I need your opinion on a scifi story I just posted, it's call 'ALIEN DREAMS' (http://www.sffworld.com/authors/t/teller_as/fiction/aliendreams1.html) by A. S. TELLER. I could really use some feedback on this story. Please take a look at it and let me know what you think. You can be as honest as you like, tell me what you thought, what are the strong points? the weak points? Did you like it or think it sucked. All I ask is that you not be too cruel with your criticism.
Moved to Writing section - may get more response here - and added a link as well. :)
June 22nd, 2002, 05:28 AM
Ok I see some of you have read this, yet have not replied to it. I'm not asking for an in-depth analysis of the story, I just want to know if you liked it or not. Please just give me a yes or no answer about this story.
June 22nd, 2002, 10:37 AM
For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts . . .
Good solid story. The telling of the story could use some more work, but the story itself was good.
Your writing is good. Definitely shows potential.
Dialogue was very believable.
However, . . .
The characters seemed a bit flat. I didn’t really get a feel for Shane, Moira or T’cara. Mostly their actions and dialogue defined them; and that doesn’t really flesh out a good character.
There were a few parts that could use some refining, meaning that the wording could have been a bit smoother or a bit sharper to give the reader a stronger feel for the story; draw the readers emotions more into the story.
The ending seemed rushed. One of the climatic scenes is rescuing T’cara, which you kinda skipped out of all the potential tension.
All and all a decent telling. All of the things I mentioned are fixable. I hope that you don’t consider this as “too cruel”. :) It is my honest opinion and others may disagree with me.
June 23rd, 2002, 04:24 AM
Thanks KATS for your observations on this story, they will help me with my writing in the future. I know that the ending was a bit weak and quick. I've redone it a number of times, but just can't seem to get it to say what I want. As for the characters being some what flat, you are right. I guess because I wrote it I knew in my mind how they were but didn't manage to show their depth on paper. That's something I'm going to have to work on, thanks for pointing it out.
And your remarks were just fine, they were exactly what I wanted to hear.:)
Thanks again for taking the time to tell me what you thought.
July 21st, 2002, 04:39 AM
Anyone else out there who read my story have anything to say?
July 21st, 2002, 08:11 AM
To be honest, the writing felt a little stilted to me. Watch out for too many sentences beginning with "ing" phrases:
"Putting the instrument against Shane's arm..."
"Replacing the hypo in the case..."
"Nodding to herself..."
Three consecutive sentences begin this way and it feels a little awkward. (The same thing happens at other points in the story).
I think you explain your dialogue a bit too much: "explained carefully," "asked desperately," "ordered," "said in surprise," "replied candidly," "returned honestly." How much of this is understood from context? How much do you have to explain? Could any of these have been replaced simply by "said" or "asked" or "answered"? I'm not against dialogue tags in moderation, but you seem to have a few more than necessary.
Other than that I thought it was a good story, but I had trouble getting into the characters' emotions very well.
July 21st, 2002, 04:37 PM
Here's a few thoughts:
I personally don't like dreams in stories because they present an environement without any rules and more importantly there are no consequences to the character other than waking up. As a means of communication I think this is okay, but as soon as I looked at the first paragraph or so, I thought "Oh no, not a dream!"
T'cara - apostrophied names are a pet peeve of mine.
As soon as I found out that Shane was an archeologist, I had the plot figured out. I was hoping for a good twist - like maybe T'cara was a criminal and that she had been buried in suspended animation for a reason.
A few nitpicks:
- O.K. should be spelled okay ( I think).
- T'cara says she is unfamiliar with the word "hyperdrive," yet she has no problem with all the other words in the English language.
- Moria spent about 13 years in school developing her psychic abilities. When did she have a chance to go to med school?
I think that the story lost sight of the consequences for Shane about half way through. To really keep a connection with the reader, the main characters of a story have to have consequences to their actions. We start out with a problem - dreams keeping Shane awake. The resolution of this problem in the end is implied, but the focus shifts from Shane to the resuce of T'cara. What does this mean for Shane?
On a similar line of thinking, consider the beginning. Shane can't sleep. The first person he meets happens to be a telepath who can probe his mind. The solution just walks up to him - he didn't have to do anything to earn it. (Every once in a while I wish this would happen to me.) I think this would work better if he sought Moria out.
Overall I thought the story was very imaginative and gave an interesting take on alien contact. The enjoyed the premise tremndously, and I think you have something to work with here if you want to expand the story into something larger.
July 22nd, 2002, 04:37 AM
Thanks emilyhorner, I'll watch out for the 'ing' thing in the future and I sorry if you found the writing a bit stiff. Maybe one of the reasons for this was explainign the dialogue to much. I don't know, but that could have had someth'ing' to do with it. Aside from these troubles I am happy you thought it was all right.
choppy, the dreams in the story were there for a reason, they set the whole thing up. Sorry you didn't get the twist you like, but this was just a simple, and I mean very simple story. As for the apostrophied name, well it just sort of fit in my mind for the character. As for the other things that troubled you, this is not a tale from a published writer. Also, I did place it here so I could find out what I needed to work on. Thank you for your opinions, they will help me with my work. And let me know if you have anything here.