Just finished my sci-fi story, complete at 6850 words. Here's the first thirteen if anyone wants to give their $0.02:
He moved his hand away from the crook of his arm just long enough to see if the bleeding had stopped. A part of him knew he shouldn’t have pulled the little plastic tube from his vein, but the sight of it disappearing underneath his skin had churned his stomach.
That had been... what was it now? Hours ago? He didn’t remember, his mind was still too cloudy. Underneath his hand, a small smear of clotted blood stained his skin. His fingers felt sticky. The little circular puncture wound didn’t start dripping again when he lifted them away. All the other wires and electrodes, which had earlier been glued to his skin, now dangled from the monitoring screens above the capsule behind him. Just looking at the icy chamber sent a shiver coursing through his body.
[Note: This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury]
Nicely done. In all honesty, not much that really interests me personally, but you've established character very well, and some sort of sense of a problem with being in and seemingly wanting to get out of a hospital.
The only real suggestion I can make would be to try and slightly increase the speculative element.
just long enough to see if the bleeding had stopped -- Implies he moved his hand back quickly.
That had been... what was it now? Hours ago? – Ummm, WHAT had been hours ago? Unclear antecedent. Do you mean pulling the tube out or moving his hand to look????
I think you mean “that” refers to pulling the tube out but it’s not clear especially since you have that start a new paragraph.
My thought is that you have this out of order. Like –
A part of him knew he shouldn’t have pulled the little plastic tube from his vein, but the sight of it disappearing underneath his skin had churned his stomach. That had been... what was it now? Hours ago? He didn’t remember, his mind was still too cloudy.
His fingers felt sticky. He moved his hand away from the crook of his arm to see if the bleeding had stopped. The little circular puncture wound didn’t start dripping again. Only a small smear of clotted blood stained his skin. Behind him, all the other wires and electrodes, which had earlier been glued to his skin, now dangled from the monitoring screens above the capsule.
Now – to me, opinion – your next sentence should be a new paragraph because it is a new topic. Also, I think if he’s sitting (or whatever) in an icy chamber, we should know that before now. It sort of comes out of nowhere as it is.
If his fingers felt sticky, why was there only a "small" smear of clotted blood -now - from a "little" circular puncture wound unless he's looked before - probably - unless he's been able to clean the wound earlier -- ??????
[This message has been edited by arriki (edited January 07, 2010).]
What do you want me to change the topic title to, Teraen?
Edited to add: I agree with skadder that this is important, and so I have presumed to make changes in this topic and in the Hatrack Groups topic where you also name your story. I hope that's all right, Teraen.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 07, 2010).]
I like it, but I am the kind of person who is creeped out by veins, so I can easily identify with his reaction on seeing the tube. You'll have to find out from other "normal" people if it resonates with them as well.
I didn't find the "..what was it now?" line confusing, but I have to admit I prefer arriki's re-ordering. She also seems to know a lot about grammar, so I agree with her advice.
It doesn't hook me into wanting to read more of the story. All i get from it is that the character is hurt and he doesn't know how long it has been since he was hurt. You write that there are leads and stuff dangling from the monitors in an icy chamber. I have no idea what type of room he is in. It could be a ice cave, an underground room kept cold, or a hospital type room that is a cold color.
arraki made it better with the rearrangement of the sentences. it still lacks the inticement to read much more for me. but, some stories take a little longer to catch the reader's eye.
I agree with arriki on the reordering, but her last comment about the last sentence needing to be a new paragraph indicates how you have confused your readers. (The last sentence is still referring to the capsule, but arriki thinks it's something else.)
I think I see the speculative element that Merlion missed - has he just awakened from some sort of stasis or deep freeze in the capsule / chamber? Using capsule (small, claustrophobic, coffin-like), then chamber (an open room) to represent the same thing is confusing. If you can't think of 2 descriptive words that are closer in conotation, don't be afraid to say "capsule" twice for the sake of clarity.
Thanks for the feedbacks so far. I had no idea that a title and the first 13 were not-postable... as far as I was aware, I am still pretty anonymous here as nobody really knows my first name anyways.
Oh well, better to be corrected and still be eligible than to not be corrected and have one's story discredited on a technicality.
By the way, if OSC is a judge, and the implication is that he would have seen it since it is his site... does that mean he reads this stuff? Maybe he really is a hatracker who posts under another name. I'd put my money on extrinsic... or KDW... How do we REALLY KNOW they are who they say they are?
quote: I had no idea that a title and the first 13 were not-postable...
Of course they are postable--just not a great idea to say you are sending it WOTF.
Better be safe than sorry. I'm sure OSC has better things to do than read our stuff, however it would be a poor decision to risk something you've put time and effort in by publishing your intention to submit a specific story to a specific market that requires the anonymity of all submissions.
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited January 07, 2010).]
my only suggestion is to consider changing "clotted blood" to dried blood. Dried blood is that stuff that seeps into the skin,staining it to look like a birthmark.
While Arriki's comments make sense in a Strunk&White kinda way, I like the feel of the thought process. Afterall he is disoriented and disoriented minds do not follow grammar guides which aren't completely geared toward the style of speculative fiction anyway. It seems more believable, especially since we are experiencing it through his viewpoint.
But that is just my opinion, I read alot for pleasure and this was enjoyable to read. I would continue.
Alright! I admit it! I am Orson Scott Card! Things have been a little slow in the way of story ideas these past months, so I thought I could sneek around here and get some good material. Oh, well. Guess I'll go back to reading chick lit.
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