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Old 11-30-2008, 02:00 AM   #7426
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I think that the story starts on page twelve, when Elaine McGill (wife of prominent dermatologist Paul McGill) is boinking horn-dog medical student Mike Traynor in a tourist cabin.

("Don't worry," she says. "My husband plays golf every Wednesday afternoon.")

She desperately wants a baby for her husband, and is willing to go to any lengths to get one. Any lengths. She can't go to the clinic to get artificially inseminated, though, because then her husband would find out and would know it wasn't really his. She picked Mike because, as a student, she can tell him that if he breathes a word he'll get flunked, and because he looks like her DH.

He does her. Then, he notices that she didn't have an orgasm, so he does her again, and this time she does (leaving her feeling Very Guilty). She's also convinced that this time it took and she's now all pregnant and everything.

Mike heads out trying to make it back to the hospital before his shift in the ED starts, and at that moment the news comes on the radio that Lorrie's been plugged by her hubby. "Holy Crom!" Mike says, or words to that effect, "If he'd come home early a week ago that woulda been me!"

Thus ... Mike as main character. And, thus a good starting place.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:27 AM   #7427
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Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
I think that the story starts on page twelve, when Elaine McGill (wife of prominent dermatologist Paul McGill) is boinking horn-dog medical student Mike Traynor in a tourist cabin.

("Don't worry," she says. "My husband plays golf every Wednesday afternoon.")

She desperately wants a baby for her husband, and is willing to go to any lengths to get one. Any lengths. She can't go to the clinic to get artificially inseminated, though, because then her husband would find out and would know it wasn't really his. She picked Mike because, as a student, she can tell him that if he breathes a word he'll get flunked, and because he looks like her DH.

He does her. Then, he notices that she didn't have an orgasm, so he does her again, and this time she does (leaving her feeling Very Guilty). She's also convinced that this time it took and she's now all pregnant and everything.

Mike heads out trying to make it back to the hospital before his shift in the ED starts, and at that moment the news comes on the radio that Lorrie's been plugged by her hubby. "Holy Crom!" Mike says, or words to that effect, "If he'd come home early a week ago that woulda been me!"

Thus ... Mike as main character. And, thus a good starting place.
Now THAT synopsis makes me want to read more. But not if I need a degree in architecture in order to understand the rest...
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:18 PM   #7428
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He does her. Then, he notices that she didn't have an orgasm, so he does her again,
How unrealistic, men can't tell and / or don't care about orgasms






j/k j/k honest!

It does seem a tad unlikely just for F-buddies though.
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Old 11-30-2008, 06:18 PM   #7429
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Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post

It does seem a tad unlikely just for F-buddies though.
That might go a long way to explaining why Mike Traynor, horn-dog medical student, managed to do all the doctors' wives, half the nurses, and a visiting grad student from Vassar....

Not that any of the doctors themselves had room to complain: Here's part of the scene where Paul (whipping around on his speedboat down on that lake created by the hydro-electric dam (and after the dam, the lake, and the rest of the local geography, got fully described again)) contemplates divorcing his wife, Amy.

Quote:
The trouble wasn't sex, he was sure; actually that had almost disappeared from their relationship these past eight to twelve months while Amy had been engaged in her relentless campaign to become state president of the auxiliary. Sex was always in plentiful supply around a hospital, the major part of whose personnel was composed of women, and he'd had no trouble finding all the release he needed there.
Apparently the hospital was a nookie buffet and the doctors were going back for thirds.

But there was still no plot-related reason to describe the exact layout of the buildings. You know how I keep saying that every word has to advance the plot, support the theme, or reveal character? Well, if Mr. Slaughter had followed that advice this book would have been Lots Better.
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:42 PM   #7430
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Well, folks. Many of y'all decided not to turn the page for that last novel.

Here's a different book:

Quote:
The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as was his custom, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flamelike as theirs; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid, jade-faced painters of Tokio who, through the medium of an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness and motion. The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through the long unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence round the dusty gilt horns of the straggling woodbine, seemed to make the stillness more oppressive. The dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ.
The question is, as always, do you turn the page?
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:19 PM   #7431
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From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as was his custom, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flamelike as theirs; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid, jade-faced painters of Tokio who, through the medium of an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness and motion.
That there is one hell of a long sentence. I got lost about three lines in and it took a Sherpa and a St Bernard to help me out and make sense of it.

I might turn the page, I might not - however being fairly sure I know what the blurb on the back cover says, I'd probably slog through
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:41 PM   #7432
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That there is one hell of a long sentence. I got lost about three lines in and it took a Sherpa and a St Bernard to help me out and make sense of it.


here's a rewrite:

Lord Henry Wotton lay on the corner of the Persian saddle-bag divan in his studio. He lit his umpteenth cigarette of the morning, which was a pity, because it meant he couldn’t smell the roses, the lilac, or the honey-sweet laburnum in the garden. The studio window was huge, draped with long tussore-silk curtains, stirring in a light summer breeze. The shadows of birds in flight flitted by, reminding him of the way that the Japanese use fantastic shapes to convey movement.

He could hear the murmur of the slow, sullen bees and the roar of London like a distant organ.

“Shit,” he thought, lighting another woodbine. “I can’t put it off any longer. I’m going to have to cut the grass.”
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:41 PM   #7433
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The question is, as always, do you turn the page?

Ooh! I wanna play...

Holy descriptive overload, Batman. Since this is only the first page, I'd keep going to see if anything happened in the next few - and I'd possibly give it a little longer than most, since there seems to be a chance of Japanese theme in here. And I'm a sucker for Japanese themes in novels.

So there's an example of personal preference overruling a writing style that isn't particularly pleasing. But I sure would hope that something happens soon.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:34 PM   #7434
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I had difficulty holding my eyes open while reading that 119 word sentence, including the misspelled 'Tokyo'. I'd flip the page out of curiosity, to see if the next page continued with more, long, descriptive sentences. In any case, I wouldn't read further. This kind of writing literally puts me to sleep.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:04 PM   #7435
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The question is, as always, do you turn the page?
Not if I'm reading for pleasure, but perhaps if I'm looking for something to analyse or study.

Cheers,
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:14 PM   #7436
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:28 PM   #7437
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He lit his umpteenth cigarette of the morning, which was a pity, because it meant he couldn’t smell the roses, the lilac, or the honey-sweet laburnum in the garden.
You were reading my mind...

Um, is cutting the grass the most gripping problem the author could give the main character (at least I'm assuming he's the main character, or one of them) on the first page? Of course, I might keep reading to find out why an English lord has to worry about cutting his own grass...

But probably not.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:49 PM   #7438
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Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
Well, folks. Many of y'all decided not to turn the page for that last novel.

Here's a different book:



The question is, as always, do you turn the page?
Sorry, no. That's more description than I would tolerate in an entire novel, unless it was a major plot point. I would be tempted to make a small donation to the author, though, just so he could afford to buy more periods. And I'd suggest a two-for-one sale.

My rewrite: Lord Wotton reposed on a divan of Persian Saddles and breathed in the honey-scented air. He mused...how the hell did dashing med student Mike Traynor get so much nookie? Was it true that he cared about women's orgasms? And, what had he done wrong in a previous life, to get stuck in this book?
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:10 PM   #7439
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I don't turn the page, which probably means it won a Pulitzer or something.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:05 AM   #7440
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I can feel and hear and smell the setting, so I would turn the page and give it a little longer. But if the prose continued to be so convoluted I'd need a really compelling story to keep me turning the pages.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:37 AM   #7441
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I might turn the page, just to find out if Lord Wotton is laying in a barn with a huge window in it.
Why does a Lord furnish his house with Persian saddlebags? Does he own a chaise lounge made of Turkish rifles and army tents?
This is peculiar hook for me. Perhaps Lord Wotton is the Willy Wonka of military paraphernalia.
I'll turn one page just to find out.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:47 AM   #7442
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Let's see if we can point out a couple odd things, that makes me ask, HUH?

Okay, first thing the first paragraph is awfully lllllooooooooonnnnng, all 45 words of it.

The next thing, I'm not quite sure how to interpret the second paragraph. I can't get a visual.

The last thing is what's Tokio? As far as I know Tokyo has always been Tokyo and I understand about missing a word or two during the rewrite. It happens. But with a major city like Tokyo can it be explained with a simple ooops, I'm sorry. I missed that.

I'm sorry Uncle Jim, but it would be a book that I would theoretically throw across the room.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:59 AM   #7443
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Hello all,
I'm a long time lurker who has been pulled out of the shadows by the latest round of the first page game.

Given my own free will, not only would I not turn the page, I'd actively try to prevent other people from reading it. :P I had to read this one for a class a few years ago, and it's earned a spot on my Top Ten Books I Really Hate List.

If you think paragraph two is bad, you should see the rest of this sucker. There's at least one whole chapter filled with nothing but descriptions of stuff the main character collected, none of which has any importance to the plot what so ever.

Come to think of it, this book is also the only one I can think of where I liked the movie better.

[/rant]

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I wanted to say thanks to Uncle Jim for taking time out of his day for 7000+ posts and 5 years to give advice, mediate disputes, and answer questions for all of us aspiring writers in the audience. Thank You!
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:02 AM   #7444
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This is one of those British things at the time of Dickens where writers were paid by the word so they saturated everything with detail.
Roses have an "odour" Lilacs have a scent.
Pink-flowering thorns are a perfume.
You would think, in this studio that cigarette smoke and Persian saddlebags would have their own, more dominant redolence.
All that under the dim roar of London.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:06 AM   #7445
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Is this the same Wotton played by Bela Lugosi?
That's Oscar Wilde.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:32 AM   #7446
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Hmm, a pretty damned dense downpour of words there.

In today's environment, would such a novel fly? I think not, except for at the more literary houses. But commercial fiction? Nah. A Tom Clancy sex scene between American and Russian robots set during the Cold War would probably have more going for it.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:37 AM   #7447
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That passage is very discriptive and if broken up with some other info could take up a couple pages, and be okay. Reading that was like walking through a bath and body works store. Odor overload.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:45 AM   #7448
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Yep. It's Oscar Wilde, who has taken what could have been a rockin' awesome idea for a horror story and board it to death.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:16 AM   #7449
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
Well, folks. Many of y'all decided not to turn the page for that last novel.

Here's a different book:
The question is, as always, do you turn the page?
No, but if I could write like that, I'd have gotten my 50,000 NaNoWriMo words, instead of the 25,000 I ended up with after he went there, did that, and brought back the t-shirt.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:36 AM   #7450
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: London
Posts: 1,766
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Another lurker here, though not exactly. I've been reading the posts in this thread for the past couple of days, and I'm on page 48 today.

I realized though, that I was missing a whole lot of going-on's while I was catching up, so I'm going to start participating here even as I catch up on those 300 pages of posts!

Thanks so much, Uncle Jim, for these lessons. I'm in love with fiction again.
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