Friday Review – Chapter 1 of Rise by Brian Guthrie

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With my Canada trip well and truly over, it’s time to get back to the reviews.

First, a little backstory as to why I’ve settled on today’s choice. I’ve had my eye on Jukepop for a while now, and I am currently working away on a submission for a serial on their site. Jukepop seems like a good place to start with a continuing serial of stories – at the very least, they seem to be a place to gather a decent audience and a community of readers and reviewers.

I start my serious  investigation into Jukepop by picking one of the most popular stories. Many have already commented on this, but I’ll toss in my 2 cents, along with my usual look at what I, as an author, can learn from it.

Rise: Tears, Chapter 1 – Paper

The unedited version, before its publication, can still be seen on Jukepop.com.

The preview on the book’s Amazon page provides the first chapter for free. I am basing this review on the finished Amazon version of the first chapter.

This story caught my eye immediately with the first line from its blurb – “On a shattered world protected from the cold of space by a water shield, the people are dependent on Ancient technology to survive.” What a neat hook! It promises a world different than ours, and yet this story begins with the very mundane and known – paper, of all things.

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Friday Review – Gravity’s Edge Gifts by J.C. Towler

Now that I’ve spent a month reviewing stories for eFiction (as a thanks for being published by them), my reviews look at stories that stand out from my weekly readings around the internet. I choose stories based on what they can teach about the craft of writing.

I also like to review stories by people who comment on my posts or review my stories. Hint, hint.

Right, so now I turn back to Every Day Fiction and look to the flash fiction http://www.everydayfiction.com/gravitys-edge-gifts-by-j-c-towler/.

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The good:

Right away, the scene is set in great detail. The author uses strong imagery with lines like “gnarled woman with skin like old beachwood” to create a clear mental image of the setting and scenario.

I can feel the desperation of this poor guy going into this shop as a last resort, and then there’s this darkly funny kicker when the shopkeeper offers him a ‘solution’ to all of his problems.

The kicker at the end gives a nice little zing, an exclamation point at the end of an enjoyable, easy read.

The could-be-better:

As good as this story is, there are, of course a few areas for improvement. As the scene is set in the starting, we get the line ‘George Moss barely registers any of it”. Really? All that scene-setting, and it’s totally lost on the character? While such failure to notice can be used to characterize, I think it’s much better to have the setting trigger some reaction in the character. All the dream catchers around remind him of his hippie days? The incense reminds him of a girl he dated? Any reaction that tells more about where the character is coming from is better than failure to react, in my opinion.

My takeaway:

The story is well established in the first three paragraphs – I can see a character, know what his problem is, and understand in detail the setting he’s walking into. This story shows how I can quickly establish a strong foundation for a quick, meaningful story.


J.C. Towler can be found at https://plus.google.com/+JohnTowler/about.

Gravity’s Edge Gifts was published by Every Day Fiction on August 3, 2015.

Strategies to copy edit

I’ve been following the blog Writer Dissection, and I’m finding the advice fairly well-thought out and useful. The author, Alissa Berger, has a lot to say on topics such as characterization and editing, and she provides many useful resources.

Here’s a nice post from her about some of the tricks used in cleaning up your writing work for submission:

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If I were a pathological liar, I would tell you that copy editing is when you clone yourself, manipulate your genetics, then step back and see the effect it has on your double. But, I’m not. And we’re not even up to that point yet (i.e. cloning humans). But, you should still know how to copy edit.

Strategy #1 CUPS!

CUPS is an acronym that goes like this:

C – capitalization

U – usage

P – punctuation

S – spelling

This method encourages a series of passes rather than edits by the reader, and usually works by writing CUPS vertically in the top right hand side of your first page. Once you completed one step, you write your initials as to not forget you checked that. This works good in elementary classrooms, but this will work just as good for you.

As extra resources, I always recommend the Purdue OWL. They have a lot…

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