Book Excerpt

“He came over, yeah,” Bobby interrupted her, and the officers began taking mental photographs of him, “but he wanted to go out to the garage again.” Bobby knew this was, in its most basic sense, a lie. The officers nodded their heads, taking in everything, and the looks on their faces could have been as serious as the apocalypse.

“Then what the hell was he doing…” She began to gasp in tears, and her daughter clung to her, eyes pouring with tears as well. “What the hell was he doing with that bag…on that street! I told him to stay away from that street! You started him up, didn’t you!?” The lamenting mother scowled at him with a thousand looks of hatred and disgust, ultimately growing unable to look at him any longer.

Bobby’s restrained look of surprise garnered attention as he sought to comprehend the scope of the situation, and the officers observing took note of his lack of conviction. Though he was wide-awake sober along with Samantha, a tunnel vision began to materialize in slow motion from his view of the room, and he thought he could hear the sound of insects crawling and the heartbeat of lice-infected mice lurking in the walls. His vision strayed past her for a second, and in the gloss of a hanging picture of which the print was encased in polished glass, Bobby contained his urge to vomit at the sight of the vile witch, mocking him and giggling in the reflection, her dreadful rotten teeth stretched beneath her rotted nose and her snaky eyes poised with a perfidious gaze, wrinkling the bruised, leathery skin enveloping their sockets. The hair on his head stood on end, and he fought to conceal the slight contortion his body made in conjunction with an icy chill that shot up his spine.


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3 Responses to Book Excerpt

  1. jnanarama says:

    I hesitate to leave a comment on others’ writing, usually. I think that if your goal is to sell a lot of books, Scott, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that most people don’t have your extensive vocabulary and the ability to take in a high ratio of complex sentences. It’s something that can be addressed during an editing process, so don’t let it hamper your progress now. I’ve never been able to write even one chapter of a novel, so forgive me for making the suggestion – but editing is what I do. 🙂

  2. LK says:

    Ah, criticism is the mutated and ugly siamese twin to the art of any craft, and what would art be without the critic?

    I can roll with the “mouthful of words” critique, though had one read the entire chapter, sentences like that can roll off the tongue with the pace of the event.

    I hear you, though, and I love being critiqued; it’s the one area I have no sensitivity in, and would love as much as possible.

    I have seven more chapters of twenty left to edit and I hope to have this done by end of Christmas. Your critique is invaluable, and I realized something of the nature of complexity myself, though sometimes when I’m trying to simplify, I still get complex-like. The words? Depending on the word, well, the reader is just going to have break out the darn dictionary…schucks (did I spell that right?).

  3. jnanarama says:

    You are right! Ugly siamese twin, indeed. If you can truly handle critique, I can give you what I’ve got, until you decide it’s not helpful.

    It’s not so much the mouthful of words, as they are all say-able words.. What I was looking at here was a slight tendency to use more describing-words and phrases than necessary to get a point across, and so much that it takes the reader’s mind away from the scene. That is really not what you want to do, so a little pruning and condensing might be in order – while keeping the same punch you’re going for.

    One example, the very end: ‘serious as the apocalypse’ is exactly what you mean to convey. However, it’s a loaded word that had me starting to think about the actual apocalypse and it took me mentally off of the story. I think it’s overly strong. Another example would be ‘the gloss of a hanging picture of which the print was encased in polished glass’ – that’s a long descriptive phrase for just a picture on a wall that had the ability to reflect, when what you wanted the focus on was the reflection itself. Make sense?

    It’s hard to see or even believe when you’ve done the writing. It’s your baby. It’s just how you wanted it. Maybe that phrase felt special to you. Critiquing is a horrible job to have – everyone ends up hating you.

    I am pretty good at condensing the wordiness and keeping the punch, because I have done it so much writing poetry. It’s a technique I practice always. I visualize it as carefully snipping at a delicate bonsai. Gentle, gentle.

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