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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Steampunk Orange

   
Author Topic: The Steampunk Orange
debhoag
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This start too slow?

John "Ruby" Jackson knew everything about her, of course, before he started. Her name was Pippin LaRange, although her friends called her Pip.
She lived in New York, a wild child, in an abandoned building set near the bubble-train. The Bubb-El, he reminded himself. Don't want to look the stranger. Her parents had been dead for years, so he had little concern they would have apprised her of her heritage.
The way she lived was not unfamiliar to him; he'd had the luck of middle class birth, but he'd spent plenty of time slumming around while he was learning his trade. Certainly it did not arouse in Ruby J the type of judgment that many of New York society would make.

[This message has been edited by debhoag (edited November 11, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 12, 2008).]


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monstewer
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I think it is a bit too slow, yeah. The writing is fine but the overriding impression I got from this 13 was that the author was witholding too much information from me:

John "Ruby" Jackson knew everything about her, of course, before he started Here's an example. You might have a good hook and I can't really see what benefit you get from keeping it out of the first sentence. If you tell the reader what John is starting they might want to read on. As it is, there's no hook in this first sentence at all.

As for the rest, I have no idea who this Pip is, so I don't find a quick run-down of how she lives her life particularly interesting. Maybe if I knew who she was or why John is interested in her then I might find it a bit more gripping.

Good luck with it


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kings_falcon
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Hey Deb. A bit too slow for a short story, IMHO. For a novel, it would probably be fine. You can pick up the pace with some trimming.

my take:

quote:
John "Ruby" Jackson is this really how he things of himself knew everything about her tell me her name here , of course this isn't necessary , before he started. Her name was Pippin LaRange, although if you tell me her name above, you can lose the first half of this sentance her friends called her Pip.
She lived in New York, a wild child, in an abandoned building set near the bubble-train. The Bubb-El, he reminded himself. Don't want to look the stranger. while this tells me a bit about him, it seems unnecessary here. He's focusing on her, and I want to know about her and what he's started.

Her parents had been dead for years died years ago , so he had little concern they would have apprised this is a bit formal - why not "so he didn't worry that they told her" of her heritage.
The way she lived was not unfamiliar to him now the setting would be appropriate. IMHO, cut this first sentance and put the Bubb L description here but as the train rumbling past ; he'd had the luck of middle class birth, but he'd spent plenty of time slumming around while he was learning his trade. Certainly it What? did not arouse in Ruby J I had to look back to see who this was. A 'he' would work as well here. If he thinks of himself as Ruby J use that in teh first line the type of judgment that many of New York society would make.


There's a gentle hook that I'd like to follow but I'd like to know why he's there or have a hint about what's going to happen before the first 13 ends. Is there a reason you are flip flopping between very formal language and more casual language?

Also "Bubb-El" was great.


[This message has been edited by kings_falcon (edited November 12, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by kings_falcon (edited November 12, 2008).]


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Zero
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I think your title is too similar to A Clockwork Orange.
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WouldBe
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Some of the slowness comes from slightly wordy asides and turns of phrase. For example,

...set near the bubble-train. The Bubb-El, he reminded himself.
...set near the bubble-train, the Bubb-El.

I think it can be 'cut' a bit, to use Jake's term. One place where you can beef up the hook is to elaborate on 'her heritage' or why he knew everything about her. He seems like her bio-dad, but could be a bounty hunter or vampire slayer.


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baduizt
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Hmmm, a very good opening for a novel, but yeah, maybe a little slow for a shot story. But I'd read on simply because I know how you write.

And I'm waiting for all that slang I fed you to appear in there somewhere


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debhoag
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Thanks, everybody. I shouldn't have asked if it seemed too long, because I knew it was too long, which was why I asked in the first place. Sigh. Since nobody was qued up to tell me how fab it was just the way it was, I'll just have to go back and fix it the old fashioned way - REWRITE!

Thanks for your kind words, everybody, especially you, King's Falcon, for taking the time to give me suggestions, which are great ones, by the way. And Baduizt, how bout taking credit for the title, oh titular one?


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baduizt
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Hehehe :P I know right!

But Crashin' the Real is a pretty good title (and book) to boot!


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debhoag
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you make me blush, darlin'
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debhoag
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How's this?

John Percy knew everything about Pippen LaRange before his mission began. The Society of Remergents had seen to that. To abduct someone, to brainwash them until they bent to the will of the Remergents in all things, required careful planning, knowledge and skill. It also required a ruthless disregard for King George’s expressed wishes. Percy had been raised by the Colonel to be full of contempt for King George’s careful and diplomatic solution to the upheavals in the colonies a few decades ago.
Pippen – known to her friends as Pip, lived in New York, a wild child, in an abandoned building set near the bubble-train. The Bubb-El, Percy reminded himself. Don't want to look the stranger. Pip’s parents had been dead for years and she

[This message has been edited by debhoag (edited November 14, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 14, 2008).]


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baduizt
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Much stronger for a short story!
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BoredCrow
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I dunno, deb, it still feels a bit slow. I know this is cliched advice but... could you start with more action? Can we have more of him waiting at the Bubb-El, or some other point of his mission? As it is, there's a lot of tell here and not a lot of show.

The premise is very cool - I'm curious to see where this story goes, and I'll look forward to reading it when it's done (nudge nudge)


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TaleSpinner
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Second version much better than the first, for me. The pace of the first start was too slow, but the second feels pacey enough to me through the tempo of the writing.

Some nits: I think you could drop "in all things" because it's implied by "brainwashed" and the pace of that sentence might be faster. I wonder if you couldn't also drop the sentence "Percy had been raised ..." because it's a distraction from Pippen, who seems the main focus of the opening.

"Pippen – known to her friends as Pip – lived " would be better, methinks, to make the em-dashes work like parens.
I like the Bubb-El, Pip's full name and the idea of a New York with a King and would certainly read on--if you want readers please do send it over.

Oh, and, great title!

Hope this helps,
Pat

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited November 15, 2008).]


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debhoag
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Thanks, Talespinner. Good ideas.
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kings_falcon
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I think the reason this still feels slow (although much better) to me is that you break information you could put into one sentance into two.

My take:

quote:
John Percy knew everything about Pippen LaRange before his mission began. The Society of Remergents had seen to that. To abduct someone, to brainwash them until they bent to the will of the Remergents in all things, required careful planning, knowledge and skill. It also required a ruthless disregard for King George’s expressed wishes.

This could become "The Society of Remergents had ensured that John knew everything about Pippen LeRange before he was to abduct and reeducate her. Bending someone to the will of the Remergents required careful planning, knowledge, skill and a ruthless disregard for King George's wishes."

Percy had been raised by the Colonel to be full of contempt for King George’s careful and diplomatic solution to the upheavals in the colonies a few decades ago. This slows you down a bit. I'm more concerned about his kidnapping Pip than his past right this second

Pippen – known to her friends as Pip, lived in New York, a wild child, in an abandoned building set near the bubble-train. The Bubb-El, Percy reminded himself. Don't want to look the stranger. Pip’s parents had been dead for years and she


It's the need to share information at the get go that's slowing you down. Could you just have him kidnap Pip and have us learn about the Society and why her as the story unfolds?


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debhoag
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I'm getting ready to take another look at it in a few minutes. Hopefully, all the caffeine will shake something loose in my brain and I can getter done.
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debhoag
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by jove, I just might have it!

The Orange Faction had seen to it that John Percy knew everything they could find out about Pippen LaRange, long before her kidnapping. His orders were clear: Break her or kill her trying. With the help of his men, he tracked her to an abandoned building set near the New York bubble-train route. The Bubb-El, Percy reminded himself. Don't want to sound the stranger.
As he sat at a table across from the decaying building she called home, he reviewed her dossier. She had no 'business manager', so to speak. Not a fancy girl, then, although she'd probably had her run-ins with the drunks and gangs that filled the sleazy streets here. It told him she had a certain pride and a glimmer of intelligence; good starting qualities for the changes the Colonel intended Percy to make.


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Broda
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Wow, I definitely want to read it now
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debhoag
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Thanks - just goes to show what a few good readers can do to tune things up.
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kings_falcon
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Hook line and sinker. Much nicer, cleaner, more compelling start. Great job!

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TaleSpinner
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Now it's a juicy start with plenty of zest and no pips--just an interesting Pippen!

Pat


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debhoag
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Jolly Good!
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BoredCrow
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Good stuff.

The only point where I was confused was the mention of a kidnapping followed by "break her or kill trying." My first thought was, wait, aren't you supposed to kidnap people while they're still alive?
Not a big thing, but just wanted to share the potential for confusion.


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debhoag
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how about, 'his orders once he got ahold of her were clear?'
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Monk
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Hi Debhoag,

Night and day for me the difference between the original and your latest opening. I think BoredCow's comment was directed at how the sentence talks about them knowing everything "long before her kidnapping", which could imply she has already been kidnapped. I like the way you have the sentence following that so all I would suggest changing is adding a word like "planned" or something to clarify the kidnapping. so "long before her planned kidnapping" or "long before he planned her kidnapping"

-W.

[This message has been edited by Monk (edited November 17, 2008).]


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ArachneWeave
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I think the second version has much more focus and appeal.

Looking for readers for the whole yet?


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debhoag
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almost. nearly done, about 200 more words to go. I'll finish tonight or tomorrow morning, and then get it sent out. Are you offering?
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ArachneWeave
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Yes. (Sorry. My fiction isn't the only overly indirect writing I do.)
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BoredCrow
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Nope, Monk, deb interpreted my remark correctly (she can read my mind with crits at this point)

And yeah, deb, that works better. You might add a 'for' in there, as in "his orders FOR once he got ahold of her..." to give the section even shinier clarity. Looking forward to reading it once it's done!


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Monk
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BoredCow: You mindreaders! I suppose I should get used to that with those of you who have been crit'ing each other for awhile.

That said: adding the FOR you suggest would then address the (falsely) perceived view I thought you were referencing in your initial post. Och, me head is spinning now!

-W.


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debhoag
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finished and off to readers, now. Anybody besides Bored Crow, Talespinner and Arachneweave?
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Desmond Hodges
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This is my first crit so my opinion is almost worth nil.
I think I might like the direction your'e going in but the hook has to come sooner for me. Also I think you should tell us how "Ruby" thinks of himself and let others show how they view Mr. Jackson. Just my opinion though.

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debhoag
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You're cool. I usually don't make new posts for my rewrites. I you scroll down from the top, you'll see a couple of new versions. Take a look, and if the last one is agreeable to you and you'd like to read the whole thing, let me know.
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TaleSpinner
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Hey Deb,

My e-mailed crit bounced--is your e-mail okay? I'll try a resend in any case ...

Cheers,
Pat

Error message received:

quote:

Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.

<debhoag@juno.com>:
Mail server for "juno.com" unreachable for too long



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debhoag
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I think the internet was just down here for a little while; I got it fine the second time you sent it. Thanks very much for your comments, Pat. Pip, pip, Poorah!
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LintonRobinson
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I see nothing wrong with the first version. It had a different sort of voice to it.

You've let kibbitzers push you towards sounding like everything else. This is a problem you have to watch out for when you get advice.

I would NOT take seriously anybody who says that anything that happens in 13 lines is "too slow" or represents things being "held back".

Who is telling this thing, is a question you should ask yourself.


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debhoag
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Linton! Dude! These guys are all my friends. We've been trading crits for years. I think you are absolutely right on not taking advice from everybody indiscriminately. What I do is look at the writing of the person who's critting. If I like what they write, I consider what they say. But I posted it exactly because I thought it was moving too slow, and I was lazy and wanted my buds to help me figure it out. I just finished a novel, and it really is a different writing head.

So, chill out, have a donut. Wanna read? I'll read back for you, if you like And I'll give you a prize if you can spot the major blooper that Wouldbe found for me.


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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:

The Orange Faction had seen to it that John Percy knew everything they could find out about Pippen LaRange, long before her kidnapping.

This sentence is my only stumbling block, and it seems like it's arranged strange. (The next sentence hooked me good. )

My suggestion is to break it down:

John Percy knew everything about Pippen LaRange, long before her kidnapping. The Orange Faction had given him a complete briefing.

Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited December 03, 2008).]


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TaleSpinner
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quote:

kibbitzers
One entry found.

Main Entry:
ki·bitz·er
Variant(s):
also kib·bitz·er
Function:
noun
Date:
1922

: one who looks on and often offers unwanted advice or comment <a kibitzer at a card game> ; broadly : one who offers opinions



http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kibbitzers

I like to learn new words, so thanks for thiks one, Linton.

"Kibbitzer" doesn't apply here, since the purpose of posting the first 13 is to receive advice. Perhaps you should read the FAQ--especially the bit about not getting into personal attacks.

When you've been around here for a while, you'll realize that Deb doesn't allow herself to get pushed around.

With all your vast experience which you so magnanimously share with us "kibbitzers", you'll surely know that giving advice in terms of generalities is almost always a mistake when discussing specifics. Deb asked the question, "Is this too slow" and for some of us "kibbitzers" it was. Deb doesn't have to take the advice she asked for, and often doesn't.

The pattern you mention is one us "kibbitzers" are well aware of. Deb has her own voice(s) and isn't descending to some norm of sounding like everyone else. Quite the opposite, in my humble opinion; she gets better with each story.

Cheers,
Pat


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debhoag
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You guys should check out Linton's website. It's really cool.
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LintonRobinson
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WHAT personal attack???????????

Did I stumbe into some sort of alternative perception zone here or something?

Never mind...


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