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Fic Pick of the Week, 30 October '09

 
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eb4642
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:16 pm    Post subject: Fic Pick of the Week, 30 October '09 Reply with quote

Five submissions this week, all from authors who have a couple of pieces under their belt. So here goes.

The Tub of Oysters

Halo 3 ODST 2 by spartanshot
Here we have another example of a pretty standard game specification with questionable GSP, a meh storyline that gives you a sense of déjà vu... I am going to state this once and once only. For the majority of people here, game predictions/scripts DO NOT qualify as fan fiction.

In short, I think it's time to start from scratch. You would do much better to write an original story set in the Haloverse, not a game sequel, while working on improving on your style and mechanics.

Policing a Warzone by Wolverfrog
While this still isn't superb, this piece sees a marked improvement in Wolverfrog's characterisation and dialogue.

The GSP is still a little messy ("when closing dialogue you need a comma, not a full stop," I say unto thee) and, towards the beginning, there is a massive block of forcefed backstory. Backstory, if its told at all, is best told through what the characters say and do, and not through lumps of prose like that at the beginning. In other words, show, don't tell.

Dave described this best, and I'm now going to very lazily copy and paste his explanation of showing, not telling, like so:

Dave wrote:
Then show, don't tell. Instead of telling us flat-out, lecture style, do the storytelling implicitly while writing narration in parallel. Imply your background information when you can. Save the explicit storytelling for what you would like to emphasise. Knowing your audience is probably the first most important thing in starting to write; your audience plays an M-rated game, it's only logical to assume we're all old enough now that we can pick facts and implications out from dialogue and narration, it doesn't need to be presented to us out front.

Sample A - what I call 'spoon feeding the audience.'
Joe and Jack have known each other for eighteen and a half years. They have gone through college together. Jack is suspicious that Joe is trying to steal his girlfriend. Jack is very angry at Joe. Joe is very defensive. Then Jack grabs Joe.

Sample B - dramatization, allowing the audience to glean facts from dialogue.
"I know you're up to something!" Jack snarled, "Don't try to hide it from me!"
"Why? Why are you accusing me of trying to steal Jane away from you? She's your girl, I've told you a thousand times I wouldn't do that!" Joe yelled back, "We've been best pals for what, twenty years now, you know I wouldn't!"
Jack didn't hear a word of it.
"Yeah, and all those twenty years I knew you were always a sneaky type, ever since I saw what happened in second year college!"
Joe felt his face burn with rage. Hot tears welled in his eyes.
"That's a lie! You know it's not tr-- get your hands off me!"


Two samples, both taking an extreme position, and you get relatively the same amount of information. But they are presented in a whole different manner. One sounds like a summary. The other, sounds like dialogue, and also it sounds much more mysterious and open-ended. Whenever you write dialogue, I want you to bring it out right there and make it big; pretend you are writing a movie where on-screen time is very limited and you have to make every minute of film and every line of dialogue from those actors count.

Spoon feeding the audience is very humble; it ensures that no matter what you do, you'll get your information across, with much less ambiguity than implicit storytelling, and it's also a much easier approach to take to writing. But it can also make a story bland and monotonous very quickly, especially if overused or if you try to focus on lots of little details. At the same time, don't go overboard with implicit storytelling - doing so can get very confusing and unless you're very careful and willing to spend a lot of time making sure all the details line up, you could run into some headaches. Providing a nice mix of implicit and explicit storytelling will give you the best of both worlds and allow you to cover each others' shortcomings with the advantages of the other.


That aside, Wolverfrog, this is a major improvement over your previous efforts, so consider yourself bestowed with additional kudos for that. You now need to work on improving your grammar, spelling and punctuation and on your storytelling methods.

Veracity: Embrace by Shurmanator
Again, this is a chilling chapter from Shurmanator. However, we're still seeing a lot of set-up and very little actual action - while it's a good chapter, I'm worried as to where the story is going as a whole.

Weird shit happens for a reason, so I hope you can pull off a good climax to this piece, which, so far, is superb.

Also, I saw a somewhat horrendous misuse of an apostrophe partway through. I draw your attention to the brand new apostrophes guide which features a prominent section on the its/it's conundrum. [/blatant plug]

Part I: The Beginning by Jay2645
This is... bizarreness personified. I quote this paragraph as an example:

Quote:
He has killed millions, and once won a battle single-handedly, outnumbered 300 to one. They said that he ate bullets for breakfast, nails for lunch, and bad Chuck Norris jokes for dinner. There was no stopping him once he started fighting. It was almost as if he had some sort of "health bar" they didn't, because it seemed that he could take dozens of bullets without dying, then simply duck behind a piece of scenery for a few seconds and come back out as if he had just stopped to tie his shoes. His movements were so fluid, it's almost as if he had some sort of device that could control his movements from afar, a "controller" of sorts, and the operator was somewhere far, far away, watching from a TV screen in his living room. Some said he had hacks and cheat codes, granting him superhuman abilities. The rest looked at those some funny and slowly backed away, because there were no hacks nor cheat codes to real life, those were only found in videogames. And even if there were hacks in real life, you'd have to hack your life console to get them, and that voided the warranty. And no one wanted to void their warranty, because what if your life console broke? You'd have to send it back to God, and then he'd tell you that he can't fix it because you voided the warranty. The only one he ever fixed a life console for was for his best buddy, some guy named "Jesus" or something. That was screwed up, man. Fix it for the rest of us, too, don't play favorites because he's your BFF or boyfriend or something. Anyway, while some rumored that that soldier used hacks, obviously, he couldn't, or else he would void his warranty, and God would bring down the banhammer on him faster than you could say OMFG YOU HAXOR!!!!1111one. And being banned from life sucks. But I digress.


Refreshing and mildly amusing stuff, maybe. And I liked it. However, there's a few GSP and formatting issues that need clearing out, and you could do with trying to vary your sentence construction a little bit.

No Regret, No Mercy, No Truth by Subtank

(Sing to the tune of You Are My Sunshine for best results.)
Oh fuck, a poem
I can't stand poems
I find reading them
An utter pain
Oh, well, alright then
I'm obligated
I'll give this one a try anyway

That wasn't bad though
It was far too short
And it felt more than
A bit cliché
I'll be consistent
And stick with kr
Poems don't count anyway!


Hence, the Pearls and the Boot
This week's Douglas Adams Award for Sheer Madness goes to Jay2645, for producing something that is incredibly bizarre (and somewhat laughable) but also quite enjoyable.

An Honourable Mention goes to Wolverfrog, simply for the massive improvement in characterisation and dialogue. I sincerely hope you keep writing and keep improving!

And finally, the Fic Pick Itself, along with all the illustrious trimmings attached to it, goes to Shurmanator, for another very good instalment of Veracity.

Anyway, that's all, with apologies to Subtank for not counting the poem: it's still good, and worth a read.


_________________
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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