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Equinox
April 12th, 2014, 02:19 AM
Hey, everyone! Over the last few days, I've begun developing a few ideas for a potential story, and I believe I'm on track to make it a reality. I've already written a small excerpt, and I would like to see what you all think of it. I would very much appreciate any ideas or critiques.

So, without further ado, I present to you: "Reaching Nirvana"

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“Captain!” I scream out into the corridor of the ship. No response.

The red warning lights that hung from the ceiling in each hallway on board the Nirvana were spinning, and the sirens were bellowing out their infamous monotonic scream. The metallic walls were beginning to melt due to the excessive heat of the flames caused by the attack, and the floor was scattered with corpses, scorched and lying dead in pools of thick violet red blood.

“CAPTAIN!” I shout. Again, nothing in return.

If I stayed in my current position any longer, I would surely burn to a crisp, but if I ran in search of the captain, I risked running into possible fractures in the exterior walls, which, judging by the force of the impact from the blast, wasn't out of the realm of possibility. If that were the case, then oxygen would surely be flooding out of the ship and into the black vacuum of space.

“CAPTAIN VERACK!” my voice cracks as I yell.

The fire began to grow, so I had no choice but to run. Every dead body on the floor blocked my path as I bolted down the corridor, but I had to find Verack. As I ran, a static sound began transmitting from the overhead PA System, followed by a garbled robotic voice.

“ALERT! SHIP OXYG… LEVELS DOW… FIFTY PERC… PROCEED TO ESCA… PODS AND EV… UATE IMMEDI… LY!”

“Shit!” I screamed. “I have to get out of here!”

I ran past flames and dead bodies, attempting to avoid any hazards on my way through the halls. The smoke was pitch black and extremely thick. I could barely breathe or see. Despite the difficulties, I managed to locate a door. Next to it was a sign that read “POD BAY.”

YES! I thought to myself.

I grabbed the latch on the door and threw it to the side, allowing the door to slide open. The sound of the crackling flames bombarded my ear drums, as did the sound of melting metal and collapsing scaffolding. But, to my dismay, all of the pods were damaged, some more significantly than others. One, however, was only barely scratched.

Without hesitation, I ran to the relatively unscathed capsule, trampling the bodies of my fallen comrades underneath my boots. I entered the pod and furiously slammed the door. I took a seat in one of the available seats, pulled down the safety restraint over my shoulders, and shouted at the top of my lungs.

“Computer, initiate drop sequence!” I yelled.

“REQU…ST ACKN…LEDGED.” The robotic voice stated, obviously affected by the minimal damage the capsule sustained. “INITI..NG DROP SE…NCE IN TEN... N..NE… EIGHT… SEV…”

I looked out the window of the pod and witnessed the flaming carcass of the pod bay begin to fall apart. Overhead beams fell onto the bodies of the dead soldiers and workers, splitting them in half and scattering their organs all over the metallic floor, which would soon be enveloped in fire.

“FIVE… FOUR… THR… TWO…”

I held my breath as the escape pod fell from the pod bay, but I kept my eyes on the ship as my capsule plummeted towards the planet below. The word “Nirvana” was painted in capital letters along a huge metal plate that helped to make up the exterior of the vessel. As the capsule fell and fell, I continued to watch the ship go up in smoke.

My only hope of getting back home... destroyed.

Ariel
April 13th, 2014, 05:11 AM
I would shorten the sentences describing your action. It will make the action feel more exciting. Stephen King is an expert at using long sentences to build up tension and then short sentences to create a sense of excitement when in action. I like the idea you've got working here and I would continue reading. I would suggest having a small group of survivors rather than just one--especially as there seems to be so many people on board.

I was amused by the chaos juxtaposed against the name "Nirvana." A bit of a "Firefly" touch, huh?

kilroy214
April 13th, 2014, 05:53 AM
"Captain!" I scream out into the corridor of the ship. No response.

As an opener for the story, I don't know how well this works. I get we the reader are being thrust into the middle of action, but I feel this is a little too dramatic. I think a lead up to the call for the captain would work better, maybe describe how alarm and emergency signals flash across the console, leading the character to dash for the hallway to warn his captain. I also would advise saying 'There came no response' would be more appropriate than just 'No response"


The red warning lights that hung from the ceiling in each hallway on board the Nirvana were spinning, and the sirens were bellowing out their infamous monotonic scream. The metallic walls were beginning to melt due to the excessive heat of the flames caused by the attack, and the floor was scattered with corpses, scorched and lying dead in pools of thick violet red blood.

I think there is in issue with what tense you're using. You started out in present tense in the first line, then switch to past tense. I would suggest staying in past tense for a first person story, that way it tends to read more like a memoir. I also would suggest using the word claxon instead of siren, and your sentences could use some shortening. This is action, there should be a staccato feel to the reading. What you have written is fine, just cut them in half.


"CAPTAIN!" I shout. Again, nothing in return.

If I stayed in my current position any longer, I would surely burn to a crisp, but if I ran in search of the captain, I risked running into possible fractures in the exterior walls, which, judging by the force of the impact from the blast, wasn't out of the realm of possibility. If that were the case, then oxygen would surely be flooding out of the ship and into the black vacuum of space.

I think the Captain's name should be used this second time, and cut the "Again, nothing..." Also, the "burn to a crisp" is a cliche, I would surely burn "like the rest" might be better. Fractures in the hull of a ship are known as "breaches" and in space, I don't believe there is any question to whether or not there's been a breach as decompression of a chamber would be quite sudden and violent.


"CAPTAIN VERACK!" my voice cracks as I yell.

The fire began to grow, so I had no choice but to run. Every dead body on the floor blocked my path as I bolted down the corridor, but I had to find Verack. As I ran, a static sound began transmitting from the overhead PA System, followed by a garbled robotic voice.

“ALERT! SHIP OXYG… LEVELS DOW… FIFTY PERC… PROCEED TO ESCA… PODS AND EV… UATE IMMEDI… LY!”

“Shit!” I screamed. “I have to get out of here!”

I ran past flames and dead bodies, attempting to avoid any hazards on my way through the halls. The smoke was pitch black and extremely thick. I could barely breathe or see. Despite the difficulties, I managed to locate a door. Next to it was a sign that read “POD BAY.”

YES! I thought to myself.

I would cut the "captain verack!" Line completely. Also, I would cut the second use of the word dead bodies and use a different adjective or cut it completely and describe the surrounding in more detail, ie; gouts of flame, noxious smoke, soot stained corridora, floors slickened with hydraulic fluids, ozone stink from frying electronics, ship shudders, groans and death rattles as he makes his way down the hall. Also, the smoke is described as black and thick, so saying he could neither see or breathe is kind of redundant.
I also think the use of "I have to get out of here!" Is a little hacky. Like something Errol Flynn would say.


I grabbed the latch on the door and threw it to the side, allowing the door to slide open. The sound of the crackling flames bombarded my ear drums, as did the sound of melting metal and collapsing scaffolding. But, to my dismay, all of the pods were damaged, some more significantly than others. One, however, was only barely scratched.

Without hesitation, I ran to the relatively unscathed capsule, trampling the bodies of my fallen comrades underneath my boots. I entered the pod and furiously slammed the door. I took a seat in one of the available seats, pulled down the safety restraint over my shoulders, and shouted at the top of my lungs.

“Computer, initiate drop sequence!” I yelled.

Him finding all the pods damaged except one in pristine condition is a little to convenient. I think it would work better if he brought up the pod's diagnostics ona computer and found one in working order sounds a little more realistic, or that all have been jettisoned save one. Who's to say the others weren't destroyed in the attack when they took off? Also, we get there are bodies strewn everywhere, we don't need to keep seeing him hop scotch over corpses to get to where he's going.


“REQU…ST ACKN…LEDGED.” The robotic voice stated, obviously affected by the minimal damage the capsule sustained. “INITI..NG DROP SE…NCE IN TEN... N..NE… EIGHT… SEV…”

I looked out the window of the pod and witnessed the flaming carcass of the pod bay begin to fall apart. Overhead beams fell onto the bodies of the dead soldiers and workers, splitting them in half and scattering their organs all over the metallic floor, which would soon be enveloped in fire.

Awesome description here :)


“FIVE… FOUR… THR… TWO…”

I held my breath as the escape pod fell from the pod bay, but I kept my eyes on the ship as my capsule plummeted towards the planet below. The word “Nirvana” was painted in capital letters along a huge metal plate that helped to make up the exterior of the vessel. As the capsule fell and fell, I continued to watch the ship go up in smoke.

I think at this point the pod is jetting away from the stern/belly of the ship since we just saw the image of the pod bay get destroyed. I would also use another word for ship (vessel, destroyer, cruiser, carrier, freighter, etc.) And I wouldn't say 'up in smoke.' As things don't burn or smoke in space. I would say 'watched it fall apart' or get 'blown apart' or 'succumb to its numerous breaches." Or even describe the enemy attack ship deliver the killing blow.

It makes for an intriguing read, and I would definitely continue reading from what i've seen so far (which is saying a lot because I am not a huge fan of 1st person stories; weird? I know)

Keep it up, can't wait to see what comes next.


My only hope of getting back home... destroyed.

This is a great hook to keep the reader enthralled and deliver a great sense of forboding at the same time. Liked it.

Equinox
April 13th, 2014, 07:27 PM
Thanks for the advice, guys! I'll definitely take it into consideration.

Note to self: get an editor. :P

Moxis
April 14th, 2014, 04:32 PM
Vary interesting read.

I do agree with kilroy mabye a little more of an introduction into the story.

Some more survivors would make for a ease in his suffering and if its a requirement that he losses everything I have felt its always more dramatic to lose everything Over time as opposed to all at once.

Johns_25y
April 14th, 2014, 05:37 PM
First of all, Equinox, i want to say I am very intrigued. I'm not a great fan of 1st person POV stories, but this one seems exciting. Although i'd use a little more backstory. But overall, i'm quite interested. Keep going.:-o

Equinox
April 15th, 2014, 01:39 AM
Vary interesting read.

I do agree with kilroy mabye a little more of an introduction into the story.

Some more survivors would make for a ease in his suffering and if its a requirement that he losses everything I have felt its always more dramatic to lose everything Over time as opposed to all at once.


First of all, Equinox, i want to say I am very intrigued. I'm not a great fan of 1st person POV stories, but this one seems exciting. Although i'd use a little more backstory. But overall, i'm quite interested. Keep going.:-o

Thank you both!

As I said, this was just an idea. I'm not even sure if this scenario is going to take place in the final version of the story. I know backstory is needed, and I intend to explain it all eventually. Unfortunately, I'm back at school this week, but next week is (thankfully) April break. Hopefully I'll have time to work on this story more then.

30Drummer30
April 15th, 2014, 03:57 AM
Kilroy hit the nail on the head regarding some of the cliches used as well as the correct words not being used such as breach, claxon. All in a very good read. I hope you continue with it.

gamblingworld
April 20th, 2014, 07:05 PM
I like the sequence, I'd just look at a few of the implementation details:


If I stayed in my current position any longer, I would surely burn to a crisp, but if I ran in search of the captain, I risked running into possible fractures in the exterior walls

There is no tension presented by this choice because the 'safe' option of not doing anything results in surely burning to a crisp. there is no choice, the protagonist either risks a possible fractures or dies in the fire. Maybe provide a true 'safe' option and then the brave option of looking for the captain and risking the fracture.


“Shit!” I screamed. “I have to get out of here!”

Think about what you'd do in the situation your protagonist is in, maybe act it out in reality. If it was me I wouldn't scream 'shit I have to get out of here,' who is it being screamed at?

Maybe consider a bit of thought narration? Something like: '

'Shit!' I mutter to myself, I realise that if I don't get out of here I will die. The urge to live wells up inside me. 'Not today' I whisper, almost inaudibly.

Just some ideas though. I like the action and general direction of this piece :)