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Singularity (Singularity #1)
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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments A big thank you to the group for allowing this book discussion opportunity of my upcoming release. For those of you interested in participating, Singularity is still available for free on both NetGalley and through Book Funnel.

Before we get started proper, I thought I'd give those participating the chance to say hello and let themselves be known here :)


Graeme Rodaughan Hi All, I'll be joining in.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Graeme wrote: "Hi All, I'll be joining in."

Glad to have you Graeme :)


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments I'll give it another day or so to allow for any others to join before we begin our discussion.


Graeme Rodaughan I'll start reading tonight.


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Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I'm in! One of my most favorite topics :)


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Matthew wrote: "I'm in! One of my most favorite topics :)"

Welcome Matthew :)


Graeme Rodaughan Ch 3 completed. Still working out just who Nathan Miller is - angry, violent, charitable, and no doubt more than that. The landscape is near-future, urban dystopia with the sorta corruption that occurs when the police commissioner is highly placed within organized crime...Early days yet, smells kinda noir with hints of post-apocalyptic crazy.

Given I'm so early in the book - not worried about spoilers, but I'll start using them from now on.


Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments Hi all!!
I'll be joining in, read the whole thing in one sitting so I'm impatiently waiting for y'all to catch up!!! :D :D
And, disclaimer: I'm a huge Nathan fan !! Looking forward to participate in this :)


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Alexa wrote: "Hi all!!
I'll be joining in, read the whole thing in one sitting so I'm impatiently waiting for y'all to catch up!!! :D :D
And, disclaimer: I'm a huge Nathan fan !! Looking forward to participate..."


Great to have you here Alexa :D


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Graeme wrote: "Ch 3 completed. Still working out just who Nathan Miller is - angry, violent, charitable, and no doubt more than that. The landscape is near-future, urban dystopia with the sorta corruption that oc..."

Insightful as always Graeme! I think the noir feel stems from the choice of sentence structure. Throughout I stuck with short and punchy sentences. Very crime fiction in feel and read.

And Nathan is... definitely a complex character who I think you'll enjoy :)


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments I thought we'd start the discussion proper with the meaning behind the title, and if we can make this interesting enough, maybe more people will join in :)

So the word actually has a few meanings within language. The one most people are familiar with though, I think, is referring to the moment when AI will trigger runaway technological growth and change human civilization. The old hypothesis of robots taking over the world. My novel is not science fiction, and thus has no robots taking over anything. No, I went with a different spin on the word.

With this novel, singularity does refer to a moment when humanity changes, but the change is within as opposed to from outside forces. It references the fantastical elements of the story that place the novel within the realm of urban fantasy. As Graeme has already noted, there is also a dystopian feel to the tale. Something the changes to humanity do contribute towards.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Opening Lines

To further the discussion possibilities, I thought we could go over the ever crucial opening lines. I wrote:

Metal screeched and glass popped. The hydraulics of the car crusher whined as they flattened three cars into a slab of steel. What a way to go. Nathan Miller recalled Mickey Spagnuolo's murder. The twilight gloom gave him deja vu.

What I tried to accomplish here was setting the hook by showing the reader an image in their mind without needing to describe it in detail (how many pictured the car crusher?) and then reeling them in with a question unasked. Just who is Mickey Spagnuolo and how did he come to die in such a fashion? What was our protagonists role in it?

Hopefully the questions keep you reading :) So tell me, does it work for you?


Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments Eldon wrote: "Opening Lines

To further the discussion possibilities, I thought we could go over the ever crucial opening lines. I wrote:

Metal screeched and glass popped. The hydraulics of the car crusher whin..."
I found it sets the scene. From the get-go, as a reader, I know to expect action and intrigue, and this from a single first impression. Reading those opening lines when I first dug into Singularity had me keep wanting to read more, in a desperate quest to answer questions from each chapter. And that's what keeps the pages turning :D


Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments Eldon wrote: "I thought we'd start the discussion proper with the meaning behind the title, and if we can make this interesting enough, maybe more people will join in :)

So the word actually has a few meanings ..."
So i'm a big believer in not researching stuff in order to figure out what the title means haha. Although I was intrigued by the prospect of "singularity" as a title, I waited until the storyline had explained it to me, and THAT was a big "aha!" moment !


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Alexa wrote: "Eldon wrote: "Opening Lines

To further the discussion possibilities, I thought we could go over the ever crucial opening lines. I wrote:

Metal screeched and glass popped. The hydraulics of the ca..."


On the subject of pages turning... I wanted this book to have the feel of a fast paced story that would keep the pages turning. To achieve this, I used a little psychology in determining chapter lengths. I endeavoured to keep them short - I think the longest is not even 2500 words. The psychology of short chapters is, a reader feels more accomplished, and will turn more pages, if after reading say 10k words they have gone through 9 chapters as opposed to just 1 :)


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Alexa wrote: "Eldon wrote: "I thought we'd start the discussion proper with the meaning behind the title, and if we can make this interesting enough, maybe more people will join in :)

So the word actually has a..."


Well, I'm glad I didn't spoil it for you then :D


Graeme Rodaughan I took the concept of 'singularity,' in its standard meaning, but I'm not fussed, if its means something else here.


message 19: by Graeme (last edited Jul 18, 2018 02:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Graeme Rodaughan Eldon wrote: "Opening Lines

To further the discussion possibilities, I thought we could go over the ever crucial opening lines. I wrote:..."


If that was the hook, I went straight past it. What it did for me though was tell me that Nathan is on the wrong side of the law. As witnessing someone dying in a crusher is something a criminal would do, this is of course reinforced when 'the Comish,' shows up with personal bodyguards and deals with Nathan as an 'enforcer.'

For me, 'scene setting,' not a hook.

I know why this wasn't a hook for me. I don't care if one or more criminals murder another criminal (assumed, and there is nothing provided to indicate Mickey Spagnuolo is other than a criminal). I'm not engaged by that specific topic, which is more indicative of the genre's that interest me, rather than the hook itself.

The key thing that kept me reading past the first couple of pages is Nathan himself. Clearly, he was once a 'good cop,' 'exemplary,' then there was the terrible accident and the massive deployment of cybernetics, which he seems to be very ambivalent about. Now he's a highly capable enforcer collecting money from lesser criminals but given to helping vagrants. There is a dark arc of a fall from grace, but compassion still lives within him.

He is at war with the world he lives in, which he rejects (he lives in a worse place than he has to. Rejection of offered opportunities to benefit from the status quo, hence a rejection of the status quo). He laments the loss of a better past and the fall of the world.

He is ruthless with the criminals with which he now interacts, but I suspect non-criminals will be treated with compassion - he's still 'the good cop,' but adapted to the new circumstances of the world, without embracing what the fallen world is inviting him to become.

There is conflict within him about who he really is, and I suspect future events will cause him to make some clear, irrevocable choices that will answer those internal questions.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Graeme wrote: "For me, 'scene setting,' not a hook."

But the question then becomes, is setting the scene not part of capturing a reader's interest? Especially so in the fantasy genre where the world itself often times becomes a character within the story.

Your insights on Nathan are revelatory Graeme - you clearly have a nuanced eye for character development :)


Joanna Elm | 145 comments Oy Vey! I wanted to jump in earlier in this thread, and want to now respond to Graeme. But I have finished reading my ARC and have written the first draft of my review, and if I respond to Graeme there will be spoilers involved. So, I don't really know if it's a good idea for me to stay on this thread.
I do want to say that I don't get the title in either of its meanings really. It's certainly not a title that would make me want to grab the book off any shelf or in a list of BookBub deals. Any title that needs a convoluted explanation is a risk you don't need to be taking. There are enough hurdles to overcome already.
However,there are many titles I read that don't actually speak to me at all. Rather I read the blurbs or an extract, or I already like the author from past works. So, no worries Eldon, your title doesn't get critiqued in my review.


Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments @ Eldon “on the subject of pages turning” I think that effect has definitely been achieved 👍
I wasn’t aware of the psychology behind it, though I’m guessing that’s what authors like James Patterson use. I’ve read action/crime novels that have lengthy chapters but I must say I never bothered to ponder why the length or shortness of the chapters 😂


Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments @ Graeme
I think you’ve summed up Nathan quite well 👍 That arc of fall from grace is definitely centreline to the story, and I find it was well-developed throughout but it still leaves something for the future once you get to the end!

(Sorry guys, doing this on my phone and the idiotic GR app won’t let me hit reply so I have to keep posting comments individually)


Graeme Rodaughan Eldon wrote: "But the question then becomes, is setting the scene not part of capturing a reader's interest? Especially so in the fantasy genre where the world itself often times becomes a character within the story...."

Simple answer Yes.

It occurs to me that it's easy to think of "gotta establish the hook," and think of only one specific hook.

The reality here is that the character of Nathan is operating as a hook for me, and taking me forward into the story.

Perhaps the best idea is to establish multiple hooks within the early pages for a broader audience.

The car crushing scene wasn't a hook for me, but Nathan's character is, so you have at least two hooks, and probably more.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "Oy Vey! I wanted to jump in earlier in this thread, and want to now respond to Graeme. But I have finished reading my ARC and have written the first draft of my review, and if I respond to Graeme t..."

Welcome to the discussion Joanna :)

It's entirely possible I haven't described my rationale for the title well enough. It's hard to do without giving too much away so I think I'll table it for now.

And no worries Joanna, I trust your review will be honest and fair :)


Graeme Rodaughan Eldon wrote: "Your insights on Nathan are revelatory Graeme - you clearly have a nuanced eye for character development :) ..."

In this particular instance - I'll take your word for it.

I think your characterization for Nathan is excellent for such a short number of pages, he's already displaying multi-dimensional attributes.

IMHO, Characterization is one of the most difficult authorial skills to master, and you're doing a fine job so far.


Graeme Rodaughan Joanna wrote: "Oy Vey! I wanted to jump in earlier in this thread, and want to now respond to Graeme. But I have finished reading my ARC and have written the first draft of my review, and if I respond to Graeme t..."

Just use spoilers - it's all good.


Graeme Rodaughan Eldon wrote: "The psychology of short chapters is, a reader feels more accomplished, and will turn more pages, if after reading say 10k words they have gone through 9 chapters as opposed to just 1 :)..."

Bummer!


Joanna Elm | 145 comments Totally agree with Eldon on use of short chapters. James Patterson has utilized them to phenomenal success. I think that's because these days readers have shorter attention spans, and there is just more going on with social media etc so any book is competing for attention from the get-go.
As for Nathan, I think he is what we might call an anti-hero. There doesn't seem to be a conventional protagonist which is fine. He has a couple of redeeming features, but in the last chapters he does something quite vile that I didn't really understand at all, and kills off a terrific major character.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Graeme wrote: "Perhaps the best idea is to establish multiple hooks within the early pages for a broader audience.

The car crushing scene wasn't a hook for me, but Nathan's character is, so you have at least two hooks, and probably more."


The more hooks the better I say. What doesn't work for one, may work for another. The important thing in those opening pages is to offer something to everyone that will get them to keep reading.

Far easier said than done.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Graeme wrote: "IMHO, Characterization is one of the most difficult authorial skills to master, and you're doing a fine job so far."

Thank you, Graeme.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "As for Nathan, I think he is what we might call an anti-hero. There doesn't seem to be a conventional protagonist which is fine. He has a couple of redeeming features, but in the last chapters he does something quite vile that I didn't really understand at all..."

Nathan is definitely the anti-hero. I studied story elements and structure while laying this book out, and decided I wanted to use the negative change arc for my protagonist. To me, it seemed tailor made for an anti-hero.

As for him doing something vile... well, does that mean it elicited a reaction from you as the reader?


Joanna Elm | 145 comments Oh yes, it elicited a reaction, for sure. Eldon, you have to know that the character who gets killed off was one of my favorites, if not my favorite !!!!!! The only thing I can hope for is that some sort of "augmentation" process brings that character back to life for Book #2. What Nathan did also pretty much finished off any hopes I had for him!!!
However, must say that Nathan as a character is a darn good one. Of course, I prefer antagonists and anti-heroes, both to read about them -- and definitely to write them!


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "Oh yes, it elicited a reaction, for sure. Eldon, you have to know that the character who gets killed off was one of my favorites, if not my favorite !!!!!! The only thing I can hope for is that som..."

Your favorite? I have to say I'm surprised by that. That character didn't test well with any of my alpha readers, which did surprise me. Would you mind saying what you liked about them?


Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments Eldon wrote: "Joanna wrote: "Oh yes, it elicited a reaction, for sure. Eldon, you have to know that the character who gets killed off was one of my favorites, if not my favorite !!!!!! The only thing I can hope ..."

I have to agree there, that particular character was not a favorite for me (and that's putting it mildly). IMHO, that last act of Nathan's (for this book) really sets the scene for the next ones. Where is gonna go, if he's fallen so hard down? If there's no redemption that we see, as a reader?

Personally, I understood his motivation. Was it brutal? Yep. Was it un-Nathan? Not really. Did I see it coming? Hell no, but it definitely hooked me for future books! What I love about Nathan, much as he's an antihero, is that there are SO many sides to him. Multiple facets, revealed throughout the book, that get outweighed by this darkness in him, fuelled by anger and bitterness at what happened to him.

But, that still lets me hope for redemption :)


Joanna Elm | 145 comments First let's clarify which character we are talking about. The way Eldon and Alexa are commenting above makes me think we are at cross purposes.

SPOILER


I was talking about Alexis. Did I misread something, somewhere?


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "First let's clarify which character we are talking about. The way Eldon and Alexa are commenting above makes me think we are at cross purposes.

SPOILER


I was talking about Alexis. Did I misread ..."


I won't speak for Alexa, but we're on the same page Joanna. My editor referred to her as a damsel in distress character and other readers felt she was reckless. I liked her reckless nature myself, but I'm curious what appealed to you?


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments And just in the interest of passing along information. If you use < and > around the word spoiler and then <\ and this > again around the word spoiler, then whatever you write between them will be hidden and clickable :)


Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments Joanna wrote: "First let's clarify which character we are talking about. The way Eldon and Alexa are commenting above makes me think we are at cross purposes.

SPOILER


I was talking about Alexis. Did I misread ..."
Yep we're talking about the same character :)


message 40: by Joanna (last edited Jul 20, 2018 04:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joanna Elm | 145 comments (view spoiler)


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "Damsel in distress????????? Were we reading the same version of the ARC? Alexis is a blogger who sets out to use her pen/computer/ laptop/ holosphere?????? to expose the corruption in Union City. S..."

Thank you!! That's how I saw her too, Joanna. It was the one point my editor and I disagreed on. She kept referring to her as a damsel and I kept arguing she's a strong female character. Goes to show how opinions vary, I suppose.

Glad you enjoyed her depiction Joanna :)


Joanna Elm | 145 comments Hey, thanks Eldon for the specific spoiler instruction. It worked. See above.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "Hey, thanks Eldon for the specific spoiler instruction. It worked. See above."

My pleasure. Knowledge kept is all but lost, but knowledge shared is always found :)


Joanna Elm | 145 comments Can you bring her back? Augmentation? Echo control?


Graeme Rodaughan I've met Alexis now. Yes, she's got courage and ideals, and she is quite reckless, but I can easily imagine someone in her role doing what she's doing.

She's believable.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "Can you bring her back? Augmentation? Echo control?"

Echo Control? Sounds intriguing. What is it?


Joanna Elm | 145 comments Sorry meant echo protocol not control.


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "Sorry meant echo protocol not control."

Well echo control sounds cool, might have to make that into something :)


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Graeme wrote: "I've met Alexis now. Yes, she's got courage and ideals, and she is quite reckless, but I can easily imagine someone in her role doing what she's doing.

She's believable."


Happy you think so Graeme!


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Eldon Farrell | 704 comments Joanna wrote: "Can you bring her back? Augmentation? Echo control?"

And to answer your original question, Joanna, as of right now, (view spoiler)


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