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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Untitled, sf

   
Author Topic: Untitled, sf
JenniferHicks
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I haven't finished this yet. I'm only looking for comments on the first 13. Thanks.

#

If there existed in all of spacetime and beyond a perfect instance of a bad day, Clare Morrow had tapped into it. This day, she decided, was not some pale imitation but the genuine article, the Platonic real essence of bad-dayness.

It started when she woke beside the wrong version of her husband. She expected this - her true husband had not made an appearance in six years - but she figured the universe owed her a visit from him. Breakfast burned in the toaster, and she spent 15 minutes hunting for Steve’s left shoe, which meant they did not have time to walk to school and took the car instead. She rushed home to find Dave headed out the door for work.

He looked more melancholy than usual.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

[This message has been edited by JenniferHicks (edited October 11, 2010).]


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WouldBe
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I like this. I'm fairly sure it's speculative fiction. The mention of spacetime and wrong version of her husband are the clues. Since you're promising a really bad day, maybe you can work in a bigger example of wrongness, particularly if her husband's reply is a zinger. I think some sort of zinger would help, since burned toaster food and a missing shoe are not state-of-the-art badness. The reader might be teetering on whether there's going to be space blasters or Erma Bombeck on the next page.

You might be able to make some space for the first 13 in the first paragraph. I think it could be trimmed a bit without sacrificing badness and humor.

Good luck with it.


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redux
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I think the start of the story should be: "It [Her bad day] started when she woke beside the wrong version of her husband." It would immediately draw the reader in and keep them reading to find out how a person can be a wrong version of themselves and whether this is a common occurrence.

I had some trouble following the second paragraph...

"She expected this - her true husband had not made an appearance in six years - but she figured the universe owed her a visit from him. "

The 'but' tripped me up in this sentence. The conjunction is normally used to present a contrast or exception to something. The 'but' made me think that if the true husband hasn't appeared then the contrast/exception to this is that he has now appeared. That is, however, not the case since it is stated that the wrong version is present.

"Breakfast burned in the toaster, and she spent 15 minutes hunting for Steve’s left shoe, which meant they did not have time to walk to school and took the car instead. She rushed home to find Dave headed out the door for work."

At first I thought Steve was the husband since he was the main subject of the preceding sentence. Reading on I then realized that it must be the son then we jump back to the husband and find out his name is Dave.


Overall, I believe you have a really intriguing concept and I would want to keep reading.


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DerekBalsam
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Jennifer,

I see what you're getting at, and I like it.

The thing I had trouble accepting was the description of a bad day: "Breakfast burned in the toaster, and she spent 15 minutes hunting for Steve’s left shoe, which meant they did not have time to walk to school and took the car instead. She rushed home to find Dave headed out the door for work." I mean, that sounds like a pretty standard day for me. On the Platonic ideal of bad days I'd expect some broken bones, exploding toilets, or maybe a meteor landing on my car.

-db


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JenniferHicks
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Thank you for the comments so far. Quick note: This is just the first 13. There's only so much calamity that will fit in such a short space. It does get worse ... and worse ...
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LDWriter2
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[quote
#

If there existed in all of spacetime and beyond a perfect instance of a bad day, Clare Morrow had tapped into it. This day, she decided, was not some pale imitation but the genuine article, the Platonic real essence of bad-dayness.

It started when she woke beside the wrong version of her husband. She expected this - her true husband had not made an appearance in six years - but she figured the universe owed her a visit from him. Breakfast burned in the toaster, and she spent 15 minutes hunting for Steve’s left shoe, which meant they did not have time to walk to school and took the car instead. She rushed home to find Dave headed out the door for work.

He looked more melancholy than usual.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.
[quote]

Over all not bad. I also got confused about who Steve was. For a second or two.

I get the impression that this piece is supposed to be light hearted if not humorous, if so you're doing good if not Oops not so good. The oops is for me misreading it and for you.

I like the idea of starting with her waking up but at the same time the bad day part is important. Maybe "She knew it would be a very bad day when she woke up next to the wrong husband". That is a bit on the long side but hopefully it gives you an idea of what I'm trying to say. Maybe explain things quickly so readers don't get the wrong idea of why he was the wrong husband.

One further comment about the first section. I think it sounds a bit boring. It doesn't last long but some readers seem to react very quickly to first impressions.

The second section is good-mostly that is-, it gets the point across and is easy to relate to which is good.

That all I have.


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MrsBrown
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I like it just the way it is. Catchy, quick, personable, and hooky. I really like the first 2 sentences; I wouldn't want it to start with her waking up. She sounds smart. POV and voice are strong.

I paused at the expected wrong husband being the 1st bad thing, since it is so regular for her. But I get that she'd like to see the right version; I'm sure there are times when she feels it more keenly than other times, so this must be one of those days. I think its good as-is.

I got that Steve was her kid. Since it gave someone else pause, perhaps use the diminutive (Stevie)? That would also help distinguish him from Dave.

You only used Clare's name once; by the next time you cite it, I might wonder who is Clare? Morrow is a great last name, since you are talking about a particular day and "tomorrow" also refers to a day (very subtle tie-in).

Hatrack has taught me to beware the em-dash police: its "She expected this--her true husband" with two dashes, no spaces.

quote:
The reader might be teetering on whether there's going to be space blasters or Erma Bombeck on the next page
That's what I like best about this piece--an ordinary, real woman in a fantastic situation. Nice work!

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited October 13, 2010).]


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