PDA

View Full Version : Sephardia’s Daughter by Jas....



Jas
18-01-2013, 17:34
what has being a "Paki girl"( a term I would never use-have to do with it?

As I said you could be writing the novel of the century but if it can't get published then you're not an author. You refuse to change your style- that is your choice but they don't have to accept it. You say there is a story, about your life, that they are intereste in publishing but you refuse to write it-so they are telling you what they want to see from you. Your choice not to write that one. Good luck with it all but you have to be realistic-all the talent in the world means nothing if no one wishes to publish(then read) your work.

No, u don't use that kind of term and I wasn't speaking literally. It's just u seem to have decided that the reason I am not getting published is cos the agents don't like my queries and synopsis and that they have a point. Actually, I am certain the rejections are their loss as much as mine. Which bring me to me next point...... agents are not the general public and are far too cautious for their own good and mine, too. Do u really think if the normal person in the street was exposed to my writing- they wudn't love it? That if the films of my books were made- the cinemas wudn't be crowded out? Of course that's how it wud be.
I'm trying to breakthrough and probably there is even some racism in there also that's holding me back.
So?
If u wud like to read chapter 1 of my novel Yak (as I did the courtesy for u)- please go ahead and tell me what u think based just on the *writing.*



Chapter 1
Sephardia’s Daughter


Rafaela, the cat-eyed senorita, knew she was being watched. She hurried into the souk’s shadows, ruffling wisps of incense that spiraled like temple offerings. A heart spasm snatched her breath. She focused her defiance. Poised to perfume her robes with ketoret, she threw a dagger glance over her shoulder.
Donkeys and the tramp of innumerable feet scuffed flecks of straw that glinted in the sunshine.

Jarred by the briny reek, she hastened under the fishmongers’ porticoes, her sandals crunching the layered fish bones. Housewives perused rows of clay pots from which writhing fish slopped silvery droplets. She cut a path between smokey-eyed slave girls, avoiding their mistresses who were stood gossiping at the first water urn.

Merged into a dusty haze of porters and veiled refugees, she tensed: girlish laughter resonated from the hammam to the jingle of tambourine bells. Sultry heat. A ticklish ooze of sweat teased her inner thigh. Torn memories flaunted an image of Keziah stood naked behind the bathhouse’s bead curtains. Adonai… why do you torture me?
All Rafaela could see were the sun-dappled throngs, a river of humanity that flooded the bazaar’s length. Festive excitement pulsed.

Shoulders squared, she clinched the silver honey pot to her bosom: In an act of religious spite, Lord Roger’s thugs had incinerated the beehives. Barbs knotted her stomach.

Traders haggled over slabs of salt, a turbaned man with a scrubby beard heckling her as a handcart loaded with ripe watermelons clattered.
Heaved into ranks of women queuing for date syrup, she forced a pathway. A sharp elbow jabbed her ribs and she winced. Garlic suffused the sweetness of damp female flesh. Syrup lapped into clinking, hand-cupped bowls.
When a hot dirty shiver shot up her spine, she jumped rigid. A shriek clawed her throat as she twirled. Her vision swam. Someone’s silky caress had fondled her behind with such cunning, she snorted her disgust.
“Hush little one,” soothed a Khazar woman in slurred Judezmo. She smirked. Greed glazed her eyes.

Rafaela trembled. It was not the heat that sapped her resilience, but the worthlessness of striking this proxy. “Whatever smut you’ve heard about me,” she retorted, sweeping her silk sash to a rakish angle, “it’s a lie.”
Wearing a boxy red hat tipped by a peacock feather, the Khazar winked at the bathhouse.
Arms folded to bind her fury, Rafaela retreated to a scrap of ground between walls of stacked chicken cages. Gnawing her bottom lip, she straightened.
Robes rendered to outline long legs, the Khazar strutted in pursuit.
Out of earshot of the other women, Rafaela fixed her stare. “I know who sent you.” Grinding her words, she wielded the honey pot, “But I will not be shamed into marriage.”
“I’ll help you soothe away all that stress in your muscles.” Her lips pursed to a juicy kiss.
“Stop it,” Rafaela snapped.
Only then did the songstress make a sour face that mirrored Rafaela’s anger. “I was promised top coin to keep you entertained.”
Her husky voice shrunk the Khazar’s advantage of height: “I guard my honor as I guard my life, so leave me alone.” A lusty swagger artfully swung her rump.
Swollen date syrup lines snarled the path to the Spice Market.

Rafaela paced into the clamor. Grumbling swore Lord Roger’s hated tax collectors were greedier than a clan of hyenas: no honey for Rosh Hashanah- just date syrup! The moments stretched as she retuned her nerves. She listened: What joy was there in torching the bee colonies? Was it incitement from their shifty priests? Why hadn’t Yaakov warned of the attack?
Yaakov…… She could stand it no longer. “Shalom,” she said, braced as if wading into a tide. “I think Yaakov has more important things to worry about than our holy traditions,” she said bitterly.
They engulfed her. Eyes that suggested hopelessness fell in sympathy to the empty honey pot.
Urgency decreed fast thinking as she exchanged hearty kisses, offered thanks for their prayers, and with a lie to buy time- gave repeated assurances their rabbi had defeated the illness.
Surrounded, most of the women taller than her, she stood fast against a storm of hectoring questions. Patience was the Separatist’s greatest virtue and she had learned to veil her beliefs. Confused gabble told of a new sect of Christians-gentiles-people she shunned- yet who now openly defied the dictator. Rafaela shook her head: no alliances! She slung a warning look at the fickle crowds and any expecting loose talk of a revolt as the Saracens encroached.
After parting, she broke into a feisty trot. Pepper merchants barked their prices. Seagulls screeched over canopies defending the bazaar from a sun that tore up the sky and burned with the rage of a white hot coin. Her grip tightened on the honey pot: thieves stalked the markets, even in La Juderia, though most came from beyond the Ghetto’s boundary. She brushed the street hawkers, men touting swathes of muslin, and fell into the trap of a slender Italian whose happiness glittered in kohl-widened eyes.

Adorned in henna, wrist bracelets jangling, the bride’s face shone.
Eying a breach in the crowds, Rafaela sank into a smothering cuddle. Fingernails traced her back.
“Keziah sends her love,” the bride confided, squeezing Rafaela tight. “She still craves her clever little Spaniard.”
Rafaela swallowed. Fervent kisses tumbled in her mind with the softness of rose petals. It soon passed. Mention of what had once ignited a smoldering glow between her thighs now meant only the kind of desolation a summer drought leaves after leveling a field of wheat.
Merciless, the newlywed nuzzled Rafaela’s ear lobe. “I’ll tell you what he makes me do.” Lips wet, she marinated in a musky Arabian perfume. “You need to learn about these things.”
Rafaela irritably dried her ear with her sleeve. “I can’t find honey anywhere.”
In a dreamy voice, the bride said, “You’ll look beautiful once you’re pregnant.”
“Who’s stationed on the checkpoint?” Rafaela demanded.
“You’re the luckiest girl in La Juderia!” She emulated the growl of a sex-starved tigress. “Yaakov is respected. Imagine it, the first Jewish wedding at Lord Roger’s court.”
Skin crawling at the thought of standing beneath the marriage canopy as the dictator watched her submit to his lackey, Rafaela warned softly, “I haven’t agreed to anything.”
Sudden hostility tainted the bride’s edgy smile. “You will, darling.”

COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
ASERTED BY JI

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 18:19
To be honest, and I have read it before, it doesn't flow. The language is too stifled, tries too hard, assumes too much of the reader. It is too overly descriptive which distracts from the plot and flow-like you are trying to impress an academic with your vocab. As a first chapter it introduces too much that the reader doesn't know about, too much back story. The sentences are too short and brusque. There is no chance to build a relationship with the characters or set the scene properly. It appears you are writing with a thesaurus.

Simplify the language like this:

She knew she was being watched. Glancing left and right she ducked into the shadows of the old town. How could they follow her here, through the maze of bazaars of Constaniople? << assuming it is set there. give a place where the action is happening early>>

She felt her heart quicken and told herself to relax. She took in a breath and darted forward under the portico of a fishmonger. Her nose crinkled at the smell. She didn't feel welcome in this part of the city, she felt stranger eyes upon her. Yet she had to keep going. It wasn't the eyes of the commonfolk that bothered her but those of who else was out there. She had to keep moving or everything would be lost. In her arms she clutched the honeypot she held so dear.

(describe where she comes from and give her name)

(Then back to the situation and describe any change in scene)

Jas
18-01-2013, 18:28
To be honest, and I have read it before, it doesn't flow. The language is too stifled, tries too hard, assumes too much of the reader. It is too overly descriptive which distracts from the plot and flow-like you are trying to impress an academic with your vocab. As a first chapter it introduces too much that the reader doesn't know about, too much back story. The sentences are too short and brusque. There is no chance to build a relationship with the characters or set the scene properly. It appears you are writing with a thesaurus.

Simplify the language like this:

She knew she was being watched. Glancing left and right she ducked into the shadows of the old town. How could they follow her here, through the maze of bazaars of Constaniople? << assuming it is set there. give a place where the action is happening early>>

She felt her heart quicken and told herself to relax. She took in a breath and darted forward under the portico of a fishmonger. Her nose crinkled at the smell. She didn't feel welcome in this part of the city, she felt stranger eyes upon her. Yet she had to keep going. It wasn't the eyes of the commonfolk that bothered her but those of who else was out there. She had to keep moving or everything would be lost. In her arms she clutched the honeypot she held so dear.

(describe where she comes from and give her name)

(Then back to the situation and describe any change in scene)


This is some very interesting feedback. U might be right. It's not a bad manner of writing that uve given me as an example- but there's a bit of telling in there and I'm all for showing of course.
I certainly value ure feedback.

Jas
18-01-2013, 18:43
(describe where she comes from and give her name)

(Then back to the situation and describe any change in scene)


C, u know POV, yeah? Ure telling as if its omnipresent pov- but I write in 2nd limited.
Yak, I dunno why u think I am like aping Bronte or Austen or whatever and that it's a highblown style with difficult words. It seems very straightforward to me and quite natural. What words have I used that look as if it's a theasurus?
Admittedly, the rest of the book is much more 'straightforward' stylistically.

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 18:48
This is some very interesting feedback. U might be right. It's not a bad manner of writing that uve given me as an example- but there's a bit of telling in there and I'm all for showing of course.
I certainly value ure feedback.

well the first time you posted it I didn't know it was an intro. As an introduction you need to set the time and place as a point of reference to the reader and give some background to the character. You have to set the scene but this doesn't mean go into every minute detail-you need the reader to suspend disbelief and paint with their imagination, which your overly descriptive text thwarts. You are introducing a lot of concepts that are foreign to everyone except the most die hard historian etc. You can get away with foreign and unusual or high brow words but 95% of your writing should be in plain English. You aren't trying to outdo chesterton here but tell a story.

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 18:54
"Rafaela, the cat-eyed senorita, knew she was being watched. She hurried into the souk’s shadows, ruffling wisps of incense that spiraled like temple offerings. A heart spasm snatched her breath. She focused her defiance. Poised to perfume her robes with ketoret, she threw a dagger glance over her shoulder.
Donkeys and the tramp of innumerable feet scuffed flecks of straw that glinted in the sunshine.

Jarred by the briny reek, she hastened under the fishmongers’ porticoes, her sandals crunching the layered fish bones. Housewives perused rows of clay pots from which writhing fish slopped silvery droplets. She cut a path between smokey-eyed slave girls, avoiding their mistresses who were stood gossiping at the first water urn. "

Just in these two paragraphs you are breaking orwellian rules of writing-never use two worrds when one will do, never use a complicated word when a simpler suffices. A lot of unnecessary detail that suggests you have the making of a poet, but distracting from a story development.

pompeygazza
18-01-2013, 19:04
For what it's worth Jas, I like it as it is. Hemingway used short sentences too and he won a Nobel prize. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is overly descriptive too (in my opinion).

There's some lovely phrasing:

..her sandals crunching the layered fish bones.

She brushed the street hawkers, men touting swathes of muslin, and fell into the trap of a slender Italian whose happiness glittered in kohl-widened eyes.

Every great artist has refused to compromise. Better to do it your way and die a failure than bow for the masses.

Jas
18-01-2013, 19:10
"Rafaela, the cat-eyed senorita, knew she was being watched. She hurried into the souk’s shadows, ruffling wisps of incense that spiraled like temple offerings. A heart spasm snatched her breath. She focused her defiance. Poised to perfume her robes with ketoret, she threw a dagger glance over her shoulder.
Donkeys and the tramp of innumerable feet scuffed flecks of straw that glinted in the sunshine.

Jarred by the briny reek, she hastened under the fishmongers’ porticoes, her sandals crunching the layered fish bones. Housewives perused rows of clay pots from which writhing fish slopped silvery droplets. She cut a path between smokey-eyed slave girls, avoiding their mistresses who were stood gossiping at the first water urn. "

Just in these two paragraphs you are breaking orwellian rules of writing-never use two worrds when one will do, never use a complicated word when a simpler suffices. A lot of unnecessary detail that suggests you have the making of a poet, but distracting from a story development.

But those details set the scene. I really studied this in great depth, Yak. Trust me. Scene setting in a historical has to be *evocative.* I draw upon me own experiences in bazaars and it's the small stuff that adds vermisilitude. No one wants to read a novel set in 13th century Palestine that cud be about Kazan, Walthamstow or anywhere else u care to mention. U got to feel ure there with all 5 senses and if u look and understand that point- u will c that I focus on sensory description. That's what readers want- to be there- right in the story- up front.
What's it like when u walk thru a real bazaar? Smell. Taste. Sound. I covered that from me own experience cos I know exactly what a bazaar is like. I am not writing about myself- but I really do draw on my own experiences.

Jas
18-01-2013, 19:13
For what it's worth Jas, I like it as it is. Hemingway used short sentences too and he won a Nobel prize. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is overly descriptive too (in my opinion).

There's some lovely phrasing:

..her sandals crunching the layered fish bones.

She brushed the street hawkers, men touting swathes of muslin, and fell into the trap of a slender Italian whose happiness glittered in kohl-widened eyes.

Every great artist has refused to compromise. Better to do it your way and die a failure than bow for the masses.


I adore all ure posts and always have cos I know that ure someone who adds a lot to expat.ru. I was reading all ure stuff and keeping silent, just enjoying it all, and always thinking and thinking. Only now it's come that we finally chat direct!
Why don't u post more and share more of urself with us? You are a wonderful and inciteful person and u have a heart of gold. For every zillion people who want to trash me- if there's just one person like u that I find, believe me, it's worth more to me than every last breath I cud ever take.
Please feel free to pm so we can chat more!

pompeygazza
18-01-2013, 19:25
No one wants to read a novel set in 13th century Palestine that cud be about Kazan, Walthamstow or anywhere else u care to mention. U got to feel ure there with all 5 senses and if u look and understand that point- u will c that I focus on sensory description. That's what readers want- to be there- right in the story- up front.
What's it like when u walk thru a real bazaar? Smell. Taste. Sound. I covered that from me own experience cos I know exactly what a bazaar is like. I am not writing about myself- but I really do draw on my own experiences.

Absolutely. There's the Dan Brown school of 'creative writing' that is more about getting to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and there's writing.

pompeygazza
18-01-2013, 19:37
I adore all ure posts and always have cos I know that ure someone who adds a lot to expat.ru. I was reading all ure stuff and keeping silent, just enjoying it all, and always thinking and thinking. Only now it's come that we finally chat direct!
Why don't u post more and share more of urself with us? You are a wonderful and inciteful person and u have a heart of gold. For every zillion people who want to trash me- if there's just one person like u that I find, believe me, it's worth more to me than every last breath I cud ever take.
Please feel free to pm so we can chat more!

Blimey I almost looked over my shoulder to see if you were talking to someone else :-). It doesn't go all the way though Jas, you can write but your taste in music is shite :cool:

pompeygazza
18-01-2013, 19:50
Just in these two paragraphs you are breaking orwellian rules of writing-never use two worrds when one will do, never use a complicated word when a simpler suffices. A lot of unnecessary detail that suggests you have the making of a poet, but distracting from a story development.

D.H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck..all writers who broke your rules Yak.

For sure, those rules apply sometimes. For example, detailed descriptions of sunsets when we all know what a sunset looks like. But for things we're unfamiliar with, unusual words and detail can give us the sensation of being there.

andymackem
18-01-2013, 20:21
But those details set the scene. I really studied this in great depth, Yak. Trust me. Scene setting in a historical has to be *evocative.* I draw upon me own experiences in bazaars and it's the small stuff that adds vermisilitude. No one wants to read a novel set in 13th century Palestine that cud be about Kazan, Walthamstow or anywhere else u care to mention. U got to feel ure there with all 5 senses and if u look and understand that point- u will c that I focus on sensory description. That's what readers want- to be there- right in the story- up front.
What's it like when u walk thru a real bazaar? Smell. Taste. Sound. I covered that from me own experience cos I know exactly what a bazaar is like. I am not writing about myself- but I really do draw on my own experiences.

But what does it evoke? Let's take some examples:

"Rafaela, the cat-eyed senorita ...." - what does 'cat-eyed' mean here? Are we talking about shape, colour, intensity of gaze? Or is she regularly spaced down the middle of the road to reflect the light of nighttime traffic? As far a I know, cats eyes come in various colours; the shape is distinctive, but all you're telling me with that is that Rafaela has a slightly deformed face (for a human, not for a cat, obviously). A feline gaze is a bit cliched, and isn't what we're talking about here, so basically all I can confirm from this is that Rafaela has eyes. It's not evoking much.

Then 'senorita'. You don't think a contemporary English-speaking reader is likely to relate this to modern Spain? My suspicion is that the Sephardic language doesn't include the word 'senorita' (the sense I got from visiting Andalucia was that the Sephardic jews saw themselves as rather separate from the Spanish, although I'm no expert) - it feels anachronistic, and is overlaid with a whole different set of Carmen-style imagery about fiery Latinas and the like. Either it's a lazy way of letting Bizet (or Bizet's librettist, shall we say?) do your description for you, or it doesn't say what you want it to ...

'...ruffling wisps of incense like temple offerings.' - not sure whether a simile is necessary here anyway, but that's a matter of taste. But what temple offerings are you thinking of? Most of the temples I've seen (various faiths) tend to have physical offerings of one sort or another, which are hardly wisp-like, or they have incense. You're in danger of saying these wisps of incense are like incense, which is a bit redundant. Etc.

I think that's the point Yak is getting at ... there is a mass of detail, but on closer analysis it doesn't add up to much. I feel like I'm being shown a lot of leaves and trying to work out if I'm looking at a tree, a shrub, a houseplant or a field of grass - and I'm only two sentences in! That makes for tiring reading, not atmospheric description, in my opinion. You mentioned Austen and the Brontes - for me you're closer to Dickens, with a mass of description. But Dickens (not a writer I'm all that fond of, to be honest, but that's another story) doesn't allow the description and atmosphere to interfere with the action too much (even though he was being paid by the word in periodicals, and to a certain extent it was in his financial interest to pad his text a bit); my feeling is that you are doing that here. I want a story, not a travelogue.

(disclaimer: this is a long way from being my prefered style or genre; I accept that I'm not really the target audience and haven't been since I got bored with David Eddings and his fantasy adventure yarns. But at the same time, I'm not converted here either, unfortunately. Good luck with it, anyway. You can quote me in your 'told you so' interview when you're the new JK Rowling.)

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 20:24
D.H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck..all writers who broke your rules Yak.

For sure, those rules apply sometimes. For example, detailed descriptions of sunsets when we all know what a sunset looks like. But for things we're unfamiliar with, unusual words and detail can give us the sensation of being there.

My argument is simply that it is too much for an introduction. A story paints a picture and detail over time, expanding on it as it develops. There is nothing wrong with her phrasing-it is just too much for an intro and too much together.

If her goal is to write for her own satisfaction then fine-but it is about being published and being published now-not last century.

pick up tale of two cities by Dickens or war and peace by Tolstoy-you know exactly where you are and the nature of the characters in the intro. Or you can start a story in the middle of the action, much as Jas has tried to do, but then you must cut down on descriptive detail for pace and suspense.

Jack17
18-01-2013, 21:01
Jas, I have only one small bit of advice: get rid of "she threw a dagger glance over her shoulder." Other than that, the rest is fine.

Beyond that, while I'm not a writer, I don't think a writer can submit their work to others for criticism. I mean, I can't think of many (any?) writers who do that. Oh sure, plenty revise endlessly their own work; but how many revise based on the criticism of others?

Writing is art and art is just too personal for that. Can you imagine Michelangelo asking Vasari what he thought of his Sistine Chapel while he was painting it? I'm afraid to the largest degree you either got it or you don't. The best advice an English teacher ever gave me was: "The writing will only be as good as the ideas are clear." That's all I can say.

Alan65
18-01-2013, 21:03
To be honest, and I have read it before, it doesn't flow. The language is too stifled, tries too hard, assumes too much of the reader. It is too overly descriptive which distracts from the plot and flow-like you are trying to impress an academic with your vocab. As a first chapter it introduces too much that the reader doesn't know about, too much back story. The sentences are too short and brusque. There is no chance to build a relationship with the characters or set the scene properly. It appears you are writing with a thesaurus.

Simplify the language like this:

She knew she was being watched. Glancing left and right she ducked into the shadows of the old town. How could they follow her here, through the maze of bazaars of Constaniople? << assuming it is set there. give a place where the action is happening early>>

She felt her heart quicken and told herself to relax. She took in a breath and darted forward under the portico of a fishmonger. Her nose crinkled at the smell. She didn't feel welcome in this part of the city, she felt stranger eyes upon her. Yet she had to keep going. It wasn't the eyes of the commonfolk that bothered her but those of who else was out there. She had to keep moving or everything would be lost. In her arms she clutched the honeypot she held so dear.

(describe where she comes from and give her name)

(Then back to the situation and describe any change in scene)

Got to agree with with Yaks first sentence, it does'nt flow. Perhaps thinking about your audience is a place to start.

The reason I say this is I used to DJ and remix music, as a DJ/remixer, it is more about the audience and what sells than what I would like

So I guess the question is do you want to be published and sell or win a booker prize, using a musical analogy, slow it down, think about the person reading your book out aloud to an audience, think of every syllabul as a BPM or something like that, I think you are in the range of 150 - 180 BPM rather than 90 - 120 ...in other words try and get the tempo right, what is easy on the ear.

pompeygazza
18-01-2013, 21:14
The reason I say this is I used to DJ and remix music, as a DJ/remixer, it is more about the audience and what sells than what I would like

I used to be a professional musician and the worst mistake I ever made was selling out to the audience. It's easy to be a crowd-pleaser. What takes guts is to stick with what you believe in the conviction that, one day, your audience will come to you.

This happened to Pink Floyd, who, in their early days, were frequently booed off stage, but they stuck to their belief, and look at what they became.

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 21:18
Jas, I have only one small bit of advice: get rid of "she threw a dagger glance over her shoulder." Other than that, the rest is fine.

Beyond that, while I'm not a writer, I don't think a writer can submit their work to others for criticism. I mean, I can't think of many (any?) writers who do that. Oh sure, plenty revise endlessly their own work; but how many revise based on the criticism of others?

Writing is art and art is just too personal for that. Can you imagine Michelangelo asking Vasari what he thought of his Sistine Chapel while he was painting it? I'm afraid to the largest degree you either got it or you don't. The best advice an English teacher ever gave me was: "The writing will only be as good as the ideas are clear." That's all I can say.

But that essentially is what an editor does-and her aim is for mass publication success-not to write a Chesterton piece for the odd select few. And that is why we have writer workshops etc-it isn't a contest in vocab but how to tell a story and make your ideas and sentences flow. Every single day I am marking essaysfor English exams, CVs and so on plus I am an avid reader myself. Andy's comments were spot on.

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 21:22
I used to be a professional musician and the worst mistake I ever made was selling out to the audience. It's easy to be a crowd-pleaser. What takes guts is to stick with what you believe in the conviction that, one day, your audience will come to you.

This happened to Pink Floyd, who, in their early days, were frequently booed off stage, but they stuck to their belief, and look at what they became.

but the case with writers is they may write a dozen books before one is picked up as being successful-then their older works might get looked at and published once they have a name and following. The main goal Jas seems to have is to get published, then she has the chance to push the style that she wants to in other books.

Jack17
18-01-2013, 21:25
OK, but if you get to the point where you have an editor, you're already an accomplished writer. If you're in a "workshop" then you're still a student, not a "writer."

pompeygazza
18-01-2013, 21:28
But that essentially is what an editor does-and her aim is for mass publication success-not to write a Chesterton piece for the odd select few. And that is why we have writer workshops etc-it isn't a contest in vocab but how to tell a story and make your ideas and sentences flow. Every single day I am marking essaysfor English exams, CVs and so on plus I am an avid reader myself. Andy's comments were spot on.

Mass publication success? Is that the whole point? I always thought it was about creativity.

Alan65
18-01-2013, 21:43
Mass publication success? Is that the whole point? I always thought it was about creativity.

Ok...after 10 minutes editing

Rafaela, the cat-eyed senorita, knew she was being watched. She hurried into the souk’s shadows, ruffling wisps of incense that spiraled like temple offerings. A heart spasm snatched her breath. She focused her defiance. Poised to perfume her robes with ketoret, she threw a dagger glance over her shoulder.

Rafaela, she knew she was being watched as she sought cover in the souk’s cool shadows where the wisps of incense spiraled like temple offerings.
The cat eyed senorita snatched her breath, focused her defiance, perfumed her robes with ketoret and glanced over her shoulder as many donkeys and merchants with their feet kicked flecks of straw that glinted in the sunshine.

If a writer has to depend on an editor are they really a writer, the amount of shit I reproduced for idiots caned out of their heads was unbelievable, they called themselves musicians but did not understand the difference between an intro, verse, chorus and ending....after 6 hours in a studio they always said "yeah....that is what I wanted it to sound like"

It sounded nothing like what they bought in and I took the money.

Edit. Fairplay to Jas for Posting this online to be shot at

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 21:50
OK, but if you get to the point where you have an editor, you're already an accomplished writer. If you're in a "workshop" then you're still a student, not a "writer."

That is why agents recommend you use a manuscript editor before you send it to them. Cost is a few hundred dollars up to a thousand for someone to do it.

yakspeare
18-01-2013, 21:52
Mass publication success? Is that the whole point? I always thought it was about creativity.

Jas has expressed , previously, what she wants from her writing. She wants success and to make a career from it.

creativity she has bucketloads of already-but that doesn't guarantee publication.

BabyFirefly
18-01-2013, 22:14
Senorita like the Spanish word "señorita"? As a Spanish speaker that word sounds nauseating in the sentence; Beyond that I've no problems with it, I like it actually.

pompeygazza
18-01-2013, 22:49
Jas has expressed , previously, what she wants from her writing. She wants success and to make a career from it.

creativity she has bucketloads of already-but that doesn't guarantee publication.

Fair play.

Jas
19-01-2013, 14:50
Jas, I have only one small bit of advice: get rid of "she threw a dagger glance over her shoulder." Other than that, the rest is fine.

Beyond that, while I'm not a writer, I don't think a writer can submit their work to others for criticism. I mean, I can't think of many (any?) writers who do that. Oh sure, plenty revise endlessly their own work; but how many revise based on the criticism of others?

Writing is art and art is just too personal for that. Can you imagine Michelangelo asking Vasari what he thought of his Sistine Chapel while he was painting it? I'm afraid to the largest degree you either got it or you don't. The best advice an English teacher ever gave me was: "The writing will only be as good as the ideas are clear." That's all I can say.


This is a very fair and realistic comment that undersdtands the role of the individual in the artistic process. I hope my ideas are clear and stuff.... Rafaela is sick and tired of both living under the mullahs and western imperialists. What she eants is freedom- but not at the price of losing her honor and stuff.o

Jas
19-01-2013, 14:57
Senorita like the Spanish word "señorita"? As a Spanish speaker that word sounds nauseating in the sentence; Beyond that I've no problems with it, I like it actually.

Nauseating.... why bf?
Rafaela is labelled an alien Jewess by the Crusader regime and thusly an ousider to Christendom. In fact, she identifies with the very heart of Spanish culture- while being a Jewess.
It's a metaphor for Jewish women who identified with the Revolution- yet who were labelled Zionists by the Stalinst regime and me as a British Pakistani who identifies with the UK- yet is always lablled as not being British enough (witness the posts against me on this site).
The implication?
Jewish 'marranos' are Spanish before they are Jewish.
Jewish women are Russian and loyal to the revolution before they are Zionist diversionists.
Pakistani secular women are loyal to the UK\ USA etc

Dunno if that makes much sense to u.

Jas
19-01-2013, 15:03
Got to agree with with Yaks first sentence, it does'nt flow. Perhaps thinking about your audience is a place to start.

The reason I say this is I used to DJ and remix music, as a DJ/remixer, it is more about the audience and what sells than what I would like

So I guess the question is do you want to be published and sell or win a booker prize, using a musical analogy, slow it down, think about the person reading your book out aloud to an audience, think of every syllabul as a BPM or something like that, I think you are in the range of 150 - 180 BPM rather than 90 - 120 ...in other words try and get the tempo right, what is easy on the ear.

Cadeance. It's interesting advice. Anything that jarrs the readers shud be out. I appreciate this feedback.

rubyrussia
19-01-2013, 19:47
Jas,

I wouldn't write or put your novel on expat.ru. According to the forum rules, anything written on expat.ru becomes the property of expat.ru. It is even written that they have the right to republish it elsewhere and claim ownership. It's a strange clause that probably wouldn't hold up in a court of law however.

I've always thought that maybe expat provides materials for some small third party newspapers or magazines.

Jas
19-01-2013, 19:56
Jas,

I wouldn't write or put your novel on expat.ru. According to the forum rules, anything written on expat.ru becomes the property of expat.ru. It is even written that they have the right to republish it elsewhere and claim ownership. It's a strange clause that probably wouldn't hold up in a court of law however.

I've always thought that maybe expat provides materials for some small third party newspapers or magazines.


Thanks Ruby. I just trust the mods somehow cos they know the situation I am in and wudn't do anything against me I don't think. Ure right of course and I copyright stuff also.
I hope u enjoy my writing.

Jack17
19-01-2013, 20:00
Judge, please tell us you're not selling Jas' works to third party journals.

Jas
19-01-2013, 20:33
Judge, please tell us you're not selling Jas' works to third party journals.

He isn't cos he *respects* me. I know that.

rubyrussia
19-01-2013, 20:41
Found it...

C. Posting rules
22. Anything posted on the site becomes the property of Expat.ru and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Darn my post just became the property of expat.ru! haha :cry:

TolkoRaz
19-01-2013, 23:07
Found it...

C. Posting rules
22. Anything posted on the site becomes the property of Expat.ru and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Darn my post just became the property of expat.ru! haha :cry:

I bid $100! :D

rubyrussia
20-01-2013, 15:35
I bid $100! :D

for my post? I agree.

Ok... now pay up. :)

TolkoRaz
20-01-2013, 19:56
I was actually bidding a $100 per word, but OK, $100 it is! :)

Jas
20-01-2013, 20:10
I was actually bidding a $100 per word, :)

I love u Tolki!

Jas
15-02-2013, 16:36
But what does it evoke? Let's take some examples:

"Rafaela, the cat-eyed senorita ...." - what does 'cat-eyed' mean here? Are we talking about shape, colour, intensity of gaze? Or is she regularly spaced down the middle of the road to reflect the light of nighttime traffic? As far a I know, cats eyes come in various colours; the shape is distinctive, but all you're telling me with that is that Rafaela has a slightly deformed face (for a human, not for a cat, obviously). A feline gaze is a bit cliched, and isn't what we're talking about here, so basically all I can confirm from this is that Rafaela has eyes. It's not evoking much.

Then 'senorita'. You don't think a contemporary English-speaking reader is likely to relate this to modern Spain? My suspicion is that the Sephardic language doesn't include the word 'senorita' (the sense I got from visiting Andalucia was that the Sephardic jews saw themselves as rather separate from the Spanish, although I'm no expert) - it feels anachronistic, and is overlaid with a whole different set of Carmen-style imagery about fiery Latinas and the like. Either it's a lazy way of letting Bizet (or Bizet's librettist, shall we say?) do your description for you, or it doesn't say what you want it to ...

'...ruffling wisps of incense like temple offerings.' - not sure whether a simile is necessary here anyway, but that's a matter of taste. But what temple offerings are you thinking of? Most of the temples I've seen (various faiths) tend to have physical offerings of one sort or another, which are hardly wisp-like, or they have incense. You're in danger of saying these wisps of incense are like incense, which is a bit redundant. Etc.

I think that's the point Yak is getting at ... there is a mass of detail, but on closer analysis it doesn't add up to much. I feel like I'm being shown a lot of leaves and trying to work out if I'm looking at a tree, a shrub, a houseplant or a field of grass - and I'm only two sentences in! That makes for tiring reading, not atmospheric description, in my opinion. You mentioned Austen and the Brontes - for me you're closer to Dickens, with a mass of description. But Dickens (not a writer I'm all that fond of, to be honest, but that's another story) doesn't allow the description and atmosphere to interfere with the action too much (even though he was being paid by the word in periodicals, and to a certain extent it was in his financial interest to pad his text a bit); my feeling is that you are doing that here. I want a story, not a travelogue.

(disclaimer: this is a long way from being my prefered style or genre; I accept that I'm not really the target audience and haven't been since I got bored with David Eddings and his fantasy adventure yarns. But at the same time, I'm not converted here either, unfortunately. Good luck with it, anyway. You can quote me in your 'told you so' interview when you're the new JK Rowling.)



I feel like I'm being shown a lot of leaves and trying to work out if I'm looking at a tree, a shrub, a houseplant or a field of grass - and I'm only two sentences in!


Andy, I was taught that I had to show people- not tell them what this was about. I need to show them Rafaela is Jewish- not tell them- to show them this is the Jewish ghetto in a medieval town- not just tell them in a lazy way. Yes, this means more description- but that's what showing is all about. I actually want the reader to wrok things out... for themselves.
Andy, that was a point in the Creative Writing courses what I took. Now if I have gone too far with 'telling'- then that's another matter. But what's hard to work out? If u wanted to....

Jas
15-02-2013, 16:39
Evocative..... cat eyes means just that. Rafaela has the eyes of a cat. That's an important plot poit os when she's arrested by the Inquisition- her green eyes are used as a sign she's a devil. But anyhow, I think most people wudn't worry too much on what a woman with cat's eyes actually looks like. They can c it on a subliminal level.

Think of this.

Parveen has cat's eyes.

Don't u just c what that means without having to think?

LynneWaite
15-02-2013, 18:31
and I have to agree.... I'm sorry Jas, (only my opinin and not a criticism) but it smacks of 'trying too hard' - I gave up trying to make sense of the sultry episode after paragraph 2. Writing and indeed reading are both very personal; I'm an avid reader but its not for me I'm afraid, its just too difficult to follow

Jas
15-02-2013, 18:41
and I have to agree.... I'm sorry Jas, (only my opinin and not a criticism) but it smacks of 'trying too hard' - I gave up trying to make sense of the sultry episode after paragraph 2. Writing and indeed reading are both very personal; I'm an avid reader but its not for me I'm afraid, its just too difficult to follow

I dunno. It's very difficult for me to judge. C, yes, maybe it is too hard to follow. It's quite possible given the style I adopted. Perhaps I simply miscaculated on what the reader cud handle.

But also, in fairness to me, ure reading on a blog site- without a book blurb or any prediction as to what the book is about- that the reader wud have in reality.

Basically, did I really want to tell the readers Rafaela is queer?
I think not.
It's something they got to work out for themselves and in doing so, they get curious about a character they will inevitably bond with. Ironically, the later chapters are not like this first 5 pages! They have an easy narrative and it's straighforward no nonesense story telling.

I do value ure opinion. Thanks for commenting!!

scd167
21-02-2013, 22:22
What is that old saying? Give a thousand monkeys typewriters and one of them will eventually recreate a Shakespeare play? I guess monkeys can be writers too if they hit the right random keys....

:11513: