Wanted: Testreaders for Work in Progress

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Dawnstorm, May 7, 2006.

  1. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    I'm currently writing a novel that's been brewing for years (the concept is older than my SFFworld membership).

    It's working titled The Aimless One. It's a character centered fantasy story with a mystery plot. Instead of action, battles and lots of magic, there are many characters who are trying to figure out what the hell is going on, who they should trust and whether it's better to collaborate with political oppononents or to push your own agendas.

    So far I have ~37.000 words, and I'm wondering if I'm on the right track. All I'm really interested in at this time is to see whether the story has the potential to engage interest. So, if you find the story boring, stop reading and tell me how far you got before you lost interest.

    Any inconsistencies you find, or criticism you might have is most welcome, but probably won't be incorporated until the thing is finished. (I have my own criticism I'm ignoring for the time being.)

    So, instead of a summary, here are the provisional chapter headings:

    Part 1: Feyshore Paperwork; Message; Runaway; *Paranoia on the Brink of Sleep*; Interrogation; The Dancing Faerie; *Chain of Command*; Past, Present, Future; Seasick; Holy Halls; Tori; Council Meeting; Beginners Luck; Museum; Whispering Shadows; Circus; Blood on the Sheets; Hospital; Offer; Face the Factions; A Saint's Relic

    Part 2: Suzé Confession; Irony; Chaos Sorcery; Miracle Child; The Roving Village

    Chapters between *^* will likely be cut; but pieces of information may have to be re-distributed, so I'll keep those "chapters" for now. Most chapters will be renamed (or they may just be numbered; or I may do away with chapters altogether...)

    If you're interested, PM me with your e-mail adress and preferred format (doc or rtf; I suggest rtf, because it makes the file smaller; I can also zip up the file with Win-zip, if you like).
     
  2. Dazzlinkat

    Dazzlinkat Registered User

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    Congratz on getting so far !! Too bad I have a gimp computer and no MS Word. All mine is done on WordPad :(
     
  3. MrBF1V3

    MrBF1V3 aka. Stephen B5 Jones

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    I've been known to read a few things, every so often.

    It sounds interesting. See PM.

    B5
     
  4. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    Thanks, for the interest so far.

    A clarification, though: I do not have a finished draft yet.

    There are 2 parts so far (and part 2 is only now launching into it's main focus); I imagine the finished draft will have 4 parts. (3 might suffice, I'll see.)

    I'm posting this early, because I feel I'm currently stuck in a rut. Writing is easy, but not particularly engaging. Which is an odd experience for me, as usually words come hard to me, but I either love or hate what I write (at the time of writing). So, I'm worrying that it's got a bit boring lately.

    Other people's perspectives tend to refresh mine, and vitalise the writing. :)

    Thanks.

    An rtf-file (rich-text-file-file... oops, I shoud say an "rtf", hehe...) should open alright in word pad. It's basically an improved txt-file with all the formats (such as bold, italics, colour, indentures...); it does not include macros etc. Since I have a very old Word-version (Word 7.0), I tend to request rtfs, as well.

    So, thanks again. Preparing sendover of files. :)
     
  5. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    Send it over Dawnstorm, I will try and look at it inbetween real life hitting me between the eyes lol....
     
  6. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    Thanks, it's on its way.

    Real life has far too good an aim... :eek: ;)
     
  7. kater

    kater Filthy Assistants!

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    Ready, willing and able :) I've just read a very good fantasy political piece and am interested in reading some more.
     
  8. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    It's everything you'd expect from Dawnstorm...and more! This is very, very good stuff! Tell the man to quit devoting time to erudite posts on sffworld and spend more time completing this work.
     
  9. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    *Bows*

    Why, thank you, sir.

    I've spent the last couple of days planning and once I pick up writing again there should be a torrent. :D I expect to start this weekend; perhaps today.
     
  10. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    43.7k words, according to Word.

    I'm having trouble with a scene.

    Two days ago: Try to write, find no approach. Research instead.
    Yesterday: Write. Words ooze rather than flow. They're so dull that I quit and delete in frustration.

    As far as the novels theme is concerned, it's a key-scene. I can't just delete it. One of my characters has a personal problem, and only a political opponent can help. The problem is tied up with what makes them political opponents. They do not have any personal contact, otherwise, so each will few the other as an example of their respective factions.

    The character with the problem doesn't really want the help (she's stubborn); the character who might be able to help isn't opposed to helping, but it's neither very high on his priority list, nor does he think chances for success are very good.

    The character herself didn't ask for help: one from her faction asked for her, but she didn't ask the guy who could help. Instead she asked someone else on that guy's faction who talked to him.

    So, basically, I have two people caught in an interaction none of them personally cares for; both are there because others urged them to. There is no obligation, but refusing to help, or refusing to accept help is equally embarrassing for both parties. So they end up discussing personal stuff with people they view primarily as political opponents, where the woman with the problem is more uncomfortable in the situation, while the man who could help is more uncomfortable with the person.

    The problem, however, is that whether or not the man actually manages to help has implications on how they'll view each other's factions in the future. So I can't really move on without writing this first, as the specifics how it plays out has implications on how the following ensemble scenes play out (with inter- as well as intra-faction tensions at stake).

    Phew, typing this out helped. I might actually split this scene in two and spread it over two days (intermission-style). Hm...

    The thing's progressing, and I know, generally, where it's supposed to go, but it's getting complicated on the concrete level. o_O

    ***

    Edit: Saying thanks to all my test-readers. There's nothing like a different perspective on the thing to push me out of the rut I'm stuck in. :)
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2006
  11. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Do you have it worked out what the results of the meeting will be, how the factions will view each other from then on? Or are you trying to work these details out in the writing of the scene? Because if it's the latter, that may be where the ooze is coming from. You're building a web of obligation in that scene, and so how to phrase it, how bold each character may be or not be in speaking, may be the sticking point.

    I'm having a similar problem with a scene in which information is coming out that is needed, but is doing so reluctantly, and so what the characters say to each other is giving me fits.
     
  12. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    Recommend you both just let them talk without worrying about whether it fits the outline. When they are finished talking, you can figure out what to do next. Most people and most characters refuse to follow scripts no matter what.
     
  13. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    Well, the problem is they don't want to talk to each other and they glare at me for making them. Social dynamics are in place, so they have no choice.

    I refuse to write myself into this thing. This one really doesn't need a metafictional approach. ;)

    The problem is the way the political and the personal intersect in that one. The scene will actually have little direct influence on how the factions few each other (actually, the scene is more likely to enhance conflict within the factations, rather than between them). The important thing is the mood, the confidence (boldness, as you said) they carry away from the scene. Since one of the following scenes is the first ensemble scene in the story, their respective moods are important. Especially hers, since she's officially "in charge".
     
  14. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Is the female character practical? Because at a certain point, practical people often give in. They put their irritation aside and get down to business. They realize rudeness isn't going to help them, especially if a situation is urgent. If she's instead tempermental and impetuous, then she's likely to make an outburst or two. After she's made that outburst, though, it may be like a thunderstorm clearing the air, and she may be able to settle down and act more graciously. If she is reserved and cares a great deal about her dignity in the situation, then she's likely not to talk and the guy will be the one who pushes the subject, because he just doesn't want to waste hours in a meeting with the woman.

    If you really think neither of them will break, or you feel they should, but the writing isn't cooperating, then an outside force, occurrence or person might be useful to get things moving. The conversation between them about the key issue might be very brief and clipped, the minimum each will concede to each other. It might also be helpful for you not to write yourself into the scene, but consider what in the room, in the scene, do you want readers to particularly see -- facial expressions, the play of light, furnishings in the room, and how that reflects on the themes and content of the characters or the scene. In other words, in building yourself some sort of symbolism or metaphor, you might find a way out of the ooze by giving yourself a specific focus to hinge the scene upon.
     
  15. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    The scene's written (well, the first half: I've split it in two and spread it over two days, keeping a certain tension in the ensemble scene), and that's pretty much what happened.

    A change of setting did the trick.

    I find the scene as it is a bit contrived, perhaps too little conflict, but that's not something I worry about, now. I got the basics down and can go on, now.

    ***

    Thanks for the help, guys. :)
     
  16. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    Leaders usually have advisors. If one of them is being unreasonable, perhaps an advisor can step in and talk them into at least trying, for the good of the people or whatever.
     
  17. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    In this case, instead of talking her into trying (which they attempted as well), one of them pretty much ignored her right to make that decision about herself. In that scene she's pretty angry at her and wouldn't exactly be inclined to listen.

    She might have listened to the other one, though. Good thinking. :)
     
  18. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    Progress is slow, but steady. 50k words, now.

    Two typos within one paragraph: a meeting turned into a "meating"; a current turned into a "currant". And I wasn't even hungry. o_O
     
  19. kater

    kater Filthy Assistants!

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    I owe you an apology DS, I haven't been able to finish your piece yet (not due to quality issues I hasten to add :) ) but I'm hoping to get some reading time in soon.
     
  20. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    Don't worry, take all the time you need. :)