PDA

View Full Version : Short story 'Last Resort' - Please comment?


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


nicba
October 8th, 2001, 01:19 PM
Hi

Some time ago, I submitted a short story (2 pages long) called <A HREF="http://www.sffworld.com/authors/b/buch-andersen_nicolai/fiction/lastresort1.html" TARGET=_blank>
Last Resort</A> under my full name, Nicolai Buch-Andersen.

I just read through the story again and already now I can see that it's far from perfect. I found a couple of rough spots and places were I used the same word repeatedly in the same short paragraph. I also found some stupid spelling mistakes that I missed the first time. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/frown.gif

But, well...anyway I would really like to hear your honest opinion. How is it as a first effort in writing? Is it worth editing at all?

As English is only my second language, I'm especially worried about spelling and gramar. I tried my best to use dictonaries and even a gramar control program (*ough*, I'm not sure if it actually made things worse). I know it can be downright irritating to read something if it's full of spelling mistakes and bad gramar. I just hope my (lack of) language skills do not turn off potential (native english-speaking) readers?

Secondly I would like to hear what you think of the story itself. Is the pacing OK? Too slow? Too fast? Too much boring info-dump and too little story? Or the other way around? Is the beginning or the ending too sudden and too short?

When I write, I generally have some scenes (pictures, atmosphere and feelings) that I wish to describe and convey to the reader. But I really do not know if I'm successful in doing so. I guess it comes with the experience. Or at least I hope it does? How do you know when you have successfully "reached" the reader? When the scene you are writing actually "works"?

Well, OK. That's enough questions for now. I realise that the story is probably a litte short (unlike this post http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif) to really base in-depth comments on my writing on. But I would very much appreciate any hints or tips or opinions you might have.

Thanks!

Erebus
October 8th, 2001, 05:45 PM
Well, Nicba, I thought your English and grammar was just fine as an example of your second language.

Sure, there's the odd mistake etc. which you've already picked up on yourself, but I see no reason why you shouldn't dust it off and do another edit. It reads quite well, I thought.

The story itself, whilst acknowledging the great works of Larry Niven, is perhaps not as orgininal as it could be, but I found it an interesting premise nonetheless.

As I said, I was impressed with your grasp of English, and while this was just a short example of your skill, I'm sure you'll continue to improve. The more you write, the better you'll get, and it's a great way to learn!

wastra
October 9th, 2001, 09:30 AM
Hey!

I enjoyed the story. I would add that you've used very good english, only it seems a bit choppy in parts...the sentences seem short. But that's a small complaint, and hardly worth mentioning.


As for the content of the story, I've always loved "slice of life" stories that are more excerpts tha nfully contained novels. My own short story on this sight, "Grey Morning" is a similar kind of "slice" from a longer story. I've always enjoyed how they leave you guessing- they allow the reader to fill in the gaps with imagination, and leave them wondering "What else?"

nicba
October 10th, 2001, 12:39 PM
Thank you very much for your comments erebus and wastra. I really appreciate it.



The story itself, whilst acknowledging the great works of Larry Niven, is perhaps not as orgininal as it could be, but I found it an interesting premise nonetheless.


He he... Original? Nha! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif It's not, I agree. I wrote it after reading a whole wave of Larry Niven books, basicly stealing good ideas here and there http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif. I've heard that artists sometimes go to museums and galleries and tries to mimic the works and styles of great masters, as a learning experience. I thinkt this is sort of the same thing for me, although I wasn't that conscious about it at the time I wrote the story. I'll try to do better on the originality account the next time http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif.



As I said, I was impressed with your grasp of English, and while this was just a short example of your skill, I'm sure you'll continue to improve. The more you write, the better you'll get, and it's a great way to learn!


Yeah. I read a lot of books in English, both fiction and non-fiction. When I started to write I thought my English was at least decent. But I quickly found out that writing is a whole lot different from just reading. But as you say, writing is a great practise and in the few months since I wrote the story, I already feel that I've improved somewhat. So if my stories aren't that interesting, at least I learn a lot by trying to write them http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif



only it seems a bit choppy in parts...the sentences seem short. But that's a small complaint, and hardly worth mentioning.


Huh? Short sentences? That was something I hadn't thought about. I guess its another issue with the English language. Sometimes when my sentences grow too long and complex I get afraid of bad gramar and re-writes in shorter and simpler ways. I hope practise will cure it eventually. But thanks for mentioning it, I'll try to be keep it in mind.

And, wastra, I absolutely loved your story "Grey Morning". It simply oozed with atmosphere and great writing.

KATS
October 10th, 2001, 04:27 PM
Well, Iíve never read the Ring World books, so Iím a bit lost. Actually, Iím a lot lost and as a consequence, I really couldnít get into the story.

Your writing style is fine, better than many other stories Iíve read. Considering English is your second language, your writing is fairly good. I look forward to reading more of your work.

If you do choose to rewrite this story, you might want to make some things a little clearer for those who havenít read Nivenís books. What exactly is the Ringworld Project? Why is it all or nothing? I just couldn't grasp why the president had a problem with making this decision. How are the characters / worlds at risk? And why should I get emotionally involved with their survival?

milamber_reborn
October 13th, 2001, 02:33 AM
Nicolai - If only it was longer. For the very short time it took to read it, it was very interesting.

For a second language you are very good with English. What else have you written (if anything)?

nicba
October 13th, 2001, 01:16 PM
KATS, I must admit that I hadn't thought about how the story would read for someone unfamiliar with Larry Niven Ringworld books. I'll consider adding a little more explanation if I ever choose to rewrite it.

And as to why you should be emotionally involved... well, that's a good question http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif. I'm not sure I can answer that. The story doesn't really contain any treatment of groundbreaking concepts or vast moral dilemmas.

On the other hand, the vast majority of science fiction stories dealing with the far future include Faster-Than-Light travel in one form or another. But what if Einstein was in fact right, an FTL travel just isn't possible? What will then be the fate of the human race? How will we survive? Although I acknowledge that my story wasn't all that original or thought provoking in its execution, I found that the premise was interesting enough in itself to warrant the writing this very short story.

And then, finally, I have to say that the story was written more or less on whim of inspiration. Its not very well thought out and probably contains lots of holes in the "plot" (if you can even call it that!). Don't take it too serious http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif. It was never intended to be much more than an exercise or experiment.

nicba
October 13th, 2001, 01:28 PM
Thank you very much for your kind words milamber_reborn.

I haven't writen very much else, I'm afraid. Not yet. I have a page up on elfwood with a couple of fantasy stories. And then I have a few other short stories more or less finished still rambling along in my mind, just waiting for me to finally get around to write them down (that's always the hard part).

But thank you for asking http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

KATS
October 14th, 2001, 03:42 AM
http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

I tend to overanalyze my stories. I try to come at it from all angles. In fact Iím making a list of things to check my stories for when proofreading. Things like consistency with point of view, flow of the story, and even subtle things like making sure each word fits into the mood Iím trying to create (Edgar Allan Poe was great at that).

I do like your style, even if Iím not a big Sci Fi fan. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif