Friday, November 19, 2010

Want a Critique of a CH in Your WIP?

Over at Clarissa Draper's blog, she's offering a free critique of a chapter of your WIP. Details can be found HERE

Some of you have read this before, and the feedback was valuable, but it certainly never hurts to get an opinion from an independant source, who may not be into reading your genre. So here is CH 1 of  "Sissy Murphy", which is not quite a prologue, but a harbinger of things to come.

Here's the pitch as it stands today: American  writer, pothead, and pacifist Seamus Murphy is befriended by Irish ex-patriot Tommy Moore, who uses Seamus' love of Ireland and lack of confidence to transform him into a killer, who will help Tommy settle unfinished business.

No blood. And the little Puerto Rican cocksucker needs to be alive, when the concrete vault is dropped on top of him.
I love simple instructions.
The no blood tenet meant my initial idea, a cricket ball, was out. The raised seam would easily lacerate flesh. This bummed me out, because I have really improved the pace on my inswinger. Plan B, a lacrosse ball, works perfectly. Delivered at ninety miles per hour, it will hurt like hell, bruise internal organs, break ribs…crush testicles.
I’m sure Armando, street name Striker, follows a code of stereotypical ethics on the streets of Lawrence, Massachusetts. The usual bullshit: no ratting, never go against, or leave the gang. Striker will now learn ours.
Never fuck with the elderly, children…or the Irish.
My well practiced brogue is sweeter than Tim Finnegan’s when I ask him, “Where is she, you piece of shite?”
“Fuck you," Esse says.
Distance: fifty-feet. Coordinates: left rib cage. Clear for crank shot.
David Lee Roth pops into my head…'One break…comin' up'.
Striker gives up a cough scream. I realize I must have nicked a lung. Coach would be proud.
Striker screams, but sees nothing. He’s got a severe case of Super Glue conjunctivitis at the moment. He’s naked and facing me, but his uncircumcised welfare check missile is a huge distraction.
I’m weird about shit like that.
He's probably never seen a lacrosse net. Doesn’t know his hands and feet are duct taped to each of the four corners, spread eagle style.
This is the tenderizing of Striker stage of the game. I’m hoping the fear of the money shot is weighing heavily on his mind.
It is not a fear of heights. It is the fear of falling.
The Clancy Brothers are doing "Wild Colonial Boy" on the boom box I set up and it sounds great reverberating off the cement walls of the warehouse. Senor Shitforbrains thinks he's being tortured by some crazy fucking Mick, not the long haired, hippie freak I used to be.
I drop his body, which I duct taped in a coffin chic pose, into the trunk of the Charger. He's breathing, but in bad shape, covered in welts and bruises that look like red bulls-eye's, with black centers. If he was going to live another day, they would each expand to the size of purple softballs.
I call Tommy, tell him where his daughter is and that I'm on my way. He tells me everything is cool, proceed as planned.
As I drive through the pre-dawn darkness, I'm thinking of the tattoo that runs the length of Striker's right forearm. It's an upside down cross, DAD, near the wrist, REST IN PIECES just below the elbow joint. Everyone has their anchor to drag. I have a small dick, at least he had the option of a seeing a shrink.
When I pull up to the cemetery gates, Tommy's connection is waiting in the backhoe. He climbs down, opens the gates, and walks over to me.  I hand him an envelope with five large in it, and pop the trunk with the key fob. We carry Styker's half dead carcass over to the backhoe and roll him into the front loader.  We shake hands and he climbs up into the cockpit.
As I walk away, the engine fires up and I see the front loader start to roll up and then raise into the air. On the drive back to my place, I'm thinking of the mourners, who won't know they are getting a two-for-one special later this morning as their beloved's casket is lowered into the vault.  If there is an afterlife, I'm hoping Striker gets to sort things out with his old man.


  1. A strong voice here, full of force and humor. I like the mix of narration and action, kind of choppy (in a good way), and together, it all plays out well.

  2. Sean, I think you've advanced another level in your writing abilities. Keep going!

    And thanks for the tip on Clarissa's critique blog by the way. Looks quite interesting.

  3. Erin- mighty kind of you to stop in and thanks for the read and comments

    Seana- thanks for the encouragemment. Clarissa's blog is really neat. Found out about via Melissa Sugar-Gold's blog. It is amazing what is out there, especially if you take the time to participate in others blogs.

  4. Very cool - I love the voice, it's so assured. And there are so many pointers to things that lie ahead. Very nicely done. (We can be a jealous lot, us writers. I wish I could write ike this!)

  5. Julie- Thanks for the visit and feedback. It's ironic that when I read your crime shorts, I am thinking, man, can she write and I have to find a way to be that good. The best thing I ever did was stop wanking around on message boards and make an effort to start meeting people like you and all the other cool writers who roll in such circles.

    If anyone is not familiar with Julie L, check out her blog and brace yourself.

  6. Morning! This chapter is exciting!
    Do you want me to critique it? Let me know at clarissadraper at gmail dot com.


  7. Clarissa- Thanks for the visit and comment. Your blog is tremendous. Yes, I would welcome and appreciate a critique. I did sign up for one on your blog and have e-mailed you as requested.