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Old 09-26-2006, 07:00 PM
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OnceUponATime (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
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Location: State of Insanity - I must be in order to start my own paper...
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This post is sort of long, so I'll have to take several posts to get through it all, over a course of a couple of days. In the first 2500 words, I didn't see any technical writing errors to speak of, so that bodes well! My only problem, to start out, is with your opening paragraphs. Comments to follow, and if you disagree, take what I say with a grain of salt...

Throughout history, there have been many great wars. Starting at the beginning, there was the war between Heaven and Hell, progressing through history to the War of Middle Earth, finally rounding out with the Iraq Invasion. A brief history, if you will. But one thing all of the wars have ever had in common was this: There was always a fair chance for either side to win. Always.

The writing in this is excellent - top-notch, actually. What I have a problem with is that it seems you're taking a short cut to avoid the painstaking 'world-building' that is a necessary evil in sci-fi/fantasy. Even though I do like the line summarizing the history of wars from heaven and hell to Iraq, I like to see a POV character established right away - a character to 'ground' the story in scene form to give me a firm image of what's going on. Keep the line, but to have a character 'thinking' it is even better.

There wasnít here. The human race didnít stand a chance. The things came through the gateway, so many in number and wanting nothing. They fought for mischief and mayhem, they had no other goals. To kill and burn, destroy and feast. This was all they lived for, their group mentality inhibited any fear of death they might have. Thatís what made them so powerful; the fact that they were fighting for nothing and were willing to die for it.

As a reader, I'm intrigued by this history lesson in the world you're building, but I'm dying to know what the 'things' are flooding through the gateway. What is or was 'The Gateway?" A lot of this could be revealed by a character through revelatory dialogue and narrative.

Within a week of the gateway being open, over a million of them had poured out into the Arizona desert, gathering. There was no apparent leader; they shared a general mindset. Branch out and burn what you could. Kill who you could, and donít stop until you stopped hearing the screams, they thought.

Again, I'm wondering about 'them' - what they are, what they look like and WHY they've chosen my beloved Arizona as the spot where they've chosen to invade the earth...

The second week, the west coast was all but gone. San Francisco, Los Angeles, burned. Razed. Buildings stood black and charred against a vile sunset, tendrils of smoke rising up to meet the orange sun.

The Midwest was gone in a matter of days.
This would make for an interesting story in itself. Again, it's summarized and as a reader it's too vague to imagine.

They swept through the east like a plague a little after month past the initial invasion. Most of the people in New York fled to Canada, like it would be some kind of barrier between humans and these creeps. Few stayed behind, hoarding guns and barricading doors. They fought, claiming God was on their side. They were sure they would survive. The human race was divine, a mandate from the heavens.

That didnít help. The Creeps rode in, kicking in sanctuaries, no reservations about burning sacred buildings. Churches, schools, liquor stores. They were all the same in the eyes of the Creeps. They held nothing sacred.
A description of the Creeps and what they are would help here. Bring them in earlier on in scene form. After this prologue, the story picks up nicely and the description of these beasts finally shows iself. My main point here is that the prologue could be cut way down or done away with altogether. This large block of summarizing is an 'infodump' that can easily be worked into the main body of the story itself through thought, dialogue and narrative inference. Once a reader wades through the prologue, the story reads well. I'll be back with more thoughts on the rest tomorrow, but from reading the first half of your post, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to find much wrong with it. That's a good thing - I read to be entertained, ultimately, not to find things wrong. Just the opener needs help, IMO.

Thanks & keep writing - you're very good at it.
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