Author Topic: Storyteller's Vigil  (Read 6937 times)

Minerva

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #60 on: August 11, 2017, 10:52:29 PM »
Thank you for the review, Tooley, but I'm about to argue with you about one thing.

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Word of warning, though? I'm dinging points for how long this took to get out. It was nearly a week between rounds, and this took three-and-a-half days to follow Adeen's post. This isn't the first time things have been held up, Minerva. You need to step it up and get the cogs turning faster. Being blunt because this is a contest, and these things matter. I recommend drafting your Round 3 post now so that you can have it out bright and early next time, especially because you seem to be building up to a mighty fine followup post.

This is the kind of statement that gets me votes when I didn't do anything to deserve them. First thing's first, my life is not this contest. Sometimes things come up that prevent me from writing, or I simply don't want to write over the voting period because it's my chance to take a break and merely plot with the other writers. The voting period was longer, yes, but I spent it working on things behind the scenes rather than writing for the story.

Second, in no way have I held anything up this round. I posted "Tug of War" 3 days into the round, and only Aldridge has posted after me (as of this posting). No one has been waiting on me. Everyone has been writing diligently. Sometimes things take time, and 4000 words in 3 days is not a bad showing for an amateur writer.

Lastly, I'm not going to draft my Round 3 post now, because I'm not confirmed for Round 3. Drafting my post now creates the expectation to my fellow contestants that I will survive the round, which can and does influence their voting. It is simply not fair, and I refuse to do it. I will begin to draft my Round 3 post when the results of Round 2 are posted, no sooner.

Apologies if I'm being harsh, but truly, this comment really bothered me, especially when the wait truly wasn't long. The wait for "The Monster of Mossflower Woods" certainly was. It took a week from Aldridge's posting to get that post up, and I certainly deserved the criticism there. But three days? Absolutely not. I'm simply not accepting that criticism.

Sorry if I'm in a bad mood but-

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I understand the thought process at work here. You want to make sure the audience is clear on what the character is doing and why, but don't be afraid to be a bit looser with your writing. She licks her lips, this is following the fight with Hammerpaw and right after she wakes up. Trust the reader to make that connection on their own, because all these inserts just take the reader out from the moment and remind us we're reading a story.

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A quick look at her paw revealed that Fable had finished their stitching of the lily. The otterwife had given her daughter her reminder, and now she had one of her own.
...eh? Minerva didn't give anything. Adeen did for her. It's a wasted moment that kills the momentum set forth in Adeen's post. A shame.

Minerva told Fable that everytime she saw a fishhook it was a reminder that her mother was fighting to save her. I include the first quote because you asked me to be loose, and I was, but you didn't understand.

All of your other criticisms are sound, and I appreciate the insight.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 10:57:21 PM by Minerva »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #61 on: August 15, 2017, 01:01:22 PM »
I apologize for my absence, everyone. My family had an emergency that demanded my attention and time. Things have leveled out, and the worst has been avoided.

Beasts of Burden

So I'll just say from the start to relieve you that I really enjoyed this post, Aldridge. Finally, we see some significant moments with Aldridge, as well a burgeoning character arc. Let's hit the highlights for the good and bad.

Huge props for the songs. It's a Redwall tradition, and I give authors particular kudos when they attempt it in their own works. Even more when the songs are good, which these two - for the most part - are. The song with Cricken is sweet, and really helps to establish the emotional connection and loss that Aldridge suffers as he watches the child die. And I absolutely love the imagery and word pictures within that second song. Particularly: "The tomb door is the gate, you see" and "Mouth closed in dust and opened, see In new-grown unimagined beauty." Wonderful. It has just the right amount of dramatic prose within it but never feels cheap or hollow.
Though, I will note some of your syllables are off in the rhyme scheme. In the second song, every line but two are eight syllables long (...trapped or free, and ...unimagined beauty. Seven and nine respectively). A small note, but one to keep in mind for the future, as it does hinder the flow of these otherwise lovely songs.

Love Aldridge's conversations in this post, both with the NPC's and the cast mates. Each one of them shows us a lot to Aldridge's character, and they're just genuinely good moments. The singing with Cricken (showcasing his sensitivity), his bearing Kali's singing to hear the heart of the song (related to his own experience of beasts looking past the initial first impression), his tender moment of looking at a brighter future with Komi (his hope of a future, and the first genuine moment between the two that I've read so far), and his talk with Tegue (ties into Aldridge's theme of expectations vs. reality, but moreover, also hints at this whole "the Crater can be redeemed" arc).
But the Ulrich conversation? Dang man, that whole bit is on point. Through a natural bit of conversation, you confront and address all of the issues that have plagued Aldridge so far in the contest. Aldridge has made gambles. Stupid ones. And following that tie last week, he is lucky. Unsure if intended, but the meta commentary through Ulrich's dialogue was excellent. As if he's the audience slapping Aldridge in the face and telling him to get his act in order, but it's not just a cheap trick, since the author even ties that into Aldridge's history (with Aera being the one to slap sense into him before). Sharp dialogue, addressing past issues, and promising a direction for this stoat--fantastic.

The only interaction I'll say I was "meh" on was Adeen. There's that bit where she mentions adding them to the list of greats, but otherwise it's just "Aldridge heals Adeen." Not a lot of bang for one's buck, as it were. I was waiting for Adeen to ask why he saved her, why he cares, etc. Especially since she has misgivings about him--it was the perfect time to probe deeper into Aldridge's psyche. Boo for the missed opportunity for some yet deeper interaction, but the rest of the chapter more than makes up for it.

There are some stumbles in the flow here and there. Odd formatting choices, such as Kali's: "She squeaked. "I... what?"" Why is squeaked italicized? And then there's when Aera talks in the beginning:
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“Nothing else there, she’ll be all right. [...] And when you’re done, she’s to stay there overnight.”
This bit could seriously benefit from a few breaks to indicate Aera's actions. Not only to break up the paragraph, but also to make things clear. I was a bit confused once she started taking to someone else other than Aldridge, then flipped back. Sure, I can follow it as-is, but just a simple "Area snapped her fingers at a nearby vole" or something would greatly help in clarifying the scene.
A similar issue of clarity here:
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He ducked under a bed and came up with a small bundle of folded hessian. As Aera swept to her next patient, the Apprentice Apothecary trotted over to Aldridge, tucked the bundle under his arm, and turned away.
First off, who is this vole? We're told in the beginning that the other two beasts moving around are Ulrich and a squirrel. Suddenly there's a vole? And then with the bit quoted above, it took me several reads to understand what exactly was going on. Thought he was tucking a bundle under his arms at first. And why is "Apprentice Apothecary" capitalized? And how does Aldridge know that's what the vole is, given we're in his POV? Some moments like that dot the piece, halting flow and weakening the scene.

Biggest gripe with the post? We don't get any further explanation or understanding of what Aldridge said in Adeen's post. Does he honestly believe the Crater can be saved and turned to something good? This isn't completely neglected, as I don't think his reminiscing about Madder Barrow when he's walking through the Crater is any accident. Reads far more like foreshadowing that he's unconsciously thinking of ways the Crater could be repurposed--how the Barrow could be reforged, in a way. But still, there's no direct acknowledgement of what was a huge turn for the character in Adeen's post. I'll want to see this followed up more clearly in future spots.

Overall, this is a grand improvement from your other posts. Aldridge finally has the beginnings of a "quest" and story forming. A reason to see him survive through this contest to the end. He's seen friends die now, had his living friends snap him from his stupor, and even made some new friends to help him through the darkness. This isn't quite Kentrith levels of recovery, but a dang fine showing all the same. Don't take too much comfort in that. The building blocks for a great story told through his character are here now, but you've only set them up. You'll need to begin putting them into action.
Keep up the excellent, character-enriching dialogue, though. Was my favorite part of your whole post.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 01:08:26 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #62 on: August 15, 2017, 02:28:35 PM »
Don't have too much time for super detailed reviews. My comments will be written as I read the post, to help speed things.

All the Ghouls Come Out to Play

Good first sentence. Hooks me and I'm instantly intrigued about what's going on.

Not sure why Kentrith is such a shaking ragdoll in front of Nire. Especially when he had such bravado to Nire's face in his app, and prior instances (Hargorn, the two ferrets, his meeting with his brother, etc.) showcase him as more cold and emotionless rather than constantly on his tiptoes.

The bit about remembering Hargorn is very interesting, though... Did they used to be friends? Yikes, if so, much must have changed.

Love the line about the beasts in Northvale only being there for the sights - of both varieties. Nice turn of phrase.

First Bothan, now Narvi. I'm expecting him to shout "Hey! Listen!" constantly. =P The bit with the otter who escaped is both good and odd. I see why Kentrith is pursuing it - he needs to find allies - but his odd lack of confidence as noted before makes the whole thing a bit odd. Feels like less a beast with a purpose and more someone just struggling to make it by.

I'm mixed on this post. We get to learn a lot more about Kentrith, we see him brought low, and the bit with Nix is solid. On the other hand, I'm a bit disappointed that we don't really see Kentrith doing much in this post. Think of it like a game of chess. We only really see Kentrith responding to the enemy's move, never setting up his own strategies. The only contradiction to this is him seeking out the mole, and learning in the end that he indeed has a friend he can work with. I'll want to see more on this in the future. I like driven-but-tortured Kentrith. I don't like sappy, "pity me plz" Kentrith.
Luckily, this post sets up a lot to begin paying off. That's what I'd like to see from you in the next round, Kentrith--how is Kentrith "facing the day"? Not bearing it, not constantly rubbing at his ear and having #memories, not trembling at every difficulty he faces--how will he face and confront the day?

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #63 on: August 15, 2017, 02:59:23 PM »
Let's Get Down To Business

but who will defeat the huns?

Hmm... I feel like the problems that have haunted Komi and Aldridge's interactions now loom over this entire post. Everything is something we've seen before, and nothing new is conveyed at all. She still resents Aldridge, she still hates woodlanders, she still is hounded by the "Coward" name, etc. And what happens in the post gives us no indication of growth for Komi. She refuses to work together at all with Minerva, the whole training sequence is just the same issue played multiple times over, and when she finally does take up the shield, it's not by her own will. For all her snarling and growling and resistance, I'm honestly siding with the other beasts--she is a bit of a coward. Immature, if nothing else. And that alone is fine--characters with flaws are great! The problem with Komi comes from the fact that the same record plays over and over, and we rarely get to see her rise above it, or confront it.

That said, I did enjoy the training sequence itself. One of those scenes you can picture being in a movie; the montage shots of them completely bungling it all up. It does set up nicely the realization that yeah, these two are in trouble, and they really will need to work together to survive. I just can't bring myself to care right now, because all I see from Komi is more of the same.

Overall? It's not strictly a bad post, just doesn't reach far at all. Komi drops more hints of #pastthings that happened, but I'm getting tired of the hints. I need to start seeing some answers.

Komi Banton

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #64 on: August 15, 2017, 04:21:46 PM »
Quote from: Tooley Bostay
Hmm... I feel like the problems that have haunted Komi and Aldridge's interactions now loom over this entire post.

...
...
Blast...

I tried.

Gotta try harder, apparently.

*sweeps up shattered pride off the floor*

Quote from: Tooley Bostay
That said, I did enjoy the training sequence itself. One of those scenes you can picture being in a movie; the montage shots of them completely bungling it all up.

And yay! I was hoping that's how that would come out. I can feel like I did something right. :-P

I do have my collaboration with Minerva later this round, so answers will come, because a lot of this post was needed to build up what we wanted for that.

Oh, and thank you so much for taking time to read and comment on our posts! It means a lot to us all to know someone is reading and thinking about what we worked so hard on.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #65 on: August 15, 2017, 06:38:19 PM »
Sorry, Komi! =( I do see that you have a second post up, so maybe my opinion will change by the end. And thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it, and am glad to hear the cast enjoy my silly ramblings.

Fool's Gold

Hmm... *steeple fingers* ...I'm not sure how much I can even trust you, Thrayjen. I've a litany of potential criticisms or praises with your post, but I'm not entirely sure where to place them. Let's take this part, for example:
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“She passed earlier that night. She… well, she was very old.”
I can't believe this. It is such an utter waste of rich storytelling potential, and drips with so much convenience that I simply can't believe this is true. The mother-figure who took in Thrayjen and matters so much to him just so happens to die the night he was taken? Given Thrayjen's spotty record of truth-telling, I'm inclined to think this is a lie, in which case, I give you some props, since you don't bother with some aside where Thrayjen monologues to the audience about how he's lying. ...on the other hand, it's possible this is true, in which case... dang, what a letdown, man.

And where are the hogbabes? Are they actually dead? Kept with Nire's other children? Hedgehogs have been mentioned being around Marik, and maybe I'm forgetting a part that specified this, but it's a part that could use some clarity. Does Thrayjen honestly think they're dead? Does he not know? If he doesn't know, why isn't he trying to find out, given he cared so much for them? If he does know they're alive, then why's he just waddling around and not trying to free them?

We finally get our taste of Thrayjen's secret, and his backstory. And I daresay I like it. It's not what I expected, and adds a certain gravitas and weight upon his shoulders. He suddenly has some importance within the world, and isn't just some random runaway rat who smiles and nods at everything. Speaking of which, it also goes a ways (though not far enough, I think) in explaining why he's so unfazed by the horrors around him. He's probably seen much worse, so bearing the Crater isn't that big a deal for him.

Got to say, though, was not feeling the Aldridge addition at all. For the start, why Aldridge elects to have drinks with a random rat makes little sense. I can accept it, though, given he has a camaraderie with Blue. But then he starts dumping his whole personal life story on Thrayjen? Da heck? The moment seems incredibly out of character, and even if it wasn't, it doesn't feel like it's been earned. These two beasts don't know each other at all, so why is Aldridge - who has been shown to be at least somewhat suspicious and cautious - so entrusting with such personal history? A bit more time establishing at least the beginnings of a bond between the two would have helped.

In a few ways, Thrayjen almost reminds me of a reverse Hargorn. Especially with the aside about the mousemaid. He used to be a beast who indulged whatever passions and pleasures he had, and to see him now, you think to yourself "no way. This can't be the same person." That has a lot of potential--the struggle against the person one used to be. Does Thrayjen crack and cave in to the Crater's way, becoming the beast he used to be? Does he even struggle with that past self at all? Will his past come back to haunt him? Whatever happens, just be sure to follow through on this, as I very much want to see Thrayjen deal with his past self, one way or another.

Overall? I like the pieces being set down here, but there still isn't a whole lot of meat to sink my teeth into. I now know a little bit more about who Thrayjen is, which is great, but I still don't know what he wants. He's still the same "smile and tough it out" type as before, though showing him bend under the strain of Nire's questioning gives me hope that he won't remain static. Start building Thrayjen's story. Why this character? Why are we reading about him? You have a compelling answer there with his past self, but it'll need to be executed well. A good showing, though. Thumbs up, Thrayjen.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 06:41:39 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #66 on: August 15, 2017, 08:00:28 PM »
Don't Fear the Reaper

Let's start with the good.

This was a good step for Silas. In particular, I liked him meeting Truggo and seeing how his actions doomed beasts around him. Of note is the line:
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“But your family and friends – ” Silas started.

“My family and friends think I’m a murderer.”
This must be a gut punch to Silas. His whole revenge was for what happened to his family, and now there's a parallel to be found in Truggo. Only Silas is the beast at fault. Excellent bit of conflict, though I wish Truggo had been kept alive longer. I think there was more to be done with that character, though what happened in the arena itself works well too.

Speaking of which, this is our first taste of one of Nire's monsters in the arena, and boy is it purdy cool. I love the subverted expectations once Truggo refuses to kill Silas. Initially I thought they were just going to stick him full of arrows for sticking out his proverbial tongue, but nope, snek monstah. I had some trouble following the flow and actions of the fight, but I overall enjoyed it--especially the bit about the snake still snapping after being dead. Incredibly freaky for beasts who may not expect it, and it's the perfect way to make one of these creatures truly seem monstrous.

As for the negatives...

Holy NPCs, Batman! There are four new NPCs here, and only one cast member of note. It seems like such wasted potential to have Silas be around random NPCs that we don't know or care about when cast members could have easily been inserted in their place. The sparring mouse? Could be Thrayjen or Kentrith. The otter part with the egg? Could be Aldridge, or Adeen, or anyone. The ferret tailor? I dunno, could work with Kali maybe, given she can't really be a musician at the moment. Truggo has his place, and I liked his inclusion, but the random onslaught of new, unimportant NPCs strikes me the wrong way. Don't rely so heavily on NPCs of your creation, Silas. Make bonds with the cast, especially given how much potential there is. Thrayjen and his whole loss of family/turning over a new leaf could inspire Silas to put down his revenge, maybe? Adeen was already set up with that fantastic bit about saving his wife's letters, and I want to see them interact more. And they'd all be naturally compelling bonds, because as this post establishes, Silas knows he can't count on any of them as actual friends or allies. Know what that smells like? Sweet conflict~

Also, by the end of the post, we're pretty much back to square one as when Silas first was put in the Crater. While I really like Blasio sponsoring him - and didn't see that coming at all - I don't see exactly where he's going to go from here. Now, this doesn't worry me too much, since I had the same concern for this post, and the Truggo thing was a nice surprise. But I think you should set up Silas' overarching story soon, or at least build meaningful arcs between him and the other cast members. There's a lot to explore with Silas, but it's just not being tapped into right now.

So while this had some pleasant surprises, it ultimately is a bit too solitary and removed from the surrounding cast and story. I do like Silas, though, and am looking forward to see where he'll go.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2017, 09:07:21 PM »
Let Steel Do The Talking

Oh my. Our first death post. Given I just read Aldridge's post, I think I know how this is going to end, but there may be some surprises yet. *dives in*

Yikes. He died as he lived, a stubborn but resilient beast. It's a testament to the author how much I intensely disliked Kentigern in this post. No, that is in no way a slam against the author. This works wonderfully, because we're placed in Aldridge's shoes. We grow more and more incensed by Kent's stubbornness, his refusal to see reason, his violence and pig-headedness, and when Aldridge finally does the hare in, we're tempted to clap and cheer because the beast is finally dead! ...and then you come down from the emotion of it all, and realize just how wrong the whole situation was. What consequences it will have for Aldridge, for Kentigern's family, and it stings. Wonderful use of Kentigern's harsh personality to draw the reader further in. Bravo.

Also, kudos for trying out something different. I like the dual-character death post idea, and would like to see more of this in the future. Now, yes, this round we knew Aldridge survived beforehand, but what if in a future round we didn't? Think about how tense that situation would be. Heck, even as I was reading this, I was half-convinced that Aldridge would just throw his sword away to try and prove himself to the hare, only to get skewered. Love it. Keeps the audience on their toes.

The next beasts who get the axe--take some notes from this. Go out with a bang. The first death is always the hardest to write, since it's difficult to have it be impactful (see: Vasily just getting eaten by a shark). This is not a problem in this post. We see Kentigern at his worst (arguably his best, too), and this has a notable impact on Aldridge. That stoat is not going to walk away from this unchanged (at last he better not. I don't want a repeat of the Noodlearm Monster, Aldridge, where he shivers a bit then shrugs it off and goes to breakfast). In life or death, this is how you do cast interaction--make them have impact and meaning.

A hearty round of applause for Kentigern for writing in the contest and going out strong. It's never fun to see these death posts, but such is the game we play.

(Also, check your PM box, Kentigern. Sent you something.)

Aldridge Moor

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #68 on: August 16, 2017, 01:40:42 AM »
Got to say, though, was not feeling the Aldridge addition at all. For the start, why Aldridge elects to have drinks with a random rat makes little sense. I can accept it, though, given he has a camaraderie with Blue. But then he starts dumping his whole personal life story on Thrayjen? Da heck? The moment seems incredibly out of character, and even if it wasn't, it doesn't feel like it's been earned. These two beasts don't know each other at all, so why is Aldridge - who has been shown to be at least somewhat suspicious and cautious - so entrusting with such personal history? A bit more time establishing at least the beginnings of a bond between the two would have helped.

I just want to chime in and say that this blame should be at least half mine - as with Aldridge's other cameos. Will it be explained? Even that would be a spoiler. ;D

(thank you, as always, for these reviews!)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 03:00:03 AM by Aldridge Moor »

Kentigern MacRaff

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #69 on: August 16, 2017, 09:54:24 AM »
Quote
Also, kudos for trying out something different. I like the dual-character death post idea, and would like to see more of this in the future. Now, yes, this round we knew Aldridge survived beforehand, but what if in a future round we didn't? Think about how tense that situation would be. Heck, even as I was reading this, I was half-convinced that Aldridge would just throw his sword away to try and prove himself to the hare, only to get skewered. Love it. Keeps the audience on their toes.

That's awesome because that's exactly what we were trying to go for! I was also actually supposed to post an earlier post to increase the suspense, but unfortunately life has a habit of hitting you when you least expect it and I didn't have the time. We actually started planning it when we first got the news we were going up in a head-to-head vote— and credit to Aldridge for the idea. We figured, if the audience wants a head-to-head, we'll give 'em a real head to head!

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #70 on: August 16, 2017, 06:17:22 PM »
*claps* Well played, good sirs. A shame you weren't able to get that first post out, Kentigern. I'm sure I would have been on the edge of my seat during that death post. Nearly already was. Hopefully the life situation on your end has cleared up, though, as that is always far more important.

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Will it be explained? Even that would be a spoiler. ;D


I'm watchin' you, stoat. Watchin'.

But you're very welcome. I'm always excited to read your posts. While some have been hit and miss, I really like Aldridge and want to see him do well. so don't disappoint meeee

Coming Up Easy

WHOOOAAAA whiplash on aisle two! We go from Kentigern biting the bullet to suddenly Sly is back ages ago when he won the bet? Why was this post placed so far ahead? Should have come way earlier. Heck, probably even the first post of the round.

Blasio continues to be entertaining, though I can't quite say the same for Sly's voice. It lacks the same "sharpness" and cunning edge that was ever-present in the other posts. Take this line for example:
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...all of them focused on the next match which, from the bloodcurdling cries, could only be very entertainingly bloody.
Blood is used twice, but not with any notable rhythm or cadence, and "entertainingly bloodthirsty" is more of a mouthful than a savory bit of wit. This isn't a critical problem with the post, but I didn't find myself smiling at Sly's antics as I have in the past.

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...you’re not special, that all you are is amusing talk and nothing else. A little joke. A joke that has stopped being funny, and has gone on long enough.
Dang. What is with the meta commentary on the posts this week? Am I just reading too much into it? Still, Blasio points out directly the problems I've had with Sly since the beginning. What's more to him than gab and ale? The response given in this post is Sly's recognition of his past mistakes, how much he owes for them, but how that contrasts against the far greater evils of beasts like Blasio. Is this enough? ...ehhh... I'm not convinced. I'm not exactly sure what I should be rooting for. How has Sly earned - from a reader's perspective - the quest to overthrow Blasio? Where did this good will even come from to begin with, when two posts ago he was nothing more than just looking for his next drink/money to pay his debts? Not saying the movement to give Sly a journey and objective is a bad one at all - it's actually quite needed and appreciated! - but I don't know where exactly it comes from, or why I as a reader should care.

*reads ahead* oh. That's why Blasio is a doofus. Haha, I will give you some props for that, Sly! A nice way to answer that odd bit of randomness before.

And oh my, SlyXAdeen is now a thing. It's a thing, right? Because that looked like a thing. Things all in the air tonight. As far as real talk, though, while it was a genuine moment between the two (and I particularly like how Adeen's bluntness contrasts Sly's chattermouth), it did ultimately feel a bit like more of the same. Sly goes to ask someone for dirt on a Crater warrior. Like he's done before. I have no idea or expectation of where Sly is going next, beyond the promise of him somehow overthrowing Blasio based off of a sudden burst of righteous indignation.

Overall? This one just didn't really make an impression on me. I'm not very much invested in Sly's story, since he only seems to draw from a small pile of options in his posts. He's best when he talks to Blasio, but the problem with that is it's an NPC. And the same one each time. Other than that, Sly feels extremely secluded from the rest of the story and cast, and I don't know what to grab onto in order to root for him.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #71 on: August 16, 2017, 08:34:13 PM »
Flight of the Bumbling Bard

*looks at scroll bar ... copies into Word* 5,500 words? Kaliiii~iiii. *rubs tired eyes and gets down to it*

Huh, fascinating. We get our first taste of some history with Kali, in that she wasn't always a lone, wandering bard and in fact belonged to a troupe.

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“Oi! My tender sensibilities of right and wrong sure are keeping me warm this winter!”
I had to stop reading the post at this point, because I became aware of the fact that I had this huge smile on my face, and it'd been there my entire time reading. I have to take the time to note just how much I enjoy your writing, Kali. There's a beating heart of something genuine in it all, unhampered by cliche or falsity. Truly wonderful.

I think more than any other cast member, you've truly embodied the category you applied for in the best of ways. Kali's growing and developing as a character, which she needs, but it's not at all at the expense of that initial hook: she's still a Silly Beast. And better yet, none of it is a shtick. I was worried that her whole "oh noez mah singing" would be played out too far, but you tackled it early and now it's turned into something more, as well as opened further doors to develop Kali.
One of my favorite bits of writing advice is "play all your cards early." Especially in rapid-fire contests like this, a lot of us writers think we have to hold on to the plans we have and wait for the "proper time" to show them off. This just ends up getting your character killed. Instead, I recommend playing those cards early, and when you have a clear hand then? Draw more cards, and you'll be surprised just how much more you have to work with your character. You did this wonderfully, Kali, and the other authors would be wise to follow your example.

*laughs* Gosh I love her and Baxter's interactions. I will note as a criticism that his reversal to being friendly is a bit jarring. In the previous post, it was a flicker of a moment where we saw he wasn't all bad, but now he's suddenly super friendly and jesting around with her? His misconception of her potential motherhood does some to relieve this, since it explains why he's softened up to her so fast, but even then, the dialogue before and after that moment is a bit too relaxed and cordial.
...but, uh, KaliXBaxter please? Heck, she's already a fox-bat.

There are still some SPAG errors dotting your post. They've vastly improved since your app, but it's worth noting here. Punctuation and tense, mostly. Moments like:
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The wealth however, matter not to Kali,
Where it should be "mattered." And on a similar note,
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“Thought he had Gregor, there at the end, but man, that comeback,”
"Man"? What is this strange creature you mention, hmm? =P

HECK YES. Said that out loud when Kali took a stand for herself. This is what I want to see in a character. Someone who I can cheer for. Someone who surprises me. And then we transition beautifully into an exposition of Nire's twisted viewpoint. And what makes it stick is that it makes sense. I can believe he actually thinks he's imparting meaning and value onto those beasts. And then this part?
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“It seems you stand corrected, Kali. You were a free beast.”
Literally let out a stunned chuckle and clapped my hands loudly together. What a line.

I take it back about the length. Every word was necessary and wonderful. This is a masterful post. Kali doesn't stop at just one thing. "Ooh, here's some backstory. Now watch my character do nothing else with their post." Look at how everything weaves together. The bit about the red sky not only gives us a morsel of her history, but dang, how it ties into the end of the post is just wonderful. Or how about her finding Kentigern's sword, and how that relates to her search for Aldridge? I love it. I love every second of it, and I don't give a rip about any of the SPAG errors.

That ranking system I did last round? You actually are #1 on my list this time, Kali. Incredible post. Be proud.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 08:43:15 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #72 on: August 16, 2017, 09:31:35 PM »
The Chains That Bind Us

Mmkay, dual post. Interesting tactic, Minerva and Komi. I wasn't thrilled with either of your first posts, so we'll see how I feel about this one. Going to be briefer with my comments, since this is a second post.

Just want to first off note that I really like the opening lines. It's a world-focused detail that imparts just the right emotion. I think it could have been improved by chopping off the "and when there was noise, it was deafening." Let the scene speak for itself. But other than that slight bit, very good start. Really draws the reader immediately into the heart and emotion of the Crater at that moment.

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“Ye’ve got a kid too, don’t ye, Komi?”

Who's the father, Komi? WHO IS IT? Aldridge, you deadbeat, what have you done, hmmmmm?

And nice moment of bonding between the two. Unsure if I quite believe how fast Minerva seems to be taking pity and care upon the vermin, but I'll buy it for now. I'm not quite sure I get the relation of song and comfort with Komi. Has it always just been reminding her of her son, when in past posts it seemed to be just song/melody in general? I see what the author is doing, but there's a slight disconnect as I read it. I connect more with her worry/love of her son than the odd bit about singing somehow banishing nightmares.

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“Remember: Trust. Communicate. Cooperate,” Hapley advised both of them.
Eh? We just skip the entire fact of their training actually going well that time? We don't get to see Kentrith's surprise at their acceptance? One could argue it'd waste words, but it seems like an important moment.

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“By movin’ like one,” Minerva answered with a look to the stoat.
Oh, I see what this is. The metaphoric "teamwork is the answer" episode of the TV show. =)

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Could they meet its attack?
Bleh. I hate questions asked by the narrator. No, I don't know if they can. Don't ask me. Show me if they can.

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“We both ran in the other direction.”

“Aye, we didn’t talk first.”
So kids, the more you know...

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“Your daughter is here, Minerva. She needs you. My son doesn’t.
*wince* No no no, don't say that! That is painting a massive target on your face, Komi. "Minerva has a reason to live. I don't."

Ooh. Fatality on that scorpion. Dang, that was a nice finish to the battle. Glad you all chose a less obvious solution to killing the scorpion, and that it ties back into their prior failing against Kentrith and Nix. So Minerva and Komi are working together now, we know Komi has a kidmi, aaaand... that's about it. Is that bad? Well, no, it was a fun post to read with a cool battle, but especially after coming off the four-course meal that was Kali, this still feels like some lingering issues remain. With Minerva, she's opened up now to a vermin, which is a step, but she's still the mother who will do anything. With Komi, she's still the dramatic stoat who isn't really a coward (something we've known since her app) but has made herself vulnerable to a woodlander. Again, is the simplicity bad? No, but I want to see more from these two. This post was like funnel cake. It tasted really good, but was it healthy? Heck no! I want to see more meat and veggies from these two next round. Especially Komi. Start playing your cards, and draw some new ones.

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #73 on: August 16, 2017, 10:12:33 PM »
Thank you again Tooly for the reviews!

I just want to say, it's all a team effort. We each write our own crazy story sure, but we all help each other with SPAG, catching plot holes, helping interact with other characters, the list goes on.

I hope everyone is having as much fun reading the story as we do making it. :D

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #74 on: August 17, 2017, 09:56:38 AM »
And humble too. Lookit this 'un on a roll. =P But no, you bring up an excellent point. I've mostly focused my comments upon the authors, but it can't be ignored what a difference the camaraderie of the cast can make. I can't tell from my vantage point here what's going on behind the scenes, but I truly hope everyone has found the group to be supportive, ready, and eager to come alongside their fellow authors and help as they can. The story, and you all as writers, are always the better for it.

...though, speaking of SPAGing other authors. It's Tooley. ;]

ROUND TWO RECAP

Ladies an' gennelbeasts! We've reached the end of the bolder, the braver, the two-er Round Two. Insert your preferred stinger sound effect here. We had our first death, our characters have continued to grow, Nire continues to be a jerk, the world spins on.

This round, my "awards" will be slightly different, just to keep things fresh for everyone. With that, we'll start with:

BEST CAST INTERACTION

There were actually quite a few of these this round. Aldridge requesting Kali's song was a genuine and touching moment that said a lot about his character, Kentrith softening upon the realization just how changed Adeen is spoke a lot about both characters, and Minerva and Komi's Saturday Morning Cartoon romp through friendshipville was fun to watch as they slaughtered a scorpion. This one is easy, though. It goes to Kentigern and Aldridge for the fantastic death post. I hated Kentigern as I read that post, and it made me cheer all the more for Aldridge, but that gut punch at the end when you realize just what has occurred connected true. This is an atypical "interaction," but it fits all the billings of a solid one. The characters are propelled forward (Kent dies, Aldridge has succumbed to his anger), and it hooks us to ask what will happen in the future (how will Aldridge handle this from here?). Very well executed by Mr. MacRaff and Moor.

MOST SURPRISING MOMENT

The heat got turned up this round. Aldridge and Kentigern's post had me on the edge of my seat even though I was relatively certain Ald would survive, Thrayjen's backstory was something I wasn't expecting at all what with his app's focus on vermin pirate stories, and Kentrith's drunken stupor - while a bit out of the blue - was a side to him I wasn't aware of. This one goes to Kali, and easily. Given how much of her post showed her struggle between her conscience and her job, I was expecting that struggle to last at least another week. But, befitting her boisterous character, she up and blurts out her mind right in front of everyone, and I really didn't see it coming. Am very, very interested to see where this takes her in the future.

BIGGEST "WUT" MOMENT

Oof. Numerous. Aldridge buddy-buddying up to Thrayjen out of nowhere. Sly's post starting way far back in the timeline. Kentrith suddenly being a drunk. This one goes to Minerva, for not addressing Adeen's interaction with Fable at all. It's such a stark missed opportunity, especially since both characters planned for it in the prior round. While not a fully condemning bit against Minerva, it's a huge moment where the ball was dropped.

THE SAFE PILE
Ah yes, no doubt the most favorite and most dreaded section - depending upon the beast - which is why I've elected to keep it around for good. These beasts, as before, are safe from at least my own vote, and represent who impressed me the most, but moreover, whose stories I want to see continue into the following rounds. As before, no particular order, but I'm doing something new and adding a single sentence for why I put them on. Very, very brief, but consider it a snapshot of why I liked your character this round.

1. Aldridge - engaging relationships with yet further untapped potential to be uncorked.
2. Adeen - the deepest and most thought-out prose and characterization among the cast.
3. Kentrith - promises potential to be the main game changer within the arena.
4. Thrayjen - backstory promises future conflict for the entire cast while engaging Thrayjen into more interesting fields.
5. Kali - everything.


So that leaves us at the end of this round, and we all as readers and writers now must face the vote! As said before, PROVIDE REASONS FOR YOUR VOTES. Even if you strongly dislike a character, please take the time to let them know why so that they can understand what to change in the future. Nothing is worse than getting a bunch of reasonless votes and being at a loss as to what to do.

Congratulations to all who have made it this far, a round of applause for your work and effort, and best of luck in the vote.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 10:37:06 AM by Tooley Bostay »