Review stuff the SEQUEL!
Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:48pm

Demios, my friend, I don't know what you want me to say. You know I'm a fan of your stuff if only for the fact that there is always a base-line level of quality you rarely dip below. Your technical writing is top-notch and no matter how goofy the tech really is you manage to make it seem real and possible.

But I think that might also be your biggest problem. You see things strictly from that technical view and don't look at how it affects the people doing it. Your fight scenes are great set-pieces with lots of explosions, gore, decapitation of limbs, and everything else but I don't quite get a feel for how your character is viewing this.

Now with Dem, he's a pretty cool guy so he sees it as just business or something right? He is emotionless; detached from what he's doing. I get that but there're better ways of showing it.

Instead of:

Demios triggered a burst from his buster downing the first guard, then the second, then the third. (you would obviously add a bit more detail)


Demios triggered a short burst from his buster downing the first guard in a cloud of gore. The barest hint of a frown tugged at his features. He'd aimed center mass but the grouping fell slightly to the right. As his aim fell on the next guard the veteran merc watched carefully where the plasma balls went that tore the guard's torso in twain.

Yep. Definitely to the right. One shot actually missed entirely.

By the time he hit the third guard Demios twitched his aim enough to correct for the error and his grouping was perfectly centered. The results didn't look much different from the first two but there was the satisfaction of having done the job right.

An explosion sent him ducking for cover and as his back thumped against the solid metal of an APC Demios resolved to run a quick diagnostic of his targeting systems and maybe the plasma lines leading to his buster. An over-flux of plasma could just as easily be knocking his aim off as a slight defect in his target programming.

You can see that the result is the same. Three dead guards. But in the lower example there's a certain dispassionate almost terminator-esque approach to their deaths. It shows a lot more of Demios's supposed character.

Most tellingly is the fact that you sort of pushed off characterization until your last post in the Omicron City stuff. I can see what you were going for in Lines but it would have been a much sweeter payoff if we'd had hints of it coming up in the post prior-to.

You wrote:

She slipped just inside the open garage door of one of the big warehouses, snuggling herself into the darkened corner. Twenty seconds and her first target would walk by. Her stealth had kept her in good check and the plain-clothed man walked by unassumingly cradling a plasma rifle. With preternatural stealth, she slipped behind him. The man was much taller than she was, but with a short hop, she curled her left hand around his chin and angled her arm down over his shoulder. The man started but as she lifted his chin up, the blade in her right hand arced cleanly up through his throat and into his skull. The eight inch blade slid easily through the meats of his mouth and into his brain. In a bare moment, he went limp and Aurora hefted him back into the warehouse garage.

One down. She thought as she searched the man. She took the rifle and slung it around her back. She also found the man carrying an old slug-throwing side arm. The harness was a little big for her, but with a yank she strapped it down over her right leg. Lastly she found a headset radio, which she peeled off and fitted over her own head.

And it is pretty good!

But I think this could be better by applying the same principles I mentioned above. Shorter sentences and a dash of character even in the midst of the action.

Aurora slid into the garage of the first warehouse and snugged back into the shadows. Seconds ticked by in her head.

Ten. Twelve. Fifteen. Twenty.

She struck just as the guard stepped into position. The knife sank into his throat as easily as it would the sheath at her side. Artorial blood gushed over her hand and forearm even as she stuffed her left hand over his mouth stifling his moan.

His weight was more than she expected and Aurora stumbled as his muscles loosened and the man sagged against her. Her eyes flicked down and caught on his. Cold rushed into her stomach. He had hazel eyes. She hadn't expected that.

Pulling her knife free Aurora dragged the corpse far back from the lights and forced it into a fetal position in the corner. She felt an odd brush of shame at the degrading posture but shoved it ruthlessly down.

The next guard was nearing position. Only thirty seconds to get where she needed to be. The blood was starting to cool on her hand and arm. She stole the dead man's weapon and radio then dashed to her next rendezvous trying to ignore the hazel eyes burning a hole in her brain.

No. She definitely hadn't expected them to be so human...

See what I mean jelly-bean?

Now you're obviously an acolyte of the secondary character mirror religion thing whatever. So that's cool. That little one-sentence aside with Cover is great. It does a lot for Aurora's character and a bit for Cover as well.

I hate the word slinked. Besides that I think it's slunk. But it is an equally ridiculous word.

I think you missed a big opportunity with the child-killing the squad did in Lines. That would have been a primo spot to interlace a lot of internal stuff along with what was happening.

Certainly I'm sure that innocent Aurora would have had a bigger reaction to the revelation that the people she was hanging out with were child murderers.

But anyways. That's what I've got. You're welcome.




  • Look it's a bunch of review stuff!Zeo, Thu Oct 21 5:39pm
    Given that at least two people have asked for reviews and I'm feeling mighty lazy (shocker I know) I've decided to combine it all into one fantastic SUPER REVIEW! I'm not sure why the involved... more
    • Review stuff the SEQUEL! — Zeo, Thu Oct 21 5:48pm
      • A trilogy?Demios, Thu Oct 21 11:02pm
        Most of that is fair. I will say though... The technical fight scenes are written the way they are because I have a lot of fun writing them that way. You're absolutely right that I could spend more... more
        • Fair enough!Zeo, Thu Oct 21 11:16pm
          I knew you'd be the one to critique my critiquing! And I gotta be honest the whole eyes thing was a complete spur of the moment thing that right after I wrote it I read it and it sent a little shiver ... more
      • Do me next. (nm)LJB, Thu Oct 21 6:32pm
        • Bob you haven't written anything in...Zeo, Thu Oct 21 6:47pm
          What... 3 maybe 6 months? Besides I'm not sure I'm egotistical enough for all that. It'd be like the shrub critiquing the redwood.
          • *smirks*LJB, Thu Oct 21 6:58pm
            See, I knew you wouldn't.
            • So it's a CHALLENGE?Zeo, Thu Oct 21 7:22pm
              Well then. Have at thee sir and let slip the dogs of war! But you must return the favor eh!? And now I have to go dig up something you've written from the dusty and cobwebbed recesses of the site.... more
Click here to receive daily updates