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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » The Boy Who Could Not Lie (romance)

   
Author Topic: The Boy Who Could Not Lie (romance)
SavantIdiot
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I might as well get input on the others, too, if anyone cares to delve in! This one is a straightforward romance, with a slightly paranormal twist. I think maybe men won't care as much for it. Though I don't know. I was in line in the supermarket once behind a man who I watched pick out a couple for himself. Um. You should know, this is a boy to start with. I have maybe 35K words on this one. It's the easy one, though.

He was not as big or as strong. He was faster, though; much faster. Mark had been watching Lyle for a long time now and knew how soft - and even weak - the man was. Lyle was lazy and cruel and strangely squeamish. And stupid, Mark thought grimly. Sometimes Lyle was ridiculously stupid. The stupid was what he would exploit.
When he had come here Lyle had seemed so powerful that he had been thrilled to attach himself to him. He had followed him around, mimicking him. Until the day Lyle did something so shocking he had never wanted to mimic him again. Monica could have protected herself

[This message has been edited by SavantIdiot (edited September 04, 2009).]


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nathanpence
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ok, creepy, but get a proper noun or two in there somewhere! Seriously he, him, her... Argh! I wrote a paper once in college and in it I wrote about how using pronouns without antecedents is a cheap trick to do one of two things, make something seem profound when you have no idea what you're talking about, and to build mystery in a story when you don't know how to build mystery. Those are, of course, just my opinions and should be thrown out with yesterday's newspaper...
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MrsBrown
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Yes, I'd like to see names. Which character is not as big or strong? Who loved her?

Attached himself... mimicked... came here... you are hinting at a speculative-element ability here without stating it. My preference would be a clearer explanation; otherwise it sounds like withholding to me. (I'm picturing an alien life-form that merges with its symbiotic host. But you mentioned a boy...)

I like the premise, but its confusing. Clear that up and you'll hook me good.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited August 31, 2009).]


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MAP
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I agree with everyone else. This is an interesting begining, but the use of pronouns is very confusing. I had to concentrate hard and reread sentences to figure out which he (the man or the boy) you were referring to. Is there a good reason for not giving us the name of the mc?

Also you said that the mc was a boy. I don't know how young he is, but it feels like he is a man by the way it is written. Actually he feels more like an alien or supernatural being who is trying to learn how to appear human. If that is what you are going for than good job.


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SavantIdiot
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He is a supernatural being; a boy raised away from humans and trying to figure out how to survive as a human and currently having to deal with a situation which is beyond him. So I guess that is working.

I promise to look at pronouns. He is only recently linked to a name himself. I suspect he will know the man's name better, though.


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SavantIdiot
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Is there a way on this site to get an email when someone responds to something I've put up? Either as one of my submissions or a post on someone else's? I don't know unless I comb through them all which means I am missing things.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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That would be nice, wouldn't it?

I can ask the webmaster about it, but it may require changing the software to something everyone will have to relearn.

I'll see, though.


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waterchaser
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I think the story seems interesting the imagery it suggests, but I would like to know where you are going with the "(romance)" tag.

KathleenDalton,

You have RSS feeds on the site for updates, is there no way to make of use it for changes on each post we create?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I don't know, waterchaser. RSS feeds are for blog software, and this is a forum.

I'll see what the webmaster (who does the actual software work on this site) if such a thing is possible.


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SavantIdiot
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I took the pronoun suggestions to heart. I started writing about the man and the love interest and then went back and stuck this on the front. But at the time the boy would know his own name and the names of the people he was living with so you were all right. I was thinking of him as still so unsocialized he didn't even have names yet. But he would have been there five years already.
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MrsBrown
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Gah! Please post a Revision instead of overwriting the original. How can I compare them? How do I know its been reposted when I only see one? Thanks
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MrsBrown
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I still must ask: Which character is not as big or strong? A name should be used in place of the very first pronoun.

Punctuation correction: soft--and even weak--the

I will repeat my preference to have the speculative element explained in clearer terms, but it is mitigated by the use of names (Mark is less likely to be a spirit or alien). I can wait a little bit to find out.

Starting at “When he had come here” I get a little lost about who is which “he” and “him”. I can figure it out, but … And I don’t know who came here, Mark or Lyle.

Overall, my reaction now is that I’d prefer to start in an actual scene, and sprinkle in this background information as we go along. I’d like to know what its like to be Mark, attached to Lyle. I’d like to see these characteristics of Lyle in action as he interacts with the world, and interpreted through Mark’s filter, instead of just telling us.


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SavantIdiot
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I am reworking this entirely. Thanks to OSC and you guys. What is now the whole first chapter may end up somewhere else.
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SavantIdiot
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Rhetta Claiborne ran her hand lightly around her new kitchen; the yellow diner-style chairs (two without duck tape!), the matching Formica table with Uncle Matt’s place scratched through decades of use. He had sat there explaining gambits and opening moves and strenuously lecturing her on the factors leading up to the civil war, the popular history of which he had found grossly misleading. She smiled over the rough counter he had built around the heavy kitchen sink. The linoleum flooring was new; installed since the summer she had turned twelve. Someone had sold the old man an art deco floor of irregular turquoise blobs bracketed with red and black slashes, garish sitting alongside her otherwise yellow kitchen. How could she ever be depressed in here?

This is going to be the main character. She is the 'straight man' to Mark - and his love interest.


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jezzahardin
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quote:
Rhetta Claiborne ran her hand lightly around her new kitchen; the yellow diner-style chairs (two without duck tape!), the matching Formica table with Uncle Matt’s place scratched through decades of use. He had sat there explaining gambits and opening moves and strenuously lecturing her on the factors leading up to the civil war, the popular history of which he had found grossly misleading. She smiled over the rough counter he had built around the heavy kitchen sink. The linoleum flooring was new; installed since the summer she had turned twelve. Someone had sold the old man an art deco floor of irregular turquoise blobs bracketed with red and black slashes, garish sitting alongside her otherwise yellow kitchen. How could she ever be depressed in here?

Love this. So vivid, and great Voice. I have a couple minor and subjective suggestions.

quote:
She smiled over the rough counter he had built around the heavy kitchen sink.

This sentence doesn't flow for me. Is this the best way to convey that he had built the counter, that he had built it around the sink, and that the sink was heavy, and that she was smiling over this counter?

quote:
How could she ever be depressed in here?

This sentence adds nothing for me. I would call it fluff. If she had been depressed or was no longer, I say put it somewhere else, some other way. Or if she was depressed, but never in this room, I'd phrase it differently.

Lovely stuff. Not my primary genre, but I would read on.


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SavantIdiot
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Thank you! That is an awkward sentence. Both, I guess. I was trying to put her smiling sort of at her Uncle Matt and some of his awkward handiwork at the same time.

I will re-work!


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SavantIdiot
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Rhetta Claiborne ran her hand lightly around her new kitchen; the yellow diner-style chairs (two without duck tape!), the matching Formica table with Uncle Matt’s place scratched through decades of use. He had sat there explaining gambits and opening moves and strenuously lecturing her on the factors leading up to the civil war, the popular history of which he had found grossly misleading. She had watched him build the rough wooden counter around the non-standard sized sink he had picked up somewhere. The linoleum was something new; installed since the summer she had turned twelve. Someone had sold the old man an art deco floor of irregular turquoise blobs intersected with red and black slashes; garish sitting alongside the otherwise yellow kitchen.
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SavantIdiot
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or maybe 'yet more garish when taken...'
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MAP
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Hi Savantldiot,

I liked the other beginning much better. I found it more intriguing, but only you know how your story begins.

So here is my take on your new opening. First of all, I am a little confused. You are describing Rhetta's new kitchen, but nothing in it is new. Is this her first house that she has redone with old furnishings? It would be nice to have some sort of idea of what stage of life she is in.

That being said you nicely show her relationship with Uncle Matt through her kitchen, but is that really how you want to introduce the main character? Is her relationship with Uncle Matt key to the plot and Rhetta's character? It very well could be and if it is then carry on, but I personally would like to know more about her than Uncle Matt at this point.

Someone in this forum pointed out Alexandra Sokoloff's blog on writing, and I have been reading all of her posts, very insightful. She talks about the importance of character introductions in one of her posts which you might want to read.

I just want to reiterate that this may be exactly how your story should start. But I personally am not curious enough about her relationship with Uncle Matt to read on. Unlike the other beginning you posted, which really hooked me.

Nits:

quote:
Rhetta Claiborne ran her hand lightly around her new kitchen; ran her hand around what? The kitchen counters or the wall? the yellow diner-style chairs (two without duck tape!I hate exclamation marks! I suggest removing it), the matching Formica table with Uncle Matt’s place scratched through decades of use. sentence fragment which I think could be fixed by replacing the semicolon with a common, but maybe a grammar nut could correct me on that. He had sat there explaining gambits and opening moves opening moves in battles in the civil war or in some game? and strenuously lecturing her on the factors leading up to the civil war, the popular history of which he had found grossly misleading. She had watched him build the rough wooden counter around the non-standard sized sink he had picked up somewhere. The linoleum was something new; installed since the summer she had turned twelve. Once again the semicolon makes this a fragment which could be fixed by replacing with a comma. Also this confuses me the linoleum is new, but it was installed when she was 12? How old is she? And is this her house or her parents? Someone had sold the old man an art deco floor of irregular turquoise blobs intersected with red and black slashes; garish sitting alongside the otherwise yellow kitchen. Another semicolon sentence fragment problem, watch those

I hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited September 11, 2009).]


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SavantIdiot
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Well, dang. I AM working on character stuff. I will think some more! Thank you very much. Rhetta is the main character but the male lead is her focus. And that is Mark. So it could go either way.

I do have a question, though. This is my first attempt -- is it easier to write a story in the first person?


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