Mar 18 2010

Avi’s Review Forum

Published by at 11:03 pm under Review Forums

‘Siva Love Siva Hate’ is about a man’s shades of gray and about how circumstances can change a man’s life completely.

Comparable works: Tom Ripley books by Patricia Highsmith; Some incidents are inspired from ‘The Bourne Identity’ by Robert Ludlum.

Target Audience: Young adults, and probably older readers too.

I can take a lot of constructive criticism, so don’t hold back.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Avi’s Review Forum”

  1. Avion 26 Mar 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Prologue

    It was my time. The deeper I moved into the alley, the faster my heart beat. She stood stern against the wall clearly horrified by what she was facing. Her eyes were wide open. I admired her even at that moment. It was frighteningly amusing. There was no regret in those eyes; only shock. Nobody would want to be betrayed by someone they trusted; someone they loved. But I never betrayed her. I never gave her the prerequisite of betrayal: trust. She might never have expected it would come to this. In fact, neither did I. But her time was already over. Life and death would be mine!

    A smile formed around my lips. Her static figure shook, as she knew what it meant. She knew it was the last smile. She covered her face with her palms. She either didn’t dare looking at me, or she was crying behind the mask. I realized I had wasted enough time already. I walked rapidly looking around at the same time for any possible instrument that could serve as my weapon. I caught sight of something shiny lying down on the floor. It was someone’s careless mistake or it was just my lucky day. I grabbed the dagger and moved closer. In a moment, I stood in front of her. I knew I could have been closer, but this was close enough for what I was going to do.

    “You may open your eyes, honey,” I whispered.

    It was an honest expression of my love; however, it invoked fear in her. She pulled her palms away revealing teary eyes. I can tell that she wanted to hug me. She always did when she was upset. But that day, I was what made her upset and she seemed to understand it.

    “I trust you,” she cried, “I–love you.”

    I gave an inevitable smile. For some reason, everything she did amused me.

    “I am no longer what I was. I honestly believed life is as simple as it seems. I believed life is all about love. Little did I realize life is about both love and hate…”

    I paused. I was dragging on.

    “It is time for you to choose.”

    I had this nasty habit of giving people choices. It was like giving someone the weapon and asking them to kill. But I didn’t want to be just a cruel killer. I held my forefinger and my thumb between our faces, allowing her to choose one.

    “Don’t be shy now. We still trust each other, don’t we?”

    She finally gave in and grabbed my forefinger. I was happy, not because she chose the right finger but because she chose. Her choice was then over. Decision was always mine!

    “I am not going to kill you,” I said.

    She seemed shocked again.

    “A-a-aren’t you?”

    I smiled yet again. But I definitely understood this was the last smile indeed.

    “No,” I said, “I am only going to break your heart!”

    and I drove the dagger right into her heart.

    It was my worst nightmare.

  2. Avion 26 Mar 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Chapter One

    It was a bad dream. Dreams were always bad. But the reality was even worse that day. I felt a severe pain as I opened my eyes. It was not a happy scene. I was lying on the edge of a cliff, my car had tumbled down the cliff, and it could have been a tragic accident if I were in it. Luckily I escaped my fate but had no clue what had happened. I was heavily bruised but was fortunately alive. A cop helped me get back on my feet. He asked me if I tried to kill myself. I shook my head. He asked me if I were speeding down the hill. I shook my head again. Apparently the cop did not have any clue of what an accident was. When he finally demanded an explanation, I told him I had no idea. The cop was visibly irritated but questioned no further.

    Soon, paramedics gathered at the scene and started pampering me. I tried to make myself remember what had happened. I had no luck and instead tried to cool down and let the paramedics do their job.

    A few moments passed before I realized that my license had been confiscated. I had bigger problems to worry about. I was in a place where I had absolutely no business whatsoever. My home, my college and every other place I went were free from that route. I had no clue what I had been up to. My only choice was to wait.

    An hour of relief later, the cop inquired if my car had been insured. After taking my approval and my contact details, I was let free. I hoped the rest of the day could be better. I realized I could only hope.

    *****

    It was a good thing I started early to college. I guessed my conscience expected the accident all along. As I finally reached the campus hitchhiking, a huge riot awaited me. Riots were common. We protested for everything; sometimes we never knew what we were fighting for.

    I managed to reach a locked classroom and slammed the door open. Somebody was already in there, and she reacted as I made a dramatic entrance. I shut the door and seated myself on the table near the door. She was staring outside the window waiting for peace to prevail. I recalled her reaction and smiled. It amused me. She was very–very beautiful. Her eyes were intoxicating and her grace appealing. She seemed to have broadened my horizon. I wondered if everybody, at some point of time, would experience a moment like that.

    Hours passed like mere seconds and she was still staring outside as though she was frozen. College time was almost over and so the riot naturally came to an end. I was still smiling when she hastily walked past me. She had an innocent face but it had a captivating style. I was broken apart.

    “Aren’t you planning to leave?”

    My daydreams faded and I sprang back to life. She had come back and was looking at me curiously. I realized her voice was cool and breezy. She made me wonder how perfect one could be. I was still unable to hide my smile. She giggled. I put my head down, unable to face her. She said something in a low voice but stopped short. I watched her giggle again as she tried to speak up. Finally, she smiled at me.

    “I am Maya,” she offered a handshake.

    “I am Siva.”

    *****

  3. B. Macon 27 Mar 2010 at 12:58 am

    I felt that the first four sentences were pretty good. First sentence was neat and enticing. I think you tripped me with the fifth sentence, “I admired even at that moment.” It sort of awkwardly complicates the chronology (by interjecting the idea of what he’s doing now). Also, I feel that the phrase “at that moment” is a bit frustratingly coy. Will prospective readers actually know what “that moment” is? I think it’d be more powerful to say something like “I admired her even as I killed her” or whatever.

    He says that he admired her, but that doesn’t seem to be consistent with the rest of his description. “It was frighteningly amusing” doesn’t make it sound like he’s impressed by her.

    I like that the narrator has a distinct voice for a probable murderer/rapist/mugger. The tangent about betrayal and trust is unexpected and seems like it has some promise, but I think that it could be shortened. I think “Nobody would want to be betrayed by someone they trusted; someone they loved” could probably be removed and replaced with some other cue that the narrator and the victim are (or were) close. For example, perhaps she says something to him. Also, why has he never trusted her? Is it just that he’s a paranoid crazy or something about her or something else entirely?

    “Life and death would be mine!” This sounds overwrought, like something a Silver Age supervillain would say, but if that’s intentional I feel it was very effective. (I feel the tensing is awkward, though).

    I like the barrage of minor visual details (the smile on the lips, her figure shaking, the smile again, covering the face, she didn’t look). I think these were very effective at conveying that these two figures are physically very close. I think it adds to the tension of the scene.

    What’s she doing while he’s looking for a weapon? Also, I think finding a dagger on the ground was contrived. It seems a bit odd to me that he doesn’t have a weapon on hand for this. This clearly isn’t a crime of passion (based on the deliberateness with which he is acting and his cold language), so presumably it was premeditated. Could I recommend having him prepare himself with a weapon?

    “It was an honest expression of my love; however, it invoked fear in her.” I think that “however, it invoked fear in her” could probably be shown rather than told.

    I feel like her first lines of dialogue (“I trust you… I love you”) could probably be more dramatic. In contrast, his first line (“you may open your eyes, honey”) shows a lot more about him and their relationship.

    I’d like to know more about her.

    “I had this nasty habit of giving people choices.” I feel like this self-exposition could be reworked more smoothly. Instead of having him tell us “I had this unusual trait,” maybe you could build it up so that it ties into something else we know about him. For one thing, he hasn’t given her any choices up to this point, so this sort of feels like it’s out of the blue. (One possibility: when he searches for a weapon, you might say he is giving her the choice to jump him from behind or escape, but for some reason she just stays there).

    When you end with “it was my worst nightmare,” are you being literal? Is this just a dream sequence? If it really is just a dream, please see #2 here.

  4. B. Macon 27 Mar 2010 at 2:56 am

    Chapter One…

    –If the prologue was just a dream but is STILL worth including, I would recommend having the narrator mention upfront that it’s a dream. I think that will make it easier for jaded editors to accept.

    –The character escapes the accident how? Did he have anything to do with it or was it a lucky break?

    –“My home, my college and every other place I went were free from that route.” Hmm. Another possible formulation would be something like “This route wasn’t anywhere near my home…” That may help you avoid the awkward phrase “every other place I went were free.”

    –Do we need to know about the cop asking if he’s insured? Or that the cop took his contact information?

    –College riots. Sadly, this feels relatable.

    –I’d recommend ending the chapter on more of a cliffhanger. Maybe something more dramatic than them exchanging names. For example, maybe one asks the other to lunch or something.

  5. Avion 27 Mar 2010 at 3:38 am

    Thanks for the great advice. I’m revising this right now. Two things I want to clarify:

    “It was my worst nightmare,” That was literal. But it was not a dream, kind of like a premonition. I thought I could use the prologue to give a hint about what is going to happen later in the story, so people won’t tend to think it’s just another romance fiction.

    Another thing I wanted to clarify: looking for possible weapons around him and taking it with him after the kill is his usual MO. I didn’t realize it was important to explain this so early. Readers discover how the dagger ended up there later in the story.

    Are these okay? Let me know if anything else needs to be changed.

  6. Avion 27 Mar 2010 at 3:47 am

    – “I would recommend having the narrator mention upfront that it’s a dream.”

    I thought people don’t usually realize they’re dreaming before they wake up.

    – “The character escapes the accident how?”

    That’s what he forgot and that’s what he is trying to recall. For the first few chapters, readers will be exposed to the good, benevolent version of the character. After he discovers the truth behind the accident, readers will be introduced to the darker version of the character.

  7. Avion 27 Mar 2010 at 11:55 am

    Prologue
    Dreams that could kill

    It was my time. The deeper I moved into the alley, the faster my heart was beating. She was standing against the wall frozen, clearly horrified by what she was facing. Her eyes were wide open. There was no regret in those eyes; only shock. Nobody would want to be betrayed by someone they trusted. She might never have expected it would come to this. In fact, neither did I. I had always admired her.

    A smile formed on my lips. Her static figure shook, as she knew what it meant. She knew it was the last smile. She covered her face with her palms. She either didn’t dare looking at me, or she was crying behind the mask.

    I realized I had wasted enough time already. I made my steps slowly, looking around for any possible instrument that could serve as my weapon. I gave myself a choice to turn back and leave. I was surprised as she never made an attempt to escape. Her strong will left me with only one possible choice. I caught sight of something shiny lying down on the floor. It was someone’s careless mistake or it was just my lucky day. I grabbed my weapon and moved closer. In a moment, I was standing in front of her. I knew I could have been closer, but this was close enough for what I was going to do.

    “You may open your eyes, honey,” I whispered.

    It was an honest expression of my love; however, it seemed to me as if my words were killing her. She pulled her palms away revealing teary eyes. I can tell that she wanted to hug me. She always did when she was upset. But that day, I was what made her upset and she seemed to understand it.

    “I’ve always trusted you,” she cried, “I still do, cheese ball, you’re all I want.”

    I gave an inevitable smile. For some reason, everything she did made me smile.

    “I never asked you to trust me,” I made a bold statement, “I am no longer what I was. I believed life is all about love. Little did I realize life is about both love and hate…”

    I paused. I was dragging on.

    “It is time for you to choose.”

    I had this nasty habit of giving people choices. It was like giving someone the weapon and asking them to kill. But I didn’t want to be just another cruel killer. I held my forefinger and my thumb between our faces, allowing her to choose one.

    “Don’t be shy now. You trust me, don’t you?”

    She finally gave in and grabbed my forefinger. I was happy, not because she chose the right finger but because she chose. Her choice was then over. Decision was always mine!

    “I am not going to kill you,” I said.

    She seemed shocked again. I smiled yet again. But I definitely understood this was the last smile indeed.

    “I am only going to break your heart!”

    and I drove the dagger right into her heart.

    It was my worst nightmare.

    Chapter One
    About me and my love

    It was a bad dream. Dreams were always bad. But the reality was even worse that day. I felt a severe pain as I opened my eyes. It was not a happy scene. I was lying on the edge of a cliff, my car had tumbled down the cliff, and it could have been a tragic accident if I were in it. Luckily I escaped my fate but had no clue what had happened. I was heavily bruised but was fortunately alive. A cop helped me get back on my feet. When he demanded an explanation, I told him I had no idea. The cop was visibly irritated but questioned no further.

    Soon, paramedics gathered at the scene and started pampering me. I tried to make myself remember what had happened. I had no luck and instead tried to cool down and let the paramedics do their job.

    A few moments passed before I realized that my license had been confiscated. I had bigger problems to worry about. I was in a place where I had absolutely no business whatsoever. This route was nowhere near my home. I had no clue what I had been up to. My only choice was to wait.

    An hour of relief later, I was let free. I hoped the rest of the day could be better. I realized I could only hope.

    *

    It was a good thing I started early to college. I guessed my conscience expected the accident all along. As I finally reached the campus hitchhiking, a huge riot awaited me. Riots were common. We protested for everything; sometimes we never knew what we were fighting for.

    I managed to reach a locked classroom and slammed the door open. Somebody was already in there, and she reacted as I made a dramatic entrance. I shut the door and seated myself on the table near the door. She was staring outside the window waiting for peace to prevail. I recalled her reaction and smiled. It amused me. She was very–very beautiful. Her eyes were intoxicating and her grace appealing. She seemed to have broadened my horizon. I wondered if everybody, at some point of time, would experience a moment like that.

    Hours passed like mere seconds and she was still staring outside as though she was frozen. College time was almost over and so the riot naturally came to an end. I was still smiling when she hastily walked past me. She had an innocent face but it had a captivating style. I was broken apart.

    “Aren’t you planning to leave?”

    My daydreams faded and I sprang back to life. She had come back and was looking at me curiously. I realized her voice was cool and breezy. She made me wonder how perfect one could be. I was still unable to hide my smile. She giggled. I put my head down, unable to face her. She said something in a low voice but stopped short. I watched her giggle again as she tried to speak up. Finally, she smiled at me.

    “I am Maya,” she offered a handshake.

    “I am Siva.”

    *

  8. Avion 27 Mar 2010 at 12:01 pm

    ^^^

    I’ve revised my prologue and chapter one as per your advice (and thank you very much). You could see the differences, but the most apparent changes are:

    – I’ve titled the prologue so that readers can guess it’s a dream.

    – I’ve also rewritten some sentences in past progressive tense so that it seems more plausibly like a dream.

    I don’t think it’s time to end chapter one yet. I’ll post the rest of chapter one after some time. Thanks again!

  9. Avion 29 Mar 2010 at 12:41 pm

    story continued from last post

    The next day was boring and uneventful. The dean had canceled all the classes indefinitely due to the riot the day before. I walked to the library hoping to see Maya. There was not enough time to get to know each other the previous day. I blamed myself for having been so careless and wondered where I could find her. I reached the library. Maya was not in there. Instead, three other people I knew were present, doing what they were best at. The bookworm Singh was sitting on the far corner, studying his lessons for probably the hundredth time; The happy-go-lucky Romeo was looking out the window probably waiting for his Juliet; and the moody Bose was in deep thought about something he would probably never share with me. I realized everything around me were probabilities. The only thing I knew certainly was that I loved Maya. I missed her.

    Romeo was the first to notice I was there. He was the last person I would want to care about. I ignored him and moved on. I was worried more about the riot: the riot inside my mind. It was not just a riot, it was a war for love between two hearts; a war where I knew I could be defeated even if I had three hundred Spartans on my side.

    To be continued

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply