I need opinions on cheesiness factor of my story

I have a story that takes place in earth’s future (100 years, maybe). It is a bleak lookout, the world was devestated when something (unknown, so far) collapsed the US of A. It lead to a massive, worldwide war in which nearly all of out known nations were scattered and destroyed.

Factions of similiar ideals joined together. The DLF (Democratic Liberation Front), the CIM (Communist Initiative Movement), the ASAP (Alliance of South American Powers), the GS (Genetic Saviors. All of their soldiers are cloned) and the Mech (they believe no human should do work, 'cept for fighting and manegmental jobs. Everything else is automated) are a few examples. There are of course smaller ones based around lesser ideals and religions.

Ok, my character is a mercenary, class M (Z being worst, A being top gun). He is completely unempathising and self-oriented. Money is his life. However, if he doesn’t get his way, he get’s angry and kills someone.

If you want the story, just email me at jjp.fowler@sk.sympatico.ca . However, what I’m looking for is just general ideas on how to improve the plot… Any C & C would be nice.

What!?! No love story. No lil’ bit of romance stuck in there? No buxom alien/human to save? If it were a movie I wouldn’t allow my husband to bring me. There has to be some chick-flickieness involved to attract all audiences.

It doesn’t sound like too cheezy a premise to me.

Do you have any ideas yet as to what collapsed the US in the first place? (Was the population decimated by a deadly, rapidly spreading bio weapon? Or did the system fail when the Market crashed, making all the citizens freak out, thus leading to unrest and upheaval?) (I suppose you spared Canada, huh? ;))

It sounds to me like it could be a good yarn when it’s all fleshed out. I love a good yarn.
JW

An invasion by straight dopers is always a good concern…The moderators could equal an army of mutated suckered fingered bastards any day.

Just wondering…are your Genetic Saviors and your Mech group influenced any by Bruce Sterling’s Shaper/Machinist stories?

I think you should go ahead and post the story. Or mail it to me, if you prefer, I’ll be happy to read it.

una_persson@hotmail.com

Doesn’t sound cheesy to me. Sounds just as good if not better than MY story idea. :slight_smile: I especially like the names.

If you want my input on the story itself, you can email me. Email’s in my profile.
Spoffy

Well, that Shaper/Machinist thing is something I’ve never heard of :).

In fact, that’s the general idea of what I had planned. Since the US is so powerful, it brought all the major and minor powers into a war. The world is kinda wrecked. Not many meadows or forests left. Just wastelands. And the vehicles are magnetically powered (something about positive and negative coils). Nothing touches the ground when it travels.

There is no premise so cheesy that it can’t make a good novel. OTOH, there is no premise so good that it can’t be made into crap.

Writing isn’t just about ideas. It’s about the execution of those ideas. If you write well about them, you have a good book.

Sounds like a premise to a REALLY good strategy game, or a REALLY good book.

Hey! Ask Me About My Book (Via E-mail)!

Sure, Speaker, go 'head and send me a copy:

maplexiii@yahoo.com

I promise to get back to you with my comments, though I won’t promise it’ll be the next day.

I can’t speak to how well the story will be written, but here’s what I see as problems with the set-up:

You say:

> the ASAP (Alliance of South American Powers)

Shouldn’t the group at least have a Spanish or Portuguese name? Try not to have the various groups left over sound like they all are made up of American citizens. According to your plot, the U.S. fell first. There shouldn’t be very many Americans in the groups fighting for power under your scenario. Similarly:

> the CIM (Communist Initiative Movement)

This group is presumably mostly Chinese, since that’s where most of the remaining Communists are today.

When did this collapse supposedly happen? Next year? 2025? 2050? 2075? It’s important to think about this since you appear to say that clones and robots became at least moderately common before the collapse.

But there’s a further problem. You speak of “the world was devestated when something (unknown, so far) collapsed the US of A. It lead to a massive, worldwide war in which nearly all of out known nations were scattered and destroyed. . . . the GS (Genetic Saviors. All of their soldiers are cloned) and the Mech (they believe no human should do work, 'cept for fighting and manegmental jobs. Everything else is automated)”. If the world was this badly devastated by the war, how could facilities to create clones and robots still exist? This would be really high-tech stuff.

Any war in which all the nations are “scattered and destroyed” would devastate civilization enough that it would take centuries for society to rebuild enough to consistently use high-level technology. At best, there would only be bits and pieces of high-tech, cobbled together to work as best as possible. You should be careful not to write one of those “I’ll get rid of all the inconvenient parts of society and keep the parts that fit my ideas” stories. (The worst example of this is one where society has collapsed, but people are still using the Internet to communicate. Uh, no, when civilization collapses, the Internet will go first.)

You also write:

> Ok, my character is a mercenary, class M (Z being worst,
> A being top gun). He is completely unempathising and self-
> oriented. Money is his life. However, if he doesn’t get
> his way, he get’s angry and kills someone.

There are 26 levels of mercenary? That’s way more than the number of levels in any martial art or of ranks in any army. Why would anyone create such a complicated system in any world, let alone one in which society has collapsed? Incidentally, is the story going to end with this guy defeating everyone and saving the world? He’s a mid-level mercenary. Presumably all that’s necessary is for someone to send out a couple A-level mercenaries and they would clobber him in a trice. Furthermore, if he’s the sort of person who blows up easily and resorts to violence over small things, he’s the sort who will be get killed quickly because everyone soon realizes that he’s a loose cannon and not to be trusted. It’s inconsistent to make him both a money-oriented mercenary and an easily-angered character. Someone who doesn’t learn to control his anger quickly loses jobs and eventually his life.

Why not make him an A-level mercenary who through politic-ing, negotiating, and perhaps deceit (but only at the end, because if he did that too early he would get killed) manages to put together an alliance of enough diffent groups to control the world? Two-fisted heroes who save the world through purely physical prowess are unrealistic and a boring cliche anyway. A further idea occurred to me: Why not make him one of the few Americans either among the warring factions or the mercenaries? You apparently wanted to have an American in the lead to get some sympathy from your readers. Why not say that everyone underestimates your hero because he’s American? They look down at Americans because they were the ones who destoyed the old civilization when they were at the top of it.

Just to address a few of Wedall’s points (good job, that’s what I was looking for), the war didn’t really end. Nations allied, and kinda (in the last 80+ years) melded into the factions. So it’s not like the world was nuked 3 times over or anything. However, I’m still not sure how long ago it was that this happened, and the story that I have written is kinda mistaken (it says 50 years ago). Your points about the names are valid, but it was the summer of '99 when I thought them up. That was between grade seven and eight, so I’ll fix em up soon.

Speaker for the Dead,

You say:

> The world is kinda wrecked. Not many meadows or forests
> left. Just wastelands.

but you also say:

> So it’s not like the world was nuked 3 times over or
> anything.

So if the world wasn’t nuked, why aren’t there many meadows or forests left? If “the war didn’t really end,” what kind of war was it? What kind of world war would last for decades? And if most of the vegetation is gone, what is there for people to eat?

You have to have a consistent background figured out before you begin. You don’t have to explain that background in one lump in the story (indeed, the more artfully you introduce the background the better), but you need to know that information.

Oh, and he doesn’t win the war by himself. The basic idea is that he kinda skips from battle to battle, and eventually joins up with the DLF and its other allies (TBA who) near the end of the war (it has to end sometime). Him and several friends are an elite group who kinda penetrate the last enemy (TBA, again) city, and he disappears, guns blazing :).

The next while follows a little more moral group of heroes who are tying up the loose ends after they won the battle (many thanks to the merc’s group). They do missions killing partians and terrorists, and scouting. They also search for technology that was lost during the war (in city rubble etc.).

Once everything is running smoothly, the New Earth Gov’t (better name TBA) discovers an alien fleet (and yes, the humans do have some craft in space of their own) circling closer and closer. Their negotiation ships get blasted, as does the rest of the human armada. The aliens, lacking planetary bombardment weapons, decide to set up camp in the Russian Deserts, a major nuclear target (kinda wasted). My group of heroes goes through another series of adventures fighting and scouting the aliens. This all climaxes at a another assault on the alien ‘capital’, followed by a rebuilt earth fleet battling the alien ships. During the land battle (the real climax, the starbattle will be less so), the merc shows up again, scarred, but much better trained and equiped. His moral compass has also been inserted :). He and my group of heroes attack the Willmasters (the military and social leaders of the aliean society, very powerful), and the merc ends up sword-to-claw with the Mastermind (leader of the WMs), and eventually dies. The MM ends up killing all of the other heroes, but is overwhelmed by the human forces once his fleet and army are destroyed.

Also, they have converters to replace the forests n’ stuff. Food is grown in greenhouses, and in the farther reaches, there are places that have vegetation, just not near major cities or battlezones.

Sorry for not being clear.

Man, I;m all excited, this actually sounds relaly cool. Like everyone else has said, it’s a really good premise for a story, but, I tihnk the best advice anyone has said is:

The story line sounds great, but what you sent me wasn’t that well written. I seems too much like you are trying to explain everything to someone instead of writing about something, and in the process, not really explaining enough…I don’t know if this makes any sense, but maybe other people know what I’m talking about? Sorry if that’s no help.

I know, that’s why I said it was the worse version. Once I get my (marginally) better one typed, I’ll send it along.

I would enjoy reading your story.

In my opinion, don’t worry about cheesiness, and such. Just write.

Lots of great literature is built on a solid foundation of Mozzorella. Look at Lord of the Rings A bunch of cute little people with big feet save the world from the evil guy that we never get to see with the help of a bunch of dwarves, elves and a shiftless bum who calls himself a ranger, but can’t even keep his sword in one piece. How cheesy is that?

Enjoy writing it. Put in whatever you like, how you like it, and don’t worry too much about how it sounds, or if all the concepts in it work.

When you’re done, let it rest for a while, and then go through it with a red pen and a critical eye. Start fixing all the things that went wrong with the first draft. Add the stuff that you realize you needed. Cut the fluff. Tighten it up. Repeat this process until it’s just right.