HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    5

    Be gentle, but honest with me

    Chapter One, Freedom
    Honorably discharged from the Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 23 months and 29 days after being taken from him, Lefty again became self-determined. This had happened just about the time that Bill Gates and Paul Allen left Harvard University to go to Albuquerque to work on the software for the Altair personal computer for a man named Ed Roberts at a company called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). They all had read about this computer first in a recent edition of Popular Electronics magazine.

    Now free, reinvigorated, and at the age of twenty-two, born of the Vietnam War generation, he had pulled an unlucky number “19” from the draft lottery hat, which he believed at the time to be a one-way ticket. But for a freak of the calendar, the outrage of the nation’s youth, and an act of congress he had dodged being more cannon fodder for this unwarranted, stupid, and senseless war that claimed fifty thousand plus young men of his generation. With many, many, more mentally and physically wounded, he perhaps owed his life to all those who protested that insanity especially those lost at Kent State.



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    The Microsoft stuff seems completely irrelevant. This brief sample seems like a bunch of disjointed stuff, none of which grounds the reader in a scene. Start with the basics of where, when, and who.

  3. #3
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Agree. No story there; it's all setting.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    5
    The trouble with the first couple hundred words is that they do tend to set the scene for telling the stories with the 115k additional words. I see the three W's as being there.
    Perhaps these admittedly long sentences will be helpful to analysis:
    Synopsis
    Over the course of 40 plus years, Lefty finds himself immersed inside many of the seminal moments within the development of the personal computer industry, the formation, and creation of the Internet, with the resulting technical innovations, and societal changes. Encapsulated within this illustrated fictional story, he writes about his life, love of computers, baseball, cars, and music, to his daughter, a digital yet still analog girlfriend, and of what might have been for an Insider on the Windows 10 technical preview messaging forum. A third person narrative story, with a first person narrative of the personal stories told within the primary story.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Elkins Park PA
    Posts
    343
    The trouble with the first couple hundred words is that they do tend to set the scene for telling the stories with the 115k additional words.
    That's how you write a report, or tell a story to others. In verbal storytelling you're alone on the stage, so you have to set the scene. But at the same time, it's a performance art, and you can make the story live though your performance, with tricks of timing, tone, cadence and all the other audible means of evoking emotion. You also have facial expression, body language, and gesture for visual punctuation and mood setting. Bur none of that makes it to the page, so the3 methodology must change.

    Were this the opening to a film you would dispense with all that intro because the viewer could see a huge quantity of background and foreground information in an eyeblink. So instead of learning about the story the viewer begins to experience it.

    And strangely, the printed page, without the ability to reproduce sound and picture, can do the same thing, and dispense with the lecture. The trick is to focus on the story not the Story. Story is the plot, a chronicle of who does and says what. And reading about that is every bit ass exciting as curling up with a history book—which is to say informative but not all that entertaining, because it's talking about Story. But story lives in your protagonist's heart. It's based on emotional issues, not factual. The reader doesn't want to learn that your character is falling in love, they want to be charmed by the same character as the protagonist. They aren't looking to know that the protagonist had the urge to kiss the girl. They want you to make them know the situation so realistically, that they're shouting, "Kiss her, you idiot," as they read.

    Clearly, the writing skills we all learn in our school days are not going to generate that effect because the style of writing we learn is fact-based and author-centric, which is inherently dispassionate. Someone we can neither see nor hear is talking about events and facts. It's designed to inform, not entertain.

    At the moment, you're thinking in terms of Story, and describing what matters to it. And that makes sense because not only is that how we all learned to approach the act of writing, our teachers, who weren't professional novelists, were no more aware that the profession of writing fiction for the printed word uses a similar but different set of skills and approach than we are, because they learned their writing skills in the same classrooms. So who's to tell us? Our reading skills are designed for appreciation, not creation, so we absorb the work as a consumer, and miss the "tool marks." Reading entertains us, but it no more teaches us the process of creating fiction than does watching films make screenwriters of us.

    So it's not a matter of good or bad writing, or talent. Nor is it the story. It's that there are lots of tricks and techniques—the specialized knowledge of the pros—that make the job a lot easier. And that's what I'm suggesting you look into. You'll find it like going backstage in the theater, fun.

    A couple of resources that might help better explain: This article shows one very powerful way of presenting a strong point of view. Chew on it a bit till it makes sense. I think you'll find that the modern novels that made you feel as if you were living the story in real-time use it strongly. And if it looks like something worth following up, dig up a copy of the book the article is based on.

    Another resource that gives an overview of the scene creation process is here.

    And finally, for an overview of some general writing issues, you might dig around in the writing section of my blog.

    Hang in there, and keep on writing.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    5
    Thank you all, but especially you Jay for giving me some perspective on this.
    I will do some learning and some additional editing to make the stories worthy of the Story.

Posting Permissions

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