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...no, what do you really think?
Our first two ficlets 
18th-Mar-2007 12:14 am
Hi guys! Here are our first two ficlets up for concrit. The first is a little more than a drabble and the second is about a double drabble. Please try to be fair and honest, and remember that it's perfectly acceptable to review these anonymously. Let's get going!

Title: Why Did He Shave, Anyway?
Pairing: Mal, Jayne
Rating: G
Word Count: 173
Summary: Missing scene (?) from The Train Job: Ever notice that between the pilot episode and The Train Job, Jayne has shaved? Ever wonder why?
Reveal author?: N

“We ready to go?” Mal looked past Zoe, who he knew was ready, and towards the other member of his posse.

“Where the hell’s Jayne?”

“Right here, Mal.”

“You shaved?”

“Well, yeah.” He gave his captain a lascivious grin. “Never know, might be some women down there.”

“Jayne. We’re here to make a contact with a fella named Niska, not pick up women. ‘Sides, it’s just a bar on Silverhold. How many women could there be?”

“Well now, last time I was here, there was this belly-dancer. She could do things, Cap.” He nodded as sincerely as if he were talking about someone who could build a gun out of scrap metal. “Wouldn’t hurt you to spend some time with her, if you know what I mean.”

Mal left him talking to thin air, this not being the first time Jayne had said such a thing to his captain. If Jayne kept that up, Mal decided he’d find some way the man didn’t get to lay a hand on that belly-dancer this trip.

Title: Dreaming
Pairing: River, Jayne, Simon
Rating: G
Word Count: 341
Summary: Another missing scene (?), this one from Trash
Reveal author?: N

River knew that she had scared Jayne when she told him she could kill him with her brain. She hadn’t really expected him to believe it. It was just a way to support Simon—her brother wasn’t as intimidating as he liked to think.

But Jayne had been scared. And had grown steadily more fearful of them in the hours since she had seen him. She could feel his fear wafting through the ship toward her. It surrounded her and gnawed at her insides like a Reaver in a…

She had to stop it; had never meant it to go this far. Jayne had carried his own dread since that day on Ariel. She wasn’t afraid of him turning them in, not really. So why had she made him afraid.

She peered into the infirmary. Simon was there, with his back to her. But he could tell she was near. He always could.

“River? Are you okay?”

“Yes. No.” She watched Jayne intently.

“He’s sleeping. I think. Either that or you really did kill him with your brain.”

Simon smiled at her, wanting her to get his joke. For a moment, Jayne’s fear became her own. What if she really could kill him with her brain?

Simon recognized her worries. “River, he’s fine. Really, he’s just sleeping.”

She nodded, stepping into the room and over to the medcot that Jayne lay upon. Her proximity allowed her to hear his soft snores.

Leaning to look closely at his face, their noses nearly touching, she whispered, “I do not envy you the headache you will have when you awake. But may you rest well and dream of large women.”

“River!” Simon hissed quietly.

“What?” She looked at her brother innocently. “It’s what he was thinking.”

Simon could only smile and shake his head at his little sister. Taking her by the hand, he led her from the room.

“You do know that you really can’t kill someone with your brain, don’t you, River?”

“You just keep trying to convince yourself of that, Simon.”

To think about for these two:

  • Do these ficlets function as complete stories or as scenes from a known 'verse? Should a drabble tell an entire story or should canon clues provided in a scene be enough to tell a story in fandom?

  • One of these has a fairly ephemeral setting while the other is more concrete. Does that effect how well the fics come across?

  • Though you are of course free to comment on any aspect you see fit! These are just ideas to get things started.
    18th-Mar-2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
    Well, the problem with drabbles is that you often have to be well versed in the episodes to understand them. Take for instance the first drabble. If you didn't really remember the episode of The Train Job, it might not make much sense. The author has left the ending unsaid, which can be very good. I do like it when the author allows the reader to come to the conclusions rather than just spell out every little thing. On the other hand, it can leave the reader confused as to what is going on, if the author hasn't created the path for the reader to follow. If they've left it too open and the reader has too many options they might choose from for an interpretation.

    The second drabble works in much the same way. You really have to already know what is going on. Another problem with the second drabble is that it is not necessarily in character. River might not act so charitably toward Jayne, nor might Simon at that point. Although, the teasing tone between the two siblings does sound in character.
    19th-Mar-2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
    I think drabbles are all right, especially in a drabble challenge or community. They can be a way to experiment with something, or as part of getting into a new fandom (playing around with the voices/tones, that sort of thing). I also find I do like a slightly more concrete setting, so the second one provides better visuals for me.

    I'm not really convinced by the voices here, though. In the first one, I can't really imagine Mal thinking of his crew as his 'posse'. It just sounds off. Also, there's POV slippage here slightly:

    this not being the first time Jayne had said such a thing to his captain

    "to his captain" isn't necessary. If someone else had been thinking the line, it might have worked, but I don't think Mal would think "to his captain". He'd stop at "not being the first time Jayne had said such a thing."

    When I first read the second one, I agreed with what the other comment says - would River really be this forgiving of Jayne? But upon rereading it, I think I could believe she would be - or at least, that she would begin to feel overwhelmed by the sense of fear. River did seem to be playing a bit of a playful, supportive role for Simon when she told Jayne she could kill him with her brain.

    And the last line - I can hear her saying that!

    However, I'm not as convinced by her voice. She sounds too lucid here for me (although River's degree of lucidity is something that I think is very open to interpretation, so personal preference comes into play).

    Again, there seem to be some POV slips. This:

    But he could tell she was near. He always could.

    and this:

    Simon recognized her worries

    both seem to come from Simon's POV, not River's, and they throw me off. Of course, if River is a reader, these could actually be read as her awareness of what he's thinking. But it doesn't quite work for me. There needs to be something else worked into the scene to set that up, I think, if I'm going to believe that it's intentional, rather than POV shifting.
    19th-Mar-2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
    While I don't believe the ficlets are functioning as completely self-contained stories, I do think that setting them in a known 'verse (with the expectation that readers will be familiar with the verse) allows the writer to get past the set-up and character development. Having said that, I do think that short works of fanfic such as these should have some kind of a hook and way to catch the reader.

    In looking at the first drabble, I'm going to have to agree with the previous comment. Mal thinking of Serenity's crew as his "posse" seems out of place given the known 'verse. The thing about this word choice is that it immediately turns me off from wanting to read the rest.

    I wish I had more to offer for the second ficlet, but I don't think I have anything more than the second reviewer. I did have a hard time with some of the River lines, but overall, I think it pulled together all right. I think the Princess Bride reference was a stroke of genius, but that is a personally preference for subtle references.
    20th-Mar-2007 07:49 am (UTC)
    I tend to agree with what the other reviewers have said.

    The first drabble is a bit short and I get that using "posse" is a kind of Wild West reference, but knowing the 'verse as we do, it just doesn't fit. It doesn't read right, it stilts the flow of the whole piece. It's a distraction basically. The characterisations are flawed but not entirely off the mark. We know who they are meant to be, but certain nuances are missed.

    The second drabble is far better, and I think River is really in character particularly the last line. Simon too rings true. The set up is lacking a hook but to be honest when you're writing a missing scene, you probably don't need one, the hook is the episode itself.
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