Author Topic: Feb. 15 - Recovering Cynic - Discharge - Third Draft (second for you guys)  (Read 1830 times)

Recovering_Cynic

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Enjoy.
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

Aginor221

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Re: Feb. 15 - Recovering Cynic - Discharge - Third Draft (second for you guys)
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2010, 05:05:01 AM »
Well, in short I hate you. This was really quite enthralling, and I wish I could write something along these lines. It's very well written, you had great foreshadowing I thought, by mentioning Jimmy at least a few times throughout the story. The big reveal at the end to me was expected but also nicely done. I loved the whole 'dead head" thing being a neurotic of sorts. Your dialogue  flowed easily, and fit the characters nicely. I loved the whole laughing during combat thing, that kind of sick stuff makes a story more real for me. I could definitely feel the tension through Escobar and the rest of the team. I'm not sure if this is a first chapter of a novel or a short story, but it easily works as both, especially short story.

One thing did bother me however -  there was a point in the story where Escobar is searching for mines and finds the grenades, and he says "just as I thought" and then again right after it at a different spot, it pulled me out a little bit because thinking "just as I thought" seemed a redundant thing to say in that situation, and there wasnt any previous statements that solidified what escobar said other than that one line. If that makes sense? I couldnt find any foreshadowing in that thought line, it just seemed to show up to me. I'd try adding a bit of thought foreshadowing before that, or using a different line, it could work I guess for the second time, but I just didnt feel like Escobar would say that in his head.

Overall - fantastic job, I seriously loved the story.

Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Feb. 15 - Recovering Cynic - Discharge - Third Draft (second for you guys)
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2010, 03:51:52 PM »
Thanks for the critique Aginor.  You are right about that portion; it does need some work, and I will fix it (not sure how just yet).  Anyway, I've probably revised this story about ten times, with two major over-hauls entailing massive story changes.  You got to see what came out the poop-chute, the (almost) final polished version.  The original wasn't so hot.  If you look back, I think you can find two previous posts for other versions and see the story's metamorphosis.  Also, if you compare the final version with a lot of the suggestions/tips people gave me in the other two posts, you'll see that working the story through a writing group helped improve it a lot.  I hadn't realized how much the writing group had helped me with it until now.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 05:21:26 PM by Recovering_Cynic »
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

Shivertongue

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Re: Feb. 15 - Recovering Cynic - Discharge - Third Draft (second for you guys)
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 10:09:34 AM »
I actually finished this the day it was sent out, but I've been too busy to post a reply.

Anyway, I should state upfront that I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi. This may be because I haven't read enough of it, or because that which I've read has just utterly failed to capture my interest. I could go into a long monologue about why this could be, but I don't feel like it and I doubt anyone would be interested. (Honestly, I'm bored just thinking about typing it up.)

That said... this story grabbed me by the neck, forced my eyes to the screen, and would not let me go. It was simply engrossing.

And I can't think of anything to say other than that. Not the most helpful of critiques, I realize, but for me, everything worked. I especially liked how Escobar pumped himself full of happy before the mission. Kind of reminded me of one of my characters, a spree-killing hemokinetic who laughs and sings as she slices peoples throats open. I've always had a fondness for characters who laugh as they kill... stop looking at me like that...

Anyway, I loved it. Aside from a thorough line edit to make sure each sentence says exactly what you want to say how you want to say it, I can't think of a thing that might need fixing. Fantastic job.  ;D
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ErikHolmes

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Re: Feb. 15 - Recovering Cynic - Discharge - Third Draft (second for you guys)
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2010, 09:59:57 PM »
This was a fun read and I hate you for making me read all 12,000 words of it today. Well done. :D

I honestly think you could win something like writers of the future with a story like this. I hope you plan on submitting it.

About the only suggestion I can make is at the beginning when he talks about how the weather had been rough flying in. I'd rather you show me than tell me. Tell us how the ships rocks back an forth and his harness swings as the wind rocks the ship, etc. Its a minor thing and there might have been other instances of telling instead of showing but thats the only one that stuck out, mainly because its right at the start.

Other then that I think maybe the ending could use a little more punch. I don't think the ending needs to change, but if delivered in a different way I think it could be a lot more powerful.

Really play up how sick of being a drugged up killing machine Escobar is after watching Jimmy die. Tell us about his plans to quit, how he won't be used by the Union anymore. Let us hear his thoughts about the things he'll do once they kick him out for killing the hostages, how he's almost glad it happened. That now he can finally stop doing this.

Then let us see him sob with relief when the Arbitrator comes online and tells him the mission was a success thanks to him, and that he'll get to wear the helmet again.

Thats just one option of course. The story was just awesome. I just think the ending could be a little more powerful.

Great, great work!
Who the hell is interrupting my Kung Fu!

vegetathalas

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I haven't seen the first two versions, so my comments are fresh.

Love the first line. Except maybe it's a bit too long in the attribution. By weighing down the last part with details like "southern accent" I think you reduce the punch of the first part.

I hate it when people drop in equipment names without descriptors. I'd rather at least see, "cradling the hard, black barrel of his TAR-15" so it will at least hint it's a rifle, and not a nuclear bomb 0r something. Same with the suits later. I don't really get a sense of what they are, do. I'm especially interested in the Whisper suit. Too many rapid-fire equip names. I'm not going to be able keep track of them.

Good job of introducing chars. Great that they all have their own quirks.

I don't like multiple punctuation ?!  I really like the idea of being able to set your emotions in advance.

I'd like to see a little more description of the setting. What does Nebraska look like in the future? Nuclear wasteland? Covered with wires? What?

Dead head needs more description of its appearance earlier. Not quite clear what the leechers are, either.

Love the dialogue.

Great description of the breaching.

In terms of physics, I think it'd be unlikely that the gas vapors would be thick enough to ignite off a bullet sparking metal. And why isn't Escobar's suit flame-retardant? Seems like they'd really want that as a feature.

Why would it be easy to push down anger, if anger is in the dead head's cocktail?

I'm a little confused at the ending, probably because I was never exactly clear what a leecher was. I thought it was like emp-ing, but I guess not since Jimmy did that to Black before his suit blew up. I disagree with Erik, though. It hit all the right notes for me on an emotional level and I didn't think you needed to go into it more.

There are some small punctuation errors here and there. Things like "tale-tell" instead of "tell-tale." I can go over them if you want, if you're submitting this somewhere soon.

I worry about the length. 13,000 words is a lot for a short story from an unknown author. I think you could cut down some of the beginning stuff, like parts of the Spook's speech and the equip check. You spent about a sixth of your words on build-up.

Good stuff. Great stuff. I liked it a lot. Short stories are hard to get published, but I hope you get this one out there somewhere. It's close to ready to being sent out, I think.

Recovering_Cynic

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Yeah, I hope so too.  Baen's Universe is no longer viable, so I'll be submitting it to Writers of the Future and crossing my fingers.  Thanks for the offer on the grammar edit, but I'm still tweeking it a little for now.  WotF is at the end of the month, and if you wouldn't mind, I'll send the polished version your way before then.  I plan on doing a hard line edit before letting anyone else look at it, so it should be pretty clean.  I'm an attorney, and part of my job is editing, but there comes a point where your eyes start showing what you want to see, not what's actually there, and that's when it's nice to have someone else do a read through.
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot