Triangulation: Morning After – Stories 177-179

Story 177: Horror 2390 words 3/12/2012

The opening confuses me. It takes a page or so to gain my bearings. The focus on arranging items is good, but I need more context for the character/setting. That said, the story doesn’t actually begin until the body on page 3-4. That’s the inciting incident and we should start as close to that as possible, developing character and context as necessary while the story moves forward. Until this point, the character has no story motive. The middle story gets interesting, but doesn’t really escalate as well as it should. The climax comes on a bit suddenly as a result (rather than the culmination of escalating tensions). I do like the resolution, though I don’t quite have enough context again. Why both orbs? What does it mean that she absorbs them? I like the actual ending, but need a better grounding for what the orbs actually represent and why she should get them (needs them) to complete herself.

I’ll send this to other editors, but I’m concerned that it will take significant revision.

Slushy Sez: Lost me by page 3. Story has not started. Pina Colada. A flavor that builds.

Story 178: Horror 1600 words 3/13/2012

Second person is a difficult sale to us (not impossible, as Amanda C. Davis proved in Last Contact’s “The Gold in the Straw”). Why? Because we’re about story, not technique. Because we’re a speculative fiction market, we also tend toward story arcs that move beyond introspection and symbolism into the realm of stuff happening and characters interacting.

This story up an interesting premise, but is primarily about technique and language. Not enough actually happens, nor is the resolution particularly revealing in terms of plot resolution. Good mood, relatively sharp prose, not enough story experience for us.

Slushy Sez: Tigers Blood. A flavor that relies on its naming as much as its taste.

Story 179: SF 3091 words 3/13/2012

A character waking up. In this case it’s justified in order to set up the essential mystery that carries the first part of the story. The first few pages are intriguing. I’m hooked. By page 4 it’s seeming as if the story is not going to escalate, then on page 5 it begins to drift into background and explanation of ideas. Any hint of story experience falls away. We do return to forward movement in the final scene, but there’s no climax/decision point. Ultimately the actually story is not substantial enough to carry 3100 words. It’s unfortunate because I do like the character and concepts proposed. They’re not mind blowingly new, but they’re detailed and reasonable. If an actual story can be crafted with a motivated character encountering complication (rising tension), making a decision that costs them, changing forever, this could be strong. As it stands, the actual “story” takes place in the distant past, not here and now, and any price paid has been paid long before we enter the scene. We would need a much stronger sense of immediacy and purpose.

Slushy Sez: Lost me on page 5. Starting to drift backward rather than escalating forward. Fuzzy Navel. A flavor that evokes introspection.

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About Stephen

I live in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania with fellow writer, Susan Urbanek Linville, and a herd of reformed feral cats.

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