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Infinity Children
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**CLOSED** BotM: Infinity Children by Trevor E. Donaldson

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message 1: by Trinity, PNH Lovers Tech Support & Group creator (new)

Trinity Hanrahan (musesinspire) | 171 comments Mod
Please post your comments and thoughts on our Small Press of the Month Infinity Children by Trevor E. Donaldson.

Feel free to share your impressions, your complaints, whatever as we go along! :-) But remember, please leave constructive criticism and not just blatant flames. If you don't like the story, it always helps to explain WHY rather than to just state that you hate it.

Have fun!

message 2: by John (last edited Dec 03, 2012 04:44AM) (new)

John Elwood (johnelwood) "The evening of Nathan's passion for history and women had set upon him." I feel for all authors struggling to come up with the perfect first line. I myself have this issue, nearly every waking moment, because I'm constantly revising one thing or another, which means I always have in the back of my mind, "Is the hook strong enough?"

In the case of reviewing Trevor Donaldon's work (with the same callous disregard for feelings as I must review my own work), INFINITY CHILDREN, I have asked myself the same questions. My answer to this is no. The hook is not strong enough. Nor is it necessarily good writing. I know that sounds harsh, but please, let me explain.

First off, it's terribly esoteric. It ventures off--flies off, really, into the abstract. There's nothing concrete, or immediate, or pressing about it. There's nothing here I can relate to, either. First off, the sentence is poorly constructed. "The evening of Nathan's passion for history and women had set upon him."

Let's take a look at the subject: [The evening of Nathan's passion for history and women]. I had to read this sentence three times to fully reassure myself that it wasn't a typo, to isolate what the subject was. The noun phrase is immense in size. Ultimately, it's [The evening], that has set upon Nathan, but by the time I reached the end of endless modifiers, I'd forgotten all about what time of day or night it was. I have no idea about the setting. I knew I have a man whose name was Nathan, and he totally liked two completely unrelated things? History...and women? I'm imagining a sweaty man in his basement pouring over playboy magazines and WWI memorabilia. He cannot control this instinct, as the evening has SET upon HIM, not the other way around, robbing him of all agency in this transaction.

The next sentence, instead of clarifying matters, the narrative muddles them further for me, as a reader. It's actually more abstract than the opener, but thankfully less complex. "Fingers of destiny plucked at his heartstrings with the subtle vibrations of a cello." Now, if we tear apart this sentence, we quickly see that it's not what the author meant to write.

The author meant, simply, that "The fingers of destiny had plucked at his heartstrings and PRODUCED the subtle vibrations of a cello." The fingers themselves did not vibrate subtly, nor were they a cello.

Certainly if this were daily conversation, one could defend the sentence by saying, "You know what I meant." And I *did* know what the author meant. But I didn't like having to parse through what the author wrote to discover it.

Secondly, this second sentence fails in a few of the areas that the opener did--and in one additional area: it's horribly cliche. I'm not sure what a finger of destiny is, but the moment I read the noun "heartstrings," I wanted to turn away from the screen. This sentence is also terribly abstract, lacking in concrete detail--which puts it in the land of telling, not showing.

That's as far as I got. Two sentences. I'm sure there's a very interesting story here--somewhere, but I won't know, as I could spend eternity marveling at the interesting mistakes/things happening in the prose that eternally distract me from any sort of story that might linger...inside.

A bold suggestion to Mr. Trevor E. Donaldson: I see you have an editor listed on the amazon page, talk to them about what went wrong. It's my conviction that prose should strive for clarity, and affect. A reader should work to leave the page, not stay inside it. Thank you.

Please write me if you have any questions or you think I'm off base. I understand criticism of this sort is hardly welcome after publication. I'd be more than happy to change my star rating and write a new review if a compelling case can be made, or a second edition, or future revision is accomplished. I'd also be happy to have a private conversation regarding the story. I really hate leaving such a harsh review, so I'm looking for any chance I can find to change it!

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