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C James

Bogged down: a request for help.

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I'll reply in detail to the chapter thread later today, but I want to thank everyone who has weighed in.

 

On the issue of getting bogged down, short version: I have to agree. To be totally (and painfully) honest, my ego reared up when I saw comments like that, for about five seconds, and then I came face to face with the fact they're right.

 

This is a big part of why I invite all criticism; it helps me see things I otherwise would not. This is such a case, and I am thankful for it. An author does not see the story the same way as a reader, so is oft blind to aspects of how it reads.

 

I do think that writing this as a serial makes it harder to control bloat in some ways, and that's squarely an author-caused problem; my team does not know the plot, so they can't know what is, and what is not, needed in that regard.

 

I was happier with the first half of the story, but there's a key difference in how it was written; back then, I was a dozen or more chapters ahead of the posted chapters, and that gave me the chance to go back and edit based on later developments. I lost that buffer of chapters when pneumonia took me out of action for over two months earlier this year. I was extremely ill, and for several weeks I was sleeping for 20+ hours a day, and then I had to catch up on work, etc, while slowly recovering. End result; about three months worth of writing time shot to hell. I've been struggling to play catch up ever since. In so doing, I've gotten long winded on things that should have been done more concisely, plus the flow is poorer as well.

 

Now, how to fix it? As a purely practical matter, I have the problem of a few (4) already-completed chapters in beta and editing; if I scrap them for a deep re-write, we're looking at putting the story on hiatus for a month or more. I can say for sure that all chapters starting with the one I'm currently writing WILL benefit from the current feedback, but I'm in a quandary about what to do on the written but not yet posted ones. I'll review them this afternoon, and try to figure out how I could change them without screwing up the big reveal (which is what I'm currently writing). I'll see what I can figure out, and post my findings in the thread. The crux of the problem is I can't just whack scenes; they all tie in (just like the current chapter and other recent ones) to the resolution. I'd need to rewrite to get the same info across more briefly, and see what bits could be omitted.

 

There are a lot of characters. I know that's confusing and I don't like it. I do try to minimize extraneous scenes (that's why we don't see Jim and Dirk too often, and when we do it's brief, and why Lisa and Joel aren';t seen as much) but, yeah, there are a lot, and in many locations. Some are just brief; the crew of the Antarctic Star, for example, are just there for the garlic crusher and won't be back after that. Could I have covered that in a briefer way? Yes. Should I have? Yes. The good news on that front is we see the crew of the antarctic star again, for two paragraphs, then no more. But, they ended up taking up a whole hell of a lot more page space than I intended, and I could have done better with that.

 

Could I have shortened the scene with Kline and Fowler striking their deal? Yes. I'm sure I could have, but it's the how that eludes me (any input on this would be very welcome!). It was not originally that long, but it came across (to me) as too... convenient, I guess would be the way to say it, that Kline just up and swapped sides, as it were. So, I filled it in and expended it to show his motivations. To show why Kline was willing to cooperate, and also to show that he's complex in that he's not just some evil guy, but a man who is moral by his own standards, though his standards are different from most.

 

Sometimes, characters come and go. They are there for a reason, and then we see them no more, such as Ben in chapter 2, who was in the story mainly so that Trevor could give him, and thus the readers, a tour of Atlantis. I needed to do that because it has a layout that is vastly different from how most people would imagine a yacht, in ways that are plot critical. But, after that, his job done, Ben left the story. The same is true for the people Trevor met at various places in the Med; once they were no longer in the plot, they were gone. I even skirt the bounds of reality to keep to a minimum; we see only Fowler and Grundig of the Carnarvon Customs office. In reality, there are at least six officers there, working in shifts. I allude to this briefly, but arranged things so I could keep the actual recurring characters to Fowler and Grundig (otherwise we'd have six, not two, in their role).

 

One thing I would like to do, and I'll start a thread for at the appropriate time, is after the big reveal, ask for opinions on which characters and scenes could have been omitted. Any that do not play a major role in it would of course be prime candidates.

 

In the meantime though, at the very least, starting with the chapter I'm currently writing, there will be changes that I hope improve the readability and flow, plus of course speed the passage of time (days of story time per chapter).

 

I very much welcome anyone and everyone to weigh in on this; nothing is off-limits. I'm looking first and foremost for advice, but any thoughts or opinions would be very welcome.

 

Edit to add: a fast read through of the coming 4 chapters indicates that a massive rewrite would be required to condense them, due to heavy interrelationships with what's coming when the entire back-story is reveled, but... one option is to improve flow and continuity by remixing those chapters, and making them three instead of four. This would not result in any delays in the posting schedule.

 

CJ :)

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I'll reply in detail to the chapter thread later today, but I want to thank everyone who has weighed in.

 

On the issue of getting bogged down, short version: I have to agree. To be totally (and painfully) honest, my ego reared up when I saw comments like that, for about five seconds, and then I came face to face with the fact they're right.

 

This is a big part of why I invite all criticism; it helps me see things I otherwise would not. This is such a case, and I am thankful for it. An author does not see the story the same way as a reader, so is oft blind to aspects of how it reads.

 

I do think that writing this as a serial makes it harder to control bloat in some ways, and that's squarely an author-caused problem; my team does not know the plot, so they can't know what is, and what is not, needed in that regard.

 

I was happier with the first half of the story, but there's a key difference in how it was written; back then, I was a dozen or more chapters ahead of the posted chapters, and that gave me the chance to go back and edit based on later developments. I lost that buffer of chapters when pneumonia took me out of action for over two months earlier this year. I was extremely ill, and for several weeks I was sleeping for 20+ hours a day, and then I had to catch up on work, etc, while slowly recovering. End result; about three months worth of writing time shot to hell. I've been struggling to play catch up ever since. In so doing, I've gotten long winded on things that should have been done more concisely, plus the flow is poorer as well.

 

Now, how to fix it? As a purely practical matter, I have the problem of a few (4) already-completed chapters in beta and editing; if I scrap them for a deep re-write, we're looking at putting the story on hiatus for a month or more. I can say for sure that all chapters starting with the one I'm currently writing WILL benefit from the current feedback, but I'm in a quandary about what to do on the written but not yet posted ones. I'll review them this afternoon, and try to figure out how I could change them without screwing up the big reveal (which is what I'm currently writing). I'll see what I can figure out, and post my findings in the thread. The crux of the problem is I can't just whack scenes; they all tie in (just like the current chapter and other recent ones) to the resolution. I'd need to rewrite to get the same info across more briefly, and see what bits could be omitted.

 

There are a lot of characters. I know that's confusing and I don't like it. I do try to minimize extraneous scenes (that's why we don't see Jim and Dirk too often, and when we do it's brief, and why Lisa and Joel aren';t seen as much) but, yeah, there are a lot, and in many locations. Some are just brief; the crew of the Antarctic Star, for example, are just there for the garlic crusher and won't be back after that. Could I have covered that in a briefer way? Yes. Should I have? Yes. The good news on that front is we see the crew of the antarctic star again, for two paragraphs, then no more. But, they ended up taking up a whole hell of a lot more page space than I intended, and I could have done better with that.

 

Could I have shortened the scene with Kline and Fowler striking their deal? Yes. I'm sure I could have, but it's the how that eludes me (any input on this would be very welcome!). It was not originally that long, but it came across (to me) as too... convenient, I guess would be the way to say it, that Kline just up and swapped sides, as it were. So, I filled it in and expended it to show his motivations. To show why Kline was willing to cooperate, and also to show that he's complex in that he's not just some evil guy, but a man who is moral by his own standards, though his standards are different from most.

 

Sometimes, characters come and go. They are there for a reason, and then we see them no more, such as Ben in chapter 2, who was in the story mainly so that Trevor could give him, and thus the readers, a tour of Atlantis. I needed to do that because it has a layout that is vastly different from how most people would imagine a yacht, in ways that are plot critical. But, after that, his job done, Ben left the story. The same is true for the people Trevor met at various places in the Med; once they were no longer in the plot, they were gone. I even skirt the bounds of reality to keep to a minimum; we see only Fowler and Grundig of the Carnarvon Customs office. In reality, there are at least six officers there, working in shifts. I allude to this briefly, but arranged things so I could keep the actual recurring characters to Fowler and Grundig (otherwise we'd have six, not two, in their role).

 

One thing I would like to do, and I'll start a thread for at the appropriate time, is after the big reveal, ask for opinions on which characters and scenes could have been omitted. Any that do not play a major role in it would of course be prime candidates.

 

In the meantime though, at the very least, starting with the chapter I'm currently writing, there will be changes that I hope improve the readability and flow, plus of course speed the passage of time (days of story time per chapter).

 

I very much welcome anyone and everyone to weigh in on this; nothing is off-limits. I'm looking first and foremost for advice, but any thoughts or opinions would be very welcome.

 

CJ :)

 

B)................... Don't even think of giving in to newbies comments! It was because of them that you ran a few chapters of Trevor and Shane together, they wanted it and more and now they complain that you are stalling the story? PLEEEEASSSSE! The story is going just fine here, do NOT change anything in it to quell the antics of a few that want more immediately. Your story is just fine and the time line although a bit excruciating it is in tune and great. I would be honored and proud to have an autographed copy of this book, which I know would be a best seller!!!.

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I don't think there are too many characters. I am generally bad at remembering names and characters but so far I have had no issue recalling who is who and what their role is in the story, and I've read each chapter only once. Most of the characters get exactly the scenes that they need.

 

But I do think the whole "vacation" with Shane killed a lot of the suspense. Trev's circumnavigation has basically ended in Western Australia. He has been in the same place for 30 chapters now. I understand that you can't rush a romance, but for me the romance completely took over the rest of the story. Each day they spent together was described in detail. And then there were the panic attacks, which were interesting and understandable at first, but then later just became another plot device to bring him and Shane together. Now don't get me wrong, I loved reading about their time together, I just don't think it mattered all that much in the grand scheme of things. As a reader I was always, and still am, way more interested in what the bad guys are up to, Trev's parents, the search for Ares, etc. And most importantly, having Trev complete his circumnavigation.

 

So for me the issue is not that you write too much, but just the direction you chose to go with the story.

 

Also I loved the scene with Kline and Fowler, there is absolutely no reason to shorten it. I wouldn't want you to omit any of the scenes with the supporting characters, They are usually my favorite ones.

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Hi CJ,

 

The last time I checked, Circumnavigation readers weren't paying you enough to demand edits.

 

Criticism of what has been written is one thing, and it is how authors improve, but I think there is a difference between honest criticism and complaining, and I don't think you should react to the complainers by changing the story.

 

So my recommendation is that you shouldn't change the story to fit the whims of the audience. Tell the story as written in your brain, if not on paper yet. If you think it needs changes but can't figure out what the changes should be, maybe you should put it on the shelf for a bit.

 

I'd recommend publishing the next chapter, on, say, December 17th.

 

Your only other option is to turn it into a collaborative effort, in which case my contribution (because I will make one) is that I will write a chapter in which

 

- Bridget and Lisa become

- Joel runs off with Dirk to start

- Atlantis ______________ while under fire and

- Trevor and Shane reveal that they are in fact

 

In the meantime, we readers should remember that authors aren't being paid (full stop) to put out the story we want to hear, they're writing the story they want to tell, voluntarily.

 

PS if you want to do this right, shelve the story, but publish a teaser from the next chapter entitled "Everybody Hurts" and cut it off just before you reveal that

 

Signed,

 

Gene Splicer, MVP

(new account, long time reader)

Edited by Gene Splicer MVP

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I've gotten long winded on things that should have been done more concisely

"Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parceque je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte." (I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time) - Blaise Pascal

 

if you want to do this right, shelve the story, but publish a teaser from the next chapter entitled "Everybody Hurts" and cut it off just before you reveal that ...

WARNING! WARNING!! CLIFFHANGER ALERT! Edited by Zombie

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You know that the devil is in the details :devil: and you know we all love the devil 0:)

The "deal with the devil" is that we get to have all the DETAILS so you can't back out now LOL

Mate you can't give in to the "quick fix". This story ROCKS! and those who think that the characterisation is too much obviously dont read a lot

:wub: Keep up the fantastic work mate :worship: :worship:

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I do think that writing this as a serial makes it harder to control bloat in some ways, and that's squarely an author-caused problem; my team does not know the plot, so they can't know what is, and what is not, needed in that regard.

Since I made the serial publication remark (:blink:), one suggestion is that are you willing to trust some editors to know the plot? If not, have you sat down to outline the remaining plot and use that to guide your chapters to help prevent you from bogging on one plot element? If you find you are bogging based on the outline, then it's time to reach out to the editors.

 

As a purely practical matter, I have the problem of a few (4) already-completed chapters in beta and editing; if I scrap them for a deep re-write, we're looking at putting the story on hiatus for a month or more. I can say for sure that all chapters starting with the one I'm currently writing WILL benefit from the current feedback, but I'm in a quandary about what to do on the written but not yet posted ones.

Easy. Don't reinvent the wheel. You're writing and publishing for free. If you're happy with what's already written, people will get over it. There's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. People want to see the plot move forward, but a lot of that is based around how bogged down the plot became when trying to build Shane/Trevor's relationship. If it were me I'd probably try to focus on any "relationship building" scenes and see if they can be cut, but I don't think you need to worry about overexposure to other characters at this point.

 

Could I have shortened the scene with Kline and Fowler striking their deal? Yes. I'm sure I could have, but it's the how that eludes me (any input on this would be very welcome!). It was not originally that long, but it came across (to me) as too... convenient, I guess would be the way to say it, that Kline just up and swapped sides, as it were. So, I filled it in and expended it to show his motivations. To show why Kline was willing to cooperate, and also to show that he's complex in that he's not just some evil guy, but a man who is moral by his own standards, though his standards are different from most.

This is where I think you'd do best to lean on your beta readers and editors in a given situation. Let them know you want to condense your writing, and make the assumption that you have an Intelligent Audience to avoid spoon feeding. Ask them, "Does Kline come across as a prick or are his motivations clear?" Also, do you need him to not be a heartless prick? You want complex characters, but anyone that isn't a central character doesn't really need to be all that complex. (FWIW, I've always felt like Kline was self-serving, but not heartless. I could always forgive his actions specifically because he didn't know all the backstory.)

 

Have you ever written film or play? I ask because, as the medium is so short, you write with a "once and done" mentality. You tell the audience something in a scene (Trevor thinks Shane is hot, for example) and you don't waste time saying it again. The Intelligent Audience Knows. And when elapsing time or relationship building, you do montages, which you could consider. To be brutally honest, I think this would have cut down a lot of the Shane/Trevor scenes. Sometimes it felt a bit... "Trevor has a nightmare. Shane makes breakfast. Trevor drinks coffee. The boys swim. Trevor is aroused. The boys run on the beach. Trevor is aroused. The boys play a rescue game. Trevor is aroused. Trevor has tremors. Shane is concerned. The boys get a little drunk and go to bed." Then we read it again with slight changes the next day. It would have been faster (but perhaps not better) if you had broken down one day, then wrote a paragraph or three about how they fell into a familiar pattern for the next week, but Trevor still had nightmares and tremors. And about how Trevor was falling for Shane.

 

The audience would have understood and it would have moved the timeline forward faster (allowing, say, a week to pass), because sometimes from the outside it felt like you were passing time just to make it believable that Trevor and Shane were "in love."

 

One thing I would like to do, and I'll start a thread for at the appropriate time, is after the big reveal, ask for opinions on which characters and scenes could have been omitted. Any that do not play a major role in it would of course be prime candidates.

Out of curiosity, is this in preparation for publishing in other formats or just a learning exercise. 0:)

 

ALL that said, one thing to remember is that you have probably hundreds of readers eagerly awaiting your next chapter release. You've had thousands of views. Obviously you've done something very, very right. And I'm pretty sure all of us will stick around until the story ends. That in itself is a feat. I've never written anything longer than a short story, so it's pretty damn impressive. You're doing an amazing job, and I'd be perfectly happy if you stayed the present course. :wub:

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I don't think there are too many characters. I am generally bad at remembering names and characters but so far I have had no issue recalling who is who and what their role is in the story, and I've read each chapter only once. Most of the characters get exactly the scenes that they need.

 

To some extent, what we're talking about is style. Some authors are concise. Some authors are verbose. A good example of the latter is Stephen Donaldson and his Thomas Covenant series. It's not a style I usually read (I tend to go for the authors whose style is in the middle) but it's just the way the story is written.

 

But I do think the whole "vacation" with Shane killed a lot of the suspense.

 

A fair comment, but again what that means is that the author has to build up suspense again. Can he do that? Probably... and that's his job. There is nothing wrong with having multiple suspense/climax events in a story. Just because there's a lull before the next sequence doesn't mean something is wrong. I've been finding the interactions interesting... especially as we know that there are things still to go.

 

Of course, the story also needs to progress, and there's a legitimate point of view that the story is not progressing... but equally readers could consider the situation in Australia is developing and that's progress.

 

Now, if you really want an example of how a story can extend without progress, try Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I stopped reading after book 10 when there had been practically no story progress for two entire novels... :P CJ's a long way from making the story that dragged out. And given the huge number of Wheel of Time fans there are, people still buy the new books because they're still interested, even if the story wasn't progressing particularly fast. This is a comparable situation, in my opinion. We're all hooked on the story and the fact that story progress isn't fast at the moment isn't stopping us from reading :D

 

Just my views 0:)

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There's nothing wrong with a long story. This one has rich detail and a complex plot which require some time for the author to tell and which require some effort on the part of readers. You will glad you stuck with it when you finally understand what you don't yet know.

 

If you think this is a long story, try reading Nicholas Nickleby. :P

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To some extent, what we're talking about is style. Some authors are concise. Some authors are verbose. A good example of the latter is Stephen Donaldson and his Thomas Covenant series. It's not a style I usually read (I tend to go for the authors whose style is in the middle) but it's just the way the story is written.

 

 

A fair comment, but again what that means is that the author has to build up suspense again. Can he do that? Probably... and that's his job. There is nothing wrong with having multiple suspense/climax events in a story. Just because there's a lull before the next sequence doesn't mean something is wrong. I've been finding the interactions interesting... especially as we know that there are things still to go.

 

Of course, the story also needs to progress, and there's a legitimate point of view that the story is not progressing... but equally readers could consider the situation in Australia is developing and that's progress.

 

Now, if you really want an example of how a story can extend without progress, try Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I stopped reading after book 10 when there had been practically no story progress for two entire novels... :P CJ's a long way from making the story that dragged out. And given the huge number of Wheel of Time fans there are, people still buy the new books because they're still interested, even if the story wasn't progressing particularly fast. This is a comparable situation, in my opinion. We're all hooked on the story and the fact that story progress isn't fast at the moment isn't stopping us from reading :D

 

Just my views 0:)

 

I couldn't agree more. I think every story should have multiple climaxes. Posted Image

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CJ,

 

I may bitch and complain, but have never suggested you change the storyline. Without the associated casual characters your story would, IMHO, have lost much of its definition and charm. I cannot think of anything that has appeared which did not enhance the overall story. If any reader has a problem keeping track of the cast, IMHO, they might consider keeping notes.

 

I have to admit I am looking foreword to the conclusion. The story is moving along nicely. One thought is constantly in my mind. When the last paragraph is published and all the deep dark secrets are revealed, what will we talk about in the Forum?

 

CJ, you are the author. You have assembled a great team. Circumnavigation is, in my opinion, one of the best stories, I have read, in my lifetime. I would like to suggest you carry on the way you are going.

 

If any readers are upset, I would suggest they exercise their right to actively show their displeasure. They can do this by looking at the upper right corner of their Browser, and click the, ”X.” That should give them some satisfaction. Then, if they have created any Bookmark Shortcuts, they can delete them. Afterwards, if the are interested, they can wait until the listing for, Circumnavigating shows,"Completed." If they are interested, they can read the completed story.

 

I would like to bring to your attention, the words attributed to Mr. Abraham Lincoln regarding fooling the people. Substitute the word; “satisfy,” for the word, “Fool,”

 

Please continue on your present course.

 

Marty

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B)................... Don't even think of giving in to newbies comments! It was because of them that you ran a few chapters of Trevor and Shane together, they wanted it and more and now they complain that you are stalling the story? PLEEEEASSSSE! The story is going just fine here, do NOT change anything in it to quell the antics of a few that want more immediately. Your story is just fine and the time line although a bit excruciating it is in tune and great. I would be honored and proud to have an autographed copy of this book, which I know would be a best seller!!!.

 

I agree with Benji. I find nothing wrong with the last few chapters. Stay the course.

 

Colin B)

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If you think this is a long story, try reading Nicholas Nickelby. :P

Err, Dickens' tome in fact has only 319,307 words whereas, so far, Circumnavigation has 591,000 words (http://www.gayauthor...cumnavigationCJ). Maybe you'd have enjoyed watching your nails grow more than you did reading NN, but evidently you're getting more pleasure reading about Trev's adventures ;)

Edited by Zombie

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Err, Dickens' tome in fact has only 319,307 words whereas, so far, Circumnavigation has 591,000 words (http://www.gayauthor...cumnavigationCJ). Maybe you'd have enjoyed watching your nails grow more than you did reading NN, but evidently you're getting more pleasure reading about Trev's adventures ;)

 

I think nail growth is much more exciting than counting the words in a novel. :P As for the Dickens work, I was referring to the unabridged version. :P

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I think nail growth is much more exciting than counting the words in a novel. :P As for the Dickens work, I was referring to the unabridged version. :P

 

I've just whipped out my unabridged copy and, gadzooks, you're right - the complete unadulterated NN text is 322,506 words! (I'm a quick word counter :lol:) Edited by Zombie

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I'm going to chip in here on what seems to be the (vast) majority side here. Yes, the story could be shorter - of course it could. You could have written the whole lot as a short story and been done with it. But it's not a short story so the style is that of a novel.

 

How many chapters could you have saved with a sentence along the lines of, "After leaving the Suez Canal, Trevor was set upon by pirates and was lucky to survive, eventually limping into Carnarvon under a jury rig, having lost what little was left by the pirates during a storm in the Southern Ocean"? A dozen? More? Would it have been half so good a story? Of course not - not close to half. A fraction too small to measure probably.

 

You mention the Kline/Fowler interview specifically. You could simply have said that they came to an agreement for Kline to publish a version of the story tailored to remove any specific references to Trevor's whereabouts. It would have got the message across. We'd have known why Fowler was picking Kline up and taking him out in the Coastguard boat. I for one, though, would have missed it. I want to be there for every detail of this story. Trevor and Shane are friends of mine now and I want to know exactly what's going on with them. I really hope we see some more of their explorations as Shane takes on Joel's role as Trevor's travelling companion.

 

Too many characters? I confess, I'd forgotten all about Ben, but I do know what Atlantis looks like so he served his purpose. I could tell you a fair amount about all the main characters - I really don't see how you could have many fewer. There just aren't too many - I don't think the average reader can be having that much trouble.

 

I think you have a point when you point to the serial nature of the story, but it's not the point you're talking about. It's not that it's become bloated it's just that we all have to wait a week between chapters so, of course, it seems longer. I came in somewhere near the end of the Southern Ocean I think and I can assure you that there was never any chance of me not going directly from the end of one chapter to the start of the next. I'm pretty sure that if I were to re-read the whole thing then that feeling would continue right up to the latest chapter.

 

One day, you may publish this story in some other form. I'm not a literary editor or anything but, one day, I'd be happy to part with cash for a paper copy of this in a bookshop. Maybe then, some editing will be required, but I hope you don't mess about with the timeline too much. I suppose Matt Damon will be too old to play Trevor by the time the film version is made...

 

So, let's have the 4 chapters that are with your team as they are. It is, of course, up to you how you write the following chapters, but I hope you won't be tempted to shorten them too much.

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I'm going to chip in here on what seems to be the (vast) majority side here. Yes, the story could be shorter - of course it could. You could have written the whole lot as a short story and been done with it. But it's not a short story so the style is that of a novel.

 

How many chapters could you have saved with a sentence along the lines of, "After leaving the Suez Canal, Trevor was set upon by pirates and was lucky to survive, eventually limping into Carnarvon under a jury rig, having lost what little was left by the pirates during a storm in the Southern Ocean"? A dozen? More? Would it have been half so good a story? Of course not - not close to half. A fraction too small to measure probably.

 

You mention the Kline/Fowler interview specifically. You could simply have said that they came to an agreement for Kline to publish a version of the story tailored to remove any specific references to Trevor's whereabouts. It would have got the message across. We'd have known why Fowler was picking Kline up and taking him out in the Coastguard boat. I for one, though, would have missed it. I want to be there for every detail of this story. Trevor and Shane are friends of mine now and I want to know exactly what's going on with them. I really hope we see some more of their explorations as Shane takes on Joel's role as Trevor's travelling companion.

 

Too many characters? I confess, I'd forgotten all about Ben, but I do know what Atlantis looks like so he served his purpose. I could tell you a fair amount about all the main characters - I really don't see how you could have many fewer. There just aren't too many - I don't think the average reader can be having that much trouble.

 

I think you have a point when you point to the serial nature of the story, but it's not the point you're talking about. It's not that it's become bloated it's just that we all have to wait a week between chapters so, of course, it seems longer. I came in somewhere near the end of the Southern Ocean I think and I can assure you that there was never any chance of me not going directly from the end of one chapter to the start of the next. I'm pretty sure that if I were to re-read the whole thing then that feeling would continue right up to the latest chapter.

 

One day, you may publish this story in some other form. I'm not a literary editor or anything but, one day, I'd be happy to part with cash for a paper copy of this in a bookshop. Maybe then, some editing will be required, but I hope you don't mess about with the timeline too much. I suppose Matt Damon will be too old to play Trevor by the time the film version is made...

 

So, let's have the 4 chapters that are with your team as they are. It is, of course, up to you how you write the following chapters, but I hope you won't be tempted to shorten them too much.

 

 

Hi Low Flyer,

 

I just wish that you had posted this before I had my say. Then all I would have had to do was say, “DITTO.”

 

I know you said exactly what was in my mind. I also believe you spoke for many of CJs readers who do not post comments in the Forum.

 

There are times when the suspense gets to me. When it does, I say to myself, “I wish I had discovered Circumnavigation after it was completed.” Then realty kicks in. If I had read this story after it was completed, I would have cheated myself. Yes I definitely would have. I would never attempted to involve myself in the challenge of solving the mysteries CJ has woven into this story.

 

It was only in having the time to consider how it actually took place, which led me into posting my opinions. I gained new friends and found Benji. He has been an excellent partner leading me to consider alternative paths. We have stuck our necks out and made predictions. Whether we are accurate only CJ knows at present. We will earn the truth when the last chapter posts.

 

I hope when CJ reads your post and gives it serious consideration, he uses your writings as a yardstick to guide his future chapters.

 

I close with this comment. I know you voiced my view accurately. I also believe you spoke the prevailing opinions of many of our colleagues who are enjoying Circumnavigation.

 

I sincerely wish CJ will consider your beliefs and be guided by them in making his decisions.

 

Marty

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First off, my sincere thanks to everyone who has weighed in.

 

B)................... Don't even think of giving in to newbies comments! It was because of them that you ran a few chapters of Trevor and Shane together, they wanted it and more and now they complain that you are stalling the story? PLEEEEASSSSE! The story is going just fine here, do NOT change anything in it to quell the antics of a few that want more immediately. Your story is just fine and the time line although a bit excruciating it is in tune and great. I would be honored and proud to have an autographed copy of this book, which I know would be a best seller!!!.

 

Someone mentioned (privately) the Harry Potter series. I've never read it, but apparently it has an underlying conflict that spans many books, as well as things that aren't explained until he end. It has quite a few books.

:)

 

As a practical matter, I cannot change the run up to Dec 17th events in a significant way (I did a review last night to be sure). I'm currently writing that, so what comes before is already written, and I don't see much that could be changed without a drastic rewrite and massive plot changes (requiring changes to a ton of posted chapters as well) And after the 17th, everything changes, and the runup to the story finale begins.

 

Since I made the serial publication remark (:blink:), one suggestion is that are you willing to trust some editors to know the plot? If not, have you sat down to outline the remaining plot and use that to guide your chapters to help prevent you from bogging on one plot element? If you find you are bogging based on the outline, then it's time to reach out to the editors.

 

I probably should, and the reason I don't has nothing to do with trust; I trust my team fully. The reasons I don't are twofold; one is that for many, spoilers of that nature take away their enjoyment of reading, and I am loathe to do that to them. Another reason is I do make changes to plot aspects as I write. One example is Joel; e was originally (in the outline) a minor character and didn't go with Trev to the Med; Trev did the med alone. Once I began writing Joel, it occurred to me that going with him as a major character was a big improvement from what I had, and he filled in a major need in several plot related ways as well. If I'd given out the outline, I'd have felt more constrained to follow the particulars, or I'd have had to notify them that I'd made a change, and it would be unfair to them to expect them to apply changing details to a plot.

 

I've had a plot outline from the start; there was no choice, because the prologue is the key to the entire plot (so I had to know exactly what was going to happen, in detail). But, my outline covers plot more than anything else. For some sections, I drafted them out out of sequence (such as Trevor's crossing of the Indian Ocean) so I would know what he'd need. For example, the canned hot dogs from Gibraltar, and foreshadowing such as the mentions of sundials, showing the valve grinding kit (which he used to sabotage the pirate's engines) etc etc. There were a ton of small details that had to be worked into the story far in advance.

 

 

Easy. Don't reinvent the wheel. You're writing and publishing for free. If you're happy with what's already written, people will get over it. There's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. People want to see the plot move forward, but a lot of that is based around how bogged down the plot became when trying to build Shane/Trevor's relationship. If it were me I'd probably try to focus on any "relationship building" scenes and see if they can be cut, but I don't think you need to worry about overexposure to other characters at this point.

Unfortunately, good or bad, the only way I could do much about relationship building scenes would be to rewrite already-posted chapters, because that phase basically ended... hrmm, when they left Rhys Lagoon. For example, they were in chapter 89 for about 12 short paragraphs, I think, and none of it relationship.

 

 

Have you ever written film or play? I ask because, as the medium is so short, you write with a "once and done" mentality. You tell the audience something in a scene (Trevor thinks Shane is hot, for example) and you don't waste time saying it again. The Intelligent Audience Knows. And when elapsing time or relationship building, you do montages, which you could consider. To be brutally honest, I think this would have cut down a lot of the Shane/Trevor scenes. Sometimes it felt a bit... "Trevor has a nightmare. Shane makes breakfast. Trevor drinks coffee. The boys swim. Trevor is aroused. The boys run on the beach. Trevor is aroused. The boys play a rescue game. Trevor is aroused. Trevor has tremors. Shane is concerned. The boys get a little drunk and go to bed." Then we read it again with slight changes the next day. It would have been faster (but perhaps not better) if you had broken down one day, then wrote a paragraph or three about how they fell into a familiar pattern for the next week, but Trevor still had nightmares and tremors. And about how Trevor was falling for Shane.

I do agree with this, to a degree. There are parts I think I could have covered at a faster pace. Some parts, though, serve multiple purposes. Can an everyday event be a major clue? Yep. Have we seen them doing these sort of things in detail in the last couple of posted chapters? Nope.

 

I've never tried a script or play, I'd have no clue as to how. I have written many short stories though, such as these here on my site, and yes, I see what you mean about repetition; writing a short story is very different.

 

To some extent, what we're talking about is style. Some authors are concise. Some authors are verbose. A good example of the latter is Stephen Donaldson and his Thomas Covenant series. It's not a style I usually read (I tend to go for the authors whose style is in the middle) but it's just the way the story is written.

 

 

A fair comment, but again what that means is that the author has to build up suspense again. Can he do that? Probably... and that's his job. There is nothing wrong with having multiple suspense/climax events in a story. Just because there's a lull before the next sequence doesn't mean something is wrong. I've been finding the interactions interesting... especially as we know that there are things still to go.

 

Of course, the story also needs to progress, and there's a legitimate point of view that the story is not progressing... but equally readers could consider the situation in Australia is developing and that's progress.

 

Now, if you really want an example of how a story can extend without progress, try Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I stopped reading after book 10 when there had been practically no story progress for two entire novels... :P CJ's a long way from making the story that dragged out. And given the huge number of Wheel of Time fans there are, people still buy the new books because they're still interested, even if the story wasn't progressing particularly fast. This is a comparable situation, in my opinion. We're all hooked on the story and the fact that story progress isn't fast at the moment isn't stopping us from reading :D

 

Just my views 0:)

 

I can say that what's going on in Australia isn't extraneous to the plot, as we'll soon see. :)

 

I'm going to chip in here on what seems to be the (vast) majority side here. Yes, the story could be shorter - of course it could. You could have written the whole lot as a short story and been done with it. But it's not a short story so the style is that of a novel.

 

How many chapters could you have saved with a sentence along the lines of, "After leaving the Suez Canal, Trevor was set upon by pirates and was lucky to survive, eventually limping into Carnarvon under a jury rig, having lost what little was left by the pirates during a storm in the Southern Ocean"? A dozen? More? Would it have been half so good a story? Of course not - not close to half. A fraction too small to measure probably.

 

You mention the Kline/Fowler interview specifically. You could simply have said that they came to an agreement for Kline to publish a version of the story tailored to remove any specific references to Trevor's whereabouts. It would have got the message across. We'd have known why Fowler was picking Kline up and taking him out in the Coastguard boat. I for one, though, would have missed it. I want to be there for every detail of this story. Trevor and Shane are friends of mine now and I want to know exactly what's going on with them. I really hope we see some more of their explorations as Shane takes on Joel's role as Trevor's travelling companion.

 

Too many characters? I confess, I'd forgotten all about Ben, but I do know what Atlantis looks like so he served his purpose. I could tell you a fair amount about all the main characters - I really don't see how you could have many fewer. There just aren't too many - I don't think the average reader can be having that much trouble.

 

I think you have a point when you point to the serial nature of the story, but it's not the point you're talking about. It's not that it's become bloated it's just that we all have to wait a week between chapters so, of course, it seems longer. I came in somewhere near the end of the Southern Ocean I think and I can assure you that there was never any chance of me not going directly from the end of one chapter to the start of the next. I'm pretty sure that if I were to re-read the whole thing then that feeling would continue right up to the latest chapter.

 

One day, you may publish this story in some other form. I'm not a literary editor or anything but, one day, I'd be happy to part with cash for a paper copy of this in a bookshop. Maybe then, some editing will be required, but I hope you don't mess about with the timeline too much. I suppose Matt Damon will be too old to play Trevor by the time the film version is made...

 

So, let's have the 4 chapters that are with your team as they are. It is, of course, up to you how you write the following chapters, but I hope you won't be tempted to shorten them too much.

 

Thanks. :)

 

Ben was there for more than just the tour of Atlantis, he was also there for character development for Lisa and Trevor (important, as this was chapter 2) but I did get a lot of inquiries (many thought he'd be a recurring character). So, I wrote a short story as a spin off, called "Ben", because he didn't fit in the Circumnavigation narrative anymore.

 

I am painfully fond of the travelogue aspects; I'm a travel addict, and I love revisiting places in a story that I've seen in person, or occasionally visiting a new place. I've only been to Australia once, years ago, and that was to the eastern coast, so I've never been to Western Australia. That makes writing it a challenge, but a fun one, and I could not do it without Graeme and my Australian friends, who have helped with details that I would otherwise have bungled. I've never seen Shark Bay, but to write this story I did a great deal of research on it, which I found very enjoyable. I had it easy until Trevor left the Seychelles; I'd been to everywhere he went except Taranto, Italy, and the port on the Red Sea after Suez... oh, and Cyprus, that part of it anyway. Hrmm, and the Greek island that was a gunnery range with the unexploded ammo; I've never been there, either, though I've sailed past it. On the other hand, I'd never been to these places in a yacht, so I had a LOT to learn. (going through the Suez in a cruise ship is a vastly different thing than doing a transit in a yacht, to name just one example). Red A has been of more help than I can possibly describe, in many, many ways. He is a true expert.

 

One thing I might do to make both sides (and the author, who loves writing the travelogues) happy; Write them and have them in the chapters, but at the end of the chapter. That way, those who don't like them can skip them.

 

Once again, a big "THANK YOU" to all who have weighed in. :)

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Hi CJ,

 

The last time I checked, Circumnavigation readers weren't paying you enough to demand edits.

 

Criticism of what has been written is one thing, and it is how authors improve, but I think there is a difference between honest criticism and complaining, and I don't think you should react to the complainers by changing the story.

 

So my recommendation is that you shouldn't change the story to fit the whims of the audience. Tell the story as written in your brain, if not on paper yet. If you think it needs changes but can't figure out what the changes should be, maybe you should put it on the shelf for a bit.

 

I'd recommend publishing the next chapter, on, say, December 17th.

 

Your only other option is to turn it into a collaborative effort, in which case my contribution (because I will make one) is that I will write a chapter in which

 

- Bridget and Lisa become

- Joel runs off with Dirk to start

- Atlantis ______________ while under fire and

- Trevor and Shane reveal that they are in fact

 

In the meantime, we readers should remember that authors aren't being paid (full stop) to put out the story we want to hear, they're writing the story they want to tell, voluntarily.

 

PS if you want to do this right, shelve the story, but publish a teaser from the next chapter entitled "Everybody Hurts" and cut it off just before you reveal that

 

Signed,

 

Gene Splicer, MVP

(new account, long time reader)

 

Welcome, Gene Splicer!! Thanks for joining!!!

 

If I shelved the story for a long spell, I think I'd get lynched. :)

 

I do actually shelve it from time to time, mainly, as you say, to think things through. Usually, this takes three or four days, and in that time I'm working on a different story. I find this helps a lot. :)

 

CJ :)

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If I shelved the story for a long spell, I think I'd get lynched. :)

 

I can confirm this ...

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If I shelved the story for a long spell, I think I'd get lynched. :)

 

CJ :)

 

 

 

There is a market for curried goat

Manchester Picadilly

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There is a market for curried goat

 

Only £4.50, including rice and peas. Not bad at all. :D

 

Now, where can we get some goat... ?

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There is a market for curried goat

Manchester Picadilly

 

Hi Red

 

That seems a very high price for a rather low grade meal. Unless the cook is using a young tender goat. However i suppose if you tenderized the carcase first, it might be acceptable. Maybe the way the Golden Eagle used, dropping the live animal from a HIGH CLIFF. Bump, BUMP ALL THE WAY DOWN.

 

Marty

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That seems a very high price for a rather low grade meal.

Oh come on, Marty - remember it includes rice and peas.

 

Rice AND peas, Marty. :lol:

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Oh come on, Marty - remember it includes rice and peas.

 

Rice AND peas, Marty. :lol:

 

 

Hmmmm

 

Well maybe. But OLD GOAT is probably stringy and tough to chew. At least steers in Texas are.

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