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Author Topic: Annemarie's Cat - SF - 1,000 Words
Justin
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16 year old Mittens Bertel, a grey-eyed, black, domestic longhair with white paws, was both the luckiest and unluckiest cat in the history of the universe. More accurately, he comprised the unlikely gathering of countless subatomic particles that tended, in unison, to behave in improbable but not impossible ways. Unknown to Mittens, millions of light years away, an exact copy of the cat existed alone on a fulvous, sandy planet otherwise devoid of life. When Mittens, during his customary mid-morning walk, stretched in the spot of sun that fell on the wood-paneled floor somewhere between the old leather couch and the upright grand piano (depending on the time of year) his double, galaxies away, stretched too.
Annemarie, Mittens’ caretaker, before leaving the apartment for a short trip to the country said to her husband,

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Bent Tree
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I am having trouble getting into this. The narrative seems to dense and I have never gotten into the "lucky cat" story, finding it a bit hackneyed, but that would be a reading preference.

You may consider starting with the narrative that was about to begin at the end of this intro, it may anchor a moment of incitement which i felt lacking.

Seeing how a POV character finds the cat remarkable may make for more interesting reading.

just a few thoughts... happy writing

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pidream
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16 year old Mittens Bertel, a grey-eyed, black, domestic longhair with white paws, was both the luckiest and unluckiest cat in the history of the universe.
1.This sentence is longer than it needs to be, for me. The description of mittens IMHO, does not drive the story forward but bogs it down, and could be reduced to something more direct and interesting.
Consider something like- Mittens Bertel, was both the luckiest and unluckiest cat in the history (all) of the universe.
More accurately, he comprised the unlikely gathering of countless subatomic particles that tended, in unison, to behave in improbable but not impossible ways.
2.What you’re describing, is basically all living things. I am not really sure what you’re trying to tell me here. I think you meant to say there was something special about Mittens, but it doesn’t come through that way. Also wordy.
Unknown to Mittens, millions of light years away, an exact copy of the cat existed alone on a fulvous, sandy planet otherwise devoid of life.
3.I had to look up fulvous- never a good thing for a reader. Also again very wordy. Consider beginning the sentence with- What Mittens didn’t know. Instead of- exact copy just say copy. Instead of- of the cat, say Mittens. Consider dropping- otherwise devoid of life because how could cat exist there at all. When you say devoid I am thinking of an airless hunk of rock in space.
When Mittens, during his customary mid-morning walk, stretched in the spot of sun that fell on the wood-paneled floor somewhere between the old leather couch and the upright grand piano (depending on the time of year) his double, galaxies away, stretched too.
4.This sentence is much too long and very wordy. Consider editing down to the bare bones because, for me, you’re giving way too much detail.
Consider as an example- Mittens, during his customary mid-morning walk, stretched in the (a) spot of sun that fell on the wood-paneled floor. Galaxies away, his double, stretched too.
Annemarie, Mittens’ caretaker, before leaving the apartment for a short trip to the country said to her husband,
5.I am seeing a trend here with wordiness. Try reading your story aloud, and see if it flows to you, or if there should be breaks; which most-likely means it may very well be a new sentence.
Consider- Annemarie, Mittens’ caretaker (owner), before leaving the apartment, said to her husband,

To be honest, I would not read on. The wordiness alone would stop me before the end of the 13th line. What you’re trying to say is a little vague, to me, and needs to be cleared up. Good luck with it.

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MattLeo
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Speaking as a humorist myself, you've set yourself a really tough problem here. An opening like this has to charm the reader, and the sentences seem to me to be too long and grammatically complex. They make the reader work hard to get the point.

This is a point I feel is too often neglected: making the story easy to enter.

Here's what I'd suggest. Think about how this story would sound if written by Mark Twain. Here's a example of one of Twain's openings

A Dog's Tale (1904)
quote:
My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am
a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me, I do not know
these nice distinctions myself. To me they are only fine large
words meaning nothing. My mother had a fondness for such;
she liked to say them, and see other dogs look surprised and envious,
as wondering how she got so much education.

I understand this is first person and you're writing in third, but listen to the rhythm of it. Sentences not too long, not too short, not too much the same. No awkwardly positioned subordinate clauses that might send you down the wrong path.

You can easily speak Twain's opening aloud and although the words are plain just saying them makes you *feel* clever. Now try speaking your own opening lines and you'll see that your sentences feel awkward and lead-footed in comparsion. Of course they do! Comparing yourself to Twain as a prose stylist is like comparing yourself to Fred Astaire as a ballroom dancer. But that's worth doing, if you want to get better and your ego can take it.

The scientific terms are a kind of atmospheric hook for your piece. It's quantum cat story, so the opening ought to make us want to open the box. But because the concepts are complex, foreign or abstract, the only place you have left to make entering this story easy are grammar and rhythm.

By the way, please do add paragraph breaks into your sample; they don't count towards your 13 lines.

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Thengel
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I think I would keep reading this, but I was confused about some things. The first sentence hooked me and got me interested in the story. Why is this cat the luckiest and unluckiest at the same time?

The second sentence kicked me out a little with the "subatomic particles" bit.

The third sentence threw me out for a second, and then I realized you were doing omniscient viewpoint. I'd like to know more from the first cat's POV before I jump to the other's.

The fourth sentence explains the concept--and I think the concept is what intrigues me the most. I'm curious to see where you go with this.

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