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Horribly rough draft.... potential?

Riavis

Active Member
I had an idea I was going to use for a short story, but as I was brain storming I realized that this would come off much better as a graphic novel. It would be my first ever attempt at one, but idea after idea was hitting me and I could see the storyboards in my head as I struggled to try to write ideas down.

I have here, for a harsh critique, a hasty prologue. I've since written pages and pages of back story, bio's for a protagonist and antagonist, dates and thought clouds. Your basic brain puke as a result of a good idea mixed with quite a few hours with no sleep.

The intention was to set a general mood and give the reader a reference point in regards to a timeline. This was written so hastily that I could barely read it- all I want to know is if this has potential... if it comes off as too cheesy. If not, should I go more into detail? I didn't want to put out too much information right off the bat.



Prologue (Super Rough Draft)
--------------------------------

EXPERIMENTS. It's all we were, all we were intended to be. Prototypes were humans with subtly altered features with purely military intention, progression led to mass production of Anthromorphic beings. We evolved from military experiments to heralds of the new world! Anthros, with our "tailorable" genetic makeup, and humans together would help cure diseases, fight crime and foreign enemies, prove invaluable to scientific discoveries in Earth's furthest corners and near space. Human enough to interact with, yet not enough to breed; different enough to inspire wonder, to plant the seeds of jealousy and hate.

A brief but horribly violent uprising held in protest of us "monsters and godless heathens" back in the year 2106 forced the issue of Anthromorphic rights and restrictions. By this time we made up just over 10% of Earth's sentient population. Enough animosity existed to require a strictly regulated segregation policy in most populated areas. 10 years later this animosity has mostly dissolved, but the uprising touched and altered many lives. A general sense of unease is frighteningly palpable...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Very choppy near the end I know. Blast away!

*Edit*

Thought I should add that this won't be your stereotypical "furry against the world" type of work. In fact the population gets along quite well with a few exceptions. Prologue is meant to be a teaser of sorts.
 
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Fay V

Lost to this world
I'm not sure what to tell you about this. I don't really get a sense of what this story is going to be about.
Some of the wording is awkward especially "tailorable", It can certainly use some polishing language and style wise.
As for the backstory, how did they go from military to not? Are they only part of one nation? Did this intelligence leak to other countries?
I honestly can't say much considering i have no idea what this story is about or even what kind of story it is meant to be.

on a more serious note never describe something you are showing off as "horrible" if you don't care about it why should we? if you think it is horrible take the time to clean it up a bit then show it for critique.
 

Icky

is the prettiest pony~
The very first thing I thought was literally, "oh great, another story shoving anthros down my throat".

Don't get me wrong, anthros are cool to write about. But picture a story where, for the entire first chapter, they talked about how they were humans. Boring, no? I personally feel that whether your characters are anthro or not shouldn't play much of a role in a story; especially in the first few lines.

Add this to what Fay said because I thought that too.
 

Fay V

Lost to this world
I just realized why I'm not really into this intro. there's no real wow factor. It's like listening to a documentary. Personally I prefer to start with conflict and action. I suppose this can be done if you use scenes of fighting, but I think I'd start with the uprising part.

the extremely short intro did not do you any favors. You have a very short time to catch someone's attention and right now I don't really feel there is a great hook. the art can make up for this. it's hard to show something like that in writing, but you can with art and showing > telling.
 

Icky

is the prettiest pony~
I just realized why I'm not really into this intro. there's no real wow factor. It's like listening to a documentary. Personally I prefer to start with conflict and action. I suppose this can be done if you use scenes of fighting, but I think I'd start with the uprising part.

the extremely short intro did not do you any favors. You have a very short time to catch someone's attention and right now I don't really feel there is a great hook. the art can make up for this. it's hard to show something like that in writing, but you can with art and showing > telling.

Eeeeeexactly. I once read a story where a character said a few short words to another character, and then got punched in the face. Or Kings's Under the Dome, where it starts off with a happy-go-lucky girl getting flight instructions from a handsome teacher. The paragraph ended with "they had forty seconds left to live".

I could go on with examples, but it all boils down to having a cool intro.
 

Scarborough

Cliched & Trite
I don't think it's its brevity that makes it boring.

Here's a short story by Raymond Carver that's only 500 words long. Your prologue thingy is only about 200 words long. I'd say that, in comparison to 100,000 word novels, they're close enough to being the same length.

Show-don't-tell is probably the biggest thing, here.

EXPERIMENTS. It's all we were, all we were intended to be. Prototypes were humans with subtly altered features with purely military intention, progression led to mass production of Anthromorphic beings. We evolved from military experiments to heralds of the new world! Anthros, with our "tailorable" genetic makeup, and humans together would help cure diseases, fight crime and foreign enemies, prove invaluable to scientific discoveries in Earth's furthest corners and near space. Human enough to interact with, yet not enough to breed; different enough to inspire wonder, to plant the seeds of jealousy and hate.

Like, cool. I haven't read much sci-fi, so I don't know how much grounding you're going to need to establish, or how early you're going to need to establish it, but this feels a bit much. In Ender's Game, we don't get really specific background on the buggers. We're not told the background on the Battle School. We're shown it. Card doesn't begin with this prologue about how Ender's two siblings were both rejected from battle school. Card shows us who Ender's siblings are, and then we understand why they were unfit to lead an armada to fight off the buggers.

In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, we don't just get told the significance of birds dying, or of Real Animals being symbolic of great wealth/status, or of what, exactly, Mercerism is, how it was established, when it was established, etc. We get shown all of these details. We see how desperate people are for birds. We see how birds don't exist. We see what people think of real animals. We see people practicing Mercerism.

A brief but horribly violent uprising held in protest of us "monsters and godless heathens" back in the year 2106 forced the issue of Anthromorphic rights and restrictions. By this time we made up just over 10% of Earth's sentient population. Enough animosity existed to require a strictly regulated segregation policy in most populated areas. 10 years later this animosity has mostly dissolved, but the uprising touched and altered many lives. A general sense of unease is frighteningly palpable...

In good post-apocalyptic novels, authors don't concern themselves too much about these details. And so I think it's a good move on your part to keep the prologue way short. There's nothing a reader wants to read less than a lengthy and involved prologue.

But at the same time, violent uprisings are real interesting! Good stuff, and we want to read about it! In Snow Crash, when the Big Virus (not the real name) is unleashed throughout the Metaverse, we get to see it. As it actually happens. Through Hiro Protagonist's eyes. We don't hear about it. It's not prologue. It's what gets the action going. It's cool and frightening and interesting, and we want front row tickets, and Neal Stephenson gives them to us.

Now, if this (= the uprising, or the furry v. human aspect) isn't going to be a big focus in your story, don't waste time describing it. Your telling-not-showing is fine (though, personally, I would tell-not-show this after a chapter or two, when the reader's already hooked). But if it's going to be a major part, we're going to want to see how it plays out.

Kudos for grounding the reader early, and for keeping the prologue short. I think we're all just having a hard time seeing how it's supposed to work, because we don't have the rest of the story to compare it to. Harry Potter and Ender's Game didn't need prologues. But, iirc, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? may have had one. I can't remember. Maybe.
 
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Dexter Fox

New Member
This isn't an intro, it's a setup. And as a prologue, it might work. You can save the first paragraphs of your real story for the hook that the other commenters have talked about.

But as far as a prologue, you want originality as well as information. The prologue can set the scene, but I'm not seeing a compelling scene here. I've read a dozen stories with about the same setup that lead to about the same universe. There's not a lot that's unique or engaging in this one. If your story is really interesting because of the history or some quirk about this universe, then the prologue needs to emphasize it. If the story will be driven by a character, then that character can be just barely introduced at the end of the prologue; aka 'into this world a child was born that would..." or something. You've probably read half a dozen different examples, and having a hook or twist at the end of the prologue can certainly capture the attention or imagination. You can do that with a single sentence or phrase. If it's done right, it can plant a seed of mystery in the reader that will really punch this up.
 
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