First of all, thank you erebus for keeping me posted. That was very kind of you. I really appreciate it.
But I was wondering, if any of you could find the time to read over the first Chapter of the book that I'm working on and give me some feedback, I'd very much appreciate it. I'd like to get some outside opinions. As of now, I've only showed it to one other person. But i figured since everyone on this board is usually very honest, It would be good to see what you all thought.
The story is posted as "the Author" (working title) by Ben cooper.
Thanks for your time.
January 7th, 2002, 07:59 PM
Well I was quite impressed when I read it as part of the submission process here.
I could certainly relate to the bullying aspect you introduced and feel that there are some good storylines developing there. I also thought a few times that the foster parents' deaths were perhaps a little too much of a coincidence and you may be stretching the plot a bit here!
But I think that with some revisional work, and a few re-reads, you could pull a good tale out of the premise you are developing.
Keep at it, and good luck!
[This message has been edited by erebus (edited January 08, 2002).]
January 7th, 2002, 08:21 PM
Thanks for the feedback erebus.
As you mentioned, the deaths are a bit farfetched, but intentionally so. They actaully aren't a coinicedence, but all of that evolves much later (already written nearly three hundred pages and I'm only about halfway....ugh). So I'm thinking I might have accomplished my goal (or have possibly gone too far), in arrousing suspicion. Hmmmm...I'll have to look into that.
January 8th, 2002, 06:23 PM
It was very easy for me to follow the timing of when you would explain things that you brought up. I can't imagine that our train of thought could be similar. I think the scenes of your writing were just easy to follow. The first time I read it, I didn't pay attention to how you wrote because I was so interested in what was happening.
Yes, I agree with Erebus about the deaths. What kind of deaths they were was distracting. It was corny. You commented how unbelievable it was for two people to be run over by a steamroller. Well, it is.
Food poisoning is much more common than you can imagine, so that's believable. However case lawyers would be clamoring to give the kid money of his own by suing the restaurant, the steamroller company, etc. Once the kid was rich, that would be a wonderful reason for the not so great alcoholic parents to adopt him. But I have forgotten what the deaths were after the steamroller, because you made me "pop" out of believing. I'd make the steamroller death last, if I kept it. Then the apparent unbelievability would gradually escalate.
It's difficult to accept the cliche of how that last parent was acting, but I once knew a parent like him. This guy would grill you for those standard questions but not listen because he was reading. I'd tell him some of my day and walk away. When he played what I said back to himself and found that he had stop the story in the middle, only then would he call me back and look at me when I talked to him. I know it was manipulative on my part, but that was the only way to get a response from the guy. Glad he wasn't my parent. He didn't catch on until I admitted what I was doing was on purpose. (Turns out that parent was "Adult Attention Deficit Disordered.)
Anyway, I'd also like some idea of the time frames...did these adoptions/deaths happen yearly, making our protagonist how old by the time the chapter ends? What if the kid was blamed for the last deaths? Maybe that last adoption be in a group home for wayward kids after he gets suspected of the crime of his third set of foster parents dying mysteriously.
Anyway, maybe the unbelivability of the deaths would make more sense if I could read the rest of your story.
Hope that gives you some ideas. As I said first, I'm very impressed with the flowing sequence of how you told the story. Fun to read. Can't wait until I get to read what happens to the kid.
January 9th, 2002, 07:50 AM
Thanks for the response angel (and a healthy one too). As for the deaths, I was going for something a little more over the top, partly because the story isn't incredibly serious. It's an adventure story at the heart, with a lot of travel involved (in another world). I decided to make it exaggerated for the sake of making the story more enjoyable. I've read tons and tons of books where the travel is very mundane, partly because its told in a serious context. Travel, when explained as it really is, is very boring IMO. Part of why I've never liked the lotr. So I thought, why not make it a little more bizarre. It does lose a bit of credibility, but I think that in the end it's worth the sacrifice (why do I feel like I'm defending myself too much http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif).
And if I'm completely honest, I'm being a little more goofy with this one in large part because my last book was so serious. After writing that one, I wanted to do something more...silly, I guess would be the word. (and just so you know, the deaths are actually not nearly as bizarre when they're explained how it was actually done, but if it's too much of an upset from the get go, I might have some revising to do http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif).
But I really want to thank you all for your time and opinions. It really helps. I get different responses from everyone. I've showed some people my stuff over the past few days. Some people I've shown have really liked that it was exaggerated, some haven't. But it gives me a more well rounded view. This is turning out to be a really really long book (guesstimation, between 6 and 7 hundred pages....and I've only written 300...sigh), so the more points of view i get, the better the chances that I'll catch all the flaws and plot holes before I get too far.
Thanks a million. I'm gonna go write now http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif.
January 9th, 2002, 10:05 AM
Great first chapter!! I was fascinated until the end, one of the best pieces of writing I've read on sffworld, your writing style is flowing and very readable.
I found the parents deaths very intriguing, it was clear to me from the get go that the deaths weren't accidental, and I didn't find them exggerated (the steamliner thing just added to the bizarre premise), you handled the suspence extremley well.
I could identify with Emmet's lonlyness, although I needed a stronger reason for the bullies to jump on him like that at the park, but I guess he just made it worse by running, didn't he?
One other minor problem I had with the story was with the single father, he seemed to be too cliched. I also don't know if a man who lives alone would adopt a 12 year old, or would be permitted to. the thing about impressing his boss wasn't very convincing, but maybe it has relevance to the rest of the story...
It all seemed like a straight tale until the last cool part, that was done very well.
January 9th, 2002, 11:39 AM
Spoilers below . . .
First of all, I liked the opening. You got the readers attention quickly with the bruises and melancholy attitude of the boy. The style and actual writing was good.
I kept in mind that this is a first chapter to a much longer story. I found myself looking for some forward movement in the story. All the history seemed a little rushed, like you were forcing all that history into the first chapter. Is there a particular reason why the reader needs to know up front about the deaths of each set of Emmettís parents? I understand that you will be addressing the deaths in more detail later in the book. Did you consider introducing the readers to the Mckinzies when Emmett gets the frozen dinner and thinks about Mrs. Mckinzieís homemade cooking? And introducing the other parents at similar openings?
Also, itís a rather serious beginning for a light hearted book.
I was also wondering if you did any research into the adoption process. I was under the impression that couples are interviewed fairly extensively before given the green light to adopt, that the actual adoption process is very slow, and that finding parents for an older child is fairly difficult, yet Emmett managed to find 2 Ĺ sets relatively quickly.
Well, thatís my take on the story, for what itís worth anyway. Hope it helps.
January 9th, 2002, 01:11 PM
Wow guys. Thanks again for all the input. Im writing all of the suggestions and counter points down for when i go back and revise it all (but I dont do it right away, I finish the book before i worry about the details, so that I dont rewrite myself to my grave http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif).
Well Kats, I looked up the adoption process before hand, and although the chances of Emmett being picked up as quickly as he was are very slim, its still distantly possible. There would just have to be a shortage of adoptees and an excessive number of applicants (most of whom would have to have little specifics in preference...like age, race, and gender). So, like i said. Not likely, but possible. As for the first chapter, I tried to make it move quickly because his life on earth has very little to do with actual story. Except for one key point. The death of his parents. So thats why I didn't spend much time in details (though, you learn more of his experiences in hindsight via journal entries). But thankfully, all the events that happen in the first chapter will be easy to fix the second time around. It's farther into the story that it gets really complicated (read: headache).
Lior, you too have a point. I think I may have exaggerated Hank a bit. But again, ill save it for the rewrite.
But all this insight is great. I should probably post the next chapter. You all have been very responsive.