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 » Drifter

   
Author Topic: Drifter
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Since I am clearly not going to make Thursday's deadline for the current Challenge, here are my opening lines for you to critique:

Version 1
Lady Gaga floated toward the looming planet, sorting out the flood of signals bombarding her skin. Her body spread in a wide, flat plane, angled to maximize her surface area exposure. When she realized the music video was over, she shifted her attention to a football game and picked a new name; Ben Roethlisberger.

He did not understand all the rules yet, so Ben carefully observed the passes, interceptions, fumbles, and penalties. What was its purpose? The Steelers and Vikings strove against each other for possession of a ball and fans waved yellow towels, while coaches paced on the sidelines. None of it made sense.

Version 2
Lady Gaga floated toward the looming planet and sifted through the flood of signals bombarding her skin. Her body spread in a wide, flat plane, angled to maximize her surface area exposure. When she realized the music video was over, she shifted her attention to a football game and picked a new name; Number 7, Ben Roethlisberger.

He did not understand all the rules yet, so Ben carefully observed the passes, interceptions, fumbles, and penalties. What was its purpose? The Steelers and Vikings strove against each other for possession of a ball and fans waved yellow towels, while coaches paced on the sidelines. He couldn’t fathom why they cared so passionately about the outcome.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited October 06, 2010).]


Posts: 776 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PB&Jenny
Member
Member # 9200

 - posted      Profile for PB&Jenny   Email PB&Jenny         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow, that's exactly how I feel.
Posts: 365 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brendan
Member
Member # 6044

 - posted      Profile for Brendan   Email Brendan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Of course it made sense. :-)

It is a pity - this is right up there with the best opening 13s in the competition. Very intriguing. This definitely would keep me reading.


Posts: 763 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Twiggy
Member
Member # 9209

 - posted      Profile for Twiggy   Email Twiggy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I loved this
Posts: 84 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dame
Member
Member # 8513

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

Someone, maybe it was Damon Knight, said that if you use an "ing" word, you will often find two or three more in close proximity. He said that verb form is often slower and less taut than straight past tense. You have three in the first sentence. Maybe for that reason, "sorting out," seemed odd, a bit vague or generic. Would "untangling," or something, be more specific? Sorting out seems... informal. ((It doesn't solve the "ing" problem though - if it is a problem.))

I love the name changing. I'm not massively interested in football, or in an alien trying to understand everyday human actions, so that aspect didn't hook me very strongly. But I would definitely read on.

"...for possession of a ball and fans waved yellow towels, while coaches paced on the sidelines. None of it made sense."

Would Ben know what a ball was, fans, towels or coaches? These are quite specific memes(?)and an alien would have to know quite a lot about humanity to be able to define them - probably to the point of understanding what the game was about.

I'm a sucker for stories about flexible identity, so this hooked me, despite knowing nothing, nor caring less, about American Football.

Watch out that you didn't give us much of an idea of what the alien wants or if its goals are vital to it. It seemed pretty casual, especially as it had the time to ponder.

I hope this is of some use.

Good luck polishing and subbing the story.

D

Lady Gaga floated toward the looming planet, sorting out the flood of signals bombarding her skin. Her body spread in a wide, flat plane, angled to maximize her surface area exposure. When she realized the music video was over, she shifted her attention to a football game and picked a new name; Ben Roethlisberger.

He did not understand all the rules yet, so Ben carefully observed the passes, interceptions, fumbles, and penalties. What was its purpose? The Steelers and Vikings strove against each other for possession of a ball and fans waved yellow towels, while coaches paced on the sidelines. None of it made sense.


Posts: 96 | Registered: Mar 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think I prefer “Lady Gaga floated toward the looming planet, sifting through the flood of signals bombarding her skin.” I don’t mind the “ing”s slowing it down, because s/he is taking the time to learn before making contact. And “sifted”, “shifted” bothers me a bit.

S/he does understand a great deal by now, but competition as entertainment is an alien idea. Does Version 2 work better?

The goal becomes clear on the next page. Can you wait for it?

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited October 06, 2010).]


Posts: 776 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
coralm
Member
Member # 9274

 - posted      Profile for coralm   Email coralm         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I really enjoyed your opening lines here, quite intriguing. I like version 2 a smidgen better, though if you asked me to explain why I couldn't tell you. Probably something to do with "None of it made sense" I'm not a fan of that phrase in general.

PS - I hope the alien eats Lady Gaga.


Posts: 116 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brendan
Member
Member # 6044

 - posted      Profile for Brendan   Email Brendan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like the end of the first better. "None of it made sense" is more immediate and brings you closer to the alien's viewpoint. "He couldn't fathom..." is quite distancing in comparison.

I like "sifted" but I can see you point about sifted and shifted.


Posts: 763 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
andersonmcdonald
Member
Member # 8641

 - posted      Profile for andersonmcdonald   Email andersonmcdonald         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like version two. It's clearer, or at least it gives me a glimmer of hope that I just might figure out what's going on. That's not a criticism. I'm intrigued and would read on. Reads like something you'd find in some po-dunk publication like Analog or Asimov's.
Posts: 443 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LDWriter2
Member
Member # 9148

 - posted      Profile for LDWriter2   Email LDWriter2         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:

Since I am clearly not going to make Thursday's deadline for the current Challenge, here are my opening lines for you to critique:
Version 1
Lady Gaga floated toward the looming planet, sorting out the flood of signals bombarding her skin. Her body spread in a wide, flat plane, angled to maximize her surface area exposure. When she realized the music video was over, she shifted her attention to a football game and picked a new name; Ben Roethlisberger.

He did not understand all the rules yet, so Ben carefully observed the passes, interceptions, fumbles, and penalties. What was its purpose? The Steelers and Vikings strove against each other for possession of a ball and fans waved yellow towels, while coaches paced on the sidelines. None of it made sense.

Version 2
Lady Gaga floated toward the looming planet and sifted through the flood of signals bombarding her skin. Her body spread in a wide, flat plane, angled to maximize her surface area exposure. When she realized the music video was over, she shifted her attention to a football game and picked a new name; Number 7, Ben Roethlisberger.

He did not understand all the rules yet, so Ben carefully observed the passes, interceptions, fumbles, and penalties. What was its purpose? The Steelers and Vikings strove against each other for possession of a ball and fans waved yellow towels, while coaches paced on the sidelines. He couldn’t fathom why they cared so passionately about the outcome.


Since I missed the challenge, I may say something obvious so pardon my ignorance if that happens.

But I assume She-he-it takes the name and maybe form of whoever she-he-it observes.

As to which version is better, I'm not sure. A -ed word is better than a -ing, I've also been told that by editors and writers, but somehow I think sort sounds better.

As to the ending, I think I like the first one better. It's shorter and faster to the point.

I don't know if any of this is just my personal tastes or some wisdom I've hopefully gotten.


Posts: 4847 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  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