New first 13, about ten posts down. Please ignore this one. --
Lanville's office was crammed with TV screens. From it he could monitor Waste operations anywhere in town. Leaning back in his chair and swinging his feet onto his desk he started to replay yesterday's incident. The picture came from the camera on top of Hab 37A. It showed reddish-brown scrubland, crumpled by hills, creased with long shadows cast by grey Habs in afternoon sunshine. An empty concrete road undulated over the hills and wound amongst the Habs, connecting them. With his eye on the road as it crested the hill nearest Hab 37A, Lanville fast-forwarded until a Wastie cycled into view, then slowed to normal speed and zoomed in on the Wastie as he rode into the Hab's service yard. "So far so good," he thought.
I've revised the story in the light of valuable crits from Hatrackers and added a new scene at the beginning.
I'd appreciate comments on this new first 13 and any offers to read.
[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited September 17, 2007).]
I miss the girl of the first version...never mind. It might help to give some clue why monitoring waste operations is important; otherwise, the reader might say, "So what? You're monitoring garbage."
From it he could monitor Waste operations anywhere in town, because,...else we'll all die.
Since you've switched from beginning with character development to scene-setting, you might want to tighten the blow-by-blow movement of the Wastie and jump into the story more aggressively.
To invest the reader more, the last line could be inverted. "No criminal activity so far," he thought.
Perhaps Lanville should be given a first name in the first sentence, because Lanville could be interpreted as a company name.
For a moment, this seems to refer to the Wastie instead of the recorder: ..., then slowed to normal speed and ...
I don't know if you want new blood on the second reading, but I'll be glad to read it again.
Hmm I didn't read your first version, so I don't know if this has already been covered but...
I didn't understand what you meant by Hab. I suppose now it meant habitat, but I didn't get it at first, and then you said it five times in four sentences, so it really distracted me from the story. That might just be a personal thing, but you could use some other word for 'Hab', for clarification and to avoid being repetitive (Like dwelling, if I guessed correctly).
Also, what sounds to be the most interesting thing in the story so far is whatever is going to happen on the tape. So why don't you just launch into the exciting part of the tape as the hook of your story, and set up the setting and main character afterwards? It could also make it clear why watching trash is important, as WouldBe pointed out.
If you are looking for fresh blood (*cough perspective), it'd be great to read what you got.
[This message has been edited by just_here42 (edited September 09, 2007).]
I didn't know what a hab was either but then "Wastie" was also lost on me, when one cycled into view I had a brief image of a garbage collector on a bike...
As it is, I much preferred the other first thirteen of this story, this one seems quite distant and uninvolving to me - somebody is watching Waste operations on a tv screen and thinking "so far so good"? No real hook there for me, maybe if you expanded on the "incident" in the first paragraph a little earlier? Just something to speed the story up, give it a bit more urgency.
A hab does indeed mean a habitat, and a garbage collector on a bike is not far from what a Wastie is.
Thanks for your feedback, everyone. I've realized that this is a character-based story and I need to retain the old character-based first 13, complete with the little girl :-)
With this new intro I made the mistake of thinking like an engineer rather than a story-teller. The story needed to deliver certain information to the reader earlier. I've tried to do it with this new introductory scene -- and forgotten to include a hoook!
I'll revert to the old initial scene with the little girl, and revise using this new stuff as back story.
If I may, I'll cash those kind offers to (re)read in a few days after revising back to using the old initial first scene.
Many, many thanks for your comments, and the helpful way they are expressed, Pat
Enjoying relief from the mallís materialism, Steve's audience watched his tricks with rapt attention. Crowd's small today. I'll be lucky to make rent. "What's your name?" he asked a little girl at the front. "Linda." "My last trick is for you, Linda." He held up a sheet of yellow paper. "Itís recycled!" he shouted with a mocking salute to the nearest security camera, drawing a wry laugh from the crowd. Aligning himself so that neither Linda, audience nor cameras could see the sleight-of-hand, he crumpled the paper into a ball and tossed it into the air where it blossomed into a yellow lily which floated down to his waiting hand. He presented it to Linda with a flourish,
New first 13, back to a character focus. Also, MC's name has changed and he's not quite the bum he was in the earlier version.
Thanks for your kind offers to read, it's on its way.
Also, I'd appreciate comments on this new first 13.
A busker? do they call them that where you are, Pat? They used to stroll the waterfront in Windsor, Canada, by the parks. Street performers. I understand San Fransisco has a lot of them too. None in Show Low, unfortunately.
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Well, I'm one of the folk reading it, but I thought I'd give my comment on the first 13 here.
I like the tone and the set up--a story about a magician seems cool. There's no indication of conflict or of where the story is, but that didn't bother me for this thirteen. Or maybe I'm not understanding a few things, because I did have some questions.
Enjoying relief from the mallís materialism,This sentence was odd to me--can a whole crowd all enjoy relief? Who knows this? Who's thinking or observing this? Steve's audience watched his tricks with rapt attention. Crowd's small today. I'll be lucky to make rent. "What's your name?" he asked a little girl at the front. "Linda." "My last trick is for you, Linda." He held up a sheet of yellow paper. "Itís recycled!" he shouted with a mocking salute to the nearest security cameradon't understand what this joke is supposed to mean or why the security camera would care about a crumpled piece of paper being recycled. If this is part of the story, I think it needs a little elaboration. So far I'm assuming this to be contemporaneous., drawing a wry laugh from the crowd. Aligning himself so that neither Linda, audience nor cameras could see the sleight-of-hand, he crumpled the paper into a ball and tossed it into the air where it blossomed into a yellow lily which floated down to his waiting hand.Kind of a run-on sentence He presented it to Linda with a flourish,something of a cliche.
Yes, Deb, we call 'em buskers here in London, or street performers. They're great fun at Covent Garden, along the Embankment and in tube stations. I've seen them in York and in Stuttgart, Germany and believe they're quite common in many major European towns. Missed them in SF :-(
Thanks for your comments, Anne, I will think them over. I wondered about that long sentence and was trying to capture a quick, uninterrupted flow of events. Maybe it doesn't work. The first sentence drove me crazy; I'm trying to avoid saying something bland like, 'In the mall Steve was doing his act.' I'll mall it over. Maul it over. Mull it over. Whatever!