“Do you have to go to college for a writing career?” To be a novelist, no. If you submitted a great manuscript, it wouldn’t matter whether you had a college degree (or a high school degree, for that matter). However, I would recommend getting a bachelor’s degree anyway so that you can land a steady day job. For example, if you wanted to write for a company (e.g. in a communications or marketing position), having a bachelor’s degree is probably necessary for a full-time position.
If you can get a novel published, the advance is usually something around $4000-5000, which is not much money for a year or more of work. As a result, day jobs are pretty vital.
I tripped over a fallen branch for the hundredth time as I trekked through the forest of what I hoped was Romero Bay. According to my parents, I’d reach the town in exactly two days.Of course I’d stumbled into bear territory, which really had me pressed for time. What type of parents let their sixteen year old son take a two day hike through a dangerous forest? Mine. But then my parents aren’t like other parents.
And I mean more than the usual ” I don’t like parents ” rebellious teen thing. My parents, aren’t human, or at least not all the time. They’re werewolves, meaning every night they run around with a pack of their closest friends. It also just so happens my dad is the Alpha. Despite this, as his son I have to work my way up.Which is why I’ve been given the task of arriving at Romero Bay at exactly noon. If I could do this I’d officially be part of the pack.My ceremony would be held at midnight, where I would experience my first transformation.That is assuming I’d make it in time.
A loud crunching sound instantly made me alert. There was a thud, a body hitting the forest floor, followed by the sound of weeping. I followed the sound, crouching low, I manuvered through the leaf covered ground soundlessly. As the sound became clearer, I recognized the crying voice as a females. Creeping closer I noticed a large discolored doe laying on the ground, lifeless. Right beside it was a teenage girl, her hair was long and black, and she wore a red and black school uniform.
An involuntary growl escaped my mouth. The girl startled turned to face me. Her icy blue eyes made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. They were so beautiful, and yet just as scary. The girl herself was cuter than any girl I’d ever seen. Despite this my instincts told me she was dangerous. I growled again, also involuntary. She stood up fast, too fast, I lounged at her unable to control myself. We fell, me on top of her.She stared at me a mixture of surprise and anger. My instincts were screaming at me,but this time I couldn’t tell if it was because of a threat, or something else. I had the strange urge to kiss her, and probably would have if her eyes hadn’t completely paralyzed me. She stared at me,and slowly oped her mouth, revealing a serpent like forked tongue. But that wasn’t the strange part, it was when she breathed in. My body began to slack as if falling asleep.Before she could finish a sound not far from where we lay made her stop. She blinked a couple of times as if snapping out of a trance.
” Oh my god! I’m so sorry!” she gasped as she shoved me off of her.she stood up and looked back at me once before running off.
Seconds later my strength returned, but I couldn’t help but wonder who she was. I had no doubt that I’d see her again. After all, that was a Romero Bay icon on her shirt.
“But then my parents aren’t like other parents. And I mean more like the usual ‘I don’t like my parents’ rebellious teen thing. My parents, aren’t human, or at least not all the time. They’re werewolves, meaning every night they run around with a pack of their closest friends.” I think this could be sharpened and possibly shortened. Maybe something like “But then my parents aren’t all that normal, what with the werewolf thing and all. [INTERESTING SENTENCE ABOUT HOW THIS AFFECTS HIM AND/OR HIS TRIP TO ROMERO BAY].”
–The main character is focused more on his parents than about himself, which is counterintuitive because I think the more interesting decision is that HE DECIDED to go on this crazy hike rather than that his parents LET him go on this hike. (This was his decision, right?)
–I like that he seems unusually bad at some things that I wouldn’t normally think a werewolf (well, a future werewolf) would be bad at. For example, it sounds like he’s having trouble on a (pretty basic) 25-50 mile hike to a city, whereas I think most werewolves are uncanny outdoorsmen. (Also, his parents let him do this hike, which suggests that they thought it was doable). I like that he’s unusually bad at this because it develops a potential avenue of conflict with his parents.
–Besides that he’s a werewolf, what is most important about this character? For example, what’s his personality like? Does he have any traits that are more important than his wilderness ineptitude? This seems like a momentous occasion for him (he’s having some sort of difficulty meeting his parents’ expectations and he’s, ahem, about to turn into a werewolf!), so it might help to have him work more feeling into this. For example, could you use his language to show that he’s getting frustrated and/or anxious? He’s been hiking for quite a while, right? Is he physically or mentally fatigued?
–In this spooky, potentially bear-covered forest, I think it would help to spend more time covering the setting. In particular, the setting is a bit of an obstacle to his main goal (getting to Romero Bay on time), so developing the setting as an obstacle is plot-relevant.
–”my instincts told me that she was dangerous.” I think you could show this. For one thing, he found this girl right next to a doe that has been drained of its blood. He didn’t hear any gunshots, so he can probably guess that she took it down without a gun, which is highly unusual for a deer-hunter. (Getting that close to a deer would take crazy skills, and then there’s the question of how she actually took it down when she did get that close).
–His instincts just sort of take over and make him fight (?) her. And kiss her. I dunno. I think he might be a more interesting character if he made more important choices himself.
–What is a Romero Bay icon? Would an icon of the city be emblazoned on a high school uniform? (One alternative would be that he belatedly notices that her school uniform has an acronym like RBHS on it, maybe on the back of her shirt. When she leaves, he might see the acronym and realize that it stands for Romero Bay High School).
Ill rewrite this part and post it as soon as finish so I can work in a lot of your suggestions
Ha, I’m glad you noticed his lack of grace. As for his instincts, he’s a werewolf thats reaching maturity. So this means his sexual desires,urges to transform, and the desire to feed begin to show more and more almost uncontrollably. When he attacks the girl, I wanted to show this. For example if a dog sees a stranger, it growls as a sign of its intentions.If a stranger makes any sudden moves the dog attacks. I want Felix to have
to constantly struggle to keep himself in check. Until he learns what triggers these instincts.
For my rewrite maybe I should tell how he’
Struggles to get a grip when confronting the girl.Thanks B.mac any other suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
“Would it make sense to switch from each main character? Felix to Alexander to Lavinia? Not in that particular order.” I’m not opposed to the concept of switching between main characters, but would not recommend doing so immediately after this chapter. I’d recommend doing so only after you’ve had a chance to make this character interesting and/or memorable.
“When he attacks the girl, I wanted to show this. For example if a dog sees a stranger, it growls as a sign of its intentions.If a stranger makes any sudden moves the dog attacks. I want Felix to have to constantly struggle to keep himself in check.” Hmm. He TELLS us that he’s acting involuntarily, but he doesn’t seem particularly shaken up about his body suddenly attacking and/or kissing her. It might help to make this a more difficult situation for him internally. (E.g. he might be in shock about what just happened, he might be ashamed and/or profusely apologetic, he might try to fight it while it’s happening, he might be more surprised if it’s something that he’s not used to, etc). Also, I’d recommend being incredibly careful about the sexual angle because sexual assault/rape is a lot more objectionable/unpleasant than generic violence is. If there absolutely HAS to be a sexual angle to these uncontrollable bouts of violence, I would definitely recommend introducing that only after we’ve gotten a chance to see more about the character and that he isn’t a serial rapist.
For the past couple of days I’ve been toying with potential plots for my Romero Bay story.After many plots I’ve come up with a really solid plot. It involves all the main characters and the sub plots are unique to each character. They’re all struggling to be accepted in their own way.
I have returned SN!! Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I’ve been busy I guess you could say. Anyways I’ve been writing each characters stories here’s Lavinia’s.
The music was loud,although it wasn’t loud enough to block out the sound of my beating heart.Or was I just that nervous? Could Jason hear it? I looked at the ceiling as I listened to my boyfriends breathing. His heart was steady, not mirroring my own. I felt his soft lips press gently against my thigh. He was working his way up, it felt nice. As he finished my belly and reached my chest, I stopped him.
” What if someone comes up and sees us?” I asked just to slow things down.
He sighed,” No ones gonna come up here, they’re all enjoying the party downstairs”
The more I thought about the situation, the more unsure I got. Having fun downstairs sounded like such a good idea. This was making her feel uncomfortable.
” Look Jason, I’m sorry I guess, I guess I’m not ready after all” I said,” let’s just go back downstairs and have a good time”
He sighed again,” Vinia, come on, you said you were ready for this. We can have a good time up here, together”
” Yeah,you’ll have a good time.I thought I was ready but I guess I’m not” I sat up on the bed.
”Vinia” he said pushing me back against the bed a little too roughly.
Was he getting aggressive?Of course not she knew Jason he would never. Maybe he was just being silly.
” My name is Lavinia, you know I hate not being called my full name” I scolded him playfully.
” Lavinia, don’t you love me?” he asked being very serious, his dark brown hair was hiding his eyes.
He was acting weird, and it was bothering me.
Despite this, I thought about his question, I did love him. When I first moved to Phoenix, Arizona I was instantly labeled. Guys were strangely interested in me, I didn’t know why. I wasn’t anything special, in fact I was kind of the nerdy quiet type. Girls absolutely loathed me, they’d say horrible things. I hated the whole state.
Jason came along and changed that. He was nice, he didn’t offer me drugs, or liquor, he treated me special, like I mattered.
” I do love you Jason ” I said simply, I didn’t know what else to say.
” Then show me! ” he grabbed my arms and forced them down. He was positioned so that he was sitting on my legs.
” Show me you love me! ” his image was blurred by the tears in my eyes.
” Jason! Jason stop! You’re hurting me!” I screamed struggling to get free from his grasp. My body was tingling, the feeling was faint, I could feel it getting stronger.
” No I won’t stop you have to show me!” he started to kiss me violently.
I stopped struggling, it was no use, I could feel tears streaming down my face. My body had stopped tingling, it left behind a strange sort of craving.
He leaned down to kiss me again, this time I kissed back. I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt good. Not the kiss, but what I seemed to be getting from it.I inhaled slowly, our lips were still locked. Each inhale was like a burst of energy, it was slowly but surely satisfying my craving. I realized my eyes were shut. When I opened them I was horrified.
Jason’s eyes had rolled to the back of his head, the vines in his body were bulging against his skin. His eyes were fluttering like a moths wings.
His hands had loosened around my wrists. Terrified I shoved him off of me. He landed hard on the bedroom floor, coughing and gagging.
” Y-you! What the hell are you?!” he sputtered.
I was scared, not of Jason but because of me. I still had an urge, and urge to drain him dry. I probably would have, but the music had stopped downstairs.
I opened the door to face the judging looks of his friends. They all stared, whispering,murmuring.
” Get out of here you monster! ” Jason spat.
The tears were there again, I tried to push them back but they rolled forth. I rushed down the stairs heading for the door.
” Monster!” someone shouted. Then someone else, and another. Until they all began to chant. I ran.
I think Lavinia has some clearly developed traits that show through in this, and I know Jason will probably only be in this scene, but he seemed a little out of place to me. The change from the good boyfriend to the sexual assault very quickly, and a little more drawing this out might make the difference.
One possibility would be to have it move from seduction to a game to a violent act first. Perhaps, when he pins her, she thinks it’s a game at first, or have her reject him more quietly at first, getting more desperate as it goes.
I loved the line “fluttering like a moth’s wings”, and it gives a sense of the type of simile she might make. The type of secret she holds, it makes sense she would be thinking of a moth’s wings.
I agree that the transition of Jason’s character wasn’t quite believable. I thought it had something to do with her powers actually the way the tears started. It was almost like she was a succubus and he couldn’t help himself when she said no.
So, is she a succubus?
Is he a sexual predator?
If it’s the first, it’s not entirely clear that’s what’s going on. If it’s the second, the assault isn’t entirely believable.
Aside from that, there are some really nice images in there as mentioned. I think you just need to clear it up a little at the end so we know for sure what the intent of the scene is during that part at the end.
aharris, you are correct sir, she is a succubus. Eh, I don’t want the reader to know that she’s a succubus until she arrives at Romero bay. I want someone to tell her that it’s her making people this way and the only way to stop it is if she learns to control herself.
I’ll work on the scene though definitely. Thanks for your thoughts.
Ha, the thought only crossed my mind thanks to Lost Girl. Um, I’d say she needs to be more confused and frightened during the sudden transition Jason is taking. Think about it from her perspective – this is an altogether new side of Jason. She had no idea he was capable of this, and he’s not or wouldn’t be except for that side of her she’s not aware of. How is she going to react to that? And the sudden need within herself may be just as terrifying if she’s never felt it before. I think you might be able to get away with playing it as a more normal assault, and leave the realization that she was feeling her own dark attractions until later.
No, it’s not bad to hint, in fact you should be looking at little set ups so that they pay off later on, but you need to cover the hints up a bit more during the assault. It made it seem like she had had the same thing happen to her before.
At least when I read it, I felt like she was crying because she knew to some extent what was happening like she’d had another guy turn on her and had wanted to drain him in the same way. That’s why I say think about it from her perspective. The hungry side of her came through loud and clear at the end.
And I’m not saying this was a disaster by any means, far from it. I think it would be very successful if you just tweak a few things from her perspective.
aharris, you’re really perceptive, I wanted it like because of a scene I’m planning on doing where she overhears her parents speaking about her ” hunger ” getting worse. This sets up the scene for her arriving at Romero Bay.
Hobbes: “Also, Yellowjuju, if you kissed someone and instantly started feelings weird, who would you blame?” I think it depends on the circumstances. For example, in Batman: The Animated Series, Harvey Dent becomes ill shortly after kissing his fiancee, Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy), but it’s not immediately clear to him that the kiss was poisonous.
As a woman, I am reading it like I’m in her shoes, and to me, the only way I could see why should she wouldn’t be completely freaking out in terror and horror over the double betrayal of Jason’s sudden assault and her own inner nature rearing its ugly head is if she wasn’t exactly completely surprised by it. When I went back and read it from that perspective, it made a lot of sense and her tears seemed more like a sad resignation or understanding.
That’s why I say I think you’re really close to the effect you want, but I think you just need to do a little tweaking.
@Hobbes, Not sure if this is the write advice, but it seems to work for me (or at least describe what doesn’t work for me) so I’ll hand it on.
I was listening to an old Michael Stackpole (DragonCrown War, Star Wars – X-Wing novels) podcast, and he advises not to rewrite it now. Take notes, attach them to the chapters and keep working. These things can be adjusted in the editing, process, but by the time you finish the novel you will want to change a lot anyway.
Better to press on, get the basic story in place, and then edit. You’re going to want to change a host of other things anyway, so you might as well know everything else you want to change anyway.
Im starting to recommend this site to my writer friends, hope that’s not a bad thing B.mac sir.
I’ll post Alexander’s P.O.V tommorow definitely, gotta get on here more.
There is a writing site called Wattpad. I’m a fan of a story, the title is Psych Investigations. Episode 1 is already complete, the author needs help. The story is magnificent! Please read a couple of chapters. If you like it vote for it leave a positive review on Amazon.He’s having trouble getting Episode 2 exposed to the public. If you can please purchase the book on Ebooks for a simple $1.
I AM NOT THE AUTHOR…. I wish I was though his writing is fantastic. Thanks for reading this SN members.
New writers have a tendency to focus so much on their character development that they forget that the right setting can be just as important. Setting provides a picture for a reader, without which your characters are flying through nothingness. Action and drama mean very little without interaction between the characters and their environment so, […]
When mapping out any kind of superheroic narrative, a consideration has to be made that is not often an aspect of other types of stories, and by that I mean you have to determine power level, or maybe we should say Power Level, since so many superheroic concepts work better with capitals. This is […]