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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Man Who Murdered the Smartest Man in the World

   
Author Topic: The Man Who Murdered the Smartest Man in the World
Ed Staskus
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Here are the 1st 4 paragraphs of a crime story that goes about 3000 words and is about AI vs. faith.


Nick Ludd blinked the sun that was rimming over the edge of a cloud out of his eyes. Leaning back, the red-haired young man looked up into the nothing of the middle of the sky. He thought about it.

He knew he was a smart young man. He knew that better than most people. Nobody who was from a middling red dirt family farm in Arkansas and wasn’t sharp as a tack ever got out of the front yard and into Harvard Divinity School.

Michael Nostrom was smart, as well. Nobody who wasn’t brilliant worked on artificial intelligence at MIT. Nick Ludd knew that, the same as he knew that Michael Nostrom was the most intelligent man he had ever come up against.

Professor Nostrom might be quick discerning intelligent. It was

[ March 16, 2018, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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extrinsic
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A narrator reveals intimations of an individual's complication and conflict.

Huh! A melded traditionalist-modernist narrative point of view, third person, limited omniscient, indicative mood, a personally evocative narrator stream-of-consciousness tone. Works for me. Does three most crucial facets; one, develops a distinct narrator identity; two, authenticates the narrative; three, progressively closes narrative distance to narrator and viewpoint agonist as indistinguishable. Not to mention, introduces complication's motivations and conflict's stakes risked.

The title does some of that works for me, too, though a mite too much of the dramatic movement telegraphed. Perhaps a skewed title context who, when, where, and texture what, why, how is wanted. For instance: //The Man Who Finished a Most Dangerous Man in the World// ??? Off kilter and what a narrative is truly about thematically, metaphorically, morally develops stunning, memorable titles -- without giving away the plot.

One grammar glitch, stray comma:

"Michael Nostrom was smart[,] as well."

I might could read further as an engaged reader.

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Ed Staskus
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Glitch is fixed, thanks. About the title, what Nick is up to comes up early in the story, so that part of it is no mystery.
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Jack Albany
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This fragment doesn't work for me. The primary issue I have is I had to read the opening sentence three times before I could discern its meaning. It may be grammatically correct, but it threw me out of the story immediately.

Hope this helps in some way.

Added later: After thinking about it today I realised it's the use of the transitive verb rimming. It's an odd word, and as a description of what is happening, I found it confusing. Btw, in my dictionary, the word rimming is associated with basketball.

Added much later; and with the addition of some fermented grapes: The etymology of the word rim seems not have any meaningful relationship to what you are trying to describe. Hence, my confusion.

[ March 16, 2018, 07:48 AM: Message edited by: Jack Albany ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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First 13 lines, not first 4 paragraphs, please.
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Ed Staskus
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The post was 4 paragraphs of 13 lines, now it's 3 paragraphs and a fragment and 9 lines and a fragment.
Hasta la viata, baby!

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extrinsic
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Hatrack's thirteen lines count is based upon Standard Manuscript Format composed in a monospaced typeface -- not Times New Roman or another proportional typeface. The fragment is patently composed in a word processor, like Word, in a proportional typeface, and copied, pasted, and posted. The curly apostrophe in "wasn't" signifies such.

Monospaced typefaces use more real estate than proportional typefaces, which contain as much as a fourth more glyphs and words per line count, especially Times New Roman, as its design is for newspaper page space conservation purposes.

Ms. Dalton Woodbury's line count is accurate by my reckoning.

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walexander
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Wwwwhhhaaaaat??

Am I reading E(x)'s reply correctly? You find his first 13 passable? I want some of what you're drinking.

How about the overuse of "was" just to start, and how some of those sentences should be restructured.


quote:
Michael Nostrom was smart, as well. Nobody who wasn’t brilliant worked on artificial intelligence at MIT. Nick Ludd knew that, the same as he knew that Michael Nostrom was the most intelligent man he had ever come up against.
This paragraph needs work, as does it all. Repetitive long names for one thing. weak sentence structure like- Nobody who wasn't and most intelligent should be reworked.

Example:

Michael Nostrom stood out, for only the brilliant worked on artificial intelligence at MIT: this made Nostrom his greatest challenge.

It's an interesting start Ed, but I have to agree with Jack, those first two sentences are awkward to read through. With some rewrite, you might have something. Don't use my example. I'm just showing your sentences can be tightened.

This is just suggestions, good luck with your story,

W.

@E. Hey, pass that bottle over here. [Cool]

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extrinsic
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The nectar is a tincture of Socratic irony with a courtly irony bouquet, a different tack, for a change, though wasted anyway.
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Jay Greenstein
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This is clearly a narrator explaining the story, as if telling it aloud to an audience. In short, it's all telling. But since the reader can hear none of the emotion of the speaker's delivery, and see none of their performance, all they get is an emotion free voice talking about what can be seen.

You say the man "blinked the sun." It would appear you did no editing, because it makes no sense.

But over and above that, the reader has no idea of where they are, or whose skin they wear. Nor do they know why he's where he is or why he blinked.

You have context because you know all that. But as a reader, why do I care that someone I don't know, in an unknown place, blinked? As a reader, I want something interesting to happen. I want to be made to care, not to know. But since you're informing and explaining instead of entertaining, there's nothing to make the reader want to turn to page two. And unless you do that they won't.

Writing for the printed word is unlike writing for storytelling, for thwe screen/stage, or journalism because the parameters of our medium are very different. So some time spent digging out the tricks of our trade would be time well spent.

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John B
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Hello,

This is my first feedback ever given on this forum, so please take it with a grain of salt.

I was a bit confused by some of the wording, such as the sun 'rimming' the cloud, and 'quick discerning intelligent' ending the sentence, it felt a little awkward.

I did like the idea of staring up at the 'nothing at the middle of the sky' ... and then the character pondering it. But then I wanted to learn something about the character from their ponderings, something to get a bit of an idea about them (other than their intelligence), before moving on to the next character.

It feels like there might be some philosophical dialog in this story, so delving into the characters' thoughts could be a good thing [Smile]

Thanks for listening!
John B.

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extrinsic
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The fragment poster parted company soon after fragment posted. On the poster's behalf, I thank you-all for your insightful responses.
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