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message 1: by Jay (last edited Mar 15, 2013 05:00PM) (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I'm starting this topic so we can discuss work we came across through this group that really made an impact on us. It is a place we can make further comment and suggestions to each other about what we discover here that is beyond the norm and deserves wider readership.

I'm going to start the thread with Patrick de Moss' work, Like Clockwork:
This story shouldn't work, but my goodness does it!

I would like to add a link to Mark Bell's shorts, (ooer, Missus!) but I don't think what I've been privileged to read is published. Come on, Mark - get Boo out there for all of us to enjoy, and Collateral Damage!

These two men have amazed me with their ability to get me emotionally connected with their characters. Watch out for their work.

message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Thanks Jay. And thanks for getting us out of group 9's way. I have posted the first of Boo's stories on my Facebook fan page Muddled Mind - Mark Bell and I will post Collateral Damage tomorrow.

I will be more than happy to discuss or impart what little knowledge that I have on the subject of film, screenplays or shorts to any one that is interested.

message 3: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I think there will be a quite a few members picking that Muddled Mind for tips, Mark ;)

message 4: by Mark (last edited Mar 16, 2013 07:38AM) (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments I just finished Patrick's tale, Like Clockwork. I could not agree with you more,Jay. Compelling, evocative, and heart wrenching. Command of character and flow was masterful. I look forward to reading more of his work.
I never would have believed that I could have empathy for a mainspring man and the women that loved him. I collect old clocks and Patrick gave me just enough detail so that I could imagine the works spinning.

message 5: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I've just started A Strange Boy, which is free as Patrick says no-one wants to buy his stories. I've also picked up a copy of Possession.
There are many people out there denying themselves a treat.

message 6: by Mark (last edited Mar 17, 2013 04:27PM) (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Per your suggestion- just finished A Strange Boy. Another good outing. I wonder, in our Kumbaya world, if anyone is interested in the darker side of the human psyche. No doubt in my mind, he is a voice to be reckoned with.

message 7: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I yearn to develop the power of description such as the first meeting with the unicorn. Each sentence is a gem.

message 8: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) Another great book I've just finished is Alexes Razevich's Khe:

Khe by Alexes Razevich

I was gutted when I realised I was within a few pages of finishing it.

But if this is the standard Alexes achieves with a debut novel I'm in for a real treat with her future work :)

message 9: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Moss | 34 comments I thought my ears were burning there. Very very strange to hear praise and such. For a little while there I wasn't sure what to say.

I'll have to check out Alexes' book! It does look very interesting.

And hi Mark! I took a quick glance at your short story, and that was enough for me to say "Umm....I need a bit more time to sit down and get into this." Are you in group 10 with us? If so, I am absolutely calling "Dibs" on reviewing your short story collection.

message 10: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) You'll be a good boy, Patrick, and review who I tell you to!

message 11: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Best do as Jay tells you. Retribution is never pretty.
You can rest assured that Jay and I share one thing in common and that is the desire to be better writers with each new piece. We are not spiteful in our critiques nor are we apt to sugar coat. The praise of your work was justified.
I can tell you that discussions with fellow writers can be the most beneficial learning experience. I know that my writing has improved because of a blond turning redhead, that will remain nameless.

message 12: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Moss | 34 comments Alright alright, have it your way(s). It's been a very long time for me to hear feedback on things I've been working on, so I was tickled pink. Even critiques that would have been less glowing would have tickled me pink. Or at least off-white, perhaps ecru. I am looking forward to group 10, and I think Jay has had enough of me pestering her on when we start!

message 13: by Jay (last edited Mar 22, 2013 01:31PM) (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) OK, enough patting each other on the back: let's get to work!

See the last post on this thread:

I want to receive finished stories from everyone who's made promises please!

Mark - are you happy that Appalachian Spring is finished?
Patrick - is yours still going to be Old Waves and New?

message 14: by Mark (last edited Mar 22, 2013 03:11PM) (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments I have finished the last one of the three. It's with the editor now. Titles are Appalachian Spring, Hell Hath Fury and Rock Requiem. One thing that is worth exploring is the path forced on you, the writer, by the character. I wrote Appalachian Spring as a throw away. Something to fulfill an obligation. Did not like the character did not care for the story but something changed when I finished. The story was not complete and it felt like I had done an injustice to the character. He needed the chance to grow. I started to like the little bastard and two more stories came out. I feel like I have completed his story now and have no regrets leaving him.
I have a different perspective than a lot of younger writer, I am concerned with being true to the characters and if the reader likes it, fine. If not that's OK as well. I don't have to go to sleep with the reader but I damn well have to live with the character until his or her story is completed.

Yes I am happy that Boo is finished. That's why the next one is a farce about a bar maid that accidentally is elected mayor.

Betty had popped the cherry of several of the virile young men about town. If the town had been hip enough she would have qualified as a cougar. Since that was not the case she was quietly known as Betty the Baby Bumper.

message 15: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) My first novel was a one-off before continuing to the other novels I need to write. It's now #1 and #2 is written and my readers want #3. I'm prepared to write it, too, as different characters from #1 have insisted they have more to say. #3 is actually centred on someone I intended to be horrible but I now like more than the others.

And I agree - Boo had plenty more to say. In fact, I was one of the (must be) lots of people haranguing you for the next part of the story!

I don't ever expect to make a living from my writing. To do it I have to enjoy doing it (OK, ignore the frustration and pain of the doing, remember the feeling of completion and achievement, just like childbirth), so I let my characters tell the story and I take dictation - and then tell them to shut the f**k up while I edit.

message 16: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments I agree. I have said many times that story ideas are like syphilitic worms they bore into your brain and the only way to extradite them is to write the story. Not writing isn't an option. Pursuit of perfection is the goal not money and you get to interact with a bunch of other f****d up souls. And encourage them to become more so. What could be more fun?
Loved your last line,Jay. True so true.

message 17: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) What is writer's block? Not letting your characters tell their story, trying to impose your preconceived strict plot line on them. It all goes terribly pear-shaped if you try and force them to do and say things out of character. You know it's wrong, you feel it's wrong, and you end up immobile in front of the keyboard.

message 18: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments That's why I like to start work with an opening sentence and an idea for an ending. Then let the little critters wander where they will. I know where I'm going. I just don't know how I going to get there. I think the most helpful things for me: never box yourself in with a strict plot. One of the reasons I write shorts. I try to get the reader to do most of the imaginative work and let them fill in the details. The other thing is learning when to shut up and finish. That's why repetition is so crucial. Like photography, I hope that one out of twenty is a good one. How many half written stories and story notes clog up your computer? I have written many that half way through I stop and say this crap bores me how could I have thought that this was a good idea.

message 19: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) But in 10 years' time you'll come across one of those rejected ideas that has been crying at the bottom of your hard drive, feeling lonely and forsaken, and realise a little twist in this direction rather than that, and the introduction of this character to the mix, makes an intriguing combination that will keep you awake at nights trying to find perfection...

message 20: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments And ain't it grand. As much as I whine and whimper, I do so love concocting twist and turns and then bringing them home. Like I need another reason not to sleep.

Who should a writer write to or for?
I myself write for me. Doesn't that sound so self centered? To thy own self be true. I think some hack wrote that one time.

message 21: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) yeah, can't quite recall his name though..

message 22: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Moss | 34 comments It's funny about this conversation, because it's pretty much how this whole collection of mine shaped up. When I started (with Possession) I was really only writing because I had to. I had to do something with myself, or else I would just be line cooking and going home, and that wasn't anywhere close to who I wanted to be, who I thought I was, who I could tell other people I was in a way that I would be proud of. Possession had been published like years ago (years and years ago) and I thought, well, maybe I could just fix it (because when it went to print, there were pages missing. Literally pages. The publisher said "people won't miss them" but I did) and see if anyone would read it. Then I went back to A Strange Boy (I think I told you, Jay, that it is sort of the sequel to a story I wrote when I was 17?) Because I always wondered what had happened to Nicholas.

And sometimes for me, that's what happens when it comes to sequels. There's this huge push for trilogies of books to come out all at once right now, but I am really on the fence on that. Sometimes, the next piece only comes out years later, and you're sitting there asking yourself "what ever happened to So-and-So" and the story is your answer. Look at The Lord of the Rings, for example. That's a huge answer to Tolkein sitting up in his room thinking "Wow, haven't heard from old Bilbo in a long time, wonder what he's up to these days?"

message 23: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I just love that image of Tolkien, Patrick!

message 24: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments And this is the reason that writer's need this type of honest dialog. We can soon learn from and about other galley slaves on this ship of fools.

I learned that what I though was clever did not deliver. No comment on Betty Baby Bumper means that the joke didn't hit the mark. Regroup and rewrite.

Point is it's nice to have other sets of eyes and perspectives. Which is why I'm surprised that we haven't had more commentators. Here we sit, tea drinking,unicorn riding frogs. Alone. Alas, our crest has fallen.

And yes,"haft to" be a B***h.

message 25: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) We need a bath? Will a shower suffice?

message 26: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Bring your own soap.

message 27: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments In this tweet filled face-liking age, speed seems to be at a premium. Here is a form: please fill in the blanks. What has happened to the time honored tradition of authors seeking enlightenment for themselves as well as their readers? Not to mention their obligation to their characters to tell their story well and completely. It's words on a page. Simple. It's the ordering of the words that presents the challenge. When you're ready to accept that challenge is when you should write. Whether it comes today or two years from now is not the issue.

message 28: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) It's meeting the challenge that gives the sense of pride in a job well done that makes it all worth while. Without that, surely it's just a job? And none of us like pure work.

message 29: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments

In the words of the philosopher Maynard G Krebs: WORK!!!!

message 30: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Moss | 34 comments I know, I know, that I shouldn't say anything about reviews at all. That I should keep a stiff upper lip and keep calm and carry on and all, but I want to say thank you for the extremely kind words, from both of you. Your reviews made my day, my week, probably my month. Thank you again, and I'm so glad you enjoyed those stories.

message 31: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Good. Now get of your laurels and finish the one for the anthology. We want a book that rises above the average for charity and says here are writers you wish you had read sooner.

message 32: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Moss | 34 comments Mark wrote: "Good. Now get of your laurels and finish the one for the anthology. We want a book that rises above the average for charity and says here are writers you wish you had read sooner."

laurels? hee...I didn't know I was wearing any. Don't worry, I'm already sketching out the ground work for the story for the anthology. I'm sort of painfully painfully slow with writing (like painfully slow!) But I think this one could be a good one. I should definitely have it ready by July.

message 33: by Mark (last edited Apr 04, 2013 04:39AM) (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments I just purchased a copy of Jack Dawkins by Charlton Daines and have read about five chapters. Curiosity drove me to read it. I wanted to know how someone would handle one of, if not the most famous,of Dickens's secondary characters. He does it well. Following Twain's lead, I have always thought that Dickens's stature was higher than his works should allow. (I can hear the hisses and boos from across the pond already)I proffer Dombay and Son as an example.
But Mister Daines has done a remarkable job so far and certainly worth the three bucks I spent.

message 34: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Moss | 34 comments Hisses and boos from just over the border as well. :P
But to be fair, a lot of what Twain wanted to do was get his fellow Americans to move away from a Eurocentric outlook, to invest in the cultural activity and talent coming out of their own country, which, in his own case was just...dazzling.
I'm always on the fence on follow-up novels by another author. There's something about it that (to me, anyway) feels like someone slipping on someone else's skin and trying to move around in it. At it's best it looks seamless, but even then it makes me wish the original author had still been alive to do the work. Unless of course the piece goes an entirely different direction, in which case it ceases to become just a Daines in Dickens clothing and is straight up Daines. I'll have to check it out on your recommendation.

message 35: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) Charlton has just joined Group 11 :)

Good news about the short, Patrick. We WILL get it all together by July!

message 36: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Using Patrick's criteria, it would be a Daines in Dickens's skin but it has good flow and is a nice Dickensian tale. For truth's sake, Twain also was jealous of Dickens's fame and P.O.ed that he was sniffing around the woman that he wanted to marry.

message 37: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I find Dickens' books a very hard slog, but enjoy the films made of them. His original readers had two advantages - the tales were contemporary and they only had to digest one installment a week.

message 38: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) | 1703 comments Mod
I wore out Oliver Twist as a kid, but that was the only one I ever really could get into. I read David Copperfield a number of times, too, but wasn't as enamored of it. Great Expectations - meh.

message 39: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I had to do Hard Times for my O level exam.

message 40: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Last time I read Tell of Two Cities I wanted both of them to burn. Great Expectations was adapted a couple of years ago by the BBC. Had all of the punch of the 1930 something original adaptation but with better technical everything. The Brits always do a better job with classics and detective series. Love Morris,Lewis, and Sherlock. Also had the dubious assignment of reading most of Dickens lesser known works with the hope of adapting them for the screen. It is an assignment that I will never take on again.
What I found was that Dickens's tales are so in tune with his times and the class difference of that time that if you try to bring the story forward you lose all that makes the story what it is. Hollywood did Great Expectations in the 1990's and it sucked. Even a nude scene with Gweneth Paltrow couldn't save it.

message 41: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) Kathy - well done on getting the next book Cornerstone: Raising Rook out there!

Just a thought for the anthology - have you thought about using One Wet Dog? That's a cracking account of a rescue, and has so much more to it between the lines (which is what a short should be all about). There's enough water in it to make me give a thumbs up to the water theme stories idea. Let's face it, if a cup of tea is good enough I can hardly complain about wet human, wet dog, and a waterfall lol!

message 42: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments I read the prologue and first few pages. Using stones as the plot vehicle is a nice touch.

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a Cornerstone today.

I have the feeling that Kathy is going to make me read a genre that I normally don't indulge in.

message 43: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) | 1703 comments Mod
Jay - that's an idea, and if I can't create an acceptable story (I've started it, just haven't ended it yet) I'd be willing to go with that one.

Mark - thanks! If we weren't in danger of messing up the non-reciprocity/group-based reviews thing here, I'd gladly send you a copy. I just got the proof for the paperback, so that will be available soon as well. Now - for the publicity. Good thing this is a hobby and I expect to spend money on my hobbies!!!

By the way - that's original cover art by Howard David Johnson. Quite reasonable for a canvas-based piece of art with digital rendering. He did the fonts & title as well. Very professional to work with - he's got many, many fantasy covers to his name (although some of them are a little - unclothed - for my tastes...)

message 44: by Mark (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments Glad to hear that you are putting it out in paperback. I confess to being a relic but I like a book in my hand and a recliner under my rear. I don't mind paying for a copy. That is one of my pet peeves. Most of the writers and musicians I know are: buy my work and while you're at it can you comp me a copy of yours over dinner. Your treat, of course.

message 45: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) | 1703 comments Mod
There are certain books I definitely prefer to read in paperback (or hardcover!). I recently bought & read The Silmarillion (Tolkien) in ebook format - a big mistake. You need to keep flipping back and forth between family trees, maps, and other appendices, and it's really only doable in a paper version. Anything with plates and pictures still needs to be hard-copy for me.

message 46: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Moss | 34 comments I have to agree, I couldn't think of reading LoTR or any other Tolkein piece without the fold out maps. I'm terribly childish that way - anything that could be considered a toy in a book I want to have and play with.
Mark - it's funny, one of my favorite experiences with classics was Tale of Two Cities - I started reading it because I wanted something to help me sleep, and I ended up staying up all night reading it through to the end. I can't imagine a Hollywood version of any of it though, just like I would probably die a little inside if it ended up as "Great Expectations - The Musical" Of course there's Oliver! But still...*shudders*

message 47: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) I did appreciate the idea that no matter how badly we have acted in our lives we are all still capable of one redeeming act. It's a comfort and a spur to action, knowing we can do better if we've a mind to.

message 48: by Mark (last edited Apr 07, 2013 03:20AM) (new)

Mark Bell (dingbell) | 77 comments I read Kathy's review of a detective novel and she brought up the need for research. I find the lack of same to be a recurring theme in many indie works. Is it being lazy or are writers failing to heed the first axiom: write what you know and if you don't know look it up. Even if you write about a known subject it never hurts to research and look for that little hook that you can throw in here and there. It is surprising what you can find. I know for one short, that I wrote, I found a product called Cottolene. Its a mixture of beef tallow and cotton seed oil and a famous politician sold it before he became active in politics. It worked because separately they were waste products but combined made a usable one. Makes for a great simile or metaphor. To me there is no excuse. You don't even have to use a card catalog any more.

message 49: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) | 1703 comments Mod
Even though I write mostly fantasy, I do research - for example, if I'm referencing a 600-year-old Slavic castle, I better know what was going on in the area during that time and be able to drop a few names, places, and events. I also need to know how a castle is constructed and what its parts are. I'm currently researching boats for the short story I'm writing - I keep a picture and specs of the boat I'm talking about up on the website while I'm writing so I can refer to it. So, yeah - I think at least basic research is really important.

I love the Cottolene story!

message 50: by Jay (new)

Jay Howard (jay_howard) A review I did not so long ago lost a star because it was full of anachronisms. Mobile phones in the 1970s? I'm one of the old gits this was done for:
Perhaps some other authors should have a look too, give some sort of clue about the world we lived in then.

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