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 » Sun Jan 23, 2022 8:58 pm

So with the most recent update, we're up to chapter 10, concluding the "action" part of the story. We still have quite a long way to go before we're done, though...
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Mon Mar 28, 2022 11:38 pm

Comments on "The Eighth Day":

The start, with Rita and the ants, is very good suspense. It leads naturally into Carol explaining what is going on (both with the ants and her ability).

I like the scene of Carol fighting them off, but in the sentence
Spoiler
I'm not quite happy with the "lots of." Maybe "many," or even "swathes of" or "masses of," would feel better. Just me.

I think you've handled the revelation of Carol's ability to the rest of the group about as well as any story I've read. Too often, this type of story has people accepting the supernatural way too easily (I'm probably guilty of it myself). Here, you have some people with lingering suspicion, even after Carol demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is a telepath. It feels very true to life.

There are a lot of things I like here. Carol staying awake to watch over Rita is a nice and tense plot element.

The scene at the hotel was a good idea, proving that the threat posed by the ants is real. I've wondered how well the ant plot would work, seeing how it would easily come off as pulpy, but I think it still works.

I'll send you typo issues separately, but just one nitpick: "torchlight" doesn't mean the hand-held lamp thingie in English. You want "flashlight" (US English) or "torch" (British English).

The desperation when
Spoiler
is very real: one of the tensest scenes I've read in fiction in quite a while. I really felt the horror of a stupid, arbitrary accident ruining something vital. On the other hand, I think
Spoiler
, while the way she does it is great, is over a bit too quickly, in barely more than a couple of paragraphs. I feel that a longer description would make it as tense as their predicament, while also doing justice to the coolness she's pulling off.

All in all, still very good. The plot is shaping up very nicely, the way the other characters react to the supernatural feels realistic like I said, and we get some great scenes of Carol interacting with them. I'll be back with more comments.
Last edited by c_nordlander on Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by SirMustapha » Tue Mar 29, 2022 1:51 am

Lovely bit of feedback/criticism once again, Chris! Thank you for still sticking with the story. I agree with all your points, and I'm glad that some of the pivotal moments of the story have worked for you. E.g. the group's reaction to Carol's secret was one thing I spent a lot of thought trying to work out, and I even had to back and change a few things about those scenes, because I was too conscious of the "supernatural things are immediately accepted by everyone because the plot needs to move on" problem. And I wanted some actual counterpoint to Rita's quick acceptance and unwavering trust for Carol, to drive home the fact that this is due to Rita's own personality, and not just because The Plot demands it.
Spoiler
And yeah, the "torch/torchlight" bit was a complete screw up. When I realised that flashlight is the US term, I tried to search for the UK equivalent and ended up with a wrong answer for... some reason. I'll make sure to fix it, and the other typos you've caught.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Tue Mar 29, 2022 11:12 am

Yeah, as a translator I've been there myself. :) No worries.

Please note that the only thing I felt was too short was the scene of Carol getting them out of there. Their actual imprisonment I think had the exact right amount of weight.
No fear of pain! The only fear we claim is the fear of shame,
Of breaking the ancient and sacred consecration we're obeying!
Should you see us kneeling, it's merely because we feel like praying!


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

Post by SirMustapha » Tue May 17, 2022 1:52 am

Well, at long last, the first post has been updated with the first version of the complete story. All chapters.

Of course, I don't discard small fixes in the future, but there shouldn't be any changes anymore. This is it. If any of you were unsure about getting started while the story wasn't totally done, there's your chance. Me, I'll just try to relax and focus more fully on other projects for now. But of course, all concrit is still welcome and will most likely be incorporated into a second version.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Tue May 17, 2022 10:34 am

First of all, massive congrats! Rest a bit now.

I'm up to about page 200, but I'll keep reading and commenting as I go.
No fear of pain! The only fear we claim is the fear of shame,
Of breaking the ancient and sacred consecration we're obeying!
Should you see us kneeling, it's merely because we feel like praying!


-- Dan Bull, "War of Dawn of War of Dawn"

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

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Oct 22, 2022 10:45 pm

Have read up to p. 220:

Missing word: "trying not to taken over by useless thoughts" needs a "be".

Obviously haven't finished reading "The Ninth Day" yet, but I like it so far. Their exploration of the facility is nicely tense, and Carol's ability works logically according to its own rules. It makes perfect sense for her to be able to use her friend's brains as a sort of server support. Everyone's emotions and reactions make sense given the dramatic situation they're in.

I also like the bit with her phobia of spiders: it's easy for a reader to feel superior to a character who has a crippling fear like that, but I empathised with her all the way. It made me feel very tense.

Possibly, some of the chemicals they find seem a bit "magical" in their function (like dissolving the rock), but it seems to make sense within the context of the facility.

I like how Carol uses the pendant Eduardo gave her to focus.

The bit where
Spoiler
is one of the most atmospheric and tense scenes so far.

Will be back with more comments once I have the time.
No fear of pain! The only fear we claim is the fear of shame,
Of breaking the ancient and sacred consecration we're obeying!
Should you see us kneeling, it's merely because we feel like praying!


-- Dan Bull, "War of Dawn of War of Dawn"

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

Post by SirMustapha » Fri Oct 28, 2022 4:49 pm

I'm so glad that you're still keeping up with the story, Chris! Just a few thoughts.
Possibly, some of the chemicals they find seem a bit "magical" in their function (like dissolving the rock), but it seems to make sense within the context of the facility.
This was probably one of the few "compromises" I made when doing this final incarnation of the story, because I didn't want to change the plot point of Rita figuring out how to enter the installation, and that meant I'd have to position the story in this odd zone between science fiction and magical realism. And I didn't want to spend too much time with explanations, because, ultimately, the story needed this mixture of teenage recklessness and disbelief at what's going on, that place where the absurdity is so great that you go into this "who cares, let's get this done" zone. Whether this will work for whomever's reading, I guess I have no way to know.

There's a bit of trivia regarding Carol's necklace. I tried to incorporate a little bit of the Candomblé religion into Carol's characterisation, keeping it noticeable to those who know it, but subtle enough not to get distracting. In the narration of her morning ritual in the opening, she uses the word "Odoyá", which is a salutation to Yemanjá, the female orisha of the oceans. And then, the pendant is shaped like a sword because it's the symbol of Ogum, the orisha who represents war and metals. I wished to place her temperament somewhere in between the two, combining the motherly, healing (but also violent) energy of Yemanjá, but also channelling the warlike, impetuous strength of Ogum.
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Re: The Formicide Gang [work in progress]: the bullshit thread

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Oct 30, 2022 12:50 am

Yeah, at the end of the day that's the author's choice, and every reader will have their own opinion.

Don't know anything about Candomblé, but I appreciate all your explanations about it and will always be happy for more. I like that aspect of Carol's characterisation (and it's generally just cool to read about a character belonging to a real-world religion other than the three Abrahamic ones).
No fear of pain! The only fear we claim is the fear of shame,
Of breaking the ancient and sacred consecration we're obeying!
Should you see us kneeling, it's merely because we feel like praying!


-- Dan Bull, "War of Dawn of War of Dawn"

Now offering writing commissions! Fanfiction or original, PM me to discuss.
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