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Res Ipsa Loquitur

First try...

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OK, so I have been reading for a while and always wanted to try to write. I have started a story, but I decided that I need to find out if it is any good at all before I spend hours and hours on it and then try to submit the whole thing. Maybe a little pessimistic, but ohh well. I am going to post about the first chapter and I would like some input. I don't take criticism all that well, so be gentle...I don't really want all that much info in the way of how it needs to be edited, but more as in whether it is any good at all. I know that it may seem a little random. That is the way the whole story is going (kind of my personality), so if that doesn't work at all let me know. Thanks!

"Obsession. That's what it has to be. I mean, seriously, real people don't feel like this. This is way beyond a crush. It can't be normal. And this coming from me. The totally oblivious one. It is so bizarre. One day I was totally hetero, and the next, I have a crush on a guy. I definitely didn't see that one coming. It doesn't always occur to a guy that they may be gay. I mean, straight is like a default setting, right? I didn't feel attracted to guys before. Although, I wasn't particularly attracted to anyone before. I hate the term "late bloomer". First of all, the word bloomer is just an awful awkward old word for underwear that my grandmother would use. I in no way want to be compared with old underwear. Second, if people were plants, who is to say they aren't more like trees or something? I mean, they don't start, like, giving off their seed or whatever until they are almost dying, right? So, in other words, they are at their best before they think about reproducing, meaning sexuality. So, maybe I was at my best before I was attracted to guys. Oblivious. And being a late bloomer means that I will live longer. Or something.

It's weird how you can go through your years of school seeing the same people day after day and then all of the sudden...BAM! You're attracted to someone. The same someone you had class with yesterday, but all of the sudden they seem different...or maybe you're different...and you can't stop looking at them. You notice their eyes, the way they smile, and of course their body. Who wouldn't notice a body like that? And there they are. All cool and oblivious to the "butterflies" in your stomach. (Again with an odd expression. Butterflies? Really? It definitely doesn't feel like butterflies. Something much stronger. Like bats. Or crows. They have some power behind their wings. I don't think that butterflies would make me feel this sick. I think that I can actually see my stomach moving from the outside.)

So, there was a BAM! At least that's the way it feels. Like it came out of nowhere. Although, I'm sure that it happened quite a bit slower than that. It probably just felt so quick because it was such a surprise to the previously straight me. Looking back, I guess that I can kind of see it creeping up on me. Noticing one more little thing after another, until I finally notice that I am noticing. That's where the BAM comes in. Seriously, it's a good thing that I'm not a homophobe or something. Thank God for a liberal mom.

So yeah, I definitely have a crush (or maybe an obsession), and it definitely is not on a girl. I guess I'll just have to go with it. Well, personally at least. I mean, sharing at this point would probably be a little bit premature or something. I haven't ever thought about what it would be like to come out. Thinking that I was at the default setting and all. Aren't there like horror stories or something about kids coming out? Yeah, I think I need to think about this for a while. It seems pretty private to me. I kind of like to keep private things private.

God, I need to get out of this class. This has been way to much introspection for me in a day. And there he is. Just sitting there. I wonder if he is actually listening to the teacher..."

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OK, so I have been reading for a while and always wanted to try to write. I have started a story, but I decided that I need to find out if it is any good at all before I spend hours and hours on it and then try to submit the whole thing. Maybe a little pessimistic, but ohh well. I am going to post about the first chapter and I would like some input. I don't take criticism all that well, so be gentle...I don't really want all that much info in the way of how it needs to be edited, but more as in whether it is any good at all. I know that it may seem a little random. That is the way the whole story is going (kind of my personality), so if that doesn't work at all let me know. Thanks!

You might have people tell you something like "Oh, that's such a cliche. It's been done so many times before. Boring!"

And, that's true. Don't worry about that. The bulk of the fiction you'll read is like the bulk of the fiction you'll read. Same-as, same-as. Mystery stories? All the same. Science Fiction? All the same. Fantasy? All the same. Historical fiction? All the same. Enough, already! You get the point. I hope. There are very few stories to tell. What there is that makes it all worth while is that there are so many different ways to tell each of those stories.

Gay fiction is exactly the same. All the same. Like your story. 'Guy sees guy, major crush results. Pick ending from the following list.'

Where you need to go is that place where you tell the story in a different way.

I like how you've started telling your story. You seem to be putting us into the guy's head. Too many, the majority, probably, of stories like yours move rapidly to an attempt on the part of the protagonist to get the crushee into the sack, or at least sufficiently naked to let mutual lust take over. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But the head trip. Now, there's something that hasn't been explored in a lot of detail. What does the protagonist think about all this? What are his options? What about the guy he has the crush on? Is he gay? Is his BAM! the result of a functional gaydar? What steps does he take to make a plan of approach? Can he sound out the guy? Who are the guy's friends? Do they have any mutual friends he can query? Without exposing himself?

Maybe that's not where you were planning on taking your story. Maybe it isn't going to be a head trip. Maybe it is going to be a BAM! WHAM! BAM! story and the protagonist and the guy end up in each other's clutches. Or arms.

I'd say, go with it. You've given us a tiny peek into what appears to be the beginning of the story. It could be a short story, it could be a long, long serialized novel. In any case, post a little more about the story here, maybe some of your plot ideas. Or if you have more of the story written, post that here. Then we'll have more to comment on and discuss.

I want to address something you wrote. "I need to find out if it is any good at all before I spend hours and hours on it and then try to submit the whole thing." I took creative writing classes in intermediate school and high school. One of the teachers said something that struck me as being important. I'm paraphrasing here, I don't remember her exact words, so it was something like: "First, write for yourself. Then write for others. If you don't write for yourself, don't write at all." So, read the comments that I have posted, and others will post, about your story. If you are writing for yourself, go ahead and write. Maybe it won't be wonderful, but you're going to learn a hell of a lot about writing just by doing it. Along the way, learn the craft of writing. Get an editor. How? Ask for one on the AD forum! Read about how to write. Take a class in fiction writing, or creative writing. But keep writing. Post your stories. Read the comments and suggestions and complaints and flames.

Finally, keep reading. Read stories on AD and elsewhere on the web, that's a good idea because it's hard to find gay-themed stories elsewhere. But also go to your local library and read "professional" fiction, and as you do look at how it's written. Read the book review section of your local newspapers. Even better, subscribe to the New York Time Book Review. It's expensive, but worth every penny. Read the reviews. Why does a reviewer like or dislike a particular book? Pick one in each category (like/dislike) check them out from your library, and read them. Go back and read the reviews. Do you agree? Disagree? When you find an author whose works you like, look them up on Google. Maybe they have a blog where they talk about writing and how they write.

OK, I've been going on and on here. To summarize:

1. I like what you've written so far, and the way you've written it.

2. Write for yourself. Screw the rest of us. Just write.

3. Learn the craft of writing.

4. Get an editor.

5. Post your stories.

6. Read people's comments about your stories.

7. Keep reading, and read a lot of books and stories.

8. Learn from all of the above.

Colin :icon10:

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Colin has given good advice and his discussion is well worth reading.

I like the introspection in the story and loved the "bloomers". I must admit that thought had occurred to me about bloomers belonging to grandma, but you were the one that put it down into a story.

And there-in lays the secret of being different.

Dare to tell your story in your own way and it won't matter if it is a cliche or not, it will be yours.

What you have given us here is a teaser, a tantalizing opening that could go anywhere. I think it is well worth exploring. :icon10:

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You do realizee that your voice is uniquely yours, don't you? And in being uniquiely yours, it is interesting, not cliched, valuable and entertaining. You have something to say, and don't need to be so hesitant to say it. If the responses to your posting this snippet were unfavorable, would you no longer write? I sure hope that woudn't be the case.

Ultimately, you're writing because you want to, so if I like it or hate it should have nothing at all to do with you writing it. Colin is correct in saying that you have to write for you. If you write just to get acceptance of an audience, you won't be satisfied because you'll be compromising what you're saying to garner approval. Don't do that. Write for yourself.

You'll need an editor, but they're easy to find if you write well, and you do. However, knowing you'll have that at the end means you don't have to concentrate on making it perfect, so you can simply write what feels good to you, then let the process take off from there without it influencing what creativity is involved during the production phase.

I hope you continue with what you've started. The amount you've written is about the amount I read to decide if I want to continue reading a story. I stop reading more than I continue reading when I get about that far into stories. This one I'd want to continue reading.

Cole

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I'm not going to ramble on like the others. I like it, and think you should write more of it.

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OK, so I have been reading for a while and always wanted to try to write.

Then do! But write for yourself, and then for us.

As for the snippet you've posted: I'd read more if there was more to read.

Camy

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OK, so I thought that I would give a little more info or clarify...or whatever. I have been writing stuff off and on forever. It has always just been my thoughts without any real structure. Sometimes I guess it kind of ends up being a poem or whatever, but this is my first try writing something that I actually plan on writing and being creative about it since probably early high school creative writing. I tested out of my upper high school English/literature classes and my undergrad ones, so I am kind of lacking in any creative writing at all. I am currently in law school, so I guess that is creative writing of a sort. (hehe, I just made a lawyer joke before anyone else could.) Because of that, my time is pretty limited. All that I have written was done when I was supposed to be studying...

I guess that I didn't mean to imply that I would quit writing if no one liked it. It was more that I didn't want to write with the thought of other people reading it if it was bad. I didn't want to plan on a good thing, if it wasn't going to happen or something. Kind of like trying to get the rejection out of the way at the beginning rather than the end or something? I thought that if no one liked the intro, which pretty much sums up all of my skill, style, and personality, than no one would like the story as a whole. I had also had a couple of drinks last night and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I have been reading the forum forever, but I'm kinda shy or whatever and just never posted anything. I guess I decided it was time.

Sorry if that was just too much information, but I guess I thought that I should clarify. It also seems that after I posted once, it isn't as hard the second time.

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"It also seems that after I ........ once, it isn't as hard the second time."

Sort of like sex. In fact, by the time you get to be 60 or 70, it's never hard. :icon10:

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"It also seems that after I ........ once, it isn't as hard the second time."

Sort of like sex. In fact, by the time you get to be 60 or 70, it's never hard. :wav:

You, Mr. Trab, sir, just ruined my day! You've exposed that dirty little secret that no one has ever told me about until I read your brief but oh, so depressing, post.

I guess it's true: After 16 it's all downhill! :icon10:

Colin :lurker:

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Actually it's after 14.

My old chief told me once that life begins at forty; it begins to deteriorate rapidly. :lurker:

Trab, Colin, do not despair, help is at hand :wav:

See a Chinese herbalist doctor. They specialise in keeping youthful rigidity and associated functionality.

Also amino acids supplements can help along with appropriate vitamins.

As always there is an abundance of good and not so good information on the net, so do the research.

Chinese Deer Velvet works, but can be expensive so again research the prices. Much safer than Viagra.

Personally I wouldn't touch Viagra-like medication when there are so many natural herbs that can assist one to enjoy being younger when you are older.

Don't despair Colin, I will remind you of one very important factor that everyone would do well to remember. After the age of around 45, you must make an effort to keep it all working. As 'they' say, " If you don't use it, you lose it."

The above is anecdotal at best, please seek advice from your health care professional for your particular needs and symptoms. :icon10:

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My local health care provider? Like, um, "Don't engage in gay sex" is a big help, now isn't it. :(

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OK, so I thought that I would give a little more info or clarify...or whatever. I have been writing stuff off and on forever. It has always just been my thoughts without any real structure. Sometimes I guess it kind of ends up being a poem or whatever, but this is my first try writing something that I actually plan on writing and being creative about it since probably early high school creative writing. I tested out of my upper high school English/literature classes and my undergrad ones, so I am kind of lacking in any creative writing at all. I am currently in law school, so I guess that is creative writing of a sort. (hehe, I just made a lawyer joke before anyone else could.) Because of that, my time is pretty limited. All that I have written was done when I was supposed to be studying...

I guess that I didn't mean to imply that I would quit writing if no one liked it. It was more that I didn't want to write with the thought of other people reading it if it was bad. I didn't want to plan on a good thing, if it wasn't going to happen or something. Kind of like trying to get the rejection out of the way at the beginning rather than the end or something? I thought that if no one liked the intro, which pretty much sums up all of my skill, style, and personality, than no one would like the story as a whole. I had also had a couple of drinks last night and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I have been reading the forum forever, but I'm kinda shy or whatever and just never posted anything. I guess I decided it was time.

Sorry if that was just too much information, but I guess I thought that I should clarify. It also seems that after I posted once, it isn't as hard the second time.

First, welcome! We are a friendly bunch here, and AwesomeDude likes to encourage new authors. You've come to the right place.

Absolutely what you wrote is not too much information. The forums are a great place to ask for advice and comments. Don't be reluctant to post here. Also, don't worry about the topic diverting into uncharted territory -- or "Off Topic" as we say. Eventually it will get back on track. Oh, yeah, we like people who can laugh at themselves, like law school students who tell lawyer jokes. :lurker:

You've made an excellent start on your story, based on the "teaser" you posted. Several of us have said we want to read more of the story. That's a positive reaction, in my opinion!

Colin :icon10:

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I agree with Colin and others: Write more and see how it goes. Find an editor, as that's usually helpful. In almost all cases, a writer benefits from one or more beta readers and an editor. Check the submissions guidelines and submit your story.

It doesn't matter if you've never written "creative writing" (i.e. stories, poetry, etc.) before, or if you skipped classes or haven't had them yet. Anyone can tell a story. Everyone starts somewhere and learns by doing a thing. There are first-time writers with talent of almost any age or background. Come on, people make up stories and tell them around campfires. Past that, the issue is quality.

You joked about lawyers making creative writing. That was kidding on the square. Lawyers, journalists, advertisers, and writers are all people who deal with words. A lawyer argues a case and a jury and judge determine who's telling the truth. (Hopefully, the lawyer has some skill at this also.) A witness tells a story as he or she saw it... or believes it to be.

One definition for fiction might be, a story which is believable and which could be true, but which is to some degree made up from the imagination.

Of course, there's always Mark Twain: "There are lies and then there are damned lies."

My rambling point is that, if you're any good as a lawyer, you should have some appreciation of what makes a believable story.

-----

So, maybe I was at my best before I was attracted to guys.

If I were going to be really picky, I might ask if the character (or the author) has thought through the implications of that statement. -- But that does not mean you should strike it out!

A person just coming to terms with him- or herself might not have considered all the implications of thinking like that. It could be something the character has to think through, as one of the story conflicts.

I don't have a problem with a character discovering, to his surprise, he's attracted to guys in general or to one specific guy. In story terms, are there reasons in his history that he hasn't noticed this before?

As Colin said, there can be many different answers to the why's and the details. Some of the basic building blocks of storytelling are as old as the hills, but how they are combined and refreshed is what makes people keep on telling stories and keep on as audiences.

-----

Colin mentioned "gay fiction," and I'd like to add that you can find discussions of "what is/should be gay fiction" here on AD. Rather than try to define that again, I'd say, define it yourself. I'd also ask what you need and don't need to tell the full story in the best way for that particular story.

-----

lecture.end(ramble);

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I'm joining this discussion late, but my excuse is that I've been away....

The first thing that struck me when I read the intro was that that was exactly how I felt when I started writing. I had an idea, but I didn't know if I could write, so I wrote one scene and looked at it critically to decide if it had the delivery I wanted. I was happy enough that I kept on writing.

However, Dude and I recognised that not everyone is able to look fairly at their own works, and that is where the idea for The Bull Pen came from.

What you've written is well written -- that's the first part of the equation. You've also grabbed the reader's attention with a good, clear, and unique 'voice' -- which is the second part of the equation. You've still got to deliver on an actual story, but you're off to a good start.

Keep going... you've got a lot of people who'd like to read more. :icon10:

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So, I haven't been home because of all of the holiday celebrations, but I wanted to thank everyone for their comments.

Blue - I have thought about the implications of the statement, and think that it is a legit state of mind at the time. It is somewhat a part of the character's process in the story. If I am actually able to show that properly will be another question. I definitely understand your concern, though and will tread carefully.

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I think this has some very real potential. I like the voice of the character - seems like a guy who lives mostly in his own head, and is used to going on and on about stuff in there. I know how that feels, for sure. I'd really like to see more of this, and as I was reading it, I could feel my special, spidey-editor's sense just tingling. This one would be a lot of fun to work over.

Anyway, do us all a favor and don't give up on this, ok? It's clear that this guy has a story to tell, and it derserves to be heard.

cheers!

aj

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I figured I would toss in my two cents here. (at this rate I'm going to be out of change in no time)

If you enjoy writing, and you want to tell the story creeping around in your mind, by all means do it!

I couldn't help wondering after reading what you had here... okay... what's his name... the protagonist and the object of his desire. What's he look like? What class is he in? (heheh does he even care that he's totally not paying attention to anything but the guy across the room?... or .... can he even help it!?)

These are GOOD things... it will make the reader want to continue in hopes of finding those answers. There are always style issues, and your style will evolve as you progress. However, none of this will happen if you don't continue! Don't let what some people think shade your motivation to keep on working at it, if this is something that you find you enjoy!

You will have some people tell you that there are certain rules that you must follow. Well... that's utter BULLCRAP! Yes...there are some things that you should try to follow so that there is ease of reading. If someone has to work too hard to read your work, they may give up. That isn't the case here, but I figured I'd better say it before someone else chimed in. Some people are so petty that they won't even read a story if it is spaced traditionally with two spaces after a period. Well... for decades that was the practice, and people still managed, but today, there are those that simply won't yield unless you cater to their preconceived notions. Don't make their handicaps yours. I'm sure the spacing of sentences wasn't a factor for those that enjoyed such stories as 'The Grapes of Wrath', 'Wuthering Heights', or 'Romeo and Juliet'. 'Screw 'em!' I guess my point is this... don't obsess on the rules. It'll come with practice, experience, and time.

I suppose that my best advice is this. READ! There are so many things that can be learned just from reading a story you enjoy.

The second best advice I could give would be to get a good editor. You'll learn mountains from them if you pay any attention at all. Even now I have a list of my common mistakes that I review before shipping off a chapter to my editor. Then again... I also have a list of rules I have set for myself personally that really have nothing to do with proper punctuation or grammar. (ie NO adverbs!) This is my own rule... no one elses lol I impose it upon myself because it's a personal taste.

In one book, I completely eliminated the use of the word 'said' in all dialogue. This was a practice to force myself to 'show' vs 'tell' when I was writing. It was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun too!

There will be people who don't like your story, and there will people that love it. It's no different than someone liking liver and another one gagging at the thought of it. Everyone has their own personal preference.

One warning before I quit rambling. If you should ever get a negative review, wait a day before replying. Read what they have said, and try to objectively discern if they are being constructive... or just being an asshole. If Senior Assmaster is being that... an ass.... thank him for reading in a reply and continue on about your day. Don't let it get to you. If someone is being a jerk, then realize it for what it is and don't give it any merit.

If on the other hand, you find that what they are saying may be true... think on it and decide if you would or wouldn't like to change to improve what they are pointing out. A good or bad review should NEVER be personal, and I hope that you never take one that way. It's so easy to miss things when we 'as writers' know exactly what we mean, and the reader comes across baffled and asked questions we think should be completely obvious.

Well... enough of this I guess... I need to get to work on another chapter. Take care and please continue!

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In one book, I completely eliminated the use of the word 'said' in all dialogue. This was a practice to force myself to 'show' vs 'tell' when I was writing. It was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun too!

I love this statement. And I agree with it. With everything I write, before I start, I do this same thing. I challenge myself in some way. It might seem trivial to a reader, and hopefully it won't even be noticed, but I pick out something I don't know if I can do, then challenge myself to accomplish it in what I'm about to write. If it's a long sotry, it can be several challenges. A short story might have only a single challenge. But there's always something. So far, I haven't failed; I've met every challenge I've put before myself. (Maybe I need to make them harder, although, before doing them successfully, they seem plenty hard!)

This challenge adds a peripheral aspect for me, something to shoot for besides just making the story interesting and all the other things we have to concentrate on while writing. It adds a degree of work and fun that wouldn't be there without it.

So far, I haven't challenged myselt to eliminatie the word 'said,' but that may be next.

C

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So far, I haven't challenged myselt to eliminatie the word 'said,' but that may be next.

C

You don't have to totally eliminate the word "said" from a story. Just drastically limit the use of it. I've read stories where every individual piece of dialog was preceded or followed by a "said" phrase. It was irritating me so much I gave up after one chapter.

Colin :wink:

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Actually, "said" is quite okay. Just don't use it a lot. Intersperse it with 'replied', 'smiled', 'laughed', 'yelled', 'whispered', 'uttered', etc.. :lol:

Personally, I've learned to ignore 'said Mr.X' in stories. Except when two dialogues follow each other with the same precedent.

'He said'

'She said'

Now that's irritating. :P

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But, but...the guide lines said that said is not read, just understood and ignored as part of the text.

Damn, I will have to go back to my stories and remove everything I said my characters said.

:lol:

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Speaking of 'said' and alternatives, I want to express my distress over reading edited stories which have questions without question marks. I truly don't believe that writing the word 'asked' is a suitable alternative to a question mark at the end of a sentence.

"Are you still thinking about going to college" Williams asked. This is a perfect example of a 'cringe' sentence for me. Sadly, I've seen it the other way around too, as in "Yes, I'm still planning on college?" Doug stated. :huh: :huh: :lol: :lol: :huh: :huh:

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