TITLE: The Cotillion Figure
The boy's eyes were gray. Light blue-gray, really. The color of a raffish jay flashing past in strong sunlight. They'd most likely wrenched the heart of a girl or two--or perhaps some lonely, full-grown woman's--somewhere in the recent past.
Not anymore, though. It was just as well now that there was no one left alive in the shabby farmhouse to witness the new, uncaring flatness of the once compelling orbs. Or to be sickened by the sight of the fat brown roach which wriggled purposefully in curves of the kid's left earlobe.
This first victim's lanky, too-thin body had fallen straight back from the open doorway, and had come to rest on the bristly hallway rug after only one violent, up-and-down, slow-motion bounce. His nerveless frame had rolled freely with the ending jolt, however, and now one arm flopped aimlessly across the lower half of a tanned face that didn't register even the slightest concern over the inconvenience of the limb's position.
The fine, sun-white hair that fell across the boy's forehead had been cut raggedly; either he had a lousy barber or he'd hacked at it himself to save money. Black grit crudded his nails, a ragged scar split the clean-shaven chin, and two mosquito bites flared red and angry on his bent left elbow, although the wrathful color of the insect stings in no way competed with shiny, black-and-scarlet hues of the bullet wound in his mutilated chest.
The bodies themselves are interesting but we have no main character checking this all out. Now, there have been other books that have done roughly the same thing and gotten published, but I don't know.
For reference, check out The Church of the Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns. On Google, they have a preview of the book. But, as I know Merc will say, we need a main character.
It hooked me. Mainly because I loved the description of the eyes. It was so beautiful that I was completely caught off guard by the horror you continued with.ReplyDelete
Not my genre, but you definitely got my attention!
I liked the voice but I would've liked to see an introduction to the narrator. It's a no for me, just because the whole thing so far is description and no action (though the description is very good!)ReplyDelete
The opening paragraph turned me off, to be honest. I read through it, and as a whole, the idea of walking in on a recent murder scene is a pretty good opener. But something about this feels like you're trying too hard. I hate to use the word "overwriting" because it's been said of me before and it just annoys the heck out of me. But for some reason, this just feels too heavy, like you're concentrating so much on the description of the eyes, the hair, the arms, etc. -- that we're missing the story here. It's like missing the forest for the trees... the descriptions are good, but with so much of it together in one place, I think it's too weighted down.ReplyDelete
I'd say no, this doesn't hook me - it feels too deep to wade through, even though there's nothing grammatically wrong with it. Sorry.
I like the idea of starting with the body and the details were good but there were too many of them for my taste. No MC and too many 'had' usages make this a no for me. Sorry.ReplyDelete
I think I would read on a little bit out of curiosity.
I've seen books start off like this - with a detailed description of the dead body before switching over to the actual story.
I did fall off a little bit with the mosquito bites. I imagine those happened before death, but I immediately quibbled about a dead body producing hystamine...
Also the shiny, black and scarlet hues of the bullet wound made me wonder if he was missing his shirt...
I'm sorry but I wouldn't read any more. It didn't hook me. There was just too much detail and I lost the flow as I was reading. Basically, I couldn't make sense of it.ReplyDelete
I was distracted by too much by the use of the words, just, though, and other vague words. I do not know what a ratfish is...ReplyDelete
I would not read more.
This would be a no for me. The lack of a clear MC left me confused about what was going on. I also think that it has a little too much description.ReplyDelete
No, sorry, but this isn't my genre. It didn't really hook me because I generally don't like beginnings with lots of description, no matter how pretty it is (which yours is, btw). I also am not a fan of omniscient POV, so while starting in an empty farmhouse with a dead body might work for someone, it doesn't work for me.ReplyDelete
I'm afraid I'm going to have to vote "no" here. Blood and death are hard to pass up -- and I like the detailed description of the dead boy's body, rendered both tenderly and callously. However, I think I'd like to encounter this poor kid after I find out whose "voice" (and it's a nice one) we're reading. Sorry. :-(ReplyDelete
I'm afraid not, sorry. Readers need to start off with someone who's alive and able to do something. The emotions engendered by this type of scene (disgust, pity) are not ones that we want to continue reading ourselves into. put us into the head of your main character and make us feel how he/she feels about it and then you may have something.ReplyDelete
Well I thought the writing was really vivid. I'm a sucker for great visual dscription..I loved your wordplay..however, I agree that it goes on too long, the beauty of the corpse and the ugliness of its murder could fit in one paragraph, then you really need to introduce the observer.ReplyDelete
Same for me - I was interested by the boy as character, and was enjoying the descriptions but once it was established he was dead, I lost interest. I want to read about people who are alive (or undead, I guess...)ReplyDelete
The opening paragraph is well juxtaposed against the dead body, however it could be sharper IMO, by removing the aside: --or perhaps some lonely, full-grown woman's--ReplyDelete
The following descriptions of the body paint the dead person well, but labour the point somewhat, and could be cut back. Imagine a camera snapping shots of the different parts of the boy's body, capturing a detail here and there, succinctly revealing much about the boy, rather than the more camera-pan approach you have adopted.
I'd agree that a POV would be good, but it could be established imediately following the last para - but don't delay too long.
The last sentence is not a hook IMO. The detail of the chest wound adds nothing for me. It's a long buildup to something that's expected. For your genre I think you need a greater shock/revelation.
I love your vivid descriptions and the contrasts you use. Watch wordy phrases though. Recommend some prunning. I didn'nt really connect with MC. Give us more clues on him. Probably wouldn't read on.ReplyDelete
To be honest, starting out with the color of the eyes turned me off. I don't mind dead bodies, but describing them in such detail that it lasts the whole first page would have me putting the book down for a faster paced one.ReplyDelete
Although it's all well written, I'd have to say no. First, there's no main character introduced, so who is making these observations? Second, you spend the entire first paragraph talking about the victim's eyes. A single line could have done it. Expending so much time on descriptions takes away from the tension and conflict in a story.ReplyDelete
No. I was also turned off by starting with eye color. However, if the first line had been something like "The dead boy's eyes had once been gray..." that would have grabbed my attention.ReplyDelete
By the second paragraph, I wanted to know why he was dead. Why everyone was dead, actually. And why the main character is in the farmhouse. So, I suggest less description, and work some of these details in through action.
I like the idea, but there is no conflict, just bodies and not even a main character.
I think you should have a detective or the MC finding the corpses and then describe them and their reactions to it as well as the dead.
But overall I like it but I would only continue if I knew some more of the plot
I'd have to read on, because I need to know who is surveying this scene. A medical examiner? A policeman? Neighbor. Their view of the scene, admiring the boy's eyes...ReplyDelete
A little eerie don't ya think? Would the killer hang around the scene to admire his handy work.
Fresh kills with the eye color still vivid...
I do have to comment that one moment the eyes seem to flash like a fishes scales and then you describe them as flat orbs.
Bit of a conflict.
But I'm going to give you a yes, because I want to know who is seeing this scene this way.
My bets are on a killer who's not afraid to linger a bit to admire his or her work.
No. Too much description of iris colors and decomposing bodies. Nothing happens to hook me or keep me interested in reading more.ReplyDelete
Vivid descriptions, good writing, but nothing happens and we have no MC.
Sorry, not hooked.ReplyDelete
Too much description, not enough happening. And, as it has been said, where's the MC?
I was hooked immediately.ReplyDelete
I love suspense/twister books so this is my genre. I thought it was great and I would read on to see who found the boy and why.
No, sorry. Description without an active character involved doesn't grab me. (Though I do love roaches!)ReplyDelete
I was going to say yes until I realised this was omni and there was no actual character examining this boy. Shame, it was a really good voice up till then and I was looking forward to learning more about this character who was examining the boy.ReplyDelete
I may flick on a few pages out of curiosity, but I'm not really hooked.
Not quite. Body on page 1 is good, this much devotion tot he details thereof without knowing who's doing the observing is a little tough to dig into. I think you could keep half the details and still maintain the sense of deeply observed detail that could help this stand out without bogging down the narrative.ReplyDelete
You have some amazing descriptions here, but I think this is a case of 'too much can ruin the mix'. It took me awhile to understand what the descriptions were referring to. I agree with secret agent. Cut the details in half, and you're on the right track.
Almost! I was semi-engaged because of the corpse, but the description is heavy-handed and I wanted to know who was giving it. As SA said, cut the description in half and you'll still have a stunner here, just a more readable one. 8^)ReplyDelete
This was a bit slow for me... while I loved the cockroach detail, I got impatient when afterwards was just more detailed description and there wasn't a MC or anything happening.ReplyDelete
Almost hooked. I like that super creepy moment when we realize you're talking about a dead corpse, not a living person. But there's just a bit too much description of the corpse, and no sense of the rest of the scene at large - no inkling of what happened exactly, who's narrating, who the dead boy is. Nothing else to keep me reading.ReplyDelete