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  1. #11
    Brandon Cleveland
    Guest

    Re: Would appreciate critiques for my prologue (800 wds)

    I'll be honest - I didn't realize I was writing cyberpunk - but I guess that is exactly what I've written.

    There are flashback sequences that are pivotal to the storyline that is written in past tense, so to work with the style - the main story needs to be in present.

    Here is a re-work of the beginning, taking what you've all said into consideration:

    “Welcome home, Citizen,” says the beautiful woman in the window opposite my seat on the train, waking me from a light sleep. She’s a dark skinned, short-haired blonde wearing purple lipstick and a black stewardess blazer; she’s also a artificial intelligence hologram. I know her well and I should – she’s the customized city guide I chose at the New Year. Believe me when I say that after spending close to six weeks in the hellish Outback looking for some twentieth century relic (which I didn’t find), she’s a sure sight for sore ****ing eyes.

    The cabin depressurizes with a soft and long hiss and begins emptying out. I watch as people push each other in a frenzy to make it off the train first, as if some marvelous prize awaits them upon their exit; there isn’t. These folks can’t be anything other than tourists who came to Philadelphia to go sightseeing, take memory stills of what are certain to be forgettable moments, and depending on where they’re from, try some original extra-terrestrial cuisine. Everyone’s so excited, laughing with each other, discussing what landmarks they plan to visit first and what drugs they plan to experiment with while touring. Little do they know that once they get a taste of the real Philadelphia – not that bull**** they advertise on the feeds – they'll be beating the doors trying to get back on and go home to wherever the @!#$ they came from.

    I hang back until the train’s cleared out. Though I’ve been away from home for close to six weeks, I’m in no rush to brave the twenty-four hour rush of the city streets, despite my need for a stiff drink; the brews of the Outback’s nomadic tribes are no substitution for happy hour at Yen’s Cloned Sheep and Calf meat bar.

    As the last of the passengers find their way out into the street, the smells of the city replace the funk of human. Being away for so long, the scent is intoxicating; a harsh airborne cleaning agent of bleach, ammonia and iodine. For a place that smells so clean, the city is a dirty, dirty place.



  2. #12
    Brian W
    Guest

    Re: Would appreciate critiques for my prologue (800 wds)

    "There are flashback sequences that are pivotal to the storyline that is written in past tense, so to work with the style - the main story needs to be in present."

    Wrong. You can just use past perfect tense to signify that are you starting a flashback when writing in past tense.

    http://home.mchsi.com/~webclass/flashbackexample.htm

    http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/StudyZo...mar/pastpf.htm

  3. #13
    Anthony Ravenscroft
    Guest

    fat reduction

    Okay, Brandon, I don't crit much on WNet, but I want you to get a feel for the actual dynamic around here. In fact, I'm strapped for time, so I can only address the first chunk; I'm trusting that you'll do something with this.

    First, a few grains of bad news.
    * - Your first sentence is entirely too convoluted, & therefore off-putting. It doesn't rollick like a Stephenson opening.
    * - The second sentence is almost as clunky, & drives the reader away from any involvement via the ever-handy Internal Rumination Trick.
    * - You DO NOT mean "engrossing." Find the correct word.
    * - Though few are horribly bald, your writing is rife with cliche.
    * - Stop the carrot-dangling & telegraphing, like the Outback reference (& remember that, in the U.S., most readers would first think of a steakhouse).

    Now, on toward the better news.

    You've got potential -- you're just at the point where you love your own golden words a bit too much. You've gotta take the ol' machete to them, so that your storytelling can avoid drowning in the verbiage. Your narrator's mind is wandering, not pondering, so stop putting together all the frippery as though it has value. And stop flogging the obvious -- the value of the simple declarative sentence cannot be overstated.

    As with good cyberpunk, you've got a distinct noirish tone going, when you're not working to murder it. To get you started:


    “Welcome, Citizen.” The woman smiles at me from the train window.

    I never know if they say ‘citizen’ as a generic like "buddy" or "mister," or because it's my name. My dad the film buff. I suppose it was his way of making me remember him.

    She is rather beautiful.

    Drifting again. Anyway, for a flat AI representation, she is most certainly a bright second.

    The cab starts to empty, people jostling to get off the train first, as if some marvelous prize awaits. They can’t be anything other than tourists come to Philadelphia for sight-seeing, snapping memory stills of what are certain to be forgettable moments, and depending on where they’re from, try some original extra-terrestrial cuisine. All so excited, laughing together, discussing what landmarks to visit first and what drugs to try while doing so. Once they taste the real Philly – not the bull**** on the feeds – they'll be beating at the doors to get back on and go the Hell home.



    From 275 to 164 words, a 40% fat reduction, just like that.

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