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Woody
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« on: February 18, 2010, 03:37:18 PM »

mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 07:30:36 PM by Woody » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 04:41:32 PM »

I've been thinking about this. There's a book - or long story rather - that I've listened to several times now: The Ransome Women by John Farris. It comes doubled up with The Things They Left Behind by Stephen King in Transgressions, Vol. 2. I'm more interested in reading/discussing The Ransome Women with the group, but if all goes well we could always look at the King story too. I'd like to study The Ransome Women for John Farris's usage of POV. He seems to do a lot of the stuff that Doug Winter (at Borderlands Bootcamp) says not to do. Starting with semi-omniscient and pulling in to a character slowly to a very intimate third person. Also, the story uses multiple POV's and each, in my opinion anyway, is handled very well. I've never actually read the story (only listened to it) so I'd like to take a crack at it and be able to highlight, underline and circle passages that might help with my understanding of POV usage. Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/Transgressions-Vol-Things-Behind-Ransome/dp/0765347512

Have a look and see what you think.
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Jerry Enni lives in a small house in the center of the San Joaquin Valley with his beautiful family. By day he makes signs and by night he writes stories. To learn more about him, check out Clear Perspective, Blurry Lens
Ed
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 06:37:48 PM »

Yeah, sorry about Death With Interruptions. In common with most of us (seems like) I couldn't get into it. I'm certainly up for starting a new book club book smiley
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 06:01:01 AM »

whether we use it as our book or not I've ordered a copy of the Ransome women antho suggested by elay. Ordered it for a penny from the UK amazon here http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0765347512/

Writing the narrative through the POV of a character and the rules around that topic are fascinating. Not the least because it is editors rather than the average reader who get worked up over it. Having said that I appreciate the theory that we engage more with a character if head hopping is minimised. I'm being paid to content edit a romance / fantasy / thriller from a Hong Kong and New Zealand writer at the moment and the POV / head hopping is something the writer just doesn't understand. My job is made much longer having to sort it out - I should have charged double!

I look forward to reading those short stories in the Transgressions collection. - Thanks for the tip, Elay.

Geoff
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 07:06:43 AM »

I read several of John Farris's books many years ago. One was All Heads Turn When The Hunts Goes By, which I remember nothing of, but the other was The Fury which I recall really enjoying. It was kind of like King's Firestarter but (in my memory at least) far better. I still have both books so must read them again.

The King story mentioned above is in his recent collection "Just After Sunset". That particular story got some good reviews on this very site I recall, but alas, it did nothing for me.

Anyway, that was kind of off-topic so apologies for interrupting the thread!

Derek
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"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 12:53:57 PM »

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Thanks for the tip, Elay.

No problem, Geoff. Hope you like it.

Quote
I read several of John Farris's books many years ago. One was All Heads Turn When The Hunts Goes By, which I remember nothing of, but the other was The Fury which I recall really enjoying. It was kind of like King's Firestarter but (in my memory at least) far better. I still have both books so must read them again.

The King story mentioned above is in his recent collection "Just After Sunset". That particular story got some good reviews on this very site I recall, but alas, it did nothing for me.

The Ransome Women was the first thing I read/heard by Farris. I enjoyed it so much that I followed it up with Phantom Nights. It was pretty good too - great characters, decent story, but I didn’t think it was as good as Ransome Women. Glad to have discovered him. It’s always nice to stumble upon an author that was otherwise unknown to you and find he has a backlog of books for you to read.

I’ll admit I liked the King story. But of the two stories in the Transgressions antho, Farris’s story took the cake for sure.
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Jerry Enni lives in a small house in the center of the San Joaquin Valley with his beautiful family. By day he makes signs and by night he writes stories. To learn more about him, check out Clear Perspective, Blurry Lens
Woody
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 07:30:40 PM »

mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 07:21:41 PM by Woody » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 06:18:26 PM »

Nearly finished The Ransome Women. Very mixed feelings. I'll be reporting in soon.

Geoff
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2010, 12:02:13 PM »

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Nearly finished The Ransome Women. Very mixed feelings. I'll be reporting in soon.

Curious to see what you thought, Geoff.

Any other taker for The Ransome Women?
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2010, 12:14:23 PM »

Dunno if this is the correct place to place my review of John Farris's story but here goes:

The Ransome Women by John Farris
Warning - spoiler
Labelled in the blurb as a psychological thriller I have to admit disappointment in this story. The cover blurb also gives away most of the potential tension by saying that a fate befalls all the beautiful models that pose for a renowned but reclusive artist. The reader would not have known the model’s peril from just reading the first third or so of the story. Sometimes knowing the fate of characters in a book, does no harm, indeed the entire TV series of Colombo wins on the unique lead character making the guilty squirm. In The Ransome Women we have a model who agrees to spend time with the artist. However, her boyfriend, Peter, is suspicious. He makes use of his fortuitous position as a police officer to run illegal checks to find what the reader already knows. He then assumes it is the artist who engineers the disfigurement and or death of his past models.
A clever part of the plot is that the reader can side with the cop, Peter, or with the artist, who has a strange partner already given to attacking people. What irked me was the character of Peter. He is shown as an arrogant I’m-always-right control freak, who in James Bond style, can leap from helicopters in a gale force 8 with only a minor ankle injury even though he’d just signed himself out of hospital with a life-threatening knife wound. Then leap around fighting, winning, then with one hand, steer a motorboat in the same gale. I was laughing out loud at the ludicrous behaviour. Maybe the reader is supposed to sneer at the culture-challenged no-brain policeman clichéd character and thereby discount his assumptions in favour of the more three-dimensional artist, Ransome.
As for POV. There are three main characters – Peter the boyfriend, Echo the girlfriend / model, and Ransome the artist. There were as many as twenty named characters in this story – too many IMO. The POV tended to be with the three mains and occasionally in others. Apart from two occasions I found that John Farris kept within the convention of staying with one POV per section. Even so the sections are short so there is head hopping. Consequently I found it not easy to feel engaged fully with one of the MCs. For me the artist, Ransome, was the most intriguing and less clichéd of them all and I liked him. He was either clever to shift the blame for the attacks on the models onto his assistant, the demented mute, Taja, or was innocent or genuinely didn’t want her to do the attacks. He didn’t seem to have or need a motive for the attacks, while Taja with her devotion to him, and her envy of the models did have motive.
As for writing style, initially I liked the Show, settings, descriptions, metaphors and similes. Great phrases such as ‘staring at it (invitation card) as if she was afraid the ink might disappear.’ Also the line – ‘great artists were hypnotists with a brush.’ I like similes and metaphors, aware that I don’t use them enough in my writing, however, in spite of some neat similes when I discovered two sometimes three on a page they seemed too much like add ons. Some were hilariously amateurish IMO – eg Lola was... as salty as Lot’s wife’; ‘I’ll be drawing from a dry well’. Then some awful writing – such as describing a beautiful woman as ‘smashing’!
The pace seemed too slow in the first half then too rushed at the end. Not the actual end, which I couldn’t believe – a cutie-pie, happy-clappy, tied-with-pink-ribbon wedding of two of the mains, with the evil Ransome mysteriously appearing disappearing. So Mills & Boon.
I can’t believe such a dross story is next to a Stephen King tale: The Things They Left Behind, but then I’ve not read that one yet...

Geoff
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2010, 05:19:50 PM »

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The cover blurb also gives away most of the potential tension by saying that...

Bummer. I can see how that would've taken a bit of the tension away - I learned what was going on with Peter as the story unfolded, so I was a bit suprised, and the tension was pretty high.

Sorry to see you didn't care for it much, Geoff. I ranked this as one of my most entertaining reads/listens last year.
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2010, 02:28:57 AM »

Arggh, sorry Jerry. Maybe I was too harsh. TBH I'm a bit fed up of the cliched TV detective jumping to conclusions even if they're right. The premise of the novella is great as is much of the execution. I am wary of too many similles though especially when it takes my head away from the direct action. eg Although it is original this simile - 'Cierra's face looked as if Death had scrawled an overdue notice on it'  - made me visualize then smile inappropriately an overdue notice on Cierra's face instead of the downturned mouth, etc I should have been thinking about.

I didn't mean to spoil it for you.

Geoff
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2010, 03:15:20 PM »

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TBH I'm a bit fed up of the cliched TV detective jumping to conclusions even if they're right.

I know what you mean. The base of Peter's character was your standard hard-ass TV cop, but there was some depth to him too, and that's what carried him beyond the cliche for me.

In hindsight, and looking at all that Peter did (jumping from the helicopter after just having been cut up, etc.), it seems a bit of a stretch. But the suspense/tension level was so high, and the pace was moving so fast that I overlooked all that. It wasn't even conscious - I didn't pause and go, nah, he couldn't do that, because I was so wrapped in the story and so eager to see what was going to happen next.

I'm rereading it now and I'm noticing more similes this time around. There are a few bad ones, and there a few good ones.

One of the things I really liked in this book was how alive, real, and different all the characters were. Even the minor ones like Stefan Konine was very distinct. He had a real voice. One of my favorite lines from the book is when they're at the art gallery and Echo wants to stop and check out the Ransome painting. Stefan says: "Oh, dear god! I detest Ransome. Such transparent theatrics. I've seen better art on a sailor's ass."

There's a very very minor character - I don't think we even learn his name. The man that was stabbed at the apartment where Peter tracks down Silky. He's bleeding to death, holding his guts in and he says something to the effect of: "My daughters coming for Christmans. Now I won't be there." Rather than him being just a cardboard prop to let us know that some bad shit is going down at this apartment, he's given just an inkling of depth, and it makes the world Farris paints that much more real.

No worries, Geoff. You didn't spoil anything for me. It's one of those things where you find something you enjoyed so much, it makes you want to share it with every one you know so they can enjoy it too. I saw 'Stir of Echoes' years ago and loved it so much I bought the movie and took over to my girlfriends house so she could watch it. We sat down - me, her and a friend of hers. Halfway through the movie they were both bored with it. I thought how can they not love this? But it is as it is with all things - everybody has different tastes.

Perhaps a different idea for the next book?
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Jerry Enni lives in a small house in the center of the San Joaquin Valley with his beautiful family. By day he makes signs and by night he writes stories. To learn more about him, check out Clear Perspective, Blurry Lens
Ed
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2010, 06:39:06 PM »

Yeah, it's kinda like herding cats, trying to find a book that everybody likes, but then isn't that a good thing - as long as we can bear to read the book, what we differ on makes for interesting discussion, probably. scratch
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2010, 09:28:55 PM »

TBH I'm a bit fed up of the cliched TV detective jumping to conclusions even if they're right.

Just guessing, but in TV shows, I'm guessing part of that is driven by having to get everything all wrapped up in 30 minutes or an hour. As bad as that is, I get even more annoyed when the hero or heroine just can't find a clue--when the author is trying to make the lead character "work it out" but the readers (or viewers) are all 3 steps ahead, screaming, "It's obvious who did it!"
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