Author Topic: Storyteller's Vigil  (Read 6667 times)

Aldridge Moor

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #90 on: September 03, 2017, 09:52:05 AM »
I agree! Sketch Adeen is beautiful.

...what?

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #91 on: September 10, 2017, 10:48:04 AM »
Change

Whoa. ...this is a death post, right? It reads like a death post. But... I have read the next chapter, so I know that's not entirely true? ...very confused by this one. If this is a death post, then I'm rather shocked, given how excellent Adeen's posts last week are. You at least were able to wrap up Adeen's revenge arc and have her go full-broken vole. A shame if you were voted out--didn't deserve it this early.

...however, there runs the possibility that this is not a death post, and is - in fact - a wildly unexpected shift. I'm going to write the rest of my review in that potential light, so let's hit the highlights.

Wondering why so many of the wonderful, juicy plot conflicts set up in prior chapters were just dropped in this post. Adeen's seeking to cleanse the Crater of impurity and topple the whole thing from the bottom up? I... guess that no longer matters and she just wanted to kill Canen? So what was all that stuff about before, with Aldridge and Rinam? Was she just lying to manipulate them? I... suppose so, it fits her character and we've known from the beginning that she desired revenge against Canen, but there was also that struggle. Her rattled revenge-stabbing vs. the hare's words of guidance set a struggle for her at the very beginning. To see her just so suddenly go full revenge leaves a lot to be desired.

I'm also wondering why Adeen actually needed Rinam at all? In fact, Rinam's presence is the only thing that stops her from killing Canen.

On the artistic level, though, this post is top-notch. The little bits that do so much for the tone without saying anything at all. Like this one tiny bit:
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"Or what loyal service to me buys that coin cannot."

The Stubtail twins nodded in approval.
Man, I can just see their self-satisfied, smug grins. Toadies through and through, these two, and yet all you really say is "they nod." But you don't need to say anything else, because the context of the scene tells us so much more on its own.
Also, that wonderful callback with the "What are you up to?" from Kentrith and Nix both.

I will give you particular props for how you handled the Hargorn scene. It's very clear what exactly happened, it hurts to read, and to see Adeen afterwards in the arena is just... gah, it's soul-sucking. But you don't waste our time with any shock schlock. This reads with far more impact than a needlessly explicit scene ever could. Well written, well handled, Adeen.

Really enjoyed the fight. It's brutal, it's cinematic, it's got this weight to it that pushes far but not so much that it feels overblown. It's the little touches, like how Rinam tries to ally herself with Canen before he strikes out and is then killed. Or the scuttling of the scorpions that provide a backing of danger before the two clash. Loved it.

Couple things about the final scene: so Adeen herself is not dead, as seen in Aldridge's post. I'm left thinking this is either a dream/hallucination (which I doubt), or something more like her spirit/soul has been detached from her body. Why the latter? Because through Rinam, we've already opened a door to the supernatural, and Redwall as a series certainly has room for such things. Perhaps moreover, it grants Adeen the opportunity to still be active, albeit in a different manner. How so exactly? Unsure. I'll have to see where the author takes her.
I like the bit about the poppies. All the metaphorical language in play. First off, you have the foreshadowing with her wearing a crown of poppies beforehand (replacing her usual crown of... nettles, I think?). The symbolism of the flower isn't lost on me, and the still, red field she wakes up in that smells of smoke makes me certain there's more going on. And I dunno, that line by Fenton at the end actually reads a little... dubious? Perhaps not as simple as it seems at first glance.

Overall... I'm very confused. If Adeen wasn't voted off, are we suddenly going to follow Rinam as the POV character? What the heck is going on? Dunno, so if you didn't get voted off, you need to make the situation and story very clear in the next week, Adeen. I'm cool with following along, since you've proven yourself a capable author, but my patience has limits. Especially after all that super awesome Aldridge/Adeen conflict has been seemingly abandoned. Boo!

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #92 on: September 10, 2017, 03:54:19 PM »
Scrivener's Palsy

Aldridge post, huzzah! I was very interested to read this after Adeen's. Let's see what we've got.

Enjoyed the return of Tegue. That it wasn't just some throwaway NPC from before, and again, it's tying into Aldridge's larger arc of seeing the redeemable within the Crater. Most importantly, though, this grants Aldridge some purchase to begin working within the Crater and putting his plans into action. He's finding out who he can trust, and who can help him. Right now, it's something as simple as covering for him so that he can care for a friend, but in the future? I fully expect there to be more to this newfound knowledge.

Aera's kind of disappointed me in her scenes throughout the contest. Sure, we didn't really get to see much of her in Madder Barrow, but Ald's app painted such a clear, vivid picture of this friendly, caring, motherly figure. All I've seen from the contest has been a hardened medic. Now, of course, this shift makes perfect sense, given their change of location and her having to be Ms. Serious Healer, but I kind of wonder why Aldridge hasn't noted the change, or wished that he could once more have a carefree, normal conversation with her? That leads me to a larger criticism of Aldridge: I like his NPCs, and they inform us a great deal about his character, but as of now, they're not really doing anything to promote or escalate conflict. Apprentice Aera had that bit about her snapping at the guards/enjoying Ulrich's tale of murdering the slavers, but has that aspect of her character been meaningful to the story or prompted conflict with Aldridge? Not really. The same issue goes for Medic Aera and Ulrich. Ulrich had a fantastic moment in the Round Two post, but since then, both he and Aera are just sort of... "there." In the coming rounds, I'd like to see them challenge Aldridge some more. Come into conflict with him, or meaningfully influence his personal character arc.

The Thrayjen fight was nice. A bit of a spat between the two, but even Madjen is too much of a noble heart to hold onto it for long. I enjoyed the moment, and feel it was necessary, but by the end of it, it seems a bit "done and over." As if it's "oh, well, Aldridge and Thrayjen fight. And it's resolved in that single scene." Yes, Aldridge has now officially cast off Thrayjen's advice of compliance, and the rat is willing to accept that, but I hope this isn't the end of engaging interaction/conflict between the two. If they both just sort of agree on everything going forward, that'll be rather boring.

...huh. That moment with the ghosts very much perks my interest. We've seen Aldridge sort of "snap" and begin to notice things in complex detail, but this is the first time it's ever been of the supernatural variety. I don't think this was just an artful addition to the scene, or that Aldridge is actually just imagining things. What this means? No idea, but perhaps it ties into the fact that Adeen isn't dead yet--if he'll be able to reach across the breach and communicate with her.

Overall, it's a solid post. I enjoyed it, the writing is still strong, but I don't feel it did very much for Aldridge. Yes, he did some things, but is his personal story advanced any? There's the moment with Tegue, but it's a teaspoon of water in a gallon of flour, and there are cookies to be made. In the future, I really will want to see some stronger character direction based in Aldridge's story, not Adeen's or the Barrow Beasts or anyone else. An easy place to start is figuring out what exactly Aldridge's plan is, what and who he'll need to complete it, and what conflicts he'll run against that surprise both him and us.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #93 on: September 12, 2017, 05:27:05 PM »
Fantastic Beasts and How to Fight Them

Immediate reaction from the start: "Another random NPC for Silas? Baaaahhhhhhhhrrggghhh." Now, to be fair, Jace actually makes sense. Silas is set up as a monster fighter, so him working with a monster specialist actually makes a great deal of sense. A bit too little, too late, in my mind, but I will at least say that the inclusion of the NPC has a clear reason. And he's at least fun to watch. A bit overly-cheeky, maybe, but his moment with running off after Kali brought a smile to my face.

I really like some of the small worldbuilding touches we get here. Like how Silas' ears are chewed, which clues Jace into his heritage. (Do real rat broods do that? If so, props on the real-world tie in that feels grounded and believable.) Or the bit about the cuffs that guests now wear to prove they belong. It's a subtle thing, and maybe not intended to be this way, but I love how it shows Nire's grasp squeezing around even the beasts that "belong" and are "free" in the Crater. They too now have shackles.

This line, though?
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“Oh... uhh, aye. Nire thought we’d both been chained long enough, though I'm still s’posed t’ watch Komi like a hawk.”
Ha. Yeah no. I see what this is. "Oh shoot, we really need to drop this device that ties our characters together. Umm... Nire just released them from it! Yup!" Not a ding against you, Silas, or even necessarily against Komi/Minerva. But pointing it out because of the wasted potential and dropped character conflict.

The bit with Bessie was nice. And some good foreshadowing, I dare say, for when she makes her inevitable appearance in the arena. Enjoyed how Silas was able to garner some information about the monsters and how Jace was used to facilitate the scene. Ultimately, though, I don't feel this post did a whole lot. Silas talks to Minerva about the FTN, meets Jace, sees a spider, aaaand...? That's about it. It's kind of par-for-the-course with Silas. A nice character, well-written, but lacking a compelling story setup for the individual scenes to guide him through. I see he has a second post, so I'll reserve my final opinion until then.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #94 on: September 12, 2017, 06:56:04 PM »
Before I get to the review, let's start by addressing the elephant in the room: the delay between this post and the last. I've several things to say, but I'll say them simply. First, my reviews for all the following posts will be shorter. Eight whole posts went up the night of the round's end. This is inexcusable to set this much on the readership's lap and expect them to read it all and vote.

Minerva, this has been a consistent habit. Last week, you posted your post two hours before the deadline. The prior weeks' issues have already been catalogued. I don't know all that's gone on behind the scenes, but by this point, I know that I can expect you to be late with your posts every week. If you make it to the next round, fix this. I do not want to see another late post.

And for the other authors? Don't think that I presume only Minerva got her post out late. As a reader, I can't tell who might have also been holding things up, but I'll be watching in the following weeks. Life happens, I understand, but don't make this a habit. Get on this next round early and hard.

Now, onto the review:

The Pit

Highlights: Enjoyed seeing Marik again. His genuine hope and belief that the story will end well is touching and nice to see. And a good contrast to the turmoil Minerva is going through. Nicely done.
Her moment with asking Silas what he would do, and him unintentionally granting her the fortitude to carry out her dubious deed. Nice character moment.
That last line about Monsters residing in the dark is solid. A good nod to a larger-scale character arc.

Drawbacks: ...Eve trusts Minerva that much? For real? They don't even tell Kentrith what their plan is, but she's just going to up an dump the massive info that she's a leader of the FTN on this unproven otterwife? Maybe that ditzy act isn't so much of an act.
While I do like parts of it, backstory storytime with Silas and Minerva was a bit... mleh. "Here, let me tell you a bunch of things that happened." "Oh. Cool." And it is. Finally cool to know her story with her husband. But that's all it is. "Oh. That's cool."

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #95 on: September 12, 2017, 07:08:22 PM »
Smile Like You Mean It

Really enjoyed this one. Hits a lot of things that needed ratcheting up, and the "reveal" to Nire about Thrayjen's true identity was a wise one. That entire scene was really well done, including Nire's sponsorship of him. He's not doing it because "Thrayjen is a cast member who is cool so of course I sponsor Cool Dude," he's doing it to further manipulate Thrayjen. And Thrayjen knows this, but goes along with it anyway. "Play the game" he says, but by the end of it, you wonder if he'll end up losing himself in the process.

What I really like is the contrast that exists between someone like Thrayjen and Aldridge. Thray learns his "children" might be in the Crater, but does that make him hate Nire all the more and take up instantly the chance to overthrow the fiend? Not at all. In fact, we see a charming, good aspect of Thrayjen's character turned into a flaw: his genial nature, and specifically how that ties into his past. We know Thrayjen wasn't a great dude back in the day, but by the time of Nan, he set all that aside, took up an easygoing life and just lived with a family. His ability to set aside his hatred and slights and just walk forward was such a positive thing then, but now we see it turned on its head here: Thrayjen is a terrified beast, who - in a way - thinks he's being brave in his fear. All the better, because I completely understand and empathize with his situation.

And that last voice? Him telling himself to play Nire's game as he "heard Aldridge’s voice call him to training"? Glorious contrast-work. I am going to be fascinated at how those two interact in the future, especially after they seemingly came to an "understanding." What happens when Thrayjen's acceptance of Aldridge's meddling changes, and he views Aldridge as a threat? Glorious conflict, and I'm in, hook-line-and-sinker.

Good post, Thray. Very much enjoyed it.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #96 on: September 12, 2017, 07:17:35 PM »
Is There Another Way To Go?

The Russa Nodrey bit was cute. Kentrith being so loud about all this super sensitive info is still a bit odd. Whenever I read his posts, I don't feel that he truly takes this plan and situation of his seriously. I know it matters to him, but he's like a beast grabbing at a fish with buttered paws.

Similar problem to Minerva's post--why the heck are the FTN people being so open and blunt with beasts they shouldn't trust yet? Sure, they haven't spilled their plan yet, but why are they revealing themselves to Silas, Minerva, and Komi?

I liked the oath, though. Rolls off the tongue fairly well and has the right amount of gravitas to it. Solid stuff.

The Blasio "reveal," if it's to be trusted, was unexpected. Unsure where the cast is going with that, but I'm intrigued, for sure. Silas' reaction makes perfect sense, but this also explains why maybe these super secret shadowy beasts shouldn't just dump a bunch of insider info on random beasts yet?

Overall, a solid post, but it felt more like "Kentrith goes here and there and then some things happen/are explained." Sure, he's now thinking about leaving the FTN, but... what's he actually doing? Like, for example, I thought (and this still might happen) that he was actually going to recruit Marik. In a way, turn him against his own mother to force Nix to work with him. Now that would be Kentrith doing something, and throwing stones to ripple the waters! Moving ahead, that's what I need to be seeing from Kentrith: him stepping out and really doing things that shake the plot, world, and current situation. Not saying you should do this specifically, but I don't really care if all Kentrith does is think about leaving the FTN. What if he actually did? Ask yourself that heading into next round. "What if Kentrith did [insert something pretty big, game-changing, that punches the plot forward and shakes things up]?"

Minerva

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #97 on: September 12, 2017, 07:18:59 PM »
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Before I get to the review, let's start by addressing the elephant in the room: the delay between this post and the last. I've several things to say, but I'll say them simply. First, my reviews for all the following posts will be shorter. Eight whole posts went up the night of the round's end. This is inexcusable to set this much on the readership's lap and expect them to read it all and vote.

Minerva, this has been a consistent habit. Last week, you posted your post two hours before the deadline. The prior weeks' issues have already been catalogued. I don't know all that's gone on behind the scenes, but by this point, I know that I can expect you to be late with your posts every week. If you make it to the next round, fix this. I do not want to see another late post.

And for the other authors? Don't think that I presume only Minerva got her post out late. As a reader, I can't tell who might have also been holding things up, but I'll be watching in the following weeks. Life happens, I understand, but don't make this a habit. Get on this next round early and hard.

I assumed I'd get a comment about this, so I'm going to explain myself. This last round for me has been incredibly difficult in regards to my personal life. To summarize it very quickly, a week before my next semester at school started, I was told that I was denied student housing and so my week has basically been defined by me and my family frantically searching for someplace for me to live so that I can keep going to school. We eventually found a place, but of course also meant moving in. Meanwhile, I've been dealing with tuition and financial aid issues so that I can afford school as well. It's just been an incredibly difficult week for me in real life, and as a result it took me a while to find time to write and finish my post. I apologize.

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Last week, you posted your post two hours before the deadline. The prior weeks' issues have already been catalogued.

I disagree completely here though. Four authors, including myself, all posted on the day of the deadline. Whether it was 8 hours before or 2 hours shouldn't matter. I wasn't anymore late than they were, we all posted before the deadline. I'm also going to reiterate that Tug of War was not late in the slightest. As far as I'm concerned, I've only been late in Round 1 and Round 4. Luckily though, my schedule is now clear, so it will not happen again.

Thank you though for the review, and I'm glad you liked most of the content.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #98 on: September 12, 2017, 08:08:27 PM »
I do not like to read posts at 1 in the morning, Minerva. Whether it is 8 or 2 hours beforehand does, in fact, matter. My condolences on life's difficulties that have hit you this week--I'm sorry to hear about them, and completely understand how unavoidable they have been.
However, the fact is simply that I do not trust you when you say that it won't happen again. Your actions every week in the contest speak far louder than your defenses here. You want to prove me wrong? Change your actions so that they match your words. I wish you the best in that pursuit, and look forward to a timely post next week.

Beasts of the South

Whoa-ho! Now this one was a surprise! A triple collab!

The description of the alchemical flames lighting the arena is just awesome, and sets the tone gloriously well.

The random hare was an obvious "I'M KILLABLE" NPC, and she's a huge idiot, but at least her death was interestingly-written and fit the scene. And also this line of dialogue confused me:
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“And ready I shall be, lest a stoat strike me from behind.”

“Is that on the table? My my.” Hracken, a twist of amusement in his voice.
...is this Thrayjen being, like, suggestive or something? That's the tone I'm reading it in, but it makes zero sense given his character. Like, I dunno, smackin' her bottom or something? I mean, yeah, he had a thing for a white mouse, but if this is how it's meant to be taken, I don't see it fitting him at all.

No clue what the beast they're fighting is, but I trust it's a real one. I thought anteater at first, with the tongue, but the scales make no sense. A really cool beastie to fight that fits the tone of the moment, though. And I really loved that moment where they regroup after Mara's death. It's snappy, gets us right in the moment, and shows how focused these beasts are despite the uncertainty coursing through them. A genuine moment of teamwork.
Rinam is also really cool, by the way. She's like a sweet, desert-mouse paladin from some MMORPG. That's too cheap of a term, though, because her mannerisms are rooted rich, her character is compelling and enjoyable, and I very much want to see more of her and her interactions with Ald/Thray.

Also, that Aldridge managed to pull off a believable version of a weasel war dance in an anthropomorphic setting is stunning. Hats off, mate. It makes perfect sense, feels grounded and real, and isn't one of those stupid "look, they're animals. Watch them do kooky, weird animals things because they're animals." This is just the right blend of exotic without feeling absurd and losing the "humanness" of Aldridge.

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Thrayjen’s heart beat steadily as Nire lowered a claw to the ground. The crowd cheered.
oh... oh no... what's gonna--

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The paw of the bloodied, beaten stoat rested on his shoulder and the stoat himself stood in the rat’s striking path.

[Aldridge droppin' some truth bombs on Thrayjen, bein' a total bro.] ... Don’t give him what he wants.”
oh thank heavens. You tell him, Aldridge, you are such a good beast, able to put aside even your hatred of--

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Thrayjen pushed the stoat aside.
what

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With quick footed nimbleness, the rat climbed back onto the belly of the beast as if the dying creature were no more than ship’s rigging.
what

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The blade plunged into soft flesh and fresh blood spurted from the pitiful creature,
WHAT

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It did not end with death.
WHAT

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He stared up through a mask of blood, eyes focused without interruption on the Master of the Crater, paws steady. His whiskers, heavy with strings of nerve and skin, twitched.
*IRRECONCILABLE WEASEL FLAILING*

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Nire clapped, and as he did he bowed elegantly to Thrayjen. Mouse and stoat shared a grim look between them as Thrayjen, smiling, returned the bow.
...stunned. Utterly stunned. Completely blindsided me, and now I am freaking out twice as badly as that Aldridge and Adeen moment from last week. But my word this makes absolutely perfect sense. Aldridge cast off the mask of playing Nire's game, but Thrayjen has fitted it firmly upon his face. And, oh my word, Nire is turning him back into the beast he was, but the only reason he's doing so is to save the children that love the beast he became, and... GAH! I hate you so much right now Thrayjen, but love you for the fantastic, character-driven, foreshadowed moment. I have no idea where Thray goes from here, but I don't need to, because he's got a clear purpose and goal, has a vivid and rich personality, and has formed meaningful relationships that will change from here on out.

*claps* Well done, all three of you. Jolly good show.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #99 on: September 12, 2017, 10:34:54 PM »
Slaughter by Serenade

I adore the moment with her in the mirror, saying an altered pep-talk that contrasts her very first post. Kali is still Kali, but we actually feel the weight pressing down upon her shoulders. She's not winking and trotting through the daisies amid a field of bloodshed. The Crater is impacting her, but the author is wise not to remove all of her quirks. Instead, they make use of familiar quirks in a new way. Wonderful.

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Like Uncle Louis, self appointed King of all Birds.
Hmm... in times past, I've commented on asides like this positively. Her flashback to her brother, the bit about Bubba, etc. This, I'm not sure what to take from it. Is it a joke? A backstory nod? King of birds? When did birds ever come into the picture? This line leaves me more confused than anything.

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"Now we can enjoy eating you as much as the monsters will! Rawr!"

"But nothing! You want to escape. I want to escape. This cookie wants to escape."
Pointing this out because they made me laugh aloud. Ah, you're still fun to read, Kali. Gonna ding a bit for the repetition with Komi when Kali is asking for singing lessons. Goes on about twice as long as it needed, and the whole scene - including the part with Minerva - feels a little bit... aimless. Yes, Kali is still fun, she's trying to keep spirits high, but what does the scene tell us about Kali that we didn't already know? Not... a whole lot. While enjoyable, it feels a touch like fluff. Cotton candy fluff. Really good! But... lacking meat.

Hrm... am I supposed to remember Droven? A vole from a workshop...? I'm sure he's appeared before, but I'm not making the connection. Could be on me, but maybe some more clarity of who he is would have helped. (*TooleyReadAheadEdit:* Oh. Lute maker. I remember now, Still didn't get to share in Kali's initial shock, though, so I'll leave the note here.) I really like how we see Nire "overstepping" his bounds. In a near-literal sense, becoming the judge of Northvale itself. This is unprecedented in the Crater, to my mind, and I think would begin to cause more than a few Northvale residents to quake in their homes. Nire's going too far here--very interested to see where it goes.

Oh dang. Wow, that was a really good bit with her trying to save all the beasts. It's a worthwhile conflict for her to face, fits Nire, and I really enjoyed reading it. Could definitely feel the tension of the whole thing, and the following scene? Wonderful contrast to the beginning (which on its own, was a wonderful contrast to the first post). And what a way to end it with the bit with Kentrith. Kali now has a goal, a purpose, and a quest to pursue. She's been brought low, and she ain't gonna take it anymore. And this does justify all of her talking about escape with Komi and Minerva, though I still think the prior scene could have been cut down a great deal.

Overall? Bravo. Solid post, Kali.

Minerva

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #100 on: September 13, 2017, 08:01:26 AM »
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I do not like to read posts at 1 in the morning, Minerva. Whether it is 8 or 2 hours beforehand does, in fact, matter.

No one expects you to. This is why there is an entire two days for voting. So that everyone has ample time to read the posts and make their decision. So, no. It doesn't matter. By definition, late means after the expected time, and Bonds that Break Us was posted BEFORE the expected deadline.

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However, the fact is simply that I do not trust you when you say that it won't happen again. Your actions every week in the contest speak far louder than your defenses here. You want to prove me wrong? Change your actions so that they match your words. I wish you the best in that pursuit, and look forward to a timely post next week.

My actions every week?
I'm about to reiterate my arguments for Tug of War. I posted Tug of War on Day 3 of Round 2. I say Day 3, because Round 2 began in the middle of the afternoon the first day and so it was only half a day rather than a full one. While Adeen was already done, that was because Adeen took the time over the planning period to draft her post, but I did not have that luxury. When you reviewed that post, you said I "held things up" but that was completely false. The only person waiting on me in the slightest was Aldridge, who had finished his post the same day as I, and he posted up his the next morning when he woke up. Every other writer was not yet finished with their posts, so in no way was I holding anything up that round. Just because I did not post as quickly as Adeen did, does not mean I was late. On top of that, my work in the collab with Komi was completely on time.

For Round 3, I was last on the posting order, so in no way would it be possible for me to hold anyone up. So long as I finished my post and put it up before the deadline, I would be on time. The two day voting period would give everyone ample time to read it before they voted and, if they chose not to, then that is completely on them. Because it was there, up, ready, and completed on time.

Round 1 and 4 I WAS late. 4 because of life issues taking up my time to write, 1 because of overambition with my first post that led to me taking far too long on it- which in turn led to me having less time to write my second.

You've been arguing that I've been 'consistently late, but that's simply not true. I am not going to allow you to criticize me for something that is not true. What I will allow you to criticize me for is for what actually IS true, and that is that I've been inconsistent in being on time. It sounds like the same thing on paper but it's not. Consistently late implies that I have been a constant problem throughout every round of the contest- which I have NOT been. Inconsistent in being on time implies that I've been on time some of the time and had trouble maintaining the schedule in other times. This IS true. And I will accept this criticism.

Also, as a final aside:
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However, the fact is simply that I do not trust you when you say that it won't happen again.

Please have faith in me as a writer. Saying something like this is not encouraging in the slightest and is actually disrespectful. Encourage me to be on time. Be positive. I don't want to 'prove you wrong.' You're not my enemy. What I want is for you is to like me as a writer. I want you to encourage me to do better. Saying you don't have faith in me, is basically telling me to give up.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 08:04:27 AM by Minerva »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #101 on: September 14, 2017, 10:02:54 PM »
So I actually reviewed Komi's post privately. I may end up putting a public review up, if her author is fine with that, but TBD. With that in mind, let's jump straight to Aldridge's second post:

Loggerhead

Oh ho, second Aldridge post! Lessee what we got.

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“Oh!” Komi grinned. “The one about the mousemaid and the searat. Thankfully none of them knew the third verse.”
...is that a Thrayjen reference?

I appreciate seeing an edge and darker tone to Eve. It works to counter her pomp, for one, but moreover, it follows Kali's post/moment with the Northvale beasts wonderfully. Going to point out a really good moment, and a less good moment:
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“Death happens on this road, Moor. I thought you of all beasts would understand that.”

A general’s words.
"A general's words." Boom. Those three words instantly did more for Eve's character than the rest combined. It says so much in such a short period. I know what type of beast this is in a deeper way, know how she tics, and how she will move against the wind. Better yet? It comes through an observation that is in-character and fitting for Aldridge to know. Wonderful work. I'm now interested in Eve as a character.
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"I do not approve of your actions, but I will at least try not to get in your way. And if you are willing to drop the grandstanding then I will work alongside you to bring this place down."
This is the second time where I feel Aldridge's reaction to a set of horrible news has been less than impressive (the first being when he was all right with Nire killing the bowyers). So we know that Aldridge's plan is to redeem the Crater, so why is he willing to work with here to "bring this place down"? I'd kind of expect his reaction to this bit of news to be to stagger back, stare at this general-in-a-clown's outfit, and reject her and the FTN out of paw. She's just another side to Nire's coin--why be willing to work with her at all?

The scene with Rinam was cool. I forgot about Adeen's book, but what a device it is to be used. All those observations? Of course Aldridge will be able to use that, as it'll no doubt provide him what he needs to truly take over the Crater. Better yet, Aldridge isn't seeking the book for that reason. Nah, our tender-hearted soul of a stoat is still just seeking to help his friend, who in her own way "betrayed" him.

Let's talk about the Thrayjen scenes. So, the previous collab post set up an amazing turn for Thrayjen's character, and I was pumped to see these two interact. Aldridge and Thrayjen have two very different approaches in dealing with not only the Crater, but their pasts. Aldridge has set it aside and doesn't seem to be haunted by it, as he's a truly changed beast. Thrayjen has changed as well, but his approach seems far more to be one of avoidance--he's too afraid to rock the boat in any way. With such internal disagreements, that post set up an incredible amount of potential for future conflict.
Looking at what happens in this post, though, it reads like "Aldridge talks to Thrayjen. Who surprisingly only seems mildly bashful about covering himself in someone's blood. Then they talk amicably about Adeen and history over tea. Then they have tea. Yay?"

I see no conflict, no struggle, no moments of intensity rising from either of them. I'm not saying they should be having a full-on shoutdown match, but perhaps some heavy awkwardness? Thrayjen truly feeling the weight of his actions sinking into him (does he react somberly, does he lash out when Ald tries to address?), Aldridge struggling to see if the beast he met in the Crater is fading away or not, so on and so forth. Now look, the scene here over the tea is nice. It's genuine, it's a good moment, but it doesn't read like it accomplishes anything internally in these characters, either in furthering their relationship or deepening their conflict.

Gonna continue on this just a bit longer. Let's look at this line here:
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“He wanted The Blackwhiskers, so that’s who I gave him.”
Boom. There it is. Thrayjen is saying he's justified in what he did because of Nire. At this moment, I'm waiting to see what Aldridge's response is. Does he try and show Thrayjen how he's losing himself? Does he snap at Thrayjen to wake up and see what he's doing? Does he rant about Nire? Well, no, he says "hey, you like tea?" Now, at this point, I was actually still on-board. The tea scene had the potential to answer the prompt delivered to Aldridge via the dialogue quoted, but ultimately it was just "they talk over tea, Aldridge gets the right recipe for Adeen's brew. Yay?"
So, just for fun, let's take a look at my first idea I mentioned: "he tries to show Thrayjen that he's losing himself." How would one accomplish that in the following tea scene? Well, they sort through the tea, Thrayjen makes some educated comments, they chat a bit, but then Aldridge asks Thrayjen about his tea farming. About Nan and the hogbabes. Thrayjen smiles as he talks about them, but his voice gets quieter and quieter--you can see the weight pressing down on his shoulders as he thinks of those happy, joyful times, and is remembering just what he did. For Nire. Aldridge then has an opening to make his point. And he does. It hangs over the steaming tea. And then we see Thrayjen's reaction. He runs away, pushes his tea aside, breaks down and asks for help, does nothing and just stares? Any of the above would be a marked step for their relationship and conflict.

Now, to be clear, I'm not saying "ugh, you should have done what I~I wanted, Aldridge!" My point is only to give an example to what I'm getting at--that the rich potential that existed between these two characters wasn't quite grasped with this scene, and so it makes the moment read hollow. Hopefully this makes sense!

The moment with Tegue was cool. I still think it'd be far more in-character for Aldridge/the Barrowbeasts to not even bother with the FTN and try their own plan out (and also more compelling to read about, since it's all rooted far more directly into Aldridge personally, and the stakes are that much higher for him), but eh. I'll see what you have planned. The line about him caring for Adeen here and fighting her out there is wonderful. An excellent, compelling way of describing the effects someone can have on others and the world around them. The song was really nice as well. Artful, with a good flow to it all, and an interesting point that tied wonderfully to the moment. I'm envious of your poetic prose, Aldridge.

Overall? A good post. But an unsatisfying one. I wanted so much more from Thrayjen. Wanted to much more from the Barrowbeasts. It reads like a lot of things are going to happen next round, which is good! But I recommend looking for moments where you can write in some far richer interactions with the characters and scenes you have at-hand.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 10:08:36 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #102 on: September 14, 2017, 10:36:52 PM »
The Monster at the End of This Book

Ohhh, alas. Another falls to the axe of Nire Borean.

Ah ha, I see what you were setting up. Monster fighter indeed. Clever with him facing off against Minerva. I'm glad we get to see another cast member kill one of the death votes, and this time in the arena proper!

The Blasio moment I'm split on. On the one hand, it's really well written. That beat before Blasio registers and Silas lunges is great, and the scene itself is really sharp. ...but I'm disappointed that the fang didn't actually poison Blasio. What a way that would be for Silas to go out, and what it could potentially do for the rest of the cast. If Blasio is funding the FTN, then what does this mean for their plans as he slowly succumbs to poison? Is the timeline ramped up? If he's not, how does a greedy McMoneybags like Blasio react to his impending doom? Ahh, alas, such potential, withered on the vine. My precious conflict... *sad woozle face*

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“And do you happen to have physical proof that Blasio is helping the FTN?” Nire challenged, voice low and controlled.

Silence.
Hrm, actually, he does. The coin he was given. It proves he has a connection to the FTN, and isn't just making utter nonsense up, in the least. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure Nire would spare him to use him as a tool inside the FTN (like Minerva). I understand why this didn't happen, but as I read it, it did hit me that yeah, Silas does have some proof on him.

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picturing Artie, reading secretly when he thought his parents were asleep, as if the stunted candle wouldn’t give him away the next day. ”Just one more chapter!” he would beg, gripped by tales meant for mice of Martin the Warrior and Badgers of Legend. Books Silas too, had grown up on.
I love this description. Really want to stop and highlight it, because it feels so genuine. The bit about the candle, the son's love of mice stories, the stories Silas himself grew up on. There's so much history and weight and meaning to this passage, and it hits home oh-so-well. I really get a feeling for the wonderful family Silas had, and what he's lost. Well written here, Silas.

The fight with Minerva was nice. A bit simple, so not too much to go into, but nice.

My condolences on your death, Silas. You had a really nice character and an engaging grasp of prose and descriptive work. Wish you the best moving on.

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #103 on: September 19, 2017, 10:17:11 PM »
ROUND FOUR RECAP

We came. We saw. We haven't conquered the Crater yet. Yes, it's that time once again for our weekly look at the week that was!

BEST DESCRIPTION

Some really, truly excellent bits here. Silas' aside about his family - and son in particular - was genuinely stirring, Adeen's handling of the Hargorn depravity was both artful and tasteful, and Kali's references and surprising added depth with her "today is a new day" peptalks. This goes to Aldridge, for his line of "A general's words." It's a moment that all authors should look to learn from--how to say a lot in very few words. More than just a fanciful spin of craft, though, it works because we know Aldridge's character, and we believe that he would understand and catch these details. A sharp moment that changed my entire perspective of Eve.

MOST EXCITING POTENTIAL

My my, lots of things set up in this round. Aldridge and his Barrowbuddies building up steam for a redeem-the-Crater crusade, Adeen's odd-but-intriguing twist with Rinam/Fenton, Eve's underhanded and cutthroat ways coming to light, Kentrith being found out by Nix, or Kali's getting further roped into plans far above her paygrade. In what is no surprise to anyone, however, this one goes to Thrayjen, for the twist of him falling to Nire's expectations. It makes perfect sense for the character, shifts a former strength into a weakness (his amiable nature), and promises tremendous conflict down the line. I am at the edge of my seat to see where the author goes with this. Keep it up, Thrayjen--don't drop the ball on this and lose the juicy conflict you've got going. Keep me engaged, keep me guessing, and keep me begging all that's good that Thrayjen doesn't ultimately succumb to Nire's whims.

BIGGEST BREAK IN SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

Oof. Some of these were more far-reaching than others. The FTN wholesale trusting Minvera and Silas with one of their leader's identities, Aldridge having another "I don't like this but K" moment with Eve, or Minerva's consistent amazingness at heavy combat despite really only being a well-built and serious farmwife. But this goes to Komi, for how well everything ends up going for our resident stoat runaway. She's back with Aldridge, a kiss is all that's needed to avoid certain death, Jossia is tossed out by Nire because #reasons, she gets her drum back, etc. It's too many steps too far, and really ends up robbing the scene of my connection to Komi and her personal struggles when they're resolved so quickly and easily.

THE SAFE PILE

No art this time. I'm sorry! Perhaps next week.

So this will be the last time four of you beasts will make my list, as next week, we cut it back to three. As a new addition, however, alongside my praise will also be one criticism to keep in mind going forward.
As always, in no particular order:

1: Aldridge
+ great promise with his personal driving ethic, his deep relationships with cast and NPC alike, and a proactive goal.
- occasional poor use of present opportunities in scene structure/cast interactions. Start playing your cards.
2: Kali
+ consistently enjoyable prose, vivid and bold character, now wrapped up into a larger plot
- runs the risk of only being a pawn or bit-player in the story. Kali will need to affect great change on her terms and because of her actions to survive.
3: Adeen
+ twist with Fenton is engaging, Rinam seems primed to work as an excellent mirror to Adeen, craft continues to impress.
- no idea what story Adeen is exactly telling now, given the sudden and surprising shift. Next round better make this clear.
4: Thrayjen
+ great turnaround, compelling character conflict, active role within the world and plot.
- runs the risk of dropping the ball by not wholly addressing the conflict, turmoil, and change Thrayjen has just undergone.


As we move into the Fifth Round of the contest, I wanted to congratulate all who've made it this far, and give you a woozle-y pat on the back for providing a consistently engaging story to read. I'm very excited to see how it ends. Best of luck moving forward!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 10:54:20 PM by Tooley Bostay »

Thrayjen

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Re: Storyteller's Vigil
« Reply #104 on: September 19, 2017, 10:49:50 PM »
Aw, shucks, Tooley, I'm flattered. Your reviews are immensely helpful in our pursuit of a fantastic story with well-built characters and exciting ideas. I'm glad you're enjoying Thrayjen so much as to put him onto the safe list; I'm very relieved, heh!

Just, ah, one tiny thing. I think you mean to award your 'Best Description' to Aldridge for his 'Loggerhead' post. As much as I'd like to take credit for that line...alas, I can't! XD