View Full Version : Is this something that would entice you to click on Chapter Two?

January 25th, 2020, 01:37 AM
Note: Pasting this here from one of my doc. files certainly tweaked the formatting. Just means that I had to read it again and fix what jumped out of me. Hope I caught it all. Would like to read your comments.


High from their tree-top lookouts the monkeys were the first to notice the noise. The babies clung even closer to their mothers—the older males moved nervously as they peered through the jungle canopy.

Down below, the flutter of startled birds could be heard and on the ground the first man could be seen—at first just an odd movement through a patch of morning fog—swinging his machete—quickly moving forward. Behind him, the next man and the next one following him, and even the next one, all had that unmistakable look of North Vietnamese soldiers. Their AK-47s and uniforms made no attempt to hide their presence. Altogether the column of men making their way through the jungle numbered close to twenty. Five of them were Americans—more than one of them panting—trying to keep pace with the swinging machete.

As for retired army officer Jimmy Sutton, this image of the future would have been unthinkable years ago—totally unthinkable. But there were also the unmistakable connections between the past and the present that struck Sutton like a sledgehammer. First: the jungle; near Laos;near North Vietnam. He'd been here before. His right shoulder still ached at times from the bullet that had hit him. "Probably," he thought, "shot by that soldier's father," who was just a few yards ahead of him. "Wouldn't that be one hell of an irony?"

You would think that after so much time his arm would have completely healed. But the bullet had hit the bone. No wonder it still ached. Especially in the damp. Especially in a damp jungle. More haunting memories. Soon he would be struggling against other familiar foes—the relentless attack from millions of insects. Their only purpose in life seemed to be taking part in a gigantic, never-ending feast.These men were now the main course.

Altogether the soldiers made an intriguing sight. Were they going to war? Most of the men were heavily armed.
No, this story takes place back in the 90s—America and North Vietnam have been at peace for many years. Still, they needed the guards. After all, you never know what surprises a jungle has in store for you.

No, this was a kinder and gentler group of men making their way toward the mountain. Instead of sworn enemies, these men were officially cooperating with one another. Even so, they were still doing what soldiers do—searching for their dead.

POWs—MIAs—abbreviations that had quickly turned into words, almost too cute to describe Sutton's grim task. For a number of years, North Vietnam has been assisting the United States in locating the thousands of U.S.servicemen who had been swallowed by this vast and rugged county,never to be seen again. Of course, Uncle Sam knows they're out there—somewhere—but exactly where?

So this explains the reason for the column of men slowly making their way forward—frightening the monkeys. However, with some luck they would find it. But it would take a lot of luck—even if what they were looking for was almost as big as a football field. That's just about the size of a B-52.

For many good reasons America was looking for its dead, but for Jimmy Sutton his mission was even more painful. Not just because he had fought here—but for other reasons. More secret reasons. Interrupted in thought by the sound of the men up ahead he would have to come to grips with his feelings later. Now a swift stream brought the man with the machete to a standstill. All twenty men stood watching, wondering how they would get to the other side. Lt. Ngo assured everyone that they would find a way.

Sutton motioned for his interpreter. "Tell the Lieutenant that we're going to take fifteen while he sends the scouts out for a look—thanks."

"Hey Scott, let's have a smoke." Scott had been poured out of the same mold as Sutton—both retired military—both the same age—both professionals.

Butonly Sutton carried the dirty little secret—or, so he thought. He had been carefully hiding it since 1973. He looked at Scott removing his pack and felt the shame.

"Good idea, Major." Soon the other Americans were pulling out their cigarettes, except for the kid. Blake was selected as part of the team because back in the States he was considered one of the best mountain climbers alive. And you've got to be young to climb mountains.

Blake had learned the art after the war—after his dad's F-4 Phantom had been hit over the North. His Navy jet never quite made it back to its carrier. The men felt bad that they weren't out there looking for him, but of course they couldn't. A tremendous splash in Blake's mind was all that was left to remember his father's last moments.

Regardless of their difference in age, the rest of the American team felt good having Blake along. Besides the fact that they would need him on the mountain, he reminded the men of their own youth—of their own hopes and dreams that had, so long ago, been put to the greatest test of hide-and-seek that any teenager could ever play—jungle warfare. That's right, they had been so awfully young—not even twenty years old.

"HeyBlake, why don't you just climb that tree with your rope and we'll all swing across the stream like Tarzan?" Laughing at the thought, Blake said that he might have to if the scouts couldn't find a way to cross it.

"Major Sutton," Blake said, "we're really getting into some rugged terrain. What do you think it will be like up ahead?"
Pulling some photos from his pack, Sutton reached over and handed them to Blake. "Yeah, you're right about it getting tough. Take a look at that second photo. That was taken by one of our teams three years ago."

"Along the base of that mountain is where we're headed." Sutton rolled his cigar between his fingers.
"The Air Force thinks we might find their B-52 over there, but it's really just a guessing game. Before we came over here I got a briefing from General Samm but even he admitted that their intelligence on this bomber is almost non-existent. It seems that when the missile hit it, all of its communications equipment was knocked out and from the height it was flying, by the time it finally hit the ground it could have hurtled hundreds of miles in just about any direction."

Trying to find a comfortable spot on the ground, Major Sutton continued. "The only reason we're going to look there is because of some sketchy report they just picked up from a villager in Cambodia who was told by his elderly mother of a huge American plane. Supposedly his father had seen it headed in that direction when he was just a boy, digging tunnels for the Vietcong. He said he had heard it crash.I guess they feel the story is reliable enough for us to check i tout. All I know is that this is one of the most remote areas in all of Southeast Asia."

"Looking at these photographs, Major Sutton, and looking at what's actually all around us, I'm really surprised at how out of sync they are."

"Welcome to Vietnam, kid." Pete laughed out loud.

Pete was the jokester of the bunch. Even the Marine Corps couldn't beat that out of him. He was the fourth member of the team. He carried the electronics.

They were all laughing now. Even the North Vietnamese soldiers began to laugh, although they had no idea what the Americans were talking about.

"I'll tell you what, Blake," Pete said, "Once, after the war,when I was in Central America looking for traces of a lost Mayan city rumored to be in the jungle—we were given some aerial photographs to follow and I never got so damn lost in my entire life. They had to send out the Honduran Army to find us!"

Again all the men were laughing when one of the scouts returned. Lt. Ngo walked over to Sutton. The interpreter said they had found a fallen tree that could be used to cross the stream. This was good news and within twenty minutes the column of men once again began making its way toward the mountain.

Two more arduous days and mosquito infested nights passed before another morning greeted the tired men—a new day—a new adventure that promised to reveal what each had come such a long way to find. The greatest relief was that after breakfast the tents could be left pitched since Sutton had decided to establish their present location as their base camp. With the mountain firmly planted beside them, from there the men could break out into teams.

For the next several days everyone would systematically search for any signs of the missing bomber. At least, this was the plan. Blake and two of the younger soldiers would explore the mountain. There was a lot of territory to cover.

Tracy was the fifth and final member of the American search party. He had spent two tours in Vietnam with the Army's elite SOG unit that operated out of Kontum.

At the end of his second tour his best friend, SFC Jerry (Mad Dog) Shriver was killed during a fierce battle. That was in April of 1969.This legend of a man had survived an unheard of 40 missions deep behind enemy lines.

The pencil pushers at Shining Brass all knew that the men who made up their SOG units seldom survived beyond 20 missions. Anyhow, Tracy had his reasons for coming back to Vietnam. But revenge wasn't one of them. When Mad Dog disappeared during a battle, his body was never recovered and some of the men thought he might have been captured. Add to the facts that Mad Dog had saved Tracy's life more than once—yes, he had his reasons.

Sutton,Scott, Pete and Tracy—each had lost friends in Vietnam and you couldn't help but respect them for what they were doing. They didn't have to volunteer for any of this. But no—they wanted to. They desperately wanted to. A good soldier never leaves his fallen comrades behind and with a chance to correct the past they were eager for this new day. It wasn't until several days later, however, that Lady Luck smiled upon them.

And it doesn't really matter who spotted the massive object first because Tracy and Pete were both there when it was found. Actually, it was one of the North Vietnamese soldiers who saw the thing first, quickly yelling for the two Americans to come look. Hacking their way through the dense undergrowth to a small clearing, they stood looking at it—a moment in time they would never forget for as long as they lived.

Since they had agreed to contact the entire team before investigating any major artifacts, using his portable radio to reach Sutton and the others, Pete told them what they had found. The Vietnamese came, too. Within an hour everyone stood in complete silence looking at the unbelievable sight resting on the jungle floor.

"What do you think Major—is it the B-52?"

https://em.wattpad.com/7ff9840d729a126317119a361db9158b22ca0871/68747470733a2f2f73332e616d617a6f6e6177732e636f6d2f 776174747061642d6d656469612d736572766963652f53746f 7279496d6167652f32575855574e4e613566696270413d3d2d 3831303830333535302e313564633131656539393833376562 323733313939313732323638332e6a7067?s=fit&w=1280&h=1280
photo: Jim Flanagan

"It sure looks like it Blake. Now that everyone's here, let's take a closer look."

The jungle had covered parts of the downed bomber while other parts of the aircraft were clearly visible. "My God, just look at that thing—sitting here all these years."

Professional soldiers that they were, the North Vietnamese spread out to secure the perimeter, leaving the Americans to honor their dead. Lt. Ngo remained with the interpreter at a respectable distance, slowly smoking a cigarette as he watched the drama unfold before him.

The enormous jet was in surprisingly good shape—at least what was left of it. The wings and tail section were missing but other than that, Sutton knew that he had found his bomber. Aircraft parts were everywhere.

Of course they had to see what was inside and Tracy was the first to inch his way into the small opening, careful not to cut himself on any of the jagged metal that guarded the entrance. Then it was the Major who slowly disappeared. Scott was next, followed by Pete. Suddenly Sutton stopped dead in his tracks, drawing his .357 from its holster—snake. Outside, Blake could see a slithering object off to his right, obviously disturbed by the approaching men.

Olly Buckle
January 25th, 2020, 11:11 AM
It struck me as very wordy, I'll pick a bit at random and show you.

So this explains the reason for the column of men slowly making their way forward—frightening the monkeys. However, with some luck they would find it. But it would take a lot of luck—even if what they were looking for was almost as big as a football field. That's just about the size of a B-52.

This explains the column slowly moving forward—frightening the monkeys. With luck they would find it. But it would take a lot of luck—even if it was as big as a football field, the size of a B-52.

Mostly I have taken out qualifying words, 'Just about', things like that. I have left the odd one , like 'a lot of luck' where it could go really terse and just say it would take luck, but you have something of an excess. The other thing is stuff you already established, like the column was made of men, and the introductory words we use in speech to ensure attention, 'So', 'However'

Think about what you really need, "he got on his portable radio" - 'he got on the radio'. He is in the middle of the jungle, it has to be portable, and there is no-one to borrow one from, being spoon fed every scrap of information does not make it a better read.

Lots of potential as a story though, tighten it up a bit and I would read on.

January 25th, 2020, 12:55 PM
I totally agree with you. And trust me, multiple times I have tightened the belt. But obviously I have IQ, educational and other low-scoring issues that keep me from being a class A writer. In the "author's comment section" of my first book I said that I knew I couldn't hit a homerun, but I was certainly hoping for a base hit. Same thing here. I am now posting the very short 2nd Chapter and will leave it at that because the two chapters are going to determine if one reads more.

CHAPTER 2: The Signal

Blake had decided on his own to stay out of the bomber for now—respectful of the other men who had fought so bravely and who were now doing their nation's most honored work. While the other men were inside,Blake decided to circumambulate the bomber, carefully trying to get his bearings. Part of the aircraft was near a steep cliff. A ruptured tire looked like it had been tossed on the ground—shattered debris was everywhere and extreme care had to be taken as he worked his way around the fallen aircraft.

As Blake reached the other side his mind became flooded with questions.He wondered about the crew and what had happened to them. Little did he know that his life was about to change forever.

One official record that the United States Air Force was positive about was the number of men that had been on the B-52 before it was shot down. That fact was for certain: six men. Inside its now battered hull, the six bodies were indeed found. Not a pleasant sight for even the most hardened of soldiers. But there was no doubt about it. Their flight suits were there; their shattered bones were there;their dog tags were there. All six. Nobody was missing. Heavy hearts fell over the four men inside the bomber. A half hour of silence would pass before any of them would emerge from the fallen jet. Lt. Ngo reached for another cigarette.

It was then on the left side of the fuselage, near the cliff, that Blake spotted the mysterious shape. Oddly, the pile of rocks looked familiar but not something that he was expecting to see on the jungle floor. Not here. It caught him by surprise.
He could only guess that one of the Americans from the bomber had survived the crash. Had he left this crude signal for them to find? But what was he trying to say? Blake wondered.

Bending over for a closer look he then noticed something under the top rock. Carefully lifting it, he removed a piece of crumbling paper that had been wrapped years ago in a small plastic bag. Though fragile, the paper flag had sort of survived and later the next morning Sutton would take a picture of it. It was one of those small waterproof-survival flags, the kind that the military issued to their troops during the war. It was now beginning to make a little sense to him. Obviously, somebody had survived the crash. This was the proof.

Hearing something behind him, Blake turned around and saw Major Sutton making his way out of the large hole. Slowly approaching and looking very tired, Sutton said, "They're all in there, son. We found them—all six. From the looks of their crushed skeletons I'm certain that they died instantly. It's a pretty nasty sight. They never got out of their seat belts."
Blake could sense the deep sorrow that the Major felt but he was also becoming very confused. The two men stood looking at each other as they were joined by the other three Americans.

"Major Sutton, I found something over here that doesn't make any sense. "He then handed the Major the American flag. "I found it under this rock—over here." The five men gathered around the pile of rocks while Blake placed the flag back where he had found it. He even placed the rock back on top of it. "What do you think Jim,"Scott asked?

"I think it's a signal," Blake blurted out.

"But how is that possible, Blake? We found everyone. There is no way any of them were alive—go look for yourself." He felt bad he had said that last part.

Sutton could be seen making a tight fist. He bent over and removed the flag from under the rock. "Pete, I've got an idea. Pull out the metal detector while we clear away these rocks. Give me a hand Blake. Just throw them over there."

Within minutes Pete had his White's metal detector ready to go and everyone stood back. Turned on after the long journey, the machine came to life—its fresh batteries eager to go to work. From a strategic vantage point Lt. Ngo sat spellbound, trying to figure out what the Americans were up to. Rain began to fall. He looked at his watch.Time was running out.
On the very first pass across the jungle floor, the metal detector yelped—letting out its unmistakable chatter. Several more times it filled the jungle with its alarming sound. The soldiers tightened their grips on their automatic weapons. The monkeys sat staring, as if in a trance.

"Tracy,give me the shovel." Quickly digging through the wet soil, the clanking sound of a buried object could be heard. Lt. Ngo strained to get a better look. Now fingers replaced the shovel—finally grasping and then pulling the buried object to the earth's surface. Within such a short period of time more than two decades seemed to have fallen within their midst. First the lost bomber and now this strange object.

A crack of lightening startled everyone, forcing everyone to jump in fright.

"I think it's a tube of some sort, Major. Maybe from the plane."Sutton held the muddy object in his hand. Shaking it gently,something inside rattled.

As the men gathered even closer the rain began coming down harder. It was almost four in the afternoon. Twisting the ends of the tube with considerable might the cap finally gave way.

"Blake,cover me with a poncho so that whatever comes out won't get all wet. Scott, over here, hold your hands out. Mine are all muddy."

"What are the Americans doing?"

Tilting the tube at a 45-degree angle, four dog tags slid into Scott's hands.Reaching in with his fingers, he then withdrew a thick sheath of papers wrapped in cloth. "That's everything Major."

Trying to look at everyone at the same time, Sutton straightened his back and said, "Men, I want to get to the bottom of this just as fast as the rest of you. But we're a good hour's hike back to our camp and we've got a squall blowing down on us. It's going to take even longer to get back, now—and we've still got dinner to cook. If it's OK with you, let's put this stuff back in the tube and the first thing in the morning, after I get a chance to look it over, I'll give you a full report. Is this OK with everyone?"

Everyone nodded—sensing the storm's approaching fury. Motioning to Lt. Ngo to get his men ready to head out, again the column of men could be heard from the jungle tops making their way back to the base of the mountain. The wet monkeys clung to their trees, ever vigilant of the intruders below.

January 25th, 2020, 02:20 PM
First chapters are difficult by virtue of the fact that they need to hook the reader and entice them to continue. Sadly, nothing in your opening would occasion me to read on. There is, to be blunt, far too much exposition and not nearly enough action. I don't need to know the intracacies of the world this early on. I need something to sink my teeth into, some modicum of intrigue or conflict to draw me in, before you set the scene.

The latter part of your first chapter starts getting good, but by then it's already too late. You needed to start with that and continue on. Had you done that, it would have been far more memorable. I get the tendency to want to explain everything early on, but it's a form of protracted hand-holding that weakens and cheapens the impact of the story.

There'll be time to explain intricate details later. A first chapter is your hook -- and right now, your hook is blunt.

January 25th, 2020, 02:47 PM
Sam, very good comment. Probably because I am so close to the entire story and know how it develops may explain why I can't see the forest for the trees. Thank you for your vision. I will mull this over for a bit and see what I can do with the first two chapters to sharpen it.

January 26th, 2020, 12:33 AM
I found the beginning kind of rough. I want to read shorter sentences. There's probably a promising work here. But I wish you shortened some. Prowriting aid can measure the length of your sentences and my recent subscription expired. I'll think I'll get grammarly though since I use microsoft word 2019 and prowriting aid isn't compatible. If you shorten the sentences a bit especially when you read it outloud it can improve. Right now it is a bit staccato. Don't think of your iq as being a limitation. Try to use some tools to improve your writing style.

January 26th, 2020, 03:06 AM
I definitely want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone's helpful comments. I was thinking later this morning how I thought Chapter One was the wet stone against "the hook;" in Chapter Two sharpening it further and even setting the hook. Reading Chapter Three, it's set deeper.

To tell the truth I have never been a student of the proper use of the English language. I know there's an entire science and proper method to it. Still I have the most amazing story(s) to tell. These delicious nuggets are what's important to me. The story (the cooked batter) which is needed for the nuggets to be served & savored by the reader - yep, it always needs improvement - more of this and less of that. On the other hand there is only so much I can, or am able to do.

I'll leave you with this little nugget from Part 3. My book is also historical fiction. The batter that I've used to tell this story I made up. However, the events you're about to read are absolutely true, including artifacts & testimonies from impeachable sources. This is very short.

CHAPTER 43: West Texas, 1621 A.D.

"By God's mercy, soon we will find water."

"All glories to Jesus Christ, His Divine Son. All glories to our Savior. Don't fret Juan, soon we will find something to ease our parched throats. We have to trust that our guides, who were sent to us by God, will not let us down. Surely God is leading them as well as us."

The two Spanish priests and the 30 Jumano Indians had been heading east from the mission at Isleta for well over 13 weeks. The land didn't appear that much different from parts of Spain. The blistering heat of the day and the cold nights were also familiar. "Diego, how much longer do you suppose we have to walk?"

At least they had a donkey to carry their load. The squaws fared far worse. And sure enough, their thirst was soon quenched, but their feet still hurt. Then another week passed when suddenly they spotted a band of Indians in the distance.

"Padre, who are they? I don't know, it's hard to see from here."

Straining to see them, Juan blurted out, "I think they're coming this way."

Watching them closely for a good 30 minutes the two priests noticed that the six Indians were headed straight for them—speaking only a few words to the others as they drew near. Soon they all stood still, facing each other in a random mass—eyes looking at each other, but heads still. The dust that had been kicked up settled back down upon the ground—their dogs eyeing each other nervously.
Both priests reached for the crosses that hung around their necks—raising them slowly above their heads—"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

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But what caught them off guard was how quickly the six Indians—in fact, how rapidly all the Indians pulled out their own crosses, hidden under their clothing—holding them in the same way for the two priests to see.

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A one-eyed Jumano with a dirty headband tied across his forehead spoke. "They say they were told where to find us."

"But for what reason? Who told them?"

"She wanted to give you a sign."

Now it was the older brother who spoke. "Ask them if they can take us to her."

Almost on cue the Indians turned toward the east without speaking another word and began to walk. "Padre, they are still holding their crosses."

"Blessed is this day, Juan, God has kept us safe."

Ten days later, after slowly climbing to reach the top of what would one day be called, College Hill, located behind the HEB grocery store in San Angelo, Texas, the Indians stopped and motioned for the two priests to join them.

"What is it Father? What do they want?"

The six Indians who had recently joined them held out their crosses, pointing with them toward the valley below. But the two missionaries still had a few yards to climb before they could see what was down below.

"Padre, maybe a river; just a little further."

Four hundred years later when the occasional scholar would try to put down in writing what the two men saw, facts always seemed to clash with fiction, frustrating the most prudent historian—discouraging most. Earning their degrees at Harvard and Yale, they were taught that history was not supposed to tease the sensibilities of sensible people. So what were they expected to say when asked to write about the history of San Angelo, Texas in 1622?

Reaching the top of the hill where they could see below, the two priests seemed to lose their breath. Without warning the two Spaniards fell to the earth like rods—reverent obeisances offered again and again—the Indians mimicking their every move.
Juan slowly rose to his knees—his palms pressed together near his heart—seeking breath to pray. Father Diego followed his lead—the Indians trying to do the same. Quietly both men began to speak in Spanish, uttering the same prayer that she had taught the Indians, but in their native tongue. The Lord's prayer never sounded so beautiful.

Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos; Santificado sea tu Nombre; Venga tu reino; Hágase tu voluntad; En la tierra como en el cielo; Danos hoy el pan de este día; y perdona nuestras deudas; como nosotros perdonamos nuestros deudores; y no nos dejes caer en al tentación; sino que líbranos del malo.

Both men stood up, holding their crosses high above their heads as a sign of triumph, for the glory of their Savior. In the valley below, perhaps as many as seven or eight thousand Jumano Indians—men, women, and children—were walking eight abreast in a huge circle, following the lead of an enormous cross. The two priests wrote in their report that the cross was over six feet tall and decorated with a beautiful flower garland.

When the two Spaniards came closer to investigate they found an area where many sick Indians were laying down as if waiting for them. "In the Name of Jesus Christ." The two men stopped at each blanket, gazing into the hopeful eyes looking up at them. As they later wrote, 'the blind, the deaf, the paralyzed; all were healed'.

Over the next year they estimated that over ten thousand Jumano Indians were baptized. By the year 1630, Spanish priests wrote to King Philip of Spain claiming that 60,000 Indians had received Christ, living in 25 different mission districts—not a savage among them.

As far as the woman that the Indians had earlier spoken about, she was never seen by the two priests. Only the beautiful rosary beads gave testament that she had been there. Undisturbed, the Indians declared that a beautiful woman in a blue cape had taught them how to make the flower garlands and decorate the large cross—all the while speaking perfectly in their native language.

"Brother Juan, how else could they have known?"

"Omnia possibilia sunt crendenti:" For the believer all is possible.

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450 Years Later - College Hill, San Angelo, Texas
Photo: by the author, Ronald E. Boutelle

January 29th, 2020, 02:01 PM
For a good week I have been thinking about the kind suggestions sent my way regarding my book, Abandoned. I finally decided to add this at the very start of Chapter One:

Chapter One

Blake reached for his bandanna to wipe the sweat trickling down the side of his face. When his radio had crackled with the message, he and the two soldiers came down from the top of the mountain as fast as humanly possible.

The other four members of his team were were nearby but had gone off by themselves. Blake didn't go, but fear of being attacked wasn't one of them. Surrounding them were 20 heavily armed North Vietnam troops protecting the five Americans.

When Blake had spotted the crudely constructed object off to his left, the connections were obvious, just as clear to him as to what it all meant and how everything was connected. He was wrong on both accounts. Blake may have been young be he certainly wasn't stupid so how could he have been so wrong about that?

He squatted down beside it and ran his hand over the damp rocks. It had been raining on and off all day. He was so excited to tell the others he could hardly stand the wait. In the meantime it was only natural to pondered the events that had led him there in the first place. Yes, what he had just found wasn't what they were looking for by a long shot but what else could it be? Again, that was as plain as day.

Enjoy the Story......

Olly Buckle
January 29th, 2020, 04:16 PM
However, the events you're about to read are absolutely true, including artifacts & testimonies from impeachable sources.

That is really great, please tell me you didn't mean 'unimpeachable' sources. On the other hand if you did I might use it as an intro to an obvious fantasy, so I don't really mind. :)

The bits of the book you have shown us do seem to have a great story behind them. Don't worry about inexperience, nobody started experienced and you can spend as long as you wish gaining it and editing once you have the story down.

January 29th, 2020, 05:14 PM
Well, Olly, the book is finished. I published it on Wattpad (link in signature). But I did go in and add those few sentences this morning. I actually feel very good about this addition so to you and others here, a big thank you.

January 29th, 2020, 10:02 PM
The writing seems like a second draft, needing another edit. I can see an improvement from Chapter one and forty-three.

I can see other occupants of that B-52, though. During that war I was in a Psy War company and we often begged rides in aircraft. Many rules were relaxed during the war. For instance, I would try to hitch rides back and forth to one of our units in Vietnam, sign in, spend the night, them return to my unit in Japan. That way I’d get a month’s combat pay. I did that so often that part of my army records show the correct two years in Nam, and some state three years. Many of those free rides were not recorded on the manifest. I’d just jump on before takeoff. Admittedly, I never used a B-52 or other combat craft, so they might have been more strict.

I don’t see how an IQ would help or hinder writing. Your spelling seems all right. I recall only a couple of such errors, such as using laying for lying. We all do that.

The story is interesting, especially for ex-military of that era, though I fail to see the tie-in with religious history. I trust you in that respect. There must be one.

Charlie – hvysmker

February 2nd, 2020, 03:13 PM
Charlie - Thank you for your comments. As far as misspellings, many seems to invisible & can hide forever. I will read the book again in the not too distant future and keep an eye out for that one. Regarding the tie-in with religious history, not sure what you mean by not being able to see that connection to the military aspect of the story. But if one is expecting a purely Vietnam War story, well....

Today there is factually on-going cooperation between North Vietnam and America looking for the remains of Americans who died over there but never recovered. This is the start of my book and "unexpectedly" I end up telling the story of one such American soldier, but Nick was part of a very small number of Americans who, instead of POW or MIA, were just "abandoned" during the mad rush to exist Vietnam altogether. I feel confident that what happened to Nick in chapter one is totally believable - along with who it was that came to his rescue. Angkor Wat does exists, and in fact, it is there that you see stone statues and wall carvings all showing the "churning of the ocean of milk." How I worked that into chapter one make sense as the story develops. The story of the ocean of milk is very rare & I had a great responsibility as a writer to not change it. My source material for this story is unimpeachable and trust me, as I said, I took great care with this section (as with other stories in parts 2 and 3).

Also, what I especially wanted to do with this book is work in some other stories. As far as I can determine, each of these events, although also unknown to most readers, are all factual. These episodes are the most beautiful parts of the book. But I did keep Nick alive right to the end. He's right there listening, too; in the setting established in chapter one. Okay, due to the close proximity to Angkor Wat, the tie-in to the "churning of the ocean of milk," should be easy to make. The rest of the tie-ins, well, that's just part of the dialog taking place. I'm the one who had to create a plausible tie-in for the overall book to work - a way to tell these other stories. I'll be the first to pat myself on the back in achieving that. This is why I like to say that besides being a religious thriller, "Abandoned" is historical fiction.

February 29th, 2020, 04:19 AM
A little late yes. See here Reb, you got yourself a Texas cut with a little too much fat. I don't like GH criticism. They want to read short sentences but declares it already staccato?
You have a story here, friend. If you served over there, respect.
Less is more, know the complexity(which you do) and say it simply. I'd recommend a copy of Strunk and White if you haven't one and expand from there. Gotten some use out of Pinker's 'Sense of Style' but you'll have to wade through a lot of brain wasting 'what not to do.' Its seems to me to be for over-thinkers.
One last thing, there is no 'proper' English prose or grammar. There is only what is commercial(subjective) and what is understandable(more objective, here the linguistic science is useful). It must all be understood of course but you get it. Language has undergone "bastardization" in every generation. The science of communication exists but it leaves much room to stretch.

February 29th, 2020, 05:44 PM
Shorter sentences is what I meant. I didn't mean staccato because I looked up the definition. It was first used on me and I thought it meant stilted when read but means disjointed. Or a variety of the length of sentences is what I originally was trying to recommend. I was saying this since I was reading it out loud and was running out of breath near the beginning.