This is topic Dark Matter and Starships in forum Fragments and Feedback for Books at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by NORWEGIAN (Member # 10507) on :
This started as a short story, but I've expanded it into a novel. I'm about 2/3 completed with the first draft. I am looking for readers for anyone interested. Thanks

“How close are you with this dark matter stuff?” Carolyn asked Ingraham. “Is that just a pipe dream, or is dark matter for real?”
“A pipe dream? You mean like opium? I’ve never tried opium. I was always too much a coward. No cocaine either. I was afraid I would like it too much.”
“You’re dodging my question.”
“You’re sounding an awful lot like a reporter.”
“Okay, tell me something about you that has nothing to do with spaceflight.”
“No. You read all about me getting ready for this interview. Tell me about you. How many kids do you have?”
“Kids? No time. And before you ask, the only husband I had died thirty years ago, and I’ve never stopped being busy enough to try
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Two individuals converse.

Pure dialogue from disembodied voices in a vacuum void setting. No setting, character, or emotional-moral charge complication development. At least that this is an interview event is clear.

Maybe a distinction of dark matter and exotic dark matter is indicated. Cosmologists measure and identify knowable normal-space dark matter. Exotic dark matter and energy are still theoretical. Those have something peculiar and unknown about them and their observable as yet nonquantified and nonqualified cosmic influences that perhaps the novel might explore.

However, science fiction is no less about the human condition than other genre and, therefore, the influences fantastic science entails for the human condition. Hugo Gernsbeck's rivets and chrome sensational gadget narratives notwithstood. Wow, pre-Golden Age science fiction reinvented for contemporary expression!? How does that suit these times? Humanity, perhaps, as likewise possessed of an exotic, as yet unquantified, unqualified being? Maybe not dark in the sense of good and evil, exotic dark as in an unknown, perhaps unknowable, though sublimely persuasive nature that influences human existence. Mystic.

[ May 24, 2016, 03:56 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by NORWEGIAN (Member # 10507) on :
I like it. Since my purpose was to evoke enough interest for the reader to keep reading, did I manage to do that?
Posted by Denevius (Member # 9682) on :
I got lost who was speaking mid-way through. It's probably best, when writing dialog, to not have both speakers sound the same if you're going to minimize the amount of dialog tags you employ.

Anywho, I'm interested in exchanging a chapter, or 5000 or so words, with you. Email me if interested.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Though dialogue is among the more engaging of narrative features, pure dialogue soon overwhelms interest from lack of spiced variety. As well, an overabundance of dialogue misses crucial context and texture development that propel story movement and do the reality imitation aspect that immerses readers in the reading spell, that becomes a secondary reality to the alpha reality of everyday life. Context: who, when, where; Texture: what, why, how. Dialogue itself cannot fulfill all those nor reality imitation's criteria.

Fully realized narrative segments include at least description, introspection, action (both physical and dramatic), emotion, sensation, and conversation (dialogue), plus, for dramatic action movement, antagonism, causation, and tension.

A full tool kit, or full Hatrack Utility Belt pouch, of narrative modes is Description, Introspection, Action, Narration, Emotion, Sensation, Summarization, Exposition, Conversation, Recollection, Explanation, and Transition; and Setting, Plot, Idea, Character, Event, and Discourse; and Antagonism, Causation, and Tension: DIANE'S SECRET SPICED ACT.

Of course, that acronym litany is a powerful quantity of features to incorporate in any one segment, though fully realized narratives entail them all in timely, measured, and judicious application. Plus, several other more abstract features, like irony and figurative language.

On the other hand, one method a large number of experienced writers use to develop a narrative is to draft dialogue first, then fill in context and texture that realizes a scene segment's reality imitation. That method prevents a common fiction and creative nonfiction shortfall; that is, a narrative sequence that poses a viewpoint agonist alone, no dramatic contention, no contest, no story movement, only angst and ennui of a stuck-in-the-bathtub navel contemplation narrative. Oh woe is me!

Prose is about personal contests; individual's with which to contest are crucial for story movement, includes internal-to-the-self contestants, though that are part of, caused by, or related to an external-emotional-moral contest.

A first consideration for a dramatic contest is what does a viewpoint agonist personally want that is complicated by a problem.

For the fragment as is, the more complicated agonist is the interviewer. Carolyn wants to know about Ingraham's private life. Ingraham poses the problem of not wanting to share. Share -- a moral contest of one wants openness; one wants to hold back. That's a contest, is antagonism's want and problem complication, not quite a clash or confrontation.

Lifestyle-type correspondent Carolyn wants the nitty-gritty of Ingraham's private life. That the conversation emulates a reporter's usual approach to interviews implies a causation: curious journalism readers want to know.

The tension of the fragment, though present from the antagonism and causation features, is otherwise low. Tension is the emotion engine of narrative: evokes empathy or sympathy and curiosity. Fear and pity, the commoner of emotional clusters used to arose emotion and, therefore curiosity, are stalwarts of the fiction opus. Gernsbeck-era science fiction's emotional cluster is awe and wonder, part and parcel also of the successor era, the Golden Age of science fiction.

One other area that is part of the narrative tool kit's parts is conflict. Label conflict, as many writers do and will, the most necessary part of drama, or contention, confrontation, conflagration, clash, contest, the basis is outcome stakes forces in diametric opposition, success and failure, for example, riches and rags, acceptance and rejection, etc. Motivation (want-problem antagonism and causation), drives stakes that, in turn, drives conflict that, in turn, drives emotion and, ergo, tension.

If the interviewer of the fragment is the central viewpoint of the novel, what does she personally want and why that relates to the dramatic action of the parts and whole novel? If the novel is more of an idea type, and exotic dark matter is the want of concern, what, why, and how does that emotionally matter now, in the real-world present time to readers? Maybe exotic dark matter's discovery and taming lead to humanity's liberation from Mother Earth? Or other?
Posted by NORWEGIAN (Member # 10507) on :
Thanks for the comments. I'm not familiar with "A full tool kit, or full Hatrack Utility Belt pouch, of narrative modes is Description, Introspection, Action, Narration, Emotion, Sensation, Summarization, Exposition, Conversation, Recollection, Explanation, and Transition; and Setting, Plot, Idea, Character, Event, and Discourse; and Antagonism, Causation, and Tension: DIANE'S SECRET SPICED ACT." That's an incredible list for 13 lines.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
For thirteen lines, which of the many to timely, judiciously incorporate is the challenge, right?

The fragment contains conversation, event, and antagonism, a smidgen of character. What others would round out the otherwise flat scene segment? Those that most matter to the dramatic action at the immediate-now moment, that express or imply what the narrative is really about, and such that target-reader emotional curiosity is aroused.
Posted by rabirch (Member # 9832) on :
The dialogue in itself is fine. It's got some characterization, some conflict, all good. However, I really need some bit of setting or character information (or better, both!) to be drawn into a story.

Where are Carolyn and Ingraham? Are they even in the same space? They could be on the telephone, or on a TV soundstage, or in a restaurant, or anywhere, and it makes a difference to how the scene reads and plays out.

I don't need to have a lot. Just something to give some grounding. All dialogue stories *can* work, (see--"They're Made Out of Meat,") but it's very hard, and I'm not sure it could be sustained for the length of a novel.

I expect that there is something beyond dialogue farther ahead, but if I picked this up as a first page, I'd be concerned.

Thanks for sharing and good luck with revisions!

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