Question Anything I can improve on this?

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by OppressedBeans, Sep 6, 2022.

  1. OppressedBeans

    OppressedBeans Active Member

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    The smell of disinfectant permeated the hospital, and with it had set a sense of unease in the pits of his stomach. Walking into the room, he set down his bag and sat next to a bed. On that bed lay a man of fifty, his skin was as white as a ghost and under his eyes were dark eye bags. He watched as the man slowly breathed.


    The man opened his eyes tiredly and looked at the young man. “William.” he spoke, “I've left some stuff in my house for you. Use it wisely. Know that I’ll still be there for you even when I'm not really there.” William could only smile sadly as he watched the old man close his eyes and sleep once more.


    After thirty-something minutes passed a young nurse walked inside and dropped off food.

    She could also hear the beeping of the machine slow but didn’t seem to care as she emotionlessly closed the door quietly behind her.


    William knew there was nothing anyone in the hospital could do he had tried his best but still failed in the end. He could not save his grandfather, the one who had taken him in, his last living relative. As the old man took his last breath he felt his eyes sting.

    He looked away, he didn’t know how long he sat there. It was hours after and the coldness slowly seeped into his bones with the setting sun.


    After being persuaded by the hospital staff to leave, he went downstairs and signed himself out. He had to prepare for a funeral soon.


    The beep of his phone snapped him out of his somber mind. Looking into his phone an Amber alert was sent. William drew in a breath and shut off his phone. He walked into a park and sat down on a bench. Looking up into the sky he watched as the little dots of lights moved, after a few minutes he stood up dusted his pants, and headed home.


    As he made his way home the street lights slowly started to dwindle. The orange hue of the lights cascaded onto the streets and enlarged his shadow. The crisp air of spring seeped into his lungs and cooled his head.


    Walking into his apartment complex, he made his way to the elevator and pressed the button for the 3rd floor. As the doors slowly closed his eyes did the same. He felt tired, so tired. It felt cumbersome to even breathe. He just wanted to lay in bed.


    Before the doors had the chance to close a man stuck out his hand to stop them. “That was close,” he said breathlessly. Smiling at him he went to press the button but stopped, “Seems we live on the same floor.” he laughed.


    William lifted his lips lightly to smile and say, “Looks like it.”


    As the doors once again slowly started to close, he pulled his headphones out of his pocket and listened to some music on his phone. The music had a sad vibe to it that did not help his already downcast mood. After twenty-something seconds the doors opened, and he and the man walked out. The doors of the elevator silently shut behind the two of them as they walked down the corridor. Coming to the door with the plate number 304, he reached into his pockets and made his way into his small home.


    The man that was beside him went into the door next to his. Both the doors quietly shut.


    Kicking off his shoes he made his way to the kitchen to grab himself a drink, pulling a cold one from the fridge. As he sunk into the black leather couch in his living room he opened the beer with a snap. The night had set in.


    He grabbed the remote from the table and turned on the television. Its screen showcased a cartoon of a child by the water, the child fell in. No sound was made, the cartoon apparently had no sound. The child paddled for the riverbank but slowly slipped away into the current. Water rushed into his mouth and the child was close to drowning.


    William creased his brows, he went to change the channel but was startled by the sudden voiceover. “Rule one of saving a drowning person: Never enter the water to save them. This can result in them pulling you down with them. When in panic people don't tend to think straight.”


    He thought he was watching some kind of haunted film for a second but it was just an instructional show so he continued to watch. The show showed multiple ways of saving people without harming oneself. It wasn’t the most entertaining but it made the time pass quickly.


    By the time he felt sleepy 3 hours had passed and the lights of the apartments across the street had been mostly turned off. He stood up and felt his bones creak like an old boat at sea.


    He could feel his eyes drooping so he turned off the old television and went to his bedroom, a single bed with two blankets and pillows laid on top of it. He was sure he would not have a peaceful rest that night. He wrapped himself like a burrito and let the fan at the side of the bed whip him in the head with its cold winds.


    After 40 minutes of tossing and turning, his stinging eyes finally closed peacefully.
    ——-___________________________-——

    Different Thing⇩
    It was a windless summer night, the streets were empty and the lights were off in every house. He was making his way back home on the rusted bike, the wheels would give off a high pitched squeak every turn. The atmosphere felt particularly nerving, he focused on the road ahead and felt his heart's heaviness fade.


    The bike's squeaking didn’t help the haunting atmosphere of the street, the orange hue of the lights and the shadows of the houses stretching onto the street like a monster's claw reaching for him only made his back cake with cold sweat.


    The more dilapidated the houses, the more lights that shone through the windows, the calmer his roiling fear calmed, until at last he made it. The front door was covered in rust and the paint was peeled to the point the original color was questionable. Pulling the keys from his pocket he unlocked the door and walked into the small home.


    He breathed a sigh of relief, he wasn’t usually this scared but the quietness of the usually noisy neighborhood made him anxious. Remembering the conversation of his fellow coworkers' folktale only made it worse. The town he grew up in had a harrowing tale that left all the townsfolk fear the night, certain parts of the town weren’t willing to leave even a light on in case of attracting the bad luck that followed it.


    He bent over to untie his shoelaces and placed his shoes by the door. He turned to the kitchen and grabbed a knife and walked to the bathroom. The bathroom was filled with steam from the showers, he turned his head and smiled at his reflection in the mirror. It was a blurred mess, wiping away the red flow of water from the mirror he once again smiled.


    It was perfect. A masterpiece colored in rosy red.


    • Rose Tinted Mirrors, page 1.
     
  2. Emissary Nouvelle

    Emissary Nouvelle Well-Known Member

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    Sorry no offense but I'm not in the mood to read something that long currently. Maybe if you caught me at another time.
     
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  3. hypersniper159

    hypersniper159 100% Introvert [ 上升] {Don't Disturb}

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    I feel that this is showing and not telling. But ask yourself, what does the reader get from knowing/ reading all of this? The first half sure it’s very plot relevant but the second half is pointless. He went home. Done. 3 words vs all that. I don’t see any foreshadowing but I’m bad at that. How does the second part serve the novel/plot? The reader will get frustrated at something so pointless. Unless you target audience is more into the daily thing. Another way to make this plot relevant is to show how the mc sees the world like his depression matched the setting sun or something like that. Hope this helps.
     
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  4. Music of the Muse

    Music of the Muse Active Member

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    It was pretty good actually. Like the comment above this is more showing and your describing in detail about the things that are happening on his way home. I feel like you could shorten the sentences a bit and just cut to the chase like you could write it from him going home to him getting home. Unless the neighbor is an important character or his home is an important place in your book you could always introduce or write about him in a later chapter. Tho this also depends on the genre on your book. I believe(?) the second part of the boy getting a knife and the mirror is a horror or mystery novel and if this connects to the first part than I think the descriptions are not bad. (Idk when you wrote “different things” if it meant just another version it? It’s part of your question right?) Genres like horror or mystery will usually need more world setting so it’s good if your writing about that then there isn’t much to fix. Tho I would try to minimize about writing nature things like the sky, wind, or sun too much in one chapter. Since it ruins the tone and doesn’t match the MC’s feelings. Overall it is a wonderful work, way better than what I could do, and idk of your writing horror or not but just make sure the tone follows the overall story.
     
  5. LeniSnow

    LeniSnow A snow who feels cold

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    I can only think of grammatical improvement since I wouldn't want to touch your own creation and world building, that's your style.

    Like instead of "sat next to a bed" it's "sat next to the bed" since that bed isn't just any other bed there is his grandfather in it so it's not interchangeable.

    I find it awkward to read sometimes when the sentence is distracting.
     
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  6. Blossom_Honey

    Blossom_Honey Well-Known Member

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    Part 1:

    Seems like stuff is happening - it feels more like a series of events (he walked downstairs, he signed out, he walked home, he got on the elevator, etc). Your style is nice - not going into too much unnecessary detail while still feeling smooth - but I feel it’s a bit lacking in detail or personal investment. I don’t know what the genre this is supposed to be so it’s a bit hard for me know whether what you just wrote was necessary foreshadowing or just random little settings - depending on your intention, I think it would have been better to short hand some of the exposition.

    Part 2:

    I think this is separate from Part 1 so I’ll judge it that way. I feel like this is horror where the character turns out to be a criminal or something but I genuinely do not understand what’s happening in the final paragraph. Is there blood on the mirror? How did that get there? His personality change just really seemed to come out of left field - he spends the prior paragraphs telling the reader how scared he is of folktales and the eeriness, yet in a blood soaked bathroom (where the shower is on for whatever reason? Has he just left it on all this time?) he suddenly smiles with a knife??? What? I’m so distracted by this sudden change that the horror and twist element goes over my head. My reading comprehension is not the best but I idk, I’ve read it so many times but I still feel very iffy about it, it feels like details are missing.

    Grammar:

    For the most part it’s fine but I notice you’ll write sentences that are completely disjointed - for example “The bathroom is filled with steam from the showers, he turned his head and smiled at his reflection in the mirror.” - part one of the sentence feels completely disjointed from part two; it feels like two sentences just mashed as one. Also the end of some of your sentences run into the start of the next - just read from the sentence prior from the earlier example “... the bathroom. The bathroom....” - idk if this is a literary technique but if it isn’t, then it feels like you’re chaining your sentences rather than weaving them together, which is fine once or twice I guess, but it doesn’t feel to read as smoothly - it kind of feels like you’re saying “and then, and then and then..”?

    I know I’ve critiqued a lot but I think you did a good job at writing - your style is there and it’s very well done, you just need to work out the little kinks and practise a bit more. It didn’t jump all over the place, nor did it excessively go into too much detail (infodumping) so it was not too hard to digest.
     
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  7. OppressedBeans

    OppressedBeans Active Member

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    The second one was for a Webnovel I’m making about short and confusing tails, I’m glad it confused you. If you read closely you’ll see it wasn’t actually his home and he never specified that it was. And who said a killer can’t be afraid of ghost? :)

    I probably shouldn’t have explained it but I felt like you really needed it since you most likely didn’t enjoy the confusion haha.

    thanks, I was trying to use the environment to set the mood but I guess I need another alternative. The neighbor is important later on and will become more pronounced later, but I don’t want him to ruin the flow either. It’s hard writing an unassuming character without it become boring. Also my story is sometimes horror filled and other times it’s like a sweet and hazy dream, so I’m trying to combine the two.

    The neighbor is important later. It’s hard writing a unassuming character, without making the audience bored. I could use some help with that.
     
  8. Blossom_Honey

    Blossom_Honey Well-Known Member

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    Oh you wrote he was going home in the first paragraph so I guess that's why I felt confused. He also had the keys and everything which is why it felt like he was going home rather than breaking into someone's house to murder them. I guess I just confused details again.

    If you want to give the audience the impression he is important, maybe draw some details about the character, like maybe have William comment on his fashion, his mannerisms, or it could just be that William comments he sees him around but hasn't really interacted with him? Or if you want to keep it lowkey, have William be doing something, maybe searching up something on his phone, or thinking about the funeral arrangements, while the whole thing is happening in the background.

    I think the same could be done with the amber alert and the lights in the park? I think you're trying to hint they're important, but that section kind of feels... unnecessary? Maybe try having the details just small things William acknowledges in the background, or he does it off-handedly like it's treated as something as simple as checking your messages, and leave a bit to the reader's imagination to later pick up the details. For example, he checks his phone for messages, sees the amber alert, pauses a bit, then sees the lights in the sky as he continues walking?

    I genuinely don't want to try and muck up your style and dictate too much as I don't want to interfere with your flow so take these with a grain of salt. I as a reader also don't know your world settings, so what I suggested could be inconsistent with your world-building and character design. Nevertheless, I hope I helped and I wish you the best of luck.
     
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  9. hypersniper159

    hypersniper159 100% Introvert [ 上升] {Don't Disturb}

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    maybe make him invited to the funeral? He’s THAT important that he has to be first invited to the funeral. Can that work? Maybe even the whole walk home, he’s think about who to invite/inform first and then he meets him and then he invites the neighbor? While he’s walking home he can see a lot thinks that remind him of death and separation/divisions
     
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  10. frustratedguy109

    frustratedguy109 Well-Known Member

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    The whole thing just sounded really awkward to me. Maybe I just don't like your writing style.

    The second part of the first story is also mechanical and lacking in emotion. It reads more like an observation journal. I understand if the character is in shock, but the narrator isn't.
     
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  11. OppressedBeans

    OppressedBeans Active Member

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    The neighbor is important later, I cou
    He's not an important character at the moment, he's an inconspicuous one. He'll slowly be revealed in future chapters. I can tell you he's not a good guy though.
     
  12. hypersniper159

    hypersniper159 100% Introvert [ 上升] {Don't Disturb}

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    maybe that's it, show him to be kind person very open and caring, and the subtle horror is seeing how the human can change over time. there are horrors like this, where the PoV doesn't have an arc/personality and instead the author allows them to experience the horror so the readers sees it as is in a very raw nature. Kinda like a scientific view, where the author tries ridding of all biases. this is usually done in manga, rather than books. The author makes supernatural occurrences freaky as ever and has a bunch of victims. off my head, Sweet Home and Shotgun boy on webtoon are like this. I remember there was one artist who was known for this style though and sadly i cant remember his name at all.

    i found another one, who isn't the one i'm taking about, whose called Junji Ito. "A trail of blood," from another author kinda shows what i am talking about.

    Edgar Allen poe is the next best best, although, he is racist, rambly-ish also. Kazuo Umezu is probably better.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2022
  13. OppressedBeans

    OppressedBeans Active Member

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    I've read Sweet Home and some of Shotgun Boy, and it's not the style or approach that I'm heading towards. I'm trying to maybe go into a system kind of novel. Seems I don't have that writing style though T^T.

    Honestly, I don't know the first thing about how to arrange a funeral haha. Your right that I should probably acknowledge the character, seems like I need to put more of my MC's thoughts out there too so he doesn't seem as stiff as a board.

    I'm going to put my MC's thoughts out there, seems I never really established his feeling inside.