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Zanzibar
April 21st, 2005, 10:59 PM
Eek, I was avoiding this, but if I'm to start writing longer stuff I need to find out what I'm doing wrong. I've six stories posted in the community section so far and if anyone wants to check any of them out, they'll find them here:

http://www.sffworld.com/community/stories/p.html

I'd very much appreciate any feedback from anyone, good and bad.

Thanks a bunch.

seancuig
April 22nd, 2005, 03:05 AM
Havn't read them all, but what I have I thought was very good.

Exodus:

Enjoyed it. If this is to be a novel, the piece you have posted would certainly make me think that it could be.

I like the names you use and the pacing and style of writing is very easy to read.


Being alone allowed her to drop the emotional defenses she had erected when press-ganged and with their fall all of the past days occurrences and this days problems stormed the fortress of her mind
This doesnít read well. I think it needs to be reworked slightly to flow better. Might just need to be punctuated.


The hand she left behind but the warmth followed and, through tear-filled eyes, she stared down the length of her blood-soaked body to see a pile of intestines lying in a messy heap on her abdomen.
I donít think the warmth could follow per say, as it was attached to her? Maybe thatís just me being pedantic. :o

I like the description of the elves. They seem much darker than normally protrayed, almost more like Feist's Mordhel, though I don't get any impression that they are intended to be evil or anything. I just think it's nice for them not to come across all willowy and elegant etc.

I'd like to see some more of it :D

Amnesia:

This was good. Pretty snappy. The scene made me think immediately of the Balins Tomb scene from the LOTR movie, but that's not a criticism.
I like the ending.

Zanzibar
April 22nd, 2005, 10:18 AM
Enjoyed it. If this is to be a novel, the piece you have posted would certainly make me think that it could be.

Working on the planning and research right now, though I don't know if I'm going to work this snippet into the story (probably will, just to save time :) ).


"Being alone allowed her to drop the emotional defenses she had erected when press-ganged and, with their fall, all of the past days occurrences, and this days problems, stormed the fortress of her mind."

Added the commas I had forgotten, though you're right, it is clunky.



I don’t think the warmth could follow per say, as it was attached to her? Maybe that’s just me being pedantic. :o

Ahh, I don't really like that line either. Glad you pointed it out.


I like the description of the elves. They seem much darker than normally protrayed, almost more like Feist's Mordhel, though I don't get any impression that they are intended to be evil or anything. I just think it's nice for them not to come across all willowy and elegant etc.

Cool, I wanted darker, more violent elves. I don't like the singing, spell-slinging elves of most common fantasy. They are willowy, but they'll still kill you right quick :) .


This was good. Pretty snappy. The scene made me think immediately of the Balins Tomb scene from the LOTR movie, but that's not a criticism.
I like the ending.

Just my first attempt at first-person. I'm glad it went over well with someone.

kater
April 22nd, 2005, 10:19 AM
Amnesia:
Quite a good story, I think you struggled with first person pov a bit, in the below examples you don't need to state the disclaimer 'thats what it looked/sounded/smelled etc like to me' because the narrative is the protagonists thoughts and perspective of events, so the reader has no reason to doubt otherwise. Interesting ending, like Jack said very much a Balin's Tomb scene gone wrong.


The noises were less those of pain and more of rage, or at least that is how they sounded to me.


The open sarcophagus dominating its center suggested to me it was a tomb.


The two dead bodies draped over its sides, front halves burnt black, suggested to me something awful had happened here.


It looked as if it was made of shadow

Exodus:
Emjoyable although I have to confess of being bored of elves in every form. I think only Feist and James Barclay have made them even remotely interesting. Your writing style is a little awkward at times and you may want to check the use of words like plaint(?) and carthatic - I think you meant catatonic in that case. One sentence I couldn't avoid in the first page was the one below, 'in the warriors' arms of her companions'. I think you mean that a warriors arms would typically be strong and thus not struggle with her weight, but its unclear and strange to read first time through.


Her slender body was nearly weightless in the warriors' arms of her companions and she was on her feet in but an instant

Good, solid stuff overall though and there's plenty for you to use if you are decided on continuing the tale.

Divine Attentions:
Very good effort, I enjoyed this a lot. Although Awk is one strange name ... says Kater :D

Homunculus:
Interesting, a friend of mine who writes a lot of stuff showed me a similar piece about a year or so ago. The only trouble with it is the same as Amnesia, I know its first person but you use 'me' and 'it' too much. Also wouldn't he have a 'pet' name for the imp/demon after all this time, at least that would give you an option other than 'it'. Good stuff, I like darkly humorous writing.

Out to Sea:
Odd, odd and ... yeah odd. I did go round calling my brother a lying rat-bastard for the rest of the day though, which annoyed him no end :D


A Simple Matter of Perspective:
Definitely the weakest link, the writing, intentional or not, reads like a spoof of all the early 19century detective pieces, you don't actually show us even a glimpse of who the killer may be or a chance to work it out through a re-read and as a result there is no closure to the story. My leats favourite by a way.

Zanzibar
April 22nd, 2005, 10:28 AM
Amnesia:
Quite a good story, I think you struggled with first person pov a bit, in the below examples you don't need to state the disclaimer 'thats what it looked/sounded/smelled etc like to me' because the narrative is the protagonists thoughts and perspective of events, so the reader has no reason to doubt otherwise. Interesting ending, like Jack said very much a Balin's Tomb scene gone wrong.

Maybe first-person's not for me, then.


Your writing style is a little awkward at times and you may want to check the use of words like plaint(?) and carthatic - I think you meant catatonic in that case.

I wrote this for my Writer's Craft class (first short story I've ever completed). We were given a vocabulary list of words, five of which we had to include in our writing. I forgot to do this while writing so I threw them in afterwards. Plaint and cathartic were two of them.


Homunculus:
Interesting, a friend of mine who writes a lot of stuff showed me a similar piece about a year or so ago. The only trouble with it is the same as Amnesia, I know its first person but you use 'me' and 'it' too much. Also wouldn't he have a 'pet' name for the imp/demon after all this time, at least that would give you an option other than 'it'. Good stuff, I like darkly humorous writing.

You might be right about the familiarity issue but I wouldn't get chummy with a demon who lived in my gut ;) .


Out to Sea:
Odd, odd and ... yeah odd. I did go round calling my brother a lying rat-bastard for the rest of the day though, which annoyed him no end :D

I, too, have nothing to say about this story. I was in a weird mood when I wrote it.


A Simple Matter of Perspective:
Definitely the weakest link, the writing, intentional or not, reads like a spoof of all the early 19century detective pieces, you don't actually show us even a glimpse of who the killer may be or a chance to work it out through a re-read and as a result there is no closure to the story. My leats favourite by a way.

In my defence, it was much longer. The max. word limit was 2500, which was too few for what I was trying to do. I had about 5000 written then had to chop the hell out of it, losing much of the dialogue and description. Anyway, I don't much like it either, and it was a cheesy attempt at a detective story.

Zanzibar
April 29th, 2005, 06:03 AM
I've posted a new story here: http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/454p0.html that I hope is better. I kinda want a little more feedback before I put this thread out to pasture. Of course, reciprocity is the name of the game. I'd be more than happy to review anything of yours if you do the same for me.

Thanks (and thanks to kater and seancuig too, of course).

seancuig
April 29th, 2005, 07:37 AM
That's a cool little tale. I love the theme and think the intro through the story telling to the children is really vivid and a great hook into the tale.

A couple of sentences jumped out at me as being slightly confusing.


On many occasions he had gathered them together to test out new stories, but that night had steeled their resolve and they were able to shrug off the worst his creative mind had to offer. Dejected, he gave up after a few weeks
I don't think the original impression of many attempts, matches up well with him giving up a couple of weeks later.


Well, now Ysran had the opportunity to help provide him with his future victims.
Don't see where this fits. How is she going to help him? (other than the ending which she shouldn't know anything about)


Turning to see what the fuss was about, he simply dropped dead upon spotting the ghostly apparition that was now only a scant few feet from the open end of the wagon.
I don't think this sentence reads well. I would re-structure it:
Turning to see what the fuss was about, he spotted the ghostly apparition that was now only a scant few feet from the open end of the wagon; The sight caused him to drop dead on the spot.


It was the riverman's now.
What was? Her body or her consciousness

Overall I really liked the idea and the story is really engaging. :D
Jack F

Zanzibar
April 29th, 2005, 09:24 AM
Thanks, sean :) . I hope the contest's judges think so too.


I don't think the original impression of many attempts, matches up well with him giving up a couple of weeks later.
Maybe months would have been better. Oh well, too late for the contest.


Don't see where this fits. How is she going to help him? (other than the ending which she shouldn't know anything about)
This line: "Dejected, he gave up after a few weeks, intent on waiting for the next generation of children to come along."

Now that she's planning on wedding, she'll be having kids (and they'd be the next generation). It is a little obscure though.


I don't think this sentence reads well. I would re-structure it:
Turning to see what the fuss was about, he spotted the ghostly apparition that was now only a scant few feet from the open end of the wagon; The sight caused him to drop dead on the spot.
Hey, I like yours better. I'm sticking it in, thanks!


What was? Her body or her consciousness
I meant body, as her "soul" drifted away to oblivion.

seancuig
April 29th, 2005, 09:30 AM
Now that she's planning on wedding, she'll be having kids (and they'd be the next generation). It is a little obscure though.
Was a touch obscure, but I get where you are coming from.


I meant body, as her "soul" drifted away to oblivion.
That's what I figured.

It's a class tale though, so good luck with the contest.

I'll hold you to your promise

I'd be more than happy to review anything of yours if you do the same for me
I finished a short story (Tried for less than 2K, but just missed out).
I've not written short stories much so this was a new venture for me. Any comments would be cool
http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/443p0.html

:D

kater
April 29th, 2005, 06:05 PM
Tbh I didn't think it was as good as Homunculus which I would have submitted for the competition if I was in your place. The story is very cliche and obvious, the writing is decent enough but so much happens in such a short space of time I found it too much.