Trig: Chapter #4

I don’t have ANY writing experience, I just read 7 books every week. I’m also a nitpicking douchebag about certain sentence styles.

– Get rid of the black background and the thin column blog theme. For me, since I read a lot, I always click print view to make the text fill up the screen.

– Eliminate a lot of (i don’t know the proper grammar) “then, therefore, while”. Just start the sentence with “It dawned on him”. Words like “finally, in the end” just smack of term papers since we’ve all used them too much. They work better in dialogue than exposition. Eliminate dialogue from exposition, and vice-versa.

“Sure, Jason’s grades weren’t as impressive as his own” stumbles from the dialogue-y nature versus a simple statement “he’d never performed well in school” “his grades had always been” etc.

– Flip the dialogue sometimes, introduce Kyle with the “hold on to your cocks” line rather than describing him first.

– I guess I’m not into the roman a clef, but then I wasted yesterday reading about the battle of midway. (I would delete “I guess” from this sentence).

Read Connie Willis, read Tim Powers, they’re very good at the type of writing you seem to be going for. Willis’ Blackout duology in particular. I reiterate my lack of writing experience or any technical knowledge of grammar. I “hung out” with some NYC standup comics a few years ago for about a year and got some abstract pointers, mainly in terms of what makes them groan.

Some lines in there that gave me the “douche chills” but that’s to be expected:

“You know the girls in this town.” NO I don’t know, I hate the “you know” line. This guy knows what I’m talking about.

“Each of them had, of course,” – No no no no no!

That’s about it, I don’t want to come off as an a-hole, and I read Chapters 1 & 2 a while back, its not boring stuff at all.


Frost April 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Jules, much thanks for the advice. “Nitpicking douchebaggery” like this is exactly what I want. Not much to add other than I’ll be thinking about your points when I’m writing future chapters and re-writing these.

And I’d much take pointers from an uncredentialed heavy reader than some pompous asshat creative writing PhD student…


ancalgon April 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Nice story structure. Specially liked the opening scene which adequately conveys how twenty-somethings get totally immersed in video games.

I’m not a writer, but I have some criticisms as another ‘heavy reader’.

– I agree with jules about the theme. This blog’s theme (your main blog) has much better readability.

– Some of the dialogue, specially the scene where Ian, Jason, and Cassie are talking seems a bit stilted. (“Suddenly, Jason broke into good-natured laughter”, and two paragraphs later “Jason started laughing” are probably redundant. You can create the atmosphere of Jason being a charming asshole by the former line alone, and possibly slip something in later like “with a cocky smirk still on his face, Jason strode out of the kitchen”, et cetera)

Anyway, keep up the good work! I like the way newer characters like Ava are gradually being worked in.


jules April 23, 2011 at 1:22 am

Thanks, I was going to email it to you but you didn’t provide one, so I had to go public.


raliv April 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Brave quest, writing a book. Respect.

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” – The Elements of Style.

Keeping that in mind will allow you to craft a book that is enjoyable to read. Good luck!


Wald April 27, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I’ve just read all four chapters and I’ve really liked your book so far.

Reading it resonates with me a lot because I can see myself in the book. Namely, I am Ian. I make good grades and have not always done well girls. I’ve earned mostly through hard lessons but also through the advice of mentors. In contrast to Ian, I have less experience (am still a virgin) but my eyes opened in highschool (11th grade).

I also find myself finding things in common with Nick. I don’t play video games as much as I used to and play more sports, but I used to play them all the time and have little to no friends or aquaintances. Socially I used to be really awkward and unaware. I always knew something was wrong but could never define it until I surfed the internet and gave that evil the name ‘feminism’ (among other ones).

Also I’m curious; are any of these charachters you or all they all part of you? I ask because I couldn’t help but relate your proclivity for hockey in real life (specifically intramural) to your inclusion of intramural hockey in the story with Jason.

Anyway, keep writing, I look forward to your other chapters.


Traveller April 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I am not a writer but I read a lot of books.

The reading at start is a bit heavy, I mean, the presentation of characters felt a bit forced, like a documentary report, but if this is your first attempt it is more than good.

After that, the development of the story is more natural to follow.

I had some moment when a minor critic came to my mind:

1 I had the impression Game is important here. You use some Game jargon (“quality time”) without explaining the meaning or context – for non Game initiated people. But maybe I am wrong here.

2 You gave an explicit moral judgement of the characters (the 4chan introduction). This is a thing of the past I would say. In modern novels, the moral judgement of characters is left to the readers, or it is implicit in the plot (bad thing happen as consequence).

I am awaiting the successive chapters 🙂


Traveller April 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Another thing after searching a private way to write to you, unsuccessful.

Vacuum cleaner: vacuum (1 “C”, 2 “U”), Latin word for “empty”, I read the 4 chapters some hours ago and I did not check right now if it is corrected, but it had 2 times written wrong (in a couple lines distance).

After fixing, delete this message!