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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Untitled - First 13 - WIP

   
Author Topic: Untitled - First 13 - WIP
Lloyd Tackitt
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_She walked into my office like she was slumming, and she was. A broad like that shouldn’t be here. Her shoes cost more than my office furniture. She looked around with the distaste carefully erased from her features. It made her opinion obvious. I waited for her to talk first. Dames never listen anyway. “Are you Jake Payne?” she asked. Her voice was soft and cultured. She didn’t sound curious about who I was. She sounded surprised to find herself asking who I was. “Like it says on the door lady.” I waited. No point in asking her what she was doing here. I didn’t figure her to stay long. “You came recommended.” “Recommended by who?” Now I was curious. I couldn’t imagine anyone recommending me, to her. “Francis Deering. She said you helped her out of a jam. That you were
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Looking for technical and non-technical reviews. Thanks.

[ January 18, 2012, 06:50 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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redux
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My first reaction to this was - hardboiled detective meets femme fatale. My second reaction was - how is this sci-fi or fantasy?

The prose was clear and the action moved along nicely. I particularly liked the line: "Her shoes were worth more than my office furniture." It's a good way of presenting description quickly and concisely.

It's definitely evocative of a film noir monologue narration but I don't see anything that is unique to set it apart from a genre that is now parodied.

My recommendation would be to personalize it a bit more. It definitely needs something quirkier and I think introducing the sci-fi or fantasy element early on would do the trick (if it is indeed supposed to be of either genre).

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Lloyd Tackitt
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Looks like the program cut down my 13 lines maybe because of the empty spaces between the dialogue, I put it back in without spaces.

I know I am dense at times, but I wasn't aware this was SF/Fantasy only.

[ January 18, 2012, 09:28 AM: Message edited by: Lloyd Tackitt ]

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redux
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Since the majority of stories posted here tend to be SF/Fantasy it was just an assumption on my part. So I apologize for that.

I re-read your first 13 and I still feel that it doesn't quite hook me primarily for two reasons. First, the name Jake Payne makes me think of the game Max Payne. The similarity in names and even genre (since the game was essentially film noir) puts me a bit off. Second, I still feel there's simply something missing - a quirk to your detective perhaps to set him apart from every other cigarette smoking PI.

I did enjoy the prose so please take it as a compliment when I say that I want something more. I feel your story is definitely brimming with potential.

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Lloyd Tackitt
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Thanks redux. I wasn't taking anything personal, just trying to understand.

I don't play video games so didn't know there was a max payne, at least not at a concious level, maybe subliminally.

I appreciate the comment about the quirk, something more hookish needs to be in there. I'll have to think on that - this is a tongue in cheek kind of thing, just fun - as you said the genre is parodied now days.
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She walked into my office like she was slumming, and she was. A broad like that shouldn’t be here. Her shoes cost more than my office furniture. She looked around with the distaste carefully erased from her features. It made her opinion obvious. I waited for her to talk first. Dames never listen anyway. “Are you Jake Stone?” she asked. She sounded surprised. “Like it says on the door lady.” I waited. No point in asking questions. I didn’t figure her to stay long. “You came recommended.” “Recommended by who?” Now I was curious. I couldn’t imagine anyone recommending me, to her. “Francis Deering. She said you helped her out of a jam. That you were reliable, and didn’t scare.” Her voice had tightened up just getting that close to her problem. Whatever it was had deep hooks in her. My own mind tightened up thinking

[ January 18, 2012, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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"The program" didn't cut down your attempt at 13 lines. I cut it.

We define 13 lines by how much text fits on the first page of a properly formatted manuscript (that is 13 lines of monospace 12-point text).

You can read a topic on how to tell if you have 13 lines here.

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Lloyd Tackitt
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Must be my computer, I only see 7 lines.
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Daniel_W
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Hey there [Smile] .

I've no real problems with the prose technically, but I too feel like something is missing here. I take redux's point about needing a 'quirk' of some sort, but I think it's more that you haven't captured the tone of the genre yet - the smokey, black and white 1930s office, the open bottle of wiskey next to the revolver on the desk, the dame with the long legs... all that rubbish that gets so parodied these days.

I am not suggesting that you include any of my caricatured exmaples, but I do think that you need to do something more extensive than toss in the words 'dame' and 'broad' in exchange for 'woman' every so often, if you're going to give this piece the kind of moody quality you seem to be aiming for.

I did like your line about shoes and office furniture though, and I think more details like that would improve things.

Hope this helps,
Daniel.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Lloyd Tackitt:
Must be my computer, I only see 7 lines.

Well, if you count the lines in your browser, you're going to see fewer lines because your browser pages is probably much wider than a manuscript page.

Look at your excerpt in an edit box and see how many lines you count.

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Lloyd Tackitt
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Yep, 13 in the edit box, 6 1/4 in regular view.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Well, in order to make it the same (and thereby as fair as possible) for everyone, I go by the edit box.
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Merlion-Emrys
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I find the easiest way is to count in Word (or whatever you use) before you even post...of course, I do all my writing in manuscript format, to save me time later.
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