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January 30th, 2006, 01:17 AM
This is the beginning so far of one of the short stories plan to collect into an anthology. I posting it here, albeit risky with copyrights and such, to see what it looks like to my peers. If you would like to use anything from this story, please email me for permission beforehand. Within a few hours, I will edit and delete this section of the post for my own protection, since I'm paranoid about my own creative protection. I'm sure others out there understand my reasons.

------------Edit:Revised version will be posted soon.

Remember, it's not finished yet. There is still much to come in this tale...~Angela;)

January 30th, 2006, 02:43 AM
It's a fair start, but you've got six paragraphs dryly relating a few bare facts and opinions on the war and the reconstruction of a capital. And it's not until the tenth paragraph your main character utters a single line.

Don't get me wrong, having all that information is important, it's how that information is fed to the reader. And in a short story, you don't have time to show everything. But you don't need to tell people everything about the city up front.

You're not only introducing your main character - you're introducing the city as well. A sense of mystery, a dash of color and unusual customs will bring your city to life. Like the orange moon, but with a bit more flair.

"The orange moon burned brightly in the sky, another hapless victim of Serena's distruction."

What sights does Amaya see as she walks down the strip? Are there gang-signs, their members patrolling the territory? What's the name of the basement nightclub? Why does she come there and yet leave so quickly?

Why not try this a little differently, with Amaya walking down the street introducing herself and the city at the same time, telling us a little bit about the two of them but not everything. Like for example Amaya's dead sister. Build up the suspense.

January 30th, 2006, 05:44 AM
Blue Angel,

For me, the "real" story starts with "A young, darkhaired woman...".
All the rest before it sounds like a very dry prologue, there for informations sake but nothing more.

I have trouble with the scene where she walks into the bar. Why does she sit down at the bar when she does not want a drink? And why does she say it "dryly"? I can see that she might be shortcut, rude, snarky, dignified or whatever else, but dry? The word seems strange and I think it is important because it confuses me about her motives.

Good luck with your story.

January 30th, 2006, 05:44 AM
I agree with Ex. It sounds more like the intro to a novel than a short story (with all that exposition).

Are all the stories in your anthology about the same setting? If so, you don't need all that information in one story, anyway. You can break them up across all the stories, so that the meaning of each story changes the more stories you read.

This story's theme seems to be the inefficiency of the police force; so I'd focus on that (does Amaya walk past a police station? How does it look? Nice and shiny to simulate efficiency? Broken down, they don't even care about looks anymore?)

January 30th, 2006, 10:56 AM
Thanx for the critique! I was worried about the story starting off too dry with all the info. I've rearranged some paragraphs and switched between the city's history and Amay's. Thanx again.


Let me know what you think.

January 30th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Oh Angela...

There's some improvement, but still some things to work out.

Above her glowed an orange moon, another tainted victim of nuclear war. Better but looks terrible where this is, like you just appended it.

As she walked down the street, she passed an old police station. The station was broken down and the authorities didn’t care too much about how it looked anymore. A broken down police station in a new city? what shows the reader the locals don't care? And why is there a police station if there's no city leaders? Who do they report to? (But you don't necessarily have to tell us all that here, wait until you need it.)
Edit - btw, this is a "telling, not showing" issue.

She could also see the local gang’s signs painted in graffiti on the walls of many buildings, in alleys, and even on the street. The symbol was a Chinese style red dragon. The girl could see a few members patrolling the street as she walked. You can write this better. Call the gang by it's name, the Red Dragons. We know they're local if we're in their territory. What kind of gang is it? Sounds asian. Are they? How can you pick out the gang members from the crowd? What makes them distinctive?
Edit - btw, this is a "telling, not showing" issue, but not as bad.

It had been two years since she’d started living on her own.
Here you're parcelling out information a bit - but I'd cut this whole paragraph out and set it aside. Do you think she tells strangers her younger sister was raped and murdered? Think of ways to show she's lost, angry and without hope. Save some of the details for when you need it. Hint - family's living in this city.

The next four paragraphs we've seen before. Huge infodump. Here it might be enough to tell the reader the city's a bad copy of Serene, lost in a nuclear war against the unnamed - and in one paragraph, colored with Amaya's own musings.

Please understand me - it's important information you the writer should know, but it's better if you give it to the reader in small doses, what they need right now, building up from what they learned earlier.
Edit - btw, this is a "telling, not showing" issue.

Even the local gang couldn’t touch the members of their rival gang that had done it. They’d lost several of they’re own members just trying once before. What's this adversion to names you've got? Who's the local gang who had jurisdiction? Who's the rival gang that raped and murdered her sister? Were they a gang from Leona, tearing through on a bender?
Edit - btw, this is a "telling, not showing" issue. Is there a better way to show this?

You could try having her run into a member of the local good-guys gang whose job was investigating Alexa's murder, then having him explain. Gives you two things - gets her sister's death on the table and the inability of even the gang to respond.

The bit here about the schools - who teaches the kids? Are they bussed to Leona? Are there trains? How is this necessary for the reader right now to know?

The city had an unkempt feel to its development because it had a long process of maturing ahead of it if it was ever to be like Serena. Through this struggle of balancing power and weakness, one soul, like many others now, searches for the last grips of purpose and contentment.
I know when I come into a bar the one thing I think about is the city's development. Not. It's not relevant to the story here. Find a better place for it.
Edit - btw, this is a "telling, not showing" issue.

you've got the potential for a great story here - but you need to thing about when to give people details and what to hold back for later.

January 30th, 2006, 01:49 PM
First thing I've noticed when I read over your story is that it has too many 'was' and 'had'. Your story is in the present right...? So why are you using all these past tense words? Replace had with has and was with were. Don't overuse those words either.

I also noticed your description, you tell instead of show... that's bad. Avoid those wases and hads and you should be alright with description. Another thing, don't tell me that your character is vengeful and suicidal. Show it... have someone provoke her, and have your character slash out unremorsely.

And, why would Persephone engage in a war that would get itself nuked? That seems highly foolish. It seems that this war is just another description of the city. Is the war going to effect her in some way? Why do you keep going on about how bad it is in this city? Does that have anything to do with the story? If not, cut it. If that's characterization or something cut anyway. Enviroments are useful characterization tools, however, you're talking about this city far too much.

Is this science fiction, fantasy, or what. This isn't a lengthy segment, I know, but you have to establish what genre it's in before the story starts to pick up its pace. Dont do all these description, go halfway through the story, then suddenly have dragons and magicians destroying your enemy. Reading what I have I figure this is just fiction; I see nothing strange about this piece.

Okay, this is going to be the last thing I say.... I advise you to cut this whole thing. I seems to me that your character is just wandering around. It seems that even YOU dont know where to put her. I dont know if this is the case, but it certainly seems like it. I advise you to take your character straight to the action. It seems you'll setting things up, and in the very begining of the story you can't do that. You have to have a hook, something that interests your reader, and right now you dont have that.

Good luck on your story.... :)

January 30th, 2006, 10:30 PM
Thankyou so much for your input! I don't think I'd have ever seen it if someone hadn't told me.:) But really, I mean it when I say thankyou, I'm taking the suggestions you gave me and really working them out this time. I don't think I tried hard enough before. I'll post back when I've made all the revisions. Thanx again.~Angela

January 30th, 2006, 10:39 PM
When you write your story again, try avoiding exposition. Later, when you're done, see how it reads. If you find a place where something needs explained, you can concider exposition - but make it brief and to the point.

February 2nd, 2006, 10:57 PM
Okay, I've revised a bit, cut over extended expositions, and written some hooks into the beginning. Some of the scenes were placed a little further forward to add some interest. I'm not sure how it looks now, I know that I've made some improvement, at least in adding the hooks, or strange events. So, here goes putting my neck out again. Thanx for the advice so far:). ~Angela