Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

Welcome to our Wednesday edition of Would You Read On?. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to stop by our blog. Kindly comment if you would read on or not. Last week’s contributing author is revealed below this first page.

Ship’s Log: Writing On A Tight Dead Line (a middle reader title)

Dear Mom: I’m still sailing around the Caribbean Sea surrounded by murderous pirates, beautiful beaches, haunted forts, mysterious lakes fed by underground rivers and hidden dungeons filled with treasure, bones and really smelly men who are not keen on bathing.

The round little man with owlish eyes looked up from his reading. “You want I should mention that there rat? Would only take a second to put it in. Could draw a picture of him right here in the margin.”

A gust of wind slammed into the rigging of the wooden ship, tipping the vessel onto its side. I scrunched closer toward the large rodent. “Here boy, come to Ricky. Want to gnaw on a smelly rope?”

The rat sniffed and scurried under the bars of my cell and out of sight.

“Face it, lad. You’ll never get those bindings off your wrists. And even if you did you couldn’t get the door unlocked or sneak past the guard.”

Pressing my cheek to the iron bars I strained to see down the darkened hallway, then eyed the man seated in the other cell. “How long before… you know?”

“You mean after your neck snaps before for your feet stop twitching? Depends. Seen some pour souls kick a minute or more. You, being young and all, might take longer. Should I mention the rat or not?”

“Mom hates rat,” I replied.

“Right. No rats.”

Remember last spring how, when I took the pre-college exams, you worried about my writing scores. Thought they wouldn’t be high enough? We spent hours going over those stupid subject prompts. ‘What is something you dislike about yourself? What is something you do well? What is your favorite room at home and why?’ No need to worry about my writing skills, now. This place where I am now offers plenty of time to practice my writing.

“It’s me who’s doing the writing, you know. Not you.”

“My story,” I countered. “My obit.”

Would you read on?

The Big Reveal:
Last weeks contributing author's are sisters,
Brenda Hupp and Judith Norris. Stop by their website to visit and learn more about this author team.


Timothy Fish said...

I'm not sure what to make of this one. It has a lighthearted tone, so it is easy to be forgiving. For that reason alone, I might continue reading. But I find my suspension of disbelief takes a beating on this one. There seems to be a hodge-podge of thing. They don't really fit together. "Pre-collage exams" and "wooden ship" don't fit together, for example. So, I would probably pass.

Normandie Ward Fischer said...

Yes, I'd read on. I like the humor in the middle of obvious fear. The juxtaposition of modern and old made me curious -- for that reason alone I'd want to see what comes next. As a sailor, I should mention that wind in the rigging won't tip the ship. A gust in the sails might. The thing about big, old wooden boats is that it takes a stiff wind to knock them on their side -- and no one paying attention to the sail trim (which wouldn't be likely).

Kristen said...

Yeah, I'd read on. It is a little jarring going between the cheerful and somewhat silly letter to the prison scene, and I'm a bit confused about whether the protagonist has gone back in time or is supposed to have been captured by modern pirates (wouldn't they just shoot him if they were modern) but I'm intrigued and the writing is good enough and interesting enough that I would definitely keep reading for awhile to find out.

Sarah Thomas said...

I really like this and definitely want to know more. As a matter of fact, I wish the post were longer! I would work on that first sentence in the letter, though. It has way too many clauses and might have stopped me if I wasn't intent on reading past it.

Jeanette Levellie said...

The writing is well done, but I hate the thought of a young man in prison, so I wouldn't. But don't let my sensitivity stop you--I believe this is a fine start to your story, which I hope entails a daring escape or rescue!

Cheryl said...

I'm on the fence about this one. Like Tim mentioned, there are a bunch of things that don't seem to go together. Also, from the opening of the letter, I actually thought the person was a woman. Granted, knowing he was working on his writing before whatever happens to him, helps to justify that, but I still felt a bit cheated that until the man who was doing the writing called him "lad," I had no idea it was a young man.

I might continue for a bit to see how it goes.

Davalyn Spencer said...

I would absolutely read on. The clear, neat writing hooked me, as well as the visuals. One thing threw me - the owl-eyed man looking up from his "reading" rather than his "writing." The shift between the first and second graphs jarred me, but I do not give up on a book after only the first graph, so I kept reading. The farther I read, the more I liked it. I'm curious to know the genre and age group target.

Katherine Hyde said...

I think I would have to read on just to figure out what the heck is happening! At first I thought the setting was historical, but the last part sounds contemporary. If he's a prisoner on a pirate ship, why is he going to be hanged? Pirates favored plank-walking or keel-hauling.

The writing is good and engaging (and I have an idea who the author might be), but I hope some explanation is forthcoming soon!

Jennifer said...

I'm not sure. While it peaks my interest, I had to stop and reread a few places to make sure I was following. I like a good pirate story though...

Sapphire said...

Although it seems a bit forced to me (as in overexplaining), the story has certainly piqued my curiousity - so yes, I would read on.

Sapphire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curtis said...

Yes. I would read on. I loved the juxtaposition. That is tricky to make work, and they do.

I might have reworked it, starting with the third paragraph. Number three is strong, laden with visuals and action and it pulls me into the story. I like their voice, the high energy, and how they modulated that energy to establish the rhythm of the juxtaposition.

The economy of style adds to the movement. Even the first paragraph, which almost offers an outline, until I realized it was intended to be facetious, didn't waste a word. Yep. I would read on.

So, where is the rest of it? Those first few paragraphs raise a lot of questions for the reader. The rat was excellent foreshadowing. Good job. But, I gotta know how Ricky escapes. I wouldn't mind knowing how he got locked up in the first place.

My only question. Will the writing team "write on"?

Clarice James said...

I had to do a re-read of this first page yesterday. When that happens, I never know if it's me or the author. So I put it aside and read it again today. I had to do a second re-read. When another person posted what I was thinking, (perhaps if the little round man looked up from his "writing" instead of "reading,") then I knew it wasn't just me.

Once I got what was happening, I thought. "Yeah,I might read on." But smoothing out the flow and adding clarity would assure that I would. It seems like the story is the quirky tongue-in-cheek stuff I like. I think it would be a fun read. [Poor instead of pour.]

Kristen Joy Wilks said...

You know, I came back to the blog for something (bought Stolen Women for my Nook and needed the author's name, it's on sale by the way!) and I read this again and the more I read it the more I like it. I hope you are finished with this so that I can find out what happens. If the author is still changing things though, I would shorten the letter to Mom at the beginning. Too much there and as the Mom of 3 boys I'm not convinced that this is a "boy" voice. I would probably change "really smelly men" to something different like um..."a rancid collection of uncouth pirates"...or scallywags or thieves...but I have been told once or twice that I have "too much voice" so I might be leading you astray. Also, pick one or two ways to describe the "round little man with owlish eyes" seems too much to me. It took me awhile to realize that the protagonist was trying to get the rat to nibble him free. I like that a lot and would have gotten it sooner if you told me Ricky held out his bonds to the rat or something like that. I really like the voice of the sailor. and I love the end where ricky says "my story, my obit" sounds more teen boy than earlier. oh I think his mom hates "rats" plural, rather than any particular individual rat. Anyway, the more I read this the more I love it and if it is ever an e-book at Barnes and Noble I would love to know.

sally apokedak said...

I just discovered this series and I had some time today to read back over a few old posts. Even though I'm late to the party, I had to comment to say I LOVED this one. I want to buy it. I'd definitely keep reading and I'm going to go over to the author's blog to see what else he has. I saw a few typos and things that needed to be fixed in a line-edit, but the story and voice are great so far. I love this kid already.