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postlukecore
April 26th, 2007, 06:00 PM
http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2400p0.html
Or, more, exactly, tear the first part of my story apart. Any and all criticism, comments, flaming, and so on is welcomed with open arms and tearful eyes. Thanks!

BrianC
April 26th, 2007, 08:10 PM
http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2400p0.html
Or, more, exactly, tear the first part of my story apart. Any and all criticism, comments, flaming, and so on is welcomed with open arms and tearful eyes. Thanks!

Oh, it's not bad at all. You have a talent for characterization, and the basic mechanics of writing seem firmly in hand. I'd say the real weakness of this piece is over-writing. It tends to the melodramatic, which overpowers the good points of character and setting. If I were editing this, here's what I would do (just a suggestion):

First there was nothing but an ashy fog of dust and smoke thrown up by countless chimneys. Behind this veil the stars winked at the world, temporarily blinded, but never gone. Then a rumble and a flash of orange pierced the fog, a trail of brilliant white as something huge ascended into the sky.

Talmadge watched it go, and he cursed.

He had been walking, that was true, moving with a purpose. Endless traffic sped by, bodies hurried, machine and man cutting swaths in the smoke and steam. The city went on and Talmadge was part of it, a working man with a purpose. Still, whenever the rockets roared and another lucky one ascended, he had to freeze and lift his head to stare. In the city no more, Talmadge. Beyond, out and up, just the fiery swath, the snowy plume, that contra-bass growl, and Tal.

Talmadge was a hard worker, diligent and uncomplaining, his work above and beyond expectations. In the scrapyard people usually quit or were forced out by a maimed hand or seared body. Not him. Twelve years, and no sick leave, no early departures or late arrivals, nothing to report, nothing to write up.

But things changed in the thirteenth year. Reliable, sturdy Talmadge had been caught stargazing, not just once, but three times in only a month.

First time: Scrapyard, sweat, furnaces full of molten steel make it nearly unbearable. Burly, wiry, short, tall, all the workers are shirtless. There is a commotion, some yells, and curses. Someone's missed a step...someone's not pulled their weight. The system jams. Billy the foreman comes running down his office stairs and into the heat, covering his face with a hairy hand.

"What is it?" he yells over the roar of the furnaces. "What's wrong?" A skinny old salt pulls him to the side and speaks into his ear, and Billy takes off at a frenzied pace, rounding a corner to find a man standing. Just standing, and looking up. A smoky line bisects the afternoon haze, the vestige of a Pleasure Rocket flight. The foreman turns his eyes back to the daydreamer, prepared to lash with his tongue, prepared to make the man regret it, when he realizes that he is looking at Talmadge Coog. Good old boy, reliable Tal Coog.

The other two times are about the same. Billy gets agitated. This is his watch, and if people are going to blow opportunities, throw wrenches into the cogs of the oiled machine that's this scrapyard, it's not gonna be on his watch.

postlukecore
April 27th, 2007, 12:51 PM
Thanks for responding so quickly. I've struggled for years with trying to convey a sense of atmosphere while at the same time refraining from bogging down the reader with useless wordage. Sigh.
I'm obviously trying to get across the idea that this nameless city sucks. It just seems like the only way to do that sometimes is to write the hell out of the thing.
I appreciate your comments and editing advice. I will start paring it down once I finish the whole story. I read some of your excerpts on your blogspot and was thoroughly impressed. I'll take a cue from your economy of wording. Talk to you later.

wwfward
April 27th, 2007, 03:28 PM
Why dont you join our SFF Workshop. You're guaranteed an audience there. Every week, a person sends out a short story/chapter excerpt and the members critique it. A person gets their story critiqued every 8 weeks since there are currently 9 members.

If interested, look for the thread title SFF Workshop.

postlukecore
April 27th, 2007, 06:35 PM
I responded to the appropriate people and I just need them to put me in the rotation now. This is a great idea, as it gives me more impetus to get stuff finished. Thanks friend!