The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Not sure if you're on the right track? Post anything from character descriptions, snippets of text, or even whole chapters to get some advice.

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The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by thegreentick »

I was on a long airplane flight some time back and decided to toy with an idea for a story. I haven't done much work but I pieced together a prologue to explore some of the possibilities. Thought I'd throw it to the wolves and see what you all think. Prologue is in the spoiler.
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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by The Master »

Sounds like an interesting premise. I'm curious what you can make out of the one day every 10 years.

My one nit would be if the man is already damned, and the demon has told him so, the guy really has no reason not to take the offer. Its litterally damned if you do and damned if you don't!

At the very least I think the demon should lie to the man to make him believe that if he dies now he will go to heaven.

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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by spknoevl »

I'm not generally a fan of prologues and just recently dumped the prologue from my ongoing novel after deciding it could be incorporated into the story later on.

However, I think in your case it is necessary to set up the story. As for the premise, it certainly has a lot of possibilities and I could see you being able to take it in many different directions. I'd be interested to see what you eventually do with it.

I think your writing style is solid and to the point with little wasted prose. It sets up the scene nicely and the dialogue is realistic. My only suggestion might be to substitute some other name or description for the demon in a few of the sentences for variety. Beast or creature spring immediately to mind, but I'm sure a good thesaurus would provide other possibilities.

Please post some more chapters from your story as you develop it.

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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by Qray »

Well written and an interesting concept. It came off as very preachy to me though, as the way it reads the views of the demon sound more like the views of the writer as opposed to being specific to the demon.
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point, point and point.

Post by thegreentick »

I can see the point about the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'. The demon wants the man to pay the price for a longer life though. In that case, I don't think it would be best for the demon to hold out false hope that could foil his plans. I think I'll have to clear that up somehow.

When I wrote this, I couldn't think of a good name for the demon, so I left it out. I always have trouble with names. I'll have to think of something when I continue the story.

As far as preachy... yeah I can see that, now that it's been brought to my attention. My personal views of right and wrong, angels and demons are fairly black and white. I'll have to see if I can't view things from the other side when speaking from the demon's point of view. I HATE preachy books, so thank you for pointing that out.
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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by Qray »

Not to labor the point, but if the writer wants their views on war to show in the writing, that's all well and good. I just think that it's coming off as more overt than subtle. Some simple tweeks in a few sentences to make the feelings seem more the demon's than a blanket statement to the readers from the author would make a big difference in the way I interpret it as I read.

It's an interesting concept. I could see the demon making subtle changes to society every ten years that build on each change he makes once a decade until a century or millenium down the road a massive shift has occured. A very long game of chess.
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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by Grand Evander »

Ok, I'm a bit confused... John actually says to the demon “Everyone dies. You’re only a man." That kind of tells me that the demon... does a pretty good job of walking among mankind on his own. I don't immediately see why he needs a body, nor why he would at a whim make this sort of offer. If I was planning on contracting a human vessel, I would seek someone out who's body or position would suit me best and make them the offer of immortality. Dying or not, we're all going to die. He could get someone more influential to do his bidding. Seems like the demon went out on a real whim for me.

Also, the demon wanting to take over John to destroy countless others... he can cause wars and has killed countless people in the past I suppose. Also, your story seems to have a really religious theme going on that is really only present in the characterization of the demon. I would expect the war to be perhaps a holy force in some form to help set the tone for the demon's presence. Perhaps John sees a dove with an arrow through its chest after he accepts the deal.

Sorry to prattle but following the demon's POV doesn't, at the moment, lead to a very sympathetic character. The demon seems pretty one-dimensional. Perhaps after the prelude the story could follow John. Of course, you could be planning this anyway. Either way, adding more depth to the demon would make things more interesting. One night every ten years really only gives you time to do one thing, so to make the demon more of a presence you'd have to do quite a few time jumps or just focus on the ramifications of one or two nights perhaps.

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clarification

Post by thegreentick »

This story will be following the life of John and the price he must pay over the course of the centuries that he lives. The demon plays much more of a background role.

I do have a great deal of work to do as far as nailing down the characters and fleshing out the plot. This is all good though. The critiques are most welcome.

I must say that I'm a little surprised of the positive feedback about the writing itself, as it's been something I've had a great deal of trouble with. Good to know that all the work I've put into prose is starting to pay off.
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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by Grand Evander »

I'm just having a bit of trouble getting a hook out of this. Perhaps try adding a bit of mystery to it... like at the beginning you have the demon watching with anticipation, shifting his eyes from soldier to soldier, waiting for someone to tempt with his offer. If you show him being so intent on finding a vessel and then having him act casual when he finds a candidate, then this will certainly have readers asking what is he up to and what is the price of immortality. Right now, I'd liken him more to having the vantage point of a narrator than a character.

Just a thought...

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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by spknoevl »

I think as a prologue the scene works fine the way it is. It really is just setting up the rest of the story and the wounded soldier is going to be the main POV character, not the demon. I don't think prologues should be overly long scenes and should set up whatever storyline they are creating and end quickly.

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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by Grand Evander »

One can argue the purpose of prologues and whether they are necessary for hours (threads upon threads have been devoted to "The Prologue Debate"), but I do believe by having a prologue you have to have a hook in that prologue. That is the first thing a lot of readers are going to read after all. The writing's fine. No complaints there. Unfortunately without having more to evaluate we're reduced to critiquing the writing for the most part, since we don't really know where the story's going anyway. That said, my caveats focus more on the logic of the demon making this infernal transaction and a sense of tone and direction that seems to be a bit absent to me. We have a demon who likes to kill... sure, nothing unusual there. He wants to inhabit a body... why is John special? Nothing in the prologue suggests he's special other than he doesn't want to die... but who doesn't (for the most part). These questions don't have to be answered in the prologue but I don't get a sense of there being an answer. John doesn't do anything extraordinary in the prologue to single him out among the other hundreds (thousands) who are probably also dying. We have a war without context, a demon who seems pretty stereotypical, and a soldier who will become the main character who we don't really get a sense of, I just feel strongly drawn in.

I agree with Qray, the prose is a bit preachy and a bit overt. Perhaps consider removing some of the sentences that are colored and revealing of the demon's motives.

Ex.

"Since his fall from glory, his every moment was consumed by the need to deliver mankind’s much deserved destruction. War was the culmination of his efforts... Many of the dead now belonged to his master and the demon knew that he would be rewarded well."

Removing these sentences might get rid of some of the coloring, I think, and would also remove some redundancy since the demon reveals what he is to John in the dialogue.

"The demon walked away, another soul set on the path of destruction. This one was special though. He could use this man to destroy countless others. That was the penalty for fearing death. That was the price of immortality."

Removing this section would perhaps leave us wondering why the demon would make the deal and why with John. That makes me curious and interested in reading on.

Just some suggestions.

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Re: The Price of Immortality: Prologue

Post by The Master »

I think its up to each author to decide if each particular story benefits from a prologue. What's important is if one is included that it be done well and serve a useful purpose. Without seeing where this story goes its impossible to give any advice in that regard. In any event, at the moment the stated reason for requesting feedback is to get opinions on the concept.
why is John special? Nothing in the prologue suggests he's special other than he doesn't want to die... but who doesn't (for the most part).
This is a good question. You may want to consider having the demon be on that particular battlefield precisely because he detected John's imminent death and he wanted to try and tempt John. This would let you create stronger anticipation that the demon has a specific hidden agenda involving John.

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