the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

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Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Review: American Cemetery by Mike Cunningham

The first entry received in the Wandering Author Short Fiction Contest is a novella entitled American Cemetery by Mike Cunningham. It focuses on an American bomber crew flying out of Britain during World War Two. The work is a testament to the ability of its author. I am convinced this has the potential to be expanded into a full length novel if the author ever wished to do so.

In common with nearly every unedited manuscript, there are a multitude of tiny points that need to be fixed. I think the author would be surprised to see how much more smoothly his prose would flow just by trimming a few superfluous words here and there. Such a polishing would make this story a real powerhouse.

One of the great strengths of the story is the fact the author draws characters the reader can care about. A few small changes might make it even more compelling, but it is worth reading as it stands. Of course, an author may develop one area of his skill to the extent it leads him astray in another area. The only real weakness in this entry is due to such a cause.

The author was so careful to develop his characters the story starts and builds up very slowly. It is still worth reading, but more impatient readers might discard it before discovering its merits. With an effort to introduce more action in the beginning, something the author clearly has the skill to do, the story would take off like a Spitfire off to intercept Nazi bandits coming in over the Channel.

I am not ready to declare a winner without even having received the rest of the entries, but American Cemetery is a worthy contender. When Mike gains just a bit more skill, I have no doubt he has a shot at a career as an author. Publishing is too uncertain an industry to say for certain he would succeed, but finding his name on the bookstore shelves some day won't come as any surprise to me.

Some of my readers may wonder why I haven't included any excerpts from the story. Since it does develop so slowly, the portions that most aptly display its true quality are those which fall close to the climax of the action. Quoting from these pages is all too likely to spoil the story for later readers, so I felt it best to refrain from doing so.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Susan Abraham said...

To Mike c/o WA,

Wow, Mike! Congratulations! Sounds like you've done a great job so far.
And how efficient to have sent your entry in so quickly.
cheers

November 09, 2006 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure, the title is intriguing enough to make me want to read it!

You quite right, most of us authors need lessons in editing and revision...I know I'm as guilty as the worst offenders out there! But it's through opportunities like this that we learn.

November 09, 2006 5:29 AM  
Anonymous Mike Cunningham said...

T.W.A.,

You are indeed more than kind!

Mike C.

November 09, 2006 6:13 AM  
Blogger Kilroy_60 said...

I believe you chose the best approach. Providing an overview of the story and insight, based on your experience, of the writer is much more powerful than any excerpt would be.

The story sounds interesting. I'm looking forward to hear about more of the entries.

November 10, 2006 8:57 AM  
Blogger ian said...

Congratulations to Mike, c/o Wandering Author, on your good review.

I'm still editing my entry (or entries), but I'm also very busy with this year's Nanowrimo offering, Enter The Jackrabbit.

Ian

November 10, 2006 2:14 PM  

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