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Author Topic: First 13 of a techno thriller
chimpwithpencil
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This is the opening of a novel I just finished the first draft of, and I'm curious to read some reactions. Thank you for taking the time to read.
* * *
Turgenev rested his elbows in the tall, brown grass and propped his chin in his palms. Above the sky was blue and empty except for the dark speck of a distant bird. He sucked in a deep breath of warm air and smiled. In Moscow it would be freezing. Grass tickled his throat and he felt like rolling over and taking a nap. "You see him?"

"Not yet."

"He is stuck at the fence. He does not know how to work the bolt cutters."

Sally grunted and swung the spotting scope north. "He's a scientist. I think he can manage the bolt cutters."

"I doubt it. My father knew a man once, a cyberneticist, who

* * *

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited March 24, 2008).]


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Bent Tree
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quote:
Turgenev rested his elbows in the tall, brown grass and propped his chin in his palms. Above the sky was blue and empty except for the dark speck of a distant bird. He sucked in a deep breath of warm air and smiled. In Moscow it would be freezing[It would be freezing in Moscow]. Grass tickled his throat and he felt like rolling over and taking a nap. "You see him?" Says Who?
"Not yet."

"He is stuck at the fence. He does not know how to work the bolt cutters."

Sally grunted and swung the spotting scope north. "He's a scientist. I think he can manage the bolt cutters."

"I doubt it. My father knew a man once, a cyberneticist, who


I liked this. You should introduce Sally in the first line where she speaks. Dialogue was unclear about who said what. I thought it was good nonetheless.

Welcome to Hatrack. I would offer to read, but I am swamped this week.


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jcc2k4
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I agree with bent tree on introducing sally when she first speaks, but to go against him, i like how you had "In Moscow it would be freezing", just my personal opinion.
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Patrick James
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I'm with Jcc. Bent Tree is right. It is confusing who is speaking. You must make that clearer. However, I like the line 'In Moscow it would be freezing.' Better. It is a battle between passive voice and active.
Also, it seems Turgenev is almost giddy or wistful as the group seems to be doing something dangerous or even criminal. I'm NOT saying that is wrong, Moscow could very well be that bad.
I remember my first day on a new job, we were doing something very dirty and difficult, but I was smiling from ear to ear. The man working with me couldn't figure it out so he inquired as to why I had the damn fool smile plastered to my face. I answered something along the lines of 'Compared to my last job this is easy.'
Anyway, I want to read more just to find out what that dopey cyberneticist did. Oh, yeah, and find out why a russian a woman and a scientist are trying to break into wherever it is they are trying to break into.

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Rhaythe
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quote:
Turgenev rested his elbows in the tall, brown grass and propped his chin in his palms.

A good illustration. Gives the slight hint that whatever he's doing, he's bored already.

quote:
Above the sky was blue and empty except for the dark speck of a distant bird.

Just a personal preference, but maybe rework the way this is phrased? "Above, the blue sky was completely empty except for the dark speck of a vanishing bird." Just a thought.

quote:
He sucked in a deep breath of warm air and smiled. In Moscow it would be freezing.

Very nice lines. Throw in some character history and personality with just two small lines.

quote:
Grass tickled his throat and he felt like rolling over and taking a nap. "You see him?"

Further illustrates the boredom issue. Maybe split the sentance, however, as tickling grass and nap-taking aren't directly related.

quote:
"Not yet."

"He is stuck at the fence. He does not know how to work the bolt cutters."


Personal preference again. Too many "He"s over these sentances. Maybe change some of them for a different pronoun.

quote:
Sally grunted and swung the spotting scope north. "He's a scientist. I think he can manage the bolt cutters."

Needs more sarcasm.


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chimpwithpencil
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Thanks to Bent Tree, jcc2k4, Patrick James and Rhaythe for taking the time to read. I'm beginning to understand how helpful this forum can be.

As you suggested, I need to clarify my speakers. Also, I want to look at my word choice and descriptions, and I appreciate the concrete advice on this.

Overall, I feel pretty good about the opening and I hope other forum members will add their comments as well.

Thanks everyone!


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rickfisher
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Yes, this is interesting. I have one suggestion that no one's made: between "taking a nap." and "You see him?", I think you need a transition, something like: "But now was not a good time."
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smncameron
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Only real problem I had, after Sally's comment that he's a scientist it seems odd that he would reply with "I doubt it" and a story. A story would prove that atleast one other scientist is mechanically inept, but certaintly wouldn't prove it to be the case for all scientists.

I guess this is just my convoluted way of saying, I'd use "Don't be so sure".


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chimpwithpencil
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Thanks to Rick and Cameron for reading and commenting. I will go back and look at the area Rick mentioned and see if I can work in a transition. And I take Cameron's point about Turgenev's reply and the scientist story. English isn't Turgenev's first language, but the reply does sound awkward and I'll try to improve it while retaining the cyberneticist story.

Thank you for the detailed feedback. Because of everyone's help this 13 is shaping up well.


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