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 Books » The Infinity Machine

   
Author Topic: The Infinity Machine
revraidon
Member
Member # 8859

 - posted      Profile for revraidon   Email revraidon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The infinity machine. Streamlined, bronze castings, with art deco accents concealing the thousands of roles of film and audiotape the artist placed inside. Divine watch craft. Thousands of gears, springs and cables all hidden from view. Two crank handles, man powered, bestowing the gift of the human soul. One powered the video, the other audio, independently. An infinite combination of light and sound.

Whirring, clicking and humming the machine was playing when I arrived with my mum and pop. A voice crackles, "the twentieth century only 10 known cases of the god complex have been identified." Plain white screen with black typed letters list ten names. Scanning, I recognize none of them, other than number seven. My name. Only a moment, then music with tanks and dancing.


Posts: 18 | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd keep reading.

I particularly liked Divine watch craft.

I'm not sure where to place the narrator's pov though, and whether he (or she) can see these inner workings, and the people (presumably) operating the crank handles.

There were a couple of nits, but I'm not sure exactly how to approach them. I felt that a couple of sentence pairs in the first paragraph might be joined, or something - it felt a little choppy. And then there was [with my mum and pop] which felt like, somehow, the 'my' needed rethinking. (Personally, I say mum and dad, read a lot of mom and pop, and haven't encountered this mix of the two, which I found a little curious). And was [A voice crackles, "the twentieth] missing ["In]?


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
revraidon
Member
Member # 8859

 - posted      Profile for revraidon   Email revraidon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
<i>I'd keep reading.
I particularly liked Divine watch craft.</i>

Thanks. Yeah, I really like those words to. This is actually the first "positive" review I've gotten on this site. My first short story attempt kind of got tore to shreds. Took me a bit to rebuild and come back.

The narrator's POV is a good point to bring up. I was considering that this is more of a prelude. Telling about how he came across the machine. So, it would be him narrating his childhood experience with the knowledge he gained. I dunno, I have a feeling someone will complain about how trite "flashbacks" or similar narration is. The people issue is easy, they're on the outside. I can make that clear.


Yeah, it was written kind of choppy. It's hard because the genre and what I'm working on currently almost demands it. If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Hmm that is one interesting nitpick. Well, it does take place in an alternate reality (Zeppelin airports etc.) I'm not certain whether it would be enhanced or detracted by throwing in non-traditional language.

The reel, yea it needs to be changed. Is there a good written method of describing static or white noise as the tape changes? I'm just thinking about ...

Wow, I'm exhausted but I can't thank you enough. Hopefully I can find a way to rewrite out some of those ponts. Thanks again!

[This message has been edited by revraidon (edited November 27, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by revraidon (edited November 27, 2009).]


Posts: 18 | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
The reel, yea it needs to be changed. Is there a good written method of describing static or white noise as the tape changes?

In a situation like this I just imagine myself telling the story to someone in person and consider how I would explain what's happening clearly and with no ambiguity (because unlike a real personal conversation, my audience can't ask for clarification). Doing it this way (I think) allows me to tell the story in my voice. I belive there are a thousand and one valid ways to say the same thing, but the only important thing is to make sure our written communication is crystal clear.

I'd offer some alternatives if I could think of any, but pressing demands by wife and kids are leaving me a little scatterbrained.


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
stutson
Member
Member # 8884

 - posted      Profile for stutson   Email stutson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd read on.

couple of nits: 'roles of film' should be rolls?

mixed tenses: 'arrived with my mum and pop. A voice crackles,'

past tense 'arrived' and present 'crackles' leaves me wondering when I am.

stutson


Posts: 60 | Registered: Nov 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ScardeyDog
Member
Member # 8707

 - posted      Profile for ScardeyDog   Email ScardeyDog         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stutson makes some good points, but I honestly didn't notice while reading. I was hooked.
Posts: 238 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cantgetnosleep
New Member
Member # 8932

 - posted      Profile for cantgetnosleep   Email cantgetnosleep         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

You've got a solid hook and a vivid imagination. I like that. All in all I'd say it's a solid opening.

That said, here's my suggestions for improvement. As was mentioned earlier, your phrasing is a little choppy. "The infinity machine." "Divine watch craft." "An infinite combination of light and sound." "My name."

I have had a tendency to write like this at times. But you have to be careful because what you're seeing in your imagination is not really communicated with short phrases like that. It feels to me like you're trying to hard to communicate too much too quickly. Card has a great bit on Rhetoric and Style in his writing lessons that addresses some of this.

My suggestion would be to focus more on the character. What is he or she doing? How does he or she react?

Reading through this, the strongest bit (to me) is: "The machine was playing when I arrived with my mum and pop."

I would start with that, and go from there. I get from this an immediate question: what machine? Why is it important? And I also get a picture of the protagonist as a child, perhaps holding his or her parent's hands. This could lead into seeing the name on the screen, and then hearing the voice explain the list, or perhaps you could simply leave the explanation for a little later.

But that's just my suggestions. Thanks for posting. I enjoyed reading it. Keep it up.


Posts: 8 | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
tchernabyelo
Member
Member # 2651

 - posted      Profile for tchernabyelo   Email tchernabyelo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The hook is absolutely fascinating.

The writing is rough - as an editor, I would probably have stopped at "roles" of film. Honestly, if you don't know the difference between roll and role, or can't be bothered to proofread your first line, it doesn't fill me with any kind of optimism. Watchcraft should probably be a single word. The fragmentary sentences are fine, though. I wasn't clear of setting so don't know whether the "man powered" handles really do give some kind of "soul" or whether this is a metaphor.

Also, "mum and pop" weirded me out - I think of "mom and pop" as a very American term, but "mum" as specifically British.


Posts: 1469 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dougsguitar
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
revraidon; after reading the above comments I have nothing technical to add where crit is concerned, except to agree with most of it. Conversely; I like the thing, as did the others commenting here. Sooo many stories start out with the same basic opening, this one does not. That is refreshing. Listening to the above comments will help this sucker gel in a good way, then I would definitely keep reading. Yep!
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
trailmix
Member
Member # 4440

 - posted      Profile for trailmix   Email trailmix         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would start with the first line of the second paragraph. That establishes point of view and sets up the description of the machine fairly well.

The choppy phrasing makes the description feel abstract to me, as if this were poetry instead of a story's opening. The language is attractive but I don't fully understand what is happening. I think establishing the POV up front will help a great deal.


Posts: 148 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  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