Author Topic: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company  (Read 4207 times)

M

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12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« on: December 15, 2008, 06:49:06 AM »
Thanks everyone for any feedback you can give me.  It will be greatly appreciated. 

M

Frog

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2008, 01:23:06 PM »
Okay, first off I liked it. It got my attention and I would definitely keep reading so good job. Here are a few things to think about though...
I know the first few paragraphs are supposed to be your attention getter, but to be honest all it did was confuse me until I reached the end and read them again. I might suggest starting right off with the scene instead of putting us in flashback mode (with The final... or even with the dialog and work everything else in as you go) .
A few of the individual sentences could use some tightening up. Like this one: "His experience so far at Y.I.K had been surreal yet up until this moment none of it had been authentic."  If its surreal, then it is implied that its not authentic. Good words, but don't use both.
I know this is the second round for some of you so humor me...are we supposed to know what the Y.I.K. is and what they do at this point? If not, I wouldn't hide at least some of the details for much longer. I think it would just get annoying rather than suspenseful if you do.
Great ending line. Don't touch it. :)
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Flo_the_G

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 07:20:48 PM »
Are you sure you sent it out to everybody? I don't seem to have received your submission... :'(

M

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 07:31:31 PM »
I just sent it to you.  Sorry, must have missed your email.  Thanks for letting me know!

wcarter4

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 10:04:31 PM »
Well M, I like the premise already. Make sure to add a bit more detail about Y.I.K. in the future so it doesn't end up seeming like a clone of the "Hitman" games, but your off to a good start.
I only have three gripes: some of the language was a bit repetitive which has already been mentioned. The internal dialog could be fleshed out-- there is no need for 323 to think "those" men inside his own head, and why would using civilians in an operation freak out (soon to be) professionals?
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

M

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 10:11:42 PM »
@ wcarter4

Coming from someone who hasn't seen the hitman games, what exactly seemed similar so I can avoid that?  I don't want to copy.

@ Frog and wcarter4,

Thank you so much for critiquing my work.  I can see from your suggestions the flaws in my story and I will use them to hopefully make it better. 

Silk

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 07:24:06 AM »
You’ve done a great job making this character sympathetic; I was particularly with him when he was talking about his different lives having failed.

With the last line of the chapter, I wonder if it would have been more effective to say “by morning he had submitted two names to the Director” instead of “their names”. I’m not quite sure why I think this, except that we already have a good idea that it’s these two people whose names he’s submitted, and I think the more important part of the chapter (for me) is that he’s made the choice, and not what choice he’s made. If that makes sense.

 To respond to the discussion, I didn’t have any problems with the opening, but I’d kind of forgotten about the flash-back frame by the time I’d gotten to the end of the chapter, until I saw Frog’s comments here. The chapter didn’t seem to resolve the flashback either – that is, we never get back to “after” the flashback – and upon reflection, I do think that the part about the final might make a more gripping starting point.

I didn’t have a problem with not knowing what the Y.I.K. is; I’m willing to trust the author and wait to find out more. I do agree that you should start telling us something pretty soon. You don’t need to tell us all of it, just enough to keep us gong.

Oh, and as someone mentioned, the internal dialogue sometimes seemed a bit clinical or detached for internal dialogue.

I didn’t really have a problem with the character being freaked out by having to bring in civilians, but now that the point’s been made, it’s sort of a good one. I mean, I think it’s an important gap between “soon to be” and “professional” but I can see why people might wonder. A simple fix might be to have 323 think about how he shouldn’t be freaked out by this, but still is. Or something along those lines.

That’s about it from me, I think.

wcarter4

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 06:34:09 PM »
Two basic things were similar, first all of the agents/assassins were known by numbers like the main character "47." The second was they belonged to some transnational clandestine school/agency called the Organization. It is impossible to have everything in a story be completely unique so it's not  a problem yet, but you might want to wikipedia the game franchise just so you can get a basic heads-up of what direction(s) to avoid.
If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

M

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 07:12:15 PM »
Hey that helps a lot wcarter4!  I will wiki that.  In my story, the people are Intelligence Operatives, not assassins or secret agents (but of course, nobody here knows that yet as you all have only read chapter 1).  I love this reading group!  These critiques help so much!  Thanks again everyone.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 07:19:39 PM by M »

Necroben

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 06:01:56 AM »
The thing about going over stuff later is that everything I have to say has been said before.

To respond to the discussion, I didn’t have any problems with the opening, but I’d kind of forgotten about the flash-back frame by the time I’d gotten to the end of the chapter, until I saw Frog’s comments here. The chapter didn’t seem to resolve the flashback either – that is, we never get back to “after” the flashback – and upon reflection, I do think that the part about the final might make a more gripping starting point.

This was something that I too wanted to especially mention, as I thought it to be important.  Not so much as where you start, but that the two flashback's be connected.

I get the feeling that using a civilian means certain death... for the civilian.  Which would imply certain clandestine activities.  So why does 323 cry in the shower?  They would--to my mind--be inoculated from, or at least deadened against those types of reactions.  Why should using someone--if it won't kill them--hurt at all?

And while I must say that I do not read this genre, I like where I think you are going with this.
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Manyang

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2008, 03:19:47 PM »
"His mom could take torture but she hated to fly. "

That is brilliant and had me laughing out loud.

I really liked this one, so as with most stories I liked will probably end up with two pages tearing it down.

I agree with the comments on the flashback structure. From what I’ve seen here I would suggest just starting at the final and skipping that first part.

Why does he refer to himself as number 323? You mention somewhere later that he knows the names of some of the others. If those names still hold any significance why would he forgo his own, even in his own mind? (Since we are inside 323’s head, I considered all references to his name in tell as being the way he identified himself) Who is he when he identifies himself inside his own head? Is he still the one he was before he joined YIK, the one crying in the shower, or is he the trained operative who has surpassed his past and now only refers to himself as his number? (But then why does he cry in the shower?)

The explanation between the dialogue between 74 and 323 can be scratched.

It seems a bit of a discrepancy to first tell they became close over the years, and after the director arrives he breathes a sigh of relief to be rid of them. That doesn’t seem very close to me.

The director mentions they’ll be given objectives, and he finds an envelope on his desk, yet there is no mentioning how it got there. Was someone passing them out, or where they there from the start?

I fail to see how absolutely necessary is a loose term, or why it would be ironic that there would be a punishment for breaking that rule.

I’m not clear on the companies part. Will they consist of the two civilians or will they include two civilians and other non-civilians?

Insurgents is a politically charged term. If the YIK is a neutral organisation using a more neutral term might be more appropriate.  (Or just Taliban)

The introspective part is good, but again raises the question why he doesn’t refer to himself by his name if his past is still so important to him.

In the shower, you first tell us he hangs on to better memories of a simpler life and then call that the depths of his sorrow, but you just had him crawl out of the depth by clinging on to those memories.

I disagree with Silknsnow on that last line. I think it’s fine as it is. I see no point in hiding or obscuring which two names he submitted.

There, only one page ;)

M

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2008, 04:11:01 PM »
Wow, thank you so much everyone.  Especially the two newest critiques from Necrobells and Manyang.  I have been worried about specific items of my book and you all have pointed out many of them that I now know I need to adjust.  I'm considering re-submitting this chapter after my revision, because this section is vital to the story.  If it doesn't seem believable in the beginning, I'll never get anyone to read the whole thing. 

Just for future reviewers, I don't want to reveal 323's name because I want the reader to be guessing through the first 1/3 of the book which of the three primary characters is the Intelligence Operative.  That being said, I can see the logic in Manyang's comment on why does he address himself as 323 when he is thinking.  I'll have to revise that as well so he doesn't address himself during his thinking. 

Thanks again everyone for helping me with this.  This is awesome!

Karl

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2008, 07:56:39 AM »
You had me at "Ace Tomato Company." What a nice non-sequitor for a title!

But I can't wait to see where it ties in with the story thus far.

About the time you have 74 joking with 323, why don't you introduce the characters of 82 and 429? This way you can either foreshadow their later reactions, or give us their facade that they are fronting to the others.

Likewise, you could have 323 give his personal assesment of each one, what he likes and dislikes about each. "74 is good, but an ass; 429 has the brains, but no imagination; and 82, well I pity him -- he'll be the next to crack!"

And I think 323 should just tolorate his classmates, or even dislike some or all of them. Adds tension on 323.

I'm hesitant about the phrase "vote off this island." Since there are no other concrete time or place reference throughout the rest of the story, this one gave me a jerk that was too recognizable. I would choose a reference that is less specific to our contemporary culture.

I would also revise the phrase "deer caught in the headlights of a truck." I think this phrase is overused, and you miss the opportunity to create a unique turn of phrase. Give it a try!

After 323 leaves the room, you might consider having 429 follow him. They could exchange an aukward dialogue: "I know we can't talk about confidential stuff, but what are you going to do?" Have them question each other, and each would carefully not answer the other. Eh, just a thought.

Page 8, paragraph 2: "Hours passed" not "past."

I'm willing to go along with 323's depression and anxiety about his assignment if some more was given about his "deep dark past" that haunts him. Not necessarily every gritty details, but snippets that gives us an impression of the darkness he survived.

Page 8, last paragraph: Unless you want to be sued by R.K. Rowling, I would not use the word "dementors."

Otherwise, I really enjoyed and am very intrigued by it.
"When I came to this town five years ago I didn't have a nickle in my pocket. Now I have a nickle in my pocket."

M

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2008, 08:41:46 PM »
Thank you so much Karl for your critique.  It will help me out a lot.  I appreciate you giving me advice on different approaches with the "B" characters in the story.  Even more importantly, thanks for helping me from getting sued by using Dementors (I never even thought about the ramifications on that one, just sounded good when I wrote it.  I will take it out immediately).  You also gave me some good points on my main character, I'll be sure to use them.

As I said before, I think I may resubit this chapter based on all the feedback I have receieved.  I have made substantial changes to the story (killing my darlings) and I think it is much better.  If anyone reads this, I ask a question:

"Would resubmitting a chapter to RE be benefical or a can of worms?  Would you readers want to critique a chapter you have already read that has been revised?  What that be irritating?  Let me know. 

Frog

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Re: 12-15-08: Ace Tomato Company
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2008, 09:40:38 PM »
It is really up to you. If you think it would help, than go for it because I would read it either way.
Personally, I considered resubmitting a chp based on feedback, but then I decided that since I had so much other material to get through, that I would rather get through as much as I can, instead of going back. But I think a few others (like Wilson) are resubmitting, so you would be in good company if that is what you decide to do. :)
I've already conquered the world. This is exactly the way I want it.