I have just completed my first draft of a novel. Now the story is completed it's time to capture the style so the reader can engage in the story. I want to make sure the story style is easy enough for the reader to read. I have added my first couple of pages below for some critique.

  1. Does the first couple of pages grab your attention?
  2. Is the writing style easy enough to read?
  3. What would you do to improve the writing style?

She has the Sight

Chapter 1

Marston Children’s home is where fate brought the three of us in 2011. Stuck rite in the heart of Glasgow, the rundown building is an orphanage to many children that have been abandoned, abused and left by their families to shrivel away into nothing. Most people who come here are doomed before their feet even get through the door. Kid’s either take their own lives, turn to drugs, prostitution or serve a life behind bars. Destiny to most here is to get knocked up, junked up or locked up. Self destruction, demolition, devastation becomes worse here when too many kids are put together with similar family traits. A bad start in childhood leads onto being negative, depressive and suicidal in real life situations. Problems normally start to arise in teenage years and just deteriorate from there. Life isn’t to chase your dreams here it is to break the law and chase the dragon. This is how the neglected of the lower class escape everyday situations. This is the life they are dragged into by their abusers and society. The only life they know. This was the life and doom that was expected for me Danika Nebulae and most of my friends. An existence I never wanted but an existence I only knew of, a way of life that only I could change.

I was becoming an age where I had to go and fend for myself; in fact I had been fending for myself for as long as I can remember. My mother spent most of my young adult life in Garvlock Mental institution. The only information I had about my father was his name Felix Nebulae and that I had the same Aqua blue eyes. The rest of the family didn’t care much for me. They saw me more of a hindrance due to me being in and out of trouble with school and the law. I was 17 time was approaching for me to no longer be under the supervision of the childcare system. At the age of 18 I was expected to go and find my own way in life. This was the time for me to decide if I was going down the black path of doom that so many followed or was I going to head into the light, glowing, blistering white path that nobody that I ever heard of had even stepped in the direction off. The only beliefs I use to have were karma, what goes around comes around. I was christened a catholic, and that was the only ties I had to any church. If you treat me with respect I will treat you with respect. I wasn’t brought up to believe in god I was brought up to survive. As a young adult I don't follow authority and I don't let anyone take advantage of me. That’s the way I use to think until the visions started. Now I feel like there is something else out there. Something that wants me to open my eyes, life was about to change, I could feel it. Although my upbringing wasn’t the best I felt protected, protected by something that I didn’t know. I didn’t believe in God or the Devil, I believed in good and evil and there was a choice in this life to do well or do bad.

I was a limbo state of mind of how we got here and why we were here. What I did know was the visions were sometimes events that would happen days later. The first time I realised this was more than a dream was when I seen my mum lying in bed with pills lying around her, I knew something was going to happen to her. One week later she over dosed and then got submitted to the nut house. What haunts me is I don’t know if I can change destiny or is fate just meant to happen. I don’t know why or how the visions have started or what they’re trying to tell me. What I do know is: they are a small part of a puzzle that I’ve yet to figure out.

  • Welcome to Writers.SE. I have to mention that we are not a discussion forum. Your questions are much too broad. We prefer one question per question, with a defined, specific topic (i.e. answerable). Look at our critique guidelines: meta.writers.stackexchange.com/questions/166/… - meta.writers.stackexchange.com/questions/488/… – John Smithers Dec 17 '12 at 9:44
  • Yes, welcome. I would recommend paring this question down. I think that if you leave us with the first few sentences, and then ask us a pointed question about an attention grabbing technique, we could help you. As it stands, though, your question (which is three different questions) is beyond the scope of the sight – tylerharms Dec 17 '12 at 13:22
  • In addition, there are serious mechanical problems here that need to be addressed as well. – Chris Dec 18 '12 at 5:08

I'm afraid this is all too telly. It's more like a news paper article than a story, you're just dumping all the information in one big info dump. This is lazy writing. Instead of stating that "Kid’s either take their own lives, turn to drugs, prostitution or serve a life behind bars" you need to show it through action, dialogue, plot... Show us a day in their lives, paint it to us, show us their misery and let us come to that conclusion ourselves through the action you show. Don't just tell us it is so and expect us to take your word for it. Readers in general don't like to be served things, they want to get to some conclusions on their own.

"The first time I realized this was more than a dream was when I seen my mum lying in bed with pills lying around her, I knew something was going to happen to her." Don't tell us it happened, show us it happened. Show us how it happened, where it happened, how the character felt when it happened. Intrigue us, pull us into the story, don't just dump facts at us.

To answer each individual question:

  1. Sorry, but it doesn't grab me. It's an info dump, I have no feel for the character nor the story. "If you treat me with respect I will treat you with respect" does not give me the feel for the character. For all I know, he could be lying.
  2. The writing style is easy enough to read, and on that I have no remarks. I prefer clarity over all, and the text is very clear, so that's a yes from me :)
  3. Show, don't tell :) Make it a story, not a news paper article or a manifest. You do have a promising story here, you just need to present it better.

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