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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Untitled WIP

   
Author Topic: Untitled WIP
Bent Tree
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Checking in on the intro. I am interested in its appeal.


Humans' sense of time did not coincide with that of the Gangene's. Awaiting the tracker to perform its daily movement ritual only seemed interesting for the first few hours… at least to Galen.
"Look!" Sheeila sounded startled.
Galen's gaze shifted from the fire toward the Gangene. Deep within its meditative trance it seemed to be enacting a strenuous battle.
"Looks like we are in for trouble today." Her voice and eyes seemed stoic, yet concerned.
Galen took the opportunity to examine the readiness of his weapons. Gangene's had the ability to see the future. This is why he tolerated the relaxed pace involved with having one in

[ November 19, 2014, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Denevius
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The first sentence is a bit frustrating because it doesn't offer me anything. Already, time is relative, so I'm not sure what's meant by this sweeping generalization of "human's sense of time". I guess it has to do with the fact that humans can't see the future, but the idea that a Gangene can, in and of itself, isn't very interesting to me as it is described in this introduction because I've seen this theme a lot before.

This opening isn't offering me anything unique in the genre.

So for me, the concept is a bit bland. And the writing itself can be sharper. I don't know what the tracker's daily movement is, but I do know that even Galen isn't very engaged by it at this point. And for an introduction, you've already introduced three characters, but none of them are very distinct from each other. And you also have some off the page stuff happening that isn't very clear.

Of course, you don't have to answer a lot of questions in the opening, and trying to do so will probably just have it all feel condensed and rushed. But I guess I can see myself wandering to something else if this is how a story began because, as I said, there's nothing particularly unique about the premise you've set up, the writing is a bit vague, and the characters, so far, aren't very interesting.

Maybe if you wrote the story from the POV of the Gangene as it attempts to relate to the humans in whatever mission they seem to be on.

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Bent Tree
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I like the POV idea! that is the best idea. Im gonna try and write it from the Alien POV.

Thanks for the feedback. I was worried the voice wasn't inspired. I think the POV change is exactly what this needs

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extrinsic
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The fragment's appeal factors are remote and inaccessible for me. Three characters ritually prepare for a pendent battle. That's the scene's event of substance, and it's generic except for the Gangene's premonition powers. Events are most potent for starting plot motion; plot motion is a sequence of causal events. A first cause related to a personal want or want to satisfy a problem is the event most essential for a start. Galen's personal want here appears to be a want for a glorious battle success. Life and death stakes, personal enough, though generic without a meaningful cause. The scene is an effect event without a prior cause.

Setting development is a shortfall for me. None to speak of. Setting development creates a reality anchor for readers, the discrete "telling details" that authenticate a narrative's reality imitation. They are personal visual, aural, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, and emotional sensations and their personal subjective emotional reactions to them. Lighting ambience, a visual sensation with emotional texture, is a potent setting feature. Lighting descriptions show time of day, for example, whether indoors or outdoors, and they lay out a directional viewpoint oriented around a light source. Lighting descriptions have a potent power in an economy of words to introduce a setting's personally significant features -- the telling details.

Character development is well begun, though, due to limited personal desire and problem opposition specificity, is on the generic side. Personal emotional feeling reactions to sensory stimuli is the strongest method for character basic nature, personality, and behavior development. How does the viewpoint agonist personally feel about, well, whatever? The pendent battle event, the reason for the battle, the others present, the setting features that draw the agonist's attention?

The three characters are inwardly oriented, not looking out. For me, that signals they are in a meditative state and the distance too close for a start, This is a summary reflection scene, not an action scene that would then cause a summary reflection scene. Scene first and then summary is the natural sequence of narrative order and the order readers expect.

Idea, what's this scene about thematically? Ritual preparation for battle. What's the battle about? What does each character want from their ritual meditations? From the battle? I project they want to win, though cannot fathom for what reason they battle. For treasure? For personal satisfactions and gratifications? For a defeat of a wicked nemisis or villain? Those motifs are lacking in the start; that is, what the agonist and his or her allies want for and from an outcome of the battle.

The emotional state is an ominous potential, a routine about to be interrupted, feels of eagerness and wariness, overall an emotional feeling of steadfast purpose, say, a noble cause. However, I have no basis from which to expect or confirm whether these characters and their calling are noble or wicked or between.

Appeal-wise, a mite of curiosity I have about what this story is about: the moral human condition crisis the central agonist and her or his allies seek to satisfy. I can project they seek to slay their enemies, though they could as easily want a lively competition for the contest's sake. Like a boxing match, they fight because they enjoy a fight and, though a lively fight, the fight is less than fatal, perhaps more about resource acquistion than a nemesis's demise.

In terms of other emotional appeals, I have none that engage my like or dislike of either the agonists or their opposition: no sympathy or empathy that I care for their struggle or outcome.

Again, a causal personal want is the overall appeal shortfall for me. If that were introduced in the fragment, most of the above shortfalls would either develop into appeals or become irrelevant for the moment and suitable for soon and later development.

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Lamberguesa
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Hi Bent Tree, thanks for posting.

I'm in agreement with the others: not enough character development or setting. I think a few interesting details about where they are and what is going on would help. I know so little about the upcoming battle or what's at stake that it's hard to be interested. The clairvoyant alien isn't unique enough to carry the story. Though perhaps looking through the alien's perspective would spice things up (great idea).

Also, it could be the story is starting too early, before anything interesting happens. In fact, an issue I have is that the alien isn't creating tension/conflict, in fact it is easing tension, which you don't want at the start. Instead of being taken by surprise, they know a battle is coming and are able to prepare for it, even if not fully. I'd be more interested in a story where the battle caught them by surprise and the alien couldn't (or didn't want to) predict it. Now we've got tension. Just an example to illustrate the point.

Hope that helps,
A.L.

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TaleSpinner
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I kept misreading Gangene as Gangrene and I guess getting the wrong image.

I suspect "Awaiting the tracker to perform " is new weird for "waiting for the tracker to perform"?

And I imagine "Gangene's had the" was meant to be "Gangenes had the"

but I loved how the future-seeing hook crept into an otherwise abstract opening.

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