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Of Unknown Origin


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#1 michaelblaine

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 02:15 PM

Here's the first 249 words of a sci-fi short story (6100 word total) I wrote called Of Unknown Origin.  Any suggestions as far as grammar or content go would be much appreciated.  Please don't mince words -- frankly, I'm hoping to get an honest critique of something I've written. 

 

It was the morning of October 29th 1938, at the eve of World War II, when they decided to join us.  Nobody knows the real story.  Nobody but me, that is.  I’d turned ten years old the month before, and had already begun working on the family farm.  My main chore was milking our two dairy cows at five in the morning and filling up the pig trough with veggie scraps and oats in the afternoon.  Dad was out in the fields all day and told me that when I turned thirteen, I could miss school during harvest season to help out.  I hated sitting the whole day in a hot classroom, so I looked forward to when that would happen.

 

The morning started out just like any other. My father pounded on the ladder leading to the loft where I slept and, not wanting to wake up but knowing better than to test dad’s wrath, I rolled over and staggered down the rungs in my burlap pajamas mom’d made from feed sacks.  It wasn’t horrible getting up, though, because mom and Nana had already started cooking sausage and eggs, and the smell alone was edible.

 

After breakfast, I walked across the pig sty to the rusty-red barn (which looked gray in the early-morning dusk) so I could milk the cows and shovel the scat from the horse stables.  I noticed immediately that our three Jerseys were acting nervous, and that the horses were whinnying anxiously in their stalls.



#2 HarlequinWriter

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 09:43 PM

The first paragraph is a little jarring. It goes from sounding mysterious and threatening to describing everyday life. Maybe with a smoother transition, it could work. I would advise making the normal occurrances sound a bit more ominous, such as "...because Mom and Nana had already started cooking sausage and eggs,and the smell alone lulled me into believing this day would be like all the rest."
I believe it would be more mysterious if you didn't put "they" in italics, but that's a stylistic choice that's completely up to you.
Overall, solid enough. Best of luck to you and your work

#3 michaelblaine

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:12 PM

The first paragraph is a little jarring. It goes from sounding mysterious and threatening to describing everyday life. Maybe with a smoother transition, it could work. I would advise making the normal occurrances sound a bit more ominous, such as "...because Mom and Nana had already started cooking sausage and eggs,and the smell alone lulled me into believing this day would be like all the rest."
I believe it would be more mysterious if you didn't put "they" in italics, but that's a stylistic choice that's completely up to you.
Overall, solid enough. Best of luck to you and your work

 

Wonderful, thanks @HarlequinWriter.  I especially liked your suggestion I highlighted in red.  Definitely going to take your advise and make some revisions.  I appreciate your honest feedback!

 

One question; in your opinion, would the first paragraph work better if I separated the first three sentences, creating two paragraphs from it?



#4 HarlequinWriter

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:38 PM

Wonderful, thanks @HarlequinWriter.  I especially liked your suggestion I highlighted in red.  Definitely going to take your advise and make some revisions.  I appreciate your honest feedback!
 
One question; in your opinion, would the first paragraph work better if I separated the first three sentences, creating two paragraphs from it?


Yes, two paragraphs would be better. Glad I could be of help!

#5 Erik18

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 12:24 PM

WW II started in September 1939.  Your date is a full year ahead.

 

The reference to 'they' raises interest, but given what follows, the reader has no idea whether we're talking about aliens or a family of raccoons.  Personally, I'd cut the first paragraph after 'Nobody but me that is.'  

 

You mention that this is sci-fi, but none of the details suggest that.  An indicator might be helpful.






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