Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Favours Done | One Favour Asked

This past week, Tracey Wood demonstrated to me how powerful word-of-mouth can really be.

The Query Goblin had been suffering a very empty maw for several weeks when Tracey put a single endorsement for it on Query Tracker, and BOOM! The Goblin's tummy was abruptly full-to-bursting with delicious queries!

So thank you, Tracey, for doing me such a good turn; I truly appreciate it.
(Psst; everyone! Go visit Tracey's blog--it's brand new!)


And if that weren't enough, Melodie Wright recently asked if she could interview my green alter ego on her blog, Forever Re-Wrighting. Please click through below to read the result:

Thus Spake Zarathustra Goblin

Thank you, Melodie! It was an honour.


In other news, I'm in that stage of writing wherein I wonder if I'm delusional.

In other words, I'm editing what is inching toward becoming a final draft, and I'm liking it! And then I'm second-guessing myself!

Because the problem with having birthed anything is you're kinda prone to adoring it unconditionally. I really don't know if I'm being objective about the merits of this manuscript, so I intend to put it away for a month, write other things, then come back to do a hopefully-more-objective final pass.

Erm, but in the meanwhile, would anyone be willing to critique the first scene of my science fiction novel titled The Blooddrinker and the War Angel?

You can get to it via the link below, but you'll have to come back to this post to leave your critique. Anonymous comments are on, however, so let fly! I really do want to hear what you think, good or bad. :)

First scene of The Blooddrinker and the War Angel

Thank you in advance to anyone who chooses to leave a comment--I very much appreciate your donation of time and thoughtfulness!

Author website: J. J. DeBenedictis


Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow. What an exciting scene. There's so much action going on as well as a lot of explanation in the details.

The beginning was a little rough as I felt like I wasn't sure where I was or what was happening. And then the second paragraph was trying to ground me. Although I was uncertain after the first paragraph, going from impending action to description threw me.

Is this the beginning of the book?

I did notice that windows had two different names, sort of. I don't know what significance there is in hole-windows, but they're referred to just as windows later.

I'm a little unsure of the length of time that it takes for everyone to realize what's happening, react to it, Wykham to look back, decide to save the woman and then have the mini-fight with her. And then it seems like there's room at the side of the tube to get out of the way of the cart. So maybe everyone didn't need to go up to be out of danger?

Anyway, these are thoughts to consider. The writing is solid and the scene flows well once past the very beginning.

jjdebenedictis said...

Thanks, Sarah! That totally back up my kinda-sorta-ever-so-nebulous gut feeling, which was that the beginning needs more work. I appreciate your help!

Josh said...

This works very well for me. Good action lets you bring in the cultural elements without it coming across as expository. Immediate setup of conflict with this guy being potentially infected by a blooddrinker, which, I assume, is this world's form of vampirism?

It's pretty clear overall, and I enjoy your strong writing, as always. If I had any suggestion, it might be to give us at least a few paragraphs to introduce Wykham, perhaps not open right as disaster is impending. Otherwise you might run the risk of the "opening in a battle" feel, where the reader doesn't really know who to care for or what really matters in the scene, it's just lots of action. If we're even just a slight bit emotionally invested in Wykham before the bad stuff happens, then it might heighten the tension even more.

But really think it's going strong, for the most part.

jjdebenedictis said...

Thank you, Josh! Great suggestions and a very clear analysis. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

Precie said...

I don't have time to give a really detailed response right now, but I'll try to come back later.

Overall, as the scene unfolds, I think it gets stronger and more compelling toward the end. I'd certainly turn to the next page.

But I agree with Sarah and Josh that the beginning needs a bit more attention. And that I'd like a bit more context on Wykham, especially if he's a key figure. What was he on his way to do when he was coming down the ladder--visit a patient? Get supplies for his surgery? Fetch his son from school?

The first "page" didn't grab me. It felt, if I'm being honest,... a little awkward. Does a roar roll? Would someone frown toward a roar? Yells and screams spiking? I know that's nitpicky of me, and I apologize. Basically, the first few paragraphs felt a little overwritten. But I think the second half of the excerpt is so much stronger than this beginning. The first few paragraphs just don't stand up to the rest.

I wasn't too sure about "His mind sang a high note." either. I think I get what you're trying to say, but it's not quite there. His mind might be whirring with all the implications he quickly unfolds (wife, child) or a keening sound might cut through his mind or something...

Also, I know it's the heat of the moment...but is there any chance he could have suspected why she'd stand in the cart's way? Why she'd struggle against his help?

Bottom line: I'd read more. I think it has great potential.

jjdebenedictis said...

Thanks Precie! These are great, specific comments and I really do appreciate your honesty as well as your willingness to take a close look at the piece!

Sarf's Travels. said...

Not being a writer, I have to agree with the others. the intro through me for a bit of a loop as to what was happening. It took a couple of paragraphs to pull me in, but by the end I was solidly hooked.

I was thinking maybe a bit of inwards reflection before the noise starts, a bit of a introduction to his inner mind and what is important to him. It takes a while before you know he is a healer. Maybe a internal dialog about coming back from tending a patient. then you would know he is a healer.

As it is you don't know what his motivation to jump out to help the lady is. If you know from the start he is a healer then his actions reinforce the readers mental model of him.

Just my 0.02 isk.

jjdebenedictis said...

Thank you, Sarf! Those are really good, specific suggestions, and I'll try to implement them. I appreciate your help!

Sarf's Travels. said...

So as a reward you will send me the whole book? :)

jjdebenedictis said...

Sarf: I'm not done editing it yet. Paws off! :)

mary-j-59 said...

Oh, wow, what an interesting take on vampires! By the end of this, I was really intrigued, and rooting for the doctor. I do agree with your earlier commentators that the beginning is not as strong as the ending. But I would most definitely keep reading, and think you've really got something.

jjdebenedictis said...

Thanks, Mary-J-59! I appreciate you saying so. :)

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