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 TDC's (Sheri's) Story

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Whigworld
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PostSubject: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:37 am

Use this thread to critique Sheri's story once it's posted on Box.net
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:01 pm

Exclamation Wink Thanks Whiggy.

IMPOSSIBLE SUMMER SNOW is now posted, edited and ready for discussion.

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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:56 am

My critique:

"Impossible Summer Snow" was an interesting read...definitely a Christmas Story, which could be good if we do intend to market this book for a Christmas sale. I liked the style of the piece - very much like a parable or ancient tale...I liked the repetition that you used, and the purity and innocence of your characters.

The phrase "90 years summer" is a bit confusing...I don't know if it is the syntax of the phrase, or if it just doesn't fit, but I found it distracting when I read it...I think it just needs some tweaking.

I also thought that the key aspect of the story seemed a bit convenient. I liked the fact that you used the key as a metaphor for the savior, but when you made the shepherd boy the bearer of an actual physical key, it just didn't seem to flow...maybe it's because I'm on the inside and I know that the story is supposed to involve a key, and the reader probably won't notice, but it just stuck out to me. I would stick with the metaphor and drop the actual key.

The imagery and description were lovely as always. The story had an excellent flow and just seemed to slide sweetly along. Although I'm usually not one for heavily religious readings, I think the tone that you took in this story was just right for mass appeal. Good job.
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:47 pm

Thanks Holly!

Yes, I wanted this to be the last story in the book, simply for the fact it is scheduled for release before Christmas. And also, because all the other stories that will be told, shows how we as human beings most times feel we have no hope.

I wanted the key to be an actual key because the true inside story of what went on in that stable never is known by anyone. Much like the people on the Titanic, we can play with the story, their last moments, in any way we please, because no one knows for sure.

Take away this was a key from Heaven which is what unlocked the three Wisemen's boxes of "gifts" would make the story fizzle in my opinion. That it was delivered by one of the shepherds on the hills that night is...well, a KEY element.

I wanted to keep this simple and not be "preachy" simply because I know there are people in our group who are NOT religious AND because the Readers don't want to be "preached" to as well. I wanted it to read more like an adult fairy tale than anactual account of what really happened that night. A story a family could read on Christmas Eve or Christmas day and sit back and go..."That was nice"...and not think the views were that of G10 inparticular, just a nice sweet Christmas vision with a fantasy twist to it.

In case you guys might want to read it, here is what my story is loosely based on:

Footnote not intended to be printed with the story just for you guys:

Based on the Bible Account in Luke the second chapter:

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
2. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.


It is also no big secret to the Christian world that Christ was not born in the dead of winter as the sunday school accounts have it, as shepherds would NOT be tending their sheep, it would have been too cold. So it is theologically sound to note that Christ was more likely to have been born in the late summer to early fall in Bethlehem. So the title is actually stating a miracle happened and perhaps that is why we think there was snow that night.
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:33 am

I enjoyed the story I agree with Holly tha the 90 year summer thing threw me too, I also think you over used "Young" and "Old" a bit over much, it wasn't really difficlut keeping up with who you were taliking about and when in his life and the "Young" and "Old" got a bit distracting to me.

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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:46 pm

Very Happy I love you I love you Exclamation Exclamation Arrow Arrow

Thanks Guys! I agree and I am on it!! Busy weekend ~ but will do it tonight>
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:02 pm

Exclamation Wink OK...I have taken your suggestions and tweaked my story. If you could get to it and give me more much needed comments, that would be great.

It is the IMPOSSIBLE SUMMER SNOW dated October 6th still in the first drafts folder on Boxnet!

Thanks everyone!

PS...I miss you guys! We are all so quiet as we write!!

I love you I love you I love you Razz
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:36 pm

Ok, I've read as well -- I think it's a really interesting take on a classic concept!

I agree that some of the repetition is helpful, but I also got a little confused right at the beginning. There was clearly about to be a flashback, and then I couldn't tell at first which paragraph was going to begin the flashback. The paragraph that starts with "the bells on the shepherd dog's collar" was where I thought we were back in time, I think because the sentence before it sounded like an introduction to the flashback.

I think there's an interesting opportunity here that you might want to consider. You could be far more vague, which you are until you get to the manger stuff. Before that, it's really open to interpretation whether you're being straightforward-biblical or whether you're showing us an alien encounter and guiding us to merely think it's biblical because of the names and imagery.

For me, it would be a stronger piece if you continued that vagueness through to the end, so that religious people would go "ahh, what a great story of the birth of Jesus" and non-religious people would go "ahh, clever way to explain a lot of the stories about the birth of Jesus with a different explanation." But that's just personal opinion -- not sure if anyone else would agree.

Very interesting, and very different from the other things I've read of yours! Cool!
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:45 pm

moonunit wrote:


I think there's an interesting opportunity here that you might want to consider. You could be far more vague, which you are until you get to the manger stuff. Before that, it's really open to interpretation whether you're being straightforward-biblical or whether you're showing us an alien encounter and guiding us to merely think it's biblical because of the names and imagery.

For me, it would be a stronger piece if you continued that vagueness through to the end, so that religious people would go "ahh, what a great story of the birth of Jesus" and non-religious people would go "ahh, clever way to explain a lot of the stories about the birth of Jesus with a different explanation." But that's just personal opinion -- not sure if anyone else would agree.


Just gonna add my two cents here and say I agree with Moon's "vague" idea...I think that might lend the story some strength as well as make it more marketable... Smile
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:13 pm

cheers Thanks guys...( clears her throat and gives a sidelong glance )...um...but, I thought I WAS BEING VAGUE!! Ha!

I guess I need to be even more vague, but then I'm afraid the magic of the story will be lost. As I said before, I intend for this to be an adult fairy tale, not a real explaination of the event, and it is not totally biblical, as there never was a magic key, or a little drummer boy...those are all folklore in nature.

If you could be more specific, I will have another go...maybe we could talk about it on SKYPE tomorrow, as long as we are all still going to meet then!

THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!

You guys are awesome!
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:31 pm

My two cents ...

TDC, I'm sorry I didn't give feedback on your first draft. I thought I had! I certainly meant to. It's hard keeping track of who's written what and the ones you've commented on.

ANYway ...

Right off the bat, there are two things I would change. On page 4, it says "Nothing like this had ever happened to either of them before." Judging by their reactions, I'd say that's a given, so I'd dump this line.

On page 6, it says, "This little family was so poor they didnt have the means to wrap the newborn in new linens, instead had him wrapped in swaddling cloth, let alone afford a room at the inn." It should read "This little family was so poor they didnt have the means to wrap the newborn in new linens, let alone afford a room at the inn. Instead they had him wrapped in swaddling cloth."

As far as the story goes, I think it was well written, and the descriptions of everything, from the snow to the angel's wings to the sheepdog's collar, were vivid.

But, being probably the least Christian guy in G10, I have to say that the subject matter turned me off right away. I have no problems with stories set in biblical times, but as soon as there's a religious connection, I shut down. Also, aside from the fact that you told the story from the shepherd boy's perspective, at its core it's just a retelling of the Christ birth. The two main elements that I think should be the focus of the story -- the snow (since it's in the title) and the key (since that's the ... well, key) are secondary and almost throwaway elements.

I don't really know what to suggest. The only way to address any of what I spoke about would be to tear down the story completely and start again, but this is the story you want to tell, so of course you should. And anyway, as I said, it's well written, so what the heck do I know?
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:37 pm

Trib, we may have to arm-wrestle for the title of "Least Christian Guy in G10" if we meet some day. Smile


Sheri, I don't have a problem with the theme of the story, but I definitely agree that it should be kept more vague until the end. I don't know how you'd do that without losing the angels, and I suspect you wouldn't want to do that, so I'm at a loss for what else could be done.

I wasn't going to get into a theological discussion here, but since you started on it, it's no secret to historians that Jesus probably wasn't born in Bethlehem, or in a stable, or in what we consider the year "0." The reasons given for that don't match up with history or any other accounts besides the one you quoted. For example, the Romans never required anyone to go back to their home town to register for a census. My point in bringing this up is that once you get away from the "traditional" version of what people believe happened that night (such as Jesus actually being born on December 25), you should feel more free to change other aspects of it as well. My suggestion is that you don't confine yourself to what the general public thinks and try to write the best story possible.

Otherwise, I think the writing is very good and it's an interesting take on the concept.

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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:18 pm

Exclamation I love you Exclamation I love you Thanks to my very wonderful unchristian friends! You don't need to arm wrestle...I know who you are...hee hee...

Tribble, I had been mulling over that stupid sentence from the beginning, and you single handedly got it fixed in two seconds! Thank you so much!.

And my detale oriented Teach: I am NOT attempting to tell anyone a REAL or ACCURATE account of this baby's birth. I am trying to tell a fairy tale type account from the lowly shepherd's point of view. I have tried to downplay the family and up play the fact that the simple people were the one's effected more on that evening than even the Magi. Bringing the key in to open the boxes by the most unlikely of persons is just a little fluff, not intended to be accurate in time, place, person, or historical hogwash. How boring that would be!

If anything it is a lesson in humility, wonder, and the little child in all of us. A story that lets us know it is OK to believe something that brings us into the rhelm of the super natural! After all, isn't that what the writer is asking us to believe when we read about Vampires, Werewolves, or even Star Trek?

These stories are all figments of the human mind and heart. So, why can't we read one that tells a whimsical story about the wonder of love? Is that too much to ask of the reader? To get lost in a tale of a night when angels appeared to shepherds on the hills of Israel is not any different than asking the reader to get lost in the whimsical tale of a dark castle in Transelvania where a Vampire stalks and drains the blood of any lowly victim who happens by.

That's my fairy tale, and I'm stickin' to it! Very Happy santa

I am taking all comments into consideration and hope to have a second draft ready by tomorrow!

Thanks Teach, Trib, Moon, Shranny and everyone else for your wonderful feedback!
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:15 pm

You're welcome, Sheri! I'm not sure if I made sense in what I wrote. I wasn't saying you should try to be historically accurate, but the opposite. What I meant was that because most peoples' ideas are NOT historically accurate, then you shouldn't constrain your story to any previous version, including Luke's, which means that you could pull out the angels or anything else in order to have a better reveal at the end. It's a good story, I'm just afraid that you're confining yourself because you're trying to incorporate the things you quoted in your post. Hopefully I'm making more sense now, and not making it more confusing. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:17 pm

Wink Exclamation Exclamation Arrow Arrow santa It's OK, Teach...I know what you mean, and it is harder to re-tell a story imbedded in so many people's minds as one way and one way only. I understand the story so well, and in so doing, thought it would be easier than it actually has been.

Yikes. I went back in and tried to make it more vague, and found myself actually making it less vague. I have re-written the ending, but am not sure I am happy with it even now!

Again, if anyone has a comment, it will be in the 2nd draft folder on boxnet.

Thank you...and forgive me if I might be heading to go over the 5,000 to 7,000 word limit, Whiggy! Ha!

(Just kidding!) sunny
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:46 pm

sunny

Just counted it in at 3,719 words.
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:12 pm

Ooh! Ooh! TDC! I just thought of a great twist for your story! And it wouldn't even take that much tweaking! Dig this ...

Have the story start out the same way, with Ephraim and his father and the snow and the angel and all that. But then have the angel tell Ephraim that he has to go on a crucial journey (but don't tell the reader what it is), and have Ephraim travel far and wide through the snow following a star until he comes to a stable with a manger in a small little town ... but then have him dig around in the straw to find a key! It wasn't Jesus' manger at all! Then have him return to where he started and have him find the Magi, who are beside themselves because they have boxes filled with precious gifts but they lost the key for them, and have Ephraim give them the key they need and have them head off.

What do you think?
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:53 am

cheers Exclamation Wow..thanks Tribble!

Let me mull this over a bit...and try and keep my modest word count as well! Ha! I was feeling pretty good about keeping restrained this time around! heh...

I like the idea of him going on a quest for the key...I just am worried my story will balloon out too many words...I will work on it!

Thanks!! I love you Wink Wink Smile
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:21 pm

Sorry for being late to the party, TDC. It's funny how many of the comments here are asking you to be vague, when the comment I'm going to give is going to ask you to be specific.

When Ephraim finds the glowing object in the snow, why not mention that it's key right away? I think it would build suspense early. "What is this key for?" the reader will wonder. The way its written now, I feel like the key isnt given the mystery and weight that you want. Its reveal currently seems lost in words and sentences instead of standing out on its own. I, at least, didn't feel suspense when the narrator refers to the mysterious object around Ephraim's neck. Instead, I felt a bit frustrated because the mysterious object is suddenly brought back into the narrative out of nowhere. And then the reveal that it was a key felt flat.

If you feel that revealing the key earlier doesn't work, I think you should at least mention that Ephraim picked up the glowing object when he found it. Because what happens when you mention it later in the story is that the narrative has to stop to explain what had happened before moving forward again. Now you have a flashback within a flashback which feels a bit awkward.

I think I'm rambling ...

My point ... plant the key earlier. Or plant earlier the idea that Ephraim has this mysterious object with him. So in the back of our minds, as the narrative moves forward, we're thinking what is that key (or mysterious glowing object) around Ephraim's neck for. This, I think, makes for a more dramatic payoff.

(I have to admit that for a second my mind entertained the idea that the mysterious glowing object was the Artifact. I thought you were putting the Artifact in a Christmas story!) Smile

But, overall, the writing is strong. I feel at a few points the narrative slows because some sentences feel overly written. Otherwise, the narrative works very well and the prose is beautiful.
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:44 pm

Idea Thanks Eugene...I will go back in and do that.

In fact, the reveal has been a bur in my saddle...I wasn't sure just where to place it. I had written a first draft with the key coming out of the snow a lot like your suggestion above...but thought perhaps I should keep it to myself for a later time in the story because so many people expect to read a re-hash of a much loved Christmas story anyways...I see now, I must have been right at the beginning.

It's funny how someone else can confirm one's first gut feeling in a story...thanks!!

I will be re-writing and hope to have it in by tomorrow or Thursday!

santa No rambeling allowed!! Ha!
TDC
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:21 pm

:!>: This KEY is sooo COOL! Thanks!! I lvoe it!

I have re-worked IMPOSSIBLE SUMMER SNOW a third time...and want to thank Eugene for his imput! You guys have been great!!

Please read it again and let me know how it goes now. I sent you all a heads up through email as to why I did some things a certain way. A method to my madness.

It is still in the second draft file, but you will see it has been updated and has today's date on it...that's the one to read!

I am looking forward to your comments!

Love. TDC
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:14 pm

Nicely done, TDC! The 2nd draft reads much more clearly and has a nice beat to it. I've sent you some notes over email pointing out little things like misspellings and suggesting some verb-tense changes.

Good work!
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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:10 am

Hi, TDC! I sent you a file tonight. I hope you can open it. If not, let me know and I'll see if I can upload it to box.n

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PostSubject: Re: TDC's (Sheri's) Story   Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:07 pm

I have uploaded my final version with art and intro to The Copyediting File for Tribble on Boxnet.

I am also sending a seperate copy of this file to you, Steve, through email, as when I preview it on Boxnet, the art isn't showing up (?) and the little snowflake icons I used to seperate the scenes are showing as funny looking "T's"...sorry if this is confusing.

I am now going off to work on an update to my bio!

TDC :!>:
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