nick goulding recent comments

written 83 days ago
cherry

This type of plot in this genre is new to me. I find it disturbing and haunting, yet it compels me to read on. So as far as plot, setting, suspense, imagery...you've nailed it.

Your writing ability is some of the best I've seen on this site. 5 stars. This book will take you far.

Tina Webb.
Before The Beginning
No Road Too Long

Thank you, Tina, your words are very much appreciated (I'm thanking you here, in the hope that you'll return as you don't receive messages). I'll take a look at your books as soon as I'm able. I've been busy re-building our kitchen, but you have nudged me into returning to edit and move on following the HC review, which I'm about to make public, so many thanks again!
Nick

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written 330 days ago
cherry

‘Assumptions’

Just a quick review for now.
Ch 1 – The first short section is a powerful hook. ‘”Sixteen forever,” he said. His lips formed no words.’ – this is a mysterious sentence subtly giving the essence of what is passing. Minimal, intriguing.
Ch 2 – Good choice of words – ‘sweat beading’, ‘meaty part of his fist’, ‘The words looped in Stillman’s head’. I knew little about microbursts and had to google it. The synchronicity after the recent devastating tornado in Oklahoma struck me. I’m fully intrigued by the end of this chapter. I want to know who these people are and particularly who owned the bible.
Ch 3 – Economical, yet effective use of description – settings are not overdone. The relationship between mother and son is convincing and the dialogue feels genuine. I like the details of the food, ‘tahini oozing over the top of the pita’ and the smells of the street – such elements bring us right into the story and I felt you could even go further (the coffee, the leather, etc.). The disappearance of Safi seemed a little rushed and I felt more drama could be drawn from this, such as Will’s feelings and reaction. I wondered what the father’s reaction was. The mysterious girl at the station – you keep us guessing, which I like.
Ch4/5 – A different setting and new characters – You keep us on our toes. I am fascinated to find out how it all links together, but I’m confident it will. I love the description of ‘dishwater hair tied back in a ponytail’. A quick dip into chapter 5 reveals Jordyn, and the link with M.L. Quig. It’s coming together well.

Overall, I liked this story very much. It kept me intrigued and I wanted to read on if time had allowed. Perhaps some dramatic moments could be taken advantage of to add excitement, particularly in covering emotional response, but this is a minor point. I didn’t spot any obvious typos and the work is well-written. I felt this is a strong novel with great potential. Highly starred and I shall return. This is a work that demands attention.
Nick Goulding
'Where She Lies'
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written 349 days ago
cherry


‘Ghosts in the Corner’
The pitch drew me in as I’m interested in Alzheimer’s and attended a conference at The Maudesly on it last year.

Ch 1 – A very moving, simple, concise depiction of the moment of death. I loved ‘scattered as a token gesture around unfamiliar walls’ – laden with pathos.

Ch 2 – It’s the details that carry the moment and you have them nailed. ‘everything still in its place, still normal despite the horror of events unfolding at the bedside.’ – that feeling of everything carrying on, how could that be? The poignancy of the doctor warming the stethoscope – well-observed human nature.
The understated symmetry of listening for signs of life outside is lovely, as if the world had gone with Gran’s passing. The irreversibility of death, the loss of warmth, times arrow is powerfully depicted. Closing the eyes for the last time, the silver hairs in the hairbrush, never to be raised by her again.
The mystery of the little girl is an effective cliff-hanger and a counter to death and old age.

Ch 3 – There are always regrets after a death and this is brought out well here. ‘She’d been stronger than I’d ever know/known’ – I wasn’t sure. Full stop after ‘silence’.

Ch 4 – ‘A ballet of paper bags…’ – lovely. More careful observations, like ‘For the first half-hour after she died, you could still feel her in the room with you, now there was nothing.’ ‘Soft Mumble’ – capital? I wondered if some interaction with/between the relatives might bring some conflict or drama in here.

Ch 5 – Surprised to see Part One, Chapter One. I’m immediately struck by the change of p.o.v. and tense from past to present. I’m guessing at this point that these characters are the same as previously with p.o.v. transposed. This works well, I feel. ‘It’s just starting disappear’ – missing to. I felt the story energising with the interactions and dialogue in this chapter – a strong contrast to the ‘emptiness’ of the room in previous chapters.

Ch 6 – Back to James. Again in present tense, unlike the first sections. I like this switch of character. ‘The smell of piss hit/hits me immediately’ and ‘I muttered/mutter.’ – then I notice you’ve changed from present to past tense, but I’m not sure why.

Ch 7 – With James, still, and in the past tense. Quotes missing before ‘Right, thanks for breakfast.’ The reference to horsemeat has gained more significance in recent months. Interesting. The knotted feeling in the stomach is a cliff-hanger. I felt some increase in action/drama is necessary.

Ch 8 – Consistent past tense with James, now. Capital needed for gran. ‘Killing time while time kills you’ – nice. And James’ obsession is revealed with uncomfortable results. At the end of this chapter I’m still wondering who the little girl was in the hospital, and whether she’ll reappear.


Overall, this is a beautiful work of astute observation of what it is to be human. The pace is gentle and the drama is subtle. The writing is of a high standard with few issues. The characters are well-drawn, credible and I found it easy to empathise with them. I enjoyed the read and am led to read on when I have time. High stars and best wishes.

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’
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written 365 days ago
cherry

A very gripping and engrossing start to an intriguing tale. I've so far just read the first couple of chapters and have put it on my watchlist to come back to.

Couple of little things which are probably completely inconsequential, so just me rambling. Was the Dorset coastline really called the Jurassic coast in 1907? I only ask as it wasn't when I lived in Dorset in the 1990s, it only seemed to become widely called that after the charter in 2001. And Ems somehow sounds a very modern abbreviation for Emma, but I'm sure you have researched all this inside out!

Very best of luck with it, it deserves to do well.

Tottie Limejuice
Sell the Pig "

Thanks very much, Tottie.

The shortened forms such as ‘Ems’ were in common use in Edwardian times. For example, this from a postcard dated July 19th 1906. ‘Dear Ems, Thanks for the card + paper, we are having very dull weather now, it makes us all down on our luck. Hope things are looking up your way, and a bit brighter for you all. Best love from us all Mum x’

The ‘Jurassic’ reference was a marketing hook, to be honest! It is a selling point for this area. However, the term ‘Jurassic’ dates from the time of Alexandre Brogniart in the early 1800’s, and links to the geological map of William Smith in 1815. Although a character like Ivy, with her scientific background and knowledgeable father, would have come across such terms I could be pushing it a bit, so I may wait to see if anyone else finds it intrusive. Mary Anning (d.1847), the famous local palaeontologist, would also have been familiar to some characters. I may put ‘craggy coastline’ back in for the alliteration. (Ref: ‘The Map that Changed the World’, by Simon Winchester).

Thanks again,
Nick
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written 384 days ago
cherry

‘The Sky is not Blue’
Just a short comment for now. The pitch is an absolute winner in my opinion. The theme seems to fit perfectly into contemporary needs – a mysterious, half-remembered past, the nostalgia for the seventies, the urge to run away, yet having to confront our fears.

I just took a look at the first paragraph and knew we were in safe hands, those of a competent, confident writer who knows where she is going with the story. The strategy of inserting back story in italics in present tense works for me (counter intuitive to have the present in past-tense and the past in present but it brings the past to the foreground effectively). I like the short sentences – they add drama. Similarly the elliptical structure (e.g. not including every ‘and’) works well. I'll be back to read more.

Backed and highly starred. This will be on the desk soon enough.

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’
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written 405 days ago
cherry

‘The Rothko Room’
I like the title – it suggests the mystery and colour of Mark Rothko’s work, matching Arthur's role. The short pitch drew me in. The sardonic humour of the long pitch promises a high-paced amusing read.

Part 1 (Don’t need repetition of Pt 1:Mon)

Rome
Clever beginning – the anonymity shown by the sign and the opportunity. The pov shifts between him and her but I felt it worked well. I felt ‘She looked at him’ could be on the line below his words ‘The British Embassy’ by convention (and elsewhere). The dialogue shows the characters well and their motivations come across.

The build up of the relationship between the two is smooth and convincing and a perfect backdrop to the shocking violence that follows. The image of Vanessa with the gun is wonderful – I saw this as a startling movie scene.

There are a few filtering words (thought, etc.) that distance the reader subtly but this doesn’t detract from a well-paced, exciting and amusing read.

Sometimes the speech tags block the pace – e.g. ‘the man said’, in ‘”Belongs to your boss, eh?” the man said. He sounded almost sympathetic. “Oh dear…”’ versus ‘”Belongs to your boss, eh?” He sounded almost sympathetic. “Oh dear…”’ When there are only two of them it’s clear who is speaking (or body language/voice tone references can do two jobs).

Missing apostrophe after ‘Erm… extremely well’. ‘Tell me about yourself,’ comma/stop. ‘Noticing he said to her, “If it’s any consolation…” same line for speech (and the following lines).

Vauxhall Bridge Rd.
Good change of scene. I liked the slip into Arthur’s world - good pov. Change of pace and level of detail gives good contrast. Back-story is delivered with humour, filling some character info as we walk with Arthur – setting is good here, very visual and mind-catching.

The Tate
Others have noted how ‘the silent interrogation in Portland stone’ section is witty and original and I totally agree. Quality writing. I loved the black heron guardian and the passive-aggressive intimidation. I felt the writing was really getting into its pace in this section and a distinctive narrative voice was shaping up well. The discussion over the mint imperial made me smile – nice attention to detail of perspectives.

Art and Reason
The mint imperial, of course. Neat. ‘The disposal of unsightly and possibly hazardous waste…’ – lovely. I love abstract expressionism as a tool for truth. More surreal than abstract is the whole concept of the cleaner, with an appreciation of modern art, who is a professional killer. Good stuff.

Republicca to Nazionale and Beyond
Looking forward to re-visiting Vanessa in her underwear – great imagery of her sourcing the clothes.

The Crawthorne Beasley Affair
Back with Arthur – I appreciate the shortish sections weaving between Italy and London.
‘It was [a] bullet in the thigh, Arthur.’

Overall, I was very impressed with ‘The Rothko Room’ – I always enjoy such well-written dry humour. It is not easy to achieve this alongside a convincing thriller plot but Russell has mastered and united both themes. The writing is witty, yet not pretentious, amusing yet not crass. The humour and human observations are subtle and well-drawn. The short sections ended with suitable cliff-hangers to lead the reader on. A few minor wrinkles (such as dialogue attribution) could be easily ironed out and did not detract from a very enjoyable read. I’ll return to read more at a later date.

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’
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written 405 days ago
cherry

CLAW review

This is by far the most beautiful and scary novel I have read on this site, and not only that, polished to the point of impeccability.

I tried hard to find imperfections, confusions, too wordy bits and pieces but could not. This is clearly out of my league, and I am not qualified to criticize this piece of literature.

However, I have tried very hard to find something to contribute, as CLAW review is not meant to be flattery, and I think I have found it. A very minor point and embarrassing scrutinizing though.
Chapter 23 - "Claret red" : I know that what you call "claret" wines are very popular in UK and every Brits knows what color is claret red but it means nothing outside of UK (except for Australia and NZ that I have no idea of). It's apparently a very old variety of grape or something that used to be produced in Bordeaux but nowadays, no known French wine producers use that variety, and they have developed different varieties out of it. So, no French except for the ones who have lived in the UK have heard of 'Claret' (in fact, the closest thing is "Clairet" or "Clairette" that they make rose or white wines from. Naturally, the importers of wines (i.e. US, Japan etc.) do not know what Claret wine and claret red.
I would suggest using "Bordeaux" or simply "wine red" or something like that if you intend to market this novel outside of UK.
I hope you did not mind me scrutinizing this teeny weeny thing.

R


Thank you so much, R.
Claret was the most popular wine of Edwardian times in England and it was a common descriptor of colour. So, as historical accuracy is important I'll probably keep it. Personally, I enjoy coming across new words that relate to different cultures and periods of history. Just found this quote from the 'Seattle Times':

'A search of the Wine Enthusiast database turns up some 90 reviews for wines labeled claret. They come from all corners of the wine world: Australia, Chile, Spain, Missouri, New England, Oregon and Virginia. But most by far are from California and Washington, and they cost anywhere from $10 to $125 a bottle.'

Interesting point, though. Thanks again,
N view book

written 422 days ago
cherry

‘Dragon Summer’
(Only two chapters posted, so just over the 10k limit – be careful you don’t lose backers when you edit as you can drop below the 10K).

Ch 1 – Into the world of a wordsmith at the start, so interesting to me as a writer. Not the usual start with a bang model that many use, but I like the gentle beginning. ‘Left her clenched and petulant’ – nice. ‘Meaning became mirage at her touch’ – beautifully captured. ‘Lichen-scarred’ is effective too. Immediately the attention to detail in choice of words is clear – perched, arched. The multi-sensual descriptions drew me in to the scenes – I could smell the grass and feel the breeze rippling my dress (which is an achievement for this male!).

I see you use italics for thought as I do. When I first did this one or two readers didn’t get it but the convention is expanding in use, it seems. I wondered whether some of the inner world material such as ‘made melodrama of insipid melancholy’, neat though it is, fits the mind of a 14yr old – just took me from Katie’s mind to that of the author. But then this is an intelligent, word focussed girl. I like that we are taken into her thought processes, seeing life from her perspective. Close, intimate almost. I like ‘Probably runt’. Light touches here.

Lovely interweaving of back-story here and there.

I had to read ‘Rain, weeds and the passage of sheep between these fields had removed any treacherous, ankle-turning motion beneath her soles so she only had to contend with odd angles and slippery slime.’ – it took a bit of processing to get the meaning. Lots of detail here, which I really enjoy but others may skip. ‘Sheep spotted many of the fields’ I read as ‘sheep caught sight of’ rather than ‘made a mark on’.
The inner dialogue between Katie and Gran works well for me.

The writing becomes more poetic and enigmatic after this with images dancing, remembered things, hints. The thoughts flow lightly. I trust all to be revealed in time.
‘A skitter and clatter’ – a lovely depiction of the dog climbing the steps. Some descriptions may be a little over-written at times for some tastes– ‘The lowering sun dappled the path with bronze highlights as the surrounding verdure dimmed’. I love the descriptions but I have been criticized for such language on occasions. ‘His tone, so close to tonight, kindled a blaze.’ – didn’t understand this.
Perhaps a capital A for ‘auntie Olive’?

The dialogue between Katie, Owen and Gran flowed well and convincingly to me. The subtleties of their relationships comes over well. Again, suggestion works better than full description. (Unwanted space in ‘good- natured’).

Ch 1 ends with light banter and good humour. Not a powerful page-turner, but my warmth towards the characters draws me on.

Ch 2 – I ceased trying to tease out reality from fantasy, enjoying the blend and the confusion in Katie’s own mind. The sexual tension is delivered with restraint and ambiguity. The mystery of the dragons remains to be explained. Hints of a death of a boy are left as tentative threads. The use of summer and winter as emotional tags is clever and effective. After two fairly long chapters I am not clear exactly what has happened or is happening and am happy with this mystery.
‘She was, not powerless but certainly vulnerable, intentionally so…’ – intruding comma after was, replace after ‘but’? ‘She was not powerless, but certainly vulnerable, intentionally so…’

Overall, I found this a fascinating and engaging read. The restrained sensuality was satisfying, but I felt a need to move onto more solid ground soon. Some readers will demand a clearer plot with a faster paced story line but I enjoyed the poetic, painterly depiction of Katie’s inner world. You might find the adverb police on your case but I don’t have a problem with the qualifiers you use. The quality of writing is high, with very few errors. The prose style is so poetic and beautiful. I would have liked to continue reading to explore the mystery further. We live in a conflict hungry age demanding clear angst, minimal description and strong plots. Not sure how big a market this might satisfy in this regard but it is a highly polished work. Gorgeous, sumptuous and mysterious. I loved it.

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’
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written 443 days ago
cherry

‘Crazy Quilt’
Your first line won me over. I knew I’d feel comfortable with the narrative voice after the first few paragraphs. I don’t normally go for first person, (or romance, come to that - the written form that is) but it flows well here. Some reviewers have a problem with adjectives and adverbs (following Steven King’s advice, though he uses plenty) but they work well here, adding to the descriptive power and drawing me in to the scenes.

I liked the contrast of the teenage sister in her old car bursting at the seams with possessions to the adult sister returning in the Volvo bursting with adult possessions.

The back story is interesting and necessary, I feel. Lovely description of Nick, ‘flash me a smile that made my teeth hurt’, etc. I felt a need for more direct action/dialogue, more showing, rather than telling here but it was still well told. Ah, the ’57 Chevy – my 88 year old aunt still drives one in Portland, Oregon, she’s tiny behind the wheel. The parents’ death is chilling.

I was ready for ‘real-time’ narration when it came in ch2. Lovely contrast of the young/old McCall smiles. Wonderful attention to detail in the opening up of Grandmother’s room – the personal effects, poignant. The subtle differences in the characters of the sisters is developing well.

I didn’t spot many typos, etc., just ‘Our grandmother was in to garden clubbing’/’into clubbing’? and ‘”Hmmm.” I said, looking at the clock.’ – comma, not stop after ‘Hmmm’. ‘Mimicking a dutiful puppy, whose matter I had somehow acquired’ – I didn’t get ‘matter’ but this may be a turn of phrase I’m not familiar with.

Overall, I loved where this story is going. The title is apt as the quilt of human relationships grows and the inheritance of the past cannot be avoided. The interactions are beautifully crafted with smooth dialogue and the descriptions do not burden the scenes. I was able to visualise and hear the events unfolding in a natural manner. This is fine writing, no doubt. When I have time I shall re-visit ‘Crazy Quilt’ as I already feel involved with the characters and am keen to find out how love winds its way round the characters. Top writing. Maybe I’ve ignored ‘romance’ too long.

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’

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written 447 days ago
cherry

This is an ERS comment: transience, loss, wisdom.

See: http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/108600/extreme-read-swap-ers-/

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’

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written 447 days ago
cherry

This is an ERS comment: surreal, painterly, psychotic.

See: http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/108600/extreme-read-swap-ers-/

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’
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written 447 days ago
cherry

This is an ERS comment: challenging, philosophical, unsettling.

See: http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/108600/extreme-read-swap-ers-/

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’
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written 450 days ago
cherry

‘Running Away from Crazy’
Ch 1 - Stark, no holds barred beginning. ‘Chameleon’, yes, but also capable not just of blending in but of ‘shape-shifting’ before your eyes into a nightmare. You lay your cards on the table and the reader then seeks justification for the statements. The gradual dismantling of sanity and control is chilling, leaving me with a feeling of helplessness. I’ve worked in psychiatric units and seen for myself the sudden thermal runaway, the catastrophic descent into chaos and you brought it all back to me. I wasn’t sure about ‘shrieking like a drunken Shiite Islamo-fascist on 9/11’ – that blocked the flow and might cause offence in some sectors, even though the imagery was strong.

The reactions you describe towards mother and father help in confirming this is not just an issue of marital relationships but of possible psychiatric origin.

Ch 2 – Three months later and I’m wondering how the writer had survived the intervening period (glad we don’t have every blow and detail). Neat description of the therapist’s setting – gave the picture. I was interested in this section as a trained counsellor. The therapist seems to have come to the conclusion that the wife might be suffering ‘borderline personality disorder’. I was surprised that the self-examination came from within the writer (maybe this is a skilled therapist that promotes such analysis without raising defences). Interesting.

Ch 3 – Good time for the back-story. This may reinforce certain prejudices against dating websites but it’s real. The introductory phase of the relationship comes over sympathetically and honestly. I wasn’t sure how smoothly the ‘vulnerable seducer’ section fitted in but I guess you don’t need the author’s permission, here as you are quoting with references. I could see the links.

The alarm bells are silenced when one is needy, I suppose, as most of us are. The family comes across as dysfunctional, too and I wondered at this point about name changes and legal implications. I was horrified to think of Elaine training as a teacher and wasn’t surprised it failed through everybody else’s fault.

Overall, I found this a compelling but horrifying story of descent into chaos. There was sadness steeped throughout the work. The story came across with credibility and without the ‘self-pity’ or ‘self-flagellation’ that can accompany such biographical expositions. In all such stories I find myself wondering how the other party would describe the situation from their perspective.

I hope to find time to follow through, though I know I’ll wince at the awful events that are unfolding. Not comfortable reading but very helpful to others who are going through similar issues with personality disorders and dysfunctional relationships. It helps to know one is not alone.

[Errors were few. A quick edit would remove a few distracting typos: ‘”I don’t need a lecture.” she snapped.’ – comma, not stop. ‘Their husband’s would get a second job’ – no apostrophe. “I’d just spent the last hour explaining why I bolted yet here I was” – maybe a comma after ‘bolted’ would aid parsing. “Elaine was a stunning.” “And the while I was in Seattle” – is that okay in American English?]

Fascinating, compelling and horrifying. Well done and I wish you both a happier, more stable life!

Nick Goulding
‘Where She Lies’
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written 455 days ago
cherry

'Maiden's Veil'
What a discovery! Just a quick note to say that I read the first chapter and skimmed the second before placing this on my watch list. I love the concepts behind it - the weaving and threads through time. The descriptions brought me right into the scenes. Books that travel between past and present in this form carry a magic for many readers such as me if the settings and characterisation are believable - and you do a great job here. I'll read on and hope to comment more fully later. High stars.
Nick
'Where She Lies' view book

written 456 days ago
cherry

Gutsy beginning that hooks the reader in. Not comfortable but real and credible. John's background knowledge is faultless and used to good effect here. The style of writing is confident and smooth. It is inspirational to those who face crisis in life - it shows what determination and grit can do to resolve apparently insurmountable problems. This is not a sweetened read, it is painful in parts and does not protect the reader. Characters and descriptions are clear and convincing. The plot is very strong with all the right elements in good balance. The book is too well edited to have noticeable errors. Refreshingly clean.

I felt this to be a very cinematic book which could translate to the screen so well. Fantastic drama with a very pertinent theme. Top stars and a backing.

Nick
'Where She Lies' view book

written 461 days ago
cherry

‘The Blackberry Season’
Ch 1 - Strong beginning setting the scene subtly. The emotional responses to a newborn come over well. Those of us who’ve been through this will resonate with this.
I loved ‘He’d read poetry to her, send her off to sleep every night on a wave of beautiful words.’ Gorgeous imagery. Is the repetition of ‘caveman thing/s’ intentional? The reference to ‘blackberry bruises’ is lovely. ‘I can’t do the whole name thing without chocolate’ – beautifully observed. Tidy and inviting first chapter. The optimism, the launching forward as a family comes over well. One feels a ‘but’ coming along…

Ch 2 – A pleasing surprise to find ourselves fifteen years on. Intriguing relationship issues emerging between father and daughter – good conflict development with a hook, making us read on to unpick the story. ‘He was called Gordon, which was just one of his problems’ made me laugh. ‘Reedy old voices’ – bang on.
Change of p.o.v. works well. Slight distancing in the balance towards tell rather than show but still beautifully told. ‘The dirt bruised the white roses when it fell’ – nice symbolism. I loved the concept of the buried priest and the grandmother joining his skeletal congregation. You keep us teased over David and Isobel. Good.

Ch 3 – I felt direct action/dialogue would create more impact than telling us what happened after the funeral – at least a few lines to bring us directly into the dramatic conflict here. This is a big issue between father and daughter. ‘London: the City of Things’ – oh, how true that is to those of us living in a small seaside town!
Lovely details of the photographs and the button tin – so human and real.
I wondered what feelings Isobel had at dropping the key through the door – so final and symbolic a moment, no turning back. The smell of the roses was poignant for me as I remember leaving my own grandmother’s roses behind, her pride and joy, and wishing the same care for them. Unusual and strong perceptions over the proximity of father and daughter in the car and body awareness.
Nice implied link over the brambles over the grave and blackberries. ‘Dinosaur backs of the islands’ – how accurate and evocative.
At last some of David’s story is coming out – nicely controlled, keeping us on the line. ‘She stole quick secret glances’ – exactly carries the tension. Apt comparison of father and daughter’s physical features here vs after the birth.
Synaesthesia – added interest value here.
Clever turn-around of daughter prickly about father’s silence and how he toys with her feelings. How funny, I’m looking at a picture now, on my shelf, of my brother and I in our duffle coats in Trafalgar Square – we have pigeons on our heads and wrists. You pick out the defining essentials of an arrival in London, contrasting them to the Scottish space very well. As I leave the book, for a while, I am left wanting to know more about David and his relationship and how Isobel will fit in. I am, of course, keen to know what happened to Paula.

Minor quibbles only. I find sentences like ‘“You’re welcome,” he beamed at her’ a bit odd ‘cos how can you beam words at someone? I tend to write ‘”You’re welcome.” He beamed at her.’ Again, ‘Paula tugged away, “Don’t… my hair’s all sweaty.”’ – would a full stop rather than the comma work better? Again, ‘Ten-thirty,” one word answers’. It is good not to have the ‘he/she said’ all the time, though.
I wondered if some of the filtering words could be dropped, e.g. notice in ‘he was starting to notice things about his fellow smokers’ but on reflection this brings us into the character’s inner process. ‘He thought she looked happy’, however, does distance us a little from the m.c. in a way that ‘She looked happy’ does not.
A separating comma is needed to isolate the name after ‘you’ in, ‘”She looks like you Paula.” (I had loads of these until Alan Chaput kindly pointed them out!)
Overall, a wonderful and intriguing start to what promises to be a well studied exploration of relationships. The writing is of a high standard and errors hard to spot. My only desire would be to see less ‘tell’ and more ‘show’ – i.e. more direct speech and action. Excellent work – top stars and on my shelf.
Nick
‘Where She Lies’
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written 462 days ago
cherry

‘The Vulning Pelican’
I liked the stream of consciousness examination of the writer faced with a blank screen – the doubts, the lack of confidence, where to start.
Nice observations of people – ‘croaked a brief introduction’/’gave me a cursory glance over and then looked at her mobile’. Wonderful depictions of Panama – ‘Menace lurked in the shadows of the trash laden alleys’.
After the colour of Panama the back story fits very well. ‘I cornered my soul and starved my passions’ depicts the emotional state so well – that will stay with me. I like the multi-sensory approach. Covering smell and touch as well as vision brings us into the scene – I pulled a face at the mothballs and I could taste the dark coffee.
There is a convincing realism to your style. You transport us to Panama with your vivid descriptions. I found it easy to empathise with your main character and I felt a consistency and genuineness about her.
The arrival of the pelican brings some poignant moments – it is lovely to read of such concern – as you say ‘Why get so upset over one bird in a planet full of creatures?’ – and yet you show just why.
The quality of writing is very high and I have little to criticise. Perhaps at times the shift towards showing rather than telling could have been taken – e.g. more direct dialogue and action, but this is a minor point.
Overall, I enjoyed your book thoroughly. It is a very human true story of real characters, flaws and all. I hope you are able to develop it further.
Nick Goulding
'Where She Lies' view book

written 517 days ago
cherry

'Daniel's Christmas'
This is a lovely tale of growing up, of trust, fear and overcoming challenges. I loved the voice of the narrator, the main character. Historical detail is convincing - I liked the image of the father warming the engine oil and the line between tan and pale skin on his forehead.
The writing is competent and assured. The characters are well-drawn, the descriptions drew me in without over-doing it, and the storyline is a winner.
I've just read the first chapters but am keen to carry on. Excellent writing, highly starred.
Nick Goulding
'Where She Lies' view book

written 570 days ago
cherry

Tonia refers to a campaign to lift the caterpillar to the shelf. It certainly deserves it, though I reckon it is elevating on its own merits, too.
There cannot be a doppelZane, there is only one writer here with a book of such comic genius. This was one of the first books I came across here - I loved it then and I still do. On my shelf till the E.D. This would be an insane universe if the caterpillar didn't metamorphose into the money-making screenplay. This one will fly off the shelves when published. view book

written 589 days ago
cherry

Why has this amazing novel not reached the editor's desk yet?



Hi Watchmaker,
Thanks for that. 'Where She Lies' has been around here quite a while and has received wonderful reviews. It has been edited and improved following some useful suggestions. However, the Authonomy algorithm is biased towards new works (however they are backed). So a new book that is spammed, or has a ready army of backers, for example, will shoot up and overtake it. I've lost faith with the game-playing side of this site and have come to value genuine backers and useful reviews more than the race to the top. Thanks very much for your support.
Best wishes,
Nick view book