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View Full Version : C'mon - give my book a read.



Talanic
2009-07-08, 09:27 PM
I've been on these boards for a while now, but I haven't been motivated to beg until tonight.

See, I'm an unpublished author. I'd like to say a good one, but you know how it is - I can't give myself an unbiased review. I'm also only sporadically employed, and it's starting to really hurt.

Publication is my greatest hope. To that end, I have my book hosted on Authonomy, Harper-Collins' internet slushpile. If enough people have decided that they like the book by the end of the month, the publisher will actually take a look at my work. Most of the time, the books they look at wind up being still too sloppy for them to publish, but a few authors have gotten contracts. I'm determined to work any remaining kinks out of my book before they take a look, though.

Help a poor guy out - check out my book on Authonomy (http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=7961). If you like it, please create a profile there and vote for it, and bump this post as well. If you don't like it, please let me know why; I'm always looking to fix problems.

If you do create a profile, please check out the rest of the site; there's some really bad writers there, but also some really, really good ones.

13_CBS
2009-07-08, 10:12 PM
Interesting...I don't have the time to read it right now, but I took a quick peek at the first page nonetheless, and I'm liking your prose style already :smallbiggrin:

Lord Seth
2009-07-08, 10:44 PM
Judging by the first page (web page anyway). Obvious big problem: It isn't attention-grabbing. You might want to make it more attention-grabbing early on. Secondly, cut down on the unnecessarily long infodump conversation Derek has with the "Shadow." In fact, was the Shadow even necessary? Maybe it comes into play later, but I think it would've worked better to remove it entirely, given that its entire purpose seemed to be a way to give some infodump. Except the infodump was about things I didn't know about and thus had no reason to care about. It's not necessarily bad to throw us right into the middle of things, but you need to get attention while doing so, and as I've noted before, I didn't find my attention gotten.

It's tough for me to give suggestions on how to improve it as I don't know what happens afterward (as I got bored and didn't finish) so all I can say is trim everything that isn't absolutely necessary and try to grab the reader's attention quicker.

My suggestion? Look at how the books in The Dresden Files series start off. I find them to be very good at getting the reader's attention and giving you the necessary information without bogging you down with things that aren't important yet.

Lupy
2009-07-08, 11:51 PM
I feel that there is too much dialogue, and too many references to things the reader doesn't know about in the conversation between Mycah and Irotas, and not enough description of what is going on.

The introduction of Sheralys also seems very sudden, without explanation.

Just my input on the first chapter. It's quite good though, I'll read the rest this week and keep posting.

Myatar_Panwar
2009-07-09, 12:16 AM
The first few paragraphs felt a little sluggish, just giving off some very very early impressions. I'll continue reading.

Also just wanted to congratulate you on finishing a book. Definitely no small task.

PhoeKun
2009-07-09, 12:21 AM
Also just wanted to congratulate you on finishing a book. Definitely no small task.

Not to sound mean or anything but actually, yes. Yes it is a small task. The much deserved accolades come from other, vastly more difficult accomplishments associated with finishing a book.

Myatar_Panwar
2009-07-09, 12:41 AM
Wow, you must have a wildly different definition of the phrase.

Talanic
2009-07-09, 01:09 AM
Not to sound mean or anything but actually, yes. Yes it is a small task. The much deserved accolades come from other, vastly more difficult accomplishments associated with finishing a book.

*shrug*

I'd say that writing a book is a small task. Writing a good book is hard. Writing a GREAT book is really, really hard.

I'm not sure which I did, but I suspect I landed between the first two.

For everyone else here, I'm giving the work an overhaul tonight. After all, I'm on night shift, stuck in an empty factory that only requires one patrol per hour; the managers explicitly gave me permission to internet surf and write.

Worira
2009-07-09, 01:15 AM
Even writing a pile of derivative slop (which I'm not saying this is) takes a pretty substantial investment of time. I wouldn't call it a small task under any definition.

Anyway, I'll probably get started reading this tomorrow.

PhoeKun
2009-07-09, 02:04 AM
*shrug*

I'd say that writing a book is a small task. Writing a good book is hard. Writing a GREAT book is really, really hard.

I'm not sure which I did, but I suspect I landed between the first two.

Yes, exactly. I don't believe in praising someone for accomplishing a task purely on the merits of the task being accomplished. Especially writing a book. There's no point in building up the idea of writing a book into some gigantic monster... anyone can write a book. Everyone should write a book. It's fun and easy - you can do whatever you want.

It's actually very much like doing your taxes. It's a sizable investment of your time, and doable by everyone... but much harder to do well. And its a bit odd to praise someone for doing them.

At any rate, I'm not yet qualified to comment on this book, specifically - I haven't read it. I would like to, but I make no guarantees; I move notoriously slowly in the literary world.

Talanic
2009-07-09, 02:09 AM
S'okay. Looks like Authonomy went down. And I'm trying to address critiques right now, hopefully bumping my book up to a solid 'good' standing. Or better, if I can manage.

Part of Authonomy's problem is butt-kissing, effectively. Authors can vote up other authors' books, so most people don't dare give honest critique of other peoples' writing, because they're scared they won't get voted for. I try to quash that fear, and have come to be known (if only in a small circle) for harsh but fair criticism.

Talanic
2009-07-09, 02:41 AM
Judging by the first page (web page anyway). Obvious big problem: It isn't attention-grabbing. You might want to make it more attention-grabbing early on. Secondly, cut down on the unnecessarily long infodump conversation Derek has with the "Shadow." In fact, was the Shadow even necessary? Maybe it comes into play later, but I think it would've worked better to remove it entirely, given that its entire purpose seemed to be a way to give some infodump. Except the infodump was about things I didn't know about and thus had no reason to care about. It's not necessarily bad to throw us right into the middle of things, but you need to get attention while doing so, and as I've noted before, I didn't find my attention gotten.


I've tried to limit the infodump; in the months of people critiquing, you're only the third or fourth person to complain...but that doesn't make you wrong. I'm working on cutting a bunch of it. A lot isn't as relevant to the reader as it would be to Derek, so I keep having to fight my instincts there.

Shadow plays many roles, one of which is sarcastic comic relief. I'm trying to tone up that side of him without making him annoying because of it. Another part of the story is what happens to Derek when he no longer has Shadow around.

Vaynor
2009-07-09, 02:55 AM
I added it to my bookshelf and my liked books or whatever, not sure if that's voting for it, but I hope I can help you publish it. :smallsmile:

Lord Seth
2009-07-09, 03:10 AM
I've tried to limit the infodump; in the months of people critiquing, you're only the third or fourth person to complain...but that doesn't make you wrong. I'm working on cutting a bunch of it. A lot isn't as relevant to the reader as it would be to Derek, so I keep having to fight my instincts there.

Shadow plays many roles, one of which is sarcastic comic relief. I'm trying to tone up that side of him without making him annoying because of it. Another part of the story is what happens to Derek when he no longer has Shadow around.Well, my question about Shadow was a bit of a goof. I was skimming near the end and got the mistaken thought that Shadow destroyed itself, when it was really just moving out. My goof! Like I said, I got a bit bored by the infodump so I wasn't really paying too much attention by that point.

Actually, cutting out the entire monologue Derek has (well, monologue in a sense) and have him relay any necessary information to Mycah would work well. At present, the part where he's talking to her about who he is and whatnot seems redundant to the reader, as he's largely just telling her things we already learned in the monologue/infodump. Keeping the "camera" on Mycah up through that point would benefit it, I think, as it could at least create a little mystery about who Derek is rather than flat-out telling the reader right off the bat, and all the stuff the reader would need to know immediately is explained in dialogue by him to Mycah anyway. (Did that make sense? I'm not sure I expressed it well.)

Talanic
2009-07-09, 03:17 AM
Vaynor - yes, that's how you vote.


Actually, cutting out the entire monologue Derek has (well, monologue in a sense) and have him relay any necessary information to Mycah would work well. At present, the part where he's talking to her about who he is and whatnot seems redundant to the reader, as he's largely just telling her things we already learned in the monologue/infodump. Keeping the "camera" on Mycah up through that point would benefit it, I think, as it could at least create a little mystery about who Derek is rather than flat-out telling the reader right off the bat, and all the stuff the reader would need to know immediately is explained in dialogue by him to Mycah anyway. (Did that make sense? I'm not sure I expressed it well.)

I'll keep it in mind - Lord knows, I've done larger rewrites than that - but there could be too much mystery in there. While I've trimmed the monologue (no upload yet) by a few hundred words, I'll definitely ponder a perspective swap (or expanding the next perspective swap...etc).

13_CBS
2009-07-09, 07:41 AM
Yes, exactly. I don't believe in praising someone for accomplishing a task purely on the merits of the task being accomplished. Especially writing a book. There's no point in building up the idea of writing a book into some gigantic monster... anyone can write a book. Everyone should write a book. It's fun and easy - you can do whatever you want.

It's actually very much like doing your taxes. It's a sizable investment of your time, and doable by everyone... but much harder to do well. And its a bit odd to praise someone for doing them.


I dunno...depends on the person, I guess, but everytime I have an idea for a book (and I do want to write one), I falter due to the sheer amount of research necessary to get things right. So for me, even completing a work of fiction would be very difficult.

Jimor
2009-07-09, 07:50 AM
Two chapters in and so far I'm still interested. :smallsmile: Considering that I have slush pile experience and am thus prone to early glazed-eye syndrome, that's pretty good!:smalltongue:

Nice setup to get tech into an ostensibly fantasy world, with some nifty details to back up the premise. No real "notes" for you because you successfully kicked me out of editor mode into reader mode where I don't bother cataloging "fixes".

Will read more when I get some time.

Talanic
2009-07-09, 03:21 PM
I dunno...depends on the person, I guess, but everytime I have an idea for a book (and I do want to write one), I falter due to the sheer amount of research necessary to get things right. So for me, even completing a work of fiction would be very difficult.

That's the difference between writing a good book and writing a bad book. See, you're doing research...that means you're trying to write a good book.

Lord Seth
2009-07-10, 06:34 PM
In regards to the "is writing a book an accomplishment", I'll say that the mere existence of Eragon shows that writing a book is not necessarily a particularly impressive accomplishment.

Of course, becoming a bestseller and rich because of something as badly-written as Eragon IS a bit of an accomplishment, to be fair...

Ozymandias
2009-07-11, 11:26 PM
Is writing a book easy? Depends.

For some people, definitely.

For most people, probably not.

For people who worry about prose and flow and devices and metaphor and subtext to the extent that people like me do, hell no.

If you write the story you want, edit it, and look for publication, it's probably not hard to finish a novel, and that's probably how a lot of people get published (the distinguished Mr. Paolini, for example, or a lot of other genre writers). Some of these books are even good, and often get better as the authors gain experience.

If you write a paragraph, delete it, rewrite it, delete it, write it again, move on, repeat for four more paragraphs, then delete everything and quit in disgust because it's not good enough, dammit, it's positively tortuous.

I haven't read your book, sorry, I just want to take a break from a short story I'm working on, and share the pain of creation through the film heartless anonymity.