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Woadwarrior
September 28th, 2006, 07:13 AM
Hello all. It's been several months since I was here and I think that my writing spirit has finally been rekindled.

I finished my old 'Action at Izaen' story today and I've gotten around to posting it. I'd love to hear some critique of it, and I'm talking about every way here. The style, the content, the grammar, everything.

Remember this: this story is basically a starter for a far larger series of stories that I'll be publishing. I need to get some information gathered and placed together to piece my whole setting and this will take some time. I'm a detail-freak and I guess it's necessary for me to do this.

I intend my future series to be a whole 'World War 2' like conflict, though it would last longer and be a larger all round war. The technology would evolve as well, beginning with 1940ish technology but ending with Vietnam era technology in general as there will be a touch of sci-fi/fantasy in it... but those will be based on experimental technology that could have taken place in Real Life, but never did for many reasons. So I'll be as realistic as possible here.

Just for some trivia, the submarine in the story is based on the SS-169 dolphin, the carrier is based off the CV-6 Enterprize and the fighters in the story are modified F3F Grumman fighters (more guns, slightly more engine power), the dive and torpedo bombers are Curtiss SBC-4 dive bombers and TBD devastators respectively.

The Manuel and escorting destroyers aren't really based off anything, but the sinking of the Manuel was based off three different attacks, the HMS Hood type sinking, coupled with the USS Arizona and Franklin. The Arizona was sunk when the forward magazine exploded, sinking after ten minutes, while the USS Franklin was crippled by just two 250kg armor piercing bombs. I know that I might have been pushing it a bit far off with this, but it's not impossible. When my stories start, I'll be definate to write more extended battle scenes and such when taking down the larger ships. Right now, this will do.

Any comments would, of course, be greatly appreciated.

BrianC
September 28th, 2006, 07:53 AM
Linkage to be helping pleeze.

ETA: Okay, whew, 22 pages is a lot to be critiquing, so I''l just give some first impressions here, and as I read I'll make more specific comments. To begin, this is much improved from your first posting. The work that you've put into crafting the story is obvious. I have a few comments about the opening:


Location: Izaen Sea. Date & Time: 10:30 AM, Hanth 21st, 166 AIW (After [the] Imperialist wars).
Wars should be capitalized.


Standing on the conning tower, performing his normal duties, first watch officer Sover looked out for contacts on the bulging sea. He felt a coldness within him that was much stronger than the cooling breeze caressing his face. He and the rest of the sub's crew were going to war for the first time. Political tensions had reached boiling point in Agicia, where the military dictatorship, fearing a coup by its restless people, sought to play off long-standing feelings of nationalism by claiming to ‘liberate' the Tren islands from being a protectorate of Feirland, and to save it from the corruption which they claimed was being done to it.
There are some interesting issues here, subtle things, like the watch officer performing "normal" duties, yet his nation has just entered a war. This is not a huge problem of course, but it does start things off with something of an incongruity. I would think that you could actually play up how his actual duties, while the same as normal, felt different now because it was all for real for the first time. That would segue into him feeling cold inside, and would establish more of his character before plunging into the geopolitics of the war.

Also, I suggest dropping the word 'out' from the first sentence as unnecessary, and suggest reconsidering 'bulging.' Second sentence could use some trimming. I suggest dropping 'that was' as passive and unnecessary, and suggest changing 'cooling' to 'cool.' Third sentence, the phrase 'he and the rest of the sub's crew' uses a lot of words to indicate 'The crew of the submarine' which would include Sover.

After that, and for the next three paragraphs, you launch into an exposition, an infodump about geopolitics. An infodump is not per se wrong but they are generally frowned upon, especially at the very beginning of a story and especially where--as here--you are telling instead of showing. (I know I will take some heat for that one). My suggestion is that this section can be retooled into a conversation between Sover and another officer, maybe the captain of the sub, like:

"Hmmph," Sover snorted.
"What?" asked the other man cramped into the narrow space of the tower.
Sover turned, answering, "I was just thinking that it's ironic, captain."
"What's ironic?" Captain John Doe commanded the [name of the sub].
"That the first thing that Agicia did after liberating the Tren Islands was to tear down all of the peace monuments."
". . . And shoot anyone who dared protest," the captain added.

etc, etc. That's just my suggestion.

--More to come--


I'm curious, have you been reading much military fiction/history for inspiration or comparison? If so, what?

Woadwarrior
September 28th, 2006, 08:02 AM
I thought that merely clicking on the 'stories' part on the top of the screen would be suffice to get there. Nonetheless, I'll give the link.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1945p0.html

I patiently await the comments.

BrianC
September 28th, 2006, 08:30 AM
We regular forumites are notoriously lazy. :D (Plus, what happens when more stories get posted over top yours and drives it down the list?)

Woadwarrior
September 28th, 2006, 08:35 AM
By the time that happens, the forumites would have read my story a million times. :p Seriously. Take your time when reading it. It's rather long.

Woadwarrior
September 28th, 2006, 06:44 PM
I'm curious, have you been reading much military fiction/history for inspiration or comparison? If so, what?

Nope, I'm doing it all by myself. I do read LOTS of history, though. In fact, the whole conflict over the Tren Islands is based loosely off the Falkland war.

If you check out the conflict, you'll see that there was a light Cruiser called the Belgrano that was sunk during the conflict. It was named after General Manuel Belgrano... so now you know where I got the name for the ship. In the Falkland war, that ship had the distinction of being the first (and currently, only) ship to be sunk by a Nuclear submarine as a hostile act.

In RL, the first capital ships (I.E. Battlecruisers and Battleships) to be sunk solely through air attack were the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, both taken down by the Japanese on Dec 10th. In my world, I wanted to move that a bit backwards and cause a huge stir with it (in my world, again) as most military thinkers (as they did in RL) didn't believe that they could fatally damage a ship of that size while it was actively defending itself.

I know I still have a lot of learn when writing military fiction/fantasy, but I'll get there eventually.

Your suggestions sound interesting, but I think I'll hang on to the style I'm doing. I'd rather have more detail than most... it's just my style, and the style of so many other writers that I know and learn from.

kater
October 4th, 2006, 05:16 PM
First two pages is all I can manage for now, I will keep reading and adding to this though:

This sentence in the first paragraph is too much of a mouthful, a fullstop or two wouldn't go amiss :)

Political tensions had reached boiling point in Agicia, where the military dictatorship, fearing a coup by its restless people, sought to play off long-standing feelings of nationalism by claiming to ‘liberate' the Tren islands from being a protectorate of Feirland, and to save it from the corruption which they claimed was being done to it.

Still not sold on this sentence

He didn't know, and it was not within his place to know why or how, but to do and die!

Worth noting electric torpedos did not come into full use until the mid period of WW2, I can't remember your comparative setting but for some reason I think it's WW1 not something more recent (although if your basing it on the falklands that's a lot more recent and would negate some of the technical issues you've written on, just a thought). Also fluid level on an electric torpedo - guarantee of disaster?

Shouldn't it be 'not have a soh'?

"You know, for a moment there I was starting to think you actually had a sense of humor," he said

Obviously water based vehicles would be part of a Navy and thus you might want to change armed service for naval unit.

It seemed unusual, too, since submarine crews were given the best food of any armed service.

Worth rephrasing this to be a bit more concise and sort out some dodgy grammar.

The torpedo mate grinned smugly, that's all what he wanted to do. The fact that his companion was so utterly ignorant on the topic of tea made him thinking that trying to explain to him the various kinds available would break his heart

Cramp_ed_, stretch his arms may also work better

The interior of the sub was cramp, with barely enough room for an individual to outstretch his arms.

Makes more sense if you ditch the 'discussing some issues' bit as it's extraneous at best.

a few off-duty personnel were sitting around, discussing some issues and telling stories of unusual events that occurred during their careers

More to come as and when :)

Woadwarrior
October 4th, 2006, 11:14 PM
Still not sold on this sentence

So any suggestions?


Worth noting electric torpedos did not come into full use until the mid period of WW2, I can't remember your comparative setting but for some reason I think it's WW1 not something more recent (although if your basing it on the falklands that's a lot more recent and would negate some of the technical issues you've written on, just a thought). Also fluid level on an electric torpedo - guarantee of disaster?


The first electric torpedo was designed in Germany in 1935 and entered service in 1939. I assume you're refering to the AMERICAN use of electric torpedoes, which was a result of them copying a captured German design. The whole naval world didn't center around the USN. ;)

Also I have to admit I don't know much about torpedo maintaince, but the fluid level is indeed something to check... it's not the only thing, but one of the things to check.

And finally, I don't want to sound angry or anything, but you do understand that this is a fantasy universe, right? I mean, Feirland, Ledorn, Agicia... these don't exist. To top it all, this conflict is supposed to be a MINOR conflict that people would generally forget after a short period of time (and in this case... almost instantly since there's a far larger conflict brewing). Basing the conflict off World War 1 would ruin everything since World War 1 was, historically speaking, the most important war of the 20th century (many argue that it was even more important than World War 2).

I based the POLITICAL background of the war (the technical is irrelevant) on the Falkland conflict... you know the drill. Argentina was suffering from a devastating economic crisis and large-scale civil unrest against the repressive government, so they (the military Junta) decided to play off long-standing feelings of nationalism by invading the islands. In turn, the British got ticked off and fought to take back the islands.

So Kater, relax on those minor details. When I start off writing the major stories, it would have a 1940ish type of technology, but that doesn't mean it's EXACTLY as it was in 1940 in RL. Remember... the theme of my story is 'modern fantasy', you should know what that implies, correct? ;)


Worth rephrasing this to be a bit more concise and sort out some dodgy grammar.

Speaking of which, could you point out those and some corrections? Honest to goodness, grammar seems to be one of those things that I may or may not ever master. I guess it would have something to do with the fact that I'm not a native English speaker. Of course, writing stories and having friends of mine pick them apart for mistakes did help...


Cramp_ed_, stretch his arms may also work better

Funny you should mention this... ahh, never mind. :D