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Unsung

A Short Story

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#1 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted May 17 2012 - 02:51 PM

Unsung

"Will you marry me?"I looked down at him upon his knee, my jaw open. He beamed up at me, ardor in his eyes, his heart overflowing and spilling all over the restaurant's sumptuous rug. I smiled, feeling happy tears well up in my eyes, my own heart about to burst and pour out to join his on the floor.But before I could respond, a nearby table rattled as a man threw back his chair and climbed unsteadily to his feet.I was incredulous. "James!" I gasped. "What are you doing here?""I care too much about you to watch you throw your life away on this bum," he hissed. "This fool with his grand, ridiculous dreams, and his head in the clouds. He's nothing but a writer." He spat out the word with a sneer. "An artist. He'll never amount to anything in the world. But I'll be rich, and you know I will. I'll be vice president soon and I won't be there for long. I'm gonna be the next CEO. The job's as good as mine.""It's you who have grand dreams, James. You don't get it. All you care about is money. It's all you've ever cared about it! You wanted to give me a home, security. I don't want that! I don't want you. Clint wants to give me love. He loves me, and cares about me. And I love him, more than I ever loved you, more than anyone in the world!" I turned back to Clint, who had risen besides me. "Clint, I will, I will marry you! I love you, with all my heart!""And I love you, darling, more than life itself!""You're making a mistake!""Stop making a scene, James."He stalked closer, eyes narrowed, his greasy black hair hanging down in shambles over his unshaven face. "Not until I stop you from making the biggest mistake of your life! I'll prove I'm the better man. He doesn't deserve you! You are my woman, and I won't let him take you."Clint stepped between us. "I'll have you know this is my future wife you're talking to. Don't make me do something you'll regret."James glowered. "I'll have you know you're standing between me and my future wife.""I'll never be your wife!" I snorted. "You're insane!"James stepped up to Clint and looked him in the eyes, as best he could from a foot beneath my fiancé's height. "Am I?" His voice dripped with menace.Said Clint, "With your permission, darling, I'll----" He let the sentence hang, merely squared his shoulders.I shook my head. "No. But if he ever speaks to me again, I won't stop you."James jabbed Clint in the chest. "Oh yeah? I'm speaking again now. What's pretty boy going to do about it?"What happened next gave us all a start. A thundering crash from outside shook the building. There were screams, gasps, confused cries from the diners. Then all was drowned out by a deep, dreadful bellow. The booms and screams persisted outside, but inside we stood, dumbfounded. Then one man got up from his chair and rushed outside, a river of people following. Clint and I joined the flow. Nothing could have prepared either of us for what we were about to see.It was a demon. With every step it left a wake of flame and destruction. It tossed cars like softballs, and batted bystanders aside like flies as it ravaged the intersection fifty feet away, its only ostensible motive unbridled malignance.It stood on its hind legs like a man, but its limbs were thicker than an elephant's. The veins in its neck were as thick as a man's arm. Its spine was spiked like a dinosaur's, with two more projecting from its elbows. Its bald head was worse than any image my nightmares had ever conjured. And in the gleam of its diabolical gaze I sensed sentience, a full consciousness of all the devastation it was causing and a resultant sadistic joy.It grinned down at the NYPD squad car that had pulled up beside it, and at the officer firing bullets that glanced uselessly off its grayish-green skin. It tossed the car aside like a matchbox, and I didn't wait to watch what it did to the human being."What is it?" I gasped.Clint put his arms around my shoulders. "I have no idea. But I don't want to know. Let's get out of here. Now."He led me down the street in the opposite direction, staying close to the walls of the buildings as panic-stricken citizens fled for their lives. Cars flew through the thick smoke above.Then something plummeted from the sky to land with a resonance that drowned out the din of terror and destruction. Something large and green clambered out of the crater it had created and stood up with a roar."It's another one!" Clint gasped. "And it's coming toward us!""So is the other one!"Behind, the first behemoth was stomping down the road. Both were picking up speed as they ran toward one another. With no alleys to dart into and no desire to trust to a building such as those which had already collapsed, we chose to run toward the smaller one. That was a mistake.The two beasts sprang and collided in midair, but the demon's strength was enough to defy the other's and take them both in our direction. Clint forced me into a crouch against a wall and shielded me with his body as they rolled past, wrestling ferociously, showering us with rubble from the asphalt.Ahead the titans battled, but between us and them there was an alleyway. And that meant escape. But I was frozen with horror."Come on, darling," Clint craved. "There's an alley up ahead. We can duck in there and get away from here.""I--I can't," I gasped. "I can't, Clint! I won't go anywhere near those things!"He embraced me and kissed me. "It's okay. I'll protect you. No matter what."He lifted me bodily and ran the stretch between us and the mammoth combatants. I screamed as a taxi flew past, but he kept running. He ran and ran, yet it seemed to me that we were getting nowhere, that the din was only getting louder, ringing in my ears and overwhelming my brain. Death was imminent. We wouldn't get out of this alive. It was only a matter of moments before a flung car squashed us as if we were bugs, or one beast knocked the other down on our heads. A fog shadowed my mind like the smoke of the fires. I could no longer think. I could only hear the crashes, the roars, the deafening clamor of the two macabre nightmares battling.Then Clint's voice pierced the fog. "Come on, stay with me," he murmured. "The alley's right here! We're going to make it! We'll be okay!"And then Clint turned and dashed down the alley."Keep running!" I gasped. "Just keep running!"But he didn't. He stopped. And he swore. Ahead there arose a brick wall, blocking our escape. That wall stood between us and safety. And there was no way past it.Clint put me down. I fell to my knees, weeping tears of terror and desperation. Clint's voice was hoarse and unstable when he spoke."I have to find another way. You stay here.""No!" I shrieked. "Clint, don't leave me! Stay with me!""I'll come back for you, I promise.""No, you won't!" I sobbed. "You'll die out there! If you die, I want you right here, with me! Stay here with me! Please!"He kissed me. He kissed me passionately. "I love you, darling. And I'll do anything to get you to safety. I'll be back."I huddled against a wall. Clint ran to the end of the alley, looked back with a reassuring smile, and then vanished. I dropped my face into my hands and sobbed. The crashes, explosions, screams and bellows rumbled on, the sounds of thousands of imps laughing at me, weak, pathetic, huddled alone in an alley to die.And then, barely audible above the din, I heard the click of a gun cocking. I looked up. There stood James, with a pistol levelled at my head."Well, well, what do we have here?" he fleered. "I told you Clint wasn't the right man for you. In your time of need he abandoned you.""No! He's looking for a way to escape!""Is that why he was running as fast as he could away from those monsters? He's a coward. And he doesn't deserve you." His smile was sinister, demented. His gaunt face was contorted with hatred, and a cat-and-mouse amusement. "You should have accepted me when you had the chance. But now you'll die, along with everyone else those things killed, and nobody will ever know I killed you. But if I can't have you, dearest . . . then nobody can."I hardly understood how it happened. But then there was Clint, his arm around James's neck, the other holding his weapon arm and aiming it away from me as bullets poured from its muzzle. James twisted around in an attempt to get at Clint, but he twisted with him. Then James elbowed Clint in the stomach and threw his head back in his face. Clint reeled, releasing James. And then James rounded on him, a frenzied grin spread across his face, and poured bullet after bullet into Clint's body."Nooooooooo!"Clint half-turned, stumbled toward me, and fell prostrate at my feet."You monster!" I shrieked. "You're more horrible than either of those beasts out there!"James lifted the gun toward my head. "Yes. Yes, I think I am."I fell to my knees, wrapped my arms around Clint, and closed my eyes, waiting for death. But it did not come. Without warning, there was a resounding crash and a spray of debris that showered Clint and I. When I looked up, there was only the front half of a torn SUV where James had moments before been brandishing his scythe of death.I rolled Clint onto his back and looked down into his eyes. They flickered; he was still alive. He smiled up at me and whispered weakly, "I never believed in long engagements, anyway."I showered his face with tears and kisses. Between osculations, I sobbed, "Oh--Clint! Dear--wonderful--Clint! Don't--leave me! Stay--with--me! I love you!" And the most ardent kiss I had in my heart fell upon his lips."It's okay, darling. Everything will be okay. You need to leave me here. You need to get to safety. I'm sorry I can't come with you.""No, Clint, no! I won't! I'm staying here with you!""You can't!""And you can't make me leave! You're the husband of my heart, Clint. You have to live to make it legal.""Don't make yourself an early widow, darling. Leave me here. And never look back.""I can't do that." I kissed him. "You know I can't! Would you?""Never, in all eternity.""You'll wait for me, won't you, Clint?""If you wait for me.""Always!"His breath was getting shallower and slower. "Clint," I wept, "please----""Darling, I'm sorry I failed you.""You didn't, Clint, you didn't! You're my hero."He laughed, which turned into a pained cough. "Me? A hero? I'm no hero. That green thing--there's a hero. It was trying to stop the other one.""You're my hero, Clint. You're a hundred times as brave as that beast. You braved them both without flinching."He smiled. "I love you, darling. Kiss me one more time." I obeyed, tenderly, fervently; hot tears flowed down my face a river of mingled love, grief, and passion. The kiss was to be our last . . . and I've never forgotten it.Then he said, "Just promise, if I'm a hero, you'll save glory for the living. Leave my story unsung."

- The End -

I was watching The Incredible Hulk, and I wondered: "What stories do those bystanders have to tell? How badly can a simple trip to the barber go? What birthday celebration went awry? What romantic evening on the town was ruined?" I wondered, and pondered, and plotted, and wrote, and this appeared beneath my pen.Please, share your thoughts--or HULK SMASH!

From the desk of Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, May 30 2012 - 03:04 PM.

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#2 Offline WriterofReapers

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Posted May 29 2012 - 03:43 PM

Hmm... I couldn't find any errors in here (although I didn't really expect to find any), and overall it's really quite good. The beginning was a bit too... lovey dovey... for my tastes, but that's the thing; it's my personal taste. However, after we got a better feel for the characters it started to seem more natural.I'm ashamed to say that I didn't realize it was a story based around one of the Hulk's fights until the very end. Looking back, I really should have noticed that. XDYou did an excellent job describing what was going on and the appearance of Abomination, but the description of the gun and the amount of bullets that seem to have been fired don't really match. "Bullets poured" sounds like some kind of machine gun, but you said James had a pistol. I guess it could just be handwaved by saying the story takes place in a comic book universe, but it still kinda stands out as difficult to believe when compared to the rest of the story.Anyway, it's a good display of an intriguing concept before. I've never thought of background characters as anything more than figures there in order to run in terror, but your story has gotten me thinking... So, great job. :)
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#3 Offline Jean Valjean

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Posted May 30 2012 - 09:45 AM

:kaukau: I'll add my commentary in blue brackets.

Unsung

"Will you marry me?" [There should be another space here for consistency]I looked down at him upon his knee, my jaw open. He beamed up at me, ardor in his eyes, his heart overflowing and spilling all over the restaurant's sumptuous rug [This description is a little overdone, as if you're trying too hard. I feel too much like you're trying to twist words than to tell a story.]. I smiled, feeling happy tears well up in my eyes, my own heart about to burst and pour out to join his on the floor.But before I could respond, a nearby table rattled as a man threw back his chair and climbed unsteadily to his feet.I was incredulous. "James!" I gasped. "What are you doing here?""I care too much about you to watch you throw your life away on this bum," he hissed. "This fool with his grand, ridiculous dreams, and his head in the clouds. He's nothing but a writer." He spat out the word with a sneer. "An artist. He'll never amount to anything in the world. But I'll be rich, and you know I will. I'll be vice president soon and I won't be there for long. I'm be the next CEO. The job's as good as mine." [I'm guessing that you're trying to make us dislike this character. If so, you succeeded, although at the same time his rant comes off as somehow unbelievable. Nobody likes Cal from [i]Titanic[/i], but I also hold a grudge against authors who use stock dialogue in awkward ways. Part of me thinks that this character should have been established in another way before this breakdown.]"It's you who have grand dreams, James. You don't get it. All you care about is money. It's all you've ever cared about it! You wanted to give me a home, security [I can't see a person talking like that, listing two words in this manner, save for the narrator.]. I don't want that! I don't want you. Clint wants to give me love. He loves me, and cares about me. And I love him, more than I ever loved you, more than anyone in the world!" I turned back to Clint, who had risen besides me. "Clint, I will, I will marry you! I love you, with all my heart!""And I love you, darling, more than life itself!" [Oh no...]"You're making a mistake!""Stop making a scene, James." [Thank you. Although to be honest, the gal was kind of making a scene, too.]He stalked [While I guess he is a stalker, I don't think that you chose the right word here.] closer, eyes narrowed, his greasy black hair hanging down in shambles over his unshaven face. "Not until I stop you from making the biggest mistake of your life! I'll prove I'm the better man. He doesn't deserve you! You are my woman, and I won't let him take you."Clint stepped between us. "I'll have you know this is my future wife you're talking to. Don't make me do something you'll regret."James glowered. "I'll have you know you're standing between me and my future wife.""I'll never be your wife!" I snorted. "You're insane!"[At this point, I'm rolling my eyes at how cliche the conversation has been so far without really getting anywhere other than establishing what we already knew from the first exchange.]James stepped up to Clint and looked him in the eyes, as best he could from a foot beneath my fiancé's height. "Am I?" His voice dripped with menace. [Actually, this is quite unattractive.]Said Clint, "With your permission, darling, I'll----" He let the sentence hang, merely squared his shoulders.I shook my head. "No. But if he ever speaks to me again, I won't stop you."James jabbed Clint in the chest. "Oh yeah? I'm speaking again now. What's pretty boy going to do about it?"What happened next gave us all a start. A thundering crash from outside shook the building. There were screams, gasps, confused cries from the diners. Then all was drowned out by a deep, dreadful bellow. The booms and screams persisted outside, but inside we stood, dumbfounded. Then one man got up from his chair and rushed outside, a river of people following. Clint and I joined the flow. Nothing could have prepared either of us for what we were about to see. [This is the best paragraph so far.]It was a demon. With every step it left a wake of flame and destruction. It tossed cars like softballs, and batted bystanders aside like flies as it ravaged the intersection fifty feet away, its only ostensible motive unbridled malignance.It stood on its hind legs like a man, but its limbs were thicker than an elephant's. The veins in its neck were as thick as a man's arm. Its spine was spiked like a dinosaur's, with two more projecting from its elbows. Its bald head was worse than any image my nightmares had ever conjured. And in the gleam of its diabolical gaze I sensed sentience, a full consciousness of all the devestation [correct spelling: devastation] it was causing and a resultant sadistic joy. [New favorite paragraph. I like that you took the time to explain the personality that's eminating from him.]It grinned down at the NYPD squad car that had pulled up beside it, and at the officer firing bullets that glanced uselessly off its grayish-green skin. It tossed the car aside like a matchbox, and I didn't wait to watch what it did to the human being."What is it?" I gasped.Clint put his arms around my shoulders. "I have no idea. But I don't want to know. Let's get out of here. Now."He led me down the street in the opposite direction, staying close to the walls of the buildings as panic-stricken citizens fled for their lives. Cars flew through the thick smoke above.Then something plummeted from the sky to land with a resonance that drowned out the din of terror and destruction. Something large and green clambered out of the crater it had created and stood up with a roar."It's another one!" Clint gasped. "And it's coming toward us!""So is the other one!"Behind, the first behemoth was stomping down the road. Both were picking up speed as they ran toward one another. With no alleys to dart into and no desire to trust to a building such as those which had already collapsed, we chose to run toward the smaller one. That was a mistake.The two beasts sprang and collided in midair, but the demon's strength was enough to defy the other's and take them both in our direction. Clint forced me into a crouch against a wall and shielded me with his body as they rolled past, wrestling ferociously, showering us with rubble from the asphalt.Ahead the titans battled, but between us and them there was an alleyway. And that meant escape [The style of this sentence reminds me of The Hobbit, bringing to mind an older form of storytelling. It doesn't really fit here.]. But I was frozen with horror."Come on, darling," Clint craved. "There's an alley up ahead. We can duck in there and get away from here.""I--I can't," I gasped. "I can't, Clint! I won't go anywhere near those things!"He embraced me and kissed me. "It's okay. I'll protect you. No matter what." [Sad excuse for a romantic moment.]He lifted me bodily [rephrase: "He lifted me up."] and ran the stretch between us and the mammoth combatants. I screamed as a taxi flew past, but he kept running. He ran and ran, yet it seemed to me that we were getting nowhere, that the din was only getting louder, ringing in my ears and overwhelming my brain. Death was imminent. We wouldn't get out of this alive. It was only a matter of moments before a flung car squashed us as if we were bugs, or one beast knocked the other down on our heads. A fog shadowed my mind like the smoke of the fires. I could no longer think. I could only hear the crashes, the roars, the deafening clamor of the two macabre nightmares battling. [The female character is a but of a wuss compared to the men around her, and a bit passive. I'm never a fan of this stereotype.]Then Clint's voice pierced the fog. "Come on, stay with me," he murmured. "The alley's right here! We're going to make it! We'll be okay!"And then Clint turned and dashed down the alley."Keep running!" I gasped. "Just keep running!"But he didn't. He stopped. And he swore. Ahead there arose a brick wall, blocking our escape. That wall stood between us and safety. And there was no way past it.Clint put me down. I fell to my knees, weeping tears of terror and desperation [Oh no, not this...]. Clint's voice was hoarse and unstable when he spoke."I have to find another way. You stay here.""No!" I shrieked. "Clint, don't leave me! Stay with me!""I'll come back for you, I promise.""No, you won't!" I sobbed. "You'll die out there! If you die, I want you right here, with me! Stay here with me! Please!"He kissed me. He kissed me passionately [Not again!]. "I love you, darling. And I'll do anything to get you to safety. I'll be back."[Alright, at this point I should clarify my precise feelings on these types of exchanges. I'm not against cliche dialogue. Sometimes it can work because it finds its roots in timeless archetypes that speak a great amount of truth. However, at the same time I think that there has to be something that makes the relationship more real and more unique, so I really wish that you would have used a few creative lines do bring their chemistry to life by now. Think of The Avengers. Lots of great lines there. I just wish for one thing that would really hold my interest.]I huddled against a wall. Clint ran to the end of the alley, looked back with a reassuring smile, and then vanished [This is good, except for the next part.]. I dropped my face into my hands and sobbed [This is not good.].The crashes, explosions, screams and bellows rumbled on, the sounds of thousands of imps laughing at me, weak, pathetic, [No, don't tell yourself that.] huddled alone in an alley to die.And then, barely audible above the din, I heard the click of a gun cocking. I looked up. There stood James, with a pistol levelled [correct spelling: leveled] at my head. [Alright, we're getting pretty darn melodramatic here.]"Well, well, what do we have here?" he fleered [I love this word. In fact, I used it recently.]. "I told you Clint wasn't the right man for you. In your time of need he abandoned you.""No! He's looking for a way to escape!""Is that why he was running as fast as he could away from those monsters? He's a coward. And he doesn't deserve you." His smile was sinister, demented. His gaunt face was contorted with hatred, and a cat-and-mouse amusement. "You should have accepted me when you had the chance. But now you'll die, along with everyone else those things killed, and nobody will ever know I killed you. But if I can't have you, dearest . . . then nobody can." [Again, the melodrama is going a little too far.]I hardly understood how it happened. But then there was Clint, his arm around James's neck, the other holding his weapon arm and aiming it away from me as bullets poured from its muzzle. James twisted around in an attempt to get at Clint, but he twisted with him. Then James elbowed Clint in the stomach and threw his head back in his face. Clint reeled, releasing James. And then James rounded on him, a frenzied grin spread across his face, and poured bullet after bullet into Clint's body."Nooooooooo!"Clint half-turned, stumbled toward me, and fell prostrate [Interesting word, but once more I'm thinking of older works here that hardly fit into an [i]Incredible Hulk[/i] fanfic.] at my feet."You monster!" [Even though it's been said a million times before, I actually like this line.] I shrieked. "You're more horrible than either of those beasts out there!"James lifted the gun toward my head. "Yes. Yes, I think I am." [Why is it that the first really interesting line of dialogue is also completely unbelievable?]I fell to my knees, wrapped my arms around Clint, and closed my eyes, waiting for death. But it did not come. Without warning, there was a resounding crash and a spray of debris that showered Clint and I. When I looked up, there was only the front half of a torn SUV where James had moments before been brandishing his scythe of death.I rolled Clint onto his back and looked down into his eyes. They flickered; he was still alive. He smiled up at me and whispered weakly, "I never believed in long engagements, anyway." [Best line so far.]I showered his face with tears and kisses. Between osculations [Please don't call it that.], I sobbed, "Oh--Clint! Dear--wonderful--Clint! Don't--leave me! Stay--with--me! I love you!" And the most ardent kiss I had in my heart fell upon his lips."It's okay, darling. Everything will be okay. You need to leave me here. You need to get to safety. I'm sorry I can't come with you.""No, Clint, no! I won't! I'm staying here with you!""You can't!" [Press "Enter".]"And you can't make me leave! You're the husband of my heart, Clint. You have to live to make it legal.""Don't make yourself an early widow, darling. Leave me here. And never look back.""I can't do that." I kissed him. "You know I can't! Would you?""Never, in all eternity.""You'll wait for me, won't you, Clint?""If you wait for me.""Always!"[I just didn't like this exchange in general. Yeah, I read the whole thing, but it was the same throughout as far as the basics went. Maybe this would have been realistic, maybe not, but it hardly creates a unique scene.]His breath was getting shallower and slower. "Clint," I wept, "please----""Darling, I'm sorry I failed you.""You didn't, Clint, you didn't! You're my hero."He laughed, which turned into a pained cough. "Me? A hero? I'm no hero. That green thing--there's a hero. It was trying to stop the other one.""You're my hero, Clint. You're a hundred times as brave as that beast. You braved them both without flinching."He smiled. "I love you, darling. Kiss me one more time." I obeyed [That doesn't sound right], tenderly, fervently; hot tears flowed down my face a river of mingled love, grief, and passion. The kiss was to be our last . . . and I've never forgotten it.Then he said, "Just promise, if I'm a hero, you'll save glory for the living. Leave my story unsung." [I suppose it sounds dramatic, but I don't think it's what a dying person would say in this context. It's far too thought out and philosophical.]

- The End -

I was watching The Incredible Hulk, and I wondered: "What stories do those bystanders have to tell? How badly can a simple trip to the barber go? What birthday celebration went awry? What romantic evening on the town was ruined?" I wondered, and pondered, and plotted, and wrote, and this appeared beneath my pen.Please, share your thoughts--or HULK SMASH!

From the desk of Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

Overall this comes off to me as Titanic to the tune of Incredible Hulk. It's an interesting mixture, but I think you could have gone a different route in portraying Clint's unsung heroism, and the female could have been a stronger character. I'm presuming that the theme in the last line was the whole point to the story.By the way, my use of "fleer" was in this recent blog entry.Your Honor,Emperor Kraggh

Edited by Emperor Kraggh, May 30 2012 - 10:37 AM.

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#4 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted May 30 2012 - 03:30 PM

Hmm... I couldn't find any errors in here (although I didn't really expect to find any), and overall it's really quite good. The beginning was a bit too... lovey dovey... for my tastes, but that's the thing; it's my personal taste. However, after we got a better feel for the characters it started to seem more natural.I'm ashamed to say that I didn't realize it was a story based around one of the Hulk's fights until the very end. Looking back, I really should have noticed that. XDYou did an excellent job describing what was going on and the appearance of Abomination, but the description of the gun and the amount of bullets that seem to have been fired don't really match. "Bullets poured" sounds like some kind of machine gun, but you said James had a pistol. I guess it could just be handwaved by saying the story takes place in a comic book universe, but it still kinda stands out as difficult to believe when compared to the rest of the story.Anyway, it's a good display of an intriguing concept before. I've never thought of background characters as anything more than figures there in order to run in terror, but your story has gotten me thinking... So, great job. :)

ipb.global.registerReputation( 'rep_post_284002', { domLikeStripId: 'like_post_284002', app: 'forums', type: 'pid', typeid: '284002' }, parseInt('') );No mistakes escape my eagle eye . . . except that one Kraggh pointed out and the one I noticed reading his review. :PAnd I know, it was rather cloying. But I wanted that as a stark contrast to the horror awaiting them outside.That, I confess, is my lack of knowledge regarding guns.Thank you for the review, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

:kaukau: I'll add my commentary in blue brackets. . . .Overall this comes off to me as Titanic to the tune of Incredible Hulk. It's an interesting mixture, but I think you could have gone a different route in portraying Clint's unsung heroism, and the female could have been a stronger character. I'm presuming that the theme in the last line was the whole point to the story.

I appreciate your disregard for tact; I'm one to want not false compliments, but to . At the same time most of your comments are matters of opinion that I don't necessarily agree with; though of course I thank you for your thoughts. After all, I want to know what readers think, and you're a reader. But I shouldn't, can't, and won't try to please everyone.One point I will argue is stereotype. I'd like to see how you would react to a massive demon wreaking havoc in the streets. If I didn't die of heart attack on the spot, I certainly wouldn't be as calm as Clint or even as calm as my unnamed narrator. In a less exaggerated situation I think she would have been stronger, but in this case I think she was braver than could be expected. Now if by passive you're referring to the gentlewomanly way she precluded Clint from attacking James, perhaps it's true that nowadays most women would have no scruples about letting their boyfriend throw his rival over a table and dust the floor with shattered plates and glasses and probably blood; but that's not how I wanted my characters to act. Clint called himself a gentleman, and I feel his love shared his taste for tradition.As for the antiquarian words and style you mentioned, that is my style. I almost intentionally mimic older writing. Here I tried using a more contemporary style, but obviously my personal style still showed.I thank you for your review and your opinions. I do see what you're saying regarding melodrama and histrionic romance and banality, and I'll contemplate that.Oh, and personally, I like the word osculation.

From the desk of Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


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#5 Offline Velox

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Posted Oct 18 2012 - 02:16 AM

Official SSCC Charity ReviewSo it turns out that, while reading and taking notes, I made a lot of the same ones that Kraggh made. So instead of beating a dead horse, I'll just say that I agree with almost everything he commented on (because I do). The beginning scene, while I liked it and thought it was fairly well-written, was also quite cliche. Which is really a hard thing not to do in scenes like this. Another thing I particularly noticed is that there were several times when your vocabulary really stood out. It's great to have a good vocabulary, and can be great in some stories, but I didn't think it fit so well here. Firstly simply because it is Hulk fanfic -- you don't really expect an "academically written" story for a story about a comic book character. But secondly, because it was in first person. Which actually was a thing that really stood out to me. I think a lot of the things "she" said should have been said only by a narrator, and therefore not the first person. But then again...I'm not quite sure. I just know that something did seem off by the first-person, but I can't exactly put my finger on what. Kraggh did point out the main times where the vocabulary was too much. The word osculation is a good word, I like it too. But it didn't fit here. Sure, everything is a matter of opinion, but there's a difference between not liking something simply because you don't like it, or not liking it because it seems wrong. You have a very enjoyable writing style, but one's style doesn't always fit the story -- as I think was the case here. There were a lot of times when I found myself thinking the same things Kraggh did in response to what a character said. Not every time, but a lot. And I'd be lying if I didn't say that I thought this story fell a little short compared to your others. I think it's probably due to it being a Comic Superhero fanfic, but who knows. Either way, there's a few things specifically that stood out that I think could be rectified. One thing I do disagree with Kraggh with, however, was on the female character stereotype. Yes, I understand that it is a stereotype (and a bad one), but at the same time, I think it fits here. The truth is that some females are like that (some males, too), and some aren't. So I think it's totally fine to have some stories where the female characters are that, stereotype or not. Perhaps part of the problem is just how "unaffected" Clint seems to be, compared to her.I'm still trying to put my finger on what exactly made this story seem "off" to me. I'll get into some more detail-oriented things later, but I do want to mention the characterization first. I just didn't feel like any of them were developed enough. Yes, it's obvious that James is a mean guy, and it's obvious that Clint is a gentleman, etc., but we still don't understand why. I'm not asking for novel details here, because this is a short story, but still -- I found myself not really "getting" or "knowing" the characters at all. Which is a shame, because they definitely seem like interesting characters, but there was just nothing to base that on, nothing to "prove" that, etc. And that, at times, made certain actions seem unrealistic or just weird -- but perhaps that was only due to the fact that I really don't know how the character would act in a situation like this. There were a few other just small, but important things as well. Like the hundreds of questions that are asked about the relationship among the three people (about their past history together, about them specifically, etc.) -- James especially. And how James got a gun (sure, not hard to imagine how, but still -- it was unexplained, unless I missed it) -- it's just says a lot about his character, but I felt like it still didn't...explain him. He's the type of man that would kill someone just because they didn't love him back. Why? Etc. One other quick thing I want to mention before I get into the details was the basis of the story itself. I (surprising, I know) actually haven't seen The Incredible Hulk (though it's definitely on my "to see" list), so I didn't get that this was a Hulk fic until the end. Which I think was a problem. You don't have to explicitly state that it was the Hulk, but I felt that when you said "It was a demon." that just came out of nowhere. I was instantly confused and, admittedly, saddened. Because I liked how the story was going until an unrealistic detail came into play. But the problem isn't that it was unrealistic -- after all, a Hulk fic would have to be -- but simply the execution. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Hulk is supposed to take place in the real world, so that, upon seeing the demon or the Hulk for the first time, it would be the most incredible shock ever, yes? But I didn't feel that. "It was a demon." was just far too sudden, too non-shocking. Especially for a story told in first person. She should've been so scared that the reader should've been able to feel that fear -- feel the emotions she was feeling, the shock, the terror, the absolute horror that she felt. But I felt none of that. Instead, it only seemed cheesy -- "suddenly, demons out of nowhere". I guess another thing was simply the fact that she called it a demon. How did she know? She could have said it looked like a demon, being so horrible and grotesque, but how would she know exactly what it was? (and also how she asked "what is it?" when she had just stated moments before that it was a demon) And if I am wrong and she would know what a demon (and a Hulk) is, then that should've been explained as well. Now, for just a few specific things:

I smiled, feeling happy tears well up in my eyes,

"happy tears" just seemed weird/cheesy to me. Perhaps something as simple as "tears of joy" would be better? Then again, I think you can just remove happy/joy all together. The smiling implies that she is happy, and she can't really feel what type of tears she's having. Unless you meant to personify the tears, but that'd be better saved for poetry. =P

Clint put his arms around my shoulders. "I have no idea. But I don't want to know. Let's get out of here. Now."

This is one of the things I was talking about concerning characterization. He just seems far too calm and casual here. I don't think most guys would respond exactly this way -- they'd try to, sure, but I don't think they would. Not exactly, at least. And therefore there needs to be a specific reason for why he acts that way. Is he someone that deals with large moments of crisis regularly? etc.

He kissed me. He kissed me passionately.

I don't think the repetition is necessary.

I hardly understood how it happened.

Neither do I, unfortunately. Now I know that this is first person, and therefore, we're limited to how she sees things. But still, I just felt it was a little too convenient how he just showed up again at the exact right time, with no explanation as to how. Which I know is one of the hard things about first person -- I've come across this problem a lot, and I still have a lot of trouble with it, but I thought I should just point it out anyway.

But then there was Clint, his arm around James's neck,

I'd change "his" to "one", since you talk about his other arm a second later.

but he twisted with him.

I'd change "he" to Clint -- otherwise it sounds like James is twisting with himself. =P And Despair already mentioned the "poured bullet after bullet" thing so I won't quote that, but it did definitely not seem like it was just a pistol that was firing.

"You monster!" I shrieked.

I really liked this line, but I think that the "You" shouldn't have been italicized -- put the focus on monster. Just sounds more natural to me that way. ------------------I realize that I tore this story apart, and I apologize, but I do think you are a great writer and I know that you can do better than this -- I've seen it. And so I wanted to point out everything that I could. I think the main problem just might be that this story doesn't quite fit your normal writing style.However, all that said, I did still enjoy this story -- honestly. The descriptions were very well done (especially of the demon and other things ["two macabre nightmares battling" -- loved that sentence]). I also really liked the idea behind the story itself, and the whole plot line in general. I think things could've been fleshed out slightly, but overall I really did enjoy the actual story, and I just love the idea of taking "nobodies" and writing a story about them. I really, really like that -- because no one ever thinks about them. It's always about the main characters, the cool characters, etc. But what about your average Joe Blow? Even average, normal, unimportant characters can be incredibly interesting and can make an interesting story, and you showed that here. Well done.Definitely keep writing. I know you will, but I feel like I need to say that anyway -- because I enjoy reading your works, and you're definitely a great writer. Keep at it!Posted Image

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