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C James

Bogged down: a request for help.

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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

 

I resemble that remark.

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Texas Style

 

Posted Image

 

 

el cabrón(AKA) Goat Bar-B-Que

B)............................ Looks good! LOL! WTH is with that guys toes though?? :blink:

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B)............................ Looks good! LOL! WTH is with that guys toes though?? :blink:

 

 

Hi Benji,

 

Maybe it was cold and he was warming the undersides. It can be real difficult to understand Texas Bar-B-Que folks sometimes.

 

Thank you for keeping an eye on, "The Goat," while I was away.

 

Marty

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Wow, this string in the forum went up and down, forward and back again. But there is consensus that we the readers are staying with Circumnavigation until the very end. Like a crew sailing too long together, people go through a cranky phase and irritate the hell out of each other. But they all stay on the boat.

 

Any weakness in Circumnavigation could be overlooked because I think the writing of Trevor's near drowning episode with the pirates is the most gripping, terrifying read I've ever encountered.

 

I sympathize with CJ being forced into a short perspective of keeping ahead of the readers by a few weeks. I've been working on a story for over a year; have rewritten large sections several times; and yet have 60% more of the story to write. I would fall apart if I were writing for CJ's audience. So I think CJ takes a huge risk reading and responding to the forum. My hats off to you, even if I may be called a troublesome newbie. Sail on!

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ACK! goat roasting? :ph34r:

 

I've been studying the recently posted chapters, and one thing I do see is that the flow, including the progression of some plot elements, became erratic and in some cases stalled. Going back over my notes and also remembering when I was writing those chapters, I think I see at least one cause; the chapters I'm least happy with were written when I was struggling to get ahead to avoid any further skipped weeks in posting. Normally I write a few chapters ahead before cutting a chapter out and sending it to beta, but then I wasn't, because I didn't have the buffer of chapters to allow it. I do think quality suffered as a result, and I think the problem persisted even after I caught up again. I've now gone back to my old way of writing chapters, and I find it both easier and better. (and I have the buffer to allow it now, too, so it shouldn't cause any delays).

 

BTW, thanks again to everyone who has weighed in!

 

Please don't be mad at anyone for their opinions; I do after all ask for constructive criticism, so I sincerely thank those who give it.

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Not going to focus too much on things that don't seem like they contribute to the conversation or the advice you were seeking. That said:

 

Hi CJ,

 

Long time no talk :)

 

Sorry I haven't been around to keep up on Circumnavigation very much. I'll try to rectify that problem immediately.

 

But here's what I am seeing based on your words and some of the words your fans/readers have so far said.

 

You were sick for over two months with pneumonia and all those chapters that you got ahead on became worthless, in the sense that you were no longer ahead. It sounds like you rushed yourself while following through with the plot you have in your head just to keep readers happy so you wouldn't have to stop posting.

 

No offense, but that's a load of crap. If you need to take time to get ahead again, then take the time to get ahead again. You're here to tell the story your way and no one else's way. If you need to shelve the story for a couple of weeks, do so.

 

30 chapters of Shane and Trevor in Australia is still plot development. We get to see Trevor and his boyfriend, having a normal freaking relationship and exploring the world of romance/lust/love/whatever feelings they have for one another.

 

Trrevor's not some superhero genius ex-CIA agent whose out to stop a nuclear bomb from being dropped on Australia or New York City or San Francisco. He's a kid who stumbled onto a mystery involving his mother and father and is out to solve it. His situation sucked, he did something about it. Now he's falling in love (or whichever), and that's normal. Tell the story your way. I'll be more than happy to read 30 chapters of two teenage boys falling in love (or whatever it is they're doing).

 

All that said, I'll say this: (again)

 

Shelve the story if you feel you must so you can get ahead again and see what is happening with the plot, tell an editor what's supposed to happen with a plot so they can help keep you in line. I've told a few people where I'm going with the plot in my story and its their job to kick me in the pants to get me going again when I get so full of myself that things stall, but like yourself, each scene I write has a purpose in that it, in one way or another, will help my characters evolve in one way or another, if not the story itself.

 

Then when you feel you're done with the story, etcetera, if you want to get things done by a certain date, double post a couple of times a week if you feel that option is available.

 

As for the readers/critics out there who were complaining about you stalling, I say this to them: (Courtesy of Lugh in chat last night)

 

As an author, if you're going to have a character packing a book in chapter 1 of a story, then by chapter 3 the reason for that book being there had better be obvious.

 

That said, CJ is one of the finest freaking authors I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and he has been a great mentor when I have needed him. Stop your complaining and let him write the story the way he wants to write it. He doesn't put something in a story if he doesn't need too. It's there for a reason, it just may not be obvious what that reason is until the end of the story.

 

Hope something of this babble of mine helped.

 

Best of luck to you CJ,

 

Linxe

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P.S.

 

You once told me you rewrote a story (FtL I believe) after you were done writing it. If you think this deserves a re-write in some chapters, then do so. But wait until the story is over, then everyone can go re-read again ;)

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So I will weigh in now with my Rose Coloured Glasses B)

 

CJ, you know I have always enjoyed your writing and have been a fan since I discovered you way back when you were posting FTL in eFiction. You know that I hold you in the same regard as my most favourite authors, Shadowgod, Viv, Mike Arram, dkstories, Don Hanratty, Graeme, and others. What I hold you in highest regard though is that I place you in the highest regard for your style of writing. To put you up against a writer that focuses more on emotion, plot development, character interaction, scene description, climaxes, etc. wouldn't be fair. I think you would agree that there is no one that is perfect in all the merits of literature. To try to do so would be setting yourself up for failure.

 

I know what you are doing...you are second guessing yourself.

 

STOP!!

 

Not going to help you, not going to help the story, not going to help your readers (aka fans) not going to help anyone.

 

CJ, you write stories that we all like. I have to admit that I have really been surprised at the number of new people have signed up for the sole purpose to join in your forum. People who may have read before, but felt the need to take the time and effort to fill out some details so they can post how much enjoyment that you give them.

 

Now is that what people do when you are 'average', or below the par?

 

I have myself posted less in your forums, but still review them every chance I get. I read every chapter. I think my bosses would like to have a word or two with you about why I sometimes come in half asleep on a Tuesday morning because I noticed you posted a chapter at midnight my time on a Monday night. Life sometimes takes us in a different direction which we can not and should not change. In my case, new job, new city, new life. You had something similar happen with your bout with pneumonia. You can't change that. You have done your best to get back to your regular self and frankly we would have never known if you hadn't told us.

 

Okay, now that your head is probably swollen to twice its normal size (and we know how big that is), here is my advice. Remember I'm a fan, friend and not an author. Hold the course. You are doing a fabulous job. We all come back for more and more so let that be your guide. Don't let the questions that bug all of us about our self esteem let you deter your course.

 

I guess an analogy may be in order :) What would have happened if Trevor had given up and decided not to continue for Australia? Would he have met Shane? Would he have survived the Southern Ocean? Would he have survived the pirates? Would the trees have survived him constantly walking into them ;) ?

 

Keep doing what you do best. Writing :hug;

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Since I'm one of the beta readers for the team, CJ and I have talked a little via email and here's what I told him.

 

I’d have to say at this point in time, there’s not much you can do about what’s already been posted. The time to make changes to it is, if you were to decide to epublish it.

 

You can take what you’re learning and apply it to future chapters and stories to be written. No matter what you do, you’re not going to satisfy everyone. Case in point, with TSOI, in book 2, part 3 there was a chapter involving the gladiators (Gahdar) putting on a show for the Emperor’s birthday celebration. One reader who participates in the discussion at The House didn’t see it as advancing the story. It actually tied into an earlier Interlude chapter involving the Gahdar. It helped explain a maneuver used.

 

Another example, there are several unanswered questions throughout the story. From Book 1, we have the question, what happened that caused the stasis chambers the Icarians were in to open after 2500 years instead of the programmed 100 years. That question finally gets answered in Book 2, Interlude the Seventh – Silver.

 

Three of us has stepped up to remind that member of the purpose of the Interludes. They bring us information that pertain to the story, but don’t really have a place within any particular chapter.

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Since I'm one of the beta readers for the team, CJ and I have talked a little via email and here's what I told him.

 

I’d have to say at this point in time, there’s not much you can do about what’s already been posted. The time to make changes to it is, if you were to decide to epublish it.

 

You can take what you’re learning and apply it to future chapters and stories to be written. No matter what you do, you’re not going to satisfy everyone. Case in point, with TSOI, in book 2, part 3 there was a chapter involving the gladiators (Gahdar) putting on a show for the Emperor’s birthday celebration. One reader who participates in the discussion at The House didn’t see it as advancing the story. It actually tied into an earlier Interlude chapter involving the Gahdar. It helped explain a maneuver used.

 

Another example, there are several unanswered questions throughout the story. From Book 1, we have the question, what happened that caused the stasis chambers the Icarians were in to open after 2500 years instead of the programmed 100 years. That question finally gets answered in Book 2, Interlude the Seventh – Silver.

 

Three of us has stepped up to remind that member of the purpose of the Interludes. They bring us information that pertain to the story, but don’t really have a place within any particular chapter.

 

 

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrr TalonRider,

 

TSOI Book 2 Interlude Seventh - Silver does not appear, at the present time, on my computer. Apparently my motherboard or something is malfunctioning. Could you email me a copy? Thank you.

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Opps! I'm a bad boy. I inadvertently gave a spoiler to something that hasn't been posted yet.

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Not going to focus too much on things that don't seem like they contribute to the conversation or the advice you were seeking. That said:

 

Hi CJ,

 

Long time no talk :)

 

Sorry I haven't been around to keep up on Circumnavigation very much. I'll try to rectify that problem immediately.

 

But here's what I am seeing based on your words and some of the words your fans/readers have so far said.

 

You were sick for over two months with pneumonia and all those chapters that you got ahead on became worthless, in the sense that you were no longer ahead. It sounds like you rushed yourself while following through with the plot you have in your head just to keep readers happy so you wouldn't have to stop posting.

 

No offense, but that's a load of crap. If you need to take time to get ahead again, then take the time to get ahead again. You're here to tell the story your way and no one else's way. If you need to shelve the story for a couple of weeks, do so.

 

30 chapters of Shane and Trevor in Australia is still plot development. We get to see Trevor and his boyfriend, having a normal freaking relationship and exploring the world of romance/lust/love/whatever feelings they have for one another.

 

Trrevor's not some superhero genius ex-CIA agent whose out to stop a nuclear bomb from being dropped on Australia or New York City or San Francisco. He's a kid who stumbled onto a mystery involving his mother and father and is out to solve it. His situation sucked, he did something about it. Now he's falling in love (or whichever), and that's normal. Tell the story your way. I'll be more than happy to read 30 chapters of two teenage boys falling in love (or whatever it is they're doing).

 

All that said, I'll say this: (again)

 

Shelve the story if you feel you must so you can get ahead again and see what is happening with the plot, tell an editor what's supposed to happen with a plot so they can help keep you in line. I've told a few people where I'm going with the plot in my story and its their job to kick me in the pants to get me going again when I get so full of myself that things stall, but like yourself, each scene I write has a purpose in that it, in one way or another, will help my characters evolve in one way or another, if not the story itself.

 

Then when you feel you're done with the story, etcetera, if you want to get things done by a certain date, double post a couple of times a week if you feel that option is available.

 

As for the readers/critics out there who were complaining about you stalling, I say this to them: (Courtesy of Lugh in chat last night)

 

As an author, if you're going to have a character packing a book in chapter 1 of a story, then by chapter 3 the reason for that book being there had better be obvious.

 

That said, CJ is one of the finest freaking authors I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and he has been a great mentor when I have needed him. Stop your complaining and let him write the story the way he wants to write it. He doesn't put something in a story if he doesn't need too. It's there for a reason, it just may not be obvious what that reason is until the end of the story.

 

Hope something of this babble of mine helped.

 

Best of luck to you CJ,

 

Linxe

 

Thanks Linxe!!!

 

Yep, in hindsight, I should have delayed a week or two.

 

I haven't told my team what's going to happen in the plot, but, after a few major and imminent events (which will be among the next things they see anyway) occur, I'll explore that option.

 

In many cases, the idea of "if a character packs a book in chapter one, it had better be seen why they did it by chapter 3" is a good one, but in some cases, not. A mystery is one example; in many cases (and the prologue of Circumnavigation is an example) some things can't be revealed for a long time. But... on a small specific item, yes, in general, that's a good rule. It's not one I was able to follow in many cases in Circumnavigation though; one example is setting up what's on board, such as canned hot dogs, many chapters before they became plot relevant. It would IMHO have been far too convenient and implausible had Trevor just acquired, soon before it happened, a bunch of soon-to-be-critical things he'd need to survive the attack and the fight to survive. I do see the downside of a long lead time, I just couldn't figure out any other way to make it plausible and realistic. :)

 

So I will weigh in now with my Rose Coloured Glasses B)

 

CJ, you know I have always enjoyed your writing and have been a fan since I discovered you way back when you were posting FTL in eFiction. You know that I hold you in the same regard as my most favourite authors, Shadowgod, Viv, Mike Arram, dkstories, Don Hanratty, Graeme, and others. What I hold you in highest regard though is that I place you in the highest regard for your style of writing. To put you up against a writer that focuses more on emotion, plot development, character interaction, scene description, climaxes, etc. wouldn't be fair. I think you would agree that there is no one that is perfect in all the merits of literature. To try to do so would be setting yourself up for failure.

 

I know what you are doing...you are second guessing yourself.

 

STOP!!

 

Not going to help you, not going to help the story, not going to help your readers (aka fans) not going to help anyone.

 

CJ, you write stories that we all like. I have to admit that I have really been surprised at the number of new people have signed up for the sole purpose to join in your forum. People who may have read before, but felt the need to take the time and effort to fill out some details so they can post how much enjoyment that you give them.

 

Now is that what people do when you are 'average', or below the par?

 

I have myself posted less in your forums, but still review them every chance I get. I read every chapter. I think my bosses would like to have a word or two with you about why I sometimes come in half asleep on a Tuesday morning because I noticed you posted a chapter at midnight my time on a Monday night. Life sometimes takes us in a different direction which we can not and should not change. In my case, new job, new city, new life. You had something similar happen with your bout with pneumonia. You can't change that. You have done your best to get back to your regular self and frankly we would have never known if you hadn't told us.

 

Okay, now that your head is probably swollen to twice its normal size (and we know how big that is), here is my advice. Remember I'm a fan, friend and not an author. Hold the course. You are doing a fabulous job. We all come back for more and more so let that be your guide. Don't let the questions that bug all of us about our self esteem let you deter your course.

 

I guess an analogy may be in order :) What would have happened if Trevor had given up and decided not to continue for Australia? Would he have met Shane? Would he have survived the Southern Ocean? Would he have survived the pirates? Would the trees have survived him constantly walking into them ;) ?

 

Keep doing what you do best. Writing :hug;

 

Thanks!!!

 

Yep, that pneumonia, ugh. I was quite a bit sicker than I let on. I slept for over 20 hours a day for abotu two weeks, and ended up very weak. for about three weeks after that, I was better, but far from right; still weak, and foggy headed (more than normal :P). Part of it was the meds. but ugh, it took forever to get over that, and then I was working like crazy to catch up with my job. I figure I lost close to three months of writing time, and then in early summer I had family commitments that pretty much ate up June.

 

I think that, plus racing to catch up, did hurt, and I think I see a solution: In future, I will try to avoid getting pneumonia. :P

 

Seriously though, that did derail me in a lot of ways, and looking back, it did have more of an effect than I realized, one that lingered, due to having erased my buffer of chapters. (which, thanks fully, is now rebuilt, at least a bit).

 

And yes, the trees of Western Australia would have been safe from Trevor's hard head. :lmao: But, all things considered, I think Trevor pressing on was the best for all in the story. :boy:

 

 

Opps! I'm a bad boy. I inadvertently gave a spoiler to something that hasn't been posted yet.

 

Jan!!! This is clearly, and unequivocally, not just a spoiler, but a CLIFFHANGER! (I don't use 'em, but I know 'em when I see 'em!) You've now leave TSOI readers HANGING waiting for that chapter... yup, this is a cliffhanger!!!

:P

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Thanks Linxe!!!

 

Yep, in hindsight, I should have delayed a week or two.

 

I haven't told my team what's going to happen in the plot, but, after a few major and imminent events (which will be among the next things they see anyway) occur, I'll explore that option.

 

In many cases, the idea of "if a character packs a book in chapter one, it had better be seen why they did it by chapter 3" is a good one, but in some cases, not. A mystery is one example; in many cases (and the prologue of Circumnavigation is an example) some things can't be revealed for a long time. But... on a small specific item, yes, in general, that's a good rule. It's not one I was able to follow in many cases in Circumnavigation though; one example is setting up what's on board, such as canned hot dogs, many chapters before they became plot relevant. It would IMHO have been far too convenient and implausible had Trevor just acquired, soon before it happened, a bunch of soon-to-be-critical things he'd need to survive the attack and the fight to survive. I do see the downside of a long lead time, I just couldn't figure out any other way to make it plausible and realistic. :)

 

 

 

Thanks!!!

 

Yep, that pneumonia, ugh. I was quite a bit sicker than I let on. I slept for over 20 hours a day for abotu two weeks, and ended up very weak. for about three weeks after that, I was better, but far from right; still weak, and foggy headed (more than normal :P). Part of it was the meds. but ugh, it took forever to get over that, and then I was working like crazy to catch up with my job. I figure I lost close to three months of writing time, and then in early summer I had family commitments that pretty much ate up June.

 

I think that, plus racing to catch up, did hurt, and I think I see a solution: In future, I will try to avoid getting pneumonia. :P

 

Seriously though, that did derail me in a lot of ways, and looking back, it did have more of an effect than I realized, one that lingered, due to having erased my buffer of chapters. (which, thanks fully, is now rebuilt, at least a bit).

 

And yes, the trees of Western Australia would have been safe from Trevor's hard head. :lmao: But, all things considered, I think Trevor pressing on was the best for all in the story. :boy:

 

 

 

 

Jan!!! This is clearly, and unequivocally, not just a spoiler, but a CLIFFHANGER! (I don't use 'em, but I know 'em when I see 'em!) You've now leave TSOI readers HANGING waiting for that chapter... yup, this is a cliffhanger!!!

:P

 

Errr! Did I miss or did you release the next chapter title?

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Errr! Did I miss or did you release the next chapter title?

 

Ooops!!! I forgot!!! Err, okay, I could release it now, but it's a tad late; the chapter just went live, and the thread will be up next. :)

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