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Good morning!

Okay, so. I had an opening I was quite happy with and then I split my novel in half and the plot thread I'm writing first does not go with the opening I had originally. And the 'opening' I had for that plot thread started with an unreliable character that (going by feedback from co-workers) had half the readers understanding what was going on by the 2nd/3rd chapter for that plot thread or they just never understood the point until I told them. (which, means I messed up on my side, woops)

So I'm currently trying something new and I'm not sure if I should scrap it and just rework the original or scrap the letters and go straight to the next scene (which is Malakai finding the crime) or if it works as is (with added work naturally.)

(I also plan to use my art as a crutch, so for the first bit there would be a picture of someone shapeshifting (half one face/half another) but haven't gotten to drawing it yet)

(this is a first draft- I'm hoping to have it finished by mid-october so if anybody would be up for doing a swap around that time for plot/characterization/world building please feel free to let me know (I won't be any help when it comes to grammar though. I'm more of a theory person who rambles a lot when it comes to feedback))

    • Hi. I'm sure some more experienced writers will be along soon to give more precise feedback.Until then, I'll start the ball rolling with my feedback as a reader.

      You're pretty good at the dark/foreboding, so that's probably why your instinct is to dive straight in with that. But I'm feeling ungrounded in the story with no picture of time or place.

      It seems you've set yourself a difficult task by going with the letter style - it is hard to show and not tell. If I were writing a story like this, I think I'd read a book in the same style and 'reverse engineer' how the author does it.

      But as a reader, I'd like it if we started where something was happening in the present. Because of the memories and the 'it's already happened' feel of the letters, I'm not feeling the tension that would make me read on.

      Weirdly, having said all that, I still kind of enjoyed it, so its got something.


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      • All feedback is good feedback :) And I appreciate it!

        I think what I'll do is skip those letters and just go straight to the next bit of the story. Majority of the story is not letter style (every other chapter opens up with a letter before moving on) I just figured it'd be easier to slip in some extra information through the letters, but if it loses traction I don't think the letters would be worth it.

        Again, thank you so much for the input!

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      • Hey Jewlyn how are you? I thought the start was really good, when you were talking about the memories (Although I do feel like you slightly overdid it)

        I agree with Helen, I didn't finish reading when I saw there were more and more letters. There's no tension or momentum to make me read on. When the story started, it reminded me of the Old Guard movie (it's on Netflix if you want to check it out). The movie starts with Andy walking— she's the leader of these four immortal warriors. Then Buka (one of the warriors) show us on a motorcycle they walk and talk for a minute, then the scene cuts. Next Buka is booking for a hotel, and Andy's just looking around. A group of girls behind Andy take a selfie, and Andy realises she's in it. You see Andy have a flicker of “shit!” then she goes up to the girls and offers to take the pic for them. She deletes the previous image of their phone then takes this pic. The viewer, “Ah, why doesn't she want her picture taken, who is she?” And we all immediately watch on with interesting.

        I know a movie is plotted differently from a book, but the point, even though it wasn't action-packed beginning, there is a reason for a viewer to watch on. 

        The start of your story needs to have some sort of “conflict” something that happens that makes the reader want to read on. This is usually why show don't tell needs to be applied. Start the story with a scene, that introduces your protagonist. The scene can foreshadow what is to come, but show don't tell. You can show the memory confliction rather than tell it. 

        Helen is right, the letter system is tricky and there are honestly just too many letters. One letter? Fine. Two? Eh, you're pushing it but the letters were short but okay. Not the number that you did, it just killed it for me.

        But I think the story has potential, I liked your style of writing, it was dark but fluid. I know intros are tricky, you'll get the right one sooner or later don't worry!

        I'm currently editing the first draft of my novel, not sure where I'll be by mid-october, but just holla at me at the time and I'll see! 

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        • I'm pretty good, and yourself? 

          And hey, when you're done with your story feel free to send it to me so I can return the favor. Also, how would you like to receive it? Just an attachment in the forum or email or...? (I've got an account on scribophile if you'd want to use that message system)

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          • You can send an email, my email address is 


            Thank you!

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            • Email sent, and thank you :)
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            • Hello Jewlyn. 

              I'll keep it short because the feedback you've already been given is spot on.

              I like the beginning. It set the mood and added some tension, but I have to confess I didn't read past the second letter, because for me, they not only slowed the story, but halted it.

              I think one letter could work if done right. Two at an absolute push. But only to drive the story forward. To create the conflict, the mystery, the drama, to build on the tension you had already introduced. 

              This being the first draft gives you a lot of scope to play with, and I hope you have fun doing so.

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              • Good morning,

                I'm happy you at least enjoyed the very first bit. I am most likely going to end up chopping off the letters since they do not seem to be working very well and their cons outweigh what I added them for. 

                Thank you for the feedback though :) 

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