Forum Replies Created
August 3, 2015 at 2:01 pm #93695Re: My Writing Project
I am on the home straight with regards to the book. Prior to submitting the manuscript to a literary agent I am compiling the chapters into the relevant parts and carrying out an edit of the text as I go.
If anyone wants to pass on any last minute comments then please feel free to do so, it is never too late…well, short of the manuscript going to print that is.
Many thanks to those who have contributed.June 1, 2015 at 11:03 am #93694Re: My Writing Project
Due to the feedback I got concerning the length of the chapters – too long mostly – I have started work on reconstructing the book so that it is now divided into 5 parts and each part into the requisite number of chapters. I have to admit that it reads better now in the shorter installments. See, that’s the value of Beta readers!March 26, 2015 at 9:37 am #93689Re: My Writing Project
Wow! I had not realised that so much time has passed since my last post.
I wanted to alert those members of this forum who volunteered to act as Beta Readers that I will be sending out new material very soon, hopefully this weekend. The new material will include the prologue and the first 4 chapters of the book, maybe even the 5th if things go to plan! The book is planned for 9 chapters so I am almost half-way there.
Anyone else who would like to read it please just send me a direct message with your email address before Saturday.
I will be including a brief statement of what I have been up to lately with regards to the writing. I am aware that it often seems like I disappear but that’s the nature of writing in an attic!November 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm #93687Re: My Writing Project
Well this is frustrating!
My internet at home went down last week and still has not been repaired despite my ISP having a declared ‘2 day’ target for which they won a national customer care award!
I hope to be back on line by the weekend but I am not going to hold my breath.
Apologies to anyone waiting for more material to read or for my response to your feedback. I am not in an ideal situation at the moment but hopefully it will improve sooner rather than later.September 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm #93685Re: My Writing Project
Are you still looking for more beta readers?
As with the previous requests, send me your email address in a private message and I will add you to the list, always happy to welcome another new face!September 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm #93682Re: My Writing Project
Need any more beta readers??
More the merrier!
Just send me your email address by private message and I will be in touch.
And, following on from that, a heads up to those who have already volinteered, the first draft of the Prologue and Chapter One is almost complete, I am hoping to get it out to you this weekend!August 26, 2014 at 7:17 am #93680Re: My Writing Project
Owww, I am interested ….. quick question, when you send out a chapter to be beta read is there a sort of time limit to read and respond? I mean, if it is something you would like done within a week I might struggle but if it is were over a longer time I could probably commit more steadfastly.
[never beta read before ]
Short answer: no!
Writing is not, unfortunately, what I do for a living; mostly at the weekend and evenings. I expect this project to take me between 3 – 6 months to complete. Although feedback is valued as soon as possible there is still value in someone sending me a comment on the first chapter even as I write the last one. The real point of using beta readers for a writer is getting several different opinions on what they are writing, the way the story is developing, so even if a reader only makes one observation throughout the whole project that is still a worthwhile contribution if it makes me stop and think.
I will not badger anyone for a response by the way. I will presume that you are still interested and continue to send material until you, the reader, tells me to stop or we reach the end. Pressure works for me as a writer but reading should be enjoyable and I am hoping that that will be everyone’s experience with this book.August 21, 2014 at 3:55 pm #93677Re: My Writing Project
Hello again everyone!
Good news, my second novel has been submitted for publication, which leaves me free now to write my third book! This one is going to feature a quartet of young disabled people who are going to face surviving in a country that has come to hate their very existence. The main theme is clearly going to be intolerance but there is also hope and courage, not to mention a certain degree of adventure and a little humour (hopefully!).
If anyone is interested in acting as a beta reader, that is someone who reads the chapters more or less as they are written and gives feedback on them, please send me a private message with your email address, which will be held in the strictest confidence and not sold to any telemarketing companies, and I will send you a synopsis of the book so that you can get a better understanding of what it is about.
I must warn prospective readers that there will be portions of this story that they may find disturbing, events that include torture, violent death, and other acts of people’s inhumanity towards people, but the overall aim of the book is to be uplifting through adversity. Finally, no one who volunteers is under any obligation to see the book out to the end, but those who do will get a mention in the acknowledgements page!
Many thanks in anticipation.
P.S. This is not a plug or a hard sell, more of an afterthought. If you want to know more about my books please visit me at http://petercwhitaker.co.uk/ where you can at least get an impression of my credibility!July 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm #93675Re: My Writing Project
That’s exactly what I think! Weak ideas, no matter how good they seem initially, soon fizzle out, but this one is getting stronger. I reckon that I am ready to start the first draft, it is just other considerations getting in the way. Hopefully I will be free to start the actual writing as stated above. Once I have something worthwhile I will offer it to a select few ‘beta’ readers to see what you think!July 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm #93673Re: My Writing Project
Time for an update!
My first novel has proven quite a success and I have been devoting my time to finishing the second, it’s a trilogy you see, so I have not done much work on the project I raised here. Do not fear, however, it remains alive and well and is quietly growing as I turn and feed it with some more writing everytime I get a bit fed up with Saxons and Vikings! It is my intention to write this project in tandem with the final part of the trilogy, which will hopefully mean commencing serious work in August!
Although I have not been at the keyboard, so to speak, to write about Grace and Tom they have been running, or limping, or wheeling, around my head ever since I thought up this idea. I take this to be a good sign, the story is growing in my imagination and apparently not dependent upon me getting it all down on paper…virtual or otherwise!
For me it comes as no surprise that this project has slipped somewhat, I have a full-time job, a wife, kids, and a football club to support, and the success of my first book was a delightful distraction, but do not fear, the disabled are going to get their day in print as heroes worthy of breaking society’s image of us as benefit scrounging malingerers!April 1, 2014 at 11:54 am #93669Re: My Writing Project
I have been very busy of late and I owe a debt of thanks to those who have offered me some help so far.
I knew that I was onto an interesting thing but then I’ve tried to develop plenty of ideas previously but they often just seem to fizzle out but not this one. The first chapter now exists as a first draft, still plenty of work to do on it but it has proven to be a springboard for plot and character development. My initial block of writing about disabled people has now disappeared and my imagination is taking me on a tremendous journey.
My book has three main threads; first, the plight of a group of young disabled people in a Britain actively hostile to the disabled – and I do mean actively hostile; second, politicians attempting to pursue quite vigorously anti-disability policies using propoganda through the media as well as legislation; and finally, how the misapplication of science can lead to an horrific conclusion.
I really do not want to give too much away yet as it is such early days but here’s what I can tell you so far.
The two main characters are Grace and Thomas, she has a deformed left hand an no right leg, he is blind from birth. Their friendship is founded in a growing realisation that their lives are at risk in a world that has turned against them simply because they are disabled and seen as a burden on society. As the story develops they prove themselves loyal, brave, inventive and smarter than the majority of their persecutors. They also come to realise that despite their disabilities they also possess abilities that very few other people in the world could even imagine.
Their enemies number a government minister who has a deeply ingrained hatred for the disabled and his junior minister who has her own reasons for pursuing Grace to her death. They are the public face of a government policy that is both seductive and corrupt and they have both the law and the resources of the country at their disposal to remove any opposition; how hard can it be to kill a couple of crippled kids?
I am beginning to develop a host of other characters, as well as an intrigue with secret societies, and I have what I think is a novel backdrop against which to play out this tale. I am getting excited just by writing this update!!
Like I said, I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but I can say that this story is not just about the disabled, it is about the attitudes of people in general and how they can be moulded to become something quite lacking in compassion and basic humanity. The good guys are not all disabled, there are some able-bodied people fighting for the disabled as well, just like in the real world, but the situation is grim, almost overwhelming to Grace and Thomas, and the stakes are high.
I hope that whets your appetite?
In a few weeks I might be asking for some volunteers to read the first chapter for me and give me your views if anyone is interested? Please remember that this is a work in progress so I cannot be accurate about when I think that the first chapter will be ready to read, I’ve got another book to finish at the moment as well.
Again, thanks for your interest.February 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm #93666Re: My Writing Project
She already sounds feisty, red haired and a force to be reckoned with
Ha ha! I’m not sure about her being an actual redhead (her parentage won’t allow for it) but she will certainly have spirit. I’ve named her ‘Grace’ and she will have to survive in a world actively hostile to disabled people. I’ve already started on her back-story and as it has developed very quickly I have taken this as a sign that I am on the right tack; it worked that way with my first book!
Grace will be joined by Thomas who is blind but hides an expert ability in human echolocation. They are both young people at the start of the story so their relationship is platonic to begin with. I have decided on at least three more disabled characters who will form their group but be less in focus than Grace and Thomas, sadly their role will be largely like that of the actors who got to wear the red shirt in the original Star Trek series – that is, horrible things happen to them!February 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm #93664Re: My Writing Project
Good news, I’ve broken through my writer’s block regarding disabled people. I have started a character biography for one of my main protagonists, she will be a young girl missing a limb due to Fibular hemimelia. Things are beginning to fall into place.February 20, 2014 at 7:46 pm #93663Re: My Writing Project
…imagine someone meandering along the kerb edge stopping to see how far the pavement dipped and then looking across the road to see that there was no dip the other side, or walking along the road to where the next dip was .. taking the longer route round because the two tiny steps in the alleyway were too much to handle …
That’s something that I still do, my muscles do not react normally when first used or after I have been on my feet for sometime, they can freeze leading to temporary paralysis, so I’ve got a good understanding of this situation.
Catatude, thanks for the suggestion. I have used a wheelchair on various occasions over the years, even been abroad in one once, so I have a good experience of what is involved.
Thinking on what has been said I see the problem as being one of striking a believable balance between a disabled character being able to do certain things as required by the story and also being reasonably unable to do things that ‘normal’ people can do.
I’m certainly glad that I started this discussion because it is helping me get my thinking straight!February 19, 2014 at 11:48 am #93660Re: My Writing Project
I fully get where you are coming from. I find it tricky sometimes writing as an able person because I have forgotten how not to think disabled, I forget how just walking or trotting upstairs happens without conscious thought.
I think three is a comfortable number for groups, you have the good the bad and the placater, as it were, 4 or more and things tend to split into two or three person groups, there is always the underling and always the leader.
The psychology of disability is intriguing and definitely for me was connected to my age and how my disability affected my life at that time. For example, a trip to New York City to meet friends and go to a show .. ten years ago I would have been gung-ho, found a way to get myself to the airport, flew alone and met assisting pals at the other end and not been bothered asking for help. Now, ten years later, I cannot even contemplate getting the other side of my front door without an army. New York ain’t gonna happen.
Disability can be so individual, it is tricky to get how a character sits within their confines as the pitfalls, perils and attributes are not instantly obvious.
I want the group of disabled characters to be somewhat representative of the disabiled as a whole and therein probably lies the problem. Your last paragraph above sums it up succinctly! I think that I may have to use a different method, such as having some characters that are not directly linked to the main group but carrying the story forward in sub-plots from their own perspective of the issues being faced.
I get your drift definitely. I am able in some ways and disabled in others – or even more irritatingly, I know I am disabled but because it isn’t visible as such, people see me as perfectly able.
Deciding who has what disability is a strange one because the disability could be anything I suppose – do you have any in mind?
This highlights another consideration; how disabled is disabled? For many years I did not appear to be disabled to other people but I was quiet badly affected by my condition. Today it is much more apparent. I don’t want to ‘skimp’ on the disability in order to make the story easier to write but at the sametime I don’t want evey disabled person in it to be confined to a wheelchair because not every disabled person in real life is!
I would like to just say that being able to talk like this to other people who have an understanding of these issues is very beneficial. I can discuss the mechanics of writing with other authors but few people want to talk about disability or, more to the point, disabled people.
Thanks for the responses so far, they are proving very useful.