Saturday, December 17, 2011

Are You Hooked? Entry #5

TITLE: A Cursed Performance
GENRE: Horror


Janik walked down the hallway, looking to the left and right anxiously. In her hands was a sword of pure gold. Her footsteps echoed loudly as she tried to creep through the darkened corridor.

Why did this have to happen? She thought. All I tried to do was write a play, better than I have ever written before. And, in addition, I just happened to unleash a demon! I never wanted this to happen!

Her thoughts went back to the happiness that she had felt the night she had finished. She had finally been able to write something she was proud of. She never imagined that the deal she had made in order to do so would unleash a demon. Her guilt grew as she thought about that fateful night, the night before the performance. They had just been finishing up the final dress rehearsal when HE came. SKARTRIST, the Soul Stealer, the demon she had unleashed upon the world. He killed everyone, all of the cast members … All except her.

Her quaking hands tightened their grip on the golden sword. It was the only thing that would kill a demon, if it was weak enough. If they were too powerful, it would only wound them. Janik hoped that SKARTRIST wasn’t too strong. Otherwise, she would have to use her OTHER plan. The one that was risky, but might have to be done.

Suddenly, creaking sounds and footsteps were heard as Janik's breathing became more erratic.


  1. Okay... I'm sorry, but not hooked. Prologues have to seize my interest and hold it, generally, since I'm not really a prologue fan. This has potential, but there's a whole lot of telling! I'd like to SEE her unleash the demon and SEE the demon kill all the cast members. Then we can really FEEL her guilt, since we know what she went through, and there will be no need to tell.

    Good luck with this!

  2. Sorry, not hooked either. I agree with Maggie about the telling. I will give prologues a chance, but the telling in this one is just loaded.

  3. I'm going to agree with Maggie and Constance--there's too much telling. The second paragraph is an infodump; I doubt she would actually think that to herself because she already knows all that information. You also might want to watch for too much telling in the third paragraph, as well. I would suggest cutting the second paragraph outright and then reworking the third paragraph so that it sounds like something that she would actually think about to herself.

    The idea itself sounds really interesting to me. A playwright who unleashes a demon unwittingly? I think the all-caps name for the demon is cool.

    As a sort of nitpicky thing: I thought pure gold was too soft of a metal to be effective in any way as a sword? I get that it's probably a magical thing, but it threw me off a bit.

    Anyway, I thought your concept was intriguing, but I think you need to rework what you have here to make it more exciting.

  4. I concur with all the other comments: the passage reads like one big infodump, and it's too tell-y. I'm not hooked.

    My suggestion is to scrap the prologue all together. If you *need* to have a prologue, call it Chapter One.

    I assume that your current Ch. One will be a "one week earlier..." kind of thing. Rather than fill us in on how the demon was unleashed in the prologue, show us in the rest of the novel. The prologue could be a teaser - don't tell the readers what Janik is hunting, make us wonder.

    Good luck!

  5. The sword of pure gold immediately makes me think this is fantasy, and not horror as you've indicated.

    For the prologue to pack a punch, the action needs to be HAPPENING, and not simply being mentioned as something that's already happened. This is some cool, scary stuff you're talking about here! But this reads like an info-dump, and that's not a good way to draw us into the story.

    You have some basic problems with your writing. For example:

    Why did this have to happen? She thought.

    The "s" in "she" needs to be lower case.

    And, in addition, I just happened to unleash a demon! I never wanted this to happen!

    Exclamation points should be used VERY sparingly. You've got 2 right in the second paragraph! They need to die. :)

    It was the only thing that would kill a demon, if it was weak enough. If they were too powerful, it would only wound them.

    Pronoun errors in the second sentence above. It should read: If it were too powerful, the sword would only wound it.

    Overall, this is too "tell-y." If the prologue is taking us back to this event, show it to us as it happens. Either that, or say much less about what happened in the past. It would be more effective to HINT at why she's going after the demon, or mention the reason briefly without all that tell-y explanation.

    This is a creative and potentially scary idea, so I encourage you to keep working on it.

    Good work!