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Not the Fic Pick of the Week - week ending September 11 2009

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Joined: 09 May 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject: Not the Fic Pick of the Week - week ending September 11 2009 Reply with quote

Elitist bastard by name, elitist bastard by nature.

In anticipation of no-one else taking this week, I'm taking this week.

This week's slush pile consists of six pieces: a mildly improved (but not much) Babylon High, a reasonable but badly-formatted and cliché-ridden Forerunner story, and... well, same-old, same-old. In other words, this was not a good week.

The Slush Pile

pineapple nades 'n flavored bullets : CH. 1 by anorexichippo
New submitter, and, it has to be said, the quality of this is surprisingly good considering the bizarre title.

However, while it's good, it is not outstanding. There are many, many examples of what Chuckles would call "literary speed bumps" throughout the piece, and it seems rather clumsy in places. For example, this paragraph near the beginning is not encouraging:

Baqir's thick accent resounded through Kaimana's, or "Kai" to his teammates, head. Kai opened his eyes to see the dark staff sergeant staring straight back at him.

The way his nickname is introduced is far, far too clumsy. The author is obviously a competent writer and has a lot of potential, but for me, it just lacked the "full" package.

Halo 4 story, Legendary ending by spartan shot
This follows the familiar post-Halo 3 pattern of "more fighting, moar covenentz, people coming back from the dead." GSP - poor. Formatting - poor. Also, if I see another fucking author's note in the body of the text... ugh.

I'm afraid this is beyond the point of no return. It's a giant, cliché-ridden lump of fail. Save yourself the trouble, and instead dig back through the archive and treat yourself to some of Vestal Sins or Attack on Installation 06.

Grey Fox | Part 1 by Rtas Vadumee
"This is the bridge to Cryo. Unlock the cassette that holds the frozen dead."

This sentence alone makes the entire fic sound like it's been passed backwards and forwards through an English/Chinese translator. Also... GPS is bad, sentence construction is poor, speedbumps galore and horribly clichéd and immediately predictable plot. Next.

Chapter 1 (Intro) by Ken Koelling
At first sight, things for this fic didn't look good. No proper title, new author, Hotmail address...

but what's this? Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation? At least partly believable dialogue? A vaguely interesting plot? Hell, this is way better than I expected.

However, I hadn't expected much in the first place, and while it's good... unfortunately, it's not great. However, keep at it, Ken, and you'll improve - you've got a lot of potential. Smile

Relevance:Redux (Chapter III) by Omega 505
The main problem with this one is pacing. The whole thing feels very oddly paced, jumpy and clumsy to me. Also, I'm a personal hater of flashbacks and messily-inserted explanations. Your formatting could do with work as well... lots of it. Nevertheless, it could be a lot worse.

Babylon High Day 3 by Shurmanator
Shurmanator, I'm going to say this honestly and with some degree of pain. I love your writing style, and you have the potential to become an exceptional author. However, here's the catch: this plot is meandering unnecessarily, and I'm starting to doubt your ability to string one together.

Also, I am worried about the content - to me, this is sailing close to the wind in terms of wish fulfilment, which is a slippery slope to Mary-Sues and predictable plot lines. Wish fulfilment stories are fun for the author to write, but not much fun to read. I'm not accusing you of doing this: however, I am starting to sense a wish-fulfilment element creeping in. This is not good.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I like your writing. However, so far, Babylon High has had only limited humour and a very, very slow plot. In the next instalment, pretty pretty please, make something happen.

And now, the weather
This week's (dubious) distinction of the Master Chief and the Wang Monster Award goes to Grey Fox, for bravely unlocking the cassette that no writer has dared to unlock before.

For an honourable mention, we have a three-way-tie: Shurmanator, Ken Koelling and anorexichippo all put out good stories. However, they lacked the whole package.

I know I'm starting to sound like Phædrus when I say this, but it's true. The purpose of the Fic Pick is to recognise and reward outstanding writing. There was no outstanding writing this week. Therefore, it is with regret that I must do a Phae and declare that there is no Fic Pick this week.

Now, I understand that this is practically a given in the final quarter of the year, as school/college/university/<insert preferred local terminology here> starts again... however, I think (and hope) this week is a blip. I know Jake's submitting this week, and I intend to submit as well.

Unfortunately, I don't have the funds (less still the time) to do something along the lines of what Phae did last year (although as I understand it, he does plan to do another You're Doing It Write contest this year.) Indeed, I doubt I need to: there have been good (albeit sub-par) pieces this week, and we haven't reached such a level of inactivity that HBOFF becomes clinically vegetative.

That said, I would rather like some more competition for next week's Fic Pick (as, I'm sure, would Jake) and I hope bad weeks don't become a habit.

Also, on a more personal note, I'd love to see some of you newer members (you know who you are) join us in the General Discussion forum from time to time, or on #hboff. It's by no means compulsory, but hey - none of us bite (with the possible exception of Dave, but then again... Dave's Dave) and you may find your writing will magically improve at the same time Smile

Anyway... fic pick and extended diatribe over. Commence slinging of rotten tomatoes at your earliest convenience.
The Elitist Bastard | Writing is the business of professional turd-polishing.
"(don't take this review too seriously) If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS??"
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