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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Strange Machinery of Desire-Horror-3,500 words

   
Author Topic: The Strange Machinery of Desire-Horror-3,500 words
Merlion-Emrys
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Some of the young whippersnappers at work were talking about going to clubs and such, and I started getting ideas..

Thoughts on the begining good, offers to read when completed even better


Here's a slightly different version

Zeljko walked into the club with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. The first thing that struck him was how much the club reminded him of the factory where he worked. Its stink of smoke, sweat and desperation mirrored the plant’s reek of chemicals, sweat and desperation, while the pounding of the music was little different from the pounding of the machines.
The design and décor did nothing to counter this feeling; metal catwalks stretched along black-stained walls between the concrete floor and bare-girder ceiling, while red and yellow spotlights covered the place in smelting-plant illumination. Here and there on the dance floor were cages of corroded rebar that patrons could squeeze their way into, feigning imprisonment in the depths of some industrial afterlife.

Heres a more differenter version...


Zeljko was both anxious and excited as he went into the club that night, but the first thing that struck him was how much it reminded him of the factory where he worked. Its stink of smoke, sweat and desperation mirrored the plant’s reek of chemicals, sweat and desperation, while the pounding of the music was little different from the pounding of the machines. It was comforting, and he found that fact vaguely disturbing.
The design and décor reinforced his initial impression; metal catwalks stretched along black-stained walls between the concrete floor and bare-girder ceiling, while red and yellow spotlights covered the place in smelting-plant illumination. He almost laughed when he saw that the bar was a section of rusted-out conveyor belt.


[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited February 05, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited February 05, 2009).]


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Garlic Coachman
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Hello again, great brownies! Num Yummy....gotta get more.....

While reading the first sentence, I wanted to know what struck him and skimmed the middle of the sentence. I would break it up into two sentences.


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Crystal Stevens
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I don't know. It sounds like you're just comparing a club to a factory somewhere. It could be anywhere. I think I'd like to see where you're going with this much sooner. Otherwise, there's not much to stir my interest. I really didn't see any real hook... unless it was so subtle that I missed it.

Prose-wise, I see little wrong with it, but I'm not the expert that some of the other Hatrackers are on that subject. I'm just calling it like I see it.


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tnwilz
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Some clubs could go for a factory atmosphere, that sounds like a club like thing to do. I don't know if I would spend more than a sentence pointing it out - particularly when you haven't hooked us yet. Good writing though.
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Troy
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Yo. Grandpa. ...I'll read it when it's done.
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mommiller
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In both of your openings you rely much on telling us what your MC is seeing, rather than showing, and you go into detail of your setting that really has me scratching my head over why it is so important.

I'd much rather read an intro that gives me more of what you MC is feeling and experiencing rather than relying on the physical description of the place he just stepped into.

[This message has been edited by mommiller (edited February 04, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by mommiller (edited February 04, 2009).]


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Dogmatic
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I'd have to agree with Mommiller/ It may be more of an artistic preference but I'd much rather feel the club than be told the cold non-budging truth. What you described sounded like anybodies vision of the place. I would much rather know what ZelJko was feeling and thinking. The cold description can always come later.

Also the line:
The design and décor did nothing to counter this feeling; metal catwalks stretched along black-stained walls between the concrete floor and bare-girder ceiling, while red and yellow spotlights covered the place in smelting-plant illumination.

Didn't seem to flow for me. I'm terrible at the technical side so I'm assuming the punctuation and grammar are correct but it just didn't flow well for me. It could be length or choice of wording but I find myself drifting in the middle of the sentence.

Overall good job, I like the comparison between the club and plant.
Thanks for sharing!
Steve



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Merlion-Emrys
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quote:
I really didn't see any real hook... unless it was so subtle that I missed it.


Thats because "hooks" are totally subjective...your not hooked by atomosphere most likely, but some people (like me) are.

This garnered pretty much exactly the reaction I expected...too much descreption, not enough of what the character is feeling...but thats ok...i realize this isnt much in the style prefered by most here. There is some of the MC's feelings, right there in the first line...but I may throw in another couple such touches. Although the thing is, my characters in these types of stories, by nature, have a somewhat limited emotional range.

There is one thing I wonder about though...

quote:
In both of your openings you rely much on telling us what your MC is seeing, rather than showing


I'm not sure how theres a difference when it comes to physical discreption. If the character sees another character who is tall and blond and I say that...then how is there a difference between "telling" he's tall and blond and "showing" that he's tall and blond? I'm just honestly curious as to where the distinction lies...I think its a pretty fine one in all writing, but especially in discreption I think it more or less totally breaks down...

quote:
and you go into detail of your setting that really has me scratching my head over why it is so important.


Because in my darker "industrial" inspired stories like this, the setting is in fact just as important as everything else.

Interestingly, a friend of mine and fellow hatracker recently became a slush reader and he told me a while back that in that capacity, the things he finds most gripping are a sense of setting and of character...just something to think about.


Thanks a lot everyone for the thoughts and the read offer...I may post another version at some point.


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alittleofeverything
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It feels to me like you have a hint of characterization here. I would like to see more of that. We know he works in a factory, good, is there something more about this you can tell us right off the bat. Also, you use the word "desperation" twice here. Is the MC desperate? About what? I understand that these are things that you'll probably develop over the course of the story, but if you could give me more right off the bat, I think I would be much more hooked.

I can give it a read once you finish it, if you don't mind waiting a while for me to get it back to you.


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Troy
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I think it's good, and you should finish it so I can help you with it. I already know how to fix it. (Not that it's broken.) To wit: Starting it with the atmosphere of the club is good, but don't compare it to the factory yet. Throughout the story, whenever you use imagery, sound, etc, to describe the club, be consistent about using the factory-esque imagery, but don't tie it quite so quickly to the character's work. It will have more meaning and impact and subtlety when you finally do it; also -- it will tie in with the themes and plot and lead to one of those perfect short story moments. A third thing should enter into it as well. I'm not sure what I mean but I will be when I read it!


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Bent Tree
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I like the premise her but my problems with this were:

1- The opening line

It is just too straight forward and telling. It makes me think of jokes beginning with 'a so-and-so walks into a club.

Don't get me wrong. This can begin with him in the club(as it should) but just open with his senory perceptions, his feelings. Don't just come out and tell us. Just my Opinion.

2- not much tension

Comparison between the bar and the factory he used to work in is interesting, but it seemed kinda flat with just the description and comparison between the two. A hint of conflict could spice this up a bit


I really like the idea here and I like where you are leading us but I think this could definaely be punched up. Dig a little deeper into the POV to give us more of the character. More emotion. I think this can be great and I would be glad to look over what you have or when you are finished.



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Merlion-Emrys
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I changed the second version around a bit to focus a bit more on his POV. Can't do much about the tension thing...not all stories have that in the begining. Thats why its the begining :-) Theres plenty before long though dont worry
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Merlion-Emrys
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Finished at last. Can I get "unfinished" removed and 3,500 words added?
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