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RyanIVR
June 5th, 2007, 08:06 PM
Hello everyone. My name is Ryan, and I want to start writing!

Not for money, not to be published, just for the enjoyment of it. However, I still want to do it well. Here is my first attempt at starting a science fiction story. I'm a huge fan of science fiction in books, movies, and games, and want to get the story in my head onto paper.

Please rip it apart, I need as much advice as I can possibly get. It's only a few paragraphs, but I want to learn anything I can about how to make my writing better. Thank you everyone. I look forward to becoming an active member of the community. :)

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William Randall awoke.

“Sir.” A voice echoed softly off the metal walls of the confined ship. ”Sorry to have awaken you Mr. Randall…but we have arrived.”

William opened his eyes, his tiny pupils enlarging as they adjusted to the light of the nearby sun. It was the first natural light source he had seen in months, and he welcomed it.

“Hello, Mr. Randall. Today is July 7th, 2676. This is day seventy-three of your journey to the system of Tau Ceti. We are approximately eight-point-four hours away from our destination of the planet Vesta.”

“Thank you, Alexis,” William responded.

Alexis was the shipboard artificial intelligence, and the pilot of the PTS-199 Darwin, a personal transport starship assigned to William by the Interplanetary Security and Intelligence Agency. The Darwin was piloted the same way as every other starship traveling between two systems. The complexity of navigating through hyperspace made it impossible for a human pilot to make it through themselves. Even 455 years after its initial discovery, hyperspace was still a dangerous place where many unexpected things could, and did happen.

As the Darwin approached Vesta, the planet’s blue surface filled the view of the cockpit window. William arose from the sitting position he was in on his bed to get a better look.

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James Carmack
June 5th, 2007, 10:52 PM
Other than a few points here and there, I don't see much to complain about, but the excerpt is really too short to tell too much. It's like you pouring some broth in a thimble and asking people if they like your soup. I mean, we can tell if you boiled up some three-week-old cadavers to make it, but we probably won't be able to determine whether or not you added just the right amount of basil to compliment the tomatoes.

It wouldn't hurt to describe Alexis' voice a bit. Is it male or female? Monotone or variable? Choppy or fluid? By the looks of it, Lex is all Bill's got at the moment. Let's give it some life (or notable lack thereof).

Miriamele
June 6th, 2007, 08:41 AM
It's like you pouring some broth in a thimble and asking people if they like your soup.

Lol, where do you pull these comments from James? I want a hat like that. :D

I agree that the piece isn't really long enough for us to tell a great deal about your writing, but that this small piece seems okay.

One thing I would point out is the mention of Randall's "tiny pupils." Is this piece going to be from Randall's point of view, or is it told by an omniscient narrator? Because if it's the former--third person limited point of view--then you should only include things that Randall can see for himself. Saying "tiny pupils" gives the idea that there is a narrator who can see what his pupils look like.

If it's from Randall's point of view it may be better to describe the way his eyes felt as they adjusted to the new light source, not how they looked.

And not to be overly nitpicky, but pupils get smaller when the light increases, not bigger. If he had been sleeping his pupils would have been large. :)

I would definitely describe Alexis's voice as well. Is it monotone, or life-like, does it sound young or old?

Is this the beginning of a story, or a novel? Why don't you try submitting the whole story (or one chapter if it's a novel) to sffworld, so we can see the whole thing? Or at least, post a slightly bigger chunk of it here?

James Carmack
June 6th, 2007, 09:59 AM
Lol, where do you pull these comments from James? I want a hat like that. :D

What can I say? It's a gift. ^_^

RyanIVR
June 6th, 2007, 12:20 PM
Lol, where do you pull these comments from James? I want a hat like that. :D

I agree that the piece isn't really long enough for us to tell a great deal about your writing, but that this small piece seems okay.

One thing I would point out is the mention of Randall's "tiny pupils." Is this piece going to be from Randall's point of view, or is it told by an omniscient narrator? Because if it's the former--third person limited point of view--then you should only include things that Randall can see for himself. Saying "tiny pupils" gives the idea that there is a narrator who can see what his pupils look like.

If it's from Randall's point of view it may be better to describe the way his eyes felt as they adjusted to the new light source, not how they looked.

And not to be overly nitpicky, but pupils get smaller when the light increases, not bigger. If he had been sleeping his pupils would have been large. :)

I would definitely describe Alexis's voice as well. Is it monotone, or life-like, does it sound young or old?

Is this the beginning of a story, or a novel? Why don't you try submitting the whole story (or one chapter if it's a novel) to sffworld, so we can see the whole thing? Or at least, post a slightly bigger chunk of it here?


Ahh thanks for pointing out the pupil thing. I don't know how I mixed that up.

As for the point of view, I guess I haven't really thought about that. To be honest, I literally JUST STARTED writing. I don't really have much more than this. I just wanted to get some feedback on where my writing was at. The point of view question is actually what I'm looking for. I don't have much experience doing this, so things like that will help me write more consistently. I'm going to add a bit more to this today, and use some of your suggestions. Thanks again!

Miriamele
June 6th, 2007, 03:20 PM
I wrote quite a bit before someone pointed out to me that my point of view was not consistent. I was writing from one person's pov most of the time and then suddenly jumping into other people's heads every once in a while. I think it's something that everyone sort of forgets about in the beginning. But it is an important (and sometimes difficult) thing to remember.

The main thing is not what kind of narrator you have, what style of writing you use, or whatever, but being consistent throughout the work.

You might want to check out the thread in the writing forum entitled "Writer's Writing Resources" (I think). You'll find lots of ideas there for books you can probably find at your library that will help you out with all that nuts and bolts stuff.

Seems like you're off to a good start though. Have fun!

M.A.N.
June 10th, 2007, 07:51 PM
The main thing is not what kind of narrator you have, what style of writing you use, or whatever, but being consistent throughout the work.



Seems like you're off to a good start though. Have fun!
i agree! way to go on a start