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 » Minding Matthew

   
Author Topic: Minding Matthew
monstewer
Member
Member # 5883

 - posted      Profile for monstewer   Email monstewer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi everybody, this is my first ever attempt at flash fiction. It's science fiction and I'm looking for comments on the 13 or offers to read the whole 1k. Thanks.

***FIRST VERSION***

Brian left the basement for the first time in three days. Jane made him bacon and eggs. She leaned back against the kitchen worktop and watched him devour the breakfast. Three more rashers of bacon and an egg with a broken yolk already hissed and spat in the frying pan.

“You need to eat more, Brian. Keep your strength up.”

“Nonsense.” Brian shovelled more bacon into his mouth. “You made me that chicken casserole only a few hours ago.” He sawed at the egg with his knife, yellow yolk spilling about his plate. Even before he swallowed his bacon, limp and soggy egg was poised and ready on his fork.

Jane watched his hair waver, grey to brown and then back to grey again, like a flickering image on one of those old black

***SECOND VERSION***

Brian left the basement for the first time in three days. Jane made him bacon and eggs.

She watched him eat, his hair wavering grey to brown and then back to grey again, like a flickering image on one of those old black and white movies. “You need to eat more, Brian.”

“Nonsense. I eat plenty.” He snapped open the newspaper. The headline writhed and squirmed, steadied for a moment in a stream of random letters and fonts before returning to news of yet another parliamentary scandal.

Jane turned the hot water tap. It coughed, emitted a violent torrent of cold water before grudgingly allowing a tepid trickle. “The boiler needs looking at.”

Brian threw the paper onto the table and pushed his chair back,

[This message has been edited by monstewer (edited July 02, 2009).]


Posts: 373 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alliedfive
Member
Member # 7811

 - posted      Profile for alliedfive   Email alliedfive         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A couple thoughts:

quote:
Brian left the basement for the first time in three days

Because this is your opener, I expect some sort of explanation to follow. Maybe I'm dense, but the rest of the open doesn't really say anything about why he's been in the basement for three days. It all seems to be about food.

quote:
He sawed at the egg with his knife, yellow yoke spilling about his plate. Even before he swallowed his bacon, limp and soggy egg was poised and ready on his fork

That's an aweful lot of words to say that he's eating fast (we know that already). Especially in a flash piece.


Overall, I would read on. I'd be glad to read the whole thing. Send it on!


Posts: 323 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
keithjgrant
Member
Member # 8678

 - posted      Profile for keithjgrant   Email keithjgrant         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll give it a read.
Posts: 18 | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JohnMac
Member
Member # 8472

 - posted      Profile for JohnMac   Email JohnMac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"If you post it they will come..." Or something like that.

Send it along when you have the time. I'd like to give this one a read.

-John


Posts: 114 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Brian left the basement for the first time in three days.

I agree with Alliedfive. The opening sentence does not fit with the rest of the opening. Apparently the story has to do with food. If it isn't then you better trim this way back. If so change that opening line to fit. It should be easy.

The smell of breakfast got Brian to leave the basement for the first time in three days.

quote:
He sawed at the egg with his knife,

Sawing doesn't sound right for an egg. A steak, yes, egg?

The real hook should be the reason why he was in a basement for three days, not his voracious appetite. Consider working that in somehow.



Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jeff M
Member
Member # 7828

 - posted      Profile for Jeff M   Email Jeff M         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I didn't have a problem with the beginning. I read an implied link between the first two sentences. Either he left the basement because she made bacon, or she made bacon because he left the basement. Either way, I'm comfortable waiting to see what happens next.

The line that did throw me was "You made me that chicken casserole only a few hours ago." The beginning made it seem like the bacon and eggs was the first food he had eaten in three days.

I'm also struggling with a flash piece, and I'm finding that trying to pack character and plot into 1K leaves little room for imagery. The extensive descriptions of the eggs and bacon feel a bit wordy for such a piece. You could remove the following lines altogether and (I don't think) it would change the story, but would save you 62 words:
Three more rashers of bacon and an egg with a broken yoke already hissed and spat in the frying pan.
and
“You made me that chicken casserole only a few hours ago.” He sawed at the egg with his knife, yellow yoke spilling about his plate. Even before he swallowed his bacon, limp and soggy egg was poised and ready on his fork.

Send. I read.


Posts: 159 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
monstewer
Member
Member # 5883

 - posted      Profile for monstewer   Email monstewer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the offers to read and the thoughtful comments on the 13. I've posted a second, less food-obsessed 13 above. I think I must have been hungry when I wrote that.
Posts: 373 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alliedfive
Member
Member # 7811

 - posted      Profile for alliedfive   Email alliedfive         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I dig the second version. Really subtle, but their mundane domestic actions only seem to heighten the sense that something is not right. Well done.
Posts: 323 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Owasm
Member
Member # 8501

 - posted      Profile for Owasm   Email Owasm         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I dunno. I don't get a sense for point of view in this opening. His hair is wavering gray to black to gray. That's her POV. The newspaper is writhing and squirming before it settles in. That's his POV.

I do get hungry, especially with the first version.

I'm not sure I'd continue not knowing if the squirming and the graying are real or perceptions.

I'll read if you want another set of eyes on the piece.


Posts: 1607 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just ate so all that yummy food won't influence my crit.

quote:
Brian left the basement for the first time in three days. Jane made him bacon and eggs.

These two senetences clash. They need to be corresponding, linked in some way. Maybe something like...

As a reward, Jane made him bacon and eggs.

I do agree with Owasm that the POV is distracting. That will need to be addressed.


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick T
Member
Member # 8052

 - posted      Profile for Nick T   Email Nick T         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi,

I'll agree with Skadder that the lack of a link between the first two sentences needs to be addressed. Combined with the writhing headline and then the mundane domestic actions really threw me off. Some of the uncertainty will probably resolve itself once you fix the POV.

I'll read.

Nick


Posts: 706 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ 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