10/14/05 and following.
The double-space/single space after punctuation mostly separates folks who learned how to type on a typewriter from those who learned how to type on a computer.
Originally Posted by J. Y. Moore
If you're submitting to folks who will publish your work electronically (a webzine, say), or folks who will be typesetting directly from your file, you can go ahead and do a global search-and-replace to turn double spaces into single spaces.
Personally, I double-space after periods.
In any case, always follow the publisher's guidelines to the letter.
I've been neglecting my poor little thread for too long.
It's time now to turn back the clock and clear up some unfinished business from Page 105. Yes, it's time to play What's Going On Here?
The passage under discussion goes like this:
I had always been fascinated by the big house of Framling. Perhaps it had begun when I was two years old and Fabian Framling had kidnapped me and kept me there for two weeks. It was a house full of shadows and mystery, I discovered, when I went in search of the peacock-feather fan. In the long corridors, in the gallery, in the silent rooms, the past seemed to be leering at one from all corners, insidiously imposing itself on the present and almost--though never quite--obliterating it.Now let's look at it sentence by sentence:
For as long as I could remember Lady Harriet Framling had reigned supreme over our village. Farm labourers standing respectfully at the side of the road while the carriage, emblazoned with the majestic Framling arms, drove past, touched their forelocks and the women bobbed their deferential curtsies. She was spoken of in hushed whispers as though those who mentioned her feared they might be taking her name in vain; in my youthful mind she ranked with the Queen and was second only to God. It was small wonder that when her son, Fabian, commanded me to be his slave, I--being only six years old at that time--made no protest. It seemed only natural that we humble folk should serve the Big House in any way that was demanded of us.
The Big House--known to the community as "The House" as though those dwellings which the rest of us occupied were something...
I had always been fascinated by the big house of Framling.First person narrator. We're in, or the narrator has been in, a place called "Framling," where there's a big house. The narrator finds this fascinating, there's an implication that the readers will too.
Perhaps it had begun when I was two years old and Fabian Framling had kidnapped me and kept me there for two weeks.We have a character name now: Fabian Framling. (English-speaking world, apparently.) We have action sometime in the past. Kidnapping is fairly dramatic. So in two sentences we have a person in a place with a problem. Good start. Bad point: It's trivial. It's much like saying "I don't know why I'm afraid of dogs. Perhaps it has something to do with my having been mauled by a pit bull when I was two." Yeah, good guess. Probably does.
It was a house full of shadows and mystery, I discovered, when I went in search of the peacock-feather fan."Full of shadows and mystery" verges on cliche. But we have the narrator in center here. Perhaps this is characterization, and he's the sort of person who speaks in fluent cliche. (At the moment, we don't know if the character is male or female.) We've also been introduced to an object. Apparently Fabian Framling's big house is the sort of place that could conceivably hold peacock-feather fans. Possible 1920s time-frame? Certainly the fellow Framling is rich: If for no other reason having the town named after him would imply that.
In the long corridors, in the gallery, in the silent rooms, the past seemed to be leering at one from all corners, insidiously imposing itself on the present and almost--though never quite--obliterating it.
By far the longest, most complex sentence so far. I have no idea how "the past" would go about "leering." This is an example of personification; it could easily become pathetic. We're getting more of an idea of the house -- it's the sort of place that has long corridors and a gallery. It's deserted, or nearly so (silent rooms). Was the family once larger? The house may be more than a mere setting. It may approach being a character in the story. So ends the first paragraph.
For as long as I could remember Lady Harriet Framling had reigned supreme over our village. Okay, the narrator is located in the village of Framling. "Lady" implies England. We're slowing down to deliver backstory.
Farm labourers standing respectfully at the side of the road while the carriage, emblazoned with the majestic Framling arms, drove past, touched their forelocks and the women bobbed their deferential curtsies. British spelling. Yep, England. Carriage: Not modern, but early 20th century isn't yet out of the question. Are the arms actually "majestic"? That is, are the Framlings royalty? We're in a rural area. More sense of time and place being laid down here.
She was spoken of in hushed whispers as though those who mentioned her feared they might be taking her name in vain; in my youthful mind she ranked with the Queen and was second only to God. Right -- we're probably 19th century. That's likely Queen Victoria. "Hushed whispers" -- is hammering it home a bit heavily, don't you think? How's a hushed whisper different from a regular whisper? Again, this could be characterization of the narrator. (In first person, narrative is also dialog.) "Taking her name in vain" is a biblical reference; Lady Harriet is more than a civil authority -- she's taken an aspect of God. That's reinforced by the last word of the sentence (the last word is a position of power).
It was small wonder that when her son, Fabian, commanded me to be his slave, I--being only six years old at that time--made no protest.I thought the kidnapping was when the narrator was two? Is this a different event? We may be looking at a story of an outsider's view of the doings of the rich and powerful. Is "slave" the right word?
It seemed only natural that we humble folk should serve the Big House in any way that was demanded of us.The house and the family are being equated. "It seemed" implies that the reality was different. Will the story be one of discovering truth?
The Big House--known to the community as "The House" as though those dwellings which the rest of us occupied were something...Yep, the Big House (now a proper noun at this point, though it wasn't in the first sentence) looks like it's going to be a character in this story. And with this we end the first page of this book. Sure, I'd turn the page right now.
All that the use of "had" means is that the author is using the past perfect tense. That is to say, the author is describing an action completed in the past. Would "I discovered" be clearer if it were written "I discovered [at that time]"?
In a novel, dialog is privileged speech. In a story written in first person, the narration is a form of dialog, and so is also privileged.
I'm not so much concerned with the style as I am with the story. A fast-moving story will take you over some very rough prose. Conversely, no matter how perfect the prose, a slow-moving story won't carry the reader anywhere.
Tugging the forelock as a means of showing deference is very much a human thing (the military salute is a stylized form of this).
I suspect that the passage quoted comes from a historical romance. With the emphasis on the house, it may even be a gothic romance.
(You know the definition of a gothic, right? Girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets house.)
Hmmm? I rather doubt it's a Regency. I think the Queen element is a bit strong for that.
Meanwhile, here's a quiz for everyone: What kind of Regency Heroine are you?
So did I.
Originally Posted by Avalon
(As a writer I'm in touch with my feminine side.)
The copyright problem -- well, you're going to re-write the book several times, after you hear back from your beta readers, after you've left it in your desk drawer for a couple of months, and so forth and so on.
It may be a substantially different work by the time you're done.
Heck, after it's sold -- one of mine, the editor didn't like the characters' names. What happened? We worked out different names because you know what? He had a point.
Please don't put the copyright notice on the manuscript when you start sending it around. After it's sold ... then you can be honest with your editor and mention this detail. The editor will *facepalm*, and it'll all be over.
I've mentioned why copyrighting your book in advance is a poor plan. No need to angst about it now. Remember for your next book. (You are working on a "next book," right?)
"Facepalm" is the act of burying your face in the palm of your hand. It's a gesture of despair, a bit more emphatic than merely pinching the bridge of your nose and shaking your head.
You'll find a lovely use of "facepalm" with examples from context here: Troy in Fifteen Minutes
7,000 words ... just wait 'til you've been edited. Those can evaporate. Really. You'd be surprised.
Don't sweat it. As long as you're within ballpark of the publisher's guidelines, you'll do fine.
The average word in English is 5.5 letters long. With a space, it's 6.5 letters.
Originally Posted by HConn
6.5 inches/line * 10 characters/inch = 65 characters/line.
65 characters/line / 6.5 charaters/word = 10 words/line
25 lines/page * 10 words/line = 250 words/page
Courier 12 point = Courier 10cpi = pica
Courier 10 point = Courier 12 cpi = elite
Works for me. If you set 'em flush-right no one will consider 'em part of the text. Also, for submission copy, you might want to drop the draft number. No one but you cares.
Originally Posted by SeanDSchaffer
(After editing starts, if you provide a re-written version, a date up there might be handy.)
Wide margins and lots of space between lines and between letters gives the editor room to work. An awful lot of editing is hand-work with a pencil.
*COCOA Association Requests Help
Copyright Owners' Control of Access (COCOA) is petitioning Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. to allow copyright owners to exercise their legal right to control what's shown via systems like Google Print & Amazon's Search Inside The Book. They propose the COCOA Protocol as the vehicle for that control. Copyright owners use it to say, "Show *this* part of my book(s)" -- be that 100%, 99%, 75%, on down to 0%. (Compare to the current choices of 100% or 0%.) The result will be not just legal access, but access to far more copyrighted material than now. Everyone wins.
COCOA requests your help in moving these behemoth corporations:
1) Please SIGN THE PETITION -- worded for brevity -- at:
Read details at the COCOA web site: http://www.CopyrightAccess.com
2) Please SPREAD THE WORD: Urge others to sign the petition, learn about
COCOA, and likewise encourage others to sign the petition, spread the word, and urge yet others to, et cetera, et cetera.
Please post on your blogs, tell journalists you know, put links on your
web pages, etc. You may copy this article in full if you like.
The COCOA Association is a non-profit organization established by representatives from a number of authors groups, publishers, and publishing industry experts. It serves as a central point for information on COCOA
and distribution/authentication of COCOA records. COCOA was crafted by people ranging from "copyright conservative" to "copyright liberal," giving
widespread appeal to this consensus design.
Thanks for your help! Please sign! Please spread the word!
--Dr. Andrew Burt
Chair, The COCOA Association
(& former SFWA VP, current chair of SFWA's Copyright Issues Committee,
If I can boast on one of my fellow Viable Paradise instructors:
More important: Around thirty of our students have sold professionally afterward, including one with a Nebula nomination and another with a Campbell nomination.
I was a presenter at Writers Weekend in Seattle this year. If a workshop in the western US asked me, I'd certainly consider instructing.
Viable Paradise is primarily SF/Fantasy. While large parts of writing in that genre are common to writing in general, that's the focus.
No writing is wasted, first.
Second, writing short form allows us to practice beginnings, middles and ends.
Short form also allows us to play with styles and effects without too big an investment if they don't work.
Minor boast for me:
Something I wrote was mentioned on the Phil Jupitus show (BBC-6).
There's no "normal" speed. You'll find something that's comfortable, and gives you the material for the rewriting and revision stage.
Remember that two pages a day is two novels a year.
Eventually, as you gain experience, you'll automatically discard phrases, paragraphs, plotlines, almost before you've thought of them.
Everything improves with practice provided you practice them right. You know the guys who can fieldstrip and reassemble their M16s in thirty
seconds blindfolded? They started off by fieldstripping and reassembling their M16s very, very slowly, but doing it right every step of the
Oh, and you never stop learning. A year from now you won't be the same writer you are today. Keep reading, keep writing.
Back on page 190 of this thread, Andrew Jameson referred to a post that I'd made elsewhere. Discussion followed. Since the question has come up again, I think I'll repost that other comment here, so everything will be in one convenient place.
Without further ado:
No, no, no! You don't pay the publisher $4,000! The publisher pays you $4,000! You're the one with the thing of value!
Meanwhile, another PA thread here: Agent's Interesting Observation
A PA author says:
Let me explain this, because I can see there's some confusion.
From Writer's Digest, Nov 2005: "Agent Lori Perkins of the L. Perkins Agency in New York says it's much easier to market a first-time novelist's book if the word count falls between 80,000 and 100,000 words, or roughly 300 double-spaced, typed pages--the average novel length.
"One-third of the novels that come into the agency are rejected because they're too long or short, (Perkins says), "The cost greatly increases on books larger than 100,000, so agents and publishers are less likely to gamble on a manuscript the size of a dictionary." END OF QUOTE.
It's good to know we don't have that problem with Publish America, who, from my experience, publishes relatively small books as well as those exceeding 300 pages.
I thought this might be helpful to those of you, who may be holding a manuscript and wondering what to do with it. Send it to PA for review. Maybe it will jump-start your writing career. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Publishers don't drive publishing. Printers don't drive publishing. Agents don't drive publishing. Bookstores don't drive publishing. Nor do editors. Not even writers drive publishing.
Do you want to know who drives publishing? It's the readers.
First thing you should know: Readers have a sticking-point when it comes to prices. That price is around $28 for a trade cloth (hardcover) book.
Second thing you should know: The unit price of a book decreases as the print run goes up.
Third thing you should know: First novels by unknowns have relatively predictable, and relatively small, sales.
Bookstores won't order books with cover prices that customers won't pay. They can fill the same shelf space with books that might move.
The longer the book, the higher the cost of printing it.
Say a book comes in at 120,000 words. Say it's a normal first novel by an unknown. The publisher figures that it'll sell perhaps 5,000 copies, which means printing and shipping around 7,000 copies.
The publisher can't do that and maintain a price point below $28, while covering their overhead and making a profit.
So they raise the cover price. What happens? Bookstores decrease their orders. So the print run has to go down. That makes the price go up. The bookstores look at the new price, and decrease their orders again. You see where this is going?
Why is all this happening? Because readers won't open their wallets for trade cloth books above $28. Not even by authors they know and like.
What's the solution? Going to PublishAmerica isn't it. Sure, PA will accept the book. They accept anything. Will this jump-start your career? No. Because however high a real publisher would have had to put the price of a hardcover, PA will put the price of a trade paperback even higher. Readers, we know, won't touch the book. You've thrown away your first rights, you're locked into an unfavorable seven-year contract, and your sales history will be horrible.
The real answer is this: Write and sell another book of a more marketable length for a first-time writer. After it comes out, and it's bought and read, you'll have fans who are looking for your next book. Then you can bring out that 120,000 word book. The publisher will be able to print enough copies to justify a $28 price point. Your fans will buy it, new readers will buy it, and you have a happy ending.
Short books, now ... novellas are very hard to sell to publishers. Why? Because readers don't buy them.
I could discuss the path that brought Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, (a first novel weighing in at 800 typeset pages) to press. Notice, please, the price point: $27.95.
How did Bloomsbury manage that? By printing a ton of them. What did they do then? They launched a huge publicity campaign to move that ton of books.
Why did they do that for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell? Because they believed in it. Why don't they do that for every book? Because they have limited resources, even with a bank account the size of Rhode Island full of Potter-bucks backing them up. Plus, even with the biggest publicity campaign in the world, if the readers don't like the book they'll leave it lying on the shelf.
Please notice that Lori Perkins specified a "first-time novelist." Those are the ones who rely on impulse purchases in bookstores. When you're relying on impulse purchasing, it behooves you to make your book the sort of thing that readers who are buying on impulse are likely to take.
> From our friends at the US Department of Labor:
> 131.067-046 WRITER, PROSE, FICTION AND NONFICTION (profess. & kin.)
> alternate titles: writer
> Writes original prose material for publication: Selects subject matter
> based on personal interest or receives specific assignment from publisher.
> Conducts research and makes notes to retain ideas, develop factual
> information, and obtain authentic detail. Organizes material and plans
> arrangement or outline. Develops factors, such as theme, plot, order,
> characterization, and story line. Writes draft of manuscript. Reviews,
> revises, and corrects it and submits material for publication. Confers
> with publisher's representative regarding manuscript changes. May
> specialize in one or more styles or types of writing, such as descriptive
> or critical interpretations or analyses, essays, magazine articles, short
> stories, novels, and biographies. PHYSICAL DEMANDS ENVIRONMENTAL
> CONDITIONS S C B S K C C R H F F T H T N F D A C F W C H H N V A M E H R S
> N N N N N N F F F N O O N F N N N N N N N N N 2 N N N N N N N T O N N
> GOE: 01.01.02 STRENGTH: S GED: R6 M3 L6 SVP: 8 DLU: 77
> If you decide you can't live without the knowledge, I can explain what all
> the codes letters and numbers mean. However, the basics are: this entry
> comes from the DOL's useful publication, the Dictionary of Occupations and
> Trades, and the description was last updated in 1977. The DOL considers it
> to be sedentary work, which, to them, means you sit for at least 6 hours a
> day, but stand and walk for no more than 2, and lift no more than 10
> pounds occasionally (up to 1/3 of an 8-hour day) and under 10 pounds
> frequently (up to 2/3 of an 8-hour day). The DOL considers this occupation
> to have an SVP (Specific Vocational Preparation) rating of 8, which means
> it takes 4 to 10 years to become proficient at this (a useful thing to
> point out to those who would write: "Even the US government, dolts that
> they are, realize you don't learn this job overnight!"). Some of the other
> codes explain exposure to hazards like electrocution and other Fun Stuff.
OJT is pretty much how writers learn anything at all.
We frequently link to Making Light as one of the best places for writing-related information. Now there's a poll for "Best Blog," and Making Light is one of the choices. If you like Making Light, perhaps you might make your voice heard.
(Full disclosure: I'm one of the posters at Making Light.)
It's been a while since I handed out an assignment, so here goes: Due on Christmas Day!
As you no doubt recall, in the novel Frankenstein, young William Frankenstein is murdered. The murder is blamed on Justine Moritz, who is (unjustly) hanged for the offense.
The murder was actually committed by the wretch created by Victor Frankenstein, and Victor knows it.
You can read all about Justine and her sorrows, and the story of the murder from the wretched creature's point of view, on the web:
But can we let this sad miscarriage of justice stand? We shall not!
The facts of the murder are as presented, but let us alter some things (ignoring time, space, trademark and copyright).
Case 1) Victor Frankenstein, seeing the dire straits in which the virtuous Justine has fallen, writes to a consulting detective who lives at 221B Baker Street, London. That gentleman takes the case, and soon arrives in Geneva with his friend, Dr. John Watson. Write the story in the style of A. C. Doyle.
Case 2) The investigating officer is Sergeant Josef Freitag of the Geneva police. His favorite phrase is "Nichts aber die Tatsachen, Dame." Dum-da-dum-dum.... Write the story in the style of Raymond Chandler.
Case 3) The crack investigators of CSI: Miami are on vacation in Geneva, and are staying at a hotel next door to the Frankenstein home. They take an interest in the case, and prepare a friend of the court brief for Justine's trial. Write in the style of Danielle Steel.
Case 4) By a weird coincidence, Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote is Justine's great aunt twice removed by marriage, and has arrived in Geneva at the same time as (sharing a coach with) Victor Frankenstein. Write in the style of Jessica Fletcher.
Case 5) Perry Mason takes the case for the defence. Write in the style of Erle Stanley Gardner.
Case 6) Justine hires Billy Flynn (from the musical Chicago) for five thousand dollars. Billy has never lost a case for a woman. This challenge includes songs. Write as a musical comedy. Happy ending mandatory.
There's going to be a Part II to this challenge, but I'll give that to you on Christmas Day, as a present.
Once more into the breech, dear friends: dipping back to Page 105.
A first page (a prologue in this case). Let's look at it line-by-line to see what the author is doing.
Sam and I are sitting on a mostly deserted beach on Lake Michigan a little north of the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The Drake is filled with treasured memories for both of us, and we had dinner at our favorite table there earlier. I need to be with Sam tonight, because it’s one year since, well, everything happened that shouldn’t have happened -- it’s one year since Danny died.
“This is the spot where I met Danny, Sam. In May, six years ago,” I say.
Sam is a good listener who holds eye contact beautifully and is almost always interested in what I have to say, even when I’m being a bore, like now. We’ve been best friends since I was two, maybe even before that. Just about everybody calls us “the cutest couple,” which is a little too saccharine for both of our tastes. But it happens to be true.
“Sam, it was freezing that night Danny and I met, and I had a terrible cold. To make it worse, I had been locked out of our apartment by my old boyfriend Chris, that awful beast.”
“That despicable brute, that creep,” Sam contributes. “I never liked Chris. Can you tell?”
“So this nice guy, Danny, comes jogging by and he asks if I’m all right. I’m coughing and crying and a total mess. And I say, ‘Do I look like I’m all right? Mind your own blacking business. You’re not going to pick me up, if that’s what you’re thinking. Scram!” I snorted a laugh Sam’s way.
“That’s where I got my nickname, ‘Scram.’ Anyway, Danny came back on the second half of his run. He said he could hear me coughing for two miles down the beach. He brought me coffee, Sam. He ran up the beach with a hot cup of coffee for a complete stranger.”
“Yes, but a beautiful stranger, you have to admit.”
I stopped talking, and Sam hugged me and said, “You’ve been through so much. It’s awful and it’s unfair. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better for you.”
I pulled out a folded, wrinkled envelope from the picket of my jeans. “Danny left this for me. In Hawaii. One year ago today.”
“Go ahead, Jennifer. Let it out. I want to hear everything tonight.”
I opened the letter and began to read. I was already starting to choke up.
Dear, wonderful, gorgeous Jennifer…
You’re the writer, not me, but I had to try to put down some of my feelings about your incredible news. I always thought that you couldn’t possibly make me any happier, but I was wrong.
Jen, I’m flying so high right now I can’t believe what I’m feeling. I am, without a doubt, the luckiest man in the world. I married the best woman, and now I’m going to have the best baby with her. How could I not be a pretty good dad, with all that going for me? I will be. I promise.
I love you even more today than I did yesterday, and you wouldn’t believe how much I loved you yesterday.
I love you, and our little “peanut.”…
Tears started to roll down my cheeks. “I’m such a big baby,” I said. “I’m pathetic.”
“No, you’re one of the strongest women I know. You’ve lost so much, and you’re still fighting.”
“Yeah, but I’m losing the battle. I’m losing. I’m losing real bad, Sam.”
Then Sam pulled me close and hugged me, and for the moment at least, it was all better -- just like always.
Sam and I are sitting on a mostly deserted beach on Lake Michigan a little north of the Drake Hotel in Chicago.We start with a person in a place. A novel starts with a person in a place with a problem, so we're off to a good start. All we need now is the problem. Present tense. Characters are Sam and "I." First person POV makes narration privileged speech.
The Drake is filled with treasured memories for both of us, and we had dinner at our favorite table there earlier.This is characterization; apparently these folks have known each other, and lived in the area, a long time. Upscale folks, if they eat out frequently, and have a "favorite table."
I need to be with Sam tonight, because it’s one year since, well, everything happened that shouldn’t have happened -- it’s one year since Danny died.A third character introduced, Danny, and perhaps the problem. So by the end of Paragraph One we have a person in a place with a problem. That's getting the pieces off the back rank expeditiously. This sentence is the longest and most complex so far. The reader slows down, making Danny stand out. All three characters are in this one sentence. "Died" is in the last-word position, a very important position in a sentence. It's also the last word of the paragraph. It jumps at the reader.
“This is the spot where I met Danny, Sam. In May, six years ago,” I say.Presumably Sam doesn't already know this, even though Sam and "I" are old friends who frequently dine together not far away? Okay, I can buy that, but let's move fast now. No definite info on the gender of the speaker, but I'm thinking female. Sam knows who Danny is. Danny, whoever he was, isn't the speaker's child.
Sam is a good listener who holds eye contact beautifully and is almost always interested in what I have to say, even when I’m being a bore, like now. Long sentence, with complexities in its clauses. Answers the reader's question "Why does Sam care?" before it's asked. Reinforcement that the speaker is a female -- "holds eye contact beautifully" isn't a particularly masculine phrase. We may have the author admitting that this is boring -- it's backstory and exposition -- but the exposition has to go somewhere. Flattering the reader, by comparing the reader to the admirable Sam. Are we being a bore when we're talking about a (so-far mysterious) death?
People are interested in love, and people are interested in death (sex and violence -- can't go wrong with those), and so far in two-and-a-half paragraphs we've got both. This isn't really boring.
We’ve been best friends since I was two, maybe even before that. Clearing the ground for romance with someone else, defining the relationship, and giving backstory and characterization. A good sentence.
Just about everybody calls us “the cutest couple,” which is a little too saccharine for both of our tastes.Okay, we can be pretty sure that we're talking male/female now. That's an odd phrase to use to describe "best friends," so perhaps they're something more than that? More characterization, and more preempting the reader's objections.
But it happens to be true.So ... y'all really are a couple? And cute, too? "It happens to be true" implies that some other things either are (or will be) lies. Very simple sentence, easily digested, getting the reader back up to speed. A good paragraph close.
“Sam, it was freezing that night Danny and I met, and I had a terrible cold.We have to use "Sam" as the first word to show that "I" is talking. Otherwise the reader will have to pause a moment to be sure.
To make it worse, I had been locked out of our apartment by my old boyfriend Chris, that awful beast.”A bit of confusion. Freezing in May? Well, Chicago -- perhaps. Is "freezing" the thing that's bad, is "had a terrible cold" the thing that's bad, or is meeting Danny the thing that's bad? A bit of as-you-know-Bob dialog here: Sam obviously already knows who Chris is, and (as the speaker's long-time best friend) undoubtedly has a poor opinion of Chris. No need to call Chris a beast -- that's for the reader's benefit.
“That despicable brute, that creep,” Sam contributes. “I never liked Chris. Can you tell?”A number of short sentences. If Chris isn't important to the story, I'll be disappointed.
“So this nice guy, Danny, comes jogging by and he asks if I’m all right. I’m coughing and crying and a total mess. And I say, ‘Do I look like I’m all right? Mind your own blacking business. You’re not going to pick me up, if that’s what you’re thinking. Scram!” I snorted a laugh Sam’s way.Telling, but we're telling a story to Sam, so that's okay. And Sam is a patient listener. I'm not certain I like "I snorted a laugh Sam's way."
“That’s where I got my nickname, ‘Scram.’Sam doesn't already know this? But it's an emotional time, the anniversary of Danny's death. I'll let this pass.
Anyway, Danny came back on the second half of his run. He said he could hear me coughing for two miles down the beach. He brought me coffee, Sam. He ran up the beach with a hot cup of coffee for a complete stranger.”We're learning more about Danny. I sure hope that coffee had a lid.
“Yes, but a beautiful stranger, you have to admit.”Definitely a female character, if this isn't a gay romance. I believe we're in the romance genre. Sam's right in his implication: Danny was trying to pick her up.
I stopped talking, and Sam hugged me and said, “You’ve been through so much. It’s awful and it’s unfair.Woo! Suddenly we drop from present tense to past tense. C'mon, author, you can do better than this. To make up for it, we're promised that there'll be lots of awful and unfair stuff. If we want to see a character angst, we've come to the right place. Here on page one, the reader will know if this is a book he or she will like.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better for you.”So we're beyond hope, beyond help. This character is going to suffer for about 300 more pages.
I pulled out a folded, wrinkled envelope from the picket of my jeans. She went out to dinner in jeans? Okay, I suppose so. She just happens to be carrying the letter? Or she was planning to show it to Sam? Still in past tense.
“Danny left this for me. In Hawaii. One year ago today.”So, Danny died in Hawaii. Vacation? Our characters are definitely well-to-do. Suicide note?
“Go ahead, Jennifer. Let it out. I want to hear everything tonight.”I bet I know what the rest of the book is going to be: Jennifer (Hurrah! "I" has a name, and we were right, it's female!) is going to spend the rest of the book Letting It Out. We, the readers, will get to hear Everything.
I opened the letter and began to read. I was already starting to choke up.Angst, angst, angst!
Dear, wonderful, gorgeous Jennifer…Well, Danny's laying it on a bit thick.
You’re the writer, not me, but I had to try to put down some of my feelings about your incredible news.Aieee! Our main character is a writer! Well, write what you know, I suppose.
I always thought that you couldn’t possibly make me any happier, but I was wrong.Doesn't sound like a suicide note. We have another reason to follow along, now -- not only what happened to Danny, but what Jen's good news could be.
Jen, I’m flying so high right now I can’t believe what I’m feeling. I am, without a doubt, the luckiest man in the world. I married the best woman, and now I’m going to have the best baby with her. How could I not be a pretty good dad, with all that going for me? I will be. I promise.Ah ha! Jen's pregnant. And, Danny's married to her. Looks like cup-of-coffee-on-the-beach worked pretty well. Fairly simple sentences. A fast read.
I love you even more today than I did yesterday, and you wouldn’t believe how much I loved you yesterday.All is happy and serene! But we know that he'll be dead within the day, so we have a bit of dramatic irony going. The readers know something that the writer of that letter doesn't know. Danny's a bit one-dimensional right now, but maybe he'll improve.
I love you, and our little “peanut.”…Argh! Blech! And Jennifer worries about appearing too saccharine?
Tears started to roll down my cheeks. “I’m such a big baby,” I said. “I’m pathetic.”Speaking of babies ... what happened to the baby? If Jen was just telling Danny that she's pregnant one year ago tonight, she should have a five-month-old around somewhere. "You've been through so much," Sam said. I have a bad feeling about what's going to happen to that "peanut." Another reason for turning the page, to find out what happened to the pregnancy.
“No, you’re one of the strongest women I know. You’ve lost so much, and you’re still fighting.”Go, Sam! More promises to the reader.
“Yeah, but I’m losing the battle. I’m losing. I’m losing real bad, Sam.”The dialog is simple, punchy, short. A good contrast to that syrupy letter from Danny. All kinds of conflict promised. A person in a place with a problem? Yeah, we have that. And we're still on page one.
Then Sam pulled me close and hugged me, and for the moment at least, it was all better -- just like always.Hmmmm.... way ambivalent relationship these two have. But we've finished the first page. Want to turn it? Sure. We have several unresolved questions, with a promise of some three-hanky emotional suffering.
A pity this is a prologue -- most of the readers are going to skip it. But this is okay, they can come back later to get it if they're interested.
I presume that the next page, the start of chapter one, will put us in Hawaii.
Inside a publisher's office:
Guys, if you have plot and story, your writing only has to be workmanlike or better in order to make a sale. Yes, it's great if you can can write beautiful prose. Beautiful prose plus story and plot is golden. Beautiful prose without plot or story ... isn't what the public is looking for.
In this particular instance, most of what we have is dialog. In a first-person novel, narration is also dialog. Dialog is privileged, and reveals character.
Is this a classic? I doubt it will be. But I'll be long dead before history reveals that answer.
I think y'all will agree, regardless of taste, that every sentence here is doing something that's moving the story along.
By "dialog is privileged" I mean that normal rules of spelling and grammar do not apply there. Dialog reveals character, as well as moving the plot forward.
If a character would say "I ain't got no grits," it would be wrong to 'correct' that to "I have no grits." The character would be changed.
You can do anything in dialog. The only question is "Does it work?"
Speaking of jokes:
A Texan is visiting Harvard. He stops a student and asks, "Where's the library at?"
"At Harvard," says the student, "we do not end sentences with prepositions."
"Okay," says the Texan. "Where's the library at, ***hole?"
Shall we look at a work that's an undoubted classic? Something seasonal?
Chapter 1: Marley's Ghost
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Line by line anon.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.
The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot -- say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance -- literally to astonish his son's weak mind.
Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the ware-house door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.
We're in a book divided into chapters (unlikely to be a short story; we will use our novel reading protocols here). We are told there is a character named Marley, and Marley has a ghost. "Marl" is clay; a dead person can be referred to as being "turned to clay." This is rather an old-fashioned usage, but (we note) this book was written over 160 years ago. (Sometimes you see this written as "Stave One," as in a staff of music. I have no idea how the first edition put it.)
Chapter 1: Marley's Ghost
Marley was dead: to begin with.We have a short sentence, introducing a character. "To begin with" implies more to come.
There is no doubt whatever about that. Short, easily understood. Introduces conversational style.
The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Rather longer, more complex, with a list of people who will attest to the death. Raises the possibility that there may indeed be doubt that Marley is dead.
Scrooge signed it. A second character introduced, very simply, three words. Follows a long and complex sentence. "It" is the burial register.
And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. "'Change" is the 19th century Brit for Wall Street; the Exchange. Introduces the theme of money. "Put his hand" is both a term for signing, and a term for attempting. A longer sentence.
Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Back to reinforcing the meaning of the first sentence. Treats Marley disrespectfully. Simple sentence. So ends Paragraph One.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. Introduces a third character: "I," the narrator. Implies a fourth character, the reader to whom the narrator is talking directly. Admits that the narrator doesn't know everything, characterization. Sets jocular tone.
I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade.Again, the death-and-burial imagery, and the emphasis on trade -- money. More characterization of the narrator.
But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. Bringing in old times -- the wisdom of our ancestors. Complex sentence, with tradition, patriotism, and a depreciation of the narrator all rolled in. We still don't know much more about Marley, who had pride of place in the chapter title and the first sentence of paragraph one.
You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Ah, there's Marley! His death is important. We've heard little else for two paragraphs now. "You will permit me" implies a co-equal status between narrator and audience. End of Paragraph Two.
Scrooge knew he was dead? Conversational tone continues (the reader's question omitted, but clearly present). Scrooge again. Simple construction.
Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Two more very simple sentences, more on Scrooge, and more relationship between author and reader.
Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years.The second time the narrator has confessed ignorance in as many paragraphs. More on business, and now tying Scrooge to Marley.
Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner.A second long list; compare it with the earlier the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. The chief mourner is now revealed to be the sole mourner, and they are both Scrooge.
And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain. And Scrooge wasn't all that mournful. He buried his friend as cheaply as possible. Business theme extended, and characterization for Scrooge. End of Paragraph Three.
The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from.We've never really strayed from Marley's funeral. Discursive style. The author is hammering this point home (particulalry apt when talking of nails).
There is no doubt that Marley was dead.A simple restatement of the first sentence.
This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.Things changed a lot with Hemingway, didn't they? Ah, well. We're promised a wonderful story. This is clearly a story that's being spoken, and the point of view of the narrator is clarified. So the relationship of the speaker to the listener is reinforced. The listener is a more skeptical sort of person. Middling complexity on this sentence.
If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot -- say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance -- literally to astonish his son's weak mind. A very long and complex sentence. The Churchyard is a graveyard -- the death imagery is here. The ghost element is introduced (previously only seen in the chapter title). "Astonish" literally means "turn to stone." As in what a Gorgon or basilisk would do. We're now moving away from buisness and trade and off to the supernatural. Assumes the listener is perfectly familiar with the works of Shakespeare. The walking dead introduced. End of Paragraph Four.
Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. "Old Marley" (second reference) is rather disrespectful. The story is moving away from Marley to Scrooge (mentioned first in the sentence and paragraph). More characterization.
There it stood, years afterwards, above the ware-house door: Scrooge and Marley.So, Scrooge and Marley have a warehouse. And Marley's death was years ago. Theme of times-passed again.
The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley.Business, and linking Scrooge not just to Marley, but to death, because Marley is known only by the fact of being dead.
Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. Scrooge=Marley=dead. Business theme mentioned again.
It was all the same to him.Rather devastating piece of characterization. End of Paragraph Five, and end of the first page.
A slow and discursive beginning, with a promise from the author (who is positioning himself as the reader's close friend) that something "wonderful" will be related. Plot and story are only present in rudimentary, implied forms.
Do we want to turn the page? Nothing much has happened, no problem stated, other than that the reader-character will not believe the narrator-character about the fact of Marley's death. Tons of characterization of Scrooge, a walking dead man.
"Preposition" means, literally, placed first: Pre-position. That "rule" about not ending sentences with prepositions comes from the 18th century grammar-masters who hadn't quite figured out that English isn't Latin. Ignore it. It isn't really a rule.
Put it aside for a week or so, then re-read. I bet you'll find something to tweak.
Originally Posted by Ken Schneider
I'm not 100% sure that people today would reject A Christmas Carol if it arrived newly-minted.
A good deal of the first page is spent establishing the character of The Narrator as someone you'd enjoy spending some time with. If I were to summarize it in one sentence, it would be: Someone You Trust Promises Wonders.
Marley was dead: to begin with.Please notice that Dickens ended that sentence with a preposition.
Also notice: When Dickens wants to put a point across, he uses very simple, short sentences.
Marley was dead: to begin with.
There is no doubt whatever about that.
Scrooge signed it.
Scrooge knew he was dead?
Of course he did.
How could it be otherwise?
There is no doubt that Marley was dead.
Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name.
The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley.
It was all the same to him.
Elsewhere, I've commented that the author needs to cast him/herself as a character, and to cast the reader as a character. Dickens does it explicitly; you can do it implicitly, but I pray you, do it. (Some authors, I'm told, pin a photo of some person to the desk where they write, and imagine telling the story to that person.)
Marley was dead: to begin with. And when a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it.
That is, indeed, from The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Hammett is (IMHO) another great stylist.
Originally Posted by gp101
On A Christmas Carol though: Lush prose is not the only thing it has going for it. The plot and story are powerhouses: They've survived Mr. Magoo and the Muppets.
Here's the full text to A Christmas Carol, for those who found that they must turn the page: http://www.stormfax.com/1dickens.htm
(Plot: Scrooge is visited by four increasingly scary spirits. Story: A sinner is redeemed. Theme: Charity.)
Since I brought up Hammett, here are the first two pages from The Maltese Falcon. Discussion anon.
Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another smaller v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down -- from high flat temples -- in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.
He said to Effie Perine: "Yes, sweetheart?"
She was a lanky sunburned girl whose tan dress of thin woollen stuff clung to her with an effect of dampness. Her eyes were brown and playful in a shiny boyish face. She finished shutting the door behind her, leaned against it, and said: "There's a girl wants to see you. Her name's Wonderly."
"I guess so. You'll want to see her anyway: she's a knockout."
"Shoo her in, darling," said Spade. "Shoo her in."
Effie Perine opened the door again, following it back into the outer office, standing with a hand on the knob while saying: "Will you come in, Miss Wonderly?"
A voice said, "Thank you," so softly that only the purest articulation made the words intelligible, and a young woman came through the doorway. She advanced slowly with tentative steps, looking at Spade with cobalt-blue eyes that were both shy and probing.
She was tall and pliantly slender, without angularity anywhere. Her body was erect and high-breasted, her legs long, her hands and feet narrow. She wore two shades of blue that had been selected because of her eyes. The hair curling from under her blue hat was darkly red, her full lips more brightly red. White teeth glistened in the crescent her timid smile made.
Spade rose bowing and indicating with a thick-fingered hand the oaken armchair beside his desk. He was quite six feet tall. The steep rounded slope of his shoulders made his body seem almost conical -- no broader than it was thick -- and kept his freshly pressed grey coat from fitting very well.
Miss Wonderly murmurred, "Thank you," softly as before and sat down on the edge of the chair's wooden seat.
Spade sank into his swivel-chair, made a quarter-turn to face her, smiled politely. He smiled without separating his lips. All the v's in his face grew longer.
The tappity-tap-tap and the thin bell and muffled whir of Effie Perine's typewriting came through the closed door. Somewhere in a neighboring office a power-driven machine vibrated dully. On Spade's desk a limp cigarette smouldered in a brass tray filled with the remains of limp cigarettes. Ragged grey flakes of cigarette-ash dotted the yellow top of the desk and the green blotter and the papers that were there. A buff-curtained window, eight or ten inches open, let in from the court a current of air faintly scented with ammonia. The ashes on the desk twitched and crawled in the current.
Miss Wonderly watched the grey flakes twitch and crawl. Her eyes were uneasy. She sat on the very edge of the chair. Her feet were flat on the floor, as if she were about to rise. Her hands in dark gloves clasped a flat dark handbag on her lap.
Mentions of eyes:
His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal.Colors mentioned:
Her eyes were brown and playful in a shiny boyish face.
She advanced slowly with tentative steps, looking at Spade with cobalt-blue eyes that were both shy and probing.
She wore two shades of blue that had been selected because of her eyes.
Her eyes were uneasy.
two shades of blue
This is an art. You, as the artist, need to make sure every word is doing its duty.
The readers may not notice -- consciously -- what you've done,but they will notice. That's what makes the difference.
Shall we try another book? A more recent book?
Here are the first two pages of a novel published in 2005:
In 1972 I was sixteen – young, my father said, to be traveling with him on his diplomatic missions. He preferred to know that I was sitting attentively in class at the International School of Amsterdam; in those days his foundation was based in Amsterdam, and it had been my home for so long that I had nearly forgotten our early life in the United States. It seems peculiar to me now that I should have been so obedient well into my teens, while the rest of my generation was experimenting with drugs and protesting the imperialist war in Vietnam, but I had been raised in a world so sheltered that it makes my adult life in academia look positively adventurous. To begin with, I was motherless, and the care that my father took of me had been deepened by a double sense of responsibility, so that he protected me more completely than he might have otherwise. My mother had died when I was a baby, before my father founded the Center for Peace and Democracy. My father never spoke of her and turned quietly away if I asked questions; I understood very young that this was a topic too painful for him to discuss. Instead, he took excellent care of me himself and provided me with a series of governesses and housekeepers – money was not an object with him where my upbringing was concerned, although we lived simply enough from day to day.Turn the page? Yes/no.
The latest of these housekeepers was Mrs. Clay, who took care of our narrow seventeenth-century town house on the Raamsgracht, a canal in the heart of the old city. Mrs. Clay let me in after school every day and was a surrogate parent when my father traveled, which was often. She was English, older than my mother would have been, skilled with a feather duster and clumsy with teenagers; sometimes, looking at her too-compassionate, long-toothed face over the dining table, I felt she must be thinking of my mother and I hated her for it. When my father was away, the handsome house echoed. No one could help me with my algebra, no one admired my new coat or told me to come here and give him a hug, or expressed shock over how tall I had grown. When my father returned from some name on the European map that hung on the wall in our dining room, he smelled like other times and places, spicy and tired. We took our vacations in Paris or Rome, diligently studying the landmarks my father thought I should see, but longed for those other places he disappeared to, those strange old places I had never known.
While he was gone, I went back and forth to school, dropping my books on the polished hall table with a bang. Neither Mrs. Clay nor my father let me go out in the evenings, except to the occasional carefully approved movie with carefully approved friends, and – to my retrospective astonishment – I never flouted these rules. I preferred solitude anyway; it was a medium in which I had been raised, in which I swam comfortably. I excelled at my studies but not in my social life. Girls my age terrified me, especially the tough-talking, chain-smoking sophisticates of our diplomatic circle – around them I always felt that my dress was too long, or too short, or that I should have been wearing something else entirely. Boys mystified me, although I dreamed vaguely of men. In fact, I was happiest alone in my father’s library, a large, fine room on the first floor of our house.
My father’s library had probably once been a sitting room, but he sat down only to read, and he considered a large library more important than a large living room. He had long since given me free run of his collection. During his absences, I spent hours doing my homework at the mahogany desk or browsing the shelves that lined every wall. I understood later that my father had either half forgotten what was on one of the top shelves or – more likely – assumed I would never be able to reach it; late one night I took down not only a translation of the Kama Sutra but also a much older volume and an envelope of yellowing papers.
I can’t say even now what made me pull them down. But the image I saw at the center of the book, the smell of age that rose from it, and my discovery that the papers were personal letters all caught my attention
Would it have helped in figuring out the gender of the first person narrator to know that the author is female?
(This is, incidentally, a first novel, published by a major house, 656 pages in trade cloth binding.)
The novel is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, published by Little, Brown.
One thing I liked about the opening was the way it spiraled in: From the world, to the city of Amsterdam, to the house, to the library, to the bookshelf, to the book.
Perhaps we'll look at it sentence by sentence anon. (Or perhaps in a couple of months, like the last bunch.)
Myself, I find that adding characters helps. That way the protagonist doesn't have to talk to himself.
You don't want to use Whack-a-Mole characters. Guys who pop up in only one scene, then are never heard from again, unless a) It's really necessary, and b) It's realistic.
Your main character may only see and speak to a bus driver once, during a scene on a bus. In that case, don't give the bus driver a name or description, lest the readers keep waiting for him to show up again.
Use as many characters as you need, but no more. And no fewer. (Hey, this is an art, not a science.)
Yes, it's common for characters who appear in one scene to want to be in the rest of the book. Let them. If they don't add to the finished work you can remove them later.
When you're looking for characters, ask yourself: a) Do I already have a character who can fulfill this function, and b) What else can this character do?
Cherish your minor characters. They'll save you.
Good morning, all!
I hope everyone is having a happy Christmas.
The next part of your writing assignment is this:
While you now have a story with action, adventure, excitment (and a beginning, a middle, and an end), your story has one major problem: It's using a trademarked or copyrighted character. (Some of Sherlock Holmes is public domain now ... but not all, and the parts that come from stage plays and movies are very much not public domain.)
So ... the next part of your task is to file off the serial numbers. Take those trademarked/copyrighted characters and make them into original characters. Remove any identifying information. (You can't just turn CSI: Miami into CSI: Puerto Rico. Go right down to the roots and imagine what crime scene investigation would be like if Sir Bernard Spilsbury had been Swiss. Take out other people's characters and put your own characters in their places.
Part II of this task is to make any "say what?" moments your reader might have due to problems with time-and-space seem plausible, at least for the time the reader has the story in front of him/her. This may mean moving Frankenstein (who is entirely in public domain, at least the book version -- I trust no one used the movie monster?) forward in time and across the sea to Civil War-era New York, or 21st century Geneva. Or it may involve
making Hermes Trismegistus the father of forensic detection, so that 18th c. Switzerland had scholars who could read the evidence in spatter marks by means both occult and mysterious.
New deadline for the rewritten story: 12th Night (January 5th). Oh, and read Twelfth Night by Wm. Shakespeare (or watch it on video).
Turkey drops case against author
The story continues at the link.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkish prosecutors decided not to file charges against novelist Orhan Pamuk for allegedly insulting Turkey's armed forces, but the writer still faces charges that he insulted "Turkishness," said lawyers who asked for his trial.
Nationalist lawyers had petitioned prosecutors to file criminal charges against Pamuk for reportedly telling a German newspaper, Die Welt, in October this year that the military threatened and prevented democratization in Turkey.
European officials have criticized Turkey for putting Pamuk on trial on the "insulting Turkishness" charge and have called on the country to do more to protect freedom of expression. That trial was halted by the judge the day it began Dec. 16 and awaits a Justice Ministry ruling on whether it can continue.
Prosecutors on Thursday decided there were no grounds to try Pamuk for insulting the military, said nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, who had petitioned the prosecutors asking for Pamuk's trial.
Kerincsiz said he would appeal the decision on Friday.
"It is of course not possible for the prosecutors to make a sound decision under so much pressure," said Kerincsiz. "We've come to the point where we're no longer able to protect our national values. Where will it all end?"
Kerincsiz said the army was portrayed as the enemy of democracy, which he called a "grave insult."
Lest I was unclear:
Leave Frankenstein in. Frankenstein is completely public domain, and this is unabashedly a derivative work.
Jessica Fletcher, however, is not public domain. While the busy-body amateur detective is not copyrighted, the name, and the specifics (a female mystery writer) is both under copyright and most likely trademarked.
The goal here is to remake the story so that while everyone will know (and part of the enjoyment will be) that this is a Frankenstein story -- no one should read it and say, "Oh, that's Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote."
Yes, it's tough, but it's not impossible. (The impossible we'll try a little later.)