Author Topic: Sci Fi - First Chapter  (Read 5879 times)

Offline Butterfly21

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Sci Fi - First Chapter
« on: February 26, 2011, 07:46:33 PM »
I've started writing the second draft of my Science Fiction Novel
This is the first chapter
I've re-read it about three times and fixed what i could see needed fixing
I can't spot anything else that needs fixing and need some help

I want complete and honest truth
Please critique the hell out of this and let me know anything slightly weird or confusing
I'd like to know how the characters come across and if they seem real
How well or unwell you can picture whats going on
How it reads and if anything is confusing or needs more of an explanation/description
And I'm not sure of the way the last scene ends
BTW (Ela is pronounced ee-la)


and I hope you enjoy it of course    ;D



Ela pressed herself against the wall behind Tana. The dorms had all gone dark. Any moment now the complex gates would shut and they’d have to take a more complicated escape route. Tana watched the surveillance camera above them on the wall. It had a twin on the other side of the entrance. The cameras faced each other’s blind spot. But every five seconds, there was a one second blink.

They’d figured out when that blink happened. Every flicker of the camera’s power indicator lights was a one second frame.  There was a flicker, then a second, a flicker, a second, another flicker, and then the blink. They just needed to get the start of the sequence right.
 “Got it.” Tana said.

Ela inched closer to her, peering up at the camera.
“Okay, I’m going to count. Keep up.” Tana pressed her hands to the side of the wall, ready to propel herself around the corner. “One,” the light flickered. A second. “Two.” Tana wiggled her fingers. “Three,” she waited a second and then slipped around the corner in the blink.

The light flickered. One. Ela took her position at the edge of the wall. There was a squeak over by the other camera. The gate was beginning to close, rattling across the steel track. Two. Ela balled her hand into a fist and pinched her nails into her skin. Three. She released her fist. Blink, and slipped around the corner. Ela fell into the shadows beside Tana.

They crept down beside the wall, among the small trees and shrubs. The gate was still shaking across the steel track. It finally clapped against the steel stopper. A squeaky click locked it shut. They ducked their heads low and watched between the bushes as a guard roamed his torchlight left and right as he approached the gate from the inside. He pulled it back and forth for three jolts, and then spoke into his transmitter. “First Year complex is secure.”

Ela and Tana waited for him to reach a good five metre distance back into the complex.
“Dumbass.” Tana whispered.
“Let’s go.” Ela stepped out into the moonlight on the other side of the trees, outside the vicinity of the dorm complexes. She kneeled down and watched a few moments, listening – to make sure no one was coming.

“Race ya.” Tana dashed off towards the opposite end of the vicinity. Ela crept after her. The whirr of a hovercar startled her. “Dammit.” She broke into a sprint for the trees. Tana swan dived into the bushes and Ela stumbled, laughing and took cover with her. They got onto their stomachs and kept low as the whirr got louder. Ela could see through the tiniest spaces of shrub branches.

The hovercar zipped past. A tiny whoosh of air followed after it, swaying the leaves. Ela lifted her head and saw the hovercar skirt around a corner and disappear. She pulled Tana back down before she could get off her knees. Ela waited and listened. She creased her brow, straining to hear the whirr. “Ok let’s go.”

They crept out of the bushes and skipped across the field towards Training Sector A. Tana began dancing like an Egyptian. A giant shadow cast itself on the ground by the moonlight, awkward and abnormally tall – with a weird, bird pecking, jerk of the head.
“You look ridiculous, stop it.”
Tana grinned and stopped. “I can’t imagine ancient people actually dancing like that.”

Ela glanced over her shoulder. It didn’t appear as though any guards were wandering near. She turned back around and spotted the fence up ahead. Training Sector A had minimal surveillance outside the entrance. The cameras were all inside. The gates were locked, and you needed a passkey to get in. These fences had no sensors though. You could just go right over the top. Ela clawed her fingers into the diamond shaped eyelets of the wire and began climbing with Tana.

Her boots slipped once or twice, as the gaps in the wire were too small to fit even the tip of her boots. Tana reached the top and swung her legs over, then dropped three metres to the ground. Trees hid the training area beyond the fence to the right, and the rest was in darkness. Ela swung her legs over the top of the fence and climbed half the way down before falling to the ground. They crept along the shadows of the trees.

As they neared closer to the centre of the training sector they ducked, staying low until they got down onto their knees and crawled up behind some bushes and foliage.
“Made it,” Tana whispered. “Can’t see a damn thing,” she huffed.
“So did they say exactly what they’d be doing tonight?” Ela asked, fumbling with a few twigs that were digging into her chest.
“Nah-uh. All they said, and I quote; ‘Wetsuits.’”

Ela heard a rustle behind her and then a touch on her shoulder. She turned and her startled reflexes were to hit. On the ground, kicking came before punching. She heard a muffled groan and then a weak shaky sigh. Tana stifled laughter. Ela saw his face. “Holy... sorry!” she whispered. Then she spotted two more figures creeping up to them. “What happened to Endon?” Von asked.

Tana buried her face in her hands and burst into muffled laughter. She was barely able to get the words out, “She,” and started sniggering. “kicked him in...”
Trix handed Ela a pair of infrared binoculars. “I wouldn’t have thought you’d be dumb enough to get kicked in the groin, being smart and all that.” He said.
“Well,” Endon sat up slowly, “I guess my intelligence retired for the night.”

“Anyway,” whispered Trix, “back to the mission.”
“Right.” Ela said lying back down on her stomach behind the cover of the bushes. Trix got down beside her. “I’ve got a visual.” He said.
Ela looked through the binoculars. The infrared didn’t light up much of the environment, but the people were all clear.

Below, down an embankment just in front of them was the lake. It wasn’t a big lake, man made. The third years were putting on their diving gear. “Visual,” the other three said.
Ela saw an equipment shed. Some of the third years were in there, others were sitting on the edge of the lake already suited up and waiting for the drill to begin. There were lookouts around the lake. “I’ve got four, five ... umm, I think maybe six or seven Replicas.” Ela said.

“Hmm, I’ve got eight.” Von said.
“Nah,” Endon said. “That one over by the shed is Stedner. Don’t you recognise her giant jugs?”
Tana scoffed, “You wouldn’t dare say that in front of her, you sissy.”
“I might, if she ends up getting me put in a detention cell again. I’ll have nothing to lose.”
Ela took her view back to the shed and saw Stedner. She was a third year teacher and a bitch.

They stayed silent when they saw the group of third years assembling before Stedner. She spoke too quietly for Ela to make out what she was saying. The third years broke into two groups and then Ela spotted something being lowered into the water. “What is that?” she asked.
“Looks like a ... hmmm,” Endon inspected for a moment. “A bomb.”
“Oh sweet, disarming underwater.” Trix cheered quietly. He and Von high-fived.

“Eh, I could’ve done that last year.” Endon said.
Ela rolled her eyes, a small smirk on her face. “We know.”
“You are so not modest.” Tana sighed. “Which one do you think is Demant?”
“I don’t know. Look for the one with the kiss-my-arse strut.” Endon joked.
Tana leaned over Von and shoved Endon. He fell into Trix who slipped from his elbows and knocked Ela in her head with his binoculars.

“Shit are you okay?” he asked.
Ela rubbed her head for two seconds and then huffed and pretended it didn’t hurt. “I’m fine.”
She moved over a few inches to her right to put some distance between her and Trix. When she rested her right arm down, she felt something cold and metallic. Then she heard a tiny electrical beep.

She looked through the binoculars to the closest Replica. The Replica already had her head turned; facing the direction they were in. It felt like she was staring straight at Ela through the binoculars. But, their vision wasn’t that advanced. Ela moved to the next Replica. She was looking too.
“Umm, sorry to ruin the party but, I just hit a sensor.” Ela whispered.
“What?” Trix asked.

“I’m on a sensor.” Ela said annoyed that he didn’t hear her the first time.
“Crap. Sensor.” He whispered to the others.
“Just, stay low.” Endon said. “Maybe, if we stay still long enough, they’ll think it was an accidental trip.”
“I doubt it dumbass.” Tana spat. “We should run.”

“I agree. Run.” Von said crawling back, away from the edge of the embankment and the bushes.
Ela began crawling backward and the others all did the same. When they got far enough away Von stood up, but still crouched low and helped Ela up. Ela glanced over her shoulder and saw a light from a flashlight creeping its way up the embankment.
“Stedner, Run.” Ela hurried towards the fence and pulled herself up.

The others caught up quick and made it higher faster than her. She reached the top and Trix helped her over. He jumped the three metres to the ground. The light was creeping closer.
“Just jump Ela.” Tana said.
“No I’ll...” she didn’t bother finishing and just climbed down as fast as she could. Once she was down at least a metre she let go and fell to the ground. They got away and were still running, looking back at the roaming flashlight. Laughing at how annoyed Stedner would be.


« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 06:12:30 PM by Butterfly-17 »

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 07:52:22 PM »
Who is 'him'?


Ela and Tana waited for him to reach a good five metre distance back into the complex.

Offline Butterfly21

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 07:53:47 PM »
Who is 'him'?


Ela and Tana waited for him to reach a good five metre distance back into the complex.

The guard guy
is that bit confusing?

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 07:55:17 PM »
Yup - you have only mentioned the blinks and the transmitter.

Offline Butterfly21

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2011, 08:06:51 PM »
Yup - you have only mentioned the blinks and the transmitter.

They ducked their heads low and watched between the bushes as a guard roamed his torchlight left and right as he approached the gate from the inside. He pulled it back and forth for three jolts, and then spoke into his transmitter. “First Year complex is secure.”

Ela and Tana waited for him to reach a good five metre distance back into the complex.
“Dumbass.” Tana whispered.

Could you explain how that bits confusing you
so i can fix it up so that it doesn't   :-[

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 08:15:05 PM »
Got it on second read - the guard didn't really hit me the first time round - maybe give him some extra presence - fiddling with his pager/radio/whatever to make him stick in the mind???

Offline Butterfly21

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 08:19:54 PM »
Got it on second read - the guard didn't really hit me the first time round - maybe give him some extra presence - fiddling with his pager/radio/whatever to make him stick in the mind???

That's such a good idea 510bhan
thanks  :D

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 08:23:52 PM »
Nice piece - good dialogue and enough information to 'envisage' the scene without being overly 'descriptive' - [sorry I've been drinkiing wine, I'm speaking in shorthand - hope you can understand me.] ;)

Offline Butterfly21

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2011, 08:25:17 PM »
haha no problem i can understand you fine
thanks for critiquing
im grateful  :)

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2011, 08:27:27 PM »
Where's your picture gone?

Offline Butterfly21

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2011, 08:30:20 PM »
changed it
do i got one or is it like without a pic now?  ???

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2011, 08:34:10 PM »
Yes - different to the earlier one.

Offline Butterfly21

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2011, 08:38:05 PM »
good good  ;D

Silt

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2011, 09:13:53 PM »
hello

--

I think it would be easier to believe if there was a static blind spot, rather than only having a 'blink of an eye' or 'one second' to do a movement around a corner. maybe its just because 'one second' is such a short amount of time. you could still build tension with them edging around a wall, footsteps from the other side of that door, or something. plus we all count at different intervals, I'm sure we get close to a second, but even a little off of a second is a lot to a human reaction time.

I know, I am weird. feel free to keep as is. I am just offering another view.

you mention 'complex' and then 'complicated' - one being for the building, the other for the second escape plan, but I think their similarities in meaning should be changed, 'complicated' could become 'dangerous'  

---

“Let’s go.” Ela stepped out into the moonlight on the other side of the trees, outside the vicinity of the dorm complexes. She kneeled down and watched a few moments, listening – to make sure no one was coming.


---

She knelt for a moment and listened to make sure no one followed.  - try to keep a story told in the past, in the past as much as you can.  

---just another way to look at it, no reason for change.--

---

The hovercar zipped past. A tiny whoosh of air followed after it, swaying the leaves. - think of a childrens book and read your first line. I don't think you want it to be visualised like that, but as  soon as I see 'zipped' and 'whoosh' so close together, I start seeing cartoon characters. try a stronger verb, not so close together in meaning. zip and whoosh, same visual.  zip / blast of air pushed the leaves.  two different visuals, but same speed.

---

but these are just little things that don't need to be changed. I liked the voice of the two friends, liked the race to the woods. remember to let your story draw in the scenes on its own, when you add things, you take away more. for example

“Race ya.” Tana dashed off towards the opposite end of the vicinity. Ela crept after her. The whirr of a hovercar startled her. “Dammit.” She broke into a sprint for the trees.

--

you show a transference of action, suspense. it is all fun and games with 'race ya' and then the whirr of danger startles her, gets her heart racing, so she 'broke into a sprint' - where she is sprinting for isn't important yet because you just got her in danger to put interest into the reader, so don't take her out of danger so soon, let her 'broke into a sprint.' show that escapism of fear. deer in the headlights, run look. you talk about the trees when the hovercraft goes by anyway.

---

I rambled. but i did like the characters and could see them in their setting. and thoughts or suggestions I had are just other ways and not meant as a reason for change.

thanks

Offline Butterfly21

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Re: Sci Fi - First Chapter
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2011, 09:31:28 PM »
i ramble a lot too Silt

Your critique was great thanks so much
i can see how you started visualizing cartoon characters with the whoosh etc.
and i don't know what a static blind spot is but I'm going to look it up  ;D

She kneeled down and watched a few moments, listening – to make sure no one was coming.

and i always write something like this all the time. i use a present tense word where it shouldn't be.
my tenses get mixed up in my head.
thanks so much for pointing that out to me it always seems to get by me unnoticed.
 ;D