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Jacquin
July 14th, 2002, 06:31 PM
as to read my latest offering and let me know what you think, I would be eternally oblidged to you all :)

This one has a completely different feel to the last short story, it is more pleasant and a lot more of a smoother ride. It is the first chapter or so of a book I am writing.

Thanks for your time and help.

J

Erebus
July 14th, 2002, 07:31 PM
You can find Jacqin's story HERE (http://www.sffworld.com/authors/r/roy_jacquin/fiction/bastardp1p1.html).

I'll read it again soon, Jacquin and post my comments later.

kegasaurus
July 14th, 2002, 11:36 PM
Oaky-croaky, read your story and I did enjoy it, but in this form I have to say that I wouldnít read on. Well I will read on if you keep it updated, but I wouldnít recommend it as a must read.
Hereís why:

The story feels abbreviated, as though you wanted to add more, but because of constraints, you chose not to. Iím not saying this is the case, Iím just saying that is how it feels.

In this I am talking of the overall flow of the story. Just as you start to get a run on, you cut the scenes short, leaving the reader feeling unfulfilled. Stilted is the first word that came to mind as I read through it and I think it sums the above in a nutshell.

Ways to fix this would be to put the flashback as your introduction and expand upon it, put the intro in as the first chapter and get a flow going from there. There is something to be said about getting to the point, but the first chapter is generally an introduction to the main character, or characters of the book and you keep cutting us off as we get to know Jim.

As I said at the start, I like the story, donít know where youíre taking it, but I am intrigued. If you get the flow right and expand upon it, it will make an interesting book.

Talaith
July 14th, 2002, 11:52 PM
Well I have had the chance to read a bit more of this story than is up right now. It is full of hints about things from the past and things that will, or might rather, develop in the future. I was also intrigued by the story. One thing I thought was a bit rough was the second paragraph on page three. The wording there didn't seem to flow, but then that might be because the narrator has a hangover? I do like the way you have the narrator talking to the reader.

I still want to see the rest of the story Jac! :)

user123
July 16th, 2002, 05:10 AM
It's a good start and I would like to see more when you have it ready.:)

Jacquin
July 18th, 2002, 12:29 PM
Thanks for the comments guys,

Kegosaurus, I think I know what you mean about the abbreviated feel, I have kind of done it on purpose, I am attempting to write it in such a way as it feels like I am actually talking to you. It has not been easy because if I write the way I talk it makes no sense at all, but this is about as good a compromise as I can get, I hope you will find it gets a little easier as it progresses.

Talaith, I will send you the latest version as soon as I get back to my own pc, how's life? I hear you had fun in Hawaii... :D

User123, I will post up more as soon as I get home, thanks...

J

Talaith
July 18th, 2002, 01:27 PM
Nice to see you back Jacquin!

Life is good. Hawaii was better. :D They are making me, forcing me even, go back for 2 weeks in August. Darn them to heck. :rolleyes:

Looking forward to the updated version!

choppy
July 18th, 2002, 03:47 PM
Hi Jacquin,

Well, you asked for comments, so here goes:

Generally the story has a pleasant feel to it. I got a good sense of the environment and setting. The imagery was vivid. The narrator had a strong voice too. I found it helped if I imagined him with a slight Scottish accent. (I'm Canadian, so the best voice I could image was that of Shrek.)

So I'm four pages in and I really haven't got much of a sense of where this is all going yet. To me this seems to be leaning a little more towards dramatic literature than the SF/F genre - although I can appreciate that not all SF/F stuff has to have aliens attacking the earth in the first chapter.

Jim has lost his mother and so has Em. This is a good experience to draw out reader sympathy. I think you did a god job of using this as a connection.

Your initial hook is the question of Jim's upheaval. There aren't too many people who would just up sell all their stuff and leave their life behind. Why has he done this? I think it's good that you don't answer right away, but to really draw the reader in, it would be nice to have a hint or two to keep us guessing.

So far there seems to be a lot of stuff just happening to Jim. "I showed up, went to the bar, got drunk, woke up with a hang-over, went for a walk." Well, okay, but that sounds like my weekend. Why do I want to read about Jim's? Suddenly the beautiful girl shows up - okay that's not like my weekend - but I find that the best stories are driven by the consequences of the choices of the the characters. This just sort of happened.

Consider your first sentence:
" Carrying my entire worldly possessions in my rucksack I stepped off the coach into the rest of my life." I think this would read better as "... my entire [collection of] worldly possessions...", or "Everything I owned in the world, I had slung over my back." The way it's written now seems grammatically incorrect. This is your first sentence! Make whatever mistakes you want later on, but as a reader, I shouldn't stumble on this one. The way I rewrote the sentence (second) changes the focus to Jim's possessions. This way, it focuses on the hook - why can he fit everything he owns on his back. The original sentence focuses on Jim stepping off the coach - something people do every day. (I hope I'm making sense - sometimes I wonder if I ramble too much).


Remember to concetrate on conflict too. You have some potential for conflict - such as Jim's meeting with Derek in the bar - that is skipped over.
Anyways, I hope this helps!

Keep writing!

Miriamele
July 19th, 2002, 02:33 PM
Well I read your story but I don't know what I can say that hasn't been said already. Choppy pretty much said everything that I was thinking too.

Basically, the story did have a pleasant tone--the Scottish highlands is an interesting place for a story and you did a good job of conveying the atmosphere of the place--but it didn't seem to me like the story was really going anywhere. There was no real conflict present, no suspense--in other words, if I had this book in my hands I probably wouldn't want to keep on reading, unless something exciting were to happen at the beginning of the next chapter.

It seems that Jim and Em were merely childhood friends, and now they've met up again, and that's it. As it is the story sounds more like the beginning of a romance novel than anything else. Perhaps you should consider adding a few sinister or mysterious elements to let the reader know that something unusual is going to happen.

One more thought: Does Jim's breaking his ankle work into the story somehow? Because right now it doesn't really seem necessary. He could have met Em his first night there, couldn't he?

You do have a good writing style though. I look forward to reading the second chapter.


:)

Jacquin
July 24th, 2002, 07:04 AM
Well it is a little slow, but that is purposefully done, the pace does change. You are supposed to feel like this is kind of a soppy romance because when it changes it certainly changes. The feel in the second part is much more like the feel of my short story (which is also up here :)).

The broken ankle thing was originally a vehicle to keep Jim in the village but him and Em developed a lot faster than I intended, I may just take that out.

I'll post the next bit some time soon.

Thanks for the comments

J