Robert Pearce

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I came to writing novels at a mature age. It has enhanced my life beyond description. 

I don't have trouble devising plots and believe my characters are good. My most difficult problem is the art of good writing. Sentence structure and other things are huge problems for me, but not as much as six months ago. It's just a matter of hanging in there and learning.

Now retired, all my energies go into twelve hours a day of learning and writing. 

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Hi, folks. I've been missing for a month trying to get the beginning of The Blue Pendant into shape.…
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  •  · I just guessed. A Scot at heart.
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Hi good folks. I have a few questions about the structure of a book I'm 25k words into. A very short…
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  •  · Thank you, Stephen. It's been good to get the responses. All very helpful and I have learned, which …
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Hi. If in a novel I wanted to detail a vision my protagonist experienced in the present, would I use…
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  •  · Sounds like you're making good progress, Robert. I'll stop my essays now and leave you in what's pro…
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Hi folks. I enjoyed getting away from the book for a few days. I rested the mind and refocused befor…
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  •  · I like the idea of moving it to the end, even though it wasn't too much of a hop to me where it is. …
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Hi again folks. Another thank you to all who helped me, but here I am again.😭 For the last four days…
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  •  · Must work faster... ☺️
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Hi good folk.I have finished rewriting chapter one and wish to thank everybody again. After two days…
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  •  · Ghost In The Shell solves this problem, with mind reading. The main characters are able to converse,…

Hi, folks. I've been missing for a month trying to get the beginning of The Blue Pendant into shape. What a job for this novice! I would be so grateful if some of you busy people had time to read and comment, it's not so long. Under previous advice, I have built tension, introduced personal conflicts, did my best to remove filter words, and tidied up heaps. I would like to thank whoever on this site told me to use MS Word 'speak'. What a boon to listen to the book as well as read outloud. Great!

It's been so difficult I started to have nightmares. Last night I was attacked by a dangling modifier. Terrible experience, but luckily I was saved by a bunch of straight commas helping and managed to fight it off. 😂 

Hi good folks. I have a few questions about the structure of a book I'm 25k words into. A very short example of my issue is below. What I want to know is, can I start a book with my protagonist narrating and 'telling' what's going on, and then switch to third person? Is this acceptable in todays world of writing?

500 words before this

...And the ultimate tragedy, China. It had to stop. This man must not continue the rape of our heritage and the freedoms we love. Democrat or Republican, since 1865 it had mattered little. If the nation needed us, we rose as one and were victorious. But the president: we could not rise united because we were poles apart.

I’m C.I.A. Senior Agent Rob Scott and I will go back and tell you the story.

 

Chapter 2

 “Are you saying any message we wish to every social media account in China?”

“I am, Mr. Director. Not anything, though. We can now tap into China’s Internal Security Headquarters, distribute great messages, secrets the populace doesn’t know,” I said from across the table.

etc etc into the story.

Hi. If in a novel I wanted to detail a vision my protagonist experienced in the present, would I use italics? There's two reasons I ask. The vision is the protagonists thoughts. Number two, italics will differentiate the text from narrative and perhaps allow the reader to be clearer that it was a vision. Thank you.

Hi folks. I enjoyed getting away from the book for a few days. I rested the mind and refocused before editing my previous post here. I hope it has worked. I tried to cover everything you folks suggested. I also made the battle on the moor a vision. Herein lies my only issue with what I did. During the battle, which is in Stuart's POV, I jumped heads for just a moment to remind readers that Angus was dreaming it all. The few sentences are highlighted for easy identification. My question: Is it okay to leave it where it is, or should I move it to the end of the scene or start of the next?

The extract is less that half my last post. I hope sombody has time to read and comment on the new work. Thanks heaps, Rob

Hi again folks. Another thank you to all who helped me, but here I am again.😭 

For the last four days I’ve studied, watched recommended videos, and read heaps of stuff. I also built into my writing the suggestions you folks made. The beginning has been wiped, 300 words gone, now it starts at the action, almost. If this isn't much better than last time, please come kick my ass or poke me in the eye.

I’ve given little consideration to ‘narrative distance’ as I don’t understand it. Wouldn’t mind betting 99% of others don’t either.

The pendant, the unnatural aspects, the clan history, Angus’s relatives, everything over the next few chapters stems from battle, it is now a vision. It is the only backstory battle. The rest of the backstory is covered in present day conversations and dribbled in. There is no dual narrative with the past. The hook is in earlier and more prominent. I’ve read every piece of dialogue. Now vastly less than before. None of it is lengthy, all of it is to the point (in my opinion at least).

Hi good folk.

I have finished rewriting chapter one and wish to thank everybody again. After two days of work, many rereads, and much research online, I am comfortable with it. I think it covers most of the suggestions give here. I keep going back and reading it, then I'll post it in a day or so.

BUT, I have another issue. My second chapter cannot be refined to one POV. Try as I may, the three characters involved need to have their own voice. I've checked half a dozen lessons on the web, but none precisely talk about three guys trying to assess a worrying situation. In my first chapter it was Angus who stood out as the POV, so it was easier. 

Most articles I read said the three voices were fine, but I need to be good to pull it off. I'm not good, tried to cut it down to two, but it ruins the story and the future chapter also if I do. Picture a meeting of the joint chiefs of staff. They talk and assess a serious situation, and must have their own POVs to do so.

Anybody got some advice, or some links to address this particular problem? The Jericho article I read was good information, but not for the specific problem (unless I missed one)..

Thanks so much. Rob


Finally, after so much work and heartache, I have a better book. Today I tried to send in a query the format for which was my letter, synopsis, and first three chapters in the body of an email.

Great. I loaded the query letter = no probs.

Then I loaded the synopsis = no probs = happy as a piggy in much.

Then I loaded the three chapters. I read them after pasting. Bugger! Bum! The last half of the chapter paste turned to a different font and italics. 

I yelled, screamed, HELP! Googled the issue, couldn't fix. So I switched from Outlook to Gmail. Gmail was better, but all my wanted italics were gone, so were the indents. So a contacted a professional. After two hours, she is having the same problems and can't fix.

To be clear, the letter, synopsis, and first half of the three chapters were fine. 

Anbody had a similar problem or heard of such a thing?

Hi again folks,

I have asked a lot of you, and this is the last request. Thanks for previous advice.

The below has toned down the comments which caused most debate originally. However, it still tells the agent what I think is the market, but not in her face. My intention is to send out 6 of this type of query letter, and 6 built on the Muchen example as via the link provided by L.

Some folk earlier mentioned the length of the first letter. This is near 100 words less, and is just over a page long when double spaced.That seems okay from my research.

The biography worries me as I have no special qualification which would endear me to an agent or qualify me to write the novel. Although, my entire life has been spent reading and loving Scottish and Greek history. I'm just a bloody nice bloke, but can't say that.

I would love specific examples of changes recommended if anybody has time to comment. Thanks again to you all, Rob.


Dear Ms.       ,

(A few lines specific as to why I have written to this agent).

I seek representation for The Blue Pendant, an 80,000 word urban fantasy heavily influenced by myth and history.

This novel describes a mystery exposed on Scotland’s Culloden Battlefield centuries past—with present day Washington, D.C. and Scotland as the major settings. The plot’s essential purpose is to keep the reader’s feet solidly earthbound amidst its metaphysical aspects. It doesn’t rely on beings such monsters, aliens, or dragons as with many fantasy novels. Instead, it focuses on the horror and fear we readily see in everyday life. It plays on common knowledge of Greek and Norse mythology that many grasp due to modern renditions in comics, books, films, etc. Four of my major characters, including the protagonist, Angus MacDonald, are between the ages of 18 and 26. I hope this work will appeal to readers graduating from YA, and indeed to other ages as well.

My protagonist relates to people, is caring and calm, but he has no problems acting the part of a ruthless bastard when supernatural danger threatens via Hades attempting the enslavement of humankind. He uses the great power of a blue pendant created by Zeus, and gifted to him. Lost on the battlefield when its previous owner was killed, the magical pendant finds him as he visits Culloden. The vast majority of my story is the protagonist’s present day fight against ancient powers, and the frightful cost paid by my heroes in defending humanity. Conflicts take place in Washington and out on the Great Plains of Montana.

Readers who enjoy ......, ........., ,....... would find this an easy but absorbing read–about tales that never left them as they aged–of heroes still in their blood. Jamie Fraser from Outlander typifies my protagonist; his warrior life also affected by mystic forces.

I am a senior, and what has inspired and driven me to write this tale of hope is that I’ve never lost my love of a hero. Since I was old enough to read, the tales and feats of fictitious Achilles and Heracles to historical Rob Roy MacGregor and Robert the Bruce have always stayed with me. I know them intimately.

 

Sincerely,


Hi Folks.

WOW! There's a lot of new faces here. It's been quite a while since I participated on this forum. A stressful four months reediting my novel, changing its title, researching query letter advice, cutting out 25k words, and focusing the dialolgue for shorter, more powerful phrases.

Anyway, I selected a style of query letter style I found on the internet. The person who posted it is a professional writing coach and he made some good points. The main one was that a synopsis covers the plot, and the sample extract outlays the story. The query should focus on marketability to focus the agent. That seemed to make sense to me, so following his sample letter, I have produced the below.

I'd love anybody with a little time to comment.

Thanks expectantly, Rob

Dear Ms.       ,

 (A few lines specific as to why I have written to this agent).

Several reasons I feel I have a winner in The Blue Pendant, an 80,000 word urban fantasy heavily influenced by historical fiction:

  • Although the YA market may be shrinking, I have not seen evidence that previously readers of the genre did not progress on to more mature versions of the same popular subjects. As lovers of fantasy, sci-fi, and mythology genres, their tastes may have stayed the same, but as they grew, depth of plot and characters became more important. I feel I have created a work that will appeal strongly to them, and older ages too. Four of my major characters, including the protagonist, Angus MacDonald, are between the ages of 18 and 26–relatable to my prime market.
  • Mythology and romance are marketable mystiques and I included them, but the pace and action don’t falter. The characters and the voices they project are endearing factors with many poignant moments. This manuscript differs from other fantasies in that its essential purpose is keeping the reader’s feet solidly earthbound. It hoists no monsters, aliens, or dragons into the plot; it focuses on the horror and fear already available in everyday life, and plays on the common knowledge most readers hold of Greek and Norse mythology i.e. 300 Spartans, Clash of Titans, Thor, and many more. I am relating a tale—uncovering a mystery exposed on Scotland’s Culloden Battlefield—with present day Washington, D.C. and Scotland as a steely backdrop.
  • In many fantasy novels the plot barely moves. I focused on ensuring the voice turns as many pages as the fear and expectation built into the drama. A protagonist who relates, caring, calm, but a mean bastard when supernatural danger threatens. Jamie Fraser from Outlander typifies my protagonist; his warrior life also affected by mystic forces. The vast majority of my story is the present day fight against powers attempting to enslave humankind, and the frightful cost paid by my heroes in defending it. Readers who enjoy ......, ........., ,....... would find this an easy but absorbing read–about tales that never left them as they aged–of heroes still in their blood.

I am a senior, and the thing that qualifies me to write this tale of hope is that I’ve never lost my love of a hero. Since I was old enough to read, Rob Roy MacGregor, Achilles, Robert the Bruce, and Heracles have stayed with me. I know them. The backstory carries the soul of these heroes of old and men of renown, along with Zeus and Hades for added spice.

 

Sincerely,

Hi Folks. Here's hoping you are all well. 

I am faced with a decision. After having my book edited, I sent it off to 20 agents and received responses from 12, rejections. None said the book was not good enough and their comments (not that they made many), were broadly that it did not suit them. One said my genre plot is dated in the current market. For the last three weeks I have worked hard to prepare the book for self-publishing and sending for ARC reviews.

But then, I received a response from an editor/agent who advised that the book was well written and did not need a lot of work (reference to the three chapters sent), the plot good, but it has genre issues and is difficult to place. Bugger! Then they made this comment. 'If your protagonist was younger, your novel seems to have great potential in the YA market.' Hope beamed once more. 

Currently my hero is 26 and his three friends are between 18-24. Should I decide to edit the book to YA, I will need to change much of the first third. I will also need help to change some dialogue to kid speak (that's a little difficult for an old fart). 

Before I push the button to self-publish, I am curious to know what the astute folk on this site think. I don't have the knowledge or experience to know if it will be worth the effort to change.

Kind regards, Rob

Hi all you super critiquers. After my pathetic first effort, rightly hammered by the good folks here, I submit my second attempt for a further bashing. God this is difficult. It seems harder than writing the book. If you think it is okay, I'd like a little more advice. '...he compares with those the gods of old empowered eons ago.' Should I name Achilles, Hector, Heracles? Perhaps this is a suck-up, but it's relevant to the story. I have used italics to indicate a section I'm not sure about. Comments?

Ancient Gods still roam amongst us, they never left...

When visiting Culloden Battlefield archeological site in Scotland, former U.S. Marine Angus MacDonald uncovers more than he bargained for when he finds a mysterious silver box. Instantly, power within the artifact thrusts him into a world for which it has not prepared him; a place where gods themselves walk in shadows and their reach touches every point in humanity’s existence.

Granted increased strength and enhanced senses, he compares with those the gods of old empowered eons ago. Will this be enough to defeat the malevolence of the God of the Underworld? The Marines never taught him to fight deities, but he has no choice because humanity is threatened with slavery. Along the way, he gathers help from his family and friends, forming a team of resistance. But a convert division of the Pentagon interferes, and he must display his unique powers and assume control of the battles.

The team works and fights together while trying to discover the reason behind Angus’s newfound abilities, and what tactics they can use to kill Hades.

This page-turning thriller setting man against gods in a clash older than time; the fate of the world rests on a young hero, and the cost is extreme.

Hi again, folks.

I'm pushing my luck asking for more help, but I'm near the end point, and nervous.

Below is my ebook description. I'll need to trim it for print, but getting this right is a good start. I would be most appreciative if you would provide comments, and some help with vivid verbs or power text would be great. Lastly, any guidance with categories would be a tremendous help. Thanks, Rob.

CLASH OF GODS.

The gods of old still interfere with humankind—but Angus MacDonald has his own rules. This page-turning thriller, the first in the CLASH OF GODS series, sets human against deities and the costs are extreme.

 

In this installment of Rob J. Pearce’s thriller about the ancient gods of mythology, Angus MacDonald must learn to fight an evil bent on enslaving humankind. His woes begin during a visit to a Scottish battlefield where a blue pendant, eons old, became lost during the Battle of Culloden. Its owner, Lord Duncan MacDonald, died as an English musket ball shattered his neck and mud claimed the treasure. Its discovery grants power, but with it comes a threat unprecedented in human history.

Angus did not find the blue pendant; it lay for three-hundred years waiting while powers completed preparations, unknown to him, for the seemingly impossible task ahead. Gods, determined to gain the power of the pendant, follow Angus to America where they unleash catastrophic pain on an unprepared populace.

Beginning in Scotland, then playing out in Washington, D.C., and Malmstrom on the Great Plains, the adventure moves from one climax to another with disaster but a step behind. The Pentagon and government are out of their depth and lost in this world of unknown supernatural powers; Angus and his friends fight alone against overpowering odds.

Through sheer strength of will and revenge for losing his trusted friend, he learns to use the ancient power. But the road is long, his courage tested, and his hopes for the future, uncertain.

A novel unique in plot, surprises and twists throughout, and dramatic battles fought in ways never seen. New takes on action abound in this fast-paced original thriller.


P.S. My visibility is set on 'public.' What should I set it on so just Jericho readers can see?


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