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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Romance Chip - About 6,000 Words

Author Topic: The Romance Chip - About 6,000 Words
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Member # 9822

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Gonna put myself out there. This is my first work I've really felt good enough about to show people (outside of comics). Would love some feedback.

“It’s cold,” Dex complained, rubbing his right wrist with his opposite thumb. Another gust of wind blew through the streets outside of the Demon Skye club, making Dex shiver.
“Suck it up, we’re almost to the front of the line,” Cody said as he elbowed Dex in the side. He stepped forward to the front of the line and pulled back the cuff of his striped shirt, revealing his right wrist where his chip was embedded.
The bouncer took his scanner, ran it across Cody’s wrist and paused for a moment to survey the results. “Have a good night,” he said to Cody, while Dex stepped up in line and prepared for his own scan, holding out his right forearm toward the bouncer.
When Dex attempted to pass, the bouncer stepped in front of

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This doesn't really hook me. It all seems a little matter of fact and really could do to be tightened up a bit.

For a hook you need to give me a reason to read on, but this doesn't give any hints as to what's going on. I know it's often difficult to get across an opening in so few lines. You have the setting, two guys waiting in line to get into, presumably, a night club. But why? If the hook is meant to be Dex getting stopped by the bouncer for unknown reasons (a dodgy chip?), then start there, then tell us how cold it is and that the club is called Demon Skye and his friend is Cody.

Hope that helps.

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The situation is pretty clear, a club where patron identity chip scanning says who's in and who's persona non grata. There's also a portent dramatic complication: problem, getting into the club, the want also, wanting satisfaction, too. That's a great opening strategy.

I'm curious why Dex and Cody want to get into the Demon Skye club. Time for that soon but not necessarily within the first hundred or so words out of six thousand.

Starting with dialogue usually challenges my participation mystique spell involvement, challenges my willing suspension of disbelief, doesn't engage me in a setting secondary to my alpha reality. Because the setting isn't developed contemporaneously or beforehand, a conversation feels like it's coming from disembodied minds, talking heads.

In this case: "'It's cold,' Dex complained," Dex reacts to causal stimuli that is then summarily recited, or given in a tell, in the next sentence after the fact. The dialogue gives the effect or reaction to the cold before the cause. Mimesis, or imitation, or show, would show Dex's personal experience of the cold, and thus set the scene's setting for the conversation.

"Complained" is also a said-bookism, in that it's a narrator's elaborate summary of a speaking action where said, given artful context, would be all but invisible if not obviated altogether by action or sensation descriptions establishing attribution tagging for who's speaking.

I like that the opening sets up a dramatic conflict of acceptance or rejection. The obstacle Dex encounters from the doorman is rejection when what Dex wants is acceptance. That promises a unified and artfully dramatic story from portraying a portent dramatic conflict and dramatic complication right from the beginning. Excellent craft strategy, shy on voice strategy, in that the narrator voice predominates when I prefer and in my considered opinion readers prefer character voice in the foreground.

[ June 08, 2012, 12:26 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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This doesn't really hook me, either. Here's my reason: there doesn't seem to be any real danger. If you weave character and a hint of the plot together, and at the same time give us a little taste of danger for your most important character(s), then you could have a much better opening, I think... you don't have to give so much away, just a hint, a taste of danger that MIGHT happen. Whether it does or not, that's something we will figure out as we read further along.(I get the feeling there was about to be mention of danger where it got cut off at the bouncer. If that's the case, I think you might have dropped the hook a bit too late, and I would figure a way to bring it in a tad earlier, or just try another approach, I think [Smile] But that's your call.

If you want, send me this. I'll gladly take a look at it for you. [Smile] I have a feeling there is more to this story than meets the eye. If there is any kind of hook in this, that I CAN see, it was Demon Skye club... I'm a fan of demons, so generally, that is going to interest me because it leads me to believe this story might have something to do with Demons. If not, that's quite all right. I might be somewhat disappointed, but it's nothing that cannot be looked over. Perhaps that's JUST the name of the club. If you want to give more information about the club, whether it's got to do with demons or if that's just the name, then that is up to you. However, an ulterior explanation CAN wait until a little later on in the story. Explanations like that don't belong so close to where a really good hook should be. I have a feeling there is a hook, you just need to figure out exactly what that hook might be, what real danger awaits for your characters. I trust there is danger. [Smile] At least, that's what I'm banking on.

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I'm going to agree with C@R3Y, this doesn't hook me. I don't need danger, but conflict by itself does not a hook make. I've assumed all along that the name of the club is just a name because you've given us no reason not to assume that. So the name doesn't entice me. Right now, you've presented a story about a guy trying to get into a club and being rejected. He might also be abandoned by his friend. Neither conflict is exciting to me. The world building isn't interesting either. Aside from the embedded chip, this could be set here and now (actually, the chip has already been done) so there isn't much of a sci-fi element. I don't pick up 20-something angst stories, and this is all I can see here. I'm not saying that's all this story is, I'm saying that's all that has been presented.
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hey, how long is the piece? if it's not too long, i'll take a look.


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Hey guys, thanks very much for the feedback! I'm actually going to rework the opening here shortly (been super busy with work!) and then hopefully make it pop a little more to start.

The name of the club is indeed just a name. The story completely revolves around the chip, so I'm glad ya'all focused on that.

It's a little less than 6,000 words depending on various editing. Let me make the beginning a little better and I'll send this stuff over later this week. I really appreciate it and definitely am willing to reciprocate readings.

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