Hunter, Chapter 1, 707 words, feedback please :)

Thu, Apr 20 2017 11:04am IST 1
Everlasting
Everlasting
23 Posts
Hi everyone. I recently finished my new novel, Hunter, a dark drama / thriller with a supernatural element floating throughout. I've had good honest feedback on it from family and friends, but submitted it to one agent the other day and they said no thanks basically, yet I expected that despite it been my first time submitting. I'll post a brief synopsis I just cobbled together so you can get a rough idea of the overall story, but this first short chapter probably doesn't require you to have it. Anyway, any feedback or guidance at all, would be most welcome and appreciated. This is also my first post on this forum, so greetings to all :)

Synopsis: Akesfeld, a small, quiet town, where nothing much ever changes is about to welcome a new resident, Jack Hunter, a charismatic stranger who has a way with words. Jack insists that he plans to bring change to the town and as a storm rages over Akesfeld, the true nature of Jack’s plan begins to unfold. As the town’s residents begin to succumb to Jack’s persuasive personality, letting their darkest thoughts and emotions take control, the body count starts to rise. Only John Fowler, a local freelance writer who has just returned from his travels, recognises that Jack is at the root of the town’s nightmare and sets out to stop Jack before all hell breaks loose, or is it already too late...

Chapter 1:

'Let me go over this one more time, just so I can be clear on the matter,' said Detective Mark Walker, rolling a chewed up toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other before removing it. 'You were witness to the entire events that took place, hearing two of the survivors openly confess their crimes, observing everything that happened right up to the death of Jack Hunter, before you then passed out from blood loss. Is that what you want to go on record as saying?'

Kurt Palmer leaned forward in his chair delicately, removed his glasses with his left hand and placed them on the detective's cluttered desk. His right arm was in a sling, a result of the terrible attacks that had recently taken place. 'Yeah, it's pretty straight forward if you ask me, Detective Walker.' He rubbed at his eyes then replaced his glasses. 'Look, I'm grateful to be alive. I'll even say that I'm lucky. I know that. I'm sitting here talking to you because I have to be. You know the police gunned down the main guy behind everything, while the other murderers amazingly admitted to their crimes and will hopefully be locked away forever, so as far as I'm concerned, it's a chapter of my life that is now closed. Permanently. I have to move on.'

The detective nodded slowly, studying the face of the man sitting opposite him, who looked extremely calm and untroubled, despite being one of the few people to survive the mass killing spree that had taken place in the remote town of Akesfeld exactly seven days ago.

'Look, detective, I can tell you what I heard and saw, or at least what I can remember, but I don't see how it will change anything.'

Detective Walker picked up a pen next to his open laptop. 'There's a lot of things that just don't add up, Mr. Palmer. Ten people lost their lives in a matter of days. The man seemingly responsible for the majority of those deaths may be dead, but why would two well respected residents announce that they were responsible for the other murders that took place?'

'You've got me, detective. All I know is what I heard them say, I can't tell you any more than that, I'm afraid,' he said nonchalantly, reaching onto the desk and grabbing a small plastic bottle. He popped off the lid and clumsily shook out half a dozen pain killers, throwing two into his mouth and leaving the rest where they sat. He crunched them between his teeth, not caring to wash them down with his glass of water, which he had not touched since setting foot in the confined office.

'There's plenty that you can tell me,' said Detective Walker, tapping his pen against a pad of paper, watching as Kurt swallowed the crushed powdery tablets effortlessly. 'I know this isn't easy for you, but your input will be invaluable to this case. There's still a lot of grey areas. Claire Finnegan and John Fowler have made their statements, which I have to say are probably the craziest tales I've heard for some time, but don't worry about that. I just need you to clarify a few things, if you can. Help me understand and piece together what really did happen on that final night of bloodshed.'

Kurt once again removed his glasses and rubbed at his eyes. The morning light shining in from between the office blinds caught his eyes in such a peculiar way, making them appear transparent, that it caught the detective off guard, making him sit up straight and focus his complete attention on his witness.

'Are you okay, detective? You look a little spooked?'

Detective Walker shuddered slightly. 'Your eyes looked like—'

'Like what?'

The detective shook his head dismissively. 'Don't worry about it. Just a trick of the light, I guess. So, Jack Hunter arrived in Akesfeld a day before the first murders took place, correct?'

'That's right, I...' Kurt paused for a second to compose himself, the traces of a faint grin beginning to appear. 'Yeah, he arrived the day before the first murders took place. It was a terrible time for everyone in the town.'

Thu, Apr 20 2017 11:48am IST 2
Hilly
Hilly
175 Posts
Hi Everlasting. I love the premise.
This is, IMHO, well written but, just one thought here. You've told us exactly what happens in the rest of the book on the first page and that Jack Hunter is dead and there's a big body count and others are owning up to murder.
If I was reading this, I'd wonder why I should go on...you've told me it all.
I would prefer to let it all unfold from the start, see it happening, let the tension build up slowly and creep the heck out of me.
Have you seen 30 days of night? Same sort of thing, the claustraphobic build up of fear.
That is just my opinion but it is well written.
Good luck
Thu, Apr 20 2017 12:05pm IST 3
Seagreen
Seagreen
2191 Posts
I agree with Hilly, I'm afraid.
Can you clarify if this is the detective's story? I wasn't sure. And does Kurt go into the detective's desk to get painkillers or have I misread that? There also seems to be a slight head hop from the detective to Kurt, when you say he doesn't 'care' to drink the water.
Thu, Apr 20 2017 02:46pm IST 4
Everlasting
Everlasting
23 Posts
Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it and I get what you're both saying. The reveal of many deaths is deliberate, I was kind of going for A Usual Suspects opening and ending, with the rest of the book the build up, story and why it's happened. I think however, from taking your comments into consideration I shall slightly reword it :) Also, no, Seagreen, the detective only pops up in this opening chapter and the final one. I'll look at it again as I really value your comments, thanks very much :)
PS Hilly, yes I have 30 days of night on DVD, very good horror movie, so I get what you are saying :)
Thu, Apr 20 2017 03:37pm IST 5
Hilly
Hilly
175 Posts
Post the revised section when you're ready and I'd love to read it.
Also, as has been said before, if we engage with a character and then they disappear for most of the book, we get a little disappointed. Throw us in. (Words I know I generally don't follow myself)
Good luck and look forward to the next read.
Thu, Apr 20 2017 04:26pm IST 6
Kate
Kate
969 Posts
Hi Everasting. I agree with the others about telling us the outcome upfront being a big giveaway. Something you do do well is weaving actions among the narrative to break up the speech, but you might want to look carefully at what people say. There were bits in here where I thought people don't speak like that.
For example:
'You know the police gunned down the main guy behind everything, while the other murderers amazingly admitted to their crimes and will hopefully be locked away forever, so as far as I'm concerned, it's a chapter of my life that is now closed.'
That sounded stilted, and this,
'...on that final night of bloodshed.' I can't imagine a detective saying - sounds like a dodgy movie.
There were several things that I didn't think a trained detective would say out loud either. He was giving too much away to the witness, but being as you're in the detective's point of view there's no reason you can't have the comments in his head. For example:
'Claire Finnegan and John Fowler have made their statements, which I have to say are probably the craziest tales I've heard for some time, but don't worry about that. I just need you to clarify a few things, if you can...'
I would consider changing to something like:
'Claire Finnegan and John Fowler have made their statements.' The craziest tales he'd ever heard, but he was keeping that to himself. 'I just need you to clarify a few things, if you can...'
With the strange eyes as well you might want him to think - What the hell was that - rather than blurting out 'You're eyes....' He should be trained to deal with unusual situations and stay in control?
I'd also say watch out for your use of adverbs and adjectives. For an example you say at one point '.....extremely calm....' How does someone look extremely calm? It doesn't sound quite right. I think calm does it on its own.
I think you've got a good premise here, and you can clearly write. Hope some of the above might give you food for thought, but only my opnions.
Good luck and keep writing.
Thu, Apr 20 2017 04:47pm IST 7
Everlasting
Everlasting
23 Posts
Thank you, Kate, that is amazing feedback and I am very grateful. Yeah, I will admit some of the dialogue is a little 'movie like', I think I'll need to research a bit more into how a detective actually speaks and deals with people. As for the idea of him thinking certain things instead of saying them out loud, I really like that idea and believe I shall use it, so many thanks once again for the advice :)
Fri, Apr 21 2017 10:20pm IST 8
JtF
JtF
316 Posts
Dear Everlasting, IMHO the way to play this opening is just small snippets of dialogue intercut with flashback actions of the bloodfest. What you have above is very tell-y and that dialogue is not movie-like - it's completely stilted in a "this is the point I want you to bring up next" way.
I do not know the DVD to which you refer but you have a real problem if you reveal the killer at the end of page one. You have just cheated your reader(s) out of the entire book! Best JtF
Sat, Apr 22 2017 08:39am IST 9
stephenterry
stephenterry
3227 Posts
{message}
Sat, Apr 22 2017 08:40am IST 10
stephenterry
stephenterry
3227 Posts
lost it, sorry.
Sun, Apr 23 2017 03:40pm IST 11
FergC
FergC
1323 Posts
First, apologies for my rather curt manner. I think you need to start looking at what counts in the text and stop thinking that your book will never be long enough. Your plot will fill the pages, believe me. So cut out a lot of detail about Kurt's glasses etc. and strip down to the bare essentials. Get a feel for how people really talk. Short punchy sentences. I stripped it down in one way just to show you how little you actually need, but you should do it in another.

Chapter 1:

‘Let’s go over this one more time,’ snarled Detective Walker. ‘You heard two of the survivors confess just before you then passed out. Is that what you want to go on record?’

Kurt Palmer leaned forward, his right arm in a sling. ‘Yeah, it’s pretty straight forward if you ask me.’ He rubbed his eyes. ‘Look, I’m lucky to be alive, and the only reason I’m sitting here talking to you because I have to be. The police got their man, and these other thugs are going to be locked away forever. So as far as I’m concerned, that chapter of my life is permanently closed. I have to move on.’

Walker nodded and picked up a pen as Palmer continued.

‘I don’t see how it will change anything.’

‘Mr. Palmer, Ten people have been murdered, and the man responsible for some of them might be dead, but can you think why two respected residents would claim to be responsible for the other murders?’

‘You’ve got me, Detective. All I know is what I heard.’ He popped off the lid of a plastic bottle and clumsily shook out half a dozen pain killers. He crunched two between his teeth, leaving the glass of water on the table.

Detective Walker tapped his pen against a pad, watching Kurt swallow the tablets. ‘There’s still a lot of grey areas,’ he said finally. ‘Claire Finnegan and John Fowler both made the craziest statements I’ve heard for some time, and I just need you to clarify a few things. Help me understand what happened on that final night.’

Kurt rubbed his eyes again. The morning light shining in between the blinds reflected in his eyes making them appear transparent, which made the detective sit up. Kurt saw Walker’s reaction.

‘Are you okay, Detective? You look a little spooked?’

‘Your eyes looked like—’ Detective Walker shuddered slightly.

‘Like what?’

The detective shook his head. ‘Nah, just a trick of the light.’

‘So, Jack Hunter arrived in Akesfeld a day before the first murders took place?’ Asked Walker, getting back to the subject.

‘That’s right.’ A faint grin appeared on Kurt’s face. ‘He arrived exactly the day before the first murder took place.’




Sun, Apr 23 2017 03:42pm IST 12
FergC
FergC
1323 Posts

one more cut.. my mistake. :)


‘Let’s go over this one more time,’ snarled Detective Walker. ‘You heard two of the survivors confess just before you passed out. Is that what you want to go on record?’


Mon, Apr 24 2017 03:11am IST 13
stephenterry
stephenterry
3227 Posts
Yes, voice and dialogue are key elements. I feel you have yet to find your voice if the above OP sample post is anything to go by. And how do you know? For example, you need to be able to get inside the characters' heads, see things through their eyes, and speak as naturally as possible, so it doesn't sound like it's been written.

If you are able to fund a self-edit course on here, it's really a fast track to publication, and I sense you'd be a perfect student, because you do have an easy writing style - just needs some oomph to make it leap off the page.

As to FergC's example, whilst it is an excellent example of how a judicious edit could cut to the chase, while it's beneficial - as he pointd out, it's you that writes the story.
Mon, Apr 24 2017 12:16pm IST 14
Catasshe
Catasshe
666 Posts
Hi Everlasting, I have to agree with the above observations that you appear to have started at the end, and thus potentially cheated the readers out of the whole intrigue. Starting at the end can be a popular literary device I believe, but detective fiction, where that involves revealing whodunnit, seems a big 'no no' to me; unless you've got something else fantastically compelling up your sleave to suprise the reader with, and a good reason to do it. I do also agree: if you can afford it, sign up for the Self Edit course through this site. I, along with Kate, took this course just before Christmas and can attest to its high quality. You could use this manuscript and it would definitely help you make sense of it. The others are right, you've got a nice easy style and definite potential.
One small thing: is it a good plan having both main characters called Jack?! Just thought potential for confusion there....
Mon, Apr 24 2017 01:19pm IST 15
Everlasting
Everlasting
23 Posts
Wow, I really appreciate everyone's feedback, it's very helpful I must say and makes me realise even more that I need to work much harder. FergC, thank you for that example, that was amazing indeed.
The story isn't... a kind of 'whodunnit', nor does the detective appear again in the story until the final chapter, he just bookends it a bit. The story, in a nutshell, is about a mysterious guy who arrives in a small town, and slowly corrupts a bunch of people and sets them to kill each other for his own amusement (he's subtly portrayed as something like a demon or something, but I never come outright and say so, there's just bits here and there and odd things he says about the human race, etc). Come the very end of the story, the guy from chapter 1 who is talking to the detective (Kurt Palmer) is 'possessed' by Jack Hunter, or the demon if you will, as he / it has jumped into him once Jack Hunter is shot to death. So come the final scene when you realise this, when you look back back at chapter 1, my hope was for people to go "Oh, I see, so the evil entity never did die and is the guy who we were first introduced to!" I'm not doing a very good job at explaining it here. Anyone seen the movie Fallen with Denzel Washington and John Goodman? Think along those lines a little bit :) I'll look into the 'Self Edit' course, maybe I'll put some money away for it :) Thanks once again.
Mon, Apr 24 2017 01:29pm IST 16
Catasshe
Catasshe
666 Posts
Ah, I see now! That is very clever. A high concept idea. BUT your main problem with that - as always with stories where things are not what they seem - is how to intrigue your reader BEFORE they know the big thing. You'll need to find a way of it not just reading like a bog standard detective drama that you've given away the end of. ;-) It's a great idea though, and I see the elegance in your idea of the start and the end now!
The only other concern that comes up with that is, a whole book is a long way to expect someone to remember/look back to the very first scene from... You'll probably need to return to it and make something of the fact at the end, if you haven't already. I do think the Self Edit course would be just the thing for you! I think there are 8 spaces left on the next one...
Mon, Apr 24 2017 04:18pm IST 17
FergC
FergC
1323 Posts
You're welcome, E. It does look as if you've got a strong idea for a plot already. But I have to agree with Cat here about how much you give up front and how to maintain the readers interest in that detail for the length of the book. One idea might be to have the whole structure revolve around Kurt's statement, beginining each chapter or every second chapter with a brief interview chunk leading into the telling of the whole story through Kurt's eyes. You might know this already but this technique is using POV (point of view). You tell the story from one person's point of view, a narrator in some respect, and other information which the reader needs is given in descriptive prose sections.

Remember, the reader knows nothing until you tell him. Too much information is so easy to give because you imagine that the reader is not trying to work things out. Wrong! He's already trying to figure out what's going on for word No. 1. I knew that Kurt's body had been taken over by the killers soul from the minute the light hit his eye. Tell the story without 'clues'. Just give Kurt's account. I don't know if it was intentional to make him so glib, but that works wonderfully as the only clue you need. This subtle characterisation rather than some physical description is so much better.

Keep writing and I'll keep reading. Tight, terse, punchy, characterised, through one man's eyes.

F.
Mon, Apr 24 2017 04:51pm IST 18
JD
JD
1742 Posts
Hi,

No spelling or grammar issues that I can see, or any of that. I don't really have a preference on the structure of the story - ie whether you should do the Usual Suspects type opening or just play it straight through chronologically - so I suppose whichever one you and make work, I say: go for it!

The biggest issue I have here is that it is mostly a talking-heads scene, with little to no external setting, so I don't know where I am, which country, which season, or anything, so there is a minimum to set the tone and mood other than dialogue and a couple of flicked pens and removed glasses. The only thing I have to go on are the names: Walker, Palmer, Fowler, which are all quite similar and suggest Britain. Mind you, these names' similarity could work against you if, like me, your readers tend to get confused if things are too similar :) They tend to blur into one a bit. Just a thought.

Also re: point of view, I can see that you have embedded us readers as the detective but in order to reinforce that, without resporting to "the detective looked", "the detective saw" etc, you need to give us more of the detective. What does he think? How would he narrate and perceive ths scene? Look into "free indirect speech" to help this. It will also lend you writing some voice, infused by the character who we "are" at a given point, and helping readers invest and care more about the character if we can believe in them as we might a real person. You do this a little here: "He crunched them between his teeth, not caring to wash them down with his glass of water," as if the detective would view it as Palmer "not caring" or "not bothering" to wash them down, though I wonder why that particular action is highlighted. What does it mean, when someone doesn't wash their pills down with water? Make your body language significant to the story/character/events.

This bit keeps us nicely in POV though, and depicts some scenery well without getting too describey:

"Kurt once again removed his glasses and rubbed at his eyes. The morning light shining in from between the office blinds caught his eyes in such a peculiar way, making them appear transparent, that it caught the detective off guard,"

Anyway hope this helps :) And welcome to the forum b.t.w.!
Tue, Apr 25 2017 09:48am IST 19
danielaubrey13
danielaubrey13
210 Posts
Hi Everlasting,
Sorry to arrive late to the party - I read your scene the other day and wanted to comment then, but I'm currently doing the self-edit course and so I don't play in this bit of the school yard much at the minute!

First things first, I love the premise of this, and having read through the comments and seen what you said about it, I think you've got the makings of a very good story. This guy breezing into town and leaving a body count in his wake, and a detective sat trying to put the pieces together, put me in mind of No Country for Old Men and Anton Chigurh, but with a supernatural element. You could do a lot worse than take a handful of leaves out of that book!

Secondly, I might look like a smart arse now you've said it, but as I read this down from the top and saw the comments about giving too much away, I thought "no way Jack Hunter's dead!" In fact, I had a feeling that Kurt might be Hunter pretending to be someone else, especially when you mentioned The Usual Suspects. I didn't see the possession thing coming, but now the line about his eyes makes a lot more sense. You might want to think about how much you let on at this stage. I think a reader who'd be attracted to this story could sniff a plot twist a mile away.

Third, my initial feelings about the writing have all be laid out here by the others - good, but a heck of a lot of speech and not much scene setting. That doesn't mean paragraphs of what the town looks like or what the weather was doing, but we need to see more action from them to bring out where they are and what's going on now. Do they need to be in the detective's office - could this conversation happen out in the street, showing the town reeling in the aftermath? And I'd agree that the speech seems a bit staged and forced - the edit FergC did sorted a lot of that though. Also, you say this is the last time we see the detective until the end - in keeping with The Usual Suspects, you could have your story keep returning to this conversation throughout, especially if we're getting the story from Kurt/Hunter's perspective. Each sequence/act could begin with a back-and-forth between the two, with it gradually becoming clearer that Kurt may not be who he seems.

Finally, I wouldn't just recommend the self-edit course, I'd insist on it! Not because I think you really need it, but because I think anyone who's serious about writing really needs it. It's excellent and worth every penny. You have a great story here - the SE course will show you how to tell it in the best possible way.

Best of luck with this - I'm looking forward to reading more! :-)

Oh, and there's loads of stuff on POV and writing dialogue etc on Emma Darwin's blog. Try this for starters:

http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2013/03/ping-pong-dialogue.html
Tue, Apr 25 2017 10:28am IST 20
Catasshe
Catasshe
666 Posts
It must seem like we're all paid commission on the Self Editing course! Hahaha! I'd be pretty suspicious myself. When I joined this site a couple of years ago it was more a sort of whispered secret where eventually someone would go, 'Have you considered the Self Edit course', but such are the numbers on here who've now done it and love it, we're all raving about it to any unsuspecting Newbie who appears. But, you know, do it. ;-) Not least, it's great fun. I mean, for someone keen on writing. For someone not keen on writing/feeding back on others' work it would be hell on earth.
Tue, Apr 25 2017 11:49am IST 21
Everlasting
Everlasting
23 Posts
This is still all a new learning experience for me, so every day I learn something to help improve my writing and what not - I suppose you never really do stop learning though, no matter what your age or experience!
Danielaubrey13 that's a good idea about about returning to the conversation. However -this might sound like a really dumb question, but I like to ask so I can learn - as I've written out the full story, Kurt Palmer isn't a major character. He pops up very briefly in the middle and then only really returns in the finale. Anyway, for all the other chapters with other characters where he doesn't appear, does this matter? I know he could be making it all up for the detective's sake, but I mean, how would he know what people are doing / saying when he's not physcially there? I'm struggling a bit to articulate what I mean. I've read through my entire story three times now, my parents have read it too, and I'm 98% certain there's no spelling and grammar issues, but I think I'm going to have to back into it and dissect it a little and add / change certain bits. Kind of wish I was still at school and had a teacher to take me under their wing haha, yet the feedback and help you guys have all offered is priceless, so once again, thank you all, I'm taking it all on board to help improve :) I'll get there eventually :)
Tue, Apr 25 2017 11:54am IST 22
Catasshe
Catasshe
666 Posts
Sorry to go on about it, but - "I think I'm going to have to back into it and dissect it a little and add / change certain bits. Kind of wish I was still at school and had a teacher to take me under their wing"
That is exactly what the Self Edit course would do for you with this novel. In case you're wondering what exactly we're on about, it's here:
http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/Courses/Self-Editing-Your-Novel-6-Weeks-Online-Course.html?page=Self-Editing
Tue, Apr 25 2017 11:58am IST 23
Kate
Kate
969 Posts
Why not post up chapter 2 - it would give us a better idea of where this is going, and from what you've said it's not a police procedural, so we're not really into the style of the story yet. We would also get to meet your main characters - and it's important to get feedback about them.
Tue, Apr 25 2017 12:26pm IST 24
Everlasting
Everlasting
23 Posts
I'll think about the self-edit course for sure, Catasshe. Money's a little tight at the moment, but I'll see if I can scrape it together :)
Well, okay, Kate, you asked for it, so here you go :)

Chapter 2

Dean Naysmith proudly cruised along the peaceful open country road in his newly acquired Jaguar sports car that he'd purchased that very morning, the open roof allowing his blond hair to flow back in the wind, revealing his receding hairline. The glorious afternoon sun reflected off the blue vehicle, radiating almost as much as Dean's grin that he'd had fixed on his face since he first set eyes on the car in the showroom.

He was equally proud of himself for managing to get several grand knocked off the asking price, thanks to his gift at being a master haggler, dropping the names of several people in high places that he knew, while also partaking in a few dodgy dealings under the counter. Dean Naysmith's illegal deals were quite common knowledge throughout the town, but he would always act oblivious if asked by anyone in an official position.

This will make a statement, he thought. Oh yeah, people will notice me coming a mile away, that's for sure. They'd be wise to take note, this is just the beginning. Akesfeld needs a wake-up call.

He was about to switch on the radio when he caught sight of a figure standing on the side of the road in the distance, sheltering in the shade of a large oak tree. The stranger had their arm extended outwards toward the road, their thumb sticking up confidently. Dean had never picked up a hitch-hiker in his entire life, and certainly didn't feel like breaking the habit of a lifetime, yet the closer he got to the stranger, the stronger the urge became to stop the car.

Before he even realised what he was doing, his foot pressed down firmly on the brake. The car screeched to a grinding halt, stopping perfectly next to the hitch-hiker, who stepped out from his shaded spot, revealing his features clearly.

'Howdy,' said the man, smiling warmly. He was dressed in an expensive looking black suit, with long pointed brown shoes. The top two buttons on his pale blue shirt were undone, with his tie pulled loosely down. 'Any chance of a ride?'

Dean's eyebrows lifted as he studied the man carefully, wondering what he was doing out here in the middle of nowhere with nothing but himself. He snorted, then said, 'Well, I can't exactly leave you standing there now that I've stopped, can I? Hop on in.'

The man grinned excitedly, opened the passenger door and sat down next to Dean. He ran his fingers through his perfectly groomed long dark locks as he glanced around at the interior of the car. 'Look at this little beauty. Very nice. I imagine you paid a princely sum for this.'

'Not really,' replied Dean, shaking his head, likewise admiring his new vehicle, before offering out his hand to the stranger. 'Dean Naysmith's the name.'

'Jack Hunter,' he replied, shaking Dean's hand tightly, holding the connection. 'Pleased to meet you, Dean. So, tell me about this brand new ride you've got here.'

'How did you know it was new?' asked Dean, somewhat amazed.

Jack chuckled to himself and released Dean's hand. 'Call it a wild guess.' He looked at him intently. 'So, what's it do?'

'This and that, you know. It's a powerful beast, but I just bought it based on its looks. I'll be honest with you, Jack, I don't know a damn thing about cars. It's blue, has four wheels and looks the business. How's that?'

Jack laughed heartily, pulling off his tie from around his neck and stuffing it into his jacket pocket. 'That's very honest of you, Dean, I like that. Most guys seem to think they need to know all the specifications of a car, like they're destined to appear on a quiz show one day. Most guys, however, are pompous pricks, wouldn't you agree?'

Dean grinned, nodding in agreement. 'I wholeheartedly agree. So anyway, tell me about your car. I mean, I'm assuming that you broke down somewhere?'

'Yeah, must be four or five miles back, I guess. Think the engine blew up, but then, what do I know about cars? Less than you, I bet. I simply can't believe you're the first person I've seen to pass me on this road, so I'm more than grateful that you stopped for me.'

'Don't mention it,' said Dean. 'I'm driving back to Akesfeld, which is probably around another three miles away. There's a small garage in the town that's run by a chap called Bill Hadlum, who's a close friend of mine. He'll be able to help you out.'

Jack reached into his other jacket pocket and removed a glitzy pair of brown sunglasses. He turned to Dean, putting them on with sleek precision. 'Akesfeld works just fine for me. I'm buying a house there, as luck would have it. Just thought I'd pop in briefly today and make sure it's still standing tall before I move in.'

'Let me guess, the old Daniel's place?'

Jack nodded. 'Yes, sir. Hole in one.'

'Looks like we're going to be neighbours then, Jack. I live in the very next house. What are the odds of that, eh?'

Jack slowly ran his fingers through his hair once again. 'Excellent. Well, let's get going then, shall we? We may as well enjoy this open roof while the sun is still shining down on us.'

'I don't think it's going to disappear any time soon, it's forecast sun for the next seven days, although I can't say I always trust what the weathermen say.'

'Then trust me, Dean. I can assure you, there's a storm coming to Akesfeld.'

Tue, Apr 25 2017 03:21pm IST 25
Catasshe
Catasshe
666 Posts
Just quickly: I'm supposed to be at work! I found this far more entertaining and readable than the first chapter. It's amusingly described and draws one in.

Watch the adverbs. Too many in this.

For example:
"Dean Naysmith proudly cruised along the peaceful open country road in his newly acquired Jaguar sports car that he'd purchased that very morning, the open roof allowing his blond hair to flow back in the wind, revealing his receding hairline"

'Proudly' and 'newly' both in first half of first sentence. Is there a way of showing that these things are the case - from his actions or demeanour for example, singing, smiling; the car all shiny and sparkly (new)?

Do a search for 'ly' and you'll find a bucket load of adverbs throughout.

Oh, also, also, 'purchased' - get that out. He bought it. Remember the maxim 'never use a long word when a short one will do'. Maybe you used it to indicate his pomposity and self satisfaction? This is a good instinct, but you can show that in other ways, without resorting to estate agent vocabulary. ;-)

Otherwise, I like it a lot!

I hope you do do the SE course in the end. I was skint when I took it too. There's never a good time to spend £365! But, there's never a bad time to do the course. Especially with a manuscript that shows talent as this does.

Is someone in it about to get murdered, by any chance?!

Please login or sign up to post on this network.
Click here to sign up.