My 2000th Post Critique - Finally.

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Moonbat

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It has been ages since I posted because of this 2000th post critique. In recent months I haven't had time to do any writing, and I've just not been motivated enough. I'm a cyclic writer in that I'll have periods where writing is all I want to do and other times when life gets in the way. Currently I have a 7 week old Daughter and she is taking up most of my time.
But I've got so annoyed at not being able to post anywhere but the lounge due to my post count I've just got to get something to be critiqued.

This is an extract from chapter 1 of my novel - Super Nova Sunset, as you can tell it is a silly sci-fi. I'm not entirely happy with it, I think there is a lot of 'and then this happened' 'and then he did this' going on, which doesn't seem to work too well, but I'd like some critique on everything from grammar to comedy and storytelling.


****

The train pulled into the station, actually that isn't entirely true, with a train that moves through a personally created black hole, it doesn't so much as pull into the station as pull the station around it. So the station was pulled around the train as they arrived in Diank. The man said his goodbyes to Nob and Nob genuinely wished him well and good luck with the negotiation (and with the city) then he settled back into his chair and waited.
After a few minutes, once all the normal passengers had disembarked, an announcement came over the airwaves.

“This is the final stop for the BF284. This train is due for recycling and will be destroyed in five minutes time. All passengers genuine or apathetically lazy skyvers must exit the train for their own safety. Any passengers remaining on board will be recycled.”

Nob sat up straight, 'What?' he thought to himself. The train is being recycled. He used his implant to check the status of the train and sure enough it was listed as retired in line for recycling. He cautiously got up from his seat and looked around. Nob had never left the train in all the months he'd been using it to bunk off real work. He was unsure what to do.
In a sort of confused semi-comatose state he stumbled off the train and onto the largest platform he had ever seen. The train station at Diank was phenomenally large, larger than Nob's home town. From where he stood he couldn't see the sky, and not because there was a roof in the way, although as he couldn't see anything beyond the spaghetti like jumble of tracks and trains piled high into the sky he wasn't sure if there was even a roof. The noise was too great for his sensitive Diank ears and the smell, well let's just say that Nob was lucky that he was astounded enough that his mouth was wide open.

The station was so complex it was as if someone had created a maze out of mazes, then chopped it into millions of 4 dimensional pieces and asked three different species of monkey to put them back together again, then inverted it. The resulting jumbled mess was a near perfect description of the layout of the station. Nob decided that his own brain power was insufficient to navigate through the station to the platform he required, so he decided to use his uplink to question the station directly.

Unfortunately for Nob the station had been designed in conjunction with the Diank City board of tourism and they wholeheartedly agreed that anyone getting off a train (regardless of their final destination) should visit the city, the station therefore directed him to the exit. He tried to enter different parameters but it always pointed him to the exit. He tried to log on as another person, one who was outside the station and wanted a train direct to his town, but it somehow knew that he hadn't visited the city and directed him towards the exit. After hours of trying he finally gave up. He found a bench and sat down, this wasn't turning out as well as he had hoped.

He started walking, unsure of the direction to take, changing it every three steps, towards what he thought might be another platform. But it just seems to take him round the same platform, he had never really seen the length of the train. As he walked along it his feet got tired, the train was longer than he ever imagined. He decided, after almost half an hour of walking, to change direction and stop following the train, he turned directly away from it and began to walk but soon his path was blocked by another train, this one was even more bizarre, he wasn't sure if it was a train or just a large building on the tracks.

Nob had been walking for so long that he had to sit down. He found himself a comfortable looking bit of ground and slumped down into a corner. His feet ached and he was tempted to remove his shoes, but he wasn't sure if the station had rules against that sort of thing. Sitting there watching the people rush around Nob noticed that there were some people, often scruffy looking, that seemed to wander by him more frequently, he put it down to them being as lost as he was and ignored it.

Night fell, or at least Nob thought that it did, the temperature dropped by a fraction but the sky was entirely blocked out by trains and trams and monorails that Nob wasn't sure if the Sun had set, he assumed that it must have because of the time. After a while he got hungry and spied some kind of food vending machine. He approached it tentatively, the only food vending machine in his home town had always been rather cranky. Some people swore it was nice when it had been filled, but it had been such a long time since anyone bothered to fill it up with new produce that it had descended into a near psychopathic personality. As he crept up to the machine its lights started flashing, he assumed that some detection routines had worked out that his projected route was direct for the machine, that and the cameras had probably tracked his eyes as they ran over the assortment of treats that lay imprisoned behind the glass.

“Hello.” the machine spoke as Nob neared it. He stopped and looked around. “I'm talking to you young man, are you interested in some spinal soup, or maybe a bar of floccinocimocachocolate?”

Nob pointed to himself in question.

“Yes you.” The machine replied. This vending machine was far more advanced than the one back home and seemed (currently) to be quite polite.

“Umm. Hi” Nob ventured. “What do have that will really satisfy?”

The machine blinked its lights for a moment before the lights stopped and shone upon one product. Nob leaned closer to inspect the wrapper. 'Klipnot Fishfeet in Fumamold Sauce' it said. Nob wasn't sure.

“What is Klipnot?” he asked

“A type of Fish” the vending machine answered.

“And Fumamold?”

“A type of mould, but don't worry it is perfectly safe, quite a hearty meal.”

“Ok. I'll take that one. Do you do drinks?” Nob asked, offering up his wrist for the machine to scan. As the infra-red light scanned his inner wrist and deducted the relevant amount from his personal account the machine replied.

“Oh no. You'll find the drinks machines (incoherent bleep) on another level.”

Nob took the food as it was deposited and looked around him. “You couldn't tell me which way could you?”

“No.” the machine answered succinctly.”

Nob, wondered for a minute and turned away, but before he strode off he spun back and thought why not give it a try. “Do you know which platform the train for...”

“I'm sorry I do not have that information, maybe you should follow the signs.” The machine interrupted before seeming to power down.

Nob took his strangely smelly but satisfying meal and hunkered back down into his corner.
Three hours later, after fits and small bouts of sleep Nob decided to try finding his train again. He wandered around for hours, this way and that, often coming close to the exit. At one point he almost got caught on an automatic treadmill, that would have dragged him out of the station into the city proper. After that he was wary of going too close to the exit.
 
I loved this. Had me laughing out loud.
One or two long sentences might benefit from full stops instead of commas, but the grammar gurus on here will tell you better than me.
Such a good idea too, sitting on a train for months to get out of having to do real work...
 
Really enjoyed this and congrats on the 2000 posts.

There was a bit about the beginning that didn't do it for me but the rest read well. I sort of catch the contrast you mean to make but maybe a more direct approach would work better.

A train that moves by generating a black hole might appear to pull into the station while in fact it pulls the station in around itself. So the station was pulled around the train as they arrived in Diank with a bit of flourish as every window in the train rattled; but not enough to cover the sound of all the station windows being taxed to their limits.

I added the last about the rattling because of experience with compromising large vacuum tubes. I can't help but think even a microsecond opening of a black hole would be much worse than that. And the 36 inch tube we broke was almost as impressive as a sonic boom and brought all the neighbor's noses to those very windows that rattled so nicely.
 
Congrats. My mouse's left button is a bit dodgy now (need a new mouse) so I can't do my usual thing of chopping out pieces to brutalise :(

Skivers - unless you're making the choice to shift the spelling.

type of Fish - comma needed

succinctly - axe the speech marks afterwards

....

The smelly but satisfying line brings to mind a joke which really isn't appropriate for a public forum. Ahem.

Some sentences seem too long and should be sliced into two. Not always the case, but generally smaller sentences are better. I agree with tinkerdan the start could be a little sharper.
 
Yeup, good fun, maybe the beginning needs adjusting or just re-phrasing or some tense finicking?
The train pulled into the station - (but) actually that WAsn't entirely true. With a train that moves through a personally created black hole, it doesn't so much as pull into the station as pull the station around it. So the station was pulled around the train as Nob and the man arrived in Diank. The man said his goodbyes to Nob and Nob genuinely wished him well and good luck with his negotiations (and with the city) then he settled back into his chair and waited.
Any passengers remaining on board will be recycled.”
hah* corngrats on 2001
 
Congratulations, Moonbat, on your 2000th post! I will be there in 3 years if I extrapolate the time passing till my first 1000 :D

I think this is great - really entertaining comedy gold - but I think the sentence structure gets in the way of the beats. Sometimes the simple choice of punctuation can make a massive difference, and timing in written comedy is just as important as in verbal.

Sometimes you can contract two short sentences into one for a more concise sentence, and others can be split. But I think punctuation to allow for beats and pauses (applauses ;) ) is really important.

Cautiously, not wanting to rewrite your voice, I'd give this example from one of my favourite sections.

The station was so complex it was as if someone had created a maze out of mazes, then chopped it into millions of 4 dimensional pieces and asked three different species of monkey to put them back together again, then inverted it.

and change it to;

The station was so complex it was as if someone had created a maze out of mazes, then chopped it into millions of 4 dimensional pieces and asked three different species of monkey to put them back together again. Then inverted it.

The only difference is the full stop I exchanged, but I think it makes it even funnier. This may be a preference thing and I'm sure there are those that would disagree; yours is not incorrect, of course, just missing the opportunity to make the joke punchier. I'd think about the meter and rhythm of each gag and make sure the expo in between these sections does not break up the rhythm too much.

I love the ref to floccinaucinihilipilification with the coffee and feel rather clever about it. ;)

I think you know the places which need tidying up so the humour scans better, so I won't address those. The only negative other than the flow I mentioned, is that the last paragraph seems rushed. You've spent all that time describing what has happened to Nob, and then three hours later you say he wandered around for hours. It seems a little throwaway.

But I really liked this style. A Lot.

pH
 
Thanks for the responses guys and gals,
Tinkerdan, good addition adding the sound, I always forget to include as many sensory descriptions as possible, and you're right in a way, but I think the black hole would be silent as sound doesn't travel fast enough, or maybe I could include a joke that sound is so slow that in the turtle and hare scenario gravity forgets about it.
Thadd, good points, I thought I'd spelt skiver wrong but wasn't sure it was even an official word, and good spot on the speech marks.
Phyre - that is a great move with the new sentence for the Inverted line, it does work much better.

I'm always so amazed how a few other viewpoints can pick out things which once brought up seem so obvious. So thank you I will take what you've given me and apply it to as much as I can, and maybe post more (or a re-write) again later.

Thanks again all.
 
I'm sure I passed that place and it was disguised as a space station full of aliens but claimed it was a major UK airport. Parts resembled a building site.

Very droll.
 
Yes there is some truth to sound being unable to escape because light can't either which means your passengers should be blinded. But that doesn't matter because they were crushed to death from the get go. This doesn't even count the fact that if you have the hole open for even a second the entire station will be suffocated by the loss of oxygen and If a passenger survives he'll find a rather quiet station. This is why they don't allow black holes to be opened in atmosphere and even those opened in space are quite far out to minimize the effect.
 
[/Quote]
It has been ages since I posted because of this 2000th post critique. In recent months I haven't had time to do any writing, and I've just not been motivated enough. I'm a cyclic writer in that I'll have periods where writing is all I want to do and other times when life gets in the way. Currently I have a 7 week old Daughter and she is taking up most of my time.
But I've got so annoyed at not being able to post anywhere but the lounge due to my post count I've just got to get something to be critiqued.

This is an extract from chapter 1 of my novel - Super Nova Sunset, as you can tell it is a silly sci-fi. I'm not entirely happy with it, I think there is a lot of 'and then this happened' 'and then he did this' going on, which doesn't seem to work too well, but I'd like some critique on everything from grammar to comedy and storytelling.


****​

The train pulled into the station,
Comma splice
actually that isn't entirely true,
Comma splice
with a train that moves through a personally created black hole, it doesn't so much as pull into the station as pull the station around it. So the station was pulled around the train as they arrived in Diank. The man said his goodbyes to Nob and Nob genuinely wished him well and good luck with the negotiation (and with the city) then he settled back into his chair and waited.
After a few minutes, once all the normal passengers had disembarked, an announcement came over the airwaves.

“This is the final stop for the BF284. This train is due for recycling and will be destroyed in five minutes time. All passengers genuine or apathetically lazy skyvers must exit the train for their own safety. Any passengers remaining on board will be recycled.”

Nob sat up straight, 'What?' he thought to himself. The train is being recycled.
Isn't this a continuation of his thought? Perhaps quotation marks and finish with a question mark?
He used his implant to check the status of the train and
Comma
sure enough
Comma
it was listed as retired
Comma?
in line for recycling. He cautiously got up from his seat and looked around. Nob had never left the train in all the months he'd been using it to bunk off real work. He was unsure what to do.
In a sort of confused semi-comatose state he stumbled off the train and onto the largest platform he had ever seen. The train station at Diank was phenomenally large, larger than Nob's home town. From where he stood he couldn't see the sky, and not because there was a roof in the way, although as he couldn't see anything beyond the spaghetti like jumble of tracks and trains piled high into the sky he wasn't sure if there was even a roof. The noise was too great for his sensitive Diank ears and the smell,
a?perhaps a punctuation mark a little stronger than a comm
well let's just say that Nob was lucky that he was astounded enough that his mouth was wide open.

The station was so complex it was as if someone had created a maze out of mazes, then
Chained 'then's. Perhaps just the second one?
chopped it into millions of 4 dimensional pieces and asked three different species of monkey to put them back together again, then inverted it. The resulting jumbled mess was a near perfect description of the layout of the station. Nob decided that his own brain power was insufficient to navigate through the station to the platform he required, so he decided to use his uplink to question the station directly.

Unfortunately for Nob the station had been designed in conjunction with the Diank City board of tourism and they wholeheartedly agreed
Agreed with whom?
that anyone getting off a train (regardless of their final destination) should visit the city,
Comma
the station therefore directed him to the exit. He tried to enter different parameters but it always pointed him to the exit. He tried to log on as another person, one who was outside the station and wanted a train direct to his town, but it somehow knew that he hadn't visited the city and directed him towards the exit. After hours of trying he finally gave up. He found a bench and sat down,
Comma splice.
this wasn't turning out as well as he had hoped.

He started walking, unsure of the direction to take, changing it every three steps, towards what he thought might be another platform. But it just seems
seemed
to take him round the same platform,
he had never really seen the length of the train. As he walked along it his feet got tired,
Comma splice
the train was longer than he ever imagined. He decided, after almost half an hour of walking, to change direction and stop following the train,
Comma splice
he turned directly away from it and began to walk but soon his path was blocked by another train, this one was even more bizarre,
Comma splice.
he wasn't sure if it was a train or just a large building on the tracks.

Nob had been walking for so long that he had to sit down. He found himself a comfortable looking bit of ground and slumped down into a corner. His feet ached and he was tempted to remove his shoes, but he wasn't sure if the station had rules against that sort of thing. Sitting there watching the people rush around Nob noticed that there were some people, often scruffy looking, that seemed to wander by him more frequently,
Comma splice
he put it down to them being as lost as he was and ignored it.

Night fell, or at least Nob thought that it did,
Comma splice
the temperature dropped by a fraction but the sky was entirely blocked out by trains and trams and monorails that Nob wasn't sure if the Sun had set,
Comma splice
he assumed that it must have because of the time. After a while he got hungry and spied some kind of food vending machine. He approached it tentatively,
Comma splice
the only food vending machine in his home town had always been rather cranky. Some people swore it was nice when it had been filled, but it had been such a long time since anyone bothered to fill it up with new produce that it had descended into a near psychopathic personality. As he crept up to the machine its lights started flashing,
Comma splice
he assumed that some detection routines had worked out that his projected route was direct for the machine, that and the cameras had probably tracked his eyes as they ran over the assortment of treats that lay imprisoned behind the glass.

“Hello.”
If that's a full stop before (ie. 'the machine spoke, rather than the machine said, not direct speech attribution, this should be a capital 'T'.
the machine spoke as Nob neared it. He stopped and looked around. “I'm talking to you young man,
Comma splice
are you interested in some spinal soup, or maybe a bar of floccinocimocachocolate?”

Nob pointed to himself in question.

“Yes you.” The machine replied. This vending machine was far more advanced than the one back home and seemed (currently) to be quite polite.

“Umm. Hi” Nob ventured. “What do have that will really satisfy?”

The machine blinked its lights for a moment before the lights stopped and shone upon one product. Nob leaned closer to inspect the wrapper. 'Klipnot Fishfeet in Fumamold Sauce' it said. Nob wasn't sure.

“What is Klipnot?” he asked

“A type of Fish” the vending machine answered.

“And Fumamold?”

“A type of mould, but don't worry it is perfectly safe, quite a hearty meal.”

“Ok. I'll take that one. Do you do drinks?” Nob asked, offering up his wrist for the machine to scan. As the infra-red light scanned his inner wrist and deducted the relevant amount from his personal account the machine replied.

“Oh no. You'll find the drinks machines (incoherent bleep) on another level.”

Nob took the food as it was deposited and looked around him. “You couldn't tell me which way could you?”

“No.” the machine answered succinctly.”
No quotation marks.
Nob, wondered for a minute and turned away, but before he strode off he spun back and thought why not give it a try. “Do you know which platform the train for...”

“I'm sorry I do not have that information, maybe you should follow the signs.” The machine interrupted before seeming to power down.

Nob took his strangely smelly but satisfying meal and hunkered back down into his corner.
Three hours later, after fits and small bouts of sleep Nob decided to try finding his train again. He wandered around for hours, this way and that, often coming close to the exit. At one point he almost got caught on an automatic treadmill,
Do you need that comma?
that would have dragged him out of the station into the city proper. After that he was wary of going too close to the exit.
 
This was an entertaining read and I scooted to the end without any major problems. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy did come to mind as I read and in places it was close from what I remember. What I did miss was Nob’s motivation for having been on the train in the first place and why he’d been on this train for months - it seemed a lot of effort to just bunk off work. The opening and Nob’s conversation with a passenger I felt needed to be clearer, but once past this opening point all became clear. Nob’s reluctance to leave the station felt a little odd, why not leave and return immediately? So mostly plot questions, but questions I’m sure you go on to deal with. I would most certainly have read on to see how you deal with these plot points.

My main gut feeling however is of an opening where in essence nothing happens and this I feel may be asking a lot from the reader. There is also very little in the way of interaction with other machines/people/aliens in what should be a crowded environment. More so when there seems to be other lost individuals that Nob ignored and that felt a little odd. This however is me digging very deep here and as above, I would have read on to see where you were taking this storyline.

A very good 2k post and you can go back to chattering away now.
 
It was fun and nicely written. It certainly made me laugh.

If I were writing it, I would consider introducing the fact that Nob is living on the train earlier, so that when he learns the train is being recycled, we understand how significant it is to him. Right now, the impact is a little muted because it's kind of an afterthought.

You do slip into telling a lot, which is probably where your feeling that you're writing a lot of "and then this happened" comes from.

This bit, for example:

He decided, after almost half an hour of walking, to change direction and stop following the train, he turned directly away from it and began to walk but soon his path was blocked by another train, this one was even more bizarre, he wasn't sure if it was a train or just a large building on the tracks.

It's quite distanced. Nob has no real emotional experience going on (I know he does, really, and I'm not suggesting you rewrite it so he's emoting all over the station and weeping against the side of the train). A little bit of how he's feeling would break up the stuff that he does, and it would draw the reader, well, this reader at least, further into the story. Is he scared? Frustrated? Bored? etc.

Nob sat up straight, 'What?' he thought to himself. The train is being recycled.

I don't think you need the repeat of "The train is being recycled" here.
 
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