Feedback Fridays

Untitled Manuscript I

Our first anonymous selection for Feedback Fridays. Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. However, any comments that are overly derogatory in nature will be removed. Please keep in mind that the author, while anonymous, will be reading your feedback. Submissions posted here are not edited and/or proof-read by Indireads.

If you are an author hoping for some feedback on the first 800 words of your unpublished manuscript, you can submit your work here.


Genre: Romance

FROM somewhere in the room my phone buzzed to the riff of Metallica’s ‘Master of puppets. I squirmed in my sleep, and ignored Hetfield’s intense guitar playing. However, as it began to get louder I couldn’t take it anymore and gave in.

In semi-drowsy state I rose to my feet and started locating the boom-box.

It wasn’t on the work-table, it wasn’t anywhere around the pile of clothes, or my Java and other android books, or the pile of clothes in the shelves of the open cupboard.

“Stop you frigging monster!” I shouted in frustration.

Finally I found it hiding from me behind my laptop. I wasted not a second pressing the cancel button, and put an end to the crazy mayhem.

Rubbing the corner of my eye with a finger I looked at the time. The screen showed 10:30. 10:30!

I almost panicked. But soon realized that I didn’t even have the time to panic – I was already too late. I rushed to the basin, washed face, and brushed teeth. After changing into formals I put a sandwich from last night into the microwave. While it heated up, sitting on the sofa I put on my shoes.

With the sandwich clutched in hand, and the backpack slung on shoulder I made way to the main street as fast as possible. An auto from there and I was soon onboard metro train.

I worked through all of it so fast that I seriously considered timing myself next time.

Yes, indeed there would be a ‘next time’. It was the typical routine. Life as an android-app developer could be really frazzling and demanding, contrary to what many people imagine.

The moment I stepped on the road I started pacing to the office. I considered boarding a bus – even though the office was barely two km away it would still save me plenty of time – but no bus passed by me that day.

When I was still halfway to the office, then as if being late, and with no bus coming my way was not bad enough already, the grey sky exploded. And it didn’t rain water, but cats and dogs!

I took shelter under the nearest tree and waited for the rain to stop. But apparently, there was no stopping to it. If anything, it seemed to be getting intense.

Finally I gave up, and holding the backpack above my head I started running towards my office. I didn’t have a choice after all. Reaching the office doused in rain was still better than getting reprimanded for reaching late. That especially on the day when one of the biggest projects Mobisoft had received was to be completed and sent to the client.

As I stepped inside the office I immediately felt relieved – it was so cozy and warm there. Luckily, and surprisingly, I didn’t get too wet and just swabbing of handkerchief on the neck and hands did the trick.

I stood in front of the fingerprint scanner and pressed my index finger on the red slide to mark my attendance.

“Please wait for a few seconds” the female pre-recorded voice from the device said.

“Sorry! Please try again.” came the response. I rubbed my finger on my trousers and tried again. But again the response was the same. “Please try again”. Once more. “Please try again” And once more. “Please try again.”

“Damn it!”

“Hey, you better get a new finger. Your current one is not working.” Dushyant said as he passed by me and sniggered. A few others also joined him from their desks.

Ignoring the remark, as well as my attendance, I walked to my desk and slumped into the chair.
About Dushyant’s behavior, it was not that I had any choice. He was the project manager, team leader, whatever. You can call it anything you want. The thing is – he was a douche.

“Rough day, eh?” Ashish said.

“Just another normal day in my life.” I said as I placed my laptop on the table.

Other than Manav sir, the company head, Ashish was the only likeable and trustworthy person I found in the office. He was dark (in a good way), had good dressing sense, and was audacious. He could have easily mingled with any other guy in the office, even the influential ones. But instead he chose me to stick with, working from the desk right next to mine.

14 replies on “Untitled Manuscript I”

The start was fabulous. In between though I felt the writing slacked. For example in para three the style could improve a lot. also words like Manav sir, or references like these don’t look good. Somehow. may be they do add the realistic element but not a very reader friendly term. On the whole I would say it can get better it is definitely some of the better starts I have read so far. But to perfect it two rounds of editing..

Seems everyone has said everything. Hi Abhinav, nothing much to add except one thing. I am not an editor and far it be me from pointing grammatical error or misplaced punctuations. As a reader I had only one peeve. In the begining itself I would like to know who the MC is. A name would be nice.. specially when ‘I’ is called out by Dushyant and also some nuances of whether the MC is a male or female. “I’ for me could be a female. For me to relate to a character, i need to know who ‘I’ is – as a person. I need a name too.

Having said that this piece is contempory, fast faced and the visualisaton is great. I could see a ‘person’ getting up late, the sound of alarn triggering, a person rushing to the office in the rain and also the office atmosphere. But I would defintately love to ‘see’ the person. And I do hope I see this novel in my kindle..:) All the very best. 🙂

Interesting start and described quite well. As many have already pointed out, sentence formation and grammar needs to be tightened up quite a bit. I felt nothing wrong with dushyant’s remark – it seemed like a harmless joke. There should be some more explanation as to why it irked the narrator. And I was thinking all the while that the narrator is a he, but now not sure.
Overall, a good start with a lot of potential.

Hi! I enjoyed reading this. Liked the contemporary voice. An app developer’s romance…that’s a new one! 🙂 The sentence construction is a bit wonky in a few places as has been pointed out by others. Two things that struck me were: 1. the buzzing phone — was someone calling? and wouldn’t she be curious about that once she is awake? 2. the narrator’s voice sounds like a woman’s but a name would help clarify it without a doubt.
Definitely sounds like a fun story. Good luck. 🙂

Nice details, and voice! The rain, the metro, the annoying attendance bot–all well described. It’s a first draft so won’t comment on grammer and structure. I feel it could do with a stronger opening though–something with a hook to keep us reading, and hint at what is going to complicate the android app developer’s world. The “waking up” scene is usually something to avoid, though it can work. Some good advice on beginings here:

Good luck with this!

An interesting start to a story; however, there are errors in sentence construction and word usage.
In a semi-drowsy state, I rose to my feet and started searching for the boom-box.

The next para could do with a few semi-colons–why are there two piles of clothes, one in the cupboard and the other…?
Replace ‘hiding from me’ with ‘concealed’? ‘Hiding from me’ = somewhat anthropomorphic? After all, the narrator would have kept the phone behind the laptop.
10:30 am or pm?
But I soon realized that I didn’t even have the time to panic–I was already very late. I rushed to the basin, washed my face and brushed my teeth. After getting into my work clothes (‘formals’ would imply dressing for a party)…
While it heated, I sat on the sofa and put on my shoes.
With the sandwich in my hand and my backpack on my shoulder, I ran to the main road. I took an auto to the nearest metro station. I’d performed this routine so quickly that I thought of timing myself the next time.
When I got off the train, I began walking quickly to the office. (‘pacing’ = gives the impression of a steady gentle amble).
I was half-way to the office when the sky exploded. It didn’t rain water, but cats and dogs. It was as if it wasn’t enough that I was late and was unable to catch a bus from the metro station to my office.
… If anything, it seemed to be getting worse.
…Luckily, and surprisingly, I hadn’t got drenched. I was able to swab the raindrops off my neck and hands.
…Other than Manav, the company head (CEO? Owner? Manager?) Ashish was, in my opinion, the only likable and trustworthy person in the entire office. …. dressed well, and was audacious.He could easily have befriended others in the office, even the more influential ones. But he had chosen to work from the desk right next to mine… perhaps it meant he was on my side. ( a little uncertainty adds a little suspense to the romance, if Ashish is the intended hero.)

On the whole, a very good beginning–I’d certainly want to know what happens next.

Everything the author described, I could see in my mind’s eye, so full marks for engaging writing. =)

There were some minor errors – like missing articles (A semi-drowsy state) and words (WASH basin instead of just basin) – but I guess that will all be taken care of during editing.

There were two lines, though, that jarred me right out of the story:

That especially on the day when one of the biggest projects Mobisoft had received was to be completed and sent to the client.

It took me some time to figure out the sentence sounded weird simply because the ‘that TOO’ is missing here.

And I’m sorry, but this just annoyed me. He was dark (in a good way)

Is there a bad way to be dark? There’s nothing inherently ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ in being dark skinned, you know.

Other than these minor little niggles, though, the story flowed well. A good start! =)

Hi everyone. I am that budding author whose manuscript has been posted here. And needless to say, I am happy with your responses. As Sabarat pointed out some flaws I went through the ms again and fixed them. I am happy with your encouraging words. Thank you all for you support. 🙂

On the one hand, this is a better start to a book than most – it’s not stuffy exposition and background information right off the bat. On the other hand, the language needs quite a bit of work. I think some things could have been simplified, some elaborated. For instance, the urgency of turning off the music doesn’t come across with ‘I wasted not a second pressing the cancel button, and put an end to the crazy mayhem’. This should have been about turning off the music and suddenly enjoying the silence.

‘I almost panicked. But soon realized that I didn’t even have the time to panic – I was already too late.’ The second sentence is unnecessary (and incorrect. You can’t be ‘too late’ in this context, just late. ‘Too late’ is a phrase only used to react to missing an event) – I would have preferred a better description of the rush to get ready. And to get the urgency in, since this is first person narrative, I would have changed the line ‘I worked through all of it so fast that I seriously considered timing myself next time.’ to something along the lines of I should have timed myself. I may have made the Guiness World Record for morning prep!

In the same way, the correct phrase is ‘raining cats and dogs’. Rearranging it doesn’t bring out the actual meaning, just confuses the metaphor.

However, I have to admit, the story so far has me piqued. I’d be interested to know what else is going to go wrong for the poor narrator.

Overall, this needs to be ruthlessly self-edited by the author. Start by deleting anything that seems unnecessary, and then build a picture of the mad rush to work and the misfortunes of the narrator. That doesn’t come across right now, which is because of language shortcomings more than anything else (the best thing, in this case, is if you don’t know the correct saying, don’t use it!).

Lovely attempt. Contemporary setting. Yet retaining their Indian flavor. My two bits. At first I thought the narrator had been woken up in the middle of the night. There was no means of knowing it was late morning. Also a few punctuation errors detracted me from the reading experience. Also perhaps a little bit of show not tell? All the best ! 🙂

This makes for an interesting start of a story, with all that bad luck and tension and a sneak peek at some of the characters that surround the protagonist. The grammar needs to be brushed up a little, but I like the modern style of the writer. It’s a nice touch to actually name the music of the alarm and the protagonist’s reaction to it, rather than just having a beeping sound startle him / her.

I liked the writing style and also the story line.
Only one small closing quote for this –‘Master of puppets. –line is missing, other than that I enjoyed reading it.
I think the writer has the potential of making this a good novel.

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