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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » All Cretans Are Liars

   
Author Topic: All Cretans Are Liars
OliverBuckram
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This story is 800 words of comic sci fi.

New title: Hollywood squid

I would be happy to send it all to you
=====
NEW VERSION

Eppie, unlike most squids, usually told the truth. Sure, like all of them he would play mind games. We’d agree to meet at noon at the Bel-Air, and then he’d call me at one saying he was at the Palm and where was I? And when I finally got to the Palm, he’d be sitting in the lobby on a brown leather couch, only he’d be a brown leathery texture. I'd have a hell of time spotting him. That kind of thing.

Eppie channeled his creative energy into writing scripts. Together, he and I worked up an idea for a hilarious new comedy. “Flushing Meadows” had me as a neurotic sewer worker, and Eppie as a sarcastic sewer-dwelling monster with a heart of gold.
My last series had been cancelled three years ago after a single season. Just when it was gaining traction,

OLD VERSION
Eppie was a rare sort of squid: he usu­ally told the truth. Oh, like all of them he would play mind games. He would say to be at the Bel-Air at noon, then call at one saying he was at the Palm and where was I? And when I got to the lobby of the Palm, he’d be sitting on a brown leather couch, only he’d be a brown leathery texture, and I'd have a hell of time spotting him. That kind of thing.

Eppie channeled his creative energy not into lying, but into creating sitcoms. Together he and I worked up an idea for a hilarious new comedy. “Flushing Meadons” had me as a newly single sewer worker with claustrophia, and Eppie as a sarcastic sewer-dwelling monster with a heart of gold. Today was our big lunch to pitch to Steve Scharfstein.


[This message has been edited by OliverBuckram (edited October 19, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by OliverBuckram (edited October 19, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited October 19, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by OliverBuckram (edited October 22, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by OliverBuckram (edited October 22, 2011).]


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axeminister
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Oliver,
Thumbs up on the 13. Seems quite good and plenty humorous.

If you hadn't told me the narrator was human, I wouldn't have known. Dunno of that matters this early, but wanted to mention it.

I don't know about the :
Other folks more versed can answer that one.

I thought the first few sentences didn't flow together so nicely. Seemed like choppy waters. I think it's the word Oh in there messing everything up. Then the periods for the stops and starts. Nothing major, just how I came away from them.

Sorry I can't read the whole thing right now, but I would desire to if I had the time.

Axe


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C@R3Y
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I can take a look at it for you, Oliver. It sounds like it'll be interesting. I can't promise the best feedback, but I can give you at least a read through and let you know my input on it.

Send it whenever. =]


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Tryndakai
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I'm loving it. Love the idea of an alien who likes to write sit-coms! lol. Also, your matter-of-fact way of putting all the information forward is perfect both in being dead-pan funny and in setting the scene clearly without being info-dumpy. Props.

I think the overall diction and voice of your narrator so far suggests that he wouldn't be completely unfamiliar with colons, so using one is fine. Alternately, I could see using an em-dash there, but then I'm kinda an em-dash junkie, so don't trust me on that one.

The only hitch for me was the break from the first to the second paragraph--there doesn't seem to be *quite* a smooth enough transition. The way that first sentence of p2 is worded, it seems like the thought isn't really connected to the previous p., even though it clearly is after reading it. I might suggest something like: "Still, for the most part Eppie channeled . . ." Then your overall argument sounds more like: "Eppie doesn't lie. Sure, he plays pranks, but most of his energy is spent creating sit-coms."

Which reminds me: in answer to Axe's "Oh," statement, perhaps "Sure," would be better? Same basic purpose, but it's more intantly obvious what you're using it for . . . but then again, I didn't stumble over that section personally, so you can take it or leave it. Voice-wise, I enjoyed the conversational tone of the whole thing.


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Osiris
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This is a nice beginning. It offers humor in a unique premise and I feel like I get a good feeling for what Eppie is like.

The only minor line comment I'll make is on this:

quote:
I could tell Eppie was anxious because his skin kept shifting. First, he was yellow like the carpet. Then he rippled into beige, same as the tablecloth.

The first line, especially the part of after 'because' is exposition. You don't need that bit because you show that the narrator knows that Eppie's color changes indicates his anxiety.


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axeminister
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Indeed. Osiris has given us a great example of word cutting for pace.
Cut those words and read again.
Better.

Osiris, I'm going to send you my 100k novel. I need to get it down to 80k.

Axe


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OliverBuckram
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Excellent suggestions, guys. thanks. I agree with Osiris that shorter is almost always better. We can cut about 10% from both the first line and the Eppie was anxious lines. So here's the upshot:

Eppie, unlike most squids, usually told the truth. Sure, like all of them...

For the most part Eppie channeled his creative energy into writing scripts. Together he and I...

I could tell Eppie was anxious. At first his skin was yellow like the carpet. Then he rippled into blue, like the tablecloth, then back to yellow.


[This message has been edited by OliverBuckram (edited October 19, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by OliverBuckram (edited October 19, 2011).]


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Osiris
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Funny Axe. My cutting record so far is taking a 7500 word story down to 5000. I figure when I get around to my WoTF HM I'll be able to cut it from 15k to 10k, but I'm up to my eyeballs in crits and projects atm.

quote:
I could tell Eppie was anxious. At first his skin was yellow like the carpet. Then he rippled into blue, like the tablecloth, then back to yellow.

Just when you thought you'd gotten rid of me. Since you are in first person POV, anything the narrator writes is going to be something he notices.

Hence, you don't need "I could tell". Instead, just tell it. "Eppie was anxious." Similarly, you could do without "At first," since the MC notices it first, it is implied that it is the first coloration. It is always good to avoid 'then' as well, for the same reason. It isn't needed. Now, you might say this disrupts the voice of the MC, and if you this is the case, disregard everything I've said.

Now, what if you move "Eppie was anxious" to the end of the paragraph? Let the reader wonder for a split second why Eppie is changing colors before the narrator clues us in that it is because Eppie is nervous. It adds a little split-second of reader tension, which is always good, and it follows the logical model of presenting the evidence (color changes) followed by the conclusion (Eppie was anxious).

PS: Oliver I did send you a critique of the story you sent me a couple of weeks ago, but I've had problems sending from that e-mail account. I am not sure if you received it or not. Let me know if you didn't get it and I'll send it from another e-mail address.

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited October 20, 2011).]


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