The Cloud Final Revision.docx

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  • Hello, everyone.  I'm back from an extended vacation travelling the states.  I finally figured out how to post a document here into the group.  I was asked to do so quite a while ago and here it is.  This, as the name implies, is the final (8th) draft of the first novel of my Cloud series.  If you have time and want to read it, any feedback would be appreciated.  I'm having a rough go of writing a query that works (the query really is my kryptonite, sadly), but I am soldiering on.  In the meantime, for those that wanted it, it's here and in the file section.

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    • PC Windows 10 laptop actually and plain old Microsoft 365.  The program works well because I can install it across all devices and keep my documents on the cloud (as opposed to the Cloud in the story!) and access it from any computer that runs Word and has an internet connection.  For a long time, I wrote as a hobby/time passer.  I've only recently decided to write seriously with publication in mind.

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      •     Given a choice, I'd use Scrivener (Windows 10/Mac/ios/iPad) for research and FD writing. Ulysses (Mac/ios/iPad) is without peer for getting the narrative down and structured. I love its simple interface and the power under the hood.
        Having said that, Word has come a long in the last decade. David Hewson is warming to Word having been a harsh critic in the past. You might find the following link useful;

        How five quick shortcuts can make Word look more like Scrivener.

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        • After giving it a good long look, I've decided to take your advice on Scrivener.  I'm working on learning it now and it seems quite handy.  It will allow me to have all my notes, documents, and everything within one-click and not have to leave the page or program.  So, thanks, Norman.  It'll be a bit before I'm fully versed in the program but not too long.

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        • Hi Stephen

          I think this is a confident piece of writing which holds an enormous amounts of promise. It plunges us directly into a new and fascinating world, giving us a dragon very early on which is fabulous. You made it clear that even though this is a strange new world, the dragon is remarkable, which is great.

          It may be worth cutting out some of the excess words. The paragraph that begins ‘It seemed the talespinners’ doesn’t really contribute much to progressing the story forwards and rather slows down the action. Likewise the paragraph after it repeats what happened above, in that it’s astonishing. I think it’s a very good thing to leave questions in a reader's mind but dropping the thing that you held seems a little non-specific unless there is a particular reason for not telling us yet. Dropping your dagger/spell book/pet ork perhaps might add to the world building.

          Well done on this. I would very cheerfully read on.

          I hope that’s helpful.

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          • Well, as I said, I've edited it about as far as I can.  What this story now needs is the efforts of a professional editor, which I am currently on hold in searching for while pitching the novel to agents.  Agents, and especially publishers, often want writers to use specific editors.  If I continue to rack up rejection slips at my current rate, I'll get the editor myself.

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            • Good luck in your search. Tricky but not impossible, I'm told.

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            • Hi Stephen,

              Congratulations on finishing your novel! I'm on whatever revision of one of my own. I quit numbering them. 

              Anyway, while I write in a different genre, I read all types. You have some interesting imagery in your beasts. The eagle elk is intriguing. I like that your protagonist is 'marked'. There could be quite a fascinating story here....

              But....I was not drawn in. I read several pages, hoping for the 'hook' but it didn't come, at least not in time. Before you spend the money for an editor, I would suggest you revisit tutorials on character development and psychic distance. You are keeping the reader at bay, not letting him truly enter the story. The dragon appears, then goes away. Surely this is momentous, but it is lost in the mundane telling of the protagonist's ordinary daily routine and him spooking the eagle-elk. 

              Mostly, I think you need to 'show' not 'tell'. I'm sure this is an old refrain but if you can spot the difference, it will make your dragon and your protagonist come alive. For example....

              image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=239&dpx=1&t=1601157708

              I would revise, something to this effect.

              Thunder came from the east, thunder that rattled my thoughts, made me drop my tools and shake with awe. Fire spewed from metallic skin, and smoke billowed in a never ending tail. Ash wafted past my nose and made me cough. The old tale spinner's description paled when compared with the reality of the monstrous beast above me.

              This is just a quick example of putting the reader immediately in the narrator's head. Others do it better than me, but I have learned by my own mistakes. One agent who requested more pages rejected my novel for too much telling, not enough showing. She was with a top agency, and I missed an opportunity because I hadn't learned the basics. It's a sacred rule. Try rewriting the first few pages with this in mind. There are some really good suggestions on the Jericho website about how to do this. Look for 'Show Don't Tell' under the library tab. They have some great examples there.

              Please take this as constructive criticism. I want to read your fabulous tale when you have it polished up! Also, don't query until it's truly ready. I learned the hard way but have rewritten extensively and hope to start the process again soon. 

              Good luck! And don't be discouraged. If you need to, put your draft aside for a bit and try rewriting certain passages as exercise. When you begin to see the difference, go back and edit the whole thing again.

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              • I've been spending a lot of time on Jericho Writers watching tutorial videos for writing. I wasn't put off by your criticism, I was motivated by it. I'd like to throw a snippet of what I've learned to see if I'm on the right track.  I've been learning a lot about show, don't tell but also about voice.  This snippet takes both of those ideas into account and is where the original story failed.  I'm still working through the courses there (I'm on Advanced Plotting), but I've scratched the above document completely and now look at it as a reference piece only.  I'm rewriting from scratch, using what I'm learning and I'm going to try and get some assists from everyone here at the Townhouse to get it right.

                https://community.jerichowriters.com/page/view-file?id=169


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              • While I tend to agree in spirit with your early ideas about the "dragon," it, unfortunately, can't apply.  The fact is, the "dragon" really is there and gone in less than a minute.  The reason is revealed a little later when the reader, through Micah, discovers what the "dragon" really is.  And the idea that it is simply gaped at and then incorporated is exactly the feel I'm going for.  In a world where monsters, even mythical ones, appear constantly, some of the wonder gets lost, a fact that gets driven home over the course of the first half of the book.

                As for the show, don't tell, I will look into your suggestion.  This novel is by no means complete.  I'm not arrogant enough to believe I've gotten everything perfect the first time around, even with 8 revisions.  But I've done all I can and it's time to start working with others to get it where it finally needs to be.

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