An Uncapped Pen

February 6, 2008

Crap – nonsense, rubbish, poop, something of poor quality

Filed under: Dickens Challenge — cindylv @ 6:51 am
Tags: , ,

Hey, I did it!

I wrote some crap and posted it on the internet!


I did it and I lived to tell about it.

And the internet police didn’t pull my plug.

And I lived to tell about it.

Chapter 11 of Casual Duty (Desert Survival Training) is hereby withdrawn for rewrite. I mean I’m gonna leave it up — for educational purposes. I’d like to thank Lisa Kenney for her comment that first alerted me to the whole issue. It’s an info dump. It’s info that’s necessary for my main character to know later on, but the method of dissemination is clumsy and awkward. It’s all in Bridie’s head and it’s all telling, not showing. And I’ve sorta been priding myself on the showing part.

So, on Friday (my primary writing day), I will reach under my bed and pull out my butterfly net and see if I can’t capture a few of these dragonflies that have been circling my head for the last few days.

Thank you Lisa Kenney, for your emotional support, continued cheerleading and your constructive criticism. Oh, and the shameless plug, too!



  1. Cindy,

    I didn’t think it was that bad. Break up some of the paragraphs. Make Bridie’s thoughts separate paragraphs from the droning instruction. The training is supposed to be boring–if Army training sessions are anything like those of Amtrak, they’re deathly dull, and you need to convey that. At the same time, they may be important–what Bridie learned in basic training prevented a death.

    I’ve got a problem with the singular they, which shows up in 10 and 11. You know the situation: English doesn’t have a word for “his or her,” so “they” shows up in the singular, such as in “After each soldier demonstrated their ability to find north with their sticks…” It’s pretty much acceptable in conversation–Harry Truman used it, so it even predates 1970s feminism. But in writing, you probably ought to make the subject plural (After the soldiers demonstrated…) or use the inclusive “his.”

    It really isn’t crap, or dreck, as you mockingly referred to Tim’s brilliantly-written chapter. We’re all going to have to do major revision, if we ever get to the publishing stage–well, maybe not Tim, Bill, or Wendy.

    By the way, that, “Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” dates back at least to the 13th Century Albigensian Crusade.

    Comment by Steve Wylder — February 6, 2008 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  2. Hey! Now I feel like poop! Any suggestions I made were meant as food for thought for revisions — not for you to worry about in this pass! I feel terrible — not to mention that you can’t set this precedent. If you pull this down because you don’t like the first version, I’ll end up pulling every one of my chapters down. Keep moving forward — put it back — we’ll let our blue pens sort through the changes during revisions!

    Comment by lisakenney — February 6, 2008 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  3. Okay, okay…thank you everyone for your input. After sleeping on it, I’ve decided to make my notes for revision, and soldier on (as Usman put it!). I’m not happy about it, and I guess I don’t have to be happy about it, but it won’t hurt to keep going.

    Lisa, I wasn’t blaming you for commenting on it. You did exactly what I asked you to do. And your comment was spot-on. Please don’t feel bad — and you didn’t hurt my feelings, so don’t worry about that. You critiqued the writing and gave me your opinion, that’s why we’re here, right?

    Steve, thanks for your comments about language. I’ve made notes for revision. And thanks for the reference for my ending quote!

    Usman, (regarding comments on Chapter 11, it’s nice to see you back, dude!

    Comment by cindylv — February 7, 2008 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

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