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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First 13 of To Catch a Train

   
Author Topic: First 13 of To Catch a Train
Ben Brooks
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This would probably classify as a YA fiction short story. It's complete at 2650 words. Looking forward to your comments!

Eyes closed. Steady now. Deep breath. Hold it. Exhale, and eyes opened. Quick scan of the room. The four judges stare at me with cold, serious faces. Behind them is the guest seating area. Both seats I had reserved for tonight remain empty. He didn't come. I knew he wouldn't. I'd held out hope, though. I'm not even sure what I'd tell him. Goodbye?

Everything else is lost in darkness, overpowered by the bright stage lights overhead. They're giving off enough heat to burn my arms, and my first thought is that I'd hate to burn to death. I've always had a weak tolerance for pain. It took five shots to numb me up enough for that heart cath back in the States, and I still leaped off the table when the doctor shoved it into my leg. Sixteen years of life. Sixteen years of pain.

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Lloyd Tackitt
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It was cruising along really well, then kind of drifted into another story about the heart cath.

With only 13 lines it is hard to tell about the second half and whether it is actually related or not, but if it isn't then you might want to think about getting it out and down further.

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Ben Brooks
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Thanks for that feedback! The heart cath line kind of spoils it for me, too, and it's something I need to address.

The point I'm trying to convey there is a low pain tolerance, but I need a better way to convey it.

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C@R3Y
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This is a really good opening, I thought. It did flow well. If you are looking for readers, I'm game. Sounds interesting enough to keep me reading on.
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Denevius
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i think it should be, "Exhale, and eyes open." and you might want to put a more poignant detail in to describe the judges faces, as 'cold' and 'serious' don't do much to give a clear picture.

can it be his first thought when he's been thinking all along? and has the stage lights been on the whole time? is this his first time standing in front of them?

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micmcd
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The staccato beat of the first six sentences got under my skin. I'm not opposed to ever seeing this, but having it so much at the beginning turned me away.

If I'm interpreting it right and this is a patient about to have heart surgery, it is perfectly exciting enough without the quick cuts. I almost wonder if he/she is too panicked, like the doctors have to have the patient restrained.

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Ben Brooks
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Interesting. Another reason to cut the heart cath line because it's not exactly relevant, and now it's even misleading.

This has nothing to do with heart surgery [Smile]

Back to the drawing board!

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AbbyG
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Ben, I think this is great. I'm curious to know who the judges are, what they're judging and why they're cold. Very intrigued by the empty seat. Possibly this sentence is one too many: I'd held out hope, though. (you've conveyed the point brilliantly with the other sentences).

Agree with others that the heart cath is a distraction...no doubt you can find a different way to show low pain threshold, if that needs to be shown now.
Great job.

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Klimpaloon
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Just one thing: it says "both seats" but there is only one man who needs them. Is he a two-seated man? I'll assume that there's someone else, but it seems weird that there are two people coming to watch the narrator and the narrator only cares about one. Unless that was the point, which gives you every right to ignore me.
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