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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Boy Who Said No

   
Author Topic: The Boy Who Said No
anarresti
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At the beginning of his senior year, Elliot looked forward to becoming the valedictorian of Bellantyne Academy’s class of 2051 and captain of its soccer team. The accomplishment shocked his classmates since Elliot attended the Academy on a scholarship that paid for his diagnosis, medications and tuition. His mother could never have afforded those things and Elliot would have been at a disadvantage in school compared to his classmates who had designer prescriptions. His teachers never missed an opportunity to remind him that, without the Academy's generosity, the child of a single mother living outside the ring road would have had little chance of leaving the decaying suburbs and attending school in the city where he might earn a place in a university. Elliot's was hopeful until the afternoon of January 12 when his coach asked to meet him.
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babooher
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I enjoyed the prescription angle on this, but I thought the overall section felt like an info dump.

I think you're trying to rush the premise and in do so you're starting at the wrong moment. I might start with the meeting with the coach. There you could reveal through dialogue much of what you're showing here.


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Merlion-Emrys
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I have to agree with babooher. A bit of info dump is fine with me, especially in some stories, but you have a rather large block here. Starting with the meeting with the coach is a good idea, and/or if you really want to get a bit of this info right up front, maybe take about half of what you have here and have him thinking of it as he's on his way to meet the coach, or something like that.

I'm not a big reader of sci fi anymore, but the premise-skeleton you're presenting here with the diagnoses and prescriptions and designer prescriptions...and especially the seeming implication that more or less everyone has them...piques my interest a good bit. So it should be an excellent attractant to those for whom it's their main cup of tea.


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anarresti
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Thank you both for the feedback. I will work on a new, tighter, opening. The struggle and promise are clear in my head but it's a challenge to put a good abstract of them on the page in only 13 lines!
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telflonmail
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Your dating yourself in the first and last sentence. Is it really necessary to specify "class of 2051" and "January 12"? Let the reader decide how much in the future, and specify a type of winter day so we can get a general idea that there is still months until the end of his senior year.

Second sentence sounds like he made it, but the first sentence sentence says he looks forward to it. So, it's not an "accomplishment" but more a "goal." Also, instead of "classmates" give two or three names of close classmates. Make it more personal.

I need to agree with the above Hatrackers that it somewhat of a compact info-dump that should be spread out and made more personal (instead of his mother, his teachers - give names and character description). To me it reads like an outline that needs to be fleshed out with interaction and dialog.

The premise has promise.


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anarresti
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Here's another go at 13/14 line opening. If you get a minute, please tell me what you think. Thanks.

Elliot smiled as he popped his head into Coach Alvarez’s office.
“Headmaster Byrd said you wanted to see me coach,” he said.
The coach sat behind his desk, searching among piles of paper. Without speaking, he motioned Elliot to come in and sit.
Elliot looked around at the photographs that crowded the walls of the office. Three years of state champion group shots. And now, as his senior year began, Elliot had been summoned to learn that he would be the new team captain.
But coach did not seem calm like usual. He was on edge, like he had not applied his standard medpatch this morning.
Whatever he was looking for, he gave up. He sighed and looked at Elliot. "I'm sorry Elliot. I know this will hurt your chance of getting a scholarship to State but the administration decided to make someone else team captain this year."


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Krina
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Anarresti,

Wow, this is a tremendous improvement over the first version! Just a few comments.

If Elliot is reffering to the coach as Coach, it should be capitalized.

Add “had not” in the ninth sentence, after: he was on edge, like he had not…

And after a quick search on the internet Med Patch should be capitalized? I could be wrong though.

In the last line you could also add “has” after the administration: but the administration has decided.

Great job overall though.

[This message has been edited by Krina (edited August 27, 2011).]


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Merlion-Emrys
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Overall this version is, in my opinion, more effective and story-like. However one part does catch my attention.


quote:
He was on edge, like he had not applied his standard medpatch this morning.


What is his standard medpatch? Why would its absence put him on edge? This is your speculative element here and I think it could flow better and be more integrated and informative. Does everyone have a standard daily tranquilizing medpatch? Or is Coach specifically prone to anxiety and so receives a calmative, whereas one of his students, for example, might have agressive tendencies and get something to passify him? I don't usually have issue with "standard" stuff but here I think something more specific is called for to give us a clear glimpse into the ways of your world.


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anarresti
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Thanks for your comments. Having taken them to heart, here's the latest draft. I think I'm getting pretty close now. Struggling to keep it to 13 lines though. Further comments welcome.

Elliot smiled as he popped his head into Coach Alvarez’s office. “Headmaster Byrd said you wanted to see me, Coach,” he said.
Coach sat behind his desk, shaking his head as he sifted through piles of paper. He motioned for Elliot to come in and sit.
The walls were crowded with photographs. Behind Coach’s desk were three years of state basketball championship group shots. Elliot was sure had been summoned to learn that he would spend his senior year as the new team captain.
But coach was on edge, like he had not applied his medpatch this morning. Of course he had though. Everyone at Bellantyne Academy was medicated to improve performance. It was part of the charter.
Coach sat back, sighed and looked at Elliot. "I'm sorry Elliot but you're not going to be captain this year."


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