Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First 50 Words #4

GENRE: Literary YA Sci-Fi

They came during a storm. Broke into Samson's when none of us heard their pounds through the roar of pelting water and the creaks of rotten wood. Snuck through the house like hounds chased by ghosts. Handcuffed Toqe at the back, so that his hunched spine would ache ever more.


  1. I'm a fan of sci-fi with a literary sensibility, and I appreciate the difficulty of walking the line between beautiful language and clarity (important when dealing with sci-fi concepts). I think some of your meaning is getting lost in the language here. Compounding that is the stylized sentence structure (dropping the subject in the second and subsequent sentences) and the rapid introduction of a lot of characters in the first 50 words ("they," Samson, Toqe, plus of course the narrator, whoever it is). So maybe you could think about focusing this more for clarity, maybe zooming in on one of the details and just one or two characters.

  2. I dig this except for the lack of a subject on the last few lines. I know fifty words isn't much, but I do have to ask if the whole book is like that. If so, it could be confusing.

  3. You might change 'a' storm to 'the' storm, because it is a specific storm you're talking about, I think? And 'pounds' should be "pounding."

    I wanted to know who 'they' were. We don't have to know specifically, but you could give us something.

    They came during the storm. A swarm of Reptilians broke into . . . or 2 teenage boys, or whatever. And then we'd know what we're dealing with, and the lack of a subject would work in the sentences that follow.

    Not sure if hounds chased by ghosts works. It doesn't bring an image immediately to mind.

    And they handcuffed toque at the back of what? Or do you mean they handcuffed him with his hands behnd his back?

    Overall, this could be a lot clearer.

  4. I need to know who "they" are and quick. I have no idea who Samson or Toqe are, so I have no idea who the POV character is. I have no idea who I am rooting for. I think it is a great start with plenty of action; maybe decide who readers should connect to in these pages. Good Luck : )

  5. I'd like a few more concrete details. Between they, Sampson, us, and Toqe, I have no idea how many people (if they are all people) are in this scene.

    There are some interesting things happening with your stylistic choices, but it is adding to my confusion about what is happening and to whom.

    "Snuck through the house like hounds chased by ghosts." To me, these are opposite images. Hounds being chased would move fast and make a lot of noise. Sneaking through a house suggests stealth and slow progress.

  6. I'd really like more context. I like the way the information is given, but I think it'd be better later on. Right now it doesn't make total sense, and with this being science fiction, it needs to right off the bat. Not saying you can't have some mystery, but it's important to establish context.