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In Death's Grey Land -- Section I

 
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hboff
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:22 am    Post subject: In Death's Grey Land -- Section I Reply with quote

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In Death's Grey Land -- Section I
Posted by J. D. Ford (fordyman@comcast.net)
20 September 2007, 1:31 am

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=J._D._Ford0920070131191.html
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:59 pm    Post subject: Thanks in advance... Reply with quote

Hey folks,

Just wanted to say thanks in advance to anyone determined enough to read my work (much less comment on it here!). I'm predominantly a writer of speculative fiction with the intent to publish, but felt this story concept strongly drawing me toward a recreational project that's evolved over the past two years into what you see here on HBO.

I'd be happy to answer any questions on the piece...either here or (as HBO would prefer, I imagine, since this forum is primarily for reader comments/critiques) on the dedicated blog.

Again, thanks for reading!

~ J. D. Ford
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Last edited by J. D. Ford on Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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Spartan006
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um...First off, try and not make your stories extremely long, especially if it is a series. Extremely long stories turn most people away. I don't have time to go through the entire story now, but I'll try and get to the rest of it later.
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^^
I would very much appreciate it.

However, in terms of length, Section I still falls under the industry standard 17k words for a short story. IDGL is actually one story, but I'm releasing it episodically because of its length. Be glad I didn't try to put it up in its entirety.

Wink

Secondly, I wrote this for a very specific audience (Halo fans who are familiar with the canon literature), and subsequently assumed that if they were willing and able to read the novels, this shouldn't be a problem. That is, of course, assuming that they made the conscious choice to read this story.

It's not like I'm twisting anyone's arm. If someone feels that it's too long, they shouldn't read it.

[Edited to add: I'm not trying to be the argumentative writer defending his work, here (they annoy me as much as the next critiquer)...just explaining the reasons behind the story's length.

I suppose the best reason is that I simply couldn't tell the story well, in my opinion, with any fewer words. And this piece has undergone revisions for over a year, with a helluva lot of trimming.

So I apologize if I came off a bit too defensive.]

~ J. D. Ford
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Last edited by J. D. Ford on Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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MC's Cousin
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not too defensive at all, Ford. Your defense is solid. It is a reader's choice. What '006 was getting at, though, was that some people that are just skimming through stories might click into a long piece and go "Whoa! Nevermind..." But, don't worry about that. If someone wants to read your piece, they will read it.

I would suggest, however, in the forum just sticking a little disclaimer that states that your story is pretty long, so that people will know before hand, and be prepared.

I'll have to stop back by a little later. (I know... Sorry for the two laters in the row.) At a glance, it looked quite nice. I'll look forward to reading.
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vector40
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ford, the more salient takeaway point may be that this isn't the ideal venue for a long story -- leastways not one that you want to be read and commented on -- rather than that there's anything intrinsically wrong with the format.
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. I see. So can you recommend a more appropriate location for this story? I haven't been able to find one (at least, not one where posters don't talk "liek this, cuz its just what we do hear...haha your dumb@$$ story sux, roflmao!").

Confused

~ J. D. Ford
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vector40
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I don't think there's any public nexus for Halo fan fiction that even approaches this one in size.

You certainly may get good feedback here; I'm just suggesting that you don't get too expectant of a major flood of keen readers.

Really the best way may be private circles, but those obviously trade overall numbers away for higher quality and rate-of-return.
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Azrael
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The length issue has been addressed; those who will read it will read it, those who don't will miss out on a very good story.

I admire very much your loyalty to canon, and I think this story stands out because the characters are well thought out and not at all mainstream. You won't see MC in here, but you will get an interesting look at a very young Catherine Halsey. The addition of her father was great, and you can see where Catherine gets her attachment to "her" Spartans.

The prelude to "Armor Testing," or whatever the chapter in the graphic novel is called, is fantastic, my favorite section in this piece. Leonidas' realization that he can no longer do what he was made to do is heartbreaking, but I loved his desire to help in any way AND get a glimpse at the next generation. The whole exchange between Maria and him, finishing in "It spikes like a bitch!" is the best part of the entire story, though you would think that Maria would get it quicker, being a super-soldier and probably having faster powers of logical thinking, etc. You handled it masterfully.

The scene inside the Prowler also stands out for its realism in dialog and vivid imagery. We're THERE. We see the yellow ball. We see each character's personality. What I tell younger writers is to "Show, don't tell," and that's EXACTLY what you did. Everything we need to know about who these soldiers are is shown through their actions and words. Really, REALLY good stuff here.

My only disagreement with this is the Spartan code names. I can understand the symbolism and the literal interpretation of the "Spartan" program, but it felt a bit forced. Unless this was a part of canon that I haven't seen, I think I would have rather had names. If the young soldier that Marcus was first talking about survived and was one of the members of that special operations team, I didn't know.

That's my only complaint. Terrific work, I hope to see more from you here soon.
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Honorus
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Very good. Read like a published novel. My only critique lies with the use of the actual Spartan names for the character's code names as it made it a little hokey. But otherwise very good. When can we be expecting the other sections to be posted?
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The Militant Poet
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, it took me quite a while to read it completely, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Your imagery of Spartan training and testing is unmatched by mostly everyone I have read except for Nylund himself. Azrael put it best - you showed, you didn't tell. I read both of your pieces before commenting, and it definately made my day. your thought and insight on the Halo universe, as well as repect to cannon, not only made this piece believable, but it is one of the few pieces of Fan Fiction that could be theorized, analyzed, and hopefully cannonized.

I think you should try to get this series as public as possible, because you can absolutely get a following going with your talent. Consider me your first fan.
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UNSC Trooper
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just love your writing style, it's kind of similar to Nylund's in some ways, which is a very good thing.

As for ...
The Militant Poet wrote:
your thought and insight on the Halo universe, as well as repect to cannon, not only made this piece believable, but it is one of the few pieces of Fan Fiction that could be theorized, analyzed, and hopefully cannonized.

The chances of any fan fiction getting canonized are pretty much 0/0. Not trying to be a jerk, but it's just how things are in writing Fan Fiction. Sad
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the positive feedback, guys. More than anything else, it's a huge impetus to finish this story arc and move on to bigger and better things (namely, my original fiction).

Poet, I really appreciate your enthusiasm for the future of IDGL, though I never approached this project with such returns in mind. Nor do I intend to. It would be insanely awesome if all that happened, but I've had enough past experience with Fan Fiction (mostly in my middle school years, over a decade ago, when I wrote utterly horrid Star Trek stories) to know this endeavor is fruitless, in terms of moving forward in my writing career.

But then, I didn't start writing IDGL for the benefit of my writing career (other than to get back in the swing of things after a long break), or for accolades and acknowledgement from the brass. I'm writing it for you. For the Halo fan, the reader of published canon, the gamer stuck in the Library on Legendary for the tenth time (just for fun, of course).

And I'm still writing it because I'm just not ready to quit...I have a story to tell, and I really enjoy telling it. These characters--some my own, others not...or not entirely--have grabbed me by the literary horns like a rodeo clown on amphetamines.

So thank you for the kind words. Just because they probably can't (and most likely won't) come true doesn't make them any less meaningful for a writer to hear.

As Tobey Maguire once said, "It's nice to have a fan."

Very Happy

P.S. You don't sound like a jerk, Trooper...you sound like a realist.


~J. D. Ford
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