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March 17th, 2004, 04:11 PM
First of all, I would like to thank you in advance for your time. I realize that I have made no contributions to this forum, and yet I am already asking of something from you. I would appreciate any opinions you can give me, but of course I understand that not many will respond to this. As a approximately 300-word story assignment for a Science Fiction/Fantasy class I wrote the following. I tried my best on it and I think the idea is fairly novel, but it is not written very well. I know this, however, I do not see exactly what I did or did not do which makes this story terrible. Thank you again.

He smiled through and through as he watched the clusters of children gathering around the debut models of his very latest innovation. Though through the years he had devoured every piece of reading material which came his way, he saw others who did not have his same level of devotion to literature. While he had completed the Shakespearean collection prior to ever attending high school, he saw many others whom could not even read the materials required for their courses, and much less enjoy them. From the moment he had first seen the effects which this had on them later in their lives, he resolved to do something about it, and here he finally was. After years of research, it was determined that the only way to invoke a passion of reading in children was to have them read to from an early age. At one point that would not have been a problem, but in this day and age where perhaps five out of one-hundred parents stayed home, they simply didn’t have time for their children. First, he tried simple recordings of the material, but it did not have the same effect. Without their parents by their side bringing life to the stories, they simply fell asleep from boredom. That is when the idea finally came to him, and though it took every penny of his fortune and years of innovations, the virtual reader was born. A hologram projected at the bedside, with any appearance desired. Not only could it take the form of their parents, but it could be the Bard himself reading Romeo and Juliet, or the characters themselves from Hamlet with the story taking place in the child’s very room. The children would finally have a love for reading, and give the necessary respect for the masterpieces of years long gone by. This early on, he had no way of foreseeing the children’s revolt which would soon come due to his little learning aid. As the children’s knowledge surpassed their parents’ in only a few short years, they saw the problems of society, and resolved to fix them by any means necessary.

March 17th, 2004, 05:40 PM
First off, don't take my words as a 'ripping' but take them as how I feel about your story and where it could do with improvement.

1) This is a paragraph. One and only one. You may want to break separate ideas into separate paragraph.
2) There's no dialog. This adds flavor to a story.
3) Who is 'he'? 'He' has no name.
4) Any means necessary? Like? This really doesn't end the story.

Ok, all opinion aside.

through and through and Though through at the begining of the first two sentences. Makes for a thoroughly tough start to make it through. :) You may want to look at rewording that begining a little.

After that you tell a lot about the story, but there's no real story present. What you have here is a great idea for a story. What you wrote reads like a plot outline (espically being that it's one paragraph). What you need to do is SHOW (via dialog, action, movement) what is happening in the story. Is this person winning an award by the children and remembering how 'he' wasbrought here? Was 'he' captured by the children as they enslaved all the adults? Perhaps 'he' could talk to a fellow adult and explain what happened. Does 'he' feel good or bad about what happened? Is his invention great or did it ruin the world?

Though these questions don't NEED to be answered, they would fill out your story. As I said, what you wrote is a good 'idea' for a story, but it's the plot outline, not the actual story you've written. Take this idea, put characters in it and make them LIVE your story. That will bring it to life and I assure you, it'll be more than 300 words.

Sorry if this isn't what you were looking for. I do hope it helps.

March 17th, 2004, 05:49 PM
First of all, I would like to thank you very much for your reply. It will certainly help me change the existing 300 word story as well as help me with the longer story which I would certainly like to write based off of this idea. You showed me some of the specific problems I was looking to see, and I am sure that your advice will help me create a well developed story. Thank you again.

March 17th, 2004, 05:58 PM
Any time. Any time.

March 17th, 2004, 08:40 PM
It's a VERY intriguing idea, I find. :)

As Maus said, however, it's not a story. It's not a plot-outline either; more like the design for a backdrop. There are many potential stories in that one, enough to fill a novel.

For example:

- Inventor of VirtuaReader ;) : Lit-geek; frustration-phase; idea; conceptualization phase; realization phase.

- VirtuaReader-centred. Snapshots of various kids listening. Unusual interpretations of excentric programmers. Application in University Courses. Surrogate contact for lonley people. Replacing Audio-books for the blind.

- Child-revolution centred: (A word of caution here: Don't fall into the "collectivity" trap. Not every child will react the same; they will have a hard time agreeing about the "problems of the world"; not everyone will be an idealist; Perhaps you could think about making it a kiddy-guerilla-cult that everyone - adults & kids - have to come to terms with?)


Hope it doesn't look like I've hijacked your idea... Just typed that in one go to show you that you're idea is a gold-mine. :)


Mimir... have you played Planescape: Torment, or is your name just a coincidence?

March 17th, 2004, 09:00 PM
Wow. Thank you for the kind words, and the absolutely wonderful ideas. Although I had only intended this idea to be a very short story, after thinking of all of the possibilites this will likely turn into my next big writing project. I certainly see the problem with how my current story is not really a story, and I am spending some time tonight to revise that. With how it is going, I think I will have a nice weekend full of writing! Also, I have never played Planescape: Torment, I chose the name Mimir as my screenanme years ago as it is the Norse god of Knowledge and Wisdom.

March 17th, 2004, 11:45 PM
Originally posted by Mimir15
Also, I have never played Planescape: Torment, I chose the name Mimir as my screenanme years ago as it is the Norse god of Knowledge and Wisdom.

Ah, I didn't know that. Thanx for the info. Makes sense. :)

March 18th, 2004, 08:14 AM

Just a few quick questions before I put my 2 cents in, have you done any research into the effects reading has on children and the capibilities children have to comprehend what is being read to them?

The 'children' revolt, how old were the children when they revolted? A few short years would seem to indicate that the children were between 5 and 10 years old as most children will sit and be read to only at very young ages (1, 2 or 3 years old), which is also the ages you would want to start this type of program in order to instill in them a love of reading.


March 18th, 2004, 11:08 AM
KATS, I had seen some of those same problems when I started rereading it. I had initially intended the story to deal with slightly younger children. However, I saw that no matter how I looked at it, a five year olds revolt would not be very effective! So, in my rewrite below indended to solve this somewhat by showing the appeal which it would have had for even older children. I tried to fix many of the problems pointed out to me in the revision, however, this is still only the extremely short story which I suppose can't be called a story! As I look closer and closer at the idea I can certainly have some fun with some full stories out of it;.

A soft smile crept across Gary Suttle’s face as he watched the small clusters of children gather around his greatest innovation. He was an independent inventor whose work was finally being appreciated. He had begun the project simply out of fear, worried about a future where the great literary works of times gone by would no longer be treasured. He wanted to spark a new interest for literature among those who would be the rulers of tomorrow, a time that would soon be at hand. Through both trials and tribulations he worked day and night to perfect his idea. He knew there had been recorded books for generations, but no, his was different. Instead of simply monotonous voices through a cheap set of speakers, his invention brought new life to each piece of literature. Instead of the unskilled voice of a failed actor, you could have the Bard himself reading Romeo and Juliet in your very room, or Hamlet and Claudius living out their stories by your bedside. His invention was a holographic entity if you will, capable of portraying any person, speaking with any voice. It was popular among children immediately, as it was more immersive than even the greatest films. Now, here he was, four short years after the introduction of his machine, about to receive an award from the new government, the children of the country. As soon as the children’s knowledge had surpassed the adults’, they saw the problems of the world and had resolved to fix them. Before long it was total rebellion, the children the victors. Gary was one of the survivors, alongside him only the greatest of minds, such men as Stephen Hawking and Roderick MacKinnon. The new world was perfect for Gary, constantly among equals, no matter their size. All of those that had looked down upon him throughout his life were no more.

March 18th, 2004, 11:42 AM
Signifigant improvement! Well done.

My only suggestion, break this up into more than one paragraph.

For future stories, you may want to try your hand at dialog. Your story is all meat, dialog would be the potatoes. The story is good, but it's missing that little bit.

Great job. I hope you'll be posting more so we can see how your stories progress. Keep up the good work.