Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

Tiptoe – vacuous and pretentious, but the writing’s good


I'd like to thank Kit O'Conor for his hard work and commitment to this worthwhile endeavor.



I’m a traditionalist.


When I write, when I facilitate writing workshops, and when I critique I’m looking for the basics - goal, motivation and conflict to establish the story. I like it right near the beginning and associated with a strong, sympathetic protagonist. That let’s me know what the story is about - what the protagonist wants, why they want it, and what’s preventing them from getting it.


I can then decide if the work is worth my time.


I just finished Tiptoe by Kit O’Conor and I have no idea what was going on.

The author’s job is primarily to entertain, secondarily to enlighten – it’s never to frustrate the reader or try to illustrate how clever they are by being purposely vague. Reading a novel is not a test or a quiz show.


Tiptoe has no protagonist so there can be no goal, motivation or conflict. It has no cohesive plot. It does have well defined characters but not one is likable – nobody this reader could care about or get behind.


There’s Roan, a street performer who’s gone crazy because his wife left him (or died or he killed her, I never could figure out which) and now performs as a statue of a knight in full armour in public places. He does other weird stuff as well.


Pepper is a street magician who is Roan’s friend and mentor though what he mentor’s Roan in is never really explained nor is the basis of their friendship.


There’s Milo, a conflicted young man who drinks, takes “Tiptoe” which is some sort of mood altering drug along the lines of Ecstasy, goes to raves and seems dissatisfied with everything including his job at a call centre and his school teacher wife, Ivey.


There’s Ivey, Milo’s wife, an elementary school teacher who’s a victim of every relationship she’s been in including her marriage and now with one of her grade school students.


Carne’s her student, who’s really not a little boy but a grown man in a little boy’s body.


All these characters indulge in random reflections and ridiculous actions that lack relevance and motivation.


Because the transitions between chapters are non-existent in Tiptoe I continually kept scrolling back thinking I maybe missed a couple of pages. Then I thought perhaps O’Conor was writing one of those trendy novels with disparate story lines that finally cleverly converge.


This never happens in Tiptoe. Nothing converges, nothing relates, nothing makes sense.


Writing never trumps story and the foundation of every story are the basics.


If you’re a novelist, especially if you’re a new novelist, present your GMC early and make it intense. You’ll also want to introduce your main character at the same time. If you mess with this formula you’re either a literary genius or you think you’re one.




I received this book free from StoryCartel in exchange for an honest review and as part of my ongoing commitment to review the work of new, self-published authors.