I greatly appreciate all feedback I've received for "Lightning in a Bottle". The vast majority of it has been constructive and helpful. Early on, the feedback I got was almost uniformly positive. However, over the past three or four chapters, it has trended sharply negative. I'd like to address this.
Here are the three most frequent criticisms:
1) The plot is ill-defined and the story is progressing too slowly.
2) There is not enough sex.
3) The protagonist is unlikeable and keeps making the same mistakes over and over.
Let me say up front that I am not making things up on the fly. I know where this story is headed, and already have the entire tale formulated in my mind. There is a point to all this. It's just not yet evident.
Having said that, I do partially agree with point (1), at least based on what I've posted so far. This story has a very slow buildup. But bear in mind that some of the things that are happening now set the stage for things to come later.
As for the second point, well, what you see is what you get. I labelled this story "Some Sex", and I think that's pretty accurate. It's not a stroke story, nor did I set out to write one. If that's what you're looking for, best to look elsewhere.
The third point is closely related to the first. Yes, Pat is screwing up an awful lot - so far. Remember, in his other life, he never really grew up. He'll have to do it this time, and until he figures it out, life will keep biting him in the ass. I don't necessarily ascribe to the viewpoint that only an utter moron could manage to avoid being wildly successful, given a second chance at life with pre-knowledge. Human beings don't always handle sudden empowerment very well. Look at all the stories of lottery winners who squander away their fortunes.
That's not to say that Pat is doomed; it wouldn't make for a very good story if I had him crash and burn. :) But the next ten chapters or so will contain more growing pains. Chapter 15 will go up on Saturday; in it, Pat will make a change in his life that most of you will welcome. But for a while yet, it will be one step forward and one step back, and I will say that things will get worse for Pat before they get better.
Anyway, one word applies here: patience. The plot will reveal itself in time.
Thanks for reading!