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Author Topic: The Sinkhole
Gregg L
Member # 9970

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I stared this this as a short story of less than 2k words and read it at our County Writer's Group meeting last month. The feed back was encouraging. So far I have written north of 11k word and will need a new title.

Colonel Terry Williamson is scared; the only thing that keeps him from panicking is the 19 years of flying high-performance aircraft and astronaut training.
Terry scrambles for footing on what was, only seconds ago, level ground. "Fly the plane stupid, FLY the ****ing plane," he curses at himself, for the time it took to assess the situation and react. His voice is loud in his headset. He is of course, not in a plane, but the old saying applies, do what you know, and work out the rest. He attempts to jump up the ever-increasing angle of the slope in front of him to no avail; his greatly reduced mass is of no help. His earphones are barking in his ears, Commander John Jackson, better known as JJ, is in The Borman and demanding answers to the situation he is still evaluating.

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Member # 10202

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Consider starting with, "The only thing that keeps Colonel Terry Williamson from panicking is..." because your first five words are more like a conclusion than a "come on". Besides, they're akin to "telling".

I thought, "He is, of course, not in a plane" (you're missing a comma) is interesting because if he's not in a plane, what is he in? That made me ask questions.

I don't understand "His earphones..." and onward. I think that needs to be cleared up.

Keep on it!

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Member # 10271

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"his greatly reduced mass" ? Are you implying that because the ground beneath him is falling away, he feels nearly weightless? If so, his mass is the same as always. His mass will only decrease if he is on a diet. ;-)

I like how he falls back on pilot training and adapts it to his current situation. He needs to focus on the immediate danger and block out the radio traffic until he is on firm ground. There is a phrase that is useful in this type of situation; "Never forget the essential in the face of the urgent".

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Gregg L
Member # 9970

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His mass is reduced because he is on the Moon. Actually the far-side during a New Moon.

The first lesson in Flight School was when thing go wrong, remember the first three rules, fly the plane, fly the plane and fly the plane.

I will closely look at the first line again.

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Member # 8970

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Originally posted by Gregg L:
His mass is reduced because he is on the Moon.

Unless you have something weird in your novel where the Moon somehow interferes with the Higgs boson, being on the Moon will not affect his mass. It will, however, affect his weight.
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Member # 9682

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I think it might engage readers more if we know he's on the moon sooner rather than later. I think there's a bit of narrative withholding for suspense, but I don't think it's helping. My first read of this was confusion as I tried to understand what was going on.

I also think you can do more with that first line. I can imagine it being a bit more compelling if heard, but reading it, the present tense feels stilted, and '...is scared' doesn't really give me much information on what the narrator is actually experiencing.

However, if you want to swap openings, say 9,000 to 11,000 words, I'm game. Just email me.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Member # 59

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Gregg L, on Earth mass can be used inter-changeably with weight (though it really shouldn't).

Mass is basically how much matter there is and weight is how much gravitational force is exerted on that matter.

Mass will not change unless some matter is either added or removed.

Weight will change depending on the gravitational force (which is different on the Moon than it is on the Earth).

So if someone from the Earth goes to the Moon, that person's WEIGHT will change, but the mass will remain the same.

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