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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Virgins

   
Author Topic: Virgins
Denevius
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first 10 sentences. looking for readers.

Genre: Speculative Fiction
Word Count: 7,700
Title: Virgins


Sasson sat on the concrete steps leading up to the bookstore and watched the cars pass along the 10-lane street below. In the distance, she heard the shrill of motorcycles. She should be used to that sound by now, she’d known it all her short life; that and the constant wail of sirens from cop cars and Roid minitanks patrolling the city twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But even after four decades following The Event, Sasson wondered if anyone had ever really gotten used to the shrill of the cycles, even if most people managed to ignore it in their daily lives.

She watched the stream of people walking down the sidewalks, heads bowed, not bothering to look up and acknowledge what was coming. Sasson didn’t want to ignore it. She wanted to see the

[ November 30, 2011, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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C@R3Y
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It's off to a nice start. Good descriptions, and I got a vivid depiction of what the setting looks like.

I don't have many comments, but take what you can and leave the rest. x]

Personally, instead of "shrill", as that word, to me, sounds a bit strange used in the contexts of which you are describing the sound of the motorcycles, I would use a different word. Maybe something like "faint hums", since the first clause introduces "In the distance", which states that the motorcycles sounds would be faint to Sasson's ears, I would think. "Shrill" is okay, IMO, but the way it's used doesn't work for me. It doesn't feel right, I think.

I don't think you need "short" in there. Keeping it at "...known it all her life." I feel as if it works without the "short" a little bit better.

When you mention "shrill of the cycles" this second time, it works better, I think, then when you first said "shrills".

"...and acknowledge what was coming..." What exactly was coming? Other people? Or something else entirely?

When it says "then they exploded from the left", I don't know if it was just me, but I literally saw the people explode. I think it came across this way since in the previous sentence you are going on giving us these descriptions of these people, and then you go on into saying "they exploded". I don't know if that was exactly what you intended, because I think you meant for the "exploded" tag to go along with the "motorcycles alive with energy". Nothing physically exploded, I don't think, but that is how I took it.

I also, particularly, liked the last sentence. Your word-choice is pretty great. It was a good way to end the first few lines. IMO. x]

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Bent Tree
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quote:
Sasson sat on the concrete steps leading up to the bookstore and watched the cars pass along the 10-lane street below. In the distance, she heard the shrill of motorcycles. She should be used to that sound by now, she’d known it all her short life; that and the constant wail of sirens from cop cars and Roid minitanks patrolling the city twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But even after four decades following The Event, Sasson wondered if anyone had ever really gotten used to the shrill of the cycles, even if most people managed to ignore it in their daily lives.
I think you went over your thirteen lines by a bit, so I will comment on this first paragraph which is just shy...

I like the writing. I feel the voice is really good. I feel the hook is a little week, but I was mildly intrigued by the world you created. I think slush editors won't be as intrigued since they read piles of new worlds a day. I would gladly take a look at this, if you want.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Denevius, it's not "the first 10 sentences" that you post, it's the first 13 lines of a properly formatted manuscript.
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Denevius
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sorry kathleen. i am having a little trouble with that one. it seems like what the excerpt has been edited down to is six lines. i tried the scrolling thing, but if the webpage is at it's normal size, a large amount of text can be put in the box without scrolling down.

but actually, it may help if i knew the average word count of 13 lines, as that can't be confused. is it about a 140 words?

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Merlion-Emrys
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It's the variation in formats. Put whatever you want to post into 12 point Courier, double spaced, and count 13 lines.
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Denevius
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thanks corey and bent tree for the comments. bent tree, i'll send it along to you.

and thanks for further clarification, merlion.

cheers!

todd

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Try reading this topic on how to tell when you've got about 13 lines, Devevius.
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Uley Bone
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Sassoon must have a bunch of crotch-rockets (sport bikes) in her neighborhood. I almost wish that my bike did "shrill", in lieu of the fact that the mufflers make it sound like a torqued up sewing machine. So thanks for reminding me I need to change my pipes, and moving on...

Suggesting that "The Event" is the hook, it worked to make me curious. That and, the folk not looking up to see what is coming bit. (You lost me on the "Roid mini-tanks." I just have no clue as to what those are, though I would consider the hyphen use.)

Good descriptions (though on a 10 lane, in what seems to be an inner city, avenue-- not going to get much of a "shrill" sound, even out of a sore-muffled, low-bore sports bike. I could have misinterpreted what you meant.)

As I was curious at the cut off point to see what no one else by Sasson cared to see, I would be inclined to say that I would read on-- and well done with this Denevius.

Uley

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Denevius
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thanks for the comments, uley. i'm always curious to know what people who actually ride motorcycles think of the story, as motorcycles figure in prominently in the narrative. let me know if you're interested in seeing more, but either way, cheers!
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Uley Bone
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Sure, that'd be fine Denevius.

Uley

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Dame
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Hi,

As a hook, I don't think it is quite strong enough. Your narrator is watching, and in the first two paras, that is all she does. The world seems interesting and the writing smooth with no obvious errors. If you can give her a more active verb, give us a taste of how she feels and try to make that as intense as the opening situation allows, you may find you have a stronger hook.

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annepin
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I wasn't particularly hooked by this, and probably would not read on. The character is passive, but more to the point she spends the entire thinking about how something should seem normal though it doesn't. The introspection makes it a bit too awkward and self conscious for me.
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Denevius
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thanks for the comments, dame and annepin. and uley, i'll send it along to you now.

cheers!

todd

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