The very short story thread

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Somatic_Psycho, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Somatic_Psycho

    Somatic_Psycho New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Simple idea, Simple responses, just post your page long stories and lets try and keep the criticism constructive. I will start with one of my favorites. Please make the story bold

    "you called him a WHAT!?" the large elven guard asked izekiel.

    "okay, okay, okay, you have to understand in a fight there is no place for emotion, when you are fighting with emotion the more reckless you are, the more likely you are to make mistakes. so in order to evoke some emotion out of this guy... i had to call him a word that i am not comfortable saying in the present company" he stared the large, very large, very, very large elf staring at him furiously holding his pistol like he was going to shoot him the next time he said something smart.

    "you called a fine, upstanding, young elven gentleman... a pointer?" the elf stroked his pointed ears subconsciously. pointer was not a term you threw around will nilly.

    "Listen, listen, listen. i realize it was a dick move, but note, there were three of them and they were real strong and very clear headed so if i hadn't said what i said, those 'fine, upstanding, young elven gentleman' were gonna KILL my human ass, ya get me?" he put a little frustration in his voice, maybe now the guard would let him get on with the story.

    "alright alright alright, get on with the story" exactly as planned.

    "so the guy came at me, just as planned, he was gonna hit me, but like an emotional idiot, he reared back to give it a little extra oomph, i saw it coming, ducked him and picked up the log at my foot, and BAM! right on the side of the head and he was down for the count. then his friend came at me with a knife, ya see this was an intersting situation, he had the disadvantage of being mad, but the andvantage of a knife, so i'd say we were about even but you see..."

    "just shut up and go on with the story" okay, admittedly NOT exactly as planned.

    "so he goes to slash at me and i sommersault up and hit him right below the chin b-b-BAM this one was out"

    "Hold on, Hold on, Hold on. you did what?" now it was starting to get fun, showing off was izekiel's specialty and at this point the honorguard was legally obligated NOT to kick his ass.

    "The tactical kneeling recovery kick, as illustrated in the honorguard field defense hand book chapter 7, what you didn't read that part? big guy?" Oooh, now he gets mad

    "I read the book smartass, i just wonder how some punk ass slumdog pulled off that manuever" Okay now he was really starting to piss me off.

    "Listen daddy wasn't just a rolling stone, he was also an honor guard and he used to whoop my ass everytime it tickled his prick, and i been getting hit up by honor guards ever since. and after about oh... say... 90 times, you start to pick some things up. so he falls back on his pal, right? so thats all three down, and then i took off, and here i am, apparently after those pricks called the honorguards?"

    "Thats about right..."

    "and judging by the smirk spreading across your face... you are not just gonna arrest me... but you are gonna enjoy every minute of it?

    "Boy!" the guard said standing up and taking his manacles of his belt "you are smart!"
     
  2. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +55 / 0 / -0
    I'll follow your request and keep the criticism constructive, though it's a struggle...

    Capitalization, proper spelling, and proper punctuation are very helpful for making a story more readable. The lack of these three elements makes your story a bother to read and makes it seem immature and childish, although the story itself is not.

    I understand that this is supposed to be a short story, but it didn't feel like a contained story in and of itself. It seemed to me like a snippet of a longer work, perhaps a conversation quoted from a book. Not enough happened to make it a stand alone story.

    There were other contributing factors to the feeling that this was a small bit of a larger work. I had a few questions after reading your work that made it feel incomplete. Who are the honor guards, and whose honor are they guarding? What about Izekiel's mother, and if his father was a rolling stone why did he stick around to beat his child? How to pistols and elves fit together in one story, since they're usually never in the same worlds? The common thread to all of these is that there are elements included in your story that make it feel like there's a larger world than what is shown, but not enough information is given to make the character seem truly a part of it. They may as well have been dropped into the world from another dimension to have this conversation for all that they interact and fit within it.

    So, yeah, I hope that wasn't too harsh. You've got something interesting here, just work on it some more.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Blue Nephelim

    Blue Nephelim Wielder of Words...

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    Very cool thread idea SP! I think this will be easiest if critiques and stories stay separate, so I'm going to give you critique now; I'll come back later and leave my own very short story. Here goes...


    What I Liked

    Your story was very unique, and there were a lot of elements in it that gave it a distinct "voice." I liked that the elven honorguard had a pistol; first of all it catches the attention because it's not something seen all that often, and second of all because I think that urban or future fantasy is a genre with lots of room to explore in. The only really large ventures into this sort of setting (at least of the top of my head) are tabletop RPGs like Shadowrun and to an extent Warhammer 40K, so the field is wide open for writers to come in and add their touch to that sort of worldscape. Some of the dialogue I really liked as well. I loved the expression "every time it tickled his prick", "they were gonna KILL my human ass" was good too, and I thought that creating the slang word "pointer" for elves was a good touch. It's clear that you're dedicated to realism in your dialogue, and since dialogue is arguably the most difficult thing to write well, that's a big point in your favor.

    What Could Use Improvement

    Jorick may have been a tad harsh, but he does have a point. Obviously this isn't a polished piece, but for the sake of readability corrections should at least be made in terms of misspellings and proper use of capitalization. If it's worth writing, it's worth writing well. That's my general comment; now for some specifics.

    As I said, some parts of your dialogue I really enjoyed, and I can tell you're going for realistic speech patterns. However, there are some places where you slip out of that, and others where you're trying too hard. The triple-repetition of words and phrases - "listen listen listen", and "hold on hold on hold on" - isn't actually adding anything, and it's a little jarring to read. The first one - okay okay okay - feels more natural and realistic for the speaker, but I'd limit myself to only using that particular speech pattern once in a story this short. Something you can do that would really add definition to this piece is to work on making the speakers more distinct in their dialogue. Because this is a very short piece, we only really get background on the two characters through the particulars of their speech, so it's important that they both sound different from each other when they talk. My suggestion? Make the elf's speech more refined, more highbrow - stiff tone, proper grammar, bigger words, no swearing, and no use of contractions are a good start for getting this effect. On the other hand, if you want your human Izekiel to have a distinct voice, then give his speech stronger contrast to the elf's. The elf calls him a slumdog - make him sound like one. You're on the right track with things like "ya" instead of "you" and "gonna" instead of "going to", as well as use of swear words and slang phrases like "ya get me" and "whoop my ass." However, you need to use more consistency. Is someone like Izekiel really going to use the word "evoke" while being grilled by a pointer cop? And consider how his voice would be changed if you substituted "call him a word that i am not comfortable saying in the present company" with "call him something I don't really wanna say right now." Or if you switched "as illustrated in the honorguard field defense hand book chapter 7" with "It's right in your damn honorguard handbook, Chapter 7." Obviously these are just my suggestions, but consider making these types of changes so that his speech sound more consistently lower class. The paragraph where Izekiel talks about his dad is definitely your best, so I would use that as a gauge.


    Overall

    This is a good, creative concept, it just needs some polish. I think it stand well on its own as a piece of flash fiction; we as readers pretty much get the scenario without needing more background explanation, and even though it's short it has a distinct beginning, middle and end. I think all the necessary components are already in this, you just need to clean up a few things with your grammar and emphasize your strong points (like good dialogue) to bring out the best in this.

    I'll be back later to contribute my own story, and until then, happy writing!

    ~Blue Nephelim Out
     
  4. Blue Nephelim

    Blue Nephelim Wielder of Words...

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    Here we are - one very short story, just for the occasion.

    The sun was setting in the west. As it sank into a scattered bed of clouds, the sun’s dying light painted the treetops in copper splashes. It was strange, she thought, that it was the very last of the light hanging on against the dark, doomed to fade, that was the most beautiful.

    She moved through the tall, reedy grasses and barely felt them, just as she barely felt the earth that was still warm beneath her feet, or the lilac-scented breeze. Spread before her, the meadow was lit by the growing light of pixie nests, luminous points of blue and green and gold broken up by the flitting shapes of pixies themselves. The pixies sensed her approach and stopped their dusk movements, turning as one to face her across the field as the hum of their stiff little wings took on a threatening note. But a moment’s observation and they returned to their own doings – they knew she was no threat to them. If she still had such idioms, she would have sighed. The thought that the insectile little fey, the only ones who saw her anymore, gave her no notice…well, she could no longer say it made her heartsick, but there was undeniably a dull ache inside her at the idea. Watching the pixies dart about cutting their jagged patterns in the air, she settled down to wait.

    She waited. And she waited. And as the sun sank deeper within the cradle of the trees, she was forced to admit the truth. He wasn’t coming.

    She hung her head. She shouldn’t be surprised – well, if she could have still felt surprise – she’d known this day would come. Oh, she still remembered the day they made their promise; the day he’d held her hand, fevered warm in his cool grip, and spoken of this place. It had been here, on the hill above the pixie’s meadow, that they’d shared their first kiss on a warm night in late spring. It had been on that same night, which she supposed had been a night much like this one, that they had pledged their love to each other for always. And as he’d held tight her burning hand, he’d promised to come here every year on the anniversary of that day and be with her.

    He had done so, and more – at first. In the beginning he’d come every week, stained with sweat and dust from the trek, to sit with her, talk to her, share the setting of the sun. Then every two weeks. Then once a month, which became once a season. Now, his last handful of visits had been a full year apart from each other. With so much time between their meetings, she could see him aging from one visit to the next. She could see now that he had been barely more than a child when he first started coming here, but now there was a man coming to visit her in that boy’s place. She thought hard, struggling to concentrate on his last visit. Yes…yes, he’d spoken of another then. Of a cottage being built at the edge of the fields. Of the extra space near the hearth, where a crib would go. Of a third on the way... He’d wept. And many times, he’d said he was sorry. She hadn’t, couldn’t, grasp it a year ago – it was so hard to concentrate now, to remember anything. It had been many visits, many years, since the fever had claimed her life, and since then the old memories had faded like a half-glimpsed dream.

    But now she understood what he’d been trying to tell her.

    She rose from the ground, causing another brief stir among the pixies, and looked up at the sun. It was nearly gone now. Her gaze fell slowly to her hands, fading now so that she could see the dancing blades of grass right through her fingers. It was his promise, his memories, that had moored her to this place…and now that it had faded away, so would she. She had expected to feel sorrow, fear, regret. But now, with the moment finally on her, all she felt was a sense of quiet peace. It had been a long time, after all – perhaps, she thought to herself, she was finally ready to go home.

    With a final flash of brilliance, glittering glorious deep and many-hued against the sky, the sun disappeared beneath the horizon. The pixies paused again in their twisting flight to glance up at the spot on the hillock – but there was no longer anything to see there. And so they returned to their dance on the warm currents of air, unobserved.



    ~Blue Nephelim Out
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +55 / 0 / -0
    Very nice story Blue Nephelim. It was well written and pleasant to read, enough so that I wish it was longer. The descriptive parts were very well done, I had a vivid picture of the scene in my mind the whole time. If you can craft a story and dialogue as well as you did the description in this piece, you'd make one hell of a novelist. And having looked at your profile after writing this, I see that you're trying to be just that! I hope you get a good agent and publisher once you're finished. :D

    The only minor criticism I have is that in a couple places there were some word repetition problems, such as using "pixies" a few times close together in the second paragraph. And that wasn't even really a problem because it was done in a logical fashion, not halting the flow of the story in the slightest.
     
  6. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -0
    [deleted]
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  7. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    Messages:
    4,024
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Varghala
    Ratings:
    +84 / 0 / -0
    Well written, TFS :) Reminds me a little of Stephen King's style.
     
  8. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +55 / 0 / -0
    Well, that's a hell of a good job for fifteen minutes. It's an interesting premise, and was pretty well written. I don't know what you mean about the structure lacking something, it looks good to me. If I read this as a preview or a prologue of a book, I'd be well enough intrigued to read the rest.

    There are some criticisms, of course. One thing that stuck me as odd was that in the first paragraph you italicized the thoughts, yet did not do so for the next two thoughts he had. The other criticism I have is that while there was a character, there was no information about him. He seemed a featureless portal for the story to go through, all a reader would know is that he thought the Ascension was bad, because of the resulting problems. Although this wouldn't be an issue if it were part of a larger work, as that could be filled in later. Or he would have died/become one of the creatures.

    Overall, very nice work for a quick effort. :)
     
  9. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -0
    Thanks Senekha and Jorick.:D I wrote it as I posted, and that's why I think the structure is a little flawed. The problem with writing a story this short is that there is little opportunity to lead up to the punchline, and therefore I was rejecting ideas as I went along in order to fit the format. Given a dozen pages, and a bit of forethought, I could possibly have made it into a decent Bodysnatchers-type affair, but as I was only using it as an exercise to kill some time and exercise my long-dormant writing muscles, I suppose it will have to stand as a mildly diverting piece of cliched fluff.
    (I've also gone back and italicised all the right bits. It seems when I returned to edit - spelling mistakes, plus I forgot to put it in bold - I edited out some of the commands. Anyway, no-one died so I guess we can call that a win!):)
    Thanks again for being more kind about it than it deserves.:draught:
     
  10. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +55 / 0 / -0
    No need to thank me, I'm just fulfilling my natural desire to criticize stuff. And it wasn't more praise than deserved, it was very good for a quick work. I should give that kind of writing a go, and show you how good yours is in comparison to my crap. :D
     
  11. Blue Nephelim

    Blue Nephelim Wielder of Words...

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    First, thanks Jorick for your critique. I'm glad you liked it, and I appreciate your suggestion.

    Second, Thy Fearful Symmetry - great piece! It has a sort of Lovecraftian tone to it; not normally my shtick but you've done a nice job here. I think you struck just the right balance between describing the events around the Ascension Machine and the mutations that followed, and leaving to the reader's imagination. This story has nice pacing, largely because you've got a good feel for alternation between present action and description of past events. Well done! ^_^
     
  12. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -0
    Thank you, Blue Nephelim, you're very kind.

    The reason I didn't comment on your story is not through innate rudeness, but merely because I am not much of a critic, nor do I feel qualified to become one. Were I a better writer I might be more more inclined to throw my opinion about, but I suspect the best thing I can do in relation to other people's work is to keep quiet. Having said that, for what it's worth, I liked your story.:)
     
  13. Blue Nephelim

    Blue Nephelim Wielder of Words...

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0

    Well thank you - I'm always happy to know that someone liked my story rather than disliked it. ^_^ As for critiques... well, I write professionally for assorted projects, but my big thing is that I'm creeping ever closer to going for publication with my novel. That being the case, I'm not only looking for "formal" critiques on my work; I also find it very helpful just to get reader impressions on my writing. It's things like, "do you find it easy to read, does it move too slow, are you bored with the descriptions", ect. Just general woolgathering... Feel free to say anything you'd like on my piece if you're comfortable with it, as any feedback is helpful. If you're not comfortable, than let me just thank you again for the kind compliment. ^_^


    ~Blue Nephelim Out
     
  14. Killbot608

    Killbot608 prototype killing machine

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,305
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    I'm Omnipresent
    Ratings:
    +24 / 0 / -0
    there was once a polar bear named joe. he died of leukemia. the end.

    any characters resembling persons living or dead are purely fictional.
     
  15. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +55 / 0 / -0
    :knob:
     
  16. Kenshin

    Kenshin Drifter

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,386
    Likes Received:
    138
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Fairfax, VA
    Ratings:
    +138 / 0 / -0
    This was gripping. The rising action was ridulously well done, and that plot twist at the end. Damn. I never saw it coming. I also enjoyed the emotional complexities of the characters.

    lolol
     
  17. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -0
    This isn't a spam thread, Killbot.:p
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  18. Somatic_Psycho

    Somatic_Psycho New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    And here i thought i had to moderate my own thread! I am so deeply touched it is not even funny. however, the story was not written in bold. For shame killbot.
     
  19. Somatic_Psycho

    Somatic_Psycho New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Anyway, i appreciate the commentary from all, and Jorick i guess you caught me. This is an excerpt from something i was intending to write. By the way the intention of all the big words that Izekiel used was his effort to sound like a smart-ass, but i suppose it is my fault that i didn't embellish the character enough for anyone to KNOW that he was trying to be a smartass. I really appreciate the criticism (the greatest gift one writer can give to another if you ask me) and i really should work on my grammar.
     
  20. Somatic_Psycho

    Somatic_Psycho New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    By the way, feel free to post the edited versions of your short stories.