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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » A.K.A. Eastwood (WIP)

   
Author Topic: A.K.A. Eastwood (WIP)
Osiris
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Hello,

Below is the first draft of the first 13 of an Arabian cyberpunkish story of an Egyptian souvenir craftsman who moonlights as a nanite hacker combating terrorism.

Any comments are welcome.

---------

Rasheed Abdullah, A.K.A. Eastwood, flexed his fingers just inches from the 1851 Navy Colt revolver holstered to his belt. He'd practiced the motion a hundred, a thousand times, while watching spaghetti westerns and waiting for customers at the family souvenir shop. When he'd caught himself unconsciously flexing his fingers as his favorite soccer club, Al-Ahly, lined up for a goal, he knew it'd become second nature.
Fifteen paces away, the wahabi nanoterrorist grinned, baring prison-bar teeth with all the gray and black of an empty jail cell. With his tumbleweed beard and fanatical eyes, Eastwood suspected he looked exactly as he did in realspace. Like most wahabis, he lacked imagination.

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited December 01, 2010).]


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eyegore242
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the first para is pretty good stuff. the only thing that trips me up is the dude's name then aka eastwood. it seems the start here is set in cyberspace/vr net. i'm assuming his handle is eastwood, so i would start by calling him eastwood then later when in the meatworld introduce his real name.

the second para i dont like quite as much... its your at little rough trying to paint the spaghetti western feel.

maybe something along the lines of '..nanoterrorist grinned; his rotting teeth resembled the bars of a dark, empty jail cell.'

the 'tumbleweed beard' kinda throws me a little as well. when i think tumbleweed beard for a western im thinking a man with yesterdays five o'clock shadow, like the MC's namesake in so many movies. but you call him a wahabi so i'm assuming you mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabi with the long wild beards that is associated with arab culture.
in that case i would something like 'his eyes burned with the fanatical fire of a religious madman and the long strands of his unkempt beard danced in the breeze like a tumbleweed across the sands.'

i must admit i dont know much about arab culture but i do enjoy cyberpunk so if you need it looked over feel more than free to send it my way.

eyegore

on a side note i would like to submit my name in the typo king of the boards contest.
[This message has been edited by eyegore242 (edited December 01, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by eyegore242 (edited December 01, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by eyegore242 (edited December 01, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by eyegore242 (edited December 01, 2010).]


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Osiris
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Thanks for your feedback, eyegore. I will send it on to you once I've finished the first draft, and happily return the favor.

And yes, those are the Wahhabis I reference in the story.


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sojoyful
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You deserve more than one response, so here goes!

quote:
Rasheed Abdullah, A.K.A. Eastwood, flexed his fingers just inches from the 1851 Navy Colt revolver holstered to his belt.
This first sentence works ok. It conjures up the iconic image of a gunslinger facing an opponent, which has character and tension, so I'm happy with it. Nit: I don't know for sure, but I believe "A.K.A" should be lowercase: "a.k.a."

Personally, I felt that the rest of the first paragraph detracted from your opening. The first sentence starts with a tense, immediate situation. At that moment, I as a reader do not care about how many times he practiced flexing his fingers, nor do I want to read a mini flashback. I care and want to read about the ensuing action of the facedown you introduced. For me, it would read better if you went straight from "...holstered to his belt." to "Fifteen paces away..."

quote:
When he'd caught himself unconsciously flexing his fingers as his favorite soccer club, Al-Ahly, lined up for a goal, he knew it'd become second nature.
Nothing about the sentence is technically incorrect, but it doesn't flow well, and my brain kept making mistakes with it. My difficulty may have something to do with the sentence structure: you have two conjunctions before your first comma (when and as), several commas in short succession, and the pronoun "it" in the last clause could easily be referring to the nouns "the soccer club, Al-Ahly" or "a goal," or the action of lining up for a goal.

The second paragraph is fairly straightforward. You use the term wahabi twice. Since I don't know that word, and since nothing about the surrounding context in your opening gives me any clues to its definition, I as a reader ignored it completely the first time it appeared, and was annoyed by it the second time because I felt like I was supposed to know something I didn't know.

quote:
baring prison-bar teeth with all the gray and black of an empty jail cell
I like the image of prison-bar teeth, but you weaken the description by spelling it out for us afterwards.

quote:
With his tumbleweed beard and fanatical eyes, Eastwood suspected...
I like "tumbleweed beard and fanatical eyes." Great description. Careful, though: the way you've written it, "his" in the first sentence refers to Eastwood, which isn't what you meant.

quote:
Eastwood suspected he looked exactly as he did in realspace.
This line was really the first point in your opening where you piqued my interest, because it suggested that something more than the typical Old West showdown was going on. However, it still feels a bit weak. What if you wrote it from deeper POV - something like "I bet that's exactly what this guy looks like in realspace, Eastwood thought."

Apologies for sounding like such a grammar teacher today. I've been doing a lot of copy editing at work lately, so I think I have that on the brain. Cyberpunk isn't usually my thing, but it sounds like you've got an interesting idea going here. Good luck!

[This message has been edited by sojoyful (edited December 02, 2010).]


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Osiris
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Don't apologize Sojoy! I appreciate your comments. My first drafts are usually just about transferring an outline of an idea to a rough narrative, so I fully expect and appreciate critical comments, substantive and grammatical.

I agree, I'll move the character-color minidump to elsewhere.


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WouldBe
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I think you've already received some good commentary. I'll just mention what had me confused on the first pass. I had the impression from the first paragraph that the protag was watching a soccer match on TV (after it was clear he was reminiscing about watching Westerns). Then, in the second paragraph, he seemed to be playing a video game or a VR game. All those can't be true (unless he's watching TV while in VR .) Perhaps help us slow-scan types understand the scene a bit more.

The soccer stuff needs a once-over.

Good luck with it.


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SolomonSpecies
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I like it. Fast, simple, real. The only thing I would change is the A.K.A. part and put 'Eastwood'as a sort of middle name as I have here. I feel aka is overused and this way it shows a sort of nickname and later sets up him as Eastwood!

Goodluck. strong start. Like to read later, also.

SS


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