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[Project] The Curse of Being Nuru Caldwel (snippets)

#1
This project is a series of around 4 books. They focus on Nuru Caldwel, a young man who was cursed from birth to be able to see curses. Being the only one known in the world to be able to detect a curse, Nuru and his sister run an occult detective agency for Nuru to use this skill to help people. And, through all this, he hopes to find someday the one who cursed him with this power.

That's just the basics, but the rest of this thread will be little notes about how certain things work, snippets as I write the books, etc. I'd love to hear your thoughts sometime. Big Grin
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#2
Chapter 1 Snippet

Quote:The smell of seafood and eggs led Nuru’s long-limbed body down the steps of their two story home. For a seemingly average, if not boorish, man, Nuru’s looks surely gave away that he was far from the norm. Standing at roughly seven feet tall, the lanky giant was already wearing the mask he’d held so tightly in his slumber, knowing full well that a mouthless mask was quite difficult to eat in. “Morning,” he mumbled, walking into the kitchen. “What’s the occasion?”

“Did you seriously forget? It’s your birthday.”

“I told you I don’t like celebrating it.”

“You should enjoy it. It’s the day the world gave me my cute little brother, after all.”

“No one would believe you if you said that in public. That I’m younger, that is.”

“So what if I’m short!? It’s not my fault you’re a giant! You just refused to stop growing!” Kaylie scowled. “And take that mask off or at least set it like glasses on top of your head. You should at least show your face to me.”

Nuru narrowly rolled his eyes, reluctantly removing the mask and hanging it on the corner of his chair. Heaving a heavy sigh, he took the fork off his table setting and began to use it to cut a slice of the omelet in front of him. “You may see it as the day you got a little brother, but I see it as the day that ruined my life. I mean, my sight… I never asked for this stupid ability with no practical use.”

“You’ve proven it has practical uses. You can save people who’ve been cursed! Without you, there’d be a lot more deaths to mysterious circumstances than there are now. Though it is rather strange how long we’ve been without a case…”

“Take that as a good thing, Kaylie.” Nuru was speaking with his mouth still chewing on a bite of shrimp.

“Unlike your table manners. You’re already twenty-seven for crying out loud. You should know not to talk and chew at the same time.” As she began her tirade, she was cut off by the sound of the home phone, which vibrated slightly in its charging station. It was rare for anyone to have home phones at this point in technological advancement, but it was a preference of the siblings to have a shared phone at home rather than sharing a cell number. That, and it was more likely to get Nuru at home than on his cell.

Kaylie stood up from the table and walked over. After reading the caller ID, she gave a distinctly serious look towards her brother. Nuru let out another heavy sigh, pushing his plate of food ahead of him and returning his mask to his face. “Amy! Hey. You got something for us?” Nuru walked over to his sister and passed her a pen and notebook from a ways down the counter. “Alright, so we have to go there… Can you give me the name of the patient? Yeah, spell it for me… Okay, I think I’ve got it all. We’ll be there as fast as we can.”

Hanging up the phone, Kaylie ripped the page off the notepad. She ran out of the kitchen before she felt a hand on top of her head. “Why are you heading upstairs?”

“We need to dress for the job we want, right? We’re investigators, so we have to look the part!”

“Our client is in the hospital. Do you really have time to worry about that?”

“From what Amelie said it should be fine. As long as he eats.” She pulled free of her brother’s grip, running up the stairs to get to her room, but not before yelling behind her, “Don’t forget to change into your suit! You look like a clown otherwise.”

Reluctantly, Nuru made his way up the steps, often skipping one with his abnormally long legs. When in his room, he disrobed and threw his clothes in a haphazard pile in the corner. He opened his closet and pulled out a black three-piece suit, with a black blazer, black slacks, and a medium grey button up. He loosely tied a red tie around his neck, put on some black loafers and a belt, and finally exited his room, noting Kaylie was still in her own.

“Kaylie, hurry it up! We have to get going now!”

Finally, the woman’s door opened. Kaylie came out wearing a black pencil skirt, white blouse, and a grey blazer that matched Nuru’s shirt. Her shoes and belt were a similar red to his tie. Basically, outside Nuru’s peculiar mask, the siblings matched in attire. “Let’s get to the car. I’ll drive.”

“You can’t even reach the gas pedal,” Nuru retorted.

He placed his butt atop the polished maple stairwell and rode the rail to the bottom steps. Kaylie grumbled something about him being a show off before walking down the steps like a normal person, albeit her cheeks were puffed like a chipmunk’s. “Do you always have to go down the stairs like that when you wear a suit? You’re going to ruin it that way.”

“It’s less convenient to walk in these stiff trousers.” Nuru shrugged his shoulders, rolling them into a stretch before walking towards the front door and opening it for his sister. “After you. I’ll lock up.”

In the driveway of the house were two cars and a van. One car, a blue SUV, the other, a silver sedan. Neither sibling walked to one of the cars, although they were likely far more convenient and inconspicuous. After all, the van was far from hard to notice. Though black was its primary color, it had two thick, red lines encompassing the sides and trunk of the vehicle. On the driver’s side door, a large circle cut through the red tape, with yellow graffiti saying ‘Caldwel Occultists’ fancily written. Nuru opened the door to get behind the wheel, only to find his legs tightly trapped in the footspace.

“I can’t reach the pedals, but you can barely move your legs.”

“You tried to take it out for a joy ride didn’t you? It’s clear the chair’s been moved up.”

Kaylie laughed, Nuru grumbled. A low rumble echoed from from his Adam’s apple, sounding akin to a feral cat growling at prey. With a few adjustments to his seat being made, he turned the keys and revved the engine. With a quick push of his ankle, he gave the gas some pressure and backed out of their property. He backed into the open road, thanking the sky there was no traffic on their small street.
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#3
Love it! How long is the full version?
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#4
I'd have to add up all the scenes I have written so far, but it's at least 5k words in separate parts. :3
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#5
That's good!

Writing is hard. I've tried to write fiction. I got to the point where I realized that, after I had gone back and edited the previous work as I wrote new pages, it would take a day or more just to add another page.

Please post here as you work on more!
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#6
I intend to~ I don't know when I'll decide what snippet to share, but I'll share them regularly as I go. Most probably wont' be quite as long, but we'll see. :3
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#7
TRIGGER WARNING: Blood, Death, etc.
Please Note: I'd love input on my description of the body.

Quote:Stepping into the morgue, the siblings shuddered slightly. There was a slight chill in the air, which managed to seep into their suits and soak in as if they’d walked through a vertical puddle. As it was their first time in a morgue, they weren’t expecting the cool temperature of the room used to keep the corpses better in tact for autopsy. Or at least, that was the only assumption Nuru could come up with as to why it felt like it could snow in the room at any moment.

Kaylie turned to look around the room. There were a lot of lockers, each with a name written on paper attached to the door. The ceiling was textured with very specifically placed lights, shining over two autopsy beds. On one bed, there was nothing to be seen. It appeared akin to a metal desk, if only it had some drawers to make it look more so.

The other bed, closer to the two, had a woman upon it. She had black hair in a reverse bob cut. Her thin lips were closed fairly tight, her eyes left shut for the sake of not bothering the two investigators that had never seen a dead body before. Upon her body from the shoulders down was a white sheet, hiding from view the travesty the siblings were about to witness.

“Meet Emily Roberts, twenty-two. I recommend you both take a deep breath before I take the sheet off. A deep breath to brace yourself for what you’re about to see. It’s… Not something easy on the eyes, or the stomach.”

The siblings winced as the coroner began to pull the sheet off their potential victim. Covering her abdomen were slash wounds, deep enough to cut through her internal organs if the killer tried hard enough. “The gashes on her upper abdomen are so deep they punctured the heart,” Corona mused to Nuru and Kaylie. Nuru nodded before continuing his once over of the corpse. Her arms had scars of what looked like steadily, increasingly deep slashes or scrapes. When they saw her legs, it was identical- she had scars and slashes all over.

Nuru focused his sight on the girl’s hands. The fingers were coated in blood, especially the index, middle, and ring fingers. With a quick wiggle of his finger, he called the coroner and his sister closer. “If you look closely at the left ring finger, isn’t something missing?”

“There’s a lot of blood but… I see what you mean. The impression at the first knuckle, right?”

“It’s the right place for an engagement or wedding ring. I have a feeling this woman wasn’t alone in the world when she died.” Nuru sighed and glanced towards Corona. “Tell me, doctor, were there any DNA samples under her fingernails or in the wounds?”

“That’s what made us call you. There was DNA under her nails, but… It was all her own. It’s as if she’d been the one causing all these injuries. But it’s not Emily that had me call you here.”
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#8
(February 15th, 2020 at 3:16 AM)Juneberry Wrote:
Quote:Stepping into the morgue, the siblings shuddered slightly. There was a slight chill in the air, which managed to seep into their suits and soak in as if they’d walked through a vertical puddle. As it was their first time in a morgue, they weren’t expecting the cool temperature of the room used to keep the corpses better in tact for autopsy. Or at least, that was the only assumption Nuru could come up with as to why it felt like it could snow in the room at any moment.

Kaylie turned to look around the room. There were a lot of lockers, each with a name written on paper attached to the door. The ceiling was textured with very specifically placed lights, shining over two autopsy beds. On one bed, there was nothing to be seen. It appeared akin to a metal desk, if only it had some drawers to make it look more so.

The other bed, closer to the two, had a woman upon it. She had black hair in a reverse bob cut. Her thin lips were closed fairly tight, her eyes left shut for the sake of not bothering the two investigators that had never seen a dead body before. Upon her body from the shoulders down was a white sheet, hiding from view the travesty the siblings were about to witness.

“Meet Emily Roberts, twenty-two. I recommend you both take a deep breath before I take the sheet off. A deep breath to brace yourself for what you’re about to see. It’s… Not something easy on the eyes, or the stomach.”

The siblings winced as the coroner began to pull the sheet off their potential victim. Covering her abdomen were slash wounds, deep enough to cut through her internal organs if the killer tried hard enough. “The gashes on her upper abdomen are so deep they punctured the heart,” Corona mused to Nuru and Kaylie. Nuru nodded before continuing his once over of the corpse. Her arms had scars of what looked like steadily, increasingly deep slashes or scrapes. When they saw her legs, it was identical- she had scars and slashes all over.

Nuru focused his sight on the girl’s hands. The fingers were coated in blood, especially the index, middle, and ring fingers. With a quick wiggle of his finger, he called the coroner and his sister closer. “If you look closely at the left ring finger, isn’t something missing?”

“There’s a lot of blood but… I see what you mean. The impression at the first knuckle, right?”

“It’s the right place for an engagement or wedding ring. I have a feeling this woman wasn’t alone in the world when she died.” Nuru sighed and glanced towards Corona. “Tell me, doctor, were there any DNA samples under her fingernails or in the wounds?”

“That’s what made us call you. There was DNA under her nails, but… It was all her own. It’s as if she’d been the one causing all these injuries. But it’s not Emily that had me call you here.”

t. English major, take what I say with a grain of salt because:
1. I'm a pretentious prick
2. I'm more concerned about style (never read much YA/teen fiction so I can't comment much on the content itself.)

First sentence is notoriously similar to what you might call a dangling participle. It's also generally a bad idea to use passive-voice sentence structure unless you have an explicit reason for using it (i.e. you don't know what commits the action.)
It's also not great to end a sentence with an adverb, just sounds kinda clunky, but again that's because most of my writing background is for professional and academic writing so those are things I try to stay away from. If that's your style, go for it.

Quote:The other bed, closer to the two[...]

This paragraph (or group of short sentences) has a lot of 'she/her' use. Perhaps introduce the woman first before describing? Or maybe use the coroner (dialogue) to describe her through a third-party rather than narration alone.

Quote:internal organs
Compared to the rest of your style, this sounds a lot more sciencey than the sensationalist/fantasy style you're aiming for (from what I can gather.) perhaps use the term 'innards'?

Otherwise, a little more gruesome than what I'd like to read (more of a slice-of-life/early-modern/postmodern kinda guy) but if that's what you're going for, it sounds fine.
Again, take my critiques with a grain of salt.
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#9
@Lain: I thank you for your constructive criticisms! I'm actually an editor by trade, so I know how important it is to get another pair of eyes that can give you non-biased ideas. I'll definitely take your recommendations into account! Thank you for pointing out what you did, because it will surely help me. Smile
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#10
I'm glad you use it.
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#11
I really enjoyed writing this bit, but forewarning, there's some cursing in there.


Quote:It didn’t surprise Nuru that he’d gotten pulled over. It wasn’t like he was speeding, but there was definitely something to worry about with his driving- the mysterious mask he always wore, which had managed to catch the wrong police officer’s attention. Stopped at the side of a long road, trees and grasses of various kinds scattered on either side, Nuru stepped out awkwardly from his vehicle. Digging in his suit pants, he pulled out a business card. “I work with the police from time to time at the 14th district.”

“Ah, you’re the Madman of Main Street.” The officer said.

Nuru shrugged the words away, but felt his lips tug downward from behind the thick plastic on his face. “As it reads, I’m Nuru Caldwel. My sister and I run a supernatural investigative office that occasionally works with the police on peculiar incidents. I’m actually en route to the family of a deceased victim right now. They’re second daughter is in danger as we speak.”

“Listen, I don’t care who buys your mumbo jumbo about hexes and all that.”

“It’s not hexes, but close enough.”

“That’s not the point! I don’t care where the f*** you were going, you’re coming to the station with me now.”

“On what charges?” Inside his mask, he was smirking. The man hadn’t told him why he’d pulled him over in the first place, and now was being verbally violent? “I assume you have more to charge me for than doing work you don’t believe in.”

The officer’s face turned a deep shade of red, and smoke was practically whistling it’s way out of his ears like a tea kettle. Nuru bowed in a flamboyant manner before taking out his phone and dialing up a number no one, not even his sister, knew he had. It was the 14th sector’s chief in command. “Hey there Don, it’s Nuru. I’m having an issue with another sector. Do you think you could talk him down for me?”

Nuru held the phone out to the officer, lifting up his mask just enough to show off his coy smile. The man hesitated before accepting the phone, which lead to yelling even Nuru could hear without the speaker on. He begrudgingly held the phone back to Nuru, who quickly thanked the chief and put the phone away.

“I don’t know how you copped your way out of fraud, but I’ve got my eye on you ‘Caldwel’.” He seemed to emphasize Nuru’s surname, as if he had a grudge with all that bore it. “Get your a** out of here before I change my mind.”

Cautiously, Nuru got into his car, which the officer soon slammed the door of shut, nearly pinning his ankle between the car and the door itself. Nuru wanted to fight back, but decided he was certain to lose to the musculature he had briefly scanned of the opposing officer. He instead turned on the ignition and sped his way down the road until it met its end.
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