Dave Sinclair

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Retired engineer now dabbling in writing...


This is great - and definitely has the feel of a turning point in the story.  The prose has a distinctive voice (and slightly alluring/intriguing feel).  I wonder if it would add a bit of pace to the scene to cut the opening paragraph and merge the details of the fog into the next paragraph.  Starting with 'Maisie can barely....'  would immediately bring the reader into Maisie's POV.   Would Logan say 'vehicle' instead of car ?  But he is obviously old school so maybe he would.   There is a hint of Conan-Doyle I feel about the scene (though clearly in a different city).

A good mixture of humour and suspence - great stuff!  I want to know what happens next :-)

This sounds good.  I'm intrigued by the world you are building - Atlantis has always had a magical attraction for me.  If i was nit-picking (a bad habit I know...) I would say there are sequential 'musts' here - first 'whether to take up the offer of a new home', then 'solve the lemurian community problem' and then 'find a way to save herself'.  This is great I think because it means you have a naturally escalating story, where your protagonist goes from one crisis to the the next and so on - encouraging the reader to 'read just one more chapter'.   If I was a grumpy publishing/film executive though I think I might want a slightly crisper must/when statement.

This seems pretty much spot on to me.  I think inevitably in a when/must statement you simply cannot explain everything.   But you pack a lot in and although I can think of lots of questions to ask (which is a good thing), the basic when/must premise seems complete to me.  We have been told the key characteristics of the main protaganist (she's a thief, and a mage and she is untrained, making her an unusual an interesting character).  We can also see she is in a big pickle (a good thing) and we are teased with the idea of her having to enter a new (and presumably exotic) world, and that is against her natural inclination.  So she is not only having (perhaps) solve the murder and prove her innocence, she also has to overcome her fear of this new world.

If I were an agent (heaven forbid), then I would definitey be immediately asking to see the first three chapters!

wow - that's pretty good stuff - not so much characterisation as a complete story in itself !

Yes, I think that is a very fair point about Anya.  She is a bit of cipher at the moment, in that chapter, and she definitely needs to be a bit more 3D.   For the 'how does Canon Peter speak 12C anglo saxon (and Norman french) and Father Hugh speak 20C English, I'm going to rely on the fact that no physical time travel actually takes place.  So Father Hugh is in Canon Peter's body and vice versa.   Their consciousness have been exchanged.  But Father Hugh's body (containing Peter's mind) is able to do what it normally does, so when Peter wants to speak, then Father Hugh's body kindly speaks Peter's thoughts in Anglo Saxon.  To an external observer Father Hugh's body is visibly unchanged.  So this is some sort of mystical time travel and not one that necessarily needs to break the law of physics.  This will become clear to the reader (I hope) as Peter (in Father Hugh's body) explores the Anglo Saxon world (and carries out the tasks he needs to) and so on.  That's the plan anyway.

This is lovely evocative dramatic writing - i can feel the dusty road beneath my toes !   The prose description of the scene is, I find, very effective and engaging. But I'm finding the 4/5 year old's dialogue a bit difficult - it seems too adult to me.   I know that this actually the mature Manto recounting her memories, but the child's words are given as actual dialogue - so I think the reader would assume that they were verbatim.  I'm also slightly dubious that a 5 year old would expect an adult, indeed a Lord of Corinth to pay any attention to a child - Manto's experience would have been that adults don't do what children want so why would she expect this situation to be different ?

Thanks Ian, Army->Church was not something I had considered....

Good questions!

I don't have a good answer to 1, or indeed any answer really.  So I'm sort of stuck really.  I don't come from a religious background, and nor in the story does Peter.  Generally, those I have met who have joined a ministry are people who are later in life whose life experiences have pushed them in that direction, rather than somebody who has suddenly chosen to sign up in their 20s.   But I guess there folks who have done this.  I'm wondering if to change the story so Peter does not actually joins the church but meets, early in life as an undergraduate, a Canon from the cathedral and they are both main characters in the story, as their friendship develops.  Maybe Peter joins the army and still goes to Yugoslavia with NATO or maybe he's there because he becomes a journalist or a charity worker, and Canon X (the new character) still provides access to the Cathedral and participates with Peter in the 'crime' of embezzling funds to rescue Anya (the orphan) from Yugoslavia.

For 2, Peter gets dumped because he is too needy, but also because he is diffident, shy, not exciting enough, not a risk taker (though over time he does change).  Catherine is looking for someone that lives more on the 'edge' - she's not planning for 10 or 20 or 30 years, she wants to live in the moment, at least in her early years.  She dumps him because she sees more enticing, thrilling opportunities elsewhere even though she sees these as riskier relationships to take on, she wants to leap into the unknown rather than continue with the well known and unsurprising relationship with Peter.  She's not a bad person, but she is decisive and forthright, so after the convenience of her relationship with Peter at Uni she dumps him as her life moves on.  The pain of getting dumped is what makes the indecisive Peter wake up, react and take a surprising path for him (eg join the Church, or go abroad, or decide to make something of his life in Charity work).

I like the interview style.  It is much better (imho) than the simple table of character history, physical characteristics and motivations.  By making the characters speak and reflect on who they are and what has happened to them I think it reveals much more than a bland biography.  Great stuff !

This definitely works I feel.  There is a strong reason why Charlie must act (to assert her identity) so I think the when-must contract is good.  If anything there is perhaps a little too much detail for the reader to digest in a couple of sentences?  Could 'find her own identity and sexuality through helping out a filmmaker from London do a thesis film in the most dangerous part of the Philippines' just be 'find her own identity and sexuality through working on a filmaking project amongst the militants and jihadists in the Philippines'.   We can perhaps assume the jihadists are dangerous?  But I think you have a compelling premiss nevertheless.

I'm not sure about the genre.  I want the reader to believe that time travel (or at least the exchange of consciousnesses across ti.me does actually happen so there is no intended element of sci fi or fantasy.  I would say a mix of mystery-adventure-historical fiction perhaps.

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