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 » Abandonment Issues, 850 words, sf

   
Author Topic: Abandonment Issues, 850 words, sf
jcavonpark
Member
Member # 9508

 - posted      Profile for jcavonpark   Email jcavonpark         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Julia found the park without a problem.

It had been a while since she had seen her old family. Years, in fact. What would she say to them? To her sisters, her mother. Would she tell them about her new husband, or about the baby girl they had together?

Would they let her keep them?

Talking about it was a risk, but maybe they would understand. They had loved her once. It wasn’t impossible to think that such a thing might still be true.


Revised:

quote:
Getting marooned on a planet like Earth wasn’t such a bad thing.

After twelve years, Julia had accepted that she wouldn’t see her family or her home ever again. Traitors, after all, didn’t get second chances. Then she got the letter, a message with instructions for a meeting. Her out of town relatives were back and they wanted to have a word.

The park wasn’t far, just a few blocks away from her apartment. She arrived just before dusk, still early, and she waited.



Any thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks in advance, guys and gals!


[This message has been edited by jcavonpark (edited May 30, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by jcavonpark (edited May 30, 2011).]


Posts: 86 | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
EVOC
Member
Member # 9381

 - posted      Profile for EVOC   Email EVOC         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It is pretty good. I would read more, so I am hooked.

quote:
It had been a while since she had seen her old family. Years, in fact.

I felt conflicted with this line because "a while" seems to contrast with "years" It could be just me but I think "a while" doesn't give it the feel of being a long time. Perhaps replacing awhile with "so long".

quote:
Would they let her keep them?

I like this sentence. I like how it is a stand alone sentence. It really punctuates the point and makes me wonder why they wouldn't and why they have a say.


Posts: 725 | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jcavonpark
Member
Member # 9508

 - posted      Profile for jcavonpark   Email jcavonpark         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks EVOC, that's an easy fix. I'll get straight to it.
Posts: 86 | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My thoughts are confusion. I haven't made the connection between the park and Julia's family and do not know what or who won't let keep...the baby? Memories?

Good luck with it


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jcavonpark
Member
Member # 9508

 - posted      Profile for jcavonpark   Email jcavonpark         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
She's going to meet her family in the park. She hasn't seen them in long time so she doesn't know what to expect. What's confusing about it? If you can go a little more in-depth that would be helpful, or maybe advice on how to fix whatever you don't understand.
Posts: 86 | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
If you can go a little more in-depth that would be helpful, or maybe advice on how to fix whatever you don't understand

I will do my best. Let’s start with the opening sentence.
quote:
Julia found the park without a problem.

I could get nit-picky and claim this could be interpreted as if Julia is a maintenance worker inspecting the grounds but it wasn’t hard figuring out that she was looking for the place. The problem I have is you emphasized park, as if it had a great importance to the story. When you lead off with a sentence like this, the noun should be the focus of your opening. Imagine if you led your opening with a different noun.

Julia found the haunted house without a problem.

or

Julia found the machine gun without a problem.

…and continued on like you did. You’d be thinking what was the point of mentioning the machine gun if she ignores it?
You either need to build on the noun, or nix the line if it isn’t important. What’s the attraction of the park? Does it link to her past?

Julia found the park without a problem. It had changed so much since the days when she used to play on its grounds so many years ago. The swings were gone except for a lone faded plastic seat whose chains were wrapped around the top of the bar. The sidewalk was cracked and broken and the hopscotch pattern had long faded away…

Is it just an ominous location? If so build on it…

Julia found the park without a problem and was relieved to see it was empty. She needed the extra time to steel herself for the reunion with her family.

Neither are well written but hopefully you can see why building on that noun is crucial. Ignoring it was distracting in itself but the next paragraph did not help me.

quote:
It had been a while since she had seen her old family. Years, in fact. What would she say to them? To her sisters, her mother. Would she tell them about her new husband, or about the baby girl they had together?

A can-of-worms info dump thrown into our lap all at once. It’s like being on a bus and the stranger who sits next to you suddenly opens up his entire life story to you. You would likely think why should I care? And why should I at this point? Build that first sentence into a full paragraph with a reason why we should care about her past and this might work. A better idea is wait until deeper into the story and play off another character (like a relative), and let this info work its way out in a conversation or inner dialog. If done correctly, it will read a lot smoother.
quote:
Would they let her keep them?

Major confusion. Who is ‘they’ and what is ‘them’? This could be interpreted a handful of ways with the info you’ve given us and an infinite number of ways if you're keeping something from us, like I am suspecting you are. If it is the later, forget it. Withholding information in attempt to pique your reader’s interest so they’ll want to unravel your encrypted prose is no hook at all.

As a guy who has read and reviewed a hundred published flash pieces, not one, pro and semi-pro, have opened a story as vague as what you have here. Sure I’ve been confused by more than a few but at least those were able to draw me in.

Draw out the information and make your story and protagonist more active. If you need to add a few words, do so. You have a 150 word cushion if you intend to keep this a flash.

Good luck and I hope this helps!


[This message has been edited by snapper (edited May 29, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited May 30, 2011).]


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jcavonpark
Member
Member # 9508

 - posted      Profile for jcavonpark   Email jcavonpark         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks Snapper. That was a little more than I expected.

Here's the revision. I took what you said into consideration, along with some other feedback I've received.

quote:
Getting marooned on a planet like Earth wasn’t such a bad thing.

After twelve years, Julia had accepted that she probably wouldn’t see her family or her home ever again. Traitors, after all, didn’t get second chances. At least that’s what the old laws said.

But then she got the letter. A message with instructions for a meeting. Her out of town relatives were back and they wanted to have a word.

The park wasn’t far, just a few blocks away from her apartment. She arrived just before dusk, still early, and she waited.


This is a lot different from the original, but I've had time to work on it, what with the awesome three day weekend. What do you all think? Better? Worse?


Posts: 86 | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Short answer; better. Detailed one to follow...

quote:
Getting marooned on a planet like Earth wasn’t such a bad thing.

Whoa! This sounds like a big item. I get the feeling a 'but' should be following that statement. Not sure if that opening sentence is the right one or not because I lack enough information. With what I have, I am guessing no. As it is, it doesn't quite match what follows. You may need to clarify the importance of the sentence but I will reserve a definite opinion because i suspect the few sentences after this opening provides the clarity.

quote:
After twelve years, Julia had accepted that she probably wouldn’t see her family or her home ever again. Traitors, after all, didn’t get second chances. At least that’s what the old laws said.

consider a bit of trimming to tighten it up.

Julia had accepted she likely wouldn’t see her family or her home ever again. Traitors, after all, didn’t get second chances.

I am indifferent on whether At least that’s what the old laws said should remain or not. I can see the benefit if it stays but the paragraph reads fine without it.


quote:
But then she got the letter. A message with instructions for a meeting.

cut the 'But.' Change period to a comma

quote:
Her out of town relatives were back and they wanted to have a word.

The park wasn’t far, just a few blocks away from her apartment. She arrived just before dusk, still early, and she waited.


This is all good.

This opening almost looks like a whole new story. Hope it sells!


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jcavonpark
Member
Member # 9508

 - posted      Profile for jcavonpark   Email jcavonpark         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, much appreciated. That helped quite a bit, actually.

Also, I've finished the story and I'm looking for readers if anyone's interested in reading it.


Posts: 86 | Registered: May 2011  |  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