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Robinski

Robinski - The NEU Oblivion v4-0 - 5768 words - (VL)

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Hello all,

Apologies that this is so shockingly late, but I got tied up editing my last submission, and also in starting another short for the James White Award. Still, late is late, sorry about that.

This short story was submitted back in February 2016 ( :blink: ). It's revised , I hope, addressing some of the problems before, so I would very much welcome what you'd like to throw at it.

It's a bit long, sorry about that, hopefully within tolerance?!

Cheers, Robinski

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I do remember this one from before, and from what I can remember, this one is better.

However, I was pretty confused for the first few pages. I really liked the middle, then was confused again at the end.

My main gripe is that we don't get the answer to the big question in the story: why/how did the NEU get switched off? As far as I can tell, everything goes back to normal at the end, so I assume he won? What happened to M? she disappears in the elevator, and then we have to assume she's ok from the last sentence, minus an ear.
The other big question I have (and I'm aware this sort of invalidates the premise) is why can't the NEU just update him on what happened the day before? I like the effect in the story, but at least giving some handywavy explanation will help me stop questioning it as I read.

So in summary, I did enjoy reading it, especially the middle part, but I'm left with a lot of questions, and not in a good way. I'd like to get a little more resolution at the end, and potentially some more explanation for the device. I know that's really hard in a first person POV with an unreliable narrator, but maybe there could be a question from someone else, or he overhears a conversation or something? It's not like anyone needs to keep silent around him, since he'll just forget everything the next day.

 

Notes while reading:

pg 2: "Shuffling, pony-tailed man pushed his garbage cart"
--got caught on the opening sentence. I think you mean "pony-tailed man" as a surrogate name, but I had to read it a couple times. I'd say "the pony-tailed man" to avoid the reader stumbling on the first sentence.

pg 3: the interlude here is from technological interface, I assume? A bit hard to get through so close to the beginning, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

pg 3: "The kernel whispers, reminding me I'm a policeman"
--ah yes, I do vaguely remember this one from the last time you submitted.

pg 5: "There’s a protocol because when I wake up, the last thing I remember is the day before they fitted the..."
--ok, starting to get the hang of this one, but it's a deep dive in right at the beginning.

pg 5: Did not understand the brief interlude on this page.

pg 6: "I like to keep them guessing "
--current question: was this something voluntary, was he pressed into service, or was there brain damage that caused the device to be fitted in his head?

pg 6: "I wonder if the NEU has its own eyes, watching me, seeing what I see."
--sooo, what exactly is it, then? I was thinking it was a bionic interface, but this makes me think it's remote, somehow.

pg 13: "unhurriedly ease"
--unhurried?

pg 13: "shred the low buzz of travel"
--what is "the low buzz of travel?"

pg 13-14: The blocking here is a little scattered. I suppose that's for the effect of  the fight, but I'm not really sure where anyone is. Are they in a hallway?

pg 15: "They’re cutting a hole"
--who is cutting what hole? Blocking is still kind of confused here.

pg 17: "we all know what it is as the captain returns. M’s earlobe bloodies his fingers.
--he's holding Marie's earlobe? Oooh...so it somehow got cut off because that's where the tracker is. Took me a minute to get this. Could be clearer.

pg 18: "He glances down at the piece of M’s ear in his hands."
--so does this mean she was in the coffin? I thought the girl from the beginning was. 

pg 18: "Without the NEU, I’m no more use to them than a Citroen full of backup."
--There's a lack of a question here. We still don't know why it switched off, and he's not even questioning it. Seems like he would be freaking out a lot more, or asking the Mor. if he knows what's going on.

pg 19/20: What leap of logic possessed him to rip up a street sign? Is he going to hit someone with it? But then he drops it and has a gun again? Confused.

pg 20: He seems to be actively loosing his memory again, but we never got the mechanism for why the device was installed. Did he have brain damage?


 

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2016? Was I on the forum back then? I can't remember.

After reading, this is definitely my first time through

Overall

Some fairly minor quibbles below. Generally I liked it and thought the pacing was good, though the action could be cut down perhaps in favor of a more robust ending. I appreciate that M's disappearance didn't head into fridging territory! As a short I think it's pretty well rounded and the MC comes across well. The NEU has me fascinated and I would love more info about this (though the amount of info in the short is just perfect).

On 5/16/2019 at 10:28 AM, Mandamon said:

I'd like to get a little more resolution at the end,

This x 1000

On 5/16/2019 at 10:28 AM, Mandamon said:

The blocking here is a little scattered. I suppose that's for the effect of  the fight, but I'm not really sure where anyone is. Are they in a hallway?

I also stumbled here.

On 5/16/2019 at 10:28 AM, Mandamon said:

Oooh...so it somehow got cut off because that's where the tracker is. Took me a minute to get this. Could be clearer.

This also confused me

On 5/16/2019 at 10:28 AM, Mandamon said:

pg 19/20: What leap of logic possessed him to rip up a street sign? Is he going to hit someone with it? But then he drops it and has a gun again? Confused.

pg 20: He seems to be actively loosing his memory again, but we never got the mechanism for why the device was installed. Did he have brain damage?

Also agree with both of these. I think my confusion in the later pages contributed to my action fatigue.

 

 

As I go

- pg 3: lot of POV changes. Trying to stick with it

- pg 4: old cooking oil is a VERY good smell to conure. Really cements me in the story

"It doesn't trust me to think..." this is a great line

- I'm having a hard time understanding why M keeps having sex with our MC when he can't remember. It's jarring me from the story and I wonder if we could have a bit more about their relationship up front. Right now it's a little... male fantasy? That's not quite right but something isn't gelling

- pg 8: the dialogue after the sex scene helps, but I still think a bit more earlier would be good

- pg 12: I'm starting to wonder about through lines. The narrative is engaging so I'm fine to go on, but wanted to let you know that I'm starting to get just a bit antsy

- the NEU turning off is a great twist!

- okay question: if all cops have something imbedded in them, can't our MC use that to call for backup even if the NEU is off?

- pg 19: Who would care for what's left of me? This seems overly sentimental since this day he has had only brusk interactions with her

- pg 20: SO MUCH ACTION I think I have some fatigue

- I don't think I'm satisfied by the ending. I want more closure

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Thank you @kais and @Mandamon, great comments as always, thank you.

Headlines: more relationship (agree); temper the action (can do); develop the ending (agree). I'll come back to your very helpful detailed comments shortly :) 

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Sorry I'm so late replying to this. 

The story was interesting. I liked the concept, was engaged most of the time to the point where I wasn't making many comments as I went. 

I loved the line "It doesn't trust me to think, even though it can't either." 

I did have a hard time following the dialogue on the end of page 17. I like tagless dialogue, but in this case, I couldn't keep track of who was saying what. 

The ending was vague. I wanted more, like the answers to @Mandamon's questions. 

On 5/16/2019 at 1:28 PM, Mandamon said:

My main gripe is that we don't get the answer to the big question in the story: why/how did the NEU get switched off? As far as I can tell, everything goes back to normal at the end, so I assume he won? What happened to M? she disappears in the elevator, and then we have to assume she's ok from the last sentence, minus an ear.

 

On 5/16/2019 at 1:28 PM, Mandamon said:

The other big question I have (and I'm aware this sort of invalidates the premise) is why can't the NEU just update him on what happened the day before? I like the effect in the story, but at least giving some handywavy explanation will help me stop questioning it as I read.

I was wondering this too.

I was also wondering if the NEU could technically update him, but was programmed not to. The little dream? snippet of memory? on page 9 hinted that there was something potentially sinister with it's installation. However, there isn't really enough for me to be certain I'm not just inserting some sinister government conspiracy theory into it because that comes to mind whenever I read anything where someone has some kind of chip or AI in their head, especially one that knows so much about everyone's data. 

On 5/16/2019 at 1:28 PM, Mandamon said:

--he's holding Marie's earlobe? Oooh...so it somehow got cut off because that's where the tracker is. Took me a minute to get this. Could be clearer.

 

I didn't quite realize this until I read this comment, but it makes a whole lot more sense now. 

On 5/17/2019 at 2:09 PM, kais said:

I'm having a hard time understanding why M keeps having sex with our MC when he can't remember. It's jarring me from the story and I wonder if we could have a bit more about their relationship up front. Right now it's a little... male fantasy? That's not quite right but something isn't gelling

I kind of felt the same way. I also kept thinking they had some history before he lost his memory because of the tears, but he had memories from before, and she wasn't part of them. I'm being a bit prescriptive now, but I think the relationship would be interesting if they had known each other previously, even briefly. 

 

 

 

 

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STANDARD DISCLAIMER: For demographic information, keep in mind that I am a white male nearing his thirties, married, with two young children, and come from a background of being LDS, conservative, and with a long history of chronic depression, so these things may color what I say during review. I try to be as open-minded and unbiased as possible.

Sorry for the late reply. Between having four submissions each week to get through, my own drafts, and a slew of other activities (including work), I'm really behind on critiques. Keep in mind that I haven't read the other's critiques for the sake of brevity and getting through these submissions.

Let's get started.

Nitpicks:

Spoiler

"Shuffling, pony-tailed man" << A shuffling, pony-tailed man. Need a leading identifier, unless I'm supposed to assume that "Shuffling, pony-tailed man" is his name, but since you refer to him by just his hairstyle later, I'd either include the "A" or just call him P-t from the beginning.

Pg 10: "a NEU" << I'd personally write "an NEU", because if I read this out loud, "an en ee you" sounds better than "a en ee you". It's a nitpick, though, because I'm guessing NEU is short for something, in which case "a NEU" is correct because the "N" part would be something like "Natural".

On gun 'silencers': It's called a suppressor. It suppresses the bang by allowing dispersion of the gas released when the bullet leaves the barrel, but it does not silence a gun. Suppressors that make the gun all but a whisper are a Hollywood invention, and completely inaccurate. If a gun is fired inside a building with a suppressor attached, it will still make quite a bit of noise, but it won't be as deafening as a gun fired indoors without a suppressor.

Inconsistencies/Concerns:

Spoiler

Pg. 2

Spoiler

S-m immediately sets my teeth on edge. I assume that's what you're going for.

Pg. 3

Spoiler

There's something off about the tone in the first paragraph. I think it has to do with the callousness of P-t in how he views the girl, while at the same time referring to it as a girl. Often, when there are situations like this, a person like P-t will divorce themselves of the morality of their actions by dehumanizing the victim. It's not a girl, it's a body. It's not a dead person, it's a corpse, that kind of thing.

Ahhhh that's a really abrupt tense and focus change. Very jarring, threw me out of the story for a minute.

Pg. 4

Spoiler

"No, you wouldn’t, I could suck you off right now..." << "No, you wouldn't. I could..." Note on this line--I would have tagged this submission 'S' for explicit sexual content. Granted, I'm generally more traditionally-minded than most here, but it is something to be aware of, especially since it's a fairly large demographic. I wasn't expecting characters to talk of sex and proposition for oral sex on the third page, and if I picked this up in the store to read, I'd have put it down here and not bothered finishing it.

‘rust,’ she’s half-depressing the door handle. ‘Need ninety, P. Le code pénal.’ << Who's Paul? Is that our MC? Perhaps that could be mentioned earlier so that it's more explicit?

Pg. 5

Spoiler

"She moves past me, weapon drawn, ‘cuffs in hand." << "She moves past me, weapon drawn, cuffs in hand. (No need for an apostrophe, cuffs are pretty recognizable shortening within the context for handcuffs.)

I'm so confused. What's a ninety? What's a ninety-four?

"Thumb pad, open the safe, buckle on holster, release, grip, switch on, palm print, green light, upload data, sat link on, holster, clasp." << release & grip what, exactly? The gun? Is there a palm print on the gun? You mention holstering something, but then, what is clasping? Also, "sat link" should either be sat-link (indicating a specific type of link, in this case a satellite) or SATLINK (as in a specific brand or satellite known as the SATLINK). This whole line reads like one of those things that's either a little too much extraneous detail, or that there's not quite enough detail to fully grasp the picture.

Pg. 6

Spoiler

"Temperature eight-point-three degrees, relative humidity seventy-three percent, thirty-five percent chance of rain." << Machines, even incredibly advanced ones, usually output information the same way due to the way they're coded. It should read "Temperature: eight-point-three degrees, relative humidity: seventy-three percent, chance of rain: thirty-five percent." for consistency within your key-value pairings.

"the blonde brick apartment block" << Huh? What's a blonde brick?

Pg. 8

Spoiler

Ah, so P is our MC.

Pg. 10

Spoiler

"Thumb safe, buckle holster, clasp off, palm print, green light, data upload, sat link, holster, clasp on" << I'd make sure this reads exactly the same as the first time it's mentioned. It would provide a narrative consistency that helps to hammer home how this dependent this guy is on repetition. Also, this reads a little better than the first, but I still feel like there needs to be mention of the gun itself--I'm still not clear if the palm print is on the gun or the safe, I have to infer and assume it's on the gun, which means I'm spending time trying to figure out if I'm right, rather than continuing on.

Pg. 11

Spoiler

"La Grande Arche like a massive Escher, the buildings forming an avenue of concrete edifices in tribute." << ...huh? If La Grand Arche is the name of a place, "like a massive Escher" is a parenthetical thought, which makes this sentence really wonky and not make much sense.

Pg. 12

Spoiler

"My eyes flick back and forth, back and forth" << "My eyes flit back and forth". Wrists flick, eyes flit.

  1. flick - " a light sharp jerky stroke or movement "
  2. flit - " to pass quickly or abruptly from one place or condition to another "

"Her gaze flicks up and down the concourse" << Should also be "flits"

For narrative consistency, choose ponytail or pony-tail, but don't use both.

Pg. 13

Spoiler

"Not possible for someone of N.F.A." << National Food Association? National Firearms Anonymous? New Freedom Administration? Be careful of using acronyms without explaining what they are, chances are your reader won't understand what you mean unless they know exactly what you're referring to.

Pg. 15

Spoiler

"M, where are you?" I'd italicize this, especially since you have so much observational input, differentiating between his own thoughts and his observations would improve readability a lot.

Pg. 16

Spoiler

‘Aéroport Orly, in pursuit,’ I gasp, ‘Danton captive, je pense.’ << Why do we keep mixing English and French?

Pg. 18

Spoiler

Wait, what? What the heck happened to M? Is she one of the bodies? I feel like we really need to know either yay or nay. Despite not feeling for her romantically, our MC has been relying on her as a partner to remember what he can't and help him fill in the gaps between cold data and humanity, I feel like we should see at least some emotion here, especially considering how concerned he was leading up to this. And if one of the bodies isn't M, then how do we know it's her ear? Is there a distinguishing marker that they can identify?

 

Problems:

Spoiler

One thing that really gets me throughout this, that I don't really understand, is why all of your dialogue is single-quoted. It's a pretty accepted standard to double-quote dialogue, and as a reader that's what I expect. My eyes are trained to look for " ". I can visually distinguish " ". When we have repeated changes between dialogue and internalogue, and all the dialogue is single-quoted, however, I start to lose track of what line I'm reading, especially in a passage like the end of page 9. Not sure why you chose this, stylistically.

Another glaring issue is that I don't speak French, so every time you use french here, I have no idea what you're saying. If the MC knows French or is French, then why do we need lines in French as though they are a foreign language to the MC? If he isn't French, or doesn't know French, then he should be displaying some confusion. It's a weird middle-road that's rather frustrating to read as an English-speaker who knows a bit of Spanish and Japanese, and not a lick of French. I can kind of infer in some of these words what they're supposed to say, but why say "le code penal" and not just "penal code", if we're supposed to assume that everyone is speaking French?

Pg. 14: I completely lost track of what is going on here. Your prose throughout this piece is very jumpy, which can be fine in certain circumstances, but used consistently throughout a 5000+ word piece, it gets difficult to follow coherently, especially since I haven't had any set-up and the main character has no emotional attachments on which to anchor the scenes. In some sections, that works beautifully--such as the scenes of supposed intimacy between M and P--but in other sections, like here on page 14, it makes the MC's viewpoint bounce too much. The MC is just too dispassionate, treating everything with the same gravitas--M, the cops, the walls, that nothing really seems to ever stick out. Especially in these scenes of higher active tension (aka action scenes), it can make the story feel like looking at a painting through obscured glass, the kind that so warped and curved within that it's impossible to really pin down detail. I never get the sense that the MC ever cares about anything, which is weird. Even with the memory wiping, it feels like the MC should still have things that are important to him from his previous life, but these things are only given passing thought at the beginning of the day. I would think he'd still have those residual impulses and drives from his previous life, especially since his memories are basically rewritten every day and he's had no time to establish new neural pathways.

Okay. Finished.

First, the criticism:

The ending feels really rushed, especially considering the way the story opens. At the beginning, the pacing and jumpiness was fine as we were settling into this weird existence, but about page 12-13 I started really getting confused and it became a chore to get through to the end because I could never keep track of what was going on. There's a lot of data throughout the story, but that's all it is--data. The main character has almost no emotional response to anything, and those moments where there is a hint of emotion, it's too little, too late. There's very little to anchor me into the story, and what little there was, was completely gone by the end. The ending was really rushed, it felt like there was too much going on for me to make any sense of anything and with nothing really anchoring me into the story to begin with, once it picked up and I lost track, that was it for me--I couldn't get back into the story, and I ended up half-skimming the last 7-8 pages. The last line especially lacked any kind of significance to me, especially since there was no resolution with M in the last couple of pages, and the MC was too confused out of their mind for the rescue to have any kind of suitable punch. If the NEU getting shut off is a significant plot point, and it has such disastrous effects, I feel like this should happen sooner in the piece, rather than at the end. Have it happen in the middle, have M help him through it, and then when she goes missing at the end you'll have a more anchoring drive because you'll have a better depiction of why she's actually important to the MC.

One thing that I feel is vital in this piece, is more emotive response and involvement on the part of the MC. As it stands, the MC is basically a robot. He's never concerned about his faulty memory. He never gets attached to anything. He never feels in danger, or a sense of urgency, or anything, really. All of the urgency comes from the external situation, all of the action comes from the external situation, all of the emotion comes from an external source. Because I never get a sense that the MC is an actual person, I never feel invested in his story, and that's a problem.

Second, the praise:

Man, though. When you do something well, you do it really well. The drama between M and P was dynamic. Every time they had a scene, I wanted so badly to know more, to have that developed more. I wanted more than hints that M was upset and (I think) feeling burdened by P's inability to create new memories. I wanted arguments, fights. I wanted more personal interaction, and not just police missions, especially since it was during these scenes that P actually seemed to coalesce into an actual existence, and not just a data receptacle. And there were times when the jumpy prose was intense, rather than distracting. There were times the data overload worked really well, showed just how much of a slave to the NEU our MC was--for example, on the train, when he gets to appreciate life without the constant datastream. Had I been more invested, his confusion, his loss without the NEU would have been really potent, and that's a credit to your skill as a writer. I loved the concept of the NEU, and the idea that it was something that affected this man's life so completely and irrevocably.

And I think, the more you spend time in P's body, and less in his head, the more the story will truly pop. I know this is your fourth draft--and it shows. There is a cohesiveness in the plot structure and narrative style that works really well.

Third, the suggestions:

One of your potentially biggest anchors within the story is M. Most of the time, when M is on screen, she's hiding her feelings. She's terse, she's upset, but we never really find out why, we're just left to assume it's due to the memory loss. Some more time spent on the private relationship between M & P, would help to solidify M as a person P depends on. As it stands, we're told they're in a relationship, we're told she's upset, we're told he relies on her to remember for him, but it's not really shown that much, so I never really get the feeling that M is actually that important to him, which makes the ending drama fall a little flat.

Another big anchor you have, is the memory loss itself. This MC is so dispassionate about the memory loss it's almost unnatural. It's like he doesn't care that entire chunks of his life are just nonexistent. Part of the problem is that it isn't ever established (to my recollection) how long P has been dealing with this problem. If it's only been a few months as M seems to indicate in the beginning, unless the NEU is actively suppressing his emotional response (which we'd need an indication of), P should be more disturbed about it all then he is. M says at the beginning that "that machine saved [his] life," which seems to indicate she was existent in his life prior to the installation of the NEU. However, his internalogue seems to contradict this when he talks about what I assume is his time spent in war. If it's been years since his operation, then his life has progressed through and what he initially took to be 'the way it is' should be upsetting him more, since he has a person he relies on and is intimate with in his life--which he presumably didn't have before.

The final suggestion I have is that the prose needs to be smoothed out a little bit. The prose makes the entire piece feel tense, and that's not a state you want the reader to be in perpetually. We need some rest periods. We need some times aside from his isolated morning routine to relax from the tense, disjunct and jumpy streams of data. These resting periods are the perfect opportunity for you to spend more time on the relationship between M & P, because you can also use them to build up the memory loss. There are a couple of these at the beginning, but I feel like this actually needs more in this department, not less.

Anyway, this has been my thorough (and a bit harsh) critique. I hope something I said here helps. I look forward to reading more of your stuff--I really like what I've read from you so far. I read Red and Black, but I didn't have time to critique it, but it was excellent. Keep up the good work.

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On 28/05/2019 at 2:57 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

Sorry I'm so late replying to this.

Hey, SSmooth, please don't worry about that. I think I'm still the worst for late replies :unsure: It's just sooo helpful to have comments: no 'sell by' date :) 

On 28/05/2019 at 2:57 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I did have a hard time following the dialogue on the end of page 17.

Noted. I can fix that.

On 28/05/2019 at 2:57 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

don't get the answer to the big question in the story

Fair point. The end is very sudden. I can fix that too, or at least try another ending and see how it flies.

On 28/05/2019 at 2:57 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I like the effect in the story, but at least giving some handywavy explanation will help me stop questioning it as I read.

I'm sure I can do this too.

On 28/05/2019 at 2:57 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

could technically update him, but was programmed not to

Excellent thought. I think I'm going to use that. I will pay my usual finders fee for good suggestions, which presently is T-rump's I.Q. divided by his bank balance... in cents.

On 28/05/2019 at 2:57 AM, shatteredsmooth said:
On 16/05/2019 at 6:28 PM, Mandamon said:

--he's holding Marie's earlobe? Oooh...so it somehow got cut off because that's where the tracker is. Took me a minute to get this. Could be clearer.

I didn't quite realize this until I read this comment, but it makes a whole lot more sense now. 

Acht, right: I'll have to tweak the volume on that image up a bit.

On 28/05/2019 at 2:57 AM, shatteredsmooth said:
On 17/05/2019 at 7:09 PM, kais said:

I'm having a hard time understanding why M keeps having sex with our MC when he can't remember. It's jarring me from the story and I wonder if we could have a bit more about their relationship up front. Right now it's a little... male fantasy? That's not quite right but something isn't gelling

I kind of felt the same way. I also kept thinking they had some history before he lost his memory because of the tears, but he had memories from before, and she wasn't part of them. I'm being a bit prescriptive now, but I think the relationship would be interesting if they had known each other previously, even briefly. 

Good thoughts. Good thoughts. Let me ruminate on this.

Great comments thank you, SSmooth. Much appreciated.

I'm struggling a bit with my James White submission story, which I'm not sure is going to cut the mustard. Maybe I'll come back to this one, if I can fix it in time.

5cf43b6633634_thumbs-upsmall.jpg.0aa1888ab77d12026b1699feb87409e9.jpg

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On 5/16/2019 at 0:28 PM, Mandamon said:

However, I was pretty confused for the first few pages. I really liked the middle, then was confused again at the end.

This pretty much exactly. I know I'm not firing on all cylinders yet so it's encouraging to know it's not just me. ;) 

Mostly, I agree with the others; I could use more emotion from P, and more of an ending. I was left really wondering what this story was actually about. It's interesting, the characters are well-drawn, the action is involving, but I kept wondering why I was reading it as I went. Where is it going? What's it trying to say? Why do I care about this P-guy? Does this story have a goal? 

I would also have to say I didn't care for opening with with the villains.  It got tied up nicely at the end and I understood why the beginning was there, but... I just didn't feel like the POV did much to actually help the story along. Do I need to know why there's a girl in the laundry basket, when the focus of the rest of the story is so nice and tight on the M-and-P interactions? It doesn't add much to the end, for the reader to know why the bad guys have the bodies, heck, I think some police person even states that the "why" of it doesn't matter, since there's a major shootout going on, and M is MIA. It's good for you-as-the-author to know why, but I'm not convinced I-as-a-reader gained from it. 

Also (sorry this is less organized than usual. I misplaced my training montage to get back into fighting form) from a technical standpoint, this is also another one of the top stories I've seen from you! It held together well, the sex had a reason, M wasn't fridged, all around good job. (though @Alderant is right, totes needed a sex tag. I sort of expect it even when you don't tag by now, but it's good to warn people anyway. ;) ) 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you so much for the notes, @industrialistDragon. I really appreciate them. I'm getting some good notions about tackling this hard and getting the big wrench out (instead of the little screwdriver I used on it this time around).

Also, MAJOR APOLOGIES to everyone for the lack of an 'S' tag. My bad on that one. I have no excuses.

And @Alderant, sorry to not have responded to you yet, but I can see I will have my work cut out with your highly detailed critique. I am looking forward to that (and properly trepidatious, of course :) ).

Edited by Robinski
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Just now, Robinski said:

I have no excuses

It's like me and sports metaphors -- you're so used to it, it's hard to see. :) A worthy endeavor to try, though. 

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Thanks again, both @kais and @Mandamon. Basically, I've address all of your comments to some degree. Whether I've gone far enough, well, remains to be seen.

On 17/05/2019 at 7:09 PM, kais said:

- pg 3: lot of POV changes. Trying to stick with it

The other POVs are gone now, with the info incorporated into P's. How clear that is at this point... unsure, but it's better from a POV sense.

I will expand the ending for sure. Many others tweaks made on the way. Thank yous! :) 

 

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Well, @Alderant, I've rolled up my sleeves and I'm tackling your extremely comprehensive comments. Looking forward to it... I think :)  I expect it will take me two or three visits, and I like to edit what I can as I go.

On 29/05/2019 at 3:53 PM, Alderant said:

I'd personally write "an N"

Can I just say welcome to RE again. I love debating this stuff line-level :) It's all down to how you read N-E-U. Because I read it as one word then, as you say--technically--it would be 'a N'. I like this because it make it compatible with the expanded version too; i.e. if someone said 'a Neuro Enhancement Unit' (if that's what it's called: I can't remember :lol:  Whereas, if I'd written it a 'an N.E.U.' then yes, 'an' of course.

On 29/05/2019 at 3:53 PM, Alderant said:

On gun 'silencers': It's called a suppressor.

Thanks: edited!

On 29/05/2019 at 3:53 PM, Alderant said:

tagged this submission 'S' for explicit sexual content

Again, I'm really sorry about this. Just plain forgot the tag. Poor show: profuse apologies :unsure: 

On 29/05/2019 at 3:53 PM, Alderant said:

Wait, what? What the heck happened to M? Is she one of the bodies? I feel like we really need to know either yay or nay

Working my way through the concerns, and I've fixed 95% of them (say). There was very little that I didn't accept. Like this one: a lot of folks are tripping up on this. I will fix it.

On 29/05/2019 at 3:53 PM, Alderant said:

I can kind of infer in some of these words what they're supposed to say, but why say "le code penal" and not just "penal code"

Basically, that stuff is there as setting, in effect, since I don't have much time to develop setting other than through names/places. Aimed to ensure that none of the French actually matters. Example: when P says 'je pense' at the end of a sentence. This means, 'I think', which doesn't matter at all. I was hoping most people would be able to skip over it, or work it out (pense > as in pensive, from the Latin...(etc.)). I appreciate it will turn some readers off: a lot don't seem to mind it, and I hope every takes a sense of setting from it. We shall see :) 

On 29/05/2019 at 3:53 PM, Alderant said:

I never get the sense that the MC ever cares about anything, which is weird. Even with the memory wiping, it feels like the MC should still have things that are important to him from his previous life

Yes, this is a really good point. I'm going to figure out how to tackle this then work something in in relation to his emotions.

Thank you again for these super-comprehensive comments. I've got a lot to think about, but I think the story can be stronger again thanks to all this great feedback.

<R>

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