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mrmustard615
August 18th, 2014, 03:47 PM
I'm finally getting started on my first novel. It is a college drama set mostly at a fictional university in Ohio in the early 1970s. I've barely started actually so thre won't be much as far as plots or even storylines go. I just want to be sure I'm on the right path initially. Anyway here goes.

September 26, 1970

It is a warm September day on the Montague University campus. There is a lot of activity here as young idealistic eighteen-year olds are moving into the twenty-eight dormitories. The campus itself has recovered nicely since the riots last May after the shootings at Kent State, not far from Columbus Ohio where the legendary Montague University exists.
At the Henson Hall Dormitory for Freshmen Women a gentle looking bespectacled man is helping a young woman carry her belongings into the building. On first glance Elizabeth Kimberley Morgan, affectionately known as Libby, is put off by the very pink walls of the hallways. She turns to the bespectacled man who appears to be her father. He keeps a cheery attitude as the two find her room on the third floor. “Well this doesn't look so bad Libby”
“Dad, it’s so….pink!” Libby responds thinking she has just walked into a bubblegum nightmare.

Henson Hall was repainted over the summer due to some vandalism as the result of the May riots. Some genius decided that since it was a women’s dormitory that pink would be universally applauded by the young women who were leaving home for the first time.

“I guess I’d better be going. It figures to be a long trip back to Bogart Valley” Dr. John Morgan sadly says to his daughter. Bogart Valley is a small community in West Virginia. It has been the home for Doc and Mrs. Joan Morgan and their two children Johnnie and Libby for the past six years. Before that they lived in a nearby suburb of Baltimore Maryland where Doc was doing his residency. The Morgans could have stayed in Baltimore but Doc Morgan couldn’t turn down the chance to return to his native state. This meant that Libby had to leave her friends at Spaulding Elementary, especially her best friend Linda as well as a boy down the street that she had a massive crush on. Still Libby made new friends in Bogart Valley with her natural friendly demeanor. She has no doubt she will make new friends here at Montague too.



Okay guys let me have it (Authors note):nevreness:

mrmustard615
August 18th, 2014, 03:49 PM
Note: I know about the indentations. I am using Microsoft Word. Hopefully everything else looks okay

InstituteMan
August 18th, 2014, 04:02 PM
I think that you are definitely on the right path. Conceptually, the setting has an interesting vibe, the time and place is fascinating to me, both relatable but sufficiently remote to be something I could enjoy reading about. Libby seems likable. Assuming she is the protagonist, that is definitely a good thing. The pink walls are a nicely obnoxious touch hinting at an out of touch university administration (at least to me).

I would spruce up the sentences to eliminate some passive voice and to do more showing than telling. Even though that admonition is sometimes overdone, it is a good policy to implement in revisions. For example, your opening two sentences could be recast to eliminate the "is" from each sentence. To keep nitpicking on the opening two sentences, I would also ax the "a lot" and either describe the activity that there is a lot of or use a term like "bustle" to describe the atmosphere. Something like, "On a hot September day a new crop of idealistic 18 year olds moved into the dorms [does it matter that there are 28?] of Montague University." A similar de-passive voicing and showing-rather-than-telling would, in my mind, be in order, but that is editing stuff. To your question: yes, you are definitely on the right path.

mrmustard615
August 18th, 2014, 04:13 PM
I'm taking a deep breath. I had some self doubts with this. Thanks InstituteMan.

InstituteMan
August 18th, 2014, 05:07 PM
I'm taking a deep breath. I had some self doubts with this. Thanks InstituteMan.

Doubts? I will see your self doubts and raise you clear to debilitating.

Seriously, I am increasingly convinced that what with the way the twin demons of self doubt and perfectionism haunt seriously talented writers, both around here and over the annals of literary history, there are untold riches lurking in desk drawers and hard drives. You have a darn good start; don't let doubt hijack you.

mrmustard615
August 19th, 2014, 01:51 AM
Doubts? I will see your self doubts and raise you clear to debilitating.

Seriously, I am increasingly convinced that what with the way the twin demons of self doubt and perfectionism haunt seriously talented writers, both around here and over the annals of literary history, there are untold riches lurking in desk drawers and hard drives. You have a darn good start; don't let doubt hijack you.


I appreciate your support but so far you seem to be the only one who does. I don't know whether others know how to respond or they just don't know how to critique. I'm saying this because I'm not much of a critic myself. Anyway the word debilitating is a pretty accurate description right now.

InstituteMan
August 19th, 2014, 02:12 AM
I appreciate your support but so far you seem to be the only one who does. I don't know whether others know how to respond or they just don't know how to critique. I'm saying this because I'm not much of a critic myself. Anyway the word debilitating is a pretty accurate description right now.

Honestly -- don't sweat a paucity of critiques. Sometimes that just means there's not much to say. Plus, my unscientific observation is that exerts are harder to critique, and therefore get fewer comments, than a self contained and complete short story.

brarca
August 19th, 2014, 04:19 AM
It sounded great until the last paragraph. The last paragraph seemed really choppy, but I like the characterization in it. Keep it up, sir.

nerdybynature
August 19th, 2014, 05:50 AM
First let me say you did a good job of creating interest especially with your last line "she has no doubt she will make new friends here at Montague too." To me it sets the stage for a character centric story which, correct me if i'm wrong, stems from her interaction with the new friends she will be making at Montague. Which also makes me curious as to what direction your taking the story, whether it's comedic, dramatic, romantic or all of the above. Either way it's peaks my curiosity which is always good.

However, I will say the need to explain certain things should be overlooked, such as your deviation into the explanation of the dorm room colors. Informative, yes. Necessary, probably not. However if it's something you want the reader to know about and feel is necessary, I would suggest creating a dialogue using that info, because it does carry a bit of humor and lightness into the story telling, but your break into that explanation just felt off-kilter and a little forced, Just my opinion. Also a small observation I made was, in the first paragraph you write,

"On first glance Elizabeth Kimberley Morgan, affectionately known as Libby, is put off by the very pink walls of the hallways. She turns to the bespectacled man who appears to be her father."

That line appears to switch the story from an omniscient point of view, to the point of view of someone in the story and creates an air of uncertainty with the relationship between the father and daughter, which clearly there isn't. Hope it doesn't seem like i'm nitpicking, the line just seemed a bit odd to me in comparison to entire excerpt. Overall I liked it.

mrmustard615
August 19th, 2014, 05:23 PM
Thank you all. Now I'm feeling a little better. I did actually do some work on the first two sentences InstituteMan. I didn't really like the "a lot" either. (I'm actually my own worst critic)
And I think Brarca is right about the last paragraph. I was kind of writing it quick to see if I was going in the right direction. I'm still going over it believe it or not.

NerdybyNature formerly known by the Porky's reference :lol: The book is basically going to be all of the above, mostly drama but definitely some light touches and since there will be relationships, also a little bit of romance.

I probably will change certain things in terms of wording but one line I refuse to change is the line about the bubblegum nightmare. I'm really proud of that one:smile:

Well I got to get back to by writing. Thanks so much again. See you in the forums. :smile2: