My first submission - would be grateful for any advice/critiques please, I have based this around my blog

Sat, Jan 6 2018 08:18pm GMT 1
Sam
Sam
3 Posts

The court room felt familiar, well why wouldn’t it by now? Not that I am some major re-offending criminal or anything or even a petty one for that matter. This however, was by now very familiar territory for me. I sat on the cold wooden bench, eyes forward staring through the cool transparent pane of glass surrounding the dock and its defendant. I watched to see if the monster in front of me even needed to breathe, as my understanding of the devil would not need air he would need only pain and suffering to exist. He had caused more than enough pain and suffering for a thousand life times for my siblings and I. Well, I say my siblings but what I really mean is my ‘sisters’ and I. As for my other sibling, my only brother, he sat on that bench also, but he wasn’t on my bench. My only brother Leon was team Devil all the way, but why wouldn’t he be? I often tried to justify to myself, he was the devils spawn after all.

So as not to confuse you, the devil in my story does not have red skin or large horns coming from his head and neither does he have super powers or bright red eyes. My devil is far more terrifying. My Devil lived in my home, he became a part of my family and he took on the role of step-father to my sisters and I which meant that my devil was supposed to be our protector. My devil is every parent’s worst nightmare, a predator to their children and a mockery of anything that is safe and secure. To my parents it was my siblings and I that was their worst nightmare, an inconvenience and their utmost regret. What is that saying? Oh yes, the greatest trick that the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he did not exist. That Sounds unfortunately familiar.

You see, I believe that it is only the luckiest of people in this world that can honestly say that they do not have that bad memory or that lasting repetitive nightmare. I am most certainly not one of those lucky ones. Maybe those who do not have those reoccurring feelings of dread or nightmares about traumas past are simply lying both to themselves and to their audience. Or, maybe they truly are that lucky as they were the ones that were carefully protected and shielded from the Satan’s of the world just as a child should be by a parent.

My thoughts and feelings come not from a place of resentment or even hate, but from experiences inflicted by that person of power in my life who would continue to attempt to break me down over and over again. Meanwhile my supposed protector who witnessed these emotional and physical attacks on my body and spirit would do nothing but observe from the side assuming her own fake identity of doting mother. I am taking you back to the beginning, so keep up.

Mon, Jan 8 2018 11:29am GMT 2
Kate
Kate
1022 Posts
Hi Sam and welcome to the Cloud - it sounds like you've got an interesting plot here, but I did wonder if you were giving too much away up front. Assuming this is your opening chapter, where at the end you say you're taking us back to the beginning, you've already told us what's going to happen. Perhaps you could set up the trial and show your character's hatred, while only hinting at the cause?
Your character tells us a lot of what they're thinking, but that's not hugely dynamic. It's often better to have your character in action and feed in this information around what's going on.
I think my favourite idea in this is whether the devil breathes, or does he live on pain and suffering. The sentence you've got it in is quite complicated though, so maybe try reading your work out loud and that might pick up on those slightly clumsy sentences. I also thought there was quite a lot of repetition of ideas.
So, nice premise, but maybe streamline it, and put in some movement around which you can feed in the thoughts.
Hope some of that's helpful, but they are just my opinions, so take what works for you, and good luck with this project.
Mon, Jan 8 2018 09:52pm GMT 3
Sam
Sam
3 Posts
Thank you Kate, your feedback is much appreciated as I am totally clueless when it comes to this. I have never written a book before and I only started to write my blog about 5 weeks ago.
I started with the court room purposely and my next chapter takes the reader back some 26 years to the very beginning. My story is meant to lead to why we are sat in the court room eventually. do you think I should post more chapters then it may make more sense? Thanks again Smile
Tue, Jan 9 2018 09:42am GMT 4
Hilly
Hilly
179 Posts
Hi sam. I agree with Kate that you've told us all about it straight off. Maybe we need to wonder more and not actually know.
This is good but in my mind, quite distant. You are 'telling' us what is going on but I'd like a few more bits of internal dialogue, what they call psychic distance.

I sat on the cold wooden bench, (Same old cold bench, numbing my bum) eyes forward staring through the cool transparent pane of glass surrounding the dock and its defendant. I watched to see if the monster in front of me even needed to breathe, as my understanding of the devil would not need air he would need only pain and suffering to exist. (Did that monster in front of me need to breathe? Or did such a devil only need pain and suffering to exist?) He had caused more than enough pain and suffering for a thousand life times for my siblings and I. (What that b*****d had done to us. To me and my sisters. All that pain and suffering. More than a life times worth. A thousand life times.) Well, I say my siblings but what I really mean is my ‘sisters’ and I. As for my other sibling, my only brother, he sat on that bench also, but he wasn’t on my bench. My only brother Leon was team Devil all the way, but why wouldn’t he be? I often tried to justify to myself, he was the devils spawn after all. (I would leave out things like 'I often tried to justify to myself' as it again distances the reader. Just leave in 'He was the Devil's spawn, after all.'

My thoughts and feelings come not from a place of resentment or even hate, but from experiences inflicted by that person of power in my life who would continue to attempt to break me down over and over again. (Do I resent him? Hate him? Who wouldn't. I mean, that man had power over my life and he used it to try to break me down. Over and over again.) Meanwhile my supposed protector who witnessed these emotional and physical attacks on my body and spirit would do nothing but observe from the side assuming her own fake identity of doting mother. (And what was my doting mother doing as my body and spirit were attacked emotionally and physically? My protector? What was she doing? Watching. Pretending. Pretending to love me. My own mother!) I am taking you back to the beginning, so keep up.

Hope this helps but you don't need to listen to a word.

Tue, Jan 9 2018 10:51am GMT 5
Kate
Kate
1022 Posts
Getting feedback's probably one of the best ways of learning. Hilly's done a brilliant job of showing you how to get more into the characters head. If you go to this website - http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/resources.html
you'll find some fantastic blogs on other writing techniques.
Also look at other work that's been put up for critique and try to figure out why the do/don't work and see what others have said. That's a great way of improving your technique. Critiquing is a two way process so try to make some comments of your own, and yes, do post more sections for feedback.
Wed, Jan 10 2018 06:06pm GMT 6
Sam
Sam
3 Posts
Thank you so much guys, I will definitely be taking all of your feedback on board and I will post more. I will also give feedback to others too
Wed, Jan 10 2018 07:01pm GMT 7
L.
L.
164 Posts
Hi Sam,
I think Kate and Hilly have pretty much covered everything. Definitely an interesting story and an opening that makes me want to know more but I agree about holding back and not giving it all up in the opening.

The only thing I would add is you could do without "So as not to confuse you, the devil in my story does not have red skin or large horns coming from his head and neither does he have super powers or bright red eyes. " - it comes across as over explaining, the reader has already understood that you are not talking about the real devil.

Feel to take on board or ignore depending on how you feel as it's your story.
Good luck with your story!
Wed, Jan 10 2018 11:12pm GMT 8
T B Carter
T B Carter
25 Posts
The others have said what I would have said about revealing too much. All I have to add is that what you have written is interesting and enjoyable and it makes me want to read more.

I also love the phase 'team devil', those two words take the whole thing into a different league.

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