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> Daily Writing Thread, For works in progress you need help with
&ru
Posted: Aug 5 2008, 04:31 PM
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With the blessing of Umino I'm posting this thread as a place where you can post shorter, incomplete pieces that you'd like help with or criticism on. Basically this is for things you'd like people to read and criticize, but that aren't yet good enough or complete enough to post in their own thread.

This could be a few lines of poetry that you'd like some advice on, or maybe some dialog from a story that just isn't working, or a fragment of a larger piece that you need help with, etc. These aren't the only things you can post here, just some examples.

In other forums I've seen daily writing threads in, usually the standard of what can be posted in them is lower than you'd see for something posted in its own thread. This is because it's intended for works in progress. But that doesn't mean to just post any crap that comes into your head or that you don't have to check your spelling or punctuation. It's still for serious work, just work that's at an earlier, less developed stage.

Also, for people giving criticism, keep in mind that this isn't final work, so don't treat it as such. This is more for giving help than passing final judgement.

Anyway, I hope this will lead to people posting more stuff in general.

A caveat: everything above is completely my opinion, not the mods, even though I was given general permission to post this thread. So if a mod wants to change something, please do. Also, if anyone else has ideas for/about this thread, please post them here.

This post has been edited by &ru on Aug 5 2008, 04:34 PM
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Demetrious
Posted: Aug 5 2008, 06:25 PM
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I'll start this out. This is one of the few things in my "short" file that I actually plan to expand into a full story. Roux already gave me one crit of this, that I've acted on. Now it's time for you folks to savage it.

--------------------------------------------




The world swam into view, revealing a young woman hovering over him against a backdrop of blue sky. Jake decided he should introduce himself.

“Urrgh.”

She simply frowned, admonished him in some lyrical tongue unknown to him, and pressed something against his leg.

“AhhUGH!” Jake tried to sit upright as a sharp bolt of pain shot from his thigh to his hip, and was returned firmly to the earth by a strong hand pressing against his forehead.

“Sit still,” the girl ordered sternly in perfect English as she finished applying the bandage to his thigh. “You’re not hurt badly, but you shouldn’t try to move around, okay?”

“Uh,” Jake confirmed. Not moving was fine with him. Just fantastic, in fact. He felt like he could lay there all day. He heard his benefactor moving away, and tried to rise on one elbow. “Hey, wait-“

“I’m not going anywhere,” she replied, returning to view with a canteen. “Just needed some water, okay? You’ll be fine,” she said soothingly as she produced another rag. Jake ceased his objections and tried to clear his mind. He’d been at treetop level, and had just selected a clear spot in the field when… Jake drew a blank.

“What happened?”

The girl paused a second, thinking, and apparently decided he was lucid enough to converse with. “You hit a tree when you came in low, and your machine flipped over. I pulled you out from underneath it and carried you over here.”

Jake thought about that for a moment, and for some reason it suddenly seemed very funny. He started giggling. He thought of Immelman- Immelman! and as the fight came rushing back, it seemed even funnier. He was full out laughing now, his rescuer regarding him with concern and a little caution, perhaps thinking he’d hit his head harder then she’d thought. “After all that, I manage to crash…”

Slowly, Jake felt the adrenaline in his system waning, and his mad laughter subsided with it as battle fatigue took hold. As his wits started to return, so did his sense of perspective, and he realized that his rescuer was very pretty.

“I usually don’t crash.”

”I’m sure,” she replied, glancing upwards at the sun.

“My engine was all shot up.”

“Shot up?” She spared him a quizzical glance.

“Well, I shot them up too,” he clarified swiftly. “I was outnumbered, you see.”

“Oh,” she replied tentatively, seeming confused. “I think you can walk. I’m going to help you up now, okay?” Jake nodded, and she reached forward and pulled him to his feet with surprising strength. His wounded thigh, on his right leg, buckled, and the girl wrapped her arm around Jake to support him. Jake steadied himself and put his arm around the girl’s slender waist for balance.

“I should crash more often.”

“Why is that?”

”Did I say that out loud?”

“Yes, you most certainly did.”

“Where’s my plane?” Jake said abruptly. The girl pointed off to the right, and Jake espied his overturned Morane, buried in the tall grass. “Shit,” he muttered sadly, in spite of himself. At least he’d never have to screw with that godamned finicky starter again. “Can we limp over there? I’d like to see if my gun is okay.”

“It’s still in your holster.” Jake didn’t need her to tell him that; he could feel the bruise where the revolver had smacked his leg in the crash.

“No, I mean my machine gun. On my plane.”

“Machine gun? They’re putting guns on those things now?” She looked thoughtful for a second, glancing back at the Morane, then frowned at him. “You’re banged up pretty good. We can come back for it, okay? It’s not going anywhere.

She was certainly right about that, Jake thought. “Okay. Lead on, um…”

“Eva.”

“Eva. I’m Jake.”

“Hi, Jake. Okay, just lean on me. The camp is pretty close…”


------------------------------------------------

Be gentle, and please use protection.
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Megaduck
Posted: Aug 6 2008, 07:05 AM
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QUOTE
His wounded thigh, on his right leg, buckled, and the girl wrapped her arm around Jake to support him.


Did you know that the word ‘pain’ is only used once in this story? The effects of pain are only described once as well.

You mention that his leg buckles but you don’t mention how Jake feels about this, or the fact that this should be excruciatingly unpleasant.

In fact, you sort of skip over how Jake feels here. Yes, you have him groan and struggle to come erect but at the same time I don’t get the feeling that you’re trying to say “Our main Character was in a horrible plane crash, lets all sit down and experience what that feels like.”
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Dusty
Posted: Aug 6 2008, 08:12 AM
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QUOTE
Jake decided he should introduce himself.

“Urrgh.”

This is pretty clever.

QUOTE
The world swam into view, revealing a young woman hovering over him against a backdrop of blue sky.

This is cliché, in the language and the situation. It wouldn't be so bad if you rewrote it without: "swam into view." Using something like that is the equivalent of a director using a "star wipe" or any other canned transition between scenes.

Its a strong piece and I only criticize that first line because its the first line.

----------------
I've been working on several poems, but I thought I'd post this one and see if any of the lines are worth keeping.

----------------



This is not a diner. This is not a place.
I wanted to burn down our coffee and eggs.
You wanted to fight fires with milk and cereal.

This is not a poem. This is not true.
Welcome to samsara.
Where everything is so important
but nothing matters.

We’re flying into the ground.
And if you’re so sure you’ll survive the crash
Then,
why are you screaming so god damn loud?

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&ru
Posted: Aug 6 2008, 10:30 AM
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QUOTE (Demetrious @ Aug 5 2008, 06:25 PM)
I'll start this out. This is one of the few things in my "short" file that I actually plan to expand into a full story. Roux already gave me one crit of this, that I've acted on.  Now it's time for you folks to savage it.

--------------------------------------------

Be gentle, and please use protection.



QUOTE
AhhUGH!” Jake tried to sit upright as a sharp bolt of pain shot from his thigh to his hip, and was returned firmly to the earth by a strong hand pressing against his forehead. “Sit still,” the girl ordered...


Shouldn't this be "lie still" or "stay still" since he's trying to sit up and she's trying to get him to lie down?

QUOTE
As his wits started to return, so did his sense of perspective, and he realized that his rescuer was very pretty.


"Sense of perspective" seems vague in the sense you're using it. Maybe you could put something like "As his wits returned, he examined his rescuer more closely and realized..." Just a suggestion.

QUOTE
“Shot up?” She spared him a quizzical glance.


Why "spared"? Is she busy doing something else?

QUOTE
Jake espied his overturned Morane


Espied sounds sort of archaic.

QUOTE
“Shit,” he muttered sadly, in spite of himself.


Why "in spite of himself"? This just seems like extra words. Why not end at sadly?

QUOTE
“It’s still in your holster.” Jake didn’t need her to tell him that; he could feel the bruise where the revolver had smacked his leg in the crash.

“No, I mean my machine gun. On my plane.”


The 2d sentence seems uneccessary. I'd think it sound better with just the dialog like:
"It’s still in your holster.”
"No, I mean my machine gun. On my plane."


So basically minor stuff. I enjoyed it though. It's a good beginning to a story.




OK for Dusty's poem now.

QUOTE
This is not a diner. This is not a place.
I wanted to burn down our coffee and eggs.
You wanted to fight fires with milk and cereal.


Not bad. I like the 3d line the best, the 1st the least.

QUOTE
This is not a poem. This is not true.
Welcome to samsara.
Where everything is so important
but nothing matters. 


This section comes of, to me, as a little vague and pretentious. Sorry.

QUOTE
We’re flying into the ground.
And if you’re so sure you’ll survive the crash
Then,
why are you screaming so god damn loud?


I like this one, the content of it I mean. The rhythym seems off though.

This post has been edited by &ru on Aug 6 2008, 10:39 AM
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FuchsiaG
Posted: Aug 7 2008, 09:47 AM
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QUOTE
This is not a diner. This is not a place.


I would like this line better without the second sentence.

QUOTE
I wanted to burn down our coffee and eggs.
You wanted to fight fires with milk and cereal.


Seems to me these lines should be in present tense to match the first line. "I want to burn down our coffee and eggs." It has more impact that way, too.

QUOTE
This is not a poem. This is not true.


Again, the second sentance seems useless.

QUOTE
Welcome to samsara.
Where everything is so important
but nothing matters.


Awesome lines. That about sums up my life, anywy.

QUOTE
We’re flying into the ground.
And if you’re so sure you’ll survive the crash
Then,
why are you screaming so god damn loud?


I don't like the way these lines are broken up. And you don't need a comma after "Then." Let me try something here...

QUOTE
We’re flying into the ground.
And if you’re so sure
you’ll survive the crash
Then why
are you screaming so loud?


I think that helps the rhythm out.

All in all, I liked this piece.
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Demetrious
Posted: Aug 7 2008, 10:28 PM
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QUOTE (Megaduck @ Aug 6 2008, 09:05 AM)

Did you know that the word ‘pain’ is only used once in this story? The effects of pain are only described once as well.

You mention that his leg buckles but you don’t mention how Jake feels about this, or the fact that this should be excruciatingly unpleasant.

All valid. I don't make enough of a point of the fact that he's had the everloving hell beaten out of him.

QUOTE (Megaduck)

In fact, you sort of skip over how Jake feels here.  Yes, you have him groan and struggle to come erect but at the same time I don’t get the feeling that you’re trying to say “Our main Character was in a horrible plane crash, lets all sit down and experience what that feels like.”


Again assuming that you're speaking of how the character feels physically, rather then emotionally: this might not be accidental. The crash was a relatively low-speed, low-altitude tumble. That's precisely why Jake is up and about, cracking wise and fretting about things like the state of his plane's (expensive) gun, rather then going "HOLY SHIT I WAS IN A PLANE CRASH."

I don't know if that's what struck you as odd about it, though.

QUOTE (Dusty)
This is cliché, in the language and the situation. It wouldn't be so bad if you rewrote it without: "swam into view." Using something like that is the equivalent of a director using a "star wipe" or any other canned transition between scenes.


That's quite true. There's plenty of different ways to start that; I'll look into it.

QUOTE (&ru)

Shouldn't this be "lie still" or "stay still" since he's trying to sit up and she's trying to get him to lie down?


"Sit still" is more of an idiom then a specific command, as far as I know. People will tell you to "sit still" no matter what physical orientation you're currently in. But it's a very minor change, should it be a problem.

QUOTE (&ru)

"Sense of perspective" seems vague in the sense you're using it. Maybe you could put something like "As his wits returned, he examined his rescuer more closely and realized..." Just a suggestion.


Also valid. "sense of perspective" refers to his ability to make substantive judgments on things; something that was lacking right when he regained consciousness. smile.gif

QUOTE (&ru)

The 2d sentence seems uneccessary. I'd think it sound better with just the dialog like:
"It’s still in your holster.”
"No, I mean my machine gun. On my plane."


I put it in there as an extra detail showing how battered the poor bastard was, is all.

Y'all have been awesome. Love weightedcompanioncube.gif
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Megaduck
Posted: Aug 11 2008, 12:24 PM
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I've never been good with speeches. So here is one I'm working on.





Positioning himself in front of them Alex planted the tip of his sword on the deck. Most of them seemed a little stunned, a few had bloody lips by which Alex assumed Dorcas hadn’t received the ‘Woman belong in the kitchen’ line very well and was releasing her irritation on people. “This is not the ghetto, this is not even New Mecca, with its open sky’s and free air.

“This is a very small metal tube in the middle of the most hostile environment known to man. There are exactly two things standing between you and an extremely painful death. The first, is the integrity of that tube, the second, is the person standing right next to you. Look at them,” Alex said and no one moved. “Look at them. Your life depends on them doing their job perfectly; their life depends on you doing your job perfectly. If you don’t, we all die.

“That means if I order you to cut off the hydrogen flow to the fusion reactor, you do it. You don’t argue, you don’t refuse, you do it right then. If I order you to shut the pressure doors you do it. If I order you to help in the kitchen you do it. If I order you to clean the toilets, you bloody well do it! If you don’t, you put yourself in danger and you put your shipmates in danger.

“And let me tell you right now,” Alex’s voice dropped from a near shout but what it lacked in volume it made up for in intensity. “They are all you have. That person you’re looking at is going to be with you for years. You’re going to eat, sleep, and live together because there is no were else to go. You’ll be together in the boring times and you’ll be together in those dangerous and exciting times because there is no one else. No one at all. Just us in here, and a whole lot of death outside. If you’re not with us then all you can look forward to is an excruciating death. Do you understand?”

There was a vague murmur of agreement and Alex shook his head. “It’s Captain. Do you understand!”

“Yes, Captain!” they thundered together and Alex nodded.

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&ru
Posted: Aug 12 2008, 04:33 PM
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QUOTE (Megaduck @ Aug 11 2008, 12:24 PM)
I've never been good with speeches. So here is one I'm working on.





Positioning himself in front of them Alex planted the tip of his sword on the deck. Most of them seemed a little stunned, a few had bloody lips by which Alex assumed Dorcas hadn’t received the ‘Woman belong in the kitchen’ line very well and was releasing her irritation on people. “This is not the ghetto, this is not even New Mecca, with its open sky’s and free air.

“This is a very small metal tube in the middle of the most hostile environment known to man. There are exactly two things standing between you and an extremely painful death. The first, is the integrity of that tube, the second, is the person standing right next to you. Look at them,” Alex said and no one moved. “Look at them. Your life depends on them doing their job perfectly; their life depends on you doing your job perfectly. If you don’t, we all die.

“That means if I order you to cut off the hydrogen flow to the fusion reactor, you do it. You don’t argue, you don’t refuse, you do it right then. If I order you to shut the pressure doors you do it. If I order you to help in the kitchen you do it. If I order you to clean the toilets, you bloody well do it! If you don’t, you put yourself in danger and you put your shipmates in danger.

“And let me tell you right now,” Alex’s voice dropped from a near shout but what it lacked in volume it made up for in intensity. “They are all you have. That person you’re looking at is going to be with you for years. You’re going to eat, sleep, and live together because there is no were else to go. You’ll be together in the boring times and you’ll be together in those dangerous and exciting times because there is no one else. No one at all. Just us in here, and a whole lot of death outside. If you’re not with us then all you can look forward to is an excruciating death. Do you understand?”

There was a vague murmur of agreement and Alex shook his head. “It’s Captain. Do you understand!”

“Yes, Captain!” they thundered together and Alex nodded.

QUOTE
Most of them seemed a little stunned, a few had bloody lips by which Alex assumed Dorcas hadn’t received the ‘Woman belong in the kitchen’ line very well and was releasing her irritation on people.


This sentence is really awkward. Plus a joke seems inappropriate at this point anyway.

QUOTE
If I order you to clean the toilets, you bloody well do it!  If you don’t, you put yourself in danger and you put your shipmates in danger.


This is (mabye unintentionally?) funny.

QUOTE
most hostile environment known to man


QUOTE
There are exactly two things standing between you and an extremely painful death.


QUOTE
If you’re not with us then all you can look forward to is an excruciating death.


These phrases together give the speech a really over the top feel. It seemed like you were maybe going for something a bit more serious. If so I'd cut down on the hyperbole some.
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Demetrious
Posted: Aug 19 2008, 05:38 PM
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QUOTE (Megaduck)


“That means if I order you to cut off the hydrogen flow to the fusion reactor, you do it. You don’t argue, you don’t refuse, you do it right then. If I order you to shut the pressure doors you do it. If I order you to help in the kitchen you do it. If I order you to clean the toilets, you bloody well do it! If you don’t, you put yourself in danger and you put your shipmates in danger.


The problem I have always had with speeches like this is that there is always a line just like that in there, with the Bad Ass Capitan telling everybody that they had better be his bitches or else. They often come off as imperious assholes, rather then men who are leaders because the understand intricately how to work and motivate other people. The lines "If I order you to help in the kitchen, you do it. If I order you to clean the toilets, you bloody well do it! If you don't, you put yourself in danger and you put your shipmates in danger" makes Alex sound like an imperious asshole. If they don't clean the toilets, it puts them and their shipmates in danger? Yeah, sure.

The key point of that passage is that the crew members need to trust Alex- trust that when he tells them to do something as crazy as cutting the hydrogen flow to the fusion reactor, he knows what he's doing. In turn, he has to trust his crew to carry out his orders as quickly as possible, otherwise he cannot command effectively. He has to trust them to trust him, in effect. What Alex needs to tell them, in plain and blunt language, that they need to trust him because he knows what he's doing- not just cuz. And if they don't trust him, they'll all die, including el Capitan; so they know he has the same motivation and sword over his head as they do. "We're all in the same boat," literally and figuratively.

That is how to engender trust in a crew, methinks.

----------------------------------------------------

So CW, I herd u liek storiez:

-----

Jason watched Robin surreptitiously from his spot by the door, swirling his Coke around in his hand automatically. She had retreated to an isolated corner with two other girls, and they were carrying on their own animated conference, away from the main bustle of the party. Others seemed to glide around their bubble of camaraderie.

Turning to visit the snack table again, Jason saw Alex glide into the room, effortlessly catching the current of conversation and riding it from one group of friends to another. Ripples formed in his wake as people broke away from their clusters to gravitate towards him, greeting, talking. He smiled and kept on gliding through the room, absorbing one knot of people after another, and inevitably sailed up to Robin’s isolated corner.

“Hey, Robin! Long time no see!” he exclaimed brightly, the cordialness lancing effortlessly through the little bubble of animated conversation. She looked up with a causal air so measured that Jason knew she’d been aware of Alex’s approach.

“Yeah, life has been like that,” she returned easily. “What have you been up to?”

“Oh, reading up for midterms, you know. Bad time of year to have so many gigs, but I guess I can’t complain.” He smirked winningly around her, towards the other two girls. “And you? How has Applebee’s been?”

“We still serve neither apples nor bees, but I did get a promotion,” she said lightly, before rising awkwardly, keeping her dark eyes locked on his.

“Ah, guess your manager really liked your style,” replied Alex smoothly, half-smiling at one of the other girls as Robin’s cool expression slipped ever so slightly.

“Sounds like he’s straight,” Jason interjected, sliding up behind Alex. “So sorry, man.” He smirked mischievously, friendly.

“Hey, man!” Alex gripped Jason’s hand and pumped it once, warmly. “What’s going on?”

“Actually, I’ve decided to open my own business,” Jason said brightly.

“Do tell.”

Jason grinned. “It’s an untapped market, really. Kind of like Micky D’s back in the day? Only sold milkshakes and hamburgers? Cept I’m just going to sell guitar strings and weed.” His smirk was just a shade harder this time.

Alex’s huff of amusement was a little forced. “You might have a little trouble getting the word out, though.”

My popularity? thought Jason. That’s all you have?

“Nah, that’s the beauty of it, I already have a market. All I gotta do is tack up my flyers next to the ones for your band down at the hardware store.”

That wiped the automatic smile off Alex’s face. He regarded Jason stonily. “You have a problem with me?” he asked with an air of injured innocence.

“Problem, singular? I have to choose just one?” Jason’s body language was still relaxed, but his can of Coke had ceased circling. The burble of conversation around them had chilled as the circle of Alex’s followers cautiously edged away from the pair contending.

Alex glared at Jason, and slid his left foot back ever so slightly to face Alex at an angle, his body tense. Relaxed as ever, Jason simply set his Coke down on a nearby table and nonchalantly hooked his thumbs in his pockets- still returning Alex’s glare, stony faced.

Alex stood that way for a few seconds, waiting for Jason to square off. He spoke.

“You can be a real dick, man,” Alex said sadly, sounding disappointed, and turned to slide back into the thick of the party as carefree as ever. The little drama having ended, the circle of observers slowly drifted away with him.

Jason retrieved his Coke and glanced sideways at Robin, who was staring at him in surprise. Jason just smiled meekly, shrugged, and awkwardly shuffled off towards the back yard, aware of her searching eyes on his back the whole way.

---------

What I am very, very interested in is weather or not the characters personalities and motives and emotions- especially towards one another were evident without me spelling them out. I tried to make all that background evident, yet organic. Thus I'd love it if y'all could tell me what you saw in the characters and what unstated conflicts and ties you picked up on, so I can see if I actually got them across.
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&ru
Posted: Aug 20 2008, 05:24 PM
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QUOTE (Demetrious @ Aug 19 2008, 05:38 PM)

What I am very, very interested in is weather or not the characters personalities and motives and emotions- especially towards one another were evident without me spelling them out. I tried to make all that background evident, yet organic. Thus I'd love it if y'all could tell me what you saw in the characters and what unstated conflicts and ties you picked up on, so I can see if I actually got them across.



OK, this is partly guesswork.

The most obvious conflict is between the 2 guys, Jason and Alex. Either the conflict is 1) over something not talked about in the story or 2) over the girl, Robin. I assume 2 is correct. Jason is jealous of Alex's popularity also.

The lesser conflict is between Robin and Alex. They seem to have some past and Robin doesn't like him now but possibly Alex still has some feelings for her.

Robin is suprised when Jason stands up to Alex so possibly Jason is an introvert or just not seen as being brave.

Here's the gueswork. Alex is Robin's ex-boyfriend (or at least had sex with her) and Jason is either her current one or at least has a thing for Robin. Jason is jealous of Alex because he used to be with Robin and possibly b/c he's in a semi-sucessful band and is generally more popular than him. Alex is comtemptous of Jason for some reason (possibly because Jason has has lesser social status than Alex in their group) and possibly jealous b/c he's now with Robin.

What's missing in this triangle is Robin's feelings toward Jason.

That's all I got.

This post has been edited by &ru on Aug 20 2008, 05:31 PM
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Posted: Aug 27 2008, 04:18 PM
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QUOTE (Demetrious @ Aug 19 2008, 06:38 PM)
What I am very, very interested in is whether or not the characters personalities and motives and emotions- especially towards one another were evident without me spelling them out. I tried to make all that background evident, yet organic. Thus I'd love it if y'all could tell me what you saw in the characters and what unstated conflicts and ties you picked up on, so I can see if I actually got them across.

The history or reasoning behind it isn't very clear, but the whole piece definitely shows animosity between the characters, a lot of what I'm going to outline here is complete and utter guesswork.

Jason, our "eyes" for this piece, is something of a guy who believes himself to be cool, and pulls off the personality well, but doesn't really have the popularity/party/people presence. He stands introverted from the party, but paying attention to the comings and goings. Part introvert, part people-person. Definitely an ex-something to Robin, be it the horizontal monster mash or dating, he's got an eye for Robin. Or maybe he's a stalker. Has issues with Alex, although it's not clear if it's because he has beef with him specifically, or if it's because of Robin. I'm guessing the former.

Alex, bandie, probably guitarist. Maybe a smot-poker, at least through the eyes of Jason. Big woman magnet, definitely Captain McPopular across the party/campus/school. Has a bit of beef with Jason, although not much. Easy to irritation, or at least easily broken from his casual comings and goings. Very appearance oriented, and quick to defend his 'tude. Looks like he has a thing for Robin, and women around him certainly have a thing for him. Possibly gay, because he doesn't seem to take offense to being called so from Jason. Backs down, mostly because he won't lose anything to take that from the likes of Jason.

Robin, not much of a stand-up-and-take-it girl, probably pretty as hell. She seems like she's just coasting, and tends to stay with her friends, who likely encourage her to get up and try for what she wants. Be it a date with Alex or Jason, I dunno, but it'll likely be an issue to become conflict later on, I think.

As far as the organic background, you did well for the most part. The problem is it's still distant. Is it an outdoor party? Indoor? Frat house? Parent-hosted? School organized? Beer? Drugs? Adults? Sex?

QUOTE (Demetrious @ Aug 19 2008 @ 05:38 PM)
camaraderie


Awesome word.

~~~~~
Now, my WIP for the Vamp Romance story, mostly establishing the main character the timeframe. Tell me if anything comes off as too strong, too weak, or unbelievable.

Rape metaphors aren't my usual tricks, but maybe I get a little too much pleasure from making these monsters fellate my shotgun. The kick of the gun jabbed me in the stomach, but the sight of spiraling of vampire skull chips soaring through the air was worth the discomfort. They landed with a gleefully disgusting splats on the concrete of the warehouse floor, and I turned to my squad. “Thanks for you work, gentlemen, the client will have you pay within the week.” The cheer resounded through the warehouse, and I could feel the adrenaline easing out of my system.

The outside air dripped with humidity, the Bay brought both fog and a salt water breeze. I squinted across the marina, trying to adjust to the painfully bright outdoors. I fished my cell phone from my pocket, and called my client. “Kids,” I spat at the overly cutesy song playing in the place of the standard ring, “answer the damn phone.” It took to the end of the chorus for a young sounding lady to answer the phone. After the hello, I said, “Job's done. List of mercs and supplies will be faxed, all supply fees go to me, each merc's fee will be listed. Any questions?”

“Are they all gone?” Christ, the kid sounded scared.

“Yeah, the vamps sucked off our shotguns. Pro'lly not enough of 'em left to identify, much less screw little prissies like you.”

Relief flooded over the line. “Thank you.”

“Thank me with your check.” I disconnected the line, and rubbed my temples. My thumb flashed over the phone, and I called my secretary. “Fax Mrs. Giggles the invoices, I need a shower.”

“Right away, sir. Do you need anything else?”

“A fuckin' drink.” I hung up on her, and got in my junked-to-hell Oldsmobile. Half-way to my cheap-ass apartment in the city high-rise, my partner-in-crime called my phone. It rang like a phone fuckin' should, screw the gay-ass prissy ring tones people are all usin' these days. I jerked the phone to my ear, “Yeah?”

Jason Griggs, my old college roommate, and part time vamp killer. “Dumb ass! How y'all gonna throw down with the blood suckers without me?”

“Like I just did, you ass. What is it?”

“Job's done, you got cash, we should party tonight.”

“Hell yeah!” I answered, killing the line and accelerating to my apartment. After a short shower, my door burst open and all 6' 1” of Jason Griggs bust into my apartment. Jason was a big dude compared to my short-ass 5' 6”, but never owned up to his height unless he was busting asses or chewin' gum. Born in Oklahoma, Jason talked like a swamp-dwelling redneck, but fought like a kid from the Bronx. He slapped a palm on my bare back by way of greeting, and whooped in victory. After being broke-ass for years, having some scratch was a fuckin' godsend. “Damn, Griggs. Can't a dude get dressed without you kickin' his door down?”

“How y'all feelin' the Velvet Palace tonight?” He said, holding up two tickets.

“The Velvet fuckin' Palace?” I snatched the tickets from him and looked. The Velvet Palace was the most exclusive club in the whole city, lined wall-to-wall with hot girls, good drinks, and bad music. Best party in town, and the hardest to get into. “Who the hell did you screw to get these?”

“Last client couldn't afford all of the mercs and fees, ended up fessing up these, along with a diamond big enough to pay off all of the mercs.” Damn.

“You ripped that old-ass lady off. Good fuckin' work, Griggs.”

He laughed, flicked me off, and walked outside. “I'll go start the car, get your slow ass down after you get dressed. We're gonna par-tay!” He left the room, and I started dressing. Velvet Palace, eh? Hell fuckin' yeah!
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&ru
Posted: Aug 31 2008, 08:45 AM
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I've been trying to come up with something for the Vampire Romance contest, and not having much luck so far. I remembered that I had tried to write a vampire story a long time ago, so I dug through my old notebooks and found it. I hadn't gotten very far in it and most of it sucked, but there was one section that wasn't too awful so I thought I could edit it and maybe salvage it for use now.

The problem is, it's just a conversation between 2 men, but at least one of them is a vampire, which is a start. I was thinking of changing the other guy to a woman. I guess I could leave him a man, but I dont' think I'm quite ready to write a gay vampire romance. Anyway, if you guys could give me any advice on this section, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.



Untitled


The wheels of a cart clattered – wood on stone – blocks away, but otherwise the night was silent. Why are the wealthy parts of town so much quieter at night, mused the waiting soldier? He rubbed his hands together against the cold. The only disadvantage of these lamps, he thought. You can’t warm your hands by them.

He gazed at the pleasant yellow light of the gas lamp that stood in the middle of the brick courtyard. They had been in the capital for nearly a year now, but he still marveled at them. Every other city in the empire, or without it for that matter, was torchlit at night, if at all. This man, soldier, officer probably, judging from his expensive calfskin boots and rich black cloak, preferred the steady buttery glow of the lamps to the harsh flickering of torchlight. It seemed…

“…More civilized?” a voice behind him said. “How quaint. You think that your – “

“Ugh, don’t do that!” said the man with genuine disgust. “Speaking of civilized, there’s nothing less so than peeping in a man’s head like you were digging through his garbage for scraps.”

“A particularly apt metaphor in your case Captain,” the voice smiled. “But don’t blame me for your carelessness. I take great risk in meeting you here and I must needs hear any nearby thoughts. Believe me, it has long since ceased being pleasurable or interesting to look into the shabby warped minds of your race. Present company excepted of course,” he lied. “No, for the most part it’s frankly depressing, but let’s not waste time. What do you want?”

The officer leered at him laughing, “You already know what I want,” he said, pulling a shiny leaf bladed dagger from his belt.

The voice caught a brief glint of armor under the man’s cloak as he drew the blade. What a grotesque combination of suspicion and naïveté he is, he thought. Does he really think that breastplate could stop me from tearing his heart out with my hands? He sighed inwardly. Idiot.

He strode toward the captain into the ambience of the lamp. He was thin, tall, and pale beyond the dreams of the wealthy noblewomen who bathed in milk and never walked outside without a servant carrying a ubiquitous umbrella. When he spoke long canines peeked out from under his upper lip like little spear tips. “I see,” the pale man said looking down at the long knife, “You want my life.”

The soldier started, afraid – really afraid rather than just nervous – for the first time, but in a moment his brow smoothed and he smiled. “Oh I see, your life. Yes, that’s exactly what I want.”

“So we have a bargain then, I take it?”

“Yes.”

But the pale man remained still. “Tell me Captain, do you remember your childhood? I can hardly remember anything of mine now. Not that there was anything particularly memorable about it, but still one likes to – “

With narrowed eyes the captain broke in, “What is this?”

“Nothing. I just wanted to ask you a question.”

“Then ask and be done. But if this is one of your tricks, you should know I’ve taken precautions. My mind is sealed on that matter. Professionally.”

“I know Captain. No tricks this time. I just wanted to ask if as a child you dreamt of the day you would be the warrior you are now. A commander of men, powerful, wealthy.”

“Yes, yes I suppose I did. What of it?”

“And now?”

“And now what?”

The pale man rolled his pale eyes. “And now that you have attained these things – power, money, even fame of a sort, is it as you imagined?”

“No, of course not, but it has been many years since I was a child and I no longer – “

“You are a child Captain. To me that is exactly what you are.”

“What is this foolishness? If you seek to rile me with your insults you’re wasting your time, and mine.”

“Not at all,” he smiled. “Consider it a friendly warning that childish dreams of power are just that. You will never attain what you seek. And even if you did, you would no longer be the man who wanted it, just as the child of your past can never enjoy the life of his dreams because he no longer exists.”

“I’ll take that chance,” he said and stepped forward to the pale man, almost touching him.

“You have no chance,” the pale man muttered under his breath, too softly to be heard.

The steel of the blade gleamed bright yellow. The officer lifted it up in the narrow space between the two men then flicked it sharply across his own throat. A thick stream of steaming blood under pressure shot out in an arc that hit the bottom of the lamp for a moment, then stopped.
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Posted: Sep 1 2008, 01:43 PM
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Nice, I spotted a few grammatical errors, but they don't appear throughout so I'm sure you can pick them up just reading through it again.

Other than that stay away from italics. Bold, italics and underlining as far as they go, unless you're using them to indicate telepathy or something, just don't work that well in speech. When I read this part.

“You are a child Captain. To me that is exactly what you are.”

I don't put any stress on that word. Then I read back notice the italics and the way the character's suddenly being made to speak by them completely changes my perception of him. While you might want to indicate the way a person talks to the readers how a person talks is closely tied to their personality and the reader will have their own perception of that.

This post has been edited by Nem on Sep 1 2008, 01:45 PM
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Posted: Sep 1 2008, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE (Nem @ Sep 1 2008, 02:43 PM)
Nice, I spotted a few grammatical errors, but they don't appear throughout so I'm sure you can pick them up just reading through it again.

Other than that stay away from italics. Bold, italics and underlining as far as they go, unless you're using them to indicate telepathy or something, just don't work that well in speech. When I read this part.

“You are a child Captain. To me that is exactly what you are.”

I don't put any stress on that word. Then I read back notice the italics and the way the character's suddenly being made to speak by them completely changes my perception of him. While you might want to indicate the way a person talks to the readers how a person talks is closely tied to their personality and the reader will have their own perception of that.

I really wish I knew which post this post is referring to...

Also, can anyone give my snippet a once-over, I kinda have a deadline on it.
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Posted: Sep 1 2008, 08:58 PM
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QUOTE (NewClassic @ Sep 1 2008, 08:27 PM)
I really wish I knew which post this post is referring to...

Also, can anyone give my snippet a once-over, I kinda have a deadline on it.


The one right above it.

Thanks for your comments Nem. As far as this

QUOTE
I don't put any stress on that word. Then I read back notice the italics and the way the character's suddenly being made to speak by them completely changes my perception of him. While you might want to indicate the way a person talks to the readers how a person talks is closely tied to their personality and the reader will have their own perception of that.


I understand what you're saying but shouldn't I, as the writer, be the one to guide the reader's perception of the characters? Sure, they're not going to see what I see in my head as I write it, but I'd like you, the reader, to think about the characters what I want you to think. Writing is manipulation.

I know some people criticize using italics to stress words, but it's a very common practice among writers good and bad. Overuse can be a problem though. I'll take another look and see if I can do without some of them. Thanks again for your comments.


NewClassic, I read your piece. The speech seems too much like typical action movie badass dialog. Maybe you could tone it down a little. Otherwise it seems ok.

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Posted: Sep 1 2008, 10:20 PM
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QUOTE (&ru @ Sep 1 2008, 08:58 PM)
I understand what you're saying but shouldn't I, as the writer, be the one to guide the reader's perception of the characters?  Sure, they're not going to see what I see in my head as I write it, but I'd like you, the reader, to think about the characters what I want you to think.  Writing is manipulation.


My answer to your question, admitedly there are other schools of thought on this, would be, 'As little as possible.'

There are great writers that use very simple language and let people fill in the blanks and great writers that use very abstract language and do the same, describing fights and the like in an almost poetic manner, but you don't get many great writers that use lots of very exact language, apart from anything else it makes it almost impossible for them to exercise greater control when they really do need it.

I think King said the purest thing he ever wrote was,
'The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.'
Was it the most descriptive thing he wrote? Probably not. Was the man in black dressed in a cassock; a shirt and tie; a robe? Personally I imagine the man in black in a light shirt and trousers with a long coat like the one Vincent wears in the Cowboy Bebop movie. But the point is it said all it needed to say, and that's the key to good writing; knowing how little you can get away with saying and still tell the story you want to tell.

To take a somewhat extreme example: no-one outside of forensics, or perhaps wannabe forensics hobbyists, is that interested in the exact mathematical angle of a bullet shot while they're being told of a fantastic gunfight, or ten pages describing in exact detail how someone takes a dump in order to get shot by that bullet because their head happened to interact with the same space. Other than the latter being an act of incredible squick, in the reader’s head it's the character they've created around your guidelines diving to the ground doing the shooting. Their imagination does a better job of immersing them in the sights and sounds of that than all the words you or I could come up with in a week's work. Well unless you're incredibly skilled and can make precise geometry interesting within a narrative that is.

The reader buys into the contents of their own imagination by default; you on the other hand have got to work for it, doubly so if you happen to contradict their imagination.

I'm just some guy with a keyboard, some whiskey and a bit of insomnia though. Don't take me as an authority on this.
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Posted: Sep 2 2008, 06:57 AM
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QUOTE (Nem @ Sep 1 2008, 10:20 PM)

My answer to your question, admitedly there are other schools of thought on this, would be, 'As little as possible.'

There are great writers that use very simple language and let people fill in the blanks and great writers that use very abstract language and do the same, describing fights and the like in an almost poetic manner, but you don't get many great writers that use lots of very exact language, apart from anything else it makes it almost impossible for them to exercise greater control when they really do need it.

I think King said the purest thing he ever wrote was,
'The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.'
Was it the most descriptive thing he wrote? Probably not. Was the man in black dressed in a cassock; a shirt and tie; a robe? Personally I imagine the man in black in a light shirt and trousers with a long coat like the one Vincent wears in the Cowboy Bebop movie. But the point is it said all it needed to say, and that's the key to good writing; knowing how little you can get away with saying and still tell the story you want to tell.

To take a somewhat extreme example: no-one outside of forensics, or perhaps wannabe forensics hobbyists, is that interested in the exact mathematical angle of a bullet shot while they're being told of a fantastic gunfight, or ten pages describing in exact detail how someone takes a dump in order to get shot by that bullet because their head happened to interact with the same space. Other than the latter being an act of incredible squick, in the reader’s head it's the character they've created around your guidelines diving to the ground doing the shooting. Their imagination does a better job of immersing them in the sights and sounds of that than all the words you or I could come up with in a week's work. Well unless you're incredibly skilled and can make precise geometry interesting within a narrative that is.

The reader buys into the contents of their own imagination by default; you on the other hand have got to work for it, doubly so if you happen to contradict their imagination.

I'm just some guy with a keyboard, some whiskey and a bit of insomnia though. Don't take me as an authority on this.

Interesting argument, but I'm not sure if I agree with your premise that the reader's imagination is more important than the writer's . Yes, the reader's imagination is very important, but it seems to me that it's the writers job to guide that imagination. If I want to character to say something and to have the reader interpret it in a certain way and the reader interprets it some other way, then I've failed to communicate on a pretty basic level.

Of course, you can't force a reader to think what you want him or her to think, but at the very least you can make yourself clear, so that if there are any misinterpreations, they're at least the reader's choice rather than the writer's lack of clarity.

Now, if you think my italizations fail to do what I want them to do, that's criticism I appreciate. But if you're saying that I shouldn't be trying to impose my vision on the reader in the first place, then well, I still appreciate your comments, but that's not why I write. Ideally, I'd like to have complete control of your mind when you read what I write. Obviously I don't have anywhere near the skill to do that, but that's what I'm shooting for anyway.

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Posted: Sep 2 2008, 10:12 AM
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I think you've got the wrong end of the stick, or maybe I'm just not being very clear. This isn't about not making the characters you want to make, it's about only getting given so much control over the reader's imagination before the reader gets bored and leaves, and using it sparingly.

There are times to do it and times not to do it. If after every line of dialogue you state that your character hissed it or muttered it or whatever pretty soon that's going to get old. Will the reader stick around to let you keep doing that? Maybe, maybe not. Why take the risk though when you could do more with less? The dialogue itself, and to an extent the punctuation, which people read much more naturally, along with how the character's acted over the rest of the story, should have informed them of how the thing was said without the author needing to go in there and exercise that control so completely all the time. There's no point in adding more control mechanisms in if you're not using all the control you've already got.

That's why it's handy to know how little you can get away with.

It'd be interesting to know how you saw the character there really. For me it went from reading like a relatively sophisticated person who's somewhat aloof to a rather snarky teenage girl with a god complex getting the first stage of her threat display on - (someone who'd probably be a not particularly important criminal or trying to decide how to spend her dead man's ten where I grew up.) I don't know if that's what you meant it to do or not, it's definitely not a story ruiner or anything like that, but it did have me sit back for a moment and go, 'wah?'
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Posted: Sep 2 2008, 10:31 AM
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QUOTE (Nem @ Sep 2 2008, 10:12 AM)
I think you've got the wrong end of the stick, or maybe I'm just not being very clear. This isn't about not making the characters you want to make, it's about only getting given so much control over the reader's imagination before the reader gets bored and leaves, and using it sparingly.

There are times to do it and times not to do it. If after every line of dialogue you state that your character hissed it or muttered it or whatever pretty soon that's going to get old. Will the reader stick around to let you keep doing that? Maybe, maybe not. Why take the risk though when you could do more with less?

Nem, I think you're misunderstanding &ru's point. It's not about describing everything down into the itty-bitty detail until the reader wants to stab you in the eye with a fork, that's just bad writing. A good writer will know how to guide a reader to the message/impression/whatever they intended to make without making it seem like that's what you're doing, or having the reader notice and be annoyed.
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Nem
Posted: Sep 2 2008, 11:06 AM
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Well we kinda got sidetracked into a related issue I fear. My original point was if someone's reading along and then going 'eh?' because you've brushed up against what the rest of the text, or their own cultural bias, has causes them to imagine then they've noticed what you're about.

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Posted: Sep 2 2008, 01:30 PM
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QUOTE (Nem @ Sep 2 2008, 11:06 AM)
Well we kinda got sidetracked into a related issue I fear. My original point was if someone's reading along and then going 'eh?' because you've brushed up against what the rest of the text, or their own cultural bias, has causes them to imagine then they've noticed what you're about.

Maybe so. Anyway, I do appreciate your comments. When I write the story itself I'll definitely keep what you said in mind.
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Posted: Sep 8 2008, 07:57 AM
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Edit:

gah. wrong forum. my bad.

This post has been edited by OmniAngel on Sep 8 2008, 07:59 AM
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Posted: Sep 16 2008, 04:00 PM
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Beat of blood.
Note of steel.
Dance of death.

Hear the tune.
Dance the dance.
Hold yourself firm.

-----------------------

it's an inserted piece from a short story that i'm working on. i'm wondering how well it works on its own. where i'd have to tighten it up, rebalance cadence, etc. i'd like to keep the pair of short three line sections.


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Posted: Sep 16 2008, 04:38 PM
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QUOTE (steuben @ Sep 16 2008, 04:00 PM)
Beat of blood.
Note of steel.
Dance of death.

Hear the tune.
Dance the dance.
Hold yourself firm.

-----------------------

it's an inserted piece from a short story that i'm working on. i'm wondering how well it works on its own. where i'd have to tighten it up, rebalance cadence, etc. i'd like to keep the pair of short three line sections.

What is it exactly? A poem, or a ritualistic phrase or what? Give us a little context.

This post has been edited by &ru on Sep 16 2008, 04:39 PM
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Posted: Sep 16 2008, 08:05 PM
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hmm context. let's see. within context it was translated out of an elder language. the culture of that language was highly muscial. the it was translated long ago from that language. from there the first half fell into use as ritual before battle by a military unit. for the most part the second half has been forgotten. but the remainder is known for those who want to.

it was writen as both guide and warning to warriors.
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Posted: Sep 17 2008, 12:29 PM
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QUOTE (steuben @ Sep 16 2008, 08:05 PM)
hmm context. let's see. within context it was translated out of an elder language. the culture of that language was highly muscial. the it was translated long ago from that language. from there the first half fell into use as ritual before battle by a military unit. for the most part the second half has been forgotten. but the remainder is known for those who want to.

it was writen as both guide and warning to warriors.

OK, well judging it as what you're saying it is, it works. I mean it seems believable enough to me that some ancient warrior society might have passed along information in that form. It's not meant as poetry just condensed easy to remember advice in a sort of musical/poetic form, right?

As far as cadence, it seems ok except for the last line which is out of the same stress pattern as the rest. That extra syllable makes it stumble.
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Posted: Oct 5 2008, 12:27 AM
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QUOTE (NewClassic @ Aug 27 2008, 04:18 PM)
The history or reasoning behind it isn't very clear, but the whole piece definitely shows animosity between the characters, a lot of what I'm going to outline here is complete and utter guesswork.

Jason, our "eyes" for this piece, is something of a guy who believes himself to be cool, and pulls off the personality well, but doesn't really have the popularity/party/people presence. He stands introverted from the party, but paying attention to the comings and goings. Part introvert, part people-person. Definitely an ex-something to Robin, be it the horizontal monster mash or dating, he's got an eye for Robin. Or maybe he's a stalker. Has issues with Alex, although it's not clear if it's because he has beef with him specifically, or if it's because of Robin. I'm guessing the former.

Alex, bandie, probably guitarist. Maybe a smot-poker, at least through the eyes of Jason. Big woman magnet, definitely Captain McPopular across the party/campus/school. Has a bit of beef with Jason, although not much. Easy to irritation, or at least easily broken from his casual comings and goings. Very appearance oriented, and quick to defend his 'tude. Looks like he has a thing for Robin, and women around him certainly have a thing for him. Possibly gay, because he doesn't seem to take offense to being called so from Jason. Backs down, mostly because he won't lose anything to take that from the likes of Jason.

Robin, not much of a stand-up-and-take-it girl, probably pretty as hell. She seems like she's just coasting, and tends to stay with her friends, who likely encourage her to get up and try for what she wants. Be it a date with Alex or Jason, I dunno, but it'll likely be an issue to become conflict later on, I think.

As far as the organic background, you did well for the most part. The problem is it's still distant. Is it an outdoor party? Indoor? Frat house? Parent-hosted? School organized? Beer? Drugs? Adults? Sex?



Awesome word.

~~~~~
Now, my WIP for the Vamp Romance story, mostly establishing the main character the timeframe. Tell me if anything comes off as too strong, too weak, or unbelievable.

Rape metaphors aren't my usual tricks, but maybe I get a little too much pleasure from making these monsters fellate my shotgun. The kick of the gun jabbed me in the stomach, but the sight of spiraling of vampire skull chips soaring through the air was worth the discomfort. They landed with a gleefully disgusting splats on the concrete of the warehouse floor, and I turned to my squad. “Thanks for you work, gentlemen, the client will have you pay within the week.” The cheer resounded through the warehouse, and I could feel the adrenaline easing out of my system.

The outside air dripped with humidity, the Bay brought both fog and a salt water breeze. I squinted across the marina, trying to adjust to the painfully bright outdoors. I fished my cell phone from my pocket, and called my client. “Kids,” I spat at the overly cutesy song playing in the place of the standard ring, “answer the damn phone.” It took to the end of the chorus for a young sounding lady to answer the phone. After the hello, I said, “Job's done. List of mercs and supplies will be faxed, all supply fees go to me, each merc's fee will be listed. Any questions?”

“Are they all gone?” Christ, the kid sounded scared.

“Yeah, the vamps sucked off our shotguns. Pro'lly not enough of 'em left to identify, much less screw little prissies like you.”

Relief flooded over the line. “Thank you.”

“Thank me with your check.” I disconnected the line, and rubbed my temples. My thumb flashed over the phone, and I called my secretary. “Fax Mrs. Giggles the invoices, I need a shower.”

“Right away, sir. Do you need anything else?”

“A fuckin' drink.” I hung up on her, and got in my junked-to-hell Oldsmobile. Half-way to my cheap-ass apartment in the city high-rise, my partner-in-crime called my phone. It rang like a phone fuckin' should, screw the gay-ass prissy ring tones people are all usin' these days. I jerked the phone to my ear, “Yeah?”

Jason Griggs, my old college roommate, and part time vamp killer. “Dumb ass! How y'all gonna throw down with the blood suckers without me?”

“Like I just did, you ass. What is it?”

“Job's done, you got cash, we should party tonight.”

“Hell yeah!” I answered, killing the line and accelerating to my apartment. After a short shower, my door burst open and all 6' 1” of Jason Griggs bust into my apartment. Jason was a big dude compared to my short-ass 5' 6”, but never owned up to his height unless he was busting asses or chewin' gum. Born in Oklahoma, Jason talked like a swamp-dwelling redneck, but fought like a kid from the Bronx. He slapped a palm on my bare back by way of greeting, and whooped in victory. After being broke-ass for years, having some scratch was a fuckin' godsend. “Damn, Griggs. Can't a dude get dressed without you kickin' his door down?”

“How y'all feelin' the Velvet Palace tonight?” He said, holding up two tickets.

“The Velvet fuckin' Palace?” I snatched the tickets from him and looked. The Velvet Palace was the most exclusive club in the whole city, lined wall-to-wall with hot girls, good drinks, and bad music. Best party in town, and the hardest to get into. “Who the hell did you screw to get these?”

“Last client couldn't afford all of the mercs and fees, ended up fessing up these, along with a diamond big enough to pay off all of the mercs.” Damn.

“You ripped that old-ass lady off. Good fuckin' work, Griggs.”

He laughed, flicked me off, and walked outside. “I'll go start the car, get your slow ass down after you get dressed. We're gonna par-tay!” He left the room, and I started dressing. Velvet Palace, eh? Hell fuckin' yeah!

the vampire story had way to much cursing, also instead of a monologe to explain stuff,but mabey a clueless partner a lá doctor who might work better.
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DNA.Styx
Posted: Oct 5 2008, 03:46 PM
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This was for Locution's October contest, where the theme was "touch." I feel like this has potential beyond just description.

---

I played with a dead girl once.

The geometry of her curves made me dance, the rhythm of our movements ran up the base of her spine, fingers tingling hot against cold.

I met her as smoke brushing against my face, the topography of a map, laid out. The turns of her thigh, the cleft of her breast, the chill as her rivers branched from her chest. I took her from the sod and brushed it off, gravelly and wet.

She talked like smoke to me, but writhed like a snake when we danced to our jazz. We moved to the beat of the unknown, conjoined in the smooth motions of gin swirling in our glasses. My sweat dripped from heat to chill, and we buried ourselves in the grave we loved. We straightened from 90 degrees to lines, outlining the rigor of her mortis, and the beat of my mortality.

She never moved like I did; every push toppled her like building blocks and she became a mess of circles and arcs and spheres. Sliding in next to me, one hand on my gin glass, the other slipping down my thigh, her tongue loose - she conversed with mine.

I remember when we finished, I asked her if I could die for her, but I didn't quite remember how to. I tried to live for her, but she brushed me away, her lips vibrating against the bones of my jaw; "The dead don't care much for the living," she said.

Let me return to her when I find the ground.

---

Yeah, it's what you think it's about.
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&ru
Posted: Oct 5 2008, 09:21 PM
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QUOTE (DNA.Styx @ Oct 5 2008, 03:46 PM)
This was for Locution's October contest, where the theme was "touch." I feel like this has potential beyond just description.

Yeah, it's what you think it's about.

This is pretty good.


QUOTE
I met her as smoke brushing against my face

I'd remove this line because you have
QUOTE
She talked like smoke to me
right after it. You're overusing the same metaphor and the second one sounds much better.

QUOTE
the chill as her rivers branched from her chest.

I don't understand this. Is it supposed to be blood or something?

QUOTE
We straightened from 90 degrees to lines, outlining the rigor of her mortis, and the beat of my mortality.
I don't really like this part too much. It's like you're trying a bit too hard to be clever.


QUOTE
She never moved like I did; every push toppled her like building blocks and she became a mess of circles and arcs and spheres. Sliding in next to me, one hand on my gin glass, the other slipping down my thigh, her tongue loose - she conversed with mine.

This is good, though I'm not sure what the gin glass is there for.

The last paragraph is good, but I don't like this line:
QUOTE
I asked her if I could die for her, but I didn't quite remember how to.
What does it mean? It doesn't have to make literal sense, but it needs to make some kind of sense I think.

So I liked it overall. Different. Sensual and creepy/repellant at the same time, which I guess is what you were going for.

This post has been edited by &ru on Oct 5 2008, 09:24 PM
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Posted: Oct 7 2008, 02:06 PM
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dna!

I see your Love of the Dead and raise you a Love of the Living.

* * *

It was that time of the year, the time winter starts creeping in, in the form of sleet in the mornings and snowflakes at night - but you never got to see the snowflakes, you were always asleep - it was the time of year when the night's cold cuts into the bones of empty buildings, and so at two at night the finish on the stage parquet felt icy against my soles, but this was one of those Moses moments where you just had to insist on being barefoot.

Something in the air of disused concert halls feels pleasantly hollow. It pricks your skin, tries to get your attention. It wants to be filled. So that's what we'd do, but not before it was time -- you snuck up onstage on tiptoe, so as not to offend the quiet, and you came up beside me, close enough that we didn't touch, but so that on my skin I could faintly feel an imprint of the warmth you radiate. What I did, stepped closer on the cold floor and slid my fingers through yours and let them interwine, pulled you close and enveloped you with my arms, it's not like it's some kind of arcane dance; but it's one of the subtlest, one of the most undeniable proofs that we are alive -- and is there a greater magic?

I would've gladly had that shape of you, now flaring with the afterheat that cold winter nights leave in your skin, imprinted on me forever. You moved so softly, so slowly in rhythm with your breathing, that I could have thought you were asleep, hadn't I also felt the beat in your chest go a bit too fast, a bit too strong. I tried to kiss your hair; this moved out of the way, so I settled with your cheek.

It was time, we decided, on some collectively conscious level. Standing there, barefoot or not, in any case enveloped in each other, we sang. Not the way people sing all too often, as voice manipulated to verse and tune, but as the sound of our beautiful, beautiful ghosts, making the walls shiver with our life and love. What else are halls meant to be filled with?

* * *

(done more or less in accordance to the contest rules, trying to describe touch)

This post has been edited by Phalmy on Oct 7 2008, 02:42 PM
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Eyolo
Posted: Oct 7 2008, 02:10 PM
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QUOTE (DNA.Styx @ Oct 5 2008, 03:46 PM)
This was for Locution's October contest, where the theme was "touch." I feel like this has potential beyond just description.



Was September imo
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DNA.Styx
Posted: Oct 7 2008, 02:32 PM
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Shit. September, it is.
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&ru
Posted: Oct 9 2008, 03:15 PM
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Since the vampire contest is over, Last of Fallen suggested I start a new one. So I'm taking suggestions as to what the topic will be. If you have any ideas please post them here, or you can PM me if you'd prefer to be anonymous.

The only one I've gotten so far is from DNA.Styx. His idea was uh...necrophilia. unsure.gif

Coincidentally (or not) the same topic as the last piece he posted. But I'm not here to talk about his foul twisted lusts, but to request ideas. So please post them!
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Posted: Oct 9 2008, 05:45 PM
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So the idea is to pick a generally detested/frowned-upon/hard-to-write genre and write something in that genre, amirite?

Uh, I really have no desire to write any of these, but since they so automatically spring to mind:

Chick-flick Romance
Harlequin (not the same as the above)


Is there a genre for patriotic fiction that doesn't automatically translate into lolnazipropaganda?
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&ru
Posted: Oct 9 2008, 05:54 PM
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QUOTE (Rouxinol @ Oct 9 2008, 05:45 PM)
So the idea is to pick a generally detested/frowned-upon/hard-to-write genre and write something in that genre, amirite?

Uh, I really have no desire to write any of these, but since they so automatically spring to mind:

Chick-flick Romance
Harlequin (not the same as the above)


Is there a genre for patriotic fiction that doesn't automatically translate into lolnazipropaganda?

No, not at all. At least, I don't know what these contests are normally like, but I'm going to take suggestions and pick out the most interesting.

I do want it to be challenging, but I'd also like to get as many people to enter as possible, so I don't want it to be a topic people will hate. Plus writing any short story is challenging IMO.

Just give me some good suggestions please and I'll try to pick something fun and interesting. No Harlequin romances though. Sorry.
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Posted: Oct 10 2008, 07:56 PM
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The topic suggsestions I've gotten so far for a contest are:

-War/combat type story
-Sappy chick flick/Harlequin romance type story,
-Patriotic Fiction (though I'm not sure exactly what that is), and
-Necrophilia.

My suggestions are:
-A story about betrayal,
-Historical fiction (i.e. fictional story that takes place during a non-fictional historical event/period), or
-A story about something that actually happened to you or something that you actually witnessed yourself. It can be changed to make it more interesting and you can take as much poetic license as you like as long as the basic events behind it are factual and you personally saw or participated in them.

Give me some more suggestions if any of you are actually interested in this. I'd like at least 5 people agree to do it before I post the thread. So even if you don't have a suggestion, just let everyone know if you'll agree to write something for the contest. Also, if you particularly like or dislike any of the above ideas, say so. As I said, I'm not going to pick a topic no one's interested in.

So instead of brutalizing each other in the spam thread, turn that bitterness and hostiilty to good use and humiliate your friends &/or enemies by kicking their asses in this contest! Yay!!!

This post has been edited by &ru on Oct 10 2008, 08:21 PM
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&ru
Posted: Oct 16 2008, 07:21 AM
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^^^^^

Is anyone interested in doing this contest? If you are, please let me know by this weekend, either by posting here or PM'ing me. Thanks. smile.gif

This is the last time I bug you guys about this - promise!
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Last of Fallen
Posted: Oct 29 2008, 09:29 PM
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So. There's something wrong with this as the introduction to a short story. I can't figure out what, as a rough draft, but I feel there is something completely off. No, I haven't written more than this, because I think there is something very wrong with what I have right now, I just can't pinpoint it.

---

"Aaaaaah!" The scream filled the morning air like an ax slicing through my head. It did not feel good, but it was also mildly terrifying. I rolled out of bed and barely managed to grab a house coat and wrap it around my nakedness before rushing down the stairs.

"Patricia? Patty?" I called as I turned a corner. It had sounded like her. I came upon her, standing in the doorway, looking down at the furry gray, white and red mass in front of her feet. "Honey, are you alright?"

"Mike, oh my god, look what they did." She looked fine. I stepped closer and gently moved Patty a little bit back, leaning over to take a look at the thing she was mortified about.

It was a dead rabbit, with what looked like a head that had been partially squashed. I squinted and bent over a little more to get a closer look, trying to negotiate between getting so close that the smell was too much and satiating my curiosity. There was something shiny sticking out it's head--a nail.

Someone had put a nail through the head of the rabbit.

"That's awful. Patty, go inside and get a plastic bag. We're burying it in the backyard."

"Mike, they tried to nail a dead ... whatever to-"

"It's a rabbit, dear, it's a rabbit."

"Whatever. It's a dead animal, and they tried to nail it to our door. Look! Look at what they did!" She pointed furiously the small indentation in the door, greasy with small bits of congealed blood and rabbit brains.

"Dear, just go into the kitchen and get a plastic bag for me. I'm going to grab the shovel and we're burying it in the back." Before she could protest I had gone off around the side of the house to the shed to fetch the shovel, when I returned to the front I slipped into my house shoes.

Patty was just standing there, plastic bag hanging off the tip of one finger with an obstinate expression on her face. "I'm not going to bury that thing."

"I know, dear." I took the proffered plastic bag from her.

"We should call the police."

"Then call the police, dear." I bent over and awkwardly tried to sweep the mangled rabbit body into the bag.
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Rouxinol
Posted: Oct 29 2008, 11:41 PM
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QUOTE (Last of Fallen @ Oct 29 2008, 09:29 PM)
So. There's something wrong with this as the introduction to a short story. I can't figure out what, as a rough draft, but I feel there is something completely off.

It's because the first thing you do is to write out a scream. In italics. The story works just as well if you remove it.

Other than that, I'm trying to wrap my head around a reality where couples have names like Mike and Patty. Can't say much else so far. The rhythm of the dialogue and action is good so far, though a little bit too honey-I'm-home for me to feel like it's entirely plausible.
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Last of Fallen
Posted: Oct 30 2008, 01:11 AM
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I'm trying to make Mike sound like one of those husbands who's close to murdering his wife with the garden sheers.
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&ru
Posted: Oct 30 2008, 04:10 AM
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QUOTE (Last of Fallen @ Oct 30 2008, 01:11 AM)
I'm trying to make Mike sound like one of those husbands who's close to murdering his wife with the garden sheers.

I don't know exactly what you're trying to do, so I can't tell what might not be working just from this fragment, but in a general way it looks ok other than it has too many "honeys" and you should either remove "but" from the following sentence or remove "but" and "or" and add "and".
QUOTE
It did not feel good, but it was also mildly terrifying.


So it would read either:

"It did not feel good. It was also mildly terrifying."

or

"It did not feel good and it was midly terrifying."

The first is a little more deadpan if you're going for humor. The 2nd is more matter of fact.

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Amu
Posted: Nov 2 2008, 08:40 AM
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QUOTE
"Aaaaaah!"


What Roux said.

QUOTE
The scream filled the morning air like an ax slicing through my head.


Filled the morning air like an axe slicing through my head. How does an axe slicing through your head fill anything? An axe slicing a head is not an act of filling.

For that matter, how do you know what an axe slicing through your head is like? Unless you have actually experienced this, you can't say. You do know what it's like to hear someone scream. Perhaps:

A scream sliced the morning air.

Or

The scream sliced my skull.

QUOTE
It did not feel good, but it was also mildly terrifying.


Remove this line. You don't need it.

QUOTE
I rolled out of bed and barely managed to grab a house coat and wrap it around my nakedness before rushing down the stairs.


Rolling out of bed suggests lethargy. Rushing suggests...rushing. I don't like the term 'barely managed'. Doesn't create the sense of urgency I think you are going for.

I launched myself out of bed. Snatching a coat, I hurriedly concealed my nakedness as I rushed down the stairs.

QUOTE
"Patricia? Patty?" I called as I turned a corner. It had sounded like her. I came upon her, standing in the doorway, looking down at the furry gray, white and red mass in front of her feet. "Honey, are you alright?"


Can you really identify a scream? In screaming and whispering the unique tones of our voice is lost. You can have a feeling it was Patty, considering the scream came from inside the house. You don't need 'I called as'.

QUOTE
It was a dead rabbit, with what looked like a head that had been partially squashed.


It appeared the head had been partially squashed.

QUOTE
trying to negotiate between getting so close that the smell was too much and satiating my curiosity.


Trying to negotiate the smell and sating my curiosity.

QUOTE
"That's awful. Patty, go inside and get a plastic bag. We're burying it in the backyard."


Remove 'Patty'.

QUOTE
She pointed furiously at or to the small indentation in the door


QUOTE
Dear, just go into the kitchen and get a plastic bag for me. I'm going to grab the shovel and we're burying it in the back.


Bury the plastic bag or the shovel? Also, remove 'Dear, just'

QUOTE
Before she could protest I had gone off around the side of the house to the shed to fetch the shovel, when I returned to the front I slipped into my house shoes.


Awkward. He goes outside to the shed in bare feet to get the shovel, comes back inside with the shovel, puts shoes on, and goes to find Patty who is waiting with the plastic bag.

Why doesn't he just wait by the rabbit until Patty returns with the bag, put the rabbit in the bag and then go outside?

The only thing off to me was the way Mike says 'dear' all the time. Otherwise, interesting introduction.
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Last of Fallen
Posted: Nov 2 2008, 11:29 AM
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QUOTE (Amu)
Why doesn't he just wait by the rabbit until Patty returns with the bag, put the rabbit in the bag and then go outside?


I'm trying to portray the dynamic that Mike's home life revolves around Patty. Someone screams in the morning, who could it be? Patty. Who does Mike constantly have to wait on? Patty. On and on and on.

That's sort of what I was going for with the introduction. Though slightly more subtle than that. And welcome back, Amu, congrats on graduating.
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Amu
Posted: Nov 2 2008, 07:02 PM
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Thanks! It's nice to be back.

I think you missed my point, though. I'm saying that the series of actions here is silly and a waste of time.

Why does he get the shovel first? Does he bring it back inside with him? And if he leaves it outside then what's the point of going out to get it before he's got the rabbit he wants to bury?

If you really want to make their life revolve around Patty then maybe he gives up and gets the bag himself. Then takes the rabbit outside, finds the shovel, digs a hole...so on.

Try acting out the scene yourself to see what I mean.
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&ru
Posted: Nov 3 2008, 08:51 PM
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This is, or was going to be, the beginning to a story I've been trying to finish for a while now. I just really can't get the thing to come together and it's really frustrating.

I'd like any comments and suggestions that you have. Thanks.

Oh, and the first paragraph will make sense in context with the rest of the story, though it doesn't alone.


Right before he woke up he had the same dream again. He felt it was like a trigger, flipping on previously dormant circuits in his brain and, despite himself, he felt a knife of excitement in his gut. Later he'd think maybe it was more of a warning, but if so it was pointless and much too late.

They're in an deserted convenient store. It is white and clean and...cheerful somehow. He has met her there. She's been gone, gone for years - just released. Released? He doesn’t know how he knows this, or exactly what the word implies, but he has a dream-certainty that it’s true.

His angle of view doesn't let him see her face but he knows who she is. He hugs her, feeling silky hair under his forearms, the rough fabric of a sweater over her back as he strokes up and down. Over her shoulder he sees, through the glass storefront, gas tanks, then a parking lot, then deep green woods with many tall trees. This is a small man-made outpost in a vast expanse of wilderness.

On the west wall of the store is a ragged roundish hole down which a gradually darkening hallway leads to a long abandoned factory (he doesn't know what they made there and he doesn't want to know). It's not too dark on the near side, but black as fear ten feet down. The smell of old oil, cold cement, and something else, a bit familiar but unidentifiable, flows out of the hall infecting the bright clean store. Nothing in the world could make him walk in those shadowy depths, but he doesn’t stop looking either.

She grabs his shoulders and then he sees her face and it is old. She has aged. How long was she gone? She is no longer beautiful and a wave of pity for her rises up in his throat like vomit. But still, he thinks, he will take care of her despite the fact that she has somehow grown old and he has not. He will not leave her, and this is always when, of course, he realizes must be dreaming; has to be dreaming. He feels proportionately relieved and guilty.

She says, "we have to go." He grabs her hand and starts toward the storefront, towards outside and the woods but she stops him. "No. That is my place." She motions towards the trees with her eyes and then looks directly at him. "This...this is your place," she pronounces at him and gives him a light index finger shove on his forehead towards the west wall.

"No!" but he's already tumbling backwards and he’s through the wall and he wants to watch her standing in the circle of rapidly shrinking white but can't stand to have the fear at his back so he turns around and just as he realizes what that horrid smell is, he wakes up.
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Amu
Posted: Nov 3 2008, 09:37 PM
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Your opening paragraph has him wake up. Then you go straight into the dream as though he is currently experiencing it.

I wonder if you could write the dream as though he is reflecting on it, in his waking state. As in, go about his morning routine, reflecting on events in the dream. When you awake from a dream you can't really remember the dream all at once. You wake, perhaps, with the very last moments of the dream fresh in your mind and this is what alarms you. Your immediate response is, initially, to the last moments of your dream, what you can immediately recall.

Later on as you try to put events in place, you can map it out more clearly. Also, to have your protagonist go about the morning routine and gradually recall his dream will be an experience that will resonate with the reader, who will be gradually introduced to the peculiar information, in snippits, in vague visual fragments that seem as frustratingly obscure as if they tried to remember their own dream.

Otherwise, have your protagonist relate his dream to someone. Either way, placing us inside the dream just after you've told us he's woken up doesn't have as deep and impact. At least, in my opinion.

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he felt a knife of excitement in his gut


Stab of excitement. What is a knife of excitement? Is it some kind of WoW weapon?
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Posted: Nov 4 2008, 02:25 AM
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QUOTE (Amu @ Nov 3 2008, 09:37 PM)
Your opening paragraph has him wake up. Then you go straight into the dream as though he is currently experiencing it.

No, he doesn't wake up in the first paragraph. This is a recurring dream he has and I'm talking about what he thinks about it in general, not right that minute. He doesn't wake up until the last sentence, where it says "he wakes up".

I read back over it to see if it was unclear, and honestlyI'm not seeing where the confusion is coming from, so if you could tell me what part is giving you that impression that would help.


QUOTE
I wonder if you could write the dream as though he is reflecting on it, in his waking state. As in, go about his morning routine, reflecting on events in the dream.


Yes, I could do that but I don't want to explain it to the reader. It's got symbolism and foreshadowing in it that the reader should be able to pick up on during the story. Explaining it all in advance would defeat the purpose. Of course there's no way for you to know that, since I didn't explain what the story was about. In a different story, that might be a good idea.

QUOTE
What is a knife of excitement? Is it some kind of WoW weapon?

Yes, if you pick it up it's a -100 to your ability to understand metaphors. wink.gif

This post has been edited by &ru on Nov 4 2008, 02:29 AM
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Posted: Nov 4 2008, 08:24 AM
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QUOTE
Right before he woke up he had the same dream again.


There. Because your next line is reflective. Reflection he can only do in waking state. You're having him think about what the dream made him feel and how can he be doing that if he isn't awake?

QUOTE
your ability to understand metaphors.  wink.gif


Feeling a knife of excitement in the gut lacks bite. It's inactive. Feel a stab, feel a slice. Active.

Also, the sensation of stabbing or slicing will resonate more with the reader with greater immediacy. They don't have to think about what a knife of excitement feels like, slowing down the pace of your narration which could result in the reader losing interest.

The reaction to this line I had was to visualise someone as though I had x-ray vision and I could see the shape of a knife in someone's stomach. I'm certain that's not the reaction you were going for. But then I'm weird.

I did figure that the dream would include symbolism relevent to the rest of the story. And I never suggested you reveal what that symbolism was. I merely suggested you have your protagonist recall snippets of the dream as he goes about his waking rituals.

He doesn't have to know what they mean. But as he recalls each moment you would have the chance to relate his feelings about them. Making it much more interesting for the reader and making your character more endearing. Reader will respond more to emotion and action and you can do both AND get your dream sequence out, all at the same time.

Besides, you're probably going to have him emote about the dream in the next scene anyway, unless it's one that goes back in time to before he had the dream.

Otherwise, move the opening paragraph to after you dream sequence.

QUOTE
The smell of old oil


I've never been able to smell anything in my dreams.

QUOTE
Nothing in the world could make him walk in those shadowy depths


Showdy depths. Clichéd?

Since I seem to have been so negative, and you don't know me and I might have offended you, here's a bit I really, really frakkin loved:

QUOTE
he wants to watch her standing in the circle of rapidly shrinking white


Now that is dream imagery at its finest. Abstract, disorienting, but so visually precise. Loved it.


edits*

Forgot to mention,

QUOTE
Later he'd think maybe it was more of a warning, but if so it was pointless and much too late.


If the rest of your story goes on to reveal the symbolism, especially if the symbolism is revealed to the progtagonist, why would he think maybe it was a warning. Why would he need to think it at all? Wouldn't he be able to say it was a warning? I mean if he learns enough that he's able to think it, then it seems to me he should just be able to say it was.

I'd really like to see the rest of this so I can get more of a feel of the tone and style and direction.

This post has been edited by Amu on Nov 4 2008, 08:34 AM
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Posted: Nov 4 2008, 12:53 PM
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QUOTE
There. Because your next line is reflective. Reflection he can only do in waking state. You're having him think about what the dream made him feel and how can he be doing that if he isn't awake?

But he's not thinking about it. The narrator is describing it. But if it's really that confusing, I supposed I could change the wording to make it more obvious. Would changing the 2d sentence to: "Later he thought that it was like a trigger..." help? It just moves the "later" up into an earlier sentence which may make it clearer that he's not having these thoughts now, but in the future.

QUOTE
And I never suggested you reveal what that symbolism was. I merely suggested you have your protagonist recall snippets of the dream as he goes about his waking rituals.

Yeah, that could be an interesting way to do it, but actually when he wakes up it goes right into some dialog and it wouldn't really work with the way it's already written. It's not a bad idea, it just doesn't fit in with this particular story. No way you could know that of course and I'll keep that suggestion in mind for future reference.


QUOTE
But as he recalls each moment you would have the chance to relate his feelings about them. Making it much more interesting for the reader and making your character more endearing.

He's not really the endearing type though. Most of my characters aren't.

QUOTE
Showdy depths. Clichéd?

Yeah, that's pretty bad. Need to change that.

QUOTE
I've never been able to smell anything in my dreams.

Really? I have. Maybe you just don't remember.

QUOTE
Since I seem to have been so negative, and you don't know me and I might have offended you

No, not at all. Just the opposite. I hope I didn't give that impression. I was just responding to your WoW joke with one of my own, but I wasn't at all offended. IN fact, I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to help me out. biggrin.gif I wish more people did.

QUOTE
If the rest of your story goes on to reveal the symbolism, especially if the symbolism is revealed to the progtagonist, why would he think maybe it was a warning. Why would he need to think it at all? Wouldn't he be able to say it was a warning? I mean if he learns enough that he's able to think it, then it seems to me he should just be able to say it was.

Hopefully the rest of the story will answer that question. If not, ask again. I hope you'll be able to critique the whole thing if I ever get it finished.

Thanks very much!

This post has been edited by &ru on Nov 4 2008, 01:02 PM
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Amu
Posted: Nov 4 2008, 08:43 PM
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Does it really matter that he has the dream right before he wakes up? I mean isn't that when people usually dream?

Ignore your opening paragraph. Start from your second. Just read it from your second paragraph to yourself. Better opening? Leave it a little ambiguous, then reveal that he wakes up. It's just the way you start outside a dream and go into it that lessens the impact of the dream sequence.

I wish I wasn't the only one commenting on this.
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&ru
Posted: Nov 4 2008, 09:46 PM
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QUOTE (Amu @ Nov 4 2008, 08:43 PM)
Does it really matter that he has the dream right before he wakes up? I mean isn't that when people usually dream? 


No, people usually have 4 or 5 dream periods throughout the night. You're just more likely to remember the ones you have right before you wake up.

I agree that in this sequence alone the first paragraph is unesscessary. But it's supposed to apply to stuff that happens later. Take another look at it when I've posted the whole story and, if you still feel the same way, I'll try it your way, ok?

As far as comments, sure I'd like to get more but even if you don't get a many here, at least most of them are pretty well thought out.

This post has been edited by &ru on Nov 4 2008, 09:56 PM
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Amu
Posted: Nov 5 2008, 05:56 AM
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QUOTE
No, people usually have 4 or 5 dream periods throughout the night. You're just more likely to remember the ones you have right before you wake up.


Obviously he can remember the dream, thus it must be the one he had before waking up. I was merely pointing out that the line was too technical, redundant even.

But, yep, I'll wait for the rest.
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DJROC
Posted: Nov 10 2008, 11:55 AM
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As they bathed within the moonlight, grass was blue, and water green;
transposed by a celestial power that I had never seen.
It was there I sat upon the stage twixt water, ground, and sky;
praying I was fire with desire burning from inside.

But I felt no spark of courage emanating from my core;
naught but a damp and hollow hole remained there within that store.
In vain incantation, "Carpe Diem!" pierced the evening sky;
but still no ember stirred within me no matter how I cried.

"Sloth, release my body! Hence away, you apathetic chain!
Unlock the lock upon my soul and let flow within my veins
new dreams, and hopes, and goals that may yet spur me on to action!
Give back to me my will, desires, and determination!"

-----

So recently I've been frustrated with my apparent inability to get shit done, and my usual rallying cries don't seem to be helping. I don't particularly know why I think writing a poem about it is going to help me all that much, since it adds to the list of things I'm doing towards no end, but such is how it goes. Obviously the poem is incomplete, since I really wouldn't want to leave the narrator in such a hopeless predicament.

Anyway, this poem is a bit different from what I'm used to writing. I'm trying to work more with images and to stay away from my usual rhyme trap- in which I think up a rhyme and then try to write a line to go with it, which is a horrible way to write poetry. Trying my damnedest as well to stay away from my more common and incredibly cliched rhymes e.g. core with evermore and chain with pain. Also, tried to let myself not get too bogged down sticking to a set meter, but still trying to keep it flowing.
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Amu
Posted: Nov 11 2008, 01:34 AM
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Aws. Poetry. *makes face*

I like what it's saying. I like the imagery, too, and the emotion. I wonder at the language, though. Choosing to write in that manner could be seen as satire. Is there a way you can write it using more modern language?

If it totally ruins the poem, scrap it. I'm so not a poetry person and I don't wanna break your work.
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&ru
Posted: Nov 11 2008, 03:16 AM
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QUOTE (Amu @ Nov 11 2008, 01:34 AM)
Aws. Poetry. *makes face*

I like what it's saying. I like the imagery, too, and the emotion. I wonder at the language, though. Choosing to write in that manner could be seen as satire. Is there a way you can write it using more modern language?

If it totally ruins the poem, scrap it. I'm so not a poetry person and I don't wanna break your work.

I typed pretty much the exact same comment earlier, then didn't post it b/c I'm also not a poetry person.

But now that someone else said it too, I will say the language kind of puzzled me. I mean, maybe among poets it's an accepted thing to write in this antique way sometimes? I don't know. But to me, it seemed like you're trying to express some personal feelings in a way that feels very artificial.

I'm sure you don't think that way, so why write that way? Then again, no one thinks in poetry either, so maybe that's a bad argument, but anyway, I'd have preferred to see something with with the kind of language, visualization, metaphors that might actually go thru your head in your day to day life.

Maybe that's just a personal preference though.

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Posted: Nov 11 2008, 09:05 AM
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QUOTE (&ru)
I'm also not a poetry person.


Excellent. We can fail at poetry together.
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&ru
Posted: Nov 11 2008, 09:18 AM
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QUOTE (Amu @ Nov 11 2008, 09:05 AM)
QUOTE (&ru)
I'm also not a poetry person.


Excellent. We can fail at poetry together.

Oh, I don't think so. I will fail much harder than you so don't even go there. We should have a bad poetry compitition. I'll kick your ass. tongue.gif

This post has been edited by &ru on Nov 11 2008, 09:19 AM
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DJROC
Posted: Nov 11 2008, 02:07 PM
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Mmm, language. Unfortunately that's really just how I end up writing poetry. I find it easier to use ye olde vocabulary occasionally since it tends to have shorter words that mean the same thing as longer ones in modern vocabulary; which means they're easier to work into rhythms and patterns for me. I could, for example, have used "between" instead of the more archaic "twixt", but the one syllable alternative keeps the length of the meter constant and I like the consonance of the "t" sounds in the line.

Ah, but I suppose I will always have a bevy of defense for any crutch I enjoy using. I'll try to see if I can fashion something more suitable out of more consistently modern language. If only for the exercise.

Thanks for the feedback.
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&ru
Posted: Nov 11 2008, 02:47 PM
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QUOTE (DJROC @ Nov 11 2008, 02:07 PM)
Mmm, language. Unfortunately that's really just how I end up writing poetry. I find it easier to use ye olde vocabulary occasionally since it tends to have shorter words that mean the same thing as longer ones in modern vocabulary; which means they're easier to work into rhythms and patterns for me. I could, for example, have used "between" instead of the more archaic "twixt", but the one syllable alternative keeps the length of the meter constant and I like the consonance of the "t" sounds in the line.

Ah, but I suppose I will always have a bevy of defense for any crutch I enjoy using. I'll try to see if I can fashion something more suitable out of more consistently modern language. If only for the exercise.

Thanks for the feedback.

Well, like I said, I'm not even sure if that's really something I should be criticizing. But it just seems that more modern language might have a better chance of connecting emotionally with a modern audience.

Not that I haven't read some centuries old poetry that was very moving, but for some reason it's different when you know it was written then.

My theory is this: You will, as a modern writer, never have the facility with that type of language that the poets who wrote in the past did. Why? Because when they wrote those poems, that was modern language. They weren't trying to mimic someone from centuries before them. They wrote in the same way they talked, and thought. You will never speak and think like them, so you'll never have the same skill with that type of language that they did.

But you don't have to. You have your own language that you know infinitely better than you know that other language. You say that you tend to just think in those terms, but maybe that is because you've read so much poetry written like that, that when you sit down to write your mind goes into "poetry mode."

You trained yourself into doing that, so you can just the same train yourself out of doing it. And if you can't find a modern word as short, so what? I bet once you become used to writing in your own familiar language, you'll start to develop your own style rather than borrowing a style that will never really be your own.

Anyway, sorry for the length of this. Just food for thought. smile.gif

This post has been edited by &ru on Nov 11 2008, 02:50 PM
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Silk
Posted: Dec 6 2008, 10:58 PM
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Trust Issues

Do I have trust issues?
(I don't have trust issues)
But I can't issue trust
for you against my
instinct to--
I have my body and soul
in full revolt.
Hands, mostly apathetic,
act the scribe,
trying hard to describe what it's
like, shrugging off those little white
lies in light of your
precious ties.

But what of ours? (Well there's the issue;
where's the trust?)
My skin can't feel it,
my mind won't believe in it--
I don't have trust issues
(do I have trust issues?),
but you've done
nothing to comfort intuitive dread,
and that
blissful sense of peace
is gone.

My lips are chapped,
and sick of the nice things they've been
made to say; can't
venom ever be righteous when it stings?
They've talked me into conviction
that I don't know the convicted.
We walk too close for strangers.
My cheeks have hollowed over the months,
my skin has paled and
hates your sun. I've got
trust issues (and
rightly so). I've bought into your
faux remorse, waiting for the
stock market to crash.
And that's when my past will flash by, right?
I'll choke
I'll choke on
tears of laughter.

I have trust issues
(I trust too much.)
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startrekkie96
Posted: Dec 17 2008, 10:23 PM
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I like it, I'm not really a big poetry person, but I like it. A lot, actually. It rhymes, but then it doesn't. It teases you in a way, opening up a window into a relationship for a second, giving us a flash into someone's (your?) life.

Only a couple things I'd say:
QUOTE

but you've done
nothing to comfort intuitive dread,

This line seems kind of off meter, it doesn't seem to fit with the meter of the rest of the poem.

I also don't understand your "waiting for the stock market to crash" line. Is it an allusion to the relationship? But I'm not a poetry person.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is a dialogue from a story I'm working on. It's clumsy, it's ugly, any help would be appreciated. I'm new to writing, so writing believable dialogue comes tough to me.

It was cold outside, but that didn’t stop Wallace from waiting on a bench out near the door. His patience was eventually rewarded by a black sedan coming to a halt near the curb. He climbed in. Robin was behind the wheel. He greeted him gruffly: “Bob,” he decreed, “you look like hell. I’m glad you’re back.” As Henslin pulled away from the curb, Wallace tried to relax and forget everything. Tried to tell himself that everything would be back to normal, once he got back into the office. He told himself that once he got back to work, once he could to his job, he would be ok. He made small talk with Robin. How’re-the-kids, how’s-the-wife, what-all-is-new, have-you-seen-the-weather-lately. Eventually there was nothing left to say. Wallace stared out the window. The pain was coming back where his ribs had been broken, he wished he’d asked for a painkiller prescription before he’d left. But there was nothing any drug could do for his thoughts.

“Are they blaming me for it?”
“Bob, you can’t-“
“Goddamnit Robin! Are they blaming me for it?”
“It was the WHITE HOUSE. Somebody had to be blamed.”
“Then I’m glad it’s me.”
Wallace looked back out the window. It was fall in DC, and the rain was starting again. It splashed against the window, obscuring his view.
“You can’t blame yourself for this, even if everyone else does.”
“And why not? How did they get the bomb into the building?”
Robin looked uncomfortable as he said, “DDS says they’d been carefully placed over about a month. An inside job. Bob - they make shit up. They’re covering their own asses. That asshole Rayborne is looking out for his job.” Wallace said nothing. Rayborne was the Director of the DDS and had authority over all federal law enforcement agencies.
“I checked everyone who had a job there…” He trailed off.
“They closed off the scene. DDS took jurisdiction, they’re not letting anyone get anywhere near the place. They’re hiding something.” Robin was angry now. “I put my ass on the line for you. Told the president it wasn’t your fault. All thats gonna mean exactly shit if you don’t stick up for yourself. Needless to say, you’re off the president’s detail. You’ll never work on it again. But at least you have a job.”
“And it is…?”
“You’re heading up the investigation. That’s what I could get you without losing my own job. And besides, I need somebody good. Everybody’s running their own investigation, and if the DDS gets the guy before we do, he’ll disappear into some overseas prison and we’ll never know what the hell happened. I figured that if I couldn’t get you back onto detail, this would be your next choice.”
“You have no idea.”
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Megaduck
Posted: Dec 18 2008, 06:54 AM
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QUOTE
It was cold outside, but that didn’t stop Wallace from waiting on a bench out near the door. His patience was eventually rewarded by a black sedan coming to a halt near the curb. He climbed in. Robin was behind the wheel. He greeted him gruffly: “Bob,” he decreed, “you look like hell. I’m glad you’re back.” As Henslin pulled away from the curb, Wallace tried to relax and forget everything. Tried to tell himself that everything would be back to normal, once he got back into the office. He told himself that once he got back to work, once he could to his job, he would be ok. He made small talk with Robin. How’re-the-kids, how’s-the-wife, what-all-is-new, have-you-seen-the-weather-lately. Eventually there was nothing left to say. Wallace stared out the window. The pain was coming back where his ribs had been broken, he wished he’d asked for a painkiller prescription before he’d left. But there was nothing any drug could do for his thoughts.


In your other thread I mentioned how you need to add more paragraphs and that pargraphs mention a change of subject.

Here we have Henslin talking and Wallace thinking. That’s two subjects. Which means you need at least two paragraphs here. One where the subject is Henslin and one where the Subject is Wallace.

I would put about three.

QUOTE (Megaduck)
It was cold outside, but that didn’t stop Wallace from waiting on a bench out near the door. His patience was eventually rewarded by a black sedan coming to a halt near the curb. He climbed in.

Robin was behind the wheel. He greeted him gruffly: “Bob,” he decreed, “you look like hell. I’m glad you’re back.”

As Henslin pulled away from the curb, Wallace tried to relax and forget everything. Tried to tell himself that everything would be back to normal, once he got back into the office. He told himself that once he got back to work, once he could to his job, he would be ok. He made small talk with Robin. How’re-the-kids, how’s-the-wife, what-all-is-new, have-you-seen-the-weather-lately. Eventually there was nothing left to say. Wallace stared out the window. The pain was coming back where his ribs had been broken, he wished he’d asked for a painkiller prescription before he’d left. But there was nothing any drug could do for his thoughts.


It should be something closer to that. Don’t bury dialogue in a mass of other text.

QUOTE
“It was the WHITE HOUSE. Somebody had to be blamed.”


Fun fact, on online forums capitalization is used to show emphasis. In novels, its italics.

Properly this should be,

QUOTE (Megaduck)
“It was the White House. Somebody had to be blamed.”


Just a little formatting note. Don’t use all capitals for literary writing.

QUOTE
“Then I’m glad it’s me.”
Wallace looked back out the window. It was fall in DC, and the rain was starting again. It splashed against the window, obscuring his view.


Ah ha, this is back to the paragraph issue. Here we have all one subject, it’s Wallace, so it’s all one paragraph.

Because paragraphs breaks indicate a subject change if you read just the quoted part Robin say’s “Then I’m glad it’s me.” Paragraph break, subject change, and then Wallace looks out the window.

Should be,

QUOTE (Megaduck)
“Then I’m glad it’s me,” Wallace looked back out the window. It was fall in DC, and the rain was starting again. It splashed against the window, obscuring his view.


Incidentally, I am currently sitting about two blocks from the capitol and about four from the white house. So if you need to know anything about D.C, feel free to ask.

QUOTE
Robin looked uncomfortable as he said, “DDS says they’d been carefully placed over about a month. An inside job. Bob - they make shit up. They’re covering their own asses. That asshole Rayborne is looking out for his job.” Wallace said nothing. Rayborne was the Director of the DDS and had authority over all federal law enforcement agencies.
“I checked everyone who had a job there…” He trailed off.


Robin is talking, Wallace said nothing… who trailed off?

QUOTE
Robin looked uncomfortable as he said, “DDS says they’d been carefully placed over about a month. An inside job. Bob - they make shit up. They’re covering their own asses. That asshole Rayborne is looking out for his job.”


First, as a general writing rule, similar words should never be put together. Verity is what keeps writing interesting. So if they’re covering their asses the next insult should not have ass in it.

Secondly, writing good diologue is like writing everything else. Less is more. People don’t repeat themselves or talk about things they already know.

If Rayborne is looking out for his job then they’re covering their asses. You don’t need both sentences.

You could just say,
“Rayborne’s covering his ass.”

I’d probably rewrite this paragraph something like,
QUOTE (Megaduck)
] Robin looked uncomfortable as he said, “DDS says they’d been carefully placed over about a month, an inside job. Bob – they’re making shit up. Rayborne’s covering his ass.”


Most of editing is cutting stuff out.

That being said, you dialogue here isn’t that bad. Mostly its formatting issues and you still have a bad habit of putting in monster paragraphs. Seriously, if you have a paragraph more then six lines it’s to long. Keep that as your rule of thumb.
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&ru
Posted: Dec 22 2008, 08:14 AM
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QUOTE (Silk @ Dec 6 2008, 10:58 PM)
Trust Issues


I liked the content of this poem, but it's arhythmicness [is that even a word?] bothered me. I don't like your occasional mid-line rhymes either, but it bothers me much less than the lack of rhythm, which seemed to me to be laziness rather than a choice. Or, to put in another way, you seem to obviously have the talent to put some rhythm into this piece that could really bolster the emotional impact or at the least make it more pleasant to read - so why didn't you?

Leaving that aside, I did like it otherwise, though there were a couple of other things I noticed:

QUOTE
They've talked me into conviction
that I don't know the convicted.

This seems like it's trying a bit too hard to be clever, and what does this mean anyway?

QUOTE
Hands, mostly apathetic,
act the scribe,

You know, I didn't like this at first until I got the image in my mind of hands lazily scribbling something down in sloppy handwriting. I don't know if that's what you were going for, but it's not a bad image. But why "mostly" apathetic? And why are just his hands apathetic? You could say, "Mostly apathetic, my hands act the scribe," and then the reader would most likely ascribe the apathy to the man, not just his hands. Thyis makes more sense and the imagery still works.

But this brings us to the problem of the previous line where his
QUOTE
body and soul [are] in full revolt
.
This doesn't seem like the owner of the apathetic hands does it? It's a nice image like I said, but if it doesn't fit in with what the rest of the poem is saying, then you sould probably drop it.


Other that that, I'd have liked to have some more specificity about the man's reason for his loss of trust in the woman and about her "faux remorse." I'd be much more interested in hearing what happened than I am in just hearing that he doesn't trust her anymore for some unspecified reason.

So my main problem is really the lack of rhythm. I think that if you worked on that, that this could be a really nice poem. It's got good content and potential. I hope you keep working on it because I'd like to see the final product.

This post has been edited by &ru on Dec 22 2008, 08:20 AM
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Silk
Posted: Mar 18 2009, 09:59 AM
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new emo poetry. have at it.


Seek

I to them, and you to me,
we’re anti-confrontational—
hoping if we clasp our ears and
close our eyes
they and I’d just go,
but no!
They persist, and I persist,
yet we resist and it pains
our conscience to list those times
we've been reached out to.
Why, oh God, it this so easy,
pretending we don't know who
these brothers
and sisters are.

I’ve blamed you, but I've realized
how easy it is
to push aside these friends,
these people,
these memories,
these burdens,
these past and forgotten things,

for what do they bring but pain,
regret? And
yet I still wait for you,
and still I let me bother you
in our dreams and it
seems that I'm a hypocrite
(who loves far too much to care).

And maybe it's not fair
that you'd never called again
(and perhaps it's not fair
the way that I'd blocked out them),
but it's not about who's deserving,
and it's not about what's fair.
After all we've had
our share of drama and it
doesn't matter if I'm waiting.
I've learnt that Time is
Always Running Out
, and
ours is not unique.

Just know that I am here if
I am who you seek.



Also, the new version of the last scribble:


Trust Issues

Do I have trust issues?
I don't have trust issues,
but I can't issue trust
for you against my
instinct to, I have

my body and soul in full revolt.
Hands, strangely apathetic,
act the scribe,
trying hard to describe what it's like,
shrugging off little white
lies, in light of your
precious ties.

But what of ours? (Well there's the issue;
where's the trust?)
There was that letter from a friend,
did you read it?
I’ve sent you my love again,
can you not be bothered to reject it?
Covered by crumpled receipts and
discount coupons,
I don't have trust issues
(do I have trust issues?)
but you've done
nothing to comfort intuitive dread, and that
blissful sense of peace is
gone
as I try to peer out of the wastepaper basket.

Sitting down, lying next to a stick of used lip-gloss,
I touched my lips and found them chapped,
sick of the nice things they've been
made to say, and
eventually they talked me into conviction, that for-
giving is my addiction—
we sit too closely for two strangers, dear,
and inside this closet
at the bottom of this wastepaper basket,
I am strange to you,
for I have not changed as you

have, though my cheeks have hollowed
over these long months,
and my skin has paled,
(and now hates your sun). I've got
trust issues (and
rightly so). I've bought into your
faux remorse, and I’m now waiting for the
stock market to crash.

I have trust issues.
(I trust too much.)

Sorry about the delay. I am a huge slacker/degenerate gambler.
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&ru
Posted: Mar 18 2009, 07:19 PM
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Wow, no posts in this thread for months and now 2 in one day.

This is a piece I was working on. It's in the fantasy genre, which isn't really my thing, but the story just kind of came to me. My main concern here in the language. How does it sound? Is is cliched, hackneyed within the genre, etc.

I tried it with just regular modern English, but it didn't seem to work. So I changed it to what it is now, to make it obvious this isn't our world, and that it's a fantasy type story.

So language is my main question. Does it work or no? In general. IF you hvae problems with specific parts, that's fine, but I'm looking for an overall impression of it for the most part. PLease be totally honest. I do not want to waste time working on this if it sounds stupid.

Other than that, you can critique whatever else you want of course. Thanks.




Untitled_2_19_09

Stepping over a low grassy rise the young man saw it hovering in the mists high above him. The Wizard’s Hall. He could see it was very tall and immense, built with a skill beyond any living man - all flat outer walls with unnatural perfect angles. Made with some kind of overlapping dyed wood. But even it’s unnatural size and perfection were dwarfed in size and awe by the immensity of the natural high rock platform upon whose edge it clung. That made the man smile a little.

If he could have walked up on the air, he’d have been there in a minute. Instead he turned south and walked down the slope and west past the dunes to where the strangely shaped cliff that circled the huge rock pillar spiraled from its great height down to the water’s edge. He had come at low tide - the only time the ramp was accessible, unless you wanted to swim the icy sea that would suck the strength from your limbs and bear you out west with the driftwood.

He clambered up the wet stair, slippery and steep, nervousness making him clumsy. Marley had tried to persuade him not to go, but not so much so that she was in any danger of convincing him.

He stopped to rest halfway up as his thoughts continued to rehash the conversation in his mind. It seemed to change slightly each time. So much difference could lie on the stress of one word over another and Marley was subtle. Certainly wiser than he would ever be, but she dispensed her knowledge in her own way and time, and was not above deception if pressed. But wiser or not, he was the man and the final decision was his.


“Erich, do not go to see this man. He is dangerous. He is a fraud. He will not help me.”

“Come girl, you make no sense. If he is truly a fraud then surely he is not dangerous? But I do not believe this is so. Else why do the elders leave him tribute? Food enough to support two villagers. Are we so rich that we can throw away food even in the winter when we all hunger?”

“Perhaps he has fooled them. Tricked us all into fearing him, when in fact - “

Erich cut her off angrily, “Are you saying the elders are fools or cowards? That I am?” he bristled.

The woman’s eyes glittered with tears of frustration. “No, you wrong me to think so, but I tell you my man, he is not what he seems.”

“Aye? And how would you know this?” But her face paled as she looked down, and she spoke no answer.

The man went to her and lifted her chin in his hand, little tears wetting his fingers. He smiled, “Do not cry Marley. I am sure this wizard will help us. And if he does not, what have we lost other than a gift? Ah gods, the gift! What am I to give him? You said you would pick something.”

“You will need no gift. He will offer his help, or he will not. There is nothing we have that could buy his help. Nothing that you would care to give him at least,” she said bitterly.

“Hmm? What do you mean? There is nothing in this house I could not do without except you and my sword, and surely a wizard does not need a sword? Maybe some silver or perhaps, perhaps…well, and this is why I asked you to think of something proper. These formalities and politenesses are not my strength,” he smiled shrugging his shoulders.

“Erich, we could still keep - “

“No! No we could not. You are too old and you know it.”

“I am not too old!”

“You are almost twenty five years. That is too old.”

“Do I look old to you?”

“You know that you do not, but I know you were twelve when you came to the village and I was just a young boy, and more to the point my dear, the Elders know it too. It would not be allowed. But you know this and we have talked of this endlessly already. Please do not let us fight.”

“We could leave this village! We could go - “

“Go to where?,” he laughed. Live in the woods like thieves or animals? That I might do if I had to and it was only me, but I could not condemn you to such a life.”

“We could find another village, Erich”

“Another village? I know rumor of only one but even if it is more than just rumor, it is said that it lies a full moon’s journey up coast. And suppose then that we were to make it alive - me they would likely kill and you...well, as you say, you still appear young. You know what they would do to you, do you not Marley? I would not speak of such things.”

“Aye, I am no fool. I know. But tell me this, what will the Elders to do us if they find us out?”

“If you are no fool, then you will know that as well. But they will not find out for I will not tell them nor will you. I will go out as if hunting alone which I often do and come back around far east of the village. No one will see me. And if some other man happens upon me, then I will burn that bridge when I come to it.” He smiled at the joke, but she did not respond. “Well then, I will trust to your judgment and bring him no gift, though it seems a bad omen. Have you packed my good clothes in my bag? Good.” He grabbed the back of her head and pulled her to his lips to kiss her once, then briskly walked toward the door.

“Wait!” The woman turned and walked into the next room and returned with a wooden box she held in both hands. It was unadorned but for a symbol at the top, and beautifully made.

She took a very small gold square out of it and pinned it on his shirt. “Is it gold?” he asked, awed. But as he felt the weight of it he could see it was not. It was light as balsa wood, but made of what he could not say.

“And what…ah. it is, my love,” he asked nervously.

“It will let me watch over you.”

“Gods, it’s magic!”

She sighed, “Yes it is ‘magic‘, but you do not think that I would give you something that would harm you.”

“No..no, I do not,” he said slowly. At least not purposefully, he almost said. Marley had a sweet disposition, but could have stinging rebukes for those who questioned her knowledge.

“So, if I am in danger, this thing will allow you to help me in some way?”

“No, as I said, I can watch over you. Nothing more.”

“Hmm, well at least if things go badly you can direct the men where to find my body,” he laughed. She looked stricken at his words. “It was a joke. A bad joke. Nothing will happen to me. Here, lie down. Sleep, if you can. I shall be back soon.”

“Erich, if - ,” she began, but he was already gone.
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Krisaga
Posted: Jul 8 2009, 06:42 PM
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This is the beginning of chapter 19 in a story I've been working on. For some reason lately, I can't decide how I want to word what I want to happen. It's really frustrating because I've never really had this problem with this story before.

QUOTE
Instead of being forced back like he had been before, the man continued advancing on Lin. With bloodlust in his eyes and adrenaline in his veins, he twisted his sword around to block the needle from every direction it came from.
Despite her best efforts, Lin found herself taking a step back, and then another. This man had gone crazy. She was sure that he was aiming to kill her instead of taking her for ransom as he had thought of before.
There was no skill or reasoning behind the strokes of their attacks. One would bring their weapon down as if attacking, and the other would block it. Soon, neither knew who was blocking, attacking or if they were simply moving their weapons in time with each other. The only thing Lin was sure of was that she was losing ground.


Just so that it makes a little more sense, here's kind of an overview of previous events:

The girl, Lin, is a magic user, which is an 'outcast' in that country, along with demons and Masters. She fights using a needle. Also, she's from the country to the north of the one she's in. She's being 'escorted' back up to the border by a demon, Koiti, who is currently badly burned after the group barely escaped the previous town they were in, and a Master, Raien, who has a dragon contained within him.
There's also a rebellion group, which Koiti is a part of, and he's planning on meeting them in a town at the border. The rebellion group has found out that the Queen, who is aiming to get rid of all the outcasts, suspects that Koiti, Raien, and Lin are meeting the rebellion group, and sent orders to fallow the three up to the border, to try and fight the rebellion, and finally get rid of them.
Basically, at the moment: Raien is rushing to save Lin. Koiti is having his wounds treated by a talking fox. The rebellion is going to continue on north, but is going to divert from the original plan and meet them sooner, with hopes to catch the soldiers off guard.

Sorry for all the boring explanations, the story is better. XD emot-words.gif
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&ru
Posted: Jul 8 2009, 08:19 PM
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QUOTE
Instead of being forced back like he had been before, the man continued advancing on Lin. With bloodlust in his eyes and adrenaline in his veins, he twisted his sword around to block the needle from every direction it came from.
Despite her best efforts, Lin found herself taking a step back, and then another. This man had gone crazy. She was sure that he was aiming to kill her instead of taking her for ransom as he had thought of before.
There was no skill or reasoning behind the strokes of their attacks. One would bring their weapon down as if attacking, and the other would block it. Soon, neither knew who was blocking, attacking or if they were simply moving their weapons in time with each other. The only thing Lin was sure of was that she was losing ground.


That's a pretty short section, but ok. First thing is, what's a needle? I'm picturing her fighting this guy with a little sewing needle, but I'm sure that's not right.

QUOTE
Instead of being forced back like he had been before

This is very awkwardly worded.

QUOTE
Despite her best efforts

Phrases like this are just extra words that take us space and do nothing. Read the sentence without it. Means exactly the same thing. We'll just assume people in a swordfight to the death are probably always giving their best effort.

QUOTE
She was sure that he was aiming to kill her instead of taking her for ransom as he had thought of before

Again, very awkwardly worded. If nothing else, try to say what you're saying in the shortest way possible, e.g. "He's really trying to kill me, she thought."

QUOTE
This man had gone crazy.

Use the past tense rather than the past perfect unless there's a specific reason to use that tense. "This man was crazy." sounds more immediate than the past perfect version.

QUOTE
There was no skill or reasoning behind the strokes of their attacks. One would bring their weapon down as if attacking, and the other would block it. Soon, neither knew who was blocking, attacking or if they were simply moving their weapons in time with each other. The only thing Lin was sure of was that she was losing ground.

This section and really the whole thing is sounds too much like an outline of the scene rather that the scene itself. Show, don't tell.

Hope that helps.

This post has been edited by &ru on Jul 8 2009, 08:26 PM
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Krisaga
Posted: Jul 16 2009, 08:00 PM
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Everything that I'd had written in that section was forced. I've been unable to write any further in that story for the last two months. For a week or two, I wouldn't think about it at all, hoping it might help, but I can't get anything. I'm going to try it again tonight.

And yes, the critique did help. It actually felt really good to have my work pulled apart and examined like that.
Wait...is that how you're supposed to feel the first time that happens - all happy because someone FINALLY took out a HUGE ASS red pen and told you what was wrong? Because I feel really happy about it.
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&ru
Posted: Jul 16 2009, 10:35 PM
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QUOTE (Krisaga @ Jul 16 2009, 08:00 PM)
Everything that I'd had written in that section was forced. I've been unable to write any further in that story for the last two months. For a week or two, I wouldn't think about it at all, hoping it might help, but I can't get anything. I'm going to try it again tonight.

And yes, the critique did help. It actually felt really good to have my work pulled apart and examined like that.
Wait...is that how you're supposed to feel the first time that happens - all happy because someone FINALLY took out a HUGE ASS red pen and told you what was wrong? Because I feel really happy about it.

Glad it was helpful.

I think most writers don't like criticism anymore than anyone else does, but the smarter ones realize that good criticism can make their writing better, so they are glad to get it even if it's somewhat painful.

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T3h Br0th3r
Posted: Aug 6 2009, 01:43 AM
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QUOTE
I think most writers don't like criticism anymore than anyone else does, but the smarter ones realize that good criticism can make their writing better, so they are glad to get it even if it's somewhat painful.


anit that the truth. good critics of ur work are hard to find and when u do find one, stick with them for a while. &ru is good (atleast concerning my work)

and now down to brass tacs.
i'm not sure if this one is too local for someone not from the area to understand or if the appeal spreads to non-Erie residents. i was playing Streets V3 and got inspred by the intro poems for each court. plz advise.

I miss you
land where the clouds race
land where the wind howls proud
The winter is your calling card, your deceptive fame.

But don't get it twisted, august burns as the sunsets over that namesake sea, making old Gannon U the land of ice water and fans in vain.

Cold soda and mediocre pizza, served up on payday make you my education's capital.
i cut my teeth on jack frost's bitter whims as i strive to learn these dead poet's living words, cutting though yards like a misbegotten social commentary all cause that dag on sidewalk has turned into a sadistic slip and slide of death.

nothing easy is worth doing and this place is worth doing well.
Gannon University, Erie Pennsyvaina.


and on to the story shown above
this might be due to not having read your whole story but a single needle seems to be reather weak. i'm also wondering if u have a descption of the guy attacking Lin. was he big and bluky, short and stocky, long and reedy?

This post has been edited by T3h Br0th3r on Aug 6 2009, 02:13 AM
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fakewolf
Posted: Aug 31 2009, 12:56 PM
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Rubberband

on the wrist to -
to remind
to remind me...

pluck and
pop and

ouch!

don't take it off -
I need it
need it to...

pull and
stretch and

snap!

oh
well
never mind

---------
Okay, so this is for an assignment for my Poetry Writing 1 class - an object poem, with the only real requirement that we don't mention the object within the poem itself. I've been playing and debating with different forms, and this is the one I like most at the moment, so I would love to hear some thoughts about that, as well as about the scarceness of punctuation. Thanks in advance for any comments.
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Rouxinol
Posted: Sep 1 2009, 01:03 AM
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You should consider what you want to say with the poem. If the only rule is that you cannot mention the object by name I assume that the main objective isn't just wordplay to let other people guss the object in question.

So you picked a rubberband and how you can wear it to remind you to not forget something. What are you trying to remember? How does the rubberband relate to this? Are you going to juxtapose the fraility of memory with the longeivty of the rubber (which doesn't break down for hundreds of years)?

Essentially, this poem lacks meaning in its current state. You need to insert that.

As far as punctuation goes, I would really reccommend staying away from the ellipses. There are only two correct uses for them. One is to denote that there are words missing from a sentence, usually a quotation. Example:

"This above all — to thine ownself be true...Thou canst not then be false to any man."

In some cases people chose to bracket the ellipses when used like this, like so:

"This above all — to thine ownself be true [...] Thou canst not then be false to any man."

The other is to trail off dramatically...

The latter use is notoriously overused and quite frowned upon. Used in connection with a poem about a rubber band that breaks, well, it looks silly. And not in a way that reflects well on you or your poetic sense of humour I'm afraid.
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fakewolf
Posted: Sep 2 2009, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for the comments, Rouxinol. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to implement them, at the moment, but you have for sure given me some things to think about. I'll try to remember to post a revised version after it is workshopped in class next week. Thanks again.
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RedWolf4
Posted: Oct 7 2009, 06:43 PM
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CHAPTER ONE
"SMILE FOR THE CAMERA"

Far above the thick atmosphere and destruction on Hector IV, a pair of fleets faced off against each in the vacuum. On one side you had the Northern Quadrant Shipping and Production company, a relatively young company whose wealth came from being the only one able to ship freight through the highly volatile region of space known as the Charred Sector, called so because of the series of unstable stars that threw destructive waves of radiation off so powerful they could turn dreadnoughts into puffs of metallic vapour in an instant. No one knew how they were able to do this, and so far attempts to find out how had been stopped dead in their tracks.
Many times quite literally.
So, with a firm foundation cemented with the bodies of their enemies, Northern started branching out into smaller markets, making quite a profit and annexing a number of star systems into the corporate family, making your bitch stepmother from hell look like a catholic saint by comparison. They were now at the point where they were able to purchase, outfit and maintain their own private armada and army, of a size to rival most small nations.
So, when push came to shove, the other side usually gave way, most settling for a rather slap in the face settlement in the courts.
So, most people kept out of their way, doing nothing to get their attention and hoping to be passed. . . unnoticed. This time, however, there was far too much at stake to simply give up and turn tail this time. A small mining corporation running surveys of terra-formation viable planets had discovered a hugely rich series of plutonium ore seams on Hector IV, one of the richest ever discovered, and had claimed the system months prior to Northern shipping taking an interest. By then, Tsubasa mining corp had already set up dozens of terraforming stations on the surface of the moon, along with a small city for maintenance personnel to live in. With the arrival of an NQS fleet in orbit though, the personnel had become hostages, the city into a heavily fortified camp and every terraforming station into a possible anti-orbital battery. Only having enough security forces to take on pirate raids, Tsubasa Corp. turned to someone who did.
WOLFPAC Incorporated.
Begun in a backwater agriculture facility three hundred years ago during a massive conflict known as the "Colonial Uprisings", it was originally concerned with protecting convoys of vital goods and refugees in and out of contested areas from pirates, privateers and the less scrupulous factions that were involved in the war. After the end of the uprisings, however, everything had changed. You see, beforehand, it was decided that if humanity was going to colonize the stars, it was going to do so as a unified entity, with that entity being the United Nations.
It was a fucking farce.
When it turned out that we were pretty much the only intelligent life in this corner of the universe, a lot of people started to question the need for the unified government, wondering if it was time to go back to be represented as a nation, or wanting independence to govern their colonies or systems for their own good, not for the good of the whole. Of course, this had to start happening in the middle of an economic depression that was turning out to be the worst in recorded history, so the UN was quick to quash any such political ponderings before it tore apart the status quo, which wasn't really working out for anyone at the time. So apathy, corruption and a little bit of pure hope begat one of the most destructive wars in recorded human history. The old system of a centralised Earth government with system governors was shattered, a hundred years of war leaving little if any administrative structure left, allowing a new system to grow from the wreckage. It was the return of nations, the United States, Britain, France, China and Iran being the most prominent, along with a series of multinational confederacies like the
Judeo-Islamic Federation or the Balkan Union. In addition, it became the era of the corporation. Now unshackled from the tethers that once bound them to the morals of the greater good, many grew into nation-states in and of themselves, throwing away the value of the human life in favour of the value of the latest technology, the newest entertainment, or the best spin one could put on an old product. In an ever-shifting world of corporate politics and greed, it pays to keep your head down and tow the party line. In between it all are the mercenary companies like WOLFPAC, either constantly shifting allegiance from one faction to another or simply selling to everyone for a large profit, so long as it didn't conflict with the interests of the company. As such, it was a dangerous universe to live in if you payed your dues to the wrong guy on the wrong day.
A fact which no one really cared about today, because they got paid to do this kinda thing everyday, albiet one side was far better compensated than the other. The Northern Quadrant personnel were conscripts for the most part, serving a 10 year term before returning to their lives, while the mercernaries of WOLFPAC were volunteers one and all, the cream of the crop from a hundred different armed forces.
Well trained.
Well equipped.
It was gonna be a close one this time.

---------------

Ok, this is just something I've been working on in various forms since the start of 2002 back when i was in high school. In its latest incarnation, its a story of a futuristic mercernary corporation and the contracts they take on with several continuing arcs. Right now though, I'm just wondering if this backstory (which will be filled out as i go along) seems a bit too cut copy? Also any other ideas will be greatly appreciated, but the name of the game in the story is realism, I kinda want something someone in the armed forces could read and go "hmm, if we ever get to duking it out in the depths of space, i'm gonna be really glad i read this". So anyone with any kind of combat experience, practical knowledge of either naval or air combat tactics (i got ground forces covered pretty good) would be welcome to put their input in.
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&ru
Posted: Oct 15 2009, 04:16 AM
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^^^^^

What is that supposed to be? It says "Chapter 1" but you say it's backstory in your comments. So is it for your reference or part of your story?

If it's the 1st, then it's not really something anyone can comment on. If it's the 2nd then it's not really a story. Or part of a story. It's just a huge chunk of info with nothing else there. No characters, no dialog, no action, just info.

So now that you have your world, now you need to write a story that takes place within it. When you've done that, or part of that, then post it.

This post has been edited by &ru on Oct 15 2009, 04:16 AM
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steuben
Posted: Oct 15 2009, 09:28 AM
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you might also want to hunt up a copy of david drake's "hammer's slammers" the book, vs the series. a collection of about 6 or so short stories intercut with breif esays on the universe. ithink the collected slammers vol 1 has things ordered roughly the same, with the essays, etc.
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Galatea
Posted: Oct 19 2009, 05:47 PM
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Hi RedWolf! My name is Galatea and I will be your friendly literary excoriator today.

QUOTE
CHAPTER ONE
"SMILE FOR THE CAMERA"

I didn’t know if this was supposed to be just reference for yourself or what, but it’s written like you expect people to read it, not just as history notes, so I’m critiquing it as if it was the intro to your book/story/thingy.

QUOTE
Far above the thick atmosphere and destruction on Hector IV, a pair of fleets faced off against each in the vacuum.

I wouldn’t use the word “pair” because they’re facing off against each other, they’re not a set. Maybe just “two fleets.”

QUOTE
On one side you had the Northern Quadrant Shipping and Production company, a relatively young company whose wealth came from being the only one able to ship freight through the highly volatile region of space known as the Charred Sector, called so because of the series of unstable stars that threw destructive waves of radiation off so powerful they could turn dreadnoughts into puffs of metallic vapour in an instant.

Holy overlong infodump sentence Batman!

QUOTE
No one knew how they were able to do this, and so far attempts to find out how had been stopped dead in their tracks.
Many times quite literally.

Firstly, a bit cheesy, and second, I don’t think you need to make it super obvious by adding the “…literally.” Also, if you want to make implications about people being killed, don’t say that the “attempts” were stopped dead in their tracks—say rather that “those who attempted to discover their secret” were stopped dead in their tracks, or something. You could even just cut out “no one knew how they were able to do this” and jump straight to “All those who inquired into company’s methodology were stopped dead in their tracks, one way or another.” It’s an idea, anyway.

QUOTE
So, with a firm foundation cemented with the bodies of their enemies,

This seems awkward to me. If I were going to use bodies as a building material, it wouldn’t be as cement. Maybe say “shored up” with the bodies of their enemies. But you could also be a bit subtler and say “with their hold on this sector firmly protected,” and not get explicit about the bodies. After all, it sounds like you’re modeling them on a mob family, and you know how mob families like to put on the respectable business front.

QUOTE
Northern started branching out into smaller markets, making quite a profit and annexing a number of star systems into the corporate family, making your bitch stepmother from hell look like a catholic saint by comparison.

Okay, you use “, making” twice here without even an “and” to speak of. You need to reread your own work a bit more.

QUOTE
They were now at the point where they were able to purchase, outfit and maintain their own private armada and army, of a size to rival most small nations.

That size measurement is rather meaningless since we’re in a space-age future and the reader has no idea what a small nation’s army looks like, or even whether we’re bothering with nations anymore.

QUOTE
So, when push came to shove, the other side usually gave way, most settling for a rather slap in the face settlement in the courts.

Settlement, settling… too many “settles.” Reread!

QUOTE
So, most people

You started another paragraph with “So,”. You might want to watch that.

QUOTE
kept out of their way, doing nothing to get their attention and hoping to be passed. . . unnoticed.

“Be passed unnoticed” should probably be “pass unnoticed” or at least that’s the way the phrase usually turns up. Also, I think the ellipsis is kind of overdoing it here. We already know they’re the space mob.

QUOTE
This time, however, there was far too much at stake to simply give up and turn tail this time.

This time…this time. Paging the Department of Redundancy Department?

QUOTE
A small mining corporation running surveys of terra-formation viable planets had discovered a hugely rich series of plutonium ore seams on Hector IV, one of the richest ever discovered,

Hugely rich and one of the richest ever discovered? Must it be both?

QUOTE
and had claimed the system months prior to Northern shipping taking an interest. By then, Tsubasa mining corp

You’re being a bit disrespectful to the Tsubasa Mining Corporation by demoting it to Tsubasa mining corp with your grammar. For one thing, if you’re trying to use “corp” on its own, you either need to abbreviate it as “Co.” or “Corp.”, or admit that you meant to say “corps” like “Peace Corps.” And for another, yeah, capitalize it if it’s the company’s name. This is the first time we’re hearing their name so you might as well write it out all the way this time at least.

QUOTE
had already set up dozens of terraforming stations on the surface of the moon, along with a small city for maintenance personnel to live in.

I would clarify somehow that Hector IV is a moon, because when I hear “the moon” I think of Earth’s satellite, personally.

QUOTE
With the arrival of an NQS fleet in orbit, though,

Probably want the comma there.

QUOTE
the personnel had become hostages, the city into a heavily fortified camp and every terraforming station into a possible anti-orbital battery.

You messed up your parallel structure a bit here. You start with “x had become” and then the next two are supposed to be “x turned into.” Make them all the same or the sentence doesn’t make sense.

QUOTE
Only having enough security forces to take on pirate raids, Tsubasa Corp. turned to someone who did.

Aaaand reread that please. Someone who did…what?

QUOTE
WOLFPAC Incorporated.

Ooh, dramatic single line! I would, um, not resort to that.

QUOTE
Begun in a backwater agriculture facility three hundred years ago during a massive conflict known as the "Colonial Uprisings", it was originally concerned with protecting convoys of vital goods and refugees in and out of contested areas from pirates, privateers and the less scrupulous factions that were involved in the war. …………blahblahblah infodump blahblahblah……………As such, it was a dangerous universe to live in if you payed your dues to the wrong guy on the wrong day.

This was where you really lost me.

QUOTE
A fact which no one really cared about today, because they got paid to do this kinda thing everyday, albiet one side was far better compensated than the other. The Northern Quadrant personnel were conscripts for the most part, serving a 10 year term before returning to their lives, while the mercernaries of WOLFPAC were volunteers one and all, the cream of the crop from a hundred different armed forces.

Well trained.

Well equipped.

It was gonna be a close one this time.

Okay now this sounds like you are an announcer at a monster truck rally, not somebody who is actually trying to give meaning and weight to characters’ actions. Like you just came up with all of that backstory so you could write a fanboy fantasy of really awesome badass dudes beating each other up with guns on fire made of dynamite IN SPACE. So, if this is going to be a kind of sober “for the interested reader” backstory, like I’ve seen at the beginning of, say, Orson Scott Card novels, or the Pit Dragon Trilogy books, I would take out the “omg this is gonna be epicccc” tone at the end there.

And honestly I came away from that backstory thinking that you were kind of running with the plot of Episode One of Star Wars. “Evil trade federation blockades weak planet, planet must seek aid of badass other dudes to get rid of evil trade federation.” So, um, if you want to make sure you are differentiated from that, I would just cut straight into the plot and have this as your own personal private reference material, so that people don’t realize the similarities right away.

I’d definitely still be interested to read the story, once there’s a story with characters and dialogue and setting, but I don’t think this is the proper way to get people amped up about what you’re going to write. If you want comments on the overall plot and not the writing of this intro, then you would need to post a plot treatment separate from this.
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Rubix41
Posted: Oct 27 2009, 01:11 PM
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Where's half of the forum gone?
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sky1
Posted: Oct 27 2009, 11:14 PM
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I'm still here...
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Phalmy
Posted: Oct 28 2009, 09:27 AM
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I check in sometimes, but most of my activity is centered in locution.
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Megaduck
Posted: Oct 28 2009, 03:16 PM
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QUOTE (Rubix41 @ Oct 27 2009, 01:11 PM)
Where's half of the forum gone?

I'm still here, just very busy recently.
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&ru
Posted: Oct 28 2009, 08:02 PM
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QUOTE (Rubix41 @ Oct 27 2009, 01:11 PM)
Where's half of the forum gone?

There was a terrible accident...
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Hardaker
Posted: Oct 30 2009, 04:53 PM
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...at the wedding?

Fun game that. Try adding it to the end of any sentence and feel the complete lack of humour emitted. It's ... awesome.

I still check back. I'm feeling pretty crud on my writing since last year (and the attempts probably lurk somewhere on here still) and so haven't really felt good enough to crit anything. And I'm definitely not developing enough (or, even, at all) to post anything worth commenting on (I haven't even written a line of fiction since... ah... about December last year actually).

In other news, yeah: where is everyone?
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eladnarra
Posted: Oct 30 2009, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE
In other news, yeah: where is everyone?

Locution?

Yeah, we Locutionites sorta helped nudge CW off the cliff by jumping ship... oops. sad.gif

I'd mention that we have our own critique forum, and everyone is welcome, but that would be a knife in the back after the... cliff nudging. (Whoo, going for the record for mixed metaphors~)

So yeah, I'll just stick with an underhanded mention. >_>
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Megaduck
Posted: Oct 30 2009, 05:44 PM
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QUOTE (eladnarra @ Oct 30 2009, 05:39 PM)
So yeah, I'll just stick with an underhanded mention. >_>

Don't worry, we forgive you. I think most of us know about Locution, now. I stop by on occasion and lurk there.

<waves to everyone>

This post has been edited by Megaduck on Oct 30 2009, 06:11 PM
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Rouxinol
Posted: Oct 31 2009, 03:42 AM
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Yeah, I haven't written much of anything for a year or so. I mostly do the occasional crit and stop by Locution once every 6 months or so.
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steuben
Posted: Nov 4 2009, 02:36 PM
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I heard the demon was spawned by Dakkru, and he lost her favor. The monk, Vey, bunched his face, relaxed, and attempted to clear his mind. I heard every soul he sent to her, was a failed attempt to return her eye to him. Vey took a slow deep breath. My mother said he was strong and gentle, but also seemed weary and sad. He sighed and stood up, surrendering on the day's meditation.

-----------------------------------------

its first paragraph, or atleast the first few sentences.

now i've heard you shouldn't start with speech, i'm guessing a thought is the same way. does it work or do i have to rework it?
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John_234
Posted: Nov 6 2009, 10:24 PM
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I have a handful of poems, not works in progress, but completed pieces I'd like some feedback on. Seeing as I can't post threads yet, I opted to post here.

Mostly free verse, apocalyptic stuff....


A Vantage Point
Even smothered by smoke and blood tinged cries, the city below beckons.
Of glorious battles, untouched treasures, and limitless exploration.

Still.... the appeal of such seems filthy, lost in a world that ceased to care long ago.
What matters is not within my reach, nor my sight.

Where lays the solace of familiarity?

Eyes that could convey intimacy and understanding by themselves,
a doorway to a soul untouched by such meaningless insanities filling this world.

A heart that would take the burdens of what should have rightly been buried,
and continues to mourn, tremor, ache in crystalline, delicate beauty.

So little was physical.... but still, her absence burns with such a tangible pain,
and my searches have thrown asunder the secrets of the metropolis below.

Every cramped cubby and tunnel of a last stand, every broken-down door of escape,
every damned place that no one would, or should, have to know of.

I look not for the marked spot, nor the hallowed ground, but,
for the phantom trail, it's touch and voice and presence.

Here, high above my work and my challenge, I stand.
Some place between relief and despair, at such scale and beauty.

Torn at by wind and uttered phrases, I can earnestly ponder if there is any will left.

In moments too fleeting to be certain, I know.
I remember the smile, the voice, that was always worth fighting for, dying for.

My own conflict is not a singular one, not in the least.

Even in this world of shifting times and changing souls,
I can be certain, that no self-righteous people, no hellish crucible, no icy grasp,
shall keep me from her lonely battle.
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T3h Br0th3r
Posted: Nov 7 2009, 12:22 AM
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alright, first off i would like to welcome you to the creative writing thread. second off I'm going to tell you to develop a thick skin quick. i try not to be a dick when i look over works. others seem to revel in it.

and on to Vantage point:

when reading this one i was left with a few question: Why should i care about the speaker, why should i care about the city, and why should i care about whatever is wrong with the city.

I can tell that there is some kind of crap hit the fan thing going on but i don't know what caused it... and the poem leaves me not particularly caring.

Your speaker, whom ever he/she/it may be is suffering from a nasty case of Fable syndrome. they have a bit more to them then a blank slate but they are still incredibly shallow. what is this person's relationship with the city? Why do they care?

your style here also needs some help. you use too many words. when you write a poem, you are allowed and encouraged to violate standard sentience structure a little.

QUOTE
Even smothered by smoke and blood tinged cries, the city below beckons.
Of glorious battles, untouched treasures, and limitless exploration.


take the articles out behind the woodshed and shoot them at point blank. it'd be self defense cause they are killing you. by, and x2, the, of. go though and see if they are necessary. if they are not, get rid of them.

it might also help you to first focus on telling whatever story you are trying to tell first and leave attempts at beauty and depth behind. once you know the tale that you want to weave, then start polishing.
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John_234
Posted: Nov 7 2009, 03:19 AM
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Well, harsh criticism is typically effective criticism, so not much will really surprise me.

Honestly speaking, are you looking at this piece as the poem it was intended as, or a short story?
It's not especially meant to build a character within barely two paragraphs of text, nor try and sum up the underlying causes of this disaster.

The backdrop was one of an undead apocalypse. This was assumed on the site it was posted it, but I should've made this more clear.
However, practically speaking, the causes of the apocalypse are not central to the piece, nor of very much difference to the reader.
Had the end of the world been caused by zombies, aliens, or nuclear war, it still wouldn't factor into the subject of the piece.

If it wasn't clear, the focus is not on the city itself, but the person that the narrator is trying to find in it.

I can't really see how sentence length makes a difference in free verse poetry.
If something is listed or broken up a certain way, it is done for pace and tone.




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Hardaker
Posted: Nov 7 2009, 03:41 PM
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Free verse isn't an excuse to abuse English, alas. Rhythm, and timing and meter still exist in free verse because poetry is a medium to be read aloud. In that regard, free verse is harder than structured poetry.

Also, characterisation counts as much in poetry as it does in prose. It's harder in poetry too, because there's an economy of phrasing that doesn't exist in prose. Basically, poetry is imagery and if that imagery is from a particular point of view that imagery must convey the characterisation of the character seeing / imagining it.

Apocalypses are, alas, somewhat overdone in poetry. And, as a consequence, you've got to do more and different with them.

Hopefully something in my vehemence is helpful, it's not directed at you (the vehemence, not the advice).
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John_234
Posted: Nov 7 2009, 05:41 PM
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Yeah....I see the issue is, that the poem is not centered on something easily put into imagery, which sort of screws it over, huh?

Well...could you point out an example of an error then?
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John_234
Posted: Nov 11 2009, 02:06 PM
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I have yet to see an example posed of how I "abuse[d] English".
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Lessa_Winters
Posted: Nov 12 2009, 12:10 AM
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Hi.

I'm new here so before I post my little bit let me make a few excuses. First, the screen name...it's been with me a long time (since the sixth grade) so excuse the gratuitous reference to a fantasy saga, but I'd forget anything else. Second, I am grammatically challenged. I do my best, but I'd love corrections especially those that come with explanations that will help me learn.

About this bit of writing: I wrote this on a train and I like it, but I can't seem to turn it into anything else. Everywhere I go with it ends up wrong. So what I would like to know is: Is it worth fighting into something more or should I let it float around as what it is? And does the second paragraph (which is not autobiographical but some unknown character) work or is it too much like being clubbed on the head?

This bit of writing:

Torn paper bags littered the leafless tree branches, blanketing a long mile of the tracks in a million year blizzard of white and blue plastic. It was beautiful in a way, almost festive. Like Christmas in March. The presents under the trees were the detritus of life: mattresses, buckets, a set of plastic drawers, a car seat, six tires and one sofa. As it flashed by I wondered absently what that sofa would tell me if it could speak. Would its life story be a tragedy, or a comedy? Would it have steamy sex scenes or drawn-out moments of indy-film style silence? And what had to happened for it to end up discarded over the back of a fence in stead of being passed on to the next couch-less family. In a mattress-on-the-floor kind of city, it seemed unlikely, but had it just finally worn out?

I felt like I might have been dumped over a fence prematurely. I admit, I was a bit beaten up, emotionally strained in places, with less spring than I once boasted. But I could still hold your butt up; metaphorically.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I would love to hear your opinions on the matter.

And not that I've had time to read up on your whole poetry debate that I seem to be interrupting but there is an awesome novel in free verse called 'Sharp Teeth' by Seth Barrow (I might be remembering that wrong). It's about werewolves and it is a very good example of what free verse can be.

This post has been edited by Lessa_Winters on Nov 12 2009, 12:13 AM
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Lessa_Winters
Posted: Nov 12 2009, 12:55 AM
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QUOTE (steuben @ Nov 4 2009, 03:36 PM)
I heard the demon was spawned by Dakkru, and he lost her favor.  The monk, Vey, bunched his face, relaxed, and attempted to clear his mind. I heard every soul he sent to her, was a failed attempt to return her eye to him. Vey took a slow deep breath. My mother said he was strong and gentle, but also seemed weary and sad. He sighed and stood up, surrendering on the day's meditation.

-----------------------------------------


I'm going to cheat and double post so I can respond to this since no one else has.

In my opinion, you may want to consider re-working it. Here are my reasons:

1. There is no way for your reader to know the first bit is thoughts. I've read enough books so I had the general idea, but it would help if you could clarify the first time since italics isn't a universal signifier of thought the way quotation marks mean speech. It was also confuseing because I wasn't sure who's thoughts they were. Were they his own thoughts or someone speaking to him? It sounded to me like something someone would say to another person as apposed to something someone would say to themselves. Probably because of the pronouns like 'I heard' or 'My mother' because I don't use them so much when I think. I already know I mean my own mother so I'd just think mother...right?

2. I found the first thought confuseing because both demon and Dakkru are gender neutral to the reader and I wasn't sure who had lost who forever. My guess is Dakkru is the guy? Maybe re-word the first thought so this is clear.

3. I find generally with fantasy it is good to start with the human element. Something we can all relate to. This gives a reason for the reader to learn about the fantasy world you want to create. Start out with weird names and demons and you will lose a good portion of readers who might have stuck it out otherwise.

That all being said, I like the way the sentence works as is in terms of over all structure, thought - description - thought...etc. It has a neat effect which I assume is why you don't really want to re-work the sentence. So I would suggest adding a sentence before that describing the situation. Give us a view of the monk, maybe describe how he is sitting? Then introduce the thoughts. Re-work them a little and find a way to clue us in that it's the Monk's own internal monologue.

Was that too much to say for a few little lines? I think they are a good start, and worth the consideration.

-L
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Hardaker
Posted: Nov 13 2009, 01:56 PM
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The abuse of English was more grammar based. The fact that your sentences (like this one here) are more fragments or enormously long fable wannabes means that your 'English' (for want of a better word) is being abused to fit your vision (again, for want of a better word).

There are no major stark staring errors, as such, just that your poem lacks... well, poetry.

Let's take the opening:
QUOTE
Even smothered by smoke and blood tinged cries, the city below beckons.
Of glorious battles, untouched treasures, and limitless exploration

Firstly, both these sentences are fragments. Standing alone they make no sense and, together, they don't scan much better either. There's no beauty in these lines (or even a lack of beauty, which is just as valid) they just scan as clumsy fragments of sentences.

Also, straight away you have a mixed metaphor in 'blood tinged cries' and not in the Shakespearean "take arms against a sea of troubles" sense either. In that mixed metaphor the flow works better, it seems logical despite being wrong, in yours the mixed metaphor seems... wqell, jarring.

Then there's the lack of economy, you use too many words to say very little, and that's part of the problem. This isn't a poem, but some isolated fragments of prose that masquerade as poerty (sic). Now, I'm going to offer a re-write but you must understand that I'm awful at poetry and do not pretend to offer anything like good poetry, just to show what I mean in less words:
QUOTE
Wreathed in ashen leaves, riven by cries:
The city beckons.
I breathe its perfume...

See, told you. It's hard. You need to use some sort of imagery (like my attempt at lovers) and then build in words and phrases that have the dual purpose of showing that and drawing the reader in by offeringa different slant. Perhaps you use some poetry techniques. Basically, your poem has no poetry in it and free verse is not an excuse to ignore basic poetry techniques unless you have something much more effective. Have you tried doing this with some structure? That might help you isolate what you want to show us and how. Once you build it up then you can use free verse to break it down again.

Just a thought. Minus vehemence this time.

This post has been edited by Hardaker on Nov 13 2009, 01:56 PM
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Lessa_Winters
Posted: Nov 14 2009, 12:54 AM
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QUOTE (Hardaker @ Nov 13 2009, 02:56 PM)
QUOTE
Even smothered by smoke and blood tinged cries, the city below beckons.
Of glorious battles, untouched treasures, and limitless exploration

Firstly, both these sentences are fragments. Standing alone they make no sense and, together, they don't scan much better either.

I have a question related to this. As I said before, I am grammatically challenged, and while I recognize the second bit -- Of glorious battles, untouched treasures, and limitless exploration --as a non-sentence, I was wondering if you could explain how the first is wrong. Even smothered by smoke and blood tinged cries, the city below beckons. It's got a subject: the city, a verb: beckons. I guess the object would be an unspoken me. The 'Even smothered' part would be a descriptive phrase. Isn't the subject, verb, object all the sentence needs?

This is not to say that I disagree with the general evaluation, just that I am trying to learn.

-L

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Hardaker
Posted: Nov 14 2009, 11:28 AM
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No, you're right. The first one works as a sentence but, as an opener, it lacks other things. I guess I was wrong to call it a fragment.

It's just... inadequate.

Also, I was thinking about this. Part of the problem with the poem is the multitude of subjects and ideas. John_234 says it's all about the woman that the main character is searching for but it takes a good few stanzas to get to the point. What I mean is, it's about the woman but starts out talking about the city. Either these two concepts need to be played with (until one is the other) or one needs to be dropped from the poem.

Perhaps:
QUOTE
Wreathed in ashen leaves, riven by cries,
She beckons me in.
Through broken doorways and last stand rubble,
I see her face.
Despite hidden treasures, limitless wilderness,
She draws me close.

It's not much better, but here we get more of a focus (and, also, a structure) on the the woman. Meh.

Maybe not.
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John_234
Posted: Nov 15 2009, 01:01 AM
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I'm always looking for good critique, but your extravagance in vocabulary... well... tends to degrade both parties.
Phrases like "enormously long fable wannabes" just pack redundancy into what should purely be an objective viewpoint, and at times even seem mocking.
I'm left having to cut away the flourishes to try and understand your basic ideas.

You stated that my problems are primarily grammatical, yet your points are primarily regarding the length of sentences, structure and use of metaphors;
all concepts, for the most part, unrelated to grammar.

In truth, your only critique remotely related to grammar was on the first two sentences.
Looking at it now, I could simply link the two sentences and it'd be correct, no?

If you wanted to make an argument that this piece did not very much seem to be poetry, fine, that is a completely valid point.

The structure you're talking about is entirely different than mine, you must understand.
My own is more like a story, introducing the nature of the setting, describing the focus, then the decision of the speaker.
Yours is one that focuses on parallelism to compare the romantic interest to the nature of the city.

Also, my view is that the city is an ugly place, but possessing potential for the individual.
A comparison to perfume would be the wrong idea when the setting is supposed to be violent and evil.

Perhaps you don't mean to be vehement, but being quite honest, you're coming off as very smug rather then objective.

Is it really necessary to go on about how it abuses English when your main points have little bearing on the basics of the English language?
You seem to be arguing your own tastes rather then honest problems, and your overall voice is far from friendly.
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Lessa_Winters
Posted: Nov 15 2009, 01:36 AM
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John, I'm sure you are finding it hard to take some fairly serious criticism, but I feel you need to listen to it. I was very much where you are once. I've learned that passion and ideas are not enough. There is a technical skill to writing as well that I ignored because I found it hard to understand. But its the brush strokes you use to paint your picture. You may think what you have done works, but a number of people are telling you that they do not feel they do your idea justice. There is such a thing as incorrect grammar, which is not a subjective issue. Your own work loses out when you don't use the right brush to paint, and right now you are using your fingers.

As for the issues of successfully portraying your ideas: you did not. I get what you were trying to do because, like I've said, I've been somewhere close to there. But Hardaker's point that you could improve this poem is valid. If you don't want to hear that, don't post it to be reviewed, show it off to your mom and your friends. They will say "Oh how wonderful", and pat you on the back. Seems like here you get something more precious: people who can and will help you evaluate your writing with an objective eye. We all fall in love with our work in bits and places. Sometimes you need someone else to let you know something's not working. This is not a criticism of the idea you are trying to convey, or doubt in your ability to achieve it.

Please take another look at what has been said and try to take your personal feelings for the work out of the equation. The fact that you are critiquing Hardaker's critique says to me you have taken it personally. You don't have to agree with everything, but consider everything honestly. You are the only one who will be poorer for ignoring the gift of feedback like this. I've learned a bit from reading the critiques and it's not something I wrote.

Either way, best of luck and keep writing.
-L
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John_234
Posted: Nov 15 2009, 02:14 AM
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If I wasn't looking for critique, I wouldn't post it on here, nor push the issue by asking what my specific issues are....
What bugs me isn't the plethora of issues.

Structuring was a valid point. You have to build a central concept to break down and stylize.
Make the central concept clear or it becomes lost in the text itself, right.
The first two lines were absolutely awkward, I see that.


I just don't think it's necessary to demean someone when you give them criticism, or go so far as declaring that they're abusing the English language.
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Hardaker
Posted: Nov 15 2009, 03:27 PM
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Meh.

Take what I say or leave it. It's your call.

I used the first two sentences as an example. There were other parts of garmmatical issues, but, to be honest, I didn't want to go through and list them. You can read it through yourself and find those, you don't need me for that. Also, the "abuse of English" comment was not entirely based on grammar, it was also about sentence length, structure and the method by which you tried to tell your story (and story was what you were telling). It's not a poem you were writing, it was isolated gobbets of prose from a bad fantasy novel.

You say it yourself, so you don't need it from me. Furthermore, the other abuse of English is hitting the return key after every full-stop. You don't do that in prose any more than you do in poetry. If you want less smugness (though, given my own inability to write any kind of poetry, I'm not sure I can be smug about anyone else's) might I suggest writing.com or, even, locution.com - the former runs the risk of getting no critique at all whilst the latter may be even more in-depth (and definitely more technical) than anything you're likely to get here.

Anyway, apologies if I came across as vehement after that first post (and yes, I was pretty annoyed in that) as it wasn't meant. If you think my pointing out of specific errors, after you asked me to, was demeaning then fine. It's your call after all. I do wonder how you respond(ed) to criticism at school, mind. But, again, you don't have to explain yourself here - it's the internets! I'm an anonymous 'tard for all you know - stop taking me so seriously, no?
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John_234
Posted: Nov 15 2009, 05:20 PM
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I overreacted, I will openly state.

Your advice was common sense and helpful, the attitude irked me. I can't say much else, really.
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Lessa_Winters
Posted: Nov 15 2009, 11:07 PM
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And love and order was restored to the world. Now someone go comment on what I posted. dry.gif
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steuben
Posted: Nov 18 2009, 11:38 AM
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The monk, Vey, bunched his face, relaxed, and attempted to clear his mind. I heard the demon was spawned by Dakkru, and he lost Dakkru's favor. Vey took a slow deep breath. I heard every soul he sent to her, was a failed attempt to return her eye to him. He sighed and stood up. My mother said he was strong and gentle, but also seemed weary and sad. Vey turned to the door, surrendering on the day's meditation.

------------------------------------

trying it the reverse order. i'm keeping the italics for the moment.
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Rubix41
Posted: Nov 22 2009, 05:23 AM
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Anyone writing anything to be posted here for Christmas? It's a tradition, ya know.
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&ru
Posted: Nov 23 2009, 04:57 AM
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QUOTE (Rubix41 @ Nov 22 2009, 05:23 AM)
Anyone writing anything to be posted here for Christmas? It's a tradition, ya know.

Go for it.
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Silk
Posted: Nov 24 2009, 08:38 AM
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Anyone writing anything to be posted here for Christmas? It's a tradition, ya know.


Is there interest in a separate thread for this? Perhaps it will revive the forum to a degree.

I will try to finish a story for it, if that is the case.

Lessa, since you asked, I will have a look at what you posted:

QUOTE
Torn paper bags littered the leafless tree branches, blanketing a long mile of the tracks in a million year blizzard of white and blue plastic.


The starting sentence is not too bad, as it does paint a visual image for the readers, but you rely too much on adjectives, and it complicates the sentence somewhat. Also, "littered" isn't the right word for bags hanging on tree branches, unless you meant tree branches on the ground, which is not what you are describing. You need to fix this a little so it's more clear what it is. "Million year blizzard" sounds like an incredibly Asian description, but it can be fine.

QUOTE
It was beautiful in a way, almost festive. Like Christmas in March.


I'd replace the comma with a dash, and the period with a comma, or something else.
QUOTE

The presents under the trees were the detritus of life: mattresses, buckets, a set of plastic drawers, a car seat, six tires and one sofa.


I quite like this. It implies a general description, but what follows is very specific and concrete, and I like both the image and the contrast. Perhaps give colors to the mattresses, unless you meant to begin vaguely and end with "a car seat, six tired and one sofa". By the way, it's "six tires, and one soft". Serial comma, srysly.

QUOTE
As it flashed by, I wondered absently what that sofa would tell me if it could speak. Would its life story be a tragedy (omit comma) or a comedy? Would it have steamy sex scenes or drawn-out moments of indie silence (no need to specify indy FILM style. Both works, and subtlety is good, and it also makes us think more to find this "indie silence". If you do insist on it, keep style, but it's clear you mean indie films? And what had to happen for it to end up discarded over the back of a fence instead of being passed on to the next couch-less family? (this should be a question, although it might be better if you frame it as a statement/observation In a mattress-on-the-floor kind of city, it seemed unlikely, but had it just finally worn out? Questions are very often weak. Instead of posing questions for us readers, make US ask the questions by giving us the scenario. It draws the reader in far more effectively

I felt like I might have been dumped over a fence prematurely. I admit, I was a bit beaten up, emotionally strained in places, with less spring (idk if you meant this as a pun, but regardless I quite like this) than I once boasted. But I could still hold your butt up; metaphorically.


Overall I see good potential in your writing and in this description. It would be interesting to see whether you can expand this and make use of this as characterization.

I will post a quick piece I have written on my notebook:

Stitches 091123

The wound smiles stitches at me,
soon agonizes us as
we push agaisnt the walls, push
close all the doors,
push each other as we
fall and we stand, they stall
our being friends--with stitches, closing up the
painful chasm, we
hold hands and feel or
forget our cold spasms of
sweat.

Through this, we face different walls,
we taste different,
hate different words as each other
that quietly we've together
heard (and forgotten)--it is
stitches that we've gotten,
sandwiching us between bedsheets holding us
together. We two we will weather--
whatever, wherever,
whenever

(but not
forever).

This post has been edited by Silk on Nov 24 2009, 08:39 AM
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garnet
Posted: Jan 31 2010, 12:34 AM
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i like the poem. it's a 'sad, yet not to sad it would make you cry' poem.
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The Player
Posted: Feb 16 2010, 07:35 PM
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This is a beginning to a piece I'm writing. I'd like some critiques on it if anyone would be kind enough to read it through. I'm terrible with commas so if anyone finds any comma mistakes PLEASE tell me! I really just wanted to know if this sounded all right. Is it understandable at all times? I tend to be confusing at times I think.. Believe it or not, this small amount of dialogue has been reviewed and rewritten several times.Thanks in advance! weightedcompanioncube.gif (a companion cube for you!)

High above the ground a pointed sharpened tip, tilted downward in a deadly serine silence set its sights upon a feral animal. Three seconds passed before the drawn back hand, that had previously secured the tip's tautness, broke free of the secured item and sent its patience soaring into a long thin arrow that pierced the animal's body instantly. Groaning as both fear and death took hold of the animal, it staggered only a few steps forward before losing its balance and consciousness to death. The body fell limp and lifeless to the ground with as much noise as a leaf dropping from the trees, and to Aki this was just another job well done.

Aki's eyes shined with a sort of keen look that all the experienced people of his work had. His fingers were hard and callused from countless bows he had numerously wielded throughout his life.

Climbing down with ease from a nearby tree, Aki gradually made his way to the carcass. He studied the animal's long lean body before reaching for a hunting knife, previously hidden among the tatters of clothing he wore, and unwrapped the thing from a waded up old cloth quickly and without thought.

Again he studied the animal's body with a keen look, tracing in his mind a diagram of places to cut in order to separate the dark meat from the white.
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&ru
Posted: Feb 24 2010, 08:54 PM
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QUOTE (The Player @ Feb 16 2010, 07:35 PM)
This is a beginning to a piece I'm writing. I'd like some critiques on it if anyone would be kind enough to read it through. I'm terrible with commas so if anyone finds any comma mistakes PLEASE tell me! I really just wanted to know if this sounded all right. Is it understandable at all times? I tend to be confusing at times I think.. Believe it or not, this small amount of dialogue has been reviewed and rewritten several times.Thanks in advance! weightedcompanioncube.gif (a companion cube for you!)

    High above the ground a pointed sharpened tip, tilted downward in a deadly serine silence set its sights upon a feral animal.  Three seconds passed before the drawn back hand, that had previously secured the tip's tautness, broke free of the secured item and sent its patience soaring into a long thin arrow that pierced the animal's body instantly.  Groaning as both fear and death took hold of the animal, it staggered only a few steps forward before losing its balance and consciousness to death. The body fell limp and lifeless to the ground with as much noise as a leaf dropping from the trees, and to Aki this was just another job well done.

    Aki's eyes shined with a sort of keen look that all the experienced people of his work had. His fingers were hard and callused from countless bows he had numerously wielded throughout his life.

    Climbing down with ease from a nearby tree, Aki gradually made his way to the carcass. He studied the animal's long lean body before reaching for a hunting knife, previously hidden among the tatters of clothing he wore, and unwrapped the thing from a waded up old cloth quickly and without thought.

    Again he studied the animal's body with a keen look, tracing in his mind a diagram of places to cut in order to separate the dark meat from the white.

It's way too wordy with all the description. Also your language is problematic.

QUOTE
High above the ground a pointed sharpened tip, tilted downward in a deadly serine silence set its sights upon a feral animal.  Three seconds passed before the drawn back hand, that had previously secured the tip's tautness, broke free of the secured item and sent its patience soaring into a long thin arrow that pierced the animal's body instantly.


This is especially bad. It's very overwritten and the description is just not very good. Simplify it a lot. Also, some of it just doesn't even make sense at all.

I'd rewrite it and simplify it. Also, be sure to edit more before you post.

QUOTE
sent its patience soaring into a long thin arrow

and

QUOTE
a pointed sharpened tip, tilted downward in a deadly serine silence set its sights upon a feral animal. 


in particular just don't make sense.

This post has been edited by &ru on Feb 24 2010, 09:04 PM
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SunShiningOnCherryBlossoms
Posted: Mar 13 2010, 06:18 AM
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It's been a long time between visits but here I am again. And this time its not a poem. Instead it is my first attempt at writing dialog and character interaction. I should probably ask you to be kind, but I don't think kindness really helps that much. So here goes:


“Hey Pentari, have I got an assignment for you!”

Luke swaggered into the office and perched on my desk looking much too happy for my ease of mind. If it wasn’t for the fact that Luke despised me for no apparent reason, I would have described him as super hot by way of slightly scruffy elegance. Contradictory but true. As things stand however I describe Luke as an asshole.

Nominally I am the secretary and general errand runner at Gray Cross Detective Agency, but there is no way Luke would be so pleased if this was just another case of being sent to pick up bagels from the bakery across the street. Shunting me around is his everyday pleasure. Something that makes him smile wide enough to make his fangs show equates me getting shunted to one of the inner circles of hell.

Derek shoots me a look that says: “Don’t rise.” Derek is a sweetheart and most probably right, but I love annoying Luke at least twice as much as Luke loves annoying me. So I assume my special Talking-to-Luke smile and my Happy-Chipper-Cheerful voice before saying: “Oh really? How wonderful. I’ve been dying to do something a bit more interesting than filing and shopping for you guys. So what’s the job?”

Truth is I love filing. I like creating order from chaos. I like knowing exactly where everything is and I love knowing they would be swimming in frustration if I leave for any extended period of time. Some people are born organizers.

So I love filing and Luke knows it, but I momentarily get the reaction I was looking for. His smile slips a few notches, but then, damnation and perdition, it comes back. At double the wattage. Oh no.

“You see. I told you guys she would be up for this. There is no way a plucky little banshee like Pen is going to be content to do the filing and fetch the bagels. Not for long. That’s what I told the Boss Lady too, but Marguerite seems to think Pentari likes filing.”
He positively beams at the other two incumbents of the open plan. Derek and James both shoot me looks of mingled pity and exasperation. I just fell hook, line and sinker for something. I assumed the job he was giving me came from the boss as he had just come from her office. Obviously I assumed wrong. If I had kept my mouth shut I might have kept my boring existence too.

Now I can’t back out anymore and everyone in the office knows it. Too back out at this point would give Luke a total victory, but if I take the job I still had a decent chance of winning a point in this little game we play. My winning a point would annoy Luke and annoying Luke is almost as much fun as filing.

“Ok I better go tell the Boss Lady you agreed. Boy is she gonna be surprised.”

Luke scoots of my desk and walks to the passage that leads to Marguerite’s office, shooting me another gloating smile. The smug bastard has already assumed victory.

“Hang on! What’s the job?” I exclaim, but he is already through the door.

“You know, trying to score points of a 300 year old werewolf-vampire crossbreed is possibly the most convoluted form of suicide I’ve ever seen.” Derek says as he leans back in his chair. “Which is a real pity as you are probably the best secretary we’ve ever had and you make real good coffee.” Like I said, Derek can be a sweetie. “Speaking of which, I could do with another cup.”

“So do you guys know what the mystery assignment is?” I asked as I stood up for another confrontation with the coffee machine.

James sighed: “Have you ever heard of a honey-trap?”

Oh no, indeed.
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mr. aquamarine
Posted: Apr 8 2010, 08:04 AM
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imho you have an excellent start. personally i'd talk a little less about filing (sounds odd in "My winning a point would annoy Luke and annoying Luke is almost as much fun as filing. ") and you may wish to change it to an odd number of years 297 or 311, unless there is a specific point of him being 300. People have an odd tendency to dislike large round numbers, it sounds too convienent for them. the grammar hounds will also say you need more commas.
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Jaykoby
Posted: May 18 2010, 06:42 PM
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Hey, new to thread and new to forum. I enjoy writing as a hobby but I'm not really good enough to do it professionally. I want to improve though so I'll post something in here to get it criticized. Thanks bunches.
______________________________

The pocket watch’s dial clicked silently upwards, its hand coming to a sudden halt on the time: 3:33. A bullet held still, clinging to the air around it. Its back was enveloped in a trail of smoke. Just beyond the round’s lethal tip lay the pudgy face of a middle-aged man. His brass bifocals were a stark contrast to the deadly ignorance of his armor piercing foe. On his round face he wore a thick mustache; atop his head, a mop of curly bedraggled brown hair. His eyes were held tightly shut in anticipation of his inevitable demise.
Or perhaps…not so inevitable.
In his mind a single thought rang out like the tolling of a bell; again, and again.

Turn Back.
Turn Back.
Turn Back.

Slowly the smoke faded, his eyes opened and the bullet crawled angrily back into the shadowy barrel of a shining steel revolver. The muzzle flashed for a moment and the fire was pulled back into its cave. A thin finger released its iron grip against the revolver’s trigger. The hands of the silver pocket watch moved lethargically backwards, as if they were pressing against a powerful barrier with all their strength.

Turn Back.
Turn Back.
Turn Back.

The man tightly grasping the revolver began to move his evil lips but what came from them didn’t sound like any human words.
“Sueefro.” He said. His voice, too, was flowing backwards in time. His arm dropped back to his side, hanging like a subtly swinging pendulum. A smile was still creeping across his face.
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sky1
Posted: May 19 2010, 06:41 AM
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Hey Jaykoby. Welcome to the forums.

So what you have here is a lot about nothing. Flowery language that sounds pretty and dramatic, but underneath it all there's nothing there. Style with no substance, sizzle with no steak. Am I missing something? Can you tell me the the theme and meaning behind this piece?

On the other had, you've got the style. I'd be interested in reading any stories you've written. Things with plot, characters, conflict, conflict resolution, and such.

Keep writing. Later.
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goldjothi
Posted: May 19 2010, 11:35 AM
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Did you know that the word ‘pain’ is only used once in this story? The effects of pain are only described once as well.

You mention that his leg buckles but you don’t mention how Jake feels about this, or the fact that this should be excruciatingly unpleasant.

In fact, you sort of skip over how Jake feels here. Yes, you have him groan and struggle to come erect but at the same time I don’t get the feeling that you’re trying to say “Our main Character was in a horrible plane crash, lets all sit down and experience what that feels like.”
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superaction80
Posted: May 25 2010, 06:50 PM
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Interesting. A couple of things.

1 - Adjectives are a double-edged sword. Sometimes they can be shortcuts around actual detail. I think "evil" is probably one of those shortcuts. And there are others in this piece. Get into the details. They're important. What makes someone look "evil?"

2 - I'm not sure about the use of ellipses in narrative. Especially here. Maybe if you set it up properly. Maybe.

I think this idea is worth exploring. Do more work and see what happens.
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Jaykoby
Posted: Jun 3 2010, 07:25 PM
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Okay, here's a more story-specific thing I need a bit of help on. It's about a society consumed by...well consumerism. The government has found a reliable way to keep people under their boots via marketing strategies and subliminal messaging. A small rebellion forms which is based in the literal underground of the city. They use the sewer system as a means to get anywhere in the city. Every member is trained in parkour (look up definition/video for explanation.) They have conquered the lower levels of some of the more crime infested districts that the fuzz can't get to. Anyways, here's a sample of what I've written so far.
_____________________________________________________

Puffs of brick dust filled the alley with a reddish smoke. Ian’s feet hit the metal rhythmically. They made a sound almost like a drumbeat. His breath was expertly regulated, in and out, in and out. Just keep running. No stopping now; you’ve gone too far. Another impact on the brick sent up a new cloud of rusty-brown shrapnel, quickly followed by a metallic pang of another gunshot echoing across the rooftops.
The snipers had spotted him only a few moments ago as he was sprinting through a recently raided apartment complex. The fuzz had always hated rebel looting parties. His other comrades had split downward already, disappearing into the sewer system. Ian thought back begrudgingly on his decision to break for the rooftops. He wouldn’t be trying that again. Lucky for him, the newly recruited snipers were always given rooftop watch duty and they weren’t very accurate.
To his right, Ian saw an opening. A small patched over section of the roof, right next to a slanted solar panel. Running up the panel, Ian braced himself for a hard impact and dove back-first into the poorly repaired roof. He smashed through it like paper, rolling onto the carpeted floors below. Shag carpet. He took a moment in his head to appreciate the flooring decisions of whoever lived there as he continued his breakneck pace into the stairwell leading downwards. He had to get to ground level.

This post has been edited by Jaykoby on Jun 3 2010, 07:31 PM
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TDL
Posted: Jun 19 2010, 11:18 PM
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I'm looking for a critique on this particular start of a fantasy story invovling the undead, forbidden magic, death and things that people should not be dabbling with. I'd also appreciate any advice on place names for use further on down the track. Anyhow enough of my rambling here it is...

Cheers
Tom

NECROVORE

There was more to the stink of the sewers than what you’d expect from all the filth and excrement that would be floating in its stygian depths. The smell of rotting meat, of corpses that had decayed past any kind of redemption was rife in the air. Fortunately for me I managed to cover my mouth and nose with a thick scarf, just the kind of thing any experienced mercenary would bring. “Be prepared!” my old drill sergeant used to yell; otherwise you’ll end up being dead. Admittedly though, he was talking about making sure your kit was well kept and you had as much lethal ironmongery on your person to deal out sufficient carnage to a small city or three. Regardless his principal was sound.

“Sweet mercy the stench,” Sebastian muttered after heaving up his guts into the miasma gently drifting down the channel in the heart of the tunnel.
“I told you to bring a scarf, but no you wouldn’t listen would you.”
“Come down here often then?”
“Your sarcasm is pointless, I know that this is the kind of place our foe would hide and I know something of the pitfalls and dangers of trying to beard it in a place like this,” I said.
“Very well then oh wise one, I stand corrected and will defer to your expertise and wisdom in future.”

Sebastian always had to get in the last word; I suspect it would be the death of him at some point. Sure he was skilled with a blade; he had after all trained under the city’s current maestro, Niccolo di Rasena, a legend of the duellist’s arts whose name and prowess was feared throughout the thirteen duchies and beyond. Frankly though I was of the opinion that duelling was for idiots and their skills were all right in the circle of honour where all combat was bound and wrapped in custom and stricture, on a battlefield or in the sewers of a city such concepts were frankly worth shit. Trying to fight ‘honourably’ would likely see you gutted and filleted.

“Lily, can you sense anything?”
The third member of our impromptu party shook her head. A slender blonde wrapped in the robes of an Arcane initiate she’d taken my advice in regards to having a scarf.
“There is only the aura of death and decay; it’s killed recently but not recently enough for me to get any sense of its presence.”
“The sewer workers guild member who requested our services reckons there’s been something queer down here for about a month or two. Still down here amongst the muck and stench you’d wonder how he’d tell.”
“Don’t they have someone who deals with this kind of problem?” Sebastian asked, he was holding an old handkerchief to his nose in an effort to blunt some of the smell.
“Had, they had someone, which is why they hired me and you badgered me into bringing you and Lily along,” I said. I began to move towards where the worst of the stench was coming from, years of close encounters had given me a sense of death that was as good as any talent employed by an Arcane initiate or adept even. It also made me aware of the potential dangers. I made sure all my weapons were loose in their scabbards and sheaths, my right hand resting on the hilt of my trusty longsword.
“And you think a necrovore has killed the former employees of the guild?”
“I don’t think Sebastian; I know a necrovore did it. Now shut your trap because it’s giving away our position.”

Most people on the streets above in the daily hustle and bustle that was their normal routine would laugh and call you a fool if you tried to tell them that Necrovores existed. They were the kind of thing that according to their nice, neat worldview only existed in legend and stories one told to make your kids eat their greens or to get them to go to bed at night and not make a ruckus. Eat your broccoli or the hungry necrovore will come and eat you, keep it quite in their or I’ll feed you to the necrovore that kind of thing. Funny thing is that sometimes the bogeymen of fireside stories and folk sayings can sometimes be a very real menace, especially in the dark and dank places that exist in the wilds and the urban sprawl.
A bard I’d once met whilst travelling as a caravan guard in the icy wastes of the north had told me about the possible origins of the necrovore. He said back in the distant past when magic was a lot more accessible and was thrown around with reckless disregard someone had undertaken certain esoteric and forbidden study into the nature of death, and death energy as he called it. Those studies lead to the first necrovore, the creature who would become the source of others like it. Initially he had said they were not all that bright, rather like a newborn child who is seeking to feel its way upon emerging into the world. Over time though that changed, especially when whoever or whatever created this entity began to use them as a weapon, as a tool towards achieving power.
According to him the last great war had seen whole legions of the creatures unleashed upon cities and countries, the wilds of what was known as the Desert of Broken Dreams was caused through the actions of such creatures and he said in the furthest reaches of the east there was an entire city filled with them and their various undead servitors. At the time I had thought he was pulling my leg, then our caravan was attacked by a necrovore and its minions…
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&ru
Posted: Jul 8 2010, 02:48 AM
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^^^^^

QUOTE
was rife in the air.
cliche Anything with "rife" in it is probably a cliche.

QUOTE
Fortunately for me
Meaningless words taking up space. If the sentence means the same thing w/o these words, then get rid of them.

QUOTE
I managed to cover my mouth and nose with a thick scarf, just the kind of thing any experienced mercenary would bring.
A scarf? That's the kind of thing any experienced grandmother would bring too.

QUOTE
“Be prepared!” my old drill sergeant used to yell; otherwise you’ll end up being dead. Admittedly though, he was talking about making sure your kit was well kept and you had as much lethal ironmongery on your person to deal out sufficient carnage to a small city or three. Regardless his principal was sound.
Also the motto of the boyscouts. I think you're not quite hitting the right note here for scary mercenaries. Also, unless the drill sergeant is a character, drop this whole section.

That's the 1st paragraph. I imagine the rest of it has similar issues. Cut it down to the bares bones as much as you can. The cut more. Only use words that help you set the scene. Get rid of everything else. Also, starting off with 1st person can make thiings more difficult. You really need to get the protagonists character down pat and it must be distinctive, sympathetic, and interesting. When I say sympathetic, that doesn't mean he has to be good.

This post has been edited by &ru on Jul 8 2010, 02:49 AM
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TDL
Posted: Jul 14 2010, 01:22 AM
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Ok can do.

I have problems with being too wordy, I also have problems in that I can't see the flaws although I know too well there are flaws but unless they're beating me about the head with rubber chickens they don't register.

I generally go for first person because it's a bad habit of mine and with third person I find myself for some reason drifting between tenses like a politician drifting between causes and agendas.

Cheers
Tom
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Clair John
Posted: Jul 17 2010, 04:53 AM
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Hi,
It will be more clear when you complete the whole part. (dissertationprovider.co.uk)

This post has been edited by Clair John on Jul 17 2010, 05:05 AM
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leachim1337
Posted: Oct 4 2010, 10:18 AM
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As a great fan of Starcraft, i have written a couple of stories that i published on a personal website. The action revolves around the life a squad of marines have aboard the flagship "The Hyperion" while in battle with the zerg and the Dominion.

Hope you will enjoy it. Any comments or replies would be appreciated.

I have already published the first 3 chapters.

A Marine's Life
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steuben
Posted: Oct 29 2010, 09:51 AM
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as i play with a technique, i'm wondering if anybody has any tips for transitioning to and from flashbacks.
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&ru
Posted: Oct 30 2010, 03:07 PM
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QUOTE (steuben @ Oct 29 2010, 09:51 AM)
as i play with a technique, i'm wondering if anybody has any tips for transitioning to and from flashbacks.

Well, you could always try something like this to start your flashback:

QUOTE
Suddendly John remembered the time when he had tried to insert a large pickle in his rectum while masturbating, only to have it dissapear into his small intestine..."


And to get out:

QUOTE
The tempting and sensuous smell of the steaming hot pocket emenating from his Mom's microwave reached the basement and John abandoned his humiliating, yet strangely erotic, memories for more urgent needs.  He idly wondered if the Vlassic jar in the frig was full..."


I added some actual flashback's for versimilitude, but obviously you don't need to use those (but feel free if they...inspire you). wink.gif

Seriously though, there are probably 100's of ways to do it really. Just fool around with it and find something you like.
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&ru
Posted: Nov 17 2010, 01:04 AM
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QUOTE (&ru @ Oct 30 2010, 03:07 PM)
Well, you could always try something like this to start your flashback:



And to get out:



I added some actual flashback's for versimilitude, but obviously you don't need to use those (but feel free if they...inspire you). wink.gif

Seriously though, there are probably 100's of ways to do it really. Just fool around with it and find something you like.

What, no response? Maybe my examples we a little off-putting?
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soopergrape
Posted: Nov 19 2010, 09:38 PM
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QUOTE (Megaduck @ Aug 11 2008, 12:24 PM)
“This is a very small metal tube in the middle of the most hostile environment known to man.  There are exactly two things standing between you and an extremely painful death.  The first, is the integrity of that tube, the second, is the person standing right next to you.  Look at them,” Alex said and no one moved.  “Look at them.  Your life depends on them doing their job perfectly; their life depends on you doing your job perfectly.  If you don’t, we all die.

“That means if I order you to cut off the hydrogen flow to the fusion reactor, you do it.  You don’t argue, you don’t refuse, you do it right then.  If I order you to shut the pressure doors you do it. 

Ah! Let me guess: The Captain has just attained that rank as a result of a trgic near catastrophe that has left them with little reserves of anything-including crew. Their only choice is to continue the mission ahead until the resupply/rescue ship arrives. They can't call home because with the loss of the transport ship and its data link (through the now refrozen penetration) they are now trapped until they receive the signal that a new thermal passage has been formed. It is the only way they will ever leave Europa. (?)

Well, it was just a guess.

mine is a short section of part of a screenplay:
Sam's imagination - darkened porch - night 9:59 PM

Sam at 16 is standing with the first girl he ever kissed, scared to death. After several long moments she leans into him and whispers into his ear.

first girl:

"Let me tell you a secret Sam Robinson, girls don't stand in the dark with boys they don't intend to kiss."
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soopergrape
Posted: Nov 20 2010, 10:26 AM
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"only to have it dissapear into his small intestine..."

I think they are afraid of this pickle. It may be an oversized gerkin-it seems to know it's way around!
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ZacharyZemsen
Posted: Nov 30 2010, 09:43 AM
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I've been working on this for a while, and I actually have about five chapters done...
but the first half of the first chapter sucks no matter what I do.

---------------

DarkWOLF: Chapter 1


“What do you want from us?” asked the Inquirer.
“We need your help,” Carl said nervously. It was really dark – pitch black – and the voice from the darkness was frightening. But he, Kaylee, and Zach had been searching for a whole week, and this was the only promising help they could find.
“Why?”
Kaylee stammered, “A lot of our friends have been kidnapped – seven so far – in just two weeks! The police haven’t been able to find anything, no one has. We got like a ransom note or something saying that we have a week to find them, and if we can’t find them before that day we’ll never see them again!” she burst into tears. Carl took over again, “It was signed, ‘Zekiria and the Chosen,’ and something about a ‘black heart’, but we don’t know who or what that is.”
“We’ve dealt with Zekiria before,” the Inquirer sounded thoughtful, “She actually killed a few of us before we drove them away,” the Inquirer sighed, “I’m sorry, but after that, we have been searching for new members, and haven’t been able to find anyone. From what you’ve told us, I believe we would need at least one more person to join us before we can help you, and... sadly, no one else can join.”
He continued to apologize as Kaylee burst into tears again.
Zach was a little stunned. The old man they had met said this group of outcasts could probably help them. These people were the only chance they had left. Everyone else had tried and failed. The police, their friends and family, even the government had been looking for these kids.
“Please,” Kaylee begged, “Please do something to help! You’re our only chance to save everyone!”
“I’m very sorry, but we need more people!” the Inquirer said.
Zach, who up to this point had been silent, said, “…What if I join?”
“You join? Are you serious? You must be insane. No one has ever joined our pack.”
“Zach!” Kaylee whimpered, “They could hurt you! We don’t even know why they’re outcasts!”
“Young lady,” the voice said, “do you have even the slightest idea of what we are?”
“No…” she mumbled.
“Some sort of mythical beast?” Carl suggested, “Maybe just a bunch of freaks? I don’t think you’re human; the rumors all say your monsters.”
“That’s actually not a bad guess.”
In the darkness and the quiet, Zach thought more about his life.
“What do I have to lose?” he asked himself, “I’m an orphan who has nothing to live for.”
“You’re willing to give up everything and everyone you ever knew to undergo something that could be considered mental torture to help the few friends you have?”
“What else can I do if I don’t want them to die?”
They were quiet for a second, “Before you make a final decision, I need to show you something,” he sounded even more serious than in the first place, “I could say, ‘prepare to meet your doom,’ but I suppose it’s not always a bad thing to be one of us.”
They heard a chair scoot away from the other side of the table, and footsteps toward the back of the room. A switch was clicked and the lights came on.
They weren’t actually too surprised by his species. He was a middle-aged wolf-man, standing on two legs, his arms folded across his chest, and a tail wagging slightly behind him.
What did surprise them was his clothing. He was wearing a stained wife-beater, black jeans, and black biking gloves. He had long, greasy, black hair pulled into a ponytail. A gold earring was in each of his ears, and a choke-chain necklace with a milk-white orb – which glowed red in an odd way – around his neck.
“Sorry,” he said when he saw their surprised faces, “this isn’t quite what you’d expect a quiet voice from the darkness to look like is it? You guys are the only people who’ve ever seen us. We try to intimidate everyone by keeping them in the dark,” he leaned in close, “Now, from here on out you’re all sworn to absolute secrecy. If you tell anyone what you’ve seen or heard here, we will find you and there will be consequences. Tracking people is one of the things we do best here at DarkWOLF. Especially when they’re not missing.”
Kaylee, Carl, and Zach all nodded their heads a bit enthusiastically.

---------------

So should I fix it? Or just completely start it over? huh.gif


-------------------

And yes, since Zach is actually just my pen name, I used it in the story.

This post has been edited by ZacharyZemsen on Nov 30 2010, 09:44 AM
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steuben
Posted: Dec 29 2010, 07:45 PM
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wish i could gve you an answer... but try sketching it backwards. start from the point at which things don't suck and work to the front. then write it forwards.

but you started with speech. which from what i've read doesn't work well. so yo'll have to rejuggle the ordering or add some text infront of it.

carl's statement about monsters breaks zach flow on joining the party. move it down a couple of lines and it flows into the reveal. or push it to the top to build a bit of suspence about what is waiting in the dark.

okay some of an answer...

----------------------------

but my issue is one of being trapped by the tropes.

basicly i've got a story line. "Bratty Teenage Daughter" is sent to wtay with her uncle in rural somewhere. she stumbles on a portal to a magical land. her uncle goes in after her. there he's de-aged to his mid twenties. where she plays the "mr watson" to her uncle's "mr. exposition". they "walk the earth" for a while, having adventures. their path home takes them through "the underworld". the get back. she's no longer the bratty teenager, and her uncle is elderly again. but of course it is all "narnia timed" and despite the extended tine in the fantasy world most of a day has pasted back home.

in a bit of a nutshell... and i may have missed some minor ones that i've sketched in. so is there anything that i can do to prevent myself from sliding down the hill of tropes into the mire of cliche? or if some expansion is needed ask.
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ZacharyZemsen
Posted: Jan 4 2011, 10:16 AM
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QUOTE
but you started with speech. which from what i've read doesn't work well. so yo'll have to rejuggle the ordering or add some text infront of it.


Now that you mention it, I think someone told me that once as well...

QUOTE
carl's statement about monsters breaks zach flow on joining the party. move it down a couple of lines and it flows into the reveal. or push it to the top to build a bit of suspence about what is waiting in the dark.


It would probably be better to move it to the top, you're right.
Maybe I should use it to not begin with dialogue...?

Well, thanks!

---------------------

Yours sounds like a fun adventure, but I don't see it as heading toward cliche unless you have a specific story you're basing it on. happy.gif

I guess I would like some expansion on what cliches you're actually afraid of. huh.gif
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steuben
Posted: Jan 4 2011, 05:39 PM
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i'm not basing it off a story... at least not deliberately. it just feels like a base plot that has been done a number of times before. troubled/rebelous teen falls down the rabbit hole to fantasy/troubled land has adventures returns a funtional and resonsible person.

the story concept i have is that the niece is hanging out with kids who think they are bad ass and general hooliganism. she picks up on it. she falls down the rabbit hole and her uncle shows her what bad ass really means.

perhaps i'll have to fill in the storyboards a bit more to figure out if i'm trapped and which ones i can play with.
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ZacharyZemsen
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 11:56 AM
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I think you'll be okay.

I'm pretty sure that if your as careful as you sound, you'll be able to pick out what you need.
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Jarrod
Posted: Feb 10 2011, 08:45 AM
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I've just started working on a virtual cop like simple shooter game and so far I've decided the story should go like this.

There's a bunch of men who work for a robotics facility which has gone rouge.
So you fight the men and a bunch of robots outside the facility in and around packing crates then have a boss battle with say a large robot.
Then there are more specialized men with better armor and some new robots you fight them as you make your way through the facility, ending in a battle with a bunch of little robots.
Now deep in the facility there are humans in robot suits and heavy armor.
you fight them until you reach the back end of the facility where you take control of a robot suit and then confront a heavily armored large robot.
Once that is defeated the hero exits the facility and the game ends.

Anyone have any suggestions about the plot or maybe there should be some narrative to the game.

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tsukubane
Posted: Mar 29 2011, 03:20 PM
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I'm trying to Write a screenplay, of sort, that I will later turn into a web comic. The problem is, I just don't know how to start it off. Every time I try I just get to many ideas and can't choose. It's about a group of students at a school that teaches about Jero, an energy that is a combination of magic and science.
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&ru
Posted: Apr 4 2011, 12:37 AM
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QUOTE (tsukubane @ Mar 29 2011, 03:20 PM)
I'm trying to Write a screenplay, of sort, that I will later turn into a web comic. The problem is, I just don't know how to start it off. Every time I try I just get to many ideas and can't choose. It's about a group of students at a school that teaches about Jero, an energy that is a combination of magic and science.

So your problem is that you can't write because you have too many ideas?!

This isn't actually a "problem". Write all the ideas down and then pick your favorite and start writing. Save the others for the times when you can't think of any ideas.
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Amastre
Posted: Apr 21 2011, 07:33 AM
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Definitely have to agree with the validity of &ru's advice. It can be hard to keep track of a large group of ideas when you are trying to keep them contained in your mind, which can be frustrating.

One technique I have used, particularly if I have a bunch of ideas for scenes in the same story, is to write the ideas on index cards, and shuffle them up to get ideas for how events in the story can progress.

Of course, I really oughta put some of my own advice back into use...
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Jarrod
Posted: Apr 29 2011, 01:19 AM
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I have decided I may start may game with a section of Dialog.

It goes like this.

It was a time when companies where going rouge with cutting edge technology and Governments had to send armed inspectors to investigate, certain facilities.

One such inspector was Renald Tobius Sheldon and he was tasked with inspecting the Trendwell Robotics Facility.
But upon reaching the front gate three robotics employees drew weapons on him and he was forced to react.

And then the game starts.

This post has been edited by Jarrod on Apr 29 2011, 01:21 AM
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DaRk_KnIgHt
Posted: May 5 2011, 10:10 AM
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My attempt at starting some teen drama romance story thing I had in my head for a while. The prologue so far I guess. Maybe I should just suck it up and write in first person. Found it awkward to write about someone's thoughts running everywhere.

Thinking of pulling this off without ever mentioning anybody’s name. It will all be about ‘Him’ and ‘Her’. Might end up clusterfuck confusing though. I’ll see what happens.
===

There had to be a mistake. It all didn't add up. All his actions up till now, all the time he dealt with those numbers. Those god-damned numbers. The friends he could have made, the social life he could have had, all the time he could have spent sleeping 3 more hours per day had accumulated to a mere 77% scribbled in red ink.

Thus the boy started to think. Just how had he spent his time up till now? Why was the 77% so upsetting?

He began to relive the blur known as his daily routine. Everyday, rush back home. Finish homework as fast as possible. Read textbooks. Do revision exercises. Nothing else mattered, nobody else mattered. Just work, work, work and more work.

Then pause. He began to reason things out. 77% is a decent mark all things considered. He probably ranked in the upper half of his class, possibly the upper quarter. Plus he highest he had ever scored in middle school was 68%. Most students with that mark would go home and probably be told something like “It's okay but you can do better.” No allowances will be increased or decreased, nobody will be particularly be that upset over anything and life will go on as usual.

Pause again.

That won't happen for him. He began to think of that middle aged guy who comes home late at night, eats a cold dinner by himself while reading the newspapers. That noisy person. Noisy, noisy noisy, noisy, noisy. Ear blisteringly noisy. Every time he opened his mouth, an endless ear blistering spiel that sounded like a mix of fingernails and chalkboard in a blender. Ah that's right. Dad.

It was always something about that excellent somebody. That person that just happened to have been born from the same womb earlier than he. That person and his pesky marks in the 90s. That person who happens to be in some other country pursuing some academically superior lifestyle. Now what was that term again? Oh right, a brother.

The endless comparisons. Day after day, at best an hour. At worst the whole evening. The only solace was when he comes home after he had fallen asleep.

That was why he slaved away when high school started. He had enough. He had to make him shut up somehow. And he had succeeded, showing that old man just how hard working he could be. A semester of relative silence. But at what cost?

Drowning in text and numbers every night. Getting his mind washed over with torrents of information, all with questionable long term importance. Alienating most people in his class. Missing out all those pleasures in life. Setting aside a love life, his social life is now shambles.

On top of all that, the silence will no longer be there. That old fart will open his mouth again. His eardrums will begin to undergo various stress tests again. First something about results being all that matter. Then there will be something about his older sibling, or somebody's kid that he never knew. Then it will progress to not being a fitting son to a hospital director. His worth as a human being will come into question. Then it will repeat all over again.

So this was the result. All that time he spent, all those suppressed desires and all that mental stress and sleep deprivation he put himself through. And it will still be noisy. That old man will open his mouth again. All that comes out will be noise, noise, noise and more noise. In fact, he found it pretty noisy right about now.

Reality came knocking again. The papers on his desk, glaringly white with sunlight from the window. That 77% scrawled in red ink at the top right corner. Now all that classroom chatter was beginning to sound like a certain old man. Something about marks being compared. Comparisons, comparisons, comparisons, comparisons, comparisons. His head began to throb. His ears began to ring. Then it all went away with a single thought.

“Nothing matters any more.”

And with that, he got up while gripping the two legs of his desk and flung it straight through the window.
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&ru
Posted: May 20 2011, 03:40 AM
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^^^^^^

So, what exactly do we have here? Is this kid mentally slow or something? He's working his ass off to get C grades? And apparently he's got serious memory issues since he can't even remember who his father and brother are without effort.

I'm not really seeing where this is going yet I guess. If it's a story about the struggle of a child who wants to be talented and impress his family but unfortunately doesn't have the intelligence to do it, that could be interesting.

But you haven't written very much yet, so it's hard to say much about it.
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steuben
Posted: May 22 2011, 08:24 PM
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I heard a story long ago. A man was approached by the devil. Now it could have been the devil, but it could have been a demon or one of the elder gods. He offered the man a deal. “You best me with two out of three rolls of this pair of dice you may have what you wish. You lose and your soul is mine.” The man, he thought for a while and agreed. So they threw the dice. The devil he rolled a nine and the man a six. The devil smiled. They threw the dice again. The devil he rolled a two, “snake eyes” he said. The man had rolled a pair of fours. “Ah”, the devil said, “eight the hard way.” The devil grinned, “looks like we're even.” They rolled the third time. The devil he rolled twelve. He smiled a wide terrible smile. “It looks like your soul is mine,” he said. The man just gave the dice a flick. As they flew through the air there was a faint snick. The first die came up six. The second split in half as it hit the ground. The pips showing added up to seven, because even the devil uses fair dice at least for his opponent. The devil just laughed a long and terrible laugh. “Well, it looks like you rolled 13 the easy way,” he said as he faded away. Now, I do not know what the man wished for. But I do know that perhaps we have rolled 13 the hard way.

----------------------------------------

a check for sanity, flow, and consistency of style, or anything else that is required.
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Wavehawk
Posted: Jul 23 2011, 08:44 AM
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Steuben--maybe break that down into separate paragraphs, because it's really hard to read all that in one go. Not to mention that paragraph spacing can be used to break a sequence of things.

Just my opinon. I know some people think otherwise, but I usually prefer to read something tha's cached like a proper short story or novel as opposed to a rambling "it's all got be a block o'text" news report.

BTW: I am kicking myself. On another forum, I put out a challenge to some peopel to write a situation wherein they and a character they like in an anime go on a date, with the stipulation that it should be believable and in-character.

...guess what I got? sad.gif That's right. I will need to spend three hours screaming at walls and people who should not be allowed anywhere near a keyboard for the sanity of most english-speaking human beings.

And that's just to do with grammar and spelling. God help me if that many people think what they write down is anywhere close to being believable or realistic.

God, I'm so stupid.

This post has been edited by Wavehawk on Jul 23 2011, 08:52 AM
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DaRk_KnIgHt
Posted: Sep 30 2011, 09:16 AM
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Not sure where I'm going anymore with my writing and it doesn't help that I don't have a good grasp of what bar to aim for or what exactly defines good writing. I think my grammar and spelling are more or less up to stuff but that doesn't generally equate to good writing.

So here is my shot at... something. Trying to set up some characters to roll with. For some weird love story I want to write. Not sure if I'm trying too hard with this.

==========

As if being awakened from a dream, her awareness gradually returned. As the haze lifted away from her eyes, her senses tore away at her without mercy.

She lay on her bed, eyes wide open at the dark and empty ceiling. The only illumination in her room was a dull silver light, refracted through the translucent curtains from the window. As her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, she started to see shapes born from the various shadows cast through the ghostly curtains.

There is nothing there. There is nothing there. There is nothing there.

She knew there was nothing besides mere shadows cast from the moonlight on the ceiling. And that was what she kept telling herself.

There is nothing there. There is nothing there. There is nothing there.

But she did not believe her own words. Glares from invisible eyes pierced through from the darkness. She felt like she was being watched from everywhere, even within a locked room in perfect solitude. Unable to bear her sight any longer, she shut her eyelids tightly. Yet perfect darkness was not what awaited her. Incomprehensible shapes and colours flashed from within her eyelids. A mottled flurry of noise continued to flicker in her vision. This was when she realized her ears were ringing.

The silence was deafening. A constant hum at a single pitch and tone played endlessly within her eardrums. And it seemed to progressively get louder, threatening to overwhelm her mind.

Her gasp for air broke through the silence. While taking long and hard breaths to drown out the silence, she felt more and more unsettled.

As if something was there.

As if the sounds of her breathing wasn’t hers.

Go away. Go away. Go away. Go away.

Her breathing became more rapid, as if in response to her irrational feelings. A wave of nausea washed over her and she responded by clasping her hands over her mouth. She could feel her hot breath washing over her fingers in an erratic rhythm. Her hands began to shake uncontrollably.

She opened her eyes again. Her dimly lit room flashed back into existence. It was the very same room she had slept in for years. Everything was placed where it belonged. But yet it all felt so unfamiliar.

Her breathing became faster and more erratic. Her throat convulsed hard enough to bring tears into her eyes. She could not calm her breathing and started to choke.

The sounds of coughing echoed throughout the room. She struggled to bring her breathing back under control. The flowing tears began to sting her eyes.

Calm down. Calm down. Calm down.

Her tears blurred her vision, causing everything to look even more alien to her than it did before. Despite her pleas to herself, she could not calm down. In an act of desperation, she bit down onto her hand.

Her hand tensed up as pain struck like lightning. She could feel the taste of copper dancing on the tip of her tongue. The pain provided little relief to the overwhelming anxiety that was flooding her. She knew she could not hold on any longer.

And so she reached out for her salvation, a bottle of pills sitting at the corner of her bedside table. Her shaking hands struggled to unscrew the cap. She could barely maintain her grip on the bottle and her tear stained vision served only to hinder her attempts at getting it open.

Please. Please. Please. Please.

At last the cap came off, falling from her hands and filling her ears with a diminishing beat as it bounced several times off the floor before rolling to a stop. And her hopes for salvation died with it.

She stared eyes wide open into the empty bottle. As feelings of dread and despair emerged, her knees buckled and she collapsed in resignation. She had already known it was empty.

It felt like she was sinking through the ground as she hugged her legs tightly. She lay paralyzed on the cold hard floor until the cocktail of anxiety, unease and dread became unbearable and caused her to scream.



Like a fish out of water, she gasped for air. Her eyes had snapped wide open and reality had once again fell back into place around her. A gentle amber shade of light lit up a different room. She began to breathe in a constant rhythm.

It was a ghost from the past, refusing to let her go. It served as a grim reminder of a personal hell she was once trapped within. The days where she fought herself in that cold and dark room. The gates to that hell were still open, threatening to swallow her up in a moment of weakness. A moment that she decided that she will never allow herself to have.

She lay for a while longer, placing an arm over her forehead. After allowing a single tear to drip down her face, she got up and braced herself for a brand new day.

===========

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Satoshi1250
Posted: Jan 15 2012, 06:04 AM
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First of all, Hello to all of you, this is my first post here at megatokyo. :>
Second, I hope we all get along. Hehe

Anyway, here is one of my completed stories from about a year ago. Please help me in correcting mistakes and the like. Opinions are appreciated. :3


Whatever I Can Do

My master is so kind, always showing me kindness and compassion. I as his humble servant must do anything in my power to please my master. But I can do only so much. He is sometimes displeased by my incapability, and the only thing can do is ask for forgiveness. This existence in my view is somehow melancholic, because of my limited capabilities.

However, as a servant, it is also my duty to do anything I can to improve myself as much as I can possibly can, for the sake of my master's appreciation. As a servant I must push through and make my master proud. And for a while, I thought that my master was pleased with me, always smiling when I dropped one of his priceless glasswares, always encouraging me to try harder whenever I screwed up a simple thing like cleaning the master bedroom and accidentally ripping his velvet blanket into two distinct pieces. I thought that he was happy and content because of me.

Alas I could never have been more wrong. The next thing I knew, he locked me in my quarters, to await execution. He ignored all my pleas and cries. I desperately clawed at the door, but it was made of solid mahogany and didn't budge. I was betrayed by my own master, what a disgrace. After all I did for him, this was his way of repaying me? Blinded by rage, I lifted my bed into the air, and with all the strength I had, I swung it at the door, effectively shattering the expensive, ornate mahogany in half. I didn't care anymore about the implications of what I was about to do next. He is a shameful master, unworthy of his title.

As I was walking around the soon to be blood-stained corridors of my former master's house, I came across one of my maid friends. Without hesitation, I charged at her and knocked her down to the floor. Dazed, she tried to fight back, but at the back of her mind, she knew she didn't have a chance against me. As I wrapped my hands around her neck, I realized that if I kill this person, I would be no better than my wretched disgrace of a master. I didn't want to be like that miserable excuse of a human being. I instantly released my grip on her neck, but it was too late. She was dead. I frantically tried to do CPR on her, to no avail. As I stood up, I realized that I became the very thing I sworn to destroy. This feeling was disgusting to say the least. I couldn't hold myself back, so I threw up beside the maid's body, which was still twitching for some reason. Now I had done it, I am now a monster, bound for darkness and death. This I swear, I WILL drag my master to hell with me.

The maid I had killed had a sharp bread knife on her tray, so I picked it up. I knew what I had to do. I shall kill my master and then myself. I walked slowly to the kitchen, while playing with the knife in my hand. It was almost noon, and my master should now be waiting in his study, for the maid to bring him his tea. I will give him the best kind of tea there is, red tea. The rarest kind, the tea that chokes you to death. His blood will be the death of him, this I swear.

As I peered around the corner, I saw him, quietly reading a thick, leather bound book. From what I can tell, it was the same book he used to let me read to him when he was still young. How ironic that that book will be the last literary piece he will ever see, when in the past he needed me to read it to him. He stood up silently, while still reading the book. I quietly walked into the room, avoiding his line of sight. I snuck up behind him and tapped his back. As he turned around, I plunged the knife into his abdomen. His screams muffled by my free hand, we fell to the ground. I decided to give him the most painful death possible, so I twisted the blade while it was still inside him. The disgusting sound of organs and tissues rupturing filled the room. I whispered to him my last words as he slipped away silently. "Go to hell."

I stood up in triumph, looked around, and spied my former master's pistol, still in it's original glass case. I picked up the case, raised it high, then with devastating force, smashed it against the wall. I picked up the gun slowly, whilst reflecting upon my actions. They were justified. Yes they were. Were they? What did I just do? I suddenly snapped back into reality. I was a monster, of my master's own creation and design. And, as I put the gun against my temple, I realized that I had no more purpose in life, because I had nobody to serve. I looked up at the ornately designed ceiling and laughed as loud as I can. Irony, you are such a cursed insect, for me to be able to eliminate my purpose in life... Is unacceptable. I pulled the trigger. I could instantly feel nothing. I could still distinguish light and dark as I fell to the ground, but it slowly faded into blackness.

Hello master. I am with you now, here to serve you, whatever your desire, I will comply, because you are my master. The one and only master of this God-forsaken realm. Lord Lucifer...
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ThatCrazyArtistKid
Posted: Jun 26 2012, 07:03 PM
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I was trying to write a book and I feel like one part of it doesn't quite work. I'm not going to post all I've written so far, but I will post the part that's bothering me and a little bit more.

“What was it like in your world?” he asks. I take my time before answering. How can I tell him without saying anything too…. personal?
Finally, I say, “Violent.” I won’t tell him about my little cousin, or Sam, and especially not about Rose.
But he pushes me to say more. “But when you talk about your technology and economies and stuff, it always seems like your leaving something out, something big.”
I’m still not talking. I tell him that. But: “Come on, I’m your friend. You can tell me. I won’t tell anyone. Please?”
I don’t know why he’s so obsessed with my past. Well, I guess he does seem to like knowing things. But he might as well stop trying. I don’t want him to know.
But he keeps begging and begging. He begs for hours on end. This kid is really becoming bothersome. So I tell him. Everything. It’ll shut him up anyway.

The thing is, Isaac is supposed to be more quiet, serious, and mature, as you can see in this paragraph:

Isaac seems quiet. Perhaps he’s shy or perhaps he’s always like this. I think the latter is true. He seems to be studying me with a kind of interest. I study back. He looks about my age. He has dark brown hair that curls wildly, and it’s in his face. His skin is very pale. His shockingly blue eyes seem to stare into the depths of my being. I feel uncomfortable looking into those eyes. I decide to look away.

Please tell me what I should put instead of the first bit. Thanks.
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sarkeizen
Posted: Nov 21 2012, 03:56 PM
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QUOTE (ThatCrazyArtistKid @ Jun 26 2012, 09:03 PM)
I was trying to write a book and I feel like one part of it doesn't quite work.  I'm not going to post all I've written so far, but I will post the part that's bothering me and a little bit more.

     “What was it like in your world?”  he asks.  I take my time before answering.  How can I tell him without saying anything too…. personal?
     Finally, I say, “Violent.”  I won’t tell him about my little cousin, or Sam, and especially not about Rose.
     But he pushes me to say more.  “But when you talk about your technology and economies and stuff, it always seems like your leaving something out, something big.”
     I’m still not talking.  I tell him that.  But: “Come on, I’m your friend.  You can tell me.  I won’t tell anyone.  Please?”
     I don’t know why he’s so obsessed with my past.  Well, I guess he does seem to like knowing things.  But he might as well stop trying.  I don’t want him to know.
     But he keeps begging and begging.  He begs for hours on end.  This kid is really becoming bothersome.  So I tell him.  Everything.  It’ll shut him up anyway.

The thing is, Isaac is supposed to be more quiet, serious, and mature, as you can see in this paragraph:

     Isaac seems quiet.  Perhaps he’s shy or perhaps he’s always like this.  I think the latter is true.  He seems to be studying me with a kind of interest.  I study back.  He looks about my age.  He has dark brown hair that curls wildly, and it’s in his face.  His skin is very pale.  His shockingly blue eyes seem to stare into the depths of my being.  I feel uncomfortable looking into those eyes.  I decide to look away.

Please tell me what I should put instead of the first bit.  Thanks.

First, try it from the other persons point of view. Attempting to explain a strange world from inside the stranger is hard to make work. The "kid" in this scene is the normal one. Use them as the foil to help expose information about Isaac. Another good reason to change character is that Isaac won't feel "quiet" to the reader if you have too much inner monologue going on.

Other stuff: Isaac's reluctance seems to be artificial. If you're reluctant to speak about things it's for a reason if this reason is the result of the kind of world you are from. Why doesn't lying come easily? Why would you have to consciously think of what not to tell people? I get that you're attempting to use this as a way to introduce other characters. If so, why not use external things. A tattoo, a ring, a scar. The "kid" can ask questions about those obvious things and then either external or internal dialog can be used to expose the relationship of the object to the other characters.

Also if someone is from a *world* that is consistently violent it's different from coming from a country that is violent. A person who knows only violence should display characteristics of assuming that their world is the norm. You might try have them use a more oblique term or struggle to find a term.

The "kid" is also acting artificially. You rarely say "I think you're leaving out something big" instead of talking about the specific questions Isaac doesn't answer or ways he acts. i.e. "You don't seem to like my dad" (because his dad is a policeman and policemen on Isaac's world are dangerous).

Also remember that all of this is still kind of "telling" rather than "showing". Consider instead putting your character in a scene where the aspects of living in a violent culture would get contrasted. Things he finds normal or abnormal. Read some stories about naturalizing child soldiers to get an idea as to how this affects people's psyche.

This post has been edited by sarkeizen on Nov 21 2012, 03:59 PM
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Xelfixtheimmortal
Posted: May 2 2014, 08:26 AM
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I'm not sure... is fanfiction okay? And where would I go to post finished works?
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Alexanzer
Posted: May 10 2014, 05:56 PM
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Do not use copyrighted material in your works.
No, that doesn't mean using brand names like Coke or Nintendo. Those would be trademarks. The copyrighting would include things such as, but not limited to characters, worlds, plots, et cetera. So, you know what that means: straight-out fanfiction is prohibited.


From one of the FAQs. Unfortunate as it is. To check and make sure this rule is still in effect you could always message one of the moderators in charge of this board. Hopefully this doesn't dissuade you from participating here.
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Xelfixtheimmortal
Posted: May 16 2014, 08:56 AM
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I'm still confused about where to post stuff I'm done with.
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Alexanzer
Posted: May 17 2014, 03:33 PM
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As near as I can tell, you just make any finished works a stand alone thread and wait for "constructive" flame. This daily thread seems like it is for partial pieces and heavy critiques on parts you can't quite get right.
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Xelfixtheimmortal
Posted: May 21 2014, 08:50 AM
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I don't thnk I can make threads.
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Reonn
Posted: May 31 2014, 10:53 AM
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A piece of poetry for revision. It is aimed at iambic trimeter (with spondees and trochees as well, remember iambic is only mostly iambs). Just working on actual form and voice rather than just random poetical rambling.

Acceptance

And with his head held high,
Does the prisoner walk,
Like King under the sky,
Or headsman to the block.

Though he may soon be dead,
All his fears he had matched;
He would not lose his head
While it was yet attached.
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Magusman
Posted: Jun 2 2014, 05:44 AM
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I feel this scene is lacking. Please help me out in expanding and improving it:

Grand Army Barracks, New Eden
Sir Perth anxiously shifted his weight as he fiddled with the straps of his cuirass. He had already triple-checked his armor with his squire and knew the armor was secure, but could not help himself. Overwhelmed with doubt and worry, Perth wished he knew where the Countess was and hoped she was still alive.

“Mr. Perth…” Dr. Church walked in the door, a pistol tucked into his trouser’s waist band.

Perth hesitated in his reply. After a couple moments, he finally made eye contact with the notorious Dr. Church and folded his steel-plated arms. “Eh? What brings you here?”

“You know,” Church began with a roguish smile. “Curiosity kills the cat.” Church began pacing back and forth, hands behind his back in that professorial manner. “But I am,” he continued. “No cat.”

“Aye, you are not.” Sir Perth said slowly and flatly.

“What brings the great dueling second of the Volta dynasty and the champion of New Eden to the barracks headquarters?” Church’s smile relaxed into a conspiratorial expression.

“I am here to—hold your horses, Church.” Sir Perth narrowed his eyes, the only visible part of his head, through his steel bascinet’s eye slit. “You had her kidnapped, didn’t you?”

“I can,” Dr. Church hastily began his blatant lie. “neither confirm nor deny this most wounding accusation.”

Grand Marshall Horatio Slaymaker descended the spiral staircase of the barracks, entering the lobby where Dr. Church and Sir Perth glared daggers at each other. Slaymaker, dressed in a white surcoat emblazoned with a stylized watchful eye contained within the outline of a tower and leather breeches, tapped his wolfskin boots against the ground to shake off some dust and dried mud that had collected over the past day of patrols and appointments. He was a short, built man of approximately 180 pounds of pure muscle and discipline. And he wasn’t going to abide by Dr. Church’s intrusion into his headquarters.

“Get out of my barracks.” The Grand Marshall ordered, pointing to the double doors that served as the main entryway. “Now.”

Church grinned malevolently and slinked out the door, slipping on a pair of black silk gloves to accessorize his scholarly attire.

With their intruder gone, Slaymaker and Perth both relaxed several degrees. “What happened to the Countess, Sir Knight?”

“I scared off two Thieves’ Guild practitioners and killed a cultist, by the looks of it, and rushed into the master bedroom at our estate only to find her missing, Horatio. We need to act quickly while the Grand Army’s forces are out in the field. With only a skeleton crew manning the city’s walls, I found no help among the militia earlier. This is why I come to you,” Perth said, updating the grey-haired commander. “I need your help, Horatio.” Volta’s defender implored. “Desperately.”

Horatio nodded and closed his eyes to think...

- Source: More Than This (my fantasy novel in progress)

The second to last paragraph is especially worrisome. Tons of talk talk talking. I'll go over this again when I've had more sleep.
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Reonn
Posted: Jun 2 2014, 03:36 PM
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I kind of got lost in who was talking shortly after church arrived, and I was never too sure where the scene was or what event was currently happening other than a guy wearing armor and a guy carrying a pistol of some mysterious kind (I assume some kind of flintlock or single fire since someone has a gun and someone is wearing armor I would assume the era to be sometime around late 1600s) there is really not much happening. Focus on action in a scene, movement helps, but a picture of the scene painted in my imagination helps more.

I would also try to avoid using a persons weight in a description of them, unless the veiwpoint character seeing them can tell or otherwise knows weight. Think about what your character knows or sees not what actually is. It also helps in speech to create you character as an individual with a unique view. Phrases of speech or terminolgy differing between people helps create a sense of irony in some situations.

I would like to know more about what is actually happening, though. So hard to tell. The gist I got is some countess was kidnapped and sir perth thinks doctor church did it. I would be inclined to belive dr church didn't bit knows who did and wants perth to think its him.
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Magusman
Posted: Jun 2 2014, 04:03 PM
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QUOTE (Reonn @ Jun 2 2014, 05:36 PM)
I kind of got lost in who was talking shortly after church arrived, and I was never too sure where the scene was or what event was currently happening other than a guy wearing armor and a guy carrying a pistol of some mysterious kind (I assume some kind of flintlock or single fire since someone has a gun and someone is wearing armor I would assume the era to be sometime around late 1600s) there is really not much happening. Focus on action in a scene, movement helps, but a picture of the scene painted in my imagination helps more.

I'll work on the passage. I have approximately 9200 words preceding this passage.

QUOTE
I would also try to avoid using a persons weight in a description of them, unless the veiwpoint character seeing them can tell or otherwise knows weight.

Third person omniscient narration.

QUOTE
Think about what your character knows or sees not what actually is.

Hm...

QUOTE
It also helps in speech to create you character as an individual with a unique view.  Phrases of speech or terminolgy differing between people helps create a sense of irony in some situations.

Of course. I'll comb through the entire story with this in mind at a later date.

QUOTE
I would like to know more about what is actually happening, though.  So hard to tell.  The gist I got is some countess was kidnapped and sir perth thinks doctor church did it.  I would be inclined to belive dr church didn't bit knows who did and wants perth to think its him.

I can shoot you a PM if you want to read the other 9200ish words. The posted passage is right before I delve into the chapter on the Endless Horde led by Khan Ganbaatar.
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Reonn
Posted: Jun 2 2014, 11:02 PM
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Just remember that anything posted on a forum counts as self publication and will in fact make it harder to get published if that is you end goal. Snippets like you did are usually best.

Your second to last paragraph almost seems to surmise the story, but by the way it is worded it seems almost sarcastic. Did he kill the cultist or is he being blamed for it? Or is the line about " ... by the looks of it, ..." him not being sure it was a cultist? Choice wording helps. Try getting someone else to read this section aloud to you. It sometmes helps with speech to hear it spoken.

I like the beginning descriptive of a nervous action the character exhibit. It helps flesh out worry, but the sense is lost throughour the rest of the scene.

A second readthrough clarfied a lot of the problems I was having with understanding the speech. The main thing I don't like though is Churches "curiousity killed the cat" bit. It comes off as rather cliche. Find a witticism that your fond of or better yet, create one yourself! Curiosity killed the cat is way over used, and him answering with him not being a cat just doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the response and just seems an out of place statement meant to build character. Speech helps build character, but actions help more. And it's sometimes small things like Perth fiddling with the strap on armor he knows to be tightened that will help build your character. Find an unnerving quality or trait like chewing fingernails till they bleed to make him seem sinister or eerie. Or a habit like kicking rocks as he walks to make him seem playful or short on attention span.

Also him coming in to the barracks and confronting Perth about why he is there seems a little odd since Perth would have reason to be there and not, I presume, Church who was described as intruding. Kinda strange to bust into someone elses house and demand to know why your not friend is having dinner with them.

Good luck though, and keep it up.

This post has been edited by Reonn on Jun 3 2014, 12:16 AM
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Reonn
Posted: Jun 3 2014, 01:55 AM
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This is a short story I wrote for my Nieces which was never really supposed to see the light of scrutiny, but I figure it is almost worth it. I had to change the ending away from the direction I would normally have gone with my storytelling, but thats because it was meant for children.

The Smile

In a land founded on rules but with no ruler lived a young boy named Aren Scott. Aren came from a poor family and worked long amd hard days to be able to feed them, even if it meant working all day for a loaf of bread. Despite his having to work to support his family at such a young age, Aren was happy, and he smiled to show it.

Aren's father had left them to do his duty, a soldier bound for war, never to return. His mother was sick and ailing and had grown too weak to spin a loom. His sister was just a babe, too young to know her distress. Aren worked to support and feed them, and though his mother's health was failing, he did not it eat at him. He continued working and smiling, hoping to someday get her the care she needed.

Aren smiled as he did his daily work, looking forward to a brighter future. Many people in the land knew of Aren but even more knew of his smile. Though it brought cheer to some to see this boy smiling, some did not like him for it. Pinter Peddler was the wealthiest man in town, and he did not like Aren Scott.

It was not the boy's smile itself that vexed the man, merely that the boy could smile, while Pinter himself could not. Pinter had been born into a rich family, his father being a merchant who had lied, stolen and cheated to get everything he had. He taught his son how to lie, cheat, bully, steal, and bribe to get more. Pinter had always been a good learner and had heen taught those lessons well. Now he had all that money could bring him. Anything of material value, he could possess. Now that he had everything, he just wanted to know what it was like to be happy. His father had assured him that money could buy happiness, but Pinter's father was a miserable man, and despite being wealthy, Pinter was never very happy.

Pinter could not understand how Aren could smile with such ease when tue boy had nothing. So Pinter devised a plan in hope that he could steal the boy's smile for his own.

As the first step of his plan, Pinter decided he needed to find out what it was that made the boy smile, so he disguised himself in the rags and cloths of a poor man and set out to follow Aren as he did his daily work.

Aren rose early in the morning to fetch water and prepare wheat meal and bread for his mother and sister before setting off to find work. He was smiling already. He did not see the bum who looked through his window as he left; he did not see the confusion on the man's face as he found no reason there for the boy to smile.

The bum proceeded to follow Aren through town as the boy stopped by shops and stores checking if there was any work to be had. Many of the shopkeepers turned him away, which did not dishearten the lad, amd others found a menial task for him to do for menial pay. Aren thanked them for the pay, and continued on his way, smiling all the while.

The day carried on in much the same way. Aren found work and was rewarded with small amounts of pay. After working for a baker, the boy was rewarded with a few honeycakes, which he returned to his house with post haste to share with his mother and sister. He left his house smiling even wider after that.

The next day, Pinter went out in disguise again, this time with a plan. Aren left his house to work, his smile still in place, and Pinter followed. When the boy made enough money to buy food to bring home to his family, Pinter made sure to "accidentally" run across the lad. He sat on a corner near Aren's house, and when Aren arrived carrying a loaf of bread and a sack of grain, Pinter called out to the boy. "Young man! Young man! Come and help ajd old man will ya?"

Aren smiled amd approached the bum sitting on the corner. " How are you good sir? How can I help?"

Pinter faked a cough and stared at the boy. "I am old and poor and have not eaten in days. The shopkeepers look down on me and the wealthy spit on me for begging. If I could have but a bit of that bread you would spare me at least another day." He said not expecting the boy to part with the bread.

"A man shouldn't starve." Aren said as he handed him the loaf. "It was to feed my family, but I can still make them some soup. I wish you well, and hope the bread will satisfy your hunger, but I must be going now. Good day sir." Aren said with a smile as he left.

Pinter stood baffled by the boy's act of kindness. He had never expected the boy to so easily part with the bread but he had done so without hesitation. It was almost enough to make Pinter smile. Almost. Not knowing how to smile, Pinter could only frown as he found help for the next part of his plan.

Since the boy did not need food to smile, it must be the money he worked for that made him smile. So pinter arranged a meeting between himself and a local cut-purse of some reknown. He offered the thief a bit of money if he would steal what money Aren had. The thief laughed a lt the simplicity of being paid to steal from a child and agreed to be part of the plot.

And so it happened that the next day, as Aren was going home from where he had been working that a man in dark clothing cake upon him and forced him to hand over all of his money and, being a thief, took all of his food as well.

Aren was saddened by this, but he was a headstrong lad and he remembered having some grain and a few vegetables at home so he could still feed his family. Content with that, he kept going home, his smile hardly faltering.

The story keeps going, but I think I'll stop there. If you feel you must read the rest of it just let me knowand I'll go back to work. I'm typing this with a phone so I'm aware there are probably typos.

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Magusman
Posted: Jun 4 2014, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE (Reonn @ Jun 3 2014, 01:02 AM)
Your second to last paragraph almost seems to surmise the story, but by the way it is worded it seems almost sarcastic. Did he kill the cultist or is he being blamed for it? Or is the line about " ... by the looks of it, ..." him not being sure it was a cultist? Choice wording helps.

Your second guess is correct. Sir Perth does not know if it was a cultist, but was making an educated guess based on his knowledge of the city of New Eden.

QUOTE
Try getting someone else to read this section aloud to you.  It sometmes helps with speech to hear it spoken.

Will do. Never thought of someone else reading it aloud, but I have read my own prose aloud to find mistakes.

QUOTE
I like the beginning descriptive of a nervous action the character exhibit.  It helps flesh out worry, but the sense is lost throughour the rest of the scene.

I figure Perth is more confident by the time an intruder, Dr. Church, shows up. Church is the antagonist and is there to satiate his curiosity and see if his schemes are working out. I am considering cutting out Church from the scene though.

QUOTE
A second readthrough clarfied a lot of the problems I was having with understanding the speech.  The main thing I don't like though is Churches "curiousity killed the cat" bit.  It comes off as rather cliche.  Find a witticism that your fond of or better yet, create one yourself!  Curiosity killed the cat is way over used, and him answering with him not being a cat just doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the response and just seems an out of place statement meant to build character.

Right, show don't tell and actions speak louder than words even in prose. It's a rough draft so I'll get rid of the cliche as you are right.

QUOTE
Speech helps build character, but actions help more.  And it's sometimes small things like Perth fiddling with the strap on armor he knows to be tightened that will help build your character.  Find an unnerving quality or trait like chewing fingernails till they bleed to make him seem sinister or eerie. Or a habit like kicking rocks as he walks to make him seem playful or short on attention span.

Yeah, you're correct. Good examples too.

QUOTE
Also him coming in to the barracks and confronting Perth about why he is there seems a little odd since Perth would have reason to be there and not, I presume, Church who was described as intruding.  Kinda strange to bust into someone elses house and demand to know why your not friend is having dinner with them.

Church is a mean, malevolent villain. So he just wanted the pleasure of seeing Countess Volta's dueling second in despair and anger. As I said, I am considering cutting him out of the scene entirely.

QUOTE
Good luck though, and keep it up.

Thanks. Working on the story today as my company artist works on sketches 5 feet from me.
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Magusman
Posted: Jun 4 2014, 01:58 PM
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OK, I think I improved the passage. It got more interesting too because the two characters talked more.

Grand Army Barracks, New Eden
Sir Perth anxiously shifted his weight as he fiddled with the straps of his cuirass. He had already triple-checked his armor with his squire and knew the armor was secure, but could not help himself. Overwhelmed with doubt and worry, Perth wished he knew where the Countess was and hoped she was still alive.

“Mr. Perth…” Dr. Church walked in the door, a pistol tucked into his trouser’s waist band.

Perth hesitated in his reply. After a couple moments, he finally made eye contact with the notorious Dr. Church and folded his steel-plated arms. “Eh? What brings you here?”

“I happened to see you in here,” Church began with a roguish smile. “I wanted to say hello to the city’s champion.” Church began pacing back and forth, hands behind his back in that professorial manner.

“Aye, I suppose uttering my name with improper title is a greeting nowadays.” Sir Perth said slowly and flatly.

“What brings the great dueling second of the Volta dynasty and the champion of New Eden to the barracks headquarters?” Church’s smile relaxed into a conspiratorial expression.

“I am here to—hold your horses, Church.” Sir Perth narrowed his eyes, the only visible part of his head, through his steel bascinet’s eye slit. “You had her kidnapped, didn’t you?”

“I can,” Dr. Church hastily began his blatant lie. “neither confirm nor deny this most wounding accusation.”

Grand Marshall Horatio Slaymaker descended the spiral staircase of the barracks, entering the lobby where Dr. Church and Sir Perth glared daggers at each other. Slaymaker, dressed in a white surcoat emblazoned with a stylized watchful eye contained within the outline of a tower matched with a pair of leather breeches, tapped his wolf skin boots against the ground to shake off some dust and dried mud that had collected over the past day of patrols and appointments. He was a short, built man of approximately 180 pounds of pure muscle and discipline. And he wasn’t going to abide by Dr. Church’s intrusion into his headquarters.

“Get out of my barracks.” The Grand Marshall ordered, pointing to the double doors that served as the main entryway. “Now.”

Church grinned malevolently and slinked out the door, slipping on a pair of black silk gloves to accessorize his scholarly attire. The night was unusually chilly with a light breeze rattling the wind chimes hanging outside the main entrance.

With their intruder gone, Slaymaker and Perth both relaxed several degrees. “What happened to the Countess, Sir Knight?”

“I scared off two Thieves’ Guild practitioners and killed a cultist, by the looks of it, and rushed into the master bedroom at our estate only to find her missing, Horatio. We need to act quickly while the Grand Army’s forces are out in the field,” Sir Perth said, filling in the old commander.

Horatio nodded and absent-mindedly ran his fingers through his cropped grey hair. The old man stood visibly disturbed at the news. “A cultist, you think?”

“Aye, I killed a red-robed fellow clearly skilled with the blade. He said something to me as his life leeched from him… what did he say?” Perth removed his helm and tucked it under an arm as he thumbed his stubble in thought. “Ah, right.” His eyes lit up as he remembered the last words of his opponent. “You will never kill us all,” he repeated, omitting the last unnecessary word.

“Very good memory,” Horatio quietly commented. The commander then concluded, “Clearly then, more of them are out there. What makes you think he was a cultist though?”

“Call it an educated guess. I have lived within these walls for many summers. But this is why I come to you,” Perth said to the grey-haired commander. “I need your help, Horatio.” Volta’s defender implored. “Desperately.”

Horatio nodded and closed his eyes to think...

This post has been edited by Magusman on Jun 4 2014, 02:00 PM
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Reonn
Posted: Jun 6 2014, 04:23 PM
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This take is better than the last, the characters a bit more defined. I didn't have any problems following the conversation and Dr. Church seems a little more menacingly friendly with Perth.

I struggle with conversation when I try to force my characters into saying things. Sometimes it comes off better letting them think and speak for themselves (eisier to do with viewpoint than omniescient narrative) .

I had a conversation with J.C. Phelps, who wrote the Alexis Stanton Chronicles, and she said sometimes her character would speak for herself in a scene, which would leave her wondering how she was going to write the character out of that situation.

I have heard speech advice for developing characters or bringing emotion into a scene and making it show through speech is to go out and more or less eavesdrop onto people's conversations. Sometimes ackward conversation is appropriate, and people use cliches (a lot) when speaking. Anyways, not all conversations need be formal, and not everything in speech described accurately. The word "thing" could be used to describe an object (in speech) and someone know what is being referred, but not everybody (characters, not readers).

Just tips though, not critique. You cleared it up pretty well. Good job.


This post has been edited by Reonn on Jun 6 2014, 04:24 PM
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Magusman
Posted: Oct 20 2014, 05:50 AM
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"To err is human; to forgive divine."
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On the way to the client, I decided to stop at a convenience store. What was the client’s name again? I checked the grimy scrap of paper I had scribbled on earlier, alcohol stains evident. Waters. I was supposed to escort him to a safehouse. Pretty standard op though I can’t remember which safehouse or why.

I was standing in line and noticed the kid in front of me had one of those Logo Haircuts. His hair was permed and coiffed, swirled into little logos for Krome Entertainment; something new and trendy in the urban youth. The familiar [logo design] reminded me of the time my wife and I had played Krome Krush together; a silly puzzle game.

Augmented eyes saw little surgical scars in inconspicuous places; the little pipsqueak was biografted. He had fuller cheekbones, a smoother knob of chin. Didn’t the guy that ran Marie down in the street have biografting? Yeah, I’m pretty sure of it. He was some beefed up power-muscler with designer abs, a trendy sports car, and that same stupid haircut… Of course, I remember the sports car was daubed and splashed with my wife’s blood. I remember the driver had one of those pipsqueak voices; absolutely bizarre in someone with a barrel chest like his.

I snapped back to reality just as the kid reached for his wallet. Except it wasn’t his wallet, it was the biggest pig sticker you ever saw; a combat knife with 10 inches of blood-flecked steel.

I reacted without thinking. Thinking is meat-time and in meat-time, you only move as slow as your stupid flesh allows. My hand holding the coffee pistoned out and crushed the styrofoam cup sending out scalding hot coffee down my metal and all over the would-be jackbooted criminal. His scream was loud and echoed in my aug’d ears before they quickly adjusted to the volume. Everything happened in slow mo and I was already ahead of the game. My foot came down at the peak of his calf and my metal was already grabbing a hold of his head.

His calf bone snapped loudly under my step and the force of my hand shoved him to the side catapulting him out of the line. He slammed into a display for ROBOWARRIOR XXIV, another Krome game.

The built-in Friend-or-Foe software had written the kid off already and it was my turn at the counter. I stepped up to pay for my coffee, and there was a moment where the shocked and still-reacting clerk and I stared stupidly at the tattered shreds of styrofoam still clinging to my hand, coffee dripping off the scuffed chrome. Guess no coffee.

“Deck of Cancer Angels, unfiltered.” my voice grated. “And some matches.” It wasn’t a meal, but it was close enough.
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Magusman
Posted: Apr 13 2015, 12:14 AM
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My heart settled down as I FORCED IT TO WITH MY SHEER WILLPOWER, GODDAMNIT. Then I sat up, realizing I was arrayed at a diagonal up on the curb. Corporal Waters, that poor bastard, came out and tapped on my Sheila’s side.

“Hey. So. Oh. Shit. Son!” I swiveled my head to hear him speak as I came off an adrenaline high.

Then I replied simply and courteously with only a dash of sarcasm at an old friend. “Why yes, Corporal. It’s time for parade!”

I got out of Sheila and clapped him on the back in the most gentle of bear hugs. “Old battle buddy, it’s been the longest fucking goddamn sonuvabitch time. How’s your dead fucking wife?” I questioned in the most comrade way possible. We burst into tear-filled laughter tinged with sorrow and joy.

“Dear god, man. Is it really you?”

“Fuck yeah, it is. In the synthetic.”

“Well holly gorram Jesus hopping shit. This is the best. Goddamn. Day!”

“Alright, so how’s the kid?”

“Who? Ceilidh?”

“Yeah, Kaylee.”

“She’s actually right behind you.”

Like a ninja, she was already in my field of view recognizing her godfather; yours truly.

“Hi, Uncle Drake.”

“Hey, sunshine and sprinkles,” I crooned aloud. “How’s the doll house holding up?” I gave her a doll house last Christmas. It was ace.

“Uncle Drake, Barbie and Ken had children!” She beamed and twirled her brocade party dress. I deduced Waters had a party before my appointment without even needing to decrypt Trillian’s file. I was home again. At fucking last.

You see, Corporal Waters and little Kaylee existed as my only family after my wife Marie died thanks to the Russian mafiya gun running job gone wrong in winter 2041. It was a harsh Detroit winter caught up in the worst of climate change since I was stationed in Baghdad years prior to the “Mafiya FUBAR.”

The Mafiya FUBAR, was we all affectionately called it involved a younger spry Waters mucking up our op and blowing our element of surprise. We were gun running on a contractual basis as night joggers just as it was picking up steam in Detroit. I didn’t forgive him for being a fuck-up until Kaylee grew up a bit in 2043. But I digress.

In any case, the FUBAR involved a ton of diesel and a metric fuck ton of small arms smuggled in from the New Soviet Union, specifically the Ukraine. Ukraine had turned into a Merchant of Death paradise for the small arms industry in that decade exporting 100 kilograms of rifles, pistols, shotguns, and a veritable smorgasboard of hardware to North America by the end of the year in question.

But, uh, let’s not get into that.

“So how’s Tril?”

“Great, actually. I got mad at her usual antics, but she’s doing perfect. Got into shape, picked up new eyes from Vanlith, and we just had dinner last night that was romantic as fuck, buddy.”

“Cool,” he nodded and lightly embraced his daughter who leaned on his waist in a playful manner as the adults talked.

What happened that day wasn’t a coincidence. It was an act of God. I was exfiltrating an anonymous client and it happened to be Corporal Waters.

This post has been edited by Magusman on Apr 13 2015, 12:15 AM
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Magusman
Posted: Apr 13 2015, 12:31 AM
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Continued from last post
Source: The Price of Metal
==
VERSION 1
It was then that I heard the whir of a window, but it was too late.

Moving at superhuman speed, I sprinted into the trajectory of the 7.62mmX51mm NATO round hurtling towards its victim: my battle buddy Waters. In less than six seconds, he expired messily like a crushed sack of meat crushed underfoot that had been baking in the humid tropics. It was truly grisly and the wet pop I heard surprised even my battle hardened self.

As Kaylee’s face contorted into shock, I managed to cover her eyes with a hand and scoop her up with the other still in full sprint. I sprinted through the open front door of Waters’ burbclave house. Then I skidded to a halt in front of a pile of luggage he had haphazardly arrayed in the foyer. In my mind’s eye, I was calculating at over a thousand tactics a second. It was the 955th one that made the most sense and had the highest probability of survival.

The plan became simple and crystal clear as I gained focus. Run to cover, first guest bedroom on the 2nd story, and open up the trap door to Waters’ “panic room.”

VERSION 2
We loaded up his vehicle as I finally decrypted the rest of the file Tril sent me on the highway. With a chirp in my mind’s eye, I uploaded the information into the superhighway of my brain and nanocomputer. In an instant, I knew a hit squad was on its way and we had a leisurely 5 minutes to spend loading up my Sheila’s trunk.

Once settled in and buckled up, our happy crew lurched into quiet morning traffic as the fog began to thicken around us. The skies were gray like charcoal and luminescent with particles of radioactive dust; a leftover from a terrorist attack by the infamous Daxter Demoney.
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Magusman
Posted: Apr 13 2015, 11:23 PM
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Source: Yakuza Wardog
==
"Do you hear me?" asked Tatsuya in that dangerous tone.

"Today," he told the bleeding man before him, tied-up and lying in a pool of blood. It soaked into that man's white suit, that previously clean suit.

"You will see with eyes like you have not before." The man nodded, spitting out blood from a mouth full of crimson taint.

"Zho clb..." the captive man repeated. Without a warning, Tatsuya tore out Chuang's eyeball. Chuang screamed.

"uh tld u," he whimpered, whimpering like a dog.

"You are paying for your arrogance." Tatsuya breathed out those words. Chuang shivered and pissed his pants, soiling that white suit.

"Cry. You are a dog tonight." Tatsuya nodded ever so slightly and crushed the eyeball in his gloved hands. It squished, oozing as he applied force. Out of the corner of his eye, the hitman saw his comrade-in-arms blink and gape at the sight before her. Calmly, the yakuza's wardog patted Chuang's destroyed eyeball into a white suit pocket.

"Keep it," Tatsuya said coldly. "It's your souvenir."
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Magusman
Posted: May 7 2015, 05:42 AM
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Source: American Empire
---
Jack got up to take a leak, moving at a brisk pace to the men’s restroom. He made it to the urinal in record time and sighed in relief as he answered nature’s call. Then an uncomfortable situation popped up at the next urinal over.

A young man, no older than 29, settled in at the adjacent urinal. He was a stranger, but a cursory sidelong glance indicated he had a Homeland Security badge on.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” His Japanese accent was light, but Jack knew right away. He owed such a conclusion to his mastery of the Japanese language and proficiency in Kansai-ben, especially yakuza vocabulary.

“Aa. Hai. Ii otenki desu ne.” Jack shook off and zipped his navy blue pants back up.

Still evacuating his bladder, the Japanese man turned his head and smiled with a hint of surprise in his eyes. “Your Japanese is very good.”

Jack nodded respectfully and went to thoroughly wash his hands with Lowest Bidder soap. He was still cleaning up when the young man came over to the sinks. Both washed their hands in silence. Jack quickly left and headed for the lounge. I could use something tasty, he thought to himself as he navigated the maze of hallways and cubicles.

Now in the lounge, the senior operations officer picked out a good, clean table. He draped his suit jacket over a chair, yawned, and took out his wallet to get at the credit card. Card in hand, he swiped it at the soda vending machine. Jack pocketed his belongings before reaching for the NeoStim Cola #23 Cherry Flavor.

This post has been edited by Magusman on May 7 2015, 05:43 AM
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