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Asking for help Requesting critiques

#1 User is offline   Jevasi 

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:15 PM

Shorah everyone
So I've been spending some of my free time for the past while working on a story. Its not my first attempt, not by a long shot, though it the one that I have the most hope of being completed. The primary reason being that I've actually been able to plan out and develop it. Fortunately I'm currently at the point where I can actually start writing however the downside is that its been quite a while since I last tried writing something like this and even then my skills weren't exactly the greatest. Thus I have a proposition for you all I will post a sample text, the entirety of one of my more recent attempts, and you can critique it and make suggestions or changes.
Note. Though this is the most recent attempt that I could find it's still about two years old and has no connections to the new story. It may also be worth noting that this text is completely unedited save for spell check so it will most likely have some obvious mistakes.

Quote

Azure Tinted Rays

Beneath the weeping Sky
Of oldest Deep
Do ancient forces sleep
Flow and ebb
Like wave and surf
Above our distant channel roads
And flowing current ways
Shall the Passing of all our days
Be spent
To sleep in peace
Unknowing of what wonders lie
Beyond the reach of mind or eye
And beyond the vast and starry sky

Chapter1
"Why did we allow the seas to become so bright?" questioned the Speaker with solemn emphasis.
The Heircon was uncertain whether to respond to this query or if the speaker had simply gone off into one of his moods again. He was prone to such moods and moments of despair when he often wished to remain undisturbed, but there were also times when he would seek to probe the Heircon's mind of answers. In the end the Heircon simply postured that it was best to let the question go.
"Why did we let our oceans become so tame, so mundane", as the Speaker continued on his dialogue the Heircon decide it was best to wait and let his superior finish is pondering.
"These waters were once so dark and full of danger, but now, a paler shade of their glory and no more. What strange and mysterious beasts once swam here, no more. What shade and shadow of deep distant nights below here, their strange shapes writhing and tearing across the ocean floor their sides aglow with rainbows of Neon, and I.. I swim with them majestic and brave, a master of the currents and the flows weaving around and about with my vast strength and speed." The Speaker was now lost in his fantasies as he would often become.
"Do ever you regret our ways Zelek, this power we now hold?" the speaker asked with far more clarity and focus.
"No" Zelek, the Heircon, responded startled that the Speaker addressed him by name.
He and Keris were friends of many years, true, but such pleasantries were unknown of among adults, especially speakers.
"You don't?"
"Why should I regret that we have such mastery of our domain, we dwell safe at mind and in peace. For what should I regret?"
"Mastery? Why do we need mastery of this world, We once were mighty hunters who rode amongst the raging currents. We once braved the dangers of the dark with only our sharpened teeth, but now we are weak. No more than puny children playing in our brightly colored parks without a care in the world!"
"And you think that's a bad thing?" the Zelek responded with some shock.
"I do. We have come too far from what we once were"
"And that is?"
"The greatest of the hunters, we knew no fear"
"We still have the festival wars"
"Yes. War Games, no substitute for a real war though. To rip and tear through young weak and inexperienced fools is nothing like a real challenge."
"It's been generations since there last was a real war, and the festival wars are good enough for everyone else"
"Are they good enough for you, Zelek?"
"I've never been" Zeklek responded hastily. He had never liked the concept of the festival wars, true they were an important aspect of his culture, allowing for social improvement, entertainment, population control, and nutrition, but it was unsettling how close of a relationship with their predatory nature they maintained.
"You haven't. To think I've been harboring a coward in my company all this time" the Speaker replied half in jest and half with vicious seriousness.
"I'm not a coward, just weak" Zelek proclaimed embarrassedly. It was true he was a good deal smaller than the Speaker and lacked his musculature.
"That's true, I could tear you in half this instant" The Speaker exclaimed with some malice.
The smaller bulk of Zelek twitched and quivered causing the water to distort about his strange body.
I wouldn't though, You don't have to worry about me Zelek The speaker reassured his diminutive friend, "You should join me I won't let anyone eat you"
A loud low pitched noise broke through the sounds their conversation signaling that the Speaker needed to resume his duties.
"Well I must be off; I do hope that you'll wish me luck Zelek"
"You need luck to be a Speaker, I should think Intimidating size would be more reliable for you?" Zelek replied with quick wit, his one saving grace.
The speaker signaled his pleasure and fondly stated "I really do enjoy these conversations of ours, promise me you'll keep joining me for them"
"Certainly" he reassured his friend.
The Speaker signaled his acknowledgement and swam off into the murky distance leaving Zelek to his thoughts. Now even he couldn't help looking off into the hazy distance and imagining what creatures had once dwelled in this watery place.

Chapter 2
Against the deep star speckled blackness of the void a strange object limped slowly towards a small insignificant yellow sun. To say that the craft was moving slowly would in truth be blatant lie as it was actually speeding through space at an immense speed but at only a fraction of its former speed most of which it had now abandoned. The ship, or the Dreamer as it's small waking crew often refer to it, resembles a vast rod studded with rises and ridges along all sides of its body and a number of large swellings on the aft end of the structure.
Somewhere deep within the confines of the bulk of the dreamer a discussion of up-most importance is being carried out across the ships local communication network. A discussion being held by the ships waking crew but one that is being observed by all the dreaming sleepers as their shadowy band of representative’s work to determine a plan that will hopefully save all their lives.
"Are you really suggesting what I think you are?" Inquired an older looking man face hidden by a shadow filter and only his head of grey hair visible on his head.
"Look. It's not like we really have a choice at this point we have to do something now or we're as good as dead." responded a younger man whose face was also hidden and his tan colored hair was the only discernible feature of him. Each member of the waking crew would typically take some measures to prevent their identities from being associated with their recoded decisions forgoing reputation for absolute freedom. Such actions did however have a habit of causing distrust between them and the sleepers but such things were trivial since they would be dead by the time they awaken anyway.
"Is the situation really that bad?" questioned a younger looking woman with short hair.
"It's not a matter of how bad things are now but we have limited time act" replied the younger man.
"So exactly how much time do we have to make a decision?", asks another woman.
"I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of forty eight hours, after that were too far from the system to turn back" answers the man.
"We aren't even certain that we'll find anything there", interjects the older man, "This whole thing could just end up a waste of valuable time!"
"What better use of what little time remaining is there then trying to remedy the situation that is limiting our time?" calmly questions another man his hair white with age and what little skin is visible outside of the filter is wrinkled and aged.
"Trying in vain would accomplish nothing" the grey haired man replies without hesitation delighted that his elder has given him such an easy opportunity to defeat his argument.
"And what would continuing on to all our imminent deaths accomplish?" said the younger man in a bitter tone.
"You assume we won't find some other way of solving the problem" the grey haired man begins before he is interrupted by the younger
Like what. Are you planning on pulling a solution out of your..."
The eldest of the assembled calmly reminds the younger man not to lose his temper before reasserting the question of alternate solutions.
"We could do something with comets perhaps, they're mostly ice" postures another of the gathered.
"You seriously think we have a better chance of encountering and capturing a comet then finding water somewhere in that system?" the younger man adds with skepticism.
"This is just getting depressing, watching a bunch of people who are more concerned with their own well being arguing about all our futures, how can you watch this?" stated one of the dreamers dejectedly. His name was lost in the vast fog of memory, a thing that tends to happen fairly often when you spend most of your life nearly dead with your brain hooked up to a short range network, but his username was Neophyte A625 or Neo25^2 for short. His appearance like his name was no longer of importance as it would still be about another seventy three years until he saw himself again but according to his profile he once had a head of jet black hair and barely tanned skin though after laying comatose in a liquid bath for forty plus years he probably lacked any skin pigment whatsoever.
"It's not that bad once you get use to it. I mean sure they seem like self centered morons at first but some of them are actually decent people" responded User:Kya33. She, the only real things he knew about her was that she was female and had a downright strange sense of humor, was the closest thing to a friend that Neo had on Dream.Net which was not as much to say that he was unpopular as it was that he had an innate dislike of anyone who he felt could be a threat to him.
"You really think so?" replied Neo25
"Yah. Besides it pays to stay in touch with what's going happening with the on-board politics" Kya33 states in what Neo can only imagine is a pleasant tone.
"You mean like the fact that we're approaching a planetary system and could possibly be making a stop off" he demonstrates his vast knowledge gathering abilities with the same smug attitude that has long since become a permanent fixture of his personality.
"Yup, stuff just like that and more"
"More?" Neo Questioned his curiosity had been peaked.
"Quite a lot more, you should be glad you have a friend who pays attention to current events"
"Maybe I should be" responds Neo careful not to seem too committed to his friend.
"Yes you should!" Neo imagines that Kya33 is starting to get just a little bit upset.
“Don’t worry I do” Neo sends feeling more than a little amused at how well he knows his friend.
“Good. Now keep the net quite I’m trying to focus in this”
“Fine we’ll watch this”
“Just try not to make too much noise”Kya33 always felt the need to get one last little dig into every conversation she had.
Both sleepers reconnect to the live visual feed of the meeting with mixed levels of interest. The room retains it same shadowy

p.s yeah I know its bad.
Edit: Wow! I just noticed that this ends in the middle of a sentence, still I have no desire to change this.
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#2 User is offline   Allatwan 

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 03:34 AM

Hi!
Well, although I really don't have time to read it all right now, I'll download this page and let you know what I think when I get online again :)
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#3 User is offline   Jevasi 

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 01:37 PM

Sorry for the delay but thanks, that would be very helpful.
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#4 User is offline   Allatwan 

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 03:36 AM

OK, so I read this several times and came to the following conclusion (forgive me for typing it in point form, but I found it clearer that way):
There were a few typos- nothing serious, mind you. I have corrected those in red, as seen in the following document: https://docs.google....o/edit?hl=en_US
Keep in mind, though, that if some changes look odd to you, that is because I have a British-English spell-checker and am used to British English.
I think that you should try to make shorter sentences. It's not that they're too long or anything but I still think that it would be better if you cut a few sentences in half thanks to a full-stop. It shouldn't change the tone much and would make it definitely lighter.
Would it be possible to try and use the passive voice a little less? I think that it would make the text a little less compact. I'm not saying that you do that everywhere, but maybe changing one or two sentences per chapter (especially when it comes to description) might do the trick.
I noticed that you inadvertently switched tenses once or twice in chapter two. I edited the verbs at stake since the rest of the text was written in the past tense. However, I was not sure if this was just a mistake due to inattention or a literary device, so I mentioned it here.

Other than that, I found the story interesting. The only problem was that I couldn't really identify the link between both chapters (the settings, characters, etc) although I guess that would have been explained later. The only thing I could add is that it sounds like it has a lot of potential. I'd love to read some more, just to have a peak at it.

I'm sorry I replied so late. I hope that my comment will somewhat help you.
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#5 User is offline   Jevasi 

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 11:35 AM

Thanks Allatwan your comments have been quite helpful. I would first like to apologize for the typos and errors, they were present because this was a relatively unedited first draft. I realize that its been a while since I last had any writing lessons so wold it be possible for you to elaborate on passive voice? I will also definitely work on trying to shorten my sentences. On this note did you find the writing overly descriptive or did the amount of description seem fine?
Yes. The connection between the setting and the characters in the first two chapters was intended to be established later on throughout the story.
Thanks for the critique.
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#6 User is offline   Allatwan 

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 01:44 PM

You're very welcome. I'm glad I could help you.
No, I think that the ammount of description is fine.
By passive vs. active voice, this is what I meant;
Active-> The cat ate the mouse
Passive-> The mouse was eaten by the cat
Do you kind of see what I mean? If not, maybe this will help: http://en.wikipedia....i/Passive_voice
As for the typos, that's perfectly normal: I make a lot of those myself :p
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#7 User is offline   Jevasi 

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 12:39 PM

Thanks Allatwan now I see what your saying. When I actually get around to writhing my current story I'll definitely try to mix things up in that respect, I can see how everything being in passive voice could get monotonous. When that time comes I could possibly send you some of the first draft of that story if you'd be willing to do the same for it.
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