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Thread: [Critique Game] Post The First Three Sentences of your Short Story

  1. #1101
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    This is from a short story, for which I'm still looking for a title :/

    I found Mum sitting on the sofa six weeks after her funeral. She hardly moved, she said nothing, she just stared at the rug in the living room. Her expression gave little away, she didnít look sad, angry, worried, or anything.

  2. #1102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denevius View Post
    Title: DAGGER TO THE BACK. Genre: Fantasy. Estimated Word Count: 3000 words.

    Kal Joo Won dropped to one knee on the wooden boards. “I dedicate my life to protecting you,” he said, and proffered to Nalisa a sapphire engagement ring.

    Titters spread through the sword seonsu watching, and Joo Won barely managed to duck the left hook to his temple.
    Yep, this one's hooked me too. Can we start a thread for the next tree lines?

  3. #1103
    Mostly harmless SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seaclusion View Post
    Thanks. I used her lovers name in the story, but always had her refer to her spouse as 'her husband'. I was trying to show her cavalier attitude toward the marriage, even though she needed him as much as she needed her lover.
    I wondered if that was why, seems fair, forget I spoke.

    As I said, I didn't even place in the contest.

    The contest was to write a story based on a photograph for a small weekly newspaper. I think my subject matter, infidelity-sex in the afternoon-marital secrets, was too much for a conservative throwaway paper.
    Yeah maybe it was just the market that was wrong, doesn't mean the story sucks, I'd hope you're looking for a good home elsewhere.

    -Derek
    The Sunday night Flash Fiction Challenge! Write a story in 90 minutes! If you dare.
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  4. #1104
    Mostly harmless SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot-dot-dash View Post
    I found Mum sitting on the sofa six weeks after her funeral. She hardly moved, she said nothing, she just stared at the rug in the living room. Her expression gave little away, she didnít look sad, angry, worried, or anything.
    Works for me, I'd read on out of curiosity, gotta find out what's brought her back. And how the POV character feels about this event.

    Picky little thoughts: "She hardly moved" -- made me think she is moving, but what's she doing? "Her expression gave little away" -- what is her expression and what is the little it gives away? In both cases I'd drop these no-info clauses and go with "She didn't move," and "She didn't look sad, angry, worried or anything."

    I also wanted to know if she's clean or if she's dirty (covered in cemetery earth) but maybe that's coming up next.

    Still works as is, though! Don't change anything just because I had picky thoughts.

    -Derek
    The Sunday night Flash Fiction Challenge! Write a story in 90 minutes! If you dare.
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  5. #1105
    Tim Sherren
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    Here's the beginning to a story I've felt compelled to write:

    It was less of a sudden change, and more of an abrupt realization. It was as if I had blacked out, lived an entire life, and woke with a tinted view on the world. I was in fact still the same person I had always been.


    -Thanks for the read, Tim

  6. #1106
    practical experience, FTW Denevius's Avatar
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    It was less of a sudden change, and more of an abrupt realization. It was as if I had blacked out, lived an entire life, and woke with a tinted view on the world. I was in fact still the same person I had always been.
    Though it's kind of interesting, a story hasn't really started yet. Not knowing where this leads, what I suggest is moving these lines a little farther down and starting in some type of narrative action.
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  7. #1107
    Mostly harmless SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsherren View Post
    It was less of a sudden change, and more of an abrupt realization. It was as if I had blacked out, lived an entire life, and woke with a tinted view on the world. I was in fact still the same person I had always been.
    These lines may work fine within the context of the story but there's no imagery or clue as what the story might be about and where it's going or who the speaker is. So I'm not saying change anything, I'm just saying there's no hook -- yet.

    -Derek
    The Sunday night Flash Fiction Challenge! Write a story in 90 minutes! If you dare.
    The challenge is open all week, all welcome. Check out FFC forum (password=flashed)
    This week's intrepid authors who dared: Jason, feyngirl, me.


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  8. #1108
    Tim Sherren
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaterso View Post
    These lines may work fine within the context of the story but there's no imagery or clue as what the story might be about and where it's going or who the speaker is. So I'm not saying change anything, I'm just saying there's no hook -- yet.

    -Derek
    I have to agree with you. Within the co text, and ad the writer, it makes sense. On it's own it does not. The isolation of these sentences and a readers point of view does definitely show that it's lacking something. Maybe something before it would better set up the story, tone, and even these individual sentences themselves.

  9. #1109
    Tim Sherren
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denevius View Post
    Though it's kind of interesting, a story hasn't really started yet. Not knowing where this leads, what I suggest is moving these lines a little farther down and starting in some type of narrative action.
    Thanks for the advice. I know what you mean after seeing it isolated from.the rest of the story. It's supposed to be the main character talking directly to the reader in a confessional type of setting and you critique has given me some ideas on how to better start that conversation.

  10. #1110
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsherren View Post
    Here's the beginning to a story I've felt compelled to write:

    It was less of a sudden change, and more of an abrupt realization. It was as if I had blacked out, lived an entire life, and woke with a tinted view on the world. I was in fact still the same person I had always been.
    I really like the second sentence. Do you need that first one at all? Same with the third, it doesn't add anything.

  11. #1111
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot-dot-dash View Post
    I really like the second sentence. Do you need that first one at all? Same with the third, it doesn't add anything.
    Good point. Would you consider that the first two sentences are saying the exact same thing, or just fluff that surrounds it all?

  12. #1112
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    I think if you took that second sentence as an opener (and a strong one at that), you'll be able to use the abrupt transition idea to lead into the beginning of the story more smoothly. Hard to say, not knowing how it goes on, but extreme de-fluffing is a good idea in those few important first lines.

  13. #1113
    Tim Sherren
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    Thanks!! I appreciate the insight and genuine help.

  14. #1114
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    Three lines here from a short story, The Miner.

    Okay, I admit that dumping the navigator was a bit much. There, I’ve said it. I was getting carried away, and I was a little wound up, but it has to be said, jettisoning the other stuff had worked out perfectly fine.

  15. #1115
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    Okay, I admit that dumping the navigator was a bit much. There, I’ve said it. I was getting carried away, and I was a little wound up, but it has to be said, jettisoning the other stuff had worked out perfectly fine.
    The lines seem fine, though I'm not sure I would want to spend a long time with the voice.
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    THE ASCENT MADE HIM PLUNGE - The Big Book of Bootleg Horror 2, Hellbound Books Publishing
    GWI'SHIN - Reprint: Scarlet Leaf Review
    INFECTIOUS - Issue 54 of Expanded Horizons
    GWI'SHIN - September 2016 in Eastlit Journal
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  16. #1116
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot-dot-dash View Post
    Okay, I admit that dumping the navigator was a bit much. There, Iíve said it. I was getting carried away, and I was a little wound up, but it has to be said, jettisoning the other stuff had worked out perfectly fine.
    I assumed that "dumping" was in the "ending a relationship" sense. Then the "jettisoning the other stuff" suggests maybe we're on an airplane or ship and the unfortunate navigator is being thrown overboard? If my second guess is correct, the narrator sounds like a psychopath, which could work but is difficult to do well. Maybe the next line makes it clear.
    Last edited by autumnleaf; 11-16-2017 at 02:42 PM.
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  17. #1117
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot-dot-dash View Post
    Okay, I admit that dumping the navigator was a bit much. There, Iíve said it. I was getting carried away, and I was a little wound up, but it has to be said, jettisoning the other stuff had worked out perfectly fine.
    I envisaged Indiana Jones-style shenanigans going on here, but felt I'd blinked and missed the exciting bit where the narrator trades punches with the navigator before opening the door and kicking him out of the plane. Then again that's just a wild guess, I could be completely wrong -- which makes me think just an extra word or two to paint where and what actually did happen, might be a good thing.

    -Derek
    The Sunday night Flash Fiction Challenge! Write a story in 90 minutes! If you dare.
    The challenge is open all week, all welcome. Check out FFC forum (password=flashed)
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Does the excitement never end?!

  18. #1118
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot-dot-dash View Post
    Three lines here from a short story, The Miner.

    Okay, I admit that dumping the navigator was a bit much. There, I’ve said it. I was getting carried away, and I was a little wound up, but it has to be said, jettisoning the other stuff had worked out perfectly fine.
    I liked this wry voice and would read on. The only thing I'd suggest is punching up that final sentence just a bit, so it doesn't echo "there, I've said it" so strongly, e.g.:

    "...and I was a little wound up. However, jettisoning the other stuff..."

    or

    "...and I was a little wound up, but I gotta say, jettisoning the other stuff..."

    or my favorite alternative:

    "...and I was a little wound up, but jettisoning the other stuff..."

    For what it's worth, I didn't envision the navigator as a sentient being, but as a piece of equipment, and expect that the next few sentences will corroborate that conception and I'll giggle over your cleverness at making us think the narrator just killed someone/thing.

    The narrator didn't just kill someone/thing, did s/he?
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  19. #1119
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    Don't have a title (or even a proper ending) for this, but it's been stuck in my head for a while:

    "Kate O'Rourke was halfway across the Atlantic before she realized Luke's ghost had followed her. She'd assumed that bastard would be roaming the corridors of Hell by now. But it seemed that the steerage deck of the Eliza Anne served him just as well. "
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  20. #1120
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    Quote Originally Posted by autumnleaf View Post
    Don't have a title (or even a proper ending) for this, but it's been stuck in my head for a while:

    "Kate O'Rourke was halfway across the Atlantic before she realized Luke's ghost had followed her. She'd assumed that bastard would be roaming the corridors of Hell by now. But it seemed that the steerage deck of the Eliza Anne served him just as well. "
    I think it's an intriguing start.

    I don't quite understand why you didn't combine the last two sentences ("She'd assumed that bastard would be roaming the corridors of Hell by now, but it seemed etc."), as one thought leads to the other, and starting the third sentence with "but" is awkward.
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  21. #1121
    practical experience, FTW Denevius's Avatar
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    Kate O'Rourke was halfway across the Atlantic before she realized Luke's ghost had followed her. She'd assumed that bastard would be roaming the corridors of Hell by now. But it seemed that the steerage deck of the Eliza Anne served him just as well.
    This would probably read better if it was done in a present moment so that we would see the scene unfolding instead of the information being told to us. Right now, it's a summary, which isn't engaging.
    Author Interview - Poseidon's Scribe
    TRANSUBSTANTIATION - Issue #104 of Aurealis Science Fiction & Fantasy
    WHEELS AND DEALS - Pole to Pole Publishing
    SHOVE PUSH STAND - September 1st in Aurora Wolf
    THE POP SINGER - Issue #9 of SciFan Magazine.
    THE ASCENT MADE HIM PLUNGE - The Big Book of Bootleg Horror 2, Hellbound Books Publishing
    GWI'SHIN - Reprint: Scarlet Leaf Review
    INFECTIOUS - Issue 54 of Expanded Horizons
    GWI'SHIN - September 2016 in Eastlit Journal
    MOMENTUM - Issue #3, and as part of an anthology in Tokyo Yakuza.
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  22. #1122
    Mostly harmless SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by autumnleaf View Post
    Kate O'Rourke was halfway across the Atlantic before she realized Luke's ghost had followed her. She'd assumed that bastard would be roaming the corridors of Hell by now. But it seemed that the steerage deck of the Eliza Anne served him just as well.
    Works for me, carry on. Gotta wonder if it's a famous boat.

    -Derek
    The Sunday night Flash Fiction Challenge! Write a story in 90 minutes! If you dare.
    The challenge is open all week, all welcome. Check out FFC forum (password=flashed)
    This week's intrepid authors who dared: Jason, feyngirl, me.


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flash stories, Sci-Fi webcomics, omg screenplays too, lol
Does the excitement never end?!

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