jagabond

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16 Noble-Blooded

About jagabond

  1. Robinski: Thanks man, I appreciate you taking the time to read it. I know I often abandon clarity for the sake of flair and as a result some of the clear writing gets lost in the shuffle. You always go pretty deep into the critique, which is great. You're right to challenge the reason for Lily acquiring the data, because as you said, it was all about the social experiment of them defending themselves time and again. You've got it all down, I think. Seems like you've got a solid grasp on the story events. But that's actually a good question about the food they eat and the existence of the flower, I'll see if I can make that more significant. So I'll definitely take another look at the believability of the premise and the showing/telling balance. One of these days I'll get it
  2. Haruwin! Cool, excited for this chapter. I still felt a little inundated with all the proper nouns, especially in the beginning. I like the setting, but pronunciation is a factor in how much I fictional worlds (like "Ichin'K'onip'nam”, c'mon man, it's too early for that ) Haruwin and Praxedes are fun, memorable names, and easy to say. They're also the only ones I can remember from the story at all. Food for thought. I'd stay inside the world as much as possible. The footnotes are directly from you to me, which is jarring. I'm not sure what direction the meta-narrative is going, but I know the piece is conceptual so not a big deal. It is a lot of fun, though; honestly, this is exactly my kind of fiction. I love when the real world and a fictional place blur together, so for me, the more real it can feel, the better. Chat rooms are hard, but I think you have to commit to the medium if you're going to portray it. I've only seen it a handful of times in fiction, and I didn't care for it, but I appreciate it if it's more authentic with different voices/typing styles with the characters. It seemed like everyone chatting had the same voice. Plus there were way too many characters--five or six different people I think? I began to read it as just infodump and not dialogue. Ultimately, I think if you ask five writers about this, you'll get eight different answers, so I wouldn't stress it too much. Some minor technical things: I would hyphenate "move-in" since otherwise that sentence is a bit clunky. You've also got "she replied quizzically" which is a really awkward adverb use. The rest is really inconsequential given the concept art nature of the piece. Otherwise, I enjoyed it! Like I said, this is right in my wheelhouse, so with some real polish I would definitely be up to read more stories from this world.
  3. True enough, it might be a too obscure/delicate paradox to throw into a story as a worldbuilding element. With Distraction Disorder, I meant in-story. I left out the line explaining what it is because I didn't want to pause for a laugh. But that's okay, man. It just didn't grab you or stand out. It's definitely a chimera of all the post-apocalypse I inhale so I can't say it's all that new to me either @CommandanteLemming: Thanks for all the praise! I think you're right in that the big reveal and the plant (and Cameron...) need some more foreshadowing, and I'm glad you liked Otto. He was a weird character to put together, although I think blind characters garner sympathy a tad more quickly. And you're right about the velociraptors. Another joke I thought I'd extricated.. Not happy about Nate and Lily's whole first scene, dialogue feels a bit stale
  4. Now that's a lot of critique! Thank you. I will try to address what I can. I appreciate you reading all the way through for the sake of the critique, when you would have put it down otherwise. Olbers' paradox is thrown in as something she's only read about, which was actually supposed to make her seem less bright, but I was iffy with it. I don't have a perfunctory knowledge of it myself, so I wanted to convey that she had a mostly-ignorant view of something 'Old World', through incomplete knowledge (or, if the reader prefers, from not being bright). Whether or not she is is up to the reader. I think she's brighter than she allows herself to believe, at least. I'm really glad you pointed out the connotations of 'dorm building' and also the student soldiers, because there's a very intentional commentary there. I picked a few American sounding names to give a sort of underhanded statement that Americans would have no idea how to deal with terrorism so close to their beloved higher education environment. It's not strictly "America" because it's post-apocalyptic, but Nate Parker and Lily Walker seemed like really American college kid names. As for romantic involvement? No, that was not my intent. They gain a companionship, but I did not try to convey him as a romantic interest, just a colleague that becomes some source of information, maybe sanity for Lily. I actually haven't watched the Neon Genesis show or movies, so that's interesting that you point that out. I'm only vaguely aware of it but I gather there might be some similar symbols to this story. I may look into that. As for smiles, the exulted paint the smiles on the Academy walls, and they wear masks with smiles on them, and Exulted means to be joyful, so I mention that Cameron and the Archangel are smiling, before it's revealed that the Exulted are also Angels. I'll play around with that to see if I can make it clearer. I'm mostly curious that you didn't pick up any life-changing events. Short stories are supposed to be about the most important event in a character's life, and I tried to hit that with Lily. You and Mandamon have commented that the story is too much style and surface, not enough substance, so I'll keep that in mind for the rewrite. As a joking side-note: Distraction Disorder has been canonized from the Old World's Attention Deficit, a term deemed too complicated for people with the disorder to remember. Thanks again for your comments, man!
  5. Yeah there are a few typos, I wanted to get the story in early but I just could not see the words anymore, I'd been staring at them for so long Terribly sloppy of me, apologies for that! My biggest concern is that it's too dense, so clarity issues fall into that. It's very much a first draft; I'm glad you guys can eviscerate it for me. I'm also not entirely comfortable with present tense; do you think that hurt the story or made certain lines too confusing?
  6. November is always the worst month for me, and always because of school. This year will be no different; I'm currently taking some of the most work-intensive classes of my educational life, and it's gonna be finals by the time I'd get into the NaNo crunch. Man, but I'd love to do it. I'll probably do what I've done before. Dive in, have a great start for the first few strokes, then drown shortly past the starting line and respawn next year to do it again.
  7. Concept art, a good term for this entry. So, the idea is really cool. There's clearly a ton of detail in the world that makes it feel real, not just there for the sake of being there. That said, it's a bit of a problem when the plot is centered on characters who are aware of this. It's one thing to have your history completely warped, but I think it pushes things a bit when the central characters are also history/culture nerds. You have a good starting point with a worm's eye view. Characters with allergies, relationships, day-to-day problems. I'd like to see more of that because story is all character, and since you have so much world, let it be background. That's really my only critique since the piece is so short: the worldbuilding gets in its own way and, as you said, there's no clear idea of what happens next. When I was learning about worldbuilding, I encountered a good handful of writers who do nothing but build worlds from the ground up, flesh out history, geography, language, and then ignore it for lack of character and story. You've got a game to back you up, but to get the most out of your story I'd say take us a level deeper, and let the cool stuff come naturally. The stranger your world, the more real it needs to feel, and there's not enough plot/character for me to get that feeling. So, tons of cool stuff, but I'm as uncertain as you are on where you could go with it. Sorry if that's not too helpful.
  8. I read the story before I saw your questions, and yet most of my concerns had to do with the issues you're looking for help with. So that's great! I'll answer them in groups. Where is the story headed? + Strength of plot? + Interesting? It seems pretty standard, I think. Dragon causes problems, a small boy is entrusted with power will eventually solve those problems. Nothing wrong with that; it's all in the how. I only have a vague idea how things will unfold, which is good. You controlled the information release pretty well. That said, a lot of Chapter 1 felt like backstory, because I know this kid is going to grow up, and this will be his mission. Maybe not, but I don't think he'll be young for a long time. Because of this, I didn't latch onto the details because I didn't feel like we'd be spending a lot of time in this area before a timeskip. Personally, I'm not that engaged. There wasn't anything that seemed to make this story really pop or grab me. My standards for fantasy are low, which might be a bad thing because I'm pretty easily entertained by stories of magic and dragons. Also, I'm more of a sci-fi guy, so keep that in mind. Having said that, I had no difficulties with the plot, nor was I bored. That's the trick with first chapters, really, not overloading your audience while still standing out. Would I read on? Most likely. Tone & Voice Here's where I really have feedback for you. At the risk of sounding holier-than-thou, your problems with voice are the ones I think will go away just by more practice. Look at your sentences, how many words they use, their rhythm. Too many sentences with the same-ish number of words will make for a dry voice. Look at the really critical information being conveyed in each sentence, see what can be said better in fewer words. Cut unnecessary details (adverbs, mostly; I can tell when Midowyn is being "cold" so "coldly" isn't needed, things like that). Trimming the fat will clean up the work very quickly. Read the work aloud and you'll pick up a lot of those problems just with an open ear. Voice is rhythm, listening, and straight up practice. As for tone, I have no complaints, but the prose got in the way. The sentences lacked immediacy, and the chapter felt very casual. I didn't much care that a dragon was burning things down because I wasn't attached, which is a totally valid way to do it, if it's done in small enough bursts. So, hopefully that's all helpful. I'm actually really interested by your prose and story, and am curious to see what it looks like once it's been sharpened. Keep it up, man!
  9. Big week this week! Thanks as always, guys. Any critiques welcome. I had a ton of fun with this story, so, as always: Be merciless.
  10. I have something for Monday
  11. Personally, I don't consider submitting anything until the work is finished. Mainly because I really hate when someone puts time and effort into reading my stuff, and their critique is something I could have caught by just letting it sit and going over it again. Waste of both of our time. I think submitting out of order chapters would have a similar effect, but again, that's just me. I have not submitted a lot here (don't worry, some serials coming soon...) but posting WIPs, I feel, opens me up to too much feedback that muddies the story I want to tell. Like Stephen King says, write with the door closed, rewrite with it open.
  12. That might've been le Guin; she said something to that effect in one of her essays. I'm sure she's not alone, but that's where I've read that idea most recently.
  13. Haha yeah, near-future wars are quite overused, but they're totally a thing. That's an interesting point about integration. I might even use both to show some development; neat idea! And thanks for your kind words
  14. To tease andy a little bit, re: literary fiction. Literary is really just shared-world fanfiction if you think about it like that As for environment, I don't mean super overt details. But the story is aimless in a way that is also unfulfilling. I don't know what it's about, what I'm holding onto, and because it's in a mostly-familiar world, it could be anything. I had no central image to latch onto, which made it hard to critique much else beyond the style. The contraction thing, again, is just my internal editor coming out. It's fascinating to see a consistent lack of it in narration, so much so that I assume it's a character trait. That's all. Re: tenses, I noticed one or two present tense jumps in the beginning, nothing a careful eye wouldn't catch.
  15. Thanks a lot, guys. I'm really impressed because the two biggest issues I'm having with the story are the tonal shifts, and my first round of readers (read: a buddy of mine) also thought the ending kinda jilted the pacing. There's a lot of room to make it clearer, so I'll try to do that. Tal, thanks for all the encouragement. Clarity is a big concern even in my regular length stuff, so flash works.. man, forget it, hah. I like the loudspeaker idea, and yeah, in the second entry, Pilot's ankles are cut off and the rest of him gets eaten by the turbines. I wanted to have the reader envision their own huge, bulky glider. As to your questions, Tal, and for everyone else: I may have made Icarus a bit too telling. I'd thrown it in as a bit of joke symbolism (considering Mark I crashed, but that's not really made clear that they know this). You guys were able to draw more meaning than I'd put in. I mean, uh, yeah, totally intentional! Robinski, I'm glad I was able to contribute something different. The problem's definitely not with you; I love ambiguity a bit too much for my own good, I've been told. And thanks, I'll try to hog more of the submission slots Andy, you're right. I wasn't sure how early to clarify what is actually going on, so I'll see if I can sharpen that on the rewrite. Mandamon, thanks. I'm a very new hand at flash so I'm still getting my bearings. You're right, it's a different Pilot every time, so "Mark" uses the name to identify that persona as they relate to it. And you're all right about the ending. The images got a bit looser for me in the writing, and my once-over didn't quite polish it, so I'll see what I can do there. The title, well... only the author knows the best title for their work, I believe. I'm sure it will come to me at the most inconvenient time.