Monday, 7 April 2014

The Ghost by Sandra Brown Rarey


Elizabeth Barrett's house sat on the edge of a promontory that jutted over steep cliffs like a bony finger pointing at something beyond the foaming, angry seas; or, perhaps beckoning something unknown to come closer.

Besides being overwritten and using a semicolon when one is not necessary, this opening contains only a character and a setting which is angry and foaming. The house is situated in the ideal Gothic cliched setting. You can't get more melodramatic than an isolated house perched on an isolated cliff. Some people may get hooked by setting like this, especially if they live nowhere near such a backdrop. Personally, I need conflict to hook me and the assurance that the writer isn't going to waste my time leading up to conflict for x number of pages.

Fortunately, the prologue is brief and the long and short of it is that Elizabeth lives with a ghost, Angus, (hence the wildly creative title) who has been dead a long time.

Chapter 1

Winter's early darkness was rapidly taking over the cold, damp day.

Weather report. What follows is a scene with trees in the woods. Mood is established, but how many of you when telling your friends about the exciting thing that happened to you yesterday begin your tale by establishing mood? If you do, how many friends do you still have?

First thing said:

"Angus, I'm home."

This happens when...her mouth was smiling. This means that presumably the character is not smiling, just the mouth, which is what mouths do - in any case, the clarification is pointless. In general the dialogue sounds forced and unnatural.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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