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Rachel Saunders's picture

Kinju

By Rachel Saunders in Teleport Us

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Description

Within a souk in a city built on a planet orbitting a Dog Star, a boy with a mysterious past searches for parts to rebuild a relic of his people.

Comments

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) February 10, 2013 - 4:51am

I really enjoyed this.  The detail in your description is probably the best of the stories I’ve read in Teleport Us so far, and really conjures up a place that feels real.  It reminds me of Marrakech.  The characterisation is good, and it is a neat little story that feels more than the word count would suggest.  There is a lot of imagination in here, and the nods to backstory very pleasing.  I would certainly enjoy reading more about the world you have created.  If I have any issue it is just that occasionally you are over-elaborate with language.  For an example, ‘I skedaddled up to my room to ruminate on things’.  You obviously enjoy playing with language, and have a wide vocabulary, but when you over-elaborate it takes me out of the story.  Ruminate is a great word, but it’s not used much, and personally I just think or occasionally mull over things.  It also needs another edit as there are some simple spelling and grammatical errors here, for example ‘the ancient spawing site that was the craddle to my people’ by which I presume you mean sprawling and cradle.  But these should take nothing away from the fact that you have written a very enjoyable story, and I’d be happy spending a lot more time in this world.

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 10, 2013 - 4:56am

Thank you, I'll do another proof read today to tidy things up, and I'll take your advice re the use of redundant words. The world is part of my wider universe, which I'm starting to explore more outside of the human perspective.

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 12, 2013 - 10:12am

Just edited the story to make minor corrections - please read this version

irennie's picture
irennie from All over. Currently in Cambridge, England. is reading the Target Doctor Who novelizations February 10, 2013 - 10:45am

I liked the atmosphere of this a lot.  You established the world strongly through the first few paragraphs.  I had an impression even of how the place smelled.

You had a couple of spelling oddities where I couldn't tell if something was spelled wrong accidentlaly or was a deliberate corruption/mutation of the language.  Like "whallop" instead of "wallop".  They worked in context, but I felt slightly dragged out of the story by their use.

There were also a couple of points where your language felt a little too over-verbose, and could have done with a little tightening.  Your style and language are effective and immarsive, but there were one or two points where I had to backtrack to be sure of exactly what you meant.  There were also a couple of points where a final careful edit would have fixed minor typos, such as a reference to "the an apothecary".

The story didn't really go anywhere, but I didn't think it needed to.  It was a charming character piece that sketched a world and a small drama within it.  I enjoyed this and was charmed by the narrator.  Very well done.

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 10, 2013 - 11:49am

Thank you, I'll take all your points onboard. I'm using the language I do because of the setting (its my own universe), though I will try to dial it back a little in order to make it more digestable - are there any specifics, aside from apothecary, that you think I could tinker with?

irennie's picture
irennie from All over. Currently in Cambridge, England. is reading the Target Doctor Who novelizations February 10, 2013 - 11:57am

I'll take a look through and see if I can do you some line by line comments for that sort of thing.

On an unconnected note, I went to university in York.  It's still my favourite city in the world.

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 10, 2013 - 12:06pm

Thank you, I find sub-editing my own work a nightmare as I always get data-blindness. I moved here nearly seven years ago, and it is definitely where my heart is now.

irennie's picture
irennie from All over. Currently in Cambridge, England. is reading the Target Doctor Who novelizations February 10, 2013 - 1:27pm

I made some specific notes.  I have one additional overall style note as well.

Your main character voice is that of someone very verbose and very eloquent.  This means that a lot of your sentences are very long and contain multiple clauses.  This is all fine and reveals to us a lot about your main character; unfortunately it comes across a little confusingly as most of the time you are punctuating solely with commas.  This can leave the structure of your sentences ambiguous; in many places, a semicolon would clear up that ambiguity.

I want to stress that most of what I'm being critical of here is minor detail.  The overall story is enchanting and entertaining with a drop of sadness at its core.  Minor changes could make this already good story really great.

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 10, 2013 - 1:56pm

Thank you so much, I'll go through them, and report the story this evening.

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 11, 2013 - 11:18am

Thank you so much for the effort you put into helping me. I've just gone through it now, and your comments were very helpful.

mattymillard's picture
mattymillard from Wolverhampton, England is reading Curse of the Wolf Girl - Martin Millar February 10, 2013 - 2:06pm

Hey. A nicely created world and characters. A good read :-)

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 10, 2013 - 2:15pm

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 11, 2013 - 11:26am

A very touching story and a good read!

One thing I noticed, you have some problems with paragraphs blending into each other.  For instance, your first paragraph has four hard returns in it but visually looks like one paragraph.  When you start the "I trudged through the  ..." paragraph, you have a explicit hard return between  ".. my own safety." and "I trudged ...".  It would be a good idea to go through with non-printing characters turned on and reformat the whole document to remove extraneous blank lines like that one and use a paragraph style to either add more space between paragraphs or add a first line indent.

You also have a few missing or mixed up words in the document.  A couple of good read throughs, especially by someone else can help to spot those for you.  If you're too close to the story (i.e. you just finished wirting it or just made an editing run through) it's very easy for your mind to gloss over minor errors like that by correcting the problem subconsciously.  Happens to me all the stinking time.  To get around this, you can either let the story sit for a while or get someone else to go through looking for that kind of thing.  Either of those options help to separate the reader from the story enough that minor mistakes will trip them up while reading.

Great job and Keep at it!

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 11, 2013 - 11:47am

Thank you, your comments are very helpful.

Re the paragraph issue, I never really notice it, though I do try to avoid having mega chunks of text full of exposition, as it makes it hard for readers to keep focus on a 500 work block of text. I will try using indents on the next story I do, see how they work.

I do need a good sub-editor, and I've had a lot of useful help from peeps here.

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies February 12, 2013 - 6:46am

I liked your story. One of my favorite things about sci fi or fantasy is the description of a marketplace. There's so much you can do with the setting and you do well with it in your story. I was never lost here, i never had to figure out who or what you were talking about. Your names sounded foreign without being TOO foreign, which would have made them confusing. A lot of people mess that up. My only complaints are small ones. You did well at describing the marketplace but i would go even more into detail. Meats hanging, smoke here and there, etc... You've shown you can do that effectively without bogging down the story. Some of the dialogue was written strangely. Like there was too much description before what was spoken. That's the only thing i'd touch up. Otherwise, this is an effective read. I even felt sympathy for the girl he was building. Also, i liked how certain words were spelled differently than they were supposed to be spelled. It didn't need editing, it felt like it was supposed to be spelled differently.

Rachel Saunders's picture
Rachel Saunders from York, UK is reading Lots of factual stuff for ideas February 12, 2013 - 10:04am

Thank you, your comments are appreciated. Re the adding deals during dialogue, I use this as part of my expostion to help add to a character, though will dial it back in future.

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb February 15, 2013 - 10:22am

On my first readthrough I quite like this. I like how you have a shapeshifter as a main character and yet the fact he can change to human form isn't really what's important. What's more important is the idea of fixing things that are broken, and I wonder what it would take for your protagonist to fix his own life, which you leave open to possibility at the end. It was a little like reading about Hugo Cabret in alien form, a touching story although I felt like there was potential for Chenjin to get into lots of trouble for doing what he does and yet none of that happens which left me a little disappointed, but I know that's only a matter of preference. You tell the story you wanted quite effectively.

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep March 2, 2013 - 7:30pm

You're a strong writer in my book. I think you have a good command of setting and description, and this is a world I could get into. I'll say this: it left me wanting more.

I have a few suggestions:

I think the start of the story might need some punching up. You might consider starting in the middle of some action. Personally, I think the paragraph that starts with "I trudged through the covered souk..." is a more interesting start to your story than the paragraphs that come before. For one thing, that paragraph actually tells us more about the main character and the setting right away. I'll be honest in that I had to restart reading your story several times because the start didn't do it for me. In these short stories, you don't have a ton of time to convince the reader your story is special and worth reading.

That said, my only real issue is I don't feel you have an real conflict in your story. You have a beginning and and end, but no real engaging middle to speak of. Within the confines of this challenge, you had almost 1,200 more words to insert some danger in there. I don't need a car chase or explosions or anything like that--just something intriguing. You hint at an illicit nature of what your main character is doing, but the threat didn't feel immediate or real. I think you can throw something really interesting in there that really makes us care about what's going on. This story should sink some hooks into us.

I hope this feedback helps. I did enjoy reading your story once it got going! Keep up the good work. I would love to read more in this world.