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mpride1122
One Star Member
One Star Member
mpride1122

Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2011-03-25
Location : NY

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PostSubject: Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism    Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism  EmptyFri Mar 25, 2011 12:45 pm

Like many of you, I am an aspiring author. I currently have an agent reviewing my fiction proposal; you can imagine I need to work off nervoous energy as I wait which is why I am here (great... now I have another reason to wait... does it ever end? Very Happy ). Well, please read the opening for my genre fiction novel, Considering Phil (sometimes the prayer you need answered the most isn’t your own. Considering Phil describes how a man in crisis finds redemption through a selfless child’s innocent prayer and how a peculiar stranger sent with a message changes his life forever)...
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Prologue

Dear Elizabeth,

I never wanted this for us. Your mother and I only ever wanted the best for you and it pains me to know I wll never again walk the same ground as you. I cannot live with knowing I will never see your smile again. I will never forgive myself for the pain I have caused. I have lost the most important thing in the world and I am not lost without you. Please forgive me. It was never supposed to be like this...

I'm so sorry,

Daddy


Present day…

4450 East Mount Airy Avenue, Philadelphia PA

4:24 p.m. Thursday, June 3, 2010

Phillip Harris put down the pen. He stood in silence in his suburban Philadelphia home with his blue eyes closed and sighed sorrowfully. He hunched his five-foot, eleven-inch body forward with his arms spread and his hands flat against the cool surface of the center placed kitchen-island. He spent a few seconds reflecting on the cool touch of the countertop surface in an effort to recognize through his senses that he was alive, but he felt nothing. His embittered existence numbed any sense of life. He yearned for relief from the empty life he led. He lifted his hands from the countertop, leaving behind moist imprints of his palms on the granite surface before their traces eventually evaporated.

Phil had it all, a beautiful wife, an energetic smart young daughter, a challenging, yet rewarding financial advising job, and a happy healthy life. By all accounts, he was the handsome dark haired, white middle-classed working man with the perfect life. Yet somehow the perfect life Phil led tragically changed in a matter of seconds one year ago, his happiness evaporating as quickly as his moist palm imprints vanished seconds earlier.

Now 4:27 p.m. on a warm sunny spring day, Phil stood in his kitchen with his head rested down and thought only one thing left to do. He rubbed his brow and then ran his hand down the right side of his face, feeling his high cheek bones and rubbing his square chin. Then with a resolve he hadn’t felt in years and a quickened trembling heart he hadn’t felt since that terrible day in May a year ago, he quickly opened his eyes, straightened up, and resumed his mission. Tonight, he thought, it ends.

He folded the note into thirds and slipped it into his inner jacket pocket and then rubbed his hands against his blue shirt to dry his palms of nervous moisture. He grabbed his glass of Johnnie Walker scotch from the countertop, put it to his lips, and swallowed the liquor hard. He tiredly threw his hand down and dropped the glass to the floor, sending shards of crystal across the tiled floor. The sound of the shattering crystal pierced the silence in the kitchen, echoing off the stainless steel appliances and the cold granite countertop.

He took a step towards the doorway focused on gathering enough mental strength to climb the stairs and deliver his note when he heard crunching glass beneath his shoes and stopped. He looked down at the pieces of fragmented crystal and remembered the complete set of tall and short glasses that his in-laws gave as a wedding gift six years ago. His heart skipped a beat at the sudden thought of his wedding day and the happiness that followed. Images of a younger happier Anne crossed his mind and nostalgia gripped hold of his heart.

He stood still and allowed for another distant memory to distract him. Standing there staring out into blankness, Phil heard whispers of faint laughter as he watched haunting images of Anne running through the doorway of the kitchen, followed closely by a younger, more physically fit self five years ago. He remembered Anne turn and lean back against the island. She reached down with her left hand, grabbed her lavender skirt, and slowly began to lift it to reveal her lean, athletic thigh. Loose strands of full red hair flowed everywhere. She laughed with a youthful, energetic giggle as she batted her eyes and playfully gestured Phil forward with her right hand. Phil smiled and said, “Had a little too much to drink Babe?” She bounced her hair around, bite lightly on her right thumb and giggled, saying, “Maybe just a little.”

She stared at him with a girlish smirk that took his breath away, gave him an alluring look, and playfully puckered her lips. Unable to hold her stare, she let out a loud laugh and threw her head back defeated. Phil remembered staring at her in that moment, enjoying her playful laugh and innocent childish games. He remembered longing to rush forward to gently kiss her long neck. Instead he stared at her and smiled.

“What?” Anne said, after she sensed his hesitation.

“Nothing,” Phil responded. An odd disbelief consumed the moment as he stared at her and thought I wish it could stay like this forever. It seemed, he thought now standing alone five years later in his empty kitchen reflecting back on the early years of his marriage to Anne that life was simply too good to be true. He thought I am such a fool.

“What?” He remembered Anne asking.

“You’re beautiful Anne,” Phil responded pensively.

“Am I?” She said with a chuckle, “Come here then.”

He moved slowly forward, put his short glass of scotch down on the countertop of the island and embraced her. A moment later, she said, “Do you love me?”

“Of course,” He said.

She smirked and said, “Then what are you waiting for Phil? Kiss me.”

He smiled, reached down and grabbed the back of her thighs and lifted her onto the island playing along. She let out a loud laugh as he sat her on the countertop. She first leaned forward, wrapping her arms around his neck to gain balance, but then quickly threw her arms back against the top of the counter to stabilize and adjust herself. As she placed her hands down quickly, she accidentally knocked his short glass off the countertop. Slightly startled, she gasped at the piercing crack of shattering crystal.

Settled, they both laughed after the pieces came to rest on the kitchen floor. Phil embraced Anne again, placed his hand behind her neck to gently massage, and whispered “I love you.” He stared into her eyes, then leaned forward and softly kissed her lips.

Coincidently, five years later a shattered glass again lay scattered on the kitchen floor in almost the exact same spot, only now his once vibrant spirit withered to become a haunted aimless soul. Phil breathed in deeply, and then exhaled forcibly, the sound of his breath filling briefly the void silence of the empty house. There was a time when laughter filled his home, swelling the house with love and joy. But now the sounds of a once happy life no longer lingered. All that remained was a lonely silence, which was occasionally broken by the gentle hum of the central air unit’s vibrating vents after being momentarily dormant. He dropped his head and slowly walked from the kitchen to the tune of crunching glass beneath his shoes and haunting memories of laughter and joy that he would never enjoy again.


Last edited by mpride1122 on Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Domenic Pappalardo
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Domenic Pappalardo

Number of posts : 2557
Registration date : 2009-04-27

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PostSubject: Re: Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism    Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism  EmptyFri Mar 25, 2011 2:41 pm

You want blunt?...okay, here is blunt:
I don't read, nor like love stories...I was going to read only the first three lines. I could not stop reading.
If asked to rate your talent for writing from 1 to 10...I would have to say, a perfect 10. Good job.

Domenic
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10697
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism    Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism  EmptyFri Mar 25, 2011 11:35 pm

Story needs some editing, however the story line is captivating.
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mpride1122
One Star Member
One Star Member
mpride1122

Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2011-03-25
Location : NY

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PostSubject: Re: Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism    Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism  EmptySat Mar 26, 2011 5:24 am

Gentlemen- thanks for the feedback. My manuscript is in urgent need of editing, but it pleases me to know you both found the opening captivating.

I am new to this site (it hasn't been 24 hrs yet since I registered my account). I have already perused many posts on this forum and others and have noticed frequent posts and comments by each of you. As I continue to use this wonderful resource (this website was a GREAT find), I am certain my respect in each of your opinion and work will only grow...

Thanks again... MP
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Domenic Pappalardo
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Domenic Pappalardo

Number of posts : 2557
Registration date : 2009-04-27

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PostSubject: Re: Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism    Please provide constructive (or blunt if you must)criticism  EmptySat Mar 26, 2011 6:31 am

A colossal bit of advice; Learn how to write a query letter, and have it done before your book is. You may write a great story, but if you can't convince an agent to read it...you will fail. A query letter is harder than writing a good story.

Shelegh has posted just about everything on this forum you will need too know to complete the task.
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