From Above by Jeremy Robinson


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Post August 12, 2005, 12:34:52 AM

Re: From Above by Jeremy Robinson

Thanks for the kind words Villa. This was really just an experimental story for me. And the only thing I knew about the story when I began was the tone, hence the dialog you enjoyed. I wrote it from beginning to end without stopping, other than to attend to bodily fuctions, which made it interesting. It also allowed me to stay in character (I typically don't write first person and or lacking as much PC). But that's what makes short stories so great. I was only married to this one for a day...just the way Priest would want it. ;)<br><br>Jeremy

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Post August 25, 2005, 12:00:56 PM

Re: From Above by Jeremy Robinson

Bill,<br><br>Great critique! It's nice to have readers who know their stuff.<br><br>My only excuse is that I threw out a lot of rules on purpose. When writing it I was picturing it as a Manga cartoon or a comic book (which I wrote many years ago) where the rules of physics no longer applied. In many ways this was an experiment for me. It was my first time writing first person. It was my first short story (I'd previously written two novels and 14 screenplays at the time this was written). And it was my first time writing a character like Priest. So my focus was on those things and science, the real stuff, was left at the wayside. That's not typically how I write, but disregarding those things allowed me to write all this new stuff much more comfortably.<br><br>That doesn't make the story better because the reader doesn't have all that info before reading it. But my hope was that the ridiculousness of the things he was doing and the tone of the story would convey that it was not to be taken seriously--Ala Bruce Campbell as Jaimie pointed out. As someone who typically sticks to straight science in novel length, it's liberating to write a short story where the rules are shrugged off. Maybe annoying to you (and other readers--I hated Mission to Mars too), but great fun for me.<br><br>So really, the bad science was a selfish indulgence on my part. FYI, the S was small and concealed...he was wearing Underoos.<br><br>But none of that disproves anything you said. It's just my excuse. You were 100% accurate and it’s great to see readers as knowledgeable as you. Thanks for putting the time into the critique that you did.<br><br>Jeremy<br>
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Post August 28, 2005, 01:46:26 AM

Re: From Above by Jeremy Robinson

But we do know a lot about orbital mechanics and the effects of vacuum on the human body and here the story really gets distracting. I've said it before in this forum and I am quite sure that I will have to say it again but NOBODY survives even a few seconds exposure to vacuum. Period.
Bill
<br>I won't debate you on your other science notes, but this one caught my eye, since I've looked it up before. Some of the boys at NASA have a contrary opinion:<br>http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970603.html<br><br><br>Jeremy, <br>As far as your story goes, let me politely say that it wasn't for me, but I don't really go for Bruce Campbell, either. <br><br>That it was meant to have a tongue-in-cheek tone didn't register with me, and I took it for a serious tale (which, from that perspective, made it's hero a really dislikable guy). Aphelion exists to help other writers learn the art of storytelling from each other, so, for discussion's sake, what exactly were the markers of this? Where did my vision go myopic on this?<br><br>I liked the opener, it drew me in well, and I wanted to know what was going on.<br><br>On setting, I like one which "comes alive", using all five the senses to make the scene feel real to me. The world building here felt incomplete to me, and I didn't have enough description to know what anyone or anything really looked like. For example, I could not picture the Mooners satellite weapon, inside or out, and it detracted from the story for me. Furthermore, the internal monologue which followed prior to the impending brawl with Rehna became more or less an extended infodump to set the scene, and I hate that in stories.<br><br>The protagonist is not a believable character, but you've mentioned that he wasn't meant to be. That aside, his actions remained consistent throughout with his personality, and he showed growth in his arc. Well done there.<br><br>On plot, avoiding the superhuman abilities, the aforementioned tongue in cheek, and Bill's recoil notion, I still had a few problems. As I understood it, the Mooners were embroiled in their plot for 2500 years?? Also, it took them that long to position their 300 weapons. They spread out their implementation over that long?? How can they build so well that they machines don't short circuit & misfire with that much wait? Or are we supposed to think that they only recently invented their technology, even though they've worked on nothing else during this time. If they're just looking to wipe out that many places, nukes would have been a lot easier. On top of that, this disintegration beam comes with a "wide" setting that takes out whole cities--but no one thought to try it with two and a half millennia of planning? And everybody shooting at once, nobody thought of that, either? Or a backup command center, or independent control programs?<br><br>My suspension of disbelief strained too far on this, sorry, and it broke.<br><br>On dialogue, I thought Priest and Gawyn spoke with recognizably different voices and that was a good thing. Rehna's voice, on the other hand, was hardly different than Priest, and I thought that was a missed opportunity.<br><br><br>Again, this kind of story is not my cup of tea, so my comments may not be helpful. Then again, if you've got 14 screenplays and 2 novels under your belt, I doubt you're sending "A" list material to a free webzine--this may just be clearing out old drawers and not representative of your current skill level. Still, maybe something I've said may be of use to you in future endeavors.<br><br>Best of luck.<br><br>Nate
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Post August 28, 2005, 03:20:46 PM

Re: From Above by Jeremy Robinson

Nate,<br><br>Thanks for the update on human survivability in space. Good to know.<br><br>And your comments are very helpful. You're right that this is kind of a cleaning out of the closet. It's an old story, written in early 2002 and was edited once, by my wife--this is also the reason for the many holes in the story. And I never attempted sending it anywhere else. Many of your comments (writing for all five senses, world details, etc.) are things I know, and have even taught, but when writing it's easy to lapse into what’s natural for me (visual). <br><br>Before writing I was an illustrator and comic book artist, so visual thinking is normal for me. When I started writing screenplays it was natural for me because they are written visually. But, after 14 screenplays it had created some serious challenges--visual writing and lack of world detail, as you noticed. In screenwriting you don't have to describe things in detail unless it's unusual for some reason or is a specific plot device.<br><br>Putting out older stories like this and getting comments from intelligent readers serves as a reminder for me. Even now (I'm up to four novels, one published--The Didymus Contingency--and am represented by Trident Media Group) I need to force myself to remember these things as they don't come naturally. Just because I'm published doesn't mean I can't improve.<br><br>And you're write about our "hero". He is totally unlikable, even if not taken seriously...but so is Bruce Campbell's character in Evil Dead. He's not the greatest guy. But he's funny. The reason I chose to write Priest like this is simple. I had never written anyone like that and wanted to give it a try...a learning experience. Most of my heroes are much more noble and moral (I'm actually becoming more well known for my Christian (science) fiction than my straight science fiction.). Given that I also write Christian fiction you can see how different Priest is in contrast.<br><br>Also, just because no one noticed. The mooners and specifically Al Bin...was that his name?...are kind of a futuristic take on terrorism. Remember, this was written not too long after 9/11. Al Bin = Bin La...din. The time frame is too long, but represents the time frame Islam took to produce extremists, who then took time to concoct a large attacks and then do so at seemingly random times, causing terror. This wasn't really written well in the story, but it was the inspiration for the mooners. And the mooners fate? Call it a purging of my feeling for terrorists. Even Priest's crude exterior represents how I feel towards that subject. I have another terrorist inspired story at another webzine too--the other one freed from the closet. You can see it here: http://www.alienskinmag.com/ficsf2.htm<br><br>Thanks for the reminders...I can't wait until writing all five senses and writing a detailed world comes naturally.<br><br>Jeremy<br><br><br><br><br><br>
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Post August 28, 2005, 09:15:10 PM

Re: From Above by Jeremy Robinson

You're very welcome, of course.<br><br>I should add that you're invited to freely give it back to me on my own story, or on any other tale from anyone else in this or any other month.<br><br>I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we'd all be glad to see input from a writer further ahead in the game than we are.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on August 28, 2005, 09:15:46 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 30, 2005, 10:04:19 AM

Re: From Above by Jeremy Robinson

Feel free to ask screenwriting questions if you have them. I did write the book on it....OK, one of the books. (The Screenplay Workbook). But if you're a hopeful screenwriter be prepared for honest answers which are almost always painful to hear. I did the Hollywood thing, had a screenwriting agent, met famous people (Will Ferrell, Ron Howard, Sandra Bullock, etc) had several projects in development and came away loathing the business (even with success). Not the writing mind you, but the business. So you won't get sugar coating from me. So ask away.<br><br>And keep drawing the illos I say. I've done the same and it's come in handy. I illustrated The Screenplay Workbook, doing an editorial cartoon for each chapter and I got to design the cover for my novel, The Didymus Contingency--which I just found out is being translated into Romanian....weird.<br><br>Jeremy

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