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A Parent's Love
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hboff
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:14 pm    Post subject: A Parent's Love Reply with quote

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A Parent's Love
Posted by Jester (jre333@bellsouth.net)
15 August 2005, 8:51 pm

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=Jester0815052051561.html
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thedarkfire
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Joined: 03 Aug 2004
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Location: Thousand post land. Oh look! A pidgeon!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
They were deead. I'll never know if I could haave looved them or not. You have that chance. Take it."


I thought you fixed that on your internet?

Anyway, pretty darn good work. I really got into the head of Eric and awkward transitions into the normal world. I did notice some grammar points needing to be taken care of.

Good job son.
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
His parent's were good people that much he could tell.


I found that rather jarring: here's my take on it:

Quote:
His parents were good people; that much he could tell.


To tell you the truth, I don't think the line that much he could tell works well enough as, say, that much he knew.

Also, the very beginning: I wasn't a big fan of the storm, doom, and gloom. I understand that you're trying to set the mood for the rest of the story, but also remember that sometimes contrast can be used to great effect.

Otherwise, great, dude. I don't know if you'll take this as a compliment, but it reminds of the stuff I did when I was a young boy living in the hills of Arkansas...
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Jester
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Joined: 26 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I meant to post a short note on here before anyone got to it. It seems that I didn't get my internet problem fixed. I'm working on it.

Thanks for the comments.
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Pooman
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Joined: 18 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:10 pm    Post subject: Nice job. Reply with quote

That was a emotional story. I enjoyed it. There were some spelling problems, but I suppose those are common. I think this is going to be a great series, i'm looking forward to the other chapters and any other work from you. This is the first story I have read like this, and thank you for making it good! 9.8/10
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Jester
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Joined: 26 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. This isn't actually a series. I'm instead writing a lot of standalone stories that explore the background of some of my already established stories. The spelling problems are the cause of an internet security problem I have that deletes words from my stories and posts. I have to spell some words wrong to get them to stay.
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'Nosolee
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good story, a lot of character development here.

9.5/10
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Jester
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I love writing characters more than anything else.
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Pink Skittles
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i enjoyed reading your story Smile
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Jester
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
i enjoyed reading your story


That's one of the best comments an author can get. Thanks.
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Guardian
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ever had a day like this 2 was your best yet. This was good, but not as good as that one.

"Why?
Too stupid to live" hehehe. Good one.
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Jester
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He he he. I didn't write that story, so I don't know what your talking about. he he he.
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Chuckles
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It took me about a week longer than I planned to review this. One look at the title told me that I might find it interesting--and I was not disappointed. Although the "Spartan dilemma" (kidnapped at age six, replaced by flawed clones, etc) is one of the most rich and interesting subjects in the Halo universe, it is also one of the most ignored. You can read Halo fanfiction for weeks on end without coming across a single story that addresses the sorrow caused by the immoral practices of the SPARTAN program. When the Spartans are mentioned, we usually get a sterile two-dimensional portrayal that exalts the good and ignores the bad. I find this strange because Eric Nylund dealt with the program's questionable ethics in both of his Halo books. In fact, it is this moral dilemma and not Colonel Ackerson that is presented as Halsey's main conflict. When I wrote a short story about it called Father's Eyes, one of the most frequent comments from readers was that it was the first story they had ever read that looked at the dark side of the SPARTAN program.

So why is it that nobody seems to care? I think there are two main reasons. First, I think that a lot of fanfic authors struggle when it comes to writing any emotion deeper than a soldier venting frustration on the battlefield. What we usually get is something like this:

Quote:
"@#$%!# it, Sarge, those %!@#$ Covie sons of @!%&# killed Kyle! They $!#!@% killed Kyle!"

Sergeant Jones turned to the young soldier, his wearied eyes saying more than a shelf full of books. "Suck it in son! You're a $%&!!# Marine, so #%$&@ act like it! Kyle is gone! Now that #%$&!@ stinks like a $%#!@$ steaming pile of %$!!#@, but you can't @#%!$ bring him back!" Suddenly he smiled and tossed the young soldier a fresh clip for his BR. "But you can make those Covie @&!$#!% pay!"

Creating emotions that seem natural and genuine is not nearly as easy, and it can be intimidating.

The second reason people avoid it is the widespread belief that a plot primarily about emotion can not be as interesting as the blood, guts and action of a plot primarily about war (I won't deal with it here, but I see this as a false dichotomy to begin with). Problem is, most writers know even less about writing action than they do about writing emotion. The difference is that, while everyone takes a stab at action, few will risk the idea of a series or short story that relies on emotion. And here is the kicker: good action and good emotion come from the very same place--good character development. Without that, nobody will care what happens in your story. Well, enough of the soap box . . . time for the review.

It is obvious by now that I am glad to see someone writing on this subject. I thought that you placed your character in places that allowed you to exploit the interest and emotion that this topic can generate. But I did see some problems.

First, if this kid was taken from his parents at the age of six and his parents had thought that he was dead for thirteen years, then even if the clone died immediately, that would make Eric at least nineteen years old. That being the case, I think that you make him sound too young and immature. A nineteen year-old Spartan is going to have nearly machine-like control of his actions. That is why they are trained from such a young age. Therefore it seems way out of character for you to have him toy with the "rat like" kid, and especially for him to be so easily provoked into a fight by that kid in the high school. And that leads to another question: why is a man who is at least nineteen years old attending high school in the first place? It just did not seem to fit. That whole story-line would have made more sense if Eric had been in his early teens. When you have a character reacting so quickly with seemingly little thought, he will come across as either shallow (at best) or fake (at worst). You need to give your characters a deeper well of reasoning and emotion to draw from. Spartans (even the rogue Spartans that I use in my fics) are slow-burning emotionally. They need good reason to act. Just look at John's encounter with the ODST's in his first workout after recovering from augmentation in Eric Nylud's novel The Fall of Reach. John was only fourteen years old at the time, while your character is much older.

But your biggest problem is that this chapter went by much too quickly. This could have easily been two or three times as long because there was not nearly enough detail. Settings were not adequately described, so it was very hard to visualize what was happening. The most serious consequence was in character development. At the beginning of your chapter, Eric struggles because he feels that his parents are mere strangers. At the end you write this exchange between Eric and his father:
Quote:
"I'll miss you son."

"I'll miss you too. Tell mom that I love her." The two locked eyes for a second, sharing their love with a single look.

The problem is that you did little or nothing in the story to bridge the gap between Eric feeling that his father was a stranger, to feeling love for him. You went so quickly from Eric's arrival to his departure that the relationship between him and his parents is never developed--and that makes the scene at the spaceport emotionless and confusing. Next time answer some simple questions. How did Eric come to love his parents? What caused his change of heart? Why would he promise to return? As far as I could tell, there was nothing in your entire chapter that would lead me to believe that he would want to set foot on that planet again. Here are some more questions that, once answered, would have given you much needed character development:

--What was his mother's reaction to his outward coldness? Did she cry herself to sleep at night?

--Did his parents have memories of him as a loving child? Did those memories cause them grief once they saw what Eric had become? Did they feel that they had truly lost their little boy?

--How do his parents feel about the SPARTAN Program? Are they furious? When John shows up, do they blame him?

--Did his parents get attached to the clone? Were they devastated when the clone died? How did they react? Did the father turn to the bottle? Did they almost divorce? This had to be a life-changing event in their lives--show how it changed them.

Those are just a few of the questions you could have answered to give your characters depth. Remember: without character development your story loses it's punch, because we can't care about people unless we know them.

Well, Jester, sorry for such a long post. Even though this may have seemed largely negative, I hope that you don't take it that way. I complain the most where I see the most potential. I loved the direction that you took this story in, but it was just too rushed. Take the time to carefully paint your world using vivid details. Develop your characters by putting them into situations and letting the reader see how they react. You have a great imagination and a lot of talent. I look forward to seeing this story and your writing move forward.

C.T. Clown
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Jester
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the critisicm. I'll do my best to improve upon all these things. I'm truly not all that intereested in action, but rather emotions and characters.
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sdn
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Although the "Spartan dilemma" (kidnapped at age six, replaced by flawed clones, etc) is one of the most rich and interesting subjects in the Halo universe, it is also one of the most ignored.

Feathers in the Wind will be just for you. Smile

Just to reiterate what Chuckles said - emotion is your story. We're all human beings, and as such we are used to relating to and interpreting the emotions and actions of people around us. It's how we connect to other people. If the reader can't put him or her self in the character's shoes, they won't care. It's much easier to relate to a fictional character that seems human; if they don't there can be no connection - and the character will be nothing more than a camera or a plot device.

Fiction is the story of people; it's about them. Things happen to them, they make decisions, and they make mistakes - and that's the plot. Charcters don't watch the plot. They and their actions are the plot. If they don't feel real, anything that relies on them will read more like a history book than fiction.
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