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Thursday, August 25, 2011


Here is the next submission for this week, a near-future scifi/action adventure, called Opening. My comments are purple.

MISTER ROMANO WAS FURIOUS. He felt disgraced. (Instead of telling us that Romano is furious and disgraced, show us.) Humiliated. Cheated. Deprived from what he believed rightfully belonged to him. He tried to suppress his anger as he walked back and forth across the plush carpeted floor of his lower Manhattan hotel suite. He looked at photos, newspaper clippings, online printouts, and personal notes clipped to fishing line strung end-to-end across the living room. He had constructed a timeline of the past month and the participants involved with the discovery of wormholes. I think you could show more and tell less in this paragraph, convey Romano's feelings through action.
            Romano hadn’t slept in over twenty-four hours. He needed a break to clear his head. Get control of his emotions. He walked to the open bar and tossed a few ice cubes into a Waterford crystal glass. Then he poured a generous helping of Glenfiddich one-malt scotch. He took a large gulp, set it on the counter, took a deep breath, and rubbed his forehead and eyes with both hands. Like this.
            Romano took a second gulp, then spotted the menus on the bar counter. Steak and potatoes. That’s what I need. He pulled out a stool to sit down and opened a menu. Just as he was about to pick up the phone to order, his cell phone rang. He pulled out his iPhone and looked at the caller ID. Well, it’s about time you called. “Hey Jake, what do you have for me?”
            “Good to hear from you, too. Hey, what’s it been, like three months since I seen you at mom and dad’s for Christmas, big bro?”
            “Sorry. But I’ve been under serious stress lately. And it’s great to hear from you again, too.” He finished his drink in one large gulp.
            “So bring me up to speed. What exactly is happening? I’m here for you. You know that.”
            Romano sighed deep. “Listen, Jake, I don’t want to bring you into this any more than I have to. That’s why I’ve been ignoring physical contact with you and mom and dad.”  The phrase 'ignoring physical contact' seems awkward. How about this: 'That's why I've been avoiding you and mom and dad.' ?
            He poured another drink and swallowed it, (the whole thing?!) then walked over to the full wall window view of lower Manhattan from fifty stories high. Suddenly, the big open world he called his playground just became dangerously small. He felt trapped.. Ready to be exterminated. Romano abruptly closed the drapes with a loud snap on the famous skyline.
            “I’m already in too deep. So is the rest of our family. Our brother-in-law is dead. (I think one would name the brother in law rather than refer to him this way. I know I refer to my bro-in-law as Bill. Just sayin')Whoever you’re dealing with, they’re real mean bastards. By killing Brian in the manner they did, they’re sending a clear message. They’re not messing around. I understand they’ll come after everyone in our family. Our sister Ellen. (Same thing here. Is it necessary to say our sister?) She’s already scared half to death. Mom and Dad. Me. Then you. They won’t stop until they get what they want. Which reminds me, what exactly is it that they want from you?”
            “Listen to me, Jake,” Romano snapped. “I won’t let that happen. I won’t let them hurt any of you. I promise you that..”
            “Then help me help you. Explain what’s going on?”
            Romano took a deep breath and poured another drink. He sat down in an over-stuffed chair, took a slow sip and composed himself. “Okay. I’ll level with you. Two weeks ago I was to meet Doctor Gloria Newcombe, a top research scientist from Globalized Dynamics. Newcombe oversaw cutting edge partnerships with M.I.T. and other leading technology centers along the East Coast.”
            “How did you come across these people?”
            “I used illegal spying software and data mining processes. I scouted scores of research facilities and renown scientists, looking for new technologies I could steal and sell.”
            “Your standard MO. What did you find?”
            Romano stood up and paced across the room, his nervous energy not allowing him to stay still. “I discovered she and this professor named Nicholas Fischer at M.I.T. had made a breakthrough in wormholes.”
            “Wormholes? Like in StarTrek?”
Romano set his glass down and rubbed his forehead. “Listen, and please don’t interrupt. I have contacts at Banca di Renaissance Florentine, one of the oldest banks in Europe. Their stock price plummeted during the recent global credit crisis. Executives are desperate to find something, anything, that will bring value to their shareholders and secure their positions on the...

the author was having computer trouble. I'm sure he meant to send me the rest of that sentence because I'd really like to read more. Like the part that came before and what comes after. Wormholes are interesting, don't you think?

ok peeps, your turn. Tell the author what you think of this excerpt.


Tara Tyler said...

2nd chapter reviews are tough when we dont know what's already happened. i bet the discovery in ch 1 was exciting! this section is good and Marcy's add ins are spot on. re reading dialogue out loud helps. think how you would say it.

Charity Bradford said...

I think you have some great stuff in here. It's just buried under several "telling" paragraphs as Marcy mentioned. Often you can show with a few short well phrased sentences. This will help get to the action/conflict faster. AKA Who are these people, what do they want, how can we stay alive...

I agree with all of Marcy's comments. Here is one other spot I'd like to talk about. When the brother is talking to Romano he goes on and on. If I was scared for my life, I would use short quick sentences, get to the point, demand answers. Here is a suggestion for that paragraph. Remember, just a suggestion/example to get your juices flowing.

“I’m already in too deep. So is the rest of the family. Brian's dead. Whoever you’re dealing with, they’re sending a clear message. They’re not messing around. Ellen's scared half to death. Mom, Dad, me, and then you. They won’t stop until they get what they want. What exactly is it that they want from you?”<--would it be from you or us?

I'm assuming the brother in law was a message to the whole family? Turn in Romano and we'll let the rest of you live? but I'm also wondering why they don't just come for Romano. If they know so much about his family wouldn't they be able to find him just as easy? This of course is moot if they need him alive because of info he might be hiding.

Just talking out loud the thoughts in my head. All in all, intriguing.

Huntress said...

I began critiquing the above submission. But the crit turned into gibberish. Apparently, a fever and sore throat is messing with my brain.

I promise to critique later, Mr. or Ms. Writer. My destination for now? Hot tea, TV, and a comforter

Brooke R. Busse said...

Just as he was about to pick up the phone to order, his cell phone rang. He pulled out his iPhone and looked at the caller ID.

I just wanted to point out that you use 'phone' a lot here. It disturbs the flow. I've added a suggestion for revision.

Just as he finally decided what he wanted, his cell phone rang. He pulled it out and looked at the caller ID.

Stephen Tremp said...

Cool ... thanks everyone for the feedback. I realluy appreciate it. I'll check back in tomorrow to read more. Keep em' coming!