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Nic Martin_2's picture

Trouble cubed

By Nic Martin_2 in Arrest Us

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Two thieves are hired to steal an unusual item from a very private billionaire in the heart of Manhattan by well dressed client.  


Damon Lytton's picture
Damon Lytton from Augusta, Kansas is reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow July 9, 2014 - 8:45pm

Hi Nic,

There's definitely some potential here.  I liked the main thrust of the story, although, I could've used a little more detail on who Dilan was, who he was working for, and what exactly the cube was.

The dialogue could use some work; as it is, it just feels a little stilted and unnatural.  I also would have liked to see more distinction drawn between the two sisters.  They both felt a little one dimensional and way too similar to each other.

On a side note, I'm not sure if this how you wrote it or if it's just how it looks on my screen (I'm on a Mac that doesn't have Microsoft Word), but there seems to be some formatting issues.

Closing her door the driver turned to the other woman and said, “Relax Miranda, it wasn’t Freddie’s fault that the mark upgraded the security system,  besides I was able to convince the system to give the false alarm code to the responding cops.“  “That’s not the point Elise, the point is that I had to play hide and seek for fifteen minutes while you did it,” Miranda said.  “Also if this goes south, I’m the one who wins a nice new set of steel bracelets.”  “I thought you liked those sort of things,” Elise teased.  Miranda blushed a little, “Not outside the bedroom.”  “Besides,” Elise countered, “it’s not like I’m not running risks myself to keep a roof over our heads while we try and pay off the Russian.”  “Fine, fine,” Miranda replied.  “Let’s hear what they have to offer.”  “That’s the most sensible thing you’ve said all day,” Elise said, as walked toward the gate in the fence surrounding the large garage where they were to meet their potential client.

This is how your document looked on my screen, with conversations massed into one wall of text.  Again, this could just be my computer not converting all the formatting; however, if this is how you intended it, I would reconsider.  Dialogue-heavy stories are tough to read when it bounces from one person talking to the next within the same paragraph.

That's about it from me.  This piece could use some work, but keep at it.

Nic Martin_2's picture
Nic Martin_2 July 14, 2014 - 12:36pm

Thank you for the comment and critique.  As to the wall of text, that was my fool up, my wife even commented that it was hard to follow.  As to the other formatting sins that are in the piece, YA I messed up. I made the newbie mistake of not giving the file a full sweep for errors.

The confusion between the two was a little bit intentional, but it seems that I carried it a bit too far.  The original draft was a longer, and it seems that when I cut out the material that gave the characters personality. I hope that when the formatting is corrected it improves the readability.  I chose the dialogue heavy format to try and avoid having the narrator telling when the characters were thinking. 

Again Thank you for working through it, another view on it helps.

Juice Ica's picture
Juice Ica from Rhode Island is reading The Twelve by Justin Cronin & Beautiful Creatures July 9, 2014 - 10:34am

I have to agree with Damon, I am on a PC and the story is formatted the same way as he states, making it fairly unreadable to me. 

I'll be honest, It took me a very long time to get through this. I found it rather uninteresting - not the story so much as the characters, they were very one dimensional and I kept getting them confused. 

My feedback would be to flesh out the two women better, make your reader care what happens to them.

Good luck to you, this story has potential, you simply need to do some edits to really make it something special. 

Casey Hicks's picture
Casey Hicks from Brooklyn, NY is reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman July 9, 2014 - 8:21pm

I'm on a Mac with Word, and I found that many words were highlighted in bright colors. Same formatting issues as the other readers have had as far as lack of paragraph breaks for the dialogue as well. The reliance on so much conversation made it difficult for the story to hook me. I didn't know why I should care about the characters or the heist.

Living in New York, I didn't really feel the restaurant within a residential building gimmick, though I'm broke and in Brooklyn. It felt more like a hotel setup to me. I'd like more explanation of where this is in New York. Establish some setting. Build a world.

Like the others say, I think this could use fleshing out. You have raw potential here. Hone back the reliance on dialogue, and let your words rather than theirs speak for themselves.

Nic Martin_2's picture
Nic Martin_2 July 14, 2014 - 12:50pm

Again I apologize for the formatting issues, I'll take this as a lesson of what happens when you rush. 

As I commented to another review the choice to use a lot of dialogue was to avoid what I saw as the greater sin of telling the read what was going on.  I was trying for the impression that the reader is a ghost following these two around.  I've since acquired a few reference texts to help with my writing and formatting of dialogue. 

The Idea on the build was that it was owned entirely by a corporation with a very odd  majority owner. Who wanted things set up so the he never had to leave if he didn't want to.    I imagined the building being located in Mid-town, but as I've been to New York about twice, setting the story there might not have been the best call. 



Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 17, 2014 - 3:59am

Not bad, but read like you've been watching too much Leverage or Nikita. It all felt a bit 'procedural', if you know what I mean. I've got a few thoughts, but don't take them negatively.

In my opinion you should drop the opening paragraph with the descriptions and exposition and start the story here:

The door of the garage swung inward with a rusty creak.

They seemed convinced to take the job rather easily. Perhaps they should have asked for proof of the million dollars he was going to give them, rather than just the up-front fee.

“Terrence Sinclair.”  Elise sat up in her chair, “You mean the wildly inventive, unbelievably rich, and epically paranoid, head of Sinclair Robotics, Terrence Sinclair?”

This is not good, unless you're going for parody. It doesn't sound natural. Something like this might work better:

“Terrence Sinclair.”  Elise sat up in her chair, “You mean Sinclair Robotics, that Terrence Sinclair?”

During their research there's lots of 'digging'. The conversation relaying the exposition for the security and so on is a good idea, but it read rather scripted, like an episode of Catfish. Make it more natural, hide the facts in normal conversation.

The characters seem a little flat. Stop worrying about what they look like and make them real, not just caricatures. They need three dimensions, and they need to speak like real people. I think I get what you're going for but it doesn't quite work. Keep at it, maybe simplify the whole thing. Best of luck.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 17, 2014 - 9:20am

There are formatting issues… it’s been dealt with, I’ll not hit you over the head with those (dialogue on separate lines though would be a big help).

Some of the dialogue is a little stilted. I’d suggest reading them out loud, and seeing if you can improve the flow a little. As an example – “What is that smell?” “That would be old motor oil.” “What’s that smell?” “Motor oil.”

You do have some occasional exposition heavy dialogue, “You mean the wildly inventive, unbelievably rich, and epically paranoid, head of Sinclair Robotics, Terrence Sinclair?” Show over tell can be a tricky one to get right. Dialogue can be a good way to leak exposition into proceedings, but it needs to be done with a deft touch. Do we need to know he’s wildly inventive and unbelievably rich? “The robotics guy? The paranoid nut job?”

There’s a lot of promise here, but the formatting makes it a harder read. I’d say sort out those issues (check out, dial back the dialogue just a little, and work on naturalising a little more, and you’ll get a lot more people seeing the qualities in this. I like your main duo, and if the heist is a little formulaic, it’s still fun. I’ll give this a thumbs up, because I think there’s something good here.