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for The Postgrad Adventures

6/17/2011 c3 48Michael Panush
Well, this chapter was about the same as the last with its level of problems and good things. I actually liked this one a little less than the last one, as I didn't find the jokes as clever or funny. Overall, it shows that you haven't really been following my advice on a lot of things. I really wish you did, as these stories would only improve. I'll talk about writing, the plot, and characterization, the three corner-stones of any story, which have some problems.

Writing was not so great. I didn't really note that many metaphors and a lot of the sentences just seemed like confused jumbles. Try and give each sentence and paragraph at least one uniting goal or thought, and read it to yourself, so it sounds more natural. This wasn't really confusing, but the sentences did just sound wierd and it distracted me from the story. Descriptions were not so great either. You used too much technical language, giving me detailed descriptions of weapons and power armor that I couldn't care less about. You described the power armor as 'a bulky football player' and that's enough. That gives me a picture. You don't need much more.

The plot could have used some work too. The set-up was unique and the idea of sex-crazed robots was clever, but it was too simple. He comes in, is attacked and is then rescued. And what exactly is the Black Viper going to do with the robots? He'll get raped or have sex with them to make porn? That wasn't quite clear. Does Black Viper maybe enjoy getting raped with robo-tentacles? That's all a lot of stuff I'd rather not think about. I'd rather they worked harder for a clearer solution.

Characterization was okay. I sort of got that Black Viper was a weary veteran and the engineering student (still can't remember his name) likes technology, but that's about it. Why does the student like technology so much? What made Black Viper stop being a commando? What's driving these characters? I could at least tell them apart by their dialogue, so that was good.

Try and think of these things before you start writing and I guarantee your stories will improve.
6/16/2011 c2 Michael Panush
I like the idea of focusing one story on each character, and this chapter did have some clever ideas. But the usual problems remained. I'm tired of pointing them out, but I'll do them again. Let me tell you the problems with the plot, writing and characterization.

The plot did work, I suppose. There was a rather simple mystery, easily solved with Thaddeus' magic divination power. I actually think that's kind of a cheap way for him to find information. Why not do some research, question a witness or something? That would do the same thing and give more chance for characterization and to reveal information about the world you've created. The final showdown with the shoggoth had a cool set-up but the way he defeated it seemed rather cheap. He just came up with a tactic, tried it and it worked instantly and very well. There wasn't any tension or a chance he'd lose. It really wasn't that interesting to read. Making the shoggoth a pet was a cool idea, but it seemed a little shoe-horned in at the end. Maybe if you had making the shoggoth his pet part of a desperate gamble to defeat some evil frat boy cultist, that would be cool, but this seemed kind of just tacked on so you could fit a shoggoth pet in the story.

The writing had some good parts, but a lot of it was lazy or could have been better. You had some repetitive sentences, though some were okay and had good sensory details. You still had lacking metaphors. One you used 'falling like the Roman empire to barbarian invasions' is the textbook example of how not to do a metaphor. I keep telling you this and you keep making the mistake. A metaphor is when you relate something to something that's familar with the reader, to give them a good mental image. What you're doing is hyperbole, using a historical example, which just doesn't work. Stop doing this, please.

The characterization was okay. But I get the feeling that Thaddeus didn't sound like Lisa because Lisa wasn't in this story at all. And you really haven't done much to make him sympathetic or interesting, revealing any of his past, his dreams, his problems or anything like that. We know he uses magic, talks in a formal way and that's about it. He's just not an interesting character at this point. However, the frat boy dialogue was actually really funny and I laughed while reading it. Good job with that. The kind of obvious Alpha Sigma Sigma = ass seemed a little childish and obvious, though. The virgin joke was also pretty funny.

So, some good sutff and some bad stuff too. Keep working at it, and try and deal with the problems I mentioned.
6/14/2011 c1 Michael Panush
This was pretty decent, but it did have a few usual problems, which I hope will be corrected in the next chapters. There are some improvements over your usual work too, however. The short size of the story also makes many of these a problem, as there's just not enough time for the kinds of things a good story needs. What you have here seems more like the piece of a story, maybe the climax or the cold open adventure before the opening credits, but without the lead-up in plot and characters, I'm not really emotionally invested, even if you make the action exciting. Keep that in mind when writing other stories. Let me talk about the characterization, writing and plot and my problems with those.

Your characterization had some problems, namely the magic English Major and the medical student sounding too similar. I guess you picked the same type of character - super smart, arrogant wierdo - for both of them, so it's hard to tell them apart. Try giving one a different type of personality. The main character was also pretty non-descript. The part at the end where West saves the jewel rather than the guy also seemed weird, and how easily she was forgiven. If that nasty a character, why would we root for her? And if we're not supposed to root for her, why not make her other behavior follow that? It just seems rather scattershot. Overall, you didn't really give me a reason to be invested in these characters. They didn't have many sympathetic qualities beyond just trying to survive. You do need those in a comedy, for it to work.

The writing was pretty decent. Character descriptions need work, but you had some nice sensory details. When describing people, use more metaphors. I hate to harp on this again, but it gives me a lot better picture than just saying they have 'brown hair' or something.

The plot was also okay, though my comments about the shortness still stand. It was really just an action sequence. Also, the giant boulder seemed like a pretty straight rip-off of Indiana Jones. You weren't really parodying it, it was just kind of there, like something from the 'pop culture reference' school of comedy thrown in for its own sake. I'm sure you could think of some more unique trap. I realize this is supposed to be a parody, but you have to work a little harder than that.

Overall, an okay story. I hope you can keep at it and make it improve.
6/6/2011 c1 2sliz225
An intriuging and exciting story. The students are both intelligent and adventurous, as well as surprisingly well drawn for such a short piece. I really enjoyed reading a grammatically clean and funny story.

Hopefully, the start of a longer series.

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