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View Full Version : Alt. History Type Thing: Critique Welcome



Zak Philip
August 24th, 2010, 09:02 PM
So, I really did just get started on this. Like, a week ago. I only have a few pages, but any comments on what little I have would be more than appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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August 4th, 2050
London, Capital of the Imperial British Federation

The Royal Box was nothing short of spectacular, and even that was an understatement. The entire box was gilded in gold leaf, with silver trimming and an elegant crystal chandelier dangling from the ceiling. Rare and priceless paintings hung from the wall, some of which were quite large. But none was larger than the painting of the Royal Family, which covered the entire back wall of the Royal Box. The seats were lush and made of deep maroon-colored leather, with the royal families coat of arms stitched into the seat back. The seating was arranged in a semi circle around a massive throne, made with some solid marble and gold; the Emperors throne. Nobody sat in front of the Emperor, in fact, the very thought was enough to scare the hell out of most people. But in all reality, it didnt matter. The Royal Box was set at the North End of London Imperial Stadium, so no matter where you were sitting, you got a view of the entire field. The seating also did something else. It made it so that no matter where in the box you were, the luxurious scents from the full buffet at the back of the box wafted towards you. There was a selection of foods beyond even the finest restaurant, foods that had to be imported from far away British territories. The scents filled up the box like a cloud; a delicious, scrumptious cloud. This cloud smacked Grand Duke Anthony Ainsworth right in the face as he strode into the Royal Box. The scents were amazing, especially to Anthony, since his nose was accustomed to the very different scents of his homeland. As he walked into the box, he was extremely glad for the light clothing he was wearing, since the Royal Box was kept at a warm temperature. Anthony wore tight, straight black pants with a gold trim line and a jacket of sorts. It was more of a shirt/jacket hybrid, with a tight fitting figure and two overlapping front flaps that were held together by gold buttons down the right side of the jacket. It had a high straight collar that was only somewhat uncomfortable. In addition to that, he wore a long cloak, embroidered with gold and silver stitching. It was form fitting over the shoulders and was held on by a gold chain across his upper chest. His expensive imported leather shoes clicked on the marble floor as he made his way to his seat. It was slightly behind and to the right of the Emperors seat, which was a highly respected position to sit in. Which made sense, since Anthony was one of the Emperors closest friends and advisors.

There were only a few other people in the box, most of them just servants, so Anthony took a seat. He glanced out over the area, admiring its beauty and frivolity. The stadium was massive, capable of holding nearly 400,000 people, more if the extra seating space was used. It was exquisitely decorated, with marble and gold leafing throughout. The boxes were super-luxurious and even the normal seating was far above any other stadium. It featured a retractable transparent-steel dome and massive spotlights and projectors. The whole set-up had been astronomically expensive and had nearly made the Ministry of Finance have a heart attack. But, it was nessecary. Sort of. London had been selected to host the 2050 Summer Olympics and had been sadly under-prepared for it. So, the British Olympic Preparations Team had scrambled into action, getting the Emperor to pass a budget that included tens of billions for construction of new sports facilities and a total rejuvenation of London. Construction had begun ten years ago, and the massive stadium where Anthony now sat had only been completed a month ago. It had bee a struggle to get it ready for the massive influx of visitors, but the BOPT had pulled it off. The vast swaths of seating were already full of spectators, hundreds of thousands of them, filling the stadium. The game didnt start for nearly an hour, but people enjoyed getting there early to make sure they got good seats. The flags were also in full force, making it very easy to see the de-facto segregation among the different countries. According to the official roster, nearly Americans occupied 90,000 of the seats, and they showed it. They had brought along a massive American flag; the 13 stripes and 56 stars, proudly held up above the crowds head. The British spectators hadnt been nearly so showy. They had brought their individual flags, and were happily waving them.

Quite a display, isnt it? I guess theyre still not quite over the 1st Revolution Anthony started at the sudden voice and spun around. He relaxed when he saw who it was. The Duke of Canada Patrick Martin, Anthonys close personal friend.

Ah, Your Grace. I see you also enjoy arriving early Anthony said, bowing slightly. Patrick smiled and bowed back. His clothing was less fancy than Anthonys but equally expensive. Patrick also smiled and bowed back. Your Royal Highness. I do indeed enjoy arriving early

Anthony chuckled slightly. Patrick was not a member of the Royal Family, while Anthony was the 5th Prince of the Imperial Family and 5th in line to become Emperor. About this fact, he wasnt pleased. He had no interest in becoming Emperor, and thankfully there were four other people in line before him. Unfortunately, he was treated different than the others, mainly because he was so young and still the Duke of Oceania. It was either out of resentment or admiration that people talked to him at all.

Well, lets have a seat, shall we? Patrick said, finding and sitting in his seat. Anthony took the seat next to him and stared out over the crowd. The Americans certainly are patriotic, arent they?

Patrick looked out at the massive flag, and the cheering Americans. He shook his head. Patriotic? No. Its really more of an insane nationalism, if you ask me

Oh really? How do you figure? Do our people not do the same thing on Federation Day? Anthony said, before asking one of the servants for some champagne. Patrick nodded in tentative agreement. Im not suggesting we arent the same. But if we mistake the Americans aggressive nationalism for passive patriotism, its going to get us in a lot of trouble.

Anthony couldnt disagree with this fact. The Americans had been becoming more and more hostile towards the Imperial Federation, which was a situation nobody wanted. This brought a conversation topic to Anthonys mind, which he was thankful for, since there was still 50 minutes to waste.

Speaking of the Americans, do you know how the negotiations regarding Cuba are going?

Patrick let out a deep, frustrated sigh. This immediately answered the question, but Patrick spoke anyways. To be frank, not well at all. The bloody Americans keep saying that we can have the Eastern half of Cuba, but then they tack on so many ridiculous strings and clauses and catches that it nullifies the whole purpose of trying to get the land. Honestly, Im beginning to believe they have no intention of actually giving us even an inch of land and are just doing this for their own damn amusement.

At this, Anthony laughed. Ah, that is truly a possibility, knowing the Americans. They arent willing to give up anything without a fight or charging us into bankruptcy.

Patrick smirked, sipping some water from a bottle he had brought. Oh well. At leas they havent made a big deal over the Alaska Dispute. Can you imagine if they decided to pick a fight?

Anthony smiled grimly, trying not to think about the reality of what could be. The Alaska Dispute was the name for a land dispute that involved a 100 square mile patch of land that contained massive oil reserves. It was being dealt with under the table and without a lot of fan fare. Which was good, because the last thing either party wanted was to start an armed conflict. Despite being nothing more than a rebellious former colony, the US was a powerful nation, with a massive and high-tech military. The Imperial Federation could take on any nation in the world and win, except for the United States. That was part of the reason for the frosty and sometimes hostile relations between the two entities. Aside from the 2nd Revolution in 1850, when the Americans tried again and succeeded in overthrowing British rule, there hadnt ever been an armed conflict between the two countries.

Anyways, it appears that the royal announcer has arrived. I expect well be doing a lot of standing and bowing, so lets stand up and greet the rest, shall we? Patrick quipped, setting down his water and standing. Anthony did the same, straightening his cloak. Had to look nice, after all. No sooner had they done that did the royal announcer, dress in a puffy red and gold outfit, announce the first of the many-to-come nobles.

Presenting, His Imperial Highness, Duke Rodney of Rhodesia and his wife, her Imperial Highness Duchess Evelyn of Rhodesia.

In through the golden-arched doorway strode the Duke and Duchess of Rhodesia. They were extremely important and well respected; Rhodesia was the source of a considerable amount of the Imperial Federations diamonds and other gemstones. For this reason, Rhodesia was considered an economic powerhouse within the Imperial Federation. Duke Rodney was a tall, imposing man, with a thick white mustache and a tone of voice that made him sound condescending, no matter who he spoke to. The Duchess, on the other hand, was gorgeous, even in her age. Patrick and Anthony both bowed, as did the Rhodesian entourage. Rodney extended his hand. It is a wonderful pleasure seeing you here.

Anthony forced a smile and took his hand. And a pleasure seeing you as well. Anthony knew that his tone was about as insincere as it could get, but Rodney didnt seem to notice. He simply smiled and whisked his wife off to the buffet. Anthony let out his breath, having nothing but distaste for the Duke of Rhodesia. He was a selfish, wasteful man who saw the citizens of his Duchy as his own personal playthings. So, as soon as Rodney had left, Anthony turned and moved in the opposite direction heading. He ended up at the bar area, where he got himself a champagne. The drink was amazing; the finest in the Federation. It was a rich gold color and bubbles flowed the bottom like tiny diamonds making their way through liquid gold. The glass was a tall, crystal flute with a delicate stem that would surely break if dropped.

Olly Buckle
August 24th, 2010, 11:46 PM
The Royal Box was nothing short of spectacular, and even that was an understatement.


First sentence, You need to make it work to the maximum, eg. “The royal box was spectacular, that is an understatement” five less words, no less meaning, personally I would leave out the second half, it is unnecessary, and join it to the next sentence.


The royal box was spectacular, gilded in gold leaf,



what else could it be gilded with? I will bold other bits like this you could lose without loss.


with silver trimmings and an elegant crystal chandelier dangling from the ceiling. Rare and priceless paintings hung from the wall, some of which were quite large.



Bad phrasing, put things that relate next to each other, some of the walls were large? No - “Rare and priceless paintings, some of which were quite large, hung from the wall” – Actually I think you would do better with “Rare paintings hung on (not from I think) the wall” If you tell them how special they were you can leave how big and how expensive to the reader’s imagination.


But none was larger than the painting of the Royal Family, which covered the entire back wall of the Royal Box. The seats were lush and



there is a list going on here this should be a comma, the and comes after “leather”.


made of deep maroon-colored leather, with the royal family’s coat of arms stitched into the seat back. The seating was arranged in a semi circle around a massive throne, made with some


“Of” surely


solid marble and gold; the Emperor’s throne. Nobody sat in front of the Emperor,
in fact, the very thought was enough to scare the hell out of most people.


Try “The thought would scare the most people”


But in all reality, it didn’t matter.


What didn’t? And to whom?


The Royal Box was set at the North End of London Imperial Stadium, so no matter where you were sitting, you got a view of the entire field.



So did you mean”It would not have spoilt the view” rather than “It didn’t matter”?


The seating also did something else. It made it so that no matter where in the box you were, the luxurious scents from the full buffet at the back of the box wafted towards you.


I have underlined the essential bits rather than bolding the inessential here. My feeling right through is that there is a lot that is not needed, go through and edit so for every 500 words you only have 300, the story will move faster and you will hold your readers better.

There was a selection of foods beyond even the finest restaurant, foods that had to been imported from far away British territories. The scents filled up the box like a cloud; a delicious, scrumptious cloud. This cloud which smacked Grand Duke Anthony Ainsworth right in the face as he strode into the Royal Box. The scents were amazing, especially to Anthony, since his nose was accustomed to the very different scents of his homeland.
Qualifiers like especially and since actually dilute the impact in situations like this, usually the opposite of what was intended.
As he walked into the box, he was extremely glad for of the light clothing he was wearing, since the Royal Box was kept at a warm temperature. Anthony wore tight, straight black pants with a gold trim line and

a jacket of sorts. It was more of a shirt/jacket hybrid, with a tight fitting figure and two overlapping front flaps that were held together by gold buttons down the right side of the jacket. It had a high straight collar that was only somewhat uncomfortable.

Get this description sorted out in your head and re-write it, four lines with things like “of sorts” and “more of” for a jacket, Sheesh ...


In addition to that, he also wore a long cloak, embroidered with gold and silver stitching. It was form fitting over , fitted across the shoulders and was held on by a gold chain across his upper chest.
The shoulders - his chest, one or the other
His expensive, imported leather shoes clicked on the marble floor as he made his way to his seat. It was slightly behind and to the right of the Emperor’s seat, which was a highly respected position to sit in. Which made sense, since Anthony was one of the Emperor’s closest friends and advisors.


That is as far as I am going. it is coming up to midnight here and it has been a long day, there are a couple of punctuations where I used red, family's with a possessive apostrophe instead of the plural for example, italics are words I added.
There were a couple of spellings that I think may simply be American English, but generally the spelling is good and you are grammatical and intelligable, if a bit verbose.



When I come back to something I read through what I have already written and edit it before I start writing again, that way the beginning ends up the best bit with the best chance of drawing in your reader, and remember, usually
less is more.