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Mini-Contest Prompts and Rules / Re: Mini Contest Prompt- April 2017
« Last post by Airan on April 20, 2017, 03:53:16 PM »
Due to some expressed interest from others who were wanting a little bit more time for their submissions. I'm moving the deadline back just a few days to April 23rd. Happy writing.
Mini-Contest Prompts and Rules / Re: Mini Contest Prompt- April 2017
« Last post by Airan on April 17, 2017, 08:00:23 AM »
Just as a reminder. Submissions for April's Mini-Contest will close on the 20th. That's only three days so hurry up and get those submissions in. :)
Fun and Games / Re: Connect the Words
« Last post by Matra Hammer on April 16, 2017, 10:34:20 PM »
You're welcome, Dustpuff. Don't be a stranger.

Crue, consider this my portion of the bugging. Bugbugbugbugbugbugbug.

Vin: where's the food!? /tableflip. I see some trifle, chestnuts, and hotroot soup. Where's the damson wotsits and the tater whoosits and something deeper n' ever!? All the food rage. Double the food rage because there's all this build up to an eat off and there's no eat off.

And another beast playing around with accents. Is this a sign of contest character apps to come? I won't tell anyone. The highland hare is pretty good. Read a bit of it out loud at work and got the proper reactions of "what did you say" and "what did you call me?" Proper work on Matilda, Vin.

Overall this really is a great start for a longer piece. It's an even greater portrait of a single character. Skipper has an immediate challenge in Matilda so we can see his "prowess" in action, we know what matters to him in seeing his kid and how he evaluates him, and the natural back and forth with his old hare friend paints him as a confident, reserved beast.

Well done overall. Please do join up for the next contest. Or more games. Or more everything! Bring friends. Bring your parents. Bring the stranger down the street who always smells like boiled cabbage.
Fun and Games / Re: Connect the Words
« Last post by Dustfeather on April 16, 2017, 08:03:25 PM »

 Thanks everyone for the reviews and the welcomes. I greatly appreciate it all.

 Also, I don't mind at all Tooley. Call me what you wish, whether it be Dusty, Dustpuff, or Feather duster. ;)
Shameless Plugs / Re: Redwall's Legacy
« Last post by Kiara on April 15, 2017, 04:17:32 PM »
If anyone is interested, come take a look at our forum and help us celebrate our 10th anniversary. Although our active membership is small, we are still alive!
Fun and Games / Re: Connect the Words
« Last post by Crue Sarish on April 15, 2017, 03:40:14 PM »
Goodness me, I've been away far too long! Just jumping in to say I'll be catching up this weekend, and be sure to bug me if I don't update this post in the next day or so.

Hi new people and not new people!
Fun and Games / Re: Connect the Words
« Last post by Matra Hammer on April 15, 2017, 01:49:17 AM »
Vin! Excellent seeing another MO2 beast floating about. Double glad you took a swing at the word game. I'll take a look through your piece and letcha know what I think once I'm settled. Will probably edit this reply if nobeast else replies in the thread, so keep an eye out.

Dustfeather: lot of us here overthink our drafts. Exercises like these are tailor made for shaking away the drafting tar. No worries about the lack of outline either. I asked about organization out of personal curiosity. There are plenty of beasts who'll tell you drafting with or without an outline is preferable and the most productive.

And I'll start there since you asked for tips. I'm a fan of the all-important "Write first; edit second." Back on the teaching circuit I'd assign an in-class, 1-hour short story drafting session - all submissions written by hand, in pen, and on lined paper. They then handed the piece in, endured the class over the months, and as the last assignment I'd give them back the first piece and say "fix this." The edited results were often better than anything they "seriously" attempted throughout the course. I'm not suggesting you draft something and leave it sit for months. I'm suggesting you try and split "write write write" and "fix fix fix" for two separate time slots. Doing both at the same time leads to a lot of what Vizon points out in her tips: run-on sentences, over-intricate narration, etc.

There's a lot of talent displayed in this draft. First off, you've a firm grasp on the lost art of introductory paragraphs. A lot of authors hear "start with the weather" and literally write the weather outside as their first paragraph. That phrase means "start with the mental/physical/social/political climate, start with what's engulfing the character(s)." And that's exactly what you do. In four starting lines we know there's a job to be done, the strain is great, and the risk-to-reward ratio is greater. You drop the ball by never really revealing the stakes (What's the project's goal, why is Ov so irritated/invested, etc,) but as far as initial hooks go you got it down.

Many congratulations on taking on Molespeech right out the gate. Did a wonderful job. Big Redwall fan? Did you use the handy guide Airan put in the writing resources? Whatever the case, I enjoy the swing of the different accents. Breathes life and personality into the characters through how they curse and stomp about. My suggestion lies in expanding your care of dialect into care of details/narration. Let's take Ov's introduction in the second paragraph. Why is Ov fat? Why is this mentioned four times in one paragraph? Not a criticism for making a fat character, but questions like these help trim off the extras and open up opportunities. As it reads now "Wow, the author really wants me to know this shrew is fat. Is he greedy? Is he lazy? Does he just enjoy pie?" We see his hunger used as a timing measure (repeats at the start, middle, and end, which is great for pacing) but the how and why is lost. Without the detail gun firing the reader is burned and the author lost the opportunity to make an important bit about their character shine.

A closing suggestion: read everything out loud. Take this sentence "Ov roared, slamming down his parchment on the half-filled wagon, vent some of his frustration on the hapless otter." When read out loud the missing conjunction, and tense wonkiness, stands out. When read silently? Anyone would skip through the sentence and say "ah, yep. This works." Reading out loud will also help weed out redundancies you wouldn't otherwise catch. It's about sensory memory. Reading quietly uses only visual memory. Reading out loud uses auditory AND visual memory, so your mind works twice as hard to identify strange stops. Sounds dumb and overwrought, but I assure you this will clean up any piece and let the nuggets shine.

Very well done overall. You better hop right on the writing log and join us for the next mini-contest, or prompt, or - gasp - the Big Contest come May. If you're interested in writing overall, or just making chums and having fun, then you got the right place.
Fun and Games / Re: Connect the Words
« Last post by Vin on April 14, 2017, 07:51:39 AM »
Got some classic fun and games for y'all. This one was mostly just me exercising a couple of accents— I've got to elevate my game for this coming contest, you know. I'm excited. . . how good was that preview? So yeah. let me know if I made any super egregious errors. Or, you know, minor ones, too, if you're up for it.  :)

Hoping the format sticks.

Skipper deftly maneuvered his way down the hall, dodging bits of feast flying through the air and screaming dibbuns scattering wildly beneath his feet. He made his way to a grizzled officer of the Long Patrol sitting beside a younger hare. Barring the odd candied chestnut glancing off his broad shoulders, he arrived relatively unscathed.

"Well if it ain't me ol' mate, Cap'n Clarence E. 'ighwater." Skipper enthusiastically clapped him on the back.

"Skipper, me bucko!" The hare in question grabbed Skipper's outstretched paw and pumped it up and down in delight.  "I thought I recognized that fine rudder. Bloomin' beautiful rudder, dontcha know? Although I must say that it isn't Captain anymore, old chap. I'm a blinkin' colonel now, wot."

"Well ain't that somethin'? Colonel indeed."

"It bally well is something, wot." The colonel gestured to the young haremaid beside him, busy forcing as much food down her throat as she could. "Skip, meet my niece, Matilda. She's visiting from some cousins up north to get some jolly old tips from a genuine Long Patrol officah."

Skipper smiled at the maid and extended a paw. "Pleased ta meet ya, Matilda."

The young hare merely grunted in response, barely disparaging Skipper so much as a glancing, indirect look of annoyance.

Clarence sighed. "Bloody sorry about her bloomin' manners and all that. She doesn't have a flippin' lick of anything of that sort. A real rough around the bally old edges type, but aren't they all up there? Flippin' savages, if you ask me, wot." He shook his fondly as she scarfed down a steaming trifle, chuckling, "Old gel could eatcha outta bloomin' house and home, though, dontcha know?"

Skipper guffawed heartily. "Aye, this ole lass 's a feeder, that's for shore. But it'll take more'n what we got 'ere ta feed 'er, I reckon."

The younger hare spoke for the first time that night. "Laddie, ah'd watch who ye call 'lass'. Ah willnae stahp ta think aboot tossin' ye doon the table."

Clarence shot Skipper an apologetic glance, though peals of laughter assaulted the lungs of both. "I say, old gel, steady on. You better bally well watch who you call 'laddie', now. This here buckaroo you just threatened to flippin' flip over the bally table is the blinkin' Skipper of Mossflower Wood, dontcha know?"

"Ach," she shrugged dismissively. "Ah've nae heard o' him."

"Ne'er, not even once?" The colonel looked vaguely surprised.

"Ah wouldnae ferget if ah had." The young maid gave a disdainful sniff.

"Well, I'm abso-bally-lutely flabber-flippin'-gasted. Wot in the flippin' blazes are they teaching you up there? He's bloody well famous."

"Wot for?" Matilda eyed the otter disbelievingly.

"Why, this old waterdog is a champion eater of the shrimp 'n hotroot variety. I've seen the blighter chug more bowls of the stuff in one bloomin'  sitting than I've bally well eaten in my entire bloomin' life. He uses more spice than he does flippin' broth in his soup and I've still never seen the savage shed a tear."

Skipper leaned back in his chair with a grin, paws resting languidly on the back of his head. "Aye, I've sure put away a coupla bowls o' 'otroot in me time. Never lost no competition, neither. I may be a tad rusty at it, though— I ain't done nothin' like that in a long while."

"Ach, ah bet it ain't tae hard ta beat ya," she dismissed.

"Ain't 'ard ta beat me?" Skipper's brow raised. "You shore about that?"

"Soonds like somethin' mah grandmam wouldnae fail ta do."

"No? Well, lass, what say you I go 'n get me special stean o' 'omemade 'otroot, 'otter than anythin' you've ever been tastin', an' you and me put a li'l wager on it?" 

"Ah'm nae opposed."

"Ho ho." Clarence chortled with delight. "Well didn't this bloody well just get bally interesting, wot? A good ol' fashioned gloves off, fists square, up-an'-at-'em duel. A real Eulalia fest, wot wot."

Skip chuckled at his old friend's exuberance. "Aye, it's lookin' to be that way, ain't it? All right, 'ere's the deal. See that grimy puffball o'er thataways?" He gestured to  a young otter dibbun covered in tidbits of the feast.


"Well, that's me pup. An' if there's one thing that rascal don't like ta do, it's 'ave himself a nice bath. I ain't never seen 'im wash wi'out so much as cryin' bloody murder. Whiche'er one o' us drinks the least bowls has ta take o'er washin' duty of that there li'l shrimp from the sisters for the next week."

"Ach, just ken it won't be mah job ta wash the bairn after tonight." The haremaid confidently glared at the otter, steely-eyed.

Clarence gave Skipper a wry glance. "I'd watch yourself, Skip. Mah niece has got a bloomin' stomach bigger'n the bally old fire mountain itself."

"Oh, I ain't worried."
Fun and Games / Re: Connect the Words
« Last post by Vizon on April 13, 2017, 09:02:03 PM »
I'm gonna echo the others and say "What a grand introduction!" I enjoyed the read and found myself eager to find out what bigger plan was forming behind the scenes - it's no accident that the otter wants to be near water, and it might not even be an accident that the mole's tool broke and no guard actually reported it. I sense a conspiracy! Like Tooley, I want to know a bit more regarding the whys and the whats, but heck - it's just a writing exercise, so no need. Very well-written for a short. I think the only place where I felt it could use a bit more polish is this paragraph:

   “No one asked you!” Ov snapped, still he marked down number three hundred a fifty for lost or damaged equipment, his nose twitching in disgust. That was the third time this work round that’d happened, and nobeast thought to inform him until the damn workers got in line. He’d have to speak to the overseer about this lack of respect for his elevated position that was being displayed by the guards and workbeasts. Being indirect or just plain lazy on their part led to inevitable confusion further down the line. This’d mean he’d have to waste time on a search and recover the broken pieces. Then they’d have to enquire of the guards to find out who’d failed to deliver the report, an investigation that’d most likely turn up nothing just like the others.

Particularly the bit I highlighted in red feels rambly and forced. I realize now that it's likely caused by your attempt to fit the word "indirect" there. So maybe it's not so much a problem with your style as much as a bump caused by the rules of the writing game itself.

Hope you join in on the rest of the writing games and the big contest coming up here shortly! I'm glad to meet you and I think all of us are pretty delighted to see not only a new face, but a fan of a work in which most of us who've stuck around were intimately involved. It would be fun to hear more of your thoughts on the "Captain Blade" story too (which we most often refer to as MO3 just 'cause it's faster to type). We appreciate that you've read it, enjoyed it, and especially that you went so far as to seek out the forums. Welcome!
Fun and Games / Re: Connect the Words
« Last post by Tooley Bostay on April 13, 2017, 05:02:22 PM »
Heyo, Dusty! Can I call you Dusty? Or are nicknames far too mid-2000's? Whatever the case, it's a pleasure to have you! That's so cool that you found the forum through the story. I've wondered at times if anyone bothered to read it on Fanfiction, and now I know!

Aside from that, though, what a great first showing! You've got a lot of "color" to how you write. I'm not exactly sure what the beasts are mining or why they're doing it, but everyone has incredibly clear, colorful personalities that are primed for conflict. And this really reads like it's a scene from a larger project--the mentions of people stealing equipment and trying to escape, the bandits surrounding the work zone, and even the slow-reveal of certain characters, like the otter. It's all groundwork for something bigger.

You have some capitalization mistakes scattered throughout and some craft-related issues, but for being "very new" to writing, I'm dang impressed! You've clearly got a storytelling bone in you. The scene has a color and vibrancy to it, the characters have clear personalities that pare well off one another, and there are some compelling questions and conflicts within the story (what are they mining? Why is it so important despite the danger? What does make it so dangerous? Are the bandits at all related to the work in the mines, or do they just happen to roam nearby? Etc.).

Also, special props for those last lines. You earned an honest laugh out of me.

I know you asked for critique and tips, which my post here was a bit sparse on. I'm a little stretched for time right now, but if you have any specific questions about writing or the craft of it all, then feel free to ask or shoot me a PM, and I'll get a reply off to you in a couple days. In any case, really glad to have you aboard, mate, and I'm really looking forward to any further writing from you!
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