This is the first thirteen of a short story I've just completed about a man who is given the key to the Multiverse. Its pretty rough in its entirety at the mo and I've been having problems with the opening, just wondered if there's a hook here, but any comments are welcome.
In Griff’s opinion the art to being a successful gambler (if ever there was such a thing) was knowing when to quit while you were ahead, or more often than not, quit while you were only down by a little. This was advice he regularly doled out to others but rarely heeded himself. Consequently he stumbled out the Lucky Horse Shoe Casino a little after 4am and stood forlorn and penniless on the tarmac amidst all the other booze-addled punters still braving the Basildon Festival Leisure Park. He tried to remember the last time he’d left the casino with more money than he entered. It seemed he’d couldn’t recall the last time he’d left with anything more than a headache.
Right. So far you've painted the picture of a very ordinary person not doing anything extraordinary. It sounds like there are extraordinary things to add, so you'd be better off adding them.
Posts: 671 | Registered: May 2006
| IP: Logged |
I think that the title is sufficient to indicate that Griff's gambling problems are about to take a "quantum leap", for better or worse. I think that it makes a pretty good hook. The idea has been around, quantum physics and gambling seem naturally connected, but rarely is it the connection made explicit as this.
The opening structure is a little odd, but not terribly so. I would keep reading. You missed a chance to let us see if we could figure out the "hook" just from the title, genre, and first thirteen. But I think that it's there.
I agree that the connection could be picked up on, Survivor, but as you've pointed out before, the idea is less important than the writing. If the writing's not capturing people, then Zoot may still want to look for something hookier.
To your point about the title, the writing here doesn't really seem compelling enough to lay out an idea as strong as _could_ be implied in the title. Instead of being given the "key to the multiverse", which sounds pretty dramatic, he could simply get an early quantum computer that enables him to calculate odds instantly and integrating more factors than usual.
So I still think something more extraordinary would be helpful here. It doesn't have to be a complete understanding of the extraordinary thing, or even the extraordinary thing itself, but at least the promise of something extraordinary would make me get more interested.
You haven't posted the first thirteen. By my count you only have 6 lines. Based on what you have I'd probably keep going for a bit to see how this linked up with the title.
Even still, I think you could probably tighten up on the lines you have. See the examples below although some of them are NITS versus major issues.
I'm not sure the "this was advice . . . " line is necessary because the next paragraph shows that he doesn't heed that advice.
"Consquently" - IMHO doesn't add anything to the line.
The "and stood forlorn . . . Park," doesn't add much for me. The next line "He tried to remember . . " tells me the same information except that other people are still gambling, which I'd assume anyway.
The "It seemed he'd couldn't recall the last time. . " might be better as "He couldn't recall when . . ."
I'd read on.
quote: In Griff’s opinion the art to being a successful gambler
I think that should be " . . .the art of being. . " but I could be wrong. I kept stumbling over the "to." Posts: 1210 | Registered: Feb 2006
| IP: Logged |
OH!!! THAT'S what constitues the "13" line limit. Now I understand!
Actually...I kinda like it. I'd probably prefer to start with the last paragraph as it sets things up quite nicely itself, but the initial paragraphs do set it up nicely (but I think they would also work AFTER the final paragraph). That's more of a stylistic choice, though...
With a change you could drop words like "consequently" and just state that "Graff stumbled out of the..." yadda yadda yadda. I think you can bring the rest of the background information in through that setup just as well as you did in your current post.
I think I read the first two sentences as foreshadowing, now that I think about it. They tell me that Griff is about to encounter a chance to quit while he's only down by "a little", and that he's probably not going to take that chance.
In that context, the exit from the Lucky Horse Shoe established "down by a little" as "forlorn and penniless". Which primes me to expect an opportunity to lose big.
Clearly, not everyone is going to read those lines that way. And I could be reading them wrong.
Zoot I would keep reading, (I do in a way agree with the others that there is nothing out of the ordinary here, having stunbled out of the casino with a lot less than I entered with just last night.) I happen to be in Vegas right now and yesterday I heard a nugget you might like to hear, it may fit, you can have it if it would work...
The Gambler's Prayer: Dear God, please let me break even. I really need the money.
That reminds me of your man.
what really messed with me was using a real casino's name and then telling me it was at this Basildon Festival Leisure Park, I already had Binion's Horse Shoe Casino in my mind's eye it was hard to put it somewhere else.