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Author Topic: SF short story, 2500 words
Lionhunter
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Well, with this story i got my first rejection. The mail form said poorly edited manuscript, so that really doesn't help me figure if the story needs fixin' or not. Besides the grammar thing (it had to be the grammar, because the manuscript was formatted as they wanted). So, any takers?

quote:
The Room had four walls plastered with little white lies and air filled with hollow promises.
He doesnít even know it.
The Room had a table in its center, completely covered by the shining light coming out of the center of the ceiling.
Iím actually quite ashamed to be doing this to a guy like this.
Two men entered the Room. Their long figures stretched continuously up from the dirt ridden floor. Their muddy boots clapped on each footstep. The two men stopped near the door. Their ridged faces, silent and grave, searched the Room. With bodies shrouded in long trench coats, they walked near the table. One of them had sheets of papers gripped in his hand. With each clapping footstep, they seemed to hover above the ground, closer to him.

[This message has been edited by Lionhunter (edited January 22, 2010).]


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Devnal
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My take

-------

The Room had four walls plastered with little white lies and air filled with hollow promises.(The effort for poetic-ness here is way too obvious. Also it sounds like the walls are are plastered with air filled with hollow promises. This needs to be changed or taken out al together)
He doesnít even know it.(too ambiguous. Who doesn't know what? Keeping me confused isn't going to hold my attention im afraid)
The Room had a table in its center, completely covered by the shining light coming out of the center of the ceiling.(is this room dilapidated? is this a hole in the ceiling? a light?)
Iím actually quite ashamed to be doing this to a guy like this.(same problem i had with the previous dialogue. I don't know who is thinking this. Its too ambiguous again, I can't connect this thought to anything)
Two men entered the Room. Their long figures stretched continuously up from the dirt ridden floor.(this last sentence is uneeded, as a person's body always goes from the ground up - unless they are lying down, which I wouldn't think they are in the first place) Their muddy boots clapped on each footstep. The two men stopped near the door.(near the door they just entered? where were their footsteps taking them then?) Their ridged faces, silent and grave, searched the Room. With bodies shrouded in long trench coats, they walked near the table. One of them had sheets of papers gripped in his hand. With each clapping footstep, they seemed to hover above the ground, closer to him (I find it contradictry that thier footsteps clap yet they seem to hover above the ground. I envision no foot movement, or the illusion of no movement if it looks like they are hovering/gliding above the ground)


I wasn't drawn in to this first 13. I feel like there is a lot going on with no direction of what is going on (if that makes sense). I don't feel an urge to read on, im more confused and frustrated than anything. I feel as though you are trying to create suspense by with holding information (the dialogue parts don't point us towards anything in particular, we have no idea what he is doing and to what kind of person. He could be giving a heroic award to a murderer, or murdering a hero- who knows!)

[This message has been edited by Devnal (edited January 22, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Devnal (edited January 22, 2010).]


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Merlion-Emrys
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My reaction is pretty much the oposite. The ambiguity and the strangeness of it makes me want to read on to figure out what is happening and who the men are. Same with the dialogue bits...no, I don't know where they are coming from, but I'm interested in finding out.

I also like the first line, but then I always like stuff like that


I do think the clapping steps and the hovering is a slightly odd combination or, if you are doing it for the weird/otherwordly effect it perhaps needs to be described with more of that air.


quote:
The Room had a table in its center, completely covered by the shining light coming out of the center of the ceiling


You may want a different word than "covered." Bathed, perhaps? Not totally sure what effect you're going for.


quote:
Iím actually quite ashamed to be doing this to a guy like this.

"A guy like him" might sound better.


quote:
One of them had sheets of papers


It should just be paper.


[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited January 22, 2010).]


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Dropbear
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If you want the grammar checked, I'd be happy to do it for you (I may not be much of a writer, but I'm reasonably good with grammar). Just email it, if you're interested.
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NoTimeToThink
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I don't mind the "poetic-ness" of your writing.

The 2 thought lines, so far, seem to have nothing to do with the scene you are setting, and I don't know whose thoughts they are.

Something about muddy boots clapping bothers me. I think of claps as sharp sounds, but I expect muddy boots to be muffled.

The last bit confused me.

quote:
One of them had sheets of papers gripped in his hand. With each clapping footstep, they seemed to hover above the ground, closer to him.

At first I thought you meant the papers seemed to hover, closer to one of the men in trench coats, but after about 4 readings it occured to me that the "him" might actually be a third person, possibly even the one whose thoughts we hear at the beginning. I'm not very good at POV rules, but the thoughts seemed to be first person, so that contributed to my missing the possibility that the thoughts belonged to "him."

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Lionhunter
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Hmmmm.
Interesting.
Based on Devnal's crit, i'd have to rewrite the whole damn thing. Based on Merlion's crit, just a few bits. So, using Merlion's suggestion, the first 13 would look like this:
quote:

The Room had four walls plastered with little white lies and air filled with hollow promises.
He doesnít even know it.
The Room had a table in its center, completely bathed by the shining light coming out of the center of the ceiling.
Iím actually quite ashamed to be doing this to a guy like him.
Two men entered the Room. Their long figures stretched continuously up from the dirt ridden floor. Their muddy boots clapped on each footstep. The two men stopped near the door. Their ridged faces, silent and grave, searched the Room. With bodies shrouded in long trench coats, they walked near the table. One of them had sheets of paper gripped in his hand. With each clapping footstep, they seemed to hover seamlessly,


Now, based on Devnal's crit(where the first 13 aren't interesting), if i were to start the story like this:
quote:

I am walking down the steps that took me up every day, for the past few years, to the place I tried to escape from, because I hated it, because I was good at it. Halfway down the stairs, a flock of people is passing right next to me, unaware of the true meaning behind those fancy words held high by the columns of an old, past sacred temple of guardians over the purity of mankind. I turn my scarred left eye at the broken inscription, looking at it for one last time, whose meaning disgusted those who understood it, enraged them, because we did the right thing. Their eyes, they look at me as the genetic inquisitor of this age. I am tired of that look. Of those clone eyes. Sunlight lingers on the buildingís entrance, through the columns, obscuring, then enlightening my sight as I walk down the stairs, between the long shadows, while


Would this be more interesting? If i we're to use the new 13, i'd have to add another 1500 words, because it's from another short story, with the same characters in this one, but didn't finish it, but could use it as a beginning. I dunno. Anyway:
quote:

If you want the grammar checked, I'd be happy to do it for you (I may not be much of a writer, but I'm reasonably good with grammar). Just email it, if you're interested.


BINGO!
Yes, i'd love it if you could grammar check it


[This message has been edited by Lionhunter (edited January 22, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 22, 2010).]


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