C_Vallion

11.8.2021 - C_Vallion - A Reminder of Sacrifice - Short Story - L,G,V - 6448 Words

10 posts in this topic

Hi, All!

I’d been aiming to get this down to 6k words, but there were too many places where I was worried about removing details that would be necessary for preventing confusion.

The title is still a disaster, but it’s better than the previous one. Trying to find something that gets at the main focus of the story but isn’t super confusing at the start has been a challenge.

I used a lot of the feedback from April to tighten things up, and am curious to see how those changes come across. The first scene was trimmed back a bit, and some of the worldbuilding/political background details that had been in the middle scene got shifted to the front so that there was a better picture of “Why we’re here” at the start.  Some of that is then delved into a bit more in the second scene, but I could use feedback on what feels necessary there, as I still need to do a decent amount of word-cutting to get it down to where it needs to be to submit for class.

I also tried to make the transition between Scenes 1 and 2 smoother, but you’ll have to let me know how that’s coming across.

So.  Questions.

  1. What is confusing?
  2. What can be trimmed? I tried to err more on the side of clarity to make sure I got the points across, so I’d really appreciate having anything that feels repetitive or like it’s delved into too much pointed out.
  3. Is there a better sense of what’s going on starting out? And does the first scene transition into the second more smoothly?
  4. Thoughts on the way the spoken language ambiguity is presented at the end of the first scene?
  5. Overall thoughts/opinions/engagement level?

Thanks!  

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I missed this story entirely the last time around, so I have the advantage of fresh eyes I guess :-)

The pacing felt fine to me. Some of the reaction moments felt a little repetitive in phrasing but they all made sense given what the character was going through. For the most part everything held together and felt nessicary to me. 

I liked the opening scene for rapidly setting the tone and genre.

The MC came off as very likable for me, a main point of engagement was worrying about him and fellow saboteur. 

There was quite a bit of world building to be done, but nothing felt like an info-dump or over narrated. 

The transition between scenes was barely noticeable, which I think is a win. 

'Sneaked' hung me up. After some grammer research though I learned that in US English both sneaked and snuck are acceptable and in British English 'sneaked' is preferred. Learn something new every day!

 

Thanks for sharing!

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13 hours ago, Sarah B said:

'Sneaked' hung me up. After some grammer research though I learned that in US English both sneaked and snuck are acceptable and in British English 'sneaked' is preferred. Learn something new every day!

Hah. I actually meant to go back and change this before submitting, as one of my other readers had a similar response, but I'd gotten stuck in the "But Mrs. Grade-#-English-Teacher said to never use snuck!" ditch.  I hate those words that just never sound right... usually I just reword the entire sentence to avoid worrying about  it... 

Thanks for your thoughts! 

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Should anyone else check in to read: I have a revised version (~5700 words) that I can send over if you want to read the most recent version.

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@C_Vallion I'm late to this, but I'd be happy to read the revised version if you send it to me :)

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1 hour ago, RedBlue said:

@C_Vallion I'm late to this, but I'd be happy to read the revised version if you send it to me :)

Sent!

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Am also late, but you can send it to me as well!

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I also did not read this story before, so fresh eyes here as well :)

as i go:

pg 1

-so far, the writing is good. As expected :)

-though, the sense of urgency (being in an enemy warcamp) felt like it could have been pushed in the first paragraph. My initial thought was that V was casually repairing some machine. Unless...there is no urgency. The rest of the page goes into detail that makes me think there is no need to rush his sabotage.

pg 2

-”a spike of alarm” okay, there is a sense of pressure on this page.

pg 3

“They’d still be standing in the belly” i read this at first as if it had already happened. i.e. they were not in the belly any more. I had to reread to realize it was a future musing

“P was young” this felt a tad repetitive as it was said on the page before. But i think it is more reinforcing rather than hindering… so negate this comment?

pg 4

-im a little confused, one of the neighboring mechs blew up early and thats what caused the one V was in to fall, right?

pg 5

-”two rounds gone. Four left” good tension on this page

pg 6

“Choked back a devastated cry” slipping into Price of Peace territory, are we? Lol jk, I felt that the writing thus far was very different from PoP until this phrase (and a few similar others) caught my attention.

pg 15

-so far, my attention has held consistently. I feel a bit like ive jumped into the middle of a book with the discussion between M and V. but not enough to take me out.

-I was confused during their conversation if K and the kids were dead or not, but as i kept reading, all my questions kept getting answered

-tbh, I think i was more engaged in this than I was with PoP. i cant say why though, maybe because of the content? the immediate danger of the MC? he was a likeable MC for sure. I was anticipating him to shoot M and would have been unsatisfied if he didn't. so, good job :) I would read on if this were a continuing story.

Overall, I think this was good! I don't have many other thoughts, sorry about that. I have been getting back into reading and writing (i took a loooong break) so hopefully that will help me get back into a more helpful and critical mindset :)



 

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On 11/14/2021 at 4:51 PM, C_Vallion said:

Should anyone else check in to read: I have a revised version (~5700 words) that I can send over if you want to read the most recent version.

If you're still looking for feedback I'd be happy to take a look at the revised version! 

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All right here we go! As I go:

pg 1. The personal beats on the second half of the page grip me more than the explanation about robots in the top half 

pg 2-3. Nineteen isn't that young to be fighting in this sort of military setting, right? I'm just assuming that V is quite old by soldier standards. For me it raises questions about his own past since he seems familiar with this line of work

pg 6. I think P's death is sort of at the middle point between trying to build up a big dynamic between him and V so his loss feels devastating and having his death be more of a background event that informs the situation more than us caring about him personally. I think it might be better to commit one way or the other, and personally I think he's not that important and he potentially doesn't even need to show up alive at all. I think V's point about how heavy losses they're suffering works even if we don't know P personally--and it's not like we get a ton from him to begin with.

pg 8-9. I'm having a bit more trouble figuring out what's important here. I think this can either be shortened or whatever's important here could be highlighted more. I think part of it is that I want to see their dynamic in action since I haven't seen M so far this draft rather than just get V's thoughts on the matter.

pg 10. For me this is the good stuff. Right now I don't see a reason why we coudln't get to them talking by the end of a short summary paragraph.

-That being said I think we need to hear what's changed, and what M's plan is. If he's defending the town then why does he think these raiding missions aren't tactically advantageous? Sure if it's anything like last draft he's lying but I think we need his reason even if it's a facade. 

pg 11. See point above. M seems to have admitted that they can't win a fight, so... what is his plan? Or what he's acting like it is, anyway. 

pg 12. "How many more lives is it going to cost the cities?" Seemingly zero since the Z are going to bulldoze through the town regardless of the resistance put up. It's pretty clear to me that M's arguments really just don't hold up under any sort of scrutiny. which I dont' think is necessarily a bad thing, and V does seem to notice, but... why doesn't anyone else? What puts V in a position to act that other people don't have? The story seems to be going for the familiarity--that V can see through M because they know each other so well. But I think for that to work it should be only V who can reasonably see through him, and right now I can do it easily without any of the context V's giving. 

pg 13. I'm a bit lost on V's logic here. Did K let herself get captured? I don't really get why. 

-I also still don't get the "we need to fight them but you shouldn't take out their mechs!" line of reasoning

pg 14. Oh yes the one shot I remember this being good 

pg 15. K's actions make a bit more sense now but like why wouldn't she go to anyone else? Like V for instance.

pg 16. Man the end to the scene is so good it hit me just as hard even though I knew what was going to happen. Tbh I think this is the best moment in all of your writing that I've read. 

pg 17. Seeing the family come out is a really good moment as well

pg 18-19. The dynamic with K believing in M is an interesting one as well. There's a part of me that wants to see it explored more even though it doesn't fit into the story structure. 

pg 19-20. Man that's a solid ending

On 11/8/2021 at 7:49 PM, C_Vallion said:
  • What is confusing?
  • What can be trimmed? I tried to err more on the side of clarity to make sure I got the points across, so I’d really appreciate having anything that feels repetitive or like it’s delved into too much pointed out.
  • Is there a better sense of what’s going on starting out? And does the first scene transition into the second more smoothly?
  • Thoughts on the way the spoken language ambiguity is presented at the end of the first scene?
  • Overall thoughts/opinions/engagement level?

1. See line edits on M. I don't think I fully understood how important the supposed reinforcements were to M's "plan" of holding out. But even then he needs some sort of rationale for not wanting V to engage in guerilla warfare... or just like strong-arming people into following him. 

2. Mentioned in line edits also. I think the stuff with P at the beginning can be shortened. Right now it seems like the reason he matters is because he's a young person who got caught up in this bloody war. We don't need full scenes with him to hammer that home. I also think that once V returns home the scene should shift to him talking with M as soon as possible. 

Also total tangent but on P I think you can just make him younger if you want that to be his defining feature. Nineteen is obviously young to be in a war by both modern and ancient/medieval standards but this setting seems to be one where weapons allow teenagers to fight pretty effectively (don't need a ton of training to use a gun), but the human rights regarding child soldiers aren't caught up to where we are now (not that they're perfect now, even...). I think it would make sense for him to be several years younger potentially. 

3. I think so, though I don't remember the first one super well. I understood much more quickly that they were fighting mechs though I also knew that going in this time so it's hard to say. 

4. Hmm no real opinion either way. It's not something I tend to focus on. I didn't really see what the ambiguity as being necessary (not being sure about M seemed like the idea, but I'm not sure that is even necessary honestly), but I also didn't dislike it. 

5. Pretty high engagement, especially near the middle-end. Idk if I mentioned this before but I think that K is a very important character for how this all plays out (moreso than P who can just be a young soldier and N who, no offense, is just kinda there). It's fine if she doesn't show up on screen until the end but I think her presence needs to be felt more throughout the story. Her trust in M is a hugely important dynamic that doesn't really get brought up until the end. Would it make sense if she confided in V about her reasons for getting captured (doesn't have to be shown on screen)? Though I'm sure there are other ways to make it work too. V knows her pretty well, right? The conflict between how K sees him and who he actually is should be all to clear in his mind. 

 

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