I'm thinking of submitting this for the current quarter of the WotF contest But i am a bit late for the group that is already going. But if anyone would like to take a look at this for me I will more than happily return the favor.
The acrid smell of the rain burnt the hairs of his nose. Kade pulled the weather report window from the edge of his vision into full view. The acid rain was expected to be worse than normal for the next few weeks. The chemical fire at PolyDynamics was going to be a pain in everyone's backside for a while he thought to himself. He collapsed the weather report and looked around. The suit was late. Kade leaned against the streetlight and watched the masses travel up and down the streets on their lunch breaks. Most of them walked in a daze, paying more attention to net windows projected on their glasses than where they were going. Some even actually had their com-pads projecting on to their retinas, the way his were.
Overall, pretty good. You do a good job setting the scene.
A few things to think about: -- A good chunk of the first paragraph has the feel of an info dump. Do readers really need to know about a chemical fire that soon into the story? -- You have both "acrid rain" and "acid rain" in the first paragraph. -- Can the smell of rain burn nose hairs? I wouldn't think so.
I like the feeling of this so far. I think you've set a nice cyberpunk scene. I really liked the retina projecting detail.
I would tend to agree with Jennifer about the nose hairs. I think by the time you got to a point where it would burn hair inside your nose it would be too toxic to breathe without a respirator. Maybe rephrase that to make it irritate his nose instead.
I assume PolyDynamics is going to be the bad guy in all of this? The only reason I bring that up is that in a short story I think it's important that you don't lead us astray early, even if it's just to set the scene. If the company you mentioned won't be important to the whole story, I think you might leave the name out because right now it's drawing attention. I'm already thinking to myself "Those guys at PolyDynamics are real jerks." If they are important to the story ignore all of this and you did a great job.
I'm very far from perfect with comma usage, but I think that: "The chemical fire at PolyDynamics was going to be a pain in everyone's backside for a while he thought to himself." needs a comma after while.
I'll give the whole thing a read for you, if you like.
[This message has been edited by coralm (edited November 29, 2010).]
ok here is a redux of the first bit based on your replys. and thanks alot for looking it over for me.
The acrid smell of the rain burned in his nose and left a sour taste in his mouth. Kade pulled the weather report window from the edge of his vision into full view. The local forecaster expected the toxin count to be worse than normal for the next few weeks. That chem-fire was going to be a pain in everyone's backside for a while, Kade thought. He collapsed the weather report and looked around. The suit was late. Kade leaned against the streetlight and watched the masses travel up and down the streets on their lunch breaks. Most of them walked in a daze, paying more attention to net windows projected on their glasses than where they were going. Some even actually had their com-pads projecting on to their retinas, the way his were.
side note im useing a program other than word to write so if you notice anything screwie in the formating please let me know
Hmm... The revision is well written, but my immediate reaction was, "When is the story going to start?" You've done a great job of establishing the setting, but after 13 lines I don't really know anything about the main character except his name. I also don't have any indication of plot except for the tiny sentence, "The suit was late," which I didn't even notice on first read.
You allocate an enormous amount of real estate in your first 13 to talking about the weather. I could understand this if the acid rain is cataclysmic, or related to a plot element, ok. But the MC himself tells us that it's nothing more than some pain in the butt bad weather. I as a reader started skimming to get to the actual story (and therefore I missed the little plot-related sentence).
Unfortunately, on first read I ended up skimming the second paragraph too. The key problem is that absolutely nothing is happening, either externally (on the street where Kade is) or internally (Kade's internal concerns and self-talk). For me to care at all, something has to be happening in at least one of those places. Since the scene is about Kade waiting for someone (no external activity yet) you need to compensate by giving us internal activity: - What is Kade thinking about? (Is he wondering who "the suit" is? Is he hoping that "the suit" will bring an object or piece of information he needs?) - How does Kade feel about this meeting? (Is he afraid of the confrontation? Is he angry at "the suit" for screwing something up?) - What does Kade want? (Is he tired of getting paid to murder people like "the suit?" Does he want to stop being a double agent and meeting with this contact so that he can focus on starting a family?) - Etc.
Since you're already good at creating a great setting (this is my personal weakness as a writer, so I'm jealous), I recommend focusing on weaving in some character and plot information a bit sooner. Good luck!
[This message has been edited by sojoyful (edited December 02, 2010).]
I may like the second version a bit more than sojoful, but agree that the second paragraph needs an additional bit to move the story forward. Unless the crowd is immediately important, perhaps shorten that passage and work in something meaty, like the antagonist. (If PolyDynamics is the bad guy, perhaps work them back in.)
quote:Some even actually had their com-pads projecting on to their retinas, the way his were.
I suggest deleting 'even actually,' which is sort of begging the reader to be impressed with the tech. Perhaps 'on to' should be 'onto'.