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"Is it cheating when Dorothy explore..."

explores

Your tense slips in the second paragraph.

You're missing a word in the next.

There are punctuation and dialogue errors.

In general, I suspect you could really use an editor given the quality of the sample.

The title makes no sense to me, but perhaps there's context in the story.

Formatting could use a bit of work. Paragraph indentations are a good thing to have when reading, and I personally am not a big fan of large gaps between paragraphs.

***

That said, congratulations on getting something up in the first place. Polish it up and you might have something.
 

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Congratulations on your first book- that in itself is something to celebrate. Don't read or write erotica, so while I have little to offer by way of any real critique on the work, do agree with Matthew on polishing up the blurb. The cover looks striking- you may consider simplifying it by losing the small text on the top left- in a thumbnail or an Amazon product page, nobody will be able to read it anyways.

Good luck!
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
"Is it cheating when Dorothy explore..."

explores

Your tense slips in the second paragraph.

You're missing a word in the next.

There are punctuation and dialogue errors.

In general, I suspect you could really use an editor given the quality of the sample.

The title makes no sense to me, but perhaps there's context in the story.

Formatting could use a bit of work. Paragraph indentations are a good thing to have when reading, and I personally am not a big fan of large gaps between paragraphs.

***

That said, congratulations on getting something up in the first place. Polish it up and you might have something.
Just wondering where the tense slips? I don't really care but I was interested when you brought it up; I don't see one. The first line is thought so it's not really breaking tense.
 

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vizzle said:
Just wondering where the tense slips? I don't really care but I was interested when you brought it up; I don't see one. The first line is thought so it's not really breaking tense.
Events are in the past in the second paragraph. The current situation is Jamaica/Omaha. The past is Manhattan. So: "we'd just left" is followed by "he'd said" and then by "he said" and "I listened" and "he went" (then there's the missed "about") . . .

The entire section is a jumble of "when did this happen, exactly . . . ?"

A better version (though still pretty ugly because of lack of variety, particularly using moved move move move) might be:

After all, we'd just left Manhattan. When we moved two years ago he'd promised that the move to Omaha was a great career move. "For both of us," he'd said. Not totally convinced, and with much reservation, I'd listened as he'd gone into great detail about why the move was going to be good for us.

Or something to that effect.
 

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It doesn't all have to be written with the "had" added in for every action, as long as it's established and it's refreshed every so often for clarity. Professional/esteemed writers do this all the time.
 

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vizzle said:
It doesn't all have to be written with the "had" added in for every action, as long as it's established and it's refreshed every so often for clarity.
If "he said" something, it causes confusion between the now and the then.

If you can find me a use of past perfect by an established author similar to the one displayed here, I'd like to see it.

To the best of my knowledge I have not seen any such confusing construction survive an editor and escape onto the endcaps of my local bookstore. :)

The other way to handle the shift of time is to use a paragraph break, and not simply slip mid-paragraph *shrug* . . . I find it less than optimal. You can have a different opinion, and he can write it how he'd like. If you confuse the reader in the opening paragraph (even in erotica) you run the risk of them going "bleah" and walking away.
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
If "he said" something, it causes confusion between the now and the then.

If you can find me a use of past perfect by an established author similar to the one displayed here, I'd like to see it.

To the best of my knowledge I have not seen any such confusing construction survive an editor and escape onto the endcaps of my local bookstore. :)

The other way to handle the shift of time is to use a paragraph break, and not simply slip mid-paragraph *shrug* . . . I find it less than optimal. You can have a different opinion, and he can write it how he'd like. If you confuse the reader in the opening paragraph (even in erotica) you run the risk of them going "bleah" and walking away.
Well read anything by GRRM. You can see a great balance of using "had" and not using it right in the sample prologue of this: http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Dragons-Song-Fire-ebook/dp/B003YL4LYI/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
 

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vizzle said:
Well read anything by GRRM. You can see a great balance of using "had" and not using it right in the sample prologue of this: http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Dragons-Song-Fire-ebook/dp/B003YL4LYI/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
The prologue of ADWD is written in present tense, with notes about what happened before (i.e. what is in the past) . . . every instance of something happening before is noted as past. Every action in the present is noted in the present.

SO take the first little bit and we see that:

the night smelled like man
the warg stopped to sniff
the scent came to him (and he considered what he knew of man)
he was angry and hungry so he growled
he started to run and the others followed because they had also caught the scent
as they ran, he could see himself
it was cold
ice had frozen between their paws, but it was time to hunt

There's no "reminding" that we're in the past going on . . . it's stating exactly when something took place each time. So either it's going on in the "now" or the "recent past" . . . contrast the wolf feeling hate and hunger, and then the ice having previously frozen. The two are not happening at the same time, and they are being correctly identified as such in each instance.

In the erotica example we're talking about here, it's ALL at a specified point in the past, but using language which does not support the definition of that point.

If the story is taking place in the past and there is a previous past introduced (a flashback) then it needs to be clearly defined using appropriate language in order to avoid confusion.

GRRM elegantly slides in and out of tense because he is defining what happened when. But he IS defining it.
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
The prologue of ADWD is written in present tense, with notes about what happened before (i.e. what is in the past) . . . every instance of something happening before is noted as past. Every action in the present is noted in the present.
You're kidding right? :-X I don't mean to be rude but none of it is written in the present tense unless it's in italics, indicating that it's internalized.

SO take the first little bit and we see that:

the night smelled like man
the warg stopped to sniff
the scent came to him (and he considered what he knew of man)
he was angry and hungry so he growled
he started to run and the others followed because they had also caught the scent
as they ran, he could see himself
it was cold
ice had frozen between their paws, but it was time to hunt

There's no "reminding" that we're in the past going on . . . it's stating exactly when something took place each time. So either it's going on in the "now" or the "recent past" . . . contrast the wolf feeling hate and hunger, and then the ice having previously frozen. The two are not happening at the same time, and they are being correctly identified as such in each instance.
These aren't the things I'm talking about. Let me point you to something more relevant. I've taken a screenshot because I don't want to type the whole thing down: http://gyazo.com/5ad0fa496f94efcddcf34457968afa62

All of that is written in the past tense, talking about the past, and yet only about half of it is clarified with a "had". There's still nothing wrong with it though. Varamyr is currently in the cabin thinking about the past, none of these events are happening currently, and yet it's not all "had"-ified. It's perfectly acceptable.

In the erotica example we're talking about here, it's ALL at a specified point in the past, but using language which does not support the definition of that point.

If the story is taking place in the past and there is a previous past introduced (a flashback) then it needs to be clearly defined using appropriate language in order to avoid confusion.

GRRM elegantly slides in and out of tense because he is defining what happened when. But he IS defining it.
Yes, and the book the OP is talking about does define it in the line before "he said".

Look:

After all, we'd just left Manhattan. When we moved two years ago he'd promised that the move to Omaha was a great idea. "For both of us," he said.

It's established that this happened two years ago. It's already been shifted.
 

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And even if you want to debate the tagging everything part, which fine, we probably could, what isn't open for debate is the fact that no more than a few short words pass before a tense tag is given again.

There's no whole sentence in the completely wrong tense.

And in the sample of the erotica piece, there is.

We question was "can you help" the answer was "get an editor" and I don't think that, whatever you or I might do differently were we giving advice (which hey, writers are different, editors are different), any case can be made for the writing being at a stage where it can't benefit noticeably from someone having a look at it.

So really, as I said before: he can write it how he wants to, I simply believe that it is unclear, and at an inopportune time in his opening. (Yes, you can puzzle it out, but wouldn't it be better if it simply flowed . . .)
 

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vizzle said:
You're kidding right? :-X I don't mean to be rude but none of it is written in the present tense unless it's in italics, indicating that it's internalized.
Kidding, no. 4:45AM, yes. It's the "current events" and the "recent past" . . . since he is writing in past tense as the base, that is the "defacto now" as it were. That was my point.

These aren't the things I'm talking about. Let me point you to something more relevant. I've taken a screenshot because I don't want to type the whole thing down: http://gyazo.com/5ad0fa496f94efcddcf34457968afa62
Thanks, I don't read minds. I started from the beginning.

In any case, he's describing things that happened in the past and are still happening at the same time. The plight is ongoing. People continue to die. The started dying a while back.

I am not saying that you have to tag everything. I am saying that the example, as written, is confusing, and is as such unsuitable for the beginning of the work in my opinion.

You can have a different one. You can write it differently. That's not an issue.

I find my suggested fix better (again not perfect because the working is just not pretty) in terms of solidifying the flashback as such. You may feel that it's heavy-handed. *shrug*

After all, we'd just left Manhattan. When we moved two years ago he'd promised that the move to Omaha was a great idea. "For both of us," he said.
I find it jarring. I would make it explicit.

It's established that this happened two years ago. It's already been shifted.
Doesn't work for me, sorry.

Fortunately, there's no law that says it has to.

But the question is, do you actually like the first, say five paragraphs?

I don't.

Do you?

Because you're welcome to. It's why people read different books. Maybe this writer's style appeals to you. Maybe it doesn't appeal to me.

But he needs an edit regardless, because there are loads of real errors in there.
 

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As an example of the confusion inherent with the timing of it all, can you tell me how many years in the past from the "Jamaica" of the "defacto now" of the two got married?

Because you can read it as either three or five depending on your understanding of whether the flashback is still ongoing or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The debate is stimulating and educational. 

For clarification:

The announcement to move to Jamaica is in the present.

The move to Omaha took place 2 years earlier.

She was reflecting on the day that David suggested moving to Omaha.

Also, the author(me) is a she. Thank my mother for the confusion, although it is growing on me now.
 

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Is it cheating when Dorothy explores her sexuality with the ladies of Lakewood?

Find out when you explore Oasis Stops - Paradigm Slip. The first in a series of adventures of New Yorker Dorothy, a budding footwear designer.

IMO, you need to bulk up the blurb. The opening line is great, but erotic blurbs are no longer scanty little one liners. It's advisable that you share what's happening in the book, same as any other blurb in any other genre -- especially if you're charging $2.99, because at that point you've entered the bracket where people don't just buy for the heck of buying -- they are actually looking for something particular to read.

Just my .02
 
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