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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Egypt Boy

   
Author Topic: Egypt Boy
jeduthun
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"Egypt Boy" is just a working title. This is actually all I have of this story, the first 13 lines. Would love to know where you all think it's going, what ideas jump to mind.
Thanks!

---

“Excuse me sir, could you please teach me ancient Egyptian?” the boy asked. It startled Anders, who nearly knocked over his water glass.
“Where are your parents, young man? This part of the museum is off-limits.”
“But I need you to teach me ancient Egyptian.”
The boy’s eyes were wide, and steady. Anders was bored with his research anyway, and had always hated enforcing rules. “And why, may I ask, do you need to learn ancient Egyptian?”
“So I can talk to them—-to the ancient Egyptians!”
Anders laughed out loud. He suppressed it to a chuckle, and tried to turn it into a cough. He sipped his water.
“I see,” he said.
The boy stomped his foot. “There’s no time! The portal will close soon, and I have to know what to say to them!”


Posts: 41 | Registered: May 2005  | Report this post to a Moderator
Stephen Wolfe
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Okay, you're very good with describing actions, but that's all the description that you have. You jump right into the plot, and although you (perhaps unintentionally) set the scene well - A curator in a museum - there's still so setting that the reader can grasp. Also, explain Ander's though process more, because in on sentance he goes from not having the pateince for this kid, to being completely amused by him.
So more description is what I have to say.

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wbriggs
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My thoughts are:
* I don't care about description. Curator, museum, boy; I know what they are, and don't need to know anything else.
* I can't credit the boy's reaction. He's asking a stranger for help -- demanding it -- and it's a fairly unusual request; he'd have to be WAY spoiled to think he's entitled this way. He'd also have to be pretty strange to think that museum curator would a) know ancient Egyptian and b) be able to teach it to him immediately. It takes a while to learn a language!

But if I could credit the boy's reaction, I would be interested.


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Phanto
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Feels melodramatic and forced.
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cklabyrinth
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I think this could work with maybe a more compelling reason for Anders to teach the kid the language. What I mean by this is, show Anders something other than a kid demanding to learn the language due to some portal the kid describes.

If a kid said that to me, I'd think he was crazy unless there was something to compel me to believe him and teach him the language.

And the whole thing about how you can't really teach someone a language in less than six months to a year or so.. Maybe introduce a learning device or something, since there's already that speculative element.

Unless the kid really is crazy; I don't know the rest of the story..


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Three Minute Egg
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What about opening with the kid asking the curator what a phrase he learned from the ancient Egyptians means? Obviously he is aware of them, perhaps communicated with them or at least maybe overheard it.

Like so:

"Hey mister, what does 'oooga dooga' mean?"

Curator dumps his water, chokes, etc etc.

"Where did you hear that?"

"Some guy back there, dressed up like King Tut."

I think you get the idea.

Like the time my five-year-old asked me what the f-bomb meant, if the phrase were meaningful enough, the curator would react strongly. I sho' did!


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jeduthun
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Thanks, Egg!
"Ooga Dooga"

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Elan
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I agree with the issues around the way the kid asks the question. You've painted him as petulant, and ah hates petulant characters. They are so unrealistic. It takes time to develop a character with a selfish/dark/obsessed personality, and a foot stomping episode makes me roll my eyes and reach for something else to read.... unless it's a five year old that will be promptly bundled off to bed for a nap where all foot-stomping characters belong.
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Jeraliey
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I think this is a great potential story that just needs some percolation. I recommend keeping the story as your own instead of asking for direction from others. It seems like it'll be a fun story; have a good time writing it!
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jeduthun
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Thanks, everyone. I've got plenty to work with now.
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