The first 200 words of Smolder :)

Yay, I just hit the submit button!  Thank you all again, your suggestions where incredibly helpful.

I'm taking my entry down now, cuz I'm paranoid like that :) 


  1. Your opening is action-filled and suspenseful, KV. I especially felt chills of foreboding when I read the words "International Radiation Sickness Conference that had taken him away from his work at the Academy." I'm hooked!

    P.S. I've left a response to your comment on Bird's-eye View,

  2. Hi KV-
    I'm a new follower!
    I think you did a good job building suspense - agree with Michelle with your conference title. Oooh! Delightfully creepy.
    A few times you use adverbs to tell instead of show. One example - the towering pines grew more densely so they clawed the truck. Try removing 'more densely'. Go for the branches of towering pines clawed his truck. It's more active, cuts down your word count, shows us they grow densely. Maybe try that w/ other places - the road is treacherous: show us his wheels sliding off the road, etc. The imagery makes us feel what Ambrose experiences, drawing us into your story.
    Good luck!

  3. Good opening although I noticed several adverbs in the first couple of paragraphs. I'v heard that you should try to avoid them for the first few chapters if possible.

    Love the name of the conference! It's so real.

  4. I liked it. 'Near the summit the towering pines grew more densely' -- I'm not sure this is gramatically what you mean to say. Write the sentence again and see if it helps.

  5. I really enjoyed this! I would definitely want to read on.

    You're missing a lot of comma. but deep in his gut(comma) he knew it was the Academy.

    The narrow mountain road was dangerous under the best of circumstances, but at dawn, like now, (the) limited visibility made it treacherous.

    As he drew closer(comma) the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach intensified; (I would split this into two sentences instead of using a semicolon) he cursed the International Radiation Sickness Conference that had taken him away from his work at the Academy, (here you need a semicolon instead of a comma) the timing couldn’t have been worse.

    Near the summit(comma) the towering pines grew more densely, their branches clawed at the side of the truck.

    He’d warned the New Harmony Order that housing the Academy inside the abandoned silver mine was too dangerous,(delete comma and add because) the structure wasn’t sound, but they’d pushed forward despite his concerns.

  6. I really like your excerpt. I loved your first paragraph - great hook. I am a little bothered by the use of "the Academy" three times in this short passage. Could you just change the conference line to be "...that had taken him away from his work; the timing couldn't have been worse."?

    Very suspense filled though. Good job!

  7. Very intriguing! One nit picky thing; dangerous and treacherous sound too similar to me to be so close together.

    I'd read on! Good luck!

  8. This is great! Minor suggestion: "he cursed the International Radiation Sickness Conference that had taken him away from his work at the Academy" --I find this cluttered, you might try: "he cursed the conference that had taken him away from his work, the timing couldn't have been worse.

    Although it's intriguing that he was at an International Radiation Sickness Conference, it doesn't do much for the scene and might be best brought up a little later.

    I'm left curious about what happened at the Academy--nice hook!

  9. Sounds interesting. Another nit picky thing, I think you could leave out 'like now' and we'd understand it was dawn.

  10. Very intriguing. Only a few small points:

    Did you mean Bush fire? or brush fire
    "Smoke darkened the sky, dense and ugly. Ambrose desperately hoped it was only a brush fire—such..."

    I thought the tense sounded on here.... "He shifted gears and pressed down on the accelerator, fully aware he (WAS TEMPTING?) tempted fate."

    Otherwise -all good! Good luck.

  11. Nothing bothered me. I was sucked into these paragraphs and didn't notice any of these things -- until they were pointed out. Even then, they didn't bother me. What a great start.

  12. Wow, you guys are rockstars! Thank you for all the help and encouraging words :)

  13. Hi K.V. - I'm not sure I have anything to add. You've got some great advice and ways to tighten this up, here, already!

    You do a great job at hinting what the story could be about here - (the Academy, radiation sickness - I'm thinking post-apocolyptic? Or nearly.) and creating a tense scene that makes me want to turn the page. Nicely done! Best of luck with this! :)

  14. Oh no! I missed it! Sorry for my tardiness, but thank you so much for your sweet words on my blog, and I'm stoked to be a new follower!


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