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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:53 am 
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You said you wanted feedback, so feedback you shall get.

First of all, read what Antares said in the General Discussion thread. I fully agree with it, so I won't repeat him here.

Now then. I think there are some big problems in your writing as evidenced in the first chapter of your story, as well as the character blurbs and stuff you posted before that. So I'll go more or less in order.

I don't understand why you posted all that mecha information and the glossary and the blurbs about the characters. I have a sneaking suspicion that most people do this because it's easier than having to write a story that makes the reader care about those characters, but you're actually doing both, so I'm a bit baffled.

The problem with posting all these bios and stats is that you're giving away information you should either be presenting within the story--be it through dialogue or in the narrative--or simply don't need to be presenting at all. For example, why go giving away Adrian Saldana's past and his being an Innovator and whatnot before the story even begins? It's awfully hard to care about any of it when any questions I could've had were already answered. The other side of this is that you're telling me stuff that I don't really need to know. Why do I need to know who Princess Zuleika is, for example, if she doesn't appear yet? Why would I need to know anything about this "White Rider" mobile suit? (And since it sounds like your version of the 00 Gundam, I doubt the reader will be seeing it for a good long time) Why do I need to know what E-Carbon is, or what the Innovator Project is, if they have no role in the narrative, or if their role is to be explained more fully later?

Another problem with this information is that you're giving away stuff that, it seems to me, is the sort of stuff you intend to flesh out later. For example, there's the Innovator project. It explains the origins and abilities of what looks like several key characters in your story. Why are you giving away the secret before the story even starts? Why would I want to read on and keep following this story if you're giving away (what I assume to be) such major parts of it already? What's there to stick around for?

And perhaps the biggest problem with the information dump at the start of the story is that it's so artlessly done. It's a long series of bland statements and statistics, with no built-in reason for why the reader should care. I mean, I can't say I really cared about it, nor can I say I found it useful in telling what was going on in the first chapter. As the storyteller, your job is to paint us this world, and toneless, textbook-like descriptions of terms and characters and mecha is not the way to do so. More on that later. And if this information is there for reference while the reader is reading the chapters of your story, well, that's a problem with the chapters of your story, which should make clear what the reader needs to know to understand what's going on without a reference guide at the top.

You said in the General Discussion thread that you wanted to write a Gundam 00 fanfic. Trouble is, that's painfully obvious and it really hurts your presentation of this story.

The Innovators were one of the key plot points of 00 S2. If you insert them into this story, the reader will naturally expect them to be something like what they were in the show. The same goes for GN technology, for Trans-Am, for Celestial Being, for everything from Gundam 00 that you put into this story. But it's not the same. Celestial Being in this story is, from the perspective of Celestial Being in Gundam 00, just another terrorist group out to further its own narrow agenda. Celestial Being in Gundam 00 would have staged an armed intervention against Celestial Being in this story. But you're using the name "Celestial Being" and aping their gimmicks and setup, with a Veda equivalent and everything. I don't know why you're still using the gimmicks and finery of Gundam 00 to tell a story that is clearly not Gundam 00, and doing so creates strange expectations and makes you seem like you're just being lazy. Even if you invent new names for characters and settings and props, it still makes you seem like you're just ripping off 00 and using the pieces of its story to tell your own. Fanfiction is all about playing with other people's toys, but this is a rather poorly-veiled way of doing it, and that you're trying to veil it at all makes it come off even more as laziness and ripping off a show.

One of the things about 00 is the huge amount of setup it had in its setting. Like Antares said in the General Discussion thread, there is next to no setup here. You did very little to establish the world in which this story takes place. That is accomplished not by blandly listing off facts and figures, but by painting a picture that, in the reader's mind, provides a clear backdrop against which the action takes place and the characters do their thing. Right now it really seems like this story is taking place in a void. More on that later.

This might just be my personal taste, but you really went overboard on the Christian imagery and symbolism here. Reading about all these Gundams and Celestial Being's equipment and all, I felt like I was watching the old 80s GI Joe cartoon, where everything Cobra owned was somehow snake-themed. I realize this iteration of Celestial Being is a Christian group fighting against religious persecution, but it seems cartoony to be so steeped in Christian imagery.

Even with all that, this story has problems because from what you've posted so far, it is just not written well. It's not engaging, it's not interesting. Some examples of what I'm talking about:

Quote:
Captain Alexandria Whitehorse aka Alexandria the Great, has shoulder length pink hair and blue eyes. She is the best strategist of the Roman Empire. Until she quit and joined Celestial Being. Nobody knows who invented the Gundams or all of Celestial Being's equipment for that matter. But the mysterious benefactor had all of the equipment made for Celestial Being's success in overthrowing the Roman Empire, and restoring the United Nations.


This occurs quite often: you bring the narrative to a grinding halt in order to describe somebody's appearance and fill in backstory that is not immediately necessary to the reader's understanding of the scene. I don't need to know that Alexandria is the greatest strategist of the Roman Empire, or that nobody knows who built Celestial Being's equipment, to tell what's going on in this scene. It interrupts the flow of the narrative, it shatters whatever mood you're trying to build for the particular scene, and it gets to be annoying.

An even better example of breaking the narrative is here:

Quote:
... Her opponent blocks the attacks with her trident. Then tries to capture the masked woman with her net.

These two are gladiatrixes, female gladiators. In the Roman Empire gladiator games were revived. This time among slaves and test subjects of the Gladiator Project, a type of super solider project involing quantum brain waves. The masked woman is a test subject and the best test subject. Her blonde haired opponent is only a slave.

The masked woman charges at her opponent. ...


You're in the middle of describing a brutal, no-holds-barred hand-to-hand duel and you suddenly break away to offer a pile of information--information that you already provided in that big information dump in the first post, no less, so you're breaking the narrative for the sake of stuff the reader has already heard, and for stuff that isn't even necessarily needed for the reader to understand what's going on.

An even greater problem, though, is that you don't do a very good job of describing what is going on. There's nothing interesting about it, when there should be very much interesting about it. The best example for this is when the four Gundams launch. This is our introduction to what I presume to be the main characters of your story, and there's no real sense of the import of what they're about to do--either on the character's part or imparted to the reader. It's boring. The four Gundam pilots all come off as little more than talking heads inside Gundams.

I've gone on a lot about how this story fails to capture interest. The real kicker for this story's being uninteresting, though, is the lack of painting a detailed, believable, and yes, interesting picture of what's going on. Case in point:

Quote:
A Aquila pilot didn't notice anything on his radar. But he did see the plasma bullet from Gundam Famine's GN sniper rifle. It was heading straight for him.

"Ah sh... AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!" the pilot was vaporized as the bullet piereced the cockpit armor.

"We're under attack!" said the leader of the unit. "Unknown mobile suits are attacking us!"

The Gilgamesh mobile suits flew in with their GN sickle-sword drawn, and their GN shield/rifles firing off plasma bullets at the Aquilas.

"Death to all evil tyrants that persecute God's children!" one Gilgamesh pilot said.


This is just a list of quotations and statements of fact. There's nothing here on what this all looks like; there's nothing here to give a sense of the suddenness of Celestial Being's attack, or the surprise from the Aquila pilots, or the emotions of the attackers. It's like reading a textbook: flat statements of facts. There's broken sentences, shifts in verb tense, and spelling/grammatical typos all over the place; these things could be fixed with either a very careful and thorough reading on your own, or a beta reader. (If you want to proofread your own work, I would recommend not looking at it at all for a week or so, and then rereading it, so you're more likely to catch errors) The same things I said here apply to your dialogue: most importantly, you need to make these characters sound unique in their dialogue. Not everyone talks the same. You do a bit better than this in your describing the opening battle between Gladiatrix and the slave, and from there is where you should draw lessons for the description of everything else in the story. Use vivid language to get your point across; choose metaphors and images that suit the idea you're trying to convey. The idea is not to pile details into the narrative; the idea is to vividly describe it, and the key word there is "vivid." Bring this world, these actions, these people alive.

The best way to improve your writing skills is to read, voraciously, from writers who are able to inject emotion and gravitas into their prose and craft unique dialogue. The answer is not to just copy what they do; the answer is to study what they do and don't do, and apply those lessons to your own writings. I can think of a few good stories to start with already: Wing Zero Alpha's Code Geass Megiddo, Super Chocolate Bear's Welcome to City 17, Imperial's Lancelot, His Divine Shadow's In Vain Doth Valour Bleed, and pretty much anything by Kishiria. And there's plenty more. To start with, through my FF.net profile (and I am not holding myself up here as some kind of grandmaster of the written word), you can access my favorites, which has several more stories like that--although you might want to ignore the squirrelking ones, as nobody, and I mean nobody can write like squirrelking =P. Again, don't copy these authors or their styles of writing; study what they do, how they write, how they put emotion and feeling into their writing, how they give their characters unique dialogue, how they strike the balance between background/technical information, character development, and action, and then put those lessons into practice with this story. Do that, and I guarantee you this story and your writing in general will improve by leaps and bounds.

EDIT: rockin' the typos.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:41 am 
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I still don't see how the profiles are at all necessary. How many novels do you see with massive appendices that spell out every last point of minutiae? I know this is fanfiction, not Nobel Prize-winning literature, but we should affect at least some measure of polish in our stories. Force-feeding the readers information won't help anyone with anything.

You point out that Adrian Saldana will give some context. That's good. You're revealing things through the text of the story instead of spoon feeding it to the readers in bland, profile-sized chunks. That's how writers have been doing it for ages. You just need to work on making it a bit more seamless. Those expository passages are jarring as they are now. Like ShadowCell said, there are writers out there who do this sort of thing in high style. See how they weave exposition into a narrative.

You said you made these notes for readers who might be unfamiliar with 00. Yet Edge of Apocalypse only has the loosest of ties to 00 proper. Truth be told, I'm not reading an 00 story. I'm reading the Book of Revelation with giant robots and 00 names cut and pasted onto it. There's nothing *wrong* with that in and of itself, but it looks like you're trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

You can't contain yourself when it comes to spoilers? You're effectively sabotaging yourself. Readers want to keep on motoring through the text if there's an element of the unknown. Serving up all the answers on a platter kills whatever intrigue there might have been.

If you admit action scenes are a weakness, then strive to improve. It's nice to know you can zero in on the things undermining your work and resolve to improve them, but make sure you don't fall into the FF.net fallacy. You know that I'm talking about--when writers put disclaimers like "I suck at summaries, plz read my story" or "first story, be gentle, lolz!" Admitting to a shortcoming doesn't make it better.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:55 am 
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I don't see how it could hurt. You might even want to keep them around on your computer. The notes could be quite useful to help yourself keep everything in order.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:28 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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You really need to watch your sentences.

For example:
Quote:
Leos entered Babylonia, and started their destruction of the city. Blowing down every building in sight, killing every person that moved, and just generally killing everything.


Would at the very least be better served with a comma instead of a period.

Quote:
Leos entered Babylonia, and started their destruction of the city blowing down every building in sight, killing every person that moved, and just generally killing everything.


Same here:
Quote:
"Liar!" Gladiatrix stabbed the Gilgamesh cockpit. Killing Alijah instantly.

To:
Quote:
"Liar!" Gladiatrix stabbed the Gilgamesh cockpit killing Alijah instantly.


While any story is going to have it's faults, stuff like this is very distracting. I'm not a grammar or English major by any stretch, but things like the above don't help gain you, much less your story much credibility.

Reading other authors works will greatly benefit you. People such as Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, or any professionally edited work outside of manga and comic books (mostly because it's mostly dialogue and liberties in grammar are more widely accepted) are good examples of good writing. The more you read, the more it will seep in to your work and help you in catching flaws sooner. It can also show how a story progresses instead of having uneven data dumps.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:37 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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GX7 wrote:
Yeah i'm reading the newest novel by Tim Lahaye. So I'll take a note of what you said.


Oh, well, what I've seen of his stuff doesn't strike me as exactly good writing. Anything more, and that gets into topics they just don't wish to have brought up, so I'll respect that.

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