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Leo
June 25th, 2007, 09:21 PM
well i have started writing a new story its called Terran Imperium, and i would like some feed back. I know my last stories haven't been sucessful, but I would like some feed back on this one.

Any feed back would be good possitive or negative. Like they say some is better then none.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2503p0.html

James Carmack
June 25th, 2007, 09:25 PM
I'll get to it later today.

But first, I feel the need to point out that the correct spelling is "Imperium". That is, of course, if you're wanting to use the proper Latin. If not, then carry on.

James Carmack
June 26th, 2007, 03:36 AM
This took far more time and effort than I wanted to expend. The core story is interesting enough, but you're very, very green. Mechanical and grammatical errors abound. For an editor like me, you might as well have stuck me in a brass bull and lit up the fire. Still, mechanical and grammatical errors can be corrected. The rules can be taught and the recurrence of said errors reduced. What comfort I can offer you is that you've got decent raw materials here. If you didn't have that much, there'd be no prospects for you at all. Happily, that isn't the case. Both you and this story have a chance, but you've got a lot of work ahead of you.

It must be the diet. You happen to be one of the many anemic young writers I've come across here. "Comma-poor prose" the common term for the phenomenon. Actually, you're left wanting for other punctuation, too. Periods, end quotes, etc. You make some awesome run-ons here and there, my friend.

You need a lesson on direct address, too. I happen to have one for you. Go here (http://www.palidormedia.com/james/editor/lesson2.html).

And your caps are all sorts of wonky. If you were German, I could understand you being a little overzealous with the nouns, but adjectives and verbs? Come now.

You confuse "then" with "than". "Then" is used for time and the "if...then..." formula. "Than" is used for comparisons. Just because it sounds like "then" doesn't mean it is. Your ears deceive you. Don't trust them.

If I did a full workshop, you'd see a lot of pretty colors decorating your manuscript. I don't go that far here in the forums. However, I'll gladly drown you in quibbles. Grab your snorkel.

Page 1
"Position Coordinates: Grid zero Sol Earth" What coordinates would these be? I'm guessing you want commas to express the increasing specificity from Grid Zero to the Sol System to Earth. Regardless, while this would identify a location, it's not a set of coordinates. For instance, I can say "Newark, NJ, USA", but those aren't the coordinates. (4044'14"N, 7410'55"W) are. Obviously, the long-lat system we use of Earth isn't applicable in space, although the galactic coordinate system is similar.

"Captains Log On board the I.E. Juggernaut Guardian Angel" What is this even supposed to mean?

Is the ship's name the Juggernaut Guardian Angel? Kind of a long one, don't you think? Or, perhaps, is "Juggernaut" a class of warship? "IE" is the ship prefix, yes? Only the ship's name follows the prefix, not the class. If Juggernaut is indeed the class, "IE" the prefix and "Gaurdian Angel" the name, the correct rendering would be "the Juggernaut IE Guardian Angel".

You generally shouldn't use numerals for numbers (both cardinal and ordinal) less than ten. I would go further by suggesting that any number that can be said in three syllables or less should be written out. Ergo, instead of "4 years", it should be "four years".

Why is the "Alien" in "Alien race" capitalized?

You know, we have a term for the alarm and the call to stations. It's called "General Quarters" (or "Action Stations" if you're more Brittanically inclined).

When speaking of the planet, it's usually polite to capitalize "Earth". Gaia appreciates it. ^_^

Why wasn't ol' four-star at her seat when she sounded the call to General Quarters? Isn't all the stuff she needs (like the intercom) integrated into her station?

It's not "Mam" but "Ma'am", abbreviated from "madam", you know. Also, you don't capitalize "sir" or "ma'am" when they don't appear at the beginning of the sentence.

You don't want to use abbreviations, particularly in dialog, unless that's how they say it. I doubt four-star says "kms" ("kay-ems"? "kims"?).

With no prior introduction, why do you give Anita's first name right off the bat? From my experience, you essentially lose your first name in a military environment. There are, of course, individual exceptions, but the culture by and large exists on a last name basis.

So Dakota's got a thick head? I'll remember that one.

Even if it's a conversation between two admirals, the address of "Ms. Dy" is highly irregular and could easily be interpreted as an insult.

Why is just the "Air" in "Air forces" capitalized? As you seem to be speaking generally, you shouldn't capitalize either word. The branch of service would be designated by the singular "Air Force".

"are mobilizing", not "our Mobilizing"

It should be "flat-footed", hyphenated and with no capital.

The "main" in "main combat fleet" shouldn't be capitalized.

"Inbound" is one word.

"a lot", not "allot"

Dakota may be "hopping", but I'm hoping there's more to his bunny act that meets the eye.

Dakota may also be wont to experiment with the new toys, but he won't be getting the chance this time.

Both words in "Guardian Angel" should be capitalized.

"Over and out" makes no sense. Yes, you hear it all the time in the movies and on TV, but no one with ten minutes of actual commo training would use it. "Over" means you've finished what you're saying and awaiting a reply. "Out" means you're done and you're not expecting anything else. You can't want a reply and not want it at the same time. Well, I suppose you can, but no one's going to enshrine schizophrenia into the SOP.

"Halo screen"? Did you perhaps mean "holo screen"? Or is the Angel more hallowed than I give it credit for?

I was starred out this one time in '67. Stared out into space three whole days.

"Hyperspace" is one word.

"Manta-shaped" should be hyphenated like so.

Whether you hyphenate "nuclear-tipped" or not is more of a personal decision, but I encourage you to do so.

So the birds cleared the tubes and exited their tubes. That's good. I'm sure the laws of time and space would have to be bent otherwise.

Subsonic missiles in space? That's awfully pokey, you know. My grandma could do a Mexican hat dance around a missile going that slow. Of couse, "sonic" is a fairly worthless rubric in space. If you can tell me the speed of sound in a vacuum, I'll give you a cookie.

Page 2
When did four-star stand up? She's the type who can't sit still, isn't she? A true sign of progress when someone with ADHD is given command of the planetary defenses. Just pray the enemy doesn't have any shiny objects.

"Gig tons"? Did you mean "gigatons"?

You're way too enchanted with the term "nuclear fire". Use it once and only once or it loses all its power.

"Tear", don't "tare".

If ships blow big enough to take some buddies with them, why is the fleet flying in such close formation? I can understand tightening up to form a physical barrier once the enemy ships try to punch through, but until then, you're just rewarding the bad guys for hitting the biggest target. That, of course, isn't to say our heroes aren't operating under poor tactics. It does happen, after all.

Either capitalize both words of "fusion cannon" or neither.

Although the Japanese are fond of doing this, it's a bad idea to attach rank to someone's first name, as you've done with "Captain Orville". (I honestly think the Japanese only do it because they forget about Western naming conventions. That and the fact that people like Yoshiyuki Tomino know next to jack about the military.)

There should be some sort of divider to distinguish the shift from four-star's perspective to Orville's.

Twenty for tea and yet we have twenty-four scones. What to do?

A gentleman ought to be gentle, but there's no guarantee that he is indeed a gentle man.

"No, Sir?" Do the flyboys not know if they're supposed to dislike the enemy? I tell ya, PC will be the death of our well-oiled military machine...

"unison", not "unition"

"they're messing", not "their messing"

"fighters", not "fighter's"

"World War 3" and "F-32" Send your caps here.

"due to the war", not "do to the war"

Hyphenate "over-sized".

Page 3
(From here on out, I'm just tagging plot holes and such. The bulk of your mechanical errors will be overlooked. Don't draw the false conclusion that they're not there. They are. In spades.)

It's not polite to call people a "which". I'm sure the flight controller doesn't appreciate it.

A Mach 1.5 launch. Whoo. We're zippin' along now. Granny may have to do her calisthenics before she can do here Mexican hat dance around this one. Do you know that the Space Shuttle orbits at 17600mph? That's dang near Mach 23. And you launch a fighter at Mach 1.5. The ETs could hawk a loogie faster than that.

So, despite being space-farers who've massed a superior fleet, the critters are somehow dumber than humans? Is there some sort of slave race they stick in the cockpits or something?

Orville's friends and fellow pilots... Are they two separate classes?

So four-star launched one volley from the fusion cannon and then launched fighters to get caught in the second blast, killing her CAG and God knows how many other pilots? Was the situation with the fleet so desperate to warrant such action? If I witnessed a superior do something like that, I'd frickin' mutiny.

At the end of Orville's scene, we need another divider before we shift back to four-star.

Page 4
Four-star feels sorry for the Rashir. She fired on her own men and she feels sorry for the frickin' Rashir? If there's a yardarm on the Angel, I know who needs to hang from it.

"dying", not "dieing"

Their main weapon against the enemy, the fusion cannon, is inoperable and yet four-star wants to pursue. Is there something in the water?

Page 5
When did the Angel dock with the station? Care to let us in on developments like these? Don't tell me she was attached to the hip during the battle.

Your location tag has changed, but doesn't make much more sense than the original.

"Memory flash back"... As opposed to an oven flashback (the kind that costs you your eyebrows)? At any rate "flashback" is one word and the date lets us know the time. Why it's there, right?

"Printout" is one word.

It's not "Imperial royal family". It's either "Imperial Family" or "Royal Family". As a specific entity, caps are warranted.

"Crewman" is one word.

"Senior officer"? What rank is that? Yes, you have the freedom to create your own ranks, but you should note that in existing navies (if the Atlas is part of a military venture), enlisted personnel are addressed by a mix of rating and rank. For instance, a sailor with the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class and a rating of Hospital Corpsman would be known as Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class [name].

Is Chief any relation of yours? Grandkid or something? ^_^

Page 6
Awfully slack of the skipper to be addressing enlisted personnel by first name. If this is a civilian venture, it's a different matter entirely. However, you don't suddenly go from "Ms. Hernandez" to "Maria" under normal circumstances. Now, if Chief had said "Call me Maria", that'd be a different story (unless, of course, we're talking about a military environment that even remotely resembles what we've got today).

"Captain" should always be capitalized for direct address.

Chief "seemed to be able to boast about it"? Just "seemed" or was there actual boasting? Usually you either do or you don't.

If you have to explain what AI stands for in 2080, I officially disown the future.

"captain Orville smith", huh? Maybe "Captain Orville Smith". While we're at it, is Orville a Navy captain? It would still be appropriate to salute the skipper, though. Curious that four-stripe gets bumped up to four-star but Orville stays stuck. Then again, he'd be the type who'd refuse his first star to stay on the flight roster. Establishing a history between him and four-star makes her all the more a b**** for killing him.

"Tip-top" should be hyphenated. (Now I've got "Fruits Candy" stuck in my head. Thank you.)

Page 7
"Good-byes" should either be hypenated like so or made into one word.

It seems like you suddenly shifted back from 2080 to 2084. Care to indicate this somehow. Looks pretty odd us talking about going to the War Council right as the Atlas is launcing, now doesn't it?

"Operation Invasion" should be capitalized. Not too creative anymore, are they?

"King Chevron"? Is his wife Queen Stripe, bouncing the young Crown Prince Rocker on her knee? Sorry, but I question the wisdom of going with that name.

Although there are empires where the heads of state are styled as kings and queens (such as Great Britain), wouldn't it make more sense for the ruler to be an emperor?

"Your Majesty" should be capitalized. Both words.

And that's it for now. ... ... 'Taku... Hidoi me ni awaseta zo, omae.

James Carmack
June 26th, 2007, 09:15 PM
One more thing. The names of ships should be in italics (or underlined in the case of standard manuscript submissions). As the Stories section of this site only supports plain text, an alternative approach is to put hyphens on either side of the italicized term. Ergo, the Guardian Angel is rendered -Guardian Angel-.

hippokrene
June 26th, 2007, 09:43 PM
I didn't read the story, but laughed several times reading James' reply. I give it three and a half stars.

James Carmack
June 27th, 2007, 10:06 AM
Three and a half stars, eh? Not too shabby. How many more do I have to collect before I can fight King Koopa?

Arash
June 27th, 2007, 11:19 AM
That reply was gold. Usually you have to pay money to get something like this. :D

If you're the kind of person who doesn't make a mistake twice, you can go from greenhorn to semi-pro based on this post alone, Leo. :)

I'd post a story to be analysed too but I don't want to be pushy. Seems it took James a good portion of his time to go throught that. But I learned, so it's all good. :p

James Carmack
June 27th, 2007, 08:01 PM
Don't hesitate to post a story if you're wanting feedback, Arash. In spite of the time it takes to do even the cursory treatment you see above, I really don't mind. It's one of the reasons I'm here.

Be warned that you'll have to be a bit creative on the formatting if you post in the Stories section. I really ought to experiment with it myself to see what all works and what all doesn't. As near as I can tell, it's nothing more than plain text, so modifications like tabbed indents and italics are a no-go. Bear it in mind if you ever decide to make a submission. Alternatively, if you have a website, you can just leave an off-site link so we can view it in an environment where you have total control.

Arash
June 28th, 2007, 04:49 PM
Don't hesitate to post a story if you're wanting feedback, Arash. In spite of the time it takes to do even the cursory treatment you see above, I really don't mind. It's one of the reasons I'm here.

Be warned that you'll have to be a bit creative on the formatting if you post in the Stories section. I really ought to experiment with it myself to see what all works and what all doesn't. As near as I can tell, it's nothing more than plain text, so modifications like tabbed indents and italics are a no-go. Bear it in mind if you ever decide to make a submission. Alternatively, if you have a website, you can just leave an off-site link so we can view it in an environment where you have total control.

Thanks :p

There is not much room for creativity when it comes to plain text though. :D

The only thing I could think of, for now, was using the enter key to separate paragraphs and lines of dialogue. But that's ok for our purposes here, I think. :)

Here is one I put up yesterday.

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2505p0.html

Don't be nice. I want you to butcher me. :D

James Carmack
June 28th, 2007, 10:34 PM
Don't be nice. I want you to butcher me. :D

That's good. I want to butcher you, too. ]>:-D> *sharpens cleaver* Now, do I start with the hocks or the brisket? Decisions, decisions...

Okay, well, first let me recommend starting a new thread when you want a critique in the future. Leo doesn't seem to want to post a reply here, but even so, it kinda comes off as a hijack. (I'm willing to look at it as an act of e-eco-friendly conservationism. ^_^ ) If someone else posts a critique, there could be confusion about who's being addressed. Remember the lesson from the Ghostbusters: Don't cross the streams. (Unless you're fighting Gozer.) Just a friendly bit of advice.

As for the story itself, it's pretty good. Clearly not a standalone, but you never said that was your objective. As a first taste, it does its job. The real measure of this story will present itself as it progresses. At any rate, the point is that you're off to a good start. Your prose doesn't flow quite as smooth as it could or should, but that's something that can be fixed with time and practice. You've got a fair hand for the craft, so I'm sure you'll be able to polish up easily enough.

To touch on some recurring issues, first I must say that I'm of the opinion that reverse-order dialog tags (verb+subject) should be used on a limited basis. It's a stylistic choice, though, and you're welcome to disagree.

This is indeed a different world and a different culture, so the rules aren't the same. That being said, most people are likely to conclude that Eli is a guy on account of her name. I recommend rendering it as "Elly" to eliminate this problem.

When not preceded by a possessive (noun or pronoun), you need to capitalize familial address. That goes for Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and just about anyone else who's kin. Here, this applies particularly to Grandpa.

The past tense of "run" is "ran". There are a couple spots in the course of the story that need to reflect this.

The final stretch of narrative on Page 3 rather awkward, particularly the paragraph where Momma Dragon is repelled. In a proper workshop, I'd pick it apart piece by piece, but here I'll only tell you to go back over it, reading it aloud to catch the trouble spots so you can iron them out.

On to the quibbles...

Page 1
Is Eli the eldest sibling? If not, it sounds highly irregular for her to address Olec and Hijel as "you boys". In all honesty, as I'm guessing all three are children, it's out of place. Unless Eli is in her mid to late teens, "you two" would fit better.

Although people often pat when they pet, they will not say that they want to pat but that they want to pet. In other words, no one is going to say "I want to pat it" but they will say "I want to pet it." The difference is subtle but significant.

Page 2
See the previous note about patting and petting.

You can't seem to be getting nervous your words. In dialog blocks, the only phrases set off from the dialog by commas are dialog tags. (Right: "Look here," I said. Wrong: "Look here," I stepped away cautiously.)

It's a little odd to say you see a wingspan. You can indeed see the span of the wings, but it's the wings themselves that you're looking at.

See the previous note about Eli addressing the boys as "boys". If she's younger than fourteen, it seems a little unlikely.

Rather than a "screeching sound", why not just say it's a screech?

"We must head for more trees" is not technically wrong, but it doesn't quite fit Eli's speech patterns or register. "We have to", "We got to", perhaps, but "We must" doesn't quite click.

They're standing there, shaking with fear? Standing? If you're hiding, are you going to stand? If I were them, I'd be huddled in fear. (And if I were me, I'd boldly sally forth to do battle with the dread beast. Yeah. ^o^ )

Hijel is no doubt quite quiet, but he can't simply be "quite". I suppose he's quite damp at the moment...

Page 3
You use "wingspan" again and I question its appropriateness.

"Descent" is the noun, "descend" is the verb. And you don't descend toward something. On or upon, sure, but not toward.

And that's it for now.