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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Enduring Lavender - YA SF

   
Author Topic: Enduring Lavender - YA SF
genevive42
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quote:
Lavender couldn't find her pace. Her feet pounded into the firm soil of the well worn path but her mind was far away from her run. Of course every path on this damn asteroid was well worn. There weren't that many places to go and the felons that found themselves condemned here had no right to complain.

Lavender could complain though. She wasn't sent here, she was born here and she loathed this place.

The cross-country team lagged her by half k. The coach said today was a race that would affect their grade. Lavender looked back. It was more like a slaughter. Wanting to make the run more interesting she made a quick left and the campus gate stood in front of her within a minute. She watched the cameras; then at the precise moment when their scans created a blind spot Lavender...

Thanks for looking. I haven't spent much time in the novel section here. I'm not looking for fine tuning at this point, but an overall impression. Also, I have the opening volley of the novel. It's 6500 words and if anyone is willing to give it a look I would really appreciate it. There are still a couple of production notes in it, but as I said, I'm just looking for general reaction.

Thanks for any and all comments.

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enigmaticuser
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I like it. I'll have to think about why, but I do.

I get a good mental image, it's neat in that it's ordinary (a school race), but out of place (asteroid). The mention of felons implies there's something frontier? Australia like about it? The voice feels close enough to her head, that I don't notice it.

The only things I would point out would be fine tuning. " . . . far away from her run" and "Wanting to make the run more interesting" feel slightly bulky. She's on a run and the writing feels like a run, except for those parts where it feels like zooming out thus slowing down.

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Meredith
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If you're not in a rush, I'll take a look at the opening.
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genevive42
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Thanks Meredith. I just sent it.
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MattLeo
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I like the concept, although there are some scientific issues if it is truly set on an asteroid. The action and setting description precludes any asteroid or dwarf planet in our Solar System.

The largest body that is technically an "asteroid" is Vesta, with a surface gravity 25 thousandths of a g. That means a runner who with 120 lb of mass and another 100 lb of gear would weigh, not 220 lb, but 5.5 lb. It would be nearly impossible to run, and there's not likely to be any loose soil after people have been disturbing it. Ceres, a dwarf planet formerly referred to as an "asteroid" is only a little larger.

The largest object in our Solar System that is neither a planet nor a satellite is Eris, a dwarf planet with gravity considerably less than 1/10 g -- still not quite enough to run on. The Moon is about the smallest planet-like object that might support he described action, although at 1/6 g you'd have to be carrying a substantial weight to make running remotely like Earth running. Even then changing direction would be tough. Suppose your 120 lb runner carried 200 extra pounds of mass, so she weighed about 50 lb. She'd still have the inertia of 320 lb. So I'm guessing this "asteroid" has to be in some solar system other than ours, and is probably a large, airless dwarf planet.

Alternatively, there has to be some kind of planetoid-wide gravity generation -- which might not be a bad idea for a penal colony. An irregular asteroid with a mean radius around 50km would have an escape velocity of around 40 mph. A little league pitcher could throw a baseball into orbit.

In terms of tweaking the writing, I noticed this rhetorical flourish "...the felons that found themselves condemned here had no right to complain" / "Lavender could complain though..."

I find it's often worth rewriting figurative language and rhetorical flourishes more plainly, just to see if plainer language works better. For example, you could simply say, "But Lavender hadn't been sent here; she was born here." It's not necessarily going to be better, but its worth a try.

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genevive42
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MattLeo, you're right, it's not in our solar system. And the asteroid has been minimally terraformed. Thanks for the observations.

As for the fluorish, and I'm not arguing with your point, just presenting another consideration. While I usually write very plainly, I find that a little repetition will sometimes serve to create a nice, subtle emphasis. But this is a first draft, so who knows what will still be there by the time it's finished?

Thanks for your thoughts.

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Grumpy old guy
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genevive42, perhaps to avoid 'disappointing' some purists you could change asteroid to planetesimal, something about the size of Pluto, or even Charon.

Phil.

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genevive42
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That's a good idea GrumpyOG. I'm open to that.
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genevive42
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However, if they were able to set the asteroid to spinning, they could achieve greater gravity. This story is 800-1000 years in the future.
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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by genevive42:
However, if they were able to set the asteroid to spinning, they could achieve greater gravity. This story is 800-1000 years in the future.

I shouldn't think so. Spinning won't affect gravity at all, but it will make things away from the poles feel *lighter* (not heavier) because gravitational acceleration is *offset* by centripetal acceleration.

There are only two ways to achieve *higher* weights on the surface, which is (1) to add a large mass to the center of the asteroid or (2) artificial gravity. Since we have no idea whatsoever about how to achieve AG, it could easily be accommodated in the timeframe you suggest. For all we know it might be invented tomorrow. AG is so essential to so many sci-fi environments that's probably your best bet.

I hate to be a physics nitpicker, but people less kind than I have no such compunction. I understand you want to set this up as a constrained environment -- a prison without walls or need of walls. An entire planet is too much real estate to give the hemmed-in feeling you're probably looking for.

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genevive42
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You're probably right about just using artificial gravity. She's off the asteroid within the first thirty pages anyway and I'll need artificial gravity on the ship, too.

I'm fine with you being nitpicky. Helps me know the things I need to pay attention to.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Spinning something to create the effect of gravity only works (so far as I know) if the effect is being felt INSIDE the spinning object, and the pull is toward the outside.

So you can spin a wheel-shaped object in space and give the effect of gravity to the inside of the wheel rim, but not to the outside of that rim.

The "effect" of gravity occurs because the spinning making things tend to fly off of what is spinning, and the outer rim serves to prevent the flying off, hence, a feeling of force against the inside of the rim.

I hope that makes sense (I tried to avoid technical terms to that end).

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genevive42
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That makes sense, Kathleen. Thanks for the clarification.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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You're welcome, and thanks for letting me know it made sense. [Smile]
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