Exile


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Post March 12, 2005, 04:59:06 AM

Exile

Hey everybody,<br><br>I wrote this one. Please let me know what you think.<br><br>Thanks...
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Post March 12, 2005, 02:46:10 PM

Re: Exile

Ok.<br><br>Stylistically, the story started well, but once the dialogue between the two started, the description stopped. It's generally better to vary sentence structure, and not use a lot of one-sentence paragraphs in a row. Shortening paragraphs in certain areas to help build the action & the tension is good. Just leaving them so short is generally not. <br><br>In terms of setting, ideally, one looks for interesting bits worked into the story, set dressing that "comes alive" with details. It's good to work descriptive phrases in throughout the exposition, narrative, and dialogue, using all five of the senses. The dust can leave a bitter, acrid taste in Eos' mouth as he lays on the floor of the cave. The cold sunshine can bathe both figures in an eerie, harsh light, accentuating the sharpness of their faces, the darkness of their expressions. Also, it's usually not a good idea to bring the story to a halt and give an infodump about the how world works, or how things came to be. If those details are important, dole them out to readers in little bits as the story goes along, but only as they're needed.<br><br>In character development, I myself want the players to seem like real people; they should act in believable ways. After dropping a boulder on Eos' head, why on earth didn't Aidaam try to finish him off, try get away, or at least try to resist further? His character's goal was to escape. Seeing his opponent prone on the dirt below him, Aidaam just waits to be captured & taken back. That was not believable to me. Eos himself took being brained with a big rock remarkably well. He never even put handcuffs on Aidaam. :o<br><br>In my gut, this didn't feel like a believable plot. I want a story that unfolds in a way that makes sense to me--even if I don't like the way it turns out. As long as the ending is logical to the rules of the story's universe, that's ok. In a nutshell, this story seemed to be about a bounty hunter catching his prey & talking a lot. I think a story needs to be fully formed... establish the characters and plot line, complicate the action, build the tension or comedy, and then resolve the conflict. I didn't get that out of this. To me, this was the start of all those things, and then the story just... stopped. No resolution, no falling action... It was as if this was a part of a much larger piece of fiction that we didn't get to see.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on March 12, 2005, 02:49:12 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post March 13, 2005, 01:48:22 AM

Re: Exile

Hi Nate,<br><br>Thanks for that.<br><br>I read and re-read your post and have to say that your critique made alot of sense. It seems to me that there is a marked difference between being a good reader and a good writer.<br><br>Any other comments would be more than welcome.
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Post March 13, 2005, 11:46:15 AM

Re: Exile

It seems to me that there is a marked difference between being a good reader and a good writer.
<br>Don't be so hard on yourself.<br><br>First, I don't believe one can become a good writer without first being a good reader. You have to know what is out there, to know how to fit your idea into the market, and to know the conventions of storytelling.<br><br>Second, take all criticism with a grain of salt. One opinion is just that--one opinion. Just because I say something, does not make it so. My view on what makes a good story won't be exactly the same as the next person. <br><br>Third, writing a good story is not easy. Don't expect to get it all right the first time out, or every time, either. Everything takes practice. Don't worry if you can't find a way to make it perfect. Do the best you're capable of, and then let other writers help you.<br><br>Aphelion exists to give writers exposure and to help them perfect their craft. That's why we're all here--from you, to me, to editors themselves. We all want to write better. I think I'm safe in saying that there isn't a writer here who wouldn't love to crack into the Big 3 (Analog, Asimov, and F&SF). In learning how to do that ourselves, we write stories, put them up here, and learn from each other's comments. <br><br>Finally, don't stop writing. There is no easy way to take criticism. It hurts. After it stops stinging quite so much, look at it and see if you can find something in the criticism that you can use to make your next piece of writing better--but don't stop trying.<br><br>Nate
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Post March 19, 2005, 11:14:32 PM

Re: Exile

I was completely into in this one-right up until the biblical nature of the names became obvious. I'm sorry to say that ruined the previous forshadowing for me. It isn't that I dislike that sort of thing, its that I was feeling set up for something different when the story twisted *that* way instead of *this* one. I felt like the twist at the end was a let-down. That the story had shown the promise of being more intricate and developed.<br>As always, take my opinions with a large grain of salt.<br>Dan<br>
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Post March 21, 2005, 12:54:15 AM

Re: Exile

I have one word for this story: perfunctory. <br><br>It read like a first draft. The setting was unrealized, the chase lacked tension, and the conflict was nonexistent.<br><br>The writing isn't bad, and while the story idea might be a bit typical, the payoff somewhat telegraphed, it could also work much better with a little more attention paid to bringing the world, the characters, and the hunt to life. <br><br>With this type of story, one that relies on the twist ending, it's the journey to that payoff that is going to make it stand out. You could devise the greatest twist ending ever, the piece won't make it past the first reader without a strong story leading to that ending.<br><br>I think this story needs a rewrite, maybe incorporate some of the feedback from here, focus on making your world more vivid, building some tension into the hunt and confrontation, breathing some life into the characters, and bring it all to this same ending. You pull that off and you'll have a far more compelling piece.<br><br>Dan E.

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Post March 21, 2005, 01:34:21 AM

Re: Exile

Hey everybody,<br><br>I guess maybe its time I show my face again. To everyone who has been kind enough to give me there two cents worth, positive or negative, I really do appreciate it. I mean, looking at the story again, armed with the advice given to me, I would have to grudgingly admit that the story may seem, perhaps, to a seasoned reader, a little bit half assed. Yes, I can admit that.<br><br>The story though in itself stemmed from an idea that I had regarding history, and a "what if?" scenario. What if all the characters in all the worlds pantheons were part of some super race that came from far, far away? What if, some them, like Zeus, Odin, Osiris, etc, decided to lord it over the population and basically be worshipped, while others, like Adam and Eve for instance, told everyone the truth but because people were so primitive then, did'nt understand the story as they should have.<br><br>I think if one looks at the story in the literal context of our world's (yes I believe there must be other ones!) religious history, it may be a little more interesting. <br><br>All that being said though, please keep the comments coming.

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Post March 21, 2005, 01:58:14 AM

Re: Exile

Half-assed? Not at all. Half-baked maybe. Just needs a bit more time to develop. Again, I say, give it another pass and see what happens to the story itself. The premise is fine.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post March 22, 2005, 11:09:57 AM

Re: Exile

I agree with Nate and Dan on this one. I think the seeds for a good story are here.<br><br>Keep in mind that every word in a story needs to serve a purpose in that story. Unlike a novel, words are at a premium. Did you really need to include the history of the planet? Does the technical jargon add to the atmosphere of the plot or distract instead? Would more description and characterization helped make the characters more real? Why should we sympathize with either Eos or Aidaam?<br><br>However, I do like the biblical undertone. I think that was pretty sly. The planet of exile is, of course, earth. I'm a fantasy/mythology guy, so I'm partial to those kind of stories.
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