Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: West Sussex
Re: Newbie Crit
Aha! Fresh blood!! Good to see you've bravely plunged into the deep end of the pool - you should know how warm the water is, as you've contributed in the 75 word challenge, amongst others. Here's my (highly personal) opinion. It's no more than that, and as a fellow aspiring writer, feel free to ignore anything that doesn't gel with you. What do I know? I won't bother with the punctuation as Chris has done an excellent job, already.
[QUOTE=TacticalLoco;1510175]OK friends, this is my first post for critique and I'm pretty freaked out.
I just started working on this yesterday and this is what I have so far. Seriously, to get the best from the critiquers, put up a piece that you've worked a lot more on; that's not a criticism of your writing, (as it's pretty damn good) but you want more than 'editing' from us. If this is a first draft, then it's impressive, but if you post too soon, there's a tendency to be knocked off-track by all the suggestions you'll get from others. Which can be confusing for you, when it contrasts with your original idea, and you can end up writing to please others and not yourself. Lecture over...
It's supposed to be a hard SF story. Let me know what you folks think.
************************************************** **** Persephone Phillipssettled herself into the pilots chair of the Lucifer. It was her first ever shift at the ship's helm, but that did not bother her too much because it was also only the fifth FLT piloting shift in human history. I had to read this a couple of times. We should all know that FLT means faster than light, but maybe the first time we meet it, it might be better to call it by its full name and then use the abbreviation? There's a lot in the sentence: first ever shift, the ship's helm, the bother, the 5th FLT, and human history. It's a good opening, but just a little wordy (remember this is just my opinion...). I think she should be, if not bricking it, at least a little apprehensive. It's only the 5th shift (don't ever use those two words close together) and her first time. The responsibility must be enormous - it's hardly a tried and tested routine, is it? But to go with your words, maybe if you broke up the sentence a little, viz: It was her first ever shift at the ship's helm. It was also only the fifth FLT piloting shift in human history. That way you leave the reader to make up their mind whether she should be nervous or relaxed. And you're going to bring in her thoughts any second now, which gives the reader more clues. The Lucifer was forty seven days outbound from Earth and precisely 32 hours of that time had been spent traveling at greater than light speed. She, on the other hand had spent the past 2 years of her life studying, practicing and waiting for his moment. She had however, met the eyes of the fourth shift pilot Saul Meyers as he was leaving the bridge. He looked tired. There's something about 'She, on the other hand' and then 'She had, however,' that needs a tweak 'On the other hand' and 'however' and interchangeable, and I think that's what jars - which of the actions do you want to bring to our attention more? Personally, I'd drop the last sentence - there is confusion about the taut man, anyway. She'd have run through thousands of hours of simulation before being let loose on a FTL ship which is probably worth billions, so she'll know what to expect. "Keeping all four forces balanced is the key." the taut man standing beside her intoned almost religiously. She restrained the urge to remind her CO that she was qualified, "Aye aye, Captain." Besides he was absolutely right. Keeping the ship moving at speeds defying both Newton and Einstein was literally a juggling act. F=ma and E=mc^2 both played a simultaneous role in interconnecting and cheating space-time. "Just keep in mind Lieutenant, there are no worm holes or fictional warp drives here. We are moving though real space on a superliminal vector." Erm, this is for the reader, to inform them, but it makes it look like this is the first time Percy has heard it. BUT, it's only the 5th shift at FTL, so it could be brought in by a nervous captain, who hasn't slept, by him trying to make a joke of it, to calm his nerves, as much as the new shift. The 6th shift's 6th sheep's sick.... "Yes sir. I understand." She said, and responded more directly by making a slight adjustment to the local ship mass, compensating for the steady shift of gravitational forces surrounding them. Benjamin Sidhain who? Where'd he come from? nodded his agreement and allowed himself to return to his own console.Where'd this pov come from? We were with Percy a moment ago. Just change it to 'nodded his agreement and returned to his own console', and we can stay with the delightful Miss Phillips. Before this mission's training, she could not have even imagined gravity fields as variables. But she recalled, that was before the aliens gave us the Magi field and all it promised.I like the Magi field... sounds wise and magical at the same time. According to their exotic and largely unknown benefactors this technology allowed direct manipulation of mass. Not to mention the side effects of controlled momentum and inertia. By maintaining a delicate equilibrium between variables is was possible to change the ships movements quickly and radically or to keep it moving though space faster than matter should. For the next six hours seventeen minutes of her shift that's what pilot Phillips did. The Captain sat at the sensor console, monitoring her, the ship, the surroundings, plus she suspected, catching short cat naps. She didn't blame him or even think of reporting him for it. He had not left the bridge since hyper 'c' velocity had been passed. He couldn't have slept much, if at all those two days. That's good... but she should have got up for a wee, at least. Unless they're wearing reclamation suits, of course... A small mass was entering the field, she altered the force matrix in that direction to bypass it. Coming to the significant moment of the piece, and perhaps tension could be added by removing the passive voice? A small mass entered the field. She altered the force matrix in that direction to bypass it. Looking at the visual monitorsIs there another kind of monitor to look at? she couldn't see anything, but that was hardly surprising. The massive Doppler effect was another reminder that they firmly remained in normal space.Normal? I thought it was superliminal, and moving faster than matter should? Ahead of the Lucifer, the stars all crowded into the center of the screen, blue shifted into a dull glowing blur. The rear screen showed the same scene in a red shift motif. Using a combination of star charts and computer enhancement she could zoom in for much greater detail, but it was not really relevant to her job now. The irony of it all made her grin, here she was one of the very first people to fly a ship FTL, and she was already bored with the view. Erm, I'd move this para to before the one that starts 'A small mass', it would flow better by staying with the mass, rather than moving away and then coming back to it. I think. Something odd! That small mass was still closing on their position. She adjusted the forces again to move away from it. Beyond belief the object continued to advance. That was definitely not right, no debris could do that. In fact, no object of normal mass could do that. I like the tension, but the almost conversational 'Beyond belief' and 'that was definitely not right' (unless it's really indignant) pulled me out of it. Whatif? Something odd! That small mass was closing on their position. She adjusted the forces again to move away from it. The object continued to advance. No debris could do that. No object of normal mass could do that. D'jer think it has more by having less? Rather than Percy telling us, we make our own minds up... I did, anyway. "Oh my god!" Her gasp was as involuntary as the twitching of her insides. "We got company!" Persephone wondered if she should nudge the Captain awake before hitting the all hands alarm.The words 'wondered' and 'nudge' are a little weak, given the context. This is high drama, and she's only wondering?? She should just hit the alarm, and maintain the tension you've so admirably brought in... [/
And that's my sixpennyworth: All my own opinions, and not to be taken as though I know any more than you do. Great to see the work, and well done for posting it. It gets easier, the longer you're on the chrons...