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Thread: Workshop: Igni Ferroque

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    Workshop: Igni Ferroque

    What is the name of your thread?: Igni Ferroque
    Who participated in the thread?: Nevin, Felicity
    Number of Posts?: 27
    Full Rubric Judgment?: Yes

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    Last edited by Philomel; 06-22-2018 at 09:18 PM.

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    This workshop had now been closed.

    Edit: This workshop has been reopened as requested for more to get in their commentary.
    Last edited by Philomel; 08-27-2018 at 07:59 AM.
    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    --
    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.

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    This one took a while, and ended up a little under 12k words, so get comfortable. As usual, keep in mind these are just the opinions of one type of reader.


    Story:


    My priorities when doing these workshops are always in service to the story primarily, and how the elements presented could be tweaked to improve it. Thus, you may find some notes less useful than others, depending on your focus. I will provide more style-specific notes in later categories.


    The beginning of this thread was quite slow, primarily due to backtracking as I explain in the pacing category, but also because it doesn't open up with any intriguing questions for the reader to ask. The tone set by the italicized bit at the beginning could've been a good hook, but it's not revisited for ten posts. There is some concern for the solution to Felicity's health problem, but not much. Since she's already essentially at a doctor fixing those problems, and they were being kept at bay by magic anyways, the situation doesn't seem very urgent. She's been too lucky for the stakes to feel that high this early.

    Though there is some decent characterization early on, I'm not sure if this was the best place to start the story. There are only a few pieces of information the reader actually needs to know in the first four posts, and they could all be mentioned after the fact while something more interesting was going on. Stories need conflict, and to periodically shift between tension to relief. Long stretches without conflict can give the reader plenty of information, but they're not exactly exciting to read.

    An antagonist is revealed in post seven, but Eotype is almost cartoonish in his level of villainy. Try to play up a villain too hard, without humanizing elements, and he can come off pretty cliched. The last prophetic line of post seven was quite good, though. It establishes some questions that the reader will want answered, which is always good motivation to continue reading. I think starting the thread with this scene would've helped the opening posts feel quicker.

    Considering he had only taken a blood sample, it seems like Felicity cried not long after meeting Nevin, and with her continued emotional instability, her primary characterization early on seems to be 'vulnerable.' Nevin's would be 'comforting.' These are roles these two will stay in for a while, with the odd exception like Felicity's kindness toward the miners in post nine. Though, the end of that scene when she put her hand on her sword felt a bit odd.

    Following up her being overcome with the desire to help someone, immediately with some kind of instinctual distrust was pretty jarring as a tone shift. I can't imagine someone with that kind of distrust just walking up to strangers as wide-eyed and concerned as a child. Nevin calling Felicity a 'little sister' also seemed out of place. Considering what it triggered, it feels kinda contrived in hindsight.

    As far as I can tell, she only met him recently looking for help with her condition. There's been no mention of them interacting beyond her crying herself to sleep after being given some medication, which apparently took place just before the start of this thread. That's a very short amount of time to call someone a sister, not to mention he hasn't been characterized as the type to grow fond of people quickly. He even later points out that it was odd of him to call her that.

    Time is passing, but I'm not really learning anything new about these characters. I only keep seeing the same side of Nevin, him comforting her, and the same side of Felicity, her needing comfort. There need to be different types of scenes to show the different facets of a character. Even if they're for separate reasons, showing the same reaction over and over just makes the characters feel one-dimensional; same for the story.

    Excitement in stories comes from rising and falling action, but there's no action or conflict so far. Felicity's original self-reliance isn't established, so her internal conflict doesn't have the context it would need to serve as the main story conflict. This could've all been taking place inside a psychologist's office for all that's actually happened. I probably would've enjoyed this thread more in that setting, since my expectations would be different.

    The flashbacks involving Jonathan were too short-lived to have much of an emotional impact, in my opinion. We were given one very short scene with her and her cousin, so it's not out of the blue, but we were given almost no characterization of her cousin. We don't know any of his flaws, his fears, or his triumphs. We know he was nice to Felicity, and that's about it. We also don't see any lasting effects he's had on her, not as a pillar of her morals, or even any trinkets or habits left from her time with him. She's obviously reacting strongly, so we know by his death how much he meant to her, but if we don't see any of the positive effects he had on her, the reader can't mourn with her. He becomes just another check on the list of reasons why she's sad.

    In the sixteenth post, Nevin mentions that she had been telling him that she didn't cry because it showed weakness. This should've definitely been explored early on in this thread. As I mentioned, with that context established, and a few endearing scenes to grow invested in Felicity as a character, her internal conflict could've been more than enough of a conflict for this story. You can't expect readers to be familiar with your character outside of a particular thread. Information necessary to understand the mindsets of characters should always be included in the thread for context.

    Nevin continues to comfort Felicity for three more posts, and at this point that has been his role for over half of this thread. We learn for certain that Nevin had a little sister in the sixteenth post, presumably the owner of the flash of blond hair hint from the previous post. That could help to explain his sudden attachment to Felicity later, but it is never explored. Directly after Felicity's traumatic breakdown, we return to the plot involving the miners. In terms of tone, the climax of the thread has already happened. Saving her breakdown for closer to the climax of the plot would've greatly heightened the emotional impact, in my opinion. Considering the general lack of consequences in the upcoming fight with the golem, the actual plot climax feels more like an epilogue. There are cases where the protagonist undergoes a change at the half-way mark instead of near the end, but always so the character can use something they've gained or learned from that change to survive the climax.

    Eotype seems to have little to do with the actual plot; the golem is closer to being the antagonist. He is a dick to his workers, and is the reason the golem shows up. However, the worst the reader sees him do is slap a dude, and the golem doesn't actually harm anything that can't be replaced. Eotype's actions don't have serious consequences. Also, this exact scene of 'evil guy lying about being evil to superior' is very cliche. I've seen it in different contexts dozens of times. Without some subversion of expectation, or at least other side to the villain to make his demise more interesting, it's not a very fulfilling scene to readers who are familiar with these tropes.

    I questioned why a boy and a teen were at the entrance of a mine, in the middle of an argument between the workers and the owner, but backtracking beyond the beginning of the preceding Eotype scene made it obvious Nevin was going to save everyone. Saving a worker would've made more sense, in my opinion, and been less obvious than introducing out-of-place characters just to be saved. Consequences sell the threat, and this threat seems well within Nevin's capability, so there's not a lot of tension. Following tropes to the letter tends to do that. It would've been much more engaging to continue where that scene left off, and even let some of the miners die; it would go a long way to raise the tension. Instead, after saving those random children, all the workers evacuate to leave the two alone with the beast. As player-characters, it's basically guaranteed Nevin and Felicity will survive, so this fight has no longer has any stakes.

    In terms of action, this fight had the possibility to be quite good. Seeing Nevin use his ability as more than just tentacle powers caught my attention, such as when Nevin and the golem were fighting for control over the arm, but that ends up being ignored, along with several other details. The sulfur fumes are mentioned once and never come into play again, the golem's magic is inconsistent considering it doesn't settle the recurring dust cloud (and also never comes up again), and that dust cloud switches from transparent to opaque several times. For all that you both set up that blades would be ineffective, Felicity's stab into a golem of dirt and rocks in post twenty-three somehow cripples that leg completely. I'm not even sure how you cripple a bunch of rocks.

    The lack of bunnying (explained in Pacing) in that post especially hurt the action, in my opinion. Nevin was completely ignored for quite the stretch, long enough for Felicity to take two hits, and completely cripple one of its legs before an impending third hit. I also didn't really buy that Felicity was in danger from that third hit. She's taken two hits from that thing already with no injury whatsoever. Nevin at least opened the possibility of him being injured in the previous post. If she can just tank the hits, then her losing her weapon isn't going to be very tense; we already know it can't significantly hurt her. I know it's hard to raise the stakes with such a physically tough character, but that's what npcs are for.

    While I understand the need to backtrack in post twenty-four, since Flamebird covered such a large swathe of time in her previous post, it undermined the emotion she was going for at the end of post twenty-three. Ideally, there would've been bunnying in her post to avoid it, but you could've also started your post with Nevin saving Felicity, to preserve the emotional impact of her post ending, and then explained the extra blood after the fact. This post also covers a lot of ground without any input from Felicity. It's like the other person's character just disappears during each of your posts.

    Even though you play up the danger in the twenty-fourth post with a great portrayal of Nevin's desperation, the earlier portrayal of Felicity as damn-near impervious robs that danger of most of its tension. Also unfortunately, the fight ends rather abruptly in that same post, and because of that it feels pretty anti-climactic. Nevin got grabbed, Felicity tanked two hits without injury, then Nevin destroyed the golem. The only consequence is that he's a little tired.

    For twenty posts of build-up, finishing the fight in four posts is not nearly enough of a payoff, and without utilizing the two most interesting things about the fight: the golem's gravity power, and Nevin's ability to control its movement. Not to mention, the first two-thirds of the thread are essentially unrelated to the actual plot, and established antagonist. Speaking of which, the consequences of those first two-thirds seem quite downplayed in post twenty-five. Considering it took her like five posts to recover from the first time she remembered Jonathan, the lack of similar issues in this post makes it seem like she got over him real quick.

    The speed with which Felicity has come to trust Nevin is also hard for me to believe. In the twenty-fifth post, Nevin was referred to as 'someone she cared for, who loved her back.' Felicity has been established to be distrustful because of her past, but it seems like not being a dick is all it took to go from meeting someone to love in less than a day. All Nevin did was what any normal person would do, and said exactly one line about protecting her. He has sacrificed nothing for her; she doesn't even know him. Even if I accept that she's willing to cling to anyone, which is really what it seems like, that still seems like a stretch.

    Post twenty-five went for another emotional post ending, but again there wasn't enough set-up to make it feel earned, in my opinion. She literally just broke down crying at the mere memory of Jonathan like thirty minutes prior, and now she's replacing Jonathan with Nevin without a hitch. For such a huge emotional trauma, it disappears at the most convenient times. This ending feels pretty cheap in general, and very cliche. The fight ended abruptly after an entire thread of one note, and all the trauma that one note had built up disappeared so we could have a happy hug after the big bad is defeated.

    This is probably an engaging story to a reader unfamiliar with all these tropes, but I am very familiar with most tropes in this genre, and they're all being played so straight that I can't help but find this ending exceptionally cheesy. Because of that familiarity, Eotype's fate and Knox's impending intervention also felt predictable. It doesn't help that Eotype is pretty dumb for a villain. Not only did he not send people to take care of Knox once he started snooping, he didn't even bother altering the records to impede Knox's investigation. Felicity's whole speech, and all the preceding scenes of Eotype, set him up as dastardly, but you can't take someone seriously if they're this incompetent at being evil. Instead of an evil mastermind getting his comeuppance, he's a bumbling fool thwarted by a safety inspector.

    The whole thing about the danger Eotype had caused seemed really overstated. This is a diverse place, with people far more qualified than Felicity and Nevin to defend it, and they didn't even get seriously injured. The fight lasted less than one minute, so 'all of Scara Brae' is kind of a hard sell. Millions is also a pretty big exaggeration for the damage to the mine, aside from the fact that the reader never saw any actual damage. One collapsed mine shaft and some broken beams isn't worth millions, that's closer to the cost of starting an entirely new mine.

    Eotype's defiance in the last post also makes no sense considering the position he's in. The only reason he would get indignant with her is if he considered Nevin not to be a threat. Nevin just showed Eotype's fear of him at the end of the twenty-sixth post, and ended on Nevin threatening Eotype directly. This pretty much directly ignores characterization that Nevin established.

    The tone of this ending in clashes fairly hard with the tone of the rest of the thread. We spent most of this story learning all the reasons why Felicity is sad, and seeing those consequences. For most of this thread, the tone has been serious and somber, but this ending swings wildly in the other direction, in general and just in the last post. The upbeat tone of Eotype getting thrown out to literal one-liners is pretty far from the anger of Felicity screaming a few paragraphs ago.

    The tone shifted higher than the previous negative tone allowed for, in my opinion. To go from screaming in anger to childish one-liners over the course of literal seconds is pretty jarring. The tone of this ending is made even more confusing by returning to the previous serious tone right at the very end. Felicity finally remembers the consequences of her past, after the happy ending when there's nothing left at stake. If the past only affects you when it's convenient for the story, then it's just window-dressing for sympathy.


    This story was very unfocused, and shoving Eotype in to fill a villain role did not help. Considering more than half the thread dealt with Felicity's past, the story would've made more sense as a whole without adding unrelated elements, like the miners and the golem. That just made the first two-thirds of the thread a wait for conflict, and the last third an unsatisfying resolution due to lack of set-up. I think this story could've been more cohesive and interesting if Felicity's past was the only antagonist, and we focused on her coming to terms with it, after establishing how it's changed her.

    This seems like it was a rather casual thread, so a lack of focus isn't unusual. Hopefully some of those notes will prove useful the next time you go for a more serious story. You both have decently developed styles already, but I will attempt to offer some possible areas for improvement in the following categories.


    Setting:


    Before getting into specifics, I would like to add a suggestion about choice of setting. Of the three settings in this thread, the alchemy shop, street, and mine entrance, the last was described the least, and did not really come into play during the action. Choosing to set certain scenes in areas with unique features can provide more tactical or thematic aspects to the action. Trapped down in the mine with the golem, chasing it down the street to stop its rampage, or perhaps interacting with a group of mine-carts full of those gems which glowed on the golem; a well-chosen setting can add much to a scene.


    Flamebird:


    Your use of description is often quite good, if fairly inconsistent. In post one, the descriptive first paragraph and pause for the thread title had some good style to it. You seem to be aware of the visual design of the threads, along with their content, which is always a nice touch. That intro bit was mostly just a list of negative emotions, and then some shock imagery, though. There was no fire mentioned during the scene of her cousin's death, so this opening doesn't seem to relate to the thread.

    You have a tendency to describe things in relation to Felicity. Nearly every sentence in your first post has one of the following three subjects: Felicity, she, and her. That is typical of first-person, but can be a bit repetitive in third-person. Describing things on their own, instead of in relation to Felicity, would break up some of that monotony. You do keep track of setting well, though. I got plenty of details throughout your first post, except for Nevin; he was just strange arms and a lecture outta nowhere.

    In the last paragraph, you describe the room with subjects like 'there were' and 'there was.' Simply stating that 'there was stuff' is fine, but it misses out on an opportunity for better wording. Interesting verbs are often more helpful for describing things than adjectives. After this post, your description disappears for a while. It reappears during the first Eotype scene in post seven, before fading away again. I think both the first post and Eotype scene were probably over-described, while the parts in-between felt quite lacking. Your descriptions during the golem fight and the last few posts were quite good, particularly of Eotype, and their voices as they argued in the final post. I believe working on evening out how much focus you put on setting, and remembering to mention it consistently, would help thicken up your typically thin style, as well as improve reader immersion.


    Nevin:


    Though you hardly describe any setting, you show a knack for it with some nice metaphors when describing Nevin's blood threads. You could do quite well with this category. You maintain a general awareness of setting by taking actions like moving the crying Felicity out of the street, but you rarely actually show the reader anything about the places or people Nevin finds himself around. This can sometimes result in clarity issues, such as in the twentieth post. Since you didn't mention any of the workers who were shown in the previous post, the reader can only assume they ran away. If you don't at least keep track of all the things nearby that may become involved in a scene, it can be confusing for the reader.

    As I mentioned, you show a proficiency with metaphor, so you could easily write good descriptions. It doesn't just help things look cool, it provides immersion into the world for the reader. I mention this more in later categories, but you only really immerse the reader in Nevin's mind. With the way it's written, the world around Nevin is just dry and flat, delivered second-hand to the reader. Remembering to describe at least one or two things about the people and places Nevin sees can go a long way. It is a habit that I think would help your style quite a bit.


    Pacing:


    Before getting into specifics, I'd like to point out something that is a by-product of play-by-post rp. The lack of bunnying (showing the other character's actions during your post) led to a large amount of backtracking, as each of you caught up to the end of the previous post before continuing. This exacerbated the already slow thread, especially the first page. Though it is usually avoided in competitive threads, bunnying is always of great benefit to collaborative stories. I recommend using more partner-approved bunnying in the future, to avoid backtracking.


    Flamebird:


    In general, you have quick pacing, but it can vary widely. This can be a little jarring, after Nevin's much slower posts. Trying to match the pace of your partner in collaborative threads can really help the thread feel more cohesive. The pacing could've been a little quicker in post one. Her remembering Nevin after the fact, and the amount of description of the lab, didn't really help the story move forward, though I admit the 'ragechild' line was amusing. Not a lot happens in posts three and five, though you do use the time for some characterization.

    The seventh post slowed down to match the pacing of Nevin's previous post fairly well. It was a little odd, however, that Felicity prompted Nevin with a question in this post that he never answered. That is a decent example of where some bunnying could help keep everyone on the same page. There were a few paragraphs of backtracking at the start of post nine that probably could've been cut. You could've described her memory of the taste as she was exiting the basement; that was the only notable detail.

    I think the eleventh post would've flowed better with the following post if you had opened with the flashback. This post jumps back in time to ten seconds before Nevin finished talking, then runs forward at least ten seconds in time, before cutting back to some time in the past, before Nevin's next post starts about five seconds before the end of the first half of this post. You can see how that might get confusing.

    The number of posts spent on Felicity's reaction to being called 'sister' is rather high, in my opinion. It may be appropriate from a character perspective to have that much difficulty getting back on track, but it further slows the overall pacing. There were also several points during the battle and ending that could've benefited from some more bunnying. Felicity asked Nevin if they had a plan in post twenty-one, only to never get a response, Nevin was almost ignored through all the action of the twenty-third post, and Felicity spoke several lines in post twenty-five without any response or reaction from Nevin.

    Lastly, the quote of Nevin at the end of the twenty-third post was rather long. Cutting it down to the core of the sentiment makes moments like these more effective; more words spreads out the emotional punch. That's about it; just try to tone down some of the more extreme pacing difference between posts, and you should be good. Since most of your slower posts were heavy with description, I think evening out the Setting category would go a long way to evening out this one.


    Nevin:


    With your larger average sentences, and wordy tendency, your pacing is notably slower than Flamebird's. It often helps collaborative threads for the participants to adjust their styles toward each-other. It's kind of like looking back and forth between two separate books, when styles have large differences. That said, your pacing is quite consistent, which is usually good. You did seem to slow down a bit during the golem fight, however. I would recommend the opposite; a slower pace can take the punch and fear out of an action scene.

    I cover the different aspects of this in both the Persona and Clarity categories, but your style can be very wordy. That is surprising, considering the lack of description. It's all narration, usually of Nevin's thought processes. I explain some of the downsides of that in Persona, but just from a pacing standpoint it can be very slow at times. This can work in some scenes, but often feels drawn-out and excessive; especially when not much is happening in the story itself.

    You spend several paragraphs in your first post just to say 'her blood was thick,' and have Nevin think about that to an unnecessary degree. Pretty much every reader is going to know that thick blood ain't good, and having that explained to them can be a bit patronizing. Nearly all of that post took place in the past, and all the information Nevin thought about is repeated to Felicity in your next post. I think the fourth post should've been your first. The backtracking of your first post, and the re-telling of things from that post in the fourth post, contributed to the very slow start of this thread.

    Since your average pace is already so slow, I would recommend against including more description unless you consider some of the changes I suggest in later categories. Adding more without thinning out your average first could make your style feel tiresome. I split those specific issues off because they affect multiple categories. In general, just keep an eye on the time taken for plot developments, and consider thinning your style out if not much is happening at the moment.


    Communication:


    This is not my strongest category, so I'll keep this one brief.


    Flamebird:


    Your dialogue as Felicity is solid; her personality comes across pretty well. There may have been a few too many hyphens in some of the stuttering lines, like the miner talking to Eotype in post seven, and Felicity recovering in post seventeen. A few of Knox's lines when he first appeared in post nineteen, and again at the end, were a bit exaggerated and cliche, not to mention Felicity's one-liner. Everything else seemed fine to me, though.


    Nevin:


    I noted no significant problems with your dialogue as Nevin. I enjoyed the accent of the miners, though it did get a little thick. The only thing I might suggest is to consider having Nevin be less succinct. Your explanatory style and narration emphasis seem to personify him as a rambling scholar type, but that isn't reflected when he speaks. Replicating some of that wordiness in his dialogue would make his persona feel more coherent with your writing style, I think.


    Action:


    Flamebird:


    The set-up to the fight went well enough, and the introduction of the golem's gravity magic was certainly interesting, but the fight took a more mundane turn in post twenty-three. Along with covering a large amount of time without Nevin's input, the action itself was fairly lackluster; some basic swipes from the golem, and a couple of attacks from Felicity. There was a definite lack of tactics and surprises that could've made the fight more interesting.

    There were also a lot of inconsistencies in the twenty-third post, such as the visibility of the dust, the effectiveness of blades, the disregard of Nevin's embedded tentacles, and Felicity being overpowered, but then needing to be saved anyways. Though it's a minor point, Eotype's weight was also inconsistent. You describe him as being a 'thousand pound man' early on. Disregarding the fact that people half that weight usually can't walk far unassisted, Felicity goes on to pick this man up and carry him out of the mine at the end. According to a profile more recent than this thread, Felicity can only carry eight-hundred pounds maximum. It can help to re-read old posts when coming back to an ongoing thread, to keep those kinds of details consistent.


    Nevin:


    Nevin's ability is quite interesting, and I admit I am disappointed it ended up being used in such a basic fashion for such a short time during the final fight. The few lines about fighting for control of the golem's arm could've been pretty cool, if expounded upon later. As I mentioned, the fight ended abruptly, and without utilizing some of the cooler facets, like the golem's gravity ability. Giving that final conflict a couple more posts could've greatly increased the payoff of it, but your characterization of Nevin's protective anger in the twenty-fourth post did fit pretty well with the theme of the thread.

    In general, you tend to focus exclusively on descriptions of physical actions, and don't use metaphor to describe action. This can make even tense moments a little dry, and that can be even more detrimental in action scenes. Along with a quicker pace for fight scenes, I would recommend trying to add some metaphors and similes into the action. Using them to describe actions and movement is often more interesting than simple physical descriptions, and can help make even basic scenes more enjoyable to read.


    Persona:


    Flamebird:


    Felicity's basic personality is established well enough early on, and she seemed appropriately disturbed by the news Nevin gave her about her blood. As I mentioned earlier, establishing her self-reliance early would've helped set-up her later break down. Most of her early characterization revolves around her shaky mental state. Her interaction with the miners was a bit odd, both the tone shift I mentioned previously, and the fact that she offered to pay for their medication. Does she also go into stores and offer to pay for customers there? It felt kinda contrived to hammer home the point that she was kind.

    Her reaction to being called 'sister' did fit well with her character, in hindsight. She became terse to distance herself, and then physically distanced herself as well. At the time it seemed quite out of the blue, but Nevin's following post helped clarify. Despite the pacing impact, I do think her breakdown was well done. Her reacting with half-hearted violence toward Nevin also seemed appropriate. That said, without seeing her in other contexts, she kind of became a one-note character in this thread.

    I know the point of Felicity is that she's seen some shit, but this whole thread has been Nevin comforting Felicity for one thing or another. While I'm sure it's not the case in other threads, it really makes her seem weak when the only light she's painted in is one where she needs help. I would've liked to see her in a more emotionally capable light in this thread, either before the breakdown to establish the gravitas, or as a result of growing from accepting it. Much like with Eotype, focusing too hard on one particular aspect of a character without providing some other traits can make them feel flat.

    The other npcs in this thread didn't get nearly the characterization afforded to Felicity, most tragically Jonathan. I mentioned why his lack of characterization made it hard to be invested in Felicity's breakdown, but it didn't do Felicity's characterization any favors either. Jonathan's only discernible character trait was being comforting. Being comforting was most of what we'd seen Nevin do up to that point. It made it seem like the only trait in other people she cared about was whether or not they'll make her feel better. If that selfish trait was intended, it was certainly well executed, but it is far from a likeable trait, and she really needed more of those to balance out all her negativity in this thread.

    There was a nice hint of some emotional growth in post seventeen, with her acknowledging that she runs from her problems. It was refreshing to see her take responsibility, but it wasn't ever fleshed out. The subtle changing of the phrase 'brother-figure' into 'brother' in post twenty-five was also a nice detail. There were several points in the thread where Felicity's hands shook, however they always happened only when convenient. She handled the brewing perfectly in post seven, and only afterward showed the effects of her mental state. It would've been more believable had she experienced that difficulty during the process; the same for posts nine and twenty-one. To really sell some kind of debilitation, it has to negatively effect something important.

    You tend to use narration as an extension of Felicity's thought processes. This conveys her personality clearly, of course, but isn't always very subtle. In post eleven, you set the tone quite well with narration and body language, before lowering her hand with 'agony written on her face.' After all the more subtle set-up, just outright telling the reader what emotions to feel kind of detracts from the scene. Later in post fifteen, you use a line like 'bitter sorrow still stuck to the enunciations.' You've already given the reader her 'slow, slurred' speech, and you mention her 'choking' the line later. Those are all you need to show what that sentence tells.

    The first scene with Eotype also has a lot of that, with lines like 'An obese man... expressed severe rage' after he just yelled, and slammed his fist into a wall, and 'intimidating the worker with intentional fear and terror.' It's pretty clear whoever towers over someone else who is cowering is intimidating them. I'd recommend avoiding directly telling emotions, and letting the reader infer the emotions from the body language and situation. You use body language quite well, so I think you're safe relying on it to convey emotions. All in all, you have a pretty solid grasp of this category; just don't forget to provide different facets for your characters.


    Nevin:


    Primarily due to the role he continued to play, Nevin also ended up feeling rather flat in this thread. Nearly every one of his lines early on is comforting, and we don't see any significant negative sides to him. Characters are made by their contradictions. There are occasional hints of other personality traits, though. His interest in the results of his concoction on Felicity seemed appropriately scholarly, and his caution with the miners showed he wasn't naive. Your writing style in general lends itself well to this type of character.

    It did seem a bit odd that Nevin's capability wasn't mentioned by the first scene with the miners, however. To the reader, a bunch of miners just asked a scholarly young alchemist to go fight a beastly abomination, but the reader hasn't been given any evidence that he can pull that off. Even having one of the miners mentioned how Nevin beat a beast before would've helped it seem more reasonable. You provide a bit more characterization during Felicity's breakdown, and I enjoy your unique expletive 'crimson flow.' There are hints that Nevin had a sister or similar family member in the past, but I don't feel that was developed enough to explain Nevin's attachment to Felicity by the end of the thread.

    Felicity appears to be desperate enough to attach to anyone, but Nevin seems to have just met this girl literally that day. All she did was cry, show some alchemy knowledge, exhibit a bit of kindness, and then cry again. If a desire to protect is all it took for Nevin to care about Felicity that much, one would expect some correlation to someone in the past he couldn't protect. As it stands, it seems like crying for half an hour is all that's needed to make Nevin care about someone that strongly, despite other characterization. Also, due to the previously mentioned lack of establishment of Nevin's prowess in combat, some of his reactions and body language came off as out-of-character during the golem fight.

    There was a line where his caring smile 'froze and fell away' in post twenty, which was a pretty abrupt tone shift at the time. There was also a line about a 'vicious smile' splitting his face in post twenty-four, and a 'very unpleasant, hungry grin' in post twenty-six. Since this is the first scene we've seen Nevin focus in a tense situation, it feels pretty sudden to go full badass mode after an entire thread of being the comforting older brother. The stern attitude he adopted in battle makes sense, but 'vicious' is pretty far from who Nevin has been established to be in this thread. You gotta sprinkle more clues early on if you want to include something like this alongside such morally-upstanding characterization.

    Finally, I will continue with my thoughts from the Pacing category. Your writing style is very narration-heavy as I mentioned, which is fine by itself, but what you choose to narrate contributes greatly to the slow pacing of your style. You have a strong tendency to both over-explain things, and to state the obvious. Lines such as 'that was why him calling her his sister had made her react' in post fourteen, 'it was clear she had... felt the emotions from them all over again' in post eighteen, and 'the monster's intent was clear, to smash the two humans' from post twenty are a few of the examples.

    Even if Nevin does think these things, telling the reader something they already know, and taking a long time to do so, can really get old after a while. I included it in this category because it seems like the intent is to show how thoroughly Nevin thinks through things, to sell his scholarly side. The reality is that it has the opposite effect, however. With Nevin constantly taking time to think through things that are already clear to the reader, he comes off as quite slow on the uptake. If that was the intent, feel free to ignore this part of course.

    The way to make a character seem smart is to not explain their thought processes, counter-intuitive as it may seem. If everything they think is laid out clearly, and a lot of it is information the reader already knows, then most of our time with the character is spent catching up to the knowledge of the reader. It makes a character seem far more intelligent if they stay ahead of the reader, coming to conclusions based on correlations; things clearly stated are just evidence. Be careful to always give the reader access to the same clues, however. If they don't have all the information they would need to figure it out alongside the character, then it just feels like an ass-pull.


    Mechanics:


    Though there were a number of grammar issues and typos across this thread, the only consistent one is debatable; sentence fragments. They've become popular in modern writing, and both of you use them fairly often. I've included suggested ways around them with all the ones I noticed.


    Flamebird:


    Quote Originally Posted by Notes
    "This was a lot like the Toivonen lab - but way heck more organized." - Post One, Paragraph Four - 'Heck' is in its noun form, you would need to either remove 'way' or use the verb form to have correct subject/verb agreement.

    "This was his said lair, most likely." Post One, Paragraph Twelve - 'His' and 'said' are trying to do the same job in this sentence. Removing either one would fix the sentence.

    "things she previously thought was just an ability thing." - Post Seven, Paragraph Three - Would need to be 'were just ability things' for subject-verb agreement.

    "He was petrified of this pugly beast before him." Post Seven, Paragraph Eight - Assumed typo.

    "-Do you think I care, squirt?" Post Seven, Paragraph Ten - It is not necessary to start the interrupting sentence with a hyphen; the previous hyphen is all you need. When it's the very next line, it's quite clear.

    "If you want feed your families" Post Seven, Paragraph Eleven - Assumed typo.

    "and cut the bandages off the role." Post Nine, Paragraph Ten - You use this again next sentence. The word you're thinking of is 'roll.'

    "Flickers of a blood bathed death invaded her thoughts." Post Eleven, Paragraph Six - A hyphen is needed between 'blood' and 'bathed,' otherwise 'bathed' becomes the verb.

    "the moon shining above as the silently trekked along." Post Eleven, Paragraph Twelve - Assumed typo.

    "She had lived with him how many years, she viewed him as a brother rather than a cousin." Post Eleven, Paragraph Twelve - These are two independent clauses, so they need to be separated with a semi-colon. Though they are related in subject, neither modifies or depends on the other grammatically, so using a comma is misleading. Ellipses could also work.

    "The fifteen year old followed her cousin well" Post Eleven, Paragraph Thirteen - Year-old always requires a hyphen, but when using the whole phrase as a noun, all three words need to be connected with hyphens, like so: fifteen-year-old.

    "but the constant hugs and hand on the shoulder. The comforting words..." Post Fifteen, Paragraph Eight - First sentence is incomplete, but since it was part of a list anyways, replacing the period with a comma would make it correct, and sound the same.

    "She still doubted whether or not she should of left her family" Post Fifteen, Paragraph Ten - 'Should have' is the term you were looking for.

    "Here she was. Chillingly rested." Post Fifteen, Paragraph Eleven - Two incompletes that could be fixed with a comma or semi-colon.

    "Yet, once it did hit her, it was harder than a lorde made of lead." Post Seventeen, Paragraph Three - Probably meant 'lode.'

    "Felicity wanted out. Now." Post Seventeen, Paragraph Six - Incomplete; semi-colon recommended.

    "The many dirtied, silt coated workers" Post Nineteen, Paragraph Two - Hyphen needed for 'silt-coated.'

    "three shabby workers and a higher up approaching." Post Nineteen, Paragraph Five - Hyphen needed for 'higher-up.'

    "Another tremer shook the entirety of the mine." Post Nineteen, Paragraph Eleven - Probably meant 'tremor.'

    "A creature sown together by rock and stone." Post Nineteen, Paragraph Fourteen - Incomplete; recommend adding a verb, like 'The creature was.'

    "It had a massive built" Post Nineteen, Paragraph Fourteen - Probably meant 'build.'

    "Kill." - This fragment is actually not incomplete; verbs that are commands can have an implied subject, 'you.' That does make it second-person, though.

    "ready for a murderstroke. The art of half-swording." - Post Twenty-One, Paragraph Three - Incomplete; semi-colon recommended.

    "The soot coated redhead stepped back" Post Twenty-One, Paragraph Eight - Needs a hyphen for 'soot-coated,' or coated could be a verb.

    "Red threads she only saw hints of borrowed into dirt and stone" Post Twenty-Three, Paragraph Two - Probably meant 'burrowed.'

    "his raw rage and power as he completely demolished the beast." Post Twenty-Five, Paragraph Two - Rage is the subject, but there's no verb in this sentence.

    "Felicity’s adrenaline widened eyes watched him." Post Twenty-Five, Paragraph Two - Need the hyphen for 'adrenaline-widened.'

    "Through the hazy cloud, Felicity saw her brother figure" Post Twenty-Five, Paragraph Two - Hyphen needed for 'brother-figure.' If the second word can be used as a verb, it needs a hyphen for clarity.

    "Bruised, dirtied, hurt. Yet" Post Twenty-Five, Paragraph Seven - Incomplete; semi-colon recommended.

    "like he was an elephant seal. Except" Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Two - Incomplete; semi-colon recommended.

    "That gravity golem was not the only monster being beat today." Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Six - It would need to be 'beaten' with being. Beat would work fine with 'getting' though.

    "whom stepped into the mine." Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Thirteen - Should be 'who.' For reference, if you can replace it with 'he' or 'she' and the verb makes sense, then it should be 'who.' If it needs to be replaced with 'him' or 'her,' it should be 'whom.'

    "whom was dusted with soot and pebbles" Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Nineteen - Should also be 'who.'

    "whom had already begun to walk away" Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Twenty-Seven - Should also be 'who.'

    “everything they could of ever wanted." Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Thirteen, and also "Eotype would of crossed his arms" a few paragraphs later. I refer you to this article explaining why those 'of's should be 'have's.

    "the larger assistant foreman smirked in confident" Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Nineteen - Assumed typo.

    "I never like you, Eotype." - Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Twenty-Four - Assumed typo.

    "Silence." Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Twenty-Six - Incomplete; adding a verb recommended.

    "For a moment, he was taken back." Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Twenty-Seven - The phrase you're looking for is 'taken aback.' Taken back means returning.

    "Dumbfounded." Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Twenty-Seven - Incomplete; semi-colon recommended.

    "watched the teen move him a cocky smirk and cutesy wave." Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Thirty - Assumed typo.

    Nevin:


    Quote Originally Posted by Notes
    "So, concerned about her, he couldn't exactly just throw her out into the street." Post Two, Paragraph Two - This one slipped out of past-perfect tense, into regular past-tense. It would need to be changed to something like 'he hadn't be willing to just throw her out.' Gotta have those 'had's in pretty much every sentence, until you're back in the present.

    "And then he noticed something that made his concern for the girl skyrocket." Post One, Paragraph Three - A semi-colon before the 'and' could've accomplished the same pause, while making the sentence complete.

    That sentence starting with 'And' signaled the point you stopped using past-perfect tense, and fully switched into past-tense. This is obviously incongruous with the fact that this was all supposed to have already happened. Past-perfect is always a pain in the ass; every 'had' is necessary.

    "He immediately began running a few tests on a small sample he drew frequently the test" Post Two, Paragraph Four - Assumed typo.

    "Which meant, a medication." Post Two, Paragraph Seven - Along with the odd comma, this could easily be a clause attached to the previous sentence via semi-colon.

    "When he gave her the pills, it she had stared at him blankly" Post Two, Paragraph Twelve - Assumed typo.

    "It doesn't need to be stirred a few more times though, have to make sure it has an even consistency." Post Six, Paragraph Four - Assumed typo.

    "He nodded to the end of." Post Six, Paragraph Four - Assumed typo.

    "WOke up and started hurtin' folks" Post Eight, Paragraph Four - Assumed typo.

    "So, a golem then." Post Ten, Paragraph Three - Incomplete; recommend appending following sentence with semi-colon.

    "as she was till shoving people aside as she strode down the street." Post Twelve, Paragraph Two - Assumed typo.

    "Thick flow but he was an idiot" Post Twelve, Paragraph Four - Always need a comma before conjunctions.

    "A flash of straw blonde hair, and his heart ached a little." Post Fourteen, Paragraph Three - The subject 'flash' never got a verb. Replacing the ', and' with a semi-colon would solve it.

    "...letting her sidestep the issue here and now was be a use she was right" Post Eighteen, Paragraph Two - Assumed typo.

    "the miners did need help. But so did she" Post Eighteen, Paragraph Two - Incomplete; semi-colon recommended.

    "But he was reminded again of his thought before" Post Eighteen, Paragraph Three - Incomplete; 'though' or 'however' could replace the conjunction.

    "Steadying herself, recovering, and focusing." Post Twenty, Paragraph One - Incomplete without subject; could be attached to previous sentence with semi-colon.

    "Well." Post Twenty, Paragraph Two - Incomplete; suggest italicizing, since it's basically a thought anyways.

    "Which included bullying her into getting the downtime she needed." Post Twenty, Paragraph Two - Incomplete; suggest adding onto previous sentence with semi-colon.

    "steadying hand on Felicity's shoulder, the man had the hope" Post Twenty, Paragraph Two - A comma is insufficient for this pause, since it's a completely separate thought. Either a semi-colon, or period, would provide the correct pause.

    "Then he saw people, figures, pouring out of the nine" Post Twenty, Paragraph Four - Assumed typo.

    "Fight a construct, with a construct." Post Twenty-Two, Paragraph Four - Sentences without subjects are assumed to have an understood subject, which is always 'you.' So, sentences with only a verb like this are actually correct, but switch to second-person point of view by using the subject 'you.' A semi-colon would avoid this.

    "Then - then he was dropped his legs thumping against the ground" Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Two - Comma recommended after dropped.

    "Only his threads...let him from falling over" - Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Two - Assume you meant 'kept.'

    "Which meant that the younger alchemist" Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Two - Incomplete, semi-colon recommended.

    "crimson orb swirls together in the air above it" Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Four - Assume you meant 'swirled.'

    "slammed into the ground a distance away; and disconnected" Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Six - Conjunctions should only appear after commas. You also can't use subjects across semi-colons. The second clause would need its own, like "disconnected...as it was, [it] soon dissolved."

    "But that wasn't enough" Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Seven - Incomplete. The interjections 'however, though, and except' could all serve as replacements.

    "With a shaking, rattling grown" Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Eight - Assume you meant 'groan.'

    "But Nevin cocooned the crystal in his threads" Post Twenty-Four, Paragraph Eight - Incomplete. Recommend replacing the conjunction with one of the previously mentioned interjections.

    "NHo, she hadn't hurt him" Post Twenty-Six, Paragraph Three - Assumed typo.

    "slowly circling around them , lifting their arms up" Post Twenty-Six, Paragraph Three - Assumed typo.

    "burying her face against his dirt and blood stained armor." Post Twenty-Six, Paragraph Four - Within a list of compound words that share a suffix, when any but the last term can be interpreted on its own (dirt), then a suspended hyphen is necessary to show it is part of a compound word, like 'his dirt- and blood-stained armor.'

    "hiding the grimace at the face that he was" Post Twenty-Six, Paragraph Four - Assumed typo.

    "And he knew, the little redhead in his arms" Post Twenty-Six, Paragraph Seven - Incomplete; comma recommended.

    Clarity:


    Flamebird:


    There was only one small thing relating to this category that I noticed consistently, and that was some occasional redundancy, usually from over-describing things. From post eleven, there was a line about her teeth gritting as 'the emptiness of his absence took over' that sounded redundant, since emptiness and absence are basically the same. In post fifteen you describe a ringing in her ears that 'still clamored against her eardrums,' which is just re-stating the subject of the sentence. Post twenty-three has a line where her eyes widen in 'protective rage,' and she shouts in 'emotional violence,' a wordier synonym for rage, followed by a bolded line that shows all of that more clearly anyways.

    Post twenty-five also had a redundant description of the golem disintegrating 'to the likes of ash.' You describe ash, then the golem collapsing into something like ash. Just 'the creature disintegrated into ash' would've sufficed. As I mentioned, all of these seem to be just a case of trying to bit too hard to describe things well. Using more words to describe something isn't always better, choosing the right words is often more important. This tendency will probably work itself out with a bit more conscientiousness in the Setting category. My remaining notes cover a range of minor thoughts; I've included them below.


    Quote Originally Posted by General Notes

    Post One:

    "Before Felicity could even look up again, she jumped upon the sudden outburst. She next processed an arm with unnatural red threads all over the surface." - This was confusing. You mention a 'sudden outburst' without saying what it was. If it was the arm you next describe, you should've started with that; describing it after the fact is not 'sudden.'

    Post Nine:

    "She dropped the glass, drank the entire gallon of water." - There was no mention of the sound of breaking glass, or the mess on the floor afterward. If the cup wasn't made of glass, then glass is a confusing word to use for it.

    "Thus far, no conscious changes were to be of notice." - This is a very confusingly worded sentence. I assume it means 'she didn't feel anything yet.'

    "She only hoped that Nevin's potions were also stocked in alphabetical order." - That she actually finds the potion she's looking for here doesn't make a lot of sense. This line makes it clear she doesn't know what potions he has, and if they were labeled, she wouldn't be worried. So, for this to work, either there have to be a specific limit on the number of different potion types any alchemist stocks, or only one specific potion that color. Neither of those seem likely, and you establish earlier that she only has basic alchemy skills, so identifying the ingredients of a concoction by color alone also seems unlikely.

    Post Seventeen:

    "As she rested, almost dazed from the insanity, against his chest, Felicity took in the words." - The jumping between clauses makes this read oddly. Rewording it like so would make it flow better: "Felicity took in the words as she rested against his chest, almost dazed from the insanity."

    Post Nineteen:

    "The earth shook, causing all vision to blur." - Other than the wording 'all vision to blur' being odd, it's also not really accurate. Blur is a misleading verb; maybe 'wobble, 'lurch,' or 'tremble.'

    "From a shabby cabin, an obese overseer stormed from his makeshift throne" 'An obese overseer' makes it sound like someone else. Since we've already been introduced to him, it should be 'the obese overseer.'

    "rose above the dust and fumes of the mining area. The smell of sulfur and earthly fumes choked the air" - 'Fumes' make it sound like the smell you mention next, sulphur, is what they're mining. However, sulfur is mined in volcanic regions, which Scara Brae is not.

    "Another tremer shook the entirety of the mine." - I didn't realize this until afterward, but how is something only nine feet tall shaking an entire mine? It would need to be much, much larger to have the mass to do that.

    Post Twenty-One:

    "the dust recollected in an unseeable, thick smog." - 'Unseeable fog' would mean the fog was invisible. Could use something like 'opaque' or 'dark,' but just by being called a 'thick fog,' it's clear you can't see through it.

    "In a split second, a tinge of an odd, strange feeling overtook her in time." - 'In a split second' is instantaneous, while something happening 'in time' means it took a while.

    "but felt like gravity itself kept her clenched by the ground." Post Twenty-One, Paragraph Eight - I think 'clenched' was a confusing verb to use here. Also not sure if 'by' was intended, or meant to be 'to the ground.'

    "The pebbles that surrounded her impact site seemed to be superglued to the earth." Since she already landed, the pebbles wouldn't be moving anyways. How do non-moving pebbles, and pebbles that aren't moving because of magic, look different?

    Post Twenty-Three:

    "The soot intoxicated the air, but tunnel vision pressed her to endure" - Intoxicated is a rather odd verb, and in this context implies the problem is the air's 'toxic' contents, but she's already holding her breath.

    "The blinding light made the shadows of the dusty mine dark as night." - That's the opposite of how light works. Reflection is going to brighten those shadows even more than normal.

    "Just because she avoided one attack" - Saying this after going off on a tangent when an attack was supposed to be coming makes it sound like that was the attack she avoided, and now another one was coming. This is obviously confusing.

    Post Twenty-Five:

    "The way he pulled every ounce of blood out of him" - Since you refer to the golem as 'it,' this sounds like Nevin killed himself through blood loss.

    "workers started to emerge from the sidelines." - What sidelines? Earlier in the thread you said this, in post twenty-one: "As everyone evacuated, only these two awkward heroes stood."

    "brother figure thinly dripping in a light shower" Post Twenty-Five - The 'in' makes it sound like other blood is dripping onto him, not his own dripping out.

    Post Twenty-Seven:

    "The sound of pressure and cracking sounded as" Post Twenty-Seven, Paragraph Four - The sound sounded?

    "She silenced the entire clatter of the mine" - Clatter is a very specific sound, made when hard objects strike or jostle each-other. Unless the people started mining again, I think something like 'murmur' would've made more sense.

    "mining even at an unknown, dangerous risk." - If it's 'unknown,' then there would be no need to call it a risk. You have to know there's a danger for it to be a risk.

    "Eotype's smile slowly faded." - What smile? You never showed him smiling, and he was just yelling in anger a few seconds ago.

    "Multiple arrays of disorder and damage cluttered the area." - An array is simply a collection of something, so saying 'multiple collections' of one thing doesn't make much sense.

    "Many wooden beams and ramps had broken and collapsed. One mine was completely caved in." - Neither in post nineteen or twenty, when the golem is introduced, do either of you mention beams breaking or mine sections collapsing. You mention tremors, which as I previously mentioned is questionable considering the golem's size, but that's all. If you don't describe things breaking, then the reader has to assume they didn't. The only thing that hit a wall in this fight was Felicity, otherwise the creature stayed in the middle of an open area.

    Nevin:


    To continue from the Pacing category, the only consistent issue I noticed for this category was your frequent use of very long sentences, often stringing several clauses together over three or four commas. Periods are for the benefit of the reader; even if the lines between clauses are clear to you, it's always going to be less clear for someone else.

    On a related note, phrases like 'As it was,' and the 'Then - then' thing you've done several times, are just filler phrases. They make sentences longer, without delivering any more information. People hesitate and pause for effect when retelling stories, but real life happens fast. Slowing it down makes it lose its impact, in my opinion. I have also noticed a habit with your sentence structure.

    "Only his threads, still buried in the earthen monstrosity's arm"
    "Soot filled the air, making it harder to see again"

    You have a fondness for explanatory clauses like these, where you state something, clarify it between commas, then finish the thought. All these extra clauses contribute to your wordiness, and in most cases could be avoided with adjective or verb changes. Instead of 'only his threads, still buried' you have 'only his embedded/buried threads.' Instead of 'soot filled the air, making it harder to see,' you have 'soot clouded the air,' or 'thick soot filled the air.' You can convey much with a well-chosen verb or adjective.

    Being more judicious with your word choice and sentence structure in general would probably help your pacing significantly. There are many ways to say a thing, and they are not all equal. You must first decide what to say, but taking the time to decide how to say it can be even more important. I discuss my final thoughts and suggestions relating to your style in the last category. The following are my remaining notes for this category. I have collected all of the examples of over-long sentences into this first group, and my more general notes will follow it below.



    Post Two:

    "That had been awkward for him -" Paragraph Two - The following sentence was quite wordy; would've read easier split into two.

    "He could, he thought change the density of the blood directly - experimenting on the blood in the air around him proved that - but. But, if her system had adjusted" - Since 'he thought' is an interjectory clause, it requires a comma on both sides of it. Also, the double 'but's is another place where a semi-colon could accomplish the same thing, without creating sentence fragments. However, that sentence is massive, so breaking it up into two separate thoughts would ultimately help it read easier.

    Post Fourteen:

    "It was clear that her memories had her entwined fully..." Paragraph Two - This sentence was rather wordy; would recommend splitting into two. Also, a lot of 'as' in one sentence.

    Post Eighteen:

    "Lives were at stake, from what they had been told, and helping Felicity with her emotional trauma would take more than a single day to work through, and it would take trusted faces, not people who had been involved in the atrocity committed upon her." - This sentence is massive, first off. Secondly, it is confusing. 'Not people who had been involved' makes it sound like the miners were involved; they are the only people we know of that they are about to be around. Nevin doesn't know who was involved at this point, so it seems an odd association to make.

    Post Twenty:

    "He would, actually, come to think of it -" Paragraph One - The interjection 'actually' was confusing at first. Tone and inflection don't come across well in text. This was also a very wordy sentence.

    "She would drive herself hard..." Paragraph Two - This sentence goes on for quite a while; would recommend splitting.

    Post Twenty-Two:

    "It tried to weigh him down, dragging at his body as his weight increased without his input" - These two clauses are redundant, first one is less wordy.

    "It had been an area of effect that had held everything down, pressing them against the ground itself." - These two clauses are also redundant, and stating the obvious.

    Post Twenty-Four:

    "But as it was," Paragraph One - Aside from the fragment, this sentence goes on to be quite long, and comes after a medium-length sentence. Did you really want to make three sentences worth of information one continuous thought with this conjunction? It can be taxing to keep track of so many connected clauses at once.

    Post Twenty-Six:

    "bringing his thoughts back to the earth." Paragraph Three - This followed the phrase 'snapped back to reality,' and is thus redundant.
    Quote Originally Posted by General Notes

    Post Six:

    "For Nevin, seeing his own blood was a strange thought to him because his own oscillated between his magic screaming at him that it was the best he could ever get - and other times, seemed to be completely inert to his senses." - This is confusing. Thinking about seeing his blood made his magic scream that it was his peak? I assume you meant 'his own blood oscillated,' but this sentence probably should've been re-worded.

    Post Ten:

    "Then Felicity came over, asking what they needed help with." - These random bits of backtracking lead to confusion like this. In her post, she stood up and stepped back, she didn't 'come over.' You also ret-con the time she was fixing the arm, to have them talk to Nevin. Why would she ask what they needed help with, if she heard everything they said? Some bunnying could fix these issues.

    Post Twelve:

    "She was crying." - Italicized sentences, especially on their own line like this, are very strongly associated with character thoughts. Enough people use it that it's almost ubiquitous around here. If that was meant to be narrative, I'd recommend not italicizing entire sentences like this; italicizing individual words or phrases won't be misunderstood, though. If that was meant to be character thought, it was odd that it was in past-tense.

    Post Sixteen:

    "When she spoke, muffled by his chest as it was, he reached up and stroked her hair, and listened." - Though I got what you meant after re-reading, 'reaching up' implies reaching above Nevin, since it wasn't 'reaching his hand up.'

    Post Twenty-Four:

    "He began reeling the earthen entity towards him" - With what strength is Nevin pulling a hulking mass of stone and dirt that likely weighs tons? He'd have to anchor himself with his threads at least to pull that off. You remembered to do so earlier, when you saved the random children.

    Post Twenty-Six:

    "shiftingbackandofrthandthecyclethatneverends" - I assume this was for effect, but it had the opposite. The lack of spaces actually makes it take longer to parse, making it feel slower instead of faster. Hyphens might've worked as a replacement, or putting some emphasis on the end via capitalization or italicizing to show the ramping energy of it.

    "he would have obliterated this core if Fel had been hurt -" - When interrupting, I recommend leaving the hyphen attached to the last word. If you leave a space, the hyphen can end up unnoticed on the next line, as it did this time, and the sentence looks like it's missing a period.

    "reverberating oddly loudly, and wetly." - Stacking adverbs isn't the most ambitious method of description, and it's usually confusing. It first looks like oddly modifies reverberating, then after the comma it seems like it modifies loudly. More than one adverb is usually a sign that rewording would help.

    " who froze - because Nevin had not bothered retracting" - Why is this hyphen even here? Throwing hyphens wherever you want there to be a pause is confusing. Reword the sentence if you want a dramatic reveal.

    You threaten Eotype in the twenty-sixth post, but other than him 'freezing' don't describe his, or anyone else's reactions. Intimidation is sold by the reactions, to exclude them cuts out the fear of it, and it just becomes demands.

    Technique:


    Flamebird:


    Though your style can be bare-bones sometimes, you tend to convey character aspects quite well, especially with body language, and you had a few good metaphors. Alongside evening out the balance between setting and pacing, I would recommend trying to focus on using stronger verbs. The downside of the one-word sentences you like to use is that they have no verb, so they have no action; they're just static concepts being listed. You don't use weak verbs like 'seemed' too often, but do miss out on better verbs regularly, especially when you're focusing on adjectives and adverbs to beef up your description.

    I would also like to see more pronoun replacements. You used one in post three, calling Felicity 'the girl,' but that was it until post twenty-three. Since you tend to use character-centric narration, this leads to a majority of sentences having either her name or 'she' as the subject, as I mentioned previously. 'The girl' is a perfectly serviceable replacement, as was using her last name later on. Though, I will say that if you want to use part of a name as a pronoun replacement, make sure to use it early to establish who it refers to. I thought you were talking about a completely different person when you mentioned 'Rhyolite' for the first time in the thread during the golem fight. I also wouldn't recommend using too many replacements; just two or three that are consistently rotated will help alleviate all those identical subjects.

    As far as overall style goes, you have a tendency to ask direct questions of the reader. Ignoring that this technically changes the prose to second-person, it is a technique used most often in first-person writing. Using narration to lay out her thought processes, and having that narration be occasionally fallible, and need to catch up to what's going on, are also both techniques that are heavily associated with first-person. If you haven't already, you might consider switching to first-person for a while and trying it out. There's less of an expectation for setting and description in that kind of style, so you wouldn't need to worry about that category as much. These habits aren't jarring in third-person or anything, but I think many of them would benefit a first-person style more.

    Lastly, I'll cover my conflicting thoughts on the glitchy flashback formatting. Aesthetically, I rather like it; kind of like a mix of modern art and poetry. Props for trying new things, at least. Keeping each line short before jumping to another helped sell the 'skipping' part, and frantic energy of such a memory. However, this is a fantasy setting, so techno-centric terms and ideas can feel out of place. You do this occasionally with word choice, such as calling water by its chemical name 'h20' early on, and using the term 'citadel simulation' later. Since Felicity is not stated to be from Earth in her profile, all these obviously earthly terms stand out; terms like 'undecyrptable data, pixelated,' and 'skipping in loops.' It didn't detract too much from the thread, and it could definitely work well in the right story, it just felt very out of place in this setting.


    Nevin:


    As I mentioned previously, I think your narrative style fits this scholarly type of character quite well. The main thing I would recommend focusing on is the slow pacing, as I've explained in other categories. Your posts in general seem to suffer from a lack of editing for clarity and pacing. Taking more time to condense like thoughts, split lengthy ones, and cut redundancies, would really tighten up your style. After that, adding in some flair with more interesting verbs and some additional description would help that scholarly style feel less like an academic paper.

    You use some nice literary techniques in post twenty-four, with the 'music of his magic' metaphor, and the alliteration in 'rictus of rage.' A few more of those couldn't hurt, once you've stabilized the balance between description and pacing. Trying out different ratios between narration, description, and pacing could lead to unexpected affinity, so I encourage you to stray out of your comfort zone from time to time. Experimentation is also an important part of the process of developing a style.


    That covers all of my thoughts on this thread. Hopefully none of them were too harsh; casual threads are bound to be a bit loose. You both have good potential, so I look forward to reading some of your future threads. If you have any questions, just hit me up.
    Sings we a dances of wolves, who smells fear and slays the coward,
    Sings we a dances of mans, who smells gold and slays his brother.


    Low Stretches The Hand (feat. Gum)
    Who You Gonna Call? (feat. Elthas)
    Inanimation Station (feat. Fez)

  4. #4
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    Workshop closed, pending rewards.
    "My life is simple, my food is plain, and my quarters are uncluttered. In all things, I have sought clarity. I face the troubles and problems of life and death willingly. Virtue, integrity and courage are my priorities. I can be approached, but never pushed; befriended but never coerced; killed but never shamed."

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    I'm rewarding Ebivoulya double rewards for this Workshop feedback and a thank you for the continued participation with Workshop feedback. A big thank you to everyone involved in this Workshop!

    Ebivoulya receives:

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    Rewards to be added soon.
    "My life is simple, my food is plain, and my quarters are uncluttered. In all things, I have sought clarity. I face the troubles and problems of life and death willingly. Virtue, integrity and courage are my priorities. I can be approached, but never pushed; befriended but never coerced; killed but never shamed."

  6. #6
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    "My life is simple, my food is plain, and my quarters are uncluttered. In all things, I have sought clarity. I face the troubles and problems of life and death willingly. Virtue, integrity and courage are my priorities. I can be approached, but never pushed; befriended but never coerced; killed but never shamed."

  7. #7
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    Brief breakdown:

    Story:

    It is exciting and invigorating, with great highs and lows and moments of tension. You begin of well, sweetly and reflect on the relationship between the two (the brother and sister style) that was set out originally in the previous story. From there you develop their relationship further it seems, with some powerful moments of fighting, that can be a challenge to write with in terms of content. What also worked well was you two writing as a pair, uniquely contemplating the others' style. Setting itself is a key issue, and could have been developed in some areas, with a reflection of how it effects the characters in terms of atmosphere. You have a good starting point with setting, and do not forget it as the story goes on, however, it could have been included in more of the action sequences. Pacing is strong throughout, with some rises and falls, though consider larger post lengths to add more meat to your writing. Overall, I was enticed by what happened, from the golem to the entire story of the workers and the twist that he had released it. Your choice of names also was interesting, such as Eotype and made it more intriguing.

    Character:

    Felicity - Entirely, Felicity is an attractive personality, with a fiery character as bright as her hair colour. You manage to balance well her humanity as well as her neanderthal side, the true little ragechild. You do not forget these sides to her character as you continue on, using all three areas of communication, action and persona to show this. Communication is powerful, but in terms of development could possibly be given attention in terms of issuing more of a voice of Felicity. Already you can see her power through her tone, and but one thing to see would be if she has words unique to her from her background, but there is already a good sense of her personality behind her words.
    Nevin - Nevin is the big brother of this pair, that is clear, and has a gentle side to his fighting prowess. From how he kindly talks to Felicity to how he holds tension you have a good way of writing him that seems to have been practised and thought out well. What is good is to see that you clearly consider how you write Nevin and you have developed a certain tone for him. Persona is gone well, with self reflection from Nevin that was one of the things that struck me in general about how you write him.

    Writing:

    From simple to complex you both write well here, in terms of strong mechanics to effective technique. Small things such as, "He was… fat." in 27 to more developed imagery in the latter few posts. Word choice was excellent and I would encourage here for you to look at Ebivoula who did a good job of pointing out all of the great sentences and phrases that you used. In general I noticed a lot of the same use of words for the beginnings of sentences, and this could be somewhere where you could both develop, such as swapping around clauses and try using adverbs at the beginning etc. Great sections were the use of 'exclamation' - single word sentences that worked particularly well, such as "silence" in the last post. Other smaller sentences and larger sentences working together helped in terms of pacing and building the general story.
    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    --
    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.

  8. #8
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    Oi. I jumped the gun. I had no idea you had something in the works, Phi. Thank you for your addition. Awarding double rewards to Philomel for this Workshop feedback, and for the continued hard work put into the Workshop. Huge thanks to you!

    Philomel receives:

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    "My life is simple, my food is plain, and my quarters are uncluttered. In all things, I have sought clarity. I face the troubles and problems of life and death willingly. Virtue, integrity and courage are my priorities. I can be approached, but never pushed; befriended but never coerced; killed but never shamed."

  9. #9
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    "My life is simple, my food is plain, and my quarters are uncluttered. In all things, I have sought clarity. I face the troubles and problems of life and death willingly. Virtue, integrity and courage are my priorities. I can be approached, but never pushed; befriended but never coerced; killed but never shamed."

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