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Author Topic: Golem, a new story
Hookt_Un_Fonix
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Below are the first 13 from a story I started writing. Its a spin off from my first novel, and deals with a bit more hard science, and human nature. The novel or short story, (I haven't made up my mind yet) deals with a military unit that creates artificial bodies for soldiers to use in the battle field. Most of the people that sign up for the Golem program have physical disabilities. The reason they sign up is the promise of a fresh healthy body (which is illegal to do outside the government) at the end of their enlistment. This will be a story about human nature, physiology, psychology, and our need to fit in. I just had to write this.

In times like these, you would expect boys to be born healthy and whole. Trouble was not all children started in the Empire. In the early years, the control did not span from sea to sea and pole to pole. It was still fresh in the minds of many a world before. The smoke and radiation still gave many people nightmares. This country was formed on the backs of a determined people, and not all of those backs were straight and true.
Each person had a role to play in the birth of greatness. Alexander was a man alone, but as a king, he conquered and explored the entire world he knew. His men followed him to the boundaries of reality, but with out them he was really nothing. It was on the backs and arms of the masses that any great

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited July 25, 2007).]


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Snorri Sturluson
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An interesting beginning to a story. I would say that I am hooked enough at this point but if you continued the info dump then I might still put it down (if I saw it in a bookstore). I recorded my first reactions for you as I read it, so...

quote:
In times like these, you would expect boys to be born healthy and whole.(only boys? what about girls?) Trouble was not all children started in the Empire.(is there a difference between "being born" and "starting?") In the early years, the control did not span from sea to sea and pole to pole. (what control? government control? the empire's control? the remote control?) It was still fresh in the minds of many a world before. (what is "it" referring to? the possessor of "minds" appears to be "many a world before," but I think you mean "The world before was still fresh in the minds of many.") The smoke and radiation still gave many people nightmares. (figuratively or metaphorically? Additionally, I would say that everything before this point in the hook of your story, and a fine hook it is. Everything from here on, however, seems to be a political info dump) This country was formed on the backs of a determined people, and not all of those backs were straight and true.
Each person had a role to play in the birth of greatness. Alexander was a man alone, but as a king, he conquered and explored the entire world he knew. (so he is Alexander and he is Great. One might call him... Alexander the Great. Can't say I am fond of this introduction but perhaps it works for other people) His men followed him to the boundaries of reality, but with out them he was really nothing.(not sure about this play on words) It was on the backs and arms of the masses that any great nations are formed.(oddly phrased. It creates the expectation, for me, of "legs, however, don't matter for building a nation, and fingers are right out") The good ones do in riding on those backs.(I am not sure what you are saying here.) The great ones show them how to elevate themselves, (awkward word choice) and through that offer them the better view of history.(I don't follow the logic in this but I suspect that is the point)


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Grijalva
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I'm not hooked. This seems like a story that I would have to force myself to read. I read to get lost in the world, not be told about it.

And this line, "His men followed him to the boundaries of reality, but with out them he was really nothing," Bothered me. I felt that this can be argued, and I know its your theory, but it took me away from what your trying to get across.


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Kakichi
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The premise of what you'd like your story to be about actually interests me quite a bit. Reading that on the back of the book would get me into it, and the first 13 you've got here is good, and I believe most of your mistakes have been noted above. Keep this one up, I'm interested.
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lehollis
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Here are my thoughts and feelings as I read through this.

quote:
In times like these, you would expect boys to be born healthy and whole.

As a reader, I could go with this, but I'd want to know why soon.

quote:
Trouble was |comma here, I think| not all children started in the Empire.

Okay, now I know there's an Empire, but I don't know the name? I have no feel for it.

quote:
In the early years, the control did not span from sea to sea and pole to pole. It was still fresh in the minds of many a world before. The smoke and radiation still gave many people nightmares.

Now, I am getting lost. What early years? What is "the control"? Why would it span from sea to sea and pole to pole--a trite-sounding phrase, to me. Why do worlds have minds here? Fresh in the minds sounds trite to me, too. Overused as an expression. Smoke and radiation seems an unlikely cause for widespread nightmares unless we know specifically how bad it is.

quote:
This country was formed on the backs of a determined people, and not all of those backs were straight and true.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take from this, to be honest. I get that it was hard work. Are those hard workers now dishonest? Or just elderly?

quote:
Each person had a role to play in the birth of greatness. Alexander was a man alone, but as a king, he conquered and explored the entire world he knew.

Sounds like you're talking about Alexander the Great, now. I'm wondering how that connects to what we've been told before. Still feeling lost.

quote:
His men followed him to the boundaries of reality, but with out them he was really nothing.

Both debatable statements. He may not have conquered the world without an army, but did his army make him great? He led them, not the other way around, in my opinion. I could go with this under different circumstances

quote:
It was on the backs and arms of the masses that any great nations are formed. The good ones do in riding on those backs.

Not sure what that last sentence means.

quote:
The great ones show them how to elevate themselves, and through that introductory clause here, needs a comma I think offer them the better view of history.

I realize a novel can get away with a slower start, but I don't feel hooked at this point. I'm not even sure of the setting. Is this earth? Future earth? Past Earth? Present Earth? What country are we talking about? In a sci-fi or Fantasy story, readers won't assume USA when you say "This country".

There's no character to feel connected with, feel sympathy for or even be interested in. No PoV to begin to get a feel for. We're not even sure who is talking about all this greatness, but they refer to us ("You would think....")

I felt it bordered on preachy, to me. Not 100% preachy, but like maybe the narrator is starting in on some essay he thinks is important for everyone to listen to.

It sounds like you have lots planned, but I wonder if the reader will ever make it to the good parts. If you want to hook the reader early, I would focus on things like: a strong character, a solid setting, a hook (interesting question, tension, conflict) and keep the writing tight and efficient. If you give me a couple of those things, I'd be interested in turning the page.

The ideas presented could maybe be a light hook, but I didn't feel them here. If you gave them to me in a form that made me smile and nod, sure Id turn the page.

I hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by lehollis (edited July 25, 2007).]


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nitewriter
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Interesting idea. I wonder though why, if the ability exists to give a disabled person a fresh, healthy body - why would they have to sign up for the military service in order to receive one? Wouldn't there be huge portests and if not why not? Doesn't this setup imply that those making such a decision to give out healthy bodies in so limited a way are themselves disabled? You're going to have to do a real high wire act of writing this convincingly or your story will fold like a house of cards. Good luck with it.
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Hookt_Un_Fonix
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Okay I am going to start a new thread with a revision of the first 13
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