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Tuesday
Jul132010

The Beta Club: The Phelan Chronicles (Sci-Fi/Paranormal) - Agree with my Crit?

 

First of all, thanks to everyone for your comments on my one-year blogiversary post yesterday. Today is officially the date, but I didn't want to do it today because it's...

 

Beta Club Tuesday! Sci-Fi/Paranormal Thriller is on the agenda today. Read on and let the author know what you think! Remember, this will be one of the last Beta Clubs, so give it all you got. ;)

For newbies: If you haven't been here on beta club day yet, don't be afraid to jump in with your comments. All feedback is welcome as long as it's constructive.

Alright, please read through the author's excerpt, then provide your feedback in the comments. My detailed critique is below.

Author: DA Trevino (He is looking for beta readers, email him if you are interested!)
Title: The Phelan Chronicles
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal Thriller

Excerpt:
My name is Phelan--Phelan Martin Llewellyn--don't blame me, blame my parents, I know I do. The Order has asked me to chronicle some of my encounters; they seem to think that you can learn something by listening to this stuff. I agreed to chronicle but if you have ever listened to or read any of the chronicles you know they are boring. I am going to tell it my way.
#
Of course she was hot and blond--probably a cheerleader too--and she was looking up at him with doe eyes that said, Oh! Eddie, my tall dark beautiful tortured love and eternal-soul-mate take me in your arms and sweep me off to Barf-ville. Gag! I can't tell you how much that whole romance with the undead thing grosses me out! And yes, before some smart-ass psych major asks; yes, as a guy I take it personal. I work out, a lot, for reasons you will soon see, so if some normal guy were to see this, a blond hottie throwing herself on a walking corpse--like football players aren't bad enough--he would be seriously pissed, disillusioned, and jealous, at the very least. The only difference between him and me is I can do something about it. But back to the chronicle. To make matters worse, her being there at that moment messed up my night. I was going to have to wait to kill him.
Not that you could kill something that was not alive. I mean, killing the undead isn't murder or even killing. I mean, when I kill a cockroach, I'm killing a living, breathing creature--they do breathe, don't they--that serves a useful, if revolting, ecological purpose. This thing was a vampire. A vampire that was leaning over to bite the blond on the neck. Great! This was going to eat up my night. I pulled up my camera, checked that it was still mirror-locked-up and took their picture, really her image was the one that mattered. Unfortunately, I might have to kill her later.
Details keep you alive in this business. Yes, you heard me; it's a business, not a calling, not a yearning, not a whatever, and don't forget it. You think I didn't have better things to do that Friday night then track a master vampire and his latest late-girlfriend? Get it, late-girlfriend? Vampire hunting was--still is actually--how I paid for my car, paid for my killer game systems, and how I intended to pay for my trip to Tokyo. Yes, LANapalooza!
The biggest, baddest, LAN party on the planet was in Tokyo that year and I was going. And that master vampire's head was going to pay my way. Yes, it was a master; the Fraternity doesn't farm out jobs unless they're killer, but they pay well if you live. Remember that, you only get paid if you live!1 And details are what get you paid.
Fact: Vampires have great hearing. But what most people do not know is they are better at picking up sharp noises, like the sound of a twig snapping or the mirror in a camera clicking up and down. So, take your pictures from far away--I was using a 70mm-300mm zoom image stabilizer lens with a 2x teleconverter--and lock the mirror up.
Before I realized it, he was finished snacking. That was too fast, which could mean he was not hungry--NOT likely--or he was saving her for transformation. Back then that was pretty rare. Vampires, despite silly movies to the contrary, did not go around making more vampires. Not like cockroaches. Vampires also got all ritually when they transformed a new vampire. That would have explained why they went walking off into the park, hand-in-hand. Ain't that sweet, gag!
OK, I told you if you want to get paid you have to stay alive and that comes down to details. Vampi and Bambi went walking into Tyler State Park, my home turf. I knew every blade of grass on a first name basis. If I'd been someplace else I wouldn't've been too eager to follow.
That night sucked! It was a heavy overcast new moon night, which in Bucks county Pennsylvania we're talking blacker that a witch's--actually I shouldn't say that, witches ain't that bad, and some are sexy cute. I mean, could this dip vampire get any hokier? I mean, he could turn her in the middle of the day with clear skies. All this drama meant was that I was going to be cold, miserable, and maybe wet before I killed him—the air smelled like rain.

Below is my detailed critique. Please select FULL SCREEN to view, then once the document is open RIGHT CLICK to ZOOM and view the comments.

Alright, so what did you think? Are you hooked?  What did the author do well?  What could be improved?  Agree or disagree with my crit?


Thanks ahead of time for taking the time to comment and for the author for volunteering!

**Today's Theme Song**
"Attack" - 30 Seconds to Mars
(player in sidebar, take a listen)



 

Reader Comments (9)

i agree with Roni's crit, as usual.

For me, the biggest issue i had was that i wanted you to get to the action sooner. You set the action up, and i just kept waiting and waiting. Like too much potential energy, if that makes sense.
A little tension goes a long way, i think, for me personally, this was too much and i ended up frustrated

still, though, great voice, good humor. Loved the footnote

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFalen (Sarah)

I agree with Roni's crit too.

I loved the voice and the humor. The thing that I noticed the most was the rambling of the MC. It's interesting, and funny, but it doesn't make me feel like I'm there watching it happen. I felt removed from what was actually going on.

I think it's a great concept, and for the humor and main character alone I would love to read it :)

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal Cook

Loved that voice! Very smart aleck-y, hehe.

I would watch out for the exclamation marks. I'm a big fan of them, I admit, but it sounds a little too much. Just downplay that a little.

Also, try to avoid using the "Order". So many authors are using that name...perhaps something else. It just sounds too familiar is all.

Tons of luck!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOddyoddyo13

I'm not a fan of vampires or paranormals etc but I like this so far. The voice is very strong and you get an instant idea of the character. I think it's good to give some background and explanation upfront - I'm so sick of stories that immediately throw me into action with characters and situations I don't know enough to care about - but if the character rambles this much throughout the whole story I would probably lose interest at some point. Maybe get to the action a little quicker. That said, I definitely wanted to know what happened next so good job!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

Thank you all, especially Roni, for your comments. My son, who recently turned eleven, ranted against Twilight and asked me to write something anti-Twilight or as I call it, Twilight for boys. That is what lead me here. I will be cutting out the anti-Twilight elements while keeping the MCs anti-vampire chic attitude.

The MC's rambling stream seemed like the most likely way that that character would record his story. I failed to consider that, likely or not, it was not a good way to tell the story.

I am glad that the voice, character, and humor worked. I have to work on merging those elements with a more exciting style.

Thanks again,
Doug

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

I agree with Roni's crit as well. Love the humor, love the voice, think the footnotes are adorable. I would tone back the exclamation points. Is this a YA novel or meant for adults? This feels very much like a teenager's voice. I love YA books, so that is not a criticism, just an observation. If it's not YA, I would pull out all of the "gag" and "gross me out" and "sweet". Also, I felt like there was a little disconnect between the formal speech (with few contractions) and the casual tone of the piece. That said, I was thoroughly entertained! FUN READ!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrcbell64

OK, I'll admit I didn't read it (it's 12:41 a.m.) but I wanted to say how impressed I am with all the cool stuff you've got going on on your site. My blog's so...basic...in comparison!

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTravener

Thanks to each of you for giving the author feedback and for participating!

Doug, thanks for volunteering and I'm glad you found it helpful. :)

Trav, lol, thanks and I love your blog. The only reason I have bells and whistles is because my blog is what i mess around with when I'm procrastinating writing. :)

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoni @ FictionGroupie

I am late, but wanted to come leave my comment :)

I really liked your MC's voice and humor. That pulled me in right away, and I thought the footnotes were GREAT! I loved that.

I think Roni did a great job covering everything, but I wanted to add my thoughts to everyone else's.

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia

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