Chat log for June 27, 2005

[Juanita] Wow. I must be the first one here. First time THAT'S happened
[Juanita] Hi CM
[camidon] Good evening, Juanita
[anneliese] Hi Juanita!
[anneliese] Hi CM!
[Juanita] Hi Anneliese
[camidon] Evening, Anneliese
[anneliese] How is everyone tonight?
[Juanita] good. It's a busy time of year so I'm kind of happy there's a bit of rain. gives me an excuse to sit in the house
[camidon] Running on fumes
[anneliese] Hi Dave!
[camidon] Evening, Dave
[DaveK] Hi guys. Nice sized group today.
[Juanita] Hi Dave. thanks for the crit. I just got it
[anneliese] Same here, CM. Recovering from a weekend board meeting in Minneapolis myself.
[DaveK] No problem Juanita, that's what we're here for.
[camidon] Anneliese, we can inject each other with virtual caffeine. <preparing syringe>
[Juanita] I seem to be getting about 70 percent of the feedback along the vein you sent, Dave. It's too slow.
[anneliese] ::brewing extra-strong espresso::
[camidon] Juanita, I'll be sending mt crit along shortly
[Juanita] The other 30 percent like the detail
[DaveK] I was going to make some smart a## remark about shoes
[Juanita] Thanks, CM
[camidon] How many crits have you got Juanita?
[Juanita] I guess I'll have to find a median that suits me
[anneliese] I liked the story about the shoes, but never felt that I saw the shoes...does that make sense?
[Juanita] Ummmm.... 3 or 4 from SFWW and sic from my Edmonton crit group
[Juanita] Anneliese, do you mean the boots Geoff steals?
[camidon] That's right, Juanita, what suits you IS the most important thing
[anneliese] Yes. I liked the shoe store episode.
[anneliese] Hi Elizabeth!
[Elizabeth] hi there!
[Juanita] I don't think I described them. Too many details already, and the theft was more important than the boots
[Juanita] Hi Elizabeth
[camidon] Evebubgm Elizabeth
[anneliese] Except that since the boots are an element of the dance, I wanted to know more about them.
[camidon] whoops--hmm, not getting enough of that virtual caffeine
[Juanita] I'll make a note of that
[Elizabeth] (__)p (__)p (__)p (__)p Triple shots of espresso for the group.
[camidon] Evening Elizabeth
[Elizabeth] plus (___)p an extra shot for Yours Truly.
[Juanita] None for me, thanks. I don't do that coffee stuff
[Elizabeth] shall I substitute tea? Or some other refreshing beverage?
[Elizabeth] I make a mean iced tea.
[anneliese] Breaks out big chocolate bar
[Elizabeth] Unsweetened, thank you very much, I leave that to the drinker.
[camidon] Juanita, my issue with the shoplifting scene is that you don't milk the potential tension well enough.
[Juanita] sounds good. the tea and the chocolate bar
[Elizabeth] {_
[Elizabeth] oops, {_} one tall iced tea for Juanita.
[camidon] As I recall, Chapter 3 had a nice potential set-up for tension with Geoff wrestling with shoplifting shoes. I though it would be better if you waited a chapter before the shoplifing scene to build more expectations.
[DaveK] That was different. My window double spaced the chat and poped up a scroll bar then went back.
[camidon] <mmm Ice Tea, my fav>
[Elizabeth] Mine's been flickering, Dave.
[Elizabeth] Some PHP thing, I suspect.
[anneliese] Hmm...wonder what that is about.
[anneliese] Mine seems fine.
[Elizabeth] good idea, CM.
[camidon] Why not have Geoff not get the boots right away, which anger Chin and Lui? Why not have Trevor tease Geoff about being too chicken to "lift" th eboots
[Elizabeth] Might be nice to up the stakes...do Geoff's parents suspect him of less-than-honest behavior?
[Elizabeth] Is he on probation of some sort, or are the local authorities keeping an eye on him and his buddies?
[DaveK] I agree with CM. It's like the hero in a TV series. You know he's not going to die. Same with Geoff I never expected him to get caught.
[camidon] All of that would be building to a mini-climax of the shoplifting scene, which, I think, you could probably even expand.
[Elizabeth] Or have his little sister threaten to rat him out.
[Elizabeth] Or have the shoplifting attempt go badly awry...and Geoff barely manages to get his own keister out, much less the boots.
[camidon] yeah, Elizabeth, that's a good one two. Involve more characters.
[Elizabeth] Uh oh.
[camidon] Uh oh, we lost her. Quick, quick, more chocolate and tea!
[Elizabeth] PHP seems to have the hiccups tonight.
[Juanita] Hi again.
[Elizabeth] {_} More tea, Juanita. Drink up.
[DaveK] But what does the shoplifting do to advance the plot? Why is it important?
[Juanita] I left because I wasn't able to send in anything!
[anneliese] Good thing I brought lots of chocolate.
[Elizabeth] What I got from the shoplifting scene (and correct me if I'm wrong, Juanita)
[Juanita] It's supposed ot do a few things
[Elizabeth] is that Geoff's involvement with Chin and Lui is semi-criminal....
[Elizabeth] but lifting the boots is definitely criminal.
[Elizabeth] A step further in the wrong direction, as it were.
[Juanita] Show Geoff will follow Chin's orders, demonstrate that Geoff and Trevor made a pretty good criminal pair, show Geoff doesn't know enough to break in new footwear,
[Juanita] It kind of sets the stage for later, when they do get caught lifting something
[Elizabeth] Although I get the impression Geoff's lifted stuff before...he's cool enough about it, and seems to know all of the anti-theft technology.
[camidon] I semi-agree with Dave. The other thing I think the chapter was missing was the underlying intrique. Where's the subculture? Where's the references to the "gangs". I didn't feel like there was enough undercurrents to keep Chapter 4 interesting enough.
[Elizabeth] A first-timer would be freaking inwardly, and probably mess up at least one step.
[Elizabeth] If Geoff doesn't know about breaking in formal shoes...maybe you could make it a little clearer that this is the first nice pair of shoes Geoff's owned.
[camidon] and when you hint at Geoff's nervousness, though he's cool enough to keep it hidden, I never actually felt like he WAS nervous during the shoplifting episode.
[Elizabeth] Or is that not the case?
[Juanita] I don't remember what chapter has them out patroling their 'turf'. Maybe I'll have to try and move that up?
[DaveK] I haven't got any clue as to Geoff's social status.
[Elizabeth] Maybe part of the reason that certain shoe shops are off limits to Geoff and Trevor is that other gangs patrol the area.
[Elizabeth] That would be good to know.
[camidon] Something to consider Juanita would be to begin the novel with a shoplifting--as I recall there was some mentioning of shoplifting, but we never reall saw it like we did in this chapter.
[Elizabeth] I agree with DaveK...what is Geoff's social status?
[Elizabeth] I know he's not rich, but is he middle-class-wanna-be-a-gangsta?
[Juanita] I ttried to hint that the off-limits for stealing from was a place operated by the higher-ups of his gang.
[Elizabeth] Blue collar (or whatever color collar a lower-class colonist wears) scrambling to get ahead?
[DaveK] We should know that by now.
[Elizabeth] Or from a poorer family, in the "bad" part of the colony?
[camidon] I'm not so sure I agree with that. We get a pretty thorough description of Geoff's apartment space, which implies a certain type of social status
[camidon] He's not rich, but he's sure not poor.
[anneliese] But doesn't tell us how it ranks overall in the station.
[Juanita] Thank you, CM. I was wondering if that message was undecipherable
[camidon] I'd make that hinting very direct
[Elizabeth] Which, IMO, gives him a little less incentive to do the gang thing. If he's genuinely poor, or outcast for some other reason, he's got much more motive to hang with the gang.
[camidon] That's true Anneliese. There really isn't much of a reference frame for social status.
[Elizabeth] Or is this something he does just to avoid trouble with the high-level gang members?
[Elizabeth] He does seem to have a "path of least resistance" approach to life.
[camidon] <this is a test>
[anneliese] Got the test
[Juanita] Yes, Elizabeth. He has that until 3/4 through the book
[Elizabeth] Which may be a problem for a protagonist...usually the protagonist struggles with something or someone.
[camidon] That's a nice way to put it, Elizabeth. He's border line cowardly--can't really stand up for himself
[DaveK] At this point I don't care about Geoff. If he wins or looses, I don't care.
[Juanita] It's also well into the book before he discovers how and why he was recuited into the gang
[Elizabeth] They fight, resist, act on their situation...even if what they're doing is misguided or wrong.
[camidon] <got a weird pop-up that said the page had timed-out>
[Elizabeth] But it's very hard, as a writer, to work with a protagonist who just goes along with the flow.
[Juanita] I had that earlier, CM
[Elizabeth] Who reacts rather than acts.
[Juanita] I guess I have to work on making him more empathic.
[Elizabeth] I want to see Geoff yanked out of his complacency, his path of least resistance.
[Elizabeth] I want to see a struggle of some sort...even if it takes a lot of inner struggle
[Elizabeth] before he has the incentive, or the courage, to make a move in the outer world.
[Juanita] He doesn't really do anything to change his situation until that 3/4 mark. Maybe I can put more internal struggle in as he works himself up to that point.
[Elizabeth] At this stage I can't tell whether Geoff wants to change his situation or not.
[Elizabeth] He vacillates between how much he hates Chin, and trying to please Chin during the Simba practice.
[anneliese] Hi Teri!
[bogwitch64] Hey all!
[Elizabeth] You're showing his ambivalence, which is good, but you have to be careful not to make him too wishy-washy.
[Elizabeth] Hello Teri!
[Juanita] Hi Teri
[Elizabeth] congrats on the workshop!
[anneliese] It seems to me that he ought to hate Chin, but begin to love dancing...which would create conflict.
[camidon] Evening, Teri
[bogwitch64] Oh, thanks!!!
[bogwitch64] i'm very excited
[DaveK] WHy was he picked as a partner for Chin?
[Juanita] I never even thought of that, Anneliese. In my sequel (which I wrote first) it's five years later and he still doesn't dance.
[Elizabeth] Or realize that he hates Chin even more as a result, and decide, "I have to get out of here somehow. Now how?
[Elizabeth] :::evil grin::: Maybe, in the sequel, one of the new recruits can innocently ask Geoff to dance with her...to Simba music.
[Juanita] For punishment, Dave. That's all it is until chin decides Geoff is capable of really dancing
[Elizabeth] >
[Juanita] and competing
[bogwitch64] I was a little confused about that myself, why Chin chose Geoff
[anneliese] He can be very conflicted, because his body loves the dance, but everything else about him is disgusted/offended/opposed to it.
[Elizabeth] Seems kind of an odd form of punishment...self-defeating for Chin, isn't it?
[Elizabeth] He seems to genuinely care about the dance and winning the competition.
[DaveK] If Chin really wants to win he would pick a partner that wants to dance and practice.
[Elizabeth] It would make more sense, if I were Chin, to make Geoff run errands that would harm the competition.
[Juanita] Yes, but at this point he is toying with Geoff, not really serious about dancing
[bogwitch64] True, Dave
[bogwitch64] Unless he's masochistic as well as sadistic
[Elizabeth] Ask him to rough up somebody...some act that might finally get Geoff to say, "enough".
[camidon] Juanita, Have you ever thought of using other POV's in the story? A section from Chin or Lui's perspective? Or are you set on Geoff as the only perspective. Multiple perspectives is an easy way to add mystery. When the reader knows something the main character does not, it sets-up...
[anneliese] That point doesn't come through, Juanita...I wish it would.
[camidon] ...future expectations of conflict and resolution.
[Elizabeth] I got the impression that Chin is like one of the dance competitors in Strictly Ballroom...super-competitive and extremely focused on the dance.
[Juanita] Actually, I hadn't, CM. It might be a way to solve a few issues.
[bogwitch64] I did too Elizabeth
[bogwitch64] Doesn't he actually talk about the competition and being ready and worthy etc?
[anneliese] ditto.
[Elizabeth] What if little sister is big on the dancing, and Chin threatens to use her as a partner if Geoff doesn't shape up?
[camidon] I felt that Chin was antagonizing Geoff, but never that he was simply punishing him/toying with Geoff. This is where geoff's innocent (relatively) perspectives restricts our view. If he doesn't see the "toying" we're less likely to see it too.
[Juanita] Chin is, yes. I see that came across well
[Elizabeth] I suspect Chin's dance scene involves much more sinister motives, and if Geoff is aware of them?
[bogwitch64] brb
[Elizabeth] Trying to keep relatively innocent sister out of the gang/drug/party girl mess Geoff's gotten himself into...
[Juanita] At this point, Geoff isn't aware of too much
[DaveK] Maybe Chin is testing Geoff's stealing abilities. Have him steel shoes, a costume, ...
[Elizabeth] You had a line in the first chapter about that threat, but I would like to see it more strongly played.
[Elizabeth] Especially if little sister is pestering him to let her hang out with the cool kids.
[Juanita] Dave, It's more like Chin testing how well Geoff will follow orders
[Juanita] know he's a good thief
[Juanita] Lost some there. They know he's a good thief
[Elizabeth] is he considering making Geoff a junior member of the gang?
[Elizabeth] Is this some sort of initiation?
[Juanita] A good thief isuseless if he doesn't follow orders
[Elizabeth] Or do Chin and Lui consider him a liability?
[bogwitch64] ok, sorry
[Juanita] Yes, Elizabeth. His mouth is making him a liability
[Juanita] What? Teri
[bogwitch64] LOL, I meant, sorry to have stepped away. I'm back now
[Juanita] Oh welcome back
[Elizabeth] So, in terms of gang security...they need to either ascertain that he's a trustworthy and valuable member, or get rid of him.
[Juanita] Pretty well
[bogwitch64] I don't know if it's me or not but I'm a little fuzzy on the whole gang thing--where Geoff falls into the whole scene, how--his parents know? Or don't know? Is this a societal thing that ALL kids do at some point?
[Elizabeth] Because a half-hearted gang member with a big mouth is a real danger to these guys.
[camidon] Juanita, I think you need to find a way to get this subtext to the surface. It's interesting, intriguing, and makes me want to read. But the subtext has not been in the last few chapters, and so the story is lagging.
[Elizabeth] I'd expect them to threaten him with physical violence if he doesn't shape up...
[Elizabeth] or dangle the "big shot" carrot in front of him, if he can just perform these assignments to Chin's and Lui's satisfaction.
[camidon] I.e., Chin's plot, the gang, etc
[anneliese] I'd also want to see more scenes where his mouth gets him into trouble.
[Elizabeth] (Sorry, I've been overdosing on Mafia documentaries lately.)
[Elizabeth] Okay, now I'm getting the "timed out" messages.
[Elizabeth] Somebody feed PHP some sugar and have it drink a glass of water backwards.
[Juanita] Maybe iced tea?
[Elizabeth] I agree with CM...I definitely would like to know more of the gang subtext. Geoff's got to have some idea of what's going on, or at least some guesses.
[anneliese] I wonder if I should be looking for a different chat room software.
[bogwitch64] My screen just keeps blinking...
[Elizabeth] Basic curiosity about what Chin and Lui are up to would make him more sympathetic, even if we see that curiosity is only going to get him in trouble.
[Juanita] Okay, CM. I thought I had all that in there, but maybe it's not stated clearly enough
[Elizabeth] I think back to the Poe quote (I think it was Poe) that we can all relate to the human instinct to search out every last corner of the dark and nasty cave,
[DaveK] Tired of getting beatup yet, Juanita? We can pick on someone else.
[Elizabeth] no matter what horrors are lurking there. Because that curiosity is a defining human trait.
[Elizabeth] I do like this story, I really do. Critiquing it is like talking to a student who you know is really very smart,
[camidon] Nope, Juanita, we're not getting it. Either state it more clearly, or perhaps try a POV from Chin or Lui's perspective and see what happens. One way or another, bring out he darknessl it's interesting!
[Juanita] No, but thanks Dave. I have a thick skin, and this improves my story, how can I object?
[Elizabeth] and could ace the class if he or she worked a little harder at it...
[DaveK] Atta girl. Keep at it.
[camidon] That Poe quote (if Poe) is just a little too appropriate for me...
[DaveK] I like that chapter in Chin's POV idea.
[Elizabeth] Yes, Juanita, show us more of the underbelly.
[Juanita] So do I. I'm just wondering when to do it.
[Juanita] ...what part of the story to give to Chin
[DaveK] BUt I wonder about writing a story where 3/4 of it has the main character as a wiene. Maybe start later or have him step up sooned.
[bogwitch64] A good place to give him some POV space might be after he tells him to get the boots--get a little of that why in there, the true motive
[Juanita] Maybe I have to make him less of a pushover thorughout.
[bogwitch64] After Geoff leaves, stay in the room with Lui and Chin, get some dialogue going
[Elizabeth] Yeah, I want to see Geoff grow a spine earlier.
[Elizabeth] Even if he doesn't get to use it until later.
[camidon] Note: Juanita, my emails don't seem to want to leave my outbox tonight, so it may be a few days before you get the critique. Fear not though, it's in the process of sending, it's just my outbox seems to have clogged momentarily. Hmmm. Searching for some Drano...
[DaveK] At least have him care about something. He can be a wienie with Chin but not with some other problem
[Juanita] Good idea. I can't remember. did this chap have trevor get beat up so Geoff would stop acting like he can't remember the steps?
[Elizabeth] no! not the Drano!
[bogwitch64] Not this one
[Elizabeth] Maybe Geoff would do something brave for Trevor's sake, if not his own.
[Juanita] good, point, Dave.
[bogwitch64] I agree with Dave--Geoff needs to have that one thing he cares about
[DaveK] So we can care about him.
[bogwitch64] one principle or one person or one something
[camidon] Warning, though Juanita. If you do give some POV to Chin, you'll need to do it a few times. And the info given by them must be something that no other character can give. However, I definitely think you should try it.
[Juanita] obviously, his sister isn't enough. Or that situation isn't immediate enough?
[Elizabeth] I think maybe Chin needs to threaten Trevor. That seems to be the most important relationship for Geoff right now.
[Juanita] Yes, I'd have to give something / plot line/ to follow Chin wiht. Maybe the people smuggling?
[anneliese] I disagree, CM, I'm uncomfortable with having Chin's POV directly, although I'd like it to show in his actions from time to time.
[Juanita] That wuld be a good one.
[DaveK] Geoff could spy on Chin.
[DaveK] Maybe plant a bug.
[Juanita] You have ESP, Dave. that's what Geoff does after he goes to the cops
[camidon] I think that's a valid concern, Anneliesse. Once a new POV is inserted, that opens a whole new can of chili-fried worms.
[DaveK] What per cent of books are doen from one POV?
[Juanita] I can try it. I could also work at making a single POV work better. One of my favorite Andre Norton books is a single POV and has obviious blanks where things are happening and the protagonist doesn't know
[Elizabeth] True. But maybe Geoff knows more about the gang's activities than he lets on now.
[Elizabeth] And perhaps part of the action is him using his curiosity (and his big mouth) to figure out the rest of the picture...
[bogwitch64] Strays into omnipotent, Juanita?
[Elizabeth] if he's at least trying to figure things out, learn what's going on, he's taking action of a sort.
[Elizabeth] He's acting more like a protagonist, especially if what he learns spurs him into action.
[Juanita] No. But there's clues that a reader can figure out even if the youthful protag doesn't.
[bogwitch64] It's bedtime for bogwitch
[DaveK] BYe bye.
[camidon] Sorry all, but have to run. All the best to ou.
[anneliese] Glad you could make it.
[Juanita] Thanks for coming.
[Elizabeth] good night, Teri and CM, glad you could make it!
[camidon] Juanita, please send us more, especially if the critique slos are so woefully short
[anneliese] This hour went fast!
[camidon] gnight
[DaveK] Bye Chrus.
[bogwitch64] Night all! Good luck with the story, Juanita. Thanks Elizabeth and Anneliese
[Juanita] I see we're over the time. thanks for all your input
[DaveK] Bye Chris.
[anneliese] Yes, Juanita, I got your email, and the 4th week should be fine.
[Elizabeth] And the reader knowing that something bad is coming, especially if Geoff hasn't quite figured it out, can really ratchet up the suspense.
[Elizabeth] I like the idea of narrative "gaps" in Geoff's knowledge.
[Elizabeth] I think that could work quite well.
[anneliese] Nighters CM & Teri
[Juanita] Not sure what that means, Anneliese
[Juanita] Good night, CM & Teri
[anneliese] You asked if you could have more critique spots, the 4th week of the month, I though.
[Juanita] Do I get the fourth week of the next four months?
[anneliese] 4th week for the next 4 months.
[Juanita] Works for me.
[DaveK] One month between chapters. Maybe even my memory could handle that.
[Elizabeth] Keep the chapters coming, Juanita. I want to see what comes next.
[Juanita] that should take us to the first major plot twist in this story.
[anneliese] I'll check the schedule to verify it. (went home early today).
[Juanita] Thank you, all. Chats like this really help a story.
[anneliese] A good chat tonight. I'll post the log.
[Elizabeth] I'm glad this is helpful to you, Juanita. The story and the setup are intriguing...we just need to see more of the grimy details.
[Juanita] Good night all.
[Elizabeth] And a bit more menace.
[Elizabeth] Yay! A postable chat!
[DaveK] Good night. Next week.