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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Arrival - First 13

   
Author Topic: The Arrival - First 13
Craley
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Hi guys,

This is my new short story I am working on - planned on being 4 - 5K. I just wanted some crit on tone/hook. The whole story is written like this, does it work? Sense of place/character?

He heard about the new arrival from a greaser. Something different was approaching Deadstone. Not the usual grocery or nappy runs from in-system carrying food or tourists. Daglish had trouble understanding people who thought coming to an asteroid on holiday was anything but a bad idea.
The man stumbled over to Daglish’s table, beer in hand, still wearing his stained work overalls – Daglish hoped he was some sort of mechanic and not just naturally filthy. He had orbited around the bar spreading the news but unlike his other stops; this one wouldn’t earn him a drink.
Sitting alone in a dark booth against the rock wall, Daglish had been watching the dock worker flitter from up and down the bar counter for over an hour.

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rcmann
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The paragraph is a bit long for my taste. It gives a clear sense of place. They are on an asteroid, Daglish hangs around in bars watching people for some reason. The dock worker is dirty and a gossip, and he bums drinks off people. But Daglish won't buy him one. And some unusual kind of ship is coming.

It just seems a bit...crowded? Long paragraphs are hard for me to read.

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Robert Briggs
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I need to echo this sentiment. I also had trouble with the second sentence about "not the usual grocery or nappy runs...." didn't quite understand what that was meaning. I little clarification there might be good. But I did get a good understanding of where the action was taking place. And your character dock worker was clearly irratable. Good job.
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tnwilz
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Your style is fine IMHO and it has a decent hook so that's all good. You seem to be a little hung up on the difference between what is in your mind as you paint and what others will actually see. For example, after reading it a few times I've decided that sentence 4 is a reference to sentence 3 but on first read I thought that the new arrival was going to be a tourist. To fix that I would suggest a dash or put sentence 4 in brackets. The smallest changes can completely change everything. The last sentence, I believe, belongs in the middle right before, "The man stumbled..." What do you think?

I don't see anything wrong with the style and I would have kept reading.

If your work is plagued with structural errors the fastest and only fix that I know worked for me was to read more of the work of those I would like to influence my style. Also for me, listening to audio-books was a huge help in training my brain to think the way I want to write.

Tracy

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annepin
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I found this kind of jumpy. There were so many things to try to keep track of and each sentence took me somewhere else.

He heard about the new arrival from a greaser. Something different was approaching Deadstone Has something arrived or is it approaching? "Arrival" and "approaching" provide conflicting information to me. Not the usual grocery or nappy runs from in-system carrying food or tourists. Daglish had trouble understanding people who thought coming to an asteroid on holiday was anything but a bad idea I found this kind of threw me out of the story. It almost seems like an aside.
The man stumbled over to Daglish’s table, beer in hand, still wearing his stained work overalls – Daglish hoped he was some sort of mechanic and not just naturally filthy Whoa, now we're suddenly in a bar, Daglish is at a table, and there's a man stumbling. He had orbited around the bar spreading the news but unlike his other stops; I think a comma would be a better fit this one wouldn’t earn him a drink So he's spreading news of the arrival? So is this the greaser that was mentioned in the first line? I'm rather confused..
Sitting alone in a dark booth against the rock wall, Daglish had been watching the dock worker flitter from up and down the bar counter for over an hour. And now we're back to having Daglish sitting alone.

I think someone else mentioned structural issues, and I agree. As I read, I try to form a mental image in my head to go along with the story, and I get confused. Over all, I feel like the text is basically saying the same thing in slightly different ways without advancing the story.

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Crank
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I like the second sentence ("Something different...") as a hook more than the opening sentence. That said...might I propose that the fourth sentence ("Daglish had trouble understanding...") as your opening. Of course, it's a personal preference on my part, but the reason I think this way is because the reference at the beginning to 'something different' is a bit vague, considering that, as of the very beginning of the story, I have no idea what is considered Deadstone's 'normal;' because this leaves nothing to compare 'different' to, I have no idea if your version of 'different' is even worth my time. With the fourth sentence, however, at least I know there will be trouble; yes, the concept of 'trouble' is also broad and vague, but the word 'trouble' has a stronger inference to conflict.

As far as the rest goes...I had to read it several times to get an idea of what was going on. I find myself agreeing with annepin's basic assessment, but the word 'fragmented' came to mind first. If you can straighten out where you want to take the reader, said reader won't feel too disjointed to read further.

S!

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CGreen
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I like the hook here. I agree with most of the comments. I had to reread to get the idea complete. A little rearranging of your words and sentences would easily clear this up and make it good.
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Craley
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Hi guys,

Thanks very much for the feedback. The pointers on the structure are great as I do have that problem of seeing the story clearly in my mind and just writing it out, sometimes forgetting to ensure it is coming across clearly. Definitely reworking it, need to make it tighter and more coherent. Thanks very much.

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