Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Power Lines

   
Author Topic: Power Lines
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Revised opening down a ways.

My new story for this week. Despite not revealing the Problem, does this catch your interest?


“He’s a human!”
“Well,yes. What did you expect?”
“Something more...more versatile. A little stronger.”
“That requires magic.” The unicorn pawed impatiently at the slate flooring of the alchemist’s laboratory. “You said ‘nothing magic.’ There’s nothing less magical than a human. If you don’t want him –“
”No, no. He’ll have to do.”
The human in question, named Jimpson, was a sturdy young male with well-developed muscles from heaving bales of hay around. Good hay. Which was how the unicorn, named Percival, had come to know him. Jimpson had his hands clasped behind his back as he wandered about the lab peering at the shelves of neatly labeled ingredients and worktables filled with arcane

[This message has been edited by arriki (edited March 19, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by arriki (edited March 20, 2008).]


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
akeenedesign
Member
Member # 7816

 - posted      Profile for akeenedesign   Email akeenedesign         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
-- “That requires magic.” The unicorn pawed impatiently at the slate flooring of the alchemist’s laboratory. --

Whoa... is the unicorn talking? If so, which voice is he?

The dialogue isn't doing it for me; it is way too vague for my taste. The instant I hear the line "He's a human!" I am unable to visualize or hear the 'voice' of the conversation because it could be between computers, animals, or mythological creatures. I'm jarred out of normalcy immediately, and nothing grounds me to the rest of the scene. And then when a unicorn is mentioned, it isn't clear that the unicorn is talking, since it does a horse-like motion.

Once I get away from the dialogue, it becomes more interesting. Jimpson and Percival have a working relationship with each other, somehow, which is fun to think about. I can begin to imagine Percival being like a higher-class, magical creature, with Jimpson as one of his workers. I feel like Jimpson is some kind of 'everyman' from the lower class being considered for something very special and magical.

Even if my assumptions or imagined lines of thought aren't correct, the situation gets me thinking... something that the dialogue didn't do. The only thing the dialogue made me think was "Two faceless creatures are arguing about a magic-less human. I don't know who they are or what they need, so I can't imagine where this might go."

So, I say skip the dialogue and begin with the unicorn and the other faceless voice observing the human.

It might even include inner thoughts of Percival, observing the reaction of the other voice's reaction to Jimpson.

ex: 'Percival could tell she was angry with him for choosing a human for the task. "I know he's weak," Percival said, "but you said 'nothing magic.'"

I hope that's helpful - I'm interested in reading more of what you have, if you want to send it my way.


Posts: 89 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know I am in the minority, but I like how you started this story. I liked how you used faceless individuals with dialog to open. I find the dialog interesting and because of it, I now want to know who they are and what thay are talking about. Here's my take on the rest.


“He’s a human!”
“Well,yes. What did you expect?”
“Something more...more versatile. A little stronger.” maybe a question mark would work better after 'stronger'
“That requires magic.” The unicorn pawed impatiently at the slate flooring of the alchemist’s laboratory. “You said ‘nothing magic.’ There’s nothing less magical than a human. If you don’t want him –“
”No, no. He’ll have to do.”
The human in question, >named Jimpson,< cut this. Introducing his name in dialog would make this stronger was a sturdy young male with well-developed muscles from heaving bales of hay around. Good hay. Which was how >the unicorn, named Percival,< How about; Percival the unicorn had come to know him. Jimpson had his hands clasped behind his back as he wandered about the lab peering at the shelves of neatly labeled ingredients and worktables filled with arcane this passage makes your human seem more sophisticated than an average farm hand


I can honestly say I was hooked despite of the problems i had with it. Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited March 19, 2008).]


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheOnceandFutureMe
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Who's the POV character? You have two people talking, one of them a unicorn (I think), one of them I don't know a thing about, and then you have Jimpson. After 13 lines, I should at least know which of these characters I'll be following around for the remainder of the story.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rickfisher
Member
Member # 1214

 - posted      Profile for rickfisher   Email rickfisher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've come to dislike starting with dialogue more and more over the years. Every time I see it, I like it less. I don't even like it much when the first statement is interesting and immediately followed by who said it. Instead, I want to know something about the first speaker before they open their mouth. I agree that you could profitably cut the first 6 sentences (start with "The unicorn pawed impatiently. . . ." That's where I begin to be interested.

I feel like the POV here is going to belong to the unicorn, but so far it doesn't. Maybe you're writing this in omniscient, for some reason. I'd advise against it, but I'd have to see how it plays out before making that advice very strong. However, if one of these characters IS going to be the POV character, you definitely need to get some internal reaction going a bit earlier.


Posts: 932 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Is this any better?


Magister Third Class Eliasor pursed his lips as the creature riding the unicorn slid off its back and stood up straight.
“He’s a human!” Eliasor exclaimed.
“Well, yes. What did you expect?” said the unicorn.
“Something more...more versatile. A little stronger.”
“That requires magic. You said ‘nothing magic.’ There’s nothing less magical than a human. If you don’t want him –“
”No, no. He’ll have to do.”
The human in question, named Jimpson, was a sturdy young human male with well-developed muscles from heaving bales of hay around. Good hay at that. Which was how the unicorn, named Percival, had come to know him. Jimpson clasped his hands behind his back and wandered over to the shelves of jars filled with mermaid scales and frog warts. He took the one marked "new gold"

[This message has been edited by arriki (edited March 20, 2008).]


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
akeenedesign -- I'll send you a copy next week. Okay? This will be finished by then and I'll be onto a new story. 4 weeks, four stories so far. My goal is 12. Increased production.
Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
akeenedesign
Member
Member # 7816

 - posted      Profile for akeenedesign   Email akeenedesign         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Much better, arriki. I think it could be even better with a tiny hint of characterization for the characters... is Jimpson nervous? Does he understand what they're saying? Is Percival breaking some kind of social code by being so forceful against the Magister?

I'm just tossing out ideas. It'd be nice to know if Percival's character is stubborn by nature, or if he feels scared standing up for his choice of a creature, or how he feels about the Magister. Right now, it's mostly facts with very little feeling.

I'll be ready next week for it. Great improvement. =)


Posts: 89 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I still want to know who the POV character is, and hear it from his perspective. Right now it sounds full omni (I think?), except for the phrase "Good hay at that."
Posts: 785 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
akeenedesign -- story's emailed now.

Anyone else willing to take a look at it?


Posts: 1580 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JustInProse
Member
Member # 7872

 - posted      Profile for JustInProse   Email JustInProse         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Arriki,

I would love to take a look. (I still think this is like doing community service by eating cakes).

It sounds fun and goofy to me almost in a Douglas Adams type of way.

The good kind of goofy :P

Justin Armstrong


Posts: 189 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jon Ruyle
Member
Member # 5943

 - posted      Profile for Jon Ruyle   Email Jon Ruyle         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Arki,
I'll read this if you send it to me.
Jon.

Posts: 101 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2