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Fan Fic Pick of the Week (March 20)

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Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 504
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: Fan Fic Pick of the Week (March 20) Reply with quote

March Madness on HBOFF! It's awesome baby!!

My heart flew on the wings of banshees when I cracked into the first few new names and found that *gasp* they showed great promise! There's a whole bunch of spelling errors, formatting oops, and improvement that MUST be done, but they show promise and a solid foundation.

I urge you to read through them, encourage the authors, and give some gentle constructive criticism. We must be like John Hammond in "Jurassic Park," watching the baby T-Rex push out of the egg.

Enough with coddling! Your grand winners!

Honorable Mention: Deployment by Unknown
Come forth, silent rogue, and claim thy prize: So who is this dude? Who knows, but our mystery author puts together a decent scene. I'm a sucker for natural dialogue, and unknown gives us just that. The scene in the movie theater felt a bit like a mashup of "Band of Brothers" and the book "Jarhead," but I enjoyed it.

The banter of soldiers getting ready to go to war, the briefing, the restraint to NOT hit us over the head with violence and action and give us time to slip into the story and care about the characters, it was all good. Unknown is preparing to tell a story, not just spill out action and gore. The action will come, and when it does, we'll all be invested in it. The calm before the storm makes the weather's fury that much more terrible. We should all try to remember that.

The guests are nice, but where the hell is this party?: I almost always have a problem with the cinematic-ish author's notes telling you what's going on. That kind of blatant exposition is, frankly, lazy.

Further, I know we're in Kentucky from the location stamp, but what does the base LOOK like? Someone already beat me to the comment of "ok, it's hot, but what KIND of hot?" Do not discount these details, authors. It's the difference between people skimming and people actually LIVING in your scene, tasting the cold water, hearing the radio, etc. Having a reader's senses stimulated while reading your work will pull them in and keep them reading through every new chapter. This is how you build your readership.

Overall, a promising start. Could be something good, and I'm very eager to see the next chapter...maybe even get a username!

Second Place: The Humanist by xMixmasterx

Wait...WHAT? What just happened?: Mixmaster grabs you by the collar and throws you headfirst into a scene...or more specifically, into the mind of a character in a scene. Through the whole piece, you're going to ask yourself something along the lines of what I was thinking:

"What? What the hell is going on? Who the hell is this guy? Where is this guy? What is he talking about? How can he...oh you did not!--"

And then you're going to read it again to figure out what exactly just happened. And you're going to enjoy it. This is a great romp inside a character's psyche, even though you really don't know what's going on. Mixmaster is dealing with the micro here, and each sensory detail you will feel. You may want more details in the setting, but you have to bear in mind that the psyche IS the setting. It's great. I really enjoyed it.

Sorry about the mess, it's a cluttered mind: The only place that Mixmaster falters is in the formatting and spelling departments. The constant italics, though necessary, are distracting. I would have liked to have seen the italics and regular font flipped. The spacing between paragraphs makes it a bit intimidating to read, and there's a handful of easy spelling errors that make you stumble a bit over the words.

Other than that, it's a must-read. But before you do that, here's your winner!

The Fic Pick of the Week: In Which Our Protagonist Finds a New Friend - A 'Bad Days' Story by Kabu

But seriously, pick a longer title. What is this, a Fall Out Boy song?: I've enjoyed Kabu's take on the Haloverse, and this chapter does not fail to disappoint. It flows wonderfully, the character intricacies are delightful, and the humor isn't overdone. The addition of a slightly deranged AI is handled as only a 'bad days' story can. There's a legitimate LOL moment at the end that is really rare in Halo fan fiction.

Part of the reason I like Isaac so much is that his fallacies and quirks are distinctly human in a way that I as a reader totally relate to. You just don't see that kind of character writing in this community (with some obvious exceptions), and I think that's something that authors should emulate. I can write you a story about being impaled by an energy sword in two minutes, but I defy you to craft an engaging story involving a soldier who's mortally afraid of fire.

Another excellent installment from Kabu.

Dance, jester! Dance!: The last 'Bad Days' story I read involved plasma grenades, explosions, and a dual wielding moment that should have been in the movie "Hot Fuzz." Kabu straddles the line between military science fiction and the absurd, but this installment just didn't have the STAKES that the last chapter did. Obviously there's a change in tone (no one's shooting at Isaac just yet) but aside from the respect that Kabu now commands with his unique style and high-caliber writing, there's not a real URGE to read the next chapter. Not sure how he could do that here, but it was in the back of my mind, and I can't let the 'ol boy get off scot free, can I? Wink

Great job everyone! Those who weren't mentioned, I'll be going right over to fan fiction comments to tell you what I thought, and all you reading this should be doing the same.

Please note that in all three of these stories not a single shot was fired. You don't NEED action to get people to read your stories. Action should heighten your characters, it should not eclipse them. Writing violence and gore and battles is easy. Making us care about the people shooting, flying, and driving is the hard part. Do that, and your fans will multiply.

Go read, and go Boston College basketball! For Boston!!!

_________________ that's some gritty shizzle.
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Joined: 13 Sep 2004
Posts: 957
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What, not even a mention? Pshaw! Razz

Great lineup this week, though. Best I've seen in months.
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IRC Channel Operator

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 204
Location: Nowhere in particular.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this sounds clichéd, but I really couldn't write at this level without the feedback I get from this site. Everybody who has ever commented on my stuff, and everybody who's stuff I've read: Thank you.

Just throwing this out there, in my next story Isaac does get to shoot some stuff. He actually is a decent soldier when push comes to plasma mortar. Also, Zhao is in it (it's still from Isaac's perspective).

And wow. This week was amazing for submissions. From the new stuff, I particularly liked The Humanist.
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Arthur Wellesley

Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 306
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice review. I got to kabu's... very good btw. Now, to the others, all!

- Arthur
Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever. - Napoleon
Current Project: Vestal Flame. Current Word Count: 27,017
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