WIP and 72000 words in ( fine time to stick your head out the window)

  1. Paul Meccano

    Paul Meccano Meccano Magic

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    Hi all

    A little nervous as this is my first novel and I'm 72000 words in ( edited to a degree ). I have been through a real journey with this one, I'm sure that's not unusual but please be kind-ish :)

    No actually don't. I'm ready, hit me.

    This book skirts the edge of sic fi as a genre,in part, and knee deeps itself in another, traversing England 1975 and the future 2407. There is a real twist to the plot at the 3/4 point with my misdirection hopefully turning the whole on it's head but engrossing the reader more, having given more to the characters they have invested in ( not taking away). as such what your seeing here is little, but as the starting chapter should, if considered, give plenty. I do hope that's the case.
    I haven't pushed my style ( quite standard I'm sure) outside of my own comfortable mind before so am interested in your thoughts.


    Chapter 1

    The moon could be seen from this position, it looked huge but was still insignificant considering the expanse of the space and time around it. Considering all that was known now, it was as a speck of sand on a beach formed in the memory of Tricky, as insignificant and tiny as the new found elementary particles that made up that one thought in the sea of time and space, in the sea of all dimensions, everything. The beach in that memory, the memory of Lisa was at a time when the dreamstealer first appeared, the very first time.

    The recording had started.

    ‘The energy levels are much lower in here now. It makes this bit slightly easier. My physical recovery is, well, just about there. It means I can sit, walk, talk, drink, piss and sh*t all by myself.’ He heard the click of the editing processor in his earpiece making him aware that some words from his sarcastic and somewhat uncalled for comment had been removed. It wasn’t the words but the expression of them, they were looking for someone else and the edit would be marked against him.

    The vitamin enriching light was still bright but less so now, the bio-mesh had done its job and he looked and felt much better. Waking up was still an issue and it took some time to right himself, some time to understand that he was not alone, to understand that this complex and irreversible existence was now his life. It had taken many recordings and time in recovery to get this far.

    ‘I feel a little uneasy still but it’s…...’ he looked to the monitor ‘twenty-five minuets and thirty-two seconds in and so far I’ve come to terms with my………’ he looked up to the lights above him and blinked a couple of times, it was hard finding the words to best explain his understanding of this, but more important was his ability to contextualize it, in a way that others would understand. ‘Conflict’, That word seemed strange, he had used it on his last attempt knowing it would suit some of the higher powers, the ones that wanted an outcome that they could understand. They weren’t the type to accept ignorance as a pre-cursor to knowledge and as such were ignorant.

    ‘So I’ve been briefed on what to cover and I’m aware that you’re looking for detail that confirms my understanding of events leading to now, coupled with information on the other, errr, other events……... my recent journey that can help. So I’ll begin if that’s okay.’

    There was a pause in the recording, a moment where silence held the hint of everything to come.


    ‘2407, the year of the solar event and the year that, well, brings us here, today.’ He breathed deep holding back some conflicting feelings and some unsavory words that almost found their own way to his lips. ‘The device that fired at the sun, our sun, turned up out of nowhere and was recovered too late after the event to make any difference, the damage had been done.

    The events following that, the events on the surface of earth were devastating and would be for any populated planet. The weapons used were bio-engineered almost perfectly with few survivors, it was only the lack of spread, the flaw in the initial attack, coupled with a rare and unexpected immunity in a small percentage that left a pocket open for the survivors of humanity.’ He paused, the emotions were starting to mount inside, ‘the conflict, the bloody conflict’ he thought ‘they’re my bloody thoughts, its not a bloody conflict’. He started to go a little dizzy but continued anyway.

    ‘We have a way to solve this now you know, we have an understanding of the weapon, we know how to use it for better, we, we’ He was loosing it, it wouldn’t be long now, they would end this review.

    ‘I remember the start, the moment where the stone hit the pond, the first bounce of the skim.’ He was clenching his hands, he looked up again into the lights. ‘I remember the end where it bounced many times, many times before…’ a tear started to roll down his cheek, a double click in his ear signified that the review was about to be cancelled and wouldn’t be recorded further than the standard twenty seconds, the frustration of it was too much, he cracked and blurted.

    ‘I’m Tricky and I was sat on the hill, Fellsteep hill’ he closed his eye’s, ‘I remember the colours you know, it had been under all of them, all of the sky’s, blue, black, Yellow, hazy orange grey, Linin white, Cotton candy pink, Cerulean blue, dark and thunderous, dark and deathly, it had been there all the time, the dreamstealer…………….’


    Fellsteep Hill

    12.44am 4min after the big meeting


    Blue, black, Yellow, hazy orange grey, Linin white, Cotton candy pink, Cerulean blue, dark and thunderous, dark and deathly.

    Below all the sky's Tricky had ever seen had sat the dream stealer, treading streets Tricky had trodden, holding dreams he'd clear forgotten that once were his.

    Tricky had known the entity all of his life or so it seemed, but not until he met it, whilst sat on Fellsteep hill this night, while the sky was clear and the tears from Tricky's eye's had all but dried from his cheeks did he see him fully embodied for the first time.

    A cruel looking figure, something in its stance, teasing, gloating, praying on his misery, the misery it had dispensed in a languid slow slice removing from his life every great dream Tricky had ever dreamed, the dreams that would make the difference.

    Shouldering a cloak made of the dark of nothing, the void of space, its cold bitter nothingness woven in its fabric and covering its whole, its face shrouded by a heavy black hood giving no hint beyond, a faceless un-feeling entity. It had meant to do this. The realisation was as clear as his need to react.

    It had meant to take everything.

    Gripped with anger Tricky rose, his foot slipping on the damp dewy grass, the soil chilling his finger tips as his nails dug down deep, pulling, dragging, forcing himself forward, the damp air rushing to dry his eyes in their wallowing salted digress.

    Enraged he flung himself at the dream stealer, had never run so fast, never been so nimble, but the more enraged he became the faster the dream stealer ran.

    Across the brow of the hill, into the leaf stripped trees and heavy gauze thicket he ran, tears starting to flow again blurring his vision. His heavy feet beginning to stumble, his broken heart now breaking again as he tried desperately to push aside the branches, one after another, scratching at his arms and neck, ripping at his skin, forcing him to close his eyes, tripping, stumbling, falling.

    He wiped his tears and rose again expecting the chase to be done, expecting to have lost his retribution, his revenge. The dreamstealer was just ahead and strangely just stood, taunting, seeming to beg his attention, craving his further engagement. There was a moments pause, before Tricky bellowed the scream of a hollow man and lunged again toward the dark foreboding figure, a loud crack was heard ricocheting through the thicket and against all that he expected, the dreamstealer lunged back and where they met all went black.
     
    Jan 13, 2018 at 3:54 PM
    #1
  2. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Chapter 1

    The moon could be seen from this position, it looked huge but was still insignificant considering the expanse of the space and time around it. Considering all that was known now, it was as a speck of sand on a beach formed in the memory of Tricky, as insignificant and tiny as the new found elementary particles that made up that one thought in the sea of time and space, in the sea of all dimensions, everything. The beach in that memory, the memory of Lisa was at a time when the dreamstealer first appeared, the very first time. ^ None of this is really a story opening - as much as the author showing how nervous they are to start a story, but not sure how. Cut. :)

    The recording had started.
    ^ This is where the story starts.

    ‘The energy levels are much lower in here now. It makes this bit slightly easier. My physical recovery is, well, just about there. It means I can sit, walk, talk, drink, piss and sh*t all by myself.’ This is an intriguing opening - as a reader I have no idea what's happening, it's raising questions, and making me want to read on until I get answers at least to the setting. He heard the click of the editing processor in his earpiece making him aware that some words from his sarcastic and somewhat uncalled for comment had been removed. It wasn’t the words but the expression of them, they were looking for someone else and the edit would be marked against him. These two sentences kill the tension you've just set up. It's fine to wise-crack or comment, but you take far too long here IMO. Remember, you're still only a few sentences in so keep everything moving forward, and only stop to focus on anything that is seriously important.

    The vitamin enriching light interesting, but somehow seems a little clumsy somehow was still bright but less so now, the bio-mesh had done its job and he looked and felt much better. Waking up was still an issue and it took some time to right himself, some time to understand that he was not alone, to understand that this complex and irreversible existence was now his life. It had taken many recordings and time in recovery to get this far.
    ^ I'd like to see the character face the immediacy of their surroundings, and whatever normality that entails - that will bring your setting to life, and help draw us in. What follows next doesn't really seem to do that.

    ‘I feel a little uneasy still but it’s…...’ he looked to the monitor ‘twenty-five minuets and thirty-two seconds in and so far I’ve come to terms with my………’ he looked up to the lights above him and blinked a couple of times, it was hard finding the words to best explain his understanding of this, but more important was his ability to contextualize it, in a way that others would understand. ‘Conflict’, That word seemed strange, he had used it on his last attempt knowing it would suit some of the higher powers, the ones that wanted an outcome that they could understand. They weren’t the type to accept ignorance as a pre-cursor to knowledge and as such were ignorant.

    ‘So I’ve been briefed on what to cover and I’m aware that you’re looking for detail that confirms my understanding of events leading to now, coupled with information on the other, errr, other events……... my recent journey that can help. So I’ll begin if that’s okay.’

    There was a pause in the recording, a moment where silence held the hint of everything to come.


    ‘2407, the year of the solar event and the year that, well, brings us here, today.’ He breathed deep holding back some conflicting feelings and some unsavory words that almost found their own way to his lips. ‘The device that fired at the sun, our sun, turned up out of nowhere and was recovered too late after the event to make any difference, the damage had been done.

    The events following that, the events on the surface of earth were devastating and would be for any populated planet. The weapons used were bio-engineered almost perfectly with few survivors, it was only the lack of spread, the flaw in the initial attack, coupled with a rare and unexpected immunity in a small percentage that left a pocket open for the survivors of humanity.’ He paused, the emotions were starting to mount inside, ‘the conflict, the bloody conflict’ he thought ‘they’re my bloody thoughts, its not a bloody conflict’. He started to go a little dizzy but continued anyway.

    ‘We have a way to solve this now you know, we have an understanding of the weapon, we know how to use it for better, we, we’ He was loosing it, it wouldn’t be long now, they would end this review.

    ‘I remember the start, the moment where the stone hit the pond, the first bounce of the skim.’ He was clenching his hands, he looked up again into the lights. ‘I remember the end where it bounced many times, many times before…’ a tear started to roll down his cheek, a double click in his ear signified that the review was about to be cancelled and wouldn’t be recorded further than the standard twenty seconds, the frustration of it was too much, he cracked and blurted.

    ‘I’m Tricky and I was sat on the hill, Fellsteep hill’ he closed his eye’s, ‘I remember the colours you know, it had been under all of them, all of the sky’s, blue, black, Yellow, hazy orange grey, Linin white, Cotton candy pink, Cerulean blue, dark and thunderous, dark and deathly, it had been there all the time, the dreamstealer…………….’
    ^ You've stopped the story in order to try and explain everything to the reader. This is pretty normal for a new writer, but you absolutely have to get out of this habit - learn to explain little and only by little as necessary. Because explanations are not story. Leaving the reader with unanswered questions is good, because it makes them want to read on.

    Fellsteep Hill

    12.44am 4min after the big meeting


    Blue, black, Yellow, hazy orange grey, Linin white, Cotton candy pink, Cerulean blue, dark and thunderous, dark and deathly.

    Below all the sky's Tricky had ever seen had sat the dream stealer, treading streets Tricky had trodden, holding dreams he'd clear forgotten that once were his.

    Tricky had known the entity all of his life or so it seemed, but not until he met it, whilst sat on Fellsteep hill this night, while the sky was clear and the tears from Tricky's eye's had all but dried from his cheeks did he see him fully embodied for the first time.

    A cruel looking figure, something in its stance, teasing, gloating, praying on his misery, the misery it had dispensed in a languid slow slice removing from his life every great dream Tricky had ever dreamed, the dreams that would make the difference.

    Shouldering a cloak made of the dark of nothing, the void of space, its cold bitter nothingness woven in its fabric and covering its whole, its face shrouded by a heavy black hood giving no hint beyond, a faceless un-feeling entity. It had meant to do this. The realisation was as clear as his need to react.

    It had meant to take everything.

    Gripped with anger Tricky rose, his foot slipping on the damp dewy grass, the soil chilling his finger tips as his nails dug down deep, pulling, dragging, forcing himself forward, the damp air rushing to dry his eyes in their wallowing salted digress.

    Enraged he flung himself at the dream stealer, had never run so fast, never been so nimble, but the more enraged he became the faster the dream stealer ran.

    Across the brow of the hill, into the leaf stripped trees and heavy gauze thicket he ran, tears starting to flow again blurring his vision. His heavy feet beginning to stumble, his broken heart now breaking again as he tried desperately to push aside the branches, one after another, scratching at his arms and neck, ripping at his skin, forcing him to close his eyes, tripping, stumbling, falling.

    He wiped his tears and rose again expecting the chase to be done, expecting to have lost his retribution, his revenge. The dreamstealer was just ahead and strangely just stood, taunting, seeming to beg his attention, craving his further engagement. There was a moments pause, before Tricky bellowed the scream of a hollow man and lunged again toward the dark foreboding figure, a loud crack was heard ricocheting through the thicket and against all that he expected, the dreamstealer lunged back and where they met all went black.

    ^ I'm not quite sure about any of this section. I'm in a rush and it's difficult to absorb it, but what's marked is how different this is from your opening in every sense.

    Also, watch typos and punctuation - I'm not sure some of your dialogue tags were correct, but can attend to those later.
     
    Jan 13, 2018 at 5:53 PM
    #2
    Paul Meccano likes this.
  3. The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    I have to confess I found this very difficult to get into, and I started to skim read well before the end of the first section. For me the first paragraph was too crammed with words and ideas to make for comfortable reading -- I'm by no means an enemy of long sentences, but one so soon as that second line, and not immediately comprehensible, is probably not a good idea. Then it became clear that the review/recording was being used as a way to dump the backstory on us, which for me is always a problem, especially so early. It's the kind of scene which might work in a film, but to my mind it's best avoided in a novel. Obviously, I've no idea where you're going with this and how much of his present-day experience is important, but I think it might be an idea to drop that first section completely and start with something actually happening.

    A further problem for me is that I'm a nit-picker and I notice wayward punctuation, misspelled words and the like, and when there are too many of them too quickly it takes me right out of the story anyway. Unfortunately, that happened here. I appreciate this hasn't been fully edited, but it is always a good idea to polish up a piece before submitting it so we can concentrate on more important issues. As it is, I'm not sure if the errors are simply odd typing mistakes which we all make, or things you genuinely don't know/don't understand. In case it's the latter, I'll nit-pick that first section, so you can see where I've had problems.

    The moon could be seen from this position; [as a minimum a semi-colon needed as a comma isn't strong enough. Full stop and separate sentences might be better] it looked huge but was still insignificant considering the expanse of the space and time around it. Considering all that was known now, [POV sounds omniscient, since it's coming from an impersonal "that was known", and this is reinforced by the "in the memory of" -- it's all very distancing as if narrated by an outside observer. Suggest making it closer with "all he now knew" and "in Tricky's memory" to personalise it] it was as a speck of sand on a beach formed in the memory of Tricky, as insignificant and tiny as the new-found elementary particles that made up that one thought [since you've not referred to any thought, "that one" is potentially confusing] in the sea of time and space, [repetition can be effective, but here it reads as ungainly] in the sea of all dimensions, everything. The beach in that memory, [I don't mind extended metaphors, but frankly this one is beyond me] the memory of [again ungainly repetition] Lisa was at a time [the extra verbiage not only clumsy, but the verb is ungrammatical] when the dreamstealer first appeared. The [again, comma insufficient -- where it happens again I'll simply correct without comment, but please do be aware of the issue] very first time.

    The recording had started.

    ‘The energy levels are much lower in here now. It makes this bit slightly easier. My physical recovery is, well, just about there. It means I can sit, walk, talk, drink, piss and sh*t all by myself.’ He heard the click of the editing processor in his earpiece making him aware that some words from his sarcastic and somewhat uncalled for [unnecessary] comment had been removed. It wasn’t the words but the expression [don't know if you mean the fact they are expressed or the manner he expresses them, ie the sarcastic tone -- if the former, not sure it makes sense] of them. They [strictly "they" = the words] were looking for someone else [confusing. Do you mean "looking for him to be someone else" ie wanting him to be different from how he is?] and the edit would be marked against him.

    The vitamin-enriching light [the light enriches vitamins? Or do you mean "vitamin-enriched"?] was still bright but less so now. The bio-mesh had done its job and he looked and felt much better. Waking up was still an issue and it took some time to right himself, some time to understand that he was not alone, to understand that this complex and irreversible existence was now his life. [just as an aside, this for me was the most effective line in this first section, as it hints at a great deal, without being wilfully obscure] It had taken many recordings and [needs an adjective/adjectival phrase to balance the line, eg "much/a great deal of" as "many" can't apply to time] time in recovery to get this far. [as a side issue, I always find "this" a problem in past tense narrative since it's such a present tense word, and though I appear to be alone in my dislike of it, it might be an idea to find another word/way of expressing it]

    ‘I feel a little uneasy still but it’s…...’ [ellipses only have the three dots, so this needs correcting throughout, and though purists require another one to act as a full stop where appropriate, I never bother] He looked to the monitor.... twenty-five minutes minuets and thirty-two seconds in and so far I’ve come to terms with my………’ He looked up to [repetition] the lights above him and blinked a couple of times. It was hard finding the words to best explain his understanding of this, but more important was his ability to contextualize it, in a way that others [?"the others"?] would understand. ‘Conflict., [Is this the end of the previous line ie it reads "with my conflict?" If so, it makes no sense to me, unless he has waged war on someone. If you mean he is torn mentally about something, then I'd suggest using it as an adjective eg "my conflicted attitude" though the "conflicting feelings" later makes it repetitious] That [perhaps better as "The"?] word seemed strange. He had used it on his last attempt, knowing it would suit some of the higher powers, the ones that wanted an outcome that they could understand. They weren’t the type to accept ignorance as a precursor [no hyphen] to knowledge and as such were [perhaps better and makes more sense as "and so were"?] ignorant.

    ‘So I’ve been briefed on what to cover and I’m aware that you’re looking for detail that confirms my understanding of events leading to now, coupled with information on the other, er errr, other events……... my recent journey that can help. [I appreciate it's dialogue which often is odd and ungrammatical in real life, but that last clause makes no sense in context so I had to stop and re-read the whole sentence several times to try and parse the sentence] So I’ll begin if that’s okay.’ [since he's already been waffling on and he knows what he has to do, and he's not likely to get approval granted or withheld, this seems rather otiose]

    There was a pause in the recording, a moment where silence held the hint of everything to come.

    [no need for extra para spacing here]
    ‘2407, the year of the solar event and the year that, well, brings us here, today.’ He breathed deep, holding back some conflicting feelings and some unsavoury [spelled without the "u" = US English, and since you use "colours" later, I take it you mean to use British spelling] words that almost found their own way to his lips. ‘The device that fired at the sun, our sun, turned up out of nowhere and was recovered too late after the event to make any difference, the damage had been done. [this and what follows is the dumping of backstory which to my mind needs to be removed]

    'The [if starting a new para with continuation of dialogue, it needs opening quotes] events following that, the events on the surface of Earth, were devastating and would be for any populated planet. [last clause adds anything?] The weapons used were bio-engineered almost perfectly. with few survivors, [as written this means only a few of the weapons survived] It was only the lack of spread, the flaw in the initial attack, coupled with a rare and unexpected immunity in a small percentage [?of the population] that left a pocket open [I've no idea what the open pocket signifies, unless the immunity refers to eg plants that survive allowing humans to do so] for the survivors of humanity.’ He paused, the ["the" distancing unless we know what they are. Suggest either talk of anger/hatred/whatever, or delete "the" and the "were"] emotions were starting to mount inside. The conflict, the bloody conflict,’ he thought. [never italicise the dialogue tag, and there's usually no need to italicise the thoughts if you have them in quotation marks and with the tag there -- reserve italicisation for when you don't have the inverted commas or the tag, to make it clear he's thinking -- which is what I'd suggest you do here] They’re my bloody thoughts; it's not a bloody conflict.. [punctuation always inside the quotation marks if this isn't simply a typo. By the way, I've no idea what he's talking about here] He started to go [does one "go" dizzy? I'd have thought "get"] a little dizzy but continued anyway.

    ‘We have a way to solve this now, you know. We have an understanding of the weapon, we know how to use it for better, we, we...’ He was losing loosing it. It wouldn’t be long now; they would end this review.

    ‘I remember the start, the moment when where the stone hit the pond, the first bounce of the skim.’ He was clenching his hands. He looked up again into the lights. ‘I remember the end when where it bounced many times, many times before…’ A tear started to roll down his cheek. A double click in his ear signified that the review was about to be cancelled and wouldn’t be recorded further than the standard twenty seconds. The frustration of it was too much. He cracked and blurted.

    ‘I’m Tricky and I was sat [in case you're not aware, this is not standard English, and if I had my way everyone who used it would be branded for life as semi-literate. ;) If you're using it intentionally, all well and good, but I think you've used it in the next section in the narrative which makes me suspect it's a mistake. It's "I sat" or "I was sitting"] on the hill, Fellsteep hill.He closed his eyes. eye’s, [no apostrophe there, and the comma is wrong] ‘I remember the colours, you know. It had been under all of them, [no idea what this means] all of the sky’s.[if this is meant to be a shortened "all of the sky's colours" that's fine. If you simply mean "all of the sky", but you're looking for the plural, it's wrong and should be "skies"] Blue, black, yellow, hazy orange grey, linen white, cotton candy pink, cerulean blue, dark and thunderous, dark and deathly, it had been there all the time, the dreamstealer…………….’​


    I know all the purple will be a little hard to take in at first, but I thought it might help if I explained the changes I made or the issues I had. For my taste you need to rethink a good deal of your comma use. It can be fine in dialogue to indicate a running on of thoughts or abrupt changes with comma splices, but in narrative it can be very off-putting. You also need to take more care where actions interrupt dialogue. If you're not sure of anything in that respect, just say and we can point you in the right direction. Anyway, I hope some of my wittering helps a little.
     
    Jan 13, 2018 at 6:07 PM
    #3
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  4. tinkerdan

    tinkerdan candycane shrimp

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    This is a fair start and I think that if you tighten up a number of things you could improve this an make it work better.
    The first paragraph stands as an example of what I mean::
    That's just some thoughts and how you mend the elements I highlight might differ from what I suggest--however there are elements of passivity in the writing that both drag the story down and convoluted the sentences now and then.

    I stopped there...
    And just now went back to read the rest.
    You should know that the first part put me off so much that I passed on the best part of your writing.

    This could easily happen with other readers.

    Keep it in mind when you consider editing this piece.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018 at 7:30 PM
    Jan 13, 2018 at 7:06 PM
    #4
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  5. CTRandall

    CTRandall I have my very own plant pot!

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    Without going into the same level of detail as the others, I seems to me that one of the issues here is your desire to write a colourful turn of phrase vs. serving the needs of the story. The extended opening repetition about the beach and memory has a poetic expressiveness when you need to be establishing the story. It's an issue I struggle with regularly and, when I indulge in this, my wife almost always crosses it out and writes "wishy-washy" in the margins of my drafts. It is often difficult to bin a clever metaphor or a great rhetorical flourish but, if it gets in the way of the story, it's doing you more harm than good.

    As an addendum, Wow! for the detailed and well-considered critiques from Brian, The Judge and tinkerdan! I'm new to the chronicles and am impressed by the quality and amount of thought people are putting into comments. I'm learning a lot just by reading reactions to other people's work.
     
    Jan 14, 2018 at 1:47 AM
    #5
  6. Lafayette

    Lafayette Man of Artist Fingers

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    First off I want to apologize if I come off as being too harsh. I am not that well verse in critiquing, instead I'm going to give you my impressions.

    There were too many words and the paragraphs were maybe too long. I felt a little lost looking at all that text without any or hardly any dialog or monologue.

    The points of views were scattered all over the place. I had to struggle with who was speaking.
    ‘I feel a little uneasy still but it’s…...’ This is very confusing. First you said, "I" then you say "he looked to the monitor ‘Here you are doing it again. I’ve come to terms with my………’ he looked up to the lights above him and blinked a couple of times, This part I like. he had used it on his last attempt knowing it would suit some of the higher powers, It's giving the reader a hint that some else or something is involved.

    I got the impression that a poet was trying to tell us what was going on instead of reporter or a chronicler. For me this made the character unbelievable. If you gave your reader a hint that he is not your average Joe then that prose would be okay.

    I suspect that you are trying to give your reader a sense of what your character is feeling namely disorientation. However you went too far.

    Another item I found lacking was description of your main characters. Is Tricky old, young, fat, skinny, or what? Then there is the dream catcher is he suppose to be vague? If he is maybe the reader should know this.

    Perhaps, I'm being a bit stupid, but I feel I should know more about Tricky in order to feel sympathy for him. As it is, all I know is, he is a guy with big words that rambles, something keeps eluding him, and he misses Lisa. Who is Lisa? Why should I care? Your readers may feel the same way as I do.
     
    Jan 14, 2018 at 7:37 AM
    #6
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  7. Paul Meccano

    Paul Meccano Meccano Magic

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    Okay. That wasn't easy. :(

    Firstly an apology. I have no editor at present and am dyslexic. The American spell check changes S's for Z's. I caught the odd one like "colour" before it had chance. I still have a lot to learn about semi Colons and other technical's. As a young dyslexic I found all reading hard whether grammatically correct or not, having aged ( gracefully :) ) I find I can read all work, grammatically checked or not without losing my way. It comes from having to learn. My schooling finished earlier than should have been the case, much earlier. Note: don't ask me to read out loud though because the grammatical trickery will floor me).

    Sorry if I really upset you The Judge. I have taken everything in, even if my grammar was sadly so bad that you couldn't.
    (and yes Tricky, Shrew and a couple of unsavoury characters from 1975 England would be sat n speaking in a way you wouldn't like, ain't it!!) My apologies.

    Secondly, I am grateful for all of your comments and have started work, sifting through, saving what I can with a re-write or striking out possibly in view.

    As an important note and something i need help with:
    My story originally started after the first section, at Fell Steep Hill. For most of the book it reads almost as a fantasy/ Sci Fi but at the3/4 stage turns very much Sci/Fi. With this issue in mind I tried to bring forward a hint of the whole. This seems to be where it went wrong.
    Essentially I was concerned for the reader in getting to know their characters and their surroundings, then being forced to accept it's not what they thought. Also it's quite a jump technically without a bit of knowledge from the first section. I don't want to give away what I'm trying to work on here as a theme. It's fresh but difficult to break down as a story.

    If I were to say the 'Tricky' waking in the first scene isn't the Tricky in the second scene, would it then read differently? I cannot give up that info at this point in the story and this is the reason I'm struggling with the start. I was hoping the hints toward him ( they were looking for a different person) and the bit that looks like story dumping ( Tricky has to tell the story about whats happened since 2407) would help solve this. Only the person they're looking for would know that and would point out that there are in fact two people in that body.

    Also I wonder if, there being elemental particles in thought/ Memory was too early?

    There is far more going on later in the book than the first 3/4 eludes too and to transition I feel I would have to drip feed the reader with clues throughout the first 3/4s. This in my mind will kill the flow and at worst give the game up too early. Including a very small amount at the beginning allows me to be free in telling the story whilst the reader knows there's more to it.


    I think all of this has been highlighted well as an issue. Technically this is harder than thought and I already thought it was hard. :)

    So, a request.
    if I were to post the next (original second section + 950 words ) section would you be able to do the same again negating the troublesome first section and reading as it was meant to be. If that works then all attention can go to dealing with the additional first section or it's complete removal.


    Thanks again all. I've stopped falling apart now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018 at 12:25 PM
    Jan 14, 2018 at 11:45 AM
    #7
  8. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Sure, you're fine to post. And don't worry - criticism stings, but over time hopefully you'll come to value it. :)
     
    Jan 14, 2018 at 1:40 PM
    #8
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  9. The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Nope, it never is. We always try to give constructive criticism, to help the writer improve his/her skills generally as well as deal with the critiqued piece in particular, but we're all aware how gut-wrenching it is to be on the receiving end of it.

    There's no need to apologise for something that's outside your control! Though if we know in advance about dyslexia it does mean we can cut some slack that might not otherwise be granted in critiquing. We'll give all the support we can in explaining rules like semi-colons you might not have come across before -- The Toolbox has a number of posts on punctuation which might come in handy. First of all, though, change the spellchecker so it gives British English variants, not US -- it'll be hard enough for you without having to try and correct its errors!


    Regarding your dilemma about the change from fantasy SF to harder SF at the 3/4 mark, without knowing a good deal more, which for obvious reasons you don't want to disclose now, it's hard to give any concrete advice. However, I think you should have more faith in your readers taking the change in their stride -- if they've got as far as that then they should have confidence in you as a writer bringing the novel to a proper end. Jaine Fenn's Consorts of Heaven appears to be entirely a fantasy for a good 75% of the novel, but then it becomes abruptly clear it's actually SF, and while he gives hints a lot earlier than that as to its SF underpinnings, Brian's own book also has all the attributes of fantasy for a long time.

    If it's possible to give hints earlier on, all well and good, but the problem with giving odd sentences in chapter one is that no one is likely to remember them 50k words later, so you can't actually depend on those sentences doing the job you need them to do, and it means you're sacrificing intelligibility and readability now in the hope that it eases problems a long way in the future, when that lack of readability actually jeopardises the chance of people reading far enough to get to those problems.

    Not for me, since I've no idea who he is anyway. The fact he has the same odd nickname and he remembers exactly the same colours suggests it's the same person, naturally, and I would actually be more angry at a later revelation that you've shown me two people in consecutive scenes who appear to be the same man but aren't in fact the same person ie the fact Tricky 1 and Tricky 2 are different is for me an argument not to show Tricky 1 in the first place.

    I had no idea what that meant -- not helped by the terribly convoluted sentence in which it appears -- so I just put it to one side and ignored it. (In case it's any consolation I have a line on the first page of one of my WiPs that I thought gave the game away about a tripartite nature of the main character, which line I've had to make stronger and more noticeable in each successive draft and still people coming to it on a first read just don't see it and therefore don't get the clue. I'm thinking of typing it all in capital letters. :rolleyes:)

    But the reader doesn't know there's more to it. With that first section, all we know, or think we know, is that Tricky -- whom we will believe is the same man we have seen throughout -- is still alive, but apparently is held by aliens after most of the world's population has been destroyed by some kind of deadly weapon. That's not knowing there's more behind the story, only that the story continues somewhere else. The second scene and all that follows is just one giant flashback, as far as we're aware, with all the baggage that comes with extended flashbacks, and precious little illumination thrown on the story itself.

    However, it occurs to me that one way you might give hints about the eventual genre change without interrupting the flow of the rest of the work is to have very small extracts from Tricky's recordings at the beginning of each chapter. Set a line or two in italics, and that way they should intrigue without overwhelming the reader.

    In any event, good luck with it.
     
    Jan 14, 2018 at 6:15 PM
    #9
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  10. Paul Meccano

    Paul Meccano Meccano Magic

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    That's great, I will work hard on this myself, trying not to bug you all. The toolbox will help and is a revelation to me :)

    I agree, If they get that far ( Edit,edit,edit), having had a very detailed discussion with my beautiful and talented wife this afternoon and finally allowed her in on the whole story, I have found that: Once over the initial 1st chapter, I may hold the reader; It seems I have some work to do but have had some very good idea's thanks to the critique. It's also nice to know others do this.
    Throwing some colon's and semi-colons out there just to see if they stick :D

    This I have picked up on today and have an idea how to solve.

    This covenant, I now know, means that I have something new in the bag. As such I must make sure I look after this book. You have done well to explain this carefully of which I'm grateful.

    Try parting it up :) If that doesn't work... GO CAPITALS ( those darn readers ) ;)

    I have, hopefully, solved how to move forward with this but do love that Idea. I already have three further scenes from the 3/4 mark that feed on from that so your thought fits very well with it. If I get stuck and utilise it I will credit you with saving my butt.

    Overall I now feel I have enjoyed the experience, having initial crumbled like a Bakewell tart on a talent show doing the impression of a flan.
    Thanks.
     
    Jan 14, 2018 at 6:42 PM
    #10
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  11. CTRandall

    CTRandall I have my very own plant pot!

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    Yeah, critcism is tough. My wife is always my first reader and she doesn't hold back. Upon reading just the first chapter of my first attempt at a novel, she refused to read more until I rewrote the whole thing. (I did a full draft before I got up the nerve to tell her about it. I also made the mistake of writing it in present tense for absolutely no good reason. Good thing I followed her advice!) Writing is learning and learning is rewriting.
     
    Jan 14, 2018 at 11:29 PM
    #11
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  12. tinkerdan

    tinkerdan candycane shrimp

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    In the second half of this work there are a lot of good descriptions. However it borders on either disjointed or maybe obtuse at times.
    I'm not saying that as a bad thing; just that it calls for some clarity down the road which might force you to be less toward the purple and more to simple explanation.

    To be honest the Elizabeth Bear novels I have read all start somewhat close to the same way; but I've come to rely on her to reign it in--or perhaps wean me into her style until I begin to understand everything that was happening in those first ten pages.

    If it remains the way it is, your second half will make your task in keeping the reader happy a bit more challenging despite how much better it sounds when I read it--there is a lot to understand in there--however if you pull it off it could be both poetic and great.
     
    Jan 14, 2018 at 11:55 PM
    #12
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  13. Paul Meccano

    Paul Meccano Meccano Magic

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    I will be posting the next section as mentioned (in an earlier post) whilst removing the first. It does reign in and sets off in a more natural tone.
    I have always written poetry ( I find poetry easier to play with) so like to include a hint. I also use it to create a kind of mental mist to set a scene or to let the reader know that its a pivotal section. This doesn't happen often in my writing but in this story it's right at the start. Along with my ill conceived, poorly crafted opening piece ( that's gone for now) It was all too much. We'll see what gives when I post the next bit.
    At present I'm working to correct as many parts as possible so that any of you good folk reading don't suffer too much.
     
    Jan 15, 2018 at 8:57 AM
    #13
  14. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Btw, in case of help, I always recommend reading Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer, as it's filled with everything a writer needs to know, from basics to advanced technical issues.

    Also useful are Brandon Sanderson writing lectures, available to watch on YouTube: Write About Dragons
     
    Jan 15, 2018 at 9:08 AM
    #14
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  15. Lafayette

    Lafayette Man of Artist Fingers

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    Don't forget to let your reader know your character is some what a poet.

    By the way, is one of the ways the two Trickys are different is that one is a poet and one is not?
     
    Jan 15, 2018 at 10:27 AM
    #15
  16. Paul Meccano

    Paul Meccano Meccano Magic

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    I was due to order a book for that very purpose this week. A very timely tip.
    cheers.
     
    Jan 15, 2018 at 10:42 AM
    #16
  17. Paul Meccano

    Paul Meccano Meccano Magic

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    I don't think either are real poets, one certainly has the weight to charm. Essentially though, I'm generally writing in third person and It's not so much poetic as poetic infused. If that makes sense?
    Does writing in the third lend to the characters expressions?
     
    Jan 15, 2018 at 10:46 AM
    #17
  18. Paul Meccano

    Paul Meccano Meccano Magic

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    I will not be posting the next section as threatened. Stand Down folks ( I'm sure you had already) as it's gonna be some time.
    I have found the way and as such plan to develop further, before presenting my butt for its next whipping that is.
    (y)
     
    Jan 15, 2018 at 7:07 PM
    #18
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