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James K

Dark and violent.

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Does anyone here like dark, psychotic thrillers? I'm reading an ebook by P T Denys and the theme is about two boys, now adults, who endured and survived abuse. Survived? I'm not sure how well, I've just started the novel. It is very well written, carried forward by dialogue which evokes the scenes.

The Cycle by P T Denys, here is the summary from goodreads:

Almost 15 years ago a brutal attack by a violent psychopath changed everything.

In Violence Begets... despite horrific child abuse, Rick St. James and Kevin Vincent were able to find love in each other. They discovered that violence only begat violence when they allowed it to.

They had a choice.

They chose love.

Now Rick's little brother is faced with the same painful reality that Rick once had to endure. Returning home to help his brother causes the nightmares of the past to crash and merge with the demons of the present.

Love is put to the test and it may not be strong enough to survive The Cycle!

the_cycle.jpg

You can get a copy here: https://en.1lib.fr/s/The Cycle by P T Denys   It's free, it's a library for ebooks.

 

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Thanks for the link to the free library, James K.  They have some non-terrifying gay novels too but you have to search them out.  The trick is to find one such possibility, click on it, then others are suggested.  I'm currently reading one, "Red, White, and Royal Blue", a bizarro novel about a budding romance between a U.S. President's son and a royal British prince.
 

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3 hours ago, Merkin said:

Thanks for the link to the free library, James K.  They have some non-terrifying gay novels too but you have to search them out.  The trick is to find one such possibility, click on it, then others are suggested.  I'm currently reading one, "Red, White, and Royal Blue", a bizarro novel about a budding romance between a U.S. President's son and a royal British prince.
 

I read that in a published book.  On paper.  My rating: so so.  I think we do as good a job here, actually.  Made me wonder if I should try going that route.  Nah!  I'm happy here.

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If the protagonist was bisexual, would the title then become 'The Bicycle'? because that has a very different connotation.

I'm starting to hum 'Raindrops keep falling on my head.'

 

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This book has the style that @Rutabaga discussed in the short story by Alan Dwight, where he summed up perfectly the problem of "head hopping." I find myself having to look back to each chapter beginning to remind myself who is talking, and there really is absolutely no need for these two different POVs. The protanganists are always together and getting two views on what's happening adds nothing, it actually detracts from the story. A story which for me is a bit heavy on the introspection and that is doubled when you have two people's thoughts. I would much rather there was more story, more action, than getting lost inside the protanganists heads!

Another very important point is that I am stupid. I believed that a book by a published author would, should, be better than a DIY online story, not true! I am struggling to read this book and only keep going because of the theme, but I can't say I would recommend it. Maybe my opinion will change when, if, I reach the end.

If anyone else is reading it, I would be interested in what you think. Plus another point of interest, which covers everything, not simply this story, what are your criteria for a good book? Maybe this should be in a seperate thread, feel free to start one, because I really want to know what makes you say something is a good story and what makes you say something is well written? Not every piece of writting can be deemed as good, I don't think being a gay themed story should have any influence on your opinion of good story or not. 

 

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On 7/30/2021 at 2:20 AM, James K said:

Plus another point of interest, which covers everything, not simply this story, what are your criteria for a good book? Maybe this should be in a seperate thread, feel free to start one, because I really want to know what makes you say something is a good story and what makes you say something is well written?

As your question implies, the issue of whether something is a good story is separate from the issue of whether it is well-written.  These are both such broad topics that it would be hard to capture comprehensive answers on this kind of forum, but I'll hazard a few thoughts.

A good story, in my view, is one that captures the reader's interest and maintains it to the end.  It should generally involve characters and circumstances that are sufficiently familiar that the reader can relate to them while at the same time providing new and unexpected twists that take those things out of the realm of cliché and predictability.  If the story is fashioned in a specific genre, it should honor the conventions of that genre sufficiently that the reader does not feel cheated.  Often the story will follow the "Hero's Journey" in which the protagonist must face opposing forces and endeavor to triumph over them.  Good stories generally involve conflict and challenge.

A well-written story uses thoughtful and appropriate language, is relatively free from grammar and punctuation errors, and conveys its information with fresh and non-hackneyed forms of expression.  It follows a logical structure, and information is revealed in a carefully controlled manner -- according to the immediate needs of that part of the story -- rather than simply dumped on the reader.  It establishes its story universe early on, and does not violate that universe as the story progresses.  It has a beginning, middle, and end.  The story resolution is plausible, even if surprising, following logically from everything that was set up before . . . and generally reflecting the protagonist's effort to deal with his or her challenges.  Confusion -- such as multiple characters having very similar names -- is avoided as much as possible.

Those are my immediate thoughts.

R

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3 hours ago, Camy said:

+1 to that recommendation -- thanks for it.

Notable insights:

Any time readers need to stop reading, back up, and re-read parts of story is bad because it pulls them out of the story. It’s work, and if your readers feel they’re working too hard, they’re just going to stop reading. 

And this:

Each POV character needs a distinct personality.  . . .  If all your characters sound like the exact same person, readers get confused. A confused reader will only put up with reading for so long before they give up and move on. 

I am currently reading The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley, which was published in 1928.  It definitely showcases an omniscient style of writing, where the storyteller injects his own views fairly often.  In this excerpt, the lead character, Roger Sheringham, has been engaged to write a periodic column for a London newspaper, and on his way into the newspaper office is handed a letter that came in the mail for him.

Roger always enjoyed this twice-weekly moment.  In spite of his long acquaintance with them, ranging over nearly ten years, he was still able to experience a faint thrill on receiving letters from complete strangers.  Praise of his work arriving out of the unknown delighted him; abuse filled him with combative joy.  He always answered each one with individual care.  It would have warmed the hearts of those of his correspondents who prefaced their letters with diffident apologies for addressing him (and nine out of ten of them did so), to see the welcome their efforts received.  All authors are like this -- and all authors are careful to tell their friends what a nuisance it is having to waste so much time in answering the letters of strangers, and how they wish people wouldn't do it.  All authors, in fact, are . . . .  But that is enough about authors.

A few pages later we encounter this:

Roger pored over the picture.  Like amateur snapshots, the pictures in an illustrated paper are considered fair game for the humorist.  Whenever a painstaking humorist has to mention them he prefixes one of two epithets, "blurred" or "smudgy."  Yet the pictures in the illustrated dailies of to-day are neither blurred nor smudgy.  They were once, it is true, perhaps so late as ten years ago, when the art of picture-printing for daily newspapers was an infant; nowadays they are astonishingly clear.  One does wish sometimes that even humorists would move with the times.

These asides remind me of Byron's witty side-comments sprinkled throughout his epic poem Don Juan.  And there's little question that this kind of overt, independent conversation with the storyteller has pretty much disappeared from today's fiction.  I'm not sure that is a bad thing, honestly.  

R

 

 

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2 hours ago, James K said:

It seemed to be very repetitive, very slow and drawn out, with nothing happening other than paranoia or psychosis.

I think this falls in the category of what is (somewhat euphemistically) called "literary fiction."

R

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If we're still discussing the original book mentioned here, I read the entire thing, not feeling it was so awful it should be laid to its rest, but as I said, I don't think it was a step above much of what appears on this site.  I guess it would be true to think that if it could get published, why not some of our writing?

C

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On 7/24/2021 at 10:21 PM, Camy said:

Not my genre of choice, but as it's free - who doesn't like free? - I'll give it a go.

Ta!

Gave it a go, didn't like it.

On 7/25/2021 at 3:57 PM, Merkin said:

They have some non-terrifying gay novels too but you have to search them out.  The trick is to find one such possibility, click on it, then others are suggested.  I'm currently reading one, "Red, White, and Royal Blue", a bizarro novel about a budding romance between a U.S. President's son and a royal British prince.

However "Red, White, and Royal Blue", though the premise is ludicrous, is a lot of fun.

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10 hours ago, Cole Parker said:

  I guess it would be true to think that if it could get published, why not some of our writing?

Did it get published? The publisher Wilde Works, Indie Artist Press, does not exist, except as part of the Book Depository, which is now owned by Amazon. Anyone can list on the Book Depository if their book is in print (catalogued ebook). Which I take to mean, it's on Amazon or another self-publisher. Begging the question is the book self-published? I couldn't find the answer.

The author PT Denys (female) is the parent of two daughters, a teenager and a toddler. Her two books, this sequel and the first Violence Begets are both available on Amazon (Kindle - ebook only) for next to nothing, a couple of pounds or dollars. Which leads me to believe it is self-published with a publishing label. The book is not available in print (paperback) and perhaps never was.

Conclusion: I don't believe it ever got published! It just looks like it did and we all know, appearances can be deceptive.

Indie Artist Press was a US company based in Utah and did exist https://www.linkedin.com/company/indie-artist-press but not any longer, the website has gone (404 error). On Twitter it says: " (Indie Artist Press) The new face of self-publishing! Our books have been vetted for content and quality, edited, copyedited and proofed. Our authors earn 100% royalties!"

I rest my case... I knew my true vocation was being a private investigator 😂😂😂

 

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The book I was talking about that had been published is the one that's been mentioned several times,  Red, White, and Royal Blue.  I'm not sure what one you're referring to, James.  I probably misled you by calling this one the originally mentioned one, and I now see Red, White, and Royal Blue wasn't that.

I think Camy enjoyed this one more than I did.  Perhaps it was a travesty on British mores more than on American ones.

C

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