View Full Version : Critique request: The Traveler, Chs. 1-3

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

Pages : [1] 2

Reginald Gordon
February 5th, 2006, 03:50 AM

I hope that this is the appropriate place and method for doing this, since I've seen some other critique requests done here.

Under the name 'James, M. Bryan' I have posted the first three chapters of the novel I'm working on. I currently have a lot more done, but I am considering three things.

I've never done anything like this before (i.e., sharing my work with strangers). I'm both skeptical and nervous, but this piece means a great deal to me, and I feel that stamping my fears and asking for advice will help my growth as a writer (and hopefully, someday, an author).
I need to learn to take all forms of criticism to heart, as well as with a grain of salt.
I need to know if I'm in over my head. I've "practiced" writing for many, many years, and if I'm no good at it, I think I want to know that now.

Any and all insight/help/advice is appreciated.

February 5th, 2006, 07:05 AM
Statistically, you get more replies if you provide links. ;)

Chapter 1 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1235p0.html)

Chapter 2 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1236p0.html)

Chapter 3 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1237p0.html)

I've read the first paragraph of chapter one, and your language has the kind of flow that might draw me in, so I'm pretty sure, I can relieve you on this account: "3. if I'm no good at it, I think I want to know that now." Definitely, go on writing.

Don't have much time now, but I'll be back later reading more and with (hopefully) more helpful comments (if I remember to :o ).

February 5th, 2006, 09:56 AM
Dawnstorm's right - helps if you give us links (but few new people know how to create the links) and the flow in chapter one's great.

You're a good writer. The begining has a good hook that grabs the reader's attention. Nice use of the First Person POV. I also love the mix of detail, slowly building up the reader's knowledge of your universe, tricking us with our own first impression that it's just the bar closing.

It's going to be very hard to find something wrong here in chapter one, but I'll give it a try.

"Right on schedule," Hank said, checking the device on his wrist. After he clicked a few buttons, a cream green holographic image began rotating in the space just above it. "The crew is taking care of the first target now, should be in place for the big rig in twenty minutes. We better head out to the water."
I hate "the device" - it needs a name, even if we don't know all that it can do besides producing real-time holographic images.
"After he clicked" doesn't sit well with me, it's very passive. Try "Clicking" - we already know who's wrist it's on. "In the space" I think can be cut too - it's something easy for the reader to assume.

Nodding in recognition to him, I took one more drink and drag before discarding my vices.
I'm tempted to tell you to cut "in recognition to him". The sentence will flow better without it, we already know why he's nodding.

Spherical in shape, it was at least as large as the orbiting rock itself. As it drew closer, the moon's glow grew brighter, possibly approaching the radiance of the morning sun. From the base of the machine could be seen bright red and blue lights with a strange ring of energy encircling it.
Spherical but it has a base? You might want to think on this. I'm also not happy with the "strange ring of energy" - this glowing halo/aura you're describing - I think you can do better.

Hank was enraged, and threw his hat into the water.
"Was enraged" is a bit passive, unlike the sentence that follows. I think if you show some other action to suggest his anger it might be better.

And by 'get in', she was referring to the hovercraft which was half again as large as the skiff we were in and floating about three feet above the water. I don't think this line's necessary.

Large lights blared from the device in all directions, to make it easy to see us in the dark, though surely she could see us by then, even as old as she was. Once again, "the device" - name it.

After we boarded the large spacecraft above us, I went out to the viewing ports on the main level and watched with a heavy heart as the demolition began, and the lovely world of Raxxan was sentenced to obliteration.
It was already sentenced (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=sentenced) when the story started. Here it's just being destroyed.

I have made it my mission in this universe to be an arbiter for the galaxies condemned by the Collective. They have created a set of moral guidelines that must be adhered to with the strictest degree. Any planets that fail to do so are to be decommissioned, resulting in their destruction.So the Collective condemn entire galaxies?? I'm looking forward to seeing what gives the Collective the right to impose their moral guidelines on other worlds.

It's a good story, like I said. With a little polishing, I can see this being published.

As always, please feel free to accept or reject anything I've mentioned above. Please ask if you want me to explain anything.


February 5th, 2006, 12:18 PM
Just read chapter 1. Great build-up; you really made me feel the loss/tragedy/whatever, without resorting to melodrama. I like the understatement. By the time, you arrive at this sentence:

"My name is Reginald Gordon. I am a traveler. This is what I do."

it has quite an impact. There's so much you don't say with that sentence that gets through.

"I never understood how we got along," is a very nice finishing sentence, taking the reader back from the macro to the micro; and demonstrating the difference between the two points of view as well.

Good-bye scenes, uneasy jokes... you draw the atmosphere very well!


"With a switness, Hank stood up, his lower jaw swinging loose from his skull."

Switness? (Do you mean "swiftness"; if so, a simple "Swiftly," might be better.)


What tech-level is Raxxan? How does an object large enough to demolish the moon so quickly approach unnoticed (or did they, actually, notice?). Doesn't such a big object cause gravitational problems, like strange tidal behaviour and such? (I'm not an expert at all, so I'm, perhaps, not the one to listen to, here.)


" though surely she could see us by then, even as old as she was."

Not optimally worded, IMO. I'd suggest something like "though surely, despite her age, she..." or something. It's the word "even" that strikes me as odd, here. Perhaps, it's the grammatical structure, though. I don't know.

Also, this makes me curious. The others are (near?) immortal (which, I suspect, means no-ageing, too). Since she's described as old, this throws up many questions. It's these kind of questions that keep the interest (and that feel like a let-down, or sloppy writing, if too many of them remain unadressed.)


Good story. I'll read the other chapters, as well, sometime, to see how you handle development. So far you're doing very well.

Reginald Gordon
February 5th, 2006, 04:45 PM
First, I apologize, I wasn't sure if I should link them directly or not, if it was allowed on the forum, etc. Thank you for the links and I'll be sure to do so myself in the future.

Second, I thank you very much for your input. When I get back to writing today, I will look over the comments more thoroughly and draw from them as best I can. I am sure I will have more questions for you all at a later time.

Reginald Gordon
February 17th, 2006, 05:52 PM
First, I just wanted to apologize for not replying sooner, as I have been away for a couple of weeks. My wife and I enjoyed a nice, healthy vacation together.

Second, I thank you for the input on the stories so far, I see that some comments and ratings had actually been left on the stories themselves, as well.

Third, I'd like to take the time to say that I have not only revised the first three chapters that were currently online, but have added the next four chapters. Thanks to your input, I took a look over the entire work as was and made some changes that I felt improved flow and readability.

As far as style and development are concerned, well, feel free to judge for yourself. Thanks to Dawnstorm's advice, I can now provide links for those interested.

The revised chapters
Chapter 1 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1235p0.html)
Chapter 2 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1236p0.html)
Chapter 3 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1237p0.html)

The new chapters
Chapter 4 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1265p0.html)
Chapter 5 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1266p0.html)
Chapter 6 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1267p0.html)
Chapter 7 (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1268p0.html)

Thanks again for your support and input, all are welcome (both positive and, especially, negative).

February 17th, 2006, 09:45 PM
Chapter 2 has an error -

I nodded emphatically. "I understand, Hank. I'll be gone in a couple hours, tops."

As I turned to hit the door, Reg stopped me one more time, putting his hands on my shoulders. He looked me square in the eye, and with all seriousness, he said "Reg, I'm very glad you saw me today."

Shouldn't it be Hank?

February 18th, 2006, 07:54 AM
First, I just wanted to apologize for not replying sooner, as I have been away for a couple of weeks. My wife and I enjoyed a nice, healthy vacation together.

Nice, healthy vacations are a better way to spend your spend your time than posting on dusty old message boards. ;)

I have no such excuse for not having read any further in your story, as I said I would (and as I still intend to). :o It's good you brought the thread back up. :)

February 20th, 2006, 02:46 PM
Just read chapter 2. Good follow up. :)

A few nitpicks:

He and I had both died around the same time from the same homeworld

"on the same homeworld" (unless you actually meant to imply that the homeworld was the cause of their death...)

I knew what I was thinking would likely get me outcasted by the worldwalker community. There was no precedent, however, and maybe I could be the one to make the exception, just I'd never heard of any rules or regulations on that sort of thing before, it was more of a rule of thumb than actual law.

I think this could use some re-working. "Outcasted"? (Isn't the word "cast out"?) Also, there are a bit many "non-evocative" words in that paragraph (compared to the others), so it reads a bit flat.


I still like the way you spring surprises at the reader. *grin* (And won't say which ones so not to spoil it for other readers. ;) )

March 5th, 2006, 09:32 PM
strange this story,lol

but i like ,it made me laugh!!!

the traveler have much wife lol,like this girl who understand nothing,sur she wants to make headache at him lol;sur it is!!

Her girlfriend is not jealous to her? me i will kill her!!! sur she provocs him for that (lol) in this site!!! but she has not play yet!!!