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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » It's in the numbers

   
Author Topic: It's in the numbers
JHam
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So this is my new short story that I can thank History for. When he started talking about numbers it got my head to wondering all sorts of things. Its set in the future and tells the story of a boy. I'm looking for any feedback or critique. If anyone would be interested in reading the whole thing its only about 1700 words so its short.Hope I'm doing this right. This is my first post to the feedback board. Thanks for any input. Joe


Version 1
Numbers, numbers, numbers dancing in the eye. Everywhere he looked he saw the numbers, on people’s faces, on buildings, in the sky. He loved the numbers and he knew they loved him too.
“Tell me,” came the stern voice of Ms. Carthople.
“They are there just like normal,” he said with a sigh.
“The man in the black suit by the fountain,” what’s his color and number?
“five in red,” he said.
“In red,” asked Carthople, “interesting.”
“I don’t like the red people,” he knew that red was bad, usually a killer of some kind, he wasn’t sure what they killed, just something.

Version 2
Arthur gazed in wonder as the numbers began to appear around him. Everywhere he looked he saw the numbers, on people’s faces, on buildings, in the sky. He loved the numbers and he knew they loved him too. They danced around him as he spun in circle trying to embrace them all.
“Tell me,” came the stern voice of Ms. Carthople.
“They are there just like normal,” he said with a sigh as he was brought back to the here and now.
“The man in the black suit by the fountain,” what’s his color and number?
“five in red,” he said.
“In red,” asked Carthople, “interesting.”

[This message has been edited by JHam (edited May 26, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by JHam (edited May 26, 2011).]


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BenM
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There's a nicely moving voice attached to this fragment, but at the same time I'd be a little wary of unintentional poetry. My eye catches ...in the eye and ...in the sky and immediately wants to start rhyming things, only then I get confused when the next couplet doesn't rhyme, or when I hit ...with a sigh and wonder if it's supposed to rhyme and I've missed something, so I go back and read it again.

While there is a school of thought that might like this approach, I'm of another: I'd suggest that objective of prose is (usually) to be invisible to the reader, letting them get in touch with the story and characters within. So distracted was I by they rhythms of this fragment that I didn't really follow the story fragment that much at all.

Just one reader's opinion...


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JHam
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Thank you I didn't pick that up. I'm working on trying to capture the childs wonder at seeing the numbers. I'll work on it and try a different approach.
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JHam
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I changed the opening to try and get away from the rhyming. I also added a bit more to the sigh hoping to show that to Arthur there is the wonder of the numbers and the hum drum that is Ms. Carthople.

Does that change the flow too much? Should I have left the sigh alone and let the reader sort it out?


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BenM
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To me anyway this version is much clearer and correspondingly that much more interesting.
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JHam
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Thanks for the help Ben.

Joe


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Osiris
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I completely agree with Ben. I'm fond of saying that 'words are a story-teller's worst enemy' because they can not adequately convey the full picture an author has in his/her mind. They are merely an approximation, so one should strive for the clear, strong noun and verbs and an efficiency in prose.

Addressing those issues in the second version made a big difference. I'm hooked by your scene and would read on.


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