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2014-03-31 - manaheim - The Edge of Redemption Ch1 REWRITE (L)


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After all the extremely helpful feedback, a lot of pounding my head on the desk, and some tight clenching, I have re-done Ch1.  I won't give too much info so as not to predispose anyone, but hopefully this will be much improved.


Thanks again to everyone for taking the time AND for taking the time to re-read it.



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This was better in the purple prose department, and Candice wasn't quite as much head-over-heels for the cop.  This strays back out of romance, which is good, though we still don't have any hint of the fantastic until the end of the chapter (not that that is bad...)


However.  I still never had any sympathy for a pushy cop trying to get a date.  After the third (bad) attempt I was hoping Candace really would throw the coffee in his face and walk out.  I'm honestly not sure Seth works, at least in the first impression.  I get the feeling you intend him to be the love interest for Candice during the book (which has its own metaphysical problems), but without a large personality change, I don't see it from the first chapter.



So, having prescient knowledge of what is to come in the next few chapters...I'm going to make suggestions.  Please forgive the impudence.


I would cut all this first part out and maybe show her exiting a theft, but then showing kindness to others.  It plays her Heaven/Hell conundrum better and shows why she's considered a candidate for Hell.  If Seth plays a large part in the story, then he could be the cop Candice is running from after a bungled theft.  He would have seen her bad side only, and then she, as an angel, would have to show him her good side, which is much more difficult for her.


I wouldn't do another rewrite of chapter 1 yet.  if you haven't finished writing the book, do that first.  Then you can see the whole arc of the story and whether the first bit works or not.


Keep writing!

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Not at all, I appreciate it.


I think I may need to shelve this devil and come back to it after I have more experience. I feel like I've got a great concept that is just a little bit beyond me as far as my ability to execute.


I reeeeeeeeeally appreciate your time and efforts reading this. (as well as everyone's)

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I would actually suggest to keep writing this one.  Is this your first book?  If so, definitely keep writing it.  You'd be amazed how much stuff you can/will change in just the first edit after you have the whole thing out on paper (or electrons, I suppose).  Sanderson actually said in one of the Writing Excuses podcasts that he's written his "Great Golden Epic" (or something like that) and it wasn't very good.  

Trust me.  Write this one, even if you don't think it will be good.  You'll learn a whole lot about writing in the process.  You will write great scenes in this book, even if you feel like the concept is past  your ability.


Then write another book.



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This is my second. Part of the reason I am thinking of moving on to the next one (and the reason why I dropped my last one and moved to this one!) is WE's advice to write another and move on. :)  My last one... was MUCH worse. :)


The thing that galls me with this one is I think the concept is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally good and (I think) pretty unique. So it upsets me to drop it, but I think if I drop it now I at least have a chance to come back to it later and redo it when I have the chops.


Thanks for the thoughts and advice, Mandamon!

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Details comments below, but I must say I am considerably happier than first time around. I guess it’s hard to be objective the second time, knowing what’s coming, but I like the way you’ve toned things down wrt Seth’s dialogue and behaviour.


With that dealt with, the thing that stood out for me was Candace’s think-iness, which delayed the payoff of several lines, and made certain silences feel uncomfortable even though, in reality, her thought would be over in a second or two probably.


On wider issues, ‘I think Mandamon is right’®. I think it’s a mistake to think that a story will be better if you shelve it to gain experience. You should write the thing that fills you with enthusiasm. I mean let’s not kid ourselves, you’ll need to come back to it again once it’s finished, and again, and again if you submit it, get comments, submit it, get notes.


I'm taking a break from ‘Without Honour’ only because I needed a break for two / three weeks. I'm writing a contemporary urban cyberpunk-ish short, deliberately to challenge all of the shortcomings highlighted by the excellent RE Crew, but it’s only a pause – and I'm doing it expressly to feed tone directly back into ‘WH’ which, in my head, is different from what you’re suggesting. What if you let go now and never get the feeling back for EoR? I say grasp the nettle, peddle to the mettle.


Anyway, what’s it got to do with you? I want to know what happens to Candace, I want to read her wielding that katana.




Page 1, paragraph 1 – Infinitely better already , for me, much better first paragraph. Please accept my apology for a comment on meaning, but too good to miss – ‘risky’ in place of ‘treacherous’ would make the comment about smoking and drinking deliciously ironic.


Page 1, p2/3 – ...and the introduction of the cop is better handled too, less gorgonzola and a simple explanation of Eddie Bauer to save me G**gling.


Page 2, p2 – don’t like ‘entangled’ personally.


Page 2 – The bit with him dodging around the patron’s chair feels choreographed. I don’t think it adds anything, and actually breaks the tension of his direct approach (for me anyway).


Page 3, p4 – Similarly, I think this sidebar breaks the tension as we wait for him to speak


Page 8 – Well done, you got me to Page 8 before I cringed at “…but I simply cannot couldn’t go through the rest of my life knowing that I didn’t try to meet you.”


Page 9 – “Okay then, dusky-hued woman of mystery…” – I can’t quite believe I'm saying this, but even ‘pretty lady’ would be better than this. I think his phrase is too ‘lounge lizard’ for a southern gentleman.


Page 13 – I hope there is some significance to the watch, and it’s not just shameless product placement.


Page 17 – ‘They both stepped off the curb’ – superfluous, more direct without it.

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LOL on the "product placement" bit.  And I also laughed out loud (yes, twice... in a dunkin donuts... with people looking at me funny) at the fact that I got you to page 8 without you rolling your eyes.  I consider that an accomplishment. lol


These comments are great.  And it seems like I have made it much further towards the target than I had expected.


By the way, I didn't mention this in my earlier remarks but this book is "done" (feature complete?). I have the entire manuscript down. So I know what happens to Candace even if you don't. mwuahahah... ;)


Anyway... I'm thinking if I am going to stick with this, that I need to do something similar to what Manadmon was suggesting and basically yank Seth out by the roots. The problem is he is part of the book later and weaves throughout, so I really need to come up with a better way to either handle him (or remove him and replace him with a different thing entirely) in order to make the story work.


I once yanked a character out of a book. I described it to my friend as "I'm trying to replace all the walls in my house with new ones, while leaving all the pictures hanging in place and nothing crashing to the floor." :)


Anyway, if anyone is really bored and curious, I can always send you the complete MS to have a look at.  It obviously has a few issues, but most folks seem to enjoy the story.


Again... thanks for everyone's comments.  Wonderfully helpful and supportive.  You guys rock.

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Ahhh, I misunderstood - I totally understand taking a break from submitting.


Like the house / wall / picture / floor analogy. I think there is potential for Seth to be more interesting - he's a bit of a cookie-cutter character at the moment. Then again, we've hardly seen him, so maybe he is more interesting, but I don't think you've sold him to us as such, so far.

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Yeah, I get that. He's pretty flat, pretty stiff. I think part of that is his actual personality. He's actually a transplant from my other book where he plays a supporting role and has time to develop and show who he is. Not so here. He needs work. Lots of it. :)

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  • 2 months later...

So... I ground my teeth over this for several weeks, spent a lot of time planning, and re-wrote significant portions of it. I've tossed it through a couple different writing groups, have polished the heck out of it, etc. I didn't cut it, because I couldn't figure out a way to setup all the things I needed to without it, but I do think I have a far better handle on Seth.


SO... I'm curious... can you guys bear up under one more reading of it?  I'd very much like to hear reactions (even though I cringe at what I may hear) lol

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bahahaha... btw, I'm incredibly impressed you can remember his name like that. I'm TERRIBLE with character names in stories, esp. when I get such a short view of them.


Ok, I'll ask if I can submit this upcoming cycle.  Thanks, guys!  Very much appreciate the willingness, and I -think- you'll be pleased with the changes.

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Actually, I have a pretty awful memory, however I compensate for it in cunning and unexpected ways, like going back a checking stuff  : o) This is how I maintain the imporession of my powerful memory superpower to the outside world, while actually relying heavily on the less glamourous special abilities of checking and research.


...that, and you mentioned his name in the first post on this thread.

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