View Full Version : Let's exchange a chapter to start...

05-10-2006, 01:45 AM

05-16-2006, 10:23 AM
1st I'm new to computers and The internet, e-mail, everything and I've never been in contact, ect, ectI'd like to see if it would work, be very helpful.The best way to tell you what I like would be the movies I like, particuarly the old ones, besides Shakespeare, which I played a few parts in college.Movies: ON THE WATERFRONT JAMES DEANSIDNEY POTIER THE CAINE MUTINEY, This year: CINDERELLA MAN. HUMPREY BOGART. In other words what I call Social CommentaryMy problem is if you mean by posting, that it goes onto your webb site where everyone can read it, I can't do thatIf you would send me an e-mail address, I'd be glad to exchange writing with you

05-16-2006, 05:56 PM
HI MikeAngel

I've a manuscript for a novel also set in the 60s. Mine is however focused on the music scene of the time. The plot follows two boys who meet in a first grade in a Catholic school in New York. I would categorize this under the historic fiction genre. This is for and about baby boomers. My objective is to depict what made our generation tick so seperately from those before and after.

I'm looking for an objective reader. I see that you've quite a body of work already published. I've only published a couple of music articles and some poetry. I put writing aside long ago for "straight" white collar living. I did promise myself to write a novel, as soon as I got a wordprocessor at home. Been keeping that promise working on this novel for 6 years between duties of stay at home motherhood. Would you be willing to look at the prologue and first chapter, if this calls your interest?

Your project interest me. For what its worth, I'm direct and honest with my critiques and expect similar in return, (despite any sting it may cause). (I can take it!) I need to know what I'm doing wrong as well as right.


05-16-2006, 06:20 PM
I have a novel set in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the first gulf war. Here is the blurb I have used for it:

Jeffery Briggs thought it would be interesting to leave his mundane Wichita computer support job and go to work in Saudi Arabia. Little did he know that he would arrive in the Arabian desert on the day before Iraq invaded Kuwait. His life was transformed into an adventure and a race against his enemies across the Arabian desert, Red Sea, and Egypt by car, camel, tow truck, military transport, and fishing dhow. He would find the love of his life in the most unlikely of places and meet the face of evil who seeks to destroy him.

The story of Jeffery Briggs is my main thread. I have several other minor threads to show some of the conditions of a frontline Iraqi foot soldier, to contrast that to the conditions of the American frontline foot soldier, and simply to add some breaks and color to the story. I also have some journal entries written by the main character interspersed through the book to reveal his private feelings.

I wrote this book 14 years ago while I was working in Saudi Arabia. I played around a little bit with sending it to a few publishers 12 years ago but didn't pursue it. I brought the book back out of digital cold storage several months ago and would like to get it clean enough to interest a publisher. I feel pretty good about the book as a whole, with the exception of the 2nd chapter and the size. I've messed with the 2nd chapter so much that I think I need to scrap it and completely rewrite it but I haven't done that yet. Also, the book is currently 156,000 words long and I'm worried the size will limit it's potential audience.

Below is my first chapter so you can see if the writing style is something you would want to work with. I would appreciate a sample of your writing as well. If you have a chapter available for review, you can email it to me at gary_wagner@yahoo.com. Once we look at each other's work, we can see if our styles mesh or not.

Chapter 1

July 30, 1990 – Southern Iraq Near the Kuwait Border

A jet flew high above Yousef Kaleeja as he laid in the rapidly cooled desert air of the Arabian desert. When the faint sound reached his ears, he quickly aroused from his pre-sleep drowsiness and listened closely to discern if it was just another civilian airliner or if the sound might be from an approaching enemy jet. Sitting up, he buttoned the shirt of his uniform, and pulled a dark green, scratchy, wool blanket around his shoulders to keep warm in the chilly nighttime air. Holding his breath, he closed his eyes in concentration and listened to the fading sound. Relief, with a dash of disappointment flooded over him. “Not yet, but soon, inshallah.” he breathed quietly to himself as he brushed the sand off his woven reed mat, laid down beside his rifle, and drifted off to sleep.

Three months ago, Yousef completed high school and searched in vain for employment. Dirt poor, neither he nor his family had enough money to pay for an apprenticeship or to bribe an employer to give him a job. Unable to afford to live on his own, he remained with his parents, four younger brothers, and five younger sisters in their tiny, two bedroom apartment located in the worst of the slums of Baghdad. His father left home each morning in the pre-dawn darkness and returned as the sun was setting and the call to Isha prayer was being blasted from loudspeakers on from the minarets of the neighborhood mosque six days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. Even with the long hours and the back-breaking work in the brick factory, he barely brought home enough money each week to feed his young children, keep a roof over their heads, and clothes on their backs.

When government agencies discovered that Yousef, now eighteen years old, was unemployed, the Iraqi army was notified and he was ordered to serve for four years. Army assignment was dreaded by the Iraqi lower class because it had become the lowest rung in the ever descending welfare ladder. Not his family, his relatives, or anyone he knew had enough money for the standard bribe that would keep him out. Needless to say, they also didn’t have the larger bribe that would have placed Yousef in the highly respected, well funded, well treated, and well fed Republican Guard. He would either serve in the regular army or be shot. The first option was only marginally better than the latter.

Rail thin, living on barely enough food to keep him alive for his entire life, Yousef managed to survive his grueling boot camp training. Not all of the men who began the training with him could make that claim. Two died when a cheaply made and poorly maintained climbing wall collapsed while they were climbing it. Three others were tracked down and executed for leaving the camp and attempting to cross into Syria in a desperate attempt to desert the army.

Just a week following the assignment to a permanent unit, the order to mobilize caught them by surprise. He was issued a battle scarred Soviet Kalashnikov - manufactured years before he was born, loaded into a transport truck, and taken three hours across the stifling hot desert and dumped in the middle of nowhere.

His unit had almost no equipment or supplies. Since they had no tents, they dug holes in the sand and arranged a thread-bare blanket over the top in an attempt to make some shelter. Their food, rice and beans with an occasional boiled chicken thrown in, was delivered to them twice a day in a truck. Their first three days there, they didn’t know where they were, why they were there, or what they were supposed to do. They spent their days attempting to find relief from the blazing sun, cloudless skies, and 125 degree temperature. They spent their nights under blankets trying to keep warm when the dry desert air quickly cooled to 60 degrees.

On the fourth day an officer finally came to their encampment to explain the situation and give them their orders. He told them that they were at the Kuwait border because Israel was threatening an invasion of their Arab neighbors. He lied. The truth was that Iraq was planning to invade and claim the Kuwaiti land, wealth and oil as its own. The command of the Iraqi military decided to tell its soldiers the lie about Israel instead of the truth because they knew the troops would fight harder if they thought they were fighting the fiercely hated Jews instead of the Kuwaitis.

Yousef held Kuwaitis in contempt because of their arrogant displays of wealth and their attitude of being the most elite of all the Arab nations but this contempt was overshadowed by his intense hatred of Israel. He had just completed 12 years of school where almost daily it was drilled into him that Israel was a violent aggressive nation whose ultimate goal was total annihilation of all Arabs and Zionist expansion throughout the entire Arab peninsula. Despite his dislike of the Kuwaitis, he was willing, ready, and energized to fight to his death to protect them from Israel. After all, they might be arrogant but they were fellow 'Arab brothers'.

Yousef’s eyes closed, shutting out the millions of stars twinkling overhead in the clear desert sky. He dreamed of being home, sharing his sawdust filled mattress with three of his squirmy, bath-deprived brothers. His body writhed as his blissful slumber turned to nightmare. He was transported from his woven mat in the sand to his bed at home. Trapped in that bed, his blankets became ropes with his brothers holding him down with them. As he watched helplessly, the front door of the house burst open and Israeli soldiers burst through. Their faces were human at first glance, but as Yousef lay paralyzed by fear on his bed, they twisted into terrifying contorted masks of inhuman horror. Their hands were transformed into massive razor edged claws.

The monsters moved toward his mother sitting in a chair. She didn’t seem to notice them. Yousef desperately tried to call to her, to warn her to get up and run. His mouth wouldn't open. He couldn't make a sound. As he watched, one of the creatures snapped her head off with a quick slash of his taloned claw. Yousef tried to turn his head away, but it too, like his jaws, was frozen in place. His eyes would not shut. He couldn't stop himself from watching the monster bend down to feed at the headless torso of what had once been his mother. He tried again to scream. With tremendous effort, he forced his mouth open. A small sound began in his throat. He concentrated and intensified the sound.

Yousef awoke on his mat, drenched in perspiration and screaming in terror.