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What Do You Think Of This Composition?  
User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Posted (12 years 4 months 14 hours ago) and read 2083 times:

Hey everyone, I had some spare time on my hands and threw this together for fun. I've been dreaming of writing a novel for a long time. Any comments/corrections would be greatly appreciated. Just thought it'd be good for some feedback. Thanks!

Have fun,
-Notar520AC

OFF THE UNITED STATES EAST COAST
37,000 FEET

Things were quiet aboard the United Airlines flight. The sun had just dipped below the horizon, leaving an eerie twilight fading outside the window. Mark Robertson sat in his first class seat with his earphones on and plugged into the entertainment console, but with no music playing. He was alert as always, but after his latest mission he was taking no chances. He was sitting in the last row, the cabin bulkhead at his back. He was in the right aisle, sitting by the window, the chair next to him vacated. His leather laptop bag lay on the ground at his feet. He was careful not to look too suspicious as he monitored the rest of the cabin, looking and listening for any unusual activity.

Mark Robertson was not the normal innocent civilian he made himself look like. Mark worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, doing their dirty laundry. He was one of their top agents, and as far as most people know, doesn’t exist. To put it simple, Mark is a trained killer. He does his job fast and efficiently, and then disappears.

Mark’s piercing brown eyes finished sweeping the cabin just as the seatbelt signs flickered on and the pilot announced they were beginning their descent into Washington DC and should be landing at Washington Regan International Airport within the hour. Mark glanced at his watch, noting the time. It was 7:22pm. Mark diverted his eyes to the GPS display on his entertainment screen, and estimated that if they received direct landing clearance they would arrive on schedule. Mark drained the last of his club soda, and thought to himself, “God, it’s good to be home.”

CIA HEADQUARTERS
LANGLEY, VA
7:33 PM

Tim Johnson dialed the extension for the Operations Center into his secured phone. “Op Center,” a man answered. “Good evening Charlie, this is Tim, can you give me an update on Jackal?” Johnson queried. Charlie entered key combinations into his computer while he talked. “Last time I checked, his flight was on time and should be landing within the hour,” Charlie fiddled with the keys “parking in the Midfield Concourse A.” He concluded. “Thank you Charlie,” Tim stated appreciatively, “Oh, and Charlie,” “Yes, Mr. Director?” “would you make sure we have a helicopter waiting for him?” “Sure thing.” Charlie acknowledged.

Tim Johnson was eagerly awaiting Mark to get back in one piece so he could debrief him. He sighed and glanced at his watch. The helicopter should be on its way soon.


UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT 162
WASHINGTON-REGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

As the Boeing 747’s wheels gently kissed the tarmac on runway 19 the pilot engaged the reverse thrust and Mark was pressed into his seat as the spoilers were deployed and the brakes were engaged. The United flight taxied to the gate and Mark grabbed his bag and deplaned, trying to blanket himself in the crowd. Airports were his least favorite place to be, even though security was generally tight in the nation’s capitol. Mark’s eyes flowed over the passenger traffic, noting every suspicious figure, every flaw. He walked briskly to the baggage claim area where he grabbed his suitcase and started walking towards the corporate terminal.

HELICOPTER N407CIA
CORPORATE HELIPADS
WASHINGTON-REGAN INTERNAITIONAL AIRPORT

The pilot gently set the helicopter down in the center of the lighted helipad on top of the Corporate Terminal and idled the throttle. He called to have the fuel tank filled, and waited for his passenger to get through the maze of terminals and gates.

WASHINGTON REGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

As Mark walked briskly towards the corporate terminal, he took a few detours to make sure nobody was following him. It was simple instinct for someone like Mark. Even he had to watch his back. He finally was satisfied it anyone was following him they were lost in one of the terminals.

Mark entered a corridor and walked to the stairwell leading to the roof of the Corporate Terminal. He punched in the six digit code he had received in his brief, scanned the crowd behind him casually, once more before entering the stairs. The door slammed shut behind him and Mark quickly climbed the flights of stairs. He swung open the door to the roof and marched with his head low to the waiting chopper. He climbed in and threw his bags in the seat beside him, tapped the pilot on the shoulder, and settled in for the flight. The pilot gave a thumbs up and opened the throttle and increased his collective. The Bell 407 helicopter hovered above the helipad for a second before nosing down, gaining speed, heading towards CIA Headquarters.



BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (12 years 4 months 13 hours ago) and read 2055 times:

Anyone? Hello?

SPACE FILLER.



BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
User currently offlineFlyboy36y From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3039 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (12 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 2044 times:

Boeing 747's do NOT fly into National.

DCA is a NATIONAL airport... not INTERNATIONAL

The official title is "Ronald Regan Washington National Airport"

National is HARDLY a maze of terminals annd gates.

You should eliminate the type of helicopter. It is a small detail that distracts from the main point.

Not bad but you need to streach things out a bit and be accurate. Peple lik to relate to things. National is a very easy airport to navigate.... also this story is bad with detail... to much detail here... to little there.

Good draft.


User currently offlineBarcode From Switzerland, joined Dec 2001, 678 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (12 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 2044 times:

Ok, an opinion purely from a linguistic/stylistic perspective.

" but with no music playing. He was alert as always, but after his latest mission he was taking no chances. He was sitting in the last row, the cabin bulkhead at his back. "

This is messy. The phrases " as always " and " taking no chances " could be replaced with something better, or be lost altogether. Cliches should be avoided. I like the descriptive tone though.

" To put it simple, Mark is a trained killer. He does his job fast and efficiently, and then disappears. "

To put it simply .... although I'd perhaps replace that with " In summation: Mark is a trained killer ", or just " Mark is a trained killer who performs his job efficiently, before being lost to the night " - I'd use a metaphor at this point. You don't need to sound like you're repeating an endless list - the job of the writer is to evoke a response in the reader, right ? :-]

" Mark glanced at his watch, noting the time. It was 7:22pm. "

We know he'd note the time if he glanced at his watch. Leave out this trite expression.

" Tim Johnson dialed the extension for the Operations Center into his secured phone. “Op Center,” a man answered. "

Is the man old ? gruff ? curt ? A description of the voice would allow the reader to infer something about the character. " A man answered curtly " or " a man answered in a gruff voice " ....

" As the Boeing 747’s wheels gently kissed the tarmac on runway 19 the pilot engaged the reverse thrust and Mark was pressed into his seat as the spoilers were deployed and the brakes were engaged."

Then the adverb " gently " should be lost, since if the character is " pressed into his seat " , the landing is not exactly gentle. I've had some landings where I haven't even noticed we've landed until we're coming to a stop.

" Mark’s eyes flowed over the passenger traffic, noting every suspicious figure, every flaw. "

What is it about an individual that makes them " supicious ? " Do they have a specific kind of body language ? Are they a lone traveller ? Are they not in posession of luggage ? You could say " noting the suspicious types, the smartly dressed man looking furtively around the airport, the lone traveller who taps out a steady rythm with his shoes and stares at the tiled floor intently as he checks in " ... you get the general idea .... I'd want to know what confers " suspicious " status upon someone ...

I think that's about it at this hour ( a girl needs her beauty sleep ;-] ). The *content* is there, it just needs to be expanded in order to evoke an emotive response from the reader. There were times in that piece I felt I may as well have been reading a cooking recipe. Also consider switching to present tense in parts - as a reader, I want to place myself in the situation the character is experiencing - the effect is quite often watered down when you're speaking in the past tense. I want sights, sounds, smells, and the every day nuances that take place to make this more convincing.

I want to know what the character Mark was wearing, what he looked like, and perhaps a little detail of things in the past. " Mark is a trained killer " - you could make it more dramatic by conveying to the reader ( briefly ) an incident where Mark realised this fact for himself. Flesh out the main character a little more.

It's not a bad piece; I quite like it ... I just think there should be considerably more detail and metaphor to engage the readers attention a little more. As a general rule of thumb, I won't read something unless the first few paragraphs grab me - it sets the tone of things to come .... so make it a little more dramatic ....

And now, I'm off to bed - G'night :-]


User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (12 years 4 months 5 hours ago) and read 2037 times:

Thanks everyone- I'll make some changes and post a revised copy sometime soon.

Flyboy36y- Thanks a lot- that's one of the reasons I posted it here, to make sure I had the airports right. Since I live on the other side of the country the only resources I have are off the internet, and those aren't as good as I'd hoped.

Barcode- You were extremely helpful! Looks like you've had some experience... I'm only 14 so I'm just experimenting. Thanks!

Thank you!!
-Notar520AC



BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
User currently offlineSilverangel From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 4 months 1 hour ago) and read 2004 times:

Notar,

Good for a 14 year old. Sounds like you read your share of Stephen Coonts, Michael DiMercurio, etc... Your story has potential, but not a lot in terms of kinetic energy.
I will let others take care of your grammar & semantics. First of all, kill Mark. CIA assassin types are typically cliche & boring (I had a difficult time sitting through Bourne Identitity for example). I hope he isn't your main charactor, because already we know too much about him. So, maybe you can work your story into something where his ride is hijacked or crashes, bombed, etc... This will also allow you start more explosively. There's a reason why everyone likes a Corvette --it launches really fast! Also, even you didn't want to kill him, we know to much already. A lowly CIA operative has no need for a name in a larger story. Also, in the interest of realism, they would never helicopter him out of DCA. Too expensive. The CIA, like any gov't agency, is a beaurocracy...cheap & boring. The most they would have done is meet him there instead. Otherwise, they'll talk to him tommorow, etc...

Also, don't title every scene. No one cares how many feet above the eastern USA they are, nor do they care if it is UAL or even a 744. That stuff will always be cool to us airplane geeks, for most, it is simply too much detail that will lose most readers. Big rule here... Keep detail like that limited to when it matters to the story! Otherwise you will write a 7,000 page essay about a trip to europe, lol.

Also, unless you are a foreign defector at like senate level or more important, CIA will NEVER spring for First. Besides, a CIA operative will know that you can scan the cabin from the rear more effectivley anyhow,  Big grin


OFF THE UNITED STATES EAST COAST
37,000 FEET

Things were quiet aboard the United Airlines flight. The sun had just dipped below the horizon, leaving an eerie twilight fading outside the window. Mark Robertson sat in his first class seat with his earphones on and plugged into the entertainment console, but with no music playing. He was alert as always, but after his latest mission he was taking no chances. He was sitting in the last row, the cabin bulkhead at his back. He was in the right aisle, sitting by the window, the chair next to him vacated. His leather laptop bag lay on the ground at his feet. He was careful not to look too suspicious as he monitored the rest of the cabin, looking and listening for any unusual activity.










Again, it seems like you have good potential here & we certainly would like to see where this all goes! I am guessing that you have gotten more advice than you bargained for, lol, but that can only help right? Take care!


User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1981 times:

Thanks a lot Silverangel. I'll keep all that in mind. Well, I guess there's a lot more revising than writing- hehehe.... I greatly appreciate all your feedback, and I'll be busy cuting and pasting!

Thanks everyone!
 Smokin cool -Notar520AC



BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
User currently offlineDragonrapide From Belgium, joined Sep 2001, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1960 times:

Notar,
You wrote: "As the Boeing 747’s wheels gently kissed the tarmac on runway 19 the pilot engaged the reverse thrust and Mark was pressed into his seat as the spoilers were deployed and the brakes were engaged."

If the airplane is braking that hard, you are not pressed into your seat but thrown into your seatbelt. Your body due to its inertia wants to keep on moving forward with the speed it had whilst the airplane is slowing rapidly. Thus you are not pressed into your seat, this happens on an acceleration, not a deceleration.
First law of physics, justed wanted to point that out to you.

Regs,
DragonRapide


User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1958 times:

Thanks Dragon, I noticed that while I was revising and I'm working on rephrasing it. I appreciate you taking the time to read it!

-Notar520AC



BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
User currently offlineSilverangel From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1963 times:

Well, I guess there's a lot more revising than writing- hehehe....

The average novel will be re-written seven times before it ever sees any bookstore shelf.


User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1955 times:

Thanks for giving me a heads up Silverangel!  Nuts



BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
User currently offlineDocpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1971 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 1932 times:

Look guys,

whatever said and done I think that piece of writing's excellent for a 14 year old. We ought to give him due credit for that. I don't think I could write half as well as he did when I was 14.... but then again i suck at writing stories. I'm better at argumentative essays.


User currently offlineDragonRapide From Belgium, joined Sep 2001, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1905 times:

Hello Notar,

I must agree with what others have posted before. For a 14 year old this is not bad. Not bad at all. And what is more important, it is good to see that young people are still interested in books and writing! Not obvious in these days of internet. In my opinion a good book is the best entertainment you can get, much better than the best movie imaginable. Why? Because you have to make an effort, especially if you are into complex books (sci-fi based on mathematics or complex thrillers / espionage /...) and secondly and most importantly: reading a book triggers your imagination. None of that with movies.

Let me tell you a little something about myself.
When I was younger I wrote a novel myself. It took me some time to finish it but in the end I succeeded. One good advise: make sure you have your storyline before you start writing. I didn't and I found that my characters ended up having a life of themselves and the story took some turns that I hadn't planned for. Having a story line ready before you start is easier though less exciting. I tried both ways of working and although common sense says having a story line up front is better, my pen likes to have a mind of its own and does not want to be bound by a story line. Check out the two possibilities first and see which one suits you best before you embark on a novel. Try it by writing shorter stories.
Now, when I finished the book I asked some people I know well and who read a lot to read it and give me their honest opinion. That is a difficult step to take: letting other people read what you have written. It takes a lot of courage to do that. Secondly use people who you know well and of which you are sure they will give their honest opinion. If it's crap you want them to tell you as well. And they should be experienced readers so that they have a basis for their judgement.
The reviews I got were excellent. So my next step was to send it to a publisher. Result: a letter saying that they were very sorry but they didn't think the book was suitable for publication.
You should be ready for disappointments like these. I now realise that the story line was good, the characters were good but that my book failed miserably from a literature point of view. Grammar and spelling was ok of course but when I re-read my book now, I admit that it is not up to publication standard. That happens when you are young and enthusiastic. You wanna write a story about a hero that you have created and you go that much up into your story that you don't give enough attention to the basics of writing. And that 'the basics of writing' is not easy to master at all.
It didn't stop me from writing. I am currently working on my third book. Why would you ask if you don't publish them? Well first of all because I like writing. Secondly because I have not given up hope yet about having them published. Only now I will handle this differently. First of all I am older, secondly my writing has improved. Thridly you need to convince a publisher, just sending a letter is not enough.

Anyway, I hope you do continue with your writing and I hope you get as much enjoyment out if it as I do.

Best Regards,
DragonRapide


User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 1892 times:

DragonRapide- Thank you so much for taking some time to look at this! I was hoping a writer would finally stumble upon this thread. I've spoken to lots of people and they've already given me a heads up about being turned down by a publisher, and If I do eventually send it in, which I definately will, I'm not expecting a thick envelope the first time! When and how long have you been writing? If you have your stories stored on your computer I'd love to see them! If you wouldn't mind, of course! my email is FalconJet4820d@cox.net

I'm always examining the style of writing, and how the author moves the story along. On this particular story, I've started over at least 3 times already. I'm still trying to construct a story line, and as I have found out, is the hardest part for me. I am still trying to construct a plot and conclusion, and I've looked at a lot of things- (hold on- need to get my scratchpad notebook thing) assasinations, abductions of major officials, blackmail, nuclear & biological threats, etc. Some of these might be too small for the overall plot, which is why I'm also considdering them for subplots, as it would probably be hard to write a whole book on a bomb, although I'm sure it could be done.

I've started creating character analysises, but there's always improvements to be made and things to be changed.

How did you go about finding a publisher? Is there a certain website, or what would be your recomendation?

So anyways, I have homework to do >-(, so I'd better get started on that. If you want to email me, which would probably be more convenient for both of us, it's FalconJet4820d@cox.net

And once again, thank you so much! Big grin

-Notar520AC



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