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 Shranman's (Holly's) Story

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Whigworld
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PostSubject: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:39 am

Use this thread to critique Holly's story once posted on box.net
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:41 am

Hey all, finally got my story posted on Box.net. I'm calling it "The Keys to the Kingdom" for now, but I'm not in love with the title and might change it. We'll see...

Anyhoo...it's definitely a different format for me, and I'll be interested to see what you guys think. Now I'll get busy critiquing your stories!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:18 pm

Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Arrow Arrow Arrow Very Happy Very Happy

Fantastic work, Shranny!! I loved every word of this story. It breaths with every sentence and I had no problem hearing the voices of the character as well as relating to the circumstances!

This is excelante, mi amiga!! I cannot find a flaw in it accept I wish you would post the ending news flash in English as well as Spanish, as I believe it would add to the impact!!

VERY WELL DONE, HOLLY!!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:26 am

I love the story idea and what you have written and I certainly enjoy the fact that you are trying to change up the narration of the story, but it definately has some present/past tense problems.

My two cents:

The newspaper articles and transcripts are fine the other scenes in my opion need work, not content but viewpoint.


Notes from Lem Ludavekos abandoned apartment in Juarez, Mexico
Recovered May 19, 2016


After this header I only had to squares with red x's, nothing else.

Excerpt from videotape of Lem Ludavekos own testing process, left in Mexican apartment
Recovered May 19, 2016


After this header you are "telling" the story, not showing us the story, I think the tense is all wrong, I think you need to write it like we are watching the video, not having someone tell us about it.

Tape of wire worn by Agent Zane Rodriguez, undercover in the Bandidos Cartel
June 10, 2016.


After this header same deal, telling not showing, if you want to keep the current tense, the I would suggest making it a transcript of the tape instead.

Helmet camera feed from Lieutenant Burt Kittson of raid on the Juarez laboratory of Lem Ludaveko

Not to be a broken record, but telling not showing, the tense need to be change to include the reader.

Live Television Footage
The Evening News with Jefferson Lambert
July 4, 2016


This reads more like script directions than story. The tense needs to be changed.


Overall I love the concept I think with some minor changes it will read well and your story idea is very unique, which I also enjoyed.

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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:22 pm

Thanks guys!

Re the notes:
The red Xs are probably where the artwork I put in there should be. I don't know why it didn't show up. It was just some stuff I did with copy/paste in Paint. Hmmm...will fiddle with it.

Thanks for the tense/show&tell directions, DG. That was the same issue I was having myself. I wasn't sure what tenses to put it in, and I wasn't sure how to make it feel like a story but still use these different sources. I will keep experimenting there as well. I didn't want to use transcripts for everything, but instead I wanted to vary the media, but it's hard to figure out how to keep things like a story, but to say they are from a video recording, dig? Suggestions would be VERY welcome! Smile

Thanks for the critique guys! Be as harsh as you like!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:12 pm

Okay heres an example of what could be done.

You wrote:

A red-haired, discheveled Lem Ludaveko enters the screen and picks up a clipboard. Stationed next to him on the countertop is a silver box, of approximate dimensions 12 in. X 12 in. X 12 in. The box is hollow, having only four sides, which are marked with a small hole in the center of each. Ludaveko turns to the camera and begins.

My thought would be this:

Lem Ludaveko a red-haied man with a discheveld appearance, entered the room and picked up his clipboard. Stationed next to him on the counter top was a silver box, approximately twelve inches square. Quickly he looked over the box, which only had four sides, each side marked with a small hole in the center. Ludaveko turned to the camera lens, and taking on a lecturing tone, began to speak.

Now there are other ways to say the same thing the only thing I have done here is change the tense of what your saying wthout really changing what you said. It is certainly not the only way to do it, but just a suggestion of the way you might want to look at it.

Hope that helps.

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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:40 am

I just read "The Keys to the Kingdom," and here's my two cents ...

When I first started reading it I didn't think I'd be into the whole idea of shifting around like you did, but I found myself enjoying it. Almost like a bunch of short stories within a short story.

For me personally, I didn't like the first segment being a news story, as I find news stories unbearably dull. But this news story did establish background and tone, so I'll shut up about it.

Two questions: Is Ludaveko a shout-out to A Clockwork Orange? If so, cool! And President Sarah Palin? Say it ain't so, Joe!

Overall, I liked this a lot. It was well written and had a good pace, although the jumping around technique, while original, did make the storyline a little hard to follow.

There are a few things I would ditch:

During the Zane Rodriguez/Charles Lakeland exchange, I would drop all the question/response parts (Los Sorenos? The Watchmen. S.O.S.? Shoot on sight. R and D? Research and Development.) They make Lakeland sound dumb (who doesn't know what R&D is?) and reminded me of this old Benny Hill sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND6GAIAAixg

I would take out extraneous statements that sound really out of character. For example, a drug lord would never say "How is this tiny thing gonna move hundreds of tons of product over thousands of miles?" A drug lord would never utter a single word about drugs or the transportation thereof. Also, the General saying, "Weve always appreciated your bribes." Too obvious, you know?

Anyhow, great first draft, and I can't wait to read the next!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:50 pm

Hey there! Smile I've finally finished a first read of yours, and my thoughts are in agreement with those above (including TDC's praise -- it was very interesting!) Smile plus the following:

- I also could not see any of the artwork you imported, just red Xs. But it did make me think that it would be cool if some of what was in there was classified and crossed out with black marker to hide pertinent details like they do... in case you didn't have that in there already (I couldn't tell because I couldn't see!)

- I agree that the last part should be in English as well, because my Spanish is okay but not good enough to translate what it said. I think I got the gist but I am not sure and what a bummer to not be sure I understood the whole punch line of the piece!

- A couple accuracy things in the 11/1 NSA memo: we currently DO already require passports for border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico, at least in San Diego. I remember there was a big fuss about it because it used to be you only needed a driver's license. Also, it's likely but not mandatory that they'd use the term "shall" instead of "will" in the memo, because at least when I was a defense contractor, "shall" meant "you are GONNA do this" and "will" meant "if we have the funds we're thinking of doing this" (contractors used "will" and government used "shall" in official documents). But I was DOE (energy/nuclear) and DoD (defense), not NSA.

- Oh, the attack at the end was very scary and felt very real, but I was wondering how they managed to smuggle all the boxes into all those places or whether they no longer needed a box on the receiving end of transported stuff. Plus, you might need to double-check some of your places, because I think Capitol Hill is more of a region than a single location, etc. -- I never was entirely clear on that, though, and I lived in that area! Smile

I really enjoyed reading this, scary though it was! A horror story for the present day, eh? (shudder)

Nicely done! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:39 am

Arrow Arrow study

Shranny, can you post your art to the ART FILE on Boxnet instead? I would love to see it!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:12 pm

Just read your story, Holly, and really enjoyed it. I love the idea of telling the story with these snippets; it's different and I think it works. I agree with most of what was said above (praise and criticism), with a few exceptions. I actually think that the videotape descriptions should stay in present tense, as if we're watching it. I was trying to figure out if there was a better way to do it than just describing it, but I couldn't come up with anything.

I strongly agree with all of Trib's comments about taking out the question/answer stuff and the unrealistic dialogue in those particular parts. Make it realistic and give the reader some credit--even if they can't figure out exactly what it means, they can still follow what's going on.

I would love to see some of the stuff in the top-secret memos redacted. Valerie Plame left all the CIA redactions in (not the stuff they crossed out, but the actual thick, black lines) when she published her book last year, and I though that was awesome. I thing it would be cool here as well.

I really liked it a lot. Great job!

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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:35 pm

Very Happy Arrow clown ...and I think you should leave the President's name listed as S. Palin...it is a great attempt at a little tongue in cheek and people will like the snicker they let out when they read it. Besides...no one ever said it was THE S. PALIN...right? ( wink).....

Wink Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:50 pm

Ok, guys, I've posted my second draft. I did some fleshing out in places, but mostly kept things the same. I have made a few suggested changes, but when it came to the video sections, I decided to leave them in present tense and keep them the same. Although those sections are labeled "video," I think they are really my only times to tell the story in a traditional narrative, and I think that if I fiddle with it too much, then the story won't be readable as a cohesive story, you know? But please let me know your opinions. I still can't get the dang artwork to upload within the story, so the parts from the notebook aren't in there, nor is the presidential seal, but I've uploaded the first version of the artwork on Box.net, so take a look at it please.

As for the last section in Spanish, I've tried to make it a little more transparent. But I don't know if I can make it any more transparent. I also don't want to write it in English because it's kinda the whole point of the story - they wouldn't write it in English, you know? Maybe we could come up with some artwork to go with it to make it more readable. Some palm trees waving and such...vacation stuff...let me know, artists out there!

Anyway, hope you all enjoy, and now I have to take a look at the revised drafts. And hey, NOVEMBER IS ALMOST HERE! If we want these to be Christmas gifts, we better get effing busy everyone!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:55 pm

cheers I am so glad you're back in action, Shranny! I have been working on another cover design idea, so when I go over to boxnet to upload it, I will have a look at your art too. I found a picture of a newspaper with freyed pages and thought perhaps I could help you with that one pic you wanted the page worn on...

I believe we had said that this one is going to print on or before December 15th, so we're right on target.

I am so excited about reading everyone's second drafts and the artwork is coming along nicely as well!

Whoopie!! bounce bounce
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:01 pm

Holly, I really liked your story. And although many of your changes were subtle, they made a big difference. Telling your story via different media but only having the medium of our book to present it is an ambitious feat. I think for the most part you've succeeded. The tense for the videos didn't bother me. Those sections should be written like a screenplay, and therefore be in the present tense (which it is).

However, there are a few things I found that didn't jibe with the media you were telling the story in. (Details are in the notes I've written on your story/document). In a couple of instances in your videos, your narration cites a couple of things that the camera can't possibly know or see -- internal thought processes, actions off camera. In your audio sections, there are a couple of instances where you provide the reader a visual, which of course you can't see on a tape.

My other comment is that some of the dialogue still sounds stilted, especially in the transcript between Rodriguez and Lakeland. There's a lot of exposition, R telling L stuff that L should already know. Sometimes it sounds like R is giving L a history lesson. I know you're trying to give the reader background info, but it doesn't read like a natural conversation. Take cvalin's advice on this: "Make it realistic and give the reader some credit--even if they can't figure out exactly what it means, they can still follow what's going on."

But I thoroughly enjoyed this. Like Moon, I felt that the section describing the attack on the US was gut-wrenching ... and that's a testament to the realness of the world you've created (and extrapolated from the world we live in).
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:15 am

Ok, Shran-woman. I sent you a file with notes. There really wasn't much. Maybe I caught a few things that got under the radar, but it's pretty clean.

The approach was different. But with that, it worked.

The only real point of contention was the last scene/document ... No habla Espanol!! Seriously, could you Englishize it a tad so those with no Spanish background (like me) can get the punch line?

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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:52 pm

Shranman wrote:


As for the last section in Spanish, I've tried to make it a little more transparent. But I don't know if I can make it any more transparent. I also don't want to write it in English because it's kinda the whole point of the story - they wouldn't write it in English, you know? Maybe we could come up with some artwork to go with it to make it more readable. Some palm trees waving and such...vacation stuff...let me know, artists out there!


Or maybe you could make someone intercept it or read it, translating it here and there to make it more understandable to the reader.

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PostSubject: Help!   Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:53 pm

Ok guys, I need to gather some opinions. I am almost finished with my final draft, and all your suggestions have been very helpful. I am struggling with just one thing - the final entry, the Spanish language section. Some of you have expressed concern about not being able to read Spanish, and perhaps having the reader not being able to read Spanish. Some have suggested writing it in English. I have tried to make the Spanish as transparent as possible (making use of English cognates), but I can't get it much more clear without it looking silly.

I like the Spanish ending. I think it gives the story a nice punch at the end. I am hesitant to change it to English, because then I think it loses something. However, I don't want to hold onto the Spanish ending if it is a bad idea, just because it's my "baby," you know? So, I am looking for a consensus - keep it Spanish or make it English? Or if there are any creative suggestions for a combination of both, I am open to all advice!

Please help! I would like to submit the final draft this week and this portion is the only thing holding me up! Smile

Thanks guys!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:03 pm

Exclamation Exclamation Arrow Arrow Here's my suggestion...and I think someone touched on this before...perhaps it was my sweetie, Eugene...(?)...well, if this sounds like what anyone else has already said, forgive me...so here it is:

Keep your ending just as it is...but take it one step further for the reader who has no idea what Spanish is...have soemeone in power, perhaps the president or the final official who has delt with the problemo ( heh)...get an inner office translation into english that he/she can read....can you do that?

Maybe you could add that to the ending, let us know, and we can all read it and tell you if it flows better.

You can do this, I trust your writing !! You rock, mama Cita!!

mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:37 pm

I am hesitant to post an ending in both Spanish and English. I don't want to lose any of the impact. While I agree that I want the writer to be able to understand the ending, part of the impact of the ending is that the language has now switched, and you WON'T find that ending in English. There is no President, he's been blown up. The whole point would be that now Spanish is in charge. I think that if I translate it, then the impact of that will be lost. Which is why I wanted to add the picture. So even if the reader can't totally understand the Spanish, he or she will be able to look at the picture and realize that part of America is now in Mexican hands...

Thoughts? I just can't think of a good way to translate it that will still feel true to my ending. Sigh. Thanks for all the help guys!
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:12 pm

mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious

O-Kay! I get it...we must be sure that the image goes at the end!! It is a strategic part of the story!

Tribble, do you have any problems with this? You have read and understand the workings of this theme. Do you feel the reader will "get it" if we make sure the image is placed at the end? How about the rest of you?

This is something we should deffinately discuss at tonight's meeting!!

Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Very Happy bounce
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm

cyclops Exclamation Exclamation Arrow Arrow

And having discussed it with Holly...

The Spanish stays, the image must go along with it and we believe we have a winner!!

mysterious Exclamation Wink mysterious
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:36 pm

Shranman wrote:
I am hesitant to post an ending in both Spanish and English. I don't want to lose any of the impact. While I agree that I want the writer to be able to understand the ending, part of the impact of the ending is that the language has now switched, and you WON'T find that ending in English. There is no President, he's been blown up. The whole point would be that now Spanish is in charge. I think that if I translate it, then the impact of that will be lost. Which is why I wanted to add the picture. So even if the reader can't totally understand the Spanish, he or she will be able to look at the picture and realize that part of America is now in Mexican hands...

Thoughts? I just can't think of a good way to translate it that will still feel true to my ending. Sigh. Thanks for all the help guys!

This may be a little late, but here's a thought. Maybe translating isn't the issue. Maybe a short narrative would clue the reader to exactly what you just said: the Spanish are now in charge. 'Cause I didn't get that at all when I tried to read it. All I got was a head scratch, huh? I can't wait to see how the picture lends to the ending.

I knew I shouldn't have dodged Spanish in Jr. High; I took Japanese instead.

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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:44 pm

cheers OH, also Doc...we asked Holly if she'd like to put her "Intro" at the ending instead of the beginning...to sort of wrap up what she wrote how she picked it and why she wrote it the way she did. We also agreed it would help any readers who weren't as familiar with Spanish as most.
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PostSubject: Re: Shranman's (Holly's) Story   Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:02 pm

cheers I love you Exclamation Exclamation cyclops WOW!

I loved this re-write! It is just right. I had no problem "seeing" the vids and the newscasts or "hearing" the tape recorded messages. This is beautiful, seamless work!!

The ending is not hard to understand now...you have outdone yourself, my friend!!

I also like the idea of a BIO right after the work. I believe we all could do that ...putting an "About The Author" imediately after each story!

mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious mysterious
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