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Hero Factory: The Biosteel Chronicles Review Topic.

Hero Factory Biosteel Review Epic

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#1 Offline King Joe

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Posted Dec 29 2011 - 04:36 PM

This is where you can review my epic, Hero Factory: The Biosteel Chronicles. It can be found here.So, to kick things off, a wee bit of trivia. This story is the first Lego based one I have ever written. Thus, it's not too great. This story was also based completely off of MOC characters, including one character that was borrowed from another user on another site.But I digress. My first chapter is up, go to it.
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#2 Offline Cederak

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Posted Dec 29 2011 - 11:23 PM

Beyond the set reviews I glance at here on BZPower, Hero Factory is an entirely foreign breed to me. That said, I don't have any connection to canon characters within the story, as compared to the characters you're making up. From what I've gathered, the premise revolves around a villainous entity trying to steal technology from the protagonists: the Hero Factory. Of course, like most villains, that's probably only part of a much larger plan to annihilate his enemies. The classic battle between good and evil goes a long way when done right, and I'd like to help you get there. That said, I want to let you know that MS Word or a similar program is an invaluable tool in editing your work and preventing certain mistakes. I noticed a few below, and added some suggestions and tips for improvement.Space out your dialogue. Something more like this:

"Nothing came up on the radar. We got played.""I should have known!"The two strong, but not so smart robots were intently staring at the radar on their ship, looking for further directions on where to drop off the contraband they were carrying.

"Now we're stuck here with illegal neuclear waste!

Spelled "nuclear."

Suddenly, a dark, twisted voice buzzed over on their raido.

Spelled "radio."

Now, go 13 parsecs toward the Nekron sector."

Numbers below 100 should be spelled out.

The pair manuvered their freighter into the requested area as fast as possible.

Spelled "maneuvered."

Now, jetteson the payload from your ship

Spelled "jettison."

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

This might work better if you describe the laughter rather than writing it out.

Now I gotta send out a science crew to check it out.

"Gotta" really isn't correct. "Have to" would work much better. Could probably do without the first "out" too.Following the destruction of your nameless villains, the setting changes, and changes again after the brief scene from Sam. Identifying the change in setting is commonly done through the use of symbols of some kind, like ***. The symbol choice is entirely up to you, its just a customary thing.Getting back to your story, the title is "The Biosteel Chronicles." I assume this is an alloy that both factions will be fighting to wield (or will simply wield) throughout the epic. Your attention to detail is a tad lacking, however. Despite the early demise of the villains, they could use some description, even if you choose not to name them. What do they/their craft look like, or their surroundings outside the ship? This same treatment could be applied to Sam's scene, and the final scene with the main antagonist. Sensory details (sight, sound, etc.) and description allow you to rebuild the scenes in your head into the mind of your audience - thus achieving greater immersion.I said this next part in another brief review the other day, but when it comes to dialogue, always read it back to yourself. You want it to sound genuine. Not genuine to the point that "gonna," "gotta," "ain't," etc. slip into dialogue, but so the characters are believable.This ties back to detail. Writing is a give and take process. You get back everything you put into it. If you put time and effort into detail, realistic dialogue, and watching you spelling and grammar, your epic will take on a new sense of life. It's all about immersing your readers into the world you've conjured. I never underplay the passion it takes to begin writing a story in the first place, and having read that this is your first story here, it is my hope that you grow as a writer from "The Biosteel Chronicles." Best of luck, King Joe, you're off to an adequate start.-Ced

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#3 Offline King Joe

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Posted Dec 29 2011 - 11:33 PM

Thanks! This was something I wrote a while back on another site, and I thought I'd try my luck here. Future chapters, all though still copied from that site, will go through MS Word. I will also try to give a wee bit more of backstory for my characters. This was originally written on a wiki, so the story would be filled with links to my custom articles for the characters.
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#4 Offline King Joe

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Posted Jan 03 2012 - 04:30 PM

Okay, Chapter 2 is up! I will be editing this a bit more, to make it better and to fix flaws that I noticed thanks to the spectacular user above me.
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#5 Offline King Joe

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Posted Jan 09 2012 - 09:15 PM

Chapter three is up.
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#6 Offline Aderia

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Posted Oct 20 2012 - 12:32 PM

ECC Charity ReviewI'd like to say, just so you have a better idea of where I'm coming from, that I am not a fan of Hero Factory, and I don't plan to become one anytime in the future. That being said, I tried to cut you some slack when critiquing certain elements of your story. However, the bits of your story that I did feel qualified to critique, I tried to be especially thorough with.Now that that's out of the way, we'll start with the technical nitpicks first. I realize that some of these things may have been covered in your previous review. But for the sake of reiteration, I won't be editing out what information may have made it into both reviews.From Chapter 1:

SynopsisThe tale of an elite team of heroes, led by Samuel Swamper, and created out of an organic material that acts much like different types of metals known as Biosteel, and their quest to keep the secret of its source safe from the villian Rogue and his cronies, who live in the scrapyard on the other side of the planet that Biosteel is harvested from.This story is based completely on MOC characters. These will be posted and linked to.

I personally think that the synopsis belongs in the review topic. Also, 'villian' to 'villain'

The two strong, but not so smart robots were intently staring at the radar on their ship, looking for further directions on where to drop off the contraband they were carrying.

Okay. So these two robots are thugs. Henchmen. Expendable, and, true to the stereotype, stupid. But instead of telling us outright that they're 'not so smart', show us. It makes for a better story.

"Now we're stuck here with illegal neuclear waste! What will we do? He said we'd get more instructions when we reached the coordinates."[...]Suddenly, a dark, twisted voice buzzed over on their raido. "I did say that, and I always keep my word. Not that you two would think of it, but I had to make sure that the Factory didn't follow you. Now, go 13 parsecs toward the Nekron sector."

'neuclear' to 'nuclear''raido' to 'radio'And now is as good a time as any to point out one of the big things that really bothered me about the layout of your story. The lines of dialogue, and their lack of spacing. Each time a different character speaks, it really does miracles for the appearance of the story if you start a new paragraph for each new line of dialogue.For example:

"Nothing came up on the radar. We got played." "I should have known!" The two strong, but not so smart robots were intently staring at the radar on their ship, looking for further directions on where to drop off the contraband they were carrying. "Now we're stuck here with illegal neuclear waste! What will we do? He said we'd get more instructions when we reached the coordinates." Suddenly, a dark, twisted voice buzzed over on their raido. "I did say that, and I always keep my word. Not that you two would think of it, but I had to make sure that the Factory didn't follow you. Now, go 13 parsecs toward the Nekron sector." The robots were dumbfounded. "

Should look something like:"Nothing came up on the radar. We got played.""I should have known!" The two strong, but not so smart robots were intently staring at the radar on their ship, looking for further directions on where to drop off the contraband they were carrying."Now we're stuck here with illegal nuclear waste! What will we do? He said we'd get more instructions when we reached the coordinates." Suddenly, a dark, twisted voice buzzed over on their radio. "I did say that, and I always keep my word. Not that you two would think of it, but I had to make sure that the Factory didn't follow you. Now, go 13 parsecs toward the Nekron sector." The robots were dumbfounded." See the difference? It really helps the reader avoid confusion when they're trying to figure out which character is speaking.

The pair manuvered their freighter into the requested area as fast as possible.[...]"Now, jetteson the payload from your ship, and it must land exactly where I specify."

'manuvered' to 'maneuvered''jetteson' to 'jettison'Another thing I suggest that you watch is characterization. Your villian, the 'dark, twisted voice' buzzing over the radio, in particular. You said yourself, he is dark and twisted. Dark twisted things buzzing, even if it is over the radio, is unprofessional sounding. Also, this evil entity's speech. I can't get a grip on his character. One moment, he is commanding and in charge, giving the two henchmen specific directions on where to go adn what to do. The next, he's spitting out unprofessional lines like "I need that stuff." It kind of ruins the picture you're trying to set up for him. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. What really sank the ship was this line.

"Thank you. See you again-when I die! HAHAHAHAHAHA!" With that, the smuggling ship exploded.

This is completely and 100% atrocious. Please, for the love of your country, do not do that again. Maniacal laughter, I get it. But typed obnoxiously in all caps and the fact that it's supposed to pass as dialogue? It makes not only the villain look unprofessional and undignified, but you as an author as well.

Samuel Swamper pulled out a pair of Electro-Binoculars. He followed the path of a strange comet. ''It's probably nothing more than a piece of shrapnel from the explosion earlier,'' he thought.'' Well, I better keep watching to make sure it lands on the other side of the planet.'' The comet arced down, and landed right in a lagoon full of the raw materials of Biosteel. ''Great.'' Swamper thought. ''Now I gotta send out a science crew to check it out. That'll take all day.''

Okay, first off, thoughts should be in italics instead of quotations. Because quotation marks are just that. For quotations. Its confusing to the reader. On a more important note, this whole paragraph seemed really out of place. You went from randomly exploding ships to a Hero with a fancy pair of binoculars? What? You owe your readers a bit of context here. Or at the very least, a break between paragraphs/scenes denoted by "***" or something of the like. The first example in the library that I found of this is found in the story Lick the Skyby Kakaru.

His master had a commanding tone in his voice, but Corrupter still hadn't learned that he couldn't talk back to him.[...]Corrupter slinked away as fast as he could. He didn't want to risk angering his master further.

These two quotes in the last paragraph contradict each other. From Chapter 2:

*Crash*

This is not comedies. Putting sound effects in asterisks here just looks bad. Italics are all that are necessary.

Zakk easily parried the huge creature's blade. Large, red, and spiky, with green tentacles coming off of it, the monster was truly a menacing sight. Back-flipping away, the blue and orange hero landed in the brown dust a few feet away and aimed his sword point carefully but quickly.

You might wanna work on that 'menacing' description. Red, green, spiky, tentacles, I'm picturing a mutant Christmas tree. And while we're at it, wow. Five colors in two sentences. That's gotta be some kind of record. Next time, though, do your readers and their imaginations a favor and step outside the generic color names. I found these descriptions, moreso than the rest, boring and flat. For the colors, I suggest finding a box of crayons, preferably Crayola, and drawing inspiration from there.

*ZZZZZZAKKKKKKK*! Lightning streaked from it's blade, striking the creature. It fell on it's knees, but was already rising. Zakk fired again.*ZZZZZZZZZAKKK*!

Is this Pokémon? Because the sound effects that have a suspicous and utter resemblance to the characters name make me think it may be. And I do not approve. "Zakk used Thunderbolt! It's supereffective!" I'm sure that's not what you want your readers to take away from this patchy fighting scene.

"ZAKK! Listen to me when I talk to you!"[...]"Yeah, for the 50th time." Swamper retorted, then switched off the training sphere.

When you figure out how to speak aloud in all caps, please tell me. I'm interested to see how that works. '50th' to 'fiftieth'

"Actually, I've beaten him fifty-eight times. I was going for sixty."

This line seriously has me questioning how good of a fighter Zakk is. If you defeat the monster once, you've defeated it a thousand times. Proving that 58 times over doesn't help Zakk improve/prove anything.

Zakk was different from Swamper. While Swamper had been created without a hitch, a lightning bolt had struck the Assembly Tower while Zakk was being constructed. Somehow, this gave the Biosteel electrical properties, and Zakk soon found that he could control it. It seemed to affect his personality too.

Well isn't that just peachey. Not to mention, how is that even possible?

"Nothing ever happens here!" Zakk intoned in a depressed voice.[...]The burnt canister laid right in the center of a secluded glade of trees, an area used to grow Biosteel.

Last time I checked, depressed intonations aren't punctuated with exclamation points. It just seems contradictory. 'laid' to 'lay'

"I have no idea. But," Sam here had a worried tone as he looked at the various screens, his green Biosteel skin illuminated by the light, "One of the team just went missing. It’s weird. His signal's still there for some reason." A red light still blinking confirmed that the robot's signal was indeed still strong.[...]But the screen showed the final member of the team looking around worriedly, his companions nowhere to be seen.

Really? The guys' teammates are disappearing like some R-Rated horror movie, or at least that's what I feel like you're trying to set up, and the most profound thing they feel is -worry-? Dig a little deeper, you can do it.

"I-I--I'm coming back guys. I don't know what happened, but I thought I saw something grab Fra--AAAAGAGHHHH!!!" And with that, the screen went blank. The visual link was lost.

I really hope you don't go making a habit out of ending chapters with obnoxious capital letter abuse in your dialogues. It looks horrible, to be frank. Not to mention this whole scene, I wasn't really feeling the suspenseful mood. But more on that later. From Chapter 3:

Swamper sighed. Another one of these stories.

Fragment (consider revising), says Microsoft Word. In other words, make it a complete sentence.

Suddenly, without warning, a strange creature jumped at the two heroes. It was followed by two more of the same kind, at least, they looked sorta alike. [...]Scratch that, this was the seventeenth time Corrupter had to explain it to him.

You are an author. Your job is to lead your readers through your story with confidence and make their experience worthwhile. That bolded part of the sentence, it just doesn't click. And for the second bit in the quote block. Be realistic. Repeating something 17 times is just insulting and unnecessary. And the following bit where Doomsaw asks what the plan is yet again is just not realistic, I suggest heavy revision. Okay, nitpicks are out of the way. I touched on a lot of things about the actual story as well. But one thing that I saved for this section, it was a big one.

The two smugglers did as they were asked. "Thank you. See you again-when I die! HAHAHAHAHAHA!" With that, the smuggling ship exploded.[...]Bolt's fists crackled with energy and he beat and slashed at them. Swamper's Particle Gun was almost overheating he was firing it so much. Then, just as suddenly as they came, they exploded.

The first excerpt is taken from your first chapter. The second is from the last chapter. See what they have in common? Unprecedented explosions. Now, as a sucker for superhero movies and the like, I won't say that I'm against explosions and all that jazz. But, seriously, they have to have some context behind them. The way you described your explosions, or didn't describe them actually, made everthing seem like a joke. Like a comedy story, if you will. Random things blowing up followed by insane laughter is something I just can't take seriously. I'm not sure if that's what you were going for, but either way, I found both instances unlikable. Another big thing I want to mention is description. This also ties in with the section above. Description, details, explanations, backstory, in a sense they are one and the same. So, to use the same example, let me try to explain what I think.

The two smugglers did as they were asked. "Thank you. See you again-when I die! HAHAHAHAHAHA!" With that, the smuggling ship exploded.

First off. Your story is short. Not in the sense that there are only three chapters posted, but in the sense that all your scenes are compacted into brief, straightforward sections. While brevity and clarity are not bad things, there is also something to be said for the fleshing out of a story. Show the reader how things in the story play out, as opposed to simply telling them. People say that a writer's job is to tell a story. But a writer's job is to -show- a story. Think of it this way. If you heroically stopped a bank robbery and saved the lives of local civilians, would you rather hand the news article about it to a beautiful girl you're trying to impress? Or would you rather tell the tale yourself, with flourishing exaggerations and shameless showing off? In that same way, you should want to show off your writing capabilities. Make your story feel like a -story-, not a news article. So you told us that 'the two smugglers did as they were asked.' How did they do that? Did they have qualms about their course of action? On the way to their destination, did they have any conversation? Then you have the ship exploding. Now, I've already mentioned how distasteful I found that part. But maybe with a bit of expansion, you could change my mind. Did the two thugs have a handful of seconds to register the beeping of a bomb before they were blown to oblivion? How did they feel, what were they thinking, in their last moments? Who owned the smuggling ship? Did the two stupid thugs really own their own ship? I doubt it. So who did? And what would their reaction be when they learn their ship had been lost? Do you get the gist of what I'm trying to say? Show, don't just tell. And this brings me to my last point. Dialogue.

"I think I know what might have grabbed the science team we sent out"Bolt and Swamper were checking out the site of the unfortunate incident that had happened earlier. Bolt was getting his harebrained theories geared up. Some of them actually turned out right, so Swamper had learned to at least hear Bolt out."What, Bolt?""Remember that story about the Krokanus? That huge swamp monster with enormous tentacles that killed a whole hero team?"Swamper sighed. Another one of these stories. "You know that's a myth. An urban legend. Like Bigfoot. Or the Abominable Snow-bot. Remember what we said about urban legends and myths?""Yeah, but I got to talk to the hero that actually survived the encounter.”“You know he was just telling a tall tale.”“ He convinced me it actually happened."Anyone could convince you of anything, thought Swamper. Just then, a flock of Goki Birds erupted from the foliage and took off."I wonder what scared them." Said Bolt.

"I think I know what might have grabbbed the science team we sent out ."Bolt and Swamper were checking out the site of the unfortunate incident that had happened earlier. Bolt was getting his harebrained theories geared up. Some of them actually turned out right, so Swamper had learned to at least hear Bolt out."Remember that story about the Krokanus, that huge swamp monster with enormous tentacles that killed the whole team?"Swamper sighed. Another one of these stories, he thought. "You know that's a myth, an urban legend, like Bigfoot or the Abominable Snow-bot. Remember what we said about urban legends and myths?""Yeah, but I got to talk to the hero that who actually survived the encounter," Bolt said. "You know he was just telling a tall tale," Swamper told him. "He convinced me it really happened," Bolt replied. Anyone could convince you of anything, thought Swamper. Just then, Suddenly, a flock of Goki Birds erupted from the foliage and took off. "I wonder what scared them," said Bolt.Okay, so up above, I gave you a slightly edited verision of that dialogue. Watch the punctuation and mechanics you use when writing out your dialog.

"I concur," she said.

"I concur." She spoke fiercely and then ran away.

"I concur," she said, running away.

Before running away, she said, "I concur."

Before running away, she spoke a final time. "I concur."

That quote is actually from a review that I received, and I found it exponentially helpful. I hope you make good use of it.I also noticed that you didn't tag your lines of dialog with who spoke which line clearly. There was no major confusion as to which character was saying what in the example from earlier, but in the future, I suggest avoiding any possiblity of confusion by adding that 'he said' into the dialogue. And don't take that completely literally, use a word other than 'said'. If you ask Google, it can give you a list of over 550 synonyms for 'said, which I also hope you make good use of.And about the actual word in the dialogue. To write the speech of a character, first you have to have a clear idea in your mind of what those characters are like. Who are these characters? How would they interact with each other realistically? To make the dialog read naturally, there's no shame in reading it aloud to yourself once or twice. It helps to pick out repetitive pharases, awkward wording, etc. etc.Anyways, that about wraps things up. Something I do need to applaud you on, though. In your first Author's Note, you say this is pretty much your first story, and you went through with posting it. Also, when you received feedback in your other review, I can see that you took the advice to heart. In particular, it was mentioned to space out your paragraphs, and so in the later chapters you did. Good job there.Until next time.

Edited by Eponine, Nov 10 2012 - 03:35 PM.

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