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First Scene

As I indicated in my previous entry, I'm looking for honest and constructive comment/criticism.

Gaamila Corribant stood and stretched as the final chords of the symphony died into silence. It was clear to him that Eneri Managudeli really didn't understand Terran musical forms, no matter how much he was praised for his mastery of them - all he was doing was mechanically working his way through the textbook changes to the basic theme, with no real emotional coherence, and little more imagination in the accompaniment. "Even after six of the forsaken things, he still can't get it right," Corribant thought. Nevertheless, the composer would be the guest of honor at the club next Sixday, and since Corribant was to be the senior club officer present, some familiarity with Managudeli's Terran Symphonies was advisable.

He touched a control on the console, selecting office mode instead of library mode. The room lights brightened, and the console displays changed, showing the locations of his ships and an index of current contracts. There was also an indicator that the majordomo wished to speak to him, but that the matter did not appear to be of sufficient importance to disturb him while he had the library set for 'do not disturb'. He acknowledged the majordomo's request, and stepped out into the hall to meet the majordomo coming toward the office, a puzzled expression on his face.

"Sir, a messenger brought this card and a verbal message, and indicated that he was not instructed to wait for a response." The majordomo handed Corribant what looked like a calling card. "The verbal message is, exactly, 'There is importance, but no urgency as yet.' I do not recognize the name on this card, and the name does not appear in any of my usual research sources."

Corribant looked at the card, and spoke to his majordomo, "Don't worry; I recognize the name, and already know the usual information you bring me." He slipped the card into the inside pocket of his vest. "I'm afraid I need to call on someone unexpectedly. Please have the electric readied immediately; don't call for a driver, I'll handle it myself. I'll be in the office; just alert my console when it's ready."

He stepped back into his office and closed the door, removing the card from his pocket as he did so. There was no question but that he would recognize the name; it was his own, although the name on the card was not "Gaamila Corribant," nor anything even vaguely close. More important was the date and symbol written in one corner of the back; it told him when he had given someone that card, and to whom.

I'm feeling...: creativecreative

Hmm. I like. There's an inherent subtlety present.

It's pretty good, but something feels "odd" about it. The narrative "voice" feels a bit too detached or passive.

Not sure why.

Sorry I can't be more helpful.

One other tip. You are over-detailing. That is you are giving details that aren't necessary, and seem to exist slely to make a point that we aren't in the 20th century anymore.

It's fine to do that, but it needs to be more subtle. Gene Roddenberry made a point of that in the writer's guide for the original Star Trek. "A cowboy or detective doesn't sit there and explain how his gun works when he draws it."

You might see if you can reduce the details in the second paragraph. Also, is it *necessary* to say that the vehicle to be fetched is electric?

Not that you've gone overboard on the details, but it's good practice to be more subtle "show, don't tell".

And yes, I'm just as guilty in my stuff :-)

I'm not sure I understand what you feel is 'odd' about the narration; I'm attempting to take the third-person omniscient author point of view, while not actually telling right off everything that the author knows (that's the story, after all).

I do understand perfectly what you're saying with respect to over-detailing - it's a topic of much discussion on the Baen's Bar slushpile commentary areas - but I'm not sure I agree that I'm doing it here. All I've done, really, is described the difference between the 'library mode' and the 'office mode' of the room. As far as the reference to the 'electric', the line isn't necessarily meant to emphasize that the vehicle in question is electric, just that Corribant is identifying one of several vehicles that he owns/has use of. For a different trip, he might have instructed the majordomo to have the 'aircar' or the 'grav' readied, with or without a driver. The overall idea is that in this scene, we are to learn that Corribant is wealthy, and has a past that his majordomo neither knows about nor can learn about unless Corribant chooses to reveal it.

In any case, if you have suggestions of how to correct the deficiencies you perceive, I'm certainly willing to listen and explore them.

Best I can put the first bit is that it feels more like third person dispassionate lecturer than third person "storyteller". Like I said, a bit too detached.

As for the background stuff, it was just a bit of a feeling that you were explaining with a bit too much detail. "Switched to office mode" would work just as well without saying *how* he switched modes.

Does the reader need to know how he did it? Does the reader need to know what sort of vehicle it is? etc.

On that last, if you've got multiple cars, which are you more apt to say? "Fetch the deisel" or "Fetch the BMW"?

As for the background stuff, it was just a bit of a feeling that you were explaining with a bit too much detail. "Switched to office mode" would work just as well without saying *how* he switched modes.

True, although it does less to establish the 'scenery', or how the office differs from the library. I'm actually considering making them two separate rooms; I'm not sure whether that would be better or not.

On that last, if you've got multiple cars, which are you more apt to say? "Fetch the deisel" or "Fetch the BMW"?

Depends. Do I own two Beemers, one diesel and one gasoline? Ultimately, it depends on how one distinguishes the vehicles in one's mind - it could just as easily have been 'the roadster' vs. 'the limo'.

It looks like a good start. I like the final paragraph twist. The style is clear, and it doesn't read like a first draft. Will be fun to see the rest and be able to make a more definite comment. (: