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dude

NWS - New Brother by Graeme

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Thanks everyone for the comments.

As a new writer, the thing that intrigued me was how closely most comments matched the ideas that were in my head for why things were happening. I'm taking that as a compliment that I managed to get those ideas across successfully.

I made a promise to someone that my next story would NOT be narrated by a homophobe. I'll make the same promise to Dude. No guarantees that he'll like it :wink: but if he doesn't, it won't be for that reason.

Cheers,

Graeme :D

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This is Aaron, again.

I noticed in another forum (crvboy, I think) that someone said he was almost feeling as sorry for David as for Adam. I think that is a great compliment to Graeme's writing ability, because he has put aside his own sentiment well enough to be able to get us into David's inner conflict so powerfully. If Adam were the narrator, I'm sure we'd have little compassion for David. Graeme is showing us the other side of the story in a very effective way.

All of this discussion of David's being homophobic (or not) makes me wonder if he is more anti-gay than homophobic. If he fears Adam or other gays, he is homophobic. If he just doesn't understand homosexuality and is guided by outside influences to reject it without question, he is anti-gay. Does society overuse the word "homophobic"? Aren't many actions more anti-gay than homophobic? Hasn't anti-gay sentiment become too much of a political issue? A powerplay for some?

I didn't mean anything bad by my "generational difference" comment. I have the oldest parents of our crew (I'm 11 years younger than my only sibling) and they would call it a "generation gap". Must have been a popular term when they were my age.

Best wishes to all,

Aaron

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Without a doubt, if you look at the two words in a technical sense, you're right. However, common usage trumps technical sense, so by that rule it's quite ok to call David's behavior homophobic.

You're also right that anti-gay sentiment is cynically used by many to support their quest for personal power. Take Dubya, for example: he knew damn well that his constitutional amendment proposal didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of actually passing through congress, much less being ratified by the states. It was entirely a sop thrown to the right wing of the republican party, to bind them closer for the upcoming election. All part of the powergames these people play, at our expense. Nothing new under the sun.

cheers!

aj

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While the root of the word homophobia means "fear of the same" (homo = same, phobia = fear) common usage has it as being equivalent of "anti-gay". For example, hatred of homosexuals is technically not homophobia (it's not fear) but I don't think anyone would be able to successfully argue that is what society thinks.

And before anyone disagrees, homo also means human (as in homo sapien). Other examples where homo means same are homonym (words with the same sound), homogenous (all of the same or similar nature).

Graeme

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Dear Aaron and the rest of the crew,

Homophobia or anti-gay? I see the distinction you're raising, but in practice, the two words mean about the same thing. Yes, there's maybe a better chance for someone who simply hasn't been around gay people or who hasn't examined what he or she has been taught, to rethink their beliefs, to become gay-friendly. We can sure hope for that.

Of course you didn't mean anything bad by commenting on generational differences. How could our views of the world help but be different?

If only a GSA had been "allowed" when I was in high school. I didn't know anywhere to turn with my questions or ask for support for me or my friends, and I had no idea if any of my friends were gay, although I thought one was. I was pretty sure I was gay, but couldn't admit it, even to myself. -- One of the biggest things I've learned is how sadly common experiences like mine still are among teens and adults. -- So "The Mail Crew" would've been a godsend.

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Yes! Well, to some extent, it can be hard to see much change, sometimes. But whether we're out or closeted or gay-friendly, that's familiar too.

Um, I'm kind of over-focused on my own situation, partly from being in the closet so long, I think, and now eager to be out more quickly than I am going.

You may have noticed a tendency toward first-person stuff in my posts. :grin: Gonna work some on that.

Also, there are many people out there who dealt more successfully than anyone might expect with some very bad circumstances, much different than mine.

And finally, there are many people who were supported by their friends or families, in coming out, early or late. -- That is wonderful.

I have been *hugely* surprised and grateful to find that some friends are greater, truer friends than I had any idea they were. That will be really needed when I come out further, since some of my extended family will *not* accept it, and I don't know quite what their response will be.

Er, I just wandered completely off-topic. Sorry.

Ahem. The original thread topic was New Brother, including, but not limited to, David's POV as the non-gay narrator, and how that affects readers.

We now return you to this thread, already in progress.... We apologize for the tangent. (And we'll try not to pun on cute acute angles or obtuse posters, perhaps such as this announcer.... Hey, who turned off my mic? Ow!)

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Just finished 7 & 8. Wow. Very impressed with the ending of 8. Moving. Well done. Yay.

-- wbms

Thanks! You can see why that's MailCrew's favourite chapter. It's probably mine too, though that's harder for me to pick as there are a number of other scenes that I'm proud of, too.

That ending is actually the first part of the story that I wrote. I had the idea for the scene and tried writing it to see if I could put my idea into words successfully. I was happy enough with it that I started writing the whole story. The final result you read is not what I originally wrote (it's been through several edits), but the core of it is.

Cheers,

Graeme

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I read 7 & 8, too. Really good. I had a tough time telling between the characters in the beginning (especially with the nicknames being thrown around), but now I'm really able to tell which is which. One sign that a story has good characters is when you can ignore the "____ said" parts and still know who is speaking, and I'm definitely seeing some of that.

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I read 7 & 8, too. Really good. I had a tough time telling between the characters in the beginning (especially with the nicknames being thrown around), but now I'm really able to tell which is which. One sign that a story has good characters is when you can ignore the "____ said" parts and still know who is speaking, and I'm definitely seeing some of that.

Thanks!

While it was one of the things that I was concerned about when I started writing, trying to explicitly give each character a different personality was not something I gave a lot of thought to as I wrote the story. Unless someone has some helpful suggestions, I'll just keep trying to write characters as I'm doing, as it seems to be working.

It's hard to say exactly what I was doing, but I think I've been trying to put myself in the place of each character as I wrote their sections. If this has resulted in distinct characterisations, then I'll just continue to do so.

Does anyone else have any suggestions in this area? I know it's one thing that annoys me sometimes when I'm reading a story and I find the various characters just bluring together in my mind because there isn't sufficient differences between them.

Graeme

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I've tried setting up characters, writing sketches and building characteristic lists, but none of it works worth a damn. I end up doing just what you've been doing...moving myself into the character's head and letting him/her talk. when i'm on a roll (or maybe just off my meds :D ), i can just about hear the dialogue in my head and i just write it down.

Some characters are harder for me than others...that you've done Dave so well is to your credit.

cheers,

aj

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ALL successful characters come from the pen of the author... ALL unsuccessful characters also come from the same place.

I've sometimes been asked about "how", and "why" I developed a certain character and what motivation I had. Part of it is the storyline and the plot other times it may come down to simply needing to do a job in the story (very mundane and utilitarian, but necessary to move things along, explain something or orchestrate a quick and sudden change of gears).

Really good characters that are believable ultimately spring from their authors - even those that are bad, or evil, or have some trait that the author normally doesn't seem have in his real life personality.

We all get angry, cry, lie, fight, exhibit virtue, are kind, are mean etc... it's taping into these parts of our own personality and drawing them into a character that breathes life into the character and ultimately makes them believable.

The old addage of successful authors writing about what they know may be true... but a writer working on a murder mystery may be the mildest mannered person in the world and wouldn't hurt a fly. Does this mean they can't write a successful murder mystery? Of course not, even the mildest manered person in the world had been angry... maybe so angry they could have strangled some one at one time or another.

In real life they didn't actually do it, but in their writing they can mine that feeling and bring it out in a character. The same with all emotions, or traits... there's a bit of angel and devil, god and mortal in all of us. Tapping into those feelings at the appropriate times makes characterization more realistic and believable.

Jamie

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I've tried setting up characters, writing sketches and building characteristic lists, but none of it works worth a damn. I end up doing just what you've been doing...moving myself into the character's head and letting him/her talk. when i'm on a roll (or maybe just off my meds :D ), i can just about hear the dialogue in my head and i just write it down.

Some characters are harder for me than others...that you've done Dave so well is to your credit.

I quite often work the same way. I will admit that when I've done this, I've been occassionally surprised at what comes out. There are several things in New Brother that were not originally planned. They came up during writing when I found a character thinking/saying something unexpected.

As for some characters being harder -- David's initial reaction was easy, but trying to keep him "on-track" wasn't always simple. Apart from religious based homophobia (which I deliberately avoided) I personally had a great deal of trouble thinking of how to maintain the conflict. I just couldn't work out how someone can keep a homophobic attitude when the issue is no longer abstract, but they are confronted by a real person. Because of the scene at the end of chapter 8, I needed him to still keep his attitude to maximise it's impact. My eventual decision was for him to confuse his other conflicts with Adam with Adam being gay. In hindsight, I've wondered how many people do this is real-life.

Graeme

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Now that chapter 10 has been posted, I'd like to ask for some advice.

I'm intending to continue the story, but probably not until early next year. What I'm not sure about is whether I should continue to tell the story from David's point of view, or should I switch to another character's. Randy's is the first one that springs to mind. This is probably more a technical issue from a writing point of view, rather than a story one. Is it reasonable to switch the POV for the next part of the story?

There are obviously a lot of loose ends still to be sorted out in the story and I want to make an effort to bring most of these to a close (though I subscribe to the view that life doesn't have neat and tidy endings, so don't expect absolutely everything to be resolved).

Graeme

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I'm glad you're considering continuing the story. I felt the Epilogue wrapped up some things a bit too quickly, and it would be interesting to explore those further.

As much as David was bothered by the whole thing, I'd say that even now, he'd still have residual things to work through, some of which might happen unexpectedly, for him too.

Shoot, it should be apparent from my posts that I find my own feelings and beliefs confusing and conflicting, but I think things are finally starting to untangle for me.

Should you switch characters for the narrator POV for the next part, and which char. should you choose? I think it would be fine to switch, if it seems the best fit. As for whom to choose, the answer to that is, which char. would provide the greatest dramatic punch to the story? Who has the strongest viewpoint to tell? Is it still David? Is it Adam, or Scott? I personally lean toward keeping David as the narrator. Having the story from a straight (and conflicted) character's POV is a unique perspective. David is getting better, sure. Maybe the next part has him almost comfortable, except at strange or inopportune, unexpected moments, with Adam and Scott? The first part dealt with a straight character struggling to come to grips with a new, sudden, scary situation. So maybe the second part would deal with a straight character getting comfortable and beginning to notice subtleties, while still coping with an unfamiliar new situation.

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Changing a POV in a story is a common technique. Some of the points you have to ponder are:

1. Why do I want to change the POV? Is there a good reason? If you can justify it to yourself, then you can probably justify it to a reader.

2. Will the new POV make sense to the reader? A sudden or abrupt change in a POV can sometimes be confusing. (Although in some cases I've seen authors use it to purposely "shake-up" the reader and move the story along in a different direction). Keep in mind, if the change in POV is a smooth transition and seems to make sense the reader will accept it.

3. What effect will it have on the story. A. Will changing the POV add to the telling of the tale? B. Will it make it interesting? C. Is it beneficial to the plot? A YES is, if not necessary, then hightly recommended in all three of these areas.

These are questions that you have to examine and confront.

As the author writing the story, it has to be just as fun, enjoyable, rewarding and interesting for you to write as it is for the reader to read. Ultimately if changing the POV in a story will energize and invigorate you and positively impace the way you tell the story, then it's always worth a try. If you feel that the technique it will work then go for it.

As to which character to choose for the POV change, the best characters to use are going to be your strongest ones and ones you can identify with so that you can successfully write in their voice.

You can also try to make a good guess as to which character the reader may want to hear from... although being able to empathize with the character as a writer is much more important than what any individual reader may think. A poll of 10 readers may give you 3 to 5 different characters that they may like and that's fine, but in the end you will be writing the story not them, so choose a character YOU would like to have fun with.

It may seem a strange way of putting it, but ask the characters themselves. Think about them, and conduct mental interviews. "Ok guys, line up let me know why I should choose you to give you POV in this story?" If the character can give you a good reason to add his voice to the telling of the tale, then chances are you will be comfortable writing for him and all will be well.

A reader will accept almost anything in a story (plot change, death of a major character, new story arch) IF it's handled well and properlly executed.

Your story is both nicely written, and well thought out. If you wish to add to it and part of your expansion of the story involves a new POV try it. Anything worth wondering about is worth at least a try.

I would definately agree with your point that not every loose end has to be tied up. The major ones should be addressed for sure, but if every element of every story were addressed then every book would go on and on and eventually the reader (even though they THINK they would like to know every tiny detail) would be come hopeless lost or completely bored. So choose what you want to tie up and then wrap it up... leave the reast to the reader's imagination as long as it's nothing critical to the tale.

Good luck

Regards

Jamie

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POV changing in a first-person story is a pretty major event. You're crawling into the skin of a different person. Making this new character's personal thoughts and internal vernacular different enough from David's will probably be pretty tough. Of course, using Randy might make it easier - since he's David's brother, you can make the case that they use simular speaking patterns and such, even in thought. Personally, I've always writen in 3rd person, so I've never had to deal with all of that. All I can suggest is that you make absolutely sure that you want to do it.

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Thanks, everyone, for the advice. In particular, jamieoficaria, thank you for the issues for me to consider.

EleCivil -- your concerns are some of the major objections that I have come up with for the idea. If I can't make the thoughts of the new characters POV sufficiently different in nature, it's just going to cause confusion in the mind of the reader (and probably me).

I have a couple of months to think things over, before I continue the story. However, your comments have all helped solidify what I need to consider before I make my decision.

Cheers,

Graeme

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I think your chars. are generally different enough in voice and personality that you'd be fine to have one of them be the POV char. You seem to be able to get into their char. well.

I agree with the idea of "interviewing the character" and seeing what he/she has to say about the story. I've been in other author discussions that talk about the characters taking on a life of their own and insisting things happen a certain way, even of an author having to "sit on" a very noisy character or re-evaluating why that char. may be so urgent or suddenly too quiet or uncooperative. The consensus seems to be it's a common thing for authors, and a way that you know if you need to change your story's direction. -- They also seem to agree it's a healthy sort of enclosed "invisible friends" issue. ::)

Just because I argued for David, above, doesn't mean I wouldn't also seriously consider Adam or Scott or Randy. Hmm. I wonder what Aiden's going through? Would he be another possibilty? Certainly might be an interesting story arc, to see what happens with him.

I thought your portrayal of the twins' connection was a side bonus. Just throwing that in as a comment, not particularly within what you asked about.

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Thanks, Passive!

You can appreciate, though, why I gave serious consideration to switching to Randy's POV. While David's struggles to understand and accept are still on-going, Randy is about to go through some interesting times....

Graeme

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Hey, loved the new chapter. I can see some major improvement in this one compared to the really early ones - all that practice with the short stories and FCL looks like it paid off. :smt023

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