Author Topic: Stonewall's Half Time Report  (Read 1901 times)

Stonewall

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Stonewall's Half Time Report
« on: May 11, 2008, 10:57:55 PM »
I was going to withhold this until after the voting for week five was done, but I wanted to let the writers know that they still have an audience who is paying attention and is interested, so I thought I'd jump the gun. These are reviews on a broader scale, designed to let the writers know how they've done so far, and what advice I have to give to see them to a strong finish (or do I flatter myself?). I've done all six authors, although the advice given will only be useful to five, since one of you must die fairly soon, but I have enjoyed all of the characters so immensely that I wanted to give a tip of a hat to them all.

Silus: After week three, my voting pistol was pointed at you, because I thought you were too passive in character, too smooth, and there wasn’t any grit in Silus to keep me hooked. After your last two posts, you have not only given all I wanted and more, but you have rocketed yourself in my top three. I like the deviousness, the coldness of personality, the conniving; “Crime and Punishment” was very chilling, and it shows that our seemingly sane weasel might be going around the bend. To put it another way, you’ve pulled off a good Bond villain: prone to arm chair plotting with little on the field action, but still tricky and sly enough to be a forceful presence. Also, kudos for not making him a “talky” villain. Often when you get plotting characters, they like to hear their own voices, try to pull off annoying philosophy, and frankly wind up being boring more than threatening; You have successfully averted this, and I thank you for it.

Now, while I do like how he’s been done so far, the trick to making a good plotting-villain durable and enjoyable is to shake things up a bit, knocking him off his arm chair, so to speak, lest the evilness and plotting start to stagnate. But really, this doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem with Silus, though: his moment of weakness with Kelsey, the vision of the otter playing on his nerves, his newly founded battle of wits with Ashira; all of these are great prospects to keep Silus fresh and interesting.

Ashira: Really, you’re in the same boat as Silus: You’ve created a character that has made such an impression on the story so far, she is almost essential to the plot. Whereas Silus does his evil in a more business manner, Ashira is more physical in her power, making a nice contrast between the two. Also, like Silus, you have made her imposing and memorable without using frilly dialogue or angst; she’s wonderfully bad, enjoyable to read, and an all around strong character.

And like Silus, to keep her even more enduring, don’t be afraid to make her jump some hurdles. Frankly, I saw some danger signs upon confronting the Big Evil: she was the only one with a steady head when confronting the monster, thus giving the impression that she’s altogether unshakable. If someone is too cool and comfortable under any circumstance, they run a risk of becoming a tad dull, because the reader is able to anticipate how the character is going to react in any situation. Now, I like the prospect of butting heads with Silus: they are probably the two most powerful people on the island right now, and to watch them bite at one another has great promise. Just don’t be afraid to throw Ashira a curveball or two plot-wise, and I can foresee a strong finish for the ferret.

Ulrick: You ran a risk with your last post (withholding the character’s thoughts from the audience), but I believe it paid off, because I am genuinely curious to know what on earth our badger is trying to pull: whether he’s really doing things his own way, or if he has some greater scheme. That is, I’m assuming you withheld Ulrick’s thoughts so as to not tip your hand to the reader before you’re ready to lay your cards down, as you did with his past. All the same, I want to know where Ulrick is going to end up by the time this is all over: he’ll do it his way, that is certain, but what is it he’s going to do? You’ve created intrigue; I’m hoping for something that’ll make me satisfied when the time comes.

I have no doubts that you will keep things fresh and exciting (working a deal with Silus was altogether unexpected and an enjoyable turn of events). What I want to see from Ulrick is a bit more feeling. We know he’s selfish and a little grumpy, but given his stay on the island, I imagine something else must be brewing in that brain of his. Guilt? Despair? Anger? Paranoia? Madness? I know with a neutral character, you’re more or less obligated to stay on the fence, in terms of black and white, and I’m not asking you to radicalize Ulrick one way or the other. I just want to see some emotion from the badger, something other than his self pity.

And thank you very much for the nod to Obadiah. It really made my day.

Brooga: I’ll be honest, Brooga, you’ve got a bit more to do then the others in order to stay strong. You’ve allowed yourself to become passive, almost a secondary character. You support the others, and you go along with the others plans (which, don’t get me wrong, is very admirable, in my humble opinion), but you’ve yet to take center stage yourself. You can follow a plot, I know that, but I really want to see you lead. Right now, Brooga seems to be drifting and holding on to other character’s schemes; don’t be afraid to make some schemes of your own. It will make Brooga stand out more, make her stronger in aura, and will make everyone see you in a whole new light.

Also, while I never tire of her bright and happy outlook , the part of her personality that was especially memorable in my eyes was when she stood up to Ulrick and chewed a piece out of him. It shows that we shouldn’t be fooled by her sunny demeanour: she can be just as forceful as anybody else. It’s like she’s steadily finding the courage to assert herself, and I’d really love to see you run with that.

Tassle: I like how Tassle’s character seems to fluctuate logically, considering what she’s gone through. She’s tried to organize an escape, tried to hold the unsteady band together, but things keep going wrong and she’s getting a little miffed. It shows that you can understand your character, and we know that she will not stagnate any time soon. Also, she’s got it in for Ashira, which has great promise, and really, I think she’s got enough going on in her head to take on Silus in a battle of wits. The shrew has great potential.

So no, I have no real issues with Tassle regarding character. What I feel has to be mended a bit involves your writing, mainly description. I’d like a bit more description of scenery, of Tassle’s train of thought (how she gets from Idea A to Idea B), how she regards the others, etc. Also, the dialogue in the last segment, after they decide to unite with the crew, seems a little too… forced; the road from starting the plan to its agreement was to smooth. I’d like to see some back-and-forth communication between Tassle and the others; don’t be afraid to deviate from the end result of a conversation for a little while, as it will provide a look at how the shrew can deal with, I don’t know, a trading of subtle insults, or displays of wit. Just flesh out the dialogue a little, is all I’m asking.

Cricket: I have to say, I think I enjoy your segments the most. You have a great way of portraying how Cricket’s child-brain function, how it works out problems, how it sees the world. It really gets the character across to the audience. Also, I like how you’ve had her live and learn from her experiences: she’s not exactly torn up over the death of Cookie, but it still effects her deeply, and even her short stay with the slaves has influenced how she’s decided she wants to be treated. And her maliciousness is both unsettling and intriguing, and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next.

The only advice I think I can give to you is the same I gave to Brooga: avoid becoming a secondary character. I don’t think this is too much of an issue, but as the child in a group of adults, it can sometimes be hard to make yourself noticed. But you’ve already paved the way for a revenge plotline against Ulrick, so I don’t think that will be too much of an issue at all.
I am the game, and I want to play

Opal

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2008, 11:29:45 PM »
I'm so glad you're still here Stonewall! Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews!
"I've got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel." - Blackadder the Third

Ashira

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008, 12:27:26 AM »
Much appreciated, Stonewall.  Thank you!

Fear not, I have a few cards up my sleeve.  ;)

Silus

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008, 10:09:00 AM »
Stonewall, once again thank you for your helpful reviews and being a very patient and faithful audience member.
Business advice:  a bird in paw is not worth two in the bush; the held bird should be dead, the bushed two should be dying.

Brooga Delfan

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2008, 04:08:13 PM »
Burr aye. Oi do gurtly thank 'ee furr these. *smiles*
Bo hurr.

Cricket Argyll

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2008, 11:37:40 AM »
Yes, thank you so much, Stonewall. You've been with us since the beginning and I can't tell you how grateful we are to you and the rest of the reviewers! Anyway, I will certainly heed your advice. I'm trying to keep Cricket in the game, but as you said, it's a little hard for a child to insinuate herself in a meaningful way into the plot when everybody else is roughly twice her age. I'll keep on rolling, though! There's fire left in my little ratty yet and I've been doing a bit of plotting myself to give Cricket a greater purpose and part in this story we're writing.
*crickets chirruping*

Sycamore

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2008, 01:24:47 AM »
I have much to say about a certain kink in the story, and I'm trying to divide it up between two threads. Here's hoping I don't miss anything while avoiding to sound redundant.

Stonewall, I've read your reviews and I agree... with most of them. Unfortunately I have to take Oni's side when it comes to Silus. He may have given you all you wanted and more, but I feel it was done in a complete and senseless sacrifice of the story's direction. Silus is supposed to be a business type beast. If I haven't gathered that from his posts, it's painted all over every review and discussion of the character written. In that case, why would he sever any sort of truce the vermin and goodbeasts had together? With his actions upon killing the otter Kelsey, he has destroyed any trust the slaves had of their "allies". Not to mention he needed that truce to sacrifice them in his plot against the wolf. Then he goes ahead, kills the otter, and says, "Oh, it's okay now. Her killer *snigger* has been disposed." No! It doesn't work like that. A slave killed by a slaver one day after a truce has been made does not go by unnoticed.

Silus, I'm sorry, but that last post, while catering to some expectations and hopes, fell far, far short of sense and sensibility. You have put the story in a perilous position and it's going to take some mighty hard work to remedy.
And then he DIED!!!

Opal

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2008, 01:52:13 AM »
I dunno though, I always thought Silus was supposed to be a bit mentally unbalanced, and I guess I just saw his last post as him having to make up for a moment of insanity. I mean. He sees an otter apparition.

Well, now maybe insanity isn't the right word. He just kind of. Lost it when Kelsey wouldn't comply or even shut up. He said in his application that he deals with the weak-minded, so perhaps he sensed that Kelsey wouldn't easily be broken mentally...so he broke her physically. ;D

I don't really know, I'm just trying to see a positive side here since our poor Silus seems to be getting reviewed fairly harshly of late. ;)
"I've got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel." - Blackadder the Third

Sycamore

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2008, 02:20:26 AM »
Again, I have to disagree. Silus's author said Silus himself killed the otter intentionally. Were it a momentary lapse of sanity, then it would be accidental. Even moreso, after he had regained his sanity it would have been smarter to have her body found near the lip of the cave than to frame a crewbeast. A full day had passed. Silus could have thought of something better to do.

These reviews are harsh, but that's the nature of criticism. However, I do admit I sound rather biting. I shall try to be more constructive in the future.

Still, the damage has been done. There needs to be a shift. The slaves cannot trust their newfound allies, and the vermin cannot turn it around and rule with an iron fist. With Brooga off with Ashira, Ulrick making shady deals with Silus, and Cricket having nothing to do with the whole thing, it really all depends upon Tassle's next post.

Tassle- You have a lot on your plate. I'm excited for you.
And then he DIED!!!

Opal

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2008, 03:30:52 AM »
Oh, I know he said that, I even checked to make sure he'd said that. Still, I don't think Silus's initial intent when he called Kelsey in was to kill her. However, his intent shifted naturally once she started trying to repell him. His initial intent was not exactly saintly either, though. He intended to do her harm one way or the other. :P
"I've got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel." - Blackadder the Third

Sycamore

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2008, 10:51:24 AM »
Of course it wasn't. His initial intent was to perform some kind of interspecies no-no. Makes me wonder what it is about otters he finds so attractive.
And then he DIED!!!

Stonewall

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2008, 10:56:56 AM »
I have much to say about a certain kink in the story, and I'm trying to divide it up between two threads. Here's hoping I don't miss anything while avoiding to sound redundant.

Stonewall, I've read your reviews and I agree... with most of them. Unfortunately I have to take Oni's side when it comes to Silus. He may have given you all you wanted and more, but I feel it was done in a complete and senseless sacrifice of the story's direction. Silus is supposed to be a business type beast. If I haven't gathered that from his posts, it's painted all over every review and discussion of the character written. In that case, why would he sever any sort of truce the vermin and goodbeasts had together? With his actions upon killing the otter Kelsey, he has destroyed any trust the slaves had of their "allies". Not to mention he needed that truce to sacrifice them in his plot against the wolf. Then he goes ahead, kills the otter, and says, "Oh, it's okay now. Her killer *snigger* has been disposed." No! It doesn't work like that. A slave killed by a slaver one day after a truce has been made does not go by unnoticed.

The reason that the killing of Kelsey was so powerful was because it shows a part of Silus that we haven't really seen. He's assumed the role, more or less, of leader among the island, and to a certain extent everyone has to trust him. That he had obtained that trust, and then killed one of those subjects for a brief moment of pleasure, not only shows that Silus desires more than to just be the businessman; he's got a fever, and the only cure is dead people. On top of which, the framing of Tornear, and subsequent execution at Silus's own hands, allows the weasel to get away with little suspicion to his guilt. The covering up of a murder successfully strikes me as evil, not to mention he doubtlessly plans on doing it again, and it makes Silus seem as much of a threat to strike at any time as the Big Evil.

Quote
Silus, I'm sorry, but that last post, while catering to some expectations and hopes, fell far, far short of sense and sensibility. You have put the story in a perilous position and it's going to take some mighty hard work to remedy.


I don't understand that. According to Brooga's post, none of the slaves really seem to suspect Silus, and they seem relatively content that the topic has been dealt with by the execution of Tornear. If anything, the fact that a suspected murderer among the crew was brought to justice on behlaf of the former slaves can only increase trust for Silus.
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Sycamore

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2008, 11:09:34 AM »
I disagree. I apologize for being blunt, but I think that's completely idiotic. Were I a slave, I'd be in constant fear of another random vermin offing me. No matter that Silus "dealt with the manner" and now everything is okay. Through his actions against the otter, Silus has shown to the slaves that the vermin are still a threat, and they're better off back in the caverns stumbling around. The slaves now have two enemies. Would you rather be in the midst of one, or the midst of both?

I agree with you though on Brooga's post and the slaves seeming to be content that the matter has been dealt with. I attribute that to Brooga not quite understanding the scope of what has been done. I implore you, Tassle, to remedy that issue. I feel it is completely against her character to give up, resign, and accept whatever happens to the slaves now that the deal has been made. She's stronger than that. She's smarter than that. You do not work with the enemy when they are still working against you.
And then he DIED!!!

Stonewall

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2008, 11:28:27 AM »
It is not just Brooga who has accepted the possibilities of danger in their new alliance; Ulrick is making deals with the murderer himself, and Roger always struck me as a bit of a twit who never thought things through. That leaves Tassle, who probably shall suspect a thing or two; but your idea that all of the escaped slaves will be on tenterhooks is null and void, as two of the biggest personalities about them don't seem to be shooken up. The fact that they all are willing to trust Silus only increases the deviousness and threat of the weasel.
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Sycamore

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Re: Stonewall's Half Time Report
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2008, 11:48:07 AM »
Yes, we have established that Silus is now more evil and a better villain. I admitted it myself. I think the post was written beautifully. It really evoked emotion from me. I thought it was a great, well-written post. But that does not prevent me from seeing the blaring errors within.

Ulrick does his own thing. He could care less about the slaves, who kills them, who retaliates, so long as he's still alive in the end.

You say the fact that they are all willing to trust Silus increases his deviousness and threat. I say the fact that they are all willing to trust the slavers increases their stupidity, ignorance and obliviousness. Tassle will (should) rally the slaves. She has that power. Roger will fall into line. Brooga will to, because despite her optimism, she's not an idiot herself. Brooga can be played off as holding on to that one last ray of hope by trusting the slavers despite their murder of Kelsey. When Tassle opens her eyes, I believe we will see a marked change.

Again. I seem to have to emphasize this. Silus wrote a great post. He has become more evil, put himself in a position that will rival the villainy of Ashira, and has shifted a heckuva lot of power to himself. However, he did so at the expense of a good plot.
And then he DIED!!!