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Countdown to Zero

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:21 pm    Post subject: Countdown to Zero Reply with quote

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Countdown to Zero
Posted by Aaron Burgess (
25 August 2008, 9:30 pm
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Useful Dave

Joined: 06 May 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say you did a good job in terms of the length for a story, when I put it into word it turned out to be about thirty pages which is quite good in terms of length, a long read without stretching it out so far that the reader loses interest.

The story itself, I found rather confusing. 'Section Zero' is a subject which has been touched on in a few stories before if I remember correctly, with this being one.

To begin with, we're immediately thrown into this team of characters, without being told if they are ODST, SPARTANs, Marines or something completely new. This means that people would form their own conclusions as to the image of the team, not the one you intended for them. When running through the sections of ONI, the characters knew rather alot for a simple 'ground pounding' team, especially when AIs such as Cortana had to hack to get into records such as the SPARTANs, so that seemed abit strange that they could just roll off information about military intelligence.

The 'supercruiser' Stonewall I found rather overdone, when a orbital SMAC requires generators on the planet to power it, how can they fit one with ammunition and power supply into a cruiser within the space of a year after their planet was invaded and even partially glassed? If it was made before then, how did it even survive the war? Wouldn't the UNSC have pitched it in at Reach or Earth?

The number of loyalist ships was abit extreme also, that is more ships than they sent to attack Sigma Octanus, just because one station had its systems go down? If you were attempting to present a impossible foe for the Stonewall, twenty ships at maximum would have done the job as well as nearly eighty of them, without it seeming like the station was home to the Covenant's secret stash of spare Prophets.

Theres abit more, but I'll leave that for others to point out, rather than just slamming down a chunk of text to be overcome at once.

And, this may seem like an odd question, but do you live near Manchester? Because your name sounds rather famillar.
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Posts: 435
Location: UNSC Frigate September

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, this is gonna be long. Don't let it discourage you, though. Do me a favoor and at least skim it, because I think at least some of what I say could be of help.

First of, you need to slow down. Take your time, try to get it out in pieces rather than all at once. You have thirty pages here, but easily twice that potential material, you just rushed through to the next scene.

Like Dave said, you need more description in your opening. You use your timestamp to explain where they are, but that's the only mention we get of setting. You give us characters and their names, but not anything about them besides that. Presumably they're Spartans and Solipsil is an AI, but why would one of your characters be hacking rather than the AI? Why were they even there? You gave us a brief reason about tracking asignal, but that's it, just a token objective.

Dave's got points about the Stonewall, too. A supercarrier only a year after Earth, with that much armament? There better be a damn good reason it was kept away, because it would take years to build a ship like you described. The Covenant ships show up for no apparent reason and in huge numbers, too, and that whole short scene is a little confusing. Did the Loyalist ships just jump in with the Brutes, or were they already there? They just seem to appear. Also, Atin is the captain of this ship when you refer to him as Chief on the station? Don't buy it. Special ops soldiers, even Spartans, don't command ships. You've got yourself a Sue forming, too, but I'll get to that later.

Next, the RepCom references. Atin I could maybe buy, you could just be borrowing the name. But dar'yaim? That's a Mandalorian word, and that makes no sense in the context of a Halo story, unless your characters like 500 year old Traviss novels. You're writing your characters as Republic Commandos, too. Make them your own instead of fitting them into the role of a videogame character. Especially a game unrelated to Halo.

So, my piece of advice for you? You're already finished, you have your complete story, but you could do better, and the story itself could have potential. I'd say start over, and take your time. That opening scene on the space station? Not a full page in Word. You could expand that to at least two, or as much as five, and that would make a great prologue. Spend some time describing the station, letting us get to know your characters, show us in detail what their mission was. Even if you don't want to start over, I'd suggest doing that just for practice.

I know this wall of text is probably imposing, but don't let it discourage you. You've obviously got a lot of drive if you write a thirty page story, and that's great. Everyone has room for improvement, though, and you just need a bit more practice. I'd like to see you keep writing, and if you ever need any help or have any questions, the posters here are all willing to help out.

One more thing. If you don't know what a Mary Sue is, you've got one. You share a username with your character, who is both a special forces NCO and commander of a massive warship. Sounds a bit ridiculous, especially considering you share your name. Bad sign in writing. Characters like that often seem over the top and as a kind of self-gratification. Be careful.
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