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The Setting Of The Sun by Bob Chassanoff

 
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Linda
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Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 1024
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:15 am    Post subject: The Setting Of The Sun by Bob Chassanoff Reply with quote

Hi Bob,

I always enjoy a good western. Your story is great, but, I think you could easily cut it by half. You have a good opening, but there is too much detail ... the reader will get lost ...I would cut it down to 5 lines or less:

"How the hell you gonna’ get him, Marshal? McPherson’s leading ex-confederate raiders, half-breeds, and guerrillas. They killed the bank manager and a deputy in Lordsburg.

Cory wiped sweat from his brow and shook his head. "No disrespect meant Marshal, but this bunch are killers. They know the ground. I don’t think you have much of a chance."



7 paragraphs later, you tell us:

I’m Jason Pike, a United States Deputy Marshal.

Most of those 7 paragraphs are telling… it would be better to show ...or bury your telling in dialog…

You wrote:
I wanted to kill Manx. Not because his speech, mixing first and third tense, was painful, but it would be a positive action for the rest of humanity.

This is good detail…but, you threw it in without any set-up…and too far down in the story…

I noticed you normally provide detail, after the fact…in the case of the Marshall assuming the killer's identity...it would have been better to show the killing…then, allow the Marshall to use the name…your reader will put two and two together…


I holstered my Colt and looked at McPherson.

"Manx’s old man used to beat him all the time when he was a kid. Charley Manx never had a chance to turn out any different," he explained.


Good showing! McPherson's dialog shows the criminal mind. This is a nice long story, Bob, but, I think if you cut it by half, it could be better.

Linda
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Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
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Robertchassanoff
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Joined: 13 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your coments concerning brevity. I feel the level of detail portrayed in the story was appropriate as to the mood I wanted the reader to experience.
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Linda
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Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 1024
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bob,

Perhaps you are right, however, in this day of internet publishing, you better grab a reader from the beginning, or you will lose him. Older (established) writers could afford to wander off on little side lines. We stayed with them because we knew them, but, to be honest...it was a chore to stay with your story....I felt no real mood, and forced myself to finish the story in order to provide feedback. I wouldn't count on the average reader forcing himself to read.

Welcome to the writer's voice, Bob. I hope you will continue to post as well as provide feedback! Smile

Linda
PS...Harry's post below is right on the money...and a perfect example...He began with ONE name....one name is easier for a reader to hold on to...and because of the name, (Louis L'Amoure) he kept me reading to the end...
_________________
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-- Dylan Thomas


Last edited by Linda on Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:56 am; edited 3 times in total
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Harry
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Joined: 15 Jan 2004
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Location: New York

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Louis L’Amour said about western novels still makes sense to me ...

"If you write a book about a bygone period that lies east of the Mississippi River, then it's a historical novel. If it's west of the Mississippi, it's a western, a different category. There's no sense to it." 

... and since east and west of the Mississippi has no particular meaning to the rest of the world, Bob, I think the ‘western writer’ has got to be judged by the same set of values we place on writers on either side of the river. John Steinbeck, a pretty good western writer himself understood this, I think. He was not an escapist, as so much of ‘western’ literature tends to be; and because of that I’ve always felt his work rang true, even though I’m an easterner.

"How the hell you gonna’ get him, Marshal Pike? Harry McPherson has ten men riding with him. They killed the bank manager and a deputy sheriff while robbing the bank in Lordsburg. He’s leading ex-confederate raiders and murdering half-breeds. The McPherson gang is made up of renegades: Telly Sumner, Long Sam Tobias, and Willy Peacock are riding with him. There’s talk even Charley Manx joined the group. All those guerrillas are sadistic killers," Lieutenant Cory, of the United States Fifth Cavalry, said to me.

Starting your story off with a long declarative statement is a dangerous way to begin – I think that’s what Linda was driving at. It’s a hard passage to get through. All of this is in my humble opinion however.
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