I originally joined Authonomy in 2010, back in the days when I had the time and energy to engage with a very busy community of authors. An early extract of ‘New Beginnings’ received heaps of favourable and constructive feedback, all of which led to the version which was subsequently published.
I closed my Authonomy profile when my Open University studies began to take up a large chunk of my spare time; unfortunately I forgot to save all the comments and reviews that my novel had attracted. I re-joined in 2013 because I missed the discourse with and support of other writers, but I over-estimated my ability to participate and have been inactive there for most of the intervening period.
Because Authonomy will be closing on 30 September, I’ve copied (verbatim) the comments that the first few pages of ‘New Beginnings’ had attracted from my fellow Authonomy authors:
Hi. I think the blog (diary) style of writing works well when the person talking is the main event in the book, but I felt it lost it a bit talking about the loss of the wife and subsequent events, as it felt detached from the action. Also, starting with the guy being so devoted made me question the girl’s moral compass and she lost favour in my eyes. Maybe she wouldn’t look so bad if her attraction started AT the time of his berievement?
I think the story has a good subject, that many people will be able to relate to, and being self published – by demand – (I’m jealous!) I’m sure you will find your readership.
• Brian G Chambers
When I read your pitch I thought oh no another chick lit romance, but I thought I would give you a comment anyway.
You had me hooked from the second paragraph. This being the electronic age the blog replaces the diary. This story has you reaching for the tissue box. It is beautifully written. You can feel the emotions all the way through. Writing at its best. I disagree with Wendy Lou’s comment, I think you started her fantasies of J at the right place, it makes it seem all the more realistic. I wish I could put it on my shelf right away but for now I will have to eject someone from my WL. It sure is worth all the six stars that I’m giving it.
• Michael Matula
Hi, Johanna. This was quite enjoyable for me. I like the conversational tone, and the format of using the blog entries (though I did kind of want the blog to be public, as it feels more like a private journal if it’s not actually on the web), and I thought you handled her inner turmoil well, and I liked the fact that she didn’t attempt to move in on J immediately after the incident. I was a bit concerned early on, as her obsession with J did make me worried for the wife and the daughter (if they hadn’t had a daughter, especially one with special needs, this might have been easier for me to swallow), so I was hoping she would move on of her own accord before the incident happened.
I also wrote down a few notes as I read:
– “give myself somewhere to record my feelings” and “I need somewhere to put down my thoughts and feelings” felt a bit similar to me, and they were within a couple of sentences from one another. I would possibly only mention this sentiment once here.
– I guess I’m behind on my acronyms, but I wasn’t sure what NVQ stood for.
– “their little girl, but a girl can look” – I might change the first one to “their little daughter,” to avoid saying girl twice here.
– “so no drinks night for me tonight” – I would possibly say “so it’s a no drinks night for me.” or go the other way and say “so no drinks for me tonight”
– A couple times, a line felt like it was trying to possibly squeeze a bit too much information in, like with “We took J back to the hospital and we both offered to stay with him but he didn’t want us to, so we left him there and I took Ben back to work because his car was still there.” where I wondered if part of it (like the fact that the car was still there) could possibly be trimmed out.
As I said, though, I thought this was very well done so far, and it felt like a very interesting twist on the genre.
Arrival of the Ageless
• Warrick Mayes
It’s not often I read everything someone has posted.
This is done in such a way that it does not feel like a story. It really feels like we’re reading someone’s private blog.
I found no errors. no faults.
What will happen between She and J? It all seems perfectly obvious, they seemed destined to be together. I don’t know how you will better this in chapter two. The problem of not being able to go out with J seems to BE the story, so eventually getting together might even be a disappointment. She’s weedling her way in, and even seems to have won over Beth. It wouldn’t be fair to retreat, but it would also be wrong to take things further – at the moment!
I love the line “Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.”
“Sleeping With God”
New Beginnings by Johanna Nield
I’ve read everything you’ve posted and enjoyed some of the incidents in which Tasha finds herself. You’ve managed to convey her feelings, really her unrequited love for her boss, Jamie, quite well. Many of us will certainly be able to identify with her as far as listing New Year’s Resolutions goes. Fortunately, she felt they were nothing too great or difficult. One wonders where things will end for her at the end of the day. At the funeral, Jamie’s’ mother-in-law made an uncalled remark and I’m not sure where it comes from. After all, is Tasha works for the guy, it seems logical that she would be there to help, considering that most of his family lived far away.
The diary style is a lovely idea, but I’m concerned that in the end, it might stilt the complete development of your story, but these days people are very much into reality things, so perhaps if she uses a pseudonym and writes an open blog where people might actually comment, it’ll give you an opportunity to let us hear her voice through dialogue. Of course, this is just an opinion. Let me know when you upload more. I’m interested to see where you and this very likable, if slightly scatterbrained heroine is going to take us. :-) Many stars for now and all the best on authonomy.
African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends