Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gary is...

Ghost message from Gary
Gary may be a lot of things, but I'll always remember him as the guy that forgot how to put the carbon paper in the typewriter. I found this message peeking out at me this morning from the platen of my Remington Premier, which is currently in rotation on my desk. I was transcribing from one of my notebooks onto a stack of index cards, had the desk lamp to battle the darkness of our Biblical rains, and there on the platen was Gary's self-affirmation, immortalized in ink and rubber. Well done, Gary.
Gary Douglas is a
highly skilled professional
And speaking of affirmations (smooth, that transition), I'm fishing for feedback as I try once again to make some readable sense of my 2009 NaNoWriMo entry. This latest round of motivation came over a weekend dinner with friends, when one of them had the nerve -- the unmitigated nerve! -- to ask if I'd done any writing lately. After I finished mumbling "no" into my napkin and then trying to change the subject, I figured that, once again, I've been neglectful, and unprofessional, and I think a disappointment to even good ol' Gary there. I'm taking this a chapter at a time now, and am slowly posting what I have so far on the Longer Pursuits page. As of this writing, I have all of three pages up, but believe me, it was a rough three. Good Openings, as all advice says, are Really Rather Difficult. Maybe not to Gary, but they are to me, especially when the original and revised openings read like a backstory-dump, which, essentially, they are.

I've made a clean break, and if you have a few minutes, I'd appreciate all feedback. Three pages. That's all. I'm no Gary.

14 comments:

Ted said...

I'm interested in seeing more. it reads very well (:

deek said...

Having read the whole story once already, I can't say that I found anything needing changed in the first chapter. Granted, I am probably your target audience, well-versed in fantasy reading and role-playing, so the humor you use by exploiting stereotypes and stretching them to an extreme, well, works for me.

So, where your opening starts out like standard high fantasy fare, by the middle of it you start to the humor found throughout most of your chapters.

And by the time we get to Rosalind at the gate, I think you've got the reader setup and wanting to know what's going on. And you build on your humor...

Sorry, I just don't see a need for change.

BTW, I started editing my fantasy novel last week, but I'll hold off on sharing, so I don't detract from yours.

Ryan Adney said...

I am sure that Gary was honored with the positive comments. Having typewriters in the classroom, I have seen far less flattering things "accidentally" typed into platens. Some of the suggestions would make a sailor blush. Thankfully, I have a method to get rid of the more blue comments.

snohomishwriter said...

Any chance of getting a hold of a printed copy or is that just way too much to ask for?

deek said...

He had the complete file up at one point. I had actually dumped it down to text and loaded it to my Kindle...sorry, I know, but I tend to read really fast on those e-ink screens!

Machines of Loving Grace said...

I wonder if Gary is Judy's brother?

Ted said...

Now that's a diet I can get behind - booze, butter and all the meat you can stuff in your face. Judy's not a dingbat, she's a genius!

Little Flower Petals said...

I have blighted platen envy. My new Lettera 33 had quite a lot of platen text, but it was nothing more interesting than zzzz xxxxxx 123456789 and the like.

I love Judy...

I need to start reading your story at some point.

Word verif: whings. What Rhed Bhull gives you.

mpclemens said...

@Ted: thank you! Once I get past the opening bits, the rewrite should go more smoothly. I feel better about the middle.

@deek: You're a natural-born cheerleader. My wife pointed out some inconsistencies that nagged at her, and I realized I needed to do a Deep (Re)Reading.

@Ryan: One can only imagine. I recall putting such messages on the classroom computer and watching them scroll by in an endless BASIC loop. Good times.

@snohomish: You should be able to print right from the Google docs page (File menu, above the document.) And I apologize: I realize I left it in one of the custom typewriter fonts. Easy to read without my glasses! Or I could pretend you meant a printed copy of the whole thing, and then just be flattered. :-)

@deek again: Wife is reading an earlier draft on her Nook. I'm a bit jealous! The e-ink display is something else, and far preferable to reading a draft on-screen.

@olivander and @everyone else: I forgot about Judy! Perhaps Gary escaped her well-buttered clutches.

snohomishwriter said...

So far, so good.

Actually, I was referring to whole novel (if you think it's ready). I'm willing to read the whole thing if want to send me a copy.

mpclemens said...

Ah, then you'll need to wait a bit. Most of the novel is in pretty good shape, in my opinion (biased!) but I need to set up a few things, plotwise. There will be more, and I'll post about it, trolling for traffic as always.

Strikethru said...

I'll tell you what I want to read is a story about Gary. He's an jobless '99er' whose extended unemployment benefits have run out, and he has a dark night of the soul after tapping this onto the platen of his dead father's typewriter.

rino breebaart said...

Gary is... the ghost of platens past.

mpclemens said...

@Strikethru: I want to read that one, too. Ominous!