Author Topic: Connect the Words  (Read 496 times)

Airan

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Connect the Words
« on: February 27, 2017, 06:38:39 PM »
Starting off with something simple that Vizon gave me-

I used a word generator to get six random words. Write a short story using them. The words are-

-Conquest
-Headstrong
-Hoax
-Gurgling
-Bumper
-Crepitate

You can put them in your story in any order, though you get bonus points if you put them in the order above. Just post them in this thread whenever you're done :) Once there's a couple of entries here, if someone wants to add another six words, they certainly can. Until then, happy writing :)

« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 07:07:56 PM by Airan »

Matra Hammer

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 02:19:07 AM »
Added a timer on my run: five minutes for each word. Makes for a nice thirty-minute jaunt since there's a list of six. Kept my phone facing me with the timer running. Used 'Conquest' between minute 0 and 5, 'Headstrong' between minute 5 and 10, and so on.

Certainly no need for the same constrictions when you give this a shot. Presenting the method as a "hey, don't have a lot of time like me? Here's a 30-minute scheme so you can join in and have fun." Perhaps double the minute allotment (10-minute increments) and give yourself some breathing room.

The result is...well...read for yourself and let me know. Title added after the fact, and I went 22 seconds over to finish the sentence I was on and the closing piece of dialog.

~*~

A Worthy Prize

Today's conquest snuffled at the edge of Racfur forest. A boar, and no spring pig fresh from mother's teat.

Darius waved his hunting party back, and made sure the expanse of field between his cover and the forest's edge was his alone. Once, twice, maybe twelve times too many he tested the weight of his spear in his paw and checked the point and lock for signs of rust and wear. Perfect as always, a Muilonde standard-issue spear with all the attention and silvering befit a prince. The fox balanced on the tip of his paws, crawled through the swaying grass, and got a closer look at the boar.

Old ivory stuck from the beast's hide from countless battles with its own kind. Even the silver-furred fox, so obvious in the swaying wheat of the fields, didn't concern the beast of girth and glutton. The boar dug at the base of the ironwood trees, ever searching for more than the piddling scraps of the neighboring village's refuse bins. Only when the glint of sunlight off of a spear tip - a precaution Darius did not consider - caught the pig's eye did he bolt into the forest.

Darius said a short prayer to Martin, a longer one to his family's name, and gave chase.

Only yards deep into Racfur Forest and the light of the afternoon sun vanished. Too many needles above and feral critters on the limbs blocked the sun's rays. Darius followed the scent instead. The fecal reek of an old soul who knew they were king among feral beasts, all copper and rotten fruit sitting too long in a cellar. Though engulfed in shadows, and sickened by the scent, Darius ran headstrong through bush and branch, allowing his spear to drag behind like his blackened tail so no trunk snagged him to a halt.

Minutes, miles, years, of chasing, and all at once the cacophony of pig hooves and fox pads halted. The sky opened once more, and at the center of the forest a small grove of thistle and cornflower wove knee high along the trunks, the sky bright as ever in the canopy gap. At the grove's center sat Darius' adversary. The beast wheezed, groaned, and fell over beside a withered stump at the grove's exact center.

Darius remained at the grove's edge, sure this was a hoax. Again, he counted the twisted, yellowed fangs and tusks of lesser demons studding the boar's hide. Again he tested the weight of his spear. The bounty spoke of a beast of undying hunger and rage, and the fox pulled the bill from his pack and read the description a few more times. A trickle of doubt played. Perhaps this wasn't the right creature, thought Darius. Perhaps too long within the whitestone walls of home made all feral beasts seem monstrous. Though he heard his mother scream in dismay, though the huntmaster would surely box his black ears for trying, Darius shouldered his spear, drew his dagger, and stepped into the grove.

At the first step the boar squealed but remained on its side, immobile save the undulation of its massive throat. The second step was met with heavy breathing but nothing more. Even only feet closer Darius saw the boar kept its eyes closed and its hooves limp. The rest of the distance closed without issue, and only a foot away the reek of the beast became all-encompassing.

Darius knelt down and prodded the pig with a nearby stick. A gurgling - much like an overloaded, crusted stew pot of the castle kitchens - came back in trade. On peering closer he found more than ivory and fangs studding the beast's hide. A great many shattered spear tips and arrow heads lined the flesh beneath the beast. Each shard of metal jiggled in place, a mountainous scab never quite complete, always weeping some amount of vital fluid.

As the fox studied the trail from gut to throat to tusk he found the boar looking back at him. Darius saw himself in the maddened, black orbs. A too skinny fox prince without a scar or strand of fur out of place even after a sprint through the forest. Even the leaves caught behind his ears looked foolish and out of place against his paw-stitched, never-worn tunic and standard-issue spear.

Darius broke from the gaze and returned the dagger to its virgin leather sheath, the hilt resting stiff against the untested bumper. The moment he turned his tail on the dying king did he hear squeals too fine for the king's cavernous maw. Careful steps and a sharp eye revealed more than roots and moss at the base of the grove's central stump.

Six eyes peered back as Darius knelt down and inspected the burrow at the base of the tree. Soon a parade of piglets snuffled from the den and circled about their fallen parent. Some tucked against the beast's enormous stomach for warmth, for many toddled about furless and mostly blind. A few others tried climbing mount boar king with the help of the studded trophies on its pelt. Not a piglet minded the quiet hunter who acted as though the pollen stirred his ice-blue eyes. He'd not noticed the boar king was more a queen in his chase till now; he did not notice the utter silence of Racfur Forest till now.

The long walk back to the forest's edge, and only the leaves beneath Darius' paws crepitated their consolation. A contingent of Muilonde guards, bearing the ice-blue flower crests of his queen mother, adorned in full battle regalia for a missing son, were waiting for Darius as he exited the forest.

"My lord, my liege!" Lady Alanna, Darius' personal guard, never called him by name, nor did she silence when he raised his paw. "You cannot run off on your own. I will not be held responsible for your mother's demise when the news and shock takes her."

"Then you best prepare an exit," said Darius. "And a pen and sty before you go."

A smile curled on the fox prince's muzzle as he pulled the bag from his back. Alanna, in true wildcat fashion, picked open the top before asking, and was greeted with the squeal of piglets rolling about the bag's bottom.

"Better pets than death," said Alanna.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 02:24:39 AM by Matra Hammer »
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Tooley Bostay

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 01:33:40 AM »
Before I post mine, huge kudos to Matra's. Really enjoyed it, and some lovely word-pictures and narrative details there. Also, that in just 30 minutes? Dang! Very impressed. Reads like a solid app for a contest--I'd vote for Darius.

I followed a similar set-up with the timer, though definitely not as fast as Matra, and I did go back and spend a few hours overhauling the whole thing. The timing definitely works well for just slapping stuff down on the page, so definitely recommend that for any future takers.

Result isn't fantastic, but these writing games are meant to be messier, methinks. Something to just have fun on!

-- Evergreen --

The dead, autumn leaves scattered up and out as the pine cone skittered through, coming to a halt near the trunk of the great walnut tree.

“You missed. Raise your arm up more.”

Eli frowned, readying himself for the next—

A blur of motion to his right. He slashed out an intercepting paw and caught a pawful of air. He staggered forward, tail flicking sharply to regain his balance. For a moment, it seemed to work, then he saw the ground fast approaching. He had time to squeeze his eyes shut and yelp before the telltale…

Thud.

“You missed. You’re looking at your own paw too much.”

Eli shoved himself up on tired arms, hissing air out his clenched teeth. He shook dried leaves from his fur, then spat until his saliva was spent. Even then, it felt like dirt and grit caked the inside of his teeth.

He thought once more to his small study, where a rose-colored, velvet chair awaited him. A small fire was the only thing crackling there, and the outdoors was just a mythic setpiece found in tall tales where heroes were in search of conquest.

“Well, you’ve proved your point, Beatrice,” Eli said, attempting to fix the travesty that had become his shirt’s collar. Not even outdoor wear should get this filthy. “Shall we retreat to the dinner hall for supper? I fear it’s getting dark.”

Across from him, perched atop a small mound of dirt like some proud queen of the rubbish, Beatrice craned her neck up. She stared for a moment, then looked back to him. Birds were always hard to read – those beaks and beady eyes and all – but Eli was certain that the glint in her eye had some relation to scorn, or its distant cousin, mockery. Two Houses and a wandering woman away from the family of treason.

“What?” he ordered.

“Elliot,” Beatrice said with a click of her beak, “that’s a cloud.”

Eli sputtered for words until he settled on, “It’s still dark.”

Beatrice did her bird-version of a sigh. “Really, at your age, I would expect some show of competency.”

Eli’s hackles rose, and he jabbed a finger towards her. “Now listen here, you blithering, flighty harridan! I only agreed to this because I had no choice in the matter!”

It didn’t matter that he was the youngest to ever inherit Gersaille’s throne. Fine, strapping cats like him should be basking in the joys that took place inside banquet halls and ballrooms, not gallivanting in dirt and leaves and nature.

“And you’ll do more than catch a pine cone if you hope to retain any of your family’s good name. The troops need to know they have a capable leader looking after their wives and little ones.”

Eli groaned, pinching at the bridge of his snout. “Why is Father’s war any of my business? He’s dead now.”

“A substantial victory for the enemy,” Beatrice muttered. “It’s your business because it’s your people that Czar Vikenti happens to hate.” When he continued to stare at her, she added, “That includes you.” She reached over with a talon to the pile of pine cones next to her, tall enough to reach halfway up her wing. “Now, shall I continue?”

Eli huffed, puffed, and kicked a twig that deserved it. It was a wonder he hadn’t had her banished already. An extreme reaction, to be sure, but her attitude to him had only been extreme since his induction. It would never work, though—the guards loved her, the priests loved her, the maids and chefs and that boy who brought him his tea loved her. For them, he supposed, he could take the affront to his pride.

He stopped pacing. Then he smiled. A bold, delightful, inspired idea popped into his mind, the sort of headstrong thing that now came with being regent. He turned to face her, swept his tail up to the side, the plopped down. Legs crossed and his palms resting easy in his lap, Eli looked the picture of serene defiance.

Beatrice clicked her beak, and Eli produced a jaunty smile for his efforts.

“I need a break,” he said, “and I’ll be taking one now, so if you’d be so kind as to cease your efforts and fetch me a pitcher of—”

A splintering crack against his head, and the smile was gone. He fell backwards, the world all sorts of blurred and dazed and throbbing right on his forehead. He blinked once, then twice, then slowly realized that he was sprawled out against the ground. A shattered pine cone lay beside him.

Eli leapt up, one paw rubbing at his smarting forehead, the other weaving itself up around his neck to pat the dirt from his back.

“Y-y-you did that on purpose!” he growled, fur hackling up around his scruff. Dirt sifted further down from the motion, castrating his growl into gurgling as he scratched at the back of his neck.

Beatrice remained still, that glint in her eye again. It had meandered from the ballroom of mockery straight to the slum pit of mirth.

“I haven’t the faintest what you’re going on about,” Beatrice said, examining her talons with sudden, intense interest. “Perhaps something fell from the tree. You really must be on your toes, Elliot. Anything can happen to anyone out here.”

“Don’t treat me like a fool.” With a measure of effort, Eli ignored the dirty mess that had become his back and snatched the shattered pine cone from the ground before trudging up to Beatrice. “Do you expect me to believe this fell from a… a…” He gestured back to the tree behind him, laden with nuts. “A that tree?”

“Walnut,” Beatrice corrected, “and no, I don’t. But if you can’t prove anything, I suggest we return to our session.”

If his many days and nights socializing in grand halls and shaded studies had granted him any expertise, it was in spotting a hoax. Not even a bird’s natural affinity for neutral expression could mask Beatrice’s tone—that poorly hidden chirp of humor.

“You catch one, and we’ll go inside,” Beatrice said.

Eli’s ears perked up, then flicked at the feel of dirt sieved through his fur. He considered remaining on the subject of the shattered pine cone – and the welt now festering upon his forehead – but the thought of a hot, freshly-drawn bath gave him pause. He pictured the steam rising, smelled the minted soaps, felt his fur sleek and clean. Afterwards, he would sit in his study, in his velvet chair, and a servant would appear—a piping-hot cup of Darjeeling for his reading, and a bumper with Chaveaux’s finest brew for his troubles.

Eli breathed in deeply, then hardened his gaze upon Beatrice. All it took to make that vision come true was a single pine cone in-paw.

Dropping the shattered pine cone that had affronted his face, Eli retreated back to his spot and readied himself for Beatrice’s move. He even did his best imitation of the stance she had tried to teach him.

She nodded towards him, then raised a leg towards the pile. Her talons just brushing the topmost pine cone, she waited.

Eli stared hard at her, fingers flexing back and forth. A cloud above shifted out from under the sun. He winced at the light, then at the sweat dripping down. Then she moved.

In a smear of movement that belied the bird’s ungainly stance, Beatrice’s leg outstretched and brown blur shot forward. Eli tensed, then felt the pine cone strike him square in the chest.  He coughed in surprise, then watched as the pine cone bounced backwards. He scrambled for it, one paw lashing out and striking it, sending it off to his left. He leapt and swung with his other paw, hitting it but not quite grasping it. He watched in horror as the pine cone flipped several times in the air, then began its descent towards the ground. It was simply too far for him to reach.

He apologized to his future self, and to the clean water in that wonderful bath, then leapt forward, springing powerfully off his heels. He sailed past the pine cone, gripping it with both paws just before it touched the ground. He had time to smile ecstatically before he crashed into the ground.

Eli rolled several feet before coming to a stop, a pine cone clutched firmly in his paws, and a mouth full of dirt. Something built in the back of his throat, some crepitating mix between a scream of horror and a cry of delight.

“I got one!” he shouted, pulling himself upright and holding the pine cone aloft. Then he gagged, spitting furiously to his side.

Beatrice chirped happily and stepped up to him, offering a talon. “Well done, Elliot. You showed fair balance and response time.”

Eli accepted the talon, feeling slightly woozy as he was pulled back up onto his feet. He clutched the pine cone to himself like a trophy, then he paused, frowned at the dirty thing, and dropped it to the ground where it belonged.

“Well then,” he said, straightening the cuffs of his hopelessly stained shirt, “this has been a wonderful learning experience and all, but I really should be getting to other, more important things.”

With what dignity he could muster, given his appearance, Eli tromped past Beatrice. He was nearly to the door when he heard her speak.

“We begin working on your swordplay tomorrow.”

His paw froze just above the knob. Then, with a shrug, he opened the door and proceeded through. He’d simply tell her tomorrow that he was desperately ill. Caught something from those pine cones, no doubt. What decent beast would ever need to engage in swordplay, after all?

Such deception and brilliant cunning could wait, however. For now, all that mattered was that he find a servant and order a bath to be drawn. Not just any bath, though. Today was a special day. A bubble day.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 04:18:08 AM by Tooley Bostay »

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 01:23:08 AM »
Wonderful work on Tooley's part. It's a real challenge making a likable scumbag in only 1000ish words. Eli isn't a full-on scumbag, but he's petty - and, most importantly, real - in his wants and needs. We see a lot of him by the trick of the narration, which follows him closely, and the engaging and frequent wit in the dialog. We wanna see a hero, villain, or anybeast at their best and worst. And Eli is certainly at the mercy of Beatrice. Not a clue who she is specifically (no title or hard reason for her participation beyond the "grow up and lead, Eli" speech) but even without specifics we know their relationship inside and out.

Already spoke with Tooley at length about this and more. Sharing a summation here so others can chew.

Also! New word list.

Not feeling the word selection up top? Not interested in playing leap frog against other entries? Welp, lucky for you I'm surrounded by hundreds of different types of dictionaries. There's a giant one right outside my office, so I cracked the baby open and selected six new words. Picked again for modern or scientific selections. No need for a timer, no deadline, no judgment unless you ask. I'll put little definitions with them as well, though you're certainly allowed alternatives or - in my case - made-up uses. Seriously, what's a bumper in a sheath? Whatever.

Here we go.

1: Barring - excluding by exception

2: Indirect - deviating from a direct line or course

3: Rusty - inept and slow through lack of practice or old age

4: Feeder - one that eats or takes nourishment; especially an animal being fattened

5: Stean - earthenware container used for storing drink and/or food

6: Puffball - a fungus that produces a spherical or pear-shaped fruiting body that ruptures when ripe

Enjoy?
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Dustfeather

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 09:57:28 PM »

 I'm very new to the art of writing and fan fiction, so I'd appreciate any tips and critiques you guys could offer. Anyway here's my submission to this game.

   -*-*-

 Negotiation Occupation


Lengthening shadows signified the end of another work day and everybeast, even the watchers, felt significant relief as the Overseer blew his bone whistle. The shrill sound rang out and the laborers stretched their weary muscles, stumbling towards a long row of carts that lay just off the work site. Leagues upon leagues of untamed wilderness remained, but the work was going quickly. They’d need several more seasons to finish but what were a few seasons in the face of success?

   “C’mon now, line up an’ keep it orderly. Faster yer done turnin’ in th’ gear th’ faster ye eat.” A fat shrew named Ov saw to it that the workers formed neat columns and good order. He was checking off their assigned numbers and equipment on a bit of parchment as they turned over their tools. Ov was a puffball of spikey fur and fat. His large stomach and cheeks wobbled with his every movement, while his squinty eyes flicked from one worker to the next missing nothing. He was an impatient creature and moved the line along at a breakneck speed, his quill paw moving a blur that shouldn’t be possible by a creature of his girth.

   “Ey’ hold there now, what ye playin’ at chump?” Ov held out a paw, barring a mole from passing. The creature in question hadn’t brought his assigned tool back with him, and judging by his ragged tunic he had nothing hidden on his person. That alone was reason to suspect suspicious activity, especially if it hadn’t been reported earlier. The workers often attempted to escape their contracts once they realized how hard and dangerous working on the mountains could be. And as per usual the first step in doing so was acquiring some form of weapon. It was no secret bandits and villains hid under the hills and in the trees.       

   “Oi sorry zurr, oi broke th’ picky-axer,” the mole explained, keeping his long snout downcast. “An th’ guarder says oi should’n jus’ shift n’rock wit’ me diggin’ claws. Seein’ oi was a mole zurr. Tha’s wot e’ said, aye.”

   “Oh? Is that th’ case eh? Wot’s yer number then?” Ov demanded, glaring at the culprit.

   “Tree an’ fiddy zurr.”

   “What in the bloody hell is tree fiddie?”

   “It means three and fifty sir.” An otter chimed in. “I can vouch for his story, I saw him break it on a stone. One of the guards said he’d report it. I don’t remember who t’was though.” She was standing behind the mole in line and looked impatient, probably due to the holdup that was keeping her away from the supper wagon, or as the guards liked to call it, the slop-cart.

   “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.

A few of the workers were grumbling now, in more ways than one. Ov’s own stomach was growling and he’d be one of the last ones to eat tonight. The injustice of it all was infuriating.

   “Th’ loss will be comin’ out o’ yer meals y’know.” Ov told the mole in a grouchy tone, twirling the quill pen in his paw. “And until we get ye new equipment, ye’ll be in the water brigade.” The overseer wouldn’t be happy, moles were exceptional diggers. But even moles couldn’t chip through rock without a pickaxe and Ov had none to spare.

   “I could be on the water brigade!” The otter behind the mole said, speaking up once again. “He could have my pickaxe, I’d be willing to haul the jugs. And I’d be bett-“

   “Shut up ye ingrate!” Ov roared, slamming down his parchment on the half-filled wagon, vent some of his frustration on the hapless otter. “Plauge an’ lice an’ th’ lot. Keep yer damn trap shut, I don’ want to hear yer half-wit plans when I’ve already got me notes written down, ye hear? Hell’s teeth, I’m the damn quartermaster not the overseer. And wot’s a beast got to do to get a little respect nowadays?” Still, the otter had a point. She’d be far better suited lugging the rusty metal jugs up and down the hillside from the river again and again. Ov muttered dark things under his breath as he scratched out his notes, rearranging his plans for the morrow. “Move along number three hundred and fifty, yew otter, wot’s yer number?”

   “Two and twenty sir.” She said stepping up to where the mole had been standing, laying her pickaxe in the cart alongside all the others.

   “Roight,” Ov trailed along the list until he found twenty-two, marking it with his quill. “You’ll be in th’ feeder line tomorrow, an’ ye’ll ‘ave to wake up earlier then th’ worker line to get started.”

   “The waterer line I think you meant sir.” The otter interjected. “That’s what you arranged it to be, isn’t it?”
 Ov glared over his parchment at the otter, slowly marking his notes for the third time. “That’s wot I bloody said. Now shut yer trap an’ move along.”

   “But you said I’d be a waterer, not a feeder.” The otter was obviously concerned about Ov’s choice of words. The shrew only just contained his fury behind a twitching eyelid.

   “They’re.” He began, punctuating each word through gritted teeth. “The same. Plaguing. Thing!” Ov sighed, rubbing his temples and wondering why he even bothered sometimes. “Ye’ll be assigned a carrier stean tomorrow, see to it ye’re not late. Cooky ‘as loads less patience then me. An’ keep that hell blasted flappy mouth o’ yers shut! If’n ye know wot’s good fer ye.”

   “Right, of course sir. Thank you sir.”

   “Get ye along then!” The otter marched off and Ov went back to his work, checking off the turned in equipment and the animals’ numbers as they came, knowing it’d take forever and a half to get through the hundreds of workers. His task was probably the easiest from a physical standpoint, especially when compared to the grueling work of the laborers. Yet it wasn’t without its frustrations and difficulties, which all too often arose from a lack of communication.
 His stomach, now very vocal in its protest rumbled once again. Ov ignored it as best he could, focusing instead on the mouse lad who was next in line.

 "Number chump?"

 "Uh, I forgot me number sir."

 Ov sighed dramatically. It was going to be a long night.
Where the wind blows, they shall follow. For they cannot resist their nature.

Matra Hammer

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 12:52:50 AM »
Wonderful having you aboard, Dustfeather. On behalf of myself, and all the lurking chums, hello and welcome. Always happy for new friends and writers.

So, I read through your submission and found a lot worth reading and, in turn, a lot worth saying. A few questions before I offer a review.
How did you go about drafting: use a time limit? an outline? Take a few days or pan out in one sitting?
Also, the question on everybeast's mind, how did you go about finding our happy little home?

Again, welcome welcome welcome. Impressed seeing the first post as a piece of work. Great deal of grit you got there, old bird! A whole sack of courage a lot of our regulars *STARES* haven't sussed up for this fair thread.

 
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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2017, 08:44:34 AM »

 Thank you for your kind welcome Matra, and thanks for reading.

 This was about a week of effort on my part, but I'm a very slow writer. I've got that continual urge to go back and fix things and change this and that so I had to convince myself to just buckle down and post it.

 As for outlines and all that, I'm afraid to say very little planning went into it. I just thought up what I wanted to write and hammered it out on the computer. Let it sit for a day or two then rinse and repeat until I had something I felt could be posted here.

 I found out about this online community thanks to FanFiction.net when that awesome story The Lost Treasure of Captain Blade was being posted there. I eventually found the forum and have been lurking as a guest ever since.
Where the wind blows, they shall follow. For they cannot resist their nature.

Airan

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2017, 11:31:22 AM »
Quote
A whole sack of courage a lot of our regulars *STARES* haven't sussed up for this fair thread.

Or just haven't had the time :P

Ahoy, Dustfeather. I've seen you lurking around the site a little bit, but it's good to see you finally make an appearance, and with writing to boot. It's always great to see some new faces around here, especially with how quiet it's been lately. Anyways, I've read your short story and thought it was pretty great, but I'll leave the reviewing to Matra. He's much more eloquent about that kind of thing.

Quote
I found out about this online community thanks to FanFiction.net when that awesome story The Lost Treasure of Captain Blade was being posted there. I eventually found the forum and have been lurking as a guest ever since.

*blushes* More motivation for me to get that all finished up then, I suppose.

Anyways, we're glad to have you, and if you have any questions about the site, forum, or any events we might be doing, feel free to get in touch with me.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #8 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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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #9 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:

Quote
   “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!

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #10 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.

"Aye."

"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."

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #11 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.
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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #12 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!

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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #13 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. ;)
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Re: Connect the Words
« Reply #14 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.
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