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  00:19:20  15 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
 

Message edited by:
Amoki
06/15/2004 10:47:20
Messages: 78
Life of a Stalker

This is my first story i've ever written so don't judge it to harshly, plz give suggestions though.

All of my former life revolved around the bell, the want for rest and luxury, getting away from homework. I never thought I would have to worry about gathering food, or building shelter, have to worry about if I will live till tomorrow.

I used to live in Beverly Hills. My family was rich. I went to high school at a private school. In my life there was no struggle, no fear except maybe for an exam. I also never thought that I might walk in the shadows, speak to the evil to survive, or have the stench of death over me just for money. I never thought these would ever happen to me, and I might have been right if in the summer of 2012, I hadn't decided to go with my friends, Thomas, Jack, Lawrence, and Ella. Thomas was my best friend. He was great at science, but hated war or anything having to do with death. Jack was a little better about death. He was shy and was a great math student. Lawrence was what some people called a geek, shy, very smart, never heard of a gun. And Ella was always very excited, enthusiastic, and probably the toughest among us.

The days in The Zone go and by, like during the summer when you were young and in school. In The Zone, the sun is something only seen 2 or 3 hours of the day, the other part is grey and dreer. The sun seems as if it wants to come back, but something is holding it from us. Life in The Zone is one of betrayal, money means everything. And that's how I came to kill all that I have, mutants and humans alike.

The day was perfect for the mission, dark and cloudy good to give us a little cover. "Thomas and Ella, get in the back of the truck, cover yourself with the blankets. Jack, Lawrence, and I will get up to the front."

The five team group gathered in the kamaz truck to the designated positions. "Alright guys, this is the last mission to do before we have enough to pay the military. So keep your focus, remember we're going for the new sets of weapons for The Dealer." I don't how many times I've said those same words before, but even I was thinking this might be our last mission to have to do for The Dealer, unlikely but definitely something to die for, or kill for.

We'd been through heaven and hell to get enough money to get out. We could never seem to get enough money, we'd come only a few hundred rubles away from the goal but then one of us would get wounded and it would cost us money. One time we were even robbed which is a definite death sentence if you were caught by the ones you robbed. A few weeks later, we caught him and publicly killed him, but we never found the money again.

As we drew closer to the military camp, the sweat rolled down my temple. The military wanted us for doing the raids for The Dealer. Normally he would have given up someone for a reward, but since we made so much money for him it wouldn't be worth it.

Our scarves on, guns off of safety, and hearts racing, we were ready. In the secret of his office The Dealer said to me alone that this would be a very hard assignment, that must have been why he gave us the FN2000s for each of us with all accessories that we wanted. This would be hell.

As we got closer, we could see the guard's eyes glancing suspiciously at us. "Name, identification, and purpose."

"Alexei, Yirkov, and Lorenzo. 2819KU2, 726YU4, and J79302OP. Here to drop off weapons." The names were those of the real shipment drivers who we ambushed the day before. I just hope these scarves cover us up so they can't tell who we are.

"You're clear to pass, the officer doesn't like to wait for the shipments. But where's Yano."

"Got sick."

Being in The Zone for 2 years quite a feat if you were a stalker, the average lifetime was 3 or 4 months. The total amount of kills as a group comes to about 120 mutants and 14 stalkers, pretty good for a five person group. Over the years, we changed drastically. All were more calm and quiet, in many ways more mature, but yet what some would call villains, crooks, or murderers. All might be true, but out here it's kill or get killed, steal or be stolen from, barbaric, yes, but did we survive, yes that's all that matters.

Getting close to the objective point, I was thinking on my formal life of luxury and riches. I pushed it away, that was the old me and this is the new me. Two lives, when returning home I would have to choose which one to use. Then again I never thought what would happen after leaving my home, the dangerous, yet in some ways fulfilling Zone. Would my parents except the new change, even if they did I would never be the same again, maybe I should stay here. The thought never occurred to me, this life, this new way of living, is so apart from the outer world, so different I wouldn't know how to go back. Bestial instincts that are essential out here, are looked down upon in the world.

We got out. There were six guards all with FN2000s guarding another KAMAZ truck, that was our objective. Lawrence jumped, out throwing two grenades. There were some screams of pain then silence. Three more guards left, Jack and me got behind crates and shooting randomly hoping we hit something. Bullets were flying everywhere and while Lawrence gave me cover I moved closer to the guards. Another few shots to the head took out another, but the other two were now taking cover behind the crates. They were calling for reinforcements. "Get them quickly so we can get the hell out of here." Another grenade, more screams. It was done. Now we had to sprint the 50 meters get the cargo, and run back with it without being shot by the reinforcements.
The drum of helicopters was in the air, damn. "Ella, get in the truck and get it to our position." By now the drum had gotten bigger, 500 meters. Hurry get the cargo in, 300 meters. Get all of it, come on. 100 meters. Two rockets exploded right next to me, and the next thing I knew was darkness.

I looked down and saw the clouds, dark, brewing, always brewing, always storming. The plane was at 50,000 feet. "Ladies and gentlemen hold on, we seem to getting in the middle of a storm." I gripped my seat harder, saying to myself, "Why did I come, from the beginning this trip has sucked." The only one of us who seemed excited for Moscow was Ella.

Suddenly the speaker came on again, "Everyone get a mask on, we're starting to hit some turbulence." The speaker went out, but then a flash and we were going down. Another flash.

The next thing I knew, I was in a military truck. Next to me were Jack, Lawrence, and Ella, where is Thomas? Lawrence cried, "He's awake! Get him some water."

He got some water, and started to pour it all over me. Ella brought me a pill, and told me to swallow it. I started to feel better, then darkness again.

I woke up with a start, and my head hit a bunk above me, ouch. When I started to look around myself I knew I was in a jail cell. I looked to another bunk seeing

Lawrence. "What happened?"

"After the two rockets got you out, the mission was already compromised. They surrounded us and there wasn't any chance."

"Where's Thomas?"

"He's dead, they got him with the two rockets."

"God damn, we've got to get out of here!"

The next thing I saw was Thomas looking down at me. "Doc, is he alright?"

"A few days rest and he'll be alright."

"Thomas, where are we?"

"Beautiful Chernobyl. I already tried to tell the army that we were from America and had to leave. They won't listen! We've got to pay them."

"How much?"

"At least 100,000 rubles."

"We're screwed then."

"No, we're lucky. The plane crashed right outside what people call The Zone. All of us except you were fine except with a few broken bones." He chuckled.

"What happened next?"

"Well, you were lucky you didn't see what happened next. There were these things coming toward us. They were dogs, except ferocious and much larger. A few seconds later they were on us, the rest of the survivors were killed. The screams still linger in my head," he sighed then said, "you were damn lucky. We were lucky, too. We were caring for you in the back of the plane. By the time the dogs got close to us the military showed up. Everyone, slaughtered, mutilated."

The Dealer, big, fat, ugly, rich, and powerful. Chugging down his normal morning vodka he checked the news out. Nothing new, nothing new, wait, what is that. His fist slammed against the table, not good. "Gregor, get over to the Klasticka prison and pay the guards for their hospitality to their new prisoners. Bring 15000 rubles."
As The Dealer thought about how much the group now cost him, he smirked even more. They would have to pay him the 15,000 rubles plus interest.

"Get out, all of you! The Dealer has made an investment in you." The guard checking over the money, had a grin on his face.

The sun felt good on my face. I don't know how long I'd been in there, but it felt like ages. But then reality struck me. "We're going to have a hell of a time to pay off The Dealer. What the heck, at least we're out."

The thought of my best friend had almost left me. There was no burial, no prayer, no remembrance, no tear for Thomas. That was the life of us, that was the life of a stalker.
When we got to The Dealer's he was very upset. "You guys cost me a lot of money. 15,000 rubles, and unless you can pay me now, you'll have to pay interest," He knew we didn't have 15,000 rubles to give, "Or maybe I'll send you on another mission, this time there's no way I'm getting you outta trouble. A week or two ago there was a blackout, right in the middle of The Zone. There were some other stalkers I sent out to get in, but they didn't return. I want you to look for any artifacts. I'll pay you double then normal for each artifact. The scientist sissies are paying good money for any artifacts found, it must've been a big one."

"It'll be harder without Thomas, while he was usually the leader."

"If you want you can take someone else. Oh, and you can take as much gear as you want for this mission. It's going to be hell."

We carefully chose our gear. Me: SVU with silencer and hollow tip points, AK47 with grenade launcher also hollow tip points, the HP-SA with silencer and laser scope, and to top it all off a level 4 MYS suit, it's a heavy suit best used against other stalkers. Jack: FN2000 with 8X zoom scope, the grenade launcher RG-6, Beretta 92FS, and a level 5 MYM suit, best against mutants. Lawrence: Same as me. Ella: LR-300ML, FN2000, Beretta, and a level 5 MYS, which is perfect for fast maneuvers. Each of us had night vision goggles of course. The Dealer also gave us a little "treat", of course as always we have to bring it back. A nice little Niva 4X4.

The Dealer gave us a map of The Zone, and circled the area where we could most likely find the best artifacts. We got a good rest, and at midnight we left. Night was always the best hunting time for us. Being in The Zone for two years, our most important senses have been greatly improved, while the ones unused wither away.
As we got closer to our objective point I checked my watch for the time, four in the morning. Then suddenly up ahead were a group of blood suckers fighting some zombies. I stopped the car to see what was going on. The battle was huge, there were about 30 suckers and 75 zombies. I looked amongst the buildings to see where the controller was. "They're coming towards us!" Jack steadied his grenade launcher and shot three grenades. Bodies flew everywhere, and suddenly I heard a rumbling off in the distance.

"Helicopters!" Suddenly I got out my AK and started shooting off all the monsters. Ella and Lawrence started firing too. Something grabbed my back, I pulled out my Baretta and shot behind me. Hearing a scream I stopped. Another few grenades and another twelve more were gone. But now the drone of the helicopter got closer. Suddenly the two machine gun turrets started mowing down the mutants. They were dead, body parts everywhere, blood everywhere. The helicopter landed and seven military stalkers came out. The familiar FN2000s lowered. "Why are you here." One of the stalkers asked.

"We came to look for some artifacts." My finger moving slightly to the trigger of my AK
.
"I'm sorry but it's off limits. We work for the scientists, and only us. Either leave or we'll hang your carcasses on the wall to dry." Sweat rolling down my body, what to do? I pulled the gun up and started shooting. Lawrence and Ella put their guns up too and shot. Jack shot his grenade launcher at the helicopter. The other stalkers fell in a matter of seconds. "Must've been newbs."

Normally I would have never dreamed of shooting another stalker just for some artifacts, but I had to repay the Dealer or he might give me back to the military. Kill or be killed is the law of the land, the law of the stalker.

Our day didn't get much more exciting then that. There were a few firefights against zombies and dogs, but that was about it.

Artifacts, 20 kilograms of galantine, and 4 mercury balls. Very good I thought, plenty to pay him back. We got back into our Niva.

"Now that wasn't to hard, was it?" But out at a distance there were shapes coming closer. 300 meters. "What the hell." 200 meters. "Use your binocular." 100 meters. "They're dogs, 50 of them!"

The next thing we knew they were on us. They swarmed around the car, scraped up the doors. "What are they doing, they aren't trying to attack. They're running away from something." And then we saw it. It wasn't much at first, but I had heard about it in the bars. A group of things called lullers. They were ferocious and very deadly, one could easily kill two people. But in this group there were ten. Then I saw something else, an anomaly. A gravity concentration. The others noticed it too. They charged, and in seconds Jack was down and Lawrence crouching got a slash along the chest. One saw me and turned. I took out my SVU and blasted with all my shots. The inevitable click came. I took out my pistol and tried desperately to kill it. 10 feet, 0 feet. I finally took out my knife and slashed it's belly open. The guts came out and me, and I was about to throw up. A slash came across my back. My vision was clouded by blood and dirt. Ella, where was she? I looked in the direction of the anomaly and found the answer. The twisted body of a luller came into my view. My life flashed before me. Before The Zone I was so happy and carefree. I was immature back then, not able to strive on my own steam. My life had changed, that wasn't me, this is me. I got up and picked up my gun and jumped into the anomaly. This better work. My level 4 MYS suit could withstand the effects of a gravitational anomaly for five seconds which should be only used in extreme emergency. Well, this is the most extreme emergency I'll get. Five, the lullers looked into the anomaly wondering why I wasn't being torn apart. Four, two jumped in. Three, another three jumped in. Two, one more jumped in. One, I could feel something pulling me apart. I jumped out as best I could. My body was aching, and I fell to my knees. My vision clouded again. Then darkness took me.

The next thing I remembered was that I was in a burnt and beaten building, the normal stalker housing. There was a fire going and a plate in front of me. I moved up against the wall. My back and legs hurt like crazy. Why am I here? My mind had finally caught up. "Hello is anyone there?"

"Finally you're awake," An unfamiliar voice said, "I saw all that happened, but I didn't know whether or not to help you. You might have been military. Once the fighting ended I came closer to the position and saw that you weren't military. I took you back here."

"What happened to Ella?"

"Who's Ella? Is she the other stalker with you?"

"There were four of us altogether," sorrow reaching my mind, "She didn't make it did she."

"Unfortunately not. She tried to do the same little stunt you did, unfortunately her suit wasn't made to handle the force of an anomaly. Her body was torn apart in a blink of the eye. Unsightly event, I never did like gore even after coming to The Zone. Where did you come from before The Zone?"

I thought this fellow was very nice even though i myself have forgotten where I first came from sometimes."California, I got here when my plane crashed along with my other four friends. Now all of them are dead, along with my hope for getting home."

"Well, you might be in luck there because once you come to The Zone you'll never be the same as before, never. The life of a stalker is one of distrust, innocence lost, and looking out for yourself and only yourself. The need to survive is melted into our brains and you can't get rid of it. Unfortunately I would love to get back to my family. We used to live in New York, but it doesn't matter how I got here just that I did get here. "

"When did you get here?"

"About 2007, I'm an old timer for The Zone. I'm not part of any clan or group. Nothing seems very exciting anymore as I've been captured by the military countless times, tortured, and then escaped. Many fear me, many hate me, and some even admire me. But over the years the only thing I've learned from The Zone is that you're life has no purpose, there are the best and there are the worst stalkers and it's just one job after the other and by some time you'll get unlucky and break your leg in a ditch and die. Not a word or prayer for one who risked much, nothing."

"I've wondered in the past months if I could change and go back to my normal self. But now thinking it over it just seems childish. Unfortunate are those who have come to this land only to be forgotten not as heroes or warriors, but as bodies on the ground as they lay."
  04:52:31  15 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
 

Message edited by:
Amoki
06/15/2004 10:54:52
Messages: 1729
I edit the story so that it looked good. Before I read it through, do you want your story to make it into the contest? I can try my best to make it happen, I promise .

P.S- My first act as moderator! now, newbie killing, anyone? Just kidding.
  11:02:10  15 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
I have sent your story. Since I need to make a detail of your profile, I need your real name. You have the choice of posting it here, or contact me at amoki86@hotmail.com if you feel you need your privacy. Either way, you're in the contest.

Welcome abroad! And don't worry about me... yet.
  13:29:50  15 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
Messages: 78
Ben Olasovski, father's side came from Kiev, Ukraine. STALKER ALL THE WAY
  13:30:27  15 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
 

Message edited by:
beowulfstalker
06/15/2004 13:31:09
Messages: 78
sorry about title of the story, it's really The Life of a Stalker, not friends

But do you have any suggestions
  08:57:22  16 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
For a Ukrainian, your English is quite good. That is, if you are now in America or UK or somewhere else that is more advance.

YOu kind of remind me of myself years ago- amateur writing. Don't worry, almost everyone of us went through this soul-searching process before we become what we are now. For one, you had some imagination of yourseld being a stalker- newbies mistakes, particularly with using 1st person perspective without using the qualities of 1st person perspective to the max. Don't worry about that too- you need time to discover your style. I also did that too when I just started.

Now, onto your story. This is going to be a long trip, so stay put.

Your plot is weak. It is hard, and I don't want to destroy your ego, but it is weak. No interesting plot, no mysterious storyline, just the life of a stalker. Not a very interesting plot to me. I have read most of the story of the contest (stupid update stop me from putting an "all" to the sentence. planning to do it soon), and this is my honest opinion. You need a plot more gripping. More interesting. More exciting. Oh, we already have heaps around, just check "the verdict" thread.

Also, your plot is very exposed to attack. Beverly Hill kid with tons of money behind got stranded in the Zone? WEAK. By logic, his parents is going to try everything to get their children back. Also, judging by the fact that The Zone is a dangerous place, no aircraft will get close to that place. How is a plance crash possible? Sorry, but the best stories (or those with some quality) must have a plot that is strong enough to withstand the intellectual mind's attack.

Now before you start calling me a jerk, bear in mind that I had a list of stories that is worth reading. Those stories are not made by top-sellers or some English language proffessors. Yet, these plots withstand logical processing. this si a very important process in making a good story, no matter stalker related or not.

Chracterization is also not your skill too, at least for now. There is no distinction between your chracters. Ella is a girl- just a girl. For all I am concern, she can be a baldy, standing at 4-foot-10. Get what I meant? You did not descritpt her, same with other character. You need to give us at least a rough imagination of how the girl looks like, or the other character. And the other characters do not have history, background to make them memorable.

And you obviously write this because you like the game. Don't worry, most of us do too. /But you had skipped research, something I don't blame you because of the shortness of time. You need to do research! Hollow point ammo (JHP) do not penetrate armor, so why use it? What you should be saying is putting both FMJ (standard military ammo) and JHP in your pocket. Remember- a no-so-well-reseach is a real bugger even to the earnest reader/

I will leave style and language to Ian C and the rest of the guys, because I can't really pull a stunt on that. But Let me put it this way- best way to put in an action is by using 3rd person (names, using "he" perspective). A thought provoking is by using 1st person. Example of 3rd person stories that is worth your studying are "Geneva" (right next to you!) and "The best laid plans"; "while first person is "Home to stay" or "The difference between you and me". You will get what I mean, friend.

Now, speaking onto improvement. PArt of the heart and soul of writing a good story is writing using what you know best. Why not create a Ukrainian charater? You could be well-versed in Ukrainian culture. Show the world Ukrainian's are not those vodka-drinking or corrupted stereotypes that Tom Clancy portrayed of the Russian communites. You have the roots- Ukrainian expletives (no kidding), way of life, food, geographical knowledge. Unless you are now americanized . Otherwise, use it to your advantage. Ask your dad if needed for details, that is the best tool.

Look, writing is not a skill you born with (although writing it to top-notch quality do need talent.). You will improve via expereince, i.e study the good stories and take their advantages. Or take on someone to read your story and give you advice (which is what I did when I started- the poor guy was Goodspeed, whom I never got enough of ). DON"T ASK ME THOUGH, I AM TOO BUSY. But if you just write for fun... well, learning more doesn't hurt.

Of course, it never hurts to use the tips the contest elites put togther (me, Ian_c, Goodspeed, Grisly Silence, Midnight Rambler), which is located at the top corner at the forum. IT is defintely worth checking out.

That's all from me. AS usual, don't afraid to ask, this is a very open community.
  08:57:25  16 June 2004
profilee-mailreply Message URLTo the Top
Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
For a Ukrainian, your English is quite good. That is, if you are not in America or UK or somewhere else that is more advance.

YOu kind of remind me of myself years ago- amateur writing. Don't worry, almost everyone of us went through this soul-searching process before we become what we are now. For one, you had some imagination of yourseld being a stalker- newbies mistakes, particularly with using 1st person perspective without using the qualities of 1st person perspective to the max. Don't worry about that too- you need time to discover your style. I also did that too when I just started.

Now, onto your story. This is going to be a long trip, so stay put.

Your plot is weak. It is hard, and I don't want to destroy your ego, but it is weak. No interesting plot, no mysterious storyline, just the life of a stalker. Not a very interesting plot to me. I have read most of the story of the contest (stupid update stop me from putting an "all" to the sentence. planning to do it soon), and this is my honest opinion. You need a plot more gripping. More interesting. More exciting. Oh, we already have heaps around, just check "the verdict" thread.

Also, your plot is very exposed to attack. Beverly Hill kid with tons of money behind got stranded in the Zone? WEAK. By logic, his parents is going to try everything to get their children back. Also, judging by the fact that The Zone is a dangerous place, no aircraft will get close to that place. How is a plance crash possible? Sorry, but the best stories (or those with some quality) must have a plot that is strong enough to withstand the intellectual mind's attack.

Now before you start calling me a jerk, bear in mind that I had a list of stories that is worth reading. Those stories are not made by top-sellers or some English language proffessors. Yet, these plots withstand logical processing. this si a very important process in making a good story, no matter stalker related or not.

Chracterization is also not your skill too, at least for now. There is no distinction between your chracters. Ella is a girl- just a girl. For all I am concern, she can be a baldy, standing at 4-foot-10. Get what I meant? You did not descritpt her, same with other character. You need to give us at least a rough imagination of how the girl looks like, or the other character. And the other characters do not have history, background to make them memorable.

And you obviously write this because you like the game. Don't worry, most of us do too. /But you had skipped research, something I don't blame you because of the shortness of time. You need to do research! Hollow point ammo (JHP) do not penetrate armor, so why use it? What you should be saying is putting both FMJ (standard military ammo) and JHP in your pocket. Remember- a no-so-well-reseach is a real bugger even to the earnest reader/

I will leave style and language to Ian C and the rest of the guys, because I can't really pull a stunt on that. But Let me put it this way- best way to put in an action is by using 3rd person (names, using "he" perspective). A thought provoking is by using 1st person. Example of 3rd person stories that is worth your studying are "Geneva" (right next to you!) and "The best laid plans"; "while first person is "Home to stay" or "The difference between you and me". You will get what I mean, friend.

Now, speaking onto improvement. PArt of the heart and soul of writing a good story is writing using what you know best. Why not create a Ukrainian charater? You could be well-versed in Ukrainian culture. Show the world Ukrainian's are not those vodka-drinking or corrupted stereotypes that Tom Clancy portrayed of the Russian communites. You have the roots- Ukrainian expletives (no kidding), way of life, food, geographical knowledge. Unless you are now americanized . Otherwise, use it to your advantage. Ask your dad if needed for details, that is the best tool.

Look, writing is not a skill you born with (although writing it to top-notch quality do need talent.). You will improve via expereince, i.e study the good stories and take their advantages. Or take on someone to read your story and give you advice (which is what I did when I started- the poor guy was Goodspeed, whom I never got enough of ). DON"T ASK ME THOUGH, I AM TOO BUSY. But if you just write for fun... well, learning more doesn't hurt.

Of course, it never hurts to use the tips the contest elites put togther (me, Ian_c, Goodspeed, Grisly Silence, Midnight Rambler), which is located at the top corner at the forum. IT is defintely worth checking out.

That's all from me. AS usual, don't afraid to ask, this is a very open community.
  12:30:04  16 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
 

Message edited by:
beowulfstalker
06/16/2004 12:34:35
Messages: 78
lol, i personally am not ukrainian. My father's family came from Ukraine in the early 1900s before the Russo Japanese war, and so my great grandfather ended up in Charleston and my father was born in charleston, then he moved to atlanta and im in atlanta. don't really like atlanta though
  18:34:15  16 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
 

Message edited by:
beowulfstalker
06/16/2004 18:37:28
Messages: 78
lucky for me not everyone thinks like you do amoki(i hope)


By the way, were there any good anything?
  20:06:18  16 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
That's why I was call a newbie-killer. I don't know what the others had to say, but these are your weak points. Good points? Aside from a very imagingative plot (though weak), not much. You have a lot to learn...
  22:43:09  16 June 2004
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Ian_C
The man lacking a plan
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 08/02/2003
 

Message edited by:
Ian_C
06/16/2004 22:44:45
Messages: 273
Okay, here are some thoughts;

Firstly, if you haven't done so already take a look at the stickied 'pointers to writing a story thread', there's lot of good advice in there which, although it may seem a lot to take in right now, will benefit you immensely in the long run.

Your hurdles are exactly the same that I had to face when I first started writing, I was all about the action. I would sketch a thread-bare character down and hurl them into immediate danger ( action felt great to write, after all ), the body count rose higher with every new chapter, I got so carried away I didn't even try to craft believable reasons for them to be in mortal peril.

Looking at your story, this is your first mistake. You've sketched down some characters and thrown them into immediate action, that's a problem. We need to know more about these people. We need to know why the main character ever ended up in the zone, being as rich as he is. I got the impression it was because his life was somewhat banal, he was isolated and safe and wanted to experience more, but it wasn't that clear. You need to emphasize his boredom with the 'safe', luxurious lifestyle, we need to feel his frustration, his desire to break out of it, perhaps he wanted to shock his parents? Perhaps they were always expecting him to do well and he rebelled against their expectations? The reader needs to bond with your characters, to understand them, to care about them, otherwise you're at an immediate ( and somewhat fatal ) disadvantage.

Ah, re-reading it I see that his plane crashed and they were forced into trying to raise the money to pay off the army, but it wasn't very clear. The scenes sort of bled into one another which is why I missed it the first time, if you want to make it clear that you are starting a new scene then the '***' in the middle of the page can denote a break, although it should only be used two or three times in a chapter ( IMO, of course ).

Here's an example of lean characterisation;


---QUOTATION---
Thomas, Jack, Lawrence, and Ella. Thomas was my best friend. He was great at science, but hated war or anything having to do with death. Jack was a little better about death. He was shy and was a great math student. Lawrence was what some people called a geek, shy, very smart, never heard of a gun. And Ella was always very excited, enthusiastic, and probably the toughest among us.
---END QUOTATION---



Right, you've got some definite characteristics to build on here. The important thing is adding 'quirks', every single person you know has a quirk, right? Right. Things are no different here, flesh these people out.

For example, you could say that Jack hides his shyness by becoming too involved with being the group Navigator. He calculates and studies the maps, becoming lost in his routes and the best way to trim distances, to the extent that it distances and estranges him from the others ( The Zone is a horrible place, people will try to find comfort and support in what they know, to regain some control, and he is a great math student ).

People are elastic. In essence, when you write a story, they are your play-dough. You can stretch them as much as you want to create new and thrilling situations, in a place like The Zone you can stretch peoples' personalities to their very limits ( another good thing to do for ideas on Zone characterisation would be to research what happens to peoples mindset under prolonged stress and danger, with the internet at your disposal it wouldn't take long and would add a lot ).

Next, know the universe. You have the anomalies, the artifacts, but you seem to have misjudged the character of the Dealer. It says on the main site that he hates Stalkers, he probably sees them as utterly disposable ( there are no doubt new ones every week, after all ) so what is the likelyhood of him giving them expensive weapons in the form of FN2000s? More likely he would send them out with the bare minimum, a pistol with three clips of ammunition, so they could prove they were worthy of his time, once they'd completed that harsh challenge then his manner might become more accomidating, but he is certainly not the kind of person to say 'this is a tough mission, take what you like' more likely you would hear him say 'this will be tough, a pistol and three clips is all you can have, but if you can't do it with that then why am I bothering with you?'.

Don't be too disenchanted by Amoki's grilling ( he gave me the same when I first came here, and that was far from my first story! ), although he may seem harsh that kind of criticism is extremely valuable in writing. Too often have I just shown my stuff to friends and family who have said 'marvellous!' but when I posed up a sub-standard Part3 here for my story then Amoki let me know it wasn't up to par. It hurt at first, but looking back a day later I could see exactly what he meant, I was glad he had been around to give me a wake-up call before I submitted that as a final piece.

I look forward to reading any future work of yours.
  07:26:38  17 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
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On forum: 07/31/2003
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THere is once a chinese idiom that goes like this: " Those involved are puzzled/confuse, but those who are watching are those who knows the best." My upbringing as an Asian/chinese means that I don't compliment people so that they feel good and have enthusiam to do more - so still trying to learn. But, when I let out a good commendable that is applauding the author, yout can almost gurantee that it is great (just like ChanSD5's ) and not kidding at all.
  07:49:22  17 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
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On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
additional tips:
1) Never involve too many characters if you want a griping story. Since you are an American, you make things more easily. Try picking 2 of my most favourite series (I am not American though" - '24' and 'Stargate Sg-1'. Ever examine how those stories rocks? They don't involve too many characters. Every guy has their way of reacting to the situation, have somethign to fear, something that love, somethign to protect. For example, Jack Bauer... I'm gonna leave this for yourself, you should have watch it . Writing a story is pretty much making a movie, only that this time the movie is the one that rolls in your (and the reader's) head and that movie is what you put in words. Now, this is the tricky part- you have to descript the movie! This normally involves your style. The less chracter you have, the more dynamic you can make them! Most good stories here have less than 5 characters, so unless you are a real pro, don't do too much. Even Ian C never dare to do too much- he has only 2 dynamic characters (Abrams and Lukin). The others are just mere side-characters that only venture in the end.

2) Language is never a problem. Most readers ebjoy sentence that is competent, yet rich in content. Don't put in too much flashy sentence. You only need one at the first sentence. Also make sure the intro is competent. A typical example is "The loss of innocence." Remember, this is not an attack, just an example. If you examine the author's intro, he can go something about Darwin;s law (and got it wrong and unapplicable ) stuff, while his story goes into choice, US army in Ukraine ( ), no interesting plot (good guy save the world by killing his superior so that an apocalypse bomb will not get discovered). As you can see- irrelecant. As you can see, first sentence always meant a lot, mainly about what genre the stories are. So always try to start your story with a well crafted story about what is going on, not an introduction on somethign else.

3) Don;t be afriad to make mistakes! Practice, practice, and practise! ( I can almost assure you, after the contest had stop receiving any new stories, most of us here have plenty of time. So if you can find the time to write, don;t be afriad to post it up and receive critism.

Writing is a very delicate thing, and you can't normally appreciate how good is a story done until you have tried doing it yourself.

And done worry too much about me. Sometimes the harsh comments is a sort of test. You can either cower in the corner, cry and lament about how amoki had critised you until you are so unworthy, and never venture at the forum again because you want to preserve your self-image (until the day that story is published and you receive your first bombshell critism) ; or you say to yourself "right. I have a lot to learn. Let see what can I learn." and ask why amoki says that, then correct yourself , and move on. Most of the time, after the author resurface, I'll go soft
  12:15:30  17 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
Messages: 78
amoki, i sent you another story(i hope it's better) still give your comments and flame me
  12:36:20  17 June 2004
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Chansd5
(Senior)
 
On forum: 11/26/2003
 

Message edited by:
Chansd5
06/17/2004 12:42:59
Messages: 124
beowulfstalker, the thing I noticed in your stories is that the actions of your characters are a bit shorter than usual. Now, this story has many potential to be really great, but its just the action (and some other things) that need some work on.

Instead of saying like, "I took potshots at the invading mutants, and killed 3 of them."
try something more detailed, for example, like this.

"As the overwhelming number of mutants assaulted my position, fear nearly overwhelmed me. I fetched the safety off my Kalashnikov, aligned the sights, and braced to fend off the enevitable onslaught that is to come."

Then, describe the bodycount in some good detail in your favorite description words.

Describe how each round created a cloud of crimson brain matter behind each mutant's head as the character's former hunting skills reminiscent back to him from his grandfather or something.

And yes, dont have too many characters. You have great potential, I like a good background of characters, it gives them depth. As always, write more, and Ill be sure to read it. Read my story Geneva, I think you'll like it and you can see how the actions were described. Write on!
  13:02:13  17 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
Messages: 78
i did read your story and thought your writing was very good, but i didn't like the moral. It just doesnt fit into the Stalker role. but i might just be an evil guy who thinks everybody in the Zone is bad.
  17:07:07  17 June 2004
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Chansd5
(Senior)
 
On forum: 11/26/2003
Messages: 124
If your talking about Geneva, she is not one of the stalkers. She is one of the former citizens of the zone still latching on to their desocrated homes since the first Chernobyl meltdowns.
  17:09:04  17 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
Messages: 78
oops, my mistake. I was thinking of another story. i really like geneva, everything. sorry for the mistake
  19:56:07  17 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
That's what I meant good... "Geneva" can be somethign that worth your time studying- study the way your story flows, how the story can be expressed...

Anyway, I have read through your story. Do you want me the review it here, or send it to your email? IT is indeed better than this one.
  21:02:49  17 June 2004
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Chansd5
(Senior)
 
On forum: 11/26/2003
Messages: 124
Post it here, I wanna read it.
  23:45:04  17 June 2004
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beowulfstalker
(Senior)
 
On forum: 05/25/2004
 

Message edited by:
beowulfstalker
06/17/2004 23:45:56
Messages: 78
yes post it here and review
  11:12:43  18 June 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
certainly your new story has improvement. You starting to know how to create an interesting plot, even though it is your usual easy plot. Not bad! Keep it up.

In your new work, you also starting to reduce the amount of character. you start to know how to focus on individual character, which is how you basically put in emotion and thoughts. What I mean is, you now know how to pay attention to individual character with more than 2 sentences on a character one at a time. But this is where you improve- unless you have a heated conversation, always try to put in more than 2 sentepce at a time to put in thought/emotions/reaction when you are uslng 1st person.

1st person= using "I"
3rd person = "he"

1st is a strong weapon when you want to do a thought provoking story. A good "Actually, best." is "The difference between you and me." Or try "home to stay", which is mind in the forum. But I will provide you with a link when I get to use a CPU. I am now on a PDA. 3rd persod is mre on action, whic is usually what I recommend for new authors as most of the time most authors are better od action. Unless you have somethirg to say to the world via your story, you might as well stick to 3rd person.

You might consider post your story in the forum- Ian C is a better commentor (and he don't have to write on a PDA).
 
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