Archer/Elka


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Thread: Archer/Elka

  1. #1

    Archer/Elka

    Alright, one last attempt to offer up a society heist vignette with a more show-and-less-tell approach as I've been advised by various critics here. What do you think (thanks fof reading!),




    ====

    In 20th Century Manhattan, there seemed to be roaming around the circles of New York's aristocracy a real-life Lancelot and Olenska. We know Lancelot to be the incendiary and scandalous sensuous knight from the English kingdom of Camelot, an irresistible man of great fighting vanities and surprising laurels. We know the mysterious and haunting Countess Olenska from Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence, a portrait of early New York society being ruled by a brooding marrying man named Newland and the seductive but intelligent wandering siren-woman Countess Olenska. Well, in the 20th Century Manhattan we know, there were real-world translation persons of Lancelot and Olenska.

    Meet Archer. Archer, a wayward disenchanted and disenfranchised son of a prestigious wealthy American family related to the Waltons, who is seeking a way to feel more immersed in human thought. Archer feels too vain and even confused to think of himself as an engaged man of society, despite his natural rebellious urge to wander around as a playboy and fencing specialist, taking part in aristocracy fencing competitions in Manhattan. Meet Elka, the real-world counterpart of Wharton's Countess Olenska. Elka's parents are deceased but have left her their fortune, and she uses her money to attend all the right Manhattan socialite parties and meet very successful young men but some who are married with whom she engages in adulterous affairs.

    Now, you might've guessed already by now that Archer and Elka are both quintessential modern day messengers of sensuous living and voyeurism in socialite-ruled Manhattan. Archer, however, is more a lifestyle swordsman, while Elka is more of a society red sparrow. Archer is known more for his outstanding fencing skills among the ambitious sword-fighters among Manhattan's yuppie-class, using fencing as a competitive underground social network sport to vent their Wall Street frustrations. Elka, on the other hand, is simply known more for being a true red sparrow, a libertine with an aching for escape and reckless romance and certain adultery. Even when Archer is engaged in affairs with engaged young women in New York, he's known more for his fencing than his sensuous imagination. Elka is not thought of as a fighter but as a fire-starter.

    On a special social party in Manhattan, Elka and Archer finally meet. They find themselves sharing time together near the expensive wines table at the party hosted by a very prominent Wall Street tycoon who happens to be only 30 years-old. Archer is only 29, and Elka is only 27. They're the typical socialite diplomats of Manhattan's 20th Century luminous crowd, carriers of a certain sensuous and self-indulgent consciousness. They're most likely both fans of Edith Wharton, though we might guess correctly that Archer likes Wharton for her exploration of social frailty, while Elka might prefer Wharton's approach to customs reinvention itself. As Archer and Elka realize at this special social party in Manhattan that they have much in common, they decide to plan a shared adventure in the New York they've come to love as developed if complicated adults.

    ELKA: Let's rob a bank together.
    ARCHER: I have the perfect masks.
    ELKA: Can I guess?
    ARCHER: No, but I'll tell you, we'll be wearing rabbit-masks.

    Elka and Archer walk into the Mellon Bank in NYC on a Friday afternoon in big rabbit-masks and wielding toy water-guns inserted with a tiny glass protective tube containing corrosive acid. They grab the guard near the front entrance and tell him that they're from a nearby theater group seeking to video-record a mock-heist of the Mellon Bank that day using water-guns. Elka whispers into the guard's ear and informs him that their water-guns are filled with corrosive acid but that needs to remain a secret. The bewildered guard agrees to escort the two rabbit-thieves into the vault-room and beckon the other guards to stand aside while Archer commands the bank manager with the keys to the vault and safe-boxes to accompany them. Elka is recording the entire ordeal with her 1990s Sony camcorder. Elka and Archer, in rabbit-masks, walk out of the Mellon Bank with $20 million diamonds stolen from safe-box #445 and then mail the bank manager substitute $15 million diamonds, keeping only a $5 million profit for themselves.

    One week later, the New Yorker magazine presents a full expose article about the two 'Rabbit Hoods' of New York, a young man and an accompanying female sidekick who walk into Mellon Bank in rabbit-masks and wielding 'acid-guns' to perform their video-recorded heist of $20 million diamonds from which they only keep a $5 million profit. The heist is described as an obvious New York statement about the value of displaced treasures and the will of modern era thieves to return the good fortunes they've wrought from banking vulnerabilities. Archer and Elka have become a new age Bonnie and Clyde, and no one has yet decoded their true identities, though the New Yorker magazine has hypothesized the two robbers are actually aristocrats sending some kind of dystopian Robin Hood message.

    ARCHER: Did you enjoy your time?
    ELKA: I think I prefer adultery!
    ARCHER: Somehow I guessed that feeling.
    ELKA: Are you a natural thief, Archer?
    ARCHER: Why'd you ask?
    ELKA: New York is a place for real dollars.
    ARCHER: Maybe Manhattan hosts the great dummy dragon!

    ====


    "Money is everything" (Ecclesiastes)

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  2. #2
    You have interesting ideas, but it is definitely hard to see your story in the mind's eye. I think your characters could benefit from a bit more description in terms of what they look like. We get plenty of other details about them, but not definable features that allow the reader to visualize them and their faces.

    "Meet Archer. Archer, a wayward disenchanted and disenfranchised son of a prestigious wealthy American family related to the Waltons, who is seeking a way to feel more immersed in human thought. Archer feels too vain and even confused to think of himself as an engaged man of society, despite his natural rebellious urge to wander around as a playboy and fencing specialist, taking part in aristocracy fencing competitions in Manhattan. Meet Elka, the real-world counterpart of Wharton's Countess Olenska. Elka's parents are deceased but have left her their fortune, and she uses her money to attend all the right Manhattan socialite parties and meet very successful young men but some who are married with whom she engages in adulterous affairs."

    In this paragraph you introduce the characters and give us a lot of information about them, which is great. A little more about how they look would go a long way.

    You really nail the details and set a scene, but a bit more descriptive writing on characters, rooms and whatnot would really bring it up another level.

    Good effort.

  3. #3
    There's a story here waiting to be shown, but you've told it. I want to be in the thick of it, knee deep in the events, with the protagonist. I'd also mention that blocks of paragraphs are daunting and the reason you have those blocks of paragraphs is that you are telling and not showing. Each of those paragraphs could be broken down into a page or three, even a full chapter. Think about the things you are saying and then consider how you could create scenes to show them instead.

    On a special social party in Manhattan, Elka and Archer finally meet. They find themselves sharing time together near the expensive wines table at the party hosted by a very prominent Wall Street tycoon who happens to be only 30 years-old. Archer is only 29, and Elka is only 27. They're the typical socialite diplomats of Manhattan's 20th Century luminous crowd, carriers of a certain sensuous and self-indulgent consciousness. They're most likely both fans of Edith Wharton, though we might guess correctly that Archer likes Wharton for her exploration of social frailty, while Elka might prefer Wharton's approach to customs reinvention itself. As Archer and Elka realize at this special social party in Manhattan that they have much in common, they decide to plan a shared adventure in the New York they've come to love as developed if complicated adults.
    How did each of them get to the party? What events lead up to that party? What did they see and experience before they got to that party? While they were milling about at the party, observing the atmosphere, listening to other guests, smelling the food, tasting the food, thinking about what they were experiencing, what events or circumstances lead them to meet?
    There is a HUGE scene here. This one paragraph alone is a chapter.

    As Archer and Elka realize at this special social party in Manhattan that they have much in common, they decide to plan a shared adventure in the New York they've come to love as developed if complicated adults.
    This section for instance is a conversation in the waiting. It could fill three pages in and of itself.
    Last edited by TheMightyAz; January 12th, 2021 at 01:17 PM.

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