Author Topic: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5  (Read 2570 times)

SkyhunterCommander

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Hey all, here's chapter 5. In this chapter, Darkclaw and the Troodons arrive at Selixan Station, a station left by the Saviors, created to rapidly build an army for the Troodons.

And and all feedback/comments are useful and greatly appreciated! :)



Summaries of previous chapters:
 
Chapter 1: Executor Darkclaw and his species, the Troodons, awaken from millennia of hibernation. Their leader, the all-powerful High Lord, constructs a vessel for them and they leave their home world, to build an army and conquer any and all ‘inferior’ species.
 
Chapter 2: Introduces Grand Admiral Nayasar, the young supreme commander of the Felinaris military, who is also their heir to the throne. She waits with her subordinate and close friend Admiral Felivas for a formal meeting with her father, in which she will propose a plan to exact revenge on those responsible for an attack on the Felinaris homeworld that killed many. When her plan is not accepted, she storms out and Felivas tries to calm her down.
 
Chapter 3: The Troodons, before building their army, are ordered to raid an information station-essentially a giant library- on the edge of Galactic Alliance space to learn what they can about their eventual enemy. Darkclaw sends his subordinate Praetor Keeneye to lead the mission, and watches through a helmet feed. The station is captured without incident, and Darkclaw completes his mission. He relates this to the High Lord, who instructs him to set a course for a hidden station where they will build an army.
 
Chapter 4: Nayasar is overworking herself, and Felivas demands that she take a mental health day.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

cjhuitt

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 02:55:01 AM »
I should preface this by saying I'm coming at this chapter cold.  I haven't read the previous four.

Is there a difference between standard minutes and other minutes?  At the start, five minutes until the destination is announced.  At the bottom of that page, Darkclaw is told ten minutes until arrival.

I wonder how much of the first two paragraphs are necessary.  It's hard to say until further into the story.

On the second page, you say the throne room's majesty befits the High Lord, but it's barely described.  Was it described earlier?  Even if so, some more details would help here.

If the High Lord can read Darkclaw's mind, why did he need to announce the imminent arrival?  Also, the High Lord does a lot of explaining.  From the ambiance, I kind of expected more ordering and less explaining -- or possibly explaining after the fact.

The explaining actually seems to be a pandemic among the characters in charge in this chapter.

Would Darkclaw take a comm message in the High Lord's chamber?  Isn't that kind of like taking a cell call in the middle of a meeting with the president?  Besides that, Darkclaw should be able to discern the purpose of the call without taking it, since he had ordered it.

Nitpick: "A split second later, the High Lord vanished."  This could just be "The High Lord vanished", or even "He vanished" if you use pronouns for the High Lord.

Darkclaw seems to be in charge of things, but it doesn't read much like a military to me, or even like he's a ship captain, despite giving orders.  At the top of page 5 (in my program),  Darkclaw nods to the officer who executes his command.  Also, Praetor Keeneye questions his orders as soon as they meet.  Darkclaw doesn't react as I would expect a superior, but more as a teacher or priest, explaining how things will work.

Being given a mental map to get through the station was nice.

Do you want to know spelling errors?  At one point you use "moths" instead of "months".

Darkclaw is to collect genetic material, but not his own.  I assume this is for the clones, but it comes after the instructions for what the clones will do, which is a little confusing for me.  The specific instructions for Darkclaw to not use his own genetic material make me wonder and speculate as to why, and what could go wrong.  That's a nice touch.
Caleb

SkyhunterCommander

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 09:45:56 PM »
I appreciate the feedback, even if you haven't read the earlier chapters. If you'd like, I can email you the others.

Thanks for catching the minutes thing. With some of the other characters, who live within an interplanetary community, there is a standard time that might not be the same as the length of time on that world. There, where there might be a difference between the standard time units and planetary time units, it makes sense. But looking back, the Troodons, who only have their own sense of time, he should not use that term.

Those two paragraphs reference conflicts that relate to my other main character that was described by her earlier, and this is building toward an event later in the story.

The throne room was described in detail previously, and I didn't want to be redundant and describe the same thing again.

Darkclaw is aware when the High Lord is reading his mind, so when he has information that the High Lord would want to know, he will go inform him. Also, as a show of respect, he informs him of things and reports to him personally. And yes, the High Lord does explain things a lot, but it's primarily because he alone, as supreme leader, knows what their next move is, among other things. The High Lord is the kind of person (sort of) that likes telling his underlings things, and can go on for a while.

Taking the call is not quite the same thing, since as you said, Darkclaw knows what the call will be about, which is directly related to the High Lord's commands. Though I could change it a bit, make the High Lord know that they have arrived before Darkclaw can answer the call if you think that would work better.

I think I meant to have more by the nod part; I think I meant to have him give the officer command of the bridge, then nod as the officer acknowledges, as an affirmation of what the officer was to do.

I'm not quite sure what you meant by Keeneye questioning orders. The only thing he did was ask if the station was safe. At this point the other Troodons don't know anything about where they are, so it's not questioning an order, rather seeking more information on the situation.

I get what you're saying about Darkclaw's mode of command, but at this point most of what he does is relay information from the High Lord. Also the lack of emotion might lead him to not sound like a typical military officer.

If you catch any obvious spelling errors, feel free to mention them, but I'm not going to dwell too much on errors here and there. Typos are to be expected at this point.

Thanks for the comments. It's not easy to comment on something without having read the earlier chapters, but you managed to give useful feedback regardless of that. I really appreciate it.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

hubay

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2011, 11:29:16 PM »
 I finally got around to reading all your chapters. I don't have too much to add, but here are my general impressions:

Watch out for melodrama. You have a tendency to add too many adverbs or just try to make every moment seem exciting. Eventually, the result will be nothing is interesting, because everything's the same level of intensity.

Likewise, you tend to have pretty intricate descriptions and explanations. There's no real issue with that – if it's your style stick with it – but I think you need to be aware of it so you don't overdue the exposition.

I also have a feel issues with your names: I can't help but think of the Troodons as being some kind of frog. I don't know why, but I can't shake the feeling. I guess I don't think it's an intimidating-enough name, yet. I'm also not very fond of the title "high lord." First of all, it doesn't see supreme enough, like there's still someone above him on the chain of command. I guess that's not out of question, what with the Saviors and all. But more importantly, it's too prosaic. It's not a particularly interesting or original title. He's [or it] is a pretty crazy, bizarre, and powerful entity. He needs an appropriate name.

Lastly, I don't quite get the "power from the high lord" thing (keeneye's sight, shadowpath's shadow thing). It's a cool addition, and I'm interested to see Shadowpath do some shadow stuff soon. But why can't he give more than one power per person? it seems like it would make the army much more powerful. The most logical reason is the High lord wants to limit the power of his subordinates, but it doesn't seem like they're capable of rebellion, what with the conditioning and mindcontrol. I'm hoping this mean's his power isn't absolute.

Other than that, you have a couple intersting mysteries going on. I think right now I have a good idea where darkclaw's story is going, and I'm guessing the felinaris' story will involve the political struggles mentioned in his info logs. I'm curious if you'll include any human POV's?

SkyhunterCommander

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2011, 02:19:30 AM »
Thanks for the tip regarding adverbs. It's not something I do intentionally, but I'll try to watch out for them, and try to cut down on that.

And as far as the describing and explaining goes, I'm aware that I have a slight tendency to want to tell everything (just part of being an outliner) but I've been actively working on limiting it to what is needed. That's why I probably won't have a chapter for this week; I'm rewriting chapter 6 because the first draft had way too much exposition.

The funny thing about the name Troodon is that it's actually the name of a real dinosaur that lived in the late Cretaceous-I've always been somewhat open to changing it because I was worried that people wouldn't like the direct tie to a real creature, so I found your issue with it amusing-the same general issue, but an entirely different reason. And as for the High Lord, I'm open to change as well if needed-I'm sticking with it for now because that's what I originally called him when I conceptualized him and the story, but it's not something I'll fight to the death for, unlike some of my other name choices.

I can answer any questions about the High Lord's level of power, but at this point I'd rather let you figure out what's up with him through the story. But it's great that there's already a theory 5 chapters in. :)

As for human POV's, I don't plan on including any at this point-I have already introduced my two main POV's, and I will have two or three minor ones, as the story requires it (two would be the POV of previously introduced characters, the third is the POV in chapter 6-another reason why it's taking longer). If at some point I find it necessary and it fits with the story, I am not necessarily opposed to a human POV though. My only thing is for the main characters to not be human.
I will get around to giving feedback to my fellow Reading Excuses members. As soon as I can.

dead_possum

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 02:32:25 AM »
I'm still new around here, so I hope I'm actually critiquing you on what you want to be critiqued on.  First, I think your chapter flows well.  You don't get bogged down too much as the story progresses.

I don't know why, but the term "standard" in referring to time seems awkward.  I know you're ppointing out that time would be different for each planet, but it slows things down a little  when you use it with every time-related word.  IMHO I think that in a civilization that has had to incorporate different methods of recording time they would have an accepted stadard hour anyway that everyone would just call an "hour" or a "click" or a whatever.  Just my opinion though.  To be honest, I am working on a story myself where I have used the term "common hour" and after reading this I think I will strike "common" out of it.

This sentence seems awkward.  Sorry, can't say why other than it's a little complex and uses the word "conquest" twice:  “. . . I only thought to use them to make our conquest be completed swifter, so we will be able to move on to the next conquest."

Typo: "burst," not "bust."

When Darkclaw is speaking to his commander-lord after they have gotten the factory up and running he mentions he has seen what the place is capable of, though in reality, if I followed right, he had only seen the one room he was led to in the dark ,then the command/throne room right above it.  I know he had just seen what it was supposedly able to do from the first room, but not a lot of time was spent on this to impress me, the reader, of the stations output potential.  Just my opinion there, though.

For the most part, you do a good job of showing and not telling, though there is some room for improvement.  Saying something as simple as, "The airlock hissed open," would help do this more than taking the time to describe it in more detail.  I use this as an example, because as the reader I really don't care much about how much he doesn't like the airlock or how inferior of an airlock it is.  It just doesn't seem important to the story to draw that out, hence my using that sentence as an example.

All that said, I am drawn into the story, and that's what counts.  I think science fiction is especially difficult to write because the world usually requires some explanation but taking time to explain how things work detracts from the story.  For the most part you do avoid this trap.

How the lord-dude communicates with Darkclaw is done very well, too.
That which does not kill you only makes you stronger . . . or just leaves you permanently disabled.

cjhuitt

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 04:34:09 AM »

Taking the call is not quite the same thing, since as you said, Darkclaw knows what the call will be about, which is directly related to the High Lord's commands. Though I could change it a bit, make the High Lord know that they have arrived before Darkclaw can answer the call if you think that would work better.


It may be an annoyance of mine carrying over from work, where people seem to feel obligated to talk to whoever is calling on the cell phone right this minute, instead of everyone else in the meeting they are will.  As I said, my best analogy would be to a general or cabinet member in a briefing meeting with the President in the U.S.  Certainly, an alien race -- especially one that, as you've described in these comments, lacks emotion -- is likely to develop different customs.  Maybe to them it's entirely logical and appropriate to do so.


I'm not quite sure what you meant by Keeneye questioning orders. The only thing he did was ask if the station was safe. At this point the other Troodons don't know anything about where they are, so it's not questioning an order, rather seeking more information on the situation.

I get what you're saying about Darkclaw's mode of command, but at this point most of what he does is relay information from the High Lord. Also the lack of emotion might lead him to not sound like a typical military officer.


I think the Keeneye part was, for me, the culmination.  Again remembering that I haven't seen the previous chapters (and I may take up the offers for previous parts, but right now I don't have the time to get through them), Darkclaw started strong: "I will be informed".  Part way through he seems more casual in reply, then when he get's to Keeneye I read it as a Darkclaw is expected to continue, and Keeneye is questioning if it is safe, which implies Darkclaw's desire/command to continue isn't a good one.  If they are emotionless, then it is probably fine to do so.

All that said, given that you've told me in this that Keeneye knows nothing about where they are going it makes more sense.  I didn't get that impression from the section I read, but again perhaps it was covered earlier.  It can sometimes be difficult to remember not all members of a group know what the viewpoint character does, but I read into the part where he had commands sent that the necessary briefing information was also sent. 
Caleb

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2011, 08:51:38 AM »
I always liked the Darkclaw chapters more than the other ones, so I'm happy to see him in action again.

As mentioned by the others, some things bugged me as I was reading:
* "standard time" : as Trodoon are a closed species, it should only be plain "minutes"
* the phone call : even if the High Lord is all knowing, all seeing, it seems rude to take a call without at least asking for permission to do so.

What mostly is starting to bug me is the way the High Lord behaves. I get that he likes to play god, but every time I saw him say "I know this thing is on your mind, here's what I'm thinking about it", I felt like some cliché villain from the fifties was talking. Wouldn't it be better for him to get to the point ("Here's what I want about this question ...") rather than saying over and over again "I can read your mind". At least, since we're leaving him on the station, we won't see him in a while (I hope).
It's nice to see Darkclaw having independent ideas, especially if those don't match the High Lord's wishes. I hope to see more and more independent thoughts as DarkClaw gets away from his master.

I found that the cloaked station was a cool view. Its presence raises a lot of interesting questions.

Will777r

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Re: June 20- Skyhunter Commander - Untitled Sci-Fi Epic Chapter 5
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2011, 06:10:55 PM »
This chapter was a smooth read, much more so than the last chapter. I didn't feel like there were dead moments or confusing sections. I could picture everything very well in my mind.

I did feel like it needed to be tightened up a bit. Things like "Darkclaw looked" are unnecessary as we're already in his head. You can just write what he sees. It will deepen the PoV and make the sentences/paragraphs tighter.

I'll echo what some others have said about "standard time". Instead of making me feel like the universe has depth from the different cultures/planets, it just threw me off.

I also have gotten the impression that the Trodoon's are lizard or frog-like. If that's what you're going for, then that's great.

I also got the impression that Keeneye was questioning Darkclaw. Up to that point, the entire mood is one of superiority, confidence, and order. I know he just questioned whether it was safe to enter the station, but in light of how everything has been up to that point, it came across stronger than maybe you intended. I would expect him to speak with a bit more deference, and even confidence.

I too like Darkclaw's character. I'm interested to see where his arc goes.

The High Lord strikes me as all-powerful. I'm interested to find out what his weaknesses are.

The space station was the only part that I didn't like much. Not the actual depiction of it. It sounded cool. But, the ability to clone an army at such a rapid pace seemed very convenient and gave me the idea that they will be unstoppable. The only danger with an unstoppable force is that it often requires something out of left field to defeat it. If the "left field" idea is creative and makes sense, then great. If it's not belieable, it will just leave the reader disappointed.

Good chapter overall. I liked it and am interested to see what happens next.

Will777r