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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Possible Ridiculous Action Sci-Fi/Fantasy

   
Author Topic: Possible Ridiculous Action Sci-Fi/Fantasy
enigmaticuser
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Blam! Wood splinters from the cabin wall. My brother Ed looks at me with eyes as big as the defecit. “You shot at Ellen!” A train whistle blares in the distance.
I’m dumbfounded. The whistle gets louder. There’s a gun in my hand! I look to Ed, “I don’t know what–”
The roof caves as a North Rail engine screams through the roof with a dragon’s tail of steel and diesel smoke. Ed’s gone along with the kitchen. I flail back, tripping over the split frame of the three kiloton bomb Ed was trying to defuse.
I catch my reflection in the shiny metal casing. It’s not my face. My long dead brother stares back at me, when the bomb goes off.
And that’s how it all started.
***

I wrote the above as a tongue and cheek ultimate hook first thirteen. Unfortunately, after writing I thought . . . that actually sounds interesting. So I thought I'd throw it out here to see what others thought. I think it would probably be a light, over the top sci-fi fantasy. Possibly YA. Kind of a ridiculuous train crash.

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JSchuler
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As a comedy/parody of the genre, I think it could work. The only thing that strikes me as out of place in that regard is "as big as the defecit." I don't really know how big the defecit is in this story, and with trains and cabins and nuclear bombs, I don't have a good reference. Everything else is very concrete in my mind, except for that.
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Christian Behr
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It sounds interesting, but confusing, but perhaps it is supposed to be a bit confusing--maybe that is how it is interesting.
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MattLeo
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Well, I'm a satirist myself, and I don't think this works as a setup for comedy. I've made a study of comic scene writing, and pacing is essential. One ill-timed gag, even a *good* gag, and the scene deflates like a ruined souffle. A funny scene is more apt to be dragged out than rushed; it's the pauses that build comic tension.

Of course manic pacing is the hallmark of certain forms of comedy, in which each gag sets up the next. In theater there's something called the "French Farce Rule", to wit: don't let anyone sit down after the first act. But note that rule doesn't apply to the first act; its important to wind up the scenario first before you let it run wild.

I'm a proponent of the idea you don't have to make *everything* clear to readers. But you *do* have to be coherent.

But this example works as parody of a certain frenetic style of opening, which is just what enigmaticuser intended. Those openings try to grab the reader by the scruff of the neck and throw him face-first into the story. The problem with them is that they usually aren't an organic part of the story; they tend to be followed by a fatal change of pace. Rather than throwing the reader face-first into the story, these openings usually throw him face-first into a solid wall of dull.

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SASpencer
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According to "How to Improve your Speculative Fiction Openings" by Robert Qualkinbush, 90% of unpublished writers of short stories (he doesn't talk about novels) start with a scene, but 85% of professionals' openings begin with "situational" info.
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MikeL
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If I were you I would use "eyes as big a saucers" or similar instead of what you had, because it makes the beginning awkward to the reader.
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enigmaticuser
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Thanks for the feedback. I don't actually have a story idea, but a first scene or two with a sense of the feel of the story perculates to my senses.

Sometimes I just want to write some juvenile adventure like Adventures of Tin Tin or Indiana Jones.

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