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Author Topic: first 13 for an unnamed story
Member # 10220

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I just wrote this recently. I haven't decided if I'll expand on it or not. I haven't edited at all. This is completely raw. I'm just wondering if any of it seems the least bit interesting.

One day, I'll get the whole 13-line rule-thing down.

Every bit of air I breathed sent needles of pain through my lungs. I was in trouble again, sprinting down the street as Stitch and his gang pursued me. I had been stealing money from him for months and he finally noticed. I pushed past tons of people on the busy streets trying to outmaneuver my pursuers. I headed for the subway. I was tired of running. My muscles were already sore. I’m not even sure how long I’ve been running. I finally reached the crowded, underground subway system. The only thing to do now is to decide where to go and fast. I could already hear Stitch yelling. They saw me. Too late. A train pulled up in the station and I boarded. I ducked my head as I shoved past more people. I hoped Stitch and his boys would lose me in the crowd. I couldn’t hear them yelling anymore. Did it work?

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Member # 7974

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Yes, it's interesting.

These lines could use quite a bit of cleaning up, but you probably already know that. They are clear, and I like the very first line.

Is your story mainstream fiction?

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Member # 10220

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Thanks and yes, it is. [Smile]
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Member # 10234

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'I had been stealing money from him for months and he finally noticed.'
Several problems, here. First, this is the opening scene from several hundred thousand police and detective shows and nothing makes it stand out. Second, even gangs have computers and cell phones, stealing for 'for months' is beyond possibility. Third, if I steal from a gang in any city in the world, I would expect to die if they were to find out; where's the fear? Fourth, I need to be able to see these scenes. Fifth, there is a lack of depth. [i.e. '...crowded, underground subway system.' (Let's forget for the moment that subway systems are usually underground.) Why is it crowded? Is today game day for a major sport? Is it rush hour, morning or evening? Was there an emergency declared in the city? This is only one sentence of several that the author did not imagine fully before committing to page] Sixth, there is very little characterization even after approximately one hundred fifty words.

There is a major tense shift, several usage flaws, and an unforgivable preponderance of the personal pronoun 'I.'

Now, why did I write all of this? I wrote it because it is my opinion. It is also my opinion that this website is dedicated to creating authors. I believe the only way to improve is to rewrite one's prose based on input. Maybe that input comes from a professor. Maybe it comes from an editor. Maybe it comes from an instructional book or from prose one wants to emulate. In this forum the input comes from those of us who are dedicated to helping each other improve.

The author's job is to take an idea and make it into salable prose. I don't think an author's job is to take an idea and see if others think it's a good idea.

As to interest, the idea is old and used. So is boy meets girl. As I said, hundreds of thousands of shows have started just like this, so there must be something in the idea or it would have long since been abandoned. It's up to you to freshen it up.

Look at extrinsic's treatment of my 13 lines of Bitty. He didn't like it. I have since begun a rewrite on the entire work after reading extrinsic's and other's crits, and also going back to my own text books and rereading points on character and story development and expository narrative. I think Bitty has a good idea, but I wasn't writing it well enough.

Take care and good luck with this.

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M.W. Rivers
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Member # 10248

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I'd say your idea is interesting, if a bit cliché as the above commenter mentions.
But I think it is popular for a reason, although you definitely need to set yours apart through your characters, and I feel both the protagonist and the antagonists are fairly one-sided.
I would also like to know why I should feel empathy for your character if he/she is just a thief. And I sure hope it's not cause money is scarce and hunger and all that, that's just a little too common in my opinion.
I think you can definitely make something great though, keep working on it all! I'm in no way a vastly experienced writer, I just thought I'd contribute my opinion.

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Member # 10202

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A lot is told in one paragraph. Perhaps it should be spread out across a page or two? I realize this is a pre-first draft, but it kinda reads like a "list" of events, rather than an immersive story. Maybe all stories start like this, so keep working on it.
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