Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 6) #AmWriting

For the last five weeks, I’ve asked readers for feedback on the opening chapter of a book I have written.

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Help An Author

For those who missed the first five parts, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ is a novel I started writing in 2012.

An update on Part 5

Part 5 has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Thank you to everyone who left feedback for me. Once again, I’m so grateful to you all.

What is Tales From Under The Rainbow?

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 6

Here are the next 496 words of chapter 1. It continues from where it left off last week, focusing on a flashback Danny is having as he analyses the split-up between himself and Nick.

Banner for Tales From Under The Rainbow - a new book by Hugh W. Roberts
Tales From Under The Rainbow

Don’t put it off, a voice in his head said. Go down and face him. Put it off, and you’re fooling yourself

As a small tear rolled down Danny’s face, he knew this was the beginning of the end of his first-ever relationship with somebody he still deeply loved.

Grabbing his dressing gown and fastened it tightly, as if he was about to answer a knock at the front door from a stranger, he began the journey down. A horrible feeling of dread accompanied him.

Upon entering the kitchen, Danny’s eyes focused on Nick, who was leaning, crossed legged, against the kitchen sink. Smiling, he had one hand in the top pocket of his jeans while the other held a mug of steaming coffee. He looked as handsome as he had when Danny first met him at Paddington Station. His stocky 6-foot frame and jet black hair had always made him attractive to Danny.  

“Coffee’s over there,” said Nick while pointing the top of his head towards one of the kitchen worktops. “Did you have a good night out?”

“No, thank you,” replied Danny.

Looking bewildered by the response, Nick’s eyes gave off a puzzled expression. “Don’t you have a hangover? Surly a black coffee would help?”

 “Yes, I do,” answered Danny, “but I rather fancy a vodka.”

Danny watched as Nick’s jaw quickly dropped. He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a speeding car. I bet he’s asking himself why I’m asking for vodka at nine-thirty on a Saturday morning, thought Danny.

“But you don’t drink vodka,” came a concerned response. “Why would you be asking for vodka?” A false smile appeared across Nick’s face. “You’re still drunk, aren’t you? You are, aren’t you?” laughed Nick

Smerking back, Danny watched as the laughter tapered off, and Nick’s face changed into one of concern and uncomfortableness. Danny had an inkling that he was about to hear something he didn’t want to hear. Not now, not tomorrow, not next week! Maybe in a year or even two, but not now. He wasn’t ready for this, was he?

“Was Shaun here last night?” asked Danny.

“No!” came a quick reply. Danny watched as Nick seemed to become more and more uncomfortable. “Why on earth are you asking me that?”  

Danny watched as Nick’s neck blushed. That only ever happened when Nick lied.

“I’ve noticed you acting differently recently. Acting as I have only ever seen you act once before,” responded Danny. 

A long pause followed. Danny knew that Nick was probably trying to think of an excuse. Any excuse. “So, you going to get me that vodka?”, demanded Danny.

“What do you mean…like you have only ever seen once before? I don’t understand. What are you getting at, Danny? Come on. You’re kidding, yeah? A vodka at–“, looking at his wristwatch, “nine-thirty on a Saturday morning? You don’t even drink vodka–“

“TRY ME,” Danny yelled back.

A look of horror planted itself on Nick’s face.


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

33 thoughts

  1. I’m enjoying this Hugh. I’m with Willow on where she suggests cutting and one more: “Danny watched as Nick’s jaw quickly dropped. He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a speeding car. I bet he’s asking himself why I’m asking for vodka at nine-thirty on a Saturday morning, thought Danny.” In this same paragraph you don’t need the last dialogue tag. “thought Danny”. Have fun! 🙂

  2. I am loving this Hugh but I agree , I would cut some of the repeats and extras that used get in the way of how you build the suspense and tension.
    E.G
    Paragraph 3 maybe cut.
    and fastened it tightly, as if he was about to answer a knock at the front door from a stranger,
    Paragraph 4 loose the Upon.
    Paragraph 5
    Could , “Coffee’s over there,” said Nick while pointing the top of his head towards one of the kitchen worktops. ” Be “Coffee’s over there,” said Nick nodding towards the kitchen worktop.”
    Paragraph 7
    Looking bewildered by the response, Nick’s eyes gave off a puzzled expression. “Don’t you have a hangover? Surly a black coffee would help?”
    I’d leave out ”Nick’s eyes gave off a puzzled expression. ”
    Paragraph 11 could uncomfortableness become discomfort?

    Honestly Hugh I feel like an evil slasher but I am great believer of less is more . I hope this helps and remember it’s only my opinion and ..who am I to say 💜

    1. A slasher? No, not at all, Willow. You’ve given me a lot of great feedback. I appreciate it very much.

      I’m so pleased you’re enjoying this story. I’m glad I fished it out of my archives and have given it (with the help of you all) a new lease of life.

  3. Hi Hugh,

    Enjoyed the new piece from the story, a few things I felt about it on first read –

    ‘Pointing the top of his head’ read odd to me, I think ‘nodding towards the kitchen worktop’ would suffice, in my opinion.

    And I agreed about the comment about uncomfortableness, discomfort does read better particularly as you mention him feel uncomfortable a little later.

    The line ‘looking bewildered by the response, Nick’s eyes gave off a puzzled expression’, I would say you only need one of these descriptions as being bewildered would naturally make you look puzzled. Maybe just ‘Nick looked bewildered by the response’. Or something similar.

    I’m with you on the ‘blushing’, it reads fine.

    Hope some of that is helpful,

    Paul

  4. Hi Hugh,
    I missed last week, but you are keeping the story moving forward and filled with tension. I agree with some of the other comments that the simpler you make the paragraphs and not duplicate the descriptions, the easier it is to keep the reader’s attention moving forward. I don’t recommend using Nick’s neck turned red, etc. You said it blushed, the reader will understand. I would omit: “He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a speeding car.” In my opinion, it’s cumbersome. I think his jaw-dropping is enough. Keep up the great work and I’m continuing to enjoy this project. HUGS

    1. Hi Chuck, no worries about missing last week’s part. You’ve done me a massive favour by giving me feedback on all the other parts, and I appreciate your time.

      I’ve made some amendments on what you have told me. I’m glad you think the story is moving forward and is filled with tension. That’s high praise.

      Have a lovely weekend.

  5. Hi, Hugh;
    Nice chapter, nothing like a good blowout 🙂
    My thoughts? As an argument, or the prelude to one, the pace of this scene is too slow. Fewer words, less “telling” your reader what’s going on. Let them figure it out for themselves. For example, “He looked like a rabbit…I bet he’s asking himself why…” You don’t need this bit; saying his jaw dropped is enough to fill the reader in.
    Small note, I’d delete the “quickly” between jaw and dropped.
    Of course, writing is like everything else we do; we all have our own style. You get to decide what works for you, and what doesn’t.

    1. Thanks, Aimer, that all really useful. I have a terrible habit of over describing things. However, at the same time, I recall reading some advice saying ‘don’t allow your reader to have to figure out or guess what’s going on; otherwise, they’ll lose interest in the story.’ But, as you said, write in your own style. On the other hand, all the feedback I am getting has been terrific and very helpful to me. It’s certainly improving the story.

      1. LOL, I read the exact opposite advice. That if readers aren’t made to think, they’ll get bored and wander off. Just goes to show; there’s more than one way to write 🙂
        Good luck with this book, with the writing, and rewriting…and rewriting…Ugh 😦

  6. I like Darlene’s suggestions and the only thing I would say concerns the last line. Perhaps… A look of horror passed over Nick’s face. Not sure about the word planted.

  7. This is a great chapter. I would suggest changing the first line in paragraph 3. Making it 2 sentences adds more tension. Here´s my suggestion.
    Grabbing his dressing gown, he fastened it tightly, as if he was about to answer a knock at the front door from a stranger. Trembling, he began the journey downstairs.
    Paragraphed 10 I would change to Nick laughed. (we don´t laugh our words so we can´t use it as a tag.)
    Paragraph 14 instead of Nick´s neck blushed how about Nick´s neck turned beet red. (or something like that)
    Paragraph 16 remove the comma
    Just a few suggestions to use or not. Well done!

    1. Thanks, Darlene, I’m glad you’re enjoying this chapter.

      Initially, I had ‘Nick’s neck turned red’, but it actually gave me the impression that it was turning red – not a colour that a neck would ever turn. Hence, I added ‘blush’ Beet (or beetroot) red sounds too dark a colour to describe blushing. I suppose I could say ‘light red’ but does that get over that he’s actually blushing? What do you think?

      Thank you for all the other suggestions. I’ve implemented them.

      You’ve been of great help. I appreciate your time very much.

    2. I enjoyed reading this part, Hugh. It flowed smoothly and I always appreciate dialogue between characters. I also like how you phrased these two sentences:
      “I bet he’s asking himself why I’m asking for vodka at nine-thirty on a Saturday morning, thought Danny.” (Nice way of introducing the time and day.’
      “A look of horror planted itself on Nick’s face.”

      Some typos:
      “Grabbing his dressing gown and fastened it tightly, as if he was about to answer a knock at the front door from a stranger, he began the journey down.” (Fastening instead of fastened.)

      “His stocky 6-foot frame and jet black hair had always made him attractive to Danny.” (Attracted instead of attractive.)

      “Surly a black coffee would help?” (Surely instead of surly.)

      “Smerking back,…” (Smirking instead of smerking.)

      “Coffee’s over there,” said Nick while pointing the top of his head towards one of the kitchen worktops. “Did you have a good night out?”

      “No, thank you,” replied Danny.

      (No typos, but the chronology of the dialogue is confusing, as Danny answers to Nick’s first question here, not the second one.)

      Hope all this makes sense. Nice job! 🙂

      1. Hi Liesbet, thanks again for all the feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this part. I’ve taken all your feedback on board and have made some changes.

        I love writing dialogue. In fact, in my final English literature exam during my last year at school, I had to write a short story using only dialogue. Out of all the exam results, it was the one where I got top marks. I remember being so thrilled with the result. And I still remember the outline of the story. I only wish I’d had the chance to keep a copy.

        1. That’s fantastic, Hugh, about the dialogue and the top marks. I enjoy writing dialogue as well and have incorporated a healthy amount of it in my memoir. I only wish I’d had English literature at school and learned how to write English back then. But, I’ve been doing my best to “catch up” with English speakers ever since I left my country. 🙂

        2. Not a bad idea, Hugh. I think screenwriting is tough, though. Your characters need to be well built-out, so the words can resemble their personalities and, I think, what makes dialogue on the screen good is the combination between compelling content, a realistic yet fast enough pace, and a witty element in the form of a humoristic/sarcastic undertone at times. Well, I guess depending on the genre…

        3. I can’t even imagine how difficult screenwriting is, Liesbet. I have a book containing some of the scripts Rod Serling wrote for The Twilight Zone. They make an exciting read, but all the information about camera angles, zooming in, which side of the room a person is on, etc., is mind-boggling.

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