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The Cleon Memorial Library For discussion of Traveller fiction, both official and fan-written. Fan-written drafts are explicitly welcome.

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  #51  
Old January 30th, 2018, 04:05 AM
Tiikeri Tiikeri is offline
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First of all, I think you're serious enough about writing that we can do without sugarcoating.

I read the first post of Down a Peg, and here are my initial impressions:

The characters sound like contemporary Americans and have little personality.

I strongly recommend eliminating the contemporary Americanisms from the characters’ speech as much as you can. I had to remind myself the characters were supposed to be Vargr.

Your language is difficult. I suggest reviewing a style guide and giving the story an update. It took me a moment to figure out knuckling her eye mean rubbing her eye instead of punching herself in the eye or something else. Example: “Technically, yes, Captain,” stiffened the Admiral on the screen. ‘Stiffened’ is the wrong verb and it doesn’t make sense. I know what you were trying to say, that the Admiral stiffened as she said something. Try: The admiral stiffened. “Technically yes, Captain.”

The names are difficult. I can’t even subvocalize them. The flow of the story jerks to a halt when I have to stop and try to figure out how to pronounce Roethoeegaeaegz.

I started making up my own names. Kakhskha became Kak-sha, Nouon became Nu-on, Dedhekhzgourz became Deh-dek, Knoellighz became Nolligs, and Roethoeegaeaegz became Ruh-mumble-mumble-mumble.

Finished the second post.

Would Dedex really say foppery? He sounds like an effeminate whiner in this scene. If males are subject to severe cultural and legal restraints on Ruh-mumble, why is Kaksha bringing Ded?

I don’t understand what you mean by valkyrie. The only people who would know what a valkryie is are Solomani and Sword Worlds cultural anthropologists.

You don’t need to keep telling the reader what color the characters are.

Zannun pouts? He’s a scientific professional over 50 years old and he pouts?

I strongly recommend removing the Traveller-specific jargon, like TL-15, and remove unnecessary description.

I think you’re capitalizing some nouns incorrectly, like when Kaksha is dressed in a Merchant’s black dress uniform. I think it should be ‘merchant’.

Ardell giggles? She’s a marine and she giggles? These people just don’t sound very mature.

Kashka and the other crew members treat Dedex like crap and he just takes it. He’s not very interesting.

So far there's nothing that's hooking me into the story. The characters are immature and uninteresting, and the plot seems fairly pedestrian. There's no tension, there's nothing that makes me care about what happens.
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  #52  
Old January 30th, 2018, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiikeri View Post
First of all, I think you're serious enough about writing that we can do without sugarcoating.

I read the first post of Down a Peg, and here are my initial impressions:

The characters sound like contemporary Americans and have little personality.

I strongly recommend eliminating the contemporary Americanisms from the characters’ speech as much as you can. I had to remind myself the characters were supposed to be Vargr.

Your language is difficult. I suggest reviewing a style guide and giving the story an update. It took me a moment to figure out knuckling her eye mean rubbing her eye instead of punching herself in the eye or something else. Example: “Technically, yes, Captain,” stiffened the Admiral on the screen. ‘Stiffened’ is the wrong verb and it doesn’t make sense. I know what you were trying to say, that the Admiral stiffened as she said something. Try: The admiral stiffened. “Technically yes, Captain.”

The names are difficult. I can’t even subvocalize them. The flow of the story jerks to a halt when I have to stop and try to figure out how to pronounce Roethoeegaeaegz.

I started making up my own names. Kakhskha became Kak-sha, Nouon became Nu-on, Dedhekhzgourz became Deh-dek, Knoellighz became Nolligs, and Roethoeegaeaegz became Ruh-mumble-mumble-mumble.

Finished the second post.

Would Dedex really say foppery? He sounds like an effeminate whiner in this scene. If males are subject to severe cultural and legal restraints on Ruh-mumble, why is Kaksha bringing Ded?

I don’t understand what you mean by valkyrie. The only people who would know what a valkryie is are Solomani and Sword Worlds cultural anthropologists.

You don’t need to keep telling the reader what color the characters are.

Zannun pouts? He’s a scientific professional over 50 years old and he pouts?

I strongly recommend removing the Traveller-specific jargon, like TL-15, and remove unnecessary description.

I think you’re capitalizing some nouns incorrectly, like when Kaksha is dressed in a Merchant’s black dress uniform. I think it should be ‘merchant’.

Ardell giggles? She’s a marine and she giggles? These people just don’t sound very mature.

Kashka and the other crew members treat Dedex like crap and he just takes it. He’s not very interesting.

So far there's nothing that's hooking me into the story. The characters are immature and uninteresting, and the plot seems fairly pedestrian. There's no tension, there's nothing that makes me care about what happens.
I must agree that reading Vargr words in the Gvegh language are hard to pronounce. Their mouths are shaped different from Humaniti. It takes practice but one can pick out the syllables and vowel pronunciations over time. I did not name the worlds in the story-journal. Those came from Travellermap.com and were there before I began developing the sector.

There are fellow writers trying to build a better, IPA pronunciation key for the conlangs of alien races in Traveller. The CT Vargr Alien Module tries to help the reader pronounce Gvegh worlds. But the effort is laborious without practice.

Kakhskha is pronounced KAX-ka.
Dedhekhsgours is pronounced Dead-HEX-gowrs or simply Dead-Hex.
Anghal has a hard 'g' and is not pronounce angel.

The use of valkyrie and paladin is however an English translation of the Gvegh that would have been used in their places. And yes, they are kept lower-case for a reason.

It has already been said and shown in canon books i.e. Agent of the Imperium that game terms are part of that universe. People use terms like "Tech-13", career names such as Merchant, and other vocabulary words.

This novella is more akin to an adventure journal where I jotted down notes from solo Traveller play and then fleshed out each episodic chapter.

Maturity of the characters is something based upon how old their home societies are. Kakhskha and Ardell come from a relatively young pair of worlds, especially after their society underwent the Recovery. Dead-Hex and Anghal come from a capitalistic and materialistic world. Though older, Zannun is not guaranteed to be more mature. Age is a poor substitute for wisdom. He has his faults in that he's a cloistered nerd in the Scholar career. He knows a lot about his favorite topics, but is not much to speak of in interpersonal interactions. The characters sound like Americans because their society acts like Americans, (young societies, capitalists, materialists, etc.). While the characters have never heard of the United States of America on Terra, there is nothing to prevent them from acting parallel in their personalities.

Since there is no extraterritoriality on the mainworld of Roethoeegaeaegz, the males are trapped on the planet once the gears touched down. Dead-Hex is summarily pissed off because he feels railroaded into a society he has no power over. It is like being born of a less privileged <insert minority here>.

Thanks for the initial report. It does help.
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  #53  
Old January 30th, 2018, 02:26 PM
Tiikeri Tiikeri is offline
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A couple more comments:

These characters come from young societies, but what about their own emotional development? Zunna will have no doubt had to work hard over many years to earn his academic knowledge. He probably had to bust his tail in a competitive Vargr academic establishment. Now he has lived over half his natural lifespan and he still has the emotional responses of a junior high-schooler? He needs therapy.

If Deds is pissed off, he needs to act like it. He needs to have the rage of an adult being sold into slavery instead the whiny attitude of a 12 year old being dragged to an 8 year old's birthday party. Unless of course he's a spineless milquetoast who feels so powerless that he routinely lets people walk all over him, even to the point of ruining his life. Why would I want to read about a character like that?

And the marine, giggling as she marches someone she knows into a life changing situation against his will. Either she's another character with the emotional development of a little kid in the body of an adult, or she's mentally disturbed.

I know you didn't create the names, but I am telling you the effect they had on someone (me) trying to read your story. Possible solution: state the names once, then have the characters refer to them by easy to pronounce nicknames. Roege-mumble becomes Roegz.

It doesn't make sense for Gvegh to have a word for human female warrior spirits from an obscure ancient Solomani religion. I know you didn't make that up, but I think you should reconsider before repeating the questionable judgement that another writer made. Same with paladin, another obscure Solomani-centric word. I read the world description in the Traveller wiki, and the problem is the same there.

One good part was Ded rockin' that chest ruff. He needs some gold chains.

Like another poster mentioned, there's no tension. There's nothing that makes me care about what happens to the characters or their mission.
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  #54  
Old January 30th, 2018, 11:36 PM
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The characters sound like contemporary Americans
if they sounded like aliens, could we follow any story about them?
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  #55  
Old January 31st, 2018, 12:36 AM
Tiikeri Tiikeri is offline
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Absolutely, look how you made the engineer have a different cultural voice in your story.
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  #56  
Old January 31st, 2018, 06:13 AM
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I think I see the point of the maturity of the characters. Their young societies, a female-dominated matriarchy, giggling coping mechanisms for a veteran, insecurity on a pet project, (the innovative Collector Drive), insecurity of one's masculinity in the face of a matriarchy and the overall situation can lead one to believe that the characters are acting infantile.

But, the characters mature somewhat as the mission progresses. Dead-Hex starts to stand up for himself. Kakhskha learns some humility. Ardell learns forgiveness. Anghal realizes that she is only mortal, (we would say only human). Zannun uses more than his Scholarly know-how.

Again, this was a mission journal story. The actors of Star Trek: the Next Generation did not fully know their characters until through the first season. The same happened to me as I was solo playing them.

Dead-Hex comes off as a wimp with a big mouth.
Kakhskha stands too haughty with her privilege as a female from Roethoeegaeaegz. (Type that three times fast without using the backspace key.)
Ardell believes the Marines are the end-all, be-all of armed forces.
Anghal believes that Dead-Hex will burn out the Jump Drive with his 90D jumps.
Zannun believes that Serue can stand against the Ascendancy Pact.

Down A Peg was about humility and learning that there are bigger fish in the pond.
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  #57  
Old January 31st, 2018, 07:54 PM
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if they sounded like aliens, could we follow any story about them?
Absolutely, look how you made the engineer have a different cultural voice in your story.
you mean chief laseiag? for all his different culture he was terran, not alien.
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  #58  
Old January 31st, 2018, 09:36 PM
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All they have to do is not sound like Americans or anything else contemporary. Solomani humans wouldn't even sound like contemporary Americans.

It's like Deds saying something like "Cor blimey, I'll be two seconds off the ship and it's How's Yer Father, innit? That's not on." Deds has no reason to speak like that. Making him speak dialect like that without a logical in-story justification would do severe injury to the characterizations Pakkrat is trying to create.

The Americanisms Pakkrat used in the story weren't as bad, but they were enough to damage his characterizations.

Vargr: Let's go down to the planet.

Americanism: Okay guys, let's go down to the planet.

Britishism: Let's pop 'round the planet.
(I know all British people don't speak like this. It's an example of a dialect that Vargr wouldn't speak, or would need a very strong justification to speak. People born in Britain in the year 5000AD would need a strong justification to speak like this)

Anyway, Pakk has made it clear why he made the choices he did.
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