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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First 13 - for a potential submission

   
Author Topic: First 13 - for a potential submission
tesknota
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Ashe stood in the dark, waiting. The cheers of the crowd drowned out the announcer and cluttered the air with anticipation.

Over the deafening roar, Ashe focused on one voice.

"Here we go, Ashe. If we win, we make it to the final round." Firo’s voice rang clear through the transceiver.

Ashe knew he couldn’t see her, but she nodded anyway. Of course she would win. She had promised Prestige that she would be his opponent in the final round, and she was no liar.

The stadium lights blasted open. Her eyes fought to adjust as quickly as possible, because the one who could see first had the advantage. The bell hadn’t rung yet, but the match had already begun.

“The forest arena. Not too shabby.” Firo sounded relieved. Ashe frowned.

----------------------------------------------------------------

No title yet. I'm mainly concerned about flow and interest. There are some questionable word choices in here, and if they detract attention away from the story I will take them out.

I'm just looking for opinions on these first 13 lines. Any critiques are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

[ March 16, 2013, 11:41 PM: Message edited by: tesknota ]

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heatherhyt
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Some thoughts:

It sort of reminds me of Hunger Games.

I feel like I'm more at an ending than a beginning--I wish I just had a few more concrete/unique details at the beginning to better place me somewhere.

Your details are all pretty much sounds, which is great, because she can't see anything--but when you say she stood in the dark, I didn't know it was completely dark until I read it over a second time.

You mentioned word choice, so I'll say that "cluttered the air with anticipation" sort of detracted attention away from the story--I'm not sure what that means.

"The one could see first"--this doesn't quite make sense to me, I think it's just a typo.

I like Ashe's determination ("she was no liar" is a good line) and also that tension between Firo and Ashe in the last line--he likes the forest arena, she doesn't seem happy. That tension makes me want to keep reading.

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tesknota
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Thanks for your input! Right, that was a typo. I fixed it.

I've never read the Hunger Games (shame on me, I know), but I've watched the movie, so I can see what you mean. But I'll refrain from saying anything else about my story to maintain a purely first-impression outlook on the first 13 lines.

I'll keep all of what you said in mind when I make a revision. =)

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Grumpy old guy
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Sorry, but it really doesn't work for me. The formatting makes it look like a bullet list and I get no sense of place or purpose.

You wrote this:
quote:
Ashe stood in the dark, waiting. The cheers of the crowd drowned out the announcer and cluttered the air with anticipation.

Over the deafening roar, Ashe focused on one voice.

"Here we go, Ashe. If we win, we make it to the final round." Firo’s voice rang clear through the transceiver.

However, I'd write something like this:

Ashe stood in the dark, waiting. The air filled with anticipation and the cheers of the crowd drowning out the announcer. But she wasn't listening to him, she was focused only on the voice coming through her transceiver.

"Here we go, Ashe. If we win, we make it to the final round."

Just my opinion and worth every cent you've paid for it.

Phil.

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extrinsic
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Feels a little like Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games to me too.

I don't see the context and texture setup for the when and where and what, why, and how Ashe or Firo, whomever is the viewpoint character, has for Firo fighting whomever in the preliminary round lead-up to fighting Prestige. Is this a voluntary competition? What does Ashe or Firo have to win or lose from fighting? With names like Firo and Prestige, I'm seeing a World Wrestling Federation scenario, which I don't think is the intention, not with the forest arena fight setting.

Mainly what doesn't work for me, not clear who's the viewpoint character, not sufficiently clear about motivations and stakes, the dramatic complication's want or problem, not comfortable with the standing and waiting and listening (watching) static opening lines' verbs.

Let's examine these static verbs in depth.

"Ashe stood in the dark, waiting."

In order for "stood" to be dynamic and therefore significant, meaning signifying a time context (certainly When and probably Where), "stood" as a past tense verb, albeit the immediate past moment of fiction's immediately present moment, would have to describe a completed action. The sentence actually signifies Ashe is standing, has been standing for an undefined amount of time, and will continue to stand until he assumes a different body posture. Those aspects make that use of "stood" static, meaning a still-life portrait of a statue. Now, if Ashe just that moment stood, say stood on a stadium seat, stepped onto a stadium seat, "stood" would be dynamic.

The same goes for "waiting." Most all gerund verbs for their signaling ongoing action are static too. Not that static voice isn't useful at times, but for an opening it doesn't work for me.

In just six words, I had a strong impression of what I was in for. If a screening reader with a deep queue of submissions to vet, I would not have read past that point, less than a glance lasting perhaps a sixth of a second.

[ March 17, 2013, 03:18 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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SASpencer
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I thought it was suspenseful. I especially liked the "lights blasted open," it sounded like the action of the event started.
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pidream
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Ashe stood in the dark, waiting. The cheers of the crowd drowned out the announcer and cluttered the air with anticipation.
1. I would drop the word waiting. Identify the crowd first- The crowd cheers/roars drowning out the announcer with their anticipation.
Over the deafening roar, Ashe focused on one voice.
2. But Ashe only listens to one voice.
"Here we go, Ashe. If we win, we make it to the final round." Firo’s voice rang clear through the transceiver.
3. The dialog is seems too drawn out, for me, and I am not sure why. Maybe- drop the characters name and increase the drama by saying something like- If we win, we make it through. For me this is forces me to ask, myself, through to what? And shorten the rest to maybe- Firo’s voice rang in her ear. We as readers are smart enough, I think, to get she has a transceiver.
Ashe knew he couldn’t see her, but she nodded anyway. Of course she would win. She had promised Prestige that she would be his opponent in the final round, and she was no liar.
4. It’s dark, so we know she can’t see- cut it. The nodding is good. I think you can drop Of course and say something like- Yeah, she’d win. The rest is a bit wordy and could easily lose three or four words and say the same thing. The last liar part is nice.
The stadium lights blasted open. Her eyes fought to adjust as quickly as possible, because the one who could see first had the advantage. The bell hadn’t rung yet, but the match had already begun.
5. This whole section is telling us what is happening and not showing us. This is not a rip but, I got she in a stadium or arena- consider cutting it. And we all know the effects of going from total dark to bright light. You could show this better I think. If this is a martial event as I think and knowing the lights are intended to blind me, I could hold my hand in front of my face and squint and my eyes would not be blasted as you say and adjust faster.
“The forest arena. Not too shabby.” Firo sounded relieved. Ashe frowned.
6. You’re using someone else to tell us what is going on. For me the POV character needs to show it. This is picky, I know, but what kind of forest. I,ve backpacked through dense forest and very little light reaches the ground and through sparse stands of trees at higher elevation where it is very bright. Sorry a stickler for scene logic.
I have to agree with the hunger game theme but then you make me feel she is in holographically generated environment, unless they have stadiums build for every terrain type. With some subtle change I might read on but as is I’m not sure I would. Good luck with it.

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Gregg L
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Reading this, my first impression was the Hunger Games. You have posted that you have seen movie, so maybe this was an influence. If this is not the case then you may wish to start your story in other place to avoid what I and others see as a problem.

"The lighs blasted open." The fist thing I thought in reading that was, how to you open lights? That stopped the flow of what you are showing/telling us. I should not have to stop and think of what the eaction should look like, it should form in my minds as I read the words in a continuious flow of words.

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