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Cloud Computing

"You ready?"
"Yeah, Dobe," I replied. "Start it up."
The portable generator chugged hollowly for a moment before finally rumbling into life, a brief green flicker from the computer bank announcing its success. A curl of exhaust issued forth, and to my nose seemed to fill the whole office block with its petroleum stench. Even this, however, was nothing compared to the sensation that accompanied it; subtle, but far more potent.

The computer had not been switched on for some time, and a number of scheduled tasks had accumulated. In my mind's eye, I perceived them, though the screen lay cracked and broken on the floor: toppled, no doubt, during the evacuation all those years ago. Nevertheless, though mute, though silent, the computer spoke, and I listened. Almost imperceptible beneath the heady drone of data streaming through the air, I could feel a faint whirr from within my ribcage and a dull warmth from the cable running up through my neck. The machine had begun its work even before I had.

"Anything?" Dobe asked.
"Not yet. It's just running maintenance at the moment. It'd take me twice as long to force a skip."
Dobe wandered over to the window, peering out into the street below. The generator was awfully loud, and would be sure to attract the attention of anybody nearby. It must have been calm outside, because Dobe spoke again.
"Grey?" she asked. "What's it like to be custom-made?"

It was not the first time she'd asked that question. It wasn't even the first time since the incident in the warehouse: she had been repeating herself a lot. Kevin and I hoped that it would pass when the neural packing finished knitting itself into place. Then again, for someone who'd been technically dead only a month ago, she was hardly doing badly. "Honestly?" I said, dragging my attention away from the computer's chatter for a moment. "It's not that great. Sure, I skipped all the controls and conditioning the company put you through, but because of that they'll never let me into their buildings. And look at me!" I lifted a scrawny arm, a quartet of thumbs where my fingers should have been. "Kevin's an alright guy, but he's..." just some punk with a gene lab? I looked up at Dobe, the thick clawed hands, the reinforced skull and its mouthful of teeth. Would a gentle insult be taken as a threat? It was not a risk I wanted to take. "Kevin's specialism is cybernetics," I finished, meekly. "The people who made you, they were experts."

Neither of us said anything for a while, but the noise of the generator persisted. The computer having finished its start-up routine, I began to sift through files. There were a few financial reports that might help us recover useful stock, but beyond that, nothing. Five-hundred exabytes of information and none of it relevant to the company's research. Most was just security footage.
"Alright," I said. "Let's double-check there isn't anything on paper and..." I felt the satellite connection in my chest before the signal was fed to my brain. This had never happened before, and yet, thanks to Kevin's forethought, I had no doubt as to what was happening.
"Kill the generator!" I hissed, though there was nobody but Dobe to hear it. In an instant, she had crossed the room and flicked the switch. The void left by the engine noise was intense: the void left by the sudden loss of power to the computer even more so.
"What is it?"
"There is a company employee within a hundred metres of us."
"How can you tell?"
"GPS implant. You've got one too." The satellite had begun to relay information from the company database, and its memory began to infiltrate my own. "Her name is Emma Chilcott. Her assignment began six years ago, but she hasn't uploaded any work for a few months. The last update reported that her bodyguard was..." though it had slipped into my mind quite calmly, I could not pass on the information with the same indifference. "Her bodyguard was decommissioned: the result of a deadfall trap. No replacement was sent. She..." what came next, I knew I could not tell Dobe, so I picked something from her profile. "She was originally stationed thirty miles West of our designated zone." I looked up at Dobe, not sure what she would make of even this much information.

"We were supposed to spread out," she said, after a pause.
"Keep your voice down," I pleaded, "please!" Though the GPS data was still leaching into my brain, though it told me that Emma was still seventy-two metres away, that very connection made it feel as though she was with us in that room. Wetware had never been meant to deal with sights out of sight or sounds out of earshot.
"Nobody is supposed to leave their area!" Dobe whispered, striding over to the window. "She must have had a good reason to come this far. Something must be wrong."
"Let's not assume things that we..."
"She would hardly have come all this way if things were going well."
"Please let's just go!" The numbers in my head were counting down. I could guess from the satellite that Emma would soon be on the road beneath the window. There was no telling what Dobe would do then.
"Are you thinking straight? We have to help her! Where is she now?"
"Sixty metres."

I sat and waited. Dobe stood by the window, a hand resting on the pistol in her belt. Emma was close, now. Close enough to be seen, depending on the layout of the streets outside, though Dobe's inaction suggested that I still had a minute.
"Dobe?" I asked, gently. "Do you really think she could have made it all this way alone?"
"I sure hope so. The alternatives aren't...quiet!" She shrank back behind the window frame and drew the pistol.
I approached as quietly as I could.
"There are Purists out there," Dobe whispered. "She's been captured."
"She hasn't, Dobe." Though I would never be able to stop her from using the pistol, I closed a hand over her wrist just in case. "She defected. She's joined them."

For a moment, Dobe simply stared at me, her eyes bright and hollow in the dim window's light. "That's impossible," she muttered, finally. "They'd never take one of us."
"Not us, no. But Emma—and Kevin, for that matter—they aren't like us. They're legally human. One extra gene tagged onto a chromosome? Even if the Purists know, they probably don't care. 'Hate the sin, love the sinner.' We're monsters to them, Dobe, but she's just a convert."

I heard a ripple of laughter from a way down the street outside, and a few scraps of the Purists' chatter. There was a voice amongst them that might have been Emma's.
"What are you going to do?" I asked.
"What the situation demands." Dobe tugged my hand away effortlessly. "She knows too much."
I didn't bother trying to fight back. I wouldn't have been able to, and the noise would have done us no favours. Between the signal from the GPS and the noise from outside, I could guess even Emma's position within the group. Soon, she would pass just beneath the window.
"Dobe," I said, quickly. "Kevin's on his own now. We left him back at the lab, remember?"
"He's safe."
"For now, yes. But look how many there are out there. If you shoot, there's a good chance they'll kill you."
"It'll be worthwhile."
"And me."
"I'm sorry."
"And Kevin will be stuck out here alone just like she was. How long do you think it would be before he joined them too?"

I was half relieved to see Dobe turn away from the window, half terrified to see her advance on me. Wordlessly, she grabbed the sleeve of my shirt and lifted me through the doorway, further into the office block. Once out into the corridor, she lowered me to the ground—crouching herself—but did not let go.
"Do you really think he would do that?" she asked, quietly.
I hesitated for a moment. To question Kevin's loyalty would bring into question my own. As an employee, I would not have had to worry about this, but as a mere asset the consequences could be fatal. "If he were left without support," I said, carefully, "I think he might."
Immediately, Dobe stood. Involuntarily, I raised a hand to protect my face: with the group on the road outside, she would not risk the noise of the gun. It would not be that quick.

But to my surprise and horror, Dobe merely returned to the room.
"Wait!" I hissed, as loudly as I dared. "What are you doing?" Scrambling to my feet, I darted after her. As I passed through the doorway, the portable generator nearly knocked me to the ground.
"Picking up our stuff," Dobe replied, slipping the straps over her shoulders. "We're heading back."
As we hurried down the stairwell, I said nothing, afraid that it would give Dobe some reason to change her mind, but she spoke first.
"I still feel like I should do it," she said, "but there's no good reason besides company orders. She's had long enough to tell them what they want to know. Killing her now would be a pointless risk."
"Right. Let's just focus on getting back in one piece this time." I smiled, but Dobe was clearly not in the mood for humour. She stopped between staircases.
"I know you tried to protect that employee," she said. "Don't. If I can retire her without endangering Kevin or company property, I will."

That was the other problem with being custom-made, I considered. I did not belong to the company: I belonged to Kevin.
Chapter 2, Corkboards: [link]

This is the first chapter of what I'm hoping will become my first self-published novel, or perhaps just novella. Set in a near-future Britain devastated by a man-made apocalypse, it describes a landscape changed not by deliberate nuclear war, but by the accidental release of a weaponised pathogen; sophisticated biological weapons having rendered their brutish atomic predecessors obsolete.
The scale of the disaster terrifies the outside world into banning all but the most innocuous ventures into genetic modification. Within the nation's borders, however, genetic engineering has become the only chance to reclaim the country.

If anybody would care to offer feedback on this, I would be most grateful. If anybody would be so kind as to proofread (or "beta-read" as the kids say these days) the entire book, I would be easily grateful enough to give you a mention, and a free copy if I'm not already giving it away.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-07-03
Inhuman Resources: Chapter 1 by ~DamonWakes The suggester writes, "Great opening, good characterization! Shows that you don't need a ton of background info to tell an engaging story." ( Suggested by neurotype and Featured by thorns )
shadowrunner2323 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
it's rather confusing, but it has a good base, and the idea is interesting. i'd have put in more description about "grey", but you'll probably do that later, and it's secondary. all in all, i like it, and would buy a book.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Professional Writer
Thanks. :-) I definitely have to include more description of Grey--it's a challenge to do that in first person, and wasn't something I was desperate to tackle in the first draft--so that'll be something I go over when I rewrite this. A lot of people have mentioned wanting more information in general, but I feel like the only way to introduce this setting is either by dropping the reader in at the deep end or slapping in a prologue that just tells them how it all started. Given that choice, I'll always pick the first option. ;-)
shadowrunner2323 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i do the same ^^ maybe have grey look in a mirror?
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Professional Writer
I'm pretty much determined not to do that just because it's a very common trope. If it was genuinely the best/most natural way to work those details in, I'd go ahead and do it, but it definitely wouldn't be my first choice.… suggests some great alternatives, as well as why the mirror thing isn't actually the end of the world.

Personally, I think my best opportunity to describe Grey's appearance is to have her consider just how much it differs from the humans around her (as initial description) and, later on in the novel, from other AIs like her (to get into detail). A good chunk of the reason why I didn't work harder to get that kind of visual detail in the first time around is that, as an entirely man-made organism, Grey's appearance will have been dictated by her job/function (which wasn't set in stone when I started writing). I've since decided that she's small--grown quickly and with minimal nutrition, as the company considers her series fairly expendable--and that she can see well in the dark, since she'd be expected to search for supplies in areas with no windows or electricity. But those aren't things I'd decided on before I got to them.
shadowrunner2323 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
okay. makes sense. i personally write in third person, so i''m no expert. and you did an excellent job on the personalities of your characters. ^^
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Professional Writer
Third person is definitely more versatile. Personally I tend to only move to first when I'm going to be spending more time in that character's head than out of it, or when I need a more limited perspective in general. It's a nice option for a whodunnit, for example, because then clues are only revealed to the reader when the main character finds them. When I very first started writing this story, and it was pretty much just a handful of little scenes to get an idea of the characters and setting, each one was from a different first person perspective--it took a while to work out who to stick with for the actual novel. In the end I picked Grey largely because her one-off scene immediately felt like part of the main story: in fact, it's this first chapter. :XD:
shadowrunner2323 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
yeah, my first story (that awful monster of a plot...) actually randomly switched between first and third. though i confess, i thought grey was a guy initially. XD
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Professional Writer
I find there are situations where you can switch perspectives without it feeling awkward, though it's very much a case of having to justify it rather than it being a standard choice. If you're doing it for a good reason, it probably won't even be that noticeable. If you're just unsure or are trying to work in a gimmick, it's probably not the best way to go. But at the same time, you can expect to revise a story a lot before it's done, so maybe that was just part of the process you needed to go through to work it out? From your "awful monster of a plot" comment I get the impression it's one of those first stories you don't really intend to continue with, but if it's not (or you ever end up going back to it), then maybe you'll find that the switching perspectives have helped you figure out what you really want to do.

Being more of an organic machine than a person, Grey actually has no gender. I settled on "she" as a pronoun for the AIs almost arbitrarily: in-universe it's justified because it's grammatically troublesome to try and refer to them as "it" all the time, and "she" gets used specifically because that's already a convention for, say, ships. Also the absence of a "Y" chromosome (though not all species have the same system of sex chromosomes to begin with).
(1 Reply)
ZwarteZwaluw Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013
I would love to read the whole thing :) It's amazing :)
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Professional Writer
Thank you! :-) I'm glad you like it.

If you're offering to give feedback on the whole thing, however, I'm afraid I'm not really in a position to use the help just now. ^^; Since I started this story, it's steadily grown bigger and bigger, and I think the first draft is liable to need serious work before it's ready for finer, small-scale editing. There's already a lot I know I'll change.
ZwarteZwaluw Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
Sure, giving feedback or not, I'll certainly keep reading :) And the offer is there now or some other day.
And it has to get bigger and bigger because nobody who has read the first chapters wants to stop reading ;) :)
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Professional Writer
Thanks. :-) I'll be sure to remember it.
merrak Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist
A very intriguing start! Seems I'm a bit late to the party, but congrats on the DD~
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Professional Writer
Thanks! :XD: And you're not all that late: I'm still working on this thing, at least.
Rovanna Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012   Digital Artist
This is very intriguing, I like how you didn't give too much away yet. I love the idea of the genetically modified people. I'll definitely continue reading this one. :D

Incidentally, with 'wetware', is it a standard term? I've wanted to use it in my stories for head implants and things, but I wasn't sure if it was just a William Gibson specific term.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks! :-)

As I understand it, "wetware" simply describes biological technology and never "belonged" to any particular writer(though I'm pretty sure Gibson must have made good use of it). An implant would still be plain old hardware, but the brain itself would be wetware.

I might be using a somewhat broad definition of the word, though. :XD: My excuse is that this is a setting where a company has to have some kind of name for products that travel out of the factory on foot rather than in a box. [link] explores the term in a lot of detail and is definitely worth a look.
Rovanna Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Ooh, thanks for the link. Good to know it's a proper term. I'll have a read of that and see if it's the term I'm looking for.
Roskvape Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Very intriguing. Well done and congrats on the DD!

As far as proofreading goes, you've done pretty well. The main things that caught my eye were the following:

-Your use of colons is a bit odd. I'd have to look it up to see if it is considered "wrong", but it is not standard usage in literature. You might consider trading out all your colons for em dashes — The HTML code for it is: "& mdash ;" (without the spaces and quotes).

-The spacing of the paragraphs is inconsistent. Although having no extra carriage returns/line spacing is standard, it is hard to read in a format like this, where first-line tabs aren't easy to make. I find adding one line between every paragraph is easiest to read.
-Ellipses have their own spacing rules. To briefly summarize: Add a space between each of three dots in a sentence that is broken or incomplete. "I think it . . . might . . . work. What do you . . . ?" Four dots are used in a complete sentence that trails off (actually one period and an ellipsis). "I know I just saw those parts somewhere around here. . . ." Notice that the period has no space before it, but the ellipses always do. I find the Gregg Reference Manual is an excellent and easy-to-use guide—if you don't have it already, I highly recommend it!

Good luck, and keep up the good work!
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Professional Writer
Wow! :D Thanks for the comment.

I had to look up the rules regarding colons myself to check if I'd been misusing them, and it seems as though I might have been some of the time. As far as I can tell, all of the ones in this chapter (should) fall under Rule 4 at [link] . The main problem I can see is that the second sentence isn't always complete. I'll have to see if there's a better option (your em dash suggestion might be the way to go) and whether or not it's necessary. ^^; I can't say I use complete sentences absolutely all the time as it is, but there's normally a reason for the fragments.

I can't really argue about the paragraphs: they're definitely not consistent. I've used a new line for new dialogue and a blank line for other new paragraphs. This was sort of a compromise between having everything squished together and blank lines all over the place (which would be the way to fix it, but I find most things awkward to read when they're that spaced out). writer might be helpful when it comes to formatting things, but I'm still not all that familiar with it.

Thanks for the point about the ellipses: I've been relying on Word's autocorrect feature to deal with that and it looks as though this site preserves the changes it makes.

Thanks again. :-) Formatting is probably the area of writing I'm least familiar with, and it's great to have some help.
Roskvape Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
In the end, the most important thing is that your writing communicates the exact ideas, mood, and pacing that you want it to. So, style can be bent a bit in terms of writing if you use it wisely. I'm kind of fond of fragments myself, because in lots of scenarios, people's thoughts and speech are fragmented. They also can be used for emphasis and impact. If they aren't over used.

I forget who it was, but one famous author, in response to criticism for using prepositions at the end of sentences (a big no-no once, but I think the rule is falling out of use), said, "This is the sort of sentence up with which I will not put."

For the most part, I try to follow the example established by modern published authors, hence one reason why I avoid colons and semicolons like the plague--I don't see them used much in literature. They seems to occur much more frequently in business writing. I wouldn't be able to explain why.

Then again, there are certain things pushed in current published works that I cannot stand at all. For example, the idea that all dialog tags should be "said", "shouted", "whispered", or "asked". Seeing "said" used over and over in endless repetition in writing makes me want to tear my hair out, especially since it is such an inefficient, lifeless word compared to "growled", "pleaded", "trilled", and so forth. So I am currently torn between never using any dialog tags (a very interesting exercise, inspired by Michael Stackpole) and using dialog tags sparingly but avoiding "said" where I can.

Writing is like drawing--once you know how to follow all the rules and draw a perfect human form, then you can break all the rules and create stylized comics that are still professional. Terry Pratchett is a great example of how a professional writer can take liberties with style and use them to great effectiveness.

But I'm digressing, and I don't remember why. ;) I wouldn't worry too much about the spacing. Literature in DA is a bit awkward. is a formatting/literature tool? I'll have to check it out. :) I've been using Dreamweaver and Word, myself. It's a tedious process for longer pieces.

Yeah, I thought the ellipsis symbol in Word should be fine, but one instructor of mine said, "Nay, nay." It makes sense to me now, because the Word ellipsis is so different in appearance from the proper method. It you want consistency, you just have to do it manually. Although having spaces between periods can create some odd end-of-line breaks--I ended up setting up and AutoCorrect tool to make the spaces non-breaking-space characters.

No problem! If you ever need help, let me know.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Professional Writer
That generally sounds like a good way of doing things. I think one good rule of thumb would be whether or not it reads naturally: following every rule to the letter all the time can actually throw up some pretty odd things. "Up with which I will not put" would be one example, and I suspect that it's one reason you find some punctuation more often in business writing (though I can't say I've noticed that myself).

I'd disagree with "said," though. I try and use other words where they're more appropriate, but "said" is sort of neutral and can almost go completely unnoticed. It's perfect if you just need to clarify who's speaking, though using a tag after every line of dialogue seems comparable to giving motorists a speed limit sign every couple of metres. :XD: Dropping tags completely sounds like it might actually be the best option, but personally I can't be bothered to tiptoe around like that. is actually a thing (for want of a better word) on dA itself. It seems to act a little like some sort of private gallery. I haven't looked into that side of it yet, but it includes " Writer," which can be used in much the same way as the text submission box but will preserve at least some of the original formatting from, say, Microsoft Word. So far I've mostly just used it to save myself the trouble of adding bold and/or italics in HTML. It's also proven handy for turning text into hyperlinks.
Roskvape Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The reason I rebelled against "said", other that repetition, is because all my writing instructors were telling me to use it instead of more colorful tags. When I asked why, their explanation was that the content of the speech itself and the character's actions should be sufficient to express the character's emotions. They more expressive tags were a crutch.

So I thought about it.

And I thought about it.

And then I went, "Okay, that makes sense. It is like showing versus telling."

Then I thought about it some more.

And the I went, "Hey, 'said' is a 'telling' crutch just like any other tag! If I am supposed to show with speech and action (and I agree this is a good idea), then I will use only speech and action--I don't need dialog tags at all!"

That's when I realized what Michael Stackpole was up to. By leaving off dialog tags completely, it forces one to put more thought and color into speech, as well as constantly keep the characters in motion and alive in the reader's mind. Using sentences with action to clarify who is talking also prevents the "talking heads" syndrome. I'm not convinced dialog tags should never be used, or that "said" should never be used, but the no tags method is a valuable writing exercise, if nothing else. Challenging at first, but it's growing on me. :)

Cool! Thanks for the tip. I'll have to look into it. :)
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Professional Writer
That's an interesting way of looking at it. Dialogue tags definitely do seem to fall around the "telling" end of the spectrum, though I've always found "show, don't tell" to work best a fairly loose rule. There are times when it's most important just to make something clear straight away, and "telling" is perfect for doing that. "Reader, I married him" from Jane Eyre is a handy example since it works well and it's especially jarring.

I might actually try that exercise at some point (though probably in something short!). It's one of those ones that, if done well, shouldn't be at all noticeable. I always find that's a good rule of thumb to see whether or not a writing exercise actually provides a viable way of writing in general. Not using the letter "E" might make you think more about word choice and be interesting to try, but it's not exactly going to take off as a "style" of its own.
Roskvape Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, writing is one of those things where the communication of the end product is more important than all the established rules (within reason). One really does have to figure out what works best for the work at hand. Telling does have its uses. Especially communicating something of relative unimportance or something that would be impractical to write in full detail.

I've found no dialog tags to be pretty viable, and in most cases, produces a better result (from me) than relying on dialog tags, because it forces me to add motion and visuals to areas I would normally neglect. (Some people don't have this problem. ;) ) And Stackpole proved it viable for the entire X-Wing series--and it was subtle enough I didn't notice until several books in, if I recall. I agree that this is important! Readers examining choice of words instead of enjoying the story? That kind of misses the whole point.

However, there were times when clarity of who was speaking did become an issue with Stackpole's work. I think those instances could have been avoided with a little more effort, but if I had to choose between clarity and no-dialog-tag style, I'd always opt for clarity. I'm not a fan of writers who let their cleverness make their work confusing. LOL!
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Professional Writer
Although I don't have time to read further right now, I like where this is going. Congrats on the DD.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks- I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it if you end up reading on. :-)
aquaTICKworld Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
I like it a lot. It's quite exciting and intriguing. I want to read more! :D
Missoo Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
I really like the chapter, it flowed well and it didn't appear amateurish in any way. Awesome job ^^
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
That's great to hear. :-) I've had a look at a lot of self-published books recently, and though there are some real gems, a lot of them really could have used some more work before they went out.
davidanaandrake Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Professional Writer
Really good so far. I didn't notice any typos or problems, just smooth all the way. Good start! Congrats on the DD, fellow novelist. :)
Trylledrik Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think this will be a book I'll love, but I must say I was a little confused with the talk of "sensing company employees" and how the person who's narrating was able to do it. How would one extra chromosone affect something like that? Is she a machine (most likely thought so far)?
I was just pretty confused, but if it is/was explained in later chapters it could work because it would keep the reader reading to answer their questions. But if this info is what we'll have to go on throughout the novel, some changes may need to be made.
Sorry if I'm being harsh :forgiveme: , this writing is amazing for an average person, but I can tell you want the "above and beyond", so I'm being nitpicky because I KNOW this novel could become famous.
I'll have to read it when I'm done with the Gone novels I'm reading by Michael Grant.
Congrats on the Daily Deviation. I really hope this works out for you and you can publish the novel :library:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
No need to worry about being harsh (and I don't think you were :-) ). I love getting feedback: anything to improve the story.

Based on the responses to this first chapter (which have been enormously instructive), it seems to be a "you get it or you don't" sort of thing. Ideally, I'd like the situation to be clear to everybody from the start, but it's difficult to do that without bogging people down in detail. This information definitely isn't all there is to go on, though: if you end up reading further, I'd be interested to know if chapters two or three make things any clearer. :-)

I had to look up Gone. It sounds like an interesting series: something like Lord of the Flies but with superpowers.
Drinkingwolf Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice opening chapter, I think this will become a great book.
moonsdescent Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Student General Artist
I love this chapter, and the direction you are taking, and especially love the fact this is narrated in first person and does not sound amateur-like.

I am trying to write my own story and am having some help looking at writing by people online, in novels and such. Your chapter is a wonderful inspiration in the direction of writing and organizing thoughts.

Also, I love the concept of the story. Any post-apocalyptic plot is sure to be creative and imaginative for sure!

This is such a masterpiece! Congrats!
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
I tried so many perspectives before picking this one. :XD: I'm glad you think it works because it was a real pain to get it to this stage. I'm not normally a fan of first person for whole books, but in this case nothing else worked quite as well.

I see that you've only joined the site recently (welcome!), but I wouldn't mind having a look at your novel if you end up including any of it in your gallery. :-)
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Very intriguing start! I'm very much interested in where this is going. There is an excellent balance between information given and blank spots.
solaric Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Professional Writer
This is an interesting piece. I've always been intrigued by stories about the interaction between human and machine (which seems to be the sort of genetic modification you are describing), so I would definitely read more of this. Leaving out most of the background information in the first chapter is also a good 'hook' that makes me want to discover more about what happened.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks. :-) I was actually more focused on the biological side of things when I started writing, but it didn't seem realistic to have a future where computers (and the options for interacting with them) hadn't become more advanced as well. No matter how good we get at manipulating living things, I think there will always be a need for machines.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012   Writer
Great sci-fi piece that works, as promised in your nice gold banner, as a fine stand-alone story.
The subject is fantastic, timely (current cloning, genetics and all that's happening now) and I can't find anything wrong as a 'Purist' proofreader (lol) ... :iconrobotplz: ... :iconcongratsddplz: ... :iconclappingplz: ... Thank you. You're on my :+devwatch: now, okay?
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks! :-) Personally I like a short story to have a stronger ending than this, but I'm glad you think it works. I find I prefer openings that give you a complete scene of some kind. I sometimes feel a little lost, otherwise.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012   Writer
:iconyourewelcomesignplz: I took into account it says "...Chapter 1." That made it easier to imagine continuation.
I like to use imagination, at least sometimes.
iamkathybrown Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Slightly confused, but I am guessing that will be cleared up later.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
I'm hoping so. ^^;

If you get around to reading any further and are still confused, it would be great if you could let me know which aspects of the story specifically are unclear. In stories set in futuristic/fantastic worlds, I always find it difficult to work out whether or not I've explained things properly, and feedback from other people offers the best chance to sort out any problems. :-)
Kinglorshi Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Student Writer
Glad to see a change of pace from the usual literature I see here. Good work. You have good ideas and your writing is good as well. Congratulations on the DD. Keep it up.
SamuraiLapin Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This is a very good opening. It leaves you wanting to more, about the Purists, Kevin and what happened to the world. It is well read, I couldn't see any glaring grammatical or spelling errors. This is going on my watch list. It's also good to read stuff from a fellow Brit.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks for the feedback! When you say you couldn't see any "glaring" errors, did you spot any less obvious ones? :-) Nothing's too small to fix.
SamuraiLapin Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
When I said that it was on a first glance. I've gone through since and found a couple of things to comment on. I'm not here to criticise (other than constructively), just point out things to ask about. Here goes.

Colon Use: Several sentences use colons. ('the screen lay cracked and broken on the floor: toppled, no doubt, during the evacuation', 'since the incident in the warehouse: she had been repeating herself') Now I'm not saying its wrong, but its something I'm not familiar with.

'Then again, for someone who'd been technically dead only a month ago, she was hardly doing badly.': The sentence starts really well, but feels a little rushed before the end. I think there's a better word or phrase other than badly.

"Kevin's an alright guy, but he's..." just some punk with a gene lab?': Not sure what's happening here. Is it spoken aloud, as a thought, or free direct prose? Needs some clarification.

'This had never happened before, and yet, thanks to Kevin's forethought, I had no doubt as to what was happening.': There is nothing wrong with this sentence per se, but if I'm being niggly, then I'd ask what is going on in this sentence? I understand Kevin's forethought, but maybe a little more idea of what the character thinks.

"We were supposed to spread out," she said, after a pause.': I understood this sentence ... eventually. Again, just needs a tweak to make it more obvious.

'But to my surprise and horror, Dobe merely returned to the room.' I think there is a missed opportunity here. You could make more of it, ramp up the tension a little. Dobe's obviously hard wired for combat, so put a bit more threat in her actions, the sense of relief when nothing happens will be better.

There you go, hope I haven't been too judgemental. Good luck with the story and I'll keep reading.

Many thanks
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Professional Writer
Wow- thank you so much for taking the time to go over it again! No need to worry about being judgemental: if someone makes a suggestion, I can choose whether or not to use it. If they don't, I can't do anything about it. :-)

I believe the colons are correct, but whether or not they make for the best style is another matter. I'll bear it in mind.

I'm not totally sure about the "some punk with a gene lab" bit myself. I see the writing in general as being this character's thoughts, so that section would be thought but not said. I'm not sure I could explain that within the sentence without having it get in the way of the story, but I'm open to suggestions.

I may have to have a look at those other bits: especially when Dobe returns to the room. There does seem to be an opportunity for something more there.

Thanks again for the help. :-)
Chys Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
A lot of people try putting character's thoughts in to italics.

'Just some punk with a gene lab?'

-like that. Most see italics and know it's something not spoken aloud but rather emphasized or thought when it's not written as part of the dialogue.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012  Professional Writer
That might help people understand it in this particular case, but I think it might be hard to keep that consistent: this character is narrating the story, so in a way everything is part of her thoughts. I can only recall seeing thoughts written as italics in third person pieces, though there are undoubtedly exceptions. Since it doesn't add any extra words, though, it could be quite a handy solution.

About your other comment: thanks for clearing up the "Dobe" thing. It didn't sound like it was that bad a word, but I never like to rely on search results for that sort of thing. A website is fairly good for telling you what a word means, but generally it seems best to rely on real people to find out how it's used.
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