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BlueAngel
September 2nd, 2006, 01:14 PM
I've added more to the story, and I think I've finally got more of an idea of how it will end now. Critique it here http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1749p0.html

Thanx~Angela

Expendable
September 7th, 2006, 04:10 AM
You've put a lot of heart into this story, I'm glad you stuck with it.


[The marks of the Blood Dragon gang were painted in graffiti on the walls of many buildings, in alleys, and even on the street.You're repeating yourself unnecessarily. Try trimming off some of the excess to improve the word flow.


The young woman could see a few Asian members patrolling the street as she walked, occasionally there were other ethnicities though.
This sentence stumbles a little, especially at the end. Think of coming up with something smoother and a bit more colorful - The ones on patrol looked more like sharks swiming through the shoals of mostly asian faces. Only try to work in something to do with your idea.


Amaya spoke the words in a deep, serious demeanor How's another way to say this? Something with a bit more bite, imagry?


"A year ago, my younger sister Alexa was murderedI'm going to suggest cutting it here because you use 'young' in the next sentence.


"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. Think about trimming and rewriting this for punch, impact.

I'm stopping here for now. As always, you're free to accept or reject anything I've got written here.

-ex

BlueAngel
September 7th, 2006, 01:08 PM
Thanx:) I've edited it, so you're free to recheck it. Thanx for replying, I've been waiting a while for replies, things must be slow lately.

BrianC
September 7th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Hey, it was labor day weekend. I can’t comment on the entire story now; I have little time. The most constructive thing that I could say at the moment is that the opening is rather weak. Remember, you have only a few lines with which to snare the reader’s attention. Your story is competing with many distractions. Therefore, the opening needs to be very strong, compelling.

Nemesis, however, opens largely in the passive voice, with a gratuitous description of some random woman.


A young dark eyed, dark haired woman walked down a nightclub strip. She was of a petite build, and her hair was cut just above her shoulders, held back with a black headband. She wore a black jean jacket over a long sleeved shirt made from a silky black material with a rose print on it. She also had on a pair of leather pants and ankle high thick-heeled boots.

The marks of the Blood Dragon gang were graffiti on walls, alleys, and even on the street. The young woman could see a few members patrolling the street as she walked, like sharks swimming through the shoals of mostly Asian faces. It remained a part of life she had grown accustomed to in her life here, just another aspect of lost integrities

Look at the passivity: was of, was cut, also had on.

Cluttering detail: petite build, shoulder-length hair, black headband, black jean jack, silky rose print material, leather pants, ankle high boots, thick-heeled boots.

Is all of that really necessary? Beside, more importantly, here you are doing the classic “telling, not showing.” This is actually a great example. You should show the reader the details that are really necessary to get a feel for the character. Here are some suggestions:


She flicked her dark eyes to the Blood Dragon marks among the graffiti on the walls of the alley, even on the street. They mark even the street now, she thought, even the nightclubs are theirs now.


She ran her hands through her hair, quickly, adjusting the black headband that kept the shoulder length hair from falling into her eyes.


The heels of her boots tapped a staccato beat on the sidewalk, punctuating the swish and rustle of her clothes. She wore a menagerie of fabric: denim jacket, silk shirt, leather pants, hard-heeled boots. And all in black.

So, in sum, be active and be sparse on description but long on meaning. And hook the reader, above all, hook the reader.

Expendable
September 8th, 2006, 03:32 AM
You gave your male lead raven wings on the back. Instead of using my shark bit, why not give it a bird twist, something that suggests the same thing so it fits in better with your angel theme? The patroling gang members like some bird of prey. Symbolism, soften up the reader a bit but don't go overboard.

BlueAngel
September 10th, 2006, 12:16 PM
Changed it up, instead using wolves as a symbol. See what you think. Thanx for all the great advice again.

Jacquin
September 10th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Hi, I hope you don't mind, I thought I'd join in. I don't often do crits as they are very time consuming, but I have some time to spare at the moment so I thought I'd let you know my thoughts. I have only done the first page for now, I'll do more later if you decide you want me to.


Did she really mean nothing to you people? How could you let it happen? How could you excuse it?

To be honest if I picked up a book or short story that started by referring to me as "you people" I would put it straight down again. When I am reading it is "I" that is reading, not "us people". I didn't let it happen, I didn't excuse it and so the opening lines actually serve to distance me from the story not draw me in.


Anger is what I feel most often now...but I always come off as being passive without and enraged within.
Alexa...

You are telling me how you feel, in honesty I don't care yet. I have no attachement to you, you started off accusing me of something I didn't do and then twll me how you feel. I'd think in all honesty that you will go on to show us how angry you really are as the story progresses, that way I get to share in your anger as I find out about it. This way you are simply telling me a fact, not showing me an emotion.

I would drop all the above and start with the next line.


My sister was murdered a year ago.

I like this. Short, full of potential. I want to know why, I want to know how, I want to know all about it. Are you after revenge? Tell me more!


Amaya ran her hands through her hair, quickly, adjusting the black headband that kept the shoulder length hair from falling into her eyes.

Are you Amaya? If so why have we changed perspective? If not then who is Amaya? Also there are a lot of unnecessary descriptors here. You need to ask yourself do they help or do they slow down the pace of the story. It is irrelevant whether she did it quickly or not isn't it? Is the colour of the headband significant? If not then drop it. If the headband stops her hair from falling into her eyes you don't need to tell us it is shoulder length, we already know. The more detail you provide for your reader the harder you make it for their mental picture to fit and so risk drawing them out from the story. This is much more important at the beginning of the tale as this is when we become hooked or not. I'd try something like

"Amaya ran her hands through her hair, adjusting the headband that kept it from falling into her eyes."


The heels of her boots tapped an angry staccato beat on the sidewalk, punctuating the swish and rustle of her clothes.

Is this necessary? We don;'t learn anything from it so why is it here?


She wore a menagerie of fabric: denim jacket, silk shirt, leather pants, hard-heeled boots, all in black.

Again why are you telling us this? Couldn't you show us it in some way?


She flicked her dark eyes to the Blood Dragon marks among the graffiti on the walls of the alley, even on the street.

I don't like her "flicking" her eyes, perhaps here eyes flick instead? The Blood Dragon marks are good, this is another hook. Who are they? I'm intrigued. You are doubling up again though. Where else would grafitti be if not on the walls?


They mark even the street now, she thought, even the nightclubs are theirs now. You've already shown us this, why tell us too? How about you drop the reference to the street in the last section and leave the one here. Also, nightclubs? What nightclubs? How do we know that?


Amaya eyed a few members patrolling as she walked, like like wolves stalking through the packs of mostly Asian faces.

I'm not convinced this simile works here, perhaps she could simply think again about how brazen they have become? This could follow on smoothly from the comment about them marking the streets, if you could work out a way to let us see this rather than just telling us that she saw it then it would be even better.


It remained a part of the world she had grown accustomed to in her life here, just another aspect of lost integrity.

Before you told us that this was something new, the fact that they were marking the streets, now it is a normal part of her life? This doesn't flow for me. Also what lost integrity?


She spotted a familiar face, and he gave her a friendly wave. She waved back at him, and the man continued his patrol.

This is not so good, you have created a wonderful futuristic world full of promise, gangs roaming the streets, oblivious to the laws that should control them, then you fail to deliver by stating facts at us again. This reads like a description of the events, not a story, we don't want to be told, we want to be there and experience it through our own eyes.


The gang had aided her a year earlier when she lost a sibling to murder, and for that she would always be thankful.

Ahhh, so Amaya is you. Ok at least that is sorted now. Though I'm puzzled as to why it is that suddenly she feels benevolent towards these gangs, didn't she feel threatened before? That was the impression I got.


At this time of night, businesses bartered their goods for protection, loading boxes onto delivery trucks to be secretly shipped to safe houses around the city.

Again you are telling. Show us what is happening, the furtive glances of the stall holders as the palm across money to gang members, the bravado of the gangs as they stalk across their territory.


Amaya came to a stairwell below street level, and descended. The door at the bottom was adorned with mock biohazard and radiation decals and gang graffiti.

This happened and then this happened. Show me, I like this world, I am hooked, you are losing me though, I want to know the feel of the damp stairs under her feet, I want to know the smell of last nights beer, I want to see the bloodstains on the floor.


The underground nightclub was called ‘Masquerade'. She knocked on the door, and the bouncer opened it. She passed through the pounding techno-industrial music and the crowd that danced so mindlessly to it.

This is a perfect opportunity to draw us into your world. Why didn't the bouncer talk to her? Use dialogue to draw us closer to Amaya, we should feel his stale breath as he leans forward to see who it is, whe should see the badly disguised gun under his jacket. We want to feel the ground shake as we enter the club, the relentless music driving all thoughts out of her head. Don't sell us short, if this nightclub is important then tell us about it, bring us in, make us feel as if we are there in person. If not then don't bother at all.


She only came here to drink her grief away. It had become habit after the year her sister was murdered and still nothing had been done to seek justice.

Again you are telling us something you could show us easily, the boucer could know her, the bar tender could simply pour her usual without having to ask, this would show us that she was a regular here. We also know that nothing had been done to seek justice, don't keep telling us the same thing. Perhaos the guy behind the bar could ask her if there was any news about her sister? That way we find out that not only do they know her here, but she can tell him that nothing new has happened and thereby tell us the same thing.


Did she really mean nothing to you people? How could you let it happen? How could you excuse it?

This again? Still don't like it.


She sat at the bar, and a young female bartender came over. The woman was a brunette prettier than her, taller than her, and seeming to have everything Amaya didn't. Her heart sank in her chest.

"Can I get you anything?" she said.
"No." Amaya spoke with a short tone.

This is place she habitually drinks in yet she doesn't know the person behind the bar? Have you ever been a regular in a bar, they like to make you feel welcome, it keeps you coming back. Also "spoke with a short tone", far too long and unweildy. English has more words than any other language on the planet, make use of it. Perhaps she snapped, maybe she whispered, perhaps she even just replied...


How can I do that when one of my shortcomings stares me in the face? Am I so pathetic I can't even drink my sorrows away like everyone else?

Do what? I'm confused now, what is going on?


She had to hop off the barstool because of being only four foot-ten inches.

Hmmm, show us show us show us!



As she started to walk away, she heard the woman laugh an say something about her height being an embarrassment to a male bartender she was working with. They both stared at her with malign smiles.

I thought the music was deafening? How does she see them stare at her as she is walking away? Is this really necessary?


She looked back at them, her eyes feeling like they were aflame, and walked back to the bar. She climbed back on the barstool, on top of the bar, and threw a right hook punch into the woman's face.

Just how tall is this woman? She must be a giant! This doesn't ring true. Also didn't anyone try and stop her climbing onto the bar? Isn't this a regular haunt of hers?


While the woman stood holding her face, Amaya shot out a kick, knocking the woman onto the floor.

I'm very confused, why is she doing this? It doesn't seem to make sense to me. Why didn't the man stood next to the woman stop the second blow? Where is the bouncer? What the heck is she doing standing on a bar in a nightclub kicking the bar tender in the face?

I think you have a hell of a lot of potential here if you can harness it. You spend a lot of time telling us things, you tell us the same things againa and again. I would seriously look at taking every fact you list and work out a way to show us it in passing. Also we want to know what is going on, the fact that her clothes are mis matched isn't important to us, the smell of the air in the club is. I hope you don't feel I have been too harsh, I think you have the makings of a good story here, but it needs polish.

J

BlueAngel
September 10th, 2006, 05:54 PM
I think I managed to patch up those mistakes a little. Again thanx for pointing them out to me. It's very hard to be ojective by yourself. The other bad thing is that I'm a stickler for descriptions so that's why I probably go overboard. But as long as I can get this finished and looking decent I'll be happy.