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Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

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Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby isoptimus » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:20 pm

Hey everybody, I am completely new to this site, just joined today. I've been working on my first novel (written for recreational purposes only) for a few months now, and I decided to post the first chapter, get some feedback, so what I could be doing better. I am thinking of writing professionally when I'm an adult and out of school, so any constructive criticism I can get this early will be immensely helpful. I look forward to the feedback :). So without further ado, here it is.

Oh yeah, this is copied directly out of Word, so I didn't bother putting in the paragraph breaks again... seemed like a waste of time. Sorry :P

[align=center]Chapter 1[/align]

January 23, 2028, Morning Glory Launch Pad, Eastern USA

Captain James Lidstrom reminisced as he buckled, zipped, strapped, tightened, fastened, and clipped his various safety apparati, securing himself in the large captain’s chair of the Colonization Vessel Morning Glory. The straps were so tight that his breath came in short, staggered bursts (then again, that may also have been due to his agonizingly nervous state, which had caused him to prematurely fill his plastic emergency waste bag with that unappetizing ham sandwich, about 10 minutes before scheduled launch).
He remembered NASA’s head of Mars Colonization, Gordon Johnson, showing him the blueprints to the Colonization Class Vessel (CCV), more than five years previously. It was a radical design, with many components and “decks”, to use the term loosely, all rotating within a gargantuan shell of metal plating. He remembered how he had stood, jaw slack, eyes wide, staring at the dimensions of the massive shuttle as his aging superior had said in a southern drawl, “Son, this is it. This is the future of the human race.” Those words had stuck with him through his training, through the tense waiting, while relations between the US and China became more and more strained; as he thought back on those two simple sentences he felt calm wash over him.
I am bringing hope, he told himself. I am bringing a chance to humanity. Then out loud, “Computer, scan the ship, check for any anomalies.” He waited several seconds while the computer checked his harness, as well as those of his crew, and moved on to other areas of the ship.
“5.397 seconds is below expected scan time,” the shuttle’s computer said, mostly to itself. “There was an issue with one of the air locks in the habitat, but it has been resolved. All systems are now green, commencing countdown on your mark.” The electronic voices of the NASA onboard computers had always seemed chilling and frighteningly robotic to James, but he shrugged the feeling away, trying as hard as he could not to let anything cloud his mind. This was the defining moment in his life. He drew a sharp breath. His heart pounded the inside of his ribs like a prisoner pounding on the bars of his cell, furiously pumping blood through his body, flushing his skin.
“Commence countdown.”
“30.” As the digit was uttered from the com speaker in the sterile, female voice, James felt his heart ram its way into his throat, contending with his stomach contents to see which could leave through his mouth first. His attention was quite abruptly torn from the sickening sensation by a pair of slim yet masculine hands firmly gripping his shoulders.
“Haha, here we go! Can you believe it, James? We’re makin’ history right now!” It was Charlie, bouncing around like a kid on Christmas, out of his seat, directly violating launch protocol. James wheeled about in his chair, glaring at the youngest member of the bridge crew, but he was so nervous, he came off as much less intimidating than he had hoped to be. Still, he retained a controlled, deep, imposing voice as he spoke.
“Get in your seat Chuck.” The young man was visibly exasperated by the nickname. “ I don’t know how the computer didn’t catch that...” He drifted off, a bit alarmed by the smirk growing on Charlie’s face.
“C’mon old man,” the recruit said, smirking even more at the annoyance on his captain’s face, “These onboard computers are a cinch to hack, if you know the right people.” He winked at Ike, who sat across the bridge, on James’ right. James wheeled to face him. Ike looked back and forth at the two of them, realizing what his peer had said.
“That’s a lie, Charlie,” Ike complained, his dark wavy hair ruffling as his head snapped to face his crewmate. He turned to James. “Sir, I didn’t show him how, honestly. I have nothing but the utmost respect for protocol.”
James sighed irritably, and turned back to Charlie. “Get in your seat, strap yourself in, and both of you shut up.”
“1,” came the monotone voice of the computer. James froze, his heart leaping up through his chest once again. “*beep*,” he murmured to himself, a new wave of sweat drenching his newly pressed and laundered captain’s uniform. Immediately he was enveloped in the numbness of antigravity. It felt like being pushed without being pushed, like movement without movement. It was impossible to describe. But he knew that they were indeed ascending when he gazed out the bridge viewport, at the rapidly passing wisps of cloud and smoke. As he looked through the viewport, he noticed on it his reflection staring back at him. He couldn’t believe how old he looked. His dark, orange-red hair was flecked with gray, and wrinkles creased his face like canyons running through a cracked, dry desert.
“If it helps,” Ike said, with no intention of horrifying James, which is what happened, “we are most likely to experience a fatal error while still in the atmosphere, so if you think about it, we’re almost home free.” He gave an innocent smile as the captain looked desperately back at him.
“I appreciate the thought, but that doesn’t help.” He felt a squeeze on his arm. He looked to the chair next to him, at his lieutenant Sandy, who was the source of the hand that held his bicep.
“Hey,” she said in a sweet, surprisingly relaxing voice, “we’re gonna be fine.” She smiled her prettiest smile at him, and he smiled back. She could always put him in a better mood.
James refocused his attention. “Kelly,” he shouted to a spot at the side of the bridge where an array of computer monitors and other complicated looking displayed were arranged in a semi-circle around another chair, in which sat a pretty young woman. Kelly looked at the captain, her piercing blue eyes set in an expectant gaze. “How’s the weapons check going?” He inquired, while double checking all of his harnesses.
“Long over,” she grinned, sweeping bangs out of her eyes, “All systems green, ready for anything the Chinese might throw at us.” Although she kept up a cheerful demeanour, she quietly hated the thought of having to engage another human being, to kill. It was ironic, she thought, that she was disposed of a natural talent for the control of weapons systems, and had been working in that field since she left school. Her last name, Luck, truly fit her. She had seen too many battles in her life, and lost too few.
James was methodically checking in with everyone on the bridge. One more to go.
“Captain, bioscans show no abnormalities, the whole crew is in prime condition.” The physician, Chelsea, having just swivelled to face him, adopted an aggravated look. “Although I see you didn’t feel the need to make sure there were no deadly viruses on the ship before you hurled us into space.” She indicated the clouds moving even more quickly downward outside the viewport and smiled a sarcastic smile.
James smiled mischievously back. “Glad to see you’re well, too, Ms. Marshall.”

* * *

There was deep, rolling rumble that shook the whole crew to their bones as red lights began flashing, and a siren whined rhythmically. “Impact!” Kelly shouted in a panicked squeal, “Starboard stern!” Blast shields drew shut over the viewports and a screen showing their surroundings through a mounted camera appeared inside the sheets of metal that blocked them from harm. Kelly spun her chair back and forth, tapping commands into various keypads.
“I want a visual on the secondary screen!” James shouted across to her, his skin creasing as his expression shifted rapidly to a scowl. An image appeared just above the main viewport, showing smoke rising from the skin of the shuttle, near the thrusters at the rear of the vessel. Kelly sighed, relieved.
“No internal damage, the external layers diverted all of the impact.” Her eyes moved hurriedly over the readings scrolling down the various monitors she watched. “Sir! Chinese Fighters coming up on us from the east,” she glanced at a small screen next to her. “They’re firing on us!”
“Return fire!” after waiting 2 seconds, too long, without a response, he looked over at her. Her eyes were wide, her mouth open. “I said return fire! Now!”
“Oh god...” she was afraid of what she was seeing, too afraid even to follow an order. More rumbling, as the ship was peppered with several more explosives. “Sir...” She whispered, unable to muster a stronger voice. Her lip was beginning to quiver. “N...nuke... they’ve launched a nuke.” For a minute, the captain just stared.
“Damn it!” he sputtered, “Computer, evasive roll!”
“Yes, sir,” the chilling voice responded. He felt a slight pull in one direction, then the antigrav thrusters started up in earnest, and he was righted. The whole bridge fell silent, save for the incessant whine of the warning signals. They watched, tension building to unbearable levels as the warhead grew steadily larger on the main screen. No one dared breathe, as if to save the breath if it was to be their last.
Kelly was the only one to make a sound. “10 kilometres and closing, sir,” she muttered.
They were at the half-way point in the roll, and if the viewport were open, it would be revealing a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic. The WMD took up nearly the entire screen. Trajectories on Kelly’s computers showed that the nuke would hit the ship on the far port side. Kelly hoped against hope that the computers were wrong.
“5 kilometres.”
They saw nothing but the nuke, ripping through the air to meet them, and tear them all atom from atom until they were nothing but incinerated particles hanging in the air.
“1 k, it’s right on top of us!” Kelly finally managed to raise her voice, but it came out choked with tears.
The main screen filled with the light of the missile’s thrusters, and they all winced and shielded their eyes.
The air around them was deathly still. Even the computer seemed to recognize the graveness of the situation, as the constant warning lights and sirens were no longer abusing the crew’s senses. It was eerily quiet on the bridge of the Morning Glory. They dared to snatch a glimpse of the viewscreen. What it showed was the projectile rocketing off into the distance, no more harmful to them than a fly to a blue whale.
A unanimous sigh was released, followed by cheering, and a standing ovation for the manoeuvring skills of the computer, that lasted several minutes, some of the happiest moments of any of their lives. After the clapping and cheering and whooping subsided, James held up a hand.
“My friends,” he said, pausing there, “my crew,” he paused once more. “We have overcome this ever-so-slight bump in the road (a few snickers from his audience), and are now on our way,” he added his most dramatic pause yet, grinning ear to ear, “...To Mars!” There was thunderous cheering from his crew, and they all spent the next while laughing and chatting nervously about their near death experience, as the purple and orange sky of the crisp winter morning faded to the cold black of space, and the oxygen rich atmosphere peeled back around them until there was nothing but the deep emptiness of the vacuum.
Last edited by isoptimus on Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby Bmat » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:01 am

The chapter opening catches the attention of the reader, although the filling of the emergency waste bag isn't the most pleasant visual. :)

I would have thought that the captain would be someone chosen for bravery, sense of adventure, and so forth. The captain here is sweating and vomiting, agonizingly nervous, so much that the crew member seated beside him notices. So it would seem that the captain that you are designing is a sensitive and emotional person since he was so amazed by the idea of the ship, and he is so tense that he has physical repercussions. He is brave because he is there on this mission. He cares about the future of the human race.

"“Although I see you didn’t feel the need to make sure there were no deadly viruses on the ship before you hurled us into space.” This slowed my reading down, mainly because it would seem that one would make sure about deadly viruses, so I was confused, unless she is speaking metaphorically, but if this is the case then she might have rolled her eyes in the direction of the "virus" that she meant.

It is surprising that members of the crew would be so unprofessional. Buckling up during the pre-takeoff check would be a natural activity, along with performing their own duties. So this seemed to be an anomaly. As I was reading I thought why is this person, the one walking around during pre-launch, even on this very serious and very important mission. Perhaps the reason for this should be mentioned briefly.

The incident with the attack was very effective at engaging the reader's attention.

You have a good start here. Your descriptions work well. Good work!
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby isoptimus » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:04 pm

Thanks for all that! I'm glad to get some constructive criticism. I see what you mean, and I'll go back and do some editing. Thanks a lot :)
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby isoptimus » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:24 pm

Here we go, a quickly edited version. I took the advice about the characters to heart, my dialogue and character behaviour is going to be better from now on :). I think I had quite a naive view of the characters, but realized now that they need to be (if only just a little) more mature. This new version's dialogue is quite heavily edited, but aside from that not much else is.

[align=center]Chapter 1[/align]
January 23, 2028, Morning Glory Launch Pad, Eastern USA
Captain James Lidstrom reminisced as he buckled, zipped, strapped, tightened, fastened, and clipped his various safety apparati, securing himself in the large captain’s chair of the Colonization Vessel Morning Glory. The straps were so tight that his breath came in short, staggered bursts.

He remembered NASA’s head of Mars Colonization, Gordon Johnson, showing him the blueprints to the Colonization Class Vessel (CCV), more than five years previously. It was a radical design, with many components and “decks”, to use the term loosely, all rotating within a gargantuan shell of metal plating. He remembered how he had stood, eyes wide, staring at the dimensions of the massive shuttle as his aging superior had said in a southern drawl, “Son, this is it. This is the future of the human race.” Those words had stuck with him through his training, through the tense waiting, while relations between the US and China became more and more strained; as he thought back on those two simple sentences he felt calm wash over him.

I am bringing hope, he told himself. I am bringing a chance to humanity. Then out loud, “Computer, scan the ship, check for any anomalies.” He waited several seconds while the computer checked his harness, as well as those of his crew, and moved on to other areas of the ship.

“5.397 seconds is above expected scan time,” the shuttle’s computer said, mostly to itself. “There was an issue with one of the air locks in the habitat, but it has been resolved. All systems are now green, commencing countdown on your mark.” The electronic voices of the NASA onboard computers had always seemed chilling and frighteningly robotic to James, but he shrugged the feeling away, trying as hard as he could not to let anything cloud his mind. This was the defining moment in his life. He drew a sharp breath. His heart pounded the inside of his ribs like a prisoner pounding on the bars of his cell, furiously pumping blood through his body, flushing his skin. But he remained calm.

“Commence countdown.”

“30.” As the digit was uttered from the com speaker in the sterile, female voice, James felt his heart ram its way into his throat, yet still he did not show any signs of weakness; his crew need him to be strong. His attention was quite abruptly torn from the sensation by a loud voice grasping his attention from the left.

“Haha, here we go! Can you believe it, James? We’re makin’ history right now!” It was Charlie, evidently excited, barely able to maintain his composure and tend to his pre-launch duties. James wheeled about in his chair, glaring at the youngest member of the bridge crew, giving the man his controlled, deep, imposing “you don’t want to annoy me right now” voice.

“Get to work Chuck.” The young man was visibly exasperated by the nickname. “I don’t know how you got on this ship....” He drifted off, allowing Charlie to say what he obviously wanted to say.

“C’mon old man, you know why.” the recruit said, smirking gleefully at the annoyance on his captain’s face, “My bro over there taught me everything he knows, and you need good technicians.” He winked at Ike, who sat across the bridge, on James’ right. James wheeled to face him. Ike looked up at James.

“I’m just as annoyed as you are, sir, but give the kid a chance, he’s bright.” Ike said, his dark wavy hair ruffling as he gave his brother a quick grin. He turned back to James, who looked dubious. “Sir, with all due respect I know my brother better than you. He can handle this situation.”

James sighed irritably, and turned back to Charlie. “Get back to work, both of you.”

“1,” came the monotone voice of the computer. James froze, his heart leaping up through his chest once again. He exhaled deeply, calming himself; sweat began to trickle down his newly pressed and laundered captain’s uniform. “Lift off.” Immediately Captain Lidstrom was enveloped in the numbness of antigravity. It felt like being pushed without being pushed, like movement without movement. It was impossible to describe. But he knew that they were indeed ascending when he gazed out the bridge viewport, at the rapidly passing wisps of cloud and smoke. As he looked through the viewport, he noticed on it his reflection staring back at him. He couldn’t believe how old he looked. His dark, orange-red hair was flecked with gray, and wrinkles creased his face like canyons running through a cracked, dry desert.

“If it helps,” Ike said, with no intention of rattling James, which is what happened, “we are most likely to experience a fatal error while still in the atmosphere, so if you think about it, we’re almost home free.” He gave an innocent smile as the captain continued to gaze out the main viewport with a determined glare.

“I appreciate the thought.” He left it at that. He had no great desire for excessive dialogue at this intense moment. He looked to the chair next to him, at his lieutenant Sandy, who was checking over her monitors systematically. She glanced at him, and noticed the look on his face.

“Hey,” she said in a sweet, surprisingly relaxing voice, “we’re gonna be fine.” She smiled her prettiest smile at him, and he smiled back. She could always put him in a better mood.

“I know,” he said. James refocused his attention. “Kelly,” he shouted to a spot at the side of the bridge where an array of computer monitors and other complicated looking displayed were arranged in a semi-circle around another chair, in which sat a pretty young woman. Kelly looked at the captain, her piercing blue eyes set in an expectant gaze. “How’s the weapons check going?” He inquired, while double checking all of his harnesses.

“Long over,” she grinned, sweeping bangs out of her eyes, “All systems green, ready for anything the Chinese might throw at us.” Although she kept up a cheerful demeanour, she quietly hated the thought of having to engage another human being, to kill. It was ironic, she thought, that she was disposed of a natural talent for the control of weapons systems, and had been working in that field since she left school. Her last name, Luck, truly fit her. She had seen too many battles in her life, and lost too few.

James was methodically checking in with everyone on the bridge. One more to go.

“Captain, bioscans show no abnormalities, the whole crew is in prime condition.” The physician, Chelsea, having just swivelled to face him, adopted an aggravated look. “Although I see you didn’t feel the need to do any sort of medical checks before you hurled us into space.” She indicated the clouds moving even more quickly downward outside the viewport. “Too busy ensuring that if we die, we die securely in our seats, I suppose,” she added with a sarcastic smile.
James smiled mischievously back. “Glad to see you’re well, too, Ms. Marshall.”


* * *


There was deep, rolling rumble that shook the whole crew to their bones as red lights began flashing, and a siren whined rhythmically. “Impact!” Kelly shouted in a panicked squeal, “Starboard stern!” Blast shields drew shut over the viewports and a screen showing their surroundings through a mounted camera appeared inside the sheets of metal that blocked them from harm. Kelly spun her chair back and forth, tapping commands into various keypads.

“I want a visual on the secondary screen!” James shouted across to her, his skin creasing as his expression shifted rapidly to a scowl. An image appeared just above the main viewport, showing smoke rising from the skin of the shuttle, near the thrusters at the rear of the vessel. Kelly sighed, relieved.

“No internal damage, the external layers diverted all of the impact.” Her eyes moved hurriedly over the readings scrolling down the various monitors she watched. “Sir! Chinese Fighters coming up on us from the east,” she glanced at a small screen next to her. “They’re firing on us!”

“Return fire!” after waiting 2 seconds, too long, without a response, he looked over at her. Her eyes were wide, her mouth open. “I said return fire! Now!”

“Oh god...” she was afraid of what she was seeing, too afraid even to follow an order. More rumbling, as the ship was peppered with several more explosives. “Sir...” She whispered, unable to muster a stronger voice. Her lip was beginning to quiver. “N...nuke... they’ve launched a nuke.” For a minute, the captain just stared.

“Damn it!” he sputtered, “Computer, evasive roll!”

“Yes, sir,” the chilling voice responded. He felt a slight pull in one direction, then the antigrav thrusters started up in earnest, and he was righted. The whole bridge fell silent, save for the incessant whine of the warning signals. They watched, tension building to unbearable levels as the warhead grew steadily larger on the main screen. No one dared breathe, as if to save the breath if it was to be their last.

Kelly was the only one to make a sound. “10 kilometres and closing, sir,” she muttered.

They were at the half-way point in the roll, and if the viewport were open, it would be revealing a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic. The WMD took up nearly the entire screen. Trajectories on Kelly’s computers showed that the nuke would hit the ship on the far port side. Kelly hoped against hope that the computers were wrong.

“5 kilometres.”

They saw nothing but the nuke, ripping through the air to meet them, and tear them all atom from atom until they were nothing but incinerated particles hanging in the air.

“1 k, it’s right on top of us!” Kelly finally managed to raise her voice, but it came out choked with tears.

The main screen filled with the light of the missile’s thrusters, and they all winced and shielded their eyes.

The air around them was deathly still. Even the computer seemed to recognize the graveness of the situation, as the constant warning lights and sirens were no longer abusing the crew’s senses. It was eerily quiet on the bridge of the Morning Glory. They dared to snatch a glimpse of the viewscreen. What it showed was the projectile rocketing off into the distance, no more harmful to them than a fly to a blue whale.

A unanimous sigh was released, followed by cheering, and a standing ovation for the manoeuvring skills of the computer, that lasted several minutes, some of the happiest moments of any of their lives. After the clapping and cheering and whooping subsided, James held up a hand.

“My friends,” he said, pausing there, “my crew,” he paused once more. “We have overcome this ever-so-slight bump in the road (a few snickers from his audience), and are now on our way,” he added his most dramatic pause yet, grinning ear to ear, “...To Mars!” There was thunderous cheering from his crew, and they all spent the next while laughing and chatting nervously about their near death experience, as the purple and orange sky of the crisp winter morning faded to the cold black of space, and the oxygen rich atmosphere peeled back around them until there was nothing but the deep emptiness of the vacuum.
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby Bmat » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:04 pm

The new version reads more comfortably. I wonder if you should have the captain pointedly address his crew formally while they are on a tricky part of the journey and when their minds should be on their jobs not on personalities.

I don't understand about the medical checks, sorry. The captain wheeling about to see his crew, is there another way to say this that doesn't make the reader wonder if the seats are on wheels? or the restraints loose enough to allow a lot of body motion?

I like this stronger version of the captain.
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby isoptimus » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:55 pm

Thanks again for the critique, I'll keep working on it :).
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby The Blind Guardian » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:49 pm

Hi Optimus,

I made comments after reading the first draft of this, but I think most of them will still apply. I really am glad you put paragraph differentiation in for the second draft though.

I think you have a pretty good first chapter. It gets right into the thick of things, and certainly kept me interested. My only concern is that I honestly had little idea what the story was about. I understand that this crew is on its way to Mars on a newly developed transport (with weapons, thankfully.) I understand that there’s something unpleasant going on between the US ad China. I don’t know a whole lot more than that except that the Chinese are willing to launch nukes at colonist vessels. You’ve got a good first draft here however. I’d suggest beginning your story a bit further back. Give us a bit of an exposition. Or maybe simply turn that reminiscence into a full flashback. No need to give us the whole story at once of course, but a little direction wouldn’t hurt.

I have to agree with all of the comments posted so far, though I definately liked your captain's vulnerability.

Below you’ll find a list of my critiques. I hope you find this all helpful.

 I like the bit about the ham sandwich, but I’m not sure about the brackets surrounding it. Whenever possible I think it’s good to work such asides into the story. Keep it, but see if you can’t put it into the flow of the paragraph.
 “…agonizingly nervous state, which had caused him to prematurely …” Take out agonizingly. It’s a word that you don’t need.
 “James felt his heart ram its way into his throat, contending with his stomach contents…” Didn’t he just spew a sandwich’s worth of sick all over the inside of his helmet?”
 “His attention was quite abruptly” Remove “quite”
 “Slender yet masculine hands” Take out “yet”
 (I don’t know how the computer didn’t catch that)” What’s this? It seems a little out of place and really threw me off.
 Is the computer an artificial intelligence, or just simply a talking computer? I know sci-fi uses this a lot, but I always find myself wondering why. There’s nothing wrong with a talking computer. I love them.
 Some of your descriptions are quite vivid, and your similes (while a few clichés are present) are well-implimented. I especially like the one about the wrinkles looking like cracks in a desert. I’m not sure if canyons is the right word for that though.
 “with no intention of horrifying James, which is what happened,” You don’t need that line. Show us, don’t tell us. It’s hard to determine when best to “tell” rather than show, but it’s smething to work on.
 “She smiled her prettiest smile at him, and he smiled back.” I recommend taking out the bit about “surprisingly relaxing” instead when she smiles at him h could “he felt himself relax” then go with the next line. It flows much better, and you lose nothing.
 The little paragraph in which you change perspectives from James to Kelly is really jarring. You’ve stayed with him this entire time, I’d stick with him for the rest. I love to get into the heads of my characters too, and this is some good personality, but try to fit it in where it’s more relevant. I’d take it out entirely for now and work it into a conversation, but if you’re bent on keeping it, see if you can fit it in to James’s perspective.
 “James was methodically checking in with everyone on the bridge. One more to go.” You don’t need this. We know he’s checking in with everyone. He can turn away and smile, then you can have the “one more to go” to bridge between Kelly and Chelsea, or you can just have her cut in. (I like how you have a nice balance between male and female crew members.)
 I’m not sure the transition between scenes works. It seems very abrupt. I’d recommend making it a part of the same scene (the *** represent a jump in time) or have a bit more of a conclusion before the next scene starts.
 “There was deep, rolling rumble that shook the whole crew to their bones”. You need an “there was a deep”. I’d actually recommend changing it to “A deep, rolling rumble shook the crew to their bones” though that’s a bit of a cliché. Be very careful with your tenses, make sure you don’t stray between past and present, and active and passive. The active and passive is difficult.
 Your first sentence in section 2 is really long. Trybreaking it up into shorter sentences. It will give them more punch. This is an attack! It’s somewhat hectic.
 “She was afraid of what she was seeing…” Again with the jump in perspectives. You don’t need it. You’ve shown us she’s scared. You could make it more apparent if you like, but it’s fine as is.
 ““10 kilometres and closing, sir,” she muttered.” I’d change “muttered” to something else. Choked, gasped, whispered, squeeked…
 I like the fly and blue whale reference.
 I’m not sure about the chapter’s ending. I’d imagine they’d be a little more stunned by the narrow escape. I’m getting the sense that they’re all a little green. The captain for certain seems to be pretty new at all this (which begs the question how he managed to secure the position).
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby isoptimus » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:58 pm

Thanks a lot =D. I actually was planning on a prologue, setting out the back story. But when I started this project, I felt like writing something a little more action oriented, so I skipped the prologue and began writing the first chapter.
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby The Blind Guardian » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:05 pm

That makes sense. For the sake of your readers and your own understanding, it might be good to flesh it out a bit in the future. Either a prologue or expanded chapter would likely do that.
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby Ariel » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:09 pm

isoptomist, I love your story and it leaves me wanting to hear more.
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Re: Morning Glory, Chapter One (My first novel)

Postby TheBlueBrewer » Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:13 am

Great first story! I am usually not much of a Scifi fan, but if a stroy is well written I will usually enjoy it. You have your grammar and punctuation down pat, and a lot of folks have given you some great comments on story flow. I do have a couple of observations though. During your action / stress sequences I feel that everytime you stop the action to decribe the crews' reactions you lose tension. I would suggest using shorter sentences such as:

1 k, it’s right on top of us!” Kelly finally managed to raise her voice, but it came out choked with tears.

to

1 k, it’s right on top of us!” Kelly managed, voice choked with tears.

Shorter sentences, even sentences with only one or two words are huge tension builders. In a way it creates a sort of slow-mo effect where everything is enhanced. If you break tension with an observation or description you have to build it back up causing kind of a roller coaster effect.

My other comment would be about the nuke itself.

"They saw nothing but the nuke, ripping through the air to meet them, and tear them all atom from atom until they were nothing but incinerated particles hanging in the air."

By your description of viewing the sunrise over the atlantic I am guessing that they are already out of the atmosphere, so the line "ripping through the air" is out of place. If they are still in the earth's atmosphere, and the ship performed a roll (effectively changing their course and reducing thrust) they probabally wouldn't be able to achevie enough velocity to escape the earth's gravity. Not to mention that the nuke is still in the atmosphere and now on a collision course for some target on the earth's surface.

One more thought. A nuke is a pretty big, slow moving target. Why were they unable to shoot it down...the ship seems pretty sophisticated.

Outside of that everything looks great!
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