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If A Universe Ends


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#1 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Nov 18 2011 - 11:58 PM

If a Universe Ends

What would happen if everything just… ended? Macku was taken aback. She had been gazing into the endless sands of Po-Wahi at sunset, the purple and pink hue was painted across the sky. It was quiet with a slight breeze whispering in her ear as she sat on a stone fence just outside of the village. She looked to her left at her companion. "What do you mean?" The ga-matoran asked softly, a puzzled expression danced across her face. "I mean… There have been so many attacks lately. Our villages are really struggling, and with you coming here from Ga-Koro-" Macku cut her companion off. "Hewkii, I'm fine. I've traveled here a thousand times before and it will sure take a lot to stop me from making the next thousand trips." She spoke proudly. Hewkii couldn't help but grin at her confidence. It was nice to hear stability in a time of such uncertainty. Even the Turaga seemed on-edge with the recent waves of rahi attacks. But his happy expression would not last. "… I know…" he muttered, "but suppose something happens. What if the rahi are too powerful? What if The Makuta wins? What if-" Hewkii stopped himself. Macku almost seemed afraid from such talk. He decided to change the topic to his kohli practice. Before long the sun had set and Macku had to return to her home in Ga-Koro. On her way home, she could still hear his unspoken words in her head. What if their universe came to an end? After the sun had risen the following day, the villagers would find that six toa had appeared and the island of Mata Nui would never be the same. Macku looked back on this memory with a small, silent chuckle. She thought back to her home; the blue waves playfully rolling over the white sand beach, the chimes of birds in the nearby forest, the fish and wildlife that filled the vast, vast sea… It all made her heart break. Hewkii had grown far stronger since then. He'd gained more confidence and had even aided the toa at the Kini-nui. Macku had been happy for him… her best friend on the island. It was very late at night. Macku could hardly sleep, try as she might. Eventually, she gave up with a heavy sigh and pulled out a light stone from a bag. Her room was downtrodden. Cracks lined the walls as well as eerie green webs. Dust was still littering the nooks and crannies and a leak came down from the ceiling. It was her first night in Metru Nui. There was still a lot of work to be done. One day turned into two. Two days turned into a week. The week stepped aside for the next, which in turn slowly moved to make room for the week after that. As time moved forward, Macku slowly started to sleep more and more each night it seemed. There was still a lot of work to be done, but Macku was sure that the matoran would be able to restore the city to what it once was. After all, this had been her home once, even if everything was alien to her now. And besides, her friends were still here, in Metru Nui. The next day, it ended. Hahli wasn't found in her home. A small group of matoran set out to search for her. Eventually Turaga Nokama was notified. As it turned out, six matoran and Toa Takanuva had gone missing. The matoran gone were Jaller, Hahli, Nuparu, Matoro, Kongu… and Hewkii. He'd left without saying goodbye. Macku couldn't sleep that night. Tossing and turning in her bed, she finally gave up quietly. She took out a light stone from her bag and the room lit to show a cleaner room. There were still cracks on the walls and a few specks of dust in the corners, but Macku didn't pay her hard work much mind. Instead she found herself walking, and then running silently out of Ga-Metru. She didn't have a boat, but she still continued forward, faster and faster. She didn't know how much time had passed. All she could think was just to keep moving… keep moving away from Ga-Metru. Eventually she stopped. She was at Po-Metru. It was true; nothing had stopped Macku from making this trip. Thinking back to those times, when her friend was right next to her… To think those days could be over. To think those days were over… she couldn't take it. She collapsed on her knees, her arms holding her torso up. Macku began to shake, tears streaming from her eyes. She wished… she just wished that he could still be here… Her friend… If a universe ends, what is left? A hand rested on her shoulder. A jolt in her heart-light, she turned around to see a familiar lime green Rau. "Macku? Are you alright?" Tamaru, an old friend, appeared. His vertigo had proven to be too much of a hassle in Le-Metru, so he had been sent around the city doing various tasks on the ground. He tried to give a small smile to cheer her up. Macku wiped the area around her eyes and picked herself up. "I… I'll be alright… I'll be… alright." She said slowly as she regained her composure. Tamaru looked at her, his eyes concerned. After what seemed a long while, he gave Macku a small, understanding nod. He took a look around the city; the towers of Po-Metru reminded him of trees in the Le-Koro jungle. "Come on, the sun is rising. We'd better get to work." He said calmly. Macku gave a smile to her friend and nodded.

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#2 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Nov 19 2011 - 12:17 AM

Sad, but sweet. Macku's emotions are well-developed and rational, and I felt her pain. It needs an epilogue, though; I want to see her get a bit of hope back. ;)
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#3 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Nov 19 2011 - 08:27 AM

I'd say later in the story when the Chronicler's Company reunites and finds Tuyet would help with that. Also, that's why I chose sunrise and sunset as themes here. The sunrise is supposed to be a dawn of a new day, that life keeps moving forward and that there is hope. I know it doesn't seem like a lot and it isn't really a happy ending, but I wanted to leave that a bit open. I guess I just like bittersweet endings best. ^^;I'm glad you could relate! That's how I wanted readers to react, on a basic level at least. Thanks a lot for commenting! ^^
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#4 Offline Thunder on the Mountain

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Posted Nov 19 2011 - 07:46 PM

Man, I really liked this one. Generally as a rule I prefer stories that fit into the canon focusing on canon characters, they're what I usually focus on. It's nice to see another one of these for the contest, and the writing itself was really good. It doesn't slam you with a wall of sadness, but it is very relateable and emotional, which is a good thing. Plus the Chroniclers Company is like, the greatest, so seeing any members involved is always good. :P
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#5 Offline Zarohum

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Posted Nov 19 2011 - 11:21 PM

You totally deserve to win. :P Everyone else seemed to cover it, so I'm not gonna repeat the same things they did. I'm tired and grumpy :P
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#6 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Nov 20 2011 - 11:50 AM

@Bite My Shiny Metal Armour: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. ^^ Normally I don't like using canon characters. I normally like to take concepts that could be expanded on that the canon story really doesn't utilize for stories (in and outside of Bionicle). I noticed there was never really much character development of the matoran leaving their home on Mata Nui in order to go to Metru Nui, so I've had this idea for a while. The contest was just the right catalyst to finally get around to writing it. Originally I had planned on incorporating Nixie and a scene where Macku catches Hewkii before he left. Of course, when I started writing this one for the contest, those two snippets moved to the wayside (in order to fit with the rest of the story). I'm glad you think this was relateable, as that was my goal for my readers. ^^And yes, I love the Chronicler's Company as well. =D@Zarohum: Thanks so much! I'm really glad you liked the story (even if you are tired and grumpy XD). ^^Thanks to everyone who commented! Really, getting feedback of any kind always makes my day. ^^
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#7 Offline Fighty

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Posted Nov 23 2011 - 11:43 AM

Rookie SSCC member TheMightyFighty here to deliver your official, BZP-funded (loljk) critique.As is my penchant, I shall begin with the problems.

She had been gazing into the endless sands of Po-Wahi at sunset, the purple and pink hue was painted across the sky.

First off, this is a grammar error. You have two independent clauses here that are linked together without so much as a conjunction or a semicolon. It does not hinder the meaning of the sentence very much at all, but it's enough to peeve grammar nazis such as myself. In fact, it was almost trivial enough for me to ignore it, but then it popped up again in this sentence:

"What do you mean?" The ga-matoran asked softly, a puzzled expression danced across her face.

I can see what you were trying to do here, but you should have said dancing across her face. That would have made the second clause dependent on the first. As it is, they are both independent, and they are not linked together in any way shape or form. Once again, the meaning is not marred in any way, but it's a bit jarring for grammar aficionados like me.

On her way home, she could still hear his unspoken words in her head.

This really befuddled me. If his words were unspoken, how could she hear them in her head? Does Hewkii have some telepathic abilities that we're unaware of?

Macku almost seemed afraid from such talk.

Now, this sentence is pretty well-structured, aside from the preposition. Instead of 'from,' it should really be 'of.' Or you could say 'Macku seemed frightened by such talk.' But 'from' isn't really an appropriate preposition to use in that situation. Once again, though, this is an error that would only peeve grammar fanatics.

She took out a light stone from her bag and the room lit to show a cleaner room.

"The room lit"? I think you meant you meant to say that the 'lightstone lit up to reveal a cleaner room' or 'the room was lit up by the lightstone.' What you have is basically the equivalent of saying 'the carpet cleaned,' instead of saying 'the carpet was cleaned.' It's a little confusing to read.Beyond just the grammar errors, I was also a little underwhelmed by the main romance. I realize that this is a short story, so you don't have the time to develop characters like you could in a novella or an epic. But nevertheless, I never bought into the story emotionally because the characters never drew me in. Macku's emotional roller-coaster ride left me unperturbed because I really wasn't invested in her or Hewkii as characters. I never really got time to know them, and thus, the emotional part of the story fell flat for me.I was also a little miffed by the ending. I kind of see what you were going for: Macku is emotionally traumatized, but by the story's conclusion she gets a stiff upper lip and decides to plow onward for the sake of her people. It's a solid idea for a story's conclusion. My only problem is that it happens way too fast. We get a few paragraphs detailing Macku's emotional breakdown, then another couple where is basically like 'meh, ok, my boyfriend just left, probably forever, but I'm just gonna keep on rebuilding Ga-Metru and everything's going to be fine and dandy.' Then the story ends. I felt a bit like I was reading an outline of what happened, rather than a detailed account of what happened. It was too rushed to be believable.You have the makings of a great story here, but it just needs a little more life. Give us characters that we can invest and believe in, give us good plot and character development, and give us a satisfying conclusion.Now, for the parts I liked:No spelling errors! Not a single one!That's something to be proud of for sure. You also have a good way of describing things - I was always able to get a solid picture in my mind of what you were saying, which is a great way to immerse readers in your story. You also handled dialogue well. I did complain about the characters being flat, but that was not because of their dialogue. It was well-written and believable. Now if only there had been more of it to substantiate those characters.Now, for pros and cons.Cons:
    [*]A couple confusing sentences.[*]Lack of character development.[*]Rushed plot.[/list]Pros:
      [*]Good descriptions.[*]Solid dialogue.[*]Good story concept - just missed a little in execution.[/list]This could've been a great story, but as it stands, it's simply a Good one. Don't allow my review to get you down, though; you show tons of promise as a writer. Just keep on practicing and I'm sure you'll improve.

      ExemplaryGreatGoodPoorAwful

      Also, just so you know, I'm judging this on the level of actual stories. Like, The Old Man and the Sea and House of Mirth. On BZP story levels, this is superb.
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#8 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Nov 23 2011 - 12:30 PM

@TheMightyFighty: Thank you so much for this review! ^^I know, there are tons, and I mean tons of grammatical issues in this... I had been focusing on a few others as it is, but you actually brought even more nit-picky details to my attention, and that's a good thing. =DNow, I will disagree with you on a few things. For example, my character choice. I chose Hewkii and Macku because we already know these characters. They have already appeared in the canon story, and so I felt too much development would be preachy and annoying (in other words, I felt less was more with this. I could be wrong, but I didn't want to read a really in-depth soul-searching internal monologue of Macku to profess her love for Hewkii. =/ If I don't want to read it, I won't put my readers through it. ^^'). Now, if I had used my own original characters, I would have likely done more development (only, it would be more challenging to do in a short story than, say, an epic). Not to say I don't totally disagree with you. I did shy away from too much development (intentionally), and maybe that was a fault with this.Now, what I was getting at with the sentence "his unspoken words," that was a bit of my style more than anything else. I wanted this to be a romantic story-not as in lovey-dovey type of story, but more in the field of romanticism. The point was, Hewkii was building up to a grand scene, but decided to stop his train of thinking after he saw Macku get the willies. In other words, Macku was following his train of thought and came to her own conclusion. That was the first time Macku really considered the possibility of "What if they lost the fight?" and "What if things changed for the worse?"And as for the ending (I expected a ton of hate from the way I ended it, as a lot of people don't like these types of endings), I think you missed the point a bit. Read it carefully. Tamaru asks Macku if she is alright. What was the wording of her answer? "I... I'll be alright..." as in, she is currently still troubled and she will most likely deal with her strife in the near future. However, eventually, she believes she will recover... eventually. If she was fine and dandy with the fact that Hewkii had left right away, then she would have said "I... I'm alright." I don't think the reason she smiles at the end is because she's made her peace with the entire situation. I like to think it's because, as you mentioned, she's putting on a stiff upper lip (for her friend). She's holding back her emotions; she's not through with them yet. (That's more where I was coming from. I understand why the ending is generally annoying, but I didn't want to do a "Macku is depressed, but eventually gets over it" part of the story that actually covered that. I didn't want this to get too personal to Macku; it's a story that is meant to be relateable to anyone dealing with some form of loss, not just a matoran whose boyfriend dropped out unexpectedly and so she is rebuilding a city after they abandoned an island paradise for a very high tech city that is currently in rubble. That's why I wanted less for this story).Also, I'm not discouraged at all by your final score. In fact, I'm proud if anything! I'm fairly new to writing (I started getting into writing with RPGs, and people started liking my characters. Now I'm trying my hand at an epic as well as a few short stories on the side; this one being my first finished short story. Considering my first short story can be considered good compared to real works of literature... That's just amazing in my book. ^^)Thanks again for the review, I really appreciate it! (And sorry if I come across as stubborn... ^^; )

Edited by Tekulo: Toa of Wind, Nov 23 2011 - 12:39 PM.

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#9 Offline Fighty

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Posted Nov 23 2011 - 12:58 PM

Well, thanks for clarifying some confusions I had. I thought maybe you didn't develop the characters specifically because they were canonical and thus already developed, but had I not been a Bionicle fan, I would have raised that objection anyways. I still like to see good character development in stories, even if I already "know" the characters in a way. Heck, after reading two books of the Inheritance cycle, would I have wanted Brisingr to not develop the character of Eragon at all, since I already "knew" him? But of course, I can see where you're coming from and I respect your artistic decisions. They're, of course, not wrong, I just have slightly different tastes.You say that Hewkii was building up to saying those words, and yet didn't. However, your story begins with those words and Macku seems to reply to them, implying that they actually were spoken words. Thus you can see my confusion when you later stated that they were "unspoken."I now understand what you were going for with the ending, and so I can appreciate it more. However, I do feel like the lead-up to the ending was still a little flat. I would have liked to have gone deeper with Macku, to really understand her emotional state. I know you said that you wanted to do less to make the story more relatable, but I feel like you could've made it more relatable by actually getting more specific with Macku. If you'd given more detail to her grief, more personality to her sorrow, I feel like I would've cared more about her and the story would have resonated more. You don't just have to make a light story that impacts people who've felt loss, you can make a deep story and impact people who haven't felt loss because they care so much about your story. In other words, you don't have to write a story that makes someone cry because it reminds them of their dead grandmother, you can write a story that makes someone cry because OH MY GOODNESS HEWKII LEFT MACKU FOREVER SADFACE. That's just my opinion, so take it as you will.Sorry if I came off as condescending - trust me, I do not consider myself to be on the highest stratum of literary excellence. Also, you don't come off as stubborn to me - your story is well-conceived and you have every right to defend your stylistic choices.

Edited by TheMightyFighty, Nov 23 2011 - 01:00 PM.

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#10 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Nov 23 2011 - 01:53 PM

Hehe, yeah. With those words, it's more the style than anything else. I thought it fit for a romantic theme, and romantic themes are generally confusing when you take them literally. ><But, Hewkii was about to go back to his thesis, but Macku followed on her own and came up with a re-worded thesis that was mentioned in the first sentence (if that helps at all). The words are more-so Macku's thoughts, but Hewkii was the one who placed them in her head (again, if that logic helps. XD)And, yes, I do know where you're coming from. But, this is still my first short story (and a short story nonetheless). Before I get to that level of making my readers feel pain, I think the first step is getting some relation to characters and emotion. I think I accomplished that with this, at the very least. ^^And no, you don't come across that way. Your criticism is actually very helpful. ^^
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#11 Offline Aderia

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Posted Nov 26 2011 - 05:40 PM

Okay, you completely 'wow'ed me. I mean, besides the spotless spelling/grammar and all, the story left an impression on me. Its short and sweet...well bittersweet.But what really struck me was the perspective you managed to work into the whole thing. I mean, I'd never given much thought to Macku before this, and within a handful of well thought-out paragraphs and dialogue, you had me wondering how I could have possibly overlooked this poor gal.Really great job here, I hope to see this go far in the contest!
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#12 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Nov 28 2011 - 02:18 PM

@Aderia: Thanks! I wanted this story to be on the short side as I really tend to ramble a lot when talking. Ironically, though, my writing tends to be of a short nature, though I'm not sure why.Macku has always been an all-time favorite character in my book, although I can't really remember why... She just has this je ne sais quoi that makes her interesting. But I'm always fond of matoran characters and the chronicler's company, and I've had this idea for a while. ^^I'm glad you liked it! =D
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#13 Offline Alyska

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Posted Dec 05 2011 - 06:16 AM

That was beautiful. Macku's one of the characters I've been wanting to see more of. It seems like she has many adventures of her own (Getting attacked by Exo-Toa, finding Tuyet, re-uniting the Chronicler's Company), but the story is always focused on someone else.I have to say I agree that the first sentence should be presented as something Hewkii actually said, but other than that, I really liked it.
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#14 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Dec 06 2011 - 11:57 AM

@Alyska: Thanks so much! =D I agree, we should see more of Macku, and frankly, the matoran characters like the Chronicler's Company. Yeah, I made an edited version of this, but, silly me, I submitted the rough draft. XD There's a ton I want to tweak with this, and after the contest I'll finally be able to edit.

Edited by Tekulo: Toa of Wind, Dec 06 2011 - 11:58 AM.

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