Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 3) #AmWriting

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Help An Author

For the last two weeks, I’ve asked for feedback on the opening chapter of a book I wrote 8 years ago. The response I got has been terrific. But best of all is that readers are telling me they want to read more.

For those who missed the first two parts, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ is a novel I started writing in 2012.

Over the last two weeks, I published the first 1,051 words of chapter 1 on my blog and asked for readers to give me feedback.

As a result, 1,051 words have been reduced to 880 words. I also have got rid of a lot of the foreshadowing, which was confusing readers.     

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to London to live and work.

I’m publishing new parts of the story every week and asking for your help by leaving me feedback. From the feedback, I will rewrite that part and release the new version on the ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ page.

Part 3

Here are the next 505 words of chapter 1. It continues from where it left off last week, on-board the coach at Middlesbrough station. This week we’re meeting another new, major character, known as Hamble, although that’s not her real name.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

Although he was the last passenger to board the coach, Danny managed to find a row of unoccupied seats.

As Dougie revved up the engine, Danny sat down. A woman in the opposite row sighed relief and looked over at him.

“Air conditioning,” she declared while fanning her face with a magazine. “I just hate being so hot!”

With short brown hair that had a slight curl to it and a gorgeous doll-like face, Danny thought she looked like something his grandmother had on display in a porcelain cabinet. She looked about the same age as Danny and wore a long, white dress decorated with a large, red floral print. Her large brown eyes made her look like a doll Danny recalled seeing on a children’s TV show. He immediately nicknamed her ‘Hamble.’

Smiling back at her, he could have taken what she’d just said one of two ways. Either she was saying she hated the heat, or disliked being so good looking that just about every man she passed in the street would want to sleep with her.

“Not been a bad summer so far, but don’t you hate it being so hot that the news features those stupid stories of people claiming to have fried an egg on the pavement? Why would anyone want to fry an egg on the pavement? It’s not as if you can eat it afterwards,” giggled Hamble.

Out of politeness, Danny nodded his head.

“Then again”, she said, “maybe they’re making a point?”

“Yes,” replied Danny. “I’m not too fond of the heat either. I’d rather be too cold than too hot. At least you can wrap up warm.”

Danny’s mind began to wander again. It was as if the row of seats he had sat in and nicknamed ‘daydream alley’ were true to their name. But why was last Christmas on his mind? As usual, he’d spent it with Nick. Ah, yes, Nick. Where was Nick? He’d driven him to the coach station.

The noise of Hamble fumbling around some items in a plastic carrier bag broke his thinking. Taking out a giant chocolate bar and unwrapping it carefully, she took a large bite out of it, even though it was on the verge of melt-down.

“I couldn’t live without air conditioning or chocolate,” Hamble announced while savouring the day’s first taste of chocolate. “Unless it’s chocolate in a cake or a biscuit. I once worked with a girl who ate two large chocolate chip cookies and drunk a can of diet cola for breakfast. We nicknamed her ‘Fat Nat’,” she laughed.

Smiling at the cruel name, Danny asked if Nat ate salad for lunch.

While Hamble carried on talking, her voice became a dwindling echo in Danny’s head. Panic set in again, and he could feel his heart pounding the wall of his chest.

As the coach turned out of Middlesbrough station, Danny realised he’d forgotten about Nick. Quickly peering out of the window, his eyes searched for his ex-boyfriend, but Nick was nowhere in sight.


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

I’ve created a Page on my blog where you can read the new version of the story. Click on ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ on the menu bar to access it.  

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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

32 thoughts

  1. Hi Hugh, not sure if anyone’s mentioned this bit, I can’t see if they have?

    A woman in the opposite row sighed relief and looked over at him. “Air conditioning,” she declared while fanning her face with a magazine.

    “sighed relief and looked over at him”, am I missing something here? “Air conditioning,” she declared, fanning her face with a magazine.”

    She sighed relief – at what? The air conditioning? and if so, why “She was fanning her face with a magazine?

    Not sure I’m making myself clear Hugh? Sorry. Caz

    1. Perfectly clear, Caz, and well spotted. I’ve added the word ‘finishing’ to the sentence, so it now reads ‘”Air conditioning,” she declared while finishing fanning her face with a magazine.

      Thank you so much.

  2. This reads easily, Hugh. Paragraph four uses the verb “look” too many times. Try to ease the repetitiveness with a different word or to. I agree with all the suggestions of other commenters so far.

    The last paragraph might be a bit confusing. I think Danny was supposed to look at Nick and wave him goodbye when the bus pulled out? Is that what he forgot to do? Or how he forgot about Nick?

    1. Hi Liesbet,

      Some suggestions from Chuck have helped me get rid of most of those ‘look’s.’ In the new version of paragraph four, it now only appears once.

      I’ve also rewritten the last paragraph and made some amendments to paragraph 10, so we know that Danny had forgotten that Nick was at the station to wave him off to London.

      Thanks so much for your feedback. Again, you’ve been very helpful.

  3. I’m with Willow, Hugh, take care of repetition words (you can use ‘find and replace’ in Word). Also, this paragraph I don’t see necessary in the context unless of course, it’s pertinent to what’s coming: “Smiling back at her, he could have taken what she’d just said one of two ways. Either she was saying she hated the heat, or disliked being so good looking that just about every man she passed in the street would want to sleep with her.” 🙂 x

    1. Hi Debby, given your recent problems with technology, I wasn’t expecting to hear from you, so a big thanks for your comment.

      I use Grammarly, and it’s supposed to highlight words that are repeated too often and give suggestions. I think you’re referring to the word ‘china’? If so, that’s now been sorted (thanks to a recommendation from Chuck). You’ll be able to see the result on the ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ page next week. Hamble (not her real name) has a thing about thinking all men want to take her to bed. It’s part of her character. It does become a part of the story later on, but I haven’t read that part for such a long time that I can’t remember how it spans out. When I get to it, I’ll come back to the paragraph you’ve highlighted.

      Thanks again for calling in. It’s always great to see you.

      1. Hi Hugh, I can be very stubborn when it comes to finding work-arounds and I didn’t want to miss your next episode 🙂 Thanks for updating me on the future of Hamble, and now I’m curious to learn about her. Of course, when the later chapters come you will undoubtedly, be making sure the whole story flows together. These are such early times in revision. ❤

        1. Oh, absolutely, Debby. If the book goes into print, I’ll be getting it professionally edited and be looking for a few beta readers too. That decision is a long way off yet, but I am enjoying reb=visting what I wrote 8 years ago.

          Hamble is an interesting character. I know that Sshe and Danny end up sharing an apartment, but that’s all I’m saying for now. 😉

        2. Ooooh, looking forward. And P.S. guess what the universe sent me today? MY NEW LAPTOP!!! A week early! It’s like Christmas! I got my work cut out for me, but not complaining, lol 🙂 x

  4. I like it Hugh , I just think you mentioned the word doll just too often, she could have porcelain features instead of doll like features. Apart from that I like it. My sister in law had a friend who was always at the gym but never slimmed down, she was known as “keep fat pat,” so there’s no problem with ‘Hamble” calling her friend by a harsh nickname it happens.💜

    1. Thanks, Willow. Yes, the word ‘doll’ does appear quite a bit, doesn’t it? I’ll look into that.

      And thanks for confirming that people still use harsh nicknames. When I reread that part of the story, I wasn’t sure to include it or not. I’m glad I did. After all, it’s a part of everyday life.

  5. “or disliked being so good looking…”
    I get that you’re playing with “hot” here, but I think this needs to be reworded…no one dislikes being good looking 🙂

  6. I think it’s building nicely, Hugh. Hamble seems interesting, and I’m intrigued to know how she might fit into Danny’s life beyond the coach journey, if that is going to happen. Will she make him question his sexuality, or will they be friends? Or both? Hopefully the next part will give us more clues – but, after all, this is only Chapter One so I mustn’t get too impatient!

    1. Thanks, Clive.

      Hamble (not her real name as we’ll soon find out) plays an integral part in the story. However, from what I remember, it’s Danny that comes to her aid, rather than she helping him.

      Yes, although I’ve now published three parts, they’re all part of chapter one of the book. I hadn’t previously made that clear enough, so I’m hoping those joining me on this journey will now not be as confused as to how the story was unfolding.

      Thanks for joining us on this WIP.

      1. I’m glad if I’ve helped in some small way. My comment about it being the first chapter wasn’t intended to suggest that wasn’t clear: just that it would be unfair to expect too much, too quickly.

        Looking forward to the next episode.

        1. No, not at all, Clive. I should have made it clear at the beginning that all the upcoming parts were from chapter one. A few others mentioned to me that they could not understand why each part was a new chapter when they each started and ended abruptly. I have in my mind that each chapter will be around 3,500 words. I only intend to ask for help with chapter one. If all goes well, I’ll then get on with rewriting the rest offline (unless I decide to serialise it all on my blog).

          Thanks again for your support in reading this WIP.

        2. It seemed clear to me, your explanation is there – if people read it! I like your plan, as I think you’ll be putting too much pressure on yourself to rework the whole book in this way. Much better to do it at your own pace and in the best way that suits you.

  7. My suggested changes:
    1. She had short brown hair with a slight curl to it and a gorgeous doll-like face with large brown eyes. Danny thought she reminded him of his grandmother’s porcelain doll collection. She looked about the same age as Danny and wore a long, white dress decorated with a large, red floral print. Danny recalled seeing a similar character on a children’s TV show, and he nicknamed her ‘Hamble.’
    2. Danny’s mind began to wander again. It was as if he had sat in the row of seats named ‘daydream alley’…
    3. Delete “Smiling at the cruel name, Danny asked if Nat ate salad for lunch.” It adds nothing to the action.

    I like the way you have the character development also set up the tension for future action. I’m ready for more.

    1. Thanks again for the feedback, Chuck.

      As I publish each new section, what I’m learning from you (and others who have left feedback) is being put to excellent use. I don’t mean to end each section on a cliffhanger, but it seems to be the case when I cut and paste from the original draft.

      Thanks for your support with this WIP. It’s much appreciated.

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