Chapter 30: The Caroline

The end of "The End." Please Stand by....

Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby Paul S. » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:49 pm

If I can, I'd like to get some feedback on Chapter 30: The Caroline.

Much of his chapter is devoted to a thumbnail biographical sketch of Eldridge Reeves Johnson, the man aboard whose yacht Townsend Brown was recruited into this mysterious international network we've been calling "The Caroline Group."

I recall saying when this chapter first went online (oh God, how long ago was THAT??) that I felt like I was "writing fat," or something to that effect. At the time, I think I was still wondering if I had enough material to compile a whole biography of Townsend Brown, so I devoted some long-ish passages to the background stories of the individuals who were pivotal to Brown's life. Johnson was one; William S. Stephenson was another.

Since finishing those chapters and going on to finish the first draft -- and discovering that it is nearly 600 pages (probably even longer when it goes into 6x9 book form) --I've figured I would pretty drastically slash some of the Johnson bio, and probably the Stephenson bio as well.

But now I'm reading the Johnson bio again, and discovering all over again how he pretty much created the modern recording industry, and I'm thinking "well, yeah, it's a diversion but... it's an interesting diversion...

So, I'd just like to solicit some feedback from those of you who are familiar with the chapter. What do you think? Is that interesting enough that it should remain more or less intact, or should I take the red pencil to it?

Previous discussion of this chapter was here:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=137

--PS
Paul Schatzkin
aka "The Perfesser"
"At some point we have to deal with the facts, not what we want to believe is true." -- Jack Bauer
Paul S.
Sr. Rabbit Chaser
 
Posts: 1362
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:11 pm
Location: Psych Ward

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby Rose » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:39 pm

Without the chapter to look at i can't give you my opinion, but it looks like those who posted in the referenced thread would vote for leaving it all in. Why not? You can always cut it later, if you are still way over on pages.

rose
Strange travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god.
Rose
Senior Cadet
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:56 pm

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby Linda Brown » Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:42 am

Paul,

I agree that when you wrote this chapter you were concerned about not having enough to write about and so you were doing a certain amount of cramming. Obviously now at the other end you don't have THAT concern. Still, as you said, its pretty interesting stuff. I guess you just have to decide if it is vital to the story.

I know that you have a background in the music business so Johnsons history would be even that much more interesting to you but maybe to others ... anxious to dig into information on Townsend Brown, maybe they will consider this a diversion from your topic?

Is this where you want our comments? Too tired right now but I will try to get back to you on this. red pen in hand.

I still think, no matter what you do, what you add or cut, there are going to be some who will also want the first uncut, unedited version. With your autograph of couse!

Linda
Linda Brown
Resident Mystic
 
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:16 pm

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby htmagic » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:17 pm

Paul,

I just reread the thread you provided and the posters there were pretty impressed. Sometimes it is good to get the background around the person to judge the person. It was interesting to see how the characters were 'moved about like chess pieces'. This chapter not only introduces the boat the Caroline (how many Caroline members were part of that boat?), it interoduces the "skipper", young TTB as a sounding engineer, and other characters that will play an important part in TTB's life later on. Johnson also contributed to the University of Pennsylvania which I'm sure will give Linda goosebumps. It kinda did me when I reread (scanned) the chapter and it jumped out at me.

So I can agree with Linda about keeping the "full version" or "full monty". The story weaves itself like a tapestry and part of the fun is looking behind the tapestry and seeing all those loose threads. And part of those loose threads and other threads have been added to this forum which is like a book unto itself. I could copy everything here, store it on CD, and it would make for hours upon hours upon hours of interesting, fascinating, and some downright spooky reading! :wink:

I know Paul has his red pen out and wants to carve out some un-needed pages, but I'm afraid it might unravel some of that tapestry you tried so hard to weave at first. Maybe that is part of the style that sucked me down the rabbit hole and allowed me to explore all the rooms inside this parallel dimension! :lol:

MagicBill

****************edit**********************
Corrected some spelling errors...
Last edited by htmagic on Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Speeding through the Universe, thinking is the best way to travel ...
htmagic
Senior Officer
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:46 pm
Location: People's Republic of Maryland

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby twigsnapper » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:40 pm

Paul,

I might have less to say about Johnson than I would about Sir William Stephenson.
And the early copies I have include parts that you have already corrected I believe. Like the phrase at the very start " Ambling down" down the docks of the Brooklyn Navy Yard". That has already been changed for something more purposeful..... which is good. At the time you wrote the above you really hadn't had a chance to get to know Townsend Brown that well so your choice of words is understandable, just not applicable to him. As you were probably quickly told . "Dr." Brown, even then, had a strong sense of purpose and determination. Though he relaxed once he got somewhere and even took strange paths to his destination he was always full of an energy to get wherever it was he was going. So " ambling" generally was not his nature. Of course, as I said. You know him better now.

Perhaps with that thought in mind, knowing him better ( whereas when you first wrote this chapter you were looking for the fat to fill your pan) Perhaps you can go back over what you have put down as markers and approach it more from his standpoint. You can possibly tell the story of Johnson AS TOWNSEND BROWN saw it and recognized it at the time.

A young man from Ohio, well versed in the social graces certainly .... but still .... this is something way beyond his Buckeye Lake experience. And then there is Florence, Who probably ( with her set agenda to vet him for her Father, Mr. Douglas) would have provided quite a challenge to a serious ( and relatively recently married) young man. Alot to turn a persons head there. Look at the situation harder perhaps now that you know Dr. Brown better. It will make more fascinating reading because the rest of the stuff... the historical markers about Johnson can be discovered along other paths. I would use all of that just to make sure that you have your background story accurate, but my advice is. Go to the heart of the matter. Here is a young man at the turning point (ABSOLUTELY) his life. He stepped on board the Caroline as one person and off as another. And just as Morgan said of the same experience. You can't go home again. twigsnapper
twigsnapper
Revered Elder
 
Posts: 839
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:25 pm
Location: mobile

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby twigsnapper » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:36 pm

Another thought.

While you are "pulling focus" on Dr. Browns experiences on the Caroline it might give you the opportunity to combine and refine the subsequent and related chapters so that your readers really get the impact of.... say .... Stephenson .... boarding during the stop in Nassau. ( And then leaving almost immediately) The first whipstitch in a tapestry that will bind Dr. Brown and eventually Morgan in the same cloth. And don't forget the call of the siren and the influence of the women here. Much going on. And all of the time Dr. Brown was dreaming of being a Pirate. Ironic huh. Perhaps thats the thread you could follow to your young lovers in Nassau so many years later. He really liked the name Morgan by the way. twigsnapper
twigsnapper
Revered Elder
 
Posts: 839
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:25 pm
Location: mobile

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby htmagic » Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:44 pm

twigsnapper wrote:Another thought.

While you are "pulling focus" on Dr. Browns experiences on the Caroline it might give you the opportunity to combine and refine the subsequent and related chapters so that your readers really get the impact of.... say .... Stephenson .... boarding during the stop in Nassau. ( And then leaving almost immediately) The first whipstitch in a tapestry that will bind Dr. Brown and eventually Morgan in the same cloth. And don't forget the call of the siren and the influence of the women here. Much going on. And all of the time Dr. Brown was dreaming of being a Pirate. Ironic huh. Perhaps thats the thread you could follow to your young lovers in Nassau so many years later. He really liked the name Morgan by the way. twigsnapper

Aha! Tapestry was the idea I presented earlier. I'm glad you used it, Mr. Twigsnapper, I feel honored! :)

MagicBill
Speeding through the Universe, thinking is the best way to travel ...
htmagic
Senior Officer
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:46 pm
Location: People's Republic of Maryland

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby Radomir » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:42 pm

You have a singular editorial resource in Mr. Twigsnapper here, Paul.

Re: Ch. 30 and red-pencil, you could potentially chop the paragraphs from "Johnson was born in 1867" to "making both Eldridge
Johnson and Leon Douglass fabulously wealthy in the process" And then write a one paragraph summary to transition and ensure the global communications aspect of the empire is underscored. Pick up again with the yacht and the Alice reference material.

Obviously there will need to be more culled than ten paragraphs from every chapter, and likely much will be about selective line editing within paragraphs and restructuring the story overall, but it's a start!

Best,
R.
Radomir
Senior Cadet
 
Posts: 326
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 6:51 pm

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby Elizabeth Helen Drake » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:39 pm

Paul,

I am having a better time of it looking at Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 sort of like a set. I discovered pretty early that some of those chapters ( agreeing with Radomir here) need to be harshly cut ( though I am loathe to even suggest it. Maybe instead of " cutting" we could talk more in terms of " rearranging" the information. I don't want to let any of it go but I do think to keep a better flow going some things can be moved.)

Would you mind looking at the beginning of Chapter 34? With your wonderful Alice quote .... and it struck me while reading that .... that the quote should be talking about Townsend Browns experiences here ( though yours maybe later) So perhaps that Alice quote " It was much pleasanter at home" thought poor Alice when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller and being ordered about by mice and rabbits . I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit hole and yet and yet its rather curious, you know, this sort of life."

Thats Townsend Brown as he steps off the Caroline ( or in the months spoken of in Chapter 35 SOMETHING CHANGED. Everything in Townsend Browns life has changed ..... he has in fact fallen down the rabbit hole. Though I know that you feel that this has happened to you too in this particular case that Alice saying belongs in the introduction of Chapter 35 where the empasis is on how things have changed for him, not you.

Ordered about by mice and rabbits ........always growing larger and smaller..... His whole sense of the world around him has been radically changed. I wonder then if he had gotten a hint that he MIGHT be asked to go it alone, without Josephine. They divorced later ... would he have been told that might be a requirement to go forward? See what I mean? Elizabeth
Elizabeth Helen Drake
Sr. Research Asst.
 
Posts: 1740
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:11 am

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby Elizabeth Helen Drake » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:51 pm

And I know that you just wanted to talk about Chapter 30 here but I am stuck on this set of chapters so please indulge me <g>

Chapter 32 Paul ....... I vote for it standing exactly as you have presented it. Word for word. I have read it over and over and over and find it ......painfully compelling ...... and I don't think I would ever want to dilute those words. And the mention of Biscayne Bay works so well as a link from the previous chapter.

Only one change possibly. At the very first, in your own words you say " In a relective moment with a friend Morgan talked about his families troubled history." I am assuming that you were the friend. If this was the case ... why not just say it? It moves it from " heresay" to the " interview" that it actually is and was probably meant to be. Remember that he said you were already writing his story. So I think all of that information was meant to come directly to you so you could tell his story.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth Helen Drake
Sr. Research Asst.
 
Posts: 1740
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:11 am

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby FM No Static At All » Sat Jul 05, 2008 2:43 pm

In looking back over the whole book, this a very important and pivotal chapter as it is a turning point in the the life of T. Townsend Brown. I will also say that perhaps a more elaboration of the"charms" of Miss Florence and her role in the recruitment process as well as Mr. Twigsnapper's suggestion of William Stephenson appearance (and swift departure) from the Caroline. It reinforces the character of Dr. Brown in a positive way, showing him not only a man of conviction and determination, but also impeccable ethics and honesty. A man one can easily trust to "do the right thing."

In light of the recent remarks made by Mr. Hull, this would stand out in such a manner that would make Dr. Brown's character above reproach, regardless of the theories and allegations that follow later. His sudden resignation from USN and FBI dossier aside, his divorce and remarriage to Josephine, and also the speculations regarding his whereabouts and what abouts in leaving the Navy during a time of war. I feel that while reducing biography about Johnson and Douglas may save space, it may prove vital to readers that they can understand the integrity and prominence of the people that surrounded Dr. Brown.

Fred a.k.a.
FM - No Static At All
'The only reason some people get lost in thought is because its unfamiliar territory.'

http://fixamerica-fredmars.blogspot.com/
FM No Static At All
Senior Officer
 
Posts: 558
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:34 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Chapter 30: The Caroline

Postby Rose » Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:43 pm

I strongly believe that no author knows much about their work until they are deep into the second draft. That's when the storyline becomes clear and sharp, and the themes that should be woven through the background begin to emerge. Fred mentions some of those possible themes, but you have to write them in terms of the story as it is revealing itself to you, Paul. You have the skill and talent to do it and I have faith that the final product will wow us all over again.

rose
Strange travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god.
Rose
Senior Cadet
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:56 pm


Return to Defying Gravity: The Second Draft

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron