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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Radical Behaviorism (15k words)

Author Topic: Radical Behaviorism (15k words)
Member # 2880

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Light Sci-fi novella right at 15,000 words.

I though I might offer myself up to the "Writing Gods" in sacrafice as so many before me have. I am looking for people who would be willing to read the entire story and provode some feed-back. As they say, since this is my first offering here, please DON'T be kind.

Here's the first 2 paragraphs:

Professor Peters sat silently at a heavy wooden desk looking over his upcoming class notes on his tiny laptop computer. He had been a professor at this University for nearly fifteen years, and never once had he kept the same schedule from the previous year. He was always altering the ordering, or timetables, or subjects.

His thin but comfortable chair squeaked softly as he slowly rocked back and forth. The computer was situated neatly on his well-organized desk. Out from the thin black box ran a black round wire connecting to an outlet in the wall and the vast network beyond.



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Member # 2442

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There's no hook to this. So he's a professor, and he's looking over his notes. There's nothing in this that makes me care.

You don't want to waste your opener on exposition describing his room, his desk. Get right to the point and tell us what HAPPENS. Action is what's missing from your first 13.

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Member # 2192

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The writing's ok - but nothing's happening, and there's no reason to believe that anything is ever going to happen.

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Member # 3237

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Shows a little promise of painful over description.

Does the round black cable really matter to the plot? To the Setting? Should we be focused on his computer and the network behind the wall?

...,or,or... not sure you need both 'or's

Try to jump faster into the character or an active story. People are interesting, places are interesting, action is interesting. Clinical description of the laptop: not so interesting.

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Member # 2398

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Ditto. I could see this as an opener for 150,000 words, but with 15,000 you need to have blood on the streets by the second paragraph.

Perhaps one could open with what he's thinking as he types and shuffles his schedule, especially if it involves murdering the dean in some bizarre and unpredictable manner. Or perhaps he could be afraid of some horrible fate if he is seen to appear in the same place at the same time for two consecutive terms.

[This message has been edited by keldon02 (edited October 10, 2005).]

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Member # 2408

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I agree with everyone else so far. These first lines need more action. Also, since your story is a novella, that makes it all the more important to have something interesting going on in the first couple of paragraphs. Generally, I like description, but only as long as it is somehow important to the story. Right here you're just describing a bunch of mundane objects. Why should we care what they look like? Right now we're more interested in what the character is doing or thinking.
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