OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Get help, post works in progress for feedback and see articles and tutorials written by other writers.
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:11 pm

Continuing with Chapter 4:

"Lisa had never had so much time to herself in her life, it gave her a lot of time to think, time to meditate." This really should be broken into two sentences (after "life"). Other than that, nicely written.

"Please let him be ok! She thought to herself." "She" shouldn't be capitalised.

I like the plastic cup scheme. Very intelligent, and feels exactly like the kind of thing Lisa would do.

"She could, of course, just assume that sleeping took eight hours, but that would be tantamount to admitting defeat. No, she would solve this." Another sentence that feels very in character for Lisa.

Typo: "Ce'mon" should obviously be "C'mon".
"you're getting paranoid, a symptom of boredom I do believe"
Apart from the lack of punctuation, funny line! Made me chuckle.
He stated simply
I think "simply" isn't needed here; it adds nothing that we can't already imagine from his dialogue.

The toothpaste idea is, again, one of those smart ideas Lisa would definitely have. Her worrying about her sanity is in character, too.
"And you said I was crazy." Teased Juliet from next to her on the bed (Lisa's best friend from 'Lisa the Drama Queen')
OK, sorry to be harsh, but you don't do this in prose. You either rely on your readers to know who Juliet is (which is a fair assumption; she seems to be a reasonably popular character, and I've heard of her, despite not having watched the episode); or, at most, you write "her friend, Juliet". Or if you're really worried we won't know who it is, you have an author's note before the start of the chapter (and well separated from the narrative itself) saying something like "the 'Juliet' mentioned in this chapter is Lisa's friend from 'Lisa the Drama Queen'". The one thing you don't do is to put explanatory notes in the middle of a story.

Apart from that, I like the bit with Juliet a lot, despite not even having seen that episode, which shows you must be doing something right.

"Another thought hit her suddenly crushing her joy." This needs a comma after "suddenly", and truth be told, it's a bit melodramatic. Not awfully so, though.

To be continued.
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
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:59 pm

Continuing with chapter 4:

I enjoy the scenes from Marge's past. They provide a nice break from Lisa's plot without diffusing the tension.
and 12 military looking cots
Once more, spell out the numbers.
The one piece of information that could be obtained is
This should be "was" instead of "is", to go with the past tense in the rest of the sentence.
neither the students nor the researcher's
"Researchers" shouldn't have an apostrophe, since it's just a plural.
"Now does anyone have any questions before be begin?" asked Wanless, a student raised her hand "yes?"
I'd put a full stop after "Wanless". Also, more dialogue punctuation problems: you'd need a full stop after "hand", and "yes" should be capitalised.

Typo: "haluciongenics"

Typo: "All the sudden" should be "All of a sudden"

Typo: "that's were" should obviously say "where"

"Domino's" shouldn't have an apostrophe, since it's a plural.

"It was a fairly old, and quite small" Obviously, you don't need the "a" there.

Your description of the motel room is nicely atmospheric.
The shadows were so inky black that his eyes couldn't penetrate,
You need a "them" at the end.

A couple of cliché descriptions here, such as "his imagination ran wild" and Bart's heart "thumping like a jackhammer". The actual events are perfectly realistic and in character, it's just that those descriptions could be made more original.

Pretty good ending to the scene. The switch to Kyle's location is unexpected and shocking, in a good way.

"Kyle moved into the room and was immediately ambushed from the left, he pulled the trigger, spraying three rounds into centre mass at point blank range." Break this into two sentences with a full stop after "left".

You write pretty good action scenes. That's something I tend to admire.

"Trance like" would look better with a hyphen.
The man got within two meters (5') of Kyle
Another instance of this.

This whole flashback scene is pretty chilling without being too melodramatic. Good job.
"What the fuck, was that!"
You don't need the comma.

Kyle's backstory is original, which is a good thing. I'm not sure it's realistic, though; sure, in real life
Spoiler
but this scenario seems a bit too unfortunate to be possible. But then, I don't know much about this type of predicament.
Kyle breathed in and out, concentrating entirely on the mission ahead putting all other thoughts out of his mind.
Needs a comma after "ahead".

"Alright" should be "all right". (Incredibly common, I used to use it all the time, but still wrong.)

The ending of the chapter is very well written.

To sum up the chapter, you're continuing pretty good. Marge's flashbacks add more depth to the story, and you're doing a good job intertwining the adventures of the other Simpsons' with Lisa's plot. You give the various plot threads exactly the right amount of space.

You've done a good job on Lisa's characterisation in this chapter: she feels very true to her characterisation on the show. I'm also more interested in Kyle, after learning a bit more about him, and his backstory is emotive without being cliché (though like I said, it seems a bit too nasty to be true). You do good action scenes. The only downsides are the occasional melodramatic bit (like Bart's musings at the start of the chapter). Also, the plot and style in general feel a bit... not cliché, but not really standing out, either. Obviously that's just a preliminary judgment, since I haven't seen the whole story, and not so easy to change just like that. All in all, though, it's enjoyable.

To be continued.
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"
User avatar
UndeadSamurai01
New SNPP Employee
New SNPP Employee
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by UndeadSamurai01 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:37 am

Well I'm not trying to say that that sort of thing happens all the time - but I think of concivably happen - it would be extremely unlucky.
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:19 pm

Comments on Chapter 5:

You're right, it probably could happen. I really don't know enough to say either way.
Bart woke suddenly as the door was blown off its hinges.
"Suddenly" doesn't really add much; it's a pretty colourless word.

I thought "everything seemed to be moving in slow motion" felt a bit cliché, but the next few sentences make it work pretty well. And then comes the revelation. Good stuff.

"He had plenty of time to avoid them and roll off the bed." I really like this bit! The following description is also very good. I always enjoy this type of scene.

I think the sentence "For him the sock had been traveling at several hundred kilometres per hour" isn't necessary. It just explains what has happened, and the scene might be more effective if you cut that sentence and let the readers themselves figure it out.

Kyle's following scene is also good.

"the knock out gas canister in his gauntlet, or even one of the anaesthetic grenades might do the trick" I think you could get rid of the comma, since that would make it clearer that they belong to the same "list", so to speak, rather than the previous list of things that wouldn't work.

When the commando takes out his gas grenade, I think it would be more dramatic if you described the gas as slowly trickling out or something similar, from Bart's point of view.

I like the short scenes you've written shifting between Bart's and Kyle's points of view.

"60,000 feet overhead a Predator B-mod 5 drone codename: ‘Zeus’, circled." You don't need the colon or the comma here. (Also, I'd prefer it if you wrote out all the figures in letters; obviously not "5", since it's the model number, but the measurement at the start would read much better as "sixty thousand feet".

Typo: "It broadcast a the view"
“Negative Zeus,”
This needs a comma.

You have some nice sentences here.

Nice references here! I believe I caught them all:
Spoiler
I'm looking forward to seeing more of Bart's storyline. I didn't see this coming, and it's an exciting new element.

To be continued.
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"
User avatar
UndeadSamurai01
New SNPP Employee
New SNPP Employee
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by UndeadSamurai01 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:16 am

Yep you got 'em all ;D

But you don't have to worry - it's not going to turn into one of those quadruple crossover stories :)
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:36 pm

Continuing with Chapter 5:

"200m" would look better if you wrote it out as "two hundred metres". (Or "meters", I guess.)

"Oddly though the wall still made a sound" needs commas around "though".

I like
Spoiler
"concentrate on 5 things", again, I think you should write out "five".

Typo: "His calmed down"

The start of the scene with Bart and Homer in the car is very nicely written. I have some problems with the way Homer tells the story, though. It just doesn't feel like his voice: too many multi-syllable words. Also, he seems far too unconcerned about an event where many people, including presumably some he knew, *died*, even if it was ten years ago. (Including the fact that he knows about all these deaths and doesn't seem to have gone to the police or done anything.) The gist of it isn't bad (except for Homer's lack of concern about the deaths), but it could stand a rewrite to make it sound more like something Homer would say.

There's a blank line missing between Homer's story and "So,” said Bart "that’s where me and Lisa get our powers.". (Though that might just be on my computer.)

The next scene also has no blank lines between paragraphs (not even after the "stage direction" one).

I found this scene a bit dull. It does have some emotional impact, but not a lot. I like the concepts you have here, but the description of the facility is brief and stock, and we're told that the guards feel saddened, but we're not given a scene of, say, someone throwing a depressed fit about the mission while eating breakfast or the like. (I still think it's good that you made the guards human and nice people, though.)

John still comes off as a bit too evil. If you want to change his dialogue to make him seem like a harsh but still fair leader, that shouldn't require very major changes.

Typo: "what she’d doing"

To be continued. (I know this bit was rather criticism-heavy, but bear in mind, if I don't comment on something that means I think it's already good enough.) Lisa's characterisation continues good: you do a great job showing her intelligence.
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
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:28 pm

Continuing with chapter 5:

I like the mathematical stuff in the scene with the footage of Bart.

The scene where Lisa is taken out for tests really seems too rushed, almost like a draft of a scene. We're just told that she was happy and that she found herself babbling. It would be more enjoyable if you wrote the scene in more detail, with the dialogue and all. I realise that you're probably trying to keep it short, but it needn't be a long scene, just more detailed. Show, don't tell. (Note: the content is good, it's just that the execution is too rushed and sketchy.)

Typo: "it wasn't them room"

"They wouldn't know what hit them" feels like a bit of a cliché, but on second thoughts, it's Kyle's thoughts, and people can think in clichés.

The description of Lisa from Andrew's POV is very well written.

Some of Andrew's scene feels a bit melodramatic (such as the Nuremberg comparison), but it's also well written, especially the "forced on the witness stand" sentence.

Typo: "Nazi's" shouldn't have an apostrophe.
That was overdramatising the situation, hell it was offensive to compare this to the holocaust.
I like this bit a lot!

The rest of the paragraph feels a bit... abstract? It's all true, but it feels too detached in its phrasing, more like general musings on personal responsibility than something a person would think when personally involved.
The explosive charges in the seatbelt pre-tensioners activated. Designed to protect the occupants in a crash, by stopping them from slipping under the seatbelt,
I'm a bit torn about this. On the one hand, having such a long bit of techno-babble kind of defuses the suspense in an otherwise suspenseful scene. On the other hand, it's actually informative (I didn't actually know how those things worked). You should probably keep the gist of it, but shorten it a bit; maybe try to fit it all in one sentence rather than two.

"30ms": seriously, write "thirty metres" instead.

"an electrical current passed through wires embedded in the seatbelts acting very much like a tazer as it passed through their bodies interfering with muscle control and causing waves of intense pain" needs a comma after "seatbelts", and one after "bodies". Or you could split it into two sentences, which might be best.

"10 seconds": again, write out the number. (And again later.)

"Punching though the windows with their armoured gauntlets they jammed cylindrical auto-injectors against Bart and Homer’s necks" needs a comma after "gauntlets".

"And then burn it. She added with a chuckle." This should be one sentence with a comma.

To be continued. Still good and exciting stuff.
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"
User avatar
UndeadSamurai01
New SNPP Employee
New SNPP Employee
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by UndeadSamurai01 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:19 am

30ms is actually 30 milli-seconds. I'll respond further once you finish the chapter. ;)

And I agree, parts of chapter 5 are rushed - it was extremely long (compared to other things I have written) and took a long time to write. Chapter five is probably the chapter that could probably use the most work.
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:55 am

UndeadSamurai01 wrote:30ms is actually 30 milli-seconds.
All the more reason to write the unit in full. Numbers and abbrevs. are great in a textbook or a scientific article, but they jar in a story. If you were to write a long formula or something, you should probably abbreviate the units, but so far I haven't seen anything that couldn't be written in full.
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
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:10 pm

Continuing with Chapter 5:

"For god sake" should be "For god's sake".

I like the brief mention of the stories about Lisa being embellished every time. Feels realistic.

The Stargate joke here is rather funnier than the one earlier.

Andrew's internal monologue is good and readable. The ending of the scene with him thinking of his daughter is especially good.

Some nitpicks, though:
He glanced down sympathetically at Lisa’s eyes through his opaque visor, her piercing blue eyes staring right through him.
"Sympathetically" feels like telling instead of showing, and "staring right through him" is a bit of a cliché.

"she could feel the heat within her mind as if it were a little ball." I like that!
Spoiler
"a piece of supersonic lead" feels a bit overwrought. You *can* say "bullet".

I have a bit of a problem with "the cold unforgiving concrete walls" as well, but it seems to work here. Up to you whether you want to change it, I guess. (Of course, so is everything here.)
So it was all for nothing. All her hopes, her dreams, all she had learned, all she had experienced, gone in an instant.
This feels a bit cliché. I don't have any suggestions for how to change it, though.

Typo: "The bullet had in fact ricochet" should be "ricochetted".

Spelling: "the grizzly scene" should be "grisly". ("Grizzly" is the bear.)

"A heroic effort" feels a bit clichéd in such a serious scene.
Now go, I’ll be f-fine.”
This strikes me as a bit of a cliché and melodramatic line, stuttering and all.

"it took her 4 tries" OK, write that in letters.
"Her heart thumped so hard she thought it was about to burst through her chest,"
Again, a bit of a clichéd description.

"How could this all be happening! She just wanted to get out, to run away, away from everyone, from everything!" Again, a bit clichéd.

A bit of a short batch tonight, but I'll continue tomorrow.
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
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:39 pm

Concluding Chapter 5:

Typo: "Lisa tuned around"

"She just didn’t care anymore, she wanted them all to go away, to erase them." Good sentence!

"it felt like the very walls were closing in on her." A bit cliché, but maybe it works here.
Medical staff rushed to Andrew’s side, aside from the obvious hole in his chest, his face was starting to turn blue.
Split this into two sentences, with a full stop after "side".

The surgery scene is good. I have no knowledge about cardiac surgery, but it feels realistic enough to me.
Spoiler
Typo: "dopeamine" should be "dopamine".

"50mg": again, you should write that as "fifty milligrams".

"The long beep, continued as they reached the Operating Room." Doesn't need the comma.

"the 4th rib": yeah, you know what I'm going to say here.
He inserted the spreader into the incision and turned the crank, there was a sickening crack
I'd put in a full stop instead of the comma.

In the scene with Sam and the Reillys, the POV switches a bit between Sam and Celia. I'm not too fond of that, but other readers probably won't have a problem with it. (And the bits from Sam's POV are good.) The very last sentence feels a bit cliché, but other than that, pretty good scene.

So, I've reached the end of the story so far. You had to end on a cliffhanger, didn't you? :) I really want to know what happens next.

So far, what I've seen has been pretty good. I've remarked on the things I had problems with, but it's nothing major. The plot feels a bit stock until some time into the story, but that's understandable, since this started as a "Firestarter" parody. You throw in enough twists to keep it interesting
Spoiler
and by the end of this document, the storyline feels quite original. The pacing feels good, though the occasional scene feels a bit rushed (for example, when Lisa is in solitary confinement, we're told that her sanity starts slipping and that she babbles as soon as she can speak to a fellow human, but we don't actually get a scene to see it).

Characterisation is good. I particularly like how you bring out Lisa's intelligence in her various plans, but everyone else is good too. The only problem I had with an established character, like I said, is how Homer doesn't sound particularly Homer-like when telling Bart the story about the experiment. John is a good original character. I never cared much about Andrew, though I like how you used him to put a more human face on the compound's guards.

The writing style is good in places, but mostly feels a bit drab and nondescript. (I think your style was a bit better in "Lisa the Social Scientist".) I appreciate the technological and medical detail in the story, and don't think you ever get too info-dumpy (apart from that one description of what seatbelt pre-tensioners do). You've certainly managed a tense and gripping storyline here.

All in all, I'm looking forward to 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"
User avatar
UndeadSamurai01
New SNPP Employee
New SNPP Employee
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by UndeadSamurai01 » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:47 pm

Mmm, I was trying to get everyone to feel for Andrew, but now that I read over it the charactorisation is a bit rushed (maybe it needs to be split over more chapters... hmm).

I thought you would like those last scenes (given your dislike of the cliche :) )

The cardiac surgury - to tell you the truth, was easy. I'm a bit of a medical drama junkie, so I've seen hundreds of codes before (that and I'm working on becoming a dive medic), so I just typed that scene with barely any thought.

Yeah, I have a habit of rapidly switching POV's.

The story isn't really a Firstarter parody anymore, most of it is origional... well apart from the Simpsons elements.

In regards to the next chapter. I have 3000 words (in no particular order, the first scene, the last scene and a couple in the middle.) Do you want to see the unfinished chapter, or wait for me to complete it? I would proably find it easier to implement your changes if I recieved them while I was still writing the chapter. I'll just attach it anyway you don't have to read it if you don't want to. Probably a 7000+ word chapter.

Image
Attachments
Chapter 6 (incomplete).rtf
(66.17 KiB) Downloaded 351 times
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:38 am

You do as you like. If you think it would be more helpful for you to post an unfinished chapter, go ahead and do it.

I think you're right: if Andrew got a bit more screentime (well, page-time), I'd probably feel more for him. Then again, presumably other readers feel differently. Some will get attached to new characters sooner than others.

Oh, and very nice picture!
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"
User avatar
UndeadSamurai01
New SNPP Employee
New SNPP Employee
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by UndeadSamurai01 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:50 pm

It's a pic from chapter 7 :)

If you do read the unfinished version, keep in mind that I will probably add in about 10 extra scenes not included in the outline (even though it's not a good idea as it will bloat the chapter) - one or two of them may involove Sam (Andrew's partner).

Completely off topic, your name:

Wilde - for Oscar Wilde
Whole thing similar to Wild Green Yonder (futurama)
why gray?

Just a random question.

edit: oh, and I just realised I used numbers instead of words (engineer habit). I have corrected this now.
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 11489
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: Running after something that I'll never kill
Location: Redacted, Redacticaster

Re: OPINIONS: THOH Firestarter

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:21 pm

It's indeed a reference to Futurama's "Wild Green Yonder", and to the show The Venture Brothers, where "the wilde gray gentleman" refers to (spoilered because it's the solution to a riddle in the episode)
Spoiler
So you got two out of three references, not bad!
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"
Locked