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BeatWrit

"SEEING"

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AUTHORS NOTATION(S):

I have decided to withdraw the posting of this story.

I have accomplished my goal for posting it here, which was to get some initial feedback on how this particular chapter was put together and how it was coming across from a readers perspective.

I received much constructive and useful feedback that will allow for me to undertake my first major rewrite and it is now time to undertake this task.

I would like to offer a hearty THANK YOU to all of those who took the time and the effort to critique this chapter and I hope to take all of the valuable feedback that I received and improve upon this copy.

Once again thanks everyone for making this first experience with the critiquing process both an enjoyable and helpful one.

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Hi, BeatWrit,

I'll take you at your word that you have a thick skin :omg:

First off, I think you've got an interesting premise here and there's a lot of potential. Unfortunately, while the sample shows your narration ability, it doesn't really show how you are able to move the plot forward, or handling dialogue.

What you've done is exactly the same thing I did with my first story, New Brother. If you check out chapter one here at AD, you'll see that a large chunk of the early part of chapter one is spent just introducing characters. As a consequence, I lost a number of readers who got bored and moved on. I happen to know this because one of those readers was encouraged to go back and try again and once they got past chapter one, they were hooked and they told me what had happened.

You need to mix the introduction of characters with some plot development to keep things going and keep the readers interested.

My second point is that you appear to be writing in present tense:

Travis Hendry has made partially paralyzed rats walk again. Some day, he hopes to be able to do the same thing for some of his people, if he’s allowed to.

A nice opening sentence because it raises the readers interest in what's going to happen and gets them asking questions like why are some of his people paralyzed, who's stopping him, and even who are his people. However, it's all in present tense and most third person stories are written in past tense:

Travis Hendry had made partially paralyzed rats walk again. Some day, he hoped to be able to do the same thing for some of his people, if he’s allowed to.

You can write the story in present tense if that's what you want, but unless it's a deliberate decision, I'd look at trying to change things to past tense -- eg. a dispassionate observer reporting what has happened. I won't say anything more on tenses or my editor will start hassling me, because this is an area I'm not very good with myself.

There are some typographical errors, such as "too" instead of "two" ("a freeway exit or two"), but that's typical. You should see some of the bloopers that my editor sends back to me! :blush:

My last comment would be on wordiness and repetition. I'll give you a couple of examples:

Donald Reed, and his son Roman, first met Nibbles shortly after being recruited and joining the research centre. Reed held in his hands a squirming, and formerly completely paralyzed rat, while his son looked on in wonder of the results of Nibble’s work. Reed is under the illusion that this research will cure his son, even though Nibbles has made it clear that the new therapy does not work on older injuries such as Roman’s- though he is now researching chronic injury treatment as a result of Reed’s funding. Still, Reed holds out hope that stem cell research offers a new era of hope for his son Roman.

Roman is introduced as Donald Reed's son at the start of the paragraph, so there's no need to add the word "Roman" at the end. You could finish with "hope for his son."

In his research work at the research centre he has already made partially paralyzed rats walk again, using derivatives of human embryonic stem cells.

I have a personal adversion to using the same word too often in a short space of time. In this case it's the word "research". One of the two is redundant. You can either get rid of the first one (after all, it's obvious that the work he's doing is research work) or the second (you mentioned the centre in the previous chapter as a research centre, so there's no need to repeat that here).

Overall, a promising start. There's work to be done, but don't get discouraged. :omg:

Graeme :icon1:

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Travis Hendry, or Nibbles as his friends call him, is learning to skateboard. It's harder than it looks. Maybe it was inevitable, living as he does in Washington, D.C., a freeway exit or too from D.C.'s finest skateboarding facilities.

Ugh. This doesn't flow. Why is it being harder than it looks inevitable? That's how this reads. Maybe not what you meant but not how it reads.

Jazz, Nibble's best friend, on a highly secretive project involving the application of special internet computer software she has developed for Vedarex being used to further the cause of the Jewish Lobby of which she is an active member.

So what is a "Jewish Lobby"? You're treading on dangerous ground using a phrase like that. It's no different with any other religion substituted in. That's a highly charged and emotional phrase. Are wanting to alienate a good part of your audience before they go further?

Although there's potential, you need lots of work on flow (no matter which tense you write in). You have the ideas but you need to make it feel natural.

Here's how I'd have done that first bit:

Travid Hendry, Nibbles to his friends, was learning to skateboard, finding out the hard way it wasn't nearly as easy as it looked....

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Hi Graeme;

Thank you for taking the time and effort to critique my first stab at producing copy on my first writing project.

Thank you also for taking my word on having a thick skin for I have taken your comments for what they are feedback on improving my skills as a writer, thank you for your feedback.

I am glad that you beleive the story has potential and that the premise of the storyline is good which confirms to me that maybe I have a story here that will be of interest to some readers.

You are right on with your analysis of my narration skills, since this is my first crack at narration I tried to get it to work right for me. However, you are also right on the points of moving the plot along, something I know must always happen if I am able to get and keep the readers attention in telling the story. The plot must always be moving forward and this is something I will have to plug in in the rewrite. You are also right about my dialogue skills they are not even present. Thats because like narration I have never tried constructing dialogue (and frankly was a little gun shy to actually try it while also attempting the narration) but I think during the rewrite I am going to have to jump off the end of the dialogue dock maybe as a tool for moving my plot along.

I can see what you mean about how I went about introducing the characters here I seemed to have stepped into the same stuff you did with your first chapter. Frankly I was so bent on just trying to get the character development down that I completely forgot that I could introduce my characters through dialogue and/or plot development and still have accomplished the same as far as my character development goes. Good feedback on this issue.

With regards to the tense of the story I had made a decision to write it in the present tense when I started writing the chapter but should have started in the past tense as you suggested. I have learned that a writer should not switch back and forth and I guess during the rewrite I should get into the past tense as that is how I want to construct the entire story anyway.

I am not surprised by your comments on "wordiness and repetition" because franking I also spotted those two examples you pointed out and had made myself a note to fix them but in my rush to post this first copy I completely missed doing those editing changes. This is something I have to constantly watch in my copy, I tend to repeat myself often and I am by nature somewhat wordy both characteristics I tend to watch for when writing.

I kinda knew there was lots wrong with this first piece of copy and that there were going to be some building blocks of the writing process that I was going to screw up or miss altogether but that was the intent of posting this first effort. Dont worry about me getting discouraged I never do I just try to get better. After all that is what this whole process is about. Learning from those who have travelled down the path before you such as yourself.

Thanks for the feedback it was very helpfull.

Paul

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Hi Writebymyself;

Thank you for taking the time and the effort to provide me with some feedback on my first piece of copy.

I am sorry that first bit did not seem to flow as I expected it to. While your suggested approach to this first bit flows better than mine does I dont thing it gets the same message accross that I intended it to. The inevitable part of this bit was in reference to the fact that it was invitable that the character would take up skateboarding because of his proximity to the large facility which he lives close to not that learning the hobby would inevitablely be diffcult for the character. I do like the way your seggestion flows however.

Your feedback on my use of the phrase "The Jewish Lobby" are well made. The consept surrounding this idea and it's introduction as it pertains to one of the stories sub-plots gets established in a chapter previous to this one. It's mention here is just to provide for a hook into the main plot and to introduce the sub-characters who will move this sub-plot forward and provide for establishing the plot conflict for these characters.

Some of your comments on your feedback on the use of this idea (IE-"dangerous ground"/"highly charged and emotional phrase"/and"alienate a good part of your audience") do raise some interesting disscussions on just what sort of issues should or should not be used as "grist for the mill" in our writing. I chose this particular issue to move the conflict and sub-plot in my story because it is both relevant and contrivisial currently and I want my story to have real world connections even though it is intended to be fiction (do a google search on this phrase and you will find 663,957 entries...search on the phrase Vatican Connection and you will get 2,100,000 hits). Is it wrong to lend realism to our writing by using real world references without alienating our readers? (If this is the case have I not already alienated the majority of the general reading public by chosing to write "gay" fiction.) I dont know, maybe or maybe not?

I am glad you think there is potential in this story idea. Your comments on flow may very well have some merit. I have been trying to use the general overall flow of the storyline from chapter to chapter as my guide and in doing so I may have missed the point of the flow between the scenes of this chapter. Good point on how the chapter flows. Thanks for the comments on having good ideas that helps me to further believe that the overall storyline seems to have some reader appeal. I was interested in your comments about "making it feel natural". I think this may come for me if I change the way I develop the characters through dialogue instead of narration as Graeme suggested.

I may very well try your approach on the first bit though it makes for a better flow on that first part.

Thanks again for your feedback it was very helpful.

Paul

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Hi, Paul,

I'll start by repeating what's been said previously -- all comments are suggestions only. This is your story and you have the final say in what goes into it.

I've only really started writing in third person recently and it's been pointed out to me that I have to be careful with narration as a consequence. When writing in first person, it's obvious that any narrative comments are those of the narrator, whose's a fictional character. When writing in third person, you need to be clear if the narrative comments are those of a character or those of the author (the implied narrator).

So, when you talk about the "Jewish Lobby" you have to be careful with your phrasing if you don't want the readers to think that's what is written is your own point of view.

Personally, I don't see a problem bringing in real-life organisations into a story, BUT you have to be careful as they may object if they are portrayed unfairly (eg. Dan Brown, the Roman Catholic Church and Opus Dei). It is often better to use a fictional organisation that is related to, but separate from a real organisation. This may eliminate that issue.

Good luck!

Graeme :icon1:

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On the "xxxx Connection" thing I was observing: Taken out of context it could mean anything. You know what you've written and (hopefully) how it will be taken. Using controversial stuff is fine. Lots of people do it. However using antagonistic stuff is different. If you write a novel (for example) glorifying Hitler/BinLaden you will alienate most potential readers regardless of how good/bad your novel may be because they'll never give it a chance. As a writer, you need to make that decision. As soon as I feel a writer might be a bit to extremist for me, they're toast as far as my reading goes. In this area we have to observe based on what you share that's why I pointed it out.

As for the flow, it's your work and you have to decide ultimately. But that bit I quoted does not read well as it's written. My suggestion is just one of many ways to re-work it. When writing there are many ways to write a novel. The two most popular are:

(A) First person: I did this. I heard her say that. Etc. This is very popular because it's easy.

(B) Omniscient: Fred did this. Whilst he was doing that Ethel did that. Neither know what the other was thinking. This is also popular because you can tell a story and use lots of clever literary effects. Not quite as easy as first person.

There are more, but I don't want to bore you.

As for Graeme's comments on tense, heed them. Writing in the immediate and present tense (I am doing this. I am doing that. Next, I am going to do this) will create some issues because you can't foreshadow at all because you can't refer to the future without breaking the wall between you and the reader. And going backwards is also difficult because the tense shift is overly obvious. Very few writers keep to this tense for a whole novel because it's hard and it often doesn't end up reading well because the writer is forced to jump through hurdles to keep things flowing.

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Hi Graeme;

Yes I know as the author I have final say as to what goes into my stories and I know when I ask someone to critique my copy that such comments are in fact just suggestions but sometimes such comments are good and correct with regards to writing form. When I get such feedback I am not at all relucant to edit such suggestions into my story to make it better.

You are of course right in your explanation of the first vrs. the third person and I think I have an understanding of this difference. I think that as I started off on the story with the intention of trying to handle the narration as best as I could I became confortable in it and let slip the fact that I was in fact in the first person. I do not think switching to the third person should be all that diffcult in the rewrite if I just switch to the "he/she said style of the third person so long as I watch the narrative interfaces as you suggest. The comments made by Writebymyself in it beinging confusing on the reader if not done smoothly makes sense to me as I have already learned that doing so is a no-no for good writers. This follows right into your comments about my approach to wording of the jewish lobby. Clearly I want the reader to understand this entire topic through the eyes/words of my sub-characters in the sub-plot.

I like your suggestion on changing the names of any real such organizations to that of ones that bare no resemblance to the real life ones. This is my intent when I get into writing the sub-plot for this issue although I did not believe it should also apply to such a gernic label such as the jewish lobby, since like the phrase the Vatican connection there is no such organization to which eithor of these phrases apply. You did however raise an interesting point with your reference to Dan Brown. That is the sort of issue I dont want to get sidetracked onto in writing this story.

Thanks for you thoughts;

Paul

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Hi Writebymyself;

I see your point on the controversial vrs. antagonistic stuff and it is well taken. My intent is to walk the controversial line without crossing over onto the antagonistic line something that I agree with you on that will turn off many a reader. I have started labouring over the chapter where I plan to introduce this issue within one of the story sub-plots and where this line is drawn is foremost in my mind while developing this chapter.

Your point on the flow of that first bit is also well taken. If as a reader you found it confusing and not flowing smoothly enough than sure as little bunnies are soft other readers may stumble into this same problem. I have noted that bit for a closer look during my rewrite. Good point on flow.

Your points on tense raised some issues I was not aware of and I can now see how writing in the wrong tense could produce some unnecessary problems for me later on down the road within the story. Writing this story is hard enough without my creating myself a bunch of unnecessary problems that would fource me to bend and twist the storyline just to overcome. I will heed Graeme's advice in this area for sure.

Thanks for the comments;

Paul

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BeatWrit, I must confess that I didn't read your story. Your overly wordy introduction, telling us what the first chapter was supposed to accomplish, was mind numbing to me. The chapter should stand on its own, and not need an introduction.

Subsequently, I've read Graeme's and WBMS's comments, and noticed that your responses to each was wordier than their comments. I suspect that you are going to need to seriously address this as an 'issue' in your writings.

I'm hoping to actually read your story soon, and apologize if my comments are unfair, since I recognize that the point of the bullpen is to comment on your writings, not your reaction to criticisms, or introduction of your work.

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I suspect that you are going to need to seriously address this as an 'issue' in your writings.

As an author, I must say, the hardest thing to do is delete what you've written. When I post here I can be absurdly wordy. I try really hard not to have diarrhoea of the mouth in my written works though. My editors help me by teling me to shut up and move on already :)

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I think the biggest problem I have with this sample is that it reads more like an abstract of a story, and less like the story itself. There's no sense of immediacey, or real life action. In a word, this tells but doesn't show. The characters you've introduced in this section are interesting, though frankly a little intimidating with all their qualifications: black belt in Taek Won Do, Yaqui sorceror, brilliant researcher, etc. I find, at least in my stories, that if the characters are overqualified, then I have a hard time making them very sympathetic for the readers...and one of the most interesting points of reading a good story is watching the characters deal with their flaws and overcome them. We need some points of commanality: is this guy a closet romance novel reader? Does he drink so much coffee that his lips buzz? Does he have a messy apartment?

When you introduce the guy who funds the place, try having your main char. run into him in the hall or out in the parking garage, and engage in a little dialogue before you tell us his story...Maybe the MC drops his keys as he's locking his car door, bends down to pick 'em up and when he looks up, he's confronted by a pair of feet in front of a pair of wheels and another pair of feet behind those. He realizes who they belong to and starts chatting with them.

Incidentally, you have a guy who's a vegetable looking on in wonder at a squirming rat that used to be paralyzed. Could be a continuity problem. How functional is this guy?

So, bottom line: God is in the details. Think of yourself as a movie camera, recording pertinent scenes that tell the story that you want to tell, and use the details of what the characters do and say to capture the reader's interest.

This is a strong effort, and a good beginning. I would probably use what you sent to us as a character sketch for all the various people you introduce, and then start writing the story again with dialogue and details included.

As Graeme always says, all the opinions expressed here are my own, and none of them may be applicable. :omg:

cheers!

aj

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I had a hamster called Nibbles, which probably didn't help because I'm afraid I didn't finish it. Stylistically the tone turned me off. Instantly. It's stilted.

This is probably not what you want to hear but try writing a short story rather than attempting a novel. That way you can get feedback on a finished piece, and you'll find your 'voice' which seems to be missing.

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Hi Trab;

Thank you for taking the time to review a few of the comments others chose to make on my story and offering your critique on these various critiques.

I have turned on the word count monitor so as not to make my response to your comments to long (just kidding, LOL).

"Your overly wordy introduction, telling us what the first chapter was supposed to accomplish, was mind numbing to me. The chapter should stand on its own, and not need an introduction. "

> The introduction in the form of the authors notation and/or introduction was intended to serve to introduce the "background" for this chapter for other writers on the site who chose to take the time "to actually read the chapter" (just jabbing you again, could'nt resist LOL) so that I could short circuit a whole lot of questioning about what this copy was all about. This information was not intended to serve any such purpose as being an actual introduction "for the copy itself", something I beleive the copy already does.

"Subsequently, I've read Graeme's and WBMS's comments, and noticed that your responses to each was wordier than their comments. I suspect that you are going to need to seriously address this as an 'issue' in your writings."

> I was under the misguided impression that the whole critiquing process was suppose to be a "learning" process for new writing taking advantage of "communication" with other writers and learning from their opinions and views of your work so you could improve the work. Again I did not know that this whole process was supose to be conducted in "ten words or less" (sorry, just kidding could'nt resist another jab LOL HaHa). If what is being communicated between the two writers during this exchane than how is anyone going to learn from the process (thus the reason I don't give a hoot about the number of words it takes me to learn something new),

"I'm hoping to actually read your story soon"

> And when you do Trab I will look forward to you cmments and opinions if you still care to share them with me(all the jabbing aside your a good sport right LOL). If after you have read the copy you still think I have a problem with being to wordy actually in my writing then please jump on me again about it. In all honesty, you were the first to make this comment. Because I have chosen to write novels and not short stories my training todate as a writer has not included restricting my novel to a one page press release. That is a whole different kind of writing in and of itself.

So there you have it. Proof positive that I must be "wordy" just look at the length of my response verses yous. I plead guilty and ask the courts for mercy. LOL LOL.

Thanks guy for taking the time;

Paul

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:icon13:

Paul, one thing you'll learn is that you can't please everyone. The purpose of this forum, as you said, is to learn. Many people will have opinions and some will agree, and some will disagree. When you find several people saying similar things, then take notice. Even if you personally think it's okay as it stands, you also need to allow for your readers' reactions... and if they have problems then they aren't going to keep reading.

You've shown a reasonable amount of skill in narration. You've also shown you have some interesting ideas. The comments so far have pointed out some weaknesses that you should look at, but don't get discouraged because of some negativity. Learning from your mistakes is one of the fastest ways to learn... :blush:

One of the hardest things to do, especially in the online environment where there are so many stories to read, is to capture the attention of the reader quickly. I realise that this chapter is not supposed to be the first one in your story and that's fine for the purpose here, but it's also weakened the potential impact because it is not grabbing and holding the attention of the reader.

Keep trying. You'll get there :icon13:

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Oof. Uff. I'm bleeding and cut. I'm mortally wounded, NOT. Indeed, the whole reason for this area is for learning and information exchange, so your are right-on in that regard. I also freely confess, over and over in fact, that I'm NOT a writer, I'm a reader, and therefore my comments are rather biased, and from one perspective only. Very often I will love a story, and not be able to explain why, and almost as often, should I hate something, be equally baffled and not able to explain why. In this instance, I jumped at what was to me a recognizable flaw, but completely missed the point that I should only be critiquing the story, not the 'intro'. I do hereby apologize for that.

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Hi Camy;

Thank you for taking the time and effort to provide me with feedback on my story.

"Stylistically the tone turned me off. Instantly. It's stilted."

> Stlyle is important to a writer and to a story. This is especially true if a reader says the tone is bad and the flavour of the story is stilted. Both can be possible short-comming of a good story and need to be addressed if the writer can understand what is being referred to as tone/stilited? If I don't understand what you are calling a problem(and clearly I do not understand how you are using these two words in connection to the construct to the story) then as a writer I can not fix the problem. What writing components or techniques are producing these results?

"This is probably not what you want to hear but try writing a short story rather than attempting a novel. "

> What I want to hear is not the issue here, it's what I want to do..write novels, not short stories. If I have learned anything so far in my novice attempts to write, it is that a good novielist is good at writing what I shall refer to as "stand alone" chapters to their novels, that have a "right unto themselves" as being complete and entertaining good reads (IE-mini-short-stories, if you will). That have have constructed as an ingral part of the novels overall storyline. It is in this belief alone that I post my chapters and not to determine if my choice of the type of writing I want to do is a sound one. (please don't take that wrong, upon rereading it I sound like I am coming across as snooty or offended, neither is the case.)

"That way you can get feedback on a finished piece, and you'll find your 'voice' which seems to be missing."

> These are two very interesting comments. It would seem that the only hope a novice writer has of generating valuable critiquies is if a "finished" piece of work can be presented for editing and only if such editing can be wedged between the editor chatting with buds and feeding the dog (sorry, once again upon rereading that,it sounds very much like I am being somewhat of a smart ass and I am not. It is just that so many people want to "do the editing" but not commit the necessary time to the task). As to finding my lost "voice", I would so very much like to find it, if I knew what it was? No joking intended here. What do you mean by my voice. I have been struggling to learn ways of giving my characters a voice and my plotlines a voice and my story lines a voice. Since these are my tools for creating a good read for my readers, what and where does the author's voice come into the picture? I asking here because I want to know? Do readers also have a voice I should take into account? Again just asking as a novice.

Once again thank you ever so much for taking the time and effort to provide me with some valuable feedback on my story.

Paul

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Hey Trab;

Och! Your apology is not accepted because I never expected it, nor did I ever intend to leave the impression that one was necessary.

You provided me with some very valid and valuable feedback on my story, which is far more valuable to me than most, because of your exclusive position of only viewing writers work from the "READERS PERSPECTIVE". That is more valuable than you may give yourself credit for on the site. After all, it is "YOU" the reader we are all trying to capitivate and entertain. That's my sole purpose in my writing at least. I can not speak for others, but that is my motivation.

So once again MR. READER thank you for your opinions on my work thus far. :icon13::icon13::blush:

Paul

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Hi Aj;

First thank you for taking the time and the effort to critique what I have put together so far.

WOW, AJ now this is some good stuff that I can use to smarten up my chapter.

"I think the biggest problem I have with this sample is that it reads more like an abstract of a story, and less like the story itself. There's no sense of immediacey, or real life action. In a word, this tells but doesn't show. "

> Unfortunately on this one I have to agree. When I started in this writing business I tended to follow Kipling's earlier approach to writing in his practice of "Keep six honest serving-men..their names are what and why and when and how and who" type of approach to my writing. Unfortunately all this did was allow me to develop a bad approach to my writing style, because this technique, I quickly learned is more applicable to writing press releases and not novels. You are so very right..it does tell and it does not show. I have already earmarked this as a major short-coming to be corrected in my first major rewrite ( I do not agree with you however that this is not a story but an abstract of one, I intend to make it into a story).

"The characters you've introduced in this section are interesting, though frankly a little intimidating with all their qualifications: black belt in Taek Won Do, Yaqui sorceror, brilliant researcher, etc. I find, at least in my stories, that if the characters are overqualified, then I have a hard time making them very sympathetic for the readers...and one of the most interesting points of reading a good story is watching the characters deal with their flaws and overcome them. "

> On this point AJ I think we may be on different wavelengths. My orginial intent with how I developed these characters was in fact to create characters that were bold,smart,interesting, and to a certain degree somewhat intimidating. Althought I only wanted to walk a very careful line on this last impression for just the very reasons you pointed out with your characters. You see one of my goals for this story, if it comes out the way I intend it to, is to position this novel as a strong canidate as a "cross-over" book. As a gay based story that overcomes the lack of "mainstream" apeal because of this theme. To be sucessful in this endeavor I want to present virbrillant, deeply developed characters that do not fall prey to the typical view of gays or gay characters(thus the reason for the unique qualifications and types of characters I want to present to the readers). Again on the point of making the characters sympathetic to the readers I think we have different goals in mind. Because of how I want to present my characters to the reader, I want them to come across as being strong enough to have already learned to deal with and have overcome any personal flaw they may have been dealt in real life. I want the characters and the readers to see how they are overcoming the seemingly very difficut storyline and plot conficts that I have in store for them. I can't ask my readers to beleive that one of my characters is capable of dealing with and overcoming an international conspiracy plot to create a new world superpower, if the character is still struggling to overcome a bad hair day.

"We need some points of commanality: is this guy a closet romance novel reader? Does he drink so much coffee that his lips buzz? Does he have a messy apartment?"

> This one however is a very good suggestion and I clearly see where you are coming from and what you mean. While I did want to create strong and dynamic characters there is nothing to say that they can't come accross as being alot more real life human friendly. This is good advice and I am sure I will take it into account when I rework my character development for the rewrite. Thanks AJ that was good advice and I will take that. Good Stuff.

"When you introduce the guy who funds the place, try having your main char. run into him in the hall or out in the parking garage, and engage in a little dialogue before you tell us his story...Maybe the MC drops his keys as he's locking his car door, bends down to pick 'em up and when he looks up, he's confronted by a pair of feet in front of a pair of wheels and another pair of feet behind those. He realizes who they belong to and starts chatting with them."

> This is good stuff to and I like this idea, it supports your comments above. I never did like how I presented those characters and that whole scene in the first place but I just went with what I had at the time. I like you suggestion. It may allow me to bring more life to these characters and the way I present this whole scene to the reader. I will definately work this into the rewrite. Thanks that was good.

"Incidentally, you have a guy who's a vegetable looking on in wonder at a squirming rat that used to be paralyzed. Could be a continuity problem. How functional is this guy?"

> I think you may have missed something here. Ya, he is a vegetable and even though I don't state it in the story he has limited function. Good point, maybe I should actually use this phrase when describing him to make him sharper. I tried to foresee any continuity problem with tthis character and his condition by making it clear that the reseach of the MC could very well not help this character to recover from his condition. I did this because this character and his condition and his relationship to a series of other characters is an issue in one of my sub-plots and this plot's conflict resolution.

"So, bottom line: God is in the details"

You are so right on this point AJ. If you only knew how many loose and inconsistent details I had to hunt down and fix after the first time this chapter saw the light of paper. With each passing day and the more I write I develop a stronger and stronger respect for the "Lord of Details"'

"This is a strong effort, and a good beginning. I would probably use what you sent to us as a character sketch for all the various people you introduce, and then start writing the story again with dialogue and details included."

> Here I may only partically take your advice. If your take on this chapter is on correct and all I have is a well developed character outline, then if I can overlay some good creative dialogue and detail, then maybe I can make it what it is suppose to be , a strong chapter in a strong first novel.

"As Graeme always says, all the opinions expressed here are my own, and none of them may be applicable.

> Please Aj, never let any of my comments ever prevent you from giving to me your comments and opinions. From what I have been lucky enough to receive so far, they are truly insightful and useful.

Thanks again for taking the time and the effort on my behalf.

Paul

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:stare:

Your feedback on my use of the phrase "The Jewish Lobby" are well made. The consept surrounding this idea and it's introduction as it pertains to one of the stories sub-plots gets established in a chapter previous to this one. It's mention here is just to provide for a hook into the main plot and to introduce the sub-characters who will move this sub-plot forward and provide for establishing the plot conflict for these characters.

Some of your comments on your feedback on the use of this idea (IE-"dangerous ground"/"highly charged and emotional phrase"/and"alienate a good part of your audience") do raise some interesting disscussions on just what sort of issues should or should not be used as "grist for the mill" in our writing. I chose this particular issue to move the conflict and sub-plot in my story because it is both relevant and contrivisial currently and I want my story to have real world connections even though it is intended to be fiction (do a google search on this phrase and you will find 663,957 entries...search on the phrase Vatican Connection and you will get 2,100,000 hits). Is it wrong to lend realism to our writing by using real world references without alienating our readers?

If the real world reference you want to make is to a world of racist anti-Semitism, you've done a good job. I think that's what WBMS was trying to say, albeit more politely. You really truly either need to lose that phrase or put it in a character's mouth. It's not an actual phrase that's okay to use in narration by anyone other than a Klansman. Seriously. :unsure:

I'm wondering why this phrase 'Jewish Lobby' seems okay to you, and why it's part of your main storyline. I assume you are Gentile, and probably White? Again, 'Jewish Lobby' can be a phrase in the mouth of a character, but as narration, it's highly offensive even to non-Jews like myself. The idea of a secret Jewish cabal controlling a country or world finance is one with a long and unattractively racist history. You simply can't toss in phrases like that without painting your narrator (or you) as an offensive person. If that's your goal, fine, but it doesn't seem that way, you seem to think the phrase can be used factually.

In case I'm not being clear enough, I don't mean that you should find another phrase to mean 'Jewish Lobby', I mean that you should question why you think there's actually such a thing as a Jewish Lobby.

I agree with sticking to past tense, but either way you have to stick to one single tense. That's not really an option. I also agree about the first chapter being all description. You might want to cut it up and intersperse it with subsequent chapters, introducing the characters as the action unfolds. :icon13:

I'm also of the opinion that overthinking this early in might kill off a story. Since you've only really introduced the characters, and may want to break that up and use the text section by section, that your time is better spent actually writing out the story than posting long posts about your intentions. That's just my personal feeling and something I've learned is true for me, from experience. Asking something specific seems okay to me but don't tell me what you're going to write, write it and then we'll talk. What seems true to me is that more talk equals less writing. :wink:

Best of luck with your story. Do you have any finished work, short story or longer, that you'd like to send me at Story-Editor@awesomedude.com? Feel free...

Kisses...

TR

> What I want to hear is not the issue here, it's what I want to do..write novels, not short stories. If I have learned anything so far in my novice attempts to write, it is that a good novielist is good at writing what I shall refer to as "stand alone" chapters to their novels, that have a "right unto themselves" as being complete and entertaining good reads (IE-mini-short-stories, if you will). Paul

I think Camy's suggestion is an excellent one, try short story writing to hone your ability with plot and dialogue. Short stories can always be turned into novels, but novels are a lot harder to finish. Ahem.

TR

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Guest Gabriel Duncan

I humbly request the re-post of your sample chapter. Not only for posterity, but for continuity.

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I'm happy for Paul to have withdrawn his post. After all, one of the principles of The Bull Pen is to receive feedback and learn, and to not have your initial attempts hanging around to embarrass you when you're a multi-millionaire author (okay, I'm dreaming, but I like dreaming....)

Thank you for everyone who has contributed :icon13:

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I humbly request the re-post of your sample chapter. Not only for posterity, but for continuity.

Honestly, I'm with Gabe here. It lets people see what we've said, what changes were made as a result of what we said. This whole thread is now pretty much ruined because the original post is gone. Now other authors don't get anything out of it.

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I'm on the fence here.

On the one hand the Bullpen rules say that 'Any threads without activity will be removed after a period of time (currently 14 days)', and I honestly can't see this one running and running.

One the other hand it would have been nice to keep it, and when Paul submitted the re-write we'd have been able to see the differences... :icon13:

Umm yeah ... that's my ha'p'orth

Camy

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I PMd him to explain that in my opinion it should be left, but he'd already removed it by the time he got my PM. Oh well.

"ha'p'orth"

OMG. Let me guess!

Half penny's worth?

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