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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » untitled SF(6k)

   
Author Topic: untitled SF(6k)
Bent Tree
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Would appreciate some feedback on the intro and a few dedicated readers.


Rook noticed the moon flowers springing up beside the cistern just as he heard the thunder of an approaching transport. Both were bad news.
"Get in the house, Rook!" his brother, Bishop yelled.
Rook hurried inside and sat at the control center so he could watch what happened. Too much to do to prepare for the Moon Tracer invasion. With his parents gone, he just hoped they would be okay. He flipped the camera angle to the perimeter gate of the Freestead. Dust cloud rolled across the horizon as the whining of the speeding transports jets decelerated. Rook was a little relieved to see the UOC emblem on the shuttle as it slowed and stopped near the entrance. His big brother, Bishop approached with his hand on his holstered stunner. Bishop was so

[ July 09, 2012, 07:53 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Eliza C
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Can't offer to read the full, but glad to weigh in on the beginning.
I had a few spots I found slightly confusing - were the flowers actually springing up as Rook watched or had they sprung up?
Rook hurried inside and sat at the control center [so he could watch what happened. Too much to do to prepare for the Moon Tracer invasion. With his parents gone, he just hoped they would be okay.] - this [bit] may best be cut here. It left me wondering control center for what? was he watching, a playback? what is the Moon Tracer invasion and is one approaching transport indicative of this invasion? and the sentence about his parents being gone came off a bit awkward to me, as well as leaving the impression they were just gone, not disappeared as stated later. If he sits at a control center and flips a camera to watch something, then I'm right there with him.
The bit about his parents having disappeared, I think, is stronger on the second mention.
You have a few descriptors in one sentence -- rolled , whining, speeding. I would cut speeding at least.
Also a repetition near the end -- Bishop approached with his hand/ exited the shuttle and approached Bishop
There seems to be plenty of action building, just needs a bit of clarification in spots.
Hope something helps.

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Tiergan
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Not bad, as always you get the setting down quick, no doubt about the si-fi element here. I think the first sentence could be reworked a touch, no suggestions though, I like the idea of the sentence letting us know its bad right off, and figure the story will then explain why.

quote:
Rook was a little relieved to see the UOC emblem on the shuttle as it slowed and stopped near the entrance
Again I am drawing blanks on suggestions, but you might be able to work this in with inner thought, or even even, forgive me I know cheesy, but "thank god, UOC,".... the idea is to show his relief verus tell it, and give us a little more indepth feel to him.

As far as reading, I am swamped this week. Wife away and kids and ponies and dog, and cats and work and etc... are all mine. But if next week will do, feel free to send it my way. If not too long I might even get to it this week.

Good to see you back.

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Denevius
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i'll take a read. send it along whenever.
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babooher
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I'll read.

I do have some questions. Are your moon flowers different than moonflowers? I'm just trying to figure out why they are foreboding and wanted to know if moon flowers are something connected to the Moon Tracer invasion or if it was a typo. In either case, I wish Rook was doing something besides noticing the flowers. Noticing is so passive and weak. If he was jerking them out of the ground or something, that's a bit more active and Rook is still there to hear the coming transport.

What is the antecedent to the pronoun "they" in the line "With his parents gone, he just hoped they would be okay." Is Rook worried about his parents or him and his brother?

When you mention that Bishop is Rook's brother the first time, I felt that the command and subservience implied that Rook was younger. Therefore I thought it was redundant to mention again that Bishop was Rook's older brother. Also, the commas you use in both situations aren't needed.

Finally, what is Bishop approaching at the end, Rook or the ship? It is not clear.

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alliedfive
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I liked the intro and would read on.

A couple things.

1) I'd cut these two sentences:"Too much to do to prepare for the Moon Tracer invasion. With his parents gone, he just hoped they would be okay." and give us this info later. They were distracting and I think the moon flowers and the arrival of the transport are enough to keep us interested. Reading the intro without those two increases the tension and focus of the intro significantly.

2)"his brother, Bishop yelled." felt clunky. I'm not a fan of using a dialogue tag to introduce someone. I think tags should be almost invisible to the reader. Also, you probably don't need both an exclamation point and a "yelled". Just tell us he's the brother when you are describing him farther down.

Edit - I agree with Babooher about the "noticing". Even "spotting" would be better. I seems like he's just standing there noticing things as the intro begins. Give him something to do.

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JoBird
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I've been shying away from this one. Honestly, I feel like it's all over the place. It hints at action, but lingers in a passive state. What type of story is this? If you want to start with action, then try to solidify that choice.

By the way, I will gladly read anything anyone sends me, and give honest feedback to the best of my ability.

quote:
Rook noticed the moon flowers springing up beside the cistern just as he heard the thunder of an approaching transport. Both were bad news.
I feel like I'm supposed to care about moon flowers at some point in this story. The problem is I don't care about them right now, and this opening doesn't do much to make me want to know more. Moon flowers springing up are bad news. Okay. Surely there's a better way to show that, a more entertaining introduction to moon flowers. Maybe the main character's jaw drops when he sees them. Maybe he's cutting them down.

It's a little weird that he sees them just as he hears an approaching transport. Weird, and maybe a touch convenient.

quote:
"Get in the house, Rook!" his brother, Bishop yelled.
This would probably read a little better if you start with Bishop, then move into the dialogue. By starting with Bishop I mean: answer the question of where Bishop is and what he's doing before initiating the dialogue.

So, I suggest that you play with the order of events. Something like:

1. Rook is cutting down moon flowers. Or whatever.
2. The thunder of approaching transports is heard.
3. Bishop is on the front porch.
4. Bishop orders Rook inside.

Note: if you do the Bishop dialogue correct then you don't have to bother telling us that Bishop is older, we'll gather it. You can solidify that later, but early on it's easy enough to rely on an intuitive understanding.

quote:
Rook hurried inside and sat at the control center so he could watch what happened.
Could we get a brief visual? Coffee cup on the control panel? Ideally, something revealing about one of the characters.

Instead of having Rook sit and watch, maybe Rook could switch on a monitor, or do something else a little more active.

quote:
Too much to do to prepare for the Moon Tracer invasion.
The problem with this is it makes your character look lazy. And I don't think that's your intention. What I mean by lazy: there's supposed to be a lot to do, but all we see Rook doing is watching stuff. Why isn't he doing all this stuff that needs doing?

quote:
With his parents gone, he just hoped they would be okay.
Someone else mentioned this, I think.

I'll second it. Who would be okay? His parents? Rook and Bishop?

quote:
He flipped the camera angle to the perimeter gate of the Freestead.
I like this.

quote:
Dust cloud rolled across the horizon as the whining of the speeding transports jets decelerated.
Three things:

1. Either "A dust cloud rolled..." or "Dust clouds rolled..."
2. The sentence would read better if you put "jets" earlier. "...the whining jets of the speeding transports decelerated." It would be even better, in my humble opinion, if you included the word engines. As in, "...whining jet engines..."
3. If you don't reposition the word "jets" then I assume you want a possessive apostrophe in transports. The jets belong to the speeding transports, right? Am I reading that correctly?

quote:
Rook was a little relieved to see the UOC emblem on the shuttle as it slowed and stopped near the entrance.
Wait a second. The thunder of transports is supposed to be bad news. Now he's relieved. Okay, I get it, he was worried that the transports weren't UOC, sure. Still, it lets me know that the thunder of approaching transports isn't always bad. This is too early to mislead me. You briefly built up tension, but then shot it down before it had a chance to do anything.

Now I'm not sure how much I'm going to trust future tension.

quote:
His big brother, Bishop approached with his hand on his holstered stunner. Bishop was so
Just when I think things are okay -- after all, Rook is relieved to see the UOC emblem -- I'm shown Bishop with his hand on his stunner, implying that maybe Rook shouldn't be relieved. The ups and downs of tension here is confusing.

After thirteen lines:

1. I have no idea who Rook is.
2. I have no idea who Bishop is, outside of being Rook's brother.
3. I have no idea what moon flowers are.
4. I have no idea what the UOC is.
5. I have no idea what Moon Tracer is.

I just know that these things exist. But what is my relation to these things? In other words, why do I care about these things? You could say, I suppose, that the hook has to do with the Moon Tracer invasion, but what do the characters intend to do about that? Are they preparing to flee? Are they trying to fight the invasion from Freestead? What motivates the characters?

I understand that these are only thirteen lines, and that everything doesn't have to be answered in that amount of space. But I still feel that this particular set of thirteen lines could be rewritten in a more focused manner.

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