Book Jacket

 

rank 2634
word count 69141
date submitted 23.12.2009
date updated 21.03.2010
genres: Fiction, Children's, Young Adult, C...
classification: universal
complete

Paint Chips

Rebekah Gilson

Vincent Van Strunk has always known his father takes pills. When Dad decides to stop, Vincent finds out first hand what "bipolar episode" means.

 

The arrival of the paint chips means Vincent’s mother will be distracted for weeks. She will be sitting around the house, chewing on the cap of a sharpie, naming paint colors.

Vincent intends to fill his days reading The Two Towers, fishing, building mobiles (a la Alexander Calder) and writing letters to his best friend (and selective mute) Tamara. Vincent is the only person at school that Tamara has chosen to speak with and he feels protective of her and their friendship. He also feels some uncomfortable mushy feelings that he’d rather not discuss.

When Vincent finds a red pill mixed into the gravel of their driveway, he realizes that his father has secretly stopped taking his medication. The family bonds are stretched to the limit as Dad sinks into depression and soars into mania. Vincent is torn between loving his father and protecting his mother.

 
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tags

, art, bipolar disoder, depression, family, first person, funny, mania, mental illness, middle grade, selective mutism

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43 comments

 

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lizjrnm wrote 1415 days ago

Poignant and well written. You have touched on a subject that will ring true for many readers. IBTB (Id buy this book!) Backed with pleasure

Liz
The Cheech Room

Burgio wrote 1453 days ago

PAINT CHIPS
This is a good story. Vincent is a good character. He’s very likable because he comes from a dysfunctional family and is so nice to a pretty dysfunctional girlfriend. Your writing style feels just right for this. I think it will find a wide audience among young adults who see themselves in Vincent so want to follow this and see how it all turns out. I’m adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Fatal Error).

Lockjaw Lipssealed wrote 1457 days ago

Hey, I love chocolate covered coffee beans, too! This is a good read. Your writing is strong and your story is engaging,but this is one of those cases where the blend is really the key. Some are stronger writers than story tellers, most are better story tellers than writers, but often one of the other is strong enough to carry the read.

Yours is that nice blend of both!

Lockjaw

Hatts wrote 1495 days ago

Really good reading here, particularly with the information you give about bi - polar. I enjoy your descriptive style and the manipulative nature of Vinnie! I have worked with individuals with bi-polar and can identify with some of the issues you raise.
Backed with pleasure
Hatts

JoeDPalermo wrote 1540 days ago

Very nice job on a very interesting story. We have a daughter-in-law with bipolar disorder. She has many of the problems you describe in your book. In her case, she usually refuses to go to her meetings with her therapests as well as not taking her meds. So, I know your descriptions are true to life.

Backed the book.

Keep Smiling
Joseph D Palermo

madcatta wrote 1543 days ago

A great ending to a great story. The way everything related to the bipolar is shown from such a young perspective really gets the issue, showing it in the simplest of terms. And Vince. Bless him! A lovable main character, emphasized by his friendship with Tamara (which is also very cute). To disagree with Bob Steele, I think is quite for younger people, because this genre (mental illness... I don't know if it fits into anything else...) isn't used much, but this is written in the style that works and in ways that don't portray it as the stereotype does.
Very nice!
Cait

Thomas J. Winton wrote 1554 days ago

Rebekah, this is a well-written story that will surely appeal to its target audience. Your style creates vivid pictures that young people will surely relate to. They'll also relate well to Vincent's and Tamara's adolescent issues. Personally, I (even though I'm decades older) love V's tongue-in-cheek narration. Only small nit (and it is subjective) I would eliminate "out" in, "...they would burst open and vomit out everything I had left of the fifth grade." Of course Vincent is the narrator and he may prefer to speak that way. Gladly backed!
Thomas J Winton
Beyond Nostalgia

Bob Steele wrote 1558 days ago

Paint Chips is a fascinating read and is quite distinctive. Your writing style is vividly descriptive, your characters are strong and the narrative has a good pace; all of this will certainly appeal to YAs. However, your target audience includes children, and IMHO this is not for them - at least I don't feel my grandchildren would be attracted by or perhaps understand the underlying bipolar issues. That apart, this is fine work that I will be happy to back.

Bill Carrigan wrote 1566 days ago

Dear Becky,

A few days ago you asked me to critique your MS. After reading several chapters, I can say that the story is interesting, with good characterization, description, and treatment of emotion. (The scene about Tamara's stolen eraser is especially touching.) Beyond that, I hesitate to comment on the overall novel without reading it all. I could, though, point out a few things that might be helpful about dialogue, particularly in paragraphing and transition. I'll copy here the notes I've made from the beginning.

Pitch: Explain [chewing on the cap of a sharpie.] Is "sharpie" a trade name for a pencil? It might be better to use a different action.
--Delete [Alexander]. If the reader doesn't know Calder's work, his first name won't help.
--Insert a comma after [friend] and delete [a selection mute], which is explained in the next sentence.

Chapter 1: In the second paragraph, change to [It now contained everything that had been in my desk.], avoiding the repetition of [bag], especially where it's noticeable at the end of the sentence.
--Insert a comma after [strained]. In a long compound sentence (where two independent clauses are joined by "and," "but," "or," or "then"), you should place a comma before the conjunction. I haven't noted them all.
--Delete [if I set the bag down]. Adds nothing.
--Start new para.: [I didn't answer.] Then run on--same para.
--Change [I knew what she thought of my mom.] to [It was plain what she thought of my mom.] I don't think you meant she disapproved of his mom in general.
--Same para.: [ "I'll just start . . .] The convention in dialogue is to use a separate paragraph for each speaker.
--New para.: [Ms. Bursma's muddy brown eyes . . .]
--New para.: [I have a poncho on my back," I said. "It'll be fine." A half hour earlier . . .]. Stick mostly with "said" and "asked." Describe the manner of speaking only when it's not obvious."
--Your paragraph starting ["Oh, I haven't really decided yet.] isn't clear. [She was going to throw them away. It was a stupid lie.] Who lies? And did you mean to indicate that he skips the fifth grade?
--In the para. [Kelsey Brown had taken her . . .], change [her] to [Tamara's]. And change [was] to [had] in [It was a yellow happy face]. I can't quite picture this eraser.
--You need a clearer transition after ["And?]. Try [Ms. Bursma called from the back of the room, "What's going on there?] New para.: ["Nothing," I said, picking up the eraser. "Right?"] Move ["Thanks."] to the line above, to follow [crying]. Keep Tamara's actions and words together.
--In the paragraph starting ["Thanks."], you should break the one-paragraph-per-speaker rule. Keep it together, but punctuate as follows: [I wanted to say, "Holy crap, you can talk!" But instead I shrugged coolly and said, "No problem."] This dialogue is too integrated to separate, which occasionally happens.
--End the next paragraph [She was funny, and I was the only one who knew it.] Now you need a transition back to the present. Consider a new paragraph, using some of your words: ["Today, as I waited for permission to leave, I ran my finger's over Tamara's nametag. The only thing that made the idea of middle school bearable was the thought that next year I'd still see her and would probably be the only one who knew she could talk.] New para.: [Ms. Bursma gurgled, "I guess you can go . . .]

Well, Becky, if you follow all this, you'll have a better idea of how to organize dialogue and see the importance of clear transitions when you shift the time frame. I have to go now, but it's been a pleasure.

Best of luck, Bill ("The Doctor of Summitville," "Call Home the Child," "Annabella and Other Stories"


--

LeahPet wrote 1566 days ago

This. Is. Wonderful.

Very well written. Powerful and moving.

"I wanted to say 'holy crap you can talk,'" gave me a chuckle. Tamara is so unique and fascinating to read about. The family interplay is real and poignant. and each character vivid Vincent tugs at my heart and I want to follow him through and make sure he's OK.

This is so well done. Backed enthusiastically. Again and again.

Best of luck to you!

Leah Petersen - Mourn the Sun

soutexmex wrote 1568 days ago

SHELVED!

JC
The Obergemau Key

AnnabelleC wrote 1568 days ago

A paint chips namer and a figures buyer! I love it. I also like the way you drop hints suggesting that not all is well, while maintaining a nice even flow. You don't talk down to the reader or spell everything out, either, which is a plus - e.g. when Vincent is in the classroom calling yellow 'lemonade', you can see his reaction to having made a mistake without the author drawing the dots of 'he made a mistake because his mom names colours because...'. The only thing I wondered was about some of the language. Would a little boy really say he was weary, or note and name the different fabrics in his mother's gown (or call it luxurious?). I did wonder if maybe he thought like that about the world because his artistic mother had taught him to, though that's not clear. Anyway, I thought I'd mention it.
A good read,
Annabelle

T.L Tyson wrote 1569 days ago

Read through to five. I see where this is leading. YOu stack the cards of the good family at the beginning. LEtting the reader into this family that works cohesivley and without much friction. The mom is a beautiful character. Her love for Vincent shines through, in her petting of his head or indulging his sense of creativity by getting him to help her with naming the paint colors.
Vincent is a terrific little character. He explodes off the page. He has fears and dreams. He stuck up for Tamara when her eraser was stolen, hence why they became friends. Not only that but you show the good side of the father very well. I imagine in the coming chapter you will start breaking down the bi-polar issue.
You weave hints of the harsh streak of the father throughout, though it hasn't come to head yet, I do feel it building up.
Backed
T.L Tyson-Seeking Eleanor

Bob Avey wrote 1570 days ago

The storyline seems to hold promise and the characters are believable. It’s on the shelf.

I noticed several paragraphs where the dialogue of one character was mixed with the thoughts and actions of another. I believe this confuses the reader.

Example:

“On the last day of school?” I didn’t answer. I knew what she thought of my mom.

Try it like this:

“On the last day of school?”

I didn’t answer. I knew what Ms. Bursma thought of my mom.

I hope this helps.

Bob Avey

gillyflower wrote 1570 days ago

This is a great book. Your characters are excellent, and your writing style runs away with us, drawing us on to read more. You have a very interesting theme, and you fill your chapters with unusual insights, and people behaving in idiosyncratic, amusing ways, from Mrs. Bursma fiddling with the nametags and Tamara refusing to speak until Vin rescues her rubber, to the more important characteristics of Vin's Mum and Dad. And as well as being interesting, your characters move us. Mrs. Bursma's delight when Vin tells her she's a great teacher, Tamara's reaction to losing her rubber, these are moving; but at an even deeper level, the relationship between Vin's mother and father, and his detailed observation of it, are amazing. 'He would say little mean things to her, and she would shrink smaller and smaller until I was afraid she would disappear.' This is sad in itself, and even sadder when it comes from a boy of Vincent's age, speaking of his parents. You have created a book which is full of both humour and tears, and you handle your difficult subject in a way which avoids sentimentality while never letting the problems disappear very far beneath the surface. Backed.
Gerry McCullough,
Belfast Girls.

Carrots wrote 1571 days ago

What really hits the reader immediately are the strong, idiosyncratic characters - they positively leap out of the page. It takes real writer courage to use a name like Vincent Van Strunk. And it works brilliantly, because he is then placed with other colourful characters like Ms Bursma, Vin's parents and, of course, Tamara. These, in turn, support the powerful subject matter. A brave book, told with great authority. Backed.

eamonn walls wrote 1572 days ago

I really like the opening, it reminded me of RL Stein, one of my favourite writers (and one of the most successful authors ever). The dialogue is cool, the whole thing with the pills is interesting, it has a special interest for me as I have worked with children with mental disabilities/learning difficulties/emotional conditions for years. Also my mother was on antidepressants for 5 years and it was a difficult journey when she came off them because, as all too often happens, she had become addicted to the medication, even though the doctors told her this was impossible. Anyway, a pleasure to read your book and happy to back it :-)

Kim Jewell wrote 1573 days ago

Hi Rebekah!

What an emotionally charged piece this is for the YA genre! Vince is such a compelling main character, and you've made him easy to relate to, sympathize with and LIKE right out of the gate. This is partly due to the fact that you've written this in the first person, from Vincent's perspective. (Now I understand why you mentioned whether or not mine should be done in the FP...) Okay, on to suggestions.

Pitch - very well written! It does a great job of introducing Vincent and giving the reader a glimpse of the struggle he is going to endure in the storyline - his father's refusal to take his medication, having to choose between the well-being of one parent versus another. The only thing I'd suggest is perhaps to section your longer pitch into multiple paragraphs. For the YA audience especially, the smaller the chunk of information, the easier it is to digest.

Into the story... This is nicely delivered. You've got a good, youthful feel about your voice - perfect for the delivery of an eleven-year-old. The short sentences are a nice touch - it's exactly the way a kid would think and speak. Some notes/nits I wrote as I read through the first chapter:

-Paragraph 5 - "half hour" - I believe you should have a hyphen there (half-hour), at least that's what my dictionary is telling me. May be a style thing. Totally your call.
-Paragraphs 6/7/8 - you use "name tag" in 6, "nametags" in 7/8 - whichever you decide, definitely keep it consistent.
-Paragraph 8 - you have already mentioned Vincent is leaving the 5th grade, will be in 6th grade next year, so why is Ms. Bursma starting new with 4th graders?
-"She counted double because I was her only friend." - I just thought that sentence was sweet...
-Paragraph 24 - "Mom's jeep" - Jeep should probably be capitalized since it is a product name, proper noun.
-"strawberries and cream was dog poop to me" - another line that struck me as typical kid-like. Nice!

Overall, I love the start to this. I'm already in love with Vince and ready to turn the pages. Reading on, but wanted to give you these comments. Backed with pleasure!

Kim
Invisible Justice / Brute Justice

Francis Albert McGrath wrote 1575 days ago

You know how to write - to capture emotion, telling detail, nuances of character. You've got it all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first three chapters. Bipolar disorder is not an easy subject to write about, and you come at it from left field, showing the effect indirectly. Well done. Shelved.
Frank

klouholmes wrote 1576 days ago

Hi Rebekah, Really a pleasure to read. There's so much delectable detail and the POV of your protagonist keeps the issues at the level of the reader. He holds his own personality when his parents are so interesting and even flighty. I loved the paint chip job and you've made an entertaining poetry of it. Also, there are subtle hints in the first chapters that give an edge to the family comfort - as if the bubble might burst. The first scenes, the mother forgetting about the last day of school, was so fresh and poignant. I read four chapters without pause and had to appreciate the panorama, the rooms, that I felt I could see everything. This should do very well! Shelved - Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)


Onthedottedline wrote 1576 days ago

This most excellent book operates on two levels: as a most entertaining and compelling story, and also as a source of information about bi-polarism. So it will have wide appeal, particularly to those touched by mental illness. Some of the descriptive passages are quite sublime - beautiful, poetic rhetoric - and your develoment of the characters enables us to see deep into their minds and understand their motives and actions. It's a highly-imaginative and inventive story, and your play on words, particulalry the symbol of the colours, is intelliegent and captivating. Perhaps your greatest gift is the dialogue - real and vibrant, and driving the plot forwards. I think this book will do very well. Backed with enthusiasm. Best wishes, Tony.

Alexander De Witte wrote 1577 days ago

Apart from the fact that sunglasses are required to look at the garish front cover, this book certainly holds some charm and it has some very nice little touches; the first being "I ate each one very slowly, letting the chocolate melt in my mouth for a few seconds before biting into the crunchy, earthy little coffee bean. Happiness."
You have lots of cute statements that create this vivid picture of teenage interiority and they all have the right evocative feel.

There are quite a few typos but so what? - they can be edited out later. I'm never sure about foreign language extracts in a book, without translation (harder to do without subtitles, as with a film) but if the reader doesn't understand Spanish then it could well distract. Thankfully, they are small extracts, but you leave the reader wondering what the person said.

You would benefit from chopping out some unnecessary elements of back story or by placing them (in cases where you feel you can't dispense) into character action sequences.

Overall, a decent effort - but think carefully about the cover! I'm assuming it's just a temporary one for authonomy?

thymeoperator wrote 1577 days ago

i like this, and it's an unusual sounding plot as well - backed.

- Vrinda, 'The Ladder' -

Clare Hill wrote 1579 days ago

This is fascinating, I love the names of colours and I used to collect paint sample cards with names I particularly liked (sad, I know!) Vincent seems a lot older than eleven - he doesn't speak or think like an eleven-year-old - is he meant to be of very high IQ? My son is thirteen and Vincent sounds older to me than my son does. Don't get me wrong, I like Vincent's voice and I think he will make a good MC to see all the goings-on in his family, it's just the age that feels wrong. Backed - this is unusual YA/crossover fiction.

Nitpick: End of chapter 2 'You're dad will be home...' Your

R.C. Gilly wrote 1579 days ago

The Gender Genie is the most fascinating site! Who would've thought that using words like "with," "not," and "and" was making Vincent sound like a girl! Although, apparently he turned into a boy for chapter four. I guess that was my Virginia Wolfe's Orlando moment. In a few of the chapters he was practically genderless because it was right dead in the middle. I agree that at moments he is far too tender, but I confess that I love him for that, so it's hard to change. Must learn to emotionally distance myself from my work. Maybe I'll ask my 8th grade boys to have a look at him and give me some ideas. They'd be brutal!

I think you've got the right voice for your target audience, and that's always the trickiest thing. This has an intriguing premise, and in the opening chapters, you show us Vincent as a nice, reasonably normal eleven-year-old. To see the intense situations later through his eyes is sure to be powerful. Very nicely done.

The only thing I have by way of suggestion is hard to put my finger on. There's something about reading it that doesn't quite feel like I'm inside a *boy's* head. I could be totally off, but you might try running some of your text through the Gender Genie (http://bookblog.net/gender/genie.php) to see. Just a thought.

Definitely like this enough to back it. Good luck!

R.C. Lewis (Fingerprints)

R.C. Lewis wrote 1579 days ago

I think you've got the right voice for your target audience, and that's always the trickiest thing. This has an intriguing premise, and in the opening chapters, you show us Vincent as a nice, reasonably normal eleven-year-old. To see the intense situations later through his eyes is sure to be powerful. Very nicely done.

The only thing I have by way of suggestion is hard to put my finger on. There's something about reading it that doesn't quite feel like I'm inside a *boy's* head. I could be totally off, but you might try running some of your text through the Gender Genie (http://bookblog.net/gender/genie.php) to see. Just a thought.

Definitely like this enough to back it. Good luck!

R.C. Lewis (Fingerprints)

Cato Sulla wrote 1579 days ago

Superb narrative and excellent dialogue, I so envy your dialogue!

Backed with pleasure.

Bob (Auctoratus)

mmcdonald64 wrote 1579 days ago

Paint chips--

Read the first four chapters and really enjoyed it. I have to admit that part of the plot revolving around naming paint chips didn't appeal to me, but you've worked it so well into the story that it's interesting. The description in this is very good and even though I hate coffee, I'm half-tempted to go find some chocolate covered coffee beans. lol.

You've also done a very good job of planting some seeds for future developments in the story in regards to Vincent's father. Well done. Backing

zenup wrote 1579 days ago

'Yes, five year old Vincent was a little dork' -- wow, love this kid. Perfect YA, IMO. In a weird sort of way it reminded me of 'Little Miss Sunshine' (compliment). Backed, with pleasure. nb typo, 'You're dad will be home in twenty minutes - end Ch 2' it's 'Your'.

Jim Darcy wrote 1579 days ago

Would be quite happy to read this with my YA students, touches on issues that they, unfortunatly, have to deal with. Happy to back, Jim D Serpent's Blood

mikegilli wrote 1579 days ago

Hi there.. Thanks for the entertainment..I'm enjoying it all.
You've got totally inside Vincents head, plus Tamara and his parents
and the story takes us along, without needing murders or monsters.
Most kids I know have variations of parent splitting problems, and this
is educational as well as fun to read.
I like the 1st person- I didnt find typos...On my bookshelf!
Happy New Year............M

CamilleS wrote 1580 days ago

I don't think this should be considered as a Children's book even though your MC is young. Students (7th-12th grade) where I work like reading about issues like this. Backing.

Camille
Curse of the Golden Fly

JJ Palooka wrote 1580 days ago

Tough subject matter, but you handle it with ease. You have a natural born talent. On my shelf for a few points. Good luck.

=MiLeS wAS hErE=
------TAGGERS------

writerwithacause wrote 1580 days ago

Hi Rebekkah,
I had to change my comment because I want to be able to give and accept constructive criticism without being offensive or offending. The first comment I would like to make is I think you should change the prologue and the title of the book. I find both to be very boring. If this were my book I think I would focus on the behaviors rather than the telling. For example, if I am trying to draw the reader in by the behavior of the mother then I would give examples of some of her behaviors in the prologue instead of the telling. I would not so much as tell how she is using the paint chips as I would show. Or since this is a book written for juveniles I would possibly focus on how the mother and fathers behaviors are effecting the child. If the child is having to choose between his mother and his father I would show how he is having to make this choice. I hope this makes sense. I think you use the word that excessively. As was pointed out to me by a fellow writer reread your sentences without that. In most cases you will see your sentence sounds better unless it is absolutely necessary. You too have several run on sentences. You also have instances where you have two complete sentences joined by a comma. I think this book has potential to be more interesting as the behaviors of the mentally ill are drawn out. With the behaviors come feelings and I think readers will be drawn to emotions in which they can identify. I hope I have been helpful. Lisa

kevinwong_HoD wrote 1580 days ago

Hi Rebekah. Your book is very well-written, and the premise is unique, and also very well-written. You have targeted your book for young adults and even children, but I think that adults may even be your core audience. The story is mature and so well-written, I think that your book should aim to be not so much a children's story as a standard story that would be stocked with the best-sellers (which are typically adult or young adult age-books) at the bookstore's front you know? You and your book Paint Chips have this potential! :-)

Sincerely,

Kevin Wong
Author of Heroes of Destiny

R.C. Gilly wrote 1581 days ago

Thank you for your insight. I agree that mental illness can be dreary and is unpopular, which is why I've tried to make Vincent himself more lighthearted to balance that out. It may have been a bit ambitious a topic for my first book, but I found it difficult to write honestly when I was handling less earthly subjects (my foray into fantasy/allegory was, quite frankly, silly).

I agree that the plot needs to be sped up and I could probably drop some unnecessary parts. Like most authors I'm a bit self-indulgent and add a lot of things that probably do little to advance the story (my dumpster diving scene, Vincent's fascination/obsession with Alexander Calder).

I'm trying to process how I would change Paul's mental illness from "natural" to "metaphysical" and still have it make sense for my target audience (5th-6th grade). Also, one of my hopes was that Paint Chips might have a biblio-therapy application. I'm a teacher, you see, and have had students with bipolar parents. I've also worked in the social work arena and have seen first hand the lack of resources for children of parents suffering from mental illness. I wrote Paint Chips in first person so that the reader could identify with Vincent's love, fear, resentment and desire to protect his father. I don't want to lose its simplicity or accessibility because that may negate its therapeutic application. Can you give me a more specific idea of what you mean by making his mental illness metaphysical?

I have read part of your book and plan to comment soon. Of course, with so many people already giving you feedback, I sort of doubt my humble thoughts will help, but I will be happy to tell you what I think. I'm a muller though, I have to mull over things for awhile before I can express myself without sounding like a twit.

Rebekah, you've chosen a difficult topic, market wise. Mental illness stories have to be done sublimely well to make headlines. My suggestions are to lose 10% of this in a ruthless edit and amke the mental illness have more of a metaphysical rather than natural bearing. The consequences have to be riveting for things not to seem weary and as daunting as the subject matter of illness. Speeding your plot up will help.

Some of the best treatments of mental illness have been in the fantasy/horror genres - I think of Clive Barker who creates alternate worlds/dimensions that enable him to ask what is sane/insane what is good/evil? Using mental illness to ask such questions means a literary device that acts as a thrilling magnifying glass that poses some interesting questions for the reader - and baits the hook to the imagination - the imagination being captured is the clincher and revisions in that sort of direction (however you choose to do them) will help your work immensely, IMHO.

jcoop50 wrote 1581 days ago

Hi Rebekah,
I typically do not read YA books, however I am really glad I began yours. You write beautifually and the fact that so many are afflicted with bipolar disorder makes this even more timely. I appreciate how you integrate humor.
Good luck.
You are on my WL because I don't have room on my shelf right now. However, I hope to move it to my shelf by the end of the holiday weekend.
Jane Cooper
The Transformer

TheLoriC wrote 1581 days ago

One of many fine YA - aimed writings on this site, this hits the spot. If I enjoyed it, I can almost imagine what your targeted readers will think! Your prose is spot on, the book just flows from one page to another with strong narratives and dialogue. Brilliant and witty! I could say more, but then it would be an essay! On my shelf.

L. Anne Carrington, "The Cruiserweight"

Andrew W. wrote 1581 days ago

Paint Chips

Hi Rebekah,

This is excellent, from pitch, through title, through characterisation and subject matter, pitch perfect writing for the target audience dealing with a familiar scenario for many families. You write like a dream, excellent work, so very well done. My prediction is that you will go very far on this site. There are many things about your writing that I like, the key one is the lucidity of your prose and its focus in character. The voice is strong, it is adolescent, sometimes philosophical, always intelligent, sometimes sarcastic and satirical. Deeply, deeply impressed and enjoyed this thoroughly.

Best wishes and good luck
Andrew W
(Sanctuary's Loss)

bonalibro wrote 1581 days ago

I'm very impressed with this. It sounds to me like a child's voice. And the originality of it, the chocolate covered coffee beans, the job naming paint colors - marvelous. Vinnie is a great kid and his observations are spot on.

I would be happy to back this for you, but have stopped giving outright backings because the return on investment is so poor, and I don't like giving my power away. Instead, I offer a modified read swap, in which I read and comment first, but withhold backing until my book has been considered. Even if you don't care for it, I would still be interested in knowing why.

Tim Chambers (TSR 9)
Chili con Carnality

Alexander De Witte wrote 1582 days ago

Rebekah, you've chosen a difficult topic, market wise. Mental illness stories have to be done sublimely well to make headlines. My suggestions are to lose 10% of this in a ruthless edit and amke the mental illness have more of a metaphysical rather than natural bearing. The consequences have to be riveting for things not to seem weary and as daunting as the subject matter of illness. Speeding your plot up will help.

Some of the best treatments of mental illness have been in the fantasy/horror genres - I think of Clive Barker who creates alternate worlds/dimensions that enable him to ask what is sane/insane what is good/evil? Using mental illness to ask such questions means a literary device that acts as a thrilling magnifying glass that poses some interesting questions for the reader - and baits the hook to the imagination - the imagination being captured is the clincher and revisions in that sort of direction (however you choose to do them) will help your work immensely, IMHO.

R.C. Gilly wrote 1582 days ago

Thanks Vivalasbradleys... I will make those changes. I've re-read it so many times that I think I'm immune to the errors. I appreciate your new eyes! Oh, and Viva las Geeks! I'm right there with ya!

vivalasbradleys wrote 1582 days ago

The kindergarten color test reminded me of an episode from the fifth grade. A teacher did something similar to this, holding up logos of various companies, graphics, etc., in some sort of strange Rorschach test. At one point, he held up a plain piece of bright yellow paper. “What is this?” he asked. I raised my hand and said, “The glow of a candle inside a jack o’ lantern.” Thus, I officially became a geek.

I like this Vincent. Precocious yet chivalrous, as exemplified by his rescues of Tamara’s eraser. Deep down he seems to have a good heart.

I like your writing style; it flows smoothly and is sweet to read.

Just a couple of suggestions…
Consistency in capitalization: Mom and Dad always should be capitalized, but you missed when you wrote “Mom’s Jeep” (fyi, Jeep also should be capitalized as it is a proper commercial name, or something like that).
Also, “I’m not 4 anymore.” Four should be spelled out in that instance.

I like this! I need to read more. In the interim, thank you for the opportunity – I do hope it goes far.

1