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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Beyond the Metal Veil, SF, 10,000 wds, first 13

   
Author Topic: Beyond the Metal Veil, SF, 10,000 wds, first 13
jcavonpark
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I'm not sure about my title, so I'll take recommendations. This is the first time I've posted a story, so I'm excited to hear the reactions. Anyway, here's the first 13:

quote:
The day I got the call to go and talk to Jonah was the day I quit my teaching gig and officially retired. The contract was through the military, calling for a psychologist to assist in the operations of a level-5 Artificial Intelligence. I guess I thought Id be working to outfit it with a friendlier personality or something.

It never occurred to me I'd be psychoanalyzing the first living machine.

Dont get me wrong, AIs had been around for a while by then. Hell, the university library had a level-3 installed the year before I started teaching.


revised:

quote:
It never occurred to me I'd be psychoanalyzing the first living machine.

Dont get me wrong, AIs had been around for a while. Hell, the university library had a level-3 installed the year before I started teaching. Wed been using them for decades, but calling something intelligent and actually seeing it become intelligent are two totally different things. Before Jonah, an AI was merely an overly complex system of programs that could make decisions based on logic algorithms and make assumptions based on probabilities. they called them intelligent. On paper, Jonah was a level-5 Artificial Intelligence, a series of words that implied something like a level-4, but a little better. Funny how misleading a government document can be.



[This message has been edited by jcavonpark (edited May 20, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by jcavonpark (edited May 20, 2011).]


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Wonderbus
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Hello jcavonpark and thanks for the excellent feedback on my effort.

This one is well over the 13 lines allowed, so I'll just comment on the 13 which is the first 2 paragraphs.

First sentence is nice and intriguing. Second sentence is rather long (try reading it aloud to get a feel for the flow and structure) and could do with some pruning. "Once in a lifetime" is perhaps too overused these days and sounds weak--is it really needed here? Would the sentence suffer if it just started with "The government contract..." Also, what does the "it" refer to in "above accepting it for a job..."? I think it refers to the money, but then why would he need to say he wasn't above it? We don't know enough about the situation to think anybody would be above accepting a large wad of cash.

Overall, it's interesting enough for me to want to know more about the job though I must admit that by the end of that second paragraph I was feeling a little beat over the head with it and thought you could cut this foretelling perhaps in half and get on with the meat of the story.


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EVOC
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So here are my thoughts:

The flow of the text is awkward. You have some long sentences that are difficult to read.

The first sentence is the strongest IMO.

"Once if a Lifetime" is rather cliche. It is used by almost everyone to describe events that are rarely "once in a lifetime."

Also, that second sentence foes on for a long time and can be much shorter. Or at the very least cut up to a few sentences. But I really think the whole thing needs a reworking as to the order it is presented and how.

The next paragraph is awkward to me. You present the same information several time over. "This job is hush hush and I know how to be hush hush." But it hits on it again and again.

I would add that I see where you are going here as far as the hook goes. I think you have a good idea, and likely a good starting point. Just break out the polish and a rag and shine it up a bit.

[This message has been edited by EVOC (edited May 13, 2011).]


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jcavonpark
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Thanks for the feedback! I didn't realize I'd gone over the 13 line limit. What I had originally came up as 13 lines in MS Word, so I thought it was correct. Anyway, I took what you two said into consideration and revised it. How does it compare?

[This message has been edited by jcavonpark (edited May 13, 2011).]


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babooher
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"Dont get me wrong, AIs had been around for a while by then." This line creates a distance in the narration and seems to lose all immediacy. It now feels, to me, that this will be a reflection on something that happened long ago and I thought it lost some of the hook of the first draft.

I also thought "It never occurred to me I'd be psychoanalyzing the first living machine," should be your first line.


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jcavonpark
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Interesting thoughts, babooher. I never considered that! I'll play around with it and see what happens. Thanks for the feedback.
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NoTimeToThink
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Just referring to the first revision:
Sentences do feel long and awkward (try reading them out loud.) Try breaking it up and dropping some extra words:
quote:
The day I got the call from Jonah was the day I officially retired from teaching. The military wanted a psychologist to assist with a level-5 AI. Thought Id be working to outfit it with a friendlier personality.

Otherwise, a good start. Like the voice.

[This message has been edited by NoTimeToThink (edited May 20, 2011).]


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jcavonpark
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I've revised it considerably. I just took out the entire first couple of sentences and reworded a few things. I agree that this is my best hook, so here we go:

quote:
It never occurred to me I'd be psychoanalyzing the first living machine.

Dont get me wrong, AIs had been around for a while. Hell, the university library had a level-3 installed the year before I started teaching. Wed been using them for decades, but calling something intelligent and actually seeing it become intelligent are two totally different things. Before Jonah, an AI was merely an overly complex system of programs that could make decisions based on logic algorithms and assumptions based on probabilities. They called them intelligent. On paper, Jonah was a level-5 Artificial Intelligence, a series of words that implied something like a level-4, but a little better. Funny how misleading a government document can be.

What do you guys think? Better? Worse?

[This message has been edited by jcavonpark (edited May 20, 2011).]


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jcavonpark
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I'm looking for readers for this story. I've completed the second draft and I could use some feedback if anyone has the time to spare.
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Wonderbus
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I'll take a look if you like.
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jcavonpark
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Sent it your way, Wonderbus. Thanks in advance!
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starsin
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I'm intrigued enough to give it a look through if you want. I don't have time to make any serious critiques on the 1st 13, but I will say that to a simplistic mind such as mine, what you have so far is very...hook-ish.

- starsin


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jcavonpark
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Coming your way starsin!
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