This is topic Mack the Truck (Urban Fantasy, ~3k words) in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Disgruntled Peony (Member # 10416) on :
First time playing with urban fantasy in awhile. It's weirdly cathartic.

A fist slammed against the back door of Decker Auto, loud enough to rattle the fiberglass window. Brandon Decker flinched. His pen tore a hole in the nightly paperwork he'd been filling out. Who the hell could be at the door this late at night? His shop had been closed for forty minutes; all of his mechanics had gone home.
The knocking persisted, loud and insistent. Brand scowled and flexed the muscles of his right arm. His myoelectric prosthetic hand clenched into a fist. The mechanical components moved as smoothly as a real hand, but the lack of physical sensation served as an unsettling reminder to beware of unexpected visitors.
Brand stalked out of the office and rapped his knuckles against the business hours emblazoned on the plexiglass window. “Shop's closed!” His left hand closed around the baseball bat he kept
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
A visitor disturbs an individual.

Clearly, Jerome Sterne's "Bear at the door" and visitation shapes, or danger at the door, or routine interruption. Each of those are complication features, problem specifically. Is the antagonism of a sufficient magnitude for a start thirteen lines? Low magnitude antagonism, quiet dramatic movement, perhaps another dramatic feature is indicated, one that specifies the threat at the door more concretely and more immediately, more than imminently present.

That Decker's prosthetic arm's sensation lack reminds him of the dangers of unexpected visitors doesn't timely realize that criteria, though is the sort indicated. However, the details about the prosthetic are premature, detract from the routine interruption movement development. Focus on that interruption of routine is the priority of bear at the door and visitation shapes. If the two features were more aligned, if not directly connected more concretely, they would suit each the other, though require more word count to develop those.

In the alternative, instead, the type of initial interruption could be more of a surprise event, to Decker and readers, or a dreaded anticipated event. Instead of a fist knock, like, perhaps a metallic or other material knock that is fraught with significance for Decker that readers can access. By the way, how does Decker know a fist knocks? He cannot see the fist through the door or its fiberglass window, not if he's focused on the business books. That's a narrator tell and not a "telling detail."

A dreaded anticipation needs prior development, before the knock and is of the Oh no, he knew this day would come: subjunctive mood. That, though, needs clear and strong specifics, like the knock is a sound only one scenario could indicate to Decker -- the knocker's material type and its sound against whatever material the door is made of. Wood? Plywood veneer? Metal? Plastic? What's the knocker made of? Meaty or bony flesh? Metal, wood, plastic? And such that Decker knows what or who is at the door and what the scenario means for him at the moment of the knock.

Not to suggest that a complete surprise visitor is itself contraindicated, that what the scenario profoundly means to Decker at the moment is the greater surprise potential for readers. So what if the knock annoys him? Who wouldn't be annoyed? Though an interruption nuisance, it is routine, and insistent nuisance no less a routine. A nonroutine surprise interruption is indicated. Or, why should I care? Profound interruption of routine, not a routine, everyday interruption. This is a bear at the door complication reason to care.

The fragment's narrative point of view oscillates clause by clause from narrator outside looks in to agonist inside looks out and back and forth in a one-to-one sequence. A to B. C to D. E to F, and so on, with an otherwise haphazard time and causation sequence with little, if any transition and connection. That Decker responds to causes is apt, though low or little magnitude movement.

Likewise, the syntax is as well an oscillation between main clauses and dependent clauses of that one progression.


//A fist slammed against the back door of Decker Auto, loud enough to rattle the fiberglass window.

//Brandon Decker flinched. His pen tore a hole in the nightly paperwork he'd been filling out.

//Who the hell could be at the door this late at night?

//His shop had been closed for forty minutes; all of his mechanics had gone home.

//The knocking persisted, loud and insistent.

//Brand scowled and flexed the muscles of his right arm. His myoelectric prosthetic hand clenched into a fist.

//The mechanical components moved as smoothly as a real hand, but the lack of physical sensation served as an unsettling reminder to beware of unexpected visitors.

//Brand stalked out of the office and rapped his knuckles against the business hours emblazoned on the plexiglass window.

//“Shop's closed!” His left hand closed around the baseball bat he kept //

Main clause, or sentence, to appositive dependent detail is the syntax sequence. The unattributed direct thought rhetorical question excepted (tag-free direct discourse).

Already noted above, how does Decker know a fist knocks? Other details like that, a fiberglass window? Later, it is a Plexiglass window? Myoelectric prosthetic arm? Is that mechanism detail timely? Or would it warrant later detail development instead?

"His pen tore a hole in the nightly paperwork he'd been filling out." Progressive past perfect tense shift contraindicated, a detail best given earlier when it is current and relevant to the moment or in the immediate present-past tense. Auto shop managers and owners loathe paperwork, to begin with. They hire unskilled bookkeepers for that reason, underpaid and neglected minions. Might he do some other more enjoyable task instead, like work on a hobby vehicle up on a lift?

Rhetorical questions are interjections in prose, not per se questions that ask for answers themselves. Might an exclamation mark substitute for the question mark? Fantasy uses exclamation marks more so than other genres. Script punctuation might use an interrobang instead. A period itself will do, too.

//Who the hell could be at the door this late at night!?//

"Who the hell" is on the trite side, perhaps outworn cliché. Auto shop workers use more colorful language, not per se foul language, though. And very often more emotionally charged. //Who the mud lover hell could be at the door now!?// for example.

"this late at night?" Really? The shop only closed forty minutes earlier. Auto shops are rarely, if ever, open late at night, more so late afternoon, early evening closures.

"His shop had been closed for forty minutes; all of his mechanics had gone home."

Semicolons imply close connection between independent clauses. This one forces an unnatural connection. More specifically, grammar's semicolon principles indicate semicolon splices for conjunctive adverb joined independent clauses, for serial lists and explanations. The latter is this case. The explanation is the first clause, though. The clauses' sequence is inverted. //All of his mechanics had gone home; his shop had been closed for forty minutes.// Colon or dash instead of the semicolon are options, too. Both colon and semicolon lean toward oversophistication for prose. A dash is warranted and apt for prose, judiciously.

Plus, determiner error, "his" twice. Maybe, too, an unnecessary and otherwise empty intensifier "all." //The mechanics had gone home; the shop had been closed for forty minutes.// Again, too, unnecessary shift to past perfect tense. //The mechanics were gone; the shop closed forty minutes ago.//

"persisted, loud and insistent" "loud" repetition in close proximity to a first instance. "persisted" and "insistent," likewise sound-alike assonance in close proximity, akin to -ing ring rhyme nuisance.

"moved as smoothly as a real hand" apt correlative conjunction "as" uses. For simile in prose, though, not an apt simile. Adverb "smoothly" does little to express attitude commentary.

"a real hand, but" unnecessary contradiction conjunction "but." Coordination conjunction "and" instead is indicated and all but invisible enough. "But," too, signals emphasis of a subordinated clause that is unwarranted.

"the lack of physical sensation" wordy. The sentence overall is wordy: "_The_ mechanical components moved _as_ smoothly _as_ _a_ real hand, _but_ _the_ lack _of_ physical sensation _served_ _as_ _an_ _unsettling_ reminder _to beware_ _of_ unexpected visitors." Three unnecessary determiners, "the," "an," "a" three "as" conjunctions; two "of" prepositions, wordy verb "served," wordy and empty "unsettling" gerund, wordy and unnecessary infinitive tense shift "to beware." "But" elimination and separated sentences adjusts a world of excess wordiness. Also, use of as few transition words, like "of," as possible defuses wordiness's emphasis confusions. Ominous menace is the dramatic situation point, right? Oh no, another attacker at the door. //. . . real hand. The gizmo's dead touch sense reminded him unexpected visitors brung trouble.//

"stalked out of the office and rapped his knuckles" not-simultaneous error. Or are Decker's knuckles longer than normal human finger anatomy?

"emblazoned" diction flaw. See dictionary definition. What? Inscribed heraldic decoration? A celebratory extolment?

Decker? Does that surname evoke the Bladerunner character of the same name?

"Mack the Truck" evokes numerous inferences, some that could contradict and confuse what might be the intent. Mack the truck company's brand name? Brandon [sic]? Mack is the Silent generation's noir equivalent to Boomer generation's "man" and X generation's "dude." What is the Millennial generation using for a comparable nominative impersonal pronoun? Or, slang verb "mack," to hit on, to flirt, verbally, vocally, physically, or gesturally, welcomed or otherwise. A confusion array of potentials. Title implications and signals can either narrow reader inferences or open them to best appeal effect. This one is the opposite. It's a pretty title, though does little that a title best practice does.

None of those possibilities suit urban fantasy's conventions. Nor does the fragment contain a fantastic feature development. Screeners who comment about how much they will read before one must be introduced say up to four hundred words, by the second page's end. Some say a first page's Standard Manuscript Format content, within thirteen lines. A title could be enough if it contains a fantastic feature or implication.

I could at this time read on as a somewhat engaged reader, though on notice not to be immersed very close. The interrupted routine complication introduction most deft and appeal of the fragment's contents, yet underdeveloped.

[ December 06, 2017, 07:47 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Disgruntled Peony (Member # 10416) on :
Wow, it's even slower than normal around here... hopefully, it's just the holidays keeping everyone busy.

Anyway, here's my second draft of the opening.

Something hammered, hard and heavy, against Decker Automotive's plexiglass front door. The sound echoed through the garage like gunfire; the window rattled in its frame.
Brandon Decker flinched and reached for the Glock 17 he kept hidden in his toolbox after hours. Years of habit sent his right arm rather than his left; the tension in his shoulders kept his prosthetic hand from closing properly around the holstered pistol. The gun slipped through metallic fingers and clattered to the floor.
Brand swore and scooped up the pistol with his left hand. He nestled the concealed carry holster into place against the small of his back. The pressure of the Glock's presence soothed the worst of Brand's nerves. He lived and kept shop in a rough neighborhood, made even more dangerous by the inhuman beasts that slipped
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Same scenario, a danger at the door, routine interruption interrupts an individual.

The second version works less for me than the first -- less inclined to read on.

The first word zero-person pronoun "something" sentence subject taints its sentence and the fragment to a great degree. For me, that use type would signal a syntax error; no true sentence or paragraph subject realized. "Some, someone, somebody, someplace, somewhat, something" pronouns often signal lack of writer imagination, doubt about a dramatic situation, unclear about a setting's substantive perceivable sensations. Those words' best practice prose uses are for intensives, adjectives and adverbs that enhance emotional intensity; as pronouns, less use, if at all. {See Webster's Dictionary of English Usage "Intensives.")

The intended conflict-complication of the fragment is a danger at the door scenario, and unnaturally rushes and forces that scenario, a kind of melodrama, where events and such are contrived to meet up to a presupposed, timely dramatic incitement. Is
danger really at the door? Does the writer know for certain and thus projects that knowledge onto the viewpoint persona? Would not Decker wonder and not actually know what is at the door nor what it means? There is the true conflict-complication of the fragment's moment, his doubts and worries and emotions about doubt left unsatisfied for a time, soon to be somewhat satisfied and raise yet greater magnitude conflict-complication incitement when somewhat satisfied.

Decker is alone. A loud knock at the door interrupts his routine. The loudness causes him to flinch, reach for the handgun, drop it, recover it . . . Would he not timely doubt the interruption means immediate danger to him? Might the interruption be an otherwise benevolent visitor? Maybe police, damsel in distress, whatever -- trouble enough to come soon any which-a-way. Therein is a core kernel of drama, notable for when a viewpoint agonist is alone: incited doubt's antagonisms of a magnitude sufficient to warrant proactive doubt satisfaction efforts: an internal conflict-complication. Of course, Decker's curiosity will soon get the better of him; he will see what's at the door.

As is, the fragment posits an external conflict-complication though of an internal, reflexive conflict-complication and response to it, at least as pertains to Decker is inside, the interrupter is outside, not yet an immediate danger, plus Decker's stimuli perception and thought stream is internal.

If the intent is external emphasis, the interruption is best already coming through the door, immediate, and to which Decker immediately, externally responds. Or the interruption causes Decker to wonder what could be at the door and respond internally, doubt danger first. The mix of both emphasizes neither and confuses, rushes, and forces a melodramatic sequence.

See "Film it," from "Being a Glossary of Terms Useful in Critiquing Science Fiction" by Clarion workshops' David Smith. "Film it. A self-test of critiquing. To judge a scene or chapter, mentally convert it into a movie or screenplay. This effectively subtracts all narration and exposition and leaves only description, dialog, and action. Things which shrink dramatically when filmed are heavy on telling, light on showing. (CSFW: Steve Popkes)"

Exceptional examples for starts of vivid, lively, dramatic "cinematic" scenes are the works of Marion Zimmer Bradley, William Gibson, C.J. Cherryh, among many others, of Realism's core conventions and aesthetics. Locate one, examine it for how it manages a solitary agonist and the external-internal conflict-complication of the immediate moment, emulate it, adjusted, of course, for a personal mien.

I would not read on, in particular, due to the "something" emptiness, and that the fragment is overly writer directed melodrama and otherwise directionless overall.

[ December 17, 2017, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Disgruntled Peony (Member # 10416) on :
So, first I get told that specifying what is banging at the door doesn't make sense because the protagonist wouldn't know. Then, when I try to fix that, I get told that being vague about what's hitting the door is worse--and now I'm apparently being unimaginative and melodramatic, to boot. I didn't get to the fantasy element immediately before, which was bad, but now that I'm trying to get to a point where I can introduce some fragment of the fantasy element in the opening thirteen lines I'm clearly rushing things.

Essentially, all I get from these critiques is that my writing is bad and I should feel bad. I'm sure that's not the intention, but that doesn't change how it comes across.

As far as the reference to "Film It" goes: I often tend to write narration-light, exposition-light rough drafts. The problem with those is they don't give any strong insight into the viewpoint character's mindset, which I have been given to understand is the largest strength of prose format. I'm trying to work on deepening my exploration into a protagonist's psyche, not minimizing it.

I think I need to be done with Hatrack for awhile. The forums have basically been dead since November and I can't read extrinsic's critiques without getting frustrated. There's just too much to unpack, and it leaves me feeling like I'm a failure for not immediately writing at master level.

I know I need to improve my writing. That's why I came here in the first place. Unfortunately, I think things have gotten too stagnant around here for this forum to help much of anyone anymore. At least half of the newbies this year have written nothing more than introductory posts, and almost everyone else quits as soon as they receive their first critique. It's time to face facts, guys: This is no way to maintain a supportive environment for aspiring writers.
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
I'm very afraid you are right, Disgruntled Peony, and I've been wondering if the Hatrack River Writers Workshop forum hasn't out-lived (if "lived" can be considered the applicable term any more) its usefulness.

I'm sorry it hasn't been helpful to you. You are articulate, you know how to use words, and therefore you are way ahead already. Please don't give up on yourself, even if you give up on Hatrack.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
What true sentence subject noise does Decker hear that is an aural sensation he can logically hear? Hear, not see. How to describe that aural sensation he does not see? What is the sound? Such that it holds meaning for Decker and suits the wanted and meaningful dramatic situation? Would a subjunctive or suppositional opinion of Decker's serve the dramatic function, perhaps even a fantastic feature introduction, like the sound of like a rotor blade thwaps the door? Or, what, a flood slams into it, a sprinkle of metal dust, like from a metal grinder's cast off? Writer's choice, so long as it is sense-ible stimuli.

//Loud knocks, like from a ham-fisted troll's meaty hand, banged at the rear door.// Supposition. //Beats of a wood baton, or what, against the metal back door would disturb Decker's peace.// Subjunctive. Or other? The main dramatic situation is of an aural sensation that disturbs Decker's routine, and visual and other sensations seen, touched by the ear. What is his routine that's disturbed in the first place? Portrayed, though, as foreshadowed, pendent, ominous menace subject to interruption?

Same-same for a fantastic feature introduction, etc., what? How, who, when, where, why? Writer's choice. Does the choice work for readers? That's what workshop is, what does and doesn't work for a focus group, emphasis most on doesn't work. Expectations of resounding acclaim from a workshop are misplaced, the contrary rather, what doesn't work for a given reader, given in the guise of disapproval decked out in constructive criticism is what workshop does.

Cognitive dissonances, like do this but not that when this, that but not this when that, then this and that if that and this, this is creativity's greatest strengths, why one dissonance's reconciliation is artless and another one sublime.

No need for artistic mastery, rather, simple, natural, dramatic imitations of reality perceptions, even if fantastic. Sights, sounds, touches, scents, tastes, and emotions and reactions to those stimuli described in written words. No need for poetic acrobatics nor prosaic stylisms. Simple, natural, logical dramatic imitations of reality. Not nonfiction journalism's fact-based expository essay reports, and their banal conventions, and anymore opinion expressions just for entertainment's sakes: prose's emotionally charged, personal-private subjective reality imitation portraits. Plus, consistent narrative point of view, even in inconsistency.

Shortfalls, yes, characteristics that don't work for me, and, by my best estimation, as well don't work the best for publications. If a greater weight falls in doesn't work for me than does work for me, I will not read on, and know the potential audience number diminishes likewise. Maybe I do possess a wide knowledge base about narrative arts and sciences; maybe not; if not, I've wasted extensive resources -- many a midnight candle and scarce coin burnt. If I don't, otherwise, my life's calling is a dead end, the real end one.

I've been greatly frustrated by how great a challenge prose composition is, still am, will be regardless, I expect. Is for everyone. No one gave me a break, not even offered much insightful guidance -- well, here and there dribbles in off-cued fits and starts. Nowhere anywhere near what I do give freely and wish for.

Okay. Why? Creative writing is what a writer creatively makes of it. Not what others impose upon a writer, albeit, workshops are feral, random focus group processes. Creativity knows little, if any, discipline, less so since society and culture rejected composition discipline mid-twentieth century and opened the gatekeeper choke points to all and sundry and, at the same time, closed all publication markets to all but the highest revenue performers. Yet discipline of the self's constraints is as necessary as feral creativity for publication success. I learned those lessons the hardest way, brutal though topically narrowed constructive observations exposure in workshops, Hatrack included, in-person, too.

I would save everyone the cruel lessons learned, the inherent and natural, necessary brutality of the culture, of all competitive activities, all of it, if I could, and I cannot. Prose is far too complex and varied to learn even the most basic elements of one prose subgenre from a brief sprint of time and effort. A basic and universal tenet, though, is simple, natural, focused dramatic sensory stimuli and responses that move from an initial incitement crisis to the next crisis and next crisis to a crisis satisfaction outcome. The night is always darkest before the dawn.

[ December 20, 2017, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Maybe if you were to tell us what you want the reader to experience / think / feel / etc at the beginning of this story, we could help you figure out some possible ways to start it?

And, of course, there is always the question of whether or not the knock/pounding on the door is the best place to start the story.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
From my closest observations and an overall apex perspective, a writer with Disgruntled Peony's aesthetic, underrealized as is, is that of a traditional journalism mien, basically, fact-based, objective reports of news cycle and lifestyle accounts when the facts are known, as those are known at the time of publication.

News cycle and lifestyle essays start from a notable event, setting, or persona crisis incitement that is of immediate interest, supposedly, to the public. Next comes descriptions of efforts to renormalize the crisis, last, the outcome of the crisis. The public loses interest after that; the news cycle ends. A convict escape, for example, next, capture efforts, then capture or killing, or maybe successful flight from jurisdiction, maybe notice of a court sentence outcome. News cycle ends.

The form entails specific expression conventions developed from centuries of periodical journal publications. Those conventions differ with considerable distinction from prose's conventions.

Creative nonfiction evolved from and alongside traditional journalism, again, of a considerable difference from journalism. Traces of New Journalism appear throughout creative nonfiction's opus; however, the genre as pertains to news-cycle accounts emerged and soared due to Hunter S. Thompson and the digest Rolling Stones' preferences for the form -- and audiences craves and raves for it. Thompson's Hell's Angels, notable for the form, fully developed and realized it.

In a curious way, the Hell's Angels nonfiction novel contains prose's strong story organization mechanics and aesthetics akin to "urban" fantasy's: story and plot and of an antagonal magnitude and an artful thematic unity in parts and wholes and outcomes within a somewhat fantastic milieu even if real-life (which is urban fantasy's core convention). Rolling Stones engaged Thompson for the project, and his other best-known work, too, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thompson strayed, though, much to Rolling Stones' both frustrations and delights.

The topics and subjects of those works are neither here nor there relevant. Rather, that they are of the creative nonfiction New Journalism mien, known as Gonzo Journalism, what makes the Thompson aesthetic somewhat fantastic.

Models maybe for emulation, at least study of the form for other uses. Like, say, urban fantasy fiction composed as New Journalism? What about that for writers whose strengths lay within journalism's conventions and whose weaknesses lay in prose's overall storycraft? I could overlook many shortfalls of narratives that realize such a form, their clumsy storycraft a feature that enhances an account's appeals, like folklore's personal gossip, rumor, and legend oral narrative conventions do -- informal, stream-of-consciousness, conversational narratives.

Three conventions for creative nonfiction are on point, grammatical person distinctions of first-person narrators, all but mandatory, usually real writers, sometimes implied writers (apt for actual fiction emulations of the form); related, narrator identity development, even if not, per se, directly portrayed, at least a strong attitude holder vested in the action and outcome; and narrative authentication, descriptive features, usually sensory "telling details," that affirm "this" really and truly happened.

Such a writer aesthetic realization, or another, entails uses of strengths and weaknesses for best reader effect and enhances likelihood of publication success -- because it is markedly different from the fray and fresh, and relatable, accessible, readable, comprehensible, familiar yet exotic, therefore, appeals.

[ December 20, 2017, 01:46 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Jack Albany (Member # 10698) on :
Apologies for my tardiness in entering the fray. Two fragments submitted; both saying the same thing in essentially the same way. Neither attempt rocks my boat. From my point of view both suffer from the same structural flaw while each has its own aesthetic weakness.

The opening scene is, essentially, the tried and true ‘routine interrupted’: an opening scene type that will probably be found in almost half of all published works. This type of scene allows for quick character development so the reader has at least some interest in the main character before the knock on the door, the tap on the shoulder, or the whispered warning from the mysterious stranger. This type of scene will never become cliché simply because it is capable of endless variety in infinite ways. The problem with the two submitted fragments is that the interruption comes before the routine (character development) is established so there isn’t any chance for learning about the character: essentially, the bear is at the door but, huh? Who cares? Worse, there is no correlation between cause (the pounding on the door) and effect (the fear engendered); why is he so afraid? That explanation comes later in the fragment as essentially writer tell.

The aesthetic issue in the first fragment is the yo-yoing of the narrative distance between medium, intimate (character direct perception), and back to medium. Pick one, or start with medium and ‘zoom’ in for the character ‘close-up’. Don’t yo-yo.

The aesthetic issue in the second fragment is simply that it is all narrator tell; and melodramatic at that.

Hope this helps, even if only a teeny-weeny bit.
Posted by walexander (Member # 9151) on :
I wouldn't get too frustrated DP. You can always be part of multiple forums if you want, including Hatrack.

I can't speak for the newer members, but I know a lot of the older members have moved into full-time writing, so they only drift in and out of the forum on occasional breaks.

I also wouldn't get to heart-broken over your first paragraphs. Every writer hates criticism, but it's part of the growth process. It never gets easier. because you will always be setting the bar higher for yourself over your career.

My 2 cents -

Think of paragraph structure like music. The opening of the composition sets the pace. what follows must flow from that pace. Your words have to resonate. When you read through them, try and spot areas of weakness that break the reader out of the story. Often this is in poorly written sentences. Instead of changing whole concepts of the paragraph, try restructuring it. Dig deep, over and over again, hard work often pays off. When you do this, it can easily feel like this is going to take forever. If it was easy, anyone could do it, right? Its the difference between having an amateur attitude and a professional one. There is nothing easy about writing professionally, and believing otherwise is just a fallacy.

This forum is but a small part of the tools and education you have access to. Complaining that others aren't here on a daily basis to give advice is really just counterproductive. If I submit something here, I don't expect you will always be around to crit. it for me. For all I know you may be off writing down a huge wave of inspiration that just struck you, and you are going to run with it for the next three months.

If I understand your frustration correctly, it sounds like you are at a point where what you need is to start forming your network of individuals whose opinions you respect. Forums will always be hit and miss. It is another hard part of the system. Think of forums as meet and greets, from these start forming a database of individuals you can personally email with questions or advice. Writers tend to be introverts, so this part of the process can be agonizing, but necessary.

You have to do what you got to do to reach that next level of writing skill. If you are not getting the advice you want I suggest seeking it out from other sources. Hatrack is but one tool in your utility belt.

best wishes,

Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Personal attack deleted.
Posted by tesknota (Member # 10041) on :
I'm not sure if you'll be around to see this, DP, but I'm a fan of your writing. I'm more of a casual reader, and your opening lines are always decent as is. When we put on critiquing hats though - and good writers are not always good critiquers and vice versa - I can see why you'd be discouraged. I hope you'll stay around or come back soon!

I like this forum, and now that DP's mentioned it, it HAS been pretty slow for a while. I think it would be a good idea for all of us as members to try and revitalize it. I'll post another topic about this when I get a chance (I'm at work right now, so I'm actually being delinquent...), but I don't think we can say Hatrack has outlived its usefulness without putting some effort into promoting it. Personally, I've been distracted with other life things and haven't been very active on here, and I'll try to be more active on Hatrack going forward. Hey, it'll be a new year soon. Let's see what we can do in 2018. =)
Posted by Bent Tree (Member # 7777) on :
I'm always late to the party but I can give this a read if you are still looking for readers. I will wait to comment on the entire MS if you desire

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