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  1. #1
    aka. Stephen B5 Jones MrBF1V3's Avatar
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    Critique-The Echo of Thunder

    This is a story I entered into a friendly little contest in another forum. (I don't know who won yet, I think the initiator was grounded from his computer.) So, there being no obligation on my part, I thought I would present it here.

    http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2213p0.html

    I seem to be doing a lot of flash fiction lately, it's getting to be a habit.

    I welcome any comments, either on the story or on my use of the language. Thanks in advance.

    B5
    Last edited by MrBF1V3; January 1st, 2007 at 11:41 AM. Reason: forgot the link ...

  2. #2
    Author and Game Designer Taramoc's Avatar
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    I really liked this story, well done!

    The ending is great, just giving me enough to try to imagine what's going to happen to them, without spelling it out...

    You get full marks from me!

  3. #3
    aka. Stephen B5 Jones MrBF1V3's Avatar
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    Thanks for the read Taramoc. I appreciate your comments.

    -Actually worked on the end quite a bit, it's not easy to say enough without saying too much, if that makes any sense.

    B5

  4. #4
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Is it a pre-ordained wedding? Reading, I got the impression she doesn't really want to marry. Or that she's more concerned with "doing what's right" (whether from social expectation or madness) than with the man she's about to marry (he's only referred to as the "groom").

    A lot depends on the setting, here. (Notice how we don't learn who conducts the ceremony [though there is an usher]? I get the idea of a superficially Christian wedding in a predominantly pagan, rural [--> "harvest" in the first paragraph] community.)

    In case you're wondering what this means to my reading: I like the ambiguities; they give the story life around the edges.

    ***

    Very good point-of-view modulation (during the "crumpling").

    ***

    At first the last sentence's style left me a bit confused (why so many "non-evocative" words tagged onto the end?). Now, I think it's: one bolt for each; or one branch of the same bolt for each, or something like that. I can see why the ending is difficult to phrase. (Have you tried to end the sentence with "struck."? What would be missing? How important is precision to the ending?)

    ***

    Since this is flash fiction:

    "in the midst of her bridesmaids" --> "amidst her bridesmaids" (6 --> 3; possible style problem, though)

    ***

    Punctuation-stylistics:

    "When she was a child, and the storms would come, she would hide in the folds of her grandmother's dress."

    I wouldn't make the comma after "child". I think it's more important to set off the "When-clause" against the main-clause than to emphasise the split in the "when-clause" itself.

    "As she turned her legs gave way under her."

    Here, I would make comma after "turned" to avoid grammatical ambiguity ("turned" or "turned her legs"). There's no possible confusion on the meaning-level, but I'm scatterbrained and prone to such misreadings.

    "The groom looked down at his bride, trembling in his arms."

    I'd delete this comma, too, but I'm at a loss to tell you why.

    ***
    Grandmother would stroke Shiann's hair, and tell her she was a child of thunder, born in a storm.

    "Shiann," Grandmother would say. "I's just your kin come to visit."
    I'd reverse what her Grandmother (she isn't a Granny, is she?) told her:

    ...tell her she was born in a storm; she was a child of thunder.

    This is because what you quote her Grandmother saying, then, continues the metaphor (if it is one...) (child --> kin). Don't interrupt the metaphor with mundane fact.

    ***
    "Do you really want to do this?" She asked.
    "What are you doing!" He yelled at her.
    "Isn't it wonderful?" She asked.
    "I don't understand," He said.
    lower case letters

    ***

    "I's just your kin come to visit." --> It's (?)

    ***

    Liked the story. The appeal, to me, is mostly figuring out the setting, and its effect on the characters/story.

  5. #5
    aka. Stephen B5 Jones MrBF1V3's Avatar
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    Thanks DS, you always seem to find things I'd totally repressed after the first draft.

    I may have been more ambigious than I intended, partly because in the course of writing I changed the setting three times. In the latest I picture a coastal town set in the middle of a huge U shaped valley--I don't know for sure where I got that visual image, but I can see it clearly.

    I can't make myself end the story with the word struck (even if this is flash fiction ), but I'm going to try it with "...them both."

    Um ... yeah, I'm sure there are several places where I can rearrange and chose different words to say the same thing with less words, improving my word count, but I don't write flash that way. Sometimes I need enough words to make sure I tell the story and also to provide some sense of pacing. Story is first, then word count.

    I'm using most, but not all, of your suggestions regarding commas. Sometimes I go with what sounds right in my head at the time. Sometimes in a second read I have to wonder what I was thinking. (...or if.)

    I'm still thinking about interrupting my metaphor with a mundane fact. I can see what you mean, but I don't think I can explain without making it worse, and I'm not sure if I can change it without some kind of loss. I'll try a few variations.

    About "I's."--grandma sometimes mumbles. Sorry.

    B5

    BTW--Didn't win the contest, didn't even place. But nice things were said about the story.
    Last edited by MrBF1V3; January 8th, 2007 at 12:30 AM. Reason: additional info

  6. #6
    Mystic and Misfit Gkarlives's Avatar
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    I was enthralled by it. You left me wondering was this a case of family madness gone horribly awry or the workings of urban magic such as normal people living side by side with Gods and spirits. I think to define it further would ruin it unless there is more of the story to follow. It is similiar to how I handled the story I submitted for this years contest. I deliberately left the reader guessing.

  7. #7
    aka. Stephen B5 Jones MrBF1V3's Avatar
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    Gkarlives--Yep, leaving the reader guessing is a brave move. It either really works, or it really doesn't. An ending which leaves you guessing is even worse. This story was totally an experiement, I'm trying out a folk tale mind set. So, you understand how glad I am to find someone who liked the story.

    Thanks,

    B5

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