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June 15th, 2005, 12:17 AM
I wrote the story (The Engines of Abduction) ; rewrote the story; took the story apart and reworked the plot and rewrote the story. Then I posted it in the community section.

Part of this story I really like, other parts, not so much. I'm quickly running short of ideas and would appreciate any help anyone could be willing to give. Maybe this is one I put in the drawer and leave there until my grandkids find it after I'm gone, read it, and say, "Parts of it were okay, but the ending plunked." (When does one let it go and move on?)

So, I need a second opinion, or a third. What can I do?

Find the story at http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/572p0.html

Thanks in advance,

June 15th, 2005, 02:35 AM
It's a little choppy but a good story.

I kept expecting the twin's murder to somehow to be more important to this story. I also found it strange that the boy hitting on Escapade gave up so easily after Sharpe showed up.

June 15th, 2005, 12:52 PM
The story feels rushed, like you were trying to get to the end ASAP before the idea flew away. I thought your ideas were really interesting and wanted to know a little more about designed people and how they're the same or different. I agree that the murder of the twin and others was a motivator to find out what happened and could be focused on more. I also think you could stretch this story out, have a few more moments of suspense and problems cropping up to get the reader to wonder Whoah! what's going to happen now? By exploring your characters and world a little you may discover an ending that you really like (althoug how the building dissapears at the end was kind of a trip!). :)

June 16th, 2005, 12:49 AM
Thanks Ex & queenmegumi

I see a problem. I was writing with the rest of the stories containing these characters in mind, not as a free standing story, which it is. The element of Esc's twin being murdered was a different story. --I can either downplay that bit of info here, or turn it into a story element. (hmmmm).

Yeah, I guess he wouldn't give up so easily. I have an idea about that ... (Spoiler, or well placed advertisement, you be the judge.)

--“Sharpe,” Brett said, offering Sharpe his hand. “From the Piper thing. Sad business.”
--“Yes,” Sharpe said, and left it at that. Escapade expected Sharpe to launch into a detailed explanation of what had happened, but he kept his mouth shut.
--“So?” Since Sharpe was not interacting with him, Brett turned back to Escapade. “Will you join me at my party?”
--“Nearsightedness is easily correctable,” Sharpe said, looking over Brett’s shoulder at one of his eyes. “The surgery leaves an almost imperceptible mark.”
--Designed people always had perfect vision, the designers saw to it. Brett had been a part of her designed survivor’s support group, he said he had lost his twin. But Sharpe’s comment brought a look of horror to Brett’s face. He backed away from the two, then as soon as he could, disappeared into the crowd.
--“Interesting guy,” Sharpe said looking after him.


The building disappearing was much better than the previous ending. I got myself caught with a situation where I was coming up with more and better problems, letting my characters solve them, but really getting nowhere. I'll keep trying.

Again, thanks,

June 16th, 2005, 01:40 AM

The building disappearing was much better than the previous ending. I got myself caught with a situation where I was coming up with more and better problems, letting my characters solve them, but really getting nowhere. I'll keep trying.

Again, thanks,
You better keep trying!
And it was better. But it makes more sense if its a series of interconnected stories.

June 16th, 2005, 03:13 AM
Ah, Escapade (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9288&page=1&highlight=escapade+goodbye)...

First, I'd like to point out that, technically, Escapade wasn't murdered but died in a terrorist attack (of which she was one of the targets).

I don't know, what this refers to, but it doesn't refer to "Escapade and Goodbye" story (I think):

“Sharpe,” Brett said, offering Sharpe his hand. “From the Piper thing. Sad business.”

The problem, I think, is that you've compartmentalised the story: introduce characters with backstory; go into story.

In other circumstances, this might work, but, here, it doesn't really.

In the introduction you use allusions that a reader will only grasp if he's read other stories. You don't have to get them, to get the story, so that's okay. The problem, however, is that you, then, keep the backstory out of the story proper, and this doesn't make sense, as Escapade's personal experience of losing Charade (her twin), would certainly be triggered by Karyn's abduction in some way.

So, perhaps cut the info from the introduction (paragraph 2), and leave it at the "support group" comment. Then feed the backstory in bits and pieces through analogy via Escapade's reactions: on an emotional level, fear of loss; on a social level, hostility towards engineered people. That way, you've got a red thread throughout the story, enhanced theme and better characterisation (I was wondering whether Escapade was actually an engine, too, as her reactions appeared a bit too distant... ;) .)


The story reads more like a problem-solving manual, than like a story. Karyn abducted. Nominal anguish. Launch straight into problem solving. Going straight from start to goal, with no detours, although the goal isn't known from the start.

1. Add an emotional layer. More emphasis on decisions. To pay or not to pay...

2. Add a villain. So far, we've only got a place-holder (filled by two people) for Sharpe to show off his brilliance.

3. Add hypotheses that go nowhere. Part of the appeal of mysteries and thrillers is a resolved uncertainty, a stumbling around in the dark (although not if you take your cue from Sherlock Holmes...).


--“You know,” He said as he put the phone up to his ear. “If ransoms were never paid, no one would ever be kidnaped.”

I'd like to hit Sharpe, for saying that in such a situation:

"Academic," a voice said. The world around Sharpe had frozen in that particular way that could only mean one thing. Metafictional police.

"Let me guess," Sharpe said. "I have been imprecise. A number of people would be abducted, sufficient to tell would-be abductors that abduction is not a lucrative business. This, however, would imply that meanwhile abductee's companions would fail to learn that failure to conform to ransom demands can lead to the loss of the loved one. Either that, or a 100 % police success rate. Since none of those two premises are exactly likely, the actualisation of my above statement is quite unlikely."

The man's lips curled around the edges. "Very... sharp." Straightening his shoulders, the man advanced. "But do you understand what that means?"

Sharpe frowned. "That there will always be abductions, because the premise that no ransoms will ever be paid is impracticable?"

The man shook his head, raised his hand, poked Sharpe with a metaphorical stick and disappeared. Sharpe shrugged and counted to three, before he, as expected, snapped back into position for the story to continue.

Sorry, couldn't resist. :o

June 16th, 2005, 12:44 PM
Ah, OK I get it. If it's part of a series, a great idea would be to do what is done in Nancy Drew books or fantasy stories that have ten parts to it, which is to give a brief synopsis of the earlier stories in the begaining, sort of like a review (I used to read the Baby Sitters Club all out of order when I was little, so it helped when the author reintroduced me to the characters and previous events).

June 16th, 2005, 06:53 PM
Dawnstorm, right on the point as usual.

I spent my time on the technical details, forgot about the characters. Emotionally they are a bit flat here, when they should be anything but. I'll send Sharpe to sensitivity training, again, and see if I can't get Escapade to quit being so stoic.

--Sharpe pulled out his phone, and touched a number on his speed dial. “Allow me.”
--“Just so you know,” He said as he put the phone up to his ear. “If I’m ever kidnaped, don’t pay the ransom.”
--“Everitt,” Sharpe said. “I need a favor. . . “

queenmegumi, still working on how to introduce that characters without having to synopsise too much of what happened in previous stories, unless it has something to do with what happens in this story. If I were publishing them together, it might be different.

Sometimes it's good for a story to loop around into itself. (hmmmm.)

Great food for thought folks, thanks for the comments so far.

BTW--The "Piper thing" is a reference from 3rd Alternative-- www.sffworld.com/community/story/391p0.html

Cycy Smith
June 22nd, 2005, 01:07 PM
I liked the story but it did feel as though everything was happening too fast. You don't really give your reader time to process what is going on before you move onto the next stage. I'm not saying that you need lengthy explanations of their thought processes but perhaps some more small talk type dialogue would help slow it down a bit?

June 23rd, 2005, 01:27 AM
Cycy Smith; Thank you for your input. I think you may be right. Using the comments to date, and some things I've noticed, I'm about halfway through a rewrite of this story, when I am done I will post an upated version and put a note here.

I'm thinking the story seemed rushed because I let the characters talk, but I didn't let them think. I'm adding thinking in sensible measure, which may also add to what they need to say. I'm working on a major overhaul of the last section, I don't think I will change what happens, but will look at changes in how what happens happens. (And will hopefully write better sentences than that.)

Thanks, glad you liked the story.