The first short (short) story I've ever finished (as opposed to started and gave up) has been posted! It's Cydene by Donald Ledford.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome.
January 27th, 2002, 04:03 PM
Hey, just read your work. Pretty good. I don't suppose you've just been playing 'Max Paine' the video game, eh? http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
I like the writing style and the constant interchange in ummm, what do you call that? POV? I don't think so. The constant change between present scene and past memories? Anyway, it's done pretty well. Some parts need a bit polishing for going too fast but overall, it strikes true like a silver bullet into a werewolf. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif Good flair for the dramatic also. Watch your prepositions though (just nitpicking http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif.
January 27th, 2002, 06:34 PM
It's funny you should mention Max Payne. I've been considering picking it up, but I don't really have the time to play. :p
Yeah, those are past memories, and I was going for a mirror effect bewteen the scenes at first. By the end the past and present scenes are intertwined.
February 6th, 2002, 07:07 PM
Any other thoughts before I let this thread drop into oblivion?
February 7th, 2002, 02:07 AM
Since this came back to the top, I went ahead and read it.
Iím impressed. There were a few questions left unanswered, like what did she say just before she died?
For the most part though, I must say it was very well crafted.
February 10th, 2002, 01:41 PM
I see that KATS was impressed by this story... then I better check it out. She's usually an even harsher critic than I am http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
It was very powerful, I think. Short but yet descriptive. It made me see the action in my imagination quite vividly. Especially the last picture with the diamond ring and the blood.
However, I have to say that the manner of switching between present and past tense was a bit confusing to me. The flashbacks was a little too tightly woven with the rest of the prose, I think. I think I would have prefered if you had done the switching paragraph-wise: Present tense, new paragraph, flashback, new paragraph, present tense... and so on.
I was also confused about the motivation of the main character. Did Cydene refuse his proposal? I'm not completely clear on what is actually going on in the flashback and on their chronological order.
Still, I thought the story was strangely powerful, as I said. And the flying bullets made me think of Max Payne too http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
February 11th, 2002, 05:21 AM
Hmm...went for cryptic, and got it a little too cryptic. Of course, I've never written anything like this before. The fact it was inspired mostly from a dream (even the name!) doesn't help. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif
Thanks for all the kind words and ideas. It's very encouraging, especially since my Honors project for college is now writing a book of short stories! Ack, what have I done!? http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
So for those who'd like (or need, now I feel silly) an explanation:
The past and present mirror each other at first and then towards the end each line describes roughly what's going on in both times.
Cydene said yes, and she was killed by gun fire from the man who dies at the end from the chest wound. (Dang, this is hard without names. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif )
Her final words were the same as the narrators: "Love". And the narrator is dead by the end.
Err...hmmm. Now I want to rewrite it...again. And play Max Payne. Argh! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
Thanks to all!
February 11th, 2002, 06:29 AM
If you do re-write it, I'd love to see the changes. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
February 11th, 2002, 07:22 AM
A critic I am not. I can only say that I usually do not read for structure of prose. I read for imagery. I read for emotion. I am a big fan of short stories that do not provide an overall picture, or understanding of the subject matter. Your short worked for me. I could "see" and "hear" the entire vignette. You could write an entire novella providing the background and depth leading up to those several hundred words - but for me it would be unnecessary. I "got it" as it stands. If you do write the novella however, I'll read that too. ;-)
February 12th, 2002, 06:26 PM
I have the privelege of being the author's friend. I see him almost every day, and I read the story in it's first and later forms. I have to say it's only gotten better.
I enjoy the present and past mix. The comparison between what happened then and what is happening now. There's two places where it's just amazing. When he's purchasing the gun, with it's blue shine and at the same time he's reflecting on the shine from the diamond and Cydene's eyes. And pretty much the entire ending. The one line comparisons/contrasts are just too cool.
There's good character qualities, too, just not enough. The shopkeeper comes alive in a limited way with his getting off the stool when a customer comes in. The things that the main character notices . . . really paints a picture.
Kats comments that she wanted more details, and I agree that they would only make the story better. More details means bigger, of course, but I'm not sure I agree with mul's suggestion that it become a novella. The past/present stuff works here, but partly because this is a short piece. While Donald (Old_Wolf) is talented and could certainly write a good novella in this style, I think readers would get annoyed and confused. My suggestion is longer, less of a short short, but not so long that all the magic is lost.
Nicba points out that the switches between past and present are confusing the way they are done. I don't think they're confusing, I just think that the switches are so quick that you have to take a lot of time to understand what's happening then and what's happening now. I have the same suggestion he does: more isolated shifts, as in seperate paragraphs. I don't think you should completely isolate, a small shift in the middle of a paragraph could be really powerful. Plus, the ending sequence of one line paragraphs wouldn't have to chage at all.
I gave this a 4 because, in my opinion, 5 is the pinnacle, and good work shouldn't be at the pinnacle easily or quickly or maybe not at all. I'm not sure if I'm being clear; I just think that some of the best stuff is stuff that can still be improved.
I wanna read more, Donald, so you better work on this and work on other stuff and let me read it and post it so these fine folks can read it, too. Cuz you're a good writer with a great imagination.