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Reader 7

Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 12:57:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Good Luck Song

Okay, here is my critique, trying not to sound too harsh because over all I think you're writing is good, just the plot here was not too strong. But you have a good grasp of form and character and all that hard stuff.

The biggest trouble with the story is that there is nothing at stake. It's a lark for Giles and we don't even get the foreshadowing that he could cause damage if it's done wrong. Hints along those lines would help. When it comes to performing the ceremony you use some really great analogies about being watched by the woods and stuff but you loose it when suddenly they are running away. There is no build up, no warning of the threat.

Have you ever heard the Hitchcock story about the bomb under the desk? I remember it in all my writing. Hitchcock once said that if you film a scene with two guys sitting at a desk talking and boom, a bomb under the desk blows up - you create a sudden moment of shock for the audience then it's over. 30 seconds, tops. Now, if you let the audience see the bomb under the desk, but the men don't see the bomb under the desk, the audience is going to sit on the edge of their seat going 'get out, there's a bomb under the desk' and the more casually the men sit and chat and the longer it goes, the better the audience sweats. After that the bomb going off is a realease, finally, it's done. the audience breaths again. That's what you need. A bomb under the desk.

For small practical stuff, look at these few things:

1) You start right off saying that they meet every Saturday. The the next sentence says their meetings haven't been as frequent of late. What? Less Saturdays' in the month this year? (I know what you meant, but it reads wrong and in the first two sentences, that's going to turn readers off)

2) The sentence that starts a short stocky man to museum. Try reading it aloud, if you can't breathe it's too long. And it's way too complicated. Break it up.

3) The section about mornings flying by is in the wrong tense at times, you either have to talk about all the past mornings, or specifcally THIS morning, you're mixing both.

4) Throughout the story you change references from calling the words a chant to a song, to The Good Luck Song and I never saw Giles come up with the ideas. How did he know it was a song and where did he find out the title. It might be in there, but I missed it.

5) Picky but, unless you picked Sumanistandi for a reason, I'd change it, it sounds like someplace the Three stooges visit. And Lucy Ricardo was the Mahjrani of Franistan...too silly sounding.

If you're willing to revise, great. If you're not, okay too, just take what you've learned and pour it into another story. Use this plot inside of something else to flesh it out maybe.

Thanks for listening.

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