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Forum Home > Peazy's reviews > Reviewing Meany, chapter one

mfitzge5@tampabay.rr.com
Site Owner
Posts: 114

Heather reviewing:

Hey Peazy - I read chapter 1 of meany and wrote a few things down. I want to preface this by saying that I am beyond tired, but I promised you my thoughts, so here goes.

 

Right in the beginning, you have Eddie rubbing his eyes with the heel of his hand. I know you are trying to give me visual, but i had to stop and think about it for a second to visualize it...i get that you want it to be a masculine gesture, but I didn't want to pause so early on, i don't want the beginning to be slow at all.

 

later on you wrote "a place to run to" the teacher in me is screaming that you can't end a sentence with a preposition, so I thought you could simply say a place to run, or perhaps a place to hide. maybe by changing the verb, you can do away with the dangling preposition.

 

I REALLY liked the paragraph about cancer vs. his guilt for not doing something being what is eating him alive...it was a great parallel that jived for me instantly. In fact I went back and reread the paragraph because it was so nice...this didn't slow me down, it had me nodding my approval at the thought process and the writing style...GOOD STUFF!!!

 

When I saw the name "Southtown" I personally was distracted...possibly because I am too close to this...It makes me think of a populated urban area...like part of Philly or something and I know that is not what you are describing. Perhaps its simply me, but I thought that you should know what thought it evoked in one of your readers.

 

Further in the priest is talking about keeping promises. You finished the paragraph with the line "This he meant and it showed." As I was debating this line, I wasn't sure it was necessary. I am assuming that he is a good priest, perhaps a little nosy, but he hasn't done anything to make me distrust him yet. I think it flows just as well without the line.

 

Later on you used a line that included, "He drew one deep breath..." I think this would be more smooth if you said "A deep breath", it still gets the point across that he is preparing himself for this story, but it flows more smoothly. Just like when I used the character's names instead of he or she and it drew the reader out of the story, I think that using the number "one" here does the same thing.

 

I was just wondering on the spelling of mother-lode...is it mother load...like a load of something? Perhaps I have been wrong all of these years...its is entirely possible and more likely probable!

 

Another point I truly like is the line where Eddie says he thought Annette was pretty on the wedding day....I know what you are setting up and its awesome that you are doing it right from chapter one, but also this makes the reader see the innocent and good in Eddie. It makes him humble and real and lovable to me as the reader...again GOOD STUFF!

 

The last thing that drew my attention was the beginning of the last paragraph, the line, "against my better judgement, i moved in with the family." This line made me stop short again. i understand its a bridge for the rest of the info in the paragraph, but you have already mentioned a few paragraphs back that Eddie had moved in with the family (when they are talking about getting the farm for a song). The first time I read that line I had Eddie moved into the house. When you started the last paragraph mentioning him moving in I said to myself, "wait didn't this guy already move in?" and I stopped and went back to make sure. I am certain you don't want your reader to stop reading a few lines from your hook to go back and check facts. You want them racing into that hook like its their job. Perhaps remove the earlier line mentioning that he moved in.

 

So those were the questions and observations I had as I reviewed. Keep in mind I am beyond EXHAUSTED. I really like what you've done. I am definitely interested in reading more. I am really proud to say I am affiliated with you! I hope to get to chap 2 tomorrow! Really nice work!

 

Heather


March 2, 2011 at 1:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

mfitzge5@tampabay.rr.com
Site Owner
Posts: 114

Anthony reviewing:

MEANY, Ch. 1:

 

I like the overall tone, which seems slightly ominous and disturbing. Also your writing has a nice, easy flow to it, and has the sheen of professionalism that comes with a good grasp of grammar and vocabulary.

 

I also think you've got a good voice - - which comes out best in little turns of phrase that seem vaguely southern and slightly anachronistic.

 

Now for the annoying stuff...

 

I'm a stickler for stupid rules: No split infinitives, don't end a sentence with a preposition. I found "...somewhere to run to" irksome. That's really my problem, but then again, I'm willing to bet that the proportion of stupid rule-followers among editors and agents is probably fairly high, so...

 

Back to the first sentence, I'd leave off "and it don't come easy." I think it diminishes the power of an otherwise awesome start.

 

I think you've got some extra words, but that's probably just my opinion. For example, "from his place behind the desk" could be "from behind his desk" or maybe have him spread his hands out on his desk, or slide a paper over or something.

 

Same thing for ?Why don?t you start at the beginning, Eddie, so that I can make sense of this?? I'd leave off "so that I can make sense of this."

 

I think a lot of the dialogue here maybe has more words than is absolutely necessary. People talk in short, incomplete sentences. They don't finish thoughts. At least I don't. But then I'm ...

 

"?Go on,? he encouraged, but the anticipation in his voice was louder than his words somehow and fresh pain flashed across Eddie?s face. Father Murphy felt ashamed of his own voyeuristic nature, but this was one fish he did not want to get away." This almost felt like a POV shift, but I'm not sure. In the previous paragraph you seem to be inside the priest's head. (Does that need to be capitalized, btw?) But then somehow the priest seems to know how obvious his interest is. If this is from the priest's point of view, he's not going to be able to tell that. He might worry about it, but he won't be able to judge.

 

There are two multi-paragraph quotes. I think the proper way to do that is to put open quotation marks on each paragraph, and leave the ending marks off all but the last. You've done the latter but not the former. But don't take my word for it.

 

Then ending seems abrupt and not hook-y enough. I think we all need to try to elicit a "holy fuck! what happens next?!?!" reaction.


March 4, 2011 at 1:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

mfitzge5@tampabay.rr.com
Site Owner
Posts: 114

Kris, reviewing:

a-lo pen.

I'm starting with chapter one on meany and we'll go on from there. I havent read anyone else's reviews of it, b/c i dont want to come at it with any bias. so if i repeat anything-forgive.

 

'looked uncomfortable sitting in that chair.'- which chair? that chair? emphasis on that particular chair is distracting.

Also he 'looked' uncomfortable in the chair, 'looked' uncomfortable in his skin, and 'looking' for a place to run. and then a sentence from the father and the next sentence again is Eddie Kingsley didn't 'look' well at all. lookedity-lookedity looked looked looked, ya know?

 

good description of eddie.

 

'Eddie giggled then'- i have a hard time associating 'giggle' with an old man dying of cancer. you do a good job of desribing how eerie of a laugh it is after that, but i dont think 'giggle' is the right term to use first.

 

I like the fact that the priest feels greed over the details of the incident. it humanizes him and makes him more real.

 

'but the anticipation in his voice was louder than his words somehow'- get rid of 'somehow', weakens the statement.

 

Father murphy was confused. Why don?t you start at the beginning, Eddie, so that I can make sense of this?? I dont like 'so that i can make sense of this'. seems unecessary. you said to the reader already that father murphy was confused.

 

Father Murphy was unable to cover the shock he felt at that statement. It must?ve been written all over his face. - this rings a bit false to me. earlier the priest felt greed over knowing the details- because he'd been subject to stories about them and maybe even some confessions from neighbors of things they heard or knew. plus, it takes more than people think to shock a priest, they hear some pretty awful shit.

 

We may have hit the mother-lode, I thought to myself- get rid of 'to myself'.

 

Well, yes, I suppose,? Father Murphy agreed, though not at all sure whether he did or not.- honestly, i think that if the priest wanted to keep him talking, he wouldnt say anything to eddie's question. As a catholic priest he might believe in demons, but he wouldn't believe (or admit to believing) in ghosts. correct catholic theology states that once a person dies they are immediately judged. they go to one of three places, heaven, hell, or purgatory. By catholic creed there are no ghosts/lost souls.

 

finally, i kind of feel like eddie speaks too clearly or elequently. or something. and thats fine for when it gets into the narrative proper, but for right now, in the present tense when we're seeing him, we're seeing a dying elderly man who's in a great deal of pain. I would expect less wordiness from him, more pauses, etc. In the beginning you say that father murphy could tell he was in a great deal of pain, but besides saying he looked uncomfortable, we're not seeing it.

 

solid storytelling as always, pen. And I have to say again that this intro is much more fitting than the first one. It does a better job of establishing the narrator, setting the mood, etc.


March 7, 2011 at 7:18 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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