And the first 250 words of "Virus Bomb." Feedback?  

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gregscott
New Member
Joined: 1 year  ago
Posts: 2
06/10/2016 10:07 pm  

“And that’s why you’re vulnerable,” said a tall, thin, mostly bald on top, Jerry Barkley, CEO, CTO, CFO, Janitor, and everything in-between at the one-person company, Barkley IT Services.

It might have been easier to get a normal job, but his last so-called ‘normal’ job ended badly when the idiots in charge ruined the computer company where he worked. And after suffering through endless rounds of layoffs, Jerry vowed never to trust another big organization again, unless he was running it. Now, if he wanted to gripe at the idiot in charge, he could hold up a mirror. And he could work on satisfying his insatiable curiosity about technology.

“Just look at this port scan report…”

“Port what?” asked Sally Brock, General Manager of Maverick Marketing. She looked at Jerry like a deer in a headlight. Short and slender, with greying hair pinned up in a 1950s style bun, she reminded Jerry of a stereotypical librarian. Jerry and Sally met a week earlier at the annual Burnsville, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce spring recruiting gala. When Sally mentioned she was looking for improved IT service, Jerry jumped at the chance to land a new customer.

Maverick was a PR firm representing powerful people and Fortune 500 companies and would be a great new Barkley IT Services customer. But this meeting was going badly. Sally wouldn’t even look at the report right in front of her face on her own computer monitor. The conclusions were inescapable. But getting her to care was like banging his head against Jello—squishy, with nothing to grab.

Edited: 1 year  ago

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Kymburlee
New Member
Joined: 1 year  ago
Posts: 2
16/10/2016 2:35 pm  

So, I get the sense of a really cool story here (and I've read the pitch so I KNOW it's a cool story concept), but your first page isn't showing it as well as it could. There's a lot of backstory and info-dumping in the way. First, you start with dialog, and while that's not a writerly sin, per se, it's rarely the best way to start a story. We have no idea who's talking. We have no idea why this line is SO important you started an entire book with it. And then you go on to info-dump in a way that completely removes us from your main character's POV. 

Why would he tell someone they're vulnerable and then go on to think about his job history? The answer is, he wouldn't. No real person would. Which spotlights the fact that you, the author, are giving the reader info you think they need to know. And hey, maybe we do. BUT NOT YET. 😉 You don't have to cram all the info and awesomeness into the first page. Weave it throughout your first chapter. And what you do reveal on the first page, make sure it's revealed in a way that feels natural. We don't think things without those thoughts being triggered by something, and if you interrupt the narrative flow of the story to tell your reader things, you're missing out on the chance to engage them in that narrative. 

When revising, focus your study and researching on showing vs. telling, and the elimination of backstory and info-dumping. Your story is a like a beautiful view that backstory and info-dumping are obscuring. Prune those suckers out of there! Keep us in the present moment, weave in sensory details so we can experience his story with him. Don't tell us he's bald. Show him mopping sweat off his brow or worrying that it's shiny enough for the woman in the room to check her lipstick in. 😉

Edited: 1 year  ago

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