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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Opening Night

The contest is over, the winners named, and now I'm finally reading through all of the notes and sorting what helps and what doesn't.

The opening:

The alarms were silent. That was a good thing. That meant no hull breach, no structural damage, no problems. But that didn’t explain why he was lying on the floor feeling light headed. He coughed, and tried to sit up. Pain seared through his body.

“Hello? Someone alive in there?”

He lifted his head.

I’m here- he mouthed the words. He licked his lips, tasting blood, and tried again, “I’m here!”

“There’s a survivor!” Metal scrapped against metal. Someone cursed. Light burst in, blinding him.

He dropped his head back down to the metal floor. All he could feel was his aching head and a knifing pain throbbing in his shoulder. But he could feel. “I’m alive.”

The light traveled up his body as the rescuers surveyed the damage. He lifted his head again to look. He lifted his head again to look. Jagged hull fragments sliced into his side. Blood pooled beside him. His legs were crushed under the control console. His arms were gone.

“Get me out. It’s not that bad. Get me to the Felinium.” He’d seen worse injuries on the news feeds. He’d be fine. Once he got home he’d be fine.

The rescuers hesitated.

“I’ll survive.”

Another light joined the first. The man closest to him tugged at a long lock of dark hair as he chewed his lip. “See, the problem here is money.”

“I’ll pay you.”

Lip-Chewer shook his head slowly. “No, you see, we need salvage. Nothing personal, just business.”

Glaring Errors: I repeat of phrases due to last minute editing... The lesson here is to edit before you submit not as you submit.

Comments: 30 not counting the 3 posts I made

Hooked?: 15 with a few fence sitters.

Problems Cited by Readers:- lack of name
- double phrase error (bad me!)
- sounds to narrative
- character (wrongly cited as MC) seems uncaring about his own injuries
- confusion over who the MC is
- A phrase is missing (this from early Critters who were looking for the phrase "I'll pay you."/"You see, you'll always be worth more dead." ... that line is still in the piece but not presently in the first 250 words.
- dislike of the word Felinium (it sounds to Star Wars)

What I can fix from the problems:
- I can edit
- I can shorten the intro and get straight to the action. That will move the key phrase beta-readers were looking for up and keep the character interested
- I can give the character some kind of nick-name but I can't name him for narrative purposes.
- I can cut this scene and move to the second one thus cutting out all of this and showing He on the lab table dead-ish

What Won't Change:
- Felinium.... they are cat shifters with a heavy Latin influence. Feline is the correct term. A neautar term for a group of cats is Felinium... I don't care what Lucas says
- Making my MC show up in chapter 1... it just doesn't work chronologically and doesn't get the info I need across. It won't happen

Most Helpful Comments:
Oddly enough, not the agents. The agent had some wonderful advise but she didn't get me thinking like I needed to (sorry Holly!).
What grabbed was was Red Duck's "If he can't remember his name because of the accident, that should be clear. But then he wouldn't be able to remember "Felinium" or the news feeds either, so IDK."
- This seems common but the reason He doesn't know his name later is because he has his brain messed with. Here he maybe couldn't think of his name but I don't have the lovely reason I have later. Which makes me wonder, What does he call himself? Personally, I don't go around thinking: Liana this -or- Liana did that.... If I do an internal monologe I do it in first person and if I'm not monologing I'm moving on reflex, not thinking.

I also liked Katie's comment: "I kinda wanted four things here - name, rank, occupation, and last thing he remembered."
- He should remember something. He does remember something. He was going back to the hold for limes and ice. Ice is a very key word throughout the book. I need those two words in the first 250.

So, I know I need more action. I think I can cut out the monologe altogether. And I can tighten the first 250.

I need to go chop at chapter 6 and tighten several other chapters as well. I tend to overwrite. :o)

Thank you for everyone that participated in the contest. Authoress's success was overwhelming and encouraging. For those who haven't stopped by yet, the prize was a request for a partial and the query letter. How nice is that?

And a special thank you to the people who commented on my opening, the secret agent Holly Root, and Authoress herself for hosting such a fun event!


  1. I'm going to steal your format for review. ;-)

  2. Yes, me too. Awesome way to synthesise the information. *runs off to copy* :D