Author Topic: Reviews? Maybe?  (Read 9887 times)

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #90 on: October 11, 2013, 12:02:40 PM »
I suppooooose.  But I demand cupcakes and wine. 

The Chennault Error

So the main thing that stood out to me the first time I read this is that it feels really out of character for Noonahootin not to be concerned about Poko's absence.  So much that I felt like it was merely a forced move for the sake of the plot.   

Maybe Noon is just falling apart in his old age.  Maybe he is a shadow of what he used to be.  But every step of this post - I just found myself facepalming over and over.  He virtually plucks himself and hops into the oven. 

The chicks were adorable and not at all cloying and I thought the introduction of Cleite was a genuinely interesting move, though again, I felt like alarms should have been going off in Noon's head. 

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He could not decide if it had been a good idea to send Zevka with Nyika or not; surely she would have wanted a word with her wayward employer, and yet the owl did not know if he could trust Zevka to not lose her temper and spoil their ruse.

At this point, it seems fairly obvious that the only ruse in play is that of the enemy.  Not to mention, wouldn't Beechton recognize her whether she lost her temper or not? 

I don't know if you were just given a really hard bit of plot to cover or what.  I felt like every action in this post was forced and needed, rather than natural and what really made sense for the character.  You did, however, get things where they needed to go - not always easy to do. 

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #91 on: October 11, 2013, 12:24:08 PM »
Crutches and Buttons

So, I only have a few thoughts on this one (and only partially because I'm trying to hurry...): 

I thought that Beechton died far, far too soon (I wasn't even properly scared of him yet - he had barely become a villain in my eyes) and Poko gave up her turncoat role way sooner than benefited her.  Seriously, I think that if everyone had prolonged that alone, it would have given Poko much better footing this week.  I was really disappointed to see both of those elements fall apart as quickly as they came together. 

I thought you could have played up the button thing a lot more.  As it was, it just fell a little flat and didn't seem to add to the character. 

I'm impressed by Zevka's ability to bounce back from anything, but I also think you could definitely dig a little more into the angst and worry she has to be feeling still.  She may have won this encounter, but things are definitely not okay.  Nessa's gone, she hasn't yet found Mekad and doesn't know what state he's in, Nyika is in danger every minute - the list goes on and on.  I would be freaking out if I were her, but, I am not. 

You've carved out a nice leading role in the story.  All I can say is try not to get too comfortable.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #92 on: October 11, 2013, 12:46:12 PM »
The Heir of Delphi

Finally one of the characters recognizes that they've been fooled.  And unlike Poko, Nyika snatches up the chance to make use of it and doesn't throw it away immediately. 

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Nyika felt herself moving, her limbs acting of their own accord as she climbed atop the table, both paws coming up to grip Noonahootin's beak and holding him fast. Their foreheads touched, their eyes locking; his pupils had dilated, shifting back and forth in fear and anger and panic. She held his gaze for what seemed an eternity, her own never wavering, until his breath calmed and his feathers smoothed.

"Don't worry," she murmured. "All is not lost. I can do this." How, she did not know. She still had a few tricks up her sleeve. She could still use the All-Mother against Tikora, maybe convince her to let them go once Nyika told the weasel of her haunts. Frighten her into servitude. Fear was a compelling beast, and one Nyika was all too familiar with.

I love that even when she's scared to death, she's still compelling enough that she can convince Noon to have faith in her.  It's... the best liars are the ones that convince others that they are bad at lying.  When they do lie, you never suspect.  Nyika has been so apparently innocent this entire time that the others accept what she says without question.  And, of course, at this point, Noon has no choice but to trust her. 

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Good, good.

Quick aside, but every time I see or hear that nowadays, I just imagine the giant insect in Family Guy and break out tittering...  Totally imagined Nyika chilling on a couch and tapping her claws together.

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It was when Nyika found herself on the floor that she figured she had crossed a line. Tikora's fists fell relentlessly on the hapless wildcat, kicking and scratching while the weasel screamed curses and obscenities until her throat was sore and she was too tired to go on. Nyika took it all, her blood mixing with that of Istvan's as she waited until the rain of blows would stop. At one point it seemed it never would.

I just wanted to point this out because I really appreciated how you didn't narrate up to Nyika finding herself on the floor.  It's the way it would feel if it were happening; you don't focus on every micro second up to that point, just, suddenly, the breath's been knocked out of your lungs and you're on your back, wheezing and fighting and adrenaline rushing through you. 

There were a few more things that I wanted to note, in the spirit of contrasting the possibility of supernatural vs. mentally ill, but as I said, I'm in a bit of a hurry.  I'll try to revisit later.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #93 on: November 05, 2013, 05:05:25 PM »
Prolonged grey weather has triggered the usual mood swings, but for once, they're up instead of down!  The plan is to channel my brief wit into reviews that make you laugh, cry, and just about everything in between.  I will probably fail. 

But this is better than coming up with music videos for songs that I only know ten words of the chorus. 

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #94 on: November 05, 2013, 05:30:18 PM »
Once More Into The Fray

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“Well, how about a story, father?” Cleite's restrained tone lashed at Noonahootin harder than any whip, the old grey owl knowing full well Cleite hadn't physically struck him only because his children were right there.

I can't explain.  But I will mangle my keyboard trying.  That one line of dialogue changed Noon's entire character for me, and I hate it because it's too late, but I also love that it finally came together in a way that made sense to me.  Here's what I see:  Noon lives in a fantasy.  Constantly.  It is fed and encouraged by real life, and I wouldn't go so far as to say he is delusional; but his head is so much in the past that he is unable to truly live in the present.  And it seems he's been this way for quite some time.  He is built upon regrets, victories, memories of love and loss.  He is what he has always been - he is old.  And it finally all added up for me in a way I can appreciate, and I am kicking myself for not being able to see it sooner.  Seeing that line - having someone who has known Noon for years and years try to jerk him to reality like that - it was the baseline I needed to understand how he really fits into his role. 

This is further accentuated when Noon demands proper stance from Istvan.  Pretending - holding onto that last shred of belief that things can ever be the same again - is all that keeps him together. 

And it seems fitting that Noon got to go out in the blaze of glory that I have always wanted for him. 

This was your best yet.  And the ending was so peaceful and right.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #95 on: November 05, 2013, 05:44:04 PM »
The Mourning After

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She practically flew – flew to the fallen bird she hoped against hope but knew – she knew deep down inside – was Noonahootin.

I think you may have accidentally a couple words?

It was sweet to see Poko truly react to a death.  As I may have established, my memory is the-word-we-can't-say, but it seems like up to now, her grief has been shown as numbness.  Which is totally normal, I mean, but it's good to see a change. 

This was very fillery though.  And other than getting that immediate reaction in, I wasn't very clear on the point of the post, other than having another Poko post.  I feel like you dropped the ball a tad this week as far as the plot went. 

Still.  Serious character growth.  It is sad yet wonderful when Poko suffers so.  :P

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #96 on: November 05, 2013, 05:55:40 PM »
Number 10

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Zevka produced several small ribs and bones

I would have used ribs OR bones, not both.  Redundant.

The placement of this and the two preceding posts feels really weird to me.  Noon is taken, time moves, and then Poko grieves, moving things further.  Suddenly we are thrown back to just after Noon leaves.  I just don't know that I really needed to see the other perspective here.  At the very least, I think it could have been covered more briefly...

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Somebeast had tied a bright blue ribbon around the scabbard. Attached to it was a note that read "Nepsy, will you be my mayt?"

I might be tittering breathlessly.

Honestly, I felt like you probably could have milked Mekad's captivity for another week.  If it weren't for the fact that Nyika is prisoner, Zevka would pretty much have no reason to stick with the story.  I think it's noble and all that this tiny group of beasts wants to stop a war machine that has obviously been in the works for years, but... none of them set out with that goal in mind.  It's a lot to take on.  Really. 

But that could just be the fact that I haven't been regularly reading posts for the last few weeks and I'm out of touch with things.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #97 on: November 05, 2013, 06:06:28 PM »
Glass Heart

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The otter noticed Mekad shrinking back from him, and made a mental note to educate the cat on the proper teachings of the All-Mother. The last thing he needed was another beast to sow distrust against him, as Zevka had so long ago.

Hah.  I remember that feeling. 

I have a really weird note, and I'm hesitant to say anything about this, but - Istvan has cut a couple of other beasts at this point, and it is portrayed as being easy because he's used to doing it to himself.  I realize that Istvan self injures for religious purposes, but generally SIers judge how deep they have gone by the sensation.  (Generally.)  When you injure someone other than yourself, you don't have that immediate sensation feed to stop you from doing too much (or too little, I suppose) harm.  I also feel that, given the descriptions of how much blood is flowing, Istvan is a little sloppy when he injures others. 

As with Nyika, I love how there are two possible perspectives to Istvan; either his religion is "real" and blood letting truly allows forgiveness, or he mistakes the endorphin rush from self injuring as a pardon.  Either possibility is so elaborate and intriguing. 

Major "d'aww!!!" at the reunion with Nyika.  Seriously, those two should be together...

Noonahootin

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #98 on: November 12, 2013, 10:49:18 PM »
Thank-you, careless. Your interpretation and understanding of my character's last has proven spot on. I'm so glad you enjoyed the ending. It was very important that Noonahootin find peace.

I truly appreciate your comments and enthusiasm throughout the contest. : )
:noonahootin: Captain Noonahootin

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #99 on: November 19, 2013, 02:37:27 PM »
Nyika

Despite keeping up with Pyracantha and co. througout the story via the interludes, I have to admit that were I one of the main players, I would let them die.  I know, I know - they all have a past relationship with her that makes her more than just a tour guide, but the way things have played out in the story, it just seems like no contest - Tikora is way more valuable to them than Pyra's life. 

...and I should note that I typed all of that before I reached the part where Nyika comes to the same conclusion. 

I can't begin to say how relieved I am that the c-section didn't involve copious descriptions of gore. 

Everything happened very fast here.  Maybe it's because of the hiatus, maybe it's just me, but it all just seemed to unravel very quickly.  I was surprised that Tikora was killed, a little surprised by Aster's reaction to the truth, surprised by Zander's true colors, and mostly just surprised that I can actually see the story ending within a few posts.  There was so much buildup, and I just expected a little more intensity of climax. 

TNT

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #100 on: November 19, 2013, 04:05:40 PM »
Despite keeping up with Pyracantha and co. througout the story via the interludes, I have to admit that were I one of the main players, I would let them die.  I know, I know - they all have a past relationship with her that makes her more than just a tour guide, but the way things have played out in the story, it just seems like no contest - Tikora is way more valuable to them than Pyra's life.

In Nyika's defense, that one's on me. I said which character(s) it'd be okay to kill, and, without being too specific, the vague kind of death I wished they could have. I didn't force them one way or the other, and in the end the ending they've chosen has affected who lives and dies. I would just like to say that I love the level of involvement the contestants have let me have in the story. The interludes weren't even originally going to happen at all, but the contestants asked if I'd cover some of the political stuff, so they could concentrate more on character interactions. It's been a fairly unique story in that regard. I only wished I had covered more of their adventures in the mountains. I had a lot of other stuff planned that had to get cut because I couldn't get my rear in gear. :P
"I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it." - Arrested Development

carelesswhisper

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Re: Reviews? Maybe?
« Reply #101 on: November 23, 2013, 02:43:27 PM »
In the interim, and as a way to avoid rearranging rooms or packing for a family visit next week, I would like to indulge in nostalgia and take a look back at the characters' growth overall. 

Everything has changed so much.  My least favorite in the beginning became my number one.  Going in the order that they come to mind. 

Zevka - Of everyone, I think you played the most expected course.  I believe it worked because it is so true to character; Zevka was pretty well defined to begin with, and rather than completely change her personality, you chose to continually add depth to what was there.  Most notable moment: tossing the baby mole.  I didn't see that coming from Zevka, after getting to know her as the mothering, worrier type, and the tantrums it caused were pretty sweet too. 

The ending I am hoping for:  Zevka plays her part in overthrowing The Evil, settles down with Mekad, and together they start a little tavern of their own.  Obviously they adopt Poko and drive her nuts by giving her curfews and treating her like, well, a child.

Istvan - At no point have I known what to expect from you.  I feel both happy and disappointed with how things have played out thus far; I feel like you yourself are guarded about how much you care to reveal, and the result has been an extremely slow moving, albeit realistic, character arc.  Repeatedly, I find myself floored by how well you have played the cult mindset, but I also find myself frustrated by Istvan's refusal to see it for what (I believe) it is.  Again, realistic - just not what I wished for.  My ongoing pet peeve with you has been the unrealistic blood flow depicted in descriptions of injuries, self inflicted or otherwise.  :P  I seen some things, man, and done some stuff.  Also I have participated in a good few butcherings, so I have a good idea of what... extreme bloodflow would be like. 

The ending I hope for (but know is unlikely):  Istvan has an extreme revelation and is finally able to experience reality.  At this point, I don't know what would be a powerful enough catalyst to accomplish this, but regardless.  He and Nyika make a quiet home in the wilderness, a place where wayfarers and travelers pass through to rest and heal before they go on their way.  Living and dead, of course.  Istvan does all he can to aid Nyika in her struggle to balance the dual worlds she experiences, but finally one morning, when the weasel babe is about ten seasons, he wakes up to find the wildcat dangling from the rafters.  She has drowned the child in order to, as she puts it in her final script, "Spare her from what I have seen."  Istvan returns to self injuring and also takes up drinking.  He dies a few seasons later. 

Noonahootin - I wish I had known then what I knew now.  I felt so frustrated by his actions and his internal monologues.  If I hadn't been stupid, I would have been able to see it for what it was and not get all hung up about it.  That's really all I can say. 

The ending I would have wanted: is what you went with.  I couldn't imagine a more perfect exit for Noon.  Granted, it would have been sweet to see him get to enjoy being a grandfather for a good bit longer, in which case I could see him authoring one or two textbooks on battle tactics and his personal memoir. 

Poko - I've been hot and cold with her.  At a couple points early on, she ranked amongst my least favorites, but I think you definitely took the prize for most improved.  At this point, I'm impressed with Poko.  I felt that the writing took a slight dip in the 6th week, but there is something very endearing about her.  Poko is the heroine that every young person wants to see - someone they can relate to, even through all the fantastic adventures and trials she faces. 

The ending I hope for:  Poko is adopted by Zevka and Mekad, but unable to deal with domesticity and normal childish pursuits after everything she has seen, she constantly rebels.  She and Takis find each other once more and rekindle their awkward flirting of yore, which eventually results in their eloping together.  They have twins and stun the world with their sheer cuteness.  Together they start their own troupe of performers and travel the map. 

Risk - Still completely "WTF??!!" that you went so early.  Risk was one of my very favorites from the start, and I have very much appreciated his continued presence as a ghost.  I can only imagine what interactions between Tikora and him would have been like - take that back, they would have been AWESOME.  AWESOME I TELL YOU

The ending I would have wanted: What you chose worked, and very well.  I have to be honest, it almost reminded me of Marriote a bit, though with far more purpose and general way-better-ness.  I was just so upset to see him die at all that it made it hard to enjoy.  I WOULD have liked to see him get to the end and do stuff and see things and be awesome and get a few more scars, but since I can't have that, I think he should just stir up as much mayhem as possible in the afterlife. 

Goragula - My goodness, you had so much promise.  I think the species choice may have been your undoing, but darn it, Gor was just plain awesome and dripping with creepy evil.  The best part is that you could have done anything you wanted - convert him to the light, or have him team up with the established villains.  It's hard to play a baddie amongst relatively "good" guys, but you did it well. 

The ending I would have liked: Goragula turns out to be behind all of the horror and intrigue that goes on, with Tikora herself subservient to him.  Ultimately, I think he would die if he didn't genuinely switch sides, but it would have been so satisfying to have him deliver the most slimey, sinister smile as the other players realize what's happened. 

Gashrock - You made me think of a less-educated Jenni Green, and it was sublime.  You definitely won the most distinct character, hands down, and effortlessly.  If you had been able to incorporate just a tad more plot into your posts, you would have been in my top three.  Gashrock 4eva <3

What I would have wanted: Well, obviously, to live.  Gashrock finally publishes her book and becomes bitter and jaded when it is not a success.  She drinks herself to a (timely?) grave, and only then is her work  hailed for the genius it always was. 

Vanessa - You started very strong, and I think you just got a bit lost.  Vanessa had a good story and I would have liked to see her continue on her journey of self discovery.  I felt like you were very much in the middle the whole time; never among the bottom players, but never quite reaching your potential.  Vanessa was, for me, the quintessential heroine and that in itself can be quite satisfying.  I do hope to see you write again. 

The ending I would have wanted: Vanessa finally admits her love for Zevka but is rejected.  Brokenhearted, she drinks heavily and takes up work as a paid assassin.  One of her clients falls in love with her and continues hiring her just to have an excuse to talk to her, but finally she runs out of beasts she wants dead and is forced to profess her love aloud.  They are madly happy and Vanessa drinks less and charges more for killing beasts. 

Nyika - Last but never least.  I have to be honest, for the first two weeks, I hated her.  I wanted her dead, yo.  I attempted to keep an open mind, but at the core of it all, I was convinced she was nothing but a dramatic, angsty teen with a twinkish superpower.  I'm not sure when exactly it changed.  But Nyika steadily rose through the ranks and is now in my top three.  The way you have played her this entire time is so delightfully ambiguous, and I have very much enjoyed pondering what exactly her deal is - unusual power, or mentally ill.  You've explored some themes very near to my heart, and as a reviewer, I have appreciated your interest in the audience opinions. 

What I hope for:  Nyika finally ends her life, expecting to live in one world for once and for all.  Upon her final breath, she opens her eyes, expecting to see her fellow fallen; there is no one.  She wanders the world of the living, unseen, unheard, forced to watch as those she left behind suffer, grow old, and pass on.  Her head was once full of voices; she will never hear another beast again.