NO TYCEK, HOW COULD YOU BEAT ME TO IT!!!!
My deep respect for you means I HAVE to tear into this!
|QUOTE (Tycek @ Wednesday, Apr 17 2013, 08:26)|
| Fallout: Greed - Chapter 1 - Sunset|
War, war never changes.
Firstly, knowing fallout, I wonder if this will have more effect being separated into two sentences, thought i'm not sure. Perfect way to start a fallout fic, with what's the staple of the games, narrated by hellboy himself!
As you may or may not now, things i highlight in red, i see as wrong, or unneeded. Green represents my changes. Some may be personal style changes, some technical, so take some things i say with a grain of salt. It's my opinion at the end of the day.
| I know something about that. My name is Steven Renfro and I am - or maybe it would be more appropriate to say I was - corporal in the army called The Enclave.|
To explain why I've done this: I feel commas represent pauses, but hyphens are better for digressions or detached notes/corrections. In this sense, saying you WAS a member, adds information a but the sentence survives without it - it's a digression or expansion, and i think a hyphen works better than a comma. I also added in THE Enclave, because i have always heard it said that way. Your knowledge of games, from WOWAI to comments in other topics, suggests you know the game well enough, so if this is deliberate, then fair play. I wont correct that from hereon.
|Me and my friends were stationed in the ass of the world – the city of Chicago. I've never understood why Enclave decided to make one of the outposts there as there were, and still is[/color] nothing worth enough to protect.|
I added in the commas because when i read it, i got confused. the sentence needs breaking up to make the meaning clear - as said above, this could be done with hyphens (there was - and still is - nothing ...) but it's small enough that commas work. Also i changed were to was, thought this could be a characteristic choice of words - many people would say "were" but i think was is "correct"
The end of this is a bit untidy. I personally think it could be improved, with "nothing of worth to protect" or "nothing worth protecting" or even "nothing worthy enough to protect."
|I don't want to |comego into details, because it hurts like hell, when I'm thinking about the things that happened in the previous months, but we've found one place, which name I won't tell you to prevent you from going there.
This is a little long winded - it stands out a little from the previous sentences, like a man talking to you, then forgetting to breath. It 'sounds' odd. My best advice here is to read out your story when you proof read it - aloud - speak it, see where your voice sounds off, or where a breather is needed, in a literary way. My personal rewrite of this would be:
I won't go into the details, because it hurts like hell, thinking about those previous months, but we've found a new home*. I won't tell you the name; better you not be foolish enough to search for it."
Not a brilliant rewrite come to think of it, I think breaking this into two sentences would work better - try to cut down on your words too. Do you NEED to say "the things that happened in the previous months" when you could say "those few months" or something? Shorter is usually better.
|This place- or more likely the things and the idea, which this place was built around - changes people.|
Simple formatting issue here. Easily fixed (I'm sure you'll see one or two of these in COL or JIF)
|Greed is the worst type of drug humanity has ever invented; the most addictive and with highest possibility to draw everything from the very bottom of man's personality.|
Again, i think this could be worded slightly better. The meaning i wasn't clear about so i won't make another assumption.
|Greed is the fuel for all the wars, no matter who or why fought in it or why. It also doesn't matter, which side you're currently on, because greed, like a virus, can take over everybody and win the war for itself. Because all wars end like this, leaving people broken and lost. There are only Pyrrhic Victories, and even if somebody calls himself a winner, it means that his losses were smaller than at the other side's. In thelast war nobody could call himself a winner and my recent fight was exactly the same. Am I a winner? Then why am I feeling like it was totally unnecessary to push ourselves into this? What proves the fact that I won? Fact that I am alive? Sometimes dying is better than living in constant pain, especially if it's the pain you can't dull with morphine. Losing all your world, all the things you thought they were worth fighting for, all the people you know, can destroy you. I am feeling completely destroyed right now, but it was somewhat easy to predict when I think about this now. You know why? Because war, war never changes.|
A few things I would have done differently - stylistically - the "last war" for example. Saying "Mankind's last war" might fit in with fallout's narrative well, but then it's a contradiction because as we all know, it's not the last war. After all, war never changes!
I hate to say, but there were a lot of things i noticed with this. A lot of changes i feel are needed, but that last bulk of narrative - where I didn't break it up much? I liked that, really liked it. I was getting a sense of desolation, of loss, of the futility of war. It reads like a warrior's lament - and i enjoyed it, especially the way you came back to the hook at the end.
|Maybe a bit too heavy, but that will have to do, I thought pressing the stop button on an old, dirty and |broken in few placesdamaged, but still working old pre-war recorder taken from the base.
A little longer than needed - when editing, ask yourself, can i shorten this? Can i make this more direct? Instead of using the laser rifle, to take the enemy down in ten shots, will a plasma rifle do it in two? As with hardcore mode, you want to conserve ammo, and in this case, you want to use as few words as possible. Cut off any superfluous/unneeded words.
made up example "I waved, greeting the person with a nod, bowing my head downward out of politeness" This sentence could be a lot shorter as it's a waste of words - a lot of words to say something simple - waved, greeting, nod, and the last part, are all repeats. you could say "i waved in greeting" or "i nodded in greeting." Sometimes it works to repeat yourself, but usually not. In this instance i would take that down to "I waved, greeting him with a nod" - I hope i make sense here!
|I looked at it for the last time, like it was supposed to take my memories along with the words I'd put on the tape. But it doesn't work that way. My memories are still there, wounding and hurting worse than bullets, running thru my mind and fighting with other thoughts which were running in millions in strange race, with the finish located just before my eyes.|
Firstly, and i notice this a lot with less experienced writers - even myself in JIF - there's some tense issues here. "I looked" "it was supposed to" "i'd put" - all past tense - I DID, it happened. Then you say "My memories are still there" which, to remain consistent with the the previous, should be "my memories were still there" - unless you're trying to make a seperation between past and present. I've also begun to notice the biggest problem here, and i'll come to that at the end.
|"Hell with you”, I yelled and cast the recorder aside. It flew couple of meters and finally landed on the sand. "Leave me alone.” |
Strange speech marks there - at the bottom? Not seen that before....
Well done here - you've avoided one of my biggest problems - putting fullstops (periods) at the end of "mid sentence" speech. Here, you say ""Hell with you". then carry the sentence on outside of speech (although the comma's in the wrong place!
All too often i write: "Hell with you." I yelled. which is wrong. "Hell with you," I yelled is correct.
However, i'm seeing anger here. Perhaps : "Hell with you!" I yelled. would be better? Also cast aside says - to me - put aside. perhaps going simpler with "threw aside" would be better here, as it supports the anger better.
|The ghosts of my fallen companions weren't very keen to |leftleave my mind. They were still sitting there arguing about taking or leaving everything behind. The worst one was strange; twisted by usage of Psycho and greed, the face of my CO, when that bullet cut ahole in his chest. This image and the words: “Renfro, why?” will be waking me at night thru the rest of my life. It was image that left trail in my mind too deep to be covered.
Psycho - the drug in Fallout - is a noun, therefore a capital letter, like any name. As Nuka Cola, or Sunset Sarsaparilla.
Again i'm seeing "thru" - this is the incorrect 'lazy' way that people text to each other. "THROUGH" please
|I pulled out the last pack of the cigarettes and pick one of them up with my lips. The gold lighter with number 44 engraved on the case still had a bit of fuel in it. I lit the cigarette in hope that nicotine will calm my mind and nerves, scaring the ghosts and memories off. Just a minute of calmness and not caring about anything else. A minute as pleasant as random sex that happens in the short pause during the war, when endorphins are flowing thru your brain making you forget all the pain. This was a similar moment. Of, course the cigarette wasn't as good as sex, but that had to do. I rub my thumb across the engraving and then I threw the lighter as far as I could. One of the last items that could remind me about the things I would prefer to forget. One of the last not counting the bag lying on the sand next to my leg, but I would rather take it with me than leave it here. It doesn't matter what it meant or how much problems it could bring, but it wouldn't be sensible to get rid of it, especially if my whole future life was based on the bag contents. I opened it and looked at the gold bars lying inside, reflecting the sunshine, which blinds my eyes for a second. Gold will always try to blind you and greed is like traitor waiting to stick the knife between your ribs.|
I liked this passage until the last word - ribs. You're saying greed will betray you, and the expression that goes here is "stabbing in the back" Therefore i think you'll get more effect saying "waiting to stick the knife in your back".
|When you let yourself go just for a second you'll lose. I won't give up. I won't lose this fight like the rest. I won't. |
Added full stop here for dramatic effect.
|The flame in the cigarette died and I dropped the end at the sand, then I crushed it with my boot, like I was crushing skulls of my enemies not long ago.|
Almost. You almost got it here. cut it down a little, and it'd be more effective:
The flame in the cigarette died and I dropped it on the sand, crushing it with my boot as though it was the skulls of my recent enemies.
|My enemies were mostly some kind of vermin coming to our outpost to steal some food or some Muties who were even stupider than said vermin. Both kinds were ending ended in similar way, crushed into the ground or smeared on the wall.|
Im not sure if ended is the best words. Perhaps stopped? I'm not sure.
| Today, it was just me and my nightmares, an enemy I couldn't just crush or smear. An enemy I will have to face till the end of my days, with only chance to resolve the conflict – to lose and die. But it wasn't my time yet, the bag full of gold was pushing me forward to the west. It wasn't lighter than the burden sitting in my heart, but as much as the last was taking my power to walk, the first was giving it back. |
I would consider using "former" and "latter" instead of "first" and "last".
|I haven't decided yet, where I should go. Should I seek my place at The Hub along with all these traders or go straight to The NCR? The Hub was the more sensible option as the bigger city meant being more anonymous and thus safer. I'm |weren'tnot known in the NCR and I spent the last couple of years in the Chicago, so there was really slight chance that someone will recognize me. I don't like to take chances, no matter how slight they are. Especially after the last months, I'll try to play everything safe, maybe start a high end weapon shop? Brotherhood was really weak in the west so they won't be making problems with that. At least not as serious as they did at the midwest.
I'm going to leave it there, because i really need to get back to work. I'll return and go through the rest later.
Now if you've sat through all that, you've passed the first test; you're strong enough to take constructive criticism and push on.
None of the above is to say that this is not good though. The only other thing that's missing is action. Nothing happens. There's little STORY so far - a great inflection of the character, I'm beginning to feel like i know him, and there's enough mystery that i want - no NEED - to know more. WHAT the hell happened? Something akin to Bitter Springs and NCR? Something tragic, like giving Veronica to the white gloves to eat, or Rose (is that her name) for the van graffs to kill?
. Good job in planting that seed, but now we need to see some story. So far there's a man. That's it. He's not going anywhere (granted i've yet to finish it) or doing anything, there's no quest, no goal - well, there is but we're not shown that yet.
This has potential, room to grow, and i'm certainly looking forward to reading more and seeing how you're going to grow as a writer. I'm so glad you made a fallout fanfic, and shared it with us, and i did enjoy this. The character feels well built, although I want to hear more about him - the trick here is to tell us things while showing us - give us action and let us learn, as opposed to writing it all down. So far it's a long monologue, and i think that works in creating a sense of loneliness.
All the improvement points aside, good work, and I look forward to seeing more! (and indeed going through the rest, when I can do so !!)
The biggest problem, however, is what i think is a language barrier. If memory serves me right, english is not your first language (or am i thinking of another yardie?) This causes all sorts of accidental problems with writing - and if this is the case, the only solution is to read more english books and stories, and learn the subtlest points that even I get wrong sometimes.
* I wasn't sure what you meant by this - had Steven found a new "home" or what? I think that needs clearing up a little, so i took creative license and made an assumption.
Part two :
|I looked at the sun traveling slowly to the horizon. We all have our destinations it seems and sun will achieve its not longer than in few hours, when I won't get to my in weeks, but I must push forward.|
Be careful with things like "i looked at the sun" - in real life, would you? Look at
the sun? would it not blind you?
I won't say why, as all that's above, but a little tidying up:
|The sun's on the horizon, traveling slowly toward its destination, much like I am. We all have our destinations, and the sun will finish its journey in only a few hours, whereas mine will take weeks, and with much less certainty. Still, I push forward.|
Again the problem of tense pops up here. The above is in present tense - the sun IS on the horizon, traveling slowly.... the next passage is in past tense again - it's easy to overlook this, but important to ensure it's consistent. My advice, and this requires a lot of patience and discipline - is to do a few edit/read throughs. First, read through the chapter, looking for tense and view point issues. Makes sure it's all happening
, and not a combination of both*
|I need to find the power to do it. I looked at the gold bars and I felt a bit stronger. I grabbed my ass from the rusty wreck sleeping near the old asphalt road and stood on my feet. The recorder was lying in the sand looking at me with his round eye, showing the tape hidden inside. I wonder if you can see human's memories like that? Look through[/colo] his eye and see [color=green]a tape recording of every second of his life. Would that tape have some specified length and will the old memories disappear if new ones are written in their place, similar to ZAX units cannibalizing their old data? That was the only way to live in sanity, to try to erase everything and cover it with something else. Something new. Maybe I should change my name, write some other? I like my old one, but won't it be bringing memories?|
The last bit - in red - i'm not sure is needed. You're saying the same thing twice. "change my name, make a new name". Both are not needed.
|“Renfro, why?” I should think of anew one before I get to the eastern boundaries of the NCR, but I still got time to do that. I dashed to look at the licence plate at the car I was sitting on.|
A little too dramatic here. I'm seeing urgent action, for a mundane task. Instead of "dashed" why not go the other way, have Steven move wearily? Have him move like a tired traveler, slow? I think that would work better - if you were sitting on the car, would you "dash" to look at the number plate? Or would you lean lazily over the edge, looking down out of curiosity more than urgency? This is another word of advice i'd give - put yourself in the story. Close your eyes, picture YOU on the car, not steven. What would you do? Why?
|The faded name on it was [color=green]said Nebraska. I walked for many days, but I was still in Brotherhood territory, but the border wasn't far. And after that it was only Dog Town and then along the Colorado river straight to Nevada, cross the Hoover Dam, pass the Las Vegas with that strange tower still lit up at nights and I'll finally be back home. My sentence will be finally over.|
Ironically where you've put "the" in front of Las Vegas, It's not needed, as "las" is spanish for "the" (Las vegas means "the fields" or something i think). Also, would it not be New Vegas
? In which case, the THE is still unneeded, as it'd be like saying "I walked past The Tycek." when it should be "I walked past Tycek"
|I picked up the recorder and pulled the tape from the inside. I decided to hide it in that car resting for the rest of his days near the road, like one of the monuments of the old world, just put there to observe one point on the horizon forever.|
I'm not sure "observe" works best here. It means to view, or watch or witness when i think you're meaning to say "stay" or "stand" or something.
|It must be hell to be like that, just standing without possibility to move and staring without possibility to close your eyes.|
A couple of points here. Firstly, the repeat of the word "possibility." Unless you're trying to give the feeling of repetition, try to use a different word but do you need to say it twice? Would "just standing, watching, unable to move or close your eyes."
| Like this car here, monument of failure and decay waiting for the wind and sun to finally destroy its shell. What had we achieved? We were at the top, being able to shape our world in every possible direction, but instead we turned it into desolated desert.|
Instead of direction, maybe "way" would work better? Seems to fit better with our pattern of speech.
|We were flying to the stars, trying to find new worlds, but we lost our own. And because of what? Greed, of course. There is always the same reason.|
I put the tape into the glove compartment and dropped the[/color[ recorder on the ground again. [color=green]A creaky sound came out of the old electric engines, when I smashed them with my boot. Another reminiscence and another piece of my history was destroyed. Now it was just me and my load. And the tape hidden, for nobody to find. The last piece of my life hidden from the eyes and ears of the world. Forgotten like the place we found, like our empty outpost, and like this car standing there.
I'm questioning the engines. In 3&NV, if you shoot the cars, they explode like a mini nuke. That implies they're not electric, but fusion powered? Fission batteries perhaps? I suppose you could argue it's still electricity, but you say "electric" i think battery, not nuclear/fission. A very small point, but one to consider?
|I pulled the 5.56 mm pistol from my pocket and checked the cylinder, which slipped with an electric hum, when I had pressed the button. Five bullets were loaded and I still got a [color]couple more in [color=green]my pocket. I hope it will be enough. I still got another weapon - a Wattz 2000 Laser Rifle - but I hide it under the gold inside the bag. With these Steel pricks running around it wouldn't be sensible to run around with a laser gun. Not only they would confiscate it, but they would probably drag me to the one of theirs inquisition courts. Spending the rest of my life in one of their mines or being burned on the pile wasn't a very tempting vision of the future. When I will finally cross the border between Cheyenne and Dog Town I'll be safe. Not safe per se, but finally free from these insane religious pricks. But first I need to walk, with every step taking me closer to the ending of my journey, with every step taking me farther from my memories. To the end of the journey, into the sunset. |
I think the repeat at the end works in this case, hammering home the characters resolve and goal. We have a quest (I'll talk about that later) now. He's going for something, and that's been revealed, sort of. I'm seeing purpose now - a point
to the story. But it still needs to move, for something to happen. Some stories, nothing happens for the first page, or few chapters (Many tom clancy books are slow to get going) and sometimes that builds the tension. Sometimes not, and it's difficult to say if your 'plan' will work until it's read. So far, I'm liking what I'm seeing. One thing I will say, is the environment. I'm getting little in the way of the world Steven's in. There's a few references, but not many subtle hints to it.
If it's a hot day, why not have him wipe his brow when he rests, or take a drink of water (a nice opportunity to show the reader his resources - purified water will imply he's resourceful, or come from a place with good supplies, enforcing the Enclave part. Dirty water emphasizes the dead, hostile world, where nothing's safe. Rad-X and Radaway, an important tool in the game could be mentioned, thus showing the reader the post-nuclear world clearer. Don't throw these facts in the readers' faces, but instead try to leave them in places where they'll be seen, if you get what i mean. Also what's Steven wearing - i cant remember if you said that. That's another thing that can hint toward the weather. If it's sunny and hot - a cowboy hat? Or sun hat? Is he wearing heavy armor or light clothing? Thick and hot or minimalistic and cool?
*The only time i can see both tenses working is during flashbacks. When you're writing a passage in the story, and referencing/flashing back to a previous event:
|I walk up the stone steps, the men beside me holding guns to ensure I cooperate. The figure at the top stares at me, not speaking. It takes me a moment to recognize her. But finally recognition lands. |
The hunger had taken hold of me. The small shack was as inviting as the most luxury restaurant - a rare but not unknown sight. Inside was indeed food - enough to last me for a few days. But the man was defiant. Where was his sense of good will?
One gunshot was all it took. Seconds past and, with him dying on the floor, I stuffed as much food into my mouth as I could. I hadn't seen her hiding. In fact, has she remained hidden, I would not have seen her. Instead, she ran, fleeing into the sun. I was too weak, too hungry to follow.
But now, it seems, she has found me.
Now a side not, as i mentioned about "quest"
A helpful tool in writing, especially to newcomers, and less experienced, is to break the story into eight parts.
1 - Stasis
2 - Trigger
3 - Quest
4 - Obstacle
5 - Reaction
6 - Climax
7 - Consequence
8 - Conclusion
Firstly the Stasis is the establishment of the world - "once upon a time" - its setting a scene, introducing your readers to the characters or the world. In Fallout 3, the stasis is life in the vault, growing up, taking the GOAT etc
Then the trigger. This is where sh*t starts. In Fallout 3, it's your dad leaving the vault.
Things are kickstarted.
Then the quest. This is what the character wants. Their goals. In Fallout 3, it's wanting to find James
The Obstacle is pretty simple - things that get in the way. In fallout 3 it's several things, at different points, but first, it's not knowing where he is or where he's gone.
theres a challenge here.
The reaction is where the character reacts to the obstacle. To find James, the character needs to follow the trail - the obstacle of not knowing his location is gotten past by inquiring at Megaton and picking up clues, following them and learning.
The climax is where sh*t all comes together. The quest leads to this, the obstacles block this. In fallout 3, [spoiler] it's finding and freeing James and taking the purifier. That leads to another "obstacle", and for the player to react again - this time, in working with the enclave.
The consequence is what happens next. [spoiler] It's poisoning the purifier, and contaminating the water, or purifying it. The adventure, the climax - this is what's left afterward.
And finally the conclusion is , in fallout3 the titles, where hellboy narrates, telling what happens afterward.
The simplified version:
|1||Stasis||Once upon a time|
|3||Quest||Causing the character to want something|
|4||Obstacle||but something gets in the way|
|5||Reaction|| And the character must make a decision or find a way|
|6||Climax||which causes something to happen, things to come to a head|
|7||Consequence||The result of all of the above is this|
|8||conclusion||And the world is left in a new state.|
This is a good thing to think of while planning your story. Each story arch should stick to this - and story arcs are of different sizes.
GRAND, MAJOR and MINOR.
Grand, is fallout 3's quest to find JAMES. This is the overall story of the game.
Major is fallout 3's purifier story, the fight for it and the enclave's interests
Minor are the little quests throughout the game, those given by random people, to save or kill, or whathave you.
Each one should stick to the above 8 points. think of it as an expansion of "beginning middle and end". I hope i havnt confused you. The funny thing is experienced writers can break from the above, they can pull away from the guidelines and take risks. It's not a LAW you have to adhere to all the above, but I'd consider it as it's damned helpful, and will help structure your story a LOT.
Edited by Mokrie Dela, 18 April 2013 - 10:47 AM.