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BobtailCon
August 23rd, 2016, 03:21 AM
This was my response to a Writing Prompt on Reddit. I haven't posted here for a while, so I figured I'd open with this.

He looked back on the shattered shell, the home of ten billion humans, and countless other fauna and flora who graced its surface. Where once a green country scaped itself on the continent, a now red husk spit itself at the open compression of space. The planet itself shot magma and burning iron into the lifeless expanse of space, as if to dare it cool the once beautiful planet's rage.

He watched from his craft, a small capsule floating through that lifeless expanse. It had room for five occupants, but he was its only taker. There were those begging to be let in, banging on the door, screaming. Screaming.

He slammed out their screams, setting the takeoff. And as he sped through the upper reaches of a blue sky, he watched the superheated cracks form on the surface of his once home.

His gaze drifted from the planet, and a glint caught his eye. A metallic surface shone through the black space. At first he thought it a piece of iron spiraling from the inferno, but upon closer look he saw it a spacecraft.

It wasn't American, or it didn't appear to be. It was some Russian spacecraft. He waved vainly, trying to get the craft's attention.

The craft didn't respond, so he moved to the control panel of the pod. He slammed his fist into the speaker prompt and cried out. "Hello, hello?! Russian craft please respond!"

Nothing but a static cloud.

He looked around the cabin, he looked for some instrument, some way to communicate. He found nothing.

He pushed himself against the glass once more. The Russian spacecraft still had a glint, but now a red light flashed back at him.

It was flashing on and off, on and off, some taking longer than others. There were deliberate pauses.

He laughed excitedly. He searched around the cabin and found a flashlight. He planted it against the window and summoned up his knowledge of Morse Code.

HELLO. He called out.

HELLO

He laughed.

WHO ARE YOU. He asked.

No response.

CAN YOU REACH ME. He asked.

NEVER

He stopped a second, confused. The pods didn't typically have docking features, was that why?

CAN YOU HELP ME. He asked.

NO

And then the questions were directed at him.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE

WHAT. He asked, confused.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE THEM

I-

He thought a moment.

I DIDN'T WANT TO. He responded.

YOU LEFT THEM

YOU LEFT THEM TO DIE

YOU LEFT THEM TO SUFFER

I DIDN'T. He pleaded. I HAD NO CHOICE.

KILLER

KILLER

KILLER

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE THEM. He begged.

SUFFER

SUFFER

SUFFER ALONE

The Russian pod turned. He cried out, flashing hurriedly. WAIT WAIT WAIT.

It turned, and thrusters planted on the back of the Russian pod turned an eerie blue.

A sharp light crackled from the thrusters, and the blue light jumped to life.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. He cried out. DON'T LEAVE ME.

With a visible shot, the blue thrusters popped to life, and with another crack, the Russian Pod shot into space, leaving behind a blue cloud.

The pressure threw back the man's pod. It went spiraling backwards, back towards Earth.

He rushed to the control panel. With his last bit of fuel, the man hurriedly calmed the spinning, slowly bringing the craft back under control. And just when he thought he had stopped, a warning flickered onto his screen.

ATMOSPHERIC INTERFERENCE DETECTED.

He stared at the screen a long moment, and looked back out his window. The Earth he once knew loomed larger, and the magma spit at him, asking him come closer.

WARNING: PLANETARY IMPACT IMMINENT; EXECUTE EVASIVE MANEUVERS.

He typed a few commands into the terminal, then clicked a green button located aside.

WARNING: LOW FUEL; UNABLE TO COMPLETE ACTION.

And the craft began to spin, very slightly. He could feel gravity returning to the craft, he could feel the pull of the monster behind him.

He moved towards the window, and looked out. He looked to the blue cloud that was fading into the lifeless space. And he put a hand onto the cold, hard window.

Wait.

bdcharles
August 23rd, 2016, 10:38 AM
Hi,

Your opening paragraph has an interesting mix of nice phrasings and overwritings:

He looked back on the shattered shell, the home of ten billion humans, and countless other fauna and flora who graced its surface. Where once a green country scaped itself on the continent, a now red husk spit itself at the open compression of space. The planet itself shot magma and burning iron into the lifeless expanse of space, as if to dare it cool the once beautiful planet's rage.

shattered shell = it's a good descriptor but rather than say about how many people used to live there and how much plantlife and animal life there was, let the "green country" communicate that. Give it more detail there and in the raging inferno bit. I'd bin that simile because while it's a nice personification, it doesn't quite work for me; space would never intentionally cool a planet so it doesn't seem quite apt. You might have the planet rage at, I dunno, a distant sun, because a sun might - in people's eyes - seem to have some benevolent properties that the planet could rail at, so the image is more relatable:

He looked back on the shattered shell. Where once a green country had scaped itself on the continents, now a red husk spit itself at the open compression of space, shooting magma and burning iron into the lifeless expanse of space, seeming to shake its fist at the distant disc of the sun.

Your first 2 paras begin: "He watched..." "He looked..." which is a little samey. Once is enough to establish us in POV. For the second one, just have the stuff happen, coloured with his voice if we readers need a reminder. Don't forget also to manage the order of events. First he is in space, then we are suddenly back with people banging on the door and a take off. Frame the earthbound events as a memory maybe, and watch out for easy repetition.

The small capsule floated through that lifeless expanse. It had room for five occupants, but he was its only taker. In his mind he could still hear the others, begging to be let in, banging on the door, screaming as the <some feature of the catastrophe> took them.

With this:
His gaze drifted [<- a bit too gentle perhaps? Why not imbue the spotting of the Russian pod with terror at being isolated, followed by sudden relief] from the planet, and a glint caught his eye.[<- these two amount to the same thing. Choose one - I tend to the second because glints catch eyes every five seconds in literature, it seems, so it's a chance to be different, to showcase yourself ->] A metallic surface shone through the black space. At first he thought it a piece of iron spiraling from the inferno, but upon closer look he saw it [was? - or delete the "it"] a spacecraft.

Maybe stretch out the tension between him and this other craft a bit. Have it possible - just - that they will rescue him. Tantalise us. Taunt us. Tease us with the chance of life again, hanging just out of reach. You are God in this world. You can have the Russian spacecraft not respond for a long while, and why? Did they have some technical failure with their blinky light? Did they perhaps have to translate his english Morse to their more Cyrillic variant, losing valuable seconds? No. Yes. Maybe. Who cares? It's to torment us into new agonies of terror. I would be inclined to spend time with that, or with his personal horror. and less with the back and forth of "why won't you save me?" "because you let them die" "No!" "Yes! We saw you!" "No you didn't" "Did too, horrible person."

Last point: I did wonder what the "monster" was in the last bit, and also exactly what happened to the guy. Did he slam back into the surface of the dying world? Diud he zing back out into space to wait it out forever? Wasn't 100% on that. Generally I would be inclined to lengthen out the paragraphs a bit, give it all more detail and not have so many line breaks. But it's all perfectly workable as an early draft. Hope this helps :)

BobtailCon
August 24th, 2016, 11:50 PM
Hi,

Your opening paragraph has an interesting mix of nice phrasings and overwritings:

shattered shell = it's a good descriptor but rather than say about how many people used to live there and how much plantlife and animal life there was, let the "green country" communicate that. I added the "ten billion people" to hint that this is in the near future. Because, of course, we do not yet have that many people. It was one of the only references to time. Give it more detail there and in the raging inferno bit. I suppose I could add more detail, but I thought it might get repetitive, I described the destroyed planet multiple times in the story. I'd bin that simile because while it's a nice personification, it doesn't quite work for me; space would never intentionally cool a planet so it doesn't seem quite apt. Maybe not intentionally, but space is very, very cold, and a planet of lava would definitely cool quite quickly with its lack of atmosphere. You might have the planet rage at, I dunno, a distant sun, because a sun might - in people's eyes - seem to have some benevolent properties that the planet could rail at, so the image is more relatable:


Your first 2 paras begin: "He watched..." "He looked..." which is a little samey. Once is enough to establish us in POV. I can understand that, but I purposely didn't want to give a name, so I had to make a sacrifice. For the second one, just have the stuff happen, coloured with his voice if we readers need a reminder. I tried not to have him speak much, the dialogue is meant to be carried out by Morse Code, not speaking. Don't forget also to manage the order of events. First he is in space, then we are suddenly back with people banging on the door and a take off. Frame the earthbound events as a memory maybe, and watch out for easy repetition. "There were those begging to be let in, banging on the door, screaming. Screaming." That was the past tense to indicate a flashback.

With this:
His gaze drifted [<- a bit too gentle perhaps? Why not imbue the spotting of the Russian pod with terror at being isolated, followed by sudden relief] from the planet, and a glint caught his eye.[<- these two amount to the same thing. Choose one - I tend to the second because glints catch eyes every five seconds in literature, it seems, so it's a chance to be different, to showcase yourself ->] A metallic surface shone through the black space. At first he thought it a piece of iron spiraling from the inferno, but upon closer look he saw it [was? - or delete the "it"] a spacecraft. The character is in shock at this point, watching his home planet be ravished by this inferno. Terror insinuates that a person's faculties are still responding; I wanted him to be in this dull state of shock, where he couldn't grasp what is happening. Hence why his gaze drifted, an idleness showing that he is in shock.

Maybe stretch out the tension between him and this other craft a bit. Have it possible - just - that they will rescue him. Tantalise us. Taunt us. Tease us with the chance of life again, hanging just out of reach. You are God in this world. You can have the Russian spacecraft not respond for a long while, and why? Did they have some technical failure with their blinky light? Did they perhaps have to translate his english Morse to their more Cyrillic variant, losing valuable seconds? No. Yes. Maybe. Who cares? It's to torment us into new agonies of terror. I would be inclined to spend time with that, or with his personal horror. and less with the back and forth of "why won't you save me?" "because you let them die" "No!" "Yes! We saw you!" "No you didn't" "Did too, horrible person." This, to me, sounds samey. I personally like my stories to be short and sweet, to the point, in a way. Yes, a dialogue like that would lengthen the story, but it's pretty much semantical arguing between the spacecraft. Plus, the Russian spacecraft is the one with the power, to argue would show a lack of strength.

Last point: I did wonder what the "monster" was in the last bit, and also exactly what happened to the guy. Did he slam back into the surface of the dying world? Diud he zing back out into space to wait it out forever? Wasn't 100% on that. Generally I would be inclined to lengthen out the paragraphs a bit, give it all more detail and not have so many line breaks. But it's all perfectly workable as an early draft. Hope this helps :) "He could feel gravity returning to the craft, he could feel the pull of the monster behind him." The monster is the planet, it being a warping monstrosity of lava and rage. And the gravity returning to the craft, and the pull, is the craft being sucked back into orbit.

Thanks for the look-over. This was just a story born from a writing prompt, but I appreciate you taking the time to review it.

Bard_Daniel
August 25th, 2016, 01:18 AM
Hey Bobtailcon!

I thought this was a good start but I basically agree with bdcharle's suggestions. This can be expanded and edited to make the writing tighter and flow more easily. Also, I would advise watching how many times you use "he" in your story and maybe include a personal name in order to mix things up a little. The repetition, I found, detracted from the piece.

All in all though, I think you have something here. It's a diamond in the rough. If you work at it the piece could really turn into something great.

Just my two cents! Write on!

BobtailCon
August 25th, 2016, 01:51 AM
Hey Bobtailcon!

I thought this was a good start but I basically agree with bdcharle's suggestions. This can be expanded and edited to make the writing tighter and flow more easily. Also, I would advise watching how many times you use "he" in your story and maybe include a personal name in order to mix things up a little. The repetition, I found, detracted from the piece.

All in all though, I think you have something here. It's a diamond in the rough. If you work at it the piece could really turn into something great.

Just my two cents! Write on!

Thanks for the suggestions. I do think it could be expanded. Like I've said, it was for a writing prompt, so it was just a fling, but who knows?

And about the repetition thing, I purposely made the character nameless, as he's meant to be representative of something larger. The problem with that is I quickly run out of ways to use the character, thus resorting to basic "He said" "He did." Maybe I could find something else?

Thanks again.

Riptide
August 25th, 2016, 11:42 AM
This was my response to a Writing Prompt on Reddit. I haven't posted here for a while, so I figured I'd open with this.

He looked back on the shattered shell, the home of ten billion humans, and countless other fauna and flora who graced its surface. Where once a green country scaped -I've looked up scape but I just don't know... itself on the continent, a now red husk spit itself at the open compression of space. The planet itself shot magma and burning iron into the lifeless expanse of space, as if to dare it cool the once beautiful planet's rage.

He watched from his craft, a small capsule floating through that lifeless expanse. It had room for five occupants, but he was its only taker. There were those begging to be let in, banging on the door, screaming. Screaming.

He slammed out their screams, setting the takeoff. And as he sped through the upper reaches of a blue sky, he watched the superheated cracks form on the surface of his once home.

His gaze drifted from the planet, and a glint caught his eye. A metallic surface shone through the black space. At first he thought it a piece of iron spiraling from the inferno, but upon closer look -maybe inspection he saw it -delete it a spacecraft.

It wasn't American, or it didn't appear to be. It was some Russian spacecraft. He waved vainly, trying to get the craft's attention.

The craft didn't respond, so he moved to the control panel of the pod. He slammed his fist into the speaker prompt and cried out. -comma, did he cry out, "Hello, hello?"? "Hello, hello?! Russian craft please respond!"

Nothing but a static cloud. -static cloud... why include the cloud? DId somethign really materialize?

He looked around the cabin, he looked -delete he looked adn include for some instrument with the around the cabin for some instrument, some way to communicate. He found nothing.

He pushed himself against the glass once more. The Russian spacecraft still had a glint, but now a red light flashed back at him.

It was flashing -maybe instead: it blinked on and off on and off, on and off, some taking longer than others. There were deliberate pauses.

He laughed excitedly. He searched around the cabin and found a flashlight. He planted -Maybe, to get rid of the he: WIth the flashlight planted against the window, he summoned up his... it against the window and summoned up his knowledge of Morse Code.

HELLO. He called out. - he didn't call this out. I would find another descriptor.

HELLO

He laughed.

WHO ARE YOU. He asked.

No response.

CAN YOU REACH ME. He asked.

NEVER

He stopped a second, confused. The pods didn't typically have docking features, was that why?

CAN YOU HELP ME. He asked.

NO

And then the questions were directed at him.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE

WHAT. He asked, confused.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE THEM

I-

He thought a moment.

I DIDN'T WANT TO. He responded.

YOU LEFT THEM

YOU LEFT THEM TO DIE

YOU LEFT THEM TO SUFFER

I DIDN'T. He pleaded. I HAD NO CHOICE.

KILLER

KILLER

KILLER

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE THEM. He begged.

SUFFER

SUFFER

SUFFER ALONE

The Russian pod turned. He cried out, flashing hurriedly. WAIT WAIT WAIT.

It turned, and thrusters planted on the back of the Russian pod turned an eerie blue.

A sharp light crackled from the thrusters, and the blue light jumped to life.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. He cried out. DON'T LEAVE ME.

With a visible shot, the blue thrusters popped to life, and with another crack, the Russian Pod shot into space, leaving behind a blue cloud.

The pressure threw back the man's pod. It went spiraling backwards, back towards Earth.

He rushed to the control panel. With his last bit of fuel, the man hurriedly calmed the spinning, slowly bringing the craft back under control. And just when he thought he had stopped, a warning flickered onto his screen.

ATMOSPHERIC INTERFERENCE DETECTED.

He stared at the screen a long moment, and looked back out his window. The Earth he once knew loomed larger, and the magma spit at him, asking him come closer.

WARNING: PLANETARY IMPACT IMMINENT; EXECUTE EVASIVE MANEUVERS.

He typed a few commands into the terminal, then clicked a green button located aside.

WARNING: LOW FUEL; UNABLE TO COMPLETE ACTION.

And the craft began to spin, very slightly. He could feel gravity returning to the craft, he could feel the pull of the monster behind him.

He moved towards the window, and looked out. He looked to the blue cloud that was fading into the lifeless space. And he put a hand onto the cold, hard window.

Wait.

So, I really enjoyed the ending. A lot. Idk if the rules still apply since this is morse code and all, but usually dialogue has commas, not full stops. "Hello," he said. "How are you doing?"

So: HELLO, he said. HOW ARE YOU DOING?
Anyway, good work here!

BobtailCon
August 25th, 2016, 11:01 PM
So, I really enjoyed the ending. A lot. Idk if the rules still apply since this is morse code and all, but usually dialogue has commas, not full stops. "Hello," he said. "How are you doing?"

So: HELLO, he said. HOW ARE YOU DOING?
Anyway, good work here!

Thanks! I agree with the majority of your edits. I edited the draft once, maybe twice, I don't know how some of those got through!

Jule
September 15th, 2016, 01:56 AM
I really, really liked this story. It builds up good tension, is well written and has an ending that left goosebumps on my arms. You were drawing many pictures with your language and I love when authors do that to me. I was there, right there, and I felt a lot. I felt sorry for him and I was scared and I was as lonely has he was.
I think your writing was very authentic as well. How you described the functions of the devices made it seem very real to me.
The dialogue was extremely thrilling by the way, I was almost crawling into my computerscreen :D
The problem is just that I really want to continue reading now. I want to know more. What has happened?! How is it on earth? I want to see everything. But unfortunately it's just a short story.
Just a tiny thing:

Where once a green country scaped itself on the continent, a now red husk spit itself at the open compression of space. A little repitition
Thanks for sharing!

BobtailCon
September 19th, 2016, 10:43 AM
I really, really liked this story. It builds up good tension, is well written and has an ending that left goosebumps on my arms. You were drawing many pictures with your language and I love when authors do that to me. I was there, right there, and I felt a lot. I felt sorry for him and I was scared and I was as lonely has he was.
I think your writing was very authentic as well. How you described the functions of the devices made it seem very real to me.
The dialogue was extremely thrilling by the way, I was almost crawling into my computerscreen :D
The problem is just that I really want to continue reading now. I want to know more. What has happened?! How is it on earth? I want to see everything. But unfortunately it's just a short story.
Just a tiny thing:

Thanks for sharing!

Thank you a lot, it's people like you that keep me writing. It's hard to judge a piece when you've delved into it deeper than a hunter digging for moles.

I agree with the repetition, I hadn't noticed that! Thanks.

I don't know why some people write, but I write for the people who really get a kick out of it, who truly enjoy it. So thank you.

And sorry for responding in poor time, I've been busy of late, and neglecting this website.

Jule
September 20th, 2016, 01:03 AM
Ah, I am very happy I could motivate you so much. I know this feeling very well. And yes, I got a kick out of it, and English isn't even my native language :D I write for this reason as well!
Don't feel like you have to answer immediately, I am also very busy because of my studies so that's why I understand your situation ^_^

stevew84
September 22nd, 2016, 03:31 PM
This was my response to a Writing Prompt on Reddit. I haven't posted here for a while, so I figured I'd open with this.

He looked back on the shattered shell, the home of ten billion humans, and countless other fauna and flora who graced its surface. Where once a green country scaped itself on the continent, a now red husk spit itself at the open compression of space. The planet itself shot magma and burning iron into the lifeless expanse of space, as if to dare it cool the once beautiful planet's rage. The repetition of "of space" sticks out like a sore thumb.

He watched from his craft, a small capsule floating through that lifeless expanse. It had room for five occupants, but he was its only taker. There were those begging to be let in, banging on the door, screaming. Screaming. Same with "lifeless expanse."

He slammed out their screams, setting the takeoff. I'm not sure exactly what the sentence means as it's worded. I can put together what's going on, but the wording is strange. And as he sped through the upper reaches of a blue sky, he watched the superheated cracks form on the surface of his once home.

His gaze drifted from the planet, and a glint caught his eye. A metallic surface shone through the black space. At first he thought it a piece of iron spiraling from the inferno, but upon closer look he saw it a spacecraft.

It wasn't American, or it didn't appear to be. It was some Russian spacecraft. He waved vainly, trying to get the craft's attention.

The craft didn't respond, so he moved to the control panel of the pod. He slammed his fist into the speaker prompt and cried out. "Hello, hello?! Russian craft please respond!"

Nothing but a static cloud. Not sure using the word "cloud" clearly relates to the sound of static.

He looked around the cabin, he looked for some instrument, some way to communicate. He found nothing.

He pushed himself against the glass once more. The Russian spacecraft still had a glint, but now a red light flashed back at him.

It was flashing on and off, on and off, some taking longer than others. There were deliberate pauses.

He laughed excitedly. He searched around the cabin and found a flashlight. He planted it against the window and summoned up his knowledge of Morse Code.

HELLO. He called out.

HELLO

He laughed.

WHO ARE YOU. He asked.

No response.

CAN YOU REACH ME. He asked.

NEVER

He stopped a second, confused. The pods didn't typically have docking features, was that why?

CAN YOU HELP ME. He asked.

NO

And then the questions were directed at him.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE

WHAT. He asked, confused.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE THEM

I-

He thought a moment.

I DIDN'T WANT TO. He responded.

YOU LEFT THEM

YOU LEFT THEM TO DIE

YOU LEFT THEM TO SUFFER

I DIDN'T. He pleaded. I HAD NO CHOICE.

KILLER

KILLER

KILLER

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE THEM. He begged.

SUFFER

SUFFER

SUFFER ALONE

The Russian pod turned. He cried out, flashing hurriedly. WAIT WAIT WAIT.

It turned, and thrusters planted on the back of the Russian pod turned an eerie blue.

A sharp light crackled from the thrusters, and the blue light jumped to life.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. He cried out. DON'T LEAVE ME.

With a visible shot, the blue thrusters popped to life, and with another crack, the Russian Pod shot into space, leaving behind a blue cloud.

The pressure threw back the man's pod. It went spiraling backwards, back towards Earth.

He rushed to the control panel. With his last bit of fuel, the man hurriedly calmed the spinning, slowly bringing the craft back under control. And just when he thought he had stopped, a warning flickered onto his screen. Is he standing around during this, or strapped in somehow? You mentioned that he searched the cabin, now he rushed to the control panel but the ship is spiraling? He's still in the atmosphere, right? If so, he'd be tossed around at this point.

ATMOSPHERIC INTERFERENCE DETECTED.

He stared at the screen a long moment, and looked back out through his window. The Earth he once knew loomed larger, and the magma spit at him, asking him come closer. Present tense.

WARNING: PLANETARY IMPACT IMMINENT; EXECUTE EVASIVE MANEUVERS.

He typed a few commands into the terminal, then clicked a green button located aside.

WARNING: LOW FUEL; UNABLE TO COMPLETE ACTION.

And the craft began to spin, very slightly. He could feel gravity returning to the craft, he could feel the pull of the monster behind him.

He moved towards the window, and looked out. He looked to the blue cloud that was fading into the lifeless space. And he put a hand onto the cold, hard window.

Wait.

I've made just a few comments above.

Overall I like what happens here, but some things need to be fleshed out.