First Published Book - "Menace: Season One"

Menace: Season One is the first book that we (BTK) have decided to publish! Would appreciate feed back on how we did! We have worked on writing Menace since the start of 2016, we have summaries written out up to season four. So we plan on having four seasons but this is a trial run to see if its worth publishing seasons two, three and four. So please let us know what you think and if we should keep going at it! Hope you enjoy!

 

Purchase;
Printed Book - https://goo.gl/2a2tc6
eBook - https://goo.gl/rZEKNx

Menace Teaser;

Malcolm Bronson, a man who is morally lost, has a vengeance to settle and a family to protect. Justice hasn't prevailed, so Malcolm must carry out justice his way. So begins, Menace. 
The beginning of Malcolm Bronson, a once corrupt cop. Dismissed from his duties due to being mentally unstable. Malcolm Bronson has policing in his blood. A disguise hides his true identity and he became a public avenger in an unorthodox manner. That pleases others and angers more.
Screenshots from the book Pages 2-5;
https://goo.gl/b6aqfp

 

Other;
Menace is an eight episode season, written in the format of a book. It is the first installment out of four planned seasons. So basically it is a book with eight chapters. We intend for it to play out as a TV show though. So after every episode take time to process what happened before you read the next one, make is play in your mind "What will happen next?"
Jake Brennan and I (Luke Taylor) took turns in writing the episodes but stuck to the summaries that, Jake Brennan, Nathan Kaisner and myself planned out. Though we wrote the episodes alone, we asked each other questions and made sure something we wrote made sense. We always wanted to collaborate and this was a nice, effective way of doing so.
Also the book cover we have left blank for the time being because we are discussing options for a cover, what to put in it and where to get the photos, etc. But for now we want to leave it blank because the read title "Menace" catches your attention because its plain and simple.


Just looking for some feedback on the book and layout of the book/style. Even feedback on the teaser of the book would be lovely! Thanks!

Comments

  • For one thing, you need a real cover.

     

    For another, there is no preview of the book available.

     

    I might point out that "vengeance" isn't something you settle, it's something you perform against another person.

    You may also want to spell out that you mean "TV season" since it is not immediately apparent that that is what you are talking about.

  • If you wouldn't mind re reading the post, I went through and fixed up what you mentioned about the book cover and preview. Also discussing alternatives for "vengeance". Thankyou!

  • Congratulations on getting the book finished. I wish you all the best with it.

     

    There are one or two things to mention though. As has been said, you need a book cover and a preview [edit: just noticed that you're still discussing the cover--a quick piece of advice about that: if none of you are graphic designers, get someone in to do the cover. There's an art to it and there's nothing that will put a reader off more than a badly designed cover].

     

    Also, I find the whole book/TV series confusing. Does it need to be presented as 'Season 1'? Can't it just be a book? When I looked at the images of the first couple of pages I was expecting to see a script.

     

    In the couple of pages I saw there were one or two issues:

     

    • You mix 1st person and 3rd person. While this is OK in itself, you need to clearly delineate between the two. It's confusing to read one paragraph in the 1st person and then go straight on to the next one in the 3rd. Is the first person section from Malcolm's POV?
    • You use colour for your headings. If you're going to publish this as a colour book the costs are going to sky-rocket. If you publish it as a B&W book, that red might come out as an unclear grey. If I were you I'd remove all the colour from the inside of the book.
    • There is the occasional typo eg "I am massive hypocrite", "a murder of case"
    • There is the occasional comma and full stop in the wrong place. eg "While the filth in the streets, roam around freely", "justice was a myth, I say that because", "awaiting the court's verdict. The two not saying word"
    • The 1st person bit is a very quick, condensced back story. It tells us about Malcolm's (?) attitude to justice etc. This would come across better if instead of this you showed it to us in his actions, feelings and words throughout the book. Let the reader get to know him. I kind of immediately have a problem with him when he says that he wants justice and to clean the filth of the streets but that he used to push drugs for a gang because he had a family to feed. If the reader doesn't have empathy with a character they aren't going to care what happens to him. I think this would be much better if the information was just left out and the reader gradually comes to discover just how desperate he was before he got in with the gang. Why didn't he have any money? Had something happened to put him in debt? All this can unfold over the course of the book and allow the reader to connect with the character.
    • This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it could probably do with being fully justified.

    Anyway, just my humble opinion. All criticism is intended to be constructive. I hope you find it helpful.

  • Okay, so, a few things:

     

    First, congratulations on having finished your product, and for having written something that is both legible and coherent. I'm not being condescending: Many writers do not clear even those most basic hurdles, so you are already doing something that not everyone can do.

     

    A story based entirely on revenge can be a good plot -- there are many famous examples. This is also something to keep in mind: It's been done a lot, so your story will really need to shine if it's going to stand out from the pack.

     

    About your blurb... I might have written it like this:

     

    Malcolm Bronson a man who is morally lost. He has a vengeance vendetta to settle and a family to protect. Justice hasn't prevailed for him, so Malcolm must carry out justice his way. So begins, Menace. Menace is an eight episode season, written in the format of a book. It is the first installment out of four planned seasons.

     

    Now I realize that the blurb is simply about the story, and not the story proper, but it's the first sample people will see. The idea here is not so much to explain as it is to catch their attention and draw them in. That you foresee it as a Television Show is really not relevant since you're telling the story in book form. If you were to write it as a screenplay, then your intentions would be more relevent.

     

    Alternatives to "has a vengeance to settle" might be "has a vendetta to settle" or "is out for vengeance" or "wants revenge on ... " , etc. -- A good thesaurus would be a big help at this point.

     

    Now, jumping to your opening line (that's as much as I memorized, sorry:

     

    Justice, what a pathetic excuse for punishment.

     

    Well, that's a bit harsh as an opening line, for two reasons. First, we don't yet know that you're telling the story in the first person, and such a line from an omniscient author would set a very dark tone for the tale. It would seem to imply that the entire story will be about telling us why human justice is impossible.

     

    The second reason is that Justice isn't necessarily about punishment. Justice is literally the idea that each person gets what they deserve, whether good or bad. Justice literally means, "The dispensation of what is just." The settling of a will in favor of the widow is justice, or having an unfair case dismissed is justice. It's not always about punishment. I know, I'm being hypertechnical, and I apologize. It's merely that the sentence rattles a little. It breaks us out of the story.

     

    Alternatives might be:

     

    Justice? Ha. There's no justice is our pathetic courts.

     

    or

     

    Our courts: What pathetic excuses for justice!

    (Our court system! What a pathetic excuse for justice!)

     

    or

     

    If you want to see justice in action, stay away from our courts here in MakeItUp County. What a pitiful excuse for Justice!

     

    Keep in mind, these are suggestions, and if the sentence doesn't rattle in the ears of other readers, then I could be wrong about the whole thing. But to me... it rattles. Just saying.

     

    You could also take advantage of the opening sentence to work in a bit of dialog and exposition:

     

    I took a drag on my cigarette and watched fat old Judge Highwater waddle down the steps. A servant of the people? No, a bought and sold servant of the Powers That Be. A paragon of justice? More like a paragon of porkbelly.

     

    I spat out the cigarette butt on the marble steps and ground it under my foot. "Justice," I muttered. "Hell will freeze on the day we have justice is this town."

     

    Now, obviously you have the structure of your story in place, and it would be a bit late to rework it now -- as I said, this is simply to give you some food for thought.

     

    There's a Writing 101 thread in this forum, which, while it might be a bit remedial for you, also might give you a few tips.

    http://connect.lulu.com/t5/Author-Workshop/Writing-101-a-tutorial-on-fiction/td-p/329171

     

    Hope that's helpful!

  • Thank you for that Richard. I'll explain and answer your issues that were pointed out.

    With the cover I am looking into ways off getting one made up or I am doing trial and error to create one.

    Respones to your dot points;
     - Most people find the book/TV series confusing. But the way that Jake and I wrote the book, was as if it were a TV Series. So yes as you said and others have told us "I was expecting to see a script." "Why isn't it a screenplay?" 
    The reason it isn't a screen play is because we have always written story's, not screenplays. We both in the future want to go into film, etc. So what we wanted to do is write Menace as a book, then later on down the track we could maybe one day pitch it to make it into a TV Show, which then we will write it up into a screenplay. Its just come on who wants to read a screenplay rather than a book? My explaining is probably terrible but in short, we don't have experience writing screenplays, so we stuck with what we know.

     - I guess never thought about that because us writing it we know when or why it changed from 1st person to 3rd person. But at the start of every episode the first paragraph is like, an introduction. So like a TV show, the antagonist is talking to himself but its directed to the audience and it also briefly tells you about the episode and whats to come. 

     -That's my mistake thankyou for letting me know, it was just red because it made "Menace" pop out. But i will fix that up so it doesn't come out grey, thank you!

     - We knew there was gonna be typos, we proof read it a couple times and fixed up a lot of mistakes but somehow missed them, thank you.

       - The comma and full stops being in the wrong place, Jake and I are different writers, I had to adapt to writing in his style because I write my story's how the first page is written and he is the second page. But the sudden comma, that's a pause and it makes you think, I guess we did it because rather than reading "While the filth in the streets roam around freely" you have to stop and think about the filth in the streets.

     

       - With the intro it is the start of a court case and later on in the "chapter" and the book, you find out why he was with the gang. He is a hypocrite yes, but "A disguise hides his true identity and he became a public avenger in an unorthodox manner. That pleases others and angers more." The fact that it is abusing the justice system straight off the bat, we assumed that a reader would think "why does he hate it so much" and read on to find out. 

    Thank you for taking the time and looking over it and writing your feedback, it is helpful! 
    Wanna help out with the rest of the book? Just buy it and help us out page by page Smiley Wink

  • Thankyou Skoob_Ym for taking the time to read the start of the book and replying!

    We believe that the book is fairly unique compared to others and its plot deepens throughout every episode making it more unique and enjoyable. Malcolm doesn't just get betrayed, seek revenge, get it and done. The plot is more complex.

    I wrote blurb and put that but to be honest its not really a blurb this bit is "Malcolm Bronson, a man who is morally lost, has a vengeance to settle and a family to protect. Justice hasn't prevailed, so Malcolm must carry out justice his way. So begins, Menace."

    and then the next bit

    "The beginning of Malcolm Bronson, a once corrupt cop. Dismissed from his duties due to being mentally unstable. Malcolm Bronson has policing in his blood. A disguise hides his true identity and he became a public avenger in an unorthodox manner. That pleases others and angers more." 
    Is the summary we wrote for the book before we started, it is the guideline we stuck by as we wrote.
    and then the bit you crossed out completely that was just explaining what the book is. As you can see I replied to a comment just before explaining why we wrote it as a book and not a screenplay.
    Thanks for the help! Vendetta would suit well.

    Again i explained why we opened with that line in a comment minutes ago, rather than re writing it, just read over it if you don't mind. But abusing justice, as a reader you would question why and want to find out no?
    Throughout the episode you learn why Malcolm said that first paragraph.
    Thankyou for your suggestions, it would make more sense using them though. Also the location is set in Chicago and parks, prisons in Chicago etc.
    Your opening sentences, well done, it is actually a good starter.

    Also just to add, Jake and I wrote in haste because we didn't intend it to be a novel, just a few weeks ago we had the idea to publish it ourselves. We knew there would be mistakes but we wanted a hard copy which we could go through and edit and hold onto forever if needed to pitch as an idea, rather than possibly losing the files on our computers.
    Lastly at the end of 2016 we had finished Year 11 at school, so it is still very little experience in writing books. 

     


  • Luketaylor82 wrote:

    Thank you for that Richard. I'll explain and answer your issues that were pointed out.

    With the cover I am looking into ways off getting one made up or I am doing trial and error to create one.

    Respones to your dot points;
     - Most people find the book/TV series confusing. But the way that Jake and I wrote the book, was as if it were a TV Series. So yes as you said and others have told us "I was expecting to see a script." "Why isn't it a screenplay?" 
    The reason it isn't a screen play is because we have always written story's, not screenplays. We both in the future want to go into film, etc. So what we wanted to do is write Menace as a book, then later on down the track we could maybe one day pitch it to make it into a TV Show, which then we will write it up into a screenplay. Its just come on who wants to read a screenplay rather than a book? My explaining is probably terrible but in short, we don't have experience writing screenplays, so we stuck with what we know.

     

    -- The fact that it confuses people should be an alarm bell. Given your explanation I would urge you to drop any TV jargon and just have it as a book. Doing that would in no way stop you from going back later and turning it into a screenplay if that's what you wanted to do.

     - I guess never thought about that because us writing it we know when or why it changed from 1st person to 3rd person. But at the start of every episode the first paragraph is like, an introduction. So like a TV show, the antagonist is talking to himself but its directed to the audience and it also briefly tells you about the episode and whats to come. 

    -- Again, it's confusing for the reader. You want the reader to become immersed in the world you're creating. The more they have to work out what's going on the less they're going to lose themselves. If you really don't want to convert this to 3rd person I'd advise somehow delineating it from the rest of the text. Most of my book, for example, is 3rd person but there are sections in 1st person. The first person sections have their own headings and are indented and in italics. That way the reader knows what to expect.

     -That's my mistake thankyou for letting me know, it was just red because it made "Menace" pop out. But i will fix that up so it doesn't come out grey, thank you!

    --Glad to help.

     - We knew there was gonna be typos, we proof read it a couple times and fixed up a lot of mistakes but somehow missed them, thank you.

    --I'd advise going through the whole book again. If there are typos in the first couple of pages there are bound to be more later on. See if you can get someone else - preferably someone not involved in writing the book - to read it. They'll be more likely to spot errors. As a last resort, proofread each other's sections.

       - The comma and full stops being in the wrong place, Jake and I are different writers, I had to adapt to writing in his style because I write my story's how the first page is written and he is the second page. But the sudden comma, that's a pause and it makes you think, I guess we did it because rather than reading "While the filth in the streets roam around freely" you have to stop and think about the filth in the streets.

    --Yeah, but the sentence flows badly because of it. You want the sentences to flow through the reader's mind like grease. You don't want fish hooks in there.

     

       - With the intro it is the start of a court case and later on in the "chapter" and the book, you find out why he was with the gang. He is a hypocrite yes, but "A disguise hides his true identity and he became a public avenger in an unorthodox manner. That pleases others and angers more." The fact that it is abusing the justice system straight off the bat, we assumed that a reader would think "why does he hate it so much" and read on to find out. 

    --Just my own personal opinion, you understand, but my instinct was the opposite to that. The reader needs sympathy with the protagonist to keep reading. To create a sympathetic bad guy is difficult, but it's great when it works.

    Thank you for taking the time and looking over it and writing your feedback, it is helpful! 
    Wanna help out with the rest of the book? Just buy it and help us out page by page Smiley Wink

    --I've not got enough time to work out my own book, never mind anybody else's Smiley Happy

     

     

     

    Anyway, i've just read in your post to Skoob that you're in year 11 at school. What does that make you? About 16? If so, please don't let any of my comments put you off. You're doing a great job and your work just needs a bit of a polish to get it right. I think it's fantastic that not only are you interested in writing but that you're able to produce work like this at your age. Keep it up. It's already better than a lot of the work I've seen submitted to these forums.

     

    One last piece of advice, taking your age and inexperience into account. There are some people on this forum who have decades of writing experience behind them. Not all of the advice is going to be good, but all of it is going to be worth seriously considering. Don't dismiss it without a good reason. All the best with your book.

  • A lot has already been said, and are good points, but I will stick my short opinions in too.

     

    We believe that the book is fairly unique compared to others

     

    Considering how many books have been published, that is highly unlikely, but is still good to believe so. How many books have you read?

     

    and its plot deepens throughout every episode

     

    This has already been pointed out to you. It is not filmed media - it is a book, so 'Series' are called Parts, and what you call 'Episodes' will be chapters. If it ever does get turned in to filmed media then the termage will change, but still not for the book/s.

     

    making it more unique and enjoyable.

     

    Never forget that it's mainly readers who will be the judge of that, not you.

     

    Malcolm doesn't just get betrayed, seek revenge, get it and done. The plot is more complex.

     

    It would indeed need to be, such as who against and why. A whole pile of background stuff, but not so much at one time or people will get bored. Enter the 'Flashback'  Smiley Happy

    I wrote blurb and put that but to be honest its not really a blurb this bit is "Malcolm Bronson, a man who is morally lost, has a vengeance to settle and a family to protect. Justice hasn't prevailed, so Malcolm must carry out justice his way. So begins, Menace."

     

    It is 'blurb' no matter what it says, but the way that is worded could mean he needs to stop vengeance against himself, not the other way around.

     

    and then the next bit

    "The beginning of Malcolm Bronson, a once corrupt cop. Dismissed from his duties due to being mentally unstable.

     

    Not that old chestnut. Is an alcoholic as well? Wife left him? No one respects him? Etc etc.

     

    They are very hard to write without giving away the plot.

     

    Malcolm Bronson has policing in his blood.

     

    He is quite old then?

     

    A disguise hides his true identity and he became a public avenger in an unorthodox manner. That pleases others and angers more." 

     

    He's not the Punisher is he? But avenge is akin to the word vengeance, so it is he perpetuating vengeance then and it is not against him? Although it sounds as if it will become both!


    Is the summary we wrote for the book before we started, it is the guideline we stuck by as we wrote.

     

    To base a story on that, it's remarkably short and only for one person, and even that is vague.


    and then the bit you crossed out completely that was just explaining what the book is. As you can see I replied to a comment just before explaining why we wrote it as a book and not a screenplay.

     

    Often the actual story comes first and then turned in to a screenplay. That's not always the case, but if something only exists as a screenplay then the writer will often sit and plan it out with the director (and producers! and dozens of other people.) Later, if it's a success then a writer of novels will probably be employed to turn it in to one.



    Also just to add, Jake and I wrote in haste because we didn't intend it to be a novel,

     

    Well it does sound as if it is one. But why would it be written in haste even if not intended as the printed word? BTW. There are three named as writers, not two.

     

    just a few weeks ago we had the idea to publish it ourselves. We knew there would be mistakes but we wanted a hard copy which we could go through and edit and hold onto forever if needed to pitch as an idea, rather than possibly losing the files on our computers.
    Lastly at the end of 2016 we had finished Year 11 at school, so it is still very little experience in writing books. 

     

    Well that will come as you write, keep it up.

  • Well, I see your points, and frankly, looking at the things I wrote in 11th and 12th grade... Well, you've probably got a more salable story as it sits than I did then with my writings.

     

    But... Sometimes a story needs a while to age. I'm hearing a lot of "we rushed to do this" and "We just now dashed out that part" and a few other signs of haste.

     

    Take your time and write the story well. You'll be glad you did. It's all well and good getting it down on paper so that you can go back through and reshape it -- but take the time to go abck through and reshape it. Most of the writers here will tell you that they didn't publish their first drafts. What you see instead (in many of the books on Lulu) is a product of many hours spent combing through the manuscript, adding a bit here, deleting some clunky parts, and fixing a scene that doesn't really describe the action.

     

    This is great fun -- it's the most exhilirating thing in the world to create a story just by typing the thoughts in your head! But it's also a lot of work if we want to do it well.

     

    Now, I also noticed something you said to Richard: That none of the authors had seen how the story would sound to someone who didn't already know the story (i.e., you, the authors). This raises a big red flag for me.

     

    An author's best friend is an editor. Not just an editor, but a mean, grumpy old man with a big red pen and a very strict attitude about grammar. When I write my stories, I have at least two people read each one just to tell me if the story makes sense and the characters seem realistic. In my current work-in-progress, I have a lot of technical content, and I'm lucky enough to know a few experts in those technical fields, so I'm having at least two strongly-qualified people read the manuscript just to tell me if I'm saying something stupid in those technical parts.

     

    The best advice I can give you is to find a mean, grumpy old editor. Find someone who will carefully read your manuscript and will carefully take it apart, line by line. When that happens, listen carefully, and don't be discouraged. Instead, go back to the word processor and fix the issues.

     

    You seem like a smart and attentive young man. You seem to be taking the advice here to heart. That's good. It means that you're going to take the raw talent that shows clearly in this manuscript, and you're going to hone your skills as writers until quality writing comes naturally.

     

    Remember that writing is both an art and a skill. Talent is wonderful, and skill is wonderful, but the best of all worlds comes when someone with talent takes the time to develop the skill. This is good for an 11th grader. But do you want to write stories that are pretty good for an eleventh grader, or do you want to write stories that are just plain good -- True Literary Art?

     

    BTW, there are some great books on writing. If you take the time to read them, they can be a huge help:

     

    The Art of Fiction by John Gardner.

     

    Misery by Stephen King (a very dark book, but it has good advice)

     

    Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk (might be a lot of reading for 11th-graders, but it's worthwhile).

     

    I truly hope this advice is helpful.

  • I see that Richard concurs on the need for an editor. It's good advice.

     

    And you might find Kevin's thoughts to be a bit harsh, and even off the point, perhaps... but he makes some good points.

     

    As I mentioned, I like that you came to this looking for advice, and not with the attitude of already knowing everything. Think about the things that each of us has said -- Ron, Richard, Kevin, and myself. Look at this as a learning experience -- an experiment, a crucible, a test run.

     

    One side point on lost manuscripts... I've lost a few in my day. But I've found that having the mind from which they sprang is almost as good as having the original, and often better. 

     

    Good luck, and keep writing.

  • But... Sometimes a story needs a while to age.

     

    Indeed it does, and even when one feels it is finished, step away from it for a few months, then read it again, and often one finds one could have done a lot better and even think, "did I really write that nonsense?" for many reasons.

     

    I'm hearing a lot of "we rushed to do this" and "We just now dashed out that part" and a few other signs of haste.

     

    One has to wonder about any rush to become published, especially with no deadline to beat. I would suggest reading it over a dozen times before perhaps even letting any other person see it!

  • And you might find Kevin's thoughts to be a bit harsh, and even off the point, perhaps... but he makes some good points.

     

    Sorry, that could be the Britishness in me coming out, but I have learned that people often take no notice unless they are shocked a tad, (gosh, was that how Trump got elected?!! Oh, no, because he made no good or true points.  Smiley Tongue)   and humouring people is just cruel. 

     

    BTW. They are not off the point at all.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

    But... Sometimes a story needs a while to age.

     

    Indeed it does, and even when one feels it is finished, step away from it for a few months, then read it again, and often one finds one could have done a lot better and even think, "did I really write that nonsense?" for many reasons.

     

    I'm hearing a lot of "we rushed to do this" and "We just now dashed out that part" and a few other signs of haste.

     

    One has to wonder about any rush to become published, especially with no deadline to beat. I would suggest reading it over a dozen times before perhaps even letting any other person see it!


    Kevin, I can understand how you might ask yourself, "Did I really write that nonsense?" Smiley Tongue

     

    Smiley Very Happy

  • Kevin, I can understand how you might ask yourself, "Did I really write that nonsense?"

     

     

    Gosh, how rude!


  • kevinlomas wrote:

    Kevin, I can understand how you might ask yourself, "Did I really write that nonsense?"

     

     

    Gosh, how rude!


    Look, you drew a target and handed me a snowball. What was I supposed to do?

     

    Besides, I'm agreeing with you... Smiley Very Happy

  • Look, you drew a target and handed me a snowball. What was I supposed to do?

     

    Is it yellow?

Sign In or Register to comment.