Hatrack River
Home † | † About Orson Scott Card † | † News & Reviews † | † OSC Library † | † Forums † | † Contact † | † Links
Research Area † | † Writing Lessons † | † Writers Workshops † | † OSC at SVU † | † Calendar † | † Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » "Saturn's Rings" (SF)

   
Author Topic: "Saturn's Rings" (SF)
TheHaldurian
Member
Member # 7842

 - posted      Profile for TheHaldurian   Email TheHaldurian         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Edit: Revised 13 (without the waking-up cliche) in a post below.

I'm new here, but I'd appreciate any thoughts/comments on my first 13. The story ("Saturn's Rings") is finished at 8600 words, and I am working on revising/rewriting it. Since it is finished, I would like some readers, if anyone is interested (though I am not sure what the procedure for that is).

quote:
Michael awoke, stared out at the blackness of space, at the stars unmoving fixed in the dark. He saw that cold expanse, and as his mind lingered still on the edge of dream he thought he was floating in the empty gulfs between the suns. Alone and adrift in a barrenness bereaved.
Then the fog of sleep swirled away and away, and he remembered he was safely behind the glass, but something of the dream remained. A twilight strangeness. He seemed out-of-place, off-balance. Trying to shake the feeling, he sat up and rubbed his eyes, looked around. The cabin was still dim, lit only by blue lights along the aisle floor. Across from Michael a man murmured in his sleep. It was cold, and the surly smell of bodies and confined spaces hung in the stale air, pumped out through the heating vents. And the strangeness remained.

Thanks.

[This message has been edited by TheHaldurian (edited March 17, 2008).]


Posts: 13 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Becktemba
Member
Member # 3747

 - posted      Profile for Becktemba   Email Becktemba         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like it, but take a look at the last sentence. I'm interested to see where he is.
Posts: 21 | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheHaldurian
Member
Member # 7842

 - posted      Profile for TheHaldurian   Email TheHaldurian         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I like it, but take a look at the last sentence.

What about the last sentence?


Posts: 13 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bent Tree
Member
Member # 7777

 - posted      Profile for Bent Tree   Email Bent Tree         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll be glad to go over this story for you. Welcome to Hatrack.

I have to say, waking up from a dream is considered cliche. There was no real indication of conflict. So This intro needs some work to become a great hook. These are valuable lessons you will learn by posting your thirteen in this forum. If you click on the little mail icon above this dialogue it will prompt you to my email. Send it over. I'll get to it quickly.


Posts: 1860 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cheyne
Member
Member # 7710

 - posted      Profile for Cheyne   Email Cheyne         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome to Hatrack, THE
Your prose seems fine, but...

I am not being mean.
Once you've been here awhile you will laugh at your own first 13.
My very first post had my MC waking up in a confused state. Everyone jumped down my throat for daring to start with such a cliche. But mine was different, I thought.(no, it was not) I was hurt by the reaction of my fellow writers until I had read about ten others that started this way(In just a few months).
It is ALWAYS a cliche to start this way. You can argue that it is a legitimate way to start the story, or that you don't care if it gets published, but the fact remains that the waking MC scenario is too cliche. Editors will throw your manuscript away unread and Hatrackers will not offer to read your story. Go back along the threads and almost every first time poster starts that way...Once.

Find a different starting point. Good luck


Posts: 340 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Devnal
Member
Member # 6724

 - posted      Profile for Devnal   Email Devnal         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Uh ohhh... you story begins with the waking up sequence..
possibly integral to your story, but as I'm sure many will tell you, "very cliche."

At this point of your story, It doesnt look like its fundamental to have the fact that he just woke up in there. I'd try and work it out. the last sentence hints to me that his "strangness" might be from the stale air pumped into the room as opposed to his sleeping.

Here's my take
--------

Michael awoke, stared out at the blackness of space, at the stars unmoving fixed in the dark(your sentence contradicts; Is he staring at the blackness, or at the stars?). He saw that cold expanse,(lose the ",". also, This sentence suggests hes not really looking at the stars) and as his mind lingered still(lose "still") on the edge of dream (, where) he thought (lose "he thought")he was floating in the empty gulfs between the suns. Alone and adrift in a barrenness bereaved (this is kind of poetic, but i stumbled on it a while to make sense of it).
Then the fog of sleep swirled away and away, and he remembered he was safely behind the glass, but something of the dream remained (I find this sentence long, and it reminds me that he was sleeping, which I don't care about anymore). A twilight strangeness. He seemed out-of-place, off-balance. Trying to shake the feeling, he sat up and rubbed his eyes, looked around (He was still lying down while looking outside? I had assumed he was already up. If you continue with the awaking up scenario, IMHO, you should make note that he is looking through an overhead window or something. (new para?)The cabin was still (still implies it wasnt at one point, then was, and still is. There is no time we know of that it wasn't dim. In other words, lose "still" ;op . Something to keep in mind in the future) dim, lit only by blue lights along the aisle floor. Across from Michael a man murmured in his sleep. It was cold,(trade "," for "." and the surly smell of bodies and confined spaces hung in the stale air, pumped out through the heating vents(this is how I would write the previous sentence; "It was cold. The surly smell of bodies in the confined sapce hung in the stale air"). And(lose "and") the strangeness remained.
---

The second last sentence seemed to run on a bit. I do like the story so far, a bit of a hook as to where is he and why, which some may say should be alluded to a bit in the first thirteen. I don't mind it myself. I would definetely try and lose the whole sleeping scenario. Even having him just lying there staring into space would make a better opener. I wouldn't think "Oh another sleep beginning."

Good work on the whole!


[This message has been edited by Devnal (edited March 17, 2008).]


Posts: 303 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheHaldurian
Member
Member # 7842

 - posted      Profile for TheHaldurian   Email TheHaldurian         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Duly noted about waking-up-in-a-confused-state being a cliche. Of course, my first thought was to consider all the good thematic reasons to make this my opening. But, I see the point, and here's a revised 13:

quote:
Michael stared out at the blackness of space, at the stars unmoving fixed in the dark. Laying there and seeing that cold expanse, he felt like he was floating in the empty gulfs between the suns. Alone and adrift in a barrenness bereaved.
He was no stranger to the feeling of the vastness, the void, but today was different. It was a twilight strangeness. He seemed out-of-place, off-balance. To shake the feeling he sat up in his bed compartment, rubbed his eyes, looked away from the window beside his pillow. The cabin around him was dim, lit only by blue lights along the aisle floor. Across from Michael a man murmured in his sleep. It was cold, and the surly smell of bodies and small spaces hung in the stale air. The strangeness remained.
Maybe it was because he was coming home to a home he had never seen, never known, and didnít want to know.


Edit: To take out ellipsis(...), which was only there to indicate that the paragraph continues; it is not included in the actual story.

[This message has been edited by TheHaldurian (edited March 18, 2008).]


Posts: 13 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
shimiqua
Member
Member # 7760

 - posted      Profile for shimiqua   Email shimiqua         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like it better. Taking out the cliche opened up space for the real hook. I really like the last sentence however it doesn't need to ...
A period would be fine.
Good work!
~Sheena

Posts: 1201 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
skadder
Member
Member # 6757

 - posted      Profile for skadder   Email skadder         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Alone and adrift in a barrenness bereaved."

I understand the meaning of each word yet together the meaning is elusive. It seems needlessly poetic and makes the narrator stand out for a moment. I would avoid such things.

quote:
Michael stared out at the blackness of space, at the stars unmoving fixed in the dark. Laying there and seeing that cold expanse, he felt (like-cut) he was floating in the empty gulfs between the suns (He is isn't he? It's just he is INSIDE a ship doing exactly that.). Alone and adrift in a barrenness bereaved (too poetic and abstract).
He was no stranger to the feeling of the vastness, (the void--cut), but today was different. It was a twilight strangeness (unsure what this means--I can guess, but it requires me stop reading momentarily). He seemed out-of-place, off-balance. To shake the feeling he sat up in his bed compartment, rubbed his eyes, and(add) looked away from the window beside his pillow. The cabin (around him-cut) was (dim-cut), lit only by dim(add) blue lights along the aisle floor. Across from Michael a man murmured in his sleep. It was cold, and the surly(?--strange use) smell of bodies and small spaces hung in the stale air. The strangeness remained.
Maybe it was because he was (coming home--cut) going(add) to a home he had never seen, never known and didnít want to know.

This is much better than the original.

1) This is more than 13 lines (by one line).

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]


Posts: 2987 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rickfisher
Member
Member # 1214

 - posted      Profile for rickfisher   Email rickfisher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You're trying a bit too hard to be poetic. Ah . . . I see that (between the time I opened the thread and the time I clicked "post reply") Skadder has made the same comment.
quote:
Michael stared out at the blackness of space, at the stars unmoving why not "unmoving stars"? This is the first place where the effort to be poetic feels forced fixed<-omit. You already said "unmoving". At the very least, put a comma before it in the dark. Laying Lay and lie are often confused, but this is another error that some slush pile readers (who are just looking for an excuse) will reject a story over. It's worth getting right--in this case Lying there and seeing that cold expanse, he felt like he was floating in the empty gulfs between the suns. Alone and adrift in a barrenness bereaved. What Skadder said.
He was no stranger to the [feeling of] What does this mean here? "Vastness" and "void" are not feelings the vastness, the void, but today was different. It was a twilight strangeness. He seemed out-of-place, off-balance. To shake the feeling he sat up in his bed compartment, rubbed his eyes, and looked away from the window word choice? If he's in space, in some sort of ship or space station, I'd expect "porthole" or something. I also wouldn't expect each bed to have one beside it, though you never know beside his pillow. The cabin around him was dim, lit only by blue lights along the aisle floor. Across from Michael a man murmured in his sleep. It was cold, and the surly interesting word, but I don't quite see how it fits here smell of bodies and small spaces hung in the stale redundant air. The strangeness remained.
Maybe it was because he was coming home to a home he had never seen, never known, and didnít want to know.

You'll definitely want to tighten this some. The last line is the one that would make me choose to turn the page, and since it's really ON the next page, I'd never see it.

The writing, though, is good. Just be careful not to overdo it.

[This message has been edited by rickfisher (edited March 18, 2008).]


Posts: 932 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Suggestions or questions for you to consider inline, in parentheses.

quote:
Michael stared out at the blackness of space, at the stars unmoving(,) fixed in the dark. Laying there and seeing that cold expanse, he felt like he was floating in the empty gulfs between the suns (wait, I thought he was in the blackness of space looking at distant stars...most people don't switch between stars and suns, using sun for close, star for far). Alone and adrift in a barrenness bereaved. (agree with previous poster - very poetic, which is generally out of place in sci-fi)
He was no stranger to the feeling of the vastness, the void, but today was different. It was a twilight strangeness. (these previous two sentences set up his out-of-whack feeling well) He seemed out-of-place, off-balance. (this one just sort of bludgeons the reader with the strangeness) To shake the feeling he sat up in his bed compartment, rubbed his eyes, looked away from the window beside his pillow. The cabin around him was dim, lit only by blue lights along the aisle floor. (good description, I have a very strong sense of where he is already with only a few words) Across from Michael a man murmured in his sleep. It was cold, and the surly smell of bodies and small spaces hung in the stale air. The strangeness remained.
Maybe it was because he was coming home to a home he had never seen, never known, and didnít want to know. (this is a strong hook, but...um, if he's out in the stars - how close to a planet IS he? Most orbit stars rather closely...I guess I suggest you set up the vista he has when he looks out first. Also, something to consider - most current spacecraft have few ways to view outside. I would think it would be quite a luxury to have your own porthole on a spacecraft, at least any I can imagine. To have one in your bunk - a room you share with at least one other person - seems a little odd. Just some thoughts. Feel free to take or leave them.)


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheHaldurian
Member
Member # 7842

 - posted      Profile for TheHaldurian   Email TheHaldurian         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for all the replies. I've got a lot to look at.

One thing, though: a couple of you have said that I am one line over 13, and I am wondering why you say that. I thought that if it all fits in the text window used to post replies and whatnot then it is 13 lines, and my lines fit in the window. I want to know so that I can better judge exactly how much is 13 lines.


Posts: 13 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheHaldurian
Member
Member # 7842

 - posted      Profile for TheHaldurian   Email TheHaldurian         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I figured out my confusion over the 13 lines. The lines have to be able to not only fit in the text box, but fit without the scroll bar even appearing.

Here's my second revision:

quote:
Michael stared out at the blackness of space and at the stars fixed in the dark. Lying there and seeing that cold expanse, he felt he was floating, alone and adrift, in the barren gulfs between distant suns.
He was no stranger to the feeling of the voidís burden, its vastness. But today was different, like he was wandering in a hollow twilight. Maybe it was because he was coming home to a home he had never seen, never known, and didnít want to know.
Trying to shake the feeling, he sat up in his bed compartment, rubbed his eyes, and looked away from the window beside his pillow. The cabin was lit only by dim, blue lights along the aisle floor. Across from Michael a man murmured in his sleep. It was cold, and the ripe smell of bodies and small spaces hung in the air.


Posts: 13 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rickfisher
Member
Member # 1214

 - posted      Profile for rickfisher   Email rickfisher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You must be using Firefox. (Like me.) In IE the scroll-bar space is never available, even when the scrollbar isn't there. But, for some reason, in Firefox, the box actually contains 14 lines. So you're still a bit over.

You should also be able to tell by properly formatting your manuscript (i.e., 12 pt Courier, 1 inch margins) in your word processor. Those 13 lines are all that should appear on your first page. (Actually, the box gives you a tiny bit of leeway, because the paragraphs aren't indented.)

This version is much better. It doesn't hook me much, but the line about returning home to a home (though I don't really like the repetition of "home"--but it adds something at the same time as it annoys me, so I'll remain neutral) that he has no desire to go to interests me. I would turn the page.


Posts: 932 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Codeô is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2