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  1. #11
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Well, you added 200-300 more words that added nothing to the story. I like this less than your first post.

    I should've said this right off, but I just don't buy it at all. There is no way scientists would say "Let's not tell anyone!" They'd be stumbling over each other to be the first to tell. I think it would be much more plausible for them to say something more like, "Do you know what this means? We have a second chance! We know what their future will most likely be, and we can take action to guide them away from it. We can help them build a society of peace and love by guiding them away from things we know to be harmful to our society. Maybe it's too late for us, but we can start fresh in a new world with new people and create a new society! Think of the possibilities!" Now the arrogance of a selfish, warring, bloodthirsty race going to another world to create a society of peace and love is ready-made for humor. I think you should steer down that road.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 10-08-2015 at 04:55 AM.



  2. #12
    msknight
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    OK - I give in. Project scrapped.

  3. #13
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Well, heck...that was sudden. Were you kinda on the fence about this project anyway?

  4. #14
    msknight
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    When you read something like, "I should've said this right off, but I just don't buy it at all." ... that kind of fells the tree, saws it in to planks, makes the coffin, nails the lid in place, tosses dirt on the thing and walks off.
    Last edited by msknight; 10-08-2015 at 05:10 AM.

  5. #15
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Well, no...my opinion is just one of many, and my purpose in giving it was not to squelch your project or confidence. In fact, I don't think it could squelch it unless you were already more than halfway ready to abandon the project. I think your writing style is fairly cumbersome, but you can very easily correct a lot of that if you read "About Hammer & Tongs" on my website and follow that advice.

    I think it's a great idea, but wouldn't you agree that most likely the words you put in the scientists' mouths would never be uttered? If you replace them with words that quite possibly would be uttered, doesn't that engage your mind?

  6. #16
    Rogue Mutt
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    That's what I get for getting up too late today. Moving on then.

  7. #17
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    I know this thread is a couple of months old, but as a novice writer myself, I really know how you felt when you decided to quit the story. This introduction has a lot of potential for a great story, although I don't know where you planned to go with it. Don't give up! I have a story I'm working on—my very first, and it isn't anything like how it started. For John, this story doesn't make sense. I had the exact same issue with my story—only it was me to whom it didn't make sense. It took me at least ten tries to find something that "works," and many times I changed the story entirely. Sometimes I didn't get more than a page or two before I bumped into, "This is stupid; it doesn't make sense!" Sometimes I'd be 16 pages into it. But in all that writing and rewriting I've learned a lot about myself and writing strategies and skills. It's been a frustrating, aggravating, exciting, and interesting journey that I have yet to regret going on.

    And now, this novice writer will do her best to help you with the issues brought up by the others and also the issues I found (mostly because I'm easily confused!).

    These are a few questions and suggestions that I thought while reading the passage:
    1. Why do these scientists want to leave the planet alone? Are they happy or not happy with how the human race turned out? It sounds like they aren't happy, but then why are humans "the perfect example of why they should be left alone"? Wouldn't they want to teach the "lesser beings" (I gather this is what they think of the other specie) what not to do?
    2. “That’s never stopped us before,” together with the introduction, tells me that humans had invaded and inhabited other planets before this one, but later you suggest that they haven’t. This needs to be cleared up.
    3. Why is a specie that is like the human race not considered an intelligent race? Is it because they don't have space travel? Do these scientists consider humans unintelligent? I don't read a lot of sci-fi, so this might be a moot question.
    4. Why would finding a race similar to humans dismantle years of hope to find intelligent life on other planets? If anything, I would think it would increase their efforts!
    5. When you referred to one of the scientists as a "specimen," I became very confused. I pictured a bald, sickly being from the planet in question lying down on the table, and then spring up violently screaming. The term "specimen" shouldn’t be used in reference to people, unless they’re being studied.
    6. Don’t try to push out all of the information at once—it’s okay for the reader to be a little confused at first, if it also pricks their curiosity (mystery novels never reveal everything at once, except, perhaps, at the end when the detective explains how the bad guy did it).

    If you can explain these questions to the audience, I think they can forgive any problems with the unrealistic idea of scientists keeping the planet a secret; after all, since when was Star Trek realistic? In fact, I’ve watched so many ridiculous sci-fi movies that I really don’t see any problems with that idea in the first place! Isn’t part of the fun of writing sci-fi making your own reality? I’m writing fantasy for the same reason. Anyway, if it is a problem for you, just make it a private organization with a leader who wants to become a dictator on the planet, or something. Play with it a bit, and don’t be afraid of trying out new ideas!

    Also, I've recently discovered that Point-of-View (POV) can dramatically change how interesting or uninteresting a story is. I saw it in my own writing! Look into it; it may help you.

    John did a great job in revamping the passage, but it looks like fun to write, so if you don’t mind, I’d also like to take a crack at it. Please note that this assumes a few things, and since it’s mostly in my writing, I may have left out stuff you want to keep in, or added stuff you really don’t want. Also, I’m not great at comedy.

    ---------------
    At a meeting room in NASA, sixteen scientists were in a heated debate (this part might get left out completely).

    “They could be our relatives! We have to tell people about this!” The woman punctuated her sentence by hitting the table.

    “Why?” asked her opposition. “We only have to report on intelligent life, and 'sentient' is about the best you're going to get with this lot.”

    Another added, “What exactly would you have us tell them? That there's a bunch of aliens sailing around their planet on wooden boats, waving cutlasses in the air and calling everyone ‘me hearty’?”

    The room erupted with arguing.

    “But we have to tell people—it’s our duty!”

    “They have wooden ships; they’re not intelligent enough to be important!”

    “Our specie did the exact same thing not long ago; does that mean we’re unimportant?”

    A shrill whistle filled the room and stopped the arguing. The lead scientist spoke up. “We are scientists; we’ve made it our lives to explore and discover new things. We’ve finally found extra terrestrial life, but their technology is far behind ours.”

    A murmur of agreement spread around the table.

    He continued. “Not everyone can handle disappointment like we can. Discovery of a planet like this could dash all hope of finding an alien race that can help us. People might give up searching. There won’t be any more need for NASA or its scientists. We can't risk that happening.”

    The room was silent. Everyone looked at each other; they all knew he was right.

    “Only fifteen percent of it is land, and that land is so scattered, it looks as if a deity woke up with a cold and sneezed on it! Sure, it may be twice the size of Earth, but do you really want to live on a planet with such volatile weather systems? Is that really a planet worth inhabiting? Are the people on it worth destroying our jobs, and with them, all hope of saving humanity? Think, people, of the consequences!”

    An applaud broke out. They were all of one mind now: NASA must keep the planet a secret.
    ---------------

    To answer your original question: yes, it is worth finishing!
    Last edited by Elven Candy; 12-29-2015 at 11:59 AM.

  8. #18
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elven Candy View Post
    I know this thread is a couple of months old, but as a novice writer myself, I really know how you felt when you decided to quit the story. This introduction has a lot of potential for a great story, although I don't know where you planned to go with it. Don't give up! I have a story I'm working on—my very first, and it isn't anything like how it started. For John, this story doesn't make sense. I had the exact same issue with my story—only it was me to whom it didn't make sense. It took me at least ten tries to find something that "works," and many times I changed the story entirely. Sometimes I didn't get more than a page or two before I bumped into, "This is stupid; it doesn't make sense!" Sometimes I'd be 16 pages into it. But in all that writing and rewriting I've learned a lot about myself and writing strategies and skills. It's been a frustrating, aggravating, exciting, and interesting journey that I have yet to regret going on.

    And now, this novice writer will do her best to help you with the issues brought up by the others and also the issues I found (mostly because I'm easily confused!).

    These are a few questions and suggestions that I thought while reading the passage:
    1. Why do these scientists want to leave the planet alone? Are they happy or not happy with how the human race turned out? It sounds like they aren't happy, but then why are humans "the perfect example of why they should be left alone"? Wouldn't they want to teach the "lesser beings" (I gather this is what they think of the other specie) what not to do?
    2. “That’s never stopped us before,” together with the introduction, tells me that humans had invaded and inhabited other planets before this one, but later you suggest that they haven’t. This needs to be cleared up.
    3. Why is a specie that is like the human race not considered an intelligent race? Is it because they don't have space travel? Do these scientists consider humans unintelligent? I don't read a lot of sci-fi, so this might be a moot question.
    4. Why would finding a race similar to humans dismantle years of hope to find intelligent life on other planets? If anything, I would think it would increase their efforts!
    5. When you referred to one of the scientists as a "specimen," I became very confused. I pictured a bald, sickly being from the planet in question lying down on the table, and then spring up violently screaming. The term "specimen" shouldn’t be used in reference to people, unless they’re being studied.
    6. Don’t try to push out all of the information at once—it’s okay for the reader to be a little confused at first, if it also pricks their curiosity (mystery novels never reveal everything at once, except, perhaps, at the end when the detective explains how the bad guy did it).

    If you can explain these questions to the audience, I think they can forgive any problems with the unrealistic idea of scientists keeping the planet a secret; after all, since when was Star Trek realistic? In fact, I’ve watched so many ridiculous sci-fi movies that I really don’t see any problems with that idea in the first place! Isn’t part of the fun of writing sci-fi making your own reality? I’m writing fantasy for the same reason. Anyway, if it is a problem for you, just make it a private organization with a leader who wants to become a dictator on the planet, or something. Play with it a bit, and don’t be afraid of trying out new ideas!

    Also, I've recently discovered that Point-of-View (POV) can dramatically change how interesting or uninteresting a story is. I saw it in my own writing! Look into it; it may help you.

    John did a great job in revamping the passage, but it looks like fun to write, so if you don’t mind, I’d also like to take a crack at it. Please note that this assumes a few things, and since it’s mostly in my writing, I may have left out stuff you want to keep in, or added stuff you really don’t want. Also, I’m not great at comedy.

    ---------------
    At a meeting room in NASA, sixteen scientists were in a heated debate (this part might get left out completely).

    “They could be our relatives! We have to tell people about this!” The woman punctuated her sentence by hitting the table.

    “Why?” asked her opposition. “We only have to report on intelligent life, and 'sentient' is about the best you're going to get with this lot.”

    Another added, “What exactly would you have us tell them? That there's a bunch of aliens sailing around their planet on wooden boats, waving cutlasses in the air and calling everyone ‘me hearty’?”

    The room erupted with arguing.

    “But we have to tell people—it’s our duty!”

    “They have wooden ships; they’re not intelligent enough to be important!”

    “Our specie did the exact same thing not long ago; does that mean we’re unimportant?”

    A shrill whistle filled the room and stopped the arguing. The lead scientist spoke up. “We are scientists; we’ve made it our lives to explore and discover new things. We’ve finally found extra terrestrial life, but their technology is far behind ours.”

    A murmur of agreement spread around the table.

    He continued. “Not everyone can handle disappointment like we can. Discovery of a planet like this could dash all hope of finding an alien race that can help us. People might give up searching. There won’t be any more need for NASA or its scientists. We can't risk that happening.”

    The room was silent. Everyone looked at each other; they all knew he was right.

    “Only fifteen percent of it is land, and that land is so scattered, it looks as if a deity woke up with a cold and sneezed on it! Sure, it may be twice the size of Earth, but do you really want to live on a planet with such volatile weather systems? Is that really a planet worth inhabiting? Are the people on it worth destroying our jobs, and with them, all hope of saving humanity? Think, people, of the consequences!”

    An applaud broke out. They were all of one mind now: NASA must keep the planet a secret.
    ---------------

    To answer your original question: yes, it is worth finishing!
    She doesn't even have an account anymore so I don't think she's coming back.

  9. #19
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    Oh, darn. She had a lot of potential there. Well, maybe she'll look at this thread sometime and get re-inspired.

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