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Scuttling the Eternal Damnation (Part One)

 
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hboff
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject: Scuttling the Eternal Damnation (Part One) Reply with quote

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Scuttling the Eternal Damnation (Part One)
Posted by Matthiasthe14th (Sturgeonsurgeon1984@yahoo.com)
8 July 2006, 8:53 am

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=Matthiasthe10708060853301.html
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Chuckles
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have an easy, free style of writing that engages the reader. Since most fanfics are written by young, relatively inexperienced writers, they tend to be rigid and self-conscious--but you are not that way at all. Now, that is mostly a benefit, but taken to an extreme, it can also be a hinderance. During the banter between Harver and the whatever-they-are's I found myself wondering whether this was a comedy. Look at this exchange:
Quote:
Jimmy raised his hand meekly. "Uh, yeah, I do, sir. First, are we really this expendable? Second, do we have any other mission to occupy ourselves with? You know, one that doesn't guarantee our grisly death? Because we're not Spartans, and we aren't exactly up to their level anyway. This kind of seems like suicide. Plus, are you saying that you want us to stay on the ship until it explodes?"

Harver frowned. "I label you 'Not a team player.' Actually, I've decided that Matt will be the squad leader. Matt, please get your team in order, and get their gear in armory 46-C. You'll be moving out at 0530 hours."

If this is a serious story (that is, not primarily a comedy) then this exchange is unrealistic and even "cutesy". I'm not saying that you can't have humor in your story, but there are some things that simply don't fit into a serious story that, nonetheless, work well in a comedy. That exchange is one of those things. I liked the fact that you had him pointing out something that was waaaay too obvious because that helped show the reader that he was imcompetent. But when you go all the way to having him sound like a miffed PhysEd teacher picking a new team captain ... that is going too far. It hurts believability, and therefore risks taking the reader out of the story.

Look at this:
Quote:
The first, STS-31, or Matt, as he was called, was about six-two, twenty-seven years of age, lean, and naturally—handsome. He was the quickest of the four. His dark brown hair was longer than regular soldiers were allowed to have, but it was more than plausible that Harver had conveniently been lax on that rule for all of them. The General never was responsible, and nobody knew how the man got the job.

The second, twenty-two year-old Jimmy, was about five foot eleven, build like a brick outhouse, and had short blonde hair that stuck up at odd angles. He had been a champion weightlifter in every military establishment in which he'd spent over a month. His codename was more on the cool side for him, since it came "first" in the number line; codename STS-19.

Sabina STS-22 was of Russian descent, five foot ten, twenty-four, with jet black hair and piercing blue eyes that really unsettled the guys. She was trained as an urban sniper, and took great pride in that fact. After all, urban snipers are the best, according to her. Despite all the rigorous training and skirmishes she had gone through, she was still as beautiful as ever, never plump, chunky, and fat like Matt and Jimmy constantly teased her about being. Her personality was solemn, and while most thought her totally void of emotion, her close friend knew she had a soft spot in her heart for romance, and, really, for Matt.

This "close friend" was Jessie, her sniping partner. Jessie was also tall, almost as tall as Matt. But the striking difference was that Jessie was not a guy, but a girl. To couple that with her flaming red hair, her young age of twenty-three, and her outspoken nature she was a very noticeable woman. She was always speaking her mind, and in turn, always had enough room in her mouth for both feet, and perhaps some more. Despite all this, she managed to keep her codename, STS-25, under wraps from most people.

Sometimes this sort of "ton of bricks" exposition works, sometimes it doesn't. Usually, it doesn't. It is better to let these details come out in the course of the story. These things can be slid in just about anywhere as you go along, and if you do it right, the reader doesn't even know that they are being fed exposition. Given your style of writing, I don't think that this would be hard for you. You seem to have the ability to throw in details here and there in a smooth and natural manner.

This goes along with my first critique, but I think that you need to make your soldiers a bit more professional. Having all of these supposedly elite soldiers flinch when one of them says they are going to test a shotgun is a bit too much. If they are elite, have them act as such. That doesn't mean that they can't have attitude and edges; just that they aren't going to act as if they haven't been trained at a high level.

That said, I did enjoy the almost total lack of rigidity in your writing. You were able to give your characters some very genuine reactions and that helped make it seem real.
Quote:
Protecting their eyes with their arms from the constant blast of dust and air, STS team clambered into their pelican and took their seats. As they strapped themselves in, they noticed a squad of marines reciprocate their movements in another pelican on the other side of the bay. Dang, I hope they're coming with us, Matt thought, sweating profusely.

"STS team," came the distinctly male voice of their pilot over the helmet comms, "I am your pilot, Delta-16. Delta-34 will be carrying Charlie squad, who will be accompanying you to the target, if they can survive the LZ. If anybody can. I believe you'll also find the H&E in the locker to the left of the cockpit door. Try not to forget them on the way out."

"Ten-four," Matt acknowledged.

The two pelicans gracefully rose into the air and up through the seemingly never-ending vertical tunnel, following the enormous train of spotting lights to the surface.

I thought that part was very well written. Your details are smooth and your characters are thoroughly believable. Nicely done.

I like your style. If you tighten things up a bit by making your soldiers act more like the elite soldiers they are, and observe a little more military etiquette, I think that your stories will gain a following. Those little things are what sometimes separate the good writers from the OK writers. You have more than enough potential to be a good one.

I'll be looking for your next chapter.

C.T. Clown
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Matthiasthe14th
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Joined: 25 Dec 2005
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Location: Je m'en fiche.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review, Chuckles! I will endevour to comform my next chapters and stories to the proffesional way! At this point, constructive critisism is better for me than praise. Very Happy

Thank you again,

Matt
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