Author Topic: Storyteller's Vigil  (Read 6049 times)

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #75 on: August 26, 2017, 02:26:38 PM »

The Tooley Monster has returned! Fear, all ye mortals.

Aftermath

Komi post! Been hoping for a turnaround, let's see how this one does.

Suddenly, enter stage left a sudden NPC. Is this bad? ...no... I don't suppose so, but at least in this post, it comes the heck out of nowhere. It does grant Komi another shelf to put some story knick-knacks on, but as of now? Not feeling it. Partly because there was zero buildup or foreshadowing (that I can remember). I hesitate to fully ding it, though, because there's just no way it's as simple as it appears to be. There's got to be another angle at work with Ms. Vixen, and it's clear there is at least something, given her reaction to Minerva. Would have appreciated some more meat on the bones, rather than just another secret to be uncovered the next round, or the round after that--so on and so forth.

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“With our help and a lot of time, he healed. But even something healed carries scars. Something mended is not always as strong as it once was."
Mrr... not a huge fan of the sentiment in this. I'm a very staunch believer that people can heal and rise above even the darkest of pains that hurt and haunt them. Scars last, but we aren't defined by our failures. And I wonder if this fits Aera's perspective, too, given how she invested so very much of herself in this vermin. If she believes something mended may not be as strong as it once was, why did she ever have any hope of meaningful redemption for Aldridge? This is a sensitive subject to encroach upon, but having dealt with crippling times of brokenness and lostness in my own life, I feel it's an important statement to say.

Oh. It's a spider. Not tentacle squidbroquo 9000. ...must have missed that somewhere along the way, but it makes sense. But on to important things, I like some of the more tender bits and pieces that we see dappled over this post. Aldridge's fear of spiders back in the past and Komi's interaction with it, being a key example. It's a nice little character moment that works and shows their history together.
Furthermore, I do like the use of the song in drawing Aldridge from his terror. She's comforted him in the past with her music - as we've been told - and it ties very much into what she's been doing for herself in pushing away the night terrors with song. I'm still not sure exactly why she's a singer beyond "she likes to sing, I guess," but for this moment, it was fairly good. Also, particular kudos for - what I presume, at least - to be the tie between the song's "home" and her finally reaching out to Aldridge. Home is where the heart is, and all that. Works well.

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“Alder…” She pulled back from him and looked up, saw tears in his own eyes. She hesitated, not wanting to hurt him further.
Congratulations, Aldridge. You are the father. *confetti*

Oh ho, and the end bit! Now that's the sort of interesting character hook that I'm talking about! This is what I've been wanting to see out of this contest--characters forced to fight who are friends/lovers/etc. That got my interest perked! ...until:
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All in good time, Jossia. The bowyer isn’t at all up to a fight at the moment, and the Coward did receive a small injury yesterday.
oh
So it's not something to look forward to next, it's something to look forward to... soon? At some point? The punch of that great moment is lessened when I have no idea when it'll happen. The tension of the moment is ripped away until it will be reintroduced at its earliest convenience.

Overall, a mixed post, with some really good moments, and some "to be continued moments" that mostly leave me confused. Not sure what the point with Eve is yet, which - sure - things take time to set up and develop, but I at least need something to grab onto rather than vague promises of stuff to come in the future. It's why I loved the end moment where Komi and Aldridge's fight is set up, but didn't quite as much enjoy how there was no timestamp applied.

You've stepped in the right direction, Komi, so keep that up, but right now the only thing I have to look forward to is the hook and intrigue of her fighting Aldridge. Everything else I either don't understand yet or am not compelled to look forward to.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:28:41 AM by Tooley Bostay »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #76 on: August 26, 2017, 04:51:27 PM »
Arena A Cappella

Interesting play with focusing on Inkpaw at first. Part of it works, part of it doesn't.
What works: the distance it provides the reader from Kali is well done. She's just been thrown in with the slaves, and the reader naturally wants to see what's going on with her, but by showing Inkpaw first, it staggers the moment before we revisit her, thereby giving the audience a chance to breathe. Really like that, and I also like seeing more of Inkpaw.
What doesn't work: ...wut? This really lost me on my first read. It seems to make more sense on my second read, so I won't ding it so much, but it's a lot to chew on suddenly. Inkpaw's back. There's a rat. They talk about orders. Or do they? The rat doesn't even know. Okay, then he goes. A couple layers of a subterfuge could have been removed to make things a bit softer on the audience.

Similarly, who's the wildcat she recognizes? I'm going to assume that this character has been mentioned before, but I can't for the life of me recall where or when he showed up. If it's just something I'm forgetting, I'll let it pass. If this is the first time they've ever been mentioned, then ehhhh... not so much.

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And then she would be accepted into a gang, and get a tattoo, and share a cell with a beast named Bubba who would always fight for the top bunk.
Laughed hard at this. I mentioned it before, so I won't go into another lengthy discussion about it, but Kali remains a very fun character to read. All the positives and charming qualities I've pointed out in the past are still here and still as strong. Nice work.

I'll also note that the SPAG issues in this post are pretty noticeable. Moreso than the others. I know Kali's had trouble with SPAG before, but do try to take the time to give your final draft a hard look for tense shifts and other such errors. Things like:
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The glaring flaws of this logic are lost to Kali’s desperate mind - (should be "were lost")

“Kentigern asked you to sing for me. You sang me shanty! - (...sang me A shanty)

She knew why she came here She came... - (missing punctuation)

Enjoyed all the cast interactions that came into play. Her accidentally slighting Minerva was a genuinely fun (though both Minerva and Komi shrug it off fairly quickly. A bad thing? No, just means that there's no promise of future conflict). Thrayjen was a necessary friendly face for her among the slaves, and I had forgotten her altercation with Silas in particular, which made their interaction wonderful. I do wonder why Silas never corrects beasts who talk about him almost assassinating Nire, though. Why not just say "nope, I was goin' for Blasio"?

A fun post overall, but after last week's fantastic showing of character balanced with conflict, I'm left wanting more from Kali in this post. She finds herself among the slaves, sure, but she has no direction or quest to pursue. There's a hint of something at the end when Silas challenges her, but it's only reflective of past issues. It asks why she came here in the first place, not what she'll do now that she's a slave among them. That's what I'll need to see from Kali in the near future: what's her story, now that she's no longer a bard? What is the compelling journey she'll set off on now that her life - and the lives of beasts directly around her - is in peril? How will she grow and change? Answer that, and you'll have yourself another Round 2 knockout.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #77 on: August 26, 2017, 05:35:31 PM »
Only a Game

*claps* This is what I've wanted to see out of Thrayjen the entire contest. Him struggle, him care, him feel things, even if his exterior was distant and passive. I finally have grounds to understand his character and his actions, and it's not through forced backstory inserts, it's finally hearing his thoughts. Seeing him get irritated at Aldridge, and struggle with hating the stoat before realizing that he to has been guilty of the same. But beyond that, the author takes steps in not just "fixing" the odd, passive "problems" that Thrayjen has had, but utilizing them to enrich the character in their interactions with the story. As Blue says, he's proven himself to be obedient. He's good at this sort of thing, so it makes sense that he'd be the voice of reason to draw Aldridge back from the edge. Further compelling is that it hurts to see what Thrayjen is telling Aldridge: "there's no hope for anything better. Just play the game. Just survive. That's all you can do, and it's all you should do." Given how broken Aldridge is right now, we want to see him recover, but under advice like that, you know that it'll only lead to a bad end where Aldridge loses the parts of himself that matter most.
Hmm? What's that smell like? Oh yes. Conflict, baby. And I love it.

And hey, we finally get answers to the general weirdness about the hedgehogs! And far from just stopping at answering the questions, we also have Thrayjen realize that maybe, just maybe, those hedgehog children of his are actually alive. Why does this work? Because it ties directly into the above. Tharyjen's made it by being obedient. Keeping his head down. Playing the game. But suddenly, he's on the other side of the wall. When he finds out that, in fact, Helix and Verna are alive, it won't just be a game anymore. And contrasted with his conversation with Aldridge? That breeds, you guessed it, more conflict.

There's SPAG all over the place, though. I dunno if this post was rushed, but there were spelling mistakes (Halpey instead of Hapley), missing plural forms of words (Blue paw came to rest on his scarred cheek,), etc. Jarred my reading of what was otherwise a very engaging, compelling piece.

Excellent post, Thrayjen, and my favorite of yours so far. You've promised the audience quite a bit of compelling conflict in the near future. Continue to make good on those promises, and you'll do just fine.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #78 on: August 26, 2017, 07:06:10 PM »
For She Doth Murder Sleep

Everytime I read that title, I think: Murder, Doth She Wrote. =P

So from the start, I want to highlight the beautiful wordcraft here at the beginning. What an excellent way of showcasing Aldridge's numb, brokenness without relying on cheap tricks or overly-artsy maneuvers. Like this part:
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Couldn’t respond. Waited for them to lose their patience, pile into the cell and drag him out by the wrists.
It works so well, with the choppy structure perfectly showing Aldridge's state.
And then when he remembers the song. That works on multiple levels. Him struggling to hold onto the hope Komi gave him, the lyric - however - tying only to his present dark state, his inability to go beyond that one line and grasp the rest. It's gorgeous.
And then the ribbon word-image! Most authors (myself included!), when they use a metaphorical image in their description, only take it the one step and then drop it (things like battlefields crashing like thunder, and then we move on to other stuff), but here Aldridge takes the description and moves forward with it, tying the "ribbons" to the other events that have surrounded him. And then to remove us from the metaphorical language? "Scraps fluttering around him" Perfect. Ribbons, scraps, fluttering--you can feel the unity in the description.
This is the same quality of stuff I saw in your app. Love it, Aldridge.

Though, as a small aside:
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A thought came to him and he fell on it as a wolf on the first doe of spring.
Does that even happen in the Redwall world? Are there does? Do wolves hunt them? Are they sentient? I'll excuse it for the artistic merit, but an odd bit given the anthropomorphic trappings of the story.

Also, since I criticized it before, huge props on properly showcasing Aldridge's haunted aftermath of the spider encounter. It's not a one-and-done bit piece. Yes, he does competently start doing other things fairly soon (sparring), but we see how the experience still haunts him. As he says himself, every time he closes his eyes, he's right back there. Moreover, I like how you incorporated Kentigern's death into the horror, and not just the spider. His nightmare of being held down by the spider's limbs and the hare's paws was particularly effective, and really shows what a toll the whole experience has been on Ald.

I enjoyed the interactions, and while I'm not entirely sold on why Aldridge bothered chatting it up with Thrayjen before, I will say that their camaraderie is genuine and enjoyable to read. I appreciate how you didn't just show them sparring and getting to know each other that way. You chose a variety of scenes, such as them going to fetch the water together. It gives us a breather from the setting's focus on fighting, and gives us a chance to view the characters from another angle.
Adeen as well. That "do you always speak in nothings" was such an excellent mic-drop moment where things turn around. The conversation with her was a tad too veiled for my tastes, as I feel I didn't fully grasp what was going on, but I'm going to give it a second read later to see what I think then. If nothing else, it ends the post powerfully, and I enjoy seeing those two beasts share an understanding and vulnerability with one another. He's polite and genuine towards Thrayjen, but Adeen understands him on a deeper level, and he her. To have such closeness and unity sets the two apart from the rest of the cast.

Not sold on the Silas interaction, though. While it is written fairly well, I can't help but feel it's more of a "Kentrith comes over and says 'Hey, Aldridge. Stop interacting with just Thrayjen and go do something with Silas, because he's a cast member.'" The justification for Aldridge to work with Silas is thin, and while it works, I didn't buy it as far as being a natural moment within the story.

5,000 words, Aldridge. A pretty long post. And every word was worthwhile. I have a smile on my face as I type this. You set up a great many conflicts for Aldridge to deal with, but it's your execution that shines the brightest. I'm overjoyed to see your particular skill with wordplay make a stunning return in this chapter (it's always been present, but not so excellently as here). Really, really enjoyed this post.

Just be sure that you keep it up. You've got a lot of balls to juggle. Don't drop them. From things you've established in the past (Aldridge's ability to zone in and notice every minute detail), to the things you've established now (his haunting by the spider and Kentigern both). Dig deep, go hard, be bold, and if you stick the landing, you'll have yourself a heck of a story to be mighty proud of.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 07:22:09 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #79 on: August 29, 2017, 09:46:23 PM »
Two days left for voting, six entries left to review. Let's do dis.

Stand My Ground

My word, I'm noticing an odd trend where people write Hargorn but either take some time to specify it's him (Aldridge's last post), or don't even do it at all (Kentrith)? ...wait, is this even Hargorn at all? It's a stoat, but Hargorn's a weasel? If it's not Hargorn, why is Kentrith so aggressive and guarded, and why is he talking about getting an eyeful of yonder ladyfolk? Bah, confusing all around.
Moreover, the entire escapade off to the touching up of the carving is rather awkwardly executed. I understand the importance, given the latter scene, but look at the structure: "Kentrith is doing armor stuff. He goes to oversee carving. He oversees it, nothing happens. He goes back to armor." The reader is left going "...why did I read that?" And even once we know at the end, the whole complexity of him needing to cover for another beast to oversee is just an unnecessary step that wastes words. Could have just started the scene there, maybe made the moment itself more interesting to read about (conversation between Kentrith and the old rat?), and then move on.

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With the sound of closing doors, connections formed in his mind, little things that he had noticed. Clapping his paw to his muzzle, he wondered…
Gahhhh, holding all da secrets over my head! Not sure what the connection is supposed to be. ... *gasp* Kentrith. Are you the father??? =P

I enjoyed the Inkpaw meeting, especially the progression of their conversation. Inkpaw strikes me as the type to look for beasts who he can use/rely on/trust in some way, so when he sees that Kentrith appears to be a decent sort, he says as much to begin forming that initial bond. But once he hears Kentrith's name, everything changes completely, and he realizes this isn't just a nice fox, this is the fox.

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when a weasel maid passed, he ordered cider and a plate of food.
I laughed at this, given Kentrith's immediately preceding thoughts about being sure to avoid beer. Cider is alcoholic. Yes, later Kentrith mentions how he asked for "non-alcoholic" (which isn't quite true. We don't see him specify), but at that timeframe, I imagine all cider would just flat-out be alcoholic. Maybe I'm wrong, though. Anyone out there who knows if asking for non-alcoholic cider in a medieval period would make any sense?

Oh-ho, but we are finally beginning to see the beginnings of plot blossom forth. Fitting that Kentrith's post dovetails us right into this larger scheme--it's been building mostly in the background of his posts, and it works well that he's the first to really know what's going on. Moreover, I liked the clandestine meeting with Narvi. What I liked more was the intriguing hook. I would have been disappointed if it just ended with "no, don't kill Nire, because someone else will replace him," but the added dimension of them not telling him their actual plan was a very wise decision. Now, just as Kentrith does, I want to know. Color me interested.

I enjoyed the Aldridge moment. Kentrith has a unique perspective in being able to understand parts of where Aldridge has come from. He too has suffered much, and had to pick up the pieces and carry on. Little lines like "Aldridge shrugged, trying to be nonchalant, but Kentrith recognized pain that had been weathered by time." are excellent as far as this goes. Yes, it's a bit of a hard, "Kentrith feels/thinks this" insert, but it works well enough because it makes perfect sense. Of course Kentrith would know what that motion is really saying, because no doubt, he's done the same in the past. Also, particular props for just everything about this string of dialogue:
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Sighing, he went back to his sorting. He spoke without looking. “It’s a hard transition to make. To go from making things to destroying them.”

“What did you make?”

The question caught Kentrith off guard. He turned, and stared at the stoat before finally replying, “I made beasts well.”
Kentrith's comfortable reassurance countered by Aldridge's excellent reversal. This feels real. It has that spice of a genuine, real conversation that just sucks you into the lives of these characters and makes them come alive. Their histories aren't hard inserts, their personalities tropes--this is them just being people, with all those facets guiding what they say and do.

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We shared something for a while, but it didn’t last. I thought I’d come to terms with…us…being over.
I like this line. Aldridge cares for Komi, but unlike her, I don't think he's so... wrapped up in her. As he says, it didn't last, and while she still matters to/haunts him, it's not as simple as "oh joy, we can hook back up!" I point this out, because honestly, I've not been feelin' the Komi/Aldridge luv. Put me in the BlueXAldridge camp. Or Kali. Not Adeen, though. She's his drinking buddy. =)

Enjoyed the end, as well. Stakes are raised, Kentrith's doing something, but moreover, we see what his personal quest is now: he's going to heal beasts again. There's the literal meaning of this, in that he no doubt wants to become a medic again, but there's also the relation of it to his work in the Crater. He's not longer just running to and fro, hoping to "one day" put his plan into action. He's doing it now. He's gripping that emblem and stirring the embers in his heart, and he's going to heal the poor beasts in the Crater of Nire's disease.

An overall good post hobbled by some awkward moments that make ill use of the reader's time. Nothing extreme, though, and Kentrith is striding strong this week. Keep it up, Kentrith. As he says, he's started a landslide. Keep going. Now's the time to start some more.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #80 on: August 29, 2017, 10:50:58 PM »
The Taste of Ink

Let me start with saying I could write an entire review on how excellent that first scene is. Things like how we learn without our time being wasted how Aldridge has adapted to his new situation, or how the bond between he and Adeen have strengthened over their teatime chats. But the real glory? The real glory comes in showcasing these two characters' hearts and minds both clashing.
Adeen very obviously appreciates and admires Aldridge, but she sees for herself that her desire of him helping to overthrow Nire will not work. What her mind knows her heart denies, and so, she "searches once more." And I daresay by the end, she wishes she probed no further. (EEEE CONFLICT!)
Likewise, Aldridge finds himself at direct conflict with Adeen's worldview. The "blood" conversation is glorious in this aspect. Check it out closely:
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"Blood built the walls you carve, and no decoration will change this. The masons must pay and the arena must fall. Only then can we start again."

"Blood builds everything. The best we can do is make the Crater better than itself - so much so, that we can honor our dead instead of resenting their loss. To make it worth the blood that was paid."
You can just see these two characters' worldviews clashing as hard as any battle here, and each makes perfect sense. Adeen spent her life before the Crater seeking to wash clean the world of the blood of ignoble beasts. Compromise and redemption had no part in her heart. Aldridge, on the other hand, has seen first hand how the world seems to work. His time in vermin hordes has taught him clearly: blood stains everything, in one way or another. And for him, redemption has been core and key to his very identity. Of course he views the opposite angle to Adeen. It's one of those cases where the characters connect on a great many things, but there are some key aspects that shatter the bridges between them. (EEEE CONFLICT!)

Also, that little line of her recognizing the skill of woodcraft vs stone carving... brilliant. I hadn't even made the connection, but what a brilliant bit. Adeen has carved things before, as we've seen, but they are the things that haunt her. Her ghosts that grip at her shoulders. It moves her forward, but not towards hope--desperation, if anything. On the other hand, Aldridge's carvings are of things tender and meaningful to his heart. The things of good that he holds on to. He is driven forward likewise, albeit with a sense of restoration. At first glance, one may assume the lines are clearly drawn - Adeen is in the wrong, Aldridge is virtuous and just - but it's not that simple. Adeen's hauntings are guiding her to take the world as it is, rather than as she wishes it to be. Aldridge's hopes blind him to the evils around him, and he may be a beasts paving the road to Hell on good intentions. It's a masterful contrast without drawing any attention to it. Simply wonderful.

And those last two paragraphs are all sorts of amazing. Aldridge holds out his hand of friendship as a request for aide - turning Adeen's own game against herself. And, finding herself pinned under multiple frightening realizations, Adeen runs. And the "four pages" callback? Wonderful. It says so very, very much of how impactful that conversation was without wasting a single word on "Adeen feared X and felt Y and emotionated Z."

So this scene is amazing. ...but good golly does it scare me.
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He'd rather sit on the throne.
OH PLEASE NO. Don't tell me we're going with a "Aldridge ends up becoming the villain" story! It makes perfect sense and has such wonderful conflict potential, but I so like his character and so wish for a happy ending for him (and Adeen both!). Yes yes, it's a sentiment based only on sentiment, but puh-lease don't just turn into a miserable muck of misery and villainy, Aldridge! *falls to his knees, hands clasped and begging*
(But for real, keep it up, the two of you. I'm enthralled and on the edge of my seat. That I'm freaking out like this is a good thing.)

So that was a lot about that one scene. I'm going to make my further comments more brief so as to not make this super long.

Interesting choice in making Rinam the central POV character of this chapter. Interesting, and incredibly risky. "I don't give a rip about some NPC, this is Adeen's story!" is what some may be tempted to say. What's here works, though, and works in spades. Bullet points as to why:
- A more minor note, but the introduction staggers the reader in surprise, but we're not left wondering "who the heck is this 'Rinam'?" for long. But ahhh, we do know this NPC! Our confusion is left only as long as it's needed to wake up the reader from their stupor and have them realize this is the same white mouse from before. A good first step.
- Far more importantly, and what makes it work, this is not about Rinam at all. The ghost of Adeen lingers over almost every paragraph of Rinam's posts. Everything here is about Adeen, not Rinam, and it works excellently.
- Most subtly, Rinam rips us from Adeen's head. In that conversation, we do not know what Adeen is thinking or actually planning, and I don't think this is an accident. We only hear what Rinam hears. We're only convinced as Rinam is convinced. So, by having this be in Rinam's POV, it further builds intrigue around Adeen.

"My word, do you have anything wrong with this chapter?" Oh yes, a couple things. Biggest thing is that a ton of stuff comes in straight outta nowhere. There's a Slave Gallery? Since when? Every other time we've seen the slaves visit the Mess Hall? And boy, there's a ton of stuff in that final scene. Adeen knows the list is a lie somehow and knows who's behind it? She's already learned Bastion's history? She's given up her whole "I get high off revenge mwahaha" shtick? Just... where did all this stuff come from??? I realize this stuff may have been brought up and mentioned in prior posts, but if it had, I couldn't remember where or when. Though, the comment about her giving up her revenge flaw may not apply, given my above comment how we're not in Adeen's head then. We can't necessarily trust her.

Also, as before, some stumbles in the otherwise lovely descriptive prose (and it really is some of your best so far, Adeen!). Like this one:
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"Rinam's mix remained true, and the once-sealed wineskin erupted in a bouquet of stolen bread, fermented fruit, and time."
...stolen bread? A wineskin erupted into... what? I don't follow. I know what you're going for, I guess, but the veiled language here does more harm than good.

Phew, long review. Obviously, I liked this one. And I didn't even mention about how much I enjoyed that last scene, and appreciate you switching things up and placing Adeen in an immediate conflict that furthers her story. Honestly, with this post, I think you may have just stolen the "Main Character" title from Kentrith. Adeen's the one to watch.

Fantastic post. Be proud.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #81 on: August 30, 2017, 08:10:24 PM »
Final night! Let's do dis. Probably going to do shorter reviews just so I can get them all done in time. Apologies in advance.

New Skin

Ah-ha, we finally have a name for our intrepid clandestine operation. Obviously, they're planning something far bigger than just sending messages to family members. What is that plan? I'unno, but things are moving forward and the plot is advancing. Another piece of the puzzle.

Quote
he looked up at the familiar face of Darby.
Is it bad that I said "...who?" aloud? I think this was the otter from his last post? *reads ahead* Ah, yup. It's not the fact that Silas is introducing new NPCs at this stage of the game--that can work out really well, and the expansion we saw of Adeen's "white mouse" into Rinam was a particular example of this. But Darby is... just an otter. He tells of nothing new about Silas, opens no new doors for the plot, he's just sort of... there. As another name to remember.

It's rough in its execution, but I like the little detail about Silas' adoptive father. Adds a new dynamic to the rat, while also explaining perhaps where some of his non-horde-y tendencies came from (and also why his last name sounds so woodlanderish). I wonder if his mother wasn't his birth mother as well. Part of me wonders why his wife was so decent and caring as well--part of the same community he grew up in, or is it just a traditional "no woodlander/vermin divide" as seen in most Survivors? Neither is a wrong answer, but there's potential for a cool story opportunity depending upon how you expand this.

The snakeskin armor is a nice touch. Fitting for Silas, and his character as well. The whole bit about the armor "constricting" against him works not only in reminding the audience of the snake, but of the far greater pressure that is squeezing tighter and tighter around Silas. Namely, the revenge that is pulling him ever onwards, ever away from the kindness of his son, the joy of his daughter, and the love of his wife. It's a small thing, but an appreciated one.

Sly is a little twit, though, ain't he? Despite his ire against Blasio, though, I'm not sure I understand the seething hatred that he has. Did I miss something, or is Sly seriously just that bothered by the beaver? Is he finally actually drunk and impaired from his faculties?

Nice post overall, though I wish more meaningful things happens. Silas hears about the FTN, he gets his armor, sees Blasio. Nothing really happens, we just see things sort of play out without providing a firm, future direction. The writing was solid and I like Silas, but I often find myself forgetting he's a member of the cast, because his storyline seems so ancillary to everything. In future rounds, look at how to make Silas more of a gamechanger and playmaker.

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #82 on: August 30, 2017, 09:00:39 PM »
Break a Leg

Second post from Kali, so it gets immediately a far more brief review to better focus on the others' only posts.

"Drake"? Who dat? ...and why is everyone in Kali's posts overweight? Kali is, Inkpaw is, Drake is... The first two make decent sense, given their characters, but why the note about Drake? So... he's overweight because... because? I guess it's not a bad thing, but I'm noticing a trend that sticks out.

Hahaha, the little flashback to her brother was nice. I was expecting a cheesy insert prompting me to feel X emotion at Y moment, but true to form, Kali brings a smile to my face and subverts it.

Didn't expect the turnaround with him surviving the pit. The pit trap alone was a clever "death," so I completely bought into it he was dead. Nicely played.

I'm glad you wrote this second post, Kali. Your first was... lacking. This makes up for the missing pieces. While she may not exactly have a personal quest yet, she does have a strong thematic arc. For all this time, she struggled with the idea of authenticity vs. giving the audience what they wants. It used to be about her singing. Now it's about something else. Now she's performing for a very different crowd, but she's still driven to be authentic. Even if now it means not giving the audience what it wants, but what it needs. Nicely played.

Don't drop the ball next round. Dig deeper. Have Kali get roped into some compelling conflicts, give her a strong direction or a compelling struggle, and keep that thematic arc strong.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #83 on: August 30, 2017, 09:32:55 PM »
A Solution to a Small Problem

A short post to send out our resident smooth-talker. A fitting end, given his life. Wish it was a more impactful death, like Kentigern's was, but I suppose this round was already full of plenty of changes and conflict.

Really not a whole lot to say here. I liked the alcohol burning bit, and Blasio's research shows him as a capable beast who isn't to be trifled with. This is our first taste - firsthand, at least - of how violent Blasio can be. He's every gangster crimelord and I love it.

Condolences on your death, Sly.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #84 on: August 30, 2017, 10:20:01 PM »
The Bonds That Break Us

I enjoyed the camaraderie between Komi and Minerva in that first scene, though only because it's clear something is being set up to break. And, as seen in the end, the first cracks have fissured out. Me likey.

I wonder why Minerva is suddenly so chummy with vermin, though. Komi makes sense, but what prompted her to be so very open to Silas, and him to her? I thought that those letters of his were contraband, so why is he whisking them out in public in front of beasts he doesn't trust?

Ah-ha, and an interesting arrangement for Minerva. I like the angle of having a mole within the group, and it makes perfect sense for Minerva. Far more important is how the artistry of the leash "tightening" around her does excellently to make Silas' prior conversation more than just mandatory interaction. Will be very interested to see where Minerva goes from here, and what she does.

Overall, a solid post. A bit wandering from time to time, but what's there works well and promises more to come. Nicely done, Minerva.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 11:55:56 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Komi Banton

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #85 on: August 31, 2017, 09:17:32 AM »
Thank you so much for taking all this time to review. Much appreciated!

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #86 on: September 01, 2017, 10:53:02 PM »
You're most welcome, Komi. Thank you for taking the time to say so--always good to hear my efforts are heard/appreciated.

I didn't get this in before the vote was done, but as a slightly tardy post, here is Tooley's:

ROUND THREE RECAP

Alas, gone are the far-off thoughts of Round Two, replaced instead by new knowledge, new joys, new excitement, and new fears, all to be found within this new, tertiary round! The sands dye deeper red as we lost our second cast member, and the executioner's axe looms above for another soul to claim.

What did the woozle think of this round and its many events? Well, let us dive in and see what the highlights were!

BEST INTRIGUE

Things are beginning to burgeon in the dark, and there was much in the way of intrigue this round. Adeen's secrets plans only being told to us through Rinam's perspective (just what is that vole up to?), Kentrith being a determined but near-unwilling recruit of the FTN (are they even trustworthy, and will our fox find himself in the company of beasts just as evil as Nire?), Minerva being recruited by Nire to betray the friends she's finally made (will she go through with it for Fable's sake, will the others discover her treachery?), Thrayjen discovering that the hogbabes may yet live (how far will he go to rescue them, and who will he go through to do so?), Komi vs. Aldridge (will one of them actually kill the other?), Aldridge being told to play along with the system (will he set aside his morals merely to survive, and perhaps fail to act when he is needed?). There truly was quite a lot of excellent intrigue in this round, so I don't want to make light of any of it, and I know there's even some more stuff I didn't even mention here. Great job on everyone's part.
This comes down to a taste thing, but I give this to Aldridge and Adeen, and the conflict that spurs between them. The gorgeous interplay of character motivations and clashing worldview was such a wonderful thing to behold, and I am on the edge of my seat wondering how this will go. I like and "trust" both of these characters, but I also see in both of them the capability of great (unintended) evil. I have no clue how it's going to work out, and I can't wait to discover in the upcoming rounds. Glorious work, you two.

MOST INTERESTING PLOT DEVELOPMENT

With intrigue naturally comes plot development, and we got quite a bit this round. Kentrith gave us a great look into this "FTN" group which really promises to be fascinating once their work within the plot comes to fruition, there was Eve's whole play-making with Komi and Minerva and setting them both up to be directly involved within the schemes of the FTN, and Kali's genuine moving of the crowd which provokes Nire to fear he may have unleashed the wrong beast inside his little courtyard of death. This one goes to Adeen, and her whole scheme to overthrow Nire by working against and within the assumptions of the elite class. It makes perfect sense, insofar as we've seen how much clout someone like Blasio has within the Crater, and Granz already expects Adeen and Rinam both to be his little pawns. By working with the flow of the current, Adeen just very well may stand a chance to affect great change within the Crater. Most importantly, it's via a means that engages the reader and promises some great character conflict. I didn't see this coming from Adeen, but upon seeing it laid out, it makes sense, advances the story, and compels me to see what happens next. Well done, Adeen.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT IN PLOT DIRECTION

Unfortunately, some were misfires. Jossia does not interest me in the slightest due to her stereotypical villainy that I don't yet have a reason to be compelled by, not crazy about the too-heavy veiling and stage-winks present in Inkpaw's interaction with the rat, and Silas' interactions within the plot still feel distant and non-committal to a larger story.
This one is less a direct issue I had with this round, but a more general statement of caution to all authors moving forward: I care about your characters, not your NPC's. Some handled this better than others in this round, and the use of NPC's are completely justified, but with so many being tied into the FTN plot and other such schemes, BE SURE that you do not lose track of the fact that you are writing your character. Ultimately, I shouldn't care about Eve, Inkpaw, Narvi, or Rinam more than I should about Komi, Kali, Kentrith, or Adeen. Keep your focus where it should be--their story, not these NPC's.

THE SAFE PILE

So we're in Round 3 now, which means we've already lost two of our dear companions. This also means that, starting now, a spot from my Safe Pile is permanently removed. *dun dun dunnn* That means that I'll only be listing four beasts who were safe from my vote. As before, in no particular order:

1: Thrayjen - character traits and history are finally making an impact on story and world, promising engaging conflict.
2: Aldridge - pancake-flippin' gorgeous prose, conflict with Adeen freaks me out in all the best ways, and consitently great interactions with cast.
3: Adeen - excellent weaving of story and character threads, and character finally now compels me beyond just the wonderful prose.
4: Kali - weak first post saved by second post that challenges character and pushes her in interesting ways.

Also, as an added bonus and congratulations for a job well done on the part of these authors, I also included small art piece. Take some pride in your work, because you four have this woozle's official Patch of Approval!


And a well-deserved kudos to all the authors in the contest. It takes a lot of grit and gusto to pound out a story week after week. You guys an' gals are all troopers, so a round of applause for all. Best of luck as we enter Round 4!

Adeen Pinebarrow

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #87 on: September 02, 2017, 03:07:51 AM »
I'm glad you enjoyed my work this round, and thank you for the added bonus of the artwork.

Sketch me is beautiful. Even if they're sketches or blurbs, your continued contributions and insight are of great use for us authors.
"Scribing didn't save them." Adeen clutched the folds of her sooty robe. "And these bloated scutbuckets need to feel what it's like. You agree, don't you?"

Kali

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #88 on: September 02, 2017, 07:54:02 AM »
*snags that free art like free cookies*

Kali looks so fluffyYYy!

Thrayjen

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #89 on: September 02, 2017, 09:54:30 AM »
Thanks for all the time you put into your reviews, Tooley, and thank you for your advice and opinions!

That is just adorable!