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Author Topic: SF WIP
Steve 46th
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This piece is shaping up to be just a bit over 3K words. Thanx in advance!

S!

--------------

In a blink, Shonnerin's police ship was bathed in all the spectrums of light from this alien yellow sun.
The mix of sentient beings that served as her investigation team looked up from their huddled gathering, each turning their dominant sensory receptors to the images and sonic bursts coming from the command center's forward information array, hoping to learn that this far distant system was the place where the cleansing actions could begin, begging what was left of the Psionic Realm that this was the day where they could finally rejoin the thoughts of all the Universe.
Shonnerin already knew this was the location where the Contamination was launched. She recognized the thickening of dark emotion.

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Kent_A_Jones
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Hi Steve,
Interesting idea that emotion and thought can be quantified and judged, accepted or banished.

'spectrums'
There is only one electromagnetic spectrum that I am aware of.

'the day where'
Day is a time. Where is a place. I think this should probably be 'when.'

'sentient beings'
I believe this is implied by the fact that they are investigation team members on a police ship.

'all the Universe.'
The universe is fairly um... "universal" already. 'All' might be safely omitted.

'Contamination'
Cool reinforcement of the idea above.

The second paragraph is a big run-on sentence that I believe should be broken up for greater clarity. 'Huddled gathering' gives me a great feeling of alien-ness. The middle clause, 'each turning...array,' plods for me. I don't see clearly whether they are looking at/listening to monitors, or if this is descriptive of an array mounted on the front of the ship. In either case, I believe descriptions of the various aliens and their sensory expertise can be safely moved into the body of the story.

I think this paragraph is indicative of Shonnerin overseeing the operation of her bridge. She sees them concentrate on their monitors and it may be a chance for her characterization. I think this paragraph should begin to mold her in my mind.

'Hoping to learn' is in opposition to the next paragraph's 'already knew.' If Shonnerin is the POV throughout, then the investigation team would have been tasked with 'confirming' the location as the right one. This is also true if she senses that they are in the right place only upon arrival; after all, they chose the destination for a reason. Also, 'hoping' and later, 'begging' are not words I associate with an empirical investigation. If the investigation team truly does experience these emotions and Shonnerin is sensing them, then I think there should be a clearer delineation between her and them (i.e. Is she there to focus their emotional minds on the task?) On the other hand, if Shonnerin is feeling this desperation, I believe it should be more clearly felt by her.

I need some conflict since this fragment doesn't include what might be preventing the action of cleansing the Contamination.

Thank you for the read. Good luck.
Kent

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Denevius
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I'm not sure which one of you are right with the spectrum of light. I actually thought there was a full range of them, most of which are invisible to the human eye. This is what wikipedia says:

quote:
Full-spectrum light is light that covers the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to near-ultraviolet, or all wavelengths that are useful to plant or animal life; in particular, sunlight is considered full spectrum, even though the solar spectral distribution reaching Earth changes with time of day, latitude, and atmospheric conditions.
Maybe you shouldn't have an 's' on 'spectrums', and that clears the problem up?

quote:
The mix of sentient beings that served as her investigation team looked up from their huddled gathering, each turning their dominant sensory receptors to the images and sonic bursts coming from the command center's forward information array, hoping to learn that this far distant system was the place where the cleansing actions could begin, begging what was left of the Psionic Realm that this was the day where they could finally rejoin the thoughts of all the Universe.
I was turned off by this sentence at first, too. But if this is an attempt to capture an alien voice by implying that it experiences a wide range of thoughts simultaneously, then you might be able to make it work.

Of course, the brevity of these next two lines would create an inconsistent voice:

quote:
Shonnerin already knew this was the location where the Contamination was launched. She recognized the thickening of dark emotion.
Overall, though, I found this setup intriguing. I got the feeling that there's a pretty good idea here.
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extrinsic
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For backstory, this opening packs much information into a brief summary and lecture--tell. That for me is both working and not working.

This opening seems to me to try for Shonnerin's viewpoint in the immediate moment, though it feels to me narrator viewpoint, in detached third-person narration to a degree and to a degree Shonnerin's vaguely signaled introspection. In general, I think the viewpoint is unsettled between narrator and Shonnerin.

If Shonnerin's viewpoint is foremost and narrator viewpoint estranged is the intent, I think more, clearer, and stronger reality imitation--show--is indicated.

For example, the first sentence to me is intended to mean the police ship just this moment arrived at the alien sun: "In a blink". That seems to me the point of the clause. That to me is a dangling participle. Though the participle clause is meant to modify the main clause's sentence subject, "Shonnerin's police ship," the relationship between the participle clause and the actual subject, though in sentence object position of the main clause, the light, is separated and confused.

A blink of what, too? An eye? Does Shonnerin actually blink an eye? Which is the noun and verb meanings of blink by itself. Eyeblink is the standard idiom meaning in an instant.

Starting an opening with a preposition, "In", doesn't work much for me either. I think recasting the opening clause would be stronger and clearer. For illustration, //An eyeblink later,//

Also, the sentence's second clause is passive voice. "Shonnerin's police ship was bathed in . . ." Note "was bathed in", to be auxilliary verb "was" and preposition "in" and actual subject (doer) of the verb "bathed", the light is in sentence object position. Those features signal passive voice.

Passive voice's strengths are promoting a predicate object into sentence subject prominence or signaling a person or subject is unknown or unimportant. The proper subject of the clause is "all the spectrums of light from this alien sun." By proper I mean actual, not per se a grammar fault. Passive voice is generally considered useful at times, but otherwise vigorless, confusing, and vague. Active voice is usually stronger, clearer, and more straightfoward than passive voice.

As an editor and screening reader, a short story, narrative of any kind opening with a passive voice sentence with a limited or not accessible rhetorical purpose, I'm done reading and putting the rejection notice on it.

Active voice would rearrange the main clause so: //All the spectrums of light from this alien sun bathed Shonnerin's police ship.//

"spectrums of light" is also confused. The phrase is an attributive noun, not a possessive noun, which the function word "of" signals. //light spectrums//

Put together, for illustration, //An eyeblink later, all light spectrums from this alien sun bathed Shonnerin's police ship.//

That clarifies, strongly, in active voice, and in visual sensory description--reality imitation--Shonnerin's immediate viewpoint moment. And still introduces Shonnerin as the scene's viewpoint character and this as her thought reaction to arrival at the alien sun.

[ April 11, 2014, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Steve 46th
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Thanx Kent, Denevius, and extrinsic for your feedback. I'm busy attending to 'real' world issues for the past eight days, and haven't had an adequate opportunity to digest your observations, but I'm pausing just long enough to let you know your efforts are greatly appreciated.

S!

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aspirit
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Hi, Steve! Here are my first thoughts.

"In a blink, Shonnerin's police ship was bathed in all the spectrums of light from this alien yellow sun."

This confused me. I'm not sure what to picture. The ship is clearly visible instead of in a dark spot? Then what does it look like (if it matters)?

"The mix of sentient beings that served as her investigation team looked up from their huddled gathering, each turning their dominant sensory receptors to the images and sonic bursts coming from the command center's forward information array, hoping to learn that this far distant system was the place where the cleansing actions could begin, begging what was left of the Psionic Realm that this was the day where they could finally rejoin the thoughts of all the Universe."

This is an overly long sentence for only being the second in the story. At least, it feels like it, stuck between two considerably shorter sentences and full of scene-setting info. I stopped caring about the team, their actions, and their motivation by the third clause.

"Shonnerin already knew this was the location where the Contamination was launched. She recognized the thickening of dark emotion."

So, the team is going to clean up a cognitive mess? That's interesting. It brings up guiding questions: Is the crew psychic, or do they use advanced knowledge and technology to manipulate the Psionic Realm? What is that Realm? What is the Contamination and how is it cleaned up? Those are questions I'd like to know the answers to.

You have a hook, and it looks like you might have a unique science fiction premise that could carry a story.

These lines could be stronger, though. I wonder, Why don't we get to see the first line from the POV of Shonnerin? She could look (can she look?) past or through the crew's huddle to the alien sun on-screen - or something - to elicit more interest in the first several words.

[ April 22, 2014, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: aspirit ]

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Steve 46th
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Thanx also to you, Ann, for your thoughts.

I have begun reviewing everyone's crits, and am about ready to get to the task of finishing the entire story. Current projections put it at 3.5K words.

S!

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