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  1. #1
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    Please give me your thoughts 2

    Here are the next couple of pages. Be aware - the language is a bit salty.

    Chapter 1 Confusion cont'd.

    The evolution of the Universal Network of Independent Credit Organizations Reporters & Evaluators, “UNICORE” began in a small town in Tennessee in 1898, when two brothers decided it would be a good idea to keep a record of people who purchased their groceries on credit. They compiled lists of customers who ran a tab with local grocers and soon had a comprehensive report on the patrons of those businesses. From this, they created a book that reported the payment history of anyone who bought on credit. The shop owners loved it and soon the two partners began marketing their product in many other locales. Their success spread and within a few years, a number of other companies sprouted and began competing in a rapidly growing and extremely lucrative market. Early in 1930, the Ornomide Corporation joined the fray. As they grew and as technology progressed, Ornomide began a process of assimilating smaller credit reporting companies into its own. Four decades later, as one of the three largest credit reporters in the world, Ornomide approached the rest of the industry with the UNICORE concept. UNICORE became the central repository for all the personal and financial data from the world’s most powerful financial institutions, changing the way money moved forever.

    On the surface, UNICORE purported to be an agency dedicated to the security of personal information. The widespread popularity of electronic commerce caused identity theft to become a paramount issue. By holding intimate and personal information on billions of people around the world, UNICORE touted their system as the secure solution to end identity theft. As a watchdog, Unicore flagged unusual transactions or requests by individuals. Once flagged someone in a central office investigated the purchase or transaction. It secured and controlled the financial lives of every individual in the world, regardless of their level of income but this was only a small insignificant portion of what Unicore did. Unicore’s true agenda was a closely guarded secret that only seven people in the whole world shared.



    Casey was scared. He didn’t know what had just happened but he knew it was bad. “Damn you Jim why weren’t you here tonight?” He cursed to himself. He picked up the phone to make a call.

    “Rogers’ residence.” A young female voice answered the phone.

    “Is your Daddy there please?” Casey asked.

    “Daddy’s in bed. He doesn’t feel too good.” The little voice said.

    “How about your Mommy, is she home?”

    “No, she’s at work.”

    “Please honey, tell your dad it’s Brian from work on the phone and it’s important.” Casey was frantic.

    “He told me not to wake him up. He will yell at me if I do.” The little girl was not being helpful.

    Casey pleaded with the little girl. “Please wake him up and put him on the phone, I really need to speak with him.”

    Roger’s daughter stood fast. “Daddy told me not to wake him up for any reason, he’s sick.”

    “Damn it!” Casey’s voice began to break into a scream. “Put him on the phone now or I’m going to come over there and drag him out of bed.”

    The line went dead. Brian fumed. It was a hollow threat. Leaving the office would be career suicide. No one left his or her post early at Unicore. There was too much security for that even to be possible. Any attempt to do so always resulted with security notifying management. Others had tried and subsequently lost their jobs over it.

    “Christ, Christ, Christ!” He swore. The phone ringing interrupted his tirade. “Yeah!” Casey snapped into the mouthpiece.

    “Jesus, Brian what did you say to Amanda? She’s crying telling me you’re going to pull me out of bed. What the hell is wrong?” It was Rogers and about time, too he thought.

    “Jim you gotta get over here now.” Brian said. “The ****’s gonna hit the fan buddy and you and I have a front row seat.”

    “What the f.., what’s goin’ on Brian?” Rogers asked.

    “Not over the phone.” Brian countered. “Get over here, I don’t care if you’re dying, if you’re not here in fifteen minutes, I’m going to get sick myself and go home. This is your shift I’m doing. I’m you tonight, remember.”

    Brian slammed the phone down and poured another coffee. More caffeine, he thought, just what I need.

    Jim Rogers pressed his thumb on the reader and opened the door to his office. He shared the space with Brian but there was only one desk. Only one of them should be on duty at a time. Brian didn’t look well. He was white as a sheet and despite the air conditioning, beads of sweat dripped off his temples and down his cheeks. Something very bad must have happened.

    “So that’s the story.” Brian said as he wrapped up the events of the past eight hours. He had spent all night trying to undo whatever it was he did but to no avail.

    Jim shook his head. “Dieter’s not going to like this,” he said. “You know he’ll fry us in oil over losing a file. Surely there must be a backup somewhere.”

    “Tell me where and I’ll go get it.” Brian’s frustration was getting the better of him. “There aint no ****in’ backup at least none we can get to.” He retorted. “Dieter is expecting a daily report and if it is not in on time he’ll be knocking on our door. You know what he’s like. Regardless of what actually happened, he won’t understand a mistake. You know he’ll make us pay. ****in’ Nazi!”

    Jim thought for a moment. “Look, calling him names isn’t going to solve anything,” he said, “We’ve got the weekend. Dieter won’t be in until Monday so we can buy ourselves some time. Let’s keep digging and if all else fails we’ll make up a report. We’ll have to make one anyway, ‘cause last night’s is gone for good. What about the other file is it okay? ”

    Brian thought about it for a minute. He was bushed. He’d been up for over twenty-four hours and all he wanted to do was sleep. “Yeah, it seems to be fine. Christ, this is really screwed up man. I gotta get some rest. Let me go home and I’ll be back in a couple of hours to give you a hand.”

    “Not a chance, you got us into this mess and by all that’s holy, you’re gonna help get us out. Pull up a chair. Let’s get started.” Brian grabbed a chair and reluctantly got to work.



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    He will yell at me if I do

    He'll. The contraction is less formal which is more likely what a kid would use.

    Get over here, I don’t care if you’re dying, if you’re not here in fifteen minutes, I’m going to get sick myself and go home.

    This needs broken up into a couple sentences: Get over here! I don't care if you're dying. If you’re not here in fifteen minutes, I’m going to get sick myself and go home.

    “Not a chance, you got us into this mess and by all that’s holy, you’re gonna help get us out.

    Same thing: Not a chance. You got us into this mess and by all that’s holy, you’re gonna help get us out.

    It's a little confusing as one sentence Rogers is on the phone and the next he's entering the building. There needs to be something to indicate how much time passes.

    Hang in there and keep writing. Haha

  3. #3
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    The evolution of the Universal Network of Independent Credit Organizations Reporters & Evaluators, “UNICORE” began in a small town in Tennessee in 1898, when two brothers decided it would be a good idea to keep a record of people who purchased their groceries on credit.
    No one cares to read a history lesson. Story takes place in real-time, in the moment the protagonist calls "now." It lives in the hopes, the fears, the aspirations, and all the emotional issues unique to your protagonist.

    Never forget that the reader cannot either hear or guess at how you expect them to read the words. And there is no emotion inherent to a history lesson, so a reader gets them as a monotone. Those 334 words in the first paragraph take over a page, and during the time the reader is churning through them not a damn thing is happening in the story.

    The short version: The moment you begin to lecture a reader they leave. And the ways not to lecture them, the tricks, the specialized knowledge, and the craft of writing fiction for the printed page that make the scene seem real, are neither hinted at nor taught us in our school days.

    So your choice is to either devote some time to learning the basics or write for yourself. My recommendation is the same as Holly Lisle's: “Michaelangelo did not have a college degree, nor did Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison didn't. Neither did Mark Twain (though he was granted honorary degrees in later life.) All of these people were professionals. None of them were experts. Get your education from professionals, and always avoid experts.”

    Follow those links I gave you.

    Our goal isn't to make the reader know the character is frightened, it's to terrify the reader.

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
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    The moment you begin to lecture a reader they leave.

    Maybe you should practice what you preach.

  5. #5
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    Jay,

    Thank you for taking the time to offer your input. I placed these couple of excerpts from my novel on this website for two reasons.

    First, to obtain feedback from people who do not know me and therefore would be honest in their opinions. Secondly, because I am serious about finishing this novel and getting it published. Admittedly, a hard row to hoe but there it is.

    So far, I have received encouragement from one source and lecture from you. I believe that you assume, wrongly, that I am working solely on whatever knowledge I might have learned in school. It might surprise you to know that your background and mine are quite similar. For instance, we both have a background in electronics. We both served in our respective country's armed forces and have been affiliated, in some way, with the Boy Scouts. In addition, we are both retired.

    That said, I didn’t ignore or discount your admonitions. I did in fact, go to the website you recommended and I did read the article. It might please you to know, that I garnered a fair bit of information from it and I have bookmarked it for future reference. I have taken some of what you said to me, to heart and will try to apply that learning to my writing.

    One thing however, I have read a number of your critiques to other authors on this website and many seem to expound the same sentiments. You seem to have a great disregard for the feelings of those who put their hearts and souls into the work they do. Compassion does not appear to be part of your make-up. Let me impart some wisdom to you that I learned many years ago. I call it a Dexter sandwich because Dexter is the name of the man who taught it to me.

    A Dexter Sandwich is very simple. When offering correction or criticism to someone you should first begin with something positive. Build the person up a bit. Tell them what he or she may have done well. Follow that with pointing out what might be wrong or what could use improvement. This would also be a good time to offer suggestions as to how to improve whatever might be wrong. It isn't enough to be critical you should also be able to offer up a solution to the problem. Lastly, end the session by building the person back up. Offer encouragement, after all that costs nothing and will likely garner respect for your efforts.

    If you are patient with people, you will find that they will open their minds to your ideas and admonitions instead of shutting you down after the first sentence. Neither of us is blessed with immortality and therefore we should do all we can to pass our experience on to whomever will listen. You have a lot to say and many years of experience. It would be a terrible shame to have such a valuable resource ignored.

    One more thing, I will revise the two excerpts and make changes based on the suggestions I have received. I hope you will take the time to re-read them and offer your opinion once again.

    George
    Last edited by GPickstock; 01-17-2016 at 02:19 AM.

  6. #6
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    I'm a novice writer, but there is one thing that I noticed. You switch between using the names Brian and Casey for the same person. I found that confusing, and when I read "Brian fumed" I had to double-back to make sure he was the same person previously referred to as Casey.

    It looks like an interesting story. Good luck getting it polished and published soon!

  7. #7
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    Elven

    Thank you,

    I believe I have corrected this in the revised version.

    Thanks again

    George

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPickstock View Post
    Jay,

    Thank you for taking the time to offer your input. I placed these couple of excerpts from my novel on this website for two reasons.

    First, to obtain feedback from people who do not know me and therefore would be honest in their opinions. Secondly, because I am serious about finishing this novel and getting it published. Admittedly, a hard row to hoe but there it is.

    So far, I have received encouragement from one source and lecture from you. I believe that you assume, wrongly, that I am working solely on whatever knowledge I might have learned in school. It might surprise you to know that your background and mine are quite similar. For instance, we both have a background in electronics. We both served in our respective country's armed forces and have been affiliated, in some way, with the Boy Scouts. In addition, we are both retired.

    That said, I didn’t ignore or discount your admonitions. I did in fact, go to the website you recommended and I did read the article. It might please you to know, that I garnered a fair bit of information from it and I have bookmarked it for future reference. I have taken some of what you said to me, to heart and will try to apply that learning to my writing.

    One thing however, I have read a number of your critiques to other authors on this website and many seem to expound the same sentiments. You seem to have a great disregard for the feelings of those who put their hearts and souls into the work they do. Compassion does not appear to be part of your make-up. Let me impart some wisdom to you that I learned many years ago. I call it a Dexter sandwich because Dexter is the name of the man who taught it to me.

    A Dexter Sandwich is very simple. When offering correction or criticism to someone you should first begin with something positive. Build the person up a bit. Tell them what he or she may have done well. Follow that with pointing out what might be wrong or what could use improvement. This would also be a good time to offer suggestions as to how to improve whatever might be wrong. It isn't enough to be critical you should also be able to offer up a solution to the problem. Lastly, end the session by building the person back up. Offer encouragement, after all that costs nothing and will likely garner respect for your efforts.

    If you are patient with people, you will find that they will open their minds to your ideas and admonitions instead of shutting you down after the first sentence. Neither of us is blessed with immortality and therefore we should do all we can to pass our experience on to whomever will listen. You have a lot to say and many years of experience. It would be a terrible shame to have such a valuable resource ignored.

    One more thing, I will revise the two excerpts and make changes based on the suggestions I have received. I hope you will take the time to re-read them and offer your opinion once again.

    George
    It's a valiant attempt George. I hope it works. Unfortunately people have attempted to persuade Jay to use the praise sandwich on other forums and he's been firmly opposed to it.

    Jay, I know you don't taking critiques of your critiques very well, but I'm going to foolishly try anyway.
    A lot of what you speak about is spot on. Getting people to drop the history lessons, encouraging them to focus more on the protagonist's 'now' - good stuff. Getting readers to feel protagonists emotions, fears etc - great. Directing writers to useful blogs and books. - Carry on doing that.
    Your inability/refusal to find anything genuine to praise has been covered in the past.

    But the implications that people are working solely on knowledge learned in school, are a critical flaw in your standard critiques, which shouldn't be hard to eliminate.
    It's not a problem for people who are genuinely just starting out, but you keep doing it to those who have already been trying to learn the craft. It gets their backs up when you imply all their efforts have achieved nothing.

    It's such a shame because you've got some useful advice about what people need to do to take their writing to the next level, but people end up ignoring that. Instead they end up taking your comments more personally than you intended and thus getting into pointless personal arguments with you.

    Maybe you genuinely believe they've learnt nothing useful for fiction writing beyond SPAG, but it's pointless trying to persuade people of that. It doesn't help anyone. It's what they need to do next that's important.

    It's possible to suggest people could learn more about certain elements of the craft (especially your favourite bits like POV, reader's emotional experience etc) through certain recommended websites and books, without annoying quite so many people.

    There are of course some people on the internet who are firmly opposed to books on the craft of writing, but I don't think you'd meet with such fierce resistance if you could somehow change your approach.
    You wouldn't have packs of angry intermediate/journeymen writers waiting for an opportunity to hound you out of their forum.
    With the right approach you could go on some decent sized forums again and get a decent sized audience, rather than having to hang out in these half dead forums, just because there aren't enough intermediate writers here to form a pack. (Rogue Mutt's tried to be a one dog pack, but that doesn't work.)

    I'm probably wasting my time. I don't have the power of Christmas Ghosts to change the attitude of a self-professed curmudgeon, but you impart enough useful advice, that I feel compelled to try.

  9. #9
    Rogue Mutt
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    Rogue Mutt's tried to be a one dog pack, but that doesn't work.
    I couldn't be a rogue mutt if I had a pack. Hahaha

  10. #10
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    I believe that you assume, wrongly, that I am working solely on whatever knowledge I might have learned in school.
    I assume nothing. The writing is 100% telling. And the first paragraph info-dump would have it rejected before the end to the second sentence. You're writing a story, not a history book. Yet that info-dump is a history lesson. Never forget that your reader wants to be entertained, not lectured to.

    When you get to the actual scene it's a transcription of you speaking, telling the story aloud. Had you opened the story with that it would, again, be rejected before the second sentence because you're telling—explaining the story instead of making the reader live it with the protagonist as their avatar. You cannot talk to the reader because they can't hear/see the emotional content that comprises fully half of human communication. Only you can hear the emotion in your voice. only you know the facial extression and hand gestures you know as you read. The reader gets only yhjr bare, dispassionate words.

    And in both cases the rejection would come because you're using the nonfiction writing techniques we're all taught in school—the kind of writing you did every day on the job, where the goal was to inform the reader, not entertain them.
    So far, I have received encouragement from one source and lecture from you.
    No. From mutt you got personal opinion on how to write—in the form of two insignificant editing suggestions, while he missed the fact that the nonfiction approach was what caused them. That's not help, but it's the best he can do.

    As for the encouragement, he stole a line I usually use, because his own creativity is limited. If you go back in time, you'll find that a line or two is the best he can do. The kid's so jealous of me that in every thread he spends far more words attacking me than responding to the poster

    What you got from me were the views of the writing establishment—the kind of things you would learn in the first few days in a course on writing commercial fiction. And unlike the dog I steer you to professional sources of the knowledge you need.

    I mean no personal insult, but if you think you can learn the skills required to write prose that a publisher will smile on by asking people who aren't professionals, you're making a serious mistake. You do not ask amateurs and the self published. And if you're not willing to spend a few dollars and spend a bit of time acquiring professional knowledge you can't call yourself a serious writer.

    “Michaelangelo did not have a college degree, nor did Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison didn't. Neither did Mark Twain (though he was granted honorary degrees in later life.) All of these people were professionals. None of them were experts. Get your education from professionals, and always avoid experts.”
    ~ Holly Lisle
    It might surprise you to know that your background and mine are quite similar.
    Nothing in my working background taught me the skills necessary to writing fiction for the printed word. My tech-writing experience, the articles I published in professional magazines, and all, the proposals and such I wrote did nothing but polish skills that are not applicable to fiction.

    What isn't the same, is the more than quarter century of interest in writing fiction, the time I've spent talking to professionals about it, and the experience of going through the process of preparing a manuscript for release.

    Everyone wants to be a star, be it of sports, music, or writing. But damn few are willing to take the steps necessary to become one.

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