Date: 05 Sep 2011 13:34 Title: Q'ono's Saga - Chapter 02 - Section-04
Hey...before I get started, I just wanted to ask, were you trying to begin your story with a graphic? If so, the graphic isn't displaying.
I apologize if I'm reading something out of order, but even dropping into this story in the middle, this is a very rich world with a lot of things for the new reader to see and do, without being *so* intricate that it's overwhelming. The one point where I was unclear was whether the K'Stow are a) another species, b) Klingon "augments" from before the Augment virus, or c) Klingons with atavistic traits pointing to an earlier stage of their species' evolution? I found myself going for option C, but I wasn't sure. Again, probably my fault for reading out of order.
Do you have diving experience? While I don't, you just seem to have a lot of familiarity with the ocean; it feels to me, as a layperson and reader, like somewhere you're very comfortable with. Either you're experienced or you're very good at writing convincingly on that subject. :-)
The names you give these K'Stow seem different from typical Klingons; is this because your story takes place in the past and we are seeing a language or dialect that is not the same as the later Klingon lingua franca that we hear in the series?
Just one point of advice...I would, if I were you, avoid cases where you take Earth words and just spell them funny, like "kybytz,""zhark," "physh," or "Qontinent." That sort of thing works fine in an RPG or video game where people need quick shorthand to remember what the objects in the virtual environment are, or what kind of enemies they need to quickly react to, but in a story it can make your story look cheesy, like it is not intended to be taken seriously. (And the human name Annette? Where did that come from? That also threw me out of the story.)
It especially comes into conflict with the very advanced descriptions you have of the biology of this planet that I am quite impressed with (the gill-sacs, the bacteria in the ocean, and so on). You don't want to distract people unnecessarily from your inventiveness.
I thought it was very reasonable for your K'Stow to have sign language, since sound does not carry as clearly in water. People don't always take into account how sensory differences will affect culture, and that was something I was glad to see (I did something similar with my Cardassians, given that Cardassian hearing is reputed to be weaker than that of a human).
There were some things that detracted from the readability of your story, though, and ultimately caused me to lose focus. In addition to the names, as mentioned above, the formatting and punctuation of the story really got to me. I couldn't figure out where those odd spates of coding were coming from, and some of the other punctuation seemed to be following a mix of Spanish and English rules. Do let me know if you'd like any material about punctuation; I can direct you to resources that may help answer some questions. Also, please try to be more consistent about line breaks, whether you put one line break or two between paragraphs; that becomes distracting on the eyes otherwise.
In the end, even accounting for the fact that I seem to have come into your story in the middle (might you want to re-submit your entire story together, rather than as separate works?) I found the odd spurts of code in the story, the punctuation, and some of the excessively human terminology threw me out of the story--which was a shame because I could see other elements where you clearly put a lot of thought in. I think if you gave some additional thought to the background structure of your language, and the technical and formatting aspects of your story, as you obviously did to your biology, you'd end up with a tighter story.