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  1. #1
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    Eire Spore page 1

    To see if I am getting better I have tossed y'all the first page of a short story I am writing. It is all dialogue so excuse the lack of breaks. Appreciate any comments you can give.

    “Oh my goodness it’s beautiful, Danny. To think that a month and a few days ago I was sunk into apathy and thought I had used up my luck.” Mira Gracie said
    “It is a beauty but the chances are that it will kill us. I’m sorry but I have questions about your idea of luck.” Danny Malloy replied
    “You can never know how betrayed I felt. I was a pilot for the U.N. My job was to help keep the Caucasus Mountains free of terrorists. While I was doing that they allowed revolutionaries in my home country to take over and begin re-educating Brazil. They didn’t even bother to tell us about it. The revolutionaries met me at the airport and delivered me directly to a military slum at the edge of the forest. I have never been able to find out about my family. They didn’t allow us computers or our own phones. There was one landline in the warden’s office. Being here was a godsend, as is that green marble over there.”
    “I am very sorry about all of that and yes I am glad that we volunteered for this. I meant more along the lines of the fact that a huge and hostile alien fleet is headed toward Earth. I was also talking about us being stuck in this little ship with about six more hours of air and very little reaction mass.”
    “But that little godsend of a world is only four hours away and apparently unoccupied. We land and take a big breath, so what if it kills us. I love all of this high tech **** but I would rather not asphyxiate in it. Maybe someday someone will figure out what happened and find our bodies. Maybe they will name the world after us.”
    “It is the only chance we have so we will go for it. The computer says that a missile must have hit a big nuclear pile and created enough of an EMP to lift us past the speed of light. She knows where in the Universe we are but she doesn’t know what to do about it. These craft don’t have the equipment to break that speed again.”
    “Let’s begin our approach, then.”



  2. #2
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Quick initial reaction: Your dialogue doesn't sound very natural. You might try saying it out loud, as if you were listening in to the conversation. Some examples:

    "a few days ago I was sunk into apathy": Depending on the character's, well, character, this might be better as "a few days ago, I had nothing to live for".

    "It is a beauty but the chances are that it will kill us": In general, people speak in contractions, unless they're trying to emphasize a word: "It's a beauty, no doubt about it, but chances are it'll kill us"

    "You can never know how betrayed I felt": There's no emotion in this statement, and much of the rest of this feels like people reading lines from a script. "The bastards betrayed us"

    What would real people, individuals you know personally, say under these circumstances? Model your dialogue with each person in mind, give each of them a style that makes it clearer who's speaking.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your input, Gil. It will give me something to keep in mind as I edit the story. I wanted the dialogue to be slightly stilted because the two people don't know each other well, are from different cultures and are in a life threatening situation. I know I didn't give you enough context to work with though and I appreciate your effort.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    You're welcome ;-) The context surrounding the dialogue does affect how characters speak, but even under the circumstances you mention, short, direct statements are usually best. Even casual acquaintances generally aren't inclined to phrase things like they're giving a speech. In your excerpt, I get the impression that Danny and Mira are basically commiserating about their situation, but they're not doing it in a way that sounds convincing to me. If their lives are indeed in danger, they're going to keep their discussion short, sweet, and focused.

  5. #5
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    I could say, especially since it's Sunday and I've been lubricating my brain with whiskey, that it is sci-fi based about two hundred years in the future and the social media platforms have basically made social interaction obsolete. I won't go that far though because even though sci-fi readers are odd, people today will be reading it. The long spiel was meant to be that semi-coherent blurt of relief that many would mouth after the small fighter ship they were in got tossed past the light speed limit. I do appreciate your thoughts though. Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    It reads like a info dump, only without any info. I have no clue why they're on that ship, what they're supposed to do, or where they're going. Here's what I know: Danny was a U.N. pilot fighting terrorists in the mountains. The U.N. allowed revolutionaries into Brazil, Danny's home country. The revolutionaries capture Danny and send him to a military slum with no computers or phones, so Danny doesn't know about his family. He is now in some kind of space ship with Mira, I don't know how or why, aside from they both volunteered. They're headed to some green planet, don't know where or why. Apparently, they were thrown to this location in space by an EMP from a nuclear blast that hurled them to the speed of light, which I didn't believe for a second. Don't know where the nuclear blast occurred or why (War? Accident? Terrorism?). If the blast occurred on earth, I think it would more than likely damage if not destroy the ship and prevent it's launch. If it occurred in space after launch, I could see the EMP totally disabling the electronics in their ship at least temporarily, but not much more than that.

    Not much context and pretty incoherent, in my opinion.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the response, John. I have to admit it confuses me and sounds like a form rejection. This is page one of a short story and all I wanted was input on how to polish up a hook that would help get people to turn to page 2 where the back story begins. I would appreciate some clarification on how you came up with your response, which I again thank you for.

  8. #8
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    There was a hook? Where?

    Maybe you could clarify what it is you don't understand about my post, because I thought I was pretty clear. You provide very little information pertinent to the situation at hand. I have no idea how long they've been in this ship or how they got there, where they're going and why. I know a little about Danny, but zero about Mira. You made it sound like Danny was some kind of prisoner in a war ghetto, and I'm supposing his captors provided him with this ship and Mira, which makes zip sense to me.

    Heck, I think you could eliminate most of that crap you wrote and have a much better hook. Read:

    Mira woke from slumber to find Danny in the captain's chair staring at the view screen. At the center of the screen was a large emerald dot. She shuffled to the chair and placed her hand on his arm.

    “Is...is it a planet, Danny? A place to land?”

    “Yes...a planet...our last hope for survival.“

    "How long until we get there?"

    "About four hours. We have about six hours of air left."

    Mira drew closer to the screen. "It's pretty...like a green pearl. Does it have oxygen?"

    "Don't know. Green doesn't strike me as a particularly healthy color for humans, but who knows? This ship isn't equipped with probes to analyze the atmosphere."

    "Are we going to land there?"

    "Yes. It's either that or asphyxiate in space.“

    "Do you think there's any life on it?"

    "Doubtful, but who knows? There's so many wonderful possibilities: we die trying to land in an atmosphere of super-heated methane; we land then die trying to breathe cool methane; we land, breath oxygen, but die later after our supplies run out trying to eat and drink stone and sand; we land, breath oxygen, then die in the bellies of whatever biological nightmare lives down there. It's an adventure..."

    "Or...we land and live on our own brand new planet. What would we call it?"

    "How about Eden? The sequel...a new beginning."

    "Eden..." Mira shuffled toward the screen dreamily.

    "Like Adam and Eve..."



    Then you let the back story come out during their travails on the new planet instead of cramming it down the reader's throat right off the bat.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 08-25-2014 at 11:38 AM.

  9. #9
    Rogue Mutt
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    Why hasn't Craig enrolled in a remedial English class yet? It's obvious he needs more help than a message board can provide.

  10. #10
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    Thanks John, I appreciate the clarification. I will admit you are right and that is why I asked. One thing if you ever decide to write sci-fi. A green dot probably means plants that use photosynthesis and therefore make oxygen. There are a lot of other questions though, like what alkaloids those plants might also produce. I really do appreciate your clarification.

    Muttley, I think you forgot to take you medicine today.

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