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Conviction - Excerpt

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Vercetti42
  • Vercetti42

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#1

Posted 24 November 2013 - 03:01 AM Edited by AceKingston, 24 November 2013 - 03:01 AM.

Just a piece for critiquing from my upcoming story, thanks. Still a WIP.

 

---

 

The night erupted in screams, missiles were fired into the night sky. Bullets flew like rockets, hitting anyone who dared to block their path. Kabul, the Capital of Afghanistan was crumbling at the hands of terrorists. The bodies of their soldiers fell in heaps. The night was soon lit by the the fires from the buildings.

 

The President of Afghanistan watched all this from his mansion. Staring at his country crumbling in defeat.

 

"Sir" said his Army General. "We need to leave, now"

 

He obeyed without hesitation. But what was the use of running away? They were all going to die anyways. He walked ream-like towards the car waiting for them, vaguely aware of the fact that his wife and son were beside him.

 

They got into the car quickly. His Army General gave instructions to the driver to take the best route possible, to the outskirts of the city. The President agreed vaguely.

 

They passed people who were trying to flee, many getting shot. Buildings collapsed like a pack of cards but the driver drove on.

 

"NO!" the driver shouted suddenly "NO! NO! NO!"

 

The Army General looked around, terrorists had surrounded them on all sides. He tried to spot an escape route but there wasn't one.

 

One of the terrorists walked up to the car and pointed his AK-47 at them:

 

"NOBODY MOVE! No one I said! Or else.." He was hardly distinguishable , only his eyes were visible. The rest of his body was covered with a black layer of clothing.

 

"Who are you?" The General asked roughly "Why are you attacking us?"
 

The man did not answer. Instead, he walked up to him and pointed his gun at The General and shot him, right in the head. Half of it flew off to reveal an odd shape, that looked horribly like a brain. Blood started to splatter out everywhere. He did the same to the driver and The President's wife began to scream.

 

"SHUT UP!" roared the man "Shut up, you great lump, ah--"

 

He stopped talking abruptly, he had just noticed The President, at the same time his wife stopped screaming.

 

"Ah" he said with a small sneer "Yes, Mr. President"

 

There were jeers of laughter from the surrounding group. The President's face had gone very white, he tried to say something but there seemed to be something wrong with his voice.

 

The man, however did not seem to be troubled by his silence. Roughly, he dragged out his wife and son. The woman's mouth was open in a silent scream wile the boy looked confused and scared, he was only four years old.

 

The man shot them both, not once but thrice in the chest. They fell backwards, both of them died on the spot.

 

The President's mind was blank with shock. The man walked up to the car again, peered inside and whispered. "You're lucky Ginger" he whispered. "The boss wants you alive.... for now"

 

He swung his AK-47 high above his head and plunged it downwards, engulfing him in darkness.

 

-----

 

This is just the first half of the first chapter, by the way.


AceRay
  • AceRay

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#2

Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:25 AM Edited by AceRay, 25 November 2013 - 07:28 AM.

Its a good effort but I noticed a few issues here and there, mostly with grammar. I'm taking this b*tch down Mokrie style.

 

The night erupted in screams, missiles were fired into the night sky. Bullets flew like rockets, hitting anyone who dared to block their path. Kabul, the Capital of Afghanistan was crumbling at the hands of terrorists. The bodies of their soldiers fell in heaps. The night was soon lit by the the fires from the buildings.

 

Needs to be a comma after "Afghanistan" given that its an aside, telling us that Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan. In terms of opening the story, it does get me interested in what's going to happen. The opening line has impact to it. It makes the reader think "why are there missiles firing? What's going on." I think the last line is a little clumsy. "The night was lit up from the flaming buildings." Its more succinct and to the point while still being descriptive. In fact, across your writing, there seems to be quite a bit of 'word cruff' ie needlessly wordy sentences filled with conjunctions and prepositions. Instead of saying "The bodies of their soldiers fell in heaps." I would cut out all the highlighted words and make the sentence shorter without losing impact.

 

Also, how can anyone block the path of a missile? It sounds like there are people staring down missiles in a game of chicken, actively trying to stop its way. It also kind of implies that missiles are like firing horizontally down the streets and knocking people over, when I'm pretty sure that missiles hit downwards into the ground and explode, so its not really knocking anyone out of the way. Its not a big problem, just read a little weird to me.

 

 

The President of Afghanistan watched all this from his mansion. Staring at his country crumbling in defeat.

Should be a comma after mansion, as it follows on from the last sentence. 

Sir" said his Army General. "We need to leave, now"
He obeyed without hesitation. But what was the use of running away? They were all going to die anyways. He walked ream-like towards the car waiting for them, vaguely aware of the fact that his wife and son were beside him.

There's no full stop after "now." Just need to proofread to make sure all the 't's are crossed and 'i's are dotted. I'm not sure "ream-like" is a word, I've not heard of it before to say the least.

 

The President is taking his country getting destroyed pretty chilled if you ask me. "Yeah, city getting destroyed, leadership falling apart, what ya gonna do bout it?"

 

 

They got into the car quickly. His Army General gave instructions to the driver to take the best route possible, to the outskirts of the city. The President agreed vaguely.

They passed people who were trying to flee, many getting shot. Buildings collapsed like a pack of cards but the driver drove on.

Couldn't the Army General just tell them to take them to the outskirts of the city, this line was a bit drawn out, could have gone: "Army General told the driver to go to the outskirts of the city." It tells me all I need to know without drawing out the phrase

Your sentence structure also follows a familiar pattern, as there's very little similes or alliteration or any other language techniques used. Its strictly X happened, Y happened, then, there's no real places where you reflect on character emotions or interesting descriptions. Maybe its a military book thing to describe stuff as simply as possible, I don't know, ask Mokrie about that one.

How can he agree vaguely? What exactly does that mean? Is that like how the President is feeling and its inside his head? Or is he nodding his head but being kind of hesitant about it? If its the former, then it would be better, if its the latter, you should be clearer in what that entails, like "He nodded his head in a vague gesture." or something

"NO!" the driver shouted suddenly "NO! NO! NO!"

The Army General looked around, terrorists had surrounded them on all sides. He tried to spot an escape route but there wasn't one.

One of the terrorists walked up to the car and pointed his AK-47 at them:

 

 

Don't write in all caps, its looks a) narmy and b) unprofessional. We should be able tell the tone of the voice through the writing, not through cap locks. Don't need the colon at the end either.

This passage also doesn't say whether the driver stopped or not, missing a rather important detail for a change. I got the feeling as though they were still driving when the driver said this and that the terrorists had surrounded them in cars or helicopters or something, but then a guy walked up and I'm like "wait, so they're stopped?" Sometimes missing a simple detail like that can make the reader lost, so you should make sure it makes sense and flows.

 

 

"NOBODY MOVE! No one I said! Or else.." He was hardly distinguishable , only his eyes were visible. The rest of his body was covered with a black layer of clothing.

"Who are you?" The General asked roughly "Why are you attacking us?"

Said about caps already. Not really sure why the "or else" trails on like that, it makes it sound as though the terrorist is caught mid sentence and trailing off, when really he's making a thread. Saying he was hardly distinguishable makes it sound as though we've known this terrorist from before and we can't recognize him with his clothing, when really the General and President have never met this person before. I can see what you mean but I think "hidden," "indistinguishable" or "faceless" would have worked better.

 

I don't think that would be what the General would ask first with the gun pointed at him. Wouldn't he try and make sure the President and his family was safe first instead of asking why they're being attacked? Shouldn't the first priority be survival?

 

 

The man did not answer. Instead, he walked up to him and pointed his gun at The General and shot him, right in the head. Half of it flew off to reveal an odd shape, that looked horribly like a brain. Blood started to splatter out everywhere. He did the same to the driver and The President's wife began to scream.

"SHUT UP!" roared the man "Shut up, you great lump, ah--"

That sounds way too easy: "He shot him in the head" "He did the same to the driver" It sounds too clean and too easy. Here's an easy rule to remember: Show don't Tell. Instead of telling me he shot the General, you could show the smells, sights, smells of the moment and the effects of the gunshot instead of flat out telling the reader. I think this sounds better:

"The gunshot rang through the air like a lightning bolt, the gun jolting in the terrorist's camouflaged arms as the muzzle flared. The General's body lurched forward in one fast, brutal motion as pieces of his brain hit the wife's pearl necklace, her screams piercing through the gunfire. Another bullet was quickly lodged inside the driver's brain, painting the wind shield red."

Here, we are never directly told "he shot him in the head," the reader is left to infer it through the effects that are described here, making for much more interesting reading as we learn about the sights, sounds etc rather than a simple line.

 

Also, it revealed an odd shape that looked like a brain? I think its a brain. Typically, most people,(but not all), have brains, so I'm not sure why there's ambiguity in this sentence. Maybe if it was written so it was following the child or the wife who would be shocked seeing a brain for the first time, but so far the narrator has been fairly objective so I don't think that's right.

 

 

He stopped talking abruptly, he had just noticed The President, at the same time his wife stopped screaming.

"Ah," he said with a small sneer. "Yes, Mr. President"

There were jeers of laughter from the surrounding group. The President's face had gone very white, he tried to say something but there seemed to be something wrong with his voice.

The first line sounds clunky, probably didn't need to be all one sentence. I added the bits in red to show where the commas and full stops should go when writing dialogue.

The man, however did not seem to be troubled by his silence. Roughly, he dragged out his wife and son. The woman's mouth was open in a silent scream wile the boy looked confused and scared, he was only four years old.

The man shot them both, not once but thrice in the chest. They fell backwards, both of them died on the spot.

 

Don't tell me the son is four years old, reveal through interesting writing.

I've already said about writing "he shot them in the chest" so read that part to see what's wrong with the second paragraph here. Its even worse here as this is a woman and her four year old kid getting shot, something pretty hard hitting for most readers, so this should be accurately described. You could describe the pain flashing across their faces, the casualness of the terrorist, the cold, dead stares, how the kid gets blown back, the thump of their bodies hitting the ground, the dust kicking up at their feet. Use your imagination.

Also, aren't there missiles dropping everywhere? Are we at the outskirts now? Probably should have brought up where they are at this location, not obviously but like "the distant bombings of the city ringed in their ears as they looked around the forrest" or something. 

The President's mind was blank with shock. The man walked up to the car again, peered inside and whispered. "You're lucky Ginger" he whispered. "The boss wants you alive.... for now"

 

 

The President of Afghanistan is ginger? How does that work? 

btw, instead of telling me the President's mind was blank, why not try showing it to me through his body posture or actions, like "his hands shook uncontrollably as the vicious images of his wife and child flashed in front of him" or something.

 

"He swung his AK-47 high above his head and plunged it downwards, engulfing him in darkness."

 

So, is the car a cabrio or what? How can the terrorist swing the gun high above his head and hit the President when the terrorist is inside a car. He also had to peer inside the car in the last paragraph, implying the President is on the otherside of the car, so its not like he's right next him. Maybe another terrorist hits him from behind instead?

 

 

Overall, it was interesting story that is setting up for impact later but your writing needs some revision. I give it 10/10, would review again.

 

users found this review helpful.


Mokrie Dela
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#3

Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:17 AM

Its a good effort but I noticed a few issues here and there, mostly with grammar. I'm taking this b*tch down Mokrie style.

Haha.

And lol George Bush.

Good job going through it Ace. Very good point about caps. It looks amateurish. Instead, write it normally or, if you have to emphasise it, use italics.

 

Regarding the bullets flying like rockets: I found this a little weird tbh. Bullets fly like.... well, bullets. It's like saying "The brick was as hard as concrete" I don't think a similie is needed here, nor does it work. Instead, why not describe their flight differently?
Bullets mercilessly tore through those foolish enough to stand in their way or something like that.

It's a good opening chapter. Not much in it that makes me think "Oh, what's goin on here?" apart from the boss wanting the pres alive - is this a "bin laden" type character? Your version of The Emir (from tom clancy's ghost written "Dead or Alive/Locked on")?
I also only felt a fleeting sense of combat. Perhaps you could slow it down, and allow more description over the battle. I didn't get a sense of chaos or war from this, personally, and i wonder if perhaps you could put a bit more in.

It's good work, however, and I wonder what direction you're going to go it :)


Vercetti42
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#4

Posted 26 November 2013 - 02:01 PM

Thanks for the feedback, especially Ace!. And ginger is kinda of a teasing insult, just humiliating The President. Of course it's a concept I've got planned out if you don't mind getting spoiled PM me if you want to know or just wait.





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