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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Family Bonds- work in progress

   
Author Topic: Family Bonds- work in progress
pidream
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Have a look and give me your thoughts. Submitted a while ago but still working on the first draft.
She was a beast and killing her had not been easy. Old wounds scarred her sides. She’d been pockmarked and patched from her stem to stern almost two kilometers away. But like all ships, her time had come, and she’d been brought here to die a slow demeaning death. Nyx adjusted the attitude of Cutter’s laser head, aligning it with the hull coordinates in his helmet display, and settled in. Only a small section of the Goliath’s bow remained, and it was his job to make the last cut.
He locked in the coordinates and passed off control to the Cutter. All that remained was for Control to give the green light and for him to enjoy the light show. Last Cut was always the most satisfying and this one more so. 167 days was a long time breaking a single ship apart, but this had been no ordinary vessel; she was

[ January 01, 2014, 05:31 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Denevius
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Well, it doesn't help that the way the prose is presented to us is somewhat messy. But your first line is intriguing, and it immediately caught my attention. However, the second line made me lose focus, as I wondered what old wounds? The third line took me out of the story even more, as at first I thought we were talking about something alive. Then I realized we're talking about an inanimate object being personified.

You don't do a proper introduction of Nyx, but the action he takes is clear. It took me a moment to figure out who Goliath was, the boat. A male name for a female boat is a bit confusing.

I don't know who Cuter is. It could be a person, a tool, or a vessel. In prose where objects are spoken about as if they're human, you probably need to be more specific of when you're talking about one or the other.

You capitalize a lot of words here. Like 'Control' and 'Cut'. And if this is a business, I wonder how they stay afloat financially if their last job was half a year ago.

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Kai Sen
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I have to admit, starting off with the pronoun kinda disoriented me. [Smile] But that might be just me. As the unaware reader, it might be that I just am not seeing what you see in your mind's eye as I read the first sentence. For example, I really thought it was a female beast! Werewolf-like. Also, I realize I was subconciously searching for what kind of narrator it was - 1st, 3rd limited or 3rd omniscient. I needed to know who was talking to me. Whose pov am I seeing? This was after the first two sentences.

Then I got disoriented again with the third and fourth lines when I realized it wasn't a female living being, but a non-living object - 2km long! (Spaceship, I'm guessing?)

It's only when Nyx gets introduced that the flow of reading is smoother, everything clicks into place, and it's easier to move forward. After that it becomes interesting and I see the whole scene in my mind's eye.

My two cents: you have a good opening scene, but I feel it's being disrupted by the first few sentences. However, I may be wrong. It could be that a little disorientation is not too much to ask of a reader of sci-fi/fan. So it depends on how you want your reader to feel.

Basically, what do you want your reader to see in his or her mind's eye upon reading the first sentence? Does you first sentence do that?

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genevive42
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Consider trying two things. First, shorten some of your sentences for clarity. Second, maybe spend more time in a brilliant description of the ship, but do it thoroughly from the mc's pov. If he sees it as a beautiful relic, portray that. Or if it is a ship that did something like help win a decisive battle, show that. But I think you're in a hurry to make something happen. Then the last line sounds like you're going to lead into more about the ship. If you lead with beautiful telling about the ship, it will be hook enough.
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J Seth Rhinehart
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I'm interested, if you'd like to send me the rest. I can't help wishing you'd gone full maudlin existentialism. "Doesn't matter how well you make her or how much the crew loves her, they all end up here. With me." Kind of a creepy mortician kind of thing, maybe. Just a thought.

-Seth

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Kent_A_Jones
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I like the imagery, here. One bit of tightening I would suggest is to strike ‘and settled in,’ in S5. This points up the fact that there are five compound sentences conjoined by ‘and’ in the first paragraph. I believe the paragraph would benefit from the first four being separated.

I think the last sentence would benefit from a rewrite, reversing the order of the two clauses. You have implied finality above and in this sentence, you imply it in the first clause and state it in the second.

An internal discrepancy is ‘Cutter’s’ in the first paragraph and ‘the Cutter’ in the second. The first capitalization suggests that Cutter is a name, and therefore, a character. The second use suggests that Cutter is an object with a formal title. Which is it?

P2, S2, ‘All that remained…’ The conjoined clauses, here, suggest that enjoyment of the final cut is a function of the job. Enjoyment of the job fits nicely with the third sentence (which is a bit weak for me), so I would suggest that you combine this idea in a single third sentence; Nyx’s particular enjoyment of the light show of the final cut.

Last sentence; please spell out all numbers indicating duration.

This is a good description, quite fit for the body of a story. I believe more elements of Story belong in the first 13 lines of copy; plot, conflict, characterization, theme. Setting is implied by the helmet, but it could be more solidly framed. If this is a space ship salvage yard, I want to know it in the first paragraph. Enjoy,
Kent

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