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Old 09-23-2016, 02:33 PM
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Default The Reapers

Author's Note
This is a little thing that's been bouncing around in my mind for awhile now. It's nothing serious, but i thought i'd put it here just in case anyone's interested. I'm also posting it on my subreddit, so if that's more convenient, check it out there too. (There's an RSS feed there.) As always, comments and critique are not only permitted but desired; most of the people who read my writing are ESL, so i don't get my writing torn into very often. If you have any thoughts at all, please don't hold back or hesitate!
Prologue: Trouble In Little Otterton

There had been a jailbreak nearby, and so the residents of Hackles Way on Little Otterton were without exception shut up in their little smoking cottages by the time the sun had set these days. It was only minutes thereafter that their drapes would be drawn, their lights extinguished, and their covers filled, for the wind carried that chilly apathy that always preceded tragedy. It was on such a closed night that an astute observer might have been surprised by the presence of a man on the street, his tall, thin figure cloaked in all black, with shoulder-length black hair which glowed in the night like the moon. Surely anyone foolish enough to have peered out the window would be highly alarmed by the man's presence, but this was circumvented for several reasons. The first of these was that there was simply no one with the nerve to creep from their beds during this, the witching hour, for surely even the slightest creak of the floorboard would alert some creeping killer to their presence, and that would be the end of it. Perhaps more profoundly was that the man could not be seen at all; he did not have to fear the scrutiny of a dozen fearful eyes as he fished a golden watch from his pocket, and glanced at it with a sigh, slipping it back from where he had taken it and embarking at a brisk pace. The poor, frightened denizens of Little Otterton need not have feared the man, even if they could have seen him; he was not, after all, there to kill, or injure. He was simply there to reap.

There was another man in the town, surprisingly enough, by the name of Adam Gent. Draped in the very same black hangings as the first man had been (though they were less intimidating on his squat, chubby body), he seemed to be on some sort of tight schedule. His cloak bit at his heels as he paced the shadowy street, not so much as a single lamppost illuminating his presence. Unlike the first man, his hair was a bright blond which fell to his shoulders, and the first man's staunch, erect stance was replaced with a bouncy, playful one. "Silly people," he muttered to himself as he jangled loose change in his pocket absent-mindedly. "So afraid of the dark, and yet too lazy to turn on the light..."

The two men convened at a street corner. Gent looked up and met the other man's gaze pleasantly. "Ah, Fletcher, right on time, i see. How good of you." He offered a pleasant grin, which Fletcher returned with a look of utmost loathing; Gent's grin melted into an uneasy grimace as he said, looking more at Fletcher's feet than his face, "Well, very good. Let's get to it, shall we? We'll have our hands quite full by the end of the night, you mark my words..." Fletcher grunted indistinctly, and they resumed their walk together.

There were no words exchanged, and indeed little sound at all save for the ceaseless clamour of Gent's loose change bouncing in his pocket, and the severe clacks of shoe on pavement. At length, they came to stop in front of a little house near the end of Hackles Way, which stood between two others of equal size and make, looking rather quaint. It was surrounded on the sides and back with pleasantly-trimmed hedges, and the garden was dotted with tastefully-placed hydrangeas, which framed a stone pathway up to the red front door. They did not tread onto the path and up to the door, however; it was not their job to enter the house yet, nor was it their job to stop the man who was now scurrying through the garage and picking at the secondary door's lock. They watched him distastefully, but remained silent and still for awhile as he worked on the door's lock tirelessly.

"It's a shame, really," said Gent after the silence was too much to bear. "It makes a man rather curious, what he's got to gain from slaying an innocent family in their home like this... He'll just be sent back to prison, won't he? It's rather difficult for me to remember all their damned laws on top of our own, but..." He trailed off, his mouth tasting rather bitter as the door at last swung open and the man scampered inside. "Perhaps he's got some sort of vendetta against them, eh? I suspect this man came from Little Otterton himself, i'm willing to bet the man of this house was the one responsible for sending him to prison, i'm quite sure of it—"

"Enough," said Fletcher, his eyelids fluttering in annoyance. "If you are so interested in the affairs of Little Otterton, you may ask Wheatley when we return, but your inane sputtering is lost on me." Offended, Gent said nothing more, though he continued to grumble to himself something about "mere speculation" and "sour attitude." Unaffected, Fletcher spared his pocket watch another glance, and looked satisfied as he stowed it back away.

There was the sound of commotion from within the house, even audible from without; Gent gave Fletcher an imperative look which was not met, and they wordlessly traipsed up to the front door and walked into the house, gliding up the stairs. The man who had broken in had apparently not been as subtle as he might have hoped; the owner of the house, a rather attractive man of about forty with caramel-brown hair and a chiselled jaw, was standing in the doorway with his fists raised, not seeming to care that his brawn would not stand a chance against the invader's knife. They stood in the hallway, watching this through the open door; Gent took a seat and crossed his legs, feeling uneasy, but Fletcher remained standing with his hands behind his back, his eyes fixed on a particular point on the wall.

"For the final time," spoke the caramel-haired man, anger leaking into his forced tone of calmness, "go. It doesn't have to be like this, George, you really ought to be in prison right now, and you know if i call the police you'll in for life and you and i both—"

"Shaddap!" George cried, lunging forward with his knife. The man jumped backwards, evading it. "I'm in fer life no matter what... Yeh don't understand, the beatings, the labour, yeh did this ter me, i'm ruined forever, and now i'm gorna do yeh in right fer it!"

Gent, enthralled by the drama that was unfolding, gave Fletcher a very self-righteous look of i-told-you-so, but Fletcher said nothing, though the corners of his mouth twitched slightly. Satisfied, Gent extracted a shred of paper from his pocket, and from the hasty scribbles on it, identified the man with caramel hair as "Roger Wilkinson."

"George, please," said Roger, apparently shaken by the realness of the threat after having dodged a stab. "We can talk this out, let's be reasonable! I'll... i'll help you get away, you don't have to go back, just... Leave my family out of it, please, George, they need me—"

George shook his head as though the words were physically harming him, and Gent thought might have seen tears streaming from his eyes, but after a few moments, it didn't matter; he slashed out with his blade a final time, and then Roger was stumbling backward, clutching at his throat, choking as it poured with blood—

And then he fell to the ground, defeated. George made a squeaking sound, but he was unable to see the version of his victim that stood up, looking very offended. There were now two instances of the man: one lying on the ground, blood pouring from his open throat; and another, standing on top of the cadaver without crushing it, somehow, looking wholly unharmed. This second, living edition was suddenly quite aware of the two cloaked men sitting outside of his bedroom, and he gave an almighty gasp. "And you brought friends with you!" he cried. "Well, i've given you ample opportunity, George, here goes—" Seemingly unaware that he had just been stabbed in the throat a few moments prior, Roger threw a punch, which collided with George's face soundlessly. George did not seem to notice at all, but Roger withdrew his hand with a yelp, as though he had just struck steel; then he looked down at his own body with an expression of utter befuddlement as George snuck over to the man's wife, who was lying in bed peacefully.

Roger looked quite torn between his own dead body and the living one of his wife; he spared a desparate glance at Gent and Fletcher, and Gent said simply, "You're dead, mate." Looking frantic, he turned his head and shouted, "Elisabeth, wake up!" but she did not hear him, of course, having slept through the initial commotion; moments later, there was a knife in her throat, too, and then a second Elisabeth sprung from her leaking corpse, entirely whole. She shrieked immediately, and scurried away from George, who was none the wiser; then she laid eyes on her own body, looked at her husband standing on his own cadaver, and then fainted.

Fletcher gave a heavy sigh and walked forward into the room, beckoning for Gent to follow (and he did). Roger looked quite alarmed, and threatened to lunge out at what he clearly considered to be George's accomplices, but Fletcher continued striding forward until he stood perhaps a metre from the heaving Roger, not meeting his eyes. Then he looked down haughtily; being quite tall, he was able to maintain a sneering, condescending air. He cleared his throat, and then said mechanically and rotely, "Good evening. My name is Orphneus Fletcher, and i am here to regretfully inform you with my utmost condolensces that you have died." Contrary to his words, Gent rather thought that Fletcher did not sound very regretful at all, and that he, Gent, could have done far better, but he did not speak up. To interrupt or otherwise anger Fletcher was a very foolish thing indeed, he had learnt over the years. "It is my duty and privilege to serve as your guide into the afterlife." He unenthusastically slipped a pale, bony hand into his jacket and fished out what appeared to be a very large pearl, which glowed pleasantly in the night. Gent recognised the device immediately; it was a Ferry. He raised an eyebrow at the notion; Fletcher appeared to have forgotten, or not noticed, that Elisabeth was unconscious.

Roger was looking very confused, though there was a pinprick of dawning in his expression as he reached out for the sphere, but Fletcher yanked it from his grasp reproachfully. "I advise against taking the Ferry at this time," said Fletcher when Roger opened his mouth in protest, Elisabeth's status apparently dawning on him. "It is likely that, should you embark alone, you will never see your wife again. I suggest that we wait for her to awaken before setting off." Roger did not pay any mind as George slipped out the window somewhat clumsily, neither did he seem outright disgusted at the presence of his own cadaver, though he kept his eyes firmly off it, or else looked at it with a touch of understandable revulsion.

There was a very loud, sickening crunch from outside the window. Fletcher's callous expression did not change, but Gent rose from his seat in concern, and Roger followed him to the window.

George's body lay crumpled on the ground, limbs bent at sickening, unnatural angles; a second George was standing just at its side, staring at what had once been his body with an expression of fear and confusion discernable even in the darkness of the night. "Bloody 'ell!" he cried. Roger's eyes widened, but Gent turned back to Fletcher and said, "George has fallen off the roof. Right muppet, him."

Fletcher rolled his eyes. "Well, go get him, then," he demanded, tucking the Ferry back into his pocket. "Bring him back up here; we may as well take him in with Roger and Elisabeth. How inconvenient, this wasn't in the orders... Odd indeed." Gent nodded and fetched George, who came with some difficulty; Roger turned to sitting on his bed between his wife's cadaver and her unconscious form, eyeing his murderer resentfully, when at last Elisabeth awoke.

"Wh-What... Roger, i've had the strangest dream, you won't be—"

"We're dead, dear," he said calmly, and Elisabeth burst into tears. He patted her back consolingly, looking disapprovingly at George, who markedly looked away.

"I knew it," Elisabeth sobbed, her face buried in Roger's shoulder, her voice thus muffled. "I thought— perhaps— but... Oh, George!" she cried, and then she descended into a series of decreasingly coherent sobs and pleads. Gent looked at her unfortunately, but Fletcher, who appeared not to have taken in the full gravity of the situation, simply began rattling off again, "Good evening. My name is Orphneus Fletcher, and i am here to regretfully inform you—"

"Oh, to hell with it!" Gent cried, red in the face. Fletcher opened his mouth, no doubt for a scathing response, but Gent just shoved his hand into the man's pocket and withdrew the Ferry, holding it out. "Come on, the lot of you, put your hands on it... Yes, that's good... We'll explain it later, for now just trust me, it'll be all right..." He turned his face toward an unimpressed and mildly offended Fletcher and shot him his nastiest of glares. "Really, Fletcher, how tactless, they've just died."

"Everyone dies," Fletcher said, unconcerned. Gent gave a heavy sigh and turned back to the three recently-diseased, who were all touching the Ferry somewhat superciliously; Elisabeth's face was blotchy, her gaze distant, and Roger was glaring at vacant-looking George, who was suddenly very interested in a bird that had perched outside the window.

"All right," said Gent, and as abruptly as they had appeared, Fletcher and Gent disappeared with a sharp sucking noise, the three deadmen vanishing with them, and a pair of bodies was left in the room to rot, a third one to fester on the pavement below. The investigations that washed over Little Otterton the following morning were like nothing the little town had ever seen, though they were largely haphazard; the case practically presented itself, given that the perpetrator's body was found clutching a bloody knife. Very sympathetic and understanding, the denizens of Hackles Way were inwardly glad, in a twisted, perverse sense, that it had not been them— they gave their witness reports to the investigators gladly, but not one of these involved a pearly white sphere, a pair of men cloaked all in black, or the giant shadowy creature that had lain atop the Wilkinson family's roof all the while, spectating silently before taking off into the night.
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Last edited by Nira; 09-28-2016 at 07:13 PM. Reason: thanks, negrek!
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Old 09-26-2016, 06:48 AM
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Comments and critique I can do, sure.

Quote:
It was on such a closed night that an astute observer might have been surprised by the presence of a man on the street, his tall, thin figure cloaked in all black, with shoulder-length black hair which glowed in the night like the moon.
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There was another man in the town, surprisingly enough, by the name of Adam Gent.
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to find surprising about their being another man in town, or about his name being Adam Gent.

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He took, draped in the very same black hangings as the first man had been (though they were less intimidating on his squat, chubby body), seemed to be on some sort of tight schedule.
I think something went wrong here. "He took" isn't connected to anything, and the next two phrases don't properly connect to anything. Like initially I thought "took" was a typo for "looked," but that wouldn't make sense here, either.

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"Ah, Fletcher, right on time, i see. How good of you."
*I see

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Fletcher grunted nondistinctly, and they resumed their walk together.
I think you mean "indistinctly." And since they weren't walking together before, I don't think they could have resumed...

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I suspect this man came from Little Otterton himself, i'm willing to bet the man of this house was the one responsible for sending him to prison, i'm quite sure of it—
...or I guess you're going for some kind of style with the lowercased "i?" Can't say I'm a fan.

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"Enough," said Fletcher, his eyelids flittering in annoyance.
I think you're looking for "fluttering."

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...Gent gave Fletcher an imperative look which was not met, and they wordlessly paced up to the front door and walked into the house, gliding up the stairs.
I'm guessing you don't actually mean "imperative" here; maybe imploring? "Paced" is also a weird verb to use here. It's not precisely wrong, but it's an unusual usage.

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Satisfied, extracted a shred of paper from his pocket, and from the hasty scribbles on it, identified the man with caramel hair as "Roger Wilkinson."
Wait, who's the subject of this sentence? Gent or Fletcher?

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There were now two instances of the man: one laying on the ground, blood pouring from his open throat...
*lying on the ground

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...looking totally fine.
"Looking totally fine" is a big departure from the style you've been using throughout the rest of this chapter. Way too modern.

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"Well, i've given you supple opportunity, George, here goes—"
You're not looking for "supple," unless the guy's supposed to be misusing the word here. ("ample")

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...then he looked down at his own body with a look of utter befuddlement as George snuck over to the man's wife, who was laying in bed peacefully.
"Looked... with a look" is clumsy phrasing, and again, it's *lying in bed. "Laying" is a transitive verb, meaning it takes an object, meaning it shows up in constructs like "the X was laying on the Y." "Lying" is intransitive, so you use it for phrases like "the X was lying down" or "the woman was lying in bed peacefully."

...I'm going to stop doing sentence-by-sentence nitpicking like this because it's taking forever, haha. It might be useful to try and find a (most likely native English-speaking) beta reader who's willing to do some heavy prose critique. To sum up: I can see you're going for an old time-y kind of style here, which usually means somewhat more convoluted sentences and somewhat higher-register vocabulary than you tend to see in modern prose. The problem is that you appear to be kind of reaching with your vocabulary here, in that you're using words that don't quite mean what you think they mean, or you're mixing them up with other words. It's kind of hard to recommend something here, since the style you're trying to emulate probably does want somewhat fancy diction, so my usual advice in this situation ("stop trying so hard, dammit") doesn't really apply. Maybe mainline a bunch of works in this style to get a better feel for the vocabulary they use, and be diligent of looking stuff up if you aren't precisely sure of the meaning? It's something that will get better with practice.

You could also use a little more close proofreading; there are plenty of cases of missing words and obvious typos.

All the eye-rolling is making me think modern teens, not country gentlemen. I don't think that was a very common gesture (or at least, it wasn't described that way) in the past.

Anyway, enough with the prose, on to the actual content. This opener does a nice job establishing the tone and premise of the story, introducing the main characters (I'm assuming at least one of Fletcher and Gent is a main character), and giving some direction for the last chapter with the comment about the shape on the roof. You also do a pretty good job with the style; it's not one I care for, personally, and there are moments of bad phrasing and the aforementioned vocabulary troubles, but overall I think you've got the rhythm and general sound of it down fine. It's just a matter of

Actually, wait, I looked back and this is actually a prologue. So okay, maybe neither Fletcher or Gent is going to be a main character, but that's okay--I was going to say that this feels like it could basically be a standalone piece and it would be nice to indicate more of a connection with the larger story, but for a prologue, where there's going to presumably be at least a big time skip and possibly a character/location change as well, that's fine.

Only thing I would say is that the setup feels a bit typical. The grim, distant reaper who isn't affected by/sympathetic to the deaths of the people he's supposed to be shepherding, the people who react comically to having died, even the setup of the murders is pretty standard. I pretty much knew where this was all going as of the first paragraph. It's solidly executed, but right now there's not a strong sense of novelty or anything that makes me really want to see where this is all going. As of right now the most interesting character to me is Gent; the cheerful reaper who maybe isn't totally over seeing people get brutally murdered all the time is actually not something you see all that often, unless the reaper in question is a newbie. In general, I'd think about what the central concept of your story is, what it is that fascinates you about the idea behind it, keeps you coming back to it, and try to front-and-center it as early as possible. Because what keeps you enamored with the story is what's going to enamor other people with the story, right? (I mean, to a reasonable first approximation, people enjoy stories for all different reasons.) That's what you really want to be communicating to the reader.

Like I said, this is a solid start, and I think it has a lot of potential. It's hard to say toooo much, since this is only a prologue, which is making me think that the first chapter will be quite different, but there are a lot of interesting directions you could take it. Good luck with it!

(wait you're doing the uncapitalized-"I" thing in your author's note as well. why. stahp.)
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to find surprising about their being another man in town, or about his name being Adam Gent.
To boot, it was highly irregular for even one person to be in town; as for the name, i'll openly admit that was a bit clumsy... But there wasn't any opportunity to stick his name in naturally through dialogue for awhile, and i think it would've been odd to stick his name in anywhere other than his initial introduction, and referring to him as "the man" or whatever for as long as it took for a natural name reveal to fall into place would be way messier than just putting his name in a weird place... But, if you can think of a more natural place to put it, i'm totally game.
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Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I think something went wrong here. "He took" isn't connected to anything, and the next two phrases don't properly connect to anything. Like initially I thought "took" was a typo for "looked," but that wouldn't make sense here, either.
Haha, whoops. I'm going to explain here something that answers quite a few of the criticisms you've put here, and allow my liberty to skip over the remaining ones that fall under this umbrella rather than extraneously pasting "what i said above" every time: basically, it takes me several proofreads to catch all the errors, and i did catch quite a few of them that you've observed, buuuut i updated it on the reddit version and not the tcod one, so this one is stuck in draft stage. You pointed out quite a few that i haven't noticed even given all my read-overs, though, as well as vocabulary misuse that i wasn't aware of. Most of my audience is ESL, so no one's been observant or knowledgeable enough yet to point out when i've misused a word in quite a long time. Thanks a ton!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I think you mean "indistinctly." And since they weren't walking together before, I don't think they could have resumed...
They were both walking, before; they resumed their walks, which were previously separate, together. Is there a smoother way of expressing this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
I'm guessing you don't actually mean "imperative" here; maybe imploring? "Paced" is also a weird verb to use here. It's not precisely wrong, but it's an unusual usage.
What's wrong with "imperative?" The way i've always seen it used refers to a sense of urgency/authority/command, and a quick google search doesn't give me any reason to think otherwise; "imploring," as far as i've always perceived, implies more of a request than an order, so that doesn't feel right. The criticism on "pace" is fair, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
Wait, who's the subject of this sentence? Gent or Fletcher?
This sentence accidentally fell apart when i was modifying it; for the sake of answering, the subject is Gent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
"Looked... with a look" is clumsy phrasing, and again, it's *lying in bed. "Laying" is a transitive verb, meaning it takes an object, meaning it shows up in constructs like "the X was laying on the Y." "Lying" is intransitive, so you use it for phrases like "the X was lying down" or "the woman was lying in bed peacefully."
Argh, this lay-lie always gets me. This is one of the few things i'm incapable of wrapping my head around, for some reason; thanks for pointing it out. As for "looked... with a look" is clumsy, i agree, but what would you suggest? I want to convey the same meaning without having to use the same root word more than once, but i can't think of a way that sounds even LESS natural.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
To sum up: I can see you're going for an old time-y kind of style here, which usually means somewhat more convoluted sentences and somewhat higher-register vocabulary than you tend to see in modern prose. The problem is that you appear to be kind of reaching with your vocabulary here, in that you're using words that don't quite mean what you think they mean, or you're mixing them up with other words. It's kind of hard to recommend something here, since the style you're trying to emulate probably does want somewhat fancy diction, so my usual advice in this situation ("stop trying so hard, dammit") doesn't really apply. Maybe mainline a bunch of works in this style to get a better feel for the vocabulary they use, and be diligent of looking stuff up if you aren't precisely sure of the meaning? It's something that will get better with practice.
I totally understand what you're getting at here, and to tell you the truth, it's not nearly as intentional as you've made it sound to be; in other words, i'm not really "going for" any sort of tone, really— it sort of just worked itself out that way, mainly because i was thinking from Gent's perspective while writing; most of the story is far different from the tone in the prologue, and so this isn't really something i'm tempted to look into thoroughly, simply because it probably won't come up again (and, should it appear again in something else i write sometime, i'll look into it then, i suppose). I can definitely attempt to adjust my vocabulary according to your suggestions, and also pass it by a few more people with a sharper eye for semantics than my own, but stylistic adjustment/honing doesn't seem totally necessary here since it... doesn't apply outside of here. (Also, it's less that i'm reaching with my vocabulary and more that no one's ever told me that my usage is wrong; i guess most people understand the general idea of what i'm trying to say, and don't comment on it? At any rate, i'm glad you did, because i never realised this was a problem for me.)
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Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
All the eye-rolling is making me think modern teens, not country gentlemen. I don't think that was a very common gesture (or at least, it wasn't described that way) in the past.
I agree, although eye-rolling is definitely a Fletcher sort of thing and i intended to make it a tic of his even if it's out of place, although i realise now that you've observed this that i don't make him do it more than... twice (?), and i've made Gent do it as well, which is out of place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
Only thing I would say is that the setup feels a bit typical. The grim, distant reaper who isn't affected by/sympathetic to the deaths of the people he's supposed to be shepherding, the people who react comically to having died, even the setup of the murders is pretty standard. I pretty much knew where this was all going as of the first paragraph. It's solidly executed, but right now there's not a strong sense of novelty or anything that makes me really want to see where this is all going. As of right now the most interesting character to me is Gent; the cheerful reaper who maybe isn't totally over seeing people get brutally murdered all the time is actually not something you see all that often, unless the reaper in question is a newbie. In general, I'd think about what the central concept of your story is, what it is that fascinates you about the idea behind it, keeps you coming back to it, and try to front-and-center it as early as possible. Because what keeps you enamored with the story is what's going to enamor other people with the story, right? (I mean, to a reasonable first approximation, people enjoy stories for all different reasons.) That's what you really want to be communicating to the reader.
My intention here was to go with a very stock-standard, readily understandable setting and mini-plot so that readers don't have to think or wonder too hard about the events that elapse. Rather than give any insight to the story's actual conflict (save for the mention of the shape on the roof), the prologue serves mainly to introduce the whole Reaper Dynamic to the reader directly given that the protagonist isn't a reaper himself and it'll provide a lot of clarity into moments later on that i otherwise wouldn't be able to explain. There's no way the protagonist would have any right to draw the sorts of conclusions that are necessary for the reader to draw, so this is my fix for that; at least, as far as i've planned it out so far. Depending on how rigidly i stick to my plan, this is up in the air, but that's the idea.

I don't want to say too much, because a) i don't want to say something now and then end up deviating from it later, and b) because i don't want to divulge all the details in the second reply because then no-one will read it, but the MAIN plot relevancy of the prologue is that it: introduces Gent and Fletcher, the former of which is a major character and the latter plays a major role in the background; establishes that living beings can't see or feel spiritual ones, and that spiritual ones can't interact with the living world; establishes that there are a race of reapers, who appear to work in pairs and are assigned to specific areas and are privy to the time and locations of deaths in their assigned areas so that they can escort the recently-deceased to the afterlife; and that there's some dubious object on the roof. Given that, i think i did an okay job at conveying what i intended to, though perhaps it could've been done more excitingly, though i couldn't think of an opportunity that would present all these points in a fashion more exciting than the one i put... and that's a personal flaw of mine as a writer, really, and something i can't do much about aside from practise.

Thanks for the advice, though! I'll definitely be adjusting according to what you've said, and if you have any responses to anything i've said or anything of the nature, let me know. I really do appreciate you picking it apart like that, as no one's done that for me before, and it's a huge insight into not only the problems with this particular piece but with my writing as a whole.
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Old 09-30-2016, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: The Reapers

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To boot, it was highly irregular for even one person to be in town; as for the name, i'll openly admit that was a bit clumsy... But there wasn't any opportunity to stick his name in naturally through dialogue for awhile, and i think it would've been odd to stick his name in anywhere other than his initial introduction, and referring to him as "the man" or whatever for as long as it took for a natural name reveal to fall into place would be way messier than just putting his name in a weird place... But, if you can think of a more natural place to put it, i'm totally game.
Oh, you mean it was unusual because all the residents are holed up inside, right? (If not, what do you mean it was unusual for even one person to be in town?) So what was surprising was that he was outside, not that he existed in the town in general, which is the way the sentence reads now. If you wanted to rearrange the sentence to put emphasis on the fact that he was out and about rather than that he existed, you could do something like:

"Surprisingly, there was another man [about/outside/who hadn't retreated to the safety of his home/etc.] that night, a [your descriptor here] by the name of Adam Gent."

It's specifically the "in town" that confused me about the original sentence, because I read it as "living there in general" rather than "being out and about tonight, specifically."

If all you wanted was to get his name in there somewhere and not dwell on the surprising-ness of his being there, I would probably just put a different transitional sentence in that spot, something like, "Not far away, Adam Gent waited for his associate to arrive" or whatever.

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They were both walking, before; they resumed their walks, which were previously separate, together. Is there a smoother way of expressing this?
Right, it's just that the wording "they resumed their walk" makes is sound like one walk, belonging to the both of them, that's being resumed. "Fletcher grunted indistinctly and resumed his walk." ("Nondestinct" isn't a word, btw.) You can specify that Gent followed/fell in beside him/etc. if you like, although it's not necessary. Alternatively, if you wanted the emphasis to be on the fact that they were walking together from that point on, you could instead say something like, "Fletcher grunted indistinctly, and a moment later the two of them set off together" or whatever.

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What's wrong with "imperative?" The way i've always seen it used refers to a sense of urgency/authority/command, and a quick google search doesn't give me any reason to think otherwise; "imploring," as far as i've always perceived, implies more of a request than an order, so that doesn't feel right. The criticism on "pace" is fair, though.
Ah, yes, that's what it means. "Imperative" seemed off for Gent's character to me; he doesn't strike me as the commanding type. If that's what you wanted, then it's fine, but it seems strange that that's the only time Gent acts as the more authoritative person in the prologue.

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As for "looked... with a look" is clumsy, i agree, but what would you suggest? I want to convey the same meaning without having to use the same root word more than once, but i can't think of a way that sounds even LESS natural.
"...then he stared down at his own body with a look of utter befuddlement as George snuck over to the man's wife, who was laying in bed peacefully."

If you don't like "stared," use your own favorite "look" verb that conveys the particular quality of looking that you want.

"...then he looked down at his own body, utterly befuddled, as George snuck over to the man's wife, who was laying in bed peacefully."

Unless I'm missing something, the POV here is third omniscient, so you can just say how the guy felt.

Or be more explicit about what you mean by a "look of befuddlement," e.g. "...then he looked down at his own body, mouth hanging half-open, as George snuck..."

Or you could restructure the sentence somehow, but there are plenty of edits that would only change a couple words.

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Given that, i think i did an okay job at conveying what i intended to, though perhaps it could've been done more excitingly, though i couldn't think of an opportunity that would present all these points in a fashion more exciting than the one i put... and that's a personal flaw of mine as a writer, really, and something i can't do much about aside from practise.
Sure, sounds fine. I wouldn't really worry about it. It's what's in store for the first chapter that's more important now!
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:39 PM
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RedneckPhoenix RedneckPhoenix is offline
Let's talk about this "dairy" section.
 
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Default Re: The Reapers

To be honest, I'm not a critic and won't claim to be. Sticker Star is my favorite game in the Paper Mario series. Even though it doesn't mean much, I rather enjoy the prologue, and look forward to what's to come.
And you could even make a story prior to this one time-wise with all of the crap the dynamic death duo run into.
(i probably sound like a 6-year-old right now but who cares)
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one time i saw a piece of lasagna on the ground, just kinda chilling there, and then i saw a raccoon eyeing it from the bushes. He clearly wanted it but saw me and was threatened. So i just kinda tried to kick it over to him, and I realized that kicking something soft with sauce in it was probably a bad idea. First of all, the raccoon ran away as the lasagna splattered all over and was loud as hell, and second, my shoe was covered in lasagna. True story.
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:39 PM
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RedneckPhoenix RedneckPhoenix is offline
Let's talk about this "dairy" section.
 
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Default Re: The Reapers

To be honest, I'm not a critic and won't claim to be. Sticker Star is my favorite game in the Paper Mario series. Even though it doesn't mean much, I rather enjoy the prologue, and look forward to what's to come.
And you could even make a story prior to this one time-wise with all of the crap the dynamic death duo run into.
(i probably sound like a 6-year-old right now but who cares)
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one time i saw a piece of lasagna on the ground, just kinda chilling there, and then i saw a raccoon eyeing it from the bushes. He clearly wanted it but saw me and was threatened. So i just kinda tried to kick it over to him, and I realized that kicking something soft with sauce in it was probably a bad idea. First of all, the raccoon ran away as the lasagna splattered all over and was loud as hell, and second, my shoe was covered in lasagna. True story.
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