This is topic Last Cut- formerly Family Bonds Mar. 2014 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 hoping to finish this up very soon and looking for potential readers.
She was a monster and putting her to rest had not been easy. Her hull was pitted and scarred by time and neglect. She’d had her day in the sun— many suns. In the end, like countless others before her, she’d been brought to us, to die. I moved my Cutter into position and released the lasers to do their work of finishing off the Goliath. Only a small section of the ship’s bow remained now, and the job of making the -last cut- had fallen on me. The lasers maneuvered to their hull coordinates, and when all twelve flashed green, I settled in to enjoy the show.
All I needed was for Cutter Boss to give the go-ahead. Last Cut was always an exciting time. It had taken one hundred and sixty-seven days to break the Goliath. That was a long time

[ October 13, 2014, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]
Posted by Denevius (Member # 9682) on :
Starting the opening in the passive tense takes away from initial reader interest. I would think the sentence could benefit from a more active opening line: 'Putting the monster to rest hadn't been easy. Time and neglect scarred her hull.'

I also think the opening goes on too long about destroying a ship I know nothing about. I don't see a narrative dilemma so far, and I can't imagine from what you've given us what a dilemma would be.

I guess the last point is a question of narrative logic. I think the narrator is an alien, so I can't help but wonder why they would know anything about David vs Goliath. The fable isn't particularly important to human development as a whole, and I would guess that even many people today don't know this Judaic Old Testament story. In several hundred years, as I guess when this piece takes place, I'd wonder why the humans who owned this ship would have named it Goliath (who was the protagonist), and why an alien would have heard of it at all when the story's importance to the human civilization in general is fairly negligible.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
On the writing craft front, the stand-out strength of this fragment for me is the somewhat poetic rhetoric of the _Goliath_ backstory. Underscores used there to signal italics, a digital method when italics or underlines to signal italics are unavailable. Italics signals a hull name.

On the craft shortcoming front for me is a lack of urgency development. The agonist physically moves about though nondramatically. Urgency poses as an emotional state subject to disruption. Emotional equilibrium disruption, an interruption, is a first-principle requirement for a narrative's start.

A general read of this fragment left me a lunge at each overt grammar issue, prose grammar more so than SWE grammar. Closer read revealed more grammar issues. At this time, I can only advise consideration of a grammar handbook.

The most comprehensive U.S. Standard Written English grammar handbook is The Little, Brown Handbook, twelfth edition, about $100.00 new. Plus, a recent, comprehensive dictionary, Webster's Collegiate and a dictionary of English usage, Webster's also, another $100 or so together new.

Though their content is dry as stale burnt toast, the expense is considerable, their study tedious, the effort and expense is worth the candle for any ambitious prose writer.

[ October 14, 2014, 09:13 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Lamberguesa (Member # 10320) on :
I can see a beautiful and interesting story emerging from this, but right now there isn't enough to go on. I think you spent too many words talking about chopping up the Goliath, which sounds rather uninteresting so far. Let's get to the story of how the Goliath got there and why we should care.

Also I'm curious as to why you call it the Goliath rather than The Goliath or the goliath, or just Goliath. Is it actually named Goliath or is Goliath more of a descriptive term such as the class of ship? Think of Firefly, the class and Serenity, the name. Never is it called the Serenity. I think it could be called the Firefly. Even so, it would be a rare and specific circumstance.

Also, why is Last Cut capitalized? If it is that significant an event, it would be important for the reader to know why. Not necessarily in the first 13 lines though.
Posted by wetwilly (Member # 1818) on :
My main issue with this is I don't know why the narrator feels so strongly about cutting up this ship when he/She seems to do this for work, and seems to have cut up other ships before? Why is this ship so special?

Also, who is the narrator?

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