My book?

OK, this is a big step for me. But I need HONEST and tough criticism … and I thought of you guys.

I’m writing a book… I only started writing it because I got this urge to one night and started typing. Now I printed it it out and gave my ‘pre alpha’ draft to family and friends and they all said it was brilliant … but… I don’t actually believe them. So… I was wondering… do any of you guys want a look?
I’d be giving it out on the basis that you guys don’t thief bits of it, or make copies without my written permission- IE: the usual copywrite affair. I also wouldn’t post it here, I will email it to you in Word XP format. ( I’d do it in notepad, but it’s 28 pages so far. )

I think you should just post a couple of pages in a thread. Put a copyright at the bottom of the post if you’re worried about theft.

I am sure you’ll be surprised at the amount of feedback you get.

Good luck with your book Wayne. I don’t have time to help you here, but there are a lot of writer’s message boards. Start with home pages for Writing Magazines and go from there. You want constructive criticism, I assume.

Also, letting us know what kind of book it is would help. Genre?

Also WordXP can save in RTF format. That’s readable by just about any processing program.

well ok… here’s a bit from it… I’m nto sure what to call it… I suppose it’s adventure.

---------- NOTE - © Wayne Vanselow 2004 ------- this is the entire of chapter one - Draft 1

Suppose this is chapter one.

Are you tired of old cliché opening sequences? Dark and stormy night?.. well read on.

It was a bright and sunny morning. Neeves did not wake with a spring in his step, nor did he sit bolt upright, happy to be awake, more, he was still asleep. He was the personification of sluggish, and he moved out of bed in this very way. Slow, slug like, fuck he was tired, rubbing sleep from his eyes as he dragged his skinny arse out of bed and into the kitchen which was very much adjacent to his bedroom. He passed she who was the queen of this domain.

“Morig” he grumbled as he passed her.
“Morning, what is it? … 10 am?” said the empress, for that is who she was.

Neeves forced himself to the counter and flicked on the kettle, stopping for a second to make sure that yes, he was awake, no this was not one of his misleading dreams, and yes, the kettle was still functioning properly. Taking a mug from the cupboard and placing it on the top of the counter filling it with just the right amount of coffee, sugar and milk.

The perfect breakfast.

He’d been awake for five minutes and already he was snapped into routine.
The kettles switch snapped back to the default ‘off’ position, steam rising from its spout, letting him know “Hey! I’ve boiled, are you ready for your hit?” Neeves poured. The coffee smelt delicious, but he knew it’d be a few moments yet before he’d taste it, for it was still far too hot for him to gulp down in the usual fashion. If he’d been in a hurry he would have only filled the mug half way with the boiling water, and added cold tap water to fill the rest. He didn’t like it hot… he felt it took too long that way. A stupid way to think he already knew, because in the time it would take to slowly sip is probably the same a mount of time it would take for him to wait for it to cool.

Neeves took his freshly made coffee and slumped at the table. Fuck he was tired. A pack of cigarettes lay on the table, a blue pack, 50 cancer sticks; well more like 30 for the pack had been open for a few days. He took one. 29. Placing it carelessly between his lips he lit it. He never inhales the first draw, something inside told him that it was the first draw of a cigarette that cause cancer, the rest was fine, just don’t inhale the first one… this was just routine, make coffee have a cig, coffee cools , drink coffee, then have another cigarette.

“Sleep well?” inquired the empress.
“Maybe, I don’t remember much of it” He replied in his usual ‘I’m still tired, why are you asking me such a tough question for?’ way.
“Maybe if you didn’t stay up so late on that darn computer you’d sleep better”

The empress is not your usual stereotypical royal snob. She speaks with an open mind, and if you don’t like it “Piss orf!” She’s your classic marshmallow as well, once you get to know her, all hard on the outside, soft in the middle. She can scare the shit out of you with a simple stare, but she can cry with the best of them, practically lived in the castle alone for many years. Her husband, The King, often traveled the land on search of riches and the like and her son, The Hashman, was a party goer. Its how life is for many a mum, let alone a member of royalty. And then there was Neeves, this lanky nerdy kid who she had known since he was knee high to something with knees as high as an 8 year old boy, but she hadn’t seen him in quite a long time. He’d just moved in to the castle and although he’d been extremely nervous for the first couple for weeks, he was fine now.
She was shortish… actually, she is short. Anyone shorter than Neeves is short, probably 5 foot 6 or something, maybe, a cuddly lady, by no means fat or obese, but neither thin, she’s the ‘good fer a cuddle when your not so cheerful’ size.

“Where’s the panther today?” Neeves asked nervously, fearful that at anytime the panther would leap out and destroy his very soul with a glance and a playful swipe. The panther was the family pet. Not your ordinary pet as you probably guess by his name, he was evil. Not a bad evil before you get overly excited, he was a fun evil, it’s not like he’d kill you in your sleep or anything, he’d just find it far more fun to wait until you opened your eyes before slicing your jugular. I said he was a fun evil. Fun for him. He’s pounce on unaware newcomers to the castle, and Neeves was his latest victim. For the past few weeks he’d wait for Neeves to casually walk past forgetting he was around and the BANG he’d leap out and tapped the back of his heel multiple times before sprinting away into the shadows again leaving Neeves with tattered nerves and increasing the nicotine intake just a bit more.

He’d finished his coffee. Neeves stood up, slowly pushing back his chair, he felt like an old man. He was only 17. Walking back into his bedroom, his only desire to go back to bed and fall asleep. He knew he had other shit to do, but he really couldn’t be bothered, he was nervous. It was his first day of… school.

Only two weeks before he’d attended the orientation day, and that was enough to put him off. Neeves wasn’t a people person as such; he hated crowds and held a great dislike in new people. He also wasn’t especially a great judge of character, someone he loathed could one day become his greatest friend, and someone he loved would turn out to be his nemesis. And so it was that his first day began, tired, grumpy and nervous. Neeves set about gathering shit he was almost certain he’d never need, one blue pen, one red pen, a calculator and a book with blue lined pages and a red margin already ruled down it’s left hand side.

It was nearing eleven A.M and Neeves got his bag and stuffed it with the useless shit. Slinging it over his shoulder he set about walking out of the castle and into the world. Taking another cigarette and coolly popping it into his mouth as he pulled the door shut yelling a quick farewell to the Empress.

“Have fun” she yelled back as the door clicked.

Fresh morning air hit his lungs like fire. He’d have to do something about that. He quickly lit the cigarette to abandon, being careful not to be too hasty and accidentally swallow that first deadly draw. He began to walk towards his personal hell.

Morons. That’s what these people were, God damned fucking spastics. He felt like walking around to each one, making faces at them, calling them Trolls and fucktards and all sorts of shit. He held back. He was good at holding back. It’s not because Neeves is a bigot or an idiot. He was shy.

He looked at the guy next to him, a short dark skinned kid about 16 years old typing furiously, the keyboard in front of him shook like it was epileptic. He was just typing the words ‘Fuck I’m bored’ over and over again. Accurate and fast, Neeves disliked him immediately; he knew they would never get along.

The lecturer was dribbling something about the first day, the topics that they would cover in the first term, Mathematics, Word-processing, Databases, spreadsheet…. Blah, blah blah. Neeves felt like going to sleep. He wasn’t tired anymore; he was just like the kid next to him, fucking bored. He dared not speak though, that was rude and inconsiderate, and so he decided to do something a little less noticeable, look around. Apart from the kid next to him, and the lecturer up at the front, there were quite a few others that took Neeves attention from the nothing he was previously focused on.

Another dark skin on his other side, in fact two others, a skinny kid, probably 18 or 19 years old, and a plumper more healthy looking 17 year old. The 19 year old was furthest away, sitting next to the wall; he looked to be playing a game of ‘Singles Cards’ on the computer. The 17 year old was right next to him scribbling down notes about the semester in his notepad, Neeves wondered why for a second and realized that this one was dedicated to work, and started disliking him as well.

Over the room was a middle aged woman with Orange hair and olive skin, small freckles darted across her flesh like sand flies on the beach. She looked like your average bitch. He didn’t like her either.

“Righteo” said the lecturer with a sigh, he knew no one gave a shit about the last hour he’d spent talking, but he was paid to say it, so it didn’t bother him at all.
“Looks like it’s time for a break so that all of you smokers can kill yourselves just a bit more”

“’bout fucking time” Neeves thought to himself, giving himself a pat on the back mentally as he did so. I don’t know why.

Everyone wandered out of the building and to a small green outdoor setting not far from the door. An hour of boredom tends to make people lazy. Neeves sat at the table along with The 16, 17 and 18 year olds. Two more joined them, but the Orange haired lady and some other girls trotted off to the cafeteria just over a patch of grass. The two that joined them where both young, 17.

“You bored of this shit too huh?” said the first boy.
“Mmm yeh, its shit really, it’s supposed to be a computer course, and we have to do maths, that’s shit” replied the first.
The thin dark skin guy piped up “You got a cig I can borrow?” He was talking to Neeves.
“Uh, yeh” Neeves knew he’d left his pack of cigs in his top pocket for the entire universe to view. He handed him a cigarette.
“Ta, what’s your name?”
“Neeves – The Unhumorous Jester”
“I’m Rob”
“K” was all Neeves could manage as he sparked up a cigarette of his own.
“Reggie” said the short dark skin kid that could type fast and accurate.
“Jim” Said the one that started this whole ordeal
“Chad” Said the second.
“K” said Neeves as he drew back on his cigarette.
“Sammie” said the last of the group; it was ‘the boy who takes pointless notes’.
“How longs our break go for?” queried a new voice.
No one noticed him, a short freckle faced kid, red hair, the sort of kid that reminds you of a naïve kitten, the kind that believes the world is theirs, the kind you wanted to take a rather hefty brick to. No one did.
”Fifteen minutes.” Said Chad.
“Cool, I’m Troy” still no one hit him with a brick.

As the minutes passed everyone got to know each other. The apple was a kid from the hills just north of the Kadel, the city of which they were in, he liked chicks and heavy metal and parties. Chad came from the south side, which meant he had a bit of cash, well at least, his parents had some, he knew Jim from the last school they went to, so they were friends already. Jim was from the same area. All they got out of Rob was his love of raves and cars with big motors. Sam lived with his folks on an orchard, he worked there, and made some good cash as well. Reggie was the runt of their litter, 16 years old and he had a bond with computers not many could match. Not a bad bit of information for only fifteen minutes work.

They all headed back indoors, back to the boring odorless classroom of which they had left only twenty odd minutes before. The lecturer began lecturing again, but there was a different feel in the class, a friendlier feel, a more comforting feel.

Troy was surfing the computing cross stitch, otherwise just known as the ‘stitch’ to the knowledgeable few. The stitch was a bunch of computers all linked together, sharing info on any topic, but mainly rude pictures of young girls that probably needed to support a worthy drug habit. That topic was the one of the apples favorites and the one that he was searching for now, along with pretending to be a stud to some chick that lived on the other side of the island. Reg looked across at him and covered his smile, knowing full well that this kid was only here for the fast connections, the social life and the chicks, that and he knew he was a wanker. Reg was coding some bullshit program that would later take down one of the computers for two weeks, typing away at the keyboard like a lunatic, Neeves was wondering just when the hell someone would bring out water cooled keys, just so people like Reggie could type just that little bit faster and bring down more systems in less time, hey, That‘s a damn good idea, somebody write that down.

Everyone else was pretty much doing a lot of not a god damn thing. The lecturer babbled more shit about how to use a mouse to those that hadn’t figured it out in the past half a day. There was only one, a red headed lady of plumpish nature, Neeves never got her name, he had no requirement to, she was never really important in the whole scheme of things, not to be rude or anything.

Things went on like this for the rest of the day. Absolutely fuck all happened that was relevant to the world; it was your average day. This was the routine for a matter of weeks.

About a month after starting this thing called school Neeves met her. She was a god damn Angel. Blonde hair, blue eyes, she even had tits and legs, all the things required by a seventeen year old virgin. Great.

The Angel lived across the road from the castle, a little place just known as the shack. The name fitted due to it being smaller and somewhat shabbier than the castle. The shacks primary inhabitants were Banana woman, Scruff, Bobbit and the angel. Now the Bobbit and the angel dated, the scruff was the step father of Bobbit and banana woman was the birth giver of the Bobbit. Neeves got on pretty well with them all, even had a few drinks with Bobbit and the angel once in a while, and everything was well, but then things began to change, Angel made eyes at Neeves, Neeves got worried, Bobbit started getting noticing things and lost his temper with the Angel and everything went to shit…

It only took a couple of weeks really, but it was bound to happen. Sad really, because if Neeves could take it all back he would. He never likes to hurt friends, but he got greedy for love and stole it off poor Bobbit. Little looks turned to touches and brushes past of arms, brushes past the arms turned to confusion for Neeves, that’s when he decided to look for advice, and in the empress he found it, little did he know how quick on the uptake the empress was.

It was latish in the afternoon and Neeves had just had another run in with the dreaded but liked brush past the arm. He had enough and went back to the castle, The empress had just returned from work and was having a good rest on the couch watching her favorite show ‘Randomly Flickering Images’.

“I’m confused’ Neeves said whilst slumping on the couch.
“About what exactly?”
“The angel”
“Well, yes, and?”
“Well, uh, I was just over there right, and there was me, Bobbit and angel, all sitting on the couch over there”
“uh huh.” Smirked the Empress
“well, anyway, Angels feet were on Bobbit, and she rested her head on my shoulder, but as she did so, she uh, rubbed my shoulder her with her thumb”
“And you liked it yes?”
“yeh, but she’s going out with Bobbit… and I dunno if it was deliberate or not.”
“ok, look, I know she likes you, she told me so the other day, when you were at school.”

Neeves mind raced, he’d never actually had a girlfriend before, well, not like a GIRLfriend, he’d had friends that were female, but that’s a very different story.

“eggh, so what do I do then?” inquired Neeves shakily.
“go with the flow, I suppose”

Neeves loved that about the empress, always the believer of fate. What ever will be will be… is it… “Ke sera sera?” or something like that?..

So that’s what he did, he went with the flow. Over the next couple of weeks, when ever the angel would take Bobbit off to work he would accompany them, just like he had done before, after they had dropped him off he would clamber into the front seat next to her, he never touched her, for that was to him, dishonorable. She had her hand on his leg once or twice when driving back, and she gave him the odd hug when he went of to school. He had never in his life felt so alive. Never felt so ashamed for what he had done to his friend.

Not long later the inevitable showed it’s ugly face. A battle of words rang out from the shack across the road from the castle, Neeves had only just gotten back from ‘school’
Neeves shuddered knowing that fate was about to tear out a few hearts, burn a few souls. He wondered across the road.

“You fucking what?” screamed Bobbit as he pushed the Angel out of the door.
“I don’t love you anymore Bobbit” cried back the Angel.
“It’s him isn’t it! , you fucking bitch! You fucking bitch!”

Neeves felt his stomach drop out his arse and bolt down the road. Fuck! What a mess.

“So fucking what if it is! He treats me better HE RESPECTS ME!” tears rolled down her face.

“Mother fucker” thought Neeves as he got to the end of the drive, “What the fuck have I done!”

“Go on then you SLUT!” , like a knife those words cut through her, like a hot chainsaw through butter.

Neeves spoke “ I’m so sorry dude, I never meant for this shit to happen.”

“Shut the fuck up Neeves you cunt” , there’s that knife again.

The Angel ran towards him, crying as she did so. He paid no attention to Bobbit screaming death threats and other things that even the worlds toughest gangster would shudder at, and you know how tough those gangsters are, instead he was more concerned for her, to get her out of this hostile situation. What a gentleman he is, even if he didn’t feel it at the time. He never even heard himself as he escorted her back to the castle, apologizing to her how he was sorry for destroying her happiness, not even realizing that her happiness was gone along time before he got there.

Bobbit was bashing up inanimate objects when Neeves and the Angel got back within the gate of the castle, they could still hear him cursing and crying at the same time.

“What the fucks going on?” queried the Empress.
“Bobbit hit her” mumbled Neeves, getting angrier by the second, now feeling like a wuss for not beating the shit out of Bobbit when he had the chance. Never mind the fact that Neeves would have got his arse kicked, beaten and obliterated as a result, but he would have felt better if he tried.
“He didn’t really, he just pushed me out the door” Sniffled the Angel
“Come over here, I’ll put the kettle on” calmed the Empress, “Neeves, go have a smoke outside, calm down, you’re shaking like an elephants dildo”

He always loved that simile. An Elephants Dildo.

Neeves did so, not arguing, knowing full well that at the risk of cancer, a cigarette would calm his ever growing case of the shakes.

Sparking up his first of many cigarettes Neeves sat down on a bench, there he found a wooden baseball bat. How useful would that have been a few minutes ago. Still could be, all he’d have to do is jump over a fence and he’d be there, he could prove his manliness right there.

“You don’t want to do that”

Neeves looked up to see the maker of the voice.

The King.

“Yeah, I know” said Neeves shyly, knowing that he wasn’t alone in thoughts.
“I heard it all, don’t worry, is The Angel ok?”
“She’s very shaky, he pushed her out of the door, I think he might have hurt her arm.”
“She’ll be right mate”
“Yeah” Neeves paused “Yeah, she’ll be right”. Hoping.

He still wanted to take the bat and jump the fence, but with the king there, he didn’t stand a chance. The King was a big man. Like a lion. You know how some lions look like fat arses but it’s actually just muscle? That’s how the king was built. And just like a lion, you’d never call him a fat arse to his face, otherwise he might just tear you a new one, defiantly not as pretty either. In fact, I’m pretty fucking tempted to get rid of that line, just in case.

“I didn’t even know you were due back in town”
“I have to come home every now and then, nothing like your own bed”
“Yeah true”

Neeves lit up another smoke, his hands were still shaking. Empress came out with two rather strong coffees in very generous mugs. If there’s one thing you have to learn in life its ‘Coffee is your friend.’

“Thanks” said Neeves, it kind of pissed him off knowing that he’d have to wait for it to cool down, but, that was habit.

He stayed out there for a good half an hour whilst the Empress and Angel talked inside, making arrangements for moving in and such. He never heard any of the conversation, like it matters to this tale.

And eventually it came to be that he finally went inside and dragged is lady off to his room.

Now don’t go all Neanderthal on me, it’s not like that. He was making sleeping arrangements.

“My bed is only a single, you can have that, I will sleep on the couch tonight”
“Don’t be stupid, it’s your bed, I will sleep on the couch” A voice like honey and a body just as sweet.

They lay on the bed together that night, talking about what had happened. Neeves never even gave a thought to Bobbit lying alone on the other side of the road with his heart torn from his rib cage, metaphorically speaking of course.
There’s a phrase here in Quanishodosis that people like to use a fair bit when describing immense emotion, it’s morbid in a way, but a beautiful saying none the less. ‘Tears of Blood’. For example “She was so sad that she cried tears of blood”, would mean that she was very bloody sad, maybe on the point of suicide… Oh you want a happy one too? Oh well, back to the tale at hand.

Neeves had no idea that on that night, he would cry tears of blood. The Angel and he had lay on the bed for hours, just holding one another, a perfect silence surrounding them, like a cloud to hide the outside chaos. Like a drug induced coma they lay there, not dead, but in love. Neeves had never in his life felt love. Not like this. Not between himself and another person, not in the least a female. Amazing. That very night, for the first time in Neeve’s life, love was not just made , it was created.

And that night, Neeves cried, he cried Tears of Blood.

“Hey hey!” said Rob when Neeves rolled into school the next day. “You got laid”
“huh? Uh, yeah.” Replied Neeves nervously, not liking to be judged, but knowing that the event the night before had bought him into a new gang, a gang of men.

Everyone had noticed the change in him, how he was acting, so shyly, like a puppy that pissed on the carpet, proud, yet shy. Always walking around with his eyes on the ground, like it’d split open if he didn’t keep watch on it. Not looking people in the eyes, believing that if he did they’d know, like his pupils suddenly had small bill boards in them with notices that read “I’m not a virgin, anymore”

“So?” asked Rob, impatiently.
“Well, who is she??”
“Ahh, the Angel”
“Yes, her”
“uh, well…” Neeves replied, before going into the story of how they met, the time they shared all the way up until yesterday’s battle. The battle he will never forget, no matter how much he wanted to.

A month or so past, and things had settled down. Neeves was happy in his life, he went to school, whilst the Angel went to work in a small food shop on the other side of town, some nights she went to friends places to chat and drink and have a good time, he’d sit at home staring into his computer, surfing the wonderful stitch, gathering knowledge that would never serve a real purpose to him, just like algebra… but more fun.

Soon enough though he began to notice changes in everyone’s treatment towards him and the Angel. The hashman had become more avoidant, Neeves put it down to drugs. The Empress became more uptight whenever the Angel was bought into conversation and The King was harsh in his treatment of her, and for no good reason. Neeves was becoming confused again. Very confused.

Not long after the Angel started staying out nights at her friends places, Neeves was so naïve, so blind. He thought she deserved to have fun, she worked hard enough. Some nights he felt a little alone. One particular night he wanted her to have dinner with the family instead of going out, but it was not to be. The phone rang early in the evening. The Empress answered, a frown forming on her face within seconds of the conversation starting.

“Well you bloody tell him.” She snarled down the phone, obviously unimpressed. “Neeves” she added “it’s for you.

Neeves took the hand piece, preparing for something to fuck up his day.

“Angel hey!” He was happy to hear her voice, yet troubled, remember the response of the empress.
“Look , I’ll be home late ok?, I’m at Fi’s place”
“uh, yeah” His heart sank “Yeah ok. How late? Like an hour?”
“Uh yeah, yeah ok” she sounds like she’d been drinking; he knew she wasn’t coming home that night.
He hung up the phone.
A pot of boiled potatoes was sitting on the bench. They didn’t stay whole for long. He mashed those fuckers. If potatoes could feel pain and scream, the night would have filled with wails and crying, he wasn’t just mashing them, he was smashing, and crushing and killing them.

“She isn’t coming home tonight” He said mash mash mash
“She told me she’d just be late though” said the Empress.
“She told me that too, but she’s been drinking, she’ll not be home tonight” mash mash. He recalled hearing Bobbit in the background of that phone call. He knew in the back of his mind that would lose her. Though it wouldn’t be clear for weeks to come.

I can’t tell you how the argument started, Banana Woman was visiting and having a “chat” with the Empress, it was a heated argument, about something Neeves had written, a note to himself… Neeves had just woken up and heard what was going on. Obviously the Empress disagreed with what he had written. Neeves wandered out.

“This is bullshit Neeves”
“This!” She stated handing him the note.
“It’s how I feel” He said tiredly.
“It’s bullshit!” she stated again, she obviously believed that.
“But it’s how I feel!” Neeves didn’t like arguing tired… he was always weaker when he was tired.

“That little bitch in there” she started.

uh oh.

“She’s been cheating on you!!”


“What??” asked Neeves, now knowing how Bobbit must have felt not so long ago.

“Two weeks after you got together!”

Banana Woman slunk back in her chair. Sipping on her black tea.

“Two weeks and she was fucking my son!”

The words tore him apart, his head exploded and his gut lurched. He felt physically sick. He could have died right there and not cared. Instead he walked to the end of the hall. The Angel had her own room now and that was his destination. She was making her bed as if she’d heard nothing.
She looked at him with sorrow. He knew then it was true, but as is the usual case, he had to hear it from her.

“Is it true” quietly he said this, like a dying animal whimpering on the roadside after having been hit by a truck.

That was all. He went to his room, got dressed, grabbed a new packet of smokes and left. He didn’t have his routine coffee. He never had his routine chat with the empress.

He just left.

He looked dead, he felt dead. To anyone that would have seen him as he skulked off to school, he was dead.

“What the fuck happened?”
It was Suzie, the Orange haired lady, the one with olive skin and freckles. Over the couple of months that he’d been here he had befriended a few people, Suzie was one of the least likely to be capable of this, yet she was and still is one of his dearest friends.

“It’s over Suzie”
“What is honey??”
“My life, the Angel, she betrayed me, she cheated, she took out my heart and ate it in front of me, she’s no angel, not really, she’s an actress and a fine one at that. I shall no longer call her by Angel, I shall call her The Thespian.”
“oh honey” soothed Suzie, Honey was what she called him, and any young male around her. She was like a mother, wise and knowledgeable, and very very caring.
“It’s alright, I think I already knew, today just confirmed my fears, but now what do I do?”
“Tonight, you don’t stay there, you go stay somewhere else.”

And that he did. He stayed at another friends place, he smoked many a cigarette, watched much television, and slept a very poor nights sleep.

The following day he called for the Empress to chat. And chat they did. He found out that he had been used by the angel to get to her son, The Hashman… he found that she had been with him more times than she would later admit. And he found that she was cast out of the castle not long after he had left that night before. He would not see her much after that, yet when ever he did, she was in the arms of Bobbit. Fate is a funny thing.

Just as a quick point, there are a LOT of comma splices. Believe it or not, grammar is important. It makes the reading smoother. I know it is an early draft, but I just wanted to make sure you were aware of it.

Likewise, another quick point. I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but the narrative tense jumps around a lot. It goes from speaking of past things to speaking in the present fairly often, which I find distracting. It seemed to pop up most during character descriptions. Just something to watch.

This is as far as I got. I like the stuff I read to have lively verbs. The best writing advice I ever received was to avoid gerunds.

Second best advice suggested I avoid passive voice (forms of the verb to be)

Third best was to eliminate as many adjectives and adverbs from my writing as possible, selecting instead precice nouns and verbs.

Fourth was that numbered lists (like this) are a sign of a terrible writer.

Because of time constraints, I read only about half of it. The grammar is in need of help, as mentioned above. Sometimes in fiction, bad grammar can serve as a function of the narrative. For instance, the tremendous amount of comma splices and run-ons you have can give the reader a tumbling effect, as one thought seems to blend into the other without the hard-stop of a period, colon, or semi-colon. But based on the obvious grammar errors you make – such as not hyphenating words that are compound adjectives and the like – I believe the bad grammar isn’t intentional.

Faulkner, for instance, made use of creative grammar to fit the function of the narrative. But such grammar must be consistently applied.

There’s also too much “telling” without “showing” in the narrative, along with a bit of redundant description in the early paragraphs. And I’d like to mention this description:

“Maybe, I don’t remember much of it” He replied in his usual ‘I’m still tired, why are you asking me such a tough question for?’ way.

Don’t be lazy. Find the right word. Be conscious of tight writing. If you can give a description in one word rather than six, then do it in one. Respect your reader’s time. This tale is intentionally confusing to the reader; don’t make the reading frustrating with too many empty phrases that have been written merely for the sake of showing off your style.

There is no clue in the excerpt as to time or place. In fact, the location is left mysterious and ambiguous for far too long. This makes visualization almost impossible.

(You’re a brave man for posting this so nakedly. No way are my book chapters going up like this.)


If you wanna write, you gotta have thick skin. :)

That’s not a problem. But unfinished work on the Internet? That’s just asking for more headaches than I can handle. :) Better a small circle of very critical friends and editors than the entire world.

I am happy to criticize though.


Only problem with that is I get answers that don’t seem real … I get ALOT of “Brilliant” and “That’s awesome” … a mate of mine said it was “Just like talking to you on the internet” … whether that’s good or not is a matter of perspective.

Jack - yes, the bad grammer is non-intentional. I only ever did low level English due to the highschool I went to (most kids left to look after famrs… not many got opertunities for higher studies) although in my final year of highschool my teacher told me I should have been placed in a higher level. It annoys me to this very day, it was my last year, and the final weeks.

Keep it coming people - I’ll be looking into alot of things to make a better story. (especially “,word,word,word,word,word”)


A comment on the overall style- it seems way too “clever,” which can be very difficult to pull off. It seems like you are more focused on making each sentence amusing without looking at its effect on the overall work. Its hard to get swept up in the story if the writing is consistently calling attention to itself.

As a general rule, don’t go to family or friends and expect real or helpful criticism. Most people don’t know HOW to do it much less how to do it for someone who’s feelings they don’t want to hurt.

There are freelance editors you can pay to read and critique your manuscript. Aside from that, find a writer’s group that will have you. I have no idea how easy or hard that is to find in Tasmania. Again, I really recommend you start visiting some writer message boards if you’re serious about this.

I guess I’m lucky in that regard. Part of it comes from the grad school environment we all met in, I guess, where we are all trained to be pretty thorough in our critiques of each other’s work. Not “make you cry” criticism, but “You may want to re-write that chapter. And WTF are you trying to say here? And who is your audience?”. Article edits, book chapters, dissertations, the works. (Grad school has also made me unable to write fiction I think.)

Always go with a pro if you can find one, of course. But if you know which friends you can trust, I see nothing wrong with listening - if not always believing.

Either way, no way is any book of mine going on the Internet first. It’s like giving a speech naked.


A couple of things I noticed…

First, don’t worry too much about what the writers think of style. Just as programmers tend to look at code a certain way, so writers can tend to look at style and story in a different way from a “regular” person. The perfection of form they strive to reach can as much alienate them from the populace they wish to reach as can any bad grammar, sadly. Stephen King, for example, has long lived with “real” writers calling him a hack, but he’s brought more enjoyment to more people (and reaped the rewards) than most of his critics put together. Ditto Steven Spielburg with movies, Bill Gates with operating systems, etc. I’d suggest you worry about connecting with regular people, since they appear to be your audience.

You don’t need a writer’s group in Tasmania. There’s lots of them on the internet. A quick Google might find one for you.

Personally I think it’s laudable that you would even write a book. Bravo if you finish it. If it sells or does not you will have accomplished more than most people ever do.

As for critique…I’ve noticed generic advice from the writers here, but no specific help. Not to abuse your good natures, but for example:

“Maybe, I don’t remember much of it” He replied in his usual ‘I’m still tired, why are you asking me such a tough question for?’ way.

Was quoted as “lazy,” but no example was forthcoming about a way to fix it. Don’t proof the manuscript, obviously, but a direct pointer or two like that might be a big help for nutsak. I’d offer a suggestion but I was okay with it, so I’m obviously not qualified.

TSG, you’re correct of course. I originally had “Unless you’re lucky” at the beginning of that post (replacing “As a general rule”). The vast majority of people seem to be really uncomfortable with the idea of criticism, however.

No disrespect intended, Joe, but there’s a difference between breaking grammatical rules when it’s apparent you know what you’re doing and breaking the rules out of ignorance. No one said he was a hack and no one criticized the tale he was telling.

Your post is akin to telling a beginning piano student not to worry about technique or scales and just play what he feels. Maybe you can cite an example or two of people who had little musical training on the instrument and went on to great success, but those cases are painfully rare. I don’t know your background, but fiction writing is an extremely competitive market and to tell a beginning writer to ignore technique and grammar is only going to hobble him when he goes up against truly skilled craftsmen (hack or not, Stephen King knows his craft quite well). To tell him to essentially ignore our comments is a bit irresponsible.

And no, I’m not offering anything beyond “lazy” for his lack of a decent adjective because that’s part of the skill involved. He has to learn to pick his own words, not mine. For him to concentrate on style before he masters basic structure is putting the cart before the horse.

And another thing: Our criticisms and suggestions are rather superficial because that’s all we can offer. Once he understands the mechanics of writing and how to pace a tale (which is the essence of the posts), the creativity is up to him. We can’t comment on that aspect.

I apologize if you’re a professional writer and know all this stuff. I don’t mean to patronize.

No disrespect intended, Joe, but there’s a difference between breaking grammatical rules when it’s apparent you know what you’re doing and breaking the rules out of ignorance. No one said he was a hack and no one criticized the tale he was telling.

Your post is akin to telling a beginning piano student not to worry about technique or scales and just play what he feels. Maybe you can cite an example or two of people who had little musical training on the instrument and went on to great success, but those cases are painfully rare. I don’t know your background, but fiction writing is an extremely competitive market and to tell a beginning writer to ignore technique and grammar is only going to hobble him when he goes up against truly skilled craftsmen (hack or not, Stephen King knows his craft quite well). To tell him to essentially ignore our comments is a bit irresponsible.

And no, I’m not offering anything beyond “lazy” for his lack of a decent adjective because that’s part of the skill involved. He has to learn to pick his own words, not mine. For him to concentrate on style before he masters basic structure is putting the cart before the horse.

And another thing: Our criticisms and suggestions are rather superficial because that’s all we can offer. Once he understands the mechanics of writing and how to pace a tale (which is the essence of the posts), the creativity is up to him. We can’t comment on that aspect.

I apologize if you’re a professional writer and know all this stuff. I don’t mean to patronize.

Well, lesse. You completely missed my point. You once again did not actually help nutsak, but listed vague points and preferred to be offended by my comments and respond to those, rather than to the person asking for help. This thread’s not about you, it’s about nutsak. At least you defined why you were not listing more concrete examples, which might be of assistance to him. Getting him help and encouraging him were my goals.

Last, please don’t derail the guys thread by writing long responses to me. If you’d used half the concentration helping him that you applied to your ripost against my perceived slight of writing expertise, it probably would have been a great help to nutsak.

Actually, I believe our conversation may help him with the process of writing, if not with his specific piece. You addressed my post, I responded; it’s a conversation. Sorry if I seemed to react so suddenly. I’m rather passionate about this topic.

nutsak: Have you written anything else? Short stories, maybe? Shorter pieces can help you learn to tighten structure.