Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » opening for Olympus Dot Com

   
Author Topic: opening for Olympus Dot Com
TimP
Member
Member # 9861

 - posted      Profile for TimP   Email TimP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here is the opening of a 3800 word short story entitled Olympus Dot Com. This is my first attempt at humor.

I would appreciate any and all comments on the opening.

If anyone would like the read and comment on the full story please let me know.

I tried to get just 13 lines, but I may have exceeded the linm8it because of the broken lines of dialogue..


Ambrose P. Finster, a fragile man with a jumpy, naturally nervous disposition draped himself comfortably on the bench.
Here there were no office commotions. No time clocks to watch. No endlessly whining co-workers to appease. His retreat here each afternoon was his link to sanity.
At this time each day the park was empty and quiet. His special bench always waited for him like a trusted old friend. The calm quiet and the intoxicating warmth of summer sun lulled him toward the gentle embrace of an early afternoon nap….
Thud!
Ambrose was jolted awake by the sound of two bodies colliding.
And then, "You stupid, feather brained imbecile! Why don't you...?”
An embarrassed, stammering followed, "I…er… I'm so terribly

[ June 19, 2012, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

Posts: 13 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dr.Awkward
New Member
Member # 9856

 - posted      Profile for Dr.Awkward           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ah i get it, the animals are talking!

All the sentences are way too short for me, or maybe its that there is not enough variety in sentence structure. whatever it was, it felt choppy to read, especially up top before the word thud.

Posts: 6 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This excerpt takes the time to set the scene and simultaneously introduces a story type; that is, a routine interrupted. I like that it artfully introduces a problem wanting satisfaction but doesn't try to shoe horn in the whole ball of wax at once. Craft seems well in hand.

Voice though, a little on the open side narrative distance-wise. The challenge I see is moving into character voice and thus perspective as soon as possible, possibly with the first sentence.

"Draped" almost seems like a way Finster might think of his sitting down action. Seems a little feminine to me, maybe a little vaguely idiosyncratic, but passable for closing narrative distance. If it is meant to, in a sense, it characterizes whoever uses it. The narrator perhaps; perhaps Finster.

An issue with a foreground narrator voice is it creates a layer of distance between viewpoint character and reader, at arm's length from the unfolding action. If meant to be in narrator voice, then narrator identity is what readers identify with. Developing narrator identity is important for a narrator voice.

One craft area that stands out to me is though Finster is a "fragile man . . ." he's able to sit comfortably on the park bench. Seems like a problem solved for the moment. Action stalls. Again when his park retreat is expressed as his link to sanity. Problem solved. Action stalled. What if he isn't entirely comfortable or strongly linked to sanity? In narrator voice he wouldn't be. In character voice he'd believe he is but unreliable, meaning readers can see he isn't, foreshadowing Finster's pending routine interrupted.

There is a touch of farce unfolding from the voice almost mocking Finster's state of being. Too much or too little farce hinting, I don't know. Settling the voice into narrator or character I think would answer which.

Posts: 2773 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mayflower988
Member
Member # 9858

 - posted      Profile for mayflower988   Email mayflower988         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the first sentence sounds like a little forced, like it's just there to inform the reader about Ambrose. That sounds like something you'd put in a summary rather than the actual story. Rather than telling us what Ambrose is like, show us. Fragile, nervous, jumpy - what would someone with those characteristics do? Maybe have him ease into his comfortable mode, like at first he's acting nervous, to show the reader what he's like, but then have him slowly relax and do what he came there to do - take a nap.
Posts: 284 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eliza C
Member
Member # 9805

 - posted      Profile for Eliza C           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the nice words on my excerpt. Sorry, I hadn't checked in on that in a couple of weeks. The story is out in submission, tho, thanks. FOr the most part, I'm just looking for first 13 feedback.

Ok - to your excerpt.

The omniscient tone struck me on first impression. Omniscient isn't all bad, it's just less used these days. If the story is going to move into close 3rd person, as it looks like it might, I think it might be better to begin in 3rd person.
Other than that, it's evident in the beginning that this is going to be humorous.

Good luck with this.

Posts: 42 | Registered: Apr 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2