|Fat Hubert appears in my Wycliffe novel|
INKBLOTS -- December 10, 2012
Outside tonight are dense mists, like you read about in a Dickens novel. Brrr. But we have hot spiced wine and a cheery fire on the grate, and a 12 foot noble fir all bedecked for the season. Shane leads off with some fulminating nonfiction based on Obama Care, freedom, and the fallen world in which we live.
We are all dying... He was responding to a frustrated unbelieving friend who had just lost a loved one and who believed was convinced that Obama Care would have saved his friend. Shane also read a piece he wrote to a church leader before leaving the church, over a female pastor now preaching. This was just before the election. His argument was against churches being restricted from political preaching, upon pain of revocation of tax exempt status. He argues that it was a deal cut to maintain church exempt status. Freedom ought to be restored for churches to have freedom of speech.
This is well crafted persuasive argument, appropriate evidence cited with clarity. Your critique of the Johnson Amendment is well reasoned. Shane is a big fan of Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.
Shane read on, a short story. He apologized for taking another tack than I taught fiction writing (it's been enough years since Shane was a student of mine that either he or I may not remember accurately or have changed enough for this not to be accurate, we'll see). Good detailed description, peeling the mango. The conflicted decision making was effective, your protagonist warring within himself about their route. I think a bit more attribution will clarify the rapid exchanges of conversation with his mother. I think the delirium reflected in the jerky thoughts and description works well, however, without giving us more reason to care about his plight, would be difficult to sustain much longer without dehumanizing your protagonist, detaching him from the reader's ability to enter into his experience. Shane fills us in (story incomplete) as he is dying of rabbis from a monkey bite. The protagonist will die in the end. Sounds like Ambrose Bierce, Bitter Bierce, all of whose main characters die.
May I suggest a review of the anatomy of fiction. Flannery O'Conner, complete but don't over write, don't make it too pat. Life is never completely resolved, this side of heaven.
John reading from his Peter book, immigrant Russian in America. Conflict of shady influences, corrupting a fellow who just wants to make a living. Making good money quickly, so he would have a chance with Amy. Vladimir is the face of the Russian mob. Never use 'very,' a dead word. Car theft. Maybe show a bit more of his conflicted inner struggle at stealing a car for the first time. End chapter with more foreboding. I like the irony coming of him winning Amy and then when she finds out how he earns his money she won't have anything to do with him. Show don't tell. Have him recalling the moral training he had from his family, a favorite ethical saying from his grandfather maybe. Hardworking family background, a family that would rather die than steal. Develop this and his internal struggle based on his family background.
We tied about using foreign language in English prose. Fiction is contrivance, and must be authentic, but also comprehensible to the English reader. Dialect is valuable for authenticity, but it will never be purely authentic. It requires compromise.
I read from my now 'finished' Wycliffe manuscript. Story began at Crecy in 1346; a number of years have now elapsed. My peasant Willard has come to the climactic moment where he has to do what he must to rescue his sister from the lecherous hands of Hubert the corrupt friar.