shatteredsmooth

Reading Excuses_8/12/22_ShatteredSmooth_An Errand of Utmost Importance, About 2433 Words

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Hi All,
 
I'm back from a bit of a hiatus with a short story. This is an early draft, and I'm open to whatever feedback you have. 
 
However, I do have some specific questions as well. 
 
I wrote this intending for it to be complete at its current length but I'm worried it feels more like an opening than a complete story. What do you think? Does it feel complete? If not, what is missing? What would it need to feel more like a complete story?
 
Thanks!
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Ok so I'm new at this, but I'll do my best.

I really enjoyed this, you managed to get a lot of detail and information about the character in a small space, and I really enjoyed that.  I agree that it feels more like an opening than a complete story. The ending was a bit abrupt and I'm not completely sure how you'd change it to make it feel more complete, but it might help to add a little bit more to the ending to help with how abruptly the story ended.

On line seven it says "Her father was pushing her more and more marry." I'm pretty sure this is a typo and you meant to say "Her father was pushing her more and more to marry."

On page two, line thirteen it says "A visit that would go more quicker if he was out." Saying "A visit that would go more quickly if he was out." or "A visit that would go quicker if he was out." Would make more sense.

On page four, line eleven it says "What if the people are protesting tomorrow to." Too would be the correct word to use here.

On page five, about halfway through line seven it says "Then she's never have to report she ever did." She's should be changed to She'd.

On page six, line twelve it says "A shoe loosed her grip causing her to careen." I don't completely understand what you're trying to say here. Maybe you could specify how she careens a little more.

On page eight, lines one to two it says "She walked swift and quiet, straining against the sound of her footsteps and beating heart to her if anyone else was coming up." I think you meant to say "Beating heart to hear if anyone else was coming up."

On line page eight line four it says "She saw a dozen guars on the steps." I'm not sure if this is a new term you made up for guards or if this is just misspelled.

Page nine, line twelve it says "The room run around and around for a minute." I'm not sure it run was supposed to be spun or ran, but it should probably be changed to one of those two.

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14 hours ago, FlowerGirl said:

Ok so I'm new at this, but I'll do my best.

 

Welcome!! And thank you!!

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This is an interesting premise, but does sound a lot like the beginning of a longer story. I think the main reason is that you aren't actually addressing the promises you're making in the beginning. Most of the first page can be condensed to the goal of getting to the bank, but we don't know why. Then we're told she's going to travel back in time and is definitely not going to change things.

Getting to the bank = boring

time travel = exciting.

So now getting to the bank is just one objective in front of the potentialities of time travel: observing, fixing the protest, changing the laws, not marrying C, etc. You're opening up a lot of potentialities.

If you want to keep this as a short story, I'd say make the focus on why getting to the bank is exciting: she needs to get around the laws of the country, and she needs supplies only kept there to invent something (not time travel, that's too exciting)

If you want to make this a longer work, then you could explore what she can do with the time travel after this point with respect to changing laws, fixing the protest, and of course messing everything up along the way.


Notes while reading:

pg 1: the first sentence/paragraph isn't too interesting. Maybe something like "Going to the back today could ruin G's career, but her experiment depended on getting to her safety deposit box."

pg 1: I'd really compress this page down. Something like the sentence above, then "Unfortunately, a protest was between her and the crystal." Then maybe go into a little bit about how her father wants her to be married. Right now, it's not catching my attention.

pg 2: "And she’d be going to be so far back in time"
--she'd be going so far back in time?

pg 2: I think this whole first section could be condensed to about 2-3 paragraphs and it would be really snappy.

pg 3: wasn't too interested in the section section. You've introduced me to time travel and now that's what I want to see.

pg 4: "It’s not safe out there for you. Go to the bank tomorrow."
--I think this is what I'm having an issue with. There's no tension.

pg 6: The flight on the bike was more interesting and tense

pg 8: "She moved as quickly as she could and was emerging onto the roof as the guards caught up."
--not a lot of tension here. We never think the guards are going to catch her.

pg 9: Yes, this definitely sound like the first chapter of a story.

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Overall

I've not read the other comments yet. Right now this reads more like the first half of a chapter or longer short. It's missing resolution at the end, and I think more clarity is needed in the middle. I don't understand what our MC needs to do the time travel for, as I feel like I got multiple options in the text. The end needs a more clear wrap up. I did enjoy the flying bicycles! The getting to the bank part was both too long and not suspenseful enough, and then I felt like we spent no time on the actual time travel, which is the fun part.

 

As I go

- grammatical comment - first sentence in passive voice isn't great. Suggest active for more engagement right off the bat

- when did 'nibbling' catch on? I am so out of the loop

- 'lack of attraction to people' makes it sound like there is an attraction to not-people, like animals (or this is furry-coded)

- pg 2: so she wants to build a time machine to get away from new laws? Am I understanding that right?

- pg 5: I'm still murky on the purpose of this time travel. If she just wants to keep the law from being passed, how do dinosaurs fit in?

- the ending isn't satisfying and I'm left with a bunch of questions

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On 9/15/2022 at 10:57 AM, Mandamon said:

If you want to keep this as a short story, I'd say make the focus on why getting to the bank is exciting: she needs to get around the laws of the country, and she needs supplies only kept there to invent something (not time travel, that's too exciting)

If you want to make this a longer work, then you could explore what she can do with the time travel after this point with respect to changing laws, fixing the protest, and of course messing everything up along the way.

 Makes sense. I'll have to really think about what I want to do with this piece. Thank you!! 

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On 9/15/2022 at 1:42 PM, kais said:

I've not read the other comments yet. Right now this reads more like the first half of a chapter or longer short. It's missing resolution at the end, and I think more clarity is needed in the middle. I don't understand what our MC needs to do the time travel for, as I feel like I got multiple options in the text. The end needs a more clear wrap up. I did enjoy the flying bicycles! The getting to the bank part was both too long and not suspenseful enough, and then I felt like we spent no time on the actual time travel, which is the fun part.

 

Makes sense. Thank you for the feedback!! 

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Overall, I enjoyed the story, particularly the setting[1] & premise! As for what seems to be missing, I think more build-up to the current resolution would make it feel more complete. As for how to go about that, here are the ramblings of a random guy on the internet[2]:

First off, death seems like an obvious but unsatisfying[3] way to add finality. Admittedly, it seems a bit ambiguous if there was enough time to react/survive a flock of those things flying at them. But on a serious note, while reading, I felt as if G was looking for just one glimpse or a brief trip to the past before she could move on from her research and settle down into married life[4]. Almost like the One Last Job trope.

It was as if she were looking for closure on this chapter of her life. To that end, I think an elaboration of such a yearning could build up to a final part: a sigh of relief that she'd made it or a was a piece, if you will--or rather, something to that effect, emotion-wise. I feel like making her goal be to just see the creatures soar or something could tie into the current ending and the bike, with just a few tweaks. I hope something in there helps & I look forward to whatever direction you take in a future draft!

And finally, here were the things that most stuck out to me:

 

  • p1 Hostile protest seems redundant with raging in the same line, but that could be a personal take.
  • p1 To me, break through seems odd as two words[5].
  • p7 The bank's assistant vice president's office, feels like a bit of a mouthful.
  • p8 Dozen gaurs spelling mistake (admittedly an early draft, like you said).
  • p9 I like how the bike parallels the reveal of the flying creatures--seems thematic!

Looking at the gap between pages 1-7, I think I started flying through the story after the conversation with the officer on p3. As mentioned prior, I loved the story and think there's potential. Also, I'd be more than willing to give more detailed feedback on a future version. Till then, please enjoy the rest of your day!


[1] For me, it seemed like a fun, anachronistic take on the Victorian era with a contemporary twist.
[2] My goal was to stay true to the current version of the story without going in a different direction (i.e., the fewest changes). Please ignore anything unhelpful, especially if my interpretation of G's character doesn't feel right! My hope is that there's a grain of something in this outside perspective that'll inspire a solution you're satisfied with--or at least rule out unsatisfying dead ends!
[3] Given the current ending.
[4] Since she didn't seem to object entirely to the idea--as if she were coming to terms with her future and wanted one last heist or a night on the town, etc., before going back to/continuing a normal life.
[5] Huh, Google seems to list the one-word variant as more common at 278 million results vs. 32.6 million.
 

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19 hours ago, Minifyre said:

First off, death seems like an obvious but unsatisfying[3] way to add finality. Admittedly, it seems a bit ambiguous if there was enough time to react/survive a flock of those things flying at them. But on a serious note, while reading, I felt as if G was looking for just one glimpse or a brief trip to the past before she could move on from her research and settle down into married life[4]. Almost like the One Last Job trope.

It was as if she were looking for closure on this chapter of her life. To that end, I think an elaboration of such a yearning could build up to a final part: a sigh of relief that she'd made it or a was a piece, if you will--or rather, something to that effect, emotion-wise. I feel like making her goal be to just see the creatures soar or something could tie into the current ending and the bike, with just a few tweaks. I hope something in there helps & I look forward to whatever direction you take in a future draft!

Thank you!! Playing up the "one last job" trope is a great idea. 

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