get weird (again).

I liked the part with his handwriting being bad.

I understand that the formality of the nurse's speech is one way to distinguish here, but it felt a little off to me. I almost wanted her to speak more normally, or to be even more obviously struggling with the English speech. I'm assuming here that she isn't a native English speaker, but that's kind of how she came across to me.

I thought Kyle didn't have any motivation to go try and save his cousin. In fact, from what I've seen so far, Kyle might well say "let him rot" and want to go home. Now, there are almost an infinite number of reasons Kyle might also want to help his cousin, from family obligation to wanting to be the "hero", but I think this is a spot we need to see some of the thoughts at motivations. Additionally, I think it might be more effective if his first inclination is to say no, and maybe even says it out loud, before letting whatever other reasons push him to do it talk him into it and he goes through with it.

Once the get into the port of entry, the telling really steps up a notch. In addition, the details are a mix of memorable and not. The foyer is described as a fancy governmental reception area, but what about it makes it fancy? (The elegant and understated silver posts holding signs and velvet ropes?) What about it makes it governmental? (The long lines of grumbling entities that shuffle slowly forward, inches at a time?) The other creatures are more well described, especially the lizard picking its teeth, but it is still a lot of telling. Even when Kyle reacts, you tell us that his first instinct is to reach for his gun, rather than just showing the reach for the gun, finding the empty holster. (Also, this is mentioned after the porcupine approached Kyle and was shooed. I imagine he actually would have reached for his gun before he could process things enough to tell much more than "something scary coming at me", let alone be shooed away.)

I liked the shot and its after-effects, but again you describe Kyle as "he felt like he had been beaten", instead of "he hadn't felt this bad since he'd been strung up and used as a pinata (or whatever)".

The Chinese language bit was also nice, and it was a particular touch of showing instead of telling.

At the end, Kyle has the "pieces just fit". Now, I don't know what the various drugs they gave him were, or other aspects of the story, but it still seems an awfully quick conversion to "this must all be true". It seems especially quick in that he can suddenly understand where they are going.

One final thought... I wonder if you could intermix the last chapter (with Jumbo falling) with parts of this chapter? It might be fun, it might not; I'm not sure. I was recalling how well the first one kept my attention and kept things happening with the quick cuts between the different characters. It may help with these chapters as well. Or another option might be to keep some of the transitional stuff out, and use slowly lengthening scenes to ease us into the longer chapters. Something to think about, you know, along with the other thousands of things we need to keep track of when writing.

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Great suggestions, all of them. I think on my first re-write, I am going to need to focus on character motivations. I discovery write to a certain extent, so while I had an initial idea of what would motivate the characters, that idea has morphed over time, and I am going to need to go back and adjust.

I just have to resist doing it now. I've killed stories by editing them to death before the whole thing was written, and right now, I'm only halfway done with this.

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Not much to say in addition to the other comments. I thought the president bit was heavy-handed as well, I still feel like there would be a delegate in charge of explaining that.

I get a big "men in black" vibe from the whole the setup, and I would consider lampshading it; i.e. have someone make a crack about how it's like the movie. That might be cheesy, I don't know, but it's worth considering.

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Now, that was an interesting chapter.

Funny that Hubay thought about Men in Black, for me, I imagined Sanctuary. Now that you've mentioned it, the piece is totally Men in Black.

My main point here is about the characters motivations:

* Seiku selects Kyle to rescue his cousin. Given what we saw of the place where Jimbo is, Kyle seems ill-equiped to go rescue him (even with crystal fingers). As I didn't believe this, I started to question Seiku's motivations. What does she really want him to do, since she's obviously hiding a number of things. In contrast, she seems too open about her organization : "Yes, we control multiple countries, didn't you know?" She is showing off her power for no result : calling on the Governor (or even a ranking FBI agent) should have been enough. Right now, Kyle knows too much about her operations.

* Kyle isn't really motivated to save his cousin ("Sure, I'll save the guy"). In fact, aside from his physical sensations, I got very little feeling from the guy; it's like he doesn't care. I would freak out if I ever found out that some of my fingers had turned to crystal, but he only notices it and does as he's told.

A couple of things I liked :

* The handwriting : I have terrible handwriting myself, so I can certainly empathize with him

* He checks the girl out : that was very manly of him; very believable.

Oh, and did you rename Kyle? There is a mention of Lukke on page 2 where I think it should be Kyle.

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