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Old 03-11-2014, 05:13 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by arjaybe View Post
It's important that everything that gets mentioned in a story serves a vital purpose. Especially in a short story, there's no room for decoration.
This is very good advice.

What's more, because we're conditioned to this as readers of short stories, then if something gets mentioned that feels like a plot point we expect it to turn out to be important. We're very good at remembering things that stick out, and so feel dissatisfied if we're left with loose ends.

This is why we've been discussing the contracts, Mr Zant, the guy from the South, etc., and trying to get them to come together more (which Marlowe's doing).

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Old 03-11-2014, 05:18 PM   #107
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We're very good at remembering things that stick out, and so feel dissatisfied if we're left with loose ends.
In a way that means my story stuck out a bit among the crowd - at least.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:30 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by mrmarlowe View Post
I thought I mentioned this in the very 2nd paragraph:

Spoiler:
Among the crowd was a guy from the South, Mr. Zant; he was a friend of one of my father's friends.


I dunno if we're on the same page about this or or if I missed something.
Sorry, I must have overlooked it.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:09 PM   #109
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Comments on Planting the Flag, 1.0

The story in itself is fine, but I think it could be expanded, as I am left with some questions after reading it

Spoiler:

Designations
The androids aboard the ship all have designations, but not all of them seem to fit the role they are fulfilling, and not all of them are explained.

CAP = Captian. Obvious
DEP = Mate. Is DEP different in type to CAP? They're both "human." What does DEP stand for?
AND-E = Geologist. Called: The Geologist. Why does he have a (nick)name and the others don't?
KEN-E = Egineer. Assuming AND stands for Android, then What does KEN stand for?


IMHO, a designation is a title, name... something unique. I get the feeling that CAP, DEP, and so on are not meant as designations, but as Android/Robot types. Are there more like them, on other missions, or are these the only ones created?

Continuity
AND-E's right arm never got repaired properly despite it being mentioned.

Humans
You wrote:

In some ways these flaws are our most important features.
The likes of AND-E can be hardened, but generally kept out of sight. The needs of the
mission take precedence.”
“I did not think that our purpose was to delude,” the Mate said.
“We are not seeking to fool them.” The Captain pushed himself towards the aft door.

I get the imprssion that the androids look like humans to blend in with other life forms on another planet. How would you know that other life forms would look like humans?

Then you wrote:
“But it is important that they believe that they, themselves, could be here.”

I assume you are referring to the humans on earth. If you are now telling us that the androids are not intended to fool them, then everybody knows these travelers are androids, not humans. It is left unsaid if this was made clear in the TV interview, although everybody got to know them (or at least the captain).

Thus, it is unclear who is not to be fooled: the humans on earth, or possible humans/other lifeforms on other planets?

AND-E's face
AND-E couldn't hold the camera. Is this the reason why he got the face, and can he hold the camera now? Later in the story, it is said he is holding the Captain's head. Why isn't DEP holding the Captain, and AND-E the camera?

You have never answered the question if AND-E got KEN-E's face.

Timeframe
The story is set about 85 years after the creation/launch of these Androids. You are describing something akin to the current economical crisis. Is this story set around 2100, or are you leaving this in doubt on purpose?

Dreaming
Does the lander pod crash because the captian is not paying attention to the warning signals?

New world
The Androids claim the world for humanity. What if the world is inhabited; will the humans come and try to conquer it, or will the androids move on? As the ship in orbit is damaged as well as the lander and the androids themselves, are they just going to lie there on that new world, waiting another 85 + 8 years for someone else to find them?



I hope it's helpful

Last edited by Katsunami; 03-11-2014 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:15 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
Comments on Planting the Flag, 1.0

The story in itself is fine, but I think it could be expanded, as I am left with some questions after reading it

Spoiler:

Designations
The androids aboard the ship all have designations, but not all of them seem to fill the role they are fulfilling, and not all of them are explained.

CAP = Captian. Obvious
DEP = Mate. Is DEP different in type to CAP? They're both "human." What does DEP stand for?
AND-E = Geologist. Called: The Geologist. Why does he have a (nick)name and the others don't?
KEN-E = Egineer. Assuming AND stands for Android, then What does KEN stand for?


IMHO, a designation is a title, name... something unique. I get the feeling that CAP, DEP, and so on are not meant as designations, but as Android/Robot types. Are there more like them, on other missions, or are these the only ones created?

Continuity
AND-E's right arm never got repaired properly despite it being mentioned.

Humans
You wrote:

In some ways these flaws are our most important features.
The likes of AND-E can be hardened, but generally kept out of sight. The needs of the
mission take precedence.”
“I did not think that our purpose was to delude,” the Mate said.
“We are not seeking to fool them.” The Captain pushed himself towards the aft door.

I get the imprssion that the androids look like humans to blend in with other life forms on another planet. How would you know that other life forms would look like human?

Then you wrote:
“But it is important that they believe that they, themselves, could be here.”

I assume you are referring to the humans on earth. If you are now telling us that the androids are not intended to fool them, then everybody knows these travelers are androids, not humans. It is left unsaid if this was made clear in the TV interview, although everybody got to know them (or at least the captain).

Thus, it is unclear who is not to be fooled: the humans on earth, or possible humans/other lifeforms on other planets?

AND-E's face
AND-E couldn't hold the camera. Is this the reason why he got the face, and can he hold the camera now? Later in the story, it is said he is holding the Captain's head. Why isn't DEP holding the Captain, and AND-E the camera?

You have never answered the question if AND-E got KEN-E's face.

Timeframe
The story is set about 85 years after the creation/launch of these Androids. You are describing something akin to the current economical crisis. Is this story set around 2100, or are you leaving this in doubt on purpose?

Dreaming
Does the lander pod crash because the captian is not paying attention to the warning signals?

New world
The Androids claim the world for humanity. What if the world is inhabited; will the humans come and try to conquer it, or will the androids move on? As the ship in orbit is damaged as well as the lander and the androids themselves, are they just going to lie there on that new world, waiting another 85 + 8 years for someone else to find them?



I hope it's helpful
Yes, this was helpful, thanks. I'll think on it and respond tomorrow.

Graham
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:26 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by Graham View Post
Yes, this was helpful, thanks. I'll think on it and respond tomorrow.
Great, I hope you can clarify some of the questions. You have about 5,500 words left

By the way, strange to see how opinions can differ. Arjaybe thought my story was basically complete already, only needing minor tweaks, while you caused me to go and rewrite the main character.

Either you're plain evil (), or arjaybe is too easily satisfied
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:38 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
Great, I hope you can clarify some of the questions. You have about 5,500 words left

By the way, strange to see how opinions can differ. Arjaybe thought my story was basically complete already, only needing minor tweaks, while you caused me to go and rewrite the main character.

Either you're plain evil (), or arjaybe is too easily satisfied
And I am a p*ssy, lacking the much necessary b*lls, so I don't think I would ever make a good critic. Well it is the most opportune moment to get your revenge on Graham I guess. (Kidding)

BTW, hope you review my story too. It would be the first review by you.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:51 PM   #113
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BTW, hope you review my story too. It would be the first review by you.
Of course I'll review your story as well; but I expect the same from you in return, after I upload my version 2.0 It's the purpose that everybody chimes in with every story.

(It's just that Graham is so durned fast, so he gets the most reviews in )
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:16 PM   #114
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Annie the Dreamer, 1.2

Spoiler:

As others said already, it's quite a disturbing tale

The same as with Graham's though, I'm left with some questions, but I understand you may intentionally have left some things blurry.

Children
How many children *does* Annie's mother have?
Sissy, Annie, and "sisters and brothers" suggests at least 6.
What is the age span between the youngest, herself and Sissy? Annie is babysitting and knows about earning money, so I assume she is 15-ish; her "big sister" would be several years older, while children needing a babysitter would probably be 7 or under.

Jazz
"New Jazz, made by machines"
"Synthesizer"

It suggests that this record was created recently, as it is "new jazz", and Annie is listening to it for the first time after receiving it. Combined with the synthesizer remark, it makes me believe that the story is set in the mid-70's.

It also suggests that Annie knows the traditional jazz ("old jazz?") from the 20's and 30's. Why would a 15-year old girl, living in the seventies know 20's/30's jazz? Even Sissy maybe isn't old enough to have known it.

What does the Jazz stand for; old vs. new?

Do I understand the raven correctly, to be some sort of "bird of doom", appearing when Annie thinks about Sissy, the significance being that Sissy is actually evil in some way?

Whispering/tingling, the forest and "her people's past
I'm sorry to say I don't understand this bit... what people? Is Annie not human? What whispering? Does the forest portray being lost?
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:22 PM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
Annie the Dreamer, 1.2

Spoiler:

As others said already, it's quite a disturbing tale

The same as with Graham's though, I'm left with some questions, but I understand you may intentionally have left some things blurry.

Children
How many children *does* Annie's mother have?
Sissy, Annie, and "sisters and brothers" suggests at least 6.
What is the age span between the youngest, herself and Sissy? Annie is babysitting and knows about earning money, so I assume she is 15-ish; her "big sister" would be several years older, while children needing a babysitter would probably be 7 or under.

Jazz
"New Jazz, made by machines"
"Synthesizer"

It suggests that this record was created recently, as it is "new jazz", and Annie is listening to it for the first time after receiving it. Combined with the synthesizer remark, it makes me believe that the story is set in the mid-70's.

It also suggests that Annie knows the traditional jazz ("old jazz?") from the 20's and 30's. Why would a 15-year old girl, living in the seventies know 20's/30's jazz? Even Sissy maybe isn't old enough to have known it.

What does the Jazz stand for; old vs. new?

Do I understand the raven correctly, to be some sort of "bird of doom", appearing when Annie thinks about Sissy, the significance being that Sissy is actually evil in some way?

Whispering/tingling, the forest and "her people's past
I'm sorry to say I don't understand this bit... what people? Is Annie not human? What whispering? Does the forest portray being lost?
Good. I'm glad it's disturbing.

Spoiler:
Within a reasonable margin, you're right about the ages of Annie and Sissy, and about the size of the family. I don't even know exactly how many there are.-) I suppose there are times when the mother forgets.

What does the Jazz stand for; old vs. new? - Yes. To highlight the modernity of the city compared to what Annie was used to. It would be enticing to her, but its artificiality might be a warning sign to us.

Do I understand the raven correctly, to be some sort of "bird of doom", appearing when Annie thinks about Sissy, the significance being that Sissy is actually evil in some way? - You do understand. I'm using the raven as a messenger, to remind Annie of her people's traditions. Sissy isn't evil, but we know that following her won't be good for Annie.

Whispering/tingling, the forest and "her people's past - The land is sacred to Annie's people. This is what the raven is trying to remind her of. If readers get this while reading it, that's good, but I don't mind if it takes a while for it to sink in.


Thank you for your careful reading.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:27 PM   #116
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Yes, this was helpful, thanks. I'll think on it and respond tomorrow.
On designations: I'm a fracking idiot.

CAP is a normal shorthand for Captain.
I was reading AND-E and KEN-E literally, but it could also be read as Andy and Kenny. Is DEP a shorthand for "Debby" or something?
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:41 PM   #117
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Good. I'm glad it's disturbing.

Spoiler:
Within a reasonable margin, you're right about the ages of Annie and Sissy, and about the size of the family. I don't even know exactly how many there are.-) I suppose there are times when the mother forgets.

What does the Jazz stand for; old vs. new? - Yes. To highlight the modernity of the city compared to what Annie was used to. It would be enticing to her, but its artificiality might be a warning sign to us.

Do I understand the raven correctly, to be some sort of "bird of doom", appearing when Annie thinks about Sissy, the significance being that Sissy is actually evil in some way? - You do understand. I'm using the raven as a messenger, to remind Annie of her people's traditions. Sissy isn't evil, but we know that following her won't be good for Annie.

Whispering/tingling, the forest and "her people's past - The land is sacred to Annie's people. This is what the raven is trying to remind her of. If readers get this while reading it, that's good, but I don't mind if it takes a while for it to sink in.


Thank you for your careful reading.
You're welcome. I see I was on the right track, but should have thought harder.

Spoiler:

Old Jazz vs. New (machine) Jazz == dynamic, swinging, with spirit vs. static, perfect, soulless.
The forest vs. The City == nature, flowing, harmony vs. Encroaching humans, buildings, stone, rigidity.

Annie wants to follow Sissy into the city, and the Raven appears as a bird of doom, triggering the whispers, dreams and images of forests and nature, saying to Annie she's going into the wrong direction, and the city is not her heritage.

This can be gleaned from the story.

The one thing I would suggest is that you suggest to the reader that the forst/land is sacred to Annie's people. When I read that, combined with the "heritage of her people", the first thing I thought was: "Could Annie be an American Native/Indian," or an adopted child? Could her mother be a Native American that discarded her heritage and moved into the city?

Last edited by Katsunami; 03-11-2014 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:53 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
You're welcome. I see I was on the right track, but should have thought harder.

Spoiler:
The one thing I would suggest is that you suggest to the reader that the forst/land is sacred to Annie's people. When I read that, combined with the "heritage of her people", the first thing I thought was: "Could Annie be an American Native/Indian," or an adopted child? Could her mother be a Native American that discarded her heritage and moved into the city?
Spoiler:
Her mother definitely lost her way, and it's having a terrible effect on her children's lives. I'm hoping that my hints add up to enough for the reader to see the conflict between old ways and new. But, as I told Graham, I don't want to specify any particular culture because it's not mine to use. I feel I must try to tell the story with only the idea.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:44 AM   #119
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Of course I'll review your story as well; but I expect the same from you in return, after I upload my version 2.0 It's the purpose that everybody chimes in with every story.

(It's just that Graham is so durned fast, so he gets the most reviews in )

Hmm, will I be able to add anything over and above what the pros already suggested...
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:48 AM   #120
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Planting the Flag - 1.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
Comments on Planting the Flag, 1.0

The story in itself is fine, but I think it could be expanded, as I am left with some questions after reading it

Spoiler:
Designations
The androids aboard the ship all have designations, but not all of them seem to fit the role they are fulfilling, and not all of them are explained.

CAP = Captian. Obvious
DEP = Mate. Is DEP different in type to CAP? They're both "human." What does DEP stand for?
AND-E = Geologist. Called: The Geologist. Why does he have a (nick)name and the others don't?
KEN-E = Egineer. Assuming AND stands for Android, then What does KEN stand for?


IMHO, a designation is a title, name... something unique. I get the feeling that CAP, DEP, and so on are not meant as designations, but as Android/Robot types. Are there more like them, on other missions, or are these the only ones created?
I'll start with thoughts on the character names. Did anyone else find them confusing?

The designations may well need a bit of tweaking. They were set in an early draft, and may not be fully appropriate now. It might be fun to look back through the process that led to these names.

Spoiler:
In the early versions, I had two 'male' androids that could pass for fully human: the Captain ("CAP") and his Deputy ("DEP"). As it's a ship, the deputy is called the Mate. I'm now wondering why I didn't originally use "MAT" here, as that would have been a real male name!

However, I realised that CAP and DEP were too similar. I also noticed that the Mate was essentially cast in the role of carer, so I changed DEP's 'gender' to 'female'. This immediately felt better to me. I toyed with changing the name, but I was wary of making her too obviously female as there's a big pitfall in that as the 'mate' of the Captain, and also 'subordinate' to the Captain, I could stray into territory that would annoy someone sensitive to feminist issues. (I'm already playing up the lantern-jawed male stereotype as part of the crux of the story.) This is also the reason why I've given the Mate a more formal mode of speech than the Captain. He's the most fully 'human'; she's more machine-like.

I'd originally had just one other character, intended to be a subject for humour, so I wanted to give him a name that would work in that context, and chose 'Kenny'. (I'm not saying all Kennys are comedic, but the name felt right for this.) To make it more obvious that this was a robot, I wanted to turn the name into an identification code of some sort, which gave me KEN-E or KEN-Y as options. I reasoned that I could explain the E better than the Y, as "Expert System", which is why that phrase is in the android model description.

Then I realised that I needed to have a plot element that allowed me to explain what was going on, and the accident to KEN-E meant that I could show the Mate reviving an inappropriate new android, The Geologist, and the plot could emerge from their conversation. (Being inappropriate gave me some conflict to play with.) I could have just made this character KEN-E, but since I'd written Mark IV Android Expert System, AND-E dropped out as obvious.

Now, AND-E was emerging as a much more interesting character than my original buffoon, KEN-E. That 'Expert System' was fun. AND-E is an expert. At Geology. Not at camerawork or landing in descent vehicles, and definitely not at thinking outside the box. He's even more machine-like and literal than the Mate. Hoorah, I thought. I've got three distinct characters.

But I had a soft spot for poor KEN-E, and my story is aiming at setting up the absurd tableau at the end, so the idea of their giving the Geologist KEN-E's face turned up. I'm unsure about this now (I'll come back to this in a later post), and it may be that I have to let it go.

I have half-justified (to myself) the KEN designation as 'ken' as in 'knowledge', but this is confusing. Really the Engineer's designation should be something more obvious like ENG-E, but that doesn't feel right.

I'm happy to change the names if a few of you think I should, but at the moment I can't think of good alternatives.


Graham

Last edited by Graham; 03-12-2014 at 07:52 AM.
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