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cnordlum's picture

The Majestic Job

By cnordlum in Arrest Us

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Yara Kent and her crew of thieves take on a heist job with a sci fi twist. 


Damon Lytton's picture
Damon Lytton from Augusta, Kansas is reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow June 17, 2014 - 9:14pm

Well done on finishing the story.  The action is well described and the imagery is visible.

One of the great elements of heist stories is the chemistry and cohesion among the crew of thieves.  Unfortunately, I think that's lacking in this story.  All of the crew except for the protagonist are relegated to off screen presence and radio transmissions.  I think there should be more give-and-take between the crew to give the audience something to care about.

One of the downsides of heist stories is the last minute twist that shows how everything along the way, even what seems like failures on first reading, was all apart of the plan.  These twists can be done well, but it shouldn't be done lightly.  The end of act two in this story leaves the audience on a down note that is quickly shown to be nothing of the sort (other than the risk of burning a limb off on a prison cell force field).  I'm not sure it's wise to ever mislead your audience within the tone of the moment; moments of crisis should be presented that way because the characters believe themselves or the job to be in danger.

I wanted to like this story more than I did - partly because it reminded me of a television show that was canceled before its time - but I think there is a lot of potential here.  Don't give up on this story.  With another couple passes it could be great.

Joe P's picture
Joe P from Brainerd, MN is reading Wheel of Time June 20, 2014 - 5:21pm

I liked the characters and subject matter of this story. I was fun, fast paced and full of action. By the third paragraph, I was hooked and interested in this recent prison escapee who immediately went back to her game and reveled in murder.
I would like to see more focus on Yara. She is your central character and I think her development should be key to the story. I don't care so much about the revolution or the conspiracies as much as I do about Yara. If you're open to suggests, I'd say pare down on the revolution angle and even the rest of her crew since they don't make much of an appearance in the story anyway.
The tricks and double crosses and plot twists are good. They'd be better if they really effected how Yara felt or viewed the world or how she thought. Do all these twists and turned change her in some way? Make her more jaded or enthusiastic or willing or hesitant to peruse her career in crime? Those are the kind of things I want to know. The rest is stage dressing. Stage dressing is important, but the characters are central.
Hope this helps. Keep up the good work!

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 22, 2014 - 11:55am

Well I wasn't expecting a space opera. Not bad, I'd echo the previous comments but also add that if you don't want to focus on the other members of the team, don't introduce them all, just mention the other three are spreading throughout the ship. Also, there were a few things that felt lifted from Star Trek - why spend energy on crazy brig fields? What is wrong with a good old fashioned metal box? Needs a little work but nice story.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 3, 2014 - 12:50am

I think it’s safe to say that I was expecting such out and out sci-fi in a crime contest. That’s not a complaint though, I like a good genre mash-up.

I’ll keep this one short as I’m not sure if you’ll read this judging on your posting history. If you do want a bit more detail though, let me know. Noting you are quite low on readers, I’d strongly suggest being a bit more active in the contest, reading and commenting on other stories which should attract more readers to yours.

There were three issues I had with this one. First and foremost is that while your prose is clear and easy to read, it is mostly descriptive. What this means is that whole parts of your story read like, she did this, then she did this, then she did this. We don’t really get into Yara’s head, and the rest of her team don’t make any impact at all. I like to get a bit closer to a protagonist rather than just seeing what he or she is doing.

It’s a minor point, but ‘energy weapon’ does not work. The word energy is scattered throughout – energy weapon, energy blaster, energy rifle, energy shielding, energy field door. The word is meaningless without further context. Is it a weapon made of energy, or one that fires energy? If it fires energy, what does it do when it hits you? Make you go faster or kill you? I’m being ridiculous of course, but the point is that if it’s a gun, call it a gun. If it’s a shield, call it a shield. Hell, call it a Spilazjuous if you want, or any gobbledegook, as long as you define it.

The other point was the ending. There has been a real spate of films in particular which feature the big bad getting captured on purpose. As soon as they capture Yara and her generic crew and head to Marun V, it is obvious how it is going to end. The story feels very much like its part of a planned novel, in which case this is a tiny part of it. If that’s the case, best of luck with it, you show more than enough potential here that it could be a very good story. As a short story though, I don’t think it quite works.