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Would it be ok if I put the first draft of the beginning of my novel on here for critiquing?
46

lottielady · 03/03/2019 12:34

It’s far from great art - a light read. But I don’t know if it’s worth pursuing.

Would someone read it and tell me whether I can write please?

TIA

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TradeyShady · 03/03/2019 12:36

Yes, please

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 12:42

Ok, bit nervous but here goes....

The Set-Up

‘Hello my love. Are you all right this morning?’ Pam, who owned the newsagents in Jane’s village, surveyed Jane with a sympathetically-tilted head that was at odds with the flash of her gimlet eyes as she scrutinised Jane for signs of devastation and betrayal.
Jane rolled her eyes under the baseball cap she bitterly resented having to wear. Of all the humiliations heaped on her by her ex-husband over the past six months, being forced into wearing a fucking baseball cap had to rank up there with the worst of them.
‘Oh, you know, Pam. Soldiering on.’
Pam tilted her head even further, making Jane wince. That had to hurt.
‘I don’t know how you do it. I think I’d have ended it all by now, if I were you.’
‘Pardon?’
‘Well, it’s the humiliation, isn’t it? Bad enough he gets caught drink-driving, but then when it all came out about that young man...well, I think that would have just about finished me off.’
Jane had to concur that yes, the events of the past year had been a bit of a fucker.
‘It hasn’t been my best year, Pam. Anyway, I must...’
‘When I’m standing behind that counter looking at the newspapers and all I can see are pictures of your little face, all sad, and then him grinning his head off on holiday with that little...well, I could spit, Jane, I really could.’
‘Please don’t spit on my behalf, Pam.’
‘And you so dignified. You two had such a lovely life. We loved having you and Rob living among us. Our local celebrity, we used to say. We’d see you, going out for nice lunches, or being driven back from London in a beautiful car, and we’d say, there they go. Don’t they have a lovely life? It gave all of us a bit of a lift, seeing how the other half lived. Something to look up to.’ Pam looked suddenly bereft.
‘And now it’s all gone.’
‘Well, Pam, I’m very sorry to have disappointed you...’ Jane could hear the sarcasm dripping from her own words, but it seemed lost on Pam, who appeared to have disappeared into her own private reverie of loss. Jane cleared her throat. ‘Right, I must get this one home...’ She looked down at Dottie, her Boston terrier, who was sitting perfectly patiently at Jane’s feet, for what was probably the first time in her life. Little traitor.
Pam seemed to rally a little and raised her chin defiantly. ‘But you’re not bitter. Anyone can see that. I mean, you’ve obviously let yourself go a bit, but you’re not doing the red carpet thing any more, so nobody could blame you for that. It must have been exhausting, all that upkeep. And it was all for nothing anyway, seeing it was boys he liked all along...’
Okay. Too far. Jane felt her throat grow fat, an all too familiar sensation these days.
‘I really do need to be off...’ Dammit. Tears.
‘Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to upset you. Oh silly me! Here, have a tissue. Oh, what am I like, running off at the mouth like that. Here.’
Pam handed her a tissue, and Jane removed her sunglasses in order to mop up her tears. Just as she did so, there was a familiar click and whirr, and she looked up just in time to see Pam giving a thumbs up in the direction of an old Subaru Forester that was parked in a side road facing them.
As she caught Jane’s eye, Pam at least had the decency to blush.
‘It’s for your own good. The world needs to see how devastated you are. That bastard will be back on telly in six months if you let this all blow over.’
There was so much Jane wanted to say, most of it in guttural Anglo Saxon. But the paparazzo was still there, and the more dramatic the scene, the more money he and in turn, Pam, would receive at her expense. So Jane simply tugged Dottie’s leash, shook her head briefly at Pam, and made for the relative safety of her own front door.
As soon as it was locked safely behind her, Jane gave vent to her true feelings. ‘Vile cunt!’ she hissed, as she flicked ferocious V-signs at the impassive lump of wood. ‘Evil, nasty, money-grabbing BITCH!’ Dottie skittered off to her bed in the orangery that Rob had insisted on having built last summer. (She should have known something was up then. He’d always got spendy when something was on his mind).
Jane had had her suspicions for some weeks that Pam was one of the oft-quoted ‘worried friends’ that kept offering choice titbits to the tabloids, but had put them down to paranoia based on the simple fact that Jane didn’t like her because she peddled that crap for a living. Ridiculous, she’d called herself. She might as well decide to hate Waitrose for selling newspapers, she’d reasoned.
‘I went out of my way to be fucking nice to that bitch, too! And she sold me down the river!’ This was spat down the phone to Kerry, Jane’s best friend, whom she’d phoned with shaking hands as soon as she could string three words together without swearing.
‘Well, of course you did, darling, because you’re a good person.’
‘Fat lot of good it’s done me. I might as well have gone full Lara Fulton and at least have a reputation as a bitch not to be messed with. Instead, I’ve got the whole nation feeling sorry for me and I HATE IT.’
‘You don’t want to be Lara Fulton, darling. I’ve heard she’s back on the marching powder since she found out that husband of hers has been sexting Britain’s Got Talent contestants. Again.’
Jane shuddered. ‘God, men. Are they all absolutely foul? I mean, is there a decent one out there?’
Kerry pondered at the other end of the line. ‘Now Rob’s shown his true colours? No, I don’t think there is. He was the last great hope. If he can turn out to be a two-faced shit with a wandering cock, any of them can.’

Later that morning, Jane, accompanied by a gently farting Dottie, lay on the sofa with her iPad. The curtains were drawn, and there was a mug of tea and an open biscuit barrel on the coffee table. Thank God for the lovely, lovely Ocado man - he’d even let himself in and put the shopping away for her so she didn’t have to go to the front door. She wondered now if he was a philandering shitbag, too.
Probably, Jane decided. They all were.

Taking a deep breath, she opened a new tab and googled ‘Mail Online’. Fuck, there she was again. ‘Tears of Tragic Jane as TV’s Rob Has Fun In Sun’. A big close-up of her blotchy face this morning. ‘Jane, 45’ - Forty fucking four, thank you,’ Jane muttered through a mouthful of crumbs-
‘is comforted by neighbours as she comes to terms with her husband’s betrayal. Rob Royal, 45’ ‘Forty fucking seven, thank you’, muttered Jane, spraying crumbs all over her iPad screen - ‘known as ‘The King of Saturday Night’ thanks to a string of hit TV shows spanning the last two decades, has recently come out as gay after being spotted holding hands with a man in a restaurant, who turned out to be French premier league footballer, Guilliam Torres. Since then Jane has had to deal with a series of blows as one by one a string of men have confessed to affairs with the talented TV presenter. She is currently holed up in their 3.5m Cheshire mansion while her husband takes some time out in the stunning Mexico resort of Punta Mita while he desperately tries to salvage his career.’

Punta Mita. Where they’d had their honeymoon twenty years before. Where they’d taken their daughter on countless holidays. Jane’s happy place. Now he was frolicking all over it with a premiership footballer, romping all over her dreams and memories with his bit of beefcake.

‘You absolute fucking wanker,’ Jane breathed in wonderment as she scrolled through the photos of the pair of them splashing through the waves on jet skis, sharing a hammock beers in hand and walking down a paradisiacal beach in co-ordinating swimwear.

Stuffing another biscuit into her face, Jane scrolled down to the comments. She knew she shouldn’t, but it was like poking a sore tooth.
b1gMe11ons121 was of the opinion ‘she must of known all along.’
Zippysroundhead reckoned ‘they must have had some right threesums’.
Whitelilies89 believed that it was ‘a beautiful thing that Rob Royal can be himself at last and that the pair of them are brilliant ambassadors for the LGBTQ community.’
TinFoilHat50 reckoned ‘it’s all a load of shit his stars been fading for years hes just jumping on the trendy gay bandwagon he’ll be saying hes a women next’
KatyPops89 was ‘gutted for his poor wife she must be totally humiliated.’
FifiLaBonkers quipped ‘she can dry her tears with tenners after she’s taken him to the cleaners because let’s face it she won’t have to get off her arse and get a job like other single mothers will she?’

Reading this stuff was like eating Texas BBQ Pringles - Jane knew she was consuming what was essentially poison, and that no good could possibly come of it, yet she continued hoovering that crap up until she felt so sick she could barely move. Just as she was reaching for another biscuit before pressing ‘refresh’ for the twentieth time, an iMessage from Kerry popped up on the screen.
‘Get off the internet!’

Snapped out of her miserable wallowing, Jane smiled and typed back, ‘I don’t know what you mean. I’m currently in a yoga class.’

‘Uh huh. Listen, you need to get away. If Twat can run around Mexico with his new boyfriend, then you can have a holiday too. You deserve a break. Molly’s gone back to uni, so she’s trying to get back to some kind of normality. It’s time you showed them you’re not that devastated.’

‘But I am.’

‘Yes, darling, I know, but the problem is you look it. Time to lift your head up a bit.’

‘Hmm.’

‘Think about it. That village of yours is like a goldfish bowl at the best of times, and now you know there are spies everywhere. It’s time to go where nobody knows who you are, and couldn’t give a fuck either way. Let’s face it, Rob is no David Beckham, is he? Or Simon Cowell. He’s definitely ITV second division kind of celebrity. You won’t have to go far to escape this shitshow.’

‘Where were you thinking of?’

‘Amsterdam, darling.’

Jane snorted as she typed. ‘Amsterdam? Well, of course Amsterdam. What could possibly go wrong?’

‘It’s perfect. It’s not too far. It has lots of lovely shopping and art galleries. We can rent the most fab little apartment I know on the Prinsengracht where they bring you fresh apple cake every day and allow you to smoke weed, so we don’t even have to go out if you don’t feel like it.’

‘I don’t want to smoke weed! I’m already spending my days being paranoid and overeating!’

‘Think about it, that’s all. We had a very good time there back when we were thin students and the world was young. Remember, darling?’

Jane smiled nostalgically. ‘Nope,’ she typed.

Kerry’s reply was instant.

‘Exactly! Think about it. And while you’re thinking, I’ll book the apartment. xoxo’

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FaFoutis · 03/03/2019 12:50

Hi Lottie, it's entertaining. I think you can write.
Some of it needs shorter sentences for pace, and stop telling the reader so much - let them work it out for themselves.
I think you will get feedback from agents etc that it is too sweary. I'd cut that down a bit.

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 12:51

Thank you, FaFoutis

I’m a devil for long sentences...and swearing 😳

I’ll sort that. Thank you for reading it.

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BoldComicSans · 03/03/2019 12:54

I love it. But now I'm left wanting to read the rest.

Clearly a talented writer.

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 12:59

Really, BoldComicSans?

That’s so nice of you to say.

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BoldComicSans · 03/03/2019 13:03

I found it easy to read, but it wasn't dull. It kept me engaged and to want to keep reading.
It's a book I would buy. I always read the first page or two before deciding whether to buy a book.

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viques · 03/03/2019 13:05

I like your writing, but as a friend said about mine, lose the adjectives, most of them anyway, you don't need them,.

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 13:05

I really, really want to finish it. I get to 20k words, usually, before I lose confidence and give up.

I’m not in any way expecting to get published, but I just want to finish a manuscript!

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 13:05

viques I do tend to overwrite, it’s true.

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SlinkyDinkyDoo · 03/03/2019 13:12

I like the humour in it.

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joyfullittlehippo · 03/03/2019 13:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 13:15

That’s so useful, JoyfulHippo, thank you!

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CardiganB · 03/03/2019 13:21

reading aloud is a good way of telling whether what you've written flows naturally, or whether you're subconsciously repeating information.

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NottonightJosepheen · 03/03/2019 13:25

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Wakk · 03/03/2019 13:31

I like it! Reminds me a bit of Wendy Holden.

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 13:35

Thank you for reading it and for your kind words.

Just a question regarding getting the first draft finished - should I go back and fix what needs fixing first, or is it a better idea to just keep trucking until the end, then go back?

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 14:42

Sorry to be needy - any thoughts?

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NottonightJosepheen · 03/03/2019 14:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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IHeartKingThistle · 03/03/2019 14:52

This is a million times better than a lot of the openings I've seen put up here for critique.

I'd change the first sentence though - something simpler maybe? The first sentence didn't give me any clue that it was going to be as good as it was.

Good luck!

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 14:55

Again, thank you.

So, just keep on trucking then polish it up later?

I think that’s why I often end up not finishing. I go back and edit and lose heart and give up.

So I’ll try something different this time.

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NottonightJosepheen · 03/03/2019 14:56

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lottielady · 03/03/2019 15:01

I’m trying to make it sound real, really. I can take it out later if I need to, but I’d rather not censor myself yet, iykwim.

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Alison100199 · 03/03/2019 15:01

Very entertaining but I'd keep the swearing just to dialogue. Good luck!

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NottonightJosepheen · 03/03/2019 15:05

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