The Infection Spreads.

Discussion in 'Critiques' started by anthorn, Apr 1, 2012.

  1.  
    anthorn

    anthorn Member

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    One of the interludes I include in the book.

    The Infection Spreads.​
    Tow Law.​
    A normal day. Life was full of normal days though they sometimes were interrupted by the not so normal days involving weddings, burglaries, or deaths. For Margaret Simcoe this was a normal day, a normal day with a routine of getting dressed, making breakfast before seeing the kids off to school. Then when they were gone she’d watch the TV, perhaps that show on channel three with the guy who tells you what you don’t want to hear. A normal day for a normal person. Nothing to get excited or talk about.



    It was Tuesday today and the man on the TV was talking to some drug taker about how he should get off the heroin and look after his kid. It was 10:30 when this show ended and she went upstairs, showered, got ready for work. Her uniform was black with green lines across the shoulder. Her work was on the main street, the local Co-op, a shop that sold everything from pop to condoms.



    A normal day changed by broken windows. Broken windows shattered inwards making the day more interesting. She pulled out her mobile phone and dialled 999. There was no connection, which was odd because normally you didn’t need a reception or credit to phone the emergency services. Maybe they were all ready on their way. Maybe Tim had already called them, was inside now examining the damage. She didn’t think there would be much taken as usually when people robbed them they aimed for the cash machine to the right.



    The automatic doors opened and she stepped inside. “Hello?” she asked, stepping over broken glass. There was no answer, no sound at all except for the freezers in the back, humming contently to themselves. The fridge with the pop was on the floor and its contents scattered across the floor. The display of cheap wine where the window had been broken lay shattered on the ground, the broken glass bathed in bloody red and white liquid. Not a burglary but vandalism maybe?



    The further she went the more the silence played on her mind and the more she grew aware of the lack of cars parked outside, or people on the street. Normally there were loads of people on the streets. She paused by the juice isle and noticed the tomato juice pooling out of the aisle. A shape moved in the shadows.



    “Tim is that you?”


    It looked like him, the body shape and everything was identical, but it was hard to tell with him facing away from her. Every so often he twitched like a bolt of electricity shot through him. “Tim?” She stepped into the juice, found it too sticky to be just juice. “Are you okay?”



    No answer.


    Margret reached out and tapped him on the shoulder. “Tim?”
    With a snarl he turned, eyes wide and bloody teeth bared. She screamed, fought to keep him away. Her first thoughts were of rape but changed quickly to a more sobering thought. She was going to die.



    They fell and as her lifeblood ebbed Margret watched the man she’d once called friend gnaw on her neck, wondering why nobody was answering her screams.
    #​
    The aging mechanic placed hands on his aching back, grunted with the pain shooting down his spine from spending hours under the mini cooper. The small garage was situated on the way out of Tow Law just before you reached the moors between here and Langley Park. The occupants of the newly built houses opposite his garage busied themselves with morning activities. He watched them for a moment, lost in memory. They were mostly families, but sometimes you would get people his own age moving from the cities, hoping for a more sedate kind of life.



    Sedate was something people got in plenty here, he thought, as there was no heavy traffic, a bus that appeared every three hours and beautiful countryside. Tow Law was one of those rare places that despite having not the nicest residents made up for the fact with the scenery. Surrounded on its northern side by moors stretching out into the Pennines and moors and nature reserve on its northwest side it was only the beginning of the beautiful countryside that was County Durham. It was the reason he’d moved here in the 80s; his wife had loved nature.



    Drinking his mug of tea and wiping oily hands on his navy blue overalls, he crouched down and slid back under the car. He had only been down less than a minute when he heard someone enter the garage. “Just a minute!” he called. He crawled back up and found himself looking up into the eyes of a Policeman. “Can I help you?” His eyes were white, his uniform bloody around the collar. Blood coloured drool dripped down to mingle with the oil on his overalls.



    The Policeman was hungry.
     
  2.  
    Christian Nash

    Christian Nash ---- Never Give Up ----

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    I really like the way you write and even with all the red (This is mostly just my opinion) I enjoyed reading it. Your style of writing carries the story, but make sure you're not showing too much respect to the reader by trying to explain too much in some bits, but then seemingly assuming they know whats going on in others.

    Your description suits me, but when it's simple and short like yours, you need to make every bit you do count.

    Thank you for letting me read this and I hope you find at least one part that helps you.


    Christian.
     
  3.  
    anthorn

    anthorn Member

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    You helped alot, thanks. Especially with the Margeret bit
     
  4.  
    Christian Nash

    Christian Nash ---- Never Give Up ----

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    You're welcome Anthorn... was an excuse to ignore the kids for 20mins if nothing else, haha. Keep it up.
     
  5.  
    Bowler1

    Bowler1 Senile Member

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    The Infection Spreads.



    Tow Law.


    A normal day. Life was full of normaldays (normal was a repeat for me, artistic, but lacked punch – good attempt – others might love this) though they sometimes were interrupted by the not so normal daysinvolving weddings, burglaries, or deaths. (Anthorn, you could have started here – repeating and overwriting is always a temptation) For Margaret Simcoe this was a normal day, a normal day with a routineof getting dressed, making breakfast before seeing the kids off to school. Thenwhen they were gone she’d watch the TV, perhaps that show on channel three withthe guy who tells you what you don’t want to hear. A normal day for a normalperson, (semicolon maybe – these sentences feltlinked to me) Nothing to get excited or talk about.

    It was Tuesday today and the man on the TV was talking to some drug taker abouthow he should get off the heroin and look after his kid. It was 10:30 when thisshow ended and she went upstairs, showered, got ready for work. Her uniform wasblack with green lines across the shoulder. (what aboutwhat she looked like, middle aged and bottle blonde? – whatever – putting her into the uniform would have added more to the character for me) Her work was on the main street, the local Co-op, a shop that soldeverything from pop to condoms. (I don’t like the last line, sorry)

    A normal day changed by broken windows. Broken windows shattered inwards makingthe day more interesting. She pulled out her mobile phone and dialled 999.There was no connection, which was odd because normally you didn’t need areception or credit to phone the emergency services. Maybe they were all ready (one word) on their way. Maybe Tim had alreadycalled them, this line diluted the danger was inside now examining the damage. She didn’t think there would bemuch taken as usually when people robbed them they aimed for the cash machineto the right. No feeling of real danger here. Where is Tim, confusion/dismay – leading in to when she sees Tim later – more suspense –however not bad, I can see what you’re thinking and trying to do - it’s what I’m asking for as well!

    The automatic doors opened and she stepped inside. “Hello?” she asked, steppingover broken glass. There was no answer, no sound (change to –the only sound – smoother and more direct/clear) at allexcept for the freezers in the back, humming contently to themselves. Thefridge with the pop was on the floor and its contents scattered across thefloor. The display of cheap wine where the window had been broken lay shatteredon the ground, the broken glass bathed in bloody red and white liquid. Not aburglary but vandalism maybe? The last line is leading thereader, not needed. The pop felt odd – not a word that adds tension.

    The further she went the more the silence played on her mind and the more shegrew aware of the lack of cars parked outside, or people on the street. Normally there were loads of people on the streets. From normally - this line is a repeat –not needed She paused by the juice isle andnoticed the tomato juice pooling out of the aisle. A shape moved in theshadows.

    “Tim is that you?” – asked Margaret, - state emotion of yourchoice – a missed opportunity to tell us how Margaret was feeling.

    It looked like him, the body shape and everything was identical, but it washard to tell with him facing away from her. Every so often he twitched like abolt of electricity shot through him. “Tim?” She stepped into the juice, foundit too sticky to be just juice. “Are you okay?”
    The above was good.

    No answer.

    Margret reached out and tapped him on the shoulder. “Tim?”
    With a snarl he turned, eyes wide and bloody teeth bared. She screamed, foughtto keep him away. Her first thoughts were of rape but changed quickly to a moresobering thought. She was going to die. Last sentence dilutes the impact of the section below and leads the reader a little.

    They fell and as her lifeblood ebbed Margret watched the man she’d once calledfriend gnaw on her neck, wondering why nobody was answering her screams.


    #


    The aging mechanic placed handson his aching back, grunted with the pain shooting down his spine from spendinghours under the mini cooper. The small garage was situated on the way out ofTow Law just before you reached the moors between here and Langley Park. Theoccupants of the newly built houses opposite his garage busied themselves withmorning activities. He watched them for a moment, lost in (thought – memory felt wrong) memory. They were mostly families, butsometimes you would get people his own age moving from the cities, hoping for amore sedate kind of life.

    Sedate was something people got in plenty here, he thought, as there was noheavy traffic, a bus that appeared every three hours and beautiful countryside.Tow Law was one of those rare places that despite having not the nicestresidents made up for the fact with the scenery. - this line is a little disjointed to me Surrounded on its northern side by moors stretching out into thePennines and moors and nature reserve on its northwest side new line maybe it was only the beginning of thebeautiful countryside that was County Durham. It was the reason he’d moved herein the 80s; his wife had loved nature. Nice section in general.

    Drinking his mug of tea and wiping oily hands on his navy blue overalls, hecrouched down and slid back under the car. He had only been down less than aminute when he heard someone enter the garage. “Just a minute!” he called. Hecrawled back up and found himself looking up into the eyes of a Policeman. “CanI help you?” His eyes were white, his uniform bloody around the collar. Bloodcoloured drool dripped down to mingle with the oil on his overalls.

    The Policeman was hungry.

    The second character was much stronger for me as you introduced more personal detail. This sucked me in more –had more impact.

    Margaret was close, but because younever told me much about her, her death had less impact.

    I think your writing is getting tighter. I would like more emotions from characters – odd words here and there. However, the writing of your emotion has improved, I liked the second section and it worked for me.

    A little over written in some sections, my comment in the first paragraph about starting from ‘For Margaret Simcoe’ is what you pick up in editing. I write this way as well. When I return a few days later I’m watching for padding and kill it off. I can lose up to 25% of my original writing in edits.

    Watch for padding/repeats and leading statements when editing.
    Words like to gate crash the party, don’t let them in, you’re the ONLY bouncer!
     
  6.  
    Peter Graham

    Peter Graham New Member

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    Not nearly enough drama or depth, I'm afraid. The narrative voice runs at a constant and steady pace with no peaks or troughs to reflect the action being described. This leaves the killing scenes and even the window breaking scene as strangely undramatic and unemotional. There is also too much info dumping and not nearly enough characterisation. OK, they are just zombie fodder, but even so, the reader needs to at least give half a toss that they are being chomped up.

    Just as a matter of interest, how on earth would anyone be able to tell the difference between locals and infected zombie hellspawn in Tow Law?

    Regards,

    Peter
     
  7.  
    anthorn

    anthorn Member

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    Ha ha ha ha. Something tells me you've been to Tow Law before.

    Okay thanks.
     
  8.  
    luci2also

    luci2also Science fiction fantasy

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    I'll likely be blasted for over using this. But, I think this is too much tell not enough show and that's what makes it see so bland. Though bland could be a good device for normal it might be overworked here as is the word normal.

    Instead of redlining everything like some I'll offer just quick take on what I mean.
    "
    A normal day.

    This day started normal for Margaret Simcoe and she had no more than the usual objections. She slapped that alarm clock till its shrill became dull and died. Checking her calendar quickly she verified there were no special occasions today. Just the usual get the kids up and off to school. To keep things normal she turned on the TV, she recognized the face of the channel three news anchor as she walked away indifferent to stream of words coming out at her. They drove her mercilessly back to the bedroom where she prepared for the usual trip to work.
    "
    Maybe try that with each paragraph.

    Not so much worry about info dump- this thread keeps mentioning it but truth be told there is only too much info dump if you lose the reader. You could easily add a lot more to this and make it interesting and have people reach the end and say, "Hey where's the rest?"

    But it won't make it if he sounds like someone reading their grocery list.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  9.  
    RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Never Sure

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    A normal day. Life was full of normal days though they sometimes were interrupted by the not so normal days involving weddings, burglaries, or deaths. For Margaret Simcoe this was a normal day, a normal day with a routine of getting dressed, making breakfast before seeing the kids off to school. Then when they were gone she’d watch the TV, perhaps that show on channel three with the guy who tells you what you don’t want to hear. A normal day for a normal person. Nothing to get excited or talk about.

    It was Tuesday. today and the A man on the TV was talking to telling some drug taker about how he should to get off the heroin and look after his kid. Tow Law was one of those rare places that despite having not the nicest residents made up for the fact with the scenery. Surrounded on its northern side by moors stretching out into the Pennines and moors and nature reserve on its northwest side it was only the beginning of the beautiful countryside that was County Durham.

    It was 10:30 when this show ended and she went upstairs, showered and got ready dressed for work at the local co-op. Her uniform was black with green lines across the shoulder. Her work was on the main street, the local Co-op, a shop that sold everything from pop to condoms.

    A normal day changed by broken windows (. Broken windows) shattered inwards making to make the day more interesting. She pulled out her mobile phone and dialled 999. There was no connection. (, which was odd because normally you didn’t) Odd, she thought. Did you need a reception or credit to phone the emergency services call 999? Maybe they were all ready on their way. Maybe But maybe Tim had already called them, was inside now examining the damage? She didn’t think there would There wouldn't be much taken. as usually when When people robbed them they usually aimed for the cash machine to the right.

    The automatic doors opened. and she She stepped inside.

    “Hello?” she asked (called?), stepping over broken glass.

    There was no answer, no sound at all except for the freezers in the back, humming contently to themselves. The fridge with the pop was on the floor, and its contents scattered across the floor. The display of cheap wine where the window had been broken lay shattered on the ground, the broken glass bathed in bloody red and white liquid. It looked more like vandalism than burglary. (Not a burglary but vandalism maybe?)

    The further she went the more the The silence played on her mind. and the more she grew aware of the lack of There were no cars parked outside, or no people on the street. Normally there were loads of people on the streets. She paused by the juice isle, and noticed the tomato juice pooling out of the aisle. A shape moved in the shadows.

    “Tim is that you?”

    (It looked like him, the body shape and everything was identical, but it was hard to tell with him facing away from her. Every so often he)He twitched like as if hit by a bolt of electricity shot through him.

    “Tim?” (She stepped into the juice, found it too sticky to be just juice. “Are you okay?”)

    No answer.

    (Margret reached out and) She tapped him on the shoulder. “Tim?”

    With a snarl he He turned, eyes wide and bloody teeth bared. She screamed fought to keep him away. Her first thoughts were of rape but they changed quickly to a more sobering thought. It wasn't tomato juice. She was going to die.

    They fell and as her lifeblood ebbed Margret watched the man she’d once called friend gnaw on her neck, wondering why nobody was answering her screams.


    #​


    Finishing his mug of tea and wiping oily hands on his overalls, he crouched down and slid back under the car. He had only been down less than a minute when he heard someone enter the garage. “Just a minute!” he called.

    The aging mechanic placed hands on his aching back, grunted with the pain shooting down his spine from spending hours under the mini cooper. The small garage was situated on the way out of Tow Law just before you reached the moors between here and Langley Park. The occupants of the newly built houses opposite his garage busied themselves with morning activities. He watched them for a moment, lost in memory. They were mostly families, but sometimes you would get people his own age moving from the cities, hoping for a more sedate kind of life. Sedate was something people got in plenty here, he thought, as there was no heavy traffic, a bus that appeared every three hours and beautiful countryside. (Tow Law was one of those rare places that despite having not the nicest residents made up for the fact with the scenery. Surrounded on its northern side by moors stretching out into the Pennines and moors and nature reserve on its northwest side it was only the beginning of the beautiful countryside that was County Durham.) It was the reason he’d moved here in the 80s; his wife had loved nature.

    (Drinking his mug of tea and wiping oily hands on his navy blue overalls, he crouched down and slid back under the car. He had only been down less than a minute when he heard someone enter the garage. “Just a minute!” he called.) He crawled back up out from under the mini Cooper and found himself looking up into the eyes of a Policeman.

    “Can I help you?”

    His eyes were white, his uniform bloody around the collar. Blood coloured drool dripped down to mingle with the oil on his overalls. (Sorry, this bit's completely confusing, Ant. Who is bloody, the cop or the mechanic?)

    The Policeman was hungry.


    + + +

    It's not bad. I can't usually even read YA(?) vampire stuff. It's just I think you have to do it very well, in a very different way, because there are so many people trying to write it? You've obviously put quite a lot of work into this piece.

    I do have one thing to say, and hope you'll bear it in mind, which is that for this vampire stuff to be scary, it has to be really scary? It's not like: Oh, bloody teeth, bloody drool, hide under the seat, you know? The fear must come from a serious, really edge-of-the seat build-up of tension, Alfred Hitchcock sort of thing?

    It needs to be different from the run-of-the mill vampire stuff, insightful and literally bone chilling to really get the effect?

    What I mean, it's reasonable. It's not bad. I'm not saying I can do better. It's easy for someone to come along and edit it around a bit. You created it, you wrote it. Editing's the easy part, no problem there.

    But is 'not bad' good enough for you? What's really important in this piece of writing? To you, yourself? What are you really saying here that's going to make it different to all the rest out there?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  10.  
    r_j_dando

    r_j_dando New Member

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    My first crit on the forums, so I hope it's useful!

    I think it has potential, but it needs to draw the reader in a lot closer. At the moment it doesn't have any immediacy to it, so as a reader, I find that I don't really care about this Margaret. My examples were very quick, off the cuff attempts, but hopefully they help :)

    As a side note, Margaret as a name sounds very upper class, especially for someone working in the Co-op. I would expect her to be a Maggie, or Mags, or Marge.
     
  11.  
    r_j_dando

    r_j_dando New Member

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    Interesting...I got zombies from it, not vampires! (Mostly from the title...) Same principles apply - horror should be horrific, regardless of what sort of dead are walking (or shuffling) around the place...

    OP - you might want to clarify this for a reader, as I was critting as if it was zombies. :eek:
     
  12.  
    anthorn

    anthorn Member

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    It is Zombies......:{

    Yeah, I'll clarify on the rewrite.
     
  13.  
    r_j_dando

    r_j_dando New Member

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    I thought it was very clearly zombies, for what it's worth :)

    Vampires usually sparkle more, right? ;)
     
  14.  
    Bowler1

    Bowler1 Senile Member

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    Its zombies ok, screams zombies at me - do they scream or just moan???
     

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