Can I get feedback on this first paragraph?
I do not feel anything at all. Is that normal? I mean the girl who I lost my virginity and then cheated on me with my ex-best friend was tonight's lead story of the six o'clock news. Shouldn't I have been able to muster a tear for the untimely death of my first? Shouldn't I have broken out in a spontaneous rendition of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" at the poetic justice of the demise the two-timing backstabbing minx? I do not cry or sing.. I do not feel anything. That is to say, I do not feel anything other than what I have been feeling every moment of every day since she broke my heart. All I feel is empty.
Basic plot: A nerdy high school senior is framed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, and he and has to team up with the former bestie who betrayed him to solve the murder.
- BryceLv 55 years agoFavorite Answer
I think it is a promising start. The important thing is to get your ideas down. I'm interested already. The plot is very interesting. It is fresh and original. Alternating between short and long sentences is a very effective. Just be sure not to let your long sentences get unwieldy, such as the third one.
1) Avoid clichés. They can be effective, but usually they aren't. New writers should eliminate them altogether. The clichés I noticed were: muster a tear, untimely death, spontaneous rendition. A good way to determine if a word is cliché or not is to google it in quotes. If you get more than 10,000 hits, it's a good bet it's a cliché.
2) Poetic justice. You did not describe poetic justice. Poetic justice has to be ironically fitting. Poetic justice is what Shakespeare described as an engineer to be hoisted on his own petard. A king who murdered his father to inherit the crown and then is murdered by his own son is poetic justice. A king who murdered his father and then is struck by lightening is not.
So a backstabbing minx (good original phrase btw with only 9 google hits of the phrase in quotes) who is murdered is not receiving poetic justice, unless her heart was ripped out. Even then, poetic justice should be proportional. (It would be poetic justice if she cheated on the protagonist with his best friend, to fall in love with the friend, who then seduces her best friend.) Cheating on one's lover with his best friend is not worthy of death.
3) It's not necessary to spoon feed the reader. Better to explicitly state that the girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend would be to say something like, "I lost my first love and my best friend at the same instant." Readers are generally smart. We'll get it.
3) Ignore everyone who told you to "write the way you talk." Get rid of conversational fillers like, "I mean" (try "Considering that") and "That is to say" (perhaps, "More precisely") Come up with fresh original phrases or skip them.
4) Don't tell, show. Don't tell me the protagonist "feels empty". This is time to expand your writing and get all descriptive on us. What does it mean to "feel empty". Here is how I might describe it: "Every night I buried my face in my pillow and got it sopping wet with tears until, finally, I had wept my tear ducts dry and I could understand what it was like to be wash cloth that had been wrung out and left on the towel rack to dry."
3) What's her name? Giving her a name rather than "the girl", "the backstabbing minx", "my first", "she" will make us connect to the character.
4) Evaluate the plausibility of "feeling nothing" for a murder victim whom one knows personally. It's kind of a stretch to me. It also makes the character seem flat. You should be aiming at 3-D characters, not cookie cutter images. Unless this is just the shock of hearing the news. But the amount of introspection the character engages in (which is a very 3-D handling of a character, so kudos on that) indicates that it is not. When we are numbed by socking news, we are not concerned usually if our actions are normal, as your protagonist does.
4) Is this a classic murder mystery. If so, you might want to consider keeping the victim alive for the first chapter or two. Classic murder mysteries introduces the readers to the victim while they are still alive. It also introduces all the suspects in the first few chapters, all of whom will have a motive for murder, and will provide the first (and usually pivotal) clue.
Yep, Sir Arthur Cohen Doyle more often that not introduces us the corpse, and Agatha Christie does too occasionally. But Doyle created the genre and Christie mastered it. And even Agatha Christie more often than not introduces the victim while s/he is still living. (You might want to read "Murder at the Vicarage" for an example.)
- 5 years ago
I would say that it definitely needs revision, but since this is a first draft you should not be worrying about it being perfect.
This paragraph definitely needs some work:
" I mean the girl who I lost my virginity and then cheated on me with my ex-best friend was tonight's lead story of the six o'clock news."
It doesn't make that much sense. "The girl who took my virginity" would be better.
Also, this paragraph leaves me confused:
"Shouldn't I have been able to muster a tear for the untimely death of my first? Shouldn't I have broken out in a spontaneous rendition of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" at the poetic justice of the demise the two-timing backstabbing minx?"
Perhaps you will explain his true feelings later, but you say how he feels he must cry over her murder, and then at the same time he wants to rejoice that she's dead. What does he feel? Make up your mind and make it clear. The humour is okay, but make sure it doesn't get in the way of putting across the true feelings and inner thoughts of your protagonist. I know you say how he feels empty, but go into that a bit more
- AndrewLv 75 years ago
Since you asked, I'll offer you my feedback: It's absolutely godawful. It reads like the disassociated, disconnected, random, semi-literate ramblings of a boring, uncharismatic whiner. In terms of the form, it's a mess. You don't adhere to any one tense, there are grammatical errors and you incessantly annoy the reader by prodding him or her with imbecilic questions. If I had to compare this excerpt to the tag that was attached to the last pair of jeans I bought, I would have to say with no reservations whatsoever that the tag unquestionably holds more literary value, has greater intrinsic worth, is more aesthetically appealing and is all around a far more enjoyable read than this drivel could ever hope to be. That would be my critique.