HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Janet Ford

    'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    Here is my latest draft of my fwd.
    I'd love feedback on it. I took all your valued critiques into consideration while writing this. Having been alone in this process for 8 yrs now on this book, it's very exciting to recieve this important feedback.


    …that’s when I visited with a lawyer to both write my will and file for divorce on the very same day.

    Like millions of women, I was the victim of domestic abuse but that is where my story stops being like everyone else’s. My husband only ever hit me once. His preferred method for asserting his control and dominance over me ranged from emotional tortures and physical ‘tests’ such as seeing how long I could hold still while he held lit cigarettes to my flesh or carving his initials on my body.

    Always these ‘tests’ were performed when he had an audience. He loved to show how much control he had over me. That was David, my high school sweetheart. Where had that loving teenager gone? Was he still inside that raging mind somewhere? Lord knows I’ve looked but came up empty.

    Now I was looking to make my dangerous leap into freedom. I knew it would mean a start of a new chapter in my children’s lives but was more than a little convinced it would be the end of my own. Still, there were no other options to grasp. If I am to be killed for this, I owed it to my children to be certain of who would be raising them in my place.

    “Dear Heavenly Father, please look out for my children and if you have the time I could use your help as well.”

  2. #2
    mar quesa

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    I don't have much time so I'm just going to be quick.

    I don't feel there is a focus here. You need to focus on one idea and develop it more coherently. You start with the will and divorce and then jump onto a general statement about millions of abused women which sounds as though you're starting a journalistic piece and then go and refer to your sweetheart... and your children...

    The first sentence doesn't work as an intro. I like what you're trying to say but it doesn't quite reach the impact. I think that you can play with the sentence a bit.

    I have a bit of a problem with this sentence:

    Like millions of women, I was the victim of domestic abuse but that is where my story stops being like everyone else’s.

    This is quite a statement. I believe that each and every story of abuse is different. I grew up with an abusive dad. He didn't hit my mom either, at least not in my presence. I’ve also done some research about domestic abuse (for a story) and I've read of a few cases of abused women who'd been subjected to all sorts of things. So yeah, each story is different… and horrible. I suggest you write your story without comparing yours to others. Your story is compelling as it is.

    I'd like to hear of a specific incident. However, if you’re going to start with the lawyer bit then show me what happened at the lawyer's- just poignant bits like how nervous you were, what sort of things you wanted in your will... Try to develop from there.

  3. #3
    Greg Kosson

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    I have to be brief also but some of the language needs polishing e.g. "...husband only ever hit me once." Cleaner if you say "only hit me once."

    This does sound horrible although your readers are going to be repeating the following question like they're chanting a mantra "why did she put up with it. Why did she puddup with it. Why didshepuddupwithit..." unless you answer their question by first pointing out how otherwise your life or your kids or both would be in worse danger.

    This is not merely to anmswer the question but to set up the very real tension that will certainly be the drama of the story. As with fiction, your central has a seemingly unsolveable problem, but manages to do something to get beyond it.

    PS -I'm sorry if this is a true story--wish I could apologize for this guy.

  4. #4
    Ord Retniap

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    "…that’s when I visited with a lawyer to both write my will and file for divorce on the very same day."

    I was one of the people who advocated having this as a potential first line but the alterations you've made to it don't work. Actually they don't make sense. Why have you chosen to begin the sentence with "...that's when"? I'm not sure what effect you're striving for but it comes across as clumsy - it sounds as though you're picking up a story where you left off but you immediately destroy this impression by giving the next few sentences over to scene setting and general introductions. The sentence as you first wrote it in your last post was a good beginner; in its current form it's not.

    Also the 'with' in this phrase - "I visited with a lawyer" is superfluous.

    I'm not sure what stage you're at with this book; have you just written the prologue or have you written out an entire first draft? If the former is the case I wouldn't obsess too much over what your first few paragraphs are like; get your story out then fine tune. If you (i)are(/i) at that fine tuning stage then I think you need to start paying more attention to clumsy grammar and sentence structure - such as the change from pluperfect tense (I have looked) to perfect tense (came) in this sentence: "Lord knows I’ve looked but came up empty."

  5. #5
    Janet Ford

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    *sigh* I guess I took a wrong turn this time. Back to the drawing board with me...

    I have written the full novel. At this time, I'm fine tuning the writing itself. I thought pinning down my forward first to a final draft would be a wise move to take before plunging into the whole book again; which I've totally re-written three times from scratch basically just to get a different feel/flow (which explains, partially, my taking 8 yrs to get to this point). Where to start, how to handle timelines, etc were my biggest obstacles. Now I'm stumbling all over this stupid forward. I guess it's time to take a break from it for a few days and get a fresh eye.

    Please don't let that stop you from tossing critiques my way. Good or bad, I need to hear them all. I thank you greatly for the time you are taking to share your thoughts with me.

  6. #6
    Kitty Foyle

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    Greg said, I have to be brief also but some of the language needs polishing e.g. "...husband only ever hit me once." Cleaner if you say "only hit me once."

    I noticed that sentence too, Janet. Except that I was going to suggest that you replace it with "...husband hit me only once."


  7. #7
    nom de plume

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    The earlier posts expressed my sentiments exactly. Before i finished reading this short piece i asked myself repeatedly "why did she hang around?". You don't need to answer that question in the first couple of paragraphs but you need to address it fairly soon if you want readers to keep on reading.

    Please watch out for superfluous writing:
    both .... on the very same day.
    ... more than a little convinced. 35% convinced? 65% convinced? You might use another word (premonition?).

    "please look out for my children and if you have the time I could use your help as well.” It says God, you (meaning God) and then "I". You might want to rephrase this to something like: .... if you have the time, send some help my way.

    Because i was already questioning the narrator (for the reason mentioned above) i found the "high school sweetheart" reference weak. I am not saying you should not mention it but you should develop it or refer to it elsewhere. As written, it gave me the impression that the narrator is about twenty-one years old who is surprised to find out that puppy love turns into something different later on.

  8. #8

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    Many women "hang around" because they are afraid that the abuser will kill them if they try to leave. Statistically that is when they are most in danger of being murdered by the abuser. Even if they do manage to leave, they are often hunted down by the abuser and either bullied or threatened into coming back, or killed. That is why she wrote her will on the same day she filed for divorce. Women also stay because they fear that their children will be harmed if they try to leave. Most stay because the cycle of abuse is very, very difficult to break out of.

    Do really need a forward?

  9. #9
    Janet Ford

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    I only have a few moments to write but wanted to address as much as I could...

    As this is a true account of my own life, I don't feel I should change the grammar of the prayer as that was a direct quote of what I really said. I do appreciate the grammar corrections within the other sections of text, however.

    I had a hard time knowing what to put in, what to leave on and what to merely elude to as I don't want to 'give away' the whole story but do want to share enough that readers will know if this would be a book they would be interested in or not.

    Why I stayed - and why I left are the main focus of the book. I have written it as a hopeful inspiration to other women who find themselves where I was as well as all those people who ask "why doesn't she just leave?". I hope to shed some light on that by sharing my experience. I thought that the part of my having my will done and filing for divorce on the same day pretty much answered that question. My husband told me how he had talked over killing me with his friends and how they had determined how easy it would have been to do (and get away with). I was also told by a friend that he had been planning my death as well. In fact, I was supposed to have been inside my home sleeping the day my home burned down and the friend told me how scared he was for me as my husband was so upset that I wasn't. So yes, women do fear for their lives but more than that is the feeling that you may be able to 'fix' them if you love them enough; clinging to how you remember them from when you first fell in love. Your plans move from "I can help them change" to "if I can just change this and that about myself..." It's never just one thing by the time you find yourself twisted up in a mess like that. Being such, I don't know how to surmise it all within a short forward.

    Maybe I don't need a forward? I don't know. I thought you 'needed' to have one in a novel. Opinions?

    Well, back to my housework. Getting ready to get a new house so not working a lot on the book right now. Must confess that if I go one day without writing, it's almost painful. ;-) I NEED to finish this book up and send it away!

  10. #10

    Re: 'memoir' book forward - rewritten

    You don't need a forward in a novel. Most don't have them.

Posting Permissions

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