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Old 03-09-2014, 06:24 PM   #46
Graham
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I think this is a complete story. All that's left is any tweaking you want to do.
Thanks.

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Originally Posted by arjaybe View Post
The Mate was going to fix AND-E's arm, but you didn't give her time.
Spoiler:
Yes, I realised in that last edit that she'd have to do that repair after leaving the bridge and before getting to the descent vehicle. So I put in a weasely one line of dialogue, hoping that would solve it. I'll see if I can shift things a little to make it clearer that she has time to do this and give AND-E a face.


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The POV switches are okay.
There's one niggly one that bothers me, but if you went through it without noticing it I'm probably worrying too much:

Spoiler:
Satisfied, she lifted the lid.

The Geologist was a Mark IV Android Expert System, Explorer Class; designation: AND-E. Humanoid, but machine-distinctive. Unlike the Mate and the Captain, designated DEP and CAP, it could not pass for human. Normally, it would never have needed to. Perhaps they could keep it out of sight so that its robot features wouldn’t jeapordise the mission.

***

The part I've put in bold is actually omniscient narrator. The rest is limited third person. However, to put that line from the Mate's POV I'd have to write this as "Unlike herself and the Captain, it could not pass for human". It would be tricky to get the names DEP and CAP placed in this way, and I wasn't sure 'she' had been established sufficiently to get away with the 'herself' at this point.



Regarding the ending:

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Spoiler:
I like how you slowly revealed their true nature, giving us enough to get it ourselves before the end.

I got a sense of the futility of their charming earnestness. Yes?
BIG SPOILER - PLEASE DON'T OPEN UNTIL YOU'VE READ THE STORY:

Spoiler:
Yes.

I suppose it's an absurdist story, rather than being really about the action. I see poor humanity never getting out of the solar system, but our creations going on to take the best part of ourselves off to fill the galaxy. And being a bit rubbish at it, but really trying, and so in the end being pretty human themselves.


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Old 03-09-2014, 06:38 PM   #47
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I don't think it's up to any of us to decide what's passable or not - it's a learning experience for us all. Katsunami may have some thoughts on this, but my take is we're going to keep working at the stories trying to make each of them the best we can, and then it's those versions that go into the final book. It would be tricky with this process for any one of us to set up as a 'commissioning editor'.
Rest assured that I won't try to prevent a story from being included. Heck, I'm writing my first story myself, and it's a "standard" Dungeons and Dragons type story, but centered on character development instead of questing. One must definitely like sword and sorcery fantasy to like this story.

I'm not going to exclude any stories. As soon as the submitter of the story is happy with it and the suggested changes are down to a matter of taste, it's fine by me.

The one thing I have found is the reason why fantasy novels tend to be long, and they tend to be series. It's fracking impossible to write short fantasy... :X At one point, I was like: "How am I going to fill 8,000 words? I'm going to need two or three or even four stories." Now I'm like: "How am I going to keep this *below* 8,000 words?"

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Old 03-09-2014, 07:09 PM   #48
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Now I'm like: "How am I going to keep this *below* 8,000 words?"
Don't worry. We'll help you!

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Old 03-09-2014, 07:26 PM   #49
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Don't worry. We'll help you!

Graham
Oh no you don't.

*slides thumb along the edge of a double-headed axe*

Fantasy only ever gets longer, not shorter. Even Tolkien said that his book was too short
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:08 AM   #50
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When My Father 'Died' - v.1-5 uploaded.

Spoiler:
"Added more reasons for desperation of the mother" and some tweaks here and there.

I think I am a little adamant about keeping the 'it was a dream ending'


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Old 03-10-2014, 01:10 AM   #51
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I'm slowly nearing the end of my story It turned out longer than I thought, to be honest. I had thought I'd easily be able to fit it within 4,000-5,000 words, but I'm at 4,198 words already, and I have three scenes to go.

I did put in some more descriptions than I had originally planned though, because I think the reader should not be left with questions afterward (except, obviously, if a followup story is planned).

Just before I post version 1.0, I'll do one pass to fix mistakes and take some things out I'm not happy with at this point: I seem to have the habit of making characters take too many deep breaths

After I post version 1.0, I'll be reading the latest versions of your stories, and give comments, hoping there's still something relevant to be said

Hope mine remains the longest at 5,100 words (Kidding).
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:34 AM   #52
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When My Father Died - v.1-5

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Originally Posted by mrmarlowe View Post
When My Father 'Died' - v.1-5 uploaded.

Spoiler:
"Added more reasons for desperation of the mother" and some tweaks here and there.

I think I am a little adamant about keeping the 'it was a dream ending'


Thanks Marlowe. Those tweaks are good.

Spoiler:
The comment from the guy from the South that "You know the reason I am here is...your father invited me to tour..." suggests that there's more to his visit than meets the eye, and he's quite important in some way to the business. This is good, it adds to the tension.

However, the guy doesn't mention this again. Can you think of a way to reinforce this later on? Why does he stay around through the days leading up to the shradh?

The quick vision of the shadowy figure in the bean plant scene is good. It makes much more sense now when the shadowy figure turns up later on. However, you mention that it has a tail. This immediately made me think that it was a monkey. Later on, the shadowy figure runs along the top of the wall - which reinforces that it might be a monkey - but then has 'long strides', so it's not a monkey (or there is more than one shadowy figure). Can you see a way to make your image of this figure clearer to us?

That's a good new detail about the mother's concern over the power bill. That ties things together well, and raises tension about the cost of the shradh.

With regard to keeping the 'it's all a dream' ending, obviously that's up to you but bear in mind that all three of us who've read it felt that it didn't work, so we need to explore why a bit further.

When the son wakes up and realises it's a dream, we discover that his father is still alive. That means that the dream begins before the start of the story. So as a reader my experience is that I've just read what I thought was a ghost story for 5,000 words and then I'm told 'but none of this happened'.

Please ask yourself what the dream ending offers the reader.

There isn't anything in the ending that explains why he is having this particular dream, or resolves any problems that the protagonist has. You mention that he's been taking vitamins, but not why. What could you place in this ending that resonates with the events of the dream?

It might be a good exercise to separate out the various story arcs and see if you're happy that they progress and whether they are resolved. The main arcs as I see them are:
  • Ridding themselves of the ghost
  • Dealing with the guy from the South
  • Sorting out the contracts

What obstacles create conflict in each of those plot arcs so that the protagonist has to work to overcome them?



There's a lot of charming detail in the story, and it gets better with each revision.

Graham

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Old 03-10-2014, 08:39 AM   #53
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Just so you know: I am still around, I've just been busy on other things. I haven't had a chance to read the latest versions or edit my own story yet. It may take a couple of days for me to catch up.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:03 AM   #54
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Just so you know: I am still around, I've just been busy on other things. I haven't had a chance to read the latest versions or edit my own story yet. It may take a couple of days for me to catch up.
Thanks gmw. No problem.

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Old 03-10-2014, 12:37 PM   #55
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I've just posted version 0.8 of my story. I'll use version 0.9 for some edits I have planned, and then I'll post version 1.0.

The story is finished, at this point containing 7,886 words in LibreOffice. Count Pages in Calibre seems to count some stuff I didn't type myself as words as well, settling on 8,179 words. The EPUB is 19 pages long.

Funny. I didn't even actively try to keep the story below 8,000 words.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:39 PM   #56
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I've just posted version 0.8 of my story. I'll use version 0.9 for some edits I have planned, and then I'll post version 1.0.
Excellent! Looking forward to it.

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Old 03-10-2014, 12:56 PM   #57
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Well, I just realised that version 0.9 doesn't need to be followed by 1.0. I can still use 0.10, 0.11, 0.101... harhar

There are two things I want to edit:
1. As I said, characters taking too many deep breaths.
2. The protagonist maybe cries too much.

I'm not yet sure how much crying I can edit out, as it's... logical, at least in this story.

Small spoiler, character name:

Spoiler:

I'm thinking of changing the protagonist's name from Elani to Elina; I always type the latter, if I don't watch out However, I didn't want ALL the names to end in an A...


Graham: you've not read the work in progress, I assume?

After the 0.9 edit this evening, I'll start reading the other stories. Dayum, writing this cost more time than I thought.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:24 PM   #58
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Graham: you've not read the work in progress, I assume?
Not yet. I decided that I wanted to wait for the confirmed v1 of the stories.

If you're just tidying up overuse of crying, though, I can read your 0.9 or hold off a bit longer - whichever you'd find more useful.

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Old 03-10-2014, 02:54 PM   #59
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Instead of first fixing the overuse of sighing and crying and then do another editing pass, I'm just doing a full edit on version 0.8 now. There might not be a version 0.9.

Don't waste your time on version 0.1-0.8. I've been replacing entire parts of phrases with a single word, such as: "She hesitated for just a short while" -> "She hesitated momentarily." ("Momentarily" = "for just a short while", according to Google.)

This technique alone dropped the word count some 50 words, and I've just edited 300 If this is an indication for the rest of the piece, I might drop 1,000-1,200 words without changing the meaning of a single sentence

Ah, well. I will have some room to make up more story

Nah; I might drop some words this way, but there -is- some other stuff that needs a bit of clarification...

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Old 03-10-2014, 03:24 PM   #60
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Don't waste your time on version 0.1-0.8. I've been replacing entire parts of phrases with a single word, such as: "She hesitated for just a short while" -> "She hesitated momentarily." ("Momentarily" = "for just a short while", according to Google.)

This technique alone dropped the word count some 50 words, and I've just edited 300 If this is an indication for the rest of the piece, I might drop 1,000-1,200 words without changing the meaning of a single sentence
Losing 2,000 words from 8,000 might well be possible without changing the meaning and should give you a much more readable story.

For example, if the context is right you could further reduce "She hesitated momentarily." to simply "She hesitated."

Graham
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