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Seven Days: Part Six of Seven

 
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hboff
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:25 pm    Post subject: Seven Days: Part Six of Seven Reply with quote

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Seven Days: Part Six of Seven
Posted by SeverianofUrth
30 December 2008, 6:31 am

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=SeverianofUr1230080631511.html
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To whoever may read this,

Parts six and seven are from rough drafts I found while trying to dig up one of my papers from last semester. I wanted to finish the series, but as I tried to write, I found that I couldn't remember anything about the story, and had to rely on what I had written down from two years ago to improvise as I went along. In the end, asides from a few changes to coding or commas, the bulk of the text remains the same as the rough draft I found under the heading 'importantriting'.

Thanks for reading.
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This seems like an installment to an intricately detailed plot line of which I am woefully ignorant. I will try sometime to get all caught up and allow myself to enjoy this more fully. At present, I will offer my thoughts on this particular piece.

Your prose is so distinctive. If this had been submitted anonymously, I would have been able to identify its author within a couple of paragraphs. Clearly, you have fun with the English language. Almost every line is golden, but I thought the final four paragraphs were particularly well crafted. The words were, if I may use a rather cliched and frankly douchey literary term, poignant. Really excellent stuff; a joy to read.

As to the plot, as I say, I am in an embarrassingly poor position to comment. Hopefully, if I get through it when I have some more free time, I'll leave a better comment. For now, let me say that this is the sort of writing that I missed from you.

Hope to see more.

- Arthur
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Current Project: Vestal Flame. Current Word Count: 27,017
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for reading, Arthur. By the way--anything new from you? I wrote my ficpick for this week depressed about recent events in my life, and my mood got worse when I realized that I didn't enjoy the stories I read that much. WHERE WERE YOU, YOU COULD HAVE LIVENED UP MY DAY.

Thanks again for reading. I don't have much to comment on about the plot, either--much of the writing is from about two years back, and the plot, asides from the most general of details, is rather lost to me. Crying or Very sad I need to keep better track of my files.

Me was gonna submit part 7 this week, but it looked awful, so I decided to give it some time. I think it's a very sad commentary about my writing abilities that the only series I've finished so far here is a Star Wars crossover.
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Chuckles
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fell asleep watching MST3K and didn't post last night.

I was shocked to see this in last week's update. Like many who started following this back in March 2005, I'd given it up for dead. Here's part of my review for that first chapter:
Quote:
Nice job, Sev. It certainly catches your attention, hearing a dead man get something off of his chest. It also gives the story some built in foreboding, since you know that he's going to die. As you probably know, this is the kind of dark thriller that I enjoy most, but hardly anybody writes.
And here is another post of me gushing about chapter four of this series:
Quote:
That was freaking awesome! Your best work, in my opinion, and some of the best stuff I've read on here. Man, how in the heck are you pulling off a tropical-Halo-noir-fic narrated by a dead man? This was very impressive. Moody, atmospheric, eerie, rich--just freaking impressive. Can't wait for the next one.
And again for chapter five:
Quote:
You have a raw, untamed style that is nonetheless consistent throughout your writing. No formulas, no normalcy and no cliches--you just hold onto the beast and let it go where it goes. Thus, there is a feel of reality permeating your work that most fanfic writers fail to achieve. I know I don't usually dish it out like this, but I love dark thrillers and, unfortunately, they are a rare bird in Halo fanfiction.

So yeah, I was sort of enjoying this series when it vanished. For those who liked this submission but haven't read the other chapters, stop reading this review and catch up. It's quick paced, well written and dark as Hell.

Another pitch black chapter. Even three years later I'm sounding like a broken record, but I love your style. Smooth, beautiful prose describing horrific nightmarish images. I thought your opening paragraph was pitch perfect:
Quote:
The buildings were left untouched, and the only details that marred the otherwise beautiful scenery of Honolulu were the bones. Bleached-white under the sun and wind, stripped of flesh or cloth, big or small, small-framed children curled around large-framed things charred blackened scarred and broken. That was the future as I imagined it, years removed from my present existence, where the bones still have flesh and skin attached to them, where the remains of those dead can still be identified by face and shape, this one Raymond, this one Luna, Felipe, Jonathan, names all of them with histories behind them.
And then the seamless transition ...
Quote:
I noticed that as I narrate this story to you, Ben, I sink into it, also; that my memory blurs with the present, and as I walk the bleached streets, empty streets, I also walk behind Kassad as he makes his way through the halls of the Securidad.


Your description of Kassad is exceptional and something new authors should take note of. You don't give it to us like a witness describing a criminal's face to a sketch artist at the police station. No doubt the readers would swear that you had, but if they go back they'll see that you said very little and let their imagination do the rest. I'll resist the temptation to post the whole paragraph, but this part was beautiful:
Quote:
He walks, and the crowd parts for him, as did the Red Sea for Moses. Perhaps it is his rank, or his bulk, but I think everyone has a piece of the dreaming within them, and they felt the gentle darkness within him.
Generally speaking, that's just too good for fanfiction. No, no, that's not what I mean. Let me put it another way: I usually have to crack a good novel to read stuff like that. You take all the feeling and atmosphere that would usually be contained in a couple of paragraphs and infuse it effortlessly (at least it seems that way to the reader) into a couple of sentences.

Loved this part:
Quote:
Kassad walked through every one of the checkpoints without a glance; the men manning them let him through, some of them fearfully, others without a care, just another higher-up passing through. Detachment. Is this what Kassad felt, that day? The most supreme detachment, removed from all other human beings, assuming the mantle of God, or Judge--casting down his verdict, damning all others.
Once again, beautiful.

This is the way it is for the really good stuff: I'm reduced to quoting the good parts and then trying not to gush. I'll give you an example:
Quote:
I can summon up the appropriate feelings now and then, yet, I can't help but feel distant from it all. 'All' defining the dead, the ruins, the doom; perhaps it is because I am currently in a state called 'death,' and know that it isn't all too bad, just a fading away with wings and remorse in tow.

Death sucks, Ben. Here's to you dodging that little bitch.
Now, at this point my dignity—which, you should know, abhors gushing—begs me to type: Ahem. Nicely done Sev. Good show and all that. Nothing to complain about. And sometimes I actually write something along those lines. But then I delete it, shove dignity aside and write something like this: Sev, that was darned near perfect ... again. Your style is working overtime and deserves a nice raise. And then my dignity takes exception and I write something less gushy.

And so on. But I'll get back to the review.

This chapter was vintage Sev. Nearly flawless prose painting a hopeless world. I wanted to do a longer review and say a lot more, but I keep repeating myself. Beautiful. Dark. Stylish. Smooth. A work of art. After that last gushy sentence, Dignity seized the reigns of my mind in a rare and ironic show of force and demanded creative control over the conclusion of this review. Sounds a bit wacky, but there it is. Ahem. Nicely done Sev. Good show and all that. Nothing to complain about. Do post something again soon.

C.T. Clown
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where was I? Here, being lazy. Left to me, this place would likely be long dead.

I was always planning to read this whole series, but Chuckle’s unabashed gushing compelled me to get to it sooner than I had otherwise anticipated. I am very glad I did, and I must recommend this to all serious HBOFFers.

Um... wow. That was... hmm... let me gather my thoughts.

I have already commented on your style, but having read the whole series, I want to discuss it a little more fully. Part of what makes this such a joy to read is the fact that, as the reader, you read and absorb every word. There is no filler here, no moment where you find yourself skimming. Even when the scene does not appear to be centrally important, or during traveling or scene-linking moments, you imbue the words with importance, by character building, scene setting, or delicate exposition. There are no wasted words here. Everything builds upon itself to fully engross the reader in the material. The dancing prose blends these elements together, so that you have a story that flows like water. It is exceptionally well done.

The point of view worked extremely well. Obviously, points for originality: first person dead man’s one-way conversation with an unseen brother. Perspective changes everything. It changes the style, the substance, what you can and can not include. This can be hard for some to handle, but you handled it brilliantly. The reality of the narrator’s predicament—ie, his death—pops up here and there in the narrative, especially in your latest segment. The effect is very melancholy, and very intimate.

On to the plot, which I am now able to comment on. This was a fascinating tale. The overarching plot was very interesting—I pleasantly confess, I was completely surprised by the understated reveal of the culprit—but it was the many small details which truly endeared this story to me. Often, colonies in fan fiction seem like they are just places on Earth transplanted, with little to distinguish them save for an exotic name followed by Roman numerals. Here, however, New Hawaii has its own history, its own feeling, its own life force. The same holds true with the characters. Dozens of small details sprinkled throughout really filled out the characters without deviating obviously from the flow of the plot.

As Chuckles has done a great job of pointing out some examples of your unique and glowing prose, let me present a few instances of these small but effective touches that I’m talking about. They function to set the scene, set the mood, build a character, or comment upon humanity:

Quote:
I had been born at first on Earth, and grew accustomed to the constant sight of the huge, beautiful moon hanging over me at night. Then, at Reach, I started gazing at the stars.

In the prison camps and the asteroid colonies, there were no stars to gaze at.

Now, at New Hawaii, the stars were strange, their positions wrong.


At once, this builds the character's history while transporting the reader to this colony called New Hawaii.

Quote:
But I know the sentiment behind his mutterings, Ben. When illusions are stripped away, it hurts.


Yes, indeed. I’ve experienced this very particular pain myself.

Quote:
"Fuck you, Rubashov." Jimmy staggered once; I decided not to help him, should he fall.


Effectively demonstrates the nature of their relationship through a very human thought.

Quote:
Grains of sand glittered beneath New Hawaii's small, icy moon, and the green waters of the ocean seemed to glow with a verdant light.


Beautiful description of world that is, after all, alien.

Quote:
There is, in every human being, a innate fear of the supernatural, of things that should not have happened but did.


Quote:
As the bus smoothly rolled over newly paved streets, I saw again the city. It was quite memorable. It was a city like any other, I suppose; the tall buildings, the smooth white streets, the slick roads, the gleaming signs. Yet there was this knowledge that this was something I had helped to build, that I had paid a hefty price in order for it to be possible. I had helped create something beautiful. And for that, as the bus rolled past empty buildings and shining black-glass windows, I smiled. And I wasn't even drunk.


So true, so very human. And a nice addendum at the end.

Quote:
I wonder if his operatives knew the full scope of his actions. Probably not. You don't question the motives behind the assignations, as that leads eventually into doubt about the morality of the assignations. Which in turn leads to religion, alcoholism, and death, in that order.


Darkly cynical, pithy, and quintessentially human. Very nice.

Details and moments like these were extremely effective in immersing me into the world you created. The deft style and unconventional perspective both lent themselves brilliantly to their incorporation into the narrative.

If I may offer one piece of criticism: some elements were not incorporated into the story as well as they might have been. There were a few instances of this, though I speak more specifically about 1) the Apotrops digression and 2) Kassad. The first I understood how it fit into the background of your story, but I thought it could have been done more effectively. As for Kassad, I may be missing something, but I’m still not sure how exactly he fits in. I understand much of this is series intentionally understated, but at times the connections seemed a tad too faint. That said, I have yet to see the final part, and so I’ll reserve my judgment on that count.

Extremely well done, Sev. This was a truly brilliant series that ought to be read by veterans and newbies alike. I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

- Arthur
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Current Project: Vestal Flame. Current Word Count: 27,017
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thedarkfire
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jesus Christ a Seven Days Installment?! I'm going to have to go back and read from the start again.

I'll be back...
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One night, as I sat in front of the computer, weeping while trying to stick a shotgun barrel into my mouth--it wouldn't fit and the steel would grind against my teeth--I thought I'd check up on my story before dying. Lo and behold, comments! And such comments at that! I immediately put away the shotgun and went to take a piss, because I now had a new purpose in life that didn't involve affairs with horses and sheep.

Thank you both for the very generous praise. I admit, I didn't expect that at all--maybe a pat on the back, or at best, as Chuckles put it, Ahem. Nicely done Sev. Good show and all that. Nothing to complain about. Do post something again soon. While I was reading through both of the comments, a big grin split my face and I was thinking to myself, yeah, I'm sooo fucking pimp.

To Chuckles: (totally ripping off your style of replying)

Quote:
So yeah, I was sort of enjoying this series when it vanished.


I did give up on this for a long time, because I figured I'd never write again, studying for a better life and all that. But, uh, I got bored on Christmas and here I am.

Quote:
Your description of Kassad is exceptional and something new authors should take note of. You don't give it to us like a witness describing a criminal's face to a sketch artist at the police station.


To tell you the truth, Kassad at first was a shameless ripoff of Kassad from Dan Simmons' Hyperion. I think it was during one of the many rewrites I did for part six--about two years back, this was my obsession--that he morphed from a soldier to a bureaucrat. Of course, it's not very obvious in the story itself, which can be attributed directly to the incompetence of the writer himself.

Quote:
This chapter was vintage Sev. Nearly flawless prose painting a hopeless world. I wanted to do a longer review and say a lot more, but I keep repeating myself. Beautiful. Dark. Stylish. Smooth. A work of art. After that last gushy sentence, Dignity seized the reigns of my mind in a rare and ironic show of force and demanded creative control over the conclusion of this review. Sounds a bit wacky, but there it is. Ahem. Nicely done Sev. Good show and all that. Nothing to complain about. Do post something again soon.


I thanked you twice before and wanted to thank you again. It's amazing to see a comment from you like that.

To Arthur:

Quote:
I have already commented on your style, but having read the whole series, I want to discuss it a little more fully. Part of what makes this such a joy to read is the fact that, as the reader, you read and absorb every word. There is no filler here, no moment where you find yourself skimming. Even when the scene does not appear to be centrally important, or during traveling or scene-linking moments, you imbue the words with importance, by character building, scene setting, or delicate exposition. There are no wasted words here. Everything builds upon itself to fully engross the reader in the material. The dancing prose blends these elements together, so that you have a story that flows like water. It is exceptionally well done.


I never knew that I was even doing such a thing. I've always considered myself as being way too damn wordy and long-winded. I think that might be from all the times I had to read Strunk or go through another manual about creative writing from supposedly creative writers.

Quote:
Often, colonies in fan fiction seem like they are just places on Earth transplanted, with little to distinguish them save for an exotic name followed by Roman numerals. Here, however, New Hawaii has its own history, its own feeling, its own life force.


I'm very glad that you agree. I'm not going to lie, it seemed at times like half the stories coming in would involve a Alpha Beta XII or Caligula Mori IV. I tried to make it a unique background to the story, and I hope I succeeded.

Quote:
If I may offer one piece of criticism: some elements were not incorporated into the story as well as they might have been. There were a few instances of this, though I speak more specifically about 1) the Apotrops digression and 2) Kassad. The first I understood how it fit into the background of your story, but I thought it could have been done more effectively. As for Kassad, I may be missing something, but I’m still not sure how exactly he fits in. I understand much of this is series intentionally understated, but at times the connections seemed a tad too faint. That said, I have yet to see the final part, and so I’ll reserve my judgment on that count.


The Apotrops digression was pretty ill-fated. The first three parts of the story were written without any real thought behind them--it was just me banging out chains of words while listening to Korn (in my defense, I was still in high school), and then immediately hitting 'submit' after reading it through once again to check for any GPS errors. I had a very vague idea of what the story was going to turn out like, but even then, I had my doubts that I'd get to part four, let alone finish it at seven.

But from part four and on, I 'extensively' (from anyone else's point of view, it'd look more like a retard scribbling on construction paper with a pink crayon) plotted out the story. But I got impatient on Part Five, and I wasn't able to get the part about Setebos into the story, which did mess up Kassad's introduction into the story.

I hope Part Seven does help mend the plot a bit more, and hopefully, it'll live up to your expectations and more importantly, provide a bit of entertainment, even. But there's so much left to tell, I don't know what to do. I have the bulk of rough text left over from a couple of years back, but after you and Chuckles' comments... I want to actually finish the story as opposed to slapping a half-assed ending on it and saying, YA, IT'S NOT A VERY OBVIOUS END 'CAUSE IT'S DEEP AND STUFF.

But so much left to tell! I already started writing, but it feels like I'm going to have to cram everything into the last part. But the nice thing is that as I write, details about the plot keep coming back to me.

Quote:
Jesus Christ a Seven Days Installment?! I'm going to have to go back and read from the start again.

I'll be back...


sup bro i'll be waiting

Finally, wanted to thank you guys again for reading. Probably the nicest things I've read about my work ever since I got emails about my resident evil 4 guide ('holy shit lol my friends said it was impossible but ur guide helped ur fucking awesome!' 'bullshit you can't do it like that do some research because your guide is wrong' etc etc).
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CoLd BlooDed
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like your prose, Severian; the dark, cynical, yet retrospective tone is something that is very very intriguing. My eyes didn't leave the screen once. This was incredible, and I wish there was something more original that I can add but really the above posters said it all.
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CoLd BlooDed wrote:
I really like your prose, Severian; the dark, cynical, yet retrospective tone is something that is very very intriguing. My eyes didn't leave the screen once. This was incredible, and I wish there was something more original that I can add but really the above posters said it all.


Lol, is it bad that I have to go back and re-read my own stuff just to figure out where to go in the next chapter? Laughing Figured I should reply while I could, five months down the line.

Thanks as always for your kind words.
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