Thursday, December 21, 2006

Meg's Book - Chapter 1 - Crack in the Wall

Trivia - I started writing this book on November 1, 2006, as part of National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org). By the first page I realized that I was going to have to make up a lot more than I had ever imagined when the book was just living in my head or in various web postings. The story Elvira tells the children is in part due to the fact that Elvira was known for her stories, but mostly was part of a desperate attempt to meet 50,000 words by the end of November.

9 comments:

daughterofheaven said...

plp wrote:

How frank of feedback can you stand?

I do not read novels, but I like history and as a software tester, my
mind runs overtime finding problems.

What do you think?

I have a critique prepared.

Meg replied:

> Let's see what you have to dish out. Chapter 1 is pretty vanilla, so I'm sure I'd rather start getting your frank feedback now than get slammed with it when I err in a later chapter.
>
> Remember, I was the one who begged you to be a reader.
>
> Fire away.

plp answered:

Let me read more, I will wait till after christmas.

daughterofheaven said...

KTB wrote:

...because your story has caught my interest, I will be looking for more character development and detail in the following chapters as to why the Smiths are in this house next to the river... Right now I am asking myself, who is Elvira, why is she in this house, and why does she appear to be subservient to Emma. Lucy is Emma's mother since Emma called her mother, but are the children that Elvira was caring for initially Emma's? Brother Joseph took Emma to help at the raided household, but why Emma, is she his wife? Why not Elvira? Emma seems the more mature, Elvira the more dutiful and possibly younger since she is trying to please Emma...

The chapter was very good, and I am looking forward to reading chapter 2.

daughterofheaven said...

Summary of PLP comments:

Why would she say "Sister Emma" when taking to Emma's mother-in-law?

There were 4 exclamation points within 2 paragraphs - what you will have left if something big happens?

Why would Emma refer to her husband as "our prophet?"

Do little children have wits to be scared out of?

To a person without the historical context, they won't know why a mob would attack.

Terrible storm on 18 Aug 1840??

Wow you just barely got Father Smith in before he died, by a month.

There is some indication Father Smith like his 'rootbeer'... [Meg - Father Smith is the one who has the information and is conveying it to Mother Lucy, so I don't think his impaired health (from whatever source) would change how I wrote this scene.]

daughterofheaven said...

Based on the comments to Chapter 1, I have added a historical summary to the foreward that explains enough that people shouldn't get lost in Chapter 1.

DP said...

Read about half the chapter so far. It's a little too goody goody, the people are too nice.

Pat said...

I think it is difficult for our rude age to 'get' the way Victorians talked, particularly given how they often acted. Brutality up to and including murder was not uncommon in that day, yet the high tone of domestic conversation is established by the work of contemporary novelists (contemporary to the Smiths that is) and such things as the poetry and letters from the era. They acted 'goody goody' and carried sharp knives and knew how to swing a stick with intent to wound.

wbs said...

I would like to get more insight to Elvira's reactions (think how Bujold writes Ekaterin in Komarr).
- When Elvira takes Sarah into her arms.
- When she is comforting Sarah.
- When she is imagining what would have happened if the mob had hit the Smith homestead.
- When she decides to make up a story rather than tell one from scripture or history.

On language - consider revising:
'good to be about for a couple of hours'
'let's get dinner started.'
"Is that true?" (clarify whether he's talking about the story or the assertion about little children).

Watch use of quotes (not at end of paragraphs in long passages, like the story, make sure when you have an initial quote mark, there is a corresponding closing quote mark).

dd said...

That whole story is very beautiful, Meg, and appeals completely to my motherly instincts. Now I am interested in this story because of the little girl, Sarah and her trauma
(other comments sent via e-mail)

las said...

This:
She hoped that Sarah’s parents could come to reassure the girl, that Emma could come to make everything better at home, that Joseph could come and make all right with the world.
reads less obtrusively for me than this:
Until then I will take advantage of the opportunity to be part of this family, where I have felt more at home than at any time since my own mother died, these fourteen years ago now.
Everyone has a formal turn of phrase, which sounds appropriate for the era, but Elvira has a tendency to think formally, in expository lumps.

And...I want to keep reading!

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Mother, Physicist, Manager, Author, Genealogist