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Old 07-15-2016, 03:35 AM View Post #1 (Link) Another Zombie Novel Prologue
L.P.Perez (Offline)
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Spoiler:
A/N: This is the first novel I've ever written myself. I normally just write poetry, so I'm not expecting it to be great. However that said, all feed back is welcomed so I could make my writing better.


The icy autumn wind rustled the leaves that lay scattered about the floor of the old Baptist church. The only source of heat that barely covered the vast empty space came from a single, battery ran, portable heater. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and lightning lit the sky in quick bursts of electricity. Quietly, the heater continued to hum softly, emitting as much warmth as its drained body possibly could. It wasn't going to run much longer. Softly, the double swing doors that led to the back of the church squeaked on their hinges. A small blonde walked into the main worship hall and dragged her tired frame to the closest pew, plopping down and sucking in a huge breath. It was late, she could tell by the absence of light, however without electricity she wouldn't be able to tell how late. Her entire body hurt and rest was such a gift. Another deep breath and she closed her eyes, cupping her hands under her head . The storm raging outside was relaxing. It gave her something to focus on.

Suddenly, the front doors flung open with a loud bang. Startled the young girl shot up, throwing her hand to her side where she gripped the hilt of her knife. One foot over the other, she slinked from the pew and shuffled to the doors, trying her hardest not to make a sound. A quick glance outside, that would be all, then she'd close the door.

"Alyssa! What do you think you are doing? Get away from there!" Another older, yet similar blonde ran to the front and grabbed the young girl by the shoulders. She shoved Alyssa behind herself then reached for the flapping doors, pulling them closed. "Grab the chairs over there and bring it to me please." Silence. "Alyssa now! You need to help me block these doors so they don't fly open again."

Rolling her eyes, Alyssa did as she was told, handing a couple of metal chairs to the other girl then, leaned her weight against them. Panting, they looked at each other. "What did I tell you about going outside or even being near an open door?"

"I'm sorry okay, the storm blew them open and I was just curious alright. I would have closed them eventually."

"Alyssa, you don't understand, eventually is too late. You can't make any stupid mistakes like that again. If they got in here and I wasn't with you then it would be over. Do you understand me?" The older girl started to raise her voice, slapping her knee with the last remark.

"I'm not a stupid little kid anymore Amanda, of course I understand the risks. I'm just so sick of being holed up every day. I want a little freedom, is that too much?"

Standing up, Alyssa shot her sister a glance of impatience and proceeded to stalk off, slinking back to the pew she laid upon not but a few minutes before.

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to smother you but I don't want you to end up like...Well you know. Lyssa you are all I have left and if I lost you too then I don't know what I would do with myself. No one can really be alone in this kind of world, it's not healthy. Not right."

Sighing Alyssa stopped, turned around and looked back at her sister who now stood, tears balled in the corner of her eyes. "I understand OK, but I'm not that ten-year-old naive child anymore, I'm sixteen. I think I can understand how to take care of myself." The two girls closed the gap between them and grabbed one another tightly, holding each other close.

They stood that way limbs and torsos tangled up for a few seconds, until another large gust of wind brought the few metal chairs toppling over and the doors flew open again. A loud, sharp snarl sounded from right outside the porch and the familiar shuffle of feet along pavement filled their ears. Startled the sisters stood clutching one another, watching the gaping abyss into the outside world. They waited as the shuffling turned to thumping as the thing made its way up the few steps and into the entrance of the church.


*-*-*-*-*-*

Death wasn't quite dead anymore, or really not what you would expect death to be. Instead of someone lying peacefully six feet under and depending on your religion, at home with their one true father; death stood on two feet and walked the streets of its once living life. In fact, the dead weren't really dead, more like the person who once occupied a body just up and disappeared and in its place there was an emotionless, mindless machine that lived off of one factor; kill or be killed. That's what scared most people in the end, I think. That these things weren't really human anymore but a creation of the devil himself, that the time had come for the human race to be erased and cleansed from this planet.

During the beginning of the end most people thought that the dead were only sick and instead of putting them out of their misery (if they could even feel that) they were hell bent on trying to heal them. There was a case up in Washington, where a collection of scientists even put one of those damned things in a pressure chamber thingy because they thought that the infected only had some sort of oxygen deficiency and that regulating the amount of oxygen the infected received would solve all the problems. Like come on, this isn't some god damn Sy-Fy movie. Not surprisingly however, it didn't work. When a few months had gone by and the numbers of infected increased to alarming rates, people started to really panic. It was then, I believe again, that everyone saw them as more than just fucking sick people but as of monsters; an abomination to the world.

It didn't take long from then for the government to get involved. First they started to collect everyone that had symptoms of the infected or of those who were obviously infected and placed them in high security concentration camps. However it wasn't long for things to get so far out of hand that the Senate passed a law to the people; that the public had an obligation to gun down the infected if spotted. Eventually, even that wasn't covering the mass numbers of infected that roamed the cities and with everyone that went free -unnoticed, another was made, then another and another. Their numbers grew so rapidly that the military bombed every large city on a regular basis. The object was to get rid of as many of them as possible, even if that meant a few lives had to be sacrificed in the process.

Curfews were put into place, no-one walked alone down the street and unnecessary doors and windows were bordered up. People lived in constant fear of what they couldn't see or understand. By the time a year passed, the numbers of infected went from hundreds to thousand to eventually millions. Every where you turned a rotting corpse was there, ready to great you with a welcoming grin and fingers that grasped for your flesh. At one point in time, people actually started throwing themselves into the clutches of the dead because they were sick and tires of waiting for when their life would end. People just wanted to get the inevitable over with, to suffer a few minutes of hell so they didn't have to live in an unforgiving, broken world anymore. This mentality led to the end, or what I believe of as the end. Where the infected was the dominating race of our beautiful mother earth and that to see someone with a beating heart was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
__________________
"You wake up and hear the screaming of the lambs"
--Dr. Hannibal Lecter (silence of the lambs)

"I'm not afraid to walk this world alone."
"Just because I'm smilig doesn't mean I don't want to hit you in the face."
Warning: 17 year old hyped up on coffee and the love for studying criminals... Beware.
If you have any questions or want a review feel free to ask.
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Old 07-15-2016, 05:35 AM View Post #2 (Link)
Jokes_on_you142 (Offline)
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Originally Posted by L.P.Perez View Post
Spoiler:
A/N: This is the first novel I've ever written myself. I normally just write poetry, so I'm not expecting it to be great. However that said, all feed back is welcomed so I could make my writing better.


The icy autumn wind rustled the leaves that lay scattered about the floor of the old Baptist church. The only source of heat that barely covered the vast empty space came from a single battery-ran portable heater. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and lightning lit the sky in quick bursts of electricity. Quietly, the heater continued to hum softly, (Use either quietly or softly but not both, it's superfluous)emitting as much warmth as its drained body possibly could. It wasn't going to run much longer. Softly, the double swing doors that led to the back of the church squeaked on their hinges. A small blonde walked into the main worship hall and dragged her tired frame to the closest pew, plopping down and sucking in a huge breath. It was late, she could tell by the absence of light, however without electricity she wouldn't be able to tell how late. She didn't come from outside, did she? If so, there would be no reason why she'd just notice the late hour... Her entire body hurt and rest was such a gift. Another deep breath and she closed her eyes, cupping her hands under her head. The storm raging outside was relaxing. It gave her something to focus on.

Suddenly, the front doors flung open with a loud bang. Startled, the young girl shot up, throwing her hand to her side where she gripped, gripping the hilt of her knife. (The way you phrased it, she was already holding the knife in her hand while her other arm swung over to grip the knife as well. Funny picture) One foot over the other, she slinked from the pew and shuffled to the doors, trying her hardest not to make a sound. A quick glance outside, that would be all, then she'd close the door.

"Alyssa! What do you think you are doing? Get away from there!" Another older, yet similar-looking blonde ran to the front and grabbed the young girl by the shoulders. She shoved Alyssa behind herself then reached for the flapping doors, pulling them closed. "Grab the chairs over there and bring it to me please." Silence. "Alyssa now! You need to help me block these doors so they don't fly open again."

Rolling her eyes, Alyssa did as she was told, handing a couple of metal chairs to the other girl then, leaned her weight against them. Panting, they looked at each other. "What did I tell you about going outside or even being near an open door?"

"I'm sorry okay, the storm blew them open and I was just curious, alright! I would have closed them eventually."

"Alyssa, you don't understand, eventually is too late!You can't make any stupid mistakes like that again. If they got in here and I wasn't with you then it would be over. Do you understand me?" The older girl started to raise her voice, slapping her knee with the last remark. (That sounds like the behavior of a laughing old man, not an angry woman.)

"I'm not a stupid little kid anymore, Amanda! Of course I understand the risks. I'm just so sick of being holed up every day. I want a little freedom, is that too much?"

Standing up, Alyssa shot her sister a glance of impatience and proceeded to stalk off, slinking back to the pew she laid upon not but a few minutes before.

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to smother you but I don't want you to end up like...Well you know. Lyssa you are all I have left and if I lost you too then I don't know what I would do with myself. No one can really be alone in this kind of world, it's not healthy. Not right."(Who is speaking here?)

Sighing Alyssa stopped, turned around and looked back at her sister who now stood, tears balled welling upin the corner of her eyes. "I understand OK, but I'm not that ten-year-old naive child anymore, I'm sixteen. I think I can understand how to take care of myself." The two girls closed the gap between them and grabbed one another tightly, holding each other close.

They stood that way, limbs and torsos tangled up for a few seconds, until another large gust of wind brought the few metal chairs toppling over and the doors flew open again. A loud, sharp snarl sounded from right outside the porch and the familiar shuffle of feet along pavement filled their ears. Startled, the sisters stood clutching one another, watching out of thethe gaping abyss into the outside world. They waited as the shuffling turned to thumping as the thing made its way up the few steps and into the entrance of the church.
(Zombies 101: Do not wait for them to come to you. Run.)

*-*-*-*-*-*

Death wasn't quite dead deathanymore, or really not what you would expect death to be. Instead of someone lying peacefully six feet under and depending on your religion, at home with their one true father; death stood on two feet and walked the streets of its once-living life. In fact, the dead weren't really dead, more like the person who once occupied a body just up and disappeared and in its place there was an emotionless, mindless machine that lived off of one factor; kill or be killed. (Symptoms of sociopathy!) That's what scared most people in the end, I think. That these things weren't really human anymore but a creation of the devil himself, that the time had come for the human race to be erased and cleansed from this planet.

During the beginning of the end most people thought that the dead were only sick and instead of putting them out of their misery (if they could even feel that) they were hell bent on trying to heal them. There was a case up in Washington, where a collection of scientists even put one of those damned things in a pressure chamber thingy (Stop it with the technical jargon) because they thought that the infected only had some sort of oxygen deficiency and that regulating the amount of oxygen the infected received would solve all the problems. Like come on, this isn't some god damn Sy-Fy movie. (No, just a thriller. Thrillers don't care 'bout no dang "science") Not surprisingly however, it didn't work. When a few months had gone by and the numbers of infected increased to alarming rates, people started to really panic. It was then, I believe again, that everyone saw them as more than just ***** sick people but as of monsters; an abomination to the world.

It didn't take long from then for the government to get involved. First, they started to collect everyone that had symptoms of thebeing infected or of those who were obviously infected and placed them in high security concentration camps. However, it wasn't long for things to get so far out of hand that the Senate passed a law to the people; that the public had an obligation to gun down the infected if spotted.(Awesome! I'll go get my 12 gauge and some hand grenades... Thanks, govt! you did something right for once...) Eventually, even that wasn't covering the mass numbers of infected that roamed the cities and with everyone that went free -unnoticed, another infected(?)was made, then another and another. Their numbers grew so rapidly that the military bombed every large city on a regular basis.(Yay violence!) The object was to get rid of as many of them as possible, even if that meant a few lives had to be sacrificed in the process. (A few... billion)

Curfews were put into place, nobodywalked alone down the street and unnecessary doors and windows were bordered up. )(What? You're telling me I have unnecessary doors? After all this time I never knew...) People lived in constant fear of what they couldn't see or understand.(Can't they see the zombies?) By the time a year passed, the numbers of infected went from hundreds to thousands to eventually millions. Every where you turned a rotting corpse was there, ready to great you with a welcoming grin and fingers that grasped for your flesh. (Me: Hello!)At one point in time, people actually started throwing themselves into the clutches of the dead because they were sick and tired of waiting for when their life would end. People just wanted to get the inevitable over with, to suffer a few minutes of hell so they didn't have to live in an unforgiving, broken world anymore. This mentality led to the end, or what I believe of as the end. Where Now the infected was is the dominating race of our beautiful mother earth and that to see someone with a beating heart was is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Grammatically, your piece is actually very good! The only things you need to pay attention to are your comma placements and over-using the same word or using the same word in adjacent sentences. Also, when people are having a row, like these two girls were, it's a good idea to use exclamation points instead of periods, as periods can make fights seem less dynamic.
As for character introduction, I think Alyssa acts the part of the cliche teen who wants her own space, to rebel and do things her own way. After living for several years with the zombies, sure, she must have grown a bit tired of hiding, but really... You don't thing she could be a bit more mature? I'm having trouble connecting with the character, not to mention the whole fight was a bit fast-paced and over-emotionally reconciled, considering that nothing actually happened to either of them.
I do like the narration of the second part, the voice of some gun-slinging tough old westerner really comes through. Well, that's what it sounded like to me when I read it.
Also, please, PLEASE don't use the f-word. I can't critique your future pieces if you do. There are many great works of literature out there that convey feelings and strong emotion without using bad language. I mean REALLY bad, because I can tolerate other swear words of a lesser caliber.
Other than that, sorry about the humor. I had to.
Also, "infecteds" makes it sounds like you're contradicting yourself because you call them this but at the same time deny that they are actually sick people. Just call them zombies. Or the undead. Why does everything in zombie media have a different name for "zombies"?
Keep writing, you're doing really well! Consider critiquing my works, would you?
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Old 07-15-2016, 05:46 AM View Post #3 (Link)
Infinity_Man (Offline)
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Originally Posted by L.P.Perez View Post
Spoiler:
A/N: This is the first novel I've ever written myself. I normally just write poetry, so I'm not expecting it to be great. However that said, all feed back is welcomed so I could make my writing better.


So, having read the first paragraph, I think I've caught on to what will a recurring issue: overuse of description. Some description is fine, but there's a point where it really slows down your writing and only hurts the text. It's a common "first novel" kind of error, especially if you're coming from poetry where things are (often) purple and descriptive on purpose. To illustrate my point, I'm going to underline the passages that are pure modifiers, and comment on what seems like unnecessary/redundant information.

The icy autumn wind rustled the leaves that lay scattered about the floor of the old Baptist church. The only source of heat that barely covered the vast empty space came from a single, battery ran, portable heater. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and lightning lit the sky in quick bursts of electricity Something like this, the "in quick bursts of electricity," while not technically just adjectives/adverbs, isn't really necessary. Probably everyone reading your story will know what lightning looks like, so you don't need to take the time to focus on a detail like this, unless you really want to highlight this particular piece of information for some reason. Description does have the benefit of emphasis (which is part of the reason you should use it sparingly). That said, if you want to draw attention to the electricity for whatever reason, maybe come up with something more creative than "Lightning is electricity.". Quietly, the heater continued to hum softlyYou don't need "quietly" and "softly" in this, as they cover the same information. I'd get rid of "quietly" because the image of something humming softly is better, in my opinion, than humming quietly., emitting as much warmth as its drained body possibly could You've already sort of covered this image when you said "The only source of heat that barely covered the vast empty space." It's not exactly the same thing, but neither sentence are vastly different enough to be distinct from the other. Also, structurally speaking, it helps description if you move smoothly through your description, in a physical sense. Here you start us inside the building, with the leaves, then sort of pull back with the heater, then you pull back really far to show us the sky, and the lightning in it, only to narrow back in and describe the heater again. It's a little scattered, all over the place, and it feels erratic.. It wasn't going to run much longer. Softly One of the downsides of overusing modifiers is you can quickly run out, and you end up reusing them within the paragraph, such as here., the [u]double swing[U] doors that led to the back of the church squeaked on their hinges. A small blonde walked into the main worship hall and dragged her tired frame to the closest pew, plopping down and sucking in a huge breath. It was late, she could tell by the absence of light This logic is flawed considering it's storming outside. The absence of light could be the result of that, after all, however without electricity she wouldn't be able to tell how late This sentence is a bit awkward. I'd suggest reorganizing it a bit so that you don't have the awkward commas and the resulting construction.. Her entire body hurt and rest was such a gift. Another deep breath and she closed her eyes, cupping her hands under her head . The storm raging outside was relaxing. It gave her something to focus on.

So, as you can see, a fair bit of descriptive text in there. Some things you're probably looking at and wondering why I underlined it, such as "that led to the back of the church." Basically, any text that modifies the sentence or a word in that way, especially text that can be eliminated from the text without changing the meaning, is a sort of description. You could have said "she came out of the door and walked to the pew" and it would have meant, roughly, the same thing.

Now, this isn't a bad opening, despite the overuse of description. In terms of what's actually happening here, I think you do a good job establishing tone, although I would have wanted a greater sense of character and/or conflict sooner. I'm much more interested in the character that walks into the room rather than how much space the heater manages to warm. Get to her sooner. Better yet, start with her. Find a way to describe the room through her perspective. You don't need to mention the lightning at the beginning, for example, because when she thinks about how calming the storm is, the reader gets that. We understand that there's a thundrestorm going on outside and we get how the character reacts to it. That's better than static exposition telling us there's thunder and lightning outside.

There's also some decent text here, that I think is buried under the modifiers. You've got some strong verbs in here that does a good job of establishing information without intruding. For example, when you describe the woman as moving you say she drags herself to a pew. That's good. It's hurt, unfortunately, by the more upfront exposition of describing her as "tired" in the same breath, and later on saying she's tired and her body hurts. We don't need the latter things because what you've already got is fairly strong. Anyway, that's a lot to take in just criticizing your first paragraph, so I'll carry on. But, to save time for myself, I'm going to stop highlighting the description.

Please note that just because I highlighted doesn't mean it's bad. A lot of it is probably necessary. I just wanted to show how much there was, and start you thinking about what you can keep and what you should lose.


Suddenly, the front doors flung open with a loud bang Redundant. Of course a "bang" is loud. What does a quiet bang sound like?. Startled Comma... but, not really necessary. We get from her next reaction that she's startled the young girl shot up, throwing "throwing" is such an odd word to use here. Like, she's not reaching out, her hand's passive location is where she's reaching. It just seems like an over-dramatic gesture to me. her hand to her side where she gripped the hilt of her knife. One foot over the other, she slinked from the pew and shuffled to the doors Ambiguous, as you've now described two different sets of doors. Is she heading to the "double swing doors" she entered from to escape, or to the doors that just burst open to, say, attack?, trying her hardest not to make a sound Eh, I think "slink" which is a good word, more or less tells us this.. A quick glance outside, that would be all, then she'd close the door. This is an odd image to me. I assumed, as I think she did, that there was someone at the door, and that someone should be walking in and, in my head, saw Alyssa when she sat up. I think you need a bit of description that establishes that no one entered through the door first, or that she's at an angle where she can't actually see out the door.

"Alyssa! What do you think you are doing? Get away from there!" Another older, yet similar blonde I'm not sure how I feel about this referring to character as "blondes" as I think that comes with some odd connotations. Also, considering you haven't actually described Alyssa beyond her hair colour, telling me this person is "similar" doesn't actually tell me anything. ran to the front Where? From the doors that just opened? Is this the person that opened the doors? How did she enter the room without Alyssa noticing, considering Alyssa seems fairly alert? and grabbed the young girl by the shoulders. She shoved Alyssa behind herself then reached for the flapping doors Oh, they're "flapping"? Is it, what, the storm doing this? Those must be some pretty light doors., pulling them closed. "Grab the chairs over there and bring it to me please." Silence. "Alyssa now! You need to help me block these doors so they don't fly open again." I don't think you need this last sentence. It slows the pacing in what, I think, you're trying to make something of a dramatic moment. Shorter, snappier sentences help create tension, and it's easier to believe someone is panicking if they're not taking their time to explain themselves like this. At the end of the day, we can pretty much figure why this newcomer wants the chain, so you don't have to spend words to explain it.

Rolling her eyes, Alyssa did as she was told, handing a couple of metal chairs to the other girl [b]Referring to her as "girl" makes me think she's a lot younger than I first imagined, which made me realize I actually have no idea what either of these female characters are like, except for the fact they have blonde hair and one is older (by a year? Ten years? Fifty?) then, leaned her weight against them. Panting, they looked at each other. "What did I tell you about going outside or even being near an open door?" Again, I think you'd benefit here from having punchy dialogue. I don't get the feeling the character is annoyed with Alyssa, I just get the feeling you (the author) want to make sure you cover all this information.

"I'm sorry okay, the storm blew them open and I was just curious alright. I would have closed them eventually." So you've not formatted the punctuation here properly. There's a comma splice, and the "alright" and "okay" seem to have thrown you off. They are questions, so this sentence should have question marks (but, really, I think you should avoid repeating the "okay" and the "alright" annoying teenager talk so close together). Your sentence should, roughly, look like this:
"I'm sorry, okay? The storm blew them open and I was just curious, alright?


"Alyssa, you don't understand, eventually is too late. You can't make any stupid mistakes like that again. If they got in here and I wasn't with you then it would be over. Do you understand me?" The older girl started to raise her voice, slapping her knee with the last remark. I'm trying to picture this in my mind, and it seems like a silly gesture. Like, the knee is not at a good height for this unless your legs are really short or your arms really long. Also, and this isn't a criticism, but I'm now siding with Alyssa and thinking this other person is kind of dumb. Like, she's getting mad at Alyssa for walking towards doors that burst open on their own--how does she know she wasn't going forward to close them, as she should have reacted (since that's how this new girl reacts)? Again, it's not a criticism, because maybe that's what you're going for. It's an observation I'm making so you can know how I'm reacting to your characters and adjust appropriately (like, if this is what you wanted you know you're doing well, but if it's not what you were going for maybe think about ways you can change this dynamic.)

"I'm not a stupid little kid anymore comma Amanda, of course I understand the risks. I'm just so sick of being holed up every day. I want a little freedom, comma splice is that too much?"

Standing up When did she sit down? Last you describe, Alyssa and Amanda were panting after shutting the door., Alyssa shot her sister a glance of impatience and proceeded to stalk off, slinking Mmm, you already used "slink" earlier, so maybe give it a rest. It's a pretty noticeable word. back to the pew she laid upon not but a few minutes before.

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to smother you but I don't want you to end up like...Well you know. Lyssa you are all I have left and if I lost you too then I don't know what I would do with myself. No one can really be alone in this kind of world, it's not healthy. Not right." This dialogue is far too on the nose for my liking.

Sighing Alyssa stopped See, there's a bit of a disconnect, I think, between what you're describing and what I'm reading. Now, technically when you say "slinking back to the pew" that doesn't mean she actually gets there. You're not wrong there, I am. But my natural assumption, when you say that, is that she actually does make it to the pew (which is an equally valid interpretation of that sentence) and this action, where she "stops" comes across as awkward because, in my mind's eye, she's already back at the pew. This is why snappy dialogue can help--Amanda manages to cover their entire life story, it feels like, and Alyssa hasn't even reached the pew yet? Either she's moving very slowly, or the pew is very far away, or there's a disconnect in the description., turned around and looked back at her sister who now stood When was Amanda ever not standing? The last blocking you gave her was when she closed the front doors., tears balled in the corner of her eyes. "I understand comma OK, but I'm not that ten-year-old naive child anymore, Period. I'm sixteen. I think I can understand how to take care of myself." Again, really on the nose. These teenage girls are being very open and upfront about their feelings, which a) doesn't seem likely and b) is boring. There's no conflict in that. The two girls closed the gap between them and grabbed one another tightly, holding each other close I think this is established by the "tightly" and, if you really don't think so, changing "grabbed one another" to something a bit stronger, like "hugged" or "embraced" that is a little less vague..

They stood that way limbs and torsos tangled up for a few seconds, until another large gust of wind brought the few metal chairs toppling over and the doors flew open again That has got to be some strong wind. What did they do, rest the chains against the doors? The wind is somehow strong enough to break chains?. A loud, sharp snarl sounded from right outside the porch and the familiar shuffle of feet along pavement filled their ears. Startled comma the sisters stood clutching one another, watching the gaping abyss into the outside world. They waited as the shuffling turned to thumping as the thing made its way up the few steps and into the entrance of the church. I mean, we've already seen Alyssa react to this kind of thing before, and Amanda seems pretty confident about her ability to react to this kind of thing, so I'm surprised they're both so frozen in terror. Seems contrary to what you've told us.

*-*-*-*-*-*

Death wasn't quite dead anymore, or really not what you would expect death to be. Instead of someone lying peacefully six feet under and depending on your religion, at home with their one true father; death stood on two feet and walked the streets of its once living life. In fact, the dead weren't really dead, more like the person who once occupied a body just up and disappeared and in its place there was an emotionless, mindless machine that lived off of one factor; kill or be killed. That's what scared most people in the end, I think. That these things weren't really human anymore but a creation of the devil himself, that the time had come for the human race to be erased and cleansed from this planet.

During the beginning of the end most people thought that the dead were only sick and instead of putting them out of their misery (if they could even feel that) they were hell bent on trying to heal them. There was a case up in Washington, where a collection of scientists even put one of those damned things in a pressure chamber thingy because they thought that the infected only had some sort of oxygen deficiency and that regulating the amount of oxygen the infected received would solve all the problems. Like come on, this isn't some god damn Sy-Fy movie. Not surprisingly however, it didn't work. When a few months had gone by and the numbers of infected increased to alarming rates, people started to really panic. It was then, I believe again, that everyone saw them as more than just fucking sick people but as of monsters; an abomination to the world.

It didn't take long from then for the government to get involved. First they started to collect everyone that had symptoms of the infected or of those who were obviously infected and placed them in high security concentration camps. However it wasn't long for things to get so far out of hand that the Senate passed a law to the people; that the public had an obligation to gun down the infected if spotted. Eventually, even that wasn't covering the mass numbers of infected that roamed the cities and with everyone that went free -unnoticed, another was made, then another and another. Their numbers grew so rapidly that the military bombed every large city on a regular basis. The object was to get rid of as many of them as possible, even if that meant a few lives had to be sacrificed in the process.

Curfews were put into place, no-one walked alone down the street and unnecessary doors and windows were bordered up. People lived in constant fear of what they couldn't see or understand. By the time a year passed, the numbers of infected went from hundreds to thousand to eventually millions. Every where you turned a rotting corpse was there, ready to great you with a welcoming grin and fingers that grasped for your flesh. At one point in time, people actually started throwing themselves into the clutches of the dead because they were sick and tires of waiting for when their life would end. People just wanted to get the inevitable over with, to suffer a few minutes of hell so they didn't have to live in an unforgiving, broken world anymore. This mentality led to the end, or what I believe of as the end. Where the infected was the dominating race of our beautiful mother earth and that to see someone with a beating heart was a once in a lifetime opportunity.


Nope. Didn't read any of this. Just because it comes at the end of the chapter rather than the beginning doesn't mean it's not an opening infodump, where you establish information in the form of exposition that you could, if you tried a bit harder, show through actions and dialogue and whatnot. Like, it's zombies. People have seen this a hundred times. They know the story now. You don't need to have a paragraph philosophizing on the undead, and you don't need to go over the same tired "they eventually overwhelmed us" story. You stopped at a good cliffhanger, with this mysterious creature appearing before them and obvious danger and conflict. You ruin that, slightly, by switching to some talking head giving us a history lesson. You just found the conflict. Don't leave it there.
So I think I covered it all in the line-by-line. I think there's a good opening here, it's just buried under a lot of the usual first-novel issues. That said, it's petty good for a first novel. It's not, you know, boundary pushing--familiar setting, familiar conflict, familiar characters--but it's not like anyone expects you to push the boundaries of literature, not now, not ever. Write what you want, and all that jazz.

But just to reiterate, I recommend:
-Try and edit the descriptive text down. It's drowning what, I think, is text that could stand pretty strongly on its own.
-Build tension and improve the pacing during the character's interaction, especially in their dialogue with one another
-Make your blocking more clear
-Cut the exposition at the end, because it does nothing but completely grind your story to a halt, shut it down, and start replacing the wheels.
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