Here's an excerpt from something I'm currently working on. I would truly like to hear the honest opinion of people on the forum, thanks.
The book is called: Tattooed Trails
Beahon is a boy, for the time being at least. He is suffering from a chronic case of recurring Deja vu syndrome-you know: that feeling of being here, or of having seen that before? Has he been here before? How could he? Well, let's find out.
Angel was rather cranky this morning, her whole body ached like sour pudding. The freshly tattooed site behind her neck was raw and oozing bloody discharge. It had never hurt this much before. She was a long way from total coverage, in her quest to be "total" by the time she turned twenty-one. But she was well on the way. Her pain-tolerant level up until now was without question, dope, but the way this last hack is acting up, makes her want to question some things.
Beahon or BDV the whiz kid as he's known in the body art community, though he was still a teenager, was the man. Even before he turned twelve, his fame as the go-to guy in body arts was well established. He was well traveled too, wherever the big events are held, BDV is sure to be in attendance. And one such event is high on the radar for the next few months.
In the meantime though, it’s business as usual for the master, he has got work to do and money to make.
Angie's neck art had been healing quite well, thanks to the top-notch care she received from the master himself. But he had better since it was his doing in the first place, this whole hack job.
What Angie didn't know then, was that this acting up of the job wasn't a fluke, in terms of the way it was acting up, as if she was having some allergic reactions to certain aspects of the job. Why now? All of the other ones which she has done so far was the works of her boyfriend and the world's most sought-after Tattoo artist.
However, this wasn't any regular run of the mill tattoo job. Beahon was up to something else, but she was not the least bit aware of his extra-judicial endeavors. He hasn't, up until now been level with her and though it was killing him softly inside, he dared not make her, or anyone else any wiser about: what he was doing, who he really was or what the future may hold.
Beahon was on to the trails of his long-lost Genodes, he had even retrieved a few of them already and not wanting to lose track of them again, he needed to come up with a plan as to how to best store them. He found such a place, the plan was now well on the way to his set goals.
Angel was to become his safe storage chest. To her, he's her Knight in shining armor, dream lover, her everything. But for him, she is some things he could never put into words. Of course, he loves her as much as she does and maybe even more, but BDV the wiz kid was a man on a mission, one which he couldn't talk about with any mortal.
Even if he finds someone he could trust enough to tell his tale, who would ever believe such a story?
In another life, BDV was known as someone else, by another name. He even exists in another dimension and though he managed to carry over incremental residues of his past existences with him into the human body which he now possesses, he is weighed down by much of the limitations common to all humans. He must need be innovative and adaptive to the here and now as much as may be “humanly" possible.
Angie is a sweet girl, very sweet. Despite the unkempt: indigo blue one day, pink the next, ready to change color in a wink hair, and double studded pierced tongue. Her heart is as pure as gold, only no comparison with the texture: whereas gold is hard and cold, Angela is tender, gentle and warm.
She had sworn that she would lay down her life for Beahon, he was counting on it. Beahon on the other hand, pledge to love and never leave her ever: not even to the end of the ages. That too was something he counted on. In so much as to make her body the storage case of his precious pellets, and maybe more. He had a plan.
The many treks he took in his capacity as the master body-arts person, and the go-to-guy for all things: not only hip and cool but also authentic and legit in the world of tattoo and piercings, well growing massive.
He had traveled far and wide and his resume grew more impressive with each passing day. Though the world is seeking and inviting him to come to them, he; however, was going throughout the world seeking and searching for something else: his precious Lost Genodes.
The question was: if and when he managed to find them, what next for the wondering universe trotting, eternity-time hopping tattoo artist? He has a plan
According to the information gathered via his chief plus one other pellet pieces, which by-the-way was then safely tucked away in the fabulous body arts patch embedded at the back of Angie's neck, Beahon had been picking up pings from various places across the globe where the original pellet pieces were showing up as ready and waiting to be recovered.
Including some of the most dreaded places: the bottom of the ocean and, the ice glacier up near the North Pole region, Beahon needed help, and fast. He knew just the right people to call up, or does he?
The regional tattoo convention held in Portland was dope, the most productive one yet for the young master. There he met up with and exchanged ideas with the guardians and elders in the Tattoo and piercing industry. By all accounts, the elders were all flabbergasted at the kid's Superior knowledge and skills. But all that was just cosmetic on the part of our wiz kid.
What got him all excited though, was the massive amount of leads which he got there, on the trails of his lost pellets. He discovered two right there amongst the guests, embedded in their skin.
That along with a trailer load of information on the lifestyle, cultures, and religion of The Tattooed, over several millenniums and on down to the current generation. All of this had him all set to go on a mission into the farthest, deepest corners of the globe on the trails of the Tattooed from as far back as it may take him, and somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind, he thinks he knows exactly where it was going to lead.
Signals had been coming in from every corner of the globe, finding the original pellets in these situations is going to mean: taking treks into as many of those regions as possible. Asia, Europe, The Americas, Australia, and for sure: the motherland of Africa.
In order to concentrate his efforts, Beahon must first come up with a plan to get together as much of the Tattooed and Tattoo Artist in one place as he possibly could. Off of the drawing board came these two grand ideas: a competition, and a convention. Problem solved.
The competition was designed to search for the best talents and their best work and to reward both the Artist as well as the Tattooed with special prizes. The convention was to be a gathering of all from the least to the greatest of all tattoo people.
Two pellets were discovered to be together in one place in the European Alps by way of the signal from one of Beahon's scan results, he must find ways to retrieve them. And the other place which is most feared of all by Beahon was also showing many hits: the bottom of the sea.
Standing there on the floating icy continent which had been born mere moments earlier out of the blast from the zipidy zapping zigzag lightening balls thrown by the Smokey sword girls, Beahon got Angie to focus in on the exit. The king's daughters floated away atop the billowing columns of smokes, their sword raised in triumphant salute as they looked back at the two of them and waived. Beahon waited for much longer than he should, wanting to extend the moment. He knew what he has to do and the moment was right. After trying to explain it briefly to Angie, He did it.
“This is a strange one” the captain had said. “He hasn’t slept a wink in the last 130 years.” That though, was just his own guess on the time aspect of Shadow’s insomnia, since he (the captain) had only been there that long. The astute and very observant captain had noticed that: the patterns in the registry as well as reports from the officers and guards, had all seemed to suggest that: unlike those of his own sworn loyal servants, who themselves had fallen asleep on the job a time or two by all indications, this: their ward and charge; however, seemed to be always: alert, alive and poised to pounce.
Shadow had placed the pellets in the needle-pen for safe-keeping while being holed-up in the prison camp for all those centuries-turned-to-millennials. And kept it carefully hidden.
He had dug a hole in the waist-high depth of the mushy leaves which covered the ground like a blanket round-about them, before hitting on clay.
He placed the content there just below the surface of the clay, and covered it over with a flat Rock, before pulling back the mostly rotten leaves from the bottom up, and then added a layer of freshly fallen leaves on top.
There seemed to be a built-in mechanism or feature on the pellets or the container or somehow attached even to him, as he was to discover later, which kept them hidden even in plain view from anyone but himself. And he made an intelligent guess that somewhere, somehow, someone else had those powers, “maybe those daughters of the king?” He mused.
The hole Shad had dug, was as deep as a grave in the mounds of fallen and rotten leaves on the ground. In those days you see, the Earthworms had not yet migrated or brought to those parts of the humanoid world. So whenever the trees happened to shed their leaves, it would just keep piling up until someone, or something stopped it.
That something could be: fire, as was often the case, at other times or places, it was the people who would clear an area out of the forest in order to build a community-a village.
There were there also, certain bird species who delighted in building their nests out of those fallen, dried leaves. Forest fire though was the chief consumer of these dried leaves, and the whole forest did bear the brunt of those burnings since the fire did not discriminate.
The good part; however, was when those burned-out forests came back spouting triumphant new growths, all the genodes from the old and burned out species from the past also came back multiplied a thousandfold. Shadow was to discover this by chance when he happened to scoop up a handful of ashes from one of the hunter’s cold-old fireplaces and discovered a trace of his very own King’s Genodes amongst the microscopic particles mixed-in within the ashes. Not only did the genodes gets passed on from one form or host to another, but they had multiplied tremendously.
There were now, more copies of the king’s Genodes than there were at the start… But only the original King’s Genodes can be used to do the job. There was a problem… obviously.
(Placed it down to here)
Nurse: seeing the faded anchor tattoo on the wrist of Repton Turner, while he was taking the baby out of her hands she said: “nice tat. Are you running around with those Fringe elements calling themselves, what? BDV Anchors or something like that? You better not be. ...Surest way for the child protection agency to come take your children away.” As she walked away. Shadow turned Beahon turned Repton gulped and swallowed hard.
Repton and his wife was the charming young couple who had bought the old man's farm and moved in two years ago. They wasted no time, both in getting into crop production, as well as making babies. This was their second child and the neighbors were beginning to feel comfortable with having them around, suits Repton just fine. Maybe, at last, he was on the way to becoming a normal, regular every day Joe type of a being, like he had wanted all his life: his many lives, that is.
You are mixing present and past tense willy nilly. You start each of the first paragraphs with new characters like you are listing bios of each one without actually telling a story. Everything is tell rather than show. For instance, you tell us that Beahon is a boy suffering Deja vu rather than showing us what triggers that. Instead of what you have down, you should focus on one or two point of views and tell a story from their perspective. Something like:
Beahon walked into the white, sterile room and did a double take. Woah, this looks familiar. Scratching his head he looked around. A white chair in the corner dislodged a fleeting memory of him sitting there with someone vague looming over. A flash, here and gone again. Shaking his head, he skirted the chair, uneasy to be near it and beginning to freak about it. He bolted the rest of the way rather than suffer any more flashbacks and burst into the room where Angel was standing, rubbing her neck. She had a frown on her face that signaled to any who knew her that Ms. Cranky was in session. With tattoos covering most of her body, Beahon wasn't surprised to see the latest addition. Her goal was to have total coverage in two years. But... "Eww, your tat is leaking."
"I know, right? Master did what he could, but still, it's a hack job."
Beahon shifted nervously and looked away before she caught onto his deceit. It was safer if she didn't know what the tat was really for. Master had installed it sooner than he anticipated. It was time...
I actually looked at this about three hours ago, and was going to reply then, but decided to think about it and come back.
For what it's worth, I thought you had the seeds of a great story, and with some work, I think you could end up with a book I'd read.
But... yes, you knew that was coming... I'll bullet point this to keep it simple;
• Longwinded - You use 20 words when 10 will do. (Ironic coming from me, but I don't write the way I post/email.)
• Too many tense changes - is and was (or the equivalent) used in the same paragraphs for the same topic. I didn't know where I was half the time.
• Way too much detail being fired at us in one blast. I don't know how long your story is going to be, but you could spread the detail over a couple of chapters.
• Not enough conversation - character development is so important, and the best way to do that is with your characters having a conversation. I didn't connect with or care about anyone.
• Random statements leaving you hanging. He was "a boy, for the time being at least" What would he be afterwards? A frog?
• Words missing from sentences. "Of course, he loves her as much as she does and maybe even more" Do you mean he loves her as much as she loves him?
• BDV? Does this stand for Beahon Deja Vu? You don't say and it left me searching for the answer which took me out of the story.
• Odd phrases used in wrong context. "In so much as to make her body the storage case of his precious pellets" really should be - 'That was why he made her body..."
• Overly long sentences, or ones which should have been broken up. "Her heart is as pure as gold, only no comparison with the texture: whereas gold is hard and cold, Angela is tender, gentle and warm." Ditch the colon and start the new sentence at "Whereas....".
• Some bits just don't make sense - "The many treks he took in his capacity as the master body-arts person, and the go-to-guy for all things: not only hip and cool but also authentic and legit in the world of tattoo and piercings, well growing massive." I didn't get that second half at all.
Ok, I'm not going to go through everything. This gives you a pretty good idea what needs to be done, I hope.
Like I said, I think the seed is there, but the writing is currently so jarring, your reader will be stopping and starting all the time, trying to figure out what you meant. If you make a statement and you're deliberately leaving them hanging, it's good to tell your reader that you'll expand on that later, to stop them backtracking to see if they missed something.
So, in a nutshell, make it flow more naturally, with some conversation, all in the same tense, with shorter, less confusing sentences.
Agreed, I see that you did put a lot of time and thought into this, much appreciated
At the risk of coming across as making excuses for sloppy work here, I just want to say that what seemed as me jumping willy-nilly from one character to the other, was merely my attempt at introducing you to the main characters in the book, this is not intended to be the way how the story will flow: there are lot more material to come
Took special note of this: ... not only hip and cool but also authentic and legit in the world of tattoo and piercings, well growing massive." I didn't get that second half at all.
This, like you pointed out, was really crappy. I saw it myself (after posting) and cringed. Thanks for your response, truly appreciate it.
I didn't think of it as sloppy work, not at all. You'd obviously put a lot of effort into what you were writing. (I'm also pretty sure I didn't use the word 'crappy'! )
We're often too close to see mistakes in our own work, and need others to point out where we've gone off on a tangent, or where the writing isn't quite capturing whatever thought was in our heads when we were typing.
I'm a great advocate of having your work read back to you, and I do it with my 2nd gen kindle and my windows 10 laptop. The voices are a bit mechanical, but it really helps you analyse what you've written, and things that look great when you read them, sound awful when you hear them aloud.
Anyway, I wish you luck with your re-writes, and hope you finish your masterpiece. And don't be despondent. Use any bit of constructive criticism you get to improve your writing.
Writing is very much like making a movie. You need to set up a scene, place the actors in the proper locations with scripts in hand, and set up the camera shots - who gets the closeup first? How does the camera pan? If you can imagine that first scene in your mind, then let your characters act and write down what happens. The reader will get to know each character a lot better when they are acting in the scene. They'll know one guy because he's the <insert personality here>. They'll know who your main female lead is because she'll be snarky (or whatever personality that distinguishes her voice from the rest). It's better to introduce characters through action - more sticky to a person's memory that way. So start your camera tracking on one person and follow them as they navigate your world and interact with others. Let the notes you jotted down in your introductions unfold as they are interacting with one another and it will make the story more powerful and your characters more memorable.
The tattoo stuff sounds very interesting. Feel free to ask for other advice. I'm always happy to help.
Just want to a moment and thank all of you my responders so far, You'll never know how much I appreciate and value this. Julia, this is especially for you, I wasn;t implying that you said those things at all. as you've noticed (I'm sure,) I did say that I'd noticed some things in my read over (or something to that effect,) after posting and cringed, Those were my words there, and based on the caliber of responses which I'm receiving here? if this is the results of leaving those mess-ups in, then it would have been worth it all. I thank you all very much: C G, Natssia and Julia, big thank you.
It's a brave person that puts their work up here for genuinely honest criticism (I discount all the idiots who put up links to their masterpieces in the expectation that the community will a/ stroke their ego, telling them how wonderful their writing is, and b/ rush out and but their work, and who then argue with every criticism they receive!).
You asked for honest opinions, and you took what you got with good grace and no argument. That counts for a lot in my eyes.
As CG said, we're always willing to help, so once the bruises have healed from this visit, come back anytime and just ask.
I'm quite looking forward to reading the finished product.