Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Workshop: A Baker's Knight

  1. #1
    Lyre-Bearer
    EXP: 57,039, Level: 10
    Level completed: 28%, EXP required for next level: 7,961
    Level completed: 28%,
    EXP required for next level: 7,961

    AP
    56
    GP
    6,605
    Philomel's Avatar

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    28
    Race
    faun
    Gender
    female
    Hair Color
    violet (dyed)
    Eye Color
    grey
    Build
    6ft / 156kg
    Job
    Assassin-Whore, Matriarch (Gilded Lily), Master of Secrets (Crimson Hand)

    View Profile

    Workshop: A Baker's Knight

    Name of Completed Thread: A Baker's Knight
    Name of Authors: Amari and Tainted Bushido
    Type of Thread: Quest
    Thread Length: 18 posts
    Feedback Rewards: (Post Length of Thread/10) * ((EXP Needed to Level)*0.05) EXP
    Date Closed: May 24 2017

    Critique Guidelines:

    1.) Standard rules for etiquette apply. No spamming or off-topic posts, no personal attacks or trolling. Focus on critiquing the thread, not the writer. Use constructive criticism and try to speak in terms of "strengths" and "weaknesses." For example: "Your story was strong, but the action seemed a little weak. Try using more adverbs to describe actions or use a thesaurus to spice up your word choice."

    2.) Likewise, those who have asked for a workshop should take criticism gracefully. Use it to better yourself. These are not intended to offend or belittle, only show you opportunities to grow.

    3.) If at any point you notice improper conduct, contact an administrator immediately. Bullying of any kind will not be tolerated. Arguing will also be regulated heavily. Polite, constructive debate is permitted within reason.

    4.) In order to receive EXP, GP, and AP for your feedback (see Workshop Guide), a critique must be helpful, elaborate, and considerate. It is suggested that the review be at least 3 paragraphs and focus on strengths, weaknesses, and overall content. You may use the Althanas Rubric as a guide.

    5.)Those that leave an exceptionally detailed review with plenty of constructive advice may be eligible for double rewards. This will be up to the posting judge's discretion. The authors of the thread may request the additional reward be given if they found a review to be particularly helpful. The request must still be approved.
    "Tol. Mela. Othor." "Versh. Sai. Memnae." Come. Love. Conquer. - Philomel in Tolkein Sindarin, Faunish and Tradespeak

    Very grateful winner of 2015 Althies Awards: Friendliest Member, Mrs Althanas, Best IC Rivalry (with Doge), Best Judge and Most Helpful/Friendly Mod and Admin Award of Moderator of the Year.

  2. #2
    Member
    EXP: 14,165, Level: 5
    Level completed: 3%, EXP required for next level: 5,835
    Level completed: 3%,
    EXP required for next level: 5,835

    AP
    53
    GP
    1,600
    jdd2035's Avatar

    Name
    Captain Cain Jodin
    Age
    27
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Blonde
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    5'11
    Job
    Merchant Sailor/ Privateer

    View Profile
    Hey yall! Lets do this yall!

    Story:

    Storytelling: (10 Points) Mari you have improved. I used to dread absolutely dread reading what you posted it being filled with constand cursing and being dark for the sake of being dark. This story was much, much! less house of a thousand corpses and more Betelgeuse? Any way it's better take the complement for what it's worth TB you being the veteran in this story took the lead of the dance and did it well. Good job yall.

    Setting: (10 Points) I love a bakery! I love cooking so when you guys introduced the bakery with warm smells and delightful aromas I was really taken in. Very few people in the world can actually accurately describe smell and taste because there are so many complex sensations that make up even one faint smell. You both did an amiable job in your descriptions. A+ Yall.

    Pacing: (10 Points) Such an even pace it was a smooth read. For the kind of thread this was this could have turned into an ugly plodding slow slog through nothing but dialogue interspersed with maybe some actions? Kind of like a Tom Cruise/ Nicole Kidman movies of the 90's. You guys made the read entertaining to yeah there you go.

    Character:

    Communication: (10 Points) Both of you guys communicated quite well. I can't really say much more both of you guys used internal and external dialogue well and made efficient use of your NPC's. A lot of this story was a back and forth between Taka and Amari so there was a lot of dialogue and you guys worked well together.

    Action: (10 Points) Dude this was like Mortal Komat combined with Dragon Ball Z!! Combined with Mad Max! This thread was nothing but non-stop action blindingly flying from one action scene to the next explosion it blew my mind! I'm kidding for the kind of thread that this was the action in the form of the one on one interaction was fantastic! It was clear I knew what was going on and didn't have to stretch my mind as to what was going on it was the anti-thesis of the Hitman and Transformers movies! (granted I like the transformers movies but that's besides the point.)

    Persona: (10 Points) Mari your character has improved tremendously! I actually liked reading your character for once. The very first thing I ever read I got the sense that all that was going on was the thread being dark and controversial just for the sake of being dark and controversial and to get his attention. You've improved your character is actually nuanced and fun to read very good job. TB I'm sorry but I haven't seen enough of your character to make the same type of comments but I liked Taka too!

    Prose:

    Mechanics: (10 Points) ooga chaka ooga chaka ooga ooga ooga chaka oh me fail english! that's unpossible! I, I, I! I failed english!

    Clarity: (10 Points) You both wrote incredibly well and I understood what was going on with out google so to me that's clear. There's really two key elements to a clear story first the geography establishing where your characters are. The second key for a clear story is making sure the verbs make sense to the geography. You both made it clear what was going on.

    Technique: (10 Points) I hate this part because I dont know what to put here. Yalls technique was well done. You both worked together to make a well thought out and planned out story. Both of you used the same tenses so that's good, you used the proper punctuation's I think it was a good read I'm not complaining.

    Wildcard: I like the picture.

    17 Workshops left.

  3. #3
    Member
    EXP: 34,110, Level: 7
    Level completed: 89%, EXP required for next level: 890
    Level completed: 89%,
    EXP required for next level: 890

    AP
    27
    GP
    2,560
    Mari's Avatar

    Name
    Amari Ciel L'Olfsden
    Age
    28
    Race
    Ar'Tuel Soul; Human Body
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Dark Crimson
    Eye Color
    Emerald, yellow ring around iris
    Job
    Crimson Hand 2IC

    View Profile
    This is actually a past life for Amari, and Taka (Aka Joshua) it was pretty obvious throughout the thread it was not Taka. Heck the name wasn't used haha.

    in regards to her personality; I don't exactly write 'dark for the sake of being dark' it's just what Amari had been dealt with in her current life. I would definitely advise you not to read some future threads. I have with her if that's how you feel about her character haha

    It was a nice change of pace to write a different life for her

    Thanks for the feedback
    Last edited by Mari; 04-25-17 at 01:28 PM.
    (23:17:08) BlackAndBlueEyes: Everything's coming up Lyehouse

  4. #4
    Member
    EXP: 90,835, Level: 13
    Level completed: 6%, EXP required for next level: 13,165
    Level completed: 6%,
    EXP required for next level: 13,165

    AP
    54
    GP
    6,985
    Revenant's Avatar

    Name
    William Arcus
    Age
    Mid-30's (apparent age)
    Race
    Revenant
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Black Stubble
    Eye Color
    Molten Fire
    Build
    5'11"/178lbs
    Job
    Freelance Murder Machine

    View Profile
    Heyo! Lords know I’m nothing more than a guy who reads a lot, so all I’m going to bring to the table is what thoughts I had while reading your story. Take it or leave it. You’ll probably want to leave it. I’ll use Althanas’ rubric for a baseline.

    Storytelling:
    This story boils down to forbidden love/knight-in-shining-armor. A classic story but one that many readers will feel familiar with, beat by beat. This is the case with your thread and I fear that it falls into the trap of being too blasé because the story feels familiar. There just wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to make it stand out.

    Setting:
    After reading your thread I felt like I knew very little of the City of Vorsport other than it is a port city somewhere in Corone, has a rich/poor divide between the people, and that witchcraft is a crime. One of the major plot points is that Amari is to be executed on the charge of witchcraft, which is surprising given the context of Vorsport being in Corone, a place where magic isn’t all that uncommon. And it’s not just a trumped up charge either, as Joshua’s fellow guardsmen talk about her being a witch. I can understand the idea of commoners being superstitious about someone with magical powers, but for it to be a criminal offense makes it seem like you weren’t really using Corone as the setting, merely pasting the name over your own location to make it seem more tied into Althanas.

    Pacing:
    The first two posts were reserved for character introductions, which gave the story a slow start. Especially with all the “scene setting” going on in the second post. Mari just writes a big block that’s listing one thing after another. I would recommend breaking it up in a more natural way by describing the building through actions rather than simply “panning the camera” around the room. Talk about what Amari’s doing to set up the bakery for the morning or something similar and then describe each portion of the room as she interacts with it.

    The rest of the story flowed well. The drawn out nature of the posts between Joshua and Amari in her place during the night gave a good feel of hesitancy, which reinforced that part of the story well. There weren’t really any throw away posts either, everything kept the story moving forward nicely.

    Communication:
    There was a lot of good writing between the characters that really brought the theme together. The aforementioned contact between Joshua and Amari for their love scene was really good and the way it was written made me believe that this thing between them had been building for a while. That said, there was one thing that kept bringing me out of the flow of the story when it came to the dialogue and that was the repeated use of each other’s names when speaking. In my experience, people only really use each other’s names when they’re greeting, they need to get someone’s attention, or when in a group and directing a comment specifically. When it’s just the two of them talking back and forth is seems like you’re using the names to remind the reader who is speaking and who they are speaking to. If that’s the case, then you need more work on writing conversation clarity.

    There was one other part that really threw me for a loop and that was Joshua’s internal monologue about Ophelia. The venom that he spews about her seems wholly unjustified given what we’ve seen of her character to this point. If you spent a bit more time building up that her character is not a good person aside from just saying “well she’s a noble so she’s awful” then it would have worked better. As it was Joshua just comes off as a bit of a jerk.

    Action:
    I’m breaking this up into three “scenes” for how it stuck out to me. The first is the establishing scene, everything from the beginning leading up to the romantic encounter. We’ve all heard the “show don’t tell” thing again and again and it takes work. Most of this scene was telling, though there were a few really good things that I like. Amari’s anxious waiting in her opening post, fiddling with her stitching. That was really well done and I could feel the tension in her character. When Amari greets Joshua has a lot of underlying passion and the thing with her hand absentmindedly on his shoulder works really well at building up the tension between the two of them.

    The second scene is the romantic scene between Joshua and Amari. Aside from a ridiculous beginning it was really well done. You teased it out long enough to give the whole scene an overall hesitant discovery feel. The love-making was itself tastefully done and avoided a lot of the awkward porniness that I was expecting from the “Mature Content Warning” at the beginning.

    The final scene was the execution scene, or the *spoiler* not-so-execution scene. This was the worst of the three. Rather than put me in the same rapid tension that the characters are supposed to be feeling this section was really rushed and choppy. Also very predictable and bland. I never really felt Joshua’s anger, despite the use of exclamation points!

    Persona:
    There are three characters to focus on, Joshua, Amari, and Ophelia.

    Joshua doesn’t feel like he fits in with his world. He doesn’t enjoy that there are aspects of being a noble that he’s forced to accommodate despite wanting to act in a different manner. We can all understand that archetype. But rather than existing in that model and working to resolve those issues, Joshua comes off as whiny and rebellious. I assume he’s spent his entire like in this society and been raised and groomed to its standards but it feels more like you’ve written his character coming from a place where he’s been raised with the writer’s values and put into this situation. You take no time to develop how he came to these divergent views of the world and it ends up shorting the character’s personality. By the end I’m certainly not feeling a connection between myself as the reader and Joshua as the protagonist. All I get from him is a feeling of “I’m an adult and I’ll do what I want how I want,” which sounds more like a petulant teenager than an adult knight.

    Amari has a really good internal sense to her. Throughout the story I’m invested in her feelings and I can relate. She’s anxious and enamored but she understands the reality of Joshua’s prearranged marriage and is trying her best to accept it and be positive. Really well done putting that feeling into the character. Then she and Joshua spend their night together and everything continues to feel real. There’s a bit of a discontinuity hiccup in her character when the arrest happens, but I think that’s more a fuction of how camped everything in that particular post felt than anything specifically Amari related. Finally, during the execution scene she’s the most stable thing in that group of posts. I can understand her reasoning and it jives with her actions. But her character is just too perfect and that really brings her down. She’s got no flaws and so she doesn’t feel real.

    Finally Ophelia. I don’t know what to make of this character. She’s supposed to be the villain but this story doesn’t really need a villain. Society should be the villain, the forbidden love between two different social classes. In fact, I think it would have made the story that much more compelling if Ophelia wasn’t a villain. If she’d truly been excited to marry Joshua and wanted to make their pre-arranged marriage work she’d have been a wonderful tragic figure. Instead she became mustache-twirling fodder and a generic “rich people are all self-absorbed and evil” stereotype. She even has a ninja minion, although that minion ends up being a useless plot point because of how Ophelia handles Amari.

    Proses:
    I’m going to lump the last three Althanas-rubric categories into one here. Mechanically there are some errors in this story, enough to be noticeable. Try to use less commas in your writing in order to make sentences clearer and more definitive. Avoid exposition dumps, especially when describing places. If you’re going to pick a style, say for Joshua’s speaking patterns, stick with it. Joshua’s writing waffles between not using contractions (I’m guessing to make him sound more formal and educated, which it doesn’t) and using them. Makes for inconsistency and less clarity. Technique-wise this was a very bland story. It felt like you were hitting the required notes of the theme just to check the boxes. There wasn’t really anything innovative to make this story stick out more than another of its kind.

    Wildcard: Because why not?
    10/10 Want to get characters together for the Adventures of Arcus and Arcus.

    That’s the quick and dirty of it. If you want a more detailed look into my thought process I’ve got my read through thoughts of the thread, post-by-post, below. Warning, I think I’m funny. I’m probably not.

    Spoiler:

    Post 1:
    Ok, standard picture and poem.

    Alright. Mature Content Warning. Set sail for sexy seas.

    Post 2:
    There’s a lot of “scene setting” going on in the first paragraph, and it’s all being done in in a big block that’s just listing one thing after another. I would recommend breaking it up in a more natural way by describing the building through actions rather than simply “panning the camera” around the room. Talk about what Amari’s doing to set up the bakery for the morning or something similar and then describe each portion of the room as she interacts with it.

    The next sentence, is really choppy, with all the commas, that are put together, without a separate sentence. I do this a lot too, sadly.

    The block describing Amari is well done. I really get the feeling of anxious waiting. Watch the punctuation at the end though.

    The final sentence feels awkward to me, and I think it’s because you’re just using a staccato repetition of short phrases one after another after another.

    Post 3:
    Your intro here would have been better served in the opening post beneath the intro poem. Once inside the story it is really jarring to read.

    In fact, reading on, this whole post reads like a book flap bio… wait a minute … Joshua Arcus? ARCUS! Hell yeah, now I’m in on this post one-hundred ten percent! Go team “Protagonists with the same last name!”

    Post 4:
    Chocolate gaze sounds so fucking smooth.

    The first paragraph is a good setup into the simple first line of the next. (“Joshua.” She uttered his name in a kind greeting.) This just works so fucking well here. The rest of the paragraph is too passive though. That first line has some passion in it and you should use that momentum.

    “… a small hand resting on Joshua’s shoulder, chancing a squeeze.” Also golden. A really good way to show Amari’s hesitant intimacy. Then you go on to just list out a bunch of facts like reading a list. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “show don’t tell” when writing. That first line is showing, the rest is telling.

    No wonder Amari’s bakery isn’t doing too well. She keeps throwing free baked goods at the first sexy Arcus to walk into the place. What a lucky mook.

    Also, is it really that odd to want tea that your friends are like “lol, look at the weirdo and his tea?”

    I’m struck with how stiff the language is in this thread. So much of the character’s words reads as wooden. I get the feeling that you’re trying to write the characters as speaking formally, but there has to be a formal way of speaking that doesn’t sound so forced.

    Amari’s trying real hard at the end here. I feel for her. Good job with that.

    Post: 5
    The conversation between Joshua and his friends at the beginning of this post is well done, conveying information in a way that feels natural. There is still some awkwardness with Joshua’s stiff manner of speaking. The last line though before David’s departure, where he again calls Amari as witch is really odd. I had to read it a couple of times before it clicked.

    Fucking Vorsport eye racists.

    The payment paragraph could use some clarity. The issue between him leaving too many coins in a pouch, then the offhanded mention of his men leaving too little, then Amari refusing the coins in the pouch but taking the loose coins, then Joshua leaving the coins on the table, it’s all a bit confusing.

    Something else I’m picking up on here that continues through the rest of the thread is how Joshua and Amari are constantly saying each other’s names. When people are talking they rarely reference each other that way unless they’re trying to get that person’s attention or they’re directing something at them when in a group. When it’s just the two of them talking back and forth is seems like you’re using the names to remind the reader who is speaking and who they are speaking to. If that’s the case, then you need more work on writing conversation clarity.

    Ok, I think I figured out part of the reason your conversations sound so off, and it’s the way you sometimes skip using contractions but other times don’t. If you are trying to make it sound like Joshua is more educated or more formal because he is speaking and is not using contractions when he is speaking it is not working out well because at times he is using them and at times he is not using them and it ends up sounding like he is speaking very slowly and pounding his words at the reader. Seriously though, not using contractions doesn’t make someone sound more high society, it makes them sound stiff and slow.

    Oh man, I told a kid to stop stealing and he did. Aren’t I such a good town guard? Except the kid was stealing to have something to eat so it’s more likely that he’s dead in a back alley somewhere. If you’d wanted to make Joshua seem more noble, you should probably had him help the kid in some way other than letting him keep his stolen pie and wagging a finger at him.

    Post: 6
    I’ve got doors that jingle-jangle-jingle.

    Another dump of short sentence expository information.

    Enter Girl B.

    Does Ophelia really allow Amari to be on a first name basis with her? From how you’ve set this up I get the feeling that Ophelia is just stalking Amari to make sure that she ain’t messing with her man. Unless I’ve read Ophelia wrong she’s super hoity-toity nobility which makes Amari using her first name like that seem odd. Especially since Ophelia simply refers to her as “baker’s daughter.”

    So Ophelia comes in every day to look at Amari’s cookies and is all like, “Yup cookies. Bye!” How does Amari NOT think that’s weird?

    Bitch is making it rain up in here.

    Oh god, the “m’lady.” And all down in Vorsport they say that Joshua’s neckbeard grew three sizes that day.

    Post: 7
    Just like his writer!

    “No, she was a parasitic woman, who siphoned from high society in order to continue to exist.” Damn! You haven’t really set up that she was anything other than just another noble woman up to this point and then you lash out with that venom. It was pretty surprising, especially since Joshua had himself just been talking about how she was alright, just not the right woman for him. Guy doesn’t have to have a massive hate-on for the girl to not be interested in her. In fact, not hating her makes the story more tragic where just hating her for no reason makes Joshua look like the stuck up one.

    Yeah, in fact the more I read the more I feel bad for Ophelia here and that Joshua is just kind of a jerk. They’re engaged, she seems kinda into him, and she’s trying to make the best of it. Instead of just being polite or truthful with her, Joshua treats her like dirt for liking him. What a douche!

    Post: 8
    Look, I know you’re trying to write Amari as really selfless and pure hearted, but you keep mentioning that no one buys anything from her but she keeps baking all this stuff and giving it away. It makes her seem less like a kind person and more like a really bad businesswoman.

    Ugh, I get it, she’s a super good person with absolutely no flaws.

    The scene with Duncan sets up a payoff with having the old man offer his fishing boat to Joshua and Amari for their escape at the end, a good use of a minor character.

    Post: 9
    More narrative exposition dump. A quick fix to get this information out while making it more fun/easier to read would have been a conversation between Joshua and a superior/another guard at Joshua’s end-of-shift briefing.

    Joshua doesn’t really seem like a character who has grown up in his own society. What I mean is that he reads like you putting your own ideas on a subject into someone else’s place. “He didn’t like Ophelia, and that was his final thought on the matter.” This reads like Joshua’s not someone who has been born and raised in a society where that’s just the way things are. He’s well within character to not like it, but it seems like he should at least be trying to rationalize something out of it. This would make it that much more impactful when he runs into Amari and realizes what he’s feeling.

    *reads in narrator voice* “It was in such a state he found himself tiredly outside his favorite bakery.” What? That doesn’t read naturally at all. You are definitely telling here, not showing.

    From what I gather this post feels like it’s taking place at midnight or later. When I think night shift guard duty and I hear that they’ve not only finished up but that it has been over an hour since they did so I assume late means LATE. In that case, how many rolls did Amari have to give out that she’s just now getting back?

    (“W-what?” She turned to him, then quickly away. “I’ve been working all day. You’re blind.”) This is cute.

    A bakery in a poor part of town with the house attached has a drawing room? I’ve been picturing a small shack behind the red door, certainly not something that’d have a drawing room.

    The repetitions of “I am alive” don’t feel very genuine and not in a way that I feel Amari is emotionally lost and looking for something to latch onto. The way it reads is just repetitive.

    A good, emotional end to the post. I can feel the drawn out hesitance.

    Post: 10
    Mmmnnnn….. forbidden love.

    As much as I’m enjoying the conversation, and I am, the constant use of letters repeated after hyphens and ellipsis to indicate stuttering are really jarring. A little bit is ok, but there is a lot of it here and it makes it hard to read smoothly.

    Gunpowder smell? Ok that came out of nowhere. I didn’t get the feeling that firearms were a thing, especially given that Joshua is a noble guard patrol leader and uses a sword and not a gun. A silly thing to latch onto, I know, but that word in particular came out of left field and stuck me as not right.

    Post: 11
    Oh boy! This is it! Sexy times are a go!

    So in all honesty, as I was typing up this review I looked up at the TV and saw a scene from a the movie The Counsellor wherein Michael Fassbender and Penélope Cruz were in bed together and I think I burned out my sexy-o-meter.

    There’s so much cheese in the first three paragraphs that I’m going to go grab some bread and make a sandwich. Romance can easily become cornball. This is cornball. Especially considering how decently written the rest of the scene is.

    Get a room you two!

    Not perfectly written, but at least it was done tastefully. Given the “mature” warning at the beginning I was expecting something more explicit.

    That final line. Lol what? Where did that come from? Commence mustache twirling shenanigans.

    Post: 12
    Guards wear silk gloves while on duty? I mean, I know he’s a noble but I’m pretty sure day to day guard patrol activity is going to mess up silk pretty quickly.

    Hah! “Dad, wake up. I’ve got to tell you about all this awesome sex I just had!”

    Man, now I want to go get a cheap-o box of day old donuts.

    Oh, oh, bitch! It’s about to get real!

    Post: 13
    Cue time skip!

    Didn’t you mention earlier (Post 9) that the ships were going to Fallien? What’s with all the Dheathain? Continuity!

    “Disgorging its passengers” makes the ship sound like a blubbery whale.

    Guilty of witchcraft? I get the idea of people being superstitious about Amari being a witch because of her eyes and that magic is uncommon and can be scary for those not around it all the time but isn’t this Corone? Don’t they routinely deal with big magic stuff? When has magic been outlawed? This is a major plot point but is probably the most “that doesn’t seem right” thing in this thread. Feels like you just wrote a story set in a random New Englandish town but put the place name as Corone to tie it into Althanas more. I mean really, there are probably other charges that a noblewoman could trump up to get her arrested and simply use the “she’s a witch” thing to get popular opinion on her side.

    “… sentenced to hang from the neck until dead.” Is this random old man a judge? That doesn’t sound at all like something a commoner would say.

    Post: 14
    See here’s where the Ophelia thing really fell flat. Ophelia has apparently got ninjas working for her and I assume that she’s knows what happened between Joshua and Amari because of said ninja. It seems like she’s coming into Amari’s store to mess with the girl but she’s been written as being nothing but pleasant. Ok, so she’s the cat waiting to eat the canary. Then Amari gets guilty and confesses and Ophelia reacts rightly so. Then she comes back and has Amari brought up on charges of witchcraft. In the end, the whole ninja thing makes no sense and has no impact. If Amari hadn’t confessed and thought she and Ophelia were getting along well only to have Ophelia turn on her when least expected, then that would have worked. But the way you went, it has no bearing whatsoever. Instead of sly and manipulative Ophelia comes off as petty and spiteful, which is perfectly fine for how her character has been up to this point.

    Amari’s 22 and they’re just now charging her for her mother’s murder? If they hated witchcraft so much wouldn’t they have simply done away with her as a child? The whole witchcraft thing makes no sense. And what’s this with glowing hands all of a sudden?

    Her father just so happens to be dead in the back room? I guess you’ve mentioned that he’s been getting worse but the timing of everything is just confusingly convenient. The impact of this whole affair would have been greater if you’d written her father passing in the night, she wakes up and is in mourning, then the guards come get her. More emotional tie to the character and a greater feeling of empathy with the writer. As is, her father’s death is kind of a thrown away line and doesn’t really have any impact.

    Why would Ophelia wait so long to have Amari arrested and executed? Is she holding on so that Joshua will get back in time to witness? If not, then why not just get it done with so he can’t interfere. If so, then she better have her ducks in a row so nothing goes wrong. Again her plan here makes no sense.

    Post: 15
    Yeah, see? Here’s where some additional guards being on alert for this sort of thing would have made it an actual plan and not just a lump of things coming together.

    “If she is a witch you never would have caught her.” Not necessarily, unless they’re just bad at their jobs. Also, witches come in many forms. And your last sentence in that paragraph is confusing.

    The way you wrote the “Not even hung” line makes it seem like being hung is a lighter penalty than being fined.

    What’s with the glowing hands? Where did all this come from so suddenly without any sort of mention? I’m so confused. I guess Amari IS a witch. *shrug* Hang her.

    “Milady” much better than the previously written “m’lady” but pick one and stick with it.

    “Is this hoy you carry out justice? Against an unarmed woman who was merely eking out a living, while you stood by and refused to help?” Ok first, yes, they’re trying to hang a criminal. Who’s to tell that these guards know anything of her other than that she’s been tried for witchcraft and found guilty. Second, it’s not really the town guard’s job to see to it that a business does well, at least not from what I’ve gathered in this thread. Third, SHE’S GOT GLOWING HANDS! While I’m not a fan of the whole “burn the witch” angle of the thread, you’ve written it as a crime in your setting. She should rightly be put to death by the law for flaunting it. You sir are the one in the wrong here attacking those poor guards.

    No matter how hard you try I’m still finding that Ophelia doesn’t really feel like a villain here.

    All of the tings in your final paragraph once again seem like you putting your own experiences in Joshua’s world. Are those things required for a trial in Vorsport? If so, then Amari’s arrest was just really poorly put together. If those things aren’t required then it makes little sense for Joshua to bring them up. Given the setting, I’m believing that the trial was conducted satisfactorily enough that the judgment stands which means again Joshua is in the wrong here.

    Post: 16
    Glowing hands means witch. In Vorsport witch means illegal. Amari should rightly be put to death. This is why the witchcraft thing is just a bad plot point.

    Interesting tactic Ophelia. Frankly she makes a lot of sense. Still, I feel like you’re just trying to shoehorn a villain into the thread where one really isn’t needed.

    Of course there’s no hesitation in Joshua, making Ophelia’s speech irrelevant, just filler.

    In contrast to the romantic evening scene the execution scene seems really poorly, uh, executed.

    Post: 17
    Good communication between the two here. I can feel a connection between the characters.

    Epilogue Part 1!

    Post: 18
    Epilogue Part 2!

    Glad to see everything resolved itself and that the protagonists lives long, happy lives together. Odd formatting choice though.
    "I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu

    David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
    JC Thread - The Bitter King

  5. #5
    Be the Hero you can be.
    EXP: 89,941, Level: 12
    Level completed: 99%, EXP required for next level: 59
    Level completed: 99%,
    EXP required for next level: 59

    AP
    39
    GP
    8,415
    Flames of Hyperion's Avatar

    Name
    Nanashi (Ingwe Helyanwe)
    Age
    26
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Black-Brown
    Eye Color
    Black-Brown
    Build
    178cm / 70kg
    Job
    Shusai, Kensai, Monjutsushi

    View Profile
    Hello! Thank you for choosing the workshop and for giving me a chance to comment on your story!

    I often find collaborative stories difficult to read, because the writing can differ so much from one writer to another if they're not actively making an effort behind the scenes. I did feel that you worked well together on this front, sharing a clear idea of your interactions and the world they occupied, and projecting this common vision without clouding it through the lenses of your respective voices. I'm also convinced that you collaborated closely to intertwine the emotions that drew your characters together, which shows in the emotional apexes of your writing.

    Unfortunately, whether by intent or by accident, I found that A Bakers Tale suffers from a number of fatal flaws. These made it very difficult for me to offer a coherent critique. The tightly-spaced posting times and lack of editing or proofreading suggest that this was a 'speed' thread, although certainly the main plot was elaborate and coherently written for such a story. Thus I must warn that a lot of what follows may come across as quite harsh and critical. I offer my apologies in advance, and the consolation that given patience and foreplanning, I feel that much of what I criticise below may be easily avoided.

    ***

    Story: I would describe A Bakers Knight as a romantic fairy tale with a side dish of intimacy - albeit a debate as to whether it included enough of the latter to warrant the mature content warning in the title post. You make use of a number of established tropes in setting up and driving the plot, which allows the reader to establish fairly quickly what's going on. You then do a good job of developing the relationship between the two characters, before throwing it into chaos; I appreciated that you then went on to frame an epilogue, as cliched ("happily ever after") as it might be. You control the pace of your story well: the only jarring transition was in the first half of post 14, where Amari felt the need to go back in time to retell her side of the story instead of maintaining tension and keeping momentum.

    Why then do I feel so cheated, so frustrated? I think there are three main reasons why the story doesn't work for me.

    First, you don't take the time to introduce certain plot-critical elements early on. For example, despite the care with which you set up the opening scene, we're not shown enough of how and particularly why Amari is ostracised as a witch. Not to mention that in the end her healing hands come out of nowhere, proving that she's been lying all along ('If I were such a thing...'). Or you spend time developing plot points (Jonathan and David, the cloaked figure, the Duke) which are eventually forgotten and abandoned.

    Second, you break my suspension of disbelief often, beginning with the logistical impracticalities of the way that Amari runs her shop and culminating (but not ending) in the sequence in which she and Joshua escape her execution. What few obstacles that are set before the protagonists are overcome with unrealistic ease, leaving far too little to stand between them and their fated happy ending.

    Which leads to my third reason for feeling frustrated, which is that all pieces happen to fall exactly into place for Amari's rescue. Joshua turns up exactly on time and behaves exactly as needed; the NPCs do only what they're supposed to do and no more; the crowd behaves exactly as necessary that Amari and Joshua are somehow able to flee a guarded execution courtyard; all hints of foreshadowing disappear into the void as Ophelia is turned into a statuesque caricature.

    In short, I feel cheated and frustrated because with a little more effort, a little more planning, even one more readthrough, you could have created a coherent and engaging fairytale that co-opted certain tropes and subverted others. Instead, I was left scratching my head at the execution of what should have been a fascinating read of an interesting plotline.

    Background: You did make some effort to involve the setting in your story, particularly in the early part of the thread. By post 12, however, you mostly ignore the setting which is a major shame. Furthermore your descriptions suffer from two main problems: an inclination to tell rather than to show, and as a related tangent, a tendency to clump these descriptions together in one focal paragraph and then ignore them for the rest of the post. A more natural style might interweave choice adjectives and phrases with the action as it unfolds, or reveal details about the characters as they converse. Hence what description you did utilise had little overall effect, and plot-centric details such as Amari's golden hands slipped through the net.

    Your strongest sense of the world at large came from Joshua's anecdote in post 5 and the time-skip in post 13, the latter in particular hinting at economic interdependence between Corone and Dheathain. However you also left many important details criminally underdeveloped, chief among them the public perception of witchery (in Corone? really?), and the implications of the social stratas that you insinuated were some of the cause behind Amari's persecution. Without a clear and unambiguous exploration of these themes, both central to the plot, you left her story taking place in a nebulous fog in which we were clearly meant to sympathise with Amari because we were never told the other side of the story.

    Characters: I hate to say this, but your characters were perhaps the weakest part of your story.

    From her first appearance, Amari is a very underdeveloped, and to me very uncompelling, protagonist. We are never given any sense of her motivations or her history, beyond being repeatedly hit over the head with just how unselfish and kind and pure she is. You try far too hard to present everything she thinks, everything she does, as the epitome of goodness and sweetness. She has no character flaws, no negative emotions, and also no depth, no sense of self or of purpose. She's a porcelain doll placed upon a pedestal of perfection, simply for the sake of driving the plot.

    Neither does she develop through the story. Even Joshua's 'sacrifice' only causes her more to feel more guilt and unworthiness, and never does she choose to embrace the only thing she has left - their 'love - with all her heart. This inability to make a choice on her own behalf, of relying on Joshua to save her, to stand up for her, and to protect her, is Amari's greatest flaw as not only a protagonist, but as a character. Her lack of progress and lack of charm ended up frustrating me even more than my inability to suspend disbelief. It made me difficult to like her, despite the fact that she has done little wrong.

    With Joshua we at least get a sense of his history and his chosen way of life. But his 'love' for Amari eventually becomes his defining characteristic, with his sense of justice (mostly revolving around 'protecting' her) a distant second. His treatment of Ophelia with complete disdain and lack of respect is a major unlikeable trait that for a short while I thought might play a crucial role in resolving the thread, but in the end went unacknowledged; his inability or unwillingness to speak to her about their 'betrothal' is the root cause of the eventual conflict, after all.

    Every effort is then made from Amari's and Joshua's eyes to present Ophelia as the villain of the piece, and yet (her strong-arming thugs aside) she almost comes across as the only sane member of your cast. Her questions about Amari's shop - combined with Amari's un-foreshadowed use of her golden hands - almost gave me hope that you might pull a twist in concluding the thread, in that Amari *was* bewitching Joshua throughout the thread after all, and that the knights and public had been correct in their suspicions (if not their bullying and their thuggery)! In the end, however, you reduced her to nothing more than a caricature with that one smirk. We're never shown why Ophelia is obsessed with Joshua, only implying that she's possessive and jealous, and she never even got the luxury of a conclusion.

    Your only other character of note was Duncan, who somehow morphed from a frail vagrant to capable of yanking Joshua and Amari away from Ophelia and the knights in the middle of a crowd. Jonathan and David disappeared from your story without a trace as did the cloaked figure and the Duke; Amari's father was a cardboard cutout and a vast underestimation of what it means to care for a sick family member; and all of your other NPCs were one-dimensional, disposable mannequins. While I understand that none of the above were as important as your main triumverate, a little more care in presenting their thoughts, their hopes and fears, would have gone a long way in giving your story some much needed depth.

    Technique: I'm going to be harsh here, because I know both of you can do far better. It is also my belief that if you're submitting a story for other people to read, you should show them respect by proofing the most glaring errors from your work (the more attempts made at proofreading, the better). As stated above, there was no evidence of this process, and thus your story was littered with examples of poor grammar, misused punctuation and capitalisation, repetitive sentence elements and structure, and so forth. This contributed to how difficult I found it to read your tale, and amplified the effect of the adverse comments I've already made.

    In terms of technique, there were some phrases which stood out as particularly well executed, in particular during the intimate scenes at the centre of the thread (both early conversation and Joshua's visit). But I saw few if any attempts at descriptive metaphor or personalisation, perhaps as a direct consequence of your tendency to tell rather than show, and as stated previously you didn't make good on much of what you might have tried to foreshadow. I have to admit that you could have done better here.

    ***

    A Bakers Knight was not a poor thread, by any means, else I could not have written as much as I have above! But it was definitely not well executed. Your central premise was solid and gave you the option to weave an interesting dance with your readers' expectations, but your characters never rose above frustrating and you chose the easy way out to conclude your fairytale. With a little more effort and care, you could have written a masterpiece.

    I hope that my criticism doesn't put you off writing this kind of thread, and I hope that you continue your prolific efforts on site. But I also hope that next time you submit to the Writer's Workshop, I'm able to enjoy your stories as they're meant to be enjoyed.

    ***

    Post 1:
    Spoiler:
    Right from the off, a question mark: A Baker's Knight or A Bakers Knight?


    Post 2:
    Spoiler:
    The opening paragraph feels... clunky. Imagery is nice, albeit tell rather than show (how was the smell inviting?) and repetitive (warm inviting smells, warm and welcoming orange glow; large glass window, glass display cabinet).
    Don't tell me that 'it was clear everything within was crafted with love'. Show me it!
    Do bandanas push back fringes, or hold them back?
    Every so often the woman glanced up and out the window overlooked the bustling Vorsport harbour, people of all kinds wandered past her shop Every so often they’d glance in, but few entered. <- proofreading, or the obvious lack thereof.
    One would think it were a lonely life <- really? Nothing I've read has indicated loneliness, so far. Why would she make so many baked goods if she were really that lonely - is she so fond of throwing stale bread away at the end of the day? "It was nearly always empty" could mean anything, up to and including the possibility that her baking smells nice but tastes atrocious! You've crafted the scene where she's inside a glass cage looking out upon a 'bustling harbour', but there's no substance to your claim that it was a 'lonely life'.
    Again, it feels cheap when you tell me that 'she loved her little shop, she loved the people in the town' without showing it to me. Highlight the small details that prove her feelings, not her feelings themselves!


    Post 3:
    Spoiler:
    This was a simpler time, where the only concerns, were a knight, and the Lady he loved. <- broken up by too many commas.
    Phrases such as 'to be sure' and 'punished fully under the law' attest to the speed-posting nature of the thread.
    It was no shield he used to abuse his station. <- I'm sorry?
    This post is very difficult to read due to sentence structure: only 7 out of 32 sentences in this post were not formulated around 'was' or 'were'.


    Post 4:
    Spoiler:
    Descriptions such as 'brown-haired man', 'emerald and gold eyes', and 'chocolate gaze' (really?) don't add to a story; they detract from the pacing while adding only bland detail. Try to weave them better into the more informative sentences; for example, you touch upon his eyes again as they 'smiled with him', so apportion some of your adjectives there.
    ... delight It as they met... <- *coughs*
    her most favourite person in town <- sounds like something a six-year-old might think...
    Try to vary your sentence structure more - three of the four sentences in the next paragraph share the 'She did this...' opening.
    ... the placed their orders... <- *coughs*
    Also, favouritism much?
    She understood her eyes were an oddity... <- all the reader knows about her eyes is 'emerald and gold', which could very easily be an exaggerated green and amber, which isn't necessarily a unique feature. In essence, she might understand that her eyes are an oddity, but the reader as yet does not!
    Double new lines for no reason?
    I hear you’re catching quite the attention lately. <- this comes a bit out of nowhere in the conversation!


    Post 5:
    Spoiler:
    fool around <- I would probably hyphenate, to prevent confusion. Also (and I understand it's dialogue, but) doubles with the 'fool' later in the paragraph.
    Joshua, we’re talking an arranged marriage, not your tunic. Get yer head out yer arse and do what's best for your family! <- *chuckles*
    Jonathan answered, Joshua replied. Perhaps vary it a little more?
    I think we just have to agree to disagree there my friend, <- I would suggest another comma to bracket the 'my friend' otherwise it's a bit tough to parse. Same with the next bit of Jonathan's dialogue. As an aside, the repeated 'my friend' comes off as a little sinister?
    I have to admit that I'm not so fond of putting so much dialogue in the middle of paragraphs. It's easy to lose track of who said what, and also easy to make grammatical (i.e. capitalisation / punctuation) and structural (i.e. using the same "She did..." construct to begin every other sentence in the paragraph) mistakes.
    Also, please change paragraphs when a different character speaks ("Did I ever tell you..." "Is this another...")!
    Jonathon?
    the flour and sugar on her body <- this... is a bit weird. On her arms, on her clothes, but on her body?
    I do like the way the simple story has captivated Amari's attention.


    Post 6:
    Spoiler:
    A lot shorter post than the previous - not too much of a problem, but worth thinking about keeping post length consistent for pacing purposes.
    Again, your descriptions mostly consist of declarative statements ("Her ears were...", "Her eyes a..."). I would suggest trying to find ways to weave it into the dialogue or setting a bit more naturally.
    “May I get you anything today, or are you browsing again?” <- passive-aggressive snark?
    bakers daughter <- possessive, so should be "baker's daughter".
    Ophelia, Amari, Amari, Ophelia, Amari, Amari, Ophelia, all in the space of three sentences.
    Capitalisation on 'Fiance'? Unless it's intentional emphasis, in which I might suggest italicising for a more uniform effect.
    Amari wondered if it were nerves, she once found herself nervous around him. <- not a sentence.
    soon to be <- again, I would suggest hyphenation here.
    Amari understood now... anything until now <- repeated element.
    “They will surely be happy.” Amari said to herself. <- this needs to be a comma inside the quotation marks, since the 'Amari said' element does not form a sentence on its own.
    Also, while I can understand Amari quashing her own feelings for the sake of Joshua, does she really feel no jealousy? no regret? no sadness whatsoever? Does she even truly care for her 'most favourite person'? I'm not sensing any struggle here, not even a zen-like sagacity, merely passive acceptance of what she considers to be her lot in life... which means that I'm having a very hard time investing in her as a protagonist.


    Post 7:
    Spoiler:
    Joshua could not abide a useless woman. <- interestingly, to me that's as damning a statement of Joshua than it is of Ophelia. I can understand that he doesn't think much of the politics and socialising that goes on in higher society, but it seems that he's dismissing or underestimating her possible capability as a schemer, without really trying to get to know her.
    With the capacity to think with something other than his loins <- *laughs* To be fair, I sympathise with him here!
    Finding his cot he laid out taking a nap before his evening shift would begin. <- not the best of sentences.


    Post 8:
    Spoiler:
    The transition here is handled well, not too jolting.
    The extra weight was no issue for her, Amari didn't look it but she had defined muscles in her upper arms as a result of years of baking and hauling trays in and out of ovens <- Sentence structure ><. Also, 'waif but strong' is a bit of an overused and unrealistic trope; I really don't think you should shy away from having 'defined muscles', given her profession and apparent work ethic. At least I get to know what happens to all the unsold bread (although seriously, how can she afford such a loss?).
    She turned to see a kindly old man <- is 'kindly' something you can tell of a person just by a glance? If so, how? Also, I'm afraid this entire paragraph is...
    a warm meat pie <- is it just me who wonders how she managed to keep a pie warm all day and into the night?
    He said as he took it with shaking hands. <- again, this is not a sentence. Watch your dialogue punctuation.
    Will Amari be faced with any obstacles, ever? Or is she just too good and pure for this world for it to challenge her?
    He said as he wiped meat juice from his lips with the back of his sleeve. <- again, this is not a sentence. Watch your dialogue punctuation.
    He was a kindly man who had hit unfortunate times, <- ah. See, we've now been shown he's 'kindly', so it's not out of place to state this as fact.


    Post 9:
    Spoiler:
    With a son who had not disappointed them they had betrothed the two. However, with the advent of him being considered for promotion, they had finally planned out the wedding itself. <- these two sentences are clunky and lack clarity.
    Ophelia's father was a Duke after all <- interesting, you've hinted at this before. What does he see in Joshua that he'd marry his daughter (even a younger daughter) below her station?
    he turned to see her, carrying empty baskets, it looked as though she had just returned from the seedier part of town. <- conversely to Mari's punctuation errors, this needs to be capitalised. It's separate from the dialogue (Amari's, after all) but can stand as a sentence on its own (if clunky and in need of refactoring).
    A tired smile... I guess I was so tired...
    He said politely as he entered the little shop. <- decapitalise. Also, three consecutive sentences beginning with "He *verb* ..."
    Perhaps that's why he enjoyed it so much, it was a labor of love, and it showed in every biscuit, chair, and surface. She lead (sic) him down the small corridor then to the left, the room was small and had two armchairs beside a roaring fire. <- both of these sentences ramble without structure.
    I do appreciate how you're expanding on Amari's first descriptions of her store (as a 'lovely life') with more detail, both visual and other senses. Although you do contradict yourself... "He could not seem to find a speck of dust or a broken piece of furniture anywhere." vs. "...the wallpaper was peeling, the ceiling was covered in dust and cobwebs..."
    She said, her usual cheery tone had grown quiet. <- this is not a sentence.
    Apparently my Parents... <- why the capitalisation?
    Amari leaned back in her own chair, and took off her bandana, her short fringe fell over her forehead, tufts of red fell into her eyes and she sighed as she pushed them back. <- needs to be split into two or more sentences.
    He didn't love the Bakery, <- why the capitalisation?
    his hand traveled up her arm to her shoulder... <- conversely, needs capitalisation!
    only three short words <- while the build-up here is well-written, a tiny caveat is that this should probably be 'only four short words'. Otherwise the reader looks at what Joshua actually says, and thinks "But..."


    Post 10:
    Spoiler:
    Your lack of sentence structure really hurts this post. I know it's stream of consciousness, but it reads as though you're simply stringing fragments together at random, thus detracting from immersion. If you limit your usage of this technique only to where it works best (i.e. the central sentence of the third paragraph), your writing would be far more powerful.
    I'm not sure what to think of Amari's diatribe. On one hand it's powerful, as she's presumably speaking from experience. On the other it would be far more powerful if we were actually shown this happening. All we've experienced of her 'pariah'-hood is what you've told us of her loneliness (and given that we know of at least four repeater customers, this rings hollow). I also feel that you haven't successfully developed her feelings enough to substantiate the outpour. In particular, she obviously isn't thinking "you'd be a pariah, you'd be an outcast" when she's very happily interacting with Joshua earlier in the thread. If she truly felt so strongly about this, wouldn't she still be pushing Joshua away?
    she felt so utterly undeserving of it <- her words back her up, but her body language hasn't.
    It's difficult to be objectively critical here, as we're talking about human emotions after all. But there's a disconnect between what Amari's saying and what she's doing that, while undoubtedly *real*, feels *wrong*. Then again, what do I know ><.


    Post 11:
    Spoiler:
    I might shut up about dialogue punctuation and sentence structure soon. Just to let you know that it's still spoiling the story for me ><.
    Joshua wished that just once, she would be selfish. <- this here is my primary criticism of Amari. It puts her on a pedestal that doesn't feel earned, because we're told that she's this way in spite of the adversity she's faced... despite never being shown any such adversity.
    I felt that the intimate scene was quite tastefully done. Perhaps my own prejudices are showing when I say that it might have moved a bit quickly from emotional exhaustion to consummation.
    Again, why are we capitalising "Bakery" and "Barracks"?
    ...breaking it before he knew he would indulge in her once more. <- ?
    Joshua soaked up the warmth, returning it with one of his own. <- 'it' here refers to the warmth, so 'one of' is unnecessary.
    It was time to report to the mistress about her fiance... <- Mentioning the cloaked figure breaks immersion, but it achieves your aim of letting the reader infer what's coming next. Adding the final sentence, however, disperses any sense of mystery that we might have regarding their motives (of which neither Amari nor Joshua should have any clue). It's the equivalent of hitting the reader on the head with a blunt bat labelled 'Exposition!'.


    Post 12:
    Spoiler:
    thinking it had been a dream <- unnecessarily repetition of this sentiment, twice in two sentences.
    Amari had picked it up and placed it in the band of her apron without a second thought <- except she is having second thoughts about it. Lots of them.
    Her mornings began before dawn where she started the baking, some of the treats were still good from the day before, but things like croissants, breads, pies, and cream filled buns were all made fresh daily. <- there's a lot you've glossed over in this part of the story which is contributing to Amari's shallowness as a character. Show me how hard she works, setting up shop in the wee hours of the night (would she even have had time for sleep?), and describe how hard it is to balance this against caring for her father. Don't just tell me this and expect me to believe it at face value.
    Short hair once again neatly tied back with a modest bandanna, by her side was a steaming cup of milk tea and she was enjoying a slice of hot bread with jam. <- and yet she has spare time to do this?


    Post 13:
    Spoiler:
    The time skip here is handled well, with the tension from Ophelia's appearance teased by some deft hints of the trade between continents that fuels the fantasy economy.
    The man placed a steadying hand on Joshua’s shoulder before he spoke <- what would have been nice here is a sense of how the people are reacting to her sentencing. Are they scathing of Joshua's attempt to contact a known heretic? Sympathetic to Amari's predicament? Are we seeing completely different reactions between those who look down on her (for no reason that we know of) and those who she's been trying to help (who are complete ingrates if they aren't at least expressing outrage)? Flat NPCs, who exist only to help protagonists further the plot, are one of my pet peeves.


    Post 14:
    Spoiler:
    Jumping back in time here really spoils the narrative flow. The only part of this segment that advances the plot is the list of charges that the 'gruff man' levels against her, which is of great interest but could have been presented for example as a flashback or the fading lines of a recurring nightmare.
    Plot issues - 'The guilt began to eat away at Amari' is a very flimsy excuse for 'damn(ing) herself, her father, and Joshua'; didn't she ever bother to think things through? 'How she had adored and loved Joshua for years', except she'd only just put a name to how she felt. 'Amari sat in silence with a heavy heart', but even in the face of Ophelia's implied retribution all she does is sit and wait? And then struggles to comprehend what happens to her... "W-what... why?"? Whatever happened to the cloaked figure? The problem with all this is that this chain of events is the absolute perfect storm necessary to set up a final scene at her hanging. There's not even an attempt to disguise this plot behind conflict, or character development, or anything else a story might use to engage its readers.
    She barely lifted her head as the upper middle class people congregated <- another immersion breaker - how does she know that it's the 'upper middle class' people who're congregating? Why is nobody else looking on?
    ... she was knocked out cold. <- this is another weird line. How? The guards? A stray stone?
    And now you're forced to jump forward in time again.
    Three days without water wouldn't just crack one's lips with dehydration. She would be delirious, very ill and near death, and she would barely have the strength to form coherent thoughts. It wouldn't be a matter of accepting her sentence. It would be a matter of would she live to see it carried out?
    Also, three days as a captive, convicted, and apparently hated criminal... and she doesn't suffer any injuries more permanent than bruised eyes?
    Finally - and this has been a problem for both writers since post 12 - you've completely abandoned any sensory input from your setting other than vision.


    Post 15:
    Spoiler:
    The crowd seemed shocked as they turned to see a truly furious Joshua Arcus bear down on the executioner's stand. <- 'seemed shocked', 'truly furious', you had the opportunity to craft an awesome scene, and squander it in one half-hearted sentence.
    You are not well, she has bewitched your mind! <- I'm in two minds about this. On one hand you've consistently painted this belief as widespread among the populace, so kudos there. On the other I'm not fond of societies where such smallminded bigotry is allowed to run rampant, with no resistance whatsoever from anybody other than the protagonists - it smells of convenient writing, and a lack of exploration of the setting.
    Also, none of the guards even made an attempt to stop Joshua? Is he that immune from prosecution?
    making the leather squeal. <- this is a great phrase.
    Amari reached up with shaking hands, they lightly touched Joshua’s shoulder, and began to glow a soft golden hue. <- seriously? So she actually is a witch (although that in itself isn't an issue, and doesn't excuse her treatment)? More importantly, how does she even have the strength for this, or even the ability to make coherent thoughts? Note that it's not necessarily the fact that she *can* do this that's the problem, it's the fact that you haven't explained to me *how* she's managed to maintain her sanity. Or is it just because she's special, for no reason?
    And if so, if she's had the strength to endure in silence all these years, why hasn't she made a stand for herself in her presumably last moments? Why has she had to rely on Joshua white-knighting his way into danger and then speaking out on her behalf? Does she not have a line beyond which she cannot be pushed? Or is she simply a pincushion, to be abused at will?
    "Is this how you carry out justice? Against an unarmed woman who was merely eking out a living, while you stood by and refused to help?" <- to be fair, no, they're trying to apprehend an armed man who's (probably to the best of their knowledge, although the reader has no means of judging because you haven't shown their point of view) trying to break out a convicted criminal. Don't be too hypocritical, Joshua.


    Post 16:
    Spoiler:
    At this stage, why does Amari still care so much about ostracisation? Does she really regret not integrating with society that much? Why don't I know this already?
    Is it bad that Ophelia's asked every single question that the story has never answered about Amari? Why has Joshua never asked them? Why has everybody else glossed over them so far? That said, why would she 'smirk', for example rather than giving Joshua a soothing, sympathetic smile? Is it just to remind us that she's the bad guy here? Oh, and why is she so determined to out Amari and marry Joshua? Why do we have no idea of her motivations, except from Joshua's biased point of view?
    I actually know the answers to all your questions, but you don't care about those do you? <- But I can't be asked to explain them to any fair-minded individual who might be in the crowd, nor to the knights who might be swayed by the possibility that they're carrying out injustice. No, I'd rather snipe at Ophelia's presumed poor intentions, although I have never explained myself to her, either! Maybe if I'd just told her 'no'...
    Joshua’s resilience to the knights <- resilience is not the same as resistance.
    To be fair, the voices in the crowd were well written. That said, it's a bit condescending to write of 'upper' and 'lower' classes without context, without creating reader understanding of this class strata. Remember also that the 'upper' class would never do the 'pulling back' themselves. They pay other people to do that on their behalf.Joshua called back moving deeper through the crowd. <- how is he doing this without the knights trying to stop him? Seriously?
    Good on you to bring Duncan back into the story, although wouldn't the old man 'shuffling with a cane in one hand' would have a lot of trouble moving through a rioting crowd?
    ... the man... the man... the man..
    and had yet to reach the conclusion that others would come to Amari’s aid <- how did they lose sight of the armoured knight? And given what's just happened in the courtyard, why wouldn't they come to that conclusion? How incompetent must they be for the sake of plot?
    Unconscious? Since when?
    And how is this boat still seaworthy? Don't seaboats degrade quite quickly if not properly maintained?
    the two silently slipped away upon the darkened ocean <- I now have visions of Duncan and Joshua sailing the seas together, leaving Amari behind on the pier.
    Jonathan? David? Joshua's family? Does he really not even think of even them as he leaves?
    And Ophelia just lets him go? She was standing right next to him, right? She didn't try to do anything, not even shout at his retreating back?


    Post 17:
    Spoiler:
    'drifting on the tides' vs. 'stayed near the coast'. Which one? If it's an inbound tide, wouldn't they get beached very quickly? If it's an outbound tide, wouldn't they leave the coast behind very quickly?
    How many days has it been without water? Should she even be able to talk?
    Also how did Joshua remove those shackles?
    Her head, bald from where it looked like they not only cut and shaved, but tore chunks of her hair out was red and raw. <- this sentence makes little sense.
    she pressed herself back into the dingy bed, pulling a musty blanket over her head <- yup, definitely too much energy for the treatment she's supposedly undergone.
    Much like you, I never belonged. <- I never got that impression, I'm afraid, because Joshua
    ... Joshua trying his hardest to use the information he had gained from his trip to avoid plowing into the shoreline of Corone <- while the mechanics would be very different and almost inapplicable between an ocean-going trade vessel and a bluewater fishing boat, I appreciate the callback.
    Stories of a disgraced Knight were muttered as mere gossip <- so nobody of Vostport bothered to chase after the renegade knight and the fugitive witch? Ophelia never bothered to chase down her revenge?


    Post 18:
    Spoiler:
    Why is this post centred?
    ... slowly beginning to accept that this was their life. <- while I appreciate the conflicted emotions on display here, it's not showing any development in Amari's character at all. Has she really undergone everything in this story, only to not even learn the lesson to love what she can with all of her heart?
    teaching him how to sow the land and care for the crops <- how does she know this?
    Unlike Vorsport, the people here adored Amari <- *Sigh* I don't need to know this. Show me it, if you must, but don't state it as fact...
    upon finding out she had the capability to heal <- okay, so where does this come from? Why wasn't it clearly described earlier? And how has Amari (presumably, since you never explain) misused this ability to the point where the majority population of Vosport denounce her as a witch?
    ... too many questions and plot holes to be wrapped up as a 'happily ever after'...
    -Level 10-

    You made me laugh, you make me smile
    For you I will always go the extra mile
    I hope that the day will come when I can banish this pain
    I just hope that one day I will see you again

  6. #6
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,264, Level: 12
    Level completed: 64%, EXP required for next level: 4,736
    Level completed: 64%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,736

    AP
    6
    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 think this was a very sweet and cute story, in a very traditional sense. However, some of those traditional elements are similarly frustrating to read as well. For example, the helpless woman who always puts a man's needs first. Or the fact that the woman always needs saving from the man who is a hero. Or the noble son giving up his title for love.

    I think the only setting that stuck in my mind was the small bakery, whereas everything else was left to passing. From the boat Joshua took, the town itself, the barracks, etc. There were opportunities to bring more to the fold with respect to sounds and smells of the city, especially with Amari's trip to the slums or Joshua's walk with the fuckheadbitch (Ophelia). Even when you spoke of the smell of freshly baked goods, right at the onset, you could have added some vivid language to talk about the various smells intermingling. Bread smells one way, cookies another, cakes another. And they are all majestic.

    The pace was okay for the beginning, but things started to accelerate as the thread seemed to be pushed toward wrapping up, while not fully fleshed out beforehand. Even the three weeks apart could have given time for some character development but it was skipped mostly.


    Character
    Communication, Action, and Persona

    Despite the cliché storyline, the characters themselves did play their parts. Ophelia certainly played the villainous role well and made me want to kick the living shit out of her. Joshua seems naïve but I imagine that's not hard to expect of a 21 year old infatuated with a 28 year old woman. He likes them older. There were hints to his past, but that left more questions than answers. The same of Amari's past, and the fact that her only interaction with her dying father was a brief scene where he wasn't even awake seemed unreasonably limited. Even a short exchange where she mentions her love for a man and him being noble would have shed some light on the kind of person her father is. Is he supportive? Is he a stubborn old man? Is he delirious and rotting? This meant that when he died, I didn't care much.

    During the scene where David and Jonathan were sitting in the bakery with Joshua, the abruptness with which they left seemed out of place. Just suddenly deciding to up and go was bizarre. I'm still trying to reconcile the knights of this town with the image of chivalry Josh seemed to want to instill upon them. In the end, of all the knights introduced, Joshua was the only one who wasn't a complete asshat anyway. Quite frankly, I don't know why he even bothered.


    Prose
    Mechanics, Clarity, and Technique

    Throughout the story, the two biggest things I think you both struggle with at various times and to varying degrees were capitalization and comma usage. You capitalize or don't capitalize in places that it is inappropriate to do so. like saying "looking after my Fiance" where fiance should be lower case. There are countless places where thoughts are strung together with commas when they would flow better if broken up into sentences. There are also places where you end a sentence where it would have flowed better as a shared or continued though. Trying to read aloud your writing and following your own grammatical rules can be helpful. Realize that one sentence is one thought/breath in a sense. Sometimes having too long a sentence can make the presentation clunky and make reading difficult. This is especially true when there are a lot of details being shared in a single sentence, broken by commas, that are meant to be absorbed by the reader.

    Also, in general, I am opposed to starting a sentence after dialogue with "He said" if the dialogue ended in a period. I don't think it breaks any direct rules but it certainly breaks flow for me.

    • At one point you say "yer arse" and "best for your family" in the same sentence of dialogue. Though difficult, if you choose to give someone a particular speech style, try to keep consistent.
    • "woman could be maligned so much for the mere color of their eyes" -- a woman is singular, their eyes is plural. Try to keep things like that in mind.
    • As another point, you say "There was only two ways" -- there were only two ways
    • "Amari wondered if it were nerves" -- it is singular, it was.
    • "bakers daughter" -- should be baker's
    • "her green and gold verdant gaze" -- green and verdant are the same, and you can't give color to a gaze. The color is of the eyes that are gazing.




    Wildcard

    One of the strangest thing for me was that of the other story I read of Amari, she was an extremely hostile, tormented, tainted, sexualized vixen of power and emotional impulse. This version of her was so far from that, and I had no justification for that disparity.

    I have no idea about what actually happened with her mother's death. Even having more people in the slums reacting to her as she did her nightly rounds would have been a welcome acknowledgment of the influence and relationship she has with the lower class, and would have made their speaking up at the execution more powerful.

    Similarly, I have no concept of Joshua's familial ties. I just am lead to believe he is noble, his parents are the generic type who want him to benefit the family, but there is not much to show how controlling or overbearing they might be.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 05-04-17 at 02:19 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  7. #7
    Master of Puppets
    EXP: 58,044, Level: 10
    Level completed: 37%, EXP required for next level: 6,956
    Level completed: 37%,
    EXP required for next level: 6,956

    AP
    0
    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
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

    View Profile
    This workshop is now closed. Rewards to follow!

    Althanas Operations Administrator



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


  8. #8
    Master of Puppets
    EXP: 58,044, Level: 10
    Level completed: 37%, EXP required for next level: 6,956
    Level completed: 37%,
    EXP required for next level: 6,956

    AP
    0
    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
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

    View Profile
    JDD2035 receives 450 EXP, 40 GP and 2 AP!
    Revenant receives 1170 EXP, 40 GP and 5 AP!
    Flames of Hyperion receives 1170 EXP, 40 GP and 5 AP!
    SirArtemis receives 840 EXP, 40 GP and 5 AP!

    Althanas Operations Administrator



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


  9. #9
    Master of Puppets
    EXP: 58,044, Level: 10
    Level completed: 37%, EXP required for next level: 6,956
    Level completed: 37%,
    EXP required for next level: 6,956

    AP
    0
    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
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

    View Profile
    All rewards added!

    Althanas Operations Administrator



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


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •