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  1. #1
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    critique fiction novel please

    Set over four weeks in the brutal winter of 1954, Father Briar and the Angel Marceline is an historical romance unlike any other.

    When a beautiful young woman from the Pacific Northwest falls for a Jesuit priest (and he for her) she chooses to move halfway across the country to be near him.

    Brannaska, Minnesota, way up North there where the seasons are dramatic and the locals eccentric, is a frozen place in January. But that doesn’t stop things between amorous folks from heating the place up!

    Filled with illicit love, dramatic twists, a beautiful natural setting, a big cast of charming and memorable characters, and an action-filled climax during “the Storm of the Century,”

    By turns sweet and charming, lusty and erotic, nostalgic and forbidden, Father Briar and the Angel will delight fans.

    novel
    Thanks
    Reg
    Last edited by regina; 06-23-2016 at 11:53 PM.



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    Never say "fiction novel." It's a redundant expression since any novel is fiction.

  3. #3
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    I made a mistake and have been told about 5 times today. Forgive me, I am not perfect.

  4. #4
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    also I wasn't able to change the title?

  5. #5
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by regina View Post
    also I wasn't able to change the title?
    Yeah the edit post function times out after a bit.

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    So, Regina, what exactly is it you want us to critique?

  7. #7
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    Set over four weeks in the brutal winter of 1954, Father Briar and the Angel Marceline is an historical romance unlike any other.
    Look at this from the viewpoint of the acquiring editor or agent. You just said that people who like historical novels won't find the kind of things they expect in your novel. So that may not be the plus you hope it is. And in the end, a story idea is of a lot less importance than the writing, because it's the writing that makes the reader want to keep turning pages.

    You've not done your homework on how to write a query. But you must. If you don't know what a publisher responds to, and expects to see (like the word count), how can you write either the query or the story? There's a lot that's not obvious to writing fiction to the page, as there is to screenwriting, stagecraft, or any of the other specializations within the profession we call writing. And each of them has limitations and strengths based on the inherent limitations and strengths of the medium—a subject not even mentioned during our school-days. So while we may be able to answer questions, you need to know what questions need to be asked. After all they do offer commercial fiction writing as a major at the university. So while you can bypass much of that, we're not the place to learn your profession, there's just too much to cover. You might want to sample what's available though your local library system's fiction writing section to see what you need to look into more deeply.

    It's nothing you can't learn as easily as you learned the book-report and essay writing skills we're given in school, but if you're going to compete with the thousand or more submissions vying for each publication slot you need more than, "Damn, I bet I can write a novel." To compete with the pros you need to know what the pros know.

  8. #8
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    Thank you.

  9. #9
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    I posted below

  10. #10
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    Kisses can be scandalous.
    The priest was so delicate, so sweet-hearted, so tender, and yet so masculine. His hair was mussed up and a little damp from sweat, August in Minnesota is muggy and the air thick with mosquitoes. He swatted a few of the naughty little bugs but knew it was futile; they always won in the end. Plus, he didn’t like to kill any living thing, even things as irritating as these.
    “They have as much right to dinner as I do,” Father Cedric Briar said, deciding not to swat one that was feeding on his arm.
    Such things made Marceline Donaldson love him even more. He wasn’t just thoughtful and moral; he put those thoughts and beliefs into action in the most literal of ways.
    They were picnicking on the banks of the Mississippi River. The massive, cross-continental waterway had its headwaters just a couple of hours north of where they sat. Father Briar was always inspired by the power of the river and came down to eat, rest, and pray beside it whenever the state’s notorious weather allowed it.
    Kisses can be wild.
    Wild like the pine forest around them. Deer, black bear and timber wolves still roamed those woods and despite being an animal lover, she always felt a little unsafe when they walked out to their special, private lunch spot among the towering trees.
    But that unsafe feeling was thrilling, too. “Isn’t that part of the reason you keep doing this?” she asked herself, “because of the illicit thrill?”
    It was 1954 and the Catholic Church was a still one of the most powerful institutions in America. To be involved with a priest was definitely wild, wild to the point of being a little bit dangerous. Every time she contemplated it, the love affair made her titter. Marceline was a good girl! A very good girl, and she didn’t do things that went against Minnesota’s conservative culture, much less things that went against God’s command for his priestly representatives on Earth!
    Kisses can send one up with the stars and the comets.
    The day was so lovely he couldn’t help but turn his thoughts to God. A couple of Whooping Cranes flew overhead, their majesty lifting his thoughts along with them. “Grus Americana,” the amateur birder and professional holy man noted. The spring thaw had filled the river with crisp, cold water, proving that winter didn’t last forever (although it often felt as though it did) and that life could renew itself indefinitely.
    And if life could renew itself, why couldn’t love? With this smart and dedicated woman, even that felt possible to Father Briar. Her eyes were pools of compassion and curiosity, her skin soft and fair and he grace unparalleled by any woman he’d ever known.
    This was not a man who ever thought he’d be challenging the rules and restrictions of his church; no, Cedric Briar was a lover of order. He’d joined one, even. The Society of Jesus, the Jesuit Order.
    But love was trumping order.
    She spread out the contents of their picnic basket. They had rye bread with butter and thick slices of ham with which to make sandwiches. There were ruddy red potatoes, first boiled and then sprinkled with dill and lemon juice before being chilled overnight in the refrigerator. There were fresh carrots and spring onions. And there was chocolate, a brand new treat that they both loved, a confection known as M&M’s.
    She hummed a poppy little tune as she prepared their lunch. “Did you bring the mustard, Cedric?”
    “Forgot to pack it, sorry! There is more butter in there, though. What is that you are singing?”
    She was a little embarrassed. “I heard it on the car radio when I was driving to pick you up. It is a new song called “Rock Around the Clock” by a young man named Bill Haley.”
    “Haley like the comet?” Father Briar asked.
    “Yes, exactly. In fact, that it the name of his backing band. Bill Haley and the Comets.”
    “It is a catchy little tune.”
    “It is, but popular music like that isn’t going anywhere. It’s all a flash in the pan. Speaking of which, why did you bring a pan?” she asked, lifting the heavy cast iron thing out of the wicker basket.
    “I thought I might catch a fish and fry it up,” he said, motioning to the river.
    “I never knew you fished.”
    “Avidly! This is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” after all. We all fish.”
    Marceline was a transplant for the Pacific Northwest, a place both very much like Northern Minnesota and very different. But she was a city girl and Brannaska was a small town in the woods, surrounded by the famous lakes, German Catholics, and Scandinavian Protestants who were all united by a love of hockey and a folk hero lumberjack of gigantic proportions named Paul Bunyon.
    So there had been some culture shock. “An adjustment period,” he’d told her, reassuring. “You’ll grow to love the quiet and the fresh air. The people will grow to love you, as I did, and you’ll flourish. “Bloom where you are planted,” I always say! And, tumultuous as it was, fate has planted you here. Thank god.”
    “Thank god,” she agreed, passing him a sandwich.
    He ate greedily. This was another thing that attracted her to him; he was, as her mother would’ve said, “a good eater.” Although, had her mother known she was involved with a priest, well, all hell would’ve broken out.
    Kisses can make liars of the most honest of men.
    They held hands. As a working person, a lady who’d done noble labor with her hands, her knuckles were round and her palms calloused, although her nails were immaculate and painted a space-age color. His seminary ring was cool as she laced her fingers through his.
    “Do you ever take this off?” she asked, spinning it around on his finger.
    “Sometimes I think I should,” he said, suddenly serious. A cloud passed over the sun and he wondered if the mercurial weather wasn’t about to go bad on them.
    “Why do you say that?” she asked, wiggling a bit closer to him, trying to keep the mood light and summery. The winter had been so harsh. Seattle is rainy, to be sure, but the snow laid over Minnesota like death blanket, a burial shroud, for unending months.
    But now, like the blooms around them, their love was flourishing.
    “Every time I kiss you I wonder about the vows I took. As joyful as our love is, it is impossible for me to forget that I am breaking a solemn vow to God.”
    As if to prove a point (“or make a dare to the divine,” she speculated), he kissed her, soft and sweet but full of longing and desire.
    “Sweeter than those little chocolate candies,” he said.
    “More nourishing than bread and water,” she agreed, taking a bit of both and enjoying the view of the river while he held her close.
    Thus the afternoon passed. They ate all the sandwiches but rationed the M&M’s, eating only three an hour so they’d last through the sunset and into the night.
    They’d rarely had so much uninterrupted time together. It had been a long time coming, Marceline’s move to Minnesota. It wasn’t that she wasn’t committed to him, oh, she very much was! But he was a priest, a working, wonderful priest, with parish and congregation to worry about and watch over.
    Life in the Upper-Midwest was harsh and unpredictable, even when it was beautiful and bountiful. Father Briar was known throughout the woodsy and hardscrabble region as a pillar of the community and an organizer of care and relief for the afflicted and the needy. The church was a necessary part of the social safety net in a country where the government had only recently developed one.
    She loved to be so close to it, and therefore to God. And yet so far away! Despite herself, she too had doubts about the morality of their affair. “What does Jesus think of me?” she wondered, laying back into the arms of Father Briar, “how could he find something so pure and so blessed to be sinful?”
    As if reading her mind, Cedric said, “now is not the time for deep thoughts, my dear heart, now is the time for enjoying the evening.”
    A man and his son drifted by in a wooden canoe, fishing for bass. They were well up river from home and he didn’t believe anybody would recognize him, but he reflexively pulled his hat a little lower over his eyes to shield them, just in case.
    Feeling him tense up, she asked “do you ever dream of being free from it? Free from the hiding and the secrets? Free to be ourselves, free to be in love? Free to think about the future?”
    “Ah, the future. The first stumble of many doomed lovers,” he joked, a little darker than he’d meant.
    “We aren’t doomed.”
    “No,” he agreed, “far from it.”
    From there they flowed into a discussion of the future.
    But their past was equally interesting…
    Last edited by regina; 06-25-2016 at 12:34 AM. Reason: too long

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