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Author Topic: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread  (Read 6036 times)

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2015, 03:13:30 PM »
@Nora:

Your story had a little bit of everything: A nice set up, pleasant writing style, good character interaction, a twist, and a pinch of the essence of horror.

Right from the start, the story gave an image of normal, everyday life aboard a spaceship with a tight-knit group of people interacting in a very believable and humanlike way. This made the revelation that the aliens were in fact humans and that these... "humans" were really aliens very surprising and strangely satisfying. Also the friendly interaction of the crew combined with their anticipation to get to the docking station to meet their family and friends made the thought of dying alone even more horrible.

The writing contest part being "meta" or the apparent lack of resolution didn't bother me much. And in fact, I feel that we got a resolution: Kertan was going write a space horror story based on the true story of what had happened to the aliens (well, humans I should say). That being said, it was kind of hard to tell what was the main plot of the story.

The end (the horror part) could have been a little more concise in my opinion, but it being the way it was didn't really detract from the horror of the depicted situation or the enjoyment of the story.

So... I liked your story and voted for it.  :)


And of course, thank you for your critique (and your vote).

I'm not going to go all defensive again but...  :D
I just want to say that I did have a "Shut the fuck up!" or something similar in my first draft but I cut it out to spare words. Probably not the best decision...

Oh and, thank you for the mighty lesson.  ;D
I agree with you (and Henry) fully on most of the things you said. And even if I'm not in full agreement, I do see your point.  ;)


(More critiques to come sometime next week.)
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 JMack

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Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2015, 01:40:53 AM »
I'd love some critiques for my story if anyone would like to give some

Hi, Meaning (@Themeaningnotthename):

I re-read your story the other day in the interest of giving you feedback. It's a very atmospheric and serious story with a real sense of dread as the front line of battle cruisers is collapsing and the violence is heading our way. There's some lovely writing. I was really struck by: "morphing the exoskeleton from a life support system to a cause of Death."

I had two type of reactions, one of which is no help at all  ;) and the other which may be.

First, I felt the story was pretty out of sync with "Space Opera", although it was certainly in line with Science Ficiton. (This is maybe a double-standard on my part, since I voted for another story that wasn't really Space Opera.") And, yes, this is no help at all as a critique.

My other reaction is that I didn't feel I was getting much in the way of story or character, just situation and mood. Again, I guess there's a personal taste thing at work here, in that I like character-driven stories with clear conflicts. I never got a sense for the MC as a person, and when you added in the name and background midway into the story, it felt out of place. She'd been anonymous from the start, as was everyone else, so getting a few sentences of back story seemed odd.  I'd have introduced her name early, and salted back story throughout. This way we would identify with her as a person and not just as a despairing doctor.

There were a few places where I lost track of what was happening. For example, the third paragraph seems to be a reference to what happens when a soldier is injured. But there's nothing to tell us it isn't actually happening right then.

At another point we read:
Quote
My feet beat against the steel floor, a rat-a-tat drum. Crashing staccato in contrast to the empty and numb legato time of my heart. Rush to see the listings, find the soldier next on my itinerary.
I have no idea what's happening at the beginning. Is she operating, and drumming her feet. How exactly do you beat your feat against a steel floor? But I figured out she's running to look at a listing of whom she should operate on next. First, I'd put that first, so we know that she's running and why - and this causes the rat-a-tat. Second, it seems odd she'd have to go somewhere to look at a list. I picture this more as a MASH unit. She stands at the table, and orderlies being the bodies to her.

But like I said, there's some lovely writing in here. I hope you see something in my commetns that might be useful to you.
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You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2015, 02:02:45 PM »
@Raptori and @Saurus :

Your prose is always very good, and every month I'm amazed by the quality of your writing. And the characters are usually good too (like the brothers this time being very... brotherly). But... I still don't vote for your stories very often.

This time my problem was with the plot, kind of. The plot was OK (and the story made a statement), but I felt that I didn't get enough background information about the things the plot was built upon.
(I'm having a hard time explaining myself, like usual.   So, sorry if I'm not making much sense.)

I'll try to explain what I mean by going over a few of the "problems" I had with the plot:

Since they did not have a planet at the moment, I thought there should have been a greater urgency to find a new one. And if they were in a hurry to find a new planet, the brothers should have expressed more disappointment and desperation. Of course, they might have been doing OK without a planet (living in a huge space station or something that can support their life for years and years to come), but then that should have been told more clearly. (I know that Shinji said "We'll survive. We always have.", so they were probably doing all right, but still.)

Okay, what if they were in a hurry to find a new planet? Well, then I would say that the rules are too strict. I mean, "no cellular life"? There can't be any single cell organisms, plants of any kind, or anything really? Feels like quite a long shot to expect to find a planet that can really support life but has none. Of course, there might be the possibility of using terraforming of some sort, but then that should have been mentioned in the story in my opinion.

Okay (again), what if they really had those strict rules to abide by? Well, then there are many questions that are not answered. Who made the rules? Who makes sure that the rules are followed? What are the repercussions of breaking the rules? There was a mention of the 'ancients'. Did they make the rules? Or is there some sort of Council of Space-Nations? I suppose much of that was hinted on in the story, but I felt that all of that was too subtle.

So many question, and I felt that you could have answered some of them. After all, you had a little over 250 words left to reveal a bit more of the background and history behind the story. I had to re-read the story three times to make sure I didn't miss any clues (or something), but I still feel I did.  :-\

But hey, all that is probably just me clinging to some so called problem I though I found from your plot and then analysing the whole story from that negative angle.


Then there were also these two lines that started to bug me (way more than they should have) on the re-reads:
Quote from: The Search
It looked like a flawless sapphire, spinning gracefully through the cosmos.
Quote from: The Search
It revolved slowly along its lazy orbit, serene and beautiful.
From the perspective of the characters, how could they perceive these veeery slooow stellar/planetary motions?
 :P
I know those are just lines of beautiful description and not problems at all, and I only stopped to think about them on the re-reads, but I thought I'd share my idiocy with you.  ::)

So, feel free to ignore me on all counts.  ;D


TL;DR:
Beautiful writing, a very believable relationship between the two characters, and an OK plot, but I didn't vote for your story because... I'm weird? I had a bad day when I read it? The world is coming to an end?
https://d.gr-assets.com/hostedimages/1380222758ra/241132.gif


(I'll try to whip up something for themeaningnotthename tomorrow.)
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 ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2015, 10:54:28 AM »
@Themeaningnotthename

I'm afraid that I don't have much to add to Jmack's critique. Well, maybe a couple of things.

Your story was very mood driven and definitely had some very beautiful turns of phrase, but the writing style was just too heavy for me to really appreciate the story. Every now and then there were these short and disjointed sentences one after another, which broke up the flow and made reading the story a little straining. And even the clauses in the compound and complex sentences felt too unconnected at times. I don't have any solution how to fix that without affecting the mood too much, but that's how I felt.

Another thing that bothered me was the use of slash (/). It felt quite strange to see it used in a story like that, and I didn't really understand the point of the "is/was" and "dying/dead" separation.


But all that comes down to personal preference. There was nothing really wrong with the story. It just wasn't for me.

I'm not being very helpful, am I?  ::)


Edit: I can no English well. Heh.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 11:00:11 AM by ArcaneArtsVelho »
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 wakarimasen

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Re: [AUG 2015] - Space Opera - Critique Thread
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2015, 02:39:03 PM »
I'd love a critique or two if folk have the time...
Think I managed a mini-crit on everyones on this one. Trying to do the same for Politics but work is a bit cwazy at the moment...