So… in my attempt to send out the feelers, I’ve given people the opportunity to beta read my stuff. This was an email reply from someone who just finished it. Suffice to say… yeah…
Hi C. Phil Moore,
I just finished 27 yards an’ runnin’. As I mentioned before, you have a very beautiful writing style. It sort of reminds me of poetry in the way it has a flowing rhythm to it. I have no concerns what so ever on whether you can write. Your gift is clearly there.
I do have a few thoughts on the story itself. There is a lot of meat, so to speak, to the plot and story line so you have a lot to work with, which is great. But, there are a lot or long narratives and anecdotes to swim through to get to the core of the story itself. I would suggest combing through and simplifying as much as possible. My rule of thumb is to never allow narrative to go on for more than half a page before adding dialogue. It forces story details to be revealed in a way that helps keep the reader’s attention.
Sometimes details about secondary characters are active in moving the plot forward but if readers don’t really need to know the information, I would omit it. This story has a lot of secondary characters and they seem to come and go quickly. I had a bit or trouble staying focused and keeping all of them straight.
Scene transitions stuck a bit in flow at times. Scenes alternated between past and present time which was a little hard to follow. I would suggest tags at every switch just to give readers a little heads-up on where their minds should be focused. That may help smooth out the flow.
The dialogue itself flowed naturally and sounded believable.
The setting you created for each scene was easy to imagine in my mind. You also used a lot of great descriptive words. My favorite line was on page 68, “I now had a woman of my own that I could mentally and physically undress.” That took my breath away. It was so beautiful. It’s a yearning every heart has toward the one they love.
Your characters had a lot of depth and are easy to connect and relate to on many levels. They also have realistic flaws and strengths. Those are so important when it comes to the believabilty aspect of a book.
The pacing seemed to slow at times but I think that could be remedied if the narratives were trimmed. I understand this may be difficult given the story is structured in a journal type style.
I would say you are well on your way to making this novel really great. I felt your heart and emotion on every page. I love books that feel like great care has been invested in creating them. I certainly felt this with yours. Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification on any comments above.