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  1. #11
    Senior Member
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    Greg, you said, "...I wanted to bring the reader to a point...."

    I want you to succeed at that, but your approach is too impersonal, too distant to bring your reader anywhere. You will lose them. Yes, I gathered that this is not a fictional novel (that's redundant, by the way); that's why I urged you peruse autobiographical works, to study how others have personalized their own journeys. You may not aspire to be a writer, but surely as an English teacher you can see that to tell your story in narrative form, to reach your audience, you must at least learn the craft?

    You posted your excerpt, presumably for critique. I—and others—have obliged. That's all we can or should do.

    [Let me say, on separate level, that I'm in awe of your ability to function, given the tragic nature of your story. I don't know if I could do that.]

    Good luck to you.
    Last edited by jayce; 08-15-2011 at 05:45 PM.



  2. #12
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    Thank you Jayce. In fact my story is about bringing oneself to a place where one has the ability to function despite the story (life circumstances). I appreciate your observations and would love to send more so you can truly understand what I am trying to do here. My book has two forms of writing in it--narrative, where I tell the story of what happens and analysis--where I analyze the story and distinguish between what is real and what is a mind-created story based on what happens.

  3. #13
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    I understand I don't know the proper writing classifications.

  4. #14
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    Aug 2011
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    Took your advice and looked at openings for many autobiographies. Most start by listing reasons why they are qualified to write about their subject.

  5. #15
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    Aug 2011
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    This book is for those who have struggled in their lives. *I've paid close attention to the kinds of people who are drawn to books, workshops and seminars that are designed to enlighten or analyze why they are suffering so much in their lives. *Usually these are people who have had childhood difficulties, suffered the loss of people close to them, battled health issues, had bad luck in relationships, or lived through financial hardships. *If you are good looking, physically fit, born into lots of money, raised by two loving parents, excelled in academics and sports during high school, and had the perfect life, well, than you probably don't need this book. *In fact--**** you--go back to your perfect life and keep thinking that all that was a result of how great you are and not just dumb luck. *Its these perfect people that say: Why can't these people who have struggles just get over it? *I know, it sounds simple but it isn't. *We never get over anything. *Everything that ever happens to us stays with us forever. *So if you haven't struggled in your life you can leave this book where you found it and move on to something that you will be able to understand.

  6. #16
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2011
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    I check what people are writing on Facebook often. I have a lot of
    friends on there. I actually figured out why Facebook has such amazing
    popularity. People are compelled to share the story of their life with
    other people. They cant help it. It is as big a compulsion as eating
    and breathing. People need to tell people that things are going well
    in their lives. The funny thing is though, they are not sure if what
    is happening in their life means that things are going well and they
    should be happy. They need other people to confirm that the events in
    their life mean they should feel good. My friend Allison posts, "My
    wedding is next Friday, can't wait." A whole bunch of people post a
    thumbs up on her status. They like it. They post back.
    "Congratulations Allison." "Enjoy every minute of it." "You deserve all
    the best." Because she is getting married she thinks she is supposed to
    be happy. And do you know why she is right? Because everyone agrees
    with her. She needs that agreement to confirm her belief that she
    should be happy, and of course, she probably is happy.

    Conversely, John is stuck in a traffic jam. He posts from his cell
    phone, "Backed up at the Lincoln Tunnel for over an hour now." His
    friends confirm his belief that he is dealing with a problem. "That
    sucks buddy." "I feel your pain." John has sufficient agreement that
    being stuck in the traffic jam is not a good thing, and of course it
    isn't.

    I do not have anything good to post. I have a problem that I am
    considering much bigger than John's traffic situation. If I posted my
    problem, everyone would post back, "I'm so sorry." We are all praying
    for you." "We love you." And I would feel loved, and I would feel
    justified that what is happening in my life is really a problem. That
    agreement would only confirm my belief that I should be suffering.

  7. #17
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    Oct 2011
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    I'm sorry, but I have to agree with the others. I couldn't drag my brain past the first paragraph. You seem to be working with a first-person, present perspective and you are talking directly to the reader. This is an amazingly difficult approach, even for the most masterful writer. Even if some people here did like this approach, I suspect you would not be able to find an agent or publisher willing to accept it.

    If, despite these dire warnings, you still want to take this perspective, then I would recommend "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. Pirsig uses first-person present for his novel, and manages to make it work wonderfully well. It's been over 30 years since I read that book, but if I recall correctly, I think you will find that (within the first few pages) he tones down the "I"s and incorporates past-tense through memories in order to relieve the annoying pressure that is generated by trying to stay in first person present for very long. He also does not refer to "you".

    Another option you might consider: Turn the first-person perspective into quotations Ė perhaps the character is being interviewed? etc.

  8. #18
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    Aug 2014
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    I love the insight into the main character's mind here. The only thing I would change is the "I am completely absorbed" sentence. The sentences immediately following illustrate that perfectly, so it doesn't need to be said.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Careful about replying to old threads. Although your input may be valid, the original players are long gone.

  10. #20
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    I am afraid that it didn't engage me Greg. To be honest it just brought my own tragedies to light. Which I try so hard to forget...

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