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 » Avatar Holmes (new draft)

   
Author Topic: Avatar Holmes (new draft)
jeremyfink13
Member
Member # 10321

 - posted      Profile for jeremyfink13   Email jeremyfink13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here is the revised opening to my 11,100 word short story, "Avatar Holmes." I posted an earlier version a few months back. I'm looking for fresh feedback.

"Okay, timeout everybody," the nurse announced, quieting the low murmur of focused conversation in the operating room. "My records show that this is Detective John Walters, his birthday is May 4, 1985, and we are doing a burr-hole drainage for treatment of an AEDH."
"Confirmed," Dr. Ian Holmes intoned absently as he examined the unconscious detective's freshly shaved patch of scalp, making sure the site was ready for evacuation. Holmes did his best to ignore the broken, unnatural angles that the man's arms and legs made. Holmes was a brain man. He fixed brains. There would be time later for other doctors to deal with the rest of the body if all went well "up top."
"So what's this guy's story?" the anesthesiologist asked.

Posts: 9 | Registered: Sep 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
telflonmail
Member
Member # 9501

 - posted      Profile for telflonmail   Email telflonmail         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Get rid of the 1st paragraph and start with the 2nd paragraph. The 1st paragraph has too much "tell" that can be found out later.

The "He fixed brains." sentence is not necessary. I'll let others desribe some basic ways to tighten the prose.

Posts: 112 | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The first paragraph is simply techno-babble that confuses readers.

The second paragraph, with modifications, would serve as a better opening.

Btw. I don't mind the 'He fixed brains.' sentence, although, personally, I'd write it as:

Holmes was a brain man; he fixed brains.

Phil.

Posts: 1605 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with teflonmail and Phil that you can lose the 1st paragraph. Axe that sucker.

Personally, I really liked the "fixed brains" line. I think it's the strongest line in the passage. Direct, shows some personality, said in a surprising way that got my attention (because you would expect a surgeon's thoughts about his profession to be more erudite, so the common diction here is surprising. In a good way, for me.)

Posts: 1528 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WB
Member
Member # 10414

 - posted      Profile for WB           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm not sure who the POV character is.

I do know who's here so far. A woman saying "timeout" (no particular emotion), a doctor who intones absently, and an anaesthesiologist who doesn't yet know what's going on. The doc's got most of the focus, so I'd say he's my problem. He intones absently, that is, he's not particularly interested in what's going on -- so neither am I.

So I suggest clearly identifying POV character, and making it someone who has some sort of stake in what's going on.

Or else use OSC's "first paragraph is free" to tell us that he's _going_ to care PDQ, as in, "The brain injury of Detective Walters didn't faze Dr. Holmes -- just another surgery -- until it became clear that Dr. Holmes was next." Whatever it is that's going to hook him, and us.

Posts: 28 | Registered: May 2015  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jeremyfink13
Member
Member # 10321

 - posted      Profile for jeremyfink13   Email jeremyfink13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How about this as a revised opening:

Dr. Ian Holmes examined the unconscious detective's freshly shaved patch of scalp, making sure the site was ready for evacuation. He did his best to ignore the broken, unnatural angles the man's arms and legs made. Holmes was a brain man; he fixed brains. There would be time later for other doctors to deal with the rest of the body if all went well "up top."
A quick look at the CT scan had confirmed Dr. McDougall's original diagnosis. A subdural hematoma pooling at the base of the patient's skull threatened to smother patient cognition. McDougall had been right to call on Holmes's expertise.
"I'm ready to begin," Holmes announced, holding out an expectant hand. Soon the sounds and smells of metal cutting through skin and bone filled the room.


The first line could be more active, but overall, I think this is better.

Posts: 9 | Registered: Sep 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jeremyfink13
Member
Member # 10321

 - posted      Profile for jeremyfink13   Email jeremyfink13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Or maybe this as the opening:

Dr. Ian Holmes did his best to ignore the unnatural angles created by the man's broken arms and legs. Instead, he tried to focus his attention on the unconscious man's skull. Holmes was a brain man after all; he fixed brains. There would be time for others to deal with the rest of the body if all went well "up top."

Posts: 9 | Registered: Sep 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Disgruntled Peony
Member
Member # 10416

 - posted      Profile for Disgruntled Peony   Email Disgruntled Peony         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The revised opening is much better than the initial incarnation. It's solid and it grabs the reader from the first sentence. It leaves them asking what happened to the man Holmes is operating on, specifically because Holmes is trying not to ask that question. It's a curiosity thing.
Posts: 742 | Registered: May 2015  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bent Tree
Member
Member # 7777

 - posted      Profile for Bent Tree   Email Bent Tree         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"So what's this guy's story?" seems like the inciting moment to me. Just a thought. Also show us some POV. Deep into the MC. The Medi Babble was difficult to trod through for me. Important thing is to show us the character, I think.
Posts: 1864 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  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