Author Topic: First and Last Outpost any more comments?  (Read 14592 times)

Lin

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First and Last Outpost any more comments?
« on: December 22, 2005, 06:21:41 AM »

FIRST AND LAST OUTPOST BY LIN TREADGOLD
Pip Rokin has almost reached the end of her life, but her story is yet to be told. The year is 2046, a time when the Toyota Wing has been manufactured and the folding car is in production.   Pip is now 94 years of age and ready to write a letter to her daughter about elements of her life she has never felt she could discuss with anyone.   The story begins in Figeac, France where she and her husband retired.    Pauline, her long time friend and expatriate has volunteered to help Pip type her story so that when she passes away she can explain to her daughter Petja, in a letter, why both their lives were somewhat tragically disjointed.  Pauline suggests she has left it a bit late, but Pip insists that she owes it to her daughter to explain.  . Pip in her old age is dictating her story to Pauline who is totally amazed at what her elderly friend has experienced and wonders where her own life has gone.  Pauline, throughout the story is keeping in touch with the reader as she and Pip are working with the narrative on her visits to the house each day.

The year is 1986, Pippa Lambton as she was known in her past life, takes a hold on her tragedy after the loss of her son Daniel.  She looks for closure and embarks on a holiday on the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall.   There she meets Sven Jurgenssen, an eco tour guide and warden, who takes on the role of mentor to help her learn more about bird watching and nature conservation.  With a husband at home in Whitby, Yorkshire,  Pip is torn between staying on these sub tropical islands in Cornwall and going home to Whitby.    Upon her return home she discovers that all is not well with the relationship she has with her husband which  involves his affair with another woman.  The situation causes her to think again about her marriage.

Returning to Scilly some weeks later she discovers that her life has completely changed and her world has taken on a brand new role, having the greatest time of her life.  She makes her home on the islands until one day Sven has an accident at sea, which leads to a long investigation. Much later she discovers what really happened, this was no accident.     Petty jealousies and gossip on the islands were ignored; Charlie James thought to be a harmless volunteer, had problems of his own and became involved with an obsession to harm his colleague.

Pippa’s time on the islands, her involvement with the sea birds and eco tourism makes this a special romance with nature which turns out to be more than just romance; it is a togetherness of two like minded people striving to spread the word of nature conservation to the incoming tourists and the struggle to survive.    Martin, The Birdman, who is himself, a tradition by name, and his wife Andrea, are part of a special friendship which is realized from the beginning of Pippa’s visit to the islands. With Sven supporting her, the three friends help Pippa to fulfill her dream to work with nature.  There is adventure, romance and fun with a pseudo erotic bike ride down the famous Telegraph Road which cements a relationship never to be forgotten     Petja, on the eventual death of her mother learns a lot more than she realized.     She revisits Scilly for her mother’s funeral and makes plans to return to the islands to live there.  The Jurgenssen family live on in 2047 and restore their Scillonian roots to carry on the name of The Birdman for another generation.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2006, 06:10:47 AM by Lin »

Offline aelfwin

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Re: First and Last Outpost Comments
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2006, 07:51:20 PM »
Hiya Lin, Hope you had a wonderful holiday. Happy New Year ;D I've read First and Last Outpost. Is this your synopsis of it? I presume it is. There is soo much to be expanded on, this truly has, in my poor opinion, a lot of potential. I was a little confused by it here and there but realizing it's a rough draft I read through it. I have highlighed in bold a few comments. If they are of help, great. If not, through them out ;)

FIRST AND LAST OUTPOST BY LIN TREADGOLD
Pip Rokin has almost reached the end of her life, but her story is yet to be told. The year is 2046, a time when the Toyota Wing has been manufactured and the folding car is in production.   Pip is now 94 years of age and ready to write a letter to her daughter about elements of her life she has never felt she could discuss with anyone.   The story begins in Figeac, France where she and her husband retired.    Pauline, her long time friend and expatriate has volunteered to help Pip type her story so that when she passes away she can explain to her daughter Petja, in a letter, why both their lives were somewhat tragically disjointed.  Pauline suggests she has left it a bit late, but Pip insists that she owes it to her daughter to explain.  . Pip in her old age is dictating her story to Pauline who is totally amazed at what her elderly friend has experienced and wonders where her own life has gone.  Pauline, throughout the story is keeping in touch with the reader as she and Pip are working with the narrative on her visits to the house each day.

The year is 1986, Pippa Mackenzie as she was known in her past life, takes a hold on her tragedy after the loss of her son Daniel.  She looks for closure and embarks on a holiday on the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall.   There she meets Sven Jurgenssen, an eco tour guide and warden, who takes on the role of mentor to help her learn more about bird watching and nature conservation.  With a husband at home in Whitby, Yorkshire,  Pip is torn between staying on these sub tropical islands in Cornwall and going home to her husband with whom she discovers that all is not well with their relationship.    Pippa has cause to think again about her marriage when she finds that all is not wel l(I would rewrite this section as it’s redundant, we already know that she discovered all is not well) with the relationship she has with her husband which involves another woman.

Returning to Scilly she discovers that her life has completely changed (Clarify a little, did her life change because she returned to Scilly or because she left Whitby?) and her world has taken on a brand new role, having the greatest time of her life, until one day Sven has a tragic accident at sea, which leads to a long investigation. Much later she discovers( Saying that this was no accident is enough, maybe delete what really happened), this was no accident - it was attempted murder.   Petty jealousies and gossip on the islands were ignored; Charlie James thought to be a harmless volunteer, had problems of his own and became involved with an obsession to get rid of Sven,  leading to an attempted murder on Sven’s life.

Pippa’s time on the islands, her involvement with the sea birds and eco tourism makes this a special romance with nature which turns out to be more than just romance; it is a togetherness of two like minded people striving to spread the word of nature conservation to the incoming tourists and the struggle to survive.    Martin, The Birdman, who is himself, a tradition by name, and his wife Andrea, are part of a special friendship which is realized from the beginning of Pippa’s visit to the islands. With Sven supporting her, the three friends help Pippa to fulfill her dream to work with nature.  There is adventure, romance and fun with a pseudo erotic bike ride down the famous Telegraph Road which cements a relationship never to be forgotten     Petja, on the eventual death of her mother learns a lot more than she realized.     She revisits Scilly for her mother’s funeral and makes plans to return to the islands to live there.  The Jurgenssen family live on in 2047 and restore their Scillonian roots to carry on the name of The Birdman for another generation.
I hope you're going to expand on this, I'd like to read more. Let me know when you do.. Regards  Aelf :)

Lin

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Re: First and Last Outpost Comments
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2006, 10:09:28 AM »
Thanks for the comments.   I just realised that there is an error in there.   I changed a line and when I cut the second line it was still there!!  So yes you are right we did already know about Pippa's marital status.   I appreciate the comments.   The MSS is now going for editing on the whole story and so I hope that in the future you will be able to read it in book format.

I think too that this is a marketable story,  almost everyone enjoys stories about nature and one that is combined with a romance - well it goes without saying I think. I am really looking forward to working with my book and getting it up to scratch for the publisher now.

All the best to everyone who reads this for the New Year 2006.   If I can be of help to anyone with regard to any business issues or just plain this 'n that you are welcome to e-mail me.



Lin

Lin

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Re: First and Last Outpost
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2006, 10:42:57 AM »
To all those who read my synopsis, I have now made some changes.

Lin

Offline Nick

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2006, 06:24:45 AM »
Hi Lin

I've just got round to reading this. I must say I really like the idea of a novel set in the Scilly Islands. It's one of those places I've always meant to visit, but never quite got round to. I did actually get as far as booking a short break holiday there a couple of years ago, but had to cancel when Jayne's brother was suddenly taken seriously ill. It would be an unusual setting for a novel, which is all to the good. And I'm sure the close connection with nature would appeal to many people who don't have the good fortune to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

The synopsis looks promising, but it did leave me asking a few questions. In particular, I wasn't clear whether Sven dies in the "tragic accident" or not. Normally when you are talking about a tragedy it implies that someone dies, but elsewhere you refer to it being "attempted murder" (which implies that it didn't succeed). So I was left wondering.

If Sven does die, it strikes me that the story is left with nowhere to go, so presumably he survives, but maybe with some permanent injury? I'm probably being a bit dense here, but I feel that the synopsis at present does not make clear enough why the accident is "tragic".

I'd also be a bit concerned as to whether the story as described has sufficient conflict or "narrative drive" to make it a really compelling read. What is the dark secret Pip is revealing piece by piece to Pauline? Again, this wasn't entirely clear to me. The story as described sounds more like a light-hearted, episodic novel - a kind of 'Darling Buds of May' set in the Scilly Isles if you will. Possibly you need to decide whether you are aiming for this, or for a somewhat darker (murder?) story.

Finally, I'm intrigued to know what a pseudo-erotic bike ride might be. Oh well, maybe it's a girl thing  ;)

Hope these comments are helpful and don't seem too negative. I do like the basic idea, the characters and the setting. I guess I'm just not quite sure about the plot.

Nick GM


Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Lin

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2006, 07:35:20 AM »
Hi Nick,

When you stated "I was left wondering"   I wanted the reader to 'wonder'  so that they would want to read it to find out more, but I take on board your comments positively and understand the need for claification on this matter.    Perhaps I should include something roughly speaking ' the tragedy doesnt end the story.'

 Im really not sure how much you should reveal in a synopsis without giving too much away to the reader.   Also  I dont think I have left many 'doldrum moments' in the book, its all interesting and adventurous at the same time and well as the romance. Give too much away and the reader isn't left wanting more.   What would be a good balance?   What makes a good synopsis without revealing the whole story. eg The story begins, the scenario unfolds, the conflict, etc etc Where does one stop before giving too much away?  It could be that we have to reveal all for the publisher?


As this book is likely to be published in the future how much should one reveal on this web site? So maybe that's something you can clarify for many of us.
   
Perhaps I should include 'But the story doesnt end there, Pip drives her life into the third and final stage where she..............................'   and then state what happens,  again without revealing all. 

To write a synopsis can often be more taxing than writing the book itself!  As for the pseudo erotic bike ride - well you'll have to read the book to find out!!   Now you are wanting more!

Best regards and thanks

Lin

Offline Nick

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2006, 07:56:46 AM »
No worries, Lin. Glad you weren't offended by my comments  :)

And yes, I do understand what you are saying about not revealing too much here. However, I was reading the synopsis as a potential publisher might, and trying to ask myself the sort of questions he or she would ask.

A synopsis is really a marketing tool, designed to 'sell' your story to a publisher and convince him/her that the book in question will be a best-seller (or at least a seller). It's not normally aimed at readers. A publisher will want to see that you have a complete, well-constructed plot, and they will want to know about all the important twists and turns. A synopsis is not the place for 'teasing' the reader and leaving them wondering. A back-cover 'blurb' is more the type of thing that is used for this purpose.

As to how much you should reveal here, I guess that's up to you. I can see that you might not want to reveal the whole story in case either (a) somebody steals it, or (b) you spoil it for future readers by revealing how it turns out.

Personally I think these are relatively minor concerns. It's highly unlikely anyone will steal your plot unless you really have come up with a unique "high concept" idea, and with all due respect I don't think that is the case here.

On the second point, only a minuscule proportion of people relative to the size of your potential readership will ever see this web page. And even in their case, knowing the plot is unlikely to put them off buying the book. Any good book is far more than just the plot alone (or all we would ever bother to read is synopses!).

So personally I think that if you want to post a synopsis here, you should make it a complete one, of the type you would send to a potential publisher or agent. But obviously, if you don't want to reveal every detail of the plot here for the reasons stated I would respect that, though I wouldn't necessarily agree with it.

Nick GM
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Lin

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2006, 08:23:26 AM »
Thanks Nick, good clarification of the situation.   This is what this site is all about, being able to ask the questions you cant ask just anyone.   I shall look at this for the future and make changes as necessary.   However I shall leave the above synopsis as it is for now and gain comments from others before making changes.   I feel I have a handle on the 'house style' and will take on board your comments.

Many thanks

Lin

Offline ChipTee

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2006, 04:32:32 PM »
Your synopsis introduces a story of intrigue and interest set in a romantic landscape. Islands have a great appeal - remember Compton MacKenzie's Whisky Galore.
The device of Pip dictating to Pauline to convey the backstory is challenging (and it will be more than a letter, I guess a letter enclosing a memoir).
At the risk of being unhelpful do you need Pauline, as a scribe, in the story? Is this her only part or was she, as a child say, a player in the story.
Could it be told as Pip reliving her backstory, intending to inform her daughter Petja? Or does that complicate the ending?
First and Last promises to be a good read.
Chip

Lin

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2006, 01:20:54 PM »
Thanks Chip for your positive comments.   Just to clarify, Pip is 94 years old and she cannot write easily any more, and her days on the computer are ended therefore this is why she has employed the services of her good friend Pauline to help her.   During the story Pauline is amazed and somewhat envious that she seems to have missed out on her sex life,  referring to what Pip is dictating, its rather amusing in places.   

 During the story I relate all about the islands, spending nights under the stars listening to the Manx Shearwater and Storm Petrel coming in to their burrows at night.   The whole book is full of wonderful true to heart events, which I hope will leave everyone wanting to try some of it for themselves!   Its an experiential novel.   I want the reader, when they have finished the book, to be motivated to go and search for birdlife and do their bit for nature conservation.

Glad you enjoyed it I look forward to more reviews.  I have to say I'm very proud of this and Suzie and I are working together to make it happen.  Each time I read it through I am on the islands myself living a virtual holiday!  I'm afraid you'll have to read it to see how it all cleverly fits together!

Thank you so much for your comments

Lin




Offline ChipTee

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2006, 01:40:02 PM »
Lin, thanks for telling us more; your story is fascinating.  Some ten years ago I had a night on Hallival (723 m) on Rhum (I think we are meant to spell it Rum these days, but a night on rum doesn't sound good) sitting amongst the Shearwaters changing shifts: out of this world. I wish you well with the book, Chip

BiancaMiller13

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2006, 12:24:16 PM »
Hello Lin,
Sorry took so long to geting here, been out of the loop for a bit.  I see you already have gotten some strong feedback and feel that in the process my questions and concerns were addressed for this piece.  I agree with Nick on th synopsis vs blrub and wanted to clarify a bit more. 
Many Publishers want to know exactly what is going to happen.  If this is a piece intended to go to a publisher, I strongly caution against leaving them in suspense. Now this isn't always the case, but around here it seems to be.  However, if this is intended for the dust jacket, then it will fit nicely and get me to take the book home and answer these questions myself. 
I understand your apprehension, I feel the same way about my baby...The wopper trilogy I am constructing.  I feel like my idea is very interesting and would hate to have my stroy out beforehand.  But you will find there are those tah enjoy being a part of this process and will still support you even if we knew "all about it".  You need to make that connection and go from there.
Best regards...

Lin

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Re: First and Last Outpost please comment
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2006, 03:31:27 PM »
Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.   One is learning something new every day and especially through Writers Circle.  I am forever making changes and it may be that I will be changing things again soon as the editing is now in process and with each passing day we find we have to alter things here and there.   One day we will get to the point where we dont have to change things any more - its finished!!

Yes I did learn from everyone the best way forward and thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Many thanks

Lin