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  1. #21
    Kate B.
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    I liked the second grade segment but I didn’t like the high school part. When we are looking at the child, I was interested. There was sexual discovery, a boy-crush, and a very interesting relationship with his mother and sitter (and possibly between the two). And while I was interested in all of that, it wasn’t even the main thrust of the segment, which is that the boy’s father had come back. In fact I was so interested in the boy’s relationship with his sitter, that I forgot he had been sent away for some purpose.

    My problem with the high school section isn’t the angry voice. I think that’s appropriate. It was the history lesson. From the paragraph that starts with “The president” to the one that starts with “I feel bad…” you lost me. I came back when we returned to the Latin class. I see what you are trying to do but I think that you should shorten that bit.

    If this were mine (which it isn’t), I would chop the paragraph about music. I have a sense of the character and a sense of the era so I don’t think it adds. After that, my chopping would go thus (without changing any of your words):

    I supported John Anderson in the 1980 election, but I was only 15 so I couldn't vote. Still, I feel bad about that, cause looking back now I know that Jimmy Carter was a good and a smart leader. Probably a holy man. I loved presidential elections because I loved the idea of getting a new president. I always loved the idea of dumping the incumbent, because it seemed like he'd been around forever, and wouldn't it be cool to have somebody new? '72 I was so bummed Nixon won because I was tired of always hearing about him all my life. Then he quit – good stuff!
    I feel bad for supporting John Anderson. I think he probably stood for all the same things Carter was already doing as president. So I should have just stood up for Jimmy Carter instead of rooting for some new guy just because he was new. It's weird I feel so bad about it, I couldn't even vote, but I do. I feel like he's some kind of saint, like I let him down, and he knows it, and he's always going to hate me. At least by 1980 I was smart enough to realize Reagan was all bad, new guy or not.

    I think this tells us something about the character, besides the history lesson. The character is always looking for the next best thing. The idea of being “good” or “godly’ is important to him. The character can learn from his mistakes and feels like punishment is in the offing for negativity. It makes the character interesting…but the rest just feels like chatter.
    I also like your voice. I like how it changed with the different ages.



  2. #22
    david lidz
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    I think you're right on about the chatter - especially the music. I was just trying to show that even aware as he is of politics, the character is still a dopey teenager who says things like "REO Fagwagon."

    I also like your editing of the history lesson except:
    1) with it you cut out that the kid in his desire for things new actually supported Reagan at one time, which might not really be that significant, but,
    2)what I really hate to lose is the 17 year old kid saying he was so young and stupid when he was 9. That's supposed to be funny, a little ironic i guess, but so REAL, because don't seventeen year olds really think - "now that I am seventeen, I know it all, and everyone (including younger me and also including adults) doesn't know diddly?" I know I did, I know my daughter (who's now 19) did...

    Again I think you're right on with these critiques, though, Kate, so thanks. I kind of hate the music paragraph, and I also hate the father's voice, like he's some kind of hill-billy. Gotta fix that, way too cliche...

    Thanks again for your thoughtful critique..

    ~d

  3. #23
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    Yeah, 9193 words tonight. I'm going to bed soon. Good night.

  4. #24
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    The MC was not unsympathetic to me in the least (this coming from someone who LOVED Holden Caulfield). To me, he was your seventeen-year-old who knows it all. He does have a social conscience (his interest in politics--something not shared by every teenager) but applies it to whatever happens to be novel. What you wrote about his penchant for the latest new thing is important for the reader to evaluate the true depth of his social conscience. I disagree with his assessment of Jimmy Carter whom i considered a horrible president but hey, a character in a book is entitled to his/her own opinions.

    I think the paragraph about music is relevant because of music's importance to teenagers. However, you could do much more with this. Instead of listing a number of bands you could perhaps elaborate on why one of them (or one of their songs or the way they act or dress on stage) feeds in so well with this teenager's own "philosophy." Keep in mind as well that there are readers out there who may not even know these bands. Ergo, the entire paragraph, as written, would be lost on them.

    As i mentioned earlier, there's rambling in this writing but nothing that can't be fixed in later edits in order to let the gems shine (that passage on Mr Kearney is one of them).

    I agree with your assessment on Nicholas Sparks. This spring i tried to read one of his books (it was so memorable that i can't even remember its title). Twenty pages or so into the book i ditched it. Nothing worthwhile was happening and the characters weren't even remotely interesting. Maybe i just happened to pick his least interesting book but i won't give him another try anytime soon.

  5. #25
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    David, don't let the fact that some of us don't like your MC stop you. People don't have to like your MC as long as they care what happens to him or her. You can even write a book narrated by a man who's a coward, a bully, a toady, a drunkard, a cheat and a lecher, and have people love it, as long as he's honest with the readers about what he is. In fact, if you do it right, you can parlay that book into a long-running series, including a movie. Yes, I'm thinking about a particular set of books, and I'll give you a hint: the narrator was known to some people as Iflasman, and to others as Bloody Lance.

    Another hint: the series was written in the form of a set of memoirs, and the first one was so well done that of the 43 reviews it received, 10 were by academics who were fooled into thinking they were the memoirs of a real, if obscure person.

  6. #26
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    I agree with your assessment on Nicholas Sparks. This spring i tried to read one of his books (it was so memorable that i can't even remember its title). Twenty pages or so into the book i ditched it.

    Nah, I read three of them and they were all equally dull and predictable. I read the entire "The Notebook" waiting for my plane at the airport, so at least they're usually quick to read!

  7. #27
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    Mutt,

    I'm way ahead of ya'. I once read "The Gulag Archipelago," "Andersonville," and all of John D. McDonald's Travis McGee series while waiting for my plane.

    Prolly I would've been ahead of the game if I'd been at the goddamn airport instead of the train station! Good reads, though.



    Cur

  8. #28
    Ray Veen
    Guest

    Re: okay, I'll try AGAIN!!

    Hi David, just wanted to add my two cents. Loved the voice, style, and tone. But I found myself getting impatient during some of the long interior monologue sections. When I'm reading a more breezy voice, I kind of expect a little more progression: more action, a faster pace. This is, of course, just my opinion, but when you get to the cutting phase, you might want to consider paring down the interior monologue. You could cut a lot of the kid's political views, for example, and still leave the reader with the same impression of the character. This goes double for the section where the child is grappling with religion.

    Neat characters, and interesting situation, though - keep up the good work.

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