Sunday, March 05, 2006


(And I'm not entirely sure I should be putting this up here, but I will anyway)...Chapter One of one of my books is up at the Crapometer. ( It's today's entry, the historical romance.

It's got two comments so far, which is encouraging, and if any of my buds who read here want to stop over there and check it out I'd be grateful for any comments.

Is it wierd that I feel like a grown-up when I accept criticism like a man (OK, WOman? :-)) I can't take it in my personal life at all. I'm one of those people who feels hurt and lonely all day if one of my friends says something remotely criticl to me (well, maybe not that bad. But I'm not good with criticism.) But comments about my work are totally different. In fact, if you read back into the C-O-M's archives, there's one or two people who were very hurt by harsh critiques. Not me. If what I wrote is crap, I'd rather somebody say so. "Gee, December, I didn't realize you were so untalented," or "Are you kidding me? Cuz this stinks," even.

No, deep down I would be surprised to get such comments, because I do have some confidence. But I do hope it's a good sign for me that I'm managing to separate my personal feelings from my professional ones-i.e. recognizing that my book is not my self; criticism of my words is not criticism of me. Which should bode well when the inevitable rejections come (I'm hoping there won't be too many of them, but I'm also no longer naive enough to think the first person who sees it is going to snap it right up. Hope, sure, but don't expect.)

Goodness, I am rambling, aren't I? I think I'm overtired.

And for some reason, in the last three days, my chin has broken out. WTF? I'm THIRTY-TWO YEARS OLD. And I look like The Walking Blemish. It's especially nice because I'm so pale.


doc-t said...

for what it's worth i think you have the frame for a good story...

the concept is good. It needs some slight changes to be realistic.

My second degree is a B.S. in chemistry. My MS and Ph.D are in bioengineering... I tell you this only so that you know i'm a scientist, I do understand chemistry, and I do understand biology.

You need to pick a species other than roaches. While they are a big part of the food chain, they are eaten by animals in the wild. Monkeys, armadillos, and fish for example.

Roach pesticide is used in homes and residences. restruants and businesses.

it is unlikely to reach the majority of the worlds roaches.. however.. there are OTHER species that will work for you.

Also, the molecule being stable... Like DDT and chlordane, are no longer legal to sell.. well, in the u.s.a.

if the story is in the u.s. it doesnt work for the present day.

if it is historical fiction and based on DDT then you've got a good analogy.

The problem with these stable poisons is not that they eliminate a species but rather that the accumulate in a lower part of the food chain. they are eaten by larger animals.. who are then eaten by larger animals. The molecule remains in tact. which means it's going to accumulate to a toxic level or concentration...

I may be telling you things you already know.. if thats the case i'm sorry...

I LIKE the story... you just need to go after a different species..

there are a few other ways to go...

very simple things. often times new chemicals are tested but NOT in the presence of other chemicals that might be found around the house?

imagine, for example, if a perfume were perfectly safe... until it came into contact with just a small amount of that cheap pink soap found in many restrooms..

things like that...

just be clear... i like the way you write.. i like the story...

December Quinn said...

Oops! Doc, I was the medieval, not the bug thing. I hope you posted these comments on the COM, as they're very detailed and I'm sure would be a big help to the writer!

doc-t said...

In the infamous words of Homer "DOH!"

doc-t said...

Okay, now having read YOUR story...

basically i liked it. Is this Historical fiction?

first of all, i HAVE to comment on the comments.

"That is Gruffydd ap Hywel," whispered her father, glancing around them.

[NOTE: Is he going to be a main character? If so, that name would make me drop the book like hot potato]

Would you be offended if i said What the fuck?! Gruffydd ap is not only a common but a well known welch name

it would make her drop the book? Good luck in European History kid.

"Just wondering," Isabelle said, a little distantly.

[NOTE: 'Just wondering' seems very modern for the time period]

because people in the thirteenth century never wondered? We have to use their EXACT venacular? We woudnt understand their venacular.

She would have accompanied Edward to look at a wasteland if he asked her, and the knowledge made her blush slightly.

[NOTE: Were wastelands very common at this time?]

Okay... This one actually made me pause and just stare for a bit.

"Well no actually, wastelands were inventented in the late 18th century by..."

but he held her in such a position that she succeeded only in lying down.

[NOTE: Isn't she wearing a bodice?]

Amd a Bodice will allow a woman to stand, dance, sit, and walk... but lying vertical is a mathematical impossibility...

and I think this one is my favorite.

[NOTE: Why does she have a Spanish name if she's from an old English family?]

Should someone tell her that Isabella Marshall was the wife of an Earl from around 1205 to 1230 A.D. in England?

Or mention Queen Isabella of France?

or that names are allowed to travel across international borders?

does all this seem mean? If you're going to have a critiqe site, be sure you know what you're talkinga bout..

now, about your story... the only thing i would suggest changing is the sentence structure. I think you could slim the sentences down a bit, make them more aggressive, and easier to read.

Here's an example.

He sighed and, taking her arm firmly, began leading her back towards the building. She jumped as he did so. His fingers were surprisingly warm. She felt as if they were searing her skin through the fabric of her sleeve.

How about something more like:

He sighed, took her arm firmly, and led her back. (we know she's going back to the building)

His grasp made her jump, as his fingers felt like hot irons searing through her skin.

(you may your reason for mentioning through the fabric, but if not, it is an obvious point. if it is burning her flesh, it would have to burn through the fabric.)

I'm curious what happens next! and thats a good sign yes?

December Quinn said...

It's a very good sign, and thanks. I admit I was a little hurt and upset by the comments about my research (especially when there were a few who didn't seem to know anything about the period at all telling me I had things wrong), because I've studied the medieval period in general and this period in particular for so long.

But it was nice to have my suspicions about that first chapter confirmed-it's not really ready yet. As I said in the comments, I've extensively edited the rest of the book, but nt that chapter because I just wasn't sure what to do with it.

Of course, my biggest problem is the way they meet is totally in character for both of them...coming up with something else, that will have the same ramifications for the rest of the story (with regards to their personal relationships) will be really hard.

But I did write it a few years ago. So it's good to know that my work has improved, and good to know the basic story is still one people want to read. So thanks. Much appreciated!

Bernita said...

December, it IS a good story. I like the way they meet. I specifically like the sword at jerk's throat.I like your hero.I like his dialogue.
Yes, the dumb comments irritated me too. I've done research for the 12th century.
Wastelands? They never heard of scorched earth, fire and sword, rebellions and retribution?
A few more specific details, here and there, a few cliches avoided.
There's damn-all wrong with it.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Well, I liked the chapter and would read more. I was off on the cloth. Bad me. And I should have known too.

We should be a bit more forgiving of our Crapometer host though. She's very young, isn't she?

The criticisms that bothered me most were the comments on the role of Women in the period. Those making them never read of Rosemond Clifford? Eleanor of Aquitaine? They were tough and beautiful and smart women, though very different personalities. They had smart daddies too. William of Aquitaine raised a very independent and intelligent young woman, but I have a soft spot in my heart from Isabella of Angouleme, and I think she is underrated by most historians. She was as much a moderating force on King John as Philipa was on Edward, and she had a harder job. Edward was smart. John, well, he wasn't stupid, but he wasn't Edward either.

Ok, I'm rambling. I liked your chapter. Post more. Ignore the silly comments. I always take the silly as intended. Usually they’re trying to be helpful, and just don’t get it.

December Quinn said...

Oh, no, I wasn't referring to anyone in particular-just my general surprise that my research was such a big deal. Truly, I think what upset me was why people thought it was wrong, because I inferred from it that if my writing hadn't been amatuerish they wouldn't have been focusing on my accuracy. Make sense?

I was asked if I'd like to put the next chapter up, and I think I will, but with a note explaining the one big historical liberty I do take! I'll head them off at the pass.

Thanks so much, guys.

Faith said...

I'll have to take a look. FB might be doing e-book reviews on a rating scale soon.