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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Raining Fire

   
Author Topic: Raining Fire
easterabbit
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I am just looking for comments on the intro. Thanks.


I spun across the dusty courtyard onto my knee, extended my right arm and fired a cluster of mini-flechettes at the target robot's head. The 'bot collapsed as its control centres disintegrated in a cloud of shattered semi-conductors and dura-plas. Easy.
"Well done," Jackson chuckled as he walked up behind me. "Nice shot." He ruffled my hair with one of his huge hands.
"Is Father coming today?" I slid the magazine out of the pistol and emptied the chamber as I stood.
"No." Jackson walked past and crouched near the fallen bot. He prodded it with a finger. "Oh, he won't be coming anymore."
I nodded, my heart suddenly pounding. "How long until I am full-grown?"
Jackson lifted a hand to shield the sun from his eyes and grinned. "Twelve days."


Revised:

I rolled across the dusty courtyard onto my knee, snapped my right arm straight, and fired a cluster of mini-flechettes at the target robot. The bot collapsed as its head disintegrated into a cloud of shattered semi-conductors and dura-plas. Easy.
"Well done, Alexi," Jackson chuckled as he walked up behind me. "Nice shot." He ruffled my hair with one of his huge hands.
"Is Father coming today?" I slid the magazine out of the pistol and emptied the chamber as I stood.
"No." Jackson walked past and crouched near the fallen bot. He prodded it with a finger. "Oh, he won't be coming anymore."
I nodded, my heart suddenly pounding. "How long until I am full-grown?"
Jackson lifted a hand to shield the sun from his eyes and grinned. "Two hundred and sixteen hours."

[ February 03, 2013, 04:38 AM: Message edited by: easterabbit ]

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RyanB
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I like it. I'm a little confused by the spinning "across" the courtyard. And do you mean a cluster "of" mini-flechettes?

I would like to seen another clue about how old/tall the MC is, maybe in relation to Jackson.

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mayflower988
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I agree with RyanB about the spinning part. When you say "I spun...onto my knee", I picture someone doing a sort of pirouette and then suddenly dropping to one knee. Do you mean that this person rolled onto their knee? That makes more sense in my mind. I think people in action movies do that pretty often.

Also, is this person male or female? What's his/her name? Are they using a weapon or do they have the weapon built into them, like Iron Man? What are mini-flechettes? What is dura-plas?

Did you mean to say "Jackson walked past me"?

Overall, this is a really great intro. It makes me want to read more. I love how the MC has twelve days until he/she is full-grown. It makes me wonder why there's such a specific moment when MC is full-grown. I'd love to continue and find out why his/her father isn't coming anymore and what he/she is being trained for. So good job! You definitely hooked me. :)

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easterabbit
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Thanks for the comments. A revised version is below the original.
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Bruce King
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I like action openings, but I felt like there were too many story questions for the first 13 lines. Maybe just stick with the Father line of dialogue or show some reason why he suddenly ask "How long until I'm fully grown?"

Nice prose. I like the "first person" descriptions of what is going on. I felt the protag's heart pounding and saw Jackson shielding his eyes from the sun.

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axeminister
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I'm blinded by simultaneity.

Here's a link, it's a blog, but it's pretty good, outlining briefly why simultaneity may not be the best choice for your prose.

I believe you to be a writing scholar, so I trust you'll read and decide for yourself.

Personally, I believe simultaneity should be avoided 99% of the time.

See what you think:

http://www.lafreeland.com/2012/12/11/the-problem-with-simultaneity/

Axe

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easterabbit
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Yeah, didn't spot that I'd done that a few times--something I normally eradicate.

Don't need the link!

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babooher
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With simultaneity, like most things, moderation is key. Most of what I'd call simultaneity in your second draft could be tightened by creating a more ordered approach. For some reason, the bot's head disintegrating and then the bot collapsing makes more sense to me. I think the simultaneity might allow you to avoid some awkward phrasing or pronoun-antecedent confusion, but is it worth it?

Having said that, I think people walk and talk all the time. I wouldn't worry about the simultaneity there.

For some reason, the interjection "Oh," bothers me because I can't decide how he says it. I can hear it in more than one tone, and some of them feel off to me, like he's being flippant. The omission of "oh," for me, fixes this. I'm sure this is purely subjective. It just seem confusing for no benefit.

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axeminister
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quote:
Originally posted by easterabbit:
--something I normally eradicate.

I figured as much.
Maybe others will appreciate having it pointed out. I didn't know about it for the first 7 years of my steady writing. [Smile]

Axe

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skadder
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Not having complete a piece of writing in the last year would explain why i didn't spot that.

[ February 08, 2013, 05:33 PM: Message edited by: skadder ]

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Grumpy old guy
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I found nothing wrong with the simultaneity, I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can also 'see' the bot collapsing and, as it does, its head suddenly exploding.

I read the post on the blog and it does nothing for me. However, it would add veritas if the blogger checked her own grammar and spelling before 'publishing'.

Phil.

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axeminister
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Phil,
The blog wasn't about grammar.

Stop being so grumpy. [Wink]

Axe

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extrinsic
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Blogs do tend to be informally, casually constructed, not as loosely as texts and tweets though. Myself, "veritas" or writer credibility in the sense of ethos can be harmed if a writer thinks grammar and spelling are unimportant and readers' mechanical style sensibilities don't matter enough to care.
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axeminister
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Extrinsic, you're willing to forgo a potentially important writing message if there's typos in the delivery?

The message is the message, right?

Maybe it doesn't mean as much to Grumpy as it does to me, but it speaks to me as a "writer wishing to improve."

Incidentally, I didn't even notice the typos.

Hence, I was reading for content because it was speaking to me, Grumpy wasn't connecting with the message, so he was more likely to notice the typos. (Just a theory, anyway.)

Axe

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extrinsic
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Persuasive discourse involves both method and message. Artful method persuades easier than artful message. Faulty method blunts message, at least from an accumulation of minor nondiscretionary mechanical style speed bumps. Though method and message are distinguishable, they are inseparable.

Though the essay's topic is "simultaneity," concurrence or concurrent actions in my lexicon, a parallel point is clarity in order to facilitate reading ease and comprehension. An essay spattered with mechanical style speed bumps blunts clarity.

Improving mechanical style skills go hand in hand with improving voice and craft and audience appeal skills for writers on the poet's journey.

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SR Dev
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Here's a thought:

I rolled across the dusty courtyard onto my knee, snapped my right arm straight, and fired a cluster of mini-flechettes. The target bot collapsed, its head disintegrating into a cloud of shattered semi-conductors and dura-plas.

"Well done, Alexi," Jackson chuckled as he walked up behind me. "Nice shot." He ruffled my hair with one of his huge hands.

((this character feels a little boring, cliche thing to say at this juncture and it doesn't really draw me in. tbh))

But other than that I liked it.

IDK if my points are valid, take them with a salt mine.

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JSchuler
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Aside from the simultaneity issue, the "No... Oh" sequence after Alexi asks about his father seems off. I don't become interested in the question until it's answered with "He won't be coming around anymore," so I'd just move that to the start of the paragraph.

Otherwise, I like it.

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