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A Christmas Tale - Feedback & Possible Coauthor

6 months ago

     The North Pole, sometimes referred to as the Geographic or Terrestrial North Pole, is defined as the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface.  It should not be - but commonly is - mistaken for the geomagnetic North Pole, which is quite an entirely different thing altogether, I assure you.  Firstly:  the location of the geomagnetic North Pole is not a fixed point but is instead calculated using complex mathematical models built around an imaginary line that runs through the geomagnetic center of the Earth.  Over the past century alone the geomagnetic North Pole has migrated from Greenland to Canada!  And secondly:  Nothing of any real significance to anyone who has ever existed (or ever will exist) throughout the entire history of time has ever occurred (or ever will occur) at the geomagnetic North Pole.  You can take my word for it.  Trust me.

     Unlike the South Pole, which is found on a continental land mass, the North Pole is found at geodetic latitude 90° North, smack dab in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.  The nearest inhabited place to it is located in Nunavut, Canada in the Qikiqtaaluk Region and was reported in the 2011 census to have a permanent population of zero (however there were military and scientific personnel on rotation present at the time).  It is surrounded by freezing waters that are almost completely covered with chunks of continually shifting sea ice.  This, for obvious reasons, makes it a less-than-desirable foundation for any sort of permanent structure.

     You will not find much flora and fauna at the North Pole.  Polar bears are believed to rarely travel much further than 82° North due to a scarcity of resources, although a 2006 expedition did report spotting one a mere mile away from the North Pole.  Some birds, including the black-legged kittiwake and the snow bunting, have been sighted near the North Pole.  The tendency of birds to follow ships may make such sightings less-than-reliable representations of these birds true migratory patterns however.  Some fish have been seen in the waters at the North Pole, but are likely very few in number and are even more likely to never have any impact on anything of any importance - ever.  It is not these fish that we have come here to discuss.

     In spite the improbability of someone making a residence - let alone a flourishing business - in such an agreeably undesirable location, it is here that you will find the famous home and workshop of the man most commonly known as Santa Claus - Kris Kringle himself.

     Santa's Workshop covers a vast and impressive section of the ever shifting ice chunks here, sprawled out in all its yuletide glory like a giant, festive military compound.  It is encircled by an electrocuted, barbed-wire topped chain link fence that stands 20 feet high (or 14,000 feet high if you begin your measuring at the sea bed deep beneath the Arctic waters, but why would you do that?).  There are candy cane shaped towers every 50 feet along all sides of the fence, manned 24 hours a day by guards armed with German made Blaser R93 sniper rifles who I'm told never have to sleep.

     The Workshop itself consists of the main factory and production line as well as several hundred various smaller and highly specialized workstation shacks.  A multitude of toy-storage warehouses dot the complex, located closest to the workstation shacks that produce their respective types of toys.  There are painfully few outhouses on the premises as well as one gigantic mess hall that is reputed to serve something resembling, but not quite actually being, edible food.  

     The landscape in between the buildings here is riddled with POMZs; Soviet-made stake mounted anti-personnel fragmentation mines.  POMZs have a small TNT explosive charge inside a hollow cylindrical iron fragmentation sleeve with large fragments cast into the outside of it.  They have an effective kill radius of 4 meters and are quite deadly to anyone unfortunate enough to happen to step on one.  It is thought that Santa purchased a large number of these POMZs from Russia after the Second World War, but such matters are solely speculation with no concrete evidence to support them.

     The entire compound is under continuous video surveillance (and before you ask - yes - this includes the insides of the outhouses), with live feeds being sent to a myriad of television screens in a secure monitoring room.  The cameras themselves are equipped with thermal imaging technology and are used in tandem with motion detectors located at high-risk security points all about the frigid landscape.  Elite two-man teams of mercenary patrolmen (almost all of whom are former military that have since moved on to the private sector) roam around the complex in rotating shifts, leading teams of Rhodesian Ridgeback guard dogs - a breed of canine originally developed in Southern Africa to hunt lions.


A Christmas Tale - Feedback & Possible Coauthor

6 months ago

This is the start of the Christmas Tale I'm writing. Just looking for initial feedback and possibly someone who may want to coauthor it with me.

Thanks in advance for any constructive advice or degrading taunts.


A Christmas Tale - Feedback & Possible Coauthor

6 months ago
Less than 45 minutes is a bit soon to go wandering into other threads begging but whatever.

Okay so you've got high security Santa Claus. What's the plot? Is Santa the character or someone else? Is the idea to break in?

I mean at least it's not exhaustive background info on Fantasy Setting #877655 but it's still just setting stuff and difficult to give feedback on. If this is the actual first page, you want to introduce the character and something about their goal before getting to the info dump.

Also, co authors are difficult to come by. A few people seem to like to volunteer but I've never seen that result in anything, ever. Pretty much everyone here who's serious about writing already has their own projects going on, and the way co authoring works here doesn't provide much incentive. A dedicated proofreader may be doable once you've finished the rough version however.

A Christmas Tale - Feedback & Possible Coauthor

6 months ago


First few thoughts (before the edit): Glad you know that the north pole isn't the north end of a magnet (well I phrased that poorly, but you know what I mean).

Also what happened to the formatting? Guessing you copy pasted it here, but just wondering if it is a stylistic choice (you never know).

Anyway, as mizal mentioned, a lot of this is pretty much just information on the setting. Personally, I like that you seem to be grounding this in reality (to an extent) by giving me fun facts.

Moving on, if this is the first page, I have to say it feels a bit like narration to the opening part of a movie. It goes on for a good amount of time without introducing the main character, heck I'm not sure there is even going to be a plot of any kind. It might all just be a documentary playing in a classroom, who knows!
Note that this should be fixed easily enough by just writing the next 'scene'.

I didn't notice mistakes in the writing itself, and I like that it goes all fancy using colons and commas and what not (I think this is called complicated sentence structure, or at least something to that effect). It also all read pretty well, but I'm definitely no expert on these things.

Anyway, I'd say you have a solid foundation here, and if you keep up this quality at least the writing should be good.
I can't vouch for the story being interesting, because as mentioned earlier, I don't know what it is yet, I only know things about the setting.

With that said, I do wonder how much of this will be grounded in realism, and I mean literal realism, not super grim 'realism'. I am worried that you'll probably drop all the realistic aspects to make writing the thing easier, and that you are just using it now for the hook. Granted, doing that isn't bad, and it can work, I just find things grounded in reality interesting, and I suppose you might be setting up some expectations that you might not deliver on.
My main point here is, think if your story will benefit from having an opening that gives a clear indication of what the reader is getting into, this might require you to rewrite this part if you are going to go all fantastical later on in the story.

I won't go all nit picky on you, as I doubt you'd want that or even care.

Anyway, some general tips: Make sure that at some stage stakes get introduced, as they can help drive the plot and give readers a reason to care about what is happening.
Introduce the main character.
Have choices.

(Only one of those things is really necessary tho, the rest are more suggestions, which you could ignore (but make sure it is a conscious choice)).

Also screw it, here is a nitpick. Why are the towers shaped as candy cones? This does NOT sound like a place Santa wants found, so aesthetic reasons seems like a lacklustre response. Sure, it might be to 'boost morale', but I feel that the (maybe) non-sleeping snipers would prefer practicality anyway so they can get their job done. After all, firefighters are dressed the way they are for a reason, and the truck isn't just red to look nice. This can be explained away by 'it's muh story' as well, which is fine, but so far I get the feeling you want this grounded in reality, so have my concerns.

Another thing I wonder about, is Santa a saint (ie. Saint Nicholas)? Just curious, since I guess you could retcon that part, but since Saint Nicholas is one of the Santa names listed on Wikipedia (hey, it's a better source than my memory,) I feel you won't... but this is a minor thing (at the moment).

Oh got another nit pick, I wonder how you'll explain Santa giving free gifts once a year and not getting shut down from lack of income (unless he has another job? But why the heavily guarded facility? Just to protect the gifts? Who knows! Lots of ways to go with this).

I could probably think of more stuff to say, but it'd be general things and/or nitpicking. So instead I'll end it here. I think you got a good start, in that you could continue writing and make something good. However there is no way I can say this will turn out good with certainty, there simply isn't enough to make a concrete guess. I'd say, just make sure you keep this level of writing quality through out, that should definitely help a lot, and as long as your story is also interesting you should be golden (and let's be honest, in general, good ideas are a lot easier to come by than good writing).

Keep writing, you should be capable of making this into a good storygame. Don't forget to introduce a character and some sort of conflict (I mean, unless you want a much greater challenge, which I can admire, but you better know what you are doing if you don't have a main character/conflict).

Come to think of it, you said Christmas Tale, not Christmas Theme Storygame. Anyway, still gonna assume it is a storygame cause you didn't specifically say it isn't, and you are looking for a coauthor on this site (which has a coauthor feature). So yeah...

Oh also, good luck if you manage to find a coauthor. It can be more of a hassle than it is worth, and you want them to be someone who'll pull their own weight. It can work, just a pretty rare sight.