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ISO: Beta Genre: General Fiction Novel 115,000 words Committment: one time Urgency: Not urgent, but ASAP

Biff Spork

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 The novel is entitled, "Pig-Boy and The Insectorator." Without claiming any equivalence, I might describe the story as a cross between The Jungle Book and The New Testament, leavened with dashes of mysticism, veganism and naturism. It's a story of love between boys and takes place in the modern world shaped by the climate crisis, the COVID pandemic, fossil fuels, carnism, mass extinctions, and the world wide web.

When do I want it by? What are my turn around expectations? 
I would like it to be read in a month or, preferably, less. 

Have I worked with an Editor / Beta before?
I have worked with several editors for this book, but not from Gay Authors.

What do I need? 
I need someone to read it and advise me as to its suitabiliy for the Gay Authors website. If the reader thinks it not suitable I would welcome suggestions for what needs to be changed.

What do I expect? 
I think spelling, punctuation, and grammar are okay. I am not looking for line by line editing or copy editing.

How much I have done? Where am I in the writing process?
The book is complete. I don't propose to alter it except in response to any advice I might receive from a GA beta reader.

What software do I / can I use?
The final draft is in html chapters that can be read in any browser, but I can work in libreoffice or Word too.

Do I prefer comments or inline edits or do I not have a preference?
I'm looking for general comments in the context of the GA readership and the GA content guidelines.

Here's a snippet from the first chapter.

A red pickup streaked past, thirty-six miles per hour above the speed limit. The deputy turned on the flashers and burped the siren as he accelerated in pursuit. The pickup slowed and parked on the shoulder.

Pete ran a quick check on the plates but found no outstanding warrants or unpaid tickets. He grabbed the citation pad and strolled to the driver’s window. A beardless teenager sat there with an intense expression on his face. There were small wounds on his head and hands. The blood had dried on most.

“What happened to you?” asked the deputy. “You look like you fell on your face into a blackberry patch.”

“You wouldn’t believe me.” The boy’s voice shook.

“Well, try me. It’s gonna take me a few minutes to fill out this citation. Lemme see your license, registration, and insurance, please, then get on with your story. And while you’re at it, you can tell me why you don’t clean your windshield more often. It looks like you parked under a chicken-house.”

“It was birds,” the driver said.

Pete scanned his documents.

“They just come outta nowhere and attacked me, up on Jana Mountain.”

“Birds attacked you?” Pete spoke in a neutral tone as he handed the documents back. “That’s a pretty strange story, for sure. You been smoking something?”

“No, I wasn’t smokin’ nothing. I’m just tellin’ you what happened.”

“No need to get riled up. You’re one of the Jameson brothers, aren’t you?”


Townsfolk knew the two older Jameson boys, twins Ricky and Nicky, as rowdies. They drank too much on weekends and were loud and obnoxious, but nothing violent or criminal. The deputy had had a few run-ins with them in the past, but he figured they were okay, just young animals with more energy than sense.

“You the youngest brother?” asked Pete.

“No, there’s my little brother, River.”

“Okay, so tell me about the birds.”

“I was up Jana Mountain, just mindin’ my own business, when suddenly a whole goddam flock of birds attacked me. So, I jumped in the truck and took off, but they followed me down the mountain too, pecking at the windows and shitting on the windshield. Hundreds of ‘em, black birds, sort of shiny. Crazy!”

“Crows?” Pete tried to visualize what the boy described.

“No, smaller, maybe the same size as a robin, but there was hundreds of ‘em. That’s why I was driving so fast, to get away. It was self-defense. They’d like to kill me if I’d stayed there! I never saw anything like it.”

“Maybe blackbirds, or starlings,” mused the deputy. “But they don’t usually flock till September, October.” He glanced at the 30-06 rifle racked against the back window. Another smaller rifle rested on the floor of the cab with the barrel leaning against the seat. “What were you doing up there anyway? It’s not hunting season, and they’ve finished logging up there.”

“I wasn’t hunting. I just went up there to do some target practice.” He gestured at the smaller gun. “I bought that little .22 last week, and I wanted to try it out.”


Please let me know if you're interested - I'll send you a couple of chapters and you can decide if you want to read the rest.


Biff Spork

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