February 22, 2020, 04:43:38 PM

Author Topic: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread  (Read 6759 times)

Offline Nora

  • Dropped in from another planet avec son sourire provocateur - et Hades and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4595
  • Gender: Female
  • The Explorer
    • View Profile
[AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« on: October 05, 2015, 06:13:47 AM »
Being surprised that no one started one yet, I'm taking the risk of launching this! As for one, I'd love a review of my story.

--

So here is the possibility to get critiques for your stories entered in our Space Opera writing contest - and to give critique as well.

If everybody wants and gives critique, this thread will be pure chaos soon, while 2-3 critiques for as many stories shouldn't be a problem. We'll see how it goes and adapt if necessary. :)

So what we're doing is this:
1. Everybody who wants critique for his story posts in here.*
2. Everybody who wants to do a critique for a specific story (whose writer has asked for critique) posts it in here.


* I know that critique isn't always easy to handle, especially if you are not used to it. So if you feel more comfortable receiving it in private, people can send it via pm. They can post here that they sent a critique via pm so that others know about it.

At the moment I don't think it necessary that we create a system balancing given/received critiques. However, if it turns out to be unfair and some people are giving critiques without receiving some (or the other way round) we have to add one.

Basic rules for critiquing:
This is just a small guideline for those that haven't done critiques before, stolen from this forum's writing section.

   
Quote
Critiquing Other’s Work :
    1. Please read what the poster is asking for before you post your critique.
    2. Critique the writing, not the writer.  Never, “You are...” or “You should...” but rather, “The writing is...” or “The story should...”
    3. We all have different levels of writing ability here, keep that in mind when critiquing.
    4. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
    5. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
    6. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
    7. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings. Things you may not say while critiquing: “That’s awful.” “That’s stupid.” “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Henry Dale

  • The Unsummonable and a Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Gentleman Bastard
  • *****
  • Posts: 1915
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 07:04:17 AM »
I would like a critique on my entry (as usual).
@Nora I wasn't sure, do you want a critique yourself as well?

Offline Nora

  • Dropped in from another planet avec son sourire provocateur - et Hades and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4595
  • Gender: Female
  • The Explorer
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 07:05:00 AM »
I would like a critique on my entry (as usual).
@Nora I wasn't sure, do you want a critique yourself as well?

Yep please.

I'll hand you one in exchange. :p
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Henry Dale

  • The Unsummonable and a Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Gentleman Bastard
  • *****
  • Posts: 1915
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 07:54:27 AM »
I would like a critique on my entry (as usual).
@Nora I wasn't sure, do you want a critique yourself as well?

Yep please.

I'll hand you one in exchange. :p

Ok ^^ so here goes:

An sich you had a good story in terms of character interaction and such, but your plot was a bit weird. We get two plots, one about the story competition (very meta) and one about the "aliens". Both felt a bit unfinished though. We don't have any resolution in any form. (Even a partial one would've been fine actually). Like maybe tell us what he actually ended up writing?
(Also, don't write when you're sick and feverish, cuz I know you usually write top-notch stuff  :P)

So I dunno if you agree or disagree with me here, but this is the reason I didn't vote for you this time round. Hope it helps :)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 12:23:22 PM by Henry Dale »

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

  • Secretly I'm laughing about jurassic raccoon testicles. And a Writing Contest Regular
  • Auror
  • ***
  • Posts: 1022
  • Gender: Male
  • Only partially responsible for my custom title.
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 07:56:24 AM »
Being surprised that no one started one yet, I'm taking the risk of launching this! As for one, I'd love a review of my story.
I noticed yesterday (or maybe Saturday?) that there wasn't a critique thread and thought I would start one today or at least inform you all about its absence. But as always, I was too slow.  ;D

I would like a critique for my story, and I will try to write a few words about all the stories people ask a critique for here.
(I would have liked a critique on my flash fiction story, and wanted to write critiques to others that month, but I didn't have the time. This month should be better, so I will get something written here.)
Everything I wrote above is pure conjecture. I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm a perfectionist but not very good at anything. That's why I rarely finish things.

Online ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 11589
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 08:08:29 AM »
oh maybe this is also part of my new tasks as deputy!
Voting AND Critique threads.

I'll promise to follow my duties in the future!
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

I'm "She Who Reigns Over Us All In Crimson Cheer", according to Peat!

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 08:08:44 AM »
We'd love a critique too! We have a few critiques to catch up on in our writing group, so it'll be a few days before we can give any out in return.
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline xiagan

  • Writing Contest Organizer
  • Powers That Be
  • Ringbearer
  • *
  • Posts: 6058
  • Gender: Male
  • Master Procrastinator
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 08:23:33 AM »
oh maybe this is also part of my new tasks as deputy!
Voting AND Critique threads.

I'll promise to follow my duties in the future!
Hasn't been until now, I simply forgot. :) Thanks for making one, Nora!
And thanks for making the net ones, Bea. ;)
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Henry Dale

  • The Unsummonable and a Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Gentleman Bastard
  • *****
  • Posts: 1915
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 12:04:08 PM »
@Raptori
Bonus points for flying space ship  :P
I liked the plot set in a humans-as-drifters time as well as the quest to find a new world. The characters were nice too, a little kid full of questions and the older brother type make for a dynamic duo. The open ending raises questions while also answering several. It makes for a nice start of a larger story.

The part where the younger brother has to shut up though was a bit nerve-wracking. It's just "he shuts up" and "opens his mouth and closes it". So I think the story didn't really need it and maybe you could've replaced it with a more informative scene.

Offline Nora

  • Dropped in from another planet avec son sourire provocateur - et Hades and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4595
  • Gender: Female
  • The Explorer
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2015, 03:22:14 PM »
Thanks Henry.

I did vote for you this time around. I'd say the main defect of your submission was that the end was a bit too real to make me sure if the guy was hallucinating or not, or how much. Are there aliens in that tube or what? And so is he hallucinating about it or just in general? While of course the uncertainty was what made the charm of the end of your story, I'd still say that the "hallucinations" could have been better written (he seems too logical).

It didn't put me off, I really liked the vibe and the setting. It was well written and quite sad. I voted for you so there is only so much I can complain about.

Regarding my story I can totally see your point but feel a tiny bit unconcerned because I was aiming at no specific conclusion. Maybe you're right and I could have said more... but to me the whole goal was to have the character ponder the seriousness of an event that was first seen as a game. I really saw the whole short as a snap-shot in time, with no needed conclusion.
But then apparently that was not a success with you!  :P I can understand why.

This being said my last-minute, 4 to 5 am rush of a submission in politics came out way worse than this month, so don't hold your breath for the next voting round  :o
Hopefully this month will be much better. i'm loving my own work  ;D

Raptori and Saurus, I voted for you guys too, but it's 1.20am now and I'll review you tomorrow or wednesday.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Henry Dale

  • The Unsummonable and a Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Gentleman Bastard
  • *****
  • Posts: 1915
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2015, 06:05:18 PM »
Thanks Nora  :)

@ArcaneArtsVelho

Your story was about a space vessel under attack by an unknown ambusher. I missed a sense of urgency however. I felt like they were just chatting and casually going "Oh. Defensive and main lasers are functional. Missile Control is offline." all while they're in the possibility of dying. It was kind of hard to get into the story like that. More yelling, shouting and cursing would've worked here. Failing power, emergency lights, screaming sirens, you know that stuff  ;)
It was a nice idea though, locking and unlocking to draw the attention of another battlecruiser wouldn't be something I could think of, so I believe with a small rewrite this story could become so good  :)

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

  • Secretly I'm laughing about jurassic raccoon testicles. And a Writing Contest Regular
  • Auror
  • ***
  • Posts: 1022
  • Gender: Male
  • Only partially responsible for my custom title.
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2015, 02:49:20 PM »
Henry Dale:

Alfa, Tango, Kilo, Uniform? And goats? Really, man?  ;D

Well, it worked. I laughed, and then the story got progressively sadder which (at least for me) created a nice contrast between the beginning and the end. The mood was set very well with the isolation and creeping insanity.

As Nora kind of said, at times it was difficult to determine what was real and what was not, and that led to some confusion. Also there were some things that could have been made clear(er): How long had he been out of radio contact, and how "insane" (if at all) he was in the beginning of the story? That being said, the story wouldn't have been as effective without at least some confusion about what was real.

So, it was a good, emotional, and well-written story. And I voted for it.  :)


About my story:
Your story was about a space vessel under attack by an unknown ambusher.
No, no. It was a coming-of-age story centered around the mental metamorphosis of an interdimensional being. How on earth didn't you get that?
 ;)

But seriously:
I missed a sense of urgency however. I felt like they were just chatting and casually going "Oh. Defensive and main lasers are functional. Missile Control is offline." all while they're in the possibility of dying. It was kind of hard to get into the story like that. More yelling, shouting and cursing would've worked here. Failing power, emergency lights, screaming sirens, you know that stuff  ;)
But there was flashing (emergency) lights and a wailing master alarm (siren); it says so on the very first line. The captain just didn't care about them.  :)

I have had a differing opinion about the sense of urgency from someone else, so I fear there might be some wicked "personal preference" sorcery in play here.  ;)   I was aiming for "sense of urgency without panic". The crew trusted the captain, and as she never panicked, there was no reason for them to panic (except for the new guy, Bradley, who was at least on the verge of panic). And the line you quoted was a seasoned military veteran, a major, (not panicking and) trying to do something he had never really done (i.e. acting as the ship manager). His "relaxed hesitation" was supposed to bring some comic relief to the situation.

But yeah, some more panic might have driven the urgency home better.


Thank you for the critique!  :)

Now what does it tell about me when I spent more time "defending" my own story than reviewing yours?  :P

(I'll write something to Nora and Raptori&Saurus about their stories in the coming days.)
Everything I wrote above is pure conjecture. I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm a perfectionist but not very good at anything. That's why I rarely finish things.

Offline Henry Dale

  • The Unsummonable and a Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Gentleman Bastard
  • *****
  • Posts: 1915
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 03:20:02 PM »
Quote
No, no. It was a coming-of-age story centered around the mental metamorphosis of an interdimensional being. How on earth didn't you get that?
Can't believe I missed that  :-[  ;D

Thanks for the critique  ;)

Offline Nora

  • Dropped in from another planet avec son sourire provocateur - et Hades and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4595
  • Gender: Female
  • The Explorer
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2015, 01:51:55 AM »
@ArcaneArtsVelho : I voted for you again! I usually like your writing, and this was no exception.

I get Henry's point, and I'll refine it : your introduction lines are fine to establish the general urgency and even panic on board (as you mention shouts), but as soon as the captain comes into action, no one seems to be panicking anymore. Who was shouting? or shouting what? Orders, or desperate yells? 

The fact that everyone ends up having a civil discussion, the captain even calling the doctor "dear", pulls off from the first mood. The dialogue could have been more gritty, or, as I'd prefer, you could have added a couple of lines where the captain actually orders the shouting crew to Shut the Fuck up and prepare for action, sort of ice-bucketing the crew and the mood.

This being said, I hardly found myself disturbed by that at all.
The one thing that put me off was this line :

Quote
“New guys,” Doc Laura sighed, rolling her eyes. Then she gave a wide smile to Ai who responded in kind. “You should learn to trust your captain, Bradley.”

“In my experience they lack both the knowledge and skill to earn my trust.”

The first one is a bit too angelic to seem credible in a room full of people fighting for improbable survival. Or at least, the way it's portrayed is. If the doc yelled it and smiled, and the guy turned around to find most of the crew smiling and looking at the captain, it'd carry more impact and less cheesiness.
Then the following line the dude dares say a captain lacks knowledge and skill to earn his trust? Real bummer.
Let's say this is happening in the Star Trek Universe, because that's what it comes across as.
Captain most likely went to officer school but could have started at a post like his. evolving though ranks and getting promoted. How could such a captain lack knowledge?
Then also, if he can never trust his own captain, who has his life in his hands, what is he doing onboard any ship? Worse, how did he get hired to such a position directly under captain command?
That's what went through my head when I read your story. It's the one moment that pulled me out and I had to "excuse the writer, whom I'll teach a mighty lesson with my later critique" and keep reading  ;D

Very seriously though that was my only grief. It was sharp, well written and the tension was nearly permanent. I can understand how hard it'd be to flesh up characters while trying to keep communications as professional and concise as possible, but there would be other ways.

Great work overall, you were the last story and I remember you giving me a struggle because I had to kick someone out of my already chosen votes to make room for you, and made my vote so damn difficult!  :P
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Themeaningnotthename

  • Seeker
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • I sometimes laugh at lamas
    • View Profile
Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2015, 08:25:05 PM »
I'd love some critiques for my story if anyone would like to give some