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Author Topic: Comments for Fanfiction: Part 1 (and all the rest of the story...)  (Read 24111 times)
Oxanna
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« on: November 07, 2007, 11:42:22 PM »

Please post comments, crit. etc. about my story in this topic if you find it necessary. (Actually, it would be very welcome...)  smiley

Also, if there's anything you'd like to say about my other stuff --puffs out chest and looks egotistic-- here's the place for it Wink.





My smiley collection:
      smiley Wink Shocked  cheesy  cool  afro  rolleyes  kiss  huh  evil  angry
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 09:05:06 PM by Oxanna » Logged
cairn destop
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2007, 05:51:18 AM »

Give me the weekend and I'll post my comments.  Glad to see you posted that story.


Okay, just got through the first part.

Let me point out an important item in any story, point of view.  Doing too much "head jumping" can become a bit of a distraction.  Also, such changes can breack your focus.  Do think your best idea is keeping the story focused on the action from the viewpoint of Tyrus.  The switch to the humans isn't necessary.  Let the reader discover that in the next chapter.  I would suggest eliminating the portion between "Any luck, doctor Jacobs?" and "looked like that of a wolf", the segment from "Sir! I mean" to "obeyed" and "Aim well" to "Sir."  This allows you to build suspense and not kill your story by revealing everything. 

As for the SPAG, the work is clean.  Dialogue is good, though I do think more effort should have been put into developing the character.  Nice cliffhanger at the end.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 06:13:41 AM by cairn destop » Logged

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Oxanna
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2007, 06:23:42 AM »

Thanks!
Yuh, you're right about the head-jumping... I'll do that better in my next fanfic, seeing as its a 'journal', heh.
Anyway, there are 13 parts in total (epilogue included) and I hope you'll enjoy them.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 06:26:19 AM by Oxanna » Logged
cairn destop
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2007, 03:25:50 PM »

Here now are a few comments on part two.  First off, try remembering to insert a blank line between dialogues.  It makes it easier reading.  Much of the following are editorial in nature.  They may or may not be helpful.

Focusing on the wolves will keep your readers wondering what is happening.  Thing is, the two wolves should be operating on sensory overload.  Try showing us what the two wolves are experiencing.

Speaking of the wolves, why are you allowing the humans to treat them as pets?  Advanced beings or gods, the wolves should be asserting themselves.  Thought the differences between Nessie and Tyrus at the meal made them both seem like animals and these wolves are not animals. 

1 --- After the line from Nessie about the language, that would be the time to have Tyrus comparing himself to the unknown human.  He could make such observations that would distinguish male and female.  Suggest you use some “animal” distinctions, such as her scent.

2 --- (The only word Nessie understood was 'eat', and she gladly obeyed.)  Here is where you can build on their misunderstanding.  Suggest eliminating the lines from the human and have the two main characters getting the gist of her language from certain words that have a similar sound.  It allows you to build on the suspense as Tyrus and Nessie try deciphering the whole language.

3 --- (say something else when doctor Jacobs endered) should be --- say something else when Doctor Jacobs entered

4 --- ("Here you go, Sir," said one of Jacobs's best helpers, Josie Kemp, handing him two neatly folded garments.)  At this stage, I find the shifting of viewpoints a detraction since it tells the reader what is happening.  If you use the suggestion from Item No. 2, then you might revise the chapter by eliminating this segment.  Think of it this way, unless you’re going to do it as a separate chapter, keep to your main characters. 

5 --- (too scared when its her turn) ---- it’s

6 --- (Tyrus was helped down his instead) --- eliminate “his”

7 --- That shower was a wham-bam, and thank you ma’am type of scene.  Here is where you could explore the confusion Tyrus is feeling and his apprehension at being apart from his sister.  Though the scientists don’t understand her, Tyrus should.

8 --- (Suddenly overcome with exhaustion, he fell into a deep sleep.) ---- This is out of character.  Tyrus should be relaxed until they take Nessie.  He might believe they mean her no harm, but he should be so worried that sleep is the last thing he would do.

9 --- (but hadn't expected it to happen to her.) --- should be “happen for her”

10 – (Her reaction was the same as Tyrus's) --- once they are reunited, that would be the time for them to fall into an exhausted sleep.
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Oxanna
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2007, 09:37:06 PM »

Yuh, I haven't had much experience with dialogue, thanks.

But, if I focus only on the wolves, I won't be able to get in the baked bean joke! Wink

The Humans treat them as biologists would treat the wolves at Yellowstone.

1) I agree.

2) Thanks, good idea. Understanding the Humans makes you read the story from an objective view, and doesn't allow you to get any atmosphere. My next story, as I said...  smiley

3) Whoops!

4) Ah. Here is the bake-bean joke. Then again, I could have incorporated it later...

5) Oh, ja. I only learnt about that apostrophe-thing after I wrote the story, and forgot to read the whole thing over again before posting it.

6) Good idea.

7)
Quote
That shower was a wham-bam, and thank you ma’am type of scene.
huh

As to the rest of that comment,
 Yuh, I didn't really elaborate there. I just wanted to get them onto Atlantis Prime, already!  smiley

8 ) Cool I think I was getting pretty sick of Tyrus...

9) Thanks!

10) Well, at least she did the right thing... smiley

Thanks for the comments, I'll observe the pointers in my next story and correct those that won't need some serious editing in this one.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 09:14:05 AM by Oxanna » Logged
cairn destop
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2007, 06:15:48 PM »

This chapter is perfect for the human viewpoint.  However, you start it from the POV of the wolves and then swing to the humans several times.  From what I have read so far, there is no need for the morphs to be anything more than props for this chapter, show their reactions, but not their thoughts. 

One of the biggest needs is to get the story into a more "intimate" feel.  Right now, you have it as a report.  It is what is known as the difference between telling a story and showing a story.

Again, much of what I have is editorial.



1 ---- (strange . . . strange . . . strange) --- the use of the same word in such close proximity should be avoided.  The first two are acceptable since it is part of Nessie’s dialogue, but the third usage should be changed to a synonym.  (The thesaurus is your best friend.)

2 ---- (The strange quartet were wet through before they reached the reception building, but that was quite normal.) --- Awkward wording, needs rewording on the first phrase.  The second part, the one after “but” is illogical.  How do the wolves know what is “quite normal?”

3 ---- ("Look! Doctor Renhaven!" everyone looked.) --- the “everyone looked” is a redundancy.  The speaker has already made a command, either “everyone” obeyed, (expected), or they did not, (unexpected.)

4 ---- (at eight past ten . . . At eight past ten) --- An unnecessary duplication.  The second could be changed to read “At the appointed time” and it would be understood when it starts.  Do think the super-precise nature of the humans should be explored or explained.  (Everyone is rigidly addicted to schedules?)

5 ---- (here by doctor Jacobs) --- Doctor / (All though) --- Although

6 ---- (Perhaps it was a mercy that Tyrus and Nessie did not yet fully understand the Human language.) --- Murder most foul!  This is a suspense killer and should be eliminated.  If you want to convey that the two morphs have no idea what is being said, have that sentiment displayed in another manner.  (The two wolves displayed grins, which could be considered either a sign of aggression or friendliness, dependent on your view.)

7 ---- (like they're unsual) --- unusual / (He realised) --- I take it you’re using British English as I recognized/recognised the difference

8 ---- (Nessie had decided to wear hers.) --- Once more POV switched in mid paragraph.  You begin with the wolves and now have the POV as an observer.  It would be better either having the wolves discuss their reasons for being opposites or have the scientist make some remark about their actions.)

9 ---- (completely new place . . . completely . . . completely) --- word variety

10 --- (but he understood they were quarrelling about him) --- POV shifted again

11 --- (had Venn not given them her special warning look, reserved for particularly tiresome colleagues and kitchen rodents who were pushing their luck too far.) --- Illogical as it infers Venn has been with other morphs, the rats, before meeting the wolves.

12 --- (Tyrus was greatly relieved . . . and was left to himself.) – This paragraph is telling a story when you want to show it.  How does Tyrus demonstrate his isolation?

13 --- (kick in the stomack) --- stomach
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2007, 06:42:36 PM »

Naturally, he was relieved to be able to decide what to do for himself now. He passed the play-platform (the word 'playground' was not applicable) where the school bully, Yjo, and his friends were hanging around and looking for trouble. Tyrus was an easy target - or so they thought. When he passed them, deep in thought, Yjo pulled his tail - hard. In a flash, Tyrus spun around and nipped Yjo neatly on the hand. Yjo was really, really mad. He pulled Tyrus's ears. Tyrus gave him a hard kick in the stomach. He yanked at the scruff of Tyrus's neck. The latter head-butted him in the stomach. Yjo sprang. Tyrus reacted. A fight followed, of which Yjo came off the worst. Just then, a teacher and doctor Jacobs came onto the platform and pulled the two apart.

Let me see if I can offer a different version, done as showing rather than telling.  I do admit that doing a story in a “show” mode has a tendency of becoming longer, but see if this gives a better picture.  Trust me when I say that converting my first work from show to tell was an experience.

************************************************************************



Yjo and his friends leaned against the building, surveying the playground.  With so many of the younger children playing in groups, Yjo saw no reason to assert his dominance.  Then he spotted the male wolf walking through the area.  A light nudge to the boy next to him had the rest of the gang becoming alert, awaiting some signal from their leader.

Stepping away from the building, Yjo approached the upright wolf from behind.  Several members of his gang began snickering while the others tried silencing them.  Reaching down, Yjo gave the morph’s tail a yank.

There sounded a loud yelp, but not from the wolf.  Waving his hand up and down, Yjo’s expression darkened when one or two members of his gang laughed.  Giving a quick lunge, the boy snagged the wolf’s ears and gave them a hard pull.

In the past, such tactics had younger and weaker children bawling and his gang enjoying the spoils of whatever booty they could steal.  But this time, the others watched their leader take a solid kick to the stomach that had him doubled up and on the ground.  As Ajo laid sprawled on the ground, the sound of silence was deafening.

With a roar that would do any cougar justice, Ajo launched himself at the wolf.  For his part, the morph accepted the challenge, issuing a snarl that had several gang members taking a step back.  Blows were exchanged and Ajo took far more than he gave.  Just after a series of stinging blows from the wolf, several adults raced to the scene.  Ajo gave a relieved sigh as he and the wolf were separated by Doctor Jacobs.
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Oxanna
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2007, 09:30:42 PM »

No, I'm not very good with the POV-thing yet. Even the 'Star Warz' stories I wrote a couple years ago, switched between Luke and Lando in the same chapter.

1) Thanks. I once read a book in which the writer used 'mighty' three or four times close to each other - that was really annoying.

2) You're right, the wording could use some changes. No, it wouldn't be normal for the wolves, but it would be for the scientists. (POV switching again.)

3) Yup.

4) Remember that all the Humans present were scientists, doctors and teachers. I kind of get the idea they like schedules.

5) Oops.

6) Yuh, I didn't consider that.

7) Please excuse spelling mistakes. / Well, my spellchecker is set to British, which is okay seeing as South African English is more like that than American.
And, although I have a spellchecker, it annoyed me so much I said 'hide misspelled words' and forgot to check the story before posting it.

8 ) Ja, you're right there. I needed a way to make Nessie an individual, and not a Tyrus-clone, but I think I could have done that somewhere else.

9) Yuh.

10) Well, at the moment everyone in the class is looking at them, and you need to know what Tyrus is thinking. Otherwise he sits there like some kind of brick, staring blankly ahead of him  smiley. But I think your suggestion was better.

11) I know I should have mentioned it somewhere, but there are normal rats on Atlantis Prime. (Seeing as there were rats on sailing ships long ago, I thought it might be interesting if they pulled the same stunt with sleeper ships.)

12) H'm.

13) See Comment #7

*********************************************************************************************

(Ajo) -- Yjo
Really good. But if I put that there, the rest of the story would seem curiously ill-written...  smiley

A tip for the next part of the story: don't love Yjo.

« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 09:34:46 PM by Oxanna » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2007, 01:37:34 PM »

Okay, onto Chapter Four.  Just to let you know, I read the chapter first and then go back to make my comments.   As you can guess, most of my comments are editorial in nature, and this time focused on the logical progression of the chapter.





1 --- That very first line is a bit melodramatic.  Cannot remember what age Tyrus is in the story, but if his sister is fitting in, then the male must be the equivelent of a third or fourth grader.

2 --- The listing of pranks and their consequences is repeated twice.  Either stick to the first time where you tell, or the dialogue.  A better way is to have somebody observing these and getting an impression of how Tyrus is coping with it, or in this case, how he is not coping.

3 --- Again, the fight sequence with the new kid is a telling sequence.  We are given a full infodump on this character all at one time.  At this point, the only thing Tyrus should know is the physical.  This is a bit of a logic jump.  Remember to work new characters into a story a little at a time.   You might have this chapter give us a physical and in another chapter, drop the bit about him being a spacer, or from a different planet.

4 --- The introspection is a good point for Tyrus.  It lets us see how he is feeling.  Problem is, it comes at the wrong time, during a fight.  It isn't logical.  Better if such introspection came before he comes across the combatants.  Have the prelude to the fight break his train of thought.

5 --- "I - I thought it was anchored!" --- Illogical.  When anger comes in, reason goes out.  If the new boy, Jarmen, is angry enough to push him into the dustbin, he doesn't think about it being anchored.  It also wouldn't matter to another child.

6 --- Sorry, I don't see Tyrus being heroic.  To date, he hasn't shown any backbone or any real character development.  Now if he went in without thinking and somewhere during the attempt realized he was a fool for saving an enemy, that would make some sense.

7 --- A good cliffhanger as we don't know if the bully survived or if Tyrus or the bully's brother will survive their immersion.
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Oxanna
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2007, 09:19:22 PM »

My answer for comments 1-4: I've never written a fight sequence before. Thanks for the pointers, I'll remember them for next time.

5) He didn't want the other kids to think he pushed him into the sea on purpose. But you're right, I should just have made him look shocked.

6) I think he was too busy trying to survive to reflect... though it would make more sense. This is, after all, a story...  smiley
His tribal instincts kicked in at that point. In his tribe, if he let someone else drown just because he didn't like him - 'nuff said.

7) Thanks!
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2007, 03:49:15 AM »

Fight sequences can be a very hard thing to write.  A trick I use is to take a chess set and use the pieces as the characters.  (pawns are best)  Then, just like they do in a movie, you have the action written down in slow motion for each character, one by one.  This helps you focus on what each of the characters is seeing and you can list his reaction.  Editing it to one POV will speed it up to real time. 

In big battles, and those are harder, I have had to use coins to represent whole armies.  It takes time and patience getting the sequence.  At my age, 54, such things can look silly, but it helps me focus on the action.

Onto Chapter 5:


Good.  Now you have defined the challenge for our two main characters.  Nice touch having Tyrus listing the human weaknesses.  Now you have a battle between instinct and science.  Trick is to give both sides some advantages.  Having a failure or two in a longer story heightens he interest as the readers begin scheming with the characters, wondering if this plan will work.



1 --- (But for a fatal split second, Tyrus had seen her hesitate; double-blink; shoot the tip of her tongue over her lips. Her conversation was forced now, and her cheeks a shade of pink. "Well - I - I suppose you want to be together." She turned and left the room.) --- Now that is a good attempt at showing us what is happening instead of telling us.  To make it better, give us the focus and draw it out.

Tyrus saw her hesitate for a fatal split second.  The doctor double-blinked and she took a deep breath before replying.  The wolf watched the tip of her tongue running over her lips.  Her conversation sounded forced now, and her cheeks turned a shade of pink. "Well - I - I suppose you want to be together." She turned and hurried from the room, closing the door with more force than she had on earlier visits.

2 --- (Well, no... but Jarmen does.) ---- Logic error continued from prior chapter.  Tyrus has no such knowledge.  This is the problem the wolves must solve.  Let them learn about Jarmen while they try finding some means of escape.
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Oxanna
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2007, 08:33:09 AM »

Thanks for the tip!  smiley

1) Good idea.

2) Yuh. I suppose I should have thought everything through to conclusion...  smiley. You're right - I shouldn't assume Tyrus knows everything I do - also, the audience might miss the bit where I said Jarmen was learning to pilot. They'd have to re-read that bit...
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2007, 04:31:17 PM »

1 --- But during that time, something happened which nearly ruined their plans. --- OUCH!  MURDER MOST FOUL! This is an easy trap to fall into and one I have done in all too many instances in my first drafts.  You are revealing information to your readers and killing the suspense you are trying to create.  Leave such sentences out of the story, but do use them in your draft as a reminder of what you want to do.

2 --- Jarmen and Tyrus had become friends. --- You’re telling us something you were doing well by showing.  Having them sit together and telling jokes shows a friendship is growing.  Having the dialogue that follows shows how well that friendship is growing.

3 --- its rather hard to describe --- it’s (its = possessive / it’s = it is)

4 --- During the five months on Atlantis Prime, she had changed, to become more like the Humans in her personality, able to switch emotions and feelings on and off as she pleased. --- Were you ever to expand on this story, here is one area that needs further development.  Nessie’s personality has changed too much and without any progression. As it reads, one day she is bubbly and outgoing; the next a cunning and cruel female.

5 --- Some of the information is too conveniently dropped in her hearing.  Yes, she is hidden, but some things she should either have discovered in her readings, or have her brother learn.  Reason I say this is that the main character is shifting from Tyrus, and I’m not too sure you want that.
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Oxanna
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2007, 09:15:48 PM »

1) Oops.

2) Yes, I think I can just leave out that sentence.

3) *cringe* I know... I know...  smiley. Think I'll go through the story again to find all the it's and its and see if there's another mistake.

4) H'm. Yuh, that should have taken more time. I think my problem is that I wanted a fast-progressing story, and this one turned out too fast-progressing. I'll give my next story a really good grammar-spelling-logic check before posting.

5) Oh, well, she hasn't really been mentioned before. This turned out to be a good opportunity to say, 'Heeeere, audience, audience! Remember Tyrus isn't the only main character!' But perhaps I should have used a 'gradient'.
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2007, 05:04:00 PM »

Managed reading another two chapters.  Yeah, other things keep me from doing this at a faster pace, but I will get through it.  Overall, your story has some excellent points and there is some good ideas here.  Haven't seen any spelling or gramatical errors, which is something many starting authors overlook in their zeal to release their material.



TO KIDNAP A HUMAN...


Of course they were bluffing - but when one has no hope of help and is tied to a chair, one does not think twice about a death threat being real or only a bluff. = Two things about this sentence.  The first phrase is a suspense killer, eliminate it.  The rest of the sentence is telling.  A better sentence would show. --- Jarmen gave a shudder, which didn’t lessen the tension on the ropes that bound him. 

I know there's a lot of emphasis on Tyrus and Nessie's hardness and such, but I didn't know another way of going about to make you see Jarmen's POV. = Let’s explore this statement.  You have recognized one of the biggest challenges to any author, selecting the right point of view.  To be honest, I would think you would want to keep this in the POV of the two wolves.  They are the main focus.  However, that doesn’t prevent you from giving us a feeling of Jarmen.  For example:

"It is surprising how much one finds one suddenly knows with the proper motivation." Nessie spoke up, her voice cold and hard as steel. "And believe me, Human, you'll find you do have the proper motivation." She showed him her teeth.

Both Tyrus and his sister caught the slight tangy smell of fear emanating from the human and that had them grinning wider.  The two wolves noticed Jarmen’s shaking hands as they darted to the control panel before him.  His fingers began punching at the colored buttons before him while beads of sweat formed on his forehead.

THE LANDING

This chapter offered you a good chance to go into some descriptive passages.  One thing does ignore logic.  If the reactor can explode, the ship would be designed with a system that would focus the blast away from the living quarters.  The ship would be destroyed, but the forward sections would be safe.

Another logic error is how calm the four strangers are when they first encountered the returning wolf pups.  They should have heard the explosion and come running to the source, prepared for some danger.  Their meeting is too calm.
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