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Longsword R: Requiem
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:13 pm    Post subject: Longsword R: Requiem Reply with quote

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Longsword R: Requiem
Posted by Sterfrye36 (Sterfrye36@yahoo.com)
5 January 2007, 9:43 am

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=Sterfrye360105070943181.html
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some mechanical errors, but they can be discounted.

Discounting those errors, I don't think I've been that blown away for a long, long time. That was a thrill, I can tell you that right off the bat. I would never have expected anything like it in a long time - first, just as you're thinking something's gonna happen, there's a twist and a twist within a twist!

I also liked the part where Marcus is remembering James and his viewpoints. It's one of those times when you get two characters with totally opposing viewpoints together, and they somehow defy each others' expectations.

Dialogue was well-done and very believable. I also liked the playbill - and a great choice as well!

I liked the scene with the bombers. They have a nostalgic feeling - I miss the B-24 with its big greenhouse nose, twin rudders, and four engines, and I've always wondered if we'll ever see something like that again.

Man... I don't want to say anything more for fear of spoiling it - everyone reading this - WHY THE HELL ARE YOU READING THIS? Click the link and read that story now!

- Dave.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THIS, is the reason your my favorite author, Ster. Screw spoiling it for people:

Marcus' dream sequence was by all means the best dream I have ever seen written. The sheer panic I felt when Marcus was shooting his uncle to no avail hit me like a brick. Was everything up to James resurection a dream? It came off so real.

Yes, I waited three weeks to make this post. Call me Mr 1000.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thedarkfire wrote:
THIS, is the reason your my favorite author, Ster. Screw spoiling it for people:

Marcus' dream sequence was by all means the best dream I have ever seen written. The sheer panic I felt when Marcus was shooting his uncle to no avail hit me like a brick. Was everything up to James resurection a dream? It came off so real.

Yes, I waited three weeks to make this post. Call me Mr 1000.


Yes, everything up to that point was a dream. The reason it dragged a bit was because I wanted to establish the setting as firmly as I possibly could in people's minds. I didn't want them to allow themselves to think that it might not be real. And, from your review, it sounds like it was perfectly effective.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Talk about a 'whoa!'



I started reading expecting some sort of a space-age Top-Gun adventure, and in the beginning it did seem like that--banter, bad puns about fellatio, emo pilots ninja-poking each other in the eye--but unlike darkfire, I'd rather not spoil other people, so let's just say this: if Ster had included grokking in the story, it could not have been any more trippy. Awesome, though the very end--the scar on his palm--did puzzle me a bit, though I suppose it was deliberate on your part.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sooooo...is that a thumbs up or a thumbs down?

Also, what's with the picture? Confused Shocked Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a thumbs-up. The picture was to emphasize the surprise I felt. This might have been a better choice though:



Whoa!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mikuru Beam!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad you got this up so quickly (relative to the proofread, that is Very Happy ). I'll give it a read and post a review this weekend.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, look at all these recognizable authors popping up lately! I'm impressed.

I will get back to this - I have a very limited timeframe right now.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent job, Ster. This is a good deal smoother than the draft I read, and the pacing is much improved--especially at the beginning. Of course, you never had any pacing problems at the end.

Quote:
They arrived after only a few minutes of walking. Chase moved to open the door to the bay, but it slid open before he touched the controls and both pilots were gruffly knocked out of the way by a cart that was carrying a large assortment of foods. More carts followed, the personnel pushing them panting from the exertion. There were dozens of them, many so overloaded that food nearly spilled off with the slightest jolt. Others followed with electronic equipment, spare parts, and assorted odds and ends. Chase glanced at Marcus, one eyebrow arched in a confused look.
"I guess you weren't kidding when you said they were running everything up here. I lost count after forty of those things."

Good bit of detail here. This could easily been some boring narration, but you make it alive and vivid.

That bit with the carrots on board the Merlin was downright weird, but it helped explain why they weren't too happy to be on it in the first place. Strange crew. It also helps break up the truckload of exposition you give us during the trip planet side--and I mean that in a good way. You manage to give the reader a large amount of information using dialogue, and that makes it seem much more natural.

Quote:
When they entered the hangar, the pilots were worried that they might not be able find the head mechanic within the miles of square feet that t the hangars provided. The space was a relic from the Cold War. The original hangars had been built in 1957 to service the massive B-52 Stratofortress bombers. The "BUFFs" as they had been known, short for Big Ugly Fat Freaks, had been powerful machines, but in general, bombers' time had come and gone, replaced by strike fighters and orbital bombardment. It was sad, really, Marcus reflected as he entered the noisy, vast hangar. Bombers had been interesting planes. Big and slow at first, they had quickly evolved to become supersonic and stealthy demons, raining death from above, from the legendary B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator to the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit. The hangars bore tribute to the birds' size as the original hangars had been torn down centuries ago and had been replaced several times by increasingly high-tech and comfortable buildings. The new hangars still used some of the old foundations due to the enormous amount of floor space that it offered. The room that the structures offered had become an advantage as fighters became bigger and bombers began to be phased out. The UNSC still had a couple of the "big heavies" sitting in flyable storage in one of the hangars, though every UNSC pilot knew that "flyable storage" was the greatest oxymoron invented by mankind. Those few remaining bombers had most likely been cannibalized for spare parts.

Nice bit of history here. This sort of "by the way" commentary adds a lot to the believability of your story. You really put us there. You followed this with some more excellent information:
Quote:
At the back of the hangar was a bird that should have been retired years ago: the Rockwell B-763 Cutlass. It was big, bad, ugly, and, for lack of a better term, a bit of an anachronism. Unlike the Longsword, the Cutlass was not made with maneuverability in mind, but rather to bring the stick at hypersonic speeds from the upper atmosphere. Watching a Cutlass fight against ground fire at lower altitudes was like watching a pack of wolves attack an enraged elephant.
Its design was large and squat, though the lowest point of the airframe still hung thirty feet off the ground. Its only resemblance to the Longsword was in its flying wing design, but it was so much thicker that no one could mistake it for the fighter. The Cutlass's four gigantic Pratt and Whitney PDE-OV10 Bronco engines were built straight into the airframe, extending flush from the front of the flying wing to several feet past the trailing edge. No thrust-vectoring nozzles were equipped to the engines as the Cutlass didn't need maneuverability but relied on its insane speed to outrace AA fire and enemy fighters. Some pilots had compared it to the classic comic book character Juggernaut because of its ability to fly over things in straight lines.
Though to the untrained eye it appeared like an easy target, it compensated for its maneuvering shortcomings and large size with more than mere speed. Its radar-deflecting design, large ECM suite, self-defense weaponry, excellent A/G weapons systems, and absurdly large payload made it one tough bird. Indeed, a single Cutlass could carry more munitions than half a squadron of fully loaded Longswords.

Again, this pulls us in and makes us believe. And given the direction this story takes later, this really pays off.

Quote:
At first, that had surprised Marcus. He'd always viewed Christians as wussy, backwards hicks who went to a social club each Sunday morning. He even saw his own parents that way, though he still loved them as his family.
James had been different: he was eager to fight. Marcus couldn't figure it out. All throughout his childhood, Marcus had been told that peace was holy; Jesus was the Prince of Peace. It simply followed common sense that they'd all have no spine. But James…he relished a good fight, something that had challenged Marcus's views. At first, he'd tried to explain it away to himself by dismissing James as a fake who merely claimed to follow Jesus' teachings. During one of their heated debates in Afterburner, though, that stereotype was crushed.
Marcus, he remembered James saying, Jesus was no doormat. Remember, he kicked the traders out of the temple, knocked over their tables. He got mad.
Marcus had tried to counter by pointing out a verse that talked about turning the other cheek, but James parried the point by arguing that the Bible never called for people to be stupid.

Most fanfic writers leave religion/faith out of their stories completely--and given the role it plays in society, that serves to make their characters somewhat unrealistic. You, on the other hand, touch on some pretty sticky issues, but do it in such a way that the reader feels neither coddled nor preached at--and let me tell you, that ain't easy. My hat's off to you. If, however, you hadn't sprinkled it here and there throughout the story, that might not have been the case. But you don't use it as a hammer (as some would) but rather to give color and depth to the journey Marcus is on. In my opinion, that made all the difference.

I agree with Dave: excellent choice of plays. It hit just the right topics to set Marcus off.

Quote:
After only a few yards, however, something to the right caught his eye: an open, heavy oak door atop a few marble steps.
The fact that it seemed to be the only open door in the city didn't enter the major's mind as he bounded up the porch and neither did the fact that he recognized the inside of the door.
He ran through a small, oak walled anteroom that he'd come through many times before and was beginning to open another door when the realization began to dawn on him. It wasn't until after he had thrown open the second door and emerged into a large, cavernous room, that the full force of the situation hit him.

I'm in my old church.

The realization was a calm one, but it was enough to drop Marcus to his knees in shock, his disbelieving eyes scanning the room as his mind raced at a hundred miles an hour, but still got nowhere.
It was exactly the same as it had been years ago. Three separate columns of theatre seats reached from the pulpit, lightly decorated with flowers, all the way to the back of the auditorium. The widest column was in the middle, and was separated from the other two columns by a comfortably wide maroon carpeted aisle. The outside columns were flanked by loggias, open air hallways lined on the inside with pillars that led to doors that led deeper into the church. Light was provided by a few electric lamps hung high from the ceiling and thin stain glass windows that ran the length of the loggias.
The pulpit itself consisted of an ordinary wooden podium with a microphone, backed by a bench and a large table laden with communion cups and plates. Up above it and hidden behind another, larger, sliding stain glass window, resided the baptistery where Marcus had been baptized only a few years earlier. Everything was as it should have been; nothing was out of place. But Marcus had been baptized in an entirely different state.

I like how you set this up. Instead of immediately telling us that his home church was in a different state, you lead us on and then drop it on us after we've accepted, as Marcus did, everything that we've seen. Nice effect.

I won't quote it all (heaven knows, I've quoted enough already) but the sequence in the church is well done. I think you could have done more with the I'm being stalked angle, but then I'm pretty picky about the creepy stuff. Let me hit the high points:

Quote:
It took another two bullets before he realized that he might waste the only weapon he had trying to get out of the building through this single door. Surely there were other exits in this building. All he had to do was find one and then he could get away from the church and whatever it was that was following him. He could probably find a pay phone somewhere outside and call an automatic cab to pick him up. Failing that, he'd have to confront this—
The door rattled.

Nice little touch there--having the door rattle.
Quote:

The major skidded to a stop at the pulpit and swung his pistol into position. He didn't say anything or hesitate at all. The M6C kicked against the heel of his hand, roaring as it discharged five 12.7 millimeter rounds.
The bullets all connected with their target, slamming into Nix's shoulder, side, and back, eliciting red showers of blood that spilled onto the carpet. Incredibly, Nix didn't flinch or even react as he continued towards the young Marcus.

A lesser writer would have had the bullets pass through the man without effect, rather than having explosions of blood. That, and the fact that the man is otherwise unaffected, give this scene a dark, horrific, nightmarish quality. I also liked the fact that the blood was still evident after the man disappeared.

Quote:
"Goooood!"

If your intent was to have him scream "God!" here, it would have been better to do it differently. This stopped me dead, because it seems like he's screaming "Good!" and, needless to say, that didn't fit the scene at all. Since adding vowels in the middle makes it a different word, it would have been better to just spell it correctly and use description to achieve the desired effect.

Ster, this was an incredible chapter. It started out a bit slow, but once it got rolling at the end, it became a real ride. Every time I felt that I had it figured out, you threw another curve. I love stories like that. You also managed to hit on subjects like child abuse within the church, the response of Christianity (and the individual Christian) to homosexuality, and even the many uses of a carrot in zero gravity. Done a different way, this chapter could have been preachy and offensive, but you deftly avoided such pitfalls. Gripping, surprising, shocking--they all apply. Now don't make us wait nine months for the next one Wink

C.T. Clown
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Sterfrye36
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reviews, folks! Cool
Dave Luck wrote:
Some mechanical errors, but they can be discounted.

The curse of editing at 3:45 a.m., I'm afraid. *Grins sheepishly*

Quote:

Discounting those errors, I don't think I've been that blown away for a long, long time. That was a thrill, I can tell you that right off the bat. I would never have expected anything like it in a long time - first, just as you're thinking something's gonna happen, there's a twist and a twist within a twist!


Excellent. That was exactly the effect that I had been hoping for. I was worried they'd all be too much, but apparently not.

Quote:

I also liked the part where Marcus is remembering James and his viewpoints. It's one of those times when you get two characters with totally opposing viewpoints together, and they somehow defy each others' expectations.


Yeah, I really liked writing that contrast part. Of course, Marcus's views are opposite mine, so it was interesting to get inside my character's head like that.
Quote:


Dialogue was well-done and very believable. I also liked the playbill - and a great choice as well!

I liked the scene with the bombers. They have a nostalgic feeling - I miss the B-24 with its big greenhouse nose, twin rudders, and four engines, and I've always wondered if we'll ever see something like that again.

It's interesting. For some reason, it seems everyone comments on my dialogue. I can only guess, but Johnson O'Connor said I had all three musical aptitudes they tested for (pitch, rhythym, and something else), which means that I'm able to hear the dialogue in my head pretty easily. Makes it a lot easier to get down on paper. The playbill was taken from a playbill I found online, so that's not my own writing there, but I tweaked it a little bit to make it flow better. And, believe it or not, I actually knew what the play was before I stuck it in there. I'd happened to talk by the theatre it was showing at on Broadway two summers ago. And yeah, the big heavies are sweet. B-52 and B-1 are still in service, though, so they ain't gone yet.

thedarkfire wrote:

THIS, is the reason your my favorite author, Ster. Screw spoiling it for people:

Marcus' dream sequence was by all means the best dream I have ever seen written. The sheer panic I felt when Marcus was shooting his uncle to no avail hit me like a brick. Was everything up to James resurection a dream? It came off so real.

Yes, I waited three weeks to make this post. Call me Mr 1000.


Okay, no one's ever called me their favorite before. Thanks, man, that means a lot. Smile Heh. I'm sure Chuckles could quite handily outdo me in a dream sequence if he were to write one in. And I'm glad you actually felt panic. By the time I was writing that scene, I was worried that it would seem too cartoony, but I'm glad that it worked well. And, once again, yes, everything up to James's resurrection was a dream: leaving the Mav, flying on the Merlin, the city, the church, everything. James's resurrection, is however, quite real. And thanks for waiting three weeks for me, man. Embarassed Smile

SeverianofUrth wrote:

...if Ster had included grokking in the story, it could not have been any more trippy.


Grokking? And the more I see that pic, the more I laugh.

Chuckles wrote:

Excellent job, Ster. This is a good deal smoother than the draft I read, and the pacing is much improved--especially at the beginning. Of course, you never had any pacing problems at the end.


Thank heaven. The first draft was an oil tanker compared to this speedboat. Of course, the better pacing couldn't have been made without your help, Chuck.

Quote:

That bit with the carrots on board the Merlin was downright weird...

...and, sadly, based on some people I know, though their personalities aren't truly in there.

Razz
Quote:
And given the direction this story takes later, this really pays off.

I wasn't just whistling Dixie. The Cutlasses won't just disappear. And thanks.

Cool

Quote:
You, on the other hand, touch on some pretty sticky issues, but do it in such a way that the reader feels neither coddled nor preached at...


Phew. As I told you, that was my biggest concern about this chapter. Especially when Marcus was in the taxi, I kept worrying if I was laying it on too thick.

Quote:
I agree with Dave: excellent choice of plays. It hit just the right topics to set Marcus off.


*Pumps fist in the air* Yes!!!

Quote:
I like how you set this up. Instead of immediately telling us that his home church was in a different state, you lead us on and then drop it on us after we've accepted, as Marcus did, everything that we've seen. Nice effect.


All thanks to your telling me that I was telling, not showing. I fixed that. Wink

Quote:
I think you could have done more with the I'm being stalked angle...
Yeah, you're right. It is more than in the original, though.

Quote:
but then I'm pretty picky about the creepy stuff.


Yep, you are. Wink Not that I mind, of course. This chapter would sorta suck if you hadn't been so picky.

Quote:
Nice little touch there--having the door rattle.


Thought you'd be proud of that one. Smile

Quote:
If your intent was to have him scream "God!" here, it would have been better to do it differently. This stopped me dead, because it seems like he's screaming "Good!" and, needless to say, that didn't fit the scene at all. Since adding vowels in the middle makes it a different word, it would have been better to just spell it correctly and use description to achieve the desired effect.


And that, aside from the editing errors, is my biggest regret about this chapter. Embarassed

Quote:
Every time I felt that I had it figured out, you threw another curve. I love stories like that. You also managed to hit on subjects like child abuse within the church, the response of Christianity (and the individual Christian) to homosexuality, and even the many uses of a carrot in zero gravity. Done a different way, this chapter could have been preachy and offensive, but you deftly avoided such pitfalls. Gripping, surprising, shocking--they all apply. Now don't make us wait nine months for the next one Wink


Yeah, I really wanted to break out. Generally speaking (and especially in "Battle for the Norah"), I kind of had one, maybe two plot twists every few chapters. Even earlier in my series, my lone twists were the cloaked Seraphs and the cloaked Covie ship. Not exactly earth shattering. I just wanted to go nuts with this chapter and see how far I could go. Honestly, I sort of wanted to put my own twist on your writing, Chuck. I hope it didn't feel like you were reading your own stuff (as good as it is, and that's very good, I wanted to be original), but you were sort of my inspiration here, along with Ray Bradbury. I kinda went for a "Waking the Dead" crossed with "Farhenheit 451". Looks like it worked. Razz

And I'll work on the timing. Maybe only four months this time... Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whew, man, this thing is a long one. Read through half of it and was completely sucked in. I will say one thing before I take off for the night (gonna go to bed so I'm not too tired when I wake up for school), the dialogue is extremely realistic. Not forced, awkward, or misplaced - it's very smooth flowing and I feel like I can hear the conversation. My only gripe, near the beginning, was that it seemed you were trying to hard to cut off the characters from swearing. Not really big, but to get interrupted every single time?

I will read the other half tomorrow, provided my power is still on (big winds coming through here lately), so I have something to look forward to. I didn't read the comments, because I know that someone would've spoiled something for me, but I can already tell this was a hit.

I'll be back
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very impressed, my friend, not really anything to pick out, besides a couple misspellings and indentation mix up. Razz But hey, that would be expected with a story this size.

Now, I did realize that Marcus was dreaming during that one part, when he was in the alley (as someone who likes a lot of twists, the 'this is a dream' one is usually the most obvious), but I did not expect you to jump back so far in the story. I really liked that.

I also really liked how you made me cringe when he saw his uncle approaching him as a young boy - that kind of stuff hits me hard, and you did it really well. Plus, the fact that he couldn't stop his uncle added to the intensity.

This chapter was very well done, a good turnout for all the hard work you put into it. Started off a bit slow, but once that ball started rolling, everything got more crazy and exciting until the ball exploded at the end, leaving us reeling.

Great job, Ster, and don't forget to rip out those snake smiles. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the read, dude. It was nice with a cup of Earl Gray. Smile
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