Thursday, May 7, 2009

Heroes... Chapter Three - Sloan

It's that time again! In this chapter, we'll meet the third of Our Heroes - along with several of his agents. And this time, the minor characters you'll meet will stick around!

As always, enjoy. Please remember that I'm actively seeking feedback on this, and opinions are not only welcome, but greeted warmly and embraced.

I have a little time available this weekend, so "Chapter Four" should be up by Saturday or Sunday. Hurry! Get your comments in before the musical number in C4 appears!


Chapter 3 - "Sloan"

Fifteen feet below the streets, in a damp, malodorous tunnel, one man stood and shivered. His heart still raced, his lungs still burned, and his body still ached. Certain types of magic played havoc with his body, and even though he’d tapped into it over an hour ago, he’d yet to climb up from the depths of the ritual. He glanced down at his right hand; it trembled. He made a fist and tried to will away the shaking.

Elias Merriwether Sloan stood in front of time- and moisture-warped door and tried to collect his breath. Through a gap in the planking, he saw into the room beyond the door. Four men sat in the room, waiting for him. They sat on battered, dark chairs that had splintered and mildewed in the humid air, and had seated more men than they. The oldest sat with his feet flat on the floor, his elbows on his knees, and his chin tucked into his chest. The youngest had tilted his chair back on two legs until it touched the damp wall behind him. Of the two seated between them, one cleaned him fingernails with a short knife and the other sat and stared at the door in the wall opposite them. They would all wait for him, no matter how late he was. He didn’t want to set a bad example of tardiness or disrespect to the others, but he didn’t want them to see him in this state either. Only one of them would say anything to him, but he was the one he needed to speak to the most.

Sloan stepped toward the door, his breathing less ragged and his heart beginning to slow. The aches remained, but those wouldn’t show. I looked at his hand again. The trembling had stopped. It was time. He grabbed the handle of the wood-and-iron door and pulled it open. He’d kept the hinges oiled; despite its age, the door didn’t squeak. He stepped into the meeting-room and glanced toward the men. He nodded.

To continue:


  1. I like this version of the Sloan chapter...except the last line reads false. I have a hard time believing that he would laugh off that comment.

  2. Third paragraph, third line. Reads "I looked at his hand again." instead of "he".

  3. Blast, hate those miswritten lines. I'll fix that one, Bryan.

    Tony, believe it or not, I debated on that. My first reaction was the same as yours, my second was to lighten it up. Probably should have stuck with the first reaction.

    Thanks, guys!

  4. I'm thrilled to see you put magic right in at the start :) Not that it needs to happen this way in every chapter, that would be total overkill, but I like it here. Will we get to hear more about why he has done magic twice in an hour later? I'm intrigued about it...and I like that it starts with something? having just happened, it jumps right in, in a good way. I do not, however, like "time- and moisture- warped door." That is, I don't like the punctuation. Too halting. The phrase is fine.

    Typo in P 2. Says "cleaned him fingernails." The last sentence in this paragraph feels a little bit clumsy, like it was just tacked on, I'm also not sure what you're trying to say. Is it that only one of them would criticize his dishevled/exhausted appearance, or did he only really need to speak with one person? Needs a little clarification.

    Paragraph three has a rhyme at the start (1st two sentances). You also repeat the word "he" a lot, counting the mistype. These two things give this paragraph kind of a sing-songy feel. However I do like that it ends with the short declarative sentence, "He nodded." Paragraph after this, maybe make the one sentance a little stronger if it is going to stand alone. Are the two just being politely deferential, token gesture, or does Sloan have a very commanding presence?
    Next paragraph, the last sentence (today didn't feel quite like any other day) reads a bit cliche.

    Paragraph after that I have another last sentence issue. "as they always had" just feels a little wordy. Closed and barred is very definite, heavy like the door. As they always had is a little sprawling, and doesn't match the tone. I really like your description/word choice in this paragraph otherwise though. It's a good one.

    Jeez I keep having last sentence issues. Maybe it's just me the next P I'm not a fan of him taking a minute to imagine what they saw. Could be usage of the word "took." Maybe he paused instead...

    Your narration in terms of POV becomes a little confused between this sentance and the next paragraph. Even though he is imagining what they see, the narration is moving into their heads, they "wondered." Sloan needs to know or spculate if they wondered as in the sentence in the previous paragraph "they were curious; he had no doubt about that." Keep it first person limited to Sloan in this chapter I think, it's his ballgame. It's ok if we see through the eyes of the others if Sloan is having us do it, same with getting into their heads a bit (but only a bit), and only if it's coming through Sloan as a focalizer.

    Next P, "regular" connotes just everyday, ordinary rather than constant or unending. Should "this room" be "the room?" Also "he simply didn't want to be HERE..." Together it's hingeing on present tense, and you are in past.

    When Sloan asks the group "What else?" I'm not sold. It's hard to tell if the what else is related to the Hamish issue or moving on.

    "bofriends" of girls is a bit blah. Doesn't fit with the rest of the diction to me, what with all the ladies and nightingales and nippers and whatnot.

    The laugh at the end actually made me think that he's kind of losing it a little. I saw it as a maniacal sort of laughter, what with him all of a sudden changing the meeting place that has held constant for 15 years. I'm reserving judgment on whether it should stay or go, that's just how I read it.

    I like that it's all coming together here. We're moving more into the overall plot even though there's still character introduction happening. Points that stand out for me, what I'm curious about/what's piquing my interest for later: Sloan's list, is it the people he is watching, paying off, gathering info on? How is Donol going to be "taken" what does that mean? And of course who or what is gruesomely killing the lamplighters and why...

    All together I think this is a really good chapter. Plot's moving forward, something is afoot...I feel like I'm getting a pretty good picture of Sloan as a character, also that there is more than meets the eye with him.

    Sorry, that's gotta be it for now, I have to run. Don't mean to be short on the good and long on the bad...I really like the chapter a lot.

  5. You know, I've decided that I'd better not write anything you DON'T like. I don't know if I could survive it. :-)

  6. Best version of Sloan's chapter yet. I like the laugh, I also think that in this version, Sloan is a little more pulled at the seams, which is a little more interesting.