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Random Prompts and Critiques with TaniMancer

Eir

Just another deviant.
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
21
Location
USA
#1
This thread is to practice small random prompts with TaniMancer and receive critique. Feel free to post critiques or prompt ideas in the thread. Please remember keep it polite.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Canada
#2
PROMPT: Basically, unlike most sci-fi where humans get to the whole space-faring thing late and run into all the other way more hyper-advanced civilizations that are either technologically or biologically superior to them, humans are the most dangerous and feared species as soon as they run into aliens.
 

Eir

Just another deviant.
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
21
Location
USA
#3
I have one little problem with this contract you see.

Klyxar have their venom which can kill a sentient in a hundredth of a galactic time unit. The Tyrani have their martial arts which have been know to kill with a mere touch. I can deal with all of those. Have dealt with all of those.

However, I've taken a personal vow to never fight another human if I can help it. I've lost three legs, four prosthetics, an antenna and an eye over the course of being a Gantalian Merc. Comes with the territory, and I've gotten off lighter than most. The reason I'm willing to tangle with Tyrani and Klyxar but not humans is that all but my antenna were taken when I tangled with a human. Front leg was when a pissed off shopkeeper blew it off over a dispute in my tab. Back two legs were during a boarding action onto a pirated vessel. Human inside was hiding up in the maintenance tunnel and tossed out a void damned explosive. Damn near spaced me and gave me the prosthetics you see today. I could go on but we'd be here all night.

See the problem with humans is that they treat everything like a tool to kill you. They have no natural weapons in their body so they learned to focus on the world around them as tools and weaponry. As an example during the Badat Incident, one of my human coworkers lost his rifle. Despite this, the crazy primate grabbed a piece of rubble and beat three Badat to death with it. Literally, he beat those walking monstrosities to death with an oversized rock. That's when I started looking into his race, and let me tell you those oversized primates are crazy. Their entire system is built to withstand the shock of debilitating wounds that would down a Tyrani in a valvebeat. Their circulatory system can be overcharged with a naturally produced combat stimulant. That's on top of the fact that their intelligence unit has built-in tendencies to enable instant violence if a human survives combat. I've seen death world species with fewer advantages.

All of this comes together to form a species that is frighteningly skilled in combat. I've learned my lesson, and I'm tired of losing limbs. That's why you can take your contract, and shove it up your cloaca. Go get a Tyrani to deal with it.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Canada
#4
Alright, so the ideas in this were really good. The jargon was good for the most part, but did seem forced in a couple places (I'll specify after). It helped to sell this guy as a gruff, very-much-alien bounty hunter. And that's the only other point of criticism I have--his character seemed to flop around just a teensy bit here and there, going from "fairly eloquent" to "no-bullshit mercenary" at times. This is likely a consequence of this being a quick prompt, and therefore you likely didn't have a particularly solid character in mind, but yeah.

The way I'm going to break it down, is I'm going to basically hard-edit what you wrote the way I would have written it and then explain the differences.

"
I have one little problem with this contract you see... Humans are savages.

Klyxar may have a venom that can put down a sentient in a hundredth of a galactic time unit and the Tyrani may have martial arts that are known for killing with a mere touch, but a human? Those lanky apes give a whole new meaning to the word brutal.

I've taken a personal vow to never fight another human if I can help it. Working as a Gantalian Merc, I've lost three legs, four prosthetics, an antenna, and an eye. Sure, it comes with the territory, and I've gotten off lighter than most, but the reason I'm willing to tangle with Tyrani and Klyxar as opposed to humans... All of those losses besides my antenna were taken when I tangled with humans. Front leg was when a pissed off shopkeeper blew it off over a dispute in my tab. Back two legs were during a boarding action onto a pirated vessel. Human inside was hiding up in the maintenance tunnel and tossed out a void-damned explosive. Damn near spaced me and gave me the prosthetics you see today. Don't even get me started on how I lost the eye!

See, the problem with humans is that they treat everything like a tool designed to kill you. They have no natural weapons in their body so they learned to focus on the world around them, turning anything into tools and weaponry. There was this one time, during the Badat Incident, one of my human coworkers lost his rifle. Despite this, the crazy primate grabbed a piece of rubble and beat three Badat to death with it. He literally beat those walking monstrosities to death with a big hunk of rock. That's when I started looking into his race and, let me tell you, those over-sized primates are crazy. Their entire system is built to withstand the shock of debilitating wounds that would down a Tyrani in a valvebeat. Their circulatory system can be automatically overcharged with a naturally produced combat stimulant. That's on top of the fact that their intelligence unit has built-in tendencies to enable instant violence if they survive combat. I've seen death world species with fewer advantages.

Put all of this together and you have a species that is frighteningly skilled in combat. I've learned my lesson, and I'm tired of losing limbs. So you can take your contract, and shove it right up your cloaca. Go get a Tyrani to deal with it.
"

So, to begin, one of the biggest things I would have changed would be to get the point across right away. You started off by saying "I have a problem with this", but then you didn't explain what the problem actually was until three lines later. I understand you probably wanted to build dramatic tension, but what ended up happening instead was you just end up confusing the reader a little bit until the explanation hits. So, I introduced the complaint itself as soon as it's brought up, and then move forward into the supporting bits.

Second thing was "I could go on but we'd be here all night." The idea here, of course, is that he has so many stories of getting wrecked by humans that he can't even get into it. But the issue is, you already specified exactly how many injuries he received, so when the reader sees this, it seems strange that he stops at two examples when he only listed there being a finite number (9) to begin with. Obviously, don't go into all nine, cuz you don't want to bore the reader with rambling, but instead, have the character's emotions stop him from continuing--this builds a little more tension and gives him a little more depth in his personality--as opposed to having him stop out of convenience for the person he's talking to.

Other than that, the rest of the edits were for readability, eliminating unnecessary repetition, flow, and so on.

Another thing you could have done as well, was set the scene before going straight into dialogue (although, the idea seemed to be that you wanted it to be dialogue-only). Because what you could have done, is basically described the place they were meeting, say some skeezy bar that mercs tend to frequent, where everyone looks rough and tumble and ready to fuck shit up at a moment's notice, really build up the machismo of the area this guy is just chilling in and talking business, make the character seem like a badass through his description as well before he starts talking. Mention that he's an abomination of a creature at this point, with several limbs replaced by cyberware with large scars and burns and missing hair and other kinds of horrific injuries that never properly healed. Make the guy seem experienced, like he's been in a thousand battles and is still kicking, even despite all of his near-mortal wounds. Because then, when he does start talking, and he's like "Yeah, no FUCK that shit, I am NOT dealing with that." it would hold more weight to the reader, because it subverts the expectation that this guy is ready and willing to fuck with anything for the right price.
 

Eir

Just another deviant.
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
21
Location
USA
#5
Thanks for the feedback. The points on increasing dramatic tension are really good, though you may have to beat me over the head in the next couple of prompts to make sure that it sticks. Didn't even realize that I was handicapping the tension with how everything had been laid out.

Now for your prompt, it is as follows:

The protagonist is in heroic last stand that ends with death. There is no escape from this situation, only trying ensuring their death has meaning. Focus is on emotional impact and poignancy.

Side note just for you, please keep the prompt at 2.5k words or less. Don't want to accidentally cause you to write a novel.
 
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