HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Jimmy C
    Guest

    Your Opinions Please

    Hello everybody!

    I have been enjoying reading this site for some time, and think it is high time I posted something! Please be gentle!

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    There is first of all the problem of the opening, namely, how to get us from where we are, which is, as yet, nowhere, to the far bank. It is a simple bridging problem, a problem of knocking together a bridge. People solve such problems every day. They solve them, and having solved them push on.

    Let us assume that, however it may have been done, it is done. Let us take it that the bridge is built and crossed, that we can put it out of our mind. We have left behind the territory in which we were. We are in the far territory; where we want to be.

    Elizabeth Costello is a writer, born in 1928, which makes her sixty-six years old, going on sixty-seven. She has written nine novels, two books of poems, a book on bird life, and a body of journalism. By birth she is Australian. She was born in Melbourne and still lives there, though she spent the years 1951 to 1963 abroad, in England and France. She has been married twice. She has two children, one by each marriage.

    Elizabeth Costello made her name with her fourth novel, The House on Eccles Street (1969), whose main character is Marion Bloom, wife of Leopold Bloom, principal character of another novel, Ulysses (1922), by James Joyce. In the past decade there has grown up around her a small critical industry; there is even an Elizabeth Costello Society, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which puts out a quarterly Elizabeth Costello Newsletter.

    In the spring of 1995 Elizabeth Costello traveled, or travels (present tense henceforth), to Williamstown, Pennsylvania, to Altona College, to receive the Stowe Award. The award is made biennially to a major world writer, selected by a jury of critics and writers. It consists of a purse of $5o,ooo, funded by a bequest from the Stowe estate, and a gold medal. It is one of the larger literary prizes in the United States.

    On her visit to Pennsylvania Elizabeth Costello (Costello is her maiden name) is accompanied by her son John. John has a job teaching physics and astronomy at a college in Massachusetts, but for reasons of his own is on leave for the year. Elizabeth has become a little frail: without the help of her son she would not be under taking this taxing trip across half the world.

    We skip. They have reached Williamstown and have been conveyed to their hotel, a surprisingly large building for a small city, a tall hexagon, all dark marble outside and crystal and mirrors inside. In her room a dialogue takes place.

    \'Will you be comfortable?\' asks the son.

    \'I am sure I will she replies. The room is on the twelfth floor, with a prospect over a golf course and, beyond that, over wooded hills.

    \'Then why not have a rest? They are fetching us at six thirty I\'ll give you a call a few minutes beforehand.\'

    He is about to leave. She speaks.

    \'John, what exactly do they want from me?\'

    \'Tonight? Nothing. It\'s just a dinner with members of the jury. We won\'t let it turn into a long evening. I\'ll remind them you are tired.\'

    \'And tomorrow?\'

    \'Tomorrow is a different story. You\'ll have to gird your loins for tomorrow, I am afraid.\'



  2. #2
    Four Strawberries
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    This is just my opinion, I'm not an expert -

    The beginning sentences don't work for me - because they seem unnecessary. You're telling us that this is a "bridging problem." Then you say, "never mind." It is also a bit confusing - I'm not quite sure what you're getting at.

    The middle part, I think, is too much telling and not enough showing. You drop all of these details about Elizabeth before we know why we're supposed to care about Elizabeth. Try mixing some of those details into the action. - i.e. the detail about her being frail could be easily incorporated into the action.

    Keep on trying!
    Strawberries

  3. #3
    Kissy Jett
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    Jimmy C-

    I didn't read all of your post but from what I did read, it looks like a great start for a nonfiction book. Sort of like you're doing a bio on this woman.

    Now, if nonfiction is not your goal, then like Four Strawberries said, maybe you could weave all the details about Elizabeth into some type of action scene and "show" and not "tell."

    Sorry, but I have one more thing to add: Your dialogue sounds rehearsed. I didn't believe that these people were casually talking with one another.

    Thanks for posting your work and sharing it with us---Kissy

  4. #4
    Kissy Jett
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    Jimmy C-

    Hello again. I noticed you made reference to Albuquerque in your post. May I ask if you are familiar with Albuquerque?

    --Kissy

  5. #5
    jimmy c
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    kissy - only from a Bugs Bunny cartoon!

  6. #6
    Harper
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    good writing. unfortunately, unless your name is J. M. Coetzee, this book has already been written.

  7. #7
    Harper
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    I just realized that this was probably an experiment -- or should I say a sting? -- and I let the cat out of the bag. An interesting choice, though, in that it's something slightly off-beat and therefore would attract criticism. Better to use something wildly popular and best-selling, if you want to get a good read on how willing we are to rip something apart.

  8. #8
    jimmy c
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    Someone suggested this over on Smoko. I thought it might be fun to post something by a nobel laureate which messed with the conventions - show vs tell, incorporating bald biographical data etc, etc...

    It's a great novel, by the way, if anyone hasn't read it!

  9. #9
    jimmy c
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    It's called ELIZABETH COSTELLO, and it's by JM Coetzee.

  10. #10
    Harper
    Guest

    Re: Your Opinions Please

    It messes w/ the conventions but it depends what kind of reader you are. Someone capable of writing those first two paragraphs, I would follow anywhere.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts