Author Topic: Storyteller's Vigil  (Read 6918 times)

Tooley Bostay

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Storyteller's Vigil
« on: June 21, 2017, 12:10:22 AM »
'Ello, mates, an' welcome t' Tooley's very own review thread! *trumpet in distance*

Here I'll be cataloguing any observations I have of the applications. I'm unlikely to do reviews of the story itself, though that depends largely on whether or not I make it into the contest. We'll call it TBD for now. We have no actual applications up and about yet, bu~ut we do happen to have quite a few names! So, I figured I'd start off my review thread with my own Extremely Unlikely Predictions ('cause I can't hold a candle to Matra's clairvoyance. Those are golden).

Gonna do these a little bit different from Matra. Rather than constructing a whole, wacky idea of what the character might be, I'm going to just jot down what immediately comes to mind when I read the name. May be short or long, may be silly or serious.

And I want to note that I'm doing this entirely for fun right now, so don't take any of these personally! The actual reviews will come out once the apps are live and readable, so for now, just grab a seat and some popcorn and let's have some fun guessing!

I don't have time tonight to knock them all out at once, so we're going to start with 10, randomly drawn from the lot!

First ten:
Spoiler: show

  • Leota Nettlekin - Squirrel hunter, and the pride of her family. She's a wizard with a bow and arrow, but despite the praise and adoration of her family and friends, she finds no joy in it. Her real passion lies in herbology, which she practices often on her unwilling, younger brother. She's terrible at it. Poor bro is more sick than not now, but Leota swears that she'll find the cure for his latest illness. This time, for sure!

  • Lacey McTally - A watervole matriarch. The youngest of eight growing up, Lacey was simply ignored, but she found comfort in the silence. She watched, she learned, and she realized that beasts could be controlled, so long as you knew just what to say, and how to say it. She now runs the premier ferrying business along the Moss, and whether they know it or not, every beast that crosses that river is under her paw.

  • Sarek - A ssssnakey dude who loves him some fruit. Watermelons, bananas, grapes--if it's sweet and edible, he is there. The seeds get stuck in his teeth all the time, only accentuating that ssss lisp, but social malfunction is worth it to dine on the nectar of nature's gifts. He has set out to find the one fruit to rule them all that's the perfect combination of rich, sharp, sweet, and savory.

  • Cliffcrawler - A jittery, rabid Flitchaye. Has a tendency to wipe foam from his/her mouth. No one can even tell what gender they are, since they don't speak except in growls and hisses, and if you get within a paw's reach you're likely to lose a finger. Loves shiny objects, and will nab anything that so much as gleams.

  • Azalea - (As someone who works in gardening, this one was hard to think of without going to plants. =P ) She is never seen without her basket of treats. The slow-shuffling, kindly old mouse has become something of a town legend, appearing only one day, just after the break of spring. The dibbuns regard her with a wonder as if she'd just stepped out of one of their storybooks. Past the strawberry-imbued pastries and cream-topped tarts lies the heart of an old warrior, who every year visits the unmarked graves of her fallen brothers and sisters. No one else will remember them. She considers telling her story, of warning those wide-eyed dibbuns of the great, looming danger they face, but she can't bring herself to rob them of the comfort and joy so many died to bring.

  • Ascayir - A desert-bound stoat nomad, looking to peddle off the trinkets and knick-knacks he's come across. The dude has a terrible eye for value, and doesn't even realize how rich he could be. He's sold jewels for junk, but also junk for jewels. So long as his little rickety hand cart has enough to carry him to the next village, he's happy.

  • Drugaen - This weasel is convinced he can see the future. He has dreams and everything, vivid as if he was really there, and they always predict the future accurately. The problem is that he can only remember the dreams after the event has occurred. Poor sap has become the laughing stock of his village, at least until the fire burned everything - and everyone - down. He knew the fire would happen long before any dream occurred. From the first spark striking from his flint, to the screams of those stupid beasts scurrying about for their lives. Perhaps in the afterlife, they would finally be able to see that he was telling the truth.

  • Faye - The daughter of a well-to-do fox warlord. Any time she passes by something reflective, she takes at least five minutes to peer, prune, and pose. Her most prized possessions are her twenty-five jeweled rings, each given by a prospective suitor. Sadly, none of them quite measured up to daddy dearest's standards. She kept the rings. He kept their heads.

  • Caa - This snake has trust issues. It's not his fault, really, it's just that beasts don't tend to place confidence in the coiling scales of a big, nasty, adder. He tries to tell them he lost his fangs ages ago, just after he was born, and that he wouldn't hurt a fly, but can't get as much of a word in over their screams. So now he's taken to just shouting at people "trust in me, please!" They've only started running faster.

  • Lane Harwell - Dude is a bro's bro. Surfer otter is the name of the game, and surfer otter is here to makes some waves AND splashes, ya dig? Shirts are anethema to this otter, and he has a jutted jaw that makes it look like he's always chewing cud. He thinks it gives him the right balance of "bad boy" and "hearthrob" for the watching ladies. *finger guns* To his credit, he's dang good, and has pioneered a new form of water sport that's a strange mix of baseball and football. But in the water. It'd probably even take off, if he didn't keep hogging the spotlight. Heck, sometimes he switches teams mid-game just to bring the losers back from an unwinnable position!



Aaaand that's all for now. More later, mates!
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 05:32:23 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Matra Hammer

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2017, 05:52:58 AM »
This weasel predicts two snakes in one application pool? And kindly snakes at that? Scary business if he's right, people. Hide your fruit.

Also noticed a grand majority of these predictions revolve around beasts who bide their time or find happiness in what's immediately around them. HMMMMmmmMMmmmm.

Vizon

Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2017, 08:10:08 AM »
Quote
Lane Harwell - Dude is a bro's bro. Surfer otter is the name of the game

When I read "Lane Harwell" I thought more of Lois Lane. So like, a perky, nosy reporter dame who always seems to be getting into trouble. Squirrel, of course. Got to close to the wrong story and got thrown in the arena by thugs who didn't want to be reported on.

I'm chalking this interpretation up to my recent Lackadaisy reading, though. Finally caught up!

Rascal

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2017, 08:35:24 AM »
I laughed at some of these ideas xD
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 08:44:08 AM by Airan »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2017, 01:06:16 PM »
THE WEASEL RETURNS

Click the spoiler to expand 'em all.
Spoiler: show
  • Dea Brahle - A rough'n'tumble lawyer shrew. She'll never know the front from the back of a sling, but she can recite Common Mossflower Law backwards. She's currently hunting down illegal narcotics that have been making the rounds through the forest, and the deeper she searches, the more she realizes just how far beyond the Moss the whole operation extends.

  • Blu Yardel - Abandoned at a young age, this ferret was found by a kindly hedgehog couple and raised as their own. He maintains their out-of-the-way hovel in tip-top shape, always grateful for their love and acceptance, though he's never as free as when he's out on the river, a fishing pole in his paws. One day, he spots strange-looking ships heading into the mainland and decides to follow, getting into far more than he ever bargained for.

  • Tope Benwrath - The village idiot, this squirrel has made a living benefiting from his mishaps. First it was that broken floorboard in Mrs. Barkwillow's loft that earned him a year-long supply of treacle tarts, then it was Redd's moldy ale that earned him free drinks every night. Despite his bruises, Tope lives a comfy life thanks to the generous reparations of the community.

  • Ffinn ap Gwinn - what is this name Ffinn is a seal, hailing from yonder cold lands. He's a journeybeast, though not to explore the distant world, or to taste the culinary delights of different people. No no, he just wants to let as many people as possible know of his great accomplishments in life, such as when he built a hut from only ten sticks on an icecap during a freezing storm, or when he held off a raiding party of thirty sixty pirates. Once he's told everyone about his incredible accomplishments, he plans to travel the world again, to brag about how he's traveled around the entire world.

  • Maeve - A mole undertaker. She always drops a few coins into the holes she digs. To offer passage for the beasts into Dark Forest, but also to act as a ward against the roaming spirits that haunt her graveyard. Only the glitter of metal seems to keep the spirits at bay, and her only concern is that the specters leave the poor, deceased beasts alone.

  • Silas Hetherton - A cartographer hailing from Redwall Abbey, this dormouse comes from a long family line of map-charters. His father's unfinished map of the Northlands has always perked his interest, in particular a mostly-blank region with the words "Never Return" written above. By his father did return, and hasn't been heard from in years. Maps and notes tucked to his side, the dormouse sets out to discover this lost region, and find out what happened to his father.

  • Silas Cutwick - (had to couple these two together) Silas Cutwick is a fox blacksmith, though you'd never be able to tell from his scrawny frame. No one has seen him so much as lift a hammer, much less create his pieces, yet from his forge flow the most dazzling of designs. His name is passed around more and more among the vermin tribes, and one day he is approached by a newly-established rat warlord, requesting a sword to rival the legends. Silas refuses, and the irate warlord gives him three weeks to have his sword made. When the warlord returns, he finds the forge completely gone, and none of the locals seem to know anything about a fox blacksmith ever being there.

  • Thrayjen - A daredevil bluejay. His parents always warned him about mingling with the groundwalkers, but the flightless beasts showed such wonder and delight in his aerial tricks. One day he meets with a particularly intelligent mole, who just gets it. If the mole had wings, she'd probably be able to fly circles around Thrayjen. Together, they work out more and more daring, complex stunts. The stunts grow increasingly dangerous, but Thrayjen has never felt more alive.

  • Jarl - A wolf warchief. His hobbies include calling for mead, lounging in his hilariously large throne, and killing any challengers to his rule. One day, his resident seer approaches him, face stricken with terror. She explains that the runes have foretold of a beast, wreathed in flame and wielding lightning, coming to overthrow Jarl from his rule. Her prophecy is cut short as his mighty axe severs her head, though the dreams of a fire-born beast begin to haunt him from that night forth.

  • Bechtel - A hedgehog brewer who's learned how to talk to the bees from his grandpop Olvan. The bees usually tell him how the honey production is going every year, but they've begun to discuss other things. Darker things. Treachery within the very walls of Redwall, led by the Abbess herself as she conspires with vermin outside the gates. This knowledge stews within Bechtel's mind until he can't abide it any longer, and approaches the Abbess with this knowledge. He only remembers her barking out an order to the Abbey badgermum before waking up in the hold of a strange ship, sailing for a distant land.

  • Feodor Stefanovich - A crane from far beyond the sea. The hot climate of the Northlands do nothing for his feathers or complexion, but he's willing to bear it, for he's absolutely certain he saw a gorgeous crane flying this way. He was sure it was just a dream when he first saw her, but when he awoke, she still flew above, clearly seen even under the dark of night, her feathers glittering like the stars. He doesn't know why something so beautiful would come to such a horrid place, but he's willing to find out.

  • Gemini Appleloom - The local school bully, Gemini is equal parts brain and brawn. This otter knows exactly what buttons to push for each of his classmates, and how far to press them to get exactly the reaction he wants. Why does he do this? What deep, pain-born reason could prompt him to be so brutish? Nothin'. Dude's just a jerk.

  • Malukh - A female monitor lizard, hot on the trail of the badger that slaughtered her fellow tribesbeast. She's captured a traveling merchant rat, who is her only lead to where the badger went. The two butt heads and hate each other's guts, but slowly come to rely upon one another. Well, that is until the rat ditches her when a tribe of cannibal foxes descends upon them. Malukh made it out with a few teeth marks in her scales. The rat made a fine dinner.

  • Jogan Lazare - A rat astrologer, studying the stars for the universe's greatest secrets. He believes every ebb and flow to life is reflected in the heavens, it's only a matter of seeing the patterns. His postulations are always disproven, however, and so he takes up trade as a ship's navigator. He's grown old and his passions have long died out, but every now and then, he gazes up at the stars and begins to see a twinkle of premonition, just waiting to be proved.

  • Sima - A badger prince who was run off from his kingdom after he was convinced that he killed his father. He now lives deep in Mossflower Woods, having befriended a plucky squirrel and hedgehog duo. Rumors are reaching his ears, though, that his dastardly uncle has turned Badger Rock into a terrible place, and now he is faced with the choice of returning to his homeland and restoring order to his people.

  • Diamond - A fast-talking ferret cardshark. No one knows his real name, he just goes by "Diamond." He always has a ready smile for anyone who approaches, as well as a deck of cards to place bets. The bets don't have to be on anything special, just whatever someone is willing to wage. Even when he loses the game, he never truly loses. There are more things than money and trinkets to win in a game of cards, so long as you're looking in the right places.

  • Sly Speakeasy - This fox is an expert infiltrator, able to jump into any role that a situation demands. Deception is an art, and you'd be surprised who you can convince with the right accent, posture, and trappings. He once convinced a throng of hardened mole miners that he was their Foremole. Made off with a whole shipment of valuable jewels, and they were none the wiser.

  • Altra Gnawear - This hogmaid learned a lot of things from her time in a vermin warband. When to speak, who to speak to, and how to carry yourself through every footstep. It's how she survived. But it's not just scars she's brought home with her, following her escape. During her time in captivity, she developed quite a taste for vermin food, notably meat. She's gotten by on fish, but every now and then, she looks at passing beasts and wonders if they even know how good they taste.

  • Percival - Runts aren't a new thing in vermin hordes, but this rat youngster got the worst of it. Cursed with a permanent limp, unable to lift a sword half-way to his chest, he's taken to stuffing himself away in the back of his parent's tent, reading the scrolls he's stolen from the horde seer. The seer eventually finds out, but instead of punishing him, decides to take him on as an apprentice and teaches him all about the world that exists at the edges of the physical.

  • Strathcomb Piccadilly - He's a hare. Sorry, Strath's author, I know you might be desiring more, but this isn't even a guess. Dude's a hare. Probably a decorated general. Military dropout? I dunno. But he scoffs a bunch of food here, shouts bally wotsits there, etc. etc. If I had to get wild, I'd say he's part of the Salamandastron marching band, and doesn't know a sword from a spear.

  • Hoober Blackfoot - Hoober is the piece of gum that you step on and just can't seem to get rid of. The stoat tries his best, and that's the problem, he's just always there. Look to your left? Hoober. To your right? Hoober. No one can seem to shake the guy, and he's none the wiser. At least until they banish him from the community, hand him a travel pack, and say "go bother someone else."

  • Ander - This otter hates everyone. No, really, everyone has some way of getting under his fur and just bugging him. Problem is, he's the mayor of the River Basin, a meeting place for seven different large otter holts. He can't quit the job, not without looking like a complete failure, so instead he focuses his ire upon paperwork and decrees. A little more taxation, some embargoes--anything to spice up a day and give him a reason to argue with someone in a loud, shouty voice.

  • Nokki Avaartin - A rat lass who always carries around a strange, patched-together satchel. She always walks around with it hugged to her chest, and never lets anyone looks inside it. Eventually, beasts' curiosity grows insatiable and they try to pry it from her, only to feel the cold of a dagger plunging into their chest.  Nokki runs from the village to the next place that will take her, and the cycle begins again.

  • Jasper Hooklaw - A cocky weasel captain who inherited a supposedly cursed ship from his uncle. Former crewmates say his uncle spoke of a ghost haunting the ship, and eventually was driven to madness, running over the deck in wild circles before leaping out into the sea. Jasper tells the crewmates to shut up and get to scrubbing the deck, while he straightens his prized jade-embedded hummingbird brooch. It's after the first week at sea that he wakes up to find his brooch missing. He storms to his door to demand who is responsible, only to find it locked. He tries his key, which doesn't work, and then realizes that the door has somehow been locked from the other side. And then, clear as daylight, he hears the voice of his uncle: "Run, Jasper!"

  • Marcus - A rook with a fear of all things creepy and crawly. The idea that worms are a delicacy sends Marcus into fits of gagging and shivers. So, he has made it his goal to enlighten the minds of his friends and family, by becoming the first cook of his roost. His initial attempts are met with polite comments, but he tosses these into the waste along with his hideous dishes. Despite the setbacks, he's determined to get it right, and make it so that no rook will ever have to guzzle something slimy and slithery and eeaughhhrkk~

  • Kali - master of all blades, Kali is a black-furred squirrel assassin. There are a lot of things goodbeasts shouldn't do, and that's why Kali does it for them. A nuisance that needs to be silenced? A dinner party turned into a tragedy? A cave-in to stop any further mining? The right people know where to find her for all this and more.

  • Herin - Gonna dodge the "THEY'RE A HERON" temptation. This determined Sister of the Abbey is the bright future of Redwall, and by all accounts is next in line to inherent the position of Abbess. From working the orchard fields with Sister Moira, to studying under Sister Rosalind in the Gatehouse, to mending beasts in the infirmary with Brother Fallo, this mouse has done it all, and is primed to take on the supreme duty of serving the beasts of Redwall. Which makes it all the more of a shock when she is not selected to become Abbess. Confused, frustrated, and hurt, Herin takes what little she has and strikes out into Mossflower Wood for some time alone.

  • Black Jasmine - Part time seamstress, part time underworld crime leader. Contrary to popular belief, that is her actual name. She considered changing it to hide her illegal dealings, but with a name like that, why even bother? She often uses her seamstress business as a cover to smuggle information and goods sewn into the lining of sleeves and jackets.

  • Minerva - This molemaid is out for blood, and she wants it now. Her village was destroyed by a wildfire, and only she and a handful of other beasts made it out alive. Now she roams the land, searching for whoever was responsible for the fire. Little does she know, the fire was caused by a lightning strike, but that won't stop her from raiding any and all vermin settlements in her path, crying out for justice.

  • Kentrith Hapley - A bookish fox who grew up far from the any of the conflicts that has characterized much of the world. He reads outlandish stories of blood feuds, wars, and beasts being divided into categories like "vermin" and "goodbeast." They're all thrilling but ultimately ridiculous stories, until one day a good friend of his family stumbles across the threshold, one paw holding the contents of his stomach in. As the rat bleeds out, he speaks of a looming war, of hares and mice and otters on the horizon, coming to wipe out all vermin. The rat dies before any help arrives, leaving only Kentrith to consider his warning.

  • Jovan Yaldon - Known better as "Jovan the Bloody," this wolverine has made his name by slaying every chief warrior from each of the villages he visits. Few offered as much as a challenge, but he holds hope that one day his blade will falter against the might of a better warrior than himself. No one knows why he's so driven to be killed, but all fear him whenever he graces their village.

  • Tam Burr - A young squirrel obsessed with constructing small-scale versions of great wars. He'll create hundreds of little pieces to represent the vermin and goodbeast armies, and will paint them to a fine detail before sending them out to battle. As always, only the goodbeast winners of the battle survive the destruction of his reenactment, though Tam harbors a terrible secret. In the far back of his drawer, he's kept a stash of his favorite vermin figures - Urgan Nagru, Ferahgo the Assassin, Tsarmina Greeneyes - and refuses to destroy them, despite what history very well dictates. Occasionally, he even takes them out to see what would have happened had they won the war. It always scares him how much he enjoys seeing their conquest.

  • Caecillia - A rabbitmaid from a very successful, high-up family, and engaged to a promising young hare soldier of Salamadastron. Culture shock hits hard when he takes her to visit his family, and they are aghast at their son falling for a rabbit, rather than a proper hare. The first night is a travesty, despite her attempts to win them over, and even worse is that she's supposed to stay there for an entire month. A lieutenant of the Long Patrol finds her one day crying on the stairs, and offers to teach her the ins and outs. She accepts, and while her dainty paws can barely operate a bow, she takes surprisingly well to the strategic component of the military. Her fiance's family still refuses to accept her, but she finds herself accepted more and more by the members of the Long Patrol.

  • Komi Banton - ferretmaid barkeep of a rundown port village. She's seen it all, and it's all grown dull and boring. One day, a cloaked beast enters and slaps an expensive, exceptionally well-crafted necklace onto the desk. The beast speaks with a strained, but rushed voice, saying the necklace is payment so long as Komi can get her to a healer. Port towns are the best place to find medicine, so Komi takes the beast into the back and does her best to stitch up the multiple lacerations suffered by the elderly squirrelmaid. Komi notices a tattoo burned into the squirrel's back, but when she asks, she receives no answer. The following night, three hares enter the bar. She knows their type. She waits until they make their first move, then cuts each down in a swift, surprise attack. When she goes to check on the squirrel, however, she finds nothing except a scrap of paper with an emblem matching the tattoo's design. Beneath are the words: "Find me if you really want to know."

  • Essa Pipanter - A nursery caretaker, this mousemaid is known best as "Mother" to over thirty various dibbuns that she's entrusted to care for. The Northlands are a dangerous place, and it's not uncommon for the parents to simply never return to pick up their children. Essa tries to fill in as best as she can, though her nursery has begun to attract the attention of more unsavory types. Beasts who have whispered about the profits they could earn by selling off the children on the market. Essa now sleeps by the front door, a sword always at her side. Some nights, the only thing she can cling to for hope are faint memories, stories of a warrior mouse from her homeland, clad in armor with a sword that struck down every evil beast that neared.

  • Adeen Pinebarrow - This otter has never once stepped foot into water. It's not because he doesn't like it, he just has better things to do, like tending his carpenter's shop. He's struck up a good friendship with the neighboring squirrels, who provide him the lumber. His goods aren't particularly amazing, but it's enough to make a living and support his family. It's what makes it all the stranger when a hare walks into his shop one day and requests a desk made from the finest of ebony. It's an incredibly expensive job, but the hare pays for it all upfront, saying he trusts Adeen to deliver the product on time, and of the sort of quality he desires. The otter begins the job eagerly, but years of haggling and business-smarts send warning bells flaring in his mind--there's something more to this. He just doesn't know what.

  • Kentigern MacRaff - a fishing gull off the coast of Salamandastron. Kentigern was enlisted by the reigning badgerlord to keep an eye out for any nearby pirate vessels. He happily accepts the job, as every night he comes back to find a fresh dozen fish waiting for him for his troubles. Nothing is ever out on the sea, anyway. Until one day, there is. Kentigern goes in closer to see what beasts are on-board when an arrow pierces through his wing, sending him crashing into the ocean. He's able to struggle to the surface of the water, but is unable to escape the searat vessel from dragging him on-board.



Whewwww, and that's all! This was fun to do, and I hope fun for you all to read. I'm super excited to see what actual characters belong to these names, and wish everyone the best of luck! =D

Actual reviews of the Top 30 will follow once they go up.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 05:31:20 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 08:37:05 PM »
Apps are out! The first lap is done! Second lap is a-go! You know what that means?!

WE'VE GOT REVIEW POWER, GENTS AND GENTESSES.


So how am I going to do this? Pretty simple, actually. I'm going to talk about what I liked about an app, what I didn't like, and what I would like to see if the character makes it into the story. Also, I'm going to post a piece of music that I think fits the character. Don't read too much into it, they're just for fun.

Now, my votes will not be locked in until the deadline arrives, so I'm very open to being swayed, if it seems like I'm wavering between the choices in a category. Shoot me a message, or a PM. You may just change my mind about that character you like. So bring on those paragraphs of defense about a character who is totally not yours. Yup.

Okay, let's do this.

Yonder Beasts of Foolish Persuasion

:poko: --- Malukh --- [song]



Jokes aside, I did enjoy this one. There's a lot of character-focused color to the narration, and we get a dang clear picture of Malukh's attitude. He's full of himself, and hopelessly ignorant (by design or otherwise) to the reality of the world around him. I like how the description is influenced by his perspective and biases. The audience clearly knows what's going on, but it's an opportunity to further see how Malukh views the world. The writing as well is solid, with lots of visual description peppered in to make sure the audience gets a clear picture of Malukh.

Wish there was a bit more to Malukh, though. We get a literal Q&A session with him, but I don't really feel like I know anything more about him. His father is dead, but he doesn't know where his father's siblings are? Should he? Does that matter? And what about his mum? He's obviously got quite a story on his shoulders, with him missing a leg, wearing a patchwork cloak, and yet being so totally sold to his regency, but I have zero clue what that story actually is.

If you get in, Malukh's author, I want to find out more about his story. Why is he so obsessed with becoming king? What's he been through? How will the Crater impact him? If Malukh just stays-the-course and never changes, then I'll be a sad panda, because his shtick will get old fast.

Overall: Writing is good, I enjoyed my time reading it, but I didn't have much "meat" to sink my teeth into afterwards, or anything to really hope to see should he get into the contest. The potential is absolutely there, but you'll have to step things up a bit, Malukh.


[insert bat emoticon here, since none exists] --- Kali --- [song]

I'm reminded of Fievel Goes West. Once Kali begins playing that lute, just call her Tanya and make it a tavern full of wildcats and we're set. And then she sings and ruins it all. Alas.

I like the twist. How everything is going well, and then a big fat load of NOPE comes crashing down on poor Kali. I get a solid sense of her character, and multiple facets as well--she's daring, bold, talented (and untalented), sensitive, yet able to pick herself up and keep going. I find myself wanting to know what happens to her, how she gets roped into the Crater, and what she'd do once she's in there.
Also, props for the song bitm and how it was written. I could believe it was happening. An appropriate amount of time is given to have the vermin shift into enjoying the music, but in particular I like the line about the song taking her elsewhere, and the others just coming along for the ride. That line alone tells me a lot about Kali, how music influences her, and how she's not doing this just for the praise and accolades, but because she legitimately loves it.

There's a lot of SPAG messiness throughout this app. Capitalization errors, sudden POV shifts from Kali to the fox, misspells ("shutters" instead of "shudders"), etc. Now, I'm of the persuasion that character and story matters more in these contests than technical prowess, but it's worth noting. Kali also runs the risk of becoming annoying to not just vermin audiences, but the real one as well. If her clumsy antics are taken too far, she'll just become twinkish and obnoxious.

If you get in, Kali's author, I want to see Kali have worthwhile struggles that grow and challenge her. My worries about her obnoxious qualities are greatly alleviated by her emotional reaction at the end. It promises that there's more to this bat than at first glance. Show us this greater depth. Don't just fall back on quirks. Also, do keep an eye out for these SPAG issues. Avail yourself of the advice and editing help of your castmates, if you get in. They'll do a world of good to clean up those blemishes.

Overall: Fun character, energetic piece that translates well to the reader, but plagued by some missteps with the writing craft.


:weasel: --- Tooley's Verdict

I'm leaning towards Kali. Malukh is the better writer, I think, but Kali shows more promise as a character. I'm more curious to see where she goes and how she'll grow than I am about Malukh. Both good apps, with their own unique strengths, but right now I'm more drawn towards Kali.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 08:54:57 PM by Tooley Bostay »

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 09:01:48 PM »
LOL Tooley - I hope Maluhk's author gets the joke about Tooley's patchwork hat. Certainly made me laugh. Great expression there.

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 06:31:24 AM »
Said this to Tooley via chat, but I can imagine the weasel face stretching thinner and thinner until he's only a thick, incredulous line on the page. Can't tell if Malukh's author deserves all the shame for biting Tooley's patchwork style, or all the praise for wearing it better, or if none of this matters and weasels/ferrets are silly creatures who all need better clothes. HMmmmmmmmm...

Looks like we agree a lot concerning this category. Wanted your thoughts on what YOU think each of these characters will do in the contest. I know the (valid) criticism of both is: well, where are they going? So, where do you think they'll go?


Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2017, 06:57:09 AM »
Yes, I'll make it clear to Malukh's author, I'm not insulted at all, nor did I dock points from Malukh because of some imagined slight. I laughed once I saw the resemblance, and the picture is there completely in good fun. Patchwork mustelids unite! =]

And excellent idea, Matra. I think I'll do that for the rest of my reviews. As for the two I just did:

Malukh: I think he'd suffer a massive culture shock, and while he'd attempt to order about his fellow gladiators, once he sees that bloodshed and carnage of the Crater, he'd finally be humbled. Try to bargain his way back out, at least in secret, since I think his pride would prevent him from being a complete coward. He'd probably end up under the thumb of some higher-up within the Crater network, becoming a stooge in some larger scheme, though eventually he would have to throw this aside and actually rise to the occasion.

Kali: She'd end up learning to make use of her "weaknesses." That screeching is probably a decent weapon to disorient beasts. She's like the RPG bard with the status debuffs. She'll rise or fall based upon her interactions with the cast. She's a very colorful character, but doesn't have - at the moment - a compelling narrative that alone drives her forward, so she'd have to find her footing once inside the Crater.

So, honestly, in retrospect, I do think Malukh has more clear promise of a definable character arc. And could ultimately be compelling. It's just a question of if I want to risk voting for what could be, when I already know that Kali has more to her character, albeit lacking a more clear goal.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 08:30:52 AM »
Whoaaaa, tons of more apps to read, huzzah! You know what that means? MORE REVIEWS TO READ!

Beasts Who Really Need to Take a Chill Pill and Lay Off the Grudges

"But Tooooley, that's not the next category in order!"

This is true. I'm going to be randomly selecting each category, so be on yours toes, lads and lasses!

:gashrock: --- Silas Hetherton --- [song]

Oof, this one was weighty and heavy to read. And that's good. In a way, it hurts to read that first half, which keys us right into Silas' own emotions. And that leads us excellently into him learning the truth and wanting revenge. I like how the description is handled as well. There's a good, character-focused flow to things, like: "Every hour, every blister, and every resulting coin was put towards freeing his family," Each one fits a different category - time, physical, and monetary cost - and they all tie into the stakes of the character, of how he was trying to pay for the situation he was in.
Also, is "Orwell" a reference to George Orwell? I can see the whole "dam overlooking the farms, controlling the lives of the people" being a possible nod to 1984.

Some things throughout the piece confused me. The very first lines are about debtor's prison, how beasts waste away within... yet we never see it at all. Is there an actual prison? Was Silas ever there, or was his family thrown in while he was allowed to work off the debt? Because the app begins there, it's jarring to realize "oh wait, Silas is wandering into some town. ...uh, okay." I'm also not exactly sure when all this is taking place. Did he just finish burying his family, or is he simply visiting their graves? If the latter, how has he lasted this long, given we see him staring meaningfully at the gallows? All this gives the vibe that the scene is a touch contrived, or rather that it removes the reader from fully believing that it's all "actually" happening. That these are just scenes written because they had to be written that way.
Also, if Timberfell was using the dam to con the farmer beasts, then why did he never approach Silas? Given that Silas owned the farm right next to Orwell.

If you get in, Silas' author, then continue to build compelling arcs for Silas. It'd be easy to just rest on "his story is about killing this beaver chap," but you won't survive long if that's all Silas' character is about. How would Silas relate/react to the other cast members? Make every post of every week something interesting, either in what Silas is doing or what we're learning about Silas.

What I think will happen? Silas gets in, struggles to form compelling bonds, and so resorts to creating NPC's to drive his character arc. This works, for the most part, and he'll survive a few weeks, but eventually he'll be overtaken by the other characters, who have developed compelling arcs, rather than still operating on one arc from the app phase.

:fox: --- Altra Gnawear --- [song]

There are some cool, cultural touches here that I like. The clan earring is a nice touch, and is a grounding element to solidify Altra's uniqueness (rather than just relying on "ooh, she's a silver fox!"). The dialogue as well was well done, and with the back-and-forth between Altra and the other fox, I was really interested to see what would happen.
I also appreciate the speedy pace. The ferret bartender isn't described getting a mug, then filling it, then walking back to the counter, then setting it down, and then pushing it to her. Nope, he scrambles for the barrels, taps it, then we jump right to the frothy mug being passed to her. Probably the biggest example of the speedy pace is the sudden shift from Altra's memories to the other fox being thrown outside the tavern. It's a little jarring, but it works well, and promises that the author won't waste our time with trifling details. We're there in the moment. Stuff happens. Boom!

But I don't really like Altra. That is not a snub against her author or the writing - the writing itself is pretty solid - I just don't like Altra's character that much. She's haughty, arrogant, and prone to overreactions. Beyond her quest for revenge being accomplished, I'm not sure why I should root for her. She's been wronged, sure, but she has such an unpleasant personality that I'm not really sure she's much better than the beast who wronged her.
Heck, I'm more interested in this other fox. Who is he? Why is he helping her? He's willing to step way out of his way to assist her, which has me curious. Also, it's clear that there's a budding romance of sorts, at least in his case, which is probably the only thing that makes me want to see Altra get in--I'd like to see how their story resolves, not so much how her story resolves.

If you get in, Altra's author, then you need to develop some solid relationships with the other cast members fast. Yes, I really like the growing bond between her and the other fox, but he's still just an NPC, and that alone isn't going to be good enough. Also, look at having the audience understand Altra a bit more. Why is she so uppity? Can she even be humbled at all? Why should I care about her quest, beyond simply her being slighted?

What I think will happen? Altra struggles to straddle the line of staying true to her character-appropriate mannerisms (being superior to other beasts) and relating with others. She ends up compromising by going for a semi-leadership role, which works for a while, but her lack of sympathetic qualities ultimately is her undoing.

:stoat: --- Tope Benwrath --- [song]

The rocks thing is really interesting, and adds a lot of color and flavor to Tope. I'm not exactly sure where he got the idea from, or why he follows it, but that's okay for now. It's a clever character element, and really helps him to stand out from the pack. The writing is capable and balanced, and reads easily. There's also the promise of more to see with this character--he seems to have an appreciation for justice and doing right by beasts - indicated by his help of the two woodlanders. Will be interesting to see how that manifests inside the Crater.

The scene itself confuses me. Seems like Tope was just standing by when this rich cat decided to give him trouble, and yet at the end, there's the bit about "the two beasts left on his list." Was the cat one of the beasts? I also didn't get a clear picture of where they were, or what the surroundings were like. It's not until the eighth paragraph that we see they're in a tavern, and then later suddenly a song begins to be sung? By who? Why? I got a clear picture of Tope, but his surroundings are vague and undefined, and prevent me from connecting with his actions. And am I supposed to make a connection between the "kill a good beast" and the two beasts on his list? If he's driven by revenge, are the beasts even good at all?

If you get in, Tope's author, I want to see Tope's motivations expanded upon. I'd like to see what's his deal with the rocks, and why he wants to get the white bag full to kill good beasts in the first place. Is it just to let off some steam, or are these beasts he's hunting down actually not guilty of anything? Also, take the time to build your scenery up. Paint us a picture of what's going on, and let us follow your character through the world, rather than stumbling to catch up with what's going on.

What I think will happen? Tope struggles a bit in the first few weeks, but his interesting hook with the balance earns him some engaging relations with some other cast members. He's got the qualities of a leader but the murkiness of a rogue, which will breed conflict both in the Crater's events, but also in the intercast relations. I can see him going far.


:weasel: --- Tooley's Verdict

Leaning towards Tope on this one. I think Silas is better written, and has a much more compelling quest, but Tope has stronger potential for interaction with the cast. If he plays his cards right, I think he can go far. Top 3, for sure. I'll have to take some time to consider this, though, since I did really enjoy Silas. I'm just not taken by Altra, sadly. Her strengths don't quite beat out the other two choices.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 08:52:25 AM by Tooley Bostay »

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 09:46:44 PM »
And the review locomotive chugs along!

Beasts Who Need to Just Shut Up for a Bit

:mouse: --- Sly Speakeasy --- [song]

This is a light, fun read, and Sly is probably the most Gabby of the three choices here. None of the other apps quite have the focus on chattering on and on about trivial things, and this is Sly's bread and butter. The proverbial ne'er-do-well that can jabber his way out of anything.
Lots of chuckles scattered throughout this piece, and a large part of it has to do with the marriage of meter and character-voice. The banter has a great rhythm to it, and lines like "I'll keep it dumb," or "Im not guilty, just ... frightened. You frighten me." are wonderful, because they get across a lot about the character without any unnecessary tags telling us he's winking, or saying things in an adverbly way.

Beyond the fact that he talks a lot and gets into trouble, I don't really know anything at all about Sly. I don't know what I should root for or expect out of him in the contest itself. At the beginning we're told that Sly likes to see "the looks" on other beasts' faces, but in regards to what? Why? What drives him? Sure, he savors their "stupid look" at the end, but he was trying to avoid that encounter in the first place.
Very sparse description work as well. While this fits the dialogue focus of the scene, it makes some parts - such as Sly's getaway - jarring and confusing. For all I know, he was still standing right in front of them, and then suddenly he's slinked away?

If you get in, Sly's author, I need to see some character motivations, and fast. You run the real risk of Sly's verbal charms becoming his only character trait, and that will get old fast. You've a capable handle on tone and humor-directed prose, so use that to your advantage as you build a character arc to lead Sly along. I want to figure out why Sly is so keen on causing a ruckus and savoring those stupid looks.

What I think will happen? Sly takes to the fights with ease and doesn't mind the bloodshed at all. Quips come fast and quick, but his greatest challenge will be building not only a suitable character arc, but maintaining solid relations with the cast.

:mouse: --- Hoober Blackfoot --- [song]

Voles. Voles everywhere.

Props from the start for the song ditty. Got a nice, airy flow to the rhyming scheme which fits perfectly with Hoober's character. Like Sly, Hoober's got a clear voice, though I also appreciate that there seems to be more to him than just the gab. He seems to be some sort of wandering trader, and also appears to know a fair bit about the specific vermin that approach him. It's clear he's got history, and likely a story to go along with that.

But, on that note, the second half of this app lost me. Given the way it's written, we're told there's only a hare among the vermin, then an otter takes center-stage as the main instigator. Then the fact that they're wearing blue uniforms is pointed out... but the importance of that is never explained. And then the hare who was smirking mockingly at him is suddenly asking him about crabs and seems to be on his side? And they're offering him a never-defined proposition, I guess, and aren't just being facetious? And then Hoober was renamed by a hedgehog? So much goes on so quickly, and I'm sorry, I just have no idea how to follow it all, or how to make sense of it.

If you get in, Hoober's author, I'd really like to see context and explanation for Hoober's character. The writing here is very solid, and I enjoy Hoober's character, I just don't have a clue what's really going on with him. Of course, I understand you've story arcs to build, and those need time and patience, but some grounding details to help the audience understand where he's coming from would be of huge help.

What I think will happen? Hoober actually is caught in a massive web which ultimately leads right back to Nire. I'm not sure how he got roped into it all, but he is, and now he's got to survive. He doesn't take to fighting well at all, but he's supporting by the few friends and allies he's made, and leads an attempt to get out. It fails, but ends up serving as a catalyst for everyone to continue to resist.

[insert bat] --- Bechtel --- [song]

Bats. Bats everywhere. Though, joking aside, I really like the species diversity I've seen so far. You all have made me proud!

Took me a bit to figure out the blurry world/sight thing. It's echolocation, and I love that idea. A bat that has to keep talking in order to clearly see? Very clever use of the category, and it's a character-enhancing detail that draws inspiration from the species. Bonus props because the "gab" isn't just a silly quirk, but an intrinsic part of how this character lives his day-to-day life. I want to see more of this.
The whole piece drips with Bechtel's voice, and I found it to be genuinely funny. Bordered just the right amount of bitter snark and honest humor. There could have been a bit more verbal gab, but I think the description and dialogue both show that Bechtel's not going to run out of things to say anytime soon.

There's a massive tonal whiplash at the end that comes out of nowhere. I can appreciate the attempt to hint that there's more to Bechtel's character than just his chattering, but it hits the audience so hard and fast. Tighten that up in the future. Such a harsh transition needs care and more time to properly work.
And with that in mind, I'm left with questions I'm really uncertain about. So is Bechtel maybe unhinged, or just filled with a desire for justice? In either case, neither are foreshadowed at all.
Also, kudos for trying the mole accent, but I'd dial way back in the future. That's thick even for mole accents, and I had some trouble figuring out what was being said.

If you get in, Bechtel's author, don't lose the fun of the character by dipping too hard into the serious/dramatic stuff. Bechtel seems like a really fun character, so keep him fun to read! More of that description work, more of the character-focused banter, more creative uses of the echolocation thing. You should absolutely look to develop Bechtel and give him a proper arc, just don't suck all the life and fun from him in the process. Heck, despite the roughness of the transition, I do think there are glimmers of some backstory that I'm curious to learn more about.

What I think will happen? Bechtel struggles hard suddenly being in the harsh environment of the Crater. Maybe he snaps and just goes nuts. Maybe he hangs onto his sanity. Dunno. He'll form some close relations with a handful of the cast, and depending upon how he proceeds with that, I could see him making it far.

:weasel: --- Tooley's Verdict

Leaning to Bechtel on this one. All three apps have different shortcomings and different strengths, but I really like the uniqueness of Bechtel's character, and think he shows the most promise for being included in the story. Of the three, he's the one I most want to see interact with the other cast members, and learn more about.

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2017, 04:36:44 PM »
It's been really quiet on the boards for some reason, despite the loads and loads of different review threads that are all active at the moment. I know everyone has to conceal their identities, but that doesn't mean we can't have some arguments discussions. :)

So, I want to touch briefly on your Gab review, Tooley. Namely in regards to Sly and Hoober- though I might touch on Bechtel a little bit as well.

What I've noticed in a lot of reviews for this contest, as well as previously in MO3, is that simpler characters tend to get written off very quickly in favor of characters who have more going for them. And for whatever reason, the criticism's of these characters tends to be that the reviewer doesn't know anything about them. One thing that needs to be remembered is that each app is only a little over 750 words, so it honestly should never be expected that someone figure out how to add in every little detail of their character's life in this one space. An important facet to remember is that backstory doesn't equal character. Character is personality, what they do in situations, how they think, how they talk to others, how they act and react- and of course the most important part, why they do this. Now to get to the point-

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Beyond the fact that he talks a lot and gets into trouble, I don't really know anything at all about Sly.

With this comment, and several others later, I think you have completely written off Sly as not having much character despite the fact that his app is nearly filled to the brim with examples of it. To summarize Sly's character as quickly as possible while providing examples: Sly is a very very arrogant character who knows he is the smartest person in the room-  Its hard to be followed in the dark, but unfortunately, also difficult to see Slys favorite sight: the looks on other beasts faces. Dont worry, Ill keep it dumb." The otters stood in silence, presumably deep in thought. Maybe. Sly couldnt be sure. Even when he makes mistakes- such as when he runs the first time and is caught- he's quick witted enough to improvise a new story to distract them so they let go of him. Then we know for a fact if the otter's story is to be believed that he has a history of- Stealing, drinking too much, an, recently, getting into fights. This is speculative, but is he a drunk? I mean, it makes a lot of sense. Can you imagine this guy's personality and mouth when drunk. No wonder he's getting into so many fights.

That's all confirmed and things we know outright, all of which give a good glimpse into the character's overall lifestyle. Now it's time for me just speculating- Im not, Bigger Brute replied. Just proves youre guilty.

See, thats not true at all, Sly said. Im not guilty, just ... frightened. You frighten me.
- Sly is frightened not only because he 'looks guilty, but also because he knows these beasts are bigger than him. Words are his only weapon against them, and he knows that.

As was I! Sly cried, his voice cracking. Who am I? He couldnt recognize me? My own brother? So I scream I dont know anymore! - A stretch and totally assumption, but maybe Sly doesn't even want to be who he is. Maybe his story is a metaphor for himself.

Its hard to be followed in the dark, - Why is Sly so concerned about being followed. Is this a regular occurrence?

Some of that is of course speculation, but the point was that there's definitely a ton of characterization still there to counter your statement about knowing nothing about him. He doesn't have the most clear path forward, like you said, but I could easily see him having a ton of potential in the story and among the cast. He's a general rogue character, he'll fit right in, and I don't think he should be knocked just because he doesn't have some grand backstory or explicitly stated character arc, especially with how much foundation has been laid, and how much there is to potentially pull from.

I have a bit more to say about Sly, especially in regards to comparing and contrasting him to Hoober, but I'll save that for later. Here's a few comments though for his sake just to help clarify some things-

Quote
But, on that note, the second half of this app lost me. Given the way it's written, we're told there's only a hare among the vermin, then an otter takes center-stage as the main instigator. Then the fact that they're wearing blue uniforms is pointed out... but the importance of that is never explained.

The prologue of the story says that the Crater staff all wear blue uniforms, so these beasts are most likely working for Nire. It's possible you just missed this in your reading, but it makes the rest of Hoober's post make a lot more sense with that context.

Lastly,

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And with that in mind, I'm left with questions I'm really uncertain about. So is Bechtel maybe unhinged, or just filled with a desire for justice?

I'm not so sure where you got this from. Bechtel seems perfectly reasonable in the head, certainly not unhinged. He's definitely willing to lie to customers so he can beat Gurry, but has enough of a moral compass and sense of justice that he's not going to let the mole get away with essentially letting a beast die for a quick buck, though he does maybe go too far. Though I do wonder. A lot of people are saying Bechtel killed Gurry here, but did he?

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For the first time, he noticed how hard Gurry shook in his grip, how tightly he grasped the mole, and how much blood streamed out onto the cobblestone.

Sounds to me like Gurry is alive and shaking, though certainly bleeding out.

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2017, 05:06:13 PM »
Things have been quite, I should know, I've been logging on every ten minutes to see if anything new has been posted. :D

Need of intervention aside perhaps we need a non review discussion thread, where we can post chatter box like stuff about the contest
 And on that note, I actually thought the bat killed him too. He came across as a very high strong fellow (favorite line was how he tried to shoo the mole off with his wings) and I got the general vibe that the bat, or someone he knows, was hurt by some kind of snake oil salesmen in the past. Or maybe he really is just high strung after all xD

The beast of gab is one of those category that I just can't decide who to vote for because, wow, I like them all xD This one will be the toughest for me to choose who I want to get into the story and... Possibly get brutally murdered... :<
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 05:19:15 PM by Rascal »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2017, 06:41:50 PM »
Excellent suggestion, Rascal. A general sort of thread would be nice, though I'm not sure exactly what that would look like. Any ideas, folks?

EDIT: Speak of the Rascallion, a wild Chatterbox emerges! Go and dine, my good men and women, upon the morsels of opinions there.

And hurray! Debate! *cracks knuckles*

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...simpler characters tend to get written off...

A fair point. I don't necessarily mind simpler characters, or characters who succeed via power of personality. Vasily was one of my favorite apps in the last contest, and dude was pretty much all personality there. My issue with Sly isn't that he's simple, it's that I really don't know what to expect out of him. And part of this is a matter of taste. Simple characters win or lose based upon if they appeal to the readers. Sly is funny, and his author is talented, and I'd like to stress those, for sure, but the character just didn't really appeal to me. I didn't get drawn in, sadly.

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...completely written off Sly as not having much character...

A poor choice of words on my part, saying I didn't know "anything" about Sly. He absolutely has character, and I didn't intend to imply he didn't, I just didn't catch anything more than his gabbiness.

I did not catch the potential drunk angle. That actually does give me some reassurance that he'd have some interesting character conflicts beyond just "he wheels and deals verbally with beasts of all types." So I will gladly give Sly a point for that one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Airan.

I'll not comment on your speculations individually, though I won't negate them either. Sly could end up being many things in the contest - many good things! - but at least when I read the app, that's not where my mind wandered. I just wasn't enthralled with the character enough to begin speculating. I would debate that speculation doesn't equal having character. As an example, I speculated how Malukh could end up coming to grips with the reality of the Crater, and how he could end up being a really compelling character if he went that route. Makes sense with the app, but does the app itself promise that? Not really. It's just my presumption.

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Crater staff all wear blue uniforms,

Hmm... fair point. The app really should have somehow made that clear, as I don't think many readers would remember that small of a detail.

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Bechtel seems perfectly reasonable in the head, certainly not unhinged.

Emotionally unhinged, was more what I was getting at, not literally crazy. Sort of a "push the wrong buttons and he flips," thing. On a reread, though, seems like the justice angle is more likely. And you may have a point, Rascal, with the "wronged in the past" idea. Dunno. Wish the app built that up in some small way, rather than going all Holy Whiplash, Batman! Probably the one thing I seriously dislike about Bechtel.


I'm glad for the discussion, though! I want to see more of this kind of thing throughout the forums, especially with so many tough categories. People, you got a favorite that you like? Speak up! Got someone you're not so crazy about? Tell us why! Discussion is the nectar of a good writing board! ...or something?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 06:43:51 PM by Tooley Bostay »

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 08:29:17 PM »
Sssshhh Don't Tell Anyone, Mmkay?

:gashrock: --- Black Jasmine --- [song]

Hoo boy...

So this is incredibly well written. I can tell the author used great care in their word choices, and there is a ton of well-crafted sentence work here, all of it excellently building Jasmine and the rising situation. Things like "trembled in time with her chair skittering on the floorboard." or how the cookie she eyes/licks is a stoat, serving as foreshadowing for what's to come. Or, heck, even at the very beginning, with her saying she could make pillow puffs, and then... well, yeah, she does.
The structure of the scene is excellent. It's a slow build, and then when Jasmine "gives in" to her hunger, everything gets dialed up to 11. The writing reflects the shift in Jasmine in that way--the plodding, hesitant worry is gone, and now we're in a Saw set.
The little stutters in her dialogue as well are also fantastic. They're not really regular, and are a little strange, but occur just often enough for you to notice. Again, it's a way that the writing reflects what's going on here. So as far as craft, incredible work by the author. One of the sharpest apps in the contest.

But this goes too far. I literally felt sick after reading this. The gore is just so persistent, so viral, so visceral and it covers the entire second half of the app. I suppose my reaction is a testament to the writing. It's a horror story. I was horrified. And look, I get it, we're in a contest that's about gladiators and blood and people dying. Bad things are going to happen. Bad people are going to exist. But I can guarantee you the story will not simply be about bathing in wanton slaughter and butchery.
Now, I really don't think obsessing over such gore was the intent of Jasmine's author. There's obviously more to Jasmine's character, things that promise depth and conflict, with lines like "Chef Chuffy says I'm a whole lot of love with a little sick. Chef Chuffy says if beasts treated me-" or her covering her eyes when she sees the bodies (indicating sensitivity that obviously is gone and lost by the end). But I don't want to have to slog through this much gorish revelry to hope that maybe there's a reason to justify it.
It's not about what happens. It's not about writing a character who stoops to such evils. It's that I was that ferret guard, stumbling into a scene of such complete and utter violence. Too close. Too visceral. Too in-depth. I know there is no "official" rating that Zevka put for the contest, but on average we've always gone for a PG-13 rating. This went straight into R. We shouldn't ever have to go that far in these contests.

I'm hitting hard on the critique here, I realize that. I'm doing it, for one, because I know we have younger authors and readers on this board, but also because I just don't think this level of gore is at all necessary or appropriate. Understand that I have nothing against you, Jasmine's author. You are obviously an incredibly skilled wordsmith. So if you get in, I want to get a bead on what story you're trying to tell. Why this character? What story are they telling? Why is it important?
And in the meanwhile, tone down the gore. Survivors are known for their bloodshed, but you don't have to punch that hard in the description, especially in such dark acts (see the NPC Torin in MO:III for a good example of this). I can tell you know your way around a type-writer. Just exercise some restraint in how graphic it is. Heck, may even make it scarier, but in a way that's not quite as disturbing.

What I think will happen? Jasmine makes a few good friends, and comes to a crisis of identity. She's given in to this alter-ego (assumption), is losing herself to it, and needs the help of others to pull her out. The conflict is gripping and the struggle is fo' realz, yo, but it's a question of if the author can balance such heavy, dark concepts. Tilt too far one way, and I can see the audience reacting poorly (see: Scully and the torture scene in MO:III).

:gashrock: --- Thrayjen --- [song]

I needed this after Jasmine.

There's a really pleasant, homey quality to Thrayjen - and the writing - that just makes me smile. Yeah, the happiness he's in is doomed to fail, since we all know what's going to happen (and even without the Crater business, his whole secret is looming there in the shadows too), but for the scene itself, for the moment, I just kinda smiled and enjoyed the ride. It's really sweet. Has almost a Wind in the Willows vibe, with the dying fireplace embers and the tea-sipping and the book end table. And, really, I'm a total sucker for these kind of characters--baddies turned good.
I wonder how much of that story he's telling the dibbuns is just a story. It's clear he knows the workings of pirates, so that much isn't a surprise, but I have to wonder just how true-to-life this "Dread Pirate Blackwhiskers" actually is. We're not told a whole lot in the app, but what's here perks my interest to learn more.

Some odd moments. Thrayjen is totally into the story, and then once he - of his own volition - starts talking more about why exactly pirates are bad, suddenly he's fairly mopey, only murmuring back a "Good night." It's a minor thing, but the transition of things "getting real" in his head didn't quite connect with me.
Things only really get interesting - when it comes to the category swing - once Nan lets it out that she knows he buried something. There's only six lines dedicated to his revelation, and we only get a taste of what could possibly be going on. I wish there was a bit more here, more reactions from Thrayjen, or at least, more reactions that are meaningful. Beyond the information itself, it feels like the moment is played a bit safe, when some more juicy character opportunities could have been seized.

If you get in, Thrayjen's author, then I'd love to see how Thrayjen deals with the situation of being in the Crater. He seems to have a good heart, so mayhaps he'll end up becoming a sort of leader - moral or otherwise - for the cast. Completely personal taste thing, but please don't get all dark and dismal and gritty on me with Thrayjen. One of the things I enjoyed most about this app were those moments of genuine, simple joys. Even through the struggles and darkness of the Crater, don't lose that.

What I think will happen? Thrayjen has to struggle with doing acts he's long since sworn off, but he realizes that the beasts around him need a leader. Maybe it's not altruistic at first, maybe he doesn't even know why he's doing it, but he's able to step up to the plate. Trouble arises when whatever past he's trying to escape comes back to haunt him, and he realizes he needs to confront it there and then before he'll truly ever be free. Could see him going far. Top 3, if he plays his cards right.

:marten: --- Nokki Avaartin --- [song]

I love the little touches throughout the piece that key us into Nokki's headspace. Like the table shaking because he's bouncing his knee nervously. I like how "crippled" and neurotic he is throughout the entire piece, and how it makes the change at the end punch hard. There's a clear feeling that Nokki isn't just dissatisfied with domesticated life, it's sucking the very life out of him, down to even minor quirks and habits. Those little bits of detail are wonderful, and tie excellently into Nokki's character.
The final exchange between Nokki and Ragschild is wonderful as well. Solid snap to the dialogue, and especially that "Yes. Exactly" which tells us a ton about Nokki. He's got too much self-respect to just be a family beast.

Some strange bits spring up here and there. He's fanatically focused on having no one recognize him, or being noticed, but it's made very clear both in the beginning and the end that no one gives him a second look. Sure, it may just be something only he is worried about, but... why? Maybe because he's afraid of being noticed by someone who would then tell his wife? Then why is he also so extremely uptight around Ragschild? And do people recognize him in the bar or not? If so, what's that even mean?
It's not that anything here is bad, it's just missing some pieces that connect it all together. Like, why does Ragschild jump up and shout out about Nokki? And why did the author include it? What is the purpose of it, since I don't really learn anything about Nokki because of it.
A few extra points off since I'm not really sure where at all the "Secret" is here. He's an old mercenary yearning for the rush of his old life, it seems. Could there be a secret he has? Sure, but I didn't get any vibe of one from the app.

If you get in, Nokki's author, then I'd like to see some expansion on what Nokki used to do, and what his story is. Why is he ditching his family, beyond just him yearning for the old days? Why should I care about him, if he seems to be exceedingly selfish? And what's he think about his situation/family once he's caught in the Crater? Does he recognize that he's made a mistake, or is he having the time of his life?

What I think will happen? Nokki hangs with fellow vermin cast members, and heck, maybe even knows one from "the old days." Despite his initial horror of the coliseum and regret of leaving his family, he begins to see the luxury of the Crater, and how he can actually feel alive here, and no one judges him for anything. He slowly begins to embrace it more and more, until eventually he's truly lost himself.

:weasel: --- Tooley's Verdict

Leaning hard to Thrayjen. He's the only one of the three who has a clear "secret" that he's hiding (at least from the audience). Nokki doesn't have a "secret" so much as a need for thrill in his life, that he's probably keeping a secret from his family. Jasmine has less of a secret and more a dark side. Yes, it does fit the category, but I'm more drawn towards the traditional intrigue with Thrayjen--he's hiding something, we get some vague clues, but it's yet to be seen what his secret even is. I want to find out, and I enjoyed his writing the most, so Thrayjen's got my vote.