I don't actually think I will name this story "Claude's Test" but that was the only thing I could come up with at the moment Will have a rethink later on. Any feedback on this first 13 would be greatly appreciated. Cheers
The toddlers weren’t supposed to be named until after the Test, but Claude liked to give them names anyway. Usually based on the child’s appearance but sometimes on how they acted. Of course, the same names tended to be recycled over and over again between batches. Toddlers tended to all look the same and Claude wasn’t very imaginative. He could have just used their UID codes but it looked better having a number and a name in the books. Added another dimension to it, he figured. Just like horse racing – it wouldn’t be the same shouting AWY455 down the home straight. A horse named something like Hot Shot sounded much more exciting. And Claude liked his punters to be excited. The more excited they were, the more money he got. He smiled thinking about it as he prepared the room for this afternoon’s batch.
Not sure where this is going, but still interested. I'm wondering if this is just a group of toddlers being brought in for evaluation, or if Claude works at a facility where the company/government does all the reproduction (test tubes) and child-rearing. You could clarify this a little - "...as he prepared the room for the batch from Infant Production..." or some such. I don't know what "punters" are in this story, so it makes the last couple of sentences a little unclear. Are they investors, or people getting rid of toddlers, or people buying toddlers, or...? Posts: 406 | Registered: Mar 2007
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The punters didn't bother me, even though I did not know what they were. I had a hunch from the context and it wasn't distracting to me.
The hook definitely peeks curiosity in the story. I found the horse race bit a little long and it detracted to me from the pace of the story. I see the reference you are making but perhaps shorter. It needed to flow better IMO. Something like:
Just like horse racing - its just not exciting to yell, "AWY455 down the home straight." You needed an exciting name, and Claude liked his punters to be excited...
I definitely want to know more. As I read I thought, "What is 'the' Test?" Your word use tells me that it is something very specific and well-known in Claude's group/circle. Although you did not elaborate, I didn't think it was necessary to do so because it would probably come out later on in the story. (I thought of Butler's use of "seed villages" in her book Wild Seed. She used the term without defining it, but her readers understood the meaning by reading further). You don't need to define it, IMO, because Claude already knows what it is.
I also felt that the horse bit was too long and it also pulled me out of the story. How/If you rewrite it is up to you, but it was long. The "Hot Shot" part doesn't IMO need to be there because I understood what you meant.
I had no issue with your use of "punters." I feel about "punters" the same way that I feel about "the Test." They are in integral part of the story whose details will unfold as I read.
Overall, I feel positive about your first-13; however, I have a question about the title. Is Claude the administrator of the Test? For some reason, I get the sense that he does not have a lot of input as far as the Test goes? Maybe it's because he is naming the children instead of calling them by their codes. To me, it implies that he is not a top guy. So, when the title (I know you said that you might change it) is Claude's Test and my first introduction to Claude shows him as a guy who takes orders, it makes me wonder where he fits on his society's totem pole.