Author Topic: REVISED The Good Soldier - Historical Fiction  (Read 2433 times)

Offline 007 fan

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Re: 3rd Time's the charm!! REVISED The Good Soldier - Historical Fiction
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2019, 04:13:34 AM »
Ok.. some good feedback dissecting what I clearly was not seeing....  so, below, the first two paragraphs are where the real problems lie, but of course anything else... 

Dear Agent:

Like Munley said, there are problems with sentences/punctuation/some tightening needed, and I too am focusing on content only at this time.

Willem Tadeujski has always done what he was told, a good soldier doing his duty. < Adding more words hasn't changed that line for me. You don't follow with an example of him doing what he's told or not doing what he's told for the first time. Instead, you talk about a choice. Captured defending Warsaw after the Nazi invasion of Poland, Wil is (given a choice) granted a rare second chance to live, by fighting for the German army. He takes it, better to live a German soldier and eventually get home than to starve to death in a prison camp. But when that second chance runs out I looked at your pages. That second chance doesn't run out as if the Germans are done with him. Misleading. He's tired of war and he sees that the Germans are about to be slaughtered, so he flees. , he escapes and tries to get home across war-ravaged Europe to his wife and child in Nazi-occupied Poland. If you mention that he's placed on the front lines in FRANCE, then his trek across Europe won't read like an error. As you have it now, it sounds like he was captured in Poland, switches teams in Poland, and fights against his own countrymen.

The other thing I find misleading is that Wil is already starving in a prison when he's offered a choice. In your query, you make it sound like he's captured on a battlefield and the choice is given there.

Also, after reading some of your posted pages, Wil seems to be opposite "the good soldier". I'm sure his Polish commanders didn't teach him to fight for the other side if things get rough. I'm sure the Germans didn't tell him to flee if things get rough. Maybe I'm the only one turned off by the misrepresentation of the first line and then what follows in the query, and then again turned off by the fact that the story you present in the query is not matching what I'm seeing in your opening pages.

I also didn't like reading that initially he sounds bored in France. Why not escape first chance he sees? Instead, he keeps working for the people who invaded his country. For all he knows, Germans are raping his wife. They are for sure killing his countrymen. So he works for the people who invaded his country and doesn't "escape" until he thinks the Germans are about to be overtaken, all the while shooting at those who come to free his country. Maybe all this doesn't sound so bad in the full context of the story, but I'm just going off your query and pages.   

Elise Tadeujski is doing the best she can in wartime Krakow, trying to care for her daughter Katerine, struggling to make ends meet under the oppressive Nazi occupiers and those who would resist them. When Wil’s letters stop coming home, she must remain strong for the family she has left in spite of not knowing whether her husband is alive or dead. As the war goes on, a German officer notices Elise, as does the Polish Resistance.  The Polish Resistance force Elise to assist them by spying on the  handsome German, implying they'll hurt her and Katerine if she does not. Elise struggles with her assignment as she begins to develop feelings for the kind German, and her heart is torn between her lost husband, protecting her daughter, helping her country and her new found unwelcome but undeniable love. Unless you tell me that the German soldier confides in her that he hates war or something, I'm still not feeling that she could even consider falling for someone on the team of people who invaded her country and might've killed her husband.

What I do like about this story is the dual storylines. It doesn't take much imagination to see that as the story progresses, readers will wonder what he might find when he makes it to his wife and how he might react to that. Not to be harsh, but Wil doesn't seem very loyal and his wife seems disloyal in her considering a German and the fact that she won't fight for her country (working with the resistance) until she's threatened...which makes "her heart being torn between helping her country or falling in love with the enemy" seem off. I mean, she wouldn't help her country until she was threatened, so how can she be "torn" over it as if she'd be heartbroken if she didn't help her country?  Maybe I'm missing something here. I feel that I might be.

My first novel, THE GOOD SOLDIER, is a 97,000 word historical or commercial work. Dealing with themes of family, love, and what it means to choose between one’s duty and one’s heart, it asks questions of human conduct under the worst of conditions.
As a full time history teacher, I specialize in and teach World War II history from military, social, and political history points of view, as well as teaching the Holocaust. I enjoy writing in my spare time and am currently working on my second novel.  I’m a devoted husband and father of two who enjoys ice hockey, craft beer, whiskey and, of course, reading history and fantasy.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
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« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 07:50:04 PM by 007 fan »
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