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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#1 Persona (Staying Alive Series #1)

Title: Persona, Staying Alive Series
Genre: YA dystopian paranormal romance

Cell block two; chamber six; inmate Black; check. Running down the list Bethany Warner prepares for her nightly rounds. Out of all the inmates at this institution, Black was her least favorite. She didn’t know if his viral doses were stronger, but his mood and antics were always up and down. Black, Marshall Black, was one of the original twenty experiments. And lately, he has grown unmanageable. Not that any of the others could be controlled either, but he’s worse.

About five years ago a scientist and an army general decided to play around with people’s dna strands. Who would give them the clearance or a patent for this sort thing she didn’t know. Not that Bethany thought of herself any better than them,being a nurse for the facility, but it still feels wrong to her. After the last time young men and woman got shipped oversees the military was tired of losing more and more of them. Around this time a Doctor Peter Fletcher was experimenting with wild wolves and how they’re dna was very unique enough for him to change its layers.

On a whim, he and a long time friend of his General Dixon Hetch began they’re plan. Actually, the way the story goes it all happened accidentally. Apparently, Fletcher’s assistant was trying to free a live specimen, only the plan backfired on him. The wolf attacked him, and it would have killed him too but a guard came in with a gun and shot it.


Huntress said...

There are problems with tense in this submission, but reading the words aloud would help to pinpoint those places. Or have someone read it back to you. Or, if you are like me and can’t find a willing victim, er participant, record your voice and listen to the tense.

In this first, very important page, backstory should be minimal. Leave hints or tastes of the story to come but don’t explain things too much.

Example: The first sentence in the second paragraph stops the action that began in the first paragraph. Now, my thought process comes to a stop and goes from Bethany making her rounds to the scene concerning something that occurred five years previous. My brain must process the new scene.

Start the action and keep it going. Don’t go backwards in the storyline.

Good idea though. I would continue reading.

Charity Bradford said...

I agree with Huntress. The changes in verb tense kept slowing me down, but that is an easy thing to fix.

You have an interesting storyline here. I'm curious to find out how this DNA tampering affected these patients.

"Black, Marshall Black, was..." made me think "Bond, James Bond". You may want to avoid that because it feels gimmicky.

I would cut the back story that starts in paragraph 2 and 3 and continue with what is happening to Betthany. Later you can drop in bits of the story through conversation. Being Queen of backstory myself, I'm learning people don't cringe as much if it's done in conversation--and done well.

Good luck and thanks for sharing!

Brooke R. Busse said...

We have a lot of backstory here and it's all slightly confusing. Backstory should be sprinkled throughout, not thrust at us in huge clumps. Backstory also leads to telling (ie a guard came in with a gun and shot it).

The first paragraph is more like it. It's more thought and action instead of an info dump. I found myself drawn in until your second paragraph threw me off.

Watch your tenses. You have lots of 'was' in your first paragraph, leading me to think of past tense, and then you start using present tense: 'has' 'he's' 'feels'.

Also, I don't know if it's just the formatting but you're missing a lot of spaces.

L. said...

Verb tenses, as mentioned above, plus capitalization and homophones.

Stick with Bethany and her nightly rounds until we really need to know what's being done to these patients. You've got to get the reader invested in a character before you start unloading backstory.

Tara Tyler said...

i like your premise and would love to read on!

i agree with above about pov. and i learned the backstory lesson the hard way (aw crits) but it was worth it.

backstory is more for the writer. important details can be revealed as they come up but no reader wants a history lesson. they want to know what happens, get to the good stuff. i have taken out boo-coos (sp? ha ha) out of my ms and prob will remove more.