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The SERIOUS BUSINESS Critique Thread:

 1 Leradny, Sun, 2nd May '10 11:43:58 AM from Alameda, CA
A problem I've been seeing in the other threads (particularly the Writing Support Group Thread) is that no one gets as much feedback as they want, since there are so many people posting their pieces/ideas/questions that inevitably some things get skipped over. Therefore, I have started:

The SERIOUS BUSINESS Critique Thread

1.) Nobody posts their work here until the previous piece has been commented on. Giving one critique is good for getting one critique. If you want another, you must treat it as an entirely new piece by critiquing another person's work, then posting a link to your previous post.

So ideally the format of posts after that would be Critique of the previous post, then whatever the poster wants feedback on. Although you may post a critique without posting work of your own.

That said, the next poster will get a free review of at least seven solid lines from me, so the next next poster will not be obligated to post their own review.

2.) For critics: Post the good points AND the bad points of the piece, even if it's just a list. I have also noticed that constructive criticism is limited to "Thorough yet polite detail of what the critic finds wrong, then a line or two of what the critic liked". It's leagues ahead of other sites, but disproportionate emphasis on the flaws is not the best criticism, either.

3.) Ideas and questions do not go here. This is for completed pieces or good-sized chunks of prose/poetry only.

4.) Don't take anything personally. We are critiquing your writing, not you.

5.) Please specify if you are posting original work or fanfiction.

Let's hope this works out.

edited 2nd May '10 6:05:05 PM by Leradny

A piece of writing I had posted earlier on:


The modest street of homes seem quite empty and devoid of people with the liveliness from before, save for a young couple who kiss their lips so tenderly by the side. The sun makes a brief shine of light through the grey clouds before being covered in obscurity once more.

The yoki seems to lead over to the entrance of one of these homes..

Clare waits. She just stares hard at the closed, wooden entrance. Nothing happens for the longest time, and no one comes out.

Welling up enough courage inside her, Clare makes a decision, and starts to the door.

Its eclipsing shadow falled on the meek looking man inside the house, who had his head perked through the crack of the door. It would like to come into his parlour and have a good rest.

“Can I come in?”

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I like your house. Can I come in?”

“What the hell is this?” the man said. “No, you can't come in.”

“Are you sure?” It raised a hand from the sack it carried to push the door all the way open.

“What.. what are you doing?!” the man asked, trying to use all his strength to keep the door from opening. The door opens slowly anyway..

it hurts

Clare stands, frozen still as her hand lays on the cold iron handle of the door. The scars left on her body tingle and ache as she tries to will herself to open the door against hesitation. Humid sweat goes down her forehead and cheeks.

Then her moist hand slowly and surely turns and twists the handle, and she opens the door with narily a sound.

With halting steps, Clare enters the household.

The first thing that greets Clare is the lingering smell of sour stale rot. As the greyness inside shows itself to the pouring light through the door, she makes out the unkempt and tattered state of the house.

Overturned furniture and a very large pile of scattered cloth litter the parlour. There's one archway into the front hall – and another leading to a dining alcove and through there the kitchen.

Clare shuts the entrance door ever so slowly, leaving only the dreary grey shining through the drapes for light. For the moment, she stands in indecision, not sure what to do next in the way she is now. She just stares out from under the hood at the mess. The suppression pill seems to be wearing out – the drag of her greatsword no longer seems to pull her down with all its cumbersome weight. Still though, there's a certain lethargy that is still lingering through her self.

She tries to sense the presence of the Yoma – its yoki now the stench of a perfume overwhelmingly saturating the air. It's all too much for her to determine where it might be lurking even. But something inside tells her that it will be all right.

Very slowly, she unsheathes her greatsword (so heavy!) almost falls over in the effort, and wields it with her two hands.

Step by step, Clare makes her way into the open hall, sword wavering.

A grisly and pulverized body lies - fleshy stumps of legs propped up against the wall in the unclear darkness. Everywhere is stained by the dark red of blood spots. Now the stink hits her full on

it hurts

Her breathing comes down harder, unsettled, taking in the decayed air.

Some moaning, heard muffled through the walls.

A little pause, before Clare makes her way to where the cries come from, avoiding stepping near the body. It twitches a little as she creeps her way past it; the eyesockets, though eyeless, still seemingly eyeing her.

The mahogany door lies closed at the end of the hall – the handle dulled and worn. Clare lays her fingers on the cold cast-iron, turns it slow— it opens in a soft creak.

The chamber here is with rags and towels hanging sagged beside washbasins – the windows have all been covered up with the hanging curtains. There's an uneven dripping sound, for one of the towels, stained a bit red, leaks its spare drops into the basin. A door right in front shows hints of the outside light creaking through the cracks, while another door on the left wall..

It's the same weak moaning – right through the left door.

Clare holds her sword down as she heads over to the left – finds it hard just to pull it open—

as it grabbed one of the bound and tied young children in its hand, and went on to the kitchen

In the darkness of the pantry, three children, naked and bruised, lie on their side against the cold ground – their hands and feet are bound by many rags of cloth.

They whimper, as they struggle along on the ground.

Oh shit..!

Clare rushes on down, lays her claymore by the side, hurries her hands to untie and rip their bonds apart. The boy.. the girl... the other boy (somehow familiar). Her hands fumble. She could not help but notice their wrists and ankles are a ghastly purple.

Now these bonds are but shredded rags.

The children shake, shivering in the cold.

Clare raises a finger to her mouth - “Shh. Shhhh shh.” She gives a little smile and takes off her hood to show her face. “It's okay.”

And they look to her, and manage their smiles too - they are in good hands now.

“Okay, ” she goes, hushed. She helps them all up, and hefts the claymore from the side.

Clare inches her head out the door, looking around the laundry room to see, before she notions for them to follow. She doesn't want them to feel so cold anymore, so she rummages through the piles of cloths for anything that resembles clothing – swaddles them

and opens the back door to outside.

/

The backyard seems bare, enclosed by hedge bushes and with a withered, leafless old tree at the corner.

Clare leads them over to the tree's shelter, with the concealment of the tree trunk and hanging branches. The children huddle together, as they go to sit down and look upon Clare in her poncho.

“Stay here, ” she goes to them, before she heads off—

“But where are you going?” the girl asks worryingly. “Where's Mama? Papa?”

A beat.

Clare could not bring herself to say anything for a moment – the body down in the hallway brings back so much pain and horror and the sadness in her mind for her own.. Papa.. Mama..

The tears well down from her silver eyes, her heart under so much pain. The children do not say anything – just bewildered and frightened, that someone so brave would just cry all of the sudden.

But finally, she manages to bring herself to say something, with all sincerity. “I will find your Papa and Mama, ” she goes. “And I'll make sure.. that monster.. will never bother you ever again.”

edited 2nd May '10 12:23:33 PM by QQQQQ

 3 Leradny, Sun, 2nd May '10 5:05:42 PM from Alameda, CA
save for a young couple who kiss their lips so tenderly  * by the side.

The sun makes a brief shine of light  * through the grey clouds

Its eclipsing shadow falled  * on the meek looking man inside the house, who had his head perked  * through the crack of the door.

“What.. what are you doing?!” the man asked, trying to use all his strength to keep the door from opening.  *

The scars left on her body tingle and ache as she tries to will herself to open the door against hesitation.  *

worryingly  *

Weak Points
As detailed above, some of your word choices and turns of phrase are odd or indistinct. You also have a problem with keeping the piece in present tense—there are shifts into past tense here and there which are quite jarring. The single use of "Oh, shit!" was also incredibly jarring. I would remove the profanity, or make it more prevalent overall.

I also couldn't get a sense of the world, since the name "Clare" is European, as is the greatsword/claymore, but "Yuma" and "yoki" bring to mind Eastern magic. Also, she is using a greatsword in what appears to be modern-day Earth.

You seem to be trying for a stream-of-consciousness tone to add an element of surrealism, with the odd page breaks and a careful (lack of) use for punctuation. But as you are not quite there yet, or not aiming for a stream-of-consciousness tone at all, it just seems like stilted regular prose that gives an extremely vague sense of place and time, and jumps from POV to POV far too quickly for me to get a sense of the characters.

I also have to wonder what happened to the man at the door, as he just disappeared when Clare entered the room.

Oh, and your use of "so" tended to shift emphasis to a subject that shouldn't have gotten it (the young couple in the beginning, for example), or added emphasis to the character's emotions which was completely unfitting for a piece with such a detached tone (Clare, at the end, seemed rather too emotional for the calm, collected personality you'd established, all because of a two-letter word that popped up twice in the same paragraph).

Please tone down your use of ellipses and em-dashes. They cause the tone to swing between wildly purple and oddly beige. Sometimes in the span of two sentences, which is confusing and not very enjoyable.

I also find you to have a case of Talking Heads in the beginning conversation, which is probably to add mystery. But you can keep one person's identity vague while still describing the surroundings and the appearances of people who you don't need to hide.

Good points:

I may have gotten a vague glimpse of the world, but I appreciate what I did see—particularly the addition of a horrific element, along with the detached wariness Clare gained upon seeing it.

I also liked how you characterized Clare herself. She was professional, yet caring towards the children, and while her outburst at the end was unexpected you did point out that the children themselves were surprised. Since the empathy was intended to add some character depth, I would suggest you just drop a few more hints towards it so the reader won't be taken completely by surprise like I was.

Your dialogue flows quite naturally, which stands out a lot against the prose. I applaud you for even attempting to write a long stretch of prose without talking.

This isn't a horrible piece, it just needs some coherency in order for the readers to enjoy themselves fully. I am quite interested in the world, and what Clare's exact occupation is that she goes about hunting for monsters while still having the capacity to care about other people. If this is ever revised, I would like to read it again.

edited 2nd May '10 5:07:04 PM by Leradny

Leradny, are you familiar with the Claymore series?

Of the shifts into past tense, I use it in the vision/memory that Clare perceives as she goes to the front entrance of the house and as she opens up the pantry door - from the Yoma's (the monster) point of view. Other than that, the rest should be all in present tense. Hopefully this might offer some clarity on the 'talking heads', 'disappearing man' and POV incoherency.

Does Clare really seem that detached? Hmph.. I was thinking of her being increasingly unnerved as she explores the derelict household, but perhaps I wasn't clear enough on that part.

edited 2nd May '10 5:56:05 PM by QQQQQ

 5 Leradny, Sun, 2nd May '10 6:04:14 PM from Alameda, CA
Ah. That does clear up most of the points I made—I am not familiar with Claymore, but just make your POV shifts a bit clearer and emphasize Clare's increasing sense of fear.

*adds "Please specify if you are posting original or fanfiction" to the rules*

edited 2nd May '10 6:05:24 PM by Leradny

Hello, everyone. This'll be the first time I've posted anything of this story in public. It takes place in a world I've been building for a couple of years now, but I've really only just started writing this out in story format, so I only have a little bit to review right now. Anyway, without further delay...

Cress turned, cutting through alleys and yards between the old dirt roads. The town of Fiddlehead was bustling around her; the streets were filled with more people than she'd ever seen at once, the crowd occasionally giving way for a carriage or a passing car. She cut across a grassy yard, slipped between a pair of small wooden houses, and came to a long, straight dirt road, leading out of the village and into the woods that were just visible on the horizon. She fell in behind a group of adults heading the same way she was – if she listened closely, she could hear them whispering excitedly among themselves, although she couldn't make out quite what they were saying. Where they were headed was already obvious, though, thanks to the flyer Cress clutched in her hand, a small printed sheet of paper that read 'Tempo Allegro Performing Tonight – admission free for children 12 and under'.

They rounded the corner and came to the edge of town, where normally there would be a small empty field between the houses and the woods. Today, though, a huge big-top tent had been set up there, covered with bright patches of red and green shot through with orange that all seemed to swirl together. Off to one side of the entrance was a stand stocked with all kinds of souvenirs – banners, picture-books, and small figurines and statuettes of the troupe's performers and other images that Cress guessed were related to the show. Cress approached the main entryway and help up her flyer for the attendant, who took one look at her and nodded, waving her through.

The inside of the tent was dominated by a vast outdoor stage, nearly as tall and as wide as the big top itself. The stage was completely empty - there was no painted background, no setpieces, not even any obvious place for the performers to sit, just a giant black canvas for a backdrop and some stage lights mounted on top.. There were four lampposts stationed at the corners of the room, but instead of being topped with lights, each one had a soundstone mounted on top, hooked up to a recorder. A few dozen portable chairs had been set up facing the stage - the crowd's murmuring continued until everyone had filed into their seats, and then gradually died down as the lights dimmed to black.

The ambient music of the hills faded with the lights, until hardly anything could be seen or heard at all. Somewhere behind the set a soft tone started to build, and the stage started to glow again, lit up seemingly under its own power. A trapdoor opened at either end and two figures rose up from underneath, both wearing a simple white unitard and a brightly-painted mask with stripes matching their own. They stepped off of the rising platforms and toward the center of the stage, lifting their arms along with the music, and both the dancers and the sound joined together, revolving slowly around the middle of the platform. As the song took shape, so did the scene around them, with the platforms on the edges becoming a pair of tall, thin towers joined by several others, separated by rocks, sand, and little patches of tall, wavy grass that suggested a shoreline. The melody picked up and the canvas background began to ripple with a pattern of light and dark as if the light were being reflected off the surface of the water.

The scene came to life as the lights shifted colors and the two figures on stage leapt to the sides, creating a booming splash that swept across the backdrop. They climbed up the poles, jumping from one to the next until they were back to the tallest pair, and the illusory water rose higher with every step until the room was fully submerged. The pair spread their arms wide and sprang across the stage, passing each other in mid-air and dragging waves behind them that crashed together, causing the background to fill with a spray of multicolored bubbles. They began to dart back and forth, playing with the ripples, which changed shape, swirling around and scattering as if they were schools of brightly-colored fish. A patch of grass grew into coral that burst into bloom, changing into a huge fan that spread its way across the set and bounced the light through its branches, turning the room a deep reddish-purple. The ripples became a wave that became a giant razor-toothed maw which chased the performers back and forth across the stage until they ran themselves into a corner and the jaws snapped shut. The music hung on one note, drawing itself out while the jaws hovered suspended in mid-air, until an explosive crescendo shattered them apart into millions of tiny droplets and the dancers came tumbling out.

The music came to a halt and the lights rose back to full. The crowd broke into wild applause, complete with catcalls, as the two performers backed up to make room. They were joined by several more as the other members of the troupe came out from behind the set and took the stage one by one, each taking a bow in turn in front of the dissipating ocean scene. The ovation went on for what felt like hours, until finally the stage lights went dark.

After the show, Cress stood alone outside the tent, admiring the souvenir she'd picked up - a small wooden figurine, dressed in the same white unitard and painted mask as the acrobats. It had become dark out by the time the show was over, but the field outside the tent was still lit up by a few spotlights and torches on tall poles. She passed by the stand again, where the troupe was gathered, signing autographs and answering questions. Her ears perked up as someone called out to her.

"Cress!" It was Rose, standing outside the entrance and waving her over. Cress walked over to her and they started the short trip home.

"That was amazing, wasn't it?" Rose walked with her usual quick, springy steps.

"Yeah! I've never seen anything like it." Cress kept glancing down at her new figurine. "Hey, Rose...have you ever thought about joining up with something like that?"

"What, you mean running off and joining the circus?" Rose snickered into her hand. "Really, though, I dunno."

"Well, how do you do that?"

"I don't know. You need to study a lot, I guess, and have some kind of special training..."

"Like what?"

"Well, why don't you go ask if you want to know so badly?"

So she did. Cress turned around and ran right back to the tent, where, luckily, the troupe was still standing out in the open. Cress crept over and stood on her tiptoes to see through the throng of people gathered around them; she could just barely make out the troupe's leader talking. She piped up. "Um, excuse me, sir?"

The troupe leader looked down at her. "Yes?"

"How could I join up with you guys?"

He flashed her a smile. "Come back with a Solfege education and a few years of experience, and maybe someday you'll get to work with us, hm?" He turned to answer another question, leaving Cress blinking to herself. She stood and watched for a few more minutes, while the acrobats spoke to their fans and even put on another improvised show. The gears in her head turned and turned - Cress had already made up her mind.

Skipping ahead a bit to another scene...

Cress hopped down the stairs and made a beeline for the front door. Halfway through the kitchen, however, she froze in mid-step as a loud 'a-hem' stopped her in her tracks.

“And just where do ye think yer going?” Anna said, arms folded over her chest.

“Um, ” Cress turned to face Anna and looked up slowly, blinking. “I was just going out to practice. What's wrong?”

Anna sighed. “Look here, Cress, I overheard ye talking to Rose. Yer thinking of running away, aren't ye?”

“No!” Cress' eyes widened. “I mean, I wasn't gonna just run off...”

“Good.” The older woman knelt down to look at Cress eye-to-eye. “Because I don't want ye to go running off and getting into trouble all by your lonesome. Now, what gave ye the idea to leave home in such a hurry?”

Cress' ears perked up. “I went and saw the Allegro show. They were really amazing – they had great acrobats, and a lot of really powerful musicians, and they even built their whole set from scratch right there on the stage.”

“And now ye've gone all starry-eyed about going off and learning to be a real musician somewhere?” Anna shook her head. “Cress, I know ye want to go off to school, but yerjust too young to live on your own yet.”

“But-”

“No. Yer too young and I cannae let ye go out into the world alone.”

“But the schools accept all ages-”

“No.”

Cress stared at Anna with her mouth halfway open for a few more seconds, mind racing to come up with some defense, then hung her head and turned to leave, mumbling, “Yes, ma'am.” She walked out the front door and sat by the road, tail curled limply around to one side, staring down at the dirt.

A short while passed like that, Cress sitting by herself and dwelling on the conversation. She was almost completely lost in thought when a tap on her shoulder made her snap her head up.

“I'll make ye a deal, ” said Anna, standing over her. “If ye can find out about this school, and pass whatever tests they want you to take, and prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that yer ready to go and live off in some strange place by yerself, I'll let ye go.”

Cress perked up again, a huge smile plastering her face. “Really? Thank you, Anna!” She jumped to her feet and threw her arms around Anna's waist, giving her a tight squeeze. Anna chuckled and gave Cress' head a gentle ruffle.

“Yer welcome. Now go practice, and be home before supper.”

...and that's it. You can probably tell, but in the first part, I wrote the performance scene first, then went both backwards and forwards, fleshing it out as I could, and writing the opening paragraph last. A few things I'm concerned about include whether the conversation between Cress and Rose is too simplistic or quick or something, and whether the language during the performance is too purple, for lack of a better term - it's supposed to be something that could really capture a kid's mind and make her think 'I want to do that when I grow up', but I'm not sure if I overdid it.
 
 7 Leradny, Sun, 9th May '10 12:11:32 PM from Alameda, CA
All right, I'm going to give the next poster another freebie as it's been a week, but anyone after that should really start posting critiques on their own. This is not the "Get Critiques From Leradny" Thread.

Whyte Shadow: You did overdo the difference between the performance and the conversation, though I appreciate the idea behind it. It wasn't a difference in quality—more like this was a collaboration and the second half (with paragraphs no larger than three lines) was written by an entirely different person who only matched the tone of the first half (with paragraphs no smaller than five lines). You will want to trim down the first half, at least by splitting some paragraphs in half so they aren't as overwhelming.

The Funetik Aksent for Anna didn't really work for me. Since she is apparently Cress' guardian and not even Cress talks like that, it came off as gimmicky and out of place. I'd advise you to change it to standard English.

The above points aside, I quite enjoyed reading the piece. Your style is simplistic even during the performance, but expressive and polished—the first half demonstrates that you have a good sense of atmosphere, and the second half has very natural dialogue. Very Slice of Life-y. Just tone down the difference between the two a little bit. Even without any changes, I am quite interested in reading more of this.

 8 Latia, Sun, 9th May '10 4:43:26 PM from The Bottom of Texas
life is hard U_U
@ Whyte Shadow:

Things to work on

  • “Where they were headed was already obvious, though, thanks to the flyer Cress clutched in her hand, a small printed sheet of paper that read 'Tempo Allegro Performing Tonight – admission free for children 12 and under'.”
    • The sentence runs on a little long, you might wan to turn the comma between “hand” and “a small..” into a semicolon.
  • “A trapdoor opened at either end..”
    • I think that should be “both ends”.
  • I agree with the Funetik Accent issue Leradny brings up, it’s a tad out of place

Things I enjoyed:

  • ”covered with bright patches of red and green shot through with orange that all seemed to swirl together”
    • Good imagery, “shot through” is an uncommon way to describe something, and it works well.
  • “As the song took shape, so did the scene around them, ”
  • The entire performance scene was very beautifully written with some unique images. Very enjoyable.

Overall: Think carefully about some of your word choices and grammer. But quite enjoyable and intreguing.
 9 Latia, Sun, 9th May '10 4:45:34 PM from The Bottom of Texas
Thank you, Leradny and Latia. I'm glad you liked my writing, and I really appreciate your suggestions - I'll definitely take them to heart. :> You make some really good points.

One thing you both mentioned was the accent - you're right that if Anna has this sort of accent, Cress should, too, and probably also Rose, since it's a regional thing. I imagine the Fiddlehead accent being roughly equivalent to Scottish, but there's no Scotland, so I can't really just say it's a Scottish accent. Any idea how I can communicate that they speak in a certain accent without actually saying it outright or writing in it, or should I just rewrite everyone else's dialogue, or what?

I'll see if I can't do a critique of Ghosts, too.
 
An accurate depiction
to Latia:

Critique:
  • Your character seems to fluctuate between being perky and talkative (especially when describing gorier moments) and shying away from it. I could see the former as being moment where her personality bleeds through her disguise, but she seems fairly good at controlling it, given the ending.
  • A minor thing:
    Number 52's eyelashes pulsed as her gaze traveled from the paper to the intercom which sat in the middle of the table, quietly recording every word that was being said.
    pulsed is probably the word I would avoid using- it seems quite odd.
  • Also, The fact that Martin put pencils through his eyes wouldn't necessarily be the biggest indicator of a suicide- it would seem that someone as mild-mannered as him would have great difficulty putting a freaking pencil through his eye; it's harder than it looks, especially from a psychological standpoint (no, I don't speak from experience.grin). The mere fact that two pencils were in his eyes would be ample evidence to condemn 52, ignoring the fact that they you would require that much force to put them through your head. Then again, your way works too.
  • Finally, the pupil being shrunken is not something I would associate with surprise, per se; to me, it would be closer to being drugged- something you could consider drawing a parallel with.

Good bits:
  • Your grasp of horror is excellent- there's a momentary hope spot at the end, followed by a good dose of eye scream.
  • I like the way you communicate the staccato-ish (sorry, it's late and I can't think of a better word) speech or the sort of nostalgic sense over the scene, which acts as good foreshadowing. The similes made me laugh despite the macabre situation
  • Finally, your characterization is nice- the part where Martin holds a pencil tightly during the massacre description was a perfect means of communicating his character traits and how uncomfortable he was with the situation. I would say that that part was my favorite in the story (I'm not generally a horror fan.)

Addendum
  • Final bit: It seemed also to me that Dalton hasn't given much thought to containment procedure- stating that they could not keep there without her consent- but you may want to specify that they want to keep her intact, as it would leave a bit of a plot hole as to why they wouldn't just kill her. Or, if you feel that it disrupts the flow, don't.

My own piece

This is actually short compared to other parts (889 words compared to the previous 7, 044 smile), but I wanted that quality critique, and it saves you time. Win-win.

But the first day of training was the best. That day, we wanted to show the men that their commanders were gods to them, showing through the obstacle course. That day, the entire battalion stood watching us; Itou traversed it first. To them, she must have blinked from existence, pausing just enough at a few points to leave a seeming afterimage before disappearing again, just below the speed of sound. It was beautiful. The fluid way she moved, her coat snapping behind her in the wind, the array moving in perfect synchronicity with her movements… Only I came to appreciate the aesthetics of war. Halaz whistled softly; he was standing to my right. “Can you copy that, Gant?”

I snapped out of my daze with a shudder; My hand clinked for a moment against my side before I steadied it. Itou had left the course and was about to join our group. “Perhaps, ” I said. The soldiers were beginning to depart, milling about for a few moments.

“The demonstration isn’t over!” shouted Itou, smiling as she watched the soldiers snap to attention. Grabbing me by the hand, she dragged me, protesting, to the center of the crowd. “Come on, let’s show them how to spar, ” she said, drawing her blade. The sunlight reflected from it as she ran a hand along its spine.

“I don’t think-” I began before I was forced to parry, a push from my own sword throwing her hand away from mine, her delicate hand holding the blade’s spine shifting to the hilt as she readied herself; would that she knew my unwillingness. A twinge of misgiving halted my blow an inch from her block, but I pressed on, not indicating anything, a regretful clash knocking her back. A step backwards from the counterstroke, and her boot left a trail across the ground as she followed up, the tip of her blade knocking mine about.

As the blade sped forward, I swung aside my sword from the guard I had been holding, extending my hand so that the tip pointed to the side; there was a crack as a few fragments of metal flew from my rear carapace, and I stepped back swiftly, freeing myself. “I think that suffices, ” I said, waving the soldiers away as I walked back. There was a crack as Itou caught up to me, grabbing me by the shoulder. “What happened back there?”

“Better spoken of in my office, ” I said, and we walked on in silence. As soon as I closed my door, Itou continued. “You broke your guard on purpose. Hell, you moved in the opposite direction. Explain that to me. Now.”

I watched my fingers tapping on my desk, the small specks of interior wood, lighter colored than the surface, tossed across the surface with each fleeting moment of contact. “It is not becoming for me to wound you in front of your own troops; I am, if nothing else, more expendable in leadership than you are. If the troops see you injured with such ease, you could garner no respect-”

“Of course, ” Itou said mockingly. “And the fact that you’re tapping your fingers and that you made long a pause tells me that you’re making it up on the spot. You’re not your arrogant self. So explain to me why you didn’t take the opportunity to fight.”

“I seem to have lost my appetite for war, a drive to fight. For a human, the analogue is the lack of appetite when ill.”

“I can tell what brought this about, ” said Itou. “You’re forcing yourself to repress your natural desire for fighting. And you carry it over into most things now.”

I gave a bitter bark of laughter. “Accurate. For a human.”

“Accurate because I am a human and I diagnosed you?” Itou asked. “Or accurate in the case of a human but not yours?”

“Yes.”

Itou shook he head. “You shouldn’t hide things from those who understand you the best.”

I pulled my finger out of the deep grooves left in the desk, a sweep of my hand scattering the sawdust across the floor, random forms skittering for brief moments. It was too late to scavenge this instance; to alter my course so suddenly revealed too much.

I opened the drawer of my desk, taking out a half-full bottle of alcohol. Tilting it, I paused for a moment, watching the liquid settle into an immobile pool. A slight tilt would free it… and I threw it against a wall in a cascade of shattered glass. I would not weaken myself, not for my own desire nor that of any other. What was I thinking? To allow a mere moment of diversion was to invite a pathway of being surpassed.

Yet did Itou really understand me? Were my thoughts mirrored in her mind? No. Psychology would have actually diverted her from the truth. I stood up and paced, taking care to avoid tracking the dust on the floor around, leaving it in the neat little mounds.

Apathy was beautiful, diverting me from that hazard of relation; as long as I could avoid encroaching on feeling, satisfaction was mine. If only such complete apathy toward Itou existed… if only she would just fade back into the sea of uniforms, just another bleak face to be dealt with. Ha.

edited 11th May '10 4:56:42 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
 12 harmattane, Mon, 10th May '10 7:59:22 PM from Location, location
X_X
Probably not really following the pattern, but since someone just got commented on, I'm always up for a SRS BSNS critique of my thread.

No need to wait until that is critiqued to move on, though. It's getting kind of long and already has a small spinoff.

EDIT: Wait; shit. I didn't see that. I'll critique the person above me when I get back.

edited 10th May '10 8:00:43 PM by harmattane

Ce ne pas un post.
 13 harmattane, Mon, 10th May '10 9:57:43 PM from Location, location
X_X
@Morgulion: I was a little bit confused, especially at first, but I think that's mainly because the piece is from out of a larger piece, and I don't get to be introduced to the setting or characters here. It feels like I was just dropped into the middle of something that was already going on, between people I don't know.

Your descriptions are the best part of this, and how much you enjoy writing them shines through, but if I could give you any suggestion for those, it would be to integrate them and the discussions of what the protagonist is thinking more smoothly into the action. It seems like things pause to give us that information, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Over all, your love of writing is all over this, and because we readers can feel your excitement, we enjoy it all the more. Just keep a close eye on whether or not you're getting carried away with some elements, and the work is going to shine.

If you missed it the first time, someone else may go ahead and post their writing now because it's unreasonable to make everyone wait for someone to critique my unreasonably huge piece. I was just putting it out there as a challenge because I'm interested in serious critiques.
Ce ne pas un post.
An accurate depiction
@harmattane

Here it goes! Thank god for my surfeit of free time.

I'll try to mark this by post, specifically your writing ones by number within the forum- first (1st with writing), tenth (2nd with writing), etc. And I may have to split it up to several posts. EDIT- this is for the first two. Also, the applied good bits are universal- my next posts will contain more critique for now. You may be ninja'd.

Good bits:
  • You are good at writing in Stream-of-consciousness style, and the setting with the hallucinations is evocative of and gives a good means to write so. While I did have to reread a few bits to catch what was going on, you manage to convey the overall picture quite well.
  • You are wonderfully good at building a world- the carefree- do-what-you-want quality was immediately visible, and your superb description of the details and small things props it up and gives it realism. It is a great setting, and I think that given your writing skill, you can make a superb work with it.
  • I liked the characterization as well- from their introductions, we can see just what Lux and Aubrey are like- well done.
  • That leaves minor, mostly grammatical and stylistic things for my:

Critique:
  • The introduction (1st post)- it seemed jarring to transfer suddenly from present to past tense. Perhaps, as a suggestion, it would be better to make it unified, and it certainly seems better when I viewed it in the past tense.
    • Minor gripe, also introductory (1st post)- you may want to insert a throwaway line about how the radioactivity of the glow-in-the-dark flavor was ignored, otherwise it raises questions about why someone would do that when seemingly there would probably be a way to prevent it from being like that.
    • introduction, 1st post-
      no had figured out how.
      probably should be none.
    • introduction, 1st post- confectionary seems the wrong word to use when referring to the beverage- it implies more of a candy-ish tinge.

  • 1st post overall- your description of the fight scene comes at a slightly inopportune time, and left me a bit confused as to what had happened, before I finished the post and got it.
  • 1st post-
    he wore his new girdle for the first time, one size larger than the last. They never looked good on him.
    - I know it’s not, but it seems like an agreement error on first reading, so rephrasing might be prudent.
  • 1st post-
    when the child's powdery hair had appeared just below the edge of their table and matter-of-factly observed that the guy over there waving the pointy thing did not like him.
    - this was a confusing bit, and it requires knowledge of what is described later- so you might want to explain it a bit more clearly.
  • 1st post-
    said Aubrey, his basso voice rolling through his pasty face
    - you may want to use a different word- basso is more associated with operatic singers, although it does fit.
First post done.

  • 10th post-
    which filled the screened off elevator
    - screened-off should be hyphenated.
  • 10th post-The elevator scene with the floor tile took me a while to figure out, despite its simplicity (shows what doing this after an exam is like.). Maybe you ought to make it a bit clearer.
  • 10th post-
    smelled metallic, like factory air
    - metallic isn’t the smell I would associate with the factory- fire and mustiness, yes, metal, no.

2nd post done. Concludes 1st part of critique.smile

edited 11th May '10 5:55:45 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
An accurate depiction
Let us continue. 23rd post (3rd), 30th (4th), 38th (5th), and 41 (sixth).

  • 23rd post-
    but this had one. Auxiliary, rising from the base like an extra arm with its keyboard for Aubrey’s use alone.
    I suggest turning this into one sentence.
  • 23rd post-
    the tube he had haplessly wound around himself from the skin of another Iosethep noble.
    could use clarification, although I got it the 3rd time through.

That's it for the third.

  • 30th post-
    Maybe Aubrey typing while Lux waited in a boring void.
    - could use a 'was'.
  • 30th post-
    The dendrites, the Blue Men called this place of limbo between virtual locations, as its branches resembled the inside of a brain.
    I advise rephrasing this- remove the of, and the latter 2/3 seems a bit jumbled.
  • 30th post-
    He had will, but nothing but will.
    - I advise altering the first but to something else, as it just seems odd.

Fourth is concluded.

Nothing on the 38th post. Marvelously written piece of work, and I applaud you.

Fifth had nothing to comment on.

  • 41st post-
    made the will to scold the head for talking to Lux like his mother drop out of Lux’s head and pool in his feet unused.
    - comma before final word.
  • 41st post-
    And that is how one gets Lux Langley II to speak immediately.
    a bit of a tense break there.

Sixth post completed.

edited 11th May '10 6:35:18 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
 16 harmattane, Tue, 11th May '10 6:52:50 PM from Location, location
X_X
...MOW.
Ce ne pas un post.
An accurate depiction
53 (seventh), 57th(eighth). The action rises.

  • 53rd post-
    round little person sitting on its edge, alone.
    - you may want to put a comma between round and little.
  • 53rd post-
    In fact, tension he had had before had visibly left him.
    - I would add an article to tension and remove the second had.
  • 53rd post-
    Annecy showed Lux something she did not want Aubrey to know she was showing him.
    a bit awkwardly phrased.

Probably my favorite bit so far.

Seventh post complete.

  • 57th post-
    His petrified body spun slowly in the air and had become semitransparent; he had forgotten about it.
    - try to keep consistent tenses.
  • 57th post-
    Lux had known, and that being used to taking such leaps daily,
    - take out the that.
  • 57th post-
    to break the laws of the world he was used to occupying should have been a tougher mental leap.
    I would suggest that you change the first infinitive to 'breaking', as it seems to flow better that way.
  • 57th post-
    He laughed at himself into the damaged ceiling.
    - it's a very odd turn of the phrase, but I suppose it could work.
  • 57th post- May have missed it, but I think Hans intruded a bit suddenly- it could be a bit smoother.

Thanks for the Made of Win, and that's my contribution for today- I need some sleep and I'll have a lot of unoccupied time tomorrow to continue. I must reiterate that this is a great story, and this thread was how I got to access it- so thank you and good night.

edited 11th May '10 7:20:17 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
 18 harmattane, Tue, 11th May '10 7:38:15 PM from Location, location
X_X
You're welcome, and I can't wait to see what you have to say about the rest.
Ce ne pas un post.
Here is a brief, first-half excerpt of a Eureka Seven fic I'm working on at the moment - the start of a 'magic carpet ride' between a nervous boy and the exotic girl.


In the dark confines of the closet room, Renton Thurston stares out through the plexiglass window, at the billowing clouds, orange and purple they are from the unseen setting sun. The wisps make their lovely patterns all around, a blanket of sorts, beneath the violet-streaked dusk sky as the Gekko-Go heads its course. There is this urge within him, just to go out, and fly, fly in this beautiful scene, out in the Nirvash.

But what of this beauty, if there is only Renton there in the air, alone? It would be leaving out the touch of spice that makes the spaghetti taste so wonderful.

Immediately though, he thinks of the one person who makes his heart beat faster in joy, and his cheeks flush warm with red. He pictures the flowing cyan hair that comes down to her petite neck and those alluring violet eyes. There wasn't anyone else he'd met who had such pretty eyes. He imagines her by his side, warm hand in hand, in Nirvash's spacious cockpit. How wonderful it must be to share the wonder of this moment with her, Eureka.

Renton must hurry though. The sun would not wait for them before taking its rest beneath the covers of the horizon.

What if I get in trouble though? Holland and the others might not like it if I just.. take the Nirvash out for no reason..

These doubtful thoughts though are soon forgotten as Renton takes one last look through the windows, and heads out into the hallways, over to the communal room where Eureka spends her time playing Maurice, Mater and Link at a game of ping-pong. Spacious windows all over reveal more of the passing outside.

Renton goes to approach the fun, watching on to his amusement as all the combined efforts of the young trio couldn't seem to catch Eurkea's quick curveball. His heart begins to beat in anticipation, looking at her supple face – she looks to him too, noticing.

"Renton?" Eureka goes. He cringes for but a second, as the trio on the other side of the table gaze to him in dirty looks, Maurice especially. "What do you want meatball head?" Poor Renton, almost forgetting what he would say, let alone why he followed his urges here. Link stifles a giddy chuckle under a little hand.

Renton manages to regain his composure though, and slowly comes to Eureka. "Hey.. would you mind if I.. talk to you a minute?"

"He's gonna do it!" Mater goes. "With her—"

"Mater!" Eureka shoots the girl a scowl, before turning to him. "Yes. I would love to." She smiles. And thus, he leads her to a more private corner of the room, trying not to mind the children throwing raspberries behind his back.

"What is it you wish to talk of?" she goes, looking upon him with the faintest curiosity.

"Well. Um.." His mouth doesn't seem to want to move at this time, being frozen in tense hesitation. This has got to be the most insane thing I'm about to do.. man what am I thinking?

"Is it something wrong?" she asks.

"No.. no.." He lets in a little gulp down his throat. How to put all this feeling into proper words? It all feels like it makes sense, and yet it's all outlandish when it comes to saying it out. "I just.. I want to fly outside, with you."

Eureka blinks, taking in Renton's words. Her face lightens up a bit, while his seems to blush so bashfully red.

"There's this feeling that I have, " he goes, "when I look outside. It's so beautiful out. All those purple clouds floating. I want to fly out with them. But it wouldn't be, couldn't be the same if I go all by myself." His heart pounds against his chest incessantly. "I want to go fly, with you."

Eureka holds her breath in, flattered, unsure. It feels like the longest and most unbearable wait in Renton's life, her just standing there, before he receives her answer of her warm hand clasping around his, and her reassuring smile. "Yes."

Did he hear her right? It is a whisper of a "yes" from her, one he could barely hear, and yet she has her hand with his. "Yes."

"Okay."

He walks with her through the hallways of the Gekko-Go, passing by and greeting Mischa along the way – Mischa eyes them pensively before she continues down. Every step he takes, Renton feels a little more queasy, light-headed. It feels like a good dream that would burst at any moment now, but the feeling of Eureka's soft hand in his feels all too warm to be some figment of his wandering imagination. If so, then he wishes that none of the others come across them, put an abrupt end to this moment.

After taking the elevators down to C-deck, Renton can hear more of the low, distaff humming of the Gekko-Go's engines, as he leads – Eureka leads him over down into the expanses of the dock, where the gargantuan Nirvash rests so in the abyssal darkness. As they step down the staircase from the light of the hallway, all of the sudden the lights go to illuminate the place in light of Renton and Eureka's presences.

"Renton?" Eureka asks. "Are you sure this is okay?"

A certain urge is compelling the boy now, far past proper reason. He would in all likely respect turn back if it were any other time, but not right now, not when the sun is on the verge of disappearing and the moment being missed.

"Yes, " he goes to Eureka, smiling from out the corners of his heart, and they head on to clamber in one of Nirvash's two spacius cockpits. Renton snuggles himself snugly beside her on the seat, feeling her warmth emanate by the shoulders.

"Shall I drive?" she asks. Now that she has mentioned it, Renton had never really considered who would be flying, in that imagination of his. It would be fine for him to show and guide the Nirvash in the painted canvas of air, while she can be free to look around and enjoy herself. Renton can grasp most of the manouvers almost as easily as Eureka can, including the famous cut-back drop turn, but there is one thing that had always troubled him the most – taking off and landing in the dock itself; the enclosed space would always threaten to collide with the Nirvash while the freedom of air never does.

"How about.. you take off from the Gekko-Go, and then I take over from there?"

"Okay, " Eureka goes, understanding. She wakes the Nirvash up from its sleep, and the lights of the cockpit come to their shining life as Nirvash goes to assume a stand-by, idle position. Renton takes in a gulp, feels his stomach sink in preparation for the fast lurches of speed to come. After checking up on Nirvash's status and knowing that the Nirvash is all right, she sends a command in the adjacent console to set the launch pathway up for take off. The noise of the blaring alarms and screeching of the launch gate being lifted up are numbed and dulled automatically in the canopy for Renton and Eureka's benefit. Through the opening of the gate, Renton can see the pathway angle itself downwards, to the outside purple clouds that flow past sight.

When the launch gate has completely risen, the pathway lights up in glaring green and yellow light leading the way out. Out of force of habit, Eureka finds herself shouting "Eureka and Renton, Nirvash typeZERO, launching!" Renton watches her hands gently push forward the control joysticks, and feels the slow lurch of Nirvash's movement – moving so slowly to the start of the pathway—

Renton blinks.

The Nirvash bounds forward, its legs propelled along the track to frightening speeds – Renton is continually thrusted against the seat, teeth clattering and sweat on his face dripping back. Eureka keeps her calm, no sign of any worries whatsoever on her face as Nirvash finds itself free in the outside sky. To finish the sequence, Eureka presses a button to have Nirvash deploy out and ride the ref board to glide along the trepar waves in the air.

edited 12th May '10 7:49:08 AM by QQQQQ

An accurate depiction
@harmattane

Posts 65, 68, 103 (hard to find, that was.), and 105

  • 65th post-
    The red gloved hands of his subordinates swarmed to the spot.
    - either put a comma or a hyphen.
  • 65th post-
    We have no allies, no mothers, no staff that will stay with us for over a week!
    - the order seemss a bit out of place.
  • Oh. Oh—three times. Maybe two and a half.”
    - take out one of the 'oh's and it will improve the flow.

65th post done.

  • 68th post-
    behind just enough panes of glass.
    - it's a phrase that seems oddly made.
  • 68th post-
    the black clad, faceless guards
    - hyphenate black-clad.
  • 68th post-
    remorseless as Lux or fearful
    - I advise switching around the 2 descriptors.
  • “It’s been a minute can we leave him now?” he gasped.
    - probably want a comma after the minute.
  • 68th post-
    blood from his forehead mixing with his smudged lipstick mixing with his hair, which had fallen over his face from the weight of the rain.
    - I think the list would be better with a few commas.

68th post concluded. Moving on to the second chapter!

  • 103rd post-
    He twisted his arms ear
    - near, I assume you mean.
  • 103rd post-
    through the finger sized hole
    - hyphenate finger-sized.

103rd post over

  • 105th post-
    Doctor Hisakawa, the first person he’d called out for, just because he had seen her last.
    - I think a 'was' would be good after the Hisakawa, while removing the comma.
  • 105th post-
    not to just let it sit.
    - 'not just to let it sit.'
  • 105th post-
    He collapsed in it shivering too violently to move
    - comma after 'it'.

105th post over
This is this.
An accurate depiction
posts 106, 113, 124, 144, 147 (end).

  • Overall post 106- Kenichi's oath made me laugh for a long time. Great writing.
  • post 106-
    beside Lux, who looked pretty dead on his back with his eyes wide open and crossed.
    comma after back.
  • post 106-
    They had never known any emotions that could bond
    - it's a slightly odd turn of the phrase.
  • post 106-
    Lux flexed the trigger, firing the flag square into Kenichi's eye.
    - you may want to add that it didn't pop his eye or something, because that's my first impression.

106th post completed.

  • post 113 overall- loved the characterization on Kenichi, wonderful at showing his slight immaturity. He's probably become my favorite character by now.
  • post 113-
    but something in him did not believe.
    - I'd add an 'it' to the sentence end.
  • post 113-
    What he saw dissolved his legs out from under him.
    - dissolved is an odd word, but it could actually work here.

post 113 done

  • Overall post 124- great description, very communicative imagery.
  • post 124-
    cruched into the floor,
    - probably crunched or crushed.
  • post 124-
    shoving the eyes around them together too tightly;
    - it wouldn't seem to me that a tube would shove the eyes around, but whatever you see fit.

post 124 finished.

  • Overall post 144- superb telling of the story, great imagination, and I love Kenichi's additions to the narrative, which are quite hilarious. I must reiterate how great this is.
  • post 144-
    story your dad tell you every night?
    - ought to be tells, as it sort of jars the rest of the flow.

144th post completed.

  • post 147 overall- You communicate the tenderness between Tama and Kenichi very well, while not losing the characteristic touch.
  • post 147-
    never got to do enough of,
    - 'never got enough of' would work better.
  • That's about it for what is present so far.

edited 12th May '10 2:31:36 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
An accurate depiction
Double post...

edited 12th May '10 6:48:28 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
An accurate depiction
I was about to post my own piece when I recalled that QQQQQ still needed a critique- shows you what passes for memory these days. Now, my familiarity with Eureka 7 extends to having seen half an episode late at night and a brief glance of the trope page, so canonical questions are highly, highly out of my league. Since when has that stopped anyone?

Good bits:
  • You are great at communicating the hesitant feeling and action of Renton- from the pauses in his speech to the evident interest he has in Eureka, given his description of her. The feeling of love throughout this is evident.
  • You also carry over the 'sky as fabric' metaphor well- I noted elements of it throughout the piece.
  • Also, after reading, I realized that the movement of the Nirvash is similar to Renton's own- hesitant at first and then more rapid. Great parallel!

Critique:
  • Renton Thurston stares out through the plexiglass window, at the billowing clouds
    no comma.
  • Nirvash goes to assume a stand-by, idle position.
    It seems to flow better if you removed 'stand-by'.
  • Renton is continually thrusted against the seat,
    just thrust, not thrusted.
  • to the outside purple clouds that flow past sight.
    - I think the placement of 'outside' is a bit odd- how about 'out to the purple clouds that flow past sight.'?

My piece Is even shorter than the previous one. And, funnily enough, is similar in nature.

Context (gratis)- Isako Itou is a colonel, commanding a certain army unit (the crimson battalion), and Gant is a semi-subordinate mechanical construct (human mind though.) He's platonically in love with her, and she returns a bit of his affection. The scene is in a field hospital- Itou has just been wounded, Gant and her four subordinates are visiting her (and the other soldiers.)Gant is discussing his worry over his involvement with her in this:

“Because we are soldiers, Isako, ” I say as I lean forward, off the chair’s back. “One day, there will be a bullet you or I will not dodge. To join with something is an invitation for a heart to die when it is lost.”

Itou lies on her back, head turned towards me as she presses a hand to her side and winces in pain. I cannot help her. “We’ll lose each other without love’s help, ” she says. “Why not enjoy ourselves while here?” I do not even notice the fact that she is holding my free hand with her own until I look down. How odd, to see such a small thing engulf one far larger than it.

“And if I lose you in that state?” I ask, gripping her hand as though she might vanish right there. “You think that a clouded mind will sharpen my sword? Even if I did not try to die, it would be beyond my control.”

A momentary glance of pain crosses her face, and she turns her head to the gray ceiling again. “You managed when we lost Emilia and Sean.”

“You think I do not know that?” I can barely keep the fluctuation from my voice. I lift my arm to show three deep scars that have not pulled together yet, the metal writhing into smoother edges, musculature pulsing beneath it. “I lost focus today. To think that if I lost you…”

Itou smiles, again confident in her ability to keep me well. “Then I simply won’t die. I’ll live just to spite them, and to keep us all.” She embraces me, her hands clasping tightly around my back, as much restraining as pressing close, while mine hung limply by my sides. Halaz, Mazzanti, and Rosenstein are all suddenly intrigued by the soldier they are speaking to.

“Ignore them, ” says Itou as she pulls herself up roughly, jostling the bandage around her side. “As long as we have the battalion, we’re immortal.”

As I fold an arm around her uninjured side, I speak. “Armored in loyalty… we will see. Recuperate, Isako. I have bothered you too long.” She releases me, closing her eyes and smiling softly as the three captains join me in departure.

"Let’s hope you estimated correctly, ” says Halaz. “Just be prepared.” I pull up short, and he can hear my voice’s contained rage; I do not bother to turn. “I am ever ready. So watch your tongue.”

Rosenstein raises his hand, stepping resolutely between us. “He meant nothing. Come on, Gant, let’s go.”

Shaking my head, I move away from the group, leaving them in the dust.

edited 12th May '10 4:26:16 PM by Morgulion

This is this.
 24 harmattane, Wed, 12th May '10 6:15:24 PM from Location, location
X_X
@Morgulion: Thanks again for taking the time to critique all that. Maybe I'll come back and ask for it here again, but feel free to keep reading it with no strings attached, or maybe the shorter piece I kept linking to if you find you don't have as much time. Informal comments in the thread are always welcome!
Ce ne pas un post.
@Morgulion - I'll share my thoughts with you on your piece tomorrow (in this post); it is very late at night for now here, and I ought to be having some sleep to be able to think straight.

Now then:
  • I like the undertones of star-crossed despair looming between Gant and Itou in the face of war - and how a single bullet can manage to tear all that love apart. As well, I notice their fears of losing each other, Gant and Itou holding onto each other as if they might disappear one day forever. Write more on that.
  • I also like the discrepency between the titular Gant and his comrades by his side, though it doesn't seem clear on why he seems resentful towards them (then again, is an excerpt out from the whole story).

In the meanwhile, I've an addition to the Eureka Seven story I've posted before, continuing straight where I'd left off before:


The billowing purples and blues of the dusk seem much more vivid and haunting from the view of the canopy than Renton had ever hoped to see. Gold streaks from the tip of the setting sun on the right, bathing Nirvash in a yellow tinge.

Eureka's purple eyes meet with Renton's - a hint of beckoning in the glint. She waits, keeping her hands steady as Renton's reachs out to grasp onto her hands, her soft and lovely hands around the joysicks. When he seems to have a good hold, she lets go. In the brief moment, Renton wraps his fingers around the dual controls, feels all of Nirvash – every nuance of its being come upon himself.

He and she fly in the pretty skies, as carefree and joyful as they can be. By his side, Renton sees Eureka avidly admire all the colours, quite convinced that she is seeing the same poignent beauty he sees.

"Renton! Look!" Eureka nudges his shoulder, pointing her hand down to the left. And from perking his head over, he sees a vague formation amongst a puff of cloud below, coming closer and clearer. They are little skyfish, an endless swarm, rising up and out from the vagueness, and with their beating wings they fly to be with Nirvash's side. Renton remembers from class that the skyfish would come be attracted to beautiful moments, shared in tenderness. Their lush wings seem to beat forth in time with each other, with the euphoric beating of Renton's own heart.

"It's so beautiful, Eureka."

As the sun becomes a faint orange haze along the dark of the cloud horizon, Renton begins to notice the sharp orange glow of the read-out displays on the dashboard - the Gekko-Go's position lies on the bare edge of the radar, almost out of Nirvash's range. By now, it would seem a good idea to turn back and call it a night. Holland and the others might be worrying, and the thought of receiving Holland's punishing beat downs makes him nervous.

But Renton decides to ignore the pleas nagging inside his mind, instead turning the Nirvash over to chase the last throes of daylight. Maybe this night will be special. Maybe this night holds a wonder somewhere in the air, waiting to be touched.

The stars begin to shine and glow above on the sky – a canopy of bright beacons that stretches on like an ocean of eternity. They seem to be adrift in interstellar space now; Eureka is leaning by Renton's stiffened shoulder, absolutely still on the edge of the seat, taking in all of the night. Renton too. The stars are like he has never seen them before, being such a refreshing and blissful sight. If he reaches up high, he could feel them lap and melt in his hands like snowflakes.

A streak of purple trails gently down the canvas. It's a shooting star.

"Hey, " Renton goes. "Wanna make a wish?"

Eureka is hypnotically looking upon the purple, her warm hands clasped around Renton's. For a long while, she does not say anything. Then she turns to him. "I have. What about you?"

Renton looks back to the shooting star, unsure of what to think. He feels the happiest he has ever been in his whole life, so glad of the moment, and there doesn't seem to be anything else he could ever want. Deep inside though, he knows it will all have to end eventually. The thought of this moment, lost in time feels so overwhelmingly

saddening..

He tries to hide it in, and keep this happiness close to his heart, forever. But it is all too much for one to bear, and he feels it all about to burst – a balloon taking in too much air at once. He finds it hard to breathe.

"Renton?"

The tears come down from his eyes, rolling down his cheeks.

"What's wrong, Renton?" she asks.

I.. don't know.

Eureka reaches out to caress – he feels her gentle fingers as they stroke over to brush away his tears. He turns to her, finding a solace in her caring, purple eyes. A sincere, appreciative smile comes upon him.

She looks back, curious and unsure.

His heart on the verge of caving in, Renton lets himself go, and holds Eureka so closely and dearly in his arms, his head by hers over her shoulder. He feels her heart beating faster and faster with his through her chest, her breaths brushing by his bare neck, and the overall blushing warmth from her.

And for this blissful moment, they lie so peacefully still in each other's side, glad.

After what seems like forever, Renton leans back from her, and looks to her straight in her eyes. He has no idea what will happen next, if only this happiness may continue.

"I.." Renton finds himself trying to make words, say something, anything at all, but the words just won't come.

"Hm?"

Then suddenly it comes, as miraculous as it is to him as to her – Renton locks his lips with hers in a kiss. It's so indescribably wonderful. He can feel her hot breath mingling with his, the rush of excitement, and above all, a wholesome feeling of gratitude in his heart.

edited 17th May '10 8:24:18 AM by QQQQQ

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