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The Question by Kit  [message #67838] Fri, 05 July 2013 16:06 Go to next message
Ian John Copeland is currently offline  Ian John Copeland

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Just read the first chapter of this novel and very much enjoyed it.  Those jokey changing room references to matters of Onan, most of us have been there, the chance aroused state and suggestions as to what to do next.  There is a brief period when perhaps something might of happened but as adolescents become more mature these references are seen as juvenile or implying a lack of proper sexual activity with the female of the species!

To add a double entendre, I am hoping Kit can keep it up over the next 14 chapters!

Ian

[Updated on: Fri, 05 July 2013 16:06]




Visit my Blog: http://thepaintheagony.blogspot.co.uk/
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67846 is a reply to message #67838] Sat, 27 July 2013 09:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jolyon Lewes

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Having read the first three chapters of this increasingly absorbing series, I feel compelled to say something about it. Ian is a teenager who reminds me very much of my young self in some ways; he is academically quite bright but lacks self-confidence and isn't very sporty. Among other difficulties, add a slightly difficult relationship with Andy, his younger brother and a disastrous flirtation with a handsome but poisonous boy called Simon and we have a truly troubled teen. Anxious to expand his narrow field of interests, Ian joins the school's Outdoor Club and gets to know Frank, a very sporty schoolmate, who seems to be taking more than a passing interest in our young hero. How will things develop? Another of Kit's beautifully-written stories, this one looks to be as intriguing as his masterpiece, Tapping.

[Updated on: Sat, 27 July 2013 11:35]




Jolyon
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67847 is a reply to message #67838] Sun, 28 July 2013 20:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
samsone is currently offline  samsone

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3 chapters in and I'm loving the story.  I came into it having enjoyed Kits previous work and this isn't disappointing so far.  Got to agree with Jolyon about it maybe being up there with Tapping, I just hope the standard can hold for the remaining chapters.  Really impressed at how precise the writing is, everything that's there is there to push the story forwards, there are quite a few moments where I think a lot of writers would have been tempted to pad the story out with unnecessary scenes but Kit keeps the momentum going.  Now if only I wasn't stuck waiting for chapter 4, I need to know what happens after the night in the tent.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67862 is a reply to message #67847] Wed, 07 August 2013 14:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jolyon Lewes

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Chapter 4 has arrived (at last!). It describes Ian's growing friendship with his tent-mate Frank, who patiently tries to help Ian overcome his natural diffidence. There is much tenderness in this chapter and the setting will be familiar to any reader who has spent a night alone in a tent with another boy, to whom he thinks he's attracted and is hoping something will develop but hesitates to make the first move. Delicious.  Thumbs Up



Jolyon
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67863 is a reply to message #67862] Wed, 07 August 2013 19:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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Sorry for the gaps, chaps. some personal issues have caused the inability to process pages for a while. These will pass.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67910 is a reply to message #67838] Mon, 19 August 2013 17:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
samsone is currently offline  samsone

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Real life issues meant I've not been able to check for new chapters so it was a nice surprise to find 2 waiting for me.  Still loving the story but ouch to chapter 5, poor Frank!  I hope I'm wrong but I don't see things ending well for him and Ian.  Keep up the good work Kit, I'm loving the characters and can't wait to find out what happens next to them.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67915 is a reply to message #67910] Thu, 22 August 2013 10:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Quote:
samsone wrote on Mon, 19 August 2013 17:26Still loving the story but ouch to chapter 5, poor Frank!  I hope I'm wrong but I don't see things ending well for him and Ian.

--

Poor Frank, maybe, but what about poor Ian?
Ian has some flaws and weaknesses, but who wouldn't after the experiences he's had? Sometimes he makes wrong decisions, but he's only human. Some readers may not like him, but if they're honest they may admit to being a little confused about their feelings when they were teenagers and making similar mistakes. All we can do is muddle through and hope that with good intentions things can be sorted out.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67926 is a reply to message #67915] Sat, 24 August 2013 13:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
samsone is currently offline  samsone

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Oh don't get me wrong I have sympathy for Ian and the dilemma of being honest over saying what you think someone wants to hear.  I was feeling sorry for Frank over his grades, it touched on something personal to me, I don't think many relationships are strong enough to survive a separation.
icon5.gif Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67954 is a reply to message #67838] Tue, 03 September 2013 11:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Ian in Ch8[ 10 votes ]
1. Yes 4 / 40%
2. Probably 3 / 30%
3. Maybe 1 / 10%
4. Don't Know 0 / 0%
5. Maybe not 0 / 0%
6. Probably not 1 / 10%
7. No 1 / 10%

Thank you to those who took the time to read the story and especially those who made such kind comments. Now that the story is about half way through, I was wondering what readers thought about the protagonist, Ian. So here (if I've managed to do it correctly!) is a poll.

For those who've read to the end of Ch 8, the question is: Does Ian deserve what happens to him in Ch 8?
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67955 is a reply to message #67954] Tue, 03 September 2013 11:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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Ian does seem to be the architect of his own future. I do know that Frank does not deserve what has happened to him.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67956 is a reply to message #67954] Tue, 03 September 2013 12:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jolyon Lewes

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I agree with Timmy. Even though we know something about what makes Ian who he is, he now seems to be playing loose with some dodgy individuals while dear, loyal Frank seems to have been ditched.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67957 is a reply to message #67956] Tue, 03 September 2013 17:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ivor slipper is currently offline  ivor slipper

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Ian appears to be a very self centered character or perhaps just a person who doesn't see the need to say things he doesn't truly feel. But, on the other hand a good story, which this is, can always make use of a bit of a villain Smile
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67958 is a reply to message #67957] Tue, 03 September 2013 18:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Is it self-centred not to want a relationship with someone you love only as a friend?
Is it selfish to look for someone to fall in love with and have a relationship with?

No matter how nice a person is, you either fall in love with them or you don't. You can't force yourself to fall in love with them just because they fall in love with you.

Ian could easily lie and take the easy way out, but instead he tells Frank the truth and ensures he never cheats on Frank. Isn't Frank the selfish one for wanting all or nothing and not being prepared to settle for friendship?
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67959 is a reply to message #67958] Tue, 03 September 2013 18:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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If one is fair, each is selfish. Society teaches us that one selfishness differs from the other.

We are sympathetic to the character we identify with the more closely, that is all.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67960 is a reply to message #67954] Tue, 03 September 2013 19:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
axelsrod is currently offline  axelsrod

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I think Ian wants it all. But then, who among us doesn't? Nod
This story is very familiar to me. Did I read it on another site a few years back?
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67966 is a reply to message #67960] Wed, 04 September 2013 07:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Quote:
axelsrod wrote on Tue, 03 September 2013 19:45I think Ian wants it all. But then, who among us doesn't? Nod
This story is very familiar to me. Did I read it on another site a few years back?

--

The story has the same basic plot as an earlier story posted elsewhere but has been substantially rewritten and amended, with new material added. For example, all of Ch 1 and most of Ch 2 is totally new and intended to show how Ian got to be the way he is.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67978 is a reply to message #67954] Sat, 07 September 2013 07:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
PeterSJC is currently offline  PeterSJC

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I wanted to answer the poll, but all I see are poll results, not the poll itself. :( 

I don't think  "deserve" is a very useful concept here. Ian has made some bad choices, because he is inexperienced and emotionally crippled. One of the bad choices was the way he hurt Frank, and Frank's reaction is adding to Ian's anguish, but I don't think of that as "punishment." I respect Ian for not taking the easy way out by settling for a relationship with someone with whom he is not in love. I don't think Ian is capable of being in love with anyone. I suspect (and hope) that, as part of his emotional healing, he will fall in love with Frank. But he is not ready for that yet, and Frank is taking care of himself by not letting Ian back into his life. There are no villains here (except Derek and his sycophants), and I am rooting for both Ian and Frank.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67981 is a reply to message #67978] Wed, 11 September 2013 07:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Hi Peter,

Thank you very much for your comments about Ian and Frank. Of course, I agree. Smile

Thanks also for trying to vote in the poll. I think you have to be logged into the forum to be able to vote. If you were logged in and still couldn't vote then I suppose there must be a problem with the poll setup. That wouldn't be too surprising, bearing in mind that this is the first poll I've ever set up. Anyway, I've just gone back and checked the poll settings and it is still set to be unlimited time and unlimited votes. So if you (or anyone else) still can't vote after logging in please let me know and I'll investigate further.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67982 is a reply to message #67981] Wed, 11 September 2013 15:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
PeterSJC is currently offline  PeterSJC

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Kitzyma, you were correct: Once I had logged in <duh!>, I got the actual poll, rather than the results, so you did set it up correctly. I voted #1 (yes), because it seems to fit better than "no," and the maybes seem like a cop-out, but for the reasons I indicated, I am not completely happy with that rather judgmental answer. I tend not to do very well with multiple-choice surveys.

If you would like to share, I would be interested in hearing your reasons for posting the poll. I'm guessing that the results won't change how you finish the story. 

I do not read many stories in which the protagonist loves another person but not as deeply or passionately as that person loves him. You have done that here, and elsewhere. Ian also seems to be intellectualizing and agonizing over the question, "What is love?" These themes resonate deeply within me, and I thank you for your treatment of them.

[Updated on: Wed, 11 September 2013 16:04]

Re: The Question by Kit  [message #67983 is a reply to message #67982] Wed, 11 September 2013 17:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Quote:
PeterSJC wrote on Wed, 11 September 2013 15:52I tend not to do very well with multiple-choice surveys.

If you would like to share, I would be interested in hearing your reasons for posting the poll. I'm guessing that the results won't change how you finish the story. 

--

Thanks, Peter, for trying again.
Maybe it's not you and multiple choice but the poll and my badly designed options. :)  After all, it is my first ever attempt at a poll.

The whole story (all 15 chapters) is already in the queue for publication. So nothing here in the forum can change how it finishes.

The reason for the poll was that all of those who sent e-mails to me directly about the story (thanks to those who did!) had a pretty negative view of Ian, mainly because he didn't return Frank's love.  That was a bit of a surprise to me for two reasons. First, because I thought there was a lot in the first two chapters to explain Ian's character and generate sympathy for him, and second because I thought readers would sympathise with the uncomfortable position of being loved by someone you can't love in return. It's a position I've been in.

So I set up the poll to see if the e-mails I'd received directly represented the views of readers in general. It seems that they did. Maybe readers can't easily identify with the way Ian thinks too much and agonises about emotions rather than just letting himself feel them.

Maybe after the last chapter has been posted I'll put up another poll to see if readers have changed their opinion of Ian by the end of the story.

Kit
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68005 is a reply to message #67983] Sat, 21 September 2013 15:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jolyon Lewes

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For those of us who think Ian is at least partly the author of his own misfortunes, in Chapter 12 his new friend Matt teases him thus: "Oh, Ian, don't be so uptight," he said, barely controlling his laughter. "I'm only joking, and you must admit you do make an easy target of yourself." Matt seems to understand Ian better than anyone, so far.



Jolyon
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68006 is a reply to message #68005] Tue, 24 September 2013 17:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
samsone is currently offline  samsone

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Well I have to say I'm quite shocked at the poll results.  While I feel sympathy for Frank and his situation I wouldn't wish ill on Ian.  I wouldn't say Ian handled the situation brilliantly but he's young and inexperienced, surely everyone's hurt someone without really meaning to.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68007 is a reply to message #68006] Tue, 24 September 2013 23:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
PeterSJC is currently offline  PeterSJC

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At the risk of beating a dead horse, I will say that the word "deserve" can mean that a person receives a reward or punishment that we think is morally appropriate, or it can mean that an action is followed by a natural outcome. If a teenager suffers permanent brain damage while speeding in a car without a safety belt, we might say that he got what he deserved for being stupid, but I would not wish that outcome on him.

Several years ago while I was in a small Nevada town during a long bicycle trip in which I had done more than my share of tire repair, I saw an apparently inebriated driver drop a bottle out of his car window. (Un?)fortunately some pieces of the broken glass were big enough to trash his rear tire when it ran over the glass, less than a second later. My delight was intensified by the fact that the miscreant deserved his fate in both senses of deserving.

So, what about Ian? I would say that, both in the moral sense and as a predictable consequence,  he deserved not to have Frank welcome him back. The debacle with Derek, on the other hand, was a natural consequence of Ian's bad judgment and disregard of warning signals, but to call it punishment for hurting Frank is both callous and unconstructive, IMO.

That said, I think that being hurt by Derek was good for Ian. It was an important learning experience, a part of Ian's healing and something that helped prepare him for the subsequent happy relationship that he seems to be finding in Chapter 12.

[Updated on: Wed, 25 September 2013 04:01]

Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68015 is a reply to message #68007] Sun, 29 September 2013 03:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
PeterSJC is currently offline  PeterSJC

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[Spoiler alert...]

I just read Chapter 13 and loved it. For the past couple of chapters, it has been apparent where this story is going. Naively, I thought that Matt and Ian would easily fall into a happy-ever-after: how could Ian not fall in love with Matt? So, I feel a bit impatient, frustrated at the detour. But it is a necessary detour. The story is very much about Ian's inability to make a commitment, and we have no evidence that he has had a change of heart. But I am confident that Kit will lead him, and us, there. (If only change were so assured in real life.) I can hardly wait.

[Updated on: Sun, 29 September 2013 14:01]

Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68016 is a reply to message #68015] Sun, 29 September 2013 10:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Thanks very much, Peter, for the comments.

Indeed, in real life a change of heart is difficult, but even in fiction it can't be made too easy or it would strain the willing suspension of disbelief.

Sometimes someone like Ian needs a kick up the bum to bring him to his senses. Frank wasn't forceful enough to give Ian that kick up the bum.

Matt is a no-nonsense kind of guy and too strong-willed to put up with an unsatisfactory situation. He doesn't hesitate to give Ian a very hard and uncompromising kick up the bum. But will it be hard enough and painful enough to make Ian see sense?

There are only two more chapters to go, so you'll soon find out! Smile

Kit
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68018 is a reply to message #68016] Tue, 01 October 2013 15:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
loftus is currently offline  loftus

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Kit this story is really great, there are times i would love to have had the chance to smack Ian as now he is about to lose his the best thing that has happened to him.  Great stuff Kit please Keep up your fantastic work.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68019 is a reply to message #67838] Tue, 01 October 2013 18:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
samsone is currently offline  samsone

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Well what a way to end the chapter, can't wait for the next one.  Some brilliant lines in there as well.

"Well, if love was easy to control, you wouldn't be so keen to avoid it."  Says it all about Ian really although I will say I feel sympathy for him at the moment, I know he's been in denial about Matt's feelings and the fact that they have been partners in all but name but Matt did spring things on him so I find myself on Ian's side in a way.

Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68026 is a reply to message #68019] Sat, 05 October 2013 21:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jolyon Lewes

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Well, that's Chapter 14 read and digested. Ian is at last beginning to show some consideration for Matt but he can still be infuriating - complicated one minute and selfish the next. An awkward conversation with his mother concludes this chapter and I'm left wondering what on earth is going to happen in the final chapter.

Kit's writing is superb. When Ian's mother says something about 'life's rich tapestry' I realised that that was the only cliché I'd spotted in the entire chapter. It is terribly difficult to write a narrative void of cliché, especially one that includes dialogue.

 

[Updated on: Sat, 05 October 2013 21:04]




Jolyon
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68027 is a reply to message #68026] Sat, 05 October 2013 21:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Ian is beginning to change his whole outlook on life. That isn't easy and won't be quick. After the traumas with David, Teo & Simon, he's scared of being hurt. So one of his main problems is his own fear. One of the things that enabled him to deal with that fear is his realisation that he'd rather risk being hurt himself than hurt Matt. Maybe that's one aspect of real love.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68028 is a reply to message #68026] Sat, 05 October 2013 22:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Nigel is currently offline  Nigel

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Clichés can be fun, but only from a position of strength, not weakness, that is you don't know you're using them.

I  have a friend, and I haven't worked out how to deal with him yet, who is always asking me if I know what he means - I usually do -  and for whom everything happens at the end of the day.  I don't know what he does during the rest of the day.

As schoolmasters my colleagues and I had to guard against clichés, which was testing.  My own maths master when I was a boy would say 'Isn't that so?'  A boy who sat at the front of the class within reach of the board would count them by chalking five barred gates in the corner.  On the occasion when the count reached 50 a great cheer went up and poor Jacko hadn't the slightest idea why.

Fortunately one of the pre-readers of my stories spots a cliché at a hundred paces which helps me eliminate them, but I'd rather they weren't there by accident in the first place.  Planting them on purpose is, of course, a different matter.

Hugs
Nigel



I dream of boys with big bulges in their trousers,
Never of girls with big bulges in their blouses.

…and look forward to meeting you in Cóito.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68033 is a reply to message #68028] Tue, 08 October 2013 22:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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My Auntie Joan used to talk a lot about life's rich pageant and tapestry. How strange that she managed to raise a bigot and a homophobe as a son.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68038 is a reply to message #67838] Sat, 12 October 2013 17:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
samsone is currently offline  samsone

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I work with someone who calls them 'weasel words' and takes great delight in pointing out everyone's vocal habits, conveniently ignoring their own.  I guess we all have words and sayings that we overuse.

I've just read Chapter 14 and have no idea where the story is going to end up.  I see Chapter 15 is out now though so I guess I'll soon find out.  I almost don't want it to end, I've really enjoyed getting to know the characters and with the end approaching it feels almost as if it's going to be over too soon.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68039 is a reply to message #68038] Sat, 12 October 2013 20:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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Quote:
samsone wrote on Sat, 12 October 2013 18:37I work with someone who calls them 'weasel words' and takes great delight in pointing out everyone's vocal habits, conveniently ignoring their own.  I guess we all have words and sayings that we overuse.

I've just read Chapter 14 and have no idea where the story is going to end up.  I see Chapter 15 is out now though so I guess I'll soon find out.  I almost don't want it to end, I've really enjoyed getting to know the characters and with the end approaching it feels almost as if it's going to be over too soon.

--
Ah you may be right, but you might have forgotten that Kit's endings emulate real life, too. Smile Not that I'm giving anything away you understand



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68040 is a reply to message #67838] Sun, 13 October 2013 17:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa is currently offline  Lisa

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Is that it? That's not the end of the story, is it? I heard there's only fifteen chapters, but this didn't seem like the end.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68041 is a reply to message #68040] Mon, 14 October 2013 08:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ivor slipper is currently offline  ivor slipper

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Maybe I was too hasty to pass judgment on Ian. Perhaps now he has found someone who he truly loves he has also realised that it is possible to also just be 'friends' with others. Great to see him extend the hand of friendship to Frank.
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68042 is a reply to message #68041] Mon, 14 October 2013 10:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jolyon Lewes

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The ending of this story may have seemed low-key but, as Timmy inferred, this thoroughly absorbing story of Kit's emulates real life.

So, no fairy-tale ending but a satisfactory conclusion of this stage of Ian's life, with his re-establishing his friendship with Frank and, at the very end, a small but significant gesture that seems to make Matt happy. Ian is no longer ashamed to show affection in public.

The Question is the title of the story and has Ian now found the answer to it? I like to think so. Will there be other, even tougher questions in the future? Of course there will be (especially for a character as complex as Ian) but it will be up to the reader to decide which questions and to come to his or her conclusions.

This story has deservedly provoked a great deal of comment. The author has never attempted to make Ian a hero, just a slightly confused boy emerging uncertainly from his adolescence. I am one of several readers who've considered Ian to be self-centred. I'm trying to remember if I was a self-centred youth. Probably. Maybe it's a part of adolescence that we prefer to forget as we grow older.




Jolyon
Re: The Question by Kit  [message #68062 is a reply to message #67838] Sat, 19 October 2013 22:41 Go to previous message
samsone is currently offline  samsone

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I have to admit that there were times during my reading of the last chapter where I found myself thinking, how can it end here, I just couldn't see how the story could come together to a satisfactory conclusion in the space of one chapter.  Then the final scene came along and it was just perfect, the exact balance of closure with potential for the future.  I feel like I've gone on a journey with the characters, watched them change as the story progressed and left them ready to face the future.

Thank you for the story Kit.
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