Poll: How interested are you in reading more?
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View poll results: How interested are you in reading more?
1- Well that sucked
8 15%
2
8 15%
3
24 45%
4
11 21%
5- MOAR! NOW!
2 4%
Voters: 53.
#1
I'm writing a little something. Mostly out of boredom but also to see if I can do it. I hear that the key to writing is to grab a readers attention on the first page. So here's the first page of my story. Please tell me if it makes you interested to read more.

Chapter 1


I walked through the forest as I had numerous times before. The air was heavy with the scent of fallen pine needles and bug spray. In these woods you were more likely to succumb to a voracious throng of blood sucking insects than to a mountain lion or bear. The crunch of the undergrowth and twigs was the only sound except for the rustle of the trees in the slight breeze that was making its way through the seemingly endless troughs and crests of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains here in northern New Mexico. I began to worry that the silence indicated the presence of a predator far more dangerous than a horde of mosquitoes. I carried on nonetheless. I had to get where my feet were taking me.

Why I had decided to stray off the bike path after dusk was a mystery to me. I’m very familiar with these hills and know the direction to march if I were ever lost so that wasn’t a concern. What was a concern is that I had apparently decided to undertake this voyage barefoot. While trying to work out where my brain had been when I started out on my bicycle this evening movement in the trees caught my attention. A bit up the hill from where I was standing there appeared to be a life or death struggle. I was already walking barefoot in the woods with a thousand tiny vampires just aching to get at my sweet plasma so I decided to throw caution to the wind and investigate the wild like an eager tv ranger.

I tried to focus on the area of struggle but any real light had been gone from the forest for nearly an hour. The moon wasn’t due for a few hours if at all by the lack of the telltale glow to the east. I had to use what little light late dusk provided. I decided to go down a few yards where there was more cover and creep stealthily to the side of the action. As I worked my way through the pines the victim of the apparent struggle let out a scream that I immediately took as human but it seemed too high pitched. I cocked my head to see if that would give me superhuman hearing. It didn’t work. All it accomplished was me standing as if trying to remember some long lost fact about sports trivia. I was also scared to the point of losing control over my bodily functions.

I stood still for another a minute or two and debated against going to investigate any further. I figured I was already inviting a deadly infection on my little toe so I might as well go on. My curiosity was piqued. I should know better but hey nobody is perfect. I moved up the hill as I must’ve easily been forty feet to the right of the disturbance of the peace of the woods. When I thought I had climbed up far enough I began to move towards where the incident was taking place. I could no longer discern any movement from the shadows.This made me uneasy. For all I knew I was being stalked as the second course. I wondered what might be for dessert.


Get the end of chapter 1 and 3 more chapters here: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=22553397#post22553397
Last edited by magicninja_ at Dec 10, 2009,
#5
This is now a make your own adventure:

A) Investigate

B) Play pokémon

C) Call that girl

D) Drink blood


Seriously though, it's a nice little piece, but I'm no expert.
And what is more, there's been a bloody purple nose and some bloody purple clothes that were messing up the lobby floor. It's just apartment house rules so all you 'partment fools remember : one man's ceiling is another man's floor.
#6
Quote by magicninja_
I figured "you" would make the story seem unreadable.



All I'm saying is that you could phrase things better, so you don't have to keep repeating the same word. It will make the writing feel more mature. It's just my opinion though.
#7
3 Since I'm so bored of the whole random scenario sort of thing. 4 If I wasnt
Quote by Kyose
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I'm pretty sure you just won the thread. I can confirm everything you just said as well being a heavily qualified geek myself....

Congrats sir
#8
nice story, could turn out great
only your sentences are rather long. make them shorter by commas or so
#9
nice...you kinda just get thrown into the story though ...maybe another little bit before it? so I give it a 3.
"I'll have 2 number nines, a number nine large, a number six with extra dip, a number seven, two number forty-fives, one with cheese, and a large soda" ~Melvin 'Big Smoke' Harris.
#10
post in the Songwriting & Lyrics section, you'll get better responses. read the rules, though.
#12
Quote by Roundwounds
3

I'd continue and see if it went somewhere that interests me.



Agreed. It wasn't spectacular, but I'd at least be interested to see what comes next.
#15
Pretty good, there are a few places that need commas and such, and the line "I was also scared to the point of losing control over my bodily functions." is just kinda thrown in at the end of that paragraph, it doesn't flow with what came before it. Maybe you wanted it that way, idk.

Also, the last four sentences of the passage are kinda choppy and don't flow together nicely, but all in all, it's pretty good.
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Women and children first
And the children first
And the children
#19
Ehh...it's alright. My main criticism would be that you appear to be rushing into things a little fast...which is fine if you only intend on writing a short piece, but I personally found the almost instantaneous jump from 'Ho-hum, just walkin' in the woods' to 'Oh shit! Possibility of monsters' a little disconcerting. Suspense generally needs a little more time to build than that.
#20
Quote by PeZ546
Ehh...it's alright. My main criticism would be that you appear to be rushing into things a little fast...which is fine if you only intend on writing a short piece, but I personally found the almost instantaneous jump from 'Ho-hum, just walkin' in the woods' to 'Oh shit! Possibility of monsters' a little disconcerting. Suspense generally needs a little more time to build than that.


a punctution proof read would be worth doing too. It's got potential TS keep working on it
Looking to buy a Fender Jagstang, u sellin?
#21
I vote 3. It's a tad overly descriptive and jerky, but you have a good eye for metaphor and simile. Just focus on making your writing flow a bit better, using commas at the right moment, and generally allowing your sentences to come naturally rather than searching for "clever points".

In other words, write as you might speak.
"I hope I die before I get old"-Words of Pete Townsend, 1945-

"I hope I die before I turn into Pete Townsend"-Words of Kurt Cobain, 1967-1994

Funny old world eh.
#22
"A bit up the hill from where I was standing there appeared to be a life or death struggle."

"For all I knew I was being stalked as the second course. I wondered what might be for dessert."

"All it accomplished was me standing as if trying to remember some long lost fact about sports trivia. I was also scared to the point of losing control over my bodily functions."


Work on those sentences. If I were writing a parody of this sort of story, that's almost exactly what I'd do. All three of them also conjure this up:

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#23
Quote by PeZ546
Ehh...it's alright. My main criticism would be that you appear to be rushing into things a little fast...which is fine if you only intend on writing a short piece, but I personally found the almost instantaneous jump from 'Ho-hum, just walkin' in the woods' to 'Oh shit! Possibility of monsters' a little disconcerting. Suspense generally needs a little more time to build than that.

Agree with this. You can't simultaneously try to build an air of subtle suspense and discomfort at the same time as an exciting hook. It's like trying to punch someone in the face, whilst attempting to subtly intimidate them.
If you're wanting to go down the shocking hook route, don't bother with so much of the description of the setting, but keep up with the fellow's internal thoughts (however make them more suitable to the situation; to scare the reader you want them to put themselves in the characters shoes, and if he's gung-ho and jokey, the reader won't feel scared either).
If you want to create tension, go the other way and feel free to add colour to the character and setting, but again keep focused on the mood.

I agree on the "I" thing too. I mean, obviously it's written in the first person, but it's very basic "I did this. Then I did this. I did this too.", but I couldn't really think of any direct suggestions against that.
Actually, try just mixing it up with some passive sentences. For example "As I worked my way through the pines the victim of the apparent struggle let out a scream" could be "Working my way through the pines, a piercing scream made its way to my ears".
Not actually that, because that's shit, but... that.
#24
the first paragraph seemed like you got it out of a thesaurus. like "voracious and throng" in the same sentence. yeah it did kinda go fast. ima give it a 3, but i have high standards.
#25
Actually, can I ask what your motivation was to use the first person? ie what is the context of this writing, is the narrator describing events days later? To a friend? In a diary? Think of your theoretical audience. If he's supposedly addressing someone, telling the tale, then just think how you'd tell the story yourself. You want the narrator to be believable as a person, and YOU are a real person. Speak as yourself as you won't get caught out by any inconsistencies in the character, and you'll have an instant genuine idiolect. If not yourself, perhaps consider a friend.
Similarly, don't shy from addressing the reader conversationally, or drawing on supposed shared experiences. If you want to say "you know that feeling X?", say it. ...though probably nothing as explicit as describing a feeling, as that's a pretty simplistic way to convey a mood.
Last edited by MadClownDisease at Dec 10, 2009,
#26
Another thing about the first person perspective;

'I began to worry that the silence indicated the presence of a predator far more dangerous than a horde of mosquitoes. I carried on nonetheless'

Now, that sentence indicates that the narrator has some sort of foreknowledge of these monsters, or whatever they are, but you've got him deliberately withholding this from the reader, which is very annoying to say the least. Plus it makes it seem as though he's willingly placing himself in danger, which doesn't make a lot of sense.
#31
Some of the sentences read kind of choppy. You separate them into separate sentences when they could be one longer sentence.

"I began to worry that the silence indicated the presence of a predator far more dangerous than a horde of mosquitoes. I carried on nonetheless. I had to get where my feet were taking me."

I think that would look better, and read better like this:

I began to worry that the silence indicated the presence of a predator far more dangerous than a horde of mosquitoes, but carried on nonetheless; I had to get where my feet were taking me.

Another example would be here:

"The moon wasn’t due for a few hours if at all by the lack of the telltale glow to the east. I had to use what little light late dusk provided. I decided to go down a few yards where there was more cover and creep stealthily to the side of the action."

Besides that first sentence not making a whole lot of sense (I might be reading it wrong) the second two sentences should be linked together. Add a "so" to link them together. "...provided, so I decided..."

Now that first sentence doesn't read well at all. Like you just tacked something on at then end without fixing the beginning. "The moon wasn’t due for a few hours if at all by the lack of the telltale glow to the east." That bolded part doesn't. I'm not really sure how I'd fix that, but I'm sure you can think of something. Of course I might be reading it wrong, as I'm exhausted and had a tough work day.

Just remember when writing that commas, conjunctions, semicolons, and dashes are your friend. A lot of time in academic writing we leave those things out because we want our points to be crisp and to the point. But in creative writing we want everything to flow naturally. It's not bad at all, but with improvements it could be even better. Your word choice is good, and the story is intriguing. I'd read more.

Hope this helps.
*-)
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i kinda wish we all had a penis and vagina instead of buttholes

i mean no offense to buttholes and poop or anything

Rest in Peace, Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and Eric Garner and Mike Brown
Last edited by element4433 at Dec 10, 2009,
#32
Quote by element4433
Some of the sentences read kind of choppy. You separate them into separate sentences when they could be one longer sentence.

"I began to worry that the silence indicated the presence of a predator far more dangerous than a horde of mosquitoes. I carried on nonetheless. I had to get where my feet were taking me."

I think that would look better, and read better like this:

I began to worry that the silence indicated the presence of a predator far more dangerous than a horde of mosquitoes, but carried on nonetheless; I had to get where my feet were taking me.

Another example would be here:

"The moon wasn’t due for a few hours if at all by the lack of the telltale glow to the east. I had to use what little light late dusk provided. I decided to go down a few yards where there was more cover and creep stealthily to the side of the action."

Besides that first sentence not making a whole lot of sense (I might be reading it wrong) the second two sentences should be linked together. Add a "so" to link them together. "...provided, so I decided..."

Now that first sentence doesn't read well at all. Like you just tacked something on at then end without fixing the beginning. "The moon wasn’t due for a few hours, if at all, by the lack of the telltale glow to the east." That bolded part doesn't. I'm not really sure how I'd fix that, but I'm sure you can think of something. Of course I might be reading it wrong, as I'm exhausted and had a tough work day.

Just remember when writing that commas, conjunctions, semicolons, and dashes are your friend. A lot of time in academic writing we leave those things out because we want our points to be crisp and to the point. But in creative writing we want everything to flow naturally. It's not bad at all, but with improvements it could be even better. Your word choice is good, and the story is intriguing. I'd read more.

Hope this helps.


Maybe some commas where I underlined?
#33
Quote by magicninja_
Maybe some commas where I underlined?
Maybe. You'd definitely need a comma before the "if at all." But I'm still not sure about the last part, mainly because if you take it out the two parts don't make sense.

The moon wasn’t due for a few hours by the lack of the telltale glow to the east.

See what I mean? I guess if I was going to fix it I'd make it two separate sentences, which I know contradicts things I said in my previous post.

The moon wasn't due for a few hours, if at all. This was evident by the lack of the telltale glow to the east.

I'm not sure how much I like that. Fixing sentences like that has always been tough for me.
*-)
Quote by Bob_Sacamano
i kinda wish we all had a penis and vagina instead of buttholes

i mean no offense to buttholes and poop or anything

Rest in Peace, Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and Eric Garner and Mike Brown
#34
Go to S&L.
There's only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!
#35
The whole "life or death struggle" sentence is like throwing a dictionary-definition in your readers face.

A famous quote I remember by stephen king went something like "when you paint a picture you want to begin with your words ... and let it finish in your readers mind" in other words don't summarize, let the reader asses the situation for themselves as you describe the events unfolding. That's part of suspense. And don't pin down the details to the point where there's no room for interpretation. If you think about it, that's why many popular lyrics use vague metaphors so you can adapt them to your own personal experience.

I don't feel your main characters motivation either. Why did he want to go hiking today? (you don't have to say it, but it helps to know the answer) Why is he approaching a "life or death struggle" does he have a death wish? Is he dumb or just so bored with life he's compelled to put himself at risk. The more questions you ask and answer like this the more real your character will become.

If you're truly serious about writing I highly recommend an excellent book (with an unfortunate title) called "So you want to write".

And a piece of parting advice I borrow from the book: It doesn't matter where you start just get started, you can always fix it later.

-peace