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 Post subject: Writing...(critique and discussion)
PostPosted: April 23rd, 2008, 3:05 am 
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Okay, I 've been wanting to try and put up a thread like this for a while...but school has been bitchslapping me for this whole semester. One of my hobbies is writing (mostly fiction since school keeps me busy with academic papers and reports), and I was wondering if anyone else on the site is a writer or likes critiquing ideas. If you have an idea for a piece, you can post it here for discussion. If you have something you'd like us to read or critique, please provide a link (with the exception of poems) so your formatting can be maintained and your post won't take up too much space.

Anyway, here are some of the ideas I have for a story that I'd like to work on this summer. I'd like any input on the basic premise that you all would be willing to provide (what would make it better, how creative/unoriginal the idea is, etc.). I realize that these are pretty bare bone ideas, but whatever thoughts you can provide would be appreciated.

Idea #1
"Rampersad Blues"

Three youths live on the planet of Rampersad, a planet that is used for the disposal of the galaxies waste. Those who are in the lower class live on the planet's surface, where they are subject to harsh sandstorms and crushing gravity. However, Those who have the means live in ebony towers that stretch out to the sky and provide the elite with a carefully monitored environment that has fresh air and a more lenient gravity. As the three youths struggle to survive the dangers of Rampersad's surface life, they are constantly assaulted by mercs, killing squads, and freakish experiments that are directly or indirectly connected to the Felstein corporation. Can the youths escape the hellish planet that is Rampersad? Can they uncover the truth behind Felstein Corporation? Can they go one day without pissing someone off?

Characters:
Emily: A young man of nineteen years who arrived on Rampersad after being dumped into a garbage bin by his mother a few days after his birth. He is unaware of how he survived, but he knows that Phil helped raise him. Though he's often cynical, he's one of the more optomistic characters in the stories and has been saving his cash to get off of Rampersad. Unfortunately, he often has to do odd jobs as steady jobs are hard to come by. Though most of the jobs he is able to obtain are grunt work, he does value education and can often be found drinking endorphin boosters while reading articles on his paper (flat computer that is thin as a piece of paper). Whenever he needs to do a bodyguard or bounty hunting job, he brings along his locus swarm blade (sword constructed of nanomachines that have multiple functions; the hilt is the controller) and the "cruise wave" (laser gun that can amass amazing amounts of energy from almost any source. Unfortunately, its mirrors easily break and it is rarely operable).

Bailey: Emily's on/off love interest. She runs a repair shop that caters to all sorts of clients. Unlike Emily, she doesn't think it's possible to escape Rampersad due to all of the prejudice towards surface-dwellers, though she has been saving money so she can eventually get a shop in one of the towers. While she and Emily seem to not have a loving relationship, Bailey does care about him in a suttle way ( However, Emily is the more emotional one in their relationship, much to Bailey's chagrin). She was physically abused as a child by her father but she was eventually able to move into Emily's house (their relationship was based on necessity at the time). Though she has cut ties with her past, she is the coldest of the three main characters. She also is one of the few surface dwellers to use an C.O.I.D (cyber organic intergration device: liquid computer that grafts itself to the user's brain, allowing instant access to data and the ability to use the brain for storing files).

Phil: Phil is seen as a patron saint of the surface-dwellers; she is elegant, beautiful (she has the strange ability to walk through a sandstorm in only a dress and is completely unaffected), and kind. She helped raise Emily and assisted Bailey in establishing her repair shop. She is rumored to be a prostitute who services tower-dwellers but no one would dare insult her if that was the case, as she is also very good with throwing knives and small-arms-fire. She sometimes disappears for weeks at a time and is often unavailable to help Emily and Bailey. She claims she is only twenty-six but many of Rampersad's inhabitants believe otherwise.

Richard Felstein: The mysterious, unseen, leader of the Felstein Corporation. He mainly uses the current CEO as a puppet/scapegoat and will often spin media stories to benefit or cover for his company. His company is known for producing medical supplies and weapons, as well as a few paltry scientific discoveries. Felstein will often test out his company's products on the surface-dwelling population. Some of his other practices are also questionable (such as collecting organs from donors while they are still in need of them). No one knows much about Felstein, though he apparently has a great interest in genetic research.
[spoil]Felstein is autistic and knows more about Phil than any other character in the book[/spoil]

Plans for first story:
After being fired from his job at a fruit stand, Emily takes on a job as a bodyguard for Aloan Febs, a musician who has become famous on Rampersad for his gritty lyrics and tough personage. Febs is actually a wimp, and is need of protection from a tough surface crew who want to expose him as a fraud. However, things get complicated as the job continues, especially when a group of off-world mercs arrive.

Well, that's my idea...

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 Post subject: Re: Writing...(critique and discussion)
PostPosted: April 24th, 2008, 11:10 am 
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Cab329 wrote:
One of my hobbies is writing (mostly fiction since school keeps me busy with academic papers and reports), and I was wondering if anyone else on the site is a writer or likes critiquing ideas.

BRS we had a thread for short stories and another one for poetry, selfmade stuff, that is. Quite interesting stories emerged, I wouldn't mind a second try.

Cab329 wrote:
If you have an idea for a piece, you can post it here for discussion.

Ah, inspiration harvest. The former threads had more or less complete works in them, but why not.

Cab329 wrote:
"Rampersad Blues" - Three youths live on the planet of Rampersad, a planet that is used for the disposal of the galaxies waste.

One single planet for a galaxy's waste disposal? If that's enough their recycling technology must be very advanced. And besides to give a setting for your story, why do they need a planet for waste disposal? Why don't they just toss it into the nearest star?
In general the concept of the poor living on the surface and the elite in some towers sounds a lot like "Gunmu".
Apart from that I oppose the name of the evil corporation! :lol:

Cab329 wrote:
Emily: A young man of nineteen years

Have you turned into a Japanese or am I wrong assuming that "Emily" is a female first name???
But I will praise you for giving the protagonist a halfway reasonable age and not leaving the galaxy's fate in the hands of a bunch of 15yo kids... :lol:

Cab329 wrote:
(Emily) can often be found drinking endorphin boosters while reading articles on his paper

Uh, "endorphin: any of a group of peptides occurring in the brain and other tissues of vertebrates, and resembling opiates, that react with the brain's opiate receptors to raise the pain threshold."
(emphasis added)
Although I realize that reading most academic stuff is a pain in the ass that might require some endorphin, I wonder whether you're not looking for something else. How about Oxygen sniffing instead?

Cab329 wrote:
locus swarm blade & cruise wave

The elite rulers allow such weapons? Interesting indeed... there must be a powerful NRA on your planet.

Cab329 wrote:
Bailey - Though she has cut ties with her past, she is the coldest of the three main characters.

Where's the contradiction (usually indicated by "though")?

Cab329 wrote:
liquid computer that grafts itself to the user's brain, allowing instant access to data and the ability to use the brain for storing files

Computer in your head - Last Order.

Cab329 wrote:
Phil

Now, she has an interesting description.
Bailey, on the other hand, is too much of "the neighborhood girl"/"childhood friend" archetype.

Cab329 wrote:
Richard Felstein: The mysterious, unseen, leader of the Felstein Corporation.

So, how can he be a character if he's "unseen"?
Is he the guy whose voice comes from a chair in the shadows of the depicted room?
I'd rather hide him completely and only convey his orders, attributes and characteristics through his underlings. Using such hearsay adds to his being mysterious imho.

Cab329 wrote:
Spoiler
Felstein is autistic and knows more about Phil than any other character in the book

Spoiler
Phil, I am your father!

Or what!?

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 Post subject: Re: Writing...(critique and discussion)
PostPosted: April 26th, 2008, 7:33 pm 
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42317 wrote:
In general the concept of the poor living on the surface and the elite in some towers sounds a lot like "Gunmu".
Apart from that I oppose the name of the evil corporation! :lol:

Well, names might change. Gonna have to check out "gunmu."


42317 wrote:
Have you turned into a Japanese or am I wrong assuming that "Emily" is a female first name???
But I will praise you for giving the protagonist a halfway reasonable age and not leaving the galaxy's fate in the hands of a bunch of 15yo kids... :lol:

Yeah, I'm not good with names :lol: . I think I did have a point to giving him a Girl's name and giving Phil a boy's name but I can't remember what it was.


42317 wrote:
Although I realize that reading most academic stuff is a pain in the ass that might require some endorphin, I wonder whether you're not looking for something else. How about Oxygen sniffing instead?

Well, he doesn't drink to help with his reading, he just drinks to accompany it (like drinking tea while reading a book). Still, oxygen sniffing does sound interesing.


42317 wrote:
Cab329 wrote:
locus swarm blade & cruise wave

The elite rulers allow such weapons? Interesting indeed... there must be a powerful NRA on your planet.

lol. Rampersad is seen as a third class world (heh). The law is very loose (which allows all sorts of illegal deals to take place). and is mostly controlled by Felstein Corporation. Since the law is weak, most citizens carry around a gun or two. The weapons were gifts from Phil (she said she found them in one of the dumps); Emily doesn't even know what the sword does for a while and only carries it around because Phil asked him to (most people think the sword is just a fashion statement).

42317 wrote:
Cab329 wrote:
Bailey - Though she has cut ties with her past, she is the coldest of the three main characters.

Where's the contradiction (usually indicated by "though")?

Point taken

42317 wrote:
Cab329 wrote:
Phil

Now, she has an interesting description.
Bailey, on the other hand, is too much of "the neighborhood girl"/"childhood friend" archetype.


Yeah, Bailey is really a supporting character who I haven't been able to do much with. I still have trouble breaking her out of that archetype.

42317 wrote:
Cab329 wrote:
Richard Felstein: The mysterious, unseen, leader of the Felstein Corporation.

So, how can he be a character if he's "unseen"?
Is he the guy whose voice comes from a chair in the shadows of the depicted room?
I'd rather hide him completely and only convey his orders, attributes and characteristics through his underlings. Using such hearsay adds to his being mysterious imho.


He remotely contacts people who assume his name in public. The person who uses his name does all of the charity events, board meetings, and public affairs. The only people who know the truth are Felstein's fake and two other board members. Felstein only appears in person at the end of the series.

42317 wrote:
Spoiler
Phil, I am your father!

Or what!?


Spoiler
Phil is Felstein's adoptive mother. Phil thought he had been killed in an explosion when he was a child, but he was found by the real Richard Felstein, who then did some things to him. The current Felstein murdered the former and assumed his identity. Since the real Richard Felstein was a recluse who controlled his company through the use of CEO's who assumed his identity for the media, no one knew that the real Richard Felstein had died


Thanks 42317!

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 Post subject: Re: Writing...(critique and discussion)
PostPosted: April 27th, 2008, 4:13 pm 
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Cab329 wrote:
Gonna have to check out "gunmu."

... aka "Battle Angel Alita".
Sorry, I have a habit of using the Japanese terms... except for "Ghost in the Shell", because I cannot remember 攻殻機動隊 = "Kôkaku Kidôtai" properly...


Cab329 wrote:
I think I did have a point to giving him a Girl's name and giving Phil a boy's name

I thought "Phil" was for "Philicia", a perfectly female name. If you're gonna give her a male name find something that cannot be interpreted the other way.
How about "Fred"? :D

Cab329 wrote:
Well, he doesn't drink to help with his reading, he just drinks to accompany it

The strongest painkiller on the planet as a side dish?
Then, how about some Goat Fetus for his favorite meal?
Why don't you just let him go with an isotonic beer or something? That's still exotic enough... :lol:

Cab329 wrote:
Spoiler
Phil is Felstein's adoptive mother.

Funny point: My assumption was in the right direction!
Strange point: If you mean what you wrote, Phil can hardly be one of the "three youths" that you mentioned above.
Or did I miss something? :?

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 Post subject: Re: Writing...(critique and discussion)
PostPosted: April 27th, 2008, 4:44 pm 
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Well, I wanted to use "Phil" because it's kind of androgynous. Emily almost sounds like a name that could have been used a century or two ago as a boy's name (like "Shelby"). From a psychological standpoint, I believe that I must have wanted a female sounding name for the main character since my name is often confused with its female equivalent (whoops, might have just said too much).

As for the drink, beer could work.

As for Phil's age, yeah, she wouldn't exactly be a youth, but she has the appearance of one. Of course, I wrote that description at one in the morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Writing...(critique and discussion)
PostPosted: April 27th, 2008, 5:47 pm 
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Cab329 wrote:
Of course, I wrote that description at one in the morning.

Of course, nothing seems more natural... :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 2nd, 2008, 3:01 pm 
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Wow there's another writer here!? :shock: :shock:

I don't like bashing on other people's idea's for books, since I know quiet a few of mine are quiet bad, but that entire story set up has the whole post-apocliptic-80s-been-there-done-that feel to it.

You could move the setting to say the under belly of a planet whose surface is covered by one huge city. Might open up more opitions for you. Also, one planet for the entire gallexies garbage? Umm I like science with my science fiction, I know its annoying for wirters but just because its scienence fiction doesn't mean you can go off on your own an ignore real science completely. This leads my to my next question. Do you have any idea how huge the galaxy is? If you keep the idea I recommend putting it down as one of the garbage planet instead of the only. Further more to be blunt if people had the means to build, pay to maintain such huge towers in such a horrible world they'd propally leave it all together and terraform another planet. I would change that if I were you. Again that opens other opitions, like the planet being a hidden research facility or a place where that corperation gets rid of its dirty little secrets.

Also fix the names. Names are important, Phil is fine. But the first thing I hear when I hear a main male character named Emily is a short girlly looking long haired red head guy in his mid teens. I blame Wild Arms for that.

Another question that you haven't answered is which type of view, i think itsa called, are you going to write? 1st, 2nd, 3rd? If you doing anything beyond 1st you should really think about developing the female lead a little more.

Maybe I'll post one of my ideas later but I have to get going soon.

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Last edited by The Adict on May 6th, 2008, 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 3rd, 2008, 6:57 pm 
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"2nd person perspective"? What's that? Sounds like an involved, lesser character describing the actions of the major characters? That would be something like the diary/letter novels of the 19th century, which I found awful.

I give Cab's story a chance. There are so m many stereotypes in Anime, on a daily basis, that still make fun stories. Apart from that if he wants to train his writing skills he doesn't need to start with something original. As every art, writing has a technical side and a creative side which can be honed separately.

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PostPosted: May 5th, 2008, 7:43 pm 
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No if I remember right and I didn't get my terms right 2nd person perspective is the one where you are attached to one character but not them. It's not completely 3rd as you can still hear the characters thoughts and follow only one character.

Usually people start out with 1st person then slowly evolve into 3rd or 4th. Why? Because when your first starting its easiest to write when you are that character. However this also limits what you can do and from fully developing the usually single important character very much. What is 4th? 4th is my favorite, Its what I call god perspective. In this perspective you are an independant invisible onlooker that can still the characters present thoughts.

If your wondering 3rd person is basically like watching tv. You are an character invisible on looker that cannot hear the characters thought. You are just watching the action. I, personally am not skilled enough yet to right in a strict 3rd person perspective, and most writters who try aren't either.

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PostPosted: May 6th, 2008, 1:38 pm 
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I think I scarred him away. :oops: Oops Sorry I was just trying to be helpful

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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 8:21 am 
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For a more elaborate explanation of perspectives:

The Wikipedia Article

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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 12:54 pm 
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Thanks. Still I really do think I scared him off.

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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 3:29 pm 
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You have'nt scared me off, I'm just too busy with my last couple of weeks at school.

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PostPosted: May 7th, 2008, 5:03 pm 
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He hasn't been around for a few weeks. I was prepared to wait a few days until you'd show up again.
Please don't hesitate to brief us on any literary progress. :wink:

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PostPosted: May 8th, 2008, 12:28 pm 
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Yes please do Cab329

Also looks like I had my terms flipped around again . . . . this is really getting old. Where'd I put my Lanuage/lit. book?

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