Book Jacket

 

rank 872
word count 36347
date submitted 21.05.2010
date updated 16.02.2013
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
classification: adult
incomplete

Chasing the Wind

Gill Wyatt

What drives a man to hate his own son, and can that son survive his young adult years without the love of his father?

 

It is 1969, at the height of the English folk revival, and Robert Barron, known to his friends as Bobby, bursts onto the scene at his local art college. He is a brilliant folk guitarist and a talented artist, but he is driven by a desperate need for his father’s love.

All Bobby's efforts to win his father's approval fail and their relationship descends into increasing violence as Bobby seeks solace in alcohol and drugs. Bobby's father has secrets, things that Bobby doesn't know that would help to make sense of the animosity between them.

Bobby meets and falls in love with Jodie, a free spirit who has overcome obstacles in her own life. Initially Jodie resists Bobby's advances. Rumours are rife about his violent relationship with his father and Jodie is a little afraid of him.

When Bobby is introduced to Jodie's granddad, he knows that they have met before, a vague memory, deeply hidden in his past.. Jodie's granddad is a wise sage who steers Bobby through many crises, but can he rescue him when violent memories threaten his sanity, or will Bobby forever be chasing the wind?

 
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tags

1960's folk scene, abuse, emotional healing, folk music, overcoming adversity, romance.

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157 comments

 

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Elizabeth.NYC wrote 1246 days ago

Gil, you have written a captivating story that I think will hit deeply at the core of so many readers as they experience the family dynamics of Bobby and his father, and in that context, compare it to their own. I think the opening chapter did much to not only acquaint us with Bobby, but to understand him. He is a layered character - reactive, conflicted in his relationship with his father, creative and outgoing. He is just the type of character to want to follow, because he's also unpredictable. I like the clean style of your writing, which is unencumbered by wordiness and sends the reader easily into the story. Your setting is great - the late 60's and early 70's are mythic for those who have been there, and especially for those who wish they had been!
I wish you much success with Chasing the Wind, and I believe you'll find it.

Lizzi
(Out of Sync)

Margaret Anthony wrote 1207 days ago

Ah, that time...nostalgia and memories which you have brought back to life. This story makes good reading enhanced by your clear writing style and your gift for character studies.
The pitch offers much to come and the setting for this tale is familiar for many of us. I need to read on to see where this uncertain journey of Bobby's will take him, meanwhile starred and backed. Margaret.

Pia wrote 1198 days ago

Gill -

Chasing the Wind - I like this a lot. Bobby is vividly brought alive, as is the competition between him and his father. A classic father/son conflict that resonates deeply in the way it is played out. The cast around Bobby are equally well defined and their interactions feel fresh and authentic. Then there is the pleasure of the setting, the cultural themes of the time, informative for the young and resonant with memories of that generation. But what makes this story special its emotional depth. Refreshing here my comment from months ago and have caught up now with well-rating Chasing the Wind. Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Lara wrote 424 days ago

You have some good characterisation here and a number of conflicts for each to show his/her nature. There are many times, however, when you write what the characters are thinking and feeling without putting that information in the characters' heads. I wonder if you can tweak through to make such changes. It would add power to the whole novel. You haven't made the mistake of making characters too shallow or one-dimensional, so there' lots of potential interest for the reader. Well done.
LARA
A RELATIVE INVASION

Neville wrote 487 days ago

Chasing the Wind
by Gill Wyatt.

I read this some time back...brilliant read!
This is a book that offers a very good read. It has all the ingredients that are required for it to move off the book shop shelves very quickly.
A family upheaval with the father, son, relationship. A deep resentment between the two for each other. At the same time there is a longing in both of them to bridge the gulf that lies between.
You have great characters in Colin Baron, and son Bobby. Your descriptive scenes and every day dialogue between the pair, make for compelling reading.
Pleased to Star Rate your book ’Chasing the Wind’ very high.
Well done, Gill.

Kind regards,

Neville The Secrets of the Forest – Cosmos 501.

Adeel wrote 771 days ago

Your book is on my WL now and will give my comments after finishing the read.

Wanttobeawriter wrote 841 days ago

CHASING THE WIND
I opened this story because my mother always says writing is like chasing the wind; pursuing something hard to catch. I related to Bobby from the beginning because of that: he’s chasing a dream too: love of music and approval from a bullying father. You have an entertaining writing style which makes this easy to read. Made me like it a lot. I’m adding it to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 869 days ago

Dear Gil

Thank you for inviting me to take a look at "Chasing the Wind". I have read the first three and a half chapters.

You are a good story teller, with an interesting plot line, which would do better with a bit of editing, here and there. Your descriptive passages, especially at the beginning, occasionally stumble into self conscious repetition. Editing down, and adding more character definition, for example, of Jodie, would help to lift the story and illuminate which parts of the plot you might wish to focus on (the conflict scenes are well handled) and which you might prefer to use for background (the club scene works less well). Little details would be enough.

For the rest, it reads easily and I find that I want to know what happens next - always a good recommendation.

All the best

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped"

A G Chaudhuri wrote 875 days ago


Dear Gil,

You are a skilful storyteller.

The narrative is crisp and taut and makes for an easy and enjoyable read. The way you’ve described Bobby’s relationship with his father can certainly evoke strong emotions in many readers.

There is great characterisation as well. You’ve etched out Bobby’s character as multilayered and rebellious without ever ‘telling’ us so. That is the mark of a very competent writer. How he perceives his father as a ‘bully’ is a very sad but accurate description of his feelings. Such a dysfunctional relationship can often leave permanent scars on young minds. They normally grow up to be self-absorbed, strong and individualistic, but highly intolerant of the slightest opposition. This naturally renders them as unfit in real life situations where teamwork is involved. I could get a glimpse of that in the part where Bobby interacts with Jerry and Dave and lays out his future plans for the folk club. Quite effortlessly, you’ve cued me in visually with your beautiful use of language. Well done, indeed.

I’ve just read the first chapter and plan to read the whole story. The long pitch and whatever I’ve read so far are sufficient to ensure that. Nothing less than 6 stars for 'Chasing the Wind'.

Best regards,
AGC.

Elana wrote 877 days ago

Hi Gil,
Great characterizing. I think it's the details you use so effectively that makes the characters leap off the page. The era needs some more details in my opinion, his 'psychedelic' shirt is good, but some more reference to the delightful decor and fashion of the late sixties would not be wasted. I'm going to put it on my watch list and return to it later.
All the best,
Elana

AMW wrote 888 days ago

Gill,
Only had time to look at the first 2 chapters. Your writing is accomplished enough, that I noticed only some nitpicky details. In the paragraph starting: By the time .. you've used the word "mind" twice in close proximity... see, told you nitpicky.

Since we're in Bobby's POV in Chap 1 consider not telling us his hair color.. we don't usually think of our own hair in terms of color.

I think Woah should be spelled Whoa.

I found the initial chemistry between Bobby and Kate more compelling than his with Jodie... who I know from your pitch is who he ends up with.

I agree with the person who suggested you consider writing this more tightly. I think your first chapter could be much shorter and still convey all the information. ...but then I do have a tendency to write too tightly at times!

Chap 2 from the father's POV did have some repetition of the father's desire to be controlling. Are controlling people that self-aware?

Hope something I've said is useful to you... take what you wish and ignore the rest!

Ann

ozhm wrote 891 days ago

This is a good story that will resonate with anyone familiar with family conflict - and who isn't, in one form or another? Bobby is an interesting and complex character, and the setting is equally authentic.

I do have some reservations about the style, as I feel you've done a lot of 'telling' rather than 'showing'. The dialogue is good, but the narrative (to me) has more of sense of observation than of being inside the skin of the characters, looking out. For example the first paragraph of Ch 52 felt almost dispassionate, where it could be vibrating with the hopeless indifference he's feeling. It's only a personal opinion, though: I could well be out of step.

Ian Walkley wrote 906 days ago

Hi Gill
You’ve written a wonderful human story here, that all fathers with sons should read. You have managed to capture the relationship issues and dialogue very well, and the tension and conflict are excellent. Read four chapters and enjoyed the way you structure the POV chapters and set up the relationships. I only hope the rest of the book isn’t too archetypal in terms of the violence and tranquilised mother. But I’m sure you haven’t done that. I enjoyed what I read and your writing is excellent.
A few specifics for feeback:
Cover: Maybe only an issue for self-publishing, but the cover might suggest a non-fiction story about a famous kite surfer. Not sure the image matches the theme of the story?
Title: Chasing the Wind. About wasting time pursuing something that will never bring happiness. Yes, that sounds appropriate to the story.
Short Pitch: It’s okay, but you have two questions in one sentence. And also, lots of sons survive without their father’s love. So it’s not quite the right question. Is it possible to only have one question, say: “Will a brilliant artist’s success be destroyed by his turbulent relationship with his father?” Or something like that.
Ch1: Should “This conversation isn't over” have an ! as if his father was shouting or angry?
Crash helmet – maybe just helmet
You mention leather jacket twice in the same para. Maybe just jacket the second time.
Leant – or leaned?
His mind returned to his father. Maybe “His thoughts returned…”
Bobby merely nodded. Maybe just “Bobby nodded”.
I’m a little confused when she speaks to Bobby about the assignment, because it sounds like she’s talking to Jerry. Maybe add “She turned to Bobby.”
Not sure of the purpose of the story from the 1930s. Seems to slow the pace.
Great ending to the chapter.
Ch2: Brilliant. Love the way the reader sees Colin’s POV and realises Bobby is just trying to act defiant because of his father’s attitude. Very perceptive. Great dialogue, realistic.
Best success with this.
Ian

flower girl wrote 908 days ago

Chasing the Wind

Pitches: I thought your short pitch worked OK but I had a slight problem with the longer version. For me it was too long. Basically you have to think of wording that tells just enough of the story to draw the potential reader in, to sell the idea. Here you wander through most of the meat of the story. I would try and précis this down.

I would up the tension just a little in the beginning. Split that first sentence into three. I would split it at ‘but’ and start the second sentence ‘Still it startled…’ and the third ‘Crockery…’ Just my ideas of course. Please ignore what you don’t like. And I would end the first para right there. ‘Calm down, dear,’ you do realize that you can’t use this phrase anymore don’t you – it now having achieved recent notoriety in political terms, it raises an inappropriate and unwanted smile in your (UK) reader.

Your para beginning ‘Folk music…’ is what’s called ‘telling’ The voice is you the narrator. Now, I’m not one of these rule-bound anti-telling types but, especially with the chatty voice you have by now established, I found this a bit too disconcerting and too early. Once you have established more about the setting and your MC I think you can get away with this but, at this point, you are still building the characterisations. If you like you can build this into dialogue but you may find you just don’t need it at all.

In general after two chapters I felt that you had a good flow going. I could easily see most of the detail of the scenes you evoked. One thing I noticed was the nature of Colin’s business; the studio only tells part of it and I was wondering what it was. Is there some reason why you don’t make it explicit early on?



Thanks for this. Sorry for the slow reply. Absolutely right. I should have seen that in the first sentence by applying my poetry principles. I will definitely take a look at the whole first few pages. Many thanks. Gill

Melissa Koehler wrote 912 days ago

i really like how you start off with a big bang- it sets the tone nicely for the rest of the story. i really think you have found your voice for your characters. i really liked your short pitch too- defenitely appealed to emotion and made me curious to read more. one thing i wasnt a fan of though was your long pitch- it almost sounded like a summary of your novel.
hoping to hear your feedback on Gut Instincts,
melissa :)

Pete A wrote 918 days ago

Chasing the Wind

Pitches: I thought your short pitch worked OK but I had a slight problem with the longer version. For me it was too long. Basically you have to think of wording that tells just enough of the story to draw the potential reader in, to sell the idea. Here you wander through most of the meat of the story. I would try and précis this down.

I would up the tension just a little in the beginning. Split that first sentence into three. I would split it at ‘but’ and start the second sentence ‘Still it startled…’ and the third ‘Crockery…’ Just my ideas of course. Please ignore what you don’t like. And I would end the first para right there. ‘Calm down, dear,’ you do realize that you can’t use this phrase anymore don’t you – it now having achieved recent notoriety in political terms, it raises an inappropriate and unwanted smile in your (UK) reader.

Your para beginning ‘Folk music…’ is what’s called ‘telling’ The voice is you the narrator. Now, I’m not one of these rule-bound anti-telling types but, especially with the chatty voice you have by now established, I found this a bit too disconcerting and too early. Once you have established more about the setting and your MC I think you can get away with this but, at this point, you are still building the characterisations. If you like you can build this into dialogue but you may find you just don’t need it at all.

In general after two chapters I felt that you had a good flow going. I could easily see most of the detail of the scenes you evoked. One thing I noticed was the nature of Colin’s business; the studio only tells part of it and I was wondering what it was. Is there some reason why you don’t make it explicit early on?

Solomon2010 wrote 920 days ago

Gil, your opening chapter did an excellent job of introducing us to the main characters and storyline. I, like a lot of other men, can relate to a time when our youth and rebellion pitted us against the desires of our fathers. You did a great job describing issues inherit in these types of conflicts. Your story is well written and your characters are interesting enough to make the reader continue reading in order to see how things play out. I'm rating this higly. Keep up the good work.

Solomon - "Sons of God Daughters of Men"

flower girl wrote 920 days ago

Bearing in mind that I'm no expert, I'll do my best...

The beginning is excellent and all the writing is good. It's just that it's a nasty competitive world out there and standard novels tend to be somewhere around 70,000 words. I suspect if you tightened things up you could get it down to a more editor-friendly length without losing any of the essentials. I could well be wrong, but it might be something to try if it doesn't get taken up. I do really like it, and on no account lose heart!



Thanks for this. You're right. I'll do my best.
Gill

Hermione wrote 920 days ago

Bearing in mind that I'm no expert, I'll do my best...

The beginning is excellent and all the writing is good. It's just that it's a nasty competitive world out there and standard novels tend to be somewhere around 70,000 words. I suspect if you tightened things up you could get it down to a more editor-friendly length without losing any of the essentials. I could well be wrong, but it might be something to try if it doesn't get taken up. I do really like it, and on no account lose heart!

Hermione wrote 922 days ago

Excellent idea and some nice writing, but I think it needs a rigorous editing job before it hits the big time. Good luck. and thanks for the kind comments.

bunderful wrote 927 days ago

I like that you start this out with action - it makes it easy to fall into the story - but I personally wanted to see a bit more description. What does Bobby look like? His house? The table? His father/parents? I need to be able to picture the scene in my mind and I couldn't. I also wanted to know a bit more about Kate - what exactly does she look like? There's a lot of dialogue and interesting things going on with the music here but I wanted more description.

Chapter two drew my in right away. This seems to be told at a very different pace - it was actually much easier to read. Perhaps you wanted the first chapter to come across more in Bobby's "voice" - so it's a bit more disjointed and frenetic - which is how his mind works, and if so, then you did a great job because there is a very different feel to that first chapter than there his here to this second chapter. If not, you might want to re-visit the first chapter because the pace and tone here is much easier to read. You also have a lot more concrete detail in chapter two and that made it much easier for me to picture everything in my head.

Hmm. I'm wondering if you even need the fight scene at the beginning of the first chapter - because the fight here is so much stronger. Perhaps the novel could just start with Bobby and his buddies at the folk club and then he comes home to the fight? Just an idea...and these are of course, just my opinions...

In general this is an interesting story. I want to know more about Bobby. I believe in him. I'm rooting for him.

- Rena (Bunderful) author of Master of the Miracles

leelah wrote 929 days ago

Gill, I still have a problem with chapter 8, the third last paragraph -for me, I need to have more text between thos two paragraphs. One second she is on the bike, putting his arms around his waist, and the next, driving away from her door. I would love to have some thoughts of her - some expectation of a kiss or whatever - before he drives away. To me, there is a wonderful possiiblity for description of the tension between them - right before he drives away.

leelah wrote 933 days ago

Hi Gill - here are my remarks:

Good pitch, good flow,believable characters, clear narrative voice with something to say, and doing it in a not wordy way.

1 chapter:( psychology):"replaying perfectionism, wanting to win:" this is a very accurate perception of the dynamic of what I have called "The Jekyll and Hyde-syndrome in my book, and which I have used 20 years of my life to explore and deal with in a way that brings healing. Therefore I am well fit for spotting a well-perceived and well-written text from that area. I fully recognize the attraction to a mr Hyde/Bobby - and sensing the depth of innocence and kindness underneath it. You have described it well, and therefore it is easy to accept for anyone: it is a real description, based on archetypes in our soul. The violator and the victim are two parts of the same coin - and only when we accept both parts of this pattern/polarity in ourselves, can the violence abate and the innocence feel safe enough to come forth. Anybody reading this book will have the same polarities within - we all have them ( to different degrees :-)) -and that's why this book and others like it always will be exiting to read.
As long as I believe in your characters, all is well. And i do, as long as you describe their thoughts and feelings clearly and juicy.

Question to chap.7
:1) this must be an error - how can a bottle smash into pieces when it falls on a carpet?
2) Come in Max - = Come in, Max.

chap 8:
I think it sounds freer to read, "Observe his arrogance for her ( not for herself.) Maybe?

I would change the order of the sentence to this:
"As the laughter began to die down, and the group broke into song, Jodie smiled..."
In my ears, a bit awkward wording: "she feigned interests whilst in Katy's presence." I would love to read something more juicy than that - and you have really shown that you are a master in just that.

The last part of chap 8 is important: you want to leave us with a bit of anxiety and anticipation for sure. Anybody who has lived through a life/relationship with a person belongs to the Jekyll and Hyde-syndrome, will subconsciously search fro release for the constant tensions s/he is having: HOW is Jodie behaving? is she drawn into Bobby's snares ( or charms)? we need to know how she feels.
I would suggest a new paragraph after "she ignored his last remark as the bike pulled away." We need a bit breathing space before we reach her home.

With Gill's permission: "For those who like to read more about the inner dynamics of these kind of relationships, and how to survive them and not have to "win" - please go to "When fear comes Home to Love" by Leelah Saachi."


You are on my watch-list, and I have starred you.

Colin Neville wrote 937 days ago

Themes of freedom and restraint emerged early in this interesting story of conflict between father and son.

Bobby's aspirations for self-expression are represented in his interest in, and talent for, folk music and fine art. But he is increasingly pressurised by his father into the more commercially controlled, although lucrative, world of graphic design. The family conflict finds its parallel in the period setting for the novel: late 1960s Britain, when issues of social change versus conformity were to the fore. I liked this aspect of the novel, as it felt 'right' for the period.

The novel starts powerfully - and sets the scene for future battles between father and son. There is a good contrast presented here, between the inner turmoil of Bobby and the external, goading, calm disposition presented to his father. The early impressions of his mother, emphasised by descriptions of her appearance, e.g. 'lank' hair, also present a stark, interesting, and intriguing contrast to the bullying vigour of Colin Barron, the autocratic father. I feel more will be revealed later about this (I read the first three chapters).

In ch. 1 Bobby is seen at the Folk Club and I liked the small but telling details that delineated relationships between the characters, e.g. Jerry and Kate sharing a cigarette; the humour that comes from close association with someone. Bobby performs to the audience, and his mock Suffolk accent is presented in a way that effectively catches the cadence, accent, and droll humour of the region ( I lived in Suffolk for 6 years).

Some similes didn't quite work for me, i.e. '...eyes flashed like sapphires'. I haven't seen too many sapphires, unfortunately, and maybe a comparison with a more prosaic item might would be worth a try! There was a repetition of 'folk club' in close proximity, and perhaps too many associated words in a paragraph in ch. 1: 'screeched, heaved, crash, threw etc'.

Overall though, I liked this story enormously. It is an eternal tale of family tensions and conflict, and the way these shape our character and destiny. Good stuff. Recommended.

AlexiaDeAngelis wrote 938 days ago

Hi Gil
I have just poked my nose into this and will difinitely be back for more. The pitch already hooks the reader with a familiar tangle of family mess of which I'm sure most people will be able to relate to. I love your title. Good stuff, I'll be back. Until then a constellation of stars and watchlisted
Alexia
Confessions of a Dervish.

Nightdream wrote 944 days ago

I love the title. It brings in curiosity. Why would someone want to chase the wind? Where is the wind going? Reminds me of the saying, that’s the way the ocean flows. You go in the direction that everyone else is going in.

The pitch is okay. I noticed you like to make us readers think. So I’m thinking. Then I guess it’s more than okay. :)

Glad you put in Autumn 1969 because sometimes like me, but not all the time, readers will not read the book summary so knowing the time really gives us a mor detail image and sense of feeling the tone of the story.

‘Seconds before it happened’ maybe think about replacing ‘it’ with his father’s temper was going to explode and then replace that with it . . . I think. :) I have this same problem ALL the time. I assume the reader knows about everything. I hate it. But they are right.

‘He didn’t want a fight now’ plug in actual name instead of ‘He’ just to clearify it better so the reader doesn’t have to reread to make sure who you were talking about.

What a first paragraph punch, literally. I like when books start off with a bang. I instantly related with the story. I am in the process of considering going to art school for advertising. I can picture things better by me relating with him or what is going on. The trick is to find many ways to relate to all different kinds of people. The more the better. And so the better the book will be liked. I hate sticking to genres.

The club was pretty good and I really enjoyed it. But even with that said, I feel like it’s a bit long, only because it’s in the first chap and the beginning has to be very crisp and right to the point. Get one has to be done to do the trick then move on. Just something for you to think about. I reread it and it’s really good, like I said. So it’s up to you if you want to or not.

I loved the chap. The advice I gave you is just to help fine tune it. But the story seems to be going very well and it has a hidden pull to it that draws you in. I can’t put a finger on it. Now that is just out of this world. An unknown hook. 6 stars. You will definitely be on my list of 10 books that I will consider putting on my shelf when I start to change it.

YGPAC wrote 953 days ago

very interesting this book is and alot of people can even relate to this as this is the sort of things that many of us have went through or are still going through. but it will highly appeal to young adults who most of us go through constant arguments with our family specially the father. Nice! I shall continue to read on when i have time.

Ps I adore the title as it to me is self explanatory when you trying to make anyone, not just your parents give you recognition as the result is always the same when they reject you. it just blows in the wind and you have to chase it! Great work!

MendelE wrote 955 days ago

Superb read. Six stars. Watch listed. Shelf soon.

Su Dan wrote 979 days ago

good writing style, clear and flowing, easy to follow that makes this book a real joy...
on my watchlist for now...
read SEASONS...

Michael Croucher wrote 979 days ago

Great dialogue along with crisp and vivid prose added to a very compelling story. I also found the characters were well constructed and authentic. I enjoyed what I read and l look forward to reading on when I can.
Michael Croucher (Bravo's Veil)

faith rose wrote 982 days ago

Only 8 chapters so far, but I sure hope to finish this gem! The intense emotional component keeps me coming back. You have somehow captured the very human spirit on paper. You have a real gift, Gill. Bless you.
~Faith

Gareth N wrote 989 days ago

Gill -

I've read the first four chapters. Because I'm used to Sci-Fi I'm not sure how much use my comments are going to be. I'll give them to you anyway.

The book cover is good and clear. I can feel the wind blowing, makes me want to put my cardi on. Your short pitch is excellent and your long pitch is also good.

I like your writing style. It's easy to understand and thankfully I didn't notice any mistakes. I'm a tad jealous at the easy way you've built the characters and relationships. I confess I could learn a thing or two from you. Although I'm more of a Sci-Fi bod I'm quite happy to enter the world you've created.

Here's a list of things I scribbled down as I was reading. They may not be relevant or useful but they may give you something to think about -

1. Bobby is very restrained in the opening para. I thought he might have put up more of a fight before he left.
2. 'a name synonymous with perfection' - I wondered what the Barron's are perfect at. Is it the music or the art? Or are they just good at everything?
3. The voice in my head didn't sound like a 19 year old when I read 'you know he's bullied me since I was too young to defend myself.' It just sounded a bit mature for two mates chatting.
4. The opening chapter is excellent. It sets the scene, builds the characters and injects the tension. Can't really ask any more than that.
5. I'm wondering why Colin feels so compelled to 'force' his son to work in the graphic design business. I think the reason you give is along the lines of....Bobby's the only one capable of carrying on his excellent work. I wasn't completely convinced.
6. What was the facial expression that Bobby pulled that made Colin back off during their confrontation. Was it fear or aggression, I wasn't quite sure.
7. If I was Bobby I'd have just walked out. What stops him?
8. Bobby's fear of his father is worth questioning. At the beginning of chapter 3 he's motivated by absolute fear of his father. That surprised me a bit.
9. I've had a jammed starter motor before....I think I had to put it in gear before I rocked the car. That's a boy type comment.
10. When Jerry & Bobby are discussing Jodie in chapter 3 I thought it could have been a bit more laddish.
11. 'He's soft and gentle, but he's terribly hurt.' Not entirely convinced Jerry would talk like that.

Hope you read these notes in the manner they're intended. They're just small items I questioned as I was reading but they're just my opinion and I'm most likely wrong.

Gareth

RossClark1981 wrote 1016 days ago

- Chasing the Wind -

(Based on chapters 1-3)

The premise behind this appealed to me for two reasons: firstly, I love the folk music of the time, or at least the US folk stuff of the time (Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel etc). Is the title of the book an allusion to the Donovan song? Secondly, fathers and sons is always a topic I’m interested in exploring, both in my reading and my own writing. So we’re on good ground for me to start with….

The relationship between Bobby and his father is an interesting one here and explored well. It’s a fairly classic tale of a son struggling not to follow in his father’s footsteps but something about the era and the music scene around it gives it a new angle, for me at least. When I think about it, most of the stories of overbearing parents trying to force their offspring into lives they don’t want that I have read in recent years have always been immigrant tales, stories about cross-generational conflict and ethnic/cultural differences. So it’s something relatively unusual for me to delve into a story like this.

I enjoyed that Bobbie had Jerry there as a kind of pressure valve to blow off steam at. It’s a device one of my favourite authors, Andrew Greig, tends to use a lot. He always seems to have someone who’s a bit of a loner with a few friends he can lean on when need be.

I also liked the way we were put into the father’s head in chapter two so that we can see how unreasonable the old man is without any authorial intrusion. I wondered after reading the chapters I have done if the father is to become more sympathetic over time. I think it’d be nice to mix up the emotions and make it less straightforward, not just rebel son versus unreasonable father. But I can’t comment on that after what I’ve read so far….

I have some nitpicks and I’ve just noticed they relate exclusively to chapter 1….

-“1969 was a good year to be folk club president.” I wondered whether it might be smoother to simply have the date at the top of the page. The line here I assumed was to make the time clear to us but, as I say….
-Bobbie’s having gotten involved in folk only sixteen months previously made me wonder how he was already president of the club. It would be perfectly possible but I’d like to know whether it was his enthusiasm, his charisma, or his music etc. that got him there so fast.
-“Hi baby.” I think ‘Baby’ should be capitalized at the star and there needs to be a comma before the person addressed in speech. So “Hi, Baby.”
-“Bad-tempered redhead” seemed a bit of a tame reply to what Bobbie was called.
-I thought the line “Bobby and Kate always rubbed each other the wrong way,” a little superfluous as this was already demonstrated by the dialogue. This would be the part when a know-nothing, novice author, i.e. me, trots out the old ‘show don’t tell chestnut’.
-I might also trot out that chestnut with the line “He had them captivated as he always did.” I’d have liked to hear the hush falling over the crowd a bit more, people closing their eyes and listening to the words, others leaning forward in their seats etc.

Nitpicks over. And all of them can be taken with a pinch of salt and/or jettisoned completely since I make no claim to writing expertise.

So, some nice characterization in here and a good story in very readable prose. Liked it, so I did.

All the best with it,

Ross

Jannypeacock wrote 1042 days ago

I really enjoyed this. At first I was sceptical about reading. A lot of books that are set in the 60’s and 70’s exploit the flaws of the era for entertainment value but you don’t. You manage to entertain while being genuine and realistic, and it is a pleasant refreshment. Your dialogue is very real and helps your characters to almost leap from the page. The tension between Bobby and his father had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Even now that I am finished reading I am still thinking of your opening scene. After reading the first chapter I feel as though Booby is real, and I know him personally. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

Red2u wrote 1047 days ago

I've read the first 2 chapters and the characters jump right out. The dialogue is very real and the writing is excellent. I have rated and plan on returning to read more. Well done.
Red

Red2u wrote 1047 days ago

I've read the first 2 chapters and the characters jump right out. The dialogue is very real and the writing is excellent. I have rated and plan on returning to read more. Well done.
Red

CMTStibbe wrote 1052 days ago

Chasing the Wind is a great book. Bobby, intuitive to his father’s outbursts, leaves the house. He wants to be a freelance artist. He is determined not to let his father win and to him, this is war. A clean, fast read that propels me swiftly through several chapters. The characters are likeable and we sympathize with Bobby’s mother who is worn out with the friction. We also empathize with Bobby. The fights are frightening and set the stage for things to come. The dialogue conveys the terrible conflict between father and son, giving some idea of Colin’s possible envy as well as his fear. Bobby is brilliant and he could just make it on his own. Very tense and packed with suspense. I really like this book. Highly rated. Claire ~ Chasing Pharaohs.

Amy Craig Beasley wrote 1072 days ago

just completed chapter one - I really like this - Will read more as time allows ~

Vall wrote 1092 days ago

Hello Gill, Just read the first 3 chapters and enjoyed them very much. Plenty of action and conflict! And your characterisations are excellent, the dialogue rings true. I only have one suggestion and that is to consider tightening the pov a bit - it slips a bit here and there (eg ch1, pale blue eyes etc), not sure how much it matters though. One nit - in ch 3 you have a paragraph with several 'remembered' in it, the last repetition doesn't seem to go with the others. That's all I can say except that I will read on, it's a good story, and interesting as seen from two points of view. Best wishes, Vall

Laura Bailey wrote 1096 days ago

Gill,

Your writing is practically flawless. You had me holding my breath from the off. This is a really well written book and it is on my bookshelf now.

Thank you for adding my book to your bookshelf. Unfortunately, I modified it in light of some feedback I got (typos really) and have uploaded the amended version. I have also added a few more of my chapters, which you may be interested in reading. As a consequence of editing the book, I have removed it from your bookshelf and I'd be very grateful if you would re-add it.

Thank you,

Laura

Nigel Fields wrote 1156 days ago

Hi Gill,
I came back to read a bit more and enjoyed chapter 10. The interchange between Bobby and Colin was very well done. "I'll try not to die on your premises." Vivid and tense. I'll pop back again.
Cheers!
John B Campbell

Millstone wrote 1164 days ago

Just beginning my read of this; so far the writing is clean, straightforward and very, very smooth. I'm especially loving the dialogue, which is very real-to-life. Thanks for turning me on to this!

Sandy Arnold wrote 1164 days ago

OK. I had to read chapters 1 and 2 twice and it wasn't until chapter 4 that I got it. Bobby's arrogance and bravado makes sense if he was physically abused growing up. By the time they get to be 19, people who were abused growing up can be - or can come off - as nearly fearless. If he's extraordinarily good looking and he has that much control over his emotions, he really is an almost Clint Eastwood character. He would be not only arrogant, but unforgiving. It's also his age. At 19, many people are extreme in how they look at life. I like Bobby, but the problem is that at first I thought he was overreacting to his father - like spoiled. It really wasn't until chapter 4 that, to me, his father finally became horrible enough to explain Bobby. I also liked Jerry. I think Jerry is a perfect foil for Bobby. When Jerry defends Bobby to his girlfriend, he also rounds out Bobby as a character. I also like the character, Kate. Her rigidity and fierceness plays up well to Bobby's same characteristics. There's not enough of Jodie in the first 3 chapters to make sense as to why she's the romantic interest. Again, it takes Jerry to explain her - that she's stable and calm. Here is what I'd like to see. The physical violence in the fight against Bobby and his father does not have to escalate, but I would like to see an understanding that there was violence when Bobby was growing up. Something like a thought that his father is almost afraid to hit him like he used to because now Bobby has grown up. Something like that or maybe a comment from Bobby that acknowledges that he was hurt a lot worst when he was growing up. Maybe a dare from Bobby to his father to go ahead and hit him. Also, I like that you're making the father more well rounded and not just a villain. A villain that is a father is also afraid. In this case, he's afraid his son will make the same mistakes he did. He's afraid his son will not carry on what he has built, and maybe you should make him just a little more jealous of his son - like maybe an acknowledgement that his son is better than he is. I'm also requesting that you put more of Jodie in the first chapter. I've read the first chapter twice and as far as I can remember there was no dialogue between the two of them - nothing that would explain why he's falling for her. Oh, and I wanted to say that I really liked how you portrayed his mother. She appeared really beaten down. This is tight stuff, making these people real and complex. I want to congratulate you for not going for the formulas. Your writing is original and very subtle. I look forward to reading more. And, I would request that you look at my book, "Dumbin' Down." It's new and hasn't had much attention, but has some of the same family dynamics as your book. Oh, and I just thought of something else that I really liked in your book. I really liked that Bobby felt like he was winning when his father lost his temper. That made for a very strong opening. Bobby is winning when he wears his father down and forces his father to react. There's no need for you to have Bobby announce that he is waging war. With tactics like the one in the beginning, it is obvious. The more I think about Bobby, the more I like him. I know I said this, but I really like the dynamics between Bobby and Jerry. Bobby can be indecipherable and then Jerry can explain him. OK. I'll read more tomorrow.
Sandy Arnold

Sandy Arnold wrote 1166 days ago

Just started your book. I'll try and complete it over the next few days. Well written. This should be an easy read. I can't wait!
Sandy Arnold

Kari2010 wrote 1174 days ago

Hi Gill,
I really enjoyed reading the first four chapters. Your prose is clear and technically perfect.
Bobby's relationship with his father is quite complex. He is scared of him yet confrontational at the same time. Eg. he can barely wait for his mother to make breakfast but he talks back at his father during the staff meeting --- when his father asks him to repeat what he said, to see if Bobby was paying attention, Bobby says "Can't you remember? You must be getting old?" :) guts that is. But the question for the reader is ... is it believable? that someone who can't wait for toast and is nervous when his bike does not start on the first try would be so disrespectful to the object of his fear (and here is the catch) ... "in public"? (just food for thought). But I do see the complexity of the relationship and maybe I'd have to read further on to see why he's in equal measures respectful and disrespectful.
I loved too the build up of his affections for Jodie. It will be interesting to see how that goes. Whether she agrees to join the band.
One thing that i felt was missing was atmosphere. I think you could draw out some atmosphere and background as you go along. i couldn't smell the bar, the smokiness - or non smokiness. i couldn't feel the crowd, were there many people, was it sweaty or was it cool and in low attendance? something like that. also, why is he soooo against working in his father's business and as an artist (i paint :)) i wouldn't mind working in a design firm even though my passion is fine art. they are related ... they are both creative arts and visual arts at that. its not like he's being asked to work as an accountant or a lumber jack. see? so here, i feel you should explain it to us. explain the difference. other than that ... i really enjoyed it and have starred and shelved.
all the very very best with you writing!
kari

Philip Churchman wrote 1191 days ago

Hi Gill, I read the first chapter and enjoyed it - a very authentic voice and setting the scene very well. I've backed it and look forward to reading some more. Philip

Stuart & Victor wrote 1196 days ago

AS PROMISED this is now on our shelf!!

Stuart & Victor wrote 1197 days ago

have 6 starred this to show intent and have added to our WL which means you WILL make our shelf in the next round of backings (its 11pm for us). Feel free to chase if at any time n will let u know exactly how long. Good luck with it!

Nigel Fields wrote 1198 days ago

Gill,
What a poignant and powerful work you have here.
JBC

Pia wrote 1198 days ago

Gill -

Chasing the Wind - I like this a lot. Bobby is vividly brought alive, as is the competition between him and his father. A classic father/son conflict that resonates deeply in the way it is played out. The cast around Bobby are equally well defined and their interactions feel fresh and authentic. Then there is the pleasure of the setting, the cultural themes of the time, informative for the young and resonant with memories of that generation. But what makes this story special its emotional depth. Refreshing here my comment from months ago and have caught up now with well-rating Chasing the Wind. Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Shah Wali wrote 1199 days ago

Wondering if you are into music yourself, because you write with passion about it, but it is a good contrast between your character's two sides of life, his music and his father. Now, I am expecting to see how would these two affect your character's life in the long term, which is gripping. What will happen between the father and son is quite interesting to know. Here, we are reading about the realities of our past, which, in some families, are still a common dead. Anyway, I enjoyed reading your story and I thank you for that. Backed.

Margaret Anthony wrote 1207 days ago

Ah, that time...nostalgia and memories which you have brought back to life. This story makes good reading enhanced by your clear writing style and your gift for character studies.
The pitch offers much to come and the setting for this tale is familiar for many of us. I need to read on to see where this uncertain journey of Bobby's will take him, meanwhile starred and backed. Margaret.

Wilma1 wrote 1208 days ago

This is a story as old as time about the relationship between father and son. Not the going fishing, playing football sort of relationship but the rivalry sort. The rage fury and regrets that this unfolds makes for an engaging read. A nicely percieved tale.
Sue
Knowing Liam Riley