Just a very short intro to a piece of post apocalyptic fiction I was trying to write.

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Thread: Just a very short intro to a piece of post apocalyptic fiction I was trying to write.

  1. #1

    Just a very short intro to a piece of post apocalyptic fiction I was trying to write.

    This was going to be the first paragraph of the story, though I gave up shortly after due to having a lot of trouble with character dialogue:

    New York City. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. Eight-million people live here, and
    the New York metro system is evidence of that; with 472 stations, 5,000,000 daily riders and
    850 miles of tracks, this man-made ant hill is certainly a testament to manís arrogance. The
    concept of a device that could cause an explosion big enough to level Manhattan was not even
    imaginable to the builders of the massive subterranean network when it was completed in 1904.
    The fact that within 57 years, a bomb utilizing tritium would be capable of killing every single
    person within the 21 mile radius that contains New York City, would be even more
    incomprehensible to them. This possibility, unimaginable to anyone except the delusional
    preaching hermit on the street corner with his ragged bible, was made into a cold reality by the
    likes of Teller, Ulam and Von Neumann in 1951 during the beginning of the Cold War.

    At the height of the Cold war, the nuclear warheads of the United States, 11,000, and
    the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 10,000, were more than enough to plunge the world into
    a nuclear winter that would exterminate all but the hardiest of species on earth; The meek shall
    inherit the Earth.

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  2. #2

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    Sounds more like a preface or prologue.
    It was the prologue

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  4. #4
    It sounds great as a setting, but I would like even more to see this history presented through the story, more mysteriously and subtly; the story should start in medias res, if you know what that is. For example, if in your first chapter a woman catches rats to eat then she thinks about how things were so easy before The Apocalypse (capital letter word - like it's a real event) or we discover more in a dialogue she has with someone. Just a few ideas and suggestions.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Horsey View Post

    New York City. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. Eight-million people live here, and
    the New York metro system is evidence of that; with 472 stations, 5,000,000 daily riders
    Do you mean commuters? I ask because I recently read that in London (UK) the residential population is aprox. 8 million but overall population swells to well over 20 million between 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, which makes me think 5 million isn't much if it's commuters.
    This doesn't look like an opening para to me, more of an info-dump. I think these details should come out here and there, in the story rather than an opening list. But, (!) a list is okay if you make it more entertaining - you're not just reporting facts to your reader- even newspapers have to entertain to stop a reader switching off and starting the next report.

  6. #6
    Perhaps the character dialogue would take place after this paragraph so that you establish some main characters that may be forced to form friendships now, perhaps you take a look the metro system of nyc- and you over hear gossip or talking about details of the war- or you make a the hermit a main character and have him/her interact in dialogue with someone on the street or on the metro. perhaps two other main characters over hear the hermit and discuss the hermit flesh him/her out more...perhaps the hermit is the only one who really "gets it" and no one else believes her/him. thanks. hope this helps.

  7. #7
    It's interesting information for someone that doesn't know about the setting but as another poster pointed out above, it comes across as an info-dump. In the end it depends on what your end goal is. If this is supposed to be short fiction then it probably won't fly. If it's for something much longer then it may pass but I still think you'd need to tweak it some. It sounds kinda sterile. The viewpoint is obviously omniscient but that works best when the voice comes through loud and clear otherwise it's just journalism. If you choose to stick with it then the second paragraph has to be a cracker.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

  8. #8
    The first few sentences either need to be fleshed-out or significantly thinned. Most of the seven billion people on the planet know the general configuration of NYC. The same goes for the nuke information.
    I understand you want to foreshadow, and introduce your "delusional preaching hermit". I would have lead with him, as the focal point, then worked outward. Show us a sea of yellow cabs, canyons of dark shadow and rivers of pedestrians. Then, we see New York.

    "Now let's all agree, never to be creative again."




  9. #9
    This reads like a history essay.

    I don't want ten pages of world-building to explain how the post-apocalyptic event came to be. Either skip it and move into the actual post-apocalypse, or start by showing us how the apocalypse came to be.

    What you have right now is an info-dump of scattered information and not a hint of a discernible character or story.
    Hidden Content

    Hidden Content

    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  10. #10
    I would jump right into the world as it is. New York as a distant memory would be more compelling. What does this man made ant hill look like after the bombs fell, or whatever the cause was? Why not juxtapose the bleak and the gray and the shit undoubtedly laying all around with a character's vague memory of what the peak looked like before the fall.

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