Today is my first foray on Hump Day Hook. I decided to trot out, for its first public viewing one of my WIP, unnamed for now, called The Children on my computer. The story is a struggle for me and I need as much feedback as I can get.
The opening paragraph.
Ms Simmons rapped her knuckles on the desk at the front of the history class. She wore her “stern” face in an attempt to gain the students’ attention. A few murmurs and the sound of chairs scraping against the wood floor quieted down when she spoke. “May I have your attention please? I’d like to introduce a new student to our group.” The teacher stepped back allowing a young woman standing behind to move forward. Cobalt blue eyes dominated her face framed perfectly by pale almost translucent skin and white-blonde hair. “This is Charlotte and she is a recent transfer. Please make her feel welcome.” Craning her neck, she said, “I see a seat next to Robert. Robert, raise your hand please.” Charlotte walked to the spot indicated and gracefully sat.
What genre is this? Do you have a brief summary of the book? Based off this, I’m wondering if she’s in college or high school? Is this story about Ms. Simmons or Charlotte? And which parts are you struggling on?
I don’t know the genre – fantasy maybe. I do not have a summary of the story.except in my head. It is high school. The story is not about the teacher. It’s sort of about charlotte. I’ve never written a fantasy
So it sounds like you have a general feel/idea of your characters versus the story line. Here is my advice: Flesh out your characters more. Do a Google search for “100 questions about your fictional character,” or something along those lines. You’ll find plenty of versions, but basically, there are over a hundred questions you need to ask yourself about your characters. Since this is fantasy, you might not be able to answer every single question, but for the most part, this should help you create more specific details about your characters and the world they live in. This, in turn, will help you develop your fantasy world and help you understand the goals of your characters. Your characters’ goals, what they wish to accomplish, should be the driving factor of the plot.
After you’ve fleshed out your character with just the basics, like name, age, hair color, likes and dislikes, you should start answering the tougher questions like: What is it your character wishes to accomplish? Why is this so important? Why do we, as readers, need to hear this character’s story? Who is your main protagonist? Are there more than one? Who is the antagonist? If there is more than one, why is it important to show both of their stories? When and where does the story take place? And how will theses characters achieve, or possibly fail, at their goals/dreams? (Who, What, When, Where, Why & How).
These questions should help you figure out what your story is really about and which one of your characters should be telling this story. From what you’ve said, it sounds like Robert is the main character. If so, it should be told from his POV. Which character is trying to achieve something but is constantly running into conflicts? That is your main character. If two or more share the same goal and have to overcome conflicts together, then switch back and forth from their perspectives. Personally, I like first POV and stick to one character telling the story. It is easier for me that way, but this means the readers only see things from that character’s POV. The readers are put into the shoes of that character. Their view is limited, but it also gives them a very intimate insider’s take into that character’s mind and thoughts. Either way, you can read examples of how other successful authors have written alternating POVs, if you decide to go that route.
Anyway, I hope this helps you out, or at least, gives you more ideas 😀
Thank you very much for your assistance I appreciate it
Glad I could help ❤ Can't wait to see what you come up with 🙂
I’d like to a brief summary as well. I get the feeling this is about Robert, that he is watching everything unfold before his eyes.
ok brief summary: Written quickly and dn’t have details worked out as first attempt at fantasy
It’s sorta about Robert but this is not his POV
Gladstone Thomas and his group of three, friends since birth, know exactly what awaits them when they hit the age of eighteen. Stone’s cousin Robert Ward owing to his helicopter mother, Sara, is not aware of his future. Meeting Charlotte, the new girl at school, is a life changer . Gladstone and his buddies are witness to Robert’s transformation from as an indifferent student, careless dresser and narcissistic personality to his finally agreeing to Charlotte’s plan Once Stone learns the key position Robert will play, they must work together to ensure success..
Ok, is this about Robert? hmmmm? Robert and the girl? I am intrigued…
Yes Robert is an important character as is charlotte
Yes I would like to know the genre as well… I have a feeling that the girl will not be what she seems…xx
the girl is definitely not what she seems
This makes me curious about Charlotte. If the story is about Robert, using his POV to reveal Charlotte’s secrets would add to that intrigue.
Ha – I knew we think alike – in fact a third person will see Robert and Charlotte through their POV
I have the same questions meryvamp had.
Also, whose perspective is this from? The first line makes it sound like it’s from the teacher because, “she wore her stern face in an attempt…” tells us her motivation/intention, but then the teacher steps back, and there’s a description of Charlotte which (since the teacher already knows what she looks like), would change the perspective to one of the students who is now seeing Charlotte for the first time.
Also, small picky thing: if Ms Simmons has to crane her neck to find an empty seat in the classroom, that tells me the class is nearly full, so why would she need to ask Robert to raise his hand if there are only one or two empty seats? If Ms Simmons can see the empty seat, surely Charlotte can see it too, right? Might make more sense if she asks Robert to raise his hand to nominate him to take care of her/answer questions/etc on her first day.
Ok have to change the stern face line
yes Charlotte being seen for first time by the students
Re: our phone call, the head-craning thing just makes it seem like a shift back to the teacher’s perspective.
There’s nothing wrong with the action itself.
It’s been deleted in the sunday post as well as Charlotte sitting next to Robert and I just realised a goof – damn
I can’t make out who the POV character is. Can’t be the teacher or the girl because both are observed but it doesn’t feel like Robert either. I have a feeling you’re writing 3rd person omniscient, which I quite like – I adore Kipling – but modern taste has grown away from it.
I’m not disagreeing with Meryvamp’s comments about character building – modern taste is very much in favour of character rather than plot driven stories – but I think that with fantasy you need a very clear idea of the world that contains your characters. So far this sounds like a regular high school story – in fact this bit is very much like that scene from Twilight [*facepalm*, yes I read it, I was curious what all the fuss was about]. How does Charlotte and Robert’s world differ from our own because right there you have a HUGE potential for plot and conflict. What are the risks, what are the rewards? What interesting and unusual things will they have to do to avoid one and gain the other?
Knowing the world inside out will give you ideas for things that can happen. For instance, in my own work, I’ve discovered a bit about bronze manufacture – copper plus tin, but if you can’t get tin you can use arsenic! Also wounds from a bronze blade usually fester. What cracking plot bunnies those two bits of info gave me.
Don’t think it’s third person omniscient but it may have started out that way. It is a third person narrator though
OMG – Twilight – guess I have to change it all
Well I thought to start with the ordinary then get into their world later though have no idea how since don’t even read much fantasy
plot bunnies – love it!
Ooooo, interesting…cant wait to hear more!