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Author Topic: Melchizedek
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Member # 9560

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This is SF and feedback is very appreciated - here are the first 13 lines:

It started out as a curious set of events, none of which by themselves had much significance. The first was innocent enough.
It happened in 1993 on the last day of the semester at the end of a long and boring faculty meeting that culminated with the announcement of tenure for a few outstanding academics within the Genetics Department. It shouldnít have mattered that his colleagues and the department chair didnít particularly like Toby due to his bipolar mood swings. His publications in peer-reviewed journals had changed the course of research in genetics. That should have been enough to give him tenure.

Thanks, Hutch

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Already have an opening Good.

Not too bad at all. It could use some work but I think the basic idea is sound. The first two sentences are a little cliche-ish but it might work. They still make readers curious. But that third one is kinda long and complicated. I think you need to split it up and try to find a more concise way of explaining all that. And I'm not sure if you have a hint of the problem but may be you do come to think of it.

That is all I have but other hatrackers will probably be able to show you other areas that could use some work. Remember these are all suggestions-from experienced and not so experienced writers- not commandments even though I think they sometimes sound like it.

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What started out as a curious set of events?

What happened in 1993? The rest of this sentence is too long for me and lost my attention.

The "mystery" you've created by alluding to "it," without articulating--if you'll pardon the pun--doesn't hook me, it makes me think you'll never get around to the point. It doesn't advance the story for me. I know nothing of Toby, other than he's a he and bipolar, and I don't feel any interest in learning more from this. There is also no indication it is science fiction (talk of Genetics isn't enough to take it from science to sci-fi), and the title offers no promise for the story.

Maybe if this was in hi PoV, and explored his feelings, it would lead me into the next page.

I hope this helps.

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I'm afraid it really doesn't work for me. The "It all started when..." (without specifying or even hinting at the "it") is an old, and commonly-used, technique, but it isn't very interesting.

And it's very risky to tell us in the opening few lines about boring things. Explicitly stating something is boring is a huge red flag for a reader. If you are telling them explicitly that something is boring, they are unlikely to find it interesting, and you really want to get readers interested up front.

So far, everything is background. Get to the point and fill us in on what background we need later.

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I think you could lose the first two sentences they donít draw me in.

The sentence describing the faculty meeting meanders a bit. Tighten it up.

Are Tobyís bipolar mood swings crucial to the story later? If so, why not just say condition and get us hooked right away and explain it in more detail later.

I donít believe someone who has changed the course of genetics would not have tenure, unless it was due to his young age or that he had only recently published. If that is the reason say it. Maybe his peers are jealous too. I only say this because I have a childhood friend, whoís father was a professor at the University of Berkeley in California. I can remember being at their home and hearing how brilliant but screwed up personally some of the professors were and they had tenure.

As others have said, you want to get us drawn it right away.

Good luck.

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