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  1. #1
    Lou
    Guest

    I'd love to hear your comments

    Completely out of context, but I'd love to hear your thoughts anyway! This is a very short excerpt from chapter four of my novel. Julie is just a little bit fixated by her Psychology teacher.(Btw, I'm English, just to give you a better sense of place.)

    Onward bound, they navigated the corridors, past a collage of indistinct smiles, logos and Levis. The Psychology class was located at the northernmost point of the college, a good nine-minute-jaunt from the car park and in a porter cabin to one side of the football pitches. (The Edwardian wing of the campus had gone AWOL last year; shot down in a blaze of glory, so to speak. Rumours were rife about a rampaging ex-pupil. Julie thought it highly unlikely. It was too passionate, too calculated; she was certain the blaze was nothing more than a fit of arbitrary adolescence.)

    Kandinsky, Pollock and Monet flaunted their counterfeit pieces along the wall, bestowing a welcome cascade of colour on the final segment of the quest towards psychological enlightenment. They passed by soon enough. Corrugated cardboard, tiles, halogen lights; joyless efficiency flooded back, a final preparatory measure before...

    “Alcoholism is a case in point. Aversion therapy is a particularly tried and tested means of dissuading the relentless drinker from...” He paused and turned, “Well maybe Julie Gray and Leanne Murphy can shed a little light on the subject in hand. Relentless drinking a problem over the weekend, was it?”

    They squirmed, unwilling to embrace the incandescent glare of the punctual assembly before them.

    “Sorry Mr Donnell. The roads were dead busy this morning and the car park’s absolutely chokker and the…

    “Leanne, sit down. It’s what Monday’s are for. Just don’t become one of page 38’s disconsolate specimens. Alright?”

    They took the only remaining desk, at the front of the room.

    The black prince continued with his spiel like some locally championed Polonius commanding a beguiled matinee audience. The 20p binoculars were firmly glued to Julie Gray’s eyes.

    “Okay, so we covered Pavlov’s unfortunate canines last Tuesday. This week Burrhus Frederic Skinner – known to his friends as BF – taunts pigeons.” Richard smiled. (An unconditioned response (exhibit B) to exhibit A: 24 post-adolescents with retarded concentration levels and a desire to be elsewhere.)

    “Unlike Pavlov’s ‘classical conditioning’, Skinner developed the ideas of ‘operant conditioning’ and ‘shaping behaviour’. Essentially, operant conditioning is devoid of external stimuli, such as the bell Pavlov used to drive his Labradors up the wall. Now here’s the thing I’m sure you’ll just love. Skinner believed everything we do – everything – is shaped by our experience of punishment and reward. He believed that the ‘mind’, not the ‘brain’, was fully in control. Subjective phenomena, such as language, were merely thought to be ineffectual side effects in this process.”

    Stony silence and skyward gazing ensued.

    “Anybody care to vent their spleen at this stage? Leanne Murphy, ever felt like language is just a load of @!#$; a spurious onslaught of twaddle?”

    She was lost in a burst of squiggly flowers and cubic expression.

    “Leanne? Any thoughts?”

    “You what? Thoughts? Erm, well I personally believe that we, erm, we think that... What I’m trying to say…”

    “One nil to Skinner.” Richard lurched forwards. Sweeping black hair reiterated his enthusiasm like a Richter four aftershock. ‘Heart of Darkness’ shuddered on his desk; another deluged organ fluttered nearby.



  2. #2
    Ian Barker
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Very good, a bit wordy in places but I read it right to the end (unusual on this board, I often lose the will to live about half way through).

    Just because I like to be pedantic; I think in para 1 you mean 'Portakabin' (It's a trade name and needs the capital P).

    Otherwise well done.

    IB

  3. #3
    Lou
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Ta very much. The other chapters aren't quite so peppered with description, but hey, I know what an A-Level Psychology class feels like!

    Louise

  4. #4
    Valerie Moreau
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Yes, you might know but your reader probably doesn't want quite as much detail about the class. Your descriptions were wordy, giving way to much detail, that I personally lost interest. I would have preferred to see more interaction between the girl and the professor if she has a crush on him. I don't read a book for a lecture on something. That is one of the things I don't really like about Tom Clancy, love his books but I skip through a lot of the details in them when he gets into his techinical phrase. I really don't care what makes a bomb work only that it works.

  5. #5
    Patricia Cooper
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Lou:

    Like Ian -- I read it to the end which I don't often do. I liked it and although I agree it could be tightened a little, I enjoyed your descriptions and choice of words. Maybe it's because I'm a Brit too.

    patC

  6. #6
    Lou
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Thanks for your input.

    I didn't want it to be a back and forth exchange between teacher and pupil; the book is far from being a romantic novel. But thank you for your comments, Valerie. I really do appreciate them.

    It's funny; I endlessly mock my American boyfriend for his taste in fiction (Tom Clancy, Mario Puzo etc.), whereas he cannot stand Will Self, James Kelman, the Amises, Michel Houellebecq etc. etc.

    I guess we Brits have a penchant for the ol' verbal effluent!

  7. #7
    M. Helene Keough
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Lou,
    If Clancy persuades readers to purchase books with tossaway details of bomb manufacture, then why not toss it out there that Pavlov's dogs were Labs? Does the context of your story warrant it, is all I would ask? Aside from gentle effluence, you have a delightful, strong story. I found myself wanting to read more of your tale.
    Keep up the good work.
    Helene

  8. #8
    Jane Casey
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Lou,

    I also read it through to the end and was grining.
    I found the word choice and details original and particularly liked it about psychology which leaves room for so much satire. Now I can't wait to find out where this story is going. I see so many possibilities, and I'm only shanty Irish.

    Jane

  9. #9
    Lou
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    Thanks so much. I'm really, really flattered. Maybe I'll post another segment, although, as my dear ol' mum would say, the language is 'choice' in parts. Just out of interest, have any of you good people sent material to 'Ms Real Agent' yet?

    Louise

  10. #10
    Patricia Cooper
    Guest

    Re: I'd love to hear your comments

    I'm not sending any stuff to Ms. Real Agent until I am 110% sure it's good, ready, and perfect.

    Anyway, she's probably drowning in e-mails already and I would prefer to wait until the rush dies down a bit.

    patC

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