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Fic Pick of the Week (May 29)

 
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Chuckles
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Joined: 29 Jul 2004
Posts: 1000
Location: Grand Rapids MI

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 10:59 am    Post subject: Fic Pick of the Week (May 29) Reply with quote

Some good stuff this week. More than once I found myself laughing out loud or smiling like an idiot at the screen due to a bit of good wording or a plot point I particularly liked. Two submissions, however, were head and shoulders above the rest; one by an author I know and the other by someone completely new to me. I hated having to choose a first and second place. Wasn’t fair, really. And I do mean really. If any of you have read both of them, you know what I’m talking about. Apples and oranges. Both are excellent, and yet they’re miles apart in terms of story and style. I thought about taking the quick and easy path and calling it a tie, but where’s the fun in that? Before I get ahead of myself, let’s get on with this week’s Fic Pick.

Honorable Mention: Horizon - Chapter I: Awakenings by The 14th Wonder

Strengths: Vivid, believable detail. You give the reader everything they need to get a handle on your world. This was most evident in your beautifully eerie opening. That’s the sort of style I use a lot, and I certainly would not have changed a thing. Nice.

Weaknesses: I’m fine with the fact that you have some mysterious past event that you’re not ready to reveal to the reader, but your references to it lack subtlety. You’re dangling this whatever-it-is so obviously that is seems unnatural and forced. Then there’s the length. Like I said, you had a great opening, but there wasn’t enough afterwards. If that’s too cryptic, let me put it this way: IT WAS TOO SHORT. This isn’t a matter of counting words either. It felt cut off. Finally, I think you need to bait the reader more at the end and get them looking for the next chapter. Remember, the reader wants to be baited. My feeling is that you didn’t progress far enough to get to such a point, but you’d know better than me.

Final thoughts: You’re obviously a talented writer and this looks to be a fine series. You’ve put a lot of thought into it and it shows.


Second Place: Eating Jackals by Severian

Simply excellent. You put us right in the moment and, per usual, your ability to rattle off unexpected yet pitch-perfect details make it seem real. Suspension of disbelief is a foregone conclusion. New or struggling writers would benefit from examining your effortless exposition, especially your explanation of Jackal Day’s origins. You give the reader everything they want while continuing rather than interrupting the story. For some this is hard, but you’ve got a knack for it.

I was most impressed by: That thing you had the Jackals doing after they ate. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so I’ll leave it at that. Where do you come up with this stuff? It reminded me of a scene from an old John Wayne film I saw some years back called Rio Grande. If you’re curious, I’ll explain when I leave a review on your thread.

Why should I read it? Because Sev doesn’t deal in easily defined, comfortable characters. He goes to a darker place—and those of you who read a lot of Halo fan fiction know how rare that is. If you like complicated characters and protagonists who could end up doing anything (and I do mean anything) then yeah, read Sev.

My biggest complaint: I’m still waiting for your Halo fan fiction masterpiece. I’d happily settle for a non-Halo masterpiece, just so I get to read it.

Only Severian could have written: “It was like a barbecue with military rations, and a horse race without the horses or any sort of racing, but with competition left intact.”

You know you’re reading a Severian fic: When the protagonist is about to get butchered by a despicable, bug-eyed alien, and you’re rooting for the bug-eyed alien.

Final thoughts: Hated making this number two. Sorry man.

Fic Pick of the Week: The Bright Green Dot: Coughdrop by 4642 Elitist Bastard

I have never read anything by you, EB, but I had an instant affinity for your style. Reminds me of the first time I read Kabu. Once I got reading, I was involved in this story. I laughed out loud more than once. Loved the conversation between Ensign Floyd and Captain Keyes. It had a subtle humor to it that had me smiling the whole time. The brief interplay between the Master Chief and Floyd was flawless. Your approach is fresh and that makes this fic extremely fun to read.

I knew I loved this chapter when: I started hearing the voice of Lloyd Bridges’ character from Airplane! as I read Keyes’ dialogue. Not that Keyes came off as stupid or incompetent. But for some reason ...

My favorite line was: "I don't suppose you know the formula to find the volume of a sphere from its radius?"

Was happily surprised when: You went somewhere unexpected in your description of the Master Chief. And what’s more, it made real sense.

One BIG ugly problem. In my opinion you had MC write waaaaaay too much. If you had left it off at “I AM EVIL” the gods of fan fiction would have wept for joy. Ah, you were so close. You see, it’s already a bit far-fetched that he’d write the note, but that’s okay because you pull it off so well that the reader doesn’t care. But when you go on and on it seems unnatural—like he’s writing it only because the plot needs him to write it. It also weakened the punch. Every word he wrote after "I AM EVIL" bled hard-won tension from your story. In this situation, “less" would have truly been “more.”

Even so, this was an excellent chapter. Congratulations on winning the Fic Pick and I hope to see more from you soon.

C.T Clown
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kr1
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And Esev's back to his second place streak. Razz Congrats to everyone, though, especially eb. It's not very often we get someone so new winning the Fic Pick with regulars submitting. I'll have to give it a read. Wink
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The 14th Wonder
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review and the mention, Chuck Smile.

After I submitted it, I felt that it was a little too short, but I had planned on doing my intro chapter like this for a while, and I feel like since this is exactly that (an intro chapter) then the length is a bit more excusable. BUT, that's a very valid criticism. Future chapters won't have the same problem.

I probably could've done a bit to make the last part more enticing, but for now I'm wanting to keep my cards close to the chest with that plotline.

I might have to give Coughdrop a read since it was a winner. I liked Triggers because EB brought something fresh, so I would've read Coughdrop anyway if I wasn't so lazy Razz .

P.S. As of this Honorable Mention, I am now 3 for 3 and have already batted the cycle, baby. Win.
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eb4642
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sev woz robbed.

That is all.
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"(don't take this review too seriously) If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS??"
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SeverianofUrth
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Joined: 09 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eb4642 wrote:
Sev woz robbed.

That is all.


You don't have to try to be so polite. Laughing You deserved it (Not gonna lie, I wasn't the biggest fan of Master Chief's letter--but I'm not the reviewer today, and that's just how it is).

Quote:
My biggest complaint: I’m still waiting for your Halo fan fiction masterpiece. I’d happily settle for a non-Halo masterpiece, just so I get to read it.


I have no idea if anyone will believe me, but I started a science fiction story about a Chinese Matador in a rice tree plantation. Maybe that'll work out? Smile
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Chuckles
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Joined: 29 Jul 2004
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Location: Grand Rapids MI

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sev wrote:
Quote:
Not gonna lie, I wasn't the biggest fan of Master Chief's letter--but I'm not the reviewer today ...

The reviewer had a problem with it too. It is an obvious plot device with no reason to exist in the world the characters inhabit. BUT I can put up with some of that. As I said, if he cut it off at "I AM EVIL" then (in my opinion) the story is better with it than without it. I had someone else read it (a skilled writer and voracious reader) and they thought the story was excellent--except that the note by MC was too long.

Sev, one of my conundrums in giving out first and second place this week was that I had no issues with your story, but I did have some issues with EB's. But his interplay between Floyd and Keyes and Floyd and MC was so good that it made up for the over-long MC note. Like you, EB has a deft touch for characters nuances that allow him to develop them very quickly.

Both stories were excellent.

C.T. Clown
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hope I didn't come across as complaining--certainly happy for eb, and besides, as I continually tell myself (and to anyone listening), the weekly ficpick isn't about competition.

(though we're all humans and we can't resist putting too much importance on rankings)

Congratulations again to eb and Wonder as well--your baby finally popped out of your imaginary womb, and its looking good! Laughing
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kabu
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on keeping the streak alive, sev.
SeverianofUrth wrote:
Hope I didn't come across as complaining--certainly happy for eb, and besides, as I continually tell myself (and to anyone listening), the weekly ficpick isn't about competition.

Hey, you're being a hell of a lot more reasonable than I was when I pulled second. Still feel like a bit of a jackass for my reaction (sorry, kr). The competitive instinct runs deep.

Some truly brilliant stuff this week. Congrats to all.
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