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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » "WIP #1" First 13 lines - Cyberpunk

   
Author Topic: "WIP #1" First 13 lines - Cyberpunk
Broda
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Frank hated these cases. How did a bar fight get so bad so quickly? Ten minutes from the dispatch call and there's blood dripping from the rafters. The rookie slammed into Frank, one arm covering his mouth, as he rushed outside. Frank grinned as he heard the man's partially digested steak and eggs hit the pavement. Frank only drank whiskey for that reason. At least until the implant. Now, even the whiskey affected him like water.
"Hey Bobby, " Frank said.
"Hey Frank, nice night eh?"
"Yep. Alonso thinks so too, " Frank laughed as he pointed towards the gagging sounds out front. "So, what's the tally?"
"Five dead - though it looks like more - the bartender survived..."

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MrsBrown
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Quick, punchy language, inciting incident: This is a strong start.

Its not exactly my cup of tea, I think because Frank comes across as too much of a hard-a@@. I don’t like him much by the end, with his humor in such an ugly situation. The first two sentences made him more sympathetic; the humor negated that. But I might read a little further to see if his dialog is all show, and if he’s still troubled internally by it all.

Nit-picks:
One arm covering his mouth: I think of someone using hands in this situation, not an arm.

“Frank only drank whiskey for that reason. At least until the implant. Now, even the whiskey affected him like water.”

He drinks whiskey and skips eating, so he can avoid throwing up? Doesn’t sound realistic. Or did Alonso drink some other kind of alcohol that supposedly is harder on the stomach?

These sentences set up a before and after, with the before referring to behavior related to vomit avoidance, and the after referring to giving up drinking since he no longer gets a buzz. They don’t match, and it pulled me out of the story figuring it out.

"Five dead - though it looks like more - the bartender survived..."

I think this should be split into two sentences. The bartender is not part of the tally of dead people.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited November 05, 2008).]


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Broda
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Thanks MrsB

I posted my second version above. The first version is below if interested:

Frank hated these cases. Walking through the crime scene, blood seemed to be everywhere. How did a bar fight get so bad so quickly? Dispatch radioed not ten minutes ago saying the fight just started. So much blood. The rookie was already blowing chunks outside. Frank's stomach could handle anything - the implant worked out great. He hadn't lost his lunch in a decade or so. Day in, day out the scenes kept getting worse, and Frank always got the call. He hated seeing it and recently there had been an outbreak of gruesome scenes.
"Hey Bobby."
"Hey Frank, nice night eh?"
"If you say so... So what's the tally?"
"Five dead - though it looks like more - the bartender survived..."

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 05, 2008).]


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kings_falcon
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It's a decent start but I'm not hooked.

Here's why:

quote:
Frank hated these cases. You don't actually tell me "what cases" and the third line is probably the strongest. IMHO, start there and cut these first two How did a bar fight get so bad so quickly?
Ten minutes from the dispatch call and there's blood dripping from the rafters of what? THIS WOULD BE A GREAT FIRST LINE. The The "the" bugs the heck out of me. It's either "A" rookie or "Bill the rookie". Also, I suspect cops would call a newbie something different (after all we have a nickname for new lawyers) so I'm wondering about authenticity and if you've done the research slammed into Frank, one arm covering his mouth Frank was covering his mouth? Misplace modifier , as he still Frank rushed outside. Frank grinned as he heard the man's partially digested steak and eggs hit the pavement does he have bionic ears that he can hear outside and, presumably, through a closed door? How does he know it's steak and eggs without looking .

Frank only drank whiskey for that reason. At least until the implant. Now, even the whiskey affected him like water. these three lines sound out of place. He's at a crime scene and he's thinking about mystery implants? This reads like a bit of an author intrusion/info dump to me. Also, you haven't set the scene. Right now, I think only the kid and Frank are there.

"Hey Bobby, " Frank said. clearly someone else is around. Who is he? A bit of narrative to set the scene would be good before the dialog
"Hey Frank, nice night eh?"
"Yep. Alonso WHO?? thinks so too, " Frank laughed as he pointed towards the gagging sounds out front. oh, so that's the kid. Tell me his name earlier since Frank knows it

"So, what's the tally?" who is talking?
"Five dead - though it looks like more - the bartender survived..." the opening made me think Frank had just arrived but he's(??) telling Bobby about it? Hu?


[This message has been edited by kings_falcon (edited November 05, 2008).]


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MrsBrown
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WooHoo, kings_falcon continues to impress me! She's good.

Broda, your alternate attempt is a bit clearer about the implant. It works better for me because Frank is more likeable, but otherwise I don't like its wording as well as your original post (at the top). Keep at it


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kings_falcon
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Thanks Ms. Brown.

To fix the misplaced modifiers you can say:

"As he rushed outside with a hand over his mouth, Alonso the rookie slammed into Frank."

I know you are trying to squeeze the "spec" element (the implants) into the first 13 but don't worry so much. With a novel you have more time. Just hook me with the situation or character and build to the reference to the speculative elements a bit more naturally.


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Broda
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Thanks kf

And thanks for this too:
"As he rushed outside with a hand over his mouth, Alonso the rookie slammed into Frank."

I was fretting over that sentence for a while.

Thanks Mrs. Brown, the second post was actually the first draft. The first post was my attempt at fixing it, and clearly I made some good changes and some bad. But hey, it's all part of the process

I think I'm going to put this WIP aside until December though, so I stop using it as an excuse to procrastinate on NaNoWriMo


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Broda
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Quick Question:
What if I start off with a time/place designation and keep it up for the rest of the book?

For example:

Larry's Pub, Oct-10-2172, 2200


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kings_falcon
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Some people like it, some not so much.

It tends to make the story a bit pulpy and maybe a bit corny since you have a murder mystery type thing going. Humm, I'm apparently in the "not so much" group. Unless there's a real reason to have the log type entries, I'd, personally, stay away from them.


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Broda
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Thanks k_f.
I've since rewritten the scene and just worked it in. I think it works better that way. I'm still struggling with bouncing back and forth from exposition and dialog without it feeling out of place - I've got fast moving dialog and when I break out of it the story almost hits the brakes. I guess it's all part of the learning process... My NaNoWriMo project has actually engulfed this story/scene and it's working out a lot better now. It just hit me a couple mornings ago that I was working on the same story all along.

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