Rebecca R

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Rebecca R Discussions
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Hi allHope you are all well.  I have been tweaking my first chapter that I posted a few months ago. …
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  •  · Thank you very much Alison for taking the time on this.  I really appreciate it.  Your suggestions a…
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HelloI am definitely feeling a bit anxious right now!  I am quite new to writing and haven't shared …
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  •  · Hi KellyThank you so much for spending the time to read my chapters! I'm really glad you can see pot…

My Dad once gave me a book written by someone in his writer's circle and they had signed it "I hope you enjoy reading it as much as enjoyed writing it". I don't remember the book now but this little note makes me smile even now when I've had a good writing day. Probably a feeling that only a writer would really understand. 

Hi Kathryn

I enjoyed your chapters - I haven't got to Chapter 3 properly yet.  Its a great country choice and I like the idea of her being stranded there by accident.

The first thing that occured to me is does Jane need to feel more?  She seems to accept a lot.  It takes a while for her to ask what happpened to the plane.  I feel like that would be my first question and whether anyone was hurt.  I feel like I'd be panicked until I got my head round it all but maybe its the concussion but I thought you could draw out her feelings of confusion/fear a bit more perhaps. If her acceptance is due to the concussion then I'd maybe lean into that and show it more i.e. her head being fuzzy, not concentrating and being dragged into Ulaanbaatar etc.  If you up her emotional side I think it would help just draw out some of the tension which may help further down the line.  For example, at the moment she doesn't have much option but to go with Tenzig but surely she could have the option of staying in the airport or at least say she will sort herself out to the strange man?   Could the egg-dream story (which I really liked) be the push she needs to commit to going with him?  Maybe that doesn't fit but I feel like it would be good if she had a bit more agency - a dilema to make a decision on that pushes her to the next stage.  It may help increase the tension later on too.

The other thing that ties in with this is the feeling of a culture shock from Ulaanbaatar.  I think you could draw her feelings about the place out a bit more just to make the reader really feel like they are there.  Having been to Mongolia as well as Japan and China I think there is an immediate feeling of being somewhere very different to anywhere else.   You have some great details but you could make the reader really feel like they are there with Jane experiencing it - the shock of the cold against the skin (it bites doesn't it?) the smell of all the woodburning everywhere, the austerity of the city buildings etc.  At the moment she takes it all in her stride, explaining the detail - which might be what you want - but I think you could make it more vivid/immersive.

Anyway please feel free to discount all this as it is all subjective!  :D  You have a great start.  And for the record I feel a little like a fraud in suggesting adding more emotion as I have had this exact suggestion about my own work recently - haha - but I think it is so much easier to see things in others writing than your own, particularly when your eye is atuned to one element!  Hope this helps!  

Rebecca :)

Yes. It's Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Its probably not everyone's cup of tea - a sort of spoof of Harry Potter with an LGBT storyline. It's the character of Lucy who is drip feeding the clues throughout and it all ties together at the end.

Hi Sarah

I am definitely more engaged by this as it's great to meet the main character, but I agree with Kate's advice. I really struggle with this myself and have done a total rewrite of my first chapter so many times (and I still think I'm not there yet) but I think it's the same advice that L has given about a scene applies to a novel too- arrive late and get out early. Readers catch up and like to work things out and have things revealed later that have been foreshadowed.  Something I wondered is presumably by reading your chapter 1 above your reader knows more about what's happened to the sisters than Roe does? Could there be a mystery around this that is teased out? Do we need to know about the sister at first? Would it be a problem if the reader finds out as Roe does later down the line? Sorry if all these questions are clear in the synopsis I have only had chance to skim read it so far. I read a YA book recently that drip fed the parentage of the MC character in using cut scenes from the pov of the mother's ghost so you began to suspect but it wasn't revealed until the very end. First you knew she was looking for some, then that she had a relationship with one of the men, etc etc but it deliberately threw you off too. Don't know if any of this helps but suffice to say I know how hard it is! And just to say again I like the concept and world you've built.


Hi Sarah

Firstly I really like the concept. And I like the prolouge. Sorry to throw another option into the ring but as I read the synopsis your chapter is backstory I think? I would start with teenage Roe and your hook for her story (the very start of your line of dominoes) and thread the backstory in. The reader needs less backstory than you think and it just slows the pace down. KM Weiland has some good info on opening chapters on her Helping Writers become Authors page which suits YA books. Otherwise it certainly sounds like a great story and concept. 


You're quite right although I live in the north of Scotland so everything drips here 😁 Yes I like that.

Ooops didnt notice the word limit! Ha! Foliage dripped and sunshine pooled on bright white whicker chairs.

Foliage dripped onto the path, whilst patches of sunshine pooled, and in one of those pools sat two chairs, bright white within the shady depths.    

Hi Sally I had a similar issue and I gave my two characters a small simple goal which is sort of tied to my theme but still quite unique to them. And one of them is also a mirror to one of the flaws my main characters has to keep it cohesive. I covered it in three steps by establishing their character in the first scenes, then had them stumble in the middle and then had their realisation toward the end. This is all on a micro scale as they are secondary characters so all of that propabaly fits into a few small paragraphs but I feel like it's rounded them off a bit. Hope that makes sense. If not just let me know as I'm sure I'll have got the idea from a writing blog I can dig out! 😁

Hi Paul

I think that reads well.  I like the short one - it captures the story well. I think you could lace in a little more of the internal conflicts and emotions in (within reason for a synopsis). I think you do it well in the 2nd para of the short version but it could just be pulled out a little bit more in the rest. It doesn't have to be on each section just the main ones like when the children are drowned, when he finally sees Georgy.  Best of luck with it when you start the submission process!

Added a forum 

Hi all

Hope you are all well.  I have been tweaking my first chapter that I posted a few months ago.  I can't decide if I need to do a blank page rethink or stick with it so I have done an edit based on the invaluable feedback from the TownHouse last time.  I have got to the point where I can't see the wood for the trees so any thoughts will be much appreciated!  Particularly I am a little worried I am trying to cram too much information in and I need to tease some of it out in a later chapter instead.  

The genre is YA fantasy time travel.  The chapter is 1300 words.  Much thanks in advance!

All the best


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