National Novel Writing Month 2012 Page 50

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  • TechnoHippy 25 May 2013 16:30:27 14,698 posts
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    @Blerk Good work on the word count. I think you made the right choice, sometimes you just have to bull your way through and clean up the mess later.

    Anyway, here are my thoughts on chapter 15:

    The second sentence is very long.

    Why is the General telling him all this?

    I was wondering when the possibility of more advanced Earths would come up, although that raises the possibility of an attack from one or more of them.

    Megalomania is a wonderful thing :-)

    It seems odd that the son is almost an afterthought.

    Although it ends on a suitably sinister tone - I approve :-)

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  • sunjumper 25 May 2013 20:29:27 3,180 posts
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    @Blerk
    Oh boy. Another chapter? I would say that you are spoiling us but then Salaman would probably strangulate me.

    So…
    Chapter 15

    Before I start let me point out that what follows is mostly nit picking and thinking about the concepts you present in your story. These are in no way complaints but are written down in the hope that you can derive some value from them helping you to have an easier time writing your story.

    Great office, I’d like the same please. Seeing how you describe exotic wood used for the furniture… the ‘other earths’ should be also a well spring of all manners of exotic materials which could be used to make for example furniture, or cloth and things like that. Not quite as spectacular as Uranium and Oil but this is another potentially huge market and exactly the stuff my evil overlord office would be made off if I was in Sanderford’s position.

    ‘For a man so rough and ready with the rulebook his obvious respect for his superior was perhaps surprising.’ Perhaps? Dude, make up your mind either it is or it isn’t. Especially because you chose first person, that ‘perhaps’ seems misplaced.

    “…we’re practically out of natural resources.” Hmmm. A strange thing to say for the general to say. We are at a point where we can see that our natural resources are finite, Sanderford does not seem to be from the side of the political spectrum who cares about such things. He seems more like the type who objects to the prices for the resources rising, especially if they are not under control of his own country. He might also be rather unhappy that most of the key resources that keep his country going are de facto controlled by foreign powers.

    They probably murdered billions of people. Another thing, while does not seem to be the way Sanderford thinks, it could be argued that the inhabitants of the other planet are not really human and thus not really people. This line of thought can be used to ease the conscience of everyone benefiting from the project from afar.

    The more advanced earths sound like source of incredible and significant danger. Especially seeing how we are behaving towards the less developed world. How do you steal a mega-weapon from an advanced society? Especially without getting incredibly killed with death rays and singing lasers?

    This does explain why the military was so preoccupied with destroying all books and pictures etc…

    I do not understand why they don’t send Travis onto an extended vacation on the burning Earth. Having him running around seems like a very huge risk and implicating that most of the higher-ups know what has happened to the invaded earth feels like stretching it a bit. This is bound to leak to the wrong places in time. The idea that most people cautiously avoid asking too many questions so that they need not listen to the answers or simply don’t care about any details as long as the results are right you mentioned above seems more plausible.
    Travis slowly turning into a threat for the project might be a development that could provide some interesting twists and turns.

    “But out here… out here we can be Gods!” I can’t decide. On one side this is so over the top that it makes me smile. I love it. On the other hand this is so over the top that it pushes at the boundaries of the mood the story has established. An alternative could be that out there they can be free. Free from control, lack of vision, bureaucracy etc... That would need a bit more of a monologue but he would come over as crazy.
    Truth be told I also like Ming Sanderford.

    This scene has a slight Apocalypse Now vibe to it.

    Hmmm…. The latter part of the conversation work very well. There is a good flow to it. The attack of the General does not make that much sense in the context of the scene. Especially considering that the discarded gun ends up in the Generals position anyway. If you want to add some extra tension, you could as well have the General place the gun on a table to his side. Same effect. A bit of hope, to far out of reach and gone after a while.
    It is now clear though why Sanderford does not care what the people back on our Earth will ever think of his actions.

    “The fury he had displayed just a short while ago appeared to have receded completely, although I could still sense it crackling at the edges of his words […]” this is a great description.

    And the chapter ends on a violent and foreboding note.

    Despite of what you may think after that wall of text I left up there, I enjoyed the chapter a lot. I think the middle part with Sanderford going totally batshit does not mesh that well with how the rest of the story has been told so far, especially as he settles down afterwards. He was also far more scary when he was more calm and calculating. Someone who does evil things carefully calculating his steps is more scary than someone who is simply vicious. Example right out of your story, Maxwell is a sadistic piece of shit and I hate him, but he is not half as scary as the general when he explains how easy everything is going to be from here on out as he has got his plans of genocide, slavery and inter-dimensional pillaging all carefully laid out already.

    Overall good stuff, explains a lot of the things that have been happening and again prove that trusting you when things seem strange was the right thing to do. It might have been a lot of work and toil to get the chapter out and it may be a bit bumpy, but it keeps the story flowing in interesting ways. It is still a joy to read and as always I am looking forward for more. So I’d say that this was effort well spent.
  • Blerk Moderator 25 May 2013 23:11:39 48,225 posts
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    I can see you're having exactly the same problems with this chapter as I was, which actually pleases me a great deal. I almost took the Sanderford attack scene out before posting but then decided to leave it in case I was just over-reacting, but I can see now that my gut was right. Although I want to paint him as borderline insane in this scene he isn't Maxwell and he's far more effective when he's cold and cocksure.

    Plenty of other good points in there too, thanks to you both for taking the time to read again! Come the edit I think this chapter will end up looking quite different, but perhaps not quite as much as I had initially feared. :)
  • sunjumper 26 May 2013 00:32:46 3,180 posts
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    You just need to tweak a few things here and there.
    If you are also not that happy with the way Sanderford went to far into aggressive overlord territory, you should aim to make him more amoral and cruel at heart. In the end he will come over as very insane. I think this was mostly a case of you worrying too much.

    The Maxwell Sanderford contrast works well. Maxwell is an aggressive asshat, while Sanderford is friendly warm and avuncular. If you want to bring out the crazy with him, keep him in that nice, friendly mood. In times when he is doing horrible things, or talking about his crazy plans that will make him look quite insane. He'd be a guy who would torture your kids in front of you to get something he wants, while making pleasant small talk and offering you a nice cup of tea.

    I also think that it is a good idea to just move onwards. Things that will happen later during your story will make the re-writing of this chapter much easier.
  • Metalfish 30 May 2013 21:47:18 8,786 posts
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    sunjumper wrote:
    The novella is the story about the magic tower, right? Another bit story that I'd like to return to. Especially because it has magic comming out of its ears which is a nice contrast to your main magnum opus.
    Done. It had been close to being finished for a long time. I've culled the ending and put in one more, well, more Ludas Ignes. Feedback welcome.
  • Metalfish 31 May 2013 20:50:18 8,786 posts
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    I should probably clarify that by "done" I mean drafted.

    Anyway, shameless bump aside, who needs reading?
  • sunjumper 31 May 2013 20:53:32 3,180 posts
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    *cough* I might have 2/3 finished new NaNo story which could use some extra feedback...
  • Metalfish 31 May 2013 20:55:11 8,786 posts
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    Go on then. Link me or mail me.
  • TechnoHippy 31 May 2013 22:11:11 14,698 posts
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    @Metalfish

    I'm not sure how many times I've read the beginning, but I can't remember how far I got into it, so from the beginning it is :-)

    I like the quick and easy introduction to the principals of how magic works.

    The conversational style works well.

    For the edit pass there's a few instances of 'was' you can cull - one of my personal bugbears :-)

    " There were only a few people about -fishermen mostly" - rogue hyphen.

    "We were pretending to" - passive, go for the more active "we pretended to".

    The descriptions of the nightmares work well.

    "The screams came louder" - became?

    "The air smelt of burnt meat" - smelled, or maybe stank would be better?

    ‘No’ she said ‘from downstairs. The nightmares are inside.’ - 'No'should have a comma after it.

    I'll read the rest tomorrow.

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  • TechnoHippy 1 Jun 2013 17:54:49 14,698 posts
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    @Metalfish

    Previously on the nano thread...

    "The gentle pulse of unfathomable machinery started to give me a headache." - you can lose the started to, makes it more direct.

    ‘The take blood from everyone.’ - the should be they?

    "Somehow he managed to retain his" - "Somehow he retained his" would be stronger.

    "Then I heard Rou's teeth clench and then the entire construction folded in on itself, ripping itself from the surrounding machines like the death throes of some enormous creature, with metallic screams boring into my skull." - You could lose a 'then' and it's a long sentence.

    All in all that was a great story, well paced and fun to read. I assume there will be more to come?

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  • Metalfish 1 Jun 2013 20:38:36 8,786 posts
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    Thankyees very much. I've taken about 80% of your feedback on board and am arrogantly ignoring one or two bits.

    I'm not sure I'll ever get around to doing the "sequel", I like tackling ideas I'm not fond of. In this case, magic and the "rescue the princess" archetype. Whilst I know what would happen next (it would involve some serious karmic accountancy) and would probably go on to explain a couple of hows and whys about the ending, I'm treating this as something like a pitch rather than something I'm going to focus on.

    A portfolio piece or something. I donno.
  • TechnoHippy 2 Jun 2013 09:05:18 14,698 posts
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    No worries, take what is useful, ignore what is not :-)

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  • RichieTenenbaum 12 Jun 2013 20:55:14 2,181 posts
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    Hey, I didn't manage to do nanowrimo this year. I got started and got to about 2000 words and lost the time. I can't work out if I should bother continuing with it or not. I'm not really sure what I'm writing.

    I dumped it here if anyone fancies looking.http://textdump.net/read/2327/

    Edited by RichieTenenbaum at 20:55:29 12-06-2013
  • Deleted user 12 June 2013 21:10:43
    Vague scan feedback:

    Storywise, there's not enough there to get a feel for things, but what is there would need to be bulked up for a full length novel. Things seem to happen very quickly, which gives it a short story vibe. If you're not sure where it's going then write more of it until you do.

    Editing stuff, for notes as you go: Tense changes, sometimes in mid-sentence (most notably the very first sentence), make for problematic reading. Lots of sentences that start with "I", "He", "She", "Her" in repetition (in more than two instances there are short sentences starting with "I" five times in a row, which could arguably be stylistic choice, but doesn't come across as such). Also need to fix the punctuation in the dialogue tags - '"Hello," he said' not '"Hello." He said.'
  • RichieTenenbaum 12 Jun 2013 21:14:17 2,181 posts
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    LOLZ

    Fucked the grammer on the first sentence!

    For some reason I tried to write in present tense and it's unnatural and is fucking me off.

    Also: I know what you mean about things happening too quickly.

    Edited by RichieTenenbaum at 21:15:06 12-06-2013

    Edited by RichieTenenbaum at 21:15:35 12-06-2013
  • RedSparrows 14 Jun 2013 09:56:55 21,994 posts
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    meme wrote:
    Good job, RS. Is the magazine online too? The college magazine I've been working on should be done towards the end of May. Been an interesting experience.
    http://romulusmagazine.wordpress.com/

    But the actual mag won't be online for a while. The physical copy is really nice.

    I now get to experience that awful feeling of not wanting to read anything I have written: I know there'll be mistakes, flaws, broken parts, tenses off, etc etc etc.

    Edited by RedSparrows at 09:57:31 14-06-2013
  • RedSparrows 17 Jun 2013 21:06:34 21,994 posts
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    Just realised I didn't say which is mine. I know you're all begging for it.

    The last on the list.
  • Metalfish 18 Jun 2013 22:10:14 8,786 posts
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    Will read. Do you want feeback, or just adulation? :)

    //update on massive story I've been writing since forever, please ignore//
    Currently breaking up my massive HG Wells-esque prologue throughout the text. No idea if it works.
    //update on massive story I've been writing since forever, please ignore//
  • binky Moderator 19 Jun 2013 08:20:34 9,424 posts
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    Hi guys, I wasn't sure where to post this, but having lurked in here a while I hoped you wouldn't mind having a look over a short story written as part of the creative writing class I've been taking.

    It's a piece about FIFA, mates and being "slightly racist".

    I had a target of 800 words, which in hindsight was never going to happen with what I was trying to say. Still, I'd very much appreciate your thoughts - positive or negative.

    http://meyoucoffee.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/offside/
  • RedSparrows 19 Jun 2013 11:55:26 21,994 posts
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    Metalfish wrote:
    Will read. Do you want feeback, or just adulation? :)

    Both, if applicable.
  • RedSparrows 19 Jun 2013 12:01:42 21,994 posts
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    binky wrote:
    Hi guys, I wasn't sure where to post this, but having lurked in here a while I hoped you wouldn't mind having a look over a short story written as part of the creative writing class I've been taking.

    It's a piece about FIFA, mates and being "slightly racist".

    I had a target of 800 words, which in hindsight was never going to happen with what I was trying to say. Still, I'd very much appreciate your thoughts - positive or negative.

    http://meyoucoffee.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/offside/
    I like it, although it feels perhaps a little too forced at points - I can see you trying to keep the discussion in casual terms, but there's just a hint of it being slightly artificial at points. Might just be a taste thing.

    Also, little things: 'unfolded ironing board' - why unfolded? Is a folded board more emotional?

    'The dark oak floor creaked in sympathy with Ash’s knees as he padded through to the kitchen. Cookery books stood with unbroken spines on the worktop, book ended by an open, empty bread bin and an open, empty bottle of dark rum. On one wall a CD cover and disc, floating in an oversized rustic wooden frame took pride of place.

    The album, entitled Windmills was by Sweet FA. A younger, thinner Frank stood side by side with 3 other long haired, fully bearded musicians against the backdrop of a beach at dusk. It always annoyed Ash that no windmills could be seen on the front cover; a point he always mentioned to Frank every time he saw it.'

    I like the hints - the unbroken spines, the empty containers of various types, but it needs tidying up a bit: I presume the repetition was intentional? Grammar too - 'book ended' isn't right - [the row of books was] flanked? Punctuated? Not so precisely physical, I grant you. The CD story I don't really get - it's nice colour, but it's the only bit of colour like it, and so feels like it should have import of some kind?

    But yeah, I like the idea, and the humour.

    Edited by RedSparrows at 12:03:33 19-06-2013
  • binky Moderator 19 Jun 2013 12:15:56 9,424 posts
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    The CD on the wall hints at something bigger that is hopefully to come of this initial look at a character I'm creating, so yeah that was intentional though perhaps not as fitting in a snapshot like this. That said, the detail in that section was my tutor's favourite bit. Ha!

    Do you know... the ironing board bit. i just read that again. It's not funny and a waste of words. Quite agree.

    The writing isn't as free as I'd like it to be as I was restricted by word count. I'm looking forward to expanding this a lot further with a focus on failed musician Frank who accidentally finds the limelight and loses it again. Synopsis written and I'm ready to go, I'm just terrible at finding the motivation to bloody do it!

    Really appreciate you taking the time to read it. Cheers.
  • RedSparrows 19 Jun 2013 13:05:33 21,994 posts
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    binky wrote:
    That said, the detail in that section was my tutor's favourite bit. Ha!

    Fair enough - horses for courses, essentially! :)
  • TechnoHippy 19 Jun 2013 20:38:46 14,698 posts
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    @RedSparrows

    I read it and enjoyed it. The language was a little elaborate for my taste, but it suited the story. I do think I missed something though as I didn't get the point of it.

    Probably just me being dim :-)

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  • TechnoHippy 19 Jun 2013 20:47:34 14,698 posts
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    @binky

    Considering the briskness of the dialogue, the over worked description feels a bit much. It slows the reading of the piece. Something I find useful is to read the work out loud, you can easily feel where the pace slows that way.

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  • Deleted user 19 June 2013 20:52:39
    @binky I haven't given it a thorough read, but for my own personal taste, I find the large amount of detail in the text clashes a bit with the David Mamet-esque dialogue. All personal preference, of course, but I'd prefer to see more dialogue tagging at the beginning - compare how the dialogue and action flows halfway through (just after he scores for the first time) compared to the beginning. That snappy tagless dialogue works for the opening, but should be cut down on the second non-dialogue happens (the line "Frank picked up the xbox controller and started flicking through the game’s menu screen.")

    It's good dialogue though, I like it. The segue and comparison between racism and being offside does work, and does feel pretty natural. I agree that some of it feels a bit forced in places, though that's mostly setup dialogue like "Punch it Chewy". It's sort of flavour text that isn't wholly necessary here. It would work in a screenplay, but not a story.
  • Metalfish 19 Jun 2013 21:17:56 8,786 posts
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    On one wall a CD cover and disc, floating in an oversized rustic wooden frame took pride of place
    Your clause structure here bothered me. Comma after 'frame' should appease me.

    There's not really enough for me to get my teeth into, but it does feel a bit nicey-nicey. When someone's "face" is challenged like that (it's a cod psych/linguistic term, it's useful for analysing conflict in conversation, its analogous to an outward projection of persona, and yes I am a massive pseud), they tend to get a bit more defensive than that. But it is witty and playful.

    And, I agree with meme. So yeah.
  • binky Moderator 19 Jun 2013 23:36:11 9,424 posts
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    Cheers for taking the time to read it guys, and I appreciate the feedback.

    >> It would work in a screenplay, but not a story.

    Interestingly (to me) I was toying with the idea of making this a script rather than a story in the first place, something I've tried before. Perhaps that's where I should focus my writing rather than pretend I'm a story writer.
  • binky Moderator 19 Jun 2013 23:37:04 9,424 posts
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    Metalfish wrote:
    On one wall a CD cover and disc, floating in an oversized rustic wooden frame took pride of place
    Your clause structure here bothered me. Comma after 'frame' should appease me.

    Yeah, I'd agree with a comma there for sure.
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