Book Jacket

 

rank 5918
word count 23574
date submitted 31.01.2012
date updated 30.08.2012
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Romance, Fantasy...
classification: moderate
incomplete

Fragments of Self

Michael McGroarty

Poetry and short stories.

 

Multi genre stories.

 
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collection, fragments, many, self, short, stories, unusual, writing

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37 comments

 

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R.Moore wrote 747 days ago

Fragments of Poo more like!
This was okay.

R.Moore

leeconnor wrote 752 days ago

Hi Michael,

I picked a few of the stories at random and every one of them delivered. You've really captured the whole point of writing short stories too without compromising on the quality of the writing itself. I also like the mix of genre - there's something for everyone!

High stars!

Lee :-)

ClaireLyman wrote 753 days ago

Hi MIchael,
I had a look at chapter 6 since I suppose you've had more comments on the end of the book than the beginning. Nice job personalising the room though and giving it power.
"it is as dull as it is interesting"... I'm not sure what this means. It can't be dull if it's interesting?! Now for the nits: Your bodies capabilities should be your body's capabilities... (You also need an apostrophe with "the loss of one's innocence".) You can probably get rid of some adjectives and adverbs, too - does the chair need to be "fairly ornate"? Can't it just be ornate? I hope that makes sense and is helpful - if not feel free to ifnore it - I'm just an unpublished writer :)

hordak1972 wrote 769 days ago

Hello, sorry I took so long to finish thie review, but I am ready to post my comments. I will say you have a way with words, the sad part it could be too much and may hinder you from getting a book deal. the first chapter has three short stories and you use a lot of metaphors, metaphors are good, but I found myself thinking about the expression you put vs concentrating on the story. This can cause you to loose your reader.

Next I would say it comes down to sentence structure. You have some sentences that are long winded and run on for a bit. It's okay to do that. The purpose of fiction is that its not basic English and you can break the rules on Essay writing styles. Plus I understand that writers are artist as well and you do certain things out of beauty in your work, by all means keep that, but at the same time don't forget the political aspect of what you want to accomplish. If you want me to expand on that last line just msg me and I'll go on.

Third, Paragraph structure. Most of your paragraphs are too long. I counted one that had seventeen sentences. You should have about five to six in a paragragh, longer is okay, but any time you change the focus in a paragraph, you should start another. (Now, that was a run on sentence,lol) Ex. in one your stories you say at the end of the sentence it can be described by two words, the clinic. after that should be a new paragrah but it continues on for about eight to ten more sentences. (Guesstimation, I didn't count sentences in that paragraph.)

Over all, I gave it five stars. I see this as a great romance piece. The concept is solid, the deliverance needs tightening up. I suggest when you review a book on this site for someone, read some of the comments and you will find who you want to review your work. A few that come to mind on this site would be billiesunday, shepback, and cyrus hood. They give excellent reviews and thier advice is meant to help build you as a writer and i know they really helped me. Silvachilla is a good one as well as T.L. Tyson, but I think they been off the site for a bit.

Well that's my thoughts. I hope i was helpful, keep writing and have fun.

hordak1972 wrote 769 days ago

Hello, sorry I took so long to finish thie review, but I am ready to post my comments. I will say you have a way with words, the sad part it could be too much and may hinder you from getting a book deal. the first chapter has three short stories and you use a lot of metaphors, metaphors are good, but I found myself thinking about the expression you put vs concentrating on the story. This can cause you to loose your reader.

Next I would say it comes down to sentence structure. You have some sentences that are long winded and run on for a bit. It's okay to do that. The purpose of fiction is that its not basic English and you can break the rules on Essay writing styles. Plus I understand that writers are artist as well and you do certain things out of beauty in your work, by all means keep that, but at the same time don't forget the political aspect of what you want to accomplish. If you want me to expand on that last line just msg me and I'll go on.

Third, Paragraph structure. Most of your paragraphs are too long. I counted one that had seventeen sentences. You should have about five to six in a paragragh, longer is okay, but any time you change the focus in a paragraph, you should start another. (Now, that was a run on sentence,lol) Ex. in one your stories you say at the end of the sentence it can be described by two words, the clinic. after that should be a new paragrah but it continues on for about eight to ten more sentences. (Guesstimation, I didn't count sentences in that paragraph.)

Over all, I gave it five stars. I see this as a great romance piece. The concept is solid, the deliverance needs tightening up. I suggest when you review a book on this site for someone, read some of the comments and you will find who you want to review your work. A few that come to mind on this site would be billiesunday, shepback, and cyrus hood. They give excellent reviews and thier advice is meant to help build you as a writer and i know they really helped me. Silvachilla is a good one as well as T.L. Tyson, but I think they been off the site for a bit.

Well that's my thoughts. I hope i was helpful, keep writing and have fun.

Kim Padgett-Clarke wrote 771 days ago

I started off writing short stories so I have a bit of an affection for them. Ashes is very well written but I felt that sometimes it was a bit too wordy and slowed the pace a little (example I pull out my lighter etc). Snow and Shine flowed a lot better. What happened to his mum?. There was a note saying sorry then she died. I like the way you link his moods with the weather. I think my favourite story is The Sad Clinic. What an unusual treatment for depression! All these stories cover the usual themes of love, loss, grief, depression but the way you have written them gives them a totally new angle and keeps the reader interested. Good luck with this collection.

Kim (Pain)

Pollyanna Pilsbury wrote 771 days ago

Hi Michael.
If you are really a fourteen year old trapeze artist, then you are amazing in more ways than just your skill with words.
Your writing is poetic and flows without distraction. Your imagination, bright and dark at the same time.
I have some things to point out. They are not criticisms, merely pointers to editing. Your book needs to be perfect when it hits that editors desk.
The Sad Clinic:
.....",scared off the officious nature of the clinic." Is it meant to be "scared of"? It can be read either way.
"....through the door behind me" There should be a comma after 'me'....behind me," This recurs throughout your stories.
Then the next paragraph has been broken by a line space.
"We will give you a sedative to relax you". Quotation and full stop are the wrong way round.
The Infinite Twins:
There is one robber so "...the robbers' head" means there is more than one robber. It should be "....the robber's head."
Instant Gratification:
You use a lot of numbers in this story. Agents don't like digits. Spell the numbers 'one' rather than '1'.
I hope this helps with your editing, I know what a chore it can be, trawling through your own work.
I wish you all the best and hope your book starts climbing the ranks again soon.
Pollyanna. 'Marsupeople'.

brerandall wrote 772 days ago

Okay wow. I've got to say, of all the books I've read on this site, your writing is the most evocative. It's touching, beautiful, the way your weave words is magical. You have a wonderful way of drawing the reader in and making them feel what your protagonist feels. It's amazing, love the way you go back and forth with the timeline. Original stories and again, beautiful writing! 6 stars here and will add to my WL to back soon. (:

Bre
Memoria

Atieno wrote 772 days ago

Your writing is seductive!lol
Beautiful and so lively! Highly starred!
Josphine

jlsimpson wrote 778 days ago

Your writing is this crazy mesh of Ray Bradbury and Louis L'Amour (his detective novels, not the westerns)
Your women, the ones who have the strongest presence, all have that sax wailing, red lipstick and little pencil skirt thing going on...even if they are modern. The kind of dame you'd expect to meet lounging in the doorway of a private detective's office in some long ago prohibition era.
You do cover a lot of territory with your writing. You have a really strong narrative voice. You write like a scriptwriter.
I have one more book to go.

GILLIAN.M.H wrote 786 days ago

I have put typos I spotted separately to my last comment, so as not to spoil it. empty ....the draws [should be drawers]
it's illustrious nest [its ..... As a guide, to it's or its - try replacing with it is/ it has . If it makes sense you need it's. If not, its.]
Very sordid. Isn't it. [I would put a ? so it reads -Isn't it?]

f

GILLIAN.M.H wrote 787 days ago

I've read part of the first story. Your style is old-fashioned, but charming, and not at all stilted.
Flames lick at her possesions like an erotic dying phoenix. [A memorable first sentence]

Sparks of different colors, Emerald green and deep blue , medieval red and regal purple. [I think a picture of fire, with flames in these colors, would make a nice cover for your book. Another idea is to download a photo or drawing of a man, open it in paint, then cut the picture into pieces, or draw simple jigsaw lines? I am not sure how to do this, though!]

photgraphs erupt with from the ashes ... [the phoenix theme continues]

Snow and Shine - At first it looks like you are writing about your MCs past. But to him, his partner is still there at times. A sensation that can be experienced by the bereaved.
-------------
2nd story - Normally, the violence would put me off, but there is something intriguing about the several 'twins' of the criminal. Perhaps 'clones' or 'copies' would be a better word?

Your writing reminds me of the Readers' Digest page, 'Towards More Picturesque Speech.

Geddy25 wrote 788 days ago

Hi, I just read the first part of your book and found it enthralling.
You write in a near poetic style where you seem to say less, but mean so much more. The words you use are so powerful and descriptive.
I see your writing as a poetic narration of the man's life story. I can imagine it as a moody, black and white film set to music with no dialogue. I find it interesting that the appearance of his partner seems to coincide greatly with the weather and the general moods.
Very interesting stuff!
Cheers,
Mike.
(Rudolf Goes Bananas)

GrahamD wrote 796 days ago

Hi Michael,

I just read the first three stories in your book. You certainly have a way with words. I found them very descriptive and compelling reading. The subject matter of each is obviously based on personal experience, but with obvious embellishments. My only gripe with this collection is that you need to take a look at the grammar. I was totally engrossed in the stories, but after the first few grammos I found myself subconsciously looking for more.

Having said that, I found this a nice read. Good work.

Graham

Shelby Z. wrote 798 days ago

Good title.
You have a lot of feeling in your writing. it is deep!
These short stories are well put together and written.
Good work.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

lizjrnm wrote 798 days ago

OMG - I'm sitting here crying over Looking Back through your Music Box - so well written - simply and heartbreaking! I promise to read the others - just picked this one randomly - will comment more later but on my shelf for now and highly starred.

liz
The Cheech Room

Michael Johnson wrote 800 days ago

Hello, Michael.

I've now read your Fragments Of Self stories, which I've very much enjoyed. Every story has the clear point and punchline that are the characteristics of good short stories and poems. The areas of human experience you are interested in are crucial to all of us and you show a deep understanding of them.

I like the style of language you favour. It's both direct and lyrical. I particularly like the way you have written the first two stories. Snow and Shine has a narrative, a delivery of the story, that is well balanced and controlled. There are those, apparently, who feel that you tend to do too much describing as opposed to showing, but I feel that you have found a style that suits you and I would urge you to go on developing in your own way. No significant writer ever kept strictly to the "rules". In any case, your use of dialogue in Instant Gratification is both convincing and witty, showing some versatility.

The only doubt I had was the extent of the violence in the story of the battle with the protagonist's doubles. You certainly generated a feeling of helplessness and horror, but I personally would have been equally convinced if the presentation of the violence had been less extended. Perhaps I'm over-sensitive.

I see that you've already received some very positive feedback and some ratings. I'll rate Fragments of Self and I'll give it some backing. I look forward to reading more of your work.

If you could find time to look at my Just Making Sure (Felix Bradninch) I'd be very grateful.

All the best with your own work.
Michael.

klouholmes wrote 800 days ago

Hi Michael, The removed voice in Snow and Shine encapsulated the injuring relationship well. It brings the reader in to survey the situation. "lips smudged into each other" - that image and others give this story the feeling of a prose poem.
"The Sad Clinic" - Here the tone absorbs at once with "dosy street" although a building being "startlingly vivacious" gave a puzzling picture. Liked the dynamics of the characters and how this tone was developed into a psychological fable. I felt the tending of the stories towards the surreal of the character interiors, coming out into some unusual developments. Shelved (soon as I'm on my main computer) - Katherine

Julio Guzman wrote 803 days ago

Hey Michael,

Couldn't resist taking a peak at this book. I might not be close to being the perfect writer but I am a reader (obviously) and I must say, I enjoyed the first couple of stories! You accomplish to say a lot with a minimum amount of words. Your descriptions are vivid and some of these stories are very poetic-like, they make you think. I like it!
Highly starred and the best of luck! :)

SpoonPlatoon wrote 804 days ago

Great

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 805 days ago

Dear Michael

Your writing is beautiful and rather wistful, I feel. There is an awful lot of good in it, and sparkling observations that speak of deep thinking. So much to notice in these pieces, appealing pictures you paint with a few words, packed with energy and delivered with a laconic voice. Not much to tidy up, so perhaps you should start submitting, if you haven't already.

All the best

Fran Macilvey xx :-))

sjgcoe wrote 805 days ago

Hi Michael.

I have really enjoyed what I have read so far.
I like the mystery and I like the pace, even though it feels disjointed at times, but I think that's why I like it.
I love the perspective you bring with your writing and I especially enjoyed 'the sad clinic' as it has important ideas in it and reminded me of a scene from v for vendetta. I assume you have seen it but if not you should watch the film and you will recognise the scene for its similarities.
I will keep reading but I have already rated because I think it is awesome.

Hope you have some time to look at my work.
Steven

Nichola Hunter wrote 805 days ago

Hi - there is some lovely writing here and flashes of brilliance - I would like to see longer stories with more developed themes, but that's personal preference, obviously.
Some very quirky and novel ideas. There are, however, some descriptions that are a bit abstract for me eg: "In his sleep he dreams weird scenes without familiarity." I would much rather read the actual dream - What is it about what does it feel like? / "Your feet clap on the ground going to far echelons" - I don't quite understand what is meant here - I guess I am looking for more concrete descriptions.
Finally - As a person who has been called out for having very long paragraphs, I have to say - your paragraphs are even longer than mine.
Best of luck with your books and happy writing!
Victoria Hunter
Ramadan Sky

Melissa Koehler wrote 805 days ago

i read a moment, in the last chapter youve posted and i liked it. i think you nailed the voices of your characters and i like the mystery that youre left with at the end. one thing though is when they explain when they were in love, they both talk in reaaaallly large paragraphs. i could imagine someone asking a question somewhere in the middle just to break it up and make it seem more real. but other than that, i enjoyed the story. rated highly.

hoping to hear your feedback,
melissa :)
Gut Instincts
Not So Sweet Sixteen

Heather McLoud wrote 806 days ago

Well, I didn’t enjoy “Snow and Shine” much. Have to say it just seemed a little too sad and desperate for my taste. You do sad and desperate well, though. I like many of the individual sentences but not the overall feel and drive of the story. Some things I thought were right about this story:

“He is a victim to her naivety.”

“There is a moment, just after waking, that is as close to being born as anyone can possibly experience.”

The biggest problem I had with this story lies here: “It explains everything but leaves him with nothing.” The problem being, it explains nothing to the reader and leaves the reader with a lot of questions. How old is the MC? Did his mum live with him or he with her? Why did she leave? Why did she take all her stuff with her? How does he know to not look for her? I think even a few sentences would settle the mind of the reader so her concentration could be on the thrust of the rest of the story.

As for “The Sad Clinic”…it made me smile. At the end of the story I felt quite happy. I think it is well told and I found it quite cathartic. Thanks and well done.

Heather McLoud
Sage Courage

junetee wrote 806 days ago

Wow I love this book so please don't rip it up.
You are a most unusual and talented writer.
My favourite story is Snow and Shine because its so poetic. Some of your writing could be cut back (only minor) and minor editing is needed, but no more than any other book. They all need that final polish to reach their full potential.
Certain sentances stand out to me in Snow and Shine eg; 'When he wakes the dreams are forgotten like loveletters from the insecure.' I think thats so poetic.
Books with short stories in general daren't always popular, but this one I believe will do very well. I give it 5 points.
Junetee(Four Corners)

karlee.hall wrote 806 days ago

Hey there,
My first question...like many others on here is, why do you belittle your book so much?
After reading your first chapter I'm absorbed, your writing is poetic. I've been getting goosebumps. To say there is no magic here is not true. I definitely feel the magic :) you're really talented and your writing is very unique.
I will say, for constructive criticism purposes, that things can be shortened, although not too much because you have a nice flow. It's just that little bit too wordy. If that makes any sense....hopefully I didn't contradict myself...
To finish up, you need to have more faith in your work! It's your baby after all, be proud because what you have here is 'magic' ^^
Highly starred,
Karlee - Chained
Would love to hear what you think about my book as well whenever you have some free time :)

Zerin Mewa wrote 807 days ago

Smoky Eyes is my fav! Your writing style is smooth, easy to follow and almost poetic like. All the stories are well written... You should write more! Highly starred! :-)

JMF wrote 807 days ago

Hi
A few comments. I have read your first story. I love your writing; it's like reading poetry. It's very fluent and believable - the main character is well drawn out. I normally am not a fan of short stories as I don't find them completely satisfying, but obviously I am going to have to change my opinion now and give them more of a chance!
You have a very easy style to read and understand - that's great!
I noticed a spelling error "draws" instead of "drawers". And you do suddenly change to "you" in the middle. Is that intentional? Anyway, must away now. You are on my WL for now and many stars for being a brave writer.

Julia
Shadow Jumper

Caitlin Avery wrote 808 days ago

Yes! That's what I'm talking about. The shortened sentences are sooo much better and so sharp. The page is still dense though, but I need to read more later to see what I can recommend. I love your style. Gotta go now though, I'm a Bostonian and the Pats are playing in the superbowl. Could care less frankly, but the commercials are always really great and super creative. Cheers, Caitlin

Raymond Terry wrote 808 days ago

I think that it is an understatement to remark that you are being a little too hard on yourself by disparaging your talents as represented here. As I see it you have an ability that is unique in that while most writers people their scenes with other people, or furniture or vistas, or intricate plots, you people yours with emotions. Emotions that we all, even the most callous, must experience if we have but the courage to employ a magnifying glass of introspection.

You compactly arrange those emotions within dense areas of text that entomb the reader within the experience described and demand compleat attention. This is specially effective in 'Choices' and contrary to several of the comments here I encourage you to keep the style. For me, and what I have noticed from these stories, it works.

In 'Snow and Shine', you expertly equate the unseen, remote, falling snowflake that celebrates contentment, joy and happiness with the immediacy of the dropped note on mother's bed as harbinger of only sadness and loss. All that is missing from the story is a score by Erik Satie. I hear Gymnopedie #3.

In 'The Sad Clinic', your character has the very real physical pain of depression and negativity towards the self personified in the torments offered by Malcolm. Only ten minutes to erase it all...such a deal, and again the piano plays.
Satie again?

In 'Choices', I move downward from euphoria, because although 'things happen without us knowing', we can never escape the past for it defines us each uniquely.

I found your work because you sent me a 'friend request'. Although in 'black ink' it was not hand written. In response let me leave you with the words of Bette Midler.

Best Regards, RT

Kady Colter wrote 808 days ago

Hi Michael,

I read a tidbit -- through Snow and Shine. Here are my initial "off the cuff" thoughts. Make this really shine by breaking up the density and giving us some white space so it's easier to read. Also, you break away from third person to second, really hard to do well unless you're an experienced writer.

Few books are written in second person. And when you break into second, it takes me out of the story. So you might try again and keep it in third person. Or if you're really brave, you could experiment with writing the entire thing in second.

You have a good eye for details. Keep writing.

Happy Writing Trails
Kady Colter
Shakespeare's Pink Cadillac

leelah wrote 808 days ago

Wow, this has potential. A clear talent of noticing sharply each detail and describing them vividly. This could be stage directions for weird little films - or just descriptions from a misunderstood genius.
I mean it. You are hiding yourself in a yacky way in your pitch, it is unworthy of your talent.
And please DO SOMETHING with the spacing, the density, no paragraphs, we can't breathe when we read it. And since you invited us to be frank: I wonder if you are doing this so we avoid reading it and you can keep your strange idea that you suck at this.
leelah Saachi
now get re-formatting please, I want to read it again.

turnerpage wrote 808 days ago

Yes I would have to agree with Caitlin’s comments that I had the same reaction. I read your work as it was really so refreshing to come across someone so self-effacing on this site as to do well here you really do need to be your own number one fan.

I would like to see a bigger font and a more user-friendly layout and if you do that I think you’ll get a lot more reads. The advantage of writing short stories is that there are a number of competitions out there that you can submit your work to. If you do make the changes I'd be happy to re-read.
Alison (Lambert Nagle)
Revolution Earth

Lcamp wrote 808 days ago

I began to read your book and decided to stop and comment. Then I saw the comment prior to mine and realized Caitlin's first two sentences were exaxctly what I was going to say! Either you are void of any self-esteeme or you are brillant in staging a pretense of unworthiness that begs us to take a peek at your work!
Very different style of writing, almost poetic in places. I am not an experience critique or editor, but I am sure you will get some great advice from the Authonomites as I have had with my book.
Good luck with the success of your book.
Lynn - "The Chair"

Caitlin Avery wrote 808 days ago

I clicked on your book because I thought, ‘this is the most self-effacing writer I’ve seen on this site, and he is either lying (and genius), or spot on, and it won’t take more than a minute to disregard him’.

I like your stuff. It’s like poetry, and it FEELS like something I want to keep reading. So I read the first “chunk”, and even though I want to read more, the density is exhausting.

This could be easily corrected with layout. The paragraphs are so thick and single-spaced, that my brain sees the entire page and I’m distracted by HOW MUCH I have to process, to get to the end (of the page!!). May I suggest: double spacing and paragraph indents, to start. Also, I’d love to see some lines laid out on the page like poetry. Visually, I mean. And only occasionally, wherever you see fit.

Have you read Jonathan Saffron Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”? His form would benefit your writing.

First and foremost--don’t belittle yourself. You have to be your own number one fan.
Please update me on your edits, I’d like to see this again.

Also, would you kindly take a peek at my (totally fucked up shit) book? Just kidding, it’s awesome.
Caitlin Friree, Lightning in my Wires

Warrick Mayes wrote 810 days ago

Michael,

Not sure why you belittle your writing.
Your book is good, not exactly my thing, and some of the paragraphs are too long, especially for the e-world where scrolling can help you to lose your place, but the content is good.

I read Fragrants of Self, whish is an interesting collision with man-made man in the distant future. Clever stuff.

Best regards
Warrick

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