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The Sharp Edge of a Knife: Part 2 of 3

 
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hboff
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:28 pm    Post subject: The Sharp Edge of a Knife: Part 2 of 3 Reply with quote

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The Sharp Edge of a Knife: Part 2 of 3
Posted by Arthur Wellesley (arthur_wellesly@hotmail.com)
7 July 2006, 4:34 am

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=Arthur_Welle0707060434071.html
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Mark25
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Initial read says -like the last chapter- it was really good. Scenery, especially the invading ship light between buildings in the chase scene was pro, I'll gladly take a few pointers from superior scene construction like that.

Character-wise, your folks seemed pretty unusual given their religious backgrounds (I take it Ahmed is not devout). Still, without genuine experience of religous types it can be a difficult thing to craft (I got two Hispanic dudes in mine and I struggle with anything above the stereotypical).

Did you omit the sex scene or was it never going to be in there?

Quote:
Without thinking, without even really wanting to, Ahmed ran to the window and flung himself bodily through it. The shattering glass cut his skin painfully, and as he landed on the pavement outside he felt several shards embed themselves in his feet.


I'm taking it his body was bare, yes? And if not, why not, he'd just been having a right merry old time. That snow would be quite startling when he landed on his rear after the chase! You neglected to mention his physical state so I can only presume from the context of the prior (omitted) scene. I'd have left the bold out: Had he not been thinking, he wouldn't have been not really wanting to, and had it crossed his mind that he did not really want to, he would have been thinking. Again, object defeated.

If I get some time, I'll return with a full review, if not: Great job.

Amazingly enough I've had next to nothing to do throughout the World cup and then all of a sudden the living room needs a new carpet, the spare room wants a fresh lick of paint and we apparently need bookshelves, ornament shelves and kitchen utensil shelves!

Speaking of books and I don't reccy very often (I like you thus far so), I'd recommend a particular tale of Sartres called The Wall. Very telling of certain traits that pop up when they are against the wall, which is essentially where your characters are. Try it, if you can find a good translation, you might like it.
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monitor101
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was sheer brilliance. 10/10
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Johny117
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was brilliance. I wonder what the Covenant will do in Part three.
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, they had sex. I omitted it because I thought any in depth description would have been gratuitous.

Quote:
Had he not been thinking, he wouldn't have been not really wanting to, and had it crossed his mind that he did not really want to, he would have been thinking. Again, object defeated.


Good point Confused

Thanks for the comments monitor, Johny.
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monitor101
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that is the first indication of sex in hboff histoy. Your a pioneer!
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I'm the first...

In any case, everything in this series is more than it appears...
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russ687
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You wrote:
It was not so big a change, really. His parents and sister had all died when he was just a boy, and he had spent most of his early days friendless and introverted. He found he could find no comfort for the horrible loss and loneliness he felt, and eventually stopped looking.


I remember bringing up points like this before, but I will again, just because I can. Make every effort to use the best word in any given scenario, not just a correct one. Look at the surrounding sentences; they are not complex or intricate, and are descriptions of emotions at a basic level (and thus, are impacting). Throwing in a word like "introverted" really throws off that basic feel. As you know as a reader and author, the intensity of feelings can be mangified by your word choice, and in some cases, the simpler you can say something, the deeper it goes. You had that going here, save for that word, which brings me to reiterate. Use the best word.

You wrote:
Ahmed lay in bed next to Miriam and sighed contentedly.


...Then popped a cig and switched on the TV to catch what's left of the UFC? Jokes aside, this was an interesting move to make. I don't consider a sexually explicit scene daring, especially this one, which was modest and did not contain anything offensive (good job there), but using it in your story—a story focused on foreboding of the inevitable Covenant assault—was a step out there. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned (or naive, whatever people call this now and days), but making that kind of connection with another person you barely know on the eve of what could be your last day is a bit of a stretch. Granted, you can find that kind of setup in a movie, but it's a bit harder to find that in a "real-life" scenario (forget that this is fanfiction).

You wrote:
It had been connecting with another person so intimately and doing something so primal, so fundamentally human, almost in protest to those who had come to kill them.


Here's something that I interpreted as contradictory to your story (the story so far, that is). Sexual desires are essential for life to continue, yes, but those desires are (in most cases) suppressed when other, more truly basic needs have not been met. I'm sure you're familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and if I were to base a contention off of it, I'd cite that physiological (biological, like food and water) and safety needs comes before affection or any of the higher desires in a human mind. So, in essence, you sort of destroyed the foreboding, the fear of death, by skipping to a higher "need" in your character (skipping above the safety element). After this, I don't feel the same fear of imminent attack from an alien race, of death or of a future.

You wrote:
They had made love frantically, desperately; they both sought solace in the idea, in the defiance, rather than in the pleasure itself.


And I think that was your move to try and fix what I brought up above, but it isn't quite that simple. Defiance cannot justify acts like that, especially for mature adults—this isn't little Suzy dating Bobby to make her father mad. Moreover, defiance would only apply if this act could hurt another party, and I can't see how this would have any effect on the Covenant and whatever they have planned for this planet.

I'm happy to know you aren't afraid to go places with your stories, but situations like this require more than just your ability to actually write it. They are also contingent upon the story, and what you are trying to build there. Honestly, I thought this destroyed a lot of what you built in chapter one, and your justification was unfortunently inadequate.

You wrote:
The inhabitants of the planet were doomed by either complacency or action. He had seen the inevitability of this fact in the alien's malicious eyes. Thus, fear of forcing the Covenant's hand became inconsequential.


I liked that a lot. In a few sentences, you summed up a lot of the reality plaguing the remaining people on this planet. Nicely done.

Overall, a good chapter. I already pointed out what I thought was wrong, but the rest was quite good as usual. Nice build up and chase scene with that Elite, that helped build a lot of tension and suspense to the ending. GPS was good, only noticed two errors, and the descriptions were all superb. I look forward to your next chapter.

-Russ
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm happy to know you aren't afraid to go places with your stories, but situations like this require more than just your ability to actually write it. They are also contingent upon the story, and what you are trying to build there. Honestly, I thought this destroyed a lot of what you built in chapter one, and your justification was unfortunently inadequate.


I am not sure. Up until this point, Ahmed resigned himself to death, and against a capital ship there was nothing he could do. Therefore, the survival instinct was not pressing. This was a danger out of sight, not something he could do anything about. Therefore, he had all this energy pent up inside, wanting to do something but unable. When faced with Miriam, he found that release. I would agree with you if they were on the run, fleeing some terror. But they weren't; they were just waiting to die.

Quite frankly, it is difficult to determine how you or anyone would act in that situation until we are in it. Perhaps they simply wanted to enjoy their last night alive, do something wild. Why not?

And sometimes, defiance is for our own benefit rather than causing any real harm to those who they wish to defy. Besides, this is not the final chapter...

- Arthur
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russ687
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know why you put it in there, but I still disagree with it as a character-building move. Of course, remember this is all opinion, so don't take what I'm trying to tell you as what everyone thought of it.

Arthur wrote:
I would agree with you if they were on the run, fleeing some terror. But they weren't; they were just waiting to die.


Sure, if they were on the run, this wouldn't come up. So, with them being holed up in a house, it is possible. However, my point was not to say that this wasn't something conceivable, but that it took back a lot of what you set up, mostly the foreboding and the gut-wrenching realization that their greatest enemy was within sight. Really, I can't picture passion like this when such darkness looms on the horizon, and that's why I believe it was a bad move.

Remember, it didn't ruin your story. Like you said, you've got one more chapter (and also remember that this is just my opinion). Keep going, and anxious to see where this ends.

-R
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I will also say, russ, that this story contains a certain amount of allegory and symbolism, some of which I have hinted at.

Final chapter tomorrow.
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