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About Robinski

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    Fighting unnecessary capitalisation since June 2013

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  1. Soooooooooo, I'll put my hand up for a slot on Monday, please. Monday as in Monday, not Monday as in Wednesday (honestly).
  2. It did not enter my head for a single second that protagonist was a ventriloquist. If you say someone is mute in such a very definite way, I will believe you totally. So, I',m in the magical cat club when it comes to interpretation of the story. Same. I come back to what I was saying about stakes, but equally sense of fear.
  3. It's always great to see new voices here on RE, so I am excited to read your piece. Full disclosure, I read no flash really, other than the very occasional piece submitted here (maybe once a year?). Also, I am not a cat person. I admire the concept of cats, I tend to enjoy encountering cats, when I'm not chasing them out of my garden--my space is not their space, although, actually it is, I'm just not ready to accept it yet. So, on neutral ground then. Anyway, enough prattling from me. page 1 - First paragraph: I don't know what protagonist is clutching. Is it a novel, a VHS, a DVD? - I like the mood so far, I like the tone. There is some angst here, some internal conflict, and/or conflict with the environment, which is good. - Second paragraph: Setting is a little blurred, but I'm led to picture a classical urban alley (fire-escapes, garbage, etc.), which I can do just fine, however driveway throws me off because, where I come from (Glasgow, Scotland, UK), that's a generally suburban thing leading to a house of a cul-de-sac (for example), which does not seem to fit here. - The two gorillas in plaid toss me out of the story on my behind. I'm suddenly in a period piece, Suddenly, I'm in an episode of The Rockford Files, or Columbo, or similar. I had a handle, but now it's gone. - Some of the word choices could be cleaner, more precise, I think. More affecting, more surprising. It seems to me there are several instances of easy/first option, or low-hanging fruit, in Writing Excuses terminology. - Not an example of that, but a contradiction: the goons are trying to be discreet, but they're failing... okay, fine. But they are not failing 'poorly', they are failing very successfully. 'poorly' does not attach to their discretion, but (incorrectly) to their failure. - Paragraph three: 'mini earthquake' - meh. This is what I mean about word choice. To me, this is verging on cliché. - Also, the wording could be tighter, for me, in places. I imagine for flash it's all about editing, editing, editing until there is nothing spare at all. I think this has a way to go in that respect. E.g.: "They’d be able to beat me in any footrace." > I would lose a footrace. OR They'd beat me in a footrace. - Paragraph four: I'm not clear on what protagonist can take; a beating? - Paragraph five: Why, if they are in an alley with no one else around (as is clearly the case), are the goons being all oblique? There's no point in them feigning casualness, they have clear been 'made'. - "I stride my gaze up..." - Is this a typo? Sorry, but it's a horrible phrase, IMO. It doesn't parse at all. What does that even look like? - Also, 'stalked'. This comes back to tone and setting, and word choice. Stalking, I think, has very specific connotations in terms of a modern idiom (a lone pest, stalking a probably vulnerable individual), or a classical sense (a hunter stalking prey, typically in the bush, with a rifle, bow, etc.). I don't think, personally, that it works in a context where the stalker has a numerical, and physical, advantage. - Paragraph six: this is not you, it's me, but I don't think I'm wrong!! "My backpack is torn off of me" - I know this is a standard American English construction, but I think it sounds horrible, because 'of' performs no function in this form other than cluttering up the phrase, tripping up the flow of the language and generally making the sentence sound clumsy. Sorry, but I feel kind of strongly about this. I apologise, but can anyone honestly tell me that 'My backpack is torn off me' is not more succinct, elegant, impactful? I know I'm being dogmatic, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. I remain convinced that you do not find this form in 'properly edited' books. - Paragraph eight: Why is second not called Beta? It just seemed that you set that up. it feels untidy to me. And, I'm confused about what's going on. They're behaving like bullies rather than gangsters. I feel I've misinterpreted the intention with 'plaid'. To me, it refers to a gangster's suit, but I'm thinking now that it could be a punk thing. page 2 - Paragraph three: 'cause is an abbreviation, and should have a apostrophe to mark the missing letters, even at the start of a sentence. Maybe it should be 'Cause, but still. Also, the goon's logic is ridiculous, even for a dumb--s. You wouldn't know to look at someone because you can't talk? For me, it's a stereotype that goons a dumb. Goons and bullies are dumb 95% of the time; it's a very tired trope, and it lowers the threat level from malevolent to snicker. - Paragraph four: Where is the cat? I've got not sense of context. Also, calm as holding a box? These things are unrelated. The box could have a snake in it. It's a odd phrase. - "My arm twists uncomfortably." - Very passive. Beta is twisting his arm, saying that is much more direct, brings the threat of further violence and pain. Also, 'uncomfortable'? Really? The threat of discomfort was palpable... I really don't thing discomfort is high enough stakes here. - Paragraph five: What is "-"? I don't know what that is. Also, 'boys'. This is the first indication that the goons are not adults, which I was assuming. I think we need more context right up front, as I've gone off down the wrong track in terms of the story's context. - Paragraph six: where is the cat, where it is? No context. - "animals midnight sheen" - missing apostrophe. - 'three stooges' - The three stooges are a collective, this is two vs. one. The phrase does not fit very well, IMO. Also maybe a bit weak. I'd like to feel the cat's complete indifference to the situation, which I think was the tone intended? - Paragraph seven: "neither one willing to speak for a moment" - plenty of redundancy here. - 'Revelling' implies joy: this is not a joyful situation. A misleading word, IMO. - "My arms nearly wrench themselves from their sockets" - Odd to picture Beta holding both of protagonist's arms. - feet (plural) pounding pavement like a hammer (singular), is not a tidy or elegant metaphor. Also, pounding like hammer and anvil is a massive cliché. - Maine Street? LOL, love that! (Also, extra period at the end.) - Paragraph eight: " shout his clichéd “Get him,” - Err, I think you need to be cautious about throwing the word cliché around. It's rather the pot calling the kettle black. Also, it comes right back to that 'Villains are stupid, uneducated, predictable' trope which is really boring. The reader just laughs at the villains: it undermines the threat of the situation, IMO. page 3 - Paragraph one: "They bridge the gap halfway before I passed the cat." - This is difficult to parse. I know what it means, but it's not clear, doesn't flow well. Also, wrong tense for 'passed'. - "I glance in despair back at the cat" - I'm a firm believer in not splitting the infinitive. I think it sounds awful in most circumstances. Yes, I do it occasionally, but there's a time and a place. This form sounds really awkward, IMO. I'd go... 'I glance back at the cat (one action, components kept together) in despair.' The other advantage of this form is that is puts your most important word at the end of the sentence, which is a valuable and highly effective technique for punching up the impact of sentences. - Oh, and if the goons have only bridges the gap alway, how can they get a hold of protagonist? Is there any disadvantage in just having them bridge the whole gap before he gets past the cat? - Paragraph two: "Deputy" - this is different label applied to 'Second', which especially in a short piece, it seems to me, just makes it a tiny nit harder for the reader to remember who is being referred to. - How does he know that cat is watching their backs? I'm confused. - Paragraph five: "It will probably bruise" - and there goes so more of my sympathy for protagonist. Bruise? Really? That's pretty precious, and it brings home to me in this moment that I don't really get much sense of fear from protagonist. Sure, they're not enjoying the encounter, but I don't get much sense of dread, of the potential direness of the consequences. The stakes seem low. - Paragraph eight: "pleasurable purr" - this means 'pleasing'. The implication to me is that the cat finds its own purr pleasing, which doesn't seem like the right sense for this situation. page 4 - Paragraph one: 'I cannot hold it' - what is 'it'? Unclear. - "serve as my disappearance is discovered" - serve how? Serve what? This is not clear, IMO. - Paragraph two: the last line left me confused. I took me two or three re-readings before I remembered that protagonist was mute. That did not seem to play a great part in the story, I think maybe since it would be plausible that a different protagonist in the same situation might just be rendered mute (temporarily) through fear. conclusion I like the idea, but I want more from it. I want more stakes, more passion, more emotion. The villains are weak/predictable, IMO, and that undermines the stakes. If they were clever, wily, cruel; if they had a clear motivation, that would go a long way to raising the stakes of the story. The cat does not seem to behave like a cat in the beginning, I thought. Also, there's no blocking around the cat, little description, no real sense (I thought) that it appears to be a normal cat in the first place. I think this undercuts the moment when it begins to speak. If it meowed, rubbed up against protagonist's legs or something hyper familiar, that would ground me at the start, and therefore I think its speaking (and I would like protagonist to see its mouth move, to really drive home that this voice is not only in protagonist's mind) would have much more impact. Another thing: the title really tends to give away what's going to happen, to the point where it reduces the impact of the critical moment, the reveal. How is this not fantasy? I would say it's 'a fantasy' in the sense that there is a strong element of the fantastic. We're met all swords and sorcery around here, you know! Anyway, it's hard to judge style in such a short piece, but there is plenty that I enjoyed about this. I like protagonist's voice (what there is space for in three pages), I like the idea, I just wanted more depth, more impact, more surprise. I hope these comments ts are useful Sorry they are so late
  4. Hey everyone, I'm sorry (again) that this is late (again), but hope you can find a spot in your schedule over the next few days to have a gander. Any and all comments on style, logic, plausibility, etc. would be greatly welcomed, even if you have not read the rest of the story (although I appreciate that would tend to be off-putting). Best, Robinski Chapter Summary: 01 - In small town in British Columbia, Q and M close out the Not-All-That-Curious Case of the Stolen Art; 02 - Q and M decide on what to do next, all the options seem to have some issue or other. Q's ex-father calls; 03 - After some political machinations, we meet EM (the administrator) and TT (the scientist) who at GX in Yellowknife, NWT; 04 - T is coerced by M into releasing the MTs. They are meant to kill her, but it does not go to plan for M. Now he has a problem 05 - Back with Q and M, they speak to R before going to meet him at the airport, but the plane crashes in 'unexpected' circumstances; 06 - Q and M are questioned at the sheriff's office then taken to the hospital to see R who they manage to speak to briefly before M appears and kills R; 07 - Q and M are in the frame for R's murder. M decides they should run. Car chase thru small town. They collect 80, 'borrow' N's plane and run; 08 - E discovers T's disappearance, is suspended by DM then goes to see the YK sheriff. He takes her to a kill site, but it's only animals, not T; 09 - After some chat about the past and Mor, Q dumps N's plane on the tarmac, QME are recovered by EMS and taken to hospital, where they escape; 10 - E runs the gauntlet of the press then releases the Vuls. Q and M progress to YK. Q gets a mystery call. K is on Q's trail and intends to make him pay; 11 - Q calls E and leaves her a message, the Five-Star gets wrecked by a bear, DM is travelling back to YK and speaks with TOM; 12 - Q learns M about a local church, Q and M encounter a bear, Mor talks to TOM; 13 - Q and M reach Golden, learn of the election's status, call EM and then learn that people are dead in YK. Their plan will get them to YK this evening. 14 - EM is interviewed by the FBI and given an ultimatum. DM seems to be working with her, but springs an ambush, tries to kill her, but she escapes. 15 - WK continues north, speaks to his office, speaks to the RCMP, considers his moves. 16 - DM takes full control of things at GX, speaks to TOM, issues orders to increase the chaos. 17 - EM escapes YK, goes to a village to abandon her tech, then makes a choice about her future. 18 - In Canmore, the press of time is getting to Q. WK spies waiting for a train north, a chase on foot ends in a one-sided shoot out. QME escape by drone 'copter. 19 - Journey to YK in drone chopper. Q and M learn how bad things are in YK. They and MC exchange views on a range of subjects. Q learns MC has been manipulating him for some time. 20 - Finally, after some prep in the chopper, Q and M arrive in YK. They meet E and a friend of her's who is helping her. They are attacked my a couple of Mts, then see a pair of VRs.
  5. Yes, received. In spam folder also.
  6. I tend to be with Dan on this. I tend to (but not always) invent the tip of the iceberg to the point at which I think it's convincing that there is a whole iceberg beneath it, then I stop and move on. I've got pages to write, I don't have time to spend a year creating a world that I'm going to use 5% of.
  7. Hi Arkelao, Ooh, I don't get over here enough. I spend all my time on Writing Excuses. This is still a neat idea. I can vaguely remember that cast. The thing that has alway kind go fascinated me is the idea of communism, because of course all the expressions that have taken that label are and have been anything but communism, just another kind of rule by an elite class. So, my thought experiment is to wonder if it is possible to have true communism at all, and what would it look like, how would decisions be made, how could such a society be organised? There is a flip side to that, I think, which is the question: Is it possible to have a completely beneficent ruler, an emperor who is truly good, just, balanced, etc? If there was such a head of state, how would they express their control? How would they organise people to do what needed to be done? Anyway, hope you are still around and interested in a discussion! Thanks for posing the question
  8. Yeah, I only got on pace about 6/7 months ago. I really enjoy only having one podcast a week to listen to, helps me make more progress with all my other podcasts I'd be really surprised if the podcasts stopped. They've built something that has a real following, not to mention what I imagine is some commercial viability, in that they have produced and sold a book on the back of the cast, and also have the retreat cruises. I would guess what would happen is that the founders my variously step back, as they started to do in recent years, and have more guests presenters. I think it's notable that the recent cast on writing disability did not feature any of the founders. For obvious reasons, but it could be a model for the future, even a test. I suppose they could introduce sponsorship so that WE was paying its way. Whatever the case, I'd be really surprised if they stopped WE now, provided the audience is not 'falling off'.
  9. This is now 118k, and will be more like 110k by the end of this edit, I hope. TMM is 89k (so TCC is almost exactly +33%, at the moment, but shrinking!).
  10. Well, it is in the UK!!! But seriously, I am sooo far behind, so never worn about any (perceived) tardiness. I'm always just so glad to have your comment anyhow. Hurrah! Yeah, let's do it, let's definitely not get in a car and drive around YK Mah, right. I accept the balance is not correct yet, and have flagged to work on this. I think so. No. Yes. Err, hmm. I feel like this says more about you than my writing No idea. Sounds cool though, right? Seriously though, I reckon it would be watertight, among other things. Silent? Really strong, of course. Would never to all the things that zippers do that we all hate. I see your point. It wasn't supposed to come over that way here. I should have said 'working with the Q Agency' (i.e. alongside), rather than 'for'. The weakest (to casual inspection, anyway!! ). No sinister agenda. Mmm, okay. I've added a line of internal monologue, but I'm not convinced it sits comfortably in the narrative, and in his mindset at that point. We'll see. Not yet. Will clarify. Fair. I've added a couple of nervous ticks in. I've tweaked a couple of tags to show E has doubts about his straightness. Okay. I was going for the punchline, as always, but accept the set up is not quite right. I've tweaked this around a bit. I think it's better, thanks Ick. Yes, right. Editing. This with tied up with E being 'bi' in the original draft, but still... I'm going to PM you an edited version of this passage. Really appreciate those comments. Thank you very much!
  11. Hey ID, thank for reading and commenting I understand. I'm going to be continuing to work at cutting the earlier parts (all the parts, actually), and the travel should be the easiest place to get cuts. I think sometimes I have in my mind that travel is a good opportunity for people to talk to each other, which no doubt doesn't help. That's in my notes for the next edit. Yeah. I've ramped this up a bit. I think I might need to ramp the MT's debut in Q's POV some more. Well, she didn't need him, although I've just changed the wording around that, because it is misleading. He just went with her because she might have needed saving, I guess (see M's outburst from earlier). Great comments. Thank you so much
  12. Hey, @Mandamon, thank you for reading. Very much appreciated. Okay, good, although I see your point about the chapter, but I didn't want them to be all pals straight away. I thought it was clear enough that they were going to Ro's house first, but maybe that didn't come through. I've put in a couple of short, more definitive statements about their intentions... ...and I've put in another short line about D, just for context. Err, well, there's plenty. Although I'm hoping to cut into it more swingeingly. There are another eleven chapter and an epilogue Android. Have clarified, and I think added some spookiness. Thanks. Hmm. This is a problem, sure enough. I don't want folks feeling like that. I feel there's enough information to guess, but not really to work it out. I will see how the other feel, but in any case, I'm happy to accept there is a need to rebalance the interjections from M/C as they appear through the story. Yeah, ok. See above. No, he's brand new here. I've tried to parse him in a little better, but probably need another go at it. I appreciate it's sudden. I'm so glad. Bringing them together was an important moment. Right. If this is not ringing true, I will need to revise to convince the reader. Right, I've tried to punch up the attack a bit. No, see above. I've made more of this. Good point. Yeah, I don't know how much I want to make that a big thing. Fair comments. I should be. I think this is one of those things that I'm assuming everyone else would assume. It's common knowledge that TOM owns E/C, and that E/C owns Gen, so kind of like J-Bez in relation to a subsidiary of 4m4zon. DM is a known and (fairly) prominent employee of E/C (internally), so it would be known by E that DM's (ultimate) boss was TOM. This is maybe not coming over, of course. Okay. I wanted him to be a kind of shadowy figure. Maybe that's not working. They're supposed to be blocking the road, but as they are T/F killers, E doesn't want to 'waste' them. Okay. I was trying to throw some light on Q's own state of mind on preferences (which I know I've never been explicitly about). I guess this is causing an issue? I will garner the other views on this and see where I am at the end of this thread. In a good way? Maybe I need to hang a lantern on this earlier? Great comments, as always. Thank you so much
  13. Woop, woop. Happy ten years RE. I can only muster six (.5), and what a whirlwind that's been
  14. Err. Not this week. I'm not ready. I want to edit the next chapter before I sub it (as I've been doing for the last several weeks), but I haven't even started. I'll go next Monday, please, slots permitting.
  15. Yes, this is the nutshell of it. Thanks I've had a go at tweaking the wording. I really think it's better now.