Forums / Community / Halo Universe

[Locked] 5th Community Writing Contest (Please Lock)

OP Flugel Meister

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Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
Thanks for pulling this together dude. I'd go for some specific feedback, if available.
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
Thanks for pulling this together dude. I'd go for some specific feedback, if available.
Not a problem.

Your assessment of a Major A Fitch was an interesting concept, UNSC personnel murdering Sangheili attaches. But I would have preferred a less overt report of his actions. Make it more mysterious and subjective. Darker, even.

The issue with a lot of these assessments is the overwhelmingly popular use of buzz words such as excellent, amazing, superb or in your case the single use of the word exceedingly. It open with a buzz, a sense of energy. It would have worked better if it were far, far darker, without being all avenging Dark Knight.

EXAMPLE: While Major Fitch is proficient in tactics, close quarter battle and survival, his methods when working alongside Sangheili attaches [on key diplomatic missions] is highly questionable. Fitch is no stranger to combat but seems to revel in the act of violence, putting the lives of those under his command in jeopardy. No less than four Sangheili military personnel have been killed due his seemingly reckless approach to completing a mission. The recent intervention of the Covenant splinter faction on Trevelyan saw a noticeable increase in supposed medical intervention on his behalf, but all attaches died. Their cause of death has been labelled as undetermined.

My example is far from perfect, but is more in line with what would set up a more antagonistic atmosphere, without too many overt elements of context. In summary, more subtext would work well here.

I would also suggest a more hostile attitude towards Fitch, especially when determining the punishment. The fate of relations between Sanghelios and Earth depends on cooperation. His action may jeopardize that relationship, and as such the punishment should be harsh.
Not a problem.

Your assessment of a Major A Fitch was an interesting concept, UNSC personnel murdering Sangheili attaches. But I would have preferred a less overt report of his actions. Make it more mysterious and subjective. Darker, even.

The issue with a lot of these assessments is the overwhelmingly popular use of buzz words such as excellent, amazing, superb or in your case the single use of the word exceedingly. It open with a buzz, a sense of energy. It would have worked better if it were far, far darker, without being all avenging Dark Knight.

EXAMPLE: While Major Fitch is proficient in tactics, close quarter battle and survival, his methods when working alongside Sangheili attaches [on key diplomatic missions] is highly questionable. Fitch is no stranger to combat but seems to revel in the act of violence, putting the lives of those under his command in jeopardy. No less than four Sangheili military personnel have been killed due his seemingly reckless approach to completing a mission. The recent intervention of the Covenant splinter faction on Trevelyan saw a noticeable increase in supposed medical intervention on his behalf, but all attaches died. Their cause of death has been labelled as undetermined.

My example is far from perfect, but is more in line with what would set up a more antagonistic atmosphere, without too many overt elements of context. In summary, more subtext would work well here.

I would also suggest a more hostile attitude towards Fitch, especially when determining the punishment. The fate of relations between Sanghelios and Earth depends on cooperation. His action may jeopardize that relationship, and as such the punishment should be harsh.
So, as you always say, show don't tell! I'd actually considered the hostility towards him and tried to work it in with the demotion and begrudging handover, so it's good to learn I didn't get the weighting right.
And damn the mighty Batman for being so all-pervasive in my imagination.
Thanks, appreciate it!
In retrospective, I'm going to attribute my loss to A) trying to stuff way too much narrative into 200 words, to the point where it just became a convoluted mess, B) Donninger not being a particularly interesting character, and C) the cringe-worthy nickname I gave him (seriously, Steelfist is almost as bad as Coldsteel, except it sounds like some bizarre obscure sex act you'd find in the bilges of Urban Dictionary).

I would like some feedback, if possible, just to see if I'm coming at this from the right angle.
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
Will you give feedback for a losing contestant?
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
I'd appreciate some feedback on mine as well (especially since the reported incident will be written relatively soon)
How are things, Flugel?
How are things, Flugel?
Slow, LOL. I'll critique those that have requested and then arrange the next contest. Also got an assignment to write up on Shakespeare for January.
In retrospective, I'm going to attribute my loss to A) trying to stuff way too much narrative into 200 words, to the point where it just became a convoluted mess, B) Donninger not being a particularly interesting character, and C) the cringe-worthy nickname I gave him (seriously, Steelfist is almost as bad as Coldsteel, except it sounds like some bizarre obscure sex act you'd find in the bilges of Urban Dictionary).

I would like some feedback, if possible, just to see if I'm coming at this from the right angle.
Can you link to your story?
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
I'd appreciate some feedback on mine as well (especially since the reported incident will be written relatively soon)
Not a problem.

The main issue I had with this assessment is that it seemed to be lacking dramatic elements. That probably sounds a little strange considering what's described in the story, but it in the way that it's described that hinders here.

Take the following: Spartan Yakushev has been found in violation of Spartan Ethics Protocol (SEP 304.17) following the death of her squadmate [Hackett, Emily]. Though the mission was a success, Yakushev has developed a deep-seated, almost irrational hatred towards non-human species, primarily the Sangheili.

This passage comes across as relaxed, even a little informal. Though the tone is undeniably formal and distant. And that's the main issue here, we don't really get a sense of the Spartan's personality. We know what they did. That much is clear. But we need to ick up on hints of personality without is being overtly described. Adding more subtext in there would have helped enormously, as would changing the tone of the language. Allow me to use my own as an example...

EXAMPLE:
Li, B-128, is a troubled individual with an extensive history of egoistical objectives and their resultant actions, particularly when it comes to the Covenant. Li is ruthless in practice but prefers to fight the Covenant over any member of the Insurrection, which sometimes puts him at odds with his ONI Handler and other members of the team, especially COBRA-ONE (A-233).Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary he continues to deny his involvement in the theft of several Covenant close quarter weapons from the secure storage facility in the Hashva Valley on Onyx. Efforts to repatriate these items have thus far failed.

Li often exhibits a disregard for authority and finds it hard to mix with other team members – preferring, instead, to work alone. A result of his abandonment, no doubt. As of late, B-128 has expressed an interest in improving his communications and technical relay training, perhaps with the actual intention of qualifying this time, though I have my doubts.I recommend a remedial phase of team-orientated training and assignments so that he may prove himself useful in larger engagements and with larger squads – and the immediate cessation of all ‘Lone Wolf’ Operations.

My passage comes across as a by the numbers report. But if you look closely there are elements of subtext and a sense of personality both for Li and the person writing the report. I've highlighted those in bold. It's important that you don't feel a need to explain absolutely everything in the report. Leave elements open for the reader to interpret. In my case the mention of Li's abandonment, the theft of weapons, and Li's interest in pursuing comms training. If these elements cause you ask questions then you're on to something. But obviously those questions shouldn't be to the detriment of the readers' understanding of the report.
In retrospective, I'm going to attribute my loss to A) trying to stuff way too much narrative into 200 words, to the point where it just became a convoluted mess, B) Donninger not being a particularly interesting character, and C) the cringe-worthy nickname I gave him (seriously, Steelfist is almost as bad as Coldsteel, except it sounds like some bizarre obscure sex act you'd find in the bilges of Urban Dictionary).

I would like some feedback, if possible, just to see if I'm coming at this from the right angle.
Can you link to your story?
Here you go, thanks!
ONI Recon Bravo

SUBJECT: Colonel Johnathan Harlan "Steelfist" Donniger

Colonel Donniger joined the ODST Corps in 2515 on his 18th birthday. Owing to his excellent discipline and frequently reporting the infractions of his squad, he reached the rank of Lieutenant and was assigned to guard the Governor of Vulpes Pablo, Michael Cowry. After six months of serving Cowry, Donniger was relocated to the sparsely populated colony of Saint Helena. Said reassignment was completely incidental and had nothing to do with allegations that Donniger led an unsuccessful bloodless coup against Cowry. These allegations are just as fictional as the allegations that Cowry won the 2523 Vulpine General Election through dubious means. Three months later, Donniger committed mutiny, resulting in the deaths of 22 soldiers and Donniger's detainment. His refusal to testify resulted in eight years' imprisonment before the Amnesty Act assigned him to the ODST Battalion, “Forlorn Hope”. Three years’ experience later saw him transferred to Fast Fox Battalion. 80% of the Battalion was lost during the fall of New Haven, ensuring his promotion to battalion leader. Donniger remains unmarried and childless but enjoys a positive reputation among his men for frequently acknowledging their concerns, despite his cold and stoic personality.

First off, the most obvious issue here: paragraphs. Or the lack of them. I know Waypoint can be a pain sometimes and will retain or remove any formatting, depending where it's coming from. If you can't get it to paragraph properly try writing from scratch on Waypoint instead of copy and paste. It's laborious, but it works, and it makes it far easier to read.

The first paragraph opens up and simply 'tells' us about Donniger (Expanse reference?). And that's all it does. It jumps in with what I've seen a lot of on here over the past few years 'telling' instead of 'showing'. There's little to no subtext, no hints at hidden elements, no real personality. I'm literally being told 'everything'. I used to do this a lot when I first started writing, and it's a hard habit to break. Writers get stuck between telling the reader too much or not enough. Sometimes this becomes an info dump, especially in short stories or novels where they usually occur right at the start, mainly because the author is worried the reader won't have enough context or knowledge of the story, subject matter or the characters.

Don't panic!

Individual readers tend to be intelligent. And they can pick up on things that are hidden in subtext, such as sarcasm, attitude, intentions etc. More importantly, though, most readers don't start a new story because they know a lot about it. They usually start it because A) they've read the blurb on the back of the book which gives them a rough idea of the premise/plot, and B) they liked the opening paragraph or chapter. None of these tell the reader everything they will need to know. That comes later in the story, and there's plenty of time to write it in.

Of course, this contest only had a maximum word count of 200 words, which seems like very little. But the main aim of this exercise was to get the writers here used to writing to a specific word count, and forcing you to edit out superfluous content. You don't need to paint the entire picture here, or tell us absolutely everything. Because if you do, what's left for the reader to discover?

Think back to a previous book or even a film or TV programme when you suddenly realised something to do with one of the characters or the plot, and you thought it was an amazing discovery that you probably wanted to share. Now imagine explaining everything in the opening paragraph and removing that aspect of discovery. That's what telling does.

Overall, not a bad story. But one that concentrates a little too much on the job of informing the reader, instead of taking them on a journey. Remember, characters are the key to every story, regardless of genre. They're more important than the location, action, or the eventual outcome of the story. If they're not convincing as a character the rest of the story falls apart.
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
Oh, boy. 'Bout a month late to the announcement. Guess this is what happens when you unfollow the thread. Anyways, I'm glad I had reached the spot that I did, but congrats to the other two winners and of course everyone else for submitting. I too would like some feedback if you have the time for it considering your schedule.
Sorry, folks, I forgot to inform Grim regarding forum badges for the top three finalists. Will do that today!
The next contest will be up soon.
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
If I haven't missed the opportunity, may I also have some specific feedback on my piece please?
Caidos101 wrote:
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result

  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
If you'd like specific feedback, then just leave a message here.
If I haven't missed the opportunity, may I also have some specific feedback on my piece please?
Can you link to your piece?
Caidos101 wrote:
Can you link to your piece?
https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/forums/db05ce78845f4120b062c50816008e5d/topics/5th-community-writing-contest---result/bbe5ede3-7f83-40b5-ad14-77b5c366652e/posts?page=3#post42
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