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AskPik
December 16th, 2005, 04:47 PM
Here's Miles piece. This is the last student whose work I will be posting.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1135p0.html

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Miles is most interested to know about the style of his writing, the overall appeal, and where he should go next with the story.

He knows that this death will trigger some type of mission for Hazen, but he hasn't nailed down the mission, yet.

Thanks in advance.

--Aaron

Expendable
December 19th, 2005, 11:47 AM
This is a powerful begining - a brother waking up to find his twin sister lying dead on the street - a good hook to grab the reader and to pull them in, despite the fact we don't know her yet. It would be stronger if this story started a little earlier, before the fight started so we could see these two interacting with each other.


At this point, he knew his life wasn't just about survival and he had finally figured out what he wanted to do. He had finally chosen a path.
I know this is part of a larger story but the question the reader's going to ask themselves right now is, "What path?" - you have to be careful about what you tell the reader.


He couldn't take it, and for the first time in his life, a surge of uncontrolled energy empowered his body—he opened his mouth to scream.
What does this surge of uncontrolled energy feel like? Hot like anger? Rage?


Suddenly the street lamps went out. Though he had no idea, this was his first spark of magic.
In this first sentence, you're showing something unusual. This is a good hook. But in the next sentence, you tear away the mystery by telling us it's magic. Personally, I'd cut the "first spark of magic" sentence.

In writing any sort of fiction except really short stories and flash fiction, it's always better to show us what the characters are doing than to tell us what they're doing. Build expectation.

In Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, when the glass disappears from the python's cage there's no immediate explaination as to why the glass vanishes - only references to other strange things that have happened to Harry. It's only later when Hagrid shows up that Harry is told he's a wizard and that's why strange things happen around him.


"What da hell is goin' on Haze, what do we do?"
"We got to get out of here Jay, we got to go find Auto, he'll help us and give us the supplies we need to leave, she's dead jay she's F*#king dead , dats why we have to go -" said Hazen, still with a crack in his voice, while slowly setting down his sister on the dirty gravel.
Why do they have to get out of there? Doesn't he want revenge? Why is he leaving?

And what's going to happen to his sister's body? Is he going to bring her along? Is he going to take her to Auto? Or to a church?

From what we've seen so far, Hazen's character is developing nicely. This is very much a character driven story with a good emotional punch, plenty of potential.


I keep six honest serving-men,
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

~ Rudyard Kipling

Expendable
December 19th, 2005, 12:16 PM
There's something I forgot to mention - description.

What sort of street were they lying on? Brick? Dirt? Cobblestone? Macadam? Did the street have a name?

What color was his sister's hair?

How did the street lamps go out? Did they just turn off or did the gas globes explode in a shower of sparks and glass? Or are they magic streetlamps?