March 30th, 2012, 02:57 PM
Just Another Philistine
Invitation to the Exhibition
Looking for comments on the opening to a sf short story, working title: Girl With A Scandium Earring.
Story is here: http://sffworld.com/community/story/4475p0.html
March 31st, 2012, 10:10 PM
Well, I'm not sure. The transition from painting description to the girl from Saturn's moons, who may or may not be the model of the newer, homage painting, and whose story may or may not inform that painting, is vague. It simply switches without signalling direction. And I don't know, from having only the opening, whether that is an issue that doesn't work with the story and weakens and confuses its impact, or if it is critical to the story and to the narrative approach with language. This would be a story where I would need more than a snippet to determine how the pieces are being fitted together.
If you're looking for feedback just on language, it has your usual wonderful language to it. I like the art catalog style that then shifts into a more casual tone then shifts again into the outraged teenager-speak, related through the narrator.
March 31st, 2012, 10:46 PM
it could be worse
I have to admit, the piece does lack focus. Who's it about? The girl in the painting or the nanny and what does the OGOD have to do with it?
April 1st, 2012, 10:07 AM
Just Another Philistine
The focus is the off-worlder, her impact on the Secretary and the fall-out therefrom.
I have this notion that the denatured Scandium, a made-up metal, enhances the off-worlder's influence. The Secretary has problems that his daughters and the off-worlder must address to get him back on track in his life and his career. Her accomplishment makes her a proper subject for the portrait.
Knowing how I write, start with an image and a situation and see where that takes me, heavily influenced by whatever I'm reading today, I started with the Vermeer painting, one of my screensavers. I've read Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring and seen the movie adapted therefrom and I didn't want to imitate that but I wanted to use the image. There is something remarkably enchanting in her expression. Enchanting is the keyword.
Yesterday I began re-reading Modesitt's Archform: Beauty and what he had to say about art and beauty in that work set me off on a tangent to the painting. From experience, I have a complete picture of the Secretary, the nature of his problem, and the means to help overcome the problem.
It's either going to be a hell of a long short story or a decent novella. Can't tell yet.
April 1st, 2012, 01:51 PM
Okay, then the sudden shift is probably okay, although later when you have the rest of the story you might want to go back and smooth the transition somewhat or put something in that will tie it into images or sentence structures at the end of the story. (I know you don't do a lot of revision, but a tweak or two doesn't hurt.) The transition -- and the hook of the opening -- is the painting (and the concept of enchantment,) through the earring to the girl. It's the earring to the girl part that gets vaguer. Again, though, I wouldn't be sure it's an issue unless I had the context of the whole story.