Despite the fact that this is no longer posted solely in my Sandbox, I'd hope any critiques or criticisms will still be forthcoming. Thanks again.
Date: 21 Jul 2013 15:01
Number of posts: 34
RSS: New posts
This is an odd one. I'm not entirely sure what I think of it. And it seems only very loosely connected to the Foundation-verse; you could replace the name of MC&D with Skull & Bones or any other posh club's name and it'd still be essentially the same.
No vote for now.
Giving bearhugs to the unsuspecting since 1872.
There probably are posh decadent clubs, and even posh decadent secret clubs that kill you if you tattle. But having a posh decadent secret club that informs you of their desire for your removal, but allows you the gentlemanly opportunity to trivially off yourself instead puts it in the Foundation-verse, in my opinion.
I think it would be difficult without anomalous means to let someone whom they feel should be removed (but who is not an immediate liability) roam about freely until you can give them the hint in a civilised manner, and if unheeded enforce a punishment worse than death in such a way that it cannot be escaped.
I can both understand and not understand what you're saying at the same time. I definitely see how the Tale could easily refer to any number of other organizations.
But I often times I see a tale, usually one which fails quickly, having shoe horned in a scip or scip-like item/person. I really didn't want to go that route. For me, one of the hallmarks of MC&D is it's subtlety. A lot of the MC&D SCP's imply without saying. We know they have their fingers in a lot of weird little pies, but their purpose or reason is unclear. There's an ominous mystique created because of their subtly and reservedness. That, for me, is what MC&D is and I really wanted to write something that tried to reflect that.
So rather than just put it on the page, I tried to imply it. There was a guide I read, something about being scary without saying anything, I can't find it right now. But it stuck with me and I tried to use one or two suggestions it had. That's why he's hoping he only has to do the 'right thing' one time. The suggestion is that he might have to do it more than once, hence the line at the end 'it could always be worse'.
Was it an issue of me being too subtle, not interesting or not fitting the style of the site? I really am committed to making this something worthy of staying up on the site and something people will enjoy. Any additional feedback would be a lifesaver.
Sitting in it, he used his toe to turn on the hot water. He thought back to all the times through the years that he had turned the hot water on with his toe. The steady stream of the tap keeping the tub a comfortable temperature had become a lifelong routine for him. Forty years prior he had lain in this same exact spot watching the water crest to the over flow drain, listening to the gargle of the water being drunk back down. It was a simple memory of a common practice of his. One he had taken for granted, much like the membership.
I found this really stupid, because it focuses a lot on one small detail. In fact, this entire story is tiny details blown up, so much so that the setting, character, and story are all shoved out of the way for the purpose of trying to portray the significance of small details woven into one big beautiful story. I've gone down that path, yo, and it produces muddled and incoherent work. This one isn't much better, since it appears extremely stereotypical, mostly because of as I said one throws away plot and character and whatnot for purposes of significance of tiny detail.
The feeling is good, though. Yes. But… Everything else needs addressing.
Living the dream, or dreaming the life?
I'm glad I got the feeling right. While I intentionally tried to make the little things the focus of this Tale, if it doesn't work as well as I intended I'll make sure to take a serious pass and address these issues. Hopefully in a couple of days I'll have it edited.
I'm not sure "Do tell" is a question, so that struck me as off.
I enjoyed the idea of insipid creep which manages to create an atmosphere where mundane pleasantries represent something dangerous but being approached coolly without much interest means you're still on good terms. It twists seemingly friendly interest like "How are you?" into something very unnerving.
The little hint at the end what MC&D does to a persona non grata works quite well.
I find the piece all right. Upvoted.
A few minor criticisms though:
- You don't escalate the tension, practically all is given in the first few paragraphs, save the reason itself (I thought initially that "do tell?" was spoken by him in the club, not outside, and he was being punished for an "infraction of decorum", so to speak). I think it could work better if he was only realising slowly what is going on, not being on cue that something's wrong from the start. Like being mildly surprised about questions but not immediately startled. Right now the narrator tells us outright that this is very bad, there's really not much suspense.
- I find the whole situation a bit strange. Why did MC&D allow him to even go to the club again in the first place? Why didn't they just "resolve" the matter quietly and efficiently? Counting on someone to go back after so serious a breach of security and counting on them to commit suicide… I don't know, to me it screams of inefficiency, and for an organization such like MC&D, that successfully eludes the agents of Foundation, this seems improbable.
Regardless, I enjoyed the article, mostly the slow, leisurely pace strangely fitting the invoked imagery of luxury and debauchery. I just always loved overthinking things…
I see what you mean. Some of the early feedback I received said that there wasn't enough build up, that everything came as a bit of a surprise to him. I tried adding in a bit more dread, to build up to the end…but i can see what you mean. I think I went a little overboard with his reactions to the question too early. I'll try and balance this better. Thanks.
As for the loose end bit, I honestly did not even consider the idea of a threat in loose ends until you brought up; Let explain why.
In my head cannon of MC&D, I've always thought of them as a cat that's just playing with a mouse before eating, which is to say I see them as cruel, in a leisurely sort of way. They don't view him as a risk, they are in control of the situation. They're just toying with him for their own amusement. I'd imagine the next day at the club, a couple of members sharing a drink and chuckling upon the matter. I imagine the staff laughing about it in the back while in private. In the eyes of the club, I imagine this guy will be nothing but a funny thing that happened once, a 'Do you remember the time we gave that fellow a good scare? Haha, good times', type of thing.
Fair enough, they were in control all the time - I'd do things differently, myself, but my personal head canon is no more valid than yours.
Solitude in the company of peers, the unspoken social rule of the club; You do not chit chat.
I'd imagine the next day at the club, a couple of members sharing a drink and chuckling upon the matter. I imagine the staff laughing about it in the back while in private. In the eyes of the club, I imagine this guy will be nothing but a funny thing that happened once, a 'Do you remember the time we gave that fellow a good scare? Haha, good times', type of thing.
These citations contradict each other. I see what you meant to say, but you have to keep consistent in your picture of the situation. Again, to me personally, the "no chit-chat" rule was a bit weird - a little innocuous conversation is a good thing to avoid some heavier, more loaded subjects. And talking about weather or a new play can be more ominous in certain situations than outright silence. The bad thing with that rule is that it practically disallows conversations the like you mentioned in the second citation. I think it's too limiting - but it's just a personal opinion and I'll admit I'm no good writer, just an avid reader.
You've pointed something out that I didn't address, but I should have. The no chit chat rule was meant to convey a send of suck used socialism. Cliques and business deals. You don't just walk up to someone you don't know and start chatting about the weather, for it would be taboo. I'll think on how to get that across. Thanks.