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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » A gift for a king (reworked)

   
Author Topic: A gift for a king (reworked)
tnwilz
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Need readers, 7600 words.


Priam sat on his heels, scrubbing vigorously as his knees complained against the hard deck of the ships hold. Various chunks of used engineering lay scattered around him, awaiting his loving touch to make them salable again. Adria, who had been pacing nearby, stopped and stood a few feet in front of him. Shiny plates of advanced technology covered the lower half of her legs and they glinted in the bright beams from the overhead lights. Priam stopped polishing the corroded fins of a salvaged heat sink and leaned back on his heels to admire Adriaís splendid form. He didnít mind that she had that effect on him; in fact, it quite pleased him. She had cost him two good ships, a well-producing mineral mine, and no small number of fed bars on top of that. Left him not that far from broke in

[This message has been edited by tnwilz (edited March 24, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited March 24, 2008).]


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Bent Tree
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quote:
Priam sat on his heels, scrubbing vigorously as his knees complained against the hard deck of the ships hold.[Good picture] Various chunks of used engineering lay scattered around him, awaiting his loving touch to make them salable again. Adria, who had been pacing nearby, stopped and stood a few feet in front of him. Shiny plates of advanced technology[I tripped, but didn't fall] covered the lower half of her legs and they glinted in the bright beams from the overhead lights. Priam stopped polishing the corroded fins of a salvaged heat sink and leaned back on his heels to admire Adriaís splendid form. He didnít mind that she had that effect on him; in fact, it quite pleased him. She had cost him two good ships, a well-producing mineral mine, and no small number of fed bars on top of that.


You were well over thirteen so I only quoted on thirteen.

I would say that I was very interested by this, but there seemed to be no hook element here. It felt like the last thirteen lines of a story. It is something about the way that the backstory seems to close the scene rather than open it. Here is a guy scrubbing salvaged goods back into shape. It nearly broke him, but he bought an AI that he loves even after some months.

I would turn the page because I found this well written and interesting. I would turn to see a plot develop.

I tripped on the plates of advanced technology, although it is one of those things that caused me to want to read more. I want to find out what it is.Also fed bars-- fed reads to me I fed the lion. I am not sure what you are refering to here. I assumed Federal, Which seems it could be caps if so Fed bars. Maybe I am wrong.

I could read if you aren't in a rush. I have a few deadlines this week. Could have it by Thursday.


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arriki
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must just be me, but how -- if he's human -- can he Sit on his heels...heels touching the deck, right? And have his knees also touching the deck? I just can't picture that.
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Bent Tree
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I thought that also at first, but then realized he is on his knees sitting back on his heels.
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rickfisher
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Ah . . . that also made no sense to me. My second thought was that it was his scrubbing that was against the deck, while his knees complained simply because he was sitting on his heels. But that didn't work either when it turned out he was scrubbing other stuff.

Another thing that struck me was a "well-producing mineral mine." My first thought was, why would a mineral mine produce wells? And by first thought, I mean it was so fleeting that I almost missed it, but it did cause a tiny bobble in my reading, and it still seems a bit awkward to me.

And I agree about the "fed bars." The gastronomic meaning of "fed" is intensified by things such as "snack bars", "Mars bars", and candy bars in general. It might be enough to capitalize "Fed", if that's appropriate (if it means "Federal", for instance).

As for the hook--well, that's on the second page. I might not get to it.


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Tiergan
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Hi,
The first line was hard for me as well. It took a little for me to picture the scene. But by the part where he starts to check out the legs and they turn out to be the AI's, I liked it, and would have read more.

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JustInProse
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Send it on over. Contary to a lot of others (I may be wrong, so permit me to sound rebelious ) I am pulled to good prose that have no *OBVIOUS I'M IN YOUR FACE* hook. Because to me, it can sometimes feel as jarring as the caps I just used.

Anyway *grin* I would love to read it. I can get it back quickly as well.


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annepin
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The reference to Troy is confusing to me, rather than pulling me in. I also found the rather general phrasing problematic. I'm not sure what to make of "chunks of used engineering", "shiny plates of advanced technology", or "corroded fins of a salvaged heat sink". In using these rather unwieldy phrases I think you're missing an opportunity to create a more vivid picture, or giving us insight into the world. I'd encourage you to reach for specific details whenever possible. Unless you're going for something of a tongue-and-cheek effect.

But in some places the prose is overly specific. "Stopped and stood a few feet in front of him" is wordier than it need be. "Glinted in the bright beams from the overhead lights" suffers similarly. I got the bit about leaning back on his heels, but I see it's a bit repetitive from sitting on his heels, which he does in the first sentence, so what exactly has changed in his position?

On the other hand, I do find the set up a little intriguing. The fact that Adria is pacing implies she's got something on her mind. The fact that she's stopped indicated she's ready to speak it. He's looking at her a touch lustily, but also, maybe, a touch resentfully, foreshadowing possible tension.

Ah, and Bent Tree, I would suggest that if the first thirteen has made you interested and want to know how the plot unfolds there is in fact a hook there, however subtle.


[This message has been edited by annepin (edited March 26, 2008).]

P.S. I'd offer to read but I'm really short on time this week. If you don't mind hearing back until next week, send it along.

[This message has been edited by annepin (edited March 26, 2008).]


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TheHaldurian
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I also find the reference to Troy distracting.

The second I see the name "Priam" I think of the ancient Trojan king from Homer's Iliad. I expect to see Hektor or Helen or Achilles around the corner. But then you mention "advanced technology," and instead of focusing on the story I start wondering if the name "Priam" is a coincidence, or if it is an important detail in your story, or if you just liked the name.

If your story has nothing to do with Troy at all, and the name is just a name, I would suggest changing it. If it is an important detail, I suggest that early on you put in some hint of why a man with a name used essentially exclusively to refer to an ancient king is salvaging a heat sink.

Right now, it is a little like reading: "Hercules prepared the ship to jump into hyperspace." It just seems a little too dissonant, unless you have a good reason.


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tnwilz
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I was just hoping to get away with using it as a name. You're too edumacated damnit.

Thank you for all the comments BTW. Very helpful to someone lost in their own maze.

Tracy


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skadder
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I thought of Troy as soon as I saw the name. I, too, wondered if you had chosen it on purpose or by accident.
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JustInProse
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I did as well, but for some reason didn't post it in my original. This really makes me think of OSC's use of Achilles in the Shadow series (Even though it is pronouced A-sheel or whatever). He has a VERY good reason to call his character this, he sets up why he calls him this, and he even gives it a personal touch by changing how it is pronounced.

By using methods such as those, you may be able to keep the name. Maybe.

JustInProse
Justin Armstrong


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smncameron
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quote:
Priam sat on his heels, scrubbing vigorously as his knees complained against the hard deck of the ships hold. Various chunks of used engineering lay scattered around him, awaiting his loving touch to make them salable again.

Is he scrubbing the deck, or the pieces of engineering? Come to that, is engineering even a good word to descibe them? To me engineering is a skill-set, not objects.

quote:
Adria, who had been pacing nearby, stopped and stood a few feet in front of him. Shiny plates of advanced technology covered the lower half of her legs and they glinted in the bright beams from the overhead lights.

I'm SURE you can come up with a better way to describe them then as 'advanced technology'.

quote:
Priam stopped polishing the corroded fins of a salvaged heat sink and leaned back on his heels to admire Adriaís splendid form. He didnít mind that she had that effect on him; in fact, it quite pleased him. She had cost him two good ships, a well-producing mineral mine, and no small number of fed bars on top of that. Left him not that far from broke in

I guess we know what he's scrubbing now. Because scrubbing has such a strong association with decks, you probably need to be more carefull earlier on. Finally, while most mine's produce minerals, we almost never refer to them as 'mineral mines'. They are gold mines, or silver mines, or open-pit copper mines, but not 'mineral mines'. And 'well-producing' just sounds 'off', productive or rich might be a better term.


Lastly, I keep reading your title as "A Gift Fit For A King", you need to be carefull when your title is almost, but not quite, a popular expression.

[This message has been edited by smncameron (edited March 27, 2008).]


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arriki
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Yes. With "king" in the title and the first word of the story is "Priam" I was set for ancient Troy or some connection thereto.
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Moofle
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I will read this if you send it to me.
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