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Frederick Preston
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 11:27 pm:   

Hello,

The title of my story is Dark Resurrection, a completed 129,000 word historical/horror novel depicting Jesus Christ rising from the grave - as a vampire.

Briefly: An unjustly crucified Jesus at first seeks to exact revenge upon his former tormentors, accompanied by Mary Magdalene; she brought to the realm of the undead by Jesus outside his tomb.

A moral man during his life, Jesus faces a staggering contradiction - murder is wrong, but he and his consort Mary must drink blood every night to survive.

His brilliant solution: Slaughter the unjust for sustenence, while enrichening himself with loot taken from common criminals.

Due to carelessness in the beginning Jesus must flee Judaea, Mary Magdalene and his parents joining him in a trek to eastern Anatolia, in modern day Turkey.

His family assuming the role of Roman Plebian gentry thanks to Jesus appropriating lucre from his victims, they settle in a small town, Jesus and Mary Magdalene stalking dark Roman highways or taverns for the blood and money of criminals.

So not to bore anyone, I'll stop there - I've also written a 135,000 word sequel. As creatures like vampires are immortal, I have created short drafts of other scenarios for the leading characters, one set in the Middle Ages, two others set in the 20th century.

My wish is to make a series of Dark Resurrection, perhaps 10 or so books.

Any constructive opinions or suggestions will be welcomed.

Thanks,

Frederick Preston
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Charlie Fatwallet
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 11:35 pm:   

Sir, I will buy your manuscript sight unseen for 500,000 American dollars. Please e-mail me at fatwallet@bigdealpublisher.com.
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Jonathan
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 06:17 am:   

Hi Fred,

Don't have any ideas on how to publish, but if you do, I'll buy a copy! Sounds like a good 'un!

Best Wishes,

Jonathan
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 03:45 pm:   

Been done.
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 05:39 pm:   

Hello again,

None of them are like my story friend - my book is actually based on the Gospels of the New Testament, The Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Scriptures, along with detailed, factual references to Roman history and society, drawn from Pliny, Flavius Josephus, Tacitus and Juvenal.

Further, I have purposely refused to read any other references on the net or in bookstores to "Jesus the vampire" or "Jesus Christ vampire killer" to keep my story free of any unwanted, tainting influences (Other than perhaps Bram Stoker, and a little bit of Boris Karloff)!
Thanks for your input, though.

Fred
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kathy s.
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 05:50 pm:   

Well, net can be quite helpful while looking for a publisher and/or agent.

A good market list: www.ralan.com

Info on publishers, agents etc.: http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/

General discussion: www.speculations.com/rumormill

Good luck.
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 05:53 pm:   

I saw this movie the other night called Jesus Christ Vampire Slayer, and man was it bad.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 06:19 pm:   

Funny--I would have expected more from something called Jesus Christ Vampire Slayer.

So...does this vampire Jesus flee the cross?

JeffV
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 07:33 pm:   

I honestly didn't expect to receive much of a response posting here, but I'm very glad that I did. Kathy S - thanks for the tip on ralan.com, I was totally unaware of the site.

As for my Vampire Jesus fleeing the cross, nope, he resurrects in the usual way - if one can call something like resurrection "usual".

I'll try my best to get back here each day or so between working to see what folks have to say, and thanks to all for the tips, comments, et cetera.

One other thing - I've heard from others that the vampire slayer flick was definitely grade "Z", or perhaps even worse!

Fred
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Jason Williams
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 07:42 pm:   

Doesn't the idea of a Jesus going on a revenge streak strike anyone as a tad bit... out of character?
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Kage Baker
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 08:46 pm:   

But, see, dude, that's CONFLICT! Our Savior agonizes constantly over His uncontrollable lust for blood, get it? What Stan Lee coulda done with this...
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Jason Williams
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 08:56 pm:   

I saw Spider Man 2. That's all the agonizing conflict I can handle for one lifetime.
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what cynic?
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 09:08 am:   

It's his arc. His arc, man. He starts innocent wanderer, ala Rambo 1, and then gets his inner Rambo on and by the fourth movie, he's smiting evil deathstars with his bow of immaculate justice!!!
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 06:18 pm:   

In Bush's America, a revenge seeking christ makes sense.

I've fallen down the rabbit hole, and can't get up...
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 06:37 pm:   

You guys are being cruel. One of these days, when Fred's a millionaire, he's gonna have some chinese biological engineer whip up a batch of DNA soup from the shroud of Turin, vampire bat genes, and an old wino, make himself a pet vampire Jesus, and send him after you, just cause you were mean to him.
And you think I'm kidding....

Now I'm working on this project about a pope who's a werewolf....
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JV
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 06:55 pm:   

I think Fred's holding up nicely and we should all be ashamed of ourselves. I'm ashamed of myself. It takes a hell of a lot of gumption to finish a novel.

jeffV
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 07:03 pm:   

What exactly is gumption? Does it have anything to do with Forrest Gump? :-)
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Jonathan
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 07:17 pm:   

Only if it's chocolate flavored...
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Kage Baker
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 08:04 pm:   

Bring it on, Vampire Jesus!
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 10:44 am:   

No, but gumption has something to do with me! :-)
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 03:24 pm:   

Hello again,

Interesting responses :-)

Anyway, my vampite Jesus is only vengeful in the first chapter of the story. After all, I'd be kinda upset if somebody nailed me to a cross for no good reason.

Later on, with the help of lovely Mary Magdalene, Jesus accepts his vampiric fate with a detached pragmatism, feeding upon the dregs of society - criminals and such.

Incidentally, I originally wrote Dark Resurrection as a 40 page short story to give some friends a few laughs. Folks who read it literally tormented me into expanding it, and it snowballed from there.

It did take effort to put the novel together in the beginning, but after a while it got easier, especially at the urging of people at work - I'd bring fresh installments every week or so for them to read.

Hopefully it'll make for a good read if it ever gets published; it has some funny parts too.

Alas, several agents and publishers don't want to touch it. Some of the rejections were, shall I say, rather forceful.

No matter, I'll keep hawking it and see what happens.

Lucius - The Chinese bio engineer says vampire Jesus is feasible, provided I sign over the rights to my book to him. He also has a suggestion for the name of your werewolf story: "An Aggravating Polish Werewolf in the Vatican".

Thanks again folks,

Fred
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Kage Baker
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 09:11 pm:   

You're welcome, and points to you for having the class to take some peer abuse with grace.

Honestly, though-- if you have the moxie to finish a book, you have the moxie to write another book. And maybe you should try a subject that hasn't been done to death (you should pardon the expression) as much as Vampires?
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Tamar
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 09:55 am:   

Wouldn't a vampire Jesus be more likely to feed on the so-called cream of society?
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 01:20 pm:   

In the beginning vampire Jesus does indeed feed on the cream of society; folks like Pontius Pilate, Sanhedrin Pharisees, and their allies the Sadducees. Roman soldiers who crucified him are next on the list, Jesus bitterly determined to exact his revenge on the people who murdered him.

It almost becomes an obsession for him until Mary Magdalene and another character forcefully point out the danger of them staying in Jerusalem.

After "running out" of his enemies, an introspective Jesus, relying on principles forged during his life and ministry, decides to take only the evil or criminal for sustenence. This occurs as they leave the city on a journey to his former home in Nazareth.

Mary Magdalene of course hates his strict specifications, she looking upon all people as little more than food.

Luckily for most people, Jesus Christ is her master, and she must obey his orders on who is proper to take. Throughout the book they have differences on this subject, Mary unable to ever understand Jesus' inflexible convictions.

As for other stories, I am currently working on a book about an unknown, advanced society of humans - set 100,000 years in the past.

This story is a little tougher, regarding research, time, and naturally dreaming up proper names and situations for the main characters.

On a side note, it's too bad that I can't post the first chapter of Dark resurrection here - I'd really like to know what folks think of the storyline and writing.

Fred
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anon
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 02:47 pm:   

Somehow I get the feeling that Fred, despite his claims, has not written the novel yet. Consider that any time someone had pointed out a plot possibility, Fred invariably responded that it is already there in the novel. Consider also that he is not ready to post his first chapter yet. In my humble opinion, Fred is just fishing.
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 03:56 pm:   

Hello again,

That's just a tad uncalled for "anon", and I also note you don't have the intestinal fortitude to post your name or e-mail address.

Perhaps you are jealous.

As stated earlier, my novel has nine chapters and 129,000 words.

It also has an accompanying 135,000 word sequel.

I venture you're simply a pathetic troll who doesn't like the idea of someone completing a story, because you are quite incapable of doing so.

I lamented the idea of posting the first chapter for others to read as it is nearly 80 pages long in 12 point, double-spaced, Times New Roman manuscript, and I don't think the owners of this site would take kindly to an unknown author posting a large chunk of unsolicited text on their server without their permission.

If someone here could advise me on how to get permission from the site owner, I will post the first chapter immediately, and make the little troll look very stupid indeed.

I am posting here because I'm looking for leads and constructive critique on my manuscript, not little trolls looking to cause trouble for others.

That said, have a nice day troll, and go annoy someone who may actually cares what someone like yourself may think.

Fred
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 08:21 pm:   

How's about the first 750 words? Many times, slush readers will only read the first three pages anyway, before deciding to reject an ms.
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 09:53 pm:   

Fair enough.

I'll post the first twelve pages, that way the reader can get a feel for the story, should one feel like reading it.

In this selection the reader is introduced to the Biblical Jesus, his travels and ministry; his appearance before the Pharisees, and his first encounter with Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judaea and Prefect of Jerusalem.

Constructive critique of storyline, grammar, sentence structure, et cetera are welcomed, as an author cannot be objective with regard to his own writing.

Please, no opinions or admonitions regarding the mythology of religion; I am not a believer of any kind.

It will follow in my next post.

Thanks in advance,

Fred
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 10:08 pm:   

Frederick Byron Preston, Jr.
P. O. Box 1557,
Glen Burnie MD 21060
E-mail: frederickpreston@mail.com
Word count: 129,445

Dark Resurrection
A novel by Frederick Preston

Introduction
It has been asked for nearly twenty centuries – what is the meaning of Easter? For many, the answer is a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, from the dead.
For others, Easter has no meaning, the holiday dismissed as a Christian religious festival descended from the pagan festival of Ishtar, which in past centuries celebrated the welcome arrival of the vernal equinox.
Today, the continuing celebration of this ancient festival is accompanied in Western secular culture by the traditional dyed eggs, candy and baby chicks – atavisms, shrouded in mystery, descended from the original pagan celebrations.
Further, some people consider Easter heretical or apostate, even blasphemous to the followers of Judaism and Islam.
Alternately, for those with an inquisitive mind, the true meaning of Easter is revealed as none of the above. Instead this holiday takes on a frightening, sinister cast, a dark ritual beginning with symbolic cannibalism at ‘The Last Supper’, followed by torture and death, an incredible resurrection, and finally a spiritual and even physical cannibalism rumored to persist to the present day.
From obscure non-canonical gospels and other apocrypha studied by this author and others, such as the gospel of St. Anne, The Revelation of Thomas, Mary’s Confession and the Discourses of Cyril, together with historical documents penned by none other than Pliny the Elder, the truth, after two millennia, finally comes to light.
It is now revealed that instead of being a holiday celebrating life and rebirth, it is in truth a holiday honoring the macabre, a virtual spring Halloween, celebrating the emergence of a thing usually considered so revolting and terrible it is akin to a nightmare.


One
The story begins with the character of historic Jesus, a man who was a traveling ascetic preacher, philosopher and shaman, spreading his ‘good news’ among the populace.
This brilliant, introspective and spiritual man, the son of a successful Hebrew carpenter named Joseph and wife Mary, did indeed have an impressive pedigree, his line traceable to Abraham, father of the nation of Israel. Born of the eldest daughter of a rural Levite priest, both his parents were distantly related to the royal house of King David, also known as the lion of Judah.
As a child, a precocious Jesus of Nazareth showed great aptitude for religious philosophy, along with a keen appreciation of historical literature and the finer arts. This first became apparent during a trip his parents made to Jerusalem, the young prodigy skillfully debating the rabbis when he was the tender age of twelve.
The priests very impressed with the sincere words of young Jesus, they advised him to keep up in his studies, believing Jesus of Nazareth was destined to become a great rabbi, perhaps the greatest of them all.
Returning home, Jesus continued studying the Torah and other works, neglecting his training as a carpenter, his father darkly commenting to his wife that their son would never amount to anything, with his eyes fixed on scrolls and his head stuck in the clouds.
Mary, ever proud of her son, disagreed with Joseph’s remarks, stating he would grow up to be like her father, an honest rabbi, contrite and humble in the service of Almighty God.
“Sure he will, what a waste,” spat Joseph, shaking his head and walking off in disgust, the young Jesus looking up from a scroll of Isaiah to his mother.
“Don’t worry Jesus, your father’s a good and hard working man, but he doesn’t understand you,” remarked his mother.
“Yes my mother,” answered Jesus, returning to his reading.
Preoccupied with the meaning of life, at the age of sixteen a rebellious Jesus left Nazareth to search for the truth of existence. Traveling through India, China and continental Europe, these long, lonely journeys continued until he was 29 years old.
Meeting shamans, brahmans, lamas and other gurus in his travels, after many years Jesus determines the meaning of life is a trial and preparation for the next life, in blissful communion with the God of the universe, and truly believes he knows how to assure all will come to God.
Returning home after thirteen long years, he was happily greeted by his parents and brother James, all embracing and crying tears of joy at the sight of their long lost kinsman, the prodigal son, Jesus of Nazareth. This event was a very joyous occasion indeed, for at times Joseph and wife had bitterly thought their firstborn was dead, not having heard from him for years at a time.
Jesus was now a learned man who read and spoke seven languages, and in his travels had journeyed to remote, almost mythical places like Tibet and Cathay in his quest of the truth. Letters he had written from there, more often than not, had never arrived in the Roman province of Judaea.
Home in Nazareth and settled in, Jesus told his parents of the truths he had learned in his journeys, relating he felt compelled to tell his wonderful revelations to the people of Judaea.
“All that’s going to do is cause trouble for you,” remarked his cynical father, leaning on their well worn kitchen table while his mother sat impassively, unknowingly witnessing the beginning of her firstborn son’s ultimate undoing.
“Why do you say that father?” asked Jesus, sitting across from him nursing a cup of wine from the only glass goblet in the house, reserved for guests.
“Because people are self-centered, sanctimonious bastards,” retorted Joseph, smirking at Jesus in a knowing manner.
Glancing at his wife, the patriarch recalled the trouble he and Mary had encountered when starting their life together, as she had become pregnant with Jesus shortly before they were married.
“Not all are,” declared Jesus.
“Bullshit!” spat Joseph, staring at his brilliant son as if he were an idiot.
“What do you mean father?”
Swallowing a mouthful of wine, Joseph answered, “Never mind the reason, I’m a lot older than you and know what I’m talking about. The best thing you can do is to keep your mouth shut and go about your life, don’t waste time on them, piss on them!”
“But I can save them.”
“You can?” asked his father, another smirk on his face.
“Yes,” answered a resolved Jesus, revealing the optimistic innocence of a true believer.
“Save them from what, themselves?” thundered Joseph, pounding a fist on the table, “You're an idiot, who cares about them!”
“I do,” insisted Jesus.
“Go ahead, waste time sitting around philosophizing to people instead of marrying a good woman and working for a living, you’ll see I’m right in the end,” admonished Joseph, shaking a finger at him.
“I hope not,” replied Jesus, feeling his father’s attitude was one of his first tests as an enlightened rabbi of the people.
“I’m right, you’ll see,” retorted Joseph, taking a deep drink from his earthenware bottle of wine, as if he could wash away the bitter taste of his firstborn’s apparent stupidity.
Undaunted by his father’s remarks, Jesus, now also called Jesus Christ, began preaching his radical doctrine to anyone who would listen, thinking his words would effect a change, creating a heaven on Earth, or at least a Garden of Eden – one never closed to man because of sin, offering the sinner as well as the righteous a place of rest.
Per his father’s prophetic words, he first ran into trouble from the pious but hypocritical residents of Nazareth, denounced by his fellow Nazarenes as a blasphemer of the Hebrew desert god Yahweh. These people, offended by his truthful remarks that they were hypocrites, threatened to stone him for these and other pronouncements, urged on at the insistence of the pious town rabbi, Samuel Bar Saklas.
Fleeing Nazareth in fear of his mortal life, he moved his ministry to the village of Capernaum, home of fisherman and disciple Simon Peter. Jesus, together with his followers in safer surroundings, continued to preach to the masses on the virtues of repentance, forgiveness, charity, and chastity.
What had stung Rabbi Saklas most was Jesus’ controversial idea of how to form a personal relationship with God Almighty, requiring no mortal intercessors. If this were true, or at least caught on among the masses, he had written to a Pharisee in Jerusalem, it wouldn’t be long before they were out of easy jobs.
Obsessed with his mission, Jesus continued preaching in Capernaum, finally determining he would spread his message across Judaea, traveling through towns of lower Galilee.
Like a modern day superstar, twelve groupies or disciples followed Jesus constantly, along with a young woman named Mary Magdalene, a close friend and only female disciple of the preacher.
Converting many of the common and poor people of rural Judaea to his way of thinking, they looked to him as some sort of savior in those not so pleasant times of Roman occupation.
It seemed the people of Judaea loved him, with the exception of their Hebrew religious leaders – wealthy, cunning hypocrites hailing from the Israelite tribes of Benjamin, Judah, and Levi.
For three years Jesus plied the countryside, preaching his good news, he and followers giving aid to the sick and poor, accomplishing what many would regard as good works.
However, during his wanderings, his various miraculous actions, his immense popularity, his pronouncements of his personal relationship with God and coming victory over death itself offends many of the upper class, especially those Hebrew religious leaders called Sanhedrin Pharisees and their pious brothers, the Sadducees and Zealots.
Hating him, the jealous Pharisees and allies continually looked for some way to discredit the kind, honest preacher Jesus, who had become a threat to their religious hegemony.
“We’ve got to get rid of that bastard Jesus, he’ll ruin everything!” a Levite Pharisee named Baruch Zion complained to High Priest Sadducee Joseph Caiaphas one afternoon in the courtyard of the glittering white marble Temple.
“Don’t worry Baruch, I’ve been watching him, would you believe his followers are calling that idiot a king? Sooner or later he’ll make a mistake, then we’ll get him,” replied the evil Caiaphas. “We’ll see him crucified for his actions, just watch!” Frowning, he walked forward on the stone pavement to inspect a suspected piece of trash with a sandal.
Pounding a fist in the palm of a hand, long graying beard waggling in indignation, Baruch exclaimed, “We have to do something about Jesus now, he says we’re all hypocrites!”
“So what, everyone is. What’s the problem Baruch, you don’t like that being pointed out by a wild-haired preacher from Galilee?” asked Caiaphas, intent on summoning a servant to make a fuss about not keeping the temple floors clean.
Baruch Zion frowned darkly. He always thought Caiaphas had gone much too high in the Temple hierarchy, he never seemed take any of these wandering meddlers seriously, even the Baptist named John who had dared to call the queen a whore. Again looking to Caiaphas, he insisted, “The Nazarene is causing trouble, if this keeps up the procurator will send soldiers to Jerusalem and take away our freedom!”
“What freedom is that, this isn’t Israel anymore, we’re a Roman province for God’s sake,” retorted a cynical Caiaphas, growing impatient with his compatriot.
“The God of our fathers says we’re the chosen – ”
“In time Baruch, in time, read the scroll of Isaiah,” answered Caiaphas stoically, holding up hands as if to fend off more of Baruch’s comments.
“Yes Lord Caiaphas,” replied a defeated Baruch, turning to leave the Temple.
With a kind, pleasant demeanor, and not usually an offensive man, before the end, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem just before Passover with his entourage of disciples and hangers-on. Preaching his controversial religious philosophy along the way to anyone who would listen, on a bright Sunday morning he was ushered in via the East Gate with great fanfare.
Once in town, Jesus was joyously cheered by the citizenry, smiling and waving palm fronds while he rode on the back of an ass, as had been prophesized in the scroll of Zechariah.
That afternoon he gave a replay of his ‘Sermon on the Mount’ before a cheering crowd assembled in the town square.
“You are a king,” declared a smiling Judas Iscariot, pleased at the popularity of the Christ after he finished the sermon, hoping like all devoted sycophants some of the glory would head his way. “Soon you will free Judaea from the heathen Romans!”
“That is not my mission friend, I only speak of the kingdom to come,” retorted Jesus sharply, looking to the very man he knew would betray him to the Pharisees a short time later.
Judas, craving power and earthly glory, turned from Jesus, annoyed at the blunt rebuke given him by his master.
Soon after, Jesus was appalled at the spectacle he observed while visiting the Great Temple, greedy moneychangers and vendors hawking wares in this sacred House of God.
“Woe unto you sinners, you’ve turned my father’s house into a den of thieves!” shouted Jesus. Dumping tables of currency and smashing cages of doves sold as blood sacrifices for the tribal god Yahweh, the metallic clamor of gold, silver, and copper coins made a gentle counterpoint to the wing beats of doves fleeing destroyed cages.
“You’ll pay for this Jesus, I promise you!” shouted a greedy vendor, shaking his fist at the Christ while his valuable birds flew into the heavens. With that statement, he and other well dressed, pious moneychangers left the Temple to complain to the Hebrew authorities.
Thanks to this act, along with others that plainly showed the rampant corruption and hypocrisy of the established, bureaucratic Hebrew faith, Jesus was now a marked man. At the behest of the Pharisees and Sadducee Caiaphas, he was hunted down and arrested for blasphemy by Roman soldiers while praying in the Garden of Gesthemane the following Tuesday evening.
“Good evening my friend,” Jesus greeted as the traitor Judas walked up and kissed him on the cheek.
“So he is the one!” exclaimed a soldier, taking the betrayed Jesus by an arm.
“You bastard!” yelled Simon Peter, raising a sword to Judas and the soldier, Jesus grabbing Peter’s arm with his free hand, attempting to step between the men.
“No Simon, do not do this, for it is written: He who lives by the sword shall also die by the sword,” admonished Jesus with a shake of his head.
After attempting his futile defense of their master, Simon Peter and the remaining disciples scattered in fear of their lives as other soldiers arrived.
Taken into custody, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, Jesus was brought before Sadducee Caiaphas, Hebrew High Priest, and his father-in-law Annas.
After a preliminary examination and lengthy interrogation, the plotting, hateful Caiaphas and his council, in jealous zeal, condemned Jesus to death for the crime of blasphemy. Having no authority to carry out the sentence under Roman law, Jesus was brought before Procurator Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Judaea and Prefect of Jerusalem, to be tried in his praetorium, or court, at an annex adjacent to his Jerusalem residence.
Only residing in cooler Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast during the summer so he could keep a better eye on the troublesome inhabitants of Jerusalem, the procurator had been occupied this day with more important matters, observing slaves packing he and his wife’s belongings for the trip to Caesarea, planned for a little over a week later.
“So Caiaphas, what has this clown supposedly done that’s important enough to drag me from the balneae?” asked Pilate impatiently, interrupted during preparation for his evening bath.
“Jesus of Nazareth has blasphemed Yahweh!” cried Caiaphas, throwing hands forward as if in supplication to the procurator.
“Who or what is that?” demanded Pilate, having heard of Yahweh, but not knowing or caring as to who or what it was.
“Yahweh’s their local tribal god,” explained an advisor, “These Jews believe he’s the king of the universe.”
“Do they,” retorted Pilate, walking over and sitting in his judicial chair, frowning and adjusting his equestrian toga. The procurator was completely disgusted with the fanatical Joseph Caiaphas, a man who had been bothering him with stupid religious problems for several years – the Sadducee occasionally attempting to undermine his lawful authority by complaining to his superiors in Rome when he didn’t find his decisions agreeable.
The procurator, having the dubious honor of presiding over a trial he felt was unmerited and ridiculous, nevertheless questioned Jesus at the insistence of Caiaphas and the other High Priests.
“They say he’s a king,” his ever-present advisor remarked after the opening arguments.
“A king of what?” asked a frowning Pilate, studying the prisoner, who by his appearance would make a most unlikely king of anything.
“I don’t know procurator, why don’t you ask him or the Sadducees?” inquired the advisor while Jesus stood, hands bound behind his back. Bending his head, his unwashed long hair fell forward.
Pilate sat a moment, vividly imagining the blood bath that would likely ensue if Herod Antipas had to deal with the situation, or any other perceived dangers to his throne. Thirty one years earlier his deranged father, Herod the Great, had dealt with an infant who was supposed to take his throne by killing every male child that age in an obscure town called Bethlehem.
Of course, Pilate thought cynically, Rome was no better when it came to the rules and rites of succession, as many patrician senators or plebian tribunes often died, at times in very messy or uncertain ways.
Jesus’ clothes were dirt stained and smelly, not at all usual for the one called Christ. Normally a very fastidious man, he had been locked in a shed housing unwashed clothes from the bloody sacrifices the High Priests preformed every day.
Jesus knew by this very act he was a marked man, for even if Rome released him, he would soon be found dead by a ‘robber’ or stoned to death by a paid mob sent from the jealous and wealthy priests. Ritually as well as physically unclean, it had been made clear to him in the glaringly unsubtle way of the Temple, that regardless of the trial’s outcome, he was a dead man.
“This unkempt clown standing here, what is he, king of a garbage dump, who gives a shit about that?” asked Pilate, pointing to Jesus, a robed, bearded man, relieved by the slovenly appearance of this supposed pretender to the Judaean throne.
“They do for some reason,” replied the advisor, stifling a bored sigh, waving a hand in the direction of the Sadducees.
“What are they going to do for an encore, drag in the king of the lavatorium?” asked Pilate, trying to make sense of the latest claims of the religious fanatic Caiaphas.
“I don’t know sir, these people are the weirdest pack of fools I’ve ever encountered,” replied the advisor, a lawyer named Maxentius Jovanius.
“I suppose I’ll have to question this man, at least for the record,” remarked Pilate, looking to Jesus.
“Your name is please?” asked a polite Pilate in bad Hebrew.
“Jesus of Nazareth,” answered Jesus.
“Are you a king?” asked Pilate in even more atrocious Hebrew, as Jesus’ advocate, or lawyer, Julian Quintellius, stood at his side.
“You say so,” answered Jesus in flawless Latin.
“No, I don’t say so, this idiot Caiaphas does,” replied Pilate in kind, pointing to the Sadducee, while Caiaphas, also fluent in Latin, looked to Pilate angrily.
“In my opinion Caiaphas is no different a man than you,” declared Jesus.
“He’s very different,” retorted an indignant Pilate, “I rule by the will of Roman law, made by the lawful Senate, applied in the name of Emperor Tiberius.”
“All laws are made by men and men are fallible creatures,” observed Jesus stoically.
“I agree with you there, but the supreme laws of Rome are different from those of Judaea, to which they are subordinate,” replied an impressed Pilate, looking to the obviously brilliant but adversarial Jesus with a sympathetic gaze.
“In what fashion are they different sir?” asked a smirking Jesus.
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anon
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 10:52 am:   

1) Learn to put more than 1 sentence per paragraph
2) Show, don't tell
3) Saidisms: Retorted, observed, replied, remarked, explained, demanded, etc. Not a single simple "said"
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Lavie
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 11:15 am:   

"the son of a successful Hebrew carpenter named Joseph and wife Mary, did indeed have an impressive pedigree, his line traceable to Abraham, father of the nation of Israel. Born of the eldest daughter of a rural Levite priest, both his parents were distantly related to the royal house of King David, also known as the lion of Judah."

I get tired of pointing out that, beside a brief line in Josephus, there is no direct historical evidence to the Jesus story. The gospels were all written much later and each official author (remember there were many more gospels, including a Magdalen one, which did not make it into the new tastament) added new material to the story.

Recently a friend's mother phoned me (around Christmas) to ask why I don't celebrate Christmas if Jesus was the "king of the Jews". I was a bit confused by the question - there hadn't been a kingdom in Israel/Judea for some centuries before Jesus's time - but then realised this was because he is said (somewhere in the new testament, I imagine) to be descended from David and the line of kings. It's a neat story - it fits in with the Messianic movements of the time, for one thing - but to call it historical or factual is a bit much. If anything, I quite like the Rastafarian Black Jesus - I keep getting the image of a Jesus with dreadlocks puffing on a big spliff... which would make Amsterdam a place of religious pilgrimage.

Incidentally, there is an interesting Israeli novel by author Gal Amir, called "Laila Adom" (Red Night, 2003) that features a a group of vampires in Israel that includes a 400 year old Orthodox Jew and an Israeli Arab. It was quite well-received from what I understand. There are also some interesting Malaysian horror novels featuring Eastern vampires which are very different to the general European/Christian image of the vampire most common today. I mean - holy water and crosses? As Polanski would have it - "Oy vey, have you got ze wrong vampire!"
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Jonathan
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 04:34 pm:   

Hi Fred,

Y'know, I once read what I thought to be a perceptive take on Tolkien's The Silmarillion. The, alas!, unremembered reviewer, quite simply said, 'Unfortunately, this book reads like a precis'.

Please, do tell me the story of Jesus in pre-Buddist Monestaries in Tibet and Cathay. Take your time and set up the story. What influences did he have on them? And what did they reveal to him? In other words, don't skip interesting elements in your story just to give naritive. More exposition, please!

regards,

Jonathan
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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 04:41 pm:   

Lavie,

Frederick, who's practically putting his life on the line here, said earlier:

"Please, no opinions or admonitions regarding the mythology of religion; I am not a believer of any kind."

And what have you just done? Fred asked for this:

"Constructive critique of storyline, grammar, sentence structure, et cetera are welcomed..."





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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 04:53 pm:   

Jonathan,

You seem to be touching on the -

"Please, no opinions or admonitions regarding the mythology of religion; I am not a believer of any kind."

- point I (and Fred) was making earlier. Read this:

"Constructive critique of storyline, grammar, sentence structure, et cetera are welcomed..."

That's what Fred asking for.

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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 04:55 pm:   

Fred,

I think it's the best and worst thing I've read in a long time.
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kest
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 08:45 pm:   

Dunmore, I think Jonathan's point was more that the much of this reads like a synopsis of a story rather than the story itself. This is its major problem, as such a thing fails to captivate me as a reader.
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 10:44 pm:   

Hello again,

Well, at least I have received responses, some blunt, others inquisitive. That happily proves I’ve caught someone’s attention!
Starting with “anon”, I will respond due to the fact that he/she did give a cogent critique, albeit stilted, tactless and terse. I also note that “anon” had very little to say regarding me calling his/her bluff, but no matter, one must be thick skinned in this business.
Addressing “anon’s” candid observations, my book is mostly dialogue, such should be obvious, and a new paragraph begins when the other person speaks; at least that’s what I was taught in school.
I am certainly “telling” a story, because I feel readers have enough intelligence to create a scene within their own mind. A subjective opinion yes, but my book, regardless of the genre, is not written for children. Minimalism keeps the reader interested, on his feet, and not bored from excessive descriptions, e.g., “Jesus Christ, bruised, bloody and beaten, dressed in a tattered chartreuse cloak wearing his crown of thorns, spat thick, blood laced saliva into the face of a hardened Roman centurion, the angered soldier holding a bronze-handled cat of nine tails, etc, etc.”
At some point it gets completely ridiculous. For example, I’ve perused some of Jean Auel’s “Cave Bear” novels, thanks to my wife’s love of reading. I find myself negatively overwhelmed by her vivid, excessive descriptions of, say, “ - moss growing in the angry cracks of the dark granite boulders, punctuated by drab, gray lichens, the sun-drenched moss a verdant, deep green, like living jade, that danced in the eyes of the awed observers”.
Great Caesar’s ghost, maybe Truman Capote liked that kind of stuff, but I actually find it insulting to the intellect and very tiring to the eyes.
As for the transitive verb “said”, many writers use more descriptive, concise verbiage as is in my story to avoid wordiness. It is much easier to say, “X demanded”, rather than “X said in a demanding voice”. I personally find the word “said” rather boring and terribly overused, especially in a story with a lot of dialogue, and it annoys many other writers as well, e.g., “Hi,” said Jack. “Hi,” said Janet. “I’m heading to the candy store,” said Jack. “So am I,” said Janet. Let’s buy M&Ms,” said Jack. “Sure,” said Janet, ad nauseum.
Tediously boring - nothing to keep the reader’s interest, unless of course they are in the first grade. I won’t hazard a guess as to which level “anon” has attained as of this post, but I’ll venture that he searched the HTML in wordpad for “said” - rather obsessive.
Dark Resurrection is a bit lengthy, as I have much to relate in it. I’ve tried to make it fast paced when compared to many novels; there are serious sections, comedic sections and philosophical sections, interspersed between the mundane existence of vampire Jesus and those he interacts with.
The first draft of Dark Resurrection topped out at 340,000 plus words – totally unpublishable unless you are a latter-day Dostoyevski. Realizing this, I split it into two books, after culling out some 80,000 words, extraneous scenes, et cetera.
For the record, I am certainly aware that the story needs editing and polishing; that’s why I’m here, looking for useful critiques and opinions from other writers. Luckily, I have a good friend who was an English Lit major, he and his wife have been of great assistance in my creating of what I have so far, but other opinions are sorely needed for the book to be a good read.
Enough of that, on to other folks and their remarks.
Lavie: As to the historicity of Jesus Christ, or more properly, Yeshua Ben Yahweh, I don’t think the man ever lived, Flavius Josephus notwithstanding. My words in the story are used to introduce a mythical character that some folks actually believe existed. The Gospels of the New Testament strike me as a composite description of several individuals, written by superstitious people who wished to proselytize their beliefs and worldview to others. Paradoxically, the Pauline Scriptures then go on to negate anything written in the Gospels. Oh yes, in my story, holy water and crosses, along with garlic, don’t bother vampire Jesus in the least.
Jonathan: I’d love to expand on the concepts of Jesus visiting Cathay and India, later in the book are flashbacks alluding to India and a friend Jesus met there, but I did not address China at all. Perhaps if I ever get the first book published I will tend to that in a sequel, otherwise, it will never be written – one must have a stop-loss on any project.
Dunmore: Thank you very much for your posts reiterating my requests – I’m still racking my brain attempting to decipher your cryptic critique. I smile while thinking it may be steganographic. At least you read it, and for that I also thank you.
Kest: The beginning of the story has to be quasi synoptic to create the setting, but thanks for the candid observation. Perhaps you may have a few suggestions? Introducing people like Joseph Caiaphas and Pharisee Annas at the beginning of the book, not to mention giving a voice to Pontius Pilate and Jesus, familiarizes the reader with the central themes of Christian dogma. Later on I contrast the earlier, naive mortal Jesus with the very human vampire Jesus, who at times in the book laments to Mary Magdalene and his father that he was a deluded fool who died for nothing.
The point is, Dark Resurrection is a vampire story, and it takes long enough to get to that once I’ve covered the trial and crucifixion - his return from the grave as one of the undead starting on page 29. Wasting time on more pseudo history in the beginning would keep me from getting to the actual thesis of the yarn – Jesus the Vampire.
I thank all of you for your time and your thoughts, more are wanted – and needed. If anyone wishes, I will post further pages for perusal on request.

Fred

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EditBoy the Astounding
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 12:04 am:   

Fred,

Seriously "said" is invisible to most readers. The many and varied dialogue tags you do reek of amateurism and will be noted as such more or less immediately by any agent, editor, or slushreader who happens to read your work. Your choice of description-free tags like "remarked" simply compound the problem. You work simply will be rejected and returned to you, period, the end.

Further, your excerpt is not at all minimalist. Read some Raymond Carver or, heck, Hemingway, if you want to see minimalism done well. If the material about shamans and China isn't important enough to describe to the reader, then don't bother with it at all. One doesn't have to start a story with the early years of the protagonist. Right now, this reads like an essay about a novel, not a novel.

Finally, as has already been mentioned, Jesus-as-vampire isn't at all 'controversial' as you put it. In fact, the concept is rapidly approaching hackneyed. Huff and puff all you like about how your particular Vampire Jesus is different, but it doesn't matter to publishers. Of course tons of books explore well-worn premises, but they make it to the shelves because they are well-written. Your excerpt absolutely is not.

It's foolish to ask for criticism and then respond to it by saying "Well, I don't like 'said'." Honestly, this material reads like it was written by someone who hasn't read a novel in years.

Forgive the pseudonymous response, but following up your request for criticism with a series of lame excuses about how your poor writing is good writing doesn't exactly paint you as someone who deserves the courtesy of full names.
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Frederick Preston
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 12:34 am:   

I will be courteous to you, nevertheless. At least this dialogue is generating much needed input.

Thank you for the cogent and detailed response, you are the first person who has delivered an actual critique.

Fred
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Lavie
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 04:48 am:   

I was only objecting to the word "historical". Also, the name is "Yehoshua". "Ben Yahweh" is not a name I am familiar with. For one thing, "Yahweh" - one of the names for god in the Hebrew bible (used by one of the four primary writers identified with that book) - is a word one is not supposed to say out loud, and certainly no one would be called the son-of, if you see what I mean. And I only point out these things because, if you are planning on writing a historical novel, knowing the period/history (and correct names) is something of a must...

Anyway, you're right, this isn't helping. You asked for advice about your writing, and I refrained from giving it out of caution. I don't wish to give offence. I would say one thing though - you could do worse than read some of the novels written by the people who have responded to your post - I won't discuss people under pseudonym, but Kage Baker posted under her full name and, frankly, you'd do well to read her books and see how historical/genre fiction can be written. Read Tim Powers. Read.

I think it's great you've sat down and written an entire novel, and I think it's great you have the courage to post here and to take responses calmly and professionally. However, remember there are thousands upon thousands of people writing and completing novels every year, few of which ever get published professionally or at all. I'm reluctant to offer you an in-depth critique (I don't have the time or the inclination, frankly), but you could check out John Jarrold's web site at https://www.sff.net/people/john-jarrold/about.html - he is one of the most experienced editors working in the field, and he offers a professional editing service for a fee.

Good luck!

Note: I am not affiliated with John Jarrold in any way nor will I profit in the unlikely event you decide to use his services. But you won't get the kind of help you need for free. You could also try and join one of the Clarion workshops in the US, which also cost money and which I also have nothing to do with.
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Kathy S.
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 09:35 am:   

Frederick --
If you are looking for a detailed critique, www.critters.org would be a good place. I suspect that you will not get a detailed, thorough response here -- it's a message board, not a workshop.

I will also add that when you receive a critique, it is counterproductive to argue with that person. While you may disagree with what they said, they DID take time to read through your piece and type their opinion. Saying, "No, you're wrong to feel that way" is just pointless. Keep in mind, these are reactions of potential readers. Even a critique you disagree with deserves a 'thank-you'.
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JV
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 09:53 am:   

Fred--EditBoy put it perhaps overly bluntly, but is correct.

The point about "said" is that you need to make your dialogue carry the emotional weight of what's being said. If you can't through the context and content of the dialogue convey the emotion behind it, then using dialogue tags like "demanded" just becomes evidence of failure to do good dialogue.

We do need some description because characters are only as believable as their settings, and vice versa.

JeffV
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JV
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 09:56 am:   

Re Kathy S's point, just to make a more subtle distinction. It's pointless to argue. It's not pointless to ask further questions, because sometimes critiquers are confused as to *why* they responded negatively to something. It's important to get to the core of *why*, and so follow up questioning is fine, so long as it's not passive-aggressive. :-)

JeffV
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kest
Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 07:49 pm:   

"The beginning of the story has to be quasi synoptic to create the setting"

Well, no, really it doesn't. A frequently given piece of advice to early stage writers, given here again: if the 'meat' of your story doesn't begin until page 29, cut everything before page 29. Necessary background can always be worked in in other ways. In addition, it might help to identify the point of view the story is being told from, and ask yourself why and if that point of view is the best one.

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