Phil Lacy

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Hi! I'm Phil.

I'm working on my first proper novel while also teaching English in Poland. 

I enjoy fiction and non-fiction of all kinds, and my literary heroes include Terry Pratchett (for his humour and humanity), Kim Stanley Robinson (for his commitment to research and detail), Cormac McCarthy (because his best is so damn good), Hilary Mantel (for character and world-building), and Kate Atkinson (for showing just how far you can go with a concept before utterly subverting it).

I'll probably add more here later!

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Phil Lacy Discussions
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Hi everyone!Here is a link to the first chapter of my crime thriller/superhero novel WIP, currently …
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  •  · Thanks for the feedback, Jo, glad you liked it.I agree about the last paragraph, that needs a big re…
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Hi! My name is Phil and I'm trying to be a writer.I've joined this community because, like all write…
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  •  · Hello to you all. I'm not here for the pats on the back, although I will receive them gratefully. I'…

Thanks for the input. 

The problem I have is that all of the information I'm delivering in the chapter is more than just background, it has huge implications for the setting. I suppose the key incident can be extracted and used as a prologue, and the rest referred to in other chapters.

Thanks for the feedback, Jo, glad you liked it.

I agree about the last paragraph, that needs a big revision because it's not good enough as is. I'm going to be changing the second "good boy" - it doesn't really work, and you make a good point about the suit description.

As for ending hook, it's a problem for me because you are kind of right - this chapter is very stand-alone and it doesn't really hook into the main story. I'm not sure what to do!

Thanks Jeff and Glyn, I really appreciate you taking your time.

Jeff, I think you're right about parts of the opening section. Reordering the paras makes sense. I'm going to fight for the word choices, though. Part of it reflects his experience, part of it his disdain for non-powered people in general and criminals in particular. Unless it's really detrimental, I'm enjoying writing Red Line as being quite brutal and cynical - it's key to the character's entire arc. 

Glyn, you've made some excellent points. One of the starting points for the Red Line character is thinking about Superman if he got old, cynical and started to hate people. So I agree - this characterisation only works if Red Line is incredibly judgmental. He's unique in that level of cynicism.

I'll be delighted to read your thoughts on tone and tautness, too.

I'm glad you mentioned the topic of jeopardy and vulnerability. Red Line, and none of the characters in the book, are invulnerable. If you could get up next to him when he's out of armour, you could stab him without a problem. It would be very hard for Red Line if he lost his armour, not just because it's armour. Similar to Rorschach, he is Red Line first and foremost, as it is part of his identity. How this can be worked into the first chapter is something I'll ponder.

Hi OrangeRagley, I'm glad you liked it. Let me address your points:

First, 'picture the scene': I take your point, but part of the Red Line character is a hard-boiled cynicism. I intended the first para to reflect that a little. I mean, Red Line doesn't care about the mole, or the wounded, but yeah, the mole doesn't deserve his fate. If it hasn't worked, I'll look at it again. Tone is a tricky beast.

Second, Julian. Yes, fair point, a different kind of good boy. I'll rework it.

Third, cliffhanger at the chapter end and vulnerability. I'm not sure how I can work in a cliffhanger here. Red Line is mostly invulnerable because of the armour. One other aspect of Red Line is I'm riffing on a Superman figure, and I'm aware that early opposition in a story to superheroes is typically weak. The level of risk is low as a result.

Next, the mole. No, the mole is not important going forward. This chapter hopefully introduces one of the two protagonists and the setting. Chapter 2 goes into more detail and introduces the second protagonist. The plot gets underway in Chapter 2 and the full inciting incident in Chapter 3.

Thanks also to Carol and Ryan. It's daunting bringing a WIP out for criticism and I know there are problems ahead in later chapters.

Thanks for the kind words, Jack and Calvin.

To answer your questions, Calvin, yes, there is a mixture of good guys and bad guys and you will meet some on both sides. In terms of the nature of the powers, I've spent quite a lot of time working out what is possible under the limitations I've set myself and there are a lot of odd and even surprising powers available. As for where the powers come from, there can be no origin stories - no getting bitten by radioactive spiders - all the Talented are born with them and they develop during childhood.

If I can circle back to the topic of format, I was horrified that I'd wasted people's time with my formatting. The original format was Scrivener's default settings, exporting into PDF, raw text dump. Now I know better.

Fair point, thanks Rick. It is a problem in that paragraph, maybe in a few other places.

EDIT: maybe more than a few...

My apologies to everyone repulsed by the format before, especially to Glyn who I doomed to do the washing-up. I have no excuse.

The corrected format is attached to this post, Times New Roman, 1.5 spaced, with margins.

Hey Richard!

Love the title of your story. I read your chapters and I think you have the beginnings of a good, atmospheric thriller. I'm curious how you're going to unify the three strands introduced so far, although the third chapter does shed light on it. I'm keen to see where you take the story!

One thing did nag at me as I read, which is the need for a thorough punctuation check and polish.

I'm attaching a file with some thoughts about the content. I hope I'm not too forward in my feedback.

You mention above that you're done with the MS. Are you likely to return to it for another editing pass?

Hi Ryan

It's an interesting passage and it does let us into the inner life of Avidius. I want to echo the opinions of others and add that you could include more details about the setting. What time of day is it? If it's daytime, can Avidius feel the sun on his body, making the darkness more inexplicable? Or perhaps describe what Avidius would expect the afterlife to be like, and so reject that possibility based on other sensations, or even reorder the sequence of impressions, so that he comes to his most feared situation - blindness - last.

Hello to you all. I'm not here for the pats on the back, although I will receive them gratefully. I'm here for the savagery.

Added a forum 

Hi everyone!

Here is a link to the first chapter of my crime thriller/superhero novel WIP, currently titled UNREGISTERED, around 4200 words. There is violent content and some strong language, which will continue throughout the work.

To put the work in context, the story is set in a word analagous to our own, but with a few major changes. Most obviously, there are people with "Talents", what we would think of as superpowers. These Talents are not as extreme as the powers possessed by familar comic book heroes, for example by Superman - no laser eyes, no tornado breath - or by Wolverine - no instant healing, no retractable adamantine blades. Rather, all the Talents are based on charactistics humans already have, be it sensory, physical or biochemical abilities or even physical properties. My intent is to make the powered characters less godlike and more vulnerable, and hopefully more relatable. While I'm confident that I could work super-villains into the world of the story, it is not needed in this story.

The other significant difference from our world is that the world of the story is techologically in advance of ours by 20 years. I've chosen not to make major changes to world history that might affect the story or make the setting too different from our own world.

I'd be very grateful to receive honest critiques. I'm interested in fixing glaring weaknesses in style, voice or pacing. I want to fix whatever is unclear or confusing.

Thanks in advance for spending your time on it!


EDIT: I've deleted the link as it led to a poorly formatted document. I've attached a better version on my post below.

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