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The Cronicles of the Aegis (a fanfic for your enjoyment)
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X-Fighter
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of the four, the first one. As an editor, I would have told anyone else turning in a similar piece similar things-- yes, you have talent, but this isn't the best you can do, and isn't really worthy of having been turned in. In your re-write, I'd suggest the first and foremost change be that you work on the flow of your tone, followed by noting the broadest, worst case applicable, and noted the errata in the characters versus the established body of work(although I normally would be reffering to previous chapters, not entire other works of different authors).

The second was cover of what constitutes the errata in the characters, which I had already touched on briefly, and would expect the writer to re-examine this in-depth for him or herself.

The third was a bit of a teaching session more than a critique, and I'd hope that it would be taken to heart in all future works, as even a little bit of self-testing on the author's part would demonstrate the marked improvement in their technique.

The last was a semi-completed touch of the more in-depth analysis I give to seriously done pieces, which I most certainly did not consider this to be. It felt far too laborious, and you can clearly see the point where the vast number of needed corrections overwhelmed me enough that I practically gave up.

Although I do admit I like teaching, I had already mentioned the points I re-covered in the third and fourth ones, and that vastly detracts from my personal appraisal of them.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just about to add to my last post, but you beat me to it!

I was going to say: My comments weren't a specific attack on what you said, just a general explanation of my own thoughts, and since I run this board, if you don't like it... Very Happy I did actually appreciate you taking further time to be more helpful on the matter.

I think if you are an editor, you are possibly approaching this from the wrong angle. You actually sound in that post like you have a lot of contempt for writers in general, and maybe that was the result of a hard day editing Very Happy This is meant to be fun and you are taking it far too seriously, I almost cannot believe I'm still being dragged back into talking about it.

Specifically the problem I had with the your first critique is that it sounded to me like an attack on fan fiction rather than an attempt to help someone. There is joy in creating any artform aswell as appreciating it although I think sometimes we all lose sight of that.

Anyway, hope that explains my thoughts, and I should reiterate that it wasn't too much of a bother, I'll try to litter this post with smilies so everyone knows I'm not really annoyed!

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fost wrote:
I'll bet those comments weren't wholly dismissive though and at least offered advice on how to improve things. Can you honestly say someone told you your work was rubbish and offered nothing else and that was helpful to you? Maybe it's helpful to know where you stand I suppose, but if that's all you ever say to someone then that's all you'll get I find.


You're quite correct in that bet, actually. Generally, it's the case that 'it doesn't matter if its good or bad, but why its good or bad.'

I'm very lucky to have a C&C'er who is not only blunt, but very thorough in his comments and directions. However, he doesn't go through and rewrite passages - normally, what he does is highlight a problem, say why its wrong, and leaves me to correct it. It's brief without being arrogant, thorough without being condescending, and it completely avoids the whole issue of doing a once-over. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't contempt writers, it's just that I'm extremely analytical in my reading....

In response to my appraisal of "It's okay." on one of his works, a writer immediately smiled, commenting "Comming from you, that's a compliment!"

I'll also note that I find Shakespeare a poor writer--his metaphors are great, but his depth, continuity, and logic patterns are between terrible and non-existant.

So, although I would always like my points considered seriously, I'd advise against taking it too personally--I'm hard on everyone.

Ps. Analytical reading of one's personal love letter correspondence==bad.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

X-Fighter wrote:
I'll also note that I find Shakespeare a poor writer--his metaphors are great, but his depth, continuity, and logic patterns are between terrible and non-existant.


See, with a bit of exposition, your comments all start to make sense Shocked

I actually think a lot of great story tellers can be bad writers. Sometimes it's the story that counts above all else after all.

Some people just seem to have really great ideas and yet have quite awkward writing styles: obvious scifi luminaries Philip K Dick and William Gibson spring to mind.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not so sure I'd agree on the story... that's actually one of my points.
Think about it:Romeon&Juliet(Really brief version):
Quote:
Boy meets girl. Girl thinks boy is a dweeb. Boy's friends hatch master plan: crash party to find rebound chick.

Boy meets girl. They flirt. They kiss. Boy leaves.

Girl(rhetorical, yet eloquently put): He was hot.
Boy(stalking girl)(most eloquently put): I think you're hot too.
Teens hatch master plot: Get married after knowing eachother 20 minutes.

Boy randomly kills member of Girl's family. Boy runs away.

Girl feigns death to help her escape. Boy kills himself. Girl kills herself. The end.

So, basically, two kids in lust commit suicide. There's no character development; there's no logical discourse on what actually makes them "in love", nor actions that would infer reasoning behind this. The continuity is weak, yet discernable.

A terrible story, really, but "What light through yonder windo breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun" will probably make most "The Top 10 most-memorable ways of saying 'You're hot!'" lists for a long, long time. That's why you've heard of him.

EDIT: Sorry, I'm hopeless...
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your brief synopsis does indeed sound quite dull, probably because you've missed out all the bits that make R&J cool.

The start for instance:
Boy Meets girl, but it turns out she is from the family of his arch enemies

Sounds a little more interesting does it not? As are the many other parts you've missed that make R&J a great story.

What would you say is a good story then? That would be interesting Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the The Cronicles of the Aegis was excellent, it inspired me to have a go,

is there going to be any more?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless of the interest factor, the problem is that Romeo never does anything that would make Juliet fall in love with him, beyond telling her she's beautiful. That doesn't make it gripping, it makes Juliet "easy", but the fact that she's depicted as being a bit of a prude even ruins that concept. Coupled with the "enemy" factor, it leaves one wondering what they spiked her punch with at the party.

For a better take on that theme(which wasn't created by Shakespeare, simply written down), West Side Story offers a more logical flow of the same story, with actual character development, and noted continuity of the plot. We can actually see the characters changing.

As far as examples of other things that actually flow well, Johnny Mnemonic sticks out in my mind as the best example I've seen recently(Someone purchased it to watch at a family gathering). The plot is very well-knit, there is very little self contradiction or "loose ends", the entire flow makes sense in the beginning and gains depth as we go. The characters are given a decent amount of dimensionality, enough to make them stand out and identifiable. With the exception of two characters apparently falling in love by the end(there's weak, if any support at all for why this would happen), it's an exceptionally well-written piece. The acting and peculiar portrayals of technology probably hurt this movie more than most people would enjoy, but the technical skill of the author shows.

Some other various authors to look into: Lloyd Alexander, Micheal Crichton, Maya Angelou, George Orwell, Orson Scott Card, Joseph Heller.

I'm not certain these are the best examples, nor by any means the only good ones, but I suppose for an impromptu list, it's a start.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps you were looking for a love story where there isn't one? I can understand that. It's No Nora Ephron play that's for sure (thankfully!). Shake pretty much gets the love out of the way early on (It's love at first sight...) so he can get on with the tragedy of it all. Are you on about the film here or have you actually been and seen this at a theatre? Even reading the play won't give you the same effect - and I don't think it's ever really translated to the screen well: The Zeferelli version is considered best - but it didn't do it for me (In fact if anyone wants a free copy on DVD then feel free to mail in your address!) and the Baz Lurman one that was so critically acclaimed seemed a little bit more about style. I actually think it's telling within 'Shakespeare in Love' gets across the feeling of it all better than anything else I've seen other than a play (Even if it is a chick flick!)

I'd love to watch West Side Story as it's supposed to be a fine example of the genre, but as a rule I have to turn the TV off if a musical comes on. There are exceptions to that rule though, just not many(Ok two: The Blues Brothers and The Little Mermaid Very Happy ).

Sci-fi I can feel like I have a handle on - although perhaps have watched too much Very Happy Oddly, I would have put Johnny Mnemonic in the bottom 1% of scifi films. Could have something to do with reading the book (that's always a bad idea if you want to see a film!), but I don't remember being particularly astounded by the book either (Kind of why I mentioned Gibson above - great ideas but awkward storytelling - for me anyway). I'm pretty sure the film lost most of the charm the book did have though.

Dark City I kind of thought was a nice self contained and well told story. Oddly I thought I was going to really hate it when Keifer Sutherland did that voice over at the beginning - that's probably the worst part.

Anyway, sounds like we have pretty opposing tastes I would guess - nothing wrong with that though Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

r000000b wrote:
I thought the The Cronicles of the Aegis was excellent, it inspired me to have a go!

Yay! We really do love these at Moonpod!
r000000b wrote:
is there going to be any more?

Double Yay!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never said Mnemonic was good, I said it was well-written from a technical writting standpoint. Wink

This highlights the difference well, I'd hope.

I've seen a few movie versions, a few player versions, and read the "script" for R&J, but you stated my point well: You're looking for a love story where there isn't one. With that fact established: Why do they kill themselves? I mean, really, it's one of those "***?" kind of things.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

r000000b wrote:
I thought the The Cronicles of the Aegis was excellent, it inspired me to have a go,

is there going to be any more?


Very many thankies to ye, oh Rob of the many 0's. (I wonder if that'd fit in a Monty Python movie? XD )

I've been thinking about furthering the story, and trying my best to make use of X-Fighter's advice (even if I fail in that account) and the bit from everyone else and my own expanding imagination.

I chose beginning the story in the middle of a dogfight in a quasi-emulation of a rather good author, Eric Nylund when he wrote the book Halo: The Fall of Reach. That book began in the middle of a HUGE firefight, between about 10,000 Grunts against 5 Spartans, the Master Chief included. With no information on history, what was going on, why who or how (it did say where and when though) And as Blue-2 said when she saw the enemy; "Ten Thousand of them against 5 of us...poor odds for them" The battle was fast, over even faster, and at the end of the chapter the timeframe jumped 30-odd years into the past, from there explaining who was who and what made the Spartans (and Spartan-117, the Master Chief) who THEY were. Nearing the end of the book, the timeframe finally caught up with where the first chapter left us and we find out what happened just before the beginning of the game Halo.

It's why I wrote the tidbit story as I did, but because I wrote a quick zip just to get my creative juices flowing it doesn't have the depth or descriptions (or corrections for that matter) I envisioned in my head. I mean, I could make up a whole squad of security goons that Bud leads into battle when the Aegis is boarded by the Archnid (note to self...do that), and then there's the 'down time' between nodes. I could explain how long it takes for the Aegis to travel from one to the other, taking into account that the science team can discover technological advances during that time, so if placed into the ideals of reality, travel time between nodes would have to be quite different (which I hinted at, with Jameson wondering how long he's been in The Grid).

I'd just hope I don't do what Gabriel Mesta did with the Starcraft universe in the novel Shadow of the Xel'Naga. He wrote a sci-fi novel, with a fairly good story, but the only element of Starcraft was the vehicles used in it, and only then the author practicly photocopied the description of the vehicles from the game's manual (even word for word if you read about the Terran Dropship)! Take the Starcraft vehicles out and replace them with some original designed ships and tanks and such, and it's a completely readable sci-fi story and still retains the good storyline (it's almost if Mesta added the vehicles from Starcraft as an afterthought). Now Jeff Grubb, who wrote the Starcraft novel Liberty's Crusade did an excelent job in making a story that co-existed with the game and almost perfectly melded storyline with game mechanics. To a lesser extent but still on high marks was Tracy Hickman's Starcraft novel, Speed of Darkness, which put a lot of background into certain issues that weren't explained in the game (The Sons of Korhal evacuating Mar Sara of civilians while the Zerg overrun the entire planet) but it makes a few odd questions come up, namely why a civilian, a Psi-empowered civvie that the Confederation just somehow missed in conscripting for the Ghost programs at that, would have a second Psi-Emiter when in the game it was originally one.
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