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Thread: Text of Novel: The Burning Dark

  1. #1
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    Text of Novel: The Burning Dark

    Hello folks...

    Wow, let me pause for a moment and get my breath; this is really scary - almost as scary as it is thrilling. As many here may know I've been working on a S-F mystery novel; been working on it for years now. In another post I said the text was completed, and that I'd upload it on the weekend.

    Naturally; the idea caused me to freak out big time, and race around making corrections: the old "Cleaning up before the maid comes" quandary. OK - I've finally told myself I'm being stupid, and it's now time to upload the thing for your consideration. I am doing so now.

    Wow - sorry; this is just a bit emotional for me; I've never done anything this big before. Even if in the larger sense it is just another novel by an aspiring amateur, of course.

    My goal in giving this to you is of course to gain your critique on the story - what you like, what you don't, where you think it can be improved. As you have very accurately pointed out, the text is one thing, editing it is the next step, and I'm looking forward to your input on what to take out.

    I approached the writing with the old Hollywood caution in mind: "It's better to have a scene you don't need than need a scene you don't have" so there is a LOT in this book; far more than there needs to be. I already have a good idea of some of the sections - we're talking entire chapters here - to be removed; once I'm done the book will have the same story, same information; just (hopefully) a lot more streamlined.

    You see, I've been building the universe Kylie Wilson lives in for about a decade now; I know it very well. The reader doesn't; I need to make sure I can safely remove parts without losing crucial information and background.

    OK - I'm babbling, I admit...I'll just shut up and let you read on. Before you do however, you will notice almost immediately that I've played a small but annoying joke on you: The entire text has been uploaded, right up to the reveal. It goes up to the point when the detective unmasks the killer. I know that's annoying and I apologize, but I'm doing it for a couple of very specific reasons:

    First, I'm a jerk.
    Second and more importantly, I made the huge whopping mistake of making my first book a murder mystery; opening a giant can of trouble for me. I love the genre and I think it blends beautifully with S-F but it means that not only do I have to get the story right, I also have to get the mystery right - the clues have to be sensible, logical and and create a trail a reader can positively follow; either to the answer or to a dead end; I've put plenty of false leads in this thing.

    While you are discussing what you like, your favourite characters, people you don't like, etc. I'd love it if you could discuss the mystery as well; see if you can solve it. If I did my job right, you should be able to solve the crime; just not very quickly or easily. I'd be grateful that if you do discuss the mystery and/or plot that you white your comments out, to avoid spoilers.

    Well...that's about it; I've delayed long enough. I just want to tank everyone here for your encouragement, your support, your knowledge and gentle teaching in the years I've been working on this. I would also like to thank you for your guidance and assistance as I went through the challenges that I dealt with during the span of writing this. Between you and the need to write this book; I figure you guys pulled me through and I've very grateful.
    OK, no more babbling - or is that BaBBling? I'm hitting 'post now...(small whimper)

    Cheers!

    Edit: ermm; the file is too big for the forum uploader; switching to Dropbox. Only used it once before; I hope this works ok...
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ngms36e1mb...0Dark.pdf?dl=0

    Cheers again!

    WHOOPS - ANOTHER EDIT!!
    I just thought I'd better mention that this is not Disney fare: there is profanity, violence and nudity, though none are gratuitous. The curse words are those a normal blue-collar person like myself would use, the violence is minor and nudity in 250 years time is no more unusual than - for instance - the sight of a person's bare ankle would have been to our great-great-great (plus a couple greats) ancestors. The only truly gruesome bits happen right at the front; given the subject matter it was well worth showing, IMO.
    So just the warning: This novel has a PG rating.
    Last edited by NorthernDevo; 2017-Mar-29 at 06:37 PM.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    Thank you for having the courage to share this with us!

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    I will try to DL and start reading when I get home from work! NICE!

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


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    One more point, sorry - you'll notice this is not intended to be the first story in Kylie's chronology. There are a few reasons for this; the main one is I have 5 storylines going and this is the first that got done.
    Cheers!
    Last edited by NorthernDevo; 2017-Mar-29 at 11:46 PM.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    While you're reading (I hope you're reading LOL!); I can use this space to mention errors I've found along the way as well. I've noticed that a couple of times one of the characters' names is different. One of the drone operators is Sikh and when I was first writing her years back I chose a suitably Indian-sounding name. Unfortunately - or perhaps fortunately - I discovered the name I selected was not quite right based on Sikh cultural conventions; also it was a little too close in sound to the names of two other characters. I changed it; I just missed a couple of the short-form usages.

    Another thing I noticed is the size of the mining drones appears to have changed. When I first wrote the segment - I'm guessing about 5 years ago - the drones were about the size of golf carts. The next time we see them (written just this Saturday) they've grown a bit - to six meters and thirty-five tons. I'll probably go with the latter, though that means I'll have to do a little tap-dancing to make Crew's feat at least believable.

    Cheers!
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    Dave (you signed the story, so I guess it's OK to use your name here? If not, I'll edit it out), I have a couple of questions about your Science Notes at the start of the story.

    If the actual corrosiveness of Venus' atmosphere is so close to what you've chosen for the story, why alter it at all?

    Did your physicist friend say why a pressure suit that protects from all three deadly aspects of Venus' atmosphere would be impossible, especially in 250 years?

    I'm really looking forward to digging in to your story!

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Dave (you signed the story, so I guess it's OK to use your name here? If not, I'll edit it out), I have a couple of questions about your Science Notes at the start of the story.

    If the actual corrosiveness of Venus' atmosphere is so close to what you've chosen for the story, why alter it at all?
    Hallo CJSF - the reason is to provide dangers specific to the story; the high speed of corrosion is a critical element in the story itself. In other words the plot - and the first three pages - were done before I realized the sulphuric acid did not extend to the ground. By the time I did, altering the story would require changes I wasn't prepared to make. I've actually been debating removing that entry in the science notes - which would not appear at the beginning at the story, but at the end in the finished work. I added a bit of a McGuffin into the story explaining the ground-level acid and, to be honest, it simply might not be needed at all. I'm just leaving it in at the moment to get a general consensus here.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Did your physicist friend say why a pressure suit that protects from all three deadly aspects of Venus' atmosphere would be impossible, especially in 250 years?
    I'm looking the thread up right now; it was discussed on this forum - and proper accreditation will of course been provided. Right from the beginning I knew I would be adding one false technology - the Field - to the story; it's a critical plot element as well as a powerful visual element and focus of suspense. The discussion of the Field (when I can find it) convinced me that it was an acceptable approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I'm really looking forward to digging in to your story!
    Thanks! I hope you like it.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    Downloaded for reading. Looking forward to it.

    I have proofed/annotated the novels of several novelist friends of mine. I do it for fun.

    It's not quite the same as reading and critiquing; it's more detailed and scrutinizing, (typos and grammar but also plot suggestions, etc.) and matter-of-fact. That can be hard on a new writer.

    It's up to you if you'd like that.

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    Quick question: I assume you're planning to take this to a publisher eventually.
    Is there any risk to posting it publicly? Would a potential publisher take issue with that?
    Just a thought.

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    I'm also unclear exactly why GPS (or something like it) wouldn't work. Signals must be able to get through the atmosphere if the Soviet landers were able to get their signals out? Or was that in a bandwidth totally useless to a navigation system?

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I'm also unclear exactly why GPS (or something like it) wouldn't work. Signals must be able to get through the atmosphere if the Soviet landers were able to get their signals out? Or was that in a bandwidth totally useless to a navigation system?

    CJSF
    Because it'd be a different story otherwise. Inability to navigate on the surface is a major plot device - I knew going in that it was inaccurate; I chose to make GPS impossible because it helped the story. I could possibly McGuffin it away but there's really no need; the story is focused on the individuals in Shady Groves mining complex - it's their story; non-existent GPS wouldn't be an issue unless someone's specifically looking for it.
    Last edited by NorthernDevo; 2017-Apr-01 at 02:04 AM.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    I suggest losing at least 1/2 (probably more) of the italicised words. It makes the story sound very melodramatic in my head. I don't think you were going for that, but ... *shrug*. I'm about 30 pages in, and I'm liking it so far. A couple of other things: Might it be problematic to refer to Carlito as a chihuahua? And, sexist profane insults haven't changed or gone away in 250 years, I guess.

    I can see the set-up for at least 2 other "Bulldog" stories just in the 30 pages I've read! This (your literary world) should be fun!

    CJSF
    P.S.
    This might be hard to do without spoilers. Should I hide the spoiler parts in these critiques? What do you all think?
    Last edited by CJSF; 2017-Apr-01 at 01:11 PM.
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Hallo Dave; none at all - I intend to self-publish. If publishers take an interest they may discuss the matter with me later.

    Cheers!
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I suggest losing at least 1/2 (probably more) of the italicised words. It makes the story sound very melodramatic in my head. I don't think you were going for that, but ... *shrug*. I'm about 30 pages in, and I'm liking it so far. A couple of other things: Might it be problematic to refer to Carlito as a chihuahua? And, sexist profane insults haven't changed or gone away in 250 years, I guess.

    I can see the set-up for at least 2 other "Bulldog" stories just in the 30 pages I've read! This (your literary world) should be fun!

    CJSF
    P.S.
    This might be hard to do without spoilers. Should I hide the spoiler parts in these critiques? What do you all think?
    Keep in mind that Kylie's personal thoughts are her personal thoughts - and she's not the nicest person on 3 planets, 4 Habitats and a dozen colonies. Regarding sexists words - well; they've been with us for a couple of thousand years; that's not likely to change soon - especially given the situation of the person uttering them. The point is to emphasize the fact that he's about to die...in a very horrible, graphic way. And he knows it. Political correctness is not likely to be at the top of his list of preferences.

    Regarding spoilers - if you want to talk about the plot or the mystery, white out the comments - I'm hoping to have a lot of whited-out arguments going here; but that's just my own fantasy LOL
    Cheers!
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    By italicized words, I meant the singular words, seemingly italicized for emphasis. Not the blocks of text.

    Whiting out seems a good plan for spoilers.

    CJSF

    Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)
    test


    the [spoiler ] tag is working.
    Formerly Frog march..............

    She was only a farmer's daughter, but she was outstanding in her field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    By italicized words, I meant the singular words, seemingly italicized for emphasis. Not the blocks of text.
    Right; I know I used too many; they are one of the things that will be cut while I'm conducting a major semi-colonectomy and committing mass commacide. I write what I'm feeling at the moment, and I tend to think in italics. My goal is to reduce them as much as possible in order to maximize the impact of the remaining italicized words...but it's one of those things that I'm going to regret at every change; I like italics! LOL
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    Does Crew's (or was it Eli's?) use of "should of" instead of "should've" or "should have" indicate what he's actually saying, or is it a grammatical goof on the author's part? ;-)

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Does Crew's (or was it Eli's?) use of "should of" instead of "should've" or "should have" indicate what he's actually saying, or is it a grammatical goof on the author's part? ;-)

    CJSF
    It's a good question - part of the challenge in writing was to tailor the dialogue to each individual. They're a pretty disparate group with a range of origins, backgrounds and education levels. There are undoubtedly grammatical errors in the text but "should of" is not one of them; it's exactly how he would speak.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

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    I suggest having at least a couple of women read this and give you feedback (not necessarily on the forum), too. With such a strong leading woman, it might be good to know how Wilson and her interaction with the other characters "reads" to women.

    I'll say this so far. Your Venus scares the living criminies out of me. Knowing it's not significantly different than the "real" Venus scares me even more.

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernDevo View Post
    It's a good question - part of the challenge in writing was to tailor the dialogue to each individual. They're a pretty disparate group with a range of origins, backgrounds and education levels. There are undoubtedly grammatical errors in the text but "should of" is not one of them; it's exactly how he would speak.
    "Shoulda".
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    heh - back in the early days of computers, the office my sister worked in had her add the word 'sortive' to the spell checker. Nothing could convince them that it was actually 'sort of'.

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    I'm about 30 pages in and am quite impressed with the quality, compared with other books I've edited/proofed.
    I haven't found a single error.

    I lie. I found a missing comma on p22:

    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    In an attempt to avoid the inevitable public-relations onslaught** the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – who had (justifiably) been on the receiving end of far too many of the Cree’s' media assaults
    **here.


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    Here's a bunch of notes I've accrued. Even though I phrase them like critiquing (for the sake of brevity), they're really just opinions.

    Opening:
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    I don't actually mind the factoids up front, but you've used several passages there that you later use in the body of the story, such as this one:
    "Venus – the one place Humanity really had no business going to."
    Having read the opening and the first chapter immediately after, the repetition of the narrative is apparent.


    p18
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    she sulked.
    Are you certain this should be the way we are introduced to the main character? This will colour our impression of her for
    the rest of the story. If we are supposed to start the story thinking she's immature, then this is OK.



    p 20
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    The first half of the repair excursion is routine; not really necessary to do a play-by-play of the crew's movements. The
    routine actually draws us out of the story, rather than keeping the inertia going. Stat the important details at the second half of the excursion.


    The plan had been to replace the damaged part
    You refer to the part several times. Name the part. It will help us be more involved in the story..



    p22
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    In an attempt to avoid the inevitable public-relations onslaught ** the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
    Needs a comma here or the sentence

    Cree’s'
    One apostrophe should suffice.

    On board the cutter was a single passenger: a Police Marshal made famous by a long track-record of successfully investigating
    cases all around the Solar System. One week ago, Marshal Wilson was in Emerald Queen's gym working out when she received an
    urgent communication from her OSD home office: Paul Dixon, the Lead Hand blamed in the deaths, had himself gone missing and
    was presumed dead. Kylie ramped up into full Active status, ordered a Police Lockdown on the mine site and waited until the gigantic
    Ringship entered Venus's orbit. She had the ship enter orbit directly over Artemis Chasma; overpowering the Captain's protests through
    the sheer weight of her legal authority. Before the huge vessel even established a parking orbit, one of its boats undocked and burned
    for the dense atmosphere, curling down to dock with Midway Refinery. Not three hours after that, Kylie Wilson – the Marshal known
    throughout the Solar System as the Bulldog of High Heaven – was stepping into the Downline's elevator car.

    This is confusing. Timeline seems messed up. Does the report contain the very trip Wilson is on?
    Also, unclear of relationship between Ringship and Wilson's transit.
    And why was the boat heading into the atmo? Wasn't it headed for the elevator, which is in space?

    This probably makes perfect sense but it's a little too long and convoluted.



    p23
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    No bustin' heads on the first day, me girl.” Her New Zealand-accented
    How about giving us a taste of that Kiwi accent? Kiwi accents are easy to write. Just make the occasional 'a' into an 'i'.
    No bustin' hids on the first diy, me girl.
    Do this every few dialogues.



    p26
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    Since we're all introducing ourselves you,” she smled at an attractive Indian woman sitting nervously
    in the back corner, “Must be Jashanpreet Khatri, drone operator.

    This whole passage needs em-dashes and lower case in order to bridge the quotes.
    Since we're all introducing ourselves, /you/ -” she smled at an attractive Indian woman sitting nervously
    in the back corner, “- must be Jashanpreet Khatri, drone operator.



    p29
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    This one comes straight from Stephen Kin's book On Writing.
    Don't describe emotions - SHOW them.

    Crew waved his hands at Kylie worriedly...
    Crew waved his hands at Kylie...

    ...the big man went on defensively, fidgeting with his baseball cap...
    ...the big man fidgeted with his baseball cap...


    She'd only mentioned the miners' rap sheets to rattle their chains a bit
    Character inconsistency here. We are getting mixed messages. She just finished thinking that she
    wanted their trust. Seems the LAST thing she would want to do is 'rattle their chains'.

    Suggestion: Have the men be the first ones to bring it up (because it's weighing on their minds) The
    conversation would still happen but she wouldn't be rattling their chains, she'd be mollifying them.



    p30
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)

    I wonder why you're so nervous about it?” She cocked her head inquiringly.
    Again, mixed signals here. The is too cop-getting-inside-their-heads like.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2017-Apr-04 at 01:21 AM.

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    p31
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    "we do our psyche testing"
    Psych.
    Psyche means something different.



    "The way it works is we sign up, we do our psyche testing, skills testing, the works. Ninety percent drop out,” he shrugged,
    “The ones that make it, we sign our lives away, get put on the Shuttle for High Heaven then board the company Ringship there
    for Venus. Training's done on the trip out. Anyone with Red Seals – Journeymen – can find work in their trades if they want, and
    lots of us work in the Headquarters workshops and garages. Like me; I been there for twelve years now. Once we're on Angelhome,
    we get put into the pool and work or wait while the Lead Hands choose their crews. The Lead Hands are Corporation, and we work
    for them. So once you're in a crew, you run in simulation for about a month until your tour starts, then you head out to your
    Refinery and take the Downline down, and off you go for six months.”

    Even if all this necessary to the story, this isn't the place for it

    This is actually a fairly tense moment of the story - main characters squaring off in a battle of wits and agendas. Don't bog it down.
    Keep the tension by concentrating on the actual verbal competition between characters. The exposition should wait for a time when
    we expect the story to be a little slower and more reflective.



    p33
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)
    "But when Dixon disappeared, someone had to step up and take the lead. It wasn't just Crew's size, he was no bully,
    Kylie could see that. He was thoughtful, smart and loyal. When a decision had to be made, he made it. He took responsibility. He
    didn't like it, making decisions frightened him. He was afraid he'd make the wrong one. Down here, where a mistake could kill, it
    was a terrifying prospect. But since someone had to make the decision, he made it. And once he'd made a few decisions, the remains
    of the crew looked to him to make more decisions. He became the leader not because some official gave him the job and not because
    he wanted it, but because the crew trusted him to lead them"


    Same thing here.
    I'm imagining characters standing off in a contest of wills, but this passage reads like the character stopped and pondering the ceiling
    for ten seconds, while all yes were on him.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2017-Apr-04 at 01:21 AM.

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    Whooyeah... man. Those interview blocks are killing me. I hope those are some of the sections you had planned to trim down. I think I might be letting my vision of the future clash with yours and I need to stop that, though.

    To this point I don't have anything more to add to DaveC426913's suggestions. I want to see more of Venus (which is definitely a character in this story) and how Bulldog works this case besides tedious interviews/flashbacks.

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Hello all - thanks so much for your help and suggestions; this is exactly what I was hoping for when I uploaded the text. Some of it supports my own thoughts, some I agree with, others I don't; so it's a great opportunity for feedback. I have a few responses, not in any particular order - just what comes to me at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Whooyeah... man. Those interview blocks are killing me. I hope those are some of the sections you had planned to trim down. I think I might be letting my vision of the future clash with yours and I need to stop that, though.

    To this point I don't have anything more to add to DaveC426913's suggestions. I want to see more of Venus (which is definitely a character in this story) and how Bulldog works this case besides tedious interviews/flashbacks.

    CJSF
    Well, they will of course be trimmed down; this text is probably going to be reduced by about a third - at least. They are long and clunky; part of the job will be to trim and streamline them while retaining all of the information - and there's a LOT of information in there - needed to solve the case (without making the clues too obvious). Ideally they should all get down to the length of the first one; Crew's.
    As for seeing more of Venus yes, she's definitely a character; she's also a big, screaming Chekov's Gun that was displayed right at the beginning; we're not done with her yet by a long shot. Kylie's just got some police work to do first.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    p31
    [B]Same thing here.
    I'm imagining characters standing off in a contest of wills, but this passage reads like the character stopped and pondering the ceiling
    for ten seconds, while all yes were on him.
    Right - I never liked that passage, I'm chuckling that we both don't like it, but for completely different reasons. You're right, it does break up the tempo of the scene. I don't like it because Kylie's only met Crew about 5 minutes earlier and she wouldn't have made such a judgement yet. It hurts though because Crew is a wonderful character IMO - one of my best and I like talking about him. Still, it'll be much more effective if readers make their own opinion about him - and that opinion matches mine. I think I know where to add it in. As to the preceding paragraph, I agree as well but in this case I have a major quandary. This goes on with the exposition that goes on as Kylie is coming down in the Downline so we can combine them; the response is the same for both; and it all has to do with Shady Groves's role in the larger organization.

    The story is intended to be a classic-style bottle mystery. Shady Groves is a small Complex containing seven people that can't get out; the primary ingredient in a bottle mystery. The Complex is small enough to be an effective bottle, cozy enough to be a home, large enough to hold secrets. BUT - it's basically nothing more than a foot of a much, much larger machine: Refinery 117; a massive structure whose main body rides just above the cloud base 25kms. up. My intent - which clearly failed - was to have Midway (the colloquial name) as a brooding, unseen presence somewhere above, just out of view in the darkness; the thought that for all they're doing, the characters are little more than ants scurrying around the feet of this thing. And then that 117 itself (All refineries are called 'Midway' by their crews) is nothing more than one small cog in a huge logistical machine covering the planet - there's 240 of these things with more being built; with all the massive infrastructure and logistics needed to run the entire operation.

    The question is how to pass on that information without unnecessary exposition - that's a poser. I have a few ideas; I can add a little bit to Kylie's first surface excursion and that can take care of much of the above description, but for the rest - that will be more challenging.
    One of the things I was thinking about was to take a page - literally - from Fred Pohl's Gateway. In that book he places inset panels into the left-hand pages. These don't add to the plot but flesh out the world. They take the form of mission reports, snatches of conversation, interviews, newspaper clippings, E-mails, want-adds; small things that bring the Gateway asteroid to life. I could add Kylie's case-file heading in that format: diagrams, charts; extra info that doesn't interrupt the text. A simple glossary and appendix at the back could help as well; these are possibilities I'm considering.

    Are you certain this should be the way we are introduced to the main character? This will colour our impression of her for
    the rest of the story. If we are supposed to start the story thinking she's immature, then this is OK.
    In a word, yes. I would hesitate to use the word 'immature'; I would instead say 'scared stiff' but if that's how you interpreted it that's excellent; it fits into the overall impression. Kylie is a challenging character to write because she is an extraordinarily powerful and dangerous individual - this becomes clearer as the story proceeds. Exceptional strength and speed, a borderline psychotic personality; she is absolutely unbeatable on the physical level. This creates difficulties because she's simply so strong she can easily power through any obstacle, and in a very real sense both to readers and characters, her very humanityis very much in question. The danger in creating such a character (and to be fair, she wasn't written so much as evolved; she began with a single line and a set of parameters and grew from there) is that it's very easy to strip her humanity away; making her exactly the kind of stone-faced, emotionless operative she pretends to be. She's human, and has all the same fears and character traits any other human has. She can be immature, petulant, nervous, fearful...and then the moment she's engaged the mask comes down and she goes into action playing the role her life has assigned her. Her fears visible now are bookended by a similar moment much later on when she's doing something truly terrifying and has to take a few moments to psyche herself up for it. It isn't obvious yet but as a citizen of an orbiting Habitat, Kylie is also quite agoraphobic and has a certain prejudice against natural spaces - so I like dropping her into them whenever possible.

    The other effect of her physical prowess is more fundamental and affects the series as a whole: she's essentially unstoppable, so at least one point in every book someone (the killer) will try to remove the threat and kill her, in various unseen, subtle and devious ways. Regarding her Enhancements, she gets to use them once per book in order to save herself from the attempt. Put simply, she's a heck of a lot of fun to try to kill off.

    How about giving us a taste of that Kiwi accent? Kiwi accents are easy to write. Just make the occasional 'a' into an 'i'.
    More will be added before the end - but as the protagonist the focus is on her and I'm well aware - having made this mistake in the past - of the sheer soul-rending torture of writing characters with accents and/or heavy dialects. In general it's enough to give a taste of the accent and dialect without having to write it in precise detail (Heinlein has a ton of fun with this) and as mentioned above the introduction is critical; it sets the tone for the rest of the story.
    Again, mixed signals here. The is too cop-getting-inside-their-heads like.
    I get where you're coming from but in this case I'm less certain, because that's exactly what she's doing. The line is a stock one taken straight out of the standard police handbook; any cop will use it or similar a dozen times a day. It's a riposte designed to put the opponent on the defensive and it's very effective. The point of the entire confrontation - aside from the explanations which I'll have to find another place for - is to show that while it starts out as a confrontation, she's able to turn it almost instantly to her own advantage. Kylie's MO, as we see throughout, is the same in either physical or verbal conflict: Aikido. Take the opponent's energy, turn it to her advantage, make their attack benefit her, not them. Encourage cooperation by making attack hurt more.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    I don't actually mind the factoids up front, but you've used several passages there that you later use in the body of the story, such as this one:
    "Venus – the one place Humanity really had no business going to."
    Having read the opening and the first chapter immediately after, the repetition of the narrative is apparent.
    Yes, exactly - and deliberate. I knew going in that I'd be cutting out huge swaths of the book and there are several lines that I wanted to make sure would stay. I repeated them for easier deletion later. I'm absolutely positive that they'll stay in the introduction, not in the main body but I figured it's better to be cautious - though I did find myself removing about 5 repetitions of the words 'burned, crushed and dissolved'. I love me some gory details.

    Excellent help so far folks; I'm really thankful. I'm spending my idle-skull hours at work (when my hands just do their thing) trying to work through the problems presented above; I'm well aware I'm only about half done the project.
    Cheers! and thanks.
    Last edited by NorthernDevo; 2017-Apr-05 at 05:11 PM.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by p. 173
    “What 'suspicious actions'?” he asked suspiciously.
    Was this meant to be cheeky or was it accidentally an accident of redundancy?

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

  29. #29
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    You have a tendency to slip into referring to Renee as "the blonde" intermittently. It's a bit distracting and seems ... anachronistic? .. somehow. In fact, a lot of your cultural references seem more retro than futuristic. I get your attempts to "normalize" homosexual relationships, but it doesn't seem to jibe with the rest of the crews' - and Wilson's - speech, attitudes, and points of view, somehow. As I briefly touched upon earlier, I'm not sure if it's me trying to project my vision of the future onto your story or not. It might totally be. But I couldn't not mention it to you.

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

  30. #30
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    8,168
    retro is the new future, in some ways....
    Formerly Frog march..............

    She was only a farmer's daughter, but she was outstanding in her field.

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