The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

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SirMustapha
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:43 am

You mentioned the story is slow-paced, and it got me wondering, and I went to check. The previous, circa 2014 version of the story, was 219 pages long, with Times New Roman size 12 font. The last attempt at revising it, before I decided to rewrite the whole thing, stopped at 263 pages.
The current version is standing at 166 pages, and the gang hasn't even entered the installation yet. Holy crap, I'm scared.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:26 am

Heh, long isn't necessarily bad. And it's hard to tell what the pace is like before the story is finished. If it does turn up to feel bloated, there'll be plenty of time to tighten it up.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:04 pm

Starting on chapter 2:

The first three or so sentences of the chapter seem to flow a bit stiltedly. Might not be a problem.

"the blowing northeast wind" feels a bit oddly phrased. Maybe change it to "the north-east wind that was blowing" or just cut "blowing" entirely. (My spellcheck tells me "north-east" needs a hyphen, but I couldn't have figured that out on my own.)

Typo: "make it the weather unpleasant."

The description of their trip to the beach is just lovely in general. Their conversation continues great, especially the bit about beer. Just put ice in a bucket... I'm starting to get the feeling Chico has a tendency not to think things through. :)

"Felt the shock of the low temperature on his ankles" feels a *little* bit awkwardly written. "Cold" instead of "low temperature" might work better. As usual, just my opinion.

"leaving out their antennae" might be better as "leaving their antennae out".

Another interesting bit: Chico claiming that Débora used the word "crackers" when saying she didn't need a tan. I may be wrong (you know best what's going on in the characters' heads, after all), but as I interpret the scene, Chico isn't intentionally being a jerk but genuinely misremembering, because he subconsciously assumes Débora must have used an inflammatory term for white people. That seems consonant with the way a lot of people think of race and other sensitive issues, and is really fascinating.

Daniel's concern for his cousins going missing feels very true to life, and creates some low-key suspense. "It could’ve been a short while or a long while, but it felt like a long while to him" feels a bit blandly written, however.

"divination games" isn't really an expression in English. "Guessing games" would be more idiomatic.

"and the subject of going back home was brought back up. Before a decision was reached, Daniel got up suddenly." I think people can be too stringent about avoiding passive constructions at all times; they can be useful, and I think they work here, but at the same time, two in a row may be too much.

Again, Daniel searching for his cousins and panicking feels very realistically written.

The writing is generally very good, though some of it could be a bit more polished. (Though that might be an issue with the translation.)

"Daniel could’ve easily spotted them from where he was before, if he had looked close enough, but he didn’t see them." At the end of the sentence, "hadn't seen them" would be better.

A couple of typoes on page 25: "tower" should be "towel"; "what if he need".

A sentence I really like: "The four went on working amid swigs of beer."

I *like* Rita's trick for getting the clerk to pay attention to Carol. Even if I didn't know Rita was kind of inspired by Lisa, I could tell that she's got her smarts. :lisa:

You have some good writing in Carol's scene (I guess technically, every scene is Carol's scene, but you know what I mean). Her description of Rita is great.

"I went along my way to the front door, and, when I realised it, Rita was following me" I like the content of this bit, but the "when" feels odd. I'd expect something more like "then I realised, Rita was following me." Or maybe I'm parsing the sentence wrong.

Carol's awkwardness in talking with Rita feels very true to life again. Uncomfortably so. :) Wait, that hotel lobby, an assignation... this feels like a female, non-romantic version of Treasure Hunt. :D

"Summer" being capitalised feels weird, but that might be Carol's idiosyncracy.

"in the beach" should be "on". Likewise, "on Torres" should be "in" (unless Torres is an island, but I assume it's not).

Typo: "say people" should be "saw"

"but mostly because I never had it" might be better as "I'd never had it".

Typo: "when could a girl like me offer" should be "what."

I love Carol's honesty as a narrator. One language/grammar nitpick: "consented with" should be "to."

Grammar: "on the same class" should be "in."

"For being like that, he related to me" is understandable, but a bit unidiomatic. Just "Being like that" etc. would be better.

I like Carol's story of Maurício, especially the fact that he was a nice person and she still pushed him away.

"His best conclusion is that" should be "was".


Still enjoying this, I don't have much more to add to what I've said above. The characters are still good, and Carol is coming into her own as a character, not just a narrator; she's definitely complex and interesting. The writing is good, and there's a nice bit of suspense that progresses naturally. I'll keep reading and tell you how I feel.

The footnotes are cool, by the way. I feel I'm learning a bit. :)
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:50 pm

c_nordlander wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:04 pm
Another interesting bit: Chico claiming that Débora used the word "crackers" when saying she didn't need a tan. I may be wrong (you know best what's going on in the characters' heads, after all), but as I interpret the scene, Chico isn't intentionally being a jerk but genuinely misremembering, because he subconsciously assumes Débora must have used an inflammatory term for white people. That seems consonant with the way a lot of people think of race and other sensitive issues, and is really fascinating.
Your interpretation is what I intended, Chris. As you pointed out before, Chico "tends to not think things through", and he kinda just says the first thing that crosses his mind. I made a tiny little amendment in the text just to make it clear his confusion is genuine, rather than malicious. Chico is a tricky character to write in that respect, and I do intend to get deeper into his mind and his heart as the story progresses. Suffice to say, we're yet to see the worst and the best of him.

As I mentioned in chat, the translation and typing here were particularly sloppy, and I'm making an effort to fix it as we speak. I hope to have an improved version uploaded shortly.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:01 pm

I actually didn't find that many language errors in what I've read of Chapter 2 so far; Chapter 1 was much worse in that respect.

Regarding Chico, and all the characters really, they are evidently multi-layered, and I can tell that we're going to see a lot of their different sides as the story progresses. So just keep going like this, it's shaping up to something great.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:24 am

This latest update is considerably larger than the others. We're up to chapter 5 now, which is the longest chapter so far, and, for me, one of the most fun to write so far.

I made some alterations in chapter 1, but nothing that makes a rereading necessary. I just realised that, in all these years, I never imagined the house having an external area with hammocks, so this has been changed.Also, Chico, Ralf and Eduardo didn't have any physical descriptions anywhere, and this has been fixed too--though Eduardo's description is only in day 5.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:16 am

Whoa, congrats on that burst of inspiration! Looking forward to reading more when I have the time.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:55 pm

Finally got some time to keep reading!
... and to think that, had I done that, this story would’ve taken a very different path.
Not quite sure what this refers to, since Carol just told the story of how she got Maurício to get together with a girl who had a crush on him, which makes me think that it should either say "had I not done that," or she's referring to something else.

"eyeing Daniel with the side of her eyes"; I get what you're saying, but it's a bit clumsy. "giving Daniel a sideways look" or just "giving Daniel the side-eye" would be a bit blander, but more idiomatic and to the point. Up to you.

Your writing continues very fine, both in descriptions and in the scene of Eduardo apologising to Rita.

Typo: "pauses between the word".

Typo: "on the woman’s physical beauty of the amount of skin she shows"; I assume that should be "or." Also depressing and (from my understanding) true paragraph about sexual harassment.

I enjoy reading these guys' dialogue. The discussion about soap operas is fun and witty (in a natural way), and I really agree with Débora's opinion that fiction doesn't have to be badly written just because it's intended as escapism. Some great comedy as well, even though I don't know the soap opera they're parodying. Which shows that you succeeded.

Typo in a footnote: "It feature"

So, the writing is still good, and the characters are likable and make some hilarious jokes. Will continue.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:42 pm

That line was a translation mistake from me: it should read "if I hadn't done that", so your second interpretation is correct. She's pondering that, if she let the boy approach her, maybe she would be less interested in meeting Rita's friends. I think that point is not well made, though, so I'll end up revising that bit.

As usual, I thank you for the corrections and heads up on typos, and I'm happy the story is still fun to read. I do often wonder how those dialogue scenes would feel to read for someone not used to the characters, so if you think they're fun, I'm happy! I get carried away with writing that, because often the humour just naturally emerges from the situations, and it's always enticing to me to try to mix their juvenile and careless fun with their more thoughtful, opinionated discussions.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:32 pm

Ah, cool that I could help you catch out a typo.

At the point where I am, I'm starting to get the hang of the characters' personalities, and I'm enjoying their dialogue, so I think the characters are coming through the way you intended (for me, at least).
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