Star Cry: Introduction


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  1. #1

    Star Cry: Introduction

    She sat on the porch of a two-story house by the beach on the southeast corner of the Magbodian Ocean watching the great vermillion waves roll in their roaring orchestra. She sat there till sunset, till the wind died with the day colors of the heavens and the deep blue and jewel-speckled cloak of night covered all in sight.

    She was 81 now- 82 in four months. She was five foot eight inches, though she had once been five foot ten. She was bleached-blonde, though she had been a strong sun-blonde in her youth. She was a retired military officer when once she was the arch commander of the 9th Shield Fleet. Or so-called… She was never one for defense. The pattern of time and the hearts of men were marked with her wilds. She smiled a little at that- the rabbit-panic a little chaos stirred. Order was always on the defense.

    She looked up to the night sky, letting her mind drift back to the days of her youth- to the days of the Sentinel Core, to the days of the bullies, and the Bruckmeisters’s, the beatings, the tests and events, the endless gauntlets, the taunts, the trials, and, eventually…the victories. She remembered them mostly because she loved to remember the contrast. The weakling who become wild. The wild become who went rogue. The lion who was tamed.

    In the military you’re always told that the enemy is on the other side. But as an outcast from the start, she knew the truth. The enemy is in every heart…in every person. The enemy was a citizen of every nation, of every tribe and creed and religion. She first went to war against nations and brigands. But she ended up at war with the dark side of the human heart itself…and survived.

    They called her saint and built her a statue- a tongue-in-cheek gesture by those who kidnapped her children and forced her to silence and informal exile on this beautiful bird-cage of an island. They made off as if promoting the new era of peace while behind the scenes the machinations of war more devastating the one could imagine were being drafted into service. Soon a power bid to claim all would erupt and it would all be blamed on a tool of power. She knew this…they knew this…and they kidnapped her children to silence her. She was once a military officer- valedictorian of thje Senitnel Core, and Admiral of the Shield Fleet…Rogue of the Nineth Ward.

    As she thought, something shimmered in the air above her. She could feel the prickle of the ships photonucleic engines on her skin as it descended in almost absolute silence. It touched down about a hundred yards from where she sat. Without a sound an outline of light slit the night air- expanding into a gaping interior of a ship where two soldiers stepped out and jogged to her porch. They approached purposefully, but cautiously, bearing an air of muffled lethality. These were men of purpose. They wore no national emblem. No badge of the mega-corps or mercer factions. They just gave a simple beat of their chest twice and waited, but she could sense the intensity of their intent coming of them in deep, brooding waves. She let the air of the moment slide over her.

    Magbodian was a powerful witch of Uron- the island nation of an ancient kingdom. She lived on a lone island with three children. Three times she was approached by each of the three kings of the warring states- who attempted to enlist her power in their ambitions. Each time she refused. One kings son, however, decided to steal her children in the night and forced her to terms…the prince of Uron. Uron would drown in the sea not long after that- every citizen pulled to the bottoms of the depths. She looked on the body of the king as coral burst from his skin. She looked on the body of the prince who was torn to pieces by the creatures of the deep.

    She rose in silence, letting the blood flow through her limbs- feeling the energy course through each meridian- pooling and surging in her as she felt for her Vibra-knife with a familiar assurance. Eighty-two years was nothing in a time when the average lifespan was 150. She wasn’t as fast, as strong, or as wild, but all the hate for the orders of the world burned through her. She gave everything for these pathetic creatures. The only thing she wanted was the safety of her children. When she found out they had been dead for years, she tore her fingernails scratching at her walls. She was drugged and rehabilitated and drugged again when she tried to kill herself. Now she was like one of those seashells- hollow but for a distant roar- a rage emanating from the depths of her soul. She’d make them all pay. Every single one of them. For the death of her stars, the universe would weep tears of blood.

    Her return salute was simple, and she walked down towards the cloaked aircraft in the distance. These men of purpose… Even their masters believed she was theirs. But she was no ones. A wild wind in the blackest storm- the queen bitch of the universe come to reap these woeful souls.

    But even so…she couldn’t help sliding back into the past. How did it all begin…?

  2. #2
    hello - enjoyed reading your intro - with very good writing and ideas.

    but there seems to be a lot of clutter and repitition, that could be cut to make the story sharper.

    for example-
    She sat there till sunset, till the wind died with the day colors of the heavens and the deep blue and jewel-speckled cloak of night covered all in sight.
    till = 'til - she sat there until sunset, she sat there until night - one or the other, but just say night, we all know what it looks like.
    In the military you’re always told that the enemy is on the other side. - really?

    Uron would drown in the sea not long after that- every citizen pulled to the bottoms of the depths - did she do this? is this how her kidnapped children died?
    although this story is rather dense and wordy - it's still not clear what happened.

    memories, and not much else happens - the spaceship arrives, and at last we have a plot, but it undermined by the final line -
    my heart sinks and we're back to the memories again.

    missing a few possesive apostrophes -

    my advice would be to edit out the repititions and unnecessary descriptions - and simplify the message.
    great ideas and vocabulary here, but it needs more focus - and action!

    cheers
    Ned
    grasp the mettle of things unsaid
    and strike the nail upon the head

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ned View Post
    hello - enjoyed reading your intro - with very good writing and ideas.

    but there seems to be a lot of clutter and repitition, that could be cut to make the story sharper.

    for example-
    She sat there till sunset, till the wind died with the day colors of the heavens and the deep blue and jewel-speckled cloak of night covered all in sight.
    till = 'til - she sat there until sunset, she sat there until night - one or the other, but just say night, we all know what it looks like.
    In the military you’re always told that the enemy is on the other side. - really?

    Uron would drown in the sea not long after that- every citizen pulled to the bottoms of the depths - did she do this? is this how her kidnapped children died?
    although this story is rather dense and wordy - it's still not clear what happened.

    memories, and not much else happens - the spaceship arrives, and at last we have a plot, but it undermined by the final line -
    my heart sinks and we're back to the memories again.

    missing a few possesive apostrophes -

    my advice would be to edit out the repititions and unnecessary descriptions - and simplify the message.
    great ideas and vocabulary here, but it needs more focus - and action!

    cheers
    Ned
    I appreciate this review. You made some good points. I won't be continuing with this story because I think it will be a little too long to devote time to, but the corrections will definitely be useful in forming the next one. Many thanks, mate.

  4. #4
    She sat on the porch of a two-story house by the beach on the southeast corner of the Magbodian Ocean watching the great vermillion waves roll in their roaring orchestra. She sat there till sunset, till the wind died with the day colors of the heavens and the deep blue and jewel-speckled cloak of night covered all in sight.

    She was 81 now- 82 in four months. She was five foot eight inches, though she had once been five foot ten. She was bleached-blonde, though she had been a strong sun-blonde in her youth. She was a retired military officer when once she was the arch commander of the 9th Shield Fleet. Or so-called… She was never one for defense. The pattern of time and the hearts of men were marked with her wilds. She smiled a little at that- the rabbit-panic a little chaos stirred. Order was always on the defense.

    "SHE"

    It can be usedn to make a point, but I don't think you did it on purpose.
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  5. #5
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    Agree with olly. Why hide identity? Names help me connect with the characters.


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  6. #6
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    And (personal preference) back off the wordy description. Red waves instead of vermillion.


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  7. #7
    Look at this from a reader's viewpoint:
    She sat on the porch of a two-story house by the beach on the southeast corner of the Magbodian Ocean watching the great vermillion waves roll in their roaring orchestra. She sat there till sunset, till the wind died with the day colors of the heavens and the deep blue and jewel-speckled cloak of night covered all in sight.
    An unknown "she" sat watching an unknown ocean, for unknown reasons, beginning at an unknown time and lasting till an unknown time after sunset when the wind, which was blowing at an unknown rate, "died down."

    Does that tell me who she is? No. Does it tell me what's going on? Again no. Does it set the scene? No, because it's too generic. So what is it? It's a writer's darling, intended to be pretty. And it's told in the viewpoint of the narrator—someone neither on the scene nor in the story.

    That's followed by an info-dump of backstory, and a little "Gee-wiz, look at those heroically posturing characters who popped out of the air," followed by: forget everything you just read, now I'm going to begin the actual story."

    You're trying to generate curiosity in the reader, to make them want to read the actual story. But isn't curiosity what made them turn to this page? You open with 908 words, the first four manuscript pages and not a damn thing happened in those four pages that was meaningful to a reader.

    In the words of the great Sol Stein, “A novel is like a car—it won’t go anywhere until you turn on the engine. The “engine” of both fiction and nonfiction is the point at which the reader makes the decision not to put the book down. The engine should start in the first three pages, the closer to the top of page one the better.” And to that I'll add some advice from my all time favorite sci-fi author, James H. Schmitz: “Don’t inflict the reader with irrelevant background material—get on with the story.”

    I see what you're trying to do, but your reader is seeking to be entertained by being made to live, not hear about the story. And at the end of the section the reader knows nothing of the character, as a person.

    The short version: To hook your reader, begin with story, not history.

    Hang in there, and keep on writing.

  8. #8
    A lot of repetition going on with the "she" and the "the" openings in the first parts of your story. This is something that can be fixed and should be. There's no need for this type of repetition.

    I just re-read some of the previous responses that said you won't be continuing on with this story. Ok. I will mention one last thing and that is that you really need to grip your reader. It's essential to make the reader connect with something, whether it be the characters, setting or plot and here it was not tangible.

    Just my two cents! Good luck in your writing endeavors.

  9. #9
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I really like your writing style. It's scopey, space opera stuff, so keep it up. One thing is I would consider leaving "watching the great vermillion waves roll in their roaring orchestra" in. I think it is an incredible image. "Red" doesn't have anything like the impact vermillion does unless you modified it with something equally big and dramatic. I love what you do with colour, so play to that strength (but don't overplay it, don't let it become "that thing you do")

    As for the rest, others have said it is a little heavy on the exposition and repetition of she, and I agree with them. I think the main thing is to focus on what is happening there and then, and expand on it if need be, eg: scrap all that history (which could make a story in itself) and dramatise the ongoing events:



    <name> sat on the porch of a two-story house by the beach on the southeast corner of the Magbodian Ocean watching the great vermillion waves roll in their roaring orchestra. Motionless she sat there till sunset, when the wind died with the day colors of the heavens and the deep blue and jewel-speckled cloak of night covered all in sight.

    She was 81 now- 82 in four months, standing five foot eight inches, though she had once been five foot ten, and a strong sun-blonde in her youth. She looked up to the night sky, letting her mind drift back to the days of her youth- to the days of the Sentinel Core, to the days of the bullies, and the Bruckmeisters’s, the beatings, the tests and events, the endless gauntlets, the taunts, the trials, and, eventually the victories, when they had called her saint and built her a statue - a tongue-in-cheek gesture by those who kidnapped her children and forced her to silence and informal exile on this beautiful bird-cage of an island. She knew this…they knew this…and they kidnapped her children to silence her. Her, once a military officer- valedictorian of thje Senitnel Core, Admiral of the Shield Fleet, Rogue of the Nineth Ward.

    Something shimmered in the air above her. The fields of the ship's photonucleic engines prickled her skin as it descended in almost absolute silence. It touched down to the parched rocky scrubland about a hundred yards down the slope from where she sat and as the engines' whine wound down, an outline of light slit the night air- expanding into a bright interior of a ship, silhouetting two soldiers.


    They approached purposefully, but cautiously, bearing an air of muffled lethality. These were men of purpose.
    <- that's an example of stuff that can go. They would move purposefully if they were men of purpose so no need to repeat, but even so purposefully is a bit vague. Pad it out a bit:

    They wore no national emblem, she saw, as they marched up to her porch, arms swinging and faces grim as if to show off their purposefulness. No badge of the mega-corps or mercer factions, they just gave a simple beat of their chest twice and waited. She let the air of the moment slide over her.

    [the below is backstory - history - keep it as a guide but remove it from this version or put it elsewhere]:
    Magbodian was a powerful witch of Uron- the island nation of an ancient kingdom. She lived on a lone island with three children. Three times she was approached by each of the three kings of the warring states- who attempted to enlist her power in their ambitions. Each time she refused. One kings son, however, decided to steal her children in the night and forced her to terms…the prince of Uron. Uron would drown in the sea not long after that- every citizen pulled to the bottoms of the depths. She looked on the body of the king as coral burst from his skin. She looked on the body of the prince who was torn to pieces by the creatures of the deep.

    etc etc. So there I have tried to just add a bit more description for things that are glossed over (like when the ship touches down "a hundred yards" from where she sat; you can use that interaction to depict the scenery a bit more) and the ships engines' which are in the present moment so should be centre staged a bit more than the history side of it.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Hi,

    I really like your writing style. It's scopey, space opera stuff, so keep it up. One thing is I would consider leaving "watching the great vermillion waves roll in their roaring orchestra" in. I think it is an incredible image. "Red" doesn't have anything like the impact vermillion does unless you modified it with something equally big and dramatic. I love what you do with colour, so play to that strength (but don't overplay it, don't let it become "that thing you do")

    ..
    You and others have given me good advice for this draft, so I'll take these suggestions to heart and rewrite it.

    Thank you for reading

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