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Clepto
October 10th, 2014, 12:51 AM
Hello! Thank you for coming this far. This will be my first short story up for critique here on WF. I look forward to any and all criticisms that you may have. Do not be gentle, and don't worry if it seems like nit-picking. It is the best way to grow as a writer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Erikesh

Eric winced in pain as the machine finished mending the bone in his forearm. The machine rose slightly and swiveled, as if admiring its work, then began knitting his torn muscles. He groaned as the pain increased.

Less than an hour had passed since he had entered the infirmary with his wrist nearly touching his elbow and jagged, shattered, bones protruding from the skin. The machine did its job well, and not for the first time, Eric marveled at the machine. This wasn’t the first time he had been to the infirmary with broken bones or the like, but not once had they spared any sort of pain medication. Not for the likes of him.

The machine rose again and mended the skin, leaving no visible sign that there had ever been a wound. The machine swiveled away from his chair beeping, and the nurse looked up from her computer terminal.

She sighed and stood up to walked over to his chair, with a small smile on her face. “This should be your last time right Eric?” She asked pointedly. He grunted in response. He knew this would be the last time. She chuckled. “He’s good to go.”

“On your feet Connie!” The guard thumped him on the shoulder with his prod as Eric stood, causing him to stumble. The guard tapped the pad on his wrist and spoke, “Ops Control, prisoner seven-two-alpha –five-lima ready for transfer to general.”

Eric listened closely to the reply from control as the guard ushered him to the door. “We read. Prisoner seven-two-alpha-five-lima for transfer to general. Begin transfer.”

There was the familiar metallic thump in the bulkhead surrounding of the door unlocking and it swung inward. The guard prodded Eric once again and he stepped through the door and into the corridor beyond. The walls and floor looked like an unblemished sheet of steel stretching ahead and curving slightly to the left as it went. The ceiling was the same except for the lighting placed at precise intervals. Nothing except Erics own experience told him that there were access hatches all along this corridor, with no way to open them without a guard or Ops Control.

“Hold up right here Connie.” the guard said from behind. Eric stopped and waited. “Ops, prisoner seven-two-alpha-five-lima ready for general reintegration.”
Ops responded and the door began to open. “You have a go on reintegration. Prisoner seven-two-five-lima reintegrated without incident.”

The guard turned him toward the door but before Eric could step through he caught his arm. “Connie, er--I mean Eric. I have to ask. Why do you let them hurt you? You could put a stop to it, but you never do. Why?”

Eric looked at the man and sighed. “It’s no less than I deserve. I just want to serve my time and leave. I do what I must.”

The guard eyed him but only nodded, and then stepped away from the door. Eric watched the door close and seal, leaving a seamless steel wall in front of him. He turned from the wall and looked around. They had deposited him in Bravo Wing this time. His last trip back from the infirmary had deposited him in Alpha Wing but it had been a much longer walk along that solid steel corridor. No two trips had been the same.

The prison was an engineering marvel. The entire facility around the central complex shifted at random intervals and times. The only way to navigate was the wrist bands that the guards wore. It was an impenetrable maze built around the most sophisticated prison ever conceived. The Wilton-Grundel Corporation had boasted a prison that was impossible to escape from and they seemed to have done it. Although being on the lunar surface and, Eric suspected, beneath it had their advantages as well.

Eric stepped toward the railing in front of him and looked down. Ten levels below was the recreation area where ‘Connies’ were allowed to mingle, exercise, and pass the time. He tried to lean a little further to get a better view but the kinetic barrier stopped him. The barrier would not let anything or anyone go over the railing. The only thing that could breach that barrier was a round from one of rifles carried by the ‘Halo’ guards. The ‘Halo’ was essentially a guard tower. A guard tower that was fully mobile. Each of the eight wings in general population had a Halo and in the center was a larger version.

Two years ago there had been a sort of riot and three Halos had come in to subdue it. Eric had watched as the Halos from Echo Wing and Gamma Wing converged on the Fox Wing Halo and subdued the riot. At the same time, the central Halo moved closer to the effected wings, and the unaffected Halos moved slightly closer to the center. The guards were very well trained.

Eric backed away from the railing and moved toward the stairs. He made his way down to the recreation area and began looking for his men. He found them at the edge of Delta Wing. As he approached they turned to him. Some nodded others just watched.

“We begin now.” Eric said looking over his followers. It was the first time he had spoken to any of them in his ten years of incarceration. Twenty-five men, more loyal to Eric than their own families, ready to live or die at his request. Each of them had been sent to this facility for different crimes, crimes that he had asked of them, crimes that would be in vain if he did not succeed. “You all know your tasks. Go.”

Eric watched as they broke into small groups and spread out. He walked to the center of the recreation area, directly under the central Halo, and sat. He took a deep breath and began activating his biotech implants. He bent his elbow and squeezed his wrist. He stretched out his legs and touched the soles of his shoes. Each process was specific to the implants he now possessed.

Eric had not entered the prison with any of these implants. He had obtained them through his many trips to the infirmary to heal and repair horrible injuries. Injuries caused by his own men. They had not enjoyed the tasks he had given them before his incarceration but they had obeyed. Each injury had been repaired and each time Eric had left with something more.

Eric rubbed the back of his neck with one hand while tapping his throat with the other, activating the final implant. He looked around and saw that his odd display had drawn a small crowd, some less friendly than others. It was time to begin.

“I am Eric Ryan Strolm!” His voice boomed. Amplified by an implant, his voice reached the entire detention block. “Some of you may know me by another name. Erikesh. I have come to set you free!”

At his announcement several of the Halos attempted to move toward Eric but were stopped by kinetic barrier. Each Halo had three of his men standing beneath it, arms held up, their faces contorted in agony. The crowd was stunned.

“I know you fear the guards, but you have no need. They are handled.” As he spoke Eric gestured toward the tenth level.

The deadliest of the twenty-five men he had chosen to aid him leapt from the railing, aided by his own biotech, and smashed through the wall of the central Halo. The kinetic barrier on the railing slowing him no more than the steel wall of the Halo. Gunfire sounded from above and then silence.

There was a thump behind him and Eric turned to see his man standing with several of the guards rifles held under one arm, and the body of a guard under the other. He walked to the taller man and placed a hand on his shoulder warmly. “Thank you for this sacrifice Marcus, and for your next.” Marcus smiled at Eric sadly and dropped the rifles and guard at his feet.

Eric knelt by the guard and addressed the silent crowd once again. “Many of you here were incarcerated for following me. Many more for far more grievous and dreadful sins. Few here were imprisoned unjustly.” Eric stood and placed the guard’s bracelet onto his wrist, allowing it to meld with his own biotech. “All but a few of these transgressions can be forgotten. You must simply follow. I have spoken with many of you, and I know that there are those among you with fire in their hearts. Axell of Delta Wing, please step forward.”

A tall dark skinned man with broad shoulders and thick arms pushed his way into the clear space around Eric and stared defiantly. Eric stepped closer to the man. He spoke to the crowd but looked into Axell’s defiant eyes. ”This man has been imprisoned for the murder of fifty-three men and women. At one time Axell was a creator rather than a destroyer. He created grand structures with the toil of his muscles and the sweat of his brow. What drove him to destroy?” Eric paused and looked at the gathered inmates. “War. Conflict came to the land Axell called home. Conflict came to his very door step. An airstrike from his own government destroyed this man’s home. It killed his wife. It killed his children. An error they called it. Axell hunted down every single person connected the deaths of his family and killed them, as well as anyone who got in the way, but they stopped him short of his goal.” Eric grabbed one of the rifles and looked at Axell once more. “I know the fire that burns in you. Will you join with me and use that fire to cleanse our conflicted world?” Eric offered him the rifle. Axell simply nodded and took the rifle. Eric named several more men and spoke to them. They all joined with him. These were all men that had garnered followers for their deeds, and Eric intended to use those followers.

Once again Eric addressed the crowd of inmates. “Now, I believe it is time for us to be going. Those of you who wish to join us will be welcome.” Eric paused as a large hand tapped his shoulder.

It was Axell. “How do you believe we will be leaving this place, my friend? If you are forgetting, we are on the moon.” Eric smiled and gestured toward the tenth level.

“If you will follow me I would be happy to show you.”

When they reached the top Marcus was already in position, as were many others, Eric hoped. Eric’s followers. Followers that had infiltrated the facility years before he had even committed the crime that brought him here. Eric embraced Marcus and spoke softly. “It is time. I thank you again for your sacrifice.”
Marcus smiled sadly and turned to the solid steel wall. Placing his hands on the metal he began to push. As he did, waves of head rippled from his body. The unblemished steel began do glow softly. Marcus’ skin began to blister and char. When it was finished the wall in front of them was open to the corridor. There would be similar holes all around the facility, giving Eric and his new converts free reign of the lunar prison. Eric smiled proudly at the blackened corpse on the floor in front of the opening. Marcus hadn’t even whimpered.

Eric leaned over the railing and spoke to his men still containing the guards in the Halos. “You have all done very well. I thank you for your sacrifice.” At his unspoken command the men clapped their hands together. The kinetic barriers they had been holding dropped and, an instant later, the men exploded taking the Halos with them.

Axell lead the way with the other new lieutenants, guiding Eric to Ops Control. When they arrived the guards had already been disposed of. There was one man left in the room, dripping with sweat and being held by two inmates. The men had the look of his true followers. He touched each man on the shoulder thanking them.

“Warden. You are the Warden correct?” The man nodded nervously, sweat dripping into his eyes. “Ah, that is good. You are a very lucky man Warden. You will be witness to something great. Let me be the first to welcome you to my new home. It is called Heaven, and from here we will begin raining righteous fire onto the people of Earth. The end is nigh Warden, and it is named Erikesh.”

TKent
October 10th, 2014, 03:08 PM
Dude, I did a critique late last night while kicked back on the couch on my tablet (which is HARD TO DO) and ended up hitting the wrong thing and losing it. I was SOOOOO mad. Anyway, I'll try to recreate it this morning while on a real computer :)

Overall impressions:

- I loved the story idea! You had me hooked with the the 3rd paragraph, in that I wanted to know what the heck was going on.
- I really liked the world you are building here! My on general comment is that for me at times it dragged in the 'heavy description areas' (where you are giving backstory, describing things, etc.) But I also realize that you have a world to build and backstory to share and this genre may do a lot of that. I pointed out places where I think that sentence variety would have helped me with this. But I do suggest you look for places for some of it at least to come out in the course of dialog/action/or his internal feelings, there may be opportunities. (showing vs. telling - I got this in my very first critique here and it made a huge difference for me).
- Sentence variety - I think you have an opportunity to mix it up a bit in places with simple, compound, complex etc. I have gone through before and highlighted my first word of every sentence and then scanned the 'size' of the sentences so that I make sure that there is variety. But that is after I do a first draft to get the story down. I don't personally 'think' with variety, so I have to go back and force it in.. LOL :)

Thanks for sharing!! (some specifics below)


Hello! Thank you for coming this far. This will be my first short story up for critique here on WF. I look forward to any and all criticisms that you may have. Do not be gentle, and don't worry if it seems like nit-picking. It is the best way to grow as a writer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Erikesh

Eric winced in pain as the machine finished mending the bone in his forearm. The machine rose slightly and swiveled, as if admiring its work, then began knitting his torn muscles. He groaned as the pain increased.

Less than an hour had passed since he had entered the infirmary with his wrist nearly touching his elbow and jagged, shattered, bones protruding from the skin. The machine did its job well, and not for the first time, Eric marveled at the machine. (the word machine twice so close sounded repetitive) This wasn’t the first time he had been to the infirmary with broken bones or the like, but not once had they spared any sort of pain medication. Not for the likes of him. hooked me at this point!

The machine rose again and mended the skin, leaving no visible sign that there had ever been a wound. The machine swiveled away from his chair beeping, and the nurse looked up from her computer terminal. two sentences in a row start as "The Machine". maybe more variety.

She sighed and stood up to walked over to his chair, with a small smile on her face. “This should be your last time right Eric?” she asked pointedly. He grunted in response. He knew this would be the last time. She chuckled. “He’s good to go.”

“On your feet Connie!” The guard thumped him on the shoulder with his prod as Eric stood, causing him to stumble. The guard tapped the pad on his wrist and spoke, “Ops Control, prisoner seven-two-alpha –five-lima ready for transfer to general.”

Eric listened closely to the reply from control as the guard ushered him to the door. “We read. Prisoner seven-two-alpha-five-lima for transfer to general. Begin transfer.”

There was the familiar metallic thump in the bulkhead surrounding of the door unlocking and it swung inward. The guard prodded Eric once again and he stepped through the door and into the corridor beyond. The walls and floor looked like an unblemished sheet of steel stretching ahead and curving slightly to the left as it went. The ceiling was the same except for the lighting placed at precise intervals. Nothing except Eric's own experience told him that there were access hatches all along this corridor, with no way to open them without a guard or Ops Control. in general, love the prison and visuals you give in describing it!

“Hold up right here Connie.” the guard said from behind. Eric stopped and waited. “Ops, prisoner seven-two-alpha-five-lima ready for general reintegration.”
Ops responded and the door began to open. “You have a go on reintegration. Prisoner seven-two-five-lima reintegrated without incident.” (here I was reading this as him talking to Erik, then there was nothing to let me know he'd switched to ops (just in the last segment of dialog). I'd inject something to make it clear such as him tapping his wrist again, etc.)

The guard turned him toward the door but before Eric could step through he caught his arm. “Connie, er--I mean Eric. I have to ask. Why do you let them hurt you? You could put a stop to it, but you never do. Why?”

Eric looked at the man and sighed. “It’s no less than I deserve. I just want to serve my time and leave. I do what I must.” - hmm, wonder if you added some internal thought here it would increase the tension.

The guard eyed him but only nodded, and then stepped away from the door. Eric watched the door close and seal, leaving a seamless steel wall in front of him. He turned from the wall and looked around. They had deposited him in Bravo Wing this time. His last trip back from the infirmary had deposited him in Alpha Wing but it had been a much longer walk along that solid steel corridor. No two trips had been the same.

The prison was an engineering marvel. The entire facility around the central complex shifted at random intervals and times. The only way to navigate was the wrist bands that the guards wore. It was an impenetrable maze built around the most sophisticated prison ever conceived. The Wilton-Grundel Corporation had boasted a prison that was impossible to escape from, and they seemed to have done it. Although being on the lunar surface and, Eric suspected, beneath it had their advantages as well. I loved the prison! but this is a place that was an opportunity to add some sentence variety, etc.

Eric stepped toward the railing in front of him and looked down. Ten levels below was the recreation area where ‘Connies’ were allowed to mingle, exercise, and pass the time. He tried to lean a little further to get a better view but the kinetic barrier stopped him. The barrier would not let anything or anyone go over the railing. The only thing that could breach that barrier was a round from one of rifles carried by the ‘Halo’ guards. The ‘Halo’ was essentially a guard tower. A guard tower that was fully mobile. Each of the eight wings in general population had a Halo and in the center was a larger version. Does 'halo' need the quotes? I'd drop them, Halo is just a part of the world.

Two years ago there had been a sort of riot and three Halos had come in to subdue it. Eric had watched as the Halos from Echo Wing and Gamma Wing converged on the Fox Wing Halo and subdued the riot. At the same time, the central Halo moved closer to the effected wings, and the unaffected Halos moved slightly closer to the center. The guards were very well trained.

Eric backed away from the railing and moved toward the stairs. He made his way down to the recreation area and began looking for his men. He found them at the edge of Delta Wing. As he approached they turned to him. Some nodded others just watched.

“We begin now.” Eric said looking over his followers. It was the first time he had spoken to any of them in his ten years of incarceration. Twenty-five men, more loyal to Eric than their own families, ready to live or die at his request. Each of them had been sent to this facility for different crimes, crimes that he had asked of them, crimes that would be in vain if he did not succeed. “You all know your tasks. Go.” I would have liked more tension here, what is he thinking feeling, are his words quiet, strained, excited, etc. I felt like I was having to 'add' this in my head if that makes any sense? In tennis we call it 'producing our own pace' when playing someone who doesn't generate pace on their shots..it's that general idea.

Eric watched as they broke into small groups and spread out. He walked to the center of the recreation area, directly under the central Halo, and sat. He took a deep breath and began activating his biotech implants. He bent his elbow and squeezed his wrist. He stretched out his legs and touched the soles of his shoes. Each process was specific to the implants he now possessed. very cool concept!!

Eric had not entered the prison with any of these implants. He had obtained them through his many trips to the infirmary to heal and repair horrible injuries. Injuries caused by his own men. They had not enjoyed the tasks he had given them before his incarceration but they had obeyed. Each injury had been repaired and each time Eric had left with something more. again, very cool concept! I don't understand much about them and what they do though.

Eric rubbed the back of his neck with one hand while tapping his throat with the other, activating the final implant. He looked around and saw that his odd display had drawn a small crowd, some less friendly than others. It was time to begin.

“I am Eric Ryan Strolm!” His voice boomed. Amplified by an implant, his voice reached the entire detention block. “Some of you may know me by another name. Erikesh. I have come to set you free!” here I didn't have to generate my own pace..LOL!! This really got me into the scene and I felt the power in his voice, etc.!!

At his announcement several of the Halos attempted to move toward Eric but were stopped by kinetic barrier. Each Halo had three of his men standing beneath it, arms held up, their faces contorted in agony. The crowd was stunned. that felt to calm a description. I'd imagine them rushing toward him, or something more aggressive?

“I know you fear the guards, but you have no need. They are handled.” As he spoke Eric gestured toward the tenth level.

The deadliest of the twenty-five men he had chosen to aid him leapt from the railing, aided by his own biotech, and smashed through the wall of the central Halo. The kinetic barrier on the railing slowing him no more than the steel wall of the Halo. Gunfire sounded from above and then silence. nice description here, I was feeling it ;)

There was a thump behind him and Eric turned to see his man standing with several of the guards rifles held under one arm, and the body of a guard under the other. He walked to the taller man and placed a hand on his shoulder warmly. “Thank you for this sacrifice Marcus, and for your next.” Marcus smiled at Eric sadly and dropped the rifles and guard at his feet. (oh no, is Marcus gonna die?? nice tension :)

Eric knelt by the guard and addressed the silent crowd once again. “Many of you here were incarcerated for following me. Many more for far more grievous and dreadful sins. Few here were imprisoned unjustly.” Eric stood and placed the guard’s bracelet onto his wrist, allowing it to meld with his own biotech. “All but a few of these transgressions can be forgotten. You must simply follow. I have spoken with many of you, and I know that there are those among you with fire in their hearts. Axell of Delta Wing, please step forward.” were they completely silent? I would have pictured them anxious, anticipating, some murmuring (sp?) going on, etc.

A tall dark skinned man with broad shoulders and thick arms pushed his way into the clear space around Eric and stared defiantly. Eric stepped closer to the man. He spoke to the crowd but looked into Axell’s defiant eyes. ”This man has been imprisoned for the murder of fifty-three men and women. At one time Axell was a creator rather than a destroyer. He created grand structures with the toil of his muscles and the sweat of his brow. What drove him to destroy?” Eric paused and looked at the gathered inmates. “War. Conflict came to the land Axell called home. Conflict came to his very door step. An airstrike from his own government destroyed this man’s home. It killed his wife. It killed his children. An error they called it. Axell hunted down every single person connected the deaths of his family and killed them, as well as anyone who got in the way, but they stopped him short of his goal.” Eric grabbed one of the rifles and looked at Axell once more. “I know the fire that burns in you. Will you join with me and use that fire to cleanse our conflicted world?” Eric offered him the rifle. Axell simply nodded and took the rifle. Eric named several more men and spoke to them. They all joined with him. These were all men that had garnered followers for their deeds, and Eric intended to use those followers. I like that the backstory is coming out here in a really natural way and as part of the action and dialog!

Once again Eric addressed the crowd of inmates. “Now, I believe it is time for us to be going. Those of you who wish to join us will be welcome.” Eric paused as a large hand tapped his shoulder.

It was Axell. “How do you believe we will be leaving this place, my friend? If you are forgetting, we are on the moon.” Eric smiled and gestured toward the tenth level.

“If you will follow me I would be happy to show you.” I definitely am reading on to figure this out :)

When they reached the top Marcus was already in position, as were many others, Eric hoped. Eric’s followers. Followers that had infiltrated the facility years before he had even committed the crime that brought him here. Eric embraced Marcus and spoke softly. “It is time. I thank you again for your sacrifice.”
Marcus smiled sadly and turned to the solid steel wall. Placing his hands on the metal he began to push. As he did, waves of head rippled from his body. The unblemished steel began do glow softly. Marcus’ skin began to blister and char. When it was finished the wall in front of them was open to the corridor. There would be similar holes all around the facility, giving Eric and his new converts free reign of the lunar prison. Eric smiled proudly at the blackened corpse on the floor in front of the opening. Marcus hadn’t even whimpered. if he knew marcus was, why couldn't he seee if others were and just hoped? small question but one I had as reading so just in case it helps!! also with the Eric smiled proudly, I sort of wanted to feel his regret at the loss of Marcus or something. Maybe just me??

Eric leaned over the railing and spoke to his men still containing the guards in the Halos. “You have all done very well. I thank you for your sacrifice.” At his unspoken command the men clapped their hands together. The kinetic barriers they had been holding dropped and, an instant later, the men exploded taking the Halos with them.

Axell lead the way with the other new lieutenants, guiding Eric to Ops Control. When they arrived the guards had already been disposed of. There was one man left in the room, dripping with sweat and being held by two inmates. The men had the look of his true followers. He touched each man on the shoulder thanking them. that sentence was off to me personally - not sure exactly what you were trying to say, was it just because they were holding him, doesn't mean they were his true followers but they appeared to be moving in that direction? Also sort of passive. may just be me LOL!

“Warden. You are the Warden correct?” The man nodded nervously, sweat dripping into his eyes. “Ah, that is good. You are a very lucky man Warden. You will be witness to something great. Let me be the first to welcome you to my new home. It is called Heaven, and from here we will begin raining righteous fire onto the people of Earth. The end is nigh Warden, and it is named Erikesh.” Very strong end and I would definitely read more!!

Clepto
October 11th, 2014, 12:07 AM
Dude, I did a critique late last night while kicked back on the couch on my tablet (which is HARD TO DO) and ended up hitting the wrong thing and losing it. I was SOOOOO mad. Anyway, I'll try to recreate it this morning while on a real computer :)

Overall impressions:

- I loved the story idea! You had me hooked with the the 3rd paragraph, in that I wanted to know what the heck was going on.
- I really liked the world you are building here! My on general comment is that for me at times it dragged in the 'heavy description areas' (where you are giving backstory, describing things, etc.) But I also realize that you have a world to build and backstory to share and this genre may do a lot of that. I pointed out places where I think that sentence variety would have helped me with this. But I do suggest you look for places for some of it at least to come out in the course of dialog/action/or his internal feelings, there may be opportunities. (showing vs. telling - I got this in my very first critique here and it made a huge difference for me).
- Sentence variety - I think you have an opportunity to mix it up a bit in places with simple, compound, complex etc. I have gone through before and highlighted my first word of every sentence and then scanned the 'size' of the sentences so that I make sure that there is variety. But that is after I do a first draft to get the story down. I don't personally 'think' with variety, so I have to go back and force it in.. LOL :)

I'm just glad at least one person was willing to critique. I was beginning to think I might have to start begging. Thank you very, very much for the critique.


the word machine twice so close sounded repetitive)Noted. I'll fix it up.


two sentences in a row start as "The Machine". maybe more variety.
Noted again. :)

in general, love the prison and visuals you give in describing it!Well thank you. I wanted it to seem pretty sleek but with an ominous air about it.


here I was reading this as him talking to Erik, then there was nothing to let me know he'd switched to ops (just in the last segment of dialog). I'd inject something to make it clear such as him tapping his wrist again, etc.)
I agree. I actually changed it on my computer already. :)


hmm, wonder if you added some internal thought here it would increase the tension. I'll toy with that and see what I can come up with.


I loved the prison! but this is a place that was an opportunity to add some sentence variety, etc.Yes I agree. The, the, the, the, the, the, the...


Does 'halo' need the quotes? I'd drop them, Halo is just a part of the world.I inteded the term to be more like slang but I never got around to explaining it. Always above your head, making you be a good little boy.


I would have liked more tension here, what is he thinking feeling, are his words quiet, strained, excited, etc. I felt like I was having to 'add' this in my head if that makes any sense? In tennis we call it 'producing our own pace' when playing someone who doesn't generate pace on their shots..it's that general idea.
I understand what you mean. I think I can come up with something.
again, very cool concept! I don't understand much about them and what they do though.
Thank you. They were more of a just in case thing for Eric. I suppose I could add another one or two visuals of the implants at work. Mostly, though they weren't shown because they weren't used.


that felt to calm a description. I'd imagine them rushing toward him, or something more aggressive?That's kind of the point. They were basically held in position with little or no room to move by Eric's followers.


were they completely silent? I would have pictured them anxious, anticipating, some murmuring (sp?) going on, etc.
I'll add in some murmuring, but for the most part they are fairly silent. I wanted to project a profound fear of, and if not fear, great respect for Eric.


if he knew marcus was, why couldn't he seee if others were and just hoped? small question but one I had as reading so just in case it helps!! also with the Eric smiled proudly, I sort of wanted to feel his regret at the loss of Marcus or something. Maybe just me??
I suppose I should clarify that the rest of the holes being created are by followers who had infiltrated the prison staff. All of his implanted followers in the detention area had killed themselves.


that sentence was off to me personally - not sure exactly what you were trying to say, was it just because they were holding him, doesn't mean they were his true followers but they appeared to be moving in that direction? Also sort of passive. may just be me LOL!
I meant for them to look at him almost adoringly. Maybe with a hint of zealotry sprinkled on top? :)

Plasticweld
October 11th, 2014, 12:24 AM
Clepto I also enjoyed your story and found it interesting and well told. I am super impressed with TKent's critique of it and how thorough it was.

Welcome to the forum, it is hard to always get a critique of something over 1000 words, as you become better known and people know what to expect you will find the word count means less. Your off to a great start looking forward to reading more of your work...Bob

TKent
October 11th, 2014, 01:31 PM
Hey Clepto,

And never give up! I posted something months ago that caught someone's eye a few weeks ago. BTW, be sure that you use the critiques as food for thought but you decide whether suggestions work for you and your writing. Not everything you hear is going to be the best thing for you. But this is a great start to what sounds like a great story! I'm glad you found WF :)

TKent
October 11th, 2014, 01:45 PM
Hey Clepto,

A few comments:



http://www.writingforums.com/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by TKent http://www.writingforums.com/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://www.writingforums.com/showthread.php?p=1782521#post1782521)
Does 'halo' need the quotes? I'd drop them, Halo is just a part of the world.



I inteded the term to be more like slang but I never got around to explaining it. Always above your head, making you be a good little boy. Haha! Cool! I don't know enough to say whether the quotes need to be there honestly, but in my twenty-something romance, assuming it doesn't get edited out, I use slang here and there but it is just part of the conversation, since it assumes that the characters in the story know what it means. I think you can still get the meaning in there without the quotes somehow, but who knows, I'm the opposite of an expert...whatever that is :)

http://www.writingforums.com/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by TKent http://www.writingforums.com/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://www.writingforums.com/showthread.php?p=1782521#post1782521)
that felt to calm a description. I'd imagine them rushing toward him, or something more aggressive?



That's kind of the point. They were basically held in position with little or no room to move by Eric's followers. And that's great too! If you could convey that it really does build the tension a little more.
http://www.writingforums.com/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by TKent http://www.writingforums.com/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://www.writingforums.com/showthread.php?p=1782521#post1782521)
were they completely silent? I would have pictured them anxious, anticipating, some murmuring (sp?) going on, etc.




I'll add in some murmuring, but for the most part they are fairly silent. I wanted to project a profound fear of, and if not fear, great respect for Eric. Same here, if it was completely quiet, that is quite a feat, so you have an opportunity to convey just how fearful, respectful they are somehow!

I meant for them to look at him almost adoringly. Maybe with a hint of zealotry sprinkled on top? :smile: I like it...

Folcro
October 17th, 2014, 01:56 AM
A good opening line: it is visual and sets the tone and setting with the reveal of future technology. There is little I have to complain about it, per se, but there are a few things I personally would have done differently.
Firstly, I would suppress the details in the first sentence: since you mention exactly which part of his body the machine is working on in the very next paragraph, the sentence would read better as: "Eric winced as the machine finished mending his bone" ("in pain" struck me as unnecessary--- I'm sure he's not wincing in delight).

Instead of "He groaned as the pain increased," I would pick one: Either "He groaned" or "The pain grew worse."

To surmise, here is how I personally would rearrange your opener:

He winced as the machine finished mending his bone. It rose, looking down; it swiveled, admiring its work. It then began to knit his muscles back together. He growled.

You'll notice I also began the paragraph (and your story) with "He". Personally (and this is strictly my taste speaking), I like to give the pronoun first and the name in the following paragraph in most cases when opening a scene.

The machine did its job well, and not for the first time, Eric marveled at the machine: You say "this wasn't the first time" twice in this paragraph. The only useful part of this sentence is "Eric marveled at the machine." It sounds important, perhaps symbolic (perhaps a better title choice...?) Anyway, take that line and throw it after the paragraph: it will be its own paragraph before "The machine (It) rose again and mended the skin..." Get rid of the rest of the (awkwardly-worded) sentence.

Leaving no visible sign: Signs and visibility go hand-in-hand.

...computer terminal: I would just call it a "terminal."

She asked pointedly: Adjectives and dialogue tags, however, do not go hand-in-hand.

He grunted in response: Just "He grunted." And make this its own paragraph.

He knew this would be the last time: Don't reveal anything yet--- we're digesting a lot as it is. There is nothing wrong with letting the reader come back and say "Oh, so he must have known then, okay..." Subtlety: it buttresses re-readability.

The guard thumped him on the shoulder with his prod as Eric stood, causing him to stumble: The guard or Eric? Of course, I know the truth, but this sentence is awkward. The visuals you are trying to weave in (and I do admire your attempts--- the visuals you choose to show are usually the visuals that should be shown) get a little tangled up in themselves from time to time.

"...prisoner seven-two-alpha –five-lima ready for transfer...": There better be a lot of prisoners in this place if you need to make me read numbers and letters.

We read. Prisoner seven-two-alpha-five-lima for transfer to general. Begin transfer: You're gonna make us read that again? I would just strike that middle sentence.

There was the familiar metallic thump in the bulkhead surrounding of the door unlocking and it swung inward: The door unlocked, that metallic thump, swung inward.

The walls and floor looked like an unblemished sheet of steel stretching ahead and curving slightly to the left as it went: ...You mean the walls and floor were an unblemished sheet of steel stretching ahead and curving slightly to the left?

I'm starting to think the guards get off a little when they read these prisoner's numbers.

“Connie, er--I mean Eric. I have to ask. Why do you let them hurt you? You could put a stop to it, but you never do. Why?”: "Er"s always bothered me. They never come across naturally to me. I think of you just have the guard call him Eric, the reader will get it. I would also strike "Why do you let them hurt you?" Emphasize the same thing too much in dialogue and it starts to sound like the character is talking to the audience and not the character. That is not a good thing. It is a very not good thing.

“It’s no less than I deserve. I just want to serve my time and leave. I do what I must.”: Very good. One of these sentences will make a great response. One of them.

They had deposited him in Bravo Wing this time: Stop the paragraph there.

Good description of the prison. Most other authors would try to dangle their intelligence over my eyes by describing every detail, every contraption, every wall and room and cog and pneumatic sliding column. You told us what we needed to know, and let our imaginations picture it freely.

I will say though that your exposition can be a little out of nowhere, and stops the action sporadically. Experiment on ways of working it in more smoothly into plot development. "The prison was an engineering marvel, oh these are the halos, they are these who live in that, by the way did you know they were involved in a riot, see they're really well trained..." I tend to forget it the moment I'm finished reading of it. If this remains a short story, most of this kind of information is not needed. If it is to be a novel, it can be worked in later. I should be getting to know Eric now, given only a taste of the world in which he lives.

...pushed his way into the clear space around Eric and stared defiantly: That's the most obedient defiant man I've ever seen.

Watch your repetition of certain words and phrases.

Is there no death sentence in this society?

"I thank you again for your sacrifice.": Did you get it that time, audience? I'm just reminding you that this is what he meant earlier when he said "sacrifice."

And remind me what it is Erik is freeing the inmates from again? Life?

So, Erik is the villain? Interesting... I think.

First thing's first: decide what this is--- short story, short novel, novel: Is this the beginning, the end, the middle, the end of the beginning?

You're big problem is exposition. If this is the beginning of the story, you are giving us way to much information at the onset. Visuals should be your focus here, which you are good at. Try re-writing this scene using only visuals. No exposition, no description, no back-story, no intentions, no thought. Just show me. More will surely need to be added, but you will have a far clearer perspective of exactly what. And you will see how clear, smooth and enjoyable things can become when certain non-essentials are taken out of the way.

Also, if this is to be the beginning, I think we need to get to know these people and this environment a little better instead of these things being described to us, which would call for a much longer version of what you have (note: NOT watered down).
But the idea is interesting, and there is room for a very interesting main character here, depending on how deeply you want to get into his head. The prose needs work, but that should not be your focus right now. Get your ideas together and decide not only what story you are going to tell, but how it is you plan on telling it.

Pluralized
October 17th, 2014, 02:36 AM
Hi Clepto -

I think you've received already some fantastic critique here, so I'll add this just because I copied out what I caught on my second pass-through. I missed one or two apostrophe-things, and who knows what else, so take this for what it's worth.

Loved the overall atmosphere you've built here -- very robust world-building, for the most part. Probably want for more textural observation, just a bit, like some materials beyond the solid steel hallways and such. Like, I didn't get a super-clear picture of what the Halos were, and how these prisoners were holding them back from shooting our Eric.

And, about that - it's tricky, what I've just read here, because he's getting his body fixed up, and had this badly-broken limb, presumably from something horrible, but we don't really get to understand what. Compound fractures can kill, just from how much it hurts and the body's mechanism of shock. Maybe dwell on that a touch, let us know what's taken place.

And, where's the subtlety...doesn't appear to be any. We get his unbelievable (to my ear) rant, then it's a done deal. The conflict is packaged in too-large pieces and I can't chew them with these chalky teeth of mine. Break it down into smaller bits, feed me. Like a baby bird.

Strong, congruous action, fun story with a solid payoff (at least I think it'll be complete-feeling if you take some o' Folc's advice and sprinkle some strategic exposition throughout). Enjoyed reading it immensely. Here are some stuffs -- forgive me if I trample on others who've already commented.

The machine rose slightly and swiveled, as if admiring its work, - Just wanted to say how much I really like this turn of phrase. Really good work.

or the like, but not once had they spared any sort of pain medication. Not for the likes - Likes, you say?

The machine swiveled away from his chair beeping, and the nurse looked up from her computer terminal. - I'd get rid of 'beeping' as I think it throws off the flow pretty egregiously.

small smile - Uh-uh.

The walls and floor looked like an unblemished sheet of steel stretching ahead and curving slightly to the left as it went. - You can get a little tiny bit poetic at times, you know. It's okay to try. This is where a well-constructed simile would take the story up a notch. Had you described "The smooth, gray walls and ceiling formed a riveted tube, curving to the left as it punched through the prison's innards like a diseased anaconda." (Don't use my suggestion, just understand the concept) :)

The ceiling was the same except for the lighting placed at precise intervals. - Again, I say. "Harsh yellow lights lit their way, spaced along the ceiling like the gap-toothed smiles of prisoners." (or whatever flicks your bic)

The guard turned him toward the door but before Eric could step through he caught his arm. “Connie, er--I mean Eric. I have to ask. Why do you let them hurt you? You could put a stop to it, but you never do. Why?” - Folc already blasted you on the ...er... thing, but I think an equally important thing is -- it's just not believable! The guard has got to be a hard-ass, working in a moon-prison and all. He comes off like he's the one being frog-marched down these hallways...

Eric watched the door close and seal, leaving a seamless steel - Read this aloud, tell me what's amiss. (hint: seal, steel, feel, corn-meal, peel, double-wheel, nice Camaro, too bad it's teal...)

Two years ago there had been a sort of riot - No, no, there was an actual RIOT! Commit. Two years ago, the riots broke out and, before it was all over, flames had consumed six out of seven pallets of marshmallows... oh, wait - we're in prison, right. :)

At the same time, the central Halo moved closer to the effected wings, - affected

“Many of you here were incarcerated for following me. Many more for far more grievous and dreadful sins. - Didn't get 'many more' when he's addressing people straight on. I guess, if you were up before hordes, multitudes, but I didn't get that image here. Maybe just me.

Ignore whatcha don't like, and thanks for letting me ramble on in your thread. I liked this and hope to see more from you soon. Anything you want to try and publish, I recommend placing it in the Prose Workshop (away from the Interwebs' prying eyes...) but that's a topic some will dismiss.

Clepto
October 17th, 2014, 03:45 AM
Folcro: Thank you very much for your critique. I read it again today after a few days away and I agree. Some of it gets tedious. Time for me to do a rewrite. Thanks again!

Pluralized: Honestly this story is mostly just a practice story. It is part of a larger story that I developed but haven't written yet. This section is toward the end of the overall story. I'm really not concerned with publishing this one though. I'm just wanting to improve on my writing ability. I have other stories that I may try getting published later on.