Will...I...ever...awaken...again? The thought was strung across hundreds of years; each syllable formed in the silence between the myriad of dreams that racked my torpid mind. Then I sensed the sulphur in the air and the incantations stumbling from a distant priest's lips; the familiar words of my summoning hardly recognisable anymore. But it was enough. From the earth, I pulled together my ancient bones of stone; I drew life from the surrounding glade and wrapped my bones with the flesh of its many creatures. Precious stones filled my eye sockets and black flints speared my jaws. When I awoke atop my earthen grave, it was amid the sterile ash of the now spent glade. The sulphurous whispers on the wind spoke to me. Today, I would feed--my flinty teeth ground together as I imagined it.
Sharon Walters screamed at God or a goddess or whatever influenced the universe as she returned to her dimension, her reality, several feet above her bed. "You bastard!" Gravity pulled her to the mattress like an insecure lover. She bounced against the padding and metal springs, and unable to gain hold quickly enough, she flopped to the wooden floor. "That hurt," she said. The floor pressed against her tired body, cooling through thin pajamas. "Why do you keep doing this? Let me dream like a normal person." It was a ritual. Every time she woke, she complained, begged, or demanded to be left in her bed the next time she slept. The cruel Lord of Dreams never listened, but she
A young girl, clutched at her mother's side, awoke with a start. Had it all been a dream, she wondered? "Mamá?!" she innocently pleaded, her words almost drowned by a gust of wind that rustled through the trees outside her family's home, a double-wide trailer in a small town in Arizona the 2000 U.S. census claimed to possess but 98 souls. A pot that had caught leaks from the storm had overturned in a melee the evening before, which soaked the floor, now red with blood from her father's crumpled, inanimate form. "Papi?!----" she called. "Shh, mi hija!" tensely hushed her young raven-haired mother, alert to noises as might reveal that associates of Papi would return ---- as now Mamá clenched the handgun she had known he had stashed under their bedroom mattress. "Ohh---mye---gawd!"
Robbie awoke with his head in a fog. His vision was blurred and his hearing muffled. A man in a white shirt stood over him. He was saying something that Robbie’s brain knew was important but couldn’t make out. A roar of a thousand people started to penetrate through the fog. One voice that his subconscious had yet to recognize but felt familiar leaked through the roar. ”Get up! Get up!” Robbie attempted to lift his head. It hurt, as did his ribs, back, and face. It felt as if he stepped in front of a moving truck. The man standing over him began to get clearer. He had his hands over Robbie and held up his fingers. Robbie put all his efforts into making sense of his words. “…Eight. Nine. Ten! You’re out!”
Kaylie sat up in the bed clutching her head until the nausea inducing spinning of sleep travel left her. Where was she this time? At least she was indoors, in a bed. She opened her eyes, but all she could see were streaks of burnt orange.
Suddenly she felt movement in the bed beside her. She jolted back as a form leaned over her.
“Hey babe,” a distinctly male voice said. His breath reeked of alcohol. “Don’t remember you last night. Maybe you can refresh my memory.”
She shoved him away and heard a satisfying thunk. He laughed as he stood up, a blur at the end of the bed, but he was coming into focus. The stranger's eyes locked on her, with a derisive, knowing gleam. There was no doubt; he knew what she was.
[This message has been edited by MAP (edited February 19, 2010).]
Zon opened his eyes, feeling his conciousness rise slowly. It was still dark, and Diane's breathing was shallow and even. She rarely snored. He pinged her biomonitors. Her melatonin levels were dropping. She would wake in a few minutes. He began to warm up his body. Diane liked to snuggle on cold mornings by spooning. She would put her feet on top of his, working her toes in between his own, warming every tiny surface. She said it was one of the perks of being married to an alfie. It was meant as a term of endearment. She had never treated him as anything artificial. We all are machines in the eyes of Nature. She had said that on their wedding day. Her breathing changed. She was awake now, but she didn't turn to face him when she spoke. "I want to have a child."
Like the other refugees, Howard wandered the rubble in a cataleptic state. They were like a disorganized army of zombies; Not the living dead, but the living sleeping, though it could be argued that there was no difference. It was not the squeal of the bombs as they tore threw the sky, nor their thunderous explosions that awoke Howard. Even the brilliance of the detonations did not faze him as he shambled with the others towards the south end of the city. It was the cry of a young girl that awoke Howard; A terrified, shrill of human desolation, a voice of despair in the form a child, summing up the true tragedy that surrounded him. It shattered the cocoon he had wrapped himself in like a hammer on glass. Howard dashed on nimble foot
Jacoba opened her eyes and stared at the lid of her cryo pod. It took her several seconds to realize something was wrong. The lid was supposed to cycle open well before her brain was functioning well enough to retain short-term memories; what little time she spent enclosed in the claustrophobically small pod should have passed through her mind and left no trace behind. As she reached up to toggle the fail-safe, another anomaly registered. She was laying on her side. She shouldn't toss and turn in suspended animation, so why wasn't she on her back, as she'd been when enclosed herself in the cryo pod? But she was still staring at the lid of her pod which meant.... Had someone knocked over her pod?
Jamie woke up, but kept his eyes closed in his usual custom. He let his senses tell him where he was, what day it could be, what year. His foot hurt, on the toe. Gout? The beginnings of arthritis? There was no ringing in his ears, so he couldn’t be too old. Maybe an accident, stubbed toe? He flexed his biceps, they felt small, insubstantial. Not one of my body building years then. He looked for his friends, known aches and pains. Dammit, what year was it? He felt his teeth with his tongue, his surefire method. No fillings, no gaps, small and unfamiliar. A voice called out, a very familiar voice. “Jamie, Jamie darling. Wake up. It’s your first day at school, remember?”
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 15, 2010).]
Peltier's eyes snapped open as he checked his internal telemetry, the bits and fragments of data streams appearing like flashes across his normal sight. When his focus turned outward, spider webs laden with dust lay like streamers after some macabre party all over his bedroom. He levitated two feet into the air above his bed. Peltier commanded his body to turn counter clockwise 90 degrees and lowered himself to the floor. He scrunched up his nose as his feet sunk into three inches of dusty softness. He broke out the glass of the now non-functioning window letting sunlight stream in. He looked down at the street below. No movement. Vegetation grew out of cracks in the pavement. He couldn't see or sense any animal life.
The last thing Thomas Larenby remembered before waking up in the hospital was how much he hated listening to radio DJs go on and on about nothing. This thought had apparently occupied much of his brain during the three-and-a-half weeks of his coma, because the first thing he tried to do upon coming out of it was to change the station on his radio, which turned out to be the monitoring system for his vital signs. As time better acclimated him to being conscious again, he began noticing subtle differences in the world around him. There was nothing blatant, just little things like some of the slang words people used or the shows on television. And although his new car now had XM radio, he didn’t recognize many of the “classics”. He began to believe this was a different world.
Pain defined him, until the fog of sleep lifted enough to let him catalog the wounds. His head hurt worst, starting at the base of the neck and radiating upward. He lay very still, feeling straw prick his sore back. His left arm ached and his ribs throbbed with the rhythm of his shallow breath.
Firelight flickered against cracked plaster walls, probably from a candle. He could just make out the top of the closed wooden door. The rest of the room remained a mystery, out of his line of sight.
He raised his right hand, examined the square cut nails and slender fingers. He realized he didn’t recognize this hand, and wondered who he was. No name came to mind.
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited February 21, 2010).]
Entry 1 Morning Ritual Loved it, very creepy. The hook to me is what this being is and what is he going to do. Very well-written.
Entry 2 A Problem With Dreams I like how sleep and dreams is critical to the plot. This makes the waking a good place to start the story. But the main character seems a little over-dramatic for my tastes with all the cursing and screaming.
Entry 3 Daughter of Affliction Interesting begining. The line about the trailer park and census of the city stopped me cold. I suggest deleting that line. I didn't get why the mother said "oh my god," at the end either.
Entry 4 Seeing Stars Well written and nice description of what it feels like to get pounded in the ring, but I don't really see any hook. Nothing compelled me to read on.
Entry 5 What a dork for not being anonynmous like everyone else. Did she even read the instructions?
Entry 6 Beleated, why??? I really liked this one.
Entry 7 The Husband Interesting, the husband seems cold and distant which works that he is a robot. Interesting hook with the child, but not knowing the world, I don't know if this is unusual or not.
Entry 8 South of France Interesting take on zombies, but something is not quite working for me. I think the information should be reordered, maybe? Start with the girl screaming and walking him up and then explaining the living sleepers. Just a thought.
Entry 9 And Miles To Go Before I Sleep I liked this a lot. A very good reason for starting with the cliche opening. Nicely done. My only nit is that Jacoba is a little too calm for being locked in, but maybe that is her character.
Entry 10 The When of Today Another good reason to start with the waking cliche. This one felt a little humorous to me.
Entry 11 In Search of Humanity This is well-written, but not really compelling to me. I just feel no attachment to the character or care about it's mission.
Entry 12 A Different World Waking up in a different world is not compelling enough to read on. The obsession with the radio seemed weird to me.
Entry 13 The Lost Prince This is well-written, but very cliche, and I am not compelled to read on. I think there is a better place to start.
First place. Entry 1 Morning Ritual
Second place. Entry 9 And Miles To Go Before I Sleep
Third place. Entry 10 The When of Today
Best title. A Problem With Dreams
Nice job everyone, and thanks Snapper for the challenge.
[This message has been edited by MAP (edited February 22, 2010).]
Here are my votes. I'll post comments after I finish typing them up, probably tomorrow. [02-27: Added below.]
1st Place: The When of Today 2nd Place: Morning Ritual 3rd Place: The Sleep Traveler
*Edited to add the following.
MAP, the instructions said we could post on our own or send the opening to skadder. There was an advantage to posting on your own: Your formatting wasn't lost.
Entry 1 - "Morning Ritual" - Strong voice and unique perspective. The first POV could backfire if the demon doesn't have a sympathetic side.
Entry 2 - "A Problem With Dreams" - The last lines appear to lead into an infodump; a different opening might work better.
Entry 3 - "Daughter of Affliction" - Setting description unclear, narrative seems to wander out of the moment, and the voice of the last line doesn't fit. The non-style elements--the choice of setting, characters, and potential conflict--are interesting.
Entry 4 - "Seeing Stars" - Good description but I don't care about the character, who's just some guy losing a fight.
Entry 5 - "The Sleep Traveler" - The speculative element introduced in the first line is what makes the opening interesting; what is she, what is he, and how are they waking up together like this?
Entry 7 - "The Husband" - Cool concept and clear conflict. A couple phrases initially looked like mistakes instead of clues that the MC is an android.
Entry 8 - "South of France" - Didn't engage my emotions. I first assumed the characters were zombies (which I dislike) then reread to guess that they're regular people wandering through a war zone, which I don't understand.
Entry 9 - "And Miles to Go Before I Sleep" - Positive: Good suspense writing. Negative: It looks like another horror involving aliens, mutants, or crazed crewmen taking over a ship. Several movies were based on this concept, and (arguably) the best ones established relationships before the antagonists attacked. Would it matter to anyone but her if she never leaves the pod?
Entry 10 - "The When of Today" - Everything worked. I'd like to read the rest, please.
Entry 11 - "In Search of Humanity" - Positive: Good setting description. Negative: I'm confused by the plot and character. Peltier is human in some thoughts and actions yet completely inhuman in others. If he was programmed or assigned to wake up long after an apocalyptic event, then why did he wait in a bedroom open to contaminating materials?
Entry 12 - "A Different World" - I like the attitude in the first line and the twist to the additional cliché of a coma induced by a car crash. What didn't work for me was the big time jump and the uncertainty of whether he suffered brain damage or is in another dimension.
Entry 13 - "The Lost Prince" - Good description, especially with the firelight. I've seen "Pain defined him" before, making it an uninteresting first line; also, this opening reminds me of several TV episodes without providing anything new.
Overall, I think we showed that a cliché doesn't necessarily ruin a story.
[This message has been edited by aspirit (edited February 28, 2010).]
Here’s my new critiquing format – and I don’t want any complaints:
#1 – Exquisite writing - a little purple. #2 – Good imagery/sensory use – a little clunky. #3 – Nice drama – awkward sentences with overuse of adverbs. #4 – Nice twist – not very hooky. #5 – Interesting idea – generic dialogue #7 – Nice hook – I don’t like the word “spooning”. #8 – Very metaphoric – some descriptions “threw” me off. #9 – Nice title – a little generic. #10 – Nice hook – “unfamiliarity” seemed inconsistent. #11 – Nice imagery – a little “disorienting”. #12 – Interesting multiverse – too telling (or not enough). #13 – Strong POV – waking up and amnesia.
First – #7 “The Husband” Second - #10 “The When of Today” Third - #1 “Morning Ritual”
I'll get my votes in, and post my critiques in a couple of days.
1st Place: Entry 5 - The Sleep Traveler 2nd Place: Entry 11 - In Search of Humanity 3rd Place: Entry 7 - The Husband Title: And Miles to Go Before I Sleep
I must say, I like your new format philocinemas
1. The Morning Ritual Well written and the POV makes an interesting twist to the challenge, even if waking demons is another cliché. Not sure if I would read on as it screams “horror story” to me, which is not my taste.
2. A Problem with Dreams A bit over dramatic, but nice idea. Could probably cut a third of the words without losing much.
3. Daughter of Affliction OK, I know that you were trying to put in as many clichés as possible, but this didn’t quite hold me. It feels like there is more that we need to have known before we are thrust into a situation with this intensity.
4. Seeing Stars Very interesting tack on the challenge, but it seems to wind up at the end of the 13, with little compelling reason to keep reading.
5. The Sleep Traveler Fascinating concept. This 13 shows the danger of the concept, the nature of the antagonist and part of his (as yet unknown to the reader) knowledge of her secret (a double hook). I would definitely read on, even though I know who the author is.
7. The Husband Nicely done. The thought of a differently emotioned father coping with raising a child is very interesting.
8. South of France I would start this with the cry of the girl. Before that, while an interesting twist on waking, it was not really compelling to read. After that point, it was great.
9. And Miles to Go Before I Sleep This has that hard science fiction feel and well written enough that would make me read on. It nearly got my votes.
11. In Search of Humanity Nice futuristic feel to this. You present a problem that intrigues me. But then I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic worlds.
12. A Different World Hmm. Not sure whether starting at waking up is justified with this. If the world is so similar, it might be better to let the reader discover it is different, and get to some more compelling reason to keep reading.
13. The Lost Prince I always worry that, when pain happens in the opening, the story will lose its promised focus. Any of the following directions – the mysterious disappearance of pain with little explanation, the miraculous minimization of pain or slow healing quickly glossed over before the story turns to other things, and alternatively, the depressive continuance of pain, are clichés associated to this start. And each can be a turn off for their own reasons, so you are running a fine line between them. And waking in someone else’s body or waking with amnesia are both additional clichés (but someone had to do it in this competition).
[This message has been edited by Brendan (edited February 28, 2010).]
Due to the large number of entries, I shall follow philo's brevity: #1 – Very visual; Sets a mood; pretty original POV; I liked it. #2 – I stumbled on opening line; felt vague about what was happening #3 – felt an odd mix of out-of-nowhere descrip and a little info dump; by the end, stuff happened but I felt completely lost. #4 – enjoyed it, but reader might pidgeonhole story as 'underdog-boxer'- still it was done nicely and last line hooks the reader #5 – cliche upon cliche - wake up & some unknown in bed; still prose is clear and generates interest. #7 – Decent opening, felt a bit lost in the beginning but figured it out, nice hook #8 – contradiction in opening - Howard wandered, then he awoke? Was he asleep or did he come out of shock...? #9 – feels like a double cliche (alien's popped into mind); that said I could follow what was happening but wasn't too hooked... #10 – Really good; concept and POV beats the cliche, not sure why keep eyes closed though...feels contrived #11 – Like the strangness of whats happening, but too much is happening - made me feel lost, but not too hooked to find my way. #12 – really intresting way to approach the cliche by having narrator comment on MC, kind of avoids it in a way, all it needs, I feel, is to make it more, uh, "hooky." So pretty good. #13 – feeling a quad cliche here - plain and direct, but not hooky enough to follow.
First – #10 “The When of Today” Second - #1 “Morning Ritual” Third - #12 “A Different World”
Title: #1 “Morning Ritual” - I like the double meaning
A simple but great opening line. This one proved that even a clichéd start can still hook. This appears to be a demon awakening. It would be very difficult to pull this off with a 1st POV of such an evil character. It makes me curious if the author could pull it off.
Entry # 2 A Problem With Dreams
Intriguing. This would be better if that paragraph was broken up (that could have been my fault). The MC could have shown more anger IMO. Still a nice opening.
Entry # 3 Daughter of Affliction
Hmmm, this could have used a bit of trimming. The info-dump would have been better placed later in the piece, sometime after the initial tension has softened. Although the unnamed girl did just wake up, it didn’t feel like a waking up start to me.
Entry # 4 Seeing Stars
Oof. This could have used some editing. I also think it would have been better if the MC caught the count in the middle - ‘…four, five, six…’. As it is, this story appears to be over.
Entry # 5 The Sleep Traveler
The man may know what she is but I do not. I need more info for the hook to work on me. It appears she is in a ‘quantum leap’ like premise to me.
Entry # 7 The Husband
An android/human relationship. Nice last line, it made a nice hook.
Entry # 8 South of France
I though this was a zombie story at first but it looks more like a group of refuges. Nice opening for a novel like piece. I do like the title.
Entry # 9 And Miles To Go Before I Sleep
Very intriguing opening. I want to know the answers to the questions she is asking. Great way to bull through a cliched no-no and write something compelling.
Entry # 10 The When of Today
I don’t know why KDW’s template is different than mine. It appeared to be within the 13 line limit to me. Nevertheless, the hook is still there. I liked this one and can feel a huge story from this short start. Well done.
Entry # 11 Search of Humanity
Interesting. It could use a bit of trimming. This is pronoun heavy. If you could find a way to eliminate some of those ‘he’s I believe it would flow better.
Entry # 12 A Different World
A big time jump, coupled with a slow pace, hurt this one for me. Intriguing idea though.
Entry # 13 The Lost Prince
Standard amnesia opening. Well written but way too cliché even for this competition.
This was an impressive bunch of entries. You guys are good.
First Entry # 10 The When of Today
Second Entry # 1 Morning Ritual
Third Entry # 9 And Miles To Go Before I Sleep
Favorite title – This was harder than picking the top 3 for me. So many great titles that fit the openings and premise. I went back and forth a dozen times.
And Miles To Go Before I Sleep – loved the use of a clichéd line within a clichéd contest.
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited February 26, 2010).]
So are you doing that thing where if someone who didn't vote gets a 1st place vote, then the points (5) will cascade down to the person that got the second place from that voter and their four points cascade down to the person who came third?
I'm assuming you can't vote for your own entry? :-P
#1 – I had trouble with the first paragraph, but I was hooked by the time I got to the description of the POV character rebuilding his body. Would definitely keep reading.
#2 – I was intrigued by the concept but not so much by her talking to empty air, especially because I wasn't feeling the anger anymore by the end of the first 13. Would give this another page or two.
#3 – I remember reading somewhere this one was intended to hit all the "don't!" factors in the first 13, so leaving aside crits on the writing, I managed to make my way through all right until I hit the "Ohh—mye—gawd!" which jarred me right out of the narrative since the rest of the dialogue had all been in Spanish. Might flip the page, but it would have to hook me soon.
#4 – Once I figured out what was going on, I thought it was a very good description of the end of a boxing round/match. Not quite sure where it would go from here, though. Would keep reading for another page or two (assuming that wasn't the whole story?)
#5 – A little confused, but intrigued enough by the idea of "sleep travel" and "what she was" to keep reading.
#7 – The waking up part didn't seem particularly necessary in this one, but the implied story (machine and human trying to create a child) seems promising. Would give this another page or two.
# 8 – The zombie reference threw me a bit and I had to read this a couple of times to realize what's going on. Also had trouble visualizing someone wandering in a "cataleptic" state, which I associate more with being physically frozen in place or having some sort of seizure/fit (not saying it isn't possible, just saying I had trouble wrapping my mind around the concept). Might flip the page, but I'd have to figure out what was going on soon.
#10 – Very intrigued by this one, thought it could be a lot of fun. Would definitely keep reading.
#11 – What did his internal telemetry tell him? The commanded his body to turn part struck me as odd (he conceives himself as seperate from his body, and has conscious awareness of each command to make it move, like a puppeteer?) But I am interested to know what happened and would keep reading for another page or two.
#12 – I was okay with the first paragraph, but the second one lost me; I wanted to see the character interacting or doing something with other characters, instead of getting more narrative telling (with what I took to be a significant time lapse in between the two paragraphs). Might flip the page, but if I didn't get to a "scene" soon I'd probably stop.
#13 – Excellent description would keep me reading for another couple of pages, even though I don't really care much for waking-up-with-amnesia stories (especially since the character doesn't seem to be in any immediate danger).
First – The Sleep Traveler Second – Morning Ritual Third – The When of Today
[This message has been edited by Kitti (edited February 27, 2010).]
By not allowing anyone to vote for their own you create an even playing field. Even if it was allowed, some people would never vote for thier own entry as they were either too modest or realised they couldn't be objective about it. Others would always vote for their own, irrespective of its quality, on the basis they assumed everyone else was doing the same.
It's simpler to ban voting for your own.
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited February 27, 2010).]
And thanks snapper for running this competition. You have a knack of talking up a contest.
I wonder how many real stories would come out of it? I know, I know, they might be difficult to sell starting at a wake up scene. But still, some of the ideas are really interesting. I would love to see what the writers have in mind for a number of stories. Anyone going to continue their story from here?
I think I'll complete my story, but I'm going to start somewhere different. Also, I originally did what shimiqua did, and had written a first 13 using another character waking up (I might keep that opening) and I hope to complete that story too. Therefore I got a two for one out of this little contest. Thanks, snapper.
First of all, congrats to Brendan, Skadder, and Billawaboy. Those were all awesome entries.
Now that I’ve been gracious. Yeah! I placed. Although that could have changed if everyone had voted, but I'll take it.
I paid close attention to this contest because I wanted to study how this cliche opening could work. I think there needs to be a clear reason why the story should start with waking.
With Brendan's, it is pretty clear that the MC can time travel during sleep.
With Skadder's, the summoning of the demon MC is not only very interesting, but definitely a changing moment in the MC‘s life.
With Billawaboy's, you have a mundane marital moment, waking up together, which is used to illustrate the unusual behavior of the robot husband.
Many of the others, if not all, had really good plot reasons to start with waking as well.
What I thought was interesting was that the top two winners were clear cut winners. Everyone except the author voted for the first place winner, and everyone except the author and one other voted for the second place winner. I have been in a few of these contests, and usually the voting is more spread out.
I think this shows that it is hard to over-come this cliché start even when you have a good reason to, because most of the entries did, but the ones that do, really rise to the top.
Excellent contest everyone. Thanks for doing this SNAPPER.
[This message has been edited by MAP (edited March 02, 2010).]
I'm posting to offer my apologies for not voting - I was called away on business last minute ;o/ Not cool of me to at least post a notice that I wouldn't be voting. Again I apologize...
on a side note nice job guys really enjoyed the openings, and Thanks for the feed back on mine. It's nice to see uniform comments (bad or good) so I know without a doubt what the problems with my writing are!
You know, I hate to remark on this because it's going to be embarrassing for those who have made this mistake, but I have seen this happen several times here on the forum lately, and I know how it is to me to be referred to by someone else's name (though for me there have been several different ways this has happened).
Skadder and snapper are similar usernames, so it's an easy mistake to make, but they belong to two very different people.
Because they are so similar, it is very important to check before referring to one or the other to make sure you are referring to the correct one.
Yeah, I know what you mean KDW. My son's bubble-bath is called "Scrubbles"; everytime I see it I think it says "Scrupples". Maybe someone will join with a name like "snadder" or "skapper" and really throw a monkey in the wrench.
Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008
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I should have followed shimiqua’s example. I apologize for not voting (pitiful excuses withheld). As suggested by snadder here are my amends:
Entry 1 Morning Ritual: Slow first para, very cool bad guy, want to read on just to see how you introduce someone to root for.
Entry 2 A Problem With Dreams : Very cool way to wake up, I loved the action. Perhaps some of the references to the gods could have been held till later, because it distracted from the immediacy of the action. She should either know or not know which god is responsible.
Entry 3 Daughter of Affliction: Oh, the adverbs! The focus wanders with too much description. But I know you were going for a cliché mix.
Entry 4 Seeing Stars: Too much muddled awareness to catch my interest. I would have preferred him to realize sooner what was happening, and struggle to overcome (even if he couldn’t get up).
Entry 5 The Sleep Traveler: Solid. Love the burnt orange streaks, and the threat. Disorientation worked here because the MC struggled against it, and the tension is clear. The words “nausea inducing” distracted.
Entry 7 The Husband: Way cool! I like the intimacy, the tenderness that a (supposedly unfeeling) machine can convey. The tech is beautifully woven into the emotional context. Hands down my favorite.
Entry 8 South of France: The sequence of sleep/awake states left me confused, going back and forth between them. And somehow it seemed too, well, general. I didn’t feel grounded in a here-and-now. Interesting idea, though. I’m curious to know more.
Entry 9 And Miles To Go Before I Sleep: I liked. It meets the criteria but doesn’t feel like waking up. Interesting situation. My only complaint: phrasing the last line as a question jarred me.
Entry 10 The When of Today: I loved this. It’s a nice twist on a familiar idea. “in his usual custom” was distracting.
Entry 11 In Search of Humanity: Very cool! I like the tech and the descriptions. I’m wondering how well his electronic (?) functions are working. Is he the last man on earth?
Entry 12 A Different World: I appreciated the humor of trying to turn off the radio. The second para is too general for my taste; let me experience the differences with him as he discovers them. I might make the same comment about the first para – have him wake up and try to turn off the radio? I’m not sure if that would work.
Entry 13 The Lost Prince: I know, so cliché. But the timing was too perfect, because I was exploring ideas for amnesia when I saw this contest, and someone said well at least don’t have him wake up not knowing who he is. Hah!
Many excellent attempts. Good show! Thanks, snapper!
[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited March 04, 2010).]