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Author Topic: Do Witch Doctors Make Housecalls? SF-Flash
Phobos
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This is a flash I just wrote which came about in the most peculiar string of ideas this morning. I would love to hear comments on the intro as well as a full critique. Thank you for taking the time to help me.

~Finnias


My god, they were hideous. Yet, I only had myself to blame. Dernier cri, the latest fad of my captors had been to morph themselves into the malformed VooDoo god, Legba. It was bad enough that they had made themselves to look human, now they had to amuse themselves in other ways.
As I said, it was my fault. I knew the insatiable curiosity of the alien bastards that had held me captive in my own research facility for the past three months. Perhaps it was my fury with god that led me to study the Sacerdotium. Then again I have always been interested in Vouduism. I should have locked the door to my study. One of the masters walked in on me while I was reading and snatched the book from me. Quickly, it skimmed through the pages and stopped on a full page black and white of a statue honoring Legba.

[This message has been edited by Phobos (edited November 25, 2009).]


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tchernabyelo
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You use VooDoo in the first paragraph, then Vouduism, which felt inconsistent to me. I know there are multiple spellings of the term these days and (from my perspective - one who knows very little about the details, to the extent that while I know the name Papa Legba I have no idea what he looks like) it would be better to stick to a single spelling.

Dernier cri - dernier I understand, cri I don't.

Your first three senences all structure very similarly - one or two words, then a comma, then a slightly longer continuation (the third has an extra comma near the end, but arguaby a comma that's not needed). That jarred a little for me.

The conflation of voodoo with a scientist being held captive by aliens (presumably aliens he/she was supposed to study) is certainly an unusual story concept. I'd read on, but it's borderline because of the slightly rough prose.


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LlessurNire
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send it to me, you're currently critting mine and fair is fair.

To tell the truth, the title hooks me more than the first 13 - it just sounds interesting.

Its not that I don't like the prose, its just I find myself confused, and some unfamiliar terms and names.

Dernier cri - I dont understand what this is, is it the latest fad, a religious ritual?

I'm guessing he studied voodoo, mistakenly showed it to the aliens, and now they are hooked. But it took me a couple reads to puzzle that out, so a little more clarity in presentation, maybe rearranging some lines, could help a reader like me.

Interesting enough to read on, and I think I could make better suggestions once I read the whole flash first.


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alliedfive
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Yeah, there are an awful lot of things going on in this paragraph:

They are hideous and it's his fault.
Dernier cri - some kind of morphing magic.
Malformed voodoo god, Legba.
Aliens?
Research facility.
Anger at God.
Sacerdotium.
Vouduism (different from voodoo?)
Masters stole a magical book from him.

I felt adrift in this paragraph and couldn't pinpoint a narrative. I'd focus on one or two of the above if you want to keep this starting point. Otherwise, you have clearly started this story too late (after all the above has already happened). Flashbacks are a dead giveaway for the late start.


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Phobos
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Dernier cri is a pretty common phrase like a la mode, which means trend or fad. The latest craze.

And Vouduism is the proper term for general practice of voodoo

Thanks all for your comments, I will give them some thought and see what I can come up with.



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tchernabyelo
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Given that none of the first three commenters recognised the term (and I speak a reasonable amount of French), I suspect that it's less common than you'd thought.
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stutson
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The strange names are flying fast with little to tie them together. I feel out of breath and lost by the end. I liked the 'bastards' bit -- that at least felt like an emotional response to clue me in -- I'm just not sure to what. It flows well -- maybe that's part of the 'fast'.

Stutson


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Bent Tree
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I actually like the way there is not too much exposition to describe every little happening. It makes me believe in the character who comes off intruiging and intelligent and seems tru to his voice. This prose actually reminds me more of published material than my own.

It is a bit busy, but I think I would continue. I feel I can trust the narration.

edited to add: I have heard of dernier cri, but I am a foodie. You hear it alot in the world of fashion and Ferrari's

Edited again to say: "What the hey...send it over. It is flash and even though I have more crits than I can count I will try to get it back to you soon.

[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited November 25, 2009).]


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Phobos
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Thank you everyone for your comments. You have given me alot to think about. I have sent out the story to those who asked for it.

And Thanks, Bent tree, for your positive feedback. I hope you weren't just being nice.

This is a rough draft. I wrote it entirely this morning over the course of an hour and a half. I will let it cool down and sleep on it and try to make some revisions in the morning.


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