Help with layout.

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Help with layout.

Post by Lady Goodman on Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:50 pm

Hello everyone.

I'm participating in a couple of other online critique groups, but so far as I can see, this one holds the most promise for actual critique. It seems to me a lot of other groups are full of people who like to focus on coming across as the most intellectual, instead of really trying to help someone out.

Just wanted to get that out there first of all smiling



Okay, now for the true reason of my topic. I'm working on a fantasy/horror/sci-fi novel right now. A short synopsis, then a question.

In my novel, there are two main characters - one of which is Chief Danby, police chief for a small Kansas town. The other is Nicholas Statham, a character I created fondly called 'devorator animorum', or a consumer of souls. The basic premise behind the creature is that they are walking zombies, forced to feed upon the living roughly every couple of weeks in order to keep from decomposing. However, when they do take a victim, they encompass all of the thoughts, memories and emotions of the victim. Any trait taken on that is not behavioral (i.e. not emotional, skill related or inherit knowledge) is forgotten once a new victim is taken. Therefore, my character much keep a strict journal reminding himself of who he is, and what he must do. Danby, due to certain events, is given parts of this journal to read... as a reader, you are in Danby's shoes, reading about the life of Nicholas.

So - as for layout. I have my novel broken up into 21 chapters, and most both begin and end with Chief Danby's thoughts on what he has and will read. The bulk of the book is taken up by these journal entries, which describe the most interesting parts of Nicholas' life. The problem I'm running into is having almost entire chapters without a stitch of dialogue. It seems to fit the journal/reader theme, but I'm wondering what other thoughts are for the format. Should I do better to find ways to incorporate dialogue? I can post examples in the novel excerpt forum if necessary.

Thanks guys :)
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Re: Help with layout.

Post by Garmar on Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:18 pm

I don't see why this won't work. As long as your writing is compelling it won't matter.

Does it seem to you that the story plods along because of a lack of dialogue? That could be a problem if so. Lack of dialogue doesn't necessarily mean you have a problem though.

You're welcome to post an excerpt for us to take a look at.

gar

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Re: Help with layout.

Post by Lady Goodman on Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:22 pm

As I stated in the "Anne Rice" thread, I'm very fond of that style of writing. I llike all the backstory I can get, because I think it's always far more interesting then whatever could be going on at the moment. Perhaps I'll post the chapter I'm working on know once I've completed it, and I'll have another set of eyes tell me if it's compelling or not.


By the way... saw that you posted on the Writer's Net site. Not a very fun or educational site at all, imo.
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Re: Help with layout.

Post by NaClmine on Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:43 pm

Bethany,

Ultimately, a "good" story relies solely on the writing skill of the author. On the other hand, every writer's style will determine the size of his or her potential reader market.

That said, any format can be compelling, however, there are things you can do to widen the appeal of your novel. For example, lots of back story and narration appeals to a narrow audience. Most buyers in almost any genre want variation in the writing to avoid boredom. By the way, as a story progresses boredom does not necessarily mean that the writer's talent or skill diminished. It might simply mean that the reader has become so accustomed to a monolithic style that even good writing fails to stand out. Hence, the usual advice is to vary both your pace and your mode of plot development over the course of a story in order to appeal to the widest possible readership.

When you review your chapters, are there creative ways you can insert dialog to replace narration? A random stop by a police officer (because a tail light is out on a car or the registration tag expired) can provide narration to explain location, weather, warnings about strange goings on, etc. Even internal monologue works - for example, a person may struggle with issues of conscience associated with killing. In addition to breaking monotony, these small plot devices can inject additional tension.

Just some thoughts.
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Re: Help with layout.

Post by Garmar on Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:48 pm

Lady Goodman wrote:
By the way... saw that you posted on the Writer's Net site. Not a very fun or educational site at all, imo.

I wanted to delete my post. Or edit it, but we don't have that option there. Oh well...there's always a few bad apples to spoil the bunch. There seems to be some well intentioned folks there amongst the nasty ones though.

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Re: Help with layout.

Post by Lady Goodman on Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:53 pm

Yeah, I started going there when I got serious about making a commitment to my writing. The treatment as of yet (not as much myself as some others) has been horrific. Enough to make someone flirting with the idea of writing turned off in a big way.

I like this forum and what you're doing with it.

NaClmine: I'm liking the sci-fi novel you have going right now (sidenote). Also, that's exactly what I'm afraid of. I'll get an excerpt posted soon.
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Re: Help with layout.

Post by ebyss on Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:02 pm

I think your plot sounds interesting. I know, nothing to do with your question, but I just wanted to mention it.

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Re: Help with layout.

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