Health Care is just a working title. Right now, I'm debating either "The GnIsis Network" or "The Laying On of Hands" as the real title. Would be interested to know which grabs your fancy more.
Here is the first 13 for an sf story I just started that explores some issues with recent advances in health care. Nanosurgery isn't one of those advances, its just a means for delivering the actual concept in the story. Here, it is important that the first line hooks the reader because there is background and description in the first 2 paragraphs before getting into longer bit of dialogue and action after the first 13.
Feedback is appreciated.
SECOND DRAFT ------------ "How many times do I have to tell you I don't need nodamn nanosurgery!" In Operation Asian Liberation, retired Colonel Joseph Shaheen had earned the moniker ‘the Shah’ from ruling rather than leading his brigade. As for ‘nodamn,’ he’d said it so often in life that his soldiers had joked it belonged in Webster’s dictionary. At his wedding, it had been ‘don’t need nodamn five-hundred dollar cake’, and in United Korea, it had been ‘got nodamn air support.’ Joe slipped out of the seat of the autochair and may have added hip repair to his medical agenda if it were not for Zeke, who caught his arm before his father could crash to the ground. Ever since the battle wound to his upper thigh, Joe could not sit, or walk, with ease. Like virtually everything at the... ___________ FIRST DRAFT -----------
"How many times do I have to tell you I don't need nodamn nano-surgery!" Retired Brigadier General Joseph “the Shah” Shaheen had earned the moniker from troops he ruled rather than led. He said ‘no damn’ so often in life it sounded like one word. For his wedding, it had been ‘don’t need nodamn five-hundred dollar cake’, and in United Korea, it had been ‘got nodamn air support.’ Joe stumbled as he sat in the autochair. Like virtually everything at the hospital, it was constructed of powder-blue molded plastic, curved lines, electrical components, and gears concealed behind brushed nickel plates. If Apple had gotten into the wheelchair business, they would have built one just like this.
[Edited to add the bit about the title for the story]
[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited September 02, 2010).]
[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited September 06, 2010).]
Sounds pretty great to me, I think there's enough of a hook, though "nodamn" just looks funny to me, I can see how you're using it and the examples are humorous and tell us 1) he's married (or was) and 2) there's some entity called United Korea, which makes me interested.
I tripped on this line, though:
quote:Joe stumbled as he sat in the autochair.
I think you're using sat as an active verb, but since it can also be passive (the cat sat on the big mat by the window all day) it is a confusing read. Switch to something else, I recommend. even just "as he sat DOWN in the autochair..." (but I recommend something entirely different like "As he reached for the autochair..." or something else.)
Good luck, this is an excellent start (but then again I'm currently consulting in healthcare and I am a sci-fi geek so I could be biased.
I liked it (especially the voice) and would continue reading, but... Suggestions:
quote:Retired Brigadier General Joseph “the Shah” Shaheen had earned the moniker from troops he ruled rather than led.
This sentence bothered me. First, I don't believe "Brigadier" in necessary. In my understanding, most military types just refer to anyone with this official title as "general" (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). Second, you have the first half of this sentence in past perfect and the second half in simple past - the way it is worded you need parallel structure. Third, the sentence kind of jumps - you give his nickname and then refer to the nickname as a "moniker" in the same breath. My suggestion: "For years (or something equivilent), retired General Joseph Shaheen earned the moniker of "Shah" not from leading, but [instead] from ruling his troops."
quote:Joe stumbled as he sat in the autochair.
I also have a problem with this, but not because it is passive - there is no use of "be" with a past participle. The use of "as" can be interpreted as "when" or "while" - I would suggest you reword.
quote:Like virtually everything at the hospital, it was constructed of powder-blue molded plastic, curved lines, electrical components, and gears concealed behind brushed nickel plates.
At first read I thought this was two sentences. You might want to separate it into two due to the difficulty in reading it. The second sentence would start at "Curved".
There is one more thing - you have relied heavily on the use of past and future perfect tenses (had - / would have - ). There is nothing wrong with these tense, but they do tend to distance the reader from the story. You may want to reword.
Again, I did like it - I just feel it needs some refining. Good luck.
[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited September 02, 2010).]
Thanks for the feedback. Its a first draft so I usually miss certain things that haven't become writing "muscle memory" for me yet. That includes passives and tense issues.
@KayTi, you are right, I can come up with a better verb. I originally had it as "Joe stumbled into the autochair," but I thought this could be confused with him stumbling and falling on it, when I'm trying to say that he sort of inelegantly sat in the chair. He has a war wound that makes sitting and standing difficult for him.
Since you are healthcare professional, I think your feedback would be very helpful for me once I finish the first draft.
@philo I see what you are saying regarding Brigadier...the main reason I chose that rank is I wanted him to be a rank of high respect but not so high that he would be commanding entire theaters of war. I may demote him to Colonel which would address your first point. Regarding past perfect vs. simple past. I read somewhere that some authors only use enough "hads" to indicate to the reader that this is something in the past. This is just because too many hads can slow the flow. Another way to smooth out the read would be to use contractions.
I like your suggestion about breaking the description of the chair into two.
@stutson Thanks, I will consider your point about the alternating explanations. Regarding the wheelchair, this is actually a foreshadowing of Joe's struggle with a technology that becomes the main antagonist for him in the story. I like your suggestion about connecting the description of the chair with his stumble.
@skadder Thanks for that info, I think I might just refer to him as Brigadier instead of "Brigadier General"
This hooks me. And I like it that he says "nodamn" That's pretty funny.
The only thing I really thought that was an issue was that his name takes up so much of the first line. Unless his name is super important to the story, than I don't really think it needs to be taking up so much space. Maybe shorten his name a little at first. Then maybe go into him being a retired general later, unless you feel you really need it at the beginning. It just slowed me down when I was reading is all.
But I like the first line within the dialogue right from the start.