Shadow Dancers by Dale L Willett


Tell us what you thought about the May 2007 issue!

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Post May 14, 2007, 09:56:29 AM

Re: Shadow Dancers by Dale L Willett

I like a good military coverup with a sci fi twist - and this delivers all the right elements.  My only comment is the dialogue: it doesn't come across as very natural.  I struggle with this in my writing and it is difficult to do.  Everyone seemed to talk very formally in unnaturally long sentences, as though they were talking as much for our benefit as for the other characters'.  Sometimes a conversation can be implied rather than transcribed word for word:

"My boss is General Michael Taylor, and you can reach him at 645-876-4432. And thanks for your interest.”

Could become:

They exchanged contact details.

The story itself, though, was very enjoyable.

Gareth


But wouldn't that be "telling, not showing"? (viz. Jaimie's comments about "The Way of the Warrior")

Robert "Too much editing and the authors complain, too little and the readers complain" M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
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Post May 15, 2007, 09:39:12 AM

Re: Shadow Dancers by Dale L Willett

'tis a tough job being an editor.  I guess you can't edit everything to your style of writing or it ends up as your story instead.

Which is what happened with "Girl Facing Village"...

My comments are intended to be a suggestion to the author to try in future writing, rather than for the editor.

Gareth


And mine weren't related to editing, despite the tag line. They were intended as a general comment -- what you found clunky in Mr. Willett's piece was explicit description of a rather routine chunk of dialogue. (Oddly enough, this would showing telling!) But we as writers (or wannabe writers) are often told "show, don't tell", meaning that we should avoid the infodump approach to exposition. Now, it's hard to depict a galactic empire in flash fiction without "telling", but a simple exchange of names and contact information shouldn't be all that intrusive. Maybe if the way the characters handled the exchange had revealed something about them, or the technology in common use, or the organizations they represented, you might have been happier.

"My C.O. is General Taylor. Can your datapad take -- okay. I've just copied his contact info over to you. He's pretty busy, but his aide can probably handle any routine questions you might have."

This gives you ubiquitous use of small 'datapads' (PDAs plus ?) with wireless short-range data transfer, and tells you a little about the General's schedule -- and that inquiries are likely to be filtered through (or blocked by) an aide. (Dunno if that fits with the story as a whole -- I'm just giving an example.)

Anyway, "Shadow Dancers" was in Jeff's department, so I wasn't the one editing it! 8-)

Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

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