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colinian

A Time When It All Went Wrong

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The infamous editor has seen the thread. Naturally, I agree with some points and disagree with others.

I went to school with at least two classmates who were 17 when they graduated, and that was back in the '80's. The rule on the age to start kindergarten was similar in my district. I don't think it's too much of a stretch for a student to have skipped a grade in elementary or junior high, either. But what Colin has said would fit.

I take the point that descriptions should be more evocative, but I don't have a problem with the main char. being "sad." Most people know when they are and when others are. I'm mostly fine with the opening chapter.

I'm not saying anything about the real story behind the "almost-twins." I have a few guesses myself, but only Colin knows for sure. (We'll leave the old hairdresser line alone.) Fortunately, Colin is keeping that under his vest, and not giving it away too soon. It's well done, so far.

The title's long and so-so. Colin's already thinking on that. The chapters are a little short, but the only solution there would be to combine two in one, as the breakpoints are where they should be.

I've read the chapters he has so far. I'm not tellin'. But they're good.

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In California if you will be 6 years old by December 5 you can start first grade when you're 5 years old. My birthday is November 21, I started first grade when I was 5. I was 11 when I started 7th grade. I was 13 when I started 9th grade. Now I'm 16 and I'm a senior. I'll be 17 when I graduate from high school, and I'll be 17 when I start my freshman year at UC Berkeley. Assuming I'm accepted!

Hey, I'm with you here. I graduated from high school at 17 and started my freshman year at Cal a few days after my 18th birthday :) So it's the same here too.

Oh, and GO BEARS. Good luck getting in.

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Similar here in Australia. Any given year at school can have an 18 month variation in ages, as those born in the first half of the school year have the option of starting then, or waiting an extra year. Throw in the occasional student who skipped grades, or have repeated and you can end up with people finishing high school as sixteen-year-olds, though seventeen/eighteen is more common, and with the occasional nineteen-year-old.

I was sixteen when I started at the University of Melbourne. One of the friends I met there was three months younger than me!

PS: I'm looking forward to seeing the full story when it's ready :)

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PS: I'm looking forward to seeing the full story when it's ready :)

Now that I'm one of the seniors at my high school, the teachers all seem to expect double the work from us. Homework. Quizzes. Tests. Reports. Assignments. Projects. Reading. Writing. Arithmetic. Sheesh! I hope things will begin to slow down and even out a bit in a month or so. If they do, I should find time to do some writing on ATWIAWW. Or whatever it is I'm going to title it.

Colin

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I went to school with at least two classmates who were 17 when they graduated, and that was back in the '80's.

Oh, I'm not disagreeing with that. I was 5 when I started 1st grade, and 17 when I graduated (and still 17 when I started college). I almost skipped ahead two grades, but my mom -- probably correctly -- stopped the school system from doing it, because of the trauma suffered by my Uncle, who also had skipped two grades many years ago. It's a problem if you're intellectually qualified to be in one grade, but not physically or emotionally prepared for it. (My story, Groovy Kind of Love, deals with this when the lead character, a 13 year-old kid, is put in 9th grade, so this is something I reflect on from time to time.)

My point was that all the different ages mentioned -- 13, 14, 15 -- tend to confuse the reader. There's no reason why the kid can't just be one age, and then stick with that throughout the story. Otherwise, sharp-eyed readers like me will go, "wait a minute! I thought the kid was 13... now he's 14. Wait, now he's 15! What the heck is his age, anyway?"

It's details like this that trip up writers all the time. I say, keep the details simple but accurate, and don't stir in unnecessary complications that don't really advance the plot or characters.

Thanks! And thanks for your comments and suggestions. Comments and suggestions are VERY important to me! I am only 16, and sure need a lot of advise about what I write!

Hey, and don't forget spelling, too! (Advice.)

Listen, you're already 10 times the writer I was at 16, so you're already ahead of the game there. Do read my "Writing Tips" piece elsewhere on this forum. A lot of it applies to any kind of fiction, not necessarily gay romance, and I think the ideas will help you. In particular, read the book The First Five Pages, which I think is an immensely useful guide in that it can tell you what not to put in a novel. Sometimes, knowing what not to do is more useful than knowing what to do.

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My point was that all the different ages mentioned -- 13, 14, 15 -- tend to confuse the reader. There's no reason why the kid can't just be one age, and then stick with that throughout the story. Otherwise, sharp-eyed readers like me will go, "wait a minute! I thought the kid was 13... now he's 14. Wait, now he's 15! What the heck is his age, anyway?"

OK, I see your point. I need the age change; the birthdays of the two boys are a major event in the story. What I've done is rewrite the sentence when Tony is about to start his flashback:

"So I started telling my mother the story of my life. Not everything, of course. Just the part that began nine months ago, when I was 13 and starting my freshman year in high school."

Hey, and don't forget spelling, too! (Advice.)

Now you're editing my EMAIL too? Sheesh! I just can't catch a break! :icon6::icon13:

Listen, you're already 10 times the writer I was at 16, so you're already ahead of the game there. Do read my "Writing Tips" piece elsewhere on this forum. A lot of it applies to any kind of fiction, not necessarily gay romance, and I think the ideas will help you. In particular, read the book The First Five Pages, which I think is an immensely useful guide in that it can tell you what not to put in a novel. Sometimes, knowing what not to do is more useful than knowing what to do.

Thanks for your comment about my writing. :blush: I have read your Writing Tips and copied and saved them for reference. The Contra Costa County Library has The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman (it's checked out), so I'll reserve it.

I do appreciate comments and suggestions and criticism and advice. Thanks for caring enough to write! This is a great forum, and I'm learning a lot from reading everyone's comments.

Colin

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For a first-timer, not bad. The dialogue was natural and flowed well.

I like the first paragraph. It doesn?t say much, but makes you want to know what is behind it all.

Your narrative dialogue gets a little lyrical, but your descriptions are bland and abstract, like describing your life as sad or hopeless or miserable. Those things can mean different things to different people. Remember that Eskimos have many different names for snow because they are around it all the time and can tell the slightest differences. There are many different kinds of sadness and hopelessness and misery, and a dramatic writer would be wise to learn the distinctions.

And the discussion about similarities seemed to drag on a bit. I got the point that they were exactly the same early on, so that no longer needed to be established. But it would be more interesting if you did something like have them race from one end of the cafeteria and back to see which one was faster or something to keep the story active instead of having 2 characters discourse over a pre-established fact.

And your descriptions of setting and character history were detail-rich but bordered on being too verbose. Props for including only the relevant stuff, but it is presented in a very straightforward manner where something more poetic could be use. It is the difference between, ?The empty field was green and full of bright flowers,? and ?The field he looked out upon was a vibrant dreamscape and lonely as a Sunday.?

It has potential and has me intrigued. The doppelganger ploy is a fun one and hard to go wrong with. And I also like you non-linear plot line. Very un-western-conventional.

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It is the difference between, ?The empty field was green and full of bright flowers,? and ?The field he looked out upon was a vibrant dreamscape and lonely as a Sunday.?

I know what you mean, but I honestly prefer the more accurate, albeit simple, first method of description. All the second one does is make me think of Picassoesque cows melting into something else; and since Sunday is 'family day' with us, it is the least lonely day of the week. Sometimes getting too 'flowery' can lead to further 'issues'.

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I know what you mean, but I honestly prefer the more accurate, albeit simple, first method of description. All the second one does is make me think of Picassoesque cows melting into something else; and since Sunday is 'family day' with us, it is the least lonely day of the week. Sometimes getting too 'flowery' can lead to further 'issues'.

I just ripped if off of Mark Twain?s description of the field in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. (He didn?t have a very happy outlook on Sundays.) I am not all poetic myself in my descriptions, being of the minimalist persuasion.

If Colin wanted to try an alternative style of narration to see what it looks like, the poetic-y one would be good.

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