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Make-Believe (trial beginning)

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Old 02-15-2015, 12:29 AM
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Default Make-Believe (trial beginning)


Make-Believe.


Tick. Tock.

A fat, black space pressed down on Jacob Gray as he lay frozen beneath the bed sheets, listening to the rhythm of a wind-up alarm clock. Its ‘anchor’ tapped against the ‘escapement wheel’ like metallic insect legs probing inside his skull, seeking out the throb at his forehead.

He had no idea how long he laid there, but he knew it had been too long. It had always been the same: his mind winding down, his eye lids burdened and droopy, his body longing for retirement, but once alone with the dark and its quiet insistence, insomnia and torment.

With leaden eyes, he tried to pierce the opacity that smothered his face, stuffed a box he called ‘bedroom’, but the ceiling, the light shade and attic hatch were entombed, erased by the night. There was nothing tangible to cement his thoughts, just marked time and a blank canvas. He felt his imagination uncoiling, slithering from the shadowy corners of his mind, brush in hand.

Tick. Tock.

A bead of sweat crawled through his brow, as if the metal insect in his head had broken free of its bone prison and now investigated the contours of his cheek, searching for his ear and re-entry into his mind. He pulled the bed sheets over his face and tucked the excess into his nape, adjusting it for the tightest possible fit, so that the stretched blankets formed an extra layer of hot skin. He found sanctuary in the scent of freshly-washed bedding, savoured the sudden image of white sheets snapping on a taut washing line, but it was merely a brief distraction from the torturer within. Comfort lost, he twisted sideways, curled deeper into the heart of his linen womb.

As his body warmed, a chill snuck up upon him from the edges of the mattress, where the sheets had been tucked tightly. The tick-tocks of the impossible clock grew louder, tapping at his minds eye. He resisted visualising it because he knew that once he had, the clock would never stop and the night would last forever.

‘The clock doesn’t exist’, he thought, ‘The clock isn’t real.’

Tick.
...............Tock.
.....Tick.
.................................Tock.
....................Tick.
TOCK.

There was once a lonely, little, 11 year old boy. Bullied at school and ignored by his family, he was forced to think himself unlike-able. He couldn’t relate to other people and viewed the world from his bubble, rather like an alien would view this green planet from its spacecraft.

Then, after a doctor had prodded him and questioned him, he was given pills. They made him sleepy and crackled in his head like Coco Pops. Slowly and surely he stopped observing the world from his bubble and instead found interests inside himself. He knew it was called a mind, and he knew it lived between his ears, but everything seemed so foggy and broken there that it was hard to find.

After a good while, he could feel a weight swinging in his head, like the pendulum in Mother’s Grandfather clock, only back and forth instead of left and right. It made him feel quite dizzy. Not a falling over dizzy, just an on-a-ferry dizzy. By the time he was 12 years old, he realised that if he swayed back and forth with the swinging weight, he could ease the feelings of dizziness. It wasn’t long after this he also realised he could ease it even more by holding his head tightly between his hands.

At 14 years old, all meaningless things had been forgotten: cleaning his teeth, combing his hair, washing his face, changing his clothes, getting up for school … or going down stairs to face the hush from his family. Black and grey were his colours of choice. They never said ‘look at me’, they said ‘I’m not here,’ and he liked that.

The years stumbled by, one long day after another, never once leaving anything behind except another ‘X’ on the downstairs calendar. Words that had gone unheard before began to register in the fog. One such word was ‘anti-social’ which he took to mean ‘not very nice’. It was a hurtful word coming from his aunts and uncles, but he took it to be the truth; after all, if enough people said it often enough, it must be true. Another word was ‘psychoses. It was a word associated with him but just a meaningless collection of syllables without context. A quick Google soon gave it meaning though and he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

He used to hear voices and see things before his visit to the doctor (he still did, but no where near as often as he had before the pendulum). He never used to think he was anything special though. That was the part that had him stumped. Labels had become a pet hate of his. He was used to ‘lazy’, ‘weak’, ‘stupid’, ‘scruffy’, ‘coward’, ‘four-eyes’, ‘dip-shit’ but ‘psychosis’ seemed such a deeply seated label that he worried he’d never be able to scrub it off. At least education, exercise or contact lenses could help with most of the other labels, but ‘psychosis’ was him. How could he scrub him from himself?

He sat on the edge of his bed, looked at a photo hanging on the wall of him when he was 10 years old. The skin was smooth and blemish-free, the ruddiness of a healthy boy; the eyes bright, glistening and hungry; the lips soft and un-kissed. He was now a hundred miles away from that photograph, caught in a fuzzy web of confusion and uncertainty. At least the cell he lived in before was of his own design. Here, in this time, at this point on the calendar, he had become the prisoner of a label, its medication the jailer.

He walked over to his bedroom window and opened it. Beyond the roofs and beyond the roofs beyond those, he could see a strip of orange where the sky met the earth. He took a long time considering how far away from that meeting he was. From his pocket, he plucked a tiny plastic container and rattled it once. This was the sound of now to him, of a present he inhabited not out of choice but out of prescription. Maybe his life was filled with fear and insecurities back then, but at least it was his life. Hurling the plastic container through the window and at the horizon, he let the world know that he was himself and his name was Jacob Gray.

“Fuck you!”

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Old 02-15-2015, 03:29 PM
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"lightness, deafening, motionless, scanned, closely" I would take all those words out . Do not assume the reader needs them to understand where you are going. It is excessive. They are crutches. Edit, edit , edit.


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Old 02-15-2015, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by sdenyer View Post
"lightness, deafening, motionless, scanned, closely" I would take all those words out . Do not assume the reader needs them to understand where you are going. It is excessive. They are crutches. Edit, edit , edit.


.
All those words are necessary for THIS character. 'lightless' is there to show it's dark and to tell you that Jacob doesn't just see night and day, he resents the fact the day had deserted him. 'Deafening' is there to tell you something about the state of Jacobs mind once he has nothing to distract him from his own thoughts. 'motionless' is there because he lays there stiff and only his mind and eyes move at all. 'scanned' to tell you he's looking intently into the darkness trying to see. 'closely' is there to tell you he is obsessing on the sound of the clock, which is why I've used fullstops for each word to give each tick-tock punch. It's worth considering whether I really need that word though. For him it's like Chinese torture. What I may do though is add a little more detail to each paragraph in between the tick-tocks. I need them to be roughly the same length to retain a sense of an incessant rhythm that he wishes wasn't there.

The only word that will probably change there is 'nothingness' because it just feels a little awkward to me.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:09 AM
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Greetings Azmacna

Thankfully, it does not happen often to me, but I can certainly relate to the feeling of not being able to sleep, and I think you have captured that. Although with a ticking windup clock in the room I would not find sleep anytime soon either, so I can understand Jacob's insomnia

In my personal opinion I would like to see a bit more meat on the bone, so to speak. It feels like a very stripped down, shortened, tightened, minimalist style story. Nothing wrong with that of course, but for me personally, I like to see more descriptive elements, unless this is an excerpt from a larger piece.


There are a couple of things that I feel break the rhythm of the story:
... Jacob scanned a fat, black space above, ...
If you are satisfied with this sentence as it is, the only think I would say is that I think it should be the fat, black space ... However, to me, your use of the word scanned seems somehow out of place here. You might consider ... Jacob stared into the fat, black space above, ...

Just a thought though, you may have good reasons for choosing that word. I think for me the word scan/scanned is tied quite strongly with sci-fi/computer/robot type of scenes (English is not my native language).

... but he knew it was an unusually long time for someone seeking sleep.
This seems to me like an artificial way of getting across the fact that he had been lying awake for a long time. Perhaps the same idea could be expressed by way of action or sensation as opposed to exposition.

The tick, tock idea I took to mean that time seemed to move slower and slower for Jacob, until every second turned into a torturous eternity.

An interesting piece of writing. I am kind of enjoying your unique choice of words: lightless room and deafening nothingness, though as you suggested yourself, maybe nothingness should be changed. Maybe emptiness or simply silence. Anyway, to me they enhance the reading experience

Garviel
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by garviel View Post
Greetings Azmacna

Thankfully, it does not happen often to me, but I can certainly relate to the feeling of not being able to sleep, and I think you have captured that. Although with a ticking windup clock in the room I would not find sleep anytime soon either, so I can understand Jacob's insomnia

In my personal opinion I would like to see a bit more meat on the bone, so to speak. It feels like a very stripped down, shortened, tightened, minimalist style story. Nothing wrong with that of course, but for me personally, I like to see more descriptive elements, unless this is an excerpt from a larger piece.


There are a couple of things that I feel break the rhythm of the story:
If you are satisfied with this sentence as it is, the only think I would say is that I think it should be the fat, black space ... However, to me, your use of the word scanned seems somehow out of place here. You might consider ... Jacob stared into the fat, black space above, ...

Just a thought though, you may have good reasons for choosing that word. I think for me the word scan/scanned is tied quite strongly with sci-fi/computer/robot type of scenes (English is not my native language).

This seems to me like an artificial way of getting across the fact that he had been lying awake for a long time. Perhaps the same idea could be expressed by way of action or sensation as opposed to exposition.

The tick, tock idea I took to mean that time seemed to move slower and slower for Jacob, until every second turned into a torturous eternity.

An interesting piece of writing. I am kind of enjoying your unique choice of words: lightless room and deafening nothingness, though as you suggested yourself, maybe nothingness should be changed. Maybe emptiness or simply silence. Anyway, to me they enhance the reading experience

Garviel
Thanks for this! I thought long and hard about that 'a' or 'the' 'fat, black space'. His bedroom is just another place to him so I went with 'a' BUT I may change it to 'the' ... Undecided! 'emptiness' wouldn't be quite right. Emptiness still leaves me with the feeling the bedroom is still there. I need this to feel like a void where anything is possible and Jacob's mind is the only thing that exists.

The clock doesn't actually exist. Jacob has psychosis, or so that's what the doctors tell him. I worried about the bare bones beginning too. I didn't want to overpower the 'Tick. Tock.' too much and need the reader to 'feel' irritated by the repetition. The following paragraph will be of equal length and finally explain that the clock doesn't exist. And then I end on 'TOCK' (capitals) before I go on to tell you a little more about Jacobs and when he was diagnosed with psychosis at the age of 11. It's from this point on that I will begin to describe in more detail.

The bedroom, the womb and the darkness were the fist place Jacobs conjured the voices, sounds or visions. To sum this first section up: I'm trying to create a sense of unease, an oppressive void in which there is no escape and a sanctuary (the blankets) that give him no real escape. He's vulnerable to his own imagination.

edit: I don't like 'failed to comfort him'. I think I'll change it to 'no longer comforted him.'
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:31 AM
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You kind of lost me at "tic toc." It seems rather trite.

It seems like you're trying too hard. This is a feeling to which almost anyone can relate, so it feels to me like you are overdoing it -- and that you are crossing over into purple prose. Include enough to cause that spark of recognition and let your readers empathy take over from there.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
You kind of lost me at "tic toc." It seems rather trite.

It seems like you're trying too hard. This is a feeling to which almost anyone can relate, so it feels to me like you are overdoing it -- and that you are crossing over into purple prose. Include enough to cause that spark of recognition and let your readers empathy take over from there.
Mmmm ... I'll have to think about this because it's definitely not something most people can relate to. Clearly I've failed in putting the uniqueness of Jacob's sleeplessness over, so I'm going to have to do something about that. The problem here (I think) is that I want it to read as if it's just your normal sleeplessness but use words to supply a subtext that readers will pick up on but not necessary understand immediately.

I want them to feel slightly uncomfortable, but if that's making it sound 'flowery' then perhaps I need to rethink. Everything I've added to what appears a normal scene is there to add an odd element. Such as 'lightless' or 'pressed down' or 'deafening nothingness' (don't like that now) or 'a fat, black space'. I really thought that 'heat of his linen womb' would be the final clue that showed this wasn't just sleeplessness. Clearly those that have commented so far seem to think it's just insomnia. Does everyone feel as though their bedroom is pressing down on them when they can't sleep? Do they look up at a 'fat, black space'?

I'll certainly give this some thought but it DID 'feel' slightly awkward and unusual to me when I was writing it.

I don't really want to show why he's different straight away, I just want a flavour but clearly that flavour has some how gone missing. I'll wait for other comments before I decide because I can't go any further with this piece until people fully understand that there's something odd about what Jacob is feeling.
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:39 AM
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OK, I've rejigged a couple of things. I've changed a couple of words here and there to help telegraph a sense that this isn't normal insomnia and I've brought the paragraphs together in order to avoid using Tick-Tock too often; although I think I may have lost the sense I was going for there ... I'm not sure. I've also added a rough draft of the last paragraph of this brief opener to give a much bigger clue to the fact Jacob has psychosis.

The last line is just there for the moment to explain the situation. It needs changing at some point.
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:05 PM
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I like the auditory hallucination with the clock- a heart beat he hears outside of himself. The only part that stuck out to me was when he pulled the sheets over his head, I don't know why but the catatonic feel to the first paragraph was disturbed by this. Not to mention anytime I put covers over my head it becomes hard to breathe due to the heated carbon dioxide. I would really like to know which way you are leaning with his psychosis and hallucinations. I enjoyed the tempo.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
I like the auditory hallucination with the clock- a heart beat he hears outside of himself. The only part that stuck out to me was when he pulled the sheets over his head, I don't know why but the catatonic feel to the first paragraph was disturbed by this. Not to mention anytime I put covers over my head it becomes hard to breathe due to the heated carbon dioxide. I would really like to know which way you are leaning with his psychosis and hallucinations. I enjoyed the tempo.
Thanks for this.

This is a description of one of my experiences as a young kid. I genuinely did hear a clock ticking even though there wasn't one in my room. I did used to lay rigid trying to sleep but always ended up staring above me. I did always feel as if the space above had weight and it was pressing down on me. I did always then tuck the bedsheets under my head and stay like that as long as possible. My mother used to tuck the sheets really tightly under the mattress. I did always end up curling up into the bedsheets. I did always sense a chill creeping up on me from the edges of the sheets. I did imagine that sleep was like time travel and it edited out the night. The part I haven't mentioned yet is that when I slept I had terrible nightmares and always woke up swaddled in sweat wet sheets. That will be added at some point.

I need a better word that 'rigid' though. It was originally 'motionless' but people seemed to have a problem with that. I think the problem is they think I'm just over writing and don't understand that I mean 'motionless' literally.

I'm glad you liked the tempo, it was supposed to add to the tick-tock of the clock.
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:55 AM
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Mmmm ... I'll have to think about this because it's definitely not something most people can relate to. Clearly I've failed in putting the uniqueness of Jacob's sleeplessness over, so I'm going to have to do something about that. The problem here (I think) is that I want it to read as if it's just your normal sleeplessness but use words to supply a subtext that readers will pick up on but not necessary understand immediately.
Interesting predicament. On first reading the piece it did seem like fairly run-of-the-mill insomnia to me - but with just one or two unsettling things thrown in. Listening to small sounds, staring at the ceiling, occasionally being disturbed by cold at the edge of the covers - these are things I associate with regular insomnia. From reading through the comments, I get the feeling that you wanted 'the fat, back space above' to provide a more oppressive atmosphere than it does. It's a good line and I wouldn't change it, but you might need to add a little more to convey this. (I love 'empty din', by the way.)

The following are the bits that threw in the slightly darker vibe for me:

It had always been the same: his mind winding down, his eye lids burdened and droopy, his body longing for retirement, but once alone with the dark … thoughts, incessant and cruel.
To me this was the first real hint that there might be something darker behind this insomnia, but it almost feels like a . . . throw-away line? As if it's there to over-emphasise the sleeplessness, rather than hint at something else. Does that make sense? If it were me, I would have added in a line about there being a worm squirming inside his brain - I don't mean that as an actual suggestion, but as an attempt to show you what I think is missing, as I can't seem to adequately put it into words.

It wasn’t long before the scent of freshly washed sheets no longer comforted him and he twisted sideways to curl deeper into the heart of his linen womb.
I do find 'linen womb' to be unsettling imagery, so right on point there.

If you wanted to make me feel more uncomfortable, I'd recommend adding in a feeling of sweat, clamminess. (Most unsettling would be to relate clamminess to the linen womb . . .) Or the image of being utterly still, yet sweating. Usually you expect someone to be writhing in their sheets - it's safe, expected, whereas to be lying motionless and have sweat beading on your forehead to me conjures discomfort, anxiety . . . and I'm possibly over-thinking the need for your character to be sweating, apologies!

My next thought is purely stylistic, and may be a suggestion that doesn't work for you at all. I feel that italicising the 'tick tock' would add to the uneasy atmosphere. It puts the sound in a slightly different realm, and I find it pricks in my mind when reading. Very much a personal feeling though, others may well feel differently.

And as a final note, this is such a short excerpt that I feel I have been overly critical with it. I'd love to see the rest and critique the piece as a whole
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Old 02-18-2015, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by inkylinks View Post
Interesting predicament. On first reading the piece it did seem like fairly run-of-the-mill insomnia to me - but with just one or two unsettling things thrown in. Listening to small sounds, staring at the ceiling, occasionally being disturbed by cold at the edge of the covers - these are things I associate with regular insomnia. From reading through the comments, I get the feeling that you wanted 'the fat, back space above' to provide a more oppressive atmosphere than it does. It's a good line and I wouldn't change it, but you might need to add a little more to convey this. (I love 'empty din', by the way.)

The following are the bits that threw in the slightly darker vibe for me:

To me this was the first real hint that there might be something darker behind this insomnia, but it almost feels like a . . . throw-away line? As if it's there to over-emphasise the sleeplessness, rather than hint at something else. Does that make sense? If it were me, I would have added in a line about there being a worm squirming inside his brain - I don't mean that as an actual suggestion, but as an attempt to show you what I think is missing, as I can't seem to adequately put it into words.

I do find 'linen womb' to be unsettling imagery, so right on point there.

If you wanted to make me feel more uncomfortable, I'd recommend adding in a feeling of sweat, clamminess. (Most unsettling would be to relate clamminess to the linen womb . . .) Or the image of being utterly still, yet sweating. Usually you expect someone to be writhing in their sheets - it's safe, expected, whereas to be lying motionless and have sweat beading on your forehead to me conjures discomfort, anxiety . . . and I'm possibly over-thinking the need for your character to be sweating, apologies!

My next thought is purely stylistic, and may be a suggestion that doesn't work for you at all. I feel that italicising the 'tick tock' would add to the uneasy atmosphere. It puts the sound in a slightly different realm, and I find it pricks in my mind when reading. Very much a personal feeling though, others may well feel differently.

And as a final note, this is such a short excerpt that I feel I have been overly critical with it. I'd love to see the rest and critique the piece as a whole
Great suggestion there and I agree with every point you've made. I think I'm going to have to add more into each paragraph, which is likely to move the tick-tocks too far apart to have a subliminal effect on the reader, but I can live with that. More sweat. Check! I smiled at your comment about the text 'thoughts, incessant and cruel' because they ARE exactly as you described. More thought will go into that in the rewrite (I promise). Tick-tocks italicised as suggested! I get your point clearly and it makes sense.


Now onto something I haven't touched upon that could help with further critiques: Although he has been diagnosed with psychosis and almost believes it himself, it isn't actually psychosis. He literally has the ability to conjure his thoughts for himself to see, but later he finds out he can also conjure them for others to see. Can you now see how treading the line between the two is so damned flippin' hard and the reason I DIDN'T italicise the Tick-tock? They ARE there but they're NOT there ... Oh the headaches. It's the reason I've been holding off on this piece. I have to get the tone and voice perfect before I can get into the story properly.

I'm trying to fit writing around a home course at the moment so I'm struggling to find the room in my head for imagination. Facts are heavy gits and take up far too much space.
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Old 02-18-2015, 12:45 PM
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Now onto something I haven't touched upon that could help with further critiques: Although he has been diagnosed with psychosis and almost believes it himself, it isn't actually psychosis. He literally has the ability to conjure his thoughts for himself to see, but later he finds out he can also conjure them for others to see. Can you now see how treading the line between the two is so damned flippin' hard and the reason I DIDN'T italicise the Tick-tock? They ARE there but they're NOT there ... Oh the headaches. It's the reason I've been holding off on this piece. I have to get the tone and voice perfect before I can get into the story properly.
Oh that is a cool premise. Reminds me of some of Philip K. Dick's short stories on the theme of identity and reality. Glad the italics work for you - I believe they still fit with your concept, and maybe it's something you can play about with when you come to showing us how his thoughts are conjured? I'm rather looking forward to seeing how you write that . . .
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:46 AM
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I've added a second part but I haven't rewritten the first part yet. I couldn't format the 'tick-tock' as I wanted to for some reason but that'll do for now.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:08 PM
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The "once upon a time" sequence gives it a juvenile feel-- which may be what you are going for-- but it made me read it as such. Other that that, it strays from the tempo of the story. I start in the kids mind, then omniscient and then back to the kid. I love the original part, but this new part doesn't get my attention until the last couple paragraphs, when it's back in the kids perspective.

Also, I think you mean schitzoid and not antisocial- though in common speech many people associate schitzoid as antisocial, so you may be going for that.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
The "once upon a time" sequence gives it a juvenile feel-- which may be what you are going for-- but it made me read it as such. Other that that, it strays from the tempo of the story. I start in the kids mind, then omniscient and then back to the kid. I love the original part, but this new part doesn't get my attention until the last couple paragraphs, when it's back in the kids perspective.

Also, I think you mean schitzoid and not antisocial- though in common speech many people associate schitzoid as antisocial, so you may be going for that.
Yes, that part is meant to sound juvenile (although juvenile isn't the word I'd use) but then get progressively deeper as he gets sightly older. It's my first draft so obviously needs tightening somewhat. This IS the structure I intend to stay with though because I can see it working the way I want it to IF I can present it exactly how I want. The first section is going to be slightly longer too. I'm just going to use the flashback to tell the reader how he got where he is and why he fights so hard against being labelled 'psychotic'. There is little point in starting this story with him at 11 but I feel what his experienced as a child has important bearing on him as a young adult.

The first part is written as a 21 year old and the second part starts with him at 11+. 'Once upon a time' stays for definite because that places the story exactly where I want it at that moment.
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:54 AM
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Another rewrite of the first part but still not happy.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:27 PM
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I hope you know when I said "juvenile" I meant it in age not maturity; just couldn't think of another word. I blame the local library with its brazen sign specifying "juvenile" behing solid wooden walls that I am too old to enter, but it looks so fun.

Now, I like the rewrite, at least some of it, especially the parts going into his mind. Still- part of me misses the original, but the new detail has to be in it. Make them have a baby. That's what this world needs, a demonic baby; and I mean that in a complimentary way. Demons are cool yo.
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
I hope you know when I said "juvenile" I meant it in age not maturity; just couldn't think of another word. I blame the local library with its brazen sign specifying "juvenile" behing solid wooden walls that I am too old to enter, but it looks so fun.

Now, I like the rewrite, at least some of it, especially the parts going into his mind. Still- part of me misses the original, but the new detail has to be in it. Make them have a baby. That's what this world needs, a demonic baby; and I mean that in a complimentary way. Demons are cool yo.
Yes, that's why I'm still not happy with it. I have a 'feeling' for the beginning and end of the opening section but I'm still struggling to capture it perfectly. I've lost something but gained other things but combining the two means adding too much! The opening chapter is just setting the scene for the style of the piece which will be a combination of him at 14 and him at 21. What's more (and I could be over complicating it for myself) he suffers from depression, so when he's depressed the writing will reflect that in the words he chooses and the way he describes things. When he's happy (or relatively 'normal') the writing will be more colourful and light.

I NEED this opening first though. I think it's time to read more and let this simmer in the oven for a while. Where is Barker when I need him?
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:02 AM
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If you still have a copy of the original try to look at them side by side, maybe that will help. Have you any idea of the length you want this to be yet?
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
If you still have a copy of the original try to look at them side by side, maybe that will help. Have you any idea of the length you want this to be yet?
I deleted the original because I wanted a fresh start. I have a definite feeling for how I want the opening to be so I'm not too concerned really. When it feels about right, I'll continue with the story. I may have to add the following scene in first though ... it could be the reason I'm still not feeling it. How long it is isn't really something I think about. It's a novel so at least 150 pages - 200 pages? No idea. Could be more or could be less depending on whether the subtext and theme are worthy of deeper exploration (don't ask me about that yet!) I'm also currently doing a college course so I'm unable to bury myself in this world as I'd like. When that's finished then I can up the workload and get on with it. It's also why I've had to slow down on critiques too. I WILL increase those when I can.
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Old 02-26-2015, 10:06 AM
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Okay. Well if it's that long you will have plenty of time to edit it. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but my advice is to not let the structure of this intro deter you from writing the rest. Like, don't obsess to the point that you get frustrated. Flow will generally come in the middle of writing, and once you have it you can always go back. Does that make sense?
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
Okay. Well if it's that long you will have plenty of time to edit it. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but my advice is to not let the structure of this intro deter you from writing the rest. Like, don't obsess to the point that you get frustrated. Flow will generally come in the middle of writing, and once you have it you can always go back. Does that make sense?
Until I get the voice right for this opening that flow won't come as I want it ... that's the problem. I will just continue with a voice that's not what I want, if you catch my drift. I'm really taking my time with this opening because I intend to finish this and sent it off.
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:44 AM
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I understand completely. Just try not to stress too much, it's hard to consciously use a voice, it's an unconscious action. Just don't be your worse critic you know? Later yes haha.
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
I understand completely. Just try not to stress too much, it's hard to consciously use a voice, it's an unconscious action. Just don't be your worse critic you know? Later yes haha.
I'll always be my own worse critic. There aint nothin' I can do 'bout that.

Part of the problem is his name. I actually posted a thread asking for ideas but that didn't go as planned. If anyone can think of a name for him it would be helpful. As I said in that other thread, I want something slightly odd and my starting point is Barton Fink.
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:47 PM
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I don't know- is the name really that important to the story? You can always change the name later. And then this "voice" you are looking for, could it be there but you cannot see it yet? It may not all become evident until later after you continue the story.
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
I don't know- is the name really that important to the story? You can always change the name later. And then this "voice" you are looking for, could it be there but you cannot see it yet? It may not all become evident until later after you continue the story.
Yes, the name is important. And no, the voice isn't there yet. It's not a voice you can see in the text, it's a voice I use to read it in my head; and then that informs the voice I use on the page. The vocabulary is effected by the character and not just me. That's how I work and that's why I have a variety of voices (or styles).
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:36 AM
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I'm currently working on the opening sentence because that's all I've got time for at the moment! What do you lovely folks think of this:

Darkness had swallowed an impotent sun and here lay Jacob Gray in the belly of the night.
Does the 'so' give it more gravitas? Or does the 'so' give the impression it should be two sentences?

Would that make you want to read the next sentence?
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:24 AM
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I don't like it with the So. It seems to change the frame of the narration. The "impotent sun"- is it to reflect that during the daylight there is not enough power to quell his inner angst? It's just when I think of the sun I do not think impotent, but if you are going to refer later of its lack of power I get it.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
I don't like it with the So. It seems to change the frame of the narration. The "impotent sun"- is it to reflect that during the daylight there is not enough power to quell his inner angst? It's just when I think of the sun I do not think impotent, but if you are going to refer later of its lack of power I get it.
You interpreted it correctly ... So it stays! It is also to hint at a dull day when the sun is mostly hidden behind clouds (symbolising depression).

I'm removing 'so' because I agree with you. I may add to this sentence though 'so' it may be added back in. I'll be glad when this bloody college work is done. I can't wait to get well and truly stuck in to this.
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