QueryTracker Community
September 23, 2018, 07:44:49 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Note: This forum uses different usernames and passwords than those of the main QueryTracker site. 
Please register if you want to post messages.

This forum is also accessible by the public (including search engines).
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: THE HOVEL: Prologue and First Chapter  (Read 769 times)
OkwuNanya01
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 5
Offline Offline

Posts: 33


To be quite honest with you: books are life!


« on: June 05, 2018, 09:00:43 AM »

Hello, this is my first time doing something like, but you don't have to be nice. If you NOTICE words that are a bit weird or don't seem to be words, well I made them that way and they are supposed spelled like that and etc. But other than that...enjoy critiquing!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PROLOGUE

   Someone once said, “A person, place, or thing does not have to be beautiful to be magical. Even the most boring, worthless unvaluables are worth a look because you never know what mysteries may be underneath the surface”. A person has never been righter.

   A millennia ago, a strange island came up out of the ocean right in the middle of the world. No one knew where the island came from or how it got there, all they cared about were the treasures that it held. Unfortunately, there was no treasure. Just grayness, emptiness, ugliness, dirtiness, silence, and unworthiness, as people saw it. But there was one man who was more curious than the others. He saw something in the island no one else could see. He went into deeper exploration and one day found a hut right in the middle of the island. He took one step into it…and was never heard of again. People said that he probably died on the island, some said he probably went insane and decided to live on the island, while others simply did not care.

   For a while, people forgot about the man and went on with their daily lives. Then, a year later, something came a-floatin’ across the ocean to the port town of Snubbers.

   It was a wooden box of a strange wood. Inside was a small baby wearing nothing, but a gray blanket. Tied to the baby’s wrist was a small string and connected to the string was a note that said this, and only this:

   “Thus begins the legend of the Hovel.”


ONE

   Everyone has a story. Some are funny, some are horrifying, some are just weird. Some are even fairytales.
But my story is a rare kind of story. It is the kind of story that old people tell to the young ones around a crackling fire. The kind of story that is written in books. The kind of story that is worth passing down. The kind of story that is more magical, more mythical, and more mysterious than those of the gods. It’s more than funny, more than horrifying, more than weird. It’s not a myth, a folklore, a fable, a fantasy, a tall tale, a dream, or a fairytale; it’s more than that. Oh, no, it’s better than that.

   My story is a legend. And whether you believe it or not, everything is true.


   I woke up before the sun could shine its golden rays over the horizon. I sat up and stretched my body out of the aches of restless slumber. Even though it was dark outside, I made out the objects around me. One was my rusty oil lamp. I threw my gray blanket off of me and stood up while shaking some itchy hay off. A shiver went through my naked form and I wrapped my arms around me.

  Oh holy gods. It’s so cold in here.

   I walked over to my lamp and picked it up. I was careful enough to not drop it for it made out of hardened clay and I would not have any light with me until the sun rose. Then, blindly in the darkness, I searched for the can of oil. I spent a few good minutes trying to find it. When I grasped something metal, round, and slippery I knew it was the can of oil. I opened it and slowly poured it into the chamber. I sat the can down and then groped for a piece of linen on the hay-covered floor. I felt the soft material and quickly gather in my hands. I ripped off a piece and rolled it into a thick roll. After stuffing it in the nozzle, I grabbed two metal blocks. I started scrapping them against each other over the lamp.

   A few sparks landed here and there, but it did not ignite the wick. I gave the blocks one last scrape. Several big sparks flew and landed onto the oily wick. It started to flame quickly, then it suddenly started to dwindle. I dropped the blocks, cupped my hands around the wick, and blew on it. The tiny flame ate my breath and grew until it was hot and going.

   With that, I picked up the lamp and looked around the area. It was a sight to unbehold. Hay was piled up like garbage on the floor. Dust, cobwebs, dust bunnies, spider webs with, of course, spiders found home in the rafts of the ceiling. A putrid, rotten stink violated the air.

   I let out a sigh as I took everything in, “Well, I have my work cut out for me this fall and winter.”

   Suddenly, a strange thought came and I look down at myself. I smiled, “Well, hopefully, not in the nude.”

   Still smiling, I went to my clothing corner. It was the second biggest corner of the building. It had a slightly cracked mirror leaning against the wall, four wooden chests each containing my clothes for each season, piles of fabric, and tools for making clothes. I opened the chest that had “fall” carved on the top. In the chest were 8 pairs of brown, black, and gray trousers and legging each with 10 brown, black, white and gray shirts and frocks each. Most people like to wear bright colors during the seasons, but me, the color of my clothes were drab and I liked it that way.

   I picked out a pair of gray leggings and a gray shirt. I closed the chest and put them down on it. I would take a bath, however due to my laziness, the pump being a quarter frozen, and the fact that people’s noses will be numb, I decided against it.
Instead, I snatched a dry clean pair of breetches and lifted them up the naked bottom of my body. Then I pull on my leggings, which was quite a struggle, to be honest.

   I’m getting fat.

   Being half dressed, I considered whether I should wear a bra. Usually, my breasts are smaller during the cold seasons, so they are less noticeable when I wear my shirts and dresses. However, I’m often called “big breasted” if I don’t wear them, therefore, I snatched one off the line and snapped it on. Then I pulled on my shirt and looked at myself over in the mirror.

   My breasts were small, but still looked like mountains of blobby, soft chest fat. My belly made me look like I was pregnant. And these leggings pressed against my crotch, making it noticeable and made my butt look like soft, squeezable mounds of plump, buttery biscuits.

   Wonderful. I’m officially fat. I hate it.


   What to eat, what to eat?

   I searched through my three-quarters empty food cabinets in the kitchen corner. In this corner, there was a tiny fireplace where I cook my food, a pot, a pan, a mixing bowl, several cooking eating utensils, and cabinets filled with very little food. All there was a sack of flour, a sack of oats, an apple, a small cup of sugar, a slice of bacon, and two slices of bread.

This town is trying to starve me.

   Newly cut wood was already in the fireplace, so I grabbed the two metal blocks and scraped them above the wood. Sparks flew and a tiny flame flickered between the wood. I blew on it and the tiny flame spread across the wood. Satisfied with that, I grabbed the handle of the black, rusty pot and went over to the door. A cool Botcore breeze and a chill went through me.

   I should’ve brought a cloak.

   The bluish green grass crinkled and crunched under my feet. There was a still, calm aura that flowed through the land. The sun was still coming up from the horizon when I got to the small pump on top of the hill. I set the pot under the pump.
It was once the color of a starless night, but now it was like dried blood. I take the handle and push it up and down. It was like snow in my hands. I pumped it up and down a few times, but not water would come out.

   I’m going to have to kick it again.

   I stepped back, reeled my right leg back, and the SWING, BAM, DING!

   The pump wiggled side-to-side uncontrollable and dangerously under my force. It stopped after a minute and stood as if I never kicked it in the first place. I let out a shaky breath and swallowed a lump in my throat. I’ve done this for years, yet I always get surprised when I do. And worried. Mostly, worried, because I never feel any pain. It feels like I never kicked a rusty freezing cold metal pipe with my small, gray barefoot in the first place.

   I’ve always questioned this…oddity of mine, as well as the other weird things about me. But that is for another time.

   I grabbed the handle and pushed it up and down. Water squirted out in streams, until a river came down into the pot. I stopped, picked up the pot, and walked back the barn. The fire, fortunately, did not get out of control while I was gone. I hooked the pot the wall of the fireplace and then grabbed the bag of oats. I poured the oats into the mixing bowl, grabbed the small,  wooden ladle, and then crushed, well, more like stabbed, the oats until they were flour-like.

   I set the bowl down by my side and then grabbed the apple and the knife. The apple was a plain green, small, bumpy with a few brown spots. Placing it firmly hand, I cut it into slices three-quarters of the way through. I turned it around and did the same thing. It was now tiny blocks, separated but not completely. I placed it into the bowl with the oatmeal, however, I heard the water bubble and pop, so I took the apple out and dumped the oatmeal into the pot, snatched up the ladle and stirred it in. The crushed oats floated and bobbed in the hot water before sinking to the bottom and then rising again. After I covered the pot, I took the bacon and placed it into the cold pan. I sat that aside and placed the two slices of bread in the bowl with the apple. I went to stir the oatmeal. Most of the water had boiled out and the only thing left was gray muck. I took the apple and dropped it into the pot. Then I grabbed the cup of sugar, sprinkled some in, and stirred it up. A sweet, sugary smell wafted throughout the air and tickled my senses.

   I place the pan of bacon the fire while I toasted the bread. The savory scent of back drifted through the air as the thin meat crisped and sizzled, indicating that is was done. I scooped the oatmeal into the bowl, along with the bacon and bread. It was delicious, somewhat. The oatmeal was almost sweetless and the bacon was slightly burnt.

   After I ate, I put on my cloak and my boots, my bag of tools, and a rucksack. Before I walked out, I kissed the paper on the wall and took one last look at it.

  Such mysteries it must behold.

   I drew my hood and walked out to the slightly warmer air. And down the only gray road to the village of hell.








« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 09:21:15 AM by OkwuNanya01 » Logged

From your lovely writing friend,

Okwu N'anya
jcwrites
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 52
Offline Offline

Posts: 268


« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 09:28:39 AM »

So... a nameless character wakes up, dresses, fixes breakfast.

Is there a story here?
Logged
OkwuNanya01
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 5
Offline Offline

Posts: 33


To be quite honest with you: books are life!


« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 09:32:58 AM »

So... a nameless character wakes up, dresses, fixes breakfast.

Is there a story here?


Yes, there is a story, but it doesn't start until around the middle of Chapter 2. I think that's the issue with the first chapter. Also, you don't know the character's name until Chapter 3.
Logged

From your lovely writing friend,

Okwu N'anya
jcwrites
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 52
Offline Offline

Posts: 268


« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2018, 09:38:48 AM »

Then why not open around the middle of Chapter 2? And why withhold the character's name?
Logged
OkwuNanya01
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 5
Offline Offline

Posts: 33


To be quite honest with you: books are life!


« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2018, 09:53:38 AM »

Then why not open around the middle of Chapter 2? And why withhold the character's name?

I don't know. Can I be honest with you?

I have been writing this book in a notebook and transferring it to Microsoft Word for about two years now. I haven't revised anything, except for grammar and spelling issues. Ever since I finished the first 4 chapters (I'm working on the 5th one), I have read it over several times and I told myself that, "I could do better. Way better. All I have to do is pretty much start all over."

But I'm scared too. I don't why I am. Maybe because I don't want the two years of "somewhat" hard-work to go down the drain. I need some help, like serious help.

How should I start this story? Any advice is good. Thank you.

PS: I'm withdrawing the character's name because I thought it would give the readers a sense of mystery, causing them to wonder the character's name.
Logged

From your lovely writing friend,

Okwu N'anya
blackhat
Full Member
***

Karma: 19
Offline Offline

Posts: 75



WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2018, 10:31:30 AM »

Well, for starters, I'm sorry to say, lose the prologue and begin in the middle of Chapter 2 (as JCWRITES says), or wherever you said the story begins. Your "two years of somewhat hard work" aren't going down the drain, they apparently were necessary to get you to the point of starting your story. The hard reality is that no one will read on just because you hold back the main character's name. They read on because you've hooked them. At the moment, you haven't hooked anyone. This is a boring recitation of relatively meaningless miscellaneous activities in the morning by a colorless individual who is going fat. The prologue sounded like the opening of a children's story - pretty close to "once upon a time." I don't know what else to tell you. I hate sounding so harsh but, at the moment, there's not much here to praise.
Logged
OkwuNanya01
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 5
Offline Offline

Posts: 33


To be quite honest with you: books are life!


« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2018, 10:36:26 AM »

Well, for starters, I'm sorry to say, lose the prologue and begin in the middle of Chapter 2 (as JCWRITES says), or wherever you said the story begins. Your "two years of somewhat hard work" aren't going down the drain, they apparently were necessary to get you to the point of starting your story. The hard reality is that no one will read on just because you hold back the main character's name. They read on because you've hooked them. At the moment, you haven't hooked anyone. This is a boring recitation of relatively meaningless miscellaneous activities in the morning by a colorless individual who is going fat. The prologue sounded like the opening of a children's story - pretty close to "once upon a time." I don't know what else to tell you. I hate sounding so harsh but, at the moment, there's not much here to praise.

Ok. Thank you so much! Smiley
Logged

From your lovely writing friend,

Okwu N'anya
Munley
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 87
Offline Offline

Posts: 308


Mr. Fluff -- from the SPCA


« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 10:39:51 AM »

Then why not open around the middle of Chapter 2? And why withhold the character's name?

 . . . I have been writing this book in a notebook and transferring it to Microsoft Word for about two years now.. . .  and I told myself that, "I could do better. Way better. All I have to do is pretty much start all over."

But I'm scared too. I don't why I am. Maybe because I don't want the two years of "somewhat" hard-work to go down the drain.

PS: I'm withdrawing the character's name because I thought it would give the readers a sense of mystery, causing them to wonder the character's name.

Hi, and welcome to the QT forums. I know it can seem like a waste of time to pitch a chunk of writing you put a lot of time into. But if you have come to realize it's not the best starting point for your novel (and almost all of us have the same light go on with a book or two or more), it would be a bigger waste of time to hang onto that chunk solely because of the time it took to create it.

Anytime you discover something in the course of writing, even when it involves pitching whole pages or chapters, that's a worthwhile use of your time and you'll probably find yourself glad that you noticed a problem and fixed it.

As for where to start, I'm not familiar enough with your story to make suggestions about some event as a better starting place. Look for some incident or event that will make a change from the way things have stood up until now, something that will nudge your main character into having to make new choices. Some people refer to this as an "inciting incident," which is helpful terminology for looking up examples of what I mean.

Here is one page with examples. It sounds more formulaic that the creative writing process actually is, but it's not a bad explanation:

http://greatstorybook.com/write-awesome-inciting-incident-3-things/

One last point regarding withholding your characters name so that readers will wonder about it. That's a pretty low level of suspense. It would be more suspenseful to have readers wonder what will happen. Even more so if they're wondering about some particular choice facing the main character, such as whether she will open an anonymous package left on her doorstep. Maybe it's just a gift from her brother who the reader knows enjoys leaving mysterious surprises. Or maybe it's from the belligerent employee she fired last week.

Hope this helps.


Logged
OkwuNanya01
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 5
Offline Offline

Posts: 33


To be quite honest with you: books are life!


« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 11:00:04 AM »

Then why not open around the middle of Chapter 2? And why withhold the character's name?

 . . . I have been writing this book in a notebook and transferring it to Microsoft Word for about two years now.. . .  and I told myself that, "I could do better. Way better. All I have to do is pretty much start all over."

But I'm scared too. I don't why I am. Maybe because I don't want the two years of "somewhat" hard-work to go down the drain.

PS: I'm withdrawing the character's name because I thought it would give the readers a sense of mystery, causing them to wonder the character's name.

Hi, and welcome to the QT forums. I know it can seem like a waste of time to pitch a chunk of writing you put a lot of time into. But if you have come to realize it's not the best starting point for your novel (and almost all of us have the same light go on with a book or two or more), it would be a bigger waste of time to hang onto that chunk solely because of the time it took to create it.

Anytime you discover something in the course of writing, even when it involves pitching whole pages or chapters, that's a worthwhile use of your time and you'll probably find yourself glad that you noticed a problem and fixed it.

As for where to start, I'm not familiar enough with your story to make suggestions about some event as a better starting place. Look for some incident or event that will make a change from the way things have stood up until now, something that will nudge your main character into having to make new choices. Some people refer to this as an "inciting incident," which is helpful terminology for looking up examples of what I mean.

Here is one page with examples. It sounds more formulaic that the creative writing process actually is, but it's not a bad explanation:

http://greatstorybook.com/write-awesome-inciting-incident-3-things/

One last point regarding withholding your characters name so that readers will wonder about it. That's a pretty low level of suspense. It would be more suspenseful to have readers wonder what will happen. Even more so if they're wondering about some particular choice facing the main character, such as whether she will open an anonymous package left on her doorstep. Maybe it's just a gift from her brother who the reader knows enjoys leaving mysterious surprises. Or maybe it's from the belligerent employee she fired last week.

Hope this helps.




Hello, Munley. Thank you for responding. Also, thank you for the article. As of now, I am starting to rewrite my story. It's bit painful, but I know it's for the best. Smiley
Logged

From your lovely writing friend,

Okwu N'anya
NextChapter
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 28
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 11:13:49 AM »

Knowing where to begin a story is not always obvious. You need to find a way to draw the reader in from the very first page. Certainly agents won't go beyond page one unless it is compelling. You'll need something much more interesting than withholding the name of the main character. Also, prologues are often skipped by any reader who is eager to get to the meat of the story, so do not rely on that to draw the reader (or agent!) in.

Even if you ditch two years of work, you will have gained something from it. Good luck!
Logged
OkwuNanya01
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 5
Offline Offline

Posts: 33


To be quite honest with you: books are life!


« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2018, 11:49:54 AM »

Knowing where to begin a story is not always obvious. You need to find a way to draw the reader in from the very first page. Certainly agents won't go beyond page one unless it is compelling. You'll need something much more interesting than withholding the name of the main character. Also, prologues are often skipped by any reader who is eager to get to the meat of the story, so do not rely on that to draw the reader (or agent!) in.

Even if you ditch two years of work, you will have gained something from it. Good luck!

Thank you! I'll keep that in mind.
Logged

From your lovely writing friend,

Okwu N'anya
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!