Wednesday, May 03, 2017

New Beginning 1065


Howls of the dead and the horrifying screams of the living were the only sounds that could be heard. The deserted town was potent with the stench of trash and iron making bile burn in the back of my throat. Nonetheless, I didn't have time to think about the disgusting state of the area. Chasing after us was a mob of rotting corpses.

Moving corpses slowly cornered us, literally and figuratively. Backed against a wall, I was forced to come to terms with the fate that awaited us. I looked over to my brother with tear-striken eyes and whimpered, "At least we have each other. I love you, Jack."

His grey eyes wavered when he gave me a shaky smile and ruffled my hair. "I love you too, Lulu. But," he gripped onto my shoulders and said, "I love myself more." A smirk stretched his lips as I registered his last words.

In a matter of seconds, his warmth was gone, replaced by a strong force pushing me away. Jack ran past the zombies before they could blink, never looking back. The echoes of his laughter overshadowed even the groans of the dead.

It only took a single shot to the back of the knee to quiet Jack's giggles, and as he crumpled to the ground, the undead could sense the fresh iron smell leaking from his wound. As they turned to feed on what passed for his brain, I slipped away into the shadows. Yes, Jack was nimble and Jack was quick, but Jack forgot my semi-automatic.


Opening: Natanne Norman.....Continuation: ril

19 comments:

マリンカカリンカ said...

These are great! Love the continuations.

Evil Editor said...


Unchosen continuations:


I watched Jack disappear into the mob. The remaining ones turned on me. Jack had taken the gun. All I had was my clipboard.

"No" I screamed, desperate to be heard. "I don't have your food! Didn't you hear? FyreFest has been cancelled!"

--Khazar-khum


And that's the last Republican Convention I'll ever attend.

--jcwrites

Evil Editor said...

P1: Not sure how "deserted" this town is if people are screaming. Comma after "iron." I would change "Nonetheless, I didn't have time to think about the disgusting state of the area." to "There was no time to think."

P2: Get rid of first sentence. Stricken. I'd also dump "At least we have each other."

P3: Punctuation-wise, I'm not crazy about But," he gripped... Other options:

"I love you too, Lulu." He gripped my shoulders. "But I love myself more."
"I love you too, Lulu, but..." He gripped my shoulders. "I love myself more."
"I love you too, Lulu," he said, gripping my shoulders. "But I love myself more."

P4: I'd drop "In a matter of seconds." Considering they had you against a wall in P2, and you've found time for a conversation and a hair ruffling and a smirk, there are no more seconds available. If they're cornered by a mob, is pushing Lulu aside enough of a distraction to open a path to freedom? Does he push her into the mob? Do zombies blink?

InevitablePlotTwist said...

This section has some strong imagery, but it uses a lot of passive voice, especially in the first paragraph - e.g. "...were the only sounds that could be heard..." and "The deserted town was potent..."

You can't get rid of passive voice entirely, but it's better to use the active voice when you can. So the two sentences I mentioned could be something like "Howls of the dead and the horrifying screams of the living rang through the streets" and "The stench of trash and iron fouled the air..."

My current work in progress took a beating over this same issue the first time I brought it to a writing group, so I've definitely been in your shoes. :-)

マリンカカリンカ said...

P1: Ah, I got the definition confused. Would sparsely populated town work?

P2: Damn, I always mess that word up. Originally I had the sentence irony's sake, so I can snip it.

P3: All of these suggestions sound great!

P4: Yep. Basically zombies' in CPC's world are somewhat conscious thanks to evolved webslinger wasps in their heads. If they lose their will to the bugs, they'll lose themselves. To them, a free meal is better than struggling to catch an escaping one. Yep! Depending on how they died. Lulu just generalized it.

マリンカカリンカ said...

Ohh, yeah. That sounds better!
At least now I'm aware of the mistake. cx

Anonymous said...

Sounds fun. Once you get rid of the kinks, I think you'll have the early teen/gamer audience hooked easy.

マリンカカリンカ said...

Whoops, I meant web slinging wasps.

Author said...

Revision:

Howls of the dead and the horrifying screams of the living rang through the streets. The stench of trash and iron fouled the air of the sparsely populated town, making bile burn in the back of my throat. Nonetheless, I didn't have time to think. A mob of rotting corpses were hunting us down.

Backed against a wall, I came to terms with the fate awaiting us. I looked over to my brother with tear-stricken eyes and whimpered, "I love you, Jack."

His grey eyes wavered when he gave me a shaky smile and ruffled my hair. "I love you too, Lulu." He gripped onto my shoulders, saying, "But I love myself more." A smirk stretched his lips as I registered his last words.

His warmth vanished, replaced by a strong force pushing me away. I landed in someone's arms as Jack ran past the zombies before they could blink, never looking back. The echoes of his laughter overshadowed even the groans of the dead.

Evil Editor said...

This doesn't sound much different from the original except that you made a few changes we suggested.

For some reason you left the word "nonetheless" in p1. It makes no sense as a transition into the next sentence. And changing that the zombies were chasing you to they were hunting you isn't an improvement. Chasing suggests they're right behind you. Hunting could mean they're looking for you and aren't as close as they actually are.

You also left the word "onto" in paragraph 3. Not an error, but I don't see why it's there. It doesn't affect the meaning of the sentence. We assume it.

マリンカカリンカ said...

Ohh, that was the one comment I forgot about. Fixed!
Huh. I thought Hunting was more intense than chasing, but chasing seems better.
'onto' has been deleted. Thank you for the suggestions!

マリンカカリンカ said...

Last question(probably):
Is this somewhat better?

Howls of the dead and the horrifying screams of the living rang through the streets. The stench of trash and iron fouled the air of the sparsely populated town, making bile burn in the back of my throat. I didn't have time to think, as a mob of rotting corpses surrounded us.

Backed against a wall, I came to terms with the fate ahead. I looked over to my brother with tear-stricken eyes and whimpered, "I love you, Jack."

His grey eyes wavered when he gave me a shaky smile and ruffled my hair. "I love you too, Lulu." He gripped my shoulders. "But I love myself more." A smirk stretched his lips as I registered his last words.

His warmth vanished, replaced by a strong force pushing me away. I landed in someone's arms as Jack ran past the zombies before they could blink, never looking back. The echoes of his laughter overshadowed even the groans of the dead.

Evil Editor said...

It's virtually the same thing. If you've reached the point where you're changing only a few words, there's no need to keep resubmitting it.

マリンカカリンカ said...

Alright! Thanks for helping again.

Anonymous said...

The whole cornered thing with lots of time for a conversation doesn't work very well. There's no sense of urgency to it. My suggestion might be to have Lulu sniveling comments as both of them are running or limping fast or something and maybe have Jack kick her off a wall as they're climbing it, or trip her when they round a corner and run into another mob or something. As is, if the zombies give up that easily, I don't see why Lulu can't just run away as well.

When you say "strong force" I wonder if someone's got psychic powers. If Jack is the one shoving her at the zombies, you could probably say so more directly.

"someone's arms" might work better as "something's arms" unless there's are going to be people-status issues with the zombies. Even better would be to describe the arms she lands on with whatever stage of decomposition they're in.

I'm hoping this isn't a dream or flashback sequence and the story actually continues from this point.

Good Luck

マリンカカリンカ said...

Oooh, never considered that! Turning 'Someone's arms' to 'something' works, especially since she'll be on the other end of the stick soon.

Oh it does. She dies. That's where the story begins.

Thank you!

davefragments said...

Try cutting half the words and leaving on what is important:

Howls of the undead and screams of the dying mingled with the stench of burning flesh. A mob of the undead, reeking, snarling, surrounded us.
Against a wall, escape blocked. I whimpered, "At least we have each other. I love you, Jack."
My brother gave me a weak smile, "I love you too, Lulu. But, I love myself more."
He ran past the zombies before they could blink, never looking back.


Isn't that all the imagery you want to convey and need?
The reason that I ask that particular question is that from George Romero to our current explosion of "The Walking Dead" and variants on AMC, these images are fixed and in the minds of readers. The horror in this opening is not the destruction of society or the undead eating flesh, it's the brother leaving a sister to die. The rest of the opening is dressing that image...
It's like describing something as familiar as Niagara Falls -- "a huge and majestic cascade of thundering water falling over a precipice, roiling the river, draining a landlocked lake, inviting daredevils and thrill seekers to their deaths."
The question is, do you need that much description to present the story?

When I say "Cut half the words" what I mean is to leave the bare bones and then come back and add that color and description after the action is written down.
It's a little like that scene in the movie AMADEUS where a critic says "too many notes" and Mozart says "It's only the number I need" -- -- -- You can start with many or start with less and add. I'm for starting a story with the bare bones and fireworks while adding the description after.








Anonymous said...

Go Dave!

マリンカカリンカ said...

This is perfect! Sometimes I forget that less is more, especially with action. Thank you for the tips.