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Desert Dropping

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I've started reading Desert Dropping, by DomLuka, and I'm in chapter 12. Good so far, with some nice plot twists, though what Rory sees in Aaron Keslin, I don't get. Me, I'd avoid Aaron Keslin like the plague. (The one in the story, anyway.) Also, hmm, as a reader, I'd figured out waay early on that Luke wasn't really Rory's cousin and Jase wasn't really Eddie's brother. Whether I'd know that in person, from Rory's POV, I'm not sure. I'm fairly sure I would've been clueless in my teens.

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Hang on to our hat, Blue. It gets better as you go. I'm waiting on chapter 31 to come out.

And you wouldn't believe some of the things the domaholic's are saying. But if you don't want any spoilers, I'd wait awhile before visiting that forum.

:D

Talon

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Hang on to our hat, Blue. It gets better as you go. I'm waiting on chapter 31 to come out.

And you wouldn't believe some of the things the domaholic's are saying. But if you don't want any spoilers, I'd wait awhile before visiting that forum.

Yeah, it's great. I just finished through to 30 and can't wait for 31. I won't comment further lest spoiling it for our sometimes-loveable but slow-reading Blue :)

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I want to like Desert Dropping, but Dom's writing drives me crazy for two different reasons:

1) his stories tend to drag out for a long period of time, and I feel they could benefit from some editing, just to compress the action (and get to the point faster)

and

2) DD is a good example of a story that is almost all dialog, with very little description or setting. In other words, we know very little about how the characters or locations look, feel, or smell. I find that very frustrating, because I'm convinced the story would be much better with these added details.

That having been said, I confess I have kept up with the story, and I like the complexity of the narrator (Rory) and his friend Seth. (Although I also kind of wince at the use of very unusual names, which is one of the famous "don't do this" cliches.) Still, it's frustrating to see a story go on for 31 chapters when I feel it could've been just as good (or better) at half that. [but then, I'm also a guy who felt like the recent King Kong remake was about an hour too long, too.] And Dom's stories have held my interest, which is the most important thing.

I think Dom's latest story, Trust, is off to a good start. He avoids several of the above mistakes, and I feel like it's a lot more visual than his other stories. You can read that one here:

http://domluka.gayauthors.org/trust/index.html

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And just to update this thread, Dom just completed the finale for Desert Dropping, which is now up on his website (as of mid-March 2006).

I still say the story could benefit from some tightening here and there, but the characters are fairly genuine, and the author presents a fairly complex story with some unusual (albeit frustrating) twists. I particularly liked the shadings of the characters, where they not only change over a period of time, some do a dramatic 180-degree turn -- both good and bad.

The ending neatly ties everything up, and there's some very entertaining surprises on the way. Highly recommended!

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It wasn't bad, but it didn't satisfy me as a reader. I felt somehow unfufilled. But I loved the story right up to the end.

Hey, at 36 chapters, I was just glad the damned thing is finally done! :p

Again, I'm not saying it's classic literature, but the story had some charm to it, and I appreciated that the author did at least try some interesting choices for character direction. When I think about it, it's rare for me to read any gay romance stories that have both good and bad characters who happen to be gay. Usually, it's the straight guys beating up gay guys, and this story at least avoided that cliche. Heck, the main villain (if you can call him that) was another gay kid, albeit a confused, manipulative one.

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He left a huge following hanging when he abruptly stopped writing in the midst of "With Trust."

R

He was also doing a story, Leave the Pieces, at the same time in the Premium section. It too is on hold.

Any idea why he stopped writing?

C

I've never heard anything. If he did say something, it's been kept secret.

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I remember when this story was first being posted, there was vigorous debate on the GA forum centering on the initials "ITE" which stood for "In The End." A sizable contingent advocated for "RLITE" which stood for Rory and Luke In The End. Others had their own favorites for Rory.

There's no question that this would have been no more than a short story rather than a long novel if Grandma Alice had played a number of things differently.

R

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Reading this thread was like a wistful time machine trip into the past. There are several names of people that aren't with us anymore.

Colin :icon_geek:

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When I talk to newbie writers about character development, this is one of the stories that I point to.

Rory started off a whiny child. He had good reason to whine of course but he wasn't very likable at first.

He changed through the course of the story to someone that you could like.

Dom was really good at character development, the dynamic character and character dynamics.

It gave his stories that extra something that made the characters and the stories memorable.

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I would say that this story takes the first-person viewpoint much deeper than I see a lot of authors doing. We really do get to share in Rory's inner thoughts, and a seemingly endless cavalcade of hanky-twisting, angst-ridden internal worries and debates. Occasionally I would feel like reaching through the computer screen and slapping him so he would snap out of it.

But the point I'm making is that this was what I would call "true" first-person POV. There are a lot of other stories with first-person narrators that still maintain enormous distance between the reader and the narrator. The narrator describes what happens (he did this, I did that, he said this, I said that, thunder rumbled outside, etc.) but we don't actually have a peek into the inmost thoughts of the narrator. It's basically a third-person story cast as first-person. It's not necessarily wrong; I think it's a question of comfort level for the writer.

R

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I think part of the problem is that we feel frustrated, as readers, to be dragged into all the uncertainty and (to us) needless angst of a reluctant hero such as Rory. We want our heroes to rise to the occasion, not be dragged kicking and screaming into dealing with situations. We want our heroes to be clear minded and decisive, not constantly struggling with second- and even third-guessing every decision and every event. And we want our heroes to be principled and steadfast, but not so obstinate as to be self-destructive.

So we have a very flawed hero who is fifteen years old and at the height of angst-riddenness. While I concur that things seemed kind of repetitious at many points, I'm not sure that wasn't representative of the thought processes of someone like Rory.

R

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I applaud Rut's comments, which I think are so on-target concerning both our expectations of heroes and the problem of writing about the dreaded mid-teen angst. Can we even have a heroic fifteen year-old protagonist who doesn't turn out to have either feet of clay or a whiney voice? I've always thought of Dom as one writer who wasn't afraid to portray angst, and plunged right into the turmoil that most teenagers deal with on a daily, even minute-to-minute basis within their minds. I saw him as a writer struggling to find the right voice for each of his main characters, and failing as much as he succeeded in finding that balance which would be true to his vision of his character while serving to keep a reader's commitment to the story. I think it actually helped that his stories were always posted in very widely-spaced installments, with plenty of time for his GA forum followers to debate the chapter just posted and to speculate about the one to come. I don't know if those forums still exist, but the passion and the complexity of their content was a kind of testimony to the effectiveness of Dom's vision.

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I have a different view. While most readers prefer a heroic lead character, many of us just want a lead character that we can empathise with. A character that learns and grows up during the course of a story can be just as good to read about as one who is heroic. After all, for those who are looking to project themselves on the lead character, it's easier to do that for someone closer to their own reality than for someone who shows heroic attributes that they don't possess themselves.

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