This is topic Ink Cloud in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=11;t=004365

Posted by OliverBuckram (Member # 9655) on :
here's a piece partially inspired by the things here at hatrack. possible alternate title, "Ink Cloud of Death" or "New message from Ferenc"

2,100 words, epistolary comic science fiction

Dear Mr. Garza,

By now you should have received the check from my attorneys. I know you were being facetious when you blogged that your consulting rate for advising aspiring writers was $10,000 an hour, but I decided to take you literally.

Please excuse me for being pushy, but I have a proposition. If you decide not to take it, feel free to keep the check as compensation for your time.

My name is Ferenc Zsigmondy. I am a private investor here in Hungary. Don’t bother googling me (I keep a low profile). I can assure you I have the resources for what I propose.

For quite a while now I have followed you on twitter, facebook, etc. I love your novels, especially the first few.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited October 03, 2011).]

Posted by Bent Tree (Member # 7777) on :
Perhaps it is due to the fact that I love letters as a narrative, something about the natural flow of the voice produced from writing a letter, but I really liked this. It served well as a hook and is informative without feeling, "As you know, Bob" The conflict, however seemed mundane at best... although it is but a lure, it still fell a bit flat. I would definitely turn the page but I would be on guard due to fact that I know that I am a sucker for certain things, but my mind is already seeking some more character development, besides the generic, "Private investigator" type. And as mentioned before. I feel the conflict would need to be very original in order for this to not become another hackneyed PI tale.

Best of luck. Feel free to send over the story if you are interested in serious readers.

Posted by snapper (Member # 7299) on :
I agree with BT on this one. It piques my interest enough to keep reading for a little bit but it's a theme that has been covered before. Familiarity may doom it.

Good luck with it.

Posted by OliverBuckram (Member # 9655) on :
Thanks for these comments

Just to clarify the text says "private investor" not investigator. I will replace with "venture capitalist"

Posted by WriteRebekah (Member # 9657) on :
I have to say I like the idea--how many of us have received at least once that infamous Nigerian email??--and turning it on its head a bit is a fun approach. I'd love to see what you do with it.

That said, because the Nigerian email and its ilk ARE already so well-known, I'm not quite able to grasp yet a sense of character that differentiates this parody (I'm assuming it's a parody? apologies if I misread it) from the spam emails. I'd like to see a stronger introduction of the investor's character & motivation, so it's him we're thinking of instead of the emails.

Something that might help here is looking at the logical loopholes. For example, why would a smart investor recognize a claim as a joke but decide to take the joke literally anyway? Perhaps adding a reason would help ("...but your work is so extraordinary, I decided to take you literally in the hopes you would accept").

Similarly, why would a smart investor happily donate $10,000 even if his proposal is rejected? Most of the people of means I know tend to count pennies even more carefully than the rest of us and would expect a full refund.

Those are the sorts of things that remind me of the Nigerian emails' claims of lofty generosity--maybe changing those up might help set your story apart more? Just an idea.

I'm intrigued that you've labeled your story comic science fiction, which tells me you've probably got a few scifi twists up your writing sleeve that might make the story a real hoot. If you're looking for readers, I'd be glad to give it a go if you like.

Posted by OliverBuckram (Member # 9655) on :

I would love to send this to you but dont have your email address. mine is

This is not meant to be spam-like but rather fan-letter-like. clearly i need to work on it. perhaps something like "By now you have received my check for $10,000. I hope it got your attention."


Posted by CED (Member # 9533) on :
It is an interesting opening. The proposition would keep me reading to see what it is. I especially like the part about liking the authors first few stories best. I know that would irk me if I had written several since then. I'd like to take a look at the whole story if you wouldn't mind.

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2