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    1. #1
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      Red face Chapter One, help me fix it

      I'm halfway through my second book, but I still don't the first chapter. I like the idea, the way that it introduces things, but there is something about it that I can't put my finger on that doesn't seem right. Tell me what you think. It's annoying to be 300 pages into a book and be bothered by the first two.

      It's supposed to be a very brief intro into the story, not plot, no character (other than the narrator,) more of a prologue than a chapter.

      Chapter One: Me

      ❚❚❚❚❚I am dying, if you’re reading this, I’m probably already dead. I wish I could say that I fought the good fight and won, but I didn’t. I couldn’t help but die, I had no control over how and when it happened. It’s a strange feeling watching yourself die and having absolutely nothing that you can do to stop it. I guess it really was inevitable, death is a natural part of life, I just didn’t think it would happen to me.
      ❚❚❚❚❚Death… it’s a frightening thought, although I was never really alive to begin with. I was floating through my life, clinging to the few things that kept me alive: the Fourth of July fireworks display, the excitement of young children every year at the end of October, running up and down my streets, wearing spooky masks and gathering enough candy to keep their sugar-fed bodies up long past when they should have gone to bed, and the annual carols and generosity of the holiday season; that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Years where people forget their petty problems and radiate joy, before regressing into the petty, bickering assholes that they are the rest of the year.
      ❚❚❚❚❚My name is Dyberry, Pennsylvania. I’m a town in the north-eastern corner of the state, surrounded by the Application Mountains and isolated. People trickle in and settle down, rarely leaving. I suppose in that sense I’m a lot like a cess pool in the woods, slowly collecting all of the retched shit that has no where else to go.
      ❚❚❚❚❚Other than those who live here, most people don’t stick around long. I’m the kind of town that you pass on your way to somewhere else. I’m not going to be your destination, I’ll be lucky if I’m going to be a viapoint. Route 6 goes through my heart, it’s my Main Street, but it’s small and crowded, most people who are passing by go around me. Sometimes people stop to get a couple of gallons of gas and a soda at the Turkey Hill near the Lackawaxan River, but most don’t stop. If they pass through me, the relationship that they have with me is fleeting; lasting less than five minutes and I’m forgotten only a few minutes after that, never getting a second thought.
      ❚❚❚❚❚I, like all small towns, are not without my charms. Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time for little charms anymore. The face-paced world that we live in doesn’t give us much time to hike up to the top of Irving Cliff and stare over the town. Even the evils that plague me are invisible from up there, from there the town looks peaceful and tranquil, like the way an artist would see me. All of those oil paintings that you see of covered bridges and sunsets are the way I look from a distance. People don’t have the time to take a day and go fishing in the Dyberry creek that snakes it’s way around me and under a few of my bridges. The water is cool and trickles with a relaxing ambience that only nature can produce. Outside of the town it’s really relaxing, the sounds of the creek are the only things that one can hear, unlike in the centre of the town where cars and people drown out the subtle music that nature produces for them every minute or every hour of every day.
      ❚❚❚❚❚Yeah, no one takes times for my charms. Small charms have become as elitist as foreign films and black and white photography. Most people see the evils that lurk within me instead. I am full of evil, it’s obvious to all, except for those who only see me through a week long filter as they come up to watch the leaves change when my hillsides change from a simple green to a blazon orange. I don’t know about you, but I prefer them green, it’s simpler and not as flashy, but people like flashy so once a year for a week, I’m overrun with outsiders. I don’t mind, it brings a small sense of culture and fresh ideas, but they are temporary.
      ❚❚❚❚❚The outsiders leave as soon as the leaves start turning brown and their ideas go with them. People don’t want to linger too long, or the romanticized vision that they had of the small town dies like the leaves that they came to see; replaced with the lucid vision of the dull, mindless evil that permeates the town.
      ❚❚❚❚❚Racism was rampant in me, all the way from the Republican controlled local government to the white supremacist middle school teacher. The majority of the people here didn’t like those who looked, acted, or thought differently than themselves. They kept away from anyone who might try to change their stubborn minds about anything that they knew. They spent their nights in dank little bars, drinking their cheap domestic beer and smoking their cigarettes. They were the kind of dives where the word nigger wouldn’t raise an eyebrow and effigies of President Obama were hung from the trees by the very same people who four years before had shouted that questioning the president was unpatriotic.
      ❚❚❚❚❚They sat at the bars, barely speaking to one another, wallowing in depression and self loathing and watching Nascar on the crummy little television that was older than most of them. They would spend every night there, not just the weekends, then return home to ignore or abuse their wives. It was the way that things worked here, no one knew any different. The people who did stayed away from those areas.
      ❚❚❚❚❚The people who thought differently, but still lived here, were mostly locals who had left Dyberry for four years to go to college. Only the brightest in the town had college degrees, most could barely read. Having a college degree would make a person an outsider, they went off to college and saw the world through a new light. They realized that the ways of Dyberry weren’t and didn’t have to be the norm, and that there was something better for them. They returned to Dyberry four years later, bringing the ideals and ideas of the outside world with them, ready to change things for the better, but found themselves shunned by their former friends, classmates, and family who had stayed behind and melded minds with the blissfully ignorant proletariat of the dank bars.
      ❚❚❚❚❚The college graduates huddled together and formed their own click, usually in one of the coffee shops on Main Street. While the scum of my world sought out the darkness, it seems the more intelligent sought the incandescent light of Main Street. Their higher intelligence and education gave them a business edge and had bullied the huddled masses out of Main Street. It didn’t matter, most of the conservative faction were farmers who stayed well outside of the town anyway, at least until it came time for the farmers market.
      ❚❚❚❚❚Even though the progressive pocket of Main Street and the conservative pocket of the dark, nameless streets, hated each other, they were entirely dependent on each other. The Progressives ruled Main Street and brought in almost all of the town’s wealth. This wealth trickled into the farmers, who grew the food for the town.
      ❚❚❚❚❚The farmers gave me life, but it was the progressives who both killed me and fought to save me. This is their story as much as it is mine, this is the story of how, within one month, I went from a depressed, but far from dying small town, to the verge of death. I can see the tunnel and the light, it’s beautiful, but I need to tell my story first, seeing that no one else will tell it.
      Last edited by ninja9578; 07-27-2009 at 10:26 PM.

    2. #2
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      This seems fine. I'm guessing I'd only potentially see something to change (besides proofreading it) if I knew the rest of the book. Interesting character... a town.

    3. #3
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      I love that you responded. It's a vampyre story, a guy with leukemia goes in search of a way to cheat his inevitable death, and finds it in the form of vampyrism. He's what I call a lucid vampyre, in that he knows that he is so his thirst for blood is quenched by eating animals, but the blood gets out and people start turning into vampyres and the town gets overrun with them as he and a few other lucid vampyres try and fight them off. Eventually he'll lose his lucidity and and become what he was fighting, and being the original vampyre, becomes the target of those trying to fight it.

      I didn't proofread yet, this is the first draft. I chose the town to be the narrator because I wanted a sentient, first person perspective, but also an all seeing eye. The town was the only way to do that.

    4. #4
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      In that case, yeah, change something. This chapter makes it seem like you're leading into some kind of story about progressives killing a town (in a political sense).

      Umm... maybe just add some things here and there to hint that there's something abnormal about the town. As if it has a deep dark secret.

      Or if you wanted to go for another route, it could be the main character's diary in his last moments before going bat shit.

    5. #5
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      See, therein lies a problem. I want it to not be an abnormal town, the story needs to be able to happen in any small town in America. The character doesn't become a vampyre in the town, he actual travels to Romania for that. I do like the idea of a ciary entry here and there though

    6. #6
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      It is pretty good the way it introduces things, as for the writing itself: okay with the exception of some grammatical errors, and some punctual ones which can be fixed easily (such as replacing some of the ,s with .s) I cannot post a more detailed analysis right now, I am in a hurry. Anyway, good luck with it.
      Last edited by Exhalent; 07-28-2009 at 01:07 AM.

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by ninja9578 View Post
      See, therein lies a problem. I want it to not be an abnormal town, the story needs to be able to happen in any small town in America. The character doesn't become a vampyre in the town, he actual travels to Romania for that. I do like the idea of a ciary entry here and there though
      Hmm.. well here's a few ideas that I can think of to base the first chapters on:
      - Diary entry of main character
      - The person(s) responsible for him becoming a vampire
      * Or perhaps an item that they gave to the character as "protection"
      - The doctor diagnosing his leukemia, or another related medical professional
      - A therapist's notes about the main character
      - A person who survived through the story, but wasn't actively involved, recollecting on how it all began
      - The family of the main character, maybe a mother or sister noting changes

      If you still want to keep the town as the narrator then:
      - Refer to the "progressives" and "conservatives" differently, to lead away from the idea of a political story
      - More about how everything went from normal to extraordinary
      - Suggest that the people there could've never expected what was to come
      - Suggest an emotion that the town feels about the vampire invasion(?). Like, if it felt it was good to finally put it out of its misery, or afraid to die out, or just displeased

      As I think of more, I'll add them.

    8. #8
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      The last one. That's what was missing, an emotional view from the town.

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