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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Full story, 6000 words, telepathic SF

   
Author Topic: Full story, 6000 words, telepathic SF
stutson
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Had the first 13 reviewed some months ago. Reworked it. Full review desired. (Will gladly trade crits.) Or comments? Stutson

"Melinda!" screamed the young mother at her baby's frightened cry coming from outside! Liselle cursed as she dashed for the shack's door, cursing the voracious grubbies, cursing her momentary inattention that had let Melinda crawl out and tumble down onto the grubbie-infested dirt. Melinda sat on the dirt, squirming in newly acquired balance, her arms stretched for rescue.
Oh, god, if any grubbies made it through Melinda's skin... she ruthlessly shoved that thought aside. She'd already had too many nightmares about being eaten alive. Not thinking further, Liselle ignored her steel-soled shoes, the only thing that would stop the grubbies, and slapped one bare foot onto the dirt while she scooped Melinda up, hoping desperately that a fast retreat

[ January 16, 2012, 05:24 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Daniel_W
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Hey stutson.

I think this is a marked improvement on the original version - you've done a much better job here of keeping the action going, whilst inserting little bits of information that don't bring the prose to a shuddering halt (like faffing about with shoes in the last version).

There are lots of bits and pieces that I like here - I think tossing in the 'voracious grubbies' as you have is a great way to introduce them, for example. Still, I do have a few gripes:

I'm really not keen on the exclamation mark in 'from outside!'

I'm not sure about the repetition of curse in the second line, mostly because of the awkward switch from 'cursed' to 'cursing'; I'd suggest eliminating the first one, and have her dash for the door, cursing this and cursing that.

A couple of the sentences run a fraction too long for me, especially in this panic-fuelled situation full of short, sharp actions. 'coming from outside' at the end of the first sentence, for example, feels... extra, somehow, like you've shoved it in there at the last moment. Same thing with 'and tumble down onto the grubby-infested dirt' - I know this one is to clarify what the 'grubbies' are, but 'grubbe-infested' could also go in the next sentence, 'Melinda sat on the grubbie-infested dirt' if necessary? Others may not agree with this, so see what the consensus is.

There's the odd word here and there that niggles at me, but I don't want to pick this apart needlessly - by virtue of the inherent question, 'will the little baby get eaten alive?', I'd read on. I will say that I don't think the grubbies are necessarily a strong enough hook to base a story on, so I assume there is more 'plot' to come, but they make for a nice backdrop, and a good, tense opening.

I'd happily read the whole thing, but I honestly don't know when I'd be able to get it back to you - if you need a crit quickly then don't worry, but if you're ok for it to let it simmer for a week or two, then send it over.

Hope this was helpful,
Daniel.

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Lloyd Tackitt
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I like it, fast action and it gets right into conflict. I would keep reading.
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Merlion-Emrys
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I'm not too wild about the exclamation point either. That whole sentence also feels a little drawn out, however I do see where it's somewhat needed to set up location-letting us know the baby is outside. I'd definitely ditch the ! and consider, if you can find a way to do so, breaking up that first sentence a little, but I find the premise most intriguing and as has been said, it doesn't lack for action.
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SuziQ
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I would agree as well. I reread it without the "coming from outside!" part and I easily picked up that the child had crawled outside with no other change needed. It is tense and doesn't lack movement, action or emotion. I would read on, at least for a bit to see where you are going with this. As someone else said, the whole "grubbies" alone wouldn't keep me reading long term, but assuming there's a deeper plot, it's certainly a tension creator - a bit like the worms in Dune.
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annepin
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I was confused during the first two sentences. I actually thought the young mother and Liselle were two different people.

I would probably turn the page to see what happened.

On a more nitpicky note I thought the writing could be tighter. . I agree with ditching the exclamation point. There were some adverbs that weren't doing much "ruthlessly shoved". "hoping desperately". Also, "ignore" implies a conscious act, which contradicts the "without thinking further."

At this point, I'm expecting the mom to be infected by grubbies, and I'd be disappointed if that's all the story is.

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babooher
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I'd take a look if you send it.
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