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Author Topic: Lord of Berlin
skadder
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The moment it's Merlin engine was shredded by the cannon shells the Spitfire became, Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket realised, the thing most likely to kill him--he had to get out.
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, and gasping for breath, he tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past and, punching the harness release, Jeff fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter sky. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice spoke to him clearly.
You came... It whispered. I am waiting for you.
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed


[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]


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Bent Tree
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Great and interesting hook. The first sentence is hard to swallow. I think it could be sepparated into two ideas. When I have to read the first sentence twice I usually decide not to read any further.

quote:
The moment it's Merlin engine was shredded by the cannon shells the Spitfire became, Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket realised, the thing most likely to kill him--he had to get out.
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, and [delete second and]gasping for breath, he tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past and, [This also could be two sentences] punching the harness release, Jeff fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter sky. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice spoke to him clearly.
You came... It whispered. I am waiting for you.
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed

I am not sure about the elipses at the end either. In the sentence above you say the voice clealy spoke to him, then it whispered. These sort of contradict one another, and one of them isn't even nescessary. I would drop the one in the dialogue since you have already set it up above.

This is great I would read it. very promising.

[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited March 18, 2008).]


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mommiller
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Very cool premise. I'd read on to find out more. Sort of a WW 2 based fantasy? Neat!

Now for the picking...just nits. The moment it's Merlin engine was shredded by the cannon shells the Spitfire became, Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket realised, the thing most likely to kill him--he had to get out

First sentence, I don't like the use of "was," and what it does to "shredded." Nor am I particularly fond of "most likely." I'd think having your engine sprout numerous and massive holes midflight is more a MAJOR problem, not a "likely," one.

quote:
Cannon fire shredded the Spitfire's finely tuned Merlin engine. Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket wrestled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, and gasping for breath, he tore open the canopy. Not dead--not dead yet! The thought rolled through his mind just as the aircraft spun in the freezing winter sky.
He punched the harness release and plummeted toward to the ruined city of Berlin far below. He grabbed the parachute release, but stopped when the whispered voice in his head called to him.
You've come.

[This message has been edited by mommiller (edited March 18, 2008).]

Because I can't leave well enough alone.

[This message has been edited by mommiller (edited March 18, 2008).]


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skadder
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Revised:

The moment the cannon shells shattered the Merlin engine the Spitfire, Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket realised, became a flying coffin. He had to bale out fast.
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, gasping for breath, he tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past. Jeff punched the harness release and fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter sky. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice whispered to him.
You came... The words slithered across his mind. I'm waiting...
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]


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Patrick James
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The first sentence was very hard to read.
Second, I don't know that it is important, but I don't know if most people know what a Spitfire is. However, it seems that it's role in the story has ended, anyway.

Also, I got the feeling that I have read this book before. I went diving into my guilty stash of sci-fi's, and found:
Two Hawks From Earth by Phillip Jose Farmer. Probably worth a read.

It is about a WWII pilot who is shotdown over germany and lands in another world.


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skadder
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If I read that story I would never write this one. Needless to say it is not unusual for a story based in WW2 to have a pilot shot down, however mine will land in Berlin and it will still be WW2.

This story is set right at the end of WW2 and Berlin is just about to fall. The Russians have entered the city. For the besieged Germans the sh*t is gonna hit the fan, and Jeff is landing in the middle of this chaos. Lucky him!


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snapper
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I like the first version better so I'm going to comment on that one.


The moment it's Merlin engine was shredded by the cannon shells the Spitfire became, Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket this could be British thing but I believe pilots are officers. Jeff may need a promotion realised, the thing most likely to kill him--he had to get out. I like how opened but it does need tweaking
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, and one too many ands gasping for breath, he tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past and, punching the harness release, this needs to be flipped [i]Jeff fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter sky. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin Unlikely. Spitfires didn't have the range to reach Berlin until the 1945, by then, it was American Mustang's doing the fighter work. Lancasters could reach them but I change the location at where he is being shot down he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice spoke to him clearly.
You came... It whispered. I am waiting for you.
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed

my attempt

Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket realised the moment it's Merlin engine became shredded by cannon shells the Spitfire became the thing most likely to kill him--he needed to get out.
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back. He gasped for breath as he tore open the canopy. He punched the harness release. Wind and flames roared past as Jeff fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter sky. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--a voice spoke to him clearly.
You came... It whispered. I am waiting for you.
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed


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skadder
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Revised again:

Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket realised, the moment the cannon shells shattered and ignited the super-charged Merlin engine, that the Spitfire was now a flying coffin. He had to bail out--fast.
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, gasping for breath, he tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past. Jeff punched the harness release and fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter sky. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice whispered to him.
You came... The words slithered across his mind. I'm waiting...
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed


[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]


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skadder
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Snapper. Sorry I was revising again as you posted!

http://tinyurl.com/32n53b has a reference to a flight sergeant who flew spitfires. In the RAF it was a flight rank--as far as I know.

As per my earlier post this was at the fall of Berlin. My MC was doing a recon flight (Russian positions, etc.)--hence why he was alone. Obviously we wouldn't leave all the intelligence gathering to the Americans--terribly unreliable lot. The range would be feasible as the spitfire would fly from captured german airfields under British command. Also recon spitfires had extra fuel tanks and no guns, so lighter and longer-ranged.


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rickfisher
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First: something in the first version that no one corrected, but that's just the sort of thing some slush readers will use to reject a story, especially if it occurs in the first sentence before they have any reason to read on: the word "it's" means "it is". You wanted just "its" meaning "belonging to it". Now for the most recent version:
quote:
Flight-Sergeant Jeff Bicket realised, In all three versions you have this clause in the wrong place, though this is the best of the three. You're making the first sentence hard to read by breaking things up with other clauses/phrases, rather than inserting them where the breaks fall naturally. In this version you should start with "The moment . . . engine," so that "Flight-Sergeant . . . flying coffin" is not broken in half the moment the cannon shells shattered the super-charged Merlin engine, that the Spitfire was a flying coffin. He had to bail out--fast.

Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, gasping for breath, the Spitfire was gasping for breath? The next word makes it clear, but it comes to late, correcting an inappropriate image already in place. You could fix it by splitting into two sentences he tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past. Jeff punched the harness release and fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter sky. The sky is never where you are (though you could argue that it comes all the way down to the ground--that's why distant mountains are bluer than nearby ones). The impression this gives me is that he fell UP--not what you want. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice whispered to him.

You came... The words slithered across his mind. I'm waiting...

Then it released him and, I think you want the comma before the "and" here. Coming after it indicates that what follows the upcoming parenthetical expression will be an additional action of "it". But you can drop the commas around the prepositional phrase with his heart pounding, he deployed


This is much clearer than the first two. As a slush editor, I'd turn the page now. But for me, personally, this starts a bit too abruptly--the hook of the whispering voice is good, but the sense of danger at the very beginning is wasted on me, since I know nothing at all about this guy. I'm not invested in him. So what if he crashes/burns up? An additional sentence is probably all I'd need, however, giving an indication of his state of mind before being hit. That might mean a bit of tightening in order to get your hook in.

[This message has been edited by rickfisher (edited March 18, 2008).]


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skadder
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Yeah, it still feels unwieldy.

I will re-think it. I am glad the premise seems to of interest though, which was the main reason for posting.

Adam


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skadder
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Last revision (thanks for all your help):

Fuel and oil sprayed across the canopy as the canon shells shattered the Spitfire’s Merlin engine. As the fuel ignited, Lieutenant Jeff Bickler knew had to get out--and fast.
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, as he gasped for breath, Jeff tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past. Jeff punched the harness release and fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter air. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice whispered to him.
You came... The words slithered across his mind. I'm waiting...
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed

I am still interested in what people think, it's just I may not post a new revision until I have written the complete story.


[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]


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TheHaldurian
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I like an opening line that has this in it: "the thing most likely to kill him--he had to get out." It seems more effective to me than the other revisions, mostly because it points out the inversion of the situation, that in the middle of a battle the very thing that a moment ago was keeping him in the air is now a threat, rather than the enemy planes or even jumping. Calling it a coffin, or revising the phrase out works less for me.
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skadder
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Okay...one more:

The Spitfire was no longer his friend. The instant the canon shells shredded the super-charged Merlin engine in a spray of oil and shrapnel, Lieutenant Jeff Beckler knew he had to bail—and fast.
Flames surged down the side of the aircraft and thick, black smoke filled the cockpit. Coughing, Jeff pulled the stick hard to the right. The Spitfire rolled onto its back and, as he gasped for breath, Jeff tore open the canopy. Wind and flames roared past. Jeff punched the harness release and fell away from the burning wreck into the freezing winter air. As he plummeted down toward the rubble of Berlin he grabbed the D-ring, but froze--unable to move--as a voice whispered to him.
You came... The words slithered across his mind. I'm waiting...
Then it released him and, with his heart pounding, he deployed

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 18, 2008).]


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DebbieKW
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I like the March 18, 2008 12:04 PM version best.

Now go write the rest of it.


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