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Monday, September 15, 2008

Steam Engines Sample: Your Thoughts?

Okay, so my girlfriend and I have been discussing the opening paragraph of a new story I've been working on. She's been mostly displeased with it because she doesn't know what the engines actually are, and I've said that I shouldn't have to say what the engines are or what they necessarily do in that opening paragraph. My argument is that it's not really important at that moment. But we disagree on this whole thing, so I'm bringing it to the readers. Below you'll find the paragraph as it currently stands. It's not polished, so it may need some mild tweaking in my mind.
What do you think? Hate it or like it or neither? Comments?

The air grew silent as the steam engines became still in the sky. Chains held them as their massive turbines seized up; I watched them settle, the metallic roar of suspension bridges being pushed to their limits and the screams of workers, dozens of them, suddenly struck with the realization that their skyward employment had breathed its last breath. And all around me the voices of the many, their eyes peering to where the chains dug into the floating islands, shocked into curiosity, like cats roaming their mythical histories, rose up like a collective burst of terror, piercing the now dormant sky with their cries and hushed whispers.
Alright. That's that.

(Don't click the read more, there isn't any more after this!)

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  1. Brutal honesty? It's wordy, Dukey-boy. Not awful - it just needs a lot of cleaning up and paring down. Hope that helps. :)

  2. Hmm, I have to agree with your girlfriend Shaunwise, this just doesn't seem right as a starting paragraph. I would need to know much more going into the story than this, I can't picture anything except for something in the sky and people screaming (Under exaggerating of course but you get the idea)

    Really though, it's not a bad paragraph at all, but maybe it would fit better a couple of paragraphs into the story.

    P.S. Unless it is a flash fiction piece or a really short story, in that case it could work out if you did it right.

  3. Anonymous12:25 AM

    Yeah, its very wordy.
    Almost to the point where I have no idea what the hell is going on.

    I don't think you need to explain what the engines and such are because I'm guessing that it will be explained throughout the course of the story.

    The way you wrote it made me think it was originally in third person, but then you threw in an "I" and I went, "Huh?"

    Its a confusing start to a story, Shaunwise, no doubt about it. But its written well.
    Maybe too well.
    And that's the problem.

    The imagery and such is worded so strangely that its hard to get an image in my head. In fact the one I do have is very vague and gray.

    The only reason why I don't like this is because its moving too fast. At least to me. We are thrown into this strange Sci-Fi world and we have no idea whats going on or why its happening.

    So there.
    Now I can go back to more important matters.



  4. Anonymous12:08 PM

    See, you could have just listened to me two nights ago and it would have been fixed by now, and the rest would have been brutally torn apart by me. The moral of this story is: I'm always right.

  5. Eh, I still like it because nobody can give me a valid reason why it's bad except loopdilou.

  6. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Wordy, and no decent mental pictures being conjured? No idea what the hell is going on? Moving too fast?

    Did you read the same comments as me?

  7. Yes, I saw the comments too, but if it's not explained to me why it feels like it's moving too fast then it doesn't make any sense. It's a short story, so it's going to go quicker anyway, but what exactly feels rushed? What's literally wrong with it?