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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Eater of Worlds

   
Author Topic: Eater of Worlds
Owasm
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SF Thriller is not quite what the title indicates in this unfinished short story. Is it too gross?

2nd Try:

Ron-Ron waved to the thousands in the stadium and the billions watching across the galaxy on the vidnet. Frenzied fans screamed his name.

Then in anticipation, the stadium hushed. Billions of eyes were on the scoreboard clock counting down: 4… 3… 2… 1… Horns and fireworks signaled the start.

The twenty finalists started shoving huge quantities of food and drink down their gullets. Food was spilled. It ran down the contestants’ faces, only to be picked up and shoved in again. Drink ran down their chins in huge rivulets. It was a vision for thirty glorious gluttonous minutes.

First Try:
Ron-Ron rubbed his hands, as huge platters of food were heaped in front of him.

The stadium was hushed. Two hundred thousand eyes were on the scoreboard clock counting down: 4… 3… 2… 1… Horns accompanied by fireworks signaled the start.

Twenty extremely large individuals were on the competition surface at the bottom of the viewing bowl. They started shoving huge quantities of food and drink down their gullets. Food was spilled. It ran down the contestants’ faces, only to be picked up and shoved in again. Drink ran down their chins in huge rivulets. It was a vision for thirty glorious minutes.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited March 20, 2009).]


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bluephoenix
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Heya .

I must admit, you're not reeling me in with this one. It's not that it's gross - I just don't really want to read about an eating contest in a big stadium. Also, I find it hard to take a character called Ron-Ron seriously.

Little nit: 'as huge platters of food were heaped in front of him' - the plates themselves were heaped? Like, plate on top of plate? I'd rearrange the sentence - the food being heaped in front of him on giant platters, etc. Lots of alternatives.

Problem here is lack of hook, I think. What do we have? Ron-Ron. All we know about him is that he's 'extremely large', and presumably hungry, so that's not it. We have a stadium, which isn't a hook. We have an eating contest going on therein, which is mildly interesting (being, as it is, a spectacle of some sort), but not enough to grab my attention. Everything before 'Twenty extremely large individuals...' is just setting the scene - delete it all, and the opening is barely affected.

My advice is find a way to describe this situation that is engaging. Why is this eating contest interesting? Or else, why do I care about Ron-Ron?

Prose isn't bad, I just don't have a hook. Hope this helped,
Daniel.


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shimiqua
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I respectfully disagree with blue phoenix.

I loved the name Ron-Ron. Sure, it's not exactly a Gladiator name, but the irony of Ron-Ron in a stadium full of people, in a gladiatorially way... I think it could be hilarious, and combined with the title, it gives me a Scifi vibe, or at the very least something weird is going to happen.

If the story is about a fat guy eating, really I'm not that interested. I live in America after all, and that's not exactly front page news. But if, as I suspect, something weird is about to happen I would definitly read on.

One thing that might help is to strengthen the juxtaposition, and introduce a clue that something...different...is going to happen.

Hope I could help.
~Sheena


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Nick T
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Hi,

I'm a bit mixed about this one. I do think the setting does offer good comedic potential, but it does need to be carefully handled so that it doesn't become too predictable in its jokes. In and of itself, a competitive eater isn't funny. From the title though, I'm guessing that it takes a few twists and turns and I'd like to see the start get closer to how Ron-Ron's life changes.

In a way, I agree with both Shimiqua and BluePhoenix...the gladiatorial aspects of the competitive eating contest does bring a smile to my face, but there's no hint of personality (well apart from being hungry) or a hint of how Ron-Ron's life is going to change. Personally, I'd start at the same point, but get the eating contest out of the way very quickly. Set the scene with the stadium and the food, but then skip over the actual eating and get to the meat of the story (no pun intended).

You could also tighten the 1st 13 a touch. Blue Phoenix's point about the platters of food is valid and you also start with a lot of passive phrasing ("...were heaped...", "...was hushed...", "...were on the scoreboard...") in a row.

As an aside, I'm pretty sure that the world-record holder for a lot of the competitive eating contents is actually very skinny (some Japanese guy, I could be wrong here).

Nick

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited March 20, 2009).]


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Owasm
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Actually this is the final event of the eating season... still have to find a catchy term for the event.

The action takes place in the offseason as a chase thriller. In my plot sketch, there are no fat jokes, but there are waddles. The idea came from TV's biggest losers reality show, except the fabulously wealthy Ron-Ron is champion of the galaxy and no loser.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited March 20, 2009).]


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Nick T
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quote:
The action takes place in the offseason as a chase thriller.

So why not start it at that point? Ron-Ron's background can be sketched in elsewhere.


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satate
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I thought the second was better. It had a better hook and set up the setting as sci/fi future. I was drawn by wondering what kind of future has huge eating contests that are so popular. Adding in that speculative element made a big difference.
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Owasm
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Actually I thought of that, Nick. To me, without the stadium scene, his background fades into the dullness of exposition... Although I could do a fan scene. hmmmm.

satate, your point is well taken. The motivation for eating contests is not presently in the outline, but I can see where that might spice things up. Something to think about when the fingers do the typing.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited March 20, 2009).]


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AmieeRock
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Certainly intrigued by the premise, and I do like Eater of Worlds as the title for a story about a competitive eater. I liked the "glorious gluttonous minutes" phrase. One thing I noticed was that you used "ran down" near the beginning of two subsequent sentences. Perhaps in one instance instead of food or dink running down, it could pour out of mouths or spill over greasy lips or puddle in corpulent laps or some other word combination that evokes images of excess. Really, though I liked the piece. It makes my obese American heart thrill to hear of galaxies glorying in gluttony.
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