Author Topic: Brotherhood: 5 pages  (Read 467 times)

Offline abauthor

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 1
Brotherhood: 5 pages
« on: February 05, 2019, 10:04:54 AM »
Here's the 1st 5 pages of an adult thriller. So far agents haven't been impressed with it. Hopefully you guys can help me figure out why.

THURSDAY
DECEMBER 28
CHAPTER 1
The Ocean Star wasn’t much of a freighter. Soaking wet, she barely weighed 20 metric tons. And, unlike her behemoth competitors, she couldn’t haul a single shipping container. Instead, she carried cargo in three large holds. Each was fitted with a port-side door opening to a narrow passageway that ran from sleeping quarters in the bow to the engine room in the stern.
A night and half a day after steaming from the Mediterranean, Captain Asil Solak stood on the Star’s bridge puffing a cigar and watching the billowing black clouds stretched across the horizon. They were in for a storm. It looked like it could be a bad one, but he wasn’t concerned. His ship was seaworthy and his crew competent.
Two hours later, when the Star and cold front ran into each other, the temperature plummeted. What had been gentle rain, exploded into a freezing, torrential downpour. Gale-force winds slammed a mixture of sleet and rain against the freighter. Mean waves alternately lifted the Star’s bow and crashed it back into the sea, sloshing salt water onto her deck.
But the captain’s confidence in his ship was confirmed. She took nature’s wrath in stride and, undaunted, sailed on.
Below deck was a different story. A single, yellow forklift stood safety-cabled to the bulkhead in the center hold. Slack in the cable had allowed the machine to roll as the freighter undulated through the waves. A few inches away from the bulkhead. Then back in place. Forward and back. A monotonous repetition for twenty-four hours.
Page 2
Then the storm hit. The forklift continued its motion but now with more authority. It stretched the cable to its limit with an audible twang and thudded back against the bulkhead. And then again. And again. The cable could have withstood this punishment for the entire voyage. The bracket attached to the bulkhead, however, was made of weaker stuff. Fifteen minutes into the storm, the bracket loosened. Another ten, and it ripped free.
The forklift rocketed across the deck and crashed into a pallet of four, fat, brown cylinders. The left tine missed everything, but the right hit and pierced one of the tanks. A white fog whistled out of the puncture and spread throughout the hold.
Thirty feet away, a huge grey rat, scratching its fleas, snapped its head toward the collision. It twitched its whiskers back and forth and, when the fog approached, emitted several sharp screams, jerked spasmodically, and lay still.
The unfortunate animal still had fleas, but now they too were paralyzed and near death.
***
As has become the norm for small cargo ships, the sleeping quarters of the Ocean Star had been modified to allow the freighter to take on paying passengers. On this trip there was only one, Mohammed Karzan. He had been seasick since nearly the moment they’d left the pier in Antalya, Turkey. But hours after the horrendous storm passed and the ocean became relatively calm, Karzan forced himself from his cot and walked to the center of the ship. He stopped, looked both ways along the passageway, opened the door, and stepped into the hold. He clicked on the bulkhead light as the door swung shut behind him.
Karzan felt nauseous. He started to turn to exit the hold but then spotted where the forklift had come to a stop. He hurried to the accident site, knelt, and leaned toward the puncture.
Page 3
The ship lurched. Karzan lost his balance. Trying to check his fall, his right wrist rammed into the jagged metal of the broken tank. Blood spurted from the wound. He gurgled a strange sound and lurched for the exit. He didn’t make it even half way.
Karzan crashed to the deck. His body jerked momentarily, but that was all. And the blood that had flowed from his ripped artery while his heart still pumped, slowed, then stopped dead.
Page 4

MONDAY
JANUARY 1
CHAPTER 2
Officer Frank Jenkins used a gloved hand to scrape frost from the windshield of his piece-of-sh** squad car. Then, stretching his repair ability to the limit, hammered a fist against the heater control panel. Just as he did so, a man stepped in front of his cruiser.
“Mother of God.”
Jenkins hit the brakes. Slid to a stop with two feet to spare. The pedestrian—male, young, probably mid-twenties, long hair and shaggy—acted as if the police car didn’t exist. He kept his head bowed, tripped on the curb, and staggered across the double tracks and toward the open platform of the Lutherville train stop.
Jenkins figured he should check on the kid. He shoved his car into park. Killed the engine. Lit up his flashers. But then he thought, the hell with this, and reversed the process; emergency lights, then engine, then gear shift. As he drove off, Jenkins justified his decision. The kid wasn’t breaking any law, and the cold would sober him up, and he had the good sense to take the train rather than getting into a car. It was also a fact that Jenkins shift ended in ten minutes, and swirling flakes, the beginning of a predicted world-class blizzard, were already falling.  He damn well wanted to get home before the brunt of it hit.
Three hours later, with heavy snow screaming in, the 8:45 a.m. train heading north to Hunt Valley roared to a stop in Lutherville. A couple passengers got off. Three young women boarded. The engineer, Scott Olson, watched till all was clear, then locked the doors and reached
Page 5
for the throttle. The train crept forward. As it did, Olson glanced out at the snow, at the ground just below his window. He instinctively jerked his body back, pulling the throttle with him, and his train coasted to a stop.
Something was screwy. Olson had driven this route hundreds of times. He knew the track bed was crushed rock. Flat. Featureless. And yet, here was a drift, five or seven feet long, a couple feet wide, and maybe half that deep. It made no sense.
But then, “Sweet Jesus,” it did.
Near one end of the shape, a smaller, thinner, pile of snow jutted to the side. Like an arm. And farther along, several strands of hair waved in the wind. Olson shuddered. All but a bit of hair had been buried by blowing, wet snow but without a doubt, he was looking down at a human body.

Offline rivergirl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1075
  • Karma: 226
Re: Brotherhood: 5 pages
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 05:32:59 PM »
The Ocean Star (just making sure this ship name is in italics in the original manuscript)wasn’t much of a freighter. Soaking wet, she barely weighed 20 metric tons. And, unlike her behemoth competitors, she couldn’t haul a single shipping container. Instead, she carried cargo in three large holds. Each was fitted with a port-side door opening to a narrow passageway that ran from sleeping quarters in the bow to the engine room in the stern.
A night and half a day (IDK why, but i had to read this phrase three times. Wouldn't this be the same as a day and a half? Avoid anything that gives your reader pause. Also while I like the first para. i'm not sure it works as a FIRST para. Starting with a person like Captain Solak is always a better bet than an inanimate object. I'd rearrange a bit. after steaming from the Mediterranean, Captain Asil Solak stood on the Star’s bridge puffing a cigar and watching the billowing black clouds stretchedcacross the horizon. They were in for a storm. It looked like it could be a bad one, but he wasn’t concerned. His ship was seaworthy and his crew competent.
Two hours later, when the Star and cold front ran into each other, the temperature plummeted. What had been gentle rain, exploded into a freezing, torrential downpour. Gale-force winds slammed a mixture of sleet and rain against the freighter. Mean waves alternately lifted the Star’s bow and crashed it back into the sea, sloshing salt water onto her deck.
But the captain’s confidence in his ship was confirmed. She took nature’s wrath in stride and, undaunted, sailed on.
Below deck was a different story. A single, yellow forklift stood safety-cabled to the bulkhead in the center hold. Slack in the cable had allowed the machine to roll as the freighter undulated through the waves. A few inches away from the bulkhead. Then back in place. Forward and back. A monotonous repetition for twenty-four hours.
Page 2
Then the storm hit. i thought the storm was over? It says so above The forklift continued its motion but now with more authority. It stretched the cable to its limit with an audible twang and thudded back against the bulkhead. And then again. And again. The cable could have withstood this punishment for the entire voyage. The bracket attached to the bulkhead, however, was made of weaker stuff. Fifteen minutes into the storm, the bracket loosened. Another ten, and it ripped free.
The forklift rocketed across the deck and crashed into a pallet of four, fat, brown cylinders. The left tine missed everything, but the right hit and pierced one of the tanks. A white fog whistled out of the puncture and spread throughout the hold.
Thirty feet away, a huge grey rat, scratching its fleas, snapped its head toward the collision. It twitched its whiskers back and forth and, when the fog approached, emitted several sharp screams, jerked spasmodically, and lay still.
The unfortunate animal still had fleas, but now they too were paralyzed and near death.

We are a page into your story with no MC. This is reading like a documentary rather than a novel. I crave to have a MC to cling too. Your writing and descriptions are very good.

***
As has become the norm for small cargo ships, the sleeping quarters of the Ocean Star had been modified to allow the freighter to take on paying passengers. On this trip there was only one, Mohammed Karzan. He had been seasick since nearly the moment they’d left the pier in Antalya, Turkey. But hours after the horrendous storm passed and the ocean became relatively calm, Karzan forced himself from his cot and walked to the center of the ship. He stopped, looked both ways along the passageway, opened the door, and stepped into the hold. He clicked on the bulkhead light as the door swung shut behind him.
Karzan felt nauseous. He started to turn to exit the hold but then spotted where the forklift had come to a stop. He hurried to the accident site, knelt, and leaned toward the puncture.
Page 3
The ship lurched. Karzan lost his balance. Trying to check his fall, his right wrist rammed into the jagged metal of the broken tank. Blood spurted from the wound. He gurgled a strange sound and lurched for the exit. He didn’t make it even half way. I don't understand the gurgling since the injury is on his wrist. maybe a gasp would work better? also when you say he didn't even make it half way, i assumed he's dead. in the next sentence he crashes onto the deck.
Karzan crashed to the deck. His body jerked momentarily, but that was all. And the blood that had flowed from his ripped artery while his heart still pumped, slowed, then stopped dead. (Careful starting too many sentences with "And". You are using artistic liberties in abundance when it should be used sparingly and for emphasis. imo)
Page 4

MONDAY
JANUARY 1
CHAPTER 2
Officer Frank Jenkins used a gloved hand to scrape frost from the windshield of his piece-of-sh** squad car. Then, stretching his repair ability to the limit, hammered a fist against the heater control panel. Just as he did so, a man stepped in front of his cruiser.
“Mother of God.”
Jenkins hit the brakes. ( i assumed he was outside his vehicle since he was scraping his windshield. In the next para. i'm startled he's driving. an easy fix) Slid to a stop with two feet to spare. The pedestrian—male, young, probably mid-twenties, long hair and shaggy—acted as if the police car didn’t exist. He kept his head bowed, tripped on the curb, and staggered across the double tracks and toward the open platform of the Lutherville train stop.
Jenkins figured he should check on the kid. He shoved his car into park. Killed the engine. Lit up his flashers. But then he thought, the hell with this, and reversed the process; some choppy writing here. mix short and long sentences for a better flow. emergency lights, then engine, then gear shift. As he drove off, Jenkins justified his decision. The kid wasn’t breaking any law, and the cold would sober him up, and he had the good sense to take the train rather than getting into a car. It was also a fact that Jenkin's shift ended in ten minutes, and swirling flakes, the beginning of a predicted world-class blizzard, were already falling.  He damn well wanted to get home before the brunt of it hit. I love that i'm in Jenkins head. He sounds interesting.
Three hours later, with heavy snow screaming in, the 8:45 a.m. train heading north to Hunt Valley roared to a stop in Lutherville. A couple passengers got off. Three young women boarded. The engineer, Scott Olson, watched till all was clear, then locked the doors and reached
Page 5
for the throttle. The train crept forward. As it did, Olson glanced out at the snow, at the ground just below his window. He instinctively jerked his body back, pulling the throttle with him, and his train coasted to a stop.
Something was screwy. Olson had driven this route hundreds of times. He knew the track bed was crushed rock. Flat. Featureless. And yet, here was a drift, five or seven feet long, a couple feet wide, and maybe half that deep. It made no sense.
But then, “Sweet Jesus,” it did. "Sweet Jesus," he uttered. (I think works better)minor nitpicking. if it's in his head, put it in italics. The random "Sweet Jesus" is somewhere in between
Near one end of the shape, a smaller, thinner, pile of snow jutted to the side. Like an arm. And farther along, several strands of hair waved in the wind. Olson shuddered. All but a bit of hair had been buried by blowing, wet snow but without a doubt, he was looking down at a human body.

Great writing but this first section is a bit disconnected. This is a thriller and I get that you are setting up the story. People who are used to these types of novels will probably patiently wade through. I always like to start with my MC and then work in the backstory. Not sure if you can do it with this type of novel. I'd love to hear what some of the other authors think.