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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Fool me once...

   
Author Topic: Fool me once...
easterabbit
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I knew he'd come for me, but was surprised by how friendly he was. There was a gentle tap on the door.
"Come in," I said.
The handle twisted with a creak and he strode in. Tall, about six foot something, and slim. He wore a dark suit, a pale t-shirt and an easy smile. He slowly closed the door while he watched me.
I'd been sitting on the ledge of the arch window that dominated the office with it's exquisite view of the harbour--I stood and offered my hand.
"So you've come to kill me?" His hand was icy cold as I gripped it.
The easy smile slipped a little and he raised an eyebrow.
"You're smarter than I thought, Jack. It's what you want, isn't it?"
"If the rumours are true."

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BoldWriter
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Hiya Rabbit.

I'm having a hard time following it. After just the first sentence I was re-reading to make sure I was getting it, and i'm still not sure I do.

A couple things that jumped out at me:

- "about" and "something" are both approximations, they don't seem to fit in the same clause. I find it better when trying to imagine a scene to be as specific as possible. That also sometimes helps me come up with a unique character trait, which can lead to a deeper understanding of your character. That's never bad.

- I don't know who "you" or "he" is until near the end of the passage. It makes me confused instead of curious.

- I've recently heard that Jack is a bit of an overused name. I heard it when I used it. Seems to me like there are lots of good names out there; try to think of one that fits your character.

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JoBird
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quote:
I knew he'd come for me, but was surprised by how friendly he was. There was a gentle tap on the door.
"Come in," I said.
The handle twisted with a creak and he strode in. Tall, about six foot something, and slim. He wore a dark suit, a pale t-shirt and an easy smile. He slowly closed the door while he watched me.

Except for the physical description, I'm not sure that much of the above is necessary.

To me, it seems like it would be better if you started with a description of where the MC is, gave us a physical description of this guy he's talking to, maybe a bit of what the MC is thinking, and then the dialogue.

Also, I think it's generally a good idea to limit yourself to two (maybe three) good things in the way of character description. The reader will tend to fill in the rest. You have five: tall, slim, dark suit, pale t-shirt, easy smile. This will, to my understanding, overwhelm many potential readers, and put them off.

quote:
I'd been sitting on the ledge of the arch window that dominated the office with it's exquisite view of the harbour--I stood and offered my hand.
I like this because it lets us know that he's in an office, it works to ground the scene a little bit. I want to know this as early as possible. Before I thought that the MC was in an apartment -- learning this shifted my view.

quote:
"So you've come to kill me?" His hand was icy cold as I gripped it.
The easy smile slipped a little and he raised an eyebrow.
"You're smarter than I thought, Jack. It's what you want, isn't it?"
"If the rumours are true."

That last line isn't working in my opinion. I assume it's Jack's attempt at a joke in an otherwise awkward situation, but it's falling flat from my perspective, and running the risk of causing confusion if someone takes it literally. (Also, it doesn't feel appropriate considering the oddity of the situation otherwise.)
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wetwilly
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I'm not a fan of openings that withhold important information (such as Jack's identity), especially when the POV character clearly knows the information. I find it confusing to introduce Jack as "he" instead of "Jack." I spend all my time wondering who the heck Jack is instead of following what's happening.
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easterabbit
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This isn't working how I imagined.

Jack is the POV character. This line:


"You're smarter than I thought, Jack. It's what you want, isn't it?"

This is spoken by the un-named guy who walked in through the door to the POV character (Jack). The POV character doesn't know the name of the 'man' who walked through the door, but he knows why he has come.

And, yes, the man has come to kill him. Jack knows this for reasons that are explained shortly. In fact, the explanation is just beginning with the line about 'rumours'.

The apparent casual nature of the interaction versus the gravity of the situation (impending murder) was meant to be the hook.

I'll have to give another look at the dialogue and tags and general descriptions (i.e all of it!).

Thank you!

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wise
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I agree with what the others have said, but would like to add a few comments.

My main concern is with the first line. It feels like it belongs later. Jack doesn't know yet that the man who walks in the door is friendly. If it's a flashback, then you need to establish that. Otherwise, move the first line to a little later.

I also don't like that we don't know if the MC is male or female until the man calls him Jack.

Can you start with the MC sitting on the window ledge and spotting the killer walking down the sidewalk? That would establish the setting and who the MC is before the tap comes at the door.

"Tall, about six foot something, and slim. He wore a dark suit, a pale t-shirt and an easy smile." This description is boring. Give me details that reallly pop and distinguish this guy from everyone else. Either say he's tall or he's about six foot, not both. If he has an easy smile, perhaps you can talk about him walking in with a relaxed air. If you want him to be casual to contrast with the situation, then give me just a little more to show that.

With some rework, I think this could be an interesting beginning. The idea has intrigued me to want to learn more.

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