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The Conclusion


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#1 Online Voltex

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Posted Jul 15 2012 - 08:55 PM

“I will explain everything.”I refuse to acknowledge the name of this Toa, and I refuse to acknowledge any prestigious titles he may have held in the past. I am so, so much in the wrong.And yet he manages to be even worse.I remember the screams of the Matoran within the city as they were slowly burned alive within their homes by this Toa on the orders of some higher monstrosity, with nowhere for them to run or hide. The piteous pleas from Toa as they beat on the doors of cells built for the single purpose of holding them while the flames ate them away, and the screams of assorted Dark Hunters as they were trapped in the suffocating mass of smoke.He caused it all, and I stood by and watched.And now we sit across from each other in a brightly lit room with a white ceiling, a white floor, white walls, and white chairs. The dark red table is in a startling contrast with it all.He is staring at me, those eyes piercing through me, staring at my soul.“You said that before.”The Toa dips his hideously green head in recognition, his eyes serious for the first time in centuries as he contemplates the tone of my voice- I myself cannot tell whether it is angry, or confused, or just... disappointed.“You do not seem happy.”His words are shocking- he seems to be in disbelief. I narrow my eyes, cross my arms, and lean forward in my chair. I stare him straight in the eyes with a glare that I know only too well has frozen others in their tracks.“You sound like you think I should be happy.”There is a sparkle in his eye, and I can picture the thoughts that must be swirling within his twisted mind as he bends words into a response. One that would preferably, for him, put me at ease. He opens his mouth to speak and I stand, shoving my chair across the floor with a screech. It teeters for a moment before rocking back onto its legs and I speak again.“I was –am– a monster... and you’re no better. I sat there and watched as you ended all those lives... I did nothing. And you– you were laughing.”“Should you not be glad to be alive?”I turn around and grab my chair, my arms tensing up in adrenaline. My breaths are coming in ragged gasps as he continues mercilessly.“You didn’t stand there and watch, you know. You’re alive for a reason. It wasn’t just my fault, or our master’s, or the fault of our partners– indeed, if I might be so callous, it was all you.”“No! It wasn’t me!”My words ring false even to me, and we both hear the lie. I don’t turn to see what must be a smirk written all over his face and shut my eyes, gritting my teeth when he continues.“It was you who planned everything. You planned the inferno, you planned the cages, and you planned the lightning storms. You even planned the weeks of constant rain afterward that drowned the survivors, little as they were. Our master just approved it. And all the rest of us did was complete our tasks.”I shake my head blindly, panic and guilt rising inside me.“No, you’re lying. You’re a liar. You always have been. I was just there. I was... I was....”“You were the mastermind of it all.”“No! You are a liar! I won’t listen!”I struggle to stand as the feelings threaten to overwhelm me. Remorse, guilt, fury, desperation all wash over me in waves of increasing size, and I can feel myself drowning in their depths. He remains silent behind me, waiting for me to continue, or perhaps thinking up another clever response designed to wear me down.“You forced me. It was against my will.”My protest sounds weak, and is utterly useless. I am proving him right, and I hate that. Finally, at this statement, he laughs. I cry in frustration and grip my chair tighter, heaving and grunting and swinging my arms, flinging the chair through the air. It collides with the Toa’s face and his mask is knocked off.We both watch it scatter across the floor and into the wall.A grim sense of triumph eases through me as I look at the stunned expression on his face. He didn’t think I would do anything like that.He sits there as I take my first step towards the mask, watches as I reach it, and shakes his head confusedly as I bring my foot up.He screams with fury as my foot crashes down and the Kanohi is shattered into pieces that will never be connected back together. A one of a kind mask is wiped from existence in a heartbeat, and it is my fault.Just like everything is my fault.He stands from his own chair, an aura of calm disguising what I know is a hurricane of evil emotions lurking beneath the surface. Then, quick as lightning, I find his fist around my throat and I feel the wall crunch as I am slammed against it.“I’m never... helping you... again.”I can barely manage to croak it out, and his fist squeezes tighter when I am finished. His eyes narrow, and then I know what is coming.“I am going to kill you.”He expects me to beg for forgiveness. He expects me to plea for him to spare me. He does not expect the choked laugh that comes out of my mouth.“Anything... to get away... from you....”“You ended a universe, Matoran. Just remember that in you final moment.”Our eyes meet at his words, and his mouth twists into his trademark smirk.My vision is going blurry.Black is becoming prominent quickly.I am not confused.I know.I am satisfied.Now I am free from the tyranny.I ended a universe here. But in my final moments, I know that elsewhere, I saved one.It is good.I hope you enjoyed this finish. Critique is much appreciated.-ibrowPosted Image
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#2 Offline Toa of Winds

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Posted Jul 17 2012 - 08:58 PM

That (awesomely) almost cleared everything up. Almost. ~TN:TS~
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THE ASHES - Chapter 2 and some clarification is up!

 

THE ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF TAHU - Chapter 4 is up!


#3 Online Voltex

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Posted Jul 18 2012 - 07:53 PM

That (awesomely) almost cleared everything up.Almost.~TN:TS~

It almost cleared everything up? Good to know I answered all of your unspoken questions. :)-ibrowPosted Image

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#4 Offline Velox

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Posted Jul 22 2012 - 11:53 PM

Official SSCC Review.First off, I am terribly sorry for how late it is (just barely made the one-week deadline), but I was first out of town, then extremely busy and sick (still am, so if anything in my review doesn't make sense let me know, as it may be simply because I'm sick). I do hope that this review makes up for it.I'll start with pointing out a few things:

“I was –am– a monster... and you’re no better. I sat there and watched as you ended all those lives... I did nothing. And you– you were laughing.”

You need spaces between the dashes and "am" -- it should be like one of these two ways:I was -- am -- a monster.I was--am--a monster.So either space at both or space at neither. That goes for all dashes, but it really stood out here because dashes are often used for emphasis in chatspeak, which is what this looks like here.

I cry in frustration and grip my chair tighter, heaving and grunting and swinging my arms, flinging the chair through the air. It collides with the Toa’s face and his mask is knocked off.

As it is, it sounds like it just happens to hit the Toa's face. I assume that the guy meant to hit the Toa, in which case it'd be better to re-word it as: "flinging the chair at the Toa's face" or something like that, where it's clear that he threw the chair at the Toa.

He sits there as I take my first step towards the mask, watches as I reach it, and shakes his head confusedly as I bring my foot up.

Confusedly is a very weak word. So much so that it really distracted from the story. I'm not even sure if it's technically a word or not, but assuming it is, "in confusion" or even "...his head, confused as I..." would fit much better.

A one of a kind mask is wiped from existence in a heartbeat, and it is my fault.Just like everything is my fault.

You make it sound like he's feeling guilty, yet I don't feel that at all. I don't feel any emotion from him right here, really. I'll touch upon this a little more later, but basically -- characterization is important. The reader should feel the emotions the character feels, but I couldn't here because I didn't have enough information. How, exactly, is it his fault? But I'll get to my questions. ---You've got some great descriptions and imagery, etc., but the explanations are lacking. Where are they (besides a white room with a red table -- on that note, that was very cool; I wish you would've done more with it, related it to the character or something -- made it mean something, but as it is it simply remains a cool room, rather than what it could be: a cool plot factor/etc.)? Who are they? What are they? Why are they here? What's the point?And then we shy away from the general questions and get into specifics. What universe did he save? How did he save that universe? What universe did he destroy? How did doing what he did destroy a universe? What mask did he destroy? Why is the mask so important important? And the questions that you did answer were answered vaguely or un-satisfyingly. To your credit, the story itself was written very well. Your writing style is enjoyable, and as I said earlier your imagery was good. The pace was well-done, and I was definitely gripped from start to finish. As Tolkien said in his first review, the overall writing structure was there, and it's here as well. Well done. I just had a lot of questions along the way. And not in a good way. For example, having the reader question whether or not he really did destroy the universe can be a good thing -- the character is confused, trying not to believe it, etc., so the reader can be too. But the problem is that enough explanation isn't given for the reader to really decide either way. It just leaves the character confused, not leaving him with things to think about/question/decide for himself. For example, the ending of Inception (or TDKR, or pretty much any Nolan film =P) leaves the watcher able to think/question/decide for himself what the whole movie meant or what really happened/etc., but is still extremely satisfying. It leaves the watcher wanting more, it leaves the watcher having questions, but again, it's all satisfying.But now, let me go read the previous two stories and this one again and see if that clears anything up. Okay, reading all that over, this story is a little better. But I wanted to read this as a normal reader would -- by itself. I'll talk more about that towards the end, but for now, back to the actual story. Let me start off by saying that I did really enjoy reading these stories. As I said earlier, it (and they) kept my attention throughout, and the idea behind it is incredibly interesting. Unfortunately, the delivery falls short. Namely, most of the questions I had earlier still remain true. A few of them were cleared up, yes, but still. The problem is, I think, that you don't explain things enough. Now, having a sense of mystery is good -- in fact, it was one of the things I liked about it -- but the problem is that you have too much, or too little. In the first two stories, you have these two, very similarly fast-paced stories. In one he's running, in one he's, in a way, running "in his mind" trying to figure things out. And then we come to the third. Much more description, much more detail. So taken by itself it was quite good, but if you put all three stories together, it seems like you took your time with the first too, then crammed everything in at the last moment. Instead, I'd suggest revealing things one at a time, spread out. Reveal something big early on, but don't really explain it. Then explain something else, etc., etc., until you get to near the end when finally all those big reveals come together and make sense. It would just make the final revelation (that is, that he killed a universe/etc.) much, much bigger and better. Of course one of the biggest problems with that is simply the format of the stories themselves, as I alluded to earlier (just reading this one by itself first). You can't expect people to read the previous two, especially when you don't even link to them in this topic. But even if you did link to them here I would highly recommend against it. This is all really one story -- it should stay just a single story, rather than broken up into three (you can break it up by using scene breaks, but still in a single post). Or if you really want to break it up like this, then I'd do so in Epics. Either way, the fact is that these stories right now aren't connected in the best way. If this was all put together, fleshed out a little more and edited so that they fit together better, it'd be a much, much more powerful story, and so much more enjoyable than it already was. The other problem is that you don't really give the story any sort of meaning (Tolkien mentioned this as well). The character seems conflicted, but the reader is too confused to really feel for him or to take anything from that. Paying more attention to characterization would also be highly in your favor. You did a good job with a lot of things, but in the end, the most important things were still left undescribed. Those rhetorical questions I pointed out earlier. The next thing I want to point out is the title (as Zaxvo briefly mentioned). Titles are key in my opinion. They're what makes someone read a story in the first place. If I was just browsing the SS forum, I would not click on this story (even less so would I click on "A Story"). The forum is called Short Stories -- every single topic in here is going to be a story (with the exception of some like the pinned topics), so saying it's a story is redundant. Give it a powerful title that draws the reader in. So in conclusion I'd really just stress what I and the other SSCC reviewers said before. I really think that, with a little more effort, this could become something truly great, as it was already quite good. You've got the actual writing structure down, you have the very interesting idea down, you have the cool plot twist down, but it could all be executed better. And I really urge you to write more serious stories as well. You're pretty good at it. Posted Image

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"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender


#5 Online Voltex

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Posted Jul 23 2012 - 11:15 AM

Thank you fo the review Velox- I'll keep that in mind. I think part of the problem was that I originally intended for the first one to just be a short story that would be confusing (which might not bet he best thing, I suppose), and when I got the idea for the second one I didn't really feel that the questions could be answered, leaving them to this one. Which doesn't change the fact that I could have done it far better, but the overall lack of planning with these really threw everything off.So, note to self.Thanks again for the review, and I'll keep those pointers in mind when I next write.-ibrow
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