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HALO: Iron Cross [Chapter One]

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:49 am    Post subject: HALO: Iron Cross [Chapter One] Reply with quote

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HALO: Iron Cross [Chapter One]
Posted by UNSC Trooper (
5 December 2007, 7:20 pm
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J. D. Ford

Joined: 20 Sep 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok...brace yourself for some consecutive nitpicking, here, because I feel compelled to get my point across.

I'd crop 'lighting' in the third sentence of the first para. to just 'light.' In sentence 2 of para. 4 you use the word 'fend' (meaning "to ward off") instead of 'defend' (meaning...well, it's pretty obvious what it means). You can only fend off something when it's right there in front of you, or currently attacking your position. However, you defend against an impending threat. The last sentence of paragraph 4 is, er...backwards. I would put the 'He remembered Silva's exact words' before the quote with a colon separating them. It's just two slightly disjointed sentences right now, with one lacking initial capitalization.

He shackled off a huddle of one meter wide impact craters encrusted into the dusty ground. Hundreds of stun grenade residues lay severed everywhere Scott could see.

Maybe I'm just not thinking clearly at this time of night, but neither of these sentences made much sense to me. I could be lacking knowledge of terminology like 'shackled off a huddle of,' but I think (regardless of the density of my skull...which I assure you is impressively thick at times) you could simplify this for the reader. A lot. And I've never heard of an impact crater being 'encrusted' into the ground.

The phrase "An invisible sniper always means trouble"--while very true--comes off sounding like a gross overstatement of the obvious. Especially considering how often you use the line in the first ten paragraphs. I mean...of course an invisible sniper always means trouble. A good sniper, and by that I mean one who has survived more than five actual missions in country, is almost always invisible (or should be). That's called good fieldcraft, and you have to learn it backwards and forwards or they'll fail you right out of scout/sniper training.

What I'm trying to say (nicely) is that your main character, who is supposed to be a combat veteran, thinks almost as dimly as a raw recruit. A combat veteran and squad leader wouldn't be running thoughts like these over the tip of his tongue in the middle of such a situation, training op or not. It just isn't believable for me.

Your description is pretty good, and your POV is rock solid, but I'm just not hooked here. I can't fully suspend my disbelief. What you could do (although I'm not sure you'd like it) is change the circumstances to fit the character. Make him a green he's practically a walking shrubbery. I know that eliminates a lot of initial respect the reader will have for the character, but they will be able to identify with him to a greater extent...AND believe he's a real person. Build up the man's respect as he learns and grows as a soldier. Make the reader care about him. Let them laugh at his inexperience.

I'm sorry to come down on you like really goes against my nature, and this isn't a bad story. It just needs quite a bit of work before I could, in good conscience, call it a satisfying read.

~J. D. Ford
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