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11

The biggest risk you have by describing the physical appearance of your character later on in your story is that your readers' mental image is shattered when you describe your character in detail. This can be quite jarring. The only way you're going to know for sure is when you ask someone to review your novel. Perhaps once you're ready you could ask them ...


9

Although you are writing prose, not poetry, your text must still have rhythm for it to be pleasant to read. Adding words or rearranging the syntactic structure are good and common ways to create that rhythm. I think, your text reads better with the bold additions. Rhythm aside, I also think that the additions add meaningful content. Knowing that Erin was ...


8

One possible solution would be to structure the narrative in such a way that the reader might come to believe it is a (rather long and drawn out) suicide note, explaining your character's reasons for her act. Obviously, this would only work if the potential suicide is right at the end of your story, rather than in the middle...


7

The bits you put in parentheses don't (necessarily) take me out of the narrative. They are the character's opinions of people and events. That takes me deeper into the character, which is a big part of where the story is. One test for such parentheticals is: Do these opinions characterize the character in a way that serves the story? As Lauren points out, ...


7

The best answer would be depends on the story. One of my favourite writers, Stephen King, does leave a very little info about the characters in their story. I remember, that in his book On Writing, he said, that Carrie was originally described only as shy girl, always having wearied off sweater on. If you keep vague description about the characters, you ...


6

I think that you should define your main characters, and especially the love interest, only as much as absolutely necessary. If it is important that the protagonist is male, write that he is male. If not, keep this ambiguous. If it is important that the love interest is thin, write that she is. If not, keep this ambiguous. Why? Because you want as many ...


5

Saying "In the end of June" is a form of telling instead of showing. That is, you've told us time had passed, but it's not meaningful to us in terms of what it means for the character, setting, or plot. With just a little more information, it does flow well with the time information: I had finals to finish and an apartment to pack up, so despite the ...


5

Monica is on the right track, but I'd push it more. If he's howling the name of his murdered wife in his grief, he's not aware of anything outside that grief. I would actually not show the husband being aware of the changes while they're happening. Maybe, possibly, flashes of light (which cast different shadows on her face), or he feels his ears pop, or ...


5

As soon as you use 'as if', 'as though' or 'like' you are leaving metaphor territory and heading into the land of similes. I personally think simile-light writing is more dynamic, more exciting, funnier: "...poking out from her top, a glorious, golden half-sun, about as perilous to idle gawkers." "I was scared to think of the hours I'd wasted in my life ...


4

First person narrative is just a device, and it doesn't necessarily imply that the narrator lives through the story. For example, plenty of horror stories end with something on the lines of: And then the beast's bloated tentacles began to squeeze me. The world grew dark, and I knew no more. ...or some such. (Shel Silverstein did this in True Story, ...


4

I can't call specific examples to mind right now, but I've seen this sort of "wait, the world is not quite as it should be" situation handled by sharing the POV character's inner dialogue as he gradually notices peculiarities. Something like this: "Sharon, no!" he shouted to no one in particular as he cradled her in his arms. "Sharon!" He shuddered as ...


3

Please please please PLEASE use date/time of day references. Please. With chocolate on top. It's way too easy to get lost in the flow of narration and not have a damn clue when we are. Is it morning? Is it night? Shouldn't the moon be out? How can the narrator see the cows jumping off the cliff if it's the middle of the night? Why is daylight slanting ...


3

In my opinion, only describe what you need to describe. And only when you need to. At least that's what I try and do in my writing. I recall in an Isaac Asimov novel, I forget which, he kept back the detail that a particular character had dwarfism until quite near the end but it was crucial to the plot. Until then, the reader assumed, (a dangerous ...


3

Overall, the opening seems fine. I've seen worse. I don't see a problem with the setting being mentioned a couple of paragraphs below. The only thing I can't figure out is the genre. Every genre is suited different types of opening. If it's a short story (I see on your profile that's what you like to write), then it's a pretty good opening. For an YA novel, ...


2

I don't agree that the sentences you added are just padding. They have inadvertently given us some insight into the character. The rather bold statement "This had never happened before", tells us something about the character. She is precise and determined and expects positive outcomes. Maybe she has become accustomed to her way of thinking and problem ...


2

The tense in narrative fiction is not a time specification but a narrative convention. When a story is narrated in present tense it does not mean that what is told happens now, which is why linguists call it "historical present". Tempus in literary writing does not have the function of locating an event in time, but, among others, of creating immediacy or ...


2

There is a very simple solution to the first-person-narrators-cannot-die-at-the-end rule: Set the story in present tense. If the story is set in present tense anything that happens later happens in the narrator’s future. And the last breath of air rushed from my lungs, as blackness claimed my life. Becomes And the last breath of air rushes from ...


2

The voice in your first paragraph reminds me of Holden Caulfield. More a monologue than a narrative; a thought process noted in great detail, slowing the pace. To me this is promising. It could be YA or something else - The Catcher in the Rye is only YA on the surface. In the next paragraph the plain-speaking teenager seems a different person, I don't ...


2

It's a little slow to develop. I prefer a short simple paragraph with some phrase that's either intriguing or "sticky" that I can't get out my head, like the hook to a pop song. Here's an edit that lacks the hook but gets to the point quicker: Of all the people on the trip, Paola was the the last I expected. We barely knew each other at school, and I ...


2

There is so far no rule or restriction for placing description of a character in earlier or later chapters of a novel. It is not necessary to portray the appearance of the protagonist in the very beginning of story. In some situation you have to give the same feel to the readers what you are trying to express in the novel. So at least you should provide ...


1

As has been said by others, it sort of depends on the perspective. This might be troubling to write in first person for the exact reason mentioned - the character is probably not paying attention. In that case, you might be better off having him revisit the experience in a flashback later. However, if we're dealing with any other perspective, I think it's ...


1

The transition seems fairly smooth to me, probably because the action doesn't feel like action: It feels like the continuation of the musings in the earlier paragraphs. Maybe this is because we're not seeing the setup, but I think the entire excerpt feels rushed. This is someone who's thinking through reasons why life just doesn't make sense, but I'm not ...


1

A few points that got kinda stiff for me as a reader and as a writer were when you split a sentence with a dialogue tag. For example, "I used to do it a lot," I explained, "when I was a kid." "Wow," I said, "no need for that. However, the dialogue you split with action tags was fantastic. "Uh, Paola?" This was the best moment to bring it up. ...


1

Are you writing a ghost story? A ghost story can be written in first-person, and have the narrator die at any point -- including before the story begins, partway through the story, or at the end. You can even have the story be entirely about when the narrator was alive, so the narrator dies after the end of the story.


1

As a baseline I personally try to avoid repeating similar words and phrases in the same paragraph as a bare minimum. In this case the repetition isn't as obvious, (well, the fact that you bolded it makes it quite obvious, but still...) but you could probably get away with straight removing 'as though' in that last paragraph, and maybe even that first ...



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