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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Thinking One Move Ahead (1600w, SF)

   
Author Topic: Thinking One Move Ahead (1600w, SF)
Foste
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Here are the 13st thirteen, but I'd like to post a special request.

This game is partly about Go, my favorite past time next to writing and reading. I realize not many people know about it so I'd like to see how non-Go players receive this story, since it has a lot to do with the game itself and its philosophy. I am willing to swap stories.

(Final plug: if you anyone wants to play a game of Go with me you can find me on KGS, and if you are more of a shogi person I hang around at 81squareuniverse )

First 13:

The wave of thoughts swirled in Kazuo’s head as he descended down the steps into the Go parlor; voices mixed and crackled in his head like the gritty sound of static from an old radio transmitter.
Morose thoughts filled the underground Go parlor, mixed with the occasional strategic contemplation. The dark demeanor of the customers matched the run-down trappings of the place; old men hunched over their Go boards, straining their eyes in a room that was veiled by a pale-blue curtain of cigarette smoke, the cheap Seven Star ones, probably. Kazuo had to keep himself from smiling. The shadier the establishment the more likely he was to find a gambler--one that might be even willing to play a high stakes game. And with his talent Kazuo would never lose.


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Osiris
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I happen to like stories that take place in dark, seedy environments, so the setting encourages me to read more about the story.

The writing is find, the only line that tripped me up a little is this:

quote:

old men hunched over their Go boards, straining their eyes in a room that was veiled by a pale-blue curtain of cigarette smoke, the cheap Seven Star ones, probably. Kazuo had to keep himself from smiling.

It's not clear to me what 'the cheap Seven Star ones' refers to. It comes after 'a pale blue curtain of cigarette smoke' which makes me wonder if it is referring to the cigarettes that are making the smoke, or the the Go boards.

As for the question regarding 'Go', I have never played the game but have heard of it. My reaction is that it might be better to use a invented name for the same game rather than just call it 'Go' in your story.


In any case, I'd be happy to crit the full piece if you like.

Edited to fix quote tags

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited April 08, 2011).]


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Foste
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Thanks!

Ugh, it's a cigarette brand! Seems like I need to rework the sentence.


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EVOC
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I have never heard of this game. So here are my thoughts:

I agree about the "Seven Star ones" sentence. It is a long sentence and it talks about both Go Boards and the room. I think it could be reworked to two or three separate sentences.

I didn't like the last sentence either.

quote:
And with his talent Kazuo would never lose.

To be honest I can't really tell you why I don't like it. It just seems oddly out of place from the rest of the First 13. Perhaps it is the classic "gambler who can never lose" attitude that bothers me?

The other caution I would say is that your hook has mostly scene description. However, to me, it still seems like a lot is going on.

The hook itself would cause me to want to read on.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

The wave of thoughts swirled in Kazuo’s head as he descended down the steps into the Go parlor; voices mixed and crackled in his head like the gritty sound of static from an old radio transmitter.
Morose thoughts filled the underground Go parlor

A couple of things here. I assume he's a telepath which is why he can't lose. But I'm not sure if it's clear enough. I didn't get it until 'till I reread the first line after reading the whole thing. But that could be just me, it's somewhat late on a Friday night.

Second: That is an awful long first sentence, most of the time they are short, for a reason. It may not matter as much as it once did but I think usually shorter is still better.

Third: The way you start the first and second sentences with something to do with thoughts. Usually it's not good to have the same word so close together.

As critical as this may sound, over all it's not a bad opening. The idea is sound I think it just needs some tweaking


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EVOC
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I never once got the telepath vibe.... if the MC is I totally missed it.
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Osiris
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Just to offer another opinion re: telepath stuff, I actually did get it from the first line.
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NoTimeToThink
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I like the start. I got that he is a telepath, but it could be clearer. Try labelling whose thoughts they are in the first sentence.
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tripper
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Very interesting environment; I'd read more just based on the setting.

TOTALLY nit-picky, but the repetition of "Go parlor" in the first two sentences made me hiccup a little to make sure I hadn't missed something. You could probably leave it out of the first sentence, ending with "descended the steps..." and letting us find out it is a Go parlor in the second sentence.

Not a Go player, but intrigued by the idea here.


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Arnen123
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I will take a read if you want to send it to my email address.
Don't play it, but used to know a semi-pro Go player.

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MYMoore
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I've never even heard of the game "Go," so I have no preconceived notions about what should be going on.

The first sentence confused me. It became clearer later on that Kazuo is telepathic, but it wasn't evident from the first line and, later on when I read

"Morose thoughts filled the underground Go parlor, mixed with the occasional strategic contemplation."

I wondered if it was a mistake because I couldn't figure out how thoughts and strategic contemplation could fill a parlor. Although I got it by the end of story - especially your last sentence - I reread the story and the things you said all pointed to telepathy.

I think that there is a lot going on in these few lines, so it feels a little crammed together. I would recommend finding a way to space out these details some more.

~MyM


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Foste
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Thanks for the offer guys, but I submitted it already. I'd love to hear your opinions though once I get it back from the market that's considering it right now.

Sounds like a deal?


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Wordcaster
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Sorry - I haven't been checking this section in a while.

I downloaded "Go" on my phone. I stink at it (i.e. the computer beats me on its dumbest level). I'm hoping your short story will give me a trick when I read the published version in a few months.


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Foste
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Did you download a 9x9 board or a 19x19? the game gets more complex with larger board sizes.
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Wordcaster
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*Checking my phone...*

Board Size: 9, 13 or 19
Chinese Rules: On or Off
Difficulty: 1-10
White Handicap: 1-9

I've only played the 9 board so far. My problem is I know how to play Reversi (I am also bad at it). Completely different strategies, but similar looking game.

I can see how games like this can become addictive ;-)


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