OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

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OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby UndeadSamurai01 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:53 pm

I've been working on this story for a while now, and I'm worried that the origional portions are starting to overwhelm the Simpsons elements - a quote from someone I know in RL: "It's not even the simpsons anymore, just their names". I fear that I have put them in a situation so extreme that they aren't acting like themselves anymore. You can all be the judge of that.
ImageImageImage

Chapter 5 has not been finallised yet.

Oh and 'Firstarter' is the Steven King novel, that I stole some of the plot from.

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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:07 pm

Welcome to this board, Undead Samurai! I'm Chris. I'll be posting a running commentary on your fic here as I read it. Bear in mind, my comments might seem to accentuate the negative, since I tend to point out what needs work and leave the good bits alone.

Also, I've yet to read "Firestarter" (though I have an idea of the plot)

A bit confused as to the title: having the same title as the book you're parodying is a bit confusing and unimaginative. I'm sure you could come up with a more memorable title.

Nicely arresting opening.

"Lisa awoke to the terrifying sight of flames swirling all around her, the stench of burning fabric filled her nostrils, choking her."


This would flow better if you changed it to "filling her nostrils".

"Light headed" would look better with a hyphen.

She kept running, out the door and into the arms of a very surprised fireman, who promptly wrapped her in a fire-proof blanket. Extinguishing the flames.
There's no reason for this to be two sentences.

it felt as though her whole body had turned to jelly.
That's a bit of a worn metaphor.

leaning on another fireman, who no doubt moments ago, had prevented her from running back into the burning building.
This really needs another comma after "doubt". Also, the sentence gets a bit long and comma-heavy, so you might want to think about splitting it up.

Typo: "she could breath" should be "breathe".

"Well, I guess sometimes people get lucky" shrugged another
Needs a comma after the dialogue, and also a full stop at the end of the sentence.

"Look, I've seen lucky and this ain't it, this is a strait-up miracle" he shot back "hell, not even her hair is singed – how do you explain that?"
Needs a comma after the first bit of dialogue, and another before the next bit.

"A whole flock of angels must be looking out for her." said the second, only half joking.
OK, this dialogue should have a comma, not a full stop, since it's followed by a dialogue tag.

Marge stepped up into the ambulance and sat down beside her, Lisa sat up and hugged her, oxygen mask dangling around her neck.
You could split this into two sentences at the first comma.

Oh, keep that on sweetie" said Marge,
Again, needs a comma after the dialogue.

replied the paramedic "As far as we can tell,
. Needs a full stop after "paramedic".

"Oh, thank god," she said to Lisa "I thought I'd lost you."
Good job on the comma after the dialogue this time; that's exactly how it's supposed to look. Still, it's missing a comma after "Lisa".

The house that had seen them through two hurricanes, a nuclear apocalypse, floods, fires and countless zombie attacks was little more than a blackened husk.
Pretty great sentence, this. Made me snicker.

"Well, we're about done here," said the fire chief "from the looks of things the fire started near the centre of your daughter's bedroom."
Needs a comma after "chief".

"Lisa!" exclaimed Marge "How many times have I told you not to use candles in your bedroom?"
Needs a full stop after "Marge".

Lisa thinking that she must have had a candle, even though she can't remember it, is pretty realistic. The "she could have killed her family" sentence is a bit melodramatic, though. Still, she's been through something pretty traumatic, so it makes sense for her to be upset.

"I'm sorry!" she sobbed "I'm so sorry, I don't know –"
Needs a full stop after "sobbed".

Also, on a less technical note, the line feels a bit clichéd. Again, I understand that she'd be upset, but make sure never to rely on clichés when writing.

"Oh honey, it's alright," he consoled "accidents happen.
Needs a comma after "consoled".

Homer's line about how many fires they've had is funny, as is his following conversation with Lisa.

I like Lisa's musings in the following scene. Maybe you should enlarge more on her headaches: we're told she has them, but having a bit of a description of her getting one would carry more narrative weight.

Lisa's eyes widened in fear as she spotted her leaning against a locker, Francine's narrowed.
Good sentence! Might be better with a semi-colon instead of the comma, but that's just my two cents.

"Hey nerd" asked Francine menacingly
Again, needs a comma, and "asked" doesn't seem suitable, because it only turns into a question after that bit.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up" she wimpered
Needs either a comma or an exclamation mark. (The latter would probably be better.)

"What did you say?" asked Francine, imitating a posh teacher "such language cannot be tolerated, I'm going to have to throw the book at you!"
Needs a comma after "teacher". Funny line otherwise.

And she did just that, selecting a particularly heavy history textbook, she hurled it right at Lisa's face.
This should probably be split up into two sentences at the first comma.

Typo: "all the sudden" should be "all of a sudden".

The description of the book catching fire seems a bit short. More detail might be good for such a dramatic event.

Lisa blinked in surprise, her headache had subsided somewhat,
Once more, I'd put in a full stop after "surprise". On a less technical note, I like this bit.

The bullies were more than surprised, their eyes practically bugged out of their sockets.
A bit of a clichéd and silly description, considering that what's going on is dramatic.

The description of Lisa
Spoiler
is nicely done.

Typo: "if flashed to steam" should be "it".

Another typo: "siting" should be "sitting".

she surveyed the utter destruction, everything within 20 meters/yards of her was utterly destroyed. In a circular pattern radiating out from where she now sat.
OK, you shouldn't use "utter destruction" and "utterly destroyed in the same sentence. On a technical note, this would need a semi-colon rather than a comma, and the last sentence should be merged with the previous one - it's just a sentence fragment as it is now. I'm undecided on "meters/yards"; it's funny as a joke, but if it wasn't meant as a joke, then choose one. Your readers are smart; they'll look it up on Google if they don't know how long it is.

How could she explain this? She couldn't, no-one could. It was utterly inexplicable. Yet somehow it had happened.
This bit feels a bit clichéd. I don't have any suggestions for how to improve it, but the last sentence could probably go. (Just my opinion; you might want to see what other people say.)

Principle Skinner and a group of teachers came running around the corner fire extinguishers in hand, to find only Lisa.
Needs a comma after "corner".

"Uhhh…" said Lisa, shell-shocked " well I did, I guess."
Needs a comma after "shell-shocked", and there's a space after the following quotation mark that shouldn't be there. (However, it's a pretty funny line. In fact, this whole dialogue is good, with a funny last line.)

"You set fire to the school?" he asked incredulous
Needs a full stop at the end.

"Uh, yeah" said Lisa, looking around, still not quite believing it "I guess I did…"
Needs a comma after the first bit of dialogue, and a full stop after "it".

"Um, well…" said Skinner "Detention?"
Needs a full stop after "Skinner".

This time however they all gave her a wide berth. As if she were a bomb that could go off at any time.
The second sentence would be better merged with the previous one; it can't stand on its own. (And personally, I'd suggest you cut it, as it's a pretty clichéd metaphor, but it's up to you.)

The next sentence is funny.

OK, the description of the commandos bursting in really is quite brief (more detail!), and feels unintentionally comedic on account of coming in the same paragraph. You'd probably be better off putting their entrance in a new paragraph. Also, introducing action scenes with "Suddenly..." is a pretty tired trick.

My suggestion would be to retain the first paragraph with Lisa's musings while sitting in detention, then have another paragraph starting something like: "The four classroom windows exploded in showers of bright shards, falling on the floor as three figures in dark body armour leapt through. Across the classroom, the door was blown off its hinges with a deafening crack" or the like.

They were clad head to toe in matte black body armour, they wore full face helmets with gold tinted visors, ultra-bright headlamps, and integrated gas masks.
I'd split this into two sentences at the first comma.

"Lisa Simpson. You're coming with us." one of them said,
That should be a comma at the end of the dialogue, not a full stop.

"Am I under arrest?" asked Lisa "what's the charge?"
Should have a full stop after "Lisa", and "what's" should be capitalised.

"If you resist," continued the voice "you will be taken by force."

"Hey, I'm talking to you!" yelled Lisa "who the hell are you?"
Both of these lines need a comma after the dialogue tag.

Lisa trying to use the fire again is cool.

"Don't bother" said one of the commandos female this time "Those cuffs are carbon nano-tube re-enforced tungsten carbide, you could drop them into a volcano."
. OK, needs a comma after the first bit of dialogue, as well as after "commandos", and a full stop at the end of the dialogue tag.

"You can't do this!" yelled Lisa "You can't just arrest someone without charge! It's unconstitutional!"
You need a full stop after "Lisa".

"Actually according to the Patriot Act, we can arrest anyone for no reason whatsoever." said the first commando
That should be a comma after the dialogue, since it's followed by a "he said"-tag. Also, you need a full stop after "commando".

"The suits are flameproof" said the flaming commando calmly "further resistance will result in force, you have three seconds to comply."
Needs a comma after the first bit of dialogue, and after "calmly".

When the commando is counting, you forgot to capitalise the first letter.

"Hey! You can't Taze an eight year old!" cried Lisa

"Patriot Act" said the commando as he fired
"Taze" doesn't need a capital T. Also, both these lines need a full stop at the end.

Well, it's too early for me to make any major statements, but I'm enjoying this so far. The plot is off to an interesting start, with pretty good pacing. Everyone seems to be in character. Your writing style is good and very readable, with the exception of the occasional clichéd metaphor, and I think some of the more dramatic events could use more detailed descriptions. Other than that, my only problem is the punctuation mistakes in the dialogue, but that should be fairly easy to fix. I'll definitely be back to read more.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby UndeadSamurai01 » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:34 am

Hi Chris, I'm Patrick, a.k.a. UndeadSamurai01, a.k.a. Samurai, a.k.a. Sam.

I have to admit, I think I was getting a bit egotistical (or alot) with all the praise I've been recieveing for this story.

Only so much I can say about that beyond, brilliant, truly brilliant

There's only so many times you can hear that before it goes to your head.

When I started reading your comment it was a bit of a slap in the face - but I think it was just what I needed to sober me up. As I read further, I was forced to say, 'oh, I guess that's fair' and 'oh yeah I did miss that'. You're right I should come up with a new tittle. And yes, some of it was cliche, but seeing as it was a parody - at least some of those were cliche for comedic effect. As the story goes on it becomes less of a parody and more of an origional creation. The grammar - well that was mostly typo's and the like, not a basic misunderstanding of the rules, but thanks for pointing them out to me.

So thankyou so much, for being so frank and honest, and taking the time to comment in such detail about the little things in the chapter. It was very helpful for me to work on my skills as a writer. I will have a look through and make some edits.

I would say that the story improves as it goes on, but then it would sound like I was making excuses - so you can decide for yourself. I'm very much looking forward to your feedback, particularly on chapter 4 because I tried to give it an interesting format.

edit: Oh, one thing I can say about chapter 1 (which is still kinda an excuse) is that I was planning on the story being a halloween one-shot at the time of writing - that's (partly) the reason why everything is so condensed. It wasn't until I got about 2500 words in that I realised I had a much longer story to tell. There were a good dozen ideas for subplots that occured to me, and so I planned them out and reworked the ending to be open ended.

Oh and 'Tazer' is correct capitalised or not. Capitalised it's a brand name, and hence a proper noun. Lower case it refers to the weapon regardless of its manufacturer. The rules surrounding 'Taze' are kinda unclear. For example; you have the search engine Google, but google can also be a verb (you can google something) - and when it is, it technically shouldn't be capitalised because it's not a proper noun (as it is a verb), but people do it anyway.
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:55 am

I'm glad you appreciated my critique!

I hadn't intended for it to be harsh, but I can see how it came off that way. *I* don't like getting constructive criticism. I don't think anyone does. See it as my way of telling you how to make your story even greater, not just a list of "this and this and this is bad".

Seems like we're on the same page about most things. I'm going to keep your response in mind as I keep reading, which I will do as soon as I have time. (As for the punctuation problems, those are easily fixed.)

Also, thanks for the correction about "Tazer". You're perfectly right, I screwed up there.

Bear in mind, while I may seem nitpicky, I do enjoy this story. It's certainly better than a lot of the stuff I posted on this forum when I started out.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby UndeadSamurai01 » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:18 pm

I didn't mean to seem overly critical in my critique of your critique of my story. You see, I love the *idea* of constructive criticism, but I'd never actually received any until just then and it was quite surprising.

It reminds me of Simpsons season 20 episode 19, Waverly Hills:

Image
Teacher: You get a B+
Lisa: But, but, at my old school I always got A's, I got so many A's that the teacher didn't even bother to check my work.
Teacher: Maybe that's why you got so many A's.
Lisa (internal monologue - confident): Alright Lisa, you've been challenged, lets see what your do about it.
Lisa (external): *runs off crying*

I think that about sums it up :)

but I digress.
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:33 pm

Continuing with chapter 1:

On their shoulders they carried similar patches though these had numbers from 2 - 6 on them.
Needs a comma after "patches", and "from 2-6" is a bit incorrect (it should be either "from two to six" or "between two and six" in this context; also, you don't need the spaces around the hyphen).

Also, "carry something on their shoulders" doesn't seem appropriate for a piece of clothing. "Sported" might be better.

"swat" should be in all caps.

The limo immediately started moving and the other vehicles moving to escort it.
The last "moving" should be changed to "moved".

In the previous section, you capitalised "Taze", but here it's uncapitalised.

"Hello Lisa," said the Man "I'm director Allen"
Needs some punctuation at the end of the dialogue tag, and at the end of the line. Also, "Man" shouldn't be capitalised.

she felt as though the air was syrup
Needs a full stop at the end.

"We're the Paranormal Security Agency," he answered "we're responsible for protecting the United States against supernatural threats."
Needs a comma after "answered".

"You mean, there are others?" she said "Like me?"
Needs a full stop after "said".

"Well, no actually." he replied
The dialogue should end with a comma rather than a full stop, and you should have a full stop at the end of the sentence.

"What, you mean no …er fire controllers?" she asked
Needs a fulls top after "asked".

I like the "fire controllers" line.

"We call it pyrokinesis." said Allen "But no, you're the first paranormal we've ever seen."
The first bit of dialogue should end in a comma rather than a full stop, and you should have a full stop after "Allen".

"That makes no sense!" she exclaimed
Needs a full stop after "exclaimed".

Allen explaining the history of his agency is pretty hilarious. In fact, I like Allen already. I can imagine him telling the story in a completely deadpan voice.

"Lucky me" said Lisa sarcastically "so what's with the crossbows?"
Needs a comma after "sarcastically".

"They're to fend off vampires" said the director
Needs a comma after the dialogue and a full stop at the end.

"But vampires aren't real!" protested Lisa
Needs a full stop at the end.

"Oh great, a lesson in what's real from the little girl who can start fires with her mind." replied the director sarcastically
The dialogue should end with a comma instead of a full stop, and you need a full stop at the end. (Also, if I were you, I'd cut "sarcastically": the line is funny enough on its own; we can figure out that he wasn't being sincere.)

"Hey, I may be pyrokinetic, and a girl," said Lisa
Needs a comma after "Lisa".

"An update to your school record flagged in one of our surveillance servers." he said "It's our job you know."
The dialogue should end with a comma rather than a full stop, and you need a full stop after "said".

"Those are supposed to be confidential, that's illegal!" she yelled
Needs a full stop at the end.

"Not according to the Patriot Ac-" he began
Needs a full stop after "began".

"You mean 'Patriot'?" he asked, in answer his handkerchief burned into ash, shocking him, but leaving his hand unharmed, "You are being held for study by the PSA
The whole bit after "asked" would be best as a new sentence, and you need a full stop at the end (before the rest of the dialogue).

Very good description at the end of the chapter. This is what I meant about giving events their due time and not skimping on the description.

Knockout gas! She realised.
"She" shouldn't be capitalised (since it follows her thought, it functions as a dialogue tag here).

"her arms felt like they were filled with lead" is a bit cliché.

Lisa slumping to the floor seems to imply that she's not wearing a seatbelt.

To sum up, I enjoyed the first chapter. Not massively original (for reasons you pointed out in your posts), and it feels a bit spare at times, but it has some good descriptions and an interesting set-up, and a couple of lines at the end are hilarious.

Chapter 2:

"Jesus, she's barely breathing," he gasped, his voice sounding soft and far away
Needs a comma after "away".

"The man blurred as he moved leaving a trail across her vision." Needs a comma after "moved". Very nice description, otherwise.

"She started to drift off again closing her eyes when she felt a prick in her arm." Needs a comma after "again" and one after "eyes".

"…een what she can do," said a female voice "…e couldn't take any chances."
Needs a comma after "voice".

"Wait I think she's coming out of it." said the male
The dialogue should end with a comma rather than a full stop, and you need a full stop after "male".

"Damnit, knock her out again," ordered the female, Lisa thought she might be military "we're not equipped for this."
Needs a comma after "military".

"Lisa tilted her head and saw that she was now hooked up to an IV, she thought about trying to rip it out, but her arms were still to heavy." You should have a sentence break after "IV". Other than that, a good line.

Typo: "to heavy" should be "too".

"She's a child – we can't just keep drugging her whenever we feel like it!" said the Doctor "She's barely recovered fro-"
Needs a full stop after "doctor" (which doesn't need to be capitalised).

"n-noo" Lisa moaned
Needs a full stop after "moaned".

"She's waking up!" yelled the female
Needs a full stop after "female".

I feel Lisa shouldn't be staring "down" the barrel, since she's presumably lying down and the others are standing up.

A bit nitpicky this time, but bear in mind, it's mostly typoes and other easily-fixed things. It's still gripping me.

Continuing with the rest of chapter 2 next time.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby UndeadSamurai01 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:02 am

"a bit spare", I can't figure out quite what this means. Does it mean sparse? unnecessary? angry? As far as I know it can mean all of these things.'

Yeah, I was kinda confused about 'Taze', I'll try to capitalize it consistently for the rest of the story.

It occurs to me that you have found a consistent grammar mistake, where I don't use a full stop at the end of a speech tag, I should probably go through and change that for the whole story, and re-post it, so that you don't have to keep pointing it out. In school I actually learned that you didn't have to, provided that the direct speech ended with a '.', '!', or '?'. Or at least I thought I did. I'm an engineer so I fail at English. lol.

Yeah, I was implying that she wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

With the gun barrel, what I pictured was that the gun was pointed at her head , but the barrel was almost parallel with the floor, (so kind of at her chin, but slightly higher because she has a pillow under her head) so she was looking down her face, past her nose at the barrel. The 'down' direction is relative to the gun I think, just like you can look, 'down' your gunsights at a target which is in the air, or look 'down' your body, if you are laying flat. Kind of a murky area.

Sorry if I'm sounding defensive in my answers. I'm not trying to.
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:38 am

No problem; it's your story. You change exactly as much or as little as you want.

"Spare" meant "sparse" in this case.

Since you're aware of the punctuation problem in a lot of the dialogue, I'll stop pointing out specific instances. (Unless you want me to.)
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby UndeadSamurai01 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:49 am

Yeah, I do value your input though. :)
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:35 pm

Continuing comments on Chapter 2:

"or was it the third time? She had lost track." "She" shouldn't be capitalised, because it's the same sentence.

"four poster" should have a hyphen.

"looking around the room she saw that it was nicely decorated in an old-fashioned style." I'd make that a separate sentence.

Quite some good writing in this scene. Plenty of description (without getting too long-winded), which is good.

Typo: "florescent" should be "fluorescent".

I'll stop commenting on faulty punctuation in dialogue, but do look through it and fix it. Remember, you *never* end a piece of dialogue with a full stop if it's followed by a tag ("he said" etc.) Also, there's no excuse for forgetting punctuation at the end of sentences.

Lisa's line to the camera is pretty good.

"before a white, freezing cold gas shot out from strategic vents in the ceiling dowsing the flames almost instantly." Needs a comma after "ceiling".

The camera's (well, person behind the camera) line at the end of the scene is pretty cheesy. I guess it works in a parody story.

"Each sentence was punctuated by Lisa poking him in the chest with her finger, the scientist had retreated until his back was up against the wall." I'd put in a full stop where the comma is now.

"w-what?"
Needs to be capitalised.

Lisa's reactions to her imprisonment feel very realistic. Some of the following paragraphs (about her family) feel a little bit cliché, but more in terms of sentiment than vocabulary. I don't have much of a suggestion for what to do about it (if anything even needs doing), just look at what you've written and see if it feels trite.

The last paragraph of Chapter 2 is very well written.

Chapter 3:

Spelling: "Janie" should be "Janey".

The discussion between the girls is nice.

Sherri's "flamethrower" line is pretty excellent, though "even ask Francine" reads oddly.

"the freezing white gas was streaming from the roof" Surely that should be "ceiling".

Typo: "afterall" should be two words.

What was the point? She wondered to herself
"She" shouldn't be capitalised.

Could he be trusted? She wondered
Again, "she" shouldn't be capitalised.

"would he really help her escape? No, she couldn't count on that – but she could trust him, at least not to lie to her." I like this line.

The "Patriot Act" joke is getting a bit old by Chapter 3. It hasn't quite outlived its usefulness yet, but it's been used a lot. I'll see if it shows up more times before I can judge.

Lisa trying to use Michelle Obama as leverage against the PSA makes a lot of sense.

Still good, though the captors' lines are occasionally a bit of stock bad guy dialogue. That said, I will read more before I can really judge anything. Lisa's situation is certainly still intriguing.

I'll read and comment more when I have the time.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby UndeadSamurai01 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:13 pm

Don't worry, I think that is the last time I mention the patriot act. I was aware that it was getting a bit repetitive at that stage, but that line just wrote itself.

The paragraphs about her family - well they were hard. I wanted to say something more than just 'she missed her family' or 'she wanted her mother', because that would be too obvious. I wanted to show that the isolation was making her thoughts go off on long tangents, and also the way Lisa felt about her family, but at the same time I wanted to show her understanding of them. One of the key points of that was to show that while she is intellectually very mature (her speech to the scientist shows maturity), she still has the emotional development of a normal child (as evidenced by her cliche sentiments about her family). So maybe it is a little cliche, but isn't that really just because they are exactly what you would expect from a young girl in a traumatic situation? Or at least that's the way I saw it when I wrote it. I'll look into it.

Yeah, sometimes I use the word 'roof' in place of 'ceiling', I'll fix that up.

Later on I hope that the PSA becomes far more that 'stock bad guys'.

Thanks for your continuing support.

Oh and if I was going to submit an updated version, what format would you want it in? is .rtf ok?
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:29 pm

.rtf works fine for me, and I assume for other people too.

I'll think more on the paragraphs about her family. I agree, Lisa (or anyone in that situation) would definitely long for her loved ones, and I'm glad you went for something more specific and in-depth than just a generic "she missed her family". I think my main problem with the paragraphs might not be that they're "cliché" as much as that they're things that have been used dozens of times on the show: for example, "Homer doesn't understand Lisa and gets in fights with her, but really loves her deep down". On the one hand, it's of course true; on the other hand, it's getting a bit old.

I'll get back to you on it. It might not need fixing at all; even if I had a nitpick about it, it's a very slight nitpick.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:50 pm

Continuing with Chapter 3:

"and let's face it she had a lot more in common" needs a comma after "it".

"you're tests" should be "your".

"John looked puzzled for a second before" needs a colon, since it's followed by a line of dialogue.

Lisa's dialogue with John is nice.

"he was a bit of an odd person wasn't he?" needs a comma after "person".

The Stargate joke is... not bad, but not hilarious either. It lightens the mood a bit, which is nice, and it starts out good, but something about the delivery just seems to fall a bit flat.

Lisa's reaction to thinking about her dad is nicely realistic.

"She knew it was coming it was standard procedure" should have a comma after "coming".

"Alright she thought": it should be "all right", and you need a comma before "she thought".

"Calm down" needs a full stop.

I like the description of the MRI scan. Again, it feels realistic.

The little detail about Lisa being tested for epilepsy when young is nice. It's one of these things that give a sense of depth to your world.

The little hair gel dialogue is pretty sweet.

"and she looked around the room noting the two small air vents and the smoothness of the concrete floor, walls and ceiling turning to look all around the room" this needs a comma after "room", and another after "ceiling".

"until the technician told her to sit still – for fear she would dislodge the electrodes." A comma would be better than a dash here.

"The technician, simply grabbed the bundle of wires" That shouldn't have a comma.

"This room appeared to be the base infirmary, there was a row of hospital beds with an array of medical equipment surrounding them." This should probably be two sentences (cut off where the comma is now).

Lisa's line when told she's going to give a blood sample is good.

"she couldn't bare to watch" should be "bear".

Once it was in, the trouble wasn't so much that it hurt as much as it was the idea of having a piece of metal sliding around beneath her skin.
Very nice line!

So is the rest of the description. In fact, you have a good ratio of description to action in this scene. Very good.

Another case of using metric measurements with an explanation in imperial: "pulling out the needle, which was about 10 centimetres (3") long". Also, you should really write out numbers in a story, so it should say "ten centimetres" or "three inches".

I like the description of the needle as "strangely a bit flexible".

The descriptions and storyline continue good.

"and to her surprise was met with a different screen it read" I'd split this into a new sentence after "screen".

"She hit 'Y' and the hard drive spun up to speed, a progress bar inched across the screen." Either split this into two sentences (where the comma is), or change "inched" to "inching". (The former might be better.)

Typo: "survielance" should be "surveillance".

"Time to see what they were hiding, she grinned." I think this should be split into two sentences. It's up to you. (You could argue that "grinned" works as "thought" or a form thereof here, so it's not incorrect, but I'd prefer splitting it.)

"from the codes at the corner of the screen she could ascertain that they were all on the same level." This should be a new sentence. (Apart from this nitpick, however, I like it. In fact, all of the description of the surveillance footage is good.)

Whenever you write "Director Allen", "Director" should be capitalised, as it's a title. (You do it in most places, but not all.)

Typo: "John walked in at threw a piece of paper onto the director's desk" should obviously say "and" instead of "at".

John's dialogue is good.

A problem is that you alternately refer to him as "John" and "Tolman". (I'd actually forgotten that was his last name and had to read back to find it.) It's best to stick to one, unless you have a very good reason not to (for example, Lisa thinking about him as "John" at some times and "Tolman" at others - but then, why would she?).

Typo: "increasing it's output" should be "its".

"melt down this entire mountain granite and all" needs a comma after "mountain".

Very good ending to the chapter!

Spoiler


Summing up this chapter, I enjoyed it. You have good descriptions, a tense chapter ending, and it's easy for the reader to identify with Lisa. Her continuous efforts to figure things out and use them to her advantage are very good.

I'm not sure about her characterisation, though: her dialogue feels a bit more cynical than on the show, and like she's older. Of course, she's in an unusual (to say the least!) situation, so that makes sense. Either way, she's not too far off from her normal characterisation.

On the subject of characterisation, Dr. John Tolman is shaping up to be a well-written original character.

I will enjoy reading more.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
c_nordlander
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Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby c_nordlander » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:49 pm

Chapter 4:

I had a little bit of trouble with the chapter opening. It's always interesting to start in the middle of events and then showing flashbacks of what led up to this, so that's not what I have problems with, but some of the sentences feel clichéd, like "How had it all gone so wrong, so fast?" and "He closed his eyes and once again saw the commandos". Remember, avoid clichés like they're venomous snakes.

That said, the descriptions are very good, though "their jet-black armour seeming almost to suck in the light" is... not bad, but a bit common.

Typo: "They moved like wraith" should be "wraiths".

The bit about the American flags feels pretty sledge-hammery and melodramatic, but it probably suits how Bart is feeling at this moment.

The description of his reaction to seeing Lisa taken away is again very well-written, though the bit about her eyes locking on his felt a bit cliché.

Typo: "damit".

Typo: "He kicked nearest desk" needs a "the".

"He picked up a chair and threw it shattering a window." This probably needs a comma after "it".

Typo: the teacher's name is spelled "Mrs. Krabappel".

The end of this scene is very well-written, and feels in character for Bart. Maybe it's a bit sudden, but he's the kind of person who'd respond with violence to something so impossible to deal with.

Typo: "free reign" should be "free rein". (It's an easy mistake to make, but "free rein" means slacking a horse's reins to let it move as it wants, it has nothing to do with "reign".)

Writing continues good, with several nice bits when Marge picks Bart up. I particularly like "How old had he been, the last time he had willingly hugged her in public?"

no, not the aliens, the other ones."
Excellent line! Manages to lighten the mood a bit without being inappropriate.

Bart's and Marge's dialogue feels very slightly cliché. I do like Marge being aware of what's happened.

I'm not too fond of moving Bart's birthday ahead to the 1990s just to stop him aging, but it's what the show does and it's your story, so fair enough.

OK, this is a pet peeve of mine: you don't need to put in stage directions like "Springfield University, 20 years ago" in a prose story. It's not necessary. Just having a scene break and continuing with the narrative as it is would show the reader that we'd jumped back in time. (It might be a bit of a problem for the reader to realise that the next scene is set in the present day, but it shouldn't be too hard to show in the story.) Perhaps have the flashback scenes in all italics or something, if you're planning to do many. That way, they would be easily distinguishable from the present day plot.

"Marge was studying in the university library, her blue hair hung loosely down to her shoulders, occasionally she looked up from the book she was reading to brush a strand of hair out of her eyes." I'd change "hung" to "hanging", and make a new sentence after "shoulders". Other than that, good description.

"Samantha his partner" needs a comma after "Samantha".

The scene between Andrew and Samantha feels a bit dull, but I guess that's not really your fault; it's just because it's about two characters I (so far) have no reason to care about. On the other hand, it gives some interesting information. I like that Andrew doesn't believe in Lisa's powers. Everyone immediately believing in something so unrealistic would strain the reader's disbelief.

I'll continue with the rest of chapter 4 next time.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Postby UndeadSamurai01 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:53 pm

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, I just had my first day back at uni and it was a bit hectic.

Thanks for the compliments about chapter 3 - technical descriptions I can definitely do (it's half of what I do a uni) :)

Yeah, I don't think John is *too* evil, I tried my best to make sure *all* of the characters had their own motives and personalities - even the 'faceless' guards and the terrifying commandos.There's no real 'bad guys' in my story.

Chapter 4

Yeah, I tend to write at around 3 in the morning after 4 cups of coffee, so everything sounds alot more awesome in my head. It tends to get a bit cliche and melodramatic - I'm working on it though.

To tell you the truth I had pretty much no idea how Bart would react in that instance, so I'm glad you think it's like him. Studying child psychology for a few hours proved only that it was impossible to get a handle on psychology in just a few hours. So I was essentially flying blind.

I didn't really see any way to get around the timeline issue. If this story is set in present day then Bart has to be born in 2000-2001 - and if I have to delve into the past then there's not really a way not to make reference to that fact. (sorry non-'that 90's show' cannon)

As for 'stage directions' there are many professional, published writers who use them, *especially* in the kind of 'spy/military techno-thriller' genre that this story is in. Matthew Reilly, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlam; just of the top of my head. Sorry but that's just the way I feel about it.

Andrew and possibly Samantha will be important in later chapters - this was hopefully not too boring an introduction for them. I thought the readers might find it interesting to know that there were real people underneath those helmets, and non just the expendable 'stormtroopers' that you so often see in this type of story.

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