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Re: [ticket2write] Re: We Found Them in a Barn Part I (non-fiction) Part I - Deborah Hill

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  • Deborah Hill
    Suzianne, Your comments are very constructive and helpful. I should have noted this is a short story but I am glad to know it might make an interesting longer
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 5, 2008
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      Suzianne,
      Your comments are very constructive and helpful. I should have noted this is a short story but I am glad to know it might make an interesting longer work.
      Deborah


      From: Susan Donahue <suzianne411@...>
      To: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 7:27:05 PM
      Subject: [ticket2write] Re: We Found Them in a Barn Part I (non-fiction) Part I - Deborah Hill

      Dear Deborah:

      I will add an "Amen" to the comments made by Wings. The title does
      not draw attention to the piece and it does not really address the
      subject of your story.

      Sometimes, when a writer has a good idea for a story, she hastens to
      commit her thoughts to words and ends up providing the "back story"
      rather than the first chapter in the initial attempt. You might want
      to set this aside and use it to guide to your second draft. Consider
      the narative and let the story unfold more slowly. Your readers do
      not need all of the information on the first page.

      One thing you might want to remember is that it is a good thing to
      vary the length of words, sentences and paragraphs so the do not
      create a static pattern. Most of your sentences are of the same
      length and do not flow together.

      My last comment is about writing this as a non-fiction piece. Ask
      yourself if the parties involved will ever forgive you for telling
      this story. Are you violating their privacy? It is worth it? The
      story could be the foundation for a perfectly good piece of fiction
      that would convey the message you want to share without causing
      damage to the people involved.

      Suzianne

      --- In ticket2write@ yahoogroups. com, "dshill3" <dshill3@... > wrote:
      >
      > We Found Them in a Barn Part I
      > We found them in a tobacco barn -- four scared, young teenage boys,
      > huddled together, eyes glittering from no sleep and drug use. Our
      > fifteen-year old son had been missing for three days and nights.
      None
      > of his friends seemed to know where he was. We called the police
      but
      > they didn't find him. My husband and I drove around looking for
      Ryan
      > with no luck.
      > Finally, a young blonde girl in a navy Jeep came by our house and
      > rang the doorbell. She confessed, teary-eyed, that she and another
      > girl had been taking food and drinks to the boys for the past three
      > days. She said she was worried about them because "they didn't look
      > right." We asked her who was with Ryan and called two of the other
      > boys' parents.
      > We asked the girl to lead us to where the boys were. One mother
      > followed the girl's Jeep and my husband and I brought up the rear.
      > She led us up the highway and then down a gravel, dirt road to an
      > abandoned, weather-beaten, wooden tobacco barn. We approached
      slowly,
      > not wanting to scare the boys or cause them to run away. The girl
      > went to the doorway of the barn; it had an open doorway and window
      > spaces with no glass or coverings. She spoke to the boys. Then the
      > other Mom walked up, entered the barn, and jerked her son out of
      the
      > structure and into her car.
      > We walked up quietly and saw our son and two other boys standing in
      > the barn. Their eyes were glazed and they looked very tired. We
      asked
      > Ryan to come home with us. He didn't say anything so his Dad took
      him
      > by the arm and led him to the car. His face and clothes were dirty
      > and he was acting spatially disoriented. He was stepping very high
      > and his eyes appeared not to be focusing. At that time, my husband
      > had a Jeep that he could lock all the doors from the driver's side.
      > He locked the car doors after we got inside.
      > We tried to talk to Ryan in the car but he was incoherent. He
      finally
      > lay down on the back seat and was quiet throughout most of the
      > trip. We started driving toward the hospital in Chapel Hill, as I
      > heard they had a good adolescent substance abuse/psychiatric unit.
      I
      > had called ahead to make sure they took our health insurance.
      > About 20 minutes into the trip, Ryan started talking. He
      said: "Where
      > are we going?" I told him we were taking him to the hospital and he
      > assumed a belligerent, defiant tone, saying: "You aren't taking me
      > there!" His Dad said, "You need help, son." Ryan said he wanted to
      go
      > home and I said: "Not this time, Ryan. We're getting you some
      > professional help." He said he was afraid to go to the hospital. We
      > asked what he had been doing for three days and he said he "took a
      > lot of pills". We asked what and he said Coricydin. We asked how
      much
      > he had taken and he said "boxes." Then we knew we had made the
      right
      > decision to take him to the hospital.
      > Ryan had been smoking marijuana since he was in middle school and
      > hanging out with friends whom we disapproved of. We tried to limit
      > his contact with these new friends but he continued to associate
      with
      > them. We had found bongs, pipes, and once a small bag of marijuana
      in
      > his room. Ryan usually denied any use or said he was going to
      > continue smoking pot anyway. No discipline methods seemed to help.
      He
      > was skipping school and his grades were falling. His attendance at
      > church youth group had fallen off and we were at our wit's end
      about
      > how to help him.
      > (continued)
      >


    • Sleepy
      This is the sort of advice people usually have to pay huge sums to a writing coach for, and, I suspect, don’t always get. I found it very helpful in
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 5, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        Written by a man and a woman, repsectivly

        This is the sort of advice people usually have to pay huge sums to a writing coach for, and, I suspect, don’t always get.

         

        I found it very helpful in assessing my own w.i.p. even though it is quite different in length, genre, etc.

         

        This kind (and I do mean kind) of thing is just one reason why I keep coming back after my long hibernations.

         

        Sleepy

        (Yep, I’m waking up again)

         


        From: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com [mailto: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of albiaicehouse
        Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 12:11 PM
        To: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [ticket2write] Re: We Found Them in a Barn Part I (non-fiction) Part I - Deborah Hill

         

         

         Deborah,

        Is this piece non-fiction?

        No matter, for my comments would be the same either way.

        Please be patient with me because I have some points to make first and
        I am rushing to make them because I consider the piece has so much to
        offer.

        In this transition: "...no sleep and drug use. Our fifteen-year old
        son had been missing...", I recommend at least a paragraph break. The
        narrator is jumping around in time, but there isn't a visual clue, so
        I was confused until I read further and started surmising a
        chronological order. The word "had" could use some help here.

        Next, please give us a reason to care. I know it sounds cold-hearted
        to a degree, but it is a big world out there, and even a parent such
        as me may not link up emotionally with the situation even though you
        are describing the loss and recovery of a son to parents. Perhaps you
        could have a further flash back to an earlier Ryan that shows his
        character and the bond between him and at least one of his parents,
        preferably the narrator. The earlier I begin to care about Ryan, the
        better. You may even have to revise the early structure of the piece
        to reduce the time jumping.

        Then consider depicting the emotional reaction or telling us the
        internal thoughts of the narrator. Was there huge emotional tension
        when the boys were missing? How was it expressed by the parents?
        What happened to their conversation? Their sleep? Did the fact their
        son was missing pull the parents together or apart? Was there relief
        at finding her son? Was the relief equal? Was their some restraint
        given the boys' conditions? Some anticipation of the tough love to
        come? Just pure concern? This whole experience has been an emotional
        roller coaster. We should be placed in the seat feeling the ups, the
        plunges, the downs.

        I've come on heavy in the criticism side, so let me balance that. I
        think this piece has significant potential and the bones of the story
        are told well. All three characters have the opportunity to grow. For
        that reason, many readers will find this work rewarding.

        Now just pack some emotional "muscle" on those bones and you will have
        a powerful piece.

        Rod
        aka albi
        http://www.geocitie s.com/neocoda

        --- In ticket2write@ yahoogroups. com, "dshill3" <dshill3@... > wrote:

        >
        > We Found Them in a Barn Part I
        > We found them in a tobacco barn -- four scared, young teenage boys,
        > huddled together, eyes glittering from no sleep and drug use. Our
        > fifteen-year old son had been missing for three days and nights. None
        > of his friends seemed to know where he was. We called the police but
        > they didn't find him. My husband and I drove around looking for Ryan
        > with no luck.
        > Finally, a young blonde girl in a navy Jeep came by our house and
        > rang the doorbell. She confessed, teary-eyed, that she and another
        > girl had been taking food and drinks to the boys for the past three
        > days. She said she was worried about them because "they didn't look
        > right." We asked her who was with Ryan and called two of the other
        > boys' parents.
        > We asked the girl to lead us to where the boys were. One mother
        > followed the girl's Jeep and my husband and I brought up the rear.
        > She led us up the highway and then down a gravel, dirt road to an
        > abandoned, weather-beaten, wooden tobacco barn. We approached slowly,
        > not wanting to scare the boys or cause them to run away. The girl
        > went to the doorway of the barn; it had an open doorway and window
        > spaces with no glass or coverings. She spoke to the boys. Then the
        > other Mom walked up, entered the barn, and jerked her son out of the
        > structure and into her car.
        > We walked up quietly and saw our son and two other boys standing in
        > the barn. Their eyes were glazed and they looked very tired. We asked
        > Ryan to come home with us. He didn't say anything so his Dad took him
        > by the arm and led him to the car. His face and clothes were dirty
        > and he was acting spatially disoriented. He was stepping very high
        > and his eyes appeared not to be focusing. At that time, my husband
        > had a Jeep that he could lock all the doors from the driver's side.
        > He locked the car doors after we got inside.
        > We tried to talk to Ryan in the car but he was incoherent. He finally
        > lay down on the back seat and was quiet throughout most of the
        > trip. We started driving toward the hospital in Chapel
        Hill , as I
        > heard they had a good adolescent substance abuse/psychiatric unit. I
        > had called ahead to make sure they took our health insurance.
        > About 20 minutes into the trip, Ryan started talking. He said: "Where
        > are we going?" I told him we were taking him to the hospital and he
        > assumed a belligerent, defiant tone, saying: "You aren't taking me
        > there!" His Dad said, "You need help, son." Ryan said he
        wanted to go
        > home and I said: "Not this time, Ryan. We're getting you some
        > professional help." He said he was afraid to go to the hospital. We
        > asked what he had been doing for three days and he said he "took a
        > lot of pills". We asked what and he said Coricydin. We asked how much
        > he had taken and he said "boxes." Then we knew we had made the
        right
        > decision to take him to the hospital.
        > Ryan had been smoking marijuana since he was in middle school and
        > hanging out with friends whom we disapproved of. We tried to limit
        > his contact with these new friends but he continued to associate with
        > them. We had found bongs, pipes, and once a small bag of marijuana in
        > his room. Ryan usually denied any use or said he was going to
        > continue smoking pot anyway. No discipline methods seemed to help. He
        > was skipping school and his grades were falling. His attendance at
        > church youth group had fallen off and we were at our wit's end about
        > how to help him.
        > (continued)
        >

        No virus found in this incoming message.
        Checked by AVG - http://www.avg.com
        Version: 8.0.175 / Virus Database: 270.8.6/1768 - Release Date: 04/11/2008 21:38

      • bty29586219
        Hi Sleepy Re. Coming back after a long hibernation I suppose you re going to tell us you ve been up the Kaatskill Mountains with Rip van Winkle. No couldn t
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 5, 2008
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          Hi Sleepy

          Re."Coming back after a long hibernation"
          I suppose you're going to tell us you've been up the Kaatskill
          Mountains with Rip van Winkle. No couldn't have been that, for he was
          up there for twenty years, so I suspect you're a squirrel whose run
          out of nuts. You'd better gather a good stock because my bones tell
          me it's going to be a hard winter ahead.

          Whatever excuse, it's good to know you're still around.

          As alwys

          Wings

          --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Sleepy" <sleepyscribbler@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > This is the sort of advice people usually have to pay huge sums to
          a writing
          > coach for, and, I suspect, don't always get.
          >
          >
          >
          > I found it very helpful in assessing my own w.i.p. even though it
          is quite
          > different in length, genre, etc.
          >
          >
          >
          > This kind (and I do mean kind) of thing is just one reason why I
          keep coming
          > back after my long hibernations.
          >
          >
          >
          > Sleepy
          >
          > (Yep, I'm waking up again)
          >
          >
          >
          > _____
          >
          > From: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:ticket2write@yahoogroups.com] On
          > Behalf Of albiaicehouse
          > Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 12:11 PM
          > To: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [ticket2write] Re: We Found Them in a Barn Part I (non-
          fiction)
          > Part I - Deborah Hill
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Deborah,
          >
          > Is this piece non-fiction?
          >
          > No matter, for my comments would be the same either way.
          >
          > Please be patient with me because I have some points to make first
          and
          > I am rushing to make them because I consider the piece has so much
          to
          > offer.
          >
          > In this transition: "...no sleep and drug use. Our fifteen-year old
          > son had been missing...", I recommend at least a paragraph break.
          The
          > narrator is jumping around in time, but there isn't a visual clue,
          so
          > I was confused until I read further and started surmising a
          > chronological order. The word "had" could use some help here.
          >
          > Next, please give us a reason to care. I know it sounds cold-hearted
          > to a degree, but it is a big world out there, and even a parent such
          > as me may not link up emotionally with the situation even though you
          > are describing the loss and recovery of a son to parents. Perhaps
          you
          > could have a further flash back to an earlier Ryan that shows his
          > character and the bond between him and at least one of his parents,
          > preferably the narrator. The earlier I begin to care about Ryan, the
          > better. You may even have to revise the early structure of the piece
          > to reduce the time jumping.
          >
          > Then consider depicting the emotional reaction or telling us the
          > internal thoughts of the narrator. Was there huge emotional tension
          > when the boys were missing? How was it expressed by the parents?
          > What happened to their conversation? Their sleep? Did the fact their
          > son was missing pull the parents together or apart? Was there relief
          > at finding her son? Was the relief equal? Was their some restraint
          > given the boys' conditions? Some anticipation of the tough love to
          > come? Just pure concern? This whole experience has been an emotional
          > roller coaster. We should be placed in the seat feeling the ups, the
          > plunges, the downs.
          >
          > I've come on heavy in the criticism side, so let me balance that. I
          > think this piece has significant potential and the bones of the
          story
          > are told well. All three characters have the opportunity to grow.
          For
          > that reason, many readers will find this work rewarding.
          >
          > Now just pack some emotional "muscle" on those bones and you will
          have
          > a powerful piece.
          >
          > Rod
          > aka albi
          > http://www.geocitie <http://www.geocities.com/neocoda> s.com/neocoda
          >
          > --- In ticket2write@ <mailto:ticket2write%40yahoogroups.com>
          > yahoogroups.com, "dshill3" <dshill3@> wrote:
          > >
          > > We Found Them in a Barn Part I
          > > We found them in a tobacco barn -- four scared, young teenage
          boys,
          > > huddled together, eyes glittering from no sleep and drug use. Our
          > > fifteen-year old son had been missing for three days and nights.
          None
          > > of his friends seemed to know where he was. We called the police
          but
          > > they didn't find him. My husband and I drove around looking for
          Ryan
          > > with no luck.
          > > Finally, a young blonde girl in a navy Jeep came by our house and
          > > rang the doorbell. She confessed, teary-eyed, that she and
          another
          > > girl had been taking food and drinks to the boys for the past
          three
          > > days. She said she was worried about them because "they didn't
          look
          > > right." We asked her who was with Ryan and called two of the
          other
          > > boys' parents.
          > > We asked the girl to lead us to where the boys were. One mother
          > > followed the girl's Jeep and my husband and I brought up the
          rear.
          > > She led us up the highway and then down a gravel, dirt road to an
          > > abandoned, weather-beaten, wooden tobacco barn. We approached
          slowly,
          > > not wanting to scare the boys or cause them to run away. The girl
          > > went to the doorway of the barn; it had an open doorway and
          window
          > > spaces with no glass or coverings. She spoke to the boys. Then
          the
          > > other Mom walked up, entered the barn, and jerked her son out of
          the
          > > structure and into her car.
          > > We walked up quietly and saw our son and two other boys standing
          in
          > > the barn. Their eyes were glazed and they looked very tired. We
          asked
          > > Ryan to come home with us. He didn't say anything so his Dad took
          him
          > > by the arm and led him to the car. His face and clothes were
          dirty
          > > and he was acting spatially disoriented. He was stepping very
          high
          > > and his eyes appeared not to be focusing. At that time, my
          husband
          > > had a Jeep that he could lock all the doors from the driver's
          side.
          > > He locked the car doors after we got inside.
          > > We tried to talk to Ryan in the car but he was incoherent. He
          finally
          > > lay down on the back seat and was quiet throughout most of the
          > > trip. We started driving toward the hospital in Chapel Hill, as I
          > > heard they had a good adolescent substance abuse/psychiatric
          unit. I
          > > had called ahead to make sure they took our health insurance.
          > > About 20 minutes into the trip, Ryan started talking. He
          said: "Where
          > > are we going?" I told him we were taking him to the hospital and
          he
          > > assumed a belligerent, defiant tone, saying: "You aren't taking
          me
          > > there!" His Dad said, "You need help, son." Ryan said he wanted
          to go
          > > home and I said: "Not this time, Ryan. We're getting you some
          > > professional help." He said he was afraid to go to the hospital.
          We
          > > asked what he had been doing for three days and he said he "took
          a
          > > lot of pills". We asked what and he said Coricydin. We asked how
          much
          > > he had taken and he said "boxes." Then we knew we had made the
          right
          > > decision to take him to the hospital.
          > > Ryan had been smoking marijuana since he was in middle school and
          > > hanging out with friends whom we disapproved of. We tried to
          limit
          > > his contact with these new friends but he continued to associate
          with
          > > them. We had found bongs, pipes, and once a small bag of
          marijuana in
          > > his room. Ryan usually denied any use or said he was going to
          > > continue smoking pot anyway. No discipline methods seemed to
          help. He
          > > was skipping school and his grades were falling. His attendance
          at
          > > church youth group had fallen off and we were at our wit's end
          about
          > > how to help him.
          > > (continued)
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          > No virus found in this incoming message.
          > Checked by AVG - http://www.avg.com
          > Version: 8.0.175 / Virus Database: 270.8.6/1768 - Release Date:
          04/11/2008
          > 21:38
          >
        • Deborah Hill
          Hi Rod, Thanks for the serious criticism. I will take some time to digest it. I had wanted to expand this piece as well. It is non-fiction/personal account.
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 6, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Rod,
            Thanks for the serious criticism. I will take some time to digest it. I had wanted to expand this piece as well. It is non-fiction/personal account.
            Deborah


            From: albiaicehouse <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
            To: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 7:10:51 AM
            Subject: [ticket2write] Re: We Found Them in a Barn Part I (non-fiction) Part I - Deborah Hill

            Deborah,

            Is this piece non-fiction?

            No matter, for my comments would be the same either way.

            Please be patient with me because I have some points to make first and
            I am rushing to make them because I consider the piece has so much to
            offer.

            In this transition: "...no sleep and drug use. Our fifteen-year old
            son had been missing...", I recommend at least a paragraph break. The
            narrator is jumping around in time, but there isn't a visual clue, so
            I was confused until I read further and started surmising a
            chronological order. The word "had" could use some help here.

            Next, please give us a reason to care. I know it sounds cold-hearted
            to a degree, but it is a big world out there, and even a parent such
            as me may not link up emotionally with the situation even though you
            are describing the loss and recovery of a son to parents. Perhaps you
            could have a further flash back to an earlier Ryan that shows his
            character and the bond between him and at least one of his parents,
            preferably the narrator. The earlier I begin to care about Ryan, the
            better. You may even have to revise the early structure of the piece
            to reduce the time jumping.

            Then consider depicting the emotional reaction or telling us the
            internal thoughts of the narrator. Was there huge emotional tension
            when the boys were missing? How was it expressed by the parents?
            What happened to their conversation? Their sleep? Did the fact their
            son was missing pull the parents together or apart? Was there relief
            at finding her son? Was the relief equal? Was their some restraint
            given the boys' conditions? Some anticipation of the tough love to
            come? Just pure concern? This whole experience has been an emotional
            roller coaster. We should be placed in the seat feeling the ups, the
            plunges, the downs.

            I've come on heavy in the criticism side, so let me balance that. I
            think this piece has significant potential and the bones of the story
            are told well. All three characters have the opportunity to grow. For
            that reason, many readers will find this work rewarding.

            Now just pack some emotional "muscle" on those bones and you will have
            a powerful piece.

            Rod
            aka albi
            http://www.geocitie s.com/neocoda

            --- In ticket2write@ yahoogroups. com, "dshill3" <dshill3@... > wrote:
            >
            > We Found Them in a Barn Part I
            > We found them in a tobacco barn -- four scared, young teenage boys,
            > huddled together, eyes glittering from no sleep and drug use. Our
            > fifteen-year old son had been missing for three days and nights. None
            > of his friends seemed to know where he was. We called the police but
            > they didn't find him. My husband and I drove around looking for Ryan
            > with no luck.
            > Finally, a young blonde girl in a navy Jeep came by our house and
            > rang the doorbell. She confessed, teary-eyed, that she and another
            > girl had been taking food and drinks to the boys for the past three
            > days. She said she was worried about them because "they didn't look
            > right." We asked her who was with Ryan and called two of the other
            > boys' parents.
            > We asked the girl to lead us to where the boys were. One mother
            > followed the girl's Jeep and my husband and I brought up the rear.
            > She led us up the highway and then down a gravel, dirt road to an
            > abandoned, weather-beaten, wooden tobacco barn. We approached slowly,
            > not wanting to scare the boys or cause them to run away. The girl
            > went to the doorway of the barn; it had an open doorway and window
            > spaces with no glass or coverings. She spoke to the boys. Then the
            > other Mom walked up, entered the barn, and jerked her son out of the
            > structure and into her car.
            > We walked up quietly and saw our son and two other boys standing in
            > the barn. Their eyes were glazed and they looked very tired. We asked
            > Ryan to come home with us. He didn't say anything so his Dad took him
            > by the arm and led him to the car. His face and clothes were dirty
            > and he was acting spatially disoriented. He was stepping very high
            > and his eyes appeared not to be focusing. At that time, my husband
            > had a Jeep that he could lock all the doors from the driver's side.
            > He locked the car doors after we got inside.
            > We tried to talk to Ryan in the car but he was incoherent. He finally
            > lay down on the back seat and was quiet throughout most of the
            > trip. We started driving toward the hospital in Chapel Hill, as I
            > heard they had a good adolescent substance abuse/psychiatric unit. I
            > had called ahead to make sure they took our health insurance.
            > About 20 minutes into the trip, Ryan started talking. He said: "Where
            > are we going?" I told him we were taking him to the hospital and he
            > assumed a belligerent, defiant tone, saying: "You aren't taking me
            > there!" His Dad said, "You need help, son." Ryan said he wanted to go
            > home and I said: "Not this time, Ryan. We're getting you some
            > professional help." He said he was afraid to go to the hospital. We
            > asked what he had been doing for three days and he said he "took a
            > lot of pills". We asked what and he said Coricydin. We asked how much
            > he had taken and he said "boxes." Then we knew we had made the right
            > decision to take him to the hospital.
            > Ryan had been smoking marijuana since he was in middle school and
            > hanging out with friends whom we disapproved of. We tried to limit
            > his contact with these new friends but he continued to associate with
            > them. We had found bongs, pipes, and once a small bag of marijuana in
            > his room. Ryan usually denied any use or said he was going to
            > continue smoking pot anyway. No discipline methods seemed to help. He
            > was skipping school and his grades were falling. His attendance at
            > church youth group had fallen off and we were at our wit's end about
            > how to help him.
            > (continued)
            >


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