Comment to 'Feedback on reworked Chap 1'
  •  Hi Rebecca 

    I like your writing style and the description of Eleanor’s awkwardness and self-consciousness is well done.  I particularly liked the ship / silver comparison and “she was just wondering if she should write an F on top to save the teacher some time.” It is well written, but coming to it as a reader, imagining picking it up in a bookshop and reading the first page, I think the beginning would benefit from a little more intrigue or threat. 

    As others have said, perhaps you could start with Eleanor's arrival at the school. At the moment, Helen's disappearance is presented as a fact, told rather than shown, very early on. It is so understated that it is easy to miss on a first reading. I didn’t sense that Eleanor has any connection with Helen’s fate.

     I don’t know how the story develops, but I wondered if the opening would be stronger if, for example, Eleanor has taken Helen’s place at the school. She might not realise there is mystery surrounding Helen initially. Her lack of self confidence could be shown in her fear that she is not as good as this mysterious Helen. Was Helen popular? Liked? Feared? What sort of hole has Helen left and how much pressure is Eleanor under to fill this hole? Could there be lots of judgemental comments like “Helen would have said ...” “Helen was good at ...(whatever)”? If Eleanor initially identified herself with Helen of felt overshadowed by Helen, it might be more of a shock when Eleanor learns that Helen has disappeared and the police are involved. 

    Or as an alternate suggestion, I looked back at your first post and you say it is a time travel adventure. You mention the clock in this draft. I like the shadow of the clock tower, its looming nature. Could you make the presence of the clock even stronger to hint at a time related theme? Perhaps even open with the clock tower? T

    I find openings difficult. I am returning again and again to the beginning of my writing as my themes become clearer, I'm a long way from getting it right. 

    In general, as a reader, there's a lot I like in your writing style. Eleanor is well drawn. I would like to read more.  I just feel you would benefit from a stronger opening couple of paragraphs. Hope that helps a bit, Alison 

    0 0 0 0 0 0
    • Thank you very much Alison for taking the time on this.  I really appreciate it.  

      Your suggestions are really helpful.  I will have a mull over.  I may delay the revelation about Helen disappearing to make it pack more of a punch.  Once the reader is more unsettled about the school maybe.  I like the idea of Eleanor being a replacement for Helen's position.  The rest of the story does complicate that if I did it at a school level but there is maybe a smaller version of this i.e. she is put in her science lab team or something.  And that might be a better way of her finding out that Helen has disappeared and would add a lot more tension in relation to Eleanor.  I also love the idea of the clock having more of a presence too.  It used to have a bit more of a looming description but I cut it so I will review and see if I can ramp that up a bit.

      I am glad you enjoyed the style - that is good to hear.  Thank you again for your ideas!

      0 0 0 0 0 0