First one in a long time, been working too much on my novels.
Opening of a 3500 word Space Opera story.
ŇDamn, where did that come from?Ó Lieutenant Jim Hammer jinked his starfighter to one side. A nanosecond later a powerless kinetic missile shot through his original position. Jim sighted on the ship the ŇkinÓ originated from. His mouth dropped open as he found the ship. The palms of his hands started to feel clammy. Instead of a smaller anti-fighter gunship, a Grecian battlecruiser filled his screen. The Grecians, a humanoid race whose culture is based on a concept similar to the ancient Greek empire wanted to conquer Earth and all its colonies. The thing looked like a huge stylized spearhead. A small burst of light caught his attention. A glance at the sidebar graphics...
Well, the first thing is don't paste straight out of formatted text, formatting codes and all.
The next is... don't be telling us so baldly about the Grecians, especially right up front. Give us more insight into why the POV dude is afraid, not just a flat statement about opposition.
Third, unless "Grecians" is a label hung on 'em by humans, who don't know or can't pronounce what they call themselves, that needs to be changed. Unless the object is very 1950s style, where all aliens are just foreign humans in disguise.
But how do you not copy and paste from a text in this context? Second it seems to depend on which computer someone has. Some people get the odd characters and some don't. I get them some times here. Used to get them every so often in E-mails but that seems to have been fixed.
I have read published stories where the enemy is listed right at the beginning of course that doesn't mean I can do it right.
And I tried to imply that the term was made up by the description of the aliens but more than likely that isn't enough.
[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited April 03, 2011).]
One trick I use to get rid of weird formatting is to copy then paste into notepad first, that'll strip the formatting. Then copy that and paste it here.
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I'm having a hard time reading your first 13 lines because of the formatting codes. Perhaps try to cut and paste into Notepad (if you have Windows OS) and make sure it's unformatted text first before copying here.
That aside, even though the first scene appears to be a space battle, I found it lacking tension. The enemy doesn't seem particularly threatening, especially since their weapon fires a "powerless kinetic missile." Why is the missile powerless? Was that a typo?
I took "powerless kinetic missile" to be a "flung rock".
The odd codes are probably because you've got curly quotes turned on, given that they replace what I'd take to be quote marks otherwise. Some programs, notably Word, don't do a clean strip of special characters, and you get printer control codes instead.
The info about the Grecians feels too info-dumpy to me. Paragraph 3 could read:
quote:His mouth dropped open as he found the ship. The palms of his hands started to feel clammy. A Grecian battlecruiser filled his screen. The thing looked like a huge stylized spearhead. A small burst of light caught his attention. A glance at the sidebar graphics...
Nit - it bugs me to have the character's full identifier used right off - those extra syllables slow down the action and make me worry that he won't jink in time.
[This message has been edited by NoTimeToThink (edited April 03, 2011).]
Thanks for the efforts. I'll see what I can do about the gatecrashing characters.
And Reziac is basically correct about the Kinetic missiles. They are a fairly new weapon used by Space Opera writers but they may have been around even longer than "fairly new". In one book they are junk metal. Can't be used so they either recycle them or shot them at enemy installations. In one case they were objects made to be "shot" at the enemy. No drives or rockets, no electronics, no extra radiation, nothing to detect. The object might be able to be detected but its so small that it's only "seen" at the last moment. In one story just aim the fighter at the target, open the doors and slow the fighter. The Kin keeps going at the originally speed.
Of course you have to aim them just right or launch bunch of them, if the target avoids one it moves into the path of another.
With my MC"s full title and name..again I was using what I have seen in published stories. Which might not fit every reader or as usual I'm not doing right.
I agree with NTTT and would lose the infodump on the Grecians. Secondly, you used 26 words to describe a nanosecond of action (the first three sentences). Can this be trimmed. Do we need to know the kinetic missle is powerless? Also, the "damn, where did that come from" thought takes more than a nanosecond to think about and would come after he jinked the fighter to the side.
Crits aside, I liked your opening and would have kept on going.
quote:“Damn, where did that come from?” Lieutenant Jim Hammer jinked his starfighter to one side. A nanosecond later several small kinetic missiles shot through his original position. Jim sighted on the ship the “kin” originated from. His mouth dropped open as he found the ship. His palms went clammy. A Grecian battlecruiser filled his screen. The thing looked like a huge stylized spearhead. A small burst of light caught his attention. A glance at the sidebar graphics...
Tighter, IMO better, and gives you more room in your 13. Still, interesting. I like the “Lieutenant Jim Hammer”; it seems to fit the style.
Some of that was to try to Show his fear without Telling it.
The slang term is kin which I use after the first comment about what they are. The phrase powerless kinetic missile is redundant but I added the powerless for those who may not know what a kinetic missile is.
Looks like I was wrong about the Grecians, I tried to keep as short as possible but not short enough, it looks like.
And looks like I got the name right at least that was one thing I did right.
[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited April 04, 2011).]
Two works that I can think of using Kinetic weapons are Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and "Footfall" by Niven and Pournelle. Interesting concept, but with the right math pretty devastating.
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