Review: series of short stories on time travel

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Review: series of short stories on time travel

Postby sami » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:38 am

I've been browsing some of the forum topics and was hoping someone could also help me review a few short stories I've been writing. I'm not aiming to be a serious sci-fi writer - not yet, anyway - for now, I'd like to see how they sound to a reader before adapting my style and changing the content.

The background: it's a couple centuries ahead of now, and time travel is being studied by an organization (vaguely governmental) called the Chronological Institute. There are various people involved in the process of time travel, including the travelers themselves, and historians who scope out the place before travelers go there. It's difficult for me to describe the specific story plots themselves, except to say that time travel is - obviously - integral to the plot. Perhaps what differentiates the stories is the purpose and method of the time travel.

These short stories, as well as a bit more background, can be found at my personal blog: http://atleastintheory.wordpress.com/th ... institute/.

Any constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated! And I would be more than happy to return the favour.
sami
 
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Re: Review: series of short stories on time travel

Postby admin » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:19 am

A few suggestions.

I followed your link, didn't find a story there. If you want comments, your link needs to go directly to your story.

Some publishers will not buy stories published on blogs. Better to put your story on a private page and then put a link here inviting readers comments.

Forget about changing your style. Even great writers who have tried very hard to do that have failed. Poul Anderson tried to change his style to sell more stories to John Campbell than Campbell wanted to buy, so he put tape on the key "e" on his typewriter and submitted the stories under the name of Saunders. Campbell was fooled, but reading the stories now they still read like Poul Anderson stories.

What you can change is the content of your stories. The outline in your link is too idealistic. Stories grow out of conflict. A good place to begin a story is with a sympathetic character who gets hurt.

Even good stories are often rejected, because there are more writers than readers these days, but I wish you luck.
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Re: Review: series of short stories on time travel

Postby sami » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:00 am

Thanks for your feedback. The story on Anderson is pretty interesting. But I am interested in experimenting with my own styles, was what I meant.

Apologies for the vague link - that's where all my stories are, and I thought you could pick from them, but realised you'd have to scroll down quite a bit. This is one particular story that's not too long: http://atleastintheory.wordpress.com/20 ... /horology/

You said: "The outline in your link is too idealistic. Stories grow out of conflict." -- The link is a very general one that leads to all my stories, so there obviously isn't much of a plot. Unless you meant a specific story on that page? The link I gave above would work. Let me know if it doesn't, and thanks again for your help.
sami
 
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Re: Review: series of short stories on time travel

Postby admin » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:52 am

Your link now goes directly to a story. Good.

What I meant about conflict was that the people in charge of time travel seem unrealistically benevolent. Where are the governments trying to control history or the corporations trying to make a profit off it?

Your story didn't grab me in the first few paragraphs, which means that magazine editors may have the same problem. To be specific:

"They first began to be worried when Tref told them, for the third time, that he’d stay behind to check on some things."

Too convoluted a sentence for a first sentence. (I have this problem, too. The rule is, simplify, simplify, simplify.)

"It wasn’t as though they hadn’t noticed the first time, when he’d come back from a hastily stretched and barely authorized snap-back, looking shaky and red-eyed and terribly lost."

Another long sentence. Also "...wasn't...hadn't..." is awkward.

Scratch "amongst" from your vocabulary.

How about this for a first paragraph:

"Lisa found Tref in the alcove off the jump room. He was crying."
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