Book Jacket

 

rank 210
word count 15825
date submitted 12.03.2011
date updated 24.10.2012
genres: Fiction, Comedy
classification: moderate
incomplete

A Reason to Stay

C H Clepitt

Who would have thought that being knocked out by a plus size mannequin would lead to a complete life change?

 

Stephen is stuck in a rut: dead-end job, no romantic prospects, no hope. A series of bizarre accidents look set to change his path forever.

Having been given a year off work, Stephen decides to undertake a journey across country, aboard a less than manly, nonetheless affordable, mode of transportation. A near miss with a miniature poodle leaves Stephen in a cast, his moped wrecked and his journey postponed; he is forced to spend 6 weeks in a village.

His physical journey at a standstill, trapped amongst a quirky cast of characters, Stephen finds himself on a different kind of journey, that of self discovery. Learning more about these people makes him discover new things about himself, and gradually his angry, sarcastic world view dissipates. Life in the village seems perfect, but surely this idyllic existence can’t last, especially for someone as hopelessly accident prone as Stephen?

A Reason to Stay playfully satirises society. Follow Stephen’s adventures whilst he conquers his fear of shopping, teenagers and lascivious older women, in a humorous yet strangely real tale of the effect one person can have on those around them without even realising.

 
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D M Sharples wrote 955 days ago

Claire,

As a 30 year old bloke with a receding hairline, a fairly joyless 'life' and a general contempt for a large proportion of society, I instantly connected with Stephen and happily followed him through the first four chapters of your work (which you should take as a good thing, as I usually only read two, at best). The story flows along very well, with a style that appears happy, but of course I know this appearance is sarcastic and that appeals to me even more.

As for criticism, I can't offer anything in terms of the story, as I think it all chugs along nicely. In regards to the writing, I think the main thing you could work on is the punctuation of dialogue and associated tags, things like when and when not to use capitalisation and commas etc. Other than that, like I say, I enjoyed what I read of this.

D M Sharples.

Samuel Z Jones wrote 987 days ago

Just ignoring the typos...

"Starting with your pitch - I don't want to read it. It's one big blob of information, and looks complicated. Please break into little paragraphs for me so as my little brain can more easily digest it."

How inconsiderate of you Claire, not taking people's goldfish attention-spans into account! Please write any future books on the back of a bus-ticket so as not to upset people.

"When I do start reading your pitch, I'm reading about your story and how your wrote it - I'm not interested in any of that. I just want to know about characters, what they get up to, who falls in love, and who's in danger . . ."

Are we reading the same pitch?

"Don't take my comments as harsh. I'm a very miserable person. And I rarely have anything nice to say about anything..."

So say nothing. Plus at a rough average of three "I's" and two "me's" per sentence, quite a self-involved person too. =)

C.E.Wildgoose wrote 1057 days ago

Wow Claire, I am truly impressed by this book! At first I was attracted by the humour and then I fell in love with the characters, but above all I really did not see where it was going at all! I am excited to back this book (as soon as my computer allows) and will be giving it 6 stars! G

Crispy wrote 1121 days ago

Hi Claire
This is a fun read. Very real. The stroppy teenager and the slippers and the description of "smashing" the alarm clock, as opposed to Chris Moyles face, was very familiar. Some mornings are just like that.

Good luck
Crispy

Daniel Manning wrote 1126 days ago

There is always something about first impressions, and in terms of the scale and potential of his new opportunity, very modest I would say for the once ambitious thespian. Breaking free from the day today routine that had him questioning 'whats it all about,' he soon finds himself tied by the shackles that incarcerated him before. Eccentric bizarre people. But they need him for their play, and he was just passing through on a clapped out moped.

Two accidents have a life changing effect both of which are comical. My first impression was of an MC who was slapstick and accident prone, and this would work as the running gag throughout the story. But I realise the humour is far more cultivated and delectable. Using a collection of quirky characters and oddballs to upgrade the fun aspect and it works well.

Daniel Manning
No Compatibility.
Full metal jacket of stars.

Seringapatam wrote 391 days ago

Claire, I have read part of this a little while ago, but not enough to feel I gave it justice. I have now and i wasnt disappointed. Its very good and reminds me of me in some ways. You have a really nice flow to your narrative and I would guess that whatever you write you will always get readers hooked as you have cracked the flow thing. Well done. Superb main character, storyline, promise, pace and a little cheeky way about it. I love this and score it high. I am going to get my wife to read this as its right up her street. Thank you.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. ( B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Andrea Taylor wrote 468 days ago

I liked the pitch; it made me read the book. First job done. I enjoyed the first few paragraphs. Second job done. I read even more. It flowed nicely, the MC was totally believable and amusing and on the whole I thought this very good!
(My theory is if you get someone well into the first chapter you have succeeded as a writer.)
Andrea

JBerg wrote 539 days ago

I like your first chapter very much. I will certainly be back to read the rest! The only thing I can say that needs to be improved is the grammar. That will be fixed though in careful editing. I love your main character and find the fact the he is knocked out by a large pair of breasts!
Jessica
A Place to Call Home

Tod Schneider wrote 585 days ago

This is great fun! I like your characterization, your descriptions are solid, and you get things rolling right quickly. The visuals -- particularly the fated falling mannequin, are well laid out. You do a nice job with the dialogue, balancing it with narrative and description. I really liked the ratty store manager by the way. This is in really great shape -- I'm not finding anything to whinge about whatsoever.
Best of luck with this! And if you are so inclined, please do have a look at the Lost Wink.
Thanks!
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

DaisyFitz wrote 732 days ago

I read and backed this ages ago but I finally got chance to come back to read more. Love the concept and the setting - can't go wrong with a bit of am dram and a pub! :) love the line about expecting Bob to have tattoos.
Ace stuff.
Cx

Wanttobeawriter wrote 773 days ago

A REASON TO STAY
This is a good story. Stephen is a good main character (liked his acting jobs) altho I thought getting a year off from work was a little too generous to be real. Your writing style is always a bit amusing (the mannequin’s breasts growing bigger and bigger as it fell) so it makes an enjoyable read. I’m adding this to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Wanttobeawriter wrote 844 days ago

A REASON TO STAY
This is a good story. Stephen is a good main character (liked his acting jobs) altho I thought getting a year off from work was a little too generous to be real. Your writing style is always a bit amusing (the mannequin’s breasts growing bigger and bigger as it fell) so it makes an enjoyable read. I’m adding this to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Tom Bye wrote 878 days ago

Hello Claire-

just after reading the first five chapters and will read more later on to night, it's so funny,
the character you have created here -Stephen- is just so likeable as he stumbles from one misfortune to another.
knocked out by a plastic shop model, wearing a bra, funny, to the bike and lots more to come no doubt.
It's tongue in cheek story telling at its best and many young adults out there will relate to, when they read it.

Written a a very readable and straight forward , have say that i enjoyed it.
a book with a great sense of humour that i would recommend to others,

good luck with it Claire.
tom bye
book- from hugs to kisses'
please glance at mine, further down the chapters it is full of humour, thanks

Kim Padgett-Clarke wrote 905 days ago

Hi Claire

I really enjoyed reading this. I love some of your character descriptions for example forehead the size of Alaska and the guy with the ginger moustache which made him look like an Airedale Terrier. Magic! I only managed to read 3 chapters but from the pitch it looks like poor Stephen is in for a pretty tough time. The only criticism I would make is that in chapter 1 there is an overuse of the word 'he' such as the paragraph beginning when he was twenty three. I would start it with when Stephen was 23 and put his name further into the text to break it up a bit. Well done and good luck with your journey to the ED.

Kim (Pain)

kiwigirl2011 wrote 918 days ago

Funny stuff Claire (spelt right - how do people spell Claire wrong?? It's not that hard people)
Have only read the first chapter for now because hubby just came home and growled me for not being dressed yet to go to town (my bad) so off to get dressed.
But what I've read is very hilarious, Forehead the size of Alaska! still sniggering. Will read more later.
Tammy

jo gardner wrote 927 days ago

Hi Claire
Read 11 chapters, a few laugh out loud moments - you are the queen of one liners. When he was aked for ID for his moped fill up, and being a macho man and trying to forget about his nipples in his tight t shirt cracked me up. I am guessing the am dram will give further scope for your witty quips. A good range of characters too. I think your writing style is easy to follow, starred highly when I read the first chapters a couple of weeks ago, will give some shelf time when I reshuffle in a few days!

Jo
Lexi's Place

Valentino wrote 938 days ago

This book is similar to Hampton Court Maze in that it goes nowhere. The first four chapters serve as an introduction to the character and could have been condensed to a couple of paragraphs. Talking of which, yours seem hefty passages of prose the size of the hedges in the maze. Their content is okay, but like the hedges they're boring, because nothing is happening in between.
It is all just more and more of the same. And where is the comedy? There's slight touches of humour in places, but no comedy at all.
There is no doubt about it, you have the potential to be a good writer as this manuscript illustrates, but - well, "Je ne sai quois!" about sums it up.
Good luck with it.
When I feel stronger, I promise to return and read some of the double-digit chapters. Perhaps the comedy starts there...
Jendai Rilbury

Bill Scott wrote 939 days ago

Hello Claire,

You were on my WL. Not, I think, because this was a return read, but because of something clever you said in the forums one day. This was witty and fun. I really enjoyed it. I've messaged you some additional thoughts.

Best

Bill

HAKTAW HEART

Oh PS - I loved "Methuselah of retail"

LanetD wrote 943 days ago

I read through chapter 5 and would say it's generally fairly well written with a decent storyline, but nothing that really captured my attention. It was funny at points, but not hysterical. The characters were not really that memorable. I guess I would describe what I read so far as "safe".

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 950 days ago

Really great storyline. So many twists in the set-up and the manner of conveying "the stumble" around in the morning. Well, I just have to highlight some traces of genius. "...best retail smile... and so many other quips make the work high comedy in my view. I am writing now only about the first chapter although I will read on after my reactions -- all intended to be helpful for your consideration. The closing para. might be moved to the beginning because it ties well with the pitch. Then, it can be reworded a bit and inserted again at the end of the chapter to tie with the following chapter. (I haven't gotten there but will.) A small word change early on..."he minded being awakened..." This comment sounds preachy, but the use of "had" before verbs moves the tense into the past perfect tense--a tense where I am (USA) that is carefully employed because it infers "more into the past than the recent past." For example, one might change
"had consumed to consumed the night before" and in other places here and there in the text. New subject: The last paragraph in the Long Pitch might be made into the first paragraph because it alerts readers to genre and previews the adventures to be anticipated. I like your writing, good luck with your book. On my WL until shelf clears a bit. Chuck

difloyd wrote 950 days ago

Thanks for commenting and supporting my sister, Ellise Weaver, and her book. She's been working hard on all the sequels, so I hope you'll continue to enjoy and support her and her books!

Also, I suggested that she get a new book cover (I had some sway due to being the photographer and her favorite sister ;) ) and would like to know what you think.

Thanks again and best of luck to you!

Diane

Eric Laing wrote 950 days ago

A nice comical sense without going overboard. The pitch made me think of an old Michael J Fox movie...but after reading a bit I could see it was not...and that's a good thing. I was also a bit put-off by the MC waking up to start the opening. I'm sure you've heard by now that this is a pretty overused scenario. But I did like the line regarding chairs not being in drawers and you get things moving fairly quickly so that if you were a mind to edit out or change the waking up aspect that would be pretty easy. The bits about the teenagers was humorous...especially the sullen, slow girl...and as a whole a well done start. High stars!

iandsmith wrote 953 days ago

Thanks for entering the first comment on The Marquis. This time I read A Reason to Stay up chapter 4 and the pink poodle and it does make me laugh. :-) Good. I like it. I backed it.

iandsmith wrote 955 days ago

This made me laugh, which is just as well, as it's a comedy. Especially liked the 17 year old who killed flowers in a flower shop with one look. Know the type. Very good. Will WL and keep reading.

D M Sharples wrote 955 days ago

Claire,

As a 30 year old bloke with a receding hairline, a fairly joyless 'life' and a general contempt for a large proportion of society, I instantly connected with Stephen and happily followed him through the first four chapters of your work (which you should take as a good thing, as I usually only read two, at best). The story flows along very well, with a style that appears happy, but of course I know this appearance is sarcastic and that appeals to me even more.

As for criticism, I can't offer anything in terms of the story, as I think it all chugs along nicely. In regards to the writing, I think the main thing you could work on is the punctuation of dialogue and associated tags, things like when and when not to use capitalisation and commas etc. Other than that, like I say, I enjoyed what I read of this.

D M Sharples.

Zoe Harrington wrote 958 days ago

Claire
Getting to the point, I really enjoyed reading A Reason To Stay. The plot line is unusual but there is a strong vibe of realisation and finding ones-self that pulls the whole thing together.
I think you did extremely well writing in a male viewpoint, I kept forgetting it wasn't a man who wrote this, and despite it being risky you did it.
I think you need to look at some of the sentences again and change the structure; one example being: 'It was not a bad face, certainly.' - Both me and my mother agreed that the word 'certainly' is out of place at the end of this sentence. Perhaps it should be 'It certainly was not a bad looking face.' This is just a suggestion.
Well done Claire! :)
Zoe

Little devils galore wrote 960 days ago

The long pitch needs broken up, short pitch drew me in but the long pitch just made me yawn and roll my eyes and wonder if I wanted to read. When I did the writing delivered, this is fun to read. Your doing yourself a diservice with the pitch.

This is actually a great read, characters are fun, great to be involved with, plot is good, dialogue is realistic. All in all I did enjoy what I read. well done.

Samuel Z Jones wrote 968 days ago

Okay, so after a brief hiatus involving camping, guests, insomnia, and an inordinate amount of time on facebook, I've reached chapter 8.

What I'm really liking are the character descriptions, ranging from cute to grotesque; there's a very clear talent for caricature at work here, which also carries into your artwork. Also, boob jokes FTW; hilarious descriptions of giant terrifying bosoms are a fine comic staple on which to hang the rest of the humour.

I'm still curious about the act structure though; we're clearly in act two, and I'm wondering where the story will go.

Also, just to nit-pick (because I know badgers love to be groomed), you might want to look over your compound words; some here should be a single word, others should be hyphenated.

Albert Tonks wrote 971 days ago

Witty and very real. This is a great read, Highly recommended.

Sarala wrote 971 days ago

Hysterical!! only read the first chapter, but I loved it! WL for further reading. Keep it up! :)

stealthy pigeon wrote 972 days ago

Hi Claire,

Just finished reading your book as it is so far, and I really enjoyed the humor and the characters. Your recounting of retail employment had me laughing out loud. I think the catalyst that moves your MC from his old life to the new feels a bit too convenient. However, he is so likeable I'm will to suspend disbelief and follow him on his journey.

I enjoyed the rich characters that populate the village and seeing Stephen learn to be a different person as he interacts with them. The response to directing the play is a good contrast to his former job in retail and nicely done.

I felt the pacing was a bit rushed in some places and we jumped forward in time in a way that made me feel like he'd been in town for days instead of weeks. In one instance, his cast is being removed and I had completely forgot he even had one.

A bit disappointed on the decision in your final available chapter. After watching your MC grow so much, it was frustrating to see him make a big backslide, letting life happen to him rather than taking control. Of course, it may just be that I'm bothered because that is where the story stops and I want to know what happens next.

All in all a nice read with good potential. Happy to put it on my shelf.

Nici wrote 979 days ago

I like the raw material, the bizarre moments (the mannequin falling) and the ironic humour. I laughed at the description of the 'acting jobs' . The hook for me is 'What would you do with a year off work as a pay-off to stop you talking about the day a mannequin fell on your head at work and gave you whiplash? Cynical retail manager Stephen's answer was to travel but an incident with ....' That's how I would write the pitch.

The pitch promised me satire and I think this is the potential strength of the book but it's not delivered yet. The story itself doesn't offer enough that's different to keep me wanting to read on. I think this is because it is over-written, something that could be put right with a lot of disciplined cuts. Yes, it's painful cutting something you've worked so hard on but I've read the 1st 3 chapters and I think they could be cut into one really sharp one, so try cutting them to two and see how it reads :)

Try using a highlighter pen and highlight only what you really really need to tell your story. Use squiggles underneath words that are banal or badly chosen. Satire needs to be pointed not laboured, and whereas in a fantasy novel the author forgives long-winded redundancies, satire demands concision and exactness. Try reading Clive James' autobiography as a great example of an ironic style.

So, to work! Take the opening paragraph. The last sentence 'Smashing the radio...' is way too long to be effective. How's about, 'His hand hit the radio but what he saw was Comedy Dave's face smashed into a brick wall while he hissed, 'Not such a good morning, is it!' Now you don't need 'in a menacing tone behind him' or 'without leaving his bed'. We know all this and the sentence has much more impact.

So let's look at the paragraph as a whole and make it shorter and sharper. How's about, 'Not such a good morning now is it!,' hissed Stephen as his hand slammed into the clock radio while his imagination saw Comedy Dave's face meet a brick wall. 7.30am. An inhuman hour. Especially when impending hangover heightened the chipper voices of the morning DJs.

I've used your words but fewer of them and with a changed order and varied sentence structures.

More, exact imagery would also sharpen the writing. 'a forehead the size of Alaska' is good but the lengthy description before needs to be shortened and sharpened, and don't overplay the repetition of the thinning hair, either in describing Stephen or others

'His face had a very definite bone structure, sort of chiselled' is another example of what you should be looking to cut/re-write. You use more words without adding anything (redundancy). Try 'His finely chiselled face..' 4 words instead of 11, saying the same thing. Find the right adjective/image and incorporate it within a sentence that says something.

Cut, cut and cut again. It's worth the work and I think ironic humour is the hardest style to bring off. If you succeed, you're onto more than one winner

Samuel Z Jones wrote 979 days ago

Chapter seven... a woman called Bob...

And I'm beginning to suspect that you're using a sitcom plot structure (which is really clever).

Vicky M wrote 983 days ago

Just read the first chapter and will read on. Great start.

Kevin Sand wrote 983 days ago

Love the characters, the humour and the story. Only bad thing I found was some of the idiots leaving you comments.

Jennie Lyne Hiott wrote 984 days ago

Great dialog. A little too much detail for a first chapter, but that's just my preference. I am not a good one to give a critique, but as a reader I have to say that some parts drew my attention and other parts I had trouble keeping my attention on it.I honestly like stories that start off with some big drama and then sprinkle in the details as the story goes on. the last paragraph I liked. That itself made me want to know what is in the next chapter.all in all there is alot of promise with your work. I wish you all the luck.

Jennie Lyne Hiott

Bucephalus wrote 985 days ago

Hi Claire

Confident and bold writing from a distinctive viewpoint, and an easy going read -well done!

Personally, I was not totally convinced that there was a single point plot focus, although the characters were well drawn and the dialogue had a natural feel. I particularly liked the detailed descriptions of the linking and supporting background. One other observation, over-use of the short stab sentence does tend to halt the natural flow of your writing, and this can be a little distracting.

Hope this helps..

Best regards
Steve

Samuel Z Jones wrote 987 days ago

Just ignoring the typos...

"Starting with your pitch - I don't want to read it. It's one big blob of information, and looks complicated. Please break into little paragraphs for me so as my little brain can more easily digest it."

How inconsiderate of you Claire, not taking people's goldfish attention-spans into account! Please write any future books on the back of a bus-ticket so as not to upset people.

"When I do start reading your pitch, I'm reading about your story and how your wrote it - I'm not interested in any of that. I just want to know about characters, what they get up to, who falls in love, and who's in danger . . ."

Are we reading the same pitch?

"Don't take my comments as harsh. I'm a very miserable person. And I rarely have anything nice to say about anything..."

So say nothing. Plus at a rough average of three "I's" and two "me's" per sentence, quite a self-involved person too. =)

HannahWar wrote 989 days ago

Claire, very interesting, original story and well-told. Also excellent characterisation and dialogue. You make us really go inside Stephen's head. Apart from that, it is - of course - humorous as other readers have pointed out. You're really an accomplished writer and I think a Reason to Stay has a lot of potential, also because it covers more genres. It's not ONLY funny, but also has some romance in it. Starred and good luck. Hannah

Ruth Mathews wrote 993 days ago

Hi Claire.

Some funny moments in this opening chapter; it is competently written and a solid example of its genre. You develop the character of Steven convincingly and reflect real life in that you surround him with peripheral characters, some of whom are quite exasperating!

All the very best.

Ruth.

M Morgan wrote 996 days ago

Funnily enough for a so called writer I'm a man of few words. So here are those few words, I think you're book is great.

sbsteinb1 wrote 997 days ago

Hi, I like your book it is very cute. I love how bitter and angry the guy is, and him constantly being self conscious about his receeding hair line. However I do feel like it goes on for a bit on his own life before any dialogue or, other person interviens into the picture. But I feel like I know many retail mangers who would fit this discribtion. I would like to hear more of his witty retorts on how much he hates his life and his job, those were my favorite part. I would love it if you read my book, a world trapped within a world. I have been playing with where the story should begun so the character intros might be a bit stiff, but I would love to hear your comments. Have a good day.

CarolinaAl wrote 998 days ago

I read your first chapter.

General comments: An engaging story with ample fresh, clever wit. Good set ups. Good pacing. A likable main character.

Specific comments on the first chapter:
1) 'Smashing the radio was the nearest he could get to driving the ... ' You used 'smashed' in the preceding sentence. If the repetition is not intentional, consider using an alternate word for one of them.
2) "It's great, Steve!" His friend Alison had told him last night ... 'His' should be lowercase. 'Alison had told him' is a dialogue tag (tells who said something). When a dialogue tag follows dialogue, the first word of the dialogue tag is lowercase (unless it's a person's name). There are more cases where the first word of a dialogue tag that follows dialogue is capitalized when it should be lowercase.
3) ' ... espousing life in the third decade.' The third decade is 20-29. Steve just turned thirty.
4) Hyphenate 'self contained.'
5) Hyphenate 'thirty four.'
6) "Put all this back in the crates." He commanaded. Comma after 'crates' and 'He' should be lowercase. 'He commanded' is a dialogue tag (tells who said something). When a dialogue tag follows dialogue, the last sentence of dialogue is punctuated with a comma (unless it's a question or exclamation) and the first word of the dialogue tag is lowercase (unless it's a person's name).
7) Excellent end of chapter hook. Who wouldn't turn the page after reading that line?

I hope this critique helps you further polish your all important first chapter. These are just my opinions. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Would you please take a look at "Savannah Fire" and, if it's worthy, keep it in mind when you next reshuffle your bookshelf?

Have a marvelous day.

Al

hanafan36 wrote 999 days ago

I don't usually have patience enough for long passages. I even have to read my own work in short bursts for my small attention span. But this kept my attention. Very nice. ^_^

khaula mazhar wrote 1001 days ago

I am not an expert comment giver, I realized what good comments were when I read all the useful comments I have gotten. Anyways I just found one thing: I think you meant: 'Ebola.' He said. Other than that I don't think there were any mistakes and I enjoyed reading, messy as Stephen is I really like him.

Samuel Z Jones wrote 1002 days ago

Ahahahaha, gotcha! There's no hyphen in "wherever". Hah!

Ooh, and another one; "wildlife" is a compound word!

It's still great stuff; it's getting steadily funnier, which speaks to good pacing and structure, and a conscious balance between your talents as a comedienne and your abilities as a writer. I shall read on...



Samuel Z Jones wrote 1004 days ago

Yeah, that's going on the Bookshelf.

There's actually no feedback or technical suggestions I can make; it's excellent. Se the comments I've left for other people and you'll know that's very unusual; great stuff.

khaula mazhar wrote 1004 days ago

Oh this was really great, I am so glad Stephen did the 'whiplash' thing to Jessop. It was such a satisfying feeling! The characters are like people you know. I'm really enjoying this :)

ClaireLyman wrote 1011 days ago

I like the wry humour in this - the flowers that take one look at someone and die, for example. Great way to show what this girl is like. In fact, your descriptions are great: the cleft in his chin made him almost handsome, he saw considerably more forehead than he remembered... These details do more than just telll us about his looks, they tell us about him, too, and I like that.

Balletcatblue wrote 1013 days ago

Hello Claire .
A sideways look at the world .. which resonated so well with me ... I actually found myself genuinely laughing out loud .. much to the bemusement of my husband .. I give this book 6 stars which is v. rare for me ... well done !

celticwriter wrote 1013 days ago

Hi Claire, enjoyed your synopsis...which easily carried me into your journey. On my watch list for now until I can give it a better read. Not a critic here, just a mere scriptwriter jumping into the sea of novels for the very first time.

Would love for you to read my own little epic. It's an historically based tale on the life of author Jack London and his second wife, Charmian. Having been in the movie business professionally for over thirty years, I'm unafraid of honest critique..could use all the help I can get. So rip me up all you like, I can only become better for it. :-)

Sincerely,
Jim

MikeofEvil wrote 1017 days ago

I took a look at the first chapter: "irritatingly chipper" describes Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave quite well, I think, but I think using 'smashed against his head' and 'smashing the radio' in such quick succession doesn't quite work: maybe use a different striking verb the second time around. I also think your sentences can be a little short, which prevents some sections from flowing properly to my mind (but then again, I have something of an aversion to the full stop), and in the 'brushing teeth' paragraph you start three sentences out of four with 'He', which gets a little repetitive.

Those quibbles aside, I found it to be well-written with some nice turns of phrase (such as "there's a continent where my hair used to be!"). The description of the teenage Medusa was highly amusing, and the Ops department would, I suspect, be oddly familiar to anyone who's had to work with some sort of centralised ordering office that don't have to deal with customers face-to-face. I certainly recognise them in their incarnation as Property Services. With a little more development, I'd be quite happy to read this as a tale of situation comedy in a department store.

The main problem for me in terms of wanting to read more is Stephen. I don't like him. I don't even dislike him enough to want to see him made more miserable or uncomfortable. He's had something heavy fall on him, and as far as I'm concerned, that can be 'The End'. Personally, I think he either needs to be nicer, or nastier. At the moment he occupies the middle ground of being vain, pretentious and a bit up himself whilst still being generally nice to people as long as there's no pressing reason not to. It's just... there was a reason Blackadder III was about Edmund Blackadder, not Prince George. A truly venomous character with malice and put-downs that makes you laugh in a darkly humorous way is so much easier to get behind than a generally amiable buffoon with some character flaws.

I hope this helps in some way.

Nigel Fields wrote 1018 days ago

Claire,
I stopped at the end of chapter 5 so I could release my enthusiasm over your book and make comment. I will, of course, have to read the rest. I haven't read the comments below, but surely you must have heard often how this must become a film. Back to your writing. I enjoy your humour. And you wisely don't overseason. Jack is very likeable. Premise, fantastic. Let me back up some more and say that I liked things like: a forehead the size of Alaska. The mannequin concept is billiant and well done, likewise the accident with James and Sir Percival. I like Rose, too. All of this making me want to go along for the 'ride'. Very promising. I feel like thanking you for uploading this for us. 6 stars (and I tend to be stingy with stars).
Best,
John B Campbell (Walk to Paradise Garden)

Joshua Jacobs wrote 1019 days ago

I like the first sentence, but I wonder if the "hard" is necessary since "slammed" implies this? Other than that, the first paragraph is a solid start. It tells us a lot about Stephen and hints at the mood and humor to follow. I especially liked, "Not such a good morning now is it?" There's a lot of good characterization in this. A hangover on his thirtieth birthday? This speaks volumes about his character, which is just confirmed as the chapter goes on. A thirty-year-old "actor" whose career highlight was an educational video about sperm. Too funny. I love how much and how consistently you've developed Steve's character.

This is genuinely funny. Great sense of humor (i.e. there's a small continent where my hair used to be!).

Nice hook at the end of the chapter. You had me laughing while simultaneously grabbing my attention enough to turn to the next chapter. Also, having read your pitch, it makes me curious as to how being knocked out by a mannequin is going to change his life. Good bit of suspense you've created with your pitch.

Minor suggestions: I'd avoid the mirror scene. Agents and publishers are tired of seeing this because it has become a cliche. While I really enjoyed all of the background information on Steve, you do have a sizeable infodump at the beginning that might be better suited if you spread it out. Instead begin with conflict and sprinkle the background information throughout your conflict. It's effective as is, so this is just a thought. Some of the paragraphs, particularly the one where he goes upstairs to find the menswear, might be stronger if you broke them up. That way we don't lose important information. It would also help improve the pacing a bit.

Minor typo: "said" should be lowercase in dialogue tags. Misused semi-colon with "far from it." You need to follow a semi-colon with an independent clause (complete sentence). Other than that, this is very well-edited.

In the end I was hooked. With a believable, easy-to-relate-to main character, this funny novel is definitely worth checking out. Highly rated and recommended!

juls-jewels wrote 1020 days ago

hi
i read the first chapter. I always read the firts chapter it lets me know if i want to keep reading the book or put it on my shelf to read later. I have put it on my shelf. Identifiable charactors and down to earth settings. I really enjoyed it

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