New OOTS products from CafePress
New OOTS t-shirts, ornaments, mugs, bags, and more
Page 7 of 10 FirstFirst 12345678910 LastLast
Results 181 to 210 of 279
  1. - Top - End - #181
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ether View Post
    Critique of Untitled Story by Tira-chan
    Spoiler
    Show
    Immediately I noticed that the first four paragraphs can be cut. It’s a massive block, and I feel you would be better served by breaking it up and seeding different pieces somewhere into the story.

    Reading further: You use too much exposition, too much telling and not showing. I mean nothing happens until you get to the ninth paragraph.

    [“Liam!” it snapped at him from the region of his middle, accompanied by a beleaguered-looking young elf, burdened with several oversized bags and a look of utter weariness.]

    This is an awkward sentence.
    Part of the reason for the list is that it intends to give you a sense of how Liam thinks. And I think that much exposition is necessary in the first chapter, honestly, especially in a fantasy story, where you need to establish what the setting is like. Maybe it's just my taste - I know many fantasy or scifi stories make me feel like I've been dumped in the middle of something, and I have to spend the whole first few chapters piecing together what's actually going on.

    And some of the sentences are intended to be like that for humorous juxtaposition.

    EDIT: Three more reviews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Spoiler
    Show
    Vault City, California; April 13th, Anno Domini 1896, 15 Years Post-Cometfall. A Meeting At Saint Abney's Park.

    It was already past the twilight hour, and the ringing of the great bronze bells of Laincara Cathedral pierced the oneiric fog that hung over the grim stone streets of Vault City. On the city's west side, airships leaving harbor shone their lights strong, hoping to avoid collision as they ascended from the fog-bound bay; wiser captains stayed in dry-dock completely, waiting for better weather to come again. Some streets began to glow with light already as the lamp-lighters went about their work, while others lay in darkness, causing honest citizenry to hurry through as they made their way to their homes.

    Saint Abney's Park was a cheerful, populous place during the day, a island of green among the stone and glass, but it lay all but deserted now. The lonely fountain in the center of the park – which sported a stained statue of the famed Aegyptian treasure-hunter Daniel Garret on a pedestal in its center – provided the only sounds in the fog-shrouded park. No birds sang, no engines hummed, no gas-lamps hissed, no couples made polite conversation while walking along the ill-kept paths. There was only the sound of water on water, dripping, gushing, running down tubes and flying back up through the spouts. It was a lonely place, content in its solitude, and only two people were within the confines of its hedged walls tonight.

    The first was a man of ill-repute – a cutpurse, a pickpocket, a drunkard, a murderer if he had to be. His name was Cinders, and he was not a lucky man, nor a wise one. Indeed, the only thing he'd been gifted with at birth was brawn, for he was built like a brick wall. To compensate, he was neither overburdened in brains nor wit, and lacked the moral fiber to labor for an honest day's work. But despite his thick head, he was starting to get worried tonight. Yes, the lady he'd been shadowing for three streets now was without companion or guard, and she was sitting alone in Saint Abney's Park, and from the looks of her she was certainly rich – a ruby-and-gold broach sat on her shoulder, pinning her black walking cloak closed, and a belt that, had he the brains to recognize it, had flawless mother-of-pearl trim – and she was just sitting out in the open. Nobody would notice, should he run up now and take every copper penny she had. And yet, there was something about her that made the hairs on the back of his thick neck stand on end.

    It was the veil, he told himself. It was black, matching the rest of her clothing, and it hung from her hat over her face. There was always something unnerving about those – who knew what lurked behind them? What deformity or beauty might she be hiding? Was she one of the warp-freaks, or perhaps a survivor of the pox, or perhaps simply in mourning for a late husband? No, she appeared too young and slight to already be a widow. Cinders steeled himself, forcing down that prickle of anxiety running up his back. After all, you couldn't let anyone spook you when you lived off the streets. That's why pickings were so bad back east, after all.

    What happened next – well, Cinders didn't have a lot of imagination, and that was a good trait on the street, but this – it almost knocked him dead. The lady slowly turned her head, smoothly but sedately, until she was looking straight at his hiding place behind the hedges. And she didn't move a muscle, but just kept staring, for what seemed like five years, which took about a minute or so. And then she spoke, and her voice was quiet, but it was ever-so-slightly wrong. The hairs stood stiff on the back of Cinders' neck. “If you're going to try to rob me, hurry up. I don't have all night.”

    “What?” The little part of Cinders that actually tried to think things through winced in pain as he spoke without thinking, as usual. The element of surprise was, at this point, lost with no hope of it ever returning, so he stood up from behind the bushes and shrugged his shoulders. “Why would you think that? Just having a nice stroll in Saint Abney's–”

    “Don't try to insult me, please.” She rose from the stone bench she was sitting on, her right hand falling to her hip. “Any half-baked mystic from a carnival stall could have read your intentions. A thug follows a woman into a deserted park – did you expect me to believe you were coming to admire the flowers?”

    “...Well then. Your money or your life?” Cinders may have been confused, but even he could fall back on the basic cliched lines of robbers and highwaymen everywhere. Intimidation didn't require brains, just brawn. “Don't scream or you'll get hurt?”

    “You're new to this, aren't you?” She shook her head in contempt of his larcenous ability, even as he started to step forward. She hardly paid any attention to him, in fact, and his long stride ate at the distance in only a handful of steps. She might not even have noticed that he was only ten feet away now. Now eight, now seven, now six. “Only beginners and actors say things like that.”

    “Well, who's going to step in and save you, then?” Cinders pulled his trusty knife out of its sheath with his left hand – it was more often used to cut purse strings, but a knife was a knife. “Ain't nobody in Saint Abney's at this time of night, and there ain't nobody to stop me from taking all you've got.”

    “Actually, I believe he might.” The lady pointed behind Cinders, and fool that he was, he turned and looked just in time to have the boot, originally aimed at the back of his head, crunch into the bridge of his nose. The lady stepped aside with surprising speed to let Cinders go stumbling past her and fall right into the stone bench she'd been sitting on. His knife clattered to the cobblestones beside him. It took a moment for Cinders' head to stop spinning, and another moment to recognize his attacker. Oh, hellfire.

    The man was dressed in a black cloak, with a snug red vest clinging above a green-dyed shirt. Both his gloves and his leggings were black, almost blending into the darkness of his cloak. His wide-brimmed hat cast a shadow over his masked face, and both his belt and vest were covered in pouches and pockets. He smirked as Cinders rose with a roar of fury, then he moved into a ready fighting stance. “Have you no honor, blackguard? Fight someone capable of defending himself!”

    Cinders charged, and slammed into the guy – but he placed his hand just here on Cinder's chest, and instead of trying to stop the unstoppable Cinders, he kept him moving up and forward with a grunt of exertion, because Cinders was no lightweight after all – and now Cinders was flying towards the fountain, out of control, and right before the inevitable conclusion Cinders closed his eyes.

    WHAM.

    The mighty Cinders half-pulled himself out of the water, blinking back tears of pain, because despite his legendarily thick skull that had hurt like blazes. He staggered back upright, clenching his fists and already swinging as he turned. His opponent let Cinders' right hook brush past his head nonchalantly, before grabbing Cinders' over-extended arm and shoving him outwards. Cinders stumbled again, and got a fist to the back of the neck for his troubles. Now, Cinders had been through a fight or two in his time, but rarely one-on-one like this. No, Cinders was used to either large gang fights or fights where he had the advantage, viz, being the only one with a knife. But a semi-fair, solo fight like this – well, his talents were wasted. And his head felt like it was on fire, and his already slow reflexes were slowing down even further.

    So Cinders turned and ran out of Saint Abney's Park, entered the alleyway beside the watchman's shop, kept running until he was out of the east quarter entirely and could crash in one of the penny-houses that infested the south side of town, then he began to plot a way to take revenge on the over-confident hero that had beaten him up. At least, he tried to.

    And his plan would have worked perfectly, had not his opponent whipped out a small cylinder from his myriad pockets, flicked it open and pointed the hook at the end straight at the fleeing Cinders' legs. Click went the button on the side, and straightaway out shot the grappling hook and line, curling around Cinders' legs and cutting his retreat short. A firm yank on the line, before Cinders could reclaim his balance, and Cinders found the cobblestones coming up to meet him.

    CRASH.

    The fog seemed to seep into Cinders' head, making everything go wavering and black. He gave a shuddering sigh as his fighting spirit finally gave up the ghost, leaving blessed unconsciousness in its wake. His black-caped assailant now attempted to reel in the grappling hook, giving up in disgust when the great bulk of Cinders refused to move. Instead, he turned his attention to the veiled lady, who had watched the entire fight.

    “It's dangerous to be out alone so late. You had best head home for the night, or else something like this might happen again. You wouldn't want that, after all.” His words were quick, terse, to-the-point and ever so slightly condescending. As he spoke, he stepped over to Cinders, applying cuffs to the unconscious thug's wrists, then began to unwind the grappling hook and line from around Cinders' legs with a methodical air. But he stopped short when he heard the veiled lady's laugh.

    “I was aware of the danger, Goodfellow. I knew precisely what I was doing.” The caped man rose and turned, one hidden eyebrow rising in surprise. “You are that shrewd and knavish sprite called Robin Goodfellow, are you not?” Ah, she knew the Bard.

    “Did you risk your health simply so you could speak with me?” Robin backed up slightly, folding his arms over his chest, already frowning. Reckless, he wanted to say, reckless foolish girl. She stepped forward, shaking her head.

    “Hardly. Call it... a happy coincidence.” A flustered lie, but you wouldn't know that from the tone of voice. Her orient-accented voice was as smooth as butter, despite the low timbre and the barely audible echo. That echo – it curled about the ear, implying its presence rather than outright being heard, and that was even more disturbing than an obvious speech defect.

    “No such thing as coincidence.” Robin knelt, pulling his grappling hook free and flicking it back into its cylinder. “You'd best go fetch a constable.”

    “I need your help, Goodfellow.” Several words went unspoken: so I came out to Saint Abney's, because half the sightings of you are said to be within five streets of the park. And you came just as I believed you would. What a hero.

    “A lot of people do.” The grappling hook, now back in its container, went back into the multi-pocketed belt. Robin straightened, started to stride away into the fog.

    “Someone's trying to kill me.” This made Robin stop for a moment, and he half-turned his head, speaking over his shoulder.

    “But you don't have proof, because then you would have gone to the police. Either you can't tell who – and neither could a trained detective – or you have no way of striking at who you suspect. So you come out alone, at night, hoping that I would find you, allowing you to explain your dilemma to the one man who can act freely.” He stopped for a moment, then dashed her hopes in the same quiet, rough (and assumed) voice. “I have to protect a lot of citizens already, miss. I'll do what I can, but I have duties of my own to attend to.”

    Then he continued on, and the fog swallowed him whole, and the lady in black was truly alone. After a moment, she finally unclenched her teeth and released the breath she was holding in. Then she glanced down at the unconscious brute blocking the path with a sigh. “Well, now what?”
    Spoiler
    Show
    First off, I wouldn't describe it as fanfiction, if I were you Robin aside, it stands on its own pretty well, and I spent too much time trying to figure out the identity of the Lady, instead of focusing on the story.

    More relevant to the story, I felt a bit like you were focused on the wrong character. I understand what you were going for with your focus on Cinders, but I didn't find him nearly as interesting. Also, I had a hard time following the fight scene, but maybe that's just me.

    The story itself is intriguing, but I think would be more so if not for the fanfiction label you slapped on it. I like the setting you've created a lot more than I do most comic book settings, and I think the idea of steampunk superheroes themselves is more interesting than Past!Steampunk!DCU

    Also, the idea of Steampunk!Robin is too funny for me. Please let it be the unfortunately nicknamed Mr. Grayson? (Darn you, censor. Darn you to heck.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Random_person View Post
    Spoiler
    Show
    He galloped to the top of the hill, his banner streaming behind him. “Lo! Yonder lieth the dragon's foul lair! Let us valiantly sally forth and destroy the savage beast, for it hath slain many of our gallant comrades!”

    They charged down the slope, vaulting off of their noble steeds, and there they met the despicable wyrm in battle. First, they used a most brilliant stratagem, causing the brute to impale itself on spikes that they had bravely laid outside its hole while it slept. Then, they boldly pierced the vermin's wings with a flawlessly aimed hail of arrows. Next they heroically struck the creature from a distance, using spears and javelins. Their next tactic was using heated pokers to poke out the beast's eyes before they used butter knives to boldly chop out its liver... why are you crying? It's only a story. Oh, you feel sorry for the poor dragon? Alright then, here's another story for you.

    Once upon a time there was a knight, with armour that shone like the sun over a snowy field-bright, sharp, and cold. You can see him, can't you? He has a face like an eagle's beak, and when he looks down at the cave-and only a little cave mind, as like to a proper dragon cave as a cottage is to a big house. Well, when he looks down on that cave, it is just like another mousehole to him. His trusty squire helps him as he slides off his horse (because it is impossible to jump off a horse in heavy armour) and he walks down the slope. Of course, he walks down slowly, taking care not to fall and get his lovely gilded armour, which he bought especially for a very dear friend of his, dirty. He gets down to the cave and calls into it. There is a doorbell, a lovely doorbell which plays a little song when you ring it, but he is far too important to use doorbells. A dragon comes out, but it is an old dragon, and its scales are like lead and its throat is black with soot, so that it coughs and wheezes as it is coming out. The knight picks up his sword and calls out all the silly things that people say in such situations, like “en garde!” or “have at thee!”, the way that his old albino teacher showed him. But the dragon is old and tired, and it has forgotten to put contact lenses in, and so it smiles and holds out its front legs to give the knight a hug. When the knight sees that, he takes his chance and charges at the dragon like a bolt of lightning. The dragon is still smiling, just a small, happy smile, and then it is dead.

    The townsfolk are all showering the knight with praise, while his squire looks on with a tinge of disgust in his eyes. The knight tells the townsfolk the story, and he comments “It must be a stupid dragon, because it is still smiling.” Everything goes quiet, because no-one should speak ill of the dead, even a dead dragon. And the very dear friend of his is the most silent of all, his squire is already too far away to hear, and his old mentor is quietly shaking his head with his sharp red eyes more like a sunset than a forest fire. But more people come to watch, and his words are forgotten, and he goes on to have a long and glorious career. Despite that, he never saw his friend or his squire or his mentor again, and he always feels a bit of an empty place inside.

    Do you like the story? The way that the dragon was happy afterwards? You don't think that it could really happen? Well then, perhaps I should tell you another story, a story from some time later.

    Once upon a time there was a knight, with armour rusted into a dull red, like the sunset over a desert-old, tired, and dim. You can see him, can't you? He has a face like an old dog's, and when he looks up from the castle-only a little castle, mind, like the little cave-well, when he looks up from that castle, it is like he is looking at a cat, ready to pounce. A dragon swoops down, but slowly, taking care not to ruffle his mane, which he has combed especially for someone he desperately wanted to impress, in the wind. His scales are shining after the polishing that his aide has given them. He gets down to the castle, and crashes right through the ceiling, because he is far too important to use a trapdoor, even a nice trapdoor made of rare woods from strange places. The knight comes out, but he is a very old knight, and his eyes have lost their sparkle and his joints have worn out from using swords and carrying heavy armour, so that he creaks and groans as he emerges. The dragon grins at him and

    shows its white teeth and roars and snarls and all the other silly things that dragons do in these situations, in the way that his old coach had shown him, but the knight doesn't know what a hearing aid is, and so he smiles and offers the dragon a cup of tea. When the dragon sees that, he moves like the wind and eats up half of the knight in one gulp, and the knight is smiling, just a small, contented smile, and then he is dead, and the dragon flies away.

    When he gets home, he is very proud, and tells all of the other dragons that he has killed a knight while his aide looks on in loathing. He tells them the story, and then he says that the knight must have been a silly knight, because he died smiling. All of the other dragons stand around shocked, because dragons know you should never speak ill of the dead. And the dragoness who he wanted to impress is showing more shock than any of them, and his aide is already on his way to the other side of the world, and his instructor's scales shine more like a pool of tears than a storm as he turns away, lithe as a gecko. And the young dragon goes on to be a great wyrm, but he never sees the dragoness or the aide or his coach, and he is never quite happy with all of his accomplishments.

    Ah, now you understand. The old knight was the same as the old dragon, do you think? Close, very close. But of course, stories are not all the same. Let me tell you a story from some time later again, when I was a young man with a head full of glorious tales.

    Once upon a time, there was a soldier, with armour like a field in full bloom-beautiful, fresh, never the same from one moment to the next. He walked slowly down a steep slope, because he didn't want to trip and crush the little snowdrop that the cobbler's daughter had given him. He came to the lair of an old dragon, and he rang the doorbell, because he had no illusions of being important and so he had no servants to do it for him. The old dragon, who had once made a living of coaching younger dragons, came out of his lair, and although he was an old dragon, he was still slim and agile, like a gecko or a sparrow, because he exercised regularly. The young soldier said “Good morning! I am very sorry, but I have come to duel you to the death,” because his master had told him to always be polite. The old dragon muttered something about having left the kettle on, and went inside, and got down one of the many books on his library shelf. After a little while, the young soldier was getting impatient, and so he called out to the dragon to come out and fight. When the old dragon came out, the young soldier brandished his sword, and he tried to stab the dragon. After a brief struggle, the soldier was trapped in the dragon's coils, like a fly in a spider's web. He closed his eyes and waited for the massive jaws to close, but the old dragon didn't eat him. Instead, he picked up the book, and began to read a story, a story which was written to make you feel for the poor dragon, a story which started with “Once upon a time, there was a knight, with armor that shone like the sun over a snowy field-bright, sharp, and cold...”

    The young soldier thought about the story for a while, and wondered what his master would think, and then the dragon let him go and he thanked him and went home to take up carpentry. He married the cobbler's daughter, and he told stories to the children, and he was very good at making the finest furniture and telling the best stories. But he kept his favourite story for the special children, because they felt sorry for the poor dragon.
    Spoiler
    Show
    My first, honest reaction? It reminds me of Garak from DS9, and I have no clue why. That and a Discworld quote I can't remember verbatim, but goes something along the lines of "The blood has been removed from the fairytales for the benefit of the parents - children generally enjoy some blood in their stories, providing it is shed by the deserving," and the footnote indicates that it probably means those deserving of bloodshed, but with children it's sometimes hard to tell...

    On a more relevant note, it's good, and engrossing, even if you can see the end coming before it does. It's like links in a chain, with each one leading to the next, and then the next. In my head, the knight from the second story is the knight in the third, and that dragon is the dragon from the final story. I had an inkling of where it was going from the start, and while the ending was no surprise, there was something satisfying about it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kallisti View Post
    This was my dream...
    By Kallisti
    Spoiler
    Show

    This was my dream:
    Five hundred words. He had five hundred words to tell a story.

    Great. Because writing’s totally not hard enough already. Sure. Fine. Whatever.

    Fine. Fine. I can write it. But what to write? Something short, simple…why not just write down a dream? Dreams make good stories sometimes. Dreams are like butterflies…they’re beautiful, and if you don’t pin them to the page quickly they’re gone too soon. Who said that, anyway? Neil Gaiman? No, that was Fragile Things, it had a butterfly on the cover. I must have made it up when I was feeling poetic, then.

    The pen met the page, and the dream met the words.

    This was my dream:
    It was ever and always silent in the town of the dead. The silence rang, funeral bells amongst the wicked, twisted yellow graveston—

    No, no, no. Too generic. I always write horror, anyway. Hmmm…


    This was my dream:
    This realm was like a vast chessboard, and it was where mages played. The pieces were those fools who’d dared offend the Wizard Kings, and as directed moved and checked and slayed to entertain the Magi, and there was no homecoming.

    That’s the plot of Dungeon Siege: Mageworld. I can’t write that.

    But what?

    This was my dream:
    Michaeli struggled under the weight of the marble statue on his back. Why couldn’t he have a coffin like most vampires? But NO, it HAD to be the giant marble grave mark—

    NO! Writing about one of the games I’m playing? No way. I did that with Robert and nobody understood the story. It has to be good. It has to make sense. And, just for fun, let’s say it also has to be exactly five hundred freakin’ words. The Playground Writers Workshop: Bringing a whole new layer of meaning to writer’s block since 2009. Beata Discordia. Ok, ok, I can do this. I have lots of weird dreams to make into a story.

    Oh, man. This is going to be harder than I thought.

    I might need a few days.

    Ok, try again…


    This was my dream:
    It was a dark and stormy night. Do you know why that’s become a cliché? It was good enough to keep being used. Because the weather has a sense of humor, perhaps. Anyway, cliché or not, it was true.

    It was a dark and stormy night, and the only sound besides the booming scream of the thunder was a whispered prayer...

    Please, Dear God, don’t let them find me. Don’t let them find me. Don’t—

    “You, there! Under the tree! Hands in the air! I said hands--”

    The gunshot split the night, one more thunderous blast lost in the fury of the storm, one more life extinguished.

    The soldiers moved on. They’d done their job, after all. All Hail Big Brother!

    Ok, what the hell was that? 1984 fan-fic? Really? God, the well of inspiration is running dry indeed.

    And then it hit him.

    He knew exactly what to write.
    Spoiler
    Show
    I enjoyed it. It was funny and realistic - I know exactly how that kind of writer's block feels. It's a good combination of "I have no ideas" and "I have too many ideas," while somehow managing to capture the "I just spent half an hour on flavor text for a BBEG the players will never ever see" feeling, too. The different story ideas were funny, too, as he got steadily more and more desperate, though none of them are really bad. The eventual ending is predictable, and not very original, but it's still cute.


    I think I'll give my next story another post - new one this time, as I realized I have no idea where I'm going with the other one, and this one has a bare-bones plot, and the start of a second chapter! Woohoo! Plus, any critique helps. I found that with the other one I listed, I was trying too hard to be Terry Pratchett, and ended up going back to a slightly older story.
    Last edited by Tira-chan; 2010-09-01 at 07:08 PM.


    Avatar of Calder by Akrim.elf

  2. - Top - End - #182
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    A few notes - Yes, the beginning is "telling, not showing." It's semi-intentional, as Edward is writing a report. And by the way, this was started well before I ever heard of Twilight, and before you make jokes about the name, please remember a specific young, blond, German-ish, magic user of the same name.

    The Spell Hotel, by Tira-chan
    Spoiler
    Show
    It is one of the unwritten rules of the multiverse that magic is everywhere and in every thing, but sometimes it is beyond our grasp. Our universe, Gaia, or Earth as most people call it, is a perfect example of this. We have always had magic and always will, but nowadays not many people believe in it, and not very many of those can access it. I am one of the few mages who is pure human, pure Gaian – most have at least some Offworlder blood. That, I suppose, is why I am the Magus for this world. It is my duty to Keep everything in order as it pertains to magic – and that is a very hard job to do indeed.

    My name is Edward von Herz, and I am nineteen. This is young to be a Magus – very, very young. Up until last year, I was only an apprentice, but when Master Locke died, I was next in line. My age can be a little awkward sometimes, especially in dealings with Offworld officials, because they expect Magus von Herz to be an old man with a long beard, like Master Locke. And that is also why I am writing this assignment so damned formally, because the Powers That Be are already unimpressed with me, and I don’t want to do anything else to convince them I’m some punk kid.

    Oops. I probably shouldn’t be using a typewriter for this assignment, either. I shall do my best to watch my language in the future.

    It started with a meeting I was supposed to attend. I was to meet with Mr. Randall Snid, an importer of (rather illegal) magical goods, and Ms. Jillian Tancredy, an American who is the magical equivalent of an environmental activist. I was not looking forward to this – the only thing I dislike more than slimy merchants is overbearing females, and I cannot stand listening to people argue, as anyone who spent more than a minute in the company of Mr. Snid or Ms. Tancredy was liable to do. It did not help that Mr. Snid insisted on referring to me as “Ed, old boy,” or “Eddie” and Ms. Tancredy kept calling me “my dear young man.” Therefore, the entire thing was going to be highly unpleasant.

    It was. “My dear young man,” began Ms. Tancredy, “I have some disturbing news to bring to your attention. I have evidence that Mr. Snid has been conducting business in a way that most displeases me. I am assured that you will agree with me completely and do exactly as I request.”

    Alte Kuh.

    “Excuse me?”

    “I’ll see, ma’am.”

    “Look here, Eddie, you’ve gotta lissen ta me,” cut in Snid pleadingly. “This izza vilent wiman, ’ere, an’ us menfolk ’ave gotta stick t’gether ’gainst dem vilent wimmen.”

    “It’s Edward,” I muttered. I abhor having my name shortened.

    “This is slander, sir! Slander! My dear young man, are you going to let him get away with this?”

    “C’mon, Ed, old boy. Are you gonna let tha’ old cow” – sometimes I worry that Snid speaks German – “get away wiv’ tryin’ ta cheat an old fren outta ’is livelihood?”

    “Silence!” I shouted. “First of all,” I continued more calmly, “I would like to remind both of you that my proper title is Magus von Herz, and I would prefer not to be referred to by some demeaning nickname. And secondly, if the two of you would cease your petty squabbling over me, could we get to the actual matter at hand?”

    “Fine, Magus,” grumbled Ms. Tancredy. “The issue here is that Mr. Randall Snid has been importing some sort of magical matter that is interfering with the Earth’s – maybe the whole Universe’s – balance of magic. At the Hotel de Sortilege in Dartmouth, my group registered an unusual amount of foreign magic, and discovered there was a collection of strange elemental stones buried around the surroundings. It is well known that the Hotel de Sortilege is a meeting ground for mages, especially of the seedier variety, and Mr. Snid, I believe decidedly falls into that category.”

    “Now, lissen, tha’s an unfair generalization, lady! Ah ‘aven’t never been ta no ‘Otel de Sortage. Ah’m an ‘onest mage, jus’ lik you are, Magus, an’ don’ let ‘er tell ya otherwise!”

    “If that’s the case, Mr. Snid, then could you offer an explanation for the stones discovered at the Hotel de Sort-a-lag – de Certainly – de Cartilage – the hotel?”

    “Well, Magus, Ah’ll tell ya this, but ya don’ be spreadin’ this round none, ya ‘ear? Common man’s word is tha’ there’s sum great workin’ tha’s bein’ put round. Sum’r’anovver’s settin’ up big spell fields, an’ they’ll activate ‘em all at once, castin’ a spell on the ‘ole country.”

    “What the – why wasn’t a proper authority informed about this? This could be a seriously dangerous working, you know!”

    “Aw, Ed – Magus, Ah mean – i’s not but a rumor. Not a one a’ us wudn’t let ya know if we’d a thought tha’ there was sumthin’ serius, ‘onest. Prob’ly jus’ sum crook wizard a-tryin’ ta make hisself sum bucks wiv an extra-gud spell or two.”

    “I’ll determine that myself, Mr. Snid. Now Ms. Tancredy, do you have an example of these stones?”

    “Why yes I do, actually,” replied Ms. Tancredy proudly. She pulled out a smooth black stone, of size to fit in my palm quite neatly. It was covered in green veins, and was cool to the touch. I stared at it suspiciously.

    “And what is this supposed to be, Ms. Tancredy?”

    “I’ve not the least idea, I’m afraid. You’d have to ask Mr. Snid,” she told me, sounding most self-righteous. I turned to Snid, expecting to here him denying everything, but to my surprise he was fingering it with a considering look.

    “Well, Ah’d say i’s a turnstone. Furriner’s use ‘em if they can’ a’just ta the dif’rent magic.” He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Mos’ly Offworlders, if ya catch mah drift. Not ‘zactly those wh’re ‘ere for a quick trip, either.”

    “So they’re used to help illegal immigrants adjust to the change in magic.”

    “Ah’d not say it thataways, Magus. Ya cud use one yaself, iffen ya have trubl’ a’justin’ on a strange yunnivers. Turns the local magic inta sumthin’ ya’d be more cumftable with.”

    “Are you claiming these stones for yourself, Mr. Snid?” asked Ms. Tancredy, beautifully sarcastic.

    “Nah, these ain’ no stones a’ mine. Mine’re blue all ov’r, wi’ silver lines thru ‘em. Nev’r seen un wi’ tha’ color. Ah did sell a load a’ em cuple mun’s back, tho’.”

    I wasn’t paying much attention to them. There was something wrong with it – a dark, dank stench that made me uncomfortable. I did not recognize the aura either, from any of the other worlds I had visited. There was something about this stone that did not add up. “Where do they come from, Mr. Snid?”

    “They’re fr’m Auran.” I nodded. Auran has lots of strong natural sources of magic.

    “Can I have this?” I asked Ms. Tancredy. She nodded crossly. “Thank you, ma’am. Now, I’m not going to make any accusations, or revoke any trade licenses today. However, I would like to thank both of you for bringing the most important matter to my attention.” And with that I turned and stalked off, eager to call a taxi and get home.

    After I returned to my apartment, I collapsed on my bed, and began to study the stone. I had heard of turnstones before, and even confiscated a few, though like Snid I had never seen one this color. They were like magical adaptors, allowing the user to convert natural magic into a kind they could handle more readily. The problem with this was that remains of the magic they didn’t use was released as the foreign kind, and generally polluted the atmosphere in the area. It only made it easier to locate them, really. I should be able to find a lump of them with my eyes closed, but I hadn’t felt this one until Ms. Tancredy had set it on the table. Why couldn’t I sense
    these stones?

    My thoughts turned to the Hotel de Sortilege, or, as it was referred to by those with no mastery of the god-awful language conceived by the French, the Spell Hotel. It had been built by Offworld mages long ago, around the nineteenth century. But Gaia was no longer a center of magic, and had not been for many millennia. Though it was intended to be a magical refuge, few reputable mages visited, and it quickly became known as a place where criminal mages could escape to if they were in trouble, or more unsavory parties from other universes could meet without being detected. Even they visited less and less, in part because Earth’s magi no longer needed to hide themselves, and such a well-known rendezvous became more risky. It was sold, and bought by a non-magical owner, who revamped it, and ever since it has tried to play the part of an ordinary establishment, but its history continues to make it popular with seedy merchants, though it is now quite nice. (God, that sounds like a brochure!) The stones might have been buried there a long time ago, but surely someone would have noticed them there – Master Locke, for example. They seemed to be a new development. I sighed and carefully stored the stone in a drawer. It looked as though I would have to travel to Britain.

    I began to make arrangements to stay at the Hotel de Sortilege. It was not difficult to convince the Mr. Kimball who was the manager that I was a young German tourist interested in “viewing your Channel.” I took the cheapest room I could find, though I was still surprised by the cost. My normal job is fixing computers at a local electronics store, which does not pay particularly well, and magi get very little money for their pains. I called my boss next, telling him that I needed to take a week off. He agreed, but suspiciously.

    I needed to call the Upper Levels next, to get approval to investigate. I knew I did. But I was tired, and what I really wanted to was have a glass of water and an egg sandwich, and go to bed early, which I did. But I woke up at two in the morning, because there was something strange going on with my spells. Instead of lying quietly dormant, as they usually do, the strands of spell were pulsing green and whistling softly. There was a funny glow over all my appliances running on magic. I dismantled as many of them as I could, and tried to trace the root of the problem.

    What I found instead was my laptop. The screen was glowing green when I came to it, but it faded to black as I watched, and green lines began to draw across the black. They glowed brighter and brighter and widened, until the whole screen was green, and then the whole thing repeated. It looked as though it had caught a magical computer virus. I swore. Very loudly. I had realized what the source of the problem was – that stone. I pulled it out of the drawer, and saw that the green lines were pulsing in the same way as my spells and my computer screens. The stone was no longer cool, but burning hot. I wrapped it in about three cancel-spells, which stopped the noise, and calmed the glowing somewhat. Then I yanked the leftover spells out of my computer. It would have to run on mundane power for a while. Still swearing, I began to dial the number for the Magitorial Office.

    As magus, I have quite a lot of power on Gaia, but I still must report to the Upper Levels if something important comes up. They also give me assignments, things on this and other worlds that affect Gaia enough that I need to deal with it. I am something of a junior-level operative, partially because I am so young, and in a serious situation like this, I would most definitely need to let them know. Also, if they thought it was serious enough, they might give me some funding money to pay for expenses.

    “Magitorial Office speaking,” replied a polite voice.

    “Hällo, Geoff. This is Edward von Herz?” I was quite glad it was Geoff – I know him well. He’s a human from Gaia, like me, and is only about ten years older than I am.

    “Oh, hi, Edward. Nice to talk to you. Was there a problem with Snid and Tancredy?”

    “No – well, not really with them, though something did come up. There’s this hotel in Dartmouth – Hotel de Sort-i-ledge, have you heard of it? – with a mass of turnstones buried around it. I think they’re infected, too; I took one home and it screwed up all the spells in my apartment.”

    I could hear Geoff typing away at a computer, probably calling up all the files he could find on turnstones and the Hotel de Sortilege. “Isn’t that place an old meeting ground for transworld dealers and such? They could’ve been there before, so the guests could use magic okay.”

    “Someone would’ve noticed before now, especially if they were being used regularly. And besides, this has got something bad on it. Here.” I put the receiver of the phone across the turnstone, and sent its vibrations down the line to Geoff. The phone immediately jerked about, and I could hear the
    whistling start up faintly again.

    “Gods, Edward, that’s nasty! Be careful doing that!”

    I moved the receiver away. “See what I mean? And that’s with the bugger wrapped in cancel-spells. The damn thing got into my computer, too.”

    “You’re a hell of a lot braver than I am, Edward. I wouldn’t take it home with me if you paid me. No one would volunteer to have that by their hotel room.”

    “What do you think my chances are of getting funding? I’ve gotta stay in England, and that’s not cheap… Why, the price of the hotel room alone…”

    “Sorry, Edward, but it’s not me you need to convince. I’ll put you through to Ravia Corps in Corichos.”

    “She’s on duty? She doesn’t even speak English!”

    “Technically, you’re in her precinct, so I don’t have any choice,” Geoff said not unkindly, and hit a button somewhere. There was a piercing squawk of static in my ear, and an old woman’s voice was suddenly talking in my ear.

    Salve, Edwardus,” Maga Corps said stiffly. She is a very old maga from a nearby world, and she is Corrigan, not human. She rather looks down on me for being young, and male, and human, and she refuses to learn German, or English, or Japanese, or Arabic, or any of the other languages I speak. The only Gaian language she speaks is Latin.

    Maga Corps, I have a request,” I said in Latin.

    What is it, iuvenis? Are the Gaians making trouble?

    I have discovered bad magic in a mundane place in Britain. Will you give me money to investigate?

    You are a blunt boy, Edwardus.

    I sighed. My Latin is poor, and I really do not know enough grammar to put things in the polite, formal way that Maga Corps expected.

    I apologize. Do you agree this?

    You must offer me more explanation than this. I cannot make a decision on such little information.

    Maga, I have found a Drehenstein-”

    A what?

    I sighed. I really do not know the Latin for turnstone. “A – a rock with a spell. It has dark magic in it. It turned my spells wrong.

    I cannot understand you, Edwardus. Did you explain your problem to Ieffi?

    I almost asked who Ieffi was, before I realized that it was Geoff’s name in Latin. “I explain to him.

    He will tell me. Ieffus is a good boy. He speaks Corrigani, did you know that?

    Non, Maga.” She kept talking, quietly and driftingly. I sighed and gave up on the conversation. “Vale, be well,” I said loudly, and hung up, feeling only the slightest bit guilty for leaving her to Geoff.

    I looked at the stone again, considering. Snid had said it was from Auran, which was famous for its spell-mines. I had no idea what was the matter with this turnstone, but I didn’t know much about them. Would an Auranite miner or jeweler have more information? I would have to make a visit to Auran, it seemed. But what was on that thing? It was a powerful spell, certainly, and terribly dark as well. There was something evil and twisted at work, and it was buried deep into the Earth. This was obviously a task for me as Magus – and I had no idea what the hell I was going to do about it.
    Last edited by Tira-chan; 2010-09-01 at 07:52 PM.


    Avatar of Calder by Akrim.elf

  3. - Top - End - #183
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kallisti's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    ...The writer's workshop is back! And I'm only, what, a month late to the grand reopening?

    I'm not quite certain what the new rules for posting a piece are...

    Anyway,
    Critique of: Untitled, by Random_person:
    Spoiler
    Show

    I like it. I like it a lot.

    That said, it could use some polish. The descriptions get a little awkward at times, especially the description of the cowardly band of knights "boldly" slaying the first dragon. It did not flow very well. You also have a habit of using a hyphen (-) when you need a dash (--, which a word processor should correct to —). The two represent pretty different things.

    The thing that bothers me the most, though, is the way that the different pieces of the story are put together. It feels like the stories should be set off from the comments to the audience somehow, presumably by putting them on separate lines:
    Quote Originally Posted by Random_person
    They charged down the slope, vaulting off of their noble steeds, and there they met the despicable wyrm in battle. First, they used a most brilliant stratagem, causing the brute to impale itself on spikes that they had bravely laid outside its hole while it slept. Then, they boldly pierced the vermin's wings with a flawlessly aimed hail of arrows. Next they heroically struck the creature from a distance, using spears and javelins. Their next tactic was using heated pokers to poke out the beast's eyes before they used butter knives to boldly chop out its liver--

    Why are you crying? It's only a story. Oh, you feel sorry for the poor dragon? Alright then, here's another story for you...
    Also, since the entire piece is one set of stories told by the young soldier, it should be in "quotation" marks, with internal dialogue rendered with 'quotation' marks. (I'm not sure if 'these' actually have a name to distinguish them from "these"...)

    Again, a very good story, though. I enjoyed reading it.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  4. - Top - End - #184
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Got some Roster updates done today! I'm up to post #133, and I'm doing them one at a time to hopefully avoid errors as I catch up. I expect if I keep doing a few here and there as I find time, I'll get it up to date in a week or so.

    Great job everybody keeping this going despite my neglect. The system seems to work fairly well on its own with people really respecting the 3 for 1 rule and helping others out.

    EDIT: Up to post #150.
    Last edited by Jimorian; 2010-10-01 at 07:36 AM.
    I have my own TV show featuring local musicians performing live. YouTube page with full episodes and outtake clips here.
    I also have another YouTube page with local live music clips I've filmed on my own.
    Then there is my gaming YouTube page with Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and others.
    Finally, I stream on Twitch, mostly Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft.

  5. - Top - End - #185
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Garwain's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critique - Moonlit Nights in Birmingham by Neon Knight:
    Spoiler
    Show
    What strikes me at first is that the first person is telling the story as if to an audience that need to be entertained. This works quite well due to the interesting story elements: night + girl + alley + beast = tension.

    However, the switching back and forth between first person and narrator slows down the concept too much to create effectively your story arc. Don't get me wrong, I like to see fourth walls get smashed with witty comments, but you should be carefull not to interrupt the pace of the story. The audience is not stupid either, so be carefull to comment on the obvious.

    One example is your monster with eyes in the chest. After a lengthy description by the narrator, the first person tell us that he is frightened. Well, that should have been obvious, no? I would have preferred to read only a partial description and more revealing details when the fight progresses. This includes details of the fighting technique as well. As with all short stories trying to say as much as possible to describe the whole scene, cut away one third of the description and let the 'audience' complete themselves.

    Nonetheless, I think your unusual modus does make you wonder what the actual setting is. Is your first person bragging in a pub, performing in theater, or maybe sold his story to the newspaper. This extra layer makes it more interesting.


    Critique - Chapter One: A Sticky Situation by Zom B:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Ok, so I read through it, only mildly amused. There is nothing wrong with some questionable motives or unexplainable situations to start your story with. Creating mystery in your opening sequence is a way to keep readers interested, but after a while they should get an idea what the story is about.

    Maybe because it is meant as an epilogue, this section might actually solve some earlier mysteries, but that hard to tell without. I couldn't figure it out as a stand alone story.
    As a wacky story, maybe you could emphasise that even more. The suggested setting of being death/dreaming/hallucinating gives you even more power to do crazy stuff. In absurdum you'd mix some humour, some disturbing images and twisted story lines to desorientate the reader.

    For now, it's neither of both, wich makes it interesting to read, but only half amusing.
    Oh and just a typo: he had a butterfly tattoo on her left cheek.



    Critique - The Story of Trizap: Neomind by Lord Raziere
    Spoiler
    Show
    I think you capture the feel of space travel quite well. Most of it would consist of boredom anyway. Don't get overexcited with techgadgets being a million times better than our current technology. Often I can relate better to the setting if it's like 100 times better or so. You describe interesting technolgy, with a logical explanation, so that doens't alienate me (hehe).

    The characters seem to have been thought out to a certain extend. Try not to make stereotype situations of 2 characters with one knowsall and the other unknowing to make an obvious dialogue to explain things to the reader. It feels... too familiar. Example:
    This is PACE.
    uh, what is is PACE?
    Well PACE is ....


    Overall It's easy to read and promissing. I'm missing a bit of plot exhibition, a hint for the future chapters to come. Some 'impending doom' or other attention span set up. A conflict between characters is seeded already, so that can either grow to something interesting. Just be carefull to avoid the obvious (and yes, THAT is the hard part of writing which I don't master myself).

    PS: Why do future races all want names with X, Z, C and Q in it?
    My personal folder is a graveyard of ideas, stuck in their dream phase.
    The "DM won't kill us" attitude is a bubble that sometimes needs to be bursted.
    There's an armor variant rule in UA that will drastically increase character survivability without completely bubble-wrapping them in plot invulnerability
    Throphies won:
    Spoiler
    Show



    Avatar courtesy of Linklele

  6. - Top - End - #186
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Garwain's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tira-chan View Post
    Part of the reason for the list is that it intends to give you a sense of how Liam thinks. And I think that much exposition is necessary in the first chapter, honestly, especially in a fantasy story, where you need to establish what the setting is like. Maybe it's just my taste - I know many fantasy or scifi stories make me feel like I've been dumped in the middle of something, and I have to spend the whole first few chapters piecing together what's actually going on.
    Actually, I prefer to have the story advancing while I'm discovering the setting. This is ofcourse personal. I read an interesing article about the types of gamers, which kind of relates to fantasy stories as well.

    1) pvp gamers: This would be the type of readers that like to get sucked in the action, not worrying about the details unless they matter.
    2) treasure hunters: These readers would like to know the mechanics of the world, the motives, the hidden clues. The rational structure of the story. They will often try to guess the plot advancement upfront.
    3) explorers: These readers tend to suck themselves into the story. They don't quite bother with the action, unless it is nicely described. They immerse themselved in the story and don't mind to complete the missing scenery description in their own minds. They find character interaction important.

    I relate to the treasure hunters: I can get quite carried away when a story is advancing atypical, thus surprising me.
    If you like to set the scenery first, then I guess you're more an explorer which might explain our different views.

    Ps: Don't get me wrong, this is not critique, just observation. It's clear that there is no right or wrong type. I understand the critique on your story, but I think for another explorer, your exposition about Liams thoughts is very nice.
    My personal folder is a graveyard of ideas, stuck in their dream phase.
    The "DM won't kill us" attitude is a bubble that sometimes needs to be bursted.
    There's an armor variant rule in UA that will drastically increase character survivability without completely bubble-wrapping them in plot invulnerability
    Throphies won:
    Spoiler
    Show



    Avatar courtesy of Linklele

  7. - Top - End - #187
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garwain View Post

    Critique - The Story of Trizap: Neomind by Lord Raziere
    Spoiler
    Show
    I think you capture the feel of space travel quite well. Most of it would consist of boredom anyway. Don't get overexcited with techgadgets being a million times better than our current technology. Often I can relate better to the setting if it's like 100 times better or so. You describe interesting technolgy, with a logical explanation, so that doens't alienate me (hehe).

    The characters seem to have been thought out to a certain extend. Try not to make stereotype situations of 2 characters with one knows all and the other unknowing to make an obvious dialogue to explain things to the reader. It feels... too familiar. Example:
    This is PACE.
    uh, what is is PACE?
    Well PACE is ....


    Overall It's easy to read and promising. I'm missing a bit of plot exhibition, a hint for the future chapters to come. Some 'impending doom' or other attention span set up. A conflict between characters is seeded already, so that can either grow to something interesting. Just be carefull to avoid the obvious (and yes, THAT is the hard part of writing which I don't master myself).

    PS: Why do future races all want names with X, Z, C and Q in it?
    I'll try, but I'll need to get creative with the exposition to avoid infodump.

    As for plot....it'll come in due time, things don't always have to start with the first chapter. I prefer to take it slow.

    as for the PS: That is just how my naming convention works. Besides it differentiates them from humans in a way to make em seem more alien. and they're not "future" really- they in a different universe where humans don't even exist so yeah...

  8. - Top - End - #188
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Garwain's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    I'll try, but I'll need to get creative with the exposition to avoid infodump.
    Good luck. Personnaly, I find it very hard to find that balance. I do envy writers that can.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    As for plot....it'll come in due time, things don't always have to start with the first chapter. I prefer to take it slow.
    True. I try to do just a hint as teaser. Not sure if it works.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    as for the PS: That is just how my naming convention works. Besides it differentiates them from humans in a way to make em seem more alien. and they're not "future" really- they in a different universe where humans don't even exist so yeah...
    Even in OotS: Xykon = evil because, you know, he has an X and Y in his name! For your story, if humans don't even exist, then human language won't as well. You could go nuts on your keyboard to find exotic names: zid^fhdf or hyizdfjq or ydgfa!'nr. But that will alienate the reader as well, so I have no issues with your current naming convention.
    My personal folder is a graveyard of ideas, stuck in their dream phase.
    The "DM won't kill us" attitude is a bubble that sometimes needs to be bursted.
    There's an armor variant rule in UA that will drastically increase character survivability without completely bubble-wrapping them in plot invulnerability
    Throphies won:
    Spoiler
    Show



    Avatar courtesy of Linklele

  9. - Top - End - #189
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Garwain's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    After all the critique, time to show if I can measure up to the rest of you. Here comes my 750 words introduction of a no-magic fantasy story.

    Brallers Ballance

    Spoiler
    Show


    1.1: The Haze

    The cold morning seeks refuge between the layers of his clothing. With every step Zante gets closer, the smell of breakfast only in his fantasy. Melnor didn't sleep. The Haze is no place to sleep.

    Melchior spent the best of his energy carrying his master through the night, as their lifelong bond permits Melnor to push his horse that far. A good Braller knows when not to take unnecessary risks in spite of their exhaustion.
    As the sun clears some of the mist, Melnor is able to look almost 50 legs upfront. The moonlight was unable to illuminate their path at night when the mist is at it's dense. It would be his first visit to Zante. Not that he was looking forward to it. Zante is an uninviting place. Alas, Melnor was chosen to travel up here. The northern states would not welcome anyone from the south, except Brallers. At least they are tolerated.

    The road curves and reveals more of what lies ahead. Melchior lifts his head. Strange aroma lingers in the air. Even for the Haze. Relying on the instinct of his horse, Melnor checks his surroundings as well. The only out of ordinary seems to lie further up the road. Although not clear, it looks like a silhouette of a man, lying on the ground. Either this traveller collapsed, which would not be unusual, or he's being ambushed.

    This road through the Haze is the most common travel route to the north. Zante can be reached by sea, but since Pirates are controlling the city, it can only be done safely when a large sum is donated. There is another passage to Zante, but it involves going all the way around the Impenetrable Forrest, getting permission from Narbir to enter the Barren Grasslands and traversing the Narb. His mission required a faster approach.

    Melnor has his hand on his long sword at 8 legs distance from the figure. Scanning the undergrowth for tracks, he pays more attention to his surroundings. "Identify yourself!", demands Melnor. His authority as Braller grants him the rights to maintain the balance between good and bad, wrong and right, nature and civilisation, war and peace. In fact, they are the only fraction that requires World to stay as is. Accepted by all states, Brallers roam World freely.

    "Hmm.. Who is asking?" As the man lifts himself from the cold ground, Melnor can get a good look at him, quickly realising this is no thread for him. The man is barely armed and in poor condition.
    Melnor replies only with other questions: "Tell me your name. Are you lost, hurt? Do you require assistance?"
    With a little bow the man replies: "Dear Sir, my name is Ian. I'm not lost at all, I do like assistance however." Ian makes quite a lot of gestures introducing himself, which makes Melnor uncomfortable. Uncontrollably, Melchior steps forward. Melnor pulls the reigns, but unwillingly Melchior makes another step forward.

    "What are you doing with my horse! Quit that immediately or meet my sword!" Melnor is not in control of the situation, which greatly angers him. He draws the sword and swings his cape aside, revealing his crafty leather armour.
    All the sudden Melchior seems to come to his senses as Ian murmurs some apologies before stepping cautiously back.
    "A Braller, oh my. My apologies dear Sir, I'm just a humble man trying to make a living. Do not take action against my sorry self. I merely enchant animals, I mean no harm"
    "You are an ordinary thief, and I'll escort you to Zante at once. I cannot tolerate your presence on this traveller road."

    The name Zante pales Ian. "No dear Sir, do not hand me over to Zante authorities. The capital of crime does no longer want me. But if I may, I can show you all the dark corners. I can bring you into town safey."

    The offer of Ian is actually interesting. Melnor would certainly be spotted very soon, and all eyes would follow him through Zante. And the nature of his mission requires as little disturbance as possible. Melnor decides to use the animal enchanter for now. "Lead the way, Ian. If you can get me unnoticed to my destination, I'll reconsider."
    "Could you consider a reward as well, dear Sir? After all, I'm leading you to the last of places I want to go."
    "Don't get you hopes up. Serve me well and you'll be fine. On to Zante."
    I not quite satisfied with my own work. It's too much cliché: man on a mission meets compangon with complementary powers. And I'm throwing in a romance in as well. Also I feel my sentences are too much alike. Oh well.

    PS: A map can be found here.
    My personal folder is a graveyard of ideas, stuck in their dream phase.
    The "DM won't kill us" attitude is a bubble that sometimes needs to be bursted.
    There's an armor variant rule in UA that will drastically increase character survivability without completely bubble-wrapping them in plot invulnerability
    Throphies won:
    Spoiler
    Show



    Avatar courtesy of Linklele

  10. - Top - End - #190
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garwain View Post
    Even in OotS: Xykon = evil because, you know, he has an X and Y in his name! For your story, if humans don't even exist, then human language won't as well. You could go nuts on your keyboard to find exotic names: zid^fhdf or hyizdfjq or ydgfa!'nr. But that will alienate the reader as well, so I have no issues with your current naming convention.
    uh-uh no no, I'm trying to stay AWAY from good and evil in my books, going for grey vs. grey morality, and this is just fine as it is- the readers know I can only type in human language so their willing suspension of disbelief is still there without me mucking up the names with unpronounceable stuff.

  11. - Top - End - #191
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Garwain's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    the readers know I can only type in human language so their willing suspension of disbelief is still there without me mucking up the names with unpronounceable stuff.
    Writing the dialogues in non human language. Now that would be something interesting.
    My personal folder is a graveyard of ideas, stuck in their dream phase.
    The "DM won't kill us" attitude is a bubble that sometimes needs to be bursted.
    There's an armor variant rule in UA that will drastically increase character survivability without completely bubble-wrapping them in plot invulnerability
    Throphies won:
    Spoiler
    Show



    Avatar courtesy of Linklele

  12. - Top - End - #192
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garwain View Post
    *interesting stuff Garwain said*
    Yeah, you're right. For me, the important part of the story is the character interaction - let's get all that boring explanation of how magic works out of the way, so that we can write about the people who use that magic!

    The bad part is that this tends to overlap with my tendency to come up with tl;dr explanations of, say, how exactly magic works in a setting, which ties into various themes and motifs that are central to the story, and are largely the kind of stuff that only comes up in English classes. Luckily, I'm too lazy to write most of it down, or else the infodumping would be even worse.

    But thanks for the complement!

    Quote Originally Posted by Garwain View Post
    Brallers Ballance

    Spoiler
    Show


    1.1: The Haze

    The cold morning seeks refuge between the layers of his clothing. With every step Zante gets closer, the smell of breakfast only in his fantasy. Melnor didn't sleep. The Haze is no place to sleep.

    Melchior spent the best of his energy carrying his master through the night, as their lifelong bond permits Melnor to push his horse that far. A good Braller knows when not to take unnecessary risks in spite of their exhaustion.
    As the sun clears some of the mist, Melnor is able to look almost 50 legs upfront. The moonlight was unable to illuminate their path at night when the mist is at it's dense. It would be his first visit to Zante. Not that he was looking forward to it. Zante is an uninviting place. Alas, Melnor was chosen to travel up here. The northern states would not welcome anyone from the south, except Brallers. At least they are tolerated.

    The road curves and reveals more of what lies ahead. Melchior lifts his head. Strange aroma lingers in the air. Even for the Haze. Relying on the instinct of his horse, Melnor checks his surroundings as well. The only out of ordinary seems to lie further up the road. Although not clear, it looks like a silhouette of a man, lying on the ground. Either this traveller collapsed, which would not be unusual, or he's being ambushed.

    This road through the Haze is the most common travel route to the north. Zante can be reached by sea, but since Pirates are controlling the city, it can only be done safely when a large sum is donated. There is another passage to Zante, but it involves going all the way around the Impenetrable Forrest, getting permission from Narbir to enter the Barren Grasslands and traversing the Narb. His mission required a faster approach.

    Melnor has his hand on his long sword at 8 legs distance from the figure. Scanning the undergrowth for tracks, he pays more attention to his surroundings. "Identify yourself!", demands Melnor. His authority as Braller grants him the rights to maintain the balance between good and bad, wrong and right, nature and civilisation, war and peace. In fact, they are the only fraction that requires World to stay as is. Accepted by all states, Brallers roam World freely.

    "Hmm.. Who is asking?" As the man lifts himself from the cold ground, Melnor can get a good look at him, quickly realising this is no thread for him. The man is barely armed and in poor condition.
    Melnor replies only with other questions: "Tell me your name. Are you lost, hurt? Do you require assistance?"
    With a little bow the man replies: "Dear Sir, my name is Ian. I'm not lost at all, I do like assistance however." Ian makes quite a lot of gestures introducing himself, which makes Melnor uncomfortable. Uncontrollably, Melchior steps forward. Melnor pulls the reigns, but unwillingly Melchior makes another step forward.

    "What are you doing with my horse! Quit that immediately or meet my sword!" Melnor is not in control of the situation, which greatly angers him. He draws the sword and swings his cape aside, revealing his crafty leather armour.
    All the sudden Melchior seems to come to his senses as Ian murmurs some apologies before stepping cautiously back.
    "A Braller, oh my. My apologies dear Sir, I'm just a humble man trying to make a living. Do not take action against my sorry self. I merely enchant animals, I mean no harm"
    "You are an ordinary thief, and I'll escort you to Zante at once. I cannot tolerate your presence on this traveller road."

    The name Zante pales Ian. "No dear Sir, do not hand me over to Zante authorities. The capital of crime does no longer want me. But if I may, I can show you all the dark corners. I can bring you into town safey."

    The offer of Ian is actually interesting. Melnor would certainly be spotted very soon, and all eyes would follow him through Zante. And the nature of his mission requires as little disturbance as possible. Melnor decides to use the animal enchanter for now. "Lead the way, Ian. If you can get me unnoticed to my destination, I'll reconsider."
    "Could you consider a reward as well, dear Sir? After all, I'm leading you to the last of places I want to go."
    "Don't get you hopes up. Serve me well and you'll be fine. On to Zante."
    Spoiler
    Show
    It sounds like an interesting concept, but the writing could use a little work. While it's a stylistic choice, the use of present tense feels a little odd, especially in a fantasy-adventure type story. Combined with your fairly straightforward style, it sounds a little simplistic. Also, you tend to stick your exposition right in with the action. Either separating it out or merging it better with the rest would make for a better read. A detailed comb-through by a proper grammarian would also help, and while this is more of a personal preference, you should double space every paragraph break when posting things online, including with every change in dialogue. It makes it much easier to read.
    Last edited by Tira-chan; 2010-10-06 at 12:01 AM.


    Avatar of Calder by Akrim.elf

  13. - Top - End - #193
    Orc in the Playground
     
    The Pressman's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critique: Untitled Steampunk Story by DSCrankshaw


    Spoiler
    Show
    This story, to me, seems like it comes from an interesting premise, and that is a credit towards it. Very rarely does one see a work of fiction where magic is the standard and the inverse of Clarke's Third Law (any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology) comes into play. In some games one aims to create a aura of mystique regarding magic, but where yours strikes out into the lands of novelty is in that it regards things that might otherwise seem magical (the Greens, aether) as mundane, understood, and really not that special. But part of its real genius is that it puts something we regard as commonplace (electricity) and places it into the pedestal it was first placed upon, as something more, something better, and above all, something new.
    However, what does Ph.N. mean? I recognize that it seems to be modeled after Ph.D. but PhD means Doctor of Philosophy in latin abbreviations, so..
    Homebrew:
    Endless Thanks go to Akrim.elf for the excellent avatar of an antique Gordon-Style Letterpress. With haberdasherical accessory.

  14. - Top - End - #194
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmuth View Post
    Critique: Untitled Steampunk Story by DSCrankshaw


    Spoiler
    Show
    This story, to me, seems like it comes from an interesting premise, and that is a credit towards it. Very rarely does one see a work of fiction where magic is the standard and the inverse of Clarke's Third Law (any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology) comes into play. In some games one aims to create a aura of mystique regarding magic, but where yours strikes out into the lands of novelty is in that it regards things that might otherwise seem magical (the Greens, aether) as mundane, understood, and really not that special. But part of its real genius is that it puts something we regard as commonplace (electricity) and places it into the pedestal it was first placed upon, as something more, something better, and above all, something new.
    However, what does Ph.N. mean? I recognize that it seems to be modeled after Ph.D. but PhD means Doctor of Philosophy in latin abbreviations, so..
    Thanks for the comments. I'll have to keep this quick, since I'm at a convention right now (just did my first Con reading--it went pretty well). But to answer your question, Ph.N. stands for Philosopher of Nature. It's a play on Natural Philosopher, which is what physicists used to be called around the 18th century or so.

  15. - Top - End - #195
    Orc in the Playground
     
    The Pressman's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by DSCrankshaw View Post
    Thanks for the comments. I'll have to keep this quick, since I'm at a convention right now (just did my first Con reading--it went pretty well). But to answer your question, Ph.N. stands for Philosopher of Nature. It's a play on Natural Philosopher, which is what physicists used to be called around the 18th century or so.
    Aha! Clever, clever.
    Homebrew:
    Endless Thanks go to Akrim.elf for the excellent avatar of an antique Gordon-Style Letterpress. With haberdasherical accessory.

  16. - Top - End - #196
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    My head
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Alright, I'll bite.

    Picked out the stories that seemed to have the fewest critiques.

    Critique - CHAPTER ONE – A STICKY SITUATION - Zom-B
    Spoiler
    Show
    Whoa. Nicely done. I'm not sure what you were aiming at but I gather that's rather the point. The absurd is a style all its own, easy to reach, hard to master, and you're well on your way there. Not just in strangeness but in syntactically play and rhythm and meter, only occasionally falling to deep into strangeness. If the goal is to challenge and question and unsettle you worked best when dancing on the edge of the real.

    Okay, honestly a hard one to critique 'cause I don't know where you're going. I did like most of it, but somethings stood out as a little to weird, if that makes any sense. The bits I liked best were the ones that might work given other contexts (".There, standing in the middle of the ball pit, was the Frenchman.") Or the just slightly twisted ("someone other than me was trying to kill me.")

    "Over fields of wheat, and watermelons, and coconuts we flew, grasping tightly to the pterosaur’s legs. "GRKHLONNGGGGHKGFLFGLGLUMMMPH!!!!" Joffrey whispered seductively to it," on the other hand doesn't do it for me.


    Critique - Untitled Steampunkish Story - DSCrankshaw

    Spoiler
    Show
    Shiny. The concept is great and I can feel that you've got the feel of the setting down pat. For the most part I like your writing. There are a lot of sentences that could be tweaked here and there for things like passive voice, but nothing terrible. As for length... that's hard to say. The first few paragraphs are a bit off. Fairly inevitable, I know. The introduction, the setting up of a scene these things are hard. I do think in media res is the best way for you to go here in a short story like this but... it'd be a hard choice, but I might start it with 'May I take you coat, sir?' Shift the rainy streets to an observation made out the window, or upon exiting, something like that. Cut down on the other world building fluff, break it down, salt the rest of the story with it. Guide the reader into the world, don't drop it on their head. Apart from that, yeah, great stuff.


    Critique - Moonlit Nights in Birmingham - Neon Knight

    Spoiler
    Show
    I liked the idea, has some problems in execution.
    Quote Originally Posted by You
    The astute observer might have noticed that I said it was a strange night for two people, but have only indicated the presence of two beings, the monster and Mary, and might be wondering if I intend to grant the monster the status of "person". Sadly, I'm not quite that charitable; perhaps I'd been a more decent chap if I could find the empathy to attribute human status to such a being, but usually the most I can do with a monster is to hit it until it turns into dust. Forgive me if that makes me seem uncouth; I assure you that in my day to day affairs I'm much more gentle.
    This is wonderful. Really great.

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Anyway, we're on a bit of a tangent here, so let's refocus. We have the alley, with Mary backed up against the wall and looking quite afraid, and the monster approaching at a leisurely pace, apparently savoring her fear and in no hurry to make this quick. To satisfy the earlier quota of 2 people having an oddball night, I suppose I had better mention that I was there. Of course, I wasn't exactly in my normal attire. You see, it was a strange night for me, but it was a strangeness that's novelty was beginning to decay a bit. Oh, alright, I won't pretend that I'm at ease with the idea or actuality of running around cities at night dressed up like the Great Gatsby fighting monsters with a walking stick, but I was beginning to adjust to the concept. A bit.

    The observer might also note that I have a tendency to try to be funny or witty. I beg the observer's forgiveness, as it seems to be a habit I can't quite shake.
    Less so. I like part of this guy's voice, the other I don't. It's a bit schizophrenic, it'd be better if it was all a little more consistent. I think you should try to compress the paragraph down so that it contains only the points I highlighted. Those are good bits. The other bits are not bad, but they're getting in the way of the good bits.

    "So, yeah, I was more than a little freaked out." And the like is not totally necessary. The audience, and presumably the people our dear narrator is talking about can get this from the information provided. It's realistic diction, but this is narration, so there's a certain amount of cleanliness expected of even 1st person perspectives. Likewise the So's, Yeah's, and Now's are best used sparingly, not alternating paragraphs.

    Other than that, yeah, I liked the story and the narrator.

    Oh, one more thing, the club vs. stabyness. If this is a short, stand alone story then I'd drop the discussion, turn the unsheathing into a 'now it's time to get serious moment.' If it's a longer form, have the rescued girl bring it up or something. As it stands it kind messes up the otherwise pretty good flow.

    Okay, I'm done now.

  17. - Top - End - #197
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Thanks for the critique, JJ. I ended up not using the beginning you see, but the setting and the plot it kicks off are the same. Oh, and I came up with a name. I now dub it "The Lightning Generator."

  18. - Top - End - #198
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
     
    averagejoe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critique - Brallers Balance by Garwain

    Spoiler
    Show
    The first thing that really struck me about this story is that it has some serious constructional issues, to the point where it’s kind of confusing. You switch from past to present tense for no reason I can see, you have sentences and phrases that are worded incorrectly (“when the mist is at it's dense,” for example), misspelled or incorrect words, sentences that are clumsy or don’t really follow one another, and places where you should just start a new paragraph, or provide better transition. These things make it harder to read, and also harder to review, because it’s difficult for the reviewer to tell what things are done on purpose and what things are mistakes that weren’t caught. I’m fairly confident that I could see what you were going for, but it’s still unnecessary work for the reader.

    A similar problem is how you introduce your word. You have strange names, places, measurements, and words, and that helps the reader know what sort of world it is without unnecessary exposition. That part was fine, and there were some interesting aspects to it, like the names Melenor and Melchior given to a bonded pair makes it seem like the names are purposefully made similar. Is it like that for all Brallers? Are they given a new name on initiation, or does the bond happen early in their life? These aren’t questions you have to answer, my point is that little details like this open the mind to different possibilities, and this is a good thing. However, you maybe shove all this new stuff at us a little quickly. Don’t draw out your narration unnecessarily, but try to give a little more time to get used to one new otherworld thing before shoving another one at us. Within three short paragraphs we’re introduced to Melenor, Melchior, Zante, The Haze, brallers, legs as a unit of measurement, upfront as a direction, and some facts about the brallers and their relationship with the rest of the world. When you’ve thought about it for awhile and know what everything is, all of this is quite obvious, but reading it for the first time that’s a lot to take in and ponder all at once.

    You do a good job of fleshing out the brallers without exposition. In fact, you give a little exposition on the brallers and some of the world’s locations, but it’s mostly unnecessary, and probably undesirable to do so like that. You do a good job of fleshing out the world without needing to just tell things to the reader, which tends to bog down the narration.

    The story has an air of mystery to it, which is good. As I said, you do a good job of fleshing the world out without exposition, and you also do a good job of telling us what we need to know without telling us too much. You said it’s too cliché, but we’re just being introduced to things, and in that sense it’s exactly what it needs to be. It’s far more important to characterize your characters enough so that we care about what happens to them. Characterization I can’t really comment on, because of the stuff I said in the first paragraph, but the story shouldn’t be one of your primary concerns right now. You will probably want to change it anyways as you think about characters, the setting, and so on. Story is something to worry about once everything is farther developed than this is, though that’s just my opinion.

    One last comment, that I hope you won’t take offense to. This comes off to me as coming from someone fairly young. That isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, and I don’t think that because of the grammar and so on (believe me, I’ve seen much worse from full adults). I’m telling you this as a reviewer. Maybe you want your story to come off that way, maybe you don’t, and maybe you don’t care one way or the other. Just something I’m telling you about my reactions because it might be valuable to you.

    Overall, this really is very underdeveloped. However, despite this, I’m interested in what’s going to happen next, which is important. Being able to give just the right amount of mystery is your story’s strongest point, and that’s what a story like this needs. The story is pretty basic, but that’s neither a good or bad thing as long as you work with it well. Good luck to you!


    Sweet Friendship Jayne avatar by Crown of Thorns

  19. - Top - End - #199
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Fortuna's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Long Shiny Cloud-land
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tira-chan View Post
    The Spell Hotel, by Tira-chan
    Spoiler
    Show
    It is one of the unwritten rules of the multiverse that magic is everywhere and in every thing, but sometimes it is beyond our grasp. Our universe, Gaia, or Earth as most people call it, is a perfect example of this. We have always had magic and always will, but nowadays not many people believe in it, and not very many of those can access it. I am one of the few mages who is pure human, pure Gaian – most have at least some Offworlder blood. That, I suppose, is why I am the Magus for this world. It is my duty to Keep everything in order as it pertains to magic – and that is a very hard job to do indeed.

    My name is Edward von Herz, and I am nineteen. This is young to be a Magus – very, very young. Up until last year, I was only an apprentice, but when Master Locke died, I was next in line. My age can be a little awkward sometimes, especially in dealings with Offworld officials, because they expect Magus von Herz to be an old man with a long beard, like Master Locke. And that is also why I am writing this assignment so damned formally, because the Powers That Be are already unimpressed with me, and I don’t want to do anything else to convince them I’m some punk kid.

    Oops. I probably shouldn’t be using a typewriter for this assignment, either. I shall do my best to watch my language in the future.

    It started with a meeting I was supposed to attend. I was to meet with Mr. Randall Snid, an importer of (rather illegal) magical goods, and Ms. Jillian Tancredy, an American who is the magical equivalent of an environmental activist. I was not looking forward to this – the only thing I dislike more than slimy merchants is overbearing females, and I cannot stand listening to people argue, as anyone who spent more than a minute in the company of Mr. Snid or Ms. Tancredy was liable to do. It did not help that Mr. Snid insisted on referring to me as “Ed, old boy,” or “Eddie” and Ms. Tancredy kept calling me “my dear young man.” Therefore, the entire thing was going to be highly unpleasant.

    It was. “My dear young man,” began Ms. Tancredy, “I have some disturbing news to bring to your attention. I have evidence that Mr. Snid has been conducting business in a way that most displeases me. I am assured that you will agree with me completely and do exactly as I request.”

    Alte Kuh.

    “Excuse me?”

    “I’ll see, ma’am.”

    “Look here, Eddie, you’ve gotta lissen ta me,” cut in Snid pleadingly. “This izza vilent wiman, ’ere, an’ us menfolk ’ave gotta stick t’gether ’gainst dem vilent wimmen.”

    “It’s Edward,” I muttered. I abhor having my name shortened.

    “This is slander, sir! Slander! My dear young man, are you going to let him get away with this?”

    “C’mon, Ed, old boy. Are you gonna let tha’ old cow” – sometimes I worry that Snid speaks German – “get away wiv’ tryin’ ta cheat an old fren outta ’is livelihood?”

    “Silence!” I shouted. “First of all,” I continued more calmly, “I would like to remind both of you that my proper title is Magus von Herz, and I would prefer not to be referred to by some demeaning nickname. And secondly, if the two of you would cease your petty squabbling over me, could we get to the actual matter at hand?”

    “Fine, Magus,” grumbled Ms. Tancredy. “The issue here is that Mr. Randall Snid has been importing some sort of magical matter that is interfering with the Earth’s – maybe the whole Universe’s – balance of magic. At the Hotel de Sortilege in Dartmouth, my group registered an unusual amount of foreign magic, and discovered there was a collection of strange elemental stones buried around the surroundings. It is well known that the Hotel de Sortilege is a meeting ground for mages, especially of the seedier variety, and Mr. Snid, I believe decidedly falls into that category.”

    “Now, lissen, tha’s an unfair generalization, lady! Ah ‘aven’t never been ta no ‘Otel de Sortage. Ah’m an ‘onest mage, jus’ lik you are, Magus, an’ don’ let ‘er tell ya otherwise!”

    “If that’s the case, Mr. Snid, then could you offer an explanation for the stones discovered at the Hotel de Sort-a-lag – de Certainly – de Cartilage – the hotel?”

    “Well, Magus, Ah’ll tell ya this, but ya don’ be spreadin’ this round none, ya ‘ear? Common man’s word is tha’ there’s sum great workin’ tha’s bein’ put round. Sum’r’anovver’s settin’ up big spell fields, an’ they’ll activate ‘em all at once, castin’ a spell on the ‘ole country.”

    “What the – why wasn’t a proper authority informed about this? This could be a seriously dangerous working, you know!”

    “Aw, Ed – Magus, Ah mean – i’s not but a rumor. Not a one a’ us wudn’t let ya know if we’d a thought tha’ there was sumthin’ serius, ‘onest. Prob’ly jus’ sum crook wizard a-tryin’ ta make hisself sum bucks wiv an extra-gud spell or two.”

    “I’ll determine that myself, Mr. Snid. Now Ms. Tancredy, do you have an example of these stones?”

    “Why yes I do, actually,” replied Ms. Tancredy proudly. She pulled out a smooth black stone, of size to fit in my palm quite neatly. It was covered in green veins, and was cool to the touch. I stared at it suspiciously.

    “And what is this supposed to be, Ms. Tancredy?”

    “I’ve not the least idea, I’m afraid. You’d have to ask Mr. Snid,” she told me, sounding most self-righteous. I turned to Snid, expecting to here him denying everything, but to my surprise he was fingering it with a considering look.

    “Well, Ah’d say i’s a turnstone. Furriner’s use ‘em if they can’ a’just ta the dif’rent magic.” He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Mos’ly Offworlders, if ya catch mah drift. Not ‘zactly those wh’re ‘ere for a quick trip, either.”

    “So they’re used to help illegal immigrants adjust to the change in magic.”

    “Ah’d not say it thataways, Magus. Ya cud use one yaself, iffen ya have trubl’ a’justin’ on a strange yunnivers. Turns the local magic inta sumthin’ ya’d be more cumftable with.”

    “Are you claiming these stones for yourself, Mr. Snid?” asked Ms. Tancredy, beautifully sarcastic.

    “Nah, these ain’ no stones a’ mine. Mine’re blue all ov’r, wi’ silver lines thru ‘em. Nev’r seen un wi’ tha’ color. Ah did sell a load a’ em cuple mun’s back, tho’.”

    I wasn’t paying much attention to them. There was something wrong with it – a dark, dank stench that made me uncomfortable. I did not recognize the aura either, from any of the other worlds I had visited. There was something about this stone that did not add up. “Where do they come from, Mr. Snid?”

    “They’re fr’m Auran.” I nodded. Auran has lots of strong natural sources of magic.

    “Can I have this?” I asked Ms. Tancredy. She nodded crossly. “Thank you, ma’am. Now, I’m not going to make any accusations, or revoke any trade licenses today. However, I would like to thank both of you for bringing the most important matter to my attention.” And with that I turned and stalked off, eager to call a taxi and get home.

    After I returned to my apartment, I collapsed on my bed, and began to study the stone. I had heard of turnstones before, and even confiscated a few, though like Snid I had never seen one this color. They were like magical adaptors, allowing the user to convert natural magic into a kind they could handle more readily. The problem with this was that remains of the magic they didn’t use was released as the foreign kind, and generally polluted the atmosphere in the area. It only made it easier to locate them, really. I should be able to find a lump of them with my eyes closed, but I hadn’t felt this one until Ms. Tancredy had set it on the table. Why couldn’t I sense
    these stones?

    My thoughts turned to the Hotel de Sortilege, or, as it was referred to by those with no mastery of the god-awful language conceived by the French, the Spell Hotel. It had been built by Offworld mages long ago, around the nineteenth century. But Gaia was no longer a center of magic, and had not been for many millennia. Though it was intended to be a magical refuge, few reputable mages visited, and it quickly became known as a place where criminal mages could escape to if they were in trouble, or more unsavory parties from other universes could meet without being detected. Even they visited less and less, in part because Earth’s magi no longer needed to hide themselves, and such a well-known rendezvous became more risky. It was sold, and bought by a non-magical owner, who revamped it, and ever since it has tried to play the part of an ordinary establishment, but its history continues to make it popular with seedy merchants, though it is now quite nice. (God, that sounds like a brochure!) The stones might have been buried there a long time ago, but surely someone would have noticed them there – Master Locke, for example. They seemed to be a new development. I sighed and carefully stored the stone in a drawer. It looked as though I would have to travel to Britain.

    I began to make arrangements to stay at the Hotel de Sortilege. It was not difficult to convince the Mr. Kimball who was the manager that I was a young German tourist interested in “viewing your Channel.” I took the cheapest room I could find, though I was still surprised by the cost. My normal job is fixing computers at a local electronics store, which does not pay particularly well, and magi get very little money for their pains. I called my boss next, telling him that I needed to take a week off. He agreed, but suspiciously.

    I needed to call the Upper Levels next, to get approval to investigate. I knew I did. But I was tired, and what I really wanted to was have a glass of water and an egg sandwich, and go to bed early, which I did. But I woke up at two in the morning, because there was something strange going on with my spells. Instead of lying quietly dormant, as they usually do, the strands of spell were pulsing green and whistling softly. There was a funny glow over all my appliances running on magic. I dismantled as many of them as I could, and tried to trace the root of the problem.

    What I found instead was my laptop. The screen was glowing green when I came to it, but it faded to black as I watched, and green lines began to draw across the black. They glowed brighter and brighter and widened, until the whole screen was green, and then the whole thing repeated. It looked as though it had caught a magical computer virus. I swore. Very loudly. I had realized what the source of the problem was – that stone. I pulled it out of the drawer, and saw that the green lines were pulsing in the same way as my spells and my computer screens. The stone was no longer cool, but burning hot. I wrapped it in about three cancel-spells, which stopped the noise, and calmed the glowing somewhat. Then I yanked the leftover spells out of my computer. It would have to run on mundane power for a while. Still swearing, I began to dial the number for the Magitorial Office.

    As magus, I have quite a lot of power on Gaia, but I still must report to the Upper Levels if something important comes up. They also give me assignments, things on this and other worlds that affect Gaia enough that I need to deal with it. I am something of a junior-level operative, partially because I am so young, and in a serious situation like this, I would most definitely need to let them know. Also, if they thought it was serious enough, they might give me some funding money to pay for expenses.

    “Magitorial Office speaking,” replied a polite voice.

    “Hällo, Geoff. This is Edward von Herz?” I was quite glad it was Geoff – I know him well. He’s a human from Gaia, like me, and is only about ten years older than I am.

    “Oh, hi, Edward. Nice to talk to you. Was there a problem with Snid and Tancredy?”

    “No – well, not really with them, though something did come up. There’s this hotel in Dartmouth – Hotel de Sort-i-ledge, have you heard of it? – with a mass of turnstones buried around it. I think they’re infected, too; I took one home and it screwed up all the spells in my apartment.”

    I could hear Geoff typing away at a computer, probably calling up all the files he could find on turnstones and the Hotel de Sortilege. “Isn’t that place an old meeting ground for transworld dealers and such? They could’ve been there before, so the guests could use magic okay.”

    “Someone would’ve noticed before now, especially if they were being used regularly. And besides, this has got something bad on it. Here.” I put the receiver of the phone across the turnstone, and sent its vibrations down the line to Geoff. The phone immediately jerked about, and I could hear the
    whistling start up faintly again.

    “Gods, Edward, that’s nasty! Be careful doing that!”

    I moved the receiver away. “See what I mean? And that’s with the bugger wrapped in cancel-spells. The damn thing got into my computer, too.”

    “You’re a hell of a lot braver than I am, Edward. I wouldn’t take it home with me if you paid me. No one would volunteer to have that by their hotel room.”

    “What do you think my chances are of getting funding? I’ve gotta stay in England, and that’s not cheap… Why, the price of the hotel room alone…”

    “Sorry, Edward, but it’s not me you need to convince. I’ll put you through to Ravia Corps in Corichos.”

    “She’s on duty? She doesn’t even speak English!”

    “Technically, you’re in her precinct, so I don’t have any choice,” Geoff said not unkindly, and hit a button somewhere. There was a piercing squawk of static in my ear, and an old woman’s voice was suddenly talking in my ear.

    Salve, Edwardus,” Maga Corps said stiffly. She is a very old maga from a nearby world, and she is Corrigan, not human. She rather looks down on me for being young, and male, and human, and she refuses to learn German, or English, or Japanese, or Arabic, or any of the other languages I speak. The only Gaian language she speaks is Latin.

    Maga Corps, I have a request,” I said in Latin.

    What is it, iuvenis? Are the Gaians making trouble?

    I have discovered bad magic in a mundane place in Britain. Will you give me money to investigate?

    You are a blunt boy, Edwardus.

    I sighed. My Latin is poor, and I really do not know enough grammar to put things in the polite, formal way that Maga Corps expected.

    I apologize. Do you agree this?

    You must offer me more explanation than this. I cannot make a decision on such little information.

    Maga, I have found a Drehenstein-”

    A what?

    I sighed. I really do not know the Latin for turnstone. “A – a rock with a spell. It has dark magic in it. It turned my spells wrong.

    I cannot understand you, Edwardus. Did you explain your problem to Ieffi?

    I almost asked who Ieffi was, before I realized that it was Geoff’s name in Latin. “I explain to him.

    He will tell me. Ieffus is a good boy. He speaks Corrigani, did you know that?

    Non, Maga.” She kept talking, quietly and driftingly. I sighed and gave up on the conversation. “Vale, be well,” I said loudly, and hung up, feeling only the slightest bit guilty for leaving her to Geoff.

    I looked at the stone again, considering. Snid had said it was from Auran, which was famous for its spell-mines. I had no idea what was the matter with this turnstone, but I didn’t know much about them. Would an Auranite miner or jeweler have more information? I would have to make a visit to Auran, it seemed. But what was on that thing? It was a powerful spell, certainly, and terribly dark as well. There was something evil and twisted at work, and it was buried deep into the Earth. This was obviously a task for me as Magus – and I had no idea what the hell I was going to do about it.
    Spoiler
    Show
    It's interesting, I'll give it that. It's got a couple of neat setting elements, including the eponymous hotel. But there's really not much here to go on. There's not a lot of material, and I don't even really think it gives me enough information to 'hook' me. I'd probably read more, but I'd like to learn a bit more about the setting, and maybe the characters too.

    To summarize: good, but not enough of it to be really good.


    Quote Originally Posted by Garwain View Post
    Brallers Ballance

    Spoiler
    Show


    1.1: The Haze

    The cold morning seeks refuge between the layers of his clothing. With every step Zante gets closer, the smell of breakfast only in his fantasy. Melnor didn't sleep. The Haze is no place to sleep.

    Melchior spent the best of his energy carrying his master through the night, as their lifelong bond permits Melnor to push his horse that far. A good Braller knows when not to take unnecessary risks in spite of their exhaustion.
    As the sun clears some of the mist, Melnor is able to look almost 50 legs upfront. The moonlight was unable to illuminate their path at night when the mist is at it's dense. It would be his first visit to Zante. Not that he was looking forward to it. Zante is an uninviting place. Alas, Melnor was chosen to travel up here. The northern states would not welcome anyone from the south, except Brallers. At least they are tolerated.

    The road curves and reveals more of what lies ahead. Melchior lifts his head. Strange aroma lingers in the air. Even for the Haze. Relying on the instinct of his horse, Melnor checks his surroundings as well. The only out of ordinary seems to lie further up the road. Although not clear, it looks like a silhouette of a man, lying on the ground. Either this traveller collapsed, which would not be unusual, or he's being ambushed.

    This road through the Haze is the most common travel route to the north. Zante can be reached by sea, but since Pirates are controlling the city, it can only be done safely when a large sum is donated. There is another passage to Zante, but it involves going all the way around the Impenetrable Forrest, getting permission from Narbir to enter the Barren Grasslands and traversing the Narb. His mission required a faster approach.

    Melnor has his hand on his long sword at 8 legs distance from the figure. Scanning the undergrowth for tracks, he pays more attention to his surroundings. "Identify yourself!", demands Melnor. His authority as Braller grants him the rights to maintain the balance between good and bad, wrong and right, nature and civilisation, war and peace. In fact, they are the only fraction that requires World to stay as is. Accepted by all states, Brallers roam World freely.

    "Hmm.. Who is asking?" As the man lifts himself from the cold ground, Melnor can get a good look at him, quickly realising this is no thread for him. The man is barely armed and in poor condition.
    Melnor replies only with other questions: "Tell me your name. Are you lost, hurt? Do you require assistance?"
    With a little bow the man replies: "Dear Sir, my name is Ian. I'm not lost at all, I do like assistance however." Ian makes quite a lot of gestures introducing himself, which makes Melnor uncomfortable. Uncontrollably, Melchior steps forward. Melnor pulls the reigns, but unwillingly Melchior makes another step forward.

    "What are you doing with my horse! Quit that immediately or meet my sword!" Melnor is not in control of the situation, which greatly angers him. He draws the sword and swings his cape aside, revealing his crafty leather armour.
    All the sudden Melchior seems to come to his senses as Ian murmurs some apologies before stepping cautiously back.
    "A Braller, oh my. My apologies dear Sir, I'm just a humble man trying to make a living. Do not take action against my sorry self. I merely enchant animals, I mean no harm"
    "You are an ordinary thief, and I'll escort you to Zante at once. I cannot tolerate your presence on this traveller road."

    The name Zante pales Ian. "No dear Sir, do not hand me over to Zante authorities. The capital of crime does no longer want me. But if I may, I can show you all the dark corners. I can bring you into town safey."

    The offer of Ian is actually interesting. Melnor would certainly be spotted very soon, and all eyes would follow him through Zante. And the nature of his mission requires as little disturbance as possible. Melnor decides to use the animal enchanter for now. "Lead the way, Ian. If you can get me unnoticed to my destination, I'll reconsider."
    "Could you consider a reward as well, dear Sir? After all, I'm leading you to the last of places I want to go."
    "Don't get you hopes up. Serve me well and you'll be fine. On to Zante."
    Spoiler
    Show
    It's a fairly standard sort of opening, I'll admit. There's very little that makes it stand out from anything else. On the other hand, I can't fault your prose, and although there's a couple of editing mistakes, there's nothing that interrupts my reading of it (and I've been known to give up on books as unreadable for an error every couple of pages). Why all the exotic names, and then Ian? Strikes me as off. Really, there's not much more to say without more. I will add, though, that I got a very Eddings vibe off this. Take that as you will.


    Quote Originally Posted by JessGulbranson View Post
    The Tigerman
    Spoiler
    Show
    Perched on the hilltop was the castle. It had been there since the middle ages, the home of the local Baron. Since the last of the Baron’s line, there had been no inhabitant. The people of the village that lay at the foot of the mountain were able to sleep peacefully again. No dark deeds were done in the night, and the lights, sounds, and smells that came down the hill were gone, for generations. The memory of the mad Baron and his vile experiments that went against God and nature was present, however. That made the chilly September night so horrible.
    No villagers were sure just how the castle could have become inhabited without their notice, as the only approach was a long, winding drive up the steep mountainside, and it had been gated off long ago. Nonetheless, September 6 brought eerie lights and strange sounds, and an odor of formaldehyde came wafting down the hill at two minutes to midnight. It seemed the Baron’s progeny had returned, and brought his perverse scientific experiments back home.
    The Mayor was already on horseback riding to the nearest large town, as frightened villagers huddled in their homes, and less frightened villagers milled about the ridge on the edge of town, holding lanterns and torches aloft as they watched the castle.
    It was an hour later that, as the anger of the villagers grew, the Mayor returned with another rider, Dr. Phipps. Phipps’ forefather had been the man who had put down the old Baron and the fiendish things in his castle. The legacy of the Phipps family was eternal watchfulness, and it showed in the alert air of the dignified older Doctor as he rode up to the castle view.
    “Men… what we see now is a continuation of the past. Just as my forebear Samuel Phipps strove against evil, the elder Baron sought to perpetuate it. His legacy is here, come to fruition on this cold and dark night.” He looked upon the castle with a numinous expression that seemed to convey a surprising pity. “Our duty is clear, men. To the castle… we ride!”
    A hurrah rose in the air, and the bustle of the mob increased in volume and purpose. Runners went from farm to farm around the village, and at last all sensible, able-bodied men of fiery temperament were rounded up for an expedition to the castle.
    They headed up to the castle, breaking the gate as they went, and at last were at the vast doorway. The castle loomed over them, a dark and craggy mass. The sounds that were so eerie down below echoed horribly up on the mountain, and from the cracks in shutters came the green glow that sent a few men scurrying back down the mountain to their families.
    Dr. Phipps, boldly carrying a torch, approached the portal and turned once more to the men.
    “Be bold, fellows. What comes to the door may look human and normal, but it will be the spawn of the old Baron in human guise. We must show no mercy!” The mob answered him with a shout and cry, then Phipps rapped boldly on the wooden doors, the sound resounding in the craggy space around them. It was a long moment, though no one dared as much as breathe, when at last came a rattling of the doors, and a deep voice from within.
    “Who’s there?”
    “It is us,” cried Phipps righteously, “the good and decent folk of this land, who have come on a mission of piety, to stop in the name of the Lord all diabolical acts against man and nature. The Baron’s hideous experiments have gone on too long!” Again the good Doctor was echoed by a brazen hurrah, when suddenly the door swang wide, revealing an enormous figure.
    “I’m sorry… there’s no Baron here. I’m just Tigerman.”
    The name was a perfect description. The Tigerman stood eight feet tall, and must have weighed a thousand pounds of rippling feline muscle on an ogrish human frame. The head was that of an enormous tiger, with shining eyes, cruel fangs, and long whiskers. He wore a long white coat over his bulk. “Look at the monster!” cried John Stibbens the miller.
    “Excuse me!” exclaimed the Tigerman. “How rude. You must have the wrong castle. And you can see,” he said as he gestured vaguely behind him, “that there is no Baron here. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to be left alone.” The bestial face expressed a curious mix of indignation and embarassment for the assembled villagers. Dr. Phipps, looking abashed with a torch in his hand, spoke up unsteadily.
    “We’re very sorry to have disturbed you.” He looked behind him at the crowd which was waiting expectantly. “Come on men. Back to the village. We’ve wasted enough of the Tigerman’s time.”
    They left dejectedly, muttering and scratching their heads. From the doorway, Tigerman watched them go, and once they had all returned to the village and all the lights were out, he returned at once to his hideous experiments and diabolical acts against man and nature.
    Spoiler
    Show
    What?

    No, seriously, what? You have a classic setting, a classic build-up towards a classic climax, a semi-classic subversion... and then you re-subvert it and leave it dangling? I can understand the re-subversion, although I would prefer that shown, not told, but I'm really struggling to understand why you just leave it dangling at the end there. 'And evil kept going while good ignored it.' It's not a good ending. I would extend it, and at least introduce some conflict somewhere.
    Last edited by Fortuna; 2010-12-03 at 05:33 AM.
    If I creep into your house in the dead of night and strangle you while you sleep, you probably messed up your grammar.

    I'm always extremely careful to hedge myself against absolute statements.

  20. - Top - End - #200
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    leakingpen's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Hello all! Here I am to critique the daaaaay!


    Critique of The Spell Hotel, by Tira-chan
    Spoiler
    Show

    The tone changes throughout the piece, but since it is taking the form of a written report, it feels more like the report writer is unaccustomed to writing in this manner, and is not the true author's failing, but a quality way of showing more about the narrator/main character. It can be a bit off putting, but I think it helps more than hinders. (By change of tone, I mean going from brisk debriefing report, to feeling like he's talking to you over coffee, to feeling like a letter to the editor. )

    Dialogue should get more stamping of identity. The conversation about the eggs in court, I lost track of who was saying what a couple times. In particular, I thought the lady was saying a few things that were actually the main character. Even a, I said, or, I thought about such, but actually said, tagging on just the narrators speech would do wonders to the flow.

    Run on sentences. Again, a lot can be forgiven as the main characters writing style, but in particular, the sentence that started with, It was bought, then sold... made me out of breath just reading it.

    what I really wanted to was have a glass of water . either missing the word do, or an extra to. your choice.

    All in all, pretty tight prose, an interesting situation. Good mystery elements. I like the barely respected aspect of the character, and the bad wording in latin was awesomely done. Keep it up, i want to read more, which is always the top compliment to a writer.



    critique of Brallers Ballance by Garwain
    Spoiler
    Show

    First off, is that supposed to be Balance? Like balancing on a ball, or the balance between good and evil? If it's a made up word, it can be goofy to make a word that is THAT similar to a real word. (See legs)

    In the opening sentences, who is who is confusing. The city Zante gets closer. Mention Melnor again and THEN that melchior is his horse.

    almost 50 legs upfront, did you mean leagues? and up front is two words. actually, I see later that legs is its own unit, maybe a yard, roughly? a length of a leg, as opposed to a foot. I get it, but it would confuse people, since it could easily be a misspelling, and if someone doesn't get the leg - foot pun, they would be clueless as to the actual distance described.

    hen the mist is at it's dense. densest, or most dense.

    Strange aroma lingers in. should be aromas? or A strange aroma.


    no thread for him. Either hes a fabric merchant, or you mean threat?

    can bring you into town safey." safely

    The offer of Ian is actually interesting. It sounds like an item. You should have a possessive on it, to show its not a full name. The Offer of Ian, is a famous offer (or painting, or song. ) The offer of Ian's, or, Ian's offer, is the offer he's making right now.

    last technical note, there should be a hard return between different speakers in dialogue. Help make clear who is saying what, mostly.

    Not bad story, or plot. I get a feeling of the world, and the characters place in it, and the kind of man he is, from his words and actions, which is well done.

    The main thing is, as is mentioned here a LOT, you are telling, not showing. You are describing a scene. You aren't telling a story. That makes it jarring, hard to read. Don't tell me what hes able to do, or what he did, in the past tense. Tell me what hes doing, NOW. See if whats below flows better for you.

    Melnor pushes his horse, Melchior, to carry him throughout the night. Melchior spends all his energy doing so, breathing heavy at the prolonged exertion. Only their lifelong bond allows Melnor to do so, prodding the horse on, gauging his exhaustion. Despite his tiredness, Melnor watches the horse carefully, knowing as all Brallers do to avoid unnecessary risks.

    The sun rises over the traveling pair, and the mists that covered the trail in the night slowly burn off. The pale moonlight had failed to penetrate, but Melnor now found himself able to see nearly 50 legs in front of him. Still a small section of path, it was better than stumbling over rocks in the dark, he thought to himself.

    See what I mean? I'd try a rewrite on it, but, as it stands, if the whole story was written like that, I'd have bailed about halfway through the first chapter.
    Writer, editor. See my works at http://theleakingpen.net

  21. - Top - End - #201
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Hawkfrost000's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critque on Raz Fox's story.

    this has probably been done a lot but it looked fun

    Spoiler
    Show
    i will second the its like this+this comment, genre is fine but saying its like this and this does decrease the originality and could negatively affect the readers outlook on the work.

    i am going to be pretty blunt with this, there are a lot of better ways you could say a lot of your descriptions. they are pretty close to some "typical" descriptions but its less jarring for the reader.

    you need an editor, i find this helps a lot when im writing. get your parent/GF/BF/Friend to look over your work. even if its just for grammar it helps a lot to get a second (or third) pair of eyes on the project.


    sorry if this has been covered

    DM
    The Lords of Uncloaked Steel
    "But iron - cold iron - is master of them all."

  22. - Top - End - #202
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Roster is up to date!

    <whew> Sorry, everybody, I'll try to keep it much more timely in the future.

    Everybody did a fantastic job keeping the workshop going! Some stats:

    51 Members

    35 Works

    162 Critiques!!!

    Let me know if you spot any errors, particularly on critique counts.
    I have my own TV show featuring local musicians performing live. YouTube page with full episodes and outtake clips here.
    I also have another YouTube page with local live music clips I've filmed on my own.
    Then there is my gaming YouTube page with Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and others.
    Finally, I stream on Twitch, mostly Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft.

  23. - Top - End - #203
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    JessGulbranson's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    The Portlands, OR
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Random_person View Post
    What?
    Heh, glad you liked. "The Tigerman" was written as flash fiction. Around a thousand words, I think, and I trimmed it to its current 850ish for a contest. That was hard, son, I tell you. I've been itching to revisit this character, and I'm writing a novella for submission to a very weird anthology. Picture "Bride of Reanimator", only with Tigerman as Herbert West and lots of undead apes.

  24. - Top - End - #204
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    cho_j's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    My first three critiques!

    For Garwain's Brallers Balance: 1.1 The Haze

    Spoiler
    Show
    So, this is an interesting start. But I feel like I've been plunged into a new world without ANY markers. It took me a bit to realize what was a place, what was a group of people, etc. because there were too many invented words. This paragraph is a good example of that:
    Melchior spent the best of his energy carrying his master through the night, as their lifelong bond permits Melnor to push his horse that far. A good Braller knows when not to take unnecessary risks in spite of their exhaustion.
    As the sun clears some of the mist, Melnor is able to look almost 50 legs upfront. The moonlight was unable to illuminate their path at night when the mist is at it's dense. It would be his first visit to Zante. Not that he was looking forward to it. Zante is an uninviting place. Alas, Melnor was chosen to travel up here. The northern states would not welcome anyone from the south, except Brallers. At least they are tolerated.
    I feel like I missed a lot of crucial information trying to sort out whether Melnor or Melchior was the horse, that Melnor is a Braller and that Brallers are from the South, and that Zante is in the North. Also, two names starting with Mel is too confusing for me; I understand that you want to establish their link, but when you already have several important fantasy terms, it's too hard on the reader to make two of them that similar. I'd suggest Melnor and Helchior or something, so you do have some similar sounds, but they at least don't start with the same letter (a lot of people read all fantasy words that begin with the same syllable as the same word, sadly enough). Additionally, I'm not sure what "50 legs upfront" means. I think it's your world's way of measuring distance, but... in this case it may be better to use an Earth term so as not to confuse people.

    A couple paragraphs later, we got even more fantasy terms (Narbir and Narb, which are probably an ethnic group and a land, respectively, but we don't know why they're stopping people getting into Zante, or whether the Narb is part of Zante, or what). And at that point, I had trouble keeping interest because there were so many new words that hadn't been explained. Which was a shame, because I would love to know what's going on with all of these concepts... but there were too many at once.

    Similarly, try to avoid using ambiguous pronouns, like "he" here:
    Either this traveller collapsed, which would not be unusual, or he's being ambushed.
    For a second I thought you'd switched tenses because I thought the second "he" was also a reference to the collapsed traveller.

    There were also a few places where I had no idea what a sentence meant; might be typos:

    ...Melnor can get a good look at him, quickly realising this is no thread for him.
    I've never heard the phrase "no thread for someone."

    "...I do like assistance however."
    Did you mean [I]would[I] like assistance?

    The name Zante pales Ian.
    I think you were going for a spin on the expression "makes him pale" but it didn't quite work, for me, at least.

    And then, the other biggest problem I see is that at the end, Melnor, supposedly an upholder of all that is right, is willing to let a thief who is clearly seriously afraid of what the authorities will do to him (probably indicating his crimes have been great) go free for helping him... and this may just be a case of Good is Not Nice, but Melnor seems a little bit too rude to me to be part of a world peace-keeping organization. Or maybe I've misunderstood the Brallers.

    On the positive side! I am genuinely interested in having all my questions answered. Why are the North and South at war? What do the Brallers do, exactly? How are Melnor and Melchior linked? Etc. This looks like a very fun fantasy world to explore if the questions were coming in at a slower rate. Also, thank you for giving people names right when we meet them; I like being able to call the thief Ian and our hero Melnor right off the bat. It makes it a lot easier and more personal than when an author comes up with eighty synonyms for their defining features.


    For Tequila Sunrise's Onami's Legend:

    Spoiler
    Show
    An odd take on the epic poem. I feel like there was another, larger story at work here; is Onami maybe a legendary hero of the real protagonist's world? If not... the story here is a bit weak. I don't understand why he died at the end, either. And I feel it might work better as prose than poem, because there's no real meter (at least not one I've recognized) and no real rhyme or other poetic device. Here, try the first few lines as prose and tell me that doesn't seem more natural:

    There was once a great warrior, and his name was Onami. It was said that Onami could not be defeated in battle. Each night before he battled, Onami dreamt of Death, who wielded a sword of flame and ice. Each night Death kept silence while his sword sang with the voice of the Celestial Court.

    Now, note that I didn't make any changes other than deleting line breaks and uncapitalizing where necessary. But if it were prose, I'd suggest a few more pronouns, because you don't have to repeat Onami's name as often (also true in poem form, actually). Onami, Onami, Death, Onami, Onami gets a little grating.

    On the positive side of things: this is a fascinating legend. A supposedly immortal warrior, with some kind of personal relationship with Death, battling him continuously? Wicked sweet. But I want to see the story developed more, so that it's not a sudden and confusing let down when Onami dies.


    For thurge namor's Aces and Eights:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Possibly the most action filled poem I've ever read! Bits and pieces seem out of place, though:

    First of all, the ellipses. They ruin the fast moving, urgent effect of the words. My standard advice for ellipses is to think of them as what they are: THREE periods. Now, if you're reading out loud, a period is there to let you know to pause for a second. So an ellipses means you pause for three seconds. Try reading this out loud with the three second pause (yes, that means don't scroll down until you've waiting 3 seconds at the end, too):

    Blood and dust runnin’ down the streets
    Thunderous shots, dead men at our feet…
    It’s time we got the heck outta town,
    Don’t wanna be here when the walls come down…


    Awkward, right? I'd recommend doing away with 'em entirely. And don't worry, you're not alone— almost every writer I've ever met, myself included, has abused the mighty ellipsis at least once.

    The other big critique I have is that a couple of things don't make sense. "Cemetery's closed, it's already been filled," while gritty and a good line, is confusing coming where it does (i.e. with no mention of where to bury the dead). And the last two stanzas... are confusing. Because I thought that it was all about trying to stay alive? Especially since there are the lines "Never regret... never mourn" (ellipsis mine to show where I snipped out half a line). So that's got me thinking the persona is all into shooting rather than being killed, and then the last lines undo that completely. So. Yeah.

    But I do like the idea of the poem, because people rarely use poetry as a medium for action or grit. So this was fun to read! A nice change of pace.


    Phew! That was a lot of editing! Expect my piece to be up soon.
    Last edited by cho_j; 2010-12-13 at 08:57 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Betropper View Post
    “Hello, my fans, look at you, now back to me, now back at you, now back to me. Sadly, you aren't me, but if you stopped using lady's scented armor and switched to O-Spice, you could smell like you're me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on a battleground with the man you could smell like. What’s your hand, back at me. I have it, it’s a fist. Look again, MY FIST IS NOW DIAMOND. Anything is possible when you smell like O-Chul and not a lady. I’m on a dragon.”
    Avatar by me!

  25. - Top - End - #205
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    I feel like putting up my three part Exalted story:

    Exaltation of the Crashing Wave
    Spoiler
    Show
    Sanalos dipped his quill into the ink then began writing again.
    Another failed smuggling shipment! The Imperial Navy was starting to get bothersome.
    Sanalos’es smuggling business was struggling. His smugglers were a wide-ranging business; it ranged all the way from the Coral Archipelago all the way to Lookshy and the Nexus. He had worked years of his young life to get to this position- the position of Boss of the Swift Sea Smugglers. While not the biggest or the best business, it was reliable and Sanalos made sure it stayed that way- like all the Bosses before him. Reliability in the criminal world was big. Criminals were an untrustworthy lot, meaning the best way to deal with them was to earn that trust and to keep it- the more consistent you were, the more reliable you were, the more they would trust you. Trust meant that they would go to you first, even if others offered higher-quality products or cheaper prices. Those after all, could be scams, and if there was anything in the world criminals hated more than being caught, it was being cheated by other criminals. The criminals after all, had worked hard for their dishonest living of stealing, smuggling, scamming or any other job of the underworld. They didn’t want to be ripped off by another man’s dishonest living.
    However the shipments between Bluehaven and Lookshy have lately been getting caught by the Imperial Navy more and more often. His clients in Lookshy were becoming surly and demanding and his smugglers were starting to become fearful of the route.
    In short, The Swift Sea Smugglers were becoming unreliable.
    He finished writing; he signed his name, put his seal in wax upon it then handed it to his messenger.
    He had written a letter to his clients in Lookshy assuring that he will shortly find a way to get the shipment of marijuana there without the Imperial Navy interfering again.
    But how? Going through the Southern desert was slow, hot and his smugglers were seadogs, men of the cool Western waters and windy ocean breezes. That and there were bandits in the South, people whom much of the West considered land pirates. Pirates were just as big an enemy to smugglers as was the Imperial Navy. As mentioned before, nothing stung a criminal more than being ripped off by another criminal; smugglers being attacked and boarded only to find out they had been beaten by pirates was just adding insult to injury, and bandits were just land pirates.
    Sanalos got up and put on his black coat, exiting the building- Swordfish Shipments a front organization for his smuggling business- he started to walk back home. He lived on one of the many islands of the Western Sea. The sun was setting, nearing dusk. People who saw him remembered to step out of his way. His appearance was instantly recognizable: long sea-green hair growing down to his shoulders, deep ocean-blue eyes. He wore a black trench coat over a white shirt, red sash, green breeches and black pirate boots. He was only fifteen.
    No, the South would not do.
    He thought for other alternatives. Maybe through the Blessed Isle? Ha! Funniest joke he ever thought of. Perhaps he should go into stand up comedy while was at it. Just give up running a smuggling business and tell jokes as a jester! He would make the Great Houses themselves laugh! “Hey, did I ever tell you how I tried to smuggle weed through the Blessed Isle? We once came across eleven Dragon-Blooded all guarding the same road, one from each house: The Tepet tried to punch us but of course he didn’t have enough muscles. The Cathak was all like “I will claim this weed in the name of the Empress and expand our control to your caravan!” and the Peleps was like, trying to steal our weed while punishing us for smuggling weed, and the Nellens was like saying “hey I know a bunch of mortal friends who’d like that weed and the all the others was like “Noo! Weed should only belong to the Great Houses!” and don’t get me started on what the Ragara was up to…”
    No. The Blessed Isle, the most heavily patrolled part of the Realm, would not do.
    Sanalos approached his home
    His house was a good-sized manor, large compared to the huts and houses that the common man lived in below. Getting this manor had been one of his crowning moments of his life. He at fifteen owned something grander than most men will ever achieve in their entire lives. Sure others had grander things, opulent mansions and fanciful villas with great feasts and buildings that could otherwise only existed in the common man’s dreams. However, that did not matter. He had achieved that manor there with his own work, he had work his way up the ladder of the Swift Sea Smugglers, he had been the ones to slip poison into the previous bosses drink and he had been the one to arrange the death of the competitors through hired hands to slit their throats in their sleep.
    However underhanded, he had still achieved that with his own planning and skill. All the others may have inherited something greater, but only he had worked for his wealth.
    He went up to his manor, he got out his key from his pocket, unlocked the door then went inside.
    Inside he found a woman. She had a white veil over the lower half of her face. ****. The White Veil Society. Wait, they actually existed!?
    “What does the White Veil Society want from me?”
    “White Veil Society? I have no idea what you are talking about. I’m just an assassin for The Guild, here to kill you. I’m totally not a White Veil ninja hired by The Guild especially just to take you out, and even if I was, I wouldn’t tell you that.”
    “Ok…” Sanalos replied in bewilderment. The White Veil was one weeeeeeeiiird society.
    “Why have you been sent here to kill me? Surely the Guild doesn’t consider me such a threat.”
    “Oh, but your smuggling business, it is so widespread. If one could simply kill you, replace with someone who wants take Guild orders, perhaps the Smugglers be more reliable from then on.”
    Ha! She had given too much away, not only was there a traitor within his business, but she had also mistakenly let slip that the Guild had been tipping off the Imperial Navy about the Swift Sea Smugglers, probably to earn some jade on the side for the information. Now that he looked at her closely, she seemed young, and…inexperienced. If this was a real White Veil ninja, he would already be dead by now. Methinks that this was the assassins first hit, fresh from training, all the skill, none of the experience.
    Unfortunately that meant he was still dead if she attacked, and would mean he wouldn’t be able to sniff out the traitor, find a new way to smuggle through the Inland Sea and take care of the Guild’s tip-offs.
    He pulled out his knife anyways. Better to go down fighting.
    “Bye-Bye!”
    She launched her attack, leaping through the air, foot extended, probably to kick his skull to pieces, he closed his eyes and stabbed forward, not fearing death.
    Then suddenly he felt a rush of power, like the currents of the sea, roar of the waterfall, the rush of the river.
    Like a crashing wave.
    Then he heard a pained scream.
    He opened his eyes to see a blade of water extending from his knife into the assassin’s leg, the blade holding her in midair. The assassin was looking at him in a shocked expression.
    He waved the knife and to his surprise the assassin went flying, tumbling head over heals through the air, crashing through a window and landing on the ground outside.
    Still feeling a rush of power, Sanalos didn’t think he would need his knife anymore and dropped it.
    He ran forward, attacking the assassin, and immediately gone into a martial arts duel. Out of nowhere, he seemed to be able to block, dodge, duck and wave, roll and jump like a monk. He immediately saw her over-extend herself on one of her punches and automatically, as if it was instinct, he grabbed her arm and threw her back into his manor, crashing her through several furniture, he then ran back to her, quickly grabbed her leg, and threw her through two floors upward, seeing her fly up through the roof, he then jumped after her, rising passed everything as if it was effortless.
    Now both of them in midair, he seemed to reach within himself, felt the water, the endless water of the Western Sea itself flow through his veins. With a yell he punched his hand forward and suddenly a jet of high-pressure sea green water blasted from his fist, slamming straight into the assassin with all the force of a crashing tidal wave, smashing her bones and allowing her spirit to reincarnate once more.
    He landed in the middle of his manor, now a mess, he quickly went to his mirror and saw that a swirling sea-green anima was surrounding him and the deep blue sign of a water Aspect glowing on his forehead.
    Suddenly all fell into place. He did not care for his little, unimportant manor anymore. He could sniff out the traitors as he pleased, he could make his smuggling business successful like it never was before, he could deal with the Imperial Navy and the Guild however he liked. He was Dragon-Blooded, a Water Aspect. Getting this Exaltation was one of the crowning moments of his life. He at fifteen was something grander than most men will ever be in their entire lives.
    He was Exalted. It would do.


    Crashing Wave: Interrogation
    Spoiler
    Show
    Sanalos awakened.
    More specifically he awakened to se that he had gone to sleep hand-standing on one hand. He calmly put his other hand on the ground and let his feet them down, then smoothly turned to a standing position. He had found out last night that he didn’t know his own strength and accidentally destroyed his bed. Shrugging since he didn’t care for his manor anymore, he set about testing the new limits of his body to see what he could do with his Exaltation. Somehow in all of that testing he seemed to have decided to fall asleep hand-standing on one hand. The fact his arm did not hurt even though he had been hand-standing all night spoke volumes about what he could do now.
    He stretched while looking at the dawning sun. There was still much to do.
    The Guild had tried to kill him off and replace him with someone willing to let the Swift Sea Smugglers be absorbed by the Guild. They had been pulling the strings on the Imperial Navy to make his business look bad and were going to cut through strings loose once they had his business under their control. Make Swift Sea Smugglers unreliable, kill off their leader, absorb them and make them reliable again.
    Classic redirection, if the Guild’s plan had worked they would’ve plausibly placed the blame of the unreliable smuggling upon the fault of a fifteen-year old street boy turned smuggling Boss who was really just experiencing difficulty trying to get past the largest naval fleet in the world.
    Problem was, Sanalos never had any illusions that his smuggling business was that important in the grand scheme of things. Sure it was wide-ranging, but compared to the other smuggling and trading companies out there, the Swift Sea Smugglers was a small business in comparison. It couldn’t compete with the Guild or any of the big-name pirates in the Western Ocean and their archipelagoes. The Guild, could not have even known his business existed.
    Meaning someone told, someone had made a deal. This certain someone, had tried to get him killed and sell out the company. He was going to find this traitor and deal with him accordingly…perhaps an accident or something?
    Or maybe something a little more direct. He was Exalted now.

    Sanalos tested the knob on the door to Swift Sea Smugglers HQ, disguised as Swordfish Shipments, it opened like a charm. Someone had already unlocked the door today. Sanalos went inside, walking to his office, he ran into Old Fin right outside of it.
    “Oh! Boss, you’ve risen late today!” Old Fin, exclaimed surprised.
    “Hey, Old Fin.” Sanalos greeted “How is it going?”
    Old Fin was obviously an old man, of seventy years in fact. Bald, bearded, with a thin aging frame with bandana tied over said bald head, he had served as one of the four Co-Bosses of the Swift Sea Smugglers for longer than anyone can remember. To the current generation he was Old Fin. To some of veteran smugglers in the company, they remember him being called Generous Fin in his middling years, a smuggler who oddly gave sums of money away to beggars and people living in huts so that they could eat. There was no one left who could remember what he was named when he was young, but Sanalos hazarded a guess that it had “Young Fin.” Sanalos had trusted Old Fin his entire time in the company. The guy was reliable, even today, couldn’t really fight against any pirates anymore but he was good to have at your back nonetheless.
    “Good, good….I was about to go in your office, checking to see if you were there. I’m getting befuddled in my old age y’see; my sense of time is starting to go along with my memories.”
    “Age does that, don’t worry, you got some life in you yet.”
    “Hope so! Heheheh……anything going on with you?”
    “Yes actually, but I cannot speak of it right now. Summon the other Co-Bosses, I have to discuss with all four of you. Immediately.”
    “Right…..right Boss……”

    Sanalos paced before four figures.
    One was Old Fin, you already know of him.
    The man beside him, was a middle-aged, coal-black haired, barrel-chested, big bearded, muscular man named Rib Shark Survivor. The guy was a good fighter and a veteran of many pirate attacks on his shipments to Bluehaven. He always carried a sword around with him. Local company legend has it that he once fell off the deck during battle and a shark came and chomped down on his torso whole. No one knows how, but he had survived unscathed aside from tooth marks and washed up on shore. Rib even showed his chest to Sanalos one time, showing off his shark bite scars. They had been the right size and everything. Sanalos then had to guess the legend was true. Rib was bitter and experienced and had always voiced a little skepticism towards Sanalos and his policies, disliking the fact that he had to work under a “green boy”.
    Next was Kiggas, who in contrast to Rib, was a young fiery redhead, thin as a rail, brown eyed, always smiling, joking, relaxing and generally having a good time. He also had an ego the size of Creation and the ambition to match. Sanalos once held Kiggas place as Co-Boss of the Middle Fleet, but when Sanalos had “promoted” himself, he promoted Kiggas to replace him. He had exhibited a lot of confidence and competence as a captain and had earned his position of Co-Boss, and Sanalos suspected he wanted to be Boss next someday, but since he was older by a decade at least he would die of old age before that happened since Sanalos was fifteen.
    Lastly, there was Coral Flower. A fierce brown haired woman with green eyes, she had been successor to Sanalos’s competitor for the position of Boss. When Sanalos had won because said competitor died to his machinations, he had looked upon all the captains of North Fleet and knew that Coral Flower was the best person to take the job of Co-Boss.
    Due to the West’s highly patriarchal leanings, it was no surprise that Coral Flower was a bitter of always hitting a glass ceiling because of her gender. Nor was it unexpected that there were people, even in this very room who didn’t like that a woman had risen so high in rank. Sanalos however didn’t care as he was primarily concerned with competence and getting the job done, but Coral Flower’s constant resentment at unfair treatment could have motivated her to seek power to rectify what she considered wrong.

    In short, almost every person in this room had a motivation for killing him and seizing power.

    “Co-Bosses.” Sanalos began. “I have bad news to announce: in the middle of the night, at my own manor, I was attacked by an assassin.”
    He waited for the news to sink in, each person there with their eyes widening at the implications.
    “Before I killed the assassin, I abstracted from the assassin that the Guild had been behind all the ships of Southern Fleet being captured, as the Guild has been telling the Imperial Navy off about us. Also, that since our company is normally not large enough to warrant Navy or Guild notice…..that there is a traitor among us.”
    Now that got a reaction of them, a few protests arose, Sanalos soon silenced them.
    “Unfortunately, there are only five people in the entire company that knows all the ships movements. Namely every single person in this room. Since the assassin came for me, I obviously am crossed out as a suspect.”
    He started to walk around in circles.
    “That means, whoever tried to arrange my death, is one of you four.”
    “You suspect us?” asked Rib
    “Why of course, who else in the company has the tools to do what has been done? The Captains? They are only given assignments ship-by-ship, they have no knowledge of where the rest of the fleets heads and we make sure that it stays that way, and its obviously not the work of anyone under their command.
    “No, whoever did it, is here in this room and has leaked information to us.”
    “Well, if you think I would leak info your wrong” said Rib
    “Why would I sell my own fleet just so I can be Boss huh? Tell me that, Green boy!”
    “Good point actually. You are very attached to Southern Fleet the same one you command, many of them are your comrades and friends, who have fought beside you for years….no, I don’t think you are the traitor Rib.”
    Then Coral Flower spoke up.
    “So what about me Huh? You gonna suspect me just because I’m a woman?”
    “No. I suspect you, because you see that you are being treated unfairly- which I agree with- and would attempt to rectify the situation by killing me, taking power and “discipline” the company into respecting you despite being a women, or even training them into a matriarchal fanatics. I respect you and wish you success, but what I’m afraid of is you resorting to such extreme methods once you were successful. Tell me truly. Is this what you would have done?”
    “No! At least…not with you…..your the one who promoted me in the first place….you put me in this position in the first place……recognized me by skills and talents and not my gender….and….I’m thankful for that.”
    Sanalos paused to think about this for a moment then turned around.
    “So Coral Flower clearly isn’t it. That leaves you….” Sanalos looked at the young redhead. “Kiggas.”
    “Hey, hey man, I’m just as thankful for this position as Coral Flower is!”
    “Ah, but would you be even more thankful to the Guild for giving you my position?”
    “No! I’m loyal man! I’m not a traitor! I just like doing leader stuff, Co-Boss is enough for me!”
    “So quick to deny, so quick to protest, are you really telling the truth or just ly-“
    “Sanalos!” barked Old Fin.
    “Stop, he is clearly not the traitor, he clearly does not have it in him. You are being paranoid.”
    “There is a difference between paranoid and suspicious Old Fin. Someone here is the traitor and I’m gonna find out who.”
    “What traitor?” asked Old Fin grouchily “You have already interrogated all three of them and they all have good reasons for not doing it at all.”
    “The Guild could not have known our movements or known where to send the assassin without an informant.”
    “Bah, I doubt this assassin even existed! I mean really, Sanalos the mastermind somehow being able to kill a White Veil woman? Yea right.”
    Sanalos smiled.
    “Two things to answer your question, Old Fin.”
    He flared his anima banner, allowing the crashing wave and rushing river to flow through him, power and all-powering, giving him strength and resolve.
    “One. I’m A Dragon-Blooded now. I Exalted right before the first hit landed.”
    He then ran forward, grabbing Old Fin by the neck and slamming him against the wall.
    “And Two. I never told you that the assassin was of the White Veil, or a woman, Traitor.”

    “Now, Traitor.” Sanalos said, calmly. “Who did you make the deal with?”
    Old Fin guessed it wasn’t wise to try an Exalted’s patience.
    “I made the deal with Dancing Stone Across Water, the local Guild lord.”
    “The one on the island? Does anyone else in the Guild know of this deal?”
    “…Aside from the local Guild? Nope, not at all. Dancing Stone’s real isolated.”
    “Heh.” Sanalos crushed Old Fin’s neck. The late Co-Boss crumpled to the ground.
    “It’s a pity. I liked Old Fin. Then again, he knew the oldest tactic of deception in the criminal world: become so reliable that no one would ever think you would ever do something bad, so that you can do whatever you want.”
    “Wonder why he betrayed us.” pondered Rib.
    “Rib, some things are better left unknown.”


    Crashing Wave: Negotiation
    Spoiler
    Show
    Sanalos now walked towards one final piece of business he had to take care of. Old Fin had told him he had made a deal with Dancing Stone Across Water. Dancing Stone was the local Guild lord. He handled local Guild business on Galkeros Island- the island Sanalos was on- and a few surrounding islands as well.
    Guild outposts on the Western Sea were comparatively isolated in relation to the others. They were the farthest away from the Guild seat in Nexus, had to deal with the least populated region in Creation, and were far away from all land, cut off from the big cities and all the usual resources as well as the normal caravan routes. The Guild probably had less influence out here than the Realm did. Thinking it about it further, Sanalos thought it was no wonder why Dancing Stone was willing to kill him and take control of the Swift Sea Smugglers- out here, the Guild needed all the power it could get.
    Sanalos supposed it was comforting that despite all else, the abundance of water ensured the West’s freedom from most of the Realms machinations and the Guild’s corporate expansionism. They only had to deal with the Imperial Navy and odd situations like the one Sanalos had now.
    However what really comforted Sanalos was that this isolation kept things under wraps. The rest of the Guild will not know of this silly attempt at absorbing his smuggling business. Not if he, or his Exalted powers, had anything to say about it.

    Sanalos walked up to the front of the Galkeros branch Guild building. It was like any other company building, like any other business. Except it was somewhat larger, had the unmistakable Guild symbol on it and the architecture was of above-average quality. If it had been earlier in the day, one would have seen the Guild building with a crowd of customers around it, absorbing their trade and their money like a sponge.
    It was evening however, near closing time. He wanted to involve as few innocents as possible.

    He went up to the double-doors and slammed them open, quickly marching inside with a stern look on his face. Immediately everyone in the Guild jumped and looked straight at him. He marched forward with purpose.
    “Where is Dancing Stone!” he proclaimed
    “I need to speak with him.”
    A dark-skinned, chubby bald man with a big black mustache rose. He wore pompous gaudy clothing, the clothing you normally see on spoiled Dragon-Blooded Dynasts at court, showing off their wealth with all their silk and purple and red and gold all those expensive dyes. What an eyesore. Sanalos therefore assumed the overdressed boulder that was walking over to meet him was the one called Dancing Stone. Fitting name.
    “and who do I have the honor of speaking with?”
    “Sanalos, Boss of the Swift Sea Smugglers.”
    If Dancing Stone was surprised that Sanalos was still alive, he gave no indication of such.
    “I have come to speak to you about our mutual friend of ours.”
    Sanalos continued.
    “Old Fin.”
    The atmosphere of the room changed. Sanalos could hear a few daggers come unsheathed and few people get to their feet behind him. Dancing Stone fixed him with a dark look.
    “So what of him?” Dancing Stone replied “and that is Lord Stone to you!”
    “Alright Lord Stone.” Sanalos said with a grin. Of course such a creature loves to refer to himself as “Lord Stone” to give him a sense of power and prestige of running such a little backwater.
    “I speak of how he betrayed me.”
    A few more daggers drawn, a few more people getting up.
    “and of the assassin sent for me in the night, so that he may take my place.”
    “What of them? Don’t beat around the bush: you suspect the Guild of being behind it all.”
    Sanalos let out a little chuckle.
    “Wrong, I don’t suspect. I know. Old Fin admitted it to me, before the end. He said that he made a deal with you.”
    By now, all weapons were drawn and all the Guild members were on their feet, slowly creeping up on him.
    “Sloppy work, really. I can tell you didn’t spend enough money on the assassin, if you had gotten someone more experienced and less talkative, it might have succeeded. Then again I guess you don’t make as much as other Guild Lords, so I guess she was your only option. Personally, I would have just bought some poison asked Old Fin when I ate dinner or something then slipped it into my food. That would be much more mutable to your advantage.”
    “Doesn’t matter” replied Dancing Stone. “You are going to die anyways. You know too much.”
    “No…I don’t think so...why?” He wheeled around upon the crowd of people creeping up on him while at the same time flaring his anima banner.
    “I AM EXALTED! A DRAGON-BLOODED OF WATER! You dare try and take on divinity!?”
    The Guild member shirked back in fear. Many heard stories of how the Exalted took on armies and fought legends. What could an ordinary rabble of mere mortals stand against such might?
    “How else,” Sanalos turned back around to Dancing Stone. “Did you think I killed your assassin? Such pitiful mortal measures are no match against me!”
    “Well.” Dancing Stone said, breathing out. “That might be true….on the other hand you are pretty young, Sanalos, and Exaltation is pretty hard to hide. It may be true that you are Exalted….but I think it is also true that you have just recently became Exalted. I think you are still weak and new to these legendary powers, I think you don’t know the full extent of what you can do yet.”
    The Guild members behind him started to creep forward again.
    “I, Lord Stone think, that you might just be new enough, and weak enough an Exalt…for us mortals here to claim the legendary honor of having slain one the Dragon-Blooded.”
    Sanalos heard a few chuckles behind him, he could just imagine their eyes lightning up at the fame they would receive. What fools.
    “and I think.” Sanalos countered “that the bird swoops in to catch the snake.”
    “Wha-?” Dancing Stone started to say before he noticed there was a dagger around his neck.

    Soon, all the Guild members noticed they were surrounded- by Swift Sea Smugglers with various weapons of their own. They were outnumbered and out-armed, the weapons gotten from smuggling better than what the guild members had been able to buy for out on these remote islands.
    “All Guild members, drop your weapons or die.” Sanalos yelled out, and they instantly complied, daggers falling to the floor and hands raising up into the air.
    “Good. Now we can negotiate, Lord Stone.” Sanalos said again in a teasing manner. He loved adding insult to injury to people who ticked him off.
    “How….” Lord Stone asked.
    “Oh simple. All I had to do was keep your attention held long enough for my men to surround you all without you noticing, then they pounced, putting your neck at a knifes edge and everyone else weaponless. Since you are on an isolated island, you have no back up to call. I hold all the cards.”
    “…Very well. What are your demands?”
    Sanalos smiled.
    “My first demand, is that you will refrain from recruiting anyone on Galkeros Island into the Guild, or any further recruiting of such. I will not have my fellow Westerners be entangled in Guild schemes.
    My second demand is that you cease any further attempts at taking my life or subverting the Swift Sea Smugglers to your will in any way.
    My third and final demand is that you give me contacts within the Guild. I want to profit from this stupid little attempt on my life and this idiotic betrayal and you will give me it.
    In return for meeting all these demands, I will spare all the Guild members here as well as you and will not interfere with your business anymore, as long as it does not interfere with mine. Is that clear?”
    Dancing Stone nodded hurriedly. Anything was better than dying.
    “Good.”
    Sanalos smirked.
    “We have a deal.”

    A Week later…

    Sanalos stood on the ship, the Swift Swordfish, smiling to himself.
    “Now that is over….time to blackmail a certain Great House….”
    He chuckled a little as he waited for his ship to set sail.


    critiques and reviews appreciated.

  26. - Top - End - #206
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Lord Raziere's "Exalted" stories.

    First off, the background is quite interesting. The Guild, the various pirate clans, the smuggling groups, the navy, a nice sense of the political complexity of your world. Enough details for curiosity without bogging down the narrative.

    Sanalos, though, feels a bit too perfect as the protagonist. That he's so young isn't too much of a problem, if that's your vision, go for it. It's just that he's too good for his lack of experience. For every trait he has that led him to being the leader, there's probably something that's either a weakness, or something that he'd be afraid of the others in the gang finding out.

    Along those same lines, his power manifests itself far too quickly to really be interesting. You start to build up doubt and possible limitations in the last part -- I liked how he didn't rely on his powers to defeat the Guild, and how they felt they might have had a chance en mass.

    What you have is an intriguing premise, and some interesting characters, but it needs to be fleshed out with those in mind. You could easily quadruple the length of what you have now and really add a lot of details about things and make the challenges a bit more perilous at each step.

    Because you got to the action so quickly in these scenes, you did fall a bit into the trap of just telling us a lot of things instead of showing us through actions and thoughts of the characters. This is one of the things I mean about expanding the stories. Get into his head, and while he'd always outwardly be very sure of himself to avoid showing signs of weakness to his allies and enemies, internally, he may be just on the edge of working out solutions just in the nick of time. That adds suspense to his conflicts with other characters. There were some pretty good examples of this while he was bantering with the assassin before his powers manifested.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. Hope they're useful!
    I have my own TV show featuring local musicians performing live. YouTube page with full episodes and outtake clips here.
    I also have another YouTube page with local live music clips I've filmed on my own.
    Then there is my gaming YouTube page with Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and others.
    Finally, I stream on Twitch, mostly Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft.

  27. - Top - End - #207
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    well I'm planning on just starting my own thread of Exalted stories so this commentary is appreciated- I've got like at least 15 other exalted characters to write about not sure though I haven't counted- but Sanalos is sort of the "central" character.

    and at this point, he KNOWS that his power is nothing to write home about, which is why aside from that first burst he only use the anima flaring to help him, he doesn't actually know how to do anything Exaltedly yet and is just doing what he would've usually done, but with a little more boldness and confidence. also I'm betting that Exaltation is itself sort of emotionally and mentally changing and while I should add those weaknesses in the first part, in the second and third parts, I'm thinking of showing how those weaknesses are fading with his new found power.

  28. - Top - End - #208
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    London
    Gender
    Male

    biggrin Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    I have been given permission to revive this thread, so I am now a necromacer! Woo!

    Anyway, some of you may remember this thread, some of you may not. but it was BRILLIANT for a while until it ground to a halt. Some revived it a while later, but it didn't really catch on, however, I'm hoping that it will flourish just like it did when it was new.

    So, the rules are all in the first post, Jimor seems to have lost interest so I will compose a new Roster in this post, and any additions to the Tips and Tricks section that I feel are necessary.
    Basically, post 3 critiques and you can post a story, which will in turn be critiqued, etc.
    Please post the title of your story, then the genre, then a wordcount, and put the story itself in spoiler tags. The same applies to critiques.

    However, because this thread is starting afresh, to start us off, the first 6 stories posted will not cost you any critiques. Each people who posts one of these 6 stories cannot post another one without critiques, however.
    (EDIT: 4 slots used up, only 2 free slots left.)

    Here is the Roster:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Alarra (3 critiques)

    "Heartstone", 1/25/10, Fantasy, 3988 words
    Critiques: banjo1985, Neon Knight, averagejoe, Zom B, DSCrankshaw

    Asthix (2 critiques)

    averagejoe (8 critiques)

    banjo1985 (6 critiques)

    "Inner Demons" (Prologue Ch1, Prologue Ch2), 9/19/09, Modern Fantasy/Horror, 1650 words
    Critiques: thurge namor, Deckmaster, Helanna, Calinero, rakkoon, waterpenguin43
    "Inner Demons" (Ch1, Ch2, Ch3), (Rewrite), 7/22/10, Modern Fantasy/Horror, 5000 words
    Critiques: FoE, Savannah, JessGulbranson

    Calinero (2 critiques)

    changingvamp (2 critiques)

    chiasaur11 (1 critique)

    cho_j (3 critiques)

    Conjob (5 critiques)

    Cristo Meyers (3 critiques)

    curtis (2 critiques)

    Danne (2 critiques)

    Darius Macab (1 critique)

    Deckmaster (3 critiques)

    Child of the Dragon (Prologue, Ch1), 9/26/09
    Critiques: Tequila Sunrise, Silence, Jimor

    DSCrankshaw (3 critiques)

    Untitled Steampunkish Story, 2,247 words, 4/13/10
    Critiques: Danne, Ether, The Pressman, The_JJ

    EmeraldPhoenix (3 critiques)

    "Chapter One of RL", 11/27/09, 1436 words, Internet Fiction.
    Critiques: waterpenguin43, Raz_Fox, Kallisti, Falgorn, averagejoe, Tira-chan, Zolkabro

    Ether (3 critiques)

    Falgorn (2 critiques)

    FoE (1 critique)

    Garwain (3 critiques)

    "Brallers Ballance", 9/30/10, Fantasy Story Intro, 750 words
    Critiques: Tira-chan, averagejoe, Random_person, leakingpen, cho_j

    GolemsVoice (2 critiques)

    "The Dream-Singer", 9/12/09, Classic Weird Tale
    Critiques: Mr.Silver, Tequila Sunrise, Helanna, Kallisti, Milo v3

    Helanna (9 critiques)

    "The Empty Ruins", 9/22/09
    Critiques: Tequila Sunrise, Deckmaster, Mr.Silver, banjo1985, averagejoe, Zolkabro
    "The Palace", 1/4/10
    Critiques: Tequila Sunrise, Alarra, Neon Knight, Zom B, averagejoe

    jayeljay (0 critiques)

    "Neko Tails" (Intro, Prologue, Ch1), 9/6/09, Fantasy Novel
    Critiques: Mr.Silver, Helanna, banjo1985, Raz_Fox, curtis, Lord Raziere, JessGulbranson
    "Neko Tails" (Ch2, Ch3), 9/10/09, Fantasy Novel
    Critiques: Mr.Silver, curtis
    Owes 6 critiques before he can post another story.

    JessGulbranson (6 critiques)

    "The Tiger-man", 8/19/10
    Critiques: Random_person

    Jimor (3 critiques)

    Kallisti (9 critiques)

    "Mask Masque", 9/20/09
    Critiques: banjo1985, Deckmaster, Silence, thurge namor
    "This was my dream...", 500 words, 11/12/09
    Critiques: thurge namor, Comet, The Fiery Tower, RPGsr4me, EmeraldPhoenix, Raz_Fox, Neon Knight, Zolkabro, Tira-chan
    "From Absent Friends" Poem, costs no critiques,
    Critques: SamBurke, Zolkabro

    "Untitled Rondel" 14/6/11, poem
    Critiques: Cristo Meyers, changingvamp,

    leakingpen (2 critiques)

    Lioness (1 critique)

    Lord Raziere (3 critiques)

    "The Stories of Trizap: Neomind", Ch 1, 4/1/10
    Critiques: Helanna, Teutonic Knight, Garwain
    "Exalted", (3 parts), 12/31/10
    Critiques: Jimor, Omeganaut
    "Exalted: Saint of the Stars", (4 parts), 7/17/11, costs no critiques
    Critiques: Asthix

    Milo v3 (1 critique)

    Mordar (1 critique)

    Mr.Silver (6 critiques)

    Neon Knight (6 critiques)

    "Moonlit Nights in Birmingham", 2/25/10
    Critiques: Raroy, Garwain, The_JJ

    Omeganaut (3 critiques)

    "The Vision" 8/6/11, costs no critiques
    Critiques: Kallisti, Cristo Meyers

    Psycho (1 critique)

    rakkoon (1 critique)

    Random_person (4 critiques)

    Untitled Stry, 8/4/10
    Critiques: Savannah, Danne, Tira-chan, Kallisti

    Raroy (2 critiques)

    RationalGoblin (0 critiques)

    "Worlds Without Number" (Ch1), 9/13/09
    Critiques: GolemsVoice, banjo1985, Mr. Silver, Tequila Sunrise, Helanna, Lord Raziere, JessGulbranson

    Raz_Fox (9 critiques)

    "The Last Trade", Fantasy, 9/18/09
    Critiques: Mr.Silver, banjo1985, thurge namor, Helanna, Silence, waterpenguin43, averagejoe
    Untitled, Fanfiction chapter, 5/17/10
    Critiques: Raroy, Ether, Mordar, Random_person, JessGulbranson, Tira-chan, Darius Macab

    RobotPerfomance (1 critique)

    RPGsr4me (3 critiques)

    "The Pull", 11/25/09
    Critiques: Conjob, thurge namor, Raz_Fox, Neon Knight, Zolkabro, JessGulbranson

    Rutskarn (0 critiques)

    "Vatsy and Bruno 1: First Ink", 9/12/09
    Critiques: GolemsVoice, Helanna, Tequila Sunrise, Calinero, chiasaur11, averagejoe, Lord Raziere

    SamBurke (2 critiques)

    Savannah (2 critiques)

    Silence (3 critiques)

    Untitled short story, 10/23/09
    Critiques: Kallisti, The Fiery Tower, RPGsr4me, EmeraldPhoenix, thurge namor, Raz_Fox, RobotPerformance, Neon Knight

    SPoD (1 critique)

    Tequila Sunrise (7 critiques)

    "Onami’s Greeting", 8/31/09, Fantasy Poetry
    Critiques: Jimor, Helanna, Raz_Fox, thurge namor, Kallisti, Lioness, changingvamp
    "Onami’s Legend", 1/3/10, Fantasy Poetry
    Critiques: Zom B, cho_j

    Teutonic Knight (1 critique)

    The Fiery Tower (3 critiques)

    "Alone?", 12/13/09
    Critiques: Conjob, Kallisti, Falgorn, Alarra, banjo1985, Tira-chan, DSCrankshaw

    The_JJ (3 critiques)

    "This is the story of how I fell in love with the presidents wife:" 7/6/11,
    Critiques: SamBurke,

    The Pressman (1 critique)

    thurge namor (7 critiques)

    "Aces and Eights", 10/8/09, Poetry
    Critiques: Tequila Sunrise, Conjob, Kallisti, RPGsr4me, EmeraldPhoenix, Raz_Fox, JessGulbranson, cho_j
    "We Are Undying", 500 words, 11/12/09
    Critiques: Kallisti, Conjob, The Fiery Tower
    "Forever Dead" (selection), 11/25/09
    Critiques: Alarra, Psycho, averagejoe

    Tira-chan (7 critiques)

    Untitled Novel, Chap 1, 3/23/10
    Critiques: Helanna, Zolkabro, DSCrankshaw, Ether
    "The Spell Hotel", 9/1/10
    Critiques: Random_person, leakingpen

    waterpenguin43 (3 critiques)

    "The Duke of Light", Chap 1, Parts 1 and 2, 11/29/09
    Critiques: Raz_Fox
    "Pathways", Part 1, 11/29/09
    Critiques: Raz_Fox, Neon Knight

    Zolkabro (6 critiques)

    "Life as a Library Book" 4/6/11, 500 words, Flash Fiction costs no critiques.
    Critiques: Asthix, SPoD,
    "My Life as an Earthling" 7/5/11, Sci-fi
    Critiques: Omeganaut, Cristo Meyers

    Zom B (3 critiques)

    "A Sticky Situation", Chap 1, 3/3/10
    Critiques: Tira-chan, Garwain, The_JJ

    Updated up to post #260

    Thank you, and enjoy!
    Last edited by Zolkabro; 2011-08-08 at 05:25 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #209
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kallisti's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    It lives! Excellent!

    ...can't promise I'll have the time or momentum to help keep it alive this time, but still, excellent.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  30. - Top - End - #210
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    London
    Gender
    Male

    biggrin Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    The Roster is updated, so to start off our 8 stories, I shall post one of my own:

    This story was written when I was challenged to write a story in exactly 500 words. It was hard, and I had to do a lot of cutting, but here is the result:

    A Day in the Life of a Library Book
    Flash Fiction (Not Slash Fiction)
    500 words
    Spoiler
    Show
    Life as a Library Book
    by ~Zolkabro

    I sat on the shelf nervously, hoping someone would notice me. Sure, being a library book is fun at times, but it gets so boring. I just sit on the shelf all day, waiting to be borrowed. Although I suppose it's better than what I had before. I remember sitting on a shelf in a bookshop, shiny and new. I was young, naïve, and excited about life. This excitement did not last, however, when I was bought by an eight-year-old girl with a passion for doodling.
    Years later, I was donated to a library, but I was rarely borrowed because of the scribbles. I remember being borrowed by an eleven-year-old who adored reading. He read me once, and loved me. He read me countless times, which was very flattering. It showed that this is a person without prejudice, who looks beyond the pages, into the world unlocked by words. I wish all readers were like him, but many regard me as disfigured. Some just avoid me, and put me straight back on the shelf. Others point and laugh at the doodles. But I think that worst of all are the ones who feel sorry for me. I remember being borrowed by a cheerful young lad with a pot of Tipp-Ex. I know he was trying to be helpful, but it gave me nightmares all the same.
    Suddenly, I heard footsteps coming my way. I immediately straightened my pages, and stood upright on the shelf. A woman came over. She selected a different edition of me, and I sighed sadly. People always chose other copies. But wait, what's this? She's putting the book back! And picking me up? I don't believe this!
    She dropped me in her bag, and continued browsing. My cover ached as I hit other books in her bag at an uncomfortable angle. I wriggled until I was comfortable, and saw that I had joined some historical fiction hardbacks. The other books sniggered and nudged each other when they saw the doodles. I sighed huffily, and turned my back on them. But this just caused more laughter when they saw the pictures drawn around my blurb. I shuddered at the impoliteness of some books.
    Eventually, the woman finished, and went to the desk to borrow the book. She gave me to the librarian, who wrenched open my cover. I groaned. Not Gladys again! Why do I always end up with the rude librarians? I winced as she shoved the blinding red light at me and read my barcode. She roughly whacked my spine as she put me down on the desk, and I gasped for breath when she put two hardbacks on top of me. She practically threw me at the woman who had borrowed me.
    The woman put me back in her bag, and walked out of the library. I couldn't help but smile as she walked home. Who was she? Why had she borrowed me? And where was I going now?


    Please critique, and post your own stories.
    Last edited by Zolkabro; 2011-06-04 at 09:56 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •