Richard Mitchell

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I'm a dyslexic lover of words. After a long break from the visual arts world I stumbled across how to paint images in the mind rather than on the canvas. My first book, a hard hitting but compelling memoire from my early years is currently with my editor. While she works on fixing my dreadful spelling and grammar I'm looking to learn more about this world I always thought was out of reach due to my education and learning needs.

Richard Mitchell Discussions
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I'm interested in some feedback on this piece. It's first draft and I'm dyslexic, feel free to point…
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  •  · Yeah I know what that's like, I do the same thing in my MS. I'm glad that you're finding it all help…
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Hi everyone,I've bitten the bullet and joined as a JW member. I kept putting it off thinking I would…
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  •  · Welcome Richard
Added a comment to Tone 

Thank you Calvin. It's not a nice journey for the protagonist, but it ends well.

The advice on here has been so helpful and all comments have become changes, and it does read so much better.
My sister gave me one too that made me laugh. She said the bag rustling made her think there was a cat in it. So that's changed to the bag beside me rustles with each move of the car.

I can see things so clearly in my head I sometimes forget I need to articulate them better.

Added a comment to Tone 

I was worrying about where and how to add some description and found this place, and cut the rest of the sentence

I look at her eyes in the mirror as they try and bore into me for appreciation. Looking back to the window I see my reflection. They always say I’m cute when they meet me, smaller than they were expecting. My hair is never just brown, it’s lush, deep, or rich. The women seem to like my eyes, one said they were soulful. When I asked my worker what that meant she said ‘sad.’

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Thank you very much.

I definitely need to add some details about him in as you're the second person to say you struggled to see him.

Much appreciated 

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Brilliant observations, thank you I will make the changes.

I hear you on not revealing the MC's age. I'm wondering if context would help with that. 

It's a work of stereo perspective. About 10,000 words split into chapters dotted throughout the book. They tell the story of what gave the motivation and belief system to the MC. The remainder of the book is 3rd person and telling his journey to understand and overcome that. 

In the 1st person part he's 9, in the 3rd person he starts at 15 and gets to around 25/30 I haven't quite figured that out yet. I thought keeping the reveal of the 9 year old slow would add to that process, his age is stated in his second chapter. Drip feeding information somewhat, without stating that both are the same person. 

That being said, with my context explained, if you find it hard to find the MC through my vagueness, I need to rethink that.

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Thank you so much, this is incredibly detailed and helpful.

Apologies to your SIL, as I was writing this I had to mentally apologies to the social workers I've know and still know. Unfortunately I wanted a stereotype for this piece. It has made me think that maybe I should do a shout out to them in the acknowledgments.

Added a forum 

I'm interested in some feedback on this piece. 

It's first draft and I'm dyslexic, feel free to point out spelling if you wish, but I'm most interested in the tone of it. How it makes you feel. Where you think it might be going. It's the opening for a new WIP, so I'm looking to set the mood quite quickly.

All opinions on anything gratefully received.

I watch the houses whiz by and my eyes flick from one to the next. I was told once not to do that as it will give me a headache, but it hasn’t yet. We’ve been driving a long time, but that could just be because this worker is more boring than most of the others.

Her car is the same as everyone else’s, it has the feeling of beige. I look away from the houses and down to my feet. They dangle in the air because of this stupid child seat she’d made me sit on. Beneath them the typical uncared for mess dotting the floor. A half crushed dried leaf, bits and pieces of various foods, a single bright blue thread snaking its self into a contorted pattern. 

The bag beside me rustles as the car moves. I’ve lost count of the times my things have been stuffed into a bag that, other than for moving me, is only ever used to throw out rubbish. The suitcase I’d started with, one home said was theirs when I was told to leave, and kept it. Since then it’s been the bin bag. The sum total of my life being worthy of being rubbish.

“You’re lucky I was free today or you would have been in real trouble.” She says in a voice like I should be thankful.

I look at her eyes in the mirror as they try and bore into me for appreciation, then go back to looking at the houses going past. Will this be the type of house I’ll be staying in? Probably not, these seem too nice for the kinds of people that take us in.

It’s not long before the car comes to a stop, and she turns round awkwardly to look at me while she talks at me. The angle she’s put herself is making the collar of her shirt dig into the fat of her neck, it’s being absorbed by the folds of her flesh.

I’ve heard most of it before. Try and not get into trouble this time. Be nice to your hosts. Don’t swear. Say thank you, and please. This house has a new part though, this is emergency accommodation, “Because you’re running out of options.” It’s not always me, but it’s always me that gets the blame. The son of the last place had banged his head so hard off the door frame that the blood actually splattered across the wall. He was angry after catching me watch him get dressed, he wanted the baby faggot out of his room. He was twice my size, but I was still blamed for the injuries and the social worker was called to come and collect me. I asked the worker what a faggot was, she just told me it’s a bad word and I shouldn’t say it.

This house doesn’t normally take boys. They have two girls, so they only take girls. Because of the short notice it’s all that’s available, the girls will stay in a room together and I will stay in the smaller of their rooms.

“Hopefully we’ll find you somewhere you don’t want to cause problems soon.”

I look up at the house as we go through the garden gate, normally houses this size are group homes. “Try to look thankful for being here. They are good to have let you stay.” She speaks to the air as we snake down the broken slabs towards the front door. I don’t feel thankful though, I don’t see why this house will be any different. Kids that don’t want me there, parents that are more interested in the cheque they get for hosting me. Maybe they’ll be a dog, I can be friends with the dog.

The two girls inspect me from the safety of a doorway. Their eyes roam over me and my bin bag with no hint of subtlety, pure assessment. The Mum greats me with an uncomfortable smile and welcomes me in an unwelcoming way. The Dad though, the Dad seems nice. Friendly, dressed in sports wear that he apologises for, he didn’t have time to change from his run before I got there. He’s funny, he makes a joke about he couldn’t welcome me properly while in the shower, and punches my shoulder while chuckling.

I'm right there with you regarding the weekly emails, that was part of what swayed me to join. I realized I was already getting such good advice I wanted to see what was behind the membership curtain.

Hi Maggie, Lovely to meet you.

Thank you for the welcome, sounds like we're in a very similar place in our writing, getting ready to submit while still perfecting the MS.

I'll pop along to the groups section and check out the one you suggested xx

Added a forum 

Hi everyone,

I've bitten the bullet and joined as a JW member. I kept putting it off thinking I would do so when I had more time but today decided I should make more time.

Other than being proficient in complaint letters, I always thought writing was out of my reach due to my dyslexia and the education limitations I had. My first MS, a memoire, is currently undergoing copy editing which I'm finding a fascinating experience. At the start of that process my editor suggested I keep writing to keep my mind busy, I also think it was to stop the constant update requests from me. A project I started as a joke turned into a first draft of a romantic comedy. Although it's still very rough I very much enjoy it, and it showed me I had caught the words bug.

Now I'm sat with a short story that's darkly amusing, I guess in the fantasy genre, with six pages and growing of notes, keys, and plot ideas. I'm going to start the video course, How To Write, and develop this idea while using all the amazing resources JW offer their members.

I'd love to get to know other people in the writing world and this community for casual fun, or support and idea exchanging, and I'm looking forward to exploring the forum and site more.

Hope you all have a fabulous day


I can only give my personal experiences rather than advice, I'm sure someone with more knowledge than me will be along soon.

Professional editing and proofreading can get very expensive, you want to make sure your ms is as close to the way you want it before you embark on that process. If you engage an editor and then rewrite, you may then be paying for the editing a second time once you finish your rewrites. For me being dyslexic any rewrites will need work by a professional.

For my first book my editor, gave me general feedback, which triggered a lot of rewriting, some chapters only a few lines of original text remained. Then the whole ms was put on one side and left for 3-4 months while I worked on something else. The self edit that came afterwards I was then able to do with fresh eyes and not read what I thought was there.

Re beta readers, I find them useful, be that friends or strangers. Be prepared for some feedback to be useful, and some to be an overall critique. My sister is particularly useful for my process as she doesn't hold back. One project at first draft stage she stopped reading at chapter six of fourteen, but her reason for doing so was incredibly valuable for me and when I go back to that project there is a few months of rewrites just from her three lines of feedback. 

The disadvantage to having friends review your ms is they may be kind to you and not be as helpful as you require. The flip side of the coin using strangers is you don't know what use their feedback is other than a subjective point of view.

Have you looked at the one to one sessions available here, maybe speaking with an agent or book doctor would be a place for you to work out your next move? 

Your blub sounds interesting, having just been working on one myself I can see some room to make it more concise and hook the reader slightly more, but the premise is one that sounds like it would be a good story.     

I loved your idea of expanding more on what's to come, but struggled to touch on it without going into detail. This is what I came up with.

Be careful who you trust, be more careful who you love.

Growing up gay with only his mother to confide in, Richard feels the pain of isolation. In the summer of 1996, aged 14, he goes to the pubs and clubs of his town and for the first time, he is free to be himself. A child in an adult world, his innocence is clear to those that want to nurture him, and those that don’t. The price he starts to pay for his freedom will reform his beliefs of self-worth, and love, forever.

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