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GreyGrey
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Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


Your Opinion?

This is the first chapter of my novel, Dark Water, which I have been trying to get an agency contract for the last 4 years for.

The novel is *not* fantasy, but suspense. Please read and tell me how you feel about it. Any feedback is helpful.

In the rain he lays there, his back to the hull, the towel tight to his bleeding face. Staring up he can see the rain streaking at him in long lines. Thunder rumbles from somewhere. They are caught on the rocks, marooned. Chilled to the bone, he can’t move and in a span of ludicrous seconds he doesn’t know what’s happened to him. He can hear the sea on the rocks and the constant hiss of the rain on the swell. The sea moves against the hull, but the boat only groans from the effort.

Annie’s knapsack lies on the deck in front of him.

A sudden fright reminds him that she carries her handgun in it. There’s pause for debate because he doesn’t want to take it
but the bitch has cut me. His face is on fire.

Inside the knapsack is reason. He reaches over and opens it, rummaging around and then pulls the gun free. He opens the cylinders and sees that the chambers are fully loaded. He flings her knapsack overboard.

The boat groans and a shudder with the swell and Stewart loses his balance. The Whaler’s hull makes a sickening shriek as it’s dragged against the rocks. Composing himself, Stewart presses the towel to his wound. He puts himself over the side and to the rocks, finding himself in waist-deep water with the sea desperately trying to pull him in.

It takes almost all of his strength to get above it. From the rocks, the damage to the Whaler appears fatal. The boat is being pulled back by the tide, but Stewart doesn’t care. The boat lies at an angle and the waves are pushing over the transom.

He follows a rough path through the rain, following it around the lower end under the lighthouse. He sees Annie’s footprints clearly.

He takes the path upwards toward the brooding spire, thinking that Annie may be waiting for him somewhere up there – up there. Stew stumbles, falls against the slick rock. The gun jumps out of his hand and clatters beneath him. He staggers upright, the world a hazy dark gray blur of rain and mist. It’s been raining always. Always. He slides to his butt on the cold wet, mechanically searching for the gun with a free hand. It’s there – he’s found it. He holds the cold metal of it, his mouth open and his eyes up at the rising spire of the dark lighthouse. “Annie,” he calls hoarsely. It’s okay – it’s over now. All he needs is to see her – sort it out. Stew pulls himself to his feet and stumbles up the path to the broken portal of the light. He calls out again, but his voice is lost in the wind. Falling inside now, he lies prone on the icy concrete, the seamless black smothering him. The rain is coming in and he realizes that he’s not going to survive where he is. He gets to his knees and reaches out to find the remnants of an ancient railing. “Annie?” There’s only the cold blackness and the rain. She’s not who she was … but that’s not what frightens him more than the question of what he is now. Looking down, Stew can feel the finality of the gun in his hands, pressing a weight against his palm and fingers. “Annie!” His shriek echoes against the wind, haunted and alone. Dead. It’s all dead here.



Posted on 2007-06-20 at 22:35:32.
Edited on 2007-06-20 at 22:38:59 by GreyGrey

Vilyamar
Glorious Emperor
Karma: 28/16
428 Posts


Duh msg subject.

Nice Grey. I read it over and perhaps its just me, but I think the scene is pretty dark and foreboding. Either make it really Dark (thunderstorm) and put more emphasis on "pounding rain" or bigger swells or more wind or something to make the environment even more "out to get them" or pull it back a notch and make it "greyer" or more hazy. Add fog or some element that provides a seclusion for 'Stewart' especially as he is going to the lighthouse.

Perhaps he "looks up only to see a the beacon cutting through the sheets of rain". Or he can barely see the beacon cutting through the fog as it spins on its axis.

Intensify your environment for more suspense.



Perhaps leave his name as Stewart not "stew" as you mention. It leaves him distanced somewhat. "Stew" could be saved for a flashback or as a reference to him from another, closer, character.

hrmm...

The character seems slightly delusional or disoriented at the beginning, but at the end it really seems closer to a death-illusion. Too quick of a transition maybe? Maybe tone down his mania at the end there.

I would need a little more to catch me onto the next chapter, perhaps a darker scene or more intruiging character. A little less mania might do the trick.

Just my opinions.


Posted on 2007-06-20 at 22:56:40.

Admiral
I'm doing SCIENCE!
RDI Staff
Karma: 163/50
1835 Posts


Vil

I think Vil nailed it. It started out real nice and smooth, and then got extremely jerky once he left the boat. Maybe this is how you wanted it to be, but I felt a bit confused and unable to grasp what was happening.

Does it remain like this for the rest of the story or does it mellow out a bit after the "mania" as Vil puts it.

Good though! I thrillers


Posted on 2007-06-20 at 23:02:56.

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


Original Chapter

Here is the original chapter. It has more to it than the one previously presented; please peruse it and tell me if it's a better idea to keep this original one or keep the smaller version. Please keep in mind that this is actually foreshadowing the ending; that is, it is a scene that actually comes about at the climax of the novel.

The boat shudders as Stew grabs Annie and shoves her back. She flails backward, off-guard, rights herself just as he grabs her again and they both fall to the deck. Annie’s shrieking with a face torn into pain and despair; Stew claps his hand over her mouth and discovers that his intention to take her is hampered by their wetsuits. They struggle, but their fight becomes one of wills rather than just rape or lust. Stew forgets what he’s trying to do because all he wants to do right now is hurt her. Just hurt her. Then – before he sees it – Annie has grabbed her diving knife and backhands it across his face. Stew screams in fire and agony, holding his hands to the welling blood. Annie kicks him off her and is about to slam her knife home when suddenly the boat jerks back – sending Stewart crashing on top of her. The knife clatters free.

They flail at each other on the deck. Stew rolls off her, his blood painting her. Even through his pain he suddenly realizes that they are no longer moving with the tide – they’ve hit the rocks under the lighthouse. Free of her, Stewart fumbles for a towel from the transom compartment, but Annie is up and over the side.

In the rain he lays there, his back to the hull, the towel tight to his bleeding face. Staring up he can see the rain streaking at him in long lines. Thunder rumbles from somewhere. They are caught on the rocks, marooned. Chilled to the bone, he can’t move and in a span of ludicrous seconds he doesn’t know what’s happened to him. He can hear the sea on the rocks and the constant hiss of the rain on the swell. The sea moves against the hull, but the boat only groans from the effort.

Annie’s knapsack lies on the deck in front of him.

A sudden fright reminds him that she carries her handgun in it. There’s pause for debate because he doesn’t want to take it but the bitch has cut me. His face is on fire.

Inside the knapsack is reason. He reaches over and opens it, rummaging around and then pulls the gun free. He opens the cylinders and sees that the chambers are fully loaded. He flings her knapsack overboard.

The boat groans and a shudder with the swell and Stewart loses his balance. The Whaler’s hull makes a sickening shriek as it’s dragged against the rocks. Composing himself, Stewart presses the towel to his wound. He puts himself over the side and to the rocks, finding himself in waist-deep water with the sea desperately trying to pull him in.

It takes almost all of his strength to get above it. From the rocks, the damage to the Whaler appears fatal. The boat is being pulled back by the tide, but Stewart doesn’t care. The boat lies at an angle and the waves are pushing over the transom.

He follows a rough path through the rain, following it around the lower end under the lighthouse. He sees Annie’s footprints clearly.

Dizzily he takes the path upwards toward the brooding spire, thinking that Annie may be waiting for him somewhere up there – up there. Stew stumbles, falls against the slick rock. The gun jumps out of his hand and clatters beneath him. He staggers upright, the world a hazy dark gray blur of rain and mist. It’s been raining always. Always. He slides to his butt on the cold wet, mechanically searching for the gun with a free hand. It’s there – he’s found it. He holds the cold metal of it, his mouth open and his eyes up at the rising spire of the dark lighthouse. “Annie,” he calls hoarsely. It’s okay – it’s over now. All he needs is to see her – sort it out. Stew pulls himself to his feet and stumbles up the path to the broken portal of the light. He calls out again, but his voice is lost in the wind. Falling inside now, he lies prone on the icy concrete, the seamless black smothering him. The rain is coming in and he realizes that he’s not going to survive where he is. He gets to his knees and reaches out to find the remnants of an ancient railing. “Annie?” There’s only the cold blackness and the rain. She’s not who she was … but that’s not what frightens him more than the question of what he is now. Looking down, Stew can feel the finality of the gun in his hands, pressing a weight against his palm and fingers. “Annie!” His shriek echoes against the wind, haunted and alone. Dead. It’s all dead here.



Posted on 2007-06-21 at 15:10:50.
Edited on 2007-06-21 at 15:12:10 by GreyGrey

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


First Agent Response

I have an agent interested in the book already! Yay! But I still need to flavor the intro out and "meat" up the synopsis.

So far so good.


Posted on 2007-06-21 at 23:04:23.

Vilyamar
Glorious Emperor
Karma: 28/16
428 Posts


Way better.

Honestly, with that extra bit, it makes the entire thing way better. It provides a much clearer scene especially the conflict.

I pretty much got from the first one that it was supposed to "flash back" to the past leading up to the prologue scene, finishing it out in some dramatic confrontation at the end. This raises more intruiging "why" and "who" and "what" questions than before. I think I would keep reading from this.

The longer version focuses MUCH more on the characters than on the environment, which should be the intention of a mystery/dark drama, I think anyways.


Other suggestions: "Dizzily" is an awkward word. I'd remove it like in the previous version.

"Inside the backpack is reason" A BILLION TIMES BETTER LINE!! RIGHT THERE!!

I still giggle at the "STELLA!" moment your character "Stewart" has. I would still keep all mentions of him to Stewart, rather than Stew here. Save Stew for your more friendlier flashback.


If it goes to print you gonna mention Vilyamar? :p. That would be kinda weird.


Posted on 2007-06-22 at 01:35:03.
Edited on 2007-06-22 at 01:38:37 by Vilyamar

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


The Final Draft

So this is the final draft of it - much more meatier and got a few heads turning at least.
…the boat shudders as Stew grabs Annie and shoves her back. She flails, backward, off-balance, but rights herself just as he grabs her again and they fall together on the deck. Annie’s shrieking … she’s shrieking above the rain and the storm, tearing through him like sabers. Stew claps his hand over her mouth and discovers that his intention to take her is hampered by their wetsuits. They struggle, but their fight becomes one of wills rather than of rape or lust.

And what he doesn’t know is that he’ll be dead soon.

Stew forgets what he’s trying to do because everything he’s felt for her up to now has blown into something else. All he wants to do right now is hurt her. Just hurt her. Then – just before he sees it – Annie grabs her diving knife and backhands it across his face. Stew screams, holding his hands to the welling blood. Annie kicks him off her and is about to slam the knife home when the boat jerks backward, sending Stew crashing into her. The knife clatters free and vanishes.

They flail at each other on the deck. Stew rolls off her, his blood on her face. Even through his pain he realizes that they are no longer moving with the tide … they’ve hit the rocks under the lighthouse. Free of her, he fumbles for a towel from the transom compartment and Annie scrambles up and over the side.

In the rain he lays there, his back to the planking, the towel tight to his torn face. Staring up he can see the rain streaking at him in long lines. Thunder rumbles from the depths of the sky and the sea. They’re caught on the rocks … marooned. Chilled to the bone, he can’t move and in a span of ludicrous seconds he doesn’t know anything. He can hear the sea on the rocks and the constant hiss of the rain on the swell. The sea moves against the hull, and the boat groans with agony.

ohgod

that’s it

He can remember her now, in that video she shot … but how long ago has it been? Days? Weeks? And Annie’s looking at him from the somber depths and she’s whispering in her tiny voice oh Stew … Stewart … I can hardly remember you. Where are we – what’s the matter with us? Can you see me, Stew? Do you remember … me?

Annie’s knapsack lies on the deck in front of him. A sudden fright reminds him that she carries her gun in it. He pauses because he doesn’t want to take it but the bitch has cut me. His face is on fire.

Inside the knapsack is reason. Stew reaches over and opens it, rummaging around and then pulls the .38 free. He opens the cylinders and sees that the chambers are full. He flings the knapsack overboard.

The boat shrieks and shudders with the heavy swell, making him lose his balance. The Whaler’s hull shrieks in its death. Stewart presses the blood-soaked towel to his face and puts himself over the side and to the rocks. He finds himself in hip-deep water with the sea desperately trying to pull him in.

It takes everything for him to get above it. From the rocks, the damage to the Whaler is fatal. He can see that the boat is being pulled back by the surge – but he doesn’t care anymore. The surge then overtakes the transom, swamping the deck.

He climbs up toward the lighthouse, climbing the rocks until he finds a rough, muddy path. Even in the rain he can see her footprints in the mud.

In his mind she’s the ruddy-golden-amber shot in the video … distantly … so far away … and he feels so alone. That’s the sum of everything then; alone. Adrift. Like PHARAOH…

Annie pleading from the amber depths of the video: do you remember … me … do you remember … us? What’s the matter with us?

Because they can’t go back. They’re adrift. Something has happened.

He staggers upwards toward the brooding, dark spire, knowing that somehow she’s waiting for him. Stew stumbles, falls against the rock. The gun jumps out of his hand and clatters beneath him. Flailing now, his own hands are streaking in the rain and shining in the mist. It’s been raining forever. He slides to his butt, mechanically searching for the gun with a free hand. It’s there – he’s found it. He holds the slick cold metal of it, his mouth open and his eyes up at the dark lighthouse.

“Annie,” he calls. It’s okay – it’s over now. They just need to work it out. He just needs to see her.

Stew pulls himself to his feet and stumbles up the path to the broken portal of the tower. He calls out again, but his voice is lost in the wind. Falling inside, he lies prone on the concrete, the seamless black smothering him. And he knows he can’t stay there … he can’t survive there. He gets to his knees and reaches out to find the remnants of an ancient railing.

“Annie …”

There’s only the blackness and the rain. No – he doesn’t remember her. He doesn’t remember anything before PHARAOH. Annie’s not who she was … but that’s not what frightens him more than the question of what he is now. Looking down, Stew can feel the finality of the .38 in his hands, pressing a weight against his palm and fingers.

“Annie!” His shriek echoes against the wind. Dead. It’s all dead here.



Posted on 2007-06-22 at 17:23:13.

Grugg
Gregg
RDI Staff
Karma: 357/190
6191 Posts


Dude!

That's awesome man. I really think it will get published, I enjoyed it, and will buy it.


Posted on 2007-06-23 at 14:39:49.

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


Excellent Progress So Far!

The acquiring agents at RLR Associates (they are a literary agency respresenting such authors as Shelby Foote and Christopher Pike) have expressed interest in the entire manuscipt of Dark Water.

They have had it now for almost 2 weeks now ... maybe a literary agent contract soon ... ?


Posted on 2007-07-09 at 20:18:14.

Grugg
Gregg
RDI Staff
Karma: 357/190
6191 Posts


sadf

Good luck Grey! You have to tell me when it comes out!


Posted on 2007-07-13 at 15:37:55.

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


Updates for July

Dark Water has been at RLR Associates now for 4 weeks. Yes, Big Al, this is the same novel you were reading some months ago. I hope to hear something good in the next few weeks.

I have a second novel in the wings right now, awaiting submission in August or September, depending upon the success of Dark Water. Funny, but some readers found the main character a little abrasive.

I am currently redrafting a novel about crime and the Chinese Underworld. It's first draft was completed back in 1994; you can understand how long I've been sleeping with that one! Explicit, violent, one agent termed me as "the Quentin Tarantino of Literature" in reference to that book.

My latest short story hasn't gotten anywhere. Damn - and I like that one! I can sell genre fiction, but when I put together something literary and "mainstream", there are no takers!


Posted on 2007-07-24 at 16:20:06.

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


New Book - New Chapter

While my book, Dark Water, is out being reviewed, I have my second book waiting in the wings to be submitted late next month or early September. It's somewhat a "Harry Potter" meets "Da Vinci Code". Yeah. Below is the first chapter and any help on it will be greatly appreciated.
Suspended – shadow in light – in a shower of glass. Pain, yes, but not enough to matter, and though the headlong crash through the bottom window dazed him, the sorcerer never thought that tonight he might actually die.
Gasping, he looked around. The sorcerer cast his hands outward, a shiver of blackness rippling the air like a miniature tsunami. A breath … two … gasp in – gasp out … he was ready. Silence – he thought, snapping his head at the dull burnish glow of the lamps along the walk through the park.
Chimes? Jingling … jingling … jingling …
Philip Dark – some people in his circle liked to call him Philip Darkness – bit into the back of his hand, his teeth breaking the skin. Blood painted his lips. He snapped his hand away, staring at the palm.
… lines of perfect blue …
Time may have stopped, and he cocked his head back, wiping his lips with the back of his sleeve. With eyes darting, he ran. He ran as the streaks of park lights blurred past him.
Chimes. Faint – far away.
He suddenly saw the streetlights ahead die – one by one – in the rain. The first one to go winked out at the far corner, its neighbor following suit, and the third…
… closer …
He fumbled in his pocket at took out his bone bag. In a tangle of sorcerers, one must be prepared.
Another streetlight winked out, crashing the avenue into blackness.

Somewhere in the heart of the city, the rain fell on him. The gloom of the early evening shed somber horror and the leafless oaks in the park, haunted.
Getting darker – yes – dark, absolutely dark: darkness for Dark. Philip shuddered, a means of chill that was by no means Fahrenheit, but a sudden drawing of cold from unseen windows. The avenues stretched on into the night, deserted – a strange scene for such an early hour in New Orleans. It was as if a spell had coated the streets and shut away even the most determined. He stopped in his tracks, terrified. The glowing electric lamps were reminiscent of their gaslight ancestors, and they bestowed eerie halos of gold and white radiance as they lined the avenues, yet not enough to dispel the shadows that crept along the sidewalks and the side of the buildings. The sorcerer stuffed his hands in his coat pockets and stared, his eyes narrow slits and his feet apart.
The bone bag bit into his palm, but he felt no pain. Philip cast a look back at the park, catching sight of a swirling cloud of fireflies – it seemed – above the bare bones of the trees. Mesmerized, he stared – mouth agape, eyes wide …
… closer …
He whirled around as headlights crashed across the avenue, blinding him in the rain. He slammed hard against the side of a post, but was oblivious to the impact as he hurtled across the street; the car swerved to miss him, horn blaring.
The passing headlights of traffic couldn’t dispel the darkness of the streets as he ran by. Steam rose from manhole covers – misty angels – spreading wings in the cold air of night.
It moved in the balance of light and shadow … a blur the sorcerer saw in spasms. That’d been the nature of his death hex; someone had sent a demon to rip him up. Rip him. Up. Yet Philip had a few tricks, and he ran across streams and broken, gushing water pipes. The demon, confounded, moved barely out of perception with him.
Philip staggered into the alley leading to his apartment behind the old Brienne Library, then leaned against the grimy brick wall, his hands to his face. He would send the last secret to Artemis – his younger brother – but doubted it would be of use.
Darkness.
The night.
He cast a look back at the following gloom, but the sight was obscure … and for that moment he recalled a greenish mist from the Tablet, and the name …
Trismegistus
Yet – whom could he trust? Artemis – no! No. His brother was far away … far and far away …
Chimes. Faint – beyond the air and the shadows … closing on him.
Philip strained to listen: the traffic on the boulevard – far down the alley. He gave a quick glance at the back door of the old library and then took the wooden stair up to his apartment. He tore open the door at the landing, casting sound like daggers into the night, slamming his weight against it once he was inside.
There was only a moment of quick action: preparations of a spell. A deadly spell. The sorcerer took his bone bag and crossed it over the threshold of the door, and then focused his will on the portal. A second later and a faint gold illuminated the door and passed away.
All at once now – still. No chimes, no buzzing, no clicking. The darkness was left outside.
Philip nervously twisted the deadbolt closed, reaching into his pocket to pull out a pinch of yellow powder. With a breath, he cast the powder on the door – the outline of the portal glowed briefly orange and blue.
That would grant him some time.
He surveyed the chaos of his living room; broken furniture, papers and books littered the floor. A naked skull – misshapen because it was not human, or animal for that matter – glared at him with sightless black orbs from its perch above the old clock.
Tick … tick … tick …
He threw candle wax down on the carpet, simultaneously casting down a splash of tap water. He closed his eyes, rumbling a cascade of syllables.
Tick … tick … tick …
Philip grabbed his phone base and began mumbling, holding the fingers of his free hand splayed outward. He flipped open the tape lid and checked the cassette. It was old – analog – but it would work. Quickly he thumbed the dialer and switched the tape on. A cold feminine greeting rolled when Artemis’ line picked up. Then the tape failed.
The second hand on the clock stopped moving.
A waft of cold ruffled his hair. Heart pounding, the sorcerer grabbed a heavy, wax-encrusted candlestick from the floor. There was hardly any light, but within the shadows in the kitchen, something moved. Philip entered, fumbling with a free hand for the light switch.
The room jumped out stark and lonely. The small window over the sink was open, cold air blowing the curtains. Relieved, Philip went over and shut the window.
A buzzing from behind made him whirl around, just as the lights went out. The candlestick rocketed from his grip and crashed into the wall, spraying sparks. Flames shot from the sorcerer’s hands and the entire world was swallowed in orange and red.
Then darkness in all but silence. It was over.
*



Posted on 2007-07-25 at 16:33:41.

Vilyamar
Glorious Emperor
Karma: 28/16
428 Posts


opinions re: New book - New Chapter

1) White space. lol.

I'll edit more in when I read it.


Posted on 2007-07-25 at 18:04:15.

GreyGrey
Resident
Karma: 17/24
213 Posts


Villie-Baby flaked!

Well, RLR Associates are still reviewing Dark Water, so there's no great stride yet in whether or not I can get an agency contract from them. They did tell me that they expect to have a decision soon.

A major campaign is about ready to be made, with several new short stories and my new Artemis Dark book to be sent out.

Busy time coming at the end of the month ...


Posted on 2007-08-14 at 16:30:11.

Vilyamar
Glorious Emperor
Karma: 28/16
428 Posts


Thoughts on Artemis Dark

sorry Grey, got real busy with Lessons that week and never got back to stuff.

Let's see:

Other than editing it to look nice on these forums:

What's the deal here? Is this two separate consciousnesses? or is it Phillip hallucinating and in the city at the same time?

Borders on too confusing, almost too many elements of the story packed in there. The "... * ..." lines need to be done tastfully in the actual text (I.E.:

Philip Dark – some people in his circle liked to call him Philip Darkness – bit into the back of his hand, his teeth breaking the skin. Blood painted his lips. He snapped his hand away, staring at the palm.
… lines of perfect blue …
Time may have stopped, and he cocked his head back, wiping his lips with the back of his sleeve. With eyes darting, he ran. He ran as the streaks of park lights blurred past him.)

Otherwise it can get quite cluttered with this "flashes". As I read it, I would like to think of a cut-scene in a movie, with the majority of the scene with Phillip and then flashes into a dreamscape, slightly blurred, not quite coherent place that has these clues as to what is happening elsewhere. Possibly giving clues to madness in Dark.

Careful at the end. "It was over" is too definite for me. I would prefer it to be hanging, especially if this is a prologue. Leave the question to whether it is over or not to the end of the book, not the end of the beginning unless you are planning on doing a "re-telling" story. Even then, The End is at the the end right?

SEcond last line is confusing, maybe reword it?


Posted on 2007-08-14 at 17:10:06.

   
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