Book Jacket

 

rank 1141
word count 101491
date submitted 05.02.2009
date updated 01.03.2009
genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy
classification: adult
complete

Berlin Nights

David Paul Scarlett

Take a broken hearted Englishman, a purple hippy, a large breasted nympho, and The Chipmunk, set them in Berlin and watch the chaos ensue.

 

This contemporary comedy finds Matthew Masters, a rather awkward Englishman, plunging into a crazy new life in gritty Berlin. Matthew, after all, has nothing to lose. After finding his girlfriend (Her) in bed with another man, Berlin seems like the perfect antidote. But try as he might, he cannot get Her off his mind.

Matthew ends up in one crisis after another. A couple of sleeping girls, a rabid rat and an uncontrollable erection are always going to spell trouble. He needs a new woman and fast. But hippy Bruno is the boss’s frustrated wife, large breasted Angel is his roommate’s lover and Fleur is too much of a mystery. Matthew’s acquaintances are no better. His boss is struggling with his sexuality, his roommate is a Communist lothario and his drug dealer talks in a strange psychobabble.

A running feud with his ex East German Secret Police neighbour adds to his problems, but through it all he decides that the woman of his dreams is The Chipmunk. Two problems: she is pregnant and her crazy ex boyfriend is in town. With the help of an unlikely ally, Matthew rescues The Chipmunk from her deranged ex and wins her heart.

 
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tags

adventure, as camp as a row of tents, berlin, chick lit, europe, funny, guy lit, romance

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30 comments

 

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Eunice Attwood wrote 1286 days ago

Hi de hi. I love this story. Very funny indeed. You characters are so colourful and delightful, as is the storyline. This is such a well thought out plot, which would be great on the telly. It conjured up great imagery. Happy to back it. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

Ilyria_Moon wrote 1815 days ago

Berlin. My favourite city. On my WL!

Emma x

Pierre Van Rooyen wrote 1859 days ago

Dear David,

Please remember me for a return read. The book I am promoting is The Little Girl in the Fig Tree.

Kind regards,

Pierre.

tiggertoo wrote 1866 days ago

David
I just dipped in to see what Berlin Nights was like. I read three chapters and think you have anice easy style. I'm not going to bother nitpicking, just pick up one one thing: the start.
You end chapters well. The end of one and two were great. This is ideal to get your reader involved, hooked if you like. Make them want to turn the page. 3 didn't quite do it, hence I stopped, but it's OK, not every chapter ending can be a materpiece.
But the start of your book must be. Imagine someone browsing in a book store. They read your blurb and turn to the first page, dipping in like me to see if your style appeals. Grab them now! I don't know how to do this with yours, but the HER and HIM section at the end of chapter 1 could be the start. Thinnk about your first line, make in intriguing if you can. This is easy for a thriller, but harder for your genre. Look at some of your favourite best sellers and see what their opening line is. There's also a discussion of best first lines on the forum.
As I said, I like your easy style, so a bit of tweeking could make this into something very good indeed. You're on my shelf to help you on your way.
Murray
The Jin Deception

Dawn Rose wrote 1875 days ago

Hello, David. Brilliant! Excellent! I love it! Very absorbing story that makes me want to keep on reading. I love the rebellion of the common man to dar to change his life from utterly boring and mundane but secure to take a chance on the complete unknown. Its a leap of faith. Been there, done that and its true to life. Shelving it and thank you for contacting me. Comedy is best played seriously, which is what I try to do. Hope you enjoy my offerings and I look forward to hearing which is your favourite. Good luck and very best wishes, Dawn

Alan Devey wrote 1877 days ago

Thoroughly readable, no jarring moments, compelling you into the protagonist's world and making you want to stay there (and, as an aside, I have a friend who used to work on the Dyson helpline - the world of vacuum cleaners is just as fulfilling as you describe....)

Having read chapter two I experienced one or two quibbles with the characterisation of Fleur and Freddy - the former speaks in rather stilted dialogue ("I am just in a playful mood", "You are articulate and smart" etc) which may be intended to convey the poshness we're told about but which doesn't manifest itself apart from a bit of finagling with a fan that would be more appropriate ina 19th century setting. Likewise, we're told Freddy is camp, but I don't see any mannerisms or verbal tics to illustrate this particularly.

Hugely accomplished work though, funny and flowing, I intend to come back and read more.
Al

Katrina Twitchett wrote 1877 days ago

David,

Utterly brilliant. Humour is spot on for me, quick and loaded. Lovely characters, great tale unfolding. Nothing to nit pick, the writing is tight and flows perfectly. Funnily enough, when I flew to Kenya (honeymoon) the fattie on my right (not my husband) spilled over into my seat, I had to ask him to lift it up so I could take the table out of the arm. I know how your MC feels!

Anyway, shelved, still smiling. Good luck.

Kat
Don't Forget Your Lucky Pants

apelle wrote 1880 days ago

Hi there ,
I read through the first chapters and I am hooked ! You have a great writing style , off the beaten path , unusual witty humor , which I enjoyed tremendously ! Unusual happenings and characters which are developed masterfully !
I liked it a lot and I’ll be watch listing it for now so that I can come back and read some more …
Adina

oldbloke wrote 1880 days ago

Mate

i have just finished your book, i had only read the first paragraph yesterday, i started the second this morning and could not put it down. i am impressed, especially at the thought of you dressed in the flag and your incident with the southern belle! i would love to sit down over a beer and find out how many of the characters and stories are fair dinkum, maybe one day. I can't wait for the next book, let me know when you put it on here!

cheers
Ad

Keefieboy wrote 1881 days ago

David, I'm up to chapter 5, and enjoying it.

I loved the description of Matthew's dreary office life (brought back a lot of memories for me!). I was irritated by Lil Lucas in chapter 1 - how and why does he acquire this name? And shouldn't it be Li'l? I found it to be overwritten, and some of the language a bit too formal.

But there's plenty of opportunity for a madcap journey here, so I shall shelve it for now and read on at my leisure (hah!).

Zapp Branigan wrote 1881 days ago

Not a bad start, i have read the first chapter.
I may be back for more soon.

oldbloke wrote 1882 days ago

Dear David, or should i say Geeeeeeezer,
just started your book mate, looks good, i will give you my professional opinion on your writing style and grammer when i have finished it, hopefully this site will still be running in 2025!

Ad

Pierre Van Rooyen wrote 1882 days ago



Dear David,


I have MicroSoftWord open at the same time as your manuscript and will jot my thoughts as I go.

Berlin Nights is, or are, on my bookshelf.

Unusual pitch, but it has me laughing and tells me what awaits me.

Likewise the synopsis. I have so much trouble writing these things. Purely for visual presentation, I would divide the synopsis into more short paras. Especially when they are line-spaced as you have done with the existing two, short paras invite readership.

Even before reading the first para, I blanch at that cliff-face I have to scale. Would love to see it presented in three paras.

Dialogue buried in there too. I may be alone in this, but I treat dialogue as a new para to give it visibility.

David, by the end of chapter one, I need to put a thought in your head. Not necessarily for now but for the long term. In my opinion, this is overwritten. I have had my head chewed off for overwriting. My first novel, which I had already written three times……. I was forced to cut back from 120,000 words to 80,000.

I took words out of sentences, sentences out of paragraphs, paragraphs out of chapters, and chapters out of the novel. It’s not a problem. One soon gets the hang of it and becomes ruthless. My option was being bloody-minded and sitting with a manuscript the agent declined. Or cutting it back and having it accepted and sold to WH Allen for publication in UK and Commonwealth.

But your writing is good, solid, plain and matter of fact. I say this because my first novel was adorned with adjectives and adverbs which I was made to delete. In Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel, he talks about writing without either adjectives or adverbs. Seeking the appropriate noun or verb was Steinbeck’s advice.

Something else for long term. Last July, an agent threw the third draft of Fig Tree back in my face for too much narrative story-telling and insufficient character-driven story-telling via dialogue and direct action.

We want to hear the children talk, we want to see them at play. We do not want an off-stage narrator telling us what’s happening. We want to see it.

I was so upset, I refused to rewrite. But I relented and spent four hundred hours working through the manuscript five times, rewriting for the fourth time, chucking four chapters away, gutting four others, swapping chapters around, converting narrative to dialogue, rewriting all the dialogue from formal to colloquial.

That fourth rewrite is back in San Francisco and I reckon they’re going to bomb me for episodic construction. Six weeks of silence from them is bad news.

I tell you this because you may have to do the same thing. The way forward is to write the second novel and the third. We humans seem to reach a critical mass when things fall into place easier.

Maybe what I should tell you is that I’ve said worse things to writers whose work is on the editor’s desk. It is no better than yours or mine and some of it isn’t as good.

Hoping the above fortifies you. I don’t know what other comments you have. Take note of the critical ones and see whether there is a pattern. That’s what I do although I haven’t made the corrections yet. I’m still catching my breath after the rewrite. Hee, hee.

Go well with your work,

Kind regards,


Pierre.

Heikki Hietala wrote 1882 days ago

Hi David,

I had a look at this and I put it on my shelf for now. I liked your style and wit, and the layout of th book is enticing. I do agree with some of the comments below about overdoing it a little esp. on the sarcasm side, but I'll leave it to you to decide where to draw the lines.

Best regards,

Heikki

Dania wrote 1883 days ago

I like the humor + there’s something about a broken hearted slightly incongrous guy in a book. The only thing for me is that some of the paragraphs were too long, maybe worth breaking them up. Goes on the shelve.

Stauna wrote 1883 days ago

Very funny, just as I expected. The whole ice cream names brought out a couple of giggles as well as the crush injuries line. I sort of had a hard time with the big chunky paragraphs (every time someone new speaks it needs to be put on a new line). Overall you have a really nice distinct voice and worthy of a quick ride on my shelf.
Stauna

gilly wrote 1885 days ago

David,
i just read your first two chapters. to be honest its not what i would normally choose in a book to read, i like dark things, horror, thriller, etc...with supernatural undertones so i'm not sure if i'm the best person to comment but i always comment when i promise to. to be honest, i'm glad i did start reading this, your main character is very funny, dry and sarcastic from the start...and very well written, he's easy to familiarise with.
i loved the way you described the fat man on the plane and how you got his descriptions to merge as the turbulence hit...very well done.
a few minor points that i owuld suggest...can a 6 year old fly alone? i'm not sure this would be allowed...might be worht making him 13 or 14, which i think is the rules...i may be wrong but worht checking. also, during the turbulence, you said that the stewardess was stuck behind the toilet queue...wouldn't everyone be sitting down if there was turbulence, i'm not sure the stewrds / esses would elt people stand and queue for the toilets if the belt signs were on?
anyway, take my suggestions with a pinch of salt if you want...overall your writing is very good as easy to continue with. i also liked how you gave us the reason for his sarcastic undertone...the cheating ex! very well done.
i like this and will be back to read more when i have a little more time.

cheers, shaun

Janet Marie wrote 1885 days ago

Hi David Paul Scarlett. First, I noticed a few typos. You have last two times in one sentence and the sentence where Her is capitalized, isn't working - both in chapter 2. I suggest breaking up some of the paragraphs, for visual ease and digestible movement. Your pace is snappy and your protagonist is likeable. You have tons of details yet plug action along by introducing new characters and unusual events in timely manner. It's entertaining and creative. I placed you on my shelf because you keep the reader involved with your lively, upbeat narrative. Good luck. Janet Marie

KJKron wrote 1885 days ago

First - I love your tag line - guy lit - that's great. And it reads very well. First the airline ride is a perfect prelude to the madness that's about to happen in Berlin. You leave us with a mystery: who is the HE that took his girl? And your POV is very comical. We are in his head - and I love the way he talks about his job, meets Freddy and Fleur and makes a change. Really entertaining stuff - worthy of shelf space.

paul house wrote 1886 days ago

Great fun and it races along very well. Matthew is a fine protagonist in a kind of bumbling way. I don't really know what else to say about this, except I really enjoyed reading it. The humour is never overdone and never too ridiculous. The characters are odd but believable. I don't think I've read a book quite like this aon this site before so I will put it on my shelf.

ADO wrote 1887 days ago

Dear David, I am thoroughly enjoying Berlin Nights - a sympathetic protagonist; smashing characters; all-too-familiar and embarrassing situations, beautifully described; a great setting for a story; and humour from the first paragraph on. I am looking forward to coming back to read on more. Many thanks for a great fun and entertaining read. Gets my backing! Andrew.

Tifa wrote 1888 days ago

Whoa! Dude, this is brill! Lol. And answer to your previous question to me. Yes. Yes I do like humour. And yes, I like this book. Only criticism is to this site, for its terrible automatic layout. The same comments I get about changing paragraphs. Lol. I think we should make our writing bigger. As for the content. It's great. It's funny, its interpersonal, and it keeps you reading. I like that the humour is quite sarcastic. Its what I try to convey in my YA book, but apparently I'm aiming at kids...?Lol. Jealous its a complete book too. Lol. I will keep reading this. It's definately a keeper. Backed.

Hayley wrote 1889 days ago
rjladypunk wrote 1890 days ago

Ha! Guy-Lit!!!! Methinks you've started a new genre... I love this, what I've read so far. Funny. I like funny. Helps me forget work. Which I hate. So.......my thoughts are, that after seeing part of your work so far, and discovering that you've coined a new genre, you must, will get somwhere with this.

*keeps reading*

LP XXX

David Paul Scarlett wrote 1890 days ago

Engaging read and entertaining premise.

Couple of small things that caught me eye:

‘Looked at me uninterestingly’ – do you mean disinterestedly?

Him and Her. I like the idea, but grammatically it starts to wear my nerves thin quite soon. ‘I tried to find the bar Her and I got drunk in’ etc. Change it to ‘She’ where appropriate. No one will mind. And it will save the heads of the poor little grammar-nazis. ;-)



Thomas,

Thanks for bookshelfing Berlin Nights and your thoughts so far. Do you remember which chapter "‘Looked at me uninterestingly’ was in. That looks like I got that one wrong. I will keep an eye on the Her situation and see if anyone else comments on it. I must admit that things like that can get on my nerves sometimes as well.
Thanks again
David

T Kirby-Jones wrote 1891 days ago

Engaging read and entertaining premise.

Couple of small things that caught me eye:

‘Looked at me uninterestingly’ – do you mean disinterestedly?

Him and Her. I like the idea, but grammatically it starts to wear my nerves thin quite soon. ‘I tried to find the bar Her and I got drunk in’ etc. Change it to ‘She’ where appropriate. No one will mind. And it will save the heads of the poor little grammar-nazis. ;-)

David Paul Scarlett wrote 1893 days ago

Hi,
So, here's my take - the main character is not that dynamic a person to start; he's a little whiny about his job, etc. Which works fine if you're going to throw him into a situation with a bunch of quirky characters, but two whole chapters describing him and his boring job don't make for much of a hook. I think you have a great opening sentence at the end of your 2nd chapter: After 13 years in the only job that I had ever had in the only town that I had ever lived in, I was about to become a tour guide in Berlin. It sets up the premise, orients the reader, and tells us everything that we need to know about how bored the guy is so you can launch into the story and the interesting characters. Just one opinion, from one reader...
-Krista



Krista,

Thanks for your comment. I will definitely look into what you said. I must admit that I was a little reluctant to go on this site as I have always avoided writers' groups as I am not good at taking criticism. But I need to learn to take it on the chin and move on. By the way, the book does get funnier!

Thanks again

David

David Paul Scarlett wrote 1893 days ago

I like this, it makes me laugh, the cynical wit and the larger than life characters. Also, I love the idea that someone can change their boring, dead end lives, just like that. Your descriptions of sitting next to the ice cream obsessed Bob Serkovsky are great, and the vomiting child. I loved Schitt and the Swanley employees, locked in their vacuum worlds. And the mc, with his typical homophobic attitude, convinced all Freddy wants to do is 'have his wicked way'. I am watchlisting this, and when I can find room on my shelf, on it will go.



Dearest Flakey,

Thank you for your kind comments. That first chapter was a complete rewrite. My beautiful wife didn't like whatever was the original first chapter so I ditched it (not her) and just started writing.

Thanks again and I look forward to future comments.

David

Paul Ebbs wrote 1893 days ago

This is uniformly excellent.

I laughed like a drain, out loud and considering I’m writing this at five in the morning and I’ve just woken Laura up, who is not happy at me for waking her up, then David Paul Scarlett, you owe me one.

The prose is tight and clear. You have some great phrasing and a real talent for


...timing.

I really bought into your descriptions which are jaunty and well observed. Your First Person narrative is bang on the money, and I feel like I’m there in your protag’s head and that roll of flab making me feel ill too. The sequence about how your protag got all his promotions was a classic, and that’s what woke Laura up you tosser ;-)

The story is fast paced and has a great drive to it, so I’d consider if I were you just loosening your paragraphs, the page looks dense and thick and a little daunting when you come to it, and it doesn’t match the lightness and comedy in your writing – I know this probably sounds like a kind of Ebbsy madness – but the way a page looks *really* does help the way someone engages with it. I mean I look at that first page of War and Peace *over and over and over again* - you think I can start it/ Can I bollocks.

As with a few other books I’ve read here, you have a slight tendency to go off on Word Safari, and dome of your sentences need another pass to relieve the reader of having to pitch base camp at the bottom, before the final assault on the last twelvty words. Another pass would help you there.

But the best think about this is a dialogue – cool, funny and very authentic. You have a great ear for it, and I’d suggest, if you don’t already, writing some scripts and getting them out there. Dialogue is *not* easy, and you come at it with consummate skill.

Very, very good.

Shelved

Ebbsy

heatherjacobs wrote 1893 days ago

Hi David,
Once Fleur says, “it’s just a matter of whether you have the balls’ you know he has to take that job as a tour guide in Berlin. I can’t believe you made him a vacuum cleaner salesman! I love the confusion when she says that Freddie will ‘have him’, and he wants to jump over the furniture in a mad dash to get away. Very funny

Chapter 1 was also well played with the sick kid and the fat man describing the hundreds of ice-cream flavours that are available and had some funny one-liners, like the one about the people in customs in danger of being stuck behind him for hours.

Chapter three: I felt the reply from Alan Risdale about drinking tea in the coffee room fell a little flat and would suggest deleting the par from “Mister Masters to ‘Do you?”. It’s good detail in painting what a dreary workplace it is, but we’re getting that anyway, especially with the realization that he’s turning into Bob.

Only seven years and three months until I retire – Good god, boy, get out of there! After all that build-up over the day and how dull his office was, it would be great to play out his resignation a bit more as right now you go from him asking about his holiday pay and the fact that Risdale hated him to saying Bob seemed sad. You’ve got potential for a funny scene here – maybe a short lecture from one of them on throwing his future in sparkly vacuum cleaners away? Also how did he feel about leaving? At the moment he’s a little detached from it – Elated? Panic?

‘Welcome to Berlin’ is a great way to end chapter four, but for now that’s all I’ve got time to read. However, I’ll put it on my temporary shelf and wish you well with it. Love the title, by the way. Simple but sums it up really well.

Cheers, Heather, Friends & Pho

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