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SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Welcome to the Farm!



I just noticed the old fiction farm thread was on the verge of disappearing into the archives. It was getting kinda old and stinky, so it's time for a fresh new one. For those not familiar, here's what we're about :

Have you got a piece of short fiction that you want crit on? Post it here. The only condition is that you crit the piece above you. General CC crit etiquette applies: don't be a douchebag and rip something to pieces just because you can, but don't be afraid to be honest about things you don't like. Be honest about things you do like too, so people know the right direction to take their stuff. On the other hand, people are taking time out of their day to help you improve your piece and when you respond to crit, respond with that in mind; if you act like a prima donna, expect to get laughed out of the thread.

FAQ

Q: What if I wrote 1001 words?
A: that's fine. There's some leeway on the 1000 word cap, but don't go crazy.
Q: but I wrote 1200 words and I'm really not sure.
A:
Q: what if I wrote 10,000 words?
A: post it elsewhere, preferably in its own thread.
Q: do I have to crit? I've never done it before and I'm probably bad at it.
A: yes, no exceptions. You're really going to tell other goons that you don't have strong opinions about a piece of media? C'mon, guy.
Q: what if nobody has posted in this thread in like six months? Should I still crit the piece above me? They're probably long gone.
A: do it anyway. It's good practice.
Q: what if I just loving love crit but don't have any story to post?
A: post your crits, you excellent person
Q: I don't post in Thunderdome and I hate your bullshit clique.
A: yeah gently caress those guys. Seriously though, this isn't a TD thing and I will not let it become a TD circlejerk. Take this as a warning, 'domers.

To kick us off, here's something I've been working on. It's the second chapter in a novel. Chapter 1 is "here is the protag in 3rd person close, here they are protag-ing around, isn't all this stuff cool?" etc etc. Chapter 2 is short, in present simple and a more direct form of address. My worry is that the sudden shift into a very different voice might be working against what I'm trying to do here. It's meant to be jarring and disorienting but I worry it might go too far.

quote:

Here’s an old joke: fisherman sits in his boat, hooks a fish. As he reels it up and up, his friends sit in the boat with him and laugh. “Water’s fine today,” he says.

The fish hears this as it’s hauled from the water and dumped inside the boat. The air here is wrong, and it chokes; its tiny lungs fill with fluid. As it drowns in the dry, it hears strange booming sounds, and it thinks what’s water?

Here’s another joke: fish goes down too deep, and suddenly the whole word is dark, and crushing. The fish here are barely even fish. It’s eaten by something with too many teeth. Point is, there’s a very narrow band of existence a fish can survive in. Point is, words like time and space seem to mean very little until you come to a place where they don’t matter any more. What’s water? Ahaha, it’s a good joke.

They call this place a lot of things: the Barren, Purgatory, Central Station. None of them fit, but they’ll have to do. Light does not exist here, nor time. It’s endlessly empty, except it ain’t. If you’re a fish, it’s both boat and abyss. The things that live there don’t conform to anything you’ve ever seen, nor could ever hope to understand: they don’t verb in the way we verb. On the other side, we call them gods; in the Barren, they just are. It’s hard to describe them in words made for teeth and tongues -- for a different Is, but we must try.

Down in the darkness, something moved. It cast its shadow on the surface. A colossal eye snapped open. Synapses fired, and a sleeping titan woke. It saw, on the other side, where things were small: a shifting of gears, and a music so quiet it fought to be heard. It looked from world to world, and it saw: tall buildings of steel and glass, empty and burnt. It cast its eyes from one to the next, and saw: choking clouds of toxic ash, and emptiness. It saw world after world abandoned, until at last it came to a place with life.

It stood, and the world around it danced away - fled in great swathes of colour and fire. It saw: the rumble before an avalanche; a hiss of carbon monoxide and a blocked tailpipe. It saw: a single spark moving with purpose - the overture to an inferno.

It saw: movement in the darkness, so cataclysmic it would rend Is from Is. It saw: something that would echo through the worlds, into the dreams of the mortals until they woke screaming about a war in heaven.

There was silence, then a shadow, then --from afar, from everywhere, from nowhere at all-- a new music rising from the deep.
Let's do this thing.

edit: crap, the forums can't handle a 'less than or equal to' sign in the title. If a mod sees this, could they change it to "a thousand words or less"?

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at Nov 20, 2016 around 23:46

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dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Here’s an old joke: fisherman sits in his boat, hooks a fish. As he reels it up and up, his friends sit in the boat with him and laugh. “Water’s fine today,” he says.

The fish hears this as it’s hauled from the water and dumped inside the boat. The air here is wrong, and it chokes; its tiny lungs fill with fluid. As it drowns in the dry, it hears strange booming sounds, and it thinks what’s water?

Here’s another joke: fish goes down too deep, and suddenly the whole word is dark, and crushing. The fish here are barely even fish. It’s eaten by something with too many teeth. Point is, there’s a very narrow band of existence a fish can survive in. Point is, words like time and space seem to mean very little until you come to a place where they don’t matter any more. What’s water? Ahaha, it’s a good joke.

They call this place a lot of things: the Barren, Purgatory, Central Station. None of them fit, but they’ll have to do. Light does not exist here, nor time. It’s endlessly empty, except it ain’t. If you’re a fish, it’s both boat and abyss. The things that live there don’t conform to anything you’ve ever seen, nor could ever hope to understand: they don’t verb in the way we verb. On the other side, we call them gods; in the Barren, they just are. It’s hard to describe them in words made for teeth and tongues -- for a different Is, but we must try.


this opener is tight as hell, great tone, clearly sketching out some kind of badass metaphorical whatnot, sweet drawling language.


Down in the darkness, something moved. It cast its shadow on the surface. A colossal eye snapped open. Synapses fired, and a sleeping titan woke. It saw, on the other side, where things were small: a shifting of gears, and a music so quiet it fought to be heard. It looked from world to world, and it saw: tall buildings of steel and glass, empty and burnt. It cast its eyes from one to the next, and saw: choking clouds of toxic ash, and emptiness. It saw world after world abandoned, until at last it came to a place with life.

It stood, and the world around it danced away - fled in great swathes of colour and fire. It saw: the rumble before an avalanche; a hiss of carbon monoxide and a blocked tailpipe. It saw: a single spark moving with purpose - the overture to an inferno.

It saw: movement in the darkness, so cataclysmic it would rend Is from Is. It saw: something that would echo through the worlds, into the dreams of the mortals until they woke screaming about a war in heaven.

There was silence, then a shadow, then --from afar, from everywhere, from nowhere at all-- a new music rising from the deep.


and this is ok, though a bit HIGH FANTASTY WRITERING but it's tonally disjunct from what came before and not in a good way. I want more of the first half, not too fussed whether I get more of the second.

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Nov 20, 2016 around 23:47

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

here's a piece i did, trying for 'the opposite of a story' i think

Time is a building on fire, burning in reverse


1. Home is an arbitrary collection of angles, studded with incongruous items of memory. Home is a handful of chips scattered on the shiny sunburnt bubbles in the porch paint, laid on in long, even strokes by Sally Matherson in her summer frock twenty years ago. Home is a bloody bone-handled knife in a paint spattered outside sink.

2. Mr Cabel, who works in retail, is at home.

3. It’s a Wednesday on the sandy street that runs along Lyall bay. The air is full of seagulls with heads like armour-piercing bullets. The sand makes corkscrews in the blustering air and slithers in rivulets down the sun-battered dunes.

4. Sally Matherson is dead, of course, a traffic accident happened when she was about to have tea. She died some years later of unrelated causes.

5. The accident was no accident.

6. Meanwhile it was still Wednesday. A man, Anthony Margrave who had drunk three cans of beer was in the passenger seat of his car (Mazda, 2011) singing along to a tune he didn’t know. His brother Phillipe, who he hated, was driving. They were driving to the airport.

7. Nothing happened, or nothing happened out of the ordinary, or nothing happened out of the ordinary right then. Their car crashed but it wasn’t important. Or at least not to Sally Matherson.

8. Mr Cabel, who works in retail, is washing the tea cups, rubbing the brown ring away with his thumb.

9. Anthony Margrave is still young, arms around the shoulder of his brother, who he loves, in a pub in Ponsonby yelling DON’T YOU GO OUT IN THE RAAAAAAAAIN. It’s still Wednesday.

10. The sea is pawing at the beach. Come in here, it says like a sleepy drunk wanting sex. Come on. Come on.

11.It rained last Wednesday, thick sheets of rain draping across the city. Sally Matherson was caught out in it walking home with the fish and chips in their hot paper wrapper. She took shelter in a garage and watched the rain come down across the street. She held on to the memory until she died.

12. Mr Cabel, retail, etc, is opening a grate on the side of his house. He doesn’t have a screwdriver so he uses a bone-handled butter knife to turn the screws. Under the house it smells thick and secretive to him as he sucks the cut on his thumb.

13. Anthony Margrave got caught stealing three chocolate bars and a box of orange and mango Just Juice from the corner dairy when he was seven. Phillippe was on lookout but ran away when he saw the shopkeeper lady coming down the aisle, surprised at the horror of discovery that engulfed him, like a dirty shirt being plunged into hot soapy water.

14. The waves on the beach start a long way out to sea even though they don’t know it. A detergent bottle, a piece of driftwood or a floating body is already lying on the beach even though it hasn’t got there yet.

15. Mr Cabel (retail) sat on a bench last Wednesday on the way home from work and looked out at the bay. The sun was setting behind the hill and the clouds were moving fast, so at first he thought it was a trick of the light or a dog swimming in the ocean.

16. Phillipe sees Sally Matherson running across the road and his guilty legs pump the brakes hard, the wheels on his Mazda skid on the sand piled up on the road around Lyall Bay, and the car slides into a parked Toyota station wagon with a hissing gentle crunch. ‘Jesus,’ says Anthony Margrave. ‘You stupid fuckhead,’ he says.

17. Mr Cabel works in retail, selling furniture, and his house is full of damaged furniture he has taken from his work over the years, subject to an understanding with his employer. His coat is on a chaise longue that has a rip in the fabric.

18. Sally Matherson died of unrelated causes, three years later. She shrieked and stepped back when it started to rain and Mr Cabel (who she did not know) put up his umbrella to keep himself dry, startling her. She was standing on the edge of the rail platform at the time.

19. Thoroughly wrapping a body in plastic using black rubbish sacks, bought in packs of 20 from the Warehouse takes seven sacks to achieve complete coverage.

20. Sally Matherson opens the door to her home with shaky hands and trips on the doorstep. She drops the fish and chips on the porch which is painted bright green. The wet paper tears, and chips spray out on the ground.

21. There is no 21.

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Nov 21, 2016 around 19:26

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


In these next few posts I will be critting both Sebmojo and Muffin’s pieces. Please note that I will not be posting my own story for critique at this time. I’m mostly doing this to sharpen my own reading and analysis skills. I will be doing a blind read of both, sharing my thoughts on the piece as I go through it. After that I will provide a summary of my thoughts and feelings on the work as a whole. The prose will be in italics while my own thoughts and comments will be in bold.

I will be starting with Sebmojo’s submission.

1. Home is an arbitrary collection of angles, studded with incongruous items of memory. Home is a handful of chips scattered on the shiny sunburnt bubbles in the porch paint, laid on in long, even strokes by Sally Matherson in her summer frock twenty years ago. Home is a bloody bone-handled knife in a paint spattered outside sink.

I’m not too thrilled at the prospect of this line numbering gimmick. Now, I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased against gimmicks from the start, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by gimmicks a number of times in the past. The prose itself is good.

2. Mr Cabel, who works in retail, is at home.

3. It’s a Wednesday on the sandy street that runs along Lyall bay. The air is full of seagulls with heads like armour-piercing bullets. The sand makes corkscrews in the blustering air and slithers in rivulets down the sun-battered dunes.

4. Sally Matherson is dead, of course, a traffic accident happened when she was about to have tea. She died some years later of unrelated causes.

5. The accident was no accident.


I quite like your voice here. The traffic accident bait and switch is very British in style, but that’s not a bad thing. The simile that compares the seagulls’ heads to armour-piercing bullets is clunky, though, and that clunkiness is made worse by immediately following it with some rather lovely prose.

Also, I know you’re trying to go for the ‘opposite of a story,’ but I have a bad feeling this is going to get pretty tell-y.


6. Meanwhile it was still Wednesday. A man, Anthony Margrave who had drunk three cans of beer was in the passenger seat of his car (Mazda, 2011) singing along to a tune he didn’t know. His brother Phillipe, who he hated, was driving. They were driving to the airport.

7. Nothing happened, or nothing happened out of the ordinary, or nothing happened out of the ordinary right then. Their car crashed but it wasn’t important. Or at least not to Sally Matherson.

8. Mr Cabel, who works in retail, is washing the tea cups, rubbing the brown ring away with his thumb.

9. Anthony Margrave is still young, arms around the shoulder of his brother, who he loves, in a pub in Ponsonby yelling DON’T YOU GO OUT IN THE RAAAAAAAAIN. It’s still Wednesday.


This is starting to feel… pretentious. For one, I’m not sure if you’re trying to go with an unreliable narrator with the whole Anthony Margrave hating/loving his brother. I mean, Anthony could have a second brother that he loves, while hating his other brother Philippe. But I don’t feel like that’s what you intended. Also, appending ‘, who works in retail,’ to Mr Cabel’s name does nothing for your story except make me wanna punch you. However, I feel that way when any author, even world renowned ones, try that cheeky bullshit. It just feels like it's trying too hard, you know?

10. The sea is pawing at the beach. Come in here, it says like a sleepy drunk wanting sex. Come on. Come on.

11.It rained last Wednesday, thick sheets of rain draping across the city. Sally Matherson was caught out in it walking home with the fish and chips in their hot paper wrapper. She took shelter in a garage and watched the rain come down across the street. She held on to the memory until she died.

12. Mr Cabel, retail, etc, is opening a grate on the side of his house. He doesn’t have a screwdriver so he uses a bone-handled butter knife to turn the screws. Under the house it smells thick and secretive to him as he sucks the cut on his thumb.


”Mr Cabel, retail, etc,”



Also, I’m really not digging your similes here. A sleepy drunk wanting sex? Eh?

Nice to see that bone-handled knife coming back. Also, I actually really do like some of the details you’re slipping in, like the cut on Mr Cabel’s thumb.

Oh, one last thing, did Sally die in the garage, or did she die somewhere else while reminiscing about the memory of watching the rain come down while in the garage? Maybe it’s just me but I feel like that bit is really unclear.

13. Anthony Margrave got caught stealing three chocolate bars and a box of orange and mango Just Juice from the corner dairy when he was seven. Phillippe was on lookout but ran away when he saw the shopkeeper lady coming down the aisle, surprised at the horror of discovery that engulfed him, like a dirty shirt being plunged into hot soapy water.

14. The waves on the beach start a long way out to sea even though they don’t know it. A detergent bottle, a piece of driftwood or a floating body is already lying on the beach even though it hasn’t got there yet.

15. Mr Cabel (retail) gently caress you sat on a bench last Wednesday on the way home from work and looked out at the bay. The sun was setting behind the hill and the clouds were moving fast, so at first he thought it was a trick of the light or a dog swimming in the ocean.

16. Phillipe sees Sally Matherson running across the road and his guilty legs pump the brakes hard, the wheels on his Mazda skid on the sand piled up on the road around Lyall Bay, and the car slides into a parked Toyota station wagon with a hissing gentle crunch. ‘Jesus,’ says Anthony Margrave. ‘You stupid fuckhead,’ he says.


You have another weird simile, but this one is actually kind of good so I won’t harp on it. You know, we’re halfway through this opposite of a story, and I’m starting to ask myself ‘what’s the point?’ There seems to be some interesting things going on, the dairy store, the people dying, but it's all so vague I scratch my head and wonder ‘why the hell should I care, or even make a concentrated effort in understanding the piece?’

17. Mr Cabel works in retail, selling furniture, and his house is full of damaged furniture he has taken from his work over the years, subject to an understanding with his employer. His coat is on a chaise longue that has a rip in the fabric.

18. Sally Matherson died of unrelated causes, three years later. She shrieked and stepped back when it started to rain and Mr Cabel (who she did not know) put up his umbrella to keep himself dry, startling her. She was standing on the edge of the rail platform at the time.

19. Thoroughly wrapping a body in plastic using black rubbish sacks, bought in packs of 20 from the Warehouse takes seven sacks to achieve complete coverage.

20. Sally Matherson opens the door to her home with shaky hands and trips on the doorstep. She drops the fish and chips on the porch which is painted bright green. The wet paper tears, and chips spray out on the ground.


Well I’m glad we finally got some sort of… payoff (???) for our friend Mr Cabel working in retail. I think a murder happened? I feel dumb reading this story but maybe I’m just not a deep enough intellectual.

21. There is no 21.

Cool.

This is supposed to be experimental, I get it. I feel like I’d need to read this a few times to get it, and you helpfully posted the story twice, seemingly verbatim, but I don’t have the time nor will to go through it again. Your actual prose is quite nice, save for a few clunky bits here and there. Honestly, even those clunky bits seem to stem from the story trying to be experimental. I’m definitely not the right audience for this, so keep that in mind.

Overall, I rate it 2deep4me.

I’ll get you sometime tonight or tomorrow, Muffin.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Thanks zeb, I

ZeBourgeoisie posted:

you helpfully posted the story twice, seemingly verbatim

...well poo poo. Fixed.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


sebmojo posted:

Thanks zeb, I


...well poo poo. Fixed.

lol

I thought you had snuck some subtle changes into the 'second version,' but I decided it wouldn't be worth going over.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


ZeBourgeoisie posted:

I’ll get you sometime tonight or tomorrow, Muffin.
Hi

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


I done goofed and forgot to click 'Submit' on this TD entry...
But I think I done did the words and the story gooder.
If anybody has the time to tell me how wrong I am I would greatly appreciate it.

quote:

Zoe eyed her mom with the kind of disdain normally reserved for adultisms about finishing her peas for the sake of straw children starving in Africa.

“Where’s Professor Pierre O. Dactyl,” she asked. “He was right here on the couch waiting for me to finish my homework and now he’s gone.”Anger boiled up inside of her like magma in a volcano, “what did you do with him?”

“I thought he was one that you were donating,” the dismissive reply only stoked the flames anger, “I dropped him off at the thrift store with the rest of the toys you weren’t playing with.”

Zoe screamed for a solid thirty seconds at her mother’s nonchalant admission of betrayal, “he was my favorite,” she bellowed, “I was hunting cavemen with him two hours ago!”

“I’m sorry honey,” the apology fell on deaf ears, “but if you ask me you’re too old to be playing with stuffed animals anyway.”

“Get him back!” Zoe huffed, stomping her foot to show her mother how serious she was, “he wasn’t yours to give away so you have to bring him home.”

Her mother laughed in the condescending way all adults do when they know they’ve screwed up but are to stubborn to cede the moral high-ground.

“The thrift store is only a mile away,” Zoe braced herself for one of her mother’s impossible compromises, “here’s five dollars. If you can get yourself there you can buy him back.”

“I’m only six,” Zoe’s anger had morphed into incredulity, “how am I supposed to do that when you don’t let me go past the corner alone?”

Her mom knelt down looking her in the eye, “well if you hadn’t been such a brat about it and asked nicely I would have taken you myself. Now you’re on your own so figure it out.”

“Urrgh,” Zoe stomped up the stairs plotting her revenge the whole way.

She’d been pacing in her room well past her bed-time before coming to an epiphany.

I can’t go past the corner alone, the word rang in her head like a trumpet heralding her victory.

Alone, she mused, Shouldn’t be too hard to get around that one.

The next morning at school was a flurry of Byzantine deal making the likes of which Fritchie French Emersion had never before played host to.

She’d traded her weekend caring for the class guinea-pig, to Lazy Lizzie Linski for use of her bicycle.

For the meager price of 5 chocolate milk vouchers Zoe convinced Terry Thompson to act as a chaperone. Surely a fourth grader could be trusted to usher Zoe a mile down the road.

The last bit of bartering was the most painful.

Zoe didn’t like Felicia Flores one bit but she was the only person in their grade with a smart-phone. So dire was her need for a GPS that forfeiting ownership of her coveted holographic Dancing Dogs binder to a lousy tattle-tale felt like a bargain.

Having secured everything she needed to achieve the impossible the rest of the day flew by. With borrowed phone in hand and rented bicycle in tow she boarded the bus home ready to return Pierre to his rightful place at her side. Neither of her parents were home before she arrived. Terry needed fifteen minutes before he would be ready to go so Zoe took the time to leave a note for her Mom; stopping to admire the professional tone and general lack of spelling errors.

Dear Mom,

Going on a high-risk mission to extract a V.I.P. (Very Important Pterodactyl) from hostile forces at Sack’s Thrift Avenue. I’ve conscripted the help of a local (Terry Thompson) as my guide. I’m sorry for being mean, you are nice to me when I make mistakes and I should be nice to you when you make them too.

Be back soon,

Zoe

Terry wasn’t chatty on a good day; apparently less so on company time. The GPS from that no-good snitch’s phone had more personality than he did. The only voice on their trip came in the form of a debonair British gentleman providing turn-by-turn directions. With not a word between them Zoe and her escort arrived at Sack’s.

Sack’s Thrift Avenue was the best. It wasn’t one of those stuffy outlets with boring clothes and sterile playthings lined up on shelves. Toys from the thrift store came complete with battle scars and tragic backstories; everything here was one-of-a-kind.

Zoe approached the extraction of Pierre at a liesurely pace that would be her undoing. Eventually spotting the pterodactyl perched atop a pile of inferior beasts with missing eyes and questionable upbringings. A tiny hand raced her own to the top of the heap. With a triumphant howl Zoe rescued Professor Dactyl from the clutches of a sad little boy with watery eyes and a quivering lip. The boy just sat quietly. His sad eyes followed her as she sauntered triumphantly to the registers.

She swapped the old lady at the counter five dollars for her prize and the warm-fuzzies that came with beating her mother at her own game. The victory would have been much sweeter were it not for the snot-nosed kid eyeing her like she’d kicked his puppy. Zoe pushed the thought of him to the back of her mind as she made for the exit.

The walk to the door wasn’t as triumphant as Zoe had anticpated. Her feet seemed to get heavier with each step, her eyes unable to look at anything other than the toy she had worked so hard to save.

“He didn’t even cry when I snatched you…”

She looked Pierre for guidance, then to the boy, and again to Pierre.

“Fine… traitor…”

With huff and a groan she turned back to the checkouts.

“What’s your name?”

“Wawltur.”

“Well Walter this…” the child’s eyes flashed bright on seeing the stuffed pterosaur, “is Pierre O. Dactyl. Can you say that?”

“Pair o daddle.”

“Close enough,” She held Pierre in her open palm like some priceless artifact; taking a moment to admire the stains and stitches incurred in the grizzly Unicorn Revolt of ‘02.

“He is a professor of scientology that loves hunting cavemen.”

Walter blinked in amazement.

“Not historically accurate, I know... but it makes for good drama.”

Unsure of what was unfolding Walter’s dumbfounded stare turned to Zoe.

“Anyway he’s yours now,” Zoe shoved Pierre into the welcoming arms of his new keeper, “take care of him because he’s taken care of me.”

Satisfied at the enthusiasm with which Walter hugged Pierre she turned to leave.

“Oh poo poo,” Zoe covered her mouth. Shocked by the sight of her mother standing over her and at having cursed within earshot of her.

“I’ll overlook that one,” her mother’s voice rang with pride, “but only because that was a very nice thing you did.”

“I know,” Zoe muttered to her shoelaces, “It still sucks.”

“Well I’m proud of you,” Zoe’s mother hefted her up onto her shoulders, “let’s go to the bookstore... You can pick out whatever you want.”

Zoe met her mother’s offer with cautious optimism.

“Really?”

“Yep,” her mother looked up, “you’re going to want something something to read while you’re grounded.”

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Story is decent enough (character acts to achieve something, some nice details, solid if cliche twist at end) but it's riddled with errors and typos and the kid doesn't at all sound like a six year old. Plus it cheated the prompt by having an adult character: not that that's super important, but still.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


quote:

first of all, don't put your story in quotes, its just obnoxious and helps literally nobody

Zoe eyed her mom with the kind of disdain normally reserved for adultisms about finishing her peas for the sake of straw children starving in Africa.

“Where’s Professor Pierre O. Dactyl,” she asked. “He was right here on the couch waiting for me to finish my homework and now he’s gone.” missing a space here Anger boiled up inside of her like magma in a volcano,this comma should be a period. “what and accordingly, "what" should be capitalized did you do with him?”

“I thought he was one that you were donating,” the dismissive reply only stoked the flames anger, this is kind of an edge case, but i think this should be a sentence (aka the perceding dialogue should be a period and this sentence should end with a period) because it's not a tag, it's a reaction. the general rule to dialogue is, if you are going to put a tag, then you put a sentence inside the quotations. if you are going to put an action after the dialogue, then it needs a period in the quotations. “I dropped him off at the thrift store with the rest of the toys you weren’t playing with.”

Zoe screamed for a solid thirty seconds at her mother’s nonchalant admission of betrayal,period. this ends an action “he was my favorite,” she bellowed,this should be a period because the perceding sentence (he was my favorite.) is a complete sentence. only continue with commas if you break up a complete sentence in the middle (i.e. "Hey, I think," she said, "You should punctuate dialogue correctly. “I was hunting cavemen with him two hours ago!”

“I’m sorry honey,” the apology fell on deaf ears, ok im done critiquing dialogue punctuation errors because itll take all day, but its pretty hosed up you wrote a story that has so much dialogue and you dont even know how to punctuate it correctly. “but if you ask me you’re too old to be playing with stuffed animals anyway.”

“Get him back!” Zoe huffed, stomping her foot to show her mother how serious she was, “he wasn’t yours to give away so you have to bring him home.”

Her mother laughed in the condescending way all adults do when they know they’ve screwed up but are to stubborn to cede the moral high-ground. the narrator voice is a bit odd -- it's not Zoe's, but its childish, which feels not quite right to me. It's more aware than I think an actual child would be but idk

“The thrift store is only a mile away,” Zoe braced herself for one of her mother’s impossible compromises, “here’s five dollars. If you can get yourself there you can buy him back.”

“I’m only six,” Zoe’s anger had morphed into incredulity telling. this is shown through dialogue., “how am I supposed to do that when you don’t let me go past the corner alone?” ummm yeah this is a good point

Her mom knelt down looking her in the eye, “well if you hadn’t been such a brat about it and asked nicely I would have taken you myself. Now you’re on your own so figure it out.”

“Urrgh,” Zoe stomped up the stairs plotting her revenge the whole way.

She’d past perfect. why? just use "she was" been pacing in her room well past her bed-time before coming to an epiphany.

I can’t go past the corner alone, the word rang in her head like a trumpet heralding her victory this is an odd metaphor, mostly because this metaphor i would ascribe to her coming to her solution, but the "i cant go alone" isnt really the solution but the problem.

Alone, she mused, Shouldn’t be too hard to get around that one.

The next morning at school was a flurry of Byzantine deal making the likes of which Fritchie French Emersion had never before played host to. yeah see this voice is just wrong. it felt childish but how tf is a six year old kid going know wtf a Byzantine deal is or fritchie french emersion??? like i dont even know that and im like twelve

She’d traded her weekend caring for the class guinea-pig, to Lazy Lizzie Linski for use of her bicycle.

For the meager price of 5 chocolate milk vouchers Zoe convinced Terry Thompson to act as a chaperone. Surely a fourth grader could be trusted to usher Zoe a mile down the road.

The last bit of bartering was the most painful.

Zoe didn’t like Felicia Flores one bit but she was the only person in their grade with a smart-phone. So dire was her need for a GPS that forfeiting ownership of her coveted holographic Dancing Dogs binder to a lousy tattle-tale felt like a bargain. i mean, i dont really actually care about this bargaining, i guess because i dont rly care about this kid? like, her toy got sold but i dont feel much reason to actually like care about the gift and the conflict hasnt really done anything interesting for me. it was just yelling at the mom and there's been no particularly engaging action to get me invested.

Having secured everything she needed to achieve the impossible comma here, prob the rest of the day flew by. With her or the or something borrowed phone in hand and rented bicycle in tow she boarded the bus home ready to return Pierre to his rightful place at her side. Neither of her parents were home before she arrived. Terry needed fifteen minutes before he would be ready to go so Zoe took the time to leave a note for her Mom; stopping to admire the professional tone and general lack of spelling errors.

Dear Mom,

Going on a high-risk mission to extract a V.I.P. (Very Important Pterodactyl) ok i midly chuckled at this from hostile forces at Sack’s Thrift Avenue. I’ve conscripted the help of a local (Terry Thompson) as my guide. I’m sorry for being mean, you are nice to me when I make mistakes and I should be nice to you when you make them too. hmmm i guess the tone of this is supposed to be funny because its a six year old kid, but idk, using words like conscripted is just a little too jarring. maybe itd be even funnier if she was like oh yeah i got this professional tone and its like really childish or silly or bad or idk. i guess it feels maybe off too because i didnt feel like this story was funny and if it was supposed to be funny the whole time then uhhhhhhhhhhh you hosed up

Be back soon,

Zoe

Terry wasn’t chatty on a good day; apparently less so on company time. The GPS from that no-good snitch’s i dont rly like this no-good snitch phrase -- it feels off w/ how the narrator is talking phone had more personality than he did. The only voice on their trip came in the form of a debonair British gentleman providing turn-by-turn directions. With not a word between them Zoe and her escort arrived at Sack’s.

Sack’s Thrift Avenue was the best. It wasn’t one of those stuffy outlets with boring clothes and sterile playthings lined up on shelves. Toys from the thrift store came complete with battle scars and tragic backstories; everything here was one-of-a-kind.

Zoe approached the extraction of Pierre at a liesurely pace that would be her undoing. Eventually spotting the pterodactyl perched atop a pile of inferior beasts with missing eyes and questionable upbringings. A tiny hand raced her own to the top of the heap. With a triumphant howl Zoe rescued Professor Dactyl from the clutches of a sad little boy with watery eyes and a quivering lip. The boy just sat quietly. His sad eyes followed her as she sauntered triumphantly to the registers.

She swapped the old lady at the counter five dollars for her prize and the warm-fuzzies that came with beating her mother at her own game. The victory would have been much sweeter were it not for the snot-nosed kid eyeing her like she’d kicked his puppy. Zoe pushed the thought of him to the back of her mind as she made for the exit.

The walk to the door wasn’t as triumphant as Zoe had anticpated. Her feet seemed to get heavier with each step, her eyes unable to look at anything other than the toy she had worked so hard to save.

“He didn’t even cry when I snatched you…”

She looked Pierre for guidance, then to the boy, and again to Pierre.

“Fine… traitor…”

With huff and a groan she turned back to the checkouts.

“What’s your name?”

“Wawltur.”

“Well Walter this…” the child’s eyes flashed bright on seeing the stuffed pterosaur, “is Pierre O. Dactyl. Can you say that?”

“Pair o daddle.”

“Close enough,” She held Pierre in her open palm like some priceless artifact; taking a moment to admire the stains and stitches incurred in the grizzly Unicorn Revolt of ‘02.

“He is a professor of scientology that loves hunting cavemen.” this is good kid talk, actually. it just feels like a kid saying big things that they dont understand because they heard it somewhere else

Walter blinked in amazement.

“Not historically accurate, I know... but it makes for good drama.”

Unsure of what was unfolding Walter’s dumbfounded stare turned to Zoe.

“Anyway he’s yours now,” Zoe shoved Pierre into the welcoming arms of his new keeper, “take care of him because he’s taken care of me.”

Satisfied at the enthusiasm with which Walter hugged Pierre she turned to leave.

“Oh poo poo,” Zoe covered her mouth ok no im sry a six year wouldnt say that like seriously. i mean im not saying a six year old wont say poo poo because who hasnt heard one of those stories, but not "oh poo poo" when they see their mom like theyre an adult or something. Shocked by the sight of her mother standing over her and at having cursed within earshot of her. i mean, why is she surprised. she literally gave a note to her mom

“I’ll overlook that one,” her mother’s voice rang with pride, “but only because that was a very nice thing you did.”

“I know,” Zoe muttered to her shoelaces, “It still sucks.”

“Well I’m proud of you,” Zoe’s mother hefted her up onto her shoulders, “let’s go to the bookstore... You can pick out whatever you want.”

Zoe met her mother’s offer with cautious optimism.

“Really?”

“Yep,” her mother looked up, “you’re going to want something something end on a high note to read while you’re grounded.” [b]i stopped making comments because i dont have much to say.[b/]

i mean, for a story, it exists. like, there's a conflict, the character does things to solve the conflict, and it reaches a satisfactory conclusion. that's about all it is, which is a bit of a shame.

i find it hard to critique because theres nothing else to it beyond the surface level of this story. the prose could be better, the errors could not be there, but i didnt find anything too eggregious. the kid's voice was a little off at times -- while they were a few points it hit the right level of kid trying to sound smart, it was mostly "yeah no this kid would not talk like this." the dialogue wasnt awful, but i wasnt really enthralled.

but yeah, theres really not much to say about this because it kinda just does its story thing and the ending is probably the best part if a little trite. it shows some character development and stuff, but i kinda wish the story behind it was more fun or entertaining or had some kind of depth to it other then "kid wants their toy back"

i guess one thing ill say is i dont really like some of your prose and i cant quite pinpoint what bothers me. i guess, in the context of the story, some of the words just feel too "big" if that makes sense. like, just read this paragraph that bothers me

quote:

Zoe approached the extraction of Pierre at a liesurely pace that would be her undoing. Eventually spotting the pterodactyl perched atop a pile of inferior beasts with missing eyes and questionable upbringings. A tiny hand raced her own to the top of the heap. With a triumphant howl Zoe rescued Professor Dactyl from the clutches of a sad little boy with watery eyes and a quivering lip. The boy just sat quietly. His sad eyes followed her as she sauntered triumphantly to the registers.

like, i understand its third person, but its very focused in on Zoe's perspective (who is six, which i think you forget at times) that it feels wrong to use so many words with a lot of syllables. but not only that, it also feels like youre trying to make something feel more impactful then it actually is by usually these emphathic words. like, its very dramatic but not in a good way, but in an overdone way. it feels like the moment is actually dramatic and more like youre trying to tell me "THIS IS THE BIG DRAMATIC MOMENT OK." so, id be careful when you get to those moments where you might be going a little overboard. in some cases, it's better to pull back, and for me, i find understatement to be a lot better and establishing drama then big long phrases. its a very effective tool that this story doesnt really use.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


SkaAndScreenplays posted:

I done goofed and forgot to click 'Submit' on this TD entry...
But I think I done did the words and the story gooder.
If anybody has the time to tell me how wrong I am I would greatly appreciate it.

The general sense I got was that this doesn't at all sound like a 6-year old. I guess that was a common problem with stories that week. Internal thoughts like "Shouldn’t be too hard to get around that one." or spoken dialogue like "“he wasn’t yours to give away so you have to bring him home.”" don't work. You also have to tailor your dialogue to the mood of the kid. Children, when they are angry, are not going to be thinking or talking logically. A 6-year old is more going to go "BUT HE WAS MINE," and then just repeat that. One thing you might try is google "(AGE OF KID) explains *" and watch the youtube videos of kids that age talking about a given subject. The way they ramble is really hard to replicate, but it can give you a sense of how they talk about things. I'll agree with flerp that "“He is a professor of scientology that loves hunting cavemen.”" is probably your best line here.

The bartering part seemed unnecessary. It was too complex for a 6-year old, but also I just don't think it was needed. We get that she likes the stuffed animal without that.

In terms of the story itself, you can summarize it as "kid loses stuffed animal, works to get it back, ends up giving it away to another kid, changed." I've read that story a lot, and this doesn't really do anything new, so this story is pretty dang forgettable.

A few final comments: The mom comes off as over-the-top unlikable, I agree the narrator's voice being drastically different than the kid is jarring, and I think you could cut big chunks of this and not lose out on the core of the story.

Adam Vegas
Apr 14, 2013





Hey guys. I wrote this about six months ago as the prologue to a novel. Check it out; criticism is more than welcome.

quote:

Something’s Coming

Charlie’s funeral was on a warm and sunny day, and I went and bought grilled chicken immediately afterwards. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about him, or that I was celebrating his death, or any of the other ghoulish scenarios you might imagine. I just hadn’t eaten all day, you see.

He had been a friend of mine. Not one of the stalwart pals you spill your secrets to and your drinks on. Charlie and I were just happy enough in each other’s company for us to be called friends. Such a cold treatment of friendship might sound vaguely sociopathic to you, but I’m happy to inform you that I have plenty of emotions. Actually, a police shrink ran the psychopathic checklist on me about a year after Charlie’s death. I told the truth. Truth seemed like a pretty good policy at that point.
Hit just enough markers to be deemed perfectly sane.

So there I was, standing in an ill-fitting suit and realising with faint embarrassment that I had been the first one to show up to the funeral. His family hadn’t even arrived yet, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that when they did I would be on the receiving end of some slightly odd looks. If it had been Lucas, or Mike, or Cassie standing there looking like the mourner without the memo, I’m sure his parents would have been vaguely grateful to see a grief-stricken earlybird. Well, not Cassie. But me? gently caress, I hadn’t even met his parents, I suddenly realised. An anxious chill went through me as I wondered what the hell they were going to think of me, an apparently random presence floating over to them and offering half baked condolences. I genuinely considered hiding elsewhere in the cemetery until other living guests populated it, then discarded the idea as ridiculous. Instead, the rational part of my brain took over. Charlie’s parents had just lost their only child at the age of twenty, a boy full of vigour who had promised to morph into a successful architect and all round Good Man. No drugs, moderate drink, excessive talent. Quite frankly, they weren’t going to give a poo poo about me today had I been the first one there or the last one out.

While I was mulling all of this over in my head, I completely missed Ross’s arrival.
‘Morning Alex.’
‘Mourning, Ross.’
Distasteful. More importantly, impossible to understand when spoken. My brain works in mysterious ways.
‘Shame about Charlie, eh?’
‘Yeah, I know. Whole thing still feels really surreal.’
At least, I think I said that. To be perfectly honest when people die you end up repeatedly exhuming tired clichés.
‘Awful at such a young age.’ Ross said.

See what I mean? The rest of the conversation continued in a similar vein, with us outwardly expressing our horror at the unfairness of it all and our sympathy at the plight of Charlie’s family, whilst inwardly cycling that guilty mantra of Thank gently caress It Wasn’t Me. As we spoke, I could hear more of our classmates coming up the path in a procession of heels and oxfords. This gave me something else to be thankful for, because Ross was a boring person at the best of times. Perfectly harmless, but unforgivably stale. I made my excuses and turned away, a little insulted by the fact that I saw a brief expression of gratitude flicker across his own face as I did. If he thought I was dull I had better watch out, I told myself. After all, he’d know. Eight of our year were coming up the path towards me. Of those eight, I wanted to speak to exactly one. Lucas, Charlie’s best friend. His death hit Lucas hard. That’s a common and pernicious phrase.
It’s another way of saying that death only really hurts when it happens to people you genuinely care about.

‘Hi Lucas. You okay?’
‘That’s a stupid question, Alex.’
His glare softened.
‘I’ll be alright. I spent all morning with Peter and Claire and trust me, it’s far worse for them.’
poo poo. Not only had I not met Charlie’s parents, I had never even known their names up until this point. Well, at least I’d know them when it came to shaking their hands and producing convincing sentiments later.
‘What about Cass? How’s she doing?’
‘I don’t know. I haven’t seen her since…’
‘Yeah, ok. Fair enough. Do you think she’ll come today?’
Lucas snorted.
‘Should she come?’
‘Of course she should! No matter what happened, she should be here.’
As I said this, I reflected on it. Lucas had a point. Cassie had been somewhat responsible for her boyfriend’s death. She didn’t kill him herself, hence the “somewhat.” But she had been instrumental in the events leading to his body settling at the bottom of the sea. I personally found it difficult to blame her, but then again I found it difficult to have thoughts about her that didn’t involve stupid, blind adoration.
Unrequited and unspoken love. I know, I’m a loving hack.

She didn’t turn up, to the surprise of exactly no one. Probably for the best that Charlie’s parents - sorry, Claire and Peter - didn’t see her. Mike turned up, but he didn’t say much. Just stood around and smoked too many cigarettes. I say too many because he wasn’t a smoker, just a lovable poser who wanted to be seen as a tortured artist. Even at his own friend’s funeral. Either way, the three of us ended up being pallbearers along with Josh Drayton and Tom Rhys. The afternoon sun beat down on our woollen shoulders as we buried our friend, and my mind kept returning to the same thought: how strange it was to have so many of us carry such a conspicuously light and empty coffin.
Then again, I suppose that made it less surprising when the fucker turned out to be alive.

Adam Vegas
Apr 14, 2013





poo poo, just realised I'm supposed to crit the one above me. Ok.

quote:

Zoe eyed her mom with the kind of disdain normally reserved for adultisms I like this word. about finishing her peas for the sake of straw Straw?children starving in Africa.

“Where’s Professor Pierre O. Dactyl,” Very good name for a precocious kid's toy. she asked. “He was right here on the couch waiting for me to finish my homework and now he’s gone.”Anger boiled up inside of her like magma in a volcano, I like that you used the correct terminology (magma rather than lava) but it's a very tired simile. “what did you do with him?”

“I thought he was one that you were donating,” the dismissive reply only stoked the flames anger, “I dropped him off at the thrift store with the rest of the toys you weren’t playing with.”

Zoe screamed for a solid thirty seconds at her mother’s nonchalant admission of betrayal, I like 'screamed for a solid thirty seconds.' that's realistic 6 year old right there. “he was my favorite,” she bellowed, “I was hunting cavemen with him two hours ago!”

“I’m sorry honey,” the apology fell on deaf ears, “but if you ask me you’re too old to be playing with stuffed animals anyway.”

“Get him back!” Zoe huffed, stomping her foot to show her mother how serious she was, “he wasn’t yours to give away so you have to bring him home.”

Her mother laughed in the condescending way all adults do when they know they’ve screwed up but are to stubborn to cede the moral high-ground.Something about this sentence feels clumsy, and I can't figure out why.

“The thrift store is only a mile away,” Zoe braced herself for one of her mother’s impossible compromises, “here’s five dollars. If you can get yourself there you can buy him back.” This is good plot-wise but the use of Zoe's name in between the dialogue confused me and made me think it was her line.

“I’m only six,” Zoe’s anger had morphed into incredulity, “how am I supposed to do that when you don’t let me go past the corner alone?”

Her mom knelt down looking her in the eye, “well if you hadn’t been such a brat about it and asked nicely I would have taken you myself. Now you’re on your own so figure it out.” My problem with this is that she is characterised here as a lovely mom, but seems pretty nice and reasonable by the end of the piece.

“Urrgh,” Zoe stomped up the stairs plotting her revenge the whole way.

She’d been pacing in her room well past her bed-time before coming to an epiphany. This is good, but phrased awkwardly.

I can’t go past the corner alone, the word rang in her head like a trumpet heralding her victory.

Alone, she mused, Shouldn’t be too hard to get around that one.

The next morning at school was a flurry of Byzantine deal making the likes of which Fritchie French Emersion had never before played host to. gently caress yeah. Byzantine deal-making is a brilliant phrase.

She’d traded her weekend caring for the class guinea-pig, to Lazy Lizzie Linski for use of her bicycle.

For the meager price of 5 chocolate milk vouchers Zoe convinced Terry Thompson to act as a chaperone. Surely a fourth grader could be trusted to usher Zoe a mile down the road.

The last bit of bartering was the most painful.

Zoe didn’t like Felicia Flores one bit but she was the only person in their grade with a smart-phone. So dire was her need for a GPS that forfeiting ownership of her coveted holographic Dancing Dogs binder to a lousy tattle-tale felt like a bargain. This is all very good, but I feel like the alliteration is for alliteration's sake, rather than because it serves each sentence.

Having secured everything she needed to achieve the impossible the rest of the day flew by. With borrowed phone in hand and rented bicycle in tow she boarded the bus home ready to return Pierre to his rightful place at her side. Neither of her parents were home before she arrived. Terry needed fifteen minutes before he would be ready to go so Zoe took the time to leave a note for her Mom; stopping to admire the professional tone and general lack of spelling errors.

Dear Mom,

Going on a high-risk mission to extract a V.I.P. (Very Important Pterodactyl) As others have pointed out - this is great. from hostile forces at Sack’s Thrift Avenue. I’ve conscripted the help of a local (Terry Thompson) as my guide. I’m sorry for being mean, you are nice to me when I make mistakes and I should be nice to you when you make them too.

Be back soon,

Zoe

Terry wasn’t chatty on a good day; apparently less so on company time. I also like 'company time' here. Good stuff. The GPS from that no-good snitch’s phone had more personality than he did. The only voice on their trip came in the form of a debonair British gentleman providing turn-by-turn directions. With not a word between them Zoe and her escort arrived at Sack’s.

Sack’s Thrift Avenue was the best. It wasn’t one of those stuffy outlets with boring clothes and sterile playthings lined up on shelves. Toys from the thrift store came complete with battle scars and tragic backstories; everything here was one-of-a-kind.

Zoe approached the extraction of Pierre at a liesurely pace that would be her undoing. Eventually spotting the pterodactyl perched atop a pile of inferior beasts with missing eyes and questionable upbringings. A tiny hand raced her own to the top of the heap. With a triumphant howl Zoe rescued Professor Dactyl from the clutches of a sad little boy with watery eyes and a quivering lip. The boy just sat quietly. His sad eyes followed her as she sauntered triumphantly to the registers. Good stuff, but you call him 'sad' twice in successive sentences. Find a different word, or let us figure it out on our own!

She swapped the old lady at the counter five dollars for her prize and the warm-fuzzies that came with beating her mother at her own game. The victory would have been much sweeter were it not for the snot-nosed kid eyeing her like she’d kicked his puppy. Zoe pushed the thought of him to the back of her mind as she made for the exit.

The walk to the door wasn’t as triumphant as Zoe had anticpated. Her feet seemed to get heavier with each step, her eyes unable to look at anything other than the toy she had worked so hard to save.

“He didn’t even cry when I snatched you…”

She looked Pierre for guidance, then to the boy, and again to Pierre.

“Fine… traitor…”

With huff and a groan she turned back to the checkouts.

“What’s your name?”

“Wawltur.”

“Well Walter this…” the child’s eyes flashed bright on seeing the stuffed pterosaur, “is Pierre O. Dactyl. Can you say that?”

“Pair o daddle.” [This is cute kid-speak. And far more realistic than Zoe.[/b]

“Close enough,” She held Pierre in her open palm like some priceless artifact; taking a moment to admire the stains and stitches incurred in the grizzly Unicorn Revolt of ‘02. Also great.

“He is a professor of scientology that loves hunting cavemen.”

Walter blinked in amazement.

“Not historically accurate, I know... but it makes for good drama.” This is funny, but you're pushing the precociousness to a silly level.

Unsure of what was unfolding Walter’s dumbfounded stare turned to Zoe.

“Anyway he’s yours now,” Zoe shoved Pierre into the welcoming arms of his new keeper, “take care of him because he’s taken care of me.”

Satisfied at the enthusiasm with which Walter hugged Pierre she turned to leave.

“Oh poo poo,” Zoe covered her mouth. Shocked by the sight of her mother standing over her and at having cursed within earshot of her.

“I’ll overlook that one,” her mother’s voice rang with pride, “but only because that was a very nice thing you did.”

“I know,” Zoe muttered to her shoelaces, “It still sucks.”

“Well I’m proud of you,” Zoe’s mother hefted her up onto her shoulders, “let’s go to the bookstore... You can pick out whatever you want.”

Zoe met her mother’s offer with cautious optimism.

“Really?”

“Yep,” her mother looked up, “you’re going to want something something to read while you’re grounded.”

My overall thoughts are that the story itself is grand, and I definitely immediately sympathise with and like Zoe as a protagonist. However, you're let down by inconsistent characterisation (is the mom lovely or not?), spelling & grammar slip-ups, and most of all the fact that Zoe just doesn't feel like a 6 year old. She feels like she's about 13 or something; not only is her speech far too precocious but her internal logic and thoughts sound like that of an adult.

There's still some great stuff in here though, and you're very good at writing short and pithy jokes.

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



Adam Vegas posted:

Hey guys. I wrote this about six months ago as the prologue to a novel. Check it out; criticism is more than welcome.

There's parts in this where it does a sort of hard boiled kind of voice quite well, which i think is probably what you were going for, but some of the sentences stick out. like "Such a cold treatment of friendship might sound vaguely sociopathic to you, but I’m happy to inform you that I have plenty of emotions.' is too twee, it sounds like a doctor who character trying to say a quip or something. It's trying to be clever or funny but its not really either, and seems a bit wordy given the narrators voice in most of the other sentences.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



I think it works in general. Take another read over it and try to find places where you can cut down the wordiness, particularly where you're trying to make quips. (Quips are less funny the longer they take to say.) For instance:

quote:

It wasn’t that I didn’t care about him, or that I was celebrating his death, or any of the other ghoulish scenarios you might imagine. I just hadn’t eaten all day, you see.

He's addressing the listener here twice, but the rest of it isn't really addressed to anyone. You could cut it down to "or any other ghoulish scenario. I just hadn't eaten all day."

I like the tone of the beginning lines but I wished it would have connected back up with something else. As is, you start off with what happens after the funeral, then jump back in time to the funeral itself. If you want to make the detail relevant maybe he had the meal before the funeral and now he's worried he's showed up early smelling like fried chicken or something? I dunno. Chicken and a funeral just seems like an interesting enough conceit that it should tie in with something ,even if it's just set dressing.

There's a few points too where I think your paragraph spacing could arrange ideas a bit more clearly. Specifically, this:

quote:

[...] Eight of our year were coming up the path towards me. Of those eight, I wanted to speak to exactly one. Lucas, Charlie’s best friend. His death hit Lucas hard. That’s a common and pernicious phrase.

It’s another way of saying that death only really hurts when it happens to people you genuinely care about.

You're bringing up an idea at the end of one paragraph and then hopping it over to the next, where I think it'd work better if you did this:

quote:

[...] Eight of our year were coming up the path towards me. Of those eight, I wanted to speak to exactly one. Lucas, Charlie’s best friend.

His death hit Lucas hard. That’s a common and pernicious phrase. It’s another way of saying that death only really hurts when it happens to people you genuinely care about.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Hello friends, this is the place to put your fiction.

Doctor Malaver
May 23, 2007
The day before that I was wed - she went upstairs and she cut her head away. I' amazed!

Hello! I'm considering writing something in the style of Dan Brown. There are several problems with that but the first is that I want to write in English and I'm ESL. So here's a short writing exercise... Please let me know whether my language is good enough to be salvaged by a native speaking editor (in case I ever reach the point that I'll need one).

BTW it seems there's nothing for me to crit in this thread so I'll crit one of the 1000+ word stories.


EXAMPLE SCENE 1

Frank lost balance and fell, landing on his back and elbows. The man didn't even struck him properly, but Frank chose to stay on the floor and argue from there.
Why did you do that?!
The man remained silent and slowly moved towards Frank. He first thought the stranger wouldn't hit a man lying down, but now he wasn't so sure any more. He scrambled to his feet.
What do you -
The man hit Frank again, grazing his shoulder and not really hurting him but Frank fell again. He hasn't been in a brawl since high school, his heart was pounding but knees were weak.

David approached the silent thug and put a hand around his waist in a friendly hug.
Hey, hey, don't take it too seriously, we are still friends! Right, professor?
David smiled and extended his hand. Frank accepted it and pulled himself up, knees still shaking. The thug was now friendly too and he patted Frank's back. He even picked up the phone, looked it over and handed it back to Frank, adding helpfully
The phone is OK!
Frank looked at it. The time was 2:45 and he now had less than an hour to catch the plane.


EXAMPLE SCENE 2

Frank tried to unlock the chain as quietly as possible. The excavation site was deserted and the only sounds were muffled talk and footsteps from tourists walking on the road several meters above. He opened the particle board door and took one careful step into impenetrable darkness. Once inside, he closed the door and turned on the phone. A flood light and a tool box showed up, barely, in phone's eerie light. Frank selected the torch app and thought about using it. The problem was that the door fit the frame only loosely and some light would get out. Would it be enough that someone from the corridor notices it?
CLACK!
Frank stepped on a switch and it turned the flood light on, filling the room and his dilated eyes with bright white light. gently caress, gently caress... - he thought, turning his back towards the light source, covering his eyes with both hands. Where's the drat switch? He waited motionlessly for his eyes to adjust. There were no new sounds. Amazingly, nobody seems to have noticed the strong light coming from around the door of the excavation site at 2 AM.
Frank slowly turned towards the area that the flood light was aiming at. A few square meters of stone were removed and the hole revealed the mosaic inside. Frank leaned closer to examine the geometrical shapes.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Doctor Malaver posted:

Hello! I'm considering writing something in the style of Dan Brown. There are several problems with that but the first is that I want to write in English and I'm ESL. So here's a short writing exercise... Please let me know whether my language is good enough to be salvaged by a native speaking editor (in case I ever reach the point that I'll need one).

BTW it seems there's nothing for me to crit in this thread so I'll crit one of the 1000+ word stories.


EXAMPLE SCENE 1

Frank lost balance and fell, landing on his back and elbows. fine, clear and straightforward The man didn't hadn't even struck this is past tense, so needs to agree with the verb him properly, but Frank chose to stay on the floor and argue from there.

"Why did you do that?!" needs quotes, the ?! is ok but melodramatic - I'd avoid

The man remained silent and slowly moved this is a weak verb - think how else you could convey character by how he moves towards Frank. He first thought the stranger wouldn't hit a man lying down, but now he wasn't so sure any more. He scrambled to his feet.
What do you -
The man the man, the man, the stranger, the man - what does he look like hit Frank again, grazing his shoulder and not really hurting him but Frank fell again. He hasn't hadn't been in a brawl since high school, his heart was pounding but knees were weak. this is amusingly scrambly and pathetic, more like a real fight than a movie one (which is good). language is adequate but watch your tenses.

(missing words here?)

David approached the silent thug seriously he's like a robot and put a hand around his waist in a friendly hug.
Hey, hey, don't take it too seriously, we are still friends! Right, professor? quotes, space between paras
David smiled and extended his hand. Frank accepted it and pulled himself up, knees still shaking. The thug was now friendly too and he patted Frank's back. He even picked up the phone, looked it over and handed it back to Frank, adding helpfully
The phone is OK! see above
Frank looked at it. The time was 2:45 and he now had less than an hour to catch the plane. yeah, this can see ok from where it's standing i guess


EXAMPLE SCENE 2

Frank tried to unlock the chain as quietly as possible. The excavation site was deserted and the only sounds were muffled talk and footsteps from tourists walking on the road several meters above. He opened the particle board door and took one careful step into impenetrable darkness. avoid the trap of putting an adjective in front of everything Once inside, he closed the door and turned on the phone. A flood light and a tool box showed up weak verb , barely, in the phone's eerie light. Frank selected the torch app and thought about using it. The problem was that the door fit the frame only loosely and some light would get out. Would it be enough that someone from the corridor notices it?
CLACK!
Frank stepped on a switch and it turned the flood light on, filling the room and his dilated eyes with bright white light. gently caress, gently caress... - he thought, turning his back towards the light source, covering his eyes with both hands. Where's the drat switch? He waited motionlessly adverbs should be cut unless they're essential to the sentence- this one shoudl probably go for his eyes to adjust. There were no new sounds. Amazingly, nobody seems seemed to have noticed the strong light coming from around the door of the excavation site at 2 AM.
Frank slowly turned towards the area that the flood light was aiming at. A few square meters of stone were removed and the hole revealed the mosaic inside. Frank leaned closer to examine the geometrical shapes. yeah, this is peppered with errors but basically adequate dan browning

Doctor Malaver
May 23, 2007
The day before that I was wed - she went upstairs and she cut her head away. I' amazed!

Thanks!

I don't understand this comment, though - this can see ok from where it's standing i guess

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dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Doctor Malaver posted:

Thanks!

I don't understand this comment, though - this can see ok from where it's standing i guess

its a joke, sorry: I mean it's not great, but it's close enough to 'ok' (I.e. acceptably good) that it would be able to see it if it were a place.

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