Book Jacket

 

rank 2049
word count 42653
date submitted 26.11.2011
date updated 26.01.2012
genres: Non-fiction, Biography, Comedy, Cri...
classification: universal
incomplete

Episodes The memoir of a Nobody

Chippewa Ferguson

A rural, nearly feral kid moves into a tough, xenophobic Irish neighborhood, survives and goes out into the world to find himself.

 

How do I describe my life? Let me count the ways: After growing up in a "Hell's Kitchen" environment, which actually prepared me for the bumps in life, I had my "edge" smoothed by the military, went off into the wilds of Alaska, flew the Alaskan bush north of the Arctic Circle, and became one of only sixfy-five Troopers for the whole state. An esoteric time in Mexico attending college and a final migration to Los Angeles set the stage for my joining the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department where I finally filled out my "Walter Mittyish" take on life and became a lead homicide detective, ending my sleuthing career with serial case involving thirty victims. Not content to sit still, I took up organic farming, which I still practice today. I believe much of what I experienced during those incredible years of World War 2, when I was essentially left to dream up my own world as my parents held down jobs and supported the war effort, set the stage for what came later in life. I was not disappointed. It was, and continues to be, a life full of humor and meaningfulness.

 
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tags

alaska, bush pilot, crime, detective, feral child, fishing, flying, homicide, jfk, mayor james curley, real life, swat

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8 comments

 

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Tod Schneider wrote 655 days ago

This is very well written and interesting. I thought launching the book with action was done perfectly. Your narrative observations are spot on. The only thing I would consider, critique-wise, would be to look for ways to bring more of the narrative, where you tell us what happened, into a more living form by inserting dialog -- exactly what you did with the opening. I've only read a bit, but you seem to lean toward the narrative side, and I think that diminishes the punch that's potentially in there. That's just my take, please ignore me if you'd prefer. What you have done is done quite well! Best of luck with this!
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

CarolinaAl wrote 820 days ago

I read your first chapter.

General comments: An engaging start. A sympathetic, fascinating central character. Vivid descriptions that evoke the era. Not a lot of tension. Smooth pacing.

Specific comments on the first chapter:
1) 'When he reached for my pocket I felt something building within me, ... ' Try to avoid using the word 'felt.' Just describe his feeling so vividly the reader will experience it along with Chippewa. By doing this, you'll pull the reader deeper into your scenes.
2) 'Oil in the stoves meant I had to go down into the cellar of our 3-story building.' Spell out numbers 1-99. There are more cases in this chapter (and perhaps in your entire manuscript) where you should spell out the numbers.
3) Hyphenate 'middle aged.'
4) ' ... everyone should have a dad like dad.' The second 'dad' should be capitalized. When a kinship term is used as a name, it becomes a proper noun and should be capitalized. There is another case in this chapter where a kinship term is used as a name and isn't capitalized when it should be.
5) "Leave half de woim dangle ... de woim gotta wiggle." He would say. Comma after 'wiggle' and 'He' should be lowercase. 'He would say' 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).
6) 'This is about a kid that grew up in what I would ... ' 'That' should be 'who.'
7) "Are you pointing that at the church?" She asked in a shrill voice. 'She' should be lowercase.
8) Hyphenate 'eight year old.'

I hope these comments will help you further polish your all important first chapter. These are just my opinions. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Thank you for supporting "Savannah Oak."

Bless you.

Al

Chippewa wrote 845 days ago

Hi Chppewa
I enjoyed this first chapter it is written with a crisp style and flow and you are economical with words which is a real skill in my view. All the memories are charming and have a nice nostalgic feel to them but it felt a bit like a list of things which were not leading to or summating towards a climax - does that make sense? I think you need to allude to something, some life-shattering event or singular formative experience which will draw the reader in and hook them, the promise of that event is what's missing I think in this first chapter. I will read more and comment further when I can. All the best with this.
Derek
The Angel Chord



Derek, your comments are invaluable. Having lived the episodes, I'm inclined to think everything falls into place. In my mind there is continuity, but I am obviously not conveying this. I am now revisiting my first chapter, and subsequent chapters, to bring things together. What I am trying to do is bring those seemingly out-of-sync experiences in my youth together in a loose matrix showing that they indeed had a significant influence in what things I would embrace in life...not just my work, but my whole perspective. No one said that writing was going to be easy. I am just amazed at the talent on this site and the wonderful people who inhabit it. Thanks again. I will return the courtesy. Chippewa

DerekTobin wrote 845 days ago

Hi Chppewa
I enjoyed this first chapter it is written with a crisp style and flow and you are economical with words which is a real skill in my view. All the memories are charming and have a nice nostalgic feel to them but it felt a bit like a list of things which were not leading to or summating towards a climax - does that make sense? I think you need to allude to something, some life-shattering event or singular formative experience which will draw the reader in and hook them, the promise of that event is what's missing I think in this first chapter. I will read more and comment further when I can. All the best with this.
Derek
The Angel Chord

Chippewa wrote 864 days ago

Peter, I really appreciate your comments. I feel quite elevated that you took the time to point out what now seems a significant oversight on my part. I am reviewing the earlier chapters to make sure there is a continuity to the episodic nature, that is, that each element or episode stands on its own but is an integral part of the whole which leads to my life in Alaska and my work solving homicides. I did check out the St Mihel spelling and found that it is actually spelled St. Mihiel. I did use the "later on I was elated" to show that after I had fled the scene, somewhat fearful, I later felt a sense of elation over the fact I had decked a bigger kid. Perhaps it needs some tweaking. Also, thank you for your very kind remarks about my voice. Chippewa.

[Episodes The Memoir of a Nobody

I was eleven and later on, I was elated. It may be my English, but I didn't get that sentence just above Chapter 1. Wouldn't I was eleven and elated, make more sense?

When he's watching the medals: isn't one St Michel instead of St Mihel?

You write well and humorous. Your words invite to continue reading, which is great. The only problem I have with your story is that it doesn't seem to go anywhere. I know it's non-fiction, but even non-fiction needs to have an aim. Will he do something big? Become a man others can be proud of? Has something happened in his childhood which started soon after we picked up the story?

Think about that. Your story needs to go forward. For now I've read a number of short stories brought together in one larger story. They happened in a certain sequence and that's they way you tell them. Brilliantly told, by the way, but with what in mind? What do you want to bring across? Also, too often you start telling a story, to end it with the words: well, I never knew what happened to them or what happened next.

But I did enjoy it. You have the skills. Now make the story happen.

Peter

the dragon flies wrote 864 days ago

[Episodes The Memoir of a Nobody

I was eleven and later on, I was elated. It may be my English, but I didn't get that sentence just above Chapter 1. Wouldn't I was eleven and elated, make more sense?

When he's watching the medals: isn't one St Michel instead of St Mihel?

You write well and humorous. Your words invite to continue reading, which is great. The only problem I have with your story is that it doesn't seem to go anywhere. I know it's non-fiction, but even non-fiction needs to have an aim. Will he do something big? Become a man others can be proud of? Has something happened in his childhood which started soon after we picked up the story?

Think about that. Your story needs to go forward. For now I've read a number of short stories brought together in one larger story. They happened in a certain sequence and that's they way you tell them. Brilliantly told, by the way, but with what in mind? What do you want to bring across? Also, too often you start telling a story, to end it with the words: well, I never knew what happened to them or what happened next.

But I did enjoy it. You have the skills. Now make the story happen.

Peter

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 880 days ago

Okay, so your writing could do with some editing....so long as you never lose that wonderful sharpness. I love the way I can hear you talking to me and you have a wonderful turn of phrase. Your writing brims with intelligence and insight. I feel I am sharing a wonderful conversation with a worldly wise, savvy guy. Many accounts of life are mere recitals of misfortune. By contrast, your story reminds us what life is worth. All the best with this. Rated.

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped"

Jilli wrote 880 days ago

Interesting childhood. I read all thats posted. I was hoping to read about your work as an adult in the police. Does that come later in the book?

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