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Oakwood Valley CyberSoap Episode 1 by Rich Taneri

May 4, 2010

Well, my reading of the book I had hoped to bring you this week has been slow–both the book and I share blame. And so realizing that it was Tuesday AGAIN and I owed you a rec, I hopped (Edit: originally typed “hoped” which I’m sure was a Freudian slip) over to Smashwords to grab up something quick.

What I found was the Oakwood Valley CyberSoap. As a recovering soap addict (daytime drama free since 2003), of course I was drawn to the idea of this serial. It claims possess proper soap-operatic themes and elements in a format for readers.

I read the first episode, which comes in at just over 2K words. Yes, I believe this endeavor will deliver as promised. A number of characters are introduced as are possible relationships and possible problems, and the episode ends with a proper soapy bang. But the question is: does it deliver well?

I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t impressed with the writing. There were a few grammatical errors, but overall use of the English language was very competent. It was more the voice that was problematic. The whole thing is written in the present tense from the third person omniscient perspective complete with the occasional little did he know… type references. It feels very immature, as though written by a young adult who has a competent grasp on grammar and mechanics, but needs to work on the prose. (There were even some random questions at the end such as one would find at the end of a textbook section.)

I’m giving Episode 1 of the Oakwood Valley CyberSoap one and a half cookies out of a possible four. I like the concept, and I think the author deserves credit for coming up with the world of characters and multiple plotlines and getting it out there. I wish the writing were more mature and that I could continue to see if the stories develop well. I predict a fair number of cliches, but would hope for some surprises. Unfortunately, the current level of the writing is probably going to keep me from moving forward with the series, but if you’re the sort with more tolerance and a love for soap, you might find it intriguing. I believe there are 10 episodes available for free at Smashwords for download or online reading at the time of this writing. You can find Episode 1 here.


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