This next reviewer of Fierce turned out to be another very prolific author. I tracked down a recent story by her, and found No Animals Were Harmed …, by Suzanne Conboy-Hill, published on EDF on November 21, 2013. She has a lot of published work – see her own list here, at her blog.
I’m in the minority with this one – I liked this story. I gave it a 4 / 5.
I found it fast-paced, with a nice WTF is going on vibe that slowly pays off as both the reader and the MC figure out as the story unfolds. I think the attempt to to make the reader share Neela’s confusion paid off very well. The style of writing is simple and direct, and makes great use of dialogue to show the story unfold. Nothing feels unnecessary – I found it fun to read through. Neela’s reactions made me imagine Kara Thrace playing her – perhaps Conboy-Hill is a Galactica fan?
I wanted to know more about the IsFac, the scavengers who found Neela, and how they found her. I think the story could have spent a few more words fleshing out the beings who captured Neela, just to help readers understand what she’s up against. While I loved Neela’s witty feedback, to have her continue even as dehydration does her in was very unrealistic and somewhat distracting. I did love that she went out hoping for the best for Jace and their daughter.
How this story can improve my writing:
This story shows an excellent way to paint a scene with dialogue, without resorting to dry descriptions of scenery. I also appreciate the simplicity and pace of the prose. The reader is taken from setup to execution (literally) without excess information. The story has an immediate hook, and keeps curiosity going as the horror of Neela’s situation is revealed. Writers can note how quickly Neela is placed into her situation, and how the story’s momentum avoids clunky exposition.