This is topic Waking the Giant-- was 532 Herculina in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by pidream (Member # 9544) on :
I am looking for readers. It is about 6000 words-- more than willing to swap stories.
"Ask them again, okay," Yumi said, spinning in lazy circles in the center of the main cabin. "Why- are we- going?"
"I did, and you already know why- because they told us to," I said, trying to keep my eyes locked on hers. She did this when she was pissed at me because it made me queasy. "Run silent, run dark, and wait for instructions."
"Sean, you're too reliable." She spread her arms until her fingertips brushed the cabin's walls, and stopped spinning. She floated there shaking her head, and then rolled her eyes. "We're prospectors not spies- tell me you're not curious?"
"I am, but they are paying me not to be," I said, nudging the wall with the stumps of my legs and floating passed her. "Yumi for once just leave it alone."

[ October 06, 2014, 01:31 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]
Posted by wetwilly (Member # 1818) on :
I'll read. I'll take a rain check on the swap. Send it over. Fair warning: it may take me a week or two to get it back to you.
Posted by pidream (Member # 9544) on :
On its way and thanks.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
By the way, before Ms. Dalton Woodbury edits for length, thirteen lines runs to 'leave it alone.'"

Control orders prospectors nearest by an unnamed-why, espionage-worthy phenomenon to travel there.

The premise is a routine interrupted, minor problems posed, wants more or less expressed--practical features for narrative starts. Emotional equilibrium remains balanced, though, perhaps emotional upset is more important than the former dramatic features.

Dialogue used to summarize and explain--tell--dramatic circumstances blunts the emotional contexture provided by the opinions clash between Sean and Yumi. They argue more or less dispassionately and settle their differences more or less amicably without a trace the dispute remains unsettled, mostly to tell the details of the dramatic complication.

The dramatic conflict, say life or death, is implied though not perhaps as accessible as might be desirable.

This opening fragment is largely a tell. Show imitates a scene and its pivotal events' perceived reality sensations. Sean does see Yumi's movements and body-language expressions, does hear spoken discourse, does express reactions and thoughts to sensory stimuli overall; however, overall, the dramatic action is lackluster from the primary purpose being telling the situation's circumstances. A best-practice show method emphasizes dramatic action over overt (superficial) narrative purposes and functions.

For example, say Sean's personal agenda is mission extension so that a personal want is satisfied. Sean is an amputee. He may want to avoid weight-bearing as long as possible, stay out in zero gravity rather than return to a gravity well. He need not be conscious of that desire, or any other covert desire, he need only show readers he personally wants something. Yumi might consciously know, though her sensitivity toward Sean's disability keeps her from direct expression of it. Both avoid the topic. Through their avoidance of the topic, they signal it so that readers are in the know.

This is dramatic irony: readers know or at least strongly suspect, though characters do not fully or at all know. Dramatic irony's main function is to clue readers in so that they become emotionally involved and curious about events, settings, characters, and dramatic action; in other words, tension development, which is a reader effect. Tension develops most from what readers know beforehand and throughout a narrative, prior to highly dramatic events.

This scene is not especially dramatic as is.

Grammar considerations:

Use of a hyphen as a dash is confusing. A hyphen's meaning is "and" as opposed to a slash's meaning "or."

"Why- are we- going?" //"Why -- and -- are we -- and -- going?"//

A dash signals an interruption, either by another speaker, the self, or as an abrupt change in thought or speech direction. A dash for Standard Manuscript Format uses two or three hyphens and is either bracketed with word spaces or closed up: //"Why--are we --- going?" for examples. Or the em dash may be used for SMF, dependent upon submission guidelines, or for online forum posts: //"Why—are we — going?"//

In any case, ellipsis points are used to signal broken, faltering, halting, tentative, or hesitant speech or thought, which is the case here: //"Why . . . are we . . . going?"// However, numerous special punctuation signals imply a speaker or thinker is a gibbering, uncertain, rude, conflicted, etc., character and, by extension, a writer. A best practice is to use words wherever artful, and only use basic punctuation. ( , . ? ; : ) though judicious and timely emphasis use of other punctuation marks. ( — . . . ! [] () { * etc.) For example, as in this case, the emphasis intent is to show on-the-fly impovised speech, or thought: a stream-of-consciouness method.

For example: //"Why? Why are we going? Why then, for all that's sacred, Sean, are we going to blessed 532 Herculina?//

Consider revision of any -ing word for tense coordination.

"Yumi said, _spinning_" "said" is simple past; "spinning" is a present participle, present progressive tense. The two actions, speech and body movement are a serial and sequential list. Their verb tenses as a best practice should be coordinated. Not to mention -ing ring rhyme annoyance accumulates the more -ing words are used.

"spinning _in_ lazy circles _in_ the center _of_ the main cabin." Three prepositions used in close sequence. Consider revision. //spun lazy circles mid main cabin.//

Or consider an action tag to attribute the speech instead of the long said-tag and appositive phrase. //Yumi spun lazy circles mid main cabin. "Ask Control again," she said. "Okay? "Why? Why all that's sacred, Sean, are we going to dead-blessed 532 Herculina?"//

"I said, trying to keep my eyes locked on hers. She _did this_ when she was pissed at me because it made me queasy."

Did what? Subject antecedent for pronoun "this" is "her eyes." The intended subject is spun lazy circles, though disconnected subject-pronoun correlation. Misplaced sentence, "She did this when she was pissed at me because it made me queasy."

"I did, and you already know why- because they told us to,"

Adverb "already" use, adverbs generally signal emphasis, empty emphasis in this case. Another emotionally stronger adverb is warranted, either additional or instead of "already." //"I did already, twice. You dad-blame know why"//

"why-" a dash is warranted, though a colon is more suitable and warranted, for a signal the content follows. A prose colon more or less means "as follows."

"Sean, you're too _reliable_." What does that mean? Predictable? Likely. Diction issue.

"_and then_ rolled her eyes" conjunction tautology. One or the other conjunction warranted. Neither is necessary though.

//She floated there, shook her head, rolled her eyes.//

And second use of eyes for nonverbal expression. Judicious use of "eye" expressions warrants variety and additional contexture for their emotional signals.

"and floating _passed_ her" homonym fault. Adverb "past" warranted, not verb "passed."

The prospects of prospectors repurposed as spies holds promise for an interesting and entertaining drama. That stands out to me as a strength of this opening. However, the events and charaters are in little, if any, dramatic movement. The significant event for me is orders to reposition so that Sean and Yumi are shocked. The scene opens after they receive the order, though. Perhaps the scene starts later in time, or earlier, than ideal.

[ October 05, 2014, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by pidream (Member # 9544) on :
Thanks Entrinsic, always an in depth critique.
Posted by Lamberguesa (Member # 10320) on :
I like the interaction between the two characters though I'm a little unclear about what is happening in the scene. At first I thought the cabin was the out in the woods variety. The character's movements sound as if they are in space in a zero-g environment but there doesn't seem to be enough description otherwise to confirm this. I'd like to know who "they" are, but perhaps not necessary yet, or maybe there's a reason you wish to withhold this from the reader. The narrator having stumps for legs leads me to believe he has some sort of handicap, both a jarring and interesting detail. It's clear there is a conflict, sounds like this is something that has happened before with these two and the other "they," but at the outset I'm not sure what they are required to do. Spying of some sort? On who? Maybe the reader is left in the dark because the characters are also in the dark. All in all, a good start, just wish I had a better idea of where they were and some more info on the plot the main characters are entangled in or more about the characters themselves.
Posted by wetwilly (Member # 1818) on :
Just finished reading/critting, and sent you my crit. Just wanted to drop a line on the forum to say this is a good story, man. Well worth the read.
Posted by pidream (Member # 9544) on :
That was very kind of you and the Crit was much appreciated.

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