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February 24th, 2006, 10:43 PM
Well, I've added a bit more to one of the stories to be featured in a short story anthology I'm working on. I have renamed it "Nemesis". If you've been reading my previous post 'Critique: One Short Story's Beginning', then you are already familiar with the story so far. Here's the story from where I left off.
Any writing with single perenthesis is indicative of italics that would not translate into forum format.~Angela

Will post improvements soon.:)

February 26th, 2006, 08:42 AM
Hi, here's some comments:

“That’s a shame…that you never got your revenge.”
[]“That’s all I want anymore. Nothing else feels like it matters. If this world is made to cater to people like that," she paused in silent introspection, "I’d rather see it all go to hell.”

What's the relationship between Amaya and Apollo at that point? It's clear that they're beyond the "Non-of-your-business"-stage, but not much beyond that.

Notice the [] I've inserted into your quote? This is where I think some sort of reaction to Apollo addressing her would be, the space-time where Amaya reacts to Apollo's words (it's a VERY personal matter).

Amaya appears to me a bit too docile and compliant in this exchange (and in some that follow, as well). The questions to answer are: why does she talk to Apollo about these personal matters? Why doesn't show more mistrust? Why is there so little difference between what she feels inside and what she carries outside (that would be a sign of relaxation/trust, normally)?

Does that make any sense to you?

'Could what he’s saying be true? An Angel of Retribution? Then that means I’d have the ability to bring about an ultimate judgment, doesn’t it? Do I want this? Does this mean that I’m not really me?'

I quite like that. First, all anger and frustration, and wanting revenge; and then being confronted with the power to exert it, suddenly you think of responsibility, consequence.

What I'm wondering, though, is: why, when she's returned her memories by Apollo, does she remember mostly the political situation, with personal stuff, such as family seeming footnotes? (I'd expect it to be the other way round.)


Sorry, I can't seem to think straight, now. I hope you understand anything I've attempted to say. You're story's developing nicely. :)

March 9th, 2006, 06:31 PM
I've done some work here. I've tried to blend the history of the country, and Amaya's life in together, this time making her life more the center point. Let me know what you think of the revisions.~Angela

Apollo looked at her with some sincerity. “You seem angry somehow…Is there something bothering you?”
Amaya paused, then sighed, knowing what it was that had driven her to this point.
“A year ago, my younger sister Alexa was murdered.” She paused, remembering the young girl’s cream-colored face, her dark hair and eyes, her smile and the laughter she used to hear so often. Now, all those memories of her sibling’s presence were replaced with only hollow pieces of a life once lived. Anger and vengefulness were the reactions to an absence of justice, and having no closure.
“I’m sorry.” Apollo offered consolation.
“She was abducted by gang members from Leona. They beat and raped her like she was nothing. Nothing was even done to get those bastards back for what they did.”
The anger flared in her eyes again. Apollo could see the inner emotion give a piercing quality to Amaya’s brown eyes.
“That’s a shame…that you never got your revenge.”
Amaya was a little shocked he had seen through her that way. “Is it that obvious?”
Apollo nodded in agreement.
“That’s all I want anymore. Nothing else feels like it matters. If this world is made to cater to people like that," she paused in silent introspection, "I’d rather see it all go to hell.”
Apollo put a hand on her shoulder. “I had a feeling your opinion was the same as my own.” He removed his trench coat, and the pair of dark raven wings she thought she had hallucinated earlier spread before Amaya. They were beautiful in the orange glow of the morning. As unbelievable as this was, it appeared right in front of her. Apollo smirked at her silent amazement.
“Are you some kind of angle?”
“Sort of. One that’s earthbound anyway.”
“A fallen angel. What did you do to kicked out?”
“I thought for myself. Questioned the all-knowing authority. Angels are supposed to be servants, and we’re not looked kindly upon if we stray.”
“Oh…Sorry. You must not like me much then.”

A pause passed by with an angst that hung in the air.

“You are not really human.”
“Think about it, you relate to no one in your social life, you have this inner feeling of being cast aside by your own, you no longer want to be one of them. You even desire to gain in revenge what you’ve lost in the hurt you have.” Apollo revealed his knowledge.

Shocked, Amaya questioned him. “How is it you know so much about me? Were you watching me?”
“From afar. We knew each other once, but I don’t think you remember that time.”
“What did you mean that I’m not human?”
“The answers aren’t going to come with easy explanations.” He said

Apollo was correct in saying that she had no one to relate, because most people she’d known had become nothing more than acquaintances. All she ever had was her family, and now it had been torn apart by tragedy. She often considered suicide but never attempted anything fatal. It was as if she was waiting for something. What it was she never knew. Her heart was dying, alone.

She glimpsed Apollo eyeing down at her. “There’s a reason you never gave up completely. You knew subconsciously I was coming.” He breathed.
Amaya always sensed somehow that some big events were to happen in her lifetime, but she never contemplated it being anything like this.

Apollo decided to take her to the rooftop of the apartment complex. He would explain her sorted history, and just how he knew her so well. As Amaya stood in the shadow of a large concrete gargoyle perched at the edge of the roof. Apollo sat quietly nearby. Amaya felt something familiar but couldn’t place it. While she stood so high up in the air surveying the cityscape, something gave way to a scent of a memory unreachable by the waking mind. The twinge surfaced as an unmistakable feeling of having known the person next to her in spite of the fact she never once remembered meeting him in her life before.
“There’s a reason why you’ve never felt included in your own kind.” Apollo stood with a straight stare at her.
“Why is that?” She voiced a ring of sincerity in her tone, almost as if she believed what he were to say would answer the question that bothered her often.
“Because you were never one of them in the first place. Before you became Amaya, you were one of the Fallen, like myself…an angel of retribution. You were trapped in a human body as punishment for your disloyalty during a confrontation between you and an Arc Angel who was acting on God’s will to save mankind after they destroyed themselves for the first time. You, myself, and eight others knew they would do it again if allowed a second chance, destroying yet another world we worked so hard to create.”
He paused in a sarcastic sense of reverence.
“We angels were the servants of the whole scheme, and humanity is the brat child without due discipline. An experimental love child gone awry.”

She looked at him now confused whether or not to believe the words, as her dark hair blew in a gust of wind. Then she saw him look at her with deep sincerity like that of an old friend of lifetimes ago.
“It took me long enough to find you again…but being who you are, you always manage to give off a certain uniqueness.”

All of the events leading up to now were running over in her mind, how it all seemed so unbelievable and yet, made sense in its familiarity.

Could what he’s saying be true? An Angel of Retribution? Then that means I’d have the ability to bring about an ultimate judgment, doesn’t it? Do I want this? Does this mean that I’m not really me?

Apollo could see the confusion in her eyes that she hadn’t remembered all of it. He already had a remedy at hand. He stood and walked over to her calmly, saying “It’s alright, it will become clearer in a moment.”
He placed an index finger upon her forehead, and in an instant, the infusion of knowledge and memories flooded into her waking mind. A fiery glow erupted, engulfing her form in an amber-orange light. Two points of light emerged from her back, taking the shape of wings.
The light surrounding her subsided, revealing a new being before Apollo. The black jean jacket she’d worn now laid on the ground, having been pushed off by the growth of the wings. Her long sleeved black rose-print blouse and leather pants accentuated her curves and strength now. The wings were glossy black and showed iridescent casts of several colors like that of a common grackle’s.
Amaya now felt more complete than ever before in her life, now having recalled clearly her entire history without losing the identity that developed in this current life. Everything felt so new to her now, and yet it remained as familiar as it always had been.

“Now, you are who you always were meant to be.” Apollo breathed in finality.
Amaya stayed silent, but with a new found confidence long forgotten. She surveyed the city before her, contemplating the devastation to come in her wake. Am I really the one to bring about the end this time? Should I?She recanted memories of this place she called home within her inner mind.

8 years before, her life had been comfortably normal with her Mom and younger sister in the old capitol. Her father had left her mother years before, so they were a single parent family of three. It didn’t last very long though, and the changes to come would be the unfortunate result of a conflict between outside forces. Two royal heirs of the small country of Persephone had started a war with its neighboring country Indora after they committed the murder of a diplomat’s only son within their borders. Even though she’d been younger at the time, Amaya remembered that the brothers managed to escape back to Persephone. Indora demanded they be handed over, but to no avail.

The two countries were already at odds at that time for other reasons, and this pushed the tiff further. Indora threatened retaliation in the matter, and Persephone’s spoiled heirs responded with the order to decimate one of Indora’s small cities with a nuclear weapon to force them to back off with their demands. Indora swiftly acted to change its passive stance. They aimed to hit their enemy were it would hurt the worst, the capitol. When the Indora’s strike had done its full damage, Persephone suffered the loss of Serena.

The thundering blast and reverberation of the bombing had been so terrifying while Amaya, her four year old sister, and her Mother were huddled within an underground shelter with others from their neighborhood. The worst part had been going back above ground to see their homes obliterated and so many people either dead or dying in the aftermath. Many were forced to climb out of the crater that took the place of the city that once stood there.
Amaya’s Mother had covered her younger sister’s face to protect her from the sight of bodies of people crushed by debris, blown apart, or those strewn about the ground by the shockwave. Some were even vaporized, leaving only a stain where they last stood. Animals, both domestic and wild were also victims, along with the forests some of them lived in.

The death toll was heavy, and many were killed by radiation in the aftermath. The remaining survivors managed to pick up the pieces and built another city nearby, giving it the name, New Seras. Luckily, Amaya and her family had been among them.

A new capitol, Leona, was established, becoming the home of the ruling line of royal heirs, their political advisors, and a haven for the wealthier populace. Serena had never been so preferential to its residents. The Republic of Leona gave continuing economic support to New Seras over the years, but not without objection from certain advisors within the council refusing the idea of supporting a city with little or no legs to stand on financially, politically, or socially. They thought of New Seras as an immoral pit with no laws, no political order, a city run by commoners, gangs, worthless people in their eyes. Well, it was better off run by gangs than corrupt politicians. However, the ruling line of heirs remained fair and upheld their decision to continue the support of New Seras.

Despite its shaky beginnings and disputed reputation, New Seras wasn’t always what it seemed to the rest of the country. For Amaya and Alexa it had been the home where they spent years growing up together. Amaya had gotten used to the idea of a smaller pig-tailed sibling plodding behind her trails, following every footstep made. She now found herself missing the confidence she’d had developed in helping raise her sister.

She remembered when local carpenters and masons had built the city years ago she and her sister would play a myriad of child’s games around them as they built, occasionally getting into trouble for it. She recalled all of the builders wanting to try to recreate Serena using traits from the old city such as archways, dome shaped rooftops, open marketplaces, interconnecting walkways between buildings, and Eastern style outdoor stairways throughout beautiful landscaped parks.

However, their high ambitions had been held far above what was possible. Serena had been such a rich and beautiful capitol that it was not reasonable with what support had been given. Not so surprising in hindsight of Leona’s discriminate views. So, instead, they ended up with a compromised shadow of the former capitol.

Most people had learned to live without a leader, and without laws. Most knew right from wrong, but there were still crimes, gangs, and such. Territories were claimed and guarded by gangs, so most outsiders already knew where they should avoid going. Funny how much more honesty appears on streets than in political arenas.

Because New Seras had no school system of its own established yet, younger generations had to attend schools in nearby cities to receive education. It remained part of the reason many young men and women turned to life in a gang. This was also to be a factor in Alexa’s death.

So many fond memories of the young girl lead up to the event that forever took her away. Amaya remembered telling Alexa to be careful as she always did, then kissing her cheek until she would pick her up later the day she left for school. The girl had stood there smiling with a glow only a younger sibling has, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’m a big girl now.” That would be the last time Amaya ever saw her alive again.

The horrible feeling of anxiety that followed when she had gone to meet her sister where she would walk to everyday to accompany her back home still felt as fresh. It was part of that bond only siblings have that let her know when Alexa was in trouble. Frantically, she had asked every passerby and classmate of Alexa’s she knew if they’d seen where she might have gone. No one knew why she had just up and disappeared or where to.

March 14th, 2006, 12:18 AM
Need reply here!:)

March 14th, 2006, 12:16 PM
That works a lot better: weaving the politics into Alexa's story. You feel for the two, and you understand how the politics are relevant. (I'm not entirely sure of the political status of New Sera, yet, but that's something to spoonfeed throughout the story at appropriate places.)

The beggining also works better, with Amaya's motivation coming to the fore.

All in all, the piece reads a lot more focussed now. :)

(Btw, I'd suggest you don't delete old versions when you post new ones. Now nobody can disagree with me, unless they've alread the old version and even then they have to rely on memory [like me, now, really]).


Random comments:

Dialogue tags:

You tend to write: "X." He said.

Correct: "X," he said.


"Amaya had gotten used to the idea of a smaller pig-tailed sibling plodding behind her trails, following every footstep made." --> Such a nice sentence. :)


Sometimes, you could make the text more chesive, by referring to other sentences in unobtrusive yet vital ways.


“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’m a big girl now.” That would be the last time Amaya ever saw her alive again.

If you say something like:

Those were the last words they ever exchanged,

then the text flows better, I think. In your text, the only connection between the speech is the "That"; "time" logically refers to it as well; but I think "those words" is more specific.

Also notice, how this lets you skip the word "alive", implying the death in the word "last words".

(You can then add a sentence like "She remembered watching her skip away..." or something, make it sound every-day happy, confident. Since the reader is aware that she'll die soon, there's a rift between what is said in that sentence, and what is understood, creating a tragic irony.)

It's okay the way you wrote it, though. That's just a suggestion, something to think about. :)


There are still some uneven formulations in there and stuff, but overall it works really well!

March 14th, 2006, 09:35 PM
Thanx! Glad to see I'm getting the hang of it now. I look into those changes you suggested, as that can only make it better. I'm finding that others see things more objectively, pointing out things here and there I often miss.

About deleting the old work, I do that because I am paranoid about my ideas being stolen, but I guess doing it little bits at a time makes it harder for someone to put two and two together if they wanted to really take it. Is there any other way I could protect it once the critiqueing post is done?

Thanx again:) ~Angela

March 15th, 2006, 06:50 AM
Thanx! Glad to see I'm getting the hang of it now. I look into those changes you suggested, as that can only make it better. I'm finding that others see things more objectively, pointing out things here and there I often miss.

Don't put too much weight on my words, though. Never compromosie your "voice", develope it.

About deleting the old work, I do that because I am paranoid about my ideas being stolen, but I guess doing it little bits at a time makes it harder for someone to put two and two together if they wanted to really take it. Is there any other way I could protect it once the critiqueing post is done?

I don't really know of any other way to protect your work, and I see your reasons for removing. (Personally, I think the benefits of leaving it stand would outweigh the risks of it being stolen; but: your work, your decision. :) )

Have you seen this (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13315) thread? I find Choppy's first post (post #3) an excellent assessment of the situation.

March 15th, 2006, 11:41 AM
That makes me feel more comfortable. It is true about going through so many rejections, and the other thing is they could never write in the same way I will. That's something people would find difficult if ever they tried writing a sequel from stolen work. ;) Thanx. Will post new material soon!:)~Angela

May 2nd, 2006, 04:07 PM
Well, I haven't written anything in a while...yes, I've been bad;). I only just added one new line,
"It wasn’t until she recruited the help of friends in the local gang that she found out the unbearable truth. ".

The problem is, I have no idea where to go next. How should I show the events that follow, such as finding Alexa's body, where it would be found, etc. The emotitional breakdowns I think I can do, but as always, suggestions are welcome. Sorry I've been absent for so long.

BTW, is there any trick to make oneself get some writing done everyday or at least a few times a week? I want to train myself on getting the work done. It's such a pain when all the ideas can fly freely in your mind and yet getting out and onto paper (or in my case the pc monitor) can be so difficult.~Angela

May 2nd, 2006, 06:25 PM
Sometimes, turn off the computer and grab paper and pencil. Switching writing mediums might flip a switch in your brain. Jot down everything that comes to you about your story, like a brainstorm. This helps because you can't just instantly delete what you have written. If you dont like a part, its easier to put a line through it and write something else, and you can still see the old bit you wrote.

You can also ask yourself a series of questions on the part your stuck at.

About the discoverer of the body: Who found the body? What was s/he doing there? Where is s/he when the body is spotted?( trips over body? sees from a distance? etc?) When is the the body found? (Morning, noon, night, etc). Why was s/he there before the body is found? How did s/he get to that place?

About the victim (dead body): Who is dead? What was s/he doing there? (maybe was dumped there by a killer) Where was s/he SUPPOSED to be? When did s/he die? Why did s/he have to die? ( Reason murderer killed victim, why suicided, accident?) How did s/he die?

If you can't answer a question, answer all the others and go back. I do this for every character/setting/event/special item I want in a scene when I get stuck.

Make a time to write. Not an exact time, but say before you got to bed devote one hour, or write for one hour in the morning when you get up. Writing can be anything from actually writing the story, to sketching an outline, to worldbuilding and mapmaking.

Sometimes PLACES get hard to write about becaue they are vague in your head. If you don't have a firm idea of what your city/town looks like, it becomes difficult to describe. You don't need a detailed map or architectural drawing of buildings, but notes on basics work well. Here, I also use 'the questions':

Who live here? (Humans - what nationality, elves, aliens) / Who constructs their building? ( Slaves, hired foreigners, skilled local tradesmen, etc)

What do they do? (Industrial, agricutural, tourism, modern suburb, a port, etc?) / What do the building look like? (huts, highrise, medival, pyraminds, etc?)

Where do they live? (climate/geography polar, tropical, island, on a river, in a desert, etc) / Where are the residential areas, industriacl, markets[mall], etc)

When do they live? ( Boisterous nightlife -midday siesta, everything closes after 9pm, everything always open as work goes on in equal sized shifts, etc) / When are new buildings constructed? (Temples/palaces/monuments constantly being built, only when one has been damaged, etc)

How do they get around? ( can the whole town/city be reached walking? Ride beasts? Rickshaws, buggies, autos, etc.) / How are they built? ( level of technology used)

This is what I use when introducing a new place, character, or special item/event. Sometimes the results aren't pretty but thats what rewrites are for. Just getting SOME idea for that particular scene down is what counts.

Sorry about the long ramble, hope some of it helps.