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Thread: Workshop: Small Magic

  1. #1
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    Workshop: Small Magic

    Thread: Small Magic
    Name of Authors: Nicolette and Josette (both Rayleigh alts)
    Type of Thread: Quest
    Thread Length: 19 posts
    Feedback Rewards: (Post Length of Thread/10) * ((EXP Needed to Level)*0.05) EXP
    Date Closed: 3rd April 2017

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  2. #2
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    Story:

    Storytelling: (10 Points) Oh wow! I don't even know where to start that Osiris hasn't already touched on. Let's just say that I'm glad that you posted for a work shop just so I can to a workshop. This was a really fun story to read it reminded me a lot of the odd couple in a way where two people with differing personalities have to interact with one another. In this case a serious knight teaming up with a wistful princess.

    Setting: (10 Points) Your use of the setting was fantastic. Some people love to use a wall of words just describing every piece of setting all at once. I do this, you don't though what you do is give bits and pieces of the world around you as you go. What this does as you know far better than I do is help the reader immerse them selves in the story. A wall of words just kind of punchs the reader in the face forcing the setting down their throat.

    Pacing: (10 Points) About pacing. If there was a barometer for pacing that went from calculus professor droning on PBS to Michael Bay directs Dragon Ball Z I rate this at about Jonathan Franks directs an episode of Deep Space 9. There is a good bit of action in it but at the same time it's slow enough for who ever reading to understand why the action is happening.

    Character:

    Communication: (10 Points) You played two people here and I knew which person was which with out any trouble. You have a great handle on bot internal and external dialogue. There was no having to go up and down the pages to figure out who was talking. This can be a trick with two people playing one character each. You did this with out a problem playing both sides. Good job.

    Action: (10 Points) Action you know me I loves me some action. It's why I watch Michael Bay movies. You kind of had a bit of a dip in the whole action. This aint necessarily a bad thing it's just a thing some times it can be used to really bag over the head punch in the face the reader and really amp up the impact of the action. Like a good wake up call.

    Persona: (10 Points) Yeeha! If nothing else I now know that you love horses as much as I like ships. both of your characters both had a love for horses and you used the terminology effectively. Further there were two distinct entities with in this story Josette and Nicolette. Usually when people write they tend to paste a portion of their personalities onto the character and when there is more than one character being written by the same writer the characters seem to be near the same with only superficial differences. You pulled this off.

    Prose:

    Mechanics: (10 Points) In the words of the great Ralfie Wiggum "Me fail english? Thats unpossible"

    Clarity: (10 Points) You are an excellent writer. It's really easy to know what's going on, who's talking and how they are feeling. You use symbolism, metaphor and simile quite well and not once was I really lost as to what was going on. I enjoyed the read because it didn't make my head hurt.

    Technique: (10 Points) Technique was spot on like I said you pulled it all together. You wrote two distinct character, use internal and external dialogue and used the tools of metaphor and simile quite well. You have admitted to being comma happy and I did notice a lot of commas. But in my line of work we have a saying more is better. I really don't know how to judge technique becaue like I joked I really did fail english... twice!

    Wildcard: This is a total nitpick and I am by no means an expert but a castle was a fortified structure which also took on the administrative duties of a county or province. A palace was more of a dwelling place for nobility and was used more for administrative and ceremonial purposes rather than strategic ones. From the description of the dwelling in which Josette started from it sounded more like a palace rather than a castle. You may have been making light of the stereotypical Disney castles. But I don't know mostly I had a profound need to post something here in the Wildcard section.

  3. #3
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    Hello! Thank you for choosing the workshop and for giving me a chance to comment on your story!

    This tale was a pleasure to read, and I need not say that you have a very firm grasp of the English language and storytelling therein. By its very nature, thus, my comments below will be rather nitpicky - I hope you find them useful rather than annoying, and that I don't come across as too critical. Apologies in advance if I do ><.

    Please also bear in mind that I provide feedback from a style of writing often described as dense, headache-inducing, and unclear, so not all of my points may apply to your stories!

    ***

    Story: Your opening posts did a great job of establishing not only the main players, but also the nature of the thread as a character-driven rather than a setting-driven piece. I very much appreciated the first act, where you took the time to let your characters interact with one another, and through a believable level of conflict established an equilibrium between them. You then shook this up with the appearance of the Cassarian, and though I can (and do, in my post-by-post commentary below...) pick nits in this scene, it served its purpose in folding the bond between the two ladies into something forged by battle. Throughout your entire tale you controlled the pacing effectively, and then gave yourself time for a satisfying conclusion.

    I do feel that this story lacked meat on its bones. For example in your haste to get the ladies out of the castle and onto the road, you omit Nicolette's first impressions of Josette, which means that the reader does not get the chance to picture her from a fresh pair of eyes. It also means that you don't get to hint at the darkness the latter is carrying within her, and thus her reflections in post 5 are not substantiated in our mind's eye.

    In post 11 you introduce two new plot elements: the herd of wild horses, and the Cassarian. As Shin points out in his judgement, the lack of build-up towards the latter feels like another missed opportunity - a few words early on from Alexander, reminding Nicolette of the dangers on the road and the why he hired Josette as an escort, would have sufficed to foreshadow the beast (with perhaps another reminder of the danger as Josette set up camp that evening).

    I appreciate that the only time transition in the thread that could be labelled even remotely jarring occurred at the end. In return (and I'm going to go out on a limb here, since I believe that you never intended to achieve this in the first place) I couldn't help but feel that your story lacked scope. For example, I never understood why Nicolette had to travel to Knife's Edge, or got any hint of how the Sword of Ma fits into Arianne's history and how it might impact on Josette's future. You did a great job of working your characters through their respective pasts, and giving them development in the present, but I didn't get a sense of what was to come. I'll touch on this again in a moment.

    Background: The setting, I'm afraid, suffered from its brevity. I can understand that you didn't want to burden your readers with a paragraph of exposition every time you changed scenes, and the pacing of your dialogue-driven posts benefited from this choice. On the other hand in doing so you robbed your readers of the opportunity to paint your characters in their mind's eye, and by the time you revisited the canvas upon which they travelled, it felt too little too late. I would advocate attempting a balance between the two extremes - establish the basics of the scenery early on, and update us with details through character interactions while they speak (wind blowing through hair, a shiver at the dawn chill, etc.).

    You did a great job integrating Salvic locations into your plot, and props for the use of the proper term Boyar throughout! On the other hand, I didn't quite get the same sense of integration from your characters, Nicolette and Josette. For example, although I really liked Josette's experience with the neighbouring Boyar, I had to wrap my head around the gun in Nicolette's backstory (would such a weapon be readily available in Salvar?).

    I mentioned previously that I felt that the thread lacked scope; one possible way to address that might have been to focus on the implications of Nicolette's possible magic ability in the context of Salvar's hardline laws and traditions against unsanctioned magic. This is a land in which Church inquisitors "persecute sorcerers and heretics without mercy", which would allow you to seed major implications upon somebody of Nicolette's station. Other than this, I might suggest tweaking the presentation of character aspects such as Josette's swordcraft (I've always thought of Salvic swordcraft as more brutal and early medieval than the Coronian or Raiaeran equivalent) and Nicolette's phrasing ("Penny for your thoughts," for example, comes to mind as a non-Althanasism).

    Characters: Your strongest suit - the interactions between Nicolette and Josette drive the thread, and do so in both a believable and understandable manner. The development that thus ensues is the thread's greatest legacy. Josette opens up to Nicolette, progressing from curt one-word responses to actual conversation, and is given the chance to confront her inner daemons; on the other hand, her eagerness to label the Cassarian as 'evil' hints at a dangerous tendency to view things in black and white, and to jump to conclusions without considering the opposing view (the Knight Templar trope, if you will). Nicolette works hard both to prove that she isn't your standard 'princess' and to pry Josette from her shell, and is rewarded for her courage in revealing her past; her kindness, though, borders on a passivity that sees her unable to act against the Cassarian. This balance of strengths and flaws keeps both of your characters grounded and in check.

    With regards to action, I have two suggestions that might help elevate your characters from great to sublime. The first is to touch upon Nicolette's upbringing in her conversational actions, perhaps by mentioning the regal way in which she folds her hands upon her lap, or some other tic or quirk. I would suggest the same for Josette, but her introspective and stoic nature feels to me as a quirk of her own. The second is to provide a tad more focus on the 'knight' half of Josette's arcane knight abilities - her duel with the Cassarian focused on her arcane powers, but I didn't really get a sense for how she moved and fought in a mundane, martial manner.

    I very much enjoyed your characterisation of the steeds - promoting them to secondary characters was an effective technique, apt to the setting, and one you pulled off very well. Arianne came across as the perfect balance of fierce, loving, and gentle; Maxus's intelligence also stood out throughout their journey. On the other hand - and perhaps this is my level-zero horsemanship showing here - I didn't get a feel for Willem in contrast to his two compatriots, and to Maxus in particular.

    My biggest gripe amongst your characters is probably directed at Alexander - you used him effectively to establish Nicolette in her first post, giving him great characterisation in just a few words, then abandoned him without tying off his part in the story. Didn't he even step outside to wave farewell?

    Technique:

    A pleasure to read. Three positives in particular stood out - your ability to interweave the viewpoints of Josette and Nicolette throughout the story, providing insight into both their mindsets without sacrificing flow or pacing; your opening statement regarding the castle as a place of showing off, which gave us great insight into Josette's mindset; and the brilliant way in which you occasionally reflected the ladies' emotions and reactions onto their mounts. In fact, everything you wrote related to the horses was beautifully woven into the tapestry of the story, so many kudos there.

    I do have one suggestion here - perhaps cut back on your usage of 'was' and 'were' in favour of more powerful verbs? You might not wish to go to the extent that I do of trying to purge them altogether, since I'm sure this contributes to the reputation of my writing as dense and lacking in clarity. However I have noticed an increased dynamism and power in my descriptions since I began questioning every 'was', 'were', and 'had been' I used in my descriptions, even if they didn't technically fall under the category of passive voice.

    For example by bearing this rule in mind while describing scenery in my own works, it allows me to establish the setting as a character of its own - instead of writing the sun was red as it set, I write instead that it burnt to death upon the western horizon, thus allowing me to set the tone for the dark night to come. I have the feeling that by treating the setting with the same respect and dedication that you show your characters and their steeds, you'll very easily be able to immerse the reader in a world as vivid and as dynamic as them.

    One last note - in addition to a handful of typos and grammatical errors sprinkled throughout the thread, nothing major, I did notice that you consistently mis-punctuated your dialogue in one particular way. If a quotation starts in the middle of a sentence, remember that it should be capitalised (see example 1 here for a better explanation of what I mean).

    ***

    In conclusion, allow me to echo Shin's comments - I really enjoyed this thread, the fantastic contrasts it drew between two complex characters, and the way you drew them together in adventure through their shared love of horses. It was good to see you writing again, thank you for submitting for the workshop and giving me the chance to comment, and I hope that some of my comments above can be of use in your future writing!

    ***

    Post 1:
    Spoiler:
    Opening lines efficient and effective in establishing Josette, character-driven narrative. Nice effect of weaving setting into observations. Note that first two sentences utilise weak verbs - 'was' and 'were' - which is the only real gripe I have here.

    Sentiment regarding the social aspect of castles very much appreciated! My (geek!) thoughts immediately went to whether this castle was an older, defensive one refitted for its current purpose, or whether it had been designed and built from the ground up as a place for 'entertaining, for showing off'. Interestingly I came to the conclusion that it must have been the former, and in a remote location in Salvar indeed to have 'seen hundreds of years of peace' while maintaining a 'nearly perfect' appearance, which might not be what you were aiming for... but thank you for the thought exercise!

    Spooked horses, something that so many adventures overlook... well written!


    Post 2:
    Spoiler:
    I feel that you missed a chance for a bit of setting by condensing the location as 'Just inside the castle'. A sentence or two to describe an audience hall, perhaps contrasting it to Josette's musings from earlier, would not have gone amiss.

    'Peel of laughter' -> 'Peal of laughter'.

    I realise that your non-usage of contractions is probably intentional, but the dialogue between Nicolette and Alexander comes across as somewhat stilted. It also leaves me unclear as to how Theodore and Josephine are related to the speakers. You missed a chance to inject a dose of setting via your choice of words - for example, Nicolette's "Heavens" might have better been served, in Salvar, as "Sway" (if not aligned with the Church, perhaps "Thaynes" or something similar).

    I should point out that, if a quotation begins in the middle of a sentence when the sentence itself has already begun, the first word of the quote is capitalised: 'Excitement lit her amber eyes at the thought, and she added, "what is she like?"' should be '... and she added, "What is she like?"'. You also used 'she added' twice in two sentences here!

    'Hired on' -> the 'on' is unnecessary, made me re-read the sentence twice ><.


    Post 3:
    Spoiler:
    Again, using 'was' in your first sentence makes the setting come across as passive and static. A stronger verb (i.e., 'The wooden door to her right thundered open...') acts to give it just that much more life and dynamism, by giving the surroundings themselves a personality of their own (without any need to sacrifice Josette's place as viewpoint character, or even the fact that she's very much reacting to what's going on around her at this point).

    I enjoyed the misunderstanding and confusion that coloured the meet-cute between our two leads. I was left wondering, however, if Nicolette's easy acceptance of Josette's rude behaviour was kindness (as described) or passivity - a couple of lines focusing on the details of her reaction, for example a pursed lip here or a flinching finger there, might have helped to clarify.

    'A love interest? Josette mused with only mild interest...' -> the double 'interest' here reads awkwardly.

    The lack of a send-off for Nicolette felt a bit jarring as well. Would Alexander not have stepped out to wave her farewell? Was it not worth a mention?


    Post 4:
    Spoiler:
    'Landscape' twice in two sentences to begin the post. I also felt that you might have included a few mentions of the weather, the temperature, smells and sounds and tastes, that I never really gained throughout the dialogue.

    You do a great job of characterising the horses with just a touch of action! I'm surprised somewhat that neither Nicolette nor Josette display similar quirks - you play off their personalities well, with Nicolette trying to tease Josette out of her shell, but you don't quite give me a sense of how they're actually behaving.


    Post 5:
    Spoiler:
    'Castles were strange, she reminded herself, and so were the folk who lived within their stone walls.' <- nice throwback to her opening lines!

    "Penny for your thoughts?" <- another opportunity for setting within dialogue; I'm uncertain of the official currency of Salvar, but a regional currency would work just as well here to replace the too-familiar term 'penny'.


    Post 6:
    Spoiler:
    'The sky had only just begun to change, bright blues giving way to warm reds, but she knew better than to wait too long. Setting up a sturdy camp, and establishing a perimeter, were their first priorities; it would not do to wait until the sun was any lower in the sky.' <- just to point out that there's a lot of duplication in these two sentences, as evidenced by 'wait' twice.

    'it's' <- 'its'

    Interestingly, as the eldest of three siblings, I empathise quite a lot with Josette here!


    Post 7:
    Spoiler:
    'Though Josette could never know it' <- this phrase feels out of place. I suggest framing Josette's ignorance either in Nicolette's unchanging expression, or not mentioning it at all - after all, that would be the default.

    Going back to my earlier comment regarding Nicolette's passivity, it's actually quite good to see Josette teasing some fire out of her. The argument / conflict here feels natural and unforced, which makes for a very smooth read. I also have a soft spot for comfortable silences, so bonus points there.


    Post 8:
    Spoiler:
    'Her actions were her apology...' <- I love this depiction of Josette's character.

    I don't find it surprising at all, given your attention to the horses throughout the thread, that it's over them that the two ladies bond. I also appreciate the natural evolution of Josette's conversation, from curt snaps to (something approaching) actual responses.


    Post 9:
    Spoiler:
    'young advisor's eyes' <- feels a bit jarring, since you'd never described Nicolette as an advisor before. Not to the point that I didn't know who you were talking about, however.

    Aha! Mention of sounds and climate! This fills a major gap in how I'm reading your story.

    Nicolette's personality really shines here: 'Without giving Josette time to reply, Nicolette began to explain.' Also, at the end of the post, "But it was my story to tell." The interactions between your characters are very well written.

    I'm interested to know how her father acquired a gun in small-town Salvar?


    Post 10:
    Spoiler:
    I like how you utilise Maxus to reflect Josette's uncertainty here, and your descriptions of 'his steps high, eyes rolling'. Alongside your characterisation of Josette and Nicolette, your horse-related passages are definitely the highlight of this thread, including the gallop that follows.

    I will say that it seems quite a long way off track, and rather surprising that neither lady noticed it until now (especially if they were meant to be following the Wolf Trail).


    Post 11:
    Spoiler:
    In this post you introduce not one but two plot elements (the herd of wild horses and the predator) out of the blue. I admit that, though they are linked, I found it jarring. I'm also given no context why 'Cassarian' needs to be capitalised - would you capitalise lion or gryphon? Just a point.

    I also got very little feel for their immediate surroundings - the previous post focused on the dominant plateau, so it would have been good to fill in the gaps, especially regarding how the Cassarian hunts. Think of the differences between how tigers and cheetahs (and any other solitary big cats) stalk their prey, and the role that their environment plays in this, and perhaps you can see what I'm getting at here - are we talking long grasses or short? Sparse trees or dense forest? Overcast sky or bright afternoon? Upwind or breathless?

    And now it's Josette's time to shine - 'She could not let the evil win again.' - although isn't it a bit harsh to label a predator hunting for food 'evil'? I also admire the way she took the time to ask whether Maxus had seen any combat, another point often overlooked! She did call him 'Maxum', however...


    Post 12:
    Spoiler:
    Yet another admission - I'm personally disappointed that you didn't take the opportunity for mounted combat here, although it's wholly understandable given Josette's temperament, the risks involved in an untried partnership between rider and steed, and the dangers it would pose to Maxus.

    I'm also still lacking a setting for this charge - hard dirt beneath Maxus's hooves, or do the grasses kiss Josette's thighs? Is she running a major risk just charging through potentially treacherous ground towards the beast, or does the Cassarian have some particular characteristics (i.e. great speed) that make it an exceptional open ground hunter? Again, I realise that I'm picking nits, but minor details such as this really enhance the immersion of your tale (as evidenced, for example, by the effort you put into your opening post with describing the castle).


    Post 13:
    Spoiler:
    This might be a difference in US and British English here, but the word 'moseyed' comes across as highly informal slang, rather than apt for a tense battle situation?

    I also realise now that I have no idea how Josette is armed and garbed - does she wear plate, as her profile might suggest, in which case her lack of a shield is forgiveable, or does she stand against the Cassarian with little more than an arming sword, in which case she's very brave indeed?

    I do appreciate your description of Josette tapping into her powers, and their limitations. One thing I'm trying to do for my characters is to describe their individual perceptions of magic and how they use it, and you've done that very well here. Especially the awful side effects!


    Post 14:
    Spoiler:
    Another interesting risk here - a viewpoint character who doesn't contribute meaningfully to a combat situation.

    The Cassarian's demise came as a bit of an anti-climax, not in its suddenness - I love the realistic touch - but in how you didn't take the opportunity to describe the coup de grace. Did Josette betray nothing as she 'drew its last breath from it'? Did its life not fountain through the air to brand the murdering saviour?


    Post 15:
    Spoiler:
    I got confused here when Nicolette suddenly popped up amidst Josette and the mare to 'press both palms to her cheeks' - I'm not sure whether it was intentional or a typo.

    'The raven-haired woman motioned her friend closer.' <- I had no idea they were friends, given that they only got to know each other the day before, and that they were quite unhappy with one another until a short while ago.

    Arianne is a great character, already hinting at a background and intelligence beyond the scope of this thread! Shadowfax wishes he could be so cool.


    Post 16:
    Spoiler:
    I'm having trouble positing Josette as a mentor in magical matters - her confidence comes across as out of place, given her previous unease with her own abilities. Also, this is Salvar, where the Church has a strict monopoly on the lawful use of magic and where inquisitors torture and murder unsanctioned practitioners - I would have thought that the revelation would have come out a bit darker, with grimmer undertones for Nicolette's budding power.


    Post 17:
    Spoiler:
    A minor gripe that I often correct myself on - how do travellers keep track of exact time? I find that it makes little sense to talk of 'hours' when the characters in question would have no idea of such measurements (and where 'hours' probably don't exist at all), and try to replace such references with mention of lengthening shadows, the sun approaching the horizon, etc.

    I do appreciate that you've kept continuity in mind with regards to Josette's wet clothes!

    I'm still having trouble picturing the landscape - 'pointed end of the plateau', 'sunlit plain extended out from the other side of the landmark', and a sudden 'cave' have unfortunately confused me more than enlightened me ><.

    'A curse word very unbecoming of a lady' <- very eloquent!


    Post 18:
    Spoiler:
    I'm afraid the beginning of this post doesn't read as well as much of the rest of the thread - phrases such as 'It was a massive understatement' and 'in a sort of trance' detract from the story rather than adding to it.

    I do like how you contrasted Nicolette and Josette once more in thanking Arianne, and how with minimal effort you elucidated the sheer joy through the latter's head when Arianne 'spoke' to her as well.


    Post 19:
    Spoiler:
    A pet peeve of mine, possibly related again to how the word is used across the pond: 'smirking' to me implies an irritating, annoying, conceited sort of smile with negative connotations. I, personally, would be wary of using it when 'smiled' would suffice.

    Thank you for addressing why Josette could hear Arianne, and why it wasn't in her own voice. And then you left it a mystery (as magic should be!).

    Good characterisation by reiterating the 'Penny for your thoughts' line. Also, character development!
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    I'm free!

  4. #4
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    I made the mistake of reading the reviews that have previously been posted (including Shin's) and now I'm finding myself hard pressed to say anything original. Please bear with me if my comments contain any repetition - I'll do my best to come at this from a slightly different angle, at the very least.

    Plot
    You have a finesse for taking ordinary objects from the canvas of Althanas and turning them into strong narrative hooks. In the last thread of yours I read it was a black box, and this time it was a castle. Rather different objects, but they have something in common; they could have been plain and ordinary, and you made them special, not just in general, but special to your character in some way (even if it was Josette being somewhat scornful of castles.) I do however definitely agree with those who came before that the story lacked some of the rising action/foreshadowing that could have set up the battle with the cassarian.

    I think if you had paid a little more attention to the setting, the foreshadowing may have come out naturally, as Josette might be likely to reflect on the dangers, or as Flames suggested, even warn Nicolette about them. All in all though the story flowed well, and I enjoyed your use of Arianne to drive both the climax and conclusion. Also, excellent choice of title. 'The Treasure of Arianne' was not bad but 'Small Magic' played very nicely into your last post and did a good job of setting my expectations for the thread.

    Character
    I liked the way Josette and Nicolette played off one another, from their terse conversations at the beginning to their more open dialogues toward the end. You have a firm grasp on their personas, and by the end of the story I had a strong impression of each of them as individuals. I do however feel that this could have gone even deeper if you'd done a little less bouncing from one perspective to the other. It seemed that every time I got comfortable observing the story from one perspective, it changed. This could be confusing at times - maybe I'm just a little too slow, or this could just be my preference, but I think staying within one character's perspective per post could have helped overall, especially with regards to strengthening their personas. The dialogue was clear, effective, and well utilized, however there was nothing particularly Salvic/Salvarian about it. I think Flames mentioned this as well (and possibly Shin), but a little regional dialect would have gone a long way to solidifying this story in its setting.

    Prose
    My favorite literary device was the one about curiosity's talons... that struck me quite nicely and left a lasting image. Your writing is very strong, and you displayed excellent technique from the opening inner monologue about castles to the nod to your title at the end. I don't want to put too much effort into tracking down uses of passive voice since you've informed me that you prefer it, but I will go so far as to point out that most uses of verbs like "was" and "were" represent missed opportunities for something stronger, including on some occasions, setting reinforcement. I think that re-examining some of your uses of these weak verbs could present an opportunity to enrich your descriptions without having to go into Hemingway-esque levels of detail.

    And that's all from me! Thank you for choosing the Writers' Workshop! It was a pleasure to read your thread and provide feedback, which I hope provided at least some small shred of insight. I encourage you to continue writing about subjects for which you have passion, as your love of horses really shone through and made this thread special. Well done!
    ... They fell to him as prey to bluefin
    for the Jya's warriors knew not how to swim...
    13-3-2

    I wrote a book! ~ Most Suave Character 2010

  5. #5
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Story
    Storytelling, Setting, and Pacing

    I really think pacing and storytelling are both skills you've honed quite well. However, though you do touch on setting, you don't give it too much life. That's not to say it's absent, or even feels absent. Rather, like I mentioned to you in chat, I do think it would be quite powerful if you found a way to give your world/setting/environment its own personality/reactions as you do your characters. I feel it would make your writing even more powerful than it already is.


    Character
    Communication, Action, and Persona

    I think this section is honestly where you shine. Everything your characters do is so vivid and enthralling. Their mannerisms, their instincts, their body language, their reactions, their motives - it all makes sense and works so well to create a connection. It's like any character that you create, I can easily piece together who they are based on what you give me and know them as well as I would a stranger who I'd just met and observed behaving this way. It's a really powerful aspect of your writing.

    There was one case that really threw me off and it sort of bothered me. Josette decided to use magic to attack the feline, yet she seemed like someone who would prefer to use a blade. She didn't even bother to try to engage the beast first in melee combat, and given how poor her magic was and how vulnerable it left her after the fact, you'd think she wouldn't have put herself in such a position. Especially the implication of being such a seasoned warrior, you'd think she knew how weak the magic would be, and how it would leave her. It seemed like something she'd only pull out as a last resort, especially given her overall attitude on magic.


    Prose
    Mechanics, Clarity, and Technique

    First, I will say your writing is very clear and I do think you have a pretty firm understanding of the basic elements of technique. I can't go into anything advanced because if I do it myself I'm not even aware. Below will be my list of notes on what the errors were that I found throughout the thread. However, despite what you find below, you did a tremendous job in proofing and it was a clean read, which I immensely appreciate.

    • "Eighteen, " -- space after the comma, before the quotes
    • Wolves Fang mountains - I believe you would include a capital M here for mountains as it is all part of one name. I'd also say if it's a single wolf it would be "Wolf's Fang." That or, Wolves' Fangs?
    • "So you're not from around here. -- missing end quotes to close it out.
    • great busts of magic and light -- bursts?
    • General note regarding whether a capital is used when starting dialogue mid sentence, as discussed in chat. Multiple instances.
    • Wolf Trail lived up to it's name -- its not it's
    • It was easier than asking "do you know why my parents were killed," though that was still implied. -- I would break this up so that you could actually properly utilize a question mark to address her dialogue.
    • But just as asked him for an easy job -- just as she?
    • She could not let the evil win again -- drop "the"
    • Cassarian -- I am not sure why you repeatedly capitalized this. You could chalk it up to stylized, but if it's a type of animal, it would be lowercase. You used it like a name here, so again, stylized, but it came up. You were consistent though.
    • Your reference to seventeen hands, or sixty eight inches from the withers -- in general, though I think that was trying to utilize language familiar to the theme of horses, it was a bit too much and lost on me.
    • picture the the tranquil pool -- double the
    • By the time she was done with it, high stepping a few steps backward, the Cassarian lay, trembling, on the side of the stream. -- I would drop the commas around trembling. Also, high stepping a few steps backward sounds odd.
    • Her heard galloped in her chest -- heart?
    • just a touch to big for her head -- too big
    • Nicolette pressed both palms to her cheek -- in this section I was confused. The reference to Nicolette mid paragraph threw me off and I got confused as to who was doing what. I thought that whole paragraph was Josette's moment, so it was a bit unclear.
    • I have seen seen great power -- double seen




    Wildcard

    Ok, I tried to get every single error I could find for you, and honestly it isn't that much given the length and depth of your story. I will say your work is tremendously enjoyable and it brings helpful contrast and insight into my own writing and how much we vary in style. You heavily emphasize characters over world and events, and even when world and events do show up it is more to shed more light on the characters. This does have its own strength, but I wonder how your work would appear if you tried to give the same life and personality to your environment and the world you operate within. In this respect, I think of large-scale worldbuilders like George R.R. Martin whose world has an enormous depth and complexity and history. I know it's harder here because you don't "own" Althanas so it can feel wrong to take liberties, but you should do so anyway. Give your setting the personality and emotion and care and engagement that you give to your actual characters and you will have another member of your party that adds a really new and unique element to your writing. If your setting COULD emotionally react to events happening, how would it? Asking that question as you do of your characters could make for some amazing outcomes, I think.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

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  6. #6
    Master of Puppets
    EXP: 58,104, Level: 10
    Level completed: 38%, EXP required for next level: 6,896
    Level completed: 38%,
    EXP required for next level: 6,896

    AP
    12
    GP
    6,195
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
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    Human
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    Job
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    This workshop is now closed. Rewards fo follow!

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    "Yes Baldrick, but you never said 'wibble'."


  7. #7
    Master of Puppets
    EXP: 58,104, Level: 10
    Level completed: 38%, EXP required for next level: 6,896
    Level completed: 38%,
    EXP required for next level: 6,896

    AP
    12
    GP
    6,195
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
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    6'0", 155lbs
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    JDD2035 receives 475 EXP, 40 GP and 4 AP!

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    Breaker receives 1710 EXP, 40 GP and 4 AP!

    Althanas Operations Administrator



    "Yes Baldrick, but you never said 'wibble'."


  8. #8
    Master of Puppets
    EXP: 58,104, Level: 10
    Level completed: 38%, EXP required for next level: 6,896
    Level completed: 38%,
    EXP required for next level: 6,896

    AP
    12
    GP
    6,195
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
    Build
    6'0", 155lbs
    Job
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    View Profile
    All rewards added!

    Althanas Operations Administrator



    "Yes Baldrick, but you never said 'wibble'."


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