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Thread: Elite Dangerous Writing Contest - November 2017

  1. #61
    So, quick question Frontier. Since my character was featured as a lore character in Premonition...am I still able to use him in my short story?

  2. #62
    Hmmm....2,000 words & PG 13 you say? I may have to make some alterations, but I believe I've something for your eyes.


  3. #63
    Originally Posted by DrNoesis View Post (Source)
    Don't suppose it'd be possible for FDev to post some of the submissions after the competition for us to read? Other than the winners and runners up, I mean.
    Brilliant idea. Fully support this proposal.

  4. #64
    submitted mine with a typo....

    in the mean time here is a story about a squirrel which is non ED related... it could be adapted..

    Liquorice disaster
    On a cold and frosty winter’s morning, the mist was rolling into the forest and the morning dew was forming on the woodland fauna. Deep within the forest was an old leather wellington boot whose previous owner was a giant wellington wearing octopus called Pete.
    Within this spacious leather wellington boot complete with sash windows and a garage made from flip flops stood Gary the squirrel who was getting ready to go on a fishing trip down the local swamp when his smoke alarm started going off, making loud elephant noises which bounced off all the wellington boots’ interior walls and made Gary’s china plates rattle with the vibrations. It was his crumpets in the toaster slightly burning which had set the alarm off, Gary frowning at the loud elephant noises and quickly wafting the smoke with his unicycle managed to get the smoke alarm to stop making the elephant noises as his crumpets popped up in the toaster.

    Gary sat down on an old sewing thread bobbin at his table made from an upturned foil pie casing which he believed to have once contained a chicken and mushroom flavoured pie and ate his burnt crumpets which he had spread with a praying mantis preserve he had made during the summer months, The summer months had be kind to Gary allowing him to collect many items for his home and gather many food stuffs he needed for the winter, he would often regale his gathering tales down the village hall of how he once fought off a large Badger for the foil pie casing and tell all those willing to listen how it once may have contained a deliciously warm processed chicken and mushroom pie enveloped in a warm and flaky pastry thought to come from a mysterious and wondrous place some called pie wonderland and others called the fish and chip shop.

    Through the corner of his eye out the kitchen window he could see his next door neighbour Jeremey the Giraffe watching on in jealousy whilst trimming his lawn with a lobster. Once Gary had finished his wonderful praying mantis preserve crumpets under the watchful eye of jealous Jeremy he put on his straw fishing hat and waders before taking out a flute from his back pocket and dancing the river dance while he danced his way towards the flip flop garage. With one swift command of “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” the flip flop garage door opened and Gary stopped the river dance and flute playing immediately.
    There before him stood his prized mobility scooter, his fishing tackle box made from an old sardine can neatly tucked into the mobility scooters basket on the front, on the side of the leopard print seat was duct tape holding a fishing rod he had taped on the night before. He quickly boarded the leopard print chariot and headed off to the swamp waving a walking stick around erratically and shouting abuse at the swans and ducks along the way “geeerrrrr outttt maaaa weeeee” he shouted as a red crested mallard tried to come out of Dorothy Perkins onto the pavement and was nearly hit with his flailing walking stick dodging at the last minute but unfortunately falling over and all the other ducks started to Quack and flap about. One tried to dodge Gary as he flew by Greggs but slipped on some wet leaves which sent their beef and onion pasty slice flying onto a nearby swan minding his own business, leaving an array of beef gravy and finely chopped onions mixed with pastry sliding slowly down the swan’s neck.

    Gary had managed to navigate the rest of town with much of the same disruption causing one duck at the Crispy Wing Chinese take away to fall into the oven with a bottle of hoi sin sauce he was carrying, a tragedy much enjoyed with spring onions & cucumber on a warmed pancake that has been folded up neatly. Gary finally made it to the swamp which was covered in lily pads and there were eloquent frogs wearing top hats and monocles pronouncing “ribbit” correctly “ribbit I say old chap” said one frog to another, surrounding the swamp were various trees and reeds covering the swamps banks, A family of beavers were building a dam on the far side discussing where the Chaise long should go. Gary parked his leopard print chariot near some reeds and opened his fishing chair before sitting down and setting up his other fishing paraphernalia and commencing said fishing. The swamp occasionally bubbled with some fish coming up for some air and gentle ripples in the water were created by a shoal of common carp over the far side who were playing water polo with an old Tupperware pot, he thought it may have been one of those click and lock Tupperware pots with the rubber seal, but he couldn’t be too sure from where he was sitting. Gary mumbled something or nothing about common carp and “bloody crap fish” while he re-casted his fishing rod in and out of the swamp hoping to catch a fish supper. Alas this was not to be, the beavers had finally placed their chaise long after much argumentation, one beaver pointing erratically for hours at different spots, and the other moving it 5mm this way and 5mm that way, they had finally settled down and gone to bed, the shoal of common carp playing water polo had long finished, packed up and walked to Burger King for a whopper & fries, the daylight was fading and the sun was setting behind the trees, Gary decided that it would be enough for today and packed up his fishing equipment shouting “I hate fishing” as loud as he could making all the birds tut at him from the trees for his inappropriate outburst, One sparrow in particular who had been twitching her net curtains all afternoon watching his unsuccessful fishing, got our her typewriter and started writing a letter of complaint to the council for noise disturbance , In the midst of all the tutting birds Gary made his escape on the leopard print scooter and off into the woods.

    Arriving back at his wellington shoe home, Jeremy had finally cut his lawn with the lobster, there were lobster cut outs all over the lawn which were in style these days, looking at his own lawn strewn full of liquorice allsorts middles with the most exciting bits already licked off leaving the black husks only showing slight hints of the once tasty but sugary coloured tops and bottoms they once had, made Gary feel disappointed and angry that Jeremy had a nicer lawn than his, it was at this point he decided he would sabotage Jeremy’s lawn by releasing the lobster from the shed into the wild and filling his raised beds full of jelly. Once the sun had set and the night was well underway, Gary boiled four hundred and twenty six cubic meters of water and added sixty four thousand packs of raspberry jelly before mixing it in various cement mixers he happened to have lying around and poured it into Jeremy’s raised beds. He released the lobster from the garden shed and set it free, Gary then retreated to his wellington and stood at the net curtains all night awaiting Jeremy’s response. Unfortunately during the night the lobster got cold, and sought out the jelly as a warmer environment, thinking it was the sea, jumped in and was entombed in the raspberry jelly creating a lobster and raspberry fishy jelly mix.

    Jeremy was distraught once he happened upon his lawn and missing lobster, he stood at the jelly filled beds and knew instantly this would be the doings of a certain squirrel that inhabited the wellington next door. Jeremy reached into his custom designed Giraffe turtle neck knitted cashmere sweater pocket and pulled out a whole pack of liquorice allsorts, the rustling of the pack made Gary’s ears pick up inside his wellington boot home, Jeremy opened the packet of delicious sweet sugar coated delights and started nibbling the sugary yet coconut like topping off, leaving a husk of vile sweaty liquorice behind coated in giraffe saliva which he promptly flicked onto Gary’s garden, Gary hid inside his wellington home afraid he would be found out for turning the raised beds into a fishy jelly mix, nine thousand seven hundred and forty one packs of liquorice allsorts later Gary was entombed in a liquorice husk and Giraffe spit mountain who eventually starved to death unable to eat the left over husks of liquorice due to a liquorice husk & giraffe spit allergy, meanwhile Jeremey had eaten many times his own body weight in sugar and so many liquorice allsorts toppings that he had in actual fact turned into a liquorice allsorts sweet himself only to be eaten alive by a passing colony of ants, leaving behind a Liquorice giraffe skeleton husk after they had devoured the sugary yet coconut topping.

    This was the unfortunate end of Jeremy and Gary, but indeed this is where liquorice allsorts nibbling originated from, and even today deep in the forest amongst an overgrown area of nettles and a pile of rusty spoons and broken pallets lies an old wellington boot where nine thousand seven hundred and forty one liquorice allsorts pack wrappers lay having weathered accordingly as the years have gone by.
    Some people say on a warm autumn day you can hear a faint rustling which is believed to be the rustling of liquorice allsorts wrappers as a lonely badger searches desperately for an upturned foil pie casing believed to have once contained a warm processed chicken and mushroom pie enveloped in a crusty pastry which came from pie wonderland, but that is another story about a pie loving badger called Keith

  5. #65
    Folks,

    Not wanting to teach anyone to suck eggs, but a few tips to make sure you have the best chance with your stories. No hard and fast rules, so choose to use or not, but might be helpful for those who don't have too much experience writing a story.

    The basics, get these right:

    • Spell Check.
    • Grammar Check.
    • Look for repetitions of words across consecutive sentences.
    • Remove adverbs (mostly words ending in ly) you almost certainly don't need any of them.
    • Use punctuation properly. Don't use more than one ! per 1000 words. Use commas and fullstops.
    • Dialogue needs a new line whenever someone speaks. Don't leave it inside the rest of the text.
    • Break paragraphs up. Avoid "Wall of text". If your story looks hard to read you've already lowered your chances.
    • When you have finished your first draft you are almost precisely 50% of the way through the task. Now go back and edit. Every. Word.


    Things to watch for:

    • Said is fine in dialogue. Don't whisper, expectorate, opin, remark, comment, yell, shout etc. unless you really need to. Make the dialogue the focus. If there are only two people you can get away without 'said' at all as long as you're clear who started talking first.
    • Choose a tense and stick to it. I advise the past tense unless you know what you're doing.
    • Viewpoint. Decide who is telling your story - Omniscient narrator? Character? First Person? If it's a character/first person make sure you don't describe something they can't see/feel/hear. Don't swap viewpoints without a good reason.
    • "Show don't Tell" - An old chestnut, but a good one. There's a massive difference between telling the reader somebody is scared and describing their physiological reaction to fear. Let the reader decide what the character is experiencing - don't tell them.
    • Don't explain the tech. Whatever cool stuff they have in 3304, it's just the tools of the day. Characters will just use it without thinking about it.
    • Don't over do the description. You haven't got the word count anyway, and we all know what Elite Dangerous is like. Set the scene and move on to the action.


    Things to do:

    • Story telling is all about catching attention, maybe putting in a twist, having interesting characters and situations. Whatever you're planning... cut to the chase.
    • If you write dialogue, read it out loud. If it sounds crass, it is.
    • Read your work out loud in total. If you run out of breath, you don't have enough punctuation.
    • Get someone else who isn't related to you to give it a read. Listen to what they say about it.
    • Write it, edit it, leave it alone for a bit and then re-read it and edit it again. Keep tweaking it. When you're utterly fed up with the thing, you're done.


    Examples:

    Good - "Raise the damn shields!"
    Bad - "Raise the shields!" he yelled, loudly.

    Good - Larry felt his stomach clench as the magnitude of what he'd done became clear.
    Bad - Larry was feeling quite upset about what he'd just done.

    Good - Laser fire struck the beleaguered vessel, shattering its hull.
    Bad - The pulsed field emitter charged and emitted a stream of coherent radiation that spread through the void of space before irradiating the ship's hull and exceeded its thermal dissipation capability.

    Good luck!

    Cheers,

    Drew.

  6. #66
    Originally Posted by drew View Post (Source)
    Folks,

    Not wanting to teach anyone to suck eggs, but a few tips to make sure you have the best chance with your stories.
    Oh damn, good advice - wish I had waited to submit hahaha!

  7. #67
    The story I wanted to submit had 2,028 words. Like Count Laszlo Almasy (The English Patient), I removed twenty-eight adjectives and it was good to go.

    Good luck to all.

  8. #68
    Originally Posted by drew View Post (Source)
    Larry was feeling quite upset about what he'd just done.
    The cheeky subversive inside me wants to do something like this. When I read the above this popped into my head:


  9. #69
    I've submitted mine. A couple of minor typos in the email but eh oh

    -------------------

    “No Commander, we won’t authorise that.” The Admiral circled around behind her desk, the vastness of space dominating the window behind her. Turning to look at, what she would call, the over-zealous commander she had only recently promoted, she realised just how dangerous his request would be, and how difficult it would be to stop him.

    “You know, every bit as well as I do Admiral that the key to preventing the loss of more capital ships is to find that missing Inra vessel”. Travers, a trader by nature, but now a combat veteran and missions specialist by necessity, didn’t feel he could have been more clear. The Federation had lost countless capital ships in just the last few months to Thargoid attacks.

    Out in the black, a small fleet of Commanders had been following the trail of clues left by former Inra associates, and all of it was leading to a stranded vessel, somewhere out in the black, possibly containing live samples of a biogenic weapon that could defeat them.

    The Admiral leant forward on her desk, resolutely staring directly into Travers’ eyes. “I will not say it again Commander, the Federation does not use, and will not support the use of biogenic weapons. We’ll just have to find another way.” She turned, almost as if to hide the self-loathing on her own face. Deep down she knew the rules they clung to so fiercely might eventually get them all killed.

    Travers, saying nothing, turned on his heel and left, determinedly heading back towards his Python. Back in the office, the Admiral knew she couldn’t stop him, knew he was probably going after the weapon, and quietly hoped for his success.

    It was deep within the Pleiades sector that Travers found himself four days later. He’d followed every clue, every breadcrumb he could find, scouring Inara and Galnet for any clue that might indicate the rumours of the lost Inra ship were true, but without success.

    The last clue he’d been able to obtain had led him to HD 32528, a permit-locked system deep within Thargoid space. The message said that a freighter had collected seventeen tonnes of the Mycoid virus, the biogenic weapon that could literally eat Thargoid ships, and their occupants, from an Inra base and was last heard sending a garbled distress call from orbit of the third planet.

    Presumably this was a dead end. Travers knew full well the security systems in his ship wouldn’t allow him to jump into a permit-locked system, let alone what the consequences would be if the Admiral, or her beloved Aegis alliance ever got wind of what he was doing.

    He needed time to think so headed down to the cargo bay to check the integrity of the corrosion-resistant racks he’d bought from the engineer Palin. Picking up a scanner, he began checking them for damage and any sign of micro fractures. They weren’t so unusual, just ordinary cargo racks that had been modified, hardened, and coated to make them impervious to corrosive Thargoid tech.

    Suddenly Travers stopped. That was it, he thought. Just standard equipment, modified so as to make the impossible… possible.

    He rushed back to the flight deck and pulled an access panel from the wall, exposing the navigational systems beneath. His computer knowledge was limited, but good enough that he ought to be able to bypass the safety protocols preventing him from jumping to HD 32528. It took him three hours, and the disabling of several alarms before he was confident he’d succeeded. Well, reasonably confident he’d succeeded anyway. Returning to the flight controls he set the FSD for HD 32528 and hit engage, this would either work, fail, or send him way off course and blow his treasured Python, and him, to smithereens.

    The five second countdown seemed like an age, but the nav computer had locked on the target system. Pushing himself back into his flight chair, he stared intently at the hyperspace vortex appearing in front of him. Then, three… two…one… jump.

    The vortex seemed remarkably stable, as per normal, maybe slightly redder than he was used to but that could have been his imagination. Either way there was no way to be sure as he’d already disabled the alarms anyway. He wondered for a short while what he might find on the other side. A Thargoid ship, a fleet, a mothership, a colony, or perhaps nothing.

    The ship disengaged the FSD and there appeared a star. It looked perfectly normal, like all others, type L, scoopable. Picking up the fuel he needed, he veered off and checked the system screen. Seven planets, five moons, nothing unusual and no Earth-types. A couple of ammonia worlds sat in the system, planets three and four. But hang on, the Thargoids came from an ammonia world. Could it be the ship he was tracking, if it even existed, was trying to pollute the atmosphere of a Thargoid colony?

    He set course for the third planet, a little over 13,000 light seconds from the star, and kept close watch on the scanner. If he could see approaching Thargoids, you can be damn sure they could see him.

    He’d never realised just how quiet his Python was, perhaps it was his imagination given the stress of the situation. He’d bought it new after trading between Cemeiss and LTT 9810 for a few months, he liked it. It had the spunk of his old Cobra Mk IV, but the space to truly serve as a multi-purpose ship. He’d painted it black. He was now very grateful for that decision, perhaps, just perhaps it would give him a small advantage. There would after-all be nobody coming to his rescue if this went wrong.

    Then, a blip, a flashing blip on the scanner as a vessel was detected, 17 Mm from the planet. A Thargoid? The lost Inra ship perhaps? Knowing he now had little choice but to investigate it, he set a course, and switched fire groups to the new AX weapons that might, just might, give him a fighting chance against a Thargoid interceptor.

    As Travers approached the blip, nothing happened. The Python still cruised in near silence, the blip didn’t move, and nothing seemed to be moving against him. Before long he was within dropping distance of the target. 5 Mm, 4 Mm, 3 Mm, 2 Mm… here goes nothing.

    With a cacophony of engine noise that would undoubtably have alerted every listening post in the sector, Travers dropped out of supercruise, staring at the ammonia world beneath him. A world possibly inhabited, possibly with creatures that wanted nothing better than to blow him out of the sky. Where was his target, time was tight, and he needed to be away from here quickly.

    Then, a glint, a reflection from the now distant star. It was there. Hitting the thrusters, Travers approached the vessel, dark and alien looking it eventually revealed itself as a Type-7 freighter, fairly standard looking too. Closing he could see scarring and battle damage, green smoke and gel slowly eating the hull. This ship had been here for almost a hundred years and was in a hell of a state. Large parts of the hull were already gone, the substructure inside revealed, and at least one engine missing entirely, presumably having been lost to the planet’s gravity decades ago.

    Swinging his ship around, Travers looked for the cargo hatch. It couldn’t possibly be intact after all these years, and this much damage. Activating his ship lights he focused on the hatch. Astonishingly it looked relatively intact, and closed. He’d need a hatch-breaker limpet to see what, if anything was inside.

    Travers jumped up from his seat and headed for the cargo bay. He felt the need to check the cargo racks again before launching the limpet. Whatever it was this ship had been carrying was corrosive enough to eat a Thargoid. If he could, he needed to get at least a sample returned to Aegis and the Admiral, without it eating his ship as well.

    As he scanned the racks for micro fractures, the Type-7 sat, silently, ghostly quiet in high orbit of the planet. The star was reflecting off its hull, now clearly revealing the Inra logo emblazoned on the side.

    On his return to the flight deck Travers checked the sensors again, scanning the Type-7 for cargo. He couldn’t be certain but it looked like something still remained in the hold. Sitting down to launch the hatch-breaker limpets he failed to notice the Inra logo on the cargo ship fading from view, covered by shadow, disappearing silently into the night.

    The limpet launched, whoosh, appearing on the scanner as a new contact. Travers had ignored the scanner while he’d been checking the cargo racks and preparing the limpets. Only now did he notice the other blip. Directly behind him, between him and the star, casting both the Python and the lost Inra vessel in darkness.

  10. #70
    Originally Posted by drew View Post (Source)
    Don't over do the description. You haven't got the word count anyway, and we all know what Elite Dangerous is like. Set the scene and move on to the action.
    Even though those were some of the most memorable moments when you described the stations inner workings or Hassan's Eagle. Hell, it is one of the reasons I'm now considering to take an Eagle as my next exploration vessel.

  11. #71
    Originally Posted by optimal_909 View Post (Source)
    Even though those were some of the most memorable moments when you described the stations inner workings or Hassan's Eagle. Hell, it is one of the reasons I'm now considering to take an Eagle as my next exploration vessel.
    Description is garnish. Use just enough, no more.

    Cheers,

    Drew.

  12. #72
    Originally Posted by Cmdr Travers View Post (Source)
    I've submitted mine. A couple of minor typos in the email but eh oh
    Don't worry dude, I'm sure there will be more than a few of us who make the mistake of looking back at our work after submission and realising there's a mistake that we missed. I've re-read mine and spotted a spurious word that shouldnt be there that's really nagging at me now, but such is life.

    As a recommendation to those who are in a position to do so - get someone else to read your submission first. It's hard work to copy-edit yourself, and you can very easily become blind to small errors that a fresh set of eyes will spot without any problems, so if there's anyone there that can spare the time, make sure you make use of the added resource

    EDIT: @Drew, I have a horrible feeling I broke most of the rules you posted >.< lol

  13. #73
    Originally Posted by Rubbernuke View Post (Source)
    The cheeky subversive inside me wants to do something like this. When I read the above this popped into my head:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrSECcj5V7w
    lol, my children would never let me watch South Park; they said it wasn't suitable.

  14. #74
    Originally Posted by drew View Post (Source)
    Folks,

    Not wanting to teach anyone to suck eggs, but a few tips to make sure you have the best chance with your stories. No hard and fast rules, so choose to use or not, but might be helpful for those who don't have too much experience writing a story.
    Kind and effective suggestions, Drew. Thank you. (I just had to make an effort to not type "Thank you!") I just searched my document for "ly" and found 20 in 2000 words. Time to delete some more words...

  15. #75
    Originally Posted by drew View Post (Source)
    Folks,

    Not wanting to teach anyone to suck eggs, but a few tips...
    I read this thinking "dang, this guy knows his stuff and is probably going to win." Then I saw who posted it.

    I'd be happy if I produce anything engaging and coherent, much less actually polished!

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